The Peach

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Off His Nut: DeLay's Impending Doom

The Peach knows the smell of a seriously wounded jackal, and Tom DeLay is really beginning to stink up the place. The New York Times is reporting that DeLay is once again launching a lunatic-like attack against the federal court system. His most recent rantings include such gems worthy of a Congressional psycho-ward as faulting courts for inventing rights to abortion and that the standards and precedents held by the courts were "not examples of a mature society, but of a judiciary run amok." This even after Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist stated that Congressional interference in the Terry Schiavo case had been "unwarranted and ill-considered."

Of course, we all know that DeLay is simply reaching for any rope to pull himself out of the ethical quicksand that is slowly consuming him. Investigators are now looking into trips DeLay and his family took to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas in 1997, coordinated by the lobby firm of Preston, Gates, Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, which the Commonwealth retained in 1996. According to an article by CounterPunch, the more than $2 million junkets, paid for by Commonwealth taxpayers, were intended to persuade Congress to abandon its attempts to impose federal minimum wage and improved working conditions, even though the islands are a U.S. territory and the residents have American citizenship. Working conditions were so bad in the Northern Marianas that in 1995 the Philippine government placed a ban on any of their workers going there. On one of his visits there DeLay was quoted as saying that raising the minimum wage would "destroy the lives of the people" and to "Stand firm. Resist evil."

And now, lo and behold, the Seattle Times is reporting that investigators are looking into D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his work for Preston, Gates. Apparently, the Northern Marianas trips had been coordinated by Abramoff and paid for by two Preston, Gates clients. Abramoff also directly billed some of DeLay's expenses to Preston, Gates. It also seems that payments made for lobbying work done by Abramoff and Preston, Gates on behalf of the sweatshops, were done so illegally and paid without a valid contract. DeLay visited the Northern Marianas at the behest of Abrammoff, but The Peach doubts Tom met with any of the 84-hour work week, $3 per hour employees. Still, the Preston firm earned a cool $6.7 million for its lobbying efforts.

So, The Peach feels Tom DeLay can ramble on about how all of his apparent misfortunes are just another "seedy attempt by the liberal media to embarass me." The cliches synonomous with finality are oozing through The Peach's fuzzy veneer. The fat lady is singing loud and clear, Tom. The jig is up. The party's over. You can run, but you can't hide.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Holy Homophobia!

It feels a little ungracious to be expressing any dissatisfaction with Pope John Paul II, what with millions of Catholics pouring into Rome to mourn his death this week. The pope was obviously sincerely dedicated to his role as head of the Roman Catholic Church, and his devotion to a "pro-life" ethic had the virtue of being mostly consistent -- unlike many of those in America who appropriate that label for themselves, the pope was at least as anti-death penalty and anti-war as he was anti-choice. Plus he thought that concern for the already-born poor was also part of the pro-life position, in stark contrast to a majority of American Republicans. All good things, needless to say.

Where the pope's stock plummetted, in the Peach's fuzzy estimation, is in his manifestly anti-life position for the gay citizens of the world. In addition to throwing around phrases like "intrinsic moral evil" to describe a homosexual orientation, the pope seemed to understand, if not approve, violence against gays when he warned against extending equal rights to gays by suggesting that "neither the church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase."

The Bay Windows article linked above further notes that in a 1986 pastoral letter on the "care of homosexual persons," he told bishops to beware of "deceitful" gay " propaganda" That letter resulted in the gay Catholic group Dignity being banned from Roman Catholic churches.

When it comes to misty-eyed musings about this pope's legacy, we hope the SCLM devotes at least as much airtime to John Paul's retrograde rantings about the alleged moral degeneracy of gays, and the resulting damage to the dignity and lives of gay people (especially gay Catholics), as they inevitably will to his religious devotion and concern for the poor and needy. We would not, however, want to put a very big bet on that actually happening. .

Yes, You Are That Stupid

It is being reported in the Washington Post that the now infamous Terry Schiavo talking-points memo circulated among Republicans during floor debate was constructed by the legal counsel of Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.). Brian H. Darling, the author of the document, is a former lobbyist for the Alexander Strategy Group on gun rights and other issues. The memo emphasized the importance of the Schiavo case for the purpose of strengthening support from the Republican party's constituency. It basically displayed how Republicans were using Schiavo to promote their own political agendas.

What appears to have happened is that during floor debate Sen. Martinez handed Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) the memo stating, "These are some talking points--something we're working on." Officials subsequently turned the document over to reporters. Since the memo's release Republicans have attempted to deflect accusations of insensitivity by claiming that the memo was nothing but a concoction and fabrication put together by the Democratic party.

When Martinez, the Senate's point man on the Schiavo issue, was questioned on why he didn't look into the possibility that the talking-points memo came out of his camp he responded, "I just took it for granted that we wouldn't be that stupid."

You wanna bet?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

'Gonna Git Mexcans'

The Peach suggests the U.S. government begin changing our border signs to "Welcome To Vigilante Nation." This article from The Christian Science Monitor reports that starting in April approximately 1,500 "minutemen" will begin monitoring illegal crossings at the Arizona-Mexico border. That's right, men and women in RV's, drinking beer, communicating via walkie-talkies and, The Peach suspects, toting their favorite firearm are going to don their camouflage and begin tracking the movements of illegal immigrants.

Apparently, the totally volunteer group formed via the internet with the sole purpose of "saving the Union." Even though the U.S. Border Patrol has stated that these backyard Rambos will not help them do their job, these people have taken it upon themselves to save America for Americans. And it doesn't appear that our current wild-west administration is going to lift a finger to prevent what The Peach believes is nothing short of a national embarassment. Is this what Bush really means by faith-based initiatives?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

American Propoganda Machine In Iraq

For those of you who actually believe that "democracy" is coming to Iraq, The Peach recommends a look at this blog written by an Iraqi woman living in Baghdad. The blog is named "Baghdad Burning" and discusses not only the dangers of living in American occupied Iraq, but also how the Bush doctrine of democracy includes such mush-forming TV shows as Wheel of Fortune, The Bachelor and The Contender.

The blog is run by someone who calls themself Riverbend. Riverbend points out that the present form of democracy includes sanitized newscasts spending more time on Terry Schiavo then on the daily killing of Iraqi civilians. The Peach is not surprised by this considering the current pathetic state of American news media. They allow themselves to be co-opted by an event that only a sliver of Americans are interested in. It just so happens that that sliver is the loudly obnoxious religious-right. The Peach supposes if a cat is shrieking outside your bedroom every night you're eventually going to look out your window.

What The Peach appreciates is Riverbend's suggestion for a new reality show in which 15 Bush supporters are thrown into Faloojeh (Riverbend's spelling) for 14 days, attempting to rebuild their bombed out house and survive amidst danger and chaos on $150. The Peach suggests we send the stars of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to Iraq. Let's put the reality back in reality.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Coalition Of The Un-Willing

Bush has announced that the U.S. will continue to finance Iraq's attempts to construct a "Bushian" Xanadu even though more coalition partners are announcing pullouts. Bush made the announcement during a press conference with Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko, who is planning to pull out all of his Ukranian forces by Fall 2005. Yushchenko is making the move fulfilling one of his campaign promises. This is a far cry from Bush who has a tendency of promising one thing and doing something completely different.

It has now been two years since Bush toppled Saddam Hussein and began his occupation of Iraq. Since that time dozens of nations from the so-called "coalition of the willing" have pulled their forces from Iraq. Much of this pullout has been due largely to either the dangers faced by coalition forces or a sudden awareness that Bush has no idea what he's doing there and has no idea how to get out. Can it be only a matter of time before more Americans join those ranks and begin dropping their support for the Iraq debacle? The Peach hopes it's sooner rather than later.