I didn't watch the Oscar awards- I have no interest in them, really. Since I was laid off from my last job, less than a year after Bush stole his first term, I ain't got the money to go see movies, and don't care who wins (considering the "Lord of the Rings" bore-fest swept the last few award ceremonies- it's obvious that the awards are given out to aesthetic qualities that I just find incomprehensible.)
But, when I awoke, the day after the award ceremonies, I turned on the TV to get my daily dose of corporate media, and I couldn't believe the dumber-than-dogsnot whining that was eminating from the right wing pundit corps, regarding Chris Rock's comments, regarding Bush.
I may not watch the Oscars, but I know their history- every oscar ceremony, since the days of Hoover, has had hosts and guests poking fun at the powers that be. It's a TRADITION.
But not this time- How DARE Chris Rock point out that it's a pretty dumb thing to rack up a record defecit, and then send us into a war, based upon spurious and false evidence?
Now- with the bleeding-heart conservative defense of Bush that I've seen emerging, in recent years, this is only to be expected- Bush, after all, is the son of God, himself, and when he piles up enough "sand nigger" corpses, he and his chosen will be able to climb the pile into the arms of their "christian" god and saviour, while the rest of us, who dare to oppose his divine will, are doomed to pay the consequences for our dastardly thoughtcrimes.
But DANG- this was just a comedian, making a pertinent, and valuable point, with a brilliant analogy. Yeah- Chris hit on Bush, but he also slammed Oprah, Michael Moore, and others. The republican party, in its blind adherence to the Bush administration, has given up its claim to the doctrine of fiscal conservatism, the doctrine of bipartisainship, and the very concept of fair and free elections. I guess they're more than willing to toss their sense of humor, out of the window, when it comes to supporting their golden boy, Bush.
Laughter, I guess, is the next target, in the "war on terrorism."
I don't wanna hear it, anymore, folks. People have been sending me e-mails, saying "gee- no matter what we do, Bush gets what he wants- no matter how much we protest, blog, write, or lobby, it leads to nothing"
We are FIGHTING FOR OUR COUNTRY- for a nation of millions, for children, families, condemned to poverty, for seniors and veterans who have been stripped of their benefits, for communities stripped of the most basic of public services. Beyond our own needs, we're fighting for the sanctity of lives, beyond our shores, in hopes that they might be spared the ruin and horrors of war, initiated by a government that claims to act in our name....
Bottom line, folks.
How long did those in South Africa who were struggling against the ruinous policy of Apartheid fight, without their voices being heard? Did they give up? No.
Russians met, in secret, for decades, in opposition to the iron rule of Stalin with NO HOPE of their voices being heard, and thousands went to their deaths- did they give up? No.
When Martin Luther King found his words falling on deaf ears, and when he found himself in the swealtering depths of an alabama county jail- did he, or his followers give up? No.
I can go on, but you get the idea.
We're only five years into the new american fascism, and it makes me SICK, when I see people throwing up their hands, and saying "what's the use"? Good freaking LORD- the world has looked to us, in times past, as an example, when it came to matters of national liberation. Now that the glove is on the other hand, and we here in the USA are those who are fighting for dignity, justice, and truth, what signal does it send to the rest of the world, when we just give up, and let these bastards have their way?
I remember, back, two years ago, when the first antiwar protests were taking place accross the country- I attended every one that I could. Friends said to me: "What's the use- Bush is going to do what he wants- it doesn't matter how many of you get into the streets."
I might very well have children, one day, and I want to be able to look them in the eye, and tell them, that when things went wrong in this country, I did EVERYTHING I COULD to make things right.
So- as I have said before- I will continue to fight, until my dying day. I don't care if the corporate media continues to ignore the facts. I don't care how many elections are stolen. I don't care how how many are arrested, detained, or subjected to corporate media hatchet jobs.
The fate of our world hangs in the balance, and ya know- if Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel can keep up the good fight, even when the state media doesn't deign to support them, I'd be a pretty sorry individual, if I can't do the same.
It's all about organizing- screw the media. It's all about one person, talking to another, talking to another, and so on, and so on. One at a time- as Gandhi said- "we must become the change we want to see".
caught my eye, the other day.
I'm pretty sure that a great number of you out there are familiar with Scott Ritter, but I shall recap, just for the sake of convenience.
Scott Ritter is a marine veteran, who served as the United States' chief weapons inspector in Iraq, in the 90's. He resigned under president Clinton in 1998, believing that Clinton was being "too soft" on Iraq.
However, As the frenzy the led up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq took hold, Scott Ritter, a hardliner, and republican, came to the fore as an effective debunker of Bush's accusations of WMD development in Iraq. Declaring time and time again, that Iraq had been "effectively disarmed", and demanding the restoration of weapons inspection, Ritter became an unlikely ally of the antiwar movement.
However, the republican smear machine went into overdrive, accusing Scott Ritter of being everything from a paid Iraqi agent, to a "Disloyal traitor" (sound familiar, folks?)
Long story short, Ritter was the target of a concerted corporate media hatchet job that was just shameful to witness. In the end, we find that he was, indeed, absolutely correct, in his assertions about WMDs, and the unfolding of the war in Iraq.
Now, just a few days ago, during a lecture in Olympia, Washington, Ritter has stated that Bush has "signed off" on plans to begin airstrikes, within Iran, in June, 2005.
Considering that Ritter was right, all along, in regards to Iraq, while the Bush administration has been almost comically incompitent, I'm more inclined to believe Scott's assertions, rather than Bush's continued statements that such predictions are "ridiculous".
Basically, the plan is this: We send in a few stealth bombers, to perform hits on suspected nuclear sites. The Neoconservatives within the Bush administration hope that this will set into motion a series of events that provoke a full-scale invasion, and "regime change", after which our troops will be greeted as liberators, and public squares will be named in honor of Bush.
Strange- I seem to have heard this line of logic, sometime ago- it turned out to be a load of bollocks, and it cost us 300 billion dollars. However- the facts don't dissuade the PNAC crowd.
This is a very interesting, and troubling development. We're now only three months from the new war in Iran, while things continue to spiral down the toilet, in Iraq.
Is there a draft, in here, or is it just me?
Well- Bush has returned from his "hat in hand" tour of Europe, and well- I wasn't surprised at what I saw the viewscreens telling us, here in the good ole USA... Endless shots of Bush sitting around and smiling with various european statesmen, and vague generalities concerning any concrete accomplishments.
What the corporate media is doing, once again, is engaging in what Bush himself described as "the soft bigotry of low expectations." As long as Bush is shown in the same room as Jaques Chirac and Gerhard Schroder, without fisticuffs breaking out, it is hailed as a "stunning success".
The fact of the matter is- Bush did a lot of warning (about the EU selling arms to China, and Russia selling nuclear fuel to Iran), but all he got, was a nice little nod and a "we'll keep that in mind." The only concessions he got on Iraq were minor, and I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that they were purchased with an offer of a slice of the Iraqi pie.
What he DID get in Iraq, from the Europeans, were simply promises of a bit of humanitarian aid- well- we'll see how long that lasts, after a few suicide bombers hit French and German aid agencies in Baghdad (as they did with the red cross and UN). They offered no help, on the ground, as far as handling the ever-growing insurgency.
What I saw, coming out of Europe, during Bush's whirlwind tour, was analogous to the relations between a hyperactive child, and his tired, yet doting mother. "Look at me!" the child Bush yelps, running to and fro accross the continent, "I've changed! Democracy, Freedom! I want a strong Europe, look at me- I'M STILL RELEVANT- LOOK AT ME!" Europe wearilly pats Bush on the head, and says "That's nice dear- go along, now, and play in the yard- Mommy has a headache."
And, the bottom line, Bush went to Europe, and said some nice words, but overall- remember- the arc between what Bush says, and what he does, is no less than 180 degrees.
Further, I didn't see one mention of the massive protests that occurred, wherever Bush showed up. Luckilly, we have the internet, and can see such here
, and here
(and those are just from one city- Mainz, Germany- I trust you know how to type "protest europe bush" into Yahoo News
and get pictures, galore.)
But- Bush's trip to Germany does deserve special notice. From the moment Bush landed in Germany, to the time he wheeled into his meeting with the chancellor, he was not subjected to the sight of a single german citizen (outside of a few "accidents.") Every town along Bush's route was locked down, and citizens were encouraged to stay indoors. That's a far cry from the days of JFK's famous visit to Berlin, back in the 60's (or even Reagan's, back in the 80's.) Bush and his security handlers don't have the guts to subject him to a single German man on the street, much less a crowd of them.
So, in the end, Bush failed, once again- the only thing remarkable about the whole affair is that he did it on the other side of the Atlantic.
This caught my eye- courtesy of Freeway Blogger.
Last June, Yves Eudes, a reporter for Le Monde, came to my house and interviewed me about freewayblogging. He was a younger man, in his thirties, good looking and somewhat reserved, almost shy, which for a reporter surprised me. As a political and war correspondent he'd been in Iraq three times since the invasion and I asked him what it was like. Specifically, I asked if he'd seen anything he knew he'd never be able to forget. He told me this story, and I think about it whenever I feel like giving up.
"I was in Nasariyah and a couple came up to me on the street asking for help. They were carrying a large gym bag, an 'Adidas' bag, with their daughter inside. The city was in chaos, and they came up to me, I suppose, because I was a westerner and they thought I could help them. When I looked inside the bag there was a little girl, maybe two years old, with bandages around her head. There was a terrible smell and I thought to myself 'Okay, they have a dead girl...' The bandages were loose and soaked in fluid - it was a terrible wound, covering half her head. I guessed they'd gotten her to a hospital and they'd done what they could quickly and gave her back. It was the early days of the war and the hospitals were full. I couldn't believe it when I saw she was still alive." "I took them to the Americans, and there was a woman soldier there, a big woman, who said there was nothing they could do... that it had to be a military casualty or something like that. I forget exactly. I want to say she was mean, but I don't know. More like she was just following her orders... she stood like this..." he said, and folded his arms across his chest.
"We went to a couple more soldiers, but it was the same. There was one young soldier who went for help, but then came back saying he couldn't do anything. I went with them for awhile longer, but it was obvious I was useless. Eventually they just went away."
We were sitting in my garage, surrounded by the tools of my trade: cardboard, paint, overhead projector. Outside it was a beautiful day: a warm, late afternoon in sunny southern California. "It's hard to describe what they were like, the parents... they were beyond sad, beyond scared... they were doing the only thing they could do - looking for help - and I couldn't help feeling that I'd wasted their time. I don't know if I will ever forget their faces, or what it was like to see their little girl... but the thing I know I will never forget is the way they looked as they walked away, wandering the streets with their baby in that bag... looking for someone who could help them."
Again- I ask the right-wing lurkers out there- Justify that- tell me that this is all just a bunch of Liberal Hooey. Tell me that "you can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs." Tell me how much you "value life", and at the same time, support this war.
Tell me, again, that the Iraqi people are resisting this occupation, because they "Hate Freedom".
There are not enough toilet bowls in the world, to contain the vomit I feel like tossing, when I see Bush's smirking face, lying, lying, and lying again, to the american people.
I am ASHAMED of my country. Yeah- I hear you right-wingers saying "gee- you can only point out what's WRONG about Amurka- why do you insist on tearing it down?"
Screw you. CHILDREN are being killed in MY NAME, with MY tax dollars. I hate you. I hate your lies, your willful ignorance, your self-satisfaction, and your arrogance.
A few days ago- I posted a Daily Show segment that I said would be the last time I spent time featuring anything about the whole "Jeff Gannon" affair.
So- I lied- but I swear- this will be the LAST TIME I waste time on this matter.
Now- I can hear ya'll saying "but, but, but..."- STOW it, PLEASE!
Yeah- it's a horrific, disgusting affair. A right-wing shill and male prostitute, under an assumed name, acquired white house press credentials on spurious grounds, and was given exclusive access to the white house, and the president, during a time in which national security is supposedly a high concern.
Fine and dandy- I agree, totally- but ya know?
If this had happened, under Clinton, the entirety of the US fourth estate would have descended upon the white house, and it would have occupied front page headlines for months. However, unlike Clinton, Bush has the corporate media in his hip pocket, and is immune.
UT! I can hear the left-wing blogosphere (of which I am a proud member) saying: "well- let's hold Bush's feet to the fire on this- let's FORCE it into the news."
Dream on, folks. What's it been- a month, now? I can count the major news pieces that have been written on this matter on my fingers and toes- and that's with UNPRECEDENTED activity, on the part of the blogs.
You think you're going to make a change with this story- well, go right ahead, and waste your time, ramming at the gates of the corporate media. I'll meet you back here, when you've worn yourself out.
Let's get down to brass tacks, kids:
1) Bush Sent us into a war that has killed 100,000 Iraqis, and soon, 2000 americans- all based on an officially-sanctioned lie, sold to Dick Cheney by an Iraqi expat who was a wanted felon. Did that register, at all, with the media, or the american public?
2) Bush continues to spearhead an economic agenda that has lead to millions sinking into poverty, a weak dollar, record unemployement, sinking wages, and a crumbling infrastructure. Did that register, at all, with the media, or the american public?
3) It has become apparent, from the findings of the 9/11 comission, that it was Bush's incompetence, laziness, and hubris, that made conditions ripe for the terrorist strikes against the WTC and Pentagon. Did that register, at all, with the media, or the american public?
After all of this- and much more that I just don't have the time to write about- you truly believe that this Gannon afair is going to actually CHANGE anything?
Well- if you do, more power to you- have fun.
I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that Rove is rubbing his hands in glee, over this whole affair- while the liberal blogosphere is throwing a hissyfit over a sad, pathetic figure like Gannon, they're ignoring everything else.
Hey- guys and gals- can I suggest something, here?
Why not spend a bit of time, talking about the continuing attack on social security?
How about undermining Bush's claim of moral superiority by asking why he's spending so much money in Iraq, while doing nothing about the continuing genocide in Sudan?
How about spending a few column inches about Bush's insane budget?
I could go on, but you get the idea. There are more important, pressing things that demand attention these days, than the sad tale of a Rove plant in the white house press pool. Other sites can waste their time with this affair, but Bushflash ends it, tonight.
Well, folks- I'll try to do better, next time. This new animation
didn't come together as well as I'd hoped. However, it was a subject that I just felt I had to address...
I follow the news, a lot. I've even recently learned to swallow my disgust with CNN and Fox "news", for no other reason that I HAVE to watch them, as they are the primary vehicles by which the white house manufactures consent for their policies.
And, in recent weeks, I've been getting bouts of Deja Vu. Without exception, I am again hearing the same words that I heard, back in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq- only this time, the name "Iraq" has been replaced with "Iran."
Despite the recent distraction caused by the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister (which caused a bout of flaccid sword-rattling in Washington towards Syria), I know that this "git tuff" talk about Iran will continue, and intensify, in weeks and months to come.
Bush and his toadies (primarilly the infamously incompitent Condi Rice), we know from experience, can't be held to a single word they say. I have a consistent rule when it comes to this crowd: When they say one thing, expect the exact opposite to result. I still remember Bush saying, time and time again, in 2002 and 2003, that the US "didn't want war" with Iraq, and that it was up to Hussein to abandon his WMD program (which we now know to have been a colossal load of bullplop.)
When I keep hearing Bush, Rumsfeld, Perle, and Rice saying the same thing, today, in regards to Iran (made all the more ominous by Iran's open admission that it's building reactors), I can't help but raise an eyebrow.
The fact remains that the PNAC crowd
, which currently holds the reigns in the administration, wants to invade Iran- no matter the cost, or implications. The fact remains that US forces are already on the ground in Iran
, scoping out future airstrike targets. Facts are accumulating every day that the US is sending planes and drones into Iran
Now- Iran, despite what our self-righteous administration and media tell us, is a fiercely independent and calculating nation. How long do you think that Iran will put up with this sorta crap?
Bush can say he doesn't want to go to war with Iran, and Rice can say that "such plans are not on the table, at this juncture," but watch their tunes change, in the coming months, when Iran refuses to give up their nuclear program. Watch it change, overnight, should Israel do what it did in Iraq, and initiate airstrikes against suspected nuclear sites, within Iran.
The United States WILL be invading Iran (oops- I meant "Liberating Iran",) it's only a matter of months, but no more than two years. The mind reels at what this will do, to us, economically, diplomatically, and socially.
And ya know what's the most frightening? The way that the right wing blogosphere is just CHAMPING AT THE BIT for this to happen. But then again, it's easy to cheer for war, when typing away at your computer, while others do the dying.
Now, I've refrained from pointing out the irrelevancy of the elections, as far as the situation on the ground goes, in recent days- but anyone who follows the news knows the facts. The "elections" in iraq haven't done squat to deter insurgent activity- with daily suicide bombings claiming more and more lives, and US troops still coming home in flag-draped coffins, the elections haven't changed SQUAT, when it comes to the realities of this occupation. But let's look at the results- as expected, the Shiites have claimed a majority of the vote, bringing into power a coalition led by a curious guy by the name and title of "Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani"- so, who is this guy?
Sistani is a hard-line Muslim fundamentalist who, like the still-extant Taliban, considers the game of Chess to be blasphemous. In his grand plan for the future of Iraq, music and dancing will be banned, women will revert to second-class citizens, and Sharia will become the law of the land.
So, first off, let's congratulate Bush for his glorious triumph in these elections- the elevation of a hard-line religious party to the forefront of Iraqi politics (as in America, so in Iraq.)
But heck- we know that these elections were a sham, and whomever came out, on top, matters little. These elections were only for a national assembly, after all- a puppet congress that will eventually nominate a high council, of sorts, that will, in turn, elect a president (which will be Iyad Allawi, the present US-appointed puppet), and a prime minister- which will undoubtedly turn out to be Ahmed Chalabi- the man who had the ears of the neocons that pushed us into this war, in the first place.
But, here's the major factor, to keep in mind, when it comes to this election:
The majority of those who voted in this past election, believed- truly believed- that no matter who they voted for, they were voting for an end to the occupation. Above all else- the people of Iraq want the United States military to get the hell out of their country, and not let the doorknob hit them where the good lord split them.
But we all know that ain't gonna happen- the neoconservative manifesto demands a permanent and dominating U.S. presence in the area, for generations to come- and the powers behind the Bush throne- Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, and others, well- they don't give a tinker's damn about the will of the Iraqi people.
We already know the Sunnis are pissed off- but ya know- as pissed off as they are- the volume of urine that they have in reserve doesn't hold a candle to that which the Shiites have in store, should the U.S. occupation continue.
Iraq, in the coming months and years, will turn into another Afghanistan- Balkanized among ethnic groups, and regions. It will be a crippled pseudo-state, much as Afghanistan was, under Russian occupation, and will continue to be a fully-funded liability to the U.S. taxpayer.
And ya know- that's just fine and dandy, to the Neocon crowd. Their dreams of empire drive our republic, today, and will continue, as long as we, here, allow them to- and they're only getting started.
The Umma better prepare itself- liberation and democracy is on the way- and if you don't want it, we're going to shove it down your throats. When you can't stomach it, and puke it back up into our faces, we're just gonna knuckle down on you harder.
We're going to give you our version of freedom and democracy, even if it kills us- and we sure as HELL don't care if it kills YOU.
God Bless Bush's america, and the holy christian empire He will build in our name.
I'm going to go throw up, now.
I hate to belabour all assembled with personal woes- but I have to wonder...
I recently caught the flu virus that our nation was unprepared for, due to our crumbling health infrastructure. Two days ago, in a coughing fit, I strained a muscle in my back, and now I have to walk like wounded duck, and take OTC painkillers that, in the final analysis, do squat.
In addition, I have suffered, for the entirety of my adult life, clinical depression. Once upon a time, I had a job, that provided me with bare-bones medical benefits, that could cover a few medications that kept me from diving off the deep end- but I no longer have access to these medications, and, at the risk of tipping my hand the the right-wing lurkers out there, I feel myself sinking lower, every day, into a morass of hopelessness.
Now- here's what gets me- if I lived in ANY OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED NATION IN THE WORLD, I could go to the local health clinic, doctor's office, or hospital, and not only get a flu shot, and physical therapy to assuage my immediate ills, I could also get generic, moderately-priced medication to help me out of the crippling depression I have to deal with.
But hell- this is Bush's america- If I'm sick, I guess I should get down on my knees, and pray to a christian god, and repent of the sins I committed, and hope that the benevolent pink pixie in the sky relieves me of my ills.
Or, maybe I should hope that, in Bush's "Ownership society", I get a job that, graciously, supplies me with health benefits. Sorry- but I have to just laugh at that... Despite what the corporate media tells us all- there are fewer and fewer jobs, avaialble in this country, as months pass- and those which do appear, are low-wage jobs, that offer ZERO benefits. A minority of employers today bother to give their employees the most basic of health insurance, and despite what the corporate media tells you, a great number of americans, like myself, are having to go without the most basic healthcare.
The right wing likes to say "nationalized health care is socialist"- I know, here and now, I speak for the majority of the american uninsured that we don't give one damn about what label the healthcare we need to survive is carrying- we need help.
The right also likes to say that universal healthcare will "be dealt out with the care of the IRS, and the expediency of the Postal Service". Fine and dandy with me. The IRS is constantly bugging me for money owed, and when I go to the post office, I may have to wait in line for a while, but I will be served.
Healthcare is a right, long denied, to the american people, and well- I doubt that this rant will do anything to solve things, but- consider:
For the pricetag of the war in Iraq, every american alive today could get free blanket healthcare coverage- from the aspirin we take, every day, to surgery, to psychiatric care.
But I guess I'm a commie, for saying that....
It ain't just depression, either- millions upon millions are being denied the medication they need, because of the misplaced prioritites of this government. Got a brain tumor? Well- have fun with it- just be glad that a rich guy got a tax cut, this year alone, big enough to pay for ten of the operations that you need to survive. Heart palpitations? Get down on your knees, and pray- it's your sin that caused your malady. Juvenile Diabetes? Well- we could have cured your disability, had we invested more in stem cell research- but heck- if you die before puberty, you'll have fewer sins to confess...
God, Allah, Buddha, and "Bob" help me- but I hate Bush, and his republican policies. They're killing us- literally.
Even though I've been nursing a flu for two days, I was able to spend six hours today, on a new animation, due soon. I hope to make it a tad unique, this time around...
Now, regardless of the continued insanity that is ripping the world apart, I allowed myself a few minutes of cautious optimism, as I watched Howard Dean gain the title of DNC chair.
The corporate media, of course, spent the day making "scream" jokes, and generally making fun of the whole affair- however- one obese conservative pantload on MSNBC accidentally hit the nail on the head. Jiggling with his own self-satisfaction, he said that Dean's ascension to the DNC chair was akin to a "Hostile Takeover."
Indeed- it was a takeover-but not hostile.
Howard Dean distinguished himself on the national political stage by surging early in the democratic nomination process, when the party was demoralized, and despodent. Surging out of nowhere, he energized the democratic base in ways I hadn't seen, in life, or my years of research. Most importantly, he transformed the opposition to the war in iraq from the 800-pound gorrilla no one wanted to talk about, into a generally-accepted part of the political discourse. But he wasn't a one-dimensional candidate- he spoke about national healthcare, a 50-state trategy, which re-introduced economics into the political arena, thus undercutting the traditional republican rally cry of "god, guns, and gays."
And what did he get, in exchange for his achievements, and his contribution to the cause? The utter scorn and disgust of not only the republicans, but a concentrated "dirty tricks" campaign waged by the democratic party, itself. The DLC (the group that has consistently driven the democratic party to the right), saw their power threatened, and they lashed out in ways that were downright shameful. The "New Democrats" weren't grateful for this godsend of support, money, and grassroots organizing- they recoiled from it, like a nest of vipers from a bucketfull of gasoline.
Dean's campaign didn't go well, of course, when votes came to voting, and in the end, the "New Democrats" and the DLC chalked up another victory for their side, when John Kerry got the nomination.
However, Dean stayed in the mix of things, keeping his activist network together, continuing his organizing, and making himself too important a commodity for the democratic party, at large, to dismiss.
And it paid off, in the end. Taking a page from the playbook of the christian conservative right, Dean bided his time, and when the opportunity came, sprang, and unleashed a dedicated, committed force that took the party, internally, by storm.
And ya know? It's danged good thing. The people that made Dean the new chair are the same people who, in the darkest hour of the party's night, took to the streets, knocked on doors, put up signs, and said that, no matter what came, or what powers were aligned against them, they're still going to do what's right- for all of us- not because it was "liberal", "conservative" or even "democratic"- they did it, because they believed, and in the end, it was the right thing to do.
Yes- today was a "takeover"- but not "hostile". It was a "Tough Love" takeover. It was the people who helped out the party, the most, when it needed it, the most, claiming the right to determine where that party went- democracy, at it's finest.
Despite what the corporate media has said, I watched the election, from beginning to end, it was harmonious, heartfelt, and unanimous.
Now, some among the more puritanical left of the spectrum might balk at what I just said- and to a certain degree, they have a point. Yeah- Dean's far from perfect. Much like them, I'd be overjoyed if Cezar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King miraculously arose from the grave, and somehow achieved DNC party chair- but ya know- I live in the real world, and I know that ain't gonna happen.
The most important thing, as a result of today's vote- the DLC, and the "New Democrats", are now on the way out. Today's vote was a result of a true, grassroots organizing campaign dedicated to reversing the disastrous rightward drift of the democratic party, and I couldn't be happier. (well- I could- but I'd rather not discuss such matters in a public forum- suffice it to say it involves twelve spiral-sliced hams, a bathtub full of caviar, and a years' subscription to "Septic Removal Monthly")
But, I can't get too cautious- no matter who runs the party- there are certain other 800-pound gorrillas that have to be addressed, if Dean's chairmanship is to have any effect. First and foremost among these is to address the systematic campaign of vote fraud that gave the last three elections to the republicans. Above all, the future of the american electoral process relies on the removal of electronic voting machines, and the adequate distribution of voting material/facilities. Without this, it doesn't matter who runs anything...
But- Allow me my moment of happiness, for just this day, please...
It's just been a few days, and the blogs are celebrating their recent coup in "Outing" (in more ways than one), the right-wing media plant James Guckert.
Indeed, it's a hilarious spectacle. In public relations terms, this was the equivalent of pantsing someone, on national prime time TV...
I just heard about the guy a few short weeks ago, after a completely absurd question he put forward at a news conference with Bush.
Well- long story short: Mr. Guckert turns out to not only be:
A right-wing media plant with NO legitimate press credentials, other than a membership to FreeRepublic.com, and a column on a specious right wing website
, who is a confidant of bush administration officials,
But also (and here's the great part):
A career homosexual prostitute and pimp,
running such great sites as MILITARYESCORTS.COM, MILITARYESCORTSM4M.COM AND HOTMILITARYSTUDS.COM.
Now, as bad as the former was- the latter must be understood in context. Much like a modern-day Roy Cohn, Guckert distinguished himself with a vigorous, sweaty gay-bashing theme in his columns, lamenting (among other things) that Kerry would be "The first gay President". So, among other things, Guckert was a sad, self-hating closeted homosexual.
So, yeah- another right wing pundit has been exposed as a naked, shameless hypocrite.
Whee- so what? Remember when Rush Limbaugh was exposed as a hopeless drug addict? He's still out there, and spreading his filth. Remember when Bill Bennett, the man who wrote the conservative moralistic bible "Book of Virtues" was outed as a gambling addict? He's still writing books, and pulling down speaking fees. Remember, a few months back, when it became known that Bill O'Reilly liked sticking battery-powered "happy sticks" up his pooper, while sexually harassing female subordinates, on the phone? He's still on the air.
So- a fringe journalist that no one paid any attention to has been kicked out of the picture. Does this really CHANGE anything?
The major dispensers of insanity on our national airwaves are still out there, stronger than ever, after scandals worse than Mr. Guckert's.
The sad truth is, the Guckert affair has garnered ZERO corporate media coverage. Yeah- a few pages on websites, but no detailed, in-depth analysis- just as it was when Amrstrong Williams was exposed as a taxpayer-paid media shill.
Argh- I could go on, and on, and on, but I have a flu coming on, it seems...
Let's just say that this, indeed, was a fine and well-timed excercise in the power of the blogs, but overall, realize that come tomorrow, O'Reilly, Savage, Scarborough, Limbaugh, and the rest of these media vermin are still out there, and exercising far more control on the media than one, obscure member of the white house press pool.
As much as the republicans try and divorce economics from politics, the fact remains that the two are irrevocably intertwined. It's plain to anyone who cares to look out their window that Bush's first four years were an excercise in turning a booming economy into a stagnant pile of dog droppings. No matter how much Bush would like to claim that 9/11 is responsible for the downright miserable state of our economy, the facts are there to see...
I mean, one only has to take into account two factors: 300 billion in Iraq, and a tax cut for the wealthiest 2%. (a side note- if Bush withdrew just 1/3 of the tax cuts he gave to those making over 200,000 a year, and put it into social security, it'd be solvent, for centuries to come- but that's another topic.)
The record speaks for itself- millions losing healthcare, and jobs. Millions sinking into poverty. Veterans losing benefits. A record surplus, turned into a record deficit. Inflation. A plummeting standard of living. Now, I KNOW ya'll on the republican side LOVE them apples- hell- YOU VOTED FOR IT.
And ya know- with this new budget, things are just going to get worse, and worse, and worse. The one thing that Bush's handlers have always resented is that Bush's economic policies have finally shown the lie behind the republican lip service to the concept of "Fiscal Responsibility"- in this case, personified by the aforementioned record deficit.
With this new budget, they're going to address this, but the problem is: they're not going to do it, by addressing wasteful spending, or by rolling back tax cuts on the rich (the latter- they're going to INCREASE.) They're going to eliminate the deficit by cutting just about every program for education, the arts, the evironment, veterans, the poor, and the people who need help the most.
I predicted, months ago, that if we were to suffer the indignity of another four years of Bush in office, it would lead to this- more poverty, more need, more closed schools, libraries, and firehouses. Less secure at home, in our lives, our jobs, and our future.
And I've been proven right- I would have liked, more than anything in my life, to be proven wrong, and sleep soundly, at night, knowing that things would be returned to a sane course in this country- but sadly, sadly, I was right. We're going to see the quality of life decline, in ways we haven't seen, since the great depression, in the next four years- because if you think that THIS budget is a stab in the eye, wait until 2006.
But, ya know- the republicans will love it- they're vampires, in the most literal sense of the word. They sustain themselves, by sapping the strength of those beneath them.
And to those lower-class and middle class voters who cast their votes for this insanity- enjoy your slide down into deeper and deeper levels of debt and want. I will only laugh, as you wonder why your kids can't get a decent education, your social services are cut off, and your future grows more and more bleak. The limits of my compassion for the willfully ignorant have just been met.
Guest commentary by By Joe Strike
What Kerry SHOULDA said during the campaign:
These days my survival strategy seems to be one of news avoidance, or at least avoiding objective, ‘mainstream’ news. (You know, outlets that aren’t actively supporting our president during this time of ongoing crisis and are therefore part of the liberal, America-hating news media gabble gabble hey…) I’m currently incapable of dealing with anything that treats our current situation as business as usual, instead of what it is: the far-from-first steps of transforming the USA from a multi-cultural secular democracy into a right-wing authoritarian ‘Christian’ state.
NPR out, Air America in. CNN out, Daily Show in. NY Times out, The Nation in. I suppose it’s slightly less maddening to read/hear about what is really going on than to deal with ‘even-handed,’ he said/she said reportage. In case anyone hasn’t realized it yet, one of Karl Goebbels’ masterstrokes is his ability to frame the terms of the debate. The Democrats and the media wind up approaching the issue at hand from an ideological perspective that puts them on the defensive from the get-go.
Which brings us to today’s lesson: Bullwinkle is a do- Not that lesson, this lesson: John Kerry is a dope. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 2004, when Dudley Do-Right lost the election to Snidely Whiplash. (Man, I am on a Jay Ward roll here this morning.) The Republicans had Kerry on the ropes from day one (i.e., the second he locked up the nomination), and he handed them plenty of ammunition to boot. Even when he tried to sound strong and decisive, it was in trying to turn around charges the GOP had thrown at him. (“I won’t give any other country a veto over our right to defend ourselves,” etc.)
It’s pretty much common knowledge Karl & the GOP use focus groups to refine their advertising & mud-slinging campaigns to perfection. Beyond that, however, I suspect that way down in the bowels of their campaign machine (and ‘bowels’ is a perfect description for that machine, considering what it excreted upon the public) a team of psychological profilers operate. They look at every detail of Kerry’s history, every scrap of film or video, study his body language and speech patterns until they know him better than he knows himself. Armed with that knowledge, they proceed to design a war campaign beset with booby traps that he can’t help but throw himself into.
It should’ve been easy to clobber Bush (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Texas Oil Swindler,’ or TOS for short) to such a degree that his vote-rigging/suppression, the media’s wimped-out and/or get Kerry coverage, or legions of obedient fundamentalists voting in lockstep for God’s candidate wouldn’t have prevented him from being thrown out of office. Instead, Kerry’s reactive campaign (combined with trivia-obsessed news reportage) let TOS-damning stories vanish after a day or two.
The TOS’s weakest moments were of his own making, not from Kerry scoring any bulls-eyes. The debates revealed him as a petulant, immature and ill-informed individual, looking at the world from a perspective of endless self-entitlement. But what came out of the debates? The bogus impression that Kerry would let other nations decide whether or not the US will be allowed to defend itself.
Let’s start with the ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Rent,’ as someone wittier than me called them early on. Kerry (in hibernation for weeks after winning the nomination, instead of immediately going on full tilt attack against the TOS) let their attacks go unanswered, thinking the public would never fall for it. Geez, DON’T THESE DEMOCRATS EVER LEARN that when the Big Lie is repeated with sufficient brazen self-assurance, enough lazy, ill-informed people will accept it as fact?
What Kerry shoulda done was pin the tail on Karl Rove the second the attacks started. The links between Rove & the SB Vets were on the record. Kerry could’ve leapt on them and made a stink about the TOS Bush taking a phony high road while Rove’s toads did the mud-throwing on his behalf. With a little elbow grease, Kerry could’ve made Rove himself the issue that would’ve put the TOS’s campaign on the defensive for weeks – instead of Kerry’s.
That’s just one example. There were tons & tons of ammunition under the Democrats’ noses that went unused. Anyone remember duct tape and plastic sheeting? Kerry could’ve beaten the TOS over the head with that one for weeks. “Under Bush’s leadership, the only thing protecting you from a terrorist attack is a piece of plastic.” But not-one-word from Kerry on that one.
Kerry’s biggest mistake was ceding the 9/11 high ground. The TOS wrapped himself in the flag from 9/12. For someone who turned his swift boat around and headed back into enemy fire, Kerry didn’t show the courage to ask, re-ask and INSIST on straight answers from the TOS:
- Why did you sit in that classroom for minutes on end when the US is under attack? Your supporters said you didn’t want to upset the children; was the temporary peace of mind of a handful of kids more important that taking command of the situation? - Just after 9/11 you said ‘I wanted to go back to Washington, but they wouldn’t let me.’ Who is ‘they?’ Why is the President of the United States taking orders from others when the country is under attack?
- Why were your first words of reassurance to America to ‘keep shopping’? Didn’t you realize the enormity of what had just happened?
- Why did you oppose a 9/11 commission and try to hide the truth of what happened that day from the American people? (Yes, you would’ve heard the righties screaming and yelling about Kerry ‘politicizing’ 9/11 – only their boy was allowed to do that on his own behalf.)
- Why were you afraid to testify in front of the commission on your own? Surely our ‘brave’ president isn’t afraid of answering a few questions without somebody there to hold his hand. (A little sarcasm would’ve been very effective here.)
- Why do you insist on calling your opponent a ‘flip-flopper’ in light of your own flip flop on the 9/11 commission, or when you campaigned against ‘nation building’ in 2000 and now have us doing exactly that in Iraq?
Kerry did none of the above. Were his advisers on the TOS payroll like those journalists we’ve been hearing about lately? I think Kerry lost any chance he had to be a credible opponent of the war when he said he would’ve still voted for the TOS’s war resolution even if he knew at the time there were no weapons in Iraq. You can’t blame that one on Rove. And now, for the readers of Bushflash.com, here’s the speech that would’ve won John F. Kerry the presidency last November:
“My opponent seems to believe himself incapable of ever making a mistake. Believing in your own infallibility is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. And make no mistake about it my friends: President Bush’s cocksure arrogance has delivered our country into an endless disaster. But I will stand here in front of you today and admit a mistake: I voted to give the President the authority to go to war against Iraq, because I believed he was telling us the truth when he said – and you can look it up and listen to his own words – that it was ‘a vote for peace.’ A vote for peace – who wouldn’t want to give the President the power to avert a war? But it wasn’t a vote for peace – it was a blank check to begin a war he and his associates had been thirsting for before they even took power. The president of the United States lied to you, he lied to me and he lied to all the world. I apologize with all my heart for the mistake of believing that lie, and I am running for President to make sure we are never again lied to about war and peace.”
Strong words? Absolutely. Would’ve all the right wing lapdogs started yipping, yapping and whining at Kerry? Of course. Would he have been able to eventually turn public opinion around and against the TOS? I think so. But the man who stood his ground in Vietnam didn’t stand firm in 2004. And as President Clinton once said, “the American people would rather vote for someone who’s strong but wrong than right but weak.”
If there's one good bit of good news that one can dredge out of the stolen election of 2000, it's that Joe Lieberman was never elevated to the vice presidency.
Before 2000, I didn't know much about this joker, except that he was considered to be one of the democratic party's more conservative voices, one that had joined the idiotic republican chorus against hollywood and the entertainment media (always complaining that these institutions are "forcing" "depraved and degenerate" entertainment upon us- never once considering that these entities are only responding to market forces- but that's a rant for another day).
Since Bush's court-appointed "presidency", I have seen Mr. Leiberman turn into an obsequious doormat for the Bush administration- voting with the republicans more often than any other democratic senator, and generally toeing the Bush line, whenever he's been able to glean a few minutes of face time in front of a camera.
Voting FOR the "patriot act" was forgiveable- it hadn't even been printed, when it was forced into a vote on the floor, and no one had the slighted idea what they were voting for. Voting FOR the war in Iraq, was another matter, entirely. And then came his ill-fated run for the presidency. Suffice it to say that with a speaking style reminiscent of Elmer Fudd on lithium, and a platform that was indistinguishable from Bush's, it was failed effort, from the very start.
Now, Lieberman's activities, as a member of congress, since the death of his laughable presidential bid has been a matter of record. He has continued his sickeningly pandering attitude towards the Bush agenda.
I could go into detail, but I trust you have the fingers to type "Lieberman voting record" into google.
But, in recent days, his actions, as an elected senator, have made it clear that he has shed any, last allegiance to the tenets of the democratic party. First, came his vote for the confirmation of the disastrously incompetent Condi Rice. Then, when our own government admitted that there, indeed, were no WMDs in Iraq, Mr. Lieberman was one of the first to elbow his way in front of a camera, and bleat his assertion that the war in Iraq was "still worth it." Then, came the unforgiveable- his vote to Confirm Alberto "Abu Ghraib" Gonzales as Attorney General-and thus cast his vote for Torture as official US policy.
Then, the final straw came in the wake of Bush's lie-packed "state of the union" address, when he felt so enamoured with the man he had run against, not a few years before, that he decided to plant a big smooch on his cheek.
Joe- if you love Bush so much as to kiss the bastard in front of a national audience, and adopt his policies as your own, show one last ounce of personal integrity, and switch parties.
We don't want your kind, with us, anymore. I don't care if it means another vote for the republicans. They're just going to steal a fillibuster-proof majority in 2006, just as they stole the last three elections, so it really means nothing, in the grand scheme of things.
Or, are you waiting until 2008, so you can become the new Zell Miller, as you give the keynote speech at the 2008 Republican convention, to nominate Jeb Bush for President, and again shame yourself?
I have heard rumors that Paul Newman's gonna challenge Lieberman for his seat- it may be worth moving to Connecticut, just so I can see Joe go down in flames- GO PAUL!
I rarely offer space in the index page to ya'll, because, well- you're hopeless- you're a bunch of slavering, willfully ignorant fools, beating your verbal chests and throwing rhetorical feces about, simply because you have little more to do with your daily lives than spend the time between wank sessions in your mother's basements than play the devil's advocate in a battle of which you know little about. Ya know- one of the best descriptions of folks such as you came from the bolsheviks- they called people lake ya'll "Useful Idiots"- people who will spend their spare time railing against their own self-interest, simply because they believe that if they attach their rhetorical wagons to the group in power, they can claim to be on the "winning team", and by that empty path of logic, gain legitimacy for their failed world view.
But, anyway- to the topic at hand:
You losers REALLY need to work on your strategies, when it comes to e-mailing me. Your recent activities just reek.
Every day, you lurkers get together, and confer about a particular rhetorical angle you're going to use to attack me. It's clear what's going on...
I get one e-mail from one of ya'll accusing me of being "filled with hate", and within the next three hours, I get another six e-mails, using the EXACT SAME LANGUAGE, making the same accusation. The next day, I get a similar "seed" e-mail, saying that I "dismiss people of faith", and like clockwork, I get a half-dozen e-mails from your ilk within the next hour, using the exact same language, making the exact same complaint.
Simply put, lurkers- your e-mails matter very little to me- I rarely read more than half of whatever you have to say, before I toss them into the garbage- but PLEASE-
Try to approach me with your OWN THOUGHTS, rather than a cookie-cutter "issue of the day" from wherever you get it.
Otherwise, you're just showing yourselves as the obsequious lock-step minions that you clearly are.
Well- Bush took the the airwaves tonight, to deliver his State of the Union address.
What do I have to say? Well- it was standard Bush fare- utter bullplop, from the moment he opened his filthy lie-hole, to the moment he removed his slovenly carcass from the House chamber.
I am utterly astounded that Bush continues to hail "No Child Left Behind" as such a diamond in his court-appointed crown, but hell- we're living in the age of newspeak and doublethink.
Only one thing was missing from this orwellian spectacle: Goldstein. Osama Bin Laden was never even mentioned, once. I could go on, but quite frankly, I don't want to give this pack of lies any more recognition than it deserves.
Kudos to the democrats that booed Bush, when he belched forth his nonsense about social security. I wish I had been there, indeed- I would have gladly dipped my middle finger into that dye, and proudly displayed it, at every opportunity.
That's that- Bush lied, Bush lies, and will lie- forever. (Free mousepad to the one who can identify the historical reference.)
Guest commentary by By Joe Strike
Back in the heady days of 'Mission Accomplished' (in hindsight, 'Mission: Impossible' might have been a more accurate slogan) I was ready to grudgingly admit that okay, we were hustled into a criminal war, but at least a scumbag like Saddam is out of power.
That little bit of brainwash was soon washed out of my brain by a populace (or a good chunk of it anyway) that seemed less than overjoyed at their 'liberation.' So yesterday I found myself almost seduced - again - by the sight of Iraqis celebrating their first 'free' election. I knew going into it that anything short of a dirty bomb going off inside the green zone would be hailed by the Texas Oil Swindler's media machine as a great victory for democracy. What I forgot was the bad guys' ability to create lowered expectations; if reality turns out even a tiny bit better, voila: an amazing, unexpected victory for our side.
44 Iraqis dead? A mere trifle. Look at those folks dancing in the street - great ground level close-up of their happy feet - almost as impressive as the footage of Saddam's statue coming down a while back. Don't you know there was a 72% turnout - way better than here in the USofA? (I wonder whose ass they pulled that figure out of. Isn't it funny how they can instantly calculate the voting turnout in their first election in 50 years, but can't venture a guess as to how many Iraqis we've killed since invading?)
Timing, it's all in the timing. The Iraqi election was scheduled months ago by the TOS's crowd to fall right between the inauguration and his State of the Union address. Now the TOS will have a nice shiny apple to present to the world when he stands in front of the increasingly right-wing Congress. It's interesting that even as he declares victory in Iraq, he remains very, very vague as to when we can get our troops out of there. (My guess: as soon as he needs to invade Iran.)
Can anyone doubt we're living in a fulltime propaganda state? Every bit of pomp and statecraft is designed to create and maintain an illusion; or to quote Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty: "when I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less." I wrote a little letter to the NY Times last week (If you don't hear back from them the next day, forget about it getting published):
At a press conference President Bush downplays and thus dishonors the death of 31 Americans in a helicopter crash in Iraq, but is eager to take personal credit ("I firmly planted the flag of liberty there") for their mission.
The Bush administration's insistence in staying 'on message' has gone from the pragmatic to the delusional and grows more disturbing by the hour. You can only ignore reality for so long before reality reminds you of its existence the hard way. I am afraid that if we continue on this course there will be no way of avoiding a hideous reckoning down the road.
Well, let's at least hope Iraq's election was a little more legitimate than our last two.
(Next week: if you can stand it, how about one more rehash of the last election: what Kerry SHOULDA done.)
Now, in the wake of Seymore Hirsch's recent exposee
, concerning the coming invasion of Iran, there has been a lot of hullabaloo, both on the right, and the left.
As one would surmise, out of common sense, the right has dismissed such allegations, out of hand. Just as Condi Rice quoted, verbatim, the pentagon's refutations of Hirsch's eallegations, the right wing faithfully parrots the same line. One can only hearken back to Condi and Powell's comments about Iraq, back in 2001,
to see how credible such assertions are.
Now, the left, from Democracy Now
, to the The Daily show
, has done a good job in spreading the word about this upcoming event, but they've not breached a very important factor, about this upcoming insanity:
Specifically- how will the Bush administration justify such a military incursion, given the ongoing debacle in Iraq? No matter how much the media and the republican pundit corps bellow about the recent "election" farce in Iraq, the facts remain: This war was started on a premeditated lie, and is continuing to leech money and lives in unacceptable quantities. Our forces are overextended as it is, and lemme tell ya here and now: No matter how many times Bush belches out the word "freedom", he's gonna have a HARD sell to both the american people, and the congress, considering the aforementioned premeditated lie (and subsequent cost).
The forthcoming invasion of Iran will exacerbate all of these problems- I could go into details, but I trust you have the brains to figure them out for yourselves, from what has been said above.
Now- to understand the paradigms of the situation, one must understand the true idealogical powers behind the bush throne- namesly, the Project for a New American Century
(Hereafter known as PNAC).
PNAC, for those who have spent the past five years with their heads buried in the sand, is a neoconservative think thank, whose signatory members include Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld. They envision a new world order, in which the United States of America is the sole world power on all levels- economic, military, and politically.
They envision a "pax americana", in which the United States unites (benvolently, of course, as we saw in their last project, Iraq) the globe via military and corporate power.
The insanity of this is clear to anyone with the sense that nature gave a hershey bar, but I'll be nice to the republican lurkers, and explain why this is a bad idea:
History has demonstrated, in horrific example after horrific example, that empires never last, and, the grander the vision of the empire, the more devastating the downfall. Whether it be the collapse of the thousand year reich, the deflation of the british empire, or the implosion of the Soviet Union, history has borne terrible witness to the end results of dreams of empire- and it is NEVER pretty.
So- the question remains- how will Condi Rice, George W Bush, Dick Cheney, at the rest of that nest of vipers justify this new, Iranian invasion?
The answer came to me, while I was ensconced in the Dedham Hilton, during my recent business trip to Boston. There was little on offer on TV, but there was HBO. That night, I watched an utter CRAP film, "dirty war"
, which was a "cautionary tale", centering around a "dirty bomb" attack in central London.
I realized: this is the way he will justify it. A new terrorist attack, within the United States would erase any critical thinking on the part of the media, and the american public. We all remember how blindly people fell into line after the 9/11 attack- I can imagine it now:
One fine day (probably within the next year, as the 2006 "election" is closer than we all think,) A terrorist strike will succeed, and after the few days of national paroxysms if grief and mourning, Bush will take the to airwaves, and declare that this new attack shows us that we "cannot afford the luxury of complascence", and now, we have the moral right to attack wherever and whenever we choose, no matter the cost.
The media will fall into lock-step, and parrot the white house line. Folks like you and I will be told to "shut up", as a new draft is initiated, and within a month, US troops move into Iraq on two fronts, along the Afghan and Iraqi Borders.
And then, the real horrors will begin.