Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 16-July 26, 2006

July 25, 2006

Calling All Europeans

Sixty years ago the US helped Europe defeat fascism. Then we spent billions, through the the Marshall Plan, to put a devastated Europe back on its feet. After that we spent a few trillion bucks over the next half century protecting Europe from Soviet expansionism.

Sixty one years later, Europe is stronger than ever, socially and economically. Like Japan, postwar Europe was spared the lion's share of their own defense allowing them to pour resources into their own economies and to provide their citizens with better social services than most Americans can every dream of having. (Did someone say national health insurance?)

Today Europe is united, literally, and growing eastward. Muslim Turkey, already a member in (reasonably) good standing of NATO, is also in line for membership in the European Union. And, Germany, once the European neighborhood's resident bully, has become the continent's leading peacenik.

Why do I feel it necessary to mention all this?

Because, it's Europe's turn.

The West “won” the Cold War by stubbornly adhering to a strategy of containment. The rules of the game were clear and the lines not to be crossed, just as clear. The Soviet Union would not be preemptively attacked, but it would also not be allowed to expand.

That was a long war, not to mention a ridiculously expensive one, considering the two antagonists, Russia and the US, never fired a single shot or missile at one another.

Thanks largely to the policy of containment, Stalinist communist expansionism has been relegated to history books. And former Soviet satellites are involved in various degrees of social and economic development and self-discovery. Some have even been granted membership in NATO and others want to join. That outcome is my definition of a mission accomplished.

Which begs the question; if the policy of containment worked so well against the Soviet Union, a superpower, why haven't we tried it in the Middle East as way to similarly choke off the spread of radical Islam?

I believe it would work, and a lot better than what Bush has been up to. We should try containment to staunch the spread of radical Islam. But when I say “we” I am not talking about the US stepping up with another open commitment or open wallet. Nor am I talking about US troops setting up bases in the Middle East as we did in postwar Europe.

No. We've been there and done that, in spades. Now it's time for the folks we “done that” for, to do it for us.

What got me stewing about that this morning was a story in the paper saying that, while our European allies favored putting a multinational armed force into Lebanon, none of them were willing to contribute troops to such a force.

I guess that should not have surprised me. After all. it's just Europeans being Europeans. The modern history of the European continent is one of living in delusional, self serving denial right up the moment the sound jackboots are heard marching up the front steps. (The other day Newt Gingrich was on TV declaring that what's going on in the Middle East is nothing short of World War III. To which some wag emailed the program, “It's not a world war until France surrenders.”)

If you've read my previous posts, you know my feelings about radical Islam. I don't dismiss the rocky history between the west and Islam.... the Crusaders, the European colonialists, etc. etc. etc. And that that was followed by exploitation by western oil company carpetbaggers. And of course, there's the whole Israel/Palestinian, never-ending Jerry Springer show.

Yada, yada, yada. You know the whole “we're the real victims” drill as well as I do. We all know it. Everyone in the Middle East has gripe, many justified and just as many religious hallucination. After 60 years this enormous class of injured parties have finally convinced me that there can be no way to settle their cases to anyone's satisfaction. Their lists of grievances stretch back a thousands of years, with more counts added hourly.

Which brings me back to Europe. The world is currently seeking a solution to the current fighting in Lebanon. But that vision is dangerously narrow. Instead they need to broaden their notion of what the world currently faces -- and it's not just Jews v. Arabs or al Qaida v. The West. It's expansionist radical Islam. And while they are not (yet) armed with nuclear weapons, radical Islam poses no less a threat the world's democracies than Stalinist communism once did.

Having said that though, if Europe thinks the US will again shoulder the bulk of this new burden, they're seriously mistaken, for several reasons:

First, the Bush administration seemed to have forgotten the power of containment. Instead they figured we could scare the Arab nations straight by preemptively attacking one of them -- Iraq. That made about as much sense as if Richard Nixon had attacked Soviet Georgia to get Russian nukes out of there and to “free the poor Georgian people from Soviet oppression.” That never happened of course because, while Nixon was a crook and liar, he was not stupid. But, while Bush may not be a crook, he is both a liar and stupid.

Therefore, Bush and his neo-con sidekicks effectively pissed away any goodwill or credibility the US might have had when it comes to containing radical Islam or imposing discipline and order anywhere in Middle East.

Second, the US is broke – flat, up to our ass in debt, broke. We'll be lucky to get through the next decade without a crippling recession, or worse, a full-out depression. Washington can't even figure out how to fund Social Security just as Baby Boomers begin retiring. Or how to keep Medicare afloat even as aging Boomers joints, kidneys and other replaceable body parts just now begin wearing out. The US government currently has something just over $45 trillion in unfunded obligations.

So, can we spend a few trillion bucks containing the spread of radial Islam so Europeans can continue enjoying their lattes and croissants unmolested? Forgetaboutit.

NATO has been trying to redefine its mission now that the Soviet Union is no more. Well, hello, here it is. Step up to the plate, Europe. It's your turn to save democracy.

We're pooped.


Confused? More a few readers have emailed wondering just whose side I'm on. I seem to have created more than a little confusion with my two posts (below) regarding the mess in the Middle East. (The most recent mess.)

No, I haven't gone over to the dark side folks. I'm just trying to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brain fall out.

Let me take another run at the subject and see if can clear up the confusion.

Yes, it was wrong for the US to attack Iraq. Iraq was the wrong country, attacked for all the wrong reasons, and now we are fighting there to attain the wrong ends. As I wrote over a year ago, Iraq is not a nation but three nations. All the killing and bombing we see there today is just the real Iraqs trying to escape the unnatural Dr. Frankenstein monster-nation cobbled together and forced upon them by the British a century ago.

Ask any cop and he/she will tell you that the most dangerous calls they go on are family disputes. That's what Bush has put our troops right in the middle of – the Mother of All Family Disputes. Iraq wants to become three countries. You can call them, Sunniland, Shiiteland and Kurdland and, sooner or later, they will.

We can't midwife those births. Saddam held the artificial Iraq together the same way Tito held the former Yugoslavia together, with brute force and savagery. Before we “liberated” Iraq only Sunnis were allowed to massacre Shiites. Now everyone gets to play. It's going to be very messy, but they are bound and determined to do it their way. We need to get the hell out of the way and let them get about it. Trying to tell these three tribes they should live peacefully together is a fool's errand. And we're those fools.

So, send most US home, move a strong contingent to Kuwait, then watch the fur fly.

The Lebanese people need to decide if their country is going to be "Lebanon" or "Hezbollon."

If they want it to be Lebanon, then they need to drop the hammer on Hezbollah. If they can't do that alone they need to ask for help from other Arab countries. If they refuse, then NATO should step up to the plate and give the Lebanese whatever they need to cleanse these spoilers from their country.

But so far the Lebanese have chosen to try to be a little bit pregnant -- which of course is quite impossible. Either they are a sovereign nation with control within their own borders, or they're not a nation. And up to today Lebanon is not a nation.

Forty percent of Lebanese are Shiites, which complicates their views of Hezbollah. Israel is currently trying to focus the Lebanese attention on their country's lacking nationhood. The Lebanese can't have it both ways. Either they are a nation with a non-aggression policy towards it's neighbors, or it's a lawless country unable and/or unwilling to control a private army that hides behind its borders and uses its territory to attack Israel.

Everyone is up in arms about how the poor Lebanese are being punished for the actions of a few. Well, if the Lebanese don't want to get caught in the middle of future crossfires they have to cut bait and evict Hezbollah once and for all. If they don't Israel will, from time to time, have to cross the border and fumigate.

Until Lebanon get's it's nationhood act together, it's people will continue to suffer from the sins of commission of others, and their own sin of omission.

Iran and Syria:
NATO needs to treat these two perpetual trouble makers the same way it treated the old Soviet Union – containment backed up by a credible military deterrent. Everyone knows that the silly UN kabuki dance is not going to get Iran to stop trying to build nukes. Therefore NATO should meet in emergency session and emerge with a no nonsense set of “Don't Do That,” rules:

1)Tell Iran to stop enriching uranium within ten days or face a total air, sea and land blockade. Only food and medicines will be allowed into the country and nothing, including oil, gets out.

2)Let the Iranians know that NATO nations fully understand that Iran can strike back in a number of asymmetric ways, and that NATO nations are fully prepared suffer the consequences of any Iranian sponsored retaliation and will respond in a robust and disproportionate manner.

3)Likewise, NATO should put Syria on notice that if it is caught aiding Hezbollah or Hamas in attacks on anyone, Syria will be added to the blockade.

I know many readers shudder whenever I include the military in these matters, but come on, get real. If Iran, or its surrogates, like Hezbollah, get nukes, it's game over. For the first time since 1945 nuclear bombs will explode in cities. That's not neo-con scare mongering. It's common sense. If you want to play bet your life wagering that it will never come to that, fine. But you're betting my life along with yours, and I see the odds very differently.

So, Iran must not be allowed to get nukes.

This is the world we live in folks. It's an dangerous place run by an frightening collection of odd balls, psychopaths and morons. Frankly, I consider it a miracle our species has made it this far. But it's pure folly to delude ourselves that we can make it through the next fifty years by just holding hands and sing Kumbaya.

That's all I was saying.

Have a nice weekend.

July 19, 2006

The American Left's
"Sounding Like Bush”

The American left – of which I would like to consider myself a left of center member – has a problem sorting out how respond to the key challenge of our time – radical Islam.

Our parents faced a similar test in mid-1930s, and the first time around they failed that test. Rather than pulling the plug early on Germany's goose-march into fascism, Europeans and Americans blamed themselves.

Germany was, they misled themselves, just reacting to the humiliating and disproportionately punitive terms we imposed on them by the victors of World War I. All the Nazis were trying to do, they rationalized, was to regain Germany's' honor, rebuild it's civilian and military institutions and return itself as a member in good standing of the European community of nations.

It wasn't until half of Europe was in flames that our parents generation saw German fascism and Japanese aggression for what they were – a direct and unambiguous attack on everything they valued.

America's left today is stuck where Western countries were in 1936. They view Muslim hostility, and growing violence, towards the west as entirely the west's own fault -- a reaction to centuries of western colonization and exploitation. Countries like Syria and Iran, and popular movements, like Hamas and Hezbollah, are not practicing terrorism, the the left contends, but are liberation movements. They are just fighting to return Muslims to their glory days, before westerners destroyed their once proud and advanced civilization.

Muslim anger towards the west, the left rationalizes -- like that of the Germans of the 1930's -- is little more than an understandable response to the humiliation the west has heaped on Muslims for six centuries.

Then there's the “Israel Problem.” The left doesn't quite know what to do when it comes to Israel – an advanced western democracy precariously nesting within the very heart of the Muslim world.

I understand the source of the left's knee-jerk hostility towards Israel. After all, the creation of modern Israel in the wake of WW II was a classic example of arrogant, colonial boundary drawing. Europeans and Americans used Israel's creation as a way to cleanse themselves of the well-earned guilt for doing nothing to stop the Nazis from snuffing out 6 million European Jews. The only trouble is those western nations took that guilt bath at someone else's expense. As the old saying goes, "never write a check someone else has to cover." That's just what the west did when it created Israel – wrote a check the Palestinian people had to cover.

I am not going to get in to a debate as to whether the creation of modern Israel was right or wrong, because such a debate now can yield neither side anything but more misery. Having that argument now is about as relevant as reopening the debate over whether American settlers had any right at all to shove indigenous Indians off their lands on onto reservations. As moral principle, of course they didn't. As a practical matter today, that bell can't be un-rung -- and the same goes for the whole creation of Israel business.

Which is why, when I hear American leftists arguing that Israel should just allow displaced Palestinians to return to their old lands in Israel, I am tempted to ask them where they live so I can find the Indian tribe that once lived there and invite them to move back. I am sure the big-hearted lefty wouldn't mind. It's just silly liberal clap trap.

Don't get me wrong. I am not giving the Israelis a free pass on their own misbehavior. They should have returned the West Bank territories to the rightful owners decades ago. Instead they took a page from Hitler's own expansionist play book by declaring that Israel needed the room to grow. The Nazis justified their land grabs by describing by claiming they needed "lebensraum" (living space.) Jewish settlers, aided and protected by the Israeli army, saw the capture of the West Bank as their chance to expand Israel's boundaries. When they were forced by international pressure to stop new settlements, they insisted on expanding existing one. Their rational – they needed to accommodate “natural growth,” in those settlements. In other words, they needed lebensraum.

When you start going down the wrong path things can only get worse. So, by occupying Arab populated lands the Israelis had unwittingly set the timer ticking on a demographic time bomb. With Arabs reproducing faster than Israelis they would soon have more political clout than Israelis. In response Israel began acting like another fascist regime, the old apartheid government of South Africa. The occupation is a cancer on Israeli society and psyche. It must end.

So, I fully understand, and even in some cases share, the lefts' condemnation of such Israeli misbehavior. Israel should answer for it's misdeeds, stop repeating them and make amends for them.

But double standards are always wrong be from the political left of the right.

Which brings me to the Arabs. To listen to the American left you'd think they were little more than innocent bystanders every time the shit hits the fan in the Middle East. And, that if the west would just leave them alone, stop supporting Israel and stop annoying them the Muslim nations of the region would stop annoying us. And, as for those frequent Arab-sponsored attacks on Israel -- as far as the left is concerned, Israel is just asking for it dressing like that.

That's the fundamentalist left's view of the conflict. (Yes, there is a fundamentalist left, just as there's a fundamentalist right. And they are just as inflexible and, more often than not, just as wrong.)

Without excusing Israel's own misbehavior, I don't see it that simplistically. There isn't a nation on earth that's perfect. Some are closer than others, but none of them have entirely clean hands. Having said that though western countries are demonstrably better places to live. The west, for all it lingering faults and foibles , is far more socially and institutionally advanced and enlightened. And, despite our occasional backsliding, western nations are light years ahead of the Muslim world when it comes to respecting and protecting individual freedoms and human rights -- Light years ahead. (I would venture to bet, big money, that westernized Israel, for all it's faults, remains the only country in that region any of these moralizing western lefties would dare try to live in. Because in any other Middle Eastern nation, such rabble rousers for freedom, truth and the American way would quickly learn they weren't in Kansas any more.)

This is especially true of what I call the “self-hating western female.” I am always left breathless when I hear liberal western women activists making excuses for the viscious and institutionalize misogynistism of Muslim nations and groups. I go back a long way with the women's liberation movement – back to those silly old, but quaint, bra burning days. Even then, as a horny young man, I could never get my head around the reason any society would treat half their members as though they had nothing more to offer than hot meals and babies. It was not just wrong, but a breathtaking waste of human capital.

Which is why today when I hear liberal women mealy-mouthing support for Islamic cultures that treat treat their women like chattel (and in many cases, like cattle) it leaves me muttering to myself... “what the f..............?!?!?!?!?!?!?” It makes me wish I could sentence these wester women a year in Death Valley wearing a full berka. They could call themselves the Sisterhood of Shame.

Here's another problem the American left suffers from. The left has allowed neo-cons to deny them valid arguments. Like male dogs that piss on bushes and lamp posts, neo-cons have claimed ownership of key policy positions. They have done so by tainting those arguments. If the Bush administration uses an argument to justify something that is clearly the wrong -- like attacking Iraq... from that day forward that argument becomes a no-go zone for liberals. It's rendered radio active. Nevermind that all or parts of the argument might be justified in other cases. If Bush used it, it must be wrong. Always wrong.

I call this the left's “fear of sounding like Bush syndrome." And these days, the left would rather be wrong, than to sound like Bush. (Remember the right's old 1950's “Better dead, than red syndrome." It's the same kind of mindset.)

And nowhere is this more true than when the left has to confront the growing threat of the worldwide Islamic terrorist movement. The Bushies lied and demagogued the issue of Islamic terrorism after 9/11 in order to scare Americans into relinquishing liberties and justify attacking Iraq. Therefore, to wit, it follows now that when a western leader or pundit warns of the growing danger of Islamo-fascism, such fears are just lies, exaggerations, pretexts. Islamic terrorism is just a neo-con boogie man.

Well, try and tell that train riders in Spain, Britain and now India. Try to tell that to Australian vacationers in Bali or Nigerian embassy employees. That boogie man turned out being too real.

And -- here's where it gets sticky again -- try to tell that to Sunni and Shiite civilians in Iraq who are nolonger being killed by American bombs, but by Muslim hit squads. (Which, the left is quick to reply, is still our fault. In this case the left has a point.. but only half a point. The other half they choose to ignore. Before we unseated Sunni leader Saddam, only Shiites were masqueraded at the hands the ruling Sunnis. Now they are free to massacrer one another. By toppling Saddam we freed all Muslim tribes in Iraq to be all they can be. And they are doing just that. They are using their new-found freedom to clean up their tribal regions. It's called ethnic cleansing and it's all the rage in Bush's liberated Iraq.)

Finally, since the Bushies snookered the world into using force when force was not justified, the left now can never suggest using military force for “fear of sounding like Bush.”

So, in an increasingly dangerous world, the left has been left without arguments or policy positions untainted by the right. Israel has be always wrong. The US is always wrong. The Muslims are always victims. Terrorism is not a threat but just the west's colonialist chickens coming home to roost.

Most of which is pure, unadulterated nonsense. And voters know it. Trading Bush bad policies for the left's no policies is not something voters either deserve, or will stand for. If the left is ever going lead America again it has to get a grip on reality. And that begins by embracing clear-eyed, coherent policies -- policies based on how thing are, not how we wish the were. We can begin by agreeing on some basic principles. But the left has it's orthodoxy and those of us who question it re savaged for “sounding like Bush.” Believe me, I am bracing myself for the onslaught this post will earn me.

But simply denying the that fundamentalist Islamic moverments worldwide pose a threat to the democracies of the west is the same as when the right denies global warming -- and just as dangerous.

For fear of "sounding like Bush, I say, the left needs to knock that shit off, and agree on some fundamental concepts:

1)Agree that, while Israel certainly has a right to exist, it must stop using Biblical title reports to justify grabbing lands that do not belong to them. And they need to get the hell out of the occupied territories. If the handful of large settlements bordering the Israel cannot be returned then Israel needs to give the Palestinians equal portions of Israeli real estate adjacent to either the West Bank or Gaza in return. No. They can't just keep those lands without paying for them.
2)Agree that, while it was unfair to displace Palestinians when Israel was created, what's done is done and cannot not be undone with creating more suffering and more trouble. But Israel and the western powers that wrote that check over 60 years ago now need to write a few more checks – this time to those displaced Palestinians.
3)Agree that fundamentalist Islamic (neo-fascist) movements offer no good solutions for the problems that face that region or the world, but are themselves a problem. That, be they Christian, Jewish or Islamic, all intolerant, non-inclusive, hate-based fundamentalist movements represent a cancer that civilized nations should oppose, through peaceful means if possible, but with military force when necessary.
4)Agree that there really are core western values worth fighting for and which must always be non-negotiable; the rule of law, separation of church and state, freedom of speech and equal treatment for all – and that means women in all cultures -- Islamics included.

So there. Let's all stop making excuses for bad behavior -- be it by America, Israel or Muslim countries. But please, don't make the same mistake we made in 70 years ago. Because some of the worst behavior the world has seen since the then now festers at the very heart of the Muslim world – not the west.

And those on the left who indulge themselves in blame-shifting and rationalizing that behavior do so at all our peril.

the Middle East

Let's stop kidding ourselves. With the exception of Israel there isn't a single nation in the Middle East with the social/political maturity required to play in mankind's major league. The major league being, of course, the nations on earth which, to one extent or another, used the last thousand years to change, mature and develop.

Political correctness has led us into a deadly trap. Perpetrating the fiction that backward Arab Islamic cultures are ready to embrace modern democratic systems of governance has gotten at least 3000 American soldiers, and tens of thousands of Afghan and Iraqis killed over the last three years. And for what? We have nothing to show for it. Nothing but coffins.

And now we have new fighting between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah. Evidence that the West's approach to radical Islam is not only not working, but actually counter productive, abounds. The impotence of so-called moderate Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in the face of the current crisis is a clue. The aiding and abetting by Iran and Syria of Islamo-fascist Hezbollah is another clue. Iran's stubborn refusal to stop it's march towards a nuclear bomb in the face of world condemnation, is another clue. Shiites murdering Sunnis and Sunnis murdering Shiites in Iraq, is another clue. And not just murdering them. That's not enough for these throwbacks. First they use an electric drill to drill holes through their hands which they then bolt together. Then they kill them.

When democracy is tried by one of these Arab countries, what do they do with it? They elect radical Islamo-fascists whose first actions are to subordinate civil law to fundamentalist Sharia rule. Women's rights? Forget about it. Back into your berka, bitch!

The West needs to take a timeout and completely rethink it's approach to what's become an out of control Muslim fundamentalist wildfire. Attempts to lure, cajole or drag these 12th century populations into the 21st century has only made matters worse.

The uncomfortable, politically incorrect fact is they are not able, they are not willing and they are not ready. Despite what George W. may think, democracy is not a state of nature but a state of mind. Arab nations are not there yet. Not even close.

But they are armed and dangerous. The social/political religious retardation of Arab nations poses a greater threat to the West than the Soviets ever did. The Soviets saw war with the West as something to be avoided. Fundamentalist Islam sees war with “infidels” of the West as not only inevitable, but the will of God.

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a (nut)case in point. It's as if you woke up this morning to discovered that Rev. Jerry Falwell had been elected President of the United States and David Duke Vice President. Ahmadinejad is both ... a fundamentalist's fundamentalist and a rabid anti-semite.

You simply can't “deal” with such people. And, believe me, they have no interest in “dealing” with us either.

Forget about “bringing democracy to the Middle East.” What the Arab nations need more than lessons in democracy is a good dope slap from the rest of the world. They need to be sent to their rooms until it they can learn to behave – no biting, no scratching, no hitting, no name calling and learn to share.

Stop with the “Islam is a peaceful religion,” nonsense too. The Amish are a peaceful religion. The Quakers are a peaceful religion. Fundamentalist Islam is provably not a peaceful religion -- not even when it's on it's best behavior. Like fundamental Christianity and radical Zionists, fundamentalist Islam is exclusive, narrow minded, and hostile to those who refuse to share and adhere to their beliefs. Money is not the root of all evil, religious zealots are. History documents this beyond argument. And not since the Inquisition has the world seen self-righteous cruelty and aggressive religious zealotry the likes of radical Islam.

So, what to do about it?

First, stop trying to democratize Arab countries. We might as well be trying to modernize stone age Amazon tribes by air dropping them Dell laptops. It's just silly. No, it's worse than than silly -- it's dangerous, as we have seen in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. Arab countries don't use democracy, they misuse it. Given the vote they elect the very fundamentalists the vote was supposed to marginalize. Instead democracy has legitimized them. (The law of unintended consequences – duh!)

Stop pretending these countries are even trying to become part of the modern world. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordon, Egypt – have to choose. Stop pandering to the primitive Islamic forces within their own countries. Make hate speech a crime, then enforce it. Close Islamic schools that refuse to teach a benign and inclusive form of Islam. Arrest mullahs that preach hate and jihad from their pulpits. Lock up those who espouse jihad. Pull all Islamo-fascist cells up by the roots.

The Arab countries that refuse to do so and instead continue to harbor, finance or supply jihadists should be punished with militarily enforced embargoes -- land, sea and air. And, yes, that must include oil exports. No pain, no gain. International banking transactions with such countries would be restricted to payments for food and medicine only. Nothing else goes in or comes out.

Countries that still allow jihadists to launch attacks from their territories should be immediately punished with attacks on key infrastructure. These countries have shown time and again they care a lot more about their power plants, bridges, military bases and palaces than they do about the lives of their own people. So, rather than waste either our soldier's lives or theirs, hit infrastructure. And keep hitting it until they cry “uncle.” (See NFR "Don't Do That" defense policy)

What we have done in Iraq could not have been a bigger mistake. Putting Western troops on the ground in one of these Arab nations to an attempt to pacify it is like trying to cure a chicken killing dog by throwing chickens into it's pen. Arab nations have plenty of people and don't seem to mind sacrificing them for Allah – even using them as human smart bombs. That's their strength. The West needs to play to it's strength – technology – by using stand off weapons to pound the offending nation's expensive and hard to replace infrastructure.

But, to paraphrase Don Rumsfeld, it all begins by coming to terms with the enemy we are actually dealing with, rather than the enemy we wish we were dealing with. Trying to force feed democracy to these primitive Muslim dominated Arab societies is like taking a baseball bat to a hive of killer bees. And that's exactly what we've done in Iraq.

It's time admit that Islam, what ever it may have been, has now been taken over by folks with a lot more in common Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot than Abraham, Jesus or Mohammad.

And then act accordingly.

Friday, July 14, 2006

July 6 - July 14, 2006

Selected Responses to
Calling All Suckers Post

Steve, you wrote:

"The other way - the better way -- is for liberials to free themselves from the lodestone of political correctness -- to stop pretending the Wal-Mart-er demographic is worthy of an iota of respect.
Instead of trying to humor them, confront their lazy ignorance and their knee-jerk jingoism."

I have been doing this for awhile. The problem is that they are everywhere. Family, friends co-workers. I swear to God, the best analogy I can think of is the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Remember at the end, when the girl comes out of the bushes and taps Donald Sutherland on the back? He turns and looks at her with those blank eyes and screams the alien scream. He has become one of them.

So, if you do this, prepare to live your life being told by these mouth breathers that you are just jealous, or that you are too stupid to understand whats really happening in the world. It is just a cycle. It is all gonna turn around. Gas will go down, the ice sheets will be back in a year or two, and interest rates are gonna fall.

These people are not sane in the way that we used to think of it. Honestly I believe that it is from 30 years of TV, talk radio, video games and mental sloth. I don't even bother to come in here and read
much anymore. Even on the Internet the pettiness and attention to worthless stories as you describe is rampant. Check out Salon and Huffpost. In order to get readers they pander to these retards. Honestly, I feel like finding a nice little cave somewhere to hide out and just "come and get me when its all over".

At present, my family is no longer speaking to me. I mean total extended family. I made a crack at a dinner after listening to these whiners complain about everything under the sun. My crack mainly was
this: We are a people that has everything. TV, computer, 2 or 3 SUV's in the driveway, nice homes, nice clothes, eat 3 squares a day, and all we do is bitch and lust after things that will make the neighbors
envious. Nothing is good enuff.

Bring up Iraq, oh god no! In addition to being a negative downer Laura, you are also depressing. Lets get back to the real stuff like the houses up on the hill that we can buy on our blue collar wages -- if they just get rid of the principal portion of our monthly payment. Then we can flip it in 5 years and get a better house, or get that Hummer. The young couple is building a house in a project where the density is like rats. They are coughing up 300,000 build this house from scratch on this ant hill because they "will never get just the right floor plan if they buy a 10 year old house." This couple has been married for 2 years and has brand new twin boys. No one talks about saving for their future, college education or even retirement planning. Nope, its all about impressing everyone else.

No one has any hobbies. No one wants any hobbies. No one can talk about anything except themselves. No one reads books. It is just pure greed and misery because it is never enough. Never.

One thing I do know. We do not want these people voting. Ever.

So, I just press on with my home remodel, do my artwork, garden and work in the yard and stay the hell away from the world. It is so depressing. Thanks for showing up once in a while to give me a little
hope that I am not a psycho.

Laura (AKA, AppleAnne)

Mr. Pizzo,
My wife recommended that I read your "Calling All Suckers" piece. I didn't want to, but I did.

I knew it would hurt.

Everytime I read one of your opinion pieces, I have to put a tin hat on because I KNOW that you're reading my mind. And when I point out your blog to coworkers, they all have to wear tin hats, too. We're not sure if you have secret journalistic prism powers or if our heads are bugged. You are articulating our doubts, our fears, our social fatigue, and our impotent rage at 'leaders' who confuse (mis)information with knowledge, force with power, religion with faith, and viciousness with honesty.

PLEASE STOP! Don't you understand? There's enough of us wearing these hats that we're visible from the space shuttle. It's a hell of a thing when you fear the attention of your government.

On the other hand, maybe you're right to continue. It helps to have the reasoned, well-sourced material you give us when we're pulled into those conversations that start with the media's or administration's latest attempt at misdirection "We gotta do something about this gay marriage thing? ...Can you believe that Barbara fired Star?"

Yeah, keep going. I look forward to coming home after an exciting day in IT and reading your blog. Somehow it leave me feeling less isolated, and relieves me of that doubt of my own judgment.

Those bastards reall ARE trying to kill us. Yossarian was right.

Thank you for your efforts. They aren't wasted.

Tom P.

July 10, 2006

Calling All Suckers

To proceed from one truth to another, and connect distant propositions by regular consequences, is the great prerogative of man.
— Samuel Johnson: Rambler #158

Oh man, am I going to get in trouble for this post. But, damn it, someone needs come right out and just say it. So here goes.

We liberals are often accused of being elitists, that we look down on fellow Americans, those red-state folk who consider Wal-Mart the best thing to happen to America since Hostess Cup Cakes.

Well, it's time to come clearn. We do. We've tried not to, but they make it really hard. So it's time to come out of the closet. We do look down on them. But not for the reasons they think we look down on them. It's not because they prefer a night with Jerry Springer than live theater or because they can't tell the difference between Ripple and a good California Merlot or prefer a Big Mac with fries to a healthy salad.

No. The reason we look down on them has nothing to do with any of that kind of trivial stuff. We look down on them because they are natural born suckers. And, as such have aided and abetted in the the closest thing that we've seen to a constitutional coup in American history. Oh, and because they don't seem to care, in fact, like it.

We look down on them because, as a group, they know more about current NASCAR standings than they know -- or care to know -- about what's afoot within the top ranks of their own government. And, as we've learned at each election since 1994 – they vote.

These Wal-Mart-ers prefer their information on the light side, hold the nuance. As they flip their TV remotes through a couple hundred channels of brain Novocaine, they occasionally cross paths with the news. And the news wants those glazed eyeballs. FOX and CNN now compete for the Wal-Mart-er demographic. Both networks know that Wal-Mart-ers suffer from notoriously short attention spans and that they hate stories that take more than 30 seconds to explain. But that they are particularly partial to animal stories and any footage showing some poor guy getting slammed in the crotch by an object moving at high speed.

CNN knows that if it's going reel in these mouth-breathers they must do so quickly, before they can relocate their remotes. Which explains why that, at a time when the seeds of civil war first sprouted in Iraq, and Iran began building nukes, and North Korea built more nukes, and 45 million American's, including many of these very viewers, could not afford health insurance, and the polar ice caps began to shrink, and genocide raged in Sudan, CNN served up near-nonstop coverage of ---- “BREAKING NEWS: The Run-a-Way Bride.”

In a recent editorial, scholar Robert Rapaport put it this way:

“Should we call it "The Cracker Factor?" Unless explained by CNN's presence in Atlanta, or the ghost of Scarlett O'Hara rampant, how do we account for this previous year's crop of overheated, overexposed, over-the-top stories about life-supported-spouses, kidnapped children, missing high-schoolers, run-amok lacrosse teams, and run-away brides, emanating from the American South? ... “ Wallowing in the coverage of this Confederate cornpone-ucopia has been enough of a slog. Worse, are the scoldings we Yankee/liberals seem destined to endure about our social, political, and moral shortcomings from such Southern scions as Senators Bill Frist and Saxby Chambliss, the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and former House Republican generalissimo's, Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich. It is enough to make an ex-New Englander conjure up the satanic despoiler himself; General William Tecumseh Sherman, for a second tromp through Georgia. (Full)

Rapaport gets it just right. Look no further than CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who named his daily news show, “The Situation Room.” When you name a daily show, “The Situation Room,” there damn well better be a friggin “situation” every day. Lacking stories any real news person would consider a “situation,” CNN pumps up whatever is happening at the moment, no matter how trivial, declaring it “situation” de jur.

All of which is perfectly fine as far as our Wal-Mart-er viewers are concerned. They prefer a trivial “situation,” to a news story that forces them to balance opposing views or challenges their low-brow opinion on how things oughta be. So it came to pass that a story about a goofy looking woman who deserted her boyfriend at the alter, became a ratings winner -- the nacho chip version of news. No upsetting pictures of starving childrent or global warming hand wringing. And definitely no booooooooorrrring footage of some Democrat alleging the President of the United States may be breaking the law or aiding and abetting in war crimes. (“In the old days, dang it, we knew what it meant for a President to break the law, like when Clinton lied about sex. Now that was something! Grunt, grunt.” )

Yes, we liberals look down on them, the Wal-Mart-ers, those zombie suckers. Because they not only don't know much, but don't care to. They are the great un-curious mass that elected one of their own kind to run our country. They are universally un-curious. Science and supertition homogenize in their brains. Most march dutifully off to church each Sunday's clutching a King James version of the Bible, yet show no curiosity why the God they claim is Perfection, required a royal editor. Or that since their bible is a “version,” -- says so right inside the cover -- a version of what? If there are other versions, what's that all about? Never mind. These folks like their religion the same way they like their politics – straight up, unmixed, uncomplicated, like beer. Anything that challenges their religious or social beliefs are, at best, just noise, unworthy of consideration and, at worst, seditious.

These people brush aside evidence that the neo-conservatives they elected to high office are less like their father's Republicans and a lot more a pack of neo-fascists. (And they definitely don't want to hear a history lecture on how ordinary Germans, working stiffs just like them, were suckered by Nazi Party seventy years ago. Because, the Wal-Mart-ers grunt, whatever the superficial similarities, it's not fascism when we do it.)

The Wal-Mart-ers have been quiet since they returned George W. Bush, et al to office in 2004. But the neo-cons have begun stirring up their sucker-brigades in preparation for the November mid-term election. I know because I've begun getting hate-emails from these knuckle-draggers:

Mr. Pizzo:
Did you know the Swift Boat people are genuine heroes, not phonies like Kerry and Murtha. But then real heroes make Liberals feel guilty about enjoying the protection of real men. I do know you Liberals NEVER WANT TO TO READ THE OPPOSITE POINT ..... You're so full of shit. You should be considered anti-American. You, like Murtha are quick to present the negative and now you, your kind, including Murtha are shown to be liers and full of shit.

(Most Wal-Mart-ers seem to suffer from a sticky ALL CAPS key. It's their way of grunting, virtually.)

Anyway they are baaaacckkkk -- the Wal-Mart-er voters. They've put down their remotes, rallied by the call of the wild neo-con. Called back into action for November. From radio talk shows, to the floor of Congress, to the White House, the sucker bait has been put out:

* “The liberals are burning your flag! Are you gonna let them get away with it?”
* “Boys are marrying other boys! Girls are marrying other girls. Is your child next?”
* “Your President took the guy the runs Japan to Graceland today! Whata guy -- A real guy... not like those two fairies in that gay cowboy movie!”
* “Fur-in-ers – maybe carrying dirty bombs! -- are flooding across our borders and the liberals want to take your gun away.”
* “The liberal media is undermining the war and aiding the terrorists.”

Sucker bait. And it's strong stuff apparently. Because it's able to make the Wal-Mart-ers vote against their own interests -- not once, but over and over again.

From: K. Rove

Subject: Calling all suckers.

We need you real Americans once again. Pay no attention to the fact that, since you put us in power, we've gutted the US industrial base, supplanted good paying skilled jobs with low-paying service jobs. Or that you, and everyone you know, are drowning in debt or that you may not be able to afford health insurance. Oh, and pay no mind to the pile of federal IOU's that has soared to stars over the past six years, it's not a problem. It's just paper. And even as record hurricanes, tornadoes and forest fires devastate whole regions, don't listen to those liberal global warming alarmists. They just want to raise your taxes.

Pay no attention to any of that stuff. Because none of that is more important than making sure the godless liberals do not gain control of Congress this November. So drop that remote. Cancel that trip to Wal-Mart. America (and God!) needs you to vote Republican this Fall. It's us against the tax raising, flag-burning, gay-marriage loving, god-hating liberals -- and their friends in the terrorist-loving media.

We know we can count on you.


Yeah, I know it's silly crap. But have no doubt about it -- it works -- every time. These suckers have the flattest learning curve in the history of mankind. If they were chickens they'd accept a dinner invitation from Col. Sanders.

So there. I got it off my chest. Call me culture snob if you must. But that's how I feel. I am sick and tired of trying to pretend that those folks... the Wal-Mart-ers.. actually have something valuable to teach us. Or, that while I may disagree with them on some things, the ideas that motivate them hold any moral equivalence with the actual challenges facing America and the world. Because they don't. Not even close. The issues that motivate the Wal-Mart-ers are simplistic, divisive sucker bait, set out for suckers who, time and time again, gobble it all down, even though there own lives get worse each time. Only a moron would fall the same scam so many times. There's simply no other way to interpret such behavior.

Still, as I said, there's a helluva lot of them out there, and Democrats have learned that these folks cannot be ignored. The GOP has perfected the care and feeding of this army of zombie suckers into an fine art. When summoned they march, stiff-legged, to Karl Rove's violin - every time.

So, it's time to start dealing with them. But how?

As I see it there's only two ways to deal with them this group. One way is to engage them, try to win them over to our side. That's what Hillary Clinton is trying to do with her silly-ass flag burning amendment. Instead of fighting the “vast rightwing conspiracy,” Hillary court it. Which is okay I guess if all you care about is getting caried into high office on the backs of morons.

The other way – the better way -- is for liberials to free themselves from the lodestone of political correctness -- to stop pretending the Wal-Mart-er demographic is worthy of an iota of respect. Instead of trying to humor them, confront their lazy ignorance and their knee-jerk jingoism. Question their own patriotism when they try to insert religious dogma into the secular political process, or make excuses for unconstitutional misbehavior by the executive branch. Six years ago excuses could be made for them. But now the damage those they put into power is so evident no future excuses can be made for them. They're like parents who continued to send their kids to slumber parties with Michael Jackson.

I'm tellin' ya, the time has come to crack heads, figuratively speaking, with these low-brow, ill-informed voters. Because democracy is not a state of nature but a state of mind. And as such, it requires just that – a mind – to be effective. It needs minds that think, question, examine and votes based on facts rather than mindless nonsense.

It's time liberals get past their reluctance to call a spade a spade when it comes to the GOP's army of ignoramus suckers. Because, as the last six years have shown with brutal clarity, these sucker voters, even more so than terrorists -- represent nothing less than a clear and present danger to our own democracy.

July 5, 2006

Duck and Cover Redux

I'm not reassured.

First they said it was six

No, belay that, it was just three.

Hold it. The first report was correct, it was six.

Nix that. It was five.

Okay, this time we've got it -- it was six after all.

Now it's seven.

The Russians and South Koreans say there were ten.

That was the – dare I call it the Chinese fire drill -- that unfolded at the White House on the day North Korea shot a baker's half-dozen missiles in our general direction. Foxy Tony Snow really earned his money that day, running back and forth between the White House press room and the White House situation room changing the number of missiles up, down, up, down and back up again all morning.

Hours after North Korea pushed the launch buttons, our US Commander-in-Chief still had only the foggiest idea what had been heading our way. Were they the big Taepodong Two intercontinental missles? Or were they shorter range Scuds? Or both? Or a combination of all the above? They clearly and demonstrably did not know, and didn't know for an unsettling amount of time.

The bottom line: had this been the real thing Hawaii might be missing an island this morning.

Of course the Pentagon was quick to reassure folks this morning that they were ready, willing and able to shoot down an incoming Korean missile, had it appeared heading our way. Which is of course utter nonsense -- and a barefaced lie.

The US Missile Defense System (AKA “Star Wars”) has been controversial since Ronald Reagan dreamed it up nearly a quarter century ago. I have neither the desire nor energy to re-argue the case(s) for and against such a system. But, in light of this week's happenings, I am forced to wonder what have they've done with my $500 billion spent on it so far?

By this time, and with all that money, our Commander in Chief, whose command is required before interceptor missiles can be launched, still had less information during this crisis than CNN had. Worse yet, CNN had better information.

So, twenty years and $500 billion later here's what we have: If someone launches a missile attack with our address on it, we still cannot tell exactly how many missiles are heading our way or what kind of missiles they might be. All we know is something wicked our way comes – maybe.

If you inclined to find comfort in the Pentagon's post launch chest thumping, you just haven't been paying attention. Yes, it's true that President Bush has ordered a limited deployment of the first missile interceptors, based in California and Alaska. But be clear, those two Star Wars bases are to US missile defense what the Potemkin Village is to North Korea. All show, no go.

In the past six years of flight tests, here is what the Pentagon's missile-defense agency has demonstrated: A missile can hit another missile in mid-air as long as a) the operators know exactly where the target missile has come from and where it's going; b) the target missile is flying at a slower-than-normal speed; c) it's transmitting a special beam that exaggerates its radar signature, thus making it easier to track; d) only one target missile has been launched; and e) the "attack" happens in daylight.


The only way the Pentagon and their co-conspirator defense contractors can get these interceptors to hit a moving target is to cheat.

I don't know if missile defense is possible or just history's most expensive “duck and cover” public relations ruse. What is clear is that doing so is very, very, very hard. And finding out is going to continue being very, very, very expensive.

The Rand Corporation looked at the program and concluded:

Even under ideal circumstances and with the latest technologies, ballistic missile defense is exceedingly difficult. Destroying an (missile) RV in flight requires an end-to-end sequence of successful tasks: detecting and classifying the threat missile, predicting the threat trajectory, cueing sensors down the line, tracking the target, discriminating the target from clutter and countermeasures, acquiring the target for intercept, intercept, kill assessment, and repeating the sequence as required. A failure anywhere in this chain precludes successful intercept ... Countermeasures compound these challenges. (More)

Can you reconcile the above with what we saw and heard from the White House this week?

- Where was that “end-to-end sequence of successful tasks?” They detected launches, but couldn't tell how many.

- They knew they were missiles, but could not “classify the threat,” they had no idea where they going (trajectory,) but had to wait for confirmation that they had fallen harmlessly into the sea of Japan.

- And forget about “discriminating the target from clutter,” since everything was cluttered until hours after the smoke cleared.

So, what's my point? Am I against the US being protected from missile attacks? No. I could get behind a missile defense system, if it worked and if they could get it working before it's actually needed.

It just seems to me that this event raises only two possibilities”:

1) America has lost it's touch. We can't do remarkable and important things any longer.

2) Someone(s) needs to go to jail for stealing half a trillion bucks from US taxpayers, leaving us no more secure from nuclear attack than we were back in the 1950's when I and millions of other school kids were reassured we'd be safe from nuclear attack huddled under our wooded desks.

Come on folks. Admit it. What we saw this week is all you need to conclude that it's one or the other.

In Other News

Ken Lay is Dead?

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of the fraud that led to the collapse of his company, died today in Colorado. He was 64.

``Ken Lay passed away early this morning in Aspen,'' his spokeswoman Kelly Kimberly said in a statement. ``The Lays have a very large family with whom we need to communicate. Out of respect for them we are not releasing any more information at this time.'' (Full)
Okay. If true, my condolences to his family. But I want a few things checked first:

- A DNA test
- Passenger manesfests from US to the Bahamas flights for the last two days,
- And a search in Aspen area to determine if any homeless men are missing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

June 28 - July 4, 2006

June 28, 2006

A Press-ing Matter

I get so tired telling Democrats how they should respond to the latest Rovian tactic. But here we are again. Republican ditto-heads are out there parroting Karl's talking points and Democrats, not knowing whether to shit or go blind, are stumbling around with one eye closed, farting.

I am speaking of the GOP attack on the press, particularly the New York Times. I have to give Rovian devils their due. They really know how to organize a charge of the Spin Brigade. But they seem to be attacking with unusual vigor this time. What's up with that?

I'll tell you what's up with that. This administration has successfully neutered virtually every check and every balance on it's behavior, from Congress to the courts. And, until the Times blew the whistle on NSA wiretaps and, more recently, the collection of personal banking data, the administration believed it had also cowed the press as well.

Those disclosers by the Times, and other major print media, showed the press, while down, was not yet out. Despite the administrations success in using the Times Judy Miller as a propagandist for non-existent WMD, there was still life the Old Grey Lady after all -- a revelation that sent chills down the backs of White House shills far and wide.

That's why we are seeing such a furious counter attack by Republicans such as Peter King's demands that the Times be criminally prosecuted. The administration must scare the press back into it's spider hole. Unless they can intimidate the press back into the cowardly "fair and balanced" crouch it maintained over the previous six years, more dirty little secrets will be disclosed. Someone might even go to jail.. and this time it won't be a member of the press.

Now to the Democrats. Hello. Anyone in there? When one of these sleazy Republican accessories-after-the-fact attacks the press, remind them that the press wouldn't have to if Republicans were living up to their constitutional obligations. What's that? It's called “oversight.” You know, hold oversight hearings on matters of national importance.

You can be forgiven if you've forgotten about oversight, because it's been outta-sight for so long. The Bush administration doesn't want oversight. Hates it, in fact. And their obedient Ditto Heads in the House and Senate have dutifully obeyed.

Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, said this fall that "the people's representatives over on the Hill in that other branch of government have truly abandoned their oversight responsibilities [on national security] and have let things atrophy to the point that if we don't do something about it, it's going to get even more dangerous than it already is." (Full)

What a difference from the mid-1990s, when the Republican-controlled House of Representative. Back then it seemed almost anything the Clinton White House did required an immediate congressional hearing. Like when they seemed to having nothing better to conduct hearings to get to the bottom of whether the Clinton administration was misusing the White House Christmas card list. They burned 140 hours of sworn testimony over that festering scandal.

But apparently the Bush administration has behaved flawlessly, because hearings on this administration's doings have been as rare as electricity in Iraq. I don't have the numbers for 2006 but between 2003 and 2005 the Republican-controlled House found time for just 12 hours of sworn testimony on subjects like alleged abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. ( Christmas card abuse, 140 hours of sworn testimony .. Prisoner abuse, 12 hours. I see. It's all about priorities.)

The House Government Reform Committee held just 37 oversight hearings of an investigative in nature during the last Congress. Compare that with the 135 such hearings held by the same committee in 1993-94, the last year the Democrats controlled the House.

Remember the Filegate flap? Republicans in congress were shocked.. outraged.. that the Clinton White House might of violated the law and privacy rights of Americans wanting to work for the administration by peeking into their FBI files. Republicans couldn't seem to hold enough hearings on that one. But now that we know – thanks only to the New York Times – that the Bush administration is conducting warrantless wiretaps and walking barefoot through private banking records, Republicans don't want oversight hearings, and instead, bashes the press when it picks up ball and runs it for them.

So, there you have it Dems – another fight-back strategy for combating the GOP wedgie machine. It's a gold-plated opportunity being handed to you dozens of times daily by the Karl Rove's army of walking tape loops. The very next time you see one of these Republicans huffing and puffing into a CNN mic, wait until they're done then remind the viewers that the press has been forced to step in and provide the very oversight the Republican-controlled congress has refused to conduct.

Oh, and you might also mention that this time we are talking about matters somewhat more serious than suspicions someone may be abusing the White House Christmas card list.

Now For Something Completely Different

Something quite extraordinary happened last week. The nation -- no – the world – bore witness to the first mental health test, conducted in public, of a legislative body.

The body of which I speak is the US Senate. Yesterday 100 Senators voluntarily -- even eagerly -- took this test.

And the results are in. Of the 100 Senators tested 66, two thirds of them, are F- - KING CRAZY!

I will call them the "Crazy-66" and they all voted to make burning an American flag a crime. (If you want to know who they are click here Print it out and take it into the voting booth with you this November -- unless of course you prefer your elected representatives on the crazy side.)

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with folks being crazy. But at least be consistently crazy. I want to alert the Crazy-66 that their vote, besides being certifiably crazy, contained a serious inconsistency.

Here it is; you bag of mixed nuts forgot to include protections for the American apple pie! (You know, as in “the flag, motherhood and apple pie?”) Only when all three are protected can Americans feel truly safe and well-served by Congress.

Since I have not read of anyone desecrating mothers, I assume they are safe, at least for now. But there's piles of evidence of rampant apple pie desecration.

- Millions of half-finished pieces of apple pie are unceremoniously scraped into trash bins at diners across the nation,
- Amateur cooks burn – yes BURN – embryonic apple pies by the tens of millions each year,
- Tons of ice cream are unceremoniously slopped atop slices of apple pie without so much as a howdy do.

But wait, it gets worse. (Cover your children's eyes now so they don't have to see this) – Those godless liberals in Hollywood have even shown actors having sex with warm apple pies.

It's enough to make a mad dog politician howl at a full November moon.

Don't get me wrong, the flag is fine. But nothing is more American than the apple pie. You guys -- the Crazy-6 -- ask yourselves this; do they eat apple pie in Iran? No! Do they eat apple pies in North Korea? They wish. Did Johnny Appleseed spread his seed in just the US of A? He sure did. And why? Because he was a real American, that's why.

Nevertheless the Crazy-67 left the apple pie exposed to daily abuse, neglect, disrespect – even rape!

Why didn't they extend protections the same protections they did to the US flag to the heavenly crumbly crust and sweet fruitiness of the American apple pie? Was it because, rather than baking an apple pie, Betsy Ross decided to sew that day? Or because the national anthem makes no mention rockets bursting in the air while revolutionary troops enjoyed piping hot slices of true blue American apple pie, "in the rockets red glare?"

Now that we know at least 66 members of the US Senate are crazy, I am certain they will take the apple pie's plight to their patriotic bosoms as well. I am sure, understanding as they do the solemn responsibility they have when amending the US Constitution, they will want to include constitutional protections for the American apple pie as well.

So I've taken the liberty of drafting a clause they can add to their flag burning amendment the next time around:

The American Apple Pie
Protection Act of 2006

WHEREAS the American apple pie and American flag have been inextricably intertwined throughout history, and

WHEREAS rather than balancing the budget or ending the war in Iraq, the US Senate instead used their time and political capital to debate and vote to amend the US constitution to make any act desecrating the American flag illegal, and

WHEREAS the American apple pie has been subjected to countless acts of desecration, and

WHEREAS a mid-term election looms this November, and there are at least 50 million voters who in two previous elections have proven themselves to be just as crazy as each of the Crazy-66, and

WHEREAS many Democrats seem to believe they must look butch on all things patriotic, no matter how anti-American and/or nonsensical they may be, and

WHEREAS Republicans have nothing to run on this November but mounting deficits and one of hell of mess in Iraq,

WHEREAS Hillary Clinton believes she must prove she has bigger testicles than her husband, and that she can blow and suck at the same time, and

WHEREAS 2500 American soldiers will no longer be able to enjoy a piece of piping hot American apple pie,

WHEREAS yellow cake turned out no substitute for good ole' American apple pie, and

WHEREAS the President of the United States has shown himself to be at least as crazy as the 66 senators who voted for the flag amendment, and

WHEREAS skyrocketing home heating costs may lead to more flags being burned as fuel and fewer American apple pies being baked, and

WHEREAS “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” it's important the apple pie be preserved as a nutri-cutical for the 45 million Americans who can not afford to see a doctor, and

WHEREAS Hollywood's depiction of sex with apple pies may lend encouragement to the nascent Applophile movement NAMBLA (National Association of Males who Love Apple pies).

THEREFORE, to with, henceforth and with all the superficiality we can muster, we proclaim that the desecration of an American apple pie shall be punishable by a fine of $10,000 and up to six months in prison; and during such prison sentence apple pie desecraters shall be denied any apple pie or fruit cup containing apples; and upon release apple pie desecraters shall be required to register with local authorities as a convicted American apple pie desecrater. Local police shall also be required to post fliers at all bakeries and restaurants within their jurisdiction, warning that an American apple pie desecrater is living in the area.

There, now all our crazy bases are covered. The flag is safe, apple pies are safe. The country? Not so much.

Happy 4th of July eveyone.