Friday, October 28, 2005

Bush is a Whimp...he said he'd fire the leaker, not accept their resignation.

From a guy who sees the world only in black and white and good and evil, he sure likes to equivocate.

I would have grudgingly admired him if he'd told Libby he couldn't accept the resignation, he had to fire fire him in order to maintain the honor and dignity he brought back to the....

Oh, sorry, faulty premise. There is no honor or dignity in this White House.

Fingers crossed that the truth will finally come out....but I bet the paper shredders are already humming and drafts of executive orders are already being printed.

Their strategy is to continue to attack Joe Wilson, which is what got them into trouble in the first place.

And when the Republicans keep saying that the underlying allegation has not been proven...that no federal crime was committed in outing Valerie Plame...why don't the Democrats or the journalists ask, "Then why the hell did they keep lying about it?"

You either have to accept that Libby and company knowingly committed a crime because they were covering up something they knew was wrong....or they were incompetent enough to commit these crimes without cause or justification.

I hate to admit it, but I guess I'd rather have a competent liar helping run my country than an incompetent stop making it worse than it is, people, and give us a leader of the free world who is willing to take some frigging responsibility. Please, I'm begging you. Give us an evil genius instead of forcing us to accept that we've got a bunch of evil idiots running the show.

As a dreamer, I'm also hoping that a lengthy trial will force the American People to accept their share of the blame for putting these guys in power.

Lastly, where the hell is Bob Novak in this whole thing?

I still can't figure out why, if he is the one who wrote the story, his name never comes up in any relation to the scandal.

Because wanting to leave the Homeland is inherently suspicious....

All you conspiracy freaks out there who are more outraged about Wal-mart wanting to have readable ID tags (called, innocuously enough...spy chips) on their merchandise than you are about their contributions to the DeLay legal defense....not to mention all the other reasons you should be outraged at Walmart....Have I got news for you.

Sure, it's scary to think the world's most powerful (and rabidly neo-con) corporation is already poised for world domination and preparing to put tags on their products which they could use to track you remotely as you move around their store and beyond. They call it "an inventory control tool," but what if they actually think you are the inventory being controlled?

And you can bet your sweet bippy that if a technology is commercially available, there are scarier versions of that technology already in use clandestinely by the Government.

Try this on for size:

Passports to get RFID chip implants, By Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache, Staff Writer, CNET, Published: October 25, 2005

It seems that the Bush Administration has announced that all U.S. passports will be implanted with remotely readable computer chips starting in October 2006.

Click the link to read the full article and then get in line to get your very own Number of the Beast implant. Supplies are not limited. Then tell me again that the War On Terror isn't the best thing to happen to the neo-cons. Every limitation on your freedom and privacy is couched in the language of that war and how that war is being fought to protect the very freedoms and privacy they are taking away from you.

If we're fighting for our freedom, why aren't we fighting the ones who are most actively taking those freedoms away from us? That's all I'm asking about.


Death Brand--Book Plug

My other (non-identical) cousin, Scott C. Ristau, has just had his first novel published. Buy a copy, would you? I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover....but dang, nice cover, huh?

Death Brand
A Novel
by Scott C. Ristau

An evil seed has been sown in the kingdom of Gairloch. Torrin Murgleys, a young wizard and grandson to Gairloch's Queen Bryana, is witness to a heinous crime perpetrated by his father. He reports the crime but is not believed. Compelled by a need for justice, Torrin takes the law into his own hands. For his vigilante justice, Torrin is exiled from Gairloch and expelled from the wizard Prelature. Adding to Torrin’s punishment, the boy’s mother and brother are banished with him. However, the queen's edict cannot permanently suppress the malice she sees harbored within her grandson. And grievous events ultimately conspire to force Torrin’s return. Chronicling Torrin's exile and his psychological transformation into a malicious tyrant, Death Brand is a look inside the heart and mind of evil. It is a tale of corrupted justice, hateful revenge, and redemptive love set in a world of fantasy.

Recently released, the novel Death Brand (ISBN 1-4137-7300-1) by Scott C. Ristau is now available for purchase directly from the publisher at or by calling 1-240-529-1031. It can also be obtained from,,,, and elsewhere.

Click on the image to be taken to Amazon to buy your own copy today!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I don't do a lot of TV reviews, but I have to say that the show "Over There" by Stephen Bochco (FX) is by far the best television show I've ever seen. It is deftly scripted, goregously shot, and compellingly executed on every level.

In spite of grousing that just showing violence in Iraq means you must have an anti-war bias, I find the show to be remarkably un-political and the only bias is against the stupidity of man's inhumanity to man...and there is plenty of stupidity and inhumanity on all sides of the story in this drama. I don't think people should get bogged down in a debate over the reality of the show. It's on TV, that should tell you that it isn't entirely real. If you want reality, enlist. In many ways it is as real as it can be, but it doesn't pretend to be anything but fiction. In fiction you willingly suspend disbelief in order to arrive at the moral lesson taught by the work of fiction. There are lots of important themes in this show, and are worth looking past the political fueding of the left and the right in order to find.

I really recommend the show to everyone because it allows (via the tool of fiction) a means of dealing with the reality of the war. For people on both sides of the issue it helps us to frame our support for the troops and remember that while we sit in air conditioned or centrally heated comfort typing away on our blogs or watching Fox News there are real people doing the real things that may very well result in their deaths....but because it is fiction, and the characters iconic, we aren't devastated or made numb by the violence, allowing us to continue. Which, at the end of the day, is what the real soldiers are fighting for.

The show does all the things that the critics on both sides of the issue say the media isn't doing in real life--it shows good things the soldiers are doing, and the horrors of war. It shows the consequences of compassion...which can be a heart and mind of a former enemy won over to your side or a suicide bomber that got past you and kills five of your friends.

Fiction doesn't trivialize an issue, traditionally it has been a very effective tool to help the average person understand the complexity of an issue and then to take whatever action they deem appropriate. I would hope that a show like this can help the most knee-jerk anti-war liberal remember that the soldiers are real people who are making tremendous sacrifices for what they believe in, and help the most die-hard neo-con remember that the same is true of the insurgents.

The first thing you have to do in a war, regardless of your side, is dehumanize the enemy so that your side will be able to kill them with frequency and efficiency without the guilt that a person under normal circumstances is supposed to feel when they kill somebody. Unfortunately, that very principle is what makes a war so hard to stop and a peace do difficult to maintain.

A show like this can help keep the complete perspective and remind us that even when we're fighting a war "over there" so that we don't have to fight it "at home"...war is still hell. It is fought to create peace which is lasting and just. It is never an end in itself.

Last night was the last episode of the season. I don't know if it will be renewed. Maybe by next season the war will be truly over and it will be moot, but I wouldn't count on it. Last night's episode ended less like a cliff hanger making you want to see next season's opener and more like the end of a mini-series...with the central character, the sergeant, saying, "The lucky ones live to feel guilty."

I don't think Bochco or anyone else is confident that the series will return, and its ratings have been low enough to justify that concern....but its a shame. It really was, for at least a season, the best thing on television I've ever seen.

Anyway, that's what I think.

Other people think other things.

Some Like It:

Some Hate It:

Read More Reviews

Write your own review in the comments section, I'd be interested to read them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Error...Error...does not compute...(followed by brain exploding)

Ok, here are some of the things that make my brain hurt.

1) That we happily dump $300 billion dollars into the shocking and awesome destruction and occupation of a country and call it Liberation and Winning the Hearts and Minds of people who are, in many ways, pre-disposed to hating us....but we bitch and complain about being asked to cough up even a paltry $10 Million to help the earthquake ravaged people of Pakistan, one of our "allies" in "spreading democracy" (So long as Parvez--the general who took control of that country in a military coup--is not ousted by the vast majority of his people guessed it...are pre-disposed to hating us). Seems to me my tax dollars would be better spent getting the people of muslim countries to love us rather than hate helping them instead of killing them.

2) How on the same day that Iraq ratifies its constitution, we mark the death of our 2,000th American soldier in Iraq and Bush warns of "self-defeating pessimism." If we are defeated in this adventure, I postulate that it has much more to do with self-defeating optimism on the part of the Bush Administration than on self-defeating pessimism of those who cautioned against this invasion and who did not make delusional claims that the war would be over in less than six months, that we'd be greeted as liberators with open arms and rose petals, that the war would cost $1.7 billion dollars, and that the Iraqi reconstruction would be paid for by opening up one of the largest oil reserves in the world to the market place by removing Saddam from power.

3) That George Bush campaigned in 2000 on being the man to usher in a new era of personal responsibility and accountability, and to bring dignity back to the White House after Clinton's escapades which resulted in his impeachment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The very charges with which Cheney, Libby, and/or Rove may be indicted on. Supporters of this Republican Administration are now doing exactly what they said they didn't want Clinton to do...try to weasle out of the charges by too narrowly defining the technical parameters defining "perjury" and "obstruction" as crimes. And they said irony was dead.....

Will George Bush fire those in his administration responsible for the leak, as he promised without qualification? Don't hold your breath. There is dignity and then there is what this president calls dignity.

While we're on the subject of dignity and comparisons with Clinton...if you really wanted to end corruption, why repeal the Clinton-era rule that prevents the government from awarding federal contracts to businesses that have broken environmental, labor, tax, civil rights or other laws? I know, I didn't believe you when you said it, so why should I be surprised when your mispresentations are exposed? I guess I'm not. I'm surprised by the people who just refuse to accept that you are lying to them when the proof is so obvious.

4) That George Bush claims that we are winning the War on Terror when terrorist attacks have risen sharply since he took office. He also claims that the war in Iraq has not caused the rise in terrorism. In addition, he cautions that the war in Iraq will not end the threat from violent extremeists. Yesterday, to a gathering of grieving spouses of dead servicemen and women, he said that radicals were spreading their ideology before the March 2003 invasion and will "exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse." Hang on here. We're winning the war on terror, but terror is on the rise...We are fighting in Iraq, and these peoples 2,000 family members died there, so that we can have a total victory against terror...but Iraq doesn't matter because the terrorist ideology existed before we invaded and we acknolwedge that it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. So what the hell is our excuse for going there?

He addressed the people who say the invasion has made terrorism "reminding" us that we were not in Iraq in 2001. So....first, George, what do you think is making it worse? How do we adress that problem in some way other than moving rapidly toward losing as many soldier's lives as we lost civilian lives on September 11th? And, given that none of the 9-11 hijackers were Iraqis, and that Iraq had no connection to Al Qaida...what does your comment have to do with anything? Show me a pair of graphs...terrorist acts against the United States by Iraqis before and after the invasion....and then convince me that the invasion has done nothing to increase acts of terrorism perpetrated by Iraqis against the United States, its soldiers, and its allies.

5) How before the Miers nomination the GOP was in lock step behind those who said that any criticism of the President was tantamount to treason. But now, just when the administration is struggling in a political quagmire of indictments and investigations the President nominates his own lawyer to the nation's highest court and the GOP finally scratches its head and wonders what the hell is going on?

It takes this to finally get Republican members of congress to consider the matter of competence when deciding to confirm a presidential appointment?

8) That if polling data shows that Bush would lose an election this year, how in God's name did he manage to win one last year? (Aside from the obviously unusual fact that polling data predicting a Kerry win was only wildly inaccruate in polling places where there was no paper verification of the votes tallied...Thank you Diebold for fulfilling your promise to give Ohio to Bush...and the rest of us to the devil.)

7)That I could go on and on and on....but nobody seems to care....nobody wants to know....because nobody wants to take personal responsibility for their role in allowing all this to happen in the first place.

"See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --George W. Bush, May 2005


Further Reading

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Virginia is for lovers....of the Death Penalty

I live in Virginia...and that's not a very comfortable place for a rug-biting* liberal to live in most of the time, but especially during election season.

Our last Governor (James Gilmore) left the state with a hell of a mess...and our current Governor, Mark Warner (remember that name) turned the state around, with hard work and sacrifice, in a single term. Thanks to his leadership, Virginia is now the best managed state in the country.

You'd think that would be the kind of thing that would make his Lt. Governor (Tim Kaine) a shoe-in for his replacement next month, when the election is held.

Not in Virginia. Tim Kaine's opponent, Jerry Kilgore, is the guy who campaigned against everything that has worked and worked so well in Virginia when he ran against Mark Warner and lost.

Again, you'd think that something like that would dog a candidate, regardless of party. For a southern state, we sure have short memories.

The problem is, that in Virginia, only two things matter: Keeping gays single and protecting the death penalty. Well, three if you count abortion, but again, both candidates are against it...although, of course, Kilgore is against it to a fault.

So, I often have to hold my nose and support Democrats who sound like Republicans. Every Democrat in the state has to run ads saying they are opposed to gay marriage and will enforce the death penalty. They have to say this even before the Republican accuses them of advancing a dangerous homosexual agenda and being soft on crime.

Of course, the Republicans in Virginia make Republicans elsewhere look liberal, but that's a whole other issue.

This flogging of the Death Penalty by professed ardent Christians has, however, reached a point of absurdity.

Kilgore kicked off the campaign with the most negative attack ads I've ever heard. He actually has a series of ads where he trots out the family members of murder victims and they tell Virginians that Kaine tried to keep the people who killed their wives, brothers, etc. from being put to death after conviction, so Kaine can't be trusted.

There is even, I kid you not, one ad where they actually say that Tim Kaine would help Hitler avoid the death penalty.

Wait, I thought MoveOn.Org was the only organization depraved enough to exploit Hitler's legacy to win votes....Guess I was wrong. Has anyone else noticed how Republicans tend to accuse Democrats of doing what they don't mind doing themselves? If Republicans hate Democrats who do it...and for crying out loud, Durbin was just trying to get American troops to stop torturing people, not win an election...why do they tolerate it when their own candidates do it? Could it be that they are not...sincere?

And to counter these creepy and extremely misleading ads, Kaine has had to run ads saying that, literally, Jerry Kilgore is attacking his religious beliefs because as a Catholic he is morally opposed to the death penalty. He cautions, however, that as an elected official he will work to uphold existing laws...including the death penalty. "I'm a Christian, but secular law comes first." What a stupid position hypocritical Christian Republicans have put Tim Kaine in. It melts my brain.

Boil it down, folks. Kilgore is basically saying "I'm the vengeance candidate. I'm a Christian, but not Christian enough to halt an exectution the way Jesus did. Tim Kaine is just too Christian to be trusted in office."

Kaine has to then say, "I want to assure every Virginian that I'm Christian enough to be personally opposed to the death penalty but my convictions aren't deep enough to keep me from killing people for you if you tell me to."

How do you counter the Hitler thing?

"Uh, Jerry, Hitler is already dead, you can't kill him."
"Jerry Kilgore thinks that if elected Governor he will kill any foreign head of state you don't like, living or dead, and that's delusional."

The whole thing is insane.

Of course, I get the subtext. We've all been trained to see Hitler and Hussein as interchangeable, so the subtext is that Kaine wouldn't keep Hussein from being executed...but Kilgore isn't ballsy enough to actually say that.

Yet. Wait for the next round of push polling to happen.

Rest assured, though, they both want to keep Gays from lifelong legal commitment to monogomy and unable to adopt children.

So, it isn't a matter of who do you think will continue the forward progress which has made this the best managed state in the is who do you most trust to keep the fags down and to kill the bad people? (That being, I guess, the true measure of a modern American Christian.)

I wish we'd keep religion out of politics, because if you don't, there isn't a one of us that can avoid the charge of hypocrisy.

And until fate pulls me somewhere less bloodthirsty, I'll have to keep being subjected to the daily reminder that the overwhelming majority of people in this state need to be constantly assured that their government is a killing machine.

No wonder voter turnout is so low.

*For you young'n's out there, "rug-biting" and "carpet chewing" used to be terms for hystrionic orators....and as an old fart, that's what I mean. It probably dates to the Second World War, when Hitler's generals called him "Teppichfresser" due to his tendency to fly into uncontrollable rages and, according to the story, take a bite out of the nearest carpet. It does not infer, as I am told young people use the phrase today, anything related to rug burns and sexual activity. Sheesh!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Christians against Jesus and Americans for Torture

Sound like nutty organizations? Think again.

According to new polling data, the majority of people who claim to be Christians actually hold positions opposite of what Christ taught (see my last post, Confirm This). Sort of like the polling data during the election that showed that most of Bush's supporters held differing views from those of their own candidate. (Remember this?)

Add to this that the Bush Administration is taking a strong stand to protect their ability to torture people by threatening to veto a bill that would ban the practice and you have to wonder what these people consider a moral compass.

See, I was listening to NPR yesterday as I drove up Interstate 81, and on their Inter-Faith broadcast and I heard an interview with Bill McKibben talking about his recent article for Harpers, The Christian Paradox: How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong. I really recommend you clicking on the link and reading the whole article, it is excellent.

The upshot is that few people who claim to be Christians know much about Jesus and what he actually taught (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, give away all your wealth). Three quarters of those polled thought "God helps those who help themselves" is in the Bible...actually Benjamin Franklin said it and meant it ironically because he knew it is actually counter-biblical. God does not encourage self-reliance, he wants you to rely on Him.

So, as I listened to the radio and read the radical Republican bumper stickers on the gas guzzlers passing my compact car, I thought of some new bumper stickers these Christian Republicans might like to have on their Hummers.

I came up with "Christians against Jesus" and "Americans for Torture".

People could plaster them over their old "Charlton Heston is my President" bumper stickers, since that one is just embarrassing now that Clinton has been out of office for five years.

I'm not criticizing Christians, I am one, after all. I am, just like Jesus, bugged no end by hypcrisy and ignorance, though. I wish more Christians would actually do some of the things Jesus told them to do. It really would be a better world if people would do everything in their power to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick. Call me crazy, but that's what I believe, and that is what motivates my politics.

And it isn't just like-minded Christians who feel this way. Also on the same NPR program was a Rabbi from the organization Rabbis for Human Rights. It was very interesting interview and gave me real hope for the Middle-East.

It also alerted me to an important bill that every person who considers themselves a person of real faith should support, especially Christians...and which, ironically, is adamantly opposed by our current President.

I strongly urge all Christains to join me in support of the McCain Amendment to Stop Torture by writing your representative today.

Because, in the language of the President himself, if you aren't against torture, then you're for it. It begs the question...Who Would Jesus Torture?

Does the first President to take such pride in being "Openly Christian" want his very first Presidential veto to be of anti-torture legislation? It's enough to make you want to rid the temple of thieves.

Further reading:

Friday, October 21, 2005

Confirm This

I had a dream last night...and told it to my identical cousin, Todd, and he wrote it up as a No Shame piece. I share it with you here.

Confirm This
By Todd Wm. Ristau (Copyright 2005, all rights reserved)

(lights up on GEORGE BUSH, standing at a podium.)

BUSH: There’s been, uh, a lot of chatter…whispering…guessing about my nomination of Harriet…People in congress saying she isn’t smart enough to be a supreme court justice…that she’s promised people things…that she’s just getting nominated because she’s the person who gives me legal advice…Let me put it this way, you think she isn’t qualified and I’m just paying back some favors. You people got a lot of nerve, you know that? I’m the President. I’m an important person and people all over the world recognize that, but you people think you can do better than me. You can’t. But, I prayed on it, and I talked to my closest personal advisor last night, and he urged me to withdraw Harriet Miers, and so, that’s what I’m doing. Not because I’m weak, but because I’m strong. I’m strong enough to know when to just listen to advice and when to actually take it. (pause) And so, I’m nominating someone you all already love. Or, if you don’t love him, you’d better start loving him, because if you don’t love him, you’re going to have a powerful want of air conditioning in the not too long from now. Heh..heh. (pause) Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next Supreme Court justice of the United States… My best friend…Jesus.

(GEORGE BUSH walks off stage and JESUS CHRIST enters. A hundred flashbulbs go off. He sits at a long table, wearing a nice suit with a flag lapel pin. He is behind a microphone, pushes his hair to one side and addresses the Senate. Seated in the audience are five SENATORS, who speak without standing.)

JESUS: Thank you. Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished members of the Senate, I am ready for your questions.

SENATOR 1: Mister Christ—

JESUS: Senator, you can call me Jesus.

SENATOR 1: Mister Christ, we haven’t had a lot of time to review your record or your legal paper trail, but you are a public figure…and I have to say that some of what is in the public record is of great concern to some of us in the Senate and to our constituents.

JESUS: I understand. Please, feel free to ask any questions you might have. A lot of what a person says in their youth are but stones on the path which takes them to a mature understanding. I recognize there may be seeming contradictions and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.

SENATOR 1: I’d like to begin by asking you about your devotion to democracy.

JESUS: I’m sorry…is that a question?

SENATOR 1: I’ve looked through your speeches and writings and I can’t find a single mention of democracy or a discussion of individual freedoms in any of them.

JESUS: Senator, I have long used the terms King, King of Kings, and Kingdom of Heaven to illustrate a metaphoric point. If I had the chance to do it again, I believe I would replace that archaic terminology with President, President of Presidents, and Democracy of Heaven.

SENATOR 1: So you do believe in the democratic institutions which make this nation great?

JESUS: I think it is clear that God is in a tight campaign to win the popular vote in the hearts and minds of the people of this nation, and that the granting of free choice to humanity was a tacit affirmation of democratic principles--and the precious right of choice, even if one chooses to make bad choices.

(Jesus smiles, he thinks he scored points with the Senators)

SENATOR 1: So, you are pro-choice?

(Jesus looks nervous, murmurs among senators)

SENATOR 2: If the Senator will yield, I have some questions about the role of the judiciary.

SENATOR 1: I do so yield, but with the proviso that I may return to this important question.

SENATOR 2: Jesus, I have noted in your public speeches several instances of a predisposition toward mercy. If confirmed as a Justice of the Nation’s highest court, would you administer harsh punishment when warranted?

JESUS: The merciful will receive mercy.

SENATOR 2: That’s what you’ve said. My constituents are ardently in favor of the death penalty as both a punishment and a deterrent. We are very concerned about your having taken steps in the past to halt the legal execution of an adulteress.

JESUS: Senator, it is true that I halted that execution, however I’d like to point out that I later submitted to my own execution.

(Murmers of approval from all senators but #2)

SENATOR 2: But you were not guilty of the crime for which you were executed. Not only were you innocent of that crime but of any crime, and yet you paid the ultimate price for the false accusation! Doesn’t your very death therefore stand as an argument against death as a punishment?

(Jesus looks nervous, murmurs from the senators)

SENATOR 3: If the senator will yield—

SENATOR 2: I do so yield, but on the proviso—

SENATOR 3: Yes. Jesus, many of my constituents are hoping for a strict constructionist to sit on the bench. A judge who will interpret the constitution literally, as the founding fathers intended it, as they wrote it, and not legislate from the bench.

JESUS: George mentioned this to me.

SENATOR 3: You’ve said that not one jot of the law can be changed, and yet you have also been sharply criticized for taking a stand against being too strict in the interpretation of law…saying that love of the letter of the law blinds one to the spirit of the law. Which is your current position?

JESUS: Haven’t you read what David did when—

SENATOR 3: (confused) I’m sorry?

JESUS: When David went into the temple and ate the bread which only the priests were allowed—

SENATOR 3: I don’t think a parable is appropriate here. We are interested in specific answers to specific questions, not symbolic evasions. Please answer the question—are you, as a judge, there to interpret the law or to create the law?

JESUS: I am not the creator of the law, I am the fulfillment of the law.

(Senators look nervously at each other.)

SENATOR 4: Senator, if you will yield--

SENATOR 3: I do so yield.

SENATOR 4: I’m concerned about your position on privacy. I see here in one report that you have said “Nothing which is covered up will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Is this accurate?

JESUS: It is.

SENATOR 4: How can a government function—or even a private household—without an expectation of privacy?

JESUS: Where nothing is secret, there is no need of lies.

(Nervous murmurs among senators)

SENATOR 1: Jesus, I notice in your “teachings” that you seem to have a bias against wealth and those who have it. Something about a camel and a needle, and if you would be perfect, sell everything you have, including your home, and give everything to the poor.

JESUS: Well, let me explain about that…

SENATOR 4: Is it your position that the only perfect people are the impoverished and homeless are to be exalted above the owners of property?

JESUS: I was illustrating, perhaps with hyperbole, that the things of this world can blind you to spiritual truths.

SENATOR 3: (with a chuckle) So, you’re saying that if confirmed you will forgo a salary?

JESUS: Is receiving something without sacrifice a satisfactory illustration of justice? Or of value?

SENATOR 4: The senate will ask the questions, Jesus, and you will confine yourself to answers.

SENATOR 5: Jesus, you sound to me like a communist. Frankly, some of us find that very disturbing. America is founded on the principle of a free-market economy and in an era where welfare reform is perhaps the single most import issues facing us, it is alarming that a nominee for the Supreme Court should be on record as having said that everyone should give to anyone who begs of them whatever is asked of them.

JESUS: Poverty issues are very important to me.

SENATOR 5: Yes, that much is clear. Are you, Jesus, anti-wealth?

JESUS: I do not conspire against wealth. It is wealth that conspires against you.

(Murmurs among the senators)

SENATOR 1: Jesus, as you know, this is a nation at war.

JESUS: I’ve talked with the President about that a lot.

SENATOR 1: Yes, and frankly, some of the quotes attributed to you have us very concerned about how you would rule in matters directly pertaining to the execution of that war and the fundamental doctrines of –

JESUS: The senator is talking about Pre-emption.

SENATOR 2: Yes…you’ve said: “Don’t resist one who is evil” and advocated turning the other cheek if struck. You have cautioned against vengeance.

JESUS: (slightly evasive) The whole “love your enemies” thing has been blown out of proportion, and as the President has tried to convince me, the issue of turning your cheek after being struck is only an issue if you allow yourself to be struck in the first place. I would advocate not being struck. Taking steps to avoid being struck before the striking occurs.

SENATOR 3: Is that the same as saying “strike or be stricken”? Or are you talking about appeasement?

(Jesus looks nervous again, fiddles with the flag on his lapel, senators murmur)

SENATOR 2: Jesus, as a nominee to one of three branches of government…I’m concerned about the extent of your personal relationship with the President and how that might compromise the separation of powers. Will you continue to have private conversations with the president if confirmed?

JESUS: Yes. I will talk to anyone who talks to me. I’d talk to you, too, if you called out to me, no matter what time or what subject.


SENATOR 4: Could you describe the nature of your conversations with the President? Have you ever discussed matters of policy, the execution of the War on Terror, or matters which might come before the judiciary? Is your role that of an advisor or a confidant?

JESUS: When we talk, he mostly does all the talking. He listens…very selectively. When I advised him that if your enemy hungers, to feed him; that if he thirsts, you should give him drink, and that by doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head….I think he just heard the coals of fire on his head part.

SENATOR 5: I see. You do not believe in pre-emptive acts of warfare, or in taking just retribution for violent acts against the state. You think the rich are imperiled by their wealth and should give it away to anyone too lazy to work but with enough gall to ask for it…You think anyone who asks to be forgiven should be forgiven— no matter what their crime…You are soft on crime because you think its better for your soul to have your wealth stolen from you than it is to “hoard” it….You are a pacifist of the Peace at any Cost school of thought…and you're say you come not to bring peace on earth but to bring a sword and then you turn around and say blessed are the peacemakers. It's outrageous and insulting.

JESUS: Senator, I think you are misrepresenting—

SENATOR 5: I’m just trying to get a clear picture of your underlying philosophy and I’m not sure I like what I’m hearing.

JESUS: Senator, it boils down to this. I think that if you can help, you should help. I think that loving your enemies includes not killing them. I believe that you cannot over come evil with evil but only with good. And I think that there is no crime which can not be forgiven if forgiveness is honestly sought.

SENATOR 1: Thank you, Jesus…You’ve been very cooperative.

(Long pause…Jesus stares up sorrowfully at the audience.)

JESUS: You think I’m too liberal to be on the Court, don’t you?

SENATORS: (in unison) We’ll be in touch.

(Lights out. End)

For further reading:

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bush vs. Daily Show and The Onion: the competition for the best fake news

Bush has been giving us more fake news than the Daily Show. (Fake News Timeline)

Yesterday the Commerce Committee, was supposed to vote on the "Truth in Broadcasting Act of 2005." As of this morning I still haven't been able to find out how that vote went.

The bill would crack down on the creation of "video news releases" that have been distributed by the Bush Administration to local news stations and then presented to the public as unbiased journalism.

Many senators are still undecided, and a strong vote from the Commerce Committee could convince the Senate to pass this bill quickly.

Let's hope.

Keep on this one, and contact Congress on your own to urge support for this bill. It is the truth we're after, and who is afraid of the truth but a liar?

Anyone who doesn't support this bill is only trying to protect their ability to lie.

Why the heck would you want to do that? And why would the Bush Administration, who pledged to bring honor and dignity back to the White House, give this bill anything but its full support?


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bush Takes a Leak

I want to point out that the following is an opinion. It is my own personal opinion, and has been my own personal opinion remaining unchanged since the first time I heard Bob Novak mention that Joe Wilson was married to an undercover CIA operative.

George Bush is the "leaker".

I don't think there is anyone else in the administration as mean spirited, as prone to reprisal for slights real or imagined, and who understands or respects less the rule of law and the parameters which define their office and power.

I think Bush did it, and did it on purpose. I think that Rove and Libby are just sweating out who is going to have to fall on the sword to protect this arrogant butt wipe we've installed in the highest and most powerful office in the world.

Judith Miller and her "Uh, I forget" position reflects a consistent stance of protecting this administration, and I think she's trying to protect the President, not Libby. Was George in the room with her when she interviewed Libby? Is that why "Valerie Flame" appears in the same notebook she used for that interview but she "doesn't think" that name came from Scooter?

As I've pointed out before, Bush clearly stated that he released all members of his STAFF from confidentiality as sources and told THEM to cooperate. He remains as uncooperative and secretive as ever.

I could be wrong, but if one of his public justifications of an invasion of a country which had not attacked the US was that Saddam was the guy who tried to kill his dad...why should I think that outing a man's wife as a CIA operative during war time would be beyond a president who didn't like being called a liar in public?

The Republicans have a history of going after wives...remember that Whitewater was an investigation of Hillary, not Bill...and all they could hang on Bill was a dress with a stain on it....which again came about from an illegally recorded telephone conversation.

The Ken Starr independent investigation came in at more than $70 million....Now that was tax payer dollars well spent, don't ya think?

Further Reading:

And Woman of Mass Destruction by Maureen Dowd, added 10.24.05

(PS, Vet, because I also listen to Rush I know that something like the last 7 Presidents have had approval ratings lower than the current President many of the last 7 Presidents were Republican? Or am I supposed to just accept that this statistic means that it doesn't matter whether or not the majority of people in a democracy disapprove of their elected leader? Tell it to Governor Gray Davis.)

Friday, October 14, 2005

They Lie...and You Don't Care...Making You Complicit

For background, see yesterday's post.

In short, Bush held an "unscripted conversation" with a hand-picked group of 9 American soldiers and one Iraqi soldier in Tikrit yesterday.

Scott McClellan told the press corps yesterday before the event that it would be unscripted and unrehearsed. Anyone watching would have known that was bull. But you didn't have to have two brain cells to rub together, because the satellite feed caught the soldiers rehearsing their answers and being coached on how to answer BEFORE the unscripted conversation started.

You can get to a link to that video here: Staged Bush Military Photo Op Caught By Reporters: The Nose Grows? by Joe Gandelman

The plain fact of the matter is, They Lie.

They Lie by force of habit.

They Lie to us and They Lie to themselves....and because they believe their own lies, they can't understand why the rest of us don't believe them too.

They are not connected to reality.

They can not be trusted.

They are holding us hostage.

We need to break free.

But we won't. Because doing so would mean admitting responsibility for helping to allow it to happen. Indeed, for celebrating it happening while it was happening. The only repudiation that will erase the crimes of this Administration is the kind Bush himself repudiation. The kind that happened in Berlin in 1945. That's what rhetoric like "total victory" leads to.

Today, in reviewing the story...which is a BIG story...on CNN, that bastion of the Liberal Media Elite...actually commented that it is very sad that the media is focused on the fact that They Lied to us about the event being unscripted, that the event was staged, instead of focusing on the message of hope we were being given by these brave soldiers.

Excuse me, but if the event was staged and a lie....uh, maybe the message is also a lie?

Rush Limbaugh, yesterday, was still screaming that the Republicans are not going to forget the Democrats use of forged documents concerning Bush's avoiding his service in the Air Guard during war time.

Too bad he ignores that there has never been one shred of evidence that the allegations in the forged documents were false....or that if you want to weigh forged documents against forged documents--the ones Bush used to take us to war are far more important in terms of what should cause national outrage. Did Dan Rather's forged documents cost $300 billion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives? Of course not. Clearly, to a conservative, the cost of criticizing the President is greater than the cost of any number of dollars or lives.

What is the greater crime? The corruption, cronyism, abuse of power, erosion of civil liberties, militarisim, and routine deception of this administration or the tacit support, praise, and encouragement given this administration by the people of this country?

Their lies are believed because we want to believe them. Feel we can't afford not to believe them. Because to examine them and take responsiblity for them means accepting a measure of the blame and we don't do that. Or if we don't believe them, we are afraid to take a stand and expose them. Ask Joe Wilson what happens to people who attempt to expose a lie. Ask Judith Miller. Ask the Helen Thomas and the rest of the Press Corps.

Despite everything we now know to be fact...that there were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no connection between Iraq and 9-11...the President has told us even knowing what he knows now (assuming he didn't know it then) he would have done the same things. In spite of the facts of the invasion, in spite of the revelations of Abu Ghraib and Guantanemo...In spite of the clear mistakes and misrepresentations in the conduct of the war and the faulty intelligence used to justify it....The President kept his job, Rumsfeld kept his job, Rice was promoted to Secretary of State, Alberto Gonzales (who justified torture) became Attorney General, Wolfowitz became head of the World Bank, Cambone (one of the ones most directly responsible for treatment of prisoners) is still giving Rumsfeld advice, and George Tenet was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I think of Beckett....and look ahead with grave the day when that quote from End Game rings true for America.

"You cried for night. It comes. It falls. Now cry in darkness."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

George Bush...What an inspiring public speaker

I am watching right now in real time the "conversation" Bush is having with a small bleacher full of hand picked supportive troops in Tikrit.

There were technical difficulties which delayed it...I have to presume by the performance that those difficulties included not getting the back pack reciever he used in the debates, since the whole thing was shot from behind and his back was as smooth as a baby's bottom. He has an earphone in, though, you can see the dangling cord when they shoot him in profile...I don't know if that is to hear Rove or the Soldiers talking to him.

But these guys were clearly better rehearsed than the President.

This is so obviously propaganda theatre. Each soldier clearly was given a question in advance to memorize an answer, since each question was handed to a different soldier by a soldier moderator and when Bush, improvising, interrupted them, the soldiers struggled to return to the place in their script where he cut them off.

Here's an example, she seemed to be reading off a teleprompter:

(all name spelling is phonetic, remember, this was real time--also remember that this is verbatim, not cleaned up like the linked transcript below)

Lobardo: Good morning, Mr. President, I'm Master Sgt. Corinne Lobardo with the Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division from and Task Force Liberty fom Scotia, New York. First, I'd like to say that this is a pleasure to speak with you again, we had the honor of your visit to New York City on November 11th in 2001 when you recognized our Rainbow Soldiers for--

Bush: Yeah-- (He can't wait to get the chance to talk about September 11th without bringing it up himself--the interruption shakes her, it isn't in the script.)

Lobardo: --their recovery and rescue efforts at Ground Zero.
(Simultaneous--he's still riffing off-script)
Bush: Were you there? Lobardo: We began our fight against terr--

Lobardo: (alone, and starting again, looking nervously to the side) We began our...fight against the wake of 9-11 and we're proud to continue it here in North Central New York...Nor--North Central Iraq.

Bush: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to New York?

Lobardo: Yes, I was Mr. President.

Bush: Yeah, I thought you looked familiar.


Lobardo: Well, thank you.

(soldiers laugh some more)

Bush: I probably look familiar to you too.

(President laughs...He likes when people recognize him)

This exchange is disturbing on a number of levels.

First, of course, that something billed as spontaneous is so obviously orchestrated and rehearsed...and that they didn't think it needed more rehearsal or better preparation. But I will avoid the obvious metaphoric resonance of that.

Second, that they think the American people and the Iraqis will believe it.

Third, how they don't even try to hide Bush's arrogance now that he's been "validated" by the last election...which again, is a debatable point given all the questions regarding the validity of that validation.

By jumping the gun on the 9-11 reference and then immediately dropping it to focus on himself as an important figure...Bush clearly demonstrated the priorities of this President. Well, priority. George Bush is the only thing he cares about. Nice of him to thank the troops for being so willing to die for that. Him, I mean.

You're going to see one quote pulled from this thing over and over: "We need to stay on the offense, and we need to stay on the offense with well-trained Iraqi forces," the president said.

Here is that quote in its full original context as I have typed it from my video of the CNN broadcast, complete with brain fart pauses:

Lobardo: Together with our coalition forces we have captured over 50 terrorists as well as detained thousands of others that have ties to the insurgency. And I believe it is these accomplishements and the numerous accompliments of our task force that will provide a safe and secure environment for the referandum vote.

Bush: Well, I appreciate that. There's no question that, uh, that we need to stay on the offense...and..but, we, and we need to stay on the offense with well trained Iraqi forces....side by side...the finest...military ever...ever...uh...ever to exist...and that's the United States military.

Somewhat less inspiring, isn't it?

He is so incoherent. It is embarrassing.

But, this did two things. First it distracted anyone from considering the fact that Sgt. Lobardo had just said that the taking of thousands of detainees would help ensure a safe vote. Best not to give the American public time to ponder the impact of keeping thousands of people from voiting by detaining them and remaining questions regarding the legality and treatment of our system of detaining people who impede our progress in the region.

Second, it allowed him to quickly segue to Sgt. Ahkil, who without introduction, I have to assume that he is an Iraqi soldier.

It was like a scene out of Ghunga Din. And exactly as reassuring.

Bush: Yeah. (dismissing Lobardo with an abruptness you wouldn't expect from someone he picked out of a crowd and was able to remember through four years of international crisis and two wars) Sgt, Ahkil, thanks...uh, for joining us. Uh, I, uh, appreciate your service. You got something to say, Ahkil?

Ahkil: (heavily accented so we know he's an Iraqi and not a member of our own highly diverse American military) Good morning Mr. President. Thank you for everything. Sir. Thank you, very much. For everything.

Bush: Yeah--You're welcome--

Ahkil: I like youse.

Bush: Heh-heh, yeah, well, I appreciate that.

One of the things that drives me absolutely insane when this president speaks is that he always uses a first person pronoun when he talks as the voice of the American People. It might seem like a small thing, but only a king or a dictator, not a president, consitently refers to the nation as HIS and not OURS. He always says things like MY country, and I appreciate your service instead of WE appreciate your service. If the point of this thing was to remind the troops that they have America's support, he shouldn't only be indicating they have his support.

No matter what he tells himself, he is not the nation, the nation is not George Bush.

I just don't get how anyone in uniform can feel good about this war...or the people "planning" it. Given his polling numbers, maybe there is an awakening of understanding in our country.

And the Republicans are aware of can hear them already peppering the discussion with accusations that if the mission in Iraq fails it is because of the nay-sayers and Democrats back home.

They can read the writing on the wall as well as anyone. Iraq is a failure, and like the statesmen of the Lost Cause, these guys are not going to admit their mistaken doctrine and are already preparing to lay the blame at the feet of the people who told them this was going to be a mistake in the first place.

Remember Hitler decrying the communists and pacifists who stabbed the German Army in the back and gave the enemy a victory that could never have been won at the front?

God, did he just say "When you come back to the United States, if I'm hanging around, come by and say hello." I bet that one stung Cindy Sheehan.

And they criticized Clinton for not being presidential? They called Clinton the Hillbilly in Chief?

How about instead of a pep talk you give the troops some actual leadership? How about telling them there is more to the plan than "We're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory."

That sounds a lot like the neo-con political strategy but not much like a good strategy for creating a democracy in a foreign land. But as we know, irony isn't dead, Republicans are dead to irony. And logic. And diplomacy.

My memory is bad, but I seem to recall a few years back a guy in a flight suit standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a banner reading "mission accomplished" telling me that major combat operations were over in Iraq.

So why isn't anyone, especially these ten soldiers whose lives are at risk, asking what the hell the president means when he says to them today, "We need to stay on the offense, and we need to stay on the offense with well-trained Iraqi forces"?

Please...Bush, Cheney, Rumbseld--the Doomsday Triangle--please start taking responsibility for what you are doing to our nation.

Admit your mistakes and correct them. Staying the course can only end in complete disaster. Saddam's smoking gun didn't come in the form of a mushroom cloud, and not because you prevented it...because there was no gun in the first place.

Why is America so willing to accept the consequences of your failures? Why is Iraq a good deal for us? Why is the cost in lives and dollars a bargain? Well, any idiot knows it's easier to spend on credit if you aren't worried about paying the bill, and it is either to pay when you are using someone else's money...or someone else's children.

And the CNN live broadcast of the "event"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Low bio-rythm, super depressing suck butt day.

Sometimes days start out bad and just get worse.

Sometimes the day is just so damned bad that the only thing that helps is conducting the horse choir.

When my students hear the horses singing...they know to leave me alone until the wound in my heart is healed.

I happily invite you to conduct the horses when you feel like that too.

Whether you are a conservative who is broken hearted that Bush is a spend and spend liberal in Republican clothing who probably isn't going to overturn Roe v. Wade...

Whether you are a liberal who is broken hearted that even though the Republicans control all three branches of government you still get blamed for having too much power....

Whether you are not defined by your politics but just are having a gloomy, broken hearted very bad day....

The horses will help you. Just click on them to make them sing, click on them to make then stop.

The answer is in their song.

After the horses have restored your will to live, you should check out the rest of the farm and play with the other animals. Lots of fun games, which if you don't speak Swedish, will present an added challenge in figuring out how to play them.