Monday, November 20, 2006
While Bill o'Reilly actually took a reasonable stand in speaking out against this ridiculous O.J. Simpson "If I did it..." interview about his book, and at first blush it would also seem somewhat a courageous move because it attacked a Fox Television broadcast. O'Reilly is, after all, a Fox Cable Talk Show Host. Now, it has been suggested to me, and I was impressed to think it likely, that O'Reilly was just being used n=by FOX to drum up interest and controversy, for the broadcast. Hard to say for sure, since, he then, in what was perhaps a quick after thought of the impropriety of attacking one's bosses, hastened to point out that "For the record, Fox Broadcasting (showing OJ) has nothing to do with the Fox News Channel,". Now of course, both venues, as well as the publisher of the OJ book are all owned by the News Corporation. So that is like saying you have nothing to do with your---brother, or sister. Now, even if you don't speak to your siblings, you do have the same parents, and you may have to share some of the same interests and motivations whether you like it or not. But, of course, O'Reilly never cares what he says, because if quoted on it later, he will deny it and defy you to show a transcript where he ever said it. After you show him the transcript he has been known to ignore it and keep on claiming there is no proof. In truth, I haven't bothered to document his lies, as people like Al Franken, with research teams from Harvard, have bothered to do so, with footnotes and endnotes, as well. But for the last five or so years, the on again off again truthfulness of Conservatives, whether in Federal Government, or on Television/Radio has turned pretty much into a more consistent and more entertaining complete pack of lies. As long as you understand you are watching Fiction for entertainment purposes--no harm done. If you want accuracy from FOX Properties, you are better off watching their reality shows, like American idol. Simon Cowell speaks more truth in an hour, then O'Reilly and Hannity do in a Season. Other Candidates for poor truth telling skills (they are compulsive, but I am just picking out their award winning performances : President Bush"Mission Accomplished!" Joe Lieberman "I saw real signs of improvement in Iraq. Things are going well." and all that stuff about being in a new era of peace and security and democracy in Iraq. Dick Cheney: any of his innumerable lies about Halliburton, including that they weren't doing business with Iran when they were. Rumsfeld, when talking about WMD: "We know where they are. They're right in the area around Tikrit." I could go on, but so many of these lies have already been exposed so it is just nonessential redundancy. Clinton lied about getting blow jobs in circumstances where he should never have been questioned about them in the first place. But the Conservatives clearly have the moral high ground: they are much more interested in getting our nation's youth killed for distractions to the war on terrorism then in getting blow jobs. Especially since they can consider it 'urban renewal' since most of the enlisted soldiers are poor minorities from dysfunctional urban settings. In that sense, as I have always maintained, everyday George W. does more to end poverty than many otherPresidents, except of course for Presidents like Clinton, that actually improved the economy for everyone---in every tax bracket. Maybe, if all these Conservatives in our government were more interested in blow jobs, or in actually fighting for their country when they had the opportunity, they would get out more of their aggressive impulses and would have had the patience to actually think before they act. Now, the draft won't pass--Rangel has the right idea, but it would make the Democrats too unpopular--the country has a hard time following subtle logic, but it doesn't matter---George W. and his ilk would just get their children into the National Guard, and then get them into some deferrment situation if their division was called to battle, anyway. Like their fathers before them; it's a family tradition... of cowardice, but a tradition nevertheless. They are only courageous with other peoples lives.
Friday, November 17, 2006
I wrote this editorial last year.... As you can see, Americans stood up to the plate and hit it out of the park for change, and for a better way to the future....
Only 376 Shopping Days Until A New House and Senate
For the politicians who wage it, war has proven to be all too easy. You don’t have to figure out how to pay for a war. The public seems willing to accept deficits for such fights for freedom, even if a large portion of the deficit was caused by other administration policies unrelated to the war. For those same politicians; healthcare reform seems too daunting a task for them to seriously consider. Ironically, work on healthcare reform and so many other things suffers because the Iraq war is not costly to these politicians, even when they avoided their own generation’s call to battle. As many of them did their best to avoid active duty in Vietnam, so to will you rarely find their children going off to fight these wars today. Our officials wage war with faulty intelligence, poor planning and false claims of last resort, and before finishing the job in Afghanistan, but come election time have so far found they are not held accountable. They have also not been held accountable for anything else they have failed to do. Ineffectual, divisive, misleading government isn’t new. It just seems so much worse in the last five years that I’ve come to think of this as the “DoNothing”* Congress, Senate and Administration. It’s not that they don’t do anything, it’s just that so little of it is meaningful. They didn’t even attempt to tackle terrorism until it was thrust upon them on9/11. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the means to create a government that remembers it is made up of civil servants---elected officials that actually know they work for We—The People? Actually, the architects of our great nation gave us the tools 229 years ago but someone has to remind our politicians today. Maybe it’s time we show them they will be held accountable daily for doing a good job just like the rest of us are in our own careers. Imagine what would happen if we could tell them that they would be fired in a week if they didn’t create a solution for affordable healthcare. But we can’t. We can only fire them come election day. Then we can vote in responsible people who not only say we can accomplish anything, but are also ready to try and prove it. Reform healthcare? Instead of talking aboutMedical Savings Accounts and other methods of simply shifting more of the burden upon the backs of the beleaguered middle class we should seriously start working on fair and meaningful reform. That requires figuring out both how to do it and how to pay for it. Expand coverage by giving tax credits to businesses that put in health plans and add a couple of points of taxes to those that are profitable but don’t put in plans. Help taxpayers afford what they are already doing by reducing the 7.5% threshold for taking medical itemized deductions on your tax return to the2% applicable to other kinds of deductions. Pay for it by reinstating the estate tax that is not really adouble taxation, but rather a first tax on years and years of untaxed capital growth. Help provide coverage and increase competition by giving incentives and assistance for affordable health plans to be tested and offered by municipal hospitals and non-profit medical centers, for the uninsured, that can do the job that the insurance companies have abdicated. Pay for it with a small increase in the long term capital gains rate or rolling back the most generous tax cuts for the top 10%. There will also need to be changes to Pharmaceutical Marketing, Physician Management and a host of others too numerous to go into here. I am not saying every change will be offset dollar for dollar, but it’s a start. We have seen hundreds of billions in deficit spending over the years for arms build ups, wars and tax cuts. We certainly can spend some money to achieve affordable healthcare for everyone. Shouldn’t government work like our own lives do; responsibly, sharing the burdens and the rewards for the good of the entire nation? Instead we have this insular culture that bred an administration that’s forgotten who it works for, and that We, The People, are watching. With a big election day approaching only 376 days away...don't just send a message with your vote…send in the right people to do what needs to be done.
Now of course, it remains to be seen if America has voted in the right people. But they have attempted a start for change...and that is a good direction to be travelling in.... *I would like to point out that i termed this a "do nothing" congress before all those other pundits jumped on the bandwagon!
Friday, November 10, 2006
Two days. Two days! Two days we sat in that bar watching election news. Washing up in the bathroom sink. Satan wouldn't let me leave until things were settled. Somehow he got FOX News Network to cover it around the clock. "How did you manage that?" I asked.
"I told Murdoch I would change his circle, when the time comes. He was rating the bottom circle and he was anxious to get off there, because he said having to listen to Ken Starr for all eternity would have been too cruel, even for Hell."
"He has a point." I responded.
"Yeah?' The Devil grinned. "Wait until he finds out he'll spend all eternity push-polling with Karl Rove in Hell’s basement; trying to convince souls in heaven that Mother Theresa was actually a Gay Nazi named Hans." We both laughed and then a thought struck me.
“Did you ever go down to Georgia and get into a fiddlin’ contest because you were short on souls, or what?”
"Nah, that was just a song. I go down South all the time, but in this world I am never short for souls. I’m short on peaches and citrus fruit, sometimes, but never souls. And I don't play the violin. I play a mean guitar though; I have a Les Paul. I used to jam with Led Zeppelin, until they realized I wasn't just an acid hallucination, then they didn’t want to ‘hang with the devil anymore’ . I was so angry I created Disco!"
"Oh man, I like some Disco, but it's hard once I know it comes from Hell. I mean, now that I'm sure that's where it came from." I said.
"Ah, just kidding." Satan said.
"You mean you didn't create it?" I asked relieved.
"Oh, I created it, I just wasn't mad at Led Zeppelin when I did it." He laughed.
"Hey, look at the screen.” I pointed. “The Senate is finally a done deal! A Democratic sweep!" I smiled. Satan looked at me, and when he opened his mouth, his breath came out in a thick white cloud.
"Getting colder, huh?" I said.
"Just thinking about going back down 'home'. I'll be scraping ice off the furniture, for sure. But it doesn't happen too often, and all the women’s shirts look better when it’s cold down there anyway, so it isn't a total loss." He grinned.
"You're a pervert! Why doesn't that surprise me?" I asked.
"Just kidding. I actually heard Bill O'Reilly saying that in a men's room just before he got the news he was being sued for sexual harassment!" He laughed.
"Hey, look at the screen. McCain is going to be examining a run for the Presidency." I said.
"What do you think of him?" The Devil inquired.
"Not thrilled anymore. He used to have ideals and values, but he got pushed around by Bush and Rove and instead of attacking that brand of politics, he ended up siding with Bush to curry favor with far right conservatives. When Bush first plummeted in the polls, McCain said he was sticking by the President; that anyone could be loyal when the President was popular, but he would do it through thick and thin. The only thing is, from Bush's stance on torture, imprisoning without due process, and all, they clearly don't agree. McCain used to be a man of principle. But he has decided, it seems, that he would rather be a shoe-in for the Republican nod, then a fighter for the good fight that might not get the bid."
"What you call giving in might just be what he considers compromise." Satan posited.
"Don't play Devil's advocate with me!" I demanded, then, thinking about his defending McCain, I sputtered "Hey, don't tell me...."
"Yes." Satan responded, "He's hired me to help with his 2008 campaign. He figured he couldn't abide having to hire Rove, but he had to admit his practices were effective, so he decided to go to his mentor...."
"The Devil, you say." I said. "He might want to rethink those tactice in light of this election. And you know, it seems to me the only place we are going to see a Republican dominated Congress and Senate again anytime in the future is going to be down ‘south’ in your neck of the woods." I observed.
"Well, in all fairness, there are plenty of Dems knock-knock-knocking on Hell's door as well. But in general they don’t get into such big trouble with the ‘king of heaven’ because they don’t act like they know for a fact that God is on their side, much less then wage war falsely, torture, unlawfully imprison, that sort of thing. Besides politics, you should know, by the way, the lord also hates it when you claim he’s on your side for professional sports events or business deals. He really doesn’t care, and what do you think, the losers aren’t his children also?
Satan shook his head in disgust as he handed me another cigar.
"These are really good." I said.
"Cuban." He said.
"Of course." I said.
"Fidel thinks by supplying me I give him a few more years. He doesn't realize that I'm not allowed to rush these things. See, stupidity, like evil, knows no geopolitical boundaries." He smiled as we lit up. "In fact, I was talking to God about that just the other night."
"You talk to God?" I asked.
"Sure. We used to play poker every Thursday night."
"Used to?" I asked.
"It got boring. He's omniscient...he always folded before he lost, and if he stayed in...he won. He's not a good bluffer. He's too honest. And I can't bluff him because---"
"He's omniscient. Yeah, I see." I finished for him.
"All that, and oh, he cheats...." He said with a very straight face and sober expression, so I was sure he was kidding. Then he said, "I gotta get going in a few more minutes, " He said, "I have to make a little girl in San Diego puke up pea soup."
"Oh!" I gagged.
"Just kidding. You know, we don't really do that stuff." Satan laughed.
"What do you do these days?" I asked.
"Besides program director at FOX News? Well, you know how writers say people always ask them where they get their ideas?" He asked.
"Yes." I said.
"Sometime, when she is drunk, which is actually quite often, ask Ann Coulter where she gets her ideas!" He laughed and as I was about to inquire about whether that was a joke he continued, "But she was pissing me off lately, with her hubris, I hate hubris, so I gave her the idea to attack the 9/11 widows in her latest book. I did that and now I am going to have her investigated for lying on her drivers license about her age. Don't piss off the Devil!" He laughed.
"I try not to." I said.
"Yeah," he continued, "I really enjoy our conversations. You should know your blog is very popular in Hell. Being in the alternate reality of the hereafter, it won’t register on any ‘hit counters’. But you should know.”
"You have the internet?" I asked.
"Sure. Well, just dial-up. It is Hell, after all."
"I don't know if I should be flattered or horrified." I said.
"Both, I imagine." Satan said.
"If you have the internet, I bet porn is popular in Hell. A real distraction, you know."
"No access. We only allow them an AOL browser with full parental controls. It’s Hell, after all. We only get your blog because I assigned special access."
"Parental controls block my blog?" I asked.
"Sure. You curse. And the worst---what they really hate down there is when people say 'DAMN'."
"I see." I said.
"But they really love the pieces you do on me, and our conversations. They love them…or else!" He started laughing very heartily now. "If your book gets published I can promise you it will be a best seller in Hell...as long as you mention me."
"Thank you. I am sure you might come up once or twice. I begin the book with the first time I met you in this bar, and overheard your cellphone conversation." I said.
"You should also know that being a bestseller in Hell won't help you much. We pirate copies down there...with real pirates!" He said.
"So my blog is popular and my book will be a bestseller, but no one on Earth will know and it won't help me in any way at all? That sucks." I observed.
"Sure, it's Hell." He grinned.
I thought about that, and about not having changed my clothes or showering in two days and said: "I want to go home, it has been two days for crying out loud."
"That was your election process, not mine. " Satan responded. "There are still a few unsettled races in Florida though, due to voting irregularities” He observed.
"If we have to wait until there are no voting irregularities in Florida, we’ll be here for all eternity. I think we should get up an initiative to get Florida dropped from the electoral college. That way they can only screw up local elections. Although, maybe if they impeach Bush and his brother before he gets out of office, we can bring back credibility to the country and the vote. And maybe, somehow, find a way to get Bill Clinton back into the Whitehouse. We could really work on heathcare reform then. And finally, let me just say this…I want to go home! Do you have any idea how long it has been since I had sex?" I asked.
"It has only been two days since we’ve been here, what does that have to do with the last time you had sex?" Satan asked.
"Nothing. It's just been a while, it's hard enough just to find some time, and I just figured maybe you could do something about it.”
"Maybe I could...but of course, I won't. I'm the Devil, after all."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. I'm going home and taking a shower."
"Be careful. Don't slip in the tub. With all the time you spend with the devil, you might be guilty by association." He laughed.
"Oh, I don't believe it works like that." I said.
"You're right." Satan smiled, "that's not what will send you to Hell."
"Hey, what do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Gotta go." He said, "until next time."
"When will be the next time?" I asked, but he was already gone....
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
When Satan showed up at the bar, he was wearing a parka.
“Things getting a little chilly down there?” I asked
“It does happen, occasionally. If your blog ever becomes popular, I expect to be climbing glaciers and fighting polar bears for the last scraps of seal meat.”
“Very funny. Clearly you get a little testy when you don't think things are going to go your way.”
“I'm not omniscient, but I did a little of my own exit polling. It's not a random sampling, but I look at everyone who dies on Election Day from stress related disorders and see what party affiliation they have. I have to send my minions out to various emergency rooms for this information, because if I just relied on who gets sent down to hell, then every election would look like it's skewed against the Conservatives.” Satan started to laugh a little.
“I'm glad you always get a kick out of our little get-togethers.” I said
“I always laugh when the topic is politics. It was one of the few creations of mine that got to stick around.”
“Why doesn't that surprise me?” I asked rhetorically. Then, as I looked up at the flat screen I said, “Shhh, here come the first results.”
We sat there for hours, in a haze of cigar smoke, and the smell of various single malt scotches intermingling. It was one of the few bars in all the city where you can still smoke a cigar with your drinks. Although I'd given cigars up, I decided to have one with Satan. I figured, when Satan offers you a “light” I just as soon take him up on it and make sure it's just my cigar.
The Congress went to the Democrats. The Senate was still too close to call. “Hey!” I said. “Did you have anything to do with that?”
“Just trying to keep things interesting.” He smiled. Besides, I'm enjoying the Scotch. What's our rush?”
“All well and good.” I said. “But don't start playing around with hanging chads and the Supreme Court again!”
“No, I won't be doing that this time. I got away with it in 2000, but then after what I did in Ohio in 2004, I have been restricted from the United States national election process...for a little while....” Satan responded. Then he started to laugh, “I guess the thinking was... better late than never!” He said through the laughter.
Then they announced that Lieberman had won reelection. "Hey, what about that?" I asked.
"Every single thing wrong in the world is not always my doing." Satan responded.
"Okay. But what about that one?" I asked.
He didn't answer. He had a smirk on his face, and I wondered, but there were those restrictions he said he was under--temporarily. Then again, he was the one who told me about those restrictions. Could he be lying? He taught Karl Rove how to Push-Poll, he taught George W. that war as a last resort meant anytime you want to, he taught Ann Coulter that shamelessness, stupidity and lying are virtues, so why not be lying now?
To be continued as the results come in....