Saturday, November 25, 2006

So what have I been doing?

Nothing is the short answer. That's about all I've been doing since leaving my job three years ago. Selling a house, buying another, riding my bike every day, losing weight, eating well. Sorry, all that counts as nothing. Have you been writing, everybody asks. Do you have a job?

No and no. I'm living off pensions and investments and reading. I'm getting ready to write by reading others. That's what I say. Oh, yeah. And I say I've started a blog. To be exact, I've started three blogs. Two had to be abandoned because I got tired of them, in-laws were reading them and I didn't like their names. Those are all good excuses for Blogger abuse. Blogger must be filled with dead blogs containing a few half-hearted entries. It's got to be a huge electronic drawer for America's unfinished novels and memoirs. It must be a horrible mess in that drawer.

About the reading I'm doing: I'll read almost anything that strikes my interest, but what most strikes my interest is the literature on the Iraq war. I've read them all. Cobra II, Fiasco and that Emerald City one about the teeming Republican life inside the Green Zone. Yes, I've read them all, if you include Blood Money, which I'm just finishing, about the corruption and incompetence of the "rebuilding" effort in Iraq. This is the least publicized of the Iraq war histories, but author T. Christian Miller lays out the complete criminal negligence of the Bush-Halliburton program. They stole money from the taxpayers, from the Iraqis, they got thousands killed for their own profit and they shamed our nation.

If you're ever unemployed for just long enough to read one book about the Iraq disaster, I recommend this one. It's the book with the least publicized fuck-ups in it. It follows the money, unlike Bob Woodward's books, which follow his finger in the air or up some powerful person's poo-hole.

So I'm lying here, watching Iraq and the United States go down the tubes, and you know what astounds me most? The histories of this disaster have already been written. The killing, corruption and lies are still happening, and the books about it are all lined up at your local Borders. It wasn't until the war in Vietnam was over for several years that the histories came out and the lies exposed. In this war, the first, second and third drafts of history have been written and the war goes on.

And Bush goes on. But he has an excuse. He doesn't read.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I still can't believe it

A week after the election and (see headline). After six years of rule by ignorance, malevolence and indolence, George W. Bush has gone poof. Just a couple of months ago, the war in Iraq was on a great course and Bush was staying it. Just a couple of weeks ago, Rummy was doing a heckuva a job and staying, of course. Suddenly, that's all history, one of many subjects that never interested Bush very much.

Daddy Bush's grown-up colleagues have suddenly appeared on the scene to save Junior from the neo-cons who conned him into this war. The president, who never really was elected president, is revealed as the nasty, cowardly pipsqueak some of us always knew he was. Perhaps most amazingly, the day after the election network news broadcasts started referring to "the failed war in Iraq." Their correspondents on the scene have known for years that the war is a disaster, but news executives have been afraid to let them say it outright. Now everyone is saying it.

Right after the election even Bill O'Reilly told David Letterman that "knowing what we know now" about the lack of WMDs he wouldn't support invading Iraq. (Never mind that it was illegal and stupid.) Methinks the bully wasn't cowed by the facts so much (after all, when have facts mattered to him?), but by his finger in the air telling him that even Fox News viewers have turned against the war.

Bush is now in the same position Nixon was at the time of Vietnamization and Watergateization. Even Republicans have turned against him and those with senses of humor are making jokes about him. Rush Limbaugh said he was relieved not to have to carry water for the administration, so now the only water he carries is what he needs to wash down the Oxycontin. The only thing missing from this scenario is a waiting helicopter.

That takes the threat of impeachment, which isn't possible unless two conditions are met. The first is the presence of high crimes and misdemeanors, defined as any crime higher than lying about sex. The second is control by the opposition party of the House and the Senate. Hmmm.

Oh yeah, there is one more condition. You can't have Dick Cheney as vice president. So put them both on the same impeachment ticket. After all, why impeach the ventriloquist's dummy without impeaching the ventriloquist? President Pelosi. The first woman president, the first Italian American president and the first San Franciscan president. It sounds good to me.

How come it took so long for nation to wake up to the pathetic reality of George W. Bush? Or is it that this is all a dream? Don't wake me while it lasts.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Living like a Republican

Vote Democratic, live Republican. That's a line credited to Joseph Alioto, the late mayor of San Francisco who lived very well indeed. (Of course, he said that back in the days when the Republican image did not include chewing tobacco.) Nowadays, a lot of us who vote Democratic live Republican. Let us count the ways.

Some of us play golf, the game having undergone a certain democratization in recent years. Still, if you want to join a country club, remove the "Impeach Bush" sticker from your car. The ratio of Dems on the greens is approximately one in every two foursomes. (The number of Greens on the greens is approximately zero.) Count me out because of the very Republican clothing.

Many of us drive ritzy cars, usually foreign, though. Remember the days when Republicans drove Caddies and Dems drove Chevys? Now Republican get-out-the-vote campaigns target owners of Chevys because they're 99 percent Republicans. Cadillac owners can be counted on the get to the polls themselves, generally to vote Republican, if they don't crash into a farmer's market on the way. By the way, always innovative Toyota took the lead from Volvo in Republican-free cars by producing the Prius.

Democrats mostly eat better than Republicans, and often expensively. Republicans are still eating steak, but in the closest thing they have to an election strategy, Democrats are letting them take the lead in artery cloggage. The last red-meat-eating red-stater should be dead when about the time the Dems have a viable candidate for president. The latest survey shows that 78 percent of Republicans think "extra virgin" has something to do with abstinence education.

Now here's the rub. Unlike our New Deal-era forebears, most of us Democrats are invested in the stock market, even if it's only through our generally inadequate 401(k) plans. That means we have an interest, however small the interest, in Republican tax cuts. Most of the tax cuts have benefitted the very wealthy, but down here below the median income family, a few of us are living in the classic Republican manner. We're coupon clippers, in the old sense of living off investments. And also clipping coupons for specials at Walgreen's.

I ought to love Bush and his Republican henchmen. Most of my income comes from investments, and although small, it either is tax-free or taxed at only 15 percent. I'm a Democrat who is a Bush profiteer. But I'm voting Democratic anyway. Even if it means higher taxes, it also means the other inevitable will be less of a worry for American troops in Iraq. I'm tired of all of us being trickled down upon.