Saturday, March 26, 2005

Freethought of the day

Mrs. G turned me onto this. From the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

“The laws of God, the laws of man,
He may keep that will and can;
Not I: let God and man decree
Laws for themselves and not for me;
And if my ways are not as theirs
Let them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds I judge and much condemn,
Yet when did I make laws for them?
Please yourselves, say I, and they
Need only look the other way.
But no, they will not; they must still
Wrest their neighbour to their will,
And make me dance as they desire
With jail and gallows and hell-fire.
And how am I to face the odds
Of man's bedevilment and God's?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.
They will be master, right or wrong;
Though both are foolish, both are strong.
And since, my soul, we cannot fly
To Saturn nor to Mercury,
Keep we must, if keep we can,
These foreign laws of God and man.”

-- A.E. Housman, No. 12, Last Poems, 1922

Voice of the Sierra Foothills

While I'm blogging today, I'm listening to the best community radio station that I know of. We're just able to get it here lately, but we've listened to it for years for about twenty minutes at a stretch when we cruise west on I-80.

The station is KVMR-FM, located in Nevada City, California. That's our county seat and is located 65 miles away, on the other side of the Sierra Nevada.

They play great music with all-volunteer deejays. Right now I'm listening to some country tunes that you'll never hear on commercial stations, but they play lots of different stuff.

Go visit. You can listen live through the electronic miracle of streaming audio. You can confuse the livin' shit out of 'em, too: if you like what they offer, send 'em some money from far away.

A Few More "Nuclear Options"

The Republicans would very much like to see the end of the filibuster, but they've got more in the works than just that. Reason Gone Mad has 14 more rules they will impose - on everybody but themselves, of course. Go read. Here's a coupla my favorites:
3. When a roll-call vote is required, the clerk shall call the name of every Republican senator and record each senator's "yea" or "nay" until all Republicans have voted. At that point, the clerk may leave for the day.

5. When a Republican senator drops a new bill into the hopper on the clerk's desk, it shall immediately become law.

6. Senate Democrats may no longer use a filibuster to thwart the daily 5:30 p.m. vote on the "Looks Like It's Time to Send the Democratic Senators Out to Buy Us Some Chips and Beer" Act.

13. FYI, next Thursday the Senate Rules Committee will be replaced by a laptop computer running Diebold's new IronFist™ Legislative Debate Management software.

That last one would eliminate any pesky holdover "ethics" that may still be slowing the Republican agenda, huh?

Since I stole all this from Grannyinsanity, I owe it to her to post a couple of her additional recommendations:
Any Rebublican Contributor may parade any Senate Democrat around naked on a leash after Church on Sundays.

Oh boy! Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd! I can hardly wait!
All medical decisions for the Proles will henceforth be made by gun wielding anti abortionists.

Oh boy! Gunfights with bad guys! Some of us gun-totin', white hat-wearin', former military good guy Democrats would just fuckin' love that, you betcha!

US Dollar Hegemony and the Iranian Threat

The costs of sustaining the US's new 'Empire' will become apparent to its public only when these costs directly accrue to them. This will happen, as this article suggests, only when other nations stop subsidising the US's imperial adventures by colluding in them and the dollar loses its role as the world's reserve currency.

This article argues that if the US’s ability to undertake imperial conquests like that of Iraq depends on its obvious military supremacy, this in turn is ultimately based on the use of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It is the dominance of the dollar that underpins US financial dominance as a whole as well as the apparently limitless spending power that allows it to keep hundreds of thousands of troops stationed all over the world. Destroy US dollar hegemony, and ‘Empire’ will collapse.
The Soft Underbelly of Empire

Iran does not pose a threat to the United State because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to “terrorists organizations” as the American administration is claiming, but in its attempt to re-shape the global economical system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petroeuro system. Such conversion is looked upon as a flagrant declaration of economical war against the US that would flatten the revenues of the American corporations and eventually might cause an economic collapse.
The Iranian Threat: The Bomb or the Euro?

Both these articles are very interesting. Even if you have nothing to say about them I recommend the reading.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Islamization of the Republican Party and Ayatollah DeLay

From Juan Cole:
The cynical use by the US Republican Party of the Terri Schiavo case repeats, whether deliberately or accidentally, the tactics of Muslim fundamentalists and theocrats in places like Egypt and Pakistan. These tactics involve a disturbing tendency to make private, intimate decisions matters of public interest and then to bring the courts and the legislature to bear on them. President George W. Bush and Republican congressional leaders like Tom Delay have taken us one step closer to theocracy on the Muslim Brotherhood model.

The Muslim fundamentalists use a provision of Islamic law called "bringing to account" (hisba). As Al-Ahram weekly notes, "Hisba signifies a case filed by an individual on behalf of society when the plaintiff feels that great harm has been done to religion." Hisba is a medieval idea that had all be lapsed when the fundamentalists brought it back in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of the most objectionable features of this fundamentalist tactic is that persons without standing can interfere in private affairs. Perfect strangers can file a case about your marriage, because they represent themselves as defending a public interest (the upholding of religion and morality).

But the most frightening thing about the entire affair is that public figures like congressmen inserted themselves into the case in order to uphold religious strictures. The lawyer arguing against the husband let the cat out of the bag, as reported by the NYT: ' The lawyer, David Gibbs, also said Ms. Schiavo's religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic were being infringed because Pope John Paul II has deemed it unacceptable for Catholics to refuse food and water. "We are now in a position where a court has ordered her to disobey her church and even jeopardize her eternal soul," Mr. Gibbs said. '

In other words, the United States Congress acted in part on behalf of the Roman Catholic church. Both of these public bodies interfered in the private affairs of the Schiavos, just as the fundamentalist Egyptian, Nabih El-Wahsh, tried to interfere in the marriage of Nawal El Saadawi.

Like many of his fundamentalist counterparts in the Middle East, Tom Delay is rather cynically using this issue to divert attention from his own corruption. Like the Muslim fundamentalist manipulators of Hisba, Delay represents himself as acting on behalf of a higher cause. He said of the case over the weekend, ' "This is not a political issue. This is life and death," '

Republican Hisba will have the same effect in the United States that it does in the Middle East. It will reduce the rights of the individual in favor of the rights of religious and political elites to control individuals. Ayatollah Delay isn't different from his counterparts in Iran. (my emphasis)

Fundamentalists of any stripe have no business being anywhere near the formulation of public policy. Anywhere.

It's Empathy, Stupid!

And Bush just doesn't get it.

Native Americans across the country -- including tribal leaders, academics and rank-and-file tribe members -- voiced anger and frustration Thursday that President Bush has responded to the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history with silence.

. . .

"From all over the world we are getting letters of condolence, the Red Cross has come, but the so-called Great White Father in Washington hasn't said or done a thing," said Clyde Bellecourt, a Chippewa Indian who is the founder and national director of the American Indian Movement here. "When people's children are murdered and others are in the hospital hanging on to life, he should be the first one to offer his condolences. . . . If this was a white community, I don't think he'd have any problem doing that."

To paraphrase Clinton's first campaign, "It's empathy, stupid!"

Read the whole article at MSNBC.


Will Durst nails Bush's pansy hide to the wall.
Wimps rejoice. The glittering realm of wimpdom is vacant no more. "Long live His Wimpiness King George II." Yes, friends, the wimp is back and he's wimpier than ever. As the Arnold is wont to say: "He's a girlie man." Punked-out mamma's boy. You know if he were in prison, he'd be shaving his legs, wearing mascara and calling his cellmate "Sushi Lips." Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying.

I'm referring to the sorry spectacle of the president flying back to D.C. from Texas to jump on the holy-roller bandwagon entangling a brain damaged coma victim's feeding tubes in its spokes.

But any way you cut it, it's rare to see this kind of world class brown-nosing from a termed-out politician. His staff loves to say Bush is a man who doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit." Well, apparently he's not all that conversant with the word "shame" either.

I can understand Bill Frist and Tom DeLay orchestrating these weasel moves, as they're still ambitious poisonous little suckups with big Christian-right butts in their crosshairs, but shouldn't George be working out of the downtown plaza of Legacy City right now, cleaning up his contribution to a presidential library by shredding documents? And it turns out, he's just a big fat sissy boy like his dad. Isn't that sweet?

Damn, that's good! I've been complimented as having a "vicious wit", but next to Mr. Durst, I'm "Sushi lips"!
Political comic Will Durst has a feeding tube. It's a brown bottle that says "Anchor" on the outside and holds 12 oz. of frothy nutritious liquid on the inside.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'll Have a Side Order of Gloating

Amid all the Schiavo stories on the news tonight was dear ol' Randall Terry, henchman extraordinaire for Operation Rescue. Seems Randy and his cadre are mighty upset with the Bush Brothers for not delivering the goods and keeping Terri Schiavo alive. (Cue violins) They're feeling let down. (Kleenex, please) They're going to take their votes elsewhere next election (where else? Surely not to us godless, life-hating, baby-aborting, plug-pulling Democrats!).

Seems the barking moonbats of the Reichwing are experiencing a bad case of buyer's remorse because the products they purchased aren't working as promised. I could say "I told you so," but instead I'll just rub my hands together and gleefully say, "Tee hee hee!"

Holy Shit

I was skiddin' around the net and ran across a site that I wouldn't care to read just before bedtime. They're really out to get us , folks. For a scary read, go to Theocracy
This web site explores the narrow theological agenda that the theocratic right is imposing on secular society. Twenty-five years ago it targeted the Republican Party as the vehicle through which it could advance its agenda. Today it has extraordinary power in the U.S. government, with two branches solidly in its pocket and the third, the judiciary, just a couple of retirements away. It is also making great strides in schools, in the media, and in State Legislatures.

Jesus Christ is, therefore, the Ruler of Nations, and should be explicitly confessed as such in any constitutional documents. The civil ruler is to be a servant of God, he derives his authority from God and he is duty-bound to govern according to the expressed will of God.

The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less... Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ.

The answer to the power of the Christian Right is electoral power of our own. No excuses. Many of us have tended to abandon this cornerstone of citizenship in favor of other things. It is time to get our priorities strait. Less talk, more action. Less entertainment, more citizen involvement. Less TV and sports. More electoral politics. Do we want the theocrats to win? More electoral politics.

If we believe that democracy is a good thing, we need to learn to get very good at it. We need to be better at it than those who would destroy it.

All that's on the first page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

B4B ad pulled by eBay

Billionaires For Bush had their sale item yanked by eBay.
Anxious to realize the corporate profits of a privatized Social Security, and frustrated with President Bush's failure to convince the American public to disregard their best interests in support of Wall Street, we're offering the federal program on eBay to the first privately held Brokerage firm that can meet their reserve. Corporate giants are encouraged to bid.

Gee, isn't that "restraint of trade" or something un-American like that? Go read. Good links. Scroll down, more funny stuff.

Now's the time to stomp on the foot with the bullet hole in it...

Yeah, I know, we're all sick of this bullshit, but here's one more Op-Ed about DeLay/Schiavo/God. From the WaPo. Go read the whole thing.
For Tom DeLay, Terri Schiavo came along just in the nick of time. "One thing that God brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," DeLay told a group of Christian conservatives last Friday.

And what, exactly, is going on in the United States? "Attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," DeLay told his flock. So God has now thrown in with DeLay in his efforts to pack the House ethics committee with his allies so that he no longer need be the subject of the scrutiny and censure of his peers.

At its topmost ranks, and not only there, the party of Lincoln has become the party of Elmer Gantry. It peddles miracle cures and elixirs of life, to the benefit of the preachers, not the patients. When it comes to promoting real cures, today's Republicans are nowhere to be found. The Medicaid cuts pushed by the White House and passed by House Republicans last week would, if enacted into law, shorten the lives of numerous poor Americans living in conscious, not vegetative states. But that's a topic of no demonstrable interest to Christian conservatives, though I've yet to come across the biblical passage that exempts them from such concerns.

In their haste to curry favor with the Christian right, the Republican leaders have run roughshod over some very deeply rooted American -- and conservative -- beliefs. Americans tend to believe in their doctors, and in the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. They believe in spheres of privacy where the state cannot intrude. There's no more distinctly American belief than the right to be left alone by government. Liberals and conservatives differ over which great causes compel a suspension of that right, but both sides of the spectrum acknowledge it axiomatically.

As with Social Security, the Republicans are now going too far, promoting priorities of party in-groups that don't resonate at all with the larger public. This is classic second-term overreaching, mixed in with the most myopic opportunism. The real opportunity here is for the Democrats, if they have sense enough to realize it.

Yeah, like that'll happen. It better happen soon or the country is toast. The more these Republican bastards get away with, the more they'll try to get away with. This may be a good moment for the Dems to pounce on an especially egregious 'Pub outrage, so they better do it. Another opportunity like this may not come again for a week or two.

The First Problem Is The Republicans...

(posted on behalf of Sarah - a member of Pourquoi Pas?)

Professor Robert Jensen

The second is the Democrats....
The world waits for an answer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Destroying a complaint from the Right

(article cross-posted on behalf of Greg Stephens - a member of Pourquoi Pas?)

A common complaint I hear from the Right is that beneficiaries "livelihood is being paid for by hard working everyday [insert nationality here]" (from Brendan Jarvis).

Well, hang on. I can say the same thing about the bosses. The bosses don't create the wealth they live off, the workers do. So if the Right are going to complain about beneficiaries relying on other people, then why not complain about the bosses who do it as well?
That isn't to say that they didn't work their way up. Of course they did. But they do not create the wealth they now live off. It is Joe Blogg on the factory floor.

Some consistency from the Right please.

I thought I'd copy/paste here my comment to Greg's post on Pourquoi Pas. Those faint of heart right wingers likely to regurgitate their breakfast stumbling across a 4-letter word should probably Cancel right now.

Here we go:


One thing I find even more extraordinary is the claim by shareholders of corporations they are working their asses off for their hard-earned money.


One sits on one's motherfuckin' enormous fat ass collecting dividends off the produces manufactured by ppl working 35 or 40 hours a week on the factory floor not making enough money to survive on, and one still has the cocksucker gall to claim that being an arm-chair shareholder maggot parasite of society is the summit of success resulting from good & wholesome hard work!

Furthermore, the lil fuckers on the assembly line who want to be able to buy food to feed their rug-rats (fancy that, they even procreate - can you believe the hide of those assholes!) are nothing more than fuckin' lazy socialist commies who are really the scum of the fuckin' earth and if they can't feed themselves, it's their own fucking fault since all they have to do is to get off their fuckin' lazy asses and do something useful that justifies them being paid enough so they can eat.

Oh yeah, I can already hear the prudish go-to-church-3-times-a-week right wingers gasping for air as they are fainting all over the floor reading my "obscene" language. Well, motherfucking cunts, if something is obscene it is YOU and your total disrespect for humankind, other species and this entire planet.

PS: I'll let ya'll know how I really feel in my next comment.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bugman Thugman

James Wolcott has a beautiful command of the language. As long as he's around I see no reason to hurt myself trying to be creatively snarky. Here he is about DeLay and Bush in the wake of the reprehensible political opportunism of the Schiavo deal:
I don't want to hear any cultural virtucrat ever again work up a lot of flatulent thunder about 50 Cent or The Game or gangsta rap when the biggest thug around is a middle-aged white man who swaggers through the House as majority leader, making his own rules, punishing his enemies, and using his power and position to lash out against a private citizen with a sneering bullying not seen since Roy Cohn rotted away. I speak of course of the Bugman Thugman. A man who uses an insecticide inhaler to psych himself up to trash his opponents and defile the rules that don't apply to an ubermensch with slush funds pouring out of his enema bag. A man who would wheel Terry Schiavo to home plate for the Washington Nationals home opener if he thought there was any political upside to it.

So dynamic, so forceful, of Bush to interrupt his weekend off to sign this phony bill the Congress rammed through. On Sept 11, he didn't pry himself from his schoolroom chair as thousands died in the WTC because he didn't want to perturb the kiddies, but for this he bolts into action with lightning hooves. I realize it's unpatriotic, perhaps even unmasculine, to concern oneself with what the rest of the world thinks (since we won WWII and all), but just imagine how hilarious Europe, Russia, Asia, the Mideast, and the penguins find this latest American spaz-out, and how horrified they must be at how the beacon of freedom and democracy has become a lashing loony.

Damn, James, keep it up! You make it easy for this lazy boy.

They'll defend Right to Life if they have to kill you...

Gadflyer comments on the ABC news poll analysis of Americans' feelings toward Congress' disgusting intervention in the tragedy-turned-political-football case of Mrs. Schiavo. Read 'em, but here's the upshot, in my view:
They can't even get a majority of evangelicals on board with this thing.

Despite the skittishness of the Democratic leadership (and their understandable reluctance to be seen as pro-death), this is a very good issue for Democrats. It makes Republicans seem in thrall to their most radical supporters, the ones who want the government in your bedroom and now your hospital room, telling you how to live your life - and when they think it's over.

Maybe we should pull the feeding tube out of Congress' ass.

I feel a little uneasy about using Mrs. Schiavo myself for political ends, but here goes anyway: Wouldn't it be wonderfully ironic if her last, if unwitting, mortal act was to make the Hardly-ever Right step on their own dick? They do it all the time, of course, but rarely in such a noticeable and high-profile way.

In a related story from The Carpetbagger:
It's been interesting to see just how much time the president spends away from work and on vacation, but Bush's personal priorities are even more revealing when one considers what it takes for him to cut a vacation short.

Details, details. Go read.
Bush could have signed the Schiavo legislation in Texas, but preferred to cut his vacation short and make the dramatic trip back to the White House just for this occasion.

To recap, Osama bin Laden, Israel, war, and devastation? Vacation on. The religious right wants action on a woman who has been in vegetative state for 15 years? Vacation off. The man has his priorities.

How much does that big Jumbo cost to fly so he could pander to his base? That pisses me off. Did I mention that Bush is a hypocritical asshole? It may be one of his better qualities.

No Draft, As Long As They Can Find Enough Suckers...

Fixer and I have posted many times about the upcoming draft. In an effort to forestall having to admit that Bush lied about it, the administration has written sneaky shit into the law to try and bolster "volunteer" enlistments. From Justin Sane (I think that's a made-up name, like "Heywood Jablome") via Working For Change. Also go see Military Free for info on opting out.
America's schools: Education zone or military recruitment zone?
No Child Left Behind forces schools to give student info to military.

Why does the military have direct access to the private information of American high school students? Under the No Child Left Behind legislation, Sec 9528, education funding in America has been turned into a recruiting tool for our military! Buried in this legislation is a section that mandates student private information be given directly to the military unless the student's parent or guardian opts their records out -- meaning that a request letter from the parent or guardian must be submitted to the school to keep the student's records private.

This is essentially a permission slip to keep one's records private instead of a permission slip to authorize access to one's private records. Yes, the law really was intentionally written completely backwards! (my emphasis) To make matters worse, no concerted effort is being made to inform students and parents that their personal information is being given out.

I'm proud of my military service, but those were different times. I don't blame any kid, who might have otherwise enjoyed and benefitted from service, for not wanting to go participate, and maybe get trunked or die, in Bush's Criminal War.

Participation in the defense of the country is honorable. Sending soldiers to accomplish ideological and corporate objectives under the guise of defense is a War Crime.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Two Years

(article cross-posted on behalf of Sarah - a member of Pourquoi Pas?)

My how time flies when your kids are dying. Got a live one that is reluctant to enlist? Tell them not to worry. Here they can read about how awesome the Draft is gonna be. (Be sure to check out Spring Break Fallujah 2005.)

"Don't forget, when packing your bags for this very special junior year abroad, it's all about shock and awe, baby. Just ask any of our currently overextended troops - it's a trip to die for."
"It's just like Xbox - only you die."
"Baghdad, on five bullets a day!"

Y Are Men and Women Different?

There's been a lot of talk lately about the difference between men and women. Like that's a brand new topic! Anyway, Maureen Dowd chimes in. Read this one just for fun.
Men are always telling me not to generalize about them. But a startling new study shows that science is backing me up here.

Research published last week in the journal Nature reveals that women are genetically more complex than scientists ever imagined, while men remain the simple creatures they appear.

"Alas," said one of the authors of the study, the Duke University genome expert Huntington Willard, "genetically speaking, if you've met one man, you've met them all. We are, I hate to say it, predictable. You can't say that about women. Men and women are farther apart than we ever knew. It's not Mars or Venus. It's Mars or Venus, Pluto, Jupiter and who knows what other planets

That explains it! I've always thought women were kinda spacey.
As the Times science reporter Nicholas Wade, who is writing a book about human evolution and genetics, explained it to me: "Women are mosaics, one could even say chimeras, in the sense that they are made up of two different kinds of cell. Whereas men are pure and uncomplicated, being made of just a single kind of cell throughout."

We're single cell creatures? That's kinda rough, ain't it?
Dr. Page drolly conjures up a picture of the Y chromosome as "a slovenly beast," sitting in his favorite armchair, surrounded by the litter of old fast food takeout boxes.

Now that's more like it! I guess I don't understand the problem.

War and Anti-War

Pictures of the UFPJ and ANSWER Anti-War rallies in NY City yesterday can be viewed here and here

The march began and we marched down to 42nd Street, with people in front carrying the coffins. Then we marched down 42nd street to Times Square. Along 42nd Street and into Times Square a lot of people saw us go by, and the media was all over Times Square. Then they announced for direct action people to move to the front. I am afraid to say I was not as brave and sacrificing as those people, and was trying to avoid being arrested - despite this, I stayed up front taking pictures. We marched to the armed forces recruiting center which is on a traffic island in Times Square. The direct action people made a speech in front of it but with the press there it was pandemonium and I didn't even hear what they were saying. Then they walked over to Broadway and lay down. The police announced anyone not on the sidewalk would be arrested, but all of the photographers, including me, ignored this.

The Pentagon has released the summary of a top secret Pentagon document, which sketches America's agenda for global military domination.
Michel Chossudovsky runs it down for us and things don't look good. I have to believe there are enough sane people in the world that will counteract this belligerence. I have no doubt if Sarkozy runs and wins the next Presidential election here in France we will find ourselves part of this atrocity. Protest, protest, prostest!