Wednesday, January 31, 2007


So the last paragraph of the AP story announcing that Al Franken is running for Senate is this:

"Franken faces major challenges, said Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota. Besides needing to establish himself as a serious candidate, Franken has staked out left-wing policies that make it questionable whether he can win independent voters, Jacobs said."

I wonder if Larry Jacobs, and by extension the AP, would have said such things if this had been a story about some rabid, neocon, evangelical Republican candidate. Is that what was said about entertainers-turned-Republican-officeholders Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ronald Reagan or Sonny Bono or Gopher from Love Boat--can't think of his name and don't feel like looking it up--when they moved from entertainment into politics? I don't feel like looking that up either, but I'm gonna guess that's not what was said--that they needed to "establish themselves as serious candidates" with "questionable" policies that'll turn off indie voters.

I mean, for Christ's sake, Franken himself has not even made the announcement, and already the AP is already running conservative talking points against him. Now Franken's spokesman should have--well, spoken--when the AP rang him up for a quote. But the AP sure seemed to know how to run right over the the chairman of the Minnesota Republican party for a damning quote--doesn't look like they attempted to contact the chair of the Minnesota Democratic Party. And is there only one political science professor in all of Minnesota? I mean, could the AP not find a single person that has anything to do with Minnesota to say anything halfway nice about or supportive of Franken?

I mean, the AP runs what amounts to a Franken hit piece on the occasion of his unofficially official announcement of his candidacy!

So now the ATHF story gets weirder...they've arrested "an artist" supposedly for putting up the ATHF displays...I just heard Anderson Cooper announce that...he said "an artist has been arrested" or words to that effect. That's the headline of the story I linked to: "Artist arrested for planting marketing figures" (is that really "planting" something--isn't that kind of a loaded word?).

Not something you like to hear in the U.S., especially considering that these displays were harmless. I don't know if they violated city ordinances or what have you, but even if they do, I would imagine that such things normally involve the writing of tickets or the levying of fines, not ARREST!

This sounds like they're sending a message to the Freeway Blogger and like-minded individuals.

But back to the harmlessness of this act--this was a legitimate ad campaign for a legal product. The advertisers cannot be held responsible for people's perceptions of their ads, particularly when their ads (at least the one picture I've seen of one) don't have words, they don't depict anything that actually even exists. People are freaking out about ART and they shut down a city and arrested an artist because of it.

Buck Fush

It's like the situation that Sam Seder talked about on his show recently with a kid who was thrown out of class for a "Buck Fush" T-shirt. Seder's argument was that there is nothing wrong with the words "Buck Fush." And he's right--the kid can't be responsible for other people's interpretations of completely innocent words. It doesn't say "Fuck Bush," it says "Buck Fush."

What kind of country will it be when you can be arrested or cited or fined because someone interpreted your words as something other than what you said? Because that's the principle that's at stake here.

So Ignignokt and Err scared the hell out of Boston. I saw this story this morning but didn't read it because it just said something like "suspicious packages" in Boston. I was like, "Yeah, some more fake terror crap that'll be announced all over the news for a day or two then revealed two months from now as a 'mistake' or a 'misunderstanding' or 'not a real terror plot' or whatever."

I had no idea that the ATHF was involved. I admit, I haven't watched the show in a while--but man, a few years ago, I couldn't get enough of MC Pee Pants--and now I'm interested again! So I guess the takeaway lesson here is that if you want loads and loads of free publicity, try to do something completely harmless that can get mistaken for some sort of terror plot by a populace purposely and continuously freaked out by the government about terrorism.

The campaign worked, though--I now realize that there is an ATHF movie coming out in March. Before today, I had never heard that and I am a fan of Adult Swim in general and Aqua Teen Hunger Force in particular(and Metalocalypse rules!).

But this article indicates that the ads have been up for two or three weeks without this kind of furor. As my wife just pointed out--good thing it wasn't a real terror plot!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Obama introduces the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007. I'm still a Kucinich man, but Obama gets some serious press...Was Obama "warning" against Iran in Herzliya the other day? No, I see that he declined to address the Herzliya conference...Too bad John Edwards didn't do the same thing...yeesh!

It's still January, less than a month after the Democrats have taken control, and already we've got Democrats introducing bills for "de-escalation!" Of course the bill won't pass--or if it does, it'll be vetoed by Dear Leader--but that's not the point. The point is to end this war and to be on record as being against this foul war.

Whatever...I'll say this, though...I never gave a fuck about an Obama candidacy until I saw the following video posted at Americablog (maybe a lot of other Democrats feel the same way):


Great Prison Planet article on how the state doesn't really care about people's health, it only cares about controlling people. Yes, smoking is bad for you--no question. But the trick that's being played here is to get people to accept government restrictions on legal activities.

Another recent example of this is the limits on the sale of legal drugs with ephedrine in them, such as the legal, OTC drug Claritin-D and its generic equivalents. Even though you can get this drug without a prescription, you now have to sign your name in a log book or be entered into an electronic database that is connected to federal agencies before you can get it. And you can't just go into a store and pick up a pack or two off the shelf, you have to go to the pharmacy and present your ID.

This is all done in the name of fighting the "meth epidemic" and unfortunately, most people seem perfectly okay with it. And most people seem perfectly okay with outlawing smoking in public places--even though the act of smoking is perfectly legal--because, yes smoking is bad for you.

But, as this article asks, where does it stop? I hope we don't realize too late that this is creeping fascism and then can't do anything about it:

"It's all about control, it's all about letting you know who the bosses are. If the government can regulate personal habits and behavior, what's next? If the state is so concerned about our good health as they would have you believe, why not use the latest scientific advancements to remove that nasty aggressive gene that causes so much unhappiness? Well, you're causing those around you distress and harming their health so why not? Are your political opinions a mental illness? Are they harming society? Perhaps we should ban certain types of "free" speech that is offensive to others."

And here are some more things to consider from this article:
Here are some more examples of fascism being unhealthier than smoking.

- In Omaha Nebraska, city police are encouraging residents to call 911 if they see a smoker in a non-smoking area. So when your wife is being raped by an illegal immigrant or a gang banger, be assured that the cops have a good reason for their absence - Joe Bloggs just lit up a Marlboro and he's going to get Tasered.

- Bangor City Council approved a measure that criminalizes smoking in your own car with a child present.

- In Okemos Michigan, an insurance business boss ordered all his employees to take urine tests to determine if they had smoked, even in their own homes. Smokers were warned that they would be fired.

- In New York, Mayor Bloomberg's tobacco stormtroopers raided the offices of Vanity Fair no less than three times, attempting to catch noted journalist Graydon Carter smoking. All they found was an unused clean ash tray but Carter was fined and given a warning nonetheless. Numerous other instances of infamous "ash tray raids" have occurred in New York City.

- In Scotland, social services are drawing up a master list of smokers and warning residents against smoking in their own homes unless they wish to risk being cut off from government services.

Many of the people reading this will have had relatives die directly due to smoking. I am not advocating smoking, I am simply advocating the fact that I'd rather live in a society of smokers than a society of control freak fascists who slavishly seize upon any action of the individual in order to create yet another pretext for creating a Stasi system of informants, locking us all up and building the infrastructure of the prison planet.

Here is my band "One Red Leaf" (the name came from the Jane Siberry tune "The White Tent The Raft") in a noise jam at the end of a 1993 set at Tal's Dart Bar in Hattiesburg. We were opening for Godplow, and the noise jam comes right after the end of our tune "Taking It Out" (written to vent my frustrations at not being able to find a job, decent or otherwise, after graduating from college):

I'm using a Peavey MX/VTX head (the guy that sold it to me said it was previously owned by Fingers Taylor, the harmonica player for Jimmy Buffet) and a Yamaha E1005 analog delay. That delay was (and is) awesome; I was also using a Boss CE-2 Chorus pedal that created a beautiful breakup of distorted tones--unfortunately it bit the dust years ago and I've never found another chorus pedal that does the same thing. And I don't use single effects anymore, so I've never bought a used one or anything...

I am far from the first to link to this, but in case you haven't seen it, here's "The Real McCain." Robert Greenwald is at it again, kicking ass and taking names.

Monday, January 29, 2007


A member of the Hattiesburg American forum posted some Freeper nonsense today. I took the time to debunk it all (I'll try to clean up the links later. The absurd claims are in bold and the debunking follows each bold heading.

The stock market is at a new all-time high and America's 401Ks are back.

The stock market "records" of late are only nominal. In real terms, they still do not match the record set in 2000 (, before Bush was president.

From the link above:
"What's more, 12,000 doesn't really even represent a record high for the Dow. In absolute numbers, the Dow is higher than ever. But thanks to inflation, a dollar today isn't worth what a dollar was several years ago. That's the difference between nominal returns (how much you make on an investment before adjusting for inflation) and real returns (how much you make after adjusting for inflation). In real terms, the Dow is still nowhere near the peak it hit several years ago. The handy inflation calculator supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that $12,000 of goods and services (or stocks) in today's dollars buys you only $10,184 of goods and services (or stocks) in 2000 dollars."

Unemployment is at 25-year lows.

Nothing about this claim is true.

Under Clinton, the unemployment rate was lowest in 2000: 4.0. (

Under Bush, the 2006 unemployment rate was: 4.6 (

Employment was lower more than 25 years ago--for example, in 1966-1969, the unemployment rate never got above 4.0 (

Oil prices are plummeting.

Oil prices dipped below $30 and were not higher than $35 in 2003. (
Oil prices went as high as $78.64 in 2006 (

Today's oil prices: $54 (

So yes, oil prices are falling, but they're almost twice what they were 4 years ago.


Taxes are at 20 year lows.

Except for the years 1988-1992, which fall within the last 20 years (
And what type of taxes are being talked about here? Which rates? The above link refers to marginal tax rates.
This link ( Go to the bottom of the page under “Appendix” and click the spreadsheet link) shows effective tax rates (as opposed to marginal tax rates), which are lower than in the past twenty years as of 2002.

So it’s effectively correct to say that by some measures, taxes have been lower in the past 20 years than they are now, or that taxes have never been lower in 20 years.
But let’s not forget the FICA tax, which is higher now than it was 20 years ago ( In 1987 the rate was 7.15%, now it is 7.65%.

So it is incorrect at best and misleading at worst to simply say that “taxes are at a 20 year low” without qualification.
It is also worthwhile to bear in mind that we also are laboring under a record national debt (as opposed to deficits, which may go up and down from year to year but still contribute to the overall, and rather large, debt). Last year, to avoid government shutdown, Congress raised the debt ceiling to $9 trillion dollars for the fourth time in five years (


Federal tax revenues are at all-time highs.
This is true.

However, if you’ll look at the chart here, ( you’ll notice two things:
1. Tax revenues increase every year, at least they have since 1962, and so it is nothing special to say that tax revenues are at all-time highs because they naturally increase every year. This claim could have been made correctly every year since the Kennedy administration and it would have been true under Democrats as well as Republicans.

2. You’ll notice that throughout the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II years (except 2001), outlays were higher than revenues, effectively blunting the effect of naturally-increasing tax revenues. However, in the last 3 years of the Clinton administration, tax revenues were higher than outlays, producing the budget surplus which Bush turned into record debt.


The Federal deficit is down almost 50% over last year, just as predicted.

The deficit last year was $248 billion. The prediction for this year is $200 billion with the cost of the wars added in.
That’s not a 50% decrease or even “almost” a 50% decrease.

The CBO predicted this year’s deficit will be $172 billion as opposed to last year’s $248 billion ( However, if you throw in the cost of the wars–which you should–the deficit rises to $200 billion for 2007 (

But the CBO also predicted that for the budget to be balanced by 2012, Bush’s tax cuts will have to expire in 2010, even though Republicans want to make them permanent.


Home valuations are up 200% over the past 3.5 years.

I couldn’t find any corroboration for this particular claim of home valuations going up 200% nationally. But there is no doubt that home prices have soared out of all proportion to people’s ability to afford them.

The 200% figure doesn’t jibe with the House Price Index, which shows that over the past 5 years, the typical home in the U.S. appreciated at a 6.1% annual rate (

To be sure, home valuations differ in many parts of the country and it is certainly conceivable that in California for instance, home prices may have risen more than 200% in the past 3.5 years. But that is not the claim being made here.

According to Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research ( pg. 5):
“The HPI gives the clearest evidence of the bubble. Throughout the post-war period, house prices increased on average at the same rate as the price of other goods and services until the mid-1990s.1 Of course, there were large variations in the rate of housing inflation across regions and by year. Since the mid-1990s, the HPI nationwide has increased by more than 50 percent after adjusting for inflation. In the regions with the most rapid run-up in housing prices (mostly along the coasts), the increase has been more than 100 percent. While some of the more rapid increase in house prices in the coastal areas probably does reflect the increasing desirability of these areas, they will probably still see the sharpest price decline when the housing market adjusts to more normal levels.”

Homes being overvalued results in situations like last year, in which existing home sales fell by almost 10%, the largest decline in 17 years (,CST-FIN-homes26.article).
New home sales were down 17.3% in 2006 (,2933,247141,00.html).

And let’s not forget that foreclosures went up 42% in 2006 (

Inflation is in check, hovering at 20-year lows.

This is just plain made-up and wrong. The inflation rate for 2005 was 3.39%. It was lower than that in every year of Clinton’s term ( Run the inflation calculator for the US from 1985-2005).
Or have a look at these two charts–the 2006 inflation rate was 3.24%–still higher than during any of the Clinton years.

Not a single terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11/01.

This is wrong.

Many people forget the anthrax attacks, still unsolved, that killed 5 people.
Here’s the story from a right-wing perspective: (
Here’s the story from a left-wing perspective: (

Sunday, January 28, 2007


There's a great song called "Spilt Needles" on The Shins' latest album, "Wincing The Night Away." I'd never really listened to The Shins before, but I really like the album and that song, which says this in a couple places:

"It's like I'm perched on the handlebars/of a blind man's bike"

That section of the song always kind of gave me the stomach, if you know what I mean. I felt something emotional and deep when it got that part--the song just sound cool, the melody for those lyrics is moving yet controlled, etc.

But as I walked around singing it to myself, it occurred to me--this lyric doesn't really make much literal sense, yet I like it very much. I mean, why would a blind person have a bike?

Blind bikes

I suppose in general, blind people don't have bikes just like they don't have cars. I tried to think of situations in which blind people might have bikes and came up with the following (hat tip to my man Mik Davis for a couple of these):

1. Someone blinded later in life
2. An exercise, or stationary bike
3. A blind person who uses echolocation to get around

Anyway, while any of those is a likely explanation for why a blind person might have a bike, I think most people would agree that blind people, while possibly owning bikes, don't generally ride them.

The hypocrisy of personal taste

And that's what struck me about The Shins' lyrics--they don't really make any sense.
In fact, if those same lyrics were in a song I didn't like, I would use them as an argument against the song. I'd say something like, "Yeah, that song sucks--I mean, even the lyrics have something about a 'blind man's bike' or some nonsense--it's just weak writing, man. Blind people don't have bikes."

But since I like the song a lot, I not only excuse what common sense tells me are not great lyrics, I try to make them make sense. You know, like write an entire blog entry about them citing certain conditions under which blind people might have bikes. Now why someone might get on the handlebars, I have no idea.

I guess it's just the hypocrisy of personal taste.

On Friday, I posted the saga of the purloined letter by Przybelski. The paper went so far as to remove his letter from their online edition due to one intrepid blogger's efforts to expose the letter as being copied.

Well, the Saturday edition brought a notice printed in the hard copy versions of the paper which said this (there doesn't seem to be a link):

Letter lifted from Web site blog

A letter in Thursday's edition about World War II radio personality "Tokyo Rose" bore a strong resemblance to an article at a blogger's Web site,
Much of the letter, published under the headline "Words of WWII still ring true," was verbatim to the blog.
Dick Przybelski of Petal, who submitted the letter, said Friday the information in the letter was sent to him by a friend. He said parts of the information that attacked Democrats were deleted before he submitted the letter.
He said he also changed the syntax in a number of instances in what was sent to him.
The letter should have stated that much of the information was created by the blogger and was not the original work of Przybelski.

Hey, at least they gave credit where credit was due, right?

No seriously, I don't expect personal credit or anything, but why not mention that the forum discovered this and brought it to their attention? I know for a fact that they have been concerned about driving traffic to their forum, and here was a perfect opportunity to show that the forum can be an interesting, educational, and lively place (not really, but you know...)

My local paper printed a great column today regarding the debate going on over raising cigarette taxes here in Mississippi:

Therefore, the priority of Mississippi government - Gov. Haley Barbour the lead dog and his lapdogs in the state Senate chief among them - is that we keep the 4-out-of-4 Mississippians who must purchase gasoline to get to work, school and church paying within 7 percent of the national average gasoline tax so that we can protect the apparent divine right of the 1-in-4 Mississippians who smoke to pay 72 percent less in tobacco taxes than other Americans.

If Mississippi's gasoline excise tax rate was equalized with the state's cigarette excise tax rate at 72 percent less than the national average, this state's gasoline excise tax rate would drop from the current 18.4 cents a gallon to 3.56 cents per gallon - or a drop of almost 15 cents per gallon at the pumps.

If there is any logic or fiscal responsibility a state artificially keeping cigarette taxes almost 10 times lower than gasoline taxes, it's lost on this writer.

I wrote a post about it on the Hattiesburg American forum, which I reproduce below.


Of course Salter's got a great point. The "anti-tax" sentiment of the people that run this state has no rational defense or basis in reality. It's simply a ploy to seem "fiscally conservative" which is supposed to translate in voter's minds to "I hate gays and love Jesus."

Meanwhile, large parts of the public convince themselves that as long as gays can't get married, somehow this country is still great and fair even though there are all types of the kinds of things Salter's talking about going on that are not common knowledge.

Like the fact that recently, our great Senators Lott and Cochran joioned 26 other "pro-family" Republicans and voted in favor of an amendment to the minimum wage bill passed by the House that would have effectively cancelled the minimum wage.

Did the Hattiesburg American write about that? If they did, I didn't read it.
Seems like a pretty big story to me when the state with the LOWEST median household income, LOWEST median family income, and the LARGEST percentage of people below the poverty level has senators who claim to be "pro-family" and yet vote for an amendment to kill the minimum wage despite the fact that they know the amendment has no chance of passing!

Lott and Cochran wanted to put themselves on the record as being in favor of big business, not in favor of the little guy. Just like Barbour. Please, let's not continue to fool ourselves--these guys are no good for this state.

Friday, January 26, 2007

THAT GUY GOT NAILED...(or, what the hell does Tokyo Rose have to with Iraq?)

There was a plagiarized right-wing letter printed in the Hattiesburg American this week. I of course had no idea it was plagiarized until I got to looking up info that the letter referred to. I'd give you a link to the letter, written by Dick Przybelski, headlined "Words of WWII Still Ring True", but the paper removed it from their website, leaving this message:

"A question was raised about the authenticity of this letter to the editor. Until the issue is resolved, this letter has been removed from the online edition of the Hattiesburg American."

The Przybelski letter had to do with Tokyo Rose supposedly demoralizing GIs in WWII and basically saying that the left is doing the same thing now to soldiers in Iraq. It was originally posted by and plagiarized from OneBigDog, an extremely conservative blogger. So extreme that I'd rather not link to his site (even though it will appear below). But I was happy that the paper reacted the way they did, and I was glad to find out about Tokyo Rose, who I'd heard of but really didn't know anything about.

So here're my posts to the forum:

Post 1:

"Tokyo Rose" was not a single person, but a name given by U.S. soldiers to a group of 12 women who broadcast Japanese propaganda. An American named Iva Ikuko Toguri was convicted of being Tokyo Rose (on only one of 8 treason charges against her), but she was not given a fair trial and was pardoned by Gerald Ford in 1977.

This letter purports to be anti-propaganda but in fact it is itself propaganda. It's interesting how Przybelski represents the message of supposed traitor "Tokyo Rose" as being three of the main (true) arguments against the Iraq war. And he seems to have gotten this info from this site:

Przybelski not only "seems" to have gotten this info from the above website, it's copied verbatim in places. Check out the plagiarism for yourself. And yes, it's plagiarism because Przybelski doesn't use quotation marks or give his sources for this material. He tries to pass it off as his own.

Post 2:
Here are the rather striking "similarities" between the onebigdog post from 1-16-07 ( and today's Przybelski letter:

onebigdog:"Through Tokyo Rose during World War II the Japanese attempted to develop a way to demoralize American forces."

Przybelski: "During World War II, the Japanese developed a way to demoralize the American forces."
onebigdog: "It was intended that Japanese psychological warfare experts could formulate a message that would work..."

Przybelski: "Psychological warfare experts developed a message they felt would work."
onebigdog: "And they gave their script to the famous broadcaster “Tokyo Rose,” and every day she would broadcast this same message packaged in different ways, hoping it would have a negative impact on the morale and fighting spirit of American GI’s."

Przybelski: "They gave the script to their famous broadcaster "Tokyo Rose," and every day she would broadcast this same message packaged in different ways, hoping it would have a negative impact on American GI's morale."
onebigdog: "What was the message? It had three main points: 1. Your President is lying to you.
2. This war is illegal. 3. You cannot win the war."

Przybelski: "What was that demoralizing message? It had three main points:
1. Your president is lying to you. 2. This war is illegal. 3. You cannot win the war."
onebigdog: "Does this sound familiar?"
Przybelski: "Does this sound familiar?"
onebigdog: "The only difference is that they claim to support our troops before they demoralize them. Come to think of it, Tokyo Rose told the troops she was on their side, too!"

Przybelski: "The only difference is that the people saying this now claim to support our troops before they demoralize them. Come to think of it, Tokyo Rose told the troops she was on their side, too."

Post 3:

And just so you'll know, onebigdog is an "occupational health nurse consultant" who blogs anonymously from Maryland. So Przybelski and onebigdog are not the same person. Przybelski is from Petal.

Post 4:

I have gone to great lengths to show that Przybelski's letter was in fact plagiarized from onebigdog. I'm not crying wolf over plagiarism--the letter was clearly plagiarized from onebigdog.

I have also done a lot of reading up on "Tokyo Rose" today. I learned that the woman that was eventually convicted of being Tokyo Rose was not only an American, she was literally born on the fourth of July. And I also learned that American GIs actually enjoyed listening to "Zero Hour"--the show she was on--because she played popular tunes of the day.

If the purpose of the "Zero Hour" show was to demoralize U.S. troops, it didn't work very well.

I have not been able to corroborate the claim of onebigdog (and by extension, Przybelski) that "Tokyo Rose" ever said or implied that the U.S. president was lying, or that the war was illegal, or that the U.S. would lose the war. I'm not saying that the collective "Tokyo Rose" didn't say those things, I'm just saying that in the research I've done today, I haven't run across accounts of any broadcasters saying such things.

Here, from the LA Times, is an account of the type of things she did say:
Calling herself "Orphan Ann," she came on the air with: "Hiya, keeds. I mean all you poor abandoned soldiers, sailors and Marines vacationing on those lovely tropical islands. Gets a little hot now and then, doesn't it? Well, remember, fellas, while you're sweating it out on the islands, your sweet little patootie back home is having a hotcha time with some friendly defense worker. They're probably dancing right now to this used to be your song...remember?"

The LA Times article goes to say this:
"For war-weary soldiers and sailors, the broadcasts were a break in the boredom of war, and not to be taken seriously. *Many officers believed Tokyo Rose strengthened the morale of the armed forces in the Pacific*. In jest, they even gave her a citation after the war."

Here's another description of the broadcasts of "Tokyo Rose," from a book review of )"Tokyo Rose, Orphan of the Pacific":
" When the Japanese ordered the program expanded, the Australian POW selected Iva to read some scripts, but her voice was very coarse and low and he spent much time with Iva to get her to use a cheerful, lively voice. The POW, whose name was Major Cousins, assured Iva that he screened all scripts and that she would never be asked to say anything that was damaging to the USA. Iva was to call herself "Ann: and when Cousins heard that American broadcasters were referring to their troops as "Orphans of the Pacific", he asked Iva to call herself "Orphan Ann".

The "Zero Hour" program lasted only one hour..from 6 to 7 p.m. Tokyo time. It began with a theme song, "Strike Up The Band", played by Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The POW messages were read by Cousins for 5 to 10 minutes. Next came Iva's "Orphan Ann" disc jockey segment. She read a few pert comments written by Cousins. The records played were mainly classical or semi-classical with a few dance tunes. Her voice was only on the air for two or three minutes, followed by news from the US, followed by a "Juke Box" segment of popular or jazz music played by the Filipino POW. More news and commentary followed by male voices and a military march or song was played. The American POW signed off. "

None of this sounds even remotely similar to what onebigdog or Przybelski intimated.

Post 5: The Point Of All This

Now, why is all that important?

Because onebigdog and Przybelski are trying to conflate WWII with Iraq. WWII is remembered as the last good war, the time of the "Greatest Generation," and so forth, while Iraq is rightly seen by the majority of the country as a regrettable quagmire that has more in common with Vietnam than WWII. Onebigdog and Przybelski are seeking to transfer the public's generally good feelings toward and general approval of WWII onto Iraq.

And they're doing so by trying to compare Iraq war critics to "Tokyo Rose," who is wrongly remembered as a propagandist and a traitor. Onebigdog and Przybelski are trying to play on the public's ignorance of the real story (or more accurately, the real *myth*) of "Tokyo Rose"--I must confess that I was largely ignorant of the whole story--to get them to believe that anyone who criticizes the Iraq war is also a propagandist and a traitor.

The thing is, the way onebigdog portrayed the effect of so-called Tokyo Rose broadcasts on American soldiers is just as wrong as his implication that critics of the Iraq war are traitorous anti-Americans.

Post 6: The Media Implications

And the Hattiesburg American isn't helping matters by titling Przybelski's letter "Words of WWII *still ring true.*"

For one thing, that headline implies that the HA thinks what Przybelski's letter says is true when in fact it isn't. Przybelski never said anything about anything "still ringing true," so the headline is not merely reflecting what Przybelski said, it's the HA's interpretation of what he said, which is demonstrably inaccurate.

But to the majority of people who will read only the letter and the headline and not this forum,
the publication of Przybelski's letter under that headline will be just one more tiny piece of the puzzle that will confirm for them that Iraq war critics are traitorous troop-haters if they are already inclined to think such a thing.

A more accurate and impartial headline for the letter might have been "Does this sound familiar?" That would have the advantage of being a quote from the letter as well as an indication of its content. That way, the HA's opinion wouldn't have been injected into it and they could reasonably and correctly claim that they're merely a conduit for opinion, however misguided it may or may not be.

Post 7: Wrap up

Furthermore, these types of appeals to mythology instead of reality should be more closely examined by journalists and by the public so that they can be seen for what they are.

A recent example is the story that the young Barack Hussein Obama supposedly attended a madrassa in Indonesia. It was reported on the Fox and Friends program, and they said they got the information from Insight Magazine.

On its face, this story should sound suspicious to any curious, ethical journalist and would have been independently verified by such a person. But that's not how Fox News operates. They just repeated what someone else (Insight magazine, in this case) said as fact.

It wasn't until CNN sent a reporter to the school in Indonesia that the madrassa myth was revealed. And Fox's John Gibson mocked CNN for sending a reporter to find out the truth, which is what actual journalists are supposed to do.

Here's a link that lays out the whole thing...

And what onebigdog and Przybelski are doing is very similar.

UPDATE: Here's the Przybelski letter, from the Google cache:

Words of WWII still ring true

During World War II, the Japanese developed a way to demoralize the American forces. Psychological warfare experts developed a message they felt would work.

They gave the script to their famous broadcaster "Tokyo Rose," and every day she would broadcast this same message packaged in different ways, hoping it would have a negative impact on American GI's morale.

What was that demoralizing message? It had three main points:

1. Your president is lying to you.
2. This war is illegal.
3. You cannot win the war.

Does this sound familiar? The only difference is that the people saying this now claim to support our troops before they demoralize them. Come to think of it, Tokyo Rose told the troops she was on their side, too.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


The White House issued a statement Thursday as a response to the House's passing of a bill to require Medicare to negotiate for lower prices with pharamceutical companies:

"Government interference impedes competition, limits access to lifesaving drugs, reduces convenience for beneficiaries and ultimately increases costs to taxpayers, beneficiaries and all American citizens alike."

What kind of morons must the White House think we are? That's their argument--that government harms competition? Do they think we don't know about antitrust legislation? Do they think we don't know that in general, the idea is for government to force competition to be allowed, so that a monopoly does not exist to the detriment of the consumer?

I mean, I'm no economist or anything, but the statement that "government interference impedes competition" just seems ludicrous to me. I tend to think that "government mandates competition (with a few exceptions)."

Or am I just totatlly wrong about that?

I'm going to crosspost my response to this post on the Hattiesburg American forum:

Okay, let's cover this again:

- Clinton doesn't capture OBL. This is the same OBL who attacked the USS Cole, many think the Hezbollah acted in cohort with Iran/Al Queda/OBL in the Beirut bombing and OBL's forces planned the original attack on the WTC. OBL made it clear he planned to attack America and he did. See 9-11.

- Geography lesson: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, et al, are all located in the middle east.

- Sadaam Hussein [former dictator of Iraq, whose address is now in Hell ---- and good riddance], supported, harbored, protected and consorted with all terrorist, OBL included.

- The world's largest oil supplies are located in the middle east. Again, see above geography lesson --- these countries are all contiguous and all harbor (or have harbored) terrorists.

- The US is a staunch ally of Israel, and if you're a christian (and I am), my Bible tells me the Jews are God's chosen people and we are to ally with them and protect them. I have no choice.

- The US must protect her interests abroad [See oil] and our allies abroad.

- Side note: If environmentalists would allow more drilling on US soil and more refineries built, we wouldn't be so dependant on their oil.

- I could continue this list, ad nauseum, but you get the point.

We have to take the fight to them and ensure a stable middle east [something about Iran and nukes]. Did that clear it up for you?


In the August 2, 2005 issue of the Washington Post a story was printed that was headlined "Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb." This was part of the National Intelligence Estimate, which represents the overall consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies.

It is now January 13, 2007. According to our own intelligence agencies, then, Iran is still over 8 1/2 years from having a nuclear bomb, if in fact that's what they're working on. They of course deny that they're working toward a nuclear weapon. But Bush of course, insists that they are, so he can try to convince the public to let him attack Iran.

In 2003, Iran sent word to Washington that they wanted improved relations with the U.S. and according to the Washington Post story, everything was on the table--"including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups."

But the Bush administration rejected the offer of talks with Iran. Now why would Bush have done something like that when Iran wanted to come to some sort of agreement on every issue we differ with them over?

Operation Ajax--how soon we forget

I've never said that terrorism has only been around since the days of George W. Bush. We've been killing and exploiting people around the world for over a century now. Why, a prime example of that happened in Iran in 1953 when Kermit Roosevelt worked with the British on Operation Ajax and overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh to install the pro-Western but decidedly undemocratic Shah (another major player in Operation Ajax was Miles Copeland, father of Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police).

Dissatisfaction with the autocratic Shah led to the Islamic Revolution, during which the Iranians took over the U.S. embassy, which is all most Americans remember.

Eisenhower and 9/11

Since some on the forum like to blame things on past presidents on the basis of historical "what ifs" or "if onlys", try this one on:

9/11 was Eisenhower's fault. Eisenhower, you may remember, was a Republican.

Truman (a Democrat) refused to participate in Operation Ajax. Eisenhower was up for it and so the year he took office, we and the British overthrew Mossadegh. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs leads to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the taking of the U.S. embassy.

That in turn causes the U.S. to side with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, with us supporting Saddam Hussein. We then tell our buddy Saddam in 1990 that we have "no opinion" on "Arab-Arab conflicts." So Saddam invades Kuwait.

Suddenly we have a very strong opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts and to dislodge Saddam from Kuwait, we set up military bases in Saudi Arabia, massing some 500,000 troops there. This upsets Osama bin Laden.

An upset Osama bin Laden works in conjunction with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on the 9/11 plot, which kills 3,000 Americans.

Therefore, in the logic of some posters on this forum, Eisenhower is responsible for 9/11.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Here are excerpts from two different posts at the forum of my local paper (my response follows the right-wing posts):

Post 1:

"The irrefutable fact remains: If Clinton takes OBL when he had the chance, then 9-11 doesn't happen. Then we don't go to Iraq."

Post 2:

".........and I do know this: without regard to a donkey or an elephant ---- radical Muslim extremists wish to kill us. They wish to kill us without regard to who gets mail at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They wish us obliterated from this universe. Anybody remember 9-11? I do. If they could do it again today and the next day and the next day and the next day, they would. I know we've not had another attack since then and we must take the fight to them, or they'll bring it over here."

My response

I posted the following at the forum:

They want to kill us for two reasons:

1) we kill them
2) we exploit them

If we stopped doing those things, voila, no terrorism.

Also, Manny had this to say: "The irrefutable fact remains: If Clinton takes OBL when he had the chance, then 9-11 doesn't happen. Then we don't go to Iraq."

This piece of fiction is easily refutable. Here's how:

1) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, not Osama bin Laden, is considered the "mastermind of 9/11." If KSM hadn't had OBL, he could've worked with some other rich fundamentalist. 9/11 was KSM's idea.

2) Even the FBI doesn't think they have enough evidence to charge bin Laden with 9/11. Check out his wanted poster at the FBI's website.

3) Osama bin Laden was involved in the planning and financing of 9/11, but he didn't actually carry out the mission.

Therefore, we see that 9/11 was possible independent of bin Laden. Clinton could have personally beheaded bin Laden and 9/11 could have still happened.

The other part of Manny's assertion is more troublesome in that it assumes that because 9/11 happened, we had to invade Iraq. In fact, George W. Bush and the people he chose to serve in his administration wanted to topple Saddam Hussein long before 9/11.

-Rumsfeld was told by Richard Clarke that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, even though Rumsfeld made it clear that he wanted Clarke to tell him otherwise.

-We know from the Downing Street memos that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. "

-However, Bush was saying publicly at the time that war was not inevitable and the inspectors would do their work and we'd work with the U.N. and so forth. And by this time, Bush had already been repeatedly told that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

-A new article in Playboy about Lockheed quotes then-deputy (and now current) national security advisor Stephen Hadley telling a Lockheed official in November 2002 that we were going to go to war but “they were going to war and were struggling with a rationale” and “still working out” a cause. If the Iraq war were really a necessity because of 9/11 in the minds of Bush and his national security people, they wouldn't have had to "work out a cause" or "struggle" with a rationale.

-Bush himself said in 2004 as all this was coming to light that "This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda."

So in no way, even by Bush's own admission, does 9/11 necessitate an attack on Iraq. In fact, Iraq was a distraction of resources from the hunt for bin Laden, who is now alive and well in Pakistan, and supposedly free as long as he is a "peaceful citizen." Because Bush didn't get bin Laden when he had the chance.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I decided to have some fun with his speech and pretend I'm Mike Malloy or Sam Seder and injecting commentary while playing a recording of this speech (I'm in italics):

Good evening and fuck you. Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror - and our safety here at home. But mostly the safety of my failed presidency. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror. Because it makes perfect sense to fight a war against a tactic, don't it--heh, heh.

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. Purple fingers, purple fingers! You remember those carefully staged propaganda photos, right? The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together - and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops. And continue to build our giant-ass embassy in Baghdad because we're never going to leave.

But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq - particularly in Baghdad - overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. That are totally different than our outrageous acts of murder--don'tcha know they're terrorists? They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam - the Golden Mosque of Samarra - in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran (that's who we're attacking next, by the way--heh, heh), formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today. That's right, I'm still not gonna call it a civil war--I make my own reality.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people - and it is unacceptable to me. Even though I'm the one responsible for it. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me. I'm a war criminal, what can I say?

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. No shit, Sherlock. A better idea would be to have a strategy to begin with. So my national security team, military commanders (that I just replaced because they didn't agree with me), and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted Members of Congress from both parties, allies abroad, and distinguished outside experts. You know, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell--just uninterested, totally neutral outside elements. We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group - a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. Fuck you Daddy--I'm a gooder President than you! I got two terms--so there! In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States. Because if we don't maintain unfettered access to the oil, how will ExxonMobil continue to make record profits?

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. Kinda like the safe haven I allowed them to have in America. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. I never get tired of trying to link the Iraq war to 9/11. Never! Never! For the safety of our people (and for the wealth of our corporations), America must succeed in Iraq.

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it. Remember free fire zones? Turns out that wasn't such a bad idea. Sometimes you have to destroy a country in order to save it. Or somethin' like that--heh, heh.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. I don't have time or energy to secure neighborhoods in both Iraq and America, so I think I'll just concentrate on securing neighborhoods in Iraq. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. They haven't been ordered to kill indiscriminately. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.

Let me explain the main elements of this effort: The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort - along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations - conducting patrols, setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents. Because checkpoints and door-to-door midnight searches are so dearly loved by people around the world and make them so inclined to trust the people who are doing those things.

This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help. So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence - and bring security to the people of Baghdad. We'll help the Iraqis carry out a campaign to kill more people, but we won't help with a campaign to rebuild New Orleans or the Gulf Coast. This will require increasing American force levels. So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them - five brigades - will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs. We're gonna get to kill more people and give more no-bid contracts to defense contractors! Oh, and spend more taxpayer money! And borrow more from China! It's gonna be awesome!

Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous
operations to secure Baghdad did not. Here are the differences: In earlier
operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists
and insurgents - but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers
returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas
that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian
interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods
that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and
American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods - and Prime
Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be
tolerated. Some people's gonna die!!! The gloves are coming off!!

I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that
America's commitment is not open-ended. And by "not open-ended" I mean
"we're gonna stay forever because we are building this kickass embassy. We gotta get some use outta that thing!!
If the Iraqi government does not follow
through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people - and
it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime
Minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: "The
Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless
of [their] sectarian or political affiliation."

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. I just said that for shits and giggles--everybody knows that American news organizations are too chickenshit to show images of death and suffering. Even when it's a bastard like Saddam Hussein! Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the
breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Like for
instance, making my oil buddies lotsa money!
Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia
want to live together in peace - and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help
make reconciliation possible. Yes, that's right, my stupid plan to have more
people killed for no reason is going to resolve a religious argument that's been
raging for centuries! Because I create reality and am awesome!

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi
citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible
improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the
Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. Notice I haven't said
"civil war" or "timetable." But I did use the word "mistake." Throw me a
frickin' bone!

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. But we can't leave then--because it won't be 2009. That's when I get to pass this bullshit off to some other asshole. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. Yeah, they'll share the 25% of profits that
will be left over after my oil buddies take the rest. Which is only right--we
did liberate their oil. I mean, their nation. Heh, heh.
To show that it is
committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend 10
billion dollars of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects
that will create new jobs. Now I would never do communist bullshit like this
in America--but if these chumps wanna do it, whatever...
To empower local
leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow
more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will
reform de-Baathification laws - and establish a fair process for considering
amendments to Iraq's constitution.

America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it
works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq
Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army
units - and partner a Coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will
help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped Army - and we will accelerate
the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission
in Iraq. We have to build up an army that they can use to try to kick us out
with. Then we can have an excuse to stay there even longer to fight off the
Iraqi army we just trained.
We will give our commanders and civilians
greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the
number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. And we'll halve the
reconstruction teams here at home.
These teams bring together military and
civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation,
strengthen moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self reliance. And
Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to
ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.

As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Al Qaeda is still active in Iraq. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al Qaeda has
helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured
al Qaeda document describes the terrorists' plan to infiltrate and seize control
of the province. This would bring al Qaeda closer to its goals of taking down
Iraq's democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks
on the United States at home and abroad.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing al Qaeda leaders - and protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al Qaeda. As a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to step up the pressure on the terrorists. By which
I mean--we'll kill a lot more people. Oh, and probably throw a lot more under
the jail for life and torture them the entire time. Because they might be
America's men and women in uniform took away al Qaeda's safe
haven in Afghanistan - and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq.

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity -
and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins
with addressing Iran and Syria. Sleep with one eye open, Ahmadinejad!
These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory
to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on
American troops. And that's why we should start the third war of my
presidency posthaste. Don't you think that cause is worth it?
We will
disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from
Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced
weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and
protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment
of an additional carrier strike group to the region. That's for attacking
Iran--oh wait, I've said too much...
We will expand intelligence sharing -
and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. Of which we have very few left. We will work with the governments of
Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will
work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the
region. That's the point I really wanted to make--when you think of Iran,
think of mushroom clouds. Iran=mushroom clouds. Fuck Iraq, let's bomb Iran.
It'll be awesome!

We will use America's full diplomatic resources to rally support for
Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in
Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists - (unlike say, Saudi Arabia
where 15 of the 9/11 hijackers came from
)and a strategic threat to their
survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with
its neighbors - and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity government. Or else. We endorse the Iraqi government's call to finalize an
International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for
greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region
- to build support for Iraq, and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help
bring peace to the Middle East. Because I'm all about some peace--that's why
you gotta have more war!

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a
military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. I
usually like to wait for history's judgment, but I'll go ahead and jumpstart the
history nerds on this one. Hey, history assholes in 2057? The decisive
ideological struggle of our time is as follows:
On one side are those who
believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the
innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. Guess which side I'm on? Heh, heh. In the long run, the most realistic
way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the
hateful ideology of the enemy - by advancing liberty across a troubled region. And by kicking much ass and taking their oil and their money. It is in
the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are
risking their lives to claim their freedom - and help them as they work to raise
up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East. Now, we're not gonna
do this shit in Darfur or anywhere else--those brave men and women standing up
for freedom can kiss my ass.

From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of
ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and
opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know:
Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists -
or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?
The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young
democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous
importance to American security. And corporate profits--let's not forget
about those, heh heh.
Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in
Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and
violent. And I'm gonna do my part to make sure that happens. Even if
our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue
- and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties. So don't come
crying to me when your mommy or daddy or whatever gets killed, OK? I told ya
they were gonna die. But I have no control over whether they go to war or not.
I'm just a regular guy like you, remember? The kinda guy you'd like to have a
beer with, remember? So when your husband gets killed, just remember that we'll
never have a beer together and I won't come to any funerals or anything, OK?
The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to
success. I believe that it will. But then again, you gotta remember that I'm
batshit insane.

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers
achieved. Because the war will never end and therefore neither will my
There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. Ditto what I just said. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in
the Arab world - a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the
rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. I mean, that shit is for pussies if you ask me, but whatever...everybody's
always trying to say that ya gotta follow the Constitution and shit, and I'm
just like, yeah, whatever.
A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it
will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them - and it will
help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren. After all, Rome wasn't built in your lifetime, you know what I'm saying,
dickhead? Don't expect any results for a couple years at least--then I'm gone
and you guys can do whatever the fuck you want. Cause I'll be clearin' brush and
ridin' bikes. I can't fucking wait, dude!

Our new approach comes after consultations with Congress about the different courses we could take in Iraq. And I told the Democrats they could suck my dick. Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States - and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq's borders and hunting down al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America's efforts in Baghdad - or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered
these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse
of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on
an unimaginable scale. I mean, the killing so far used to be unimaginable,
but since it's happened now we can imagine it, you see what I mean?
Such a
scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer,
and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at
this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we
can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress
on our new strategy. And they better not say shit about it. If members
have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change,
we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their
criticisms. I mean, there's no such thing as an honorable Democrat, but they
told me I had to say that.
It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And
all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be
more likely to succeed. Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman
and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group
that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.
This group will meet regularly with me and my Administration, and it will help
strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to
increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the
Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to
mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas - where they can help
build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and

In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have
extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. And I am willing to extend their tours and cut their benefits and send them
into harm's way for my own insane political advantage.
These young
Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary - and that
the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. I mean, like ending
slavery? That had nothing on this.
They serve far from their families, who
make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner
table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty.
We mourn the loss of every fallen American - and we owe it to them to build a
future worthy of their sacrifice. So we have to send more of them to die.
Because the death of 3,000 won't be validated until at least that many more have
died. You see how it works? No? Well, I am batshit insane.

Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice,
and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens
of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a Nation. And
throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our
faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will
set the course for a new century. We can and we will prevail.
We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night. Author of Liberty--that's code for God, ya
Christian wackos! Don't impeach me! Or I'll detain ya! Just kidding, heh heh. Or
am I?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The following two posts of mine are in response to these posts--


I don't owe you or anyone else one damn thing. I am currently in military and most of us, and I mean over 95% agree with the mission. You're just an angry hippie. It's ok man, we're fighting for you too."

"Remember, peace through strength. Just look at what is happening in Somalia, and I'm not talking about the strike we just carried out either..."

--in this thread at the Hattiesburg American forum.

Left-Handed Leftist Post 1

Not only that, troops in Iraq are not fighting for Russ or me or any other regular citizens. They're fighting for Exxon, BP, Shell, etc. Didja see this--"Western companies may get 75% of Iraqi oil profits":

"Iraq's massive oil reserves may be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies - which could end up grabbing up to 75% of the beleagured nation's oil profits - under a law seen coming before the Iraqi parliament within days, the Independent reported on its Web site Monday."

War is a racket. So said General Butler, who at the time of his death was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.

If anything, this Iraq war is being used as an excuse to TAKE AWAY our freedoms. In the latest example, Bush just added a signing statement to a bill in which he claimed the right to open mail without a warrant.

I like the chant Cindy Sheehan and others shouted at the Democrats the other day "De-escalate, investigate--Troops home now!" Not one more American soldier should have to die or be wounded to protect George Bush's failed policies or to make money for corporations.

THAT'S what you call "supporting the troops," not calling for even more of them to be taken away from their newborns to kill or be killed so that Western oil companies--one of which recently had the highest quarterly profit of any corporation in the history of the world--can make even MORE money.

Left-Handed Leftist Post 2

Forget peace through strength. That's a load of malarkey that we've been sold for years. We were told all through the Cold War that we had to have all this firepower at the expense of everything else so we wouldn't be beaten by the Soviets.

Turns out the Soviet threat was greatly exaggerated and they collapsed under their own weight. But now we're stuck with the bill for the arms race and we still spend more than any other country on "defense".

We are the mightiest country on earth in terms of sheer firepower. So where's the peace?

As far as 95% of troops supporting the war, that's not true either. In February 2005, 72% wanted to come home by 2006. Then there was the recent Military Times Poll which showed that 42% of the troops don't support the President's Iraq policy compared with 35% who do support it.

The time for BS is over. We won the war but we're losing the occupation (and theoretically that shouldn't be possible). The American people have finally caught on to the fact that Bush lied about our reasons for going into Iraq and the "surge" will be his undoing.

From today's Hattiesburg American:

"[Gene]Taylor wants a national all-perils insurance policy, federal oversight of the property insurance industry and repeal of its exemption from antitrust laws, which he said allowed the companies to consult each other when determining how they would handle Katrina claims."

I've always thought Taylor was good dude but acted too much like a Republican to call himself a Democrat. But this is some gutsy, populist stuff. Good for him--and us! It's about time the insurance industry was investigated.

I remember our State Farm insurance adjuster telling me that "you're not supposed to profit off of insurance," to which I added in my mind "yeah, but you sure do."

This is why Democratic control of Congress is a good thing. If you doubt that, ask yourself why Trent Lott didn't do this already when he was in the majority. Oh that's right, because insurance companies have been among Lott's biggest contributors. Taylor has taken money from insurance companies, but not as much.

Just sayin'...

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I just looked at this link for my Haley Barbour/minimum wage post below. Here's what it says:

Americans Back Minimum Wage Increase
January 8, 2007
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Adults in the United States overwhelmingly support one of the first proposals of their new Congress, according to a poll by Ipsos-Public Affairs released by the Associated Press. 80 per cent of respondents favour an increase in the minimum wage.

The last time the U.S. Congress raised the minimum wage was 1997, when the rate was increased to $5.15 U.S. an hour. There are currently 16 American states that pay minimum wages that are higher than the federal rate.

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have suggested gradually increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 U.S. an hour over the course of the next two years. Senate majority leader Harry Reid discussed the situation, saying, "If it takes adding small business tax cuts to have a minimum wage increase, then we’ll do that."

Polling Data

Do you favour or oppose an increase in the minimum wage?



Not sure

Source: Ipsos-Public Affairs / Associated Press
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,004 American adults, conducted from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

It just makes sense

Those poll numbers are split more or less the way the wealth in the country is distributed--the far larger number of people who make and have less money favor a minimum wage increase while the far smaller number of people who make and have a whole lot of money oppose a minimum wage increase. Which just makes sense.

Could it be that Americans are finally beginning to see through the imperialistic, faux-patriotic, fake religious propaganda and speaking up for their interests as they exist in real time (as opposed to say, how their interests might be if they win the lottery or marry Paris Hilton or whatever)? I sure hope so...
BARBOUR AND MINIMUM WAGE (written Thursday, 1/4)

Haley Barbour opposes raising the minimum wage in Mississippi to $7.25/hour, which would be 40% higher than the current national rate of $5.15. His laughable argument against such an increase is that it would, according to an AP article, “drive jobs out of this state.”

Having not read Barbour’s actual statement on this issue, just a brief AP story, I don’t know this for sure, but I would imagine that the reason he thinks a minimum wage increase would drive jobs from Mississippi is because corporations and other employers are looking for places with cheap labor and would therefore be turned off by higher labor costs.

Why Haley is wrong

It is certainly true that corporations favor the lowest possible labor costs. So why aren’t all major corporations currently clamoring to get down to Mississippi? We not only offer low labor costs but also a “right to work” law. After all, as I pointed out in a post a few days ago, Mississippi ranks 49th in median household income–low wages are the norm in this state and people are mostly used to them, for better or worse.

In other words, it is absurd to argue that improving the wages of Mississippians will discourage corporate interests from setting up shop in the state, because corporations apparently aren’t interested in coming here under the current low-wage, right-to-work conditions. Why should Mississippians be kept in their current low-wage status when maintaining that status obviously isn’t acting as an incentive for corporations to move here? For that matter, why should that status be maintained even if corporations theoretically did want to move here? Mississippians have been poor long enough. Besides, isn’t the right-wing, cheap-labor conservative argument that minimum wage jobs are mostly held by teenage burger flippers anyway? If that’s true, what’s the difference if all the Wendys and McDonalds and Burger Kings close down and leave the state?

The difference, of course, is that a significant number of adults do work for minimum wage, and that many of the jobs that currently exist here and that would theoretically be brought here would be minimum wage positions. Barbour and the right-wingers know this but don’t want to admit it. Barbour wants to pretend that he would be doing Mississippians a favor by bringing in more jobs, but most jobs that would likely be brought in would be for minimum wage with minimal or no benefits. But if more corporations brought in even minimum wage jobs, Barbour could then argue that unemployment went down on his watch, even if the jobs that are created are not so-called “good jobs” that pay a living wage. After all, Barbour’s partner in crime George W. Bush called having three jobs “uniquely American.”

Raising the minimum wage will provide relief to a large number of Mississippians and will not punish corporations, who have no plans to come here anyway. And maybe one of the big reasons they don’t want to come here even with our current status quo of low wages is because of another statistic that I mentioned a few days ago: of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Mississippi has the fewest number of high school graduates who are 25 and older. Knowing that, many corporations likely feel that a lot of Mississippians aren’t even competent enough to make change, much less to make some high-tech product.

On top of all of that, the new Democratic congressional majority that was sworn in today has already said that they’re going to raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 over two years, the very policy Barbour despises, in the first 100 hours of their tenure. So Barbour’s objections not only reveal him to be a spiteful political hack who invariably sides with the rich and powerful, they are largely moot to begin with.

Monday, January 01, 2007

NOTHING CHANGES ON NEW YEAR'S DAY... the fact that the situation in Iraq just keeps getting worse. Circumstances may be a little different--Saddam being hung, for instance--but what you can count on always staying the same is that Iraq will never get better and will always get worse.

Like for instance, the fact that we've now lost over 3,000 soldiers. That's different--yet exactly the same.

What a way to ring in the new year!

Why is 1938 always analogous?

I had a conversation with a family member recently and I asked him what he thought about a troop "surge" in Iraq. He said that we should either get out completely or nuke the place. I suggested that given those two options, we should leave.

He elaborated further and said that well, the situation is more complicated than that, that we might be able to fix our mess with more troops, etc. I pointed out that similar logic drove thousands to their deaths in Vietnam and we now agree that Vietnam wasn't worth the sacrifice.

Oh, but that wasn't the preferred analogy for this reciter of conventional wisdom. We can't just pull out and pretend that all is well and that pacification is complete. Isn't that what Chamberlain did at Munich--pretend that all was well?

It occurred to me during this conversation that even the lessons of history cannot dissuade people if they have their mind set on something. Oh, they will speak as though history has taught them even if there is a more recent and contradictory example. I just marvelled at the logic that always accepts Munich as analogous to every situation that we face, while Vietnam holds virtually no lessons for the present (except, as Bush averred recently, that we only lose if we leave).

It's official...and quite telling

Reading in a post about Robert Novak at Americablog, I learned that Novak had this to say about the GOP and an escalation of Iraq:

Even in Mississippi, the reddest of red states, where Bush's approval rating has just inched above 50 percent, Republicans see no public support for more troops.

It's official--Mississippi is the reddest of the red states. Now is that a good thing? I think not. Mississippi leads or nearly leads the country in almost everything bad and trails the country in everything good. For example:

-Mississippi is number 2 in infant mortality
-Mississippi is number 49 in median household income
-Mississippi was tied for 2nd place in number of citizens below the poverty level
-Mississippi is dead fucking last in number of people 25 and older who have completed high school

And so forth and so on. I think therefore that a strong argument can be made that being a "red state" is a bad thing. If you want your state to be poor and uneducated, then be a red state--that's the message that not many people in this state seem to get. Is that because they're poor and uneducated? Hmmm...just asking.

Happy New Year!