May 26, 2007

The New Adventures of Pancho & Frisco

Scene: Outskirts of a town out West. Frisco, a pretty lady buttoned tightly into her black Armani suit, rides a silver charger. Her little sling-back heels are thrust into diamond-crusted stirrups. A pair of bandoleras cross, and tastefully conceal, her decolletage. A broad pink sombrero shields her eyes from the blazing sun. At her side is Pancho Feingold, her diminutive sidekick. They dismount and seek cover behind some granite boulders, pulling their shiny revolvers from holsters. Frisco breaks a heel as she clambers across the rocky terrain.

Frisco: Damn!
Pancho: Oh Frisco!
Frisco: Oh Pancho, shut up.
Pancho: What we doing here, Frisco?
Frisco: El Malo is holed up in that town over there, holding everyone hostage. We're here to get them out.
Pancho: Oh Frisco! We going to be heroes?
Frisco: Maybe. But El Malo must be held accountable for his hostage taking.
Pancho: What hell that mean, Frisco?
Frisco: I'm not sure. I just like the sound of it.
Pancho: How long El Malo hold people hostage?
Frisco: Four years or so.
Pancho: Oh Frisco! So now we free them?
Frisco: Maybe. I don't want to endanger the hostages. (looks at her shoe...) This damn broken heel! This might not be the time.
Pancho: Hostages in danger now, Frisco?
Frisco: Yes. Every day 5 or 6 get shot because El Malo won't let them leave.
Pancho: Ay caramba! And this go on for four years?
Frisco: (defensively) I'm not responsible for that!
Pancho: So we attack, guns blazing, huh? Ay-yi-yi, arriba!
Frisco: It's not that simple, Pancho. There's more to it than you understand.
Pancho: Your heel again?
Frisco: No. El Malo refuses to cooperate. He says we can't free the hostages.
Pancho: Huh? You expect him to co-op-er-ate?
Frisco: It was his decision to take the town hostage. He should be held accountable for that and not expect us to make the decision to free his hostages.
Pancho: Oy vey, Frisco. You losing me.
Frisco: That's only because you don't pay attention to the politics of the situation.
Pancho: What you want to do, compadre?
Frisco: Well, it will be too hot this summer. We can take another run at this in September. Meanwhile, I can get this heel fixed.
Pancho: Hostages keep dying this summer?
Frisco: Probably more than ever, now that El Malo knows we want to free them.
Pancho: So if we free them, they die, if we don't free them, they die. But one big difference...
Frisco: We live. Saddle up, Pancho.
Pancho: Oh Frisco, this sucks. Heroes not like old days, verdad?
Frisco: Oh Pancho, shut up and ride.

May 24, 2007

Cheney-Satan '08

Mr. President, there are one or two points I'd like to make, if I may.

Go ahead, General.

One, our hopes for recalling the 843rd bomb wing are quickly being reduced to a very low order of probability. Two, in less than fifteen minutes from now the Russkies will be making radar contact with the planes. Three, when they do, they are going to go absolutely ape, and they're gonna strike back with everything they've got. Four, if prior to this time, we have done nothing further to suppress their retaliatory capabilities, we will suffer virtual annihilation. Now, five, if on the other hand, we were to immediately launch an all out and coordinated attack on all their airfields and missile bases we'd stand a damn good chance of catching 'em with their pants down. Hell, we got a five to one missile superiority as it is. We could easily assign three missiles to every target, and still have a very effective reserve force for any other contingency. Now, six, an unofficial study which we undertook of this eventuality, indicated that we would destroy ninety percent of their nuclear capabilities. We would therefore prevail, and suffer only modest and acceptable civilian casualties from their remaining force which would be badly damaged and uncoordinated.

General, it is the avowed policy of our country never to strike first with nuclear weapons.

Well, Mr. President, I would say that General Ripper has already invalidated that policy. (laughs)

Maybe, at this point, we're going about this all wrong. Reports are that Dick Cheney is running an alt-presidency of a kind that General Turgidson, as depicted in George C. Scott's peerless performance in "Dr. Strangelove," could have understood and gotten behind. Cheney is trying to provoke an attack against Iran, and anyone else who looks at us funny, in order to narrow George W. Muffley's range of choices. So the rumors have it. W has gotten soft in the autumn of his presidency. He's gone all diplomatic, coddling these psycho nut cases in Iran and North Korea with international "sanctions" and the rest of it. What crap. "Dick" Cheney, like "Buck" Turgidson, knows there comes a time when you've done so much damage, provoked so much ill will, stirred up so much resentment, when the gale force winds of blowback flatten all other possibilities -- when that moment arrives, you have but one option left. Total war.

Let's face it. There is no effective opposition to our warmongering leadership. The world hates our guts, anyway. Long ago the Congress, in its weakness, gave away its war power under the Constitution. The Go Code was assigned to the President, while Congress took a backseat, demoting its Constitutional prerogatives to a statutory War Powers Act. They didn't have to; they wanted to. It was a recognition that since December 8, 1941, Congress has been afraid to declare a war of its own. And once you're in, you can't get out. The money has to keep flowing to the "troops." Or you "abandon" them.

So why do we even need a Congress? Wouldn't a cashier work as well? One guy or gal with a green eye shade and a check book. And one collection agency for taxes - how's that for privatizing? Everything else could be military. 100% of the budget. We'll need it, once we start going to war with everyone. We can't back down now. They'll follow us home, and attack my children, yours, and David Gregory's.

In 2008 Cheney could finally have a running mate worthy of his noble purpose. Read Milton's "Paradise Lost" or "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant" if you think I'm kidding. Ol' Scratch is a charming, seductive character, and God knew it. He sent him to Hell probably because Beelzebub threatened his mastery over the Heavens. Satan is devilishly clever, funny, and sharp as the tines on that pitch fork. He would be a huge improvement over the dead weight Cheney currently lugs around. Then with a declaration of martial law under the Insurrection Act (thanks to the foresight of Sen. John Warner's amendment snuck into the military appropriations act last year) and we can finally get rid of all this tiresome dissent. This "blogging" from the Left Wing Blogistan, this Fifth Column for the terrorists. When those in power are right, when they have the perspective of eternity (thanks to the added insights which the Devil will bring to the West Wing), we don't need free speech. By definition you only need free speech when policy correctives are necessary. And we all know how America loves a comeback story. Could anyone top this one? Arising from the darkest depths of the Inferno, from being the most reviled character in history, to a position of supreme power? (I'm referring to Satan.)

Dick Cheney and Satan in 2008. Let's give Hell a chance.

May 22, 2007

Wake me when it's over

The clear signs are now that the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will give Bush his war money with no strings attached, unless you count waivable, non-binding, precatory suggestions that Bush pretty please tell Congress how things are going in his vanity war. Is the Iraqi parliament passing stuff? The Iraqi army, are they still training to take over? How many people are getting blown to smithereens on a daily basis over there?

One must wonder what Frisco Nancy had in mind in her "negotiations" with Bush over funding. As I suggested in my poker game jape, Nancy has a rather obvious tell in her poker playing. She kept saying the troops would get funded, that we would "support our troops." She kept using the word "accountable" in myriad and bewildering ways, until there was no accounting for how she was using it. In truth, against a president whose veto cannot be overridden, Congress has but one real power, and that is the power not to appropriate the money for the war. Bush cannot compel Congress to do so, and without money his war is over. Frisco Nancy and Harry Mumbles could have announced that Bush would receive, e.g., $20 billion with which to extract the troops, period. If he vetoed such an appropriation, then he could extract the troops with money from the White House groundskeeping budget. However he chose to do it, but Congress was not going to give him any money to continue, let alone escalate, the Iraq war. At the same time they announced this strategy, they would have hammered home the elementary point that Bush, as Commander in Chief, is responsible for the safety of the American military in a theatre of war; as such, he must operate with the available resources to ensure their security. Even Bush, The Great Maroon, would have figured that one out. Indeed, it's the way Bugs Bunny would have played it (after making Bush first set fire to himself, shoot himself out of a cannon, and fall down a manhole, of course).

These points are fundamental. Let us then follow the deductive principle of another fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, who said that when one had eliminated all other possibilities, whatever was left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. Ah, what a fine, rigorous, disciplined mind! So unlike...everyone in public office today. Holmes would tell us, of course, that Frisco Nancy and Harry Mumbles do not want the war to end, at least not because of anything they do. This becomes obvious, when you think about it. It is a delicate, exquisitely daunting balancing act. Frisco Nancy must appear to righteously vindicate the anti-war left, a large bloc in the Democratic Party while at the same time taking no effective action to end the war. Thus: waivable timelines, incomprehensible benchmarks, "reporting" duties and the rest of the gobbledegook. Bush has his eye on the prize: gimme the money. Why? Why ask why anymore? At a secondary level of reality, one hidden from the view of the public, behind closed doors at the Capitol, the Democrats want the carnage and destruction to proceed ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Bush is sending more and more troops into his abattoir arabesque. About three a day are blown up, which means in the remaining seven months of 2007, the total dead will top 4,000. And the Iraqi dead, raped and mutilated? The number is literally uncounted. The middle class is heading for the exits while the parliament dithers over giving the Bush administration the oil confiscation law Cheney & Co. so desperately want.

One is reminded, as de Toqueville told us, we live in a republic, not a democracy. The elected officials have their own agendas, their own set of priorities, the first of which is job security. They get elected not on the basis of their ideas, but because of name recognition purchased through advertising, like deodorant and toothpaste. Or through preexisting notoriety, such as the President of the United States or the Governor of California. They see their jobs as placating an unruly, mostly irrelevant electorate while feathering their own nests. Sometimes, just because the stakes can get so high, it is more obvious than at other times. The Democrats recognize there was a shift in 2006 from Republican to Democrat. And if the voters become frustrated with the Democrats, the Democrats also recognize, there is nowhere left to go.