While Driving in to work and listening to the morning news today, several things forced me to gasp for breath and fight off an aneurysm. I simply can't hold it back anymore. That's right, folks, it's time for another...
EA RantEDITOR'S NOTE: This post is now a week in the writing (as I usually don't get more than five minutes of consecutive time each day to vent). I did not originally intend for it to be so long, but that's sort of the nature of the beast with these things. Also, I must apologize for not being able to get this out sooner while the information was more topical.
Let's start with the President's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. You knew I wouldn't be able to pass this one up. For those of you who haven't heard yet, what the President is basically saying with his new budget is "Fuck You, America, I'm payin' fer my wars!" George W. Bush, in all his inept glory, has decided to cut funding for virtually every domestic program, and expand virtually every foreign defense/military program. He is officially saying to the world that he is willing to let his own people suffer so that he can better afford suffering on those abroad. It amazes me, how every year he'll do State of the Union, and then budget proposals, and every year I think "Now he can't possibly
fuck things up more this year than he did last year." And yet he does, every time.
To be specific, here is a little list. Topping things off is North Korea. By now we've all heard that North Korea has pretty much given the world the finger by announcing that it has Nukes, and it's not about to give them up. This is a combination of his failures in both foreign diplomacy (or as Bush puts it "foreign diplo-what?") and a budget which touts beefy military funding. Now, I'm not about to exempt Kim Jong Il from blame for all this. I fully recognize that he is a class 1, Grade A sonofabitch. He's an evil, hateful little man, who would probably like nothing more than to kill pretty much everyone. However, there are a lot of angry, hateful things in the world, and I think time has shown that poking them with sticks is not the best way to deal with them. Sort of a "Gee, that dog looks rabid, lets throw rocks at it" mentality.
See, all the news agencies are screaming bloody murder over the fact that N. Korea has nukes. Which in and of itself is kind of fear mongering, because we really all knew that already. But anyway, what you won't be hearing on Fox News is why
they won't give up their nuclear program. In their own words, it's George Bush's fault, hands down. They said that they were watching his State of the Union address, looking for him to make some concession, or attempt at diplomacy. Instead what they heard was our fearless Commander and Thief talking about "fanning the flames of democracy around the world". In short, what they went away with was "North Korea" and "Regime Change". So in their minds, they are basically preparing for war with the U.S. ... a nuclear war. Remember what I've been saying all along about how our psychopathic president is going to get us nuked? It's getting closer. And I would like to hope that he's not stupid and arrogant enough to invade a country that we know has nuclear missiles pointed at us; but unfortunately, if history is any guide, there is no depth to George W. Bush's stupidity or arrogance.
But wait, maybe our missile defense shield will save us when flaming death comes raining down from the skies. You know, the missile defense shield that fails 60% of the time
against our own well scripted tests. Yeah, unfortunately, our president fails to grasp a concept as common sense as "shoot down the missile before
it's 10 miles off our coast". If you're unfamiliar with the topic, you might try reading this article
from the November 2004 issue of Scientific American. For that matter, the president might try reading it. Funny thing about Scientific American, they frequently have strong misgivings about George W. Bush's ability to lead when anything, well, scientific is involved. People on the Right say this is because they have a liberal agenda. I say it has more to do with what I've I've said time and time again: our president simply doesn't believe in all this new-fangled "science" nonsense.
And just to prove it, he's dumping the Hubble Space Telescope. This has been a huge point of debate, and matter of deep personal frustration for me. Here's this thing which is arguably the single most important scientific instrument in the history of the modern world, and we're abandoning it because we don't want to go up and change the batteries
. No, that's not an analogy, or clever play on words, it literally just needs it's battery changed, and NASA wasn't willing to do it. Not the scientists or astronauts at NASA - they are all gung ho to keep the thing running. It's more the bureaucrats and politicians who were getting in the way. They kept insisting that it wouldn't be safe to send two astronauts up in light of the Columbia tragedy. Although for some reason this didn't prevent us from sending four more manned flights to the International Space Station since Feburary 2003. And I guess the fact that (as one NASA administrator puts it) "we could have two dozen people willing to go up by lunch time if we just asked" doesn't enter into it. But at any rate, the debate was settled. There was such a public outcry about Hubble being let go that NASA had agreed to send a robot up. And the problem was solved.
That is, until Bush got his hands on things. Yes, along with everything else of importance, he cut NASA's funding. No more robot, no more Hubble. No further understanding of the Universe. The president claims that the chance of success wouldn't be worth the cost. Funny how a missile defense system with only a 40% chance of success is well worth the cost (although he's cutting funding for early phases of that program that would boost it above that dismal success rate), but an unmanned, robotic mission to space with an 80% chance of success isn't. Maybe we should mount some guns on the robot and tell it to orbit Earth when its done fixing the telescope. I bet then Bush would be all over funding it.
But just to prove that he doesn't just hate Science, but also the environment, Bushy has decided on a number of great new initiatives to help destroy the planet. We're all familiar with his hard-line stance on Kyoto (what with being pretty much the only major nation that won't
sign up), and his super plan to destroy and Alaskan wildlife preserve so he can get at the oil underneath it. And I've had some discussions around here as of late about his attempts to damage the Gray Wolf population (funny side note - they are saying now that white-tailed deer in much of North-West are eating anywhere from 85% to 100% of the area's rare American Ginger Root; a plant export that only grows in forests in those areas, which can fetch prices as high as $500/lb. on the international market. They say it's not really that the plant is a special part of the deer's natural diet, it's just that their is so little food because of high competition, stemming from an excess in the species due to a lack of natural predators such as Gray Wolves
.) And of course there was that whole thing with repealing a ban on mountain top mining - a practice which destroys not only mountains in the pursuit of mineral deposits, but also valleys, streams, and entire ecosystems.
But my personal favorite of the latest round of Bush environment hating initiatives comes in the form of a favor to the lumber industry. The Bush administration has successfully lobbied the EPA to change forestry regulations to allow twice as many old-growth trees to be cut, and placing the burden of proof that cutting down areas of forest will cause future detriment on the environmentalists, rather than forcing the loggers to prove that it won't. You know what they say: "better sorry than safe".
But I guess you can't really blame
Bush for flagrantly denying scientific fact (oh, wait; yes you can) - just look at his base. The people who put him in office are the very same ones who ignore human suffering in order to save a collection of cells the size of the period at the end of this sentence (I don't really have the time or room for the stem cell rant here - another day maybe), and want mythology taught to children as science. In Kansas, the religious right is back for the round two of the "actually, teaching Christian creationism in public schools is
a violation of the separation of church and state" debate. Now they are saying that they think "Intelligent Design" should be taught in science class. This is essentially the "theory" that some higher power created the universe. It's more or less creationism without the word "God". The only problem is that this "theory" isn't really a theory at all in the scientific sense (but who needs science in a science class). And to this day, they contend that "Evolution didn't happen". YES IT DID!!!! The "I didn't come from no monkey" argument just infuriates me, because it shows the depth of these people's inanity. NO, you dumbass, you DIDN'T come from a monkey. But you have less hair on your body than your great great grandfather, and you are taller than your ancestors were 400 years ago, and you didn't come from a monkey, but 130,000 years ago you had an ancestor that was a Homo Sapien (that's Homo Sapien
, not Homosexual
you stupid gay-bashing extremist sonsabitches), and maybe if someone had properly taught evolution when you
were still in school you would have realized that, rather than perpetuating your idiocy on to the next generation.
If you want to be Christian, fine, be Christian. But Contrary to what head-in-the-sand zealots would have you believe, Scientific fact does not necessarily preclude the existence of Deity. Just PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
stop and think for one second that your almighty sacred book might
just be allegorical in it's discussion of the creation of the Earth. Because honestly, if you truly and objectively compare Christian creation myth side by side along Norse Creation myth, or Hindu Creationism, or Greek mythology, or any of the other myriad religious pantheons that have existed since the dawn of time, you would quickly see that all of them are pretty much equally ridiculous when taken literally. But that's why EVOLUTION has granted us (or at least most of us) larger brains - so we can understand things like metaphor, and think in terms other than black and white.
I briefly mentioned earlier about the bizarre Christian obsession with saving a blastocyst at the peril of a living, breathing human being. I said I'm not going to get into the stem cell issue here, and I won't, but I heard a similar topic on the radio today that I can't help but discuss. Just recently the new guidelines for first responders were released. After some prodding by the religious right, the whole section on Emergency contraception was removed. So if you are a 16 year old girl, and you get raped by some maniac while walking home from school, the EMTs and Doctors who treat you are not allowed to help you prevent a pregnancy that would ruin the life of both you and your future child.
This girl they interviewed was 19 years old. She lived in a small, rural, conservative community, and came from a Christian home. She was raped one night, and the doctors weren't allowed to discuss emergency contraception with her. She got pregnant, and had to have an abortion. It totally fucked her up mentally and caused her to be shunned by her community. Gee, that's a much better solution than quietly taking a pill to kill a lifeless mass of 20 cells.
I really can't figure out what the deal is with these people. They really must be addicted to suffering, because they seem to prefer their precious values to any sort of logic or thought process other than "well pastor
says...". And what really gets me, is they have the tenacity to get this great moral condescension over the whole issue, and talk about how "all life is sacred". These are the same people who go out regularly and kill animals for sport. The same people who lobby so strongly for the death penalty, and the same people who let the assault weapons ban end
. By the way, religious right, thanks for that last one. In the morning news just today alone, I heard two separate stories about criminals using now-legal assault weapons to kill people. Life must have been awfully sacred to them.
You know, I'm really pissed off. I'm pissed off because everywhere I look I see logic, wisdom, and common sense crumbling to fanaticism, extremism and outright fear mongering. And I'm frustrated, because I used to think that at the very least, other people saw it too; that at least I was part of a slight majority who would keep these lunatics in check. A few months ago, all that changed. And it really scares me that what we could be seeing at this point are (at the very least) irreparable scars on the culture of our nation. It's really sad, but sometimes I have to wonder if there is any hope left at all...