Monday, February 28, 2005

Republican Moral Values, Again

"If you try that again, I'll ram my fist up your ass," Republican Bill Cadman told his Democratic colleague, Val Vigil, at Vigil's desk during the morning session.

What would the republicans call a move like that? "Freedom Fisting?" A "Constitutional Colonoscopy?" A "Republican Rectumizer?" A "GOPoopshoot Fillibuster?" Or plain old "Shock and Awe?"

Youch. Now I know why they're called the "red states." Seriously, the problem with this sort of juvenile behavior, which reveals their true colors, is that it is so typical.

Tidbits From The Texecutioner's Compassionate Conservatism From Hell

As of 7:30pm EDT, December 7, 2000, 152 people have been executed during Bush's tenure as governor. This makes Texas Governor George W. Bush the most-killing Governor, in the history of the United States of America. Under the leadership of George W. Bush, Texas continues to rank dead last in virtually every social service area, yet first in executions. Texas has some of the poorest funded programs to help the mentally ill (who account for a good number of the prison population). Bush's response to this dead last ranking was to insist that the legislature pass a $5 billion tax cut.

In an interview, Bush ridiculed a death-row inmate for doing an interview with CNN broadcaster Larry King shortly before she was executed. "`Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, `don't kill me.'" In fact, during that Larry King-Faye Tucker exchange, Tucker never asked to be spared.

Sister Helen Prejean's 1993 book against the death penalty, Dead Man Walking, became a movie and even an opera. She said, "Honestly, it's hard to look at [Bush's] face on television because everything he says is so untruthful... He claimed Karla Faye Tucker's execution was a crushing weight on him and said, "God bless Karla Faye Tucker," and then, after she was executed, he mimicked her. I hate the way he uses religion. It's a sacrilege to me."

"I'm perfectly comfortable in telling you, our country is one that safeguards human rights and human dignity, and we resolve our disputes in a peaceful way," [Bush] said.

"A Canadian citizen, suddenly found himself caught up in the cruel mockery of justice that the Bush administration has substituted for the rule of law in the post-Sept. 11 world... he was seized by American authorities, interrogated and thrown into jail. He was not charged with anything, and he never would be charged with anything, but his life would be ruined... flown out of the United States to Jordan and then driven to Syria, where he was kept like a nocturnal animal in an unlit, underground, rat-infested cell that was the size of a grave. From time to time he was tortured... Among the worst moments, he said, were the times he could hear babies crying in a nearby cell where women were imprisoned. He recalled hearing one woman pleading with a guard for several days for milk for her child. He could hear other prisoners screaming as they were tortured... The Justice Department has alleged, without disclosing any evidence whatsoever, that [he] is a member of, or somehow linked to, Al Qaeda. If that's so, how can the administration possibly allow him to roam free? The Syrians, who tortured him, have concluded that Mr. Arar is not linked in any way to terrorism... [he] was deliberately dispatched by U.S. officials to Syria, a country that - as they knew - practices torture. And if Canadian officials hadn't intervened, he most likely would not have been heard from again... [he] is the most visible victim of the reprehensible U.S. policy known as extraordinary rendition, in which individuals are abducted by American authorities and transferred, without any legal rights whatever, to a regime skilled in the art of torture. The fact that some of the people swallowed up by this policy may in fact have been hard-core terrorists does not make it any less repugnant."

America, Inc.

As we know, Hewlett Packard recently dismissed Carly Fiorina, their chairman and CEO. Their new non-executive chairman of the board said, "We are looking to accelerate the growth of the company". So they have explained that the reason they decided on this change is because they wanted to achieve more growth for the company. This interests me because it seems to be analogous to something that touches all our lives.

It is generally well-accepted that the GOP, which controls all three branches of government, is the party of big business. They are bankrolled by it and represent its interests first. Cabinet posts and other policy-making positions are given to big campaign contributors from the business world, and it can be said that the republican leadership comes from the business world. With that in mind, it is no stretch to conclude that those same business leaders approach organizational management of the country from a business perspective. The country, to them, is not a society of people, rather, it is an organization designed to operate like any other business, with management (the government), and labor (the taxpayers). The taxpayers are also their customers, a situation not unlike the old "company store" from years gone by (do those still exist?). There are suppliers at home and abroad, and of course a whole lot of marketing (that is, propaganda). There are also the stockholders - those who have paid big money to hire the CEO and management they want to run the organization the way they want it run, and they expect a return on their investment - and that, O brothers and sisters, is where the "growth" part from the Hewlett Packard story come in.

Growth. Expansion. The "ownership society" with the goal of owning... Everything. Growth, marketed with advertising campaign slogans like "freedom" and "democracy", formerly inalienable right now turned into advertising tools in the quest for profitable growth. The company offers enticing incentives to customers, such as "tax cuts" marketed like payday loan schemes - "Get money now, don't worry that it will have to be paid back later!"

Unfortunately, if America, Inc. is run like a business, it is run like a Bush business, with massive failure as a result and the taxpayers left holding the bag. Running government based on stockholder returns, instead of for the benefit of its citizens is bad enough. Failing at it - such as the current overseas operation which has gone way over budget - well, maybe it means that the current CEO should get the boot. Like they said in The Godfather: nothing personal... it's just business.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

No, Really, It's a Microphone

Leave it to the republicans to take the concept of "media whore" to its literal conclusion. Hah! (click on Video)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The "F" Word, II: Deja Vu, To You, Too

"This is Nazi Brutality" by Ben Shahn, 1942
Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

This is PNAC Brutality, by George Bush and Alberto Gonzales, 2004
Courtesy of the "Internets"

Friday, February 18, 2005

The "F" Word

Anyone who reads my blog (welcome to the "liberal elite" by the way) knows that drop the "F" word more than George Bush drops his g's while pandering to the rural states. Yes, I'm talking about Fascism.

Why do I keep calling the Bush administration Fascist? Well, there's this, for starters. (I know I show that a lot. Some people missed it!)

And this I like, borrowed with appreciation from the Air America Radio blog:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote a book... called Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and his Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy (HarperCollins, 2004).

In the book, Kennedy implies that we live in a fascist country and that the Bush White House has learned key lessons from the Nazis.

"While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business," he writes. "My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as 'a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.' Sound familiar?"

He quotes Hitler's propaganda chief Herman Goerring: "It is always simply a matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Kennedy then adds: "The White House has clearly grasped the lesson."

Kennedy also quotes Benito Mussolini's insight that "fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."

"The biggest threat to American democracy is corporate power," Kennedy told us. "There is vogue in the White House to talk about the threat of big government. But since the beginning of our national history, our most visionary political leaders have warned the American public against the domination of government by corporate power."
See? Plutocracy: coming to a theater [of war] near you.

Today's Split Personality

Here's my latest contribution over at Liberal Thought. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Republican Hypocrisy Example #189,478

I'm still coming across "blame the trial lawyers" rhetoric from the right. I think they are way off on this one (surprise!). It's a classic case of blaming the messenger.

Republican opposition to trial lawyers is like gun control: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," they say. But it's time for the republicans to realize that "lawyers don't sue people, people sue people."

They claim that the lawyers are responsible for high medical costs because of malpractice insurance premiums. However: 1) Lawyers and insurance companies are two different things; and 2) Lawyers can't just sue doctors for no reason. They need a client with a case, and the case needs to have some merit or it will be thrown out.

While unnecessary litigation has obviously happened, it is not the rule. The republicans want to throw the baby out with the bathwater by taking away everyone's right to defend themselves legally against more powerful entities. It all plays into the hands of the corporations, who were the big campaign contributors. Besides, it's easy for them to engage in their class-warfare rhetoric and pander to their rural voter base by portraying lawyers as "elite" - the type of people who sip cappucino and listen to jazz instead of slamming brews and watching Springer.

Republicans also frequently express their dislike for judges. Apparently, they find the whole legal system to be quite inconvenient. Gee, why do you think that is? Street criminals hate cops. Corporate criminals hate lawyers and judges. Go figure.

I will not be surprised if they come down next against juries. After all, juries pass judgment and award damages. Soon the repub's will say that the concept of being tried by "a jury of your peers" is a liberal tool designed to eat away at the fabric of Wal-America. What will remain when they have succeeded... a corporate tribunal?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Which of These Is More Offensive?

Currently, the one on the bottom is getting all the press, with many saying it offends. Personally, I find the one on top worse, but it's all subjective...

Monday, February 14, 2005

Shameless Plug

Lucky for me there are 37-or-so hours in a day, because I was kindly invited to post at Liberal Thought.

Here is my first offering. Hopefully they won't regret their decision :)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Rights" Only (Rhymes With...)

My wife and I were watching Jeopardy the other day, and Alex Trebec asked a question that really knocked me out. I do not have the exact transcript, and I don't remember it verbatim. It was a question about an author (damn, I can't remember his name now!), but here's the thing. Pretend you're watching Jeopardy and Alex begins to read the question:
"Lefty author..."
Lefty author!? Even Trebec paused slightly while reading it, as if he had no foreknowledge of the question, and was taken aback by it. His tone changed while finishing the question, but he didn't skip a beat and continued on.

I turned to my wife. "Did he just say 'lefty author'?" I asked. It flashed on the screen for a moment before being lost forever. She hadn't seen it. But I know I saw it.

"Lefty"? Isn't that one of those words that is almost, but not quite yet, on the list with words like "darkie"? I mean, it's not necessarily derogatory in and of itself, yet the intent is usually derogatory. I've never heard it used in a complimentary way. If someone on the left uses it to describe themeself, more often than not it is tongue-in-cheek, a self-depreciating ice-breaker. If someone on the right uses it to describe someone on the left, it is ordinarily done with disdain. If Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter calls someone a "lefty", you know their intention.

To hear this word used in mainstream media so easily and without regard for its implication is disturbing. I would rather hear it as an insult than as a normal part of the vocabulary.

What were the show's writers thinking? Is this normal for them, to describe a writer as a "lefty author"? Here's what I think: it is an example of mainstream acceptance of right-wing bigotry. It was ugly, unbecoming, but worst of all... it was normal.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Hope (added bits)

Good news for the Democrats: The Doctor is in! He wrote this prescription.

Following a thorough diagnosis given in 2004, Dr. Dean is scheduled to perform preliminary surgery on the repubican party in 2006, with a follow-up procedure scheduled for 2008. Although patient records are confidential, it is expected that the initial surgery will involved removing a nest of parasites that has infested the host body recently, causing extensive trauma and proving resistent to established procedures which had always proved successful in the past. The major surgery, scheduled for November 2008, will address the removal of a cancer that has resulted in dramatic cognitive delays and weakened heart.

It is hoped that Dr. Dean's operations will restore health and vitality to the patient. Code Blue! Stat!

Vive Le France

I don't care what anyone says, I like the French, too!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Bush Administration Lies, Steals, Loves it

Compassionate conservatism rears its ugly head as: White House details plans for cuts in 2006 spending

Meanwile, "more than half of the benefits from this backdoor tax cut would go to people with incomes of more than a million dollars; 97 percent would go to people with incomes exceeding $200,000."

I can't believe working-class republicans support this guy. He opposes so much of what they claim to care about... he opposes the working class, his policies are anti-christian, he enables terrorism to flourish, he makes the world much less safe for the rest of us... In the past, I have stopped short of calling his supporters stupid because I respect diversity of opinion, but their support of the PNAC regime threatens the lives of people all over the globe. George Bush and his gang of crooks are a thousand times more of a threat to peace that Hussein or Bin Laden could ever hope to be. But, his supporters like the fact that they can have a beer with him. How nice. How stupid.

Bush Administration Lies, Kills, Maims, Loves it

So now, we find out that the FAA received 52 warnings of Al Qaeda's plans to attack the US. The Bush administration has been caught lying again. (a good article about it is here).

In their zeal to define others as liars, the republicans deflect attention away from the fact that they are incapable of telling the truth. Bush lies his ass off with every statement he utters. I can't decide which is worse - have a sniveling, lying hypocrite as a president, or the knowledge that he spews those lies with such obvious contempt for the American public.

He makes me proud to be one of the 48% who voted against him.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

From the Brochure Counter at Constantly Amazing Airlines

The following excerpts are taken more or less at random from this article:

The EU has 87 prisoners per 100,000 people; America has 685.

Americans work longer hours and take fewer vacations.

Back in 1980 the average American chief executive earned forty times the average manufacturing employee. For the top tier of American CEOs, the ratio is now 475:1 and would be vastly greater if assets, not income, were taken into account. By way of comparison, the ratio in Britain is 24:1, in France 15:1, in Sweden 13:1.

A privileged minority in America has access to the best medical treatment in the world. But 45 million Americans have no health insurance at all (of the world's developed countries only the US and South Africa offer no universal medical coverage).

According to the World Health Organization the United States is number one in health spending per capita -- and thirty-seventh in the quality of its service. As a consequence, Americans live shorter lives than West Europeans. Their children are more likely to die in infancy: the US ranks twenty-sixth among industrial nations in infant mortality, with a rate double that of Sweden, higher than Slovenia's, and only just ahead of Lithuania's and this despite spending 15 percent of US gross domestic product on "health care" (much of it administrative costs of for-profit private networks). Sweden devotes just 8 percent of its GDP to health.

The United States spends much more on education than the nations of Western Europe; and it has by far the best research universities in the world. Yet a recent study suggests that for every dollar the US spends on education it gets worse results than any other industrial nation. American children consistently underperform their European peers in both literacy and numeracy.

US is outperformed in worker productivity by Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and France.

The modern American economy is in hock to international bankers with a foreign debt of $3.3 trillion (28 percent of GDP).

Europeans even appear to be better at generating small and medium-size businesses. There are more small businesses in the EU than in the United States, and they create more employment (65 percent of European jobs in 2002 were in small and medium-sized firms, compared with just 46 percent in the US). And they look after their employees much better. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights promises the "right to parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child" and every West European country provides salary support during that leave. In Sweden women get sixty-four weeks off and two thirds of their wages. Even Portugal guarantees maternity leave for three months on 100 percent salary. The US federal government guarantees nothing. In the words of Valgard Haugland, Norway's Christian Democratic minister for children and family: "Americans like to talk about family values. We have decided to do more than talk; we use our tax revenues to pay for family values."

In the US today the richest 1 percent holds 38 percent of the wealth and they are redistributing it ever more to their advantage. Meanwhile one American adult in five is in poverty, compared with one in fifteen in Italy. The countries of the EU also provide the largest share of the world's peacekeepers and international policemen.
Just a little something for the "America is better than everyone" crowd. I dare them to come up with something besides, "if you like it so much there, then leave!" or, "if you hate it so much here, then leave!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Mark Your Calendars!

That's right, it's that time of year again... February 12th is Darwin Day!

What are you going to do to celebrate? A list of event possibilities is on the site. How about an (evolutionary) Darwin Day Tree? Place amphibians at the bottom and primates at the top! Put it in water, throw in some algae and brine shrimp and Bam! You've got an ecosystem!

This year will be especially significant, because we have an actual monkey in the White House!

Here's a thought... How about spreading the Good News of Darwin to every Evalgelical Christian blog you find? Think of it as missionary work. Save the creationists from a life of dependency on magic and myth. Save them from the magical creatures they imagine flying through the air, or conducting sadistic rituals below the surface of the earth. Save them and help them to evolve.

"Go now, brothers and sisters, heal and be healed!"

This is another public service announcement from me.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Throw Away the Old Key

This one just plain cracks me up!

No wonder Rumsfeld complained about "Old Europe"... those old laws are gonna put Herr Rumsfeld in the old slammer!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

It's Their Party and They'll Cry If They Want To

"It's My Party Too" is a conservative website that says the neocons (who now control the republican party) do not represent the values or interests of those who vote for them. Their chairperson was NJ's first female governor.

Likewise, there are lots of other great examples of republicans who are disillusioned with the direction the republican party has taken (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (a favorite), and this one (another favorite), by the son of Dwight D. Eisenhower!).

"But SheaNC," you ask, "what is your point?" (I get that a lot).

My point is that I believe most people, democrat or republican, are basically moderate, while the republican party is now controlled by extremists. A Jesse Ventura-esque third-party candidate would fracture the republican party, the same way that Nader did to the democrats, or Perot did to both parties, in the recent past.

Of course, the media is in the republican party's pocket, so it appears that the moderate republicans don't exist, since they have little voice outside what George Bush called "the internets." Also, many people have been fooled by propaganda into thinking their moderate values are supported by the extremists, which is quite untrue.

"But SheaNC," you ask again, "why are you picking on the republicans? Doesn't this problem exist in the democratic party also?"

Sadly, yes, but they have moved in a different direction (which is no less a departure from their base than the republicans'). While the republican party has transformed into a vehicle for corporate bureacracy and fundamentalist christian suppression, the democratic party has tried to play catch-up by moving to the right and trying to become the new moderate conservative party. Unfortunately, they have bungled this by kissing the republicans' ass in the most worst way, such as the recent democrats' votes to confirm Rice and Gonzales. Or, as the most disappointing example, conceding the election so quickly that it looked like the whole campaign was a Skull & Bones prank. In any case, the internet and the left-wing press has resembled an angry mob calling for revolution.

Besides, the republicans control all three branches of government, the media, your healthcare, your kids' education, the stuff that goes into your food... it's like living in the Soviet Union: they control practically everything (what they don't control now, they're working on coltrolling soon).

I say, party reform would be good for all of us. The democrats and the republicans would both benefit, not only if their own parties were straightened out, but if their opponents parties were, too. And it the machine can't be fixed, then it is time to find a replacement.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

State Dept. Giveth, State Dept. Taketh Away

Guess what happens when you try to go the the State Department web page containing Colin Powell's statement condemning Ukrainian election fraud?

"We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards* and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse. We have been following developments very closely and are deeply disturbed by the extensive and credible reports of fraud in the election. We call for a full review of the conduct of the election and the tallying of election results."
- Colin Powell, in a State Department briefing on November 24, 2004

Maybe the statement hit too close to home for the fraud-dependent Bush administration?

* Not only are they concerned about election fraud, but they require a "global test" :)

File This Under "See You In 2008"

This campaign apparently failed in its bid for the presidency in 2004...
...or did it?

Friday, February 4, 2005

Politics-R-Us (drive-thru open 24 hrs)

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Does politics make you feel tired, listless, bored or confused? Angry or enraged? Terrified or defeated?

If you hold a can of beer or an ice-tea tumbler full of vodka-n-gatorade in your hand, does it leave you feeling pissed off?

If you hold a glass of wine or a frothy latte in your hand, does it leave you filled with angst or ennui?

Well, have I got the cure for you!

How much would you pay to know that there are many other people out there who feel exactly the same as you do? Who share your ideals? One dollar? A hundred dollars?

Wait, there's more! What if I were to tell you that these people not only share your pain, but they are organized, too! That's right, a complete set, including matching baggage! Now how much would you pay? A thousand dollars? A Gazillion-skillion dollars!?

Put your checkbook away, my friend, because this offer is *F*R*E*E* ! For an unlimited time, we are offering membership in all the most popular political ideologies on the planet!

It's truly A-MAZ-O-RIFIC!!

"But SheaNC," you ask, "How can I, an average Joe- or Jane, a workin' stiff, Joe Lunchbox, Jane Timeclock, get on board with this fabulous* opportunity!?"

Well, simply browse through our colorful catalog of political parties, and choose the one that fits you best. Choose two or more if you like! Change your values as often as you like, just like world leaders do! With this "political capital" at your disposal, you can make a political statement and reverse your entire belief system at the same time! We also offer a stylish line of imports.

Having trouble deciding? Take our free test to determine the one that fits you best! Experts will offer advice about sizes and colors... the choices are limitless!!

Don't be pinned down by pesky mainstream politics anymore, with their empty political rhetoric, their complicated ponzi schemes, and their un-truths, half-truths, semi-truths, semi-demi-truths, and triple-backflip-neotruths-with-media-spin-on-the-side.

Hurry! This offer won't be available after Armageddon.

Void where prohibited (see underground availability). May cause dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, heart palpitations, hair loss, blurred vision, shortness of breath, constipation, sexual side effects, loss of appetite, flatulence, cramps, insomnia, vertigo, narcolepsy, drooling, itching, and uncontrollable bloggery. Discontinue use if any signs of homeland security are observed.

*Fabulous: not that there is anything wrong with that.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Red-State Fashion [space-edited]

Ah, those neocon patriots! They're "more patriotic than thou." You know what? A lot of right-wing blog commenters will want to say that the left is more likely to abuse the flag than the right. I say the right-wingers who I have observed overwhelmingly demonstrate a tendency to abuse the flag, according to the code below. I've seen them use it as clothing, bumper-stickers in many forms, beer coolers, the list goes on. The fellow above was probably cheered by his fellow neocons, who think that turning the flag into a codpiece is patriotic. The important difference between us and them is that they proclaim themselves to be true-blue patriots who are more righteous than the rest of us, then they reveal their hypocrisy by showing contempt for the flag. They'll arrest you if you burn the flag in protest, but they're okay with the idea of making a pair of pants out of the flag and sitting on it. Consider:

TITLE 4, CHAPTER 1, § 8:

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America...

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on... anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

Re-Posted Because of the Advertisement That Keeps Showing Up On My Banner... Give Me Condiments Or Give Me Death!

Here's the condiment republicans can pour over their freedom fries! It's so appropriate since the only jobs they're leaving for us are the ones in which we ask if they "...want fries with that?"

Let's think of some other "special" food products for republicans, shall we? I invite your comments on this one! How about some Dick Cheney "F**k yourself" all-beef wieners? Or Donald Rumsfeld Halloween candy? I'm asking for input here!

And hey, kids, that ketchup is not just for eatin' -- you can use it to pretend you have blood on your hands, just like George W Bush & Co!