Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Meanwhile, the Bush junta is dusting off a golden oldie from 'way back in 2002. There's another election coming up; it's going to be necessary to rally the Murkan people 'round the flag again. Only the name has to be changed; in fact, only the last letter of the name. Confusion is inevitable. When Emperor El Supremo Jorge Bush, Sovereign of the Lands, Seas, Airs, and Interplanetary Spaces has so much trouble distinguishing Osama bin Laden from Saddam Hussein, he's bound to be heavily taxed by the much more subtle difference between "Iraq" and "Iran."

Here we see Grima Wormtongue (or somebody like that) giving her sage counsel to Theoden, Lord of the Mark (or somebody like that). I wonder what she's whispering? My money's on some variation of "F--k Ahmadinejad -- we're taking him out."

It's hard to believe, but here we go again. If we're stupid enough to buy this, we deserve every bit of it. Actually, we've already bought it several times ... so we already deserve it.

Glorious Iraqi Sovereignty

"As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," as Chimpy has recited enough times now to have it fully memorized.

Well, maybe. But only if they're the right Iraqis.

Haven't we been here before, about a million or so times in the post-WWII era? In about a million places? Ah, yes, but this time, it's sure to work, right?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Assistant Steward of Titanic Resigns

Ho hum.

You don't seem to understand, George. Mr. Card is just a flunky. Tossing him overboard doesn't make everything all better. You're the war criminal. You're the one who thinks the laws don't apply to him. You're the complete disgrace to the country. You're the one who needs to resign, yesterday if not sooner.

C'mon, George. Do the right thing.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Musical Recommendation

With proper acknowledgements to Craig at Reverent and Free, who periodically recommends something to his readers, I'm following his example. Donald Fagen has a new album out. Morph the Cat won't disappoint those (like me) who enjoyed Mr. Fagen's earlier solo efforts, The Nightfly and Kamakiriad. The musical style hasn't changed, really -- it's still pretty much jazz-pop. But there's no mistaking Fagen's lyrics: edgy and with a little whiff of the perverse. The, uh ... liner notes? jewel case notes? I dunno, what do you call the little booklet they tuck into the front of the jewel case, anyway? In any case, the accompanying text took me all the way back to 1973's Steely Dan debut Can't Buy a Thrill, with the one-sentence precis of each song at the head of the lyrics. "Mary Shut the Garden Door" is "explained," sort of, by "Paranoia blooms when a thuggish cult gains control of the government."

Best songs (so far): "Brite Nitegown" and "The Great Pagoda of Funn."

Stand Up / Stand Down

The evil mainstream media, we're told, isn't giving us the "good news" about Iraq, and the Empire's many good works there. Other sorts of news seem to be a little scarce, too. I didn't see this until I looked at the BBC's site:
The US military in Iraq is facing growing political pressure over a raid on a Baghdad mosque complex that left about 20 people dead on Sunday evening. US officials said 16 insurgents had been killed and 18 captured, along with a significant weapons cache.

However, members of Iraq's ruling Shia Islamist bloc say many of the dead were civilians taking part in prayers.

"Entering the mosque and the killings there are an unjustified and flagrant attack," the interior minister said.

"Approximately 18 innocent men who were inside the mosque performing sunset prayers were killed and became martyrs," Bayan Jabr added in an interview on Dubai-based al-Arabiya television. "They were killed unjustly and wrongfully."

Some members of the ruling Shia Islamist alliance repeated allegations - denied by US officials - that Americans and Iraqi troops under their command had tied people up at the Mustafa mosque in north-east Baghdad's Sadr City up and shot them in cold blood.

Earlier on Monday, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said he was "deeply concerned" by the reports and had telephoned US military commander General George Casey, who had promised a full inquiry.

Baghdad Governor Hussein Tahan said all co-operation with US forces would be suspended unless the incident was investigated by a panel not including the US military.
I would guess that someone with an official-sounding title like "Baghdad Governor" must be one of those standing-up Iraqis whose words should mean it's time for the U.S. to stand down, as George W. Slow-Puppy likes to chant many times daily. It sounds as if the Baghdad Governor is ready to see the last of the Imperial troops. Is the Grand Wartime Emperor of the Lands and Seas listening?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bizarro World

This would be funny, if we weren't talking about someone who exercises some power in the failed Bush regime:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she could not confirm that an Afghan court had dismissed the case and stressed the U.S. needs to respect the sovereignty of Afghanistan, which she called a "young democracy."

"We have our history of conflicts that had to be worked out after a new constitution. And so the Afghans are working on it. But America has stood solidly for religious freedom as a bedrock, the bedrock, of democracy, and we'll see," AP quoted her as telling NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Asked if U.S. Christian missionaries should be encouraged to go to Afghanistan, Rice said: "I think that Afghans are pleased to get the help that they can get" but added "we need to be respectful of Afghan sovereignty."
So now La Rice is concerned that we be properly respectful of other countries' sovereignty? Clearly, it's parallel-universe time. Watch for the following headlines soon:

"Larry Flynt Calls for Respect for Dignity of Women"

"George W. Bush: Toughen Academic Standards at Yale"

"Christopher Hitchens Denounces Demon Rum"

" 'Earmarks Must Go' -- Sen. Robert Byrd"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Call of the Wild

I'm outta here for the weekend. It's the Annual Spring Men's Campout. A few old, useless brain cells will be lined up and executed. Thinning the herd from the slow end, so to speak. Back Monday, assuming there's anything to say.

Have a fine weekend! I plan to do so ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Quick -- Paint Some Schools or Something!

Duh-mocracy and enlightenment are spreading apace in our new Afghan colony:
In the days of the Taliban, those promoting Christianity in Afghanistan could be arrested and those converting from Islam could be tortured and publicly executed.

That was supposed to change after U.S.-led forces ousted the oppressive, fundamentalist regime, but the case of 41-year-old Abdul Rahman has many Western nations wondering if Afghanistan is regressing.

Rahman, a father of two, was arrested and is on trial for rejecting Islam. The Afghan constitution, which is based on Sharia, or Islamic law, says that apostates can receive the death penalty.

"They want to sentence me to death, and I accept it," Rahman told reporters last week, "but I am not a deserter and not an infidel."

He had been arrested after telling local police, whom he approached on an unrelated matter, that he had converted to Christianity. Reports say he was carrying a Bible at the time.

He said he converted to Christianity 16 years ago after working with a Christian aid group that assisted refugees in neighboring Pakistan.
Now, let me see ... American security depends on the success of the current, democratically-installed sharia regime in Afghanistan, as opposed to the old, bad sharia regime, right?

Or is that in Iraq?

Or -- maybe in a week or two -- in Iran?

I just get so confused, sometimes ... shouldn't the Emperor bomb Syria, instead? At least it would be easier to keep the names straight.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Quick Monday Survey

Been doing your federal income tax return? Or looking forward to the prospect? Check this out. At least you'll know you've been supporting fresh air, fun, and physical fitness in Mesopotamia.

And, in other news from the land of milk, honey, and U.S.-provided Freedom 'n' Democracy, why is it that the new Iraqi police hate freedom so much? Don't they know they're just providing aid and comfort to the enemy with this kind of talk? Don't they know there's a war on? Why don't they concentrate on reporting the number of schools newly painted? So many questions; so few answers.

Paul Craig Roberts notes that things are going ill for Global Emperor El Supremo Jorge Bush the Younger. And well does he deserve it. It's just a pity that such glorious leaders of folk are so generous about sharing their fortune with large fractions of the world. Not that we don't deserve it, of course ... Chimpy would hardly be where and what he is today without lots and lots of help. In the words of Joseph "Culture" Hill: "Where the tree falls / There shall it lie until judgement takes its course."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Admonishing the Asians

It seems that the Secretary of State of the most peaceful nation on Earth (and, it goes without saying, the freest and most democratic), Condoleezza "Double My Letters" Rice, is upset with those Chinese Commies over their arms expenditures.
Earlier Thursday, Rice said China should "undertake to be transparent" about the 14.7% increase in its military spending announced for 2006. She was in Australia for weekend talks that include Japan and are to focus on Beijing's growing military and political influence. ... China's reported 2006 military budget is $35 billion, but analysts believe the true figure is several times higher.
Of course, China's "true" military budget would have to be, not "several" times higher, but twelve and a half times higher to approach the "official" U.S. military budget ($439 billion), which is well on its way to exceeding the combined total of all such spending for the entire remainder of the world. And that figure doesn't include the $67 billion in emergency appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are pending in Congress.

Nonetheless, when Condi growls at those bellicose Asians, they'd best listen. Otherwise, Uncle Sam is apt to take his borrowing business -- the debt financing his mega-guns and his mega-butter -- elsewhere. For example, to ... uh ... well ... okay.

Shut up, Ms. Rice. Your fifteen minutes of cute are definitely over. The grownups aren't amused.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The NewtMaster Stages a Comeback

Check it out! Why won't we, in the Fort Wayne area, be hearing His Newtieness? How can WOWO have missed its big chance? They carry everything else from the Big Pillhead on rightward ... clear out as far as the Savage Weiner, which truly defines the cutting edge of mouth-frothing madness. Come on, Federated Media, get with the program!

Is This the Path We Want to Travel?

This business has been in the news the past few days (at least, that's how long I've been aware of it). The essence of the story is that a New Jersey company, Biomedical Tissue Services, has been selling human body parts and tissues for clinical transplant and research uses, but obtaining these parts and tissues ... well, uh ... irregularly. It seems that some of the deceased didn't consent to such arrangements while they were still living, and their families maybe didn't know either, and possibly some of them were infected in ways (HIV, hepatitis, etc.) that might not be good news to transplant recipients. The linked news story describes this in fairly colorful terms:
A macabre scandal in which corpses were plundered for body parts could be even bigger than previously disclosed, with one company alone saying it has distributed thousands of pieces of human tissue that authorities fear could be tainted with disease.

Leaving aside the obvious undesirability of transplanting infected tissues into living persons, a few other things occur to me. One is that we Americans have, I think, an odd attitude toward dead human bodies. Remember the big scandal, a few years back, about the Tri-State Crematory? Bodies were being shipped there for cremation, but the proprietor's oven wasn't working, or he just didn't feel like it ... I don't remember exactly what the deal was, but those bodies didn't get burned. Some just rotted where they were strewn; others were tossed into a pond. It was big news for weeks. And obviously that isn't good practice; the proprietor accepted money to do something, and then didn't do it; and there's substantial opportunity for the propagation of infectious disease, or -- at the very least -- a truly horrible stench. But everyone seemed to carry on as if the guy were worse than a murderer.

So, has a dead person been defrauded or stolen from, if someone steals some parts from his or her body and sells them? Without "donor consent," that is? That seems to me to be a difficult argument to make. Depending on your beliefs, it seems to me that you would conclude that a dead person either (a) doesn't exist, or (b) is supremely unconcerned about such minutiae as what's been done with the meat chariot in which he or she used to motor around. I don't suppose the worms are expected to seek permission before chowing down.

The originally-linked news story says that "BTS has been accused of collecting body parts without donor consent ..." Do donors have to consent to the collection of their body parts? What about the "embryos" that (who?) are destroyed for the purpose of "harvesting" such "parts?" They certainly don't consent. Many will say, of course they don't ... they're not persons. And maybe they're not. But I think they certainly have a better case for personhood than has the gradually-cooling corpse on a mortician's gurney. The difference is a subjective one: we knew the deceased. She had a name, a favorite color, a typical saying, a thousand characteristic things that annoyed or charmed us. The difference is real to us ... but is it fundamental? Should it determine how we treat one or the other?

Many of these useful embryos, we're told, are the unwanted byproducts of in vitro fertilization procedures -- frozen today, and destined for the sink drain tomorrow, or next year. Others, perhaps, are or will be cloned. Are there good purposes to be served by what we do to them? No doubt, there are. Is there a price to be paid? I think there is: the certainty that, with each passing year, we'll be contemplating more and more of this creepazoid stuff. We'll get used to it, maybe. It will bother us less and less. That sounds like a good thing.

I'm pretty sure it's very, very bad.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Our Little Brown Brothers"

Mr. Silber says what I've so often tried to say. As usual, he just says it much, much better:
... an end to military interventions overseas, coupled with genuine free travel and trade, including one related and crucial element in particular: free and open cultural and intellectual exchange.

What is remarkable is the extent to which such a course of action is almost never discussed at all, or even acknowledged. Such ideas lie outside the "conventional wisdom," and members of our government never treat them with any degree of seriousness. Given the disastrous consequences brought about by the "conventional wisdom," you would think more people would be willing to consider an alternative -- one that might lead to far better results, shorn of the endless cycle of death and destruction that now consumes us.
Go have a look. Not short, but worth your while.

You're Doing a Heckuva Job, Bushie

Checking out the Glorious Chickenhawk Wartime President: a quick snapshot, on the eve of the third anniversary of the cakewalk kickoff.

American soldiers killed (to date, 13 March 2006): 2307

American soldiers wounded: 17004. That's the official number; the real one must be expected to be substantially higher.

Dollar cost: $247 billion. That's about $900 for every man, woman, child, and "undocumented person" in the U.S. -- every cent of it borrowed. Count up the men, women, etc. in your household, multiply, and see what George and his friends have put on your MasterCard in the last few years. For Iraq, that is; they've been busy, busy, busy elsewhere, too.

America's good name: 'nuff said.

How about Iraq itself? How about democracy? Seems to be pretty well in the dumper.

Maybe, after George the Slow kicks off his latest sales trip, someone could ask him for a reminder. Once again, George: what was all this for, anyway?

Naaaah. No one who poses the slightest risk for asking such a question is going to pass the rigorous audience pre-screening. Which is a shame ... not that he'd say anything besides whatever slogan is recent enough for some garbled version of it to still be rattling around in his pickled brain. But just because we could have gotten a sour little laugh from watching him squint'n'scowl. Let's not scorn those sour little laughs, poor things though they are; these days, a thinking American has to be grateful for any little thing at all.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dubai Ports World -- Is That a New Theme Park?

Like Craig at Reverent and Free, I haven't had much to say about the Dubai Ports World business either, although not for the same reasons, really. He makes an excellent point: the Bush regime has ridden high on good ole yee-haw raghead-baitin', and his troops are a bit too slow on the uptake to understand all at once that the music has changed -- time to put the boot-scoot boogie away and do the Global Economy foxtrot instead. I've been silent because an excessively target-rich environment tends to paralyze me with indecision -- with so much wrongheadedness available, what to mock, what to mock?

First, let's get our famous Dead Constitution out of the way. Where is the text in the constitution that delegates the power to select operators of seaports to any branch of the FedGov -- executive or legislative (or judicial, for that matter)? I know where the text is that says they can't do it, in the absence of text that explicitly says they can. And, obviously, we all know how much difference any of that makes. But at least we made a quick stop at the constitution's grave before going on about our business.

In a news story about the election-panicked Republican congressional forces, and how they're planning a rat-like dive off the Good Ship Bush (down by the bows and making water fast), we read the following:
Meanwhile, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit foreign ownership of "critical infrastructure," including the six cargo terminals at the center of the controversy.
That's a good one! In this modern, service-economy, corporatist/globalist world, what exactly is an "American" corporation? How would you recognize it? Is it a matter of the loyalties of the boards of directors, or corporate officers? Heh. "It's all about the benjamins." Good luck, Rep. Hunter. No, wait -- I should be honest. Bad luck, O Congresscreature. Bad luck, and bad dreams ... may flat tires and fallen arches be yours in perpetuity.

"Seaport security" ... a fascinating concept. Laughable. It's not like air cargo, you know. Serious amounts of material come in by sea. Inspect it all? Don't make me laugh. It doesn't happen, and it'll never happen -- not the sort of inspection that would make it difficult for clever folk to bring relatively small packages into the United States of the Globe. Can't be done.

If it could be done, is there reason to suspect that a corporate structure with Arab ownership would be less diligent in screening, or even complicit in defeating it for nefarious purposes? Obviously, I can't know ... but I'm much inclined to doubt it. From what little I can gather from our feeble-minded "news," the United Arab Emirates is a hotbed of the big money and little else. The anti-Arab racism that's been so fashionable (up to now, at least) with the Freedom Fries crowd is the only reason I can see to condemn, more or less automatically, the Dubai outfit being involved in seaport operations in the States. I wish I could say it's a shame that Bush, having ridden the Dark Side to re-election in '04, now finds himself butt-bitten by it. But, really, it tickles me -- especially as he seems to be taking it so personally. There may be a long weekend in Crawford coming up very soon now, with some facial scrapes afterward from the eternal brush-clearing and bike accidents. Fine by me. It may well distract Himself from some of his more-troublesome hobbies, such as launching gratuitous wars.

Maybe we'll see an amusing pachyderm vs pachyderm mudfight. These days, that seems like the best I can hope for out of Mordor-on-the-Potomac ... some low amusement.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

"Israel, Israel über alles ..."

Deadeye Dick assures The Precious that the U.S. remains a loyal vassal and bulldog:
"The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences," Cheney said in a speech to the to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

He said the United States joins "other nations in sending that regime a clear message: we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
I suppose it's too much to ask, that our supervisors might direct their primary loyalty toward this country, rather than some other?

Apparently so.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Puppet Spat

What's up with this? Shouldn't our employees be a lot more cooperative?

Dear Leader has so many headaches these days. He shouldn't have to be considering replacing these guys.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Harry Browne: Rest in Peace

I pause to note the untimely death of Harry Browne. Mr. Browne ran twice for President as the Libertarian Party candidate. Now, I am no "big-L" Libertarian; I'm more of an America-First, old-right sort of guy. But I like to think that I can usually recognize principled people, and that -- as far as I can tell -- was Harry Browne. To me, libertarians are like Catholics and Jews: I'm none of the above, but I like my Catholics very Catholic, my Jews very Jewish, and my libertarians real.

These days, the LP looks and smells to me like the GOP in drag; it seems much more like the party of Neil Boortz than that of Harry Browne. And it's much the poorer for the change. They seem to think that compromise and deception will bring them electoral success; but not only is that unprincipled, it is also unlikely to succeed even on its own terms. As 1 Corinthians 14:8 asks: "For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for the battle?"

So, as I say, I'm not a libertarian myself, and there were things about which I disagreed with Mr. Browne. But he always gave me the feeling that he was honest, thoughtful, and principled in what he wrote and said. I'll miss him.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Silence of the Church

Doug Newman has a post up today that's well worth reading. An excerpt:
When will we ever hear a sermon condemning America’s policy of perpetual war? America now reserves the right to wage war wherever and against whomever it wants. While the Bible talks about war, it does not condone all war. There is nothing godly about invading a nation that has never done anything to you and killing tens of thousands of innocent people. God hates hands that shed innocent blood. There was very widespread support in the CAC [Bartleby's note: Contemporary American Church] for the totally unprovoked invasion of Iraq. There is now similar support for war against Iran and Syria. You reap what you sow and if you live by the sword you die by the sword. Hundreds of millions of Muslims hate America not because we are free and pure and good, but because we insist on endless military and political meddling in the Arab world. Either America stops this nonsense of perpetual war or it is only a matter of time before somebody “pre-empts” us. God forbid that they do it with a suitcase nuke in Times Square.

And when will we ever hear a sermon condemning the cult of personality surrounding George W. Bush? When, in 2000, he said one thing about Jesus and millions and millions of otherwise intelligent people disengaged their brains. George W. Bush is a tyrant (he acknowledges no limits on federal police power), a socialist (his budgets run 40 percent larger than his predecessor’s) and a reckless warmonger. He is not pro-life and he does not oppose the homosexual agenda. He says he is fighting a war on terror, and yet the Mexican border resembles a screen door on a submarine, a company from the United Arab Emirates is about to take over several of America's major ports and mainstream news sources tell us that terrorists are actively training in upstate New York. We have it on good authority that he has referred to the Constitution as “a g**d***** piece of paper.” The only difference between him and any Democrat is one of rhetoric. And yet millions of Christians are in total denial refusing to inspect the fruit on Dubya’s tree. Many would rather die than read this paragraph.
He makes a good point: the church isn't supposed to devote itself to politics -- much less to a particular brand of politics -- but is supposed to be devoted to truth, and should pursue truth across all boundaries, including those of political controversy. Any church that isn't frequently offending both the so-called "left" and the so-called "right" is not being faithful to its Master.

Unity: It's Not Just for Fascists Any More!

I have no link this morning ... that which I saw, I saw on the teevee, on Faux News in fact. I know they have a web presence, and if I poked around in the garbage there I might have turned up something, but it's too early in the morning for duty of that sort.

I was having my customary Monday-Wednesday-Friday workout on the "machines" at the Y this morning (on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I swim, and on Sunday I gloriously rest), and the open machine was right in front of the boob-tube that was spewing Faux. ("Faux and Friends," they call it.) I was listening to Porcupine Tree on my MP3 player, but the teevees at the Y are always set to show the closed captions, so it wasn't any trouble to follow the action. This morning, we saw Neil Cavuto interviewing some well-upholstered neocon war cheerleader whose name I didn't catch. It seemed like a very friendly discussion. They were agreeing -- endlessly agreeing -- that the damned Islamofascist insurgent terrorist jihadi bad boys were encouraged, rewarded, and spurred on by any and all suggestions of disagreement and disunity among the peasants here in the United State.

Well, maybe they're right. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're right. So now's the time for unity, and for an end to squabbling. Now's the time for all the Bushbots and yellow-ribbon-magnet warriors to quit arguing and simply agree with me. Stop the wars (at least, stop our part in them), dismantle the empire, and start concentrating on manufacturing something that someone might reasonably want to buy, so we can start to get back into competitive international trade.

This isn't the time for debate. There's a war on, don't you know; and it won't stop until you bots out there (and you know who you are) stop bickering, admit that I'm correct, and get with the program. My program, that is.

You were right, Mr. Cavuto! Unity really is a fine thing!