Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stud Hamster from Texas

A tribute to the late Molly Ivins, who gave us the inimitable nickname "Shrub" for our nation's execrable chief executive, George W. Bush.

Prologue, In Memoriam:

Sayonara, Molly Ivins,
And a thank-you for "the Srub":
A nickname for a little Bush
That you used like a club
To bash his vain pretensions and
His tendencies to flub

George set his expectations low
While you set yours up high
You lived to tell the awful truth
While he lived life to lie
Why do the bad ones live so long
While good ones shortly die?

And now you've left us lonely
For a warm and laughing voice:
A wit to skewer madmen bent
On giving us no choice
About the justice we would have
And in which we rejoice

I don't believe in after-lifes
But you lived this one well
You did your part to see that Shrub
Made less of life a Hell
And left your mark upon us all
As time will surely tell

I have no other offering
Or flowers for your grave
But only these few words in praise
Of one who wrote to save:
That your life's labors will, we know,
Our road to freedom pave

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2007

Rest in Peace, Molly Ivins, and just for a little something to read upon your way:

"Stud Hamster from Texas"

Stud Hamster from Texas felt low down and rough
As a rodent, he felt he had all the Right Stuff
He longed to seem fearsome and manly and tough
Even though his true grit measured less than enough

He fancied himself a remarkable stoat
Like a weasel all white in his brown summer coat
But he fumbled his lines that he'd studied by rote
When he tried to recite from his primer, "Pet Goat"

The school kids sat silent: bemused at the scene
Of a grown man determined to pose and to preen
As he fumbled about for some meaning to glean
From a sentence a first-grader wouldn't demean

Still, the vacuous varmint kept stumbling along
Messing up all the words and the tune to the song
While his loyal cult following praised him as strong
Even though their assumptions were totally wrong

Then the planes hit the buildings or crashed on the ground
And the Stud Hamster blanched at the horrible sound
Leaving us to reflect on a lesson profound:
That it might not pay big to kick Muslims around

"I told you," said Bin Laden, twisting the blade,
"That someday I'd strike while you sat in the shade
Amusing yourself with some nicknames you made
For credulous 'journalists' dumb and afraid"

Anyway, the Stud Hamster's advisors thought quick
Of a way to recover from Bin Laden's trick:
They'd teach George to utter a word that would stick
In the mind of a country as thick as a brick

"It's War!" cried the Stud Hamster, seeing his chance
To deflect all those questions about his romance
With Saudi Arabian oilmen who dance
At his each of his parties, with no awkward glance

"It's War!" he intoned with a stern face and frown
Laying claim to a bogus and unearned renown
Although he had most of the country locked down
Somehow the Bin Ladens flew straight out of town

"It's War!" he recited on cue and on pitch
"It's War!" he repeated when he got the itch
"It's War!" he demanded, ignoring the glitch
That happened when he fell asleep at the switch

With hijackers dead in the wreckage below
George stood on a pile of the rubble to show
His valiant intention to bask in the glow
Of others who -- unlike him -- true danger know

"It's War!" he declared while the Congress looked on
Absenting itself with a long drawn out yawn
While sycophant pundits continued to fawn
On George and his minions from dusk until dawn

But Stud Hamster knew that the country would shrink
From asking why Maximum Leader, the fink,
Did not for a moment just pause once to think
Of his Christian troops whom the Arabs thought stink

Why, hadn't Bin Laden himself said out loud
That infidel troops so near Mecca might cloud
Relations with Muslims -- of Islam quite proud –
-Who'd send home the troops in a burial shroud?

But not to be turned from his swell new Crusade
Stud Hamster felt certain he'd get a parade
And with his VP heading up the charade
He bought into "war" as a Penny Arcade

It all went so quickly as not much appeared
To challenge an army to fast movement geared
Thus few thought to have any strategy cleared
Through those with some knowledge of what should be feared

For last time around when the knights charged en mass
The Muslims took flight and dispersed like a gas
But soon when the Christians got stuck in a pass
The Muslims would trap them like bugs in a glass

This George Custer thing about taking low ground
And then baiting Injuns to come and surround
Has never much seemed like an idea sound
Except to stud hamsters with heads out-of-round

But jumping the gun after taking the bait
The Stud Hamster partied; he just couldn't wait
To dance on a flight deck to set time and date
When history's clock started ticking his fate

"It's Mission Accomplished!" he joyfully spun
"America and its allies have now won
And so major combat is over and done"
But, of course, all the dying had only begun

The free-market looting then quickly took hold
As carpetbag contractors went for the gold
And thieves thick as flies became ever more bold:
A chaos that many had baldly foretold

Resentment set in right away, as we know
And then the attacks began slowly to grow
As probing and testing revealed that the glow
Was quite premature, as the records now show

It soon became obvious, clear, and precise
That Rumsfeld and Powell and Cheney and Rice
Had given the Hamster some crappy advice
Which only had landed our troops in a vise

But Stud Hamster crowed with his usual flair
He smirked and he sneered: "Bring 'em on! I don't care!"
"You just go ahead; take a shot, if you dare"
"It won't be my ass on the line over there"

"OK," said Bin Laden, "we'll do it your way
You chase me around for three years and a day
But, still, in the end you will go; we will stay
Some others will step up to drive you away"

Stud Hamster, though, had quite a trick up his sleeve
He'd spend lots of dough and just buy a reprieve
From tightwad conservatives' fiscal pet peeve
Like Reagan, he'd bankrupt the firm and then leave

Just pass on the bill to the kids, don't you know?
Republicans think that's the real way to go
Then keep cutting taxes for those who don't show
Whenever the fighting breaks out down below

As deficits swelled, the Stud Hamster stayed cool
And tried not to look like he'd just dropped his stool
Or pissed in a rich neighbor's clean swimming pool
Which made him look only like more of a fool

He swore he could spy on whomever at will
To find out what money they had in the till
Then count on the Pet Press to act as his shill
And his loyal subjects to swallow the swill

The courts didn't mind if he wrote them a line
To clear up his views on their lack of a spine
He'd just cross his fingers and promise to sign
The laws that he broke -- and they liked it just fine

"It's War!" he rhetorically claimed as his due
"That makes me commander -- and chiefly, of you!
So follow your orders; forget what I do
And do not suppose that I care what is true"

"Sure I've broke the law and I've broken it good
Some lawyers that work for me told me I could
And judges I've placed on the bench say I should
Whenever the 'war' makes it all understood"

"It's power that matters, and I've got it all
Just look at the Courts and the Congress in thrall
As I spread my word-magic focus-group pall
From K Street to Abramoff’s Washington Mall"

The Stud Hamster waddled around as he spoke
Or "swaggered" as Texans say, trying to joke
About a frat boy throwing up rum and coke
While trying to grin as his country goes broke

It's gotten so bad with Bin Laden these days
He keeps making videos, showing it pays
To jerk on the chain of a hamster who prays
That one day a Rupture will End all his Days

And that phony trial of Saddam in Bagdhad
Has sure become something that makes no one glad
As judges and lawyers and witnesses bad
Reveal to Americans how they've been had

For if this Hussein had been such a bad egg
Why then does the "evidence" still have to beg
The question of why the trial's not in the Hague
Where people know how to do things not so vague?

These Soviet show trials and Potemkin towns
Make those who resort to them look like such clowns
Sure each stupid war has its ups and its downs
But the Hamster's got two of them in which he drowns

So now his trite speeches put no foe to rout
The Hamster gets testy; goes into a pout
Then he turns on his soldiers, their contracts to flout
And stop-losses them so they cannot get out

This breaking of promises now seems to mark
America lurching along in the dark
With Stud Hamster still having fun on his lark
Which Bin Laden sees as no bite and all bark

Stud Hamster just couldn't abide freedom's moan
He liked it abroad just not too close to home
He ruled a scared land where the buffaloed roam
And mouthed platitudes with his lips flecked with foam

You see, Hamster's mommy just wouldn't permit
The slightest suggestion that George wasn't fit
To grapple with problems requiring a wit
Or any IQ but the tiniest bit

He wanted so much to think well of his deeds
So speechwriters wrote him some mean little screeds
That George could recite to a Congress that feeds
Upon the young lives of a nation that bleeds

Stud Hamster needs soldiers to die in his fight
As long as their coffins are kept out of sight
And none of their mothers turn on his night light
To show that his wrongs don't add up to a right

The Congress rolls over and plays dead on cue
As long as they skim off the cream as their due
And no one dares ask why the people they screw
Cannot wear a T-shirt expressing their view

But none would allow a discouraging word
To trouble the life of this spoiled little turd
Who sent men to die for a "reason" absurd
And lived in a bubble where no thinking stirred

The nation's incompetent ruler must reign
Despite all his wreckage; despite all our pain
As long as the rich rack up more of the gain
And taxes keep falling like drops of gold rain

And never must any unpleasantness mar
The Hamster's impression of life from afar
For like a conned rube in a sucker's bazaar
He golfs with our lives and scores way over par

To make sure that power goes straight to his head
His mothers make sure he has nothing to dread
And so keep him far from the maimed and the dead
And sing him to sleep while they tuck him in bed

And focus-group gurus more dead than alive
Who market their slogans from nine until five
Hold Switzerland parties in Davos where strive
The world's greatest wannabes swapping their jive

Where Kerry shows up just to show he's got clout
Except in the Senate where he's frozen out
Of Hillary's entourage leading the rout
Confirming Bush judges who our values flout

Whenever John thinks he just gets in a bind
Displaying to all his unknowable mind
You can just see the wheels and the gears start to grind
Like he doesn't know if he should shit or go blind

Who needs "opposition" that just wants the same
And offers excuses so long and so lame
And seeks nothing better than dodging the blame
For helping George Bush put the world to the flame?

They transmit a picture of color unmixed:
Some hypnotized white folks by bullshit transfixed
Who'll work to make sure that elections are fixed
For the man who has just their retirements deep-sixed

As Frank Luntz the "word lab" guy says for a price
Just find the right language that makes nasty nice
They won't know what hit them when you turn to vice
To rob them of not just their bowl but their rice

The people who buy into brands and their themes
Do not really notice the cattle-prod memes
That mask all the well-designed, larcenous, schemes
To rake in their cash in return for some dreams

The lonely cult-follower needs to belong
So just peddle to him a sweet siren song
Then sell him some tennis shoes: he'll go along
As long as his purchases make him feel strong

Like Pavlov with Madison Avenue's bell
Or Steve Jobs with Apple computers to sell
The geeks after buying will happily yell:
"Not just a machine, but some `way cool' as well!"

The premium profits accrue to the one
Who knows how to make eating Cheerios fun
While teaching some children to handle a gun
So they win all our battles but leave us undone

The war that he needs cannot ever conclude
For that would leave time for some thought to intrude
Which might lead to questions forthright if not rude
As to why our Stud Hamster was one stupid dude

For having no need of the wars that he ran
He felt not the slightest of needs for a plan
For didn't all things just work out for a man
Who never once paid for the fights he began?

The cool word "whatever" has such a nice ring
It covers up pretty much any damn thing
Except when subpoenas to testify wring
A croak from the stool pigeons starting to sing

But still the Stud Hamster keeps spouting his noise
He wants to remain with the rest of the boys
Who get to command foreign legions as toys
Instead of the cell that an inmate enjoys

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2006