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September 29, 2005
Today's Rant

I guess it's possible that democracy is not, in the end, a sustainable system. The natural result of a successful democracy is a certain level of complacency in a happy and prosperous population. Corrupt and venal men will always be waiting to take advantage of that complacency.

I just can't understand how even a group as short-sighted and greedy as this bunch managed to destroy so much of the country so quickly. Is that a testament to the fragility of the system, or of this country in particular, or is it, as the conspiracy theorists would have us believe, the end product of decades of behind-the-scenes manipulation? And if the latter, does that explain why the Democratic leadership is so notably absent? Are they a part of the shadow conspiracy? Or just equally incompetent and uninspired?

Okay, you might say that the current bunch is just finishing what the Reagan years started, and up to a point you'd be right although their willingness to go where even Reagan had the sense not to tread is sufficient proof of their essential ignorance of how the real world works.

It's still a mystery to me how people who pretend to be intelligent can actually read the foundations of these economic and military policies and not see the holes that even I can see gaping from every line, but I guess the human mind's ability to see what it wants shouldn't be underestimated. They want to believe in that insanity and thus is looks sensible to them. (I'm not unaware that my own disdain for their autocratic and elitist perspective could magnify my impression of the aforementioned 'holes'.)

(It almost makes you believe in the conspiracy theories, doesn't it? I mean, how else could this bunch have risen to the top of the heap? Being delusional isn't usually part of the fast track to success, but if you pair the inherited wealth people with the robber baron types whose fortunes were made possibly by the legislative actions of the inherited wealth people elected with the money of the robber barons...and it's a whole, incestuous spiral of interconnectivity.)

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” (Thomas Jefferson)

We've had the blood of patriots. It's still washing around the streets of New Orleans and Baghdad.

As for the blood of tyrants, I'll settle for their jobs.

Impeach Bush.

It's really the only answer. It's a pity that the lunatics on the right wing turned a last-resort tool, something that should have been reserved for serious issues around a sitting president, into a partisan attack toy to be used when someone whose policies you don't like are proving successful and I really hate to think that every president we have from now on is going to have to run the gauntlet of wingnut revenge but there's little else we can do.

The man is incoherent, incurious, and uncaring. He's unintelligent, uninformed, and unengaged. He's unqualified, incompetent, and dishonest.

Can we really afford three more years of this?

On the other hand, if we take a look down the line of the chain of command, can we afford any of them either? This is a truly scary place we're in these days.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:44 AM | Comments (9)

Another one bites the dust. Yes, another agency head, described as being "at odds" with the Bush Administration, is 'retiring'. I'm glad.

Mostly because this guy's support of those vigilante groups weirds me out. Yes, I know he doesn't have the money or the staff to do the job as a government agency, but a government-endorsed mob of loonies is not the answer.

This morning, on NPR, I heard a story about how woefully underfunded not only FEMA, but so-called Homeland Security is and has been under the Bush Administration's watch. The story included the interesting information that of the 45 FEMA Procurement Officers, only one can produce paperwork to prove they're qualified for the job. And that an audit of FEMA last year already produced the information that their procurement was in a mess.

Also, they interviewed Brown who said it's not the government's responsibility to provide ice during an emergency to "keep my hamburger cold in my freezer." No mention, annoyingly enough, of whether or not anyone sat him down and talked to him about the things FEMA actually uses ice for. Like keeping medicine useable. Or to, forgive me, preserve bodies.

You should listen to NPR, you know.

So...what's next?

It's not that I don't want to blog. I do, and I know that there's more and more stuff we should all be talking about (and figuring out how to fix) every, single day. The problem is, I just find myself standing here, watching the country crashing down around my ears and wondering what in the hell happened to the United States of America I grew up in.

Gas prices are headed for a rumored $4/gallon while oil companies have reaped obscene, ever-increasing profits under the Bush Administration's rule.

Unemployment keeps climbing, as do corporate profits and revelations of massive corporate fraud.

Poverty levels are up. Taxes for multi-millionaires are down.

Home prices are spiraling out of control. New mortgage loans are up and keeping pace with them, mortgage defaults are hitting record highs.

The body count keeps growing, at home and abroad.

Afghanistan is falling aback into the hands of the drug-lords and warlords. Iraq is headed for civil war, no matter how you try to pretend otherwise.

Iran is spitting nuclear threats in our eyes and North Korea is...well, who knows what they're doing, now that we've held them up and labeled their already paranoid leader as "evil" to the world?

Prisoners are starving themselves to death in Guantanamo and no one seems to care. Continuing stories of organized, and sanctioned, prisoner abuse across Iraq don't even hit the national media's radar any more. Lynndie England gets three years and the people in charge get promoted and protected.

And I keep looking Left and wondering where in the hell the Democratic Party went, why it doesn't seem to have any leaders or spokespeople. And I wonder why, the more things fall down around the Bush Administration's ears, the more the Democrats seem to be trying to bolster them up?

This used to be a country that produced leaders and people with vision and talent.

Now we're propping up crash test dummies dressed in costumes and pretending they serve the same function.

Depression: Anger without the enthusiasm

Posted by AnneZook at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)
September 28, 2005
Weather and War

NOAA has posted a whole lot of arial photographs of the Gulf Coast, in the wake of the two hurricanes. You can see photos here and here.

When they were evacuating New Orleans...what happened to the prisoners?

For what it's worth, I remember reading about the so-called "war porn" or "death porn" site several months ago. I think I elected not to blog about it because I couldn't decide whether the crassness of the site existing, the willingness of the soldiers to trade gory pictures for porn, or the emotional damage being displayed by the soldiers should be my first concern. So. read and answer.


Nine dead, 28 injured in suicide attack in Afghan capital (You remember Afghanistan, right? The place that actually had terrorists?)

Reuters says US troops obstruct reporting of Iraq (Apparently the number of journalists getting killed by USofA troops is considered, by the press, to be a tad discouraging.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
September 26, 2005
Glancing At the News

Nigeria. Security Men Terrorise Villagers As Chevron Resumes Production

SECURITY men deployed to protect the Idama Flow Station owned by US oil giant, Chevron, Saturday, invaded a nearby village, severely beating the residents during a hunt for stolen weapons.

New Orleans. Getting Home Before It's Gone

As corporations get rich, real estate developers circle and Katrina evacuees resettle far from home, grassroots organizations are shifting from relief to demanding the right of return.

Washington D.C. Government By Temper Tantrum

Bush responds to women's health official's resignation by appointing a veterinarian.

Update: FDA Commissioner Crawford Resigns

Crawford, a veterinarian and a food safety expert, became FDA deputy commissioner in 2002 and later became acting agency commissioner. The Senate confirmed Crawford as permanent FDA commissioner in July. Christina Pearson, a spokesperson for HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, declined to comment on whether the Bush administration had asked Crawford to resign, which she called a personnel issue. One federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the resignation involved financial information Crawford did not fully disclose to the Senate before his confirmation

Hillbilly country Pennsylvania. Evolution Debate In Federal Court

Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, the latest legal chapter in the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools is to unfold in federal court.

(Ed. - That site's redesign is ugly and obnoxious.)

Afghanistan. New guns, new drive for Taliban

An internal debate within the Taliban - whether to launch increasingly aggressive attacks against the US-led coalition or to allow the insurgency to bleed the Afghan government over time - has been settled this year, according to a rebel commander and Afghan security officials.

Iraq. Trashed: Some myths about Iraq

A new study by a Washington-based think tank has trashed American and Iraqi government claims that foreign fighters dominate the insurgency in Iraq.

Iraq. Aid to Iraq Ministries To Shift to Pentagon

The U.S. military plans to take over responsibility from the State Department for providing assistance to Iraq's Defense and Interior ministries, following a determination that greater resources and technical expertise are needed.

Iraq. Gunmen kill Iraq school teachers

Gunmen in Iraq have killed five school teachers - all Shias - at a school near Iskandariya, south of Baghdad.

Rita. Huge search for hurricane victims

Rescue teams are resuming their search for victims in coastal communities of the US states of Texas and Louisiana, two days after Hurricane Rita struck.

Rita. Rita search, rescue complete

Katrina-Rita. Katrina Redux? Beaumont Paper Finds Federal Storm Failure in Texas

In Beaumont, Texas, claims that federal relief agencies learned their lessons from Hurricane Katrina and are on the ball in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita are apparently ringing hollow. The Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise reported tonight that disaster response coordinators in the area hard hit by Rita say they are seeing the same foot-dragging federal response this weekend witnessed two weeks ago in New Orleans and Mississippi.

Bush plea for cash to rebuild Iraq raises $600

An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars.

Washington D. C. Frist's selling of stock triggers investigations

Both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York are investigating whether insider information prompted Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to sell off stock in his family's hospital company before a negative earnings report sent its shares falling.

(SEC chairman recuses himself from investigating Senate leader)

(Frist knew contents of blind trust)

I keep going away on these little mini-vacations (in truth, I have a new hobby), and then coming back to find that y'all have not cleaned up the mess in my absence. What's up with that?

Overall? What to Do About the Bush Problem

As more and more crises flood in on the United States -- from the Iraq War to the budget deficit to the Katrina debacle -- the nation must confront a hard question: Can the country afford to drift along through an additional three-plus years of George W. Bush's presidency? If not, is impeachment or some forced resignation a realistic alternative?

Okay, I'm all over throwing the rascals out. The problem is, we don't have anything or anyone to replace them with.

We used to have this thing called the Democratic Party that was populated and inspired by social liberalism and the notion of giving social and economic "equality" a helping hand while keeping a protective eye on the rights of the individual.

Sometimes I miss the Democratic Party, don't you? I wonder where they are now....

Posted by AnneZook at 10:32 AM | Comments (2)