Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bush Said What?

I have a difficult time listening to our President speak, particularly when it isn't scripted, and his native intelligence comes into play and the Leader of the Free World is tossed softball queries, which he frequently stumbles over. Honestly. It's kinda scary. I look at him and visualize a snotty sixth grader trying to give a book report after only reading the Cliff Notes. So tonight I just caught an aural glimpse of his press conference on the radio. I gave it maybe 2 minutes. In that time, I heard him say (related to energy policy) that we "Would be in a better position today, had we taken some of his suggested 'bold steps' ten years ago." Now, forget for a minute that Democrats have been trying since the 70's to improve our energy policy (at least compared to the GOP) and remember how long this particular President has been in office. Didn't he think maybe that maybe 5 or 6 years ago he shouldn't have done something? Or would it only have helped if energy policy was changed under the Clinton administration? Bottom line, of course, is that Bush's suggestions are mostly meaningless pap. A sop to the citizens who still want to ride high in their SUVs, and who want someone to DO SOMETHING about THESE CRAZY ENERGY PRICES!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Dubya Midterm Innoculation

Gas prices are spiking. In fact, crude oil prices are beyond what many people could have imagined a year ago. And while "peak oil" is still a fantasy to most people, the sticker shock they're getting at the gas pump is creating a wee bit of angst. It's no fantasy. That guzzler in the garage is sucking them dry.

So GWB, with the midterm election campaigns just a few months away has decided it's time to start talking about "inergy." He's suddenly and miraculously in favor of conservation, of fuel efficient vehicles and nukuler enery. And he thinks that building new refineries is just swell, particularly if they can be rammed through, avoiding the pesky approval process that is just so darn troublesome for large multinational corporations.

It's all a sham, of course. Dubya simply wants to be able to say, "I have a plan to help wean us off the Persion oil teat! I offered up a progressive plan to help the average Amurican! I am a good 'ole boy!"

Boy oh boy, is he ever.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

You Don't Need A Weatherman...

Mentioning Bob Dylan and Rick Santorum in the same sentence is a stretch, but you've gotta thank the junior Senator from the great state of Pennsylvania for making it happen.

Dylan's 1967 song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" included the line, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." It was both a fine metaphor, as well as a reference to the 60's radical group, The Weather Underground.

So where's the connection? Are Dylan and Santorum finally going to tour together? Is Ricky going to give it all up, grab a guitar and head to Newport, Dinkytown or The Village? No.

What Rick wants to do is limit the amount of weather information which the National Weather Service releases to the public. Think about that for a moment. Okay, times up. If your first thought was, "Hey, that's crazy!" you win the cupie doll.

There is clearly only one reason Santorum is hot to help out the private weather forecasting services; can you guess it? Could it possibly have to do with money? Right again. You get the big stuffed porker on the top row! While few people outside of Pennsylvania know this, all those "AccuWeather Forecasts" you hear across the nation eminate from AccuWeather's HQ in central PA. And, it turns out (by some crazy happenstance) that they are bigtime Santorum financial supporters.

See. You really don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows!

Just stand downwind and take in the stench coming from DC.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Onward Christian Terrorists...

If you weren't watching Desperate Housewives on Sunday night, perhaps you caught the other hit show of the season, the nationwide evangelical reality show, broadcast on radio, TV and via the Internet.

It was a call to arms. A spirited attempt by the pious purveyors of powerful Christian organizations (you know, like the US Senate) to paint our legal system as "broken" and desperately in need of a baptism by firing, particularly the firing of Federal judges.

It was, and is, a blatant attempt to promote the takeover of the United States government by a group of men (mostly) who claim the take their orders from a higher power. They do not believe they govern according to the will of the people, but by orders which float down from heaven. God has, apparently, annointed them in some special way.

Of course, none of them really believe this. They are all powerful men doing what powerful men have always done; use their intelligence, their personal wealth, their positions and their evangelical zeal to scam their flocks. They are hooked on power. They smell it and want it and use it and abuse it.

Frist is, perhaps, the worst of all. A faithless whiny little twerp who wants one thing; to live at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue... and who tailors his ethics and his speech toward that end. When he thought he could get some positive spin out of the despicable Shaivo Show, he started doing medicine via VHS. Most people saw it as a pathetic stumble, but it hasn't slowed him down. Yesterday's show was proof of that. He wants to ride the Big Jesus Vote right into the White House....

So are these people terrorists? Sure. They lie, cheat, threaten and intimidate to get what they want. Their adherents are people like Eric Rudolph, who established a sort of pseudo-sainthood during his years underground. They believe, as Islamic terrorists do, that killing is alright, as long as you have God on your side. Scary stuff.

If the end times are here, I find it more likely that it's the end of the American Experiment - not the end of the world. Right now, at this moment? I'd be happy to be hoovered out of this sad state of affairs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Brain Dead for Decades. Please Don't Remove Bush's Feeding Tube!

I am worried that someday someone will remove the feeding tube that keeps the Bush administration upright. I really am. It would be such a shame. Oh, unlike most, which funnel nourishment and fluids to a bankrupt body, this tube is full or money...and it flows like liquid gold. A corporate class of rich white men has essentially taken hold of the United States by the short hairs, and they are unlikely to let go. They found their way to Washington by stopping along K Street and then proceeding down to Pennsylvania Avenue with a bucket brigade of greenbacks. Money ruins everything. Just ask all those lottery winners who have their lives turned upside down after they strike it rich. The streets are littered with their whimpering remains. Money ruins everything. Just look at that nice guy you used to know who got the big promotion and now hangs with the other rich guys discussing the relative merits of Scottish links courses versus the lush country club greens of America. Heady stuff, that. Money ruins everything. Just ask the poor single-mother.... Oh, wait. Don't ask her. She's not getting on the gravy train. It doesn't stop in her part of town. The Millionaire Express only has stations in the suburbs, where the newly minted count their sheckles in the relative safety of a pathetically-named gated community. Money ruins everything. It has ruined our goverment and our media. Driven by the need to please Wall Street, the major media no longer do news, but just a vacuous shadow of what it once was. They don't dare take on the corporations or the government, because, in reality, both are the same. There is no mystery here. Anyone with a brain has seen this coming since the 1970s, when TV networks began to use local TV news as their template, instead of the other way around. So please don't pull the tube on George and his buddies. It would be cruel and inhuman. It would choke off a supply of money that needs to flow, that needs to keep this great nation free and that needs to stay out of the hands of the poor and unfortunate. Hell, they would'nt know what to do with it anyway...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Santorum and The Eleventh Commandment

Rick Santorum, the supporter of all things moral, ethical and God-like, did as he should have this past weekend, he obeyed the 11th Commandment. Never heard of #11? I'm not surprised. It goes like this,

11 - When all else fails, saveth thine own skin.

Santorum came out on TV saying that maybe Tom DeLay should be held accountable for his myriad sins. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but it was something like that. And while that sounds like the words of a fine Catholic man, it is really something much more simple. It is the sound of a consumate politician innoculating himself from the coming downfall of the Speaker. Santorum wants to be able to say (a year from now, when his Senate campaign is in full swing) "I was one of the first to call for DeLay's ouster! There was no place for his kind in Congress...and by George, I came out and said so!" Simple as that. A neatly timed political play.

And there is much more of this to come in the months ahead. St. Torum will continue to sidestep to the political center, with a wink and a nod to his evangelical base. A sort of "You know why I'm doing this, don't you? I have to get elected again, so it's time to start fabricating a centrist, reasoned persona. Once I get back in, we can veer as far right as you want! Woohoo and bring on the Rapture!"

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Big Dead Pope Photo Op

The strangest photo I saw all week was one on the cover of the Times. In the center was the body of The Pope. Crowded around him, like revelers in an Ozzy mosh pit, was a crush of people with cameras, cameras of all sorts. You had your tiny digital guys, your camera-enabled phones and a few, old-fashioned ones which still use film. It was bizarre, if anything is bizarre anymore.

And I have to assume this was just a single moment, and that, for day upon day, people walked by this man and took photos of his body.

Excuse me for asking the obvious question, but, "Is nothing sacred?" I don't care one way or the other about the Pope, but I have to admit that I found this profoundly distasteful.

If you go to Uncle Benny's funeral ("Benny was a tippler, you know...") after he drove into a tree, the last thing you'd think of doing would be to take pictures. But Benny you knew. He was family. You'd even tossed back a few Buds with him from time to time. But you'd never even bring a camera into the Washenschechter Funeral Parlor and Memorial Hall, much less take closeups of Benny's "he looks so" peaceful face.

So why, when the man who is pruported to be the ultimate servant of God on Earth, is taking pictures just ducky? Did the Catholic's see this as a really needed photo op, given the thundering sex scandals of the past 10 years? Did they consider putting up a banner that said, "Mission Accomplished?"

For all the people who walked quietly past the man and thought long and hard about their lives...and their place in this veil of tears, I say bravo. But beware, if you don't duck, someone will take your picture.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Don't DeLay, Pull His Plug

The Congressional freak show being staged by Tom DeLay only gets more bizarre with each passing day. Like a wacko standing on a soapbox at Hyde Park Corner, Tommy Boy does all he can to outscream those just down the sidewalk. He will apparently do anything to draw a crowd.

I refer, of course, to his less-than-veiled threat of retribution against the judges involved in the Terri Shaivo Show. (coming soon on DVD!) But wait a minute? Isn't threatening a judge grounds for legal action? Isn't the Majority Leader acting like a Congressional Terrorist? Isn't he just fucking nuts?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

But, as we all know, it goes deeper that that. Read this quote, from todays New York Times,

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said: "It is a tragic, unfortunate but avoidable event that should awaken Americans to the problem of the courts. It is no longer theoretical. It is life or death."

The key words there are "the problem of the courts." In the last election cycle the right-wing began using the phrase, "Liberal activist judges," which basically means any judge that doesn't rule the way they want them to rule, whether supported by the rule of law or not. They would, of course, have no problem with "conservative activist judges," because they would tender their decisions based on the rule of God. But that's getting off topic.

The "LAJ" tag clearly resonated with the conservative base, but it was missing something. It was vague, it referred to a diffuse group of judges...not to a single one or a small group, who could be hauled up on the cross and crucified.

That's where the Shaivo Show comes in. The Right now has it's case celebre. It now has specific judges and a "life and death" issue to point to when attempting to trash and ridicule any judge it wants. Because they are so willing to cast aside any sense of moral or ethical behavior to get what they want (which is mostly just power, plain and simple) DeLay, Santorum, Frist, Dobson, the Bush Brothers and a host of others have manipulated the Shaivo Show masterfully.

The bottom line is this; there would not have been a Shaivo Show without these people. They found it, developed it and scripted it. They lit the fire and watched it burn. These "fine Christian men" appealed not to reason and faith, but to the basest, most hurtful human tendencies; anger and fear.

If I were a religious man, I'd pray for their souls. As it it, I can only pray that, this too, will pass.