SEPTEMBER 2005

Editorial Notices Books Received

Editorial:
Disaster, the Ultimate Reality Show: Flick No More

Publisher's Note: The personal views of the publisher, expressed here, do not necessarily mirror those of other contributors to this magazine. This is always strictly my own personal rant.

Invasion of the Mushroom People A few months ago, I wrote a new novel (my 21st book)—there's the cover illustration I did for it (at right).

This is not a Movie

Warning: This is not a Movie. Repeat, This is not a movie First on George Bush's watch, there was Nine-One-One, and now it's Nine-Oh-One, twin book ends of massive leadership failure and resulting catastrophe. It's worthy of the highest achievements of SF disaster flicks, although perhaps it creates a new category: the Horror Disaster Epic. No joke. Hurricane Katrina has ravaged the Bible Belt, and we watch in disbelief as scenes of horror deepen across the South. While our sympathies go out to every soul tragically caught in his or own individual tragedy, and we want to do what we can to help, we do as Bush says and we go on with our daily lives as best we can. We shop. That's the patriotic thing to do. We borrow. We spend. We increase our household debt by reckless leaps, and Bush raises the federal deficits to breathtaking Himalayan altitudes. Look for an increasing challege as gasoline prices rise, commodities go up because of transportation and other costs, in general a domino effect sweeps far and wide—we will all feel a piece of the anguish before this is over, and it may not be over for a long time. This is, in short, the SF epic, the horror megamovie, the disaster epic that Hollywood failed to see coming. Maybe it's so unimaginable that nobody in Los Angeles thought of it—too busy making up new dirty words and idiotic jokes to stuff into Fockers movies.

Interesting link apropos this subject: Did New Orleans disaster have to happen?.

Yes, Far Sector SFFH is a magazine of SF/H/H and I prefer to stay away from political rants, but someone has to speak up while the poor victims of Katrina suffer under the ineptitude and corruption of the GOP regime that has let this happen and now cannot respond in suitable form. Yes, Democrats historically share culpability for the long-term entrenchment of public disinformation and disservice. But the Republicans have in their filthy way shoved everyone else and all that is good aside, and they now own the one-party state—all three federal branches, the Fed, and the ancillary social instruments (the NRA, the veterans' groups that always vote rightwing, certain religious organizations that claim tax exemptions while actively strutting in their jackboots for Bush)—so one can only hope that people will laugh when Bush's accomplices try to blame Clinton, or Catholics, or immigrants, or, oh yes, that mythological figment of a Goebbels imagination, "libburruls."

As prices rise, and tempers flare, and inflation kicks in, and Bush's house of cards flutters apart like a cheap conjuring trick, even the most dense and obtuse follower of the Fox/GOP/fundamentalist machinery of disinformation and outright lies will take notice. Some, of course, while their wallets burst into flames and their asses catch fire, will find some way to turn it around and continue making Tush a hero. Smart people, however, may feel that the Katrina disaster is the beginning of the unraveling of 666's dark empire.

Consider this: Bush is scheduled to go and grandstand in the disaster on Friday, Sept. 2, 2005, five days after it happened. Prior to this, he cut his multi-month vacation short and flew to Washington. On the way, he flew over the disaster and said: "Wow, that's bad" or words to that effect. He was quoted as saying: "That's devastating, but it must be twice as bad on the ground." Huh? What's bad, Bush baby, the coffee up there in your cushy 747, or the fact that you had to cut your vacation short? And what you see on the ground is twice as bad as all that? Then consider this, while people are suffering and dying in that area: Bush's worthless war in Iraq is costing U.S. taxpayers six billion dollars a day, which is $180 billion per month, or $2,160,000,000,000 per year. That's an annual cost of $2.16 TRILLION dollars, which would be enough to pay for health care for every American for nearly four years at current rates. But the GOP tells us we can't afford health care, so more than half our population have no health care coverage, or have inadequate coverage in this Big Medicine Business administered by the chief medical ghoul, Bill Frist. Bush and his confreres will makea lot of money off all this, while the tax payer takes it in the shorts as usual. The solution would be to unelect every one of these neo-cons, shut down the radio stations that broadcast Limbaugh, and lock down the churches that spew religious terrorism, be it creationism designed to destroy our science curriculum, and Jesus Loves Guns, or No Dogs or Jesus in Our Greedy Church. It'll never happen, but one can dream. Miss. GOP Governor Haley Barbour and other politicians are already making excuses, deflecting blame, and running for re-election in their speeches about the disaster.

Hurricane George W. Bush is the largest storm to devastate this nation, and the mismanagement of our resources between pointless wars and stupid partisan legislation continues to tear up the fabric of our society. It's been said we are more divided than at any time since the Civil War. Perhaps we should call the present unpleasantness "The Uncivil War."

Lord of the Lies The catalogue of indictments against Bush is a long one, whether it will be brought by the same sort of Democratic Congress that forced Bush's Republican soul mate Nixon out of office, or whether it will simply be grist for the debate mill of historians. Historically, he is one of a series of sociopathic, narcissistic rulers whom fate and circumstance beached upon the ravaged shores of public tragedy. My understanding of human nature probably reached its doctoral level when I recently understood that a relative of mine, while affirming tearful and unshakable familial love, claimed to do so despite brick wall-like insistences that I am a Communist. (I assure you, I am not). This is a soul who believes all thinking people are Communists. Period. No discussion needed—bring beer and baseball bat, be prepared for combat. That is pretty much a cameo of the Bush voter. The beer and baseball bat reference, by the way, is historical. The American Legion, that bastion of rightwing correctness, was founded by corporate interests in 1919 to provide armies of strikebreakers to the likes of racist, anti-Semite (and later Nazi sympathizer) Henry Ford. Well into the 1930s, it was common for company scabs, together with their Pinkerton thugs, to drive to the local American Legion hall with bats and beer, and tell the good loyal veterans there that Communists, Socialists, or worse were about to strike the local plant. As recently as the 1930s, striking workers were still shot to death by corporate hooligans. This is the mentality that tried to send half a million American Legionnaires to overthrow FDR and establish a Mussolini-like Fascist State in 1933. Unfortunately, the representatives of Mellon, Scaife (whose alcohol-besotted 1990s descendant would fund the Paula Jones campaign of lies against Clinton), and other American dollar nobility tried to enlist the wrong man: Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, who ratted on them to J. Edgar Hoover, and upon their second try, to FDR himself. The whole incident was white washed through the protective offices of several powerful figures including General Douglas MacArthur, the American Caesar whom Truman (a Democrat) had to relieve of his duties in a tense showdown in Korea, because MacArthur wanted to start a nuclear World War III over Korea, which sounds great at first blush to Limbaugh types and their duodigital IQ fans, but upon reflection by sensible and sober people turns out it would have created a nuclear holocaust and destroyed the world—Limbaugh louts and all. If you don't believe me, do some web searches. Let's take a look at some history to see where our modern day Caligula Bush fits in.

Augustus (ruled 31 B.C. to 14 A.D.) appeared to rescue Rome after a century of chaos and disorder amid the fabulously growing wealth and power of an increasingly tiny minority. It is said that when Augustus promised the Senate he would restore the Republic if they made him emperor, he only had to browbeat 300 families who owned everything—that's a far easier trick than pulling a snow job on millions of voters. Maybe 666 is our Julius Caesar, setting the stage for some even more dreadful Augustus soon to follow.

It is worth noting that the first five years of both Nero and Caligula (as well as Mussolini and Hitler, and Milosevic, perhaps even Stalin) were marked by general happiness and the appearance of order and benificence. Legend has it that Mussolini "made the trains run on time." Oh how that all turned around in each instance, when the tyrant's real nature began to show—and when bad public policy, made by defective thinkers, starts to bear its rotting and moldy fruits.

Look at Napoleon Bonaparte (lived 1769 - 1821) in the 1790s/1800s, who appeared in the midst of France's revolutionary chaos, a hero whose cannons turned back the mob. Bonaparte made himself emperor, and trashed Europe to the tune of millions of lives (three million or more French soldiers alone), only to be swept away in the garbage pile of history from which he emerged. Hitler, Mussolini, Milosevic, Saddam—these are George W. Bush's soul mates in ruthlessness.

But the best analog for Bush that I see in history is the vile Louis Napoleon. By 1848, when France's oscillations between republics and empires were in full swing, this sociopathic (incapable of remorse, as for soldiers killed in their testosterone-crazed petty wars) and, yes, narcissistic (self-loving) schemer had already spent time in prison for conspiring to overthrow the monarchy. Obviously, anyone named Napoleon was like gasoline looking for a good match in early 1800s France. In 1848, when the last monarchy was overthrown in favor of the Second Republic, old Louis Napolean, grand-nephew of Bonaparte, ran for president. He was despised by the intelligent people and the urban crowd, who knew him for the degenerate and fraud that he was. However, they were outvoted by the majority of rural 'conservative' bumpkins who always seem to prefer a strong man (read: Stalin for the Russians, Schwarzengroper for the Californians) and who forever feel threatened by foreign immigrants, people of other races and religions, change of any sort, especially progress which means bettering ourselves at the cost of the clergy, politicians, and media propagandists who have long fattened themselves at the public expense. So Louis Napoleon became Monsieur le President Napoleon and, predictably, within a few enough number of years that they can be mentioned as months (about 40), Louis Napoleon terminated the Second Republic and declared himself Emperor Napoleon III, ruler of the Second Empire. So France lurched through the mixed frivolity and turmoil toward a monumental disaster culminating in her defeat by the Prussians in 1871. During that humiliation, a terminally ill and depressed (and addled) Napoleon III let himself be captured by the Germans sitting in his tent. During the ensuing year, France lurched through one of the most awful events of her history, the Paris Commune, which had social radicals taking over the city while it was under siege for months by the Prussians outside the walls. When the Parisians had finished eating the zoo animals and the cats and dogs, they began dining on sewer rats—and, reputedly, on each other. This unpleasantness, cooked up by Napoleon while a prisoner at Ham many years earlier—reminiscent of Hitler's Mein Kampf incarceration in 1936 at Landswehr Prison—led to the Third Republic and got the German General Staff thinking about building railroad lines to the French border for when the French would install the next member of the Napoleon dynasty.

One of the remarkable facts about dictators is that, generally, the first five years of their rule seems to be a time of calm and public order. Yes, Bush said "It would all be so much easier if I were dictator" as he stood stupidly grinning on nationwide TV after his ventriloquists, Rove and Cheney, handed him the scepter that had been legally voted into Al Gore's hands. Stupid people may contest this, like they do the laws of gravity or evolution—or the heroism of John Kerry, John McCain, and Max Cleland vs. their boy Bush who ran away—but here's the real scoop: (leaving side such outrages ad Republican thugs rioting in a Florida court room and South Dakota GOP hoodlums trailing Native American voters in their cars for intimidation in Nov 2004) the greatest damage of all was done by the Supreme Court itself. Under the Constitution, they should have declared the Electoral College vote in Florida hopelessly tied, and should have thrown the election into the U.S. House of Representatives. Ironically, since that body was dominated by the neo-Confederates who rule this country, Bush would have legally won. However, a person (Bush) and an organization (the neo-GOP) that will opt to lie when there is a choice between that and telling the truth, and whose knee jerk instinct is to play dirty whenever possible, could not put their boy in honestly. The dishonest way had to be their choice. So now we have a one-party state that, for all intents and purposes, is a hair's breadth away from being a dictatorship in all but name.

Napoleon IV, as one might call Bush, although some have pointed out the uncanny similarities to Biblical end times in which Bush is the most likely candidate for anti-Christ, is really a puppet of the corporate forces that are slowing eroding the U.S. democracy. He is, as I said earlier, a grinning icon, a hood ornament, a lawn flamingo of a seemingly inescapable tsunami of corruption. Anyone who doubts this need only look at the recent deluge of corporate scandals, including Bush's best friend Ken "Kenny Boy" Lay (who donated the private jet that Bush used in his 2000 presidential campaign, at Enron expense). Or look at how Martha Stewart went to jail for dumping her stock—same thing George Bush did when he failedas CEO of Arbusto, but his wealthy family applied pressure on Congress to halt the investigation that would have but our 43rd "president" in prison rather than in the White House. Consider that his brother Neil, who helped in the theft of $1.5 from Silverado Savings & Loan and the destruction of the savings and loan industry (an FDR socialism that the GOP is hell-bent on burning out wherever it is to be found, in favor of Wal-Martism and an increasingly impoverished, stupefied population in thrall to creationism and other medieval nonsense)—this same alcoholic Neil Bush was caught a few years ago in Beijing with his pants down, up to his thighs in Chinese prostitutes, while doing business with the Red Chinese government and army. The sickening machinations of other brother Jeb in Florida during the Teri Schiavo sadness, as well as the orchestrations in 2000, fit right into the family bill of subterfuge, dishonesty, and a monumental fondness for strong drink. Not to mention that Grandfather Prescott Bush was a banker to and thereby collaborator with the Nazis, and barely evaded the federal crackdown that led to his partners' indictments. I'm sure the term 'new world order' was already coined by Prescott Bush, who saw his family's role as being the rulers of a global economy with no patriotic allegiance to the USA or any other nation. These Bush boys are rolling for the highest stakes imaginable, and precisely because it's so unimaginable, the smartest commentators don't seem to want to look that far up to see the outer walls of this yet-growing storm over America. Next time you see George Bush holding hands with a Saudi prince, take a closer look. The giant sucking sound you'll hear is the sound of American independence and freedom leaking away.

NOTE: I voted for Bush I in 1988, respecting his wartime heroism and long service, and his being dubbed (dubyad?) by Reagan as his successor. I admired Bush I's consensus building on the Gulf War, but lost faith in him when he abandoned the Kurds and the Shi'a, when he abandoned the American people during a severe economic downturn, and when the foolishness of his choice of VP (Dubya-clone Dan "I ran from Nam" Quayle) became apparent. In 1992 I not only voted for Clinton, but in the wake of the hateful GOP party rally here in San Diego, changed my party affiliation to Unaffiliated. In 2004, realizing that an idealistic aloofness of practical politics serves no purpose, I rejoined the party of FDR, Truman, Kennedy, et al which I had left for Reagan in 1980. I understand how badly the stupid George Bush wants to see himself as another Ronald Reagan, who was a great president, but I would say to our dishonest and cheap ruler, echoing Sen. Lloyd Bentsen addressing the ineffectual fool Dan Quayle: "Mr. Bush, I knew Ronald Reagan, and you are no Ronald Reagan."

I have said nothing here that you cannot look up for yourself, if you care about the truth. A lot of people historically don't seem to care, and thus the best intentions of men and mice, including republics and constitutions and democracies, are swept away on a tide of garbage. That seems to be happening in the South as Hurricane Katrina exposes the underbelly of American reality. Those poor people clinging to their rooftops and in desperate need of medical help and food, are part of the one in eight (that's 1/8) of the U.S. population living in poverty. Whatever the flavor of your road rage and intellectual honesty or dishonesty, like evolution and gravity, the facts speak for themselves. Look on your TV, if you can pull away from Jerry Springer and Fox Propaganda, and you will see the catastrophe unfold. Katrina is just the flip of the card. The rest of the deck is about to be snapped onto the table before you, one losing card at a time.

Maybe our ruler can make a disastrous, Napoleonic mistake like Iraq and maybe we can absorb the moral, financial, and geo-political consequences—or maybe not. Maybe we are so utterly powerful and wealthy that we can survive a series of natural disasters like Katrina—or maybe not. We'll see.

I leave you with a few more Tush anecdotes. Fascinating how, in the first of the three debates he lost against Kerry, he made the claim that U.S. elderly and others in need of cheaper medicines should not be permitted to buy in bulk from Canadian pharmacy firms. This would be because 'we can't trust the Canadians and other foreigners' because they might have tainted drugs. Nevermind that the Canadians get most of their drugs from U.S. firms. The Canadians, who have national health insurance like every other civilized country except ours, buy drugs in large lots, cheaply, so they can provide them at low prices to their people, while our people pay an arm and a leg to Bush's cronies who own our government. Like Bill Frist, the creepy doctor who owns the plantation formerly known as the U.S. Senate; Frist's family also own the largest HMO in one of the many huge conflicts of interest of the current one-party state rulership in the USA. (No different from Cheney's Halliburton Corp. getting billions of dollars for work in Iraq and then defrauding our soldiers and taxpayers by stealing the money and not delivering the food and other goods).

So get this. Here's Bush, in the second debate (which he won among stupid people but lost among smart people) where he had that listening device strapped on his back so Karl Rove and Dick Cheney could tell him what to stammer. Between the two debates, we had the flu vaccine scandal. It turns out that all the flu vaccine for the entire USA is made by two FOREIGN firms, one a British subsidiary of a U.S. conglomerate, the other a FRENCH firm (can you believe it, after that Freedom Fries b.s.?). Turns out someone pissed in a vat at the British firm, or something, and their vaccine was unusable. So 666, during the second debate, then says the disastrous lack of flu vaccine, which happened on his unelected watch, is okay because 'we can get vaccine from the Canadians.' That's why the U.S.A. has become a kingdom of lies, and its master is Bush, the Lord of the Lies.

One more thing. News sources had Bush stating that, in order to shore up his Iraq catastrophe, we'd be sending yet more troops there. How was he going to shore up the sagging reenlistment profiles of the Army (regular, reserve, and N.G.)? By providing more bonuses and benefits and&151;get this, because I must be the only one who gasped—health care. This monumental asshole in his cheap, dark, greasy suit said, and nobody called him on it, that our troops would be rewarded with medical care for their families (only while they are overseas, of course). Excuse me, but that is so embarrassing. Here we are, claiming to be this huge lighthouse of democracy and capitalism for the whole world, and we proudly boast that a few more of our impoverished masses may get aspirins if they need them? That's like the Europeans claiming they take a bath once a week, whether they need it or not (I lived there, I know). How truly, deeply, vastly ignorant are we to let this guy and his accomplices get away with this all these generations? No, I am not moving elsewhere. I love this country and want to see it awakened from its stupor. That's why I bang my head on the wall and spend a sunny San Diego afternoon typing this, in the hope (like W.H. Auden's M.S. To Be Left In The Earth, or a message in a bottle cast upon the sea) that someone will understand, and agree, and tell others, so that soon we can start taking our country back from the neo-Christian fanatics, the lying Rupert Murdochs of the media, and the sleazy neo-Confederate GOP politicians.

Update 9/3/2005 While briefly stopping in the Katrina-stricken area to grandstand and play politics, Bush was asked by a reporter how he would explain the lack of immediate response by Bush's regime to the growing disaster. This was Thursday, four days after the hurricane. Bush responded by trying to cover up his ineptitude and lack of human feeling thus: "Look, on Monday the hurricane hit. On Tuesday and Wednesday we were evacuating the city, and here I am today."

Pardon me?

On Monday the hurricane hit, and Bush was on vacation in Crawford. "We" were not evacuating New Orleans on Tuesday, because on Tuesday, pathological and congenital liar George W. Bush was doing a political visit to us right here in San Diego, California, where we did not see him evacuating anyone. New Orleans was not evacuated at all by the Federal Government or George Bush—it was abandoned in place by Bush and his motley crew of neo-cons.

Condoleeza Rice was still in New York, seeing Broadway plays at midweek. Fat Denny Hastert's only comment about New Orleans was the heartfelt and humane comment "It's probably not worth rebuilding." Chertoff, the chief jerk-off at Homeland Security (which was given much of the funding formerly given to FEMA, which is now being lambasted by Republicans for not doing an effective job) was still saying nearly a week after the tragedy that the Bush regime had no scenario for Katrina, and could never have guessed that the levees would give way.

Pardon me?

There have been major news stories for several years analyzing and precisely predicting what would happen. Even if Bush and Chertoff are illiterate, they could pay someone, maybe a little shoeshine kid, to read the newspaper to them. Then they would know the Katrina disaster has been predicted by serious scientists for years. Then again, Bush and his creationists hate and loathe real science, as with the global warming debacle, so any opportunity to say no to science is an opportunity to pander to the radical right wing of Christianity (if one can call them that). Not only did Bush divert much-needed FEMA funding to his disastrous Iraq war that has left us unable to defend our borders or save our citizens, but he only allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to plan for a Category 3 storm in New Orleans. Scientists have been publicly predicting a Cat 5 disaster for years. Now the chickens have swum home to roost. Chertoff should be publicly sacked for this comment alone, but then Bush should be impeached, and with a GOP Congress, that's about as likely as Nixon being forced out in 1974 had the GOP run the Congress back then.

One amazing irony of all this was to see Trent Lott (R-Miss) walking with Bush on a grandstanding tour of the disaster area. Lott, you will recall (or not), while powerful Senate majority leader, for years looted taxpayer money to the tune of $1.1 billion or more per year, to build Navy ships the Navy didn't want or need, in order to keep his political slush fund going in Pascagoula, his home area. That's called pork barrel spending in some circles, and grand larceny in others, felony theft and embezzlement. Then came the debacle in which he revealed his deepseated racism, in remarks with redneck Strom Thurmond, then 100 ("If people had voted for y'awl [Thurmond as presidential candidate of the segregationist Dixiecrats in the 1940s and 50s, precursor of today's neo-Confederate Southern wing of the party of corporations) back then, we wouldn't have all this trouble today." After this overheard conversation, the GOP ghouls converged to feast on the decaying corpse of Lott's political career, and the feast went quickly. Lott lost his position as Republican leader and almost was forced to resign from the Senate, but the GOP threw him a bone and made him head of a committee. In a book published just before Katrina, Lott whined that he had been stiffed by George Bush and backstabbed by the creepy Bill Frist, chief HMO plantation owner and now Senate Majority Leader. Now, his home has been washed away by a hurricane Lott helped the GOP fail to prepare for. But more ironically yet, after all those years of embezzling billions of taxpayer dollars for unwanted pork barrel projects that, I have no doubt, put our sailors and Marines in harm's way by taking away much needed critical supplies and equipment, the base closing committee has put Pascagoula on the chopping block.

The Katrina disaster (9/01?) has stirred up a lot of water, both literally and figuratively. It has exposed the underbelly of America's chronic, organic poverty. While one in eight Americans lives below poverty according to Federal studies (and over half of all American citizens have either no health care or are underinsured), the poverty rate in the Gulf region is far higher. The GOP is dominated by the same backward politicians who used to be Southern Democrats and Dixiecrats, and simply switched en masse to the party of big business after their precious apartheid was challenged by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, and Nixon/Agnew seemed like just the right pair of GOP crooks for them. It's interesting to see how the GOP leadership behave like swirling piranha, devouring their own. In 1996, Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott delivered the House to GOP control. Gingrich, who mistook bullying for leadership, and egotism for intelligence, was ousted within two years as the Affaire Lewinsky shook the foundations of our Constitution at GOP instigation. Gingrich's replacement, Livingston, had to step down in the midst of his own adultery scandal, which at first he lied about, but other sharks in his own party stuck it to him. A safe bet was former wrestling coach and chronic follower Dennis Hastert, who has now hoist himself on his own petard by reacting to the Affaire Katrina with a shrug and a declaration that New Orleans probably isn't worth rebuilding--this while thousands of her citizens were still actively drowning and dying of rape, murder, thirst, starvation, and disease. Look for Hastert to go soon as heads must roll to save Bush. Look for Chertoff to be gone soon, since he resembles a defensively stammering death's head already. Let's not forget the demise of Trent Loot at the hands of his own wolfish party members (see paragraph above). And so it goes. Look for Tom "Halloween" Delay to go some time soon as the scandals surrounding this former roach killer from Texas rise around his ears like filthy water. In short, even as this ruthless and un-American party of Paula Jones, Mellon-Scaife, drug addict Limbaugh, big mouth O'Reilly (O'Really?), stupid jock Hannity, and the rest of the Jerry Springer clones rape our country for their own benefit, watch as they devour each other. If it looks like evil, and walks like evil, it probably is evil. The fundamentalists don't know it yet, but their own distorted views of scripture clearly point to the Big W as being 666. Who could be a more logical choice for this deceiver who pretends to be a great Christian leader while in reality being the emissary of Satan, even as the religious right are praying that we are living in end times? Armageddon (Megiddo) is a town in Israel, and Bush's ideological bedfellows have certainly set the stage for the ultimate showdown in that area—nukes and all. Will the real God please come and rescue us? Please! I am standing in my window, waving a bed sheet. God, please save us from the evil and insane politicians who have taken over our country by rigging elections and lying in the media!

To be sure, the looting of taxpayer money will continue unabated, even as the reckless and insane Bush keep racking up deficits and debt, but the hemorrhage in Pascagoula appears to be finished. The pork barrel addiction is bipartisan, yes, but the GOP have given the laugh to their disinformation that Democrats are "big spenders" (for wanting average citizens to have the same health care for their tax dollars that the fat cats of both parties have in Washington D.C.). Bush's kneejerk comment when asked how the U.S. tax payer (you and I) will pay for the estimated $100 Billion or more cost of Katrina? "We won't need to raise taxes," said 666. That's right—while pretending to be Reagan II, Tush blithely reverts to the worst Keyneseyan instincts of fiscal economics, and he'll just print money over there in Washington until the U.S. runs out of trees and we are awash in inflation and economic disintegration.

It would be appropriate to call Bush not so much Hurricane George, but as a series of related disasters. We've had his failure on 9/11 (he came out of hiding briefly to stand on a fire engine and wave a little toy American flag); his pointless war in Iraq, based on lies; his failure to plan for the postwar situation in Iraq; and now his failure to show leadership or humanity in the Katrina disaster. What next? Chief Justice Renquist died today, giving Bush a second opportunity to pack the Supreme Court with more of the same stooges who illegally handed him the election in 2000. That will be a sweet payback for the Christian mullahs and their foolish sheep who handed the hen house of democracy to the fox back in 2000 and kept our one-party regime in office, with a 2004 election that looks ever more rigged as reports of electoral corruption in Ohio and elsewhere surface (not just keeping people of color from voting, and sending GOP goon squads in cars to shadow Native American voters in South Dakota, but remember that Bush's corporate cronies manufacture, own, and operate the new electronic voting systems, so hey, given Bush's record of dishonesty, how likely is it that they didn't shizzle the mizzle in the 2004 election?). Before Justice Sandra Day O'Connor resigned this past summer, giving Bush the first opening on the Supreme Court, where he is putting another Frist-like young smoothie with a heart of steel and a soul stuck on "claw," I would have said the best case scenario for our country is that voters sweep the GOP out in the 2006 election, which in turn would lead to Bush's impeachment. If Bush can pack the Supreme Court with reactionaries, even a Bush impeachment wouldn't matter that much. The Supreme Court will be skewed to the far right for as long as I live and beyond. We'll have creationism in place of science, and the coat hanger will be the only Republican-approved method of birth control. Too many Americans have forgotten their history, and so we are all condemned to relive it.

The Katrina disaster (Nine-Oh-One, or 9/01?) has stirred up a lot of water, both literally and figuratively. It has exposed the underbelly of America's chronic, organic poverty. While one in eight Americans lives below poverty according to Federal studies (and over half of all American citizens have either no health care or are underinsured), the poverty rate in the Gulf region is far higher. The GOP is dominated by the same backward politicians who used to be Southern Democrats and Dixiecrats, and simply switched en masse to the party of big business after their precious apartheid was challenged by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, and Nixon/Agnew seemed like just the right pair of GOP crooks for them. It's interesting to see how the GOP leadership behave like swirling piranha, devouring their own. In 1996, Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott delivered the House to GOP control. Gingrich, who mistook bullying for leadership, and egotism for intelligence, was ousted within two years as the Affaire Lewinsky shook the foundations of our Constitution at GOP instigation. Gingrich's replacement, Livingston, had to step down in the midst of his own adultery scandal, which at first he lied about, but other sharks in his own party stuck it to him. A safe bet was former wrestling coach and chronic follower Dennis Hastert, who has now hoist himself on his own petard by reacting to the Affaire Katrina with a shrug and a declaration that New Orleans probably isn't worth rebuilding--this while thousands of her citizens were still actively drowning and dying of rape, murder, thirst, starvation, and disease. Look for Hastert to go soon as heads must roll to save Bush. Look for Chertoff to be gone soon, since he resembles a defensively stammering death's head already. Let's not forget the demise of Trent Loot at the hands of his own wolfish party members (see paragraph above). And so it goes. Look for Tom "Halloween" Delay to go some time soon as the scandals surrounding this former roach killer from Texas rise around his ears like filthy water. In short, even as this ruthless and un-American party of Paula Jones, Mellon-Scaife, drug addict Limbaugh, big mouth O'Reilly (O'Really?), stupid jock Hannity, and the rest of the Jerry Springer clones rape our country for their own benefit, watch as they devour each other. If it looks like evil, and walks like evil, it probably is evil. The fundamentalists don't know it yet, but their own distorted views of scripture clearly point to the Big W as being 666. Who could be a more logical choice for this deceiver who pretends to be a great Christian leader while in reality being the emissary of Satan, even as the religious right are praying that we are living in end times? Armageddon (Megiddo) is a town in Israel, and Bush's ideological bedfellows have certainly set the stage for the ultimate showdown in that area—nukes and all. Will the real God please come and rescue us? Please! I am standing in my window, waving a bed sheet. God, please save us from the evil and insane politicians who have taken over our country by rigging elections and lying in the media!



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Aliens, The Other White Meat by E. Michael Fisher and James C. Bird (2005 Whiskey Creek Press, ISBN 1593743343). From the time I opened the first chapter, I was laughing out loud. The authors are two very funny and smart guys—tekkies cursed with a major creative streak that leaves their slide rules and pocket protectors no peace—who have invented this universe and camp and pun that will delight you. If you have any kind of funny bone, you'll enjoy this hefty little read. Reading about Babu and the planet Blithos, one senses a bit of L. Ron Hubbard without the smug sincerity. Fans of Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, and other absurdians should take a look at the wreakings of Fisher and Bird. Is there any significance in the fact that they are named after two prominent animalia types? This is the sort of book that keeps you thinking, and laughing, and guessing. If anything, this novel shines the flickering yellow flashlight of parody upon the dark undergarments of society and of all that you probably hold holy, and reveals the true sweat-stained lycra-mesh foundations.