Eliot Weinberger Republicans: A Prose Poem

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"They hate our friends. They hate our values. They hate democracy
and freedom, and individual liberty."
          President George W. Bush

"I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators."
          Vice-President Dick Cheney

Thomas Donahue, Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is a Republican. He said the newly unemployed should "stop whining."

Alfonso Jackson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is a Republican. He explained the enormous cuts to low-income housing by saying, "Being poor is a state of mind, not a condition."

Rick Santorum, Senator from Pennsylvania, is a Republican. He defended cuts to child care and welfare by suggesting that "making people struggle a little bit is not necessarily the worst thing."

Eric Bost, Undersecretary of Food and Nutrition, U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a Republican. A study by his own agency said that 34 million Americans, including 13.6 million children under the age of 12, were affected by hunger, but Bost doubts these numbers: "If you ask any teenager if they're happy about the food they have in their house, what will they say?" Responding to a report that the number of people seeking assistance at food pantries in Ohio had increased by 44% in the last three years, Bost told an Ohio newspaper: "Food pantries don't require documentation of income. . . so there's no proof everyone asking for sustenance at a soup kitchen is truly in need."

Dr. Tom Coburn, former Congressman and current candidate for the Senate from Oklahoma, is a Republican. Dr. Coburn supports the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions.

Republicans do not like dogs. Major General Geoffrey Miller, former Chief of Prisons at Guantanamo Bay, now Director of Prisons in Iraq, said that "at Guantanamo Bay we learned that the prisoners have to earn every single thing that they have. They are like dogs and if you allow them to believe at any point that they are more than a dog then you've lost control of them."

Republicans like dogs. Trent Lott, Senator from Mississippi, was asked about the use of attack dogs in torturing an Iraqi prisoner. He replied that there's "nothing wrong with holding a dog up there unless it ate him."

Republicans have a sense of history. The National Museum of Naval Aviation now exhibits the actual Navy S-3B Viking fighter jet that carried the President to the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln for his "Mission Accomplished" speech. It has "George W. Bush Commander-in-Chief" stenciled just below the cockpit window.

Republicans are fighting terrorism. Rod Paige, Secretary of Education, called the National Education Association, with a membership of 2.7 million teachers, a "terrorist organization." Karen Hughes, adviser to the President, said that, especially after September 11, Americans support Bush's efforts to ban abortion because "the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

Patricia "Lynn" Scarlett, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, is a Republican. She is the former president of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian group, and is opposed to recycling, nutritional labeling on food, consumer "right to know" laws, and restrictions on the use of pesticides.

D. Nick Rerras, State Senator in Virginia, is a Republican. He believes that mental illness is caused by demons and, somewhat contradictorily, that "God may be punishing families by giving children mental illnesses." He also claims that "thunder and lightning mean God is mad at you."

John Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, is a Republican. In January 2002, he sent a 42-page memo to William Haynes II, Chief Legal Counsel for the Pentagon, stating that the Geneva Conventions, the War Crimes Act, and "customary international law" do not apply to the war in Afghanistan. He was seconded by Alberto Gonzales, White House Legal Counsel, who wrote: "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." A few days later, the President suspended all rights for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

William Haynes II, the recipient of Yoo's memo, is a Republican. As the Chief Legal Counsel for the Pentagon, he argued that the Defense Department should be exempt from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and allowed to test bombs on a Pacific Ocean nesting island. Such bombing, he said, would please bird-watchers, because it will make the birds more scarce, and "bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one." Haynes has now been nominated by the President for a lifetime appointment as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Republicans like children. John Cornyn, Senator from Texas, speaking in support of the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said: "It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."

Republicans are optimistic. General Peter Schoomaker, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, says that, following September 11, "there is a huge silver lining in this cloud." He explains: "War is a tremendous focus. . . . Now we have this focusing opportunity, and we have the fact that terrorists have actually attacked our homeland, which it gives it some oomph."

Republicans do not like children. The President has never bothered to appoint a director of the Office of Children's Health Protection.

Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, is a Republican. In charge of overseeing the Endangered Species Act, he has refused to add any new species to the list. He said: "If we are saying that the loss of species in and of itself is inherently bad – I don't think we know enough about how the world works to say that."

Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, is a Republican. Her department publishes a pamphlet with tips to employers about how to avoid paying overtime wages to workers.

Jack Kahl and his son John Kahl are Republicans and major contributors to the Republican Party. They are, respectively, the former and current chairmen and CEOs of Manco, Inc., a company in Avon, Ohio. (Motto: "If you're not proud of it, don't ship it.") Manco produces 63% of all the duct tape used in the USA. When the Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, repeatedly urged Americans to buy plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal their homes from a biological or chemical attack, Manco's sales increased 40% overnight.

Republicans have a sense of history. Sonny Perdue, the Governor of Georgia, celebrated his election victory, and the end of Democratic control, by intoning the words of Martin Luther King: "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we're free at last!" He gave his speech in front of a large Confederate flag.

Sue Myrick, Congresswoman from North Carolina, is a Republican. As the keynote speaker at a Heritage Foundation conference on "The Role of State and Local Governments in Protecting Our Homeland," she said: "Honest to goodness, [my husband] Ed and I, for years, for 20 years, have been saying, 'You know, look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country.' Every little town you go into, you know?"

Republicans are fighting terrorism. In the village of Prosser, Washington, a 15-year-old drew some antiwar cartoons in a sketchbook for art class; one depicted the President as a devil firing rockets. The art teacher turned the sketchbook over to the principal of the school, who called the local police chief, who alerted the Secret Service, which sent two agents to Prosser to interrogate the boy.

John Hostettler, Congressman from Indiana, is a Republican. He was briefly detained by security at the Louisville, Kentucky, airport, when they found a loaded Glock-9mm automatic pistol in his briefcase. In 2000, when the Violence Against Women Act passed Congress by a vote of 415 to 3, Hostettler was one of the three.

Jeffrey Holmstead, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency, is a Republican. A former lawyer for Montrose Chemical, American Electric Power, and various pesticide companies, he served under Bush Sr. on the [Dan] Quayle Council on Competitiveness, devoted to weakening existing environmental, health, and safety regulations. Holmstead is a member of the Citizens for the Environment, an organization that promotes "market solutions" to environmental problems, considers acid rain a myth, and supports the total deregulation of businesses.

Ed Gillespie is Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He accuses gays of "intolerance and bigotry" for "attempting to force the rest of the population to accept alien moral standards."

Al Frink is a Republican. He was appointed to the newly-created position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, to address the massive loss of jobs to factories overseas. He is the co-owner of Fabrica, a company that makes expensive carpets for the White House and the Saudi royal family. (Motto: "The Rolls-Royce of Carpets.") Although Fabrica has no factories abroad, it has replaced many of its workers with robots because, as Frink's partner explained, you don't have to pay health insurance for robots.

There are American soldiers in Iraq who are Republicans. They follow the instructions to tear out a page from the pamphlet, "A Christian's Duty" (distributed, with military approval, by the In Touch Ministries), and mail it to the White House, pledging that they will pray daily for the Administration. The pamphlet includes a suggested prayer for each day. "Monday" reads: "Pray that the President and his advisers will be strong and courageous to do what is right regardless of critics".

There are men in Indianapolis, Indiana, who are Republicans, but they don't look like ordinary people. At a rally promoting Republican economic policy and its effect on the ordinary person, those standing behind the President were asked to remove their ties and jackets for the cameras.

Republicans are fighting terrorism. Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, wants people arrested at antiwar demonstrations – but not at other demonstrations – to pay an additional fine, which will be used for "homeland security expenses."

Republicans do not like children. A little girl asked Richard Riordan, Secretary of Education for the State of California, if he knew that her name, Isis, "meant 'Egyptian goddess.'" "It means stupid, dirty girl," Riordan replied.

Republicans like ice cream, but they do not like the ice cream made by Ben & Jerry's, with its notorious support of progressive causes. So they have created their own brand, Star-Spangled Ice Cream, which has pledged 19% of its profits to conservative organizations. Among its flavors are I Hate the French Vanilla, Gun Nut, Smaller GovernMINT, Iraqi Road, and Choc & Awe.

Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, is a Republican. He opened the nation's first Christian prison, where inmates spend their days in prayer and Bible study.

Republicans like Hummers. Those who purchase a Hummer H-1 for $50,590 receive a tax deduction of $50,590; those who purchase a H-2 for $111,845 receive a deduction of $107,107. "In my humble opinion," said Rick Schmidt, founder of the International Hummer Owners Group, "the H2 is an American icon. . . it's a symbol of what we all hold so dearly above all else, the fact we have the freedom of choice, the freedom of happiness, the freedom of adventure and discovery, and the ultimate freedom of expression. Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed deface the American flag and what it stands for."

Republicans like secrets. Asked by a reporter from a newspaper in Apopka, Florida, the White House refused to confirm or deny that it had invited members of the Apopka Little League team to watch a game of T-ball on the White House Lawn.

Republicans have a sense of history. The officials of Taney County, Missouri, refused to hang a "plaque of remembrance" honoring a Taney County resident who died in the World Trade Center on September 11 because he was a Democrat.

Jerry Regier, Director of the Department of Children and Families for the State of Florida, is a Republican. He believes that children should be subject to "manly" discipline, that a "biblical spanking" leading to "temporary and superficial bruises or welts does not constitute child abuse," that women should view working outside the home as "bondage," that Christians should not marry non-Christians, and that "the radical feminist movement has damaged the morale of many women and convinced men to relinquish their biblical authority in the home.''

Pete Coors, candidate for Senator from Colorado, is a Republican. Heir to the Coors Beer fortune, he has stated that, if elected, his top priority will be to lower the drinking age.

Republicans have a sense of history. Bill Black, Vice Chairman of the California Republican Party, sent his constituents an article from the Center for Cultural Conservatism, which read: "Given how bad things have gotten in the old USA, it's not hard to believe that history might have taken a better turn. ... The real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won."

Kathy Cox, Superintendent of Schools for the State of Georgia, is a Republican. She wants all textbooks in the state to be changed so that the word "evolution" is replaced with "biological changes over time."

Jim Bunning, Senator from Kentucky, is a Republican. He gets a laugh at Republican dinners by joking that his opponent in the forthcoming election, Dan Mongiardo, a son of Italian immigrants, looks like one of the sons of Saddam Hussein.

Republicans have a sense of history. The only illustrations in the federal budget, published annually by the Government Printing Office, are normally charts and graphs. This year, it features 27 color photographs of the President. He is seen in front of the Washington monument and in front of a giant American flag, reading to a small child, hacking a trail through the wilderness, comforting an elderly woman in a wheelchair, and serving an inedible food-styled Thanksgiving turkey to the troops in Iraq.

Republicans do not like almanacs. On Christmas Eve, the FBI sent a bulletin to 18,000 police organizations warning them to watch out – during traffic stops, searches, and other investigations – for anyone carrying an almanac. The bulletin stated that "the practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning." Kevin Seabrooke, senior editor of the World Almanac, may or may not be a Republican. "I don't think anyone would consider us a harmful entity," he said.

Republicans like the Rush Limbaugh Show and like having it broadcast to the troops overseas, five days a week, on the official American Forces Radio and Television Service network. When it was suggested that they provide more "balanced" political programming, Sam Johnson, Congressman from Texas, said that it "sounds a little like Communism to me."

Stephen Downs, age 61, is probably not a Republican. He was shopping at the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, New York, when security guards surrounded him and asked him to leave. Downs was wearing a t-shirt with the words "Give Peace a Chance." He refused to leave and was arrested for trespassing.

My friend, a middle-aged white man, is not a Republican. A photographer on assignment for the National Geographic in Florida, he was taking pictures of some colorfully painted vans in a parking lot. An hour later he was arrested. An alert citizen, suspecting possible terrorist information-gathering activity, had called the police.

Herbert O. Chadbourne is probably a Republican. A professor at the evangelical Regent University, he developed a facial tic – the result he said, of exposure to biological or chemical agents when he was a soldier in the first Gulf War. The university, however, said that the tic was a sign that he was possessed by a demon, having been cursed by God for sinfulness, and fired him.

Jeffrey Kofman, reporter for ABC television, may not be a Republican. When he broadcast a story that morale among American troops in Iraq was weakening, the White House spread the story that not only is Kofman gay, he' s a Canadian.

Republicans like technology. Although most programs for low-income housing and job training have been greatly reduced or eliminated, the Department of Labor has created a website for the homeless.

Republicans like methyl bromide, a pesticide that destroys the ozone layer and leads to prostate cancer in farm workers. The Reagan administration and 160 nations signed a treaty in 1987 to eliminate methyl bromide by 2005. The use of the pesticide has increased every year of the current Administration, which is seeking a waiver from compliance with the treaty. Claudia A. McMurray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment, explained: "Our farmers need this."

Republicans like dog-race gamblers, NASCAR track owners, bow-and-arrow makers, and Oldsmobile dealers. They were among those given $170 billion in tax cuts that were slipped into an obscure bill intended to resolve a minor trade dispute with Europe.

Republicans do not like technology. On September 11, 2001, the FBI computers were still running on MS-DOS, which could only perform single-word searches of their files, and FBI agents did not have e-mail. They are hoping a new system will be in place in 2006.

Lieutenant General William Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, formerly in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and currently directing Iraqi prison reform, is a Republican. He regularly appears at revival meetings sponsored by a group called the Faith Force Multiplier, which advocates applying military principles to evangelism. Its manifesto, "Warrior Message," summons "warriors in this spiritual war for souls of this nation and the world ." Boykin preaches that "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army," and that Muslims "will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus". He admits that "George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the US," but adds: "He was appointed by God."

Kelli Arena, Justice Department correspondent for CNN, is presumably a Republican. She reported that "there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House ."

William "Bucky" Bush, uncle of the President, is a Republican. He is a director of Engineer Support Systems, Inc., which makes military items, such as the Chemical Biological Protected Shelter System (a mobile shed for a WMD attack) or the Field Deployable Environmental Control Unit. Since 2001, the company has had sales to the Pentagon of $300-400 million a year, and the Department of Homeland Security has ordered a fleet of mobile emergency communication centers for use in the event of a domestic biochemical attack. He is also a director of Lord Abbett & Co., which owns 8 million shares of Halliburton. Jeb Bush inserted a line in the Florida state budget privatizing elevator inspections. "Bucky" is one of the owners of a company called National Elevator Inspection Services.

Republicans like electronic voting machines. In the 1980's, Bob and Todd Urosevich founded a voting machine company, eventually called American Information Systems (AIS), with money from the Ahmanson family of California. The Ahmansons are Christian Reconstructionists who want to establish a theocracy based on biblical law and under the "dominion" of Christians. They support the death penalty for homosexuals, adulterers, and alcoholics. They are members of the secretive Council for National Policy, which combines remnants of the John Birch Society with apocalyptic Christians and is considered by many to be the driving force of "hard right" ideology. The Ahmansons sold the company to the McCarthy Group, whose Chairman and co-owner was Chuck Hagel. The McCarthy Group bought another voting machine company, Cronus Industries, from the Hunt oil family in Texas, also Christian Reconstructionists, who had supplied the original money for the Council for National Policy. The two voting machine companies were merged and became Election Systems and Software (ES&S), with Hagel as CEO.

Republicans like electronic voting machines. ES&S counts 80% of the vote in the state of Nebraska. In 1992, Hagel resigned from ES&S to run for Senator from Nebraska. His victory was called a "stunning upset" by Nebraska newspapers: African-American districts that had never voted for a Republican voted for Hagel. In 1996, Hagel ran again and received 83% of the vote – 3% more than ES&S-tabulated votes and the largest election victory in the history of Nebraska. His Democratic opponent asked for a recount, but the Republican-dominated state legislature had passed a law that only ES&S could recount the votes. Hagel won the recount. No longer Chairman of the McCarthy Group, Hagel had been succeeded by Thomas McCarthy, who was his campaign treasurer.

Republicans like electronic voting machines. When Jeb Bush first ran for Governor of Florida, his first choice for Lieutenant Governor was Sandra Mortham, a lobbyist for ES&S, who was receiving commissions for every county that bought ES&S machines.

Republicans have a sense of history. John LeBoutillier, former Congressman and author of Harvard Hates America, wants to build the "Counter Clinton Library," a few minutes walk from the official Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. This library will be devoted to the "distortions, slanders, spins, and outright lies" of the Clinton Administration.

The Senate of the State of Texas is controlled by Republicans. They passed an "abortion counseling law" which requires doctors to warn women that abortion might lead to breast cancer, for which there is no medical evidence.

The President's Council of Economic Advisers are Republicans. In order to show an increase in manufacturing jobs, they are considering reclassifying fast-food workers as "manufacturers," since they "manufacture" hamburgers.

Republicans like formaldehyde. In support of changing the regulations on emissions from plywood factories, the White House Office of Management and Budget deleted references to studies by the National Cancer Institute and replaced them with references to studies by the Chemical Industry Institute for Toxicology. The NCI's estimate of the risk of leukemia from exposure to formaldehyde was 10,000 times greater than the estimate by the CIIT.

Republicans are fighting terrorism. When the Governor of Vermont announced that he was suing the federal government to allow senior citizens to import less expensive prescription drugs from Canada, Lester Crawford, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, claimed that al-Qaeda had a plot to poison imported prescription drugs. The Department of Homeland Security admitted "we have no specific information now" about this plot.

George Nethercutt, candidate for Senator from the state of Washington, is a Republican. He attacked the media for reporting American military casualties and ignoring the good news from Iraq, claiming that the reconstruction effort is a "better and more important story than losing a few soldiers every day."

Specialist Sean Baker of the Kentucky National Guard, was probably once a Republican, but may no longer be one. Assigned to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, he volunteered to portray a detainee in a training drill. A five-man "immediate response force" choked and beat him on the steel floor of the 6' x 8' cell, despite his shouting the code word and telling his assailants he was an American soldier. They finally stopped when his orange prison suit was ripped off, revealing a military uniform. Baker spent 48 days in the hospital and still suffers from seizures. Laurie Arellano, a Republican and spokesperson for the Pentagon, said that Baker's hospital stay was "not related to the beating at Guantanamo." A few days later she said this was not true. The incident was taped, but the tape has now been lost.

Bill Nevins may or may not have been a Republican, but it is doubtful he is still one. A teacher at the huge Rio Rancho High School – with over 3000 students, the largest in New Mexico – he organized a school poetry club, which held a Poetry Slam. At the reading, a student read a poem criticizing the President and the war in Iraq, in language that was neither violent or obscene. Nevins was immediately fired by the Principal, Gary Tripp, for promoting "disrespectful speech." He then banned the poetry club and all classes in poetry, ordered the student to destroy all of her poetry, and threatened to fire her mother – also a teacher at the school – if the girl did not. At a school assembly a few days later, Tripp read a poem of his own, instructing students who disagreed with him to "shut your faces."

Republicans like sex. Jack Ryan, candidate (now former candidate) for Senator from Illinois, forced his wife (now ex-wife) to visit sadomasochist sex clubs in New York and Paris and insisted she have sex with him there while others watched. He defended himself by calling these "romantic getaways," and noted,"There was no breaking of any laws. There was no breaking of any marriage laws. There was no breaking of the Ten Commandments anywhere." Republicans supported him, because, as columnist Robert Novack said, "Jack Ryan, unlike Bill Clinton, did not commit adultery and did not lie." Ryan's ex-wife is the actress Jeri Ryan who, on the television program "Star Trek," portrayed a Borg. (Motto: "Resistance is futile.")

Republicans are fighting terrorism. Three weeks before the Democratic Convention, the New Republic reported that the White House had been putting pressure on Pakistani intelligence to arrest or assassinate a "HVT" (High Value Terrorist) in time for the Convention. On the day of Kerry’s speech, they announced the arrest of one Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan. A few days later, New York City, Washington D.C., and Newark, New Jersey were put on even more heightened Terror Alert after it was revealed that Khan’s computer disks contained surveillance and blueprints of five financial buildings. Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security, insisting that this Terror Alert was indeed more serious and specific than all the previous Terror Alerts, concluded his press conference by saying: "We must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the President's leadership in the war against terror."

Republicans are fighting terrorism. The day after Ridge’s announcement, it was revealed that the al-Qaeda documents had been created in 2000 and 2001, before September 11. The day after that, it was admitted that there were no blueprints. A few days later, British intelligence officials expressed their rage that Khan not only had been arrested, but had been named. Khan may have been the only double agent within al-Qaeda, and had supplied them with information leading to dozens of arrests of al-Qaeda members.

Joe Lieberman, Senator from Connecticut and former Vice-Presidential candidate, is supposedly not a Republican. He said: "I don't think anybody who has any fairness or is in their right mind would think the President or the Secretary of Homeland Security would raise an alert level and scare people for political reasons."

Republicans like meat, and like their meat regulated by people from the meat industry. At the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Elizabeth Johnson, Senior Advisor on Food and Nutrition, is formerly Associate Director for Food Policy, National Cattlemen's Beef Association. James Moseley, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, is formerly Managing Partner, Infinity Pork. Dale Moore, Chief of Staff, is formerly Executive Director for Legislative Affairs, National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Dr. Eric Hentges, Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is formerly Vice President, the National Pork Board. Dr. Charles "Chuck" Lambert, Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, is formerly Chief Economist, National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Donna Reifschneider, Administrator for Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, is formerly President, National Pork Producers Council. Mary Kirtley Waters, Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, is formerly Senior Director, ConAgra Foods. Scott Charbo, Chief Information Officer, is formerly President, mPower3, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods. The USDA prohibited Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, a company in Kansas, from testing all its cattle for mad cow disease, for it would cause undue alarm among consumers and pressure the other beef producers to similarly test their stock.

Joe Brown, Chairman of the Memphis, Tennessee, City Council, is a Republican. When a group of seven Iraqi "civic and community leaders" on a State Department tour of the US visited Memphis, he refused to allow them to enter the City Hall: "We don't know exactly what's going on. Who knows about the delegation, and has the FBI been informed? We must secure and protect all the employees in that building." Brown told the group's host he would "evacuate the building and bring in the bomb squads" if the group attempted to come in.

Republicans like Freedom fries (formerly known as French fries). At the request of the frozen Freedom fry (formerly known as French fry) industry, the USDA changed the classification of frozen Freedom fries (formerly known as French fries) to "fresh vegetable," so that the food could be listed in the Department's promotion of a healthy diet.

Republicans do not like sex. Robert F. McDonnell, Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee for the State of Virginia, said that "engaging in anal or oral sex might disqualify a person from being a judge." Republicans like sex. A few days later, McDonnell's campaign manager, Robin Vanderwell, was arrested for soliciting a young boy over the internet.

Ralph Reed is a Republican. When he was the director of the Christian Coalition, he campaigned against gambling, calling it a "cancer on the American body politic" that is "stealing food from the mouths of children." He is now the lobbyist for a large casino.

Anna Perez, former Counselor for Communications to Condoleezza Rice and former Press Secretary for Barbara Bush, is a Republican. NBC appointed her Executive Vice President for Communications. "I love the television business," she said, although "I have no expertise in it."

Paul O'Neill is a Republican. When he was Secretary of the Treasury, he recommended that corporations pay no taxes at all. As it is, only 60% of corporations currently pay federal taxes.

Michael Skupkin, founder of a religious software company and leader of the Presidential Prayer Team, is a Republican. He was urged to run for Senator from Michigan, but eventually refused. Skupkin had become famous on the television program, "Survivor 2," for catching and slaughtering a wild boar with his bare hands, and then painting his face with its blood. The Presidential Prayer Team is an independent organization with millions of participants, who are given daily instructions, such as: "Pray for the President as he meets with Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Ton on May 6. The two leaders will discuss strengthening our bilateral relations as well as the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement."

Mark Rey, former Vice President of the American Forest and Paper Association, former Vice President of the National Forest Products Association, former Executive Director of the American Forest Resource Alliance, a coalition of 350 timber corporations, is a Republican. As the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, he now oversees the U.S. Forest Service, and is responsible for the management of 155 national forests, 19 national grasslands, and 15 land utilization projects on 192,000,000 acres of publicly-owned lands in 44 states. He is the author of the "Salvage Rider," which suspended all environmental laws in the national forests, and which was called by the New York Times "the worst piece of conservation legislation ever written."

Republicans like electronic voting machines. 8 million people – 8% of the voters – vote on machines made by Diebold Inc., whose CEO is Wally O'Dell. In 2000 O'Dell was Chairman of the Ohio Bush for President Committee. In 2004 he has said that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President." Bob Urosevich, co-founder of AIS, is now Director of Diebold Election Systems. (His brother remains at ES&S.)

Republicans support education. This year the President has proposed new education initiatives: $40 million to help math and science professionals become teachers, $52 million to create more Advanced Placement courses in high school, $100 million for reading for middle and high schoolers who still have trouble reading, and $270 million for sexual abstinence classes.

Republicans support legislation with cheerful names: Healthy Forests, Clean Skies, Climate Leaders, No Child Left Behind, KidCare. Healthy Forests opens up Sequoia National Park and other parks and national wilderness areas to logging and more roads for loggers. Clean Skies allows 68% more nitrogen oxide, 125% more sulfur dioxide, and 420% more mercury air pollution than the Clean Air law it replaces. Climate Leaders is a plan for businesses to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; of the many thousands of potential Leaders, only 14 have volunteered. No Child Left Behind cuts most school programs in favor of standardized testing. KidCare, a Jeb Bush initiative in the state of Florida, resulted in 167,500 children losing their medical insurance.

Jerry Thacker, marketing consultant and former member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on AIDS and HIV, is a Republican. He has called AIDS the "gay plague," describes homosexuality as a "deathstyle," and states that only "Christ can rescue the homosexual."

The Rev. Scott Breedlove, pastor of the Jesus Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is probably a Republican. His plans for a large outdoor book-burning were thwarted by officials of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. A city fire inspector suggested shredding the books, but Breedlove said that didn't seem very biblical.

Pat Tillman was probably a Republican. After September 11, he gave up a multimillion dollar contract as a professional football player to join the Army Rangers in Afghanistan, where he died in combat. As the only soldier with some previous national recognition, he was on the verge of media canonization when it was revealed that he had been killed by American troops in a "friendly fire" incident.

Zell Miller, Senator from Georgia, might as well be a Republican. He is a Democrat who campaigns for the President and speaks at Republican events. The torture at Abu Ghraib prison reminded him of his high school gym: "The two times I think I have been most humiliated in my life was standing in a big room, naked as a jaybird with about fifty others and they were checking us out, now that was humiliating. It was humiliating showering with sixty others in a public shower. It didn't kill us did it? No one ever died from humiliation."

Republicans are fighting terrorism. Police and intelligence authorities are now examining immigration files and lists of voter registration, driver's licences, university enrollment, library withdrawals, airplane reservations, credit card purchases, birth certificates, and Social Security numbers in the attempt to uncover terrorist links. They have, however, been expressly forbidden by Attorney General Ashcroft from looking at the lists of background checks for gun purchasers.

Republicans are fighting terrorism, but it is sometimes difficult to tell who is a terrorist and who is a Republican. Attorney General John Ashcroft has warned that al-Qaeda operatives in the United States are very likely to be "European-looking," in their late twenties or early thirties, traveling with their families, and speaking English.

Republican like large bombs. Having already developed the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), a 21,000-pound bomb, they are now working on MOP, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which weighs 30,000 pounds.

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, is a Republican. He does not believe that the wealthy should pay for the education of the poor, so he has proposed reducing property taxes and replacing them with larger taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, and a $5 tax every time a patron enters a topless bar.

John Graham, former CEO of Strat@comm, a public relations and lobbying firm for the automobile industry, and founder of the Sports Utility Vehicle Owners of America, is a Republican. As the Administrator in Charge of Regulations for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, he has introduced greatly inferior standards for automobile tires.

Judge John Leon Holmes, appointed by the President to a lifetime seat on the Federal District Court, is a Republican. He supports a constitutional amendment banning abortion, has compared pro-choice advocates to Nazis and abortion to slavery, and has written that "concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami." Confronted with statistics showing that some 30,000 American women become pregnant each year from rape or incest, Jeff Sessions, Senator from Alabama and a Republican, defended Holmes by saying that he was merely using "a literary device called exaggeration for effect."

Josh Llano, Southern Baptist Army chaplain in Iraq, is a Republican. At the Army V Corps camp in the desert near Najaf, where water is in short supply and washing rare, he was given a 500-gallon pool to use for baptisms. Soldiers are agreeing to sit through the three-hour ceremony in order to get a bath.

Republicans are fighting terrorism. Rick Santorum, Senator from Pennsylvania, in support of the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said: "I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance. Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"

Republicans are fighting terrorism. In October 2001, Ansar Mahmood, a pizza delivery man and legal immigrant in Hudson, New York, went to the banks of the Hudson River to take some photographs of the beautiful scenery to send to his village in Pakistan. What he did not know was that he was standing near a water treatment plant and that there was a general hysteria about terrorists poisoning the water supply. Mahmood is still in jail.

James Hart, candidate for Congress from Tennessee, is a Republican. An ardent supporter of eugenics, he believes that Africans and African-Americans have an average IQ of 75, and that if interracial marriage had been allowed in the past, the electric light, the automobile, and the airplane would never have been invented.

Allan Fitzsimmons, Fuels Coordinator at the Department of Interior and in charge of implementing the Healthy Forests initiative, is a Republican. Although he has no background in forest management, he has written articles questioning the existence of ecosystems, calling them a "mental construct." He has accused religious organizations that promote protecting the environment of succumbing to idolatry.

Republicans do not like children. The Food and Drug Administration has eliminated laws requiring separate testing for drugs that are prescribed for children as well as adults.

Republicans like to help impoverished nations. The Administration has proposed that these countries generate income by allowing hunters to kill elephants and other "trophy" animals, and wildlife traders and the pet industry to capture rare birds. It has also proposed that the importation of ivory tusks, skins, and antlers be made legal again.

Republicans like electronic voting machines. It was a surprise when Max Cleland, a popular Democratic Senator from Georgia, lost his bid for re-election. Some attributed the defeat to Republican television advertisements juxtaposing Cleland with Osama bin Laden, questioning the Senator's patriotism even though Cleland had lost both legs and an arm in the Vietnam War. This was the first election in which all votes in Georgia were cast on electronic voting machines. The machines were manufactured by Diebold.

Republicans do not like international treaties.

Randall Tobias, global coordinator for AIDS, is a Republican. After two years, only 2% of the $18 billion allotted to fight AIDS has been spent. One-third of it, by law, must be used for "abstinence education." Much of the rest will be spent on drugs. Tobias decides whether the Administration will purchase generic drugs or name-brand drugs, which are three to five times as expensive. Tobias is the former CEO of the pharmaceutical corporation Eli Lilly, which has donated at least $1.5 million to Republicans since 2000.

William G. Myers, recently appointed to a lifetime seat on the Court of Appeals, is a Republican. Evidently a classical scholar, he referred to the California Desert Protection Act, which created Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve, as "an example of legislative hubris."

Republicans like electronic voting machines. The State of Maryland is worried about possible fraud in its machines, so it has hired the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to oversee elections. The former CEO of SAIC and current Chairman of its VoteHere division, is Admiral Bill Owens, former military aide to Dick Cheney.

Republicans do not like the cactus pygmy owl, although there are only thirty left, Puget Sound orcas, Florida manatees, Florida panthers, or the Kemp's ridley turtle.

Cindy Jacobs is a Republican. She is the founder of the Generals of Intercession, an organization devoted to "winning nations for Christ" through a "military-style prayer strategy." In 2002, God told her that the U.S. would invade Iraq, and she convened an "international gathering of Generals" in Washington, D.C.. "Each of us felt in our hearts that God wants to humble the spirit of Islam and its god, Allah, and that God is leading President Bush." At the meeting, according to Jacobs, one of the Generals said "she had been studying Jeremiah 50:2, which says, 'Declare among the nations, Proclaim, and set up a standard; Proclaim – do not conceal it – Say, Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed.' Some Bible translations say 'confounded' rather than 'shamed.' As she looked up the word 'confounded' in her lexicon, she found that the word in Hebrew is 'Bush'! We were amazed at that!"

Mickey Mouse is a Republican. 7.3 million shares of Disney are owned by the Florida state pension fund, which is controlled by Jeb Bush. Disney has an agreement with the state granting them complete control, "free from government oversight," of over 40,000 acres. In the days following September 11, the President urged the country to "Go down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life." Disney refused to allow its Miramax division to distribute the Michael Moore film "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Republicans are fighting terrorism, but the one genuine terrorist captured, accidentally, on American soil, has never been mentioned in the 2,295 press releases issued by John Ashcroft and the Office of the Attorney General. William Krar of Noonday, Texas, mailed a package containing false U.N. credentials, Defense Intelligence Agency identification cards, phony birth certificates, and forged federal concealed weapons permits to a fellow terrorist. The Post Office delivered it to the wrong address, and the recipient notified the FBI. At Krar's home they found fully automatic machine guns, remote-controlled explosive devices disguised as briefcases, 60 pipe bombs, 500,000 rounds of ammunition, and enough pure sodium cyanide, as the FBI said, "to kill everyone inside a 30,000 square foot building. Krar, however, is a White Supremacist, and not a Muslim.

Republicans do not like elections. After the Presidential election of 2000, Congress approved $4 billion to help states improve their voting systems for the 2004 election. Very little of the money has been distributed. Congress also created the Election Assistance Commission to oversee these improvements. For years, the White House delayed appointing any members or providing any of the funds appropriated. In 2004, it named DeForest "Buster" Soaries Jr., a New Jersey minister, as Director of the Commission. His first act was to ask for emergency legislation from Congress giving the Commission the authority to cancel the elections in the event of a terrorist attack.

God is a Republican. Speaking to a group of Amish farmers, the President told them: "God speaks through me."

Republicans have a sense of history. Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky, wants to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with Ronald Reagan. Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman from California, wants to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Ronald Reagan. Jeff Miller, Congressman from Florida, wants to replace John Kennedy on the 50-cent piece with Ronald Reagan. Mark Souder, Congressman from Indiana, wants to replace Franklin Roosevelt on the dime with Ronald Reagan. Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, wants to rename the Pentagon as the Ronald Reagan National Defense Building. Grover Norquist of the Leave Us Alone Coalition (whose weekly meetings are attended by representatives of the President and Vice President) and Director of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, wants to put a monument to Ronald Reagan in every one of the 3000 counties in the United States. Matt Salmon, Congressman from Arizona, wants Ronald Reagan's head carved on Mount Rushmore.

George W. Bush, President of the United States, is a Republican. To demonstrate personal sacrifice and his determination to win the War on Terror, he gave up desserts and candy a few days before he announced the invasion of Iraq.

[12 August 2004]


This material is © Eliot Weinberger

Een Nederlandse vertaling van deze tekst werd gepubliceerd in Yang, nr.3, oktober 2004.

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