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Entries in bush politics (52)


President Obama Trims Bush!

ed with razor knife finally scraping off the not my president sticker from his truck.The "Not My President" sticker finally comes down!Depending on how you count it, the so-called presidency of George Walker Bush went on for four years or eight years too long. Sometime in the wake of the 2004 election, I was given the following sticker to put on my truck. As I write, it is just a few hours after this sticker has been made gloriously irrelevant with the swearing in of Barack Obama. I'm glad that it is a significant historical election what with being the first of its kind to elect a black man, but I really feel that the man is so much more presidential in his way, and so much better fit to lead and certainly to inspire something in people. I only hope that he isn't carried away into the rip currents that that exalted office brings with it. Nonetheless, his campaign was exemplary and while one can fairly say he is unknown, one cannot say that he is unable to step up to the plate. I think he can do so. So I consider him my president now, and gladly. After eight years of Dubya, it is nice to have someone who caters to our better nature and isn't loading us up with fear. It isn't that I think he is our savior; there are whole sections of his policies that I don't really like. But he does seem to provoke people to take interest in their own lives, and that can't be bad. What this nation needs more than successful policies is an evaluation of our personal and cultural priorities in an historical hour with no precedent.

You can see the short series of pix of me finally getting rid of the sticker in the Liberation gallery.


My Two Cents

After eight years of the party that wrecked America, I think it is time to hope again that integrity and transparency will have a chance to be the tools of the presidential trade. I think a man of principle and honor has won this election, and one who has demonstrated unparalleled ability to excite people to action for their own good. I think this election trumps the 2004 go around because this was not an anybody-but-Bush election. This time, I felt like we had a good man on the ticket—as good as has been found in national politics for a long while.

It happens that he is also of my denomination, the United Church of Christ. I didn't vote for him solely for that reason, but it was something that helped me understand something of what makes him tick. No two UCC congregations are alike, so his at Trinity is very different from any I have attended, but in the UCC, social justice is a major concern and he has worked for that for many years now, and he understands there is more to it than handing out checks to people. These days, his grassroots empowerment and consensus building expertise is desperately needed. But I think his greatest strength, even before any of that is accomplished, is that he seems to be a keen listener. That alone will be a radical regime change from the status quo!

While I wasn't the stunned and joyfully weeping Jesse Jackson or Oprah, I did find myself a little verklemt as it dawned on me what happened tonight. The camera's sweep across the masses gathered in Chicago reminded me a little of the images of the night when the Berlin Wall fell. And in some ways, this event is as momentous. It is a victory just the same, a victory over the fearfulness and divisiveness of bankrupt ideologies.

Now, jubilation aside, I have my concerns that even Barack Obama—soundly principled as he is—is entering a total shitstorm of history and even he will be a small figure before the wave of events before us. But if we have to simultaneously face assorted crises like peak oil, global warming, terrorism, economic wipeout (that might end up leading us to a new economic philosophy that reins in the excesses of capitalism I hope), and all the woes before us, then I'd prefer Obama as a leader who can talk cool and tough, knowing when it is time to listen more than talk. With the Bushies, the adage of "when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" was the prevailing but bankrupt logic. I think Obama's tool chest is larger than that.

I heard a section of NPR's All Things Considered where black voters were being asked to share their opinion of a pending victory for Barack Obama. One fellow told a story of how his friend sent a text message to many friends with something like the following:

Rosa sat so that Martin could walk.
Martin walked so that Barack could run.
Barack ran so that our children could fly.

The War Against Terrorism (TWAT)

the hooded iraqi in silhouette and iconographic starkness, with the words cruel and unusual, america must do betterHow's that war going, Georgie? Oh, which war, you ask? Well, how about all of them? I guess there are too many to really keep straight these days. After all, if you want to keep battling terrorism until you squash it like a bug, you gotta go to war with the whole world now, because there are terrorists behind every rock and tree and dare I say, every computer keyboard! Well, if you think on it hard enough, there are people who support terrorism in your neighborhood. There might even be some in your house right now! I happen to think they have infiltrated the White House and are acting as our nation's leaders even now as we speak. Never mind the hunt for Osama Been Laughin', the real terrorists are operating within (nearly) full view, doin' dirty deeds like they are.

Who now can see the "war" in Iraq as anything but terrorism by a different name? According to IraqBodyCount.org, we leveled the score of 9/11/01 by going to town on Iraq, to the tune of about 90,000 dead civilians. Let's see here—about 3000 of our people is cause to wipe out 90,000 of someone else's. But of course, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 anyway. Hell, even our dead soldier count is out of whack with the 9/11 civilian count. Man, oh man. I really don't even know where to start with that one.

But for years now, I've come to believe that we have to pat ourselves on the back for this one too. We all have to admit that we as regular Americans enjoy the fruits of a lifestyle that is war-based. I include myself in that assessment. We don't just have a "war president," we have a war economy that itself is backed by a war- and expansion-based national mythology that has allowed us a free pass to taking what we want, when we want. War is just the visible tool that is needed (increasingly so) to live out the national myth. I guess now that we expanded to our western coast, and have scored Alaska and Hawaii, it is time to set our sights elsewhere, and Iraq is but part of that push to appropriate what we want to live a certain way. We don't need to turn it into a state; just a place that plays by our rules.

a densely edited and layered photo collage with odd imageryFin de Siecle, French for the End of the CenturyAll our purchases somehow are linked to this tragic mythology. Even the anti-war crowd is as guilty as the pro-war crowd. We all shop. Ergo, we all enjoy the benefits (from this perspective) of the world being arranged the way it is—with Americans enjoying a place at the top (more or less) while violence props up our lifestyle. Violence, I say because a sweatshop in China or Indonesia is another way of destroying lives of promise, not all unlike what is happening in Iraq as a result of our purposely mis-aimed attack and occupation there to make our nation feel better after 9/11. A life robbed of its potential is violence, and the economic arrangements we enjoy now are not ours to have forever because no one will like to live under such arrangements for any longer than necessary.

The national rhetoric about "getting back" at those who carried out 9/11 is preposterous. Those people are dead because their mission was a success—and, I might say, has been quite a return on their investment of a half-million dollars. Meanwhile, we watch billions and billions go away—hundreds of billions now, and have nothing to show for it but economic wipeout with whole commercial sectors bombing out, an energy crisis looming, whole cities and towns being wrecked by natural disaster, failing infrastructure, deficient education, etc. It is preposterous in so many ways what has been traded away so we might have some "homeland security." I guess we didn't need those hundreds of billions. We have the money to destroy an innocent nation, but not to make ours greater.

I don't kid myself in thinking that this is just a series of unfortunate mistakes. Men who hold power like to hold it for as long as they can. Drive it like you stole it, the saying goes. To that end, anything goes. It is almost as if the bull ride is to hang on for the full eight years, and never mind what damage is done while the bull bucks and tries to buck old Georgie and Dicky off. What will be left after this eight year party thrown by the (grand old) party that wrecked America? I sort of wonder if this year's October surprise will be the news that we have Osama bin Laden in custody. Great! Then the idiots will vote GOP again because the picture will be painted to portray these GOP assholes as heroes and all these years as righteous effort toward defeating evil, yadda, yadda, yadda. The mind boggles.

I lament the loss of life on 9/11 and the videos still shock me. But I can't let that lead me to justify killing so many other people who also did not deserve it. Shame on America for being the leading terrorist state in the world today and having the gall to claim that of others. I repeat again: you and I don't have enemies in Iraq or most other places. (At least none that our government or corporations didn't create for us.) What there is out there is a growing population that is losing its patience with the double standard inherent in our economic structure—and we can't expect people to wipe our asses for ever and still call it progress. Some will break. And should we actually be surprised when another 9/11 type event happens, if this nation has not changed the way it relates to the world?


The UCC Ad For NY Times

The following is an ad that the United Church of Christ posted in the New York Times in the wake of the flap about Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright at Trinity UCC in Chicago.

Much has been said about the United Church of Christ in recent weeks, much of it hurtful for many in our country, including members of Trinity UCC in Chicago. That is why we are eager to share the broad and diverse story of the United Church of Christ, one that we celebrate.

With all Christians, we rest in God’s amazing grace and hear God’s voice in the words of Scripture. Yet, the UCC is unique to some because we do not require uniformity of belief. We are a church of open ideas, extravagant welcome and evangelical courage. Our passion for democracy extends to both government and church, where decision-making rests within each congregation. We support liberty in our pulpits, just as we affirm the individual conscience of our 1.2-million members to agree, disagree and wrestle with life’s biggest questions in a spirit of love.

Our story is this nation’s story. We are the people of the Mayflower. More than 600 of our 5,700 congregations were formed before 1776. Eleven signers of the Declaration of Independence were members of UCC predecessor bodies.

As early abolitionists, we came to the aid of the Amistad captives and founded hundreds of schools across the South after the Civil War. We were the first mainline church to ordain an African-American (1785), a woman (1853) and an openly gay pastor (1972). We were also the first to form a foreign mission society (1810). Our multi-ethnic membership includes persons from every immigrant group, as well as native peoples and descendants of freed slaves.

Our unity is not dependent upon uniform agreement, but in our shared allegiance to Jesus Christ. Ours is a risk-taking church, because ours is a risk-taking God.

God is still speaking, ®


Five Years In Iraq

The USA isn't as good at war as it once was
Now it takes five years to reach a quagmire
Once we knocked out the Axis on two fronts
It only took three-and-a-half years

Four thousand men and women who tasted death
It must be great being free that way
Freedom and liberation sweeps across the land, yeah
While others just know it by its other name—

The inner ring of empire decays and rots
Leaving nothing to fight for back home
The myths of valiant soldier-saviors
Die hard but not hard enough to change the equation

Freedom felt at the pump is delusional
The asphalt highway beckons and speaks
Of freedom, of individuality, of joy and abandon
But oh the nasty secrets that lie beneath the hood

To the servant we have become the slave
The greedy system commands our every move
We call it non-negotiable and inevitable as if
God really wanted it that way

Cycling, spiraling, spending our way down
The endless techno-hole, our proven god over all
God that needs food, god that needs fuel and
God that needs our total devotion— God that brings—

Five years chasing the wrong bad guys
Five years blowing the grandkids' futures
Five years showing our total commitment to
A dying way of life

Check your reason at the door upon your entry
The games we play here are for the hardened
Love and grace aren't understood or welcomed
Fighting and dying aren't seen to be lies that bring

The real war is on the human spirit; death within our souls
The soul that must have an enemy is a house divided
The greater evil to be lamented is the one thing we fight hard for
Success no matter how its won, will only have one true name:



In Honor Of Super Tuesday

Republican bashing season again!

A guy came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your IQ"? The man replied, "130". So the robot proceeded to make conversation about physics, astronomy, investments, insurance, and so on. The man listened intently and thought, "This is really cool."

Another guy came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man responded, "100." So the robot started talking about the football, baseball and so on. The man thought to himself, "Wow, this is really cool."

A third guy came in to the bar. As with the others, the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man replied, "70". The robot then said—"So, what are the Republicans up to these days?"


Sam And George

The following is a bit of fun I put together in the middle-past, maybe in 2005 or so, and somehow forgot about it while working on it. Even though there are no shadows on the penguins, I think it's good enough to go.

sam and george are two penguins standing in a parched desert landscape that used to be their snowy antarctic region.

Sam always said that global warming was a lie and that it was all a conspiracy by America-hating commie liberals.

George reminded Sam that he'd been acting like an ostrich trapped in a penguin's body for years, and had been figuratively sticking his head in the sand every time they had this talk.

But this time, there really was sand!


Tricky Dick

Is this not the finest ever instance of flip flopping?


Thinking Will Come To No Good

This was an email forwarded to me from Doug Lunn, my musical hero as Mike Keneally's bass player (on the good stuff). It resonated nicely with me, especially since I just thought myself out of a job, working for a Republican boss. Kids, don't try this at home.

It started out innocently enough.

I began to think at parties now and then—just to loosen up.

Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone.

That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't help myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, Muir, Confucius and Kafka. I would return to the office dazed and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

"I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye, "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous (TA) poster.

This is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting or a day with Rush. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was reruns of The O'Reilly Report."

Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.

Life just seemed easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today I took the final step. I joined the Republican Party.


Bradburian futuretelling?

From the Wikipedia entry on Ray Bradbury's book, Fahrenheit 451:

Fahrenheit 451 takes place in an unspecified future time in a hedonistic and rabidly anti-intellectual America that has completely abandoned self-control and bans the possession of books. People are now only entertained by in-ear radio and an interactive form of television.

Ahem? The iPod and the Internet in the age of Bush-flavored "conservatism", eh?