Monday, July 30, 2007

Photos: Nature

I always used to enjoy drawing when I was young, and thought that I was good at it. After three years of Art in high school, and majoring in Art in my one year of college, I realized that I was quite wrong. My fellow students were VASTLY superior in talent and vision, even in high school (John Whalley, 'Berta Egan [aka "Bobbie" Egan], Catherine Vanaria, Gene Gort, I'm bowing to you!)

Eventually I turned to (amateur) photography to express myself, and have had found more fulfillment with this venue. Here is a selection of "Nature"-themed photos with which I am pleased. I hope that you enjoy them, too.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Give 'Em the Bird, Vote For a Third! Pt 4 - The Party's Over

I think I understand one of the root causes of the inherent corruption within the Bush Adminsitration (BushAd). It is the practice by both political parties (The Democrats and The Republicans) of having the most senior elected official from their party be the, if nothing else, titular "head of the party". Former UN Ambassador & Resident of Earth, John Bolton, told Jon Stewart that the president is supposed to advance the interests of the people who elected him! I believe that a constitutional amendment is in order (among many others I have in mind, but that's a topic for another post, as the old folks to used to say. They may have had something else in mind when they said it, but that's not important.)

I believe that the top person in each branch of our government should, immediately upon being declared the winner of an election by the appropriate bodies charged with doing that, or confirmed for a government position in the Judiciary or the Executive Branches, resign from his or her political party, and be officially "Unaffiliated". For the record: I prefer the term "Unaffiliated" over "Independent" because there are some political parties that use the word "Independent" in their name, such as "The Independent Party". They are not unaffiliated with any political party, just the two major ones. Same for "The Independence Party", or some variant. It's either deceptive or ignorant. Deceptive if it's to make you think that no political party whatsoever will be controlling that candidate; ignorant if it's to make you think that there are only the Democrats and the Republicans from which to choose. They are not, and for quite some time have not been, your only choices at the voting booth.

Both of these major political parties have been guilty of putting loyalty to their party ahead of loyalty to their country, and to the oath they took to "preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States." I took an oath to do the same very thing. I took that oath very seriously, and I expect them to do the same. As a matter of fact, as there was no end date put in that oath, I still feel bound by it. And that's one of the reasons I post on this blog. But that's, yet again, a topic for another post. (I believe the expression was found in one of Shakespeare's early comedies.)

Once confirmed as the winner of the election when Congress meets to count the electoral votes, the President-Elect should immediately resign from his or her party. This is because from this point forward, the chief focus should be on what all Americans need, not just what one party wants. These are people's lives we're talking about here! It's not a damn game! If they must make decisions about what the morally correct thing to do (and it IS something we expect of our president), then they cannot be tied to the philosophy and agenda of one political party, especially if the popular vote was close, but in any event anyway.

Besides the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States should also be Unaffiliated, especially regarding leadership in the US Senate, of which he would still be the President. If 50 Senators want one person to be the leader, and 50 Senators want another, the Vice President's "former" party should not be considered the leaders. The US Senate will just have to adapt to the changes, as will the other House and the Judiciary Branch.

I believe that once chosen, the Speaker of the House, who is supposed to be leader of ALL US Representatives, should be Unaffiliated. They still have their Leaders on the Floor, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader. Why should one have the advantage of having the People's Representative favoring one party's agenda over the interests of the nation as a whole? And anyone who doesn't want the job under those circumstances just better not run for it. Simple.

Finally, once confirmed by the US Senate, the Chief Justice of the United States should also resign from his or her political party and be officially registered as Unaffiliated. The Chief Justice is exactly what the title says, Chief Justice for all Americans, not just one party. He or she must refrain from participating in any party events of their former party, unless all other former Chief Justices are also invited.

The reason I feel these changes are necessary is something little known and less often talked about, Conflict of Interest. And not merely that, the Appearance of a Conflict of Interest. Too many people in Congress put way too much emphasis on what their political party wants them to do, and not what the people they represent (not the corporations who employ people in their districts, but the people themselves) want them to do. Witness what we have now in BushAd. An undeniably business-friendly (in a more-than-just-friends way, if you catch my drift) admin who does exactly the opposite of what a vast majority of our citizens want him to do. And yet, to date, he has not even come close to giving us a single, truthful, rational, justifiable reason for the invasion of Iraq. Not one valid reason. The vast majority of what they told us turned out to be untrue, and there is ample evidence to suggest that they knew, at the time they were making them, that the things they were saying in public could not withstand the close scrutiny of illumination. And so they classified it all and have been trying to keep it out of the public domain. Not for "national security" interests, but because it would prove them to be the mendacious bunch they are.

BushAd is the epitome of what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they cautioned against political parties (of the ones who did.) They are the embodiment of how bad things could get when a president and his staff try to grab unprecedented powers from the other two branches. And had the Republicans in Congress during the first six years of BushAd been doing their jobs and protecting the constitution, we would not have had The USA PATRIOT Act, as well as the illegal wiretapping program. They failed miserably in their role as the People's Government Oversight. They may also be complicit in BushAd's crimes. Time will tell.

I don't expect it to really get much better once the Demcorats take over the White House in Jan 2009 (if not sooner). I don't see them motivated enough to change the status quo. That's why we have to vote them out of office. Not the people themselves, necessarily, but all Democrats and Republicans running for federal office. If you honestly feel that your Senator or Representative has represented your true interests to your satisfaction, then try to get a third party to endorse that candidate and vote for them on that line. But do not send them back to Washington as a Democrat or Republican. Two parties really are better than one. But ten parties is way better than just two. We need diversity of opinion, not just yes-no, black-white, up-down, bi-polar governance of our lives. Not every issue that affects our lives can be simplified into "It's This, or it's the totally opposite That. There is no middle ground." Life is more nuanced than that.


And that will be the topic of another post.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Why We Are In Danger

The people running your country right now are dangerous. Not simply to the terrorists. Not just to the "rogue nations". Not even just to criminals within our own borders. They are dangerous to you, and to me, and to all Americans. And it’s important to emphasize the word Americans, because the Bush Administration has been one of the most lawless, most immoral, and most un-American in our nation’s history.

These people are neither true Republicans nor true conservatives. They are neo-cons. Theirs is a belief system that rates people like them superior to people not like them. This is true. They feel that we need them to steer us in the right direction. They also feel that we must trust them implicitly, and never, ever question anything they tell us. And they feel that lying to the governed is not only a necessary part of governing, but entirely, morally acceptable. Now are you going to tell me that this is how the government of the greatest experiment in independent self-governance in the history of humanity is supposed to behave?

As if that weren’t bad enough, it’s actually much worse than that. These people have perverted the very nature of governance into something that would make the Founding Fathers weep. They have used every means at their disposal, both legal and illegal (this is a fact), to advance an agenda that is anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-child, and anti-American. In all disputes between Corporate America and Labor Unions, they have reflexively sided with Corporate America. In all policies regarding polluting the environment, they have sided with the wishes of Corporate America, namely to not make them pay for cleaning up the messes they make.

Their “No Child Left Behind” Act, for which they illegally paid Armstrong Williams to promote, was modeled after the system Bush began as Governor of Texas. The problem was that the program in Houston encouraged kids who were failing to drop out of school, so that those who continued on to graduate had a skewed overall grade average. The students who dropped out were not factored in. They then used the “results” to tout how well the program worked, and took it to the state level where the same “cheating” of the system occurred. This is what they have applied to the national level, and it does not work there either.

Because they don’t know what they are doing! They are choosing the policies they choose and the programs they run, to do things that are not in the interests of the people of the United States, but often its corporations and its wealthy. And when I say "wealthy", I'm talking about the kind of people who if they had to pay an extra million dollars in income tax each year, would not even miss it (that kind of wealthy). And they do it proudly, shamelessly, and unapologetically.

As despicable as I find their philosophies about humanity to be, if they were doing what they did because they genuinely had a concern for the benefit of humanity in general, or even just Americans in particular, I might be able to find a way to forgive them, or understand them. This is not the case. They do what they do to remain in power and to benefit from holding the power they hold. I wish it were the tiniest bit noble, but it isn’t. And they truly believe that they are the only ones who know what must be done to make the world “a better place.” But for whom?

I think the primary flaw in their thinking is that they think that everyone else in the world will approach the solution to a problem in the same way that they would, and treat everyone else as such. And when the opposition to them turns out to have the facts on their side, rather than re-examine their own beliefs for possible ties to reality, they attack their attackers. They cannot accept that the model upon which their socio-political philosophy is based is incorrect. So they lash out, and claim that their detractors are “unpatriotic”, that they are “aiding the enemy” (whoever that happens to be at the moment), and, when they are really desperate, that they want to “put your children at risk!” Like I said, they are shameless.

In short, they forget that we all need each other in order to survive. They are capitalists (almost to the point of being fascists, which means they favor complete deregulation of corporations), and they do what they do for the money. They do not believe in altruism, as there is no money in it, and nothing material to be gained for yourself. So to them, it is pointless. They don’t even view giving away free merchandise to promote a product as any kind of altruism, it’s just "smart marketing and advertising techniques”. Even when they do the right thing, they can’t do it for the right reasons. And that is why they are dangerous, and must be removed from office in the most peaceful way possible. Impeachment.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gonzales Has Committed Perjury, and Bush Can't Save Him

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has committed perjury in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Among other areas of possible grounds, he has claimed, under oath, that there was no disagreement over the constitutionality of the NSA Domestic Spying Program. Yet former Deputy Attorney General James Comey has said that several people objected. The question has been raised as to whether or not President Bush can pardon Gonzales for this. The answer, I believe, is no. First, let's look at what the constitution says about impeachment:

Art II, Sec 4: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

I think even a non-lawyer would concede that perjury qualifies as a "high crime", so the grounds for impeaching Gonzales certainly exist. Could the president pardon him to keep that from happening?

Art II, Sec 2, Clause 1: ..., and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

No, he cannot. But, and this is a big but, can the president pardon Gonzales even after he's convicted and removed from office? I say not and here's why. According to my dictionary's explanation on usage of the word "shall", it says "SHALL used with pronouns other than I or we denotes determination or command. (You shall go, even if you don't want to.)

That's a very specific word and it appears many times in the constitution. It removes any doubt about whether or not someting is optional or can be overlooked. The second blockquote above clearly specifies that the president's authority to grant a pardon does not extend to cases of impeachment. But what does the constitution say about the punishment for being convicted:

Art I, Sec 3, Clause 7: Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

My reasoning is thus: If Gonzales is impeached, convicted and removed from office, and because the president's pardon authority does not cover impeachments, Gonzales still "shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law." This is an imperative, and if the framers meant for the president to be able to pardon an impeached official, they would have explicitly said so. They did not. And for obvious reasons. If the worst a government official who was a BFF of the president had to worry about was losing his job, he could (and I'm sure would) do anything. But Since A1 S3 C7 says he " liable and subject to indictent...", and does not say unless the president pardons him after the conviction, it's clear that this language means the president cannot simply pardon Gonzales for lying to Congress to keep him from doing time. Gonzales could (and should) face jail time.

But what if the president pardons him before Gonzales is impeached? (Is there any reason to think they wouldn't try that, given how far they've tried to push executive authority so far?) I would argue that even if Bush issued a pardon for the perjury, this clause then gives the authority to go ahead and prosecute an impeached and removed Gonzales despite any pardon issued by Bush, because it would be a case of impeachment, and the president's pardon authority does not cover those. A conviction for perjury that resulted on Gonzales being removed would nullify any pardon issued by the president.

If anyone has a specific case reference that proves this wrong, I would be interested in hearing it and the explanation. The constitution specifies where leeway can be given, and this isn't one of them. The Congress needs to impeach Alberto Gonzales immediately, try him, find him guilty (because we all know he is, and anyone who votes no is not "taking care that the laws be faithfully executed") and remove him from office. Then they should go ahead and charge him with perjury and send his sorry ass to jail. That's my take on it. What's yours?

UPDATE: I should add that the only way that I can see for Gonzales to avoid going to jail is for him to resign (or be fired) before being impeached and removed from office, and then Bush immediately pardoning him. That way, there would be no conflict between the pardon clause and impeachments clauses. Do not be surprised if Bush decides to announce that he is simultaneously firing and pardoning Gonzales. Just don't believe Bush if he says that Gonzales "served his country well." That would be yet another lie. Gonzales has most certainly not served his country well, but he has made a career out of serving Bush well.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Wayne's sister, Judy, and I used to go down to Shea Stadium quite a bit, and got to see some really good games (as well as plenty of stinkers.) We bought various ticket packages each year, and we were also able to get tickets to one of the NLCS games in 2000. We were at Bobby Jones's 1-hitter against the SF Giants--very exciting!

Another earlier game that I was fortunate enough to attend was the one wherein Doc Gooden set the rookie strikeout record--amazing, exhilarating game! For Doc Gooden fans, here's a link to his rookie debut. Enjoy!

Okay, these pictures range from about 2000 through 2005, but I hope that NY Mets fans enjoy them anyway.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Georgie (A Rock Opera Parody)

A friend of mine said to me one day, "You know what you should do? You should try to do a whole rock opera, like 'Tommy' or something." "Yeah, right, I doubt I could do a whole album." As it happened, some time later some ideas came to me that seem to fit "Tommy" the best. To the extent that it came out at all good, we can thank my friend "Tony" (not his real name). And if it doesn't measure up, the fault lies entirely with me, and not at all with my wife, Jane, who, as she so often does and does well, gave me some tips, advice and corrections along the way. Thank you, Honey. "Tommy", the Opera, was written by Pete Townshend except for: "Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)", by Sonny Boy Williamson; "Cousin Kevin" and "Fiddle About", by John Entwistle; and "Tommy's Holiday Camp", by Keith Moon. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to send your friends a link to this blog. Thank you.

No permission was granted by any of the authors for the original songs parodied, nor did I think it possible to even get it. Those authors retain full rights to their work (mostly Pete Townshend). All new lyrics here are copyright 2007, Wayne A. Schneider.

I also have a confession to make. I skipped one of the songs. It is, arguably, the worst song on the album, and I was going nuts trying to write something to it, especially since I didn't want to have to listen to it while writing. I usually skip that track on the CD, anyway, as I'm sure many of you do. It bogs down the whole thing. That song is, of course, "Welcome." ("Come to my house, be one of the comfortable people...") But don't worry, I picked it right back up from there with the rest of the album. And if I have in any way ruined "Tommy" for any of you by writing and posting this, I do sincerely apologize, and I ask forgiveness. I was only doing it to entertain. Thank you once again.

And we don't have to take it, either. Write to your Representatives and Senators and demand that President George W. Bush be impeached and removed from office immediately. There is too much time between now and Jan '09 for him to cause more death, destruction, and devastation, and to start another war with Iran. Remember that the AUMF that allowed him to launch the first attack against Afghanistan said he could attack anyone related to the people responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Lately, he's been talking about al Qaeda in Iraq as being "the same people who attacked us on Sept 11th." They are NOT! The group in Iraq claiming allegiance to al Qaeda didn't form until 2004. Bush is trying to say that Iran is helping these people. By extension, since Iran is aiding "those who attacked us" before, he will claim he already has the authority to attack Iran. And he will not tell the Congress or the U.N. about it first. Remove him from office at once, before it's too late.

And now, without further ado, please enjoy...

A Rock Opera Parody

G. H. Walker didn't play nice,
His great grandson would be just like him.
Made his money helping Hitler’s men,
Don’t expect it was legal, but then…

It’s A Boy
Nurse: It’s a boy, where’s his father? It’s a boy.
It’s a boy, where’s his father? It’s a boy.

Barbara: A son! I’ll call him George!

George: Got a feeling that ’01
Is gonna be a good year.
Especially if you and me
See it through together.

Cheney: So you think that ’01
Is gonna be a good year.
Could be good for me and you,
But terrorists, no never.
I have no reason
To be over-realistic,
But somehow when you smirk
I can face it better.

George: What about the blogs?
What about the blogs?
What about the blogs?
They found it all.

Cheney: We’ll just deny it, spin and lie it.
They won’t say nothing to no one
Ever in their life. They’ll never try it and
Defy us it seems without any proof.
We’ll just deny it, spin and lie it
They’ll never try it and defy us all
They won’t print nothin’ about it,
Never tell the folks what they think is the truth

George: Got a feeling that ’01
Is gonna be a good year.
Especially if you and me
See it through together.

Cheney: Got a feeling that ’01
Is gonna be a good year.
Especially if you and me
See it through together.
I have no reason
To be over-realistic,
But somehow when you smirk
I can face it better.

(strums on guitar and...)
George: What about the blogs?

Amazing Blarney
Cheney: Act dumb and lie, boy
We have a hostile invasion plan.
Strange as it seems, your glorious dreams
Are just as bad.

Ten years hence, a war as dense
As dense can be.
Start it now and become inured
Through duplicity.

Falsehoods will surely take their minds
Where minds can't usually go.
Put on the Amazing Blarney
And say what they should know.

George: A vague sense of obedience takes over me.
All at once a bald Cheney I suddenly see.
He's dressed in a Navy Blue custom-made suit,
And his temper can blow nearly up to the roof.

Cheney: Nothing you say, and nothing I hear
Mean nothing to me.
This invasion marks my place
In our history.

Falsehoods will surely take their minds
Where minds can't usually go.
Put on the Amazing Blarney
And say what they should know.

bloggers: His lies are the lies that commit men to war
Twisted up serpentine reasons for more.
'Cause he's the decider and he will decide.
With his Amazing Blarney forever he'll lie.

The Squawker
Rupert M: You talk about your network.
I wish you could see mine.
You talk about your network.
I wish you could see mine.
Every time we start the lyin'
We bring falsehoods to your mind.

You know I had to give them money
You can tell by the way they talk.
I had to give them money
You can tell by the way they talk.
Every time we start the fakin'
The dumb begin to squawk.

We've got the power to fool, you never fear.
We've got the power to fool, you never fear.
Just a word from our lips
And the war can start next year.

Rove: Did you ever see the faces of
The Christians they get so excited.
Waking up their kids to see if
Armageddon’s finally been ignited.
They believe in Christ and say His
Teachings are a part of their philosophy.
Peeking in their door we see their
Lives are being lived in pure hypocrisy.

bloggers: And Georgie doesn’t know
What day it is.
He doesn’t know who Allah is
Or what state he's in.
How can we be saved,
From this infernal knave?

Cheney: Surrounded by our friends he sits so silently
And unconcerned with everything
Playing "Pull My Finger"
Picks his nose and farts and
Jokes about most everything.
I believe in war, but how could men
Who've never seen war help me fight it?
Only if he's lurid will our
PNAC's future outcome ever heighten.

bloggers: And Georgie doesn’t know
What day it is.
Yeah, He doesn’t know who Allah is
Or what state he's in.
How can we be saved,
From this infernal knave?

Cheney: Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

George: See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.
See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.

Cheney: Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Georgie can you hear me?
Can you, can you, can you hear me?
bloggers: How can we be saved?

Rove: Did you ever see the faces of
The Christians they get so excited.
Waking up their kids to see if
Armageddon’s finally been ignited.
They believe in Christ and say His
Teachings are a part of their philosophy.
Peeking in their door we see their
Lives are being lived in pure hypocrisy.

bloggers: And Georgie doesn’t know
What day it is.
Yeah, He doesn’t know who Allah is
Or what state he's in.
How can we be saved,
From this infernal knave?

Cousin Karl
Rove: We’re on our own, Cheney.
All alone Cheney.
Let’s think of a game to play
On the bloggers that won’t go away.
It won't be much fun
When he starts acting dumb,
But I've no way to stop him today.
Do you think he could try not to speak?
To do that it could buy us a week.
He flies in the air, he could go anywhere,
There's a lot he could do and we'd freak.

How would you feel if we told them some crap?
Let on that Saddam had weapons he stashed?
What will we do if we're caught in our lies?
Cheney: You stand in the court and take one 'tween the eyes.

Rove: I'm a cruel bully! A classless cheat.
The nastiest Bush aide, you ever could meet.
I'll tell lies of your children,
And spread out deceit.

Rove: We’re on our own, Cheney.
All alone Cheney.
Let’s think of a game to play
On the bloggers that won’t go away.
It won't be much fun
When he starts acting dumb,
But I've no way to stop him today.
Do you think he could try not to speak?
To do that it could buy us a week.
He flies in the air, he could go anywhere,
There's a lot he could do and we'd freak.

Cheney: Maybe a terrorist plot that brought harm,
Would change their attention to one of alarm.
Rove: Drag it all out by a leak here and there,
And give them a hint that they should look elsewhere.

I'm a cruel bully! A classless cheat.
The nastiest Bush aide, you ever could meet.
I'll kick ass in your district,
And cause your defeat.

Vapid Queen
Rice: If your tale ain’t all it should be now,
This girl will spin it right.
I’ll tell them how it could be now.
Watch me start a fight.
I’m The Ditzy, the Vapid Queen.
Lie before I start.
I'm The Ditzy, the Vapid Queen.
I'll tear the truth apart.

Give me the points and close the door
Leave me for a while.
Your tale won’t be the same no more,
Spun with lots of style
I’m The Ditzy, the Vapid Queen.
Hate is in my heart.
I'm The Ditzy, the Vapid Queen.
I'll tear the truth apart.

Gather my notes and make it fast.
My mind will start to roam.
Just like a Ditzy Queen would do,
I'm gonna lie from home.

My work is done, now look at this.
I'll never be more despised.
The Truth, it shakes. They're filled with doubts!
Watch us boldly lie!
I’m The Ditzy, the Vapid Queen.
Paid to throw the dart.
I'm The Ditzy, I’m guaranteed.
To tear the truth apart.

No lyrics to this track,
But if you want to listen to it,
Please remember to come back.
The second side's just started.

Do You Think It's Alright!
George: Do you think it's alright
To send the press to Uncle Rummy?
Do you think it's alright,
He's spun a few too many tonight!
Do you think it's alright?
Cheney: If I think it's spun right.
Yes, I think it's alright.

Spin It About
Rumsfeld: I’m your wicked Uncle Rummy,
I’m glad you'll just sit and hear me
As I spin it about,
Spin it about,
Spin it about.

Dick Cheney left me here to mind you,
Now I’m saying what I want to,
Spinning about,
Spinning about,
Spin it about.

Down with the true facts,
Up with the false ones.
Spin it about.
Spin it about.
Spin it about.

You won't shout as
I spin it about.
Spin it about.
Spin it about.
Spin it about.
Spin it. Spin it. Spin it.

Tinhorn Leader
Cheney: Ever since I was in Congress
I played to rule them all.
From Casper down to DC,
I must have fooled them all.
But I ain't seen nothing like him
Since Lucifer was born,
That drunk, dumb and lyin' kid
Sure plays a mean Tinhorn!

He ran once for Congress,
Became part of the machine.
Stealing all the answers,
Never playing clean.
Thinks that "intuition"'s
A kinky kind of porn.
That drunk, dumb and lyin' kid
Sure plays a mean Tinhorn!

bloggers: He's a Tinhorn Leader
There had to be a fix.
A Tinhorn Leader
'Sgot such a subtle twitch.

Why do you think he does it?
I don't know.
Why is he no good?

Cheney: He ain't got no dissensions,
Can't hear those doubters and bells
don't see lights a-flashin'
plays by sense of smell
Always has his own way,
Never been forlorn.
That drunk, dumb and lyin' kid
Sure plays a mean Tinhorn!

bloggers: He thought he was
A bully pulpit king.
But we just handed
His Tinhorn Crown to him.

Cheney: Even at my conference table
He thinks he's the best.
His family brought him in
And he says, "Screw the rest."
He goes crazy flipping fingers.
Screw that oath he's sworn!
That drunk, dumb and lyin' kid
Sure plays a mean Tinhorn!

There's a Blogger
People: There’s a blogger I've found
Could bring us some light.
There's a blogger I've found who knows a site.
There's a blogger I've found who knows a site.

There’s a site he's found
That would bring us all sorrow,
It says to Saddam,
"You have 'til tomorrow."
He has 'til tomorrow!!!

Go To The U.N.
bloggers: He seems to be completely so deceptive.
The facts he gave us make no sense at all.
His lies reflect the world as he detects it.
He fears but will not answer to our call.

George: See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.
See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.

bloggers: We have no choice but use the constitution.
All hope lies with it and none with me.
Imagine though the shock from a conviction.
When he suddenly must face reality.

George: See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.
See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.

bloggers: We all can see the law is clear, he must speak
To the other nations, not with crock.
No mandate can give the kind of explanation
Needed to intrude into Iraq.

Go to the U.N., boy.
Go to the U.N., boy.

bloggers: I've often wondered what he is thinking.
Has he ever heard a word I've said?
Listen to the people out there screaming,
What is happening in his head?

People: Listening to you, I hear confusion.
Gazing at you, I see defeat.
Following you, I find disaster,
I need a new guy in your seat.

Right behind you, I’m wasting billions,
On you, I see no glory.
From you, I get deception.
From you, I get no story.

bloggers: What is happening in his head?
Ooooh, I wish I knew.
Don't you wish, too?

Georgie, Can You Hear Me?
People: Georgie, can you hear me?
Can you feel me fear you?
Georgie will you heed me?
Must we intercede you?

Trash The U.N.
Kofi You don't answer our calls
Annan: With even a smirk or a wink,
But you're sure of your own intention!
You don't seem to make sense,
But I think you convinced yourself
Why don't the U.N. affect you?
Can you hear me
Or do I surmise
That you fear me then you feel like telling

Tell us what you're doing
Will you trash the U.N.?
Tell us what you're doing
Will you trash the U.N.?

fade to black

fade back in, years later

George: I'm overwhelmed as I approach you,
'Cause my words hold death inside.
People act illegal for me.
War's enhanced when I've told lies

People: You'll feel them coming.
'Cause as far's we see it.
It's your invasion.
It's your invasion.

George: They worship me and all I say,
Hazy eyed they watch me dance.
Critics shudder, shake their heads then,
And Joe Momentum throws their stance.

People: You fear them coming.
And as far's we see it.
It's your invasion.
It's your invasion.

Soon we'll teach you when we'll impeach you,
It's coming.
Send your asses packing, your lies we're tracking,
It's coming.
It's coming.

George: I've left a trail of martyred people,
Pulverized by holy light.
Four years have passed, the war continues.
When we've won, I'll be proved right.

Impeachment Cure
bloggers: Breaking! Breaking! Read all about it.
People calling for an impeachment cure!
Breaking! Breaking! Read all about it!

Madame Speaker
bloggers: Inside the House, Speaker Nancy announced
That Georgie wouldn't face an impeaching.
She went on banging her new gavel
And we went insane screeching.
She got to her room and laughs filled the place from
Living out this fable.
She picked up a book of impeachment rules
And took it off the table.

She knew from the start deep down in her heart
That she and Georgie were worlds apart.
But her country said, "Never mind
Your part is to heed what we need.”

The theme of the mandate was "Out of Iraq"
And you must find a way.
'Cause Georgie decided to ignore the law
And go in any way.
She thought that afterwards talk was needed
And decided she'd try to reach him.
Maybe he'd see his strategy
Was why some thought, "Impeach him."

She knew from the start deep down in her heart
That she and Georgie were worlds apart.
But her country said, "Never mind
Your part is to heed what we need.”

She arrived at six and endured some frisking
And waiting her turn in line.
Guard after guard appeared in her face
And Nancy just sat there smiling.
She held her grin looking pretty as a picture
Right by the very front door.
And then a flunkee wearing a blazer with a badge
Came in and asked, "You're here for?"

The dame went crazy
And tore up half the place!
Speaker Nancy was pissed 'cause she just got dissed
And went back in a rage!

But soon the atmosphere was cooler
And Georgie gave a meeting.
Nancy just couldn't let him know she loathed him
As she was gently seething.
She sat cross-legg'd in the photo shooting
And turned him toward her face.
Georgie looked around as she re-informed him,
"This is not your place!"

She knew from the start deep down in her heart
That she and Georgie were worlds apart.
But her country said, "Never mind
Your part is to heed what we need.”

Her cheek hit a chair and blood trickled down
Mingling with her sneers.
Georgie carried on lying
And his voice filled Nancy's ear.
She caught his eye she had to try
But couldn't see through the lights.
Her face was gashed and the ambulance men
Had to carry her out that night.

The blogs went crazy,
As Georgie smacked her face!
Speaker Nancy got punched for the price of a lunch
And a gash across her face! OOoooh!

Sixteen stitches made her pissed and the Libs said,
"Don't say we didn't warn you."
Nancy got hurried to a safe position
She owned in California.
Georgie always talks about the day
The news filters all went wild.
Nancy still carries a scar on her cheek
To remind her that he's vile.

She knew from the start deep down in her heart
That she and Georgie were worlds apart.
But her country said, "Never mind
Your part is to heed what we need.”

They're Free
George: They're free. They're free.
And freedom tastes like hegemony.
They're free. They're free.
And I'm waiting for them to honor me.

When I told you what it took
To catch and kill Saddam,
You laughed and said, "Why, was he that bad?"
But you've been told many times before.
Saddam was pointed to the door.
No one had the guts to go to Bahgdad!

They're free. They're free.
And freedom tastes like hegemony.
They're free. They're free.
And I'm waiting for them to honor me.

bloggers: Why would they do that?
Why would they do that?

Georgie’s Terrorist Camp
Rumsfeld: Good morning, convicts.
I’m your Uncle Rummy and I welcome you
to “Georgie’s Terrorist Camp”.
The camp with a difference,
Never will get better.
When you come to Georgie’s.
The sentence is forever!


We’re Not Gonna Take It
George: Welcome to "The Camp", I know
You don’t know why you’re here.
I say you’re terrorists, and
You will stay for many years.
If you want your freedom soon,
You've got to tell us all.
Now put on these handcuffs,
Put on this orange suit,
Go stand over by the wall.

Hey you getting mail, so sorry,
I had them scanned.
Hey you marching peaceful protests,
I've got you banned.
Hey hung up, old, Mr. Lawyer,
Don't try to call my bluff.
'Cause you can't gather all of the
Evidence my friend, no,
Nowhere near enough.

People: We’re not gonna take it!
We’re not gonna take it!
We’re not gonna take it!
We’re not gonna take it!

We’re not gonna take it!
You can go right straight to Hell.
We’re not gonna take it!
And as far as we can tell.
It’s not their religion,
That’s the reason blood is spilled.
We’re not gonna take it!
Gonna teach you, we’ll impeach you,
Let’s remove you better still!”

George: Now you can't touch me.
The proof is truly sealed
And not Rove, either.
We made a deal.
You can't touch Gonzo,
And Cheney completes the scene
Here's comes Uncle Rummy
To guide you to
Your very own latrine.

People: We’re not gonna take it!
We’re not gonna take it!
We’re not gonna take it!
We’re not gonna take it!

We’re not gonna take it!
You can go right straight to Hell.
We’re Not Gonna Take It!
And as far as we can tell.
It’s not their religion,
That’s the reason blood is spilled.
We’re Not Gonna Take It!
We’ll impeach you, Gonna teach you,
Let’s remove you better still!”
We’ll impeach you, Gonna teach you,
Let’s remove you better still!”

Bush: See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.
See me. Hear me. Trust me. Fear me.

People: Listening to you, I hear confusion.
Gazing at you, I see defeat.
Following you, I find disaster,
I need a new guy in your seat.

Right behind you, I’m wasting billions,
On you, I see no glory.
From you, I get deception.
From you, I get no story.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Casa Blanco (A Song Parody)

Though I am heart, a rock and roll man, I have enjoyed a few famous country and western songs, and one of them has been Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.” It’s a nice little melody and I’ve always liked it. So, naturally, I decided to use it in a song parody. This one is, I have to say, pure fantasy. Unlike some of my other songs which are rooted in truth, this one is admittedly unfounded. It’s based on the rumors of an affair between President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And of Bush's documented inarticulation when trying to speak Spanish. (Yes, "Casa Blanca is the correct spelling, but do you think Bush would know that? Besides, I needed the "o" sound for some rhymes, so there!) I took the original ballad’s story and turned it into Bush’s frustration of being in love with two women, and not letting one of them find out. (Hint: one of them already knew about the wife.) And I have no idea in the world if George Bush ever owned a private plane. But I figured this nation's tax dollars paid for his flight training, so he might as well get some use out of it. I happily confess that it is just totally silly, but I needed to get it out of my brain. Now it will be stuck in yours. No backsies! But please enjoy.

Casa Blanco
Original Words & Music “El Paso”, by Marty Robbins
New Lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider ©2007

Out in the west Texas ranch Casa Blanco
I fell in love with an African girl.
August would find me in Crawford relaxing.
Aides would come in and Condeezza would whirl.

Blacker than night was the skin of Condeezza.
Wicked and evil, the kind I knew well.
My love was deep for this African doctor;
I was in love but in vain, I could tell.

One day a PDB memo came in
Told me bin Laden would strike.
This wasn’t good news
Or something I could use.
This was in fact something
I did not like.

So in anger I

Told him his ass was now covered so leave here.
Down went his gaze toward the shoes that he wore.
My order was answered in less than a heartbeat.
The frightened young intern was way out the door.

Just for a moment I stood there in silence.
Shocked by the bountiful news I now bore.
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there;
I had but one chance and that was ignore.

Out to my back yard in Crawford I ran
Out where my Cessna was tied.
I bought a good one.
It looked like some good fun.
Up in the air
And away I did ride,

Just as fast as I

Could from the West Texas ranch Casa Blanco
Out to the bad-lands of New Mexico.

In Casa Blanco my wife would go loco.
Marriage is gone and she just might have left.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the young doctor
My love is stronger than by fear of death

I suited up and away I did go,
Flying alone in the dark
Maybe tomorrow
She’ll finally catch me.
Tonight’s nothing worse than this
Pain in my heart.

And at last here I

Am on approach to my own Casa Blanco;
I can see Crawford down left and below.
My love is strong and it pushes me onward.
Out of the plane to Condeezza I go.

Off to my right I see five Secret Service;
Off to my left stand a dozen or more.
Shouting and yelling I can’t let them catch me.
I have to make it to my own back door.

Some thing is dreadfully wrong for I hear
A deep burning scream from my side
Though I am trying
To find my young doctor
I’m getting nervous
Unable to hide

But my love for

Condeezza is strong and I rise to the challenge,
Though I am horny and might bust a nut.
I see the white ball of fist from my wife’s hand.
I feel the right hook go deep in my gut.

From out of nowhere Condeezza has found me,
Kissing my cheek like the day she was hired.
Caught between two loving women I’ll die for,
One little kiss and Condeezza, you’re fired.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wake up, America!

Bush looks very Chimp-like again. Rumsfeld and Myers wonder what to do. (See friends. My countrymen. My fellow Americans. I want you all to sit or stand upright where you are. I want you to hold out your hand, either one, whichever you prefer. I want you to open the palm of this hand, and look at it from arm's length. Now, listen carefully. I want you, with all of your might, to slam that hand into your own face! What is the matter with you? How much more of this are you going to take? Why have you allowed it to come this far? These people are out of control! I mean that literally. There has been absolutely no accountability from the administration of President George W. Bush for the numerous violations of law that they have willfully, intentionally, and unconstitutionally committed. Of that there can be absolutely no dispute.

Let the eagle soar...Previous Attorney General John Ashcroft would frequently pop up at times when it looked like bad news was coming out unfavorable to the administration, with a new "terror alert" meant purely to scare the bejesus out of you. At one point, he actually made an announcement while attending a conference in Moscow, Russia, that they had caught and arrested a terrorist who, they claim, was an al Qaeda supporter. This suspect was said to have tried to plant a "dirty bomb". Or he was going to try to get one. Or he was thinking about trying to get one. The thing is, the guy had been arrested a month before that announcement. There was no sensible reason to go through the trouble (at taxpayer expense) to make this announcement with all this fanfare when, at that point, there was no danger to the public? Why didn't they make this big announcement a month before when they had arrested him? I think it's because they knew back then that he was a nothing, but they needed something today to distract everyone from the bad news making headlines.

In an odd echo of that all-to-frequent type of incident under Johnny "Let The Eagle Soar" Ashcroft, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff tells the country that we are in increased danger of an attack from that dreaded terrorist group al Qaeda, not because they have intercepted and translated messages indicating an attack was imminent, messages that might have said, "The match is on", or something to that effect; not because of intelligence gathered from people with ties to the "organization", with knowledge of plans in the works, specific or otherwise; and not because there's been any pattern of activity observed which suggest a prelude to some sort to an attack. No. We are told that we should be worried because "it is summertime", and that's when al Qaeda "likes to strike" and, most important of all, he has a "gut" feeling. Strangely enough, a report is issued shortly after which claims that al Qaeda has regained its strength to "summer 2001" levels. Is he deliberately trying to scare us? is that what the Secretary of "Homeland" Defense is supposed to do? Terrify the citizens of the "Homeland"? I thought he was supposed to be providing the "Homeland" with "Security".Heckuva Job Brownie begins to suspect he'll be out of a job soon, as Michael Chertoff speaks to the press as if Brownie doesn't exist. I thought he was supposed to be protecting Americans not just from "the enemy", but from Mother nature herself. After all, some dimwit thought it would be "a good idea" to place FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency [get the damn link, Wayne], the ones who respond when Mother Nature decides to smack a few things around, like cities and buildings and people, under the newly created, barely staffed, hardly functioning Department of Homeland Security. So not only was he responsible for protecting us against threats to the "Homeland" (this is still the United States of America, isn't it?) from terrorists by sending in armed military troops to our communities, but also for rescuing us from natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina by sending in armed military troops to our communities.

Alberto Gonzales is The 52-Year-Old VirginAttorney General Alberto Gonzales, a man who is supposed to represent the people of the United States of America, instead feels that it is his constitutional role to represent their president. Never mind that he already had that role as White House Counsel. But he has been given a new duty to perform for this country. He is the people's representative in the judicial system against those who would flaunt, sneer at, disrespect, disobey, and flat out trash the laws of the United States of America. No matter who they are. Be they you, be they me, be they the president of the United States. His sworn obligation is to support and defend the constitution of the United States, not support and defend the president against the constitution. Crooked Gonzales testifying.By now everyone knows that he has given sworn testimony that indicates one of two things. Either he is a completely incompetent boob who has no business being allowed near a court room, let alone speak for the people in one; or he is a liar and a perjurer, and should be arrested and sent to jail the moment he is impeached and removed from office. And he is not the only one.

Vice President Dick Cheney is, IMHO, without any doubt whatsoever, the most lawless man in the United States of America. And I'm not just talking about the time he downed "a beer" at lunch, shot a 78-year-old man in the face, sent his friend out to the press to lie about what happened ("Zero. Nada. Zilch" about alcohol at lunch?), refused to submit to a blood alcohol test by the Harry Whittington announces that he is sorry for whatever it was he did to make the Vice President shoot him in the face at close range.local police and refused to answer their questions until the next morning, didn't tell the president personally until the next day what had happened and, to top it all off, had the victim of the bird shot to the face, Harry Whittington, apologize for inconveniencing the vice president! No, I'm not talking about that.

It is arguable that from the time Dick Cheney chose himself to be the running mate of the 2000 Republican Party Presidential Candidate, he laid into motion a series of plans that, once in office, he could implement for the purpose of making the Office of the President of the United States the most powerful entity on the planet, answerable to no one. Now I can hunt me some liberals!Not to the nation's citizens, not to the nation's government, and not to the nation's constitution.

Dick Cheney was a founding member of the Project for a New American Century. He was not himself a signatory to the infamous PNAC letter to President Clinton dated Jan 26, 1998. Indeed, look at the letter and see how many names became important people in the new administration (or worked in or for past ones): His long-time friend, Donald Rumsfeld, Ford smiles down on his Chief-of-Staff Don Rumsfeld and his Deputy Dick Cheney.for whom he used to work in the Ford Administration, Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, and Robert B. Zoellick. (See list here of where many of them were, or went to, inside or outside government .) Now see what it said in the opening paragraph:

In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course Saddam shoots shotgun from balcony as alwaysfor meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

And look how many of them did just that. Wolfowitz picks his nose.  Wolfowitz is his own best friend.  Therefore, Wolfowitz picks his friend's nose. It was almost as if there was some kind of plan in place so that when the opportunity arose, they would put as many PNAC members as possible in positions of enormous influence and power and carry out what they felt needed to be done whether anyone else thought it was a good idea or not. At least it seems that way. To me. Maybe to you? I mean, it did kind of, sort of turn out that way. Didn't it? It's not just me. Someone at Crisis Papers wrote a PNAC Primer:

Cheney finally gets the power he always dreamed of.Cheney is Vice President, Rumsfeld is Defense Secretary, Wolfowitz is Deputy Defense Secretary, I. Lewis Libby is Cheney's Chief of Staff, Elliot Abrams is in charge of Middle East policy at the National Security Council, Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department, John Bolton is Undersecretary of State, Richard Perle is chair of the Defense Policy advisory board at the Pentagon, former CIA director James Woolsey is on that panel as well, etc. etc. (PNAC's chairman, Bill Kristol, is the editor of The Weekly Standard.) In short, PNAC had a lock on military policy-creation in the Bush Administration.

Neo-Conservatives.And what did they do with it? Destroyed Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens and displaced millions more, wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, and, oh yeah, killed more than 3,600 of our brave men and women in uniform. And for what? The market for oil hasn't been glutted to the point where gasoline is affordable, nor is home heating oil. In fact, oil production out of Iraq is actually down by about two million barrels a day (more). Gee, high demand and a low supply. Now I wonder who would benefit from a scenario like that? Still think it's just a coincidence? Still think it's just a bunch of men who took advantage of an opportunity to make themselves rich "the good old-fashioned American way"? Remember, these people did not all do this from a position of private enterprise. They used the federal government to enact these plans. Your federal government. With your tax money. As far as I'm concerned, Vice President Dick Cheney should be immediately impeached, tried and removed from office; and then, Crusaders.before he even has a chance to leave his office from where he would be watching his trial, he should be arrested and hauled off to jail along with each and every person who was member of the Project for a New American Century. I would not be surprised if RICO statutes applied to what they have done. Let's tell our representation in Congress to investigate just that, and no more bullshit "Executive Privilege"! Demand accountability! See also.

Bush scratches his headAnd when we are finally rid of that criminal cabal, we must immediately turn our attention to President George W. Bush and, if he hasn't already done the honorable thing and resigned by that point, impeach him, try him, and remove him from office. Without further delay. I ask you, seriously. To anyone who honestly supports the president and who reads this blog (all two of you), do you truly believe that he has done nothing to warrant being impeached, convicted and removed from office, before how many more thousands of humans have to die because of his, and only his, belief system?

The run-up to the war, which was driven by Dick Cheney, was an exercise in obsfucation and deliberate manipulation of intelligence.I can sell them anything you want.  Slam dunk.Words were carefully chosen and positioned in speeches so as to give the listener the false impression that he has heard something he hasn't. As a result, a majority of Americans believed that Iraq was somehow connected to the attacks of 9/11. But, as Bush himself admitted, they were "very careful not to say that Iraq and 9/11 were connected." This, in itself, was a admission that they were aware of how they were phrasing things. They wanted this war to happen. They did not want a diplomatic solution. And they sure as hell didn't want Saddam to suddenly start complying with everything the U.S. and the World were telling him to do. They were not going to let anyone stop them. It was something they talked about doing since one of their first cabinet meetings.

They decided to tell the world that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and that the world couldn't wait for him to disarm because he might pass those weapons off to the terrorists. Of course, all the while they're saying this, they're bringing up al Qaeda. Then they start passing along a bogus report that Saddam tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. The Office of the Vice President sent a request to the CIA to verify that story (though the documents alleged to back that claim up were already proven to be forgeries.) The CIA sends former Ambassador Joe Wilson to Africa to check out the story.Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV.  We should all be thankful for what he has done. He comes back and give an oral report that there is no way in hell that this sale could have happened and, furthermore, it's highly unlikely that Saddam really tried because there are too many safeguards in place with the sale of yellowcake uranium down there, and too many other countries watching everything going on. In short, the report is completely false and the administration should stop saying it.

The war hawks, led by Dick Cheney, are furious at Wilson. Cheney decides to start putting out the word that Wilson's wife works at the CIA, and she's the one who sent him. It's totally false, but how often did you hear it before it was proven so? Robert Novak, The Prince of DarknessThey start picking reporters who will listen and try to tell them Wilson's wife was covert and worked in non-proliferation. (This was both true and classified at that time. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise because they are lying.) After talking to Richard Armitage, Novak learns about Valerie Plame Wilson's covert CIA status. Although he at first tells everyone that this exchange was inadvertent and off the cuff, Novak will put out a book soon in which he will reveal that the way in which Armitage discussed it gave, what seemed to him, a clear sign that Armitage expected Novak to publish this information. When Novak tried to get confirmation from the CIA, he is told that he should not go ahead and print that story although the exact reason is never given (because it was classified.) Novak then claims that the man simply did not try hard enough to stop him, so Novak took that as confirmation. (I'll have more to say about that whole thing in another post.)

As he has done throughout his trial, Scooter Libby arrived wearing men's clothing.  There was no sign that he brought any trained bears.The CIA officially asks the Justice Dept (then under John Ashcroft) to investigate how a covert operative's name ended up in the press. Many people naturally suspect Karl Rove though no outward evidence exists. Ashcroft, shortly after the FBI started asking questions, recused himself from further involvement because, and this was the reason given, Karl Rove had worked on one of his campaigns. (Of course, if Rove was never involved, there would have been no conflict of interest to worry about.) When asked by reporters what he would do if one of his staff was involved in the leak, Bush said "If anyone in my administration was involved in leaking classified information, that person will no longer be a part of this administration." Of course, that was before the person John Ashcroft turned the investigation over to appointed Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was hailed by both Democrats and Republicans as a perfect choice to get to the bottom of this. Little did anybody know at the time that Bush and Cheney had no intention of letting anyone get to the bottom of anything.

Bush has finally admitted that someone in his administration was involved in the leak, but that he intends to "move on." Not so fast Mr. President. Just because you later changed it to "if someone did something illegal, then that peson will no longer be in my administration" does not absolve you of your first promise. But I guess what you really meant was your third version, and that was that anyone "involved in any wrongdoing would be taken care of." And that's the promise you kept, wasn't it? Scooter Libby was involved, and he was certainly taken care of. (WELL taken care of.) Richard Armitage admitted he was Novak's original source, but because Fitzgerald was told that it was "inadvertent", he was given a pass (for now). Self-admitted gossip Armitage illegally blew plame's cover.And everyone, including the jurors at Libby's trial, knows that Karl Rove was "involved". Why hasn't he been fired? Libby obstructed the investigation, so it was hard to tell if Rove did anyting "illegal". Or are you skipping right to "taking care of" Rove by shielding him from having to raise his hand and take an oath to tell the truth (and risk bursting into flame on the spot) or go to prison for lying.

Do you honestly believe that anyone in the world is safe from this man and the people in his administration? If you have any lingering doubts (and I hope there can't possibly be many), get a load of this. A policy statement regarding Bush's demands for the new Defense Authorization Bill for 2008. Among other things, Bush will veto any bill that contains language that prohibits him from taking military action against Iran. The problem is that Bush thinks he already has the constitutional authority to attack anyone he wants because he's the "Commander-in-Chief". He doesn't understand that he has it backwards. The Congress decides if we need to use our military, and when that decision is made, the president becomes the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces. He doesn't get to go deploy them at his whim and then claim he has extra-constitutional powers through his role as C-in-C. This president is very, very dangerous, because he does not believe that there is any limit to his authority, that he is not answerable to the Congress if he chooses to ignore them, and that he can ignore the Supreme Court if he wants to. He is not supporting and defending the constitution of the United States, as per his oath of office. And through his notorious signing statements, he clearly is not "taking care that the laws be faithfully executed." He must be impeached, tried, convicted (I don't see how he could be acquitted) and removed from office. He has sent an unmistakable message on what he thinks of the constitution, the law, and the wishes of the American people, and that message is this:

Bush Gives The Finger To The American People

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Et Tu, Surgeon General?

In Washington, politics trumps science. Even science related to public health issues. While that may not surprise some people, it should anger you. According to the official Surgeon General's website, "The Surgeon General serves as America's chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury." It's a shame, then, when presidents past and present have decided to suppress scientific information in favor of ideology or politics. This should not be allowed to continue.

According to an article in The New York Times, many of the past few Surgeons General have been used more for politics than for public health information dissemination. And, yes, Clinton did it, too. His Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, was asked not to release a report that showed that needle-exchange programs actually worked to help reduce the spread of disease. To his credit, he released th report anyway. While I find the Clinton Administration's actions on this deplorable, I can at least understand the politics of it. A report like that would make them appear to be "soft on drugs", and would give the Republicans political ammunition to distort reality (which I believe they would do in a heartbeat.) And I applaud Dr. Satcher for doing the right thing. Many who oppose needle-exchange programs are completely clueless when it comes to drug addiction. They do not understand that a drug addicts you to it, not the other way around. Imagine being told that you couldn't have your morning cup of coffee any more and that you would just have to "be strong". It's not simply a matter of having or lacking will power. It goes beyond that.

Dr. C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General in the Reagan Administration, felt political pressure, too. The Reagans, who believed that the way to avoid anything unpleasant, including sex, was to "just say 'no'", did not want Dr. Koop to discuss AIDS. This is especially sad because the AIDS crisis became a serious problem during that time, and many people who contracted AIDS or became HIV-positive, were ostracized out of an ignorance of what caused the disease. To Dr. Koop's credit, he discussed it anyway. I believe that doing so helped educate the public about the fact that homosexual sex was not the only way one contracted AIDS, nor was intravenous drug use. The late, great tennis star, Arthur Ashe, contracted the virus through a blood transfusion while having a heart operation. I believe that Dr. Koop's speaking up may have saved countless lives. How many more might have been saved had he been allowed to carry out the mandate of his office?

But to me, the worst of the bunch of presidents has been our current one, George W. Bush. According to his former Surgeon General, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, on issue after issue the administration made decisions about important public health issues based not on scientific considerations, but on political ones. “I was told to stay away from those because we’ve already decided which way we want to go,” Dr. Carmona said, as if science was a subject decided by politics and not empirical evidence. No topic, it seemed, however controversial or important, escaped the Bushies' pursuit of ideology over science. Even the stem cell debate. From the article:

When stem cells became a focus of debate, Dr. Carmona said he proposed that his office offer guidance “so that we can have, if you will, informed consent.”

“I was told to stand down and not speak about it,” he said. “It was removed from my speeches.”

The Bush administration rejected the advice of many top scientists on this subject, including that of the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Elias Zerhouni.

Is it any wonder now why more federal money hasn't been put into research? These people equate stem cell research with abortion, which they equate with human murder. So, to them, destroying a cell that would have been destroyed anyway, as often happens when couples trying to conceive through artificial insemination have succeeded, is tantamount to murder. The stupid thing is that even though the cells won't be used for scientific research that could benefit all mankind, they'll still be destroyed anyway, benefitting no one, and saving no one's life. And all because of an ideological position on abortion. Thank you very much, Religious Right.

And it doesn't stop with stem cells. Topics such as healthcare in correctional facilities, global warming, second-hand smoke, and even the Special Olympics (among other subjects) have been subjected to a refusal to see science as the final word, and pure ideology as being the preferred choice for public health issues. As if this wasn't all bad enough, the Bush administration is lying about the whole thing:

Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the administration disagreed with Dr. Carmona’s statements. “It has always been this administration’s position that public health policy should be rooted in sound science,” Mr. Hall said.

Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said the surgeon general “is the leading voice for the health of all Americans.”

“It’s disappointing to us,” Ms. Lawrimore said, “if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.”

Even now, hearings are set to begin shortly for confirmation of the new Surgeon General, and the Bushies have nominated a man, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., who believes that homosexual sex is "unnatural and unhealthy". Both points are debatable. Bonobo monkeys have been observed in the wild having homosexual sex, and the use of condoms makes sex safer and healthier regardless of the partners. It's clear why this administration chose this man. Gays bad, Bush good. Gotta please the base. Political ideology is better for public health information than empirical science. Never mind that many people will likely die unnecessarily because of this administration's "win-at-all-costs" style of politics. Do we have to wait until Jan 2009 to be rid of these people?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Meet the Cats: Kittens--Valerie, Fitzgerald and Cecilia

Here they are! From left, to right, Valerie, Fitzgerald and Cecilia. The separate picture is Fitzgerald (I added it because you can't see his markings when he's sprawled on his back.) Isn't it amazing how comfortable kittens can be in almost any position? Fitzy is a bit under the weather right now, but I'm giving him antibiotics and hopefully he'll be as right as rain soon. (Cecilia suffered from the same thing, but a few days on antibiotics seemed to do the trick.) I will, of course, hate to give these little sweeties up for adoption, but with all (something)-teen of our other cats, we just can't keep three more. These three have great personalities already, and I'm sure that our vet will find them all good homes. (sniffle!)

Meet the Cats: Dulcinea

Dulcie is our most mischievous kitty, too smart and too bold for her own good. We ended up keeping her because, when we brought a bunch of kittens to the vet to be put up for adoption, she was deemed too unhealthy (she has runny eyes from Bartonella's disease--supposedly extremely contagious, but to date only two of our cats had ever contracted it.) Dulcie loves to burrow under the bed covers, so if we see a lump in the bed we have to feel it to see if it's her. Her coat is beautifully sleek, which helps us to identify her in the dark! When she's in an affectionate mood, she'll butt her head against our hands, elbows, face, anywhere she can reach. Her ultimate sign of affection is a (more or less) gentle chewing on the tip of my nose (I say 'my' because Wayne is more wary of this habit, but I don't mind it so much--it's more stinky than painful.)

Not That Executive Privilege Crap Again?


An attorney for Sara Taylor, a former top aide to White House adviser Karl Rove, notified the Senate that she was unlikely to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 11.

There they go again! What is it with these people and "executive privilege" this and "executive privilege" that. They can't claim that every single conversation that the president has must be protected from public disclosure. The only things that can be kept secret are matters of national security (which includes troop movements and such). Everything else falls under the category of "in the public interest" and, therefore, IMHO, should be disclosed as requested. To anyone who wants it. Including you and me. Why not? We're paying for it. You and I pay their salaries. They work for us, not the other way around, no matter what these blowholes in the White House think. Or the Cheney House.

Sara Taylor is no longer in the employ of the White House. There is no reason that she should be allowed to enjoy any kind of Executive Privilege. If she was still working there, an argument can be made. But she is now a private citizen and can be compelled to testify before Congress. She would be a fool to rely on her love and support for Bush to keep her out of that hearing room, for she will still go to jail if she doesn't. And in the end, she'll talk anyway. Besides, she wants to talk because she feels she's done nothing wrong. If she's done nothing wrong, what is the White House so afraid of? (I know, rhetorical quesiton to most of us. I'm interested in what the people out there who think they should be doing this have to say in its defense. Read on.)

To read the Art II powers of the President as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of non-military and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of a “workable government” and gravely impair the role of the courts under Art III.

United States v. Nixon [1974]

They don’t have a leg to stand on with this “executive privilege” claim. And whose interest are being protected when they claim that? There's something about this from the decision that bothers me:

Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, sitting as a trial judge in the Burr case, supra, was extraordinarily careful to point out that

"[i]n no case of this kind would a court be required to proceed against the president as against an ordinary individual." 25 F. Cas., at 192.

Marshall's statement cannot be read to mean in any sense that a President is above the law, but relates to the singularly unique role under Art. II of a President's communications and activities, related to the performance of duties under that Article. Moreover, a President's communications and activities encompass a vastly wider range of sensitive material than would be true of any "ordinary individual." It is therefore necessary[Footnote 21] in the public interest to afford Presidential confidentiality the greatest protection consistent with the fair administration of justice. The need for confidentiality even as to idle conversations with associates in which casual reference might be made concerning political leaders within the country or foreign statesmen is too obvious to call for further treatment.

Hold on there a minute. "No further treatment? This is what I do not understand. What is the theory behind the idea that if a person's conversations with the president of the United States (conversations regarding non-classified public policy, mind you) were ever made public, it could cause embarassment for that person? So? What's wrong with that? What do they think they should be allowed to do, lie about it publicly? If they don't want to discuss it with the press, thena simple "No comment" will do. But if subpoenaed by Congress to testify about these conversations, then the public absolutely has the right to know in whose interests the government was acting. Ours, or Corporate America's?

Remember, it's YOUR money they're spending, and you are constitutionally entitled to know how it's being spent and why. THEY work for YOU, not the other way around. THEY are accountable to US, not to themselves, not to their party leaders, and not to the president of the United States. To US. And that goes for President George Bush and his President of Vice, Dick Cheney. Like it or not, they are answerable to us, and not just on Election Day 2004. EVERY day.

I have come to believe that every day that these two men, Bush and Cheney, these two men in particular, remain in office, is a spit in the face of every man and woman who died in Iraq, and every one of their family members, and every one of the friends they left behind, and all because of a big, huge, steaming pile of bullshit lies!