Thursday, April 29, 2004

From its first days, the Bush administration has exhibited blatant misogyny. The misogyny has been easy to cover up:

a. Appointing women to top positions makes it look as though Bush and his thugs respect women.

b. Many American women--victims of either right-wing propaganda or their own internalized misogyny--are not interested in having equal rights with men.

c. The majority of Americans have no inteest in what is happening to their country.

d. Some of the oppression is toward women in countries like Africa, and Americans do not see that as a personal threat or cause.

e. The "news" media does not report the news.

With no one watching, the White House has deleted vital information about the welfare of women from a number of government websites. The "condoms don't protect against STD's" lie was exposed some time ago, as was the "abortion causes cancer" lie. Both of these outrageous proclamations were the direct products of right-wing Christian fundamentalist groups to whom Bush panders on a daily basis. But there is much more that has been wiped clean from the government sites.

Many of Bush's nominees to the federal bench are judges who have gone out of their way to discriminate against women. As I write this, women and girls in Afghanistan are being abused, sold, and forced into isolation, thanks to Bush's "mission accomplished" in their country. The fact that the administration used the Taliban's horrific treatment of females as a selling point for the war on terror is obscene, considering its complete lack of interest in the current treatment of those same females.

When the government of a country represses opposition and censors public information, especially information vital to the welfare of its citizens, we scream "fascism!"

I can't hear you...

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"I think after September 11, the American people are valuing life more, and I think those are the kind of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy, and really, the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

Thus White House mudslinger Karen Hughes, in an appearance on CNN, invoked September 11 to punish the more than a million men and women who marched on Washington Sunday in support of a woman's right to choose. This was possibly the most disgusting exploitation of September 11 to date, but it is typical of Hughes to sink to the lowest depths of rhetoric.

It is also a lie. We do not value every life in America. We have no regard at all for non-human life, which we treat like garbage, and little regard for the lives of humans living below the poverty level. The administration's own policies prove that the White House has minimal regard for the health and safety of children, not to mention the rest of us. The White House also has no regard for those suffering from debilitating diseases; stem cell research has been severely limited.

The Bush administration doesn't give a damn about the tortured, miserable women in Afghanistan, though they are always bragging about having "liberated" them. There appears to be little regard for American soldiers, who are dying every day in an illegitimate war. And there is absolutely no interest in the lives of millions of Americans, who are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Not only has the Bush administration slashed the budget for protecting American cities, it has also guaranteed increased hatred of America.

Monday, April 26, 2004

A 15-year-old boy in Prosser, Washington drew some unflattering pictures of George W. Bush. One of them depicted Bush as a devil launching a missile. His teacher told school officials, who called the police, who called in the Secret Service. The good news is that the boy wasn't hauled off by the Secret Service. The bad news (aside from your tax dollars going down the drain again) is that the boy was undoubtedly traumatized, and the school took disciplinary action, although exactly what action they took is unknown at this time.

Drawing the alleged president of the United States in any kind of costume is neither dangerous nor against the law. At least it wasn't against the law back when we paid attention to the Constitution. Art (recall Laura Bush's inadvertent launching of Poets Against the War) and education are always the first institutions to be attacked by a repressive regime, and this repressive government has proven to be no different than others.

Under our new Alice in Wonderland regulations, an adolescent boy is not allowed to draw a picture of what he considers evil. However, parents are allowed--and encouraged--to tell their children the following lies:

Iraq was behind the September 11 tragedy.

The president is an honest, moral man.

You must always respect whoever is in authority, no matter what s/he does.

People in America are free, and the young people being killed in Iraq are dying for our freedom.

The invasion of Iraq will prevent further terrorist attacks on our country.

The administration is fighting the war on terror.

Telling outrageous lies to children is in. Looking at the truth (any fool who bothers to check Bush's record when he was governor of Texas or the history of the relationship between the Bush family and Saudi Arabia can grasp the truth for all of its ugliness) is out. What a country.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

While riding along a highway today, I saw a billboard encouraging people to hunt. "There's plenty of game to go around," it said. Just a few yards away was another billboard, encouraging women not to have abortions. The billboards do not, I'm sure, appear out of sync to the people who live in the towns right off of that highway. What kind of culture is it that condemns people for not bringing a fetus to full term, but encourages them to go and kill living creatures?

Oh, I know...hunting is vital because the animals' habitats are overcrowded. Yes, their habitats are overcrowded because we took them away to build strip malls and subdivisions.

What it all comes down to is--most people believe that humans are superior to other living creatures. Some of us do not believe that (What evidence is there that we are superior? Think about it.) But for the sake of argument, let's say we are superior.

In that case, what happened to all of the people who are opposed to euthanasia and stem cell work because "we might play God"? Apparently, it doesn't bother them at all that our belief in our superiority alllows us to hunt down, torture, eat and wear non-humans.

The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

And there's more. The same person who pickets a family planning clinic because abortions take place there--the person who is so concerned about those fertilized eggs--probably ate some eggs for breakfast. Those eggs probably came from chickens that were hideously tortured in ways too horrific to even describe here. That person may be wearing lipstick tested on animals and a coat made from animals. She will most likely eat an animal later in the day. It's not just that these animals have died because someone likes fried chicken--they have lived and died under the most hideous conditions.

The so-called sanctity of life is rather limited.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today is Earth Day. To celebrate the preservation of the Earth and its inhabitants, the Bush administration has done the following since its very first days:

Allowed drilling on previously protected lands
Relaxed air pollution restrictions for manufacturers and power plants
Removed protections for undeveloped forest lands
Made cuts in environmental spending
Refused to endorse the Kyoto Protocol
Permitted federal facilities to be exempt from pollution laws
Permitted the unncecessary torture and killing of millions of lab animals
Refused to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water
Slashed the lead poisoning prevention budget
Refused to set limits on carbon monoxide emissions
Refused to ban atrazine
Endorsed the continued use of methyl bromide
Altered the language in an EPA report to keep from restricting mercury levels
Took away farmers' right to sue pesticide companies for damages
Appointed pro-industry "scientists" to EPA panels

The above list is very short; the actual list would take page to publish. Some of the items on the list went in direct opposition to Bush's campaign "promises." It is important to note, though, that the Bush administration cannot destroy the environment by themselves: They need your help! Here is what you can do to faciliitate the destruction of the Earth and its inhabitants:

1. Keep using those chemical fertilizers in your yard and garden and on your farm. The run-off is guaranteed to kill wildlife and destroy numerous ecosystems.

2. Keep using those chemical herbicides. Not only will you kill wildlife--both directly and by destroying their habitat--but you will release important carcinogens into the atmosphere and contribute to the seriousness of respiratory diseases.

3. Keep using those chemical pesticides. See number 2.

4. Don't recycle your paper, plastic and alumninum.

5. Make sure you buy the products of companies that perform barbaric and unnecessary testing on helpless cats, dogs, mice and rabbits.

6. Litter as much as possible.

7. Buy large tracts of land, cut down all the trees and put up strip malls.

8. Never bother to demand that your legislators clean up chemical waste in your state and punish the perpetrators.

9. Make sure you never bother to learn the truth about so-called "tort reform" so that you can be part of making sure pollutors and the poisoners of children never see a courtroom.

10. Vote Republican.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Have you ever noticed that when liberals point a finger at someone, they are accused of being "political" or "unpatriotic" but when conservatives point the finger, the subject gets death threats? We saw it recently with Natalie Maines, and with Michael Newdow, the man who went to court to get the Pledge of Allegiance returned to its original state. The lateset victim, thanks to Attorney General John Ashcroft's disciples, is September 11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick.

When Gorelick was Deputy Attorney General of the U.S., she wrote a memo that created distinctions between intelligence that could be used for law enforcement purposes and intelligence that could be used for national security purposes. The memo served as a protection of the civil liberties of persons investigated by the federal government.

Did the existence of this distinction make it more difficult to conduct searches? Probably, just as the existence of similar laws makes it harder for the police to knock your door down and tear up your house (except in Louisiana). But the gathering and coordination of intelligence was made much more difficult by a number of other factors: the failure of the powerful to listen to the pleas of savvy field investigators; the shocking lack of language interpreters; the stubborn resistance to cooperation between the FBI and the CIA; an FBI director who couldn't be bothered to brief a vacationing president; irresponsible airline companies; and an alleged president who made it clear that he had little interest in receiving any type of information, much less that concerning national security.

Incidentally, Ashcroft blamed the White House ("No one told me") for his own lack of knowledge about terrorist activities, but the right-wing nutcases aren't callling in bomb threats to Bush.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Summer will be here soon, and thousands of American men will be shirtless at the beach, at the pool and in the back yard. If you are one of those men, someone may take a photograph of you, which is all well and good, unless she takes the negatives to a Walgreen's photo department. Last fourth of July, someone in Cleveland did just that, the employee in the photo department decided that the photo was offensive, and trashed it instead of printing it.

The assistant manager of the store cited a law that gives such employees the right to exercise their judgment about what gets printed in the photo department. That is a lie: There is no such law. What there is, however, is the American Family Association, a right-wing organization that seeks to impose far right-wing values on everyone in the nation. The AFA, it turns out, has been badgering and attacking Walgreen's for some time because the chain didn't subscribe to the organization's censorship advice. Walgreen's apparently couldn't take the pressure anymore, and now employees may make determinations about whether your photos get printed.

The man in question had a pierced nipple, so we can make a safe assumption that it wasn't his bare chest that offended the Walgreen's photo clerk. When, if ever, are Americans going to take the country back from the gay-hating, women-hating, non-Christian-hating, ignorance-promoting, hypocritical no-neck monsters who have taken it over?

Friday, April 16, 2004

A lot of Democrats are angry because Ralph Nader is running for president. What a silly thing to be angry about. Democrats would be well advised to be angry because their party has gone in lockstep with the current White House, supporting everything from the war in Iraq to the obscene Patriot Act. Now that the consequences (which any thinking person could have discerned long ago) of their alliance have come about, they are oh, so shocked and horrified.

I don't understand how non-white male Democrats can stand to even be part of a discussion about which white male will be Kerry's running mate (Kerry could choose a woman or a minority or both, of course, but the discussion is all centered on white males). It's the 21st Century, and "Should it be Edwards or Clark?" is the question we hear, when the question we should be hearing is "What the hell is the Democratic Party doing ignoring the majority of its so-called base?" Again.

As dangerous as this administration is, what's wrong with America goes much deeper than what is going on at the White House. The fact that Bush was even permitted to be a candidate for president is a clue. That so many people support him is another clue. And the fact that the Demoratic Party turned away from everyone but white males several years ago pretty much wraps it up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Let us forget for a moment that George W. Bush is the ignorant and unskilled spokesman for the real president, Dick Cheney. Let us also set aside the fact that in tonight's press conference, he didn't have a clue what was going on. These two facts have apparently done little to stop the hero worship he receives from millions of "hard-working, patriotic Amuricans."

Shocking as it may be to set these things aside, we have unfortunately become accustomed to doing so. But tonight's appearance had a new twist that cannot be ignored: Bush's hair was uncombed, he rambled even more than usual, and he slurred his words.

Drinking again? No sleep because someone finally told him he is supposed to be the leader of the free world? Anxiety attack? All of the above? Whatever it was, it was a chilling variation of the hair-turned-gray head that we usually see in the second terms of presidents. And where were his handlers? Where were the people who so carefully and strategically dressed him for his appearance on the aircraft carrier?

Perhaps they were all too busy picking up the pieces from the latest September 11 Commission hearings. In one brief paragraph, John Ashcroft managed to blame Bush for his department's failure ("No one told me...") and Clinton for the September 11 hijackings. Now that he has settled that matter, perhaps someone can take a few moments to comb Bush's hair and prop him up for his appearance in front of the commission.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

If you are one of the hundreds of people putting "Condoleezza Rice marital status" into a search engine, then here's something for you:

Condoleezza Rice is sitting between you and the truth. Between you and your personal safety. Between you and the future of the world. Can't you think of anything to ask about except her marital status? Can't you put "Condoleezza Rice political beliefs" or "Condoleezza Rice policies" or "Condoleeza Rice government background" into a search engine?

Since you're here, please read the entries of April 1 and April 8. I won't tell you Dr. Rice's personal business, but you may learn a little about sexism.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California said an amazing thing on CNN yesterday. I don't remember which talking head was present (it doesn't matter--they're interchangable, and have less than one whole brain among the lot of them). He said that terrorism exists because the Clinton administration failed to do anything about the Taliban.

Putting aside the simplistic notion that there is a single cause of terrorism, let's look at the depth of Congressman Rohrabacher's lie. First, it is public record that the Clinton administration made several attempts to take out bin Laden, but halted all of them because civilians would have been killed.

More important, though, is what the current administration did about the Taliban, and they did plenty. In January of 2001, the Bush White House gave the Taliban $43 million to help fight the alleged war on drugs. They did this, knowing that the Taliban tortured and executed people, made the lives of women and children unbearable, and would undoubtedly put any money they received into extremist causes. I say they knew these things because these things were common knowledge. (I am excluding Bush here; during the 2000 election, he could not answer a question about the Taliban because he didn't know what it was.)

So our White House gave $43 million to an extraordinarily repressive and extremist group because that group considered the cultivation of poppies to be against the will of God. It is interesting to note that this transaction was made early in the Bush administration--May of 2001. (There is an interesting Enron/Afghanistan timeline you can sing along to also, all of which provides background for the "anti-drug" money, if you want to consider it.)

As for the lying Congressman from California, the CNN interviewer didn't bother to challenge anything he said. I can't blame her. In order to do that, she would have had to: a. have a clue about recent history, and b. not be owned by the Bush White House.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

One of the most important things that Laura Flanders brings out in her new book, Bushwomen, is that the powerful women who surround Bush get away with their war against democracy and decency because they are women. That is, the news media doesn't take them seriously, so they can do just about anything they want.

A perfect example of this occurred last night. On the eve of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the September 11 Commission, Greta van Susteren was chatting with a guest on her Fox News show about Rice's preference for jewel tones in her suits because she thinks prints are "too busy." The National Security Director of the alleged leader of the free world is about to provide some of the most important public testimony in modern history, and the talking heads are discussing her choices in clothing.

There's a word for it--sexism. The United States is crawling with it.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Christian fundamentalism would be hilarious if it weren't so crude and dangerous. In Pittsburgh, the Glassport Assembly of God thought it would be a good idea to teach little children about Easter by whipping the Easter Bunny and breaking Easter eggs.

Fortunately, many of the parents had the good sense to be upset when their children cried over seeing the Easter Bunny abused and their egg hunt ruined. The church's youth minister, Patty Bickerton, said no offense was intended. Bickerton, it turns out, played the role of the Easter Bunny, and we can only hope that the whipping was painful.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

April is National Poetry Month. If you haven't read any poetry in a while, celebrate by going to your library and reading some, buy a book of poems, or go to your city's nearest slam or open mike night. Many public libraries and universities have special events scheduled for this month.

Another way to enjoy poetry is on the Worldwide Web. Some poetry sites and zines to check out are: Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Poetry Superhighway, and a number of fine electronic literary journals that publish poetry. These include
Of special interest is Poets Against the War, the site inspired by Laura Bush. Says poet Sam Hamill:

"Poets Against the War was officially born when Laura Bush invited me to attend a White House symposium on Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes, scheduled for February 12, 2003. But it was truly born in the hearts of each of us long before the naively planned and quickly 'postponed' symposium. The 'postponement' continues today, the White House having faced its only public humiliation when we rose in unison to defend not only our nation’s conscience, but poetry itself."

Visit this important site, read some poems, and make a contribution if you can.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

This is how George W. Bush fights the war on terror:

Last week, after members of the news media had already left the room, a House Ways and Means Subcommittee was given the news that a plan to increase by 50 percent the number of criminal financial investigators working to disrupt the finances of Al-qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations had been scuttled. The reason? To save $12 million. The Internal Revenue Service had asked for 80 more criminal investigators to pursue the funds of terrorists and to disrupt their networks. They aren't getting it.

So the IRS is prevented from breaking up Al-qaeda finances, U.S. soldiers are having their benefits cut and being told to buy some of their own supplies, and first responders in New York City still don't have sufficient safety equipment. Everyone feel safer now?

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Author and radio personality Laura Flanders' new book, Bushwomen, tells the story that no one else has bothered to tell: That Bush surrounds himself with extreme right-wing whomen who are allowed to get away with the most radical political savagery. Why? Because they are women, and--in a couple of cases--minorities, so a picture of "diversity" is painted for the lazy and ignorant news media.

It's Clarence Thomas all over again. Karen Hughes, Condoleezza Rice, Elain Chao and their peers all came into power largely because of feminism and the civil rights movement, yet they have dedicated their lives to destroying those movements. These women, born of privilege, pose as ordinary citizens or "immigrants" who rose to the top through sheer hard work and willpower, and then preach that genuinely oppressed groups can do the same thing, despite rampant bigotry in the U.S.

There are six profiles and a couple of bonus chapters. The profiles are of Rice, Hughes, Chao, Ann Veneman, Gale Norton and Chrisine Todd Whitman. There is also a chapter on Laura Bush and Lynne Cheney, and an excellent introductory chapter that sets forth Flanders' spot-on theory: That if the media took women seriously, its members would long ago have exposed the vicious, unethical, unprincipled, extremist behaviors of the women in question. Instead, even the most prestigious and "liberal" media outlets talked about the women's clothes, jewelry and family lives, while devoting almost no space or time to their political agendas.

This is a very thoroughly researched book, and the contents are not pretty. From Norton's lifelong quest to abolish the environmental movement, to Chao's similar ambition to quash fair labor standards, to Whitman's enormous financial conflicts of interest while she was a governor, to Hughes' one-woman poison campaign against Governor Ann Richards--Bushwomen shows the White House for what it is. Be prepared for some ugly revelations.