Thursday, September 30, 2004

Spin City for Dummies

Yes, our tired and loathsome associates over there in the land of wingnut radio are already combing through the ashes. From (Dope Fiend) Limbaugh, (Vice Principal) Hewitt, Savage (Idiot) and the Mayor of Dunceville (Scarborough) we'll hear how the Preznut "connects" with average folk who have below average vocabulary, have sex with their kin and can floss with rope. All is not hopeless - they still have hard-edge religion and profound wingnuttery, to which they contribute via love offerings in the form of 5's, 10's and 20's, and even, perhaps, a diabolical constitutional amendment.

"See here," the Chimperor will stammer. "The constitution is a piece of paper and we don't need some activist judges tearing it up." Rather, they'd take some crayon and white glue to the document and make it an origami hat - the kind you used to make in grade school with old newspaper.

And then, every once in a while, the emperor really has no clothes and he leaves you with a gift. A beautiful gift that should resonate for weeks as we lead into the Vice Presidential Debates on Tuesday.

"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq... All of a sudden you've got a battle you're fighting in a major built-up city, a lot of civilians are around, significant limitations on our ability to use our most effective technologies and techniques. Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq." - vice president Dick Cheney, 1992.

To quote Andrew Sullivan, if Edwards doesn't use this "he's nuts!" And I sense that the fair-haired boy wonder has Cheney's in a vice about now.

Saint Bubba

The first Oprah-style President. Slick Willie. Our Nation's first black president. The list goes on. Whitewater. Travelgate. Monica. And with her, he shared the same indiscretion as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. A smart man who spoke like an evangelist and sinned among the best of sinners. At times, the wonderful and sage-like President was equal parts Dr. Phil and JFK. Saint Bubba's image on this keepsake item will remind you of better times (about four years ago) when you had enough cash to eat out at a nice restaurant, get your car washed, or just take a day off work.

His timeless, sympathetic words, "I feel your pain," echo in his reassuring expression.

Oh yes, things will be better again someday, and with Saint Bubba watching over your home, the golden boy from Hope, Arkansas, can help keep hope alive for you.

Saint Bubba's Accomplishments

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

October's Cinematic Surprise

Only because he has to. With the combined October releases of Fahrenheit 911 and Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry, the Bush/Cheney 04 team has developed a movie that depicts the Chimperor's alcohol recovery in new light.

The film traces Bobo's early life as a young man who chooses to "enlist" in the Texas Air National Guard to defend Houston from the Viet Cong. The film reveals intimate, first person accounts of the Chimperor's war service through his own private letters complaining to Popsy (Bush 41), his vast journal of drinking and "skirt-chasing" episodes, and the dim memories of the men who had to be reminded that Bobo was in their unit. When Bobo came home disillusioned by the war, he and his fellow "Champagne Unit" comrades challenged the Texas Governor for additional combat pay. As Bobo became a locally known drunk, concerned Republicans plotted to deny his loan for a new Camaro and shipped him off to Alabama to work on a local campaign.

As an AWOL Texas Air National Guard pilot and an Alabama election activist, the Chimperor's story is at the center of a defining era in American history. More than a biography of the Preznut, Liar Liar is the story of an American generation that came of age in the tumultuous sixties and that has now come to national leadership at the beginning of a new century -- when issues of preferential treatment and sobriety once again hold a divided nation in suspense, and the future in the balance.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

God Is a Terrorist

To my friends at The Westboro Baptist Church,

Thank you for dedication to heterosexual family values in a time when too many men are marrying men. I am proud to note that even Jerry Falwell and his associate, the Rev. Joe Wright of Central Christian Church, has spoken in Kansas, saying that "prayer [gives] hernias to the liberals." The other important issue in the election, Falwell said, is terrorism. In a news conference prior to his speech, Falwell said that President Bush has "done well" against terrorism, and he told his audience that a "head-on" approach to the problem is necessary. " As a Christian, I've never hurt anyone in my life, but if you break into my house and hurt my children, my grandchildren, I'm going to drill you," Falwell said. "Then I'm going to call the police and go back to sleep."

Protesting against Falwell was Rev. Fred Phelps and his family, who are known for their anti-homosexual activism. Waving signs with such slogans as "God Hates America" and "Thank God For Sept. 11," Phelps sought to portray Falwell as -- in the words of another sign -- a "Pro Gay Preacher."

Please keep up the good work, WBC, and continue the hard work of showing the rest of America that God is a terrorist.

In undying hypocrisy,
Team Gonzography

PS: Your icon on your homepage shows a cartoon of two men having anal sex with an upside-down american flag. How come you don't show Mr and Mrs. Rosie O'Donnell? The absence of lesbians is discriminatory. Please email back and I think I can help you with the logo art you need.

Bobo's Debate Preparation

Listen, the other day I was asked about the National Intelligence Estimate, which is a National Intelligence Estimate.
-- Oh, so that's what it is. Washington, D.C., Sep. 23, 2004

So that's how I view the 59th session of the U.N. General Assembly. It's an honor to be here. It's great to see mis amigos, my friends.
-- I don't know why Dubya had to toss a Spanish phrase into an address given to a multinational audience of various heads of state, but there it is. New York City, Sep. 22, 2004

Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat.
-- Maybe this is one of Dubya's down-home Texan expressions, but it's puzzling nevertheless, Washington, D.C., Sep. 17, 2004

SPANISH SPEAKER: Mr. President, mi amigo.
DUBYA: Come esta?
SPANISH SPEAKER: Muy bien. Muchas gracias. The Cubans in Miami want to know if you're going to be the President, going to get rid of Fidel Castro. You got rid of Saddam Hussein... so I hope you'll be the one to clean Cuba. (Applause.) Hey, Puerto Rico and Cuba are for you.
DUBYA: Gracias.
SPANISH SPEAKER: No hay de que.
DUBYA: All right, let me tell you what he's talking about. Cuba libre.
DUBYA: Si. Ahora. Here's what he said. We're talking about Cuba.
-- Dubya thoughtfully translates English into English for the audience, Portsmouth, Ohio, Sep. 10, 2004

Let me tell you an interesting story, and then I promise to answer some questions. If Laura were here, she'd be giving me the hook. That's the way it is. Anyway, the Oval Office door opens up and in walks seven men from Iraq, all of whom had had their right hands cut off by Saddam Hussein. They had been to Houston, Texas, where a newscaster had -- a quite famous newscaster -- raised money and set up a foundation to help people. ... Anyway, so these guys walk in, you know, and I was emotional, they were emotional. And I said, why you? He said, that Saddam dinar had devalued and -- he was a merchant, a small businessman. I don't know if he was a sub-chapter S corporation or not, but he was a small businessman. And he had sold dinars on a particular day to buy another currency, euros or dollars, so he could buy gold to manufacture his product. And because the Soviet Dinar had devalued, Saddam Hussein plucked this guy out of society to punish him, and six other small merchants, for the devaluation of their currency. He just summarily said, you're it, come here -- and cut his hand off.
-- Featured here is inappropriate goofiness in relation to the subject of people losing their limbs under repression in Iraq, culminating in a completely unnecessary reference to sub-chapter S corporations, and just for fun, Dubya invents a new currency: The Soviet Dinar. Hudson, Wisconsin, Aug. 18, 2004

We are working with our friends to keep the pressure on the moolahs [mullahs] to -- to listen to the demands of the free world.
-- That's the first time I've heard it pronounced that way... Thanks, Dubya. Aug. 2, 2004

When it comes to improving America's public schools, we are turning the corner and we are not turning back. ...When it comes to giving Americans more choices about their own health care and making health care more affordable, we are turning the corner and we're not turning back. ...When it comes to fighting the threats of our world and spreading peace, we're turning the corner and we're not turning back. ...We are turning the corner toward a more peaceful world that we long for, and we're not turning back. ...When it comes to better protecting America, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back. ...We've done a lot of hard work together. We're turning the corner.
-- Over the course of several minutes, Dubya provides a textbook demonstration of being "on message", Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jul. 30, 2004

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Last Minute Debate Format Changes?

Duel with Dubya

Dear All Things Considered,

We hear today that Bobo and his tricky campaign may now pull out of Thursday's first debate in Miami. It makes sense given how the President hasn't finished a thing he's ever started in life, and Unka Karl can't take the test for him. You know the usual deal. There aren't any loyalty oaths in the media, unless you are talking about FOX, and not even Rush Limbaugh can't help him formulate the words.

The President wants out of these debates, and the Republicans are scrambling for a solution.

We hear that the Hasbro folks have an idea to solve this problem with such little time to plan. Yes, a game of Scrabble to determine the fate of our Democracy. But Karen Hughes doesn't want Kerry to play the game, fanning rumors that the challenger has a far better vocabulary than the President. Senior Bush advisors have posed the key question to Scrabble project managers: "What's the official word source for National SCRABBLE� Association Clubs and Tournaments in the United States and Canada?" Needless to say, the word list was rather consuming. So a series of approved words were presented by the Republican National Committee, and the following have been added to the 2005 Webster dictionary in preparation for these debates.

Abu Nidal
911 - yes, numbers have been added to Scrabble
muchas gracias
cuba libre
abu guh-rab

Wrecking the great game of Scrabble has my senses in a bunch. I hope the Hasbro people think twice before allowing this game to be altered for the sake of a Presidential Debate. The only other recourse the people have is to contact the FCC about obscenity, although the outcome would not be known until after the Election. We need to band together and save this game from out of touch politicians.

Your friend with a vocabulary,

The New Branch Davidians : Bush, Kerry Twisting Each Other's Words: "WACO, Texas Sept. 25, 2004 - President Bobo opened several new scathing lines of attack against Democrat John Kerry, charges that twisted his rival's words on Iraq and made Kerry seem supportive of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein."

koresh's general christian soldiers

On the weekend in which David Koresh's Camaro was being auctioned off on eBay, another Texas barnburner started flaming down there in Waco, fresh from his trip to Wisconsin. Bobo, Our Preznut, is smoking hot these days about Iraq, Prime Minister Allawi (Bobo's Mini-Me) and John Kerry actually taking a different stance on the war. Bobo stated flatly that Kerry had said earlier in the week "he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today." The line drew gasps of surprise from the handpicked, loyalty oath audience in a Racine, Wis., park. "I just strongly disagree," the Chimperor said.

All this misplaced anger over words, and, of course, all that weaponry down there in Texas ... it reminds you of the Branch Davidians, redux.

In case you forgot about David Koresh and The Branch Davidians, here's the Cliff Notes leading up to the bonfire. On February 28, 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) raided the Branch Davidian ranch in Mount Carmel, a rural area near Waco, Texas. The raid was conducted due to allegations of illegal weapons present on the property. The initial raid resulted in the deaths of four agents and five Davidians. The subsequent 51-day siege ended on April 19 when the compound was completely consumed by fire killing between 72 and 86 men, women, and children, including Koresh.

On the same weekend, the Republican National Committee started directly mailing several of the swing states with simple brochures with religious overtones. If you live in West Virginia, the advertisement infers: "The Bible will be banned by liberals in West Virginia." On the back, it states: "Our traditional values are under assault by Liberal politicians and their hand-picked activist judges. They are using the courts to get around the Constitution to impose their radical agenda .. removing "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance ... allowing teenagers to get abortions without parental consent ... overturning the ban on the hideous procedure known as Partial Birth Abortion ... Allowing same-sex marriages."

Of course, Pastor General John Ashcroft is writing the showtunes for the event marking the mailing as "The President Loves Him Some Old Time Religion" down in Waco.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Rambo Coalition

"Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious, and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin ... has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were."

"It must be understood that a prince ... cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state."

- Niccolo Machiavelli (circa 1513 AD)

So with all due respect to Paul Krugman's article (op-ed here) the truth of the matter is that it now comes down to this - Corporate Warriors - the rise of the Privatized Military Industry. PMCs (private military companies) are no longer occupying just a small market niche out on the fringes of the developing world. They are now very big business and major corporations have sat up and taken notice. Firms like L-3 have acquired MPRI, ArmorGroup bought up Defense Systems Ltd, Computer Sciences Corporation bought DynCorp.

Do a Google on "Executive Outcomes" sometime soon and you'll begin to see why the business is flourishing in places such as Kuwait, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Afghanistan and East Timor. Since the early 1990's, when this little known private paramilitary outfit reversed the fortunes of war in Angola and Sierrra Leone, a wave of privatization and outsourcing has been sweeping Washington and no longer can the Pentagon deploy overseas without PMC assistance. A recent investigation estimates that the annual global PMC revenue has surpassed US$100Billion.

Currently, PMC personnel are working, and dying, in places like Iraq, helping to provide security for its oil fields, provide training to the army's new Stryker brigade which has just been deployed there, and train Iraqi police and prison guards. They are recruited as operatives for the Central Intelligence Agency's paramilitary division. They are piloting drug fumigation planes in Colombia, where they have been killed and captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. They are training the Saudi National Guard, serving as bodyguards to interim President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and providing security to US diplomats (where three of them, working for the firm Dyncorp, died in a bomb blast in October). They are recruited from big states like the US and Great Britain and microstates like Fiji. There are probably 10,000 to 20,000 private contractors working overseas just for the US Defense and State departments alone.

Contrary to fears that PMC personnel may cut and run when the going gets tough. But consider the war in Iraq. Already some US military personnel in the reserves have said they object to being deployed to Iraq, and significant numbers of soldiers, both active and reserve, are not reenlisting. In contrast, there are no documented examples of PMC personnel in the field who have said they want out.

Private military companies, for their part, are focusing much of their manpower on Capitol Hill these days. Many are staffed with retired military officers who are well connected at the Pentagon -- putting them in a prime position to influence government policy and drive more business to their firms. In one instance, private contractors successfully pressured the government to lift a ban on American companies providing military assistance to Equatorial Guinea, a West African nation accused of brutal human-rights violations. Because they operate with little oversight, using contractors also enables the military to skirt troop limits imposed by Congress and to carry out clandestine operations without committing U.S. troops or attracting public attention. "Private military corporations become a way to distance themselves and create what we used to call ‘plausible deniability,'" says Daniel Nelson, a former professor of civil-military relations at the Defense Department's Marshall European Center for Security Studies. "It's disastrous for democracy."

The push to privatize war got its start during the administration of the elder President Bush. After the Gulf War ended, the Pentagon, then headed by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, paid a Halliburton subsidiary called Brown & Root Services nearly $9 million to study how private military companies could provide support for American soldiers in combat zones. Cheney went on to serve as CEO of Halliburton -- and Brown & Root, now known as Halliburton KBR, has since been awarded at least $2.5 billion to construct and run military bases, some in secret locations, as part of the Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. In March, the Pentagon hired Cheney's former firm to fight fires in Iraq if Saddam Hussein sabotages oil wells during a U.S. attack.

Pentagon officials say they rely on firms like Halliburton because the private sector works faster and cheaper than the military. When U.S. Marines distributed relief supplies in Somalia in 1992, for example, the military contracted with Brown & Root for logistical support. "They had laborers and vehicles at the Port of Mogadishu within 11 hours after we had given them notice," recalls Don Trautner, who runs the Army logistics program.

Military insiders, from the Defense Department's inspector general to the Army War College, echo this concern. "Will using contractors place our service personnel at greater risk of losing their lives in combat?" one Air Force military journal has asked. "Are we ultimately trading their blood to save a relatively insignificant amount in the national budget?"