Tuesday, August 31, 2004

WAR IS PEACE, HATE IS COMPASSION, AND SO ON a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself…

So today’s Republican message at the convention (or as Air America is calling it--the "Republican National Debacle") is “compassion.” I don’t know if I’ve written about this yet or not on this blog, but here goes. As a general rule, whenever people have to spell out something and repeat it over and over, the truth is the opposite of what they’re saying.

Example: “Fox News, fair and balanced.” This slogan doesn’t come up every hour or so in just a quick graphic with some hip music in the background, like a mandatory FCC ID. No, they beat you over the head with it--every host or newsreader says it going out of every segment into commercial on top of the ID every hour. They all say they are "fair and balanced" several times during a given program.

Therefore, it is not true.

CNN is not quite as bad, but their slogan is “CNN: The most trusted name in news.” Says who? The fact that they try to make trustworthiness part of their marketing identity lets me (and now you) know that they aren’t trustworthy at all. I mean, news networks are by definition supposed to be fair and balanced and trustworthy, and for these organizations to take pains to paint themselves that way is precisely because they’re aware of one or both of two things: 1) they know they don’t live up to those qualities, or 2) they’ve been told they don’t live up to those qualities.

One more example: Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. I mean, that's so laughably transparent that it's not even worth discussing.

Compassionate Conser-fascism

And that brings me to my point. The same principle holds true for political parties, especially the Republicans. Tonight’s theme is “compassion” and all the pundits are speaking warmly and wistfully of the days of yore four years ago when Bush used that slogan to great effect and assure us yokels that he really means it.

So what tonight is really about is getting away with ripping people off. Tonight is supposed to provide cover for illegal, immoral pre-emptive wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, anti-labor deregulation, the decline in the ranks of the insured, and the increase in those living in poverty. Us rubes are supposed to be just out of it enough that all we remember is to connect three things: 1) G. W. Bush 2) the term "conservative" and 3) compassion.

When your job gets shipped overseas, just thank sweet Jesus that our president is a compassionate conservative.

When you're lucky enough to get a job in fast-food manufacturing and can't afford health insurance or even prescription drugs for your family, thank our Lord in heaven that we don't have a liberal, abortionist wacko for a president. No, no we have the great George W. Bush, and why, he's a compassionate conservative.

When you finally break down after years of slipping on stray grease at Whataburger and can't work anymore because your back "done give out" but no disability checks are available because we "can't afford" to give health care to every American because we're spending our billions in a "war on terror" that even the president doesn't think we can win after antagonizing the "evil ones" to begin with. But you know what? You'll have a good ol' compassionate conservative running our country. Straight into the ground.

But I Digress...

As I was saying, look for Bush to do the opposite of what he says he's doing. He says he's protecting us from terror, meanwhile our antagonization of Iraq has only brought terrorists to Iraq that weren't there to begin with and helped radicalize young Muslims to consider giving terrorism a try.

Again--Bush generally does the opposite of what he says he's doing. That is, unless he's promising his big donors that he will provide them "relief" from "excessive" regulation and "burdensome" taxation.

Senator Tom Harkin said it well in this piece, to which I've already linked above:

To understand what the Bush administration is really up to, it pays to watch what it does, not what it says.

What happened on "Hardball"?

I was half-watching the lame "Hardball" from today, but I happened to look up right as someone was being tackled onscreen and then Matthews later referred to someone trying to attack him. Someone hip me to what happened...

Ride The Blinds

Heard a kickass new band at the end of last week. They're called Ride The Blinds and they're from California. I wrote them an email to tell them how much I dug their record, and I came up with the only comparison that springs to mind right now--like Jimmy Page playing with the Dexateens.

And thanks, Democratic Underground, for linking to me!!!

Monday, August 30, 2004

"I DON'T THINK YOU CAN WIN IT" a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

Bush said today that he doesn't think we can "win" the "war on terror." Well--no shit, Sherlock.
Then even more amazingly, Wesley Clark argues that we can "win" the "war on terror." He said "I believe this war is winnable -- we won the Cold War," he said.

Jesus H. Christ, how are we in this mess? Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com has it right--9/11 must have ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and hurled us into a bizarro world where up is down, down is up, Democrats are pro-war, and Republican generals are going Democrat(which I guess makes sense if the Democrats are now pro-war).

None of this makes a bit of sense--Bush says we can't win but still must fight, Democrats say we can too win and therefore still must fight. When can we stop fighting, for fuck's sake? Not until we change our belligerent, hypocritical foreign policy, that's when. Charley Reese, as usual, tells it like it is on that matter, here.

I mean, if it's true as Bush says that the reason terrorists attack us is because they hate our democracy and our freedom, is that why he's trying to take that away from us? Could it be that Bush really does want the so-called war on terror to end and in his fucked-up mind really believes that "terrorists" hate freedom and that since we can't win the war on terror, the only way to get them to leave us alone is to get rid of our freedom?

Antiwar Blues

I wanted a candidate who was unequivocally against the war. The majority of the protestors I saw on C-Span's coverage of yesterday's protest seemed to want that too. But our only hope of getting rid of warmonger Bush is to replace him with slightly less warmongering Kerry. I do like Kerry, but I of course don't agree with everything he says--but, he's our only real option. I just wish that weren't so. But that's who I'm voting for, by God.

Speaking of Kerry and Bush both being warmongers, I watched a few minutes of VH1's "The Fabulous Life" and the episode basically pitted Bush against Kerry in conspicuous consumption. They talked about Kerry's $12,000 bicycles and Bush's $14,000 suits and then I just couldn't take anymore.

I mean, how obscene is it to parade these guys' wealth in such a boorish, starfucking manner when the number of people living in poverty and without health insurance increases by a million or more a year (even though apparently poverty in my state decreased ever so slightly--don't try to take credit for that, Whaley)?

How obscene is it for these guys (or anyone) to be that wealthy in the first place? It reminds me of a really good quote I ran across last night in "What's The Matter With Kansas" by Thomas Frank. I'll sign off with that (p.47):

"Growing up here [Mission Hills] teaches the indelible lesson that wealth has
some secret bond with crime
--also with drug use, bullying, lying, adultery, and
thundering, world-class megalomania."

Oh, one more thing--watching "Gandhi" (speaking of wealth and the lack thereof) tonight and I liked the line when the priest gets on top of the train with the Indians and after confirming the priest's Christianity, one of the Indians says "I know a Christian--she drinks blood. The blood of Christ – every Sunday!"

Sunday, August 29, 2004

HEY HEY HO HO GEORGE BUSH HAS GOT TO GO a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

Watched the big protest today on C-Span...it looked mighty peaceful to me. They had some catchy chants also...God, I wish I could be there...

And it struck me that, as cool as C-Span is anyway, the fact that it's just simply unedited TV is awesome. They don't edit out swearing, they don't edit out boring stuff--it's just like life...it is life. Brian Lamb is a genius...

Don't have much to say except this Ben Barnes video and story by Greg Palast all look very interesting and very incriminating. But will Chris Matthews talk about it? No. Why? I'm not sure. Yes, it could be dangerous for networks to air the "allegation" that as a favor to Bush Sr., Bush Jr. was in fact placed in the National Guard as a pilot over thousands of other applicants because it would invite lawsuits and the networks don't care for that.

But it seems to me that this Swift Boat stuff is exactly the same and the crap that they are accusing Kerry of is in fact directly contradictory to contemporaneous military records. But all the pundit shows blather endlessly on about that situation, when everyone knows that what the Swift Boat Liars are saying is untrue. So why won't they book Ben Barnes and Greg Palast on Hardball and Hannity and Colmes and Washington Journal and see how the doctrinally unfair righties like a left hook?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

FUCK THE POOR a vote for Bush is against yourself...

So read this:

The nation’s poverty rate rose for a third straight year in 2003 and the ranks of the uninsured swelled, the Census Bureau said Thursday in a report sure to fuel election-season debate over President Bush’s handling of the economy.

Although the economy completed a second full year of expansion in 2003 after a recession that ended in November 2001, median household income just barely kept up with inflation and was statistically unchanged at about $43,300, the bureau said.

The number of people living in poverty rose by 1.3 million to 35.9 million people, or 12.5 percent of the population, up from 12.1 percent in 2002.

This is "compassionate conservatism?" This is "turning the corner?" This is evidence of a growing economy and job creation?

It isn't.
It's the complete opposite of all those things.
It is failure--it signals the rise of mean-spirited, anti-Christian, corporate fascism.

That's why I wrote this tune a few months ago, as a decoder of sorts for the right-wing rhetoric (with apologies to the Dead Kennedys):

FUCK THE POOR (copyright 2004, Clinton Kirby-BMI)

1. When they say we're going to war
When they ruled on Bush v. Gore
When they say "end the war on poverty"
You realize how cruel they can be

What they mean is "Fuck The Poor"
"Fuck 'em 'til they are no more"

2. When they say it's a WTO decree
When they say we'll rule compassionately
When they say gotta open up Brazil
When they say free trade is God's will

What they mean is "Fuck The Poor"
"Fuck 'em 'til they are no more"

3. When they say gotta kill the New Deal
You have to ask can they be for real
When they say gotta work for what you get
That's how you know they're full of it...

Because what they mean is "Fuck The Poor"
Fuck 'em 'til they are no more"

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

WOW...I TALKED TO ONE... a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

I got home this evening and my wife told me I had a message from a person neither one of us knew. When I listened to the message, I figured the gentleman (who sounded like he'd seen some years) was calling to take me to task for the following letter to the editor, which appeared today in our local paper:

The "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" should be more accurately named "Swift Boat Veterans for Selective Quotation."

In their new television ad, they have a tape of Kerry saying the words, "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads," and then an offended Vietnam veteran appears onscreen to admonish Kerry for those words.

But what the ad's selective quotations leave out is that Kerry was paraphrasing honorably discharged, decorated Vietnam veterans who had testified that these rapes and decapitations happened. Kerry was not accusing these soldiers of anything. In fact, in their statements to which he refers, they themselves admitted to the rapes and decapitations.

Kerry was referring to the statements of these soldiers in his 1971 testimony to the Senate; he wasn't saying anything about them that they hadn't said about themselves.

But you don't have to believe me, just go to a search engine and type in "John Kerry testimony April 22, 1971," and you will get a transcript (C-Span has it in its entirety). You will see that in the Swift Boat veterans' latest ad, they are trying to create the impression that Kerry was accusing his fellow soldiers of something horrible, when in fact anyone who actually reads the statement will see that he did no such thing.

In fact, if you read it, you will learn that Kerry's antiwar group had a lot of support from soldiers in combat at that time.

Finally, given the statements made by the soldiers Kerry paraphrased, Kerry and his group were right and in fact had a moral duty to work to end the Vietnam War. And he had every right to speak up about it because he volunteered to go there and was decorated for his service.
He was calling in reference to the letter, but he was calling to express solidarity with my sentiments! He went on to say that he had been a long-time Republican, but Bush had changed his mind! I talked to an actual former Republican--or at least a Republican for Kerry! I had heard tall tales about them and their disgust with Bush, but I thought such people were an urban myth--too good to be true!

He himself is a veteran of Korea, and he has no stomach for the way the Swift Boat Liars are trying to discredit Kerry. He went on about that and related how he had written several letters to the editor himself (one in response to the father of a high school friend of mine), even as recently as two weeks ago.

Broken Camel's Back

The gentleman said that the final straw for him was Bush's Medicare card fiasco. Being in his early seventies, this man qualifies for Medicare and is offended by the ruse of the prescription drug "benefit". He pointed out how prescription drug costs had gone up at 3.4 times the rate of inflation in the first quarter of 2004, essentially negating any savings from Bush's plan. He actually said "Bush isn't for me, he's for the pharmaceutical companies!"

My new friend didn't like the way Bush is handling the war in Iraq, either. He said, "One or two kids a day are coming home in body bags, and none of them are named 'Bush'--they're all 'someone else's kid.'" He also felt that Bush and Cheney's sensitive handling of the Najaf situation was tying the hands of the troops and he agreed with me that even though it's not popular to say it, that situation is like Vietnam all over again.

He doesn't like our new governor, either. He said Haley Barbour is "a joke!" He said that Barbour will be lucky if people don't end up harming him physically! He is contemplating putting a sign in front of his house that says "Screw W. and Haley--I'm voting for someone else if that's the best you can do!"

I mean, this guy was amazing! He said a friend of his told him that he wouldn't vote for Kerry because Kerry is "unfit to serve." He told the friend to go watch the Swift Boat ad and then read the transcript to get just how out of context Kerry's remarks are being taken. He said the friend hasn't yet emailed him back.

The gentleman said that he wants to educate himself rather than be spoonfed all the crap from the Republican goon squad. He said that since 2000, Bush has lost four votes--his daughter and son-in-law, his son, and himself. He said his son has always been a Democrat and told him "Dad, you just don't get it--Bush is not helping you." He finally took his son's words to heart when he saw the crazy things Bush has been doing.

Simply amazing...I've never received such a call. The fact that he took the trouble to look up my phone number and actually call me...Kerry on!

Friday, August 20, 2004


Buchanan just defended the Nixon White House on Scarborough Country and made the claim for about the 10,000,000,000,000,000th time that Kerry's 'Nam reocrd is fair game because he's made it the central issue of his campaign. But, say Buchanan and his fellow travelers, Bush has not done the same.


Bush made his own military service a campaign issue the second he declared his illegal war on Iraq. And he deserted. Went AWOL. Got special consideration to get in and special consideration to get out. It is shameful the way his spokesmen throw up their hands and say "Gee, who are we to trample on the constitutional rights of veterans--what they're doing is perfectly legal and we have nothing but utmost respect for John Kerry's noble service." They only trample on the constitutional rights of "terrorists" who are American citizens, holding them without charges or allowing them to see an attorney, and so forth.

John Kerry VOLUNTEERED for Vietnam. Bush did not. Nor did Cheney. Only in rightwing echo chamber America would some fat guys with a 35-year-old grudge (but whose noble service the Left-Handed Leftist respects utterly) be allowed to get away with this.

OK...They don't like ANTIWAR KERRY

One of the guys in the latest Swift Boat ad says "John Kerry gave the enemy for free what they tried to take from us in torture" or words to that effect. He says "Kerry demoralized us." If you're being tortured and held in a tiny cell in the Asian jungle, how is John Kerry demoralizing you? Did Charlie beat these guys with bamboo and then force them to listen to Kerry's testimony on the radio as further torture? Was Kerry's testimony even on the radio? Would American news even be broadcast into Vietnam on a frequency that VC could easily pick up? Could the VC risk tuning a radio into a frequency to pick up an American broadcast without giving away their position?

Antiwar John was trying to do everybody in Vietnam and the United States a favor--he was trying to help end a senseless war that by most accounts we should have never been fighting in the first place. He was trying to get hostilities to end so the POWs could be released. How in God's holy name is that demoralizing?

The New Swift Boat Veterans Ad

The new ad, debuted on cable news shows tonight, is highly disingenuous--in fact, it's perfidious in the way it "quotes" Kerry's testimony before Congress in which he said:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several
months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably
discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents
but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of

OK, pay attention here, because that paragraph above is very important and is always left out by rightwingers when they bring up the next paragraph. When you read the next paragraph, remember that Kerry is paraphrasing what "over 150 honorably discharged...veterans testified to." PAY ATTENTION--Kerry is not making the accusations that follow himself--he is quoting OTHER PEOPLE.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped,
cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human
genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot
at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle
and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of
South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and
very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this

ONCE AGAIN--Kerry is PARAPHRASING what other people said. Yes, it helps his antiwar argument, but Kerry himself IS NOT making these accusations. But when you see the new Swift Boat ad, you will hear Kerry's voice saying the words that come up on the screen devoid of context.

For example, the ad shows a picture of Kerry before the Senate, and you hear his voice saying "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads..." and though I can't remember exactly what the narration is, it gives the impression that Kerry is accusing the soldiers who then appear in the ads of these horrible things.

But you can see for yourself that that is not at all what Kerry said--not in letter or spirit. These Republican types are scarily good at this sort of smear. They know most people will not take the time to look up Kerry's actual statement and will just shake their heads in disbelief at how Kerry could say such a thing about his fellow soldiers. BUT HE DIDN'T.

Here's another quote from Kerry's Senate testimony that you don't hear about--soldiers in combat, under fire, SUPPORTING Kerry. Not everyone likes the fantasy of a Buchanan or a Hannity (neither of whom served in the military) of the noble soldier who only wants to fight to the last, no matter the lack of righteousness of the cause, in blind obedience to his country's leaders. That is fascism. There were then (and are now) soldiers who don't wish to fight anymore, especially after the realize the wrongheadedness of their mission:

...I don't want to get into the game of saying I represent everybody over there,
but let me try to say as straightforwardly as I can, we had an advertisement,
ran full page, to show you what the troops read. It ran in Playboy and the
response to it within two and a half weeks from Vietnam was 1,200 members. We
received initially about 50 to 80 letters a day from troops
arriving at our New York office. Some of these letters -- and I wanted to bring some down, I didn't
know we were going to be testifying here and I can make them available to you --
are very, very moving, some of them written by hospital corpsmen on things, on casualty report sheets which say, you know, "Get us out of here." "You are the only hope he have got." "You have got to get us back; it is crazy." We received recently 80 members of the 101st Airborne signed up in one letter. Forty members from a helicopter assault squadron, crash and rescue mission signed up in another one.

Antiwar Then Vs. Antiwar Now

And make no mistake, all this rightwing yammering about how Kerry's service in Vietnam was noble, but it's "what he did afterward" that was so bad has a purpose for us in 2004. What Kerry "did afterward" was what many of us are trying to do right now--stop an illegal, unjust, and unnecessary war. And the rightwingers are saying tacitly, "See how we're sliming John Kerry? That's what you can expect. Hell, John Kerry actually fought in the war and we're still able to make him look bad--just think what we can do to you."

If anybody reads this, please forward it to everyone you can think of. I'm not saying it's the best essay on the subject or anything, but if you don't want to forward this particular essay, at least forward a link to the Kerry's statement so at least people can see what he actually said, not a selective edit of it. This Swift Boat smear campaign is a disgrace to our country, to our military, and to the next president of the United States.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

PREDICTION a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

I will go on record as saying that John Kerry will get the most votes in the upcoming election. Will that make him the winner? That's harder to say, what with a majority of Republican governors (like our own senior-citizen-hating big fat Haley Barbour) and congresspeople. But just like Gore, Kerry will get the most votes. And hopefully that will translate into a win...
IN A TIME OF WAR a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

Listening to Mike Malloy on Air America this evening...I've developed a taste for him. He certainly is a passionate guy. I like his frequent references to the "Bush crime family."

Saw pieces of "Hannity & Colmes" tonight. Hannity promised a tribute video to liberal Democrats or some such. Anyway, he showed Tom Harkin calling Cheney a coward and Al Gore asking "How dare they?" and so forth (I'm sure there was more, but that's all I saw).

Then they cut to his smug, porcine face and he said something like--"Well, there you go. This is the liberal, strident Democratic party, engaging in the character assassination of a sitting president in a time of war while our troops are in harm's way. Remember this when you go into the voting booth" and blah blah blah.

Well, I got to thinking about it, and that phrase "in a time of war" sure has been used a lot by Republicans to heap shame and scorn on anyone with which they disagree. As in, "In a time of war, people shouldn't criticize the government," or "In a time of war, it's inappropriate to question the veracity of the commander-in-chief" and so on.

Which War?

But these creeps are using that phrase to invoke associations with WWII, a war in which we were attacked by Japan and then we declared war on Japan. In this war, Iraq did not attack us, could not attack us, and probably never would have because of the memory of the ass-kicking they received in 1991 (another war I didn't agree with). But Iraq is the country we fought and are fighting--even though we were attacked by Islamic extremists based in Afghanistan.

So my point is, the whole idea that one shouldn't criticize the leaders of our country "in a time of war" is somewhat defensible as impolite (but not illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional) if our country was attacked and then we had to lash out in self-defense against the country that attacked us. But when we are the ones picking the fight, being the bullies? The more criticism the better in that case.

And these chest beating jingos also want to connect this Iraq war with WWII in terms of nobility of purpose, saying that we're fighting against a vicious dictator who killed his own citizens and bringing freedom and sweet, sweet capitalism to their benighted souls.

But when it comes to casualties, they say that the Iraq war is nothing like WWII or lots of other really keen and popular wars. They point out that we've only just now had almost 1,000 casualties--we lost many more than that in Wars X, Y, or Z. George Will argued that in a column today.

So the Iraq war is exactly like WWII. Except that it isn't. Well which is it, you rat bastards? You keep telling John Kerry he can't have it both ways so you can't either!!!

Bloodshot Bill

Heard Bloodshot Bill today for the first time...if you check out his site, you really should download at least "Bloodshot Man"...what great lyrics-- "I been kicked outta school since the 6th grade/for cutting the teacher up with a switchblade" (I know it sounds bad, but when you actually hear it, you can hear his tongue in his cheek).

Looking forward to the new Camper Van Beethoven..."New Roman Times" I believe it's going to be called. Just read about that in the latest No Depression (the one with Willie Nelson on the cover).

Did I already say that the new Mooney Suzuki record kicks ass?

I'll leave you with this thought for the day:

"Dreams are free, motherfucker!"-The Minutemen

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

ROCK AGAINST BUSH Vol. 2 a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...
Got the new "Rock Against Bush" comp. at the station...The music is good but doesn't do a whole lot for me. The companion DVD is awesome, though. There are six political shorts, one of which features my new heroine Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. I'm not sure if what's included on the DVD is her "Independent Media In A Time Of War" in its entirety or if it's truncated, but what's there is awesome. There is a transcript of it here. Just to give you an idea of its brilliance, here's an excerpt from the transcript about Iraq war coverage:

AMY GOODMAN: You have not only Fox, but MSNBC and NBC, yes owned by General Electric, one of the major nuclear weapons manufacturers in the world. MSNBC and NBC as well as Fox titling their coverage taking the name of what the pentagon calls the invasion of Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom. So that's what the pentagon does and you expect that, they research the most effective propagandistic name to call their operation. But for the media to name their coverage what the
pentagon calls it. Everyday seeing Operation Iraqi Freedom you have to ask, if
this were state media how would it be any different?
Wow...one more for good measure...

AMY GOODMAN: For awhile in talks before the invasion, I've been saying as we see the full page pictures of the target on Saddam Hussein's forehead that it would
be more accurate to show the target on the forehead of a little Iraqi girl
because that's who dies in war.
The overwhelming majority of people who die are innocent civilians. And then what happens on the first night of the invasion?
Missile strikes a residential area in Baghdad. They say they think they've taken
out Saddam Hussein. Independent reporter May Ying Welsh who stayed their as the
bombs fell, who you heard on Democracy Now! on a regular basis, went to the
hospital right after that first attack and there was a four-year-old girl
critically injured from that missile attack
and her mother critically injured
and her mother's sister. That's who dies, that's who gets injured in war. Ghandi asking, you know when he was asked what do you think of Western civilization? He said I think it would be a good idea.

The Greg Palast and Robert Greenwald film excerpts on the 2000 election are very good (in one of them, Vincent Bugliosi describes the five majority justices in Bush v. Gore as "criminals in every sense of the word" who should be behind bars). Patton Oswalt's apocalyptic comedy routine is obscenely hilarious.

The Revolution Starts...

Played "F The CC" from the new Steve Earle album "The Revolution Starts Now" on my program today. A listener called and expressed her dissatisfaction that our station would play such a song. Now to be fair, the song does say "fuck" about twenty times. But in the edited version I played, the word is very carefully and totally bleeped out. The listener said "Your station is better than that. That's why I listen to you and not to other stations that play that kind of stuff all the time." I thanked her for her comment...

But for Pete's sake, when did adults get so damn sensitive? I mean, "fuck" is just a word. It only has as much power over a person as that person lets it have. How do people with such delicate sensibilities expect to get through life? You're going to hear someone swear at some point--are you gonna shrivel up and wither away upon hearing it or are you gonna be tough? I mean, come on...

Not only that, but whatever one thinks of him, Steve Earle is a critically-acclaimed, challenging, straightforward artist and his music deserves to be played on the radio. No other station in this godforsaken town is going to play it, so that's why we will. Granted, we don't have to play that particular song, but I feel that our listeners want to hear such things because they've probably read about it and want to experience it for themselves.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

KERRY KERRY QUITE CONTRARY PT. 2 ...a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

A little more on my smear ideas...

I know that some on the left might say that my suggestions to smear Bush are all fine and dandy, but they're just about little piss-ant issues. They might say that we should take him to task on bigger things, like the war, the deficit, etc.

Well, that would be nice, but it is better to stick with the piss-ant issues, because that's what the befuddled public can relate to. For example, everyone can relate to alcoholism, but most people have a hard time getting their head around federal budget numbers. That's why Bush's drunkenness makes for a better smear issue than his lying about the tax cuts helping the middle class.

OK, another thing...When this smear campaign gets going good, what should be done if a reporter or a TV host or radio interviewer tries to call us on something or bring up some pesky facts? What should be done is to defend your position. Defend it. Don't acknowledge that the person trying to harangue you might have a point. Defend your assertions even if the proof that you're being faced with is incontrivertible. People like to see someone who has the "courage of their convictions" even if they're dead wrong. Even your defense descends into nonsensical gibberish, defend it. Do not admit you're wrong.

Also, always accuse those who don't agree with you as partisan hacks, i.e. O'Reilly's attacks on Krugman on Russert's CNBC show recently. Don't be afraid to associate anyone who opposes you with history's worst political leaders. If someone says something openly right-wing, dismiss it immediately as partisan rubbish, which supposedly drains any statement of its validity. Interrupt the person if you can. Then say things like, "you would've loved living in Germany in the 30's, huh?"

After all, like the Daily Howler will tell you, the press corps is asleep. They won't or don't check facts, they just report what each candidate says--like a stenographer (I can't remember where I read this comparison, but I like it). That leaves any candidate--theirs or ours--to pretty much say what he wants without much hassle.

And so...

And it seems that the public as well as the media expect dishonesty and dissembling. Everyone decries it, but believe me, people want blood. If every candidate for office really went out of his or her way to be civil and rational, you'd start seeing snarky articles complaining about how much of a goody-goody everyone's being.

I mean, the press wants sensational claims--sensationalism gets viewers, or readers, or listeners. The press sells audiences to advertisers, that's their main function. We've all been led to believe that fearless journalists hound those in power for the truth. But alas, the reality is not so noble (there are exceptions, of course).

Vigorous, exhaustive documentation of the veracity of a candidate's claims can get tedious and wordy, and that turns off the casual audience member (which is most of the audience). If audience members get turned off, ad sales decline and media organizations lose money, which is of course unacceptable. So such pieces are not run, or not run very often, or not given much prominence. And then the smear campaign can very smoothly.

So let's get it on...

Oh, and one last interesting article about the history of Republicans and smear campaigns (the relevant section is "The GOP of 1936 and Today's Dirty Politics")...

Books And Music

I'm quite enjoying Carville's "Had Enough?"...

The Rolling Blackouts rock...really smart, inventive, garage rock...maybe Stooges crossed with Led Zep...

The Red Krayola's "Singles 1968-2002" has some really good stuff...if you like experimental, decade-and-genre-spanning music that has a logic unto itself...and/or if you're a fan of Beefheart or Hampton Grease Band...

KERRY KERRY QUITE CONTRARY ...a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

So Kerry takes the bait and says he wouldn't change his vote on this illegal war in Iraq even knowing that Iraq had no WMD...

Alas...he won't denounce the Swift Boat Motherfuckers For Evil (or hasn't yet), but he takes this challenge from Bush. What is he thinking? Is he actively trying to turn off his antiwar supporters? Is he actively trying to give Bushies more proof that he's a "flip-flopper?"

Maybe he thinks he's actually combatting the flip-flopping charge by reaffirming his Iraq war vote because he's being consistent now about his vote then. But now the Republican Noise Machine has moved on past "flip-flop" as the attack du jour and has moved on to accusing him of being too "nuanced." As in, "While Kerry is poring over every nuance of every decision, Bush is striding forward decisively." The grim Reaper-publicans are trying to paint nuance-divination as the polar opposite of gung-ho, ideological decisiveness.

How Elections Are Won

And unfortunately, that's how elections are won. That's how products are sold. Not by any carefully reasoned argument that is scrupulously sourced and expertly argued. Elections are won by meaningless sloganeering and simplifying. Coca-Cola is "the real thing" (as if other soft drinks are fake?) as much as George W. Bush is "a compassionate conservative," and so on.

That's what Democrats didn't have the hang of in 2000 and don't have the hang of now. Michael Moore has the hang of it--he said Bush was a deserter. Why should our side have to prove whether that's actually true or not? Just send surrogates on every cable program and have them say it over and over again, in response to questions related to the topic or not. Let Bush have to prove that he wasn't a deserter. The job of a campaign is to make the other guy have to defend the things he can't or would really rather not have to defend.

No, it isn't moral to do that. It's disgusting. But until further notice, that's how the game is played. You have to pick out 3 or 4 uncomfortable points about the opposing candidate and repeat them endlessly in every possible venue. It helps immensely if you can distill it into one folksy phrase--"flip-flopper," most liberal Senator," "war criminal," etc.

Now these charges may or may not be true in Kerry's case, but the truth of the charges has no bearing on the election. A campaign just has to make the public think such things are true until victory is certain, and then the truth will be quietly examined and published in the ensuing years.

I thought Kerry was going to "bring it on" and not let the Republiquors get away with any of this crap. It's probably a little late to begin a smear campaign against Bush, but better late than never. We're trying to win here, not get a "satisfactory" in deportment on our campaign report card.

Some Smear Suggestions

1. Bush was arrested for drunk-driving and was an alcoholic for many years by his own admission. Note: it always helps when a candidate has admitted to something, as Kerry did with "committing atrocities." Even if Bush has been sober for decades, the point is to hammer home that Bush was a lush, and that's addictive behavior. How may such proclivities manifest themselves in the future? Just put it out there--if Kerry committed atrocities, Bush was an alkie. Just say it over and over.

2. Bush was investigated by the SEC for his Harken stock sale. Therefore, he's an inside trader. Say it over and over. Remember, it's up to Bush to disprove it. The public has a right to know that he's an inside trader.

3. Bush flip-flopped on abortion. He used to be pro-choice. How can a true conservative Republican have ever been pro-choice? Was he telling the truth about his views then or now? Hard to say. Even if he protests that he's now pro-life, well gee, it's hard to trust the word of a flip-flopping, alcoholic, inside trader, isn't it. Because that's what he is. Take a lesson from Goebbels--God knows the Republicans have. And the lesson is: a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth in the minds of the public.

4. Bush is a deserter. He didn't finish out his National Guard service. He was grounded from flying because he didn't show up for a physical. His document dump on the subject was designed to make him look like he's transparent and has nothing to hide. It actually does nothing of the sort. The Dems tried to take up this cause for a while but got cowed too easily. Bring it back up and repeat it all the time.

5. Smear Republican funder Richard Mellon Scaife like O'Reilly does Soros. Over and over.

6. Bush is rich and powerful. He's out of touch with the American public.

And so forth...

There are others, send in suggestions. I gotta wrap up for now...if I have some time this evening, I'll try to think of some more.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

KERRY NOT FIT? I CALL BULLSHIT a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

From New York Times today:

Adm. Roy F. Hoffman, who is retired and who says in the advertisement, "John
Kerry has not been honest," acknowledged that the men in the advertisement did
not serve on Mr. Kerry's boat
, but he said their time in parallel boats on
coordinated missions, or as Mr. Kerry's superiors, made them valid commentators
on his record. The group provided station managers with a 13-page memorandum,
backed up by more than 60 pages of sworn statements, book excerpts and military

"We were on the same operations, we were operating within 25-50
yards of him all the time, and for them to suggest we don't know John Kerry is
pure old bull," Mr. Hoffman said. "He has made this the centerpiece of this
campaign, and we just don't think he's qualified to be the commander in chief of
the armed forces. We have every right to be heard."

Ye gods, man! Is your bullshit detector going apeshit?

Why does voluntary service in Vietnam disqualify Kerry from being commander in chief while never serving under fire and being a deserter make Bush God's Own Warrior? The hypocrisy of these people is beyond the pale.

And Kerry Will Have Him For Dessert...

Notice I called Bush a deserter. That's right--your'e not supposed to say that or you're an "extremist." As long as Republicraps keep saying Kerry and Edwards are the first and fourth most liberal senators, Bush will be known as a deserter.

I don't give a flying FUCK about whether calling a sitting president a deserter is appropriate or not. He didn't finish out his service, so he's a dirty motherfucking deserter. If that's the way these Swift Boat Veterans For Being Lying Sacks Of Shit want to play the game, OK. We'll play that shit. And bring it on...if you want blood, you got it!!

So under the rules they want to play by, Bush can fairly be called a war criminal for ordering an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation. And he can be deemed a threat to the peace of the world and yes, he can fairly said to be using tactics perfected by the Nazis to turn our democratic country into a fascist hell-hole.

That's the Hannity/Limbaugh game. They win every time because it seems no pundit on the left will take them on toe to toe except Michael Moore. And Michael Moore doesn't have a radio show 5 days a week and/or a radio and a TV show 5 days a week. That's how the righties win--it's all you ever hear or see or read.

Bring Back The Fairness Doctrine, Please...

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was on "Washington Journal" this morning and he gave a rousing defense of the protection of the "people's airwaves" vs. the "free market." He pointed out that broadcasters since the inception of broadcasting have been tasked with public service as well as making a profit on their efforts.

Part of that public service was always seen as providing equal time to differing political points of view. Not time dictated by the vagaries of the market, mind you, but equal time given in the public interest. That was always a part of the requirement in having an FCC license.

However, the Fairness Doctrine was done away with in 1987. And it gave rise to Rush Limbaugh, who said just today on the radio that his program is entering its 17th year as of last week or so. And Rush begat all the other conservative talkers which of course were popular, as they quickly became more or less the only kind of talkers on the air. And since there was no more Fairness Doctrine to require opposing points of view to be given equal time, the rightwing echo chamber got a lot bigger and a lot louder. That is perhaps the ultimate gift of the Reagan years to the ultra-conservative faction of the Republican party--the gift that keeps on giving.

And the conventional wisdom became that liberal points of view are out of step with most Americans. After all, just sample the programs on the radio--there's no liberal talk show (or very few), one might have argued as that conventional wisdom was being consolidated.

However, that argument is like saying that because people love vapid teen pop, that's all that radio stations will play. The irony of that argument is that if the current radio wasteland situation were reversed and most radio stations played nothing but bebop jazz and those artists were featured in prime time TV shows and written about in glossy magazines available at every checkout stand in America, and only low-power public radio stations played Britney Spears and JoJo, the argument would more than likely would be that radio doesn't play teen pop because people love bebop. So it's all a matter of what people become used to, what their environment looks and sounds like.


And what people have become used to is the idea that conservative ideas are mainstream and shared by all real Americans while liberal ideas are all way at the margins and only shared by Commies and child molesters. But the situation that this article on the Fairness Doctrine describes no longer exists:

By the 1980s, many things had changed. The "scarcity" argument which dictated
the "public trustee" philosophy of the Commission, was disappearing with the
abundant number of channels available on cable TV. Without scarcity, or with
many other voices in the marketplace of ideas, there were perhaps fewer
compelling reasons to keep the fairness doctrine
. This was also the era of
deregulation when the FCC took on a different attitude about its many rules,
seen as an unnecessary burden by most stations. The new Chairman of the FCC,
Mark Fowler, appointed by President Reagan, publicly avowed to kill to fairness

In the 80s, when cable was a relatively new thing, it may have seemed like there would be as many political opinions as there were cable channels available to the public. We now know that this has not turned out to be the case, as there are now only three major channels devoted to news--Fox, MSNBC, and CNN. And as has been shown in study after study, the overwhelming number of opinion pieces/guests that appear fall under the rubric of conservatism or stand in general agreement with conservative rhetoric (here is a study on the run-up to the Iraq war, and here is an assessment of Election 2000 coverage.)


Why Clinton didn't reinstate the Fairness Doctrine is beyond me, given all the trouble he endured from the deregulated media. In fact, he deregulated it a little more with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the law that has helped Clear Channel (headquartered in Texas physically and ideologically) get its stranglehold on the radio industry.

Bush has deregulated further with current FCC chairman Michael Powell ramming through new rules about media ownership. Even though the rules were rescinded this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, the conservative free-marketeers would still like to see consolidation be allowed.

Whether the kind of consolidation allowed by those overturned rules ever comes to pass, the media are becoming more consolidated through corporate mergers. And that's why I would argue that the "scarcity" problem that supposedly has ceased to exist in the 80s has come back in a different form and that's why the Fairness Doctrine needs to be made law, and the sooner the better.

Meant to write more but again it's late and this computer is acting up...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

DEBUNKING THE BUNK ...a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

Bunk #1: John Kerry is a "flip-flopper." Supposed evidence: Voted for $87 billion but then voted against it.

Debunk #1: Read under "Spinning That Vote." Bush threatened to veto the funding for the troops himself if the bill wasn't to his liking. Well, the bill wasn't to Kerry's liking (not because it was funding the troops, but because of the way he would've preferred the funding to happen), so he voted against it.

Bunk #2: John Kerry is a "war criminal." Supposed evidence: Statement on "Meet The Press" in early 70's.

Debunk #2: I've covered this topic twice now, here and here. As usual, his remarks are taken out of context--he never said he or any of his fellow soldiers were war criminals. He pointed the finger at the men at the top, i.e., Johnson, Nixon, McNamara, etc.

Bunk #3: John Kerry is the most liberal Senator. Supposed evidence: The annual report in the National Journal.

Debunk #3: The National Journal actually said that Kerry is pretty moderate, and his "#1 liberal" ranking comes from only one year (2003) of his long Senate career, in which he missed many votes while out campaigning. If he'd made more votes, his votes would have averaged out in such a way that he would not be ranked the top liberal. Same is true of Edwards.

I meant to go further with this, but I need to sleep...
BEYOND PETROLEUM? ...a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

What is the deal with these constant commercials for BP and ExxonMobil (the one with the teapot)? Is it a response to the super-high gas prices? Is it a pre-emptive strike against proposals to move our energy economy away from oil?

These questions aren't just rhetorical--I really would like to know the answers. They're clearly image-building or image-mending devices. They aren't being used to sell anything but the supposedly environmentally-friendly practices each company has adopted.

The BP spots are particularly fishy. They show what the viewer is meant to assume are just average people on the street giving off-the-cuff, non-scripted answers to questions in the commercials. It's funny though, how each of these average people defend the "oil companies."

And the commercials run multiple times during pundit shows like Hardball, Hannity & Colmes, Lou Dobbs, etc...

I wonder what is going on...companies don't normally spend millions of dollars in ads just to point out how environmentally responsible they are...unless there's a damn good reason...also, let us always remember that the more a claim is repeated, the less likely it is to be true (i.e., "You're watching Fox News--fair and balanced" going into and coming out of what seems like every other commerical break).
RANDOM MUSINGS ...a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

The Daily Howler is developing important notes of warning to the Democratic party in their series "How To Lose An Election." Today's post was quite good...

Alterman and others pointed out what seems to be a devastating critique of the Bush administration's dishonest rush to war...here's a link to Alterman's summary...I couldn't get the site that has the whole article to come up earlier today...but wait--lo, it hath now come forth...

I was reading in Arianna Huffington's new book "Fanatics And Fools" about a Rumsfeld response to question about why the Iraq war was necessary and his response was something along the lines of "because 3,000 people died." It struck me that maybe that's why the "insurgents" in Iraq are continuing to fight, because by all accounts, so far at least three times as many Iraqis have been killed.

Savage Weiner

And Michael Savage was bloviating on Monday about how Americans shouldn't be upset because not quite 1,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. He pointed out that the Russians lost 400,000 men trying to take Berlin after bombing raids had already reduced the city to rubble. He went on to say that we should be instilling "murder" in our fighting men.

I don't see how such cretinous statements don't make his listeners sick to their stomachs. I'm all for his right to say such things, but I can't believe he still has an audience after constantly spewing such poison. I call his remarks poison because first of all, they are devoid of any sympathy for the families of the soldiers. Second of all, his argument is just outrageous--he's implying that we shouldn't try to stop the fighting because not enough people have yet been killed for it to be truly horrible.

But I guess he fails to understand the lesson of Berlin and Verdun and on and on. And that lesson is that the killing shouldn't even begin, much less be allowed to go on until almost a half million (or more) people have to die.

He and his ilk are the true anti-Americans, because they want more of us to die...

Monday, August 02, 2004

RUSH LIMBAUGH'S FAT HEAD MAY EXPLODE... a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

...if he were to read and grasp this piece by Michael Kinsley. And I wish he would do just that.

Well, well...you know how the Republi-fascist pundits are always screaming about how some stupid detail of some insignificant story "isn't reported in the media" even as they, members of the media, are reporting it? That's what this Kinsley piece is, except that it is being reported in the media, namely the Washington Post. But it hasn't so far been played as far and wide as say, the totally unexpected news that that Hacking guy lived up to his name with his wife (allegedly).

Because the money quote in this story completely turns the Republican claims of the last 20 (more or less) years on their ear: "...higher growth, lower unemployment, lower government spending, lower inflation and so on under the Democrats. Lower taxes under the Republicans."

The question is, which would most people prefer if these findings were widely publicized? Logic would dictate the Democrat, but since most Americans are not logical (particularly the superstitious religious ones), they'll vote for Bush against their own self-interest. Because he thinks God speaks to him. And I guess they just want lower taxes for their own sake. I mean, as long as taxes are low, I guess they couldn't give a good goddamn about higher growth, lower unemployment, lower government spending, lower inflation, or any of that crap--high taxes are unamerican. And by gum, if George W. Bush, The Chosen One, says something, like say, tax cuts create jobs, then it becomes true, even if it wasn't true before he said. You see, not only is he Our Exalted War President, he is also Commander In Chief Of Magic.

And one more thing...

And the Conceptual Guerilla has been pointing all this out for quite some time, I must say...it is nice for someone with Kinsley's name recognition to point it out, though...

And this blog entry was written under the influence of "Agharta"...some of the Miles fusion stuff leaves me cold, but if you just let it wash over you, it's very nice...

Sunday, August 01, 2004

LET'S PLAY SPOT THAT TALKING POINT ...a vote for Bush is a vote against yourself...

And the Republican't post-convention talking point is: Kerry doesn't want to talk about the last 20 years he spent in the Senate!!!!

People I heard say it with my own ears: Gingrich, Savage, Limbaugh, Zell "Treason" Miller, Matt Dowd (on the same program as Gingrich), and a couple other Bush operatives whose names escape me...

At least Kerry was in the Senate and not out failing in business and executing mentally retarded people...OUCH!!!And his resume as president is nothing to be proud of...POW!!!

A Man After My Own Heart

Old news but new news to me...Chris Wallace on Fox News brought up Edwards' addiction to diet soda...hey, I have that too!! He really is a man of the people...and used the best information available to himself and the world at the time, even though it may now be considered by some to be "junk science"...