Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bad Apples in High Places

Let's see if I've got this straight: the Bush Administration is not being led by a bunch of barbarians who order and approve of torture, right? Abu Ghraib was just a local aberration committed by a few "bad apples," and the expressions "Gitmo-ize" and "f--k a PUC" simply represent attempts by Michael Moore and a few other French-sympathizing fat people to destroy the morale of The Troops, right? I think that's right ... after all, America is the very, very best country in the world and has never been in the wrong about anything, and besides, we have the firm, no-nonsense Official Word from the White House:

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president's made our position very clear: We do not condone torture, nor would he ever authorize the use of torture."

But, on the other hand, it would be very, very bad if there were a law forbidding the president from authorizing the use of torture. Which is why "top Republicans" in the House are mobilizing to defeat such a very, very bad law:

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Rep. Bill Young, R-Florida, who chair Congress' defense spending subcommittees, will be among the leaders of those talks in coming weeks.

Young has said the United States has no obligation to terrorists, and he and other top House Republicans have signaled they will try to change the Senate-approved language.

It turns out, you see, that the Bush regime claims to have no problem with law forbidding uniformed military folk from torturing people, but it would be very, very bad if "undercover operatives" couldn't do it.

If it's difficult for you to see the obvious moral difference between Americans wearing Army uniforms beating prisoners to death and Americans wearing civilian clothes beating prisoners to death ... well, welcome to the club. I seem to be suffering from a little blindness here, myself.

Meanwhile, Rep. Young of Florida is quoted above as saying that the United State has "no obligation to terrorists." Interesting. Considering that the majority of Iraqi "detainees" have been nothing more than Iraqis who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, swept up more or less randomly, I wonder what "obligations" the U.S. might recognize to such unfortunates. Since "terrorist" has come to mean simply "someone that our government does not approve of," Mr. Young's statement is especially chilling.

Finally, I wonder who these "top House Republicans" of whom Mr. Young speaks will turn out to be. I have the familiar, nauseous feeling that they will include "my" own Representative, Marky-Mark "Washington Is My Career" Souder. Bet on it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Evil to Eliminate

Our Glorious Leaders are making ominous noises again. This news story reports that prominent Imperial Minion Condoleezza Rice is so upset with those wacky Syrians that she's taken to spelling her name with various bizarre doubled letters. From the story:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn't discuss any specific actions that the United States might push for when the U.N. Security Council considers the investigator's report Tuesday, but she said the matter "really has to be dealt with."

"These are very serious charges, and they have to be debated at the level of foreign minister," Rice told the BBC in an interview during a tour of her home state of Alabama with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Straw pointed to testimony about "false testimony being given by senior people" in Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime.

Imagine that ... false testimony being given by senior people in a government! The mind reels. Minion Rice is correct: that has to be dealt with. If not, who knows what might happen? Maybe someone in that accursed Syrian regime will start peddling forged "intelligence" to the effect that the peace-loving United State government has been trying to buy "yellowcake" uranium ore from Niger! Why, some have already said that the Washington regime has Weapons of Mass Destruction, or at least WMD-related program activities going on. One must note also that the Washington junta has an extensive track record in recent years for the invasion of other countries. It is a rogue regime, without question. And the signs are in place: yet another country's sovereignty is being threatened by these madmen. (Minion Rice may not be a "man," strictly speaking, but the madness is certainly there; isn't that the important thing?)

Maybe someone could interest the U.N. in giving the green light for regime change in Washington. There'd be a certain amount of symmetric justice in seeing Dubya getting the Saddam treatment.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Support Those Troops, Now!

Carried in the Seattle Times, and credited to the Los Angeles Times, this story:

WASHINGTON — The Army is investigating a group of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan caught on videotape desecrating the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters and using the burning corpses in a propaganda effort to dare other enemy soldiers to "come and fight like men."

The videotape, shot earlier this month by an embedded Australian photojournalist assigned to a U.S. Army unit, was aired on Australian television yesterday and drew immediate concern from officials at the Pentagon.

According to the report, the corpses were set afire on hills above the village of Gonbaz north of Kandahar after the two Taliban fighters were killed by U.S. soldiers the night before. Five soldiers stood around the fire, and two read messages trying to provoke the enemy.

The messages, which apparently were broadcast to the enemy, highlighted that the bodies were laid out facing Mecca, apparently mocking the Islamic requirement to face Mecca during prayers. Islam also prohibits cremation.

"Attention Taliban: You are cowardly dogs," read one soldier, identified as psychological operations specialist Sgt. Jim Baker. "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to retrieve the bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be."

Another unidentified soldier read a separate message: "You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Talibs, but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."

A third soldier is heard saying, "Wow, look at the blood coming out of the mouth on that one."

Ah, yes, planting those Seeds-O-Democracy. This ought to advance George's Noble Cause pretty well.

Yeah, come on, you cowardly ragheads. If you were real, brave men, like we are, you'd fight like men ... dropping GPS-guided bombs from a mile or two in the air, or shooting hundreds of rounds per second from your AC-130 Spectre gunships. Fighting and running away just isn't manly, like fighting (by remote control) and flying away is.

I'm wondering: if those Taliban devils-in-human-form manage to kill that "third soldier" in the story above, and burn up his body, and Al-Jazeera runs tape of one of them remarking about his charring corpse, "Wow, look at the blood coming out of the mouth on that one," what will "our" response be? I'm guessing that a few of those suspect villages will be getting the Fallujah treatment -- or the My Lai treatment. (Same thing, pretty much.)

A final cheerful thought: I bet when those particular troops get home, they'll probably get jobs ... as cops. O happy day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Go Ahead -- Shoot the Dog

If you're as old as I am -- and, I assure you, there are people, still on the north side of the sod, who are even older -- you may remember what must have been the funniest National Lampoon cover ever. I remember it; and, thanks to the miracle of the internets in general, and Mark's site devoted to the NatLamp in particular, I can even tell you that it was the January 1973 issue, and invite you to admire that fine cover. So much for the innocent happiness of an earlier day -- so long ago that I actually used to think of the GOP as being meaningfully different from the Democrat Party. Ha!

What has me remembering this cover is the spin the Republicans have themselves in over the Harriet Miers nomination to the supremes. This story from CNN makes it fairly clear that Ms. Miers's masters have had her trotting about Washington, telling every senator whatever the masters calculate that every senator wants to hear -- in spite of the inconvenient fact that they don't all want to hear the same thing. I'd feel sorry for Ms. Miers, except that any time I'm tempted to do so, I reflect that she's a lawyer, the former capo of the Texas lottery, and someone who's spent a great deal of time with her nose parked up Dear Leader's ass; so I'd tend to think she richly deserves all that she's going through, and then some. But I'm not really here to talk about the Harriet Show today, except to the extent that it illustrates a more basic problem.

I'm thinking, today, of failed approaches to THE ISSUE: legalized abortion (or "choice," or "baby-killing" -- pick your own term, according to your own convictions). I know that my readers -- all five or six of them -- do not all share my view of THE ISSUE (I'm agin it); perhaps none of my readers do. Now, I love my tiny, precious group of readers with a tender love that is so intense that it probably should be illegal; but this post will be addressed to those who agree with me about THE ISSUE. Others may want to read it in the same way that I would go to the zoo to look at all the cool animals: I'm not like them, but I might see something amusing, and maybe even thought-provoking ... and so might you.

I have voted for GOP types in the past. In fact, at the presidential level, I've never voted for the Other Major Brand, and did, in fact, vote GOP as recently as 1992 (Bush the Elder, that was). I didn't do this because I really thought there was much possibility that the Republicans really meant their talk about shrinking the gummint; I did it largely because I thought that folk like Ronnie Reagan were serious about overturning Roe, and were likely to appoint supremes who might do that, or at least refrain from perpetrating fresh outrages. And I sure didn't want supremes to be appointed by those who are frank and up-front about their enthusiasm for dead babies. (That would be the Other Major Brand.) "Vote for our candidates, or the other side's judges will kill this baby." So I held my nose and voted for pachyderms. I bought the accursed magazine. I didn't want them shooting the dog.

I did another thing about THE ISSUE that didn't work: I held down some sidewalks with my local Operation Rescue affiliate. I bought into the civil-rights model: nonviolent civil disobedience would arouse the conscience of the nation, etc., etc. In Fort Wayne, Indiana ("the City of Churches"), the cops surely wouldn't have the stomach to do a whole lot of arresting of their kids' Sunday School teachers. Wrong again, of course. Unlike the first civil-rights movement, this one didn't have the media on board: big difference. No arousing of anyone's conscience, without the teevee telling them it was conscience-arousal time. (I think Cindy Sheehan may have learned this, too, in a somewhat-different context.) And it turns out that the cops in the City of Churches positively loved arresting their kids' Sunday School teachers, with a little sly summary punishment tossed in, in the form of gratuitous roughness and "pain compliance" methods. Four arrests and a FACE law (felony time!) later, that's over with, too. An interesting thing, though: FACE was passed under eee-villl Democrat control, during the Clinton junta. But when the Party of Morals was returned to power, well, we just didn't hear a thing about repealing FACE. It wasn't on the agenda. There isn't the political capital to do just everything, so the elephant does what it's really interested in; and, as it turns out, the elephant's interests and mine are strongly divergent. The elephant is interested in corporate welfare and war; and, truth to tell, I'm pretty sure that the abortion rate among black people in large U.S. cities, which in some cases used to exceed the "live" birthrate, has not escaped the elephant's notice, either. The elephant has been having it both ways: using abortion as red-meat boob-bait on folks like me, while quietly seeing to it that the abortion industry continues as a profitable, going concern.

If the GOP -- the majority party -- really objected to the various judicial outrages to which they affect to object, the GOP would use its power to constitutionally circumscribe the reach of that outrageous judiciary. The GOP would also impeach judges. But those actions would not advance the GOP's actual purposes. So instead, the game continues. "Buy this magazine, or we'll shoot the dog."

How stupid do they think we are? Tragically, a better question: how stupid are we?

Look: don't vote for them. Don't buy the magazine. They're going to shoot the dog anyway. They always have, and they always will. Obviously, and tragically, I don't know how to keep the dog alive. I do know that buying the magazine doesn't get it done.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Word From the Left Coast

My online activity's been a little hindered this week, in that I'm in Los Angeles, taking care of a chore for the day-job employer. (And, as it turns out, I'm probably the very last American who owns neither a notebook computer nor a cell phone. Dinosaurs unite!) LA's an interesting place, to which I am dispatched once a year, on average, and I always enjoy coming out here. I also always enjoy going back. So, it's joy all the way around, I guess. Can't beat a deal like that.

I recommend looking at Paul Craig Roberts at today. While it's not the main point of his piece, he does touch on the compromised status of the Democrat Party as an opposition party; they have spectacularly failed to oppose Bush's wars, and seem to think "opposition" on these matters means "wage war more efficiently" or "send lots more soldiers." Yeah, right. Somehow, many supporters of the failed Kerry-Edwards ticket of '04 seem to assume that those guys were antiwar, while I recall Mr. Kerry making a huge point of just how much more warlike he was than Mr. Bush. And Howard Dean made some antiwar noises while running in the primaries for that year, but since taking over the party, he sounds just like Mr. Kerry did: war-war-war, but better-stronger-faster than that chucklehead Bush.

On the whole, I'm relieved that the Democrats are as far from principled opposition to Imperial war as they are. It means there would be no reason for me to vote for some baby-killing socialist ... not that I'd do it anyway. No, the bipartisan nature of the Corporate War Party is very well established at this point. Real opposition will have to be found elsewhere: in the Green Party left, and at my personal home: the isolationist Old Right. Between these, there can be no comprehensive agreement -- but there could be a limited common cause against the wars.

Just imagine an America with a two-party system ... a real two-party system, that is. Actual meaningful debate, elections that make a real difference -- the mind reels. It'll never happen, of course. But it makes for a pleasant and interesting dream. It makes for an appealing alternative to the nightmare: the pukefest that the Major Brands have in store for us, next time around and all the times after that.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Leo's Not Amused

I see where Mohamed ElBaradei has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. While I'm more than a little skeptical about the value of this prize, and of the appropriateness of some of the past choices of recipients, this year Mr. ElBaradei is a pretty reasonable choice. At least, he seems that way to me. But to the professionally-disgruntled Leo Morris, the award seems to have been quite offensive. Mr. Morris complains that Mr. ElBaradei was unsuccessful in preventing Iran and North Korea from constructing nuclear weapons. (Does Iran, in fact, have nukes? Uncle Leo doesn't exactly claim that they have; he merely makes a weaselly implication to that effect.) Mr. ElBaradei's real offense, however, was in saying that the Wee Emperor, George II, was talking nonsense about what Iraq had and didn't have -- and being correct about it. Some things just can't be forgiven.

Perhaps Mr. Morris is correct, though, when he says Mr. ElBaradei was not successful in restraining those who should have been restrained in the interest of peace. After all, he failed miserably to prevent President Chickenhawk from painting the ground red, in Afghanistan and Iraq, with other people's blood. Of course, Mr. Baradei could claim that he was as powerless to control Mr. Bush's bloodthirstiness as he was to prevent unapproved regimes from getting unapproved weapons. But it's never too late for the U.N. to mend its ways. Some sort of international alliance -- a Coalition of the Willing -- should come together to put a "coercive inspections" program in place to get nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons out of the Pentagon's hands. After all, the regime on the Potomac has actually proved, over and over again, that it cannot be trusted with WMDs.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It Speaks. Oh, Yes, It Speaks.

Well, well, folks. Just lookie here. Chimpy's been chittering again.

Many accuse Dear Leader of "cronyism," of filling government positions with incompetent sycophants who've provided The Great Man with agreeable company, flattery, boozing companionship, nose candy, whatever. I haven't much cared, truth to tell; to the extent that we must live under tyrants, I suppose I'd generally prefer that they were motivated by simple greed or the quest for pharmacological bliss, instead of the direct pleasures of exerting power over their subjects. A buffoon may sprawl, scratching himself and belching, in the seat of power; but at least he's usually less efficient, and less wholehearted, than a True Believer. But after hearing radio excerpts of the Wee Emperor's remarks today, and then having read them at the above link, I do wish he'd either hire a sane speechwriter, or that he'd just shut the hell up. The latter, tragically, is far too much to hope for.

Who put these words in his mouth?

The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity.

Now, say what you will about "terrorists" (that is, men who bomb innocent people without the benefit of aircraft or automated, target-seeking bombs, and who don't wear snappy uniforms). But who regards himself as being at war "against humanity?" Does Gee-Dub's Minion of the Word Processor think we're all completely stupid?

Oh, wait ... we are still voting for major-brand candidates, aren't we? Uh, just never mind that question. Instead, hearken as Dear Leader tells us what a crazy fanatic Osama bin Laden is:

Bin Laden has stated: "The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries. It's either victory and glory, or misery and humiliation."

This in the same speech in which Our Glorious Wartime Prez declares:

We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory.

So, if OBL's a maniac (and he may well be), what does that make Smirk? His indispensable ally, that's what. But if bin Laden thinks that our synthetic Tough Texan is finished with him, why, he has another think coming. Dubya has that despicable ex-Saudi coward all figured out:

Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.

Yes, bin Laden's hypocritical personal cowardice stands in stark contrast to the well-proven valor of our Chickenhawk-in-Chief -- that battle-scarred veteran of the Texas skies during the Viet Cong assault on Dallas. When the chips are down, when danger threatens, our Prez doesn't merely order others to run at top speed for the safety of an undisclosed SAC base in Nebraska somewhere. Oh, no ... George the Lionhearted leads from the front! He hits that undisclosed secure location first. He has to make sure it's safe for the rest of us, don't you know.

I'm recalling the days of the Clinton junta, in which I thought that maybe God was inflicting Bubba-of-the-Hair-Spray on America as a disciplinary measure for our sin and decadence. And really, I still think that. But it's just such a shame that, after eight years of Clintonista rule, we didn't get the divine message. Now, it seems to me, God has punished us even more severely, by visiting Chimpy upon us for another eight. We'd better straighten up and fly right before 2008. Who knows what sort of evil clown could be awaiting us then?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It's All Good ... Really!

Sad but true: many ungrateful, untrusting, and critical people are complaining about the Dear Leader's choice of Ms. Miers as our (prospective) newest Supreme. But not me. I regard this as a healthy development.

In my thoughts, this nomination is linked with the recent announcement that the ten-dollar bill is about to take on the same pseudocolored, asymmetric, Euro-ish, Monopoly-money look as we currently enjoy on its twenty-dollar counterpart. I'm sure that some traditionalist stick-in-the-muds are unhappy about that, too. But not me. I have been blessed with a vision of the subtle and profound linkage between these two developments.

Ms. Miers, you see, is being derided as an unqualified beneficiary of the legendary Dubya Cronyism. The critics seem to think she's never been a judge at all, not even at the traffic-court level. They seem concerned that she's never even argued a case before the Supremes. They seem concerned that she's an opponent of -- or a proponent of -- sodomatrimony. No one seems to be sure about what her attitude might be toward the last publicly-recognized sacrament in America: baby sacrifice, otherwise known as A Woman's Right to Choose, Reproductive Choice, etc. Since she's a nominee to be our latest Philosopher-King (errrr, -Queen), these things seem terribly, terribly important. The Court, after all, rightly orders all of American life. The critics seem to think that Dear Leader ought to show the appropriate seriousness in discharging his sacred duty of proposing new philosopher-kings to replace the ones who've moved on to Judicial Valhalla.

Similarly, some are bound to be upset as our paper currency changes its appearance yet again. After all, this is Legal Tender that we're talking about: for all debts, public and private. It's backed by the Full Faith and Credit of that famously faithful and credit-worthy institution, the United State Government. "In God we trust, all others pay cash" -- well, this is the cash they're fooling with. The worrywarts ask: do we want our Federal Reserve Notes to look like some kind of peso or yen some other kind of comedy "money," that you have to have the proverbial wheelbarrow full of to buy a loaf of bread?

But I hold the "don't worry ... be happy" view of these things. In the supreme court, I see a near-worthless collection of Constitution-usurpers and -defilers. Its power to usurp and defile grows substantially from a spurious public perception of its legitimacy -- a legitimacy of which it rightfully has little or none. And in our paper money, I see ... well, I started to type "a liar's promise to pay," but it's no longer even that. The old "silver certificates" were liars' promises to pay, but our current paper promises nothing. It's money because it says it's money, and implies a vague threat to punish you if you refuse to go along with the gag. It's money exactly to the extent that We The Sheeple accept it as such, and no more. Worthless paper money, backed by nothing ... a judiciary that claims some gnostic right of saying what the constitution means ... both are simply aspects of the shell game by which we rubes are fleeced of our liberties, our cultural heritage, and our wealth, while being temporarily distracted by low entertainment.

So, why am I happy? It's simple. The shell game works because almost no one sees it for what it is. The regime stands on a false image of seriousness and dignity. And the first step toward the collapse of the regime, if it happens at all, is the disillusionment of the sheeple. (Don't misunderstand: I'm not saying this will happen. It is, I think, highly unlikely; but it's a wistfully-pleasant thought, nonetheless.) Thus, I applaud whatever happens that strips away a shred or two of the facade of seriousness. Minnesota wants to elect a former fake pro wrestler as its Guv? Sure -- go for it, guys! California elects its second movie-actor Guv (this one with a comedy accent and a, well, colorful history)? You should have done it a long time ago, Golden Staters! Why should the Wee Emperor content himself with nominating a staff operative to the supremes? Go all the way, Dear Leader! Nominate ... oh, I don't know, how about O.J. Simpson? He's got some legal experience! Want to make the ten-spot look like play money? So what -- it is play money. Have at it!

Maybe somebody will put two and two together.

Well, all right, so they won't. I can dream, can't I?