Thursday, December 30, 2004
Conyers, a House member from Michigan, is lobbying Senators to challenge Ohio's electoral votes due to "numerous unexplained irregularities in the Ohio presidential vote, many of which appear to violate both federal and state law." This guy has some balls.
Either that or he realized a couple of things after seeing Fahrenheit 9/11, which by the way, is an excellent movie that makes a lot of really good points (I'm not going to wring my hands or pretend to wring my hands in front of the finger-wagging conservatives--Michael Moore kicks ass with some agitprop and everyone knows it and more of us lefties should be associating ourselves with him publicly rather than disassociating ourselves with him). Like for instance, he realized that he didn't look so great admitting that legislators don't really read the full text of the bills they're going to sign.
He also realized that a lot of people really sympathized with the Congressional Black Caucus when they tried to challenge the 2000 vote in Florida but couldn't because no Senator would sign. What a bunch of fucking pussies that bunch was.
Not that different now
And I hate to say it, but there're still a bunch of pussies there on the Democratic side now. You might think, well, John Kerry--the candidate himself--is a Democratic senator. Yes, indeed, but unfortunately he's also a pussy--and I say that for one reason only. And that reason is that he conceded when it wasn't clear at all that Bush had won. And he helped validate Bush's victory. Why in hell's bells he conceded I'll never know...
And please don't think that I think George W. Bush is any less of a pussy. In fact, he's more of a pussy. He wouldn't go to war himself, but he sure loves a good international conflict. He filtered his audiences on the campaign trail and made them sign loyalty oaths and what not. He is a giant, worthless pussy of a shithead and I find him a disgrace to the office of president. And I'm ashamed that he, like me, is from Texas.
So I guess we shouldn't expect much from this challenge. I'm going to predict that no Democratic senator will sign on this time either. They're all too busy trying to protect their jobs and their prestige. I bet a Senator or two, sometime in the next week or so, will publicly flirt with the idea of joining Conyers' challenge (or will leak through someone else that they're flirting with the idea), but then Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Coulter--the 4 horseshits of the apocalypse--will shout that person down with vile, baseless, ad hominem attacks and epithets and the timid Democrat(s) will be cowed into submission.
Hopefully I will be wrong...
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Why does the story always break like this? First, it's reported that a tape "believed" to have the voice of bin Laden is released. Then a couple days pass, and I guess we're all supposed to be waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not the tape is actually bin Laden. And then they always come back and say, "Yeah, it's him." Just like today.
I mean, my point is, why not just say it's definitely bin Laden when the tape is first "released." Bin Laden's got his own label, yo, and he's got to keep it fresh fo' his peeps. Again, the tapes are always confirmed to be the voice of bin Laden. I'm just wondering what sort of strategy the State Dept. or who-the-fuck-ever (in the above link, it's a "senior government official" speaking on "condition of anonymity") is in charge of releasing this information is trying to employ.
1. Fear (the waiting is the hardest part): Here's how they play this one: "Bin Laden is releasing tapes, so that means he's still out there and he's gonna getcha! But wait, he's an unreliable terrorist, we can't be 100% sure that the voice on this tape is even his. I hope the suspense doesn't kill you [wink, wink] while we try to determine if this very dangerous person is still at large and therefore a dire and immediate threat to your personal safety...Do do de do do...still running tests--it's gonna take a day or--oh wait, it is him. Be very afraid!"
2. Number one is my best, and really only, guess. I thought I had something else but forgot it while composing that little gem.
I'm not necessarily saying that the press necessarily connives to do this, but they feel like they have to go along with the game that the State Dept. or who-the-fuck-ever is playing with them. And so every single time it's like, a new OBL tape, is it him, authorities can't confirm, wait a couple days, yeah, it's him. And so the press is happy because they get a couple days of looking responsible and bringing you serious news and the State Dept. or who-the-fuck-ever is happy because they're doing their part to rattle everyone.
But it's all a bunch of bullshit.
So bin Laden is calling for a boycott of Iraqi elections. Big deal. That's within his purview. That's exactly what you'd expect him to do. But what is annoying is that now this makes it look like al Qaeda did have ties to Saddam before the war. Just to be clear, though, IRAQ AND AL QAEDA HAD NO OPERATIONAL CONNECTION BEFORE THE WAR. Maybe they do now, but this is after the fact--their current connection does not retroactively justify this godawful war we're currently in.
The Iraqi elections won't be for real anyway. Ayad Allawi will win, and if Bush doesn't let him get the job just because it's so predictable, it'll be some other American puppet who will be installed. And then we'll call it a free and clean election and keep right on killing and being killed and looking for ways to extract treasure from Iraq.
And you know, I was thinking today--it doesn't or wouldn't surprise me at all if Iraqis and Middle Easterners in general remained angry at us for a long time about our illegal invasion of Iraq. I'm still angry about it and I'm as WASP-y white bread as they come.
Take the "p" out of "pharmacy"...
Check this shit out...
As a drug company executive, I care about profits. When I was responsible for a region in Northern Europe, I doubled sales in two years by lowering drug prices, and in the process increased my company's sales ranking in Sweden from No. 19 to No. 7 in less than two years. I proved that it is possible to do good business with lower prices.
This guy is a vice-president of marketing at Pfizer...wonder if he'll be fired, killed (in an accident, of course), or given a raise as a buy-off to shut up making perfectly logical comments like these.
Because you know Big Pharma ain't gonna go out like a bitch...they gon' git they money...
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Had a good holiday...I had no idea that I would like cargo pants so much...Got a pair from my dad and thought I'd get the receipt, but then put them on when I got home and found out they kick ass! They're comfy and cool-looking--I never thought so before when I'd see them hanging on the rack...
And of course my father and I had a political discussion. We had to--he mentioned that he was offended by people saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Now if this isn't the biggest crock of shit to come along and muddy up the issues, I don't know what is.
What shocks and scares me is that someone like my father has fallen for this new conservative campaign. My father is, in a lot of ways, the smartest, most versatile person I know of. He has two master's degrees, a phD in thermodynamics, he's an excellent carpenter, he's done well with animal husbandry, he's a blueberry farmer, he has a master of divinity degree, he's spent time in Europe, Mexico, and Africa, he voted for Carter in 1980, he's for legalizing weed, he is a scientist, and on and on. But he buys into the horseshit spewed by drug addicts and sexual harrassers (Limbaugh and O'Reilly, respectively).
I told him that "Happy Holidays" is inclusive, while "Merry Christmas" is exclusive figuring that would make sense to him seeing as how the Christian thing to do is to include rather than exclude people. Acknowledging the belief systems and religious calendars of other people is not a sin, it's not wrong, it's just polite and friendly.
Oh, anyway, more on that in a minute...But I wanted to say that I was reading the Conceptual Guerilla's latest tirade--"What Do You Do With An Ugly Baby?" He does a really good job of explaining the conservative ideology and how it affects those who adhere to it and how to counteract it. Just wanted to point that out. Here's a sample passage:
You can snare a snake handler with two questions. 1. Is god omniscient -- is he everywhere? 2. Was God present when the serpent tempted Eve? He's trapped. If he says "yes," he's contradicted the account in Genesis, wherein God was absent. Conclusion: The Book of Genesis has at least one fact that is inaccurate. If he says "no," then God isn't omniscient -- contradicting a fundamental tenet of his faith. Now press him with "which one is it -- because you're wrong about one or the other?"
That's a good one, here's another that I liked because it deals with rationality vs. irrationality (which the wingnuts like to use to their advantage):
See how thorny the problems are in dealing with ideologues? You are used to thinking rationally. You may assume that other people think rationally, since you do. You view politics as a rational process, wherein differing ideas are selected on the basis of reason, evidence and common sense. Then you confront a flying monkey, and you don't what to do with him. The rules of rationality don't appear to apply to him. He is outside of your rational system. So you appear to be required to deal with him in terms of simple force -- something distasteful to you, if you are a rational human being.
Just the "Facts"...
And that's kind of what my dad and I discussed. I thought that a way we could get around talking about political issues was to talk about how we (and by extension, our fellow citizens) should talk about politics in the future. By which I mean that my father and I always end up conceding to each other that neither of us have the "facts" to back up what we're saying. That is to say, we know the facts as we see them, but we can't remember a specific book to cite right there off the top of our heads.
So I proposed that maybe we try to establish what we would use as "facts" so that our future discussions might actually be fruitful as opposed to exercises in which of us remembers our partisan screeds more completely. But when I laid out my criteria to him, he was dissatisfied with them and doubted that people such as him and me could ever really get "the facts" if there even are such things in matters of policy.
Of course my response to that was, if there are no objective facts or any objective reality, then nothing is rational and nothing makes any sense and basically anything you propose as a policy is just as good as anything else. And for that matter, why have a government or anything, if you can't ever really determine the facts?
Reason vs. Faith
I think the disagreements between my father and me come down to the age-old battle of reason vs. faith. I would argue that people need both and they are not mutually exclusive--I don't have to suspend my powers of reasoning to have faith in God and neither do I have to abandon faith in God because I think reason, as opposed to faith, should govern relations among men. And I think my father is coming to the conclusion as he ages that faith is all you can really count on. And he may be right in some sense about that. For example, everyone tries to twist "the facts" their way until you don't even know what to believe whereas your faith is your faith--it belongs to you and you don't have to justify it or subject it to the scrutiny of reason, and so in that sense, faith is all you really ever have.
But shit-a-mighty, I think we should all be able to agree that government should be run according to reason rather than faith. And forget George W. Bush--this would be true whether he was president or not. And the reason that reason is preferable is because reason requires proof. If you piss on my boots and tell me it's raining, reason tells me your piss is making me wet, not rain. I therefore know that I can't trust you.
But if I feel like I just have to "just trust our President in every decision that he makes and...just support that...and, um, be faithful in what happens," then I set myself up for being lied to. Because faith requires no proof. If people let faith rather than reason guide them in the non-religious parts of their lives, they'll find themselves being duped and taken advantage of time and again. Because what's to stop someone from taking advantage of your "faith?" Nothing, that's what.
That's exactly the problem with this country--we have too much faith in ourselves. People say, "Oh, America is the greatest country in the world--okay, we torture people from time to time, but still--the world's greatest country." Or "America--greatest country--yes, yes, there are no WMD in Iraq, but this is the greatest country."
Why not look at it like this--there is no greatest country. There are just countries and they all do some good stuff and some bad stuff. And hopefully the citizens of the countries try to keep their governments from doing too much of the bad stuff. But that whole false construction of "greatest country in the world" covers up a multitude of sins in the minds of a whole lot of people and keeps them from demanding that we do anything about our sins...
OK, I'm exhausted...gotta go to bed...
Friday, December 24, 2004
Happy holidays to regular readers...haven't kept up with the news much the past few days...did see "Napoleon Dynamite" and thought it charming...
Media Matters has a good list of the Top 10 most outrageous conservative comments...and while we're talking about Media Matters, their recent book "Mis-Stating The State Of The Union" is very informative...and cheap.
Hopefully on Jan. 3 and 6 we'll see some fireworks regarding the Ohio vote...unless the Dems chump out like they did in 2000...let's all watch C-Span those two days at least so we don't feel like dumbshits when Michael Moore includes the footage in a documentary 3 years hence (as the Majority Report's Sam Seder pointed out)...
Also, the good ol' "liberal media" is really letting Bush have it over him sanctioning torture...the Washington Post at least brought it up:
But the documents also confirm that interrogators at Guantanamo believed they were following orders from Mr. Rumsfeld. One FBI agent reported on May 10 about a conversation he had with Guantanamo's commander, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who defended the use of interrogation techniques the FBI regarded as illegal on the grounds that the military "has their marching orders from the Sec Def."
Don't these people know that Rumsfeld is a great "Sec Def" according to Bush?...
Well, try to have a Merry Christmas anyhoo...
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
So the Hattiesburg American printed my letter...all right! The more the idea of "end the war" creeps into people's consciousnesses, the better...
Saw a father of a wounded soldier on MSNBC talking about how it was a "blessing" for his son to be "given" to him twice (here's a link--this is probably the story, but I'm not sure since I didn't catch the guy's name on MSNBC)...I understand they're glad their son isn't dead, but for god's sake, he's lost both legs below the knee plus his right thumb. Even if the son makes miraculous progress in physical therapy and has a super-duper can-do attitude, it will still suck for him (the soldier) that he's an amputee with no thumb.
And I'm not sure that this soldier should be positive. Or he should be positive about the recovery part, but negative about the unnecessary war part. But these people tend to get this sort of treatment in our screwy media:
He lost both legs and a thumb fighting for our freedom in Iraq. He overcame adversity and is now the best-selling author of "Two Limbs And A Digit: An Inspiring Story Of Hope." He'll join us today for his overwhelmingly positive view on life post-amputation.
Then, when the guy is on the air, it's all positive or at least the question of why he was put in the position he was put in isn't brought up. So to the viewer/reader, the message delivered is "injured in war, now just fine...lost limbs for freedom, now just fine...war not that bad...war just fine...war causes wounds...wounds heal and are source of inspiration and book sales."
Whatever. I just thought it was a little propagandistic to show this father talking about how "blessed" he is that his son is a triple amputee (of sorts). I mean, why didn't the guy say "we're glad he's alive" or "we're glad he's still with us" or something like that. War wounds are not a blessing! They are a curse!
Again, my grandfather had a nervous breakdown in WWII. They said he was never the same. Yet my grandmother would say "I LOVE the military." That's like saying "I love prisons!" Both are necessary evils that we'd be better off without. Ugh.
So let's end the goddamn war already. I'm tired of going to Wal-Mart (yeah, I know) and having it look the PX. There're so many military people in there, and it weirds me out. I look at 'em and go--"Wonder how long he'll make it" and stuff like that. I'm tempted to go up to some of them and tell them I'm sorry that they're being shipped off to Iraq and I would like nothing more than for the war to end immediately. But I don't.
I just try not to look them in the eye.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Here's a letter on the opinion page that provoked a response from me...
I have never written anything on the Opinion page or voiced my opinion before concerning wars and conflicts. But I have read several articles about American soldiers being court-martialed for killing Iraqis. Duh! What is the point of American soldiers being over there if not to kill the enemy?Wake up, U.S. leaders and politicians who are inflicting this travesty on American soldiers. Why don't you yellow bellies in government go over there if you think you could actually do a better job?
Why not invite some more attacks on U.S. soil and kill more American citizens while you're at it.
Our soldiers face an almost impossible task because the enemy looks just like every John Doe over there. I know our weak leaders will no doubt keep on punishing soldiers who make mistakes, but they should be rewarding soldiers for killing the enemy.
Wake up, politicians, war is for killing the enemy.
Let the soldiers do their jobs and return to their families.
Wow...who does this guy like? Other than soldiers...he hates politicians because they abuse soldiers, he hates Iraqis because they keep trying to kill our guys and we can't help but kill more of them than we mean to because after all they all look exactly alike (just like the "gooks" and the "niggers"), he hates peace because instead of trying to end fighting, he wants to encourage more death.
This joker is off his friggin' rocker. He starts off with this "aw shucks/humble southerner" routine--I ain't never raised my voice about nothin'...Then he all but says the Iraqis are our enemies and deserve death, that they all look the same and "our leaders" are weak and wrong in every way. If he's talking about George W., he couldn't be more right. But I have a feeling he ain't...Then he wants soldiers to be rewarded for killing more people...I mean, should they get a trip to Cozumel for every ten "sand people" they "liberate?"
Support Our Troops?
I'm almost positive that this guy is a no-holds-barred, yellow-ribbon-magnet-sporting, SUV-piloting Bush backer, but I'm not 100% sure. The only reason I'm not sure is that he is critical of "U.S. leaders." You have to understand that people from where he's from may or may not be aware that the Republicans are in control of the entire gov't. So he may think that he's really sticking it to the liberal elite cabal without being aware that the cabal is totally sitting on the sidelines nursing its wounds.
Anyway, I'm almost certain that this guy is a hardcore "support our troops" guy. I mean, literally every other car in this area has at least one yellow ribbon magnet sticker and most usually have 3 or 4. You know, you gotta support the troops--when they shoot wounded Iraqis in the head, when they abuse prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and whatever else it is they do.
"Support the troops"--there's no qualifiers. Support them regardless of what they do. That's this guys' problem. He thinks that even if our soldiers commit atrocities and violate the laws of war, they should be allowed to get off scot free because they're Americans, damnit. Americans are only capable of doing good. Americans can never be evil.
Ugh, you get my point...I attempted several responses and this is what I eventually sent in (via email and the paper's drop box):
William R. Johnson is upset ("Let soldiers do their jobs," December 17, 2004) because he feels that soldiers should not be court-martialed for “killing the enemy.” He says that instead, soldiers should be “rewarded” for killing the “enemy,” a word he uses interchangeably with “Iraqi.”
However, he doesn’t cite a specific case of a court-martial that he thinks is unjust.
One has to assume then, that he thinks all the courts-martial he’s referring to are unjust, because after all, the cases only involve Americans heroically killing Iraqis. And killing the people we’re told we’re “liberating” is to be encouraged, because hey, what’s the point of having this awesome war if we don’t get to kill anybody, right?
I do, however, agree with Johnson that our troops should come home and the sooner the better. Rather than agitating for rewards for more death and destruction, let’s call on the President and our fellow citizens to end this illegal and immoral war immediately.
Roger Ailes is a disgusting fatso and not cause he's fat
He was on the new Q & A program on C-Span today. He said that Columbia School of Journalism's reading list is 100% anti-American. Brian Lamb asked him to clarify, and Ailes said that the books were railing against capitalism.
My point: being against the ravages of unbridled capitalism is not anti-American. In fact, Roger Ailes is anti-American precisely because he is for the ravages of unbridled capitalism (just look at the guy--he is the ravages of capitalism incarnate).
Does it say anywhere in the Constitution that the United States shall be a capitalist society and shall pursue profit above all things? No, it doesn't--therefore capitalism isn't inherently "American" and socialism isn't inherently "anti-American." Roger Ailes and Fox News and the right wing smear machine are a bunch of anti-freedom, anti-Christian, anti-American haters.
Oh, and he was really hung up on parties and restaurants (again, look at the guy--I ain't the thinnest guy on the block, but c'mon). Lamb was asking what Ailes perceived the "media establishment" to be--which Ailes implied Fox News isn't a part of--and Ailes repeatedly mentioned certain parties and restaurants that the so-called "media establishment" types go to and that's what makes them the media establishment.
And then of course, he talked about how goes to the same parties. But wants to be seen as separate from the establishment. But yet has the most popular cable news network there is. But is most definitely, absolutely not part of any media establishment. You know why? Because of parties and restaurants.
This guy is an ape and thinks everyone else is a baboon.
I missed this exchange, but it seems fairly pregnant with, shall we say, um...utter bullshit:
LAMB: How would you define journalism?
AILES: Journalism is a collection of stories, editing them and presenting them to the people in some fair manner with as many facts as you can muster to get it through to people. It’s a pretty simple craft. It’s not brain surgery. It’s simple but it’s not easy. And to do it right is hard work.
Egad...if you look at the transcript, most of the stuff I'm talking about is almost at the end...
Stuff I watched and listened to
Saw "Maria Full Of Grace" this weekend. Good movie--real insight about how poverty perpetuates the drug trade (and hot mules!). Not exactly what I expected, but that's a good thing. Also, saw "Badder Santa"--goddamn that fuckin' movie has some fuckin' cursing in it. But I liked it too.
My biggest discovery was the show "Signifcant Others" on Bravo. Friggin' hilarious!! I don't know a thing about it so I'm off to search for a website. OK...here's one. I didn't realize it was improvised...very nice.
Listened to "Sacred Steel Instrumentals" a pretty good bit. Those guys really make those steel guitars sing. I mean, every now an again, you almost can't really tell that it's not a human voice singing. Aubrey Ghent's version of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is what stands out right this second, but everything on there is worth checking out.
Also recently been digging Hawkwind. I'm really into a band like that that has a whole universe built around them. The album I liked most so far is "Hall of The Mountain Grill." Never had heard Hawkwind much and really just knew that Lemmy from Motorhead used to be in the band. But damn, they've really got some awesome space rock--the keyboards are very nice and are a high point, but frankly the songwriting is also quite good.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
In no particular order, just the ten that made the cut:
RIDE THE BLINDS Ride The Blinds
ALL NIGHT RADIO Spirit Stereo Frequency
!!! Louden Up Now
COMETS ON FIRE Blue Cathedral
HELLACOPTERS By The Grace Of God
HONEYCHURCH Makes Me Feel Better
BRIAN WILSON Smile
TED LEO + PHARMACISTS Shake The Sheets
SONIC YOUTH Sonic Nurse
The new Prince album was good, so was the new Tears For Fears. I never really listened to the Wilco. I liked Paul Westerberg's album, didn't think much of R.E.M's and only liked U2's in comparison to the one that came before. I thought The Court and Spark's album was nice and the Polyphonic Spree made a good follow up. I'd say more about each of these, but I'm short on time this evening...
Watched "Outfoxed" tonight. Very nice piece of agitprop for our team. Bill O'Reilly acknowledges telling a guest to "shut up" only "once in six years." Then footage is shown of him saying it numerous times in numerous contexts. The movie also had a good segment on the Jeremy Glick interview that O'Reilly did. I had read a lot about it but never seen it.
And that brings me to my topics for the day.
Al Franken talks about the Glick incident in "Outfoxed." Glick and Franken apparently know each other and have talked about the situation, which is that O'Reilly did several follow-ups on the Glick appearance--one the next day, one six month later, one eleven months later, and so on. In each of these follow-ups, O'Reilly distorted what Glick had actually said and demonized Glick and by extension, the antiwar position and those who hold it.
Now this is the interesting part. Franken says Glick asked if Glick had a case against O'Reilly. Franken talked to his lawyer (the same one who handled the suit that O'Reilly brought against Franken), and his lawyer said that for Glick to have a case, Glick would have to be able to prove that O'Reilly "knew he was lying" about what Glick said during Glick's appearance on the O'Reilly show.
Now I'm not a lawyer, but from what I do know of the law, the only defense against libel is the truth (my wife, who is a lawyer, confirms this). Therefore, it would seem to me that Glick would not have to prove anything about O'Reilly's state of mind to bring and/or win a suit againt O'Reilly. All one would have to do is look at transcripts of the original interview and compare it to the follow-up pieces in which O'Reilly attributed statements to Glick that he never made.
Case closed--Glick never said what O'Reilly repeatedly attributed to him after the fact.
It's not a lie if you believe it
Thus spake Costanza on "Seinfeld" in a hilarious skewering of the logic that people use to make themselves feel better about being dishonest. But I have seen that very argument used in many articles to defend or explain people's attitudes toward real-life liars--usually George W. Bush. In Lakoff's "Don't Think Of An Elephant," he
breaks it down thusly on p. 76:
Most people will grant that even if [a] statement happened to be false, if he [Bush]
believed it, wasn't trying to deceive, and was not trying to gain advantage or harm anyone, then there was no lie.
I'm not saying Lakoff is endorsing this train of thought, but some people do endorse it, like Franken's lawyer. However, this defense of lying makes the very concept of lying obsolete--if all you have to do to get off the hook when accused of lying is to say that you really believed it at the time you said it and never meant to hurt anyone, then what's the point of penalties for perjury or false advertising, etc.?
I don't know the answer (at least it's not coming to me as I've been interrupted from this writing about 10 times already and it's getting late and I've got other things I gotta get to), but the question is worth asking...it seems to me that if progressives accept this definition of lying, we are letting the Repukes get away with whatever they want.
Also in "Outfoxed," the great David Brock makes a couple of appearances. One thing he said articulated more or less what I've tried to say here in this blog a couple of times, and that has to do with objective reality, i.e., is there or is there not such a thing as global warming? Or do Bush's tax cuts help mostly the wealthy in a certain bracket or do they assist mainly the bottom income percentages?
And what he said was that Fox wants news to become only a matter of opinion, because opinions can't be proven false. So then people, like members of my family, will say that there is a conservative side and a liberal side to every issue and that neither one is necessarily right. However, that makes no sense--when you're talking about issues like global warming or tax cuts, there are scientific studies and financial balance sheets that reveal the reality of each situation.
Anyway, it's a good movie. It was $7.99 at Best Buy.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Then I'll take Eric Alterman and Thomas Frank talking to Sam Seder on the Majority Report on Air America. Just read Alterman's blog today and found something very useful--more useful than anything I've yet found in Lakoff's "Don't Think Of An Elephant" (still not finished!):
In principle, I think it’s wrong that foreign-born Americans cannot become president. I mean, who cares? Lots of people who would make great presidents were not born in the U.S. and, in principle, nobody should be penalized for where he happened to be born. A citizen is a citizen is a citizen.
On the other hand, almost everything in this country will suck a great deal more if we elect yet another Republican next time around, and Arnold’s eligibility would make that more likely. So I’m against it. Who cares about the “principle?” My acting on principle is not going to do anybody any good save the fact that I get to feel self-righteous. But reducing the likelihood of another four or eight years of Republican misrule sure will, especially to the people living on the margins, most vulnerable to the various cruelties of extremist Republican rule. To me that’s an easy choice. If you need a “principle,” to make you feel better, I chose utilitarianism. (A second argument against principle in this case is that the Republicans have none—see “Bush vs. Gore”-- and their opponents cripple themselves if they act upon theirs. But I don’t even need to go that far.)
As he points out, this is part and parcel of the Republicans' entire winning strategy: talk up the principle, then do whatever the hell you want. It's loathsome, but it's reality. We should do the same.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
This would be the denomination I'd favor...the UCC's ad was turned down by NBC and CBS and now the UCC is challenging their FCC licenses...that's the way to do it. That kicks ass. Don't back down, don't (ahem) concede. Hit 'em where it hurts...
Also, I found this intriguing for those of us down south:
The United Church of Christ was the first voice to demand that broadcasters who use the public airwaves have a responsibility to operate in the public interest. In the 1960s, the United Church of Christ earned its place in U.S. broadcasting history by successfully challenging the license of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss, for refusing to broadcast news and information about African Americans.
I did not know that...good for the UCC. I guess it paid off, as WLBT no longer has a moratorium on broadcasting info about blacks...they even have 3 blacks on-air...I guess progress does get made...it just takes a really long time.
That headline has nothing directly to do with this post, it's just a bumper sticker I thought of this morning. Hell, I'm already nervous enough about the bumper stickers I already have on the back of my car. I might not feel that way had my car not been vandalized several times during the election because of my Kerry stickers. If nothing else, Homeland Security officials can use them to take note of who they need to dispose of...
Oh well, I just wanted to write in since I've gotten a new link or two and because I do miss writing in the blog. With the election over, it feels like there's not much to work toward, but in fact the opposite is true. Started reading "Don't Think Of An Elephant" by George Lakoff. It's actually pretty perceptive, but so far, all I've been reading is how progressives/liberals can't communicate as effectively as the right.
Lakoff seems to be arguing (and I say "seems" because I haven't finished the book yet) that if progressives would only use the right words and what he calls the right "frames," we can take back America. I sure hope so, but I kind of have my doubts...and here's why.
It's said pretty well in an Arianna Huffington column that she put out a few weeks before the election. She said that the Repubes were appealing to the lizard part of peoples' brains to motivate them to vote for the Terrorist-In-Chief. Meaning of course, that their appeal was to the primitive, base part of people's psyches. And that is certainly true and that's why I fear that no amount of appeal to peoples' good sides is going to pay off for long. Because most people are intuitively racist and sexist and mean and bitter and the Repubes know that and want to use it to the fullest.
I do recommend reading the book, though, and I hope I'm convinced.
A Few Other Things
1. Can we please end this war? Not only am I getting very tired of American and Iraqi casualties, I'm sick to death of the yellow ribbon stickers and all their different varieties. The people who put these stickers on their cars mean well, but they really just demonstrate the following point...
2. Since when did being an American make you a perfect, guileless, creature of unending love and kindness? The reason I ask this is because in conversations with my parents and others,in conversations between pundits on TV, in the underlying assumptions of news stories and on and on, there is this sense that no person who is American would ever intentionally do anything wrong.
For example, the guy who killed the Iraqi with a shot to the head while the cameras were rolling is not a bad guy, he's just in the heat of battle. Yeah? How come none of the other soldiers freaked out and shot the Iraqi?
For example, how come the media, influenced by John O'Neill and his ilk, painted the soldiers in Vietnam as saintly do-gooders, when many soldiers admitted to atrocities and studies have shown that they happened?
Why does my father assume that George W. Bush is among the purest of the pure because he's the freaking President of the God-fearing nation of America when his career in oil and politics is so clearly linked to the saintly nation of Saudi Arabia?
I don't know the answer to these questions, except to say that we've developed a severe case of the "It can't happen here" syndrome. Even as American citizens are held incommunicado for months without being charged, and people are penned into "free speech" zones during important civic events, and government workers are subjected to secret background checks and fired with no explanation and no chance of appeal, or an un-elected president takes us to war on the basis of lies, we all try to comfort ourselves with the idea that it's only an anomaly, or we don't know all the facts, or that America is just not the kind of place where such things happen.
Wake The FUCK Up
Well, if you think that way, wake up, would you? You're helping to ruin it for everybody by allowing this crap to go on. Please think for yourself, please question what your preacher tells you, what your teacher tells you, what your mommy and daddy tell you, what your boss tells you and so forth.
OK, two more things...here is a list of some evil Americans to prove that just because one is a citizen of the U.S., one can still do bad things:
and so on...
Watched the History Channel specials on Ben Franklin. I didn't know he invented the glass harmonica. I didn't know he consorted with hookers and had a child with one. But most importantly, I never knew that he quit working in his early 40s because he felt he had enough money and wanted to pursue other things. That is amazing--he had sex with whores, yet he wasn't a whore himself. Also, his inventions like bifocals, the lightning rod and the Franklin stove were never patented by him--he never made a dime from exclusive rights to them. He did it just to help the world and to contribute to the ages. If that doesn't refute Bill O'Reilly in this post and vindicate what I said, I don't know what does (scroll down to "Incentive Theft")...
Friday, November 19, 2004
I'm gonna keep this short. This war needs to end. The summary executions have to be stopped. The civilan casualties have to be stopped. The endless appropriations for this conflict have to be stopped--we're paying troops to knock buildings down and then also paying for them to be rebuilt, usually so some fatcats can make a killing both on the reconstruction and on the business that goes on there afterward.
So it seems that the reason this is allowed to go on is that people are trained to assume that we have to be in Iraq. Almost every pundit show and news article and opinion piece more or less bases arguments on the supposed fact that we have to be in Iraq. In other words, they assume Iraq.
There are so many articles to link to in order to demonstrate this, so here's one I read today. It's a Slate article basically defending the soldier who shot the unarmed, wounded Iraqi.
Now, it doesn't really argue for or against our being in Iraq or anything, but I use it as an exhibit of "assuming Iraq" because, if it weren't for the fact that we're in Iraq, the article wouldn't need to be written. The poor bastard that was shot wouldn't (necessarily) be dead, and the poor bastard who shot him wouldn't have been put in that position by George W. Bush.
But the article prattles on about how saintly the U.S. military is and how the killing of the Iraqi isn't morally equivalent to the killing of Margaret Hassan as war critics might like to say. They say this is true because Hassan was never a combatant, unlike the headshot Iraqi.
What they conveniently leave out, because they assume Iraq, is that we invaded their country under false pretenses. Were the tables turned and the United States was being occupied by Iraqis, we in America would surely think that the unfortunate deaths of the combatant and Hassan were morally equivalent. Here's the interesting way the Slate authors look at it:
As it turned out, the Iraqi was entitled to mercy, but Hassan was truly innocent. There is no legitimate moral equivalence between a soldier asking for quarter and a noncombatant like Hassan.
So what the writers (two former military men wrote this article) are saying, by contrasting Hassan and the headshot Iraqi, is that the Iraqi is guilty because he fought. Well, according to this logic, the logic put forth by these writers, fighting makes you "guilty." Well, guess who the Iraqi was fighting? The Americans, who are also fighters.
So these Slate writers are doubly hypocritical in that 1)they're apologists for war crimes (just as they accuse those who would criticize our involvement in Iraq as "insurgent apologists" and 2) they're arguing that the insurgents are the guilty ones, not U.S. soldiers, while they make the implicit case that combat taints a person--but both sides are engaged in combat.
And that's what frustrates and angers me. Like I said at the beginning, we shouldn't have to be puzzling through this. We should not have gone to Iraq in the first place, we should not be there now, and we should never go back in the future unless Iraq actually does attack us.
I thought the "war on terror" was supposed to be a "new kind of war." Well, what we see on TV every night seems like the same old kind of bloody, imperialistic, nasty, unnecessary, foul, hellish business it always has been.
What We Should Have Done
Given that we've spent between $100-200 billion already on this stupid, unnecessary war and sustained thousands of casualties, we should have just given Saddam $10 billion if he would agree to move to a compound in Paris, where he would be monitored but could enjoy the billions any way he saw fit as long as he was not using it to build up armaments to attack other countries or anything else of a similar nature. Not a shot fired, not a life lost on either side. And much cheaper than what we're doing now.
Could that be construed as "rewarding" Saddam for his bad behavior? Well, I suppose one could come to that conclusion about as easily as one might conclude that going to war under false pretenses like we've done is punishing our soldiers for joining the military.
We shouldn't even have an army when we're not at war. And we should only be involved in wars of defense, yes, after we've been attacked. Sorry, Bushfucker, that's they way it works. The "pre-emptive" doctrine and the "war on terror" are designed so that we will always have wars and therefore the people will always be on edge and always ready to sacrifice liberty for security.
It's kind of like an ex-military man I might right before the start of the war said when I asked him if he thought it was a good idea to go to Iraq--he said, "Well,we've got the most powerful military in the world--it seems a shame not to use it." And I was in the company of another soldier years ago and we happened to hear the song "War" by Edwin Starr ("War/what is it good for/Absolutely nothing). The soldier said "I hate this song--if it were'nt for war, I wouldn't have a job."
And even my own dear departed grandmother once said "I love the military" as we were looking through photo albums. How she could say this after living with my grandfather in the years after his nervous breakdown during WWII after which, according to all accounts, he was never the same again.
What is wrong with people?
Friday, November 12, 2004
1. Fuck the FCC.
2. Fuck the American Family Association.
3. Fuck George Bush.
4. Fuck what Eric Alterman said today.
Fuck 'em? Why?
1. The FCC has gone from watchdog to lap dog, and now has networks afraid to show an Oscar-winning movie with Oscar-winning actors made by an Oscar-winning director about one of the most important events of the 20th century, warts and all.
2. The American Family Association is a Christo-fascist organization that promotes ignorance and despises reality. Why, they suggest, do you have to have all that swearing in a realistic war movie? Wouldn't it be just as realistic without the "'f' words" and the "'s' words?" No, it wouldn't--would the King James version of the Bible be as holy without the words "piss," "ass," "hell," and "damn?"
What these jackbooted Christian thugs are trying to do is sanitize everything to make it more acceptable somehow in their crazed fantasies of how the world ought to be. Well, when you sanitize war and try to make it acceptable, that helps--maybe just in the smallest of ways--to make war acceptable. War is failure and weakness and to try to make it an acceptable option is evil.
3. He's just as clueless, mean, and stupid as ever. I can't wait till news of his love child with Karen Hughes comes out. He constantly says the Palestinians have to "stop terror" but in the same breath says Israel has to "defend herself." He has no idea how to handle the Israel-Palestine situation.
4. Which brings us to Eric Alterman's problem with Noam Chomsky. Eric Alterman is a passionate, brilliant writer and progressive advocate whose blog I read every day. But he'll take a shot at Chomsky every now and again, saying he disagrees with almost everything Chomsky says.
Today he tried to clarify why he feels that way, but didn't really say it himself. He sent readers in search of some elusive Web data (I gave up on trying to find the "H-Diplo" discussion at that convoluted site) that Alterman said expressed how he felt about Chomsky.
Well, it seems to me that Alterman is really just trying to be iconoclastic with these sorts of assertions--taking a swipe at one of the big boys to make himself appear to be in Chomsky's league (which he is) and position himself as the cool new major alternative progressive thinker. I also think Chomsky critics like Alterman have a problem with his moral clarity in that it doesn't favor "us" over "them." In Chomsky's analysis, there is only one "us"--humanity.
Therefore, Chomsky has no problem saying that U.S. violence and/or complicity in violence against other nations is no different to other nations' violence and/or complicity in violence against the U.S. Because, frankly it isn't different. We have our reasons for bombing, they have theirs. When we bomb them, they suffer just like we suffer when they bomb us.
This is one major point of Chomsky's oeuvre (what I've consumed of it, anyway) then, as I see it:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I doubt he'd put it that way, but that's what underlies all his criticism of the U.S.--we don't do that. For example, we go to war with Saddam because he invades a sovereign nation (Kuwait, of course). The hypocritical line we take is that countries do not invade other countries without provocation. Then we do the very same thing by invading Iraq, a sovereign nation that did not provoke us. A simple yet clear and recent example.
So I don't understand why Alterman has a problem with the fact that Chomsky takes exception to the fact that we don't always follow the moral standards that we would have others follow. Except that Chomsky is Jewish and is often very critical of Israel. And apparently that's a no-no in some circles.
But Chomsky calls a terrorist act a terrorist act, no matter who commits it, and that ruffles feathers. He's just trying to get us to see ourselves for who we really are so that we can change, stop antagonizing the world, and maybe really have peace or something close.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Why oh why did you concede John Kerry
I told you not to here on this blog
that you have neither read
nor been informed of the existence of
But whether I told you or not
you should have known not to concede
you're a fighter and a "good closer"
but under a little pressure
you shut down
the FBI now says they never gave
a terror warning to Warren County, Ohio
whose election officials barred reporters from the counting areas
and all the talking heads
say this story and others like it
would be pursued much harder
had you not conceded
will we ever know whether Ohio's 20
should be subtracted from Bush leaving him with 266
and added to you
giving you a winning total of 272
will you at least make a statement
OK...enough of that. I meant to do my election post-mortem the day after the election in this space, but I was sick. Literally. Diarrhea and nausea and exhaustion.
So here's a really capsulated version.
2004 Post Mortem
How could Kerry have lost?
-He won the debates
-He was endorsed by more papers and even papers that endorsed Bush last time
-Omens like the Redskins loss and the Red Sox win were in his favor
-There were no WMD, but thousands of Americans have been killed or wounded “looking” for them, not to mention the number of Iraqis killed or wounded
-And so on...
Oh, wait, here's a couple reasons why he "lost" (if he did in fact lose)...
1. He tried the “centrist”, triangulating position—i.e., supporting the war but not really.
2. Bush timed the war (or drug it out, as in the case of not “really” assaulting Fallujah until after election) to coincide with election, obviously knowing that no president has been turned out of office in wartime.
3. Kerry never really refuted Swift Boat attacks. Big mistake.
Kerry should have fought for Ohio in the courts. That’s the Democrats for you—they’ll fold as soon as the heat is on for fear of looking inappropriate. Republicans know that most people will forget any appearance of impropriety soon enough. So they fight dirty, tooth and nail. They expect behavior from others that they themselves would not provide for others.
So what now?
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
On Wednesday morning, George W. Bush will have to start packing his bags, shredding documents and planning pardons, 'cause he's going down!!
Why this is so:
1. Gore had 100,00 times the votes that Bush "won" by in 2000--537. So that's already more popular votes to begin with. Add to that the disaffected Republicans like Andrew Sullivan and Nader voters like my wife and me, and you've got a lot more than a 537,000 (give or take) vote margin.
2. The Packers beat the Redskins. I went to college with Brett Favre, who I'm sure wants Bush to win, but oh well. Maybe he should've taken it easy on the 'Skins. I'm no sports fan, but apparently this has correctly predicted the winner since 1936.
3. The millions of new registrants are likely inspired more by wanting to change the status quo (i.e., remove Bush) than by wanting to maintain it.
4. Record turnouts are predicted and turnout helps the challenger, they say.
5. With increasing numbers of people not maintaining land-line phone service, the polls don't necessarily reflect the real attitudes of potential voters because pollsters don't call cell phones.
6. Zogby says he'll win.
7. Florida Democrats are fucking pissed about the 2000 election.
And so forth.
Dirty Tricks and Theft
Hopefully the dirty tricks by the Repukes will be kept to a minimum, but even if they aren't and they really get in gear to steal this thing, Kerry and the liberals won't roll over and play nice like they did in 2000. What happened there of course, was that liberals generally assume that people are rational and reasonable and want to get along with others. Therefore, Democrats in 2000 were willing to say, "Look, this thing was close, we had the Presidency for eight years, our guy did concede and then rescind his concession--we'll just go along with Bush. His rhetoric wasn't over the top and he's known for bipartisanship and moderation. How bad could it be?"
Well, we now know to what lengths these Repukes will go. Give 'em an inch and they'll steal a thousand miles. So we can't just roll over and try to be reasonable this time if they try to steal it. And they probably will--Bush and his people are so dead set on him having a second term and not being a one-termer like dear old Daddy.
Christians For Kerry
Saw a guy at Blockbuster this evening with a "Christians For Kerry" shirt he'd had made. He and his friend had been going door to door soliciting votes and thought such shirts would be a nice touch. On the back was a quote from Garrison Keillor: "Bush doesn't own Jesus."
I'm so nervous and jumpy about tomorrow--I hope I can sleep. Kerry on, my wayward son.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Stapling the signs high up on a tree seemed to work, as the sign in the ground was stolen (as usual), but the Kerry sign in the tree stayed through the night!!! I'm finally winning my war on the Bush terrorist thugs that roam these parts...
What "Librul" Media
Not much to say...still just ready for the election to get here...Was it last night or no, I think it was early this morning on MSNBC where they played a Brian-Williams-hosted Kerry special about Vietnam. I didn't see most of it, but from what I saw (toward the end), it wasn't exactly flattering but it wasn't a condemnation either.
Which is fine, except that the Bush piece they played immediately afterward was part of their "Headliners and Legends" series, and it started off as a gigantic Bush puff piece--i.e., extremely flattering.
But I guess that's the liberal media for ya...always beating up on the conservatives...it's a real travesty.
Kerry Was In Vietnam
And the five minutes of "Meet The Press" I watched was infuriating. I saw Giuliani call Kerry "anti-military." To his credit, Russert did point out that Kerry was in combat, while Bush escaped in the National Guard, Cheney didn't serve at all, and neither did Rude-y. But as per usual, he didn't say "You're right Tim. Maybe that remark was a little out of line. It is rather inappropriate for me to apply the word 'anti-military' to a decorated Vietnam vet, especially since I've never served."
No, Rude-ass just kept on with his lateral lisp and his eyelid-straining, looking (and being) deranged as he pointed out what a jerk was when Kerry came back from the war. That's what the Repukes want Iraq vets to know--as long as you don't tell the truth about what you experienced during your time in harm's way, we won't smear you. But the second you point out how there were no WMD and go all John Kerry on us, you're fucked, soldier.
O'Neill Wants To Die
Then later in the day I'm watching more BookTV and see Doug Brinkley ably defending Kerry and explaining "Tour Of Duty." Of course, in the interest of "balance," Lamb wraps up with Brinkley then shows an appearance of O'Neill at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. O'Neill talked so fast and in such an uninspiring monotone that you could easily see how he's lost his soul.
My God, he's so whiny. What sour grapes coming from this guy. He's told these stories a thousand times and can't for the life of him understand why it's not making the 51% of the country that will elect John Kerry fall prostrate before Bush. It's pathetic to watch him, actually. He's on the wrong side of history but just can't admit it to himself.
He is actually very smart, but he's so angry that Kerry is tall, thin, rich, famous and about to be elected President--Kerry is everything O'Neill is not. But, O'Neill whines, Kerry was only in combat for 4 months! I was in combat so much longer! I should be the famous good-looking presidential candidate!
Aw, boo-hoo ya porky black-souled tool...Dry up and try to think straight. You know this guy is just wishing for death so he won't feel compelled to have to talk about John Kerry all the time. I mean, O'Neill probably feels slighted because Kerry once rebuffed O'Neill's sexual advances. Come on, for someone who doesn't like John Kerry, O'Neill sure talks about him a lot. I think someone's got a widdle kwush and doesn't feel wuvved...
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Got up and took my son around town with me...got the Wired magazine Creative Commons CD. I first heard about the CD when I saw it available for download as mp3s. But since I don't really have the proper software to edit mp3s, I figured I needed to buy the CD for wav files. I'm listening to it right now. I really like the My Morning Jacket tune. That's as far as I've gotten. It would have been more helpful if they had provided the elements of the tunes instead of just the tune itself. But this is a step in the right direction...even Hilary Rosen is warming up to the idea of Creative Commons...
Hilary Rosen a Dem? Who Knew?
And speaking of Hilary Rosen, I saw her on Hardball (I think) as a Democratic surrogate...all during the Napster/RIAA face-off, I had her pegged as a corporatist Republican fascist whoremonger--but she is gay. So I guess she doesn't totally try to sell herself out.
Beinart v. Coulter-No Contest
Watched BookTV a little this afternoon...saw the Beinart/Coulter debate from Oct. 17. Boy did Beinart kick Coulter's ass...He made his points with facts and figures, she had very few facts and figures and relied instead on sarcastic, flippant remarks to appeal to the few righties in the audience...Apparently, that's how the right-wing communicates to its own--they don't communicate with facts and figures, but rather with attitude and tone of voice. Perhaps that's why right-wing radio is so popular--because it's mindless and there's plenty of attitude.
Wal Mart and the Rebel Flag
Went to Wal-Mart--yes, MS is the red state to end all red states...saw lots of soon-to-be-deployed military types. Didn't really get hassled even though I was wearing a Kerry shirt. Speaking of that, hopefully we've solved our sign theft problem--we got a ladder and stapled the signs high up on some trees in our yard. I guess we'll find out tonight.
Speaking of signs, I keep meaning to take a picture of the house a few streets over that features a Confederate flag (not the state flag, but the full-fledged rebel flag) flying from the roof and not one, not two, but three Bush/Cheney signs out front...somehow it says it all.
Friday, October 29, 2004
I'm sleepy...I have P.E.A.D...every time I think about the election, my heart races and I get butterflies in my stomach...
I want to do something...My wife and I have donated money to the Democratic party for the first time in our lives...we've had yard signs and stickers from the minute Kerry became the de facto nominee...but I want to do more...
BUT...never fear...Kerry will get the most votes--without a doubt! Zogby even says he'll win...
Say what you will about Osama...but he makes sense. For example:
"Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you, and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened [on 9/11]," he says.Well, he's right about that. He made fun of Bush listening to a goat story rather than leaping to action to protect the U.S. To wit:
“It appeared to him that a little girl’s talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thank God.”Oh snap! When a godless terrorist is scoring points off of you, you know you're bound to lose!
Let's see, what else did he say? Oh, he once again said that we should stop knee-jerk support of Israel:
“God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind,” he says.Is that such a bad idea, after all, to jerk Israel's leash and give some solace to the Palestinians? Don't say it's a bad idea just because it's what Osama wants. If we could be seen as being even-handed, many of our terrorist problems would end.
But that's not going to happen any time soon...so the terrorist wolves will keep lurking in the forest...
Who's The Terrorist Now?
Okay, so everyone agrees bin Laden is a terrorist--to us. We say that because bin Laden masterminded the death of 3,000 U.S. civilians, among other acts. George Bush facilitated the deaths of at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly women and children. But half of Americans have another name for our homegrown, office-holding terrorists: Mr. President.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
How's this for a shock?
The first scientific study of the human cost of the Iraq war suggests that at least 100,000 civilians have lost their lives since their country was invaded in March 2003.I heard this for the first time on Mike Malloy's Air America show. He went into a searing tirade against Bush and people who support him. It was really good, talking about how these innocent civilians' blood is on his hands and my hands and your hands. He asked Jesus if it was enough dead bodies to bring him back and save us from Bush, "the giggling killer."
And then this next part:
More than half of those who died were women and children killed in air strikes, researchers say.How Can You Still Vote Bush?
So do Bush voters just look at these statistics and just go "La di la?" Can they still honestly say and truly believe in their hearts the "Bush is a good Christian leader?" If such carnage is the work of good Christian leaders, then I want nothing to do with good Christian leaders.
These Iraqi deaths are ten times the combined casualties of all "coalition forces." This is 9/11 times 33!! Here's what our conservative Christians say to justify this: "The terrorists killed 3,000 innocent civilians on September the eleventh." Here's what the Bible says:
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Well, now we've killed at least 100,000 civilians. Who live in a country that never attacked us. A country that had no WMD, no connections to al Qaeda, no nothing. So are we even yet?
Saddam Hussein, ironically, is still alive. Oh well, you have to break tens of thousands of Iraqi eggs to make a Saddam omelet.
Bush started this unnecessary, illegal, immoral war. I know very well that John Kerry voted for the resolution that gave Bush the authority to use force if all other options were exhausted, which they weren't. Kerry didn't want the war, but he didn't want the U.S. to be threatened by Iraqi WMD either. That's why he walked a fine line, saying "I'll support you Bush, but only after every peaceful alternative has been exhausted." Which did not happen. Kerry is absolutely right--Bush rushed to war.
So Mike Malloy is exactly right. Bush is a giggling killer. He should be impeached, removed, and imprisoned for this. Forget everything else. For the Iraq war alone he should be severely called to account. Yet half of America, and especially the ones that see themselves as the most religious, are still behind this man. What will it take to get them to see Bush for what he is? What is it going to take?
Had another Kerry sign stolen out of the yard tonight--between 10 and 11 p.m. And no one else's was stolen on our block or in our neighborhood. Hmmm...maybe it was the guys that were standing out in front of the house across the street when my wife returned from Walgreen's...
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
I've been saying that Kerry will get the most votes for some time now. But that has of course stopped just short of saying he will win the election (because Gore got the most votes last time and didn't "win"). Don Imus has no such qualms and this morning said that Kerry will undoubtedly win.
I sure as hell hope he's (we're) right...Kerry won the MTV "pre-lection" and almost everyone at Slate is going to or already has voted for him.
I'm no fan of Eminem (he scowls too much and his music doesn't really do anything for me), but his new anti-Bush video "Mosh" is worth checking out...
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I was asked last night by a sales clerk why I was voting for Kerry. I had intended to write about this a while ago but never did. And now that the election is only a week away, I’m not sure it matters that much. But I want to do it anyway, because the quickest thing I could come up with last night was “Because he didn’t lie us into a war with Iraq.” Not that it really mattered if I had a convincing argument in this particular encounter–the clerk was not registered to vote.
The Reasons Bush Must Go
1. Bush isn’t really the President. He lost the popular vote in 2000 but won Bush v. Gore which stopped the counting of votes in Florida. So he “won” by having vote-counting stopped.
2. And despite the circumstances of his ascension to power, he proceeded to govern as though he’d won by a landslide.
3. During his time in office, the country has experienced the worst job loss since Herbert Hoover.
During the Clinton years, job growth averaged 239,000 jobs per month but in Bush’s first 2 ½ years, jobs decreased by an average of 69,000 per month.
4. His precious and gigantic tax cuts ate up the record surplus and turned it into a record deficit.
5. He ignored very clear warnings about terrorists wanting to attack inside the U.S. and failed to prevent 9/11.
6. He then used 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, greatly exaggerating the severity of the threat Iraq posed to the U.S. Which is to say, Iraq threatened the U.S. not at all and had no WMD, a fact the Bush administration was aware of before the invasion.
7. The USA Patriot Act.
8. The fact that he’s a spoiled rich kid whose father was president and that he ascended to the presidency despite losing the election makes everything he says and does that much harder to take.
9. He avoided combat service during Vietnam then stands and refuses to condemn those who viciously attack his opponents who were in combat (i.e., McCain, Kerry).
10. He thinks God wants him in power.
11. He supports an amendment to the constitution that would outlaw gay marriage.
12. He says he doesn’t read the news and acts as though he has all the answers.
13. The number of people living in poverty and without health insurance has steadily risen every year Bush has been in office.
Why I Will Vote For John Kerry
1. He has dedicated his whole adult life to public service.
2. He has experienced combat (not that I think this is a requirement in a president, but it doesn’t hurt).
3. He is genuinely thoughtful, articulate, compassionate, and intelligent.
4. He is a published author.
5. He is a serious individual who tries to see all sides to a problem.
7. His actions helped bring about an end to the Vietnam War.
8. He won’t privatize Social Security and won’t appoint any Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
9. He will bring allies to the table in the “war on terror” instead of going it alone and alienating the rest of the world.
10. He will close tax incentives that encourage businesses to outsource jobs to foreign countries.
11. He acknowledges that the situation in Iraq is not good and that the deficit is a problem rather than insisting that all is well like Bush does.
12. He will govern with moderation and make decisions in deliberate manner after discovering all the relevant facts, rather than wanting an outcome and skewing or obscuring the available facts to achieve that outcome.
I would like to link to all this stuff, but it's late and I'm tired. A lot of the anti-Bush stuff can be found in "The Book On Bush," a great resource. Some of the other stuff is just taking Kerry at his word, but as of this writing I have no reason not to do so.
Also, I will be tempted to add to the list as the week goes by.
Weekend before last, I had Kerry signs stolen out of my yard on Friday and Saturday nights. I followed the bastards on Saturday night and got a license plate number, but the cops didn't do anything. I had another sign stolen during the next week. I've got another one up now and keep peeking out my window to see if the terrorist thugs are coming back.
This is my first entry in 20 days...I actually composed at least one other entry but never got a chance to put it up...such is life with a 10-month-old.
And today is my 8th wedding anniversary!
Anyway, I'm going to make this one brief because this computer is acting screwy and I don't want to do a long post only to lose it due to computer malfunction...
Discovered a blog I really like a lot....americablog...
Mike Malloy talked about the Stanley Hilton 9/11 suit against Bush and Rumsfeld, et.al. I thought that lent it a little validity. I first heard about it from Alex Jones, who I enjoy but feel that he's a little wacko. Or maybe he's telling the unvarnished truth. I can't quite tell.
Actually now that I think about it, I first heard about the 9/11 suit from a caller to Malloy's program. Malloy must have checked out the site too...he didn't really know what to make of it either...
This Ashlee Simpson video edit is hilarious as is this Florida E-voting Video...
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
On msnbc.com, this bewildering sentence appears:
The inspector's report could boost Kerry's contention that Bush rushed to war based on faulty intelligence and that sanctions and U.N. weapons inspectors should have been given more time.
It could boost Kerry's contention? It goes way beyond that...it proves Kerry's point. Listen, Georgie, that sound of locked-up, grinding gears is the sound of your outmoded F-102 of a chance of a second term flaming to earth where it will be grounded forever...
Mutually Assured Destruction
I mean, c'mon. If this latest report from the top weapons inspector doesn't change things in Kerry's favor, what the hell will? It's also somewhat suspicious that this report was released after the presidential debate on foreign policy instead of right before or the day of. You mean to tell me that they didn't already have this information last Thursday? Please...
So tonight Joe Lockhart will be laughing in Ben Ginsberg's face on Hardball, but Ginsberg will point out that the report says Saddam was still a threat because he had the intention of getting WMD. However, civilized and rational people understand full well that all national leaders want to have the best available weapons to achieve their ends, nefarious or otherwise. If they don't, they're not very good leaders. And since this is true, this means that Saddam was no special threat, especially not to the U.S. But Bush and his minions will scream mindlessly "Saddam was a threat! That's why we had to invade!"
But what of North Korea, who instead of denying that they have nuclear weapons or want to acquire more nuclear weapons, come right out and say they have them. Why haven't we invaded them, Republican talking-point parrots? Not that I'm in favor of invading more countries.
This Week's Letter To The Editor
I sent this one to several Mississippi papers rather than just my hometown paper:
Come now, Mr. Cheney. Do you really expect us to believe that John Edwards, the man who will replace you, has such a poor Senate attendance record that you have never met him until the night of the vice-presidential debate? Or do you
just suffer from the same affliction as "Mr. Short-Term Memory," the character
portrayed by Tom Hanks on "Saturday Night Live"? Do you honestly not remember
addressing Sen. Edwards by name at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2001? Or do
you take the American public for fools?
It must be the latter, because you also denied having said in the past that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda. Did you really expect the public to believe that whopper when in fact, you said that very thing on June 14 of this year in Florida at a reception for the James Madison Institute (to cite but just one occasion)? Are you not aware that your public statements are recorded in full at the website whitehouse.gov and
countless other places online?
Did you bother to read or even be briefed on the 9/11 Commission report, which stated flatly that there was no "collaborative operational relationship" between Saddam and al Qaeda? Even if you somehow were oblivious to the 9/11 Commission report, your administration's own Secretary of Defense recently said: "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two."
Come now, Mr. Cheney. The American people are not fools, don't take kindly to being misled, and will have the good sense to retire you and your running mate this November 2.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
According to most punditry I've seen post Edwards/Cheney debate, Cheney won. That's that damn liberal media you've heard so much about--they're always pulling for the liberal, Democratic candidate and declaring them the winner of debates. Yeah, right.
Well anyway, Edwards won because he has more energy, charisma, virility, charm, and downright sex appeal. He's also right on the issues (except that part about submitting malpractice suits to a board to see if they're worthy of going to trial), and Dick Cheney is a liar. And I quote:
(VP debate, 10-5-04): The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested
there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established
Iraqi track record with terror.
(Orlando, FL 6-14-04):In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was in power,overseeing one of the bloodiest regimes of the 20th century. He had started two wars [not unlike G.W.B.] -- produced and used weapons of mass destruction against Iran and the Kurds, and was in repeated violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. He was a patron of terrorism -- paying $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers in Israel, and providing safe-haven and support for such terrorist groups as Abu Nidal and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He had long established ties with al Qaeda.
And as Chris Matthews berated Ben Ginsberg, that argument is the crux of the biscuit--if there was an Iraq/Al Qaeda connection, the Iraq war would be much easier to justify. Ginsberg tried to insinuate yet again that the 9/11 Commission report hinted at an Iraq/Al Qaeda connection, but Matthews corrected him and shamed him. Good! But the problem for Bush/Cheney is that there was no connection, and even Donald Rumsfeld said as much yesterday:
Asked to describe the connection between the Iraqi leader and the al-Qaida terror network at an appearance Monday at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pentagon chief first refused to answer, then said: ''To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two.''
That's the Bush/Cheney strategy: obfuscate and fudge the truth as often as possible. Cheney tried to do it again, and Edwards called him on it sharply and precisely. So therefore, since Edwards is on the right side of the issues and didn't lead our troops into an unnecessary, illegal war on bad information and then lie about it, he won this debate and wins every debate.
Bought the DVD today. The clerk asked us if it was "funny" and said she'd never heard of it before but that a lot of people had come in to buy it. Watching Bush's 7 Minute Gap at the Booker school, I was reminded of his performance in last Thursday's debate--just kind of clueless, lots of blinking and lip-tightening. He's on the way out. Kerry will get the most votes--no question about it.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
John Kerry kicked Bush's ass in this debate. No question about it. On style, substance, composure, grasp of the issues, and whatever else you can think of, Kerry won hands down. Any rational person can see that.
From the first moment Bush was on edge--he jerked his hand away from Kerry in the greeting handshake. Bush spoke haltingly and repeated phrases over and over even when they had no relevance to the question asked. He seemed irritated and his face showed it--he frequently furrowed his brow (it reminded me of Michelle Malkin) and his lips and eyes twitched quite a bit. He sputtered through non-answers and sounded nervous throughout the entire ordeal.
By contrast, Kerry was authoritative and calm. He definitely benefitted from the side-by-side comparison the debate gave him. Just as Bush tried to inject his new propaganda phrase "mixed messages" into the public discourse (a cause in which he will be ably abetted by the likes of Chris Matthews), Kerry had some great lines as well, i.e.,
"Don't confuse the war with the warriors"--a great line that dovetails nicely with his experience in Vietnam
"I've had one position on Iraq: Saddam had to be disarmed, and there was a right way and a wrong way to do that. The president chose the wrong way." Very nice--succinct, forceful, presidential.
So the pundits said before the debate that the winner of the first debate will be the winner of the election. Therefore, Kerry will win the election. But we knew that already. But there could still be spin that we're not expecting, like this Newsmax article that whines that moderator Lehrer favored Kerry with his questions.
However, even if that were true, Bush was very pushy and violated the rules of the debate. When Kerry would finish a point, Bush began to just start trying to refute it. He didn't ask the moderator for permission (OK, the first time or two he did), he just harrumphed and started whining.
Kerry, on the other hand, raised his hand twice attempting to ask for one of Lehrer's extensions and was ignored both times. Kerry was being polite and following the rules, Bush was being pushy.
Bush also seemed to think that if you talk louder, it makes what you say more believable. I must say, Bush didn't come off like a bad person, he just came off like an imbecile who shouldn't be president. And I don't mean that in a bad way--I'm an imbecile who shouldn't be president.
But Kerry is not an imbecile and he should be and will be our next president.
Oh, and one other spin I heard the right wing try to trot out--Bush spoke from the heart and just let people see how he truly is while Kerry brought out facts and figures and was all formal and stuffy. Bullshit--anybody who saw the debate knows that pure bullshit.
Monday, September 27, 2004
I answered the phone even though the Caller ID said "out of area." Turns out it was a woman from "ICR"--International Communications Research.
I thought it might be a survey about the election once she assured me that she wasn't making a sales call. However, she started off with questions about whether I had a)taken on a lot of debt, b) taken on a little debt, c) paid off a little debt, or d)paid off a lot of debt. And then more debt questions. And then age range questions. Then health insurance questions. Then lifestyle questions.
Then, finally--who would you vote for, Kerry or Bush? I said "Kerry, baby! Now go put that on CNN!"
Then there were a whole bunch of follow-up questions, among them, what is my preference of copying machine in the office in which I work, etc. She asked a few more election/policy-related questions, like did I agree with the abolition of the inheritance tax (no) or what do I see as the biggest problem in the country (job market, health care cost, war in Iraq, etc.)
Anyway, I've never been polled before for an election. And I've never heard of ICR before. Hopefully the survey will serve some good purpose.
My interview with Thomas Frank went well and will hopefully air on Friday...
Monday, September 20, 2004
Well well...they made Dan cave...you know the only reason this stupid CBS memo story is getting so much play is due to schadenfreude...
The other networks and news organizations are pissing themselves with glee because at least for this one shining moment they can tell themselves "Hey, at least we're not as bad as CBS!" Then they can have a giant porcine laugh and go back to ignoring important stories...
Like the one that came out on Friday, about the Navy's internal investigation into the issuing of John Kerry's medals. Here's what they found:
"Our examination found that existing documentation regarding the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals indicates the awards approval process was properly followed," Route wrote in the memo sent Friday to Navy Secretary Gordon England.
Not that anyone ever questioned the validity of Kerry's medals...except creepy liars who want to pretend they're "saving the country" from Kerry when all they're doing is helping to put more young people into the meat grinder of the "war on terror." Don't they fucking get it? These Vietnam veterans are helping a man who has started his own Vietnam--a pointless, misguided, catastrophic miscalculation--for today's kids.
It's almost as if the thoroughly discredited Swift Boat Devils are saying to today's armed forces--"Hey, we had to fight in a war that did nothing but tear our country apart and maim and kill us and our friends--so now it's your turn." What bitter, evil bums these anti-men are...they are soulless sellouts who would rather pay a few dollars less in taxes than let Iraqis and Americans live in peace because these Swift Boat Assholes are fervently working to get Bush a second term...
But I Digress
But I was saying--I didn't hear about the Navy revalidating Kerry's medals until today on Media Matters' website. I even read the fucking news off the AP wire all day today and Friday and never saw a mention of it.
What the hell is going on here that Dan Rather has to eat crow over some faked documents that don't even really add anything to the story about Bush wimping out on his guard service while nobody reports the story about Kerry's medals being for real?
Long Story Short:
Kerry--decorated Vietnam veteran
Bush--AWOL from National Guard
What the fuck?
Sunday, September 19, 2004
How do the Rape-ublicans get gays to go along with them? Is it sort of the Michelle Malkin syndrome--have the person pimping against a cause be the kind of person who would be hurt by it?
So David Dreier is gay...I hate to say it, but I had no idea. He really is a slick politician--his confident, party-line-toeing appearances on "Hardball" always annoyed me, but you have to admit the guy comes across as charming, knowledgable, and highly partisan. It's just so great that Mr. California Republican has been outed. But will this make Republicans see how disgraceful their party is? Of course not.
Michelle Malkin Blows
Speaking of disgraceful Republicans, Michelle Malkin's appearance on BookTV today was awesome...protestors outside the building caused quite a stir...the best question from the audience was "In the unlikely event that the U.S. goes to war with the Philippines, would you advocate rounding up and imprisoning Filipino-Americans (which is what Malkin is)?"
She wrinkled her brow in that way that she does quite often that makes her come off as really angry and sarcastically said "Yeah, if the 9/11 hijackers had been short Filipino women, then I'd volunteer..." or something to that effect. As if the question was so outrageous that it isn't even worth considering. Then she continued with a sarcastic, dismissive "PLEASE!! That is so ridiculous!"
Except that that question goes directly to the heart of what is wrong with her argument and what was wrong with the Japanese internment in the first place. And her argument is, OTHER people are bad and should be hounded by the police and locked up and beaten and interrogated. But when she is asked to consider a hypothetical situation in which she would be seen as the "other," it's absurd, impossible, and not worth a moment's consideration.
And what was wrong with the Japanese internment in the first place? Malkin cited the existence of many Japanese double agents working in America, and yada, yada, yada. Were there no German double agents or Italian double agents? We declared war on those countries as well--why didn't we imprison all the German and Italian immigrants?
Well, the obvious answer is because German and Italian immigrants are white (or could pass) while Japanese immigrants are very noticeably different and it allowed the government at the time to say, "Look, we're doing everything to protect you" even though they were rounding up the German and Italian double agents. That's the problem--Malkin's argument is based solely on race/ethnicity. She also blew off a question about Timothy McVeigh and why radical whites weren't rounded up after Oklahoma City.
Malkin and Dowd and "Civil Rights Absolutists"
Anyway, Malkin is also laughable because she wants to be Maureen Dowd so badly that Malkin brought Dowd's name up time after time. Everything bad in Malkin's world seems to come from Maureen Dowd. She's kinda like Jan Brady--it's always "Maureen, Maureen, Maureen!"
Malkin just needs to break down and ask Dowd out. Enough of this stalking Michelle! Just let Maureen know how you really feel...
Oh yeah, and everything bad not spewing forth from Maureen Dowd (which granted, is almost everything) comes from the ACLU. Malkin disparaged "civil rights absolutists" a few times during her talk, with her commentary adopting a leftist feel--talking about how kids aren't taught the real truth in school (about Japanese internment) and how she has "unpopular ideas" and how you'd think at Berkeley they'd understand what a "liberal education" was all about.
But isn't America founded on "civil rights absolutism?" I mean rhetorically, of course, given that the poor, women, slaves, etc. didn't have the same civil rights as rich white men for hundreds of years. But in principle--"all men are created equal," "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, etc.--aren't those indicative of a strong commitment to civil liberties? The right to be free from unreasonable searches, the right to a speedy trial, the right to not have to testify against yourself, the right to not have to endure cruel and unusual punishment--don't these all suggest "absolutes" of civil liberties?
And people like Malkin and crazy right-wingers who suggest that in "this post-September 11 world" we'll all have to sacrifice some of our civil liberties are the real enemy. They would rather that this country go on intimidating the world, pre-emptively starting wars at our whim, and taking what we want when we want it from anyone in the world. These policies are why Sept. 11 happened in the first place, and don't let anyone tell you any different.
But rather than address these root causes (which are but a few), she'd rather deny U.S. citizens their rights to allow the corporatists to ravage the rest of the world when maybe a better thing for everybody would be to change our foreign policy so that people in other countries have no motivation to attack us, and then no one would have to try to curtail anyone's civil rights.