Thursday, May 18, 2006

borderline schizophrenia

george bush is terribly conflicted.

on the one hand he wants to let illegal immigrants stay because they're nice folks. on the other, he wants them to stay because they're cheap labor that big business can exploit.

on yet another hand, he wants to build fences and surveillance zones and send in the national guard.

in other words, do not enter, but please don't leave.

poor george. it's got to be tough knowing that no matter what he does, it's wrong (then again, he's been dealing with that problem his whole life).

let's take a look at the president's recent random-words-strung-together event, which he solemnly delivered from the oval office. perhaps some analysis or a translation algorithm will help clarify whatever it was he said.

"There are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently, and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record."
the difference is...well, one is a criminal, maybe even a terr'ist who we can deport or rendition, depending on what kind of mood we're in. the other is working a subsistence wage, padding the profits of american business, and for that we reward them by letting them exist outside the system, without healthcare or benefits.
"The vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith and lead responsible lives."
this, apparently, is according to the same poll that karl rove cited when he said, "americans like this president." that notwithstanding, if illegal immigrants are so darn nice, why should we keep them out?
"Every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say."
that's just an out-and-out lie. dick cheney has no dignity or value. neither does scott mcclellan.
"The United States is not going to militarize the southern border."
we will, however, send thousands of people with guns and military training to the southern border, but only during the winter months when it's cold up north. it'll be a vacation type of deal, a reward for their multiple tours of duty in iraq.
"A temporary worker program would meet the needs of our economy."
ah, now we're getting down to it. because american business loves illegal immigrants, george bush loves illegal immigrants. the availability of illegals who will work for a non-living wage is the engine driving many a u.s. industry. without them, bush's have-and-have-more base would have less. they can't have that, so neither can george, 'cause he's their boy.
"As the border patrol stands up, the national guard will stand down."
that's not an exact quote, but it was implicit. and why not recycle this golden oldie, since it's worked so well in iraq.

bush is getting ready to crank up the military industrial complex and aim it at mexico. notice, however, that never a word is spoken about the canadian border. we must have that situation under control. mexicans are good/bad, but canadians (or whoever is coming across the northern frontier) apparently just don't exist.

tsk. tsk. a classic case of selective schizophrenia. just what you like to see in the "leader of the free world."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

dearth of democrats

photo | overdrive

the democratic party is dead.

it was killed by neocon audacity and its own cowardly dissonance.

democrats fancy themselves the party of intellect and high-minded, multilateral, quasi-secular humanitarianism. but when faced with a minimally clever but relentlessly repetitious opposition, democrats had a come-apart of historic proportions.

post-clinton, the democrats' failure was multifaceted and spectacular, a cascading disintegration that continues to this day. throughout five years of bush administration crimes and excesses, democrats have registered nothing of importance. not a peep, not a fraction, not a hint of relevant resistance. they have, in fact, skulked away from every republican treachery and treason, sometimes whining, "this isn't right," but more often shamed and silent.

knowing what they know now, too many democrats would still vote to invade iraq.

knowing what they know now, most democrats have no plan to get the u.s. out of iraq.

knowing what they know now, most democrats can only snivel about their impotent complicity in cutting taxes for the rich, a federal budget that steals from the poor, an energy bill that increases our dependence on middle eastern oil, and the de facto endorsement of torture of helpless prisoners.

the democratic party, and its most visible leaders, have made themselves invisible in american politics. republicans, while corrupt and incompetent, still frame every issue and drive the process. they may be driving it off the road and over a cliff, but americans go along for the ride because democrats fail to provide a credible and definitive alternative.

democrats, apparently subscribing to the "fight the battles we can win" philosophy of leadership, fight no battles and amass no victories. having abandoned the country to the disloyal opposition for five years, they now have adopted the pose of another would-be king, napoleon bonaparte: never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

that's a fine tactic for a party pursuing its own grand ideas, but a poor substitute for core beliefs and independent initiative.

hillary clinton? booooo!
harry reid? hissssss...
howard dean? eh.

there are two, maybe three dems with the backbone and intellectual throw-weight that thinking progressives can unflinchingly support. they are, in no particular order, russ feingold, al gore, and barak obama.

feingold and gore have established their integrity and credentials. feingold has been rock solid in his opposition to the administration's many egregious policies and blunders. gore, once perceived as a lesser-light, has done an admirable job of defining his positions, sharpening his edge, and attacking republican malfeasance.

obama has outlined and delivered some stirring progressive messages, leading many to believe he can continue to rise in prominence and stature on the national stage.

okay, a couple more...nancy pelosi, the house minority leader, and jack murtha. pelosi is a shrewd leader, strategically and tactically, and she has a steel rod for a backbone. murtha almost single-handedly brought the administration to its knees when he denounced the debacle in iraq.

so, in retrospect, perhaps the democratic party isn't dead, but merely deeply comatose. because where there's hope, inspired by people like these, there is life.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

that was the moment

"You know, we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day." --moonlight graham
what's significant, really, from one day to the next?

this week, for example, i made a joke in the kitchen, a silly play on words, while the children were eating dinner. i wasn't expecting a response, but my 5 1/2 year old daughter stopped for a moment and said, "good one, dad."

i was surprised, and i laughed, and she laughed. it was nice. in fact, i'd go so far as to say it was significant...except i can't even remember what i said. and neither can my daughter. at the time i thought it was pretty clever, but the moment passed, and life pressed on.

also this week, our big yellow dog, raleigh, underwent emergency surgery. this followed a walk during which he laid down and seemed unable to get back up again.

he did, eventually, after considerable coaxing, and we slowly made our way back home. i was worried enough to take him to the emergency clinic, where an x-ray revealed a large mass in his abdomen. the vet said, "tumorous growth" and recommended immediate surgery. after a few minutes' deliberation of the prognosis, the $3,000 estimate, and a hurried call home to my wife, i told the vet to go ahead.

as raleigh walked through the doors to the OR, i felt as if we might've taken our last walk together. it was all i could do to keep myself together long enough to get out the clinic door.

later, at 1:30 a.m., the vet called. she said the procedure had gone well, and raleigh was resting comfortably. that was vet-speak for, "he's whacked out on anesthesia." she said there had been some internal bleeding, which had caused his walk-stoppage, but that the growth was contained.

the prognosis, she repeated, was good.

the rest of the week was spent doting on the big dog. he stayed inside all day every day, except for bathroom breaks. i slept on the couch to keep watch over him each night, and at the end of the third day he started to bounce back. he regained the spring in his step and ate hungrily. the fourth day the vet declared that his red blood count was climbing nicely and that he could resume his twice-daily walks.

in another significant moment, we breathed a sigh of relief that the wolf had, temporarily at least, passed our door.

such things are not always as they seem. in the last significant moment of this little story, the vet called back today. the mass, she said, was an angiosarcoma, an aggressive, malignant cancer. currently there's no effective treatment, and the prognosis, once promising, is now measured in weeks. or days.

it's hard to believe, because today raleigh seemed like his old self again. he has energy, he's smiling, he wants to play.

you always think there will be other days. most often it's true.

but for our little family, a significant series of days is running out.