Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fat Man and Little Boy

There are many points on which Al Franken and I agree, but chief among them is that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Franken and Aunty Em aren’t the only ones who know this. It’s no big secret, but his audience has yet to catch on. It’ll be instructive to see if the dittoheads abandon him now, or will they continue to buy his EIB brand of BS? In other words: do they really want Rush to tell them the truth? If history is any indication, the answer is “No.”

Yet, that’s exactly what Rush did….finally!!! He told his audience the truth and nothing but the truth. Ironically, he did it while he was telling them that he had been lying to them for years.

To be honest, I never thought I’d live to see the day that Rush Limbaugh would admit live, on air, that he is a prevaricating sack’o’manure. Yet, on November 8th, immediately after the election, he confessed to his falsehoods. Unfortunately, he also added, in essence, that the ends justify the means and he would resort to any fabrication in order to support President Shrub and the other Conservative Agenda.

You don’t believe me? Here’s what he had to say:

LIMBAUGH: Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people have been asking me how I feel all night long. And I got, "Boy, Rush, I wouldn't want to be you tomorrow. Boy, I wouldn't want to have to do your show. Boy, I'm so glad I'm not you." Well, folks, I love being me. I can't be anybody else, so I'm stuck with it. But the way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm just going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, "Well, why have you been doing it?" Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat [sic] Party does and liberalism.

And I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now, I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I just -- I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat [sic] Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.

I'm not trying to tell you that this is about me. I'm just answering questions that I've had from people about how I feel. But there have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I'm a radio guy. I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don't deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow don't be -- aren't able to, I'm not under that kind of pressure.

What Aunty Em can’t understand is why the MSM has not reported this. Following so closely on the heels of Limbaugh’s dyspeptic rant against Michael J. Fox, a man suffering from a disease more dreadful than E.D., you’d think he was ripe for another MSM plucking. Yet, silence.

While on the topic, I don’t understand why the MSM won’t hold Rush’s feet to the fire on any controversy.

Let me take you back. It was the twilight of the mid-term elections. Way back in those dark days the MSM gave a lot of attention to that whole silly controversy over Fox stumping for candidates supporting embryo stem cell research. Yawn

I yawned, but the MSM gave it play for days because of The Fat Man’s comments. And, this sideshow replaced any discussion of actual election issues. Yawn

Much attention was drawn to the fat blowhard’s comments, and then the MSM widely—and FALSELY—reported that Rush had apologized. The fact of the matter is Rush never really apologized. What he said was that if people could prove to him that he was wrong, he’d apologize. That’s not an apology! Why didn’t the MSM parse his statements properly, as opposed to characterizing it as an act of contrition for the vast American Public™? Why does the MSM let him off the hook time and again?

Now that Lush Rimbaugh (I’m sure someone’s used that before me) has admitted to his band of dittoheads that he’s been lying to them, can they ever trust him again?

Here's The Colbert Report on Rush Limbaugh:

With all my love,

Aunty Em

[I would like to thank Media Matters for its wonderful newsletter, which alerted me to this item. It’s well worth a visit.]

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vitamin K Street

It’s just a week since the mid-term elections of Aught Six, one they’ll be talking about for a century at least, and I’m still waiting for all the dust to settle. The Democrats are in control of the House and Senate. True oversight—what the founding fathers had always intended—can finally return to Washington, D.C. It really is morning in America, unless you are a Republican who is mourning America.

The first morning after the elections Dubya must have got up from the wrong side of the bed because the first thing he did was fire Donald Rumsfeld. Everyone was surprised. That’s because just last week he told us that Rummy would be staying on for the next 2 years. He knew these statements were false when he made them because he was already interviewing for Rummy’s replacement.

The Fibber-In-Chief. The Ends-justify-the-mean-In Chief. The Hypocrite In Chief.

Yet, it’s still progress. Rummy’s gone!

Will there be true oversight in Washington? Only if the Democrats are not bullied into sitting down and shutting up. I’m afraid that’s already begun.

During the election the Right Wing Echo Chamber Orchestra tried to scare The America Public™ by telling us that if the Dems took control, they’d tie up the President and the government for the rest of this administration with hearings and subpoenas, hereafter known as The Clinton Maneuver, after the last time a president and government was tied up for years with hearings and subpoenas.

It’s a funny thing about The Right Wing Echo Chamber Orchestra. While tone-deaf to what the people need and deserve, its melodies are still so infectious that the So-Called Left Wing Media are singing their tunes as soon as they leave the theater. Soon they are asking questions based on nothing more than those ephemeral notes in their heads. [F’rinstance: John Kerry’s bungled joke.] So, no sooner did the Dems take control, than the So-Called Left Wing Media extracted a promise from party leaders that they wouldn’t start issuing subpoenas, or extracting revenge.

Luckily for those of us who prefer that High Crimes and Misdemeanors go punished, or just those that hate Dubya [Full disclosure: I am in both camps], these were promises made by politicians. Therefore, Aunty Em really doesn’t expect them to be kept. I can dream, can’t I?

Aunty Em’s dream is Bush's worst nightmare. With both sides of the House in Dems hands, he now HAS to either make nice, or back the Dems into a corner, so they don't turn over any more Abramoff rocks.

And that, boys and girls, is the theme of today’s Blog Book Report. I’ve just closed an amazing book by investigative journalist Matthew Continetti, "The K Street Gang; The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine." It's all about the Jack Abramoff/Tom DeLay/Lobbyist/Washington, D.C. Scandal. It’s also a very up-to-date book, current up until early 2006. Therefore, it’s filled with the latest skullduggery.

This book spells out—chapter and verse, referencing emails and news articles—the corruption and greed of the Abramoff/DeLay circle. It also details how these schemes—these crimes, actually—were a triumph of greed over Republican values. In one instance after another, when the choice was to line their pockets or stick to the Republican blueprint for shrinking government and regulation, they chose the former.

This is why the federal government under Shrub has grown despite the rhetoric of the right wing.

Usually criticism of the sort in “K Street” is dismissed as leftist propaganda. This book cannot be dismissed for two reasons: 1). All the evidence is there; 2). Continetti is a Conservative arrived in Washington during the Reagan administration. This was at a time when entire wave of Conservatives arrived, including people like Newt Gingrich, Tom De Lay, Karl Rove, and a host of other names you’ll recognize. They came to tame Big Government. Some of them were co-opted by Big Money instead.

Continetti was dismayed to see how Big Money and Big Lobbying tarnished the entire democratic process, to the point where the lobbyists were actually writing the laws which were being passed in the People’s House.

“The K Street Gang” exposes all of Abramoff’s (known) schemes. Each chapter is an entirely different fleecing. Abramoff had so many different ways to steal money, that it takes an entire book to detail them all. While reading the book I marveled at how complicated and Byzantine were some of these nefarious plots. It’s no wonder it took investigators years to untangle this myriad of webs. One can not help but admire this kind of deviousness and the agility of mind to come up with these schemes that The American Public™ will be paying for for many years to come.

“The K Street Gang” should be required reading for every member of both chambers. It’s a cautionary tale of how our elected officials, if they have no moral compass, can lose their way on a path is strewn with dollar bills.

Now the Democrats now have to prove they can do better. The honeymoon’s over, as far as Aunty Em is concerned.

With all my love,

Aunty Em

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Disgraced President’s Day

Irrespective of Tuesday’s election results, I would like to propose that Congress and the Senate meet in emergency session to make each November 5th Disgraced President’s Day. This in honour the nation’s 37th and 43rd presidents.

On this date in 1968, Richard Milhouse Nixon, was elected to his first term as POTUS. He is the only President (so far) to resign in disgrace. If you were to spin his Faustian tale to someone who’d never heard it, they’d never believe it. Dig:

From humble beginnings to the Oval Office. Want to talk about dirty campaigns? Nixon famously accused his opponent as being pink right down to her underwear. She wasn’t, but lost anyway, while Tricky Dickie (he already had earned the nickname) went on to capture Alger Hiss and rode his pumpkin-smashing McCarthyite to the Vice Presidency of the only President named Dwight. Then, he was almost dumped from the ‘56 ticket after accusations some businessmen had set up a secret slush fund for him. It was 100% true, but that didn’t matter after The Checkers Speech, which saved his ass.

Then he didn’t get The Big Chair™ in 1960 when the original JFK (not John Foot-in-mouth Kerry) trounced The Big Dick in a squeaker so close it is said that even the dead in Chicago stood up and applauded.

Everyone counted Nixon out, especially 2 years later when he lost the election for governor of California to Jerry Brown’s daddy. Even Nixon counted Nixon out. In his rambling concession speech, he blamed the media for his troubles (so what else is new?) and blurted, “You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.

So, who ever thought he’d become POTUS? After finally reaching the pinnacle for which he fought all his life—becoming Commander-In-Chief—he lost it all because he was also Paranoid-In-Chief. Nixon had an Enemies List, was mired in an unpopular war and perverted the Constitution of the United States of America to cover up his crimes.

Does that last paragraph sound like any current occupant of The White House?

Well, lo and behold, November 5th is also the anniversary of the day in 1977 on which Laura “Librarian” Welch married President George “We were never stay the course” Bush, just 3 months after they met. We’d be horrified of any of our children married that quickly. Yet, it’s a marriage that has defied the statistical odds and today is their 29th Wedding Anniversary. That’s the Oil Anniversary.

But, it’s another important milestone on Disgraced Presidents Day. All the best biographies of President George “I’m a united not a divider” Bush credit Laura with helping her poor alcoholic of a husband kick the booze. If not for the marriage, there might not have been a 2nd Disgraced President to have allowed me to propose Disgraced Presidents Day.

With all my love,

Your Aunty Em

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Advice to Voters

After reading my last (first) blog entry, I received some private email. Naturally the most amusing emails were the ones more hateful than you can imagine. Laugh? Thought I’d surely die! But seriously, folks, to answer I don’t really think of Queen Elizabeth II in quite that way. Honestly. And, no, I won’t send you any articles of clothing.

However, I’d rather people left their comments at Aunty Em’s Place, so we can debate some of these anatomical suggestions. However, I promise my dear readers that I will pass along any really good email I get.

Rosy Lamstock wrote me a thoughtful email from San Francisco, one of my favourite cities. (Neither of those two assertions should be read as sarcasm.) Rosy wonders why, if I care so much about the election, I didn’t offer suggestions for voters. The biggest reason is because these are mid-term elections and my candidates in Florida are not the same as yours running in San Francisco, a city that Right Wingers consider Gomorrah. My best advice is to stay away from those politicians, for starters, because San Francisco proves to the rest of the nation that tolerance makes a city more beautiful. San Francisco is the Toronto of the States, only with hills.

It never occurred to me that anyone would want my advice before voting, but since I was asked: I say that wherever possible, vote against the incumbent, whether they are Democrat or Republican, Red or Blue. Toss out every each and last one of them, Senators, Congresspersons, Governors, and School Boards. Let’s start fresh. The world is in such a mess we need new people running things. It’s a bet they can’t do any worse than those currently in office.

Remember that litmus test you were once asked to think about before you pulled the lever on Election Day? “Am I better off today than I was 4 years ago?” Now ask yourself, “Do I feel safer today than I did 4 years ago?”

I don’t. No, seriously. I don’t.

In all honesty, I felt safer on nine-twelve, with the tears still wet on my cheeks, than I do now that BushCheneyRumsfeldWolfowitzRice had time to tinker with the biggest set of Lincoln Logs a kid ever got at Christmas. They feel no shame at telling us they are re-making the Middle East.

Who asked you?

I want to make a radical suggestion: Regime change is really not up to the United States, unless we want to start at home and do it democratically. Every one of those jokers who frog-marched American soldiers into this illegal war needs to be standing on the unemployment line November 8th. Also, every one of those bone-headed politicos that supported the erosion of freedoms enshrined in The Constitution of The United States of America™ should be swept away like toast crumbs at IHOP.

I say it’s a radical suggestion because Regime Change seems to be as All American as Mom, Road Rage and out-of-control condo boards. It’s what American seems to excel at. In the past 114 years (or so), America has overtly, or covertly, removed the leaders of sovereign countries 14 times. That’s an average of one just about every 8 years.

I learned this from an excellent book that I just finished by Stephen Kinzer. “Overthrow; America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” is a clean, polemic-free, just-the-facts-Ma’am reporting, in which each coup is taken up by a separate chapter in the book. I highly recommend it to anyone curious in the political term “blowback.” The amazing thing is that Kinzer never mentions “blowback” or even presents the concept. That’s how “facts only” this book is. “Overthrow” is a sobering look at American foreign policy, or what passes for it, and goes a long way towards answering the ultimate question, “Why do they hate us?”

Anyway, it’s a funny thing about Democracy. It gets harder and harder to prove what a great institution it is if the example one keeps setting around the world is that of a schoolyard bully.

I say throw them all out of office, right down to the last dogcatcher. If I lived in Texas, however, I’d definitely vote Kinky—Kinky Friedman, that is—for Governor, a job once held by George W. Bush.

With all my love,

Aunty Em

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Canadians Have More Balls Than Americans

It’s a few short days before the 2006 mid-term elections and my mind is reeling trying to decide what to write in the all-important First Post on my Brand New Blog.

Red states. Blue states. Red states. Altered States. I’m so confused I can’t even remember whether the Blues are the right wing or whether the Reds are right. Or is it the Blues are right and the Reds are simply wrong? Or, have I got that bass ackwards again?

No matter how you slice it, I have the Blues. It seems to be my natural state after the death of my mother. Does that make me a Blue State?

What has made me so Blue other than planting my Mom? America. Well…actually, not America herself. What gives me The Blues are Americans, not to put too fine a point on it. It’s a shame America is so full of them and they are so full of it.

Seriously. I spent the past 35 years to the country to the north of this one. How many of you Americans can name it? Should I be teaching to the test?

I always seem to be in a state of befuddlement since my return to the United Snakes. I always feel out of step. I have odd conversations with Americans, filled with oblique misunderstandings that puzzle me, like this one:

Rushing into a gas station with a full bladder, I ask the clerk, “Can I use the washroom?”

She looks at me like I am from another planet. “Huh?”

“Can I use the washroom?”

“The what?”

“The washroom!!!”

“You need to wash?”

“No! I need to piss!” I must sound frantic by now since my need was great before this little speed bump.

“Oh! The restroom!”

As I dash to where she’s pointed, I realize that I don’t have to rest either.

I simply can’t seem to find the rhythm of life here. It feels like I’m moving to Reggae and all around me people are waltzing to Lawrence Welk. In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening because I’m living with my Dad in his retirement community. Suffice to say my days are full of misunderstandings, some compounded by the hard of hearing. Others are compounded by Americans whose myopic world view is only matched by their unblinking jingoism. Where is The All-American Value System™ I was taught in my Civics class?

Nothing illustrates this lack of –let’s just call it civility, shall we?—as the run-up to a vote in America. These days debating issues during an election season seems to be quaint and old-fashioned, much like the bun in which I often wear my hair. “It’s so last century, Aunty Em,” my niece Victoria says about my hair style and my election issues. [If not for Vickie, bless her 14-year old heart, I couldn’t legitimately be called “Aunty.”]

I can’t imagine what Vix’s generation is learning about political discourse from her elders. To her and her peeps, as the kids saying, elections must look like some kind of sleazy Leisure Suit Larry computer game played on YouTube, where the highest bidder buys all the influence and all dialogue is reduced to the level of a Jerry Springer episode. It has become lowest-common-denominator, at-the-top-of-one’s-lungs, shoot-the-messenger-and-forget-the-message electioneering. This is guaranteed to produce an end product not dissimilar to President George W. Bush.

When I asked Vickie “Whatever happened to political discourse?” she snorted, “Doncha mean ‘political intercourse,’ Aunty Em? Because we’re the one’s getting fucked.”

My brother allows her to talk that way. But, she’s right. Otherwise I might have said something.

I did ask her to elaborate and here’s my translation, with all the Vix patois removed: “Issues may have been good enough for my parents, and even my parents’ parents, but there’s no time for that in the new millennium. Just throw it all out there: conjecture, suspicion, speculation, conspiracy theories, lies, half-truths and, of course, ad hominem attacks. All of it drowns out the truth, which is the point. What sticks becomes truth, whether there’s any reality to it or not. If opinion polls suggest Americans believe that WMDs were found in Iraq or that Saddam and Osama lunched at Nathan’s every Wednesday, then that’s all that really matters, Right?”

And my reply? “No! That’s not all that matters!! Facts matter!!! I sure wish I had a Swift Boat Captain to back me up on this one.”

Nevermind. It’s clear that Blue States are just plain dumb. Or is that Red States?

Red. Blue. Donkeys. Elephants. Democrats. Republicans. What’s the fucking difference anymore? This entire sideshow is designed to keep us from seeing the bigger picture.


What is this bigger picture of which I speak? Let’s talk about the mainstream media [MSM] for a minute. The Right Wing of America crows that the MSM is so far to the left of Mao, they only eat tofu and rice. Conversely, the Leftoids shout the MSM is concentrated in the hands of too few rich, white guys, all who lean starboard, as opposed to port.

I’ll admit my liberal bias upfront. I believe those rich white Right guys like the current sitch-eee-ay-shun and government just fine. In fact, they wouldn’t mind government stepping back even further for even less regulation, leading to even higher concentrations. But that’s another argument for another time.

It’s also an argument designed to keep us from following the bouncing ball.


What is the bouncing ball that the redbluedonkeyelephantRepublicanDemocrat hopes you cannot, or simply will not, follow? Who is bouncing the ball? What colour is the ball? Is anyone there to catch the ball? These are all very important questions. But the sad truth is that no one is bouncing the ball. That’s because this is more like a juggling act, to juggle the analogy on you one more time. The real trick, as anyone who ever watched Ed Sullivan knows, is for the juggler is to keep all those balls in the air at the same time.


Here’s the main point I’m trying to make, and please stick with me until the very end (if you’ve stayed this long, dear reader): Look again at our Bigger Picture, which is the MSM. I mentioned a bouncing ball. Let’s also label it MSM. Our recently introduced juggler, working frantically to keep all the balls in the air, is also named MSM. And, still, none of that matters because behind the juggler, is the heretofore unmentioned Magician, also named MSM.


After you’ve memorized your card, put it back into the deck. At no time, ladies and gentlemen, did my hands ever leave my wrists.

See? It’s all about deflection. Presto Chango! Just a wee bit of legerdemain. Some Hocus Pocus to smoke us. A spell-weaving incantation of words and images creating the sleight of hand necessary to distract from the Bad Mojo we have already witnessed with its own eyes!! Abracadabra!!! Now you see it. Now you don’t. This incantatory black art turns America’s much-heralded Democracy into an alchemical soup of dross and Willie Horton gotcha political advertisements.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. That’s just Jack Abramoff. But I digress.

Which is exactly what the MSM does: digress, digress, and digress. Especially the 24-hour news channels, and most especially Fox News Channel (yet another topic for another day). While you’re distracted trying to find the magician (Bush or Congress or Activist Judges, choose your poison) operating behind the juggler (the Left/Right divide, raised security threats, trans fat, it never really matters), who in turn is keeping the balls in the air (Foley, Iraq, Cut & Run), you can’t ask the magician to answer the really important question: Does the MSM even have any balls, both literally and figuratively?

It’s a fair question. If the MSM weren’t a neutered lap dog, how else to explain it keeping these facts from The American Public™:
1). Both the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen and those holding high office are not entitled to their monogrammed cufflinks.

2). In both elections huge groups of minority voters were systematically and illegally prevented from voting, in numbers greater than ever occurred during the bad old days in the bad old south before the Voter Acts of 1965.

As I say, these are documented facts. In my mind these are the biggest scandals since Watergate and may even eclipse that “third rate burglary.” It may very well be that Nixon isn’t the biggest Republican crook to order young men and women into combat.

Then, why haven’t most Americans heard of them? Simple. Our attention was deflected by the MSM. In the 2000 election the sideshow was about all those pregnant chads in Florida. That suited the Florida Governor and soon-to-be-First Brother, Jeb Bush, just fine because swinging chads kept people from asking about the tens of thousands of Democrats illegally—and intentionally so—denied the right to vote in his state. In the 2004 vote everyone’s eyes were on the dramatic photofinish in Ohio. Consequently, it didn’t become common knowledge that some voting machines, and vote-counting machines, in minority districts were deliberately set to reject spoiled ballots. You’d think that was a good thing until you learn that similar machines in predominantly prosperous (read: white) districts were set to kick the ballot back to the voter so they could fix any deficiencies and vote all over again. They’d even get a clean ballot if they needed it. Since minorities tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic this little bit of technical prestidigitation created the photofinish that had so transfixed the MSN in the first place.

And, fate help us all when they replace all voting machines with those touch-screen monstrosities that do not provide a paper trail. Something else the MSM won’t tell you: the companies that manufacture, program, and promote these Democracy ATMs™ are big contributors to the Republican coffers. Democrats would get righteously indignant about that if they weren’t also lining their pockets from the same sources, just not as deep.

And so, dear reader, we have finally arrived at my main point –REALLY!—which is that the MSM is supposed to keep its collective eyes on all those balls on our behalf. The MSM media has—dare I say it?—dropped the ball. I find this ironic because if the MSM was in the grips of one ideology or another, they would have been all over this story like white on the Senate after reconstruction. However, the American MSM ignored these stories, even tho’ the facts were known and reputable journalists were trying to get the MSM to report on them—and while there was still time to have done something about it!

Something else you don’t hear from the MSM is how Ken Lay, the House of Saud, Enron, Manuel Noriega, Halliburton, the Contras, Saddam, Scooter Libby, the CIA, Vice President Cheney, George Bush the First, Rumsfeld, The Carlysle Group, Iran, Osama bin Laden’s family, and ObL himself, have been in business together at one time or another. Did I leave anyone out?

Before you come back to debate me on the last several paragraphs, I suggest you read Greg Palast’s two fine books: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, The Best Legal Whorehouse in Texas, No Child's Behind Left and Other Tales of Class Combat in a Dying Regime. I read them at the behest of Victoria, so maybe there’s some hope for Generation Huh after all. Palast has all the citations and documentation and I will be happy to debate his facts. However, if you attempt to vilify Mr. Palast, I won’t listen. Not that he’s a friend. In fact, I don’t even know him. He may be the biggest asshole on the planet. This debate is not about him.

Let’s try something novel instead. Let’s debate the thesis of his books.

I say that because I know well in advance that some people are going to say things about Greg Palast and ignore his facts. Just as I know that some people are going to say things about Aunty Em. I know my patriotism and/or parentage will be questioned. I know that EVENTUALLY I’ll be told, “If you don’t like it here, you can go back where you came from.” I also know that I will be accused of not supporting the troops, even tho’ my heart goes out to every one of those brave men and women. [Really, they’re mostly just boys and girls.] I hope they all get home safely.

What I can’t figure out is what the hell they are doing over there in the first place. Still another topic for another day. There’s no shortage of what to write about, is there?

How can an opinion be unpatriotic?

What I am trying to say, in my long-winded Aunty Em way, is that the 1st Amendment is barely operative these days. However, in all fairness to the MSM, I guess a Free Press is also free to ignore news. And, as for Free Speech? It seems to be more “Freedom of Speech Provided You Agree With Me, Otherwise Shut The Fuck Up” because as soon as someone starts to colour outside the lines, the Right Wing –are they Blue or Red?—begins a search and destroy mission.

We’ve seen it time and time again. The Right Wing Echo Chamber Orchestra (featuring the Karl Rove Chorale) sets out vilify anyone whose worst crime is having independent thought of mind. Or: the stupidity to express it in public. Those Shoot the Messenger tactics finally –FINALLY!—backfired last week when Rush Limbaugh went too far and attacked a Fox. That would be the actor Michael J. and not the unfair and possibly imbalanced Fox News Channel.

Showing a total lack of class, empathy, and common sense the pill-popping, pontificating, erection-challenged blowhard went after both Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly in one felled swoop. In the bargain, he also made fun of a man’s infirmity, fer crise sakes. As America gasped as one, there was barely enough air left to breath. It’s a wonderful irony that The American Public™ gasped as one and sided with Michael J. Fox, the foreigner. They found his wholesome, polite, Canadian values in stark contrast to Limbaugh’s Big Bully—the personification of The Ugly American.

The reason this is a bittersweet irony for me is that I find myself missing those simple Canadian values more, the longer I am in Amerikkka. In Canada I found a polite society that, for the most part, reflected the deep-seated goodness I learned in Civics class. I was taught that every vote mattered. I learned about the Civil Rights Movement and Jim Crow laws. I was told that all of us are created equal. I came to believe that it’s important for all of us to look out for one another. I left America too soon after those Civic classes and never had a chance to see how America operated in practice. I just knew how it should operate in theory.

I now realize I was not just wearing rose-tinted glasses, but I was decked out in fun-house mirrored shades, which distorted a picture that didn’t exist at all and probably never had. I simply had no idea how cruel and mean America had become. Or was it always like this? While the country tries to remove the teaching of Natural Selection in the school systems, society has developed along Darwinian lines. In America it’s all about survival of the fittest, equating to wealthiest. Health care, anyone? You guessed it: Another topic for another time.

Now that I have traveled upriver into the heart of darkness, I’m shocked at how selfish and spiteful Americans can be. Where is Conrad when we really need him?

And, nothing has opened my eyes about Kurtz more than this current election cycle.

Let’s face it: It’s nothing but invective. The MSM reports who’s leading, but not what the platforms may be. They tell us what the candidates say, but not whether it’s the truth. Is tit-for-tat-news, when the MSM simply parrots what both sides say, supposed to stand-in for informative reportage? The 24-hour tee vee news channels have gone one step better. They deliver their nothingness in a rat-tat-tat tit-for-tat™, in which diametrically opposed factoids defy physics by trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong, but do you think the Punditocracy™ is going to tell us?

The MSM simply doesn’t have the gonads to delve any more than scrotum-deep into the news, because that might lead to actual journalism. Actual journalism might lead to actual work. It’s just easier to shove a mic in front of a talking head than to do some research. Man, that research stuff takes time. I spent literally hours reading those books by Mr. Palast and I’m sure Katie Couric doesn’t have that kind of time on her hands.

Meanwhile, I cannot wait to read Greg Palast’s next series of missives about how the 2006 mid-term elections were stolen and which group of voters was disenfranchised this time around.

One last irony: A lot of what I read in Greg Palast’s books I already knew the broad outlines of because it had been reported in the various media in Canada. It would appear that Canadians care more about American elections than Americans themselves. Or maybe Canadians just have more balls.

With all my love,

Aunty Em