The Onion is in particularly good form today: Bush Cuts Off Diplomatic Relations With Congress
"Our administration no longer recognizes the authority of this rogue body," said Bush in a televised Oval Office address. "The hostile new leadership has a political agenda in direct opposition to our own. They have no concern for my national interests, and have left me no choice."
When we went to the post office yesterday, I had an odd moment. The flags at the post office were at half mast, and for just a second I wondered why the flags were at half mast for Saddam Hussein. Then I remember. Oh, yeah, Gerald Ford.
The execution of Hussein has really distracted Americans from celebrating the goodness and mercy of the late President Ford. From the Washington Post: At the Capitol, VIP Roll Call Has Many No-Shows
Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen.
President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his deputy, Richard Durbin, couldn't make it, either; they were on a trip to visit Incan ruins. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a pass, too -- as did nearly 500 of the 535 members of Congress.
A 6-to-3 majority of the Supreme Court, including Ford's appointee, John Paul Stevens, ruled against attending. All the nation's governors were invited; few, if any, came. Apparently only two Cabinet members -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez -- accepted the invite. . . .
The American people quickly outdid their representatives in respect for the departed president, as several hundred citizens lined up for a late-night public viewing of the casket. But the populace, too, was slow to rally. Capitol police erected barriers to contain thousands, but by mid-afternoon yesterday, only 20 people were in line -- providing a luxurious person-to-portable-toilet ratio of 1:1.
Clearly, those visibly absent must have been glued to CNN watching CNN's continuing coverage of the Saddam Hussein execution. So I thought I'd help us get back to honoring the memory of President Ford.
I present the St. Gerald Ford Novena, very helpful to crooked Republicans in need:
May the sacred heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved, and preserved throughout the world now and forever.
Sacred heart of Jesus pray for us.
St. Gerald, worker of miracles, pray for us.
St. Gerald, helper of the hopeless, pray for us.
[Say this prayer 9X a day, by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. You will not be indicted & will be spared the embarrassment of a public trial, provided you are a Republican. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. Send your $4.00 publication fee to PO Box 78, Pleasantville, NY 10570.]
It is important to pause for a moment in the midst of the Republican self-righteous bloodlust following the execution of Saddam Hussein to appreciate the man who "healed a nation" by saving Richard Nixon the embarrassment that might have been caused by a public trial and the presentation of evidence, now forever hidden.
From the New York Times editorial occasioned by the death of Gerald Ford:
. . . his wish to heal led him to do something that reopened the very wounds he was trying hard to close. On Sept. 8, 1974, barely 30 days into his presidency, Mr. Ford announced his decision to give Mr. Nixon a “full, free and absolute pardon.” The reaction was immediate, intense and largely negative. Mr. Ford had expected criticism, but not the outrage that erupted in Congress, in many newspapers and among the public at large.
This page, for example, condemned the pardon as “a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act” that in a stroke had destroyed the new president’s “credibility as a man of judgment, candor and competence.” The critics’ fundamental point was that a nation in which the law applies equally to rich and poor, the meek and the powerful, cannot exempt anyone, least of all a president, from the requirements of justice.
The Iraqis are -- of course -- a very different people, and are instead healed by show trials followed by executions. (If they weren't going to try Saddam Hussein for any of his more major crimes that might cause Nixionian embarrassment to current and former US officials, why didn't they just hang him for tax evasion and be done with it?)
This must have been a very sad month for Donald Rumsfeld. Just think about it. I mean, he lost his job; he then lost Gerald Ford, for whom he had worked. And then came the news of the execution of Saddam, with whom he established that famous and tender US-Iraqi honeymoon of the 1980s.
Too bad for Hussein that he wasn't a Republican.
I witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Mohammed is the- (trap door is opened).
(Rachel Pollack has an interesting essay on the meaning of the card The Hanged Man in the traditional Tarot deck. Her book, Seeker: The Tarot Unveiled, is part of Amazon's Search Inside this Book program. The chapter begins on page 64. )
The Onion has come up with it's own set of recommendations for the Iraq War, my favorite of which is:
Try to meet insurgents halfway by burning own effigies of Bush.Perhaps some of the Republicans who lost their seats due to the unpopularity of Bush's war could be enlisted for this PR effort.
There has apparently been a problem in quality control of Bush effigies, noted as early as 2003 by The Daily Probe:
JAKARTA, Indonesia (DPI) - Of the dozens of President Bush effigies burned in anti-war protests today, only a few actually resembled the American leader. "I'm embarrassed to be Indonesian," said Hardi Johan, "The strength of any protest can be seen in the quality of the effigies, and as a professional effigy maker I can tell you most of these were not done with care." Many of the effigies appeared to be only old clothing stuffed with paper and a poor quality photo taped on to resemble the head.Perhaps outgoing Republicans, who have enjoyed greater access to the President, can help improve the situation, perhaps by contributing locks or hair of items of clothing actually worn by the President himself.
Ahem. Um. I am informed that a certain member of our immediate family played a naked hippie on Saturday Night Live recently. The YouTube video of the clip seems to have been removed at the request of the copyright holder.
Anyone got a still or a copy of the video clip for the, ah, family photo album?
I've been kinda busy this week, and I actually like spinach, but I can't pass up the chance to comment on this political satire waiting to happen. Today's spinach stories cry out for a front page headline from the Onion. Something to the effect of: FDA Finds that Spinach Is Actually Bad for You!
So this evening, spinach occupies a spot on the CNN front page formerly occupied by many of the World's Most Wanted. Can't you just see it? Spinach the bio-terrorist, followed shortly by The War on Spinach?
But spinach is no ordinary terrorist! For who else can you call 800-690-3200 for a refund or replacement?
Lately there has been some discussion of who really runs the liberal blogosphere. And so on this 4th of July, I thought I would shed some light on the matter. I am the true blogger "Kingpin." I am the Secret Master, sitting at the center of my electronic web.
Here I am for instance in an Elitist New England Setting, text messaging Soooper Friends and the New York Times that while my beach motel parking lot is a little small, the beach nearby would be a perfectly fine place to land The Black Helicopter.
Here I am emailing subtle suggestions (Marching Orders) to my Elite Tiger Team of attack bloggers, ordering up blog posts around the world:
And here I am in one of my many disguises:
And here I am calling the shots:
So now you know: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos, and all the rest of them are merely my tendrils.
For God sakes, David Brooks, check you facts, next time! You call yourself a journalist? Sheeesh.
Melbourne IT Censors Political Satire at the Request of the Office of Australian Prime Minister John Howard
Surely, Melbourne IT, home to any number of phishing sites [P O Box 99800, EmeryVille, CA linked to is Melbourne IT's privacy protection address], and the company that allowed the Panix domain hijacking a while back, had to draw the line somewhere. And here's where they drew it: political satire. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
One of the many online newsletters and blogs I consume regularly is written by Richard Neville, a social commentator and, to people of my generation, one of the driving forces of the Australian counter-culture in the 1960s. . . . On March 8, Neville posted a spoof website on the internet, purporting to be a speech by John Howard apologising for Australia's involvement in the Iraq war. It was just the sort of speech Howard might have made if he had apologised and many believed it to be genuine.
That impression was exactly what was intended. That's how satire works. It was greatly heightened by the website (http://www.johnhowardpm.org) being a direct copy of the Prime Minister's website (http://www.pm.gov.au). Neville's spoof immediately received thousands of hits, helped along by his own email marketing and word of mouth.
Then, a day later, the site disappeared. . . . He tried to contacted Yahoo! which had sold him the web hosting package and the domain name for $9.71, but no one got back to him.
In that email, he asked six questions:
· Who ordered the closing of the site?
· On what grounds?
· By what authority?
· Through what mechanism?
· Why in secret?
· Will I get a refund from Yahoo!?
After a few days Neville found that the problem was not with Yahoo! but with Melbourne IT, the domain name registrar. . . . Melbourne IT shut down the site after it received calls from the Prime Minister's office and the Australian Federal Police, through its agency called the Australian High Tech Crime Centre. Melbourne IT's chief technology officer, Bruce Tonkin, says the registrar acted only because Neville's site looked like the Prime Minister's real site and infringed on intellectual property rights.
What, after all, will innocent children think if they were to see the Australian Prime Minister satirized in public! We must think of the children!
The domain name, johnhowardpm.org, is hosted by Melbourne IT. In less than 36 hours of its launch, following 10,500 visits to the site, the plug was pulled. By who? On what grounds? It took three days for Melb IT to make contact with me and help lift the veils of confusion. After receiving a phone call from Greg Williams of the People, Resources & Communications Division at the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet, Melb IT put the domain name on HOLD, where it remains. This domain cannot be transferred to another, more resilient host, for 60 days. In addition to the complaint from John Howard’s office, Melbourne IT said they had received calls from THREE Federal Police, and provided the name of an agent from the Australian High Tech Crime Centre. As far as I know, my passport has not met the same fate as my domain name.
See also Tim Longhurst.
[Advisory: as a Panix customer, I am unsure why Melboure IT remains in business.]
This is my favorite press photo of Bush in quite a while. It sums up a whole lot about what is wrong with this administration, the whole not-too-bright fantasy of cowboy dominion: that every white guy with a gun and an American accent paid by an American company riding off to do whatever is A OK; that the oil industry should have free reign in America's wide-open spaces, and everywhere else, for that matter; that if wire tapping's OK in a Hollywood movie, it's OK for the NSA; that our war in Iraq is faith-based and that what the administration needs to win the war is for us all to just believe.
With apologies to J. M. Barrie:
"Do you believe?" he cried.
The troops and civilian contractors sat up in bed almost briskly to listen to their fate.
They fancied they heard answers in the affirmative, and then again they weren't sure.
"What do you think?" they asked Bush.
"If you believe," he shouted to the American people, "clap your hands; don't let the troops die."
The actual news story the images illustrates is: Secret bugging vital to war on terror, Bush says. The real photo-caption reads:
Secretive service: President Bush admits the clandestine wire taps during his radio address. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta
(In fairness to the President, I should say that I think the cowboy art has been in the Whitehouse for a while.)
There has been considerable discussion of whether the Roberts nomination was intended to distract us from the Rove scandal. Now, apparently, there has been a suggestion that the distraction is the other way around: The Rove scandal is a supposed plot to distract us from Roberts' nomination.
I alone have penetrated the mystery and comprehended the true plot: The Roberts nomination is a plot by angry CIA Democrats to give us the best possible mnemonic. Why else would Bush have been guided to chose a nominee whose name starts withthe same first 2 letters?!?
Here is what is being implanted in your unconscious: Rove, Roberts, Wrong! Say it three times, and you'll never be able to forget it.
From the International Herald Tribune:
As he spoke to Novak, Rove wrote on a notepad, "Rosebud knows" - "Rosebud" being Vice President Dick Cheney's code name - and winked at me.
This raised a question in my mind: Did Rove know Plame had taken the identity of Cheney during an arrhythmia episode at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and that a heavily sedated vice president had been flown by the CIA to Riyadh as Plame donned a latex-padded suit and took his place?
She quickly discovered that the uranium was stored at the Whitewater property once owned by the Clintons and then deeded to Kofi Annan and used as a supply depot for black helicopters.
She tried to warn Clinton and the next day he had that mysterious "bypass" operation after which he suddenly got chummy with ex-CIA chief George H.W. Bush and the two flew off to Southeast Asia like in an old Crosby/Hope "Road" picture.
New York Times columnist William Safire was the first to spot the womanly tenderness in the vice president's eyes, and he called Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife, to ask if Rosebud had been infiltrated. She denied everything. She also said she had "never been happier."
Safire's discovery of the Cheney gambit made it necessary for the CIA to "retire" him from The Times. But not before he passed the word to me.
I called Senator John Kerry to alert him and he said he had heard that, too, and then switched over to French and said, "My wife is a suitcase," or words to that effect.
(It goes without saying that Keillor's tale cannot possibly be more convoluted than the GOP's own roving talking points.)
Michael Bérubé describes a study that explains the amazing genetic predispositions that prevent women from becoming President of Harvard:
"Traditionally, presidents of Harvard have been men," said Harvard geneticist Charles Kinbote, the study’s designer and principal investigator. "Now, after almost 400 years, we know why. To coin a phrase, it’s in the genes."
According to Kinbote, the presidency of Harvard University requires a unique array of talents and dispositions which, statistically, only a small handful of women possess. "For one thing," noted Kinbote, "it has long been one of the president’s tasks to deny tenure to promising female scholars-- personally, without stated cause, and after a department, a college, and a battery of external referees has approved her. My study shows that the X chromosome contains material that, in combination with another X chromosome, inhibits a person’s ability to do this."
Men are also more adept than women at mentally rotating three-dimensional shapes on aptitude tests, Kinbote added. "You’d be surprised how often a university president needs to do this, and at Harvard the pressure is especially intense." Kinbote estimated that the president of Harvard spends roughly one-quarter of the working day mentally rotating complex, hypothetical three-dimensional shapes, "and that’s not even counting all the time he needs to try to figure out why women aren’t as skilled at abstract mathematical thought."
Unfortunately, this next bit isn't satire, though it ought to be:
Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers has triggered criticism by telling an economics conference Friday that the under-representation of female scientists at elite universities may stem in part from “innate" differences between men and women, although two Harvard professors who heard the speech said the remarks have been taken out of context in an ensuing national media frenzy.
MEANWHILE, back in our hotel on Big Beaver Road (I kid you not), my son Peter -- observing that there are sprinkler heads over the hotel swimming pool -- asks "What happens if the pool catches on fire?"
Jumbo squid stage protest of Bush Inagural!
Or perhaps this was just a failed attempt at a land invasion. After all, the squid shall inherit the Earth.
My father passes along a joke from Saturday's Prairie Home Companion:
Question: “Do you know the REAL difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?
Answer: “George W. Bush had a PLAN for getting out of the Vietnam War!”
Hunter S. Thompson writes about the presidential campaign:
The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them.
His essay is great fun. While reading it, I did a lot of cackling and slapping the arm of my chair. I am tempted to quote selected bits. But really, to get the full mood-elevating effect, you should read the whole thing.
(Via The Yorkshire Ranter.)
MEANWHILE, David is packingup to go to World Fantasy Con in Arizona. Since I have no childcare on either end that would make it possible for me to attend the program, I'm staying home. I was explaining to Elizabeth that her daddy would be out of town and I would stay home and celebrate Halloween with the kids. She replied: "Daddy go on trip and I be a monster."
I just watched the new Bush Cheney Wolves ad. Ignoring for a moment that Bush has to read "I'm George Bush and I approve this message" from a piece of paper at the very end (did the batteries run out on the thing in his ear?), the real message of the add seems to be that trees are scary. The wolves at the end are way too cute to be menacing, and also aren't on camera for nearly long enough.
But those evil-looking trees . . . wooo . . . makes me scared to go out in the yard. We've got some really BIG trees out there. They may look rooted to the ground, but those trees are OUT THERE just waiting to take over America. Vote for George W. Bush and support the War on Trees!
(And while Bush is winning the War on Trees, he'll also be protecting us from endangered species, too. Just imagine: I'm George W. Bush and I approve of this extinction.)
First, Pat Robertson says God told him
Bush would “win in a blow out.”(January 2004)
Now he says Bush will eek out a victory
By the slimmest of margins. He also said
Bush told him “There would be no
Casualties in Iraq.” (Salon 10/21/04)
Bush’s press secretary scoffs and denies that The President said it.
Given the above, and using logic, we can only conclude.
1. God is liar.
2. Pat Robertson is a liar.
3. George Bush is a liar.
4. All three are liars.
5. Pat Robertson misunderstood God.
6. Bush doesn’t know the meaning of the word “casualties.”
7. Press Secretaries lie.
8. There have been no casualties in Iraq.
9. Bush mistook the word “casualties” for’ “Weapons of mass destruction.”
10. God was fucking with Pat.
11. God can’t count.
12. When he said “Blow out” God was talking about Bush bombing certain voting districts.
13. These are too many options. I should end soon.
14. If God talked to you—would you tell anyone?
15. Imagine a world where the holiest men tell lies about the highest figure of good and support a man who reflexively lies every other time he opens his mouth but because he talks tough and sends young men and women to their deaths he is respected and praised which really means as long as somebody is killing brown people who resemble the brown people who murdered 3000 people on 9/11/01—we feel safer. Much safer. Oh please god tell us anything but let us somehow feel safer.
16. Why do we hate America so much?
Surely, you don't believe that THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES would cheat during a presidential debate? How could Salon suggest such a thing?
No. It can't be. There must be another explanation for the rectangular bulge between his shoulder blades. The obvious explanation, that should put all tinfoil hatted moonbatted paranoia to rest, is that that is where the D batteries go in.
Didn't you even read your ballot in 2000? Perhaps your ballot was defective, but mine clearly stated in 6 point type "Batteries not included." under the name "George W. Bush."
It is a sad and moving episode in the Bush family drama. Not only did little Robin die in childhood; George did, too. Barbara was so stricken with grief that the whole aerospace industry was brought together to solve the problem. We can rebuild him, they said. We can make him stronger, faster, smarter. OK, I'm kidding. They didn't say smarter. This was the old days, and the miracle is that they did it at all, and that George 2.0 managed -- yes -- even to become President.
Please don't drag the Bush family name through the dirt by suggesting that the President of the United States needed to receive whispered answers to know what to say during the debate. He doesn't need that. The radio hardware is all internal. And please don't make fun of him for being a little different because he needs a dozen D batteries to function.
Have some common decency and admire him for what he is. The finest president money can buy.
THE GIPPER in '04
gather no moss.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for the deployment of an advance team in Sudan to prepare for a future United Nations peacekeeping mission and denied rumors that he plans to step down in favor of the dead president.
(Magazine template from mandarindesign.com.)
SUSAN SONNTAG ON ABU GHRAIB
Shock and awe were what our military promised the Iraqis. And shock and the awful are what these photographs announce to the world that the Americans have delivered: a pattern of criminal behavior in open contempt of international humanitarian conventions. Soldiers now pose, thumbs up, before the atrocities they commit, and send off the pictures to their buddies. Secrets of private life that, formerly, you would have given nearly anything to conceal, you now clamor to be invited on a television show to reveal. What is illustrated by these photographs is as much the culture of shamelessness as the reigning admiration for unapologetic brutality.
OK, it's time for a confession. Did Womack write the lines for this guy, Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt, US military spokesman, who when confronted with a new video, showing "before" videos of the wedding party our troops massacred, responded, Bad people have parties, too? If Womack didn't write that, we should ask around. Was it you, Terry Bisson? Thomas Harris? Don Webb? Charlie Stross! Of course!
Observe the clever plotting, an obvious sign of writing craft: A line like this is a sure tip-off that our military establishment has been taken over by something along the lines of the Lovecraftian Elder Gods, and that if we knew the TRUTH we would all descend into a gibbering madness. Think Stross's The Atrocity Archives!
And here's another line in today's Guardian giving further evidence that this is all a parody of an absurd movie, or even a bad dream:
The first Mohammed Munim al-Izmerly's family knew of his death was when his battered corpse turned up at Baghdad's morgue. Attached to the zipped-up black US body bag was a laconic note.
The US military claimed in the note that Dr Izmerly, a distinguished chemistry professor arrested after US tanks encircled his villa, had died of "brainstem compression".
Perhaps this brainstem compression was the result of witnessing his interrogators peeling back their human faces to reveal the monstrous visages underneath -- why else would the Pentagon ban cameraphones, but to keep this hideous secret?!
We should have known ages ago that part of our military had been taken over by a conspiracy of hideous flabby fungous beasts. Rumsfeld dropped sly hints, quite a while ago. Here he clearly refers to the cosmic horrors underlying our everyday reality -- things Man Was Not Meant to Know!
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
Å\Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
But of course, this must be all nonsense. So, out with it: Who's been writing the lines for our military establishment? Real people don't talk like this -- unless ---