Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Smile, You're on Candid Cadaver!

I don't normally do two posts in one day...I like to give the retractors 24 hours to come up with a clever retort. But something this important can't wait. I had to post something as soon as I found out about it.

I checked out Tom Tomorrow's post from yesterday and about gagged on my coffee...

"For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography."

After following the link to the website in question, I started worrying I'd lose my job for using the office computer to find out if something so incredibly outrageous could possibly be true.

It was, and though I'm worried about my job, I'm more worried about my nation. I strongly advise going to Tom Tomorrow's website and and reading his whole post, but caution you against checking out Wilson's gallery of donated snuff images until you are at your home computer and nobody can fire you for accessing a porn site or for screaming non-work related obscenities in your cubicle.

Seriously, America, do you support even these troops?

Think about it...We can't even photograph the flag draped caskets of our own soldiers out of respect to them as war dead, but anything goes with the godless arabs we are killing to shove our brand of freedom down their throats. This is the way we win hearts and minds and reduce the risk of terrorist attacks?

Is this why we suspended the Geneva Convention's application to the War on Terror? Is this the best way to protect our troops from reprisals? Is this how we prove to Islamic fundamentalists that their accusations of the dangerous depravity of Western nations is a lie?

Think about how pissed off some parents were that Cindy Sheehan used the name of their dead son who was killed in Iraq as part of her protest against the war. How would they feel if somebody used a picture of their blown apart, disfigured, or tortured son to buy internet porn?

I'm a pacifist and a Christian of the Romans 12:9-21 school...and if somebody sold a picture of my son's tortured and mutilated body so they could jerk off to pictures of porn star wannabes...I think I'd be driven to what can only be called a murderous rage and consider a very violent form of revenge for this clear and unmitigated evil. Hell, just knowing that Chris Wilson is making a profit off of his mingling of death and sex is enough to foster some pretty grisly thoughts even without seeing the donated images he's peddling for cash. People like Chris Wilson make it very hard to adhere to the principles of faith that guide my life and my politics.

And if that is how I'd feel, or more importantly, that is how you'd feel, how do you think an Iraqi feels? Because for them, it ain't hypothetical. It is real, and it is happening right now. Has been happening for more than a year.

I seriously doubt it makes them feel like throwing down their weapons, surrendering, and telling all their friends how much they support the US effort to bring them freedom and democracy.

In the face of these actions by some of our troops, in the face of the prisoner abuses at Abu Grhaib and Guantanamo, how can you honestly call Cindy Sheehan a traitor? Who is hurting our country more?

Maybe Rush is right after all, because if this is America, then yeah, I do hate it. I hate it with all my heart.

Why don't you?

Holy Crap! Theocrats Win, Democrats Lose!

When you think about all the money Bush is clearing for the hurricane victims, be careful before you heap equal amounts of praise on him.

Part of that spending is going to include setting up a School Voucher Program for families of the victims to use to send their evacuaee kids to private schools instead of public schools, and to reimburse Faith Based Organizations for the expenses they have incurred in providing assistance to the victims of the disaster.

I'm not opposed to religious organizations helping people, that is why we provide for tax deductible contributions to be made to them. That is why we call it CHARITABLE GIVING, not a LOAN.

And who are the religious organizations who are going to be asking for this reimbursement?

Doesn't the very fact of asking for reimbursement run counter to the mission and organizational charter of a charitable organization under the law?

Isn't the single biggest complaint of Conservatives against Liberals that Liberals are always feeling entitled to a handout?

They are going to make it nearly impossible for poor people to declare bankruptcy but they're going to hand over our tax money to churches who have only done what we donated to them so they would be able to do?


How about reimbursing the donors instead of the churches? It would as much sense.

But, maybe this is just in advance of having all (approved) faith based organizations actually becoming part of the government. Then we can designate our contributions to them on the revised tax forms under some new tax system, with a perfect record of faith based demographics.

Don't forget, if the government wants to keep tabs on what our kids are learning in public schools and are able to exert influence on what that scholastic content is due to the fact that tax payers are paying for it, they will probably soon be wanting to monitor what the kids learn in private schools and churches too. They will be entitled to if they are paying the bill with vouchers and reimbursements.

"You're teaching what? Not on the federal payroll, you're not!"

Slippery slope, sir, slippery slope. Some of those restrictions on who gets taxpayer dollars might have been put there for a reason.

Pardon me for misunderstanding, Mr. President, but I thought the increasing reliance of the Government on FAITH BASED ORGANIZATIONS was so that the AMERICAN TAX PAYER would get some relief from so many people who need help thinking they can rely on the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT for aid.

How about the public schools who are going to go deeper into the red providing more classrooms, teachers, facilities, and text books? Will they be reimbursed as quickly as the churches? Or, instead, will you increase the burden on them by giving out vouchers to send those victims to private schools?

The answer is obvious. Exploit Katrina and Rita as a means to run a test program of your voucher system and at the same time help put another nail in the coffin of public education. Everybody wins, right? Well, everybody but your opposition, but they're not really Americans anyway. They are the America Haters. They are the ones giving aid and comfort to the enemy and thus are, in fact, the enemy.

Nothing wrong with this country a one party system couldn't fix, right George?

Gotta hand it to them...The Bush Administration is still working hard to prove John Kerry was right when he called them the biggest bunch of crooks and liars you ever saw.

Can't pass legislation because of pesky things like the Constitution and the American Public?

Well, who cares? None of that matters when you can exploit a disaster to get what you want.

That was one of the biggest lessons the GOP learned from September 11th. Now we're living in a Post September 11th world and a post Katrina world. There has been nothing so beneficial to this administration as the disasters which have occurred under its watch.

What really angers me is the way this Administration is so hell bent on incorporating religious organizations and religious doctrine into a secular government which is supposed to represent all the people. The way we are combating a radical fundamentalist Muslim agenda with an equally radical and fundamentalist Christian agenda at home.

I'm reading Hersh's book, Chain of Command : The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib right now, and one of the things that has struck me is how much the current administration's approach to intelligence data relates to their belief in the merit of "Intelligent Design" and opposition to the scientific method. If it doesn't fit their agenda, the data is discounted. If it supports it in any way, they embrace it, even if it means turning a blind eye to the fact that it is at best highly questionable and at worst fraudulent. And they don't care how many people die as a result. Just remember that it is this kind of mindset they want to promote with their voucher system and support of faith based initiatives.

They want to use the tax dollars of every American to help create more Americans who think the way they do...Which is to say, to think less and follow more. They are fanatics, and they will use every means necessary to get what they want, including a tragedy like Katrina, the rising body count in Iraq, and the devastating attacks of 9-11.

I first heard about the vouchers for Katrina school kids last week while monitoring Rush Limbaugh. "America's Anchor Man" was just giddy as a school girl at how angry the Libs were going to be over this voucher thing.

Let's prove Limbaugh right about something.

Do get get as mad as he expects you to about this, and then do something about it.

Don't let the GOP get away with exploiting every tragedy they can get their hands on to push their agenda, all the while claiming it is the Democratic Party that thrives on misfortune to gain power.

It ain't right, and it shouldn't oughta happen in America.


Friday, September 23, 2005

The Cat is Out of the Bag

You know that old Chinese proverb, which is probably not even really Chinese, about the greatest curse being to live in "interesting times"?

We're living in pretty interesting times.

You knew things were going to get interesting when one of the first things that happened to George Bush, and by extenstion, THE REST OF US, after taking office was that we almost went to war with China.

I know, you probably don't remember, because that happened before we started living in a POST SEPTEMBER 11th WORLD, but if you think back we had a big old spy plane that hit a Chinese fighter jet and it had to crash land in China and Bush had to use some pretty tricky diplomacy to get our kids and the state of the art spy plane out of there safely with secrets intact.

Well, we got the kids out and we're crossing our fingers they had a chance to destroy most of what they left behind. Remember now? How about this, do you remember how in the middle of this international crisis Bush just blurted out on a morning talk show that the US would defend Taiwan if China attacked it. A bold and decisive step, or it would have been if it didn't seem like he made it up on the spot, because nobody at the Pentagon knew that was the new policy.

Not long after, we flip flopped and went back to the official ambiguity of our decades old China policy, and the whole thing was forgotten...especially after so many other things started popping up that we knew we'd better be worried about.

September 11th.

Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist threat.

The Anthrax mailer and biological attacks on the capital building.

Huge corporate scandals among some of the biggest backers of a sitting President.

The invasion of Afghanistan.

The danger posed by Sadam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

Balancing the public display of Colin Powell's diplomatic efforts to avoid war and the administrations massive mobilization and preparations for Shock and Awe.

Winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

Ensuring that the American People have an election in which the results are clear, demonstrable, and beyond dispute...and getting anything but.

The rising cost of the occupation of Iraq in lives and dollars....nearly 2,000 and 300 billion (respectively) so far.

An increasingly polarized nation with increasingly bitter partisanship.

Televangilists praying for Supreme Court justices to drop dead so they can fill those seats with people who will push this nation further toward a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

Increasing dependance on foreign oil, pushing prices over $70 a barrel and over $4 at the pump.
Ice caps melting, global warming, and the worst hurricane season in history.

An entire American city wiped out, evacuees spread out over the country.

Political cronyism revealed that exposes a level of national insecurity we couldn't have believed possible even BEFORE 9-11, let alone 4 years later.

Trying to balance an obvious world wide rise in terrorist activity with the claim that we are winning the war on terror.

Nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran, two nations formerly unrelated but forever united by being labled part of an axis of evil.

More airlines going bankrupt.

The looming threat of world wide pandemics.

I could go on and on listing things we need to be worried about, but you and I both know that when you start to make a list like that, you just get overwhelmed, depressed, and take your bottle of Vodka and head back to drink in your bedroom while watching TV Land where you can pretend the biggest problem facing the world is how to get Richie Cunningham laid.

No, doing that would just be playing into the terrorists hands. You have to prioritize, and this week, the good people of Roanoke told City Council what they are most worried about.




That's right, Roanoke, you can sleep easier this week because we're going to get a five star task force to outlaw cats who think they can just roam around the way God intended them to.

There's a mighty wind in the air of this city, and it is bringing with it a clampdown on free-roaming cats and don't think their negligent owners are going to escape the mighty arm of justice either!

Finally, cats are going to have to get liscenced just like dogs, and we're going to be setting up a Kitty Guantanamo for the ones that don't have owners or for the ones the owners refuse to acknowledge because they don't want to get sterilized or euthanized.

I may have been unclear about who was getting sterilized and euthanized, I was drinking vodka in bed when I heard it on the radio, I'm not sure if it was the irresponsible owners or their cats, but at the end of the day, why bother drawing any distinction between these two groups?

You're either with the City or AGAINST THE CITY.

You're either with the CITY or WITH THE CATS.

The issue is now in the hands of the City Manager Darlene Burcham...She's already started negotiating with County officials to obtain bids on dogs to catch the cats, goats to catch the dogs, cows to catch the goats. At the time of this reporting, no plans had been initiated concerning horses to catch the cows, but I have this advice for Darlene.....

Don't forget that the Old Woman died.

Sometimes the remedy is worse than the malady.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Want to run the numbers?

Archie out sick today, Cartoon Squirrel is guest host.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bankruptcy and Eminent-Domain after Katrina

While I was mowing my lawn I started wondering two things...

First, whether eminent-domain might be invoked in New Orleans in order to rebuild it as the most secure and modern seaport/refining center in the world or would it be returned to the people who lived there so they can try to go back to living the way they lived when they lived there.

Second, I thought about how fortunate it is for all the credit card companies that none of the Katrina victims are going to be able to meet the filing date to beat the tougher new bankruptcy laws those credit card companies lobbied so hard to pass.

If I were Bush, which thank Heaven I am not, I'd push through emergency legislation allowing an extension of one year for all victims of Hurricane Katrina for bankruptcy filing. You know, the way he did when Schaivo was at risk of natural demise. That kind of can-do action on behalf of the living who are unable to speak for or defend themselves. Like that.

I might also, given the hubbub over the forced evacuations now taking place, assure the American People and the citizens of New Orleans that when we sent in the troops to protect their property from looters, we had no intention of keeping it in the best interests of the public good.

But, Bush is Bush, and though they might have voted for him, ain't hardly anybody hurt by this disaster who is a part of his base. And he's said it before....you're either with him or against him.

You gotta ask yourself, though, is he with you?

The Blame Game isn't Spin the Bottle

I wonder if Rush Limbaugh ever gets scared of the Ditto Heads.

If I were him, I would be scared to death and losing sleep wondering what I had wrought with my daily barrage of hate disguised as a reaction to the supposed hatred of the anti-American Bush bashing liberals who are the greatest enemy he thinks has ever confronted this great nation.

I concede that there were grave failures at the city and state levels of government in Louisiana. I admit that the Mayor should have used the school and city busses to enforce the evacuation plan before the hurricane hit and that the Governor should have declared a disaster as early as the President did. I recognize that it is the Governor and not the President who mobilized the National Guard (unless they are being sent to Iraq).

None of that diminishes the blame that George W. Bush bears in the wake of this disaster. I don't see how, even if he himself is heading the investigation into mistakes, he will emerge blameless.

How about a push for a Constitutional amendment limiting the amount of time a sitting President can spend on vacation? That would do more to protect this country than re-writing it to keep fags from legal declarations of monogomy or to keep someone from putting a match to a flag.

When I'm pointing the finger of blame...and yes, I'm playing that Blame Game nobody says it is time for...I don't point it at Bush. I point it at every single person who voted for him. He's just doing what you told him you wanted him to do, which was more of what he did last time....My God, people! Didn't you think he did enough damage in four years? You had to give him four more? (Assuming, of course, you believe the election results were not manipulated, which I actually don't, but that's a whole other argument. The Ditto Heads think he won fair and square.)

Bush should not be a martyr for your sins. I don't want him crucified and see you get off the hook that easily. You proud Red Staters should be held accountable for putting Bush back in office even though if you had bothered to get your news from anywhere but FOX and Rush Limbaugh, you'd know there was a staggering amount of evidence that doing so was about the stupidest thing you could do.

If you have a W sticker on your Hummer, I BLAME YOU. If you still have your Bush/Cheney sign in your front lawn, I BLAME YOU.

Perhaps most of all, I blame RUSH LIMBAUGH, the GODFATHER, because he's the guy who has the most power when it comes to making these idiots feel like they are doing the right thing in supporting this President. When he says that the blame for this disaster lies in the Democrats who fostered an entitlement mentality which made the poverty of New Orleans possible, I BLAME RUSH, and I know I'm right in doing so.

When a Ditto Head like I heard today calls up to complain how the disaster victims "hit the jackpot" and are going to wind up with better homes and lives than they had before the disaster because the Republicans are too cowardly to stand up to the liberal Democrat agenda...I BLAME RUSH.

He created, cared for, and nurtured monsters like that caller. I could hear hesitation in his voice...but he supported her position. When when she said that she had recently lost her job at a courthouse because she used her first amendment right to speak out against Democrats and was fired, he sympathized. When she wanted to know where her $2000 debit card was, he agreed she deserved it as much as the diaster victims....which is to say that he doesn't think anyone deserves government help.

Rush couldn't call this paragon of virtue to task for her heartlessness in the face of such an overwhelming tragedy. He had to find a way to make her point sound reasonable or his drooling mob of followers might turn on him.

So he fueled this woman's hatred by telling her about the "designer clothes" that were soon to be given to the victims, asking her how she felt about these people being handed designer clothes but never mentioning that all of these clothes were illegal knock-offs that were seized by customs officials and would be destroyed if not distributed to the victims of this disaster who have now become homeless and who have been wearing the same clothes they were wearing when the hurricane hit for over a week.

No, that would be calling into question the wisdom of blind reactionary hatred of anything the government does to help the poor.

Then the pompous ass went on to point out to the caller that the 9-11 victims were given, on average, more than a million dollars each as a payout for their suffering. He warned that had set a precedent and we'd better keep our hands on our wallets when these people from New Orleans come with their hands out to the government.

Break for commercial, so the masses of Ditto Heads can nurse their hatred, clutch their wallets, and dream of shooting looters.

Yes, Rush. I blame you and everyone like you. Talk Radio hosts who have made a very nice living spewing propaganda and reaping a harvest of the most heartless, mean spirited, greedy, and vindictive citizens this nation has ever known.


It's quite an America you're helping to build. Wonder if anyone will be able to stand living in it when you're done.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Political Humor and Political Horror both start with "H"

10 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Quotes About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath compiled by Daniel Kurtzman, complete with links to sources.

But, by far, the best quote came yesterday from Bush's mama, Babs.

Barbara, according to all accounts, was the real force behind shaping Georgie into who he is. Everyone says that George is Barbara's favorite. Let's just say the apple didn't fall too far from the tree:

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." -- Barbara Bush.

File under: Oh My God.

The thing that keeps creeping me out is how closely the response to Katrina mirrors the conduct of the war in Iraq, and how Administration toadies keep saying things that directly contradict the facts...like they don't realize this is being covered here in America with 24 hour live news coverage.

Even to the extent that the AM Talk Radio people keep saying, "But who is reporting the good news coming out of New Orleans?" Not to mention the way Bush keeps referring to the Missippi Delta region as "That part of the world."

Uh, George, newsflash: You're President of "that part of the world".

And then, just when you thought it was a cynical bad joke told by the disgruntled liberal...it is announced that Halliburton is hired for storm cleanup .

And Limbaugh says that liberals are the ones hungry for disasters and death tolls in order to gain power through exploitation of human misery.

Dead to irony or masters of irony? You decide.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wondering why Katrina happened? Repent America has an answer!

While any questioning of the preparedness for this natural disaster by the Left results in accusations of playing the political "blame game" from the Right, a fundamentalist Christian group has come forward to let us know it was the embracing of homosexuals and filming of Girls Gone Wild that is the root cause of all this death and destruction.

Repent America, on August 31st, posted this on its website:

"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge," he continued.

"May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God," Marcavage concluded.

That last seems to be a pretty clear call to commit hate crimes against behavior you consider sinful in order to protect your cities from God's wrath. Sort of "Pre-emptive" strategic wrath carried out by ture believers. Sound familiar?

Also on the website, they have a nice quiz, Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Basically, if you aren't following the Ten Commandments and/or a practicing homosexual you aren't going.

So, if you're a dude, don't kiss a dude. If you're a Christian, adhere as strictly as possible to all Old Covenant rules or you might cause the next catastrophic disaster.

Get right with God.
Vote Republican.
Avert wrathful expressions of God's hate.

Before it's too late.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina devastation growing--how to help--and what our response to weather says about our response to terror

Online Donation Form for the American Red Cross: By making a financial gift to Hurricane 2005 Relief, the Red Cross can provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.

FEMA's resource page of ways to offer assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina

I still can't quite get my head around the fact that an entire US city is going to be uninhabitable for months. That a three state region has been devastated, that bodies are piling up in morgues. That bodies are floating in the streets.

Much easier to grasp are things like the economic impact of the disaster. Bloomberg today ran a story discussing the fact that oil rising to $100 a barrel is not out of the question. Gas has already been rising three days straight with 91% of the nation's oil production halted.

The number two re-insurer in the world estimates the final tally of claims related to Katrina to be in excess of $500 million dollars, with final cost the insurance industry in the region of $20 billion.

The President says that recovery from Katrina will take years, not months.

It might not be the time for finding blame in terms of mistakes made in preparedness for this disaster, but when that time comes it isn't going to be difficult. Cutting the budget for hurricane response didn't help. Federal flood control spending for southeastern Louisiana has been chopped from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in 2005, according to budget documents. Federal hurricane protection for the Lake Pontchartrain vicinity in the Army Corps of Engineers' budget dropped from $14.25 million in 2002 to $5.7 million this year. Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu had requested $27 million this year. Transitioning FEMA from natural disasters to terrorism won't help either.

I guess this administration never heard of "a stitch in time saves nine" but I'm not as interested in pointing a finger of blame as I am in pointing out that if we were this unprepared for an attack by weather, with a week of watching it move toward us, how prepared are we for the massive terrorist attack we've been warned to expect for the last four years?

Katrina is a test of how well we could deal with the aftermath of such an attack with a WMD, without the distraction of deciding who to invade after it happens.

So far, we're not doing so well. We are confronted with an astonishing array of things we could have done better in preparing for this disaster. We're also forced to consider how the cost in dollars, soldiers, and resources of the War on Terror overseas will affect our ability to respond to this level of devastation at home.

The estimated price tag for Katrina sounds staggering. It is. But remember that every single month we are spending $500 million more on this war than we spent monthly on Viet Nam. (adjusted for inflation)

We are currently spending $5.6 billion in Iraq every month, making it the most costly war in more than 60 years. At nearly $300 billion dollars so far, Iraq spending would pay for 15 Katrinas. 15.

It is irresponsible not to consider how waging that war affects our ability to addres domestic concerns.

Investing everything we have in a doctrine of pre-emption without an adequate investment coping with what happens if the pre-emption fails is an awfully big gamble.

We've bet the farm and can't afford to lose.