Monday, January 30, 2006


Sometimes you just can't do better than let ignorance drool out its own version of things. So, herewith, the actual response of your president and mine (God help us), to a question about the recent Medicare bill. Yes, this is for real:

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: 'I don't really understand. How is the new plan going to fix the problem?'

PRESIDENT BUSH (Verbatum response):

Because the--all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those--changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be--or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the--like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate--the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those--if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.'
And just think: this is the guy who has his finger on the nuclear trigger! Feeling safer yet?

Friday, January 20, 2006


by Lord Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went - and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires - and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings - the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire - but hour by hour
They fell and faded - and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash - and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless - they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again; - a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought - and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails - men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh. . . .

Thursday, January 19, 2006


"The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead." -- William Lloyd Garrison

The apathy of most of America is stunning and appalling to me. When I found this quote I was filled with wide-eyed wonder that there is one statue left in America complete with statue, or one grave or tomb still occupied.

On October 26th, as was holding its candlelight vigils across the country to mourn the death of the 2000th American soldier in Iraq, I and two dozen others were being arrested in front of the White House protesting the carnage done in our name by the illegitimate residents therein.

Now, counting the 11 American soldiers who were pointlessly killed in George's unconscionable and brainless war of terror in the Middle East, the American "official" death toll is up to 2193: 200 more families ruined in less than three months!

My son Casey was in the first 1000 to be killed in Iraq. We reached that dismal mark by September 2004. conducted candlelight vigils for that occasion. Then a little over a year later, conducted candlelight vigils to commemorate the 2000th soldier.

If we don't get off of our collective apathetic and complacent backsides to stop the barbaric killing in Iraq, when will the next candlelight vigil be? George Bush and the evil neocons are killing our precious soldiers at the rate of 2.78 per day. By my calculations, we should be lighting our candles again and singing "Kum bah ya" by October.

This article is not intended to be an indictment of, which does some amazing work and who were big supporters of Camp Casey. But my point is this, America: the longer we allow the illegitimate pretender to the White House and his conniving and callous gang of co-conspirators to continue, the more our collective humanity is damaged.

Apparently, candlelight vigils do very little to stop, or even slow down a little, the carnage committed by the war criminals in DC.

Then we have the unfortunate innocents of Iraq. I have heard reports of up to as many as 200 of them killed yesterday. So if 200 were reported, one has to really wonder what the true count was.

Bill O'Reilly and George Bush define a terrorist as someone who "kills innocent men, women and children." Am I the only one who sees the irony and stunning hypocrisy in this statement?" Who do Bill and George think are being killed in Iraq? A well-trained and organized Army? Terrorists? We all know that is false.

This is who is being killed in Iraq: living breathing human beings, identical to Americans or any other human beings on earth, who are just trying to go about their lives, trying to survive in a war-torn country that was no threat to America or our way of life.

"I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis," said George on December 12, 2005. Even if one accepts this very low guess-timate by George, his policies have been responsible for ten times the 3000 deaths on September 11, 2001. By his own admission, he is ten times the terrorist that Osama ever was. If George says 30,000 ... who knows what the truthful total is. It fills me with sorrow and hurts my heart to even contemplate the number.

America: this is what you are allowing your government to do in your name: Detain and torture prisoners without due process. Use chemical weapons on other members of humanity. Spy on Americans without a court order (I hope my conversations put them in a coma of boredom). Carpet bomb cities filled with human beings like yourselves.

Destroy the infrastructure of other countries. Destroy the infrastructure of American cities. Cut taxes on the rich while pouring money and blood into the thirsty sands of the Middle East. Decimate our treasury. Rape the environment. Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.

Hillary Clinton told me that the "wheels of government grind slowly." This is a tired cliche and it is unacceptable blather while the war machine is grinding the bones of our children. It is time for us wide-awake Americans to make our elected officials speed up the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

If I hear one more rendition of "We Shall Overcome" and then watch the vigilers or marchers go home and turn on their TVs and crack open a brewsky, content in the fact that they have done something for peace that day, I am going to scream! We can't overcome unless we take the proverbial bull by the horns and overcome!

Hold your vigils and marches in relevant places: such as warmongering local Congressional offices. So many Senators and Congresspeople come to mind. Or in front of a recruiting station. Or federal buildings. Or military bases. Then instead of going home and cracking open a beer, or uncorking a bottle of wine, sit down and say "we aren't leaving until you call for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq." Put your butt on the line for humanity.

Change will not happen until we make it happen. We can't make change happen by wishing or praying that it will happen.

We actually have to do something.

(This article is reprinted in its entirety, by permission, from Indy's Anti-War. They have our thanks. Our hat is tipped to Thomas Leavitt at Seeing The Forest, for the link. And most of all, we thank Cindy.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Apparently, the pen that President Bush is using to sign bills into law is filled with disappearing ink. With the use of “signing statements,” he is asserting his right to either revise or completely ignore, if he chooses, anything he puts his name to. So far, he has done this with over 500 pieces of legislation, including the recent ban on torture, which he signed last month.

What's going on, here? For one thing, apparently, it seems the President now gets to pick and choose whatever laws he will obey. It also means our corruption is out in the open, now. For instance, when our government was still conducting “extraordinary renditions” (kidnapping), and torturing people in secret, we were entitled to hope that something might be done about it. Now, the President reserves the right to disregard the torture ban whenever it suits him. And he's saying it straight out.

He also says he has the right to spy on American citizens, which we just learned he's been doing for the past four years, in direct violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. He freely admits breaking the law and defies Congress to do anything about it. Bush's Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, appears to have no interest in investigating this crime, but seeks instead to ferret out and indict the leakers for exposing the criminal.

Question: Why hasn't this man been impeached? As I recall from my high school civics class, it's not all that easy to get bills passed through both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States. Why go to all that trouble, if he's just going to do whatever he feels like doing from now on? Come to think of it, what do we need all these congressmen for? Kind of a wasted expense, isn't it?

Is this what they meant when they said they wanted to “get the government off our backs?”

Some thirty years ago, another president—Richard Nixon—invoked almost the identical stock phrases and euphemisms that Bush and Cheney now employ to justify their lawbreaking. Phrases like, “national security” and that old chestnut, “executive privilege.”

Compared to Bush's list of crimes, the break-in and attempted wire-tap of the Democratic National Committee by Nixon's little gang of thugs now seems almost quaint. Yes, and he spied on us as well, through the same National Security Agency that Bush has been using. You can read all about it in Nixon's Articles of Impeachment.

The difference between that time and now is immense. In those days, the President found himself head to head with a real and viable Congress—both Democrats and Republicans—who took violations of the law seriously. The man who lead the charge was a feisty seventy-six-year-old senator from North Carolina, Sam Irvin. In his role as chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee, Irvin became something of a folk hero, spicing his questions of witnesses with equal parts of the Bible, the Constitution and Shakespeare. When it came to cross-examining stone-walling conspirators, such as H.R. Haldeman and John Erhlichman, Irvin's “b.s.” detector was always in play. You knew the whistles were going off when his eyebrows shot for the roof and his jowls trembled.

When Nixon initially refused to let his aides testify, citing “executive privilege,” Irvin snapped: “Divine Right went out with the American Revolution and doesn't belong to White House aides. What meat do they eat that makes them grow so great? I don't think we have any such thing as royalty or nobility that exempts them. That is not executive privilege. That is executive poppy-cock.”

Irvin said that Watergate for the first time sought to destroy the integrity of the process. “If the many allegations made to this date are true,” he said, “then the burglars who broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate were, in effect, breaking into the home of every citizen of the United States. What they were seeking to steal was not the jewels, money, or other precious property of American citizens, but something much more valuable—their right to vote in a free election.”

Irvin likened the mindset of Nixon's henchmen to the Gestapo. Referring to former Attorney General John Mitchell, and former White House aide, John Erhlichman, both convicted for their roles in the conspiracy, Irvin said, “I don't think either one of them would have recognized the Bill of Rights if they met it on the street in broad daylight under a cloudless sky.”

A pity there are no Sam Irvins in our current Congress. Thus far, they have either actively participated or else passively sat on their hands and watched while the Bush-Cheney “cabal” has looted and trashed the place.

If it is true that the law is now what the President says it is, then where does that leave us? It seems to me we are at a cross-road, very similar to the one Nixon brought us to. And what we are faced with is whether we will continue to have a government based on our old Constitution and existing laws and rights as “free citizens,” or if we will trade it in for something entirely new and different.

Richard Nixon once said, “When the President does it, that means it's not illegal.” And Congress answered. How will they answer now?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


"The same President who insists he has the authority to wiretap "enemies" without warrants, imprison "enemies" without hearings or lawyers" ..."even torture "enemies," said today that YOU are an enemy." --Dave Johnson, Seeing The Forrest
Johnson gives us a timely warning that our President looks upon dissent as disloyalty to the country. As the President sees it, this domestic unpleasantness lends "comfort to our adversaries", as it exposes his administration's illegal spying on Americans. I reprint an edited version of the comment I made at Seeing The Forest:

Bush does not strike an accidental posture, posing as the nation's savior, while at the same time, undermining its crucial liberties. He never was that subtle.--which didn't matter before--when so many Americans believed in his "sincerity". But now that he has overplayed his hand, he has, for the most part, lost the audience. At times, the President betrays himself. He comes across as the nation's most obscene joke. Bush has moments of mawkish, self parody, when he seems attuned to the fact that what he's saying is bullshit. And we hold this truth to be self-evident.

Perhaps the President is a sock puppet. Perhaps we have taken him too seriously. Which hands animate the presidential glove and provoke Bush's gestures? Who steers the ship of state while he is chainsawing brush with such frenetic energy? While the President is collecting cuts and bruises, who is handing out the marching orders?--dispensing favors?--bribing officials?--tapping phones?--subverting habeas corpus?

We may have to have an impeachment; if only to convince the Inner Circle that we are serious, that this Constitution of ours will continue to reflect our living political theatre, and thereby secure a governing consensus, which can again defend our laws against the lawless, and our civil liberties against the entrenched power which would belittle and sacrifice them.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


(a past post revised.)
by Grayson Harper

You feel something there. An irritation, a swelling. On your arm. On your neck. On your leg. Just there, under your sleeve, under your blouse. Each time you sit down or stand up, a nagging sensation you worry about during the day. Or when walking, your clothes chafe against it, repeatedly reminding you—just when you thought it was nothing. You want to get off somewhere alone, unfasten your clothes, have a look.

And then you find it, this thing, just there, perhaps, on the inside of your leg, the soft flesh of your thigh. Nothing much. Just a boil, a small one, the size of a pebble. Slightly yellow. Nothing you can’t handle with needle and antiseptic. Nothing that won’t clean up with ease.

So you lance it. And squeeze. And the little bulb oozes out, then dab with cotton. And poof! It’s gone.

But in the morning, after the cup of coffee, after the shower, you look down, and there it is. What you have. A little bigger now, a little more yellow. So, out with the needle, the antiseptic. And, just like that, it’s gone again.

But then, driving to work, you begin to think about it. Feel it inside your clothes when your foot presses the pedal. You shift around, trying to get comfortable. But it won’t leave you alone. At work, in the restroom, there it is, just the same. Only now, you have no needle or cotton. It will have to wait.

By noon it has grown. You think of mentioning it to someone; but you’re embarrassed, you don’t want to talk about it. On your lunch break, you stop at the drug store. Maybe you’ll tell the pharmacist, try to describe what you have. But his eyes, when he looks at you, seem like an accusation. Instead, you purchase needle, cotton, alcohol, and, tucking the sack in your coat, you leave in a hurry.

On your way back to the office, at a store window, you pause. There's a wide-screen TV you’ve been coveting for some time. Four thousand dollars. Too high. A clerk reaches into the window with a device and the TV pops on. It's the Congress in session. You stand there, watching, as a white-haired senator expounds on his position. His fist pounds the podium. But his voice is distorted by the glass, a sound almost animal-like, as if he were under water. You squint, trying to make out what he’s saying. At the bottom of the screen are the words: “WAR APPROPRIATIONS.” Beside him on an easel, sits a chart with a graph. The red line zigzags in one direction, the black line zigzags in another. The senator gesticulates, his finger slicing the air like a knife. And, then as you watch him, something curious seems to appear. Squinting to see, you move closer to the glass. And there it is, incredibly, a redness, a swelling, on the pale skin of his cheek.

Back at your office, in the restroom, the boil has grown to the size of a china berry.

And so it goes, day after day, the morning ritual, trying to make it go away, this thing that you have. But it keeps coming back, always the same, like an old habit. Even after lancing, it merely swells again, filling the empty sack before your eyes with dark, viscous fluid. So you frantically lance and dab. Lance and dab. . . .

And at night, tossing and turning in your sleep, you dream of an angry, a fevered furuncle, growing out of control, putrid yellow and green, taking over your leg, creeping up your body, enveloping your arms, your neck, your face. You see men and women lined up to speak, their faces corrupted with vicious red ulcers, words scrolling across the sky: WAR. . .WAR. . .WAR. . . . Paralyzed with fear, you lie there in a fever, drenched in sweat. By morning, you feel almost a weight on your leg. You want to reach down, search with your fingers, but dare not, afraid of what you will find.

Then, in the glare of the bathroom light, indeed, it has grown even larger, ever more hideous, your whole upper leg red and inflamed. There’s no stopping it.

At work, you think of calling a doctor, but it seems wrong, now. He won’t believe you. He will dismiss it, say it’s nothing, your imagination. You see your boss walk by. You almost call to him, but he’s in a hurry, you hesitate, and he’s gone. Perhaps your secretary, but today, she seems cold, indifferent. Your colleague walks in, drops a file on your desk, starts out. On impulse, you call him back. “Paul, have you got a minute--can we talk?” He turns, frowning. “What is it?” Distracted, unfriendly. You start to tell him. “Well, I have this friend. . .he has a boil. . .on his leg—“

“A what--?” Paul's face a scowl of revulsion.

“A boil. . . .”

“I have to finish a report.” He turns to go. And then, stunned, you see it. There, on the back of his neck—white gauze covering something unsightly, bulging. Horrified, you follow him to the outer office, where your secretary sits filling out forms. And you see it. A swelling on her arm, a pustule in the middle of an ominous red circle.

And you stand there, mute, watching, as others pass by, as they go about their business. They barely nod in your direction, they don’t speak, their eyes are unsmiling. And on each one, each one passing by, you see clearly, for the first time, what they have: red and inflamed, yellow with pus, on their arms, on their necks, on their faces.

copeland morris ENTWINED SONNET

Her shaded eyes, her necklace black velvet, onyx. Anguish she spoke; and he carried on, obsessed As only a young man could. An odd harm...