December 30, 2005

My Birthday Wish

Yes, it’s my birthday. I was Mom & Dad’s little tax-deduction bundle of joy way back in 19(ah-hem, ah-hem). I reveal this little bit of personal information about myself for two reasons. Firstly, I’m shamelessly trolling for birthday greetings & presents. But most importantly, I have a birthday wish.

I’m sure most of you saw the movie “Liar, Liar”. Jim Carrey plays a scummy lawyer going through a separation from Maura Tierney, and often disappointing his adorable little son with his absences. As a lawyer, Carrey had succumbed to a lifestyle of lying. But like most liars, his penchant for not telling the truth eventually caught up with him. In this case a mystical spell was cast on him when his son wished for just one day that his dad could not tell a lie. Carrey’s antics carried the rest of the story.

My birthday wish is very similar. I wish that for as long as elected and entrusted politicians are in office to serve the people, they could not lie. I know it sounds far fetched but remember… I’m the one who likes thinking ‘out-of-the-box’. So, here’s an example of what some people might be saying in the near future:

George W. Bush: My background before sleazing my way into public office is the oil industry, so I’ve done all I could the help my friends in the oil and energy industries. After all, Ken ‘Kenny-Boy’ Lay did help finance my political ascension. So, as payback to all my wealthy contributors, I’ve done all I can to pay them back with tax cuts, deregulation, cronyism and corporate welfare.

Yes, I really milked this born-again Christian thing. Got them right in line, I did! Helped get me reelected when I promised them anti-gay, anti-abortion, intelligent-design, and abstinence-only ideology. And even if that hadn’t worked, I threw them Christians lots of mullah with my ‘Faith-based Initiatives’ scam… they had to vote for me!

And boy did I squeak by the skin-of-my-teeth on this reelection, what with Iraq being such a disaster. If I hadn’t smeared John Kerry as much as I did, I wouldn’t have been able to steal the election with Kenneth Blackwell & Diebold in my pocket in Ohio.

Dick Cheney: My background is in the energy services industry with my position as CEO of Halliburton, so I’ve done all I can to accommodate the energy industry by making the country’s energy policy based on their input alone. After all, since I’m still receiving compensation from Halliburton, I want to make sure they’re well lubricated. That’s why I’m all for perpetual war in the Middle East where Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary can flourish with multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts.

Condolezza Rice: My background includes a position on the Board of Directors of Chevron, so I’m very interested in ‘fueling’ the energy industry as well, and taking over the Middle East to keep those pipelines secure. Sure, I was an incompetent hack as National Security Advisor since I watched the 9/11 attack happen without lifting a finger to stop it, but hey… it got me a promotion, didn’t it? Now I do lots of traveling and strong-arming of world leaders, just enough to keep them completely pssst off at the United States. Oh, and that “mushroom cloud” thing… gotcha, didn’t I!

Donald Rumsfeld: I’ve been a Republican hack for most of my career. That is, when I wasn’t a stooge for the pharmaceutical industry. Yes, I helped engineer the Project for the New American Century’s propulsion for world dominance so we could spread American imperialism and secure European and Asian energy resources. I know I totally screwed up this Iraq war by going in there completely unprepared, but hey… we got Sadaam, didn’t we?

Bill O’Reilly: Yes, I’m a liar and a sex addict. Sure, I paid off Andrea Mackris to keep her mouth shut, but the scandal went away, didn’t it? I just love to get those Michael Moore-lovin’ lefties on my show so I can attack them with outrageous lies and distortions that they can’t retort since I cut off their microphones.

Sean Hannity: I’m really nothing more than a right-wing blow-hard, puppeting the RNC talking points. I haven’t really ever told the truth, but even when I’m debunked, it doesn’t stop me for continuing to perpetuate the lies. It’s so fun to take Democrat’s partial quotes out of context and twist it around to mean exactly the opposite of what they intended.

Rush Limbaugh: Yes, I’m a drug-addicted, blow-hard, hypocritic, gas-bag for the right-wing, conservative, religious-right Republican party.

Ann Coulter: Okay, you got me… I really am a man, but a pretty one. How many anorexics do you know who can say absolutely anything, no matter how false and outrageous, on right-wing talk shows, and still get away with it because of my blonde hair and long legs?

Tom Delay: I admit I laundered money through the RNC to pay for Texas Republican campaigns. I also redistricted much of Texas to swerve a bunch of seats over to the Republicans. Oh, and those junketts at Jack Abramoff’s lobbying expense? Loved ‘em! Yeah, I’m a hypocrite. Why else would I have pushed for saving Terri Schiavo when I pulled the plug on my own father?

Bill Frist: Yes, I have full knowledge and management of my ‘blind’ trust. Sold that HCA stock just in time, huh! Of course I diagnosed Terri Schiavo based on watching a video. It wasn’t like she really meant anything to me, but why not use her to wedge the Liberals!

Obviously, this can go on infinitely. Instead, I’m gonna go back to reading my birthday present – Al Franken’s “The Truth”.

December 23, 2005

Remembering John

“All we are saying, is give peace a chance”

This month we observed the 25th anniversary of the death of John Lennon. I heard the news of his shooting like many others – from Howard Cosell during the Monday Night Football game. When he mentioned it, I literally broke down in cried. Here was an icon of universal peace, and he was gunned down by a lunatic, who was essentially jealous of his fame & success. I was then, and always have been, a huge Beatles fan. I have such a passion for his music, so his death affected me more than any other, outside of my own family of course.

John Lennon was nothing less than a prophet in my opinion. I believe he was put on this earth to tell the world that we’re not doing it right. He used his talent, his voice, and his immense popularity to express his message… That war was wrong, and peace was best. That hatred was wrong and love was best. That greed was wrong, and sharing was best.

John Lennon was a visionary. He saw the world as it should be. He was constantly thinking ‘out-of-the-box’, and that’s something I respect dearly. Most of us remember John Lennon for his signature song – Imagine – which espouses his visionary dream. As we approach Christmas however, I want to share one of his holiday messages. The song is called “Happy Christmas”.

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?
Another year over, a new one’s just begun

And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one, the old and the young

And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong
For rich and for poor ones, the road is so long

And so happy Christmas, for black and for white
For yellow and red ones, let’s stop all the fight

Have a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear

War is over, if you want it

December 21, 2005

A Matter of Trust

The United States Constitution and of the Bill of Rights are there to protect us from the Government because, fundamentally, the Government cannot be trusted.

First let’s lay some background by talking about the
United States Constitution & The Bill of Rights. Keep in mind that this is the basis of our system of government and was born out of our separation from England after the American Revolution in the latter 1700’s. As we recall the story, a band of colonists organized against the government. That’s right - our forefathers were a band of insurgents who organized against the occupying government. Sound familiar?

One of the things that the reader needs to understand & acknowledge is that the fundamental purpose of our Constitution is to protect the people. The very first words – WE THE PEOPLE – shout out from the inception that the words to follow are there for us. But who (or what) are the people being protected from?

The answer to this question is crystal clear. The United States Constitution was fundamentally designed to protect the people FROM THE GOVERNMENT. That’s right – our forefathers understood the problems and dangers of a Government being too powerful (at the time it was England), and fashioned a series of laws to protect the citizens from the Government.

Think about it…

The first amendment in the Bill of Rights is all about the freedom of speech (Religion, Press, & Expression), protecting the people’s right to dissent against the Government:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The second amendment of the Bill of Rights professes the people’s right to bear arms to protect themselves. Protect ourselves from whom? The Government, of course:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights specifically protects the citizens of The United States from what the unchecked, unbalanced presidency of our country is currently doing to us:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Amendments 5 – 8 all address the processes and issues around how the Government can treat the people in the event of (alleged) criminal activity. These amendments articulate due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, speedy trials, confrontation of witnesses, trial by jury of one’s peers, and cruel & unusual punishment.

Checks & Balances

Our forefathers had the hindsight of knowing that concentrated power was dangerous. The phrase “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is not just a catch-phrase… it’s been proven over and over again. To address this, they fashioned our Government into three distinct branches, with the specific purpose of separating the powers and building in oversight. Again, the underlying purpose was to protect the people from the Government.

Why protect the people from the Government?

The basic premise is trust. There is NO trust, nor should there be. If the Government could be trusted, then we wouldn’t need laws that specifically guaranteed us the freedom to express, publish, peacefully assemble, and practice our own religion. If the Government could be trusted, then we wouldn’t need laws that specifically guaranteed us the right of due process and to bear arms. And if the Government could be trusted, we wouldn’t need laws that specifically guaranteed us the protections from unreasonable searches & seizures and cruel & unusual punishment.

Now we need protection from George

We’ve learned that for four years now the President has been unilaterally ignoring the United States Constitution and personally authorizing wire taps, eavesdropping, and surveillance, on US citizens, without judicial oversight. The ignorant right-wing sheeple out there feel that this is okay with them because the President is keeping us safe from terrorists. Without oversight however, how do we know that the President is only spying on terrorists or suspected terrorists?
How do we know that the Government hasn’t been spying on groups which are not known to be terrorist threats, such as anti-war activists, peace activists, environmentalists, etc? How do we know that the President didn’t abuse this power to spy on domestic political enemies in his effort to get reelected?

We don’t know. Instead, we’re told that we should just trust the Government & the President. Quite frankly, I don’t. What has George W. Bush done to earn my trust after all the lies, scandals, and cronyism? What has George W. Bush done to earn my trust after leading us into a preemptive war in Iraq, based on fabricated intelligence, that will cost upwards of ½ trillion dollars, and tens of thousands of lives? What has George W. Bush done to earn my trust after being asleep at the wheel on September 11th 2001, stealing two presidential elections, alienating almost every international ally, withdrawing from every treaty, robbing the poor to give to the rich, decimating the separation between church & state, and thumbing his nose at the US Constitution (after all, “…it’s just a Goddamn piece of paper…”)?

Ladies & Gentlemen… the George W. Bush Administration is the epitome of our distrust in Government. They are the very reason why we need a powerful and articulate Constitution to protect us from abuse of Governmental power. They have subverted the US Constitution in every way imaginable, and by doing so, they have trampled on the very heart of our American values – freedom, democracy, and civil liberties.

December 16, 2005

What “Culture of Life”?

This week saw the epitome of hypocrisy from the Republican Party and the President of the United States. These are the same people who preached “Compassionate Conservatism” when they were campaigning for election, yet we all know that George W. Bush is neither compassionate nor conservative.

Let’s start with some background…

Terri Schiavo

Back in March the Republican Party, together with the ‘Religious Right’, went so far out of their way to try to rescue a brain-dead woman from being disconnected from life-support, where she lay for 15 years. Terri Schiavo was well beyond the point of recovery, and no amount of medical treatment was going to bring her back to any semblance of a normal life, yet Bill Frist, Jeb Bush, and the Religious-based Republican Party took extreme measures to try and ‘save’ her. In their statements they professed the ‘culture of life’ that was so important, as they tried to scorn Liberals for killing her.

Right to Life

It’s this same ‘culture of life’ that motivates these hypocrites to advocate for the unborn. The ‘right-to-life’, anti-abortion movement is largely a religious, Republican wedge issue. It’s a ‘wedge’ issue because it really has NOTHING to do with politics and lawmaking. Instead, it’s used as a tool by the Republican Party to divide Americans and lure Christian Evangelicals over to their side.

I don’t agree with the anti-abortion argument, but I do respect it. And I certainly respect their right to have their opinion and to voice it. I certainly wouldn’t condone the killing of babies, but whether or not the unborn are considered living beings is a matter of interpretation. I don’t recommend abortion, and given the choice, I’d rather see healthy pregnancies come to term and produce fruitful, contributing members of society. Unfortunately, unwanted pregnancies all too often don’t turn out that way.

I also recognize the fact that death is a part of the ‘circle of life’ (forgive me for quoting ‘The Lion King’). And by ‘circle of life’, I don’t just mean humans. Animals, reptiles, birds, fish, and plants all participate in this delicate ‘circle of life’ as well, yet we kill them routinely. The question is - “Why?” Perhaps it’s out of self defense (you killed an animal that was attacking you) or out of mercy (the horse broke his leg and you had to put him out of his own misery). Many times we kill for food. And sometimes… we kill… just… for sport.

That’s right, fellow humans… we routinely kill… because it’s fun! Isn’t that what fishing & hunting are all about? Sure, occasionally we’ll eat the prey we’ve killed, but largely the purpose of fishing & hunting is for sport. Enjoyment. Pleasure. Kicks. Yeah, I feel like stepping outside with an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and shooting down my neighbor’s dog.. just for the fun of it. Ooooohhhhh, there are laws against that? Of course this begs the issue that there’s a difference – they’re not human. A valid point in deed - we would never treat humans this way. But, why do we treat animals this way?

Where do we draw the line? It’s hard to say. I think there’s some arbitrary place, but the line does need to be drawn. And in my humble opinion, that’s really what it comes down to… where to draw the line… between right and wrong… between moral and immoral. Sometimes it’s a fine line. But sometimes, it’s a gray area, and drawing that line isn’t quite so easy.

So here’s my point…

This week there was an opportunity for either the Govenator of Cal-ee-forn-ya or the Presinut of the United States to show their compassion, but neither of them have any. Here was a chance for the Republican Party to stick by their ‘culture of life’, but as we know, that was all just political rhetoric in an attempt to demonize Liberals.

I won’t bother alluding to the crime Stanley Tookie Williams was convicted for, or the loss his victim’s families must have endured. I wouldn’t begin to debate whether his actions of 25 years ago were heinous, and that his victim’s families suffered irreparable harm. Nor do I want to enter into a discussion on the pros and cons of capital punishment.

By all accounts, Williams was as rehabilitated as can be expected. Not only was he a contributing member of society from behind bars, but he was a positive influence for young people to avoid gang activity & violence, with his series of children’s books… even to the point of being nominated for a Nobel prize.

I’m not saying that he should’ve been released from prison, but surely Stanley Tookie Williams had earned clemency from the death penalty. However, our Republican leadership, who profess and preach about the ‘culture of life’ and ‘compassionate conservatism’, would have none of that.

Someone needs to ‘splain me why the ‘culture of life’ means compassion & advocating for unborn fetuses, embryonic stem cells, and brain-dead vegetables, but not for living people.

December 09, 2005

Are the Tides Turning?

As a political junkie I scour the Internet(s) for all things politics, reading at least 3 to 4 dozen articles a day. I have a laundry list of favorites I check, and there are great web sites like which compile headlines & stories from many different sources that make the process very easy.

Over the last year, since the 2nd stolen Bush election, I’ve seen a massive amount of coverage, op-eds, articles, and altogether signals that the tides in Washington are beginning to turn.

The Repuglicans have been in power as long as I can remember - for about 90% of my lifetime. Even when Clinton was in office, Gingrich had his ‘Contract with America’ and they continued to own the Senate & House (except for a short while after Senator Jeffords came to his senses). Then they attacked Bubba relentlessly in his 2nd term for outrageous National Security breaches such as a blow job in the Oval Office, or a private real estate deal gone bad from 15 years before.

W’s 2nd term is having a profound effect on many millions of Americans. He may have squeaked by in November of 2004 having owned the Secretary of States in both Ohio & Florida, and having the manufacturer of the paperless & unverifiable electronic voting machines in his pocket, but the American people didn’t just give him a free pass for four more years of neo-conservative fascism. The dung started to hit the fan when he went on tour promoting his Social Security Privatization scheme, and all spring, summer, & fall I’ve been literally barraged with news of scandals.

Ladies & Gentlemen - what I’m seeing is the Republican Party imploding within itself. It’s very entertaining to watch and I think we’re just getting started. The best part was when the Harriet Miers nomination went down the toilet and it was the Republicans who shot her down because she wasn’t conservative enough.

Yes, it’s open season on scandals and they all seem to be Republican!

  • Tom Delay is a walking scandal – he has so many scandals up his ass, I feel like running a pool to see which one will bring him down first. As it is he’s been admonished by the House Ethics Committee three times. Did I just hear that the House is going to ‘delay’ reconvening in order to give him more time to work out his legal ‘issues’? How corrupt is that? Sure, let’s put the country’s business on hold until Tom Delay is out of prison.
  • Bill Frist is clearly an inside trader having manipulated his own ‘blind’ trust fund and selling his stock at just the right moment. Can you imagine this putz has the audacity to even consider running for President? Oh… then again, insider trading doesn’t really preclude you from being President. Isn’t that right, George?
  • The Jack Abramoff scandals might possibly take down dozens of politicians. Yes, there are several... scandals, that is. Aside from the lavish trips that were kicked back to Congress people, there’s a little matter of Indian casinos being pitted against each other as Congress people write letters to the Secretary of the Interior (Gale Norton) & receive huge political contributions. I heard this scandal could encompass up to 60 lawmakers. There are a few Democrats, but mostly all Republicans. Even Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is in up to his eyeballs for six figures. Does it matter that our elected leaders are being bought and sold by special interests? I guess that’s just good Democracy!
  • The Valerie Plame Wilson / CIA outing scandal still has plenty of life left in it. This scandal may yet bring down Cheney AND Rove. Go Fitzy!
  • The Downing Street Memos backed up what many of us had been saying all along – that the Bush Administration LIED us into the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, it looks like this scandal has lost its momentum, but the whole pre-war Intelligence debacle continues to loom big.
    Congressman Duke Cunningham from California was forced to resign and come clean on kickbacks he was taking. He’s looking at 10 years for bribery.
  • Torture was (and IS) prevalent at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and who knows how many other secret prisons around the world. This has outraged just about everyone… except Dick Cheney who continues to battle for the right to do it. Someone needs to ‘splain me why Darth continues to fight for this, while AT THE SAME TIME Chimpy & Condi say it’s not happening… “We don’t torture!!” they say. … Riiiiiiight.
  • The Katrina debacle exposed many facets of the Bush Administration’s incompetence AND corruption. The fact that Bush has made appointments based entirely on loyalty and completely ignoring qualifications is only one of them. The hurricane highlighted the economic divide in that city, and it serves as a microcosm around the country. Then, Dubya suspended the Davis-Bacon Act in order to help his big business buddies make more money by hiring illegal aliens to do much of the work and pay them diddly. Let’s see now… Halliburton, Bechtel and the like getting big-ticket, no-bid contracts… hardly any oversight… lots of waste & mismanagement…. sounds familiar.
  • The 2004 Election. It seems like on a daily basis there’re new stories and information about the shenanigans that transpired in Ohio (and elsewhere) in the last Presidential election. I still fantasize about one of these getting some legs and nullifying the election. You know what they say if the election were held today?

This is just a small sampling of the sh*t going down in Washington. The bottom line is that George W. Bush and the Republican Party are in big trouble right now. Clearly, well over ½ of the people in this country feel it’s going in the wrong direction.

For now, I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the show.

December 02, 2005

"Cut & Run" or "Stay & Die"

There’s been a lot of rhetoric these past few weeks from both sides of the debate about the ‘conflict’ in Iraq. I won’t refer to it as the ‘war’ because, as we know, the war is over. At least that’s what we were told when our President stood on the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared that the mission was accomplished and that major military operations were over.

Recently the debate was fueled by Congressman John Murtha, who put his reputation on the line to call for a troop withdrawal plan. Even that was preceded by Congressman Harry Reid who brought the Congress to a halt demanding a response on the pre-war intelligence investigation.

Surely the heat is being turned up on the Busheviks, and they’re feeling it as evidenced by their penchant for going on the offensive and criticizing their critics. Shame on all of you who dissent and disagree with the neocons’ scheme to profitize from global war! How unpatriotic!

As Jean Schmidt has parroted, we know that pulling our troops out of Iraq would be considered “Cutting & Running”. And that’s cowardly, of course. “Cut & Run”…. “Cut & Run”… It sounds like another one of those neo-con euphemisms to sell or un-sell one of their evil plans. As I’ve said before - it’s all about marketing & perception.

What does “Cutting & Running” actually mean? I’m thinking it’s a relative concept. You know - it means different things to different people, depending on their perspective. So, I thought it would be fun to theorize what “cutting & running” means to the different people in our news today:

To George W. Bush, it means cutting taxes for rich people and running the country into the sewer.

To Dick Cheney, it means cutting no-bid contracts to Halliburton, and running to the bank to cash one of his big compensation checks from Halliburton.

To Tom Delay, it means cutting back on lavish lobbyist-paid-for trips, and running to Jack Abramoff for another kickback. Or perhaps it means cutting a huge corporate check to the RNC, and running it over (i.e. laundering) to his Republican friends in the Texas state races.

To Bill Frist, it means cutting profits from his lucrative family business, and running for president (don’t waste your money, Bill).

To Karl Rove, it means cutting short the career of a CIA agent, and running another smear campaign against a war hero or anyone else who dissents.

To Rick Santorum, it means cutting his political career short (I heard he’s way behind in the polls) and running to the nearest lobbyist (or to God) for a new job. Sure Rick… run on ‘morals’… that always works.

To Bill O’Reilly, it means cutting the truth out of everything he says, and running an attack on anything (and anyone) that makes sense.

To Rush Limbaugh, it means cutting down his Oxycontin intake, and running more alcohol in his veins.

To Pat Robertson, it means cutting down foreign dictators, and running the country’s moral thermometer into the toilet.

To Scooter Libby, it means cutting a deal with Patrick Fitzgerald, and running from being someone’s bitch in the prison shower.

To Ann Coulter, it means cutting all calories out of her diet, and running the word ‘liberal’ out of the vocabulary.

To Wal-Mart, it means cutting worker’s benefits & salaries, and running every mom & pop store out of business.

To Cindy Sheehan, it means cutting short the life of her beloved son, and running a corrupt president, who lied & cajoled us into his war of choice, out of office.

To me, “Cutting & Running” means cutting our losses in a war that never should have been started in the first place, and running our country the way it should be – with humanitarianism instead of conquering, humility instead of arrogance, sensibility instead of greed.

The alternative to cutting & running is staying & dying. Unfortunately, that’s the only path our President sees to “complete & total victory”. What he fails to realize is that this isn’t a competition. There is no victory. There is no championship ring. There is no trophy. There is no pennant. There is no winner’s circle. Just people dying. Lots & lots of people dying. And, what are they dying for? Are they dying to protect their country? Or, are they dying to conquer someone else’s country?

So, when will the dying stop? When everybody’s dead, of course.