We don't like girly-men of any stripe!

Therefore we present for your enjoyment
"Georgie Girl"


Satire by Jim Terr

[As printed in TALKERS Magazine, April 1998 issue]

In an effort to get to the very core of their philosophical belief systems, we put one of the great questions of the ages to some of today’s top talk radio personalities (or reasonable facsimiles thereof).

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Those who would even ask such a question are really out to confuse you, to make you so disempowered and disillusioned that you have no alternative but to turn either to Washington or to an authority like myself for an answer--and I don’t need to tell you which one is going to give you The Truth. Having said that, this chicken thing is the inevitable result of three decades of the Great Society and the whole tree-hugging, feel-good counter-culture that has almost completely overwhelmed this country. Why should the chicken stay on his side of the road when he can find more free chicken feed and greater entitlements on the other side of the road? With such a shining example of do-your-own-thing thinking as we have in the White House right now, is it any wonder that the chicken isn’t content to just stay on his own side of the road, put his shoulder to the grindstone and do whatever it takes to create a prosperous future for himself? Of course the liberal media would label this view as extreme right-wing, when in fact it’s just common sense.

G. GORDON LIDDY: I don’t pretend to understand the mind of a chicken. The chicken is about the farthest creature from the hard-headed, testosterone-charged realist that I aspire to be, and--in fact--am. However, I will say that if that chicken ever crosses the road into my yard, he’s going to find out in about two seconds what American technology and firepower and martial arts training are all about, and he’ll quickly find his beak firmly embedded in his cloaca. And if he thinks I’m kidding, let him try it.

HOWARD STERN: Clearly there’s a radio on his side of the road blaring out Don Imus, and the Stern show is playing on the other side, so he wants to move over to the other side as quickly as possible--and who can blame him? And in addition to that it’s probably a female chicken, and obviously not only my entertainment value and mastery of all media but my sex appeal as well, transcend even inter-species boundaries. If, on the other hand, it’s a male, then my weenie is probably even smaller than his, but the size of my audience more than makes up for it.

DOCTOR LAURA: This is a perfect example of someone being led around by his so-called “feelings”, a highly overrated and notoriously unreliable way to make decisions. This chicken should ask himself: Do I see other chickens whom I admire, and whom society admires, crossing the road? Does the Bible--or the Koran--say it’s right to cross the road whenever you feel like it? Just because all the movies and television shows say it’s all right to cross the road if you feel like it, that doesn’t make it so.

DR. DEAN EDELL: As a matter of fact, I got an interesting fax today that throws light on this. This is from...let’s see...a Dr. Pylos Hardrock at Johns Hopkins--and of course Johns Hopkins couldn’t make a mistake, right? Let’s see, out of 485 chickens in this double-blind study that even thought of crossing the road, only five, a little over one percent, actually did it. And when these chickens were dissected, what do you suppose they found? That’s right, an enlarged left frontal lobe not present in the other 480 chickens, which of course demonstrates that crossing the road is a genetic predisposition. But more importantly--and no one stops to ask this question--what are they going to do with all those dead chickens?

THE DOLANS: This chicken is a good friend of ours who’s going to be on our show next week, so if you think we’re going to speculate on his motives you’re crazy. But a quick check of our vast database reveals...yes, try this number, it’s the Kansas State Agriculture Department, Ambulatory Poultry Hotline, 1-800-CHICKEN. The smart investor will take the initiative to check a few independent sources like this before investing in either chickens or transportation stocks.

ART BELL: We had someone on just last week, that professor who was run out of Berkeley for being too free-thinking, for not toeing the party line, yes, Dr. Heimlich Drebner, who has some incredible information on this. Evidently those chickens who cross the road are by and large those who have been abducted and implanted with homing devices which cause them to walk north in odd-numbered months and south in even-numbered months. If there’s a road in the way, well that’s just a matter of circumstance. You see, it’s not the road, it’s the direction. The road thing is just a distraction designed to keep us from seeing the real pattern here.

JIM BOHANNON: There’s been a lot of confusion and demagoguery on this issue, and tomorrow night I’m going to have two guests representing the two extreme ends of this controversy, and we’re going to hash it out for once and for all. Don’t miss it.

JIM HIGHTOWER: That chicken doesn’t really intend to cross the road, so it’s a waste of time trying to figure out why. What’s really going on is that the agribusinesses that produce his feed are bulking it up with toxic solvents and petroleum by-products that not only add nothing nutritionally to his diet, but which are eating away at his brain and destroying his sense of direction. That chicken is at the bottom of the economic ladder, and he’s paying for it every day. And you’re paying to subsidize the agribusiness that’s poisoning the chicken--and you too if you eat that chicken. If he doesn’t get hit by a car or eaten by you or me, he’s going to live out his long, miserable life in a state of disorientation and anguish, and if you think Big Business cares one whit about that, well, I’ve got a very large, deep canyon in Arizona I’d like to sell you.

DON IMUS: Obviously that chicken has spied a foxy chick on the other side, and he’s so stupid he thinks she’s going to go for him if he can only make it over to her side, strutting like Sylvester Stallone or Christian Slater or whoever’s hot this week. But what he doesn’t realize is that when he gets over to her side, she’s suddenly going to get very ugly and say, “Hey shmuck! Get lost! Who do you think you are?” It’s sad but true. And then he’ll try the same thing the next day. A real loser.

BRUCE WILLIAMS: I’ve owned many chicken-related businesses over the years, and I’ll tell ya: All that clucks is not gold. It’s hard to accept that when you’re young, when you’ve got eggs and gold dust in your eyes, but it’s true. There’ll always be chickens wandering away from where you want them to be, meandering over toward the other side of the road, and blam!--they get hit by a beautiful ‘56 Buick or a cherry ‘61 Caddy convertible. I’ve owned both, and I can tell ya a chicken is no match for either of them. No contest. And there will always be enough of these wayward chickens to bring your profit margin down to zero. I’ll tell ya: bet on the car, bet on the road, but don’t bet on that chicken.

MICHAEL REAGAN: There’s a bill pending in the Senate, S.B. 201, you can read all about it on my Website, and even more about it in my newsletter, it’s entitled “The Freedom for Chickens Act”, but the name is deceptive, as is always the case with these liberal-sponsored bills, because the true intent of this bill is no less than the total destruction of our democratic way of life, the final blow to individual initiative and free enterprise in this country. You need to get on the phone, get on the fax, first thing tomorrow morning and tell your representative to kill this turkey before it kills you.

Jim Terr is a song satirist, jingle and video producer and radio host in Santa Fe, NM ©1998

"Yosemite Sam" used for limited demonstration purposes only.
All Rights Reserved by owner.


Play Again or re-start

Written and performed by  Jim Terr , courtesy of BlueCanyonSatire 
(after the 1967 Seekers' hit, "Georgy Girl")      Animation by Paul Glickman.
Thanks to E.B., ex-Marine, for the idea and the underwriting.   
Recorded at Ricky Recordo's.    HIGHER-QUALITY AUDIO ONLY, Lyrics and press photo

Tough Talk Radio Host scorecard:

     Rush Limbaugh: Sissy

     Sean Hannity: Punk

     Michael Savage: NOT savage

     Jim Hightower: A commie but at least he's got >>                 so here's his LINK

     Mike Malloy: Likewise LINK

     Dr. Laura: Likewise (but not Commie)

     Bob Edwards: Another girly man, judging from this,
            but an interesting comment anyway:

Bob Edwards on commercial talk radio

From Talkers Magazine July/August 2004 issue (p. 17)

My feelings about a lot of the shows is that they're "anger" shows. You wake up angry and you stay angry all day. I just don't have enough testosterone for that. And also there's kind of the straw man aspect. You find some ridiculous item in the news and just pummel it for a couple of hours even though it doesn't amount to a hill of beans to most people. It's kind of that "bloody shirt" that you drag in front of your already angry listeners and fire them up and get them to talk about some outrage - something done to some kids somewhere. Some awful father. Somebody trying to get away with some scam. It's not exactly rebuilding Iraq.

A great guide to bullshit from talk host Thom Hartmann: AUDIO
  (Any of this sound familiar?) 

   Today's Tough Talk topic: When did "Christians" become the pro-war party?

"LIBERAL COMBOS" (see very bottom of page)

Two of our favorite websites:  www.WillingChicks.com 
and www.SeptemberSurprise.com

HAMSTERS EXPOSE KERRY LIES!  see 8-13-04 article at  http://www.happynowhere.net/2004_08_01_


Warning: Danger Zone   Warning: Danger Zone  Warning: Danger Zone


"I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed ... managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units...Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to their country." (Colin Powell's autobiography, My American Journey , p. 148)

Um...Colin...have you talked to your boss about this anger? What about guys that get those slots, and then don't even show up for duty ? Can you tell us which one of these guys went in GW's place?    -- from www.awolbush.com

BuDDy proudly testifies to his
military service with the President-to-be.

SEE VIDEO: "I Served With George"

The Man Who Got Bush Into Texas Air National Guard Speaks

This is an amazing video hosted at Salon.com of former Texas Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes talking about how he is ashamed of getting George W. Bush and other rich kids into the Texas Air National Guard so they could avoid service.

This is the most damning line in the piece:

"And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very ashamed, and I apologize to you as voters of Texas. [snip]

And I tell you that for the Republicans to jump on John Kerry and say that he is not a patriot after he went to Vietnam and was shot at and fought for our freedom and came back here and protested against the war, he's a flip-flopper, let me tell you: John Kerry is a 100 times better patriot than George Bush or Dick Cheney."

There are unedited versions of the video, as well as Quicktime. The Salon version comes only in Windows media.

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

        -- Herman Goering  (noted Nazi) at the Nuremberg trials

Ever heard John Kerry's actual post-Viet Nam Senate testimony?
Here it is: (Audio clip courtesy of "Democracy Now".)  

Questions about Bush's Guard service unanswered

By Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard, USA TODAY   8-23-04

WASHINGTON — At a time when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has come under fire from a group of retired naval officers who say he lied about his combat record in Vietnam, questions about President Bush's 1968-73 stint in the Texas Air National Guard remain unresolved:

• Why did Bush, described by some of his fellow officers as a talented and enthusiastic pilot, stop flying fighter jets in the spring of 1972 and fail to take an annual physical exam required of all pilots?

• What explains the apparent gap in the president's Guard service in 1972-73, a period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report for duty and records show no pay to Bush when he was supposed to be on duty in Alabama?

MORE:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-23-bush-service_x.h

We are not "a nation in danger"   
editorial from an unexpected source...

America is vulnerable to the tragedy and trauma of a terrorists attacks. There is a much more remote danger of an act of terror with a nuclear device that could eclipse 9/11. But there is no danger of the equivalent of war on our soil, of mass loss of life, of a crippled economy, disrupted civilian life and destabilized government.

Israel is in danger. Palestinians are in danger. Iraq is in danger. Sudan is in danger. Colombia is in danger. America is not in danger.

And America is not at war.



A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN (original source unknown)

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards.

He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too because his employer needs to offer competitive benefits to hire the best people.

Joe prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

Joe drives to work in one of the safest cars in the world because some liberal fought to raise safety standards and emission controls.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with good pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some Liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Over his lunch hour, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC up to $100,000 because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from greedy, unscrupulous bankers like the ones who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe needs to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican's might still be sitting in the dark!)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day)

Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I'm a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have".

New Yorker July 12, 2004,
"The Price of Valor:
      We train our soldiers to kill for us. Afterward, they're on their own.

(Excerpt):   A compact, wiry man of fifty-seven, Knox joined the Army in 1966, after seeing a photo essay on the depredations of the Vietcong in Life . He felt that it was his duty to defend Southeast Asia from Communism. Knox's infantry suffered huge casualties, but what bothers him most, more than three decades later, is not the fear, the carnage he witnessed, or the loss of friends but the faces of the people he killed while serving as a helicopter door gunner. “If they told me to kill a whole village, that's what I'd do,” he said. “I still see images—a woman and her children rolling in the dust.” When I asked Knox how often such images arise, he thought for a moment and said, “Every ten minutes.” Later, he added, “Really, it's more like I'm always looking at a double image. I see you sitting there in that chair, and I'm also watching this funeral party I gunned. In a few minutes, it will be a sampan I gunned on a river, with a woman and her babies falling out of it into the water and kicking around as I shoot them.”

After serving two tours, he was honorably discharged in 1969. Knox got married, had children, and held himself together while earning a law degree and pursuing a series of short-lived careers. But in 1995 one of his children died suddenly from a congenital asthma condition, and his mental health deteriorated. When he told psychologists at the V.A. hospital that the killing he had done was torturing him, they changed the subject. “Their basic response was ‘Soldier, you did your duty,'” Knox said. He finally found a support group through a V.A.-affiliated local facility in suburban San Francisco, where he lives, and he has been meeting with the group's members ever since. In addition, he recently found a sympathetic V.A. psychiatrist, and is now getting disability payments from the V.A.; he has also returned to Vietnam to help build schools with the Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project. On the day we were talking, the Times ran a page-one story on Army snipers in Baghdad. A sniper who had killed seven men in a day was quoted as saying that he felt no remorse. “He's got the thousand-yard stare,” Knox said, tapping the accompanying photograph with his index finger. “Go back and find him in fifteen years.”

Complete story at: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040712fa_fact

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
          —  President Theodore Roosevelt (stated DURING First World War)

The Rambo Coalition


New York Times August 24, 2004

Almost a year ago, on the second anniversary of 9/11, I predicted "an ugly, bitter campaign - probably the nastiest of modern American history." The reasons I gave then still apply. President Bush has no positive achievements to run on. Yet his inner circle cannot afford to see him lose: if he does, the shroud of secrecy will be lifted, and the public will learn the truth about cooked intelligence, profiteering, politicization of homeland security and more.

But recent attacks on John Kerry have surpassed even my expectations. There's no mystery why. Mr. Kerry isn't just a Democrat who might win: his life story challenges Mr. Bush's attempts to confuse tough-guy poses with heroism, and bombast with patriotism.

One of the wonders of recent American politics has been the ability of Mr. Bush and his supporters to wrap their partisanship in the flag. Through innuendo and direct attacks by surrogates, men who assiduously avoided service in Vietnam, like Dick Cheney (five deferments), John Ashcroft (seven deferments) and George Bush (a comfy spot in the National Guard, and a mysterious gap in his records), have questioned the patriotism of men who risked their lives and suffered for their country: John McCain, Max Cleland and now John Kerry.

How have they been able to get away with it? The answer is that we have been living in what Roger Ebert calls "an age of Rambo patriotism." As the carnage and moral ambiguities of Vietnam faded from memory, many started to believe in the comforting clichés of action movies, in which the tough-talking hero is always virtuous and the hand-wringing types who see complexities and urge the hero to think before acting are always wrong, if not villains.

MORE at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/24/opinion/24krugman.html?hp]


From NPR "Morning Edition" 8-25-04 http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=3&prgDate=25-Aug-2004

Commentator Thomas Palaima says the ancient Greeks lived intimately with the brutality of war, unlike present times, when many American civilians are shielded from the effects of the war in Iraq.

Conservative Columnist Says:
Vote For A Man, Not A Puppet.

Charley Reese, Orlando Sentinel

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory. It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own president at their joint press conference recently.

John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how to think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers. It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his presidential election efforts.

      MORE: http://www.lewrockwell.com/reese/reese74.html

W.'s Second Term: If You Think the First is Bad...

Published in the April, 2004 issue of the American Prospect  by Robert B. Reich

Musings about a second Bush term typically assume another four years of the same right-wing policies we've had to date. But it'd likely be far worse. So far, the Bush administration has had to govern with the expectation of facing American voters again in 2004. But suppose George W. Bush wins a second term. The constraint of a re-election contest will be gone. Knowing that voters can no longer turn them out, and that this will be their last shot at remaking America, the radical conservatives will be unleashed.

A friend who specializes in foreign policy and hobnobs with subcabinet officials in the Defense and State departments told me that the only thing that's stopped the Bushies from storming into Iran and North Korea is the upcoming election. If Bush is re-elected, "[Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld are out of the box," he said. "They'll take Bush's re-election as a mandate to wage the 'war on terror' everywhere and anywhere."

The second term's defense team will be even harder line than the current one. Colin Powell will go. Condoleezza Rice will take over at the State Department. Rumsfeld will consolidate power as the president's national-security adviser. Paul Wolfowitz will run the Defense Department.

Domestic policy will swing further right. A re-election would strengthen the White House's hand on issues that even many congressional Republicans have a hard time accepting, such as the assault on civil liberties. Bush will seek to push "Patriot II" through Congress, giving the Justice Department and the FBI powers to inspect mail, eavesdrop on phone conversations and e-mail, and examine personal medical records, insurance claims, and bank accounts.       MORE: http://www.robertreich.org/reich/20040401.asp

Just published: "Progressive Solutions for Challenging Times", including one from your humble host, in the September '04 issue of the Eldorado Sun

As a Web posting to this article says: Funniest, truest description of recent history to date. http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/979/

Culture > August 26, 2004

We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore

How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?

By Garrison Keillor

Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned—and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. “Bipartisanship is another term of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. “I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous.

Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.

Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy—the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president's personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.

The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.

Our beloved land has been fogged with fear—fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.

There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn't the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it's 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn't the “end of innocence,” or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn't prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time.

Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place or getting off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office on the 90th floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those people with a little economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama, cruise to victory in November and proceed to get some serious nation-changing done in his second term.

This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of the Deadheads. They will wave enormous flags and wow over and over the footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and bodies being carried out and they will lie about their economic policies with astonishing enthusiasm.

The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.

This is a great country, and it wasn't made so by angry people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go and we're not getting any younger.

Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It's a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning.

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