Or, Reforming the Parties through Re-election Roulette

In light of the general disgust most Americans are starting to feel toward those in power, what we need is a periodic "double zero" opportunity for the voting booth. Something similar to Roulette where the entire board is periodically scrapped clean. In other words, we need a checkbox on the next ballot that essentially says “Throw All the Bums Out!” If that box gains the most votes, then the election should be voided and a new one held in one month where none of those on the initial ballot would be allowed to re-run in the special election.

Would there be a cost? Sure, but compare that small monetary cost to the high cost democracy is already paying when voters wonder why they should bother to vote. Think of the salutary effect the mere threat would have on incumbents and office seekers. Think how useful it would be to recapture both parties from their extremists.

The bottom line is that we need something new when things get as bad as they are today. Periodically, there comes a time when the existing office holders in the majority party deserve to be thrown out for leading us into whatever spectacular mess is occurring and the existing office holders in the minority party deserve to be thrown out for being too weak, too lazy or too incompetent to have prevented it.

How could forcing an entirely new slate of candidates on both sides be worse than the present system? Heck, selecting office holders at random out of phone books would probably be better than what we are stuck with at the moment. At least a selection at random would provide the statistical possibility they wouldn't all be corrupt mental midgets.



Or, How To Tell If A Congressman Is Corrupt

10. He voted for the so-called “Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006" which has the same chance of reducing addition to lobbyist largesse as the so-called "Energy Policy Act of 2005" has of reducing addition to oil.

9. The entire “A” section of his rolladex has been missing since Abramoff’s guilty plea.

8. He likes to relax with a simple game of golf . . . . at St. Andrews . . . . in Scotland.

7. He thought Enron had some good ideas and what’s good for Enron’s good for America.

6. Haliburton is on speed dial in his cell phone.

5. His ATM is located on K Street.

4. His aides all smoke Havana cigars and already had their own chauffeur driven limos when they were hired.

3. He ran on an “honesty in government” or a “reform” platform.

2. He is a white male.

1. He is an incumbent.



Or, How We've Learned To Tell When Bush Is Lying?

The sign behind him says either "Mission Accomplished" or "Plan for Victory."
He’s wearing a military uniform.
He’s promising he'll catch Bin Laden.
He's listing his reasons for starting the war in Iraq.
He’s claiming it’s “wild speculation” to suggest he’s planning to bomb Iran.
He’s answering the questions of any real reporter.
He’s using someone from Fox News as his Press Secretary.
He's explaining he’s too busy during his entire 5 week vacation to visit a grieving mother not a mile away.
He's proclaiming he is a uniter, not a divider.
He's asserting he is a conservative, let alone a compassionate one.
He's announcing his tax cuts are not just for the rich like himself and his campaign contributors, but for everyone.
He’s saying a growing economy is a good time for a tax cut for the top 1%.
He’s saying a stable economy is a good time for a tax cut for the top 1%.
He’s saying a declining economy is a good time for a tax cut for the top 1%.
He's denouncing class warfare.
He's alleging his policies will create a terrific surplus.
He's insisting the resulting deficit is good for us.
He's maintaining the Healthy Forest Initiative, the Clear Sky Initiative, the No Child Left Behind Law, or the Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Protection Act have anything to do with their titles.
He's mentioning the Energy Bill will reduce the price of gas or the dependence on oil and coal companies.
He’s telling Congress his appointees for heads of agencies are competent.
He’s also telling Congress his appointees to the bench are unbiased and fair.
He’s swearing he didn’t really know his convicted best friends were crooked or that he even really knew them all that well.
He’s giving anyone the Medal of Freedom for doing a heck of a good job.
He’s telling the press pool he wants to find out who leaked national security information by blowing the cover of a CIA operative.
He's prophesying he has read the bible and actually practices what it preaches.
He’s suggesting God told him to go to war.
He’s campaigning that his Administration will bring honesty into the White House.
He's giving the part in his swearing-in ceremony where he vows to uphold the Constitution, the laws and treaties of the United States.
Come to think of it, it's anytime you can see his lips move.



Or, When Did Oxymoronism Become Official Republican Policy?

Compassionate Conservative
Homeland Security
Skies Initiative
Healthy Forest Initiative
Initiative Against Illegal Logging
Safe Drinking Water Act
American Wetlands Conservation Act
Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Class Actions Fairness Act
Tax Reform
Social Security
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Compliance and Enforcement
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
United States
House of Representatives
Campaign Contribution
Senate Select Committee
Ways and Means Committee
Appropriations Committee
Operation Enduring Freedom
Foreign Aid
Intelligence Surveillance Act
National Guard
Public Assistance
Department of Labor
Department of Justice
Department of Defense
Office of Government Coordination and Preparedness
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Federal Reserve Board
National Wildlife Refuse
Congressional Budget Office
Deficit Reduction Act
Government Accountability Office
Veteran’s Benefits Administration
Administration for Children and Families
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Bill of Rights
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
Deficit Reduction Plan
Christian Fundamentalist
Intelligent Design
National Science Advisor
Supreme Cout
USA Patriot Act
USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act
Exec Order for Improving Disclosure of Information
Incentive to Reinvest Foreign Earnings in the US
American Jobs Creation Act
Comm. on Implementation of US Space Exploration
Advanced Energy Initiative
Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
Mission Accomplished
for Victory
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Kyoto Accord
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Health Act
National Unity for Food Act
Ambassador Boulton
Fair Housing Act
North American Free Trade Act
Freedom of Information Act
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Public Service



Or, Why Bush’s Limo Doesn’t Have a “Support Our Troops” Bumper Sticker

It’s pretty apparent these days that, as a general policy, Bush doesn’t like retired Generals. Come to think of it, he seems to positively hate anyone of any rank who disagrees with him on anything, publically or privately, especially the ranks of military intelligence specialists, who attempted to supply him with provable facts which don’t happen to fit the President’s preordained preferences. In fact, they apparently rank somewhere on the level of vermin to be squashed as soon as possible. He certainly seems eager to cashier, banish, bankrupt or ignore anyone who isn’t intimidated into telling him what he wants to hear. The “Meddle with Freedom,” I mean “Medal of Freedom,” Award is freely handed out by the President, but it seems reserved for those who either got the facts dead wrong or resulted in lots of dead.

It’s obviously more than that though. He doesn’t seem to like veterans of any sort, particularly discharged war wounded and those needing veterans’ retirement benefits, at least judging by his policies to divert their funds into rich tax cuts for the already rich. Nor does he care much for the families of soldiers, living or dead, on food stamps or not. He’s showing them no mercy. Their monetary support too is being sucked dry while at the same time private mercenaries working for Halliburton (which siphons millions in tax dollars directly to the Vice President, its former head) are paid five times what an Army private gets. It brings a whole new meaning to the words “mercy” and “mercenary.”

Although Bush is very guarded on the subject, he must not like the National Guard, not having finished his enlistment there, not to mention doing his best to kill them off overseas and discouraging re-enlistment by contract fine print like the innocuous sounding “stop loss” policies of Bush which basically say “we don’t care what we promised you, you get to fight in forever wars.” This is not very supportive at a time when the Guardsmen are desperately needed here for floods, fires and other disasters made disastrously worse by Bush’s unrelated follies on things like not fixing New Orleans’ dike supports.

The President may parrot patriotic platitudes, but does not seem to understand what the word means. It has never meant that veterans who disagree are unpatriotic. (Besides, those who ducked combat because they were too chicken cannot crow about themselves deserving the title.)

Need the attempts to emasculate the military manpower by kicking out gays and temporarily pregnant women be mentioned? How about the keeping out of potential recruits like immigrants? How about the removal as security risks, so many in the military who might usefully speak a Middle Eastern language? Then there is the daft opposition to the draft combined with the lowering of standards for recruitment in the all "volunteer" army to allow in many who Bush would not want to have as a neighbor.

Speaking of the draft, compare the number of military volunteers in top Administrative positions against the number of draft dodgers surrounding Bush. How does that square with supposedly supporting our troops? Bush and his cadre of Republican Supreme Court justices may have commandeered the White House, but cannot command respect.

If Eisenhower was alive today, he would probably shorten his “Beware the Military Industrial Complex” warning to “Beware Bush.”

Most obvious of all, other than as background for photo ops and cannon fodder for his Crusades, how has Bush shown any support at all for the ordinary enlisted man on combat duty in any service? What other conclusion can be drawn from the lack of armor for vehicles, lack of bullet proof vests, lack of sufficient numbers of troops and lack of an exit strategy, long after the need for each was well established? What other conclusion can be drawn from the bellicose statements like “Bring It On” and the threats to start a third Middle Eastern War by bombing or invading Iran? What other conclusion can be drawn from the abandonment of the Geneva Convention and the torturing of belligerents justifying them doing the same to our troops?

Support the Troops? It looks like that particular Mission Accomplished will only take place when Bush and the current Administration are finally discharged or put in the brig.



Or, How to Decide between two self described “Deciders”

George Custer

George Bush

Liked to dress up in extra fancy military uniforms

Likes to dress up in fancy uniforms inappropriate to the occasion

Fought to get into combat

Fought to stay out of combat

Won lots of medals in wartime

Won a country club golf tournament in wartime

Was afraid of no man

Is afraid of Cindy Sheehan

Loves the Press

Doesn’t like to be Pressed

Had golden locks

Gets gold from supporters

His boots had horse droppings on the outside

His boots have a horse dropping on the inside

Had heroic brothers equally admirable

Has brothers

Made one truly stupid combat decision

Making lots of truly stupid combat decisions

Got a few hundred of his troopers killed and maimed

Got tens of thousands of his troops killed and maimed

Wanted to be President, but got what he deserved for his stupidity

Wanted to be Emperor, but got elected President despite his stupidity



Or, What Would Happen If Edward R. Murrow Was Applying for a Broadcast News Job These Days

From: Director - Human Resources Department, CBS Evening News
To: Edward R. Murrow

Dear Mr. Murrow,

We appreciate your applying for the anchor position at our Evening News broadcast. You certainly have excellent journalistic credentials and a fine voice, full of gravitas.

However, we have decided to go in a different direction. Rather than just reporting hard news and politics, we feel the program should be oriented more toward what is happening in the entertainment world since that is what is attracting viewership and ratings these days. In our interview with you, you did not even seem to know who Paris Hilton was dating and could not name the top three rapper groups off the top of your head. That suggests you are not well informed on important world events.

Moreover, to win back the critical young male demographic in that time slot, we have concluded that the next anchor must have large mammaries and probably be blond. That would also help even up our EEOC score since we already have an over abundance of males in the top management and editor slots. Sorry, but you do not fit the hoped for profile.

Finally, the demo tapes you sent were far too confrontational and humorless. Yes, we realize Senator McCarthy was destroying democracy and trampling freedoms, but couldn’t you have interspersed your expose with at least some of the happy talk that works so well in the local newscasts? Just a suggestion if you want to be perceived as a real reporter by those who count, the sponsors.

In any event, good luck in your future career.

Very truly yours,
D. M. Witling, V.P.

P.S. The CBS newsroom is a smoke free environment. You might want to reconsider your smoking habit before you apply for the next job.



Or, Ten Election Year “Rules”

1. If a politician’s policy or campaign promise can be explained in a sound bite, it is deliberately misleading.

2. What a politician says about himself is a deliberate exaggeration.

3. What a politician says about his opponent is a deliberate slander.

4. The only thing consistently true about a campaign ad is that it is a lie.

5. The number and pervasiveness of campaign ads are directly proportional to how corrupt the sponsors of the ad are.

6. All campaign contributions in excess of $100 are a blatant attempt by the donors to corrupt.

7. Politicians who accept contributions from anyone in excess of $100 are corrupt.

8. The politicians who collect the most campaign contributions are the most corrupt.

9. Bills passed during an election year by the party in power are for the sole purpose of encouraging more campaign contribution corruption and the titles of bills passed will be carefully chosen to misrepresent the actual effect of the law being proposed.

10. Voters will once again prove ignorant of all the foregoing rules.



Or, Where Are the Real Conservatives When We Really Need Them?

Regan managed to defeat the entire Soviet Empire without ever firing a shot, an event for which conservatives are rightly proud. Bush I destroyed almost the entire Iraq military in 100 hours with almost the entire world not only cheering, but fighting along side.

Bush II though can’t seem to defeat even (according to Rumsfeld) a “few thousand” enemy terrorists and “holdouts” armed apparently with nothing but box cutters, AK-47s and homemade bombs. Close to chaos reigns despite his committing most of our army overseas to that single task. Either his intelligence must be wrong or his approach. Why then are genuine conservatives still supporting such an incompetent military strategist?

Regan, Nixon, Eisenhower and even Bush the elder believed in fielding the best equipped and trained armed forces possible. In contrast, Bush II apparently not only doesn’t provide the best equipment and training, he diverted scarce funds to hire private, for-profit company mercenaries at seven times what army privates get. That allows him, for political purposes, to tell the press not much military is needed in Iraq and simultaneously keep the reported daily military death toll down. In other words, he has been playing word games. He has even added insult to injury by skimping on post service medical coverage and veterans benefits for real soldiers. But, the important point for this discussion is a question to true conservatives as to why are we using extremely expensive mercenaries of questionable quality, loyalty, training and supervision, when for the very same dollars we could literally double the pay of our current enlisted men, plus double their number and still save taxpayer money? For every $150,000.00 mercenary (not to mention their employer’s fee), we could get two army privates delighted at their 100% increase in pay or four privates at the current pay and have $30,000.00 or more left over. Wouldn’t that be the more “conservative” approach than what Bush II is pursuing?

Or consider the draft issue. The most glorious Republican presidents of the past favored drafts to insure fairness and sufficient troops. It’s maybe okay for a candidate to spout stupidities like he’ll never reinstate the draft, but why’s a sitting president who should know better tying his hands by making such dubious promises? We have no idea of what the future brings. Since being conservative used to mean being prepared, why are US self styled "Conservatives" silent on the debate when conservative run nations like Switzerland and Israel have universal drafts?

Besides, evidence suggests the present policies may cripple National Guard and Reserve recruitment. Many are not only being sent out frightfully unprepared (leading to mutinies like the transport group refusing to go without armor and working vehicles), the “stop loss” hitch extensions which would make anyone fearful of volunteering for staying in regardless of sense of duty, especially when families and jobs are threatened by the long time away.

How’ll we staff those services if this keeps up? Plus, we need our “home units” at home for hurricanes, floods and forest fires. As a matter of fact, since many guardsmen and reservists are our police and firemen, we are jeopardizing those local functions as well by calling up many of the experienced people filling those jobs. Shouldn't the "conservative" thing be to protect that vital asset?

Speaking of protection, wouldn’t it be “conservative” to spend more to protect our chemical and nuclear plants, our ports and our arriving cargo containers? Why has Bush II fought requirements for better protection there? Actually we do know why. It is campaign contributions and lobbying. But, is saving a few bucks now more “conservative” than preventing many billion dollars costs later when the open “barn door” is entered by those wanting to attack us?

We used to say those in charge should be fired when glaring, costly mistakes are made in business or war. That traditionally was the "conservative" approach. Do the true conservatives who could make a difference want us to fail? Have they forgotten what patriotism really requires? Are they simply too cowardly to speak up when our military is threatened by such obvious malfeasance of those now in charge? Are religious, cultural or partisan goals deemed more important than our troops in jeopardy?

Hopefully, the real conservatives will finally become as disgusted as I am about the "Neo Conservatives" and speak out before it’s too late.



Or, How Bush Can Ignore the Ban Against Cruel, Unusual & Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners
(with profuse apologies to Paul Simon)

1. Pretend it didn’t occur, Sir
2. Let’s modify Webster, Hester
3. Change the law, Ma
4. Blame it on others, Brothers
5. Have someone else do it, Louis
6. Don’t let them know, Joe
7. Hide the man, Stan
8. Use a poison pill, Bill
9. Bury the bones, Jones
10. Call it just partisan bias, Tobias
11. Pretend it’s all phony, Tony
12. Attack the press, Bess
13. Tighten the lid, Sid
14. Be quite contrary, Harry
15. Say it was a Democrat, Pat
16. Certainly wasn’t me, McGee
17. Ignore the rules, Jules
18. Burn the photo, Toto
19. Erase the tape, Jake
20. Destroy the rest, Les
21. Wear ‘em down, Brown
22. Delay and delay, Mr. DeLay
23. Give prosecutors the ax, Max
24. Trim their staff, Taft
25. Cut their budget, Bridget
26. Replace the jury, Drury
27. Use party hacks, Jack
28. Slip them money, Honey
29. Lie on the stand, Man
30. Take the 5th, Cliff
31. Don’t solemnly swear, Jer
32. Intimidate the judge, Drudge
33. Declare a security alert, Bert
34. Claim new kind of enemy, Jiminy
35. Trick ‘em slick, Dick
36. Pull a “Caesar,” Geezer
37. It’s none of their business, Dennis
38. Arrest any protester, Lester
39. Talk about traitors, Tater
40. Put a bag on their head, Ted
41. Strip ‘em naked, Jacob
42. Use the water board, Ford
43. Throw ‘em in jail, Gail
44. Proclaim we’re never inhumane, Jane
45. Start a new war, Fillmore
46. Blow them away, Jay
47. Show them no pity, Liddy
48. Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you, Lou
49. Give them the finger, Inger
50. Trust in voter ennui, Henry



Or, The Top Ten Reasons Why Those Who Approve Torture Deserve To Be Tortured

10. Bothersome Historical Reminders. Monty Pythonites notwithstanding, we grew up reviling historic instances of torture such as the Spanish Inquisition. Our fathers fought against the Germans for torturing victims. A major part of at least the current justification for attacking Iraq was the torture used by Saddam. Yet, the only difference from those horrifying examples and what the White House has encouraged through its chain of command seems to be a matter of degree; i.e., the Administration justifies its own barbarism on the grounds that we are not quite as nasty as they were. Since when however is the lowest common denominator the standard by which such practices should be judged?

9. Bad Precedent. If government employees find out they can get away with torture in secret, at best it sets an extremely bad example. How do we even know if those gleefully following White House’s “nudge nudge, wink wink” about interrogation techniques are torturing the "right people" since there are no trials to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt first? Do we automatically assume everyone who disagrees with state policy should be tortured just in case? What will our newly empowered torturers feel they can get away with next? Lying, theft from the treasury, and character assassination seem almost innocent in comparison.

8. Biblical Sanctions. For the religious, they need only ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” Has no one presently in the West Wing heard of the “Golden Rule,” let alone ever actually read the book from which it was derived?

7. Bill of Rights. Even if “thou shalt not commit premeditated torture” is not one of the top Ten Commandments, it’s certainly against almost everything our Bill of Rights stands for, not to mention every single court case that has ever interpreted it. Do a million words of condemnation of the practice mean nothing to those in charge these days?

6. Burdensome PR. Practicing repugnant methods of intimidation and interrogation makes everyone in the country, not only appear to either be international thugs or supporters of thuggery, but rank hypocrites as well. That severely weakens whatever moral authority we once had for persuading others. Perhaps we should be returning the Statute of Liberty to France with apologies.

5. Benefits Unproven. Worse, there is no proof that any convictions or even most confessions could not have been obtained other, less odious, ways. Over the years since American became a Torturers ‘R Us franchise, there have proven to be fewer average annual felony convictions obtained as a result of such tortures than a double amputee can count on his fingers and toes. Plus, any information gained must automatically be highly suspect.

4. Brotherhood of Man, or at least, International Law. Besides making our word on treaties like the Geneva Convention worthless, it jeopardizes our soldiers in the field giving the enemy the belief that the they need not obey the Geneva Conventions either as to those captured. No wonder enlistments are dangerously low.

3. Back to the Future. If it is permissible to use against outsiders, then why wouldn't it be permissible to be used against our own citizens at some point? Dehumanization tends to be catching, even addictive to practitioners.

2. Boundless Costs. Its costs wildly outweigh whatever “benefits” might occur whether we are looking at dollar, psychological or ethical costs. What price can be put upon our souls after admitting to torturing others, especially those later found to be innocent?

1. It’s Just Plain Wrong. Stay after school and write that on the blackboard ten times for each “detainee.” If they jailed Martha Stewart for a few thousand dollars in stock fraud, then why aren’t those who wrote the memos approving torture facing jail time?



Or, The Tortured Justifications and Legalities Involved in Invading Afghanistan

Have all of Bush’s decisions been terrible or does it just seem that way? That is not a rhetorical question.

Can anyone cite with a straight face a single major decision by the man involving the public, either before or during his presidency, which has not ultimately been found to have either been made for questionable reasons or so poorly executed it failed to achieve its stated goal? In fact, can anyone think of anything that hasn’t turned into an unmitigated disaster in its results, at least for others who must suffer the consequences?

I am not talking about his decisions to finally give up his possible addictions to drugs and alcohol or marry his current wife or use his influence to keep his kids out of jail. Those are purely private matters and, as such, the decisions basically only affect him and his family. Nor am I talking about the large losses to the shareholders of the companies he was given to run before getting into politics. Those too are private since no one forced the shareholders to keep the stock after they learned what an inexperienced person was running the show. No, I am talking about those decisions made which significantly affect either the public treasury, human lives, the national security or societal morale. Have there been any of those of which the entire country can be proud and agree were good for at least the greater majority?

There has been extensive revisiting lately of some of the President’s more blatantly obvious screw ups ranging from his disastrous choice of “Brownie” as head of FEMA to the apparently falsified reasons for invading Iraq. But, what about some of his decisions which continue to be taken for granted as fully justified? Take for example Afghanistan. Many applaud Bush’s decision to invade that nation. After all, they assert, Bin Laden, the architect for the fall of the twin towers, was hiding out there. Surely we had to get him by whatever means was necessary and unilateral invasion was the only available choice. Right?

Questionable! Even if it is freely granted that the Taliban group running the country at the time was a collection of arrogant, nationalistic, tyrannical, occasionally brutal, religious fundamentalists who were not put in office by the people through a democratic vote, was any of that enough by itself to merit the blunt application of military force? Some observers contend the same traits easily could be said of current US administration, let alone those who ultimately replaced the Taliban.

We can even acknowledge that the Taliban leadership probably hated our guts and openly rejoiced at the 9/11 massacre. How though is that different from a number of other countries out there happily doing the same thing? At what point does animosity short of physical attack genuinely justify invasion? Remember, whatever rule is adopted allows other countries to do the same to us. If we can peremptorily launch an assault on a mere suspicion, doesn’t that make us fair game for similar treatment by those countries like Iran or Syria who Bush has openly threatened? Moreover, wasn’t Saddam’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait something we condemned? On what grounds was one invasion acceptable and the other not?

“Yeah, but Afghanistan was harboring Bin Laden,” is the cry Bush’s supporters trumpet. True, but other countries have been equally “guilty” of harboring criminals who have killed our citizens. Many still do. Does it automatically follow that when anyone dislikes us or protects our enemies, they must be active terrorists themselves? Unfortunately, to date, there does not seem to be any more conclusive evidence that the Taliban helped plan the 9/11attack than that Saddam did.

“Yeah, but we now know Bin Laden at least was definitely behind 9/11. So, we had to get him by any means necessary” or so go the theory currently espoused as the reason Bush was legally justified in invading what was a sovereign country. If that is true, is any country permitted to invade another because of a single individual believed to be hiding there?

Here is where it gets interesting. The Taliban initially said no to turning over Bin Laden. They, quite rightly under both US and international law by the way, stated the US does not have a right to demand surrender of occupants of any other country unless an extradition treaty exists between them. Can you imagine the reaction of the US if the situation had been reversed? Suppose Afghanistan had demanded, say, Salman Rushdie, who wrote a book which infuriated Muslims, be handed over to them? Actually, we do not have to imagine. Bush, despite his protestations about all terrorists must be stopped, apparently is still refusing to turn over Cuban expatriate Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela to be tried for allegedly putting a bomb on a plane. Guess they are only qualified to be treated as “terrorists” when the acts are committed against us alone.

At one point though, the Taliban government changed its mind and offered to deliver Bin Laden to US authorities if Bush would merely produce some credible evidence that Bin Laden actually was the instigator of 9/11. Has everyone forgotten, at that moment in time, it was not as clear from the publically available hard evidence as it is today that Bin Laden was directly responsible? It was merely highly suspected. He had not yet “confessed” in his infamous videotapes that were later circulated.

Granted, the Taliban offer to give up Bin Laden may have been made in desperation only under the looming threat of invasion. Nevertheless, US news reports issued prior to the invasion seemed to confirm the offer was actually made. In essence, the Taliban were only asking for the very same thing that any US Court would have mandated before Bin Laden could have been jailed in this country prior to the passage of the so-called Patriot Act and our abandonment of the Geneva Conventions. In other words, all Bush was asked to do in order to get his hands on Bin Laden was provide what attorneys in US courts call “probable cause,” something Bush would have had to do in any case.

Perhaps Bush did not want the Taliban to deliver Bin Laden. Think about that. If Bush had Bin Laden in hand, the President would have been forced to treat him as a criminal in our judicial system. In any event, Bush’s response was to say “Absolutely not.” It was almost put in terms of no penny ante fiefdom was going to tell the powerful United States of America what to do. Bush immediately repeated his demand that the Taliban deliver Bin Laden immediately without conditions or be attacked. Within almost hours, the bombing began. A wide variety of people including women and children who most likely had nothing to do with 9/11 died as a direct result. While many readers will not care since they were only Afghans, they should care about the subsequent US soldiers deaths, not to mention our seeming to be stuck in an unending military occupation draining our ability to respond to other potential threats like North Korea which not only hates us, but actually has WMDs.

Would the Taliban have actually delivered Bin Laden if Bush had given the necessary probable cause evidence, the same sort of truly minimal level of evidence needed for our police to search a home or car or put a lowly shoplifter on trial? Good question. We’ll never know because Bush flatly refused. BUT, if the offer had been genuine, we would have Bin Laden in jail today instead of still having him loose years later able to incite thousands more suicide bombers. In addition, we would have saved billions, not counting all those lives.

Would the nasty Taliban still been in control of Afghanistan if they had handed over our nemesis? Yes assuming Bush did not find some other excuse to eliminate them legally. At the same time, what was Bush’s stated sole justification to the American public for invading? Was it to capture a criminal or simply destroy another nation which didn’t like us? If the former, then why couldn’t a few extra days have been taken to see if the Taliban meant what they said?

Besides, if the Taliban had refused to deliver Bin Laden after the requested probable cause was finally produced, then we would have much superior grounds to convince the UN or perhaps some Middle Eastern countries to join us as was done in the first Gulf War. We would not have ended up almost unilaterally attacking another country in clear violation of the same laws we want other countries to obey. Better yet, we at least would have not trashed our Bill of Rights and criminal procedure laws and all we used to stand for in the process. We might even have had grounds at that point for a genuine Declaration of War passed by Congress as required by the Constitution rather than the dangerously anemic “preapproval” document which Congress cowardly gave Bush in which war was supposed to be the absolute last resort rather than the first. What a terrible precedent to set.

So, did the supposedly righteous decision by Bush to invade turn out to be right in the long run? It is not as if all his machinations and application of overwhelming force actually caught Bin Laden. He is still out there mocking us. We look like the Keystone Kops. As for the Taliban, we seem to have replaced them with a collection of war lords, criminals and drug dealers. Heroin poppy production is way up.

Are you still absolutely certain that particular decision of Bush was a good one, the only one possible, one in which the justification, the execution and the result all turned out as promised by Bush? If you believe that, then either you must be living in the White House or you do not believe in the rule of law laid down by our Founding Fathers.



Or, We got Conned.

Every original reason and justification for a preemptive invasion of Iraq turns out to have been false, a misrepresentation or a deliberate lie. Granted, that’s nothing unusual for Washington D.C, but for some reason, nine out of ten Iraqis want us to leave. Six out of ten US troops want us to leave. Two out of three US voters want us to leave.

Can it really be that bad? Surely not. Let’s see......

Reasons to make Iraq a 51st State if Necessary

1. The President gets more excuses to wear a cute flight suit and announce “Mission Accomplished.” Check.
2. There are lots more “Medals of Freedom” yet to award for a “heck of a job.” Check.
3. There are lots more magnetic signs saying “Support our Troops” to sell.
4. There are lots of doctors and nurses who’ll have full employment and lots of drug and medical equipment companies who’ll make lots more money.
5. There are lots of companies like Haliburton and lots of their stockholders like Cheney who have lots more money to make until the Treasury is empty.
6. Iraqis’ll get to have more fun staining fingers with purple ink.
7. Saddam’s show trial gets to continue and it’s getting darned good ratings, almost as good as “Reality TV.”
8. Besides, we made promises to Chalabi.
9. And, there’s oil under Iraq and it belongs to us by right of conquest.
10. Surely, admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness and quitting is for cowards like Murthra.
11. Plus, we need more time to come up with a really good reason why the first 2300 didn’t died in vain.
12. We’ve got plenty more young men and women, lots more money to spare and practice makes perfect.
13. It is on the job training for those in charge who found excuses not to serve in the military.
14. It gives a good excuse to continue secret spying to locate all those traitorous, disloyal Americans who might want to vote against the current Administration.
15. We can use Iraq as a base to invade Iran.
16. We needn’t worry since quagmires only occur in wet jungles, not dry sand dunes.
17. Most authoritative of all, the President says we have to stay and he is never wrong on anything.

Reasons to Leave Iraq

1. Over 2300 American boys and girls dead so far. Sorry bout that.
2. Tens of thousands of them wounded so far. Sorry bout that too.
3. Probably a 100,000 potential cases of delayed stress syndrome so far. How is staying there a way to “Support our Troops?”
4. From 30,000 to 100,000 Iraqi dead by our hands so far and no one knows how many kids maimed, but do they count?
5. One out of two Iraqis now favor killing our troops. So much for gratitude.
6. A trillion or so dollars wasted so far from graft, corruption and re-re-building sites bombed. Trillion here. Trillion there, there, there, there.
7. Our grandchildren’s financial future mortgaged to China and others, not to mention our foreign affairs flexibility from fear the funds’ll be forfeited.
8. Near abandonment of the search for the actual architect of 9/11. Osama who?
9. Near exhaustion of the National Guard and massive loss of experienced senior personnel. What part of the word guard don’t we understand?
10. Removal of all top military leadership who got the facts right or at least had doubts about the war and their replacement with those who got it wrong or were suck up REMF’s. Guess Rummy’s making us fight the next war with the fools we now have.
11. Near elimination of the regular Army’s ability to react to real threats like Iran and North Korea’s nuclear bomb programs; i.e. where the real WMDs are hidden.
12. Severe weakening of Arab allies like the present Egyptian leadership, distancing of former friends like Turkey, and strengthening of enemies like Iran. Instead of one Taliban ruled country, we could be multiplying them.
13. Complete loss of international credibility and trust about our motives. Not that we care.
14. Conversion of US into even a bigger laughingstock and an object of hatred. We are becoming the Paris Hilton of nations.
15. Emasculation of US civil rights and much of the Constitution. Tom, Ben, Sam and the powdered wig boys must be rolling in their graves.
16. Torture becoming US authorized policy.
17. Sky high gas prices and disruption of oil supply. Now that’s a good reason. What a minute. Wasn’t securing cheap oil the reason we went there in the first place? What happened?

Barnum was right. So was Lincoln. There’s plenty of suckers born every minute. And, as Lincoln’s current successor has shown us, you can fool about a third of the population all the time. He’s even demonstrated you can fool most of the other two thirds most of the time. Fortunately, the latest polls reveal he can’t just keep on fooling everyone for his entire administration. Our biggest problem remains though that we have a fool in charge.



Or, We Can’t Call Him President if the Constitution Doesn’t Apply to Him

Since Mr. Bush has openly declared the Constitution does not apply to him, it seems........inappropriate to continue referring to him by the Constitutional title of "President." I’m wondering what he’d prefer instead.

"King George" has a certain historical authenticity, but these days, I suppose kings are far too wimpy for a Supreme Commander-in-Chief moniker.

Those too have historical derivatives thanks to Julius’ own termination of a Republic. Besides, we already have the precedent of Energy Czars, Drug Czars, Czar-Czars. Of course, we know how touchy Bush is about things European. And, let us not forget Caesar’s a salad.

Maybe "Warlord" is divinely right given it includes the word "Lord" who Bush says is in direct communication with him. .........Nah, probably not. Too crudely Medieval sounding, accurate though it may be with his calling for “Crusades” again.

"El Jefe" would fit in well with Bush’s fondness for the short, dismissive nicknames he gives to others. Plus, his Spanish couldn’t be much worse than his tortured English.

Finally, the perfect name suddenly occurred to me. Surely he would be delighted with "Generalisimo." He would not only get to strut like the other Banana Belt dictators, he could finally justify wearing those fake military uniform he cherishes so much. And, with global warming, we’ll soon be in the Banana Belt anyway

Generalisimo Bush. We salute you.