John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Friday, August 06, 2004
Will U.S. Christians overlook obvious Bush sins?


Click for larger image!


[rant]

Is the Bush Administration so absolutely hypocritical and corrupt, or simply Born-Again-Incompetent?  While Republican politicians in nearly every district in the United States try to get their socially conservative base riled up over the issue of same-sex marriage in an effort to bring them out of their churches and into the voting booth this November so they can help 'protect the family', hardly anyone in christiandom is pointing out the obvious corruption in the Bush White House staring them straight in the face, smiling, and lying through their teeth to them.  Could there be a logical explanation for this?

What is the reason for this lack of oversight?  Almost daily, I am told by my good christian friends that because I haven't 'found (their) Jesus', my fate is to become a flaming human pop tart in Satan's toaster of everlasting fire and brimstone.  These people, so quick to judge me to eternal damnation, seem to have been distracted in their keen judgements against a president and his white house so rife with corruption and scandal that it makes my teeth hurt.*

After many long years of pulpit activism, calling themselves the silent majority and the moral majority, the conservative christian voter has successfully moved the Republican party away from the middle of the political spectrum and closer to their ideal political party.  In 2000, they were 'rewarded' with a self-labelled 'man of faith' becoming president. This year, Republicans are throwing them a bone to chew on in the name of 'traditional family values' with promises of a Federal Marriage Amendment.

In politics and business, one should always thank someone for a generous gift and then politely ask, "What is this going to cost me?"  The very first cost that comes to mind for the american christian voting for George Bush is, "your christian credibility and integrity".
There are some christians that are not distracted by the issue of same-sex marriage and look at George Bush's performance as president and the actions of his administration with clearer, unclouded vision.  Christian Aid is an internationally recognized non-governmental organization (NGO) not distracted by soothing political siren calls in the U.S. by Republican candidates because they are based in the United Kingdom and trying to do their good works for the people of war-torn Iraq.

In late July 2004, Christian Aid published a press release entitled, "Christian Aid's 'Fuelling suspicion' report on target with independent audit results." Their earlier concerns about ongoing corruption in George Bush's Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq were validated by the independent audit that the Bush Administration blocked until after the legal hand-over of sovereignty to the Iraqi Governing Council when L. Paul Bremer could be whisked out of Baghdad on a helicopter.

"As the occupying forces handed over power to a new Iraqi government at the end of June, we released a report saying that the coalition was in breach of a UN resolution for failing to account for how it had spent up to $20 billion of Iraq's oil revenues.  In mid-July the first independent audit of the coalition's spending was finally published. It is highly critical.  Our concerns have proved to be exactly on target."

Wasn't it Saddam Hussein's breach of U.N. resolutions that the Bush Administration used as a reason to invade Iraq in the first place?  If U.N. resolutions are a good enough reason to pre-emptively attack another country then they should be good enough to hold the Bush Administration accountable at the voting booth, at minimum.

"Saddam Hussein is a threat, he has WMDs, Al Qaeda is going to kill you!" While the White House got that message out in TV soundbyte form to us enough times to make it a mantra of our dreams at night, don't think for a nanosecond that oil itself wasn't important to the presidential oil man from Texas, George W. Bush.  Did you know Iraq's oil caused a national emergency?  Read George Bush's own executive order declaring a national emergency and establishing the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI).

Remember this?  Bush Administration's neo-con lackies like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz testified before Congress and told us all that the actual financial cost of Iraqi Freedom would be paid for by Iraqi oil, saying in testimony, "And my – a rough recollection – well I'm – the oil revenues of that country could bring between 50- and 100-billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years."  He was totally bullshitting everyone.  Iraq oil revenues are, at best, about $10-billion a year.  But, to make us all feel warm and fuzzy inside, we were told that the DFI was created so that the Iraqi people would benefit from the sale of their own oil.  Christian Aid, independent auditors, and some lawmakers within our own government are telling us that nothing could be farther from the truth.

"The auditors are concerned about reconstruction contracts awarded without competitive bidding, particularly to the US company Halliburton which has received up to $1.6 billion in contracts. Despite requests from the UN-mandated oversight board and the auditors, the coalition authorities have failed to provide information on these non-competitive contracts."

To be fair to Halliburton, they did pay $3 million to politicians during the Bush Administration's time in the White House to be given and not earn that $1.6 billion.  That's a pretty slick business deal when you consider that the other oil companies have shelled out $440 million to their pet politicians over the same amount of time, according to the Center for Public Integrity report on July 15th, 2004.

Speaking of integrity, I just wish Born-Again Christian Americans -- continually reminding me of my inevitable date with Satan's Toaster -- would stop being abject, robotic Dubya-defenders and turn their keen judgemental eye on their friend-in-Jesus in the White House.  Last time I looked, stealing and lying were definite sins that at least deserved a time-out in the corner Crawford for George W. Bush.

[/rant]

Other than the included links, you can also thank my old friends and fellow bloggers from the Metro Detroit area, Toulon and Duke, for this particular rant who always make thoughtful comments.  *Happy birthday, Duke!

Other good related reads and definite future rant fodder
:
Sovereignty: "If they want it that bad, they can have it"
by Tom Engelhardt (July 26, 2004 ZNet)

Christianity, Capitalism, Corporations, and the Myth of Dominion
by Norman Council (Newtopia Magazine Issue 17 - June/July 2004)


Thursday, August 05, 2004
New Gear - Bush World FCC




Click on the T-shirt and view a super-sized image of the Bush World FCC dinosaur patrolling the planet of sex.  It's, uh, like, 3-D rendered and like, so cool, dude!

Tell everyone you don't support government censorship and do support Thunderstorms by wearing this effin' Sci-Fi gear.




Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Henri Cartier-Bresson


Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908-2004
"For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

To take a photograph means to recognize – simultaneously and within a fraction of a second– both the fact itself and the rigorous organisation of visually perceived forms that give it meaning.

It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis."

-- Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908-2004




[Suggested Links]

Guardian News Special Report

Tête-à-tête Portraits

HCB Foundation

Magnum Studios


Tuesday, August 03, 2004
READY.GOV mascot


I'm Spotty.  Are you ready?
Hi Kids!  I'm Spotty, the official mascot of the Department of Homeland Security.  I have a very important role to play in the U.S. government.  You see, kids, when the President of the United States needs a boost in the public opinion polls, one of the things he does is to call his good friend, Tom Ridge, so we can all play a fun game called "Connect the Dots on the Wagging Dog".

I'm just a spotty puppy but, it's a great game and the grown-ups in the administration have been playing it for some time now.  Just about everyone is playing Wag the Dog!  Did you spot me romping around the White House rose garden on Monday with Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Tom Mueller, John McLaughlin, John Ashcroft, and Tom Ridge when George Bush said he is going to endorse the creation of another multi-billion dollar budgeted government office?

You may not have seen me or Condoleeza Rice in the NY Times story photo, because just like some foreign leaders in the world, Dick Cheney doesn't think I'm house-broken enough.  So, Condi took me for a walk to do our business together out of the public eye.  Like my boss, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, the new Terrorism Czar will help you feel safe from the scary bad men that the only President Bush can find and stop with his super hero powers.

Colin Powell just recently played Wag the Dog with me all the way over in Pakistan.  You see, the Pakistani Intelligence services helped a really smart nuclear scientist named A.Q. Khan sell all kinds of WMD technology to countries that our president Bush calls the Axis of Evil.  Since president Bush wants to win the election and be able to play Wag the Dog with me again next year, his Secretary of State Colin Powell can't complain too loudly about the Pakistani leader Pervez Mussharav releasing and pardoning the smart Mr. A.Q. Khan when Bush needs Pakistan to capture a High Value Target of Al Qaeda.  Don't feel bad if you find it a little confusing to connect all my spotty dots -- I'm a just a puppy -- but I like to move fast, don't I?  Even the really smart grown-ups in the Central Intelligence Agency have troubles keeping up sometimes, too.  I see where they just updated their CIA World Fact Book information on Pakistan in May to play this game properly.

The Pakistani government wanted to play Wag the Dog with the Bush Administration because they feel a Democrat in the White House would favor the government of their Kashmir rival India.  They're probably right about that.  Remember when the Clintons went to India and rode around on top of all those big elephants and then Bill and Hillary threw a fun party in pretty white tents for the Indian delegation at the White House that one year?  I bet that was fun.  You can never eat enough curry, I guess.

Because of the Indian Kashmir situation and A.Q. Khan, the Pakistanis need to play Wag the Dog with the president.  Military Generals in Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence have told reporters of The New Republic that after September 11th, 2001 no time-tables were discussed by the Bush Administration in 2002 and 2003 but, now "have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must."

One Pakistani General visiting Washington recently was worried about playing Wag the Dog and said, "If we don't find these guys by the election, they are going to stick this whole nuclear mess up our asshole."  Don't get upset Mr. Pakistani General, your coup in Pakistan is safe with president Bush.  With the capture of an HVT announced during John Kerry's speech at the Democratic National Convention, President Bush is so happy to see his political opponent become one of the few candidates in over 30 years not to get a bump in public opinion polls after their own convention.

In fact, George Bush was so happy -- Colin Powell now calls the whole affair of illicit international nuclear proliferation by A.Q. Khan an internal Pakistani situation and not of concern to the United States.  See how easy it is to play Wag the Dog?  With all those WMDs everywhere in the world, except Iraq apparently, it's a good thing Tom Ridge made sure we're all going to be ready.

George Bush always uses one of the best super hero powers he has to find and protect us from the bad men and keep his job -- your tax money.  Even with all the reasons the Pakistani goverment and its ISI already have for helping Bush try to keep his job, George is throwing cold hard cash at Pakistan.  He is pushing hard on the U.S. Congress to allocate another $3 billion dollars to Pakistan over the next five years.  Why, just before the Democratic National Convention, around July 17th, the Bush Administration wrote off almost $500 million of Pakistani debt.

Well, I have to go do my business out of the public eye again.  I sure hope that whoever the new Terrorism Czar will be -- he will want to play Wag the Dog with me  -- like the rest of president Bush's grown-up friends do.  Hurry up, Condi !!  I have to pee, right now !!



Monday, August 02, 2004
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