PS- I also hope to catch up on e-mail- many apologies to those waiting for a response...
JULY 26, 2006
IT'S THE OLDEST TRICK IN THE BOOK
It’s been a well-known online tactic for years- someone decides that they ain’t gettin’ the respect they feel they deserve in an particular community or forum, and they post thusly:
"I’m through with ya’ll- I’m outta here! Don’t try to stop me! I’m leaving- I swear! Don’t bother begging me to stay- because I ain’t listening- no sir! I’m walking out the door, right now! You’ll be sorry, when I’m gone! Just you watch! I’m… Leaving… NOW!”
Invariably, the person in question comes slinking back, six months later, when the sudden explosion of sympathetic e-mails fails to materialize, and they’re back to square one…
I’ve seen it happen dozens of times, and it’s always an annoying spectacle. I’d rather that the person in question paint their sorry ass purple, and post a video of themselves on YouTube shooting themselves in the head- that way, they make less of an idiot of themselves, and there’s visual evidence that the annoyance is well and truly gone from this world.
That having been said, I find myself in a somewhat different mindset than I was, one month ago, when I said I would be jerking Bushflash offline. Don’t get me wrong- I’m still utterly disappointed where the site is, and what is has become, but well- let’s start at the beginning…
I wanted (and still want) Bushflash to be far more than it is. In light of my continued inability to produce new animations, I had already swallowed a bitter pill in admitting to myself that Bushflash was now a blog- just another cheap soapbox for an armchair pundit from Jersey to spout off, once in a while. As the old adage goes, “opinions are alike assholes- everyone’s got one.” I still can’t see my paltry opinions worthy of any special notice, and in continuing to ramble on as I do, I felt I was becoming another online rant machine like Alex Jones or Matt Drudge- and the thought of that made me want to slit my wrists.
Yes- people have written to me- students, servicepeople in Iraq, and people over twice my age, lauding my commentary (yeah, in this case, for lack of a better, scatological term, I’ll use “commentary’...) I won’t lie and say it didn’t give me an ego-boo from time to time- but I want Bushflash to be better than just that. I have consistently stated, since day one of this site’s creation, that I don’t consider this site to be “mine”- I believe it belongs to you- the visitor, and I wanted you to be a part of it.
I wander around sites like BradBlog and Crooks And Liars (two sites that were but a glint in a geek’s eye, when I started Bushflash three years ago), and see how they’ve become dynamic, all-inclusive sites that allow others to participate, post, blog, and comment. I saw how these sites were harnessing the power of Content Management Systems to allow other people to dynamically add content, and allow the sites to become truly (small-d) democratic. These sites soared into the realm of tens of thousands of hits a day, while Bushflash began an unprecedented collapse in traffic.
I clearly saw that Bushflash, despite its relative age, had become a relic. Determined to figure out this new CMS thing, so that Bushflash could be more than just one guy (me) ranting away in the darkness. I spent three months trying to figure out CMS, MySQL, Mambo, WordPress, and the rest of alla that stuff, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure it out- the mechanics of CMS are like greek crossed with mayan hieroglyphs, to me- maybe I’m just old. When I tried to get help via message boards, I’d get insults from 12-year-old web developers to whom this stuff was second nature, deriding me as “clearly an idiot.”
I’m reminded of the scene in “Duck Soup”, when Rufus T. Firefly is presented with a document by one of his underlings:
Underling: “Please take a look at this report, Mr Firefly- it’s very simple…” Firefly: “Simple? Indeed- why, this is so simple, a child could understand it!” Underling: “Very good, Mr. Firefly.” Firefly (aside, to another aide:) “Go get a child to explain it to me- I can’t make heads or tails of this!”
Alas, after repeated attempts to find someone to give me assistance in setting up a CMS, I got nothing. I offered money- 200 bucks (hardly a paltry sum) for someone to set up a template from which I could work and learn- the silence was deafening…
Well- not exactly deafening- one or two folks stepped forward, but after six months of promises and friendly bi-monthly e-mails, pleading a lack of time to dedicate to the project, Bushflash was still just me- traffic continued to decline, and the site was every bit as undemocratic as it had ever been.
When I looked into the future, I could only see Bushflash becoming less and less relevant, less and less inclusive, and (as web tech continued to proceed apace, ahead of my ability to understand it) just damned clunky and primitive.
As much as I loved (and continue to love) running the site- such a future was just too depressing. All the encouraging e-mails in the world couldn’t dissuade me from seeing (cynically) that I was slowly turning into the internet equivalent of a mad homeless guy, ranting on a streetcorner. (Yeah, Coulter, Drudge, and O’reilly are pretty much the same- but I’d like to think I have a bit more pride and integrity, than to turn into one of THEM.)
So- I made the decision- if Bushflash couldn’t be all it could be, it might as well cease to be. I made an announcement, on June 29th, that Bushflash was to be shut down, forevermore.
In the wake of this announcement, I wrote a few articles detailing why this had to happen. I felt resolute in my decision, and in writing these articles, I was exploring my own mental proceses, to a depth that I had not in quite some time. I guess in writing them, I was psychoanalyzing myself. While I’m prone to introspection (to a fault), I rarely take the opportunity to step outside of myself, and view things objectively. While I might cast my ascerbic literary urges at Bush and company, I admit that I have not often done the same to myself.
The first two articles went well, but then, one night, I tried to write one about how important it was that people- everyday, average people, stand up and speak their mind about what’s going on, and that they didn’t need me to prod them into action. I started writing, and realized- damn- if on one hand, I’m urging people to stand up and speak up, and on the other, shutting down the one example I have to show to the world of the importance of this act, I’m being hypocritical.
I erased everything I had written, and started anew:
Bushflash isn't exceptional, in any way- there are sites that do what I do, far better, on a more reliable basis, and with higher quality than I can ever hope to provide. I never pretended to be a news source...
A strike from a clear, blue sky- CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox "news" have a far better information-gathering resources than I do, and well, they fail utterly, as "information resources." These news organizations are all too happy to parrot administration talking points- and well- you never know what's gonna come down the pike, when it comes to progressive news sites, come the next crisis-du-jour.
I still remember, as clear as day, when Media Whores Online, an organization that had true-blue credentials when it came to reportage of this administration's crimes, turned into a steadfast neo-fascist Bush cheerleader, in the days following 9/11- posting articles saying that it was time for people like you and me to shut up, and fall in line. The stories about that site's demise are legion- but they signed their own death warrant, the day they decided to become yet another turncoat Bush mouthpiece...
Who is to say that there won't come a time in which Crooks and Liars, Bradblog, or (god forbid) Kos will suddenly decide that it is in their best interests to "come to jesus"?
In light of this all too-real possibility, isn't it incumbent upon those who who can speak out, to do so, whenever they can?
Oops- I was being a hypocrite, again...
I erased everything I wrote- I was getting shaky- my reasoning was falling to tatters.
I started anew:
Ahem- uhh- It’s up to you, every, last one of you, to stand up against this encroaching tyranny, and do whatever you can to spread the word. I’ll always remember an interview Kucinich once gave, in which he was asked by a student:
‘the problems we face are so large, so overwhelming- what can I do?’
Kucinich responded: "You’ve already answered your own question- you reached out to me- just keep doing that- reach out to your friends- your co-workers, your family. It’s up to each and every one of as, as Americans, to win the war of public opinion- we can’t leave it up to the media- we have to do it ourselves…"
DOH! I was back in hypocrisy-land. How the hell could I part with a dissertation on the importance of people speaking out, when I was declaring my intention to shut up?
I reatreated from my keyboard, and spent the next couple of days thinking…
Okay- maybe Bushflash can’t be what I want it to be- maybe it never will- but does that mean that it is inherently worthless? There are folks who throw twice as much effort into sites and blogs that get one-tenth the traffic Bushflash does, and they don’t give up- they fight the good fight, damn the consequences. Dick Eats Bush gets a fraction of the traffic I do, and this guy keeps producing video after astoundingly creative video. Hategun creates video that is lightyears beyond anything that I could produce, yet gets 1/100th of the recognition it deserves.
Do these people give up? Do they falter, do they waver? No, no, and HELL no. We all do what we can- it doesn't matter if we're top-of-the-crop in CMS tech- it doesn't matter whether or not we are making as much from blogads as we would like. It doesn't matter whether our site shows up on Alexa, or we get a writeup from this or that current "trend-du-hour" media, or (god help us) the idiots in washington pay attention to our efforts.
What matters is that we're here- that we bear witness to the atrocities that play out before our eyes, and refuse to stay silent, so that we might lay the foundations to a better world. It might not come in our lifetimes, true- but in this struggle- there are two alternatives- silence and death, or robust action and hope.
In light of this- can I give up?
No- I can’t.
I guess I’m like the pesky, errant newsgroup member who threatened a quick exit, but when confronted with the true import of a total divorce, found himself unable to go through with it.
Instead of pulling Bushflash offline totally, it will go into remission, for a month. During this month, I will not watch one minute of news- including Olberman, Daily show, or Colbert Report.
For one month, I will eschew spending one minute following the events of a world steadfastly marching into oblivion. I seriously can’t deal with seeing any more dead children, bombed cities, or fatuous, political smiles.
I will exist as a totally clueless American buffoon, for four full weeks, during which I will play video games (Oblivion- here I come!), read crappy science fiction novels, and, for once and goddamned all, quit smoking. (Which, by the way, is of special import- I chain-smoke, when I’m updating this site, and quite frankly, I can feel it killing me. Every breath is painful, and I can (seriously) feel the tumors growing within my chest.. my health is more important than running this site, and maybe once I’ve kicked this habit, I can address the concerns of the day, without killing myself, slowly.)
If, at the end of this month, Bushflash traffic drops to 100 hits a day, well- then it’s 100 more than I got, when I started this whole adventure.
And I know you guys can keep the flame alive, while I’m away- you’re all champions- every last one. You give me hope…
Don’t let me down…
JULY 24, 2006
AS LEBANON BURNS, LET US NOT FORGET...
That the grand neocon experiment in the Iraq and Afghanistan continues to spiral down the toilet.
Let's see, we have the top British officer in Afghanistan warning us that the situation in Afghanistan is close to anarchy, with a resurgent taliban attacking girls schools, and just about anyone who gets in their way. As car bombings increase, One might wonder if the situation would be a tad different there, had Bush sent in enough troops to fully stabilize the country, before pissing all over Iraq? But hey- things are just peachy over there, as well...
There's little more that I can add to this, really, other than to once again point out the obvious: Bush and his cronies are incompetent fools. Their defense of their actions has become: "In a generation or two, our policies will be vindicated." Nice one, douchebags- none of your short-term predictions have come to fruition, am I to believe that your long-term vision is any more acute?
I just wonder- when is the democratic party going to take the offensive, and call these idiots on their patent inability to do ANYTHING right?
Only in my dreams, it appears.
BUSHFLASH LATE NIGHT MUSIC CLUB WITH MINISTRY- "NO W"
Now THAT'S entertainment! A wall of mind-blowing noise and screaming, wrapped up with an on-stage assault and sodomizing of Idiot Boy. How I miss my clubbing days...
I no longer feel any qualms about re-broadcasting youtube videos. I can't really. This site, which started a mere seven months ago, is now the 18th most popular site on the internet, doling out 100 million videos a day to an eager public, and is now the equivalent of the first major internet television network. When someone wants their video to be seen, there's only one place to go- YouTube.
It's an amazing internet success story, and has apparently taken everyone by surprise (even the folks who run the site, who have taken on only the most unobtrusive of advertising.)
As the republicans seem determined to destroy net neutrality, it's important to ask oneself- could a site like YouTube have come to exist, had net neutrality been abolished? Could a few folks create a site with such mass appeal and usage, on an internet that doesn't give everyone a fair shake, and equal access? The answer, of course, is "no."
To us in the activist community, this is the reason why net neutrality has to be preserved. When the market speculators left after the dot-com bust, the only people who were left to build the internet were those who saw it as a community. They demonstrated that if you wanted to make money or gain influence via the internet, you didn't provide the same crap the Mainstream Media has been spewing out- you used it as a conduit for public expression and entrepreneurship. Bushflash, for example, really wallowed in obscurity until I turned it into a media portal, where I showcased the works of indie producers (and then it floundered, again- but that's another story.)
To the moneyed interests, and their lapdog republicans- this is the reason why net neutrality has to be shuffled into the dustbin of history. A worldwide public forum where everyone has a fair shake, without having to pay anything beyond their cable or phone bill, is just anathema to them. Think about it- the only place where you can see images of what's going on in Iraq is the internet. The only place where you can see videos of what's going on in Lebanon and northern Israel is the internet. The only place where you can read honest discussions concerning 9/11, is again, the internet. The internet is the last bastion of democratic, all-inclusive media, and dangit- that threatens the status quo on so many levels, the bastards just can't let it continue.
I can feel the gates closing on the internet, as we know it today- but there still may be hope to save this wonderful thing we have going. Check out Save The Internet, and do everything you can, to help them out.
JULY 23, 2006
WHEN I STARTED THIS SITE...
I got a lot of e-mails, and the ones that still stick with me, over three years later, were the ones from all over the world, saying "gee- before I visited your site, I thought all of the people in the USA were as stupid as Bush and his supporters- I didn't know there was any dissent!"
These e-mails were, and still are, heartening to me. I'm glad I could do my part in dispelling the myth that the american public is a great, monolithic exercise in groupthink, and proving that the freedoms of speech and thought are still alive in this country.
We're too often told via the pundit corps that "The Israelis think so-and-so", "the Iranians believe thus-and-so", and "The Russians come from this and that position." A classic "us-versus them" paradigm of thinking that just leads to more misunderstanding, steroetypes, and distrust.
Yes, those in power are held up as the spokesmen for predominant opion, but more often than not, this is laughably myopic. Take for example the war in Iraq- if you used solely the words and deeds of the Bush Bowl as a barometer of the American people's attitude towards the war, you'd never think that fully two-thirds of US citizens want troops out of Iraq now, and think it was a damned stupid idea to invade, in the first place.
With this in mind, let's move to the current crisis in Israel- Too many on the left are swift to denounce Israel, as a whole, in the wake of recent events. Those that do, are falling into the same "us-versus-them" simplistic idiocy that the neocons and the Bush Bowl wear as badges of honor- and dammit, I'd like to think we're a tad better than they are...
The truth of the matter is, that Israel has a strong, vibrant, and energetic anti-war movement, and they're taking to the streets, in growing numbers, every day. In the midst of the insanity we see playing out on our viewscreens, let us take a moment, to recognize and support their efforts.
Folks, I've been trying to maintain my cool, for the past week. I've gone to painful lengths not to point fingers- but I'm done with that. I don't care if a few thin-skinned folks accuse me of being "anti-semitic" or whatever.
The title of this site says "Anti-War, Anti-Bush media, worldwide", and that means world-freaking-wide.
I've spent the past three-plus years railing against this criminal administration's illegal, genocidal war in Iraq, and have never- EVER- given them one quarter- I care too damned much about this country, to stay silent.
As Israel blows the living hell out of an entire country, killing hundreds of innocent people, in supposed retaliation for the kidnapping of two of their soldiers, I can not sit by and equivocate.
This is wrong- hell- screw that- this is an atrocity. A few minutes ago, I was forwarded this link. Go take a look- look at the ruin, the death, the destruction, the wholesale murder. Yeah- I know about the hezbollah rocket attacks- I've seen the victims of these attacks- but they do not- DO FREAKING NOT, justify this evil.
Accuse me of anti-semitism, all you want. I'll not lose one minute of sleep, nor one ounce of moral certainty.
George Bush claims to be a christian, while destroying Iraq, and killing over 100,000 innocent civilians. He's no more a christian than I am a potted plant. The Israelis who are perpetrating this horror aren't jews- they're just plain scumbags. They're no better than Osama Bin Laden, and deserve no more respect.
There's no excuse for this, whatsoever, and the fact that the government that purports to speak in my name is just sitting back and letting this happen, makes me ashamed to be alive.
JULY 20, 2006
LEBANON, THE BUSH BOWL, AND THE RIGHT WING PUNDIT CORPS
I've gotten a lot of e-mails, over the past couple of days, lambasting me because I didn't blame Monkey Boy for the current crisis playing out in Lebanon and Israel.
The Israelis and their neighbors have been killing each other for the entirety of my life. The carnage has been going on over there, no matter which party happened to occupy the white house. Whether be it Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, or Bush Jr. calling the shots, the idiocy has continued in that part of the world. Reading some of these e-mails, you'd get the impression that the authors think that all was smiles and sunshine in the middle east, prior to Bush's appointment as "president."
Now, I hate Bush more than the next guy, but let us not lose historical perspective, here- when we start to blame this idiot for everything that goes on, we're assuming that he's some sort of omnipotent godlike force, instead of a sad, incompetent moron. (And let me assure you- it's the latter that's the case.)
That having been said- what IS unique about this corrupt administration is their cavalier disdain for the diplomacy that has kept isolated outbursts of violence from turning into an conflict that would surely engulf the region. But such is only to be expected.
The neoconservatives that are calling the shots in this administration's foreign policy want war. In the wake of their stunning success in Iraq, they see an opportunity to REALLY screw things up, and reap the whirlwind. PNAC still envisions that a great, american-led worldwide utopia is the only possible outcome of such a conflict, and no one can stop them- not public opinion, not facts on the ground, not the consensus of international sentiment.
I tuned in to Hannity and Colmes, last night (don't ask me why), and the new mantra of the right wing is that war with Iran, Syria, and the rest of the muslim world is inevitable, so we might as well get on with it- the current crisis is a perfect jumping-on point for this great crusade, apparently.
I humbly ask all of these pundits put on the crappy kevlar vests we are currently doling out to our servicepeople in Iraq, and allow themselves to be airdropped into Damascus in broad daylight. Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, Malkin, and Boortz can be our first expeditionary force- and let's see if any of them survive for more than five minutes, before they're torn to shreds. If any escape being made into idiot-kebabs, than heck- yeah, let's invade- but only registered republicans can be drafted to serve in the ensuing war (they voted for it- hell- them them fight it.)
The prizewinner of the crop of Idiots in this whole mess, is, predictably, John Bolton- the jerkoff that Bush appointed as ambassador to the UN, during a congressional recess (because, well, the guy's a psycho, and there's no way that even an overwhelmingly republican congress would allow him to represent us at the world body.) Just today, he appeared before the cameras, and stated that the overwhelmingly disproportionate Lebanese death toll in the current conflict was "irrelevant", because "You can't compare the victims of terrorism, to the victims of self-defense."
Read that again:
"You can't compare the victims of terrorism, to the victims of self-defense."
This is the essence of the neoconservative apologist argument for the insane loss of life that has ensued in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and now, in Lebanon. In simple english, it means:
"The deaths that result from our actions are excusable, because these lives were extinguished, in pursuit of a greater cause- a cause which we define, and you have no business questioning."
How is Bolton's excuse distinguishable from the ramblings of Osama Bin Laden? I dare the most diehard freeper to explain to me the difference.
We have met the enemy, and he is us, as Walt Kelly pointed out, a half-century ago...
JULY 19, 2006
WORST G8- EVER... (As usual, a dollar short and a day late)
The machinations of global crony capitalism aside, a lot of folks have been making a lot of hay about Idiot Boy's use of the word "shit" in close conversation with his poodle, Tony Blair. Quite frankly- it didn't bother me all that much. I'll admit to using that word in casual conversation at least fifty times an hour (and at least twice, whenever I review a really horrible film like "A Scanner Darkly"- see below)
What was telling to me, in this video, is the grotesque, bovine way the little dictator chews his food- didn't his mother ever tell him to chew with his mouth closed? It reminded me of a one-year-old gumming baby food.
"We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly."
Bush, as always, enjoying the eternal sunshine of the empty mind, heckled Putin's assertion- "Just wait!", he petulantly shot back. Oh, yeah- just wait- in five years, everyone on earth will be clamoring to live in a violence-ridden anarchic patch of land, sodden with depleted uranium, where "death by car bomb" is all the rage.
Now, I dunno if ya'll have been following the growing rift between Russia and the United States- but since the days in which Bush was able to peer into Putin's soul, and see nothing but angelic light, things haven't been going well. The Bush Bowl has been quite critical of Putin's Russia, lamenting the loss of democracy and civil rights in that country. Pointing out the hypocrisy of such accusations would be redundant, in the extreme- I'm sure ya'll are hip to where I'm coming from, on that issue- but here's the rub:
Ya know why the Bush Bowl has been so critical of Russia, lately? As much as they would like you to believe that it's about their altruistic concern for the Russian people, it just ain't so. Recently, after lambasting Russia's record on democracy, Cheney paid a special visit to Kazakhstan, a country with a human rights record that is far, FAR worse than Russia's, and he had nothing but smiles and cheery handshakes for his Kazakh hosts.
The reason for this selective concern regarding human rights? You guessed it- Oil.
Russia, which has tremendous reserves of fossil fuels, nationalized their energy industry. They decided that if anyone is going to make money off of Russia's natural resources, it will be the Russian state- not western concerns like Exxon Mobil and Halliburton- and you KNOW that drove pins into Cheney's shriveled heart. Here in Jersey- it's a pretty amazing sight- Lukoil stations are cropping up like mushrooms, offering competitive prices, and doing impressive business. (Whenever I see a Lukoil station, I'm stricken by the irony of history- who'd have thought, 20 years ago, that the Russians would be opening up gas stations, in the USA?)
Kazakhstan, on the other hand, is more than happy to do business with Unocal and Halliburton. Not to get all "conspiracy" on ya'll, but it's not really an accident that the president the Bush Bowl hand-picked for Afghanistan was a Unocal employee, prior to his new, stately gig. It just so happens, just prior to 9/11, the chronically bankrupt state of Kazakhstan discovered a HUGE bubble of natural gas under their portion of the Caspian Sea. The only problem was- how to get it to a port in Pakistan, where it could be shipped out to world increasingly desperate for such fuel? You guessed it- a pipeline through Afghanistan, which was to be built by- guess who? UNOCAL!
This administration's gauge of human rights is closely tied to how suspect states handle their energy industries. Kazakhstan let western corporations partake of their bounty, and thus, they can torture, detain, and restrict free expression to their heart's content. Venezuela and Russia nationalized their precious crude, so they're held to a somewhat "higher" standard...
ISRAEL/LEBANON CONFLICT- WILL THE RIGHT WING PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP, AND LET ADULTS HANDLE THE SITUATION?
Seriously- This could be solved, tomorrow, if Idiot Boy would call for a cease-fire, send Rice to Jerusalem, and instruct Bolton to lend US support to a UN peacekeeping force- but it ain't gonna happen.
The worst elements of the extreme right in this country are jumping for joy, everytime a bomb falls, and as the days pass, my initial confidence that things will "work out in the end" is faltering. Just seven days into the conflict, Lebanon's infrastructure has all but been destroyed, the death toll on both sides is rising precipitously, and Israel is saying that this is just the beginning.
What's most remarkable about this situation, is that the neoconservatives (who performed so magnificently as advocates for the war in Iraq) haven't learned their lesson, and are at it, once again, saying that the United States should enter the war on Israel's behalf, widening the theater of war to Damascus, Tehran, and all points muslim. As bad as that is, the "christian" rapture-right is cheering, like crazy. They see this as the onset of the war of armageddon, and are hoping the whole mess blows into a worldwide catastrophe, after which, they'll get to play parcheesi with Jesus.
Normally, I wouldn't be concerned with the wishes of idiots and whackos, but unfortunately, in this instance, we have to- because the rapture right, and the neocons, are the two steadfast blocs of support that this nest of vipers always depends on, when the chips are down.
The impetus is on Israel- so I'll speak directly to them, right now...
Testing- testing- is this thing on?
Can you hear me in the back row? Good.
Heya, all- Shalom, and all that. Listen- I know you're in the middle of an insane war of disproportionate retaliation, but I need to talk to ya'll for a minute.
You might want to know- there are folks in this country (you know- the country who sends you 120 bucks a second, and manufactures most of the weapons you use,) that see your current actions (which, I know, from your point of view, are limited in scope, and strictly regional), as a possible spark for a war that will usher in a "great american empire", which will bring the entirety of the middle east under your dominance, as a proxy state under our titular control.
In this country, we call these people "neoconservatives." They believe, like most of the muslim world, that you are our bitch- and I KNOW you don't like that line of thinking. If you should get a call from a Richard Perle, or Paul Wolfowitz, or hell- anyone from the Project for a New American Century, check your caller ID before you pick up- they're just gonna fill your head with a cock-and-bull story about a "new world order". They'll tell you that you're gonna win big, should you let them have their way, and let us enter the fray.
Trust me- you think things are screwed up, now? If you should allow these neocons to have their way, you'll be looking back at things as they stand today as the "good old days." You have problems controlling the Gaza Strip- do you think you could handle half of the muslim world? I think not...
Now, another group in this country is REALLY cheering for a widening of the current conflict- they're what we like to call the "rapture right." They are adherents to a bizarre, millennial version of christianity (you know- the guys who broke off from ya'll, during the waning days of the roman empire,) who see a great, apocalyptic war in Israel as the first step to the battle of armageddon.
They REALLY love you- they see you as their brothers- well- not really. They see you as ignorant children, too stupid to realize that Jesus was your long-awaited messiah, but that's all fine and good, because after the battle of armageddon, all but 166,000 jews will be condemned eternally to hell, while the benighted few cavort in an earthly paradise every bit as fictional as the muslim martyr's verdant, virgin-filled garden.
So, ya see, the folks who are most loudly cheering for your dominance in the region, are just gonna screw you, in the end. Whether it be the temporal neocons, or the more spiritually-minded fundie christians, you're shaking the hands with the devil, when it comes to paying one bit of attention to what's coming out of this country, right now.
Oh- one last thing - what the hell is up with Gefilte Fish? It looks like pink turds in green jelly- and tastes like ass. Oh, yeah- I know- when you put horseradish and relish on it, on a cracker, it's palatable- but that's because you're tasting the cracker, horseradish, and relish. You've gotta come up with a better signature cultural dish- and Halvah just ain't an alternative. Try deep-frying something...
Put your dicks back in their holsters, dudes- you're screwing things up, royally.
JULY 17, 2006
LAME UPDATE- LOUSY WEEKEND...
The chat event passed with all of about six folks showing up. You didn't miss anything...
Now, the mess in Israel/Lebanon- for once, I'm not gonna blame this one on Bush. The Israeli/Palestinian/Muslim conflict has long since become a self-perpetuating mass multi-generational exercise in victims becoming perpetrators, on all sides. The blame can be spread so wide, that I can't really point the finger at any one contemporary group. My position on the perpetual conflict over there is based upon Thomas Aquinas's assertion that effects all emerge from a "first cause."
The "First cause" behind the current troubles, in a modern historical context, was the bright idea by a number of turn-of-the-century european jewish socialists who thought that they could move the jewish people, en masse, into slice of land in an area already populated by folks who were, at best, hostile to them. For some inane reason, these geniuses thought that there would be no problems, and they'd get along just fine.
Now, before I proceed, I must, finally, shatter the myth that any criticism of Israel is inherently anti-semitic. One must understand that there was a substantial percentage of the Jewish community, worldwide, that was steadfastly against the creation of Israel, as such a state was (according to scripture) not to come into existence until the return of the messiah. The creation of Israel had nothing to do with religion or ethnicity- it was about politics, and questionable pipedreaming on the part of folks who just didn't know what they were getting themselves into (my, how things have changed...)
I'm not alone in this view. I live in an area containing the largest jewish population in the country, and the most vociferous critics of Israel that I know personally are (surprise!) Jewish. The "anti-semitic" label just doesn't apply, in this particular context.
That having been said, Israel now exists, and as any nation does (especially Nauru), it has the right to exist and prosper. There's little that I can say about the current insanity over there. It's just more of the same, and I don't see things getting much better- and here's why...
One of my freelance clients is the owner of an advertising agency over in Hackensack- he's jewish, and married to a lovely Israeli woman, with two kids. On numerous occasions, he's held forth on his positions concerning the middle east:
"Wipe the muslims out. Nuke Iran, Nuke Iraq- kill them all."
Whenever I hear this guy say this sorta crap, I can hear Simon Wiesenthal spinning in his grave, Ahmadinejad giggling in glee, and the spirit of Hitler cheering. Just a mere sixty years after the jewish people were targeted for extinction, they've generated a few lunatics that have decided that they're entitled to do the same thing.
I've met this guy's kids- they're absolute darlings (which is rare for me to say- I usually don't get along with children), but are going to be brought up in a household in which this sorta hatred is taken for granted. I get flashes of seeing Palestinian kids their age, with the green headscarves, hoisting an AK-47 almost as large as they are, and I see no hope for that part of the world.
A "SLOW" NEWS DAY RESULTS IN A LAME MOVIE REVIEW...
Yesterday sucked. I didn't get anything done- I was just too burnt out. I figured it was time to just go out, and see a movie. I do this less and less frequently, as the years wear by, and movie ticket prices spiral into insane realms (ten bucks for an hour and a half of spurious entertainment? That's just nuts.) However, I just needed to get out of the apartment, and experience something different.
The local theater was showing "Inconvenient Truth", and I figured it was high time I finally got to see it. Alas, as I got to the ticket window, I was told that it was sold out...
Wow- over a month after its initial release, the movie's showing to sold-out crowds- cool for the forces of good, but bad for me. I looked through the movies that were due to open up, and decided upon "A Scanner Darkly." I had heard a lot of decent reviews, and the folks over at Rotten Tomatoes provided me with the info I needed to know. It only got a 61% rating there, but many of the complaints among the negative reviews was that the film was too "cerebral." Considering that I live in a country in which Britney Spears and American Idol are fare for the average joe, I took such negativity with the pinch of salt that it deserved. I forked over my nine bucks, and entered the theater, just as the trailers were ending.
Worst movie ever made- period.
I wanted to walk out, three times, but I was damned if I was gonna throw the remainder of my entertainment investment away, no matter how painfully uncomfortable, boring, and incoherent the spectacle was.
The movie sells itself as a psychothriller about government surveillance, drugs, and the machinations of a government that perpetuates the evils it fights against.
Bullshit. From the beginning to the end, I kept wondering:
"When does the plot start?"
"When will I start to give a damn about these two-dimensional characters?"
"How high was Woody Harrelson, when he signed on the line to be a part of this crap?"
This movie, supposedly, is based on the writings of one Philip K Dick. Previous cinematic incarnations of his works, such as "Blade Runner" and "Minority Report" have succeeded, to a greater or lesser degree- but never have they been twisted into such a bizarre mishmash of inconsistent, Seinfeld-esque non-sequitorial nonsense.
The film cites one screenwriter- Richard Linklater- but you could have fooled me. Every scene seems to have been written by someone who has no knowledge of what happened before, or will happen after the particular bit he/she was asked to write. There is no consistency, no story arc, no cohesive message or vision that ties the picture into a whole- it's the film equivalent of a Pollock painting.
And here's what galls me- the screenwriter(s) try to insert clever little pop references, into every little dollop of clumsy filmmaking, that will be instantly recognizable to the "sophisticated" gen-xers out there (IE- those who have spent too much time watching AMC and VH1)- a bit of Clockwork Orange in one scene- a Burroughs reference in another- a character that behaves like Kramer and Hunter S. Thompson's love child in another. Throw into the mix enough gratuitous references to street drugs, self-abuse, and suicide to make the voyeuristic wanna-be-hipsters in the audience think they're watching something "edgy."
Whenever one of these "pop-up-video" incidents occurred, I could hear a few of those in seats next to me chuckling to themselves- "Gee- I once read about this- I understand this reference- and thus, this movie speaks to me, because it reinforces my self-image of COOLNESS. I'll say I liked this film, because the folks who criticize it, are criticizing, by proxy, my COOLNESS." The word of mouth review will be "the only people who don't like this film, are those who are too SQUARE to "get it", dude!"
Uhh- yeah, right. I was getting flashbacks to the IPDI conference- I wanted to burn the theater down- but I digress...
I "get it"- I "get it" all to well- I caught it on the first pitch, and it was a pile of stinking ass. I've read Dick, Burroughs, Genet, Ellison, Ginsberg, Miller, Kant, Raynd, and seen more 'edge' cinema than these folks could ever cram into a shitty film like this, and quite frankly, mene mene tekel, upharsin.
In the end, the inexplicable protragonist gets sent off to work in a government farm that cultivates the drug that has ruined his life- wow- I'd give a damn about his plight, had the filmmakers developed his character, and allowed me to care about what was going on. All I got from this "revelation" was a feeling that some clueless idiots in hollywood were screaming "I-RONYYYYYYY!" in my face, while they spent my nine bucks on cocaine, which they proceded to shoot into their collective asses.
The folks who are so lauding this movie are people who, very much like the republicans, sincerely want to believe that the emperor is wearing clothes, despite the patently obvious truth that the monarch is swaggering down main street, with his ass hanging out.
When I said this was the worst movie ever made- I'm not lying. This makes "Battlefield Earth" look like a wagnerian opera, and "Spiceworld" look like a Frontline news documentary. I'd rather spend the rest of my life watching an endless loop of "Manos: Hands of Fate", than endure another second of a movie like this, again.
JULY 12, 2006
BUSH'S WAR NOW TRAINING POTENTIAL DOMESTIC NEO-NAZI TERRORISTS
In the latest example of how the invasion of Iraq has been such a boon to this country, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recently issued a report citing a sharp rise in the number of white supremacists being admitted into the armed forces of the united states. Seems the U.S. Military has been so hard up for bodies to shove into Iraq, that they've been willing to overlook some rather ominous previous affiliations of their recruits, including membership in the National Alliance and the Aryan Nations.
At first, this seemed paradoxical to me- organizations such as the National Alliance have been steadfastly critical of the war in Iraq, claiming that it is a proxy war on behalf of Israel, against the muslim world. (This, in itself, isn't anything new- the Neo-Nazi movement has claimed all wars as part of a great Jewish conspiracy- from the war of 1812 to Vietnam.) Why would such a reclusive and small movement send out the few people they have to spare to possibly die in a war that they have railed against, for so long?
Well- it's the deadly calculus of war- indeed, it is likely that they'll lose a few of their agents in Iraq, but the majority will return- now trained in demolitions, urban combat, and terrorist tactics. Not a bad deal, huh?
The racist right in this country has been facing a major impediment in its development for the past quarter-century- they've retreated into a political position in which a Wagnerian fantasy of racial war is their only programme, yet, at the same time, have retreated into their half-mile compounds in Idaho and West Virginia, from which they rarely emerge. They've turned into fat, slovenly white boy clubs that get together every few months for a barbecue and cross-burning. (Ever seen a video of an american neo-nazi march? Half of them are overweight guys who look like they just rolled out from underneath a biker bar porch.)
But no longer- they've decided to send their next generation into the US armed forces, from which they will return as hardened warriors. What will these organizations do, with their small, yet dedicated forces, upon their return?
Do yourself a favor- hold your nose, and read The Turner Diaries. This book is still considered the seminal wet-dream novel of white supremacist culture. I'll admit to owning a copy- which I bought after I learned that it had inspired Timothy McVeigh's Oklahoma City bombing attack. (Note: some claim that there is no direct link between the Turner Diaries and McVeigh's actions- total bullplop. The novel contains a virtual step-by-step manual on how to create the very bomb that McVeigh detonated in OKC- kids, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.)
In this novel, the white revolution is sparked by the bombing of the federal government's "Internal Passport" office, after which, government repression fractures the movement. Folowing the crackdown, the movement adopts insurgent tactics, using one-man commando teams, which eventually escalates into the use of nuclear suicide bombers against the hated "Zionist-Occupied Government."
Following a nuclear civil war, total genocide in the southern hemisphere, and the nuclear slagging of the entirety of Asia, the world is at one, and happy. With a population of 25 million blonde (and probably horrifically irraditated,) blue eyed people, planet earth is now poised on the edge of true greatness... (At least, until the folks with light-blonde hair and dark blue eyes get sick of those freaks with the dark-blonde hair and light blue eyes- but we'll save that for the sequel- "Turner Diaries part 2- The Revenge of the World-Swallowing Anus". )
All frivolity aside- lemme tell ya: I am an old-school civil libertarian- if these folks wanna believe this sorta crap- such is their right. If being ignorant and stupid was a crime, George Bush would have never been installed as president. They can have their rallies, their websites, their publishing companies, their internet-only radio stations, and their occasional visits to Springer- but the last thing that I wanna give these folks is a ready force of 100 combat-trained jarheads who hold as a central doctrine the conviction that 99% of the human race needs to be wiped out, and have the ability to start the ball rolling...
JULY 10, 2006
THE NEW FACE OF THE IRAQ WAR
See the identity card to the left? It used to belong to fifteen-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza- an Iraqi girl who lived in Mahmoudiya. Every day, she had to pass through a checkpoint, manned by American troops. She was always scared of them- she told her mother about how these strange american soldiers were making inappropriate advances towards her.
On march 10, 2006, Abeer's mother Fakhriyah had a conversation with a neighbor, Omar Janabi, expressing her fears that her daughter might be assaulted or raped by the americans. Janabi agreed to give Abeer shelter among the women of his household. But, after making his promise, he spoke with Abeer personally, and tried to assuage her fears.
He told her "the Americans would not do such a thing."
Alas- the next day...
American soldiers came to Abeer's house, separated her from her family, and raped her (apparently to death.) In an attempt to cover their crimes, these american soldiers fatally shot Abeer's mother, father and seven-year-old sister, before attempting to burn Abeer's body.
When neighbors entered the house after the incident, they found the dead family, along with Abeer sprawled in a corner, with her dress pulled up to her neck, her hair and a pillow next to her consumed by fire.
Now, before I proceed, the soldiers responsible for this horror have been arrested, and are certain to face a military court- however, they will go scott-free. The punishment for the crimes that these cretins committed, under the uniform code of military justice, is death, and there's no way that the assholes that are running this war are going to allow such a sentence to be carried out- it's just too much "bad press" for them to deal with, right now.
In the months following, this whole incident will be swept under the rug, and will be "old news", as the corporate media continues to spend more time covering "So you think you can dance", than the ongoing war.
I've been to Freeperville, to check their comments about this incident, and quite frankly, what they're saying doesn't warrant repeating- it's just too horrific- people are CHEERING and EXCUSING the rape of a 15-year-old girl, and the murder of her family.
Myself? This is another reason why I can't do animations. When I was reading the details of this atrocity, I was banging my head against my desk, and screaming bloody hell- I wanted to die, out of sheer shame of being a citizen of a country that would allow this sort of crap to happen.
The anger I feel about this war can no longer be portrayed in a flash slideshow, and things are just going to get worse. I don't say this as a pessimist, or a doomsayer- I say this, because that's the way things are going to be.
Meet Ted Stevens- Republican senator from Alaska (originally from Indianapolis, Indiana). He's a bleeding-heart conservative who has distinguished himself by grabbing half a billion of US tax dollars to build a literal bridge to nowhere (which, of course, will be named the "Ted Stevens bridge.") In the wake of the Katrina disaster, he was asked whether he'd consider dropping a few million from his bridge projects to help out the folks in New Orleans. The resulting spectacle was like watching a five-year-old crap his diapers on the senate floor- a juvenile tirade that featured (among other things), a threat to resign the senate on the spot (promises, promises.)
But never let it be said that ol' Ted isn't without heart- he has consistently tried to attach riders to senate bills requiring immediate oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, saying that a portion of the oil revenues will certainly be given to people in need (even though full exploitation of ANWR, over the course of a decade, would net us one week's supply of oil.) The riders are (thankfully) always voted down, but he keeps trying.
You get the picture?
Well, believe it or not, this idiot is in charge of the Senate Commerce committee, and he is, in his characteristic clownish stubborn way, dead-set of turning the internet over to AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast. Why? Let senator Stevens explain hisself, in his own words:
“I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially. So you want to talk about the consumer? Let’s talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren’t using it for any commercial purposes. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck. It’s a series of tubes.”
Uhh- okay. Am I the only one here who sees a problem with allowing a 83-year-old who apparently knows jack-all about the internet free reign to dictate the future of said free marketplace of ideas? Might I further suggest that the reason why the "internet" wasn't received by Senator Stevens, is because his staff interns were too busy getting high to send him the "internet" on friday, and told him a cock-and-bull story come monday, because the old bird would believe anything he was told?
Unfortunately, that's the way things are done, in this young, vibrant democracy. You can write to Ted Stevens here- but I doubt he'll listen to you. You can call his office at (202) 224-3004, but again, he's an idiot, set in his ways...
In three years, a site like Bushflash (or, for to conservatives out there, Blackfive) won't be able to exist. Thanks, Senator Stevens!
The buzz this week, of course, has been North Korea's missile tests. Watching the talking heads and the utterly incompetent John Bolton warbling out inanity after inanity, I just had to take a step back, and spend a few hours playing GenePool, to cool off.
Now, foolish prattle is only to be expected from the corporate media, but the stubborn ignorance that earmarks this administration still galls, after all of these years. Seeing the usual suspects from the Bush Bowl appear on the talking head shows and voice their hopes that North Korea will "Listen to world opinion" was laughable, in so many ways.
Firstly, the United States of America currently labors under a government that gives not one whit for world opinion. From the Kyoto agreement, to the treaty outlawing landmines, to the global crisis of AIDS, poverty, and a host of other issues, the Bush Bowl has pursued a policy remarkable in its disregard for global welfare and safety.
But before I get off on yet another tear against the corrupt gang that holds sway here in the United States, I would do well to bear in mind that the purpose of my rambling tonight is the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea.) As I begin, I must state that in no way do I consider myself a specialist on the vagaries of North Korean internal affairs. However, the DPRK being such a puzzling oddity among nations, I've spent a great deal of time studying this elusive state, and apparently, know more about it than the guy who writes Tony Snow's daily briefs does..
Thus, I answer the statements of Condi Rice, John Bolton, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the usual idiots:
Will the North Koreans listen to world opinion? No- they won't. Hell- they don't even listen to their only ally in the world- China.
The "Modern" state of North Korea has, as their defining philosophy, a principle called "Juche"- a very short word that is deceiving, for behind it lies a complex pseudo-marxist rigmarole that would both confound and bore the pants off of anyone with any knowledge of modern holistic statesmanship- but again, perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.
When the Korean war came to an uneasy end with an uneasy truce that exists to this day, the two states that made up the Korean peninsula were out of balance. The communist, industrial north was, in the years following the war, richer, and actually far more prosperous than their sister state to the south. During this time, the now deceased "Eternal President" of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, allegedly penned his philosophy of "Self-Reliance" (Juche). This philosophy came about as a result of Kim Il Sung's critical review of socialist societies of the past, in which he cited outside influences and trade as corrupting influences. North Korea was to be unique among the socialist movement- it was to become totally self-sufficient, and thus, would never have to ask any other nation (even their allied states in the former communist bloc) for any help. Thus, their revolution would be preserved, pure and pristine.
South Korea, on the other hand, labored under a dictatorship until the waning years of the 20th century, eventually opening itself to democracy, after which it became one of the largest economies in the world, exporting everything from food to cheap cars. Their industry boomed, while their friends to the north (predictably) collapsed into a bizarre, inbred police state that could only export low-grade concrete mix to China.
Any chance for reform in North Korea was quashed, when Kim Il Sung died, and was elevated to an incorporeal position of head of state, while his son took their reigns of power (the irony of hereditary power in an allegedly marxist state will have to pass without comment, here- the DPRK is a pretty inscrutable place.)
When floods and droughts caused widespread famine in what was supposed to be a utopian self-sufficient state, the powers that be on Pyongyang had to drink bitter wine, and accept outside help- a painful humiliation that required desperate measures under the principles of Juche: The harnessing of the atom.
The reason for this was twofold: First and foremost, a reclusive state which felt backed into a corner was left with but one option to keep a (as they saw it) hostile world at bay- the most feared and horrific of weapons- the nuke. Secondly, they believed that a nuke built under the principles of Juche would force their enemies to meet them as an equal, at the negotiating table.
(Negotiating table? Eric- you just said that the DPRK didn't gave a rat's ass about world opinion- what's all this about "negotiation?" Be still, grasshopper- you must understand- The North Korean regime sees actions taken internally (such as building the nuke) as a method of gaining leverage with the hated outside world. Events in the outside world that result from internal actions are the fruits of Juche, in their view. Inconsistent? Yep. Hypocritical? Well, duh! Myopic? You betcha- but that's the way they do things, and they ain't gonna change, anytime soon.)
And that's where the numerous problems with the Bush Bowl's approach to this situation emerge. The North Koreans, due to the insane nature of their government, are going to act in their typically bizarre way, and quite frankly, despite what the idiots in the higher levels of power here in this country say, nothing is going to stop them. Wishing for regime change in North Korea is like wishing that an ant colony will open up a McDonalds and a Starbucks.
Bush, being the idiot that he is, destroyed any chance of rapprochement with the DPRK twice- once when he named them as part of his non-existent "Axis of Evil", and again, when he summed up his feelings about the DPRK by saying that he "Loathed" Kim Jong Il.
In 2004, one of the main differences between the approach of Bush and president-in-exile John Kerry was that Bush favored the six-party talks, while Kerry favored direct negotiations.
The problem with six-party talks is that the DPRK wants direct negotiations with what it perceives as their #1 enemy- the United States. The government of that country wants to be treated as an equal on the world stage, and quite frankly, sees six-party talks as an exercise in futility. They know that in any such talks, the United states is the one with the most pull- so why not cut out the middle man, and go mano-a-mano with the big boy?
The neocon diehards will say "We can't dignify the North Korean Regime, by agreeing to face-to-face negotiations." Nice move there, dumbass. Every three months that we "refuse to dignify", another nuke is added to the DPRK arsenal, more missiles are built, and the whole situation becomes more volatile.
(BTW- in closing- whenever I criticize the DPRK, I inevitably get a dozen e-mails from misguided hard-left folks who, for some reason, see it as their duty to defend the indefensible, saying that the DPRK is a "misunderstood" worker's paradise of flowers, happy kittens, and never ending love. Screw that. The DPRK is a failed state, and quite frankly, is as much a disgusting perversion of communism, as Bush's america is a loathesome dark shadow of republican democracy. I sincerely hope that these dead-enders of the communist left don't bother me with their missives, this time around...)
BUSHFLASH SHUTS DOWN IN 20 DAYS...
Okay- maybe I didn't make this clear:
Bushflash traffic has been dropping precipitously, for the past half-year, and now gets fewer hits per day, than it did, during the first month of operation. It's probably because I'm spending more and more time issuing idiotic rambles (as above), for the past half-year, instead of producing the animations that distinguished this site, from day one.
The bottom line here is, the traffic for this site is at an all-time low, and I have to wonder if Bushflash has any place in a blogosphere that (again) offers more stuff than I can, on a daily basis. I've gotten a lot of e-mails from folks who have said that they come to this site for "news..."
Not to be heartless, but WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? I'm a guy in jersey who's rambling from a motheaten chair, and an outdated computer. You come to me for news? Haven't you ever heard of Buzzflash, or Media Matters, or Crooks and Liars?
The world is full of self-important wanna-be pundits who spew out commentary and verbal diarrhea- and quite frankly, if this site is to become just yet another place where the same is being dished out, I'd rather it just cease to be.
Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity are shitheads- and get millions for their services. I'm a slightly more bookish shithead that takes a bit more time to to get his facts straight, before posting them- but I'm still a shithead. Unlike the aforementioned, I just can't ask anyone to underwrite my amateur punditry, because, well- I KNOW I'm a shithead, and hope that you- yes, YOU- have the wherewithal to find out the real deal, without my help.
Do you really need me to tell you that the Bush Bowl is corrupt? Do you need me to tell you that the Bush Bowl is selling out our posterity to corporations? Do you need me to constantly remind you that the war in Iraq is bad?
For the love of "Bob", have faith in yourselves enough to have the courage of your convictions, to carry on the fight, without coming to this site, to hear me preaching to your choir. You don't need me- again, if I had the power to reach millions, that means each and every one of you has the same power.
Become the change you want to see- you have the power, people (until the republicans destroy net neutrality....)
JULY 4 , 2006
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!
I took full advantage of this holiday, and slept in. Just as I was turning over for the third time, however, I heard, distantly, a group of people chanting "Troops out NOW!" DOH- the parade! I swiftly donned some rather rank clothing and headed down to the parade route, but by then, the procession had moved on. Anyone in Montclair, NJ see this- or was I just hallucinating?
I guess, as a political blogger (ick- that makes my skin crawl,) I am expected to make some grand statement, regarding this occasion. Hmn- here goes...
Have you ever read the document that we celebrate, today? Go and do so, here.
Reading it, this year, I was struck at how this document is, above all else, a repudiation of empire. One must remember the historical context of our Declaration of Independence. These folks had had their fill of a nation half a world away sucking away their money, their natural resources, and shoving their military where it didn't belong. They were sick of asking a distant king for a few changes, and having him give them lip service, or nothing at all.
We were a speck on the globe, facing down the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Thanks to the help of our friends over in France, we made it. Washington became the first appointed president (a feat not to be repeated until over 200 years later), and all was good (unless you were a woman, a slave, or Iroquois.)
A lot has been made about Washington's farewell address, in which he lays forth a foreign and domestic policy that verges on the xenophobic. Isolationists have used it for just about every boogeyman that they have fought against- from NAFTA to the participation of US troops in World War two. The anti-UN crowd has bandied it about, as well.
They both have it wrong. What Washington was saying is that involvement in the world is not only advantageous, but necessary for any healthy nation to survive. Commerce and diplomacy, after all, are the best ways a nation can avoid the bloody curse of war (which was certainly fresh in Washington's mind.)
The essence of our first president's address was: "Never allow our nation to once again become subject to empires abroad, nor let us revel in the trappings of empire, and become that which we opposed."
It only took our young nation about a year or two to turn its back on Washington's youthful idealism, but it was good while it lasted (with the whole slave/woman thing thrown in). To be fair, Bush is far from the first "leader" that has led us down the wrong road. It's just lamentable that over two hundred years later, we keep making the same damned mistakes, time and again, and think that it'll work, this time around...
ANOTHER DAY IN BUSHWORLD
It's become apparent that the conservative PAN has taken the presidency of Mexico, through chicanery right out of Katherine Harris's playbook. Read all about it here, here, here, and here. Can't let mexico go the way of Venezuela and Brazil... After all- they might just implement policies to make the mexican poor want to STAY there, instead of coming over here, to do cheap labor...
And, the CIA has confirmed what anyone with a brain already knew: Bin Laden's tape, released a mere four days before the 2004 "elections", was a ringing endorsement of Bush. Yep- this proves what we've been saying all along- Bush was Bin Laden's candidate!
ONE LAST THING...
The guy over at Dissentees sent me a link to some video trailers... Check 'em out... Check out his tees, too- they're high quality, and bound to confound the viewer with massive ammounts of text!
JULY 2 , 2006
BUSH'S WAR ON SCIENCE CONTINUES.
In "Bush on the couch" (reviewed below), Justin Frank addresses Bush's dogged and stubborn disdain for science. At its root, we have a dissociative disorder, in which Bush, lamentably, exists in a very "internalized" world. Having long since retreated into himself, he has adopted a perverse strain of solipsism as a world view (this is rationalized by the Bush Bowl as "clear vision", deriding those who rationalize and argue outside of the vagaries of Bush's consciousness as the "reality based" community.)
From Bush's point of view, the universe exists in a few cubic inches, right behind his eyes. Anything from the outside world that contradicts whatever preconceptions he already possesses is discounted out of hand- not because he resents the intrusion or holds dear to any particular policy- but because the "real world," to him, is as fictional as a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Why should he bother with "facts" that don't spring, Athena-like, from his own consciousness? From his point of view, he thinks, and thus, it becomes real.
To Bush, integrating external information would be analogous to you or I taking advice from Obi-Wan Kenobi, while watching "Star Wars."
Bush, further (believe it or not) is fully conscious of his analytical and cognitive deficiencies. However, the dissociative disorder will not let him develop beyond mere resentment, and further internalization. If he doesn't understand a concept, or it contradicts his preconceptions (like Global Warming, Evolution, or simple algebra), it just ain't real. When called on it, he might occasionally say that the "jury is still out" on this or that issue, but the gavel has long since descended, as far as he'd concerned.
I could go into the broader implications of this, but we see it playing out right before our eyes: War, a rotten economy, skyrocketing poverty, torture, illegal detentions, rape of the constitution, declining wages- the list goes on, and on, and lamentably on.
And the latest insult:
Bush's 2007 budget slices 2 million from the budget that the EPA needs to keep their research libraries open. Faced with these cuts, the libraries have already begun to close down- and within months, the entire body of research that our tax dollars paid for- research that is well-nigh indispensable in these times, will be shoved in boxes and put in a warehouse, somewhere, never to be seen again. (Read all about it, here.)
Why does this not matter, to Bush? The research that he's consigning to the memory hole contains INFORMATION. What's even worse- it's information that HE didn't come up with, on his own. To him, this is like putting a bunch of TV scripts into cold storage.
This plays so well to his base. I lived down south for 13 years, and the two most common pejoratives I heard were "DamnYankee", and "Pointy-head intellectual." The two were, of course, interchangeable, in many situations. When the two were intermingled, you knew who the culprits were- those evil gay jewish lib'ruls up north, sitting around in their lab coats, deciding how simple poor folk like them were to live...
A patently insane fantasy, but it exists, to this day.
Who knew solipsism would eventually have a political base?