Monday, May 23, 2005

The Gospel According to Psycho-cons

Well, seems Condi has opened her mouth and further re-enforced her reputation as a psycho wackjob right-winger....well, I guess not that it was really in doubt but anyway, Greg Palast reports more appallingness from the Psychocons. This time, Condi is regretting that reports of the US abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo have got out. Oh dear, that dreadful free press....what a burden it must be to their dreams of megalomania. I wish Palast had cited where he had read this but it doesn't sound unreasonable. Also, in the same report he claims that MonkeyPrez was "angry" about the reports of the desecration of the Qu'ran. As Palast says, "not the desecration of the Koran, the reporting of it." Hmm, and if our leadership comes from the top, is it really that unreasonable to think that folks with such power in the US could have had a hand in authorizing policies that might have kept Iraqi prisoners under their thumbs to the point of personal and sexual humiliation, not to mention ghosting Iraqi prisoners and "rendering" (I think the Bushies came up with that term because it is a dreadfully antiseptic word for what is kidnapping and breaks the Geneva Conventions about 15 different ways till Tuesday) to give Bush plausible deniability? And if you claim that Condi wasn't responsible for the treatment of US prisoners, well, that is true, but our fine Secretary of Defense (against what?) also in Palast's piece, perhaps tops Monkey Boy and Condi for unwarranted pique. He says, regarding the supposed effects of Newsweek's possible mistake that "People lost their lives. People are dead." Well, yes, people losing their lives is the same as people dying. Well figured Rummy. Only I don't think this Qu'ran desecration is the only reason Iraqis might be mad at the US. Pick your reason. I guess, as Palast says, that it's people that he can't kill and perhaps he doesn't like Newsweek (supposedly) doing his job for him. If only the US were paying attention. But it's sweeps. Or summer. Or nearly Labor Day. Or there's a sale at Penneys. Or we're headin' to Vegas. Or something. There's gotta be some reason why the US ain't interested.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

a much needed critique

I was glad to read, at least via the AP report, of the criticism Bush received at the christian Calvin College where he went to deliver the commencement speech at graduation there. It's one thing to have us on the left critiquing Bush, and it should continue because I believe that ultimately, if the country is to be shown the harm Bush is doing to the country and the world, it will derive from pressure from the left. But if Christians of conscience would step up and show other, more cautious Americans that to disagree with your President is not disloyal, perhaps there would be more pressure on the President and he would not be able to rely so dependably on the support of the religious right. Christ was not a company man. He was not unethical, he was not a social climber. He was not a rapacious exploiter of children or the aged or minorities.

But yet, for all the protest we here from Christians in the United States, you'd think he was all those things and that everyone agreed on that. It's huge that Christians will stand up and speak out against Bush's unethical policies. If people are to learn what Bush is really about, it's more likely that they'll listen to folks who they identify more with. Again, that's not to say that those of us on the left should not continue to bring out Bush's faults-we should, unceasingly-but if Christians of conscience would show the sort of conscience that Christ did, well, Bush's corrupt house of cards would collapse in a hurry.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The US military-killing people pointlessly for over 200 years!

Well, further acknowledgment by some generals that we seem to have a little problem over there in I-rak comes in this NY Times article, via the indispensable Left I On The News. Some officers assert that Iraqi troops might not be able to manage the country in its present state. Geez, there's a shock. Not sure that anyone could handle the country in it's present state. Or perhaps they're just afraid that these soldiers might not accede to the US "vision" for Iraq and so they want to keep a lid on the chaos there. The official confirmation (unfortunately but not unsurprisingly buried deep in the Old Grey Biooootch) of course is not necessarily more depressing to me because this is something that I've known about as probably many of you have, but as reality (?-fear? insecurity? discomfort? karma?) starts to catch up with these folks, well, perhaps all will see The Empire-r has no clothes. Unfortunately, this reminds me of an Onion article (sorry can't provide the link but if you visit The Onion you can search for Bush Exit Through Iran or something similar and if you're a subscriber ($30 a year) you can read it) that is waaay too darkly funny. The idea is that Bush does have an exit strategy and that it involves going through Iran. Obviously the joke is that Bush intends to get access to the wealth of resources Iran has.

Another piece that would be funny if it weren't actually true I also found at Left I via eStripes. It's sad when the military's official paper for its soldiers has to report such humiliating news-and not as parody but as straight fact and with no irony or what-not. Oh well. Yes, it seems that the transition to Iraqis taking ownership of their new military is really instilling pride in countrymen not in the army. Yup, maybe the army over there will need its own army. Nice to see everything's under control.

And finally, a thoughtful, reflective piece by Dahr Jamail on his feelings as an Iraqi-American war correspondent who is returning to report in Iraq for his second tour since the Occupation began. Jamail is unembedded and decided to report from Iraq when he became tired of the disingenuous media coverage in the MSM. His work is honest and thoughtful and obviously derives from a desire to see the best for the people of his country of origin. In this piece, he considers his thoughts and reactions to living in the surreally peaceful United States when, he believes, the country should be in an uproar over the war in Iraq. He finds much evidence of discomfort with the US' policy on Iraq but is also disappointed there isn't more outrage. Anyway, my account of his sensitive and piercing prose won't do it justice, so I'll stop writing about it-just go read it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

George Galloway, ripping the US Senate 100 new ones

Owned. Now why is this testimony considered so astonishing? It's obvious that the answer is that the Senate is accustomed to a significant amount of deference (read: spinning/disingenuousness/parsing the truth/pandering). And so now of course the MSM, which is so used to reporting on non-events, is forced to cover a serious blow to the "prestige" of the "august" body. What a farce. I know that while I was growing up in Northern Ireland, some of the footage that had the most powerful impact on the development of a political awareness and maturity was the footage of the goings-on in the House of Commons, often over privatization in Thatcher's England in the late '80s. Some of the testimony was quite pointed and these MPs took the gloves off to an extent that representatives in the US just don't do. The MPs would be quite critical and the comments were liable to get more personal than the comments of the representatives here in the US. That is not to say that personal invective is desirable or maybe even warranted and certainly personal invective is not necessarily helpful in completing legislative demands, but my point is more that these legislators were much more straight-forward in dealing with the issues.

This came through loud and clear during Galloway's testimony and in the smattering of comment I've seen about it. You would think Galloway was arguing for the promotion of Charles Manson to the Presidency, so shocked and nearly even indignant has been some of the reaction. Certainly not everyone would agree with all the things he said, and that's alright. But regardless, if we cannot discuss openly and honestly-as he was seemingly trying to do-what is happening in the world-in such a prominent legislative forum as the US Senate, where can we discuss it? And it also points out the weakness of the oration skills of US senators which is maybe more worrying. Not that it's really that shocking as these guys obviously avoid serious confrontation for fear of such embarassment, but nevertheless, when it happens, it truly is embarassing. Anyway, seems this event has certainly pointed out again the need for serious political engagement by the US senate-although that probably won't happen and they'll go back to droning on in the same old way that they have for much too long......

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A bit of sense in Congress and more proof the NY Times is a Wolf in Sheeps' Clothing

Well, it's nice to see that some Congresspeople realize that the news that we get these days is not quite as liberal as FUX News would have us believe. As Rory O'Connor reports on Alternet, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) has establishedthe Future of American Media (FAM) Caucus. The primary concern of the caucus will be protecting the diversity and volume of sources of news in the United States and ensuring "reasoned debate, expert analysis, and diverse points of view can come together to address critical media policy issues." As Hinchey notes, 1996 Telecommunications Act, which consolidated media outlets in fewer and fewer hands has consolidated media perspectives into ever diminishing numbers of increasingly powerful corporations. He states "We need to correct many problems that are currently in the Act, and we're going to have a huge fight on our hands to do so,". It would seem, as O'Connor notes on Alternet, that Hinchey and his Democratic colleagues on the FAM caucus are well aware of the poor state of media diversity in the United States today. Hinchey also notes that the reliability, diversity, and depth of news coverage has been on a downturn "since the Reagan administration trashed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987." This is a long downward cycle and it would seem that without intervention on the part of citizens there is little hope for its rectification. Rep. Hinchey also notes that the airwaves are a public property and this might be the sort of reminder that the public needs to re-claim control of the airwaves. Hopefully Hinchey and co. will anchor a bold movement to protect and call attention to media's increased consolidation in the US. We certainly wish them all the best.

Unfortunately, it seems that the NY Times is out to lunch, now believing that they need to tone down their outre liberal views and escape the stigma of being such a liberal voice on the media landscape. Hmmm.....and it seems like Our Fearful Bushleader might need to do botch his handling of Iraq so that he isn't quite as popular because he just can stand the adoring crowds when he is abroad. Yeah, and that Enron group shouldn't get too arrogant over their success. Sooner or later I got a feeling that house of cards is gonna collapse.......that's right, the Old Grey Lady believes that its editorial page is much too liberal and so, in order to better reflect the diversity of readers in the United States, it will try to recruit writers who will reflect religious and current events happenings occurring in Middle America. NYT editor Bill Keller welcomes the report, seeming to accept its basic terms. The fact that the NY Times believes it is too far left, at least editorially, is further proof of the ignorance of Americans of the paucity of media sources present, especially in this day and age of blogs and niche material for seemingly every sub-group under the sun. Of course it takes some curiosity to find some of this material, but again, this pronouncement, or "admission" by the NY Times that it is "too liberal" might be seen by Middle America as further "proof" of how "out of touch" the NY Times is. And of course the Grey lady is out of touch, but she's out of touch on the right, as opposed to the left, where she claims her disorientation. But in the constant echo chamber that is cable news and "commentary" (a.k.a shouting on cable TV), this will be received as proof of the fraudulence of claim that the media is liberal. Of course, none of this can have any bearing on the work that the true liberal media must do, but again indicates how clueless the NYT is and propagates the idea that the Times has been some sort of left-wing rebel for so long. This story, in reaching large numbers of readers, will "confirm" the "liberal" image that many already have of the NYT in their heads.

And finally, a truly sad story heartbreaking story I hadn't read anywhere else until I get to the ever splendid Get Your War On. Turns out that the poor Kurds who Saddam gassed back in 1988 now have no clean drinking water. A clean water project in Halabja, part of the area where Saddam targeted Kurds 17 years ago has been shut down. The usual sources offer the usual excuses and explanations and (ostensibly) apologies but this is just another terribly sad story emanating out of an already war-ravaged and decimated land. This encapsulates the US' perspective on other countries-disinterested, oblivious, and disingenuously apologetic.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

hello I love you...

Hi there, your friendly government watchdog here. First post so I'd better establish some of my biases and interests so that you can decide whether you are going to hit the nearest link to get the hell out of here or whether finally, there's a blog just for you. Or some variation in the middle. Anyway, to run down my concerns, and some of the things that I will be commenting on in my blog:

  • Democrats acquiescence to Repub wishes

  • MSM's failure to document what's really going on in the Middle East.

  • The plight of the Palestinians and the laughable notion of the US as a neutral enabler of the Middle East peace process

  • The barely disguised corruption of the Bush administration

  • The horrible way in which news is framed and the fallacy of a liberal media

  • Maybe a bit about sports

  • Maybe a bit about movies, music, entertainment

  • Maybe a bit about my life and what I do

Also, some more info about me, I'm English though I've lived in the States quite a while. I'm single and lovin' it. No kids, have some interest in religious liberty too. Anyway, this site is basically gonna be a comment on the world from a member of the reality-based community as opposed to some of the crap that the MSM feeds the starving masses. Well, I guess you'll be the judge of that, but that's my take on it.

I've been hearing too much junk from the media and the Republicrat party and this is an outlet for me to interpret events hopefully a bit more accurately.