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Saturday, April 01, 2006
Welcome to the national holiday of the Sagittarian nation. Hope you're having a wonderful time.
This year, we thought we'd profile some of the most prominent April fools, in keeping with the hilarity of the day.
George W. Bush.
Today, in his weekly Saturday speech, the Resident pushed for making his tax cuts permanent. In a series of hilarious one liners, he set the nation giggling.
April 1And, he said it with a straight face.
Hilariously, he concluded with this:
The evidence is overwhelming: The opponents of tax cuts were wrong. Tax relief has helped to create jobs and opportunities for American families, and it's helped our economy grow. By maintaining our pro-growth economic policies and practicing spending restraint in Washington, we can keep our economy growing and stay on track to meet our goal of cutting the budget deficit in half by 2009.Hilariously, he never mentioned that the stock market has finally gotten to where it was when he took office, that unemployment is higher than when he took office, and that the money is only worth half as much in real dollars as it was when he took office.
The guy's such a cut up! Here, from The Wooly Bible: King George Version
The Gospel according to St. Gannon-GuckertSpeaking of not destroying the law ...
A professor at George Mason University, jinxed their basketball team, jumping the gun on March 22nd, penning the following on TownHall.com in preparation for Friday's sparsely attended Censure Hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is one of the most astonishingly slick sleights of mind (as opposed to manual legerdemain) this reporter has ever beheld, a tour-de-force of bravura mendacity, fallacious in every respect, and yet sounding so reasonable that you'd swear that it was a son's duty to beat his father, and, picking up a stick, he wrote:
Essentially, Senator Feingold is using a reprimand to resolve a "separation of powers" dispute between the president and Congress. Some members of Congress argue that Congress alone has the power to regulate the use of wiretaps domestically.http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/HoraceCooper/2006/03/22/190715.html
Judge not, that ye be not judged ... like, say, them illegal MESSIKANS!
The law is the law, and they done broke the law.
Speaking of slick sophistries, but with a Carolinian drawl, Senator Lindsey Graham (Asshole, SC) had a little tete a tete with John Dean, defending George Bush's Nixonian excesses with the unique strategem of ATTACKING John Dean and the Nixon White House. That's gotta be a first in the Annals of Mendacity.
Let's cut the crap. "Grand Old Party" ceased to have any meaning some time during the Coolidge Administration. So, let's be really daring, and tell the truth, AND make it sound like NOT telling the truth is the sexiest darn thing you ever seed in all yore live-long daze:
We're CHANGING our name. The Gee Oh Pee was too tough to say, so now we're the Eff Oh Em! The Festival Of Mendacity. Say it! So masculine. So rugged. So butch. The Festival of Mendacity is the party of the Twentieth Century!
And now, Senator Graham, (Asshole, SC) will amuse us all with his colorful antics:
Sharp exchanges fill censure hearingSpeaking of running for that middle ground, let us not forget the six Democratic Senators who didn't show up for the hearing. If discretion be the better part of valor, those six, were certainly the most valorous senators in the whole of Washington, that day. Such valor deserves commemoration on April Fools Day:
Edward M. KennedyAnd, of course to the Republican Party for screaming all weeks about the ILLEGAL aliens, and howling all week that the very idea that the president might have broken the law in his ALL OUT WAR against the terrorists, who were probably infiltrating into the country from Mexico as ILLEGAL aliens.
Let us not forget Condoleeza Rice, whose reception by the British populace (whose sons and daughters have also died for her cabal's Machiaevellian Iraqian machinations) have been betraying open animosity towards Miz Rice, Bush's Secretary. And, what with Bush having admitted that he intends to keep the troops in Iraq as long as he's president, in case you didn't properly translate his elliptical statement, the British, with a far longer experience of the English language than we Yew Essayists, figured out that Dubya's lying, broke the law, tortures people, tosses people in secret prisons, and isn't leaving Iraq anytime soon.
Or maybe they just thing (sic) she's a bitch. I know I sure do.
This festival of mendacity for April Fools Day has truly made it an April's Fools' Day. I really sort of like the Usurper's elliptical notification that "terrorist surveillance" had been going on for three years on a massive level, unprecedented in scope and magnitude, and, hey, I'm going to KEEP doing it, because what I say goes.
Er, one asks, what about the FOURTH AMENDMENT, sir? Its language is clear: The Fourth Amendment - Search and seizure. (Ratified 12/15/1791.)
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.Bush would merely respond: Hey! Isn't that an illegal alien over there!
We would reply "Where!?!"
And so forth.
By the by, whatever happened to the debate about whether there's a civil war in Iraq?
And the right wing's demonizing of the freelance reporter for the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR who was released last week after three months of kidnapping. That was special in the annals of Foolish Aprils.
And that's about all the fools that come to mind on this, their special day. Except ... something's ... there was something ... Ummmmm (the mantra of clarity)... oh yes!
Ah. My regular readers might have wondered about the letter I sent out Thursday, that there would be no blog Thursday (and then Friday...). CounterPunch was going to feature the blog entry "Confessions of a Second Class Citizen" and I wouldn't write, so that THAT would be what people saw (who would visit in significant numbers -- driven by CP, as I know from having previously been a website of the day in 2005.)
In other words, because I felt that the piece from Wednesday was an important piece in the debate, I felt that it was important enough that I should NOT blog Thursday or Friday (or Saturday), so that visitors would read THAT piece, and not anything posted after it. Acting on the word of a self-appointed conscience of society, I self-censored myself for the rest of the week. After all, persons of conscience are as good as their word, right? (I sent the piece out under the header "UNTITLED.")
I had received this email from the CounterPunch web editor:
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 09:32:00 -0800So, what did Mr. St. Clair of CounterPunch link to "tomorrow"?
Well, I figured that something else might have cropped up. Probably he meant the Saturday/Sunday posting. So, I said nothing. After all, this paragon of social justice had given his word. The plight of the slaves-in-all-but-name was important to him and, thus far unspoken in the "immigration" debate, right?
1/2 April 2006: Website of the WeekendHmm. That didn't sound promising. Ah, but click on it and you will find the following:
BrickBurner.orgSo, I guess the April Fool's joke was on the 'undocumented' that I was trying to speak up for, and, of course, ME! Side-splitter! HI-larious!
Tee hee hee.
Hey. I told you I was a second-class citizen.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
CONFESSIONS OF A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN
or, IF YOU LIVED HERE, YOU'D BE HOME BY NOW
The last Republican who ever tricked me is dead, now.
In 1980, thinking myself to be a clever fellow, and worried about the very state of the presidency -- after Nixon, bumbling Ford and congenitally incapable of decisiveness Carter -- I voted for Ronald Reagan.
Now, don't think I had any illusions. No: I was kind of worried about the overwhelmingly Democratic congress, who had swept in unprecedented numbers to overpowering numbers in the house and senate in the Landslide of 1974.
The landslide was so overwhelming that I remember pundits and talking heads seriously yabbling for a silly season "could this be the END of the Republican party?"
Well, not being an idiot, and having some slight sense of history, I would usually hiss back at the boob on the boob tube: "So what? They'd reform as another party, just as the Republicans formed out of the collapse of the Whigs."
But they didn't listen to me. And they're still dithering and blithering and blathering. Have you ever bothered to track all the nonsense spewed out of your idiot-box? The weatherman regularly gets it wrong, but continues, night after night, as though he were (or, increasingly, because of the eye candy factor, she) the Joe DiMaggio of meteorology, riding an unbroken streak of 'hits.'
Worse, if you track it further, you'll note that the pundits make those weatherhominids look like utter Nostradamuses. Or is that Nostradamii? Onward.
At any event, the Democrats had swept to power on a tide of rage at Nixonian predations, and were such utter cascading CFs that they managed to even stymie Carter's entire term. It was a cock fight between the Presidency and the Congress, and it looked like the Congress was going to win.
They were cocky. They were cock-sure, they were self-righteous, they were staunchly scattered, and I viewed them with deep suspicion. Because NOTHING was getting done. The whole government was in PeeCee trainwreck mode.
And, so, foolish little I voted for Blue-Haired Ronnie Death Valley Daze, and even convinced my Italian wife to do so, too, for which I deeply apologize to her.
I was wrong, but with a reason, and I think a valid one: I figured that if they could so stymie Carter, Reagan wouldn't have a chance.
And so there would be a chess game in a natural state of "check." Silly me.
And I lived in Hollywood, so Reagan's hokum and movie tricks were just what they were to me: hokum and movie tricks. He was a second-rate actor, but as a politician he at least played a first-rate one. So, I didn't mind a figurehead in the White House for four years.
How wrong and right I was. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Because he really WAS a figurehead. And the people behind him have been behind an awful lot of the political fecal matter that's hitting the rotating blades.
In fact, they were so keen to keep Carter from pulling off an "October Surprise" (the genesis of the term in political parlance) and get the hostages back, that they sent George I and Bill Casey to Madrid to negotiate with the Ayatollah Khomeni: If you hold the hostages until AFTER the election, we'll secretly sell you the parts for all your U.S.-made F-16 that we sold the Shah. And the other spare parts you need for your war with Iraq.
You see, American High Tech military gear is sold on the dealer/junkie model: you need a constant stream of spare parts and upgrades, and you can only get them ONE place.
And mostly, at that time, it was in Orange County, California, where McDonnell Douglas, Ford Aerospace, and a crapload of other defense contractors were headquartered. But we're coming to that.
Ronnie pulled his phony Hollywood crap, but, as an entertainment professional (hey, I've worked in theater, movies, the music industry, newspapers, magazines, and the various multimedia bleedovers thereof and wherefore), well, as an entertainment professional, it was nice to see SOMEBODY hitting his marks, and only occasionally flubbing his lines. To this very day, the act of allowing a politician in front of a microphone is an act of sheerest sonic masochism, at least to a sound engineer. The old Chair of the DPLC, the Union Goonatrice, used to bend down and scream into that poor little hyper-sensitive microphone in Harris Hall to the point I'd go outside, just to get away from the hideous screech of a self-important amateur blowing out a sensitive and expensive sound system.
I've run open mics in several places, and the most amateurish musician knows more about a microphone than the most polished politician, it seems. But, to a politician, a microphone and a TV camera are like honey to a bee.
Here's a little trick, kiddies. If you're ever at a convocation of models -- clothed or un - -- make sure you have a good looking camera. Whether it has film in it or not, doesn't matter. You will be the focus of all those models' attention. The same holds true for a politician and a microphone.
So, I voted for Ronnie, and got my wish. As they say, be very careful what you wish for.
Skip forward in time to 1987. The Meese Commission was jackbooting through my industry (men's magazines and porn films were the only place that a white boy without a bachelor's degree and an uncle in the business could get a job), and I foolishly decided to enter the "honest" world of "legitimate" business. They were raiding Valley warehouses looking for Tracy Lords tapes, and work was drying up everywhere. So, it seemed, like that foolish vote, to be a good idea at the time.
I got a job in Orange County.
Lyn Nofziger has a blog. Or, rather, HAD a blog. Lyn Nofziger was the media Karl Rove behind Reagan. He was one of those evil fixers we like to call "political strategists," and I believe that the one who actually tricked me on the Reagan vote was Nofziger.
Here is one of his last blog entries:
No one doubts Mr. Murtha's bravery or patriotism, nor should they. But that does not, and should not, exempt him from doubts about his IQ or his common sense. The fact is there is no correlation between brains and bravery. Neither do medals for heroism fit a man to set policy for the country. The liberals know or should know these things, but they figure a lot of their fellow Americans do not.Well, you can take the boy out of Right Wing Washington politics, but I guess you can't take the Right Wing Washington politics out of the boy. We'll get back to Nofziger in a minute.
At first I lived in Whittier, and commuted to downtown Santa Ana, where I worked for an evil little accountant and his hammer-toed Nebraska wife, who ran a place called AAA-***. The "AAA" was so that they'd be FIRST in the phone book.
They did resumes. But first, you had to apprentice directly in their offices, so that they could teach you properly how to screw unemployed families out of their rent money. It was a profoundly disturbing thing to me, having just come from pornography, to move into something so predatory and overtly evil. But that was what was available, and so I took the OCTD bus from a park and ride every morning, a long trip from Whittier to Santa Ana down I-5, past Disneyland.
In fact, I learned an interesting thing about the Orange County Transit District riding that bus.
I had to transfer, of course, and the transfer point was the Disneyland hotel. You see, back when Anaheim was mostly orange groves, and was the sleepy center of the Number One Agricultural County in the U.S.A., the only real traffic draw was Disneyland. So, naturally, all lines converged there. And, at the Disneyland hotel, half of the buses in Orange County converged. That was the transfer point.
Now, in order to be going the right way to drop you off at the Disneyland hotel bus stop, the bus always had to take a big loop around the block opposite Disneyland, mostly residential, at that time.
And, as we came around the back side of Disneyland, every day, I saw something that no tourist ever saw, and which burned into me something that is part and parcel of that California Republican idea that Reagan and his handlers carried from the Land of El Gringo Fascisto to Washington, D.C.
Behind Disneyland, there was a large vacant area as the bus made the turn. The first thing that caught your eye was the absurdist "Disneyland" sign, utterly alone in a strawberry field, with its backdrop of a thirty-foot-high ivy-covered fence: a massive chain-link fence that formed an almost impenetrable backdrop.
The sign itself was one of those telescopic signs you see in front of a Denny's, with a plastic "Disneyland" bas-relief logo over what were undoubtedly fluorescent lights. At the base, there was a well-rutted patch of bare dirt, always muddy by the base of the sign. And a concrete pedestal.
If you had the bus window open, you could kind of hear the Mine Ride roller-coaster behind it, but Disneyland itself might as well have been on another planet.
There was a depressed spot in the curb for trucks to pull in, and the mud around the sign bore mute witness to countless heavy trucks making the circle into the field, and then back around to the other curb exit.
The first time I saw it, that was what I saw.
But after that, I saw something else.
In the strawberry field, dozens of Mexican peasants stooped, picking fruit in the broiling sunshine. The women wore shawls, and some of the men were barefoot. They looked like people from another time, another world. And, in the heat of the midday sun, they soaked their feet in the cool mud, sitting on the pedestal of that Disneyland sign, taking advantage of the only shade to be had.
And I thought of these peasants, doing backbreaking work, shoeless, many homeless, and right through that Ivy Curtain, the whole American Dream screamed with false joy at the twists and turns of the wild mine ride.
The magic kingdom had a dark shadow that I saw every day. In the distance, there was a new block of condos going up, and there was a banner with a phone number that said: "If you lived here, you'd be home by now."
And I thought: what must they think of us?
We, sitting in our Disney shorts, with our Disney cameras slung over our Mickey Mouse T-shirts, gaily blowing more cash than any of these illegals would see in a year.
And I felt a dark rage that persists to this day. Who the hell were we? How could we stuff our fat faces with obscene amounts of junk food, and blow hundreds and thousands of dollars in the false magic of the kingdom, where Goofy is King, and Mickey rules, like the red death, o'er all.
There was something poisonous and shameful about it.
At the resume office, I was learning, for minimum wage, to use the vanity and false pride of the yuppies who would soon be occupying those condos, but they didn't like the cut of my jib, and called me into the office in the middle of a $400 sale, to fire me.
It had been a bad day, anyway. I had been looking at TIME magazine, and one of the actresses I'd known from the old days was being feted in its pages as a "Feminist filmmaker," while I was doing a two-hour bus commute every day, invisible to TIME magazine because of my gender, even though I had worked in the same industry, and had done better work.
But, like those peasants in the fields, I was a second-class citizen.
Except that I was a citizen, and white, and they were illegal and brown. I had rights. They did not.
Do you hear me?
They did not.
You see, this whole false debate foisted on us by the most incompetent bunch of thugs since St. Bruno was sacking the temples of Venus, this whole phony debate has been based on the point of view of the overfed, overpampered visitors blowing their vacation money to ride Space Mountain and the Matterhorn.
And these pampered gluttons pompously and self-righteously bray about how those barefoot peasants are a threat ... to THEM! What a "threat" those poor, desperate, underfed, barely paid, no rights, no legal recourse, no identity and no prospects are ... to THEM!
If you lived here, you'd be home by now.
I got another job. Typesetting for one of those Orange County firms that services the defense industry. We were in the same building that the "Walter Foster" art books headquarters was in. You can only see the "Walter Foster" logo from the freeway, by the way. The building itself is at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential neighborhood with avocado trees -- whose fruit I used to mix with Del-Taco mayonnaise for meals when my paychecks bounced, which started happening within a few months.
I was living in a place between the two main freeways in Santa Ana -- the 5 and the 55 -- called "The Bluebird Motel." The money I made typesetting presentations for TOW missiles, space stations, McDonnell Douglas management manuals and fireplace equipment catalogs just covered the cost of the motel every week.
There was a brand-new mirrored building, and a used car lot on that block. Across the street was a Harley-Davidson dealership that was always frequented by actual Southern California bikers. But as the glass high-rises of high-tech Orange County rose everywhere in the boom I'd ridden in on, there were still fields here and there, oases of Orange County as it used to be.
And in the strawberry fields in front of that mirror building, between the used-car lot and the freeway off-ramp, Mexican peasants stooped in the hot sun, without shade, and picked our strawberries for us. For slave wages, you might say, except you should stop and think about what you just said.
When you have no rights, are you not a slave? When you can be turned in (as often happened and happens still) by the field owner, before he pays you. When your women can be raped, your belongings stolen, or when you can be beaten mercilessly and NO ONE will lift a finger, except to deport you, aren't you a slave? You are in no wise a free man, that is certain.
And so, I typeset for Reagan's defense contractors, and wrote book reviews for the Orange County Register, and did my level best not to feel horrible guilt every day when I saw those people in the fields. Our slaves. Making sure that we had cheap lettuce and cheap strawberries at the supermarket.
And at the vending booths there in Disneyland.
The typesetting shop started bouncing checks, but the owner of the Bluebird Motel took pity on me, and instead of kicking me out into the street, he agreed to hold onto their check until they made good on it, and even cashed it for me. He was a tough old Armenian, but he thought I was honest, even if I was a second-class citizen, living week to week in the "bad" part of Santa Ana.
And in the fields, day after day, they bent over in the hot sun, picking strawberries.
Lyn Nofziger was an old California political pro. Here, from his blog:
I'm Lyn Nofziger and this is my website.***
In Disneyland, they herd you in cattle-stalls, just like at the abattoir. There are too many people, and you spend most of your time at the "Magic Kingdom" standing in line.
Disney was a good Republican. He was a "freedom lovin'" self made man, who had that John Wayne, I-made-myself-why-don't-you attitude. Disneyland and Orange County were a good mix. The barons of the orchards and endless fields had absolute sway over their Mexicans, just as they'd had absolute sway over the Okies back during those old "Grapes of Wrath" days.
Only, eventually, the Okies got rights. And, with their white skins and pale complexions, they were able to climb the ladder of California society.
But, even though California was a big chunk of the half of Mexico that we stole in Polk's Mexican War of 1846, the Mexicans, whether living in California originally or not, never really had any chance of climbing that ladder.
[Parenthetical: please realize that only about HALF of the "illegal aliens" that the big hoo-haw is about are Hispanics from South of the Border. But the big hoo-haw is actually ABOUT those Mexicans, and Salvadorans, and Hondurans, and Panamanians, Columbians, and other "Americans" whose names we fatasses in our Mickey Mouse ears bluster and arrogate as ONLY us.]
The whole economy of Southern California would collapse without underpaid, sub-minimum wage workers, and the only people who fall into that category are the undocumented. There was an unwritten code among the police to ignore them, unless they made trouble.
You would see them, on the streets of Santa Ana, five and six in a cheap used car they'd pooled their money to buy, unlicensed, no papers, driving, driving. They had those flat-brimmed hats, and you could tell that they were Mexican farmers, not city boys, not sophisticates.
And they cooled their bare, cracked feet in the mud at the base of the Disneyland sign.
How are they hurting these arrogant Americans? They take the jobs that the Unions demand too much to take, while the owners take the lion's share of the profits from the illegal work, and dole out as much of a pittance as can be gotten away with.
I moved up, and ended up running a resume office for another company. Serendipitously, I'd already been trained. And I lived in Trabuco Canyon, in one of several converted cabins that remained from a dude ranch that had been there in the 20's and '30s. Where rich East Coasteners would send their chubby-faced little darlings to pretend that they were cowboys and cowgirls.
The dude ranch had long since gone out of fashion, but cowboy transvestitism (where you dress up like a cowboy and pretend to be John Wayne, or Tom Mix, or Willam S. Hart) hasn't gone out of fashion. Just look at Ronald (Illinois) Reagan or George (Connecticut) Bush.
And, as I took the long way 'round every morning to my office across the street from the Orange County Airport, just renamed the "John Wayne Airport" with a huge statue of "The Duke," I would pass Orange and Katella, where a long line of fresh immigrants would line up along the wall by the McDonald's and Burger King, and pickup trucks would come by, and three or four would jump in and go off for a day of underpaid, backbreaking work.
It was a lot like watching the prostitutes working Sunset Boulevard west of La Brea.
If some Ed Gein decided to make himself a Mexican Nipple Belt, or an eyeball bolero, no one would ever be the wiser. These were rightless people. They were expendible. The were free-lance slaves.
You could always tell the ones fresh over the border. We didn't call them "wetbacks" in California, because there was no Rio Grande to swim. That's only in Texas.
No, they were just "Beaners." Or "Messikans." Or worse.
And the fat, overstuffed, rosy-cheeked little darlings of Orange County used to yell "clever" things at them, lined up there in the morning.
They thought that they would look American if they wore a "Dallas Cowboys" t-shirt, and a "Los Angeles Dodgers" baseball cap. It was the uniform of the newly arrived.
And they stood there in the sun, at 7:30 in the morning, waiting for work of any kind. Mostly, they got it. The lines were long, but the pickup trucks were steady.
If you lived here, you'd be home by now.
Lyn Nofziger was a poster-child of that Libertarian "It's MINE!" set. I'm sure that he was as offended by those damned Messikans coming over taking jobs as anyone else. But I bet he knew where to get five strong backs to move boulders and pick weeds in his garden when he needed them.
No "gum'mint" interference going to keep these proud individualists, these self-made men of Southern California from exercising their God-given right to pay as little for as much work as they could mule a man out of.
I knew a mixed-race couple.
He was a Jew. She was black. They had a Salvadoran maid, who spoke no English. They paid her nothing, just room and board for taking care of their chubby-cheeked, cherubic little pampered darlings. She worked seven days a week.
Don't ask me how I found out. I did, that's all. I just did.
And when I gently brought it up to them, they were extremely mortified. Good lord, EVERYBODY does it.
Hell, she's LUCKY to have a roof over her head and plenty to eat. It's MINE! MINE!
No pay. No days off. And, if "Massa" wants to bend her over the couch and have his way with her, who is she going to complain to? Trust me, it happens a LOT more in Southern California than anyone will ever admit. It is our secret shame and our secret sin for keeping these human beings as slaves, with no legal rights, no human rights.
Slavery corrupts both the slave and the slave-owner. If any civilized nation ought to know that, WE ought to.
But no. This is the philosophy that won the west. The gospel according to Nofziger:
... Sometimes I wish I were a Democrat because Democrats seem to have more fun. At other times I wish I were a Libertarian because Republicans are too much like Democrats.***
Try as I might, though, I could never scrape above subsistence, living in Orange County. When I had to use the bus, I still found myself taking that back turn around Disneyland to connect at the hotel, and they were still soaking their feet in the mud.
When you have to deep-six ten years of your writing life on your resume, the only thing you're qualified to do is write resumes for other people. I watched the boom in Orange County, as an endless stream of job-seekers came through my door, but I could never bring myself to gouge them deeply enough to make any real money at it.
Just a second class citizen, sitting in a mostly empty office, trying to pay my rent. And in the fields, and along the cinderblock walls at the intersections, sun-blackened men in Dodger caps and wearing Dallas Cowboys t-shirts waited for the willing trucks.
Lyn Nofziger has passed away, the last Republican to trick me, but, sadly, not the last trickster Republican. Let us not speak ill of the dead. He is what he is, and I have given him to you in his own words.
But I wish he were still alive so that I could ask him about this statement on his site of his core belief:
"I am a Republican because I believe that freedom is more important than government-provided security."Did he mean freedom from having to pay decent wages to workers -- which is what fuels the two-faced hypocrisy of our collective behavior towards those Messikans that the yabblers are all yabbling about on the airwaves and in the halls of Congress?
Or did he mean freedom from Patriot Acts, Departments of Homeland Security, massive national debts (which have halved the value of our money, so, take that "DOW JONES" index and recognize that in real dollars, it's HALF of what it was during the Clinton years) and Nixonesque spying, dirty tricks, surveillance and propaganda?
What "freedom" did he mean?
Surely not "freedom" for those illegal wetback beaner sons-a-bitches. Surely not for them. Surely freedom from taxes, from regulations, from environmental laws that stop us from spreading ant-poison and herbicide, and hiring a couple of illegals to get out in the poison fields and hack the ivy vines off of the oak tree so that they can plant nasturtiums and columbines. What freedom did you mean, Mr. Nofziger? And how, in the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush regimes did you serve it?
Well, of course, Nofziger is dead and cannot answer, so we will leave him to his trek to that great Disneyland in the Sky.
Oh, and even though I didn't register as a Democrat until 1988, eight years later, that vote for Reagan in 1980 was the very last Republican vote I ever cast.
You live and you learn: better to be a second class citizen than no citizen at all.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
SEPTEMBER ELEVEN, TWO THOUSAND AND ONE
or, WHAT I SAID THEN, I WRITE NOW
I remember the madness of September 11. I was sitting with my sketchpad on the observation deck, drawing an Alaskan fjord, when the announcement came onto the loud speaker. An hour later, we pulled into Juneau, Alaska.
And as I watched the madness unfold, each port of call -- from Ketchikan to Skagway to Sitka, and thence back, through Canada and back into the Bizarro-world version of the USA, was an unfolding of a "Heart of Darkness," or an "Apocalypse Now." Safe in our little bubble, we had watched the world go mad, sailing on calm waters.
And then, when we invaded Afghanistan a few months later, I said to my wife (and my friends): Dear God, this is Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. Every blow we strike will get us deeper and deeper into the mire of the Middle East.
I have been proven correct.
But, what is important and current was that Zacharias Moussaoui today took the stand in his sentencing hearing, and told the court that he had been part of the 9-11 plot, his part to fly a jet into the White House.
Here, from Legends of the Old Plantation, copyright 1881, the first of the Uncle Remus collections by Joel Chandler Harris:
THE WONDERFUL TAR BABY STORYNow, you might wonder what this has to do with the only survivor of 9-11, and why I should bring it up here and now. Well, you need to read the second half, the tale of Br'er Rabbit and the Briar Patch, and then you'll be way ahead of me, you perceptive reader, you.
From the same book by the same author (stolen, you might note, from American Folklore, specifically appropriated from plantation slave folklore):
HOW MR. RABBIT WAS TOO SHARP FOR MR. FOXYes. Moussaoui WANTS to be thrown in the briar patch. The idiot U.S. Attorneys desperately wanted to impose the death penalty, but managed to bungle it. They actually were coaching witnesses, attempting to frame a guilty man. And, they lost their tainted witnesses.
There was always something chilling in their contention that HAD MOUSSAOUI TOLD THEM about 9-11, they COULD HAVE stopped it, and, therefore, Moussaoui was guilty of causing 9-11 by omission, and should be executed. A capital sin by omission. This is a rare and dangerous sort of judicial precedent, but then, strange and dangerous judicial precedents are, arguably, the hallmark of this maladministration.
This is sheerest madness, even leaving aside the fact that the FBI, while they had the fellow in custody, didn't bother looking on his computer, which would have ALSO tipped them off.
But madness is the operating system of the Bush Computer. (Madness 3.0, Service Pack 666, to be precise).
And so Moussaoui had to take the stand on his own behalf.
Don't throw me into the briar patch, old Mr. Fox News! Please don't throw me into the BRIAR PATCH, screamed Mr. Moussaoui.
And, what do you want to bet that now they will toss him into the briars? Don't they GET it? He WANTS to die. He WANTS to be a martyr. Otherwise, why would he have been involved (or, at least have confessed to being involved for murky reasons of his own) in 9-11?
Throw him in the briar patch, Mr. Fox News. And, while you're at it, keep on punching that old Tar Baby: Iraq.
Monday, March 27, 2006
SO MUCH PERFIDY, SO LITTLE TIMEhart williams
or, HANDBASKETS FOR THE UPCOMING TRIP
Antonin Scalia -- he who goes duck hunting with Dick Cheney when a case in which Cheney is the plaintiff is pending before the Supreme Court -- good old "Mr. Moral" Antonin Scalia has managed to stick his foot in it again.
We have reached a sorry pass in this country when a Supreme Court Justice can pre-judge a case with impunity, arrogantly declare that he doesn't have any conflict of interest, and cast a vote on that case, after making a public speech prior to the hearing of that case as to how he's going to vote.
The superior media watchdogs over at Media Matters note that the Associated Press decided this issue wasn't worthy of note in their coverage of the "controversy."
By J.K.After all, it was Scalia who issued the injunction in 2000 that stopped the counting of votes in Florida, because it would cause "irreparable" harm to George W. Bush.
Too bad he didn't go hunting with Cheney back in the 20th Century.
Let's see, what else?
Oh yes. The President's mother, using a charitable organization in Houston. laundered a whole lot of "undisclosed amount" of cash to her bad boy son Neil's company "Ignite!" This minor criminality -- that she would use the tax code to donate money earmarked specifically to be spent on her son's company, but insufficient to do so, and requiring that OTHER charitable money be shoveled in to make up the difference -- has been unworthy of comment by the media, and NO ONE seems to think it's illegal.
Try: tax fraud.
Babs not only gets to write off her "contribution" at YOUR expense (who, after all, makes up the difference for her "charity" when SHE gets all that money back in the form of tax offsets?), enriches her evil son, Neil (who was sitting on the board of directors when the Eldorado Savings & Loan in Colorado tanked to the tune of $1 billion -- which YOU paid for), but she ALSO sucks OTHER charitable funds into the scheme, all so the Houston schools can buy "Curriculum on Wheels" machines that allegedly teach students how to pass the new mandated multiple choice tests that his big brother shoved through in Texas when he was governor, and shoved through in the United States now that he has usurped the presidency.
They call them COWs, appropriately enough. Cash COWs, that is. And Barbara Bush got YOU and other charitable donors to buy Neil's Frankensteins and gets ALL the money back. The story surfaced and disappeared over the weekend. Ho hum.
She's a crook. She has defrauded the taxpayers and defrauded those who gave to the charity in good faith, and all to enrich her prostitute-lovin' black sheep son, Neil.
(And, think about it: to be a black sheep in the BUSH family is really accomplishing something in a Satanic Olympic Competition. Gold medal, fer sure.)
Do any reporters make this connection? Does this make anyone uncomfortable? Does anyone dare call the mother of the usurper a flim-flam artist? Does anyone anywhere in the "media" even suggest this?
Surely you jest.
Here's some of the pussified coverage (WARNING, do not read while eating, or drinking, or nausea and/or blowing fluids out of your nose may ensue.)
Hurricane Donation Benefited Bush SonWell, then. There you go. It's JUST FINE to do that, right?
I guess in a country that sees nothing wrong in setting up a "Heritage Foundation" so that it can hire all the old crooks of the Nixon, Reagan and Bush I administrations as speakers and fellows, can openly invite "movement conservatives" to Washington, D.C. where they can be shoved into the bureaucracy in "policy level" positions; can literally write the speeches the Republican congresserpents give in their little CSPAN moments, can write up legislation, policy papers and the rest and ALL as a "charitable" 501(c)3, just like a church or a soup kitchen, all offsetting taxes that YOU pay, well, I guess using a charity to enrich your crook son merely "raises eyebrows."
Here: the AP bends over and begs for buccal intercourse:
(Houston-AP) March 24, 2006 - Former first lady Barbara Bush is helping her son by helping Hurricane Katrina evacuees.See? All kosher. All OK. I don't know about you, but if anyone else was caught in such a scheme, the IRS and maybe the state attorney general would be on them like, well, like Bushes to ill-gotten gains. (You thought I was going to use the less obscene "flies to shit" didn't you?)
But, as the press flack and the supine "watchdog" note: there's nothing to see here. Move along.
And, thank ghod that we've got "moral" Republican pricks like these yahoos to protect us from the one reporter who HAS publicly noted that there's something very wrong about Babs' little "charitable" donation:
NewsBusters: Exposing and Combating Liberal Media BiasYes. That's true. And, as Al Capone's business cards noted, he was a "used furniture dealer." So, that must have been what he was. After all, being a used furniture dealer automatically precludes being head of Murder, Incorporated, and, giving donations to charity without criminal intent makes it impossible to give said donations WITH criminal intent. And, doing legitimate business in a bank precludes you from robbing one. Right? Right.
Nothing to see here, folks. Now, REALLY, move ALONG! We've got to get this off-ramp on the information superhighway cleared off for the "march of the jackboots" later in the afternoon.
Oh, and after a (lowball from the LAPD) half-million to a million (other estimates) marched in the streets of Los Angeles this weekend to protest the punitive and lunatic proposals to rein in "illegal immigration," the Senate Judiciary Committee managed to solve the entire problem in one day -- by 5:37 PM Eastern Standard Time on a Monday.
US Senate panel approves broad immigration reformWho knew that our congress could act so fast? They managed to solve the entire immigration issue in ONE DAY! Huzzah!
In England, the speaker of the house is not allowed to speak. Maybe that's something we can all build on.
Oh yes. Our Usurper President and his little monkey Alberto dealt with the controversy by showing up for a new citizen swearing in ceremony at Constitution Hall, a few blocks from the (formerly) White House.
It's kind of scary to think that, to pass the citizenship test, each and every one of those new US citizens was required to know more about the history and mechanics of our Constitution and government than either George or his Attorney General apparently do.
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