Thursday, November 30, 2006

Word, bitch

Roy Edroso:

I am sympathetic to persecuted Christians -- which in my admittedly old-fashioned lexicon means Christians harrassed and assaulted for their faith -- but I notice that, like all other conservative types these days, conservative Christians have broadened their definition of persecution to include being disagreed with, and not being allowed to practice their own variants of sharia...

The most pithy summation yet of the Conservative Disease. We're intolerant, repressive, persecutin' motherfuckers if we don't allow them utter control over every aspect of our lives, all in the name of jebus. Or Dubya. Or whichever other empty bag they're frantically waving around with the word AUTHORITY written across it in letters you can only see through those cool sunglasses from They Live.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The gauntlet... grabbed up!

Sadly No challenged some conservative hoser to try and make a Day By Day comic strip funny. I'm no conservative hoser, and I've probably failed the test badly anyway, but what the hell, here's my entry:

Begin heaping derision... NOW.

Also, feel free to leave comments on all my other nonsense, if you like.

The very model of a modern progressive democracy

From here:

Every day it seemed more Iraqis woke up to death threats tossed into their carports. At first the death threats were handwritten, but as kidnappings became a daily occurrence, the kidnappers grew more brazen and organized. The terrorists now issue generic, computerized threats with the organization's name as letterhead. Only the name of the victim is written by hand.

"To the traitors cooperating with Americans," began one typed death threat received in 2005 by a young architect employed by an American contractor working in the Green Zone. "If you don't repent, the Mujahideen will punish you and behead you."

I don't know. I'm trying to think. Is this what life in Iraq was like, before we invaded, deposed Saddam Hussein, and transformed that poor downtrodden country into a miracle of modern democracy?

I'm also trying to think -- if this recurring conservative meme about violence in Iraq being no worse, or, at worse, only slightly worse, than violence in many American cities, is true, then... um... gee... I'm very happy I live in one of the few large American cities where crazy ass religious posses don't throw neatly typed up death threats against me and my entire family onto my front porch every day, which they would then carry out, if I didn't immediately quit my job.

I mean, whew. Close call, there.

Hat tip to This Modern World.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I begin to understand

A minor musing on the ways and whimsies of the Internet:

I'm starting to get why trolls do their troll thing. It's coming to me, after having this particular poli-blog up for a few weeks now, and getting, well, pretty much the same amount of attention over here as I generally get over at the geek blog, which is to say, next to slim, and close to none. But that's incidental, or at least, secondary, to what I'm typing about presently.

Where true enlightenment lies for me in this regard is in watching how other poli bloggers routinely ignore my comments. I'd like to think it's personal, because that's exactly the kind of jerk I am, and I even suppose it could be, but believing that a bunch of unrelated utter strangers all have it in for me smacks of madness, and anyway, I keep changing up the pseuds I post under just to eliminate that factor. So it seems unlikely there's an agenda actually at work, loathe though I am to admit that.

Barring that, then, I have to assume they're just ignoring my comments, and responding to comments from other people in the threads... why?

I don't know why. At first and last, I can only speculate. I'm tempted to extract from this a general rule for commenting on blogs -- something like "Never be smarter, funnier, or a better writer than the blogger whose blog you are commenting on" -- but, well, that only works for petty insecure types like Aaron Hawkins, and I certainly hope that folks like Jim Henley and IOZ and Roy Edroso and Glenn Greenwald are above all that shit.

It could be that my comments just suck. In fact, the whole "I just suck" thing could explain why nobody pays much attention to my writing at all -- why no one comments on my blogs, why my short stories and novels all get rejected, why no one will believe a word I say about a certain big name pro telling pathological lies about me and his wife on the Internet. Yet here, clear cold analysis tells me that however badly I may suck, there are many, many others who suck much worse who still get much more attention than I do. So, again, that brings me back to -- why? Why do all my comments, regardless of the names I post them under, get routinely ignored by all the bloggers whose blogs I post them to? Why do cretins who can barely type get several hundred word responses?

Ultimately, I don't know, and no one is going to tell me, so to hell with it.

But it certainly lets me understand the troll mentality. No one likes to be ignored, and that certainly includes me -- and no one ever ignores a troll. Especially on the better read blogs. Because no matter how many people there are in the comment threads who understand that trolls thrive on attention (just like the rest of us) and therefore, the only way to deal with them is to ignore them, there is always some frickin' rookie who doesn't believe this, or who doesn't have the discipline to apply the wisdom, and who feels they just have to engage the fucker. Which is exactly what he or she wants, and is exactly why he or she trolls in the first place.

Now, I'm not going to start trolling. I'll continue to keep what comments I post on topic, and try to make them about the subject matter of the blog post, rather than what I perceive of the personality of the blogger. (On the other hand, if the subject matter of the blog post IS the personality and/or behavior of the blogger, well, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.) Still, I'm above trolling, and certainly am not so pathetically desperate for attention that I'm going to start leaping into the middle of someone's threads screaming personal abuse just to get a rise out of folks.

Unless it's a really slow day, or something.

But, you know, when you post all this really cool stuff, and nobody pays it the slightest mind... it just gets really exasperating.

I suppose it's really just that blogs tend to be cliqueish, and bloggers tend to focus their attention on the people they already know and like. That's probably the bulk of it, and it's very common, and very human. But, I think it's also lamentable, and limiting, and to what extent I can, it's a behavior I try to avoid. On the rare occasion I actually get comments from people outside the very small circle of my familiar audience, I try to give them just as much time and attention as I do the feedback from more familiar folks.

But, in this as in so many things, I seem to be an exception rather than the rule.

Of course, it's tough not to believe that in point of fact, what's going on here is, for whatever reason, few if any people like or welcome my comments on their blogs, and what they are doing is what nearly all civil, polite people do in such circumstances -- pointedly ignoring me until I go away. And eventually, I probably will. But I'm more obtuse than most people; I tend to need a more direct disinvitation before I sadly pick up my glove and ball and wend my dejected ass back home again.

It's not beyond possibility, of course, that my reputation has preceded me, that these people recognize my singular signature style regardless of how I actually sign myself, and none of them want a damn thing to do with "Kurt Busiek's psycho stalker". In which case, well, fine, I'll own that; I earned it, and I'll take it. I just wish they'd tell me, if not least because, I could then ridicule them savagely for it on my blogs.

Ah, well.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled political ravings, already in progress, most likely.

Important safety tip from Egon

It's important to remember that, amongst the morass of real reasons behind the invasion of Iraq that cannot be admitted to publicly, a very significant one was our government's need to discipline/terminate a once-prized (if necessarily covert) civil servant who had gone resolutely and irredeemably off the reservation.

Which is to say, we hired Mr. Hussein to run the Iraqi oil fields for us, we paid him handsomely to do it, and we were fine with his job performance as long as he wasn't fucking around with Big Energy's bottom line.

Once he got a swelled head and decided he could pump as much or as little crude as he liked in any given month, regardless of what he was told by those he reported to, he had to go. And it is an unfortunate necessity of international trade that, when a concern like the U.S. government has to fire a civil servant at Saddam Hussein's pay grade, it may require military action to enforce the terms of the pink slip.

Equally unfortunately, replacing someone at that pay grade can require a lengthy interview process, and holding the position open for the required period is also something that may necessitate the application of tactical and even strategic military pressure.

There are just the realities of recruitment on this sort of scale, and those who are unwilling to accept this will never really grasp the essence of actual international geopolitics.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The haunted amusement park

First, you have to go read this. No, it isn't fun. Or funny. Or even remotely sane. But you have to. It's by a best selling science fiction author, so, you know, stop looking at me like that. Go read it.

Back? Okay. Now here's this:

The Time Traveler appeared suddenly in my living room on New Year’s Eve, 2004. He was a stolid, grizzled man in a gray tunic and looked to be in his late-sixties or older. He also appeared to be the veteran of wars or of some terrible accident since he had livid scars on his face and neck and hands, some even visible in his scalp beneath a fuzz of gray hair cropped short in a military cut. One eye was covered by a black eyepatch. He had a large round pin on the front of his shirt that said, in bright red letters against a white background, THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER. Underneath, in smaller black type, I could just make out if I squinted, it also said But I hate seafood.

Before I could finish dialing 911 he announced in a husky voice that he was a Time Traveler come back to talk to me about the future.

Being a wannabe science-fiction writer and a full time smart ass, I said, “Okay. So, does Hiro save the cute red headed waitress on Heroes, or what?”

The stranger looked baffled. Then enraged. Then perplexed. Then offended. Then bewildered. Then, well, frankly, a little bit tired, which I couldn't blame him for, having just put him through all that emotional turbulence. “Wait,” he started. “You’re supposed to… I’m supposed to… I... dammit, this is serious business here! Don't be such a geek.”

“Dude,” I reassured him, “Chill out. It's only a story. Sit ass down. Put feet up.”

Before I could say anything else on this New Year’s Eve of 2004, a few hours before 2005 began, the stranger said, “Terri Schiavo, Katrina, New Orleans under water, Ninth Ward, Ray Nagin, Superdome, Judge John Roberts, White Sox sweep the Astros in four to win the World Series, Pope Benedict XVI, Scooter Libby.”

“Heh,” I snickered. “This is so cool. See, this story is actually being written in 2006, but because it’s set in 2004, you throw out all that good topical shit and it’s, like, you know, all doo-DOO doo-DOO doo-DOO doo-DOO. I mean, seriously. I got goosebumps.”

He stared at me. “doo-DOO doo-DOO?” he asked, dubiously.

I spread my hands. “The Twilight Zone theme song,” I said, perhaps a tiny bit more insistently than was absolutely necessary.

“That didn’t sound anything like the Twilight Zone theme song,” he replied. “I mean, straight up.”

“Fuck you,” I retorted. Now I was pissed. People are always mocking the way I do the Twilight Zone theme song, and frankly, after a few years of it, you just get really tired of that shit. Like they do it so much better, right? Fuckers. “You wouldn’t know the Twilight Zone theme song if it bit you on the prickhead, you dipshit," I went on, maybe just a little bit shrilly. "What are you, you’re just some scrofulous Time Traveler I made up so I could make some labored, lame ass, completely contrived point about politics on my blog, anyway.”

“Still didn’t sound anything like the Twilight Zone theme song,” the Time Traveler insisted. “Plus, I don’t know how many times people have to tell you, the whole music thing? Doesn’t work well in text.”

“Fuck you,” I said again, even more truculently than before. “Where were we…?”

“I was proving I’m really a Time Traveler with topical references from your near future,” said the stranger. “And you were mocking me for it. Anyway. I’ll be back in a year to talk to you, once you see how all that stuff I told you pans out.”

“No, no, fuck that, I ain't waitin' no goddam year,” I snorted. “I accept that you're a Time Travler. Now sit your ass down and talk to me. C’mon. Let’s get the expository dialogue rolling, here. I ain’t got all damn day.”

He sighed. “Okay, whatever.” He sat down on the loveseat I keep trying to talk Tammy into ditching so we can get an actual sofa.

“Would you like something to drink?” I asked him. Note that I’m adding all this stuff after the first bit of dialogue by Simmons, because I think it’s bad writing to just leave dialogue hanging without something to attribute or further modify it.

“Scotch,” he said. “Single malt if you have it.”

I didn’t. I don’t drink. I know, I’m weird. “I think I’ve got some Pepsi,” I said.

The Time Traveler stared at me. “What are you,” he finally said, “some kind of pansy?”

“I like to keep as many of my brain cells alive at any given time as I can,” I advised him. I went to the fridge, came back, poured us both big plastic cups of Pepsi. “What, in your horrible post-Apocalypse future, all they have is Coke?” I shuddered. That would be a nightmare future indeed.

He sneered at me, then at the Pepsi, but finally, picked it up and took a big swig.

Our conversation ran over two hours, but the following is the gist of it. It’s not that I have a perfect memory or anything, but, you know, shit, I’m just making all this up anyway, so, what the fuck, right?

The Time Traveler wouldn’t tell me what year in the future he was from. Not even the decade or century. But the gray cord trousers and blue-gray wool tunic top he was wearing didn’t look very far-future science-fictiony or military, no Star Trekky boots or insignia, just wellworn clothes that looked like something a guy who worked with his hands a lot would wear. Although I should point out that when you’re trying to make it sound as if a character is wearing normal clothing because you're too lazy to try to make up something plausibly futuristic for a time traveler, you may want to avoid unconventional sounding words like ‘tunic’. But maybe that’s just me. Lord knows I’m not a big shot professional SF writer or anything.

“I know you can’t tell me details about the future because of time travel paradoxes,” I began. I hadn’t spent a lifetime reading and then writing SF for nothing. (Actually, come to think of it, I have. It’s been my experience that few people ever manage to get paid to read SF, and I myself have never yet managed to get paid to write it. Unless you count that CAVALIER story I sold as science fiction. Which I wouldn’t. )

“Oh, bugger time travel paradoxes,” said the Time Traveler. “They don’t exist. I could tell you anything I want to and it won’t change anything. I just choose not to tell you some things.”

I frowned at this. “I can’t believe I just wrote a nominally American character saying ‘bugger’ something. I mean, who talks like that?” It really bothered me.

“Maybe you’re trying to make me sound futuristic,” the Time Traveler offered, kind of lamely. "Maybe there's some kind of, you know, more internationally cosmopolitan flavor to the English language by the time I'm coming here from. Or something..."

“Yeah, maybe.” I shrugged. “Okay, back to the thing. Um… where were we… oh yeah. Time travel paradoxes don’t exist? But surely if I go back in time and kill my grandfather before he meets my grandmother ...”

The Time Traveler sniffed and sipped his Pepsi. “First, don’t call me Shirley. Second, would you want to kill your grandfather?” he said.

I thought about it. “Well, my grandfather was kind of a jerk…”

The Time Traveler waved his hand airily. “No. You wouldn’t go back and kill your grandfather. It just wouldn’t happen. There are no paradoxes. Accept it and move on.”

I frowned. "So this is a point that's important to the plot and we shouldn't spend a lot of time on it, just get it down and move forward," I said, finally.

"Exactly," he said. "No paradoxes. Get over it."

I shook my head. “But surely anything you tell me now about the future will change the future,” I said.

“Okay, I already told you about the Shirley thing. Don't make me do it again. Second, I gave you a raft of facts about your future a year ago as my bona fides,” said the Time Traveler. “Did it change anything? Did you save New Orleans from drowning?”

"Well," I said, holding up one finger on my right hand. "First... no, before that. First, I'm sorry, you just look a lot like a girl I used to know named Shirley. Homely, homely woman. Sorry about that. Second, if you're a time traveler from the future, why are you talking like a Mark Twain character? 'A raft of facts'? Again, who talks like that?"

"It's... colorful," the Time Traveler offered doubtfully. "Look, I didn't actually come up with this dialogue..."

"I know, I know," I said. "Okay, moving on. What are we up to..." I counted on my fingers. "Third, right. Third, no, I didn't save New Orleans from drowning. You didn't say 'Hurricane Katrina is going to hit New Orleans and kill several thousand people and put most of the city underwater except for the rich neighborhoods'. And if you had, I probably wouldn't have been able to do anything with the knowledge, and even if I could have, I wouldn't have, because, you know, then your whole 'no paradoxes' thing would be obvious bullshit, and we couldn't be sitting here having this talk, and, anyway, we didn't do the whole 'you give me topical references to prove you're really real and then come back in a year thing' anyway. Remember? I accepted that you were a time traveler and you sat down and started guzzling my Perpsi. It's still the end of 2004 here. Come on. Keep up with the narrative."

He scowled. "You're confusing me," he said plaintively. "Well, anyway, there aren't any goddam paradoxes, okay? Can we just agree on that and go ahead with this damn thing?"

"Whatever," I said. "But, say, that reminds me. You're a time traveler, right? From not all that far in the future? I mean, later on we're talking about my grandkids as if they are your contemporaries, so, I'm thinking, what, maybe fifty or sixty years or so at most, right?"

"Well, I..." The Time Traveler looked uncomfortable.

"Never mind," I said. "But here's the thing. You insist there are no paradoxes. You tell me there's stuff you won't tell me just because, you know, you're an asshole. And yet, here you are, in my living room, and you say you came back to talk about the future with me, even though I can't possibly do anything about it, and I'm thinking, jesus, this must be some seriously advanced technology they've got 40 years in the future, and it must take a buttload of power to send someone back in time five decades or so. And you're doing it just to chat? I mean, dude, what the fuck?"

He stared at me. "Okay," he finally admitted, "I actually came back for the single malt Scotch."

I stared back. "I have no single malt Scotch," I said, finally.

"Yeah, I know that now," he said sarcastically, "but the guy who wrote the original story I'm supposed to be in is, like, this big conservative, and you know they all drink like fish. I'm supposed to be like, swimming in single malt Scotch at this point."

"Conservatives do all drink like fish," I mused, rubbing my mustache thoughtfully. "I mean, you're definitely correct there. I wonder what's up with that."

The Time Traveler shrugged. "Yeah, they got big porn stashes, too. They just feel really guilty about it and keep it all on floppy discs that they hide behind the top drawer in their desk, so their wives won't stumble across it."

"Yeah," I said, nodding, "but dude, conservative porn is really boring. I mean, even the ones who are desperately fighting their own homosexual inclinations have crappy porn collections. Photoshopped celebrity shit. Fake nude tits superimposed on Mariah Carey."

"Mariah Carey," he sighed, shaking his head. "Jesus, I can't believe that woman won't give us one goddam nude shot. Just one. With jugs like that... I mean, Christ, you could paper a mid sized office complex with Madonna's nude stuff, but Carey? Forget about it."

"I know," I agreed mournfully. "But, anyway... the conservative porn is all really boring shit. Now... let's see... so, you came back in time for some hootch...?"

"No hootch in the grim n gritty post Apocalypse Muslim ruled future," he said. "I'm telling you. It would have justified the trillions of dollars we spent building the whole time displacement apparatus in the first place if I could have brought back a single 5 gallon jug of Ripple."

"Well, that's more plausible," I said. “Sorry about the whole Pepsi thing. So what do you want to talk about?”

“The Century War,” said the Time Traveler.

I blinked and tried to remember some history. “You mean the Hundred Year War? Fifteenth Century? Fourteenth? Sometime around there. Between ... France and England? Henry V? Kenneth Branagh? Or was it ...”

“I mean the Century War with Islam,” interrupted the Time Traveler. “Your future. Everyone’s.” He was no longer smiling. Without asking, or offering to pour me any, he stood, got another hit of Pepsi, and sat again. I didn't know how far in the future he was from, but apparently, people there are really, really rude. Or else he was just raised in a barn, or something.

He went on, “It was important to me to come back to this time early on in the struggle. Even if only to remind myself of how unspeakably blind you all were.”

"Now hold on there, skippy," I said. "First, you're sitting there on my couch drinking my Pepsi, so you can try to keep a fucking civil tongue in your head. Second, you don't seem to be having any difficulty speaking about how unspeakably blind we all are. Third, we've already established, you spent a few trillion bucks coming back in time so you could scarf up some free booze, and, frankly, alcoholic time travelers don't need to give themselves airs."

He glared at me. "You're supposed to say 'You mean the War on Terrorism'."

“Oh, sorry," I said. "Okay. Wait. Let me find my place... okay, here it is. You mean the War on Terrorism?” I finished, raising my voice a little bit at the end to do a kinda-sorta Li'l Rascals squeak-tone.

“I mean the Long War with Islam,” he said, ignoring my flawless Spanky impression. “The Century War. And it’s not over yet where I come from. Not close to being over.”

"Well," I said, "don't let me keep you, if you have to get back into the battle with the Islamic Century, or whatever..."

"No, no, NO," he said, clutching his temples. "You're supposed to say..."

“I know, I know," I sighed. "Here we go. You can’t have a war with Islam. You can’t go to war against a religion. Radical Islam, maybe. Jihadism. Some extremists. But not a ... the ... religion itself. The vast majority of Muslims in the world are peaceloving people who wish us no harm. I mean ... I mean ... the very word ‘Islam’ means ‘Peace.’”

“So you kept telling yourselves,” said the Time Traveler, his voice a rich and fruity sneer now. I could tell he was really getting into this part. “But the ‘peace’ in ‘Islam’ means ‘Submission.’ You’ll find that out soon enough.”

"Time out," I said. "Hold the phone. Is Christianity a peaceful religion?"

"Uh..." He narrowed his eyes at me. "Look, you're not supposed to..."

"Just answer me," I said. "We'll get back to the original text in a sec, I promise. Christ is commonly referred to as the Prince of Peace, right? Christians are supposed to be all peaceful and turn the other cheeky and shit, right? So if the 'peace' in Islam means 'submission', what does the 'peace' in Christianity mean? Hell, what does the 'peace' in any organized religion mean? For that matter, how do you have 'peace' at all, without the vast majority submitting to some sort of authority structure? The 'peace' in EVERYthing means 'submission', dude. There is no peace in anarchy."

"Well, it..." he stammered. "I... okay. That's not my point. Look, I'm giving out with all this grim, heavy, doom-laden dialogue, and you're... I don't know..."

"Fucking it up with facts?" I offered helpfully.

"No, not that," he said angrily. "You're... I don't know what you're doing. But let's get back to the original text."

I thought of quoting John Turturro's whole don't smart me mini-soliloquy from Miller's Crossing, but the Time Traveler seemed like too much of a lame-o to get it. "Okay," I said. "Um... After Nine-eleven, we’re fighting terrorism,” I began, “not ...”

He waved me into silence. What a rude asshole. But I let him get away with it... that time.

“You were a philosophy major or minor at that podunk little college you went to long ago,” said the Time Traveler. “Do you remember what Category Error is?”

I sighed. "Yes, dickhead," I told him, "in philosophy and formal logic, Category Error is the term for having stated or defined a problem so poorly that it becomes impossible to solve that problem, through dialectic or any other means.”

The Time Traveler looked irritated. "Wait," he said. "You're doing something. That's supposed to be my line..."

"Get over it," I said. "Move it along, old man."

He paused, obviously annoyed, then said, grudgingly, “Let me give you an analogy...”

God, I hated and distrusted analogies. I said nothing.

“Let’s imagine,” said the Time Traveler, “that on December eighth, Nineteen forty-one, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke before a joint session of Congress and asked them to declare war on aviation.”

“That’s absurd,” I said.

“Is it?” asked the Time Traveler.

"Yeah," I said. "Actually, that's totally beyond absurd. I mean, honestly, that's just about the most fucking retarded thing I've ever heard of. Seriously, I know you conservatives all hate FDR because he was like, Social Security and Welfare and Unemployment Insurance and Federal minimum wage guy, but declaring war on aviation after Pearl Harbor? Rush Limbaugh might do that if he'd taken a lot of Percoset and mixed them with Viagra, I guess. But FDR? How do you manage to talk at all with your head so far up your ass?"

The Time Traveler's visage visibly darkened. "That you would speak of The Great Orator with such contempt," he spluttered, starting to get off the loveseat.

"Siddown," I told him. "Original text. Let's go."

He sat back down and close his eyes. "Very well... The American battleships, cruisers, harbor installations, Army barracks, and airfields at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere in Hawaii were all struck by Japanese aircraft. Imagine if the next day Roosevelt had declared war on aviation ... threatening to wipe it out wherever we found it. Committing all the resources of the United States of America to defeating aviation, so help us God.”

"Right," I said. "And now I feed you the straight line about how... where is it... okay, here it is... The planes, the Japanese planes, were just a method of attack ... a means ... it wasn’t aviation that attacked us at Pearl Harbor, but the Empire of Japan. We declared war on Japan and a few days later its ally, Germany, lived up to its treaty with the Japanese and declared war on us. If we’d declared war on aviation, on goddamned airplanes rather than the empire and ideology that launched them, we’d never have ...”

I stopped. And sighed. "And now you point out that declaring war on terror is just as stupid as that, because, you know, terrorism was just a means that our real enemy used to attack us, and our real enemy is Islam, and that's what we should really have declared war on, right?"

"Well," he said, "Er... I didn't actually point that out in the original text. The original author was trying to be a tiny bit more subtle than that. But, yeah... that's the point. Declaring war on terror was stupid, when the enemy was actually..."

"Every fucking towel head, camel jockey, dune coon, and sand nigger in the world," I said helpfully.

"I wasn't going to put it like that," he said, looking rather shocked. "I mean, yeah, the enemy is Islam, but, well..."

"So, we're too politically correct to declare war on Islam," I observed dryly, "and you, from your enlightened future perspective, you, who know the absolute truth, have nothing but contempt for that. But, still, you can't come out and say what you really think, which is, if we unspeakably blind weak ass politically correct early 21st Century American faggots had just had the gumption to turn everyone on the planet wearing a turban, burka, or keffiyeh into radioactive dust, well, the world would be a Utopia now. Right?"

"I didn't put it that way," he muttered.

"No," I said, "you don't have the balls to put it that way. None of you sad dim punk ass conservative mother fuckers ever have the balls to come out and say what you really mean. It's not racial profiling, you jackasses whine, America really did get attacked by Arabs... although, when you say 'Arabs' all you really mean is 'dark skinned foreigners with comical accents who dress funny', because you couldn't tell the different between, say, a Persian and a Berber if it meant the fucking firing squad at dawn."

The Time Traveler spluttered "Well, it's the Islamic religion... the whole religion is corrupt... they're a violent culture... Good God, man, the 'peace' in 'Islam' means 'submission'..!"

"Yeah, yeah," I said, ruthlessly overriding him. "Peace in Islam means submission, got it, shut up, you're a moron. AND you're all up in arms about the idea of some frickin' Moslems building a mosque 100 yards from a school or a public park, but you're okay with the fact that you can't throw a rock in a random direction in Tampa or St. Pete without hitting a goddam Christian church of some sort."

He snorted. "Well, that's obviously different..."

"Yeah, right," I said. "And now here you are telling me we're weak and blind and stupid to declare war on a frickin' emotion instead of recognizing the real enemy, which is an entire religion you don't happen to like, but, even you can't say what you really mean, which is essentially, you want to commit religiously driven genocide against Christianity's most successful offshoot because you're not wild about the competition."

The Time Traveler looked flustered. “It... I... you're not supposed... okay." He looked around the room, as if desperate to find some way to change the subject. "What do you know about Syracuse?” he asked suddenly.

"Oh, fuck that," I said. "Fuck all that 'Thucydides’ Syracuse, Syracuse circa 415 B.C. The Syracuse Athens invaded' bullshit. I know where you're going with this. We didn't make a mistake invading Iraq, we make a mistake being pussies about it. We should have razed the entire fucking Middle East down to the sand, turned everything south of Turkey and north of the Arabian Sea, including Egypt, into a giant radioactive parking lot. We should have gone balls out, used whatever we had to, nukes, chemical weapons, viruses tailored specifically to hit the raghead genome. We should have been ruthless and merciless and absolutely unflinching in our determination to completely wipe the camel jockey blight from the face of the planet."

The Time Traveler looked really pissed now. "Well... well... well... " He stopped. "Well, you should have," he said, finally, sounding sulky. "Iraq should only have been the beginning. You had the power. If you'd had the strength of will..."

I sighed. And now we were back to the original text again. Okay. I was sick of Iraq. Everyone was sick of Iraq on New Years Eve, 2005, both Bush supporters and Bush haters. It was just an ugly mess. “They just had an election,” I said. “The Iraqi people. They dipped their fingers in purple ink and ... ”

“Yes yes,” interrupted the Time Traveler as if recalling something further back in time, and much less important, than Athens versus Syracuse. “The free elections. Purple fingers. Democracy in the Mid-East. The Palestinians are voting as well. You will see in the coming year what will become of all that.”

"Wait," I said. "So, what you're saying is, you only like democracy when the votes come out the way you think they should, right? And you're pissed because the U.S. Supreme court couldn't throw the Palestinian election to your anointed figurehead, so, you know, all democracy sucks?"

The Time Traveler drank some more Pepsi, closed his eyes for a second, and said, in a world weary tone I suspected was at least slightly affected, “Sun Tzu writes – The side that knows when to fight and when not to will take the victory. There are roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted.”

"Yeah?" I said. "Well, A Brown Eyed Handsome Man writes, conservative ass munch motherfuckers who want to kill everything and everyone that makes them piss their little panties should at least have the balls to enlist in the fucking Army and go try to do it themselves, instead of sending other people's kids over to do it for them, or, worse, advocating that we do it by pushing buttons that fire missiles from safe bunkers on the other side of the planet. And he also says, when conservatives beat their chests and talk fancy shit about roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, and walled cities not to be assaulted, they always speak with authority, because the only time they even come close to doing any of that shit is when they've got a goddam GameBoy controller in their hands."

The Time Traveler looked pissy. “You’ve understood nothing I’ve said. Nothing. Athens failed in Syracuse – and doomed their democracy – not because they fought in the wrong place and at the wrong time, but because they weren’t ruthless enough. They had grown soft since their slaughter of every combat-age man and boy on the island of Melos, the enslavement of every woman and girl there... ”

"Whoa," I interrupted. "Let me get this straight. The Athenians, who at one time slaughtered every man and boy and enslaved every woman and girl in a culture they didn't like, doomed their democracy because they weren't willing to do stuff like that any more? And, you know, you're holding this up as your big example of how America should behave, and what will happen to us if we don't?"

The Time Traveler looked very aggrieved. "Hell YEAH," he said. "They're the ENEMY."

"You are fucking crazy in hearts and spades," I told him. "Seriously. All you goddam chickenhawks are. How do we save America? We slaughter men and boys, we enslave women and girls. Except that's not what you want anymore, no, you want wholesale genocide. A couple dozen lunatics drive planes into a few of our buildings, and your response is, in order for us to survive as a people, we must show the resolute will to slaughter every single person on the planet who bears even the vaguest resemblance to those couple dozen dead fruitcakes. It's a fight for survival, so, you know, we should just become completely insane monsters ourselves, and wipe out millions if not billions, because, what, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of innocents? Is that how it goes?"

"They aren't innocent," he snarled, "they're..."

"The ENEMY, I know," I said. I was tired of this shit. "They wear funny things on their heads and their holy book is different from yours and they have comical accents and they own all the gas stations and convenience stores and most of them have darker skin than you do and it just makes you crazy that we ever let these people into the U.S. in the first place, I know, I know. Do you know? How fucking nuts you sound, I mean?"

The Time Traveler rose so quickly that I flinched back in my chair, but he only refilled his Pepsi. This time he refilled my glass as well. “I'm not nuts at all," he said, sounding just a tiny bit whiney now. “In 2006, you’ll be ripping and tearing at yourselves so fiercely that your nation – the only one on Earth actually fighting against resurgent caliphate Islam in this long struggle over the very future of civilization – will become so preoccupied with criticizing yourselves and trying to gain short-term political advantage, that you’ll all forget that there’s actually a war for your survival going on."

"Wait wait wait," I said. "Hold on a minute there. Nice shootin', Tex. Lemme get a United Nations translator on the line... uh huh... uh huh... yeah, that's what I thought... yep, the judges rule that that entire passage basically translates as 'you dumb ass motherfuckers, you voted Democratic in the 2006 midterms, and you did it so overwhelmingly that even stealing the usual 2-3% of the vote wasn't enough to keep our boys in office where they belonged, and we hate you, we hate you, we hate you forever, oh, we wish you'd all just die'."

He pointed at me furiously. "Okay, now, look, that's not what I'm talking about, but Jesus Christ, if ever there was an election that showed just how fucking effete and self indulgent and decadent Americans had become, it was the 2006 mid terms. Goddam Defeatocrats... Dhimmicrats... I can't believe you fucking people voted for those idiots. But that isn't the point I'm trying to make. What I'm saying is, there's more important things than politics, and..."

"And Democrats and independents should have known that, and kept voting for Republicans like good little sheep, because we're at war, mister, and wartime is no time for dissent, and the President needs our support, yeah, yeah, I've already sat through this particular concert about 17 times, no THANK you," I said.

"You're a pain in my ass," the Time Traveler muttered. "Look. Twenty-five years from now, every man or woman in America who wishes to vote will be required to read Thucydides on this matter. And others as well. And there are tests. If you don’t know some history, you don’t vote ... much less run for office. America’s vacation from knowing history ends very soon now ... for you, I mean. And for those few others left alive in the world who are allowed to vote.”

"Wait," I said. "Aren't you going to start telling me pretty quick about how all the surviving Americans in your horrible Muslim dominated future have to live in ghettoes and wear armbands and live under Sharia law and their lives are worth half of what a good Moslem's life is and all that good shit? But, still, they get to vote? What's up with that?"

He paused. "Okay. Not everyone has to live under sharia law. There are a still a few of us... proud remnants of true America... an embattled, surrounded island nation of free Americans who will never give up... manly, manly Americans..."

"Who all badly, badly need to get laid," I interjected.

"You have no idea," he said fervently. "But, still, yes, in the future, most surviving non-Muslims have to live horribly tortured existences. They're slaves. Slaves, I tell you."

“What the hell are you talking about?" I asked him. "Has our government taken away all our civil liberties in this awful future of yours?”

He laughed then and this time it was a deep, hearty, truly amused laugh. “Oh, yes,” he said when the laughter abated a bit. He actually wiped away tears from his one good eye. “I had almost forgotten about your fears of your, our ... civil liberties ... being abridged by our own government back in these last stupidity-allowed years of 2005 and 2006 and 2007 . Where exactly do you see this repression coming from?”

I sighed. "Where? Well, let's see. Ever hear of the PATRIOT Act? Jose Padilla? Guantanamo? Abu Ghraib? Haliburton getting a multibillion dollar contract to build detainment camps on U.S. soil? Modeled after the ones where they will still be keeping Katrina survivors sequestered, a year after the storm hit, while Haliburton (again) rebuilds New Orleans as a vast gated community for the wealthy? Free speech zones? Illegal wiretapping? Legalized torture? A President and Vice President who consistently state, and act as if, they are completely above the law? Homeland Security deputies threatening to arrest library patrons for looking at pornography on public library computers? Any of this ringing a bell with you?"

The Time Traveler laughed again, but with more edge this time. “Yes, I know,” he said. “We all know ... up there in the future which some of you will survive to see as free people. Civil liberties." He said that last as if he were biting on tinfoil, with the same tone a sane person might say something like "diarrhea" in.

I held up my hand again. "Whoa. Time out. Can I get a flag on that play, ref? Advising me that some of us will survive to see your horrible future as a free people, and then sneering at the very notion of 'civil liberties', doesn't exactly help your credibility. You see what I'm saying? 'Free people' and 'civil liberties' kind of go together. If you don't think much of 'civil liberties', I'm going to assume you don't actually represent 'free people'."

He glared. "Well, you'll be more free than if you were under sharia law. I will tell you right now, and this is not a prediction but a history lesson, some of your grandchildren will live in dhimmitude.”

As I read Sadly No and Alicublog a lot, I'd heard of 'dhimmitude'. It's a scare word they throw around on the really nutball conservative blogs a lot, like 'Islamofascism'. "Just how often do you post on Little Green Footballs?" I wondered aloud.

“Not very often, and it's not important,” said the Time Traveler, his one working eye glinting with something like fury. “Dhimmitude. You can also look up the word dhimmi, because that’s what two of your three grandchildren will be called. Dhimmis. Dhimmitude is the system of separate and subordinate laws and rules they will live under. Look up the word sharia while you’re Googling dhimmi, because that is the only law they will answer to as dhimmis, the only justice they can hope for ... they and tens and hundreds of millions more now who are worried in your time about invisible abridgements of their ‘civil liberties’ by their ‘oppressive’ American and European democratically elected governments.” He audibly sneered this last part.

I rolled my eyes. "Okay," I said. "Let me get this straight. You're seriously telling me that, in the future, hundreds of millions of people who survive from the present day, will be living horribly oppressed, enslaved, nightmare existences as 'dhimmis', by which you mean, second class citizens, under an Islamic tyranny?"

"Yes," he said, his teeth set grimly. "That is it exactly."

"But," I said, "if we had all just relaxed, and let Bush and Cheney and Rumsfield and Ashcroft tap all our phone calls, read all our email, put troops on every street corner, declare curfews and set up internment camps and arrest anyone they wanted to and hold people indefinitely without trial or try them in secret courts on secret evidence and torture information out of them, or send them to do forced labor on a whim, restrict their movements, search their homes without warrants, seize their chattels, reinstitute a military draft and debtor's prison, steal elections or straight up suspend them... if we'd gone along with all that, then global Islam could have been exterminated and the horrors of 'dhimmitude' could have been avoided and we'd all be very very happy in our wonderfully free and tolerant non-Moslem future Utopia?"

He glared at me. "You're twisting things. That's not how I put it. It isn't like that. I mean, it wouldn't have been."

I shook my head. "Say, on your planet, do the Christians have Islamic slaves who live in, I don't know, 'heathenitude', and that's okay, because we all know that all Moslems are creepy subhuman monkeys and born suicide bombers anyway?"

"Urr!" He growled in exasperation. "Look, none of those... those necessary security measures... were being done to you. All that stuff... the wiretapping, the detainments without trial, the vigorous interrogations, the secret evidence... that was all stuff that was aimed at terrorists and Moslem spies and terrorist sympathizers and traitors and like that!"

"You left out 'liberals, queers, and pinkos'," I advised him.

"Yeah, them too, but you know what? Decent right thinking patriotic Americans would have all been free!" He looked honestly aggravated that I couldn't get this. "But now, they're all living in dhimmitude. Under fucking towelheads! I mean, Jesus! Don't you see how wrong that is?"

I stopped for a moment, bemused by the thought of 'decent, right thinking patriotic Americans' living 'under fucking towelheads'. I wondered if in the horrible future my visitor came from, Sean Hannity worked as a bath boy for some guy named Abdul. Nah. Sean would kill himself first. Although I'd heard Bill O'Reilly was hell with a loofah...

"I don't know," I said, finally. "The thought of Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter 69ing for an audience of masturbating Moslem males in some covert harem somewhere in conquered Detroit has a certain poetic justice to it..."

"You're disgusting," he said, rather prudishly. "Anyway, like I said, there are no paradoxes and you can't change anything. What has begun, cannot be ended."

“Wasn’t the beginning on September 11, 2001?” I asked.

The one-eyed scarred man shook his head. “Historians in my time know that it began on June 5, 1968,” he said. “But it hasn’t really begun for you yet. For any of you.”

I thought – What on earth happened on the fifth of June, 1968? I’m old enough to remember. I was in college then. Working that summer and ... Kennedy. Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. “Now on to Chicago and the nomination!” Sirhan Sirhan.

"Oh, please," I said. "Are you sure it didn't start earlier? Maybe John Wilkes Booth was really Persian or a Berber or some shit, and he changed his name to blend in better."

"Mock me if you must," the Time Traveler sniffed at me.

"Thanks," I said.

"Here are some places that will be destroyed in the very near future by this so called 'war on terror'," the Time Traveler went on. "Galveston. The Space Needle. Bank of America Plaza in Dallas. Renaissance Tower in Dallas. Bank One Center in Dallas. The Indianapolis 500 – one hour and twenty-three minutes into the race. The Bell South Building in Atlanta. The TransAmerica Pyramid in San Francisco ...”

“Stop,” I said. “Just stop. I mean it. You're embarrassing yourself. Really.”

“The Golden Gate Bridge,” persisted the Time Traveler. “The Guggenheim in Bilbao. The New Reichstag in Berlin. Albert Hall. Saint Paul’s Cathedral ...”

“Duuuuude,” I said. “You've lost your mind. You're saying all this stuff gets blown up by crazy ass Moslem terrorists over the next century?”

“I didn’t say in the rest of your century,” said the Time Traveler, his torn voice almost a whisper now. “I’m talking about your next fifteen years. And I’ve barely begun.”

"All right," I said, finally. "Enough of this horse shit. Let me ask you a simple question. In this horrible future that you're from, where hundreds of millions of formerly free Americans live under dhimmitude, are your Islamic rulers primarily shia... or Sunni?"

The Time Traveler looked wary. "Well... I... what was the question again?"

I shook my head in disgust. "You fucking people. Can't tell a Persian from a Berber, couldn't distinguish a shia from a Sunni unless they wore signs around their necks, and yet, you're absolutely certain that Islam is a vicious religion of universal oppression for all non-Moslems, and everybody who carries a prayer rug is an evil terrorist bastard who should be killed on sight."

He leaned forward, hands spread. "Exactly! Who cares which pew they kneel in at the mosque? They're all evil, they're all the enemy, kill them all!"

I shook my head. "That long list of places you just reeled off, that's going to get blown up in the next fifteen months... who's going to do it? How are they going to get over here? Where are they getting their munitions from? Why are they bothering?"

He looked baffled. "Well, the evil global Islamic movement... I mean, the reborn Islamic international caliphate... jesus, they're everywhere, and they have endless resources..."

I snorted. "Bullshit. There are very few Islamic Americans, or, for that matter, Moslems living and working in America, who are willing to commit terrorist acts, and you know why? Because over here, they can get jobs, they can get dates, they can get laid, and nearly all of them do. And assuming you can find enough nutjob extremist jihad believing swarthy ass Muslims to go blow up dozens of high profile American targets, how does that help them? They can't conquer us, they certainly can't impose a religious tyranny on us; they're too busy killing each other."

I paused, and held up one finger. "Let me tell you a few home truths. One -- 9/11 happened because the coalition of thugs who stole the Presidency in 2000 let it happen, so they coulud declare 'War on Terror', because dimwit Dubya wanted to be a 'wartime President', and the people who actually run him knew a frightened electorate would hold still for a lot more bullshit than we would otherwise."

"It's... that's crazy talk," the Time Traveler said, somewhat frantically. "9/11 conspiracy theories... tin foil hat stuff..."

"Yeah, yeah," I said. "Go read this. And none of that changes the fact that global Islam couldn't find its collective ass with both hands if the hijacked American government hadn't held a flashlight for them. Your fucking 'dhimmitude' is never going to happen to anyone who doesn't have the bad luck to be born under it, because, again, there is no such thing as an organized, international Islamic conspiracy, or even a movement. Even the Islamic religious fanatics that you're crapping in your diapers about cannot conquer us. For the most part, they do not want to conquer us. They simply want us to get out of the Middle East and leave them alone so they can go about their business killing each other in the style to which they have become accustomed. Of course, we can't do that because we make so much money selling their oil for them, but, still, that's what they want."

I took a breath. "Two -- the only Islamic regions that breed crazy people who become suicide bombers are those that are actually ruled by sharia law, yes. That's because there is no normal sexual outlet in those countries, and there are no economic opportunities, and it drives people, especially the men, insane. In secular Middle Eastern countries like Iraq used to be, there are few if any suicide bombers, and most people just want to get a decent job, meet someone nice, settle down, and raise some kids. They may be Islamic, or not, but that doesn't mean any more, or less, to them than the average American's religion or lack thereof means to him or her. The 'peace' in 'Islam' may mean 'submission', just like submission to a code of laws is a condition present whenever humans live together in peace anywhere, but the vast majority of Islamic people in the world who are given a chance to live in decent, peaceful, civilized cultural conditions are not murderous, not vindictive, and do not want to kill anyone."

I took another breath. "Three -- the real threat to the American people is not a relatively small, entirely disorganized non-army of crazed religious zealots from the Middle East. It is from a rather larger, much better organized coalition of crazed religious zealots who live right here in America, and who, if allowed to, would enact and enforce a religious tyranny right here in America, and throughout the world, that would make Islamic dhimmitude look like a 12 year old being grounded off TV for a week."

The Time Traveler looked as if he badly wanted to interrupt me, but I ignored him and went right on.

"And in point of fact," I continued, "the real threat is not even really from them, the actual threat is from the corporate coalitions who use those religious crazies as political stooges and stalking horses, getting them out to the polls with chants of 'gay marriage' and 'illegal immigrants' while all the time slowly and carefully getting rid of just a little bit more freedom, just a tiny bit more individual liberty, until finally, assuming we're lucky enough to not be in a detainment camp ourselves, all we do is get up every day and go to work, except on Sunday when we go to church instead, and come home and watch something distracting on TV, and we buy things and pay our taxes and vote the way we're supposed to, and we don't even notice that we can't travel anywhere any more without permission, and we haven't seen that loudmouth from down the street lately, and the cancer rates are up and we all have to wear filter masks and sunburn cream whenever we go outside and we're all taking more and more over the counter and prescription medications and we've just gotten used to the random home and car searches and maybe next year we'll have elections again if only we can turn the corner in this lousy war on terror..."

I stopped, finally, and shook my head.

“Have you read the Qur’an and learned your Sunnah?” asked the Time Traveler, sounding rather feverish now. “It would behoove you to do so. Dhimmi means ‘protection.’ And your children and grandchildren will be protected ... like cattle.”

"Yeah, yeah," I told him. "I got your 'behoove' right down here."

“Your dhimmi poll tax will be called jizya,” he went on, his voice beginning to be very shrill.“Your land tax for being an infidel, even for fellow People of the Book – Christians and Jews – will be called kharaz. Both of these taxes will be in addition to your mandatory alms – the zakat. The punishment for failure to pay, or for paying late, a punishment meted out by your local qadi, religious judge, is death by stoning or beheading.”

I couldn't help it; I snorted laughter at him. "You guys," I said. "You kill me, honest to jesus. You come back in time to tell me that the future is a totalitarian nightmare and it's all my fault. My descendents are living under Muslim rule. It's horrible, horrible. And what's your money shot? The horror of horrors? The ultimate nightmare scenario? Those terrible terrible towelheads are actually going to make you pay taxes. And what's worse, if you try to cheat on your taxes, they'll actually punish you for it! I mean, Jesus, what the fuck is up with that, huh?"

He was really pissed at me now. "This isn't really about the taxes. Not very much, I mean. That's just, you know, one example. Never mind." He took a breath himself, and then went on: "Your enemies have gathered and struck and continue to strike and you, the innocents of 2006 and beyond, fight among yourselves, chew and rip at your own bellies, blame your brothers and yourselves and your institutions of the Enlightenment – law, tolerance, science, democracy – even while your enemies grow stronger.” His voice had a very audible whine to it now.

“Oh, please," I said. "All that comes down to is, there are bad men in the world who want to hurt you, and we can protect you, but you have to do what we tell you. Fuck that."

“Your enemy is he who will give his life to kill you,” insisted the Time Traveler. “Your enemies are they that wish you and your children and your grandchildren dead and who are willing to sacrifice themselves, or support those fanatics who will sacrifice themselves, to see you and your institutions destroyed. You haven’t figured that out yet – the majority of you fat, sleeping, smug, infinitely stupid Americans and Europeans.”

"Maybe not," I said. "But maybe my enemy is actually he who will let a couple of nutjobs kill thousands of my fellow citizens for political gain, so he can consolidate power and turn a free country into a subtle corporate and not so subtle religious dictatorship. Maybe those fanatics who sacrifice themselves to see me and my institutions destroyed would stop doing it if my country stopped blowing their shit up, or if they had a chance to go on a date with a hottie or get a decent job. Or maybe that's all just how it seems to me, in my fat, smug, infinitely stupid American and European slumber."

He stood, trying to look dignified, but mostly just seeming really frickin' annoyed with the whole scene. “How, we wonder in my time,” he blustered belligently, “can you ignore the better part of a billion people who say aloud that they are willing to kill your children ... or condone and celebrate the killing of them? And ignore them as they act on what they say? We do not understand you.”

"How, I wonder in my time," I said, rolling my eyes in frustration and growing anger, "can you ascribe the rantings of maybe a dozen nutjob sect leaders, and the actions of a few thousand whacked out extremists, to 'the better part of a billion people', most of whom are more interested in where they're going to get their next meal from than they are in killing anyone, much less someone on the other side of the planet from them? And insist that all of these people aren't really people at all, just evil faceless subhuman menaces that should be nuked or gassed or bombed or burned or irradiated or shot so they can't bother us any more? I do understand you. I do. But frankly, you make me ill."

“The world, as it turns out,” continued the Time Traveler, obviously trying to pretend he hadn't heard me, “is not nearly so complex a place as your liberal and gentle minds sought to make it.”

"Yeah, you dipshits like to make things simple," I allowed. "We don't like those nasty people, they make us feel threatened by dressing strangely and worshipping strange gods and overcharging us for their oil, hully gee, they must be evil! Let's kill them all! If only the ancient Athenians had just killed everybody who wasn't like them, they'd still be a viable culture today!"

“What will bring you back from this vacation from history – from history’s responsibilities and history’s burdens – that you have all so generously gifted yourselves with?" the Time Traveler exhorted me. "You peaceloving Europeans. You civil-liberties loving Americans? You Athenian invertebrates with your love of your own exalted sensibilities and your willingness to enter into a global war for civilizational survival even while you are too timid, too fearful ... too decent ... to match the ruthlessness of your enemies.”

"Dude," I said, rubbing my closed eyelids in disgust. "Stop it. Seriously. You've read STARSHIP TROOPERS way too many times."

"STARSHIP TROOPERS was a book?" the Time Traveler said, momentarily knocked off his rhythm. "Man. I'll bet it wasn't as good as the movie, though."

I snorted.

He got back to his script. “Do you want more than words?” he hectored me. “I will give you more than words. I give you eight million Jews dead in Israel – incinerated – and many more dead Jews in Eurabia and around the world. I give you the continent of Europe cast back more than five hundred years into sad pools of warring civilizations.”

“Uh,” I said, indicating the corner of his mouth. "Listen, you've got a little saliva issue going on..."

“I give you an Asian world in chaos," he went on, spittle running down his chin. I hunched further back in my chair, hoping to avoid the spray. "A Pacific rim ruled by China after the vacuum of America’s withdrawal – this nation’s full resources devoted to fighting, and possibly losing, the Century War – a South America and Mexico lost to corruption and appeasement, a resurgent Russian Empire that has reclaimed its old dominated republics and more, and a Canada split into three hateful nations.”

I squinted at him. The longer he talked, the more familiar his voice sounded.

“We were speaking about ruthlessness,” the Time Traveler went on, apparently endlessly. “If you fail to understand it at first, you learn it quickly enough in a war like the one you are allowing to come. Would you like to hear the litany of Islamic shrines and cities that will blossom in nuclear retaliatory fire in the decades to come?”

Abruptly, my front door burst open. Four young adults and a huge dog came bounding in. They hurled themselves on the Time Traveler. Some sort of melee began; I couldn't follow it clearly. In the end, though, the Time Traveler was lying in the middle of my floor, somehow entangled in a huge pile of wet industrial laundry, several old tires around him pinning his arms to his torso. The oldest of the kids who had burst in, a blonde, good looking guy with broad shoulders in a cream colored jacket, strode up to the Time Traveler, grabbed his chin -- and apparently, yanked his face off!

No -- it was some kind of rubbery, flesh colored mask. And underneath it --

"Holy shit," I said. "You're Dick Cheney!"

"Fuck you, bitch," he snarled at me. "I would have gotten away with it, too -- if it weren't for those meddling kids!"

Go take The Pledge

It's okay. I'll wait.

Cross examination

Here we go:

By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Nov 2, 2006

If Dems sit upon America's throne, we will have:

Okay. Let's see -- first, America doesn't have a throne. Although Dubya and his buddies have been doing their best to change that.

Abortion clinics on every corner.

I don't think any City Council, however liberal and/or hellbound, will support rezoning every urban intersection for abortion clinics.

Same-gender 'marriages' blessed on every blissful boulevard.

Illiterate ecumenicals embarrass everyone as they attempt to alliterate idiotically.

God cleansed from the culture.

Well, to be fair, He could certainly use a shave and a haircut. Shoe shine. Maybe a new suit... I mean, have you looked at God lately? If He walked into your church looking the way you guys paint Him in those color Bible inserts, you'd have Him arrested for vagrancy.

Schools engineered for European secularism cloning.

I... what? Could you write a little more fucked up, please?

Condom machines under every lamppost.

Even closeted gay super-evangelists don't need that many condoms.

Recreational sex encouraged in public school health courses.

Youth is wasted on the wrong people. ::sniff::

Gideon Bibles absented from every motel / hotel room.

We'll hire illegals to do the leg work. Or make the godless liberals do it. After we send them to the Halliburton internment camps. Yeah.

Christian crosses erased from every political symbol, every mountain, every public building.

I know that everyyyyyyybody has a dream... this is my dream... my ownnnnnn...

Christmas symbols stored in underground caves in favor of "Season's greetings" stamps on every envelope.

No, I like Christmas. It's a historically inaccurate label for the traditional Midwinter Feast celebrated since prehistory by every human culture inhabiting the Northern Hemisphere -- I mean, if Jesus ever was born (there's no real historical evidence of it) then it certainly wasn't on December 25th -- but it's what I was raised with and the phrase that carries the most pleasant emotional associations of the celebration for me. On the other hand, if other people want to call the traditional MidWinter Feast something else, I'm fairly sure that's what the First Amendment is all about. Or something.

Christmas nativity scenes labeled "criminal."

Um... no, not so much. Unlike moron subliterate Christian conservatives, Democrats, liberals, and other fellow travelers on the left tend to actually respect things like civil liberties, freedom of expression, inalienable rights, and all that jazz. For, you know, EVERYone. Not just the people we like. Which, I grant you, isn't you.

What you MAY see, though, and I know this will drive you crazy, but still, what you COULD see, under Democrats, or, you know, any other political party that really cares about tolerance and an actual right to free expression for EVERYone, not just nutjob Jesus-blowers, is something besides a traditional Christian nativity scene next to the traditional Christian nativity scene on publicly owned property. Or, if there isn't room, then, yeah, the local magistrates may have to say "sorry, you can't have your particular religious display in this public park where many people, some of whom do not celebrate the traditional MidWinter Feast the way you do, will walk by and have to look at it, because we cannot give equal prominence to other religious displays (and if we did, you and your nutjob Jesus blowing friends would scream about THAT, and you know it's true) and so that wouldn't be fair."

Evangelicals judicially categorized as social nuisances, their publications and preaching examined by the state.

Oh, let's do one more chorus -- "I know that everybodyyyyyyyy has a dream... I know... I know..."

Darwinian evolution cemented in every public school curriculum from elementary school through high school graduation.

All religious references erased from public buildings, starting with structures in Washington DC.

Any Ten Commandments display vacuumed from public view.

Any reference to God in public addresses deleted, e.g., commencement speeches, political speeches, etc.

I am so on board with this plan. Although your vacuum cleaner is seriously going to need to have its bag changed.

Biblical believer cleansings throughout the republic.

Well, I don't want to be the one to break it to you, Reverend, but honestly, a lot of your people could stand a social introduction to the concept of 'soap'.

Homosexual couple child-adoptions encouraged in every state.

Yes, dammit! We'll pay the gay to adopt some of these goddam surplus unwanted kids all you good Christian heterosexual couples can't be bothered with, once you save them from the demon abortionists.

Judeo-Christian heritage historical instruction erased from any public mentioning and all public curricula.

No, no. I think we should teach the Albigensian Crusade in every public middle school. Seriously.

Activist judges ensconced in every courtroom throughout the United States.

Wait. You left out 'hellbound liberal' in front of 'activist judges'.

Elimination of chaplains in any public institution, starting with the US Congress.

Nah, chaplains are fine. There should just be some Innuit shaman ones, and some Muslim ones, and some Buddhist ones, and some Mormon ones...

Jesus, Reverend, take your meds or something. You're gonna stroke out right here. That vein in your forehead is about to make like the chest-burster in ALIEN.

Prohibition of evangelical chaplains in the military.

Fuck that. Our military needs all the prayer it can get, with the dickheads you people have running it.

Muslim prayer rooms established in every public area, e.g., schools, athletic gyms, and airport facilities.

It... wait. But if we take out 'Muslim' and put in 'Christian', then it's okay, right?

Muslim special time frames as Ramadan declared as holiday-days-off-from- employment.

More days off! W00T!

Korans placed in motel / hotel end tables.

More work for the illegals. God, it's great of them to work so cheap. We should buy them a chalupa, or something.

Mosques given free reign for property acquisition and construction.

Muslims encouraged to run for public office.

It... I... um... damn us! Damn us liberals for encouraging American citizens to buy property, build shit on it, and run for public office! Damn us! We must be insane!

Muslim customs such as the "sharia judicial system" permitted wherever Muslims establish housing.

Yeah, cuz, you know, we allow every other ethnic and religious sub grouping to create their own independent justice systems inside their own communities. Man-Law!

"Under God" deleted from the American flag pledge.

The Pledge of Allegiance is an embarrassment in any free society. You want your kids to take a McCarthyite loyalty oath to a piece of fucking fabric, do it at home around the breakfast table, right before morning prayers. My kids shouldn't be expected/required to recite the goddam thing in school in any free country, whether the disgusting degradation of individual liberty implicit in the Pledge's very existence is compounded further by the insertion of idiotic nonsense spittle spew like 'under Imaginary Scoutmaster In The Sky' or not.

Uh... sorry. Lost the funny for a minute. Really don't like the Pledge of Allegiance, though.

Any references to God in political hymns removed.

I... we... you...

'political hymns'?

No, my brain will explode. Moving on.

Public figure funerals absented of any reference to God.

Um... no, that would, again, be covered under the First Amendment. Hey, here's an idea. Why don't you read the Constitution of the United States of America sometime? Yowza, there's that forehead vein again...

All Christian broadcasts / telecasts deleted.


Oh yeah.

Friday, November 17, 2006

They thinks the people doth protest too little

Already the calls are going out: if the Dems won't bring our troops home, we need to stage protests. Let's Get Our Riot On.

Unfortunately, this ain't 1967. Mass protests cannot work until they can somehow bring either electoral or economic pressure to bear. We are at present pretty much as far as we can get in the electoral cycle from a pressure point. As to bringing economic pressure, what anti-war movement actually exists nowadays mostly seems to argue in its spare time. Which is to say, nobody does nothin’ in modern day America if it costs them much, in either time or money or especially comfort.

I guess I’m cynical, (and even more cynical to think I'm actually being realistic about the whole thing) but I see nothing in the world around me to make me think or feel any differently. Most Americans can’t even be bothered to vote; those that do, won’t stand in line longer than 20 to 30 minutes to do it. Our best organizational tools are online registration and petition signing campaigns designed to allow people to feel as if they are making a difference by spending a few minutes a week point and clicking. Straight up -- if it’s not convenient, most of us just aren’t interested… and I hardly excerpt myself from that condemnation.

We badly need a national strike. Or a national campaign to make absolutely no unnecessary purchases until our requirements are met. These are the only things that this Administration, or, most likely, any Administration, will respond to, two weeks after an election. But these things would require effort and sacrifice and making significant changes to our lifestyles, and the American people are all about anything and everything but any and/or every of those things.

Again, I except myself from nothing; I’m certainly not part of the solution here. I make the same excuses everyone else does — there’s little or nothing one person can do, I need my job, I have kids, etc etc, blah blah blah. All good reasons; much, in fact, the same reasons Jonah Goldberg has for not enlisting in support of his favorite war. Which is really unpleasant to consider, much less own.

Yet, on the other hand, it must be admitted, it's a somewhat more complex undertaking, enlisting to stop a war.

The above post was brought to you courtesy of the comment threads over at Unqualified Offerings, a fine poli blog run by a very sharp guy named Jim Henson -- pardon -- the noble Elayne has delurked long enough to correct my woeful ignorance, Jim HenLEY, HenLEY -- who has joined the legion of smart, savvy poli bloggers who completely ignore anything and everything I post to their comment threads. I suppose I'm just a dirty louse and should get used to it. Whateva. I know who my friends are. And at least it's not particularly hard to keep track of them.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Populist politics

For a very long time, like I suspect many others, I've fantasized about starting up my own alternative political party. It's an interesting intellectual exercise to me to try to craft a platform for such a party that transcends enough traditional philosophical lines to draw support from all points on the political spectrum.

So far, here's what I've got:

* Hire people to answer the phones (no electronic switchboards)

* No pop music in commercials

* Federal Yes You May Call Me List

* Eliminate lower postage rates for junk mail

* Eliminate spam

* Raise military salaries, improve military housing, fully equip combat troops

* Strictly regulate commercial time/content time on public airwaves (no more than 6 minutes of commercials per hour, 1.5 / 13.5 minutes)

* Eliminate commercial political ads – media may donate ad time, however, they must give equal time to all candidates

* Eliminate exorbitant processing fees – ATM fees, document fees, copying fees, handling fees

* Strengthen the Freedom of Information Act; declassify as many government documents as possible, give citizens access to any government document with their name or Social Security number on it regardless of classification (Right To Your Private Information Act)

* Eliminate political contribution tax break, tax PACs

* Close corporate tax loop holes -- offshore expenses, executive pensions, executive benefits - strictly regulate corporate accounts with overseas banks

* Regulate lay offs -- before companies can cut costs by laying off workers, management must make equal cuts to management salaries and benefits first

* Repeal tax breaks for the rich

* Repeal bankruptcy bill, regulate credit card interest

* Re-regulate the energy industry

* Pass strict privacy protection regulations/repeal PATRIOT Act

* Rebuild the national rail system, build light rail systems

* Rebuild the national canal system

* Comprehensive health care for all

* Comprehensive Federal pension plan for all

* Federal job placement system

* Protect remaining wilderness areas

* Expanded Federal college grant program

* Increase Federal MPG, CAFE standards

* Increase funding for education, public libraries

* “Apollo program” to develop practical alternate energy sources, regardless of commercial applications

It's been fascinating for me to watch myself as I build this list. For example, I think it's very important to provide people with incentives to become less petroleum dependent; one way to try to do that is an increased gasoline tax. I badly want to add that to my platform, but I'm not stupid; no candidate who runs on "I'll make you pay more at the pump" could possibly get elected.

Similarly, I want to add something about how my political party will actually enforce the Constitution, including the 14th Amendment, Section 1, which states "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

But if I do that, then some smart ass Republican out there will figure out I intend to give 1/10 of the population the same access to marriage laws as the other 9/10s have always enjoyed, and start screaming "Gay marriage!" at me, and my alternative political party will take a drubbing at the polls.

This is, essentially, democracy in action. We get the government we deserve, which is frightening and embarrassing and humiliating to all of us in about equal amounts. But still -- a majority of people want to continue to deny a minority of their fellow citizens the same rights that majority has always enjoyed, in defiance of the law of the land, simply because that's the way it's always been. There's no reason for it; it's just straight up hateful bigotry -- but a majority of people seem to be hateful bigots, so, that's the government we get.

Similarly, probably a majority of Americans, if drunk, high, or off the record, would admit that we are too dependent on petroleum and our nation and our culture badly, badly needs to wean itself off the oil tit. We know it would be much better for us, as individuals and as a society, to drive less, and to walk and take mass transportation more. We know we would be healthier on every level if we encouraged our government to build up our mass transportation infrastructure and to make it more easily accessible to everyone.

We know that, but we don't care. We're fat, and we're lazy, and it's more convenient and comfortable to have a car-shaped hole in the driveway to shovel money into, so we can head out to Wal-mart or the park or the movies whenever we feel like it without having to trouble our microscopic attention spans with difficult intellectual tasks like reconciling a bus schedule with a grid of movie theater show times. Mass transportation? Fine idea for all those other losers; if they'd just get on the damn bus it would cut down on gridlock! But we aren't going to do it.

So, we're fat and we're lazy and we're selfish, and we won't vote for things that we know would be good for us, and down the road, for our kids, because we would find those requirements to be inconvenient to comply with. So we end up with fat, lazy, selfish government, and we bitch about it, and we bitch about the profiteering oil companies who are picking our pockets, but the only tactic we have that would actually work with them -- boycotting their goddam product -- is something we won't even consider.

Say, this setting up a viable third party political party is depressing work. Maybe I should just join the half of the population that doesn't vote. That sounds like it's a great deal more fun.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Saving the day

Or at least, solving many of the problems we currently have with our domestic economy --

I have no degrees in anything, much less anything having to do with economics or politics. I have no direct experience with the American political system, and little peripheral (other than the two years I spent typing up a backlog of City Council minutes in Tampa, FL, and all the poli-blogs I read daily). I am, in fact, awash in ignorance. There's no reason anyone should take any of my political ravings seriously, which is one reason why, for a very long time, I kept my poli-blogging very intermittent, and confined it to my other blog, where it tended to get lost in the sea of geekiness over there.

Still, I got opinions and viewpoints on politics, even if they are worthless and stupid (and having worthless and stupid opinions on politics doesn't slow down a great many poli-bloggers at either end of the political spectrum, either) so obviously, this is where I post them, for the rest of the world to largely ignore. (Well, sometimes I post them in comment threads on other poli-blogs, where the bloggers largely or even entirely ignore them, but then I always repost them over here, so all the people who don't know about this blog or who do but who don't read it can ignore them, too. I'm magnanimous, I am.)

Anyway, here's the deal whereby we can totally fix pretty much all of our economic woes, and it's not even a new idea, or particularly brilliant. It's also not at all feasible given our current state of cultural evolution. All it has going for it is that (a) it would work really really well, and (b) in addition to that, it's both ethical and moral. (Which leaves it completely outside the provenance of any known human government, but let's pretend that's not true for a moment.)

It's a two step.

Step 1: Legalize most if not all recreational drugs, prostitution, and gambling.

Step 2: Tax the living fuck out of them.

('Tax', in this case, covers both front end taxes, like licensing fees for those wishing to embark on one of these highly lucrative professional endeavors, and more traditional sales taxes on the back end.)

As mentioned in one of my previous posts here, the government currently makes billions, on both a state and Federal level, in gasoline taxes.

Try to imagine how much tax revenue would roll in from, say, a 7% sales tax on ganja. Or crank. Or blowjobs, for the love of sweet baby jebus. Or the proceeds from the perfectly legal roulette wheel at the new casino over there in that formerly vacant lot that did nothing but grow weeds for the last thirty years since Red Barn went under.

As I said, I am not an expert in anything that would seem to remotely bear on this, but I will stand by my opinion, heretical though it is, that nearly all government inadequacies come down to a lack of funding. Personally, I would like to pay, equip, and house our military service people much, much better than we currently do. I would like to provide access to quality health care for everyone living in America. I would like to make our public education system the envy of the industrialized world. I would like to restore the social safety net. I would like to create a national job placement system that actually works. I would like to make a quality higher education much much cheaper for anyone with enough intelligence to pass admissions exams. I would like to cure cancer. I would like to feed every hungry kid in America... well, I'd like to feed every hungry kid in the world, for that matter. And I could go on and on, and most likely, so could you, although depending on who 'you' are, some of the stuff you want to do may well be very scary and shouldn't be countenanced by any sane government anywhere.

(All my stuff is cool, though.)

None of which is the point; the point is, doing any of these things, much less all of them, requires a great deal of money.

I may have no degrees and no political experience, but I know that for a pure d fact, as some Stephen King character or another once opined.

I also know that most of us would like to see our government do a great deal more than it is currently doing (if only in certain narrow or very specific areas) and would at the same time like to pay a great deal less in taxes, and what we mean when we say 'taxes' is, in general, income taxes... the stuff that they yank out of our check before we ever get our check.

Hence, my plan.

Here's another idea for raising tax revenue without, you know, raising our income taxes:

Tax Political Action Committees. Currently, I am pretty sure PACs are all tax exempt. And contributing to a PAC is actually a tax write off. I hate this. PACs are pretty much directly responsible for all the ugly campaign commercials you see on TV, plus all those crappy yard signs and those annoying phone calls and those aggravating political mailers we get every election year. And they don't even have to pay taxes? And you get a tax break for enabling this horseshit? Screw that. I say, eliminate the tax deduction for supporting political campaigns, and for every dollar a PAC spends on aggravating the living shit out of the rest of us, it first has to pay a buck in taxes to the Federal government. Or, to put it even more simply, when someone contributes money to a PAC, they don't get to do it with untaxed money, and 50% of it goes to the Federal treasury, to be spent on, I don't know, Social Security, or something.

It won't raise as much as crank, speed, ganja, licensed skankery, and legalized blackjack. But, still, a few billion dollars at least runs through PACs every year. And if PACs are taxed at 50%, we can always hope that means there will only be half as much annoying campaign crap to wade through every two years.

My other plan is to hook a flywheel to Rush Limbaugh's mouth, which should let us run the entire national power grid, plus Iraq, for the cost of three or four Domino's pizzas a day. And we could probably sell excess power to Uzbekistan, too. It's the way things ought to be. But, you know, that's probably just me being frivolous.

I'm also being frivolous, or at least, absurd, in even proposing the other stuff. We can't legalize drugs, prostitution, or gambling, because, you know, those things are BAD. And we know they're bad, because, well, people in nice suits with deep, booming voices keep telling us they're bad, and we cannot allow adults members of our highly moral society to do things that we know are bad. That would be permissive, which would also be BAD. And again, we know permissiveness is BAD, because people in nice suits... oh, you're ahead of me. Okay.

Now, there's nothing essentially BAD about taxing PAC dollars and eliminating the tax deduction for political contributions, but, still, it would threaten some deeply entrenched interests, and would probably result in considerably less money for our individual politicans to spend aggravating the crap out of us during election years, and they don't want that, and they're the ones that actually make laws, so, you can forget about that happening, also.

One last codicil, simply as a matter of personal taste -- if I did wake up tomorrow on Earth-Sanity, and we did suddenly find ourselves represented by elected officials willing to legalize all these vices, I would very much like it if they then forbid purveyors of these vices to advertise openly. No billboards. No TV or radio or newspaper spots. No display ads in the Yellow Pages. A simple, elegant line in the phone directory, and word of mouth, should be perfectly adequate.

My reasons for this are profoundly subjective. When SuperFiancee was driving me up to River City for the first time, lo these many moons ago, our route took us through Nashville. Never before or since have I seen so many casino billboards in my life, and frankly, they depressed and irritated the shit out of me. There is something enormously abrasive to the human spirit about any or all of these vices, I in no way deny that, and similarly, there is something almost equally degrading about any form of commercial advertising even at the best of times. Combine the two and what you end up with is an utter aesthetic, spiritual, and emotional blot on the very escutcheon of our culture.

Personally, I'd like to outlaw all billboards anyway, and I wouldn't mind finding a way to get rid of the entire commercial advertising industry, too. I have hopes our culture is slowly growing into this anyway, with the increasing popularity of subscription TV and satellite radio services. But I would certainly want to see the same proscriptions on advertising gambling, drugs, and hookers as currently obtain on cigarettes. Otherwise, the entire landscape simply becomes one great big depressing visual blare of utterly soulless, completely mercantile sensuality. And while I'm all in favor of sensuality, I prefer mine to maintain at least the illusion of amateur status.

Oh, yeah, and kind of on this subject, I'm adding another plank to my Third Party Alternative Party platform -- Vote For Me and I will outlaw the use of all popular music in commercials. Seriously. This shit is a blight, and it's got to stop.

I need to do a post on my Third Party Alternative Party platform. Maybe I'll work on that soon.

Take the box!

The Democrats cannot 'cut and run' in Iraq. Someone, probably James Carvelle, is telling them right now, "If you force Dubya to withdraw our troops from Iraq, they will tattoo that on our foreheads in 2008". And they believe him. And that's all they care about. Morality is just a word they campaign with.

Here's a suggestion I have for what to do with the Iraq mess -- pull the troops out. (Duh.) Spend, say, a trillion dollars setting up air transport from Iraq to the U.S. Any Iraqi national who wants to can come to America. We'll give them a green card, find them a place to live, help them find work, give them a grant to set up their own business.

Or, if they want to stay there, we have this little package for them. Kind of an 'Iraqi survivor kit. A generator, a year's worth of MREs, a couple of M16 A1s and a few thousand rounds of ammunition, a Kevlar helmet and vest. Some water purification tablets. A good pair of boots. A box of Hershey bars. A signed apology from Dubya for, you know, breaking their fucking country.

James Dobson will insist we throw in a Bible; that's fine, the apology will only be good for one bowel movement, anyway.

All of that, and a slightly shot up Humvee for them to haul the loot home in. (Hey, it's not like we'll be using them any more.)

In exchange, we get them to sign one of those releases that Lucy used to circulate in the PEANUTS strip absolving us of all blame. Everybody goes home happy.

Of course, then the goddam Negroes and the friggin' Injuns will be all like "Well, where's OUR Hollywood movie check?" but, you know, scroom. They, at the very least, have frickin' electricity. They should count their blessings. And vote Democrat, dammit.

I'll buy that for a dollar

Okay, here's a distillation of the results I'd like to see in return for my vote for the Democratic Party last week:

I want Dubya impeached. For starters. And when I say 'for starters', I mean, that's where we begin. But it's not where we finish with him, not by a long shot. Here's what I really want -- I want a complete investigation into the 2000 Presidential election, and an official denuniciation of the results. I want an official declaration that that election was thoroughly cooked and utterly stolen, that Al Gore should have been our President at least from 2000 to 2004, that The Idiot Some Village In Texas Is Missing was never, actually, officially, The Voice Of America.

I want Dubya's Presidency nullified, invalidated and repudiated on a binding legal basis. And I also want everyone involved in cooking and stealing that election brought up on charges, tried, and sent to jail. I want a statement sent -- you do not run a national democratic election like a knife fight in a bar. There are rules, and there are laws, and when you break them, there are consequences.

What would happen if the results of the 2000 Presidential election were officially de-certified? I don't know. I imagine it would be a historical Constitutional Crisis. And we can sort that out. But what I want, and what I think our nation absolutely needs, is an official judgment that says "He was never our President. He was not legitimately elected. Everything he did, every action he took while sitting behind FDR's desk, every piece of paper he signed or stamped as POTUS -- it is invalid. It has no legal weight or bearing."

I want it all made moot. Every official he appointed can file for Unemployment. Every bill he signed into law, I want gone. Every Executive Order he issued, I want in the shredder. These things should have no provenance. They are meaningless. They are not the law of the land and are not to be enforced or even acknowledged, other than historically, and for purposes of reparations payments.

And, like I said, I want everyone involved in the biggest election fraud in the history of the world up on criminal charges.

This is what I want, first and foremost. More than I want an increase in the minimum wage, more than I want universal health care, more than I want U.S. forces out of Iraq. Oh, I want all those things too, and I want them badly, but imprimis, first and foremost, I want our new Democratic Congress to officially denounce that fucking travesty of an election result, appoint an entire constellation of special prosecutors to look into it, I want indictments handed down, I want motherfuckers brought up on charges, I want those sonsofbitches, and, in Katherine Harris' case, delete the 'sons of', sent to jail -- and I want the American people, and everyone else on the planet, to clearly understand -- that dimwit Dubya never legitimately represented the United States of America. We repudiate him. He was not democratically elected, he was nothing more or less than an unConstitutional tyrant who seized power through a judicial coup d'etat run by a Republican junta, said junta which included his own brother, and slightly more than half of the United States Supreme Court.

Am I trying to get out of something? Trying to say "It ain't me, babe, no no no it ain't me, babe" when it comes to the consequences of my nation's illegal, immoral, and frankly murderous invasion and brutal rape of a once sovereign nation? Well, I suppose in a way I am. But I'll take my share of the weight; I fully support any and all reparations the hapless denizens of the former country of Iraq may present us with a bill for, and I think we should, frankly, as a nation, respond with alacrity to any request for goods and services they may tender unto us for at least the next century.

But I also think it's extremely important, if America is ever to regain any kind of positive international reputation, for us to declare to the world, with absolute candor -- no, this guy was not our President, he stole the title and the office, he did not speak for us, we are done with him.

That's what I want.

Do I think I'm going to get it?

I think the odds of the Bucs reaching the Super Bowl this year are an order of magnitude better. And I suspect that's a wildly conservative estimate.

Still. That's what I'm looking for.

What kind of return are you hoping for on your vote?

Sign of the times

Yahoo has a review for Casino Royale up; find it here.

There's no byline, which, once you read it, you'll realize is just as well. This may very well be one of those Amazon type 'you can write it yourself' reviews done by a non professional; even so, though, presumably someone at Yahoo selected it through some sort of submissions process, so it must be the best thing they had available at the time.

And that's just sad. I mean, the old stand by phrase 'functional illiterate' may have to be discarded; this review is much closer to 'literately dysfunctional'.

Yet, again, it wouldn't surprise me if this was the best thing Yahoo had available to toss up.