Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 27, 2006

You Oughta Know by Now

I've always had a hard time with people telling me what I have to do. Isn't this a core freedom, to decide for one's self just what it is one would like to spend time doing? Or creating? Or thinking about? This has no doubt affected my sociopolitical outlook. So I get a little edgy when I hear this kind of stuff, from the President's press conference of March 21st:

It's important for our citizens to understand that we have got to deal with this issue diplomatically now.

Never mind the irony in this statement about Iran if you can, because my point here is that I'm being told what is important and what is not. How many times have we seen The Lesser lean over the podium and get all folksy like and interject, "Ya see, whatcha gotta remember is ..." Who the hell do you think you are to tell me what I have to remember and what I don't?

And then I thought about that.

So I Googled "it's important for Americans to remember". I ignored non-political issues and non-quote hits and the first few pages began with these:

It's important for Americans to remember that as we debate an energy bill ... W.


It's important for Americans to remember that America imports more than 50 percent of its oil -- more than 10 million barrels a day ... W.

Okay, so this is an important guy and at the top of the list. What else am I supposed to be remembering? Veterans abound:

It's important for Americans to remember veterans because they've risked their lives so we can be free.


... veterans of Vietnam who say it's mportant for Americans to remember not just their own countrymen who died in the ten years of fighting, but the thousands and thousands of Vietnamese allies who also gave their lives.


Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn attended the event and says it's important for Americans to remember the sacrifice made by those who fought in World War II.

There is more of the same, and it becomes obvious that the most important thing that Americans are to remember is the glory that is war. But there are other subjects, as a conservative commenter pops up with:

People laugh when Bush says "You forgot Poland", but he's rather serious. In these times, it's important for Americans to remember who our true friends are, no matter how small.

Or how about this guy on Fox, an expert on profiling and security:

... it's important for Americans to remember that profiling is a fact of security but it's also a fact of life here in America.

Or this apologist for the drug czars:

A Vanderbilt University Medical Center associate dean says it's important for Americans to remember that all drugs have risks ... Rather than relying on regulators to perfectly identifying all risks accurately, doctors suggest Americans be more cautious with their pills.

Mind you, I am not cherry picking these. Do you sense a commonality here? If not, maybe these will help:

I was in Vilnius, Lithuania, for Bush's speech welcoming them into NATO a few weeks ago. It was about as big a pro-American outpouring that you'll see. It's important for Americans to remember that we have a lot of friends out here, but they're mostly the ones that were behind the Iron Curtain 15 years ago.

and this from a flag organization

I think it's important for Americans to remember how significant this tradition is.

And speaking of Fox, one can get so into such a rhetorical habit such that this astonishing bloviation is possible:

During this time of national crisis, it's important for Americans to remember that 24 debuts on the Fox Network November 6.


Of course, it's not all one sided:

It's important for Americans to remember that two of our key framers - Thomas Jefferson and James Madison - opposed government issuing religious proclamations.

Those darn Americans United for Separation of Church and State and their paganistic floundering from the one true American Christian American power and the glory, praise God and pass the ammunition. Where do they get off telling us what is important?

But then, to remember what we, as Americans, should remember, we need to know what we, as Americans, should know in the first place. Whom do we find here to help us out? You betcha:

It's important for Americans to know, with that kind of strong, independent review process, most disagreements will not wind up in court. The law should allow the review process to work, not short-circuit it by inviting unnecessary lawsuits.


Yet, it's important for Americans to know this war will not be quick and this war will not be easy.


It's important for Americans to know that the trafficking of drugs finances the world of terror, sustaining terrorists.


But I also think it's important for Americans to know about either the private foundations or individuals or their churches, synagogues or mosques that are also working in Africa, to know the whole contribution of what the American people do.

Oh, wait. Mr. Bush wasn't the only source that popped up in the first few Google pages, that last one was Laura Bush. There must be others, right? Okay, let's try "What you have to remember". And the first political quote we find is ... Oh, my God!

MR. FLEISCHER: What you have to remember is President Bush, through his action in August 2001, created the guidelines for the first federal effort to fund stem cell research, to actually provide dollars for the purpose of stem cell research, where it was previously prohibited by the federal government.

Thus it becomes fairly obvious who is spending the most time telling me what I should know, and what I should be remembering. It's no wonder I can rarely take the conservative side, for they insult my intellect. I will make up my own mind in due course, thank you. I will decide what is important to me. Or should I say for me?

Because none of the above actually say what is important to me, do they? Such things are important for me to know, but that importance is to them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pure Spun Feingold

He's done it again!

Out of the blue and into the light Russ Feingold has taken it upon himself to introduce a measure in the Senate to censure Bush the Lesser for alleged lawbreaking in running the domestic spying dohickey.

Oh man, watch a bunch of Foghorn Leghorn blowhards clam up while looking to get out of the way of this one! Hillary's sneaking out the back door of the cafeteria while Barack Obama is claiming he hasn't read the resolution some two days later. Blah, blah, blah.

Republicans are summoning up with apparently limitless bile their two universal talking points―A: the Democrats are a rudderless ship, and B: to do anything but goose step to the President in this post-9-11-world-and-the-most-scariest-moment-in-the-history-of-the-world is treasonous.

note: during my brief trip to the other side to get some rightie reaction, it was truly depressing to see the fervor with which they are all cooking up the war with Iran over there.

Lefties are blogging things like, "about time someone had some guts", and "let's hope the Dem Senators come around to support this" and so on.

I, myself wondered where Russ intended to go with this, as clearly it has no legs. I thought for a moment that this was it, that this was the eve of a Feingold led Progressive Party, as the cowering of his fellow Dems would provide a convenient, (and oh, so predictable) point of departure. But this is some very wishful thinking.

It's far more brilliant (though less intriguing) a ploy than that. Feingold has properly identified a weakness in his opponents for the Democratic nomination, putting them in an impossible position of being weak on Bush on one side and following Feingold's lead on the other. It's no wonder they're hiding. At the same time, he continues to work on Republican talking point A: He continues to be the one thing that Republicans fear most, a definitive leader. He also makes points as a moderate, suggesting a censure rather than an impeachment. Though the big "I" is the kind of historical tag we all would love to see on this here hangdog, a censure just seems more ... level headed. Of course, Feingold couldn't begin an impeachment anyway, but when it comes to the American electorate there's no need to split hairs here.

What does he have to lose? He soloed against God and Country on the Patriot Act and still was comfortably reelected in my strange little Joe McCarthy, William Proxmire, Fightin' Bob LaFolette, James Sensenbrenner corner of the world.

Is he twisting in the wind ... or the twist?

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Didn't Say It, This Time

We should avoid the country falling into dictatorship at the end by avoiding these beginnings.

Who's words are these?

These words were part of a speech about the right wing's attack on the courts of America. What are we talking here? Let's start with that paragon of integrity, Tom DeLay. After the Terri Schiavo fiasco DeLay said federal judges "thumbed their nose at Congress and the president. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." And then the speaker mentioned (not by name, but clearly) Texas Sen. Joe Cornyn's remarks that violence against judges, such as the murder of a Georgia judge and the killing of an Illinois judge's family, may have been linked to "political decisions".

Consider this quote from James Sensenbrenner, Republican congressman from Wisconsin, and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:

This does not mean that judges should not be punished in some capacity for behavior that does not rise to the level of impeachable conduct….The appropriate questions are how do we punish and who does the punishing.

"Punishing what?" you might ask, as there are already tools for unethical conduct and gross ineptitude. He doesn't say. Here's more from DeLay:

"We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse,"

How about these next two blood sucking vampires? Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, and James C. Dobson, of Focus on the Family, were caught on tape with these:


There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench


Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court. They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone.

Well, it's no surprise to find these "fundamentalists" picking and choosing their way through the law―an example in itself of the necessity of an independent judiciary―and they seem to have lost sight of Amendment III, which states:

...the Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

So who is the lefty, pinko commie who dares to utter the dictator word in the face of such enthusiasm to smack down judges? Is it a media lefty like Jon Stewart or Keith Olberman. Some blogger on Kos or the Huffington Post? The NY Times? And as this quote is from a very highly placed individual, why aren't Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox and all the other defenders of the Reich up in arms about this? Where are the ad hominum smears?

No, this time they have to stop and think for a moment. Cuz this "paranoid alarmist" is none other than generally conservative and Reagan appointed Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

O Brave New World

O, how merrily we skip down the road to damnation.

The Little Hun and I were off yesterday on a rather quixotic attempt to find a dress―one that is perfectly, simply elegant, yet properly understated so as not to distract from the soon-to-be daughter in law on her day of days. And cheap. In a size 2 petite.

This brought us to the Mayfair Mall in Milwaukee, a mid-upper scale mall in "transition". The strangeness of two utterly distinct American cultures going about their Saturday afternoon experience in total ignorance of each other was sadly disappointing, but that's another subject.

And the fact that there is such a thing as size 18 petite is truly puzzling.

Ah, but tucked away on the top level of this coliseum of commercialism there was (is) real evil lurking, salivating as hundreds of parents stood in line with their children. In a cross-generational frenzy of conformity, these sheep thought they were there to pay too much for the latest thing but, even as I was distracted by the male affliction of shopper's back, the suspicious eye attached to the mercurial mind of le sequoit was not fooled for one little moment. No, slithering behind those warm, fuzzy "it was all yellow" gates the devil himself is behind this latest Pied Piper of the futurist nightmare, the Build a Bear Workshop.

How we cringe with fear at signs of our approach to the children factories of Huxley's Brave New World! "Frankensteins," we call those genetic engineers who are making the availability of designer children a reality. Yet I witnessed moms and dads applauding with their Visa cards, as sweet talking instruments of the unholy sat their children down at a console to construct their pals. It's a well-disguised end run, I tell ya! Is it only a matter of time before our children, duly acclimated, will order their own children in the same "fashion", two kiosks down from the Sunglass Hut?

Where are the righteous in the face of this insidious, international plot?

And what of these made to order teddy bears and their keepers? What will be their fate? Will they ever know true love, the kind that at first sight lights up like a carousel with mystery and wonder and imagination? Or will this relationship be signed, sealed and delivered? Inspected?

When the skin is chosen, the heart placed, the stuffing stuffed and the story written, what's left for teddy to contribute?

Besides "fashion" sense?