Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, June 30, 2006

Bush’s “Signing Statements”

“Signing Statement” — Hahahahahaha. Talk about a euphemism. If we were talking about any other country, we’d be saying “coup attempt” or “would-be dictator,” not “signing statement.”

Finally, after five years of this shit, Congress will be “looking into” Bush’s total disregard for the law signing statements. During Bush’s reign, about 750 laws — passed by a Republican Congress — have been neutered by these signing statements.

Richard Nixon said “I am not a crook.” Thirty-three years later a Bush spokesman said Bush “isn’t committing acts of civil disobedience.” The more things change…

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter will be conducting the hearings. Specter said Bush’s slippery tactics are “a challenge to the plain language of the Constitution….I’m interested to hear from the administration just what research they’ve done to lead them to the conclusion that they can cherry-pick.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein says these “signing statements” are “a means to undermine and weaken the law.” She said that if Bush wants to block all or part of a bill, he should veto it.

The supposed “protections” written into the Patriot Act, the torture ban that John McCain pushed for, wiretapping restrictions, whistleblower protections — these are just a few of the laws which have been diluted or neutered by one of Bush’s “signing statements.”

Specter isn’t sure what Congress can do against these “signing statements.“ He said “We may figure out a way to tie it to the confirmation process or budgetary matters."

Here and here are two websites which show a complete record of all 750 of Bush’s signing statements. These sites are worth bookmarking for future reference. Know Your Enemy. Learn from history so you’re not doomed to repeat it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boy George Overruled

George W. Bush’s hand-picked Supreme Court — who picked him for president, how cozy — has ruled against the Fratboy King.

The Bush Court ruled against the military tribunals of SUSPECTED terrorists. Sorry wingnuts, the all-caps bold text is a big word with three syllables. You’ll have to look it up.

The Court ruled that our Caliph still has to comply with American laws and the Geneva Convention. That noise you hear is the sobbing and wailing of thousands of rightwing bloggers. WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! We want our police state!

Now the question is: what to do about the 450 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay? Two years ago the Court ruled that Der Fuhrer couldn’t just detain suspects indefinitely without a trial or access to a lawyer. Today’s ruling dealt with Bush’s burning desire to try the suspects by military tribunal.

The Court ruling was 5 to 3. Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented (of course). Chief Justice John Roberts had to abstain from the case.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion included “Trial by military commission raises separation-of-powers concerns of the highest order."

The legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights said “It’s certainly a nail in the coffin for the idea that the president can set up these trials.”

Justice Stephen Breyer said that “Congress has not issued the executive a blank check.”

Ain’t that the truth. Today the system worked. Is this a great country or what?!?!?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

When Journalists Commit “Treason”

There have been recent headlines about the Bush Administration threatening journalists and whistleblowers. Whenever yet another embarrassing spy scheme is uncovered, this administration falls back on the old “the best defense is a good offense” routine.

Instead of being embarrassed or apologetic, these megalomaniacs react with fury and vengeance. Recently Bush saidI come from a long line of blueblooded aristocrats and I don’t have to explain myself. The riffraff doesn't need to know what I’m doingThe disclosure of this program is disgraceful. For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.”

And if you’ve surfed the Internet lately you’ve seen that a lot of rightwing bloggers are faithfully carrying out their orders by echoing this line of “reasoning."

But behind the headlines, the Bush Administration has been even more desperate and ruthless than you’d ever suspect. They are determined to squelch all information about their covert schemes; to delete any notion of openness or accountability. Here is an NPR broadcast from last March on this subject.

Dozens of employees from the CIA and National Security Agency have been investigated — including having to take polygraph tests — for possible leaks about secret CIA prisons and the NSA’s Big Brother Is Watching domestic surveillance program.

A lot of other CIA, FBI and Justice Department employees have been warned not to discuss even unclassified issues relating to the NSA spying program. Some rightwing Republican lawmakers are pushing for tougher penalties against “leakers.”

This is the most blatant anti-media campaign since the Watergate era. The New York Times Executive Editor said “There’s a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public’s business risk being branded traitors. I don’t know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad.”

Most Americans who favor an open and accountable government are appalled by the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo prison scandals, secret wiretapping programs and secret CIA prisons where SUSPECTED terrorists are tortured. (Note the word “SUSPECTED” in the previous sentence.)

Wingnut Republicans, on the other hand, are also appalled and infuriated, but not by the scandals themselves. No, their fury is directed at the journalists and whistleblowers who are daring to bring this secrecy and corruption out into the open.

Former CIA Director Porter Goss said “It is my aim, and it is my hope, that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information.”

These Far Right “My Country Right Or Wrong” types might be living in the wrong country. If they don’t like living in a democracy with an open and accountable government, they should buy a one-way ticket to the police state of their choice. Buh bye.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) is pushing to criminalize leaking a wider range of information than is now covered by law. A similar law was vetoed by former President Clinton and was even opposed in 2002 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Things have gotten pretty dire when John Ashcroft starts looking like the good old days.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Creatures from the Far Right

OOOOHHH!!! This is one scary movie! Check it out.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Congress and Wedge Issues

More and more, it seems like Congress’ main goal is not to pass legislation, but simply to bring the most divisive wedge issues into the limelight. Usually they don’t even intend for their proposed laws to be passed. The main purpose is to smear the opposition for voting against it.

Both sides have used this tactic. In 1992 the Democratic Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act for the second year in a row. Bush Sr. had already vetoed it once, and the Democrats wanted to make him veto it again during an election year.

But Republicans have made far better use of this tactic. The Republican base just reacts more quickly and more predictably to emotional hot-button issues. Right now gay marriage and flag burning are at the top of the Republican agenda. Yup, I certainly can’t think of anything more urgent than these two Earth-shaking issues.

We’ve lost over 2,500 American soldiers in Iraq (oh that’s right, it’s “just a number”), we have a crippling deficit that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be paying off, and global warming predictions are getting more dire every day. But let’s put those issues aside and talk about gay marriage and flag burning.

Whatever you think of flag burning and gay marriage, you are not affected in any way by these issues. If some loser decides to set fire to the American flag, or if two guys — or two women — decide to get married, it has no effect on you whatsoever.

But these issues sure do push the emotional buttons. They come in handy if you’re affiliated with the most inept administration in our history, and/or if your own agenda goes against the interests of most Americans.

“I plan on invading every country that has something we want. I’m gonna dismantle every environmental law that’s been written in the past 50 years. And I don’t give a shit about YOU unless you have a 5-figure campaign contribution for me. Otherwise, fuck off. But hey, I hate queers and flag-burners as much as you do. Vote for me!”

And it works. It’s just unreal how easy it is to fire up millions of gullible voters just by pushing the Hate buttons.

A Democratic staffer said “There’s no question that they are trotting out their hardy perennials. They’re done purely for political gamesmanship.”

This same person doesn’t think these tactics will work as well this year as they did in 2004. “The gay marriage political ploy was a masterstroke in 2004, but it is not working this year. Voters want serious debates on serious issues, not flag burning and this other nonsense.”

Let’s hope he’s right.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Karl Rove is Baaack

Karl Rove is back with a vengeance — un-indicted — and he’s nastier and sleazier than ever. He’s ready to do some serious Swiftboating.

For six years, Rove has been pulling strings, defining the issues and framing the debates. Democrats have been trying vainly to counter Rove’s attacks. Mostly they just end up walking right into whatever trap Rove has set for them.

This column by Eleanor Clift is an excellent description of Rove’s shrewd/slippery tactics. Unless something changes drastically, Rove will be pulling all the strings again this year and the Democrats will again be dancing around like a bunch of spastic marionettes.

Clift says “Rove is following a time-honored tactic: hang a lantern on your problem. Iraq is George Bush’s biggest problem, ergo Rove’s strategy: showcase the war, frame the choice between victory and defeatism, put the Democrats on the defensive.”

She also says “It’s appalling that an administration led by chickenhawks dares to build an election strategy based on lecturing combat veterans, but it is devilishly clever, and it might work.”

Might work?? Ask John Kerry, John McCain and Max Cleland.

(Max Cleland was a senator from Georgia; a Vietnam veteran who lost three limbs in combat. In 2002 his chickenhawk opponent, Saxby Chambliss, ran a series of attack ads comparing Cleland to Osama bin Laden. The ads worked; Cleland was voted out. Dumbfuck voters!)

John McCain got slimed by Bush/Rove in 2000. Kerry got slandered and destroyed in 2004 by “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.” If that gang of fucksticks has a single veteran in it, I’m Sylvester Stallone.

Clift also uses the term “reverse accountability” — blame Iraqmire on the Democrats even though the Republicans have been in total control during the whole fiasco.

As unconventional and counter-intuitive as Rove’s approach is, it sure has worked so far. Highlight your own weakest point (Iraqmire) and turn it into an advantage. Attack your enemy’s strongest points — the war records of John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry and John Murtha. And use Reverse Accountability to blame the Democrats — who’ve been completely out of power — for the Iraqi invasion, the killing of over 2,500 American soldiers and the continuing quagmire.

“Cut and Run!” will be this year’s “Gay Marriage!” Will the voters be just as gullible this November as they were in 2000, ‘02 and ‘04?

Good old Karl Rove. He may be the most slippery shameless shit-eating pusbucket that ever lived — but he’s brilliant.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class

America’s middle class neighborhoods are shrinking. Rich and poor neighborhoods are expanding.

In 1970, middle-income neighborhoods comprised 58% of America’s 100 largest cities. By 2000 that figure had shrunk to 41%.

Is this what we want?

We’re getting closer and closer to a two-tier society (the “Two Americas” that Jon Edwards kept warning us about). I don’t think most Americans want this, other than the nutcases on the Far Right.

The Right Wing has been drooling, wetdreaming about a two-tier society, and their twisted vision is getting closer. The Right has always envied the military juntas we used to prop up all over Latin America. Two percent of the population lived in splendor that would make Marie Antoinette look like a peasant, and the other 98% were struggling to survive.

America’s robber barons have dreamed of bringing these third world conditions to this country. We don’t have debtors’ prisons yet, but last year’s bankruptcy “reform” law comes close. The minimum wage hasn’t gone up in over nine years.

The Paris Hilton Protection Act (repealing the estate tax) hasn’t happened yet, but it will probably be passed any day now. The lost revenue will drain trillions from our treasury. It will also create a permanent aristocracy in America — something that’s always separated the United States from most other countries. Most Americans believe in a meritocracy — payment on performance — not a class of idle rich whose only accomplishment was choosing the “right” parents.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Identity Theft: A Solution?

As you know, 26 million soldiers and veterans had their Social Security numbers and credit card numbers stolen last month. Before that, tens of millions of Americans had already had their personal information stolen. The good news is: Congress is planning to fix this problem.

The bad news is: Congress is planning to fix this problem.

By now we’re all used to having Orwellian names from our government. From the same bunch of winners who brought us the Patriot Act, the Clear Skies Initiative and the Healthy Forests Initiative, get ready for: the Financial Data Protection Act.

As you’ve probably guessed, the Financial Data Protection Act has nothing to do with protecting your Social Security number or any other personal information. The only things being “protected” here are the assholes who keep losing everyone’s personal information.

The Financial Data Protection Act has already been approved by the House Financial Services Committee. It will probably be voted on by the full House later this month.

The main purpose of this law is to pre-empt state laws which have been offering some protections against Identity Theft. In eighteen states, consumers now have the right to put a freeze on their credit files. This makes it harder, if not impossible, for identity thieves to access their financial information and steal their credit card numbers.

Some of these states also require banks to inform their customers when personal data has been lost or stolen.

These state laws are very annoying to the Banking Sultans who own Congress and the White House. The Sultans have instructed their prostitutes (Congress) to fix this problem. Their orders: pass a federal law pre-empting all these pesky state laws. But this law has to have a nice feelgood name, so it sounds like they’re actually concerned about millions of peons who’ve had their lives ruined by Identity Theft.

Presto! The Financial Data Protection Act was born. If this law had existed two years ago, we’d all be blissfully unaware of the millions of Social Security numbers and credit card numbers that have been stolen. The number of Identity Theft victims would probably be twice as high, since we wouldn't have to be informed if our data was stolen and we wouldn't be able to freeze our accounts.

This is what the banking industry wants, and their Harem Congress is about to deliver it to them.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Karl Rove vs. John Murtha

It’s the tough pull-no-punches Marine vs. the Pillsbury Doughboy. The Vietnam Veteran vs. the Chickenhawk.

Pasty-faced triple-chinned Karl Rove — who wouldn’t know a uniform if it bit him on the ass — has made a career out of slandering war veterans. His latest would-be victim is John Murtha.

In New Hampshire, Rove said “when it gets tough, they fall back of that party’s old platform of cutting and running. They may be with you for the first few bullets but they won’t be there for the last tough battles.”

Bullets?? Battles?? Where does this asshole get off? No doubt this brave keyboard warrior has seen lots of “bullets” and “battles.” It gets pretty rough out there in the Chairborne Division.

When Tim Russert asked Murtha if he’d like to respond to Rove’s statement, Murtha’s response was:

“He’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office with a big, fat backside saying, uh, ‘Stay the course.’ That’s not a plan. I mean, this guy... I don’t know what his military experience is, but that’s a political statement.”

In the same interview, Murtha also had some kind words for the Chickenhawk mentality in general:

“On the floor the other day — you may have heard this — one fella says, uh, ‘We’re fighting this war.’ We’re not fighting this war. One percent of the American people, these young men and women, are fighting this war with heavy packs, with seventy pounds of equipment, with helmets on in...in 130 degrees. That’s who’s fighting this war.”

Yeah!!! You go Guy!!! What the fuck is it with all these armchair warriors who keep talking about “We”?!? “We” are at war. “We” need to get in there and fight. “We” are gonna win!

If you’re saying “We” from the safety of your keyboard (or the office or the bar or the country club), it’s not “We.” Somebody else is doing your dirty work for you.

Happy Holidays

Juneteenth of course. Whaddya mean, “what holiday“??

Juneteenth is the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday originated in Galveston, TX in 1865. When the Civil War ended, the news spread slowly among plantation owners.

On June 19, 1865, a Union general belatedly announced the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, which led to the freeing of 250,000 slaves in Texas.

This day (or week, or month) celebrates education and achievement. It’s often celebrated in the form of parades, barbecues, ball games and Blues festivals.

Juneteenth is celebrated more widely in Texas than anywhere else. It was steadily gaining in popularity from 1865 up through the mid-1900s. During the 1960s its popularity declined as civil rights progress was being made. Then in the late 1970s it gained new significance as cultural awareness was increasing.

It’s a time for reflection and self-assessment and for acknowledging — and learning from — a dark chapter in our history.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Liberals Were Wrong; Iraqi Invasion Was Right

Those America-Hating Democrats and Liberals have finally admitted it. George W. Bush is King, and anyone who doesn’t worship him is with the terrorists.

Congressional Republicans made them say it. They stole the Democrats’ lunch money, kicked their schoolbooks across the playground, beat them up and twisted their arms behind their backs.

Then they said “Repeat after us, Losers: Iraq 9/11 Saddam Al Qaeda Iraq Osama Liberals Terrorists.”

Are the Democrats ever, ever, ever going to stand up to the school bully? No wonder they can’t get elected. Who wants to hang out with some dufus who lets everyone knock his glasses off, kick his books across the hall and spit on him?

The Neo-Conservative movement has been brilliant at framing the issues, defining all the terms. They define everything so shrewdly that if you disagree with them, you’re soft on terror, soft on crime, you hate America and you want Osama bin Laden to take over the White House.

Maybe, just maybe, the Democrats might find somebody — anybody — who is equally skilled at framing and defining the issues. In this era of soundbites and slogans, it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. Like it or not, millions of voters are swayed by the demagogue with the slickest soundbite; the speaker who yells the loudest.

For five years the Democrats have either tried to be Bush Lite, or they’ve meekly responded to vicious personal attacks with “No I don’t hate America.” “No I don’t want the terrorists to win.” “No I didn’t rape my granddaughter.” “No I don’t ejaculate on the Bible while performing Satanic rituals.” Etc.

Today’s trumped up vote in the House was yet another example. Our Representatives could either say:

“Everything is just hunky dory in Iraq and I want us to stay and stay and stay;” or

“I wet the bed and I want the terrorists to win.”

Yet again, the belligerent steamrolling Republicans framed the debate, defined all the terms, set the trap — and the Democrats walked right into it. Will this ever change?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

California's Corrupt Prison System

“You can tell everything about a society from the state of its prisons.” We’re all familiar with that quote by Tolstoy. America locks up a greater percentage of its population than any other country in the world.

And when it comes to having a corrupt festering prison system, California — supposedly a progressive state — stands head and shoulders above the rest of the country. Murders of prisoners, prison guard brutality cases going unpunished — no other state even comes close.

The prison guards’ union — officially it’s the California Correctional Peace Officers Association — has 31,000 members. They have one of the state’s largest political action committees. They probably have more wealth and more clout than any other organization in California.

They’re completely immune to any outside interference or investigation. For cases of brutality or corruption, they investigate themselves and conclude that everything is just fine.

They have California’s government locked in a scrotal grip. Everyone's scared shitless of them. They’re completely free and unaccountable. Most California politicians would rather give the finger to a Mafia boss than have a conflict with the prison guards’ union.

California’s prison guards are already the highest paid in the country, and they’ve been averaging a 10% pay raise in the past few years. Some of them have 6-figure salaries. Pretty nice package, considering they basically make their own rules and exonerate themselves whenever an “investigation” needs to be simulated.

When Schwarzenegger was running for governor in 2003, he promised to take on the corrupt prison system. Hasn’t happened. Not that it’s his fault — these problems were already festering for a long time.

Schwarzenegger is facing a tough re-election campaign this November, and — like most California politicians — he’s turning to the prison guards’ union for support. The union has a $10 million war chest they were planning to use against him, but apparently he’s neutralized their anger. That’ll be his only chance. It’s political suicide for any California politician to get on the wrong side of the prison guards’ union.

In the 1980s there was a California prisoner who wrote articles for the San Francisco Chronicle. He described life behind bars. He wasn’t whining or complaining or pretending he was innocent, and his articles were an interesting glimpse into the day-to-day lives of prisoners. But at some point the Powers That Be decided that open-ness and publicity didn’t serve any purpose; secrecy was the way to go.

This wall of secrecy and unaccountability is what enables the power and corruption of the California prison guards’ union.

Because of corruption, overcrowding and lack of medical care for inmates, a U.S. district judge has threatened to put California’s entire prison system under federal control. With all due respect to states’ rights, this might be the only solution.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Congressional Pay Raise

Boy, isn’t our government great? Congress has done such an excellent job of representing all of us, with all of our different viewpoints and income levels — they need more compensation. Of course they deserve a raise. NOT!!!

And now for some irony: Congress is also “considering” raising the minimum wage for the first time in TEN FUCKIN’ YEARS. They probably won’t, but it’s such a nice gesture. The House Appropriations Committee has added an amendment to a larger bill, urging an increase in the minimum wage.

The amendment will probably be voted down when the bill comes to a full vote. But how nice of our Kings and Queens to think of all those lowly peons who cook their food, make their drinks, sweep their floors and clean their bathrooms.

But Congress’ own pay raise — that’s gone beyond the “consideration” level. It’s a done deal. Who decided that these worthless, under-worked over-paid shitsacks needed more money? THEY DID!!!

What a cushy job. Job Description: Spend most of your hours being wined and dined by lobbyists, going on expensive trips (paid for by lobbyists) and telling everybody else to fuck off. AND, you get to pick and choose your own salary. Nice work if you can get it.

And talk about equal opportunity: here we have an affirmative action program for dickwads, assholes and douchebags. And for some odd reason, that’s exactly what our government is made up of. Hmmm…how did this happen? Did we bring this on ourselves?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bush: "War in Iraq Worth the Price"

Yup, Bush really said that. The Iraqi war has been worth the billions of dollars, the tens of thousands of deaths. Easy for him to say. As long as somebody else supplies the money and the bodies, this war is well worth it.

It’s an excellent investment, as long as you’re investing somebody else’s sons and daughters.

What the hell has Bush ever sacrificed? Nobody even remotely related to Bush (or Cheney or Rove or Wolfowitz) is serving in the military. Bush and his corporate donors aren’t paying for the war. Between the endless tax cuts and the “offshoring” of more and more corporate headquarters to Bermuda or the Cayman Islands, the cost of the Iraqi war is falling on those chumps who work for a living.

Our Great Leader is willing to fight to the last drop of somebody else’s blood.

At Camp David, he said “I keep reminding the American people that the stakes are worth it. It is worth it to help Iraq succeed. It is worth it to have a democracy in the Middle East.”

It’s like when a CEO lays off thousands of employees — but keeps his own 7-figure salary and bonus package — and talks about “the difficult sacrifices we all have to make.”

Where’s the outrage?

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said that Americans “deserve a plan from the president, one that provides our troops with an exit strategy from this seemingly intractable conflict. It is no longer sufficient to say 'we will stand down as the Iraqis stand up.'”

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Environmentalists Are Homosexuals

Dimwitted rednecks and rightwing mouthbreathers have known this for years. And now the American Family Association has confirmed it.

The environmental movement is just a front for the homosexual agenda. As you know, their agenda is to weaken the moral fiber of this great nation and bring her to her knees.

The Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Their slogan is “Pride, Not Prejudice.” Now that’s just more Jesus-hating perverted decadence than any decent Christian should have to put up with.

“Pride, Not Prejudice”?!?!? Goddamnit, the Bible says to HATE. Come on, Christians, it's time to do what we have to do. We need to bring out the Hatred.

Fortunately, the American Family Association has stepped in to fill the moral vacuum. They've organized an e-mailing campaign to persuade the EPA to stop this treasonous activity.

Please click here to tell President Bush and the EPA Administrator what you think. The text of this e-mail can be modified. Now I’m not suggesting anything (Wink! Wink!), but if you wanted to change the text and send a different message…

Friday, June 09, 2006

Spanish Inquisition: Coming to a Pharmacy Near You

The Far Right’s favorite new Trojan Horse — this bogus issue of “pharmacists’ rights” — is gaining ground. It’s been under the radar lately, but it’s moving closer. And don’t think you’re immune from it just because you live in a blue state or a large city.

Washington is one of the most liberal states in the country. The governor and both senators are Democrats. Seattle is one of America’s fittest and best-educated cities. And just a few days ago, a statewide anti-gay-rights initiative didn’t even get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

It couldn’t happen here, right?


The Washington State Pharmacy Board has voted to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate their “morals.” It could be birth control, the emergency “Morning After” pill, or anything else that might offend the pharmacist’s sense of decency.

AIDS medication? “Get your queer ass away from this counter!” Medication for cervical cancer? “You brought this on yourself, you cheap slut!”

These holier-than-thou pharmacists need to find another line of work if their religious “convictions” are more important than the job they’re being paid for. A patient who needs a medical prescription filled should not be forced into a Kafka-esque maze of IF, MAYBE or “You FS#%$#!$%#!!”

Fortunately, the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act is being considered by the House and Senate. Please click here to ask your senators and your representative to support this bill.

Enough is enough.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Billy Preston

The latest musician to bite the dust is Billy Preston. If you’re not old enough to know who he was, he had several hits in the early 1970s. His best-known songs were “Outta Space” (an instrumental), “Will it go round in circles” and “Nothing from Nothing.”

The summer of ‘72 was a trippy time to be listening to the car radio. Between “Outta Space” and Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” (also an instrumental) — if you were stoned, you could be just driving along and all of a sudden your inner ear — Hell, the whole inside of your head — would be vibrating and echoing and reverberating in ways God never intended. (Uh, ahem, er, I read that somewhere.)

Even if you’ve never heard of him, he did the electric piano solo on the Beatles’ hit “Get Back.”

His music wouldn’t be described as jazz by any stretch (unless he had some album tracks I never heard), but “crossover” jazz musician Tom Scott once told Downbeat Magazine (about Billy Preston) “even if he only played one chord, it was soooo good.”

And that’s just how he sounded. No matter what category of music you were into (or not into), everything he played just sounded soooo fuckin’ good, you could TASTE it.

He was 59. He’d already been in a coma for a long time from a failed kidney transplant operation in 2002.

Dead at 59. In a coma for several years before-hand. What the fuck is going on here??? Gene Pitney dying at 65 (about two months ago); and then Desmond Dekker (around the same age).

John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell both got shot and killed by some sickfuck (same date, 24 years apart).

Why do some people die young (relatively) when their only crime was bringing music and enjoyment to millions of listeners? Strom Thurmond lives to be 100?!? Old doddering senile politicians and robber barons go on living and living. The patriarch and matriarch of the Bush Crime Family are still alive and well and in their 80s.

And yet…

If there’s really a god, we need to ask: what the fuck are you doing?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Bush’s New Coalition of the Willing

Good news for Neocons, Dominionists and other rightwing nutcases. It’s true that most of the world is made up of bedwetting Surrender Monkeys and frenchsissies who wouldn’t help us invade Iraq. BUT, we do have fourteen allies in our continuing War Against Human Rights.

Fourteen European nations have been colluding with the CIA in a network of secret flights and detention centers. This is in violation of international human rights laws.

The senator from Switzerland who’s been leading this investigation described this network as a “spider’s web.” He said “I have chosen to adopt the metaphor of a global spider’s web, a web that has been spun out incrementally over several years.”

The senator presented his investigation report to the Council of Europe — a human rights watchdog group with 46 member states. The Council has no enforcement powers; all it can do is put “pressure” on the offending countries.

According to the report, some prisoners were taken to Gitmo; others were taken to Poland, Egypt, Jordan or Romania.

Some of these fourteen countries allowed the CIA to abduct their residents. Others just allowed the CIA to use their airspace, or pretended not to notice when the CIA was conducting questionable operations right under their noses.

The fourteen countries involved in our “spider’s web” are: Britain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Romania and Poland.

According to the investigation, these countries are complicit in “unlawful inter-state transfers” of people. Romania and Poland in particular have been part of a “renditions circuit.”

Poland and Romania have denied the allegations. Bush’s English bitch, Tony Blair, said “I have to say, the Council of Europe report has absolutely nothing new in it.” Whatever that means.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Warning: Another Disease Epidemic!

Christ, enough already! Bird Flu, SARS, West Nile Virus, AIDS…Now what?!? Now, watch out for Intermittent Explosive Disorder. (Not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.)

OK, Intermittent Explosive Disorder isn’t technically an epidemic. It’s not contagious. But, sixteen million Americans are already suffering from this crippling disease. That’s about five to seven percent of the population. Please extend proper sympathy.

The next time you’re stuck behind a slow driver who gives you the finger (or worse) when you finally honk at him; or if another driver tries to run you off the road — don’t think nasty obscene thoughts. This poor individual has been afflicted with Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

Now, we could be politically incorrect and call this disease by some of its earlier names: road rage, having a quick temper, or just being a self-centered cocksucker throwing a tantrum.

If this trend keeps going, you won’t be able to call anybody names any more. No matter what you think of someone, there’ll be an official disease that the “victim” is “suffering” from. Quaint terms like Asshole, Son of a Bitch and Dickhead will soon be replaced with “victim suffering from _________________ disorder.”

Remember the final season of “Designing Women” — Julia Duffy (she was the blueblood hotel maid in “Newhart”) played her usual pouting self-centered role. Only this time, instead of just being a bitch, she had been diagnosed with OPD: Obnoxious Personality Disorder. It was funny at the time, but now this shit is too close to the truth to be funny any more. (OK, it’s still funny.)

Is this a good trend? Are we heading in the right direction? Should every loudmouth motherfucker — every inconsiderate boorish fuckhead — be greeted with love and sympathy instead of contempt? Just wondering.

PS: Please excuse all the swearwords in this post. I was recently diagnosed with EPD: Excessive Profanity Disorder.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Blunt Lecture For Democrats

I don’t agree with everything in this column, but these words needed to be said.

If the polls are even remotely accurate, most Americans want to get rid of the corrupt inept powercrazed Republicans in Congress this November. But what’s the alternative?

This current Republican party is the most crooked, stench-coated bunch of assholes in our country’s history. The Democrats, on the other hand, are…uh…well, not quite as bad. They don’t suck quite as much. How’s that for a winning slogan?

Imagine running in a race where your only competitor has a broken back and two broken legs — and you still lose. Or losing a spelling bee to someone who thinks the word “is” is spelled I-Z.

That’s the embarrassing situation the Democrats will be in if they can’t take back Congress this November. And the rest of us will be in a world of shit for two more years.

As Michael Hirsh says: “What do you do when an entire party needs therapy…They resemble nothing so much as ill-adjusted adolescents, afraid of their own shadows…What are they afraid of? Themselves, essentially.”

He also says “They are all afflicted with varying degrees of megalophobia, a fear of assuming power.”

Regarding the Democrats’ constant need to be Bush Lite, trying to out-hawk Bush on Iraq, he says “If you have to say you’re tough, you’re not.” In other words, if you voted for the Iraqi invasion before you voted against it — you’re toast.

He says this about John Kerry: “How else can one explain the inexplicable — the spectacle of a Silver Star winner made to look wimpy by two men who avoided combat? Simple: He was terrified of speaking out.”

He also says: “But here is a message to those few Democrats who retain their self-confidence and sanity (I’m not sure who you are, but there must be some): Come back from the shadows. If you can look past your fears, America’s entire national-security apparatus is out there making your case for you.”

Here’s hoping the Democratic “leadership” sees Hirsh’s column and learns something from it. They may just be the party that doesn’t suck quite as much, but they’re our only hope in November.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dixie Chicks

Some rightwing bloggers have been gloating that the Dixie Chicks’ newest CD has been a total flop. Their lead singer said something snide about Der Fuhrer three years ago and the group must pay and pay and pay. Forever. Patriotic Americans will never forgive them. Etc.

Well… Explain this, Rednecks! That’s right — the Dixie Chicks’ new CD has debuted at Number One. They dissed the Boy King and their careers are sailing higher than ever.

It’s hard to tell whether the public was ever pissed at the Dixie Chicks or not. They didn’t get much airplay after their 2003 remarks, but that was mostly because a few CEOs (who own most of the country stations) threw a tantrum and banned them.

It doesn’t matter to me personally since I can’t stand country music anyway. Well, actually I did like a few things by Johnny Paycheck and Hank Williams Jr. And Junior Brown is a kickass guitar player — imagine Chet Atkins, Jimi Hendrix and Joe Pass all playing at the same time. But I digress…

The Far Right keeps dwelling on what they wish were true, instead of actual facts. And the above is a perfect example.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Abortion Battle in South Dakota

South Dakota’s infamous abortion ban might be overturned by The People. A petition has received more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. If you like mudslinging campaigns, keep an eye on South Dakota for the next few months.

Every snake-handling speaking-in-tongues Biblehumping group in the country will be heading to South Dakota to save the Spanish Inquisition most restrictive abortion law in the country.

Yup, this is what Jesus would do. You were raped and this pregnancy is endangering your health? Tough shit, you ignorant slut. You were asking for it. What were you wearing?

If Roe vs. Wade gets overturned, the abortion battle will be fought over and over at the state level. The Salem Witch Hunters seem to think every red state is anxious to be propelled back to the 12th century. Let’s hope they’re wrong.

Hopefully the people of South Dakota will vote to make this website irrelevant.