Friday, January 28, 2005

Children Learn By Watching....

So do favored Iraqi Presidential Candidates.

U.S.-appointed interim Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi recently handed out $100 bills to journalists at a press conference. He then gave teachers an unexpected $100 bonus.

Holy Crap.

Uh, does anyone even wonder where he got the US Currency? Those are US Tax Dollars he's using to buy influence and win elections, just like the tax dollars Bush used to pay three (so far) pundits to pitch his programs for him. (Click here for more info)

Well, we knew all along Bush wanted to bring his own particular brand of democracy to the region. Why expect the Iraqi version to be any better than our own?

Bush in league with bin Laden?

Ok, just in case you weren't paying attention:

Bush originally said the cost of the war in Iraq would be 1.7 billion dollars.

As of the most recent report, we are spending $4.3 billion a month in Iraq. The Bush administration announced it would seek $80 billion in new spending mainly for Iraq as the Army confirmed plans to keep 120,000 troops there for at least two more years.

I thought on January 30th whoever got elected was going to decide how long we are going to stay in Iraq, but maybe to save time, Bush already talked it over with Alwawi.

This new spending would boost the U.S. budget deficit to a record $427 billion this year, administration officials said -- about $100 billion higher than White House estimates six months ago.

This new $80 billion will push total U.S. anti-terror costs to $300 billion, or roughly half the total cost in Wednesday's dollars of World War I or the Vietnam War!

And senior Bush administration officials said they expected another major Iraq spending request next year!!!

Ok, so here is what I don't get.

Amid all the hollering the pundits on Talk Radio and Fox News do about liberals like Ted Kennedy giving aid and comfort to the come nobody remembers that Osama bin Laden himself said flat out that his plan is to bring down America the same way he brought down the spending us into oblivion.

No kidding, this is what he actually said:

"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy..." was "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."

He said the September 11th attack cost al-Qaida about $500,000, so "Every dollar of al-Qaida defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah..."

Ok, so, if that is his plan, and we know that is his plan, and yet the Administration is just turning a giant money hose on Iraq with no end in sight...doesn't that make Bush a willing accomplice to the plan?


Doesn't it?

Damn, I'm pissed off. Why aren't you?

Why the hell aren't you??????

Oh...right, because all you idiots with a W sticker on your truck are willing accomplices too.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

President Kreon and his White House of Tragedy

I think that everyone who is concerned about the wisdom (or lack thereof) shown by this President should send him a copy of the great tragedy written by Sophocles: Antigone.

I know, you're thinking, "He's got other things on his plate, he probably doesn't think reading something by a heathen who has been dead since before Christ was alive is worth the effort."

But maybe he'd read it if he were swamped by hundreds of copies of the book...well, OK, maybe you better send the audio version.

If you haven't read it either, you should. It is an easy, good read and poses some very important questions for our time. The central question of the play is whether it is right to choose divine law over secular law when the two come into conflict. This is a pretty common theme in this adminsitration, or at least most of its confirmation hearings. We all know where the Bushies fall.

Obey Secular Law.

Don't think so? Just because they claim piety and have kidnapped Jesus doesn't mean that they are interested in what Antigone calls "the immortal unrecorded laws of God." Far from it.

Don't be fooled by the moral values posturing and how they are trying to prevent opposition to their new secular laws by crafting them in the guise of divinely inspired doctrine. God doesn't need to expand wire-tapping authority and he already knows what books you're reading at the Library. These "fake Christians" are not interested in advancing the cause of God, they are interested in their own power and the absolute control of any opposition.

This is what they call the "March to Freedom." Pretty much what they mean is the Freedom to obey them and to give a good thumping to any dissenters with impunity.

Besides the divine law/secular law schism, at the heart of the play is a question of pride vs. wisdom. This is where Sophocles really hits a home run. The last line of the play is what the author is really getting at: "There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are always punished, and proud men in old age learn to be wise."

Bush might think of himself as being like Antigone, a strong figure willing to stand up for what he believes is right in the face of all opposition....but he is far more like Kreon....and every bit as much in need of wisdom. Like Kreon he is proud to the point of fault, quick to anger, and intolerant of any questioning of his decisions or his authority to act on them.

Let's pray Bush doesn't pay an equally tragic cost for his hubris. Because when the king pays...everybody pays.

I was reading this play again this week, and several lines struck me as relevant.

Kreon is filled with exactly the same kind of absolutism George W. Bush reflects in the "You are either with us or against us" posture he assumes in the War on Terror.

When Antigone says that there are honors due all the dead, Kreon retorts, "But not the same for the wicked as the just."

(Well, Bush stays away from the funerals of both the just and the unjust, but that is somewhat beside the point. He's made it clear there are patriots and there are traitors who give comfort to the enemy. No gray area. If you don't know which is which, ask Anne Coulter.)

To this, Antigone replies, "Ah, Kreon, Kreon, which of us can say what the gods hold wicked?"

That answer shows wisdom, it shows the truth of the Christian proverb not to lean to your own understanding...or as God put it to Job, "Where were you when the foundations of the Earth were laid and measured?"

But Kreon, like Georgie, will have none of anyone's wisdom but his own, and he replies, "An enemy is an enemy, even dead."

One can imagine that as a slogan on a bumper sticker with Osama bin Laden's face next to it as an answer to anyone wondering if the leader of Al Quaida is even still alive. Right next to the "WWJD" sticker. This line shows the depth of both Kreon's paranoia and his hatred of anyone whom he considers a threat to his authority.

The scene between Kreon and Haimon is the most instructive for purposes of comparison. Kreon's admonitions are reflective of what must certainly be Bush's thoughts on how to be a good leader:

"Do you want me to show myself weak before the people? Or to break my sworn word? No. I will not."

The one and only time we have heard Bush admit a mistake, or at least come close to it, is when he admitted that "Bring it on" might have been "blunt" and have "different meanings for others”.

Ok, that isn't really so much admitting a mistake as it is shifting blame for a misunderstanding on the people who misunderstood...the Iraqi insurgents.

This, the closest we have come to an admission of misjudgement came onlyon the heels of an Iraqi Sunni resistance fighter saying: "And to George W Bush, we say, 'You have asked us to bring it on, and so have we. Like never expected. Have you another challenge'?"

"Gulp." Bush must have thought, "I better do a little pre-emptive rhetoricizing, huh, Condi?" And bang, a mildly repentent George Bush on Barbara Walters for prime time viewing.

Another Kreon passage later in the same scene is also alarmingly Bush-like:

"I'll have no dealings with lawbreakers, critics of the government: Whoever is chosen to govern should be obeyed -- Must be obeyed, in all things, great and small, just and unjust!"

Ah, George, George....if only I could speak in your ear the way Haimon did his father's:

"Your temper terrifies -- Everyone will tell you only what you like to hear....I beg you, do not be unchangeable: Do not believe that you alone can be right. The man who thinks that, the man who maintains that only he has the power to reason correctly, the gift to speak, the soul -- A man like that, when you know him, turns out empty. It is not reason never to yield to reason."

Think of Colin Powell with his "Pottery Barn" warning and caution about the war as Blind Teiresias speaking to George these words:

"Think: all men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride."

But unlike Kreon, Bush's thoughts are not yet brought to dust.

That is the fear in my heart.

I'm terrified that this great tragedy in which we find George Bush starring and ourselves minor players--sentries carrying out orders in the far flung field, members of a chorus too frightened to speak real wisdom to our king, or dissenting Antigones led to secret detention centers to be held until moved to take our own lives--will not end until Bush meets the fate Teiresias warned of.

I'm afraid that we, no more than the ancient greeks, can escape our fate when wrong acts call out for justice from the gods. I am worried that our Kreon must, in a time not far off, pay back coprse for corpse, flesh of his own flesh, and the Furies and the Dark Gods of Hell will come swiftly with their terrible punishment. Our houses filled with men and women weeping, curses hurled at our king from afar, cities grieving for sons unburied, left to rot before the walls of Thebes.

But, maybe it isn't too late. Perhaps the play indeed is the thing to win the concience of the King. You know the address. Send the President something to read besides the last book of the NIV.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Denial and Deception

Look at that!

Is it a graphic from a radical islamic America-bashing website? Is it from Is it some left wing liberal suggestion that Bush is a liar?


It is the official, final version of the banner on the White House web page for linking to information relating to Iraq and Saddam's absurd claim that he could not disarm if he did not possess arms.

I saw it this morning when I was re-reading the President's now infamous "Get out of Iraq in 48 Hours, Saddam, or we won't be responsible for blowing you, your sons, and your evil terrorist allies to kingdom come" speech.

As though we needed it, further proof that Republicans have no sense of irony.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Slam Dunk?
Give that man a Presidential Medal of Freedom!

Pssst, did you hear? Some time before Christmas, we officially stopped looking for the WMDs in Iraq. You didn't hear in December because the Administration was very quiet about it. In fact, it didn't make the news until today.

Search for Banned Arms In Iraq Ended Last Month: Critical September Report to Be Final Word, By Dafna Linzer, Washington Post Staff Writer,
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

President Bush is disappointed.

I bet.

Me too.

I'm disappointed in him. And us.

Nobody seems to care about this....People care more about Jennifer and Brad breaking up than they do that we've killed hundreds of thousands of people, that our brave American soldiers are dying because of a mistake Bush will never admit.

I don't want to die because he was wrong. I don't want my son or daughter to die because he was wrong. I don't want to see us in an endless war because he won't admit he was wrong and take responsibility for his mistake.

The Republicans keep saying, "Get over it. Move on. You're stuck in the past. We need to worry about the Iraq elections, not ancient history."

I'm sorry. I can't get over it. I don't understand anyone who can.

George Tenet said the case was a slam dunk for WMD in Iraq.

We now know for sure he was wrong. Wrong at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. Is he held accountable? No, he is given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation's highest honor a President can bestow.

That's not irony. That's insanity.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

This Dog Ain't Dead

Ok....over the holidays I came down with pneumonia, Christmas Eve a close relative died, New Year's Day I got attacked by a dog....I'd slid into a deep torpor from which I might not have arisen....I stared blankly with no interest in the news...I recognized this is one of the stages of looming death but it didn't matter.

I was overwhelmed by the Tsunami. I was dumbstruck that Tenet, Franks, and Bremmer got Presidential Medals of Freedom instead of fired. I was gobsmacked that more people want Dan Rather's head for trying to persuade America using fake documents than give a shit about George Bush doing the same thing with forged documents about Iraq's nuclear capabilities--even though Bush's forged documents lead directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and Rather's only got 4 people fired. Rather admitted his mistake and apologized, but Bush never did. Go figure, I thought, took another anti-biotic and pulled the blanket up higher over my head.

I was saddened that our new Attorney General will be a man who said "I Don't Know" more times than Clarence Thomas did during his confirmation hearings, called the Geneva Convention a "quaint and obsolete document" and is a major figure in involving our nation in torture as national policy. The same man whose definition of torture would mean that much of what Saddam Hussein did wasn't torture, and yet the administration now uses that very torture as one of the justifications of the war. Go figure, I thought, had a productive cough and tried to go back to sleep.

I hated that Condi Rice is now going to be the person in charge of our relations with other nations and brokering peace in the Middle East. Go figure, I thought, and changed my bandages.

None of it could get me typing again....I'd given up. I had begun to accept that our nation voted in record numbers to validate this administration and grudgingly accepted that we deserved the spanking we were going to give ourselves because of it. I started to lie down.

I started to give up.

And then, this morning, someone poked this dog with a stick it just couldn't ignore.

Iraqi abuse was like act of "cheerleaders"

Follow the link to see full story which surrounds this astonishing quote:

"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments on Monday to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial."

I can't sit quietly and let that kind of statement represent America in the very courts we proudly claim set us apart from every other nation in the world.

I can't just go quietly into that terrible fucking awful nightmare.

And you shouldn't either.


Is this REALLY who YOU are?


Please say YES to JUSTICE and REASON before it is too late for either.

That's my prayer.

That's my hope.

That's what brought me back from the brink of the abyss.

Today, I return to regular blog and website updates. Today I'm standing up for what I believe and I'm living according to my convictions. (And maybe calling for an appointment for another chest x-ray because my prescription ran out and I'm still coughing up lung juice.)

What are you doing today?

Poke. Poke. Poke.