Monthly Archives: October 2004

Swimming with President Bush

Swimming with President Bush

I dreamed that I was a computer programmer, and my desk in a data center turned into a bar stool on a cruise ship. We were attacked by pirates flying a flag with a giant E outlined in red, green and blue and balanced, precariously, on a corner. We were torpedoed by insider training, campaign contributions, and fraud.

As we sank, my stock options floated away and dissolved. I used my cash as a life preserver and watched my colleagues sink and drown, one by one.

As I paddled around waiting to be rescued, I saw sharks on the horizon. And I heard the sounds of a ship – a big ship – approach. It was George W. Bush, on an aircraft carrier.

But instead of stopping to pick me up, he waved, and, sailed away, focusing, thru a gun sight, on a picture of Saddam Houssein. Then he looked back at me, and squinting, asked, “How’s the water?”

“It’s cold,” I said, “I’m drowning.”

“That’s nice,” he replied, “Well, you sure look like you’re having fun swimmin’ and all. Why don’t you come out of the water and have a Burger with Freedom Fries.”

“I’d love to, and I am hungry,” I answered, “but I can’t come out of the water – I’m drowning.”

“Really,” he said, sounding sincere, “That’s great! Next time you’all are in Texas, you should come down ta the ranch. Can I count on yer vote next year?”

Just then John McCain, Olympia Snowe and George Voinovich came to the deck. “Help,” I shouted. “I’m drowning.”

“We can’t” they yelled. “The Captain will have us in irons for mutiny.”

“Mr. President,” I yelled, “I’m drowning.”

“Drowning? Well, I’d like ta help ya, bein’ a compassionate conservative and all, but you look like a tough and resolute New Yorker, and a liberal on top of that, I’m sure you’ll make it, besides, I’m just got done liberatin’ Iraq. Who’s better than me?”

Then Mr. Cheney stepped up to the railing. “Ahoy there citizen. You’re all wet. How’d ya’ like a raincoat or an umbrella? Ma’ new factory in China will be punchin’ out raincoats and umbrellas in about 3 years, as soon as our changes to the tax laws kick in t’ spur investment. Course it ain’t my factory, it’s in a ‘blind’ trust.” He said, and he winked.

“Well,” I said, “That’s great. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold out that long. It’s been about 2 years already. Do you have any rope?”

“Rope?” he said. “Hmm. Let me see. Well, now, we used a whole lot of rope in tieing up Saddam Houssein, freein’ them Eye-Rackis from that there no-good tyrant, but my other new factory in China will be punching out rope real soon now, in about 3 years. How much will you want then? We’re takin’ orders now on rope and rope futures. The futures options are real cheap, altho they might become worthless. However, if they become worthless you might even be able to pay for it with your social security funds.”

“That’s great sir,” I said. “And I’m real happy about that. But with all due respect, I’m drowning now. And I never really figured out derivatives. I know a couple of ‘Quant’s’ from Wall Street – with PhD’s in math and physics – but they lost their jobs on Wall Street. One’s driving a taxi, another is selling real estate.”

“How ‘bout a tax cut?” he answered. “We’re gonna eliminate the tax on capital gains and death. How’s do ya’ like that?”

“I’m a compassionate conservative,” Bush added. “I’ll call yer wife, collect, from the White House, and she can come down and meet Laura and talk about education, or baking, or whatever it is women talk about. I wish you well, tho, good luck and all. Just keep swimmin.’ I’m sure ya-all gonna git to wherever it is yer goin.’”

They vanished out of sight. I just kept treadin’ water.

Then, along came this Vermont Yankee in a rowboat, bouncing around in the swell, who said “Hang on, I’m Howard Dean. I can help you. I can throw you a life preserver, but you have to catch it and hang on.”

Copyright ©, 2003, L. J. Furman.

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The Republican Party Today – Ain’t it Grand?

The Republican Party Today – Ain’t it Grand?

My 12-year grand-daughter asked what Pres. Bush and the Republicans stand for. “The Grand Old Party stands behind Pres. George W. Bush,” I said, “and he stands for a safe America, an educated America, an America with a clean environment, and a healthy economy where people who want to work can find good jobs and get paid well.”

President Bush wants to make America safer, stronger and more secure. President Clinton says he tried to tell President Bush about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and Al Queda. But when he briefed Bush as he was taking office, President Bush wasn’t listening. Immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush reluctantly set up the Sept 11 Commission to investigate the attacks, and then refused to testify before that Commission. His response was “I didn’t have anything to do with it. I was in Florida. Why should I testify?”

President Bush has launched wars against Al Queda in Afganistan and Iraq. In Afganistan our armed forces have knocked out the Taliban regieme, which supported Osama bin Laden and Al Queda, but have not yet located bin Laden. I am confident that we will find him right around Election Day.

President Bush and the Republicans know how to take action. On the morning of Sept 11, 2001, after he learned of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, Pres. Bush spent about 10 minutes gathering his thoughts and reading to children in Florida. Then he immediately came to New York City – and he got there on Sept. 14. It only took 3 days to get from Florida to New York. It is a long way from Florida to New York City. It’s 4 hours by plane, and there weren’t any flights after Sept. 11.

Bush and the Republicans also say that women should not be responsible for when they become pregnant and when they have children, which coincidentally, is what the Taliban and the Al Queda fundamentalists say.

“But Gramps,” my grand-daughter said, “didn’t we go to war in Afganistan to stop the Taliban and Al Queda?”

“You’re only 12,” I answered. “This is complicated. You’ll understand when you’re older.”

“When I was your age,” I said, “People used to believe that ‘a man’s home was his castle, and that the Government had no call to investigate what was going on behind closed doors between consenting adults.” When Bill Clinton was President, even tho he was elected by a clear majority, many Republicans believed that it was their right and responsibilty to find out anything they could to persuade Mr. Clinton to resign or even to force him out of office. Whether it involved his losing money in bad investments, or his spending time in the company of an young woman from California, they wanted to find out anything that Clinton may or may not have done that could cause him to be forced out or to resign.

“As I said,” I went on, “People believed that ‘a man’s home is his castle, and that the Government had no business investigating what goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults, even when they are of the same sex.” Some gay people love other gay people and stay with each other for a long time. And they want some of the subtle benefits of marriage. For example, the medical benefits that people can get from work, and the right to visit their partner when he or she is in the hospital. President Bush says he is against “Gay Marriage” and that there should be an amendment to the US Constitution banning it. Vice President Cheney says each state should decide about gay marriage, so the Republican Party is both for and against gay marriage. Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, says that gay marriage is ok, but only when gay people marry members of the opposite sex. A friend of mine agrees “Gay men make the best husbands,” she says. “They love to shop. They know all about clothes, and they never bother you in bed.”

“That’s nice, Gramps,” my grand-daughter said. “But what about the War in Iraq?” she asked.

“Well, as near as I can figure out, we led the invasion of Iraq because Bush believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. When it was clear that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction, Bush said that Saddam had ties to bin Laden and Al Queda. Well, we know that bin Laden is a religious fundamentalist and Saddam was against the fundamentalists. While they are both “bad guys” we now know that Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Houssein were bad guys who hated each other. Every time one of Bush’s reason for the Invasion of Iraq turns out to be wrong, Bush comes up with another story, which shows how focused he was on getting rid of Saddam. And remember, Bush declared victory a year ago. The war is practically over.

Bush and the Republicans are also against “flip-flopping.” Like when John Kerry says “Assuming he knew what he was doing, I voted to allow the President to make the decision,” and when Kerry says “I volunteered to serve in Viet Nam, but while I was there I realized that we were not doing the right thing.” Bush and the Republicans never flip-flop. Bush is against Saddam, and when one justification for the war turns out to be wrong, he comes up with another.

Bush and the Republicans want to make our economy stronger. Millions of people have lost their jobs while Bush has been President. More people have lost jobs under George W. Bush than under any other President except Hoover, who was President during the Great Depression. Some have found jobs, but many have not, and many gave up looking. And many of the people who found jobs are working for a lot less money than they used to make. Like computer engineers who are driving taxis. They went from making about $100 thousand per year with medical benefits and vacation. They were overpaid. But today they are working about 10 hours per day, 6 days per week, for about $8 to $12 per hour, with no medical benefits or vacation. Ain’t America wonderful?

When people have been out of work for such a long time that they no longer qualify for unemployment benefits; and they stop looking, they are not counted as “unemployed.” They are considered “bums.” And you know, it’s a lot easier to sit on the couch, watch tv, and drink beer than it is to go out and look for a job, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Especially when there are hundreds or thousands of people just like you looking for the same kind of job, and the employers don’t want to hire anyone who’s not working, and there are close to a hundred people qualified for each job. Those few people who do find jobs are being paid a lot less on their new job then they were paid on their old job. So President Bush and the Republicans shouldn’t be blamed, after all, what can they do?

And remember, most of the Republican politicians are very wealthy, and they have powerful friends who own and manage businesses, so it’s easy for them to find work. When they leave office they become lobbyists. They don’t have to worry about things. When times get really bad we elect a guy like FDR or Bill Clinton, who makes the economy strong.

“Aren’t they Democrats?” my daughter asked.

“Yes,” I replied, “but they could have been Republicans.”

“What about health care?” she asked. Approximately 44 Million Americans – including 9 million children – have no health insurance and can’t really afford to go to the doctor or to buy their medications. That is approximately 1 out of 6 people. These are people who work, old people who retired, and children. Well, if they absolutely need health care, if they break an arm or something, they can go to the emergency room. And when people have to choose between food, or medicine, it will help with people lose weight. And we are building hospitals to provide decent health care to the Iraquis. But there’s a war on. After the war ends, We will tackle health care in this country.

President Bush and the Republicans are for education. A lot of people say the President’s “No Child Left Behind” act has a lot of goals but needs money to achieve those goals. And there’s a war. We are building schools for children in Iraq. After the war, we’ll help our children at home.

“What about the Environment? she asked.

<>There’s a war on, and we have to make sacrifices. We can’t just willy-nilly protect endangered species, wetlands, our air or water. We can’t just fund research into alternative energy like solar, or wind power. We don’t need to make the car companies build more fuel efficient cars so they use less gasoline; we’ll just import oil from our good friends in Saudi Arabia. With bin Laden running around, with terrorists and Al Queda to be worried about; air pollution, water pollution, endangered species, and global warming are just not that important.
“And taxes?”
She asked.

The Republican Party used to be careful about how it spent the government’s money. Abe Lincoln was a Republican, and he coined the term “government of the people, for the people, and by the people.” But, that was a long time ago. When Ronald Reagan became 1980 he knew that he could increase the national debt and someone else would deal with it. And sure enough, Clinton reduced the debt and created a budget surplus. Under President Bush, the deficit is even higher than it was under Reagan. But Republicans don’t believe in raising taxes, altho we do raise taxes on poor people and the middle class. We like to lower taxes on rich people when we raise taxes on everybody else, that way we can say we’re lowering taxes.

And think about it. Republicans don’t need welfare, social security, or medicare, so why should they pay for it? Republicans send their children to private schools, so why should they pay taxes to support public schools? Republicans rarely serve in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, so why should they pay taxes that support them? And Bush is borrowing money rather than raising taxes on rich people. Again, that’s what rich people do. Rather than use their own money, they use other people’s money. Democrats money.

So there you have it. The Grand Old Party. Making America safer and more secure by criticizing the Democrats and invading Iraq. A Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage unless states allow it, or gay people marry people of the opposite sex. Making the economy strong by letting it take care of itself. We don’t want our economy to be dependant on the government. Making people stronger by forcing them to choose between food, rent, doctors, or medication. We’re building schools in Iraq, and after the war ends we may build schools here the United States. We’re not raising taxes on the rich, but we are raising taxes on the people who use various government services, and we are borrowing money, after all, interest rates are low.

Ain’t it grand?

Copyright © 2004, The Furman Files. All Rights Reserved.

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NeW Church of NeW Amerika

New Church of the New America

Fourteen Articles for Faith

1. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that George W. Bush is anointed by the Almighty.

2. I believe with True and Abiding Faith in Personal Responsibility. We are personally responsible for our lives, God is personally responsible for George W and George W is personally responsible for all of us, especially women, who should be barefoot, pregnant, and subservient, but not Liberals, Atheists, non-believers, and Catholics who vote for pro-choice politicians.

3. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that it is a true Crusade and appropriate for my neighbor’s son or daughter to go to Iraq to die chasing “Saddam the Anti-Bush” or bringing democracy to the Iraqis or hunting down weapons of mass destruction, or for whatever justification ‘W’ happens to come up with today, after all, Saddam is a very bad man and W has been anointed by the Almighty.

4. I believe with True and Abiding Faith in the separation of church and state in Iraq and Afganistan but not in America because we’re right.

5. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that “scientific” inquiry must be guided by faith not reason.

6. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that the wealthiest have a Divine Right to pay no taxes.

7. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that our nation’s dealings with other nations must be guided by preconceived beliefs, that the facts are irrelevant and if they are not with us they are against us.

8. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that foreign and domestic policy should be defined by wealthy individuals behind closed doors who finance political campaigns and manage large corporations, after all, if the Almighty didn’t approve of what they were doing then they wouldn’t be successful, but they are successful so they know what’s best for all of us.

9. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that a fetus is more important than it’s mother, so even when a pregnant woman’s life is jeopardized by her pregnancy, abortion must ought not be an option. If the Almighty wants the woman to die then she must have sinned, like by getting raped. If the Almighty wants the woman to live He will intervene, just like in those trials by fire 500 years ago.

10. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that I have a Natural Right to arm myself with the biggest, baddest automatic and semi-automatic weapons available for sport shooting.

11. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that the Almighty makes all men in His own image. Except homosexuals.

12. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that the market has the solution to everything, from educating our children to curing disease to defending our borders. That the government should do nothing, and be limited to a President appointed by God or the Supreme Court, and a Supreme Court appointed by the God or The President, and a military contracted out to The President’s friends.

13. I believe with True and Abiding Faith that an education and an ability to think is not important, necessary, or even useful. The important thing is to pray and to believe.

14. I believe with True and Abiding Faith in George W, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Now where can I buy the toll plaza for the Brooklyn Bridge?

Copyright © 2004, The Furman Files. All Rights Reserved.

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