30 August 2007


This is exactly the sort of sick and twisted story that makes me want to dig out my Air Force Achievement and Good Conduct Medals, roll them up in my Honorable Discharge certificate and my DD form 214, and smoke them ... Ah, the age of Bush -- you just gotta love it.

Via Raw Story (what else?):

CBS: Female airman claims rape, ends up on trial herself

CBS News reported Tuesday on a current case that calls into doubt the Air Force's promise, after a scandal four years ago, of better treatment for alleged rape victims. The case is that of Airman Cassandra Hernandez, who has stated that she was raped by three fellow airmen.

Hernandez gave an exclusive interview to CBS in which she admitted having drunk "a lot" at a party before accompanying three male colleagues to a dorm room. She acknowledged that her memory of events is fuzzy, but said she definitely remembers saying "No" and trying to push the men away. The three men allege that Hernandez started taking off her clothes and that the sex which followed was consensual.

A hearing was originally set on the rape charges, but after harsh pre-trial questioning, Hernandez decided not to testify. At that point the Air Force brought lesser charges against all four airmen, citing Hernandez for underage drinking and "indecent acts." The three men accepted minor punishments, while Hernandez refused. She is now facing a court-martial and could be jailed or expelled from the Air Force. At the same time, the three men have been granted immunity in their testimony against her.

It is that outcome that has so alarmed advocates for rape victims and raised a concern that -- regardless of whether Hernandez is correct in her accusations -- the case will have a chilling effect in the future. According to the Los Angeles Times, Hernandez' attorneys have released a statement saying that "'important, relevant evidence' was denied them during discovery and that Hernandez decided not to plead to the same indecent-act charge as the three airmen because 'she was told that she was considered guilty unless she proved herself innocent.'"

"The system failed Hernandez," one of her attorneys told CBS.

28 August 2007


It seems that it's been all Gonzales, all the time among the vulturine bloodsuckers who constitute the corporate media (at least until the Larry Craig thing blew up); even the front page of the Sacramento Bee is pushing the story, complete with a photo of Torture Boy bravely holding back tears of shame, or constipation, or something. Not that it's particularly surprising that the "resignation" of such a morally bankrupt political flunky would top all the headlines, and give the blow-dried blow-holes on TV something to talk about -- or lie about, as the case may be -- but what always bothers me the most about these circuses is how they so comprehensively eclipse nearly everything of importance, scouring the public's not-so-robust attention span clear of any least bit of relevance, about anything. Not that that's a particularly difficult thing to do, but, whatever.

No. Several years now of felonious outrages, massive frauds, and official lying on a scale never before seen, have left me completely incapable of not trying
to dissect the political reasoning behind the timing of Gonzo's removal. To my cynically jaundiced eye, that's far more critical than the mere fact of his dismissal, which was pretty much a not-very-important foregone conclusion in any event. To the coterie of crazed dystopiacs directing Bush and his artificial administration, Torture Turd Gonzales was just a politically embarrassing liability who had to go. But why now? What, pray tell, are we not supposed to be paying attention to? What is it, precisely, that must be ignored and obscured by a not-gay Republican Senator who loves a little hot airport bathroom lovin', beauty contest dorks with cottage cheese where their brains should be, and, of course, the trials and tribulations of the most corrupt Attorney General in the history of the United States ...?

Ah -- now here's something (via Raw Story):

Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.

The paper, "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" – written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament – was exclusively provided to RAW STORY late Friday under embargo.

"We wrote the report partly as we were surprised that this sort of quite elementary analysis had not been produced by the many well resourced Institutes in the United States," wrote Plesch in an email to Raw Story on Tuesday.

Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.

Be sure to click here to read the whole thing. I can see why we're supposed to close our ears and eyes to such fun-time diversions ...

27 August 2007


Torture Boy Gonzales is now free to cash out at some neocon think tank or PR company or lobbying firm, sure to escape the theoretical legal consequences of the criminality he gleefully commited on behalf of Cheney and Bush. Rumor has it that low-voltage vampire Michael "Of The Devil" Chertoff is to be proposed as the new Attorney General ... People are often asking the largely rhetorical question, How could things possibly get any worse? Well, here's your answer.

Before you bust a nut in a blinding explosion of schadenfreude at the seeming demise of Torquemada, take a trip over to Casey Lee Cobb's blog and check this out.

My oh my.

26 August 2007


What level of perception, what fiction or fantasy, enters into policy-making? What wild flights soar over reasonable estimates of reality? What degree of conviction or, on the contrary, conscious exaggeration is at work? Is the argument believed or is it inventive rhetoric employed to enforce a desired course of action?
--Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly

I especially like the last sentence of the quote above, particularly as our corporate media stenographers -- and self-styled pundits of all kinds -- work themselves into an anticipatory cluster-fuck frenzy ahead of the already-written foregone conclusion soon to be delivered by the so-called US "commander" in Iraq. The assumed, apparently innocent, painfully earnest conviction that there must be some sort of suspense over what Petraeus will or won't say next month is almost touching in its simplemindedness; in fact, the only doubt inherent to this ridiculously absurd theater piece lies in just how closely Petraeus sticks to the script. Dutiful quasi-politician that he is, he isn't likely to stray very far.

But then -- who the hell cares?

Seriously. Why should anybody with a functional brainstem give two tiny craps about it? We already know what the "report" will say, and just how easy it is for Cheney to get others to parrot his words -- Petraeus being, in this case, the designated sock puppet. Water-carrying hacks who whore themselves out for a few measly crumbs tossed at them from evil despotic cyborgs? How unutterably boring.

It really is boring. Infuriating, disgusting, enraging, repulsive, frustrating beyond all measure ... but boring nevertheless.

And that pretty much goes for all of the toxic pollution the neocons have incontinently dumped into the turgid life-stream of this rapidly deteriorating society: it's boring because it's so patently obvious. But, the thing to remember is that the neocon crowd and its enablers -- ruthless, defiling grifters that they are -- haven't really brought anything new to the vapid socio-political maelstrom of bullshit that, like it or not, has always been the existential foundation of this rickety screw-shack of a country. Potential is one thing; the high-sounding philosophical framework of the founding documents represents an apparently noble target to which to aspire, within the realm of statecraft and government at least, but they never have completely obscured the fundamental weakness and astounding inequities that have plagued us since day one. The neocon monkeys and their slavering minions are, if anything, fanatical students of these weaknesses and inequities, dedicated to their thorough exploitation for personal gain -- no matter the cost.

But then, I was saying something about Petraeus, wasn't I ?

Actually, there's nothing I can say about this sordid circle-jerk, this fraud superimposed on a lie overlayed on a fiction ... other than to express my dismay that so many people, of nearly all political stripes and every conceivable side of the "debate" over the Iraq catastrophe, seem to take this upcoming Cheneyist vaudeville routine so seriously. Every bloated blowhole with an opinion to offer has assigned an enormous amount of significance to what Petraeus will say, even erstwhile members of the opposition "left" -- whatever officially passes for such a thing these days. What's conveniently glossed-over or ignored or spun is the rather uncontroversial fact that it's a sham, that anything that happens to pour out of Petraeus' thin-lipped gob is only designed to keep the blood and profits flowing. What's to be gained by believing otherwise? The next illegal war is already in the works, proletarian opinions don't amount to hill of donkey shit, and the neocon "revolution" is merely a logical outgrowth of structural processes and tendencies inherent to a fatally flawed political-economic system that's not long for this world. Personally, I think it's far more prudent to consider what the proper course to take might be when the paper-thin mask of "democracy" is finally torn off and flushed away, as all indications say it must be, rather than desperately clutching onto the seamy claptrap of a compromised scumbag like Petraeus. As if anything he'll likely spout might, somehow, bring an end to the neocon wars against Iraq or the American public or the world's population as a whole.

Yes, well. Tuchman writes, Is the argument believed or is it inventive rhetoric employed to enforce a desired course of action? Perhaps she was being facetiously ironic or tongue-in-cheek, but, in any case, the answer is so obvious it's ... boring as hell.


Where's my bartender?

20 August 2007


Staggering and stumbling through one of those periodic, anti-computer frames of mind; techno-overload, Internet indigestion. In response, I dig up one of my favorite Vonnegut quotes:

Don't give up on books. They feel so good -- their friendly heft, the sweet reluctance of their pages when you turn them with your sensitive fingertips. A large part of our brains is devoted to deciding whether what our hands are touching is good or bad for us. Any brain worth a nickel knows books are good for us.

Computers are insincere. Books are sincere.

And don't try to make yourself an extended family out of ghosts on the Internet.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Agnes Scott College, 1999

It's way past time for an extended -- perhaps permanent -- breather from the horrors of this mechanized madness ...

18 August 2007


As a general principle, I try not read newspapers, for reasons that are plainly obvious. Referencing a headline once in awhile is one thing; superficially scoping out the front pages of establishment rags like the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, and of course the New York Times (all available in the vending machines just outside most of the coffee joints and beer holes I usually patronize), is about as far as I usually go. Yesterday morning, however, I splurged and managed to dig up fifty cents to waste on a copy of the Bee, only after an above-the-fold juxtaposition of a couple of stories caught my jaundiced and bloodshot eye.

My last two quarters gave me a soupy mixture of Jose Padilla being convicted of ... something or other, and another story of the Sacramento County District Attorney declining to prosecute a CHP lieutenant who awarded no-bid state contracts to a firm owned by his daughter and son-in-law. What do these two stories have in common? Well, nothing really, at least directly. Except, of course, they do function as the two sides of a "criminal justice" coin that's been debased and adulterated to such an extent, it hardly has anything to do with "criminal justice" any longer -- assuming it ever did.

Anyway. The Padilla case is sufficiently well known, among those paying attention, as to not need recounting here. It's enough to characterize it as the logical result of a co-called "justice" system run completely amok, political corruption settled in its gonads (and other vital organs) like heavy metals in a population exposed to depleted uranium. From what I understand -- and, naturally, I could be about as wrong as it is humanly possible to be -- the DOJ commissars never actually proved that Padilla really did anything, certainly nothing even remotely connected to the "dirty bomb" bullshit for which he was originally arrested and illegally held by the military, until his mind transmogrified itself into an especially rancid chunk of moldy roquefort. It was, from bogus beginning to pathetic end, a politically-motivated operation with a predetermined outcome; essentially it was an experiment within the wider project of eviscerating the United States Constitution, at least those sections of which that deal with "antiquated" notions of civil liberties -- you remember those things, don't you? Somebody had to be the precedent-setting sacrifice, the foredoomed rat in the diabolical neocon laboratory where the mad scientists attempt to alchemically merge the worst, most base characteristics of predatory capitalism with such fun-time concepts as Stalinism and the major tenets of National Socialism. Somebody -- in this case, Jose Padilla -- had to function as the procedural trailblazer for the rest of us, if you know what I mean.

In contrast to the Padilla case, this local tale of CHP corruption seems of little consequence. The mammoth chicaneries of, say, Halliburton and Blackwater, and other corporate monstrosities of their ilk, would seem to easily eclipse such penny-ante shenanigans as a Highway Patrol nitwit funneling the inevitable no-bid contract to his daughter. In dollar terms, that's certainly true. What's so significant to me is how the editors at the Sacramento Bee pinned this story next to the one on Padilla, actually sticking this article about low-budget CHP nepotism and thievery in the more prominent position, in the center above the fold. Clearly, they feel it's more important to emphasize how a minor public official is apparently entitled to escape criminal conflict-of-interest charges (in the words of Sacramento County DA Jan Scully: "The evidence does not show that [the CHP lieutenant] had any prohibited financial interest in any of the contracts at issue.") when a member of his family benefits from his decisions, rather than the sick story of how some poor dumb sap was railroaded into prison after being illegally held for years and having his brain turned into a rotten cucumber. A typically curious, but telling, mishmash of priorities on the part of the Bee's corporate hatchetmen.

Well, as I said, under ordinary circumstances -- whatever those might actually be anymore -- I usually avoid newspapers like a politician avoids the truth and/or his constituents. Looking at traditional conduits of news and information, such as newspapers, really has only two possible outcomes: the submersion of any and all issues into unfathomable depths of incomprehensibility, or the exposure of just enough of what's real to legitimize and solidify one's impending lunatic dissolution. That's precisely what I feel like is happening when a corporate ventriloquist's dummy such as the Sacramento Bee effectively declares that our sympathetic attentions should focus on the tribulations of an unindicted cop who broke the law, instead of a political prisoner who's merely a prototypical poster child for the right-wing dystopia-to-be. Ah, but such is the Bushworld zeitgeist, 2007.

*Sigh* Is it too early for a beer?

14 August 2007


Most unintentionally hilarious newspaper headline I've seen in ages and ages -- from the Sacramento Bee, 14 August 2007:

Void left by exit of Rove

Say what you will about McClatchy, and its flagship organ, the Bee, but every now and again they do seem to display an inexplicably oblique sense of humor. What "void" instantly springs to mind, when one gives thought-space to our chimperiffic fake president? Yes, of course, the echoingly huge void in the center of his pointed little head, particularly since his "brain" has (ostensibly) decided to take a hike. Hardy Har. I'm sure that when the McClatchy brothers founded the Sacramento Bee back in the 1850's, they hardly could've imagined it would evolve into the silly comedy rag it's apparently become.

As far as Rove is concerned -- fuck that doughy-headed, pasty-faced, amoral lump of shit, that spiritual inheritor of Josef Goebbels' special brand of creamy evilness. I guess a few people see some sort of significance in Rove's so-called "departure"; he may be removing his foul, disease-riddled bulk from the physical proximity of his ultimate creation, the Commander Guy/Decider-in-Chief, but it's ludicrous in the extreme to believe he won't still be exerting his devilish influence on the Unitary Marionette. He'll just be more deeply buried in the maggoty woodwork, that's all.

Humorous headlines aside, here's an ominous implication to Rove's rather precipitous exit: he just lost out in the overt power struggle with his co-controller, Cheney ... Now there's some food for thought. All of a sudden, I'm not laughing anymore.

12 August 2007


Time again for the extremely infrequent visit to Sacramento's oldest club -- opened in 1939 -- The Torch Club. Needless to say, I had to have a respite from the ugliness, the disaster that this nation has become, however briefly. So bear with me as I try to transcribe these nearly undecipherable scribblings in my beer-stained notebook ...

4:50PM. A typical scene: ten minutes before the "blues jam" is due to commence, and there's a grand total of seven people in the bar, and the four nearest are carrying on an overly-loud conversation about ... real estate. How exciting. Complementing the stupidity of it all are the well-stewed bikers who are now trickling in, wrapped in faux-leathers and carefully composed scowls; the outlaw aura is rendered slightly less convincing by their cell phones, and by the ubiquitous squinty-eyed over-concentration they display as they force their pudgy fingers to manipulate the tiny little buttons ...

5:00 PM. The "house band" should be launching their half-assed assault on the historical fundament of American blues music right about now, but so far there's only a drum set and an amplifier set up on the stage. It doesn't bode well, but then nothing ever does around here ... Four dollars for a pint of Guinness -- I find myself digging through the change in my pocket, hopelessly wondering if I have enough money left to buy another drink ... Tattoo people just walked in, so perhaps the afternoon isn't a complete wash after all.

5:05 PM. I'm disappointed to see that the bulbously curvy bartender is still sporting that stupid bobbed haircut. It's The Bicycle Thief meets T-Bone Walker in a dingy downtown club. How revolting.

5:30 PM. The bald-headed security guy just turned on the jukebox. Hmmm ... Ah yes, the harsh and beat-to-crap semi-street people have finally arrived, the Torch Club's primary clientele. The real estate buttheads are getting pretty drunk ... You've never seen so many pony tails and bald spots in one room -- I love this place.

5:50 PM. The "band" starts playing, only 50 minutes late ... somebody, anybody, please punch me in the head as hard as possible. Please! I can still hear this unconscionable affront to taste and decency. I do love this place, but I seriously wonder why I ever bother to come here. Jeeze, I can play 12-bar blues as badly as these fuckers ...

6:15 PM. To be completely honest, these guys are god-awful hacks, this bar is a funky nasty mess, the patrons have lived very hard lives ... but I haven't thought about NeoCon aggression or constitutional destruction or Presidential orders or the likelihood of being locked up in a Halliburton-constructed prison -- among other horrors -- for at least an hour. So, it's time well spent, I suppose.

6:30 PM. OK. I'm so bored I could spit. The idiots on stage are the drunkest people in the joint ... I'm done.

Well, that was fun.

11 August 2007


Not that this would be particularly interesting to anybody -- which is nothing new, really -- but I'm oddly compelled to relate a funny little story about a confrontation I had this week with the denial-ridden, deeply-closeted Stalinist Bushniks by whom I happen to be employed. It's a microcosmic explication, it seems to me, of the macrocosmic heap of existential dog-doo we all find ourselves in these days.

Anyway, it goes something like this:

I made the decision recently, for a variety of reasons, to return to college. No big deal, you know. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing especially original, nothing likely to dramatically alter the trajectory of human history; merely a moderately desperate, mid-life-crisis-fueled attempt to change, however fleetingly and/or delusionally, the direction of the gaudily empty merry-go-round on which every last one of us is so speedily heading towards oblivion. A tough bill to fill, and an ultimately futile one, but it's all about the journey, not the destination. As the more enlightened might put it.

Yes, well. In any event, all this modest project would've involved was one lousy class, twice a week, necessitating a minor alteration to the hours my fascist employers require me to toil for them. You'd think, perhaps, what possible problem could there be -- after all, this is a case of someone choosing to continue their education, and high-minded Americans place such a premium on education, don't they? Aren't we constantly being harangued and bludgeoned and otherwise battered with rhetorical shillelaghs about "bettering" ourselves, particularly when said "bettering" involves a school of some sort? Aren't the supposed economic rewards of a college education dangled before our over-credulous noses like radioactive carrots, starting when we're too young to understand what the fuck it's all about ...?

The shitwits I work for were obviously out sick the day they taught the critical, paramount importance of education. When I informed my would-be corporate "masters" that I would have to leave early a couple days a week, since there was only one section offered for the course I was taking, this is what they cobbled together, in what they euphemistically referred to as "seeing what they could do" for me: I would have to give up my present position, swallowing a $2 per hour pay cut in the process; I'd be re-assigned to the exact same work I was doing a full twelve years ago; and, best of all, they would alter my hours so I could leave earlier -- but not early enough to actually make it to school on time.

How's about that?

As my boss was trowling out, with an amazingly straight face, this ridiculous joke of a non-solution to my rather simple and prosaic educational dilemma, it required a huge effort on my part to keep my lip zipped and my opinions to myself. In the dank wake of this noisome managerial bilge washing over me, I couldn't help but think: if I was a sycophantic salary-earner there would be no problem at all, but since I come out of the hourly-wage monkey class I deserve no consideration whatsoever. I realized that this was just a very minor skirmish within the much broader class war -- you know, the class war that, supposedly, only liberal democrats and union organizers engage in, not ass-sucking Republicans who live in an area that repeatedly sends somebody like John Doolittle to Congress. That's the bottom-feeder I work for.

Like I said, there isn't much reason to think that this is of any interest to anybody, except maybe for those whose workplace environment is unduly influenced by the corrupting poison of present-day political culture, as is mine. If anybody has a similar story, I'm all ears; if anybody thinks there's something "actionable" here, I'm all ears for that, too.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just get on with the business of not "bettering" myself, since the Cheney fetishists I work for won't allow it. Surely they know best. Don't they?

07 August 2007


In the foul wake of the latest Congressional giveaway to the Bushniks, trying to digest this example of incomprehensibility is nearly impossible:

Via Raw Story:

Democrats introduce Bush, Cheney, Gonzales censure resolutions in House and Senate

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced resolutions calling for the censure of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Sen. Russ Feingold sponsored two resolutions in his chamber calling for the legislative action against the administration officials because of they misled the country in pursuing war with Iraq and have undermined the rule of law, he said.

"These censure resolutions will let future generations know that Congress stood up to the destructive policies of this administration that have weakened our national security, cost more than 3,600 American lives, and undermined the principles on which our country was founded," Feingold said in a prepared statement.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“From misleading this country into invading Iraq to establishing a warrantless domestic spy program, this White House has continuously misled and deceived the American people while disregarding the rule of law that guides our democracy,” Hinchey said in a prepared statement. “The Bush administration has placed an extraordinary burden on this and future generations to recover from the damage done to our Constitution and national security."

I don't know if I should laugh until I upchuck my stomach lining, or rage until I faint, or what. The depth to which craven cowardice and authoritarian greed have become welded together is truly breathtaking ... If somebody like Profmarcus is seriously considering calling it quits, then the point of no return has, indeed, been finally reached.

Hard to imagine the circumstances under which this blogging business might actually seem like a worthwhile endeavor ...

05 August 2007


I'm having a harsh time of it trying to reconcile the two most significant bits of political news from this weekend: Debra Bowen's shot across the Diebold bow, and Congress' official self-termination as the legitimate legislative body of the United States government. These two stories are intricately linked, if in a somewhat convoluted fashion, and making sense out of them should be a top priority for thinking people everywhere -- if there any thinking people left out there, that is.

It seems to be the epitome of cruel irony that, apparently, the long hoped-for beginning of the end of the electronic voting hoax finally starts to manifest itself the very same weekend the Congress shamefully surrenders more of its prerogatives and responsibilities, in the face of yet another pathetic Shrub temper tantrum. Just as the electoral process is, perhaps, reprieved from the corporate straightjacket the NeoCons have been desperately trying to stuff it into, the Democratically-controlled Congress essentially votes itself out of existence, for all intents and purposes. The very faction within the political class that has the most to gain from "election integrity" shows that they, themselves, have no integrity, and effectively negate the point behind the California Secretary of State's moves against the privatization of voting. So, great -- votes get counted more-or-less accurately, electronic election fraud becomes more difficult to perpetrate; meanwhile, we work to elect erstwhile opponents of the present regime, and they prove to be just as willing to ratfuck us as their NeoCon counterparts. Unglaublich.

The ragged DLC remnants of what was once known as the Democratic Party have just shot their last steely wad, nearly guaranteeing their ignominious defeat in 2008, and all but burying representative government in the US in the process -- "election integrity" be damned. What an unbelievable pack of stupid assholes.


I understand that members of Congress, in recognition of their fervent dedication to the tenets of constitutional law and democratic governance, are planning to vote on a pay increase for themselves after they return from their slightly delayed, but so well deserved, summer vacation.

Have we had enough yet?

04 August 2007


The ultimate rhetorical question: What are we waiting for?

Does anybody have an answer? I sure as hell don't, being so benumbed and exhausted by the endless death-grip minutiae of tedium imposed by corporate employers and forced participation in the consumer culture. Like most people, I guess. Within the framework of petty confusions and over-amped monkey-motion that constitutes daily life in this doomed and deluded society -- this penny-ante brain froth of trivial pursuits and programmed ignorance -- the question inevitably presents itself, fighting for attention against a colorful backdrop of spasmodic emptiness and hollow diversions: What are we waiting for?

I don't know. A collapsing bridge or two, the "war hero" who was actually murdered, the apparently never-to-end catastrophe in Iraq, Katrina victims being ram-rodded by the courts, the dictatorial ambitions of Cheney's sock puppet, George Bush ... Stir all this together, along with countless other galling ingredients of disgust and outrage, and you're left with a fetid stew of bubbling toxicity, every noxious whiff of which stakes this question more firmly to the forehead of my shredded consciousness:

What are we waiting for?

Maybe the more witless among us, if they even bother to devote brain space to such things, are waiting for the Democrats to boldly save the situation. These are the same Democrats, you'll recall, who've thanked the voters who put them back in control of Congress by betraying them -- us -- at every opportunity, proving themselves to be utterly incapable of overcoming Republican obstructionism and Chimpy's playground bully-boy schtick. Unquestioning, highly disciplined faith in Reid and Pelosi tends to stray into masochistic territory; the more you politely request that it would be greatly appreciated if the legislative branch at least went through the motions of discharging its constitutional responsibilities, hobbling an obviously out-of-control administration of thugs, the more said legislative branch seems to adopt the sour Neo-Con program for its own, competing with Cheney and Rove in how much pain and destruction they can inflict. That might be seen as perfectly sufficient in some quarters, such as virtual bastions of "respectable" opposition like Kos and Democratic Underground. A growing klatch of the disaffected and pissed-off believe otherwise.

Others are of the opinion that, faced with the reality of an enfeebled Congress implacably opposed to the one possible constitutional remedy for this cancerous Bush-Cheney affliction -- impeachment -- the only thing to be done is, well, nothing. After all, they argue, the administration has but a year and a half remaining in its term, and considering that whoever is the Democratic nominee for President in '08 is an iron-clad shoe-in, all we need is a little patience. Just wait out the next 18 months, and presto! All traces of the foul Neo-Con age are magically flushed away, happy days are here again, here comes the sun, etc. This Hoping-For-The-Best approach obscures a few critical points: electronic voting machines, a judicial apparatus crammed to the rafters with far-right corporatist ideologues, and the (nearly) unassailable fact that presumptive front-runner Hillary Clinton will (probably) never be elected President. Besides, even if she somehow does get elected, what's the fucking difference between a George Bush who violates the US constitution at will, launches blatantly illegal wars of aggression, steals from the American people on an unbelievable scale, and allows the nation's physical infrastructure to crumble into dust ... and a Hillary who'll do the exact same things, or worse?

Beyond the plurality of people who are at least paying attention, outside of the political dead-enders (both Democratic and Republican) and the angrily clamoring progressive minority, lies the great heaving mass of the citizenry at large. Unfortunately, and this just might be the greatest understatement of all time, they don’t seem to be waiting for much of anything. Granted, they don't have a particularly high opinion of the artificial Mensa Man President, or of politicians in general; they have vague misgivings about the catastrophic course along which this country is being goaded; they're going broke in record numbers, standing by helplessly while their jobs are shipped to China or India, and what little money they still have finds its way into the bank accounts of various HMO and/or oil company CEO's; but even so, they still inexplicably manage to maintain the sloppy-grin pretense of unbridled consumerist optimism, somehow ignoring the all but inevitable thermo-dynamic meltdown of our debt-addled dollar economy and Gestapo-infested civil society. Their indifference is as much a danger to what remains of this democratic republic as the authoritarian freak-sticks who're bent on destroying it.

Well. Sadly caught in the cognitive trough that always seems to form on the ass-end of these interminable screeds, it occurs that a much better question than What are we waiting for? might be: What the hell are we going to do?

I'll ask that one again: What the hell are we going to do?