Saturday, July 29, 2006

When is it a War?

The Conservatives* are much too inclined to whine, as they tear up the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Conventions, "But we're at war." To them "war" has long been a magic word supercedes all other considerations, justifies all manner of crime against the citizenry with reference to some grand, transcendent and/or desperate cause. The War On Drugs certainly helped expand police powers to the point where the Founding Fathers would hardly recognize this form of government as democracy. (The quaint fools, of course, couldn't have known how much human nature would change in two centuries.) And now the Everywhere-Forever War on Terror will go that metaphorical "war" many, many times "better."

But are we, in any meaningful sense at war. Certainly the troops in Iraq are at war, and the war may have an absolute reality to their loved ones. And the people of Iraq (Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, etc.) certainly find themselves at war, although in some cases it's probably just more Hell than war -- war would be a more organized and meaningful experience than what they've got.

But for most Americans saying "We're at war," is an exercise in bad faith, at best. A soldier in the field should ask, "What's this we, kemosabe?" Most Americans have sacrificed, and more importantly would sacrifice little or nothing to this cause. They don't volunteer to fight, or expect their children to; they don't pay higher taxes (The very idea!); they don't ration, or reduce their energy consumption, or even reduce their expectations for future energy consumption. Can people who consciously sacrifice nothing be considered "at war"?

What we have here really is more a case of contract killing (etc.) than war. Moreover we're putting the fee on the kids' abstract Mastercard.

*this is, in most cases, to say: chickenhawks; punishment freaks.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Give 'Em Enough Rope....

In a Strangelovean (How I Stopped Worrying....) way I have found sort of a silver lining in the immediate political future. Either the people will repudiate Republican crimes and follies by voting in a lot of Democrats in November, or they will not. My guess is they won't -- because Rove will think of something and the corporate media will abet it, and because in many cases votes will be tallied by non-verifiable Diebold machines, or some other subverted method. (And the corporate news media will prove entirely incurious about the very surprising results!)

But even if Democrats don't win, it's not such a bad thing -- at least in the context of all the truly atrocious things already happening. The Democrats don't really deserve to win and if they do it will be a vindication of their tacit strategy: "Give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves."

Unfortunately, today's Rovian Republican, like the Klansmen from whom he is a direct spiritual descendant, knows many more rope tricks than that one. Unfortunately, really, really bad things will have to start happening to large numbers of the Booboisee, and these things will have to be correctly tied to the crimes and derelictions of the GOP, before meaningful change can come about from rejection. By that time it might be too late. If it's not already.

Still, maybe, maybe if the Democrats get their asses handed to them again, they'll finally wake up and realize, that they can't just run a symbiotic protection racket, counting on the threat from the GOP to ensure contributions. At some point they'll have to show some initiative, and imagination.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Beruit Is the New Lidice

I believe is was Dag Hammerskold who said, "You win a total war at the expense of becoming your enemy."

I'm sure it was Hitler who thought collective punishment only worked if it was grossly disproportionate -- that is "50 civilians killed to every German soldier."

And now it's Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz who has "ordered the military to destroy 10 buildings in Beirut in retaliation to every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa."

That's the way to go Israel. Show those bastards what you're really made of, what kind of cojones your packing. And that's the way to go Condi! Let's get those new bombs there, right away!

Friday, July 21, 2006

My Kind of Scum!

And the hits keep coming at the Bush Junta! Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services and his Utah clansmen have, for the past few years, been taking millions of dollars in tax write-offs from their charitable foundation that mostly lends money to themselves, and has hardly even bothered to give out any charity -- not even to faith-based GOP shills!

Not to worry, Mike's put some of his tax-funded underlings to work on the Spin Brigade: "The foundation's activities are totally legal and proper," Christina Pearson, an HHS spokeswoman, said this week on the secretary's behalf.

Is there anybody in any way connected to W who isn't basically a scumbag? There must be. Surely. I mean, could they all...?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cause, Effect or Feedback Loop?

Absoute power tends to corrupt absolutely, as Lord Acton says. And indeed essentially anybody with direct contact to the Bush regime ought to be scrutinized very carefully for signs of criminal derangment.

Again I have to wonder, do these people self-select, somehow sensing that their basic sleaziness will be warmly welcomed at the W House? (Between Teke and Sigma Nu.) Or are they more or less decent when they arrive, and then after a few years marinating in the teflon soup which seems to spare them any and all accountability, they just go bad? Or mad?

I especially have to wonder if this is true of the black and brown folk who throw in their lot with these racist shitheads. Among all the other crimes waiting to be uncovered there was the White House flunky who went klepto, kiping stuff all over the DC area, despite his high-paid White House job. But that was nothing. Now we have William Lash, an Undersecretary of Commerce for five years. Last weekend he killed himself and his 12-year-old son with a shotgun after arguing with his wife. By all accounts a great guy -- except for that throwing in with the Florida Jim-Crow Redux Gang.

Nowit looks like Katherine Harris, top operative in 2000's Throw The Negro Votes Out Drive is in a spot of trouble for taking cash from and doing favors for known briber Mitchell Wade. Oops.

These people really do think they've stumbled on a new reality and the idea has so deranged them that they just act on any impulse that comes into their head, however deviant or destructive. That impulse just has to be honored, because it's theirs.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Those Don't Believe in Science Are Condemned to...

Of course the ignoramuses of the Bush Junta know and care for nothing but money and social power, so of course they can't be expected to take any lessons from thermodynamics. This may account for their mad faith that they could, like Superman, just grab the Mid East by the scruff and turn it to Truth, Justice and the American Way. They failed to realize that when one system interacts with another you don't get alchemical conversion, you get exchange. Even under ideal circumstances, and with best practices, we may export order at the cost of taking on chaos. A young philosopher put it this way:

On our first tripI tried so hard to rearrange your mind.
But after while I realized you were disarranging mine.

And of course we have hardly had ideal circumstances or best practices here. We have been the bulldozer in the china shop. Nobody seems to have thought about how, in combatting an insurgency or underground, one will resort to things that make you odious to former friends.
The upshot of this is, among other things, a deepening of hatred of some Americans by other Americans. So the Iraqis may yet export tyranny and civil war to us. Eventually the dialectic is between dynamite and the firing squad.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Getting it on the Supply Side

I realize that the whole Defense of Marriage canard really is just a diversion from the crimes and derelictions of the Repuritan Machine ("Forget what we said about Iraq -- stomp the queers!"), but still it seems fair to wonder: isn't the net effect of gay marriage to reduce the number of homsexuals looking to hook up? If your marriage is threatened by a reduction in the pool of gay sex partners it must be a lot more liberal sort of marriage than most.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Stupid Is...?

Last weekend I was at dinner with a fair lobbyist, an Ivy Leaguer with long experience of the law, DC and the Hill and of course the subject of the President came up. She said, as so many smart, usually clear-thinking people often tragically do, "Bush isn't stupid," to which I churlishly reacted, "Yes he is." Then I apologized for my tone, and said, "Well, maybe this gets into the epistemological question: what is 'stupid?'" Then we had more drinks.

Of course it could just be my own cultural prejudice valorizing my own interests and background, but I still wonder: the Bushites know nothing of the physical world (not having worked or built or planted there), they apparently care nothing for science, history, music, philosophy, foreign travel or literature, so, doesn't this make them stupid? Don't you have to be stupid to care nothing for these things, and doesn't ignorance of these things make you stupid, in precisely the same way sedentation makes you weak?

If one has the cunning and drive to advance one's interests, grudges and causes, at any cost to whomever, and yet not the wisdom to forebear, is one stupid? Is there always a moral component to smart?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Unbelievable Truth

The Bushites have always benefitted from their extremity. W thinks he must be granted leeway as a "war president" -- notwithstanding the fact that he duped the dimmer souls of the country into the war of his choosing on Karl Rove's say-so. This is rather like paricide who begged for clemency on the grounds that he was an orphan. I would credit this gang with chutzpah but they don't really seem to even see it as bold, or tactical, it's just their entitlement. "You have to believe me, because, because I'm me."

Just elucidating what scumbags the people of this administration all apparently are makes one sound like a fulminating nutcase, because this administration is bascially unprecedented in its awfulness, in America anyway. If ever there were to be thorough investigation of the Bush White House I'm quite sure it would reveal criminal offenses committed by virtually all its members, right down to the clerical staff. But since free and fair elections are unlikely anytime soon we will not likely have any meaningful investigations either.

The fact that old Nixonian backstabbers like Rumsfeld and Cheney are at the very center of the web, sending atrocity and corruption all the way down the chain of command to the new American rape rooms of Iraq, should teach us a lesson: n one of that orphan's clemency for these assholes. If we ever get the chance we must investigate thoroughly, document obsessively, publish widely and punish severely all their crimes. If America is to recover these tumors need to be cut out of the body politic. All respect for them should be annihilated. There should be a total and eternal De-Bushification of our society. Of course all of this is precisely as likely as the Rapture.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pre-crime powers still not harnessed for good!

Once again W's prodigious pre-crime talents are demonstrated. Not so very long ago Prince Bunnypants had a real woody for Bernie Kerik former New York turnkey, and so the kind of manly man W wanted around the White House, even if he had to make him chief of Homeland Security to do it. Well, now it seems Bernie is going to take a plea bargain to avoid, or at least minimize, the time he would have to do for graft in the jails he used to run. W just knows unerringly when a fellow is cut out of the same moral cloth as himself. Putin, Sharon, Rove, all top fellas!

Bumpersticker Sunday

What they call "treason" the Founding Fathers called checks and balances.

Sex American Style: Sticking your sanctimonious nose into other peoples' business.

Halliburton -- We take the job with submitting a bid; we take the money without doing the job.

How accomplished does this mission get?