Democratic Underground

The Roots of Terrorism, Dick Blows Up, and the Ashcroft Slime Trail Watch
November 20, 2001
by Warren Pease

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A Real Stunner: SF Chronicle Reports Link Between Poverty and Terrorism.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who faces two Muslim rebellions at home, said her government is committed to fighting terrorism but stressed the need to eradicate the poverty that can breed discontent and extremism.

"We recognize that the fight against terrorism is intertwined with the fight against poverty," Arroyo told The Chronicle during a brief stop in San Francisco Wednesday. "Terrorism is caused by evil, and evil can spread its ideology when people are poor. The fight against terrorism and the fight against poverty are one and the same." (SF Chronicle, November 16, 2001)

This just in: Sun rises in East; Pope refuses to deny being Catholic; scientists reveal trees made of wood. Reporters are on scene now and we'll have full details at eleven.

A New, Improved Ubercreep

The White House confirmed that Vice President Dick Cheney exploded today, an apparent victim of bad tacos and faulty pacemaker power supply circuitry.

The vice president had just finished lunch at an undisclosed location and was mapping out plans to keep at least five miles from the Infant in Chief, making it less likely that the veep would be infected by chronic malapropism and a belief in talking caterpillars. Suddenly, according to undisclosed aides, the vice president gasped, grabbed his stomach and "just blew apart."

According to one aide, Cheney's clothing, flesh and internal organs exploded in a roughly circular pattern and splattered the walls and ceiling of the undisclosed location. The vice president's viscera then dripped slowly to the floor, turning first to primordial ooze, then to dust, and then vanishing completely.

"In most movies I've ever seen, that's only possible if the dead guy is at least several hundred years old, and even then you usually need to put a stake through his heart," said anatomist and forensic pathologist Dorian Grey, speaking from an undisclosed location.

Fortunately for the vice president, Scott Adams' speculation that Cheney had crossed the line between human and cyborg proved prophetic. The explosion revealed a titanium endo-skeleton powered by servomotors and directed by complex computer circuitry. His feet are now small tractor treads for all-terrain navigation and his eyes bright red LEDs. He was able to mimic speech using a computerized voice synthesizer, much as he did in life.

As the user manual for the new, improved Cheney puts it: "The core of the engine is a finite-state automata machine, which persists state and data for fully atomic failure recovery." Impressive stuff.

According to cardiologists at an undisclosed location, today's episode underscores the need for effective electrical shielding to contain shorts and arcs in implanted cyborg body parts.

Gastroenterologists and electricians at another undisclosed location speculated that a short in wires or contact points used to connect the battery pack that powered Cheney's pacemaker/defibrillator may have ignited explosive methane gas trapped in the vice president's intestines after a lunch delivered to an undisclosed location from a nearby, undisclosed fake Mexican fast food restaurant whose initials are Taco Bell.

"This is a time to watch what we eat, watch where we eat it," said Ari Fleischer as he wiped small pieces of Cheney from his lapels and glasses at a hastily called news conference at an undisclosed location. The conference was poorly attended because its location was not disclosed, Fleischer said, although CNN managed to send 37 reporters, three camera crews, several sound trucks and a helicopter to make sure its slack-jawed, pizza-chomping, beer-saturated viewers didn't miss a single word of Ari's little five-second homily.

"GURRRRP," said Mike Doddsworth, a maintenance man at a West Cretinsbug, Tenn. mobile home park, finishing off his fourth Miller Lite of the morning. "That Andrea Thompson is some bitchin babe. I used to watch NYPD to see if she'd take her clothes off, but I musta missed that episode."

Following the Ashcroft Slime Trail

As everyone but Senate Democrats could have predicted, the ludicrous John Ashcroft is turning out to be the worst thing that's happened to the Constitution since the Supreme Court ruled that money equals free speech. In case you haven't been paying close attention, here's a couple of recent moves that may leave you questioning everything from his priorities to his sanity.

Chin-deep in the vaunted war against terrorism, Ashcroft still found time to direct the mighty resources of the Department of Justice to swoop down on a medical marijuana outlet in Southern California, proving once again that a conservative's worst nightmare is that somebody, somewhere might be getting away with something that might be fun. That's simply outside the bounds of the conservative ethos, which is all about pain, misery, unresolved fury, sexual repression and men in frilly underthings.

Never mind that pot is said to alleviate some of the more awful symptoms of several serious diseases, including full-blown AIDS, as well as some side effects of procedures like chemotherapy. And never mind that California voters decided to allow the use of pot for exactly those reasons. Too bad, the narcs said, gimme your pot and be glad we don't charge you with terrorism.

When he cleaned up the LA pot scene, he turned his demented gaze on Oregon, that hotbed of seppuku. Oregon, you may remember, enacted an "assisted suicide" law a couple of years ago, under which people in the terminal stages of incurable diseases can apply to their doctors for a legally prescribed drug overdose, which sends them painlessly and peacefully into the void at a time, place and manner of their own choosing.

All of which is enough to drive a conservative crazy. So our multi-focused AG ruled that Oregon doctors who okay such overdoses could have their licenses to prescribe any federally-controlled substances pulled. Which means, effectively, that these docs would be out of the pharmacological business. They could, I suppose, turn to leeches and trepanning, but our fine health care system usually doesn't cover that stuff.

Oregon's fighting back in the courts but, when you look at the composition of the federal judiciary, it's hard to be overly optimistic about the outcome.

Meanwhile, the epic hypocrisy of the party of States' Rights meddling in the rights of the states is, of course, lost on the AG and ignored in the media, who seem to be the only people getting really good narcotics these days. But then, the kinds of states' rights Ashcroft is interested in have exclusively to do with Jim Crow, Lester Maddox and general-purpose repression.

Another key point to keep in mind is that Ashcroft is such an inept, bungling ideologue, such an abysmal failure as a public servant, that the voters of Missouri, not an overly liberal lot, preferred the corpse of their former Democratic governor to the living body of their live Republican senator. So they turned out this past November to vote against Ashcroft and for the dead guy, Mel Carnahan, who had been killed in a plane crash a week or so before the election last November.

But you can't keep a good fascist down. His philosophical brethren usurped the White House late last year and, when it became time to fill the AG slot, they looked long and hard for the kind of guy who could turn the country's loose, progressive morals around and reinstitute a sense of decorum and dignity in the Justice Department.

Unfortunately, Juan Peron was dead, Idi Amin preferred to remain in luxurious exile on the French Riviera, Augusto Pinochet was under indictment, and the Grand Wizard of the Louisiana KKK was in hiding. There went the short list, so Honest John was reluctantly summoned to the White House.

Even the Cowpoke in Chief was a little put off by Ashcroft's beady little bird eyes, but a quick look at his Senate voting record quelled all reservations.

Pro rich white guys, hate crimes, campaign contributors and religious fanatics. Anti women, minorities, gays, minimum wage, unions, choice and most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights (except, of course, the NRA's spin on the Second Amendment). Plus, he looks better in dresses than Janet Reno.

"Cool," said George, and the nomination went forward.

So he came before the judiciary committee, lied like a federal prosecutor, and gained rapid "bipartisan" confirmation by the full Senate. (Bipartisanship these days means that Democrats cave immediately and completely at the merest hint of a lifted eyebrow from Karl Rove.)

Anyway, right after the confirmation hearings, Democrats were spinning like Dervishes to get the country to buy into the patently insane notion that Ashcroft's confirmation somehow represented a victory for the progressive cause.

Early this year, California Senator Barbara Boxer actually told the San Francisco Chronicle that, in putting up token resistance while delivering more than enough votes to put Ashcroft over the top, Democrats sent a strong message to the White House ". . . that when it comes to policies or court nominees, if your agenda is anti-civil rights, anti-women's rights, anti-human rights, don't send it to us." She apparently said this with a straight face, although she was later seen giggling and howling uncontrollably at Houston's, the Georgetown rib joint.

And although there was no finer opportunity and no more urgent need for Democrats to develop a collective spine, this "strong message" is about all the resistance the slavishly loyal opposition was able to muster.

So here we are in late 2001. Detention centers; offshore military tribunals; wiretaps and email intercepts; clandestine break-ins; property seizures, courtesy of Barbara and most other Democratic senators

Thanks, folks. We really, really could have used a little help on this one, but I understand how important it is to send messages rather than getting down in the trenches and doing your goddamn jobs. Trench warfare seems to be the exclusive province of the GOP these days, and what really uplifting results we're seeing.

Some very clever pundit said that Reagan naming James Watt to head the Interior Department was the worst public appointment since Caligula appointed his horse proconsul. Somebody even more clever responded that at least Caligula had appointed the entire horse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your Attorney General, John "Horse Hips" Ashcroft, a James Watt for a new century.

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Far be it from the author to publicly disrespect this great nation's number one lawman. So if you really want to know what I think about this abominable sociopath, this religious maniac, this disgraceful fraud, this moral pipsqueak, this jerkwater simpleton, this constipated psychopath, this incompetent dunderhead, this tin-plated charlatan, this . . . anyway, reply here: