W is for "What's at Stake"

by Greg Method

It's an odd morning on July 20 at the Washington Convention Center. For the first time since his daddy's friends on the Supreme Court appointed him to the White House, George W. Bush was addressing the NAACP Annual Convention. The NAACP had invited him to speak in previous years, as it had to many other prominent politicians from both major parties for decades, but Bush had become the first "president" since Herbert Hoover to reject the offer.

The speech was dry and patronizing as Bush attempted to go over the history of black people in America, no doubt truly believing that he knew it better than the assembly he was addressing. Then in true Rovian fashion, he tried to twist his limited knowledge on the plight of African-Americans into political support for him and his party.

"And I understand that many African-Americans distrust my political party," he explained.

"Maybe that would change if we weren't all drowning underwater because of your incompetence!" someone shouted from the audience.

Okay, that last part didn't happen, but man, wouldn't that have been perfect?

Do you ever get the feeling that Bush just doesn't get what's going on around him most of the time? How else can one explain how he acts and talks lately? He doesn't seem fazed when a large group of black people applaud at the mention of severe management and governmental failures on his part that cost nearly two thousand people their lives. When his biggest Democratic supporter in the Senate loses his own primary race merely for slightly supporting Bush and the Iraq War, Bush still declares that anti-war people are wrong without much explanation why. I really don't think Junior pays attention to the outside world anymore. But really, that's not his job at the moment. His only assignment is to help his party limp through the mid-term election. Hey, it's an election year, so it's time to drop that dull "leader of the country" shit and go back to mudslinging and whoring himself out to campaign donors. It's what he's best at, especially since he's failed at every other job he's ever had in his entire life, present one included.

You see, the way Republicans "win" elections is by scaring you...and of course by illegal reshuffling of congressional districts and employing state officials to head up local campaigns. They convince you that if you don't vote for them, then gays will come after your children, Mexicans will steal your job, and Osama bin Laden will attack us again!

Before I move on, I again need to point out the ridiculousness in that last threat. This was something Shotgun Cheney actually said during the 2004 campaign, that if Senator Kerry was elected then we would be attacked again a la September 11. I find it disturbingly ironic that this administration was trying to scare us into believing that we would be the victims of a terrorist attack on the "other guy's" watch even though the first foreign attack on U.S. soil in sixty years happened...wait for it, wait for it...on this administration's watch! That would sort of be like if Mel Gibson was on the phone with a studio saying, "You don't want to cast that guy instead of me. He can be something of a racist at times."

Anyway, so the GOP are masters at scaring the vote out of you. They made John Kerry, this ballsy anti-war war hero, out to be a man who will let you die just as sure as he let his fellow comrades in arms die back in Vietnam...even though that didn't even happen! For Republicans, fear works, regardless of pesky little things like truth or logic.

To help balance the universe, I'll use the same tactic to illustrate why it's dangerous to keep Bush in office. The only difference here is that I'm going to use those nasty little facts to help build my case.

The reason I'm doing this is in part because despite a tumbling approval rating, increasing protests across the country, and a general outrage among us, I just don't think enough people are truly aware of how dangerous Bush is to not only our country but also our way of life. What do I have to do? Spell it out for you?? All right, I will.

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTS YOUR CHILDREN DEAD.

August 20 of this year saw the 2,609 casualty of a U.S. soldier. That means that for the 1,251 days that the war had been going on at that point, an average of 2.08 U.S. soldiers lost their lives every day.

Just think about that for a second. Two soldiers a day die in Iraq. Die, as in that's it, final check out, and that's all folks. Two men or women, very possibly at young ages, who are alive in Iraq today will not be just twenty-four hours later. Parents or spouses or relatives or friends of two people alive and well right now will get the shock of their lives tomorrow.

This means that if the war was to go on through the end of the year, then according to this average at least 2,886 U.S. soldiers will have been killed since the war began. That's just eighty-seven shy of the number of total people (as in of all nationalities and vocations) killed in the September 11 attacks, the very terrorist attacks this charade was supposed to avenge.

If you want a general idea about how many troops will have been killed in this war by the end of the year, find a small-to-medium-sized concert venue near you. An example of such a local venue for me would be the famous Agora Ballroom, which seats about 2,700 people for a show. You know, the size of the kind of venue where, say, Insane Clown Posse would perform. Anyway, go there during the day when nothing is scheduled and, assuming you can get in and look around, just quietly observe all the empty seats around you. Now think to yourself that if George W. Bush did not worm his way into office, then the amount of Americans that would have not been sent off to die over a lie would be able to fill the room you're standing in and then some.

The only piece of hate mail I've ever received from these columns was over one I did in February 2004, in which I was talking about the war. Toward the end of the column I listed the names of all the soldiers who were killed in the war until February 2 of that year. I didn't say anything really underhanded like "Bill Johnson wants you to vote for Kerry because Bush killed him" or anything of the sort. I just listed these names kinda off on their own; all 527 of them, a number which, I'm ashamed to say, seems miniscule compared to the numbers we have to deal with now on a daily basis.

Anyway, some guy e-mailed me claiming to be a soldier who served with one of the people on the list. I'm not necessarily doubting him per se, but how do I know for sure that he was really a soldier? It could have just been some Pentagon plant who trolls web sites looking to e-mail propaganda to anti-Bush people for all I know. Regardless, he was offended that I dared to mention that his comrade had been killed, while he further suggested that the only way one could support the troops was to back Bush. He evidently didn't have a problem with the 526 other names I listed; just his friend's. Actually, to be honest, I don't think he even read the column. I have a sneaking suspicion that he was just Googling his buddy's name, came across my article, and did a CTRL-F to find the name. Because really, if he was that outraged over some guy in Cleveland listing the name of one dead soldier, then wouldn't he have been even more outraged over a list of the names of 527 dead soldiers??

But really, supporting Bush would in turn support the troops?? What kind of backward logic is that? I'd say that if there has been any one person who has not been thinking of U.S. soldiers it's been George W. Bush. Sending them off without the proper armor? Cutting tax money that surely would have gone to them in some way? Sending three hundred Alaska-based soldiers back into Baghdad just weeks after returning home from one-year stays? Promising to send thousands more into the country? Declaring that ending the war will be up to future presidents and not him?? Exactly where is the support in all this?

Iraq is a failure. It has been for quite some time, and we need to accept that. We need to stop jerking ourselves off on some fantasy that we're on a good and just mission over there, because it's simply not true. The country is now in civil war and it is mostly our fault. It has become another Vietnam, and we need to deal with it from that reality, not some wishful thinking that if we stick around just a little bit longer then maybe, just maybe, they'll tire themselves out. To paraphrase a rather cold saying from some time back, you don't deal with the reality you'd like to have, just the one that you do have. Anything else is masturbation.

It seems to me that people often mistake stubbornness for resoluteness. "Oh, he can't possibly be wrong about this. After all, he's sticking with it!" You know, as if there's some twisted pride in knowing that 2,600 of our troops have been killed on a lie. Because surely there's no moral victory in learning from a serious mistake and attempting to correct it before even more people lose their lives. Oh no, not for us! "Stay the course"...the senselessly bloody, corpse-lined course with no end in sight.

Thankfully, as far as I can tell, that person who wrote to me has not been killed in Iraq himself yet, but I must wonder how many more friends or even acquaintances has he lost over there in the last two years? With no clear goal, with no victory or even resolution in sight, with no positive progress, and with no real leadership or confidence back home, has it all been worth it for him? I know what my answer would be.

We need to get the hell out of there.

What's that, you say? That doesn't scare you? Well, chew on this!

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTS YOU DEAD.

In the past I've talked about how it's in Bush's best financial interest to keep us all sick and unhealthy, but on July 19 he took steps to stall the progress of medical science for at least the next decade. He cast the very first veto of his term on a bill that would have expanded the limits on federal funding for research on stem cells obtained from embryos that were to be destroyed.

The bill had been passed in the Senate just the day before, with the final vote of sixty-three for and thirty-seven against. A two-thirds vote is needed to override any veto, which unfortunately wasn't possible due to the Republican majority in Congress. Yep, just four more senators would have made all the difference. The House would later vote to override the veto, but they were fifty-one votes shy of a two-thirds majority. These differences sound easily fixable, don't they?

What medicinal benefits are there in using stem cells? That's just it, we don't know, hence the word "research." Stem cells are the body's repair cells, and many doctors and scientists have speculated that such research could lead to great improvements for people with a wide variety of ailments and physical problems, from diabetes to cancer to spinal injuries.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a major proponent of stem cell research was Christopher Reeve, who was always looking for new and future advancements in the field of spinal research. He actually did a little campaigning for Kerry in 2004, but unfortunately he died just weeks before the election.

So as you can see, just from a political perspective Bush benefits from preventing research in the treatment of people like Christopher Reeve; people who are going to support the guy more interested in actually finding ways to help not just them but everyone with health problems.

In short....

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTED CHRISTOPHER REEVE DEAD.

Hmm, as sick as that sounds, it doesn't really sound all that menacing. How about this instead....

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTED TO KILL SUPERMAN.

That's more like it. After all, a lot of people wanted Christopher dead after The Quest for Peace anyway.

In the last five years Bush had made over 140 threats to veto bills passed by Congress, and this is the one that broke the coke-addicted camel's back? A bill to slightly increase federal funding on research that was not only legal but already receiving federal funding??

This year alone, the pharmaceutical industry has donated nearly $8 million to the Republican Party (so far), while the insurance industry has already donated over $12 million! Surely $20 million had nothing to do with Bush's current stance on the progress of medical research.

Why do we always have to be the stubborn foot-dragging country? You never hear of Switzerland or France being squeamish about breakthroughs in medical or scientific study. Why is it always the United States that have the stupid policies that prevent progress? You can almost hear a caveman saying, "But me afraid of shaman that make new heart. Me no like metal bird in sky! GASP, he make fire!!"

I have a lot of issues with Bush's mentality on this debate. First of all, calling these things--these undeveloped blobs of cells--"embryos" is misleading, and no doubt intentionally. These are pluripotent stem cells taken from a blastocyst, which is merely a collection of fifty to 150 of such cells. This is before it even becomes an embryo, as it doesn't even attach itself to the uterus at this stage. This isn't an embryo; it's just a fertilized egg that didn't even divide. It's barely a zygote.

I guess my big problem with the anti-stem-cell folks is that a lot of them don't really understand the science behind it and just think that babies are being ripped from mothers' wombs and robbed of their lifeforce. Bush said it himself when he vetoed the bill: "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life of the hope of finding medical benefits for others." You know, as if doctors are nothing more than glorified vampires. He says that it supposedly "crosses a moral boundary," but if he's using a misinterpretation to define what the research is all about, then how is he in any position to say what boundaries it's crossing?? I've never heard the words "Doctor" or "Pastor" precede his last name before, have you? Shit, by this rationale, anyone can make something up about this and say it crosses some moral boundary!

These discarded cells never saw a mother's womb, so how can they be babies? I admit I'm not a medicine man myself, but I'm pretty sure there's an important step or two missing before these clumps of cells can be defined as "children." Sure, there have been women willing (or coerced is my guess) to "adopt" these fertilized eggs in order to insert them in, have them attach to their uteruses, and then carry them to term, and I guess there's nothing too weird about that (although I'm really curious as to what will happen to them after they're born), but really, how is that any different from a woman going to a sperm bank to get artificially inseminated? We'd never refer to tanks of frozen sperm as "embryos" or "babies," would we? Of course not (well okay, most of us wouldn't). To even use the word "adopt" in relation to these cells is creepy. They think that all a zygote needs is a good home with a loving family, like it's an abandoned child at a halfway house. What, do they believe that as soon as they leave the lab it's going to suddenly grab a cane and top hat and start to sing and dance like Michigan J. Frog??

The debate over this has gotten so ridiculous that people are now defining life on a molecular level. I think it's downright insulting, not only to the people who have been educated enough to know what constitutes each stage of the development of life but also everyone in general, because nobody should ever be compared to a single-celled organism...well okay, maybe American Idol fans.

The capper to this shit is how the White House's press-secretary-of-the-week, the slimy Tony Snow from Fox News, explained Bush's veto.

"The president believes strongly that, for the purpose of research, it's inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He's one of them," he said.

So this is it, huh folks? Because a percentage of people who might not have all their facts together believe this is murder, then it must be.

You know, a lot of people believe that Iraq was involved with September 11. A lot of people believe that Sherrod Brown is African-American. And a lot of people believe that Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite. But that doesn't necessarily make any of that true! Since when is administration policy based on Snopes.com??

Not surprisingly, a lot of the stem cell debate is tied into the abortion debate...as if this veto is somehow going to pave the way for the repeal of Roe vs. Wade. But really, all this is about is trying to find yet another way for old white guys to control what women can do with their bodies and especially their reproductive systems. For as much as we look down on how the Arab world treats their women, we sure as hell aren't really all that advanced. Most on the right act as if women couldn't possibly handle the heavy responsibility of having the option of abortion available, so it's best just to outlaw it. You know, as if women are nothing more than disobedient children with tits.

Ironically, the person who made the most sense on the whole abortion-vs.-stem-cell issue was outgoing Republican Senator Bill Frist, a heart surgeon himself. He said, "I am pro-life, but I disagree with the president's decision to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. Given the potential of this research and the limitations of the existing lines eligible for federally funded research, I think additional lines should be made available." Don't get me wrong, he's still a douchebag for the whole Terri Schiavo thing and I am so happy he's leaving Congress, but why isn't his party's own leader open to the same possibilities about this research?

Why that's simple. It's because he doesn't care and wants us all to get sick and die.

So, did that do it? No? Really? Well, it looks like I'll have to scare you over something you really care about....

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTS TO PAY YOU LESS.

Okay, this one is maybe a bit unfair because it's not really Bush doing this but rather the Republicans in Congress. I'll justify lumping them together in a little bit, I promise.

In late June, the GOP-led Senate killed a Democrat-proposed measure to increase the paltry minimum wage, which has sat at $5.15 since 1997. This marked the ninth time since then that Republicans have squashed such a measure from Democrats. This last proposal would have increased the wage to $5.85 beginning at the end of August, and then again to $6.55 at the end of August 2007, and then yet again to $7.25 in August 2008. At that point a person on minimum wage would be earning over $15,000 per year, almost 50 percent more than their annual income today.

Even though a majority of senators were in favor of such an increase, the final vote was fifty-two for and forty-six against, eight short of the necessary sixty votes for approval. Think about that: a change of just eight senators would have increased the minimum wage for every American by as much as 50 percent.

As far as how Bush feels about a minimum wage increase, well that's kinda hard to say. In two press briefings just this August, shortly after the bill was defeated, the aforementioned scumbag Tony Snow more or less avoided questions about such wage hikes. The clearest non-answer he gave was during the August 17 White House briefing.

"The formulation we have used is he supports an increase in the minimum wage that won't come at the expense of jobs," he said, and that was it. Darn, I was hoping for one of those increases that created massive lay-offs and even more outsourcing. Christ, the man is an imbecile...and you can take your pick whom I meant.

Actually, the most detailed answer anyone from the administration ever gave on the issue was provided last October by the doughy and shifty Scott McClellan, Snow's predecessor.

According to Scott at the October 19 press briefing: "Well, the president believes that we should look at having a reasonable increase in the minimum wage. He's talked about that before. But we need to make sure that as we do that, that it not--that it is not a step that hurts small businesses or prices people out of the job market. We don't want it to cost people jobs and stuff, and that's been something the president has expressed."

Um, he has? That's strange, because according to the White House archives, Bush has only talked about the minimum wage twice since taking office! Both times were during the 2004 campaign, and each mention was in passing. In fact, during the October 14 debate with Kerry in Tempe, Arizona, both candidates were specifically asked if it was time to raise the minimum wage. Kerry was able to provide a detailed answer:

It's long overdue time to raise the minimum wage. And, America, this is one of those issues that separates the president and myself. We have fought to try to raise the minimum wage in the last years, but the Republican leadership of the House and Senate won't even let us have a vote on it. We're not allowed to vote on it. They don't want to raise the minimum wage.

The minimum wage is the lowest minimum wage value it has been in our nation in fifty years. If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year. The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year, but he doesn't hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire. One percent of America got $89 billion last year in a tax cut. But people working hard, playing by the rules, trying to take care of their kids, family values that we're supposed to value so much in America--I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values and don't value families. What we need to do is raise the minimum wage.

We also need to hold on to equal pay. Women work for 76 cents on the dollar for the same work that men do. That's not right in America, and we have an initiative that we were working on to raise women's pay. They've cut it off. They've stopped it. They don't enforce these kinds of things. I think that it is a matter of fundamental right that if we raise the minimum wage, fifteen million Americans would be positively affected. We'd put money into the hands of people who work hard, who obey the rules, who play for the American Dream. And if we did that, we'd have more consumption ability in America, which is what we need right now in order to kick our economy into gear. I will fight tooth and nail to pass the minimum wage.

Right on! And what was Bush's response to this thought-out description of a crisis that affects millions of working class Americans? Well, he quickly mumbled something about Kentucky's Senator Mitch McConnell and then spent the next minute or so praising his own failed No Child Left Behind Act. Hey, who gives a shit if a person's annual income on minimum wage is still about $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three...this guy has a legacy to build!

Even more depressing was a sleazy tactic via a package offered by Republicans in the House when this proposal was being debated. They wanted a sort of compromise in which they would allow a minimum wage increase to $7.25 (however over the course of three years instead of two), but only if they could include a bigger cut on inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates. So how do you like that? They would only give more money to poor people if they can also give more money to themselves and the rich fucks who finance their campaigns!

How dare they--how dare they--use the minimum wage like a pawn; like it's some sort of god damn bargaining chip! They're playing politics with people's lives.

The one and only Ted Kennedy said it best: "It's political blackmail to say the only way that minimum wage workers can get a raise is to give a tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans. Members of Congress raised their own pay, no strings attached. Surely, common decency suggests that minimum wage workers deserve the same respect."

Democratic Ohio Representative Tim Ryan chimed in, "It's outrageous the Republican Congress can't simply help poor people without doing something for their wealthy contributors."

An Associated Press article about the House plan that ran on July 28 calculated that over the last fifty years, during which time "inflation has eroded the minimum wage's buying power to the lowest level," the amount of cost-of-living wage increases that members of the House and Senate have granted for themselves have totaled about $35,000. Can you imagine John Boehner living on $10,700 per year?

Who's John Boehner, you ask? Why, in addition to being a Republican congressman from Ohio, he's also the current House Majority Leader, succeeding Tom DeLay after he stepped down in disgrace following criminal charges of money laundering. This whole "no wage increase unless rich guys get more money" scheme was John's idea. One of his aides even told the press that this ridiculous insult of a proposal would be the only way he would let Democrats even vote on a minimum wage increase as long as he was there. Yeah, this prick is holding the minimum wage hostage!

And you know, Republicans can bitch and moan all they want about how an increase in the minimum wage would supposedly force people out of jobs or not allow small businesses to compete (a concept that, if I may be so bold, goes against every economics lesson I've ever learned in school). But the reality is that it's the big businesses that are against wage hikes, and they traditionally fund the GOP candidates. Just for example, in the last year alone Wal-Mart has donated over $130,000 to the Republican Party. Is it any wonder then why Bush wants to create a new slave class out of illegal Mexicans? It's not because anyone's really worried about border security or if people are following the legal immigration process. It's because Wal-Mart told the people they helped buy their way into office that they want to make sure there are enough workers to go around to lock inside the stores overnight and not have to worry about INS showing up to take them away.

It is time to take the power away from these monster corporations, and the best way to start is by making sure that the little guy can survive on his paycheck.

As Ted Kennedy summed it up, "When the Democrats control the Senate, one of the first pieces of legislation we'll see is an increase in the minimum wage."

Amen to that. Now put your pants back on, Teddy.

What? Not scared yet?? Well, as long as I'm trying to spook you on the subject of money....

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTS YOU TO WASTE MONEY ON THINGS HE PROFITS FROM.

Here's an easy one we can all relate to: gas prices.

According to AAA, on August 24 the national average for the price of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.90 per gallon. In California, the price per gallon had recently gone as high as $3.80!

If you think Bush being in power has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with current gas prices, then you really need to have your head examined. No seriously, that's not a smug insult or anything. You clearly do not understand how the world works, and I'm actually a bit surprised you've retained the mental power to continue reading this rather long column.

The year alone, the oil industry has already donated over $9 million to the Republican Party. In fact, despite the seemingly low amount (as it's a little over a third of what was donated in 2000), at the moment the GOP is receiving 84 percent of the total political contributions the industry has donated this year, a higher percentage than in any previous election cycle. Do you see any Republican in Congress taking steps to not only lower gas prices but also to propose alternative sources of fuel and energy?? Of course not.

Like with everything else, there's no financial interest in it for them.

I think the funniest coda to this part would be by recounting what's been going on in my home state of Ohio, where current Democratic Representative Ted Strickland is running for governor, facing off against corrupt Bush cohort and election-fixer Ken Blackwell to succeed the even more corrupt failure Bob Taft. In mid-August an "independent" "Swift Boat-esque" group called Common Sense Ohio (must be that ironic humor I hear so much about) ran an attack ad that actually had the nerve to suggest that Strickland is to blame for the high gas prices throughout the state...and that he supposedly plans to raise them even higher! I would love to meet the dope who actually falls for this baseless bullshit.

Does it matter that for the last several years Strickland has been urging Bush and Congress to take steps to lower the price of gas? In May 2004 he suggested that prices would lower if the administration would stop putting crude oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and free it up for consumer use...and this was back when gas was reaching just the $2.00 per gallon level!

Man, how those Democrats are always out to screw us as long as they get to profit off oil, huh? Jesus Christ.

Let's see, I've played the dead soldier card, the dead you card, the minimum wage card, and the gas card. What else would scare you? Hmm, oh! I know! Osama bin Laden!

GEORGE W. BUSH LET OSAMA BIN LADEN GET AWAY.

Late last year, a small unit of the CIA was closed down after existing for ten years. The two-dozen-person unit was called Alec Station, which was formed with the sole intent of gathering information that can be used to track down Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants. This news wasn't reported until early July of this year.

The CIA Counterterrorist Center, the division that handled this unit, claimed that al-Qaeda was no longer a major priority in the world of international terrorism. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of the government resources used for counterterrorism, from the intelligence units to the Army's own terrorism-specific Delta Force, had been redirected to Iraq.

It's almost eerie that this news didn't come out until just before the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I always thought that bin Laden was going to be brought to justice "dead or alive," as had been promised by some redneck. Now the CIA unit whose sole purpose was to hunt him down is no more, and had been as of last year?!?

Seriously, think about this. Alec Station was launched in 1996, during a time in which most average Americans never heard of al-Qaeda let alone Osama bin Laden. This was before the 1998 anti-America fatwa and the resulting embassy bombings, before the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, and of course before September 11. Bin Laden was perceived as a major threat long before all of that crap, and almost as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy he would prove how dangerous of an enemy he really was. He needs to be taken out, so what do you do with the folks whose sole job is to gather info to find and capture him? Close 'em down.

Despite his nonsensical tough talk, Bush does not want Osama bin Laden caught...at least not now anymore. If bin Laden was really out of the picture then that would deprive Bush of his best crutch to do...well, anything to anybody. Why attack Iraq? September 11. Why spy on us with warrants? September 11. Why pardon Tom DeLay for money-laundering? September 11. The Republicans' ace in the hole would be gone.

Osama bin Laden will never be caught as long as George W. Bush is around. I promise you that.

So are you scared yet? Let's review:

GEORGE W. BUSH WANTS YOUR CHILDREN DEAD, WANTS YOU DEAD, WANTED SUPERMAN DEAD, WANTS TO PAY YOU LESS, WANTS YOUR REMAINING MONEY SPENT ON THINGS HE GETS KICKBACKS FROM...AND WANTED OSAMA BIN LADEN TO GET AWAY WITH SEPTEMBER 11.

I don't know about you, but all that sure scares the hell out of me!

So, why lump Bush's evils in with Congress? Well, who do you think votes on and passes the shitty things he's done? Bush isn't acting alone. He currently has 231 people in the House and fifty-five people in the Senate to push whatever scummy thing he has on his mind. He gets what he wants by intimidating representatives and coercing senators who used to hang out with his daddy. And when that doesn't work, he invokes September 11.

A couple of years ago one of my heroes, Chuck Jones, wrote a children's book titled Daffy Duck for President, in which Daffy runs for president, and gets elected, on the platform of outlawing rabbits. When he gets in office, however, he discovers that passing a personal, vindictive law isn't all that easy, since Congress has to vote on it first. So, he resigns and then tries running for Senate. It's a charming book that tries to explain how the various branches of government work. Bush is very much like Daffy in this book (and you can substitute rabbits for anything you'd like, be it gays or Mexicans or Arabs or them there thinkin' women), only in real life Congress isn't putting up roadblocks for his ridiculous desires...instead, they do just the opposite, wasting not only time but also taxpayer money. Meanwhile, the hundreds of other more pressing issues that face our country today, from education to the environment to protecting civil rights, get put on the back burner. Don't think for a second that's not all a part of the plan.

This is a dangerous man (Bush, not Daffy) who's taking advantage of what's supposed to be a symbiotic system of government...you know, checks and balances and all that sort of thing. Well, if Congress won't stop the administration, then the only thing to do is stop Congress itself.

Can you believe how easily all that can change in just a couple of short months? A third of the Senate and all of the House? We have the power to not only change the course this country is tumbling down, but also to finally hold Bush accountable for the last five years of misery, pain, and incompetence.

So, I don't know, is it wrong to try to scare people into voting a certain way? After all, earlier I condemned Republicans for using the minimum wage as a chess pawn. Am I doing the same? Is it hypocrisy then? I really don't know.

I hope ultimately, if anything needs to be justified, it's that I'm doing this because I love and care about this country so much, and I am terrified about the direction we're heading. I know I'm not alone in my fears; opinion polls over the last year have proved that. But the question remains, what are we prepared to do about it? You can't wish for something to change and expect that to be enough.

I hope you're with me on this. There's still time to register to vote and help make a difference. If you don't, well then, I have just one word for you.

Boo!

--Greg


Quotes of the Month

"I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today."
Bush on April 24 in Irvine

"And nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a--Iraq--the lesson of September 11 is take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody╠s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11 were ordered by Iraq."
Bush on August 21 at the White House Conference Center Briefing Room

"I determine that...acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
Bush's March 18, 2003 letter to Congress declaring war on Iraq

"Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that's been pretty well confirmed, that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack."
Cheney on NBC's Meet the Press on December 9, 2001, answering Tim Russert's question of "Do you still believe there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?"

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