Monday, January 23, 2006

OK, one more cartoon

When things are going bad the arts are often better-perhaps because those involved in creating art have to counter all the negativity. In any case, it would explain why the music during my early years in college ('92-'94) was better than the later years ('95-'98). Economy was in the toilet when I started, it recovered a bit but it was a bit dodgy there. But certainly by '96-'97 things were a bit better....and we were given.....Hanson....and Backstreet Boys...and....Westlife.....and.......The Spice Girls.....and....ehhh....memories. Anyway, I figured I'd find another good cartoon, and indeed I found two. Here's one, and here's another.

State of the Union? Standing 8 Count

A bunch of stories I gotta get feature coz they're so sickening and, well, you gotta say somethin':

  • Shocking, just shocking that perhaps there's a cover-up to protect higher-ups re: Abu Ghraib. All this abuse doesn't just happen by accident and certainly not in such a controlled environment as the military where there are regulations and rules regarding everything. The longer Rummy stonewalls, the worse it'll be.

  • A soldier succumbs to the demons of his experiences in Iraq.

  • Ford to lay off about a quarter of its work force by 2012, in spite of $3.5 billion profits in 2005.

  • Oil companies, despite increased revenue sources, pay less in royalties for the gas finds they have made. And they wonder why people were so determined to find out what Richard B. Cheney was talking about in his energy policy meetings with oil execs.

  • And yet more on that oh-so-wacky lib-rul media; Chris Matthews suggests that Osama Bin Laden sounds like an "over the top Michael Moore" and Mr. 12 Year-Old Bow-Tied Dope (Tucker Carlson) suggests that Bin Laden is getting his talking points from the NY Times editorial page. Ah, that would be the same one that backed the build-up to war in Iraq and has backed Bush throughout many of his disastrous endeavors? Yesssssss.

  • OK, well, here are a few laughs.

So it sounds like overworked soldiers are good in Bushworld, the economy is great, and Osama Bin Laden needs the help of the NY Times to fuel his anti-American feelings. Riiiiiight.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ah so....

That rock of the lib-rul media doesn't like a few bad words apparently. Isn't that what free speech is about? I was one of the 700 posts questioning why Deborah Howell would decide to write fiction in place of her expected reporting but and I read through many of those posts and having read about half of them, maybe two people said something like damn you or words to that effect. Commentary was hardly particularly heated. It's here if you want to have a look.

I dunno, perhaps someone wasn't holding their pinkies out while drinking cups of tea while they were posting. Or maybe someone hadn't brushed their hair that morning before they posted. Apparently the religious right doesn't only own Washington but also the WaPo. How about the world doesn't like your serving as the mouthpiece for the Bush administration for oh-so-long, promoting the war and any way which way the "administration" wanted to go and now we have an incipient Civil War, inadequately supported troops, the US increasingly riven by differences in opinion and by criticisms of one another; and yet the Post doesn't like a bit of bad language? Sheesh. Pathetic.

Oh yeah, and we new, original legal research from the Institute of Reconstituted Hogwash re-assuring us that yes, all that wire-tapping was quite alright!!! So no need to worry since well, despite these nit-picking libs and their "laws", the President is the "sole organ" of defense during war. And everything's gone so well so far, what do we have to worry about? I would have thought Repubs saying that would be blushing a bit...or maybe it bought back fond memories of their glorious destruction of The President Who Lied About A Blow Job.

Coalition of the Killing

Well, more good news for the Coalition of the Killing (as opposed to Coerced Coalition), on KPFK and also reported via Juan Cole, the Coalition is shrinking further. Soon the junior partner in all this will be the Mongolia. So of course this probably means we're invading Iran tomorrow. Whoopee.

Even worse, I wish I could say more unpredictably but Tony Blair just re-affirms how completely Monkey Boy owns him, it turns out that Tony was more concerned about how he would spin his knowledge of rendition. It's clear that European leaders have known about rendition for some time as well. This is really a despicable thing to keep secret. Tracking people across borders, officially off the books, unknown to anyone, and while at least it's clear that the US has been doing such detestable things, the supposed adults in western Europe have apparently also turned away while it's been going on. I really don't have words to adequately describe my disgust at this. I haven't had much respect for Tony Blair for some time now-I should say I've thought he's a disgrace as a leader, for some time now-but this really takes the cake. Bush has the excuse of being dumber than a fencepost. Blair is just a white-washed sepulchre, as Christ described the Pharisees in Matthew.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

That wacky wacky lib-rul media

A couple of points getting to the heart of just how traitorous, traitorous that wacky, wacky lib-rul media is toward this country and how independent they are.

  1. The WaPo started a blog called the Maryland Moment in which they "solicited" comment from their readers on matters related to Maryland just over the weekend. Anyway, Deborah Howell, the WaPo's ombudsman, (yup, she represents ye olde common man (and woman)), in a column over the weekend, repeats the GOP talking point that the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff contributed substantially to both parties. This man gave not a dirty dime to Democrats. Yet that kooky ol' liberal media just can't stop trying to link Abramoff to Democrats. So anyway, the WaPo blog that I mentioned was inundated with comments questioning why Deborah Howell was making the GOP's (dishonest) arguments for them. Well, over 700 comments criticizing Howell's transcription of Karl Rove's thoughts disappeared from the blog. They have now been restored and, just in case the dog eats the WaPo's homework again, they're over here. Yes, we sure do need some conservative voices over at that wacky WaPo to counter the crazy, kooky, lib-rul media.

  2. And then here's a great cartoon from This Modern World capturing just how accommodating the media coverage of Bush is and how Big Media has been cowed into Kissing the Ring. Fortunately, This Modern World does satire about as well as anyone and one can see the preposterous premise that what underlines the deference which Bush would like paid to supposed national security interests is bullshit.

what a surpriiiiiiise

Wow, so FBI agents were being yanked around and sent up dead-ends in pursuit of seemingly pointless leads. What a shock. Never would have guessed that an illegal wire-tapping program by a Preznit who seems hell-bent on re-establishing a monarchy in America would have have the effect of creating so many pointless and unwarranted trails that the Feds have to hunt down. Geez, I'm just SHOCKED. Wow. This is as shocking as when one of my friends came out of the closet and this person tried to soften the blow, saying that this person hoped that I was cool with it. And I kind of told this person it's about as shocking as finding out verifiable proof that Michael Jackson is a bit off-kilter. That is to say, about as shocking as finding out that Raisin Bran has two cups of raisins in it. How about that? It really just seemed like one.

But I'll be darned. Anyway. And the lying never ceases. Pool boy Attorney General "they're not soldiers, they're enemy combatants" (as opposed to friendly combatants) Gonzalez goes on CNN and tells Larry "These Suspenders Give Me Street-Cred Like Whoa" King that President Clinton also engaged in illegal wiretaps. First of all, this is the famous, "if you can do it, so can I, regardless of its legality" defense (a.k.a The 7th Grade Defense of Undeniable Wrongdoing). And secondly, it's not true. As Think Progress points out FISA did not prohibit warrantless physical searches prior to 1995, when the physical searches took places. And Think Progress further notes that Assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified in 1994 that warrantless physical searches were allowed, absent Congressional action expressly outlawing such searches. However, after that statute was altered the next year, such physical searches were outlawed there is no evidence to suggest that President Clinton did violate that statute. So Gonzalez is on there flat-out lying about the actions of a President (who hasn't been President for five.long.years).

And Gonzalez is the Attorney General, the top lawyer in the US. It's like Chris Rock says about the inability of parents to encourage their children to live drug-free if they want to become mayor of Washington D.C. (a la Marion Barry): "Don't do drugs, you won't be nothin'." "I could be mayor." Ah, high standards, maybe anyone can be anything in America today (provided you're white, have a relative whose last name is Bush, know someone, refuse to ever suggest that anything that George W. Bush does is wrong, and also have more skeletons in your closet than Courtney Love). Apart from that, go out there and be somebody!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Why Are Dems so Accommodationist?

It's sorta like the Blair relationship to Monkey Boy. I don't understand why Blair has gone along with the President's vision for the world and the maintenance of existing power structures in the world. Tony Blair does not seem like a stupid man unlike Bush and so I can only conclude that he has made a deal with the Devil (or business/media forces-same difference) in order to continue to be a force in the world. But two problems with that. #1-Britain was last a superpower-level force about oh, 100, maybe 90 years ago. Britain's still one of the top 10-15 most powerful and wealthy countries in the nation but as to really believing that it is sustaining some sort of significant power in the world, that's just illusory. We might as well all go back to wearing Top Hats and wondering how that amazing Titanic went down Britain is so far-removed from being such a significant world player. And secondly, Blair has hitched his wagon to the wrong train. It should have been clear that Bush was taking his country down a path toward interminable conflict in Iraq and increasingly dishonorable defenses for that war as it becomes more and more obvious to more and more of the American population what a bad idea the war was. And it's not as though the British population agreed with Blair. They might not have been as anti-war as the French or German populations, but they were still significantly opposed to it. Blair's loyalty to such an unethical, ill-fated train of thought only, to me indicates, well, maybe Blair is angling for a job at the American Enterprise Institute after he's ousted as PM.

And similarly, why is there not more outrage from Dems regarding Bush? I mention this today particularly because of a speech (text here)by Al Gore in which he points out the illegality of the Bush administration's actions. I think this speech might be important in at least attracting the attention of the opinion-makers at places like the Washington Post or the NY Times. It's amazing how conservatives attack these papers as the liberal media when you have the WaPo Public Editor making the talking points of the GOP for them.

And then of course there's the offense taken by Washington Post editors when a reader, in an online chat, had the temerity to ask about impeachment. Are words really that scary? And yet, and yet, in spite of the fact that most Americans are in favor of impeachment for the illegal use of wiretaps, that Americans don't approve of the corruption now in stark profile in the Abramoff scandal, not to mention Iraq and the bungling of the destruction of an American city (N'awlins), Dems are still oh-so-timid. Really mystifying. I swear, if they were a basketball team, everyone would want to play them and they'd probably still agree to play people, claiming that they weren't fearful and that they were legitimate opponents while their play and their apathy betrayed their true beliefs.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Big Sleazy

The recent news that residents of the Ninth Ward have four months in which to establish the credibility of their claims to their homes is really scandalous. Not necessarily unexpected, but no less heinous. They give folks four months to claim their houses when they've been displaced because, in large part there was no evacuation plan by the same city that now gives them these four months, by the same city which left these poor folks to die while all the white folks ran the hell out in their SUVs. Enough to make your blood boil.

Bush Is Parody Proof

Read an interesting piece by Duke University professor Ariel Dorfman who notes that after a recent conference presentation about how he had supposedly had his conference presentation confiscated by Homeland Security upon his arrival in Miami where he was to make his presentation, and he fictionalized and offered numerous hints and clues to the assembled distinguished professors that his presentation had beeen largely fictitious, he was nevertheless inundated with messages of sympathy and indignation about his treatment. He had made clear (he thought) throughout his presentation that his detainment and subsequent questioning by two Homeland Security agents about the "thesis" of his paper-that American intellectuals could learn from the Chilean example of how to confront authoritarian government-that he was joking. And yet, and yet, he was accosted (pun intended) virtually and in person after the presentation and, as noted, got a lot of sympathy and commisseration, in spite of the rather far-fetched nature of his presentation.

And of course, the point, as Dorfman says, is that the Bush administration has been involved in so many outrages in which their reasoning defies rational explanation and they continue to argue that the Earth is flat in spite of evidence to the contrary that really, even these folks didn't necessarily (and plausibly) recognize that this might be parody. This is what tends to happen when a leadership has been so dishonest and has promoted such intellectually dishonest positions for so long. How can one know that that organization is being honest? It also speaks to future diplomatic and military challenges for the United States in gaining the trust of its allies given how craven and willfully misleading this administration has been. This is a point bought up by Robert Dreyfuss in a piece written for Tom Paine. His point is that in the upcoming face-off with Iran, the US will have a hard time convincing anyone of anything given their flexibility with the truth in addressing the supposed threat of Iraq. And this will get worse before it gets better and diplomats in trouble spots will have even more difficulty than they would have had otherwise in convincing their host governments of the plausibility of US positions. It is also why a show like Saturday Night Live really only pays tribute to the Bush administration these days because unless you are truly truly very harsh on the administration, it's hard to parody such outrageousness. I haven't watched the show much recnetly because the Bush administration actually comes off better on the show than they do in reality, so detached from real concerns are they. The only way to get them as The Daily Show does so well, is use their own words against them. One just can't make fun of such outlandish and unreasonable comments with parody.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

As diverse as sheep in a field

It is truly head-spinning to speak to Conservatives who in the popular sphere are considered to be “law and order” while they themselves, or at least some of them, forcefully back the actions of a Preznit who claims for himself the right to interpret the law any which way he wants to. I get this information from, initially, the President’s refusal to adhere to the specifications of the FISA legislation that was written in order to specifically enable urgent wiretapping. The relevant text (from Section 1809 of FISA) reads

"A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally— (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute."
I mean really. It’s just amazing. And yet I’ve spoken to several Friends Who Also Happen To Be Conservatives (Not that there’s anything wrong with that) who have falsely cited legislation passed by Clinton and Carter that authorized some wiretapping. However, this “news”, as distorted by conservatives and promoted as fact was of course the only possible defense by a desperate bunch of supporters of a bunch who really are deserving of only prosecution and disparagement.

However, it brings up the problem, again, of the conglomeration of media, one of the worst parts of President Clinton’s legacy (along with NAFTA and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ruling). We have a country, according to this speech by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in which half the country gets their news from either The Company That Isn't Fair and Balanced, talk radio, and Sinclair network-all extremely partisan news organizations. When so many people are so informed by such companies, it’s no wonder that they are so misinformed and latch on to notions perpetrated by folks like Larry Elder and Dennis Prager (two conservative talk show DJs in the LA area). If you read only a few sources, you’re not going to see that you’re only exposed to the tip of the iceberg. I was talking to a good friend of mine Who Happens to Be Conservative (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and I have to be very patient and careful not to demonize him but rather to point out how all of these homogenized BS-spewing talk-show hosts are basically clones of one another. He has a particular allegiance to one to which I basically respond that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between him or another guy. Anyway, of course that claim is rejected with typically conservative bravado.

However I make the point that if there weren’t such homogenization in the media, perhaps we wouldn’t have a populace that was so in thrall to such ridiculous theories and which was a bit more critical of its leaders. That’s another contradiction of Conservatives In These Strange Times. While supposedly they don’t like government or trust it, and supposedly Monkey Boy was gonna be the "CEO President" (though his business would have been in the toilet a long time ago, stockholders would have eaten him for lunch, and he would have been possibly abandoned and ostracized from his family and consigned to a life of drugs and alcohol on the street) there have been fewer more financially reckless American leaders. Take THAT you goofy fiscal conservatives...

Government is huge right now and while Monkey Boy is selective as to which parts of government are bad (NEA-bad! CPB-bad!! EPA-bad! OSHA-bad!! Pentagon-good! Defense Dept-good!) he’s spending like it’s going out of style. It’s just amazing that Democrats haven’t seized, or taken the initiative, to present themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility or really to market themselves in a positive light as opposed to the Continuing Trainwreck that is The Party of Lincoln these days.

But again, back to the shame that media is so centralized and conglomerated these days. If this were not so, we might well have a populace a lot more savvy to the shams and scams that have been perpetrated on a populace not really all that friendly to such plans. But, well, because of that, we have decent folks like this conservative friend of mine who believes all the pap coming out of no-name talk-show hosts’ mouths and of course he passes it off as fact, as do many millions more. And it’s so much easier to blame and name call than it is to really look for solutions. Anyway, perhaps when this Abramoff scandal really erupts, we’ll see the full collaboration of Big Media and Government and the scales will fall off the eyes of guys like this friend of mine who’s a decent guy (for a Republican).

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Innocents Abroad?

"Do you like me? Do you really like me?"

Well the country lies in ruins. Really, it’s just amazing what is allowed and what has happened. Well, I guess it isn’t amazing, it’s just tragic. When you’re a kid you grow up with such an idealized version of the US (well, perhaps that’s just me and an optimistic, although realistic, nature). But to see such graft and corruption finally bought to account and someone held accountable, or at least charged, with such corruption, really gives it some immediacy and some sense of reality. And it’s not as though I haven’t been following this case. I have. I’ve been reading Hullaballoo by Digby and firedoglake and Body and Soul and Alternet and Raw Story etc. religiously; I’m a confirmed Plameologist (BA, MA, PhD firedoglake 2005) but yet sheesh, is this really America? Seems to me that really, while this is happening in the United States, again, this doesn't mean that people in other countries hate individual Americans. Maybe they hate the policies of the US and think that Monkey Boy is full of doo doo, and yes, perhaps there are more cases of Americans being given a hard time in other countries than there were. I don't know but I know I've read at least a couple instances where Americans were given a hard time because they were Americans. However, most folks in other countries will not hold you directly accountable for the actions of your government (unlike the US government in so many instances, as featured recently in a great post by Patriot Boy about a film called Persons of Interest. That being said, the longer the perpetuation of policies in the form of electing people who would approve such policies goes on, the more and more accountable We The People are and the less generous people will be to us in other countries.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

the rule of law

Well it would appear that the creation of two Americas is well and truly under way. As I've read somewhere, not sure where, some have suggested that given the depth of Bush's corruption and the divisiveness of his reign leadership, not to mention that it hasn't even worked, we may need something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States. I like going to Yahoo news stories and discussing the news with others. Did this yesterday and there was only one really rabid Preznit defender on there for about an hour and a half. Other than that there were a few people, myself included, overturning the Presidential-speak and his general crappiness. This is so different from a couple of years ago. The sheep seem to have been sheared and they're perhaps a little chilly, relieved of their comfortable (and comforting) coats. Bush still seems to have 40% support more or less but that support even feels fragile. And that's while gas prices have been a bit lower for a while, there haven't been too many terribly new incriminating revelations about Bush's CREEPiness. Just wait till it gets really cold in New England and the Midwest and upper Midwest shortly. Fuel prices will return, and then some, to previous high levels. Not only that but with the Abramoff revelations, we'll no doubt have a Preznit who will be tarred by the same brush and of course it seems Tom DeLay's judge is not playing in the T-ball league either but is throwing some major league heat. Oh yeah, and then there's the possibility that Karl Rove and who knows (please please please please) Dick Cheney might be left holding the bag re: Plamegate. Just watch the FAUX-news contortionists try and spin this stuff. They may need actual circus performers to come in and offer commentary, so tortured will be the explanations. Oh yeah, and that whole Iraq venture is going swimmingly too. Bush might not have liked 2005 but I think sometime this year he might be wishing it was 2005.

Monday, January 02, 2006

OK, I'm back

D'I miss anything? No, didn't think so. OK, back to school. j/k I'm done and I'm gonna use that ol' edumucashun to solicit captions for this lovely picture of The Boy Who Would Be Preznit.

Winner gets a copy of that picture, so play hard and odds of winning depend on number of entries.