What's Still the Matter with Kansas?

Today, Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation's (and that hatefilled state's) few providers of abortions was murdered at his church while serving as an usher. Dr. Tiller's clinic, Tiller's Women's Health Care Services, was one of the few such facilities left in that fundamentalist theocratic state. It had been targeted several times by "pro-life" terrorists since opening in 1973.

As Thomas Frank noted in his book about the mental flaws of the Midwest, What's the Matter with Kansas?, the right has managed to create a cause with abortion that they will never have the courage to be honest about. The cowardice behind going after doctors and nurses rather than attacking the women who hire those medical professionals is as dishonest as it is evil. If the self-proclaimed pro-lifers actually aimed their evil at the women who ask for these services, they would be castrated and shipped out of the country on a rial in minutes. Since they are devoid of morals, courage, or honest beliefs, they are left with pretending to belive that the messenger is the message author. If they were to declare war on the women of this country, as their Muslim heroes have done, they'd be gone in moments. They don't have half the courage of their in-word-only convictions, so they pick easy targets and go after women's rights through a sniper's sights.

The federal government should apply the kind of force against these terrorists that was once aimed at the KKK and the American Nazi Party. They are the same kind of people and deserve exactly the same fate, or worse.

Being A Republican: the Coolest Things

While I watched the "proceedings" surrounding the approval of Obama's cabinet, I reminisced about the good old days of Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II (with a little flicker of memories of Nixon and Ford). When a Democrat is in office, Republicans attempt to demonstrate that they still remember what it was like to be a human being. They put fancy suits over their lizard skins and jabber about "moral authority," "family values," and other topics of which they are totally unfamiliar and could care less about when there is booty to be taken.

While they pretend to give a damn that some minor Democratic nominee didn't pay Unemployment or Workmans' Comp on an illegal alien nanny, they didn't bat an eye when they voted to approve Condolezza Rice to Bush II's cabinet. Rice had a Chevron oil tanker named after her, for Christ's sake! Do you have any idea how low you have to kneel down to get an oil tanker named after you? Me either, but I bet you'd put a lot more wear and tear on your knees than if you were just giving Clinton head in the Oval office.

These are the same characters who nominated Cheney for Vice President after the skulduggery he'd managed as Haliburton's CEO during the Clinton years and his Nixonian criminal past. When Cheney got caught selling nuclear reactor parts to Iran, violating the National Security ban on such sales in 1998, Cheney said, "I think we'd be better off if we…backed off those sanctions didn't try to impose secondary boycotts on companies...trying to do business over there." Yep, Little Dick was pissed off that Clinton and the Pentagon wouldn't let him help Iran develop nuclear technologies and actively campaigned to be allowed to do so. Hell, Haliburton had an office in Tehran during the time when that was a violation of U.S. sanctions.

Obviously, the coolest thing about being a Republican is that there are absolutely no limits on the evil one can do, After a lifetime of stomping on US law, you can still end up on the public payroll. Come-on Democrats, you have to admit you're more than a little jealous. In the 1960s and 70s, southern Democrats were so jealous of the double standard that they switched parties in droves, dragging along the dumbass crackers who were more interested in blaming minorities for their pitiful economic and social status than in looking into a mirror and seeing the results of decades of incest. There is nothing better than screwing the public and pretending to be on some sort of moral crusade at the same time. That's what being a Republican is all about.

And you wonder why all I can do is laugh when I see or hear any Republican make any claim to morality? You're lucky I don't spit in your face, which sometimes happens as an unintentional by-product of laughing uncontrollably. Being a Republican means "never having to say your sorry" for pocketing the public trust, destroying the economy, murdering millions, and being wrong at every turn in the road. Anyone would be jealous of that record.

Geese and Immigrants

The connection between Canada Goose and immigration probably isn’t obvious. Stick with me for a few paragraphs and I’ll try to draw lines between my dots.

Canada Geese are pretty amazing birds. They are physically large with a 50-88 inch wingspan, weighing 7-24 pounds. They live 10 to 24 years. They create large families and mate, sometimes, for life. They aren’t found in every area of the country. When you see them in their natural habitat, it is hard not to admire them for both their beauty and their resilience. By the 1950s, they were driven to near extinction by the combination of over-hunting, chemical poisoning (DDT and other pesticides and industrial farming chemicals), and loss of habitat. The received a little federal protection about the time there were fewer than 50 birds left in the world. And they have bounced back. They, unlike many migrating birds, have adapted their migration to the eastern United States and as far as Siberia, eastern China, and Japan. If you can’t admire that kind of toughness, you probably hate everything and everybody.

If you live on the edges of their flight path, you may be among those of us who think a Canada Goose sighting was a rare and special thing. I nearly bought a house in eastern Colorado, almost exclusively because there was a small pond behind the house where Canada Geese nested during the summer. Moving from southern California to a place where wildlife co-existed with human population was such a shock that I was overwhelmed by the opportunity and put my money down to take advantage of the prospect. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the state of the Colorado economy of the moment, the seller turned down my offer in hope of finding a more motivated buyer. I still remember the backyard of that house and seeing a “v” of geese fly over and land a few yards away.

Today, I live in Minnesota and have a larger pond in my backyard that is usually populated with a dozen geese and a family or two every spring. In Minnesota, Canada Geese are not particularly appreciated. My wife and I love them and every year we look forward to their arrival in the spring and their families in the early summer. Many of our neighbors hate the droppings and the noise and actually fear being “wing-whipped” or "pecked" by the dreaded geese. To be honest, I am incapable of respecting anyone who is afraid of a bird. Chubby little city-boy Alfred Hitchcock references included, death by birds is not something a human should consider likely or particularly scary. But I’ve witnessed a few of our neighbors petitioning our city council to “protect” the neighborhood from the terror of Canada Geese and the city complies by hiring a local college professor and his gang of “naturalist” students to round up the geese, kill them or sell them to game “farms,” and, thereby, save the neighborhood from the goose threat.

Fear is a strange emotion. People will say any damn thing when they are afraid. Personally, I’d rather be wing-whipped to death by a million sparrows than to admit publicly that I’m afraid of a bird. But that’s just me. Likewise, I’d rather live under a bridge and eat grocery store castoffs than to admit that I can’t compete with third world immigrants for a job. When you give in to that kind of irrational fear, you are setting yourself up to be taken advantage by all sorts of con artists, fanatics, extremists, and every other Rush Limbaugh-type. You have to learn to control your panic if you want to live in civilized society.

On my way to work last week, I was heading west on I694 just past the new rats’ nest of freeway convolution when I passed a group of Canada Geese gathered on the edge of the freeway. The new freeway design has incorporated a collection of drainage ponds that attract waterfowl to the hazardous environment of a poorly designed fast moving freeway and we’re going to see a lot more of this sort of road kill as this design matures. The geese, one adult and several goslings, were all looking at the mangled body of an adult goose that had been recently hit as the geese crossed the freeway. They looked and acted exactly like a family of humans would look and act if they witnessed a parent being killed; they were shocked and stunned and appeared almost ready to go back into the traffic to assist the slaughtered parent.

One of the evolutionary tricks nature played on geese is that after eggs are laid, both parents loose their ability to fly for almost 30 days. This forces the parents to travel at the pace of their offspring until the goslings attach themselves to the parents and parental affection forces the parents to stick with their children until they are ready to care for themselves.

Nature has one sick sense of humor. Geese are not well-designed for walking, but walk they must until they can fly again. So, while we humans think the geese are just jamming up traffic out of stupidity, it’s really something more complicated.

Twelve hours later, I returned from work on the same path. The body in the road was much more mangled than it had been when I first saw it. There were feathers floating in the air almost like large flakes of snow. The whole family was still stuck on the edge of the freeway, all looking at that unrecognizable gory shape, all unable to believe life was over for that parent and the rest of the family would have to figure out how to get along without the dead parent.

This connection between geese and humans struck me particularly hard that evening. It was too easy to see myself in the surviving family. Usually, it’s easy to imagine geese, raccoons, bears, lions and tigers, and people who don’t speak the same language as being something lesser than ourselves. “Them and us” is a convenient perspective when we feel our resources are being taken by someone or something that we can simply run over with our cars, our police, our military, or our majority vote. The truth is that many of the animals on earth love their families. Nature designed us to care for our offspring, our mates, and to protect them with our lives. The connection between geese and humans is painfully close and, sometimes, unavoidably obvious.


I Love You, Man

Admit it, it's hard not to love Little Dick Cheney. The man is a font of weird-dom in a world of decreasingly rational behavior. This week, for example, Little Dick's hero, Rush Limbaugh said "Colin Powell is just another liberal. What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat." Limbaugh claimed that Powell is "just mad at me because I'm the one person in the country that had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race." And Little Dick followed that brilliant analysis (with special emphasis on the "anal" aspect of the word) by saying that he'd rather follow Rush than Colin Powell into battle for the soulless heart of Republicanism. Dick was practically reverential about his admiration for the crazy rightwing talk show fratboy.

Pretty funny; one super-cowardly draft dodger claiming that he would rather follow another maniacally timid draft dodger into battle than be led by someone who grew a pair during adolescence and has actually been in a battle more physical than a collection of corporate backshooters whining about desert.

It’s a spectacular image. Little Dick, with his shotgun in hand, being chauffeured in a Hummer crawling along behind Rush, who would be waddling along the side of an isolated dirt road looking for hillbillies to convert or shoot, or both. Ah, the exhilaration of a Republican battle! The most corrupt, elite, and cowardly people on the planet convincing the children of the working class to kill themselves for the fame and fortune of the idle rich. That is the stuff that conservative legends are made from.

In one of his finer sit-down comedic appearances, Little Dick told one hilarious story after another as a CBS interviewer/straight-man gawked in amazement and complicity. My favorite one-liner, which Little Dick never tires of telling, is the one about how his secret torture memos describe "attack planning that was under way and how it was stopped." Even the CIA clowns who reveled in the glory days of amoral behavior under Little Dick don’t have the gall to claim that they uncovered anything beyond a few torture victims’ private parts. The FBI agents who actually obtained the information from traditional interrogation techniques are less enthusiastic about Little Dick's fables.

But Dick, having secure faith in the gullibility of the Republican minions, can say anything with a straight face. If you can’t love an absolute lack of moral values or any connection to reality, what can you love?

Here is a small sampling of my favorite Little Dick Cheney routines:
  • The hilarious story of how he created enemies from friends and mindlessly distributed weapons across the face of the Mideast to make the US safer from terrorists who, otherwise, would be armed with sand and rocks.
  • The amazing talke of how he turned our boarders into freeways jammed with an uninterrupted flow of illegal immigrants (cheap labor for the ruling class) and how that was a great triumph of national defense.
  • Everybody loves hearing about his gutting of the volunteer military in favor of corrupt, incompetent, and overpriced private contractors who couldn’t protect a platoon of Marines from a dozen rampaging retired nuns.
  • And we all laugh our guts out as he tells about disassembling the core of the federal government and replacing it with K-Street fruitcakes who, outside of packing their pockets with federal welfare, have no useful skills or human value. A side effect of eliminating all necessary regulation of everything from banking and finance to government oversight of federal expenditure is that corruption ran so rampant during the Cheney-Bush years that we almost forgot that government doesn't have to be a criminal enterprise. Damn,. that's good comedy.
  • His gutbusting description of overseeing of dozens of the best examples of mismanagement in the history of the nation (you pick, there are so many possibilities from 9/11 to the Second Great Depression).
  • My favorite: how Little Dick and Brainless George turned a booming economy and a rapidly approaching balanced budget into a catestrophic economic depression with as little hope for a return to a functioning economy as has existed since 1929 (the last time Republican criminals completely took over the government).

With an absolutely straight face, Little Dick ends his routine with his explanation of why he’s still doing sit-down comedy after so many years of service to humor: if Little Dick wasn’t out there telling his stories, "then the critics have free run, and there isn't anybody there on the other side to tell the truth." One thing is for certain, where ever there is truth, justice, and the American way, Little Dick Cheney will be on the other side telling his stories.