IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!! The Cheshire's Blog: December 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Fourth Amendment Blues

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
-- U.S. Constitution: Fourth Amendment

For some time now I have been writing about the ineluctable fact that we are living within the pages of George Orwell’s 1984. Now, it looks as though this affirmation has finally come to light with the latest surveillance “scandal” coming from the White House.

Apparently His Omnipotence, George W Bush, can’t keep his nosey little self out of the lives of American citizens. This, of course, would be expected if we lived under a totalitarian regime of, say, the Saddam Hussein variety. But the last time I went to bed this was America, and even though everyone is insisting that I still live in America, I can’t seem to wake from the nightmare that I am living in a third-world country.

In 1791 the Fourth Amendment was put into place, but because of Nixon the Foreign Surveillance Act was instated in 1978. This act prescribes requesting judicial authorization for electronic surveillance and physical search in persons engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the United States on behalf of a foreign power. Requests are adjudicated by a special eleven member court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

But, because of new technology, in 2005 the defense department expanded its programs aimed at gathering and analyzing intelligence within the United States creating new agencies, adding personnel and seeking additional legal authority for domestic security activities in the post 9/11 world. But, because the Constitution and the rule of law still exist in this post 9/11 world, Bush called the leak of the spy program “shameful”. Yeah, don’tcha just hate it when you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar?

Bush said: ''My personal opinion is, it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important (illegal) program in a time of (undeclared) war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy ."

So, if I’m to understand this correctly, the above quote assumes that the “enemy” had no clue that their communications might be monitored? OK, I guess I'm an idiot, so I'll buy that. But, keep in mind that this theory is coming from the same Einstein’s who couldn’t imagine commercial airliners being used as missiles.

The Oakland Tribune has recently requested that readers send in their old and tattered copies of 1984. Once they've gathered 537 of them, they will send them on to every member of the House of Representatives. It is the Tribune's hope that this book drive will somehow wake the nation from its apparent hypnosis and bring them to the reality that Big Brother is still in control. If you'd rather not read the above link to the Oakland Tribune's article about the request, and would just like to contribute to the drive, here is their address:
Oakland Tribune
c/o 1984
401 13th St., Oakland CA 94612


AG

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Year's Best Commercial?

If you have yet to see this Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl commercial, click here.

If I've got this right, the commercial depicts what seems to be six soldiers returning home from the war. However, by the innocent and clean looks on their faces and uniforms, it seems more apparent that they're just heading out to the devastation. Where are the vacant and hopeless stares that have become the telltale trademark of the returning soldiers? So, are the people applauding the soldiers' return, or are they simply cheering them on to go off and die in an unjust war?

Then the commercial ends with a caption that reads "Thank You." That's nice. When soldiers returned from the Vietnam war, they didn't get thank yous; they got pushed to the side and spit on, and they were called baby-killers. Now, thirty-some-odd years later, it seems that the government-funded media has learned its lesson: Tell the American public how to feel about the war, and they'll stay asleep and go along with it. Clap, monkeys, we're sending your children back home to you. At least the live ones. This ad is perfect. If you like it, you may consider yourself ultra-patriotic and swig down an ice-cold Bud. If you don't like it, then you're anti-patriotic and against the soldiers. But, just in case you've forgotten, this war is not about the soldiers, its about profit. Our kids are being sent to Iraq to die in a rich-man's war, so that those rich men can get even richer. Was this ad simply a great big thank you card from the war's corporate sponsors?

What, exactly, are we thanking them for? Fighting for our freedoms? Our own government is ensuring that the PATRIOT Act is all but taking those freedoms away. The freedom of Iraq? Where is the freedom in having another country come in and tell you what to do, and how to live your life? The fact is Iraqis want the soldiers out. Many of them have clearly stated that they'd rather have Hussein back in power than to continue on with their lives in American military presence.

If this commercial truly wanted to depict the reality of this war, it would have shown soldiers returning in flag-draped coffins. It would have shown zombie-eyed soldiers walking through the airport using crutches and canes to support themselves after having a leg or two blown off from a car bomb. Instead it shows wholly intact, psychically undamaged individuals coming back from a war that has left thousands of their fellow soldiers, not to mention the even higher number of innocent Iraqi civilians - including women and children - dead.

Political, warmongering propaganda from a beer company without all that bitter aftertaste! Yummy!

Here's a commercial that won't be shown at this year's Superbowl: Click here.

AG

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Let's Hear It for the Grannies!

Sue Ann Martinson – one of the eleven grandmothers of 48 grandchildren, who marched into an army recruiting station near the University of Minnesota Tuesday and volunteered to enlist – said, “The idea is to make a statement about the futility of war.”

Initially, the recruiters refused to allow the grandmothers to fill out the applications, so they sat down on the floor. Martinson said they were prepared to be arrested.

Once the police arrived and spoke with the protesters, the recruiters finally agreed to allow them to fill out the applications, which they did and left without further incident.

“There’s an incredibly aggressive recruiting going on,” Martinson said. “Our children are not cannon fodder!” read one of the protesters’ signs.

“We grandmothers cannot sit quietly by and watch our youth being cajoled into the army to die or be maimed in a senseless war,” said Erica Bouza, the wife of former Minneapolis police chief Tony Bouza.

Mary Lou Ott of Edina, who said she is a grandmother of nineteen, added, “This is a bloody war, an evil war, an immoral war, and we want to find creative ways of demonstrating that.”

AG

Thursday, December 08, 2005

All Those Years Ago

To the left is a picture of John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman. This was taken just a few short hours before Chapman decided to take it upon himself to rid the world of one of the leading advocators for peace, and one hell of a musician.

25 years later Lennon’s spirit remains with us and Chapman still sits in his jail cell. In a recent interview with Chapman on NBC’s Dateline, he was asked about his third denial for parole. Chapman is quoted as saying he deserved exactly what he got, “because of the pain and suffering I've caused. I deserve nothing.”

Claims of mental illness or not, Mr. Chapman, you didn't get what you deserve. "Nothing" is more than you should ever expect. Historical mythology tells us that Pandora managed to slam shut her infamous box before hope flew out. Twenty-five years ago, you reopened the box and let that escape as well.

We still miss you John.

AG

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Responsibility of Blasphemy

Good morning America, and a very special good fucking morning to Hartford, Connecticut, where Hartford Public and Bulkeley schools are fining their students $103 for the use of “foul” language. If the kids can’t fork over the cash, then the schools go after the parents for the money in an effort to teach the kids and their parents what? That’s right, puritanical moral values.

I’ve got news for you, dear Connecticut, like any other enforcement of Victorian values, these fines will not teach your children anything other than creative rebellion. How are you supposed to teach your children about the First Amendment, which guarantees every American – regardless of their age – the right to free speech, when you yourselves refuse to practice this constitutional right?

Look, I have nothing against any attempt to curb hallway cussing in schools. It is my firm opinion that today’s children are pushing the envelope when it comes to crossing the line of authority. I also believe this a mainly due to two major factors of neglect: irresponsible parents and irresponsible media.

Parents need to begin with a firm hold on their children’s tongues, and they need to teach them when cussing is appropriate. Yes, there are times when it is appropriate. They also need to begin the practice with themselves by way of not using foul language around their kids. Instructing your children as to which words are appropriate, and which ones are not, could go a long way toward teaching self-restraint. Simple as that.

Then, there’s the media. Depicting professional athletes (veritable demigods to most kids), who make careers and millions of dollars while defying authority does nothing to help the situation. I’m not saying that the information media needs to stop reporting the news, I’m just saying that they need to be more responsible in what they decide to report. For instance, I can think of ten other major news items that could have been reported the day that Tyson bit Hollyfield’s ear off. Instead, those stories were either glazed over or completely ignored in favor of showing the flesh-eating Tyson at his worst. When someone mentions the name Kobe Bryant do you think of his career, or do you think rape case? When you think of OJ Simpson does the fact that he won the Heismann Trophy spring to mind, or the fact that he was one of the greatest football players to grace the gridiron come into play? No, we think of a guy who got away with murder.

Again, the real issue at stake is free speech. It’s a battle between the free speech of the average American and the free speech of the media. Granted, this amendment was instated primarily for the purpose of free media, and this has transcended into the vernacular of everyday Joes, which I happen to think is a good goddamned thing by the way. It’s one of the reasons, if not the main reason that I enjoy living in the United States. However, as with any liberty granted by the government, or any other authority for that matter, a lot of responsibility comes with this right. This responsibility here requires that you do not use this wonderful civil liberty in ways that may cause harm to yourself or others. You may think that spitting in the face of authority helps your cause, but the fact is that you end up hurting yourself in the end.

Be smart, America, and stop being the knee-jerk reactionists that papa government already assumes that you are. If you want to tell the government to fuck off, fine, do it … by all means! But, you’ve been given a brain for a reason. Be creative in how you go about your offense. Any idiot can tell an authority figure to fuck off, but it takes real brain power to make lasting change.

Failing that, just do what Dick Cheney does and tell them to go fuck themselves.

AG

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Procrastinaors Unite ... Tomorrow!


When I was a kid, my folks used to tell me to either shit or get off the pot, when I was trying to come to a decision about something. I was so indecisive as a child that I must’ve heard this phrase at least once a day since I was twelve years old. Procrastination has always been my strong suit.

So, it came as no surprise to me recently when, in my mind’s ear, I heard my mother’s voice admonishing me to do one or the other as I was trying to decide what I was going to do about my writing career. With the folding of the River Valley Reader website, where I had a weekly humor column, I felt at land’s end and at a complete loss as to what I was going to do next. My hope was to write for this local online magazine for a while and then use the credibility to springboard into a more widely published newspaper. A pipedream, as it turned out.

In any case, I’ve finally come to a conclusion about my literary circumstance. I’m going to hit every local newspaper in Minnesota and the surrounding areas until something pans out. As the great William Tell once said, eventually something has to hit.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to use this blog for political commentary and perhaps even the occasional humor article. I know that I haven’t been writing here much, but that’s mainly due to the fact that the Bush team hasn’t been impressing me lately. Outside of Bush’s “Plan for Iraq” speech, which was completely filled with useless rhetoric and more promises of dead soldiers, he’s been keeping his head down low enough under the media radar to avoid making other stupid comments. This in itself has me a tad worried. Anytime he does this, you can pretty much guarantee that something dumb is about to come out of his mouth that usually makes the world hate the US even more than they did before.

Until then,
AG