Sunday, August 14, 2005

I Can Never Resist a Good PHART Joke

I've been a lifelong follower of the teachings of Marx (Groucho, that is), who always said he'd never belong to any club that would have him as a member. However, when I heard that James Lincoln Warren was forming the
Professional Hack Authors RecogniTion Society or PHARTS for short, I knew I had to become a member, or "Charter Pharter" as we say in the Society. I got my certificate in the e-mail yesterday.

I promised myself I wasn't going to cry....

Looks Like More People Are Hating America These Days

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Boy, there sure are a lot of people around who hate America these days.

Take Arlen Specter, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose job it is to confirm President Bush’s anointed nominee for the Supreme Court, John Roberts. And to be quick about it, without asking a lot of uppity and obstructionist questions, according to Bush’s supporters.

At least that’s the way they act when it’s Democrats asking the questions. For instance, the online conservative magazine Front Page blasted those who would quiz Roberts on his judicial philosophy as “The Hate America-Hate Roberts Left.”

But now, it seems that Specter is something of an America-hater himself, at least by the conservative definition. According The New York Times, Specter has said he intends to “press the nominee for his views on specific cases involving the authority of Congress to pass broad social legislation.” He sent a three-page letter to Roberts raising questions about recent court decisions limiting congressional power.

What? Question our Dear Leader’s choice? “Arlen Specter sounds exactly like (liberal Democrat) Chuck Schumer,” said another member of the Judiciary Committee.

Oh, snap. That one’s gotta hurt. Especially since the person saying it was Chuck Schumer.

Or take Walter Jones, our very own Republican congressman from Down East. Jones was once a staunch supporter of the Iraq war. He was one of the ones who mocked the French by getting the House cafeteria to start serving “Freedom Fries” instead of “French Fries.”

But now, sadly, it seems that Walter Jones hates America. Despite our Dear Leader’s insistence that he won’t commit to any timeline to get our troops out of Iraq, Jones had the colossal effrontery to introduce a resolution calling for just such a timeline. Another sponsor of the resolution was ultra-liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich. Why the switch? “I based my decision (to back the war) on certain information that has proved not to be true,” says Jones. “We are now an army of occupation and (our troops) will be the object of the wrath of the insurgency.”

Gasp! Not true!? Army of occupation!? That’s like something Michael Moore would say! Yes, folks, Walter Jones now stands with the terrorists.

Or take Cindy Sheehan. She’s the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq in April 2004. In June of that year, she met with President Bush. Bush breezed in “as if he was at a party,” Sheehan remembers. He had to ask “who are we here to honor?” He refused to look at pictures of Casey.

She was polite about it in public at first, a fact right-wing media have tried to use against her. But, as she points out, “a few things have happened since June of 2004: The 9/11 Commission report; the Senate Intelligence report; the Duelfer WMD report; and most damaging and criminal: the Downing Street Memos.” Grief and shock, she writes, eventually turned to anger. So now, as of this writing, Sheehan is camped in the August heat outside of Bush’s ranch, where he’s off on yet another vacation.

She’s vowed not to leave until Bush comes out and gives straight answers to her questions this time. She’s been subjected to numerous petty harassments and threats of arrest as-get-this-a “national security risk.” Boy, I guess you really have to hate America to go through that.

But oh, dear friends, it gets worse. Much worse. It seems that among the biggest haters of America are: Americans themselves. A recent AP-Ipsos poll showed our Dear Leader continues to decline in the estimation of the people. Only 38 percent of the people polled approve of the president’s handling of the Iraq war. A startling 50 percent of Americans in the poll stated that they didn’t think Bush was honest.

A Newsweek poll released last week provided no better news: Bush’s approval ratings dropped to 42 percent, the lowest of his presidency, with only 34 percent approving of his handling of Iraq. And 64 percent do not think that the Iraq war has made us safer from terrorism.

How can 64 percent of Americans hate America? I mean, do they want to ruin the president’s vacation?

Of course, that’s absurd. Those people don’t hate America. Neither do Cindy Sheehan, or Walter Jones, or Arlen Specter. Americans, Republican, Democrat and Independent, are waking up to the fact that this isn’t North Korea, that holding the Dear Leader accountable for what he does is a patriotic duty, not treason.

Asking hard questions of the arrogant Bush administration: It isn’t just for liberals anymore.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage. He says he wants to point out that he hasn’t called the President “Dubbya” once in today’s column.