September 4th, 2005

A hairy situation

The Bush Love Brigade

George Bush claimed in his September 2nd speech that the man he calls "Brownie" (real name and occupation: Mike Brown, FEMA director. He's called Brownie because of his great love for Anal Sex) had done a "Great job" in handling the recent crisis in New Orleans. Seeing as Brown had no clue that there was civil unrest in New Orleans as of Thursday, something he could have learned by turning on the television or picking up one of those "Newspapers" the old folks talk about, this is an interesting assessment. Then again this comes from a man who gave the medal of freedom to members of his administration who had been fired for incompetence and has never criticized anyone close to him, so perhaps it is not unexpected. I think, however, we can extrapolate from it how George Bush might react to other situations he could encounter in his life.

Dog Craps on the carpet:

"Great job Fido, really super. You thought about holding it in before your walk, I can tell. I think about holding it in too. I think about holding it in every single day. I'm real proud to be associated with such a fine canine. Fabulous."

Daughter gets an F on a test:

Amazing job, really honey, spectacular. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, not at all. I love how you answered some of these questions with multiple word sentences. Clearly you knew what you were talking about. It's only a few grades from an A, you came real close.

Catches Laura in bed with a 20 year old intern:

I'm shocked, honey. Shocked that you love me so much that you'd mistake that young supple body for this wrinkled aging one. You love me so much that you can't even tell the difference between a buff 20 year old stud and George W. Bush. I just feel so...loved...right now. And you didn't sleep with the football team. God I love you for not doing that. You only cheated on me with one stud that I know of. Thank you for showing me that much respect.

God fails to answer any of his prayers because he does not exist:

This is awesome. Not existing is just one step removed from actually existing, which is what I'm going to pretend you do. I'm going to keep talking to you and asking you for advice even though you are not real, and can I say that you are great at it? You're doing an awesome job God. You're doing an awesome job by almost being real. I'm going to give you a medal. I'm going to give a medal to Jesus because he's not real, but he's almost real. He's certainly closer to real than like that Buddha dickhead.

President buries us in a foreign quagmire and steers the economy into a cliff:

Great work George! You've been working real hard. You deserve a vacation! Don't worry about the hurricane, it'll take care of itself. What's the worst that could happen while you're clearing brush and eating compote? Nothing
pod

Reverse the fantasy

As an atheist I have long scoffed at the concept of the anti-Christ. It was just religious mumbo jumbo with no more reality to it than the superstitions about walking under ladders or black cats crossing your path.

Then came Bush.

I'm not saying George Bush is the anti-christ. I don't believe in God or the devil, and I think Bush is very much a creature of flesh and blood. He is a person. A person who will never be held responsible, even by his own conscience, for the evil acts he has committed, but a person nonetheless.

On the other hand...if I WERE the religious type...

George Bush ascended to political prominence at the start of the new millennium...like the Anti-Christ was supposed to.

George Bush cloaks himself in claims of righteousness and Christianity...just like the Anti-Christ was supposed to.

George Bush routinely flashes the "Hook em Horns" Texas Longhorns symbol. This is a widely acknowledged symbol for satan.

George Bush was hell-bent (pun intended) on getting involved in the Middle East from day one of his presidency. The final apocalypse is supposed to occur in the Middle East.

George Bush has steered America towards disaster and decline, destabilizing the world with it. He claims this is to help establish American hegemony. The Anti-Christ is supposed to either unite the world under one government or bring it to apocalyptic war.

George Bush grins and gapes during times of great tragedy. He seems to take pleasure in suffering.

George Bush puts incompetent people in critical positions leading to great amounts of death and suffering. His handpicked heads of FEMA and Homeland Security dropped the ball on the apocalyptic events in New Orleans leading to at least hundreds, if not thousands, of preventable deaths. He seemed to find this greatly amusing until recently when he has managed to reign it in. Does George Bush love watching people die?

George Bush is adept at one thing, lying and misleading the public. The Devil is the prince of lies.

George Bush is not bothered by death. After Katrina he talked about Iraq, not the gulf coast. Human lives seem utterly valueless to George Bush.

Would it be that much of a stretch of the imagination to see Bush as the anti-christ? Can't you just imagine him turning on CNN after the levees burst (while his buddy Chertoff claimed Homeland Security had no way of knowing the things clearly broadcast on the nation's television sets) slipping down his pants, grabbing his penis in one hand and tracing the destruction with the other, and pumping himself to climax while he watched the death and destruction unfold? Can't you picture him cumming on the face of the man they showed over and over talking about how his wife was ripped from his hands by the water and told him to look after the children before she was taken to her grave? Can't you imagine his glee and pleasure at the carnage he could have prevented? At all the lovely blood and pollution and the destruction of a great city? Can't you imagine a smirk spreading across his lips at the thought that this is just the beginning?

I can.

I do not think that George Bush is the anti-christ, I do not think there is an anti-christ. I think he is an unfeeling sociopath who has no empathy at all for anyone but himself and his friends. I think he is trained to act like he is a normal human when in fact he feels nothing but disgust towards the drowned black people he was supposed to serve and protect. Why didn't they just get in the land rover and go to their summer homes?

I wonder whether George Bush thinks he is the anti-christ? He might. He certainly consorts with people who believe that Israel must rise so it can jump start the apocalypse. I wonder whether he is excited about Katrina because he thinks the rapture draws nigh. Floods and fires. I wonder if he realizes these are not the acts of an angry god but rather the direct result of human misbehavior. I wonder if like so many other so-called Christians he cares more about rising gas prices and oil profits than about the dead bodies floating in the refinery filth.

fakingsincerity doesn't like that I accuse Bush of being an unfeeling traitor who has abdicated his responsibility to the people to pursue the interests of his friends. I say that if he doesn't like that he'll have to find some facts that point to anything different. How much of his personal fortune has Bush contributed to the relief effort? It would be interesting to know.

Congress is trying to permanently destroy the estate tax, a move that will cost the country as much as the Iraq war and that will benefit only the richest among us (The estate tax doesn't even kick in unless you have an incredible net wroth.) Meanwhile we don't know where we're going to get the money to fix up New Orleans and maintain basic federal services.

As a country we are LITERALLY choosing rich people's summer homes over poor people's lives. How many of the tax-cut lucky duckies went golfing this week? How many greens fees could have paid for a baby's formula, a diabetic's medicine, a rescue chopper to lift an old woman from a nursing home?

It's damn good that money went to golf. If you give black people disaster relief they'll just come to expect it. Make them earn their place in the world like Paris Hilton did!

If you're not sickened by this you're either heartless or not paying attention. No exceptions.
pod

Lessons in simple values

The Estate Tax: Different from the holocaust.

If there is any tax that should be uncontroversial in this country it is the estate tax. First of all it only applies to the rich, exclusively. Without exception. It isn't taking money out of the pockets of hard working poor or middle class people. It isn't doing anything to them. It is exclusively targeted at the Paris Hiltons and George Bush's of the world. People who stand to make huge sums of money for doing nothing more than being born to the right family.

Secondly it is specifically not a tax on productivity. It taxes inheritors, people who may some day serve a purpose as investors but who haven't really done anything for the money they will be receiving. Claiming it is a tax on death is complete bullshit, when you are dead you lose all your property rights instantly, and you should. You really can't take it with you. Instead it is a tax that serves to slow the passing of vast fortunes from one generation to the next and the creation of an American aristocracy of wealth. It also serves to replenish government coffers that are, at least right now, beyond bone dry.

There is a myth in America that everyone who has a large sum of money has it because of great virtuous acts. It's almost like people think the only businesses rich people engage in are running hospitals for the poor and building affordable housing. This is, of course, beyond ludicrous. The fact is that wealth is not a measure of virtue. It's more a combination of luck and ruthlessness. Yeah there's often talent mixed in, and the most talented among us will frequently rise to the top, but rich people and their businesses don't just create jobs and invent new medicines. They also spew toxic waste into our rivers and water tables, they create a health-insurance industry that focuses on profits to the point where patient care in the United States is not just worse than in countries with socialized medicine but notably worse. Life expectancy here is about 3 years less than that of Sweden. If it's not because of guns and it's not because of profiteering health care then what is it? Black magic?

There are also rich people whose fortunes are accrued through outright fraud or incredibly immoral acts. Ken Lay is still rich, despite his atrocious management of Enron. The Robber Barons of the 19th century still have family fortunes passing from hand to hand in today's America. Slavery may be over, but the wealth of the plantation owners and those who did business with them was not wipes out by the 13th amendment, nor did all of it vanish in the Civil War.

That's not to say that rich people are all scum, because they're not. Many people become rich through legitimate means, and capital concentration does important things in our society. Certainly the promise of wealth inspires many people to work hard and sacrifice in a way that benefits us all. The fact is that being wealthy is a value neutral attribute. It doesn't mean you're a good person who deserves to pass everything you have on to your grandkids, it doesn't mean you're an evil bastard who deserves to have all your money confiscated. It just means you have a lot of money. The question is whether the estate tax unjustly deprives you of it (no more than any other tax) or whether it will prevent people from accruing money and by implication from working hard. That second claim is prima facie absurd. Who would say "I will only be able to pass $5 million onto my children rather than the $10 million I would like to, so why bother making money at all?" Most people who gather vast fortunes do not do so with the hopes of making their children absurdly rich after they die. They will not stop working hard just because their children will only become fantastically rich. I'm not going to address the "double taxation" bullshit because "double taxation" occurs all the time. You are taxed on your income and taxed when you spend it. Then the store you give the money to is taxed on its profits from the sale. The government gets you coming and going.

Now there are plenty of legitimate arguments that taxation in this country is completely out of hand. We pay way too much to the federal government and receive less than our money's worth in return. Inefficiency and pork is rampant, with literally dozens of federal agencies existing to tackle the same problems, and government contracts treated by free money by those who receive them.

The estate tax, though, is not the place to start cutting the fat. It is a relatively pain free tax that squeezes the super rich while leaving most people alone, and hampers productivity about as little as a tax can and still be a tax. The opposition to it is a pure P.R. game, and it's engineered by, SURPRISE, the super rich, who all things considered would rather inherit $100 million than $50 million. Now who feels like breaking out the world's tiniest violin for them while the bodies of the New Orleans drowned continue to float in a 20 foot deep pool of contaminated floodwater?