Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union Speech

Complete text of the SOTU is here.

A few excerpts:

Dang it, why’d she pick today to die? Shit, now I’m gonna have to grit my teeth, hold my nose and say something nice to the nigra voters.

“Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.”


Hey, my rhetoric in 2000 about “changing the tone in Washington” sure snowed everybody. Since my poll ratings have sunk lower than whaleshit, I guess I better trot that out again.

“In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another – and I will do my part.”


That fuckin’ John Murtha, who's he think he is, criticizing my war. When I get through Swiftboating that sonofabitch, everyone’s gonna think he killed John Kennedy, invented AIDS, and single-handedly flew those two airliners into the World Trade Center.

“Our coalition has learned from our experience in Iraq…Along the way, we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by Members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice.”


I’ve only got a coupla weeks to persuade my bitches in Congress to grant me complete total absolute power. Forever. I gotta push the right buttons. Here goes:

“The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this Nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime – so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act.”


My newest spying scandal sure went over like a lead balloon. No problemo — I’ll just change the name to “terrorist surveillance” and watch the American people lap it up. And so far, millions of Americans still don’t know about those memos I received in August 2001, warning about terrorists using hijacked airplanes as weapons. Or the FBI and CIA not sharing information or connecting the dots. Let’s keep it that way.

“It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy...So to prevent another attack – based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute – I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.”


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Biblehumpers and Witch-Hunters Have Rights Too

Four pharmacists are suing for their “right” to NOT fill prescriptions for the emergency morning-after birth control pill. Ironically, lots of conservatives — the same people who are always blubbering about “too many lawsuits” and “too much litigation” — are in favor of this lawsuit.

The Walgreen drugstore chain — complying with an Illinois state law — ordered all of its pharmacists to sign an electronic statement pledging that they would enable all emergency contraception prescriptions to be filled.

The Illinois law allows a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription, BUT the prescription must be referred to a co-worker who can quickly fill the prescription. Apparently this went against the “consciences” of four Walgreen pharmacists, who refused to sign the statement.

Here’s some career advice for the Four Douchebags: Become a minister, and get the F&%$#! out of the health care field. Either perform the job you’re being paid for, or find another job that doesn't offend your conscience. Duuuhhhhh!!!!!

What’s next, a vegetarian Burger King employee whose “conscience” won’t let him serve hamburgers? How about a devout Muslim working in a Bible store whose religious convictions won’t let him sell Bibles.

The Four Douchebags weren’t fired by Walgreen. They’ve been on unpaid leave since November, and they’ve been offered jobs at out-of-state Walgreen stores which wouldn’t be subject to the Illinois law.

Their lawsuit is being handled by the American Center for Law and Justice, an ultra-rightwing legal group which was founded by — you guessed it — Pat Robertson.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Iraqi Wives as Hostages

Man, there sure are some brutal dictatorships out there. You wouldn’t believe some of the tactics government agents and soldiers will use to go after their enemies. I'm glad we're not like that.

There’s been a story in the news about women being kidnapped because their husbands were suspected of being insurgents. This is supposed to smoke out the husband and get him to surrender. What a sleazy lowlife tactic. I’m sure glad nothing like that would ever happen in this country. “It Can’t Happen Here,” as we like to say.

So, which pestilent tinpot dictatorship was it? Let’s see…probably Saudi Arabia or Burma or Sudan or… Oh My God! Say it isn’t so! Uh, this is sort of embarrassing, but…ahem…it was us.

Talk about getting your own house in order before complaining about somebody else’s. Or projecting your own faults onto everyone else. Etc.

OK, so we’re enabling democracy to begin flowering all over the Middle East. But we’re using the same tactics as the dictators we’re supposed to be replacing. We’re showing how much better we are than Saddam Hussein — by imitating Saddam Hussein.

How many new al Qaeda members are we creating when we use tactics like this?

New terrorists are created by our wackoid neocon “adventures” in Third World countries. We get alarmed at the increase in terrorism, so we use even harsher and sleazier tactics to fight them; this in turn creates even more terrorists…

And the circle goes ‘round and ‘round…

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ford Creating New Jobs!

Ford Motor Company has received $250 million worth of tax credits through the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Hey, that’s cool. When a large American corporation creates tens of thousands of new well-paying jobs, they deserve to be rewarded.

Some might say that $250 million in tax credits is an overly generous gift from America’s taxpayers, but what the hey. These new jobs — jobs that are staying here in America — are exactly what our country needs.

Some of these new jobs include — hmmm…OK, what’s going on here?!? Wait, uh, OK — Ford didn't create thousands of new jobs. Uh, they haven’t created any new jobs at all. In fact, wait, this can’t be — Ford has just ELIMINATED 10,000 jobs. And they’re planning to eliminate 30,000 MORE JOBS!!

And yet — and yet, they’ve received $250 million worth of tax credits through the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. What the F#@$*&@!?? George Orwell couldn’t have made up anything more, uh, Orwellian than this.

An American corporation closes fourteen factories, eliminates a total of 40,000 jobs, and receives $250 million in tax credits for the jobs they’ve “created.” Whew!! Semantics professors are gonna be wrestling with this one for decades.

Newsweek’s Alan Sloane says “Congress should thank its lucky stars that federal truth-in-labeling laws don’t apply to legislation. Almost every dispassionate analyst agrees that the American Jobs Creation Act didn’t create jobs in the United States.”

First we have corporations virtually dictating the laws to their secretaries Congress. Then they put Orwellian names on everything, so that up is down, cold is hot, black is white.

Something needs to be fixed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Medicare Drug Program

All right, that's enough sniveling about the new Medicare Drug Program. Come on, what's the problem? It's very simple.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

US Army Near Breaking Point

According to a new report, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap if relief doesn’t come quickly. And I say these hippie-dippie peaceniks who created this report can take their terrorist-loving America-hating asses back to the Pentagon.

That’s right. This 136-page report was written for the Pentagon by retired Army officer Andrew Krepinevich. He said the Army cannot sustain the current level of troop deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said “you really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue.”

In one chapter of his report, he wrote that the Army is “in a race against time” to adjust to the demands of war “or risk ‘breaking’ the force in the form of a catastrophic decline” in recruitment and re-enlistment.

The Army fell short of its recruiting goals for 2005, and that’s in spite of raising the maximum enlistment age and taking on more and more drug addicts, high school dropouts and people with criminal records.

OK, calling all Chickenhawks and Keyboard Warriors (come on, you know who you are): If you’re in favor of the Iraqi war but are not over there actively fighting in it, your country needs you NOW. And no, having one of those “Support Our Troops” magnets on your car doesn’t count.

Please demonstrate your patriotism by performing these two steps:

Visit this site and read a few of the posts. Come on, it’s your war — why aren’t you fighting it??? After becoming sufficiently ashamed and guilt-ridden, you should be motivated to:

Click here and follow the instructions for locating the nearest recruiter, contacting him/her, and ENLISTING.

Being a proud member of the 101st Fighting Chickenhawks doesn’t cut it. Either walk the walk, or get those asinine magnets and stickers off your car.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Good News for CEOs!

Hey, it turns out that eliminating employee pensions is pretty damn lucrative. Not for those poor hapless lowly employees who had the rug pulled out from under them, of course, but who cares about them? For CEOs and upper management, it’s a gold mine.

First, of course, they keep all that money that was being paid out to the hired help. But that’s not all. By cutting out the pensions, they’re boosting company profits and — Voila! — fattening their own bonus packages.

Whooeee!! Being an unethical sleazebag sure does have its benefits. Or, to paraphrase Mel Brooks, it’s good to be a slippery bastard.

IBM is a recent example. They’ve eliminated employee pensions (but not the CEO’s pension of course). When their CEO retires at age 65, he’ll receive an annual pension of $4 million! That comes out to more than $10,000 a day, including weekends and holidays. Yeah! You go Sleaze!

Alcoa has also jumped on the bandwagon; they’ve announced that new hires will not be receiving pensions.

Oh, and think of the gargantuan tax cuts these multi-millionaires will be receiving, by stiffing the help. Yup, the economy’s doing great (for those who count).

A spokesperson for the Corporate Governance Alliance said “It is unseemly for executives to reap higher bonuses on that basis.”

Ya think?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Halliburton Strikes Again

It’s a thankless task to be an American soldier in Iraq. Defective equipment, insufficient staffing, poor to non-existent planning by your “superiors.” And now, on top of all that — a contaminated water supply.

Last year, soldiers and civilians at an American base in Iraq (Camp Junction City, in Ramadi) were exposed to contaminated water. Who was the responsible contractor? Dick Cheney’s alma mater — Halliburton.

The company refused to warn residents of the base about the untreated water. Even today they’re still denying the allegations, even though company e-mails show that employees tried to get the company to inform residents.

The Halliburton official in charge of water quality in Iraq sent a memo on July 15, 2005: “We exposed a base camp population (military and civilian) to a water source that was not treated.” In another memo, the same official wrote “the level of contamination was roughly twice the normal contamination of untreated water from the Euphrates River.”

He also said the exposure had gone on for “possibly a year” and added, “I am not sure if any attempt to notify the exposed population was ever made.”

A Halliburton employee, Ben Carter, discovered the problem last March, and sent an e-mail about it the following day. Carter resigned a month later after Halliburton refused to inform the camp population.

He wrote: “It is my opinion that the water source is without question contaminated with numerous micro-organisms, including Coliform bacteria. There is little doubt that raw sewage is routinely dumped upstream of intake much less than the required 2 mile distance. Therefore, it is my conclusion that chlorination of our water tanks while certainly beneficial is not sufficient protection from parasitic exposure.”

Carter said he told company officials at the base that they would have to notify the military. “They told me it was none of my concern and to keep my mouth shut. They brushed it under the carpet.”

A July 14, 2005, memo showed that Halliburton’s public relations department knew about the problem.

Senate Democrats will be holding a public inquiry into this issue tomorrow. Democrats (led by Byron Dorgan) will be acting on their own since they’ve been unable to persuade Republican committee chairmen to investigate.

Friday, January 20, 2006

You Go Google!

Somebody needs to stand up to the George Orwell Franz Kafka George W. Bush juggernaut. Leave it to one of the best and brightest American companies to step up to the plate. (PSSST — hey Eric, Larry, Sergey: will this improve my search engine ranking?)

Hopefully J. Edgar Hoover Bush has finally met his match. This administration usually just goes after individuals and small businesses; people unlikely or unable to fight back. Hopefully this spoiled little cokespoon-clutching preppy dickwipe has finally picked the wrong person to fuck with.

Now, where are all these pro-business conservatives who are always yelling about government meddling in the private sector? We need you. Speak up! Speak now or forever shut the fuck up.

If Little Boy Blueblood is able to steamroll over Google (and anyone else who doesn’t bow down to his every whim and tantrum), where will it end? Is every web search you’ve ever done, every web site you’ve ever visited, going to be on record in a national databank somewhere? Or maybe it already is.

Should we just go ahead and install a telescreen in every room, or is it still too early for that?

In some ways, this is a shrewd business move for Google. Whatever the concrete results, this decision at least makes them look like they're putting their customers’ privacy and dignity at a higher priority than pleasing the Caliph. And of course there are risks…you’ve probably noticed that the only government officials who ever dare to even remotely say the most mildly, slightly negative thing about Johnny Walker George W. Bush are: ex-employees of the Bush Administration. Hmmm…how could this be?

For those of you deciding which search engine or ISP to use: Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have all bent over for Adolph complied with Boy George.

OK, let’s hear from you. How do you feel about the Heir to the Bush Crime Family looking over your shoulder to watch every move you make? C’mon, vote. You have several choices here: everything from “tell that Jim Beam-guzzling little pukebag to get the fuck out of my face and get a life” to “I love George W. Bush and I want him to salivate over every move I make,” and several choices in between. The American People are speaking. Vote Now!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Patriot Act (It Just Won't Go Away)

The Patriot Act may soon (hopefully not) be coming up for a vote. Certain provisions of the Patriot Act will automatically expire if there isn’t a vote.

At the end of Congress’ 2005 session, the Patriot Act was given a one-month extension. The Bush Administration is determined to make this Orwellian nightmare permanent. Is this what we want?

The September 11th attacks didn’t happen because the American people have too much freedom. They happened because the dots weren’t connected — dots that a 5-year-old would’ve been able to connect.

Bush received several intelligence briefings in August 2001 about pending al Qaeda attacks; and several more intelligence reports about hijacked airliners being the likely weapon of choice. The FBI and CIA each had information which, if shared, could have been much more useful to both agencies. This information was not shared.

Obviously our government agencies need to make better use of the intelligence information they receive; and these agencies need to communicate with each other. Right hand, meet the left hand.

But it looks more impressive to just create a big swaggering government agency that can peek at our library records and perform warrantless searches on our homes and businesses. As long as it looks like we’re protecting American citizens, what else matters?

If you don’t think having a permanent KGB-type agency watching over us is the right answer, please click here. This will send a message to your two senators.

Ask them to oppose a vote on the Patriot Act, and allow certain portions of it to sunset automatically. If a vote does come up, ask them to vote No on any renewal or expansion of the Patriot Act.

Even if you’ve already sent this same message before, please send it again. We won’t protect ourselves from terrorists by turning the clock back fifty years to the McCarthy era. Please send this message.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why Does Iran Hate Us?

If you’ve seen all the mainstream “media” headlines, you know that Iran is our latest threat. It doesn’t matter how quagmired we are in Iraq, or how understaffed and ill-equipped our military is. We’re getting ready to invade, and we’ll go to war with the army we have and not the army we wish we had.

Whatever the solution is, hopefully it’ll be provided by the United States, Europe and the United Nations working together, and not another ::smirk:: “coalition of the willing.”

Our “media” doesn’t pay much attention to cause and effect, history repeating itself, etc. In 1979, Iran was all over the news when the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran and the new government seized American hostages. And again, Iran is in the headlines — Axis of Evil, they might develop nukes, etc.

In both of these cases, our press coverage had made it sound like millions of Iranians just got up one morning and decided, for no reason at all — “hey, you wanna pick a fight with the world’s greatest superpower? Economic sanctions, invading armies, our wives and children getting killed and maimed — come on, whaddya say?!”

Iran has a deep-seated mistrust of America, and the West in general. This goes back more than 50 years. In the early 1950s the CIA started its long-running habit of staging coups in Third World countries, to pave the way for Western businesses. The CIA’s first coup was in Iran in 1953.

The 1953 coup in Iran was planned by both the British and American governments. In 1951 the Iranian government nationalized Iran’s oil industry. This mostly affected England, who controlled the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. England responded with threats and sanctions.

Anti-Communist paranoia was reaching a fever pitch in America, and our government was afraid any unrest in Iran would play into Russia’s hands. Iran had a small Communist party which was becoming more active.

The coup — an Iranian general was working with the British and American governments — would re-install the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi. He had inherited the crown from his father in 1941, but he was a weak ineffective leader. He was overthrown in 1951; and re-installed three years later by the Powers That Be.

During the 1960s he pushed for land reform and increased education. But he continued becoming more brutal and more power-crazed and megalomaniac. Iranians lived in terror of SAVAAK, the Iranian secret police. SAVAAK made the CIA and KBG look like a few boy scouts playing with walkie-talkies. It was widely believed that one out of every five Iranians was a SAVAAK informer. This meant that anyplace where people gather — park benches, street corners, buses or taxis — you were taking your life in your hands if you said anything slightly negative about the government.

By the mid-1970s, Iran and Chile were rated by Amnesty International as the world’s worst human rights violators. Hmmm, and both of those countries had their leaders installed by the CIA (Chile in 1973).

When the Shah finally fled Iran in 1979, Iranians had spent 26 years under the iron fist of a CIA-installed dictator. Most Iranians wanted him out; not just Moslem leaders. Liberal college students and devout Moslems were the two biggest groups pushing for the Shah’s overthrow.
As terrible as the Iranian hostage situation was, it was the result of 26 years of unexpressed, repressed rage. The hostage crisis didn’t just spring out of a vacuum.

The Western media poured fuel on the fire by being shocked that Iran was now a dictatorship. It was, of course, but things were at least as bad if not worse under the Shah. To paraphrase one of our former presidents — Khomeini was a son of a bitch but he was their son of a bitch.

As the saying goes, “those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” What are we laying the groundwork for when we attack other countries “pre-emptively”? When we bomb thousands of civilians in our search for that elusive terrorist leader, what are we sowing? How many other countries will be joining the “Axis of Evil”?

With most Americans’ ignorance about the rest of the world, we’ll probably be just as dumbfounded when the next tragedy occurs.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Supreme Court Rules in favor of Sanity

Yeah!!! Let’s hear it for the Supreme Court. By a vote of 6 to 3, they’ve upheld the values of limited government, states’ rights and personal responsibility. Conservatives must be dancing in the street.

Oh, wait…it was the Bush Administration that brought this case to the Supreme Court, trying to get a state referendum overturned by that big, intrusive federal government. Ooookay.

Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law (aka the Death With Dignity Act) was passed overwhelmingly by Oregon voters. John Ashcroft, when he was Attorney General, tried several times to have this law overturned in a federal court. He lost each time.

And now (hopefully) the issue has finally been settled by the Supreme Court. The three dissenters were Scalia, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts. Scalia is constantly spewing out rhetoric about individualism and limited government. One of his other personalities must have been on board today. Clarence Thomas’ vote is no surprise; and Roberts showed us why Bush selected him for the Court.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority: “Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance…authority claimed by the attorney general is both beyond his expertise and incongruous with the statutory purposes and design.”

Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act allows terminally ill patients to be “put to sleep” by drugs administered by their physician. The patient has to be of sound mind when making this decision, and the decision has to be approved by at least two doctors.

And now everyone should hope and pray for the continued health and non-retirement of each remaining Supreme Court justice. Roberts’ vote is a clear example of where Bush and the American Taliban are trying to take America. We won’t go.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bible-Thumpers International

It’s bad enough that Americans have to put up with James Dobson and his fellow witch-hunters. Now it seems we’re exporting these assholes to Europe and the Third World.

Hey, anything to help the trade deficit, right? Some countries are exporting manufactured goods and scientific expertise; we’re supplying the snakehandlers and bookburners.

In poverty-stricken Third World countries where the population is doubling every generation and the average age is fifteen, what’s the most burning issue? Why, the evils of birth control, abortion and sex education, of course.

Rightwing religious groups, emboldened by their ties with the Bush Administration, are bringing their Crusade to every corner of the world.

Population Research Institute, an anti-abortion group, is one of our exports. A group spokesman said “with the Bush administration, pro-lifers feel there’s a real opportunity to stop the U.S. government from promoting abortion and sex education and population control in the Third World. And I will personally take in, feed and nurture every additional child whom we cause to be born through our meddling. Human beings are sacred AFTER they’ve been born, as well as before; and I will walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

OK, the bold text wasn’t actually part of his quote.

In Poland, several groups — including Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council — are preparing for a "World Congress of Families." They view Poland as a land of opportunity for Far Right Christian causes (Poland’s current president is anti-abortion).

In Peru, the Population Research Institute is fighting local attempts to legalize the morning-after pill. PRI is also working in Colombia, fighting to keep abortion illegal. Several of these illustrious groups are in the Philippines, fighting against family-planning legislation.

Some of these organizations are working in Africa, “helping” to prevent AIDS. Their solution (as if you couldn't guess): Abstinence.

A director of International Planned Parenthood said conservatives are really zeroing in on Latin America. “They are very organized, with lots of resources and powerful allies in the White House and the Vatican. Whenever there’s a major initiative to liberalize laws, they marshal their forces against it. In the past, it was one or two isolated efforts. Now it’s a massive effort.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, summed it up with “The far right says, 'Jump,' and the administration says, ‘How high?’ ”

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Abu Ghraib Ringleader Discovers the Constitution

Major General Geoffrey D. Miller was one of the ringleaders of the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib. He was previously in charge of POWs at Guantanamo Bay, and was sent to Abu Ghraib to help set up operations.

Miller’s name came up during the court-martial of two American soldiers accused of using dogs on Iraqi prisoners.

OK, here’s our Moment of Irony: Someone who thinks the Geneva Convention is “quaint” and that accused prisoners have no rights, is now wrapping himself in the Constitution. He’s discovered the Fifth Amendment.

The two dog-handling soldiers claim they were following orders, and Miller’s testimony was requested.

Miller discovered the Fifth Amendment after Colonel Thomas Pappas — commanding officer at Abu Ghraib — accepted immunity from prosecution and was ordered to testify at the upcoming court-martial. Pappas could shed some light on Abu Ghraib torture methods, who ordered their use and their possible connection to officials in Washington.

The president of the Center for Constitutional Rights said “This could be a big break if Pappas testifies as to why those dogs were used and who ordered the dogs to be used. It’s a steppingstone going up the chain of command, and that’s positive. It might demonstrate that it wasn’t just a few rotten apples.”

Major General Miller invoked his rights through Article 31, the Army’s version of the Fifth Amendment. A Washington expert in military law said “It’s very unusual for senior officers to invoke their Article 31 rights. The culture in the military tends to encourage cooperation rather than the opposite.”

Miller was sent to Abu Ghraib in August 2003 for the purpose of “streamlining” intelligence-gathering operations. His "expertise" at Guantanamo Bay was supposed to serve as the model. Because of the correlation between Miller’s arrival in Iraq and the prison abuses that followed, Miller has been in the spotlight for a long time.

I think people accused of a crime should all have the same standard of legal protection, whatever that standard is. Either:

1. All captives and prisoners are protected against torture and are considered innocent until proven guilty; or

2. Major General Miller, who could blow the cover off this whole disgraceful un-American scandal, needs to coerced — by whatever means necessary — into telling everything he knows. Bring in the electrodes, the dogs. Start the waterboarding.

So which is it?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bush Having Vietnam Flashbacks

During the Vietnam war, the constant cliché was “aiding and abetting the enemy,” i.e. that’s what critics of the war were doing. Yesterday Bush flashed back to that era, accusing critics of the Iraqi invasion of giving “comfort to our adversaries.”

Uh oh, time to break out the old “America: Love It Or Leave It” bumper stickers. (And the blacklight, and the "Stoned Again" poster...)

There’s at least one difference between Vietnam and Iraq. As a popular standup comedian once said, “unlike Iraq, Bush had an exit strategy for Vietnam.”

Bush claims he welcomes “honest criticism,” but “irresponsible discussion harms the morale of troops overseas, emboldens the insurgents they are fighting and sets a bad example for Iraqis trying to establish a democratic government.”

That’s right, Iraqis should see that democracy is a neat, clean, orderly, sterile process — sort of like Ward Cleaver giving a gentle but firm lecture to Wally and the Beaver.

Bush complained about “partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil or because of Israel or because we misled the American people.” (Gasp) Are people really saying such blasphemous things?

Harry Reid said “Patriotic Americans will continue to ask the tough questions because our brave men and women in Iraq, their families and the American people deserve to know that their leaders are being held accountable.”

Nancy Pelosi said “From its inception and continuing to this moment, the absence of open and honest debate has been one of the hallmarks of this war.”

Karen Finney of the Democratic National Committee said: “The Bush administration’s attack, distract and distort tactics reflect a Nixonian paranoia that is un-American. It’s shameful that once again the Bush administration resorted to attacking the patriotism of fellow Americans rather than answering legitimate questions surrounding the president’s failures in Iraq.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Addicted to Oil

America’s oil addiction is doing more than wrecking the environment and sending gasoline prices through the roof. Our government’s entire policy — foreign and domestic — has been contaminated by this addiction.

Our national security has been jeopardized, most of the world hates us, and our economy and environment are threatened by energy shortages. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has coined the term Petrolism.

Friedman says “The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or Islamism. It’s petrolism.”

Petrolism is “the politics of using oil income to buy off one’s citizens with subsidies and government jobs, using oil and gas exports to intimidate or buy off one’s enemies, and using oil profits to build up one’s internal security forces and army to keep oneself ensconced in power, without any transparency or checks and balances.”

In “petrolist” countries — Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, you know who they are — the government doesn’t need to use the energy and innovation of its people. All it has to do is tap an oil well. The government has no incentive to build a competitive society or educational system. They control the oil tap; that’s all they need. Most likely that’s all they have.

Imagine Paris Hilton if she had her inheritance yanked away and she had to go out on job interviews. That’s the position most petrolist governments would be in if the world suddenly didn’t need their oil.

Friedman ridicules the fact that “a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence.” And the Islamic petrolist countries — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan — are strengthened and reinforced by our desperate, cowering need for their oil.

Dick Cheney scoffed at conservation and renewable energy sources as “a personal virtue” but not an energy policy. But according to Friedman, “being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation…is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do…It’s a national security imperative.”

Regarding the Iraqi war, Friedman says “a democratization policy in the Middle East without a different energy policy at home is a waste of time, money and, most important, the lives of our young people.”

Friedman blasts our policy of “welfare-for-oil-companies” as “cowardly and un-American.” He sums it up with “real patriots, real advocates of spreading democracy around the world, live green. Green is the new red, white and blue.”

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sweden: Just a Bunch of Welfare Layabouts

Actually, no, that’s not true. But this is one stereotype that just won’t die. One of the favorite conservative warnings is “we’ll turn into one of those cradle-to-grave welfare states, just like Sweden.”

It’s popular to portray Swedes as too lazy, too complacent; they don’t have any incentive to work or be inventive since everything is handed to them. Etc.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Sweden has one of the most competitive economies in the world. Swedes have the world’s highest per capita ownership rate of second homes and pleasure boats.

They have one of the world’s best education systems, and they have cradle-to-grave health care.

So there. You can have a booming economy and quality healthcare and education for everyone. Take that! A British newspaper recently called Sweden the most successful society the world has ever known.

And for people who still insist on condemning the rest of Scandinavia as a bunch of zombie conformists — Sorry! Finland’s education system is considered the world’s finest. Norway, which shares Sweden’s cradle-to-grave-everything, is considered Europe’s most business-friendly country. Iceland has one of Europe’s highest growth rates.

A British economist said Sweden and the other Nordic countries are among “the most efficient, affluent and equitable countries in the world.”

These countries have their problems, of course. They’re not utopias. But it’s gonna have a hollow ring to it the next time a rightwing politician warns that a certain social program will make us “just like Sweden.” Cool. There are worse things that could happen.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Vote to Impeach

From January 6th through 9th, VoteToImpeach.org is launching the People’s Lobby for Impeachment. The time has come to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Enough is enough.

Fake “intelligence” to justify an illegal war, insisting on the “right” to torture POWs, spying on American citizens — what’s next? He thinks he’s a King; a Fuhrer. As Molly Ivins put it: “He wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, because he’s the president.”

Not in this country. We’ve had it.

Please sign this petition to vote for impeachment.

Also, please send an e-mail to your Congressional Representative, urging him/her to support impeachment. The text is already filled in (you’re free to change the wording if you want); just fill in a few fields and click on Send.

Please act now. Your country needs you.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson Again?!?!?

Every time you think Pat Robertson couldn’t possibly jam his foot any further into his mouth, he jams it in just a little further. By now his foot’s so far in, his toes are poking out of his asshole.

As you’ve probably heard, Ariel Sharon is in the hospital after having a severe stroke. When a world leader is in the hospital, heavily sedated and fighting for his life, the one thing we really need is a deranged Biblehumper spewing hatred.

Enter Pat Robertson: Sharon’s stroke is divine punishment for “dividing God’s land.” On Robertson‘s 700 Club, he said “God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible and he says ‘This is my land,’ and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, ‘No, this is mine.’ ”

He said the Bible “makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who ‘divide my land.’ ” Sharon “was dividing God’s land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU (European Union), the United Nations, or the United States of America.”

Robertson also referred to the 1995 slaying of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who tried to achieve peace by giving land to the Palestinians. He also, of course, was murdered by God’s divine wrath.

The Anti-Defamation League condemned Robertson’s statement. “It is outrageous and shocking, but not surprising, that Pat Robertson once again has suggested that God will punish Israel’s leaders for any decision to give up land to the Palestinians. His remarks are un-Christian and a perversion of religion. Unlike Robertson, we don’t see God as cruel and vengeful.”

Americans United for Separation of Church and State said a religious leader “should not be making callous political points while a man is struggling for his life. Pat Robertson has a political agenda for the entire world, and he seems to think God is ready to take out any world leader who stands in the way of that agenda.”

A Pat Robertson spokeswoman answered his critics with “What they’re basically saying is, ‘How dare Pat Robertson quote the Bible?’ This is what the word of God says. This is nothing new to the Christian community.”

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Miners vs. Profits

The West Virginia mining tragedy should not be turned into a political football. BUT, coal mines in general, (and this one in particular) have a pisspoor Godawful safety record.

This particular mine was cited 273 (two hundred and seventy-three!) times for safety violations in the past two years. Some of the infractions include: roofs that tend to collapse with no warning; inadequate tunnel supports; and dangerous buildups of flammable coal dust.

In the past eight months, this mine was cited for sixteen violations that were listed as “unwarrantable failures.” This means a safety violation that the owner has already been warned about, and/or the owner showed “indifference or extreme lack of care.”

This is just another example of the complete unaccountability that’s been rampant for the past five years. Safety violations, environmental destruction, price gouging, you name it — anything goes. Government agencies that are supposed to protect us (FEMA anyone?) have been hollowed out — gutted — so that we have more money to spend on foreign invasions and tax cuts.

Several years ago in Kentucky, a coal mining company was prosecuted after too many safety violations and fatal accidents. The mine was owned by a large corporation, and their “punishment” was that they couldn’t purchase any more coal mines for six months. OOOHHHH!! That’s tellin’ ‘em!

We’ve turned into a CEOs’ paradise. This time five years ago, Enron was creating power blackouts and stealing billions of dollars from ratepayers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just sat there with their thumbs up their asses. And it's gone downhill from there.

Countless environmental laws have been “modified” every time a CEO or developer bribes Congress. Corporations have hidden behind bankruptcy so they can get out of paying pensions and medical benefits. Meanwhile, individuals who declare bankruptcy are thrown to the wolves.

While CEOs and senior executives are getting away with murder (literally), millions of people are thrown in jail for victimless “crimes.”

Our “leaders” have a sick, twisted set of values and priorities. I think we’ve had enough.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jack Abramoff: Start Singin’, You Little F#@$&!

2006 may be known as the Year of the Canary. Enron’s Richard Causey has already agreed to name names and show skeletons in return for a lighter sentence. And now Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy and mail fraud.

In return for his reduced sentence, he has to squeal. “Make a noise like a pig.” Heads are gonna roll.

After the Crash of 1929, they used to joke that the weather forecast called for a 30% chance of stockbrokers. Maybe we’ll get a wicked storm later this year: watch out for falling politicians and Enron executives.

Just for fun, why not vote here: Do you think Abramoff’s corruption scandal is unusual, or just the tip of the iceberg?

As many as twenty lawmakers may be outed when Abramoff starts squealing. DeLay is Abramoff’s best known accomplice.

Here is a list of some other future rolling heads. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, has a possible bribery case pending against him for his dealings with Abramoff. Senator Conrad Burns, R-Montana, had multi-million dollar corrupt dealings with Abramoff and various Indian tribes. Ditto for Rep. John Doolittle, R-CA.

A gang of thugs has been controlling our government. It’s been fun, but the free ride is almost over. It’s time for their house of cards to start collapsing.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005: What A Year

Happy New Year. And now, one more (yet another one) of those end-of-the-year articles.

Terry Schiavo. Justice Sunday. Nuclear Option. Social Security Privatization. Downing Street Memos. Cindy Sheehan. John Murtha. John Roberts. Harriet Miers. Samuel Alito. Scooter Libby. Jack Abramoff. Mean Jean Schmidt. Katrina/FEMA/Browniegate. Tookie Williams. Pope Benedict XVI. War on Christmas. Rendition.

Whew! What a year. This time last year, those household names and phrases would’ve been meaningless. And don’t forget some of 2005’s most (in)famous quotes. Katrinagate was a gold mine:

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” “Brownie you’re doing a heckuva job.” “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.”

Lesser known but maybe the most infamous: Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., telling lobbyists “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

Besides FEMAgate, 2005 was full of those open-mouth-insert-foot moments:

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”

“This is not somebody in a persistent vegetative state.”

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God. You just rejected him from your city.”

“I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

This time last year, George W. Bush was basking in his re-election “mandate” and bragging about all his political capital. He was all set to march right in and privatize Social Security, turn the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge into a giant oil field, and make the Patriot Act bigger and better (and written in stone).


Now, this time next year what will we be looking back at? Will Bush’s poll ratings continue to sink? Will Republican politicians continue avoiding him for the sake of their own careers? Will the newly-Democratic House of Representatives begin impeachment proceedings?

Or will Karl Rove bounce back from his legal troubles and come up with a whole slew of new dirty tricks? Will Rove and his Swiftboat Chickenhawks succeed in sliming all critics of the administration and reviving Bush’s popularity? Will the Hitler Youth Patriot Act expire in February ‘06, or will it be made permanent and bigger and better than ever?

Maybe Rove will invent another phony gay-marriage type issue that will get millions more Americans to vote Republican.

Or maybe that Avian Flu pandemic will actually happen and all the above questions will be moot.

If we’re living in “interesting times,” then 2006 oughtta be fascinating.

cross-posted at Bring It On!