I dunno if this is legally binding, but I have to say it, here:
If, tomorrow, or the next day, I have a stroke, get hit by a car, suffer a brain hemmorrhage, and I wind up in a coma....
I want my family to remove me from life support the very moment that Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, or George Bush tries to politicize my plight. I want my body cremated, and my ashes sent to everyone in congress that voted for last weekend's idiocy, with a card enclosed that says, simply:
"You helped me choose death."
Oh, and send a packet of my poo to Glenn Beck- whatta maroon...
GOOD FREAKING LORD- f you support this administration, you now, officially, are a ghoul who preys on children.
Steven Johnson, Bush new head honcho over at the EPA, is putting forward a neat little plan. It's HILARIOUS- lemme tell you about it:
Mike poposes a program in which low-income families are encouraged to enroll their kids is health studies underwritten by the chemical industry. And here's the REALLY funny part: In turning their kids over to privately-funded medical prodding, the parents get 970 bucks, a video camera, and, as an added bonus- A T-SHIRT.
That's the way it is, in Bush's america- if you're poor, you're screwed- but hell- if you're willing to surrender your kids as medical guinea pigs for the chemical industry, and you'll get a a bit of swag, and a fold of bills...
This is NOT my America. Read about it here.
Creeping fascism? Let's hear about creeping FEUDALISM, creeping GENOCIDE- good lord, I am getting sick. In the old days, they send in blankets soaked on smallpox, or infected Tuskeegee men with syphillis, or quietly dumped toxic chemicals into impoverished rural communities. Now- they're going one step foward- but not in the honorable way- they're not denying it, or covering it up- they're INSTITUTIONALIZING IT.
I'm gonna go and vomit, for a bit....
Now, this caught my eye the other day. I can't say that this is the MAIN reason why we're gonna start bombing Iran, in June, but I'm pretty sure this plays into it.
If you've not the patience to read the article, let me break it down for you:
The Iranians want to set up a global oil exchange market, in Tehran, using the Euro, as the principal currency of exchange. Now- it's a great idea, if viewed through practical eyes. It would shift the locus of the petroleum trade to the heart of where it's produced, and well- let's be plain about it...
From the very day that bush plopped his rear-end down in the oval office, the dollar has been plunging on the international currency markets. The rest of the world just didn't want to handle their multibillion-dollar transactions in a currency that loses relative value, every day. It got worse, when Bush plunged us into war with Iraq. The dollar is just too unstable, right now, and quite frankly, it isn't going to regain value, and stabilize, until Bush is put out of office- but I digress...
This new market would eschew the dollar in favor of the Euro, which has gone from strength to strength.
Where you and I see common sense, the neocons see offense. They see such a market as a slap in the face of their vision of America Supreme.
It's another case of "How DARE them A-rabs control OUR oil- and in that SISSY EURO-cash, as well!"
And one last note- The Ukraine pulls out of Iraq, at the end of the year. Bush lost Spain, Italy, Poland, and now, the Ukraine- how the coalition crumbles...
Before I get into my coverage of the antiwar rally, I just want to to point out the absurd idiocy of this whole Schiavo idiocy.
First off: Bill Frist: a maedical doctor by trade, a man who believes that AIDS can be spread by tears (WRONG) came wobbling onto the senate floor, and said that after watching a few videotapes of Schiavo, his professional diagnosis was that she was "not in a persistent vegetative state." Well, thanks for the diagnosis, doc- the problem is, you're a cardio doc- not a neurological specialist. Your medical opinion, in this case, is as worthy as that of a podiatrist on the subject of anal cysts. Secondly: George Bush: a hopeless, bumbling spectacle to behold, on any occasion. It's common knowledge that Bush, as Texas Governor, signed into law a bill that MANDATES the removal of feeding tubes from terminally ill patients, even when the family objects. Under this legislation, if the family doesn't have the cash to keep the terminally ill alive, the hospital is ORDERED to pull the plug. (how's that for "erring on the side of life?")
And hell- when has bush shown ANY respect for life? The man who was known as the "texecutioner" isn't really in a position to claim any adherence to the "culture of life" he continually evokes.
Thirdly: The Congress: Good freaking lord- sometimes, I agree with the more conservative americans: Congress doesn't work very hard, for the money they earn, and danged if you can pull them out of their generous off-time. But in this case, most of congress flew back to washington (at what expense to the taxpayer), just to participate in this fraud.
Fourthly: The media: if ya didn't know, 800 vigils and marches against the continued war in Iraq took place, this weekend, in this country- but the only thing you hear about it (between the constant Schiavo BS), are a few shots of protests in LONDON.
This was an insane media distraction and spectacle, and had less to do with Schiavo, herself, than a token bone that Bush could throw to his "pro-life" base.
Over a year ago, I ranted on the whole "pro-life" paradigm- I'll have to reconstruct that article, and post it again...
ANYWAY- ON TO THE PROTEST
I dunno what it is- but I've taken to walking, in New York City, more often, lately. When I attended the screening of "Gunner Palace", I walked up from 4th, all the way to 57th. This time around, I walked from 42nd and 7th, up to 97th and fifth. I've never walked much in the central park east or west regions, but I was amazed at the opulence, low foot traffic, and the total lack of ATMs.
Anyway, this time around, the antiwar demonstration was taking place in a colisseum-like valley in Central Park East. The marchers had instructed folks to show up at 97th street. However, as always, city hall and the NYPD had decided to make things difficult by closing the 97th street park entrance, and making people walk up to 102nd street.
No biggie (although, after walking 55 streets, my dogs were already smarting)- just a standard annoyance.
At the 102nd street entrance, Billionaires for Bush had set up their standard entourage, and were keeping in standard character. About twenty feet in, you saw that, instead of the standard Protestwarrior idiocy, Bush supporters had set up a small counter-demonstration. However, the NYPD had placed them in a tiny cordon (there were only about twenty of them), separated from the main march by about twenty feet, with five cops patrolling their perimeter. It was a pretty sad spectacle- a pro-war republican in NYC has about as much social acceptance as a Kucinich Democrat in Crawford, Texas.
When you got to the main area, it was quite a show. When I first arrived, the stage area was lightly packed, and the surrounding slopes were dotted with folks- over the next three hours, the area became comfortably filled with a crowd of 10,000. I met up with a few people I have met, in times past- a few vets for peace, Yippie activist Aaron Kaye, and a few from Code Pink. It's a great thing to see how folks are keeping up with the fight, as time goes on.
After meeting up with a friend of mine, I sat about, took a few pictures, and generally took in the day. For once, the weather smiled upon us, and it was just good to relax on the dying grass of central park, and relax.
The march to Bloomberg's house was a fun and eventful one. The best moment of the march was when the procession passed by a church in which a couple has just been married. The church doors were open, the relations were lining the steps, eyeing the traffic conditions and wondering if this whole mess was going to make things even more difficult. As the marchers passed by, the chant turned to "make love, not war!".
The groom came out to view the spectacle, and smiling from ear to ear, spread his arms, in welcome, as if to embrace the whole crowd. He ducked back into the church, and a moment later, came out with his new wife, still in her bridal finery- and the crowd went wild- we had become their wedding processional, and their blessing was met with cheering that shook the air.
The march took us down one side of a wide avenue, so we were passed by commuter busses, as well as tourist double-deckers. On every one of them, people flashed the peace sign, or waved to the marchers. When we got into the wealthier areas, the millionaires came out with their handicams, to cover the event. (and, as an aside- believe it or not- there are still PRIVATE RESIDENCES, in New York City. If you can't grasp the significance of this- understand that about a thousand bucks a month will get you a one-room studio, on the tenth floor of a walkup, in a bad neighborhood, in New york. How many tens of millions does one of these houses cost? How do these poeple live? What planet do they come from?)
Well- the answer came, when we got to Bloomberg's place- a four-story confection bordering on Central Park East. Well- goes to show what a few billion will buy, I guess...
But, by then, it was 5:45, and I needed thai food, badly. Fortunately, In New York City, you're never more than 20 minutes from good thai food, and thus my story ends.
I am sad to say, I will have to tell another story such as this, a year from now, and again, a year further on.
Yeah, it's good that so many came out. Yeah- it's GREAT that the people on the street loved us, and we met with such acceptance, and all that. But ya know- again, Bush will do nothing, as a result of all of this. We're shouting into a moral vacuum, when we try to address this administration. Bush will get up to sign a idiotic bill regadring Schiavo, but sleeps soundly while Americans and Iraqis die, every day, as a result of his foreign policy. It's insane, it's just totally insane....
But ya know what IS sane? Taking a day out of your schedule, and spending a few hours to help end this idiocy. Take part in a march, or a demonstration. Sign a few petitions. Get involved. Write your congressperson, or, if nothing else, just spend an hour a day, and stay informed. You have access to the internet- USE IT.
I'm going sleepy-bye- more tomorrow...
It's still a one-man show, after all. I keep getting e-mails from folks suggesting I expand, and see if I can build a "virtual staff" of sorts, so I could provide more, with less time. Lemme tell ya'll- I've tried, god help me I tried.
Almost a year ago, I tried launching another website, bushwarcrimes.org, that would work towards bringing Bush to trail for his crimes against the Geneva convention, etc- and I relied on other people to help bring the site to life.
Yeah- a lot of people volunteered, but after follow up, less than a dozen answered back. Fine and well enough- if one person can create Bushflash, imagine what ten folks could do...
Not much, I'm afraid... I asked for research done into the nuremburg trials, and got treatises on the genocide of the native americans back, instead. I asked for research into photographs from Iranq, in a certain month in 2003, and get back photographs that were actually taken in afghanistan, four years earlier. I ask for site design proposals that are subtle, and will appeal to a wide audience, and I get frame-built sites that look like a college dropout's homage to the fourth international- replete with a red/yellow/black motif (yeah, I use the same for Bushflash, but I KNOW that this site doesn't appeal to a wide audience.)
Long story short- One of these days, hopefully soon, I will be able to forge some creative alliances- lord help me, I need them- but for now, you're just gonna have to deal with the fact that the vagaries of my own life, unfortunately, impact the development of the site.
Oh- a side note: I withdraw anything complimentary I may have said about the Scifi Channel's remake of the Battlestar Galactica series- the last episode was like having a sumo wrestler sit on my face, and fart for an hour. They'll never recover, and the series will die, next year- serves 'em right.
But enough geekish BS- more on Bush, tomorrow...
My priorities in the coming days (outside of my lifeblood freelance work):
1: Second anniversary flash.
2: Re-organizing the links page (need to break it down into an easier interface, with more specific categories.)
3: Catching up with my e-mail. I apologize to those who have written, but I have been working like crazy on a number of freelance jobs, and just ain't had the time, nor energy...
More, in 48 hours...
Paul WOLFOWITZ as head of the world bank? Jumping Jesus on Bill O'Reilly's happy stick- what's next? A can of hormel chili as secretary of the interior? I mean, Bush's previous appointments have just been 180 degrees opposite of their qualifications for the job- this just made no sense of all... While sitting about, editing video today, I thought that Bush had reached into new, unknown regions of his rectum to pull this insane choice out....
But then, I happened upon one of my favorite shows, the Daily Show, and they did a rundown of the recent Bush appointments, and it hit me:
Ya know what Bush is doing? He's stacking his cabinet with his PNAC buddies. As I predicted, before the "election" of 2004, Bush, fresh from his re-"election", now feels unrestrained by the tethers of geopolitical logic, and is going hell-bent for leather for the PNAC agenda, by filling all available posts with this diseased brood of empire builders.
Think about it- he got rid of Powell, and inserted the catastrophically incompetent Condi Rice. He removed John Ashcroft (a religious nut with no discernable geopolitical agenda beyond his twisted version of christianity) with Alberto Gonzales, a man who calls the Geneva Convention "quaint", and paved the way for institutionalized torture. He put the biggest, baddest neocon, John Bolton, into the chair of US ambassador to the UN.
Wolfowitz is a logical extension of this appointment policy. One more neoconservative signatory for PNAC, in charge of the United States' economic leverage with the developing world.
PNAC now controls our government, at every level. The state department, the justice department, the World Bank, the Presidency and Vice Presidency, and so forth, on every level that matters, when it comes to relations with the world, and national defence.
Look for this to continue.
With every such appointment, Bush is thumbing his nose at world opinion, and daring the rest of the world to make one little peep.
The sad thing is, Bush's supporters stand up and cheer, at that- "who cares what the rest of the world thinks?" they cry- "MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, DAMMIT."
Well- the fact is: Bush's invasion of Iraq hasn't made us stronger, it's made us weaker, both economically, and diplomatically. The dollar is weakening, with every insane move that Bush pulls, and fuel prices (inextricably linked to the aforementioned) are at an all-time high.
Can I make a confession? I briefly supported Pat Buchanan, when he ran for president in 2000 (take THAT, republican lurkers), simply because he was the only presidential candidate at the time that had the guts to mention that one out of every five children in this country was growing up in poverty. At the time, many in the pundit corps criticized him, time and time again, as an "isolationist".
I heard it REPEATEDLY: "Isolationist"- Talking head after talking head kept saying that Buchanan would "turn our back on the world". These same pundits, today, are lauding Bush's unilateralist policies, accross the board.
Where will this all lead, in months to come?
Is there a draft in here, or is it just me?
I spent the day surfing the web, downloading 12 hours of video clips, and then, running them through the wringer, to find 9 seconds of useable footage for a current project. The internet is an amazing thing, but there needs to be a decent internet video search engine. Hotbot tried it, and yahoo is picking up the torch, but they both suck. The main problem is the prevelance of Realplayer, which resists every attempt at conversion to AVI or MOV format. The file-sharing software is great, but unless you're looking for pirated software, or DVD rips, you're pretty much out of luck. Indymedia- well- I love 'em, but they suck, too, when it comes to finding footage.
So, that was my day- the grind- but ya know- that's what I do for a living, now, and heck, it's all part of the learning process. Eventually, I'll be a master at this.
But, while I was downloading footage of Irish antiwar protests, I surfed by the BBC, and found out that the Italian government has decided to pull their troops out of Iraq, in september.
Now- this has GOTTA sting...
In the years since the invasion of Iraq, the neoconservative movement here in the United States has been trying to define and divide europe, between those countries that went along with Bush's insane drive to this war ("New Europe"), and those who decided to sit this venture out ("old Europe".) Europe, after all, aside from China, is the only economic and political bloc that has the population, the GNP, and the cohesion to challenge a unipolar world, dominated by the United States, and thus, is a threat to the neocons.
But, despite their best efforts, the Neocons have seen their flag wane, time and time again. First, Aznar went down to total defeat in Spain, and the new government decided to pull out. Strike One. I'm pretty sure that ya'll remember about how Bush boasted of Poland's support in the debates in the recent "election", and within days, they decided to pull out- strike two.
Now, Silvio Berlusconi, in response to the public outrage generated by the recent incident in Iraq that led to the death of an Italian secret service agent at the hands of US personnel, has shown why he's been able to maintain his office, in a country that turns out governments like I go through "Odor Eater" insoles.
He responded to public opinion, and decided that it was time for Italy to end their involvement with this insanity. Strike three.
Yeah, I guess the Neocons can still hug to their collective breasts the "Harry Potter" clone who resides in power in the Netherlands, and boast about the generous troop contingent of 496, sent by Denmark, but the jig is up, in Europe.
The neoconservative attempt to divide europe is fading, and dying, and ya know- I can't help but cheer. Silvio- the blessed Silvio, upon which this corrupt nest of vipers hung their noose of international lesgitimacy, has spurned them.
However, we're only two months away from the initiation of hostilities against Iran, and I have a feeling that it's gonna be an even harder sell, this time around...
Again- do you feel a draft, in here, or is just me?
Oh, and, by the way, just got an e-mail from the guy over at Avery Ant. He's quite the productive fellow, with a mess of ranty animations about Bush and this world... Be sure to check it out.
Off to another project, and send mass mailings.
|| THE WASCALLY MISCWEANT
By Joe Strike
In case you're wondering why you haven't heard from me in a while, it's for a simple reason I'm sure you can understand: I'm burned out.
These guys, the guys we're fighting are on a rampage. They're going all out to do all the damage they can, either because they feel like they're totally in control, or because deep down they're afraid they're about to be recognized for the scum they are & the free ride might end someday. (I'd put my money on the first possibility.) Right now nothing we do or say will deflect them, so excuse me if I don't click on that moveon.org link to sign onto their latest petition to my congressperson - he's already outnumbered by the GOP hyena pack.
Since The Texas Oil Swindler's (I've been seeing quite a few references to him as a snake oil salesman lately, usually in connection with his Social Security propaganda tour) 'victory' last year, all sorts of nasty, nasty characters are crawling out from under various rocks and woodwork, emboldened to peddle their rancid hatred as traditional, all-American 'values.' Take the following AP item that was in Friday's (March 11) paper:
"Controversial Children's Video Released."
A children's music video that conservatives charge is part of an effort to encourage acceptance of homosexuality is being distributed to more than 60,000 schools nationwide this week [I wonder how many schools will actually show the video with local yahoos breathing down their necks?] .it will be accompanied by a teaching guide that promotes tolerance of diversity. The video was criticized by James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who alluded to SpongeBob Square Pants' role in a 'pro-homosexual' video."
That's right folks - In the TOS's America of 2005, 'tolerance' and 'diversity' have become 'controversial.' According to Mr. Dobson, we should be intolerant of homosexuals; just the excuse the school bullies need to beat the crap out of any insufficiently macho kids they come across.
Thank you, Mr. Uniter-Not-A-Divider. You know, I've got to stop going on about how Kerry could've beaten the TOS - but it would've been soooooo easy for him. No one remembers, because the TOS only said it once or twice under his breath, but even though he was opposed to gay marriage enough to want to put it in the Constitution, he actually came out in favor of domestic partnerships. This was a big fat gift to Kerry from the Party of Evil that he could've used to completely obliterate the anti-gay bludgeon the TOS & his band of bigots were beating him up with. For example:
"I applaud my opponent for standing up and coming out in favor of domestic partnerships for Americans. It takes a great deal of courage to support gay relationships and I think President Bush deserves credit for his bold stand. I want all of President Bush's supporters to know I stand with him in backing domestic partnership rights for gays."
I mean, c'mon, it's a piece of cake. Kerry would've looked like 'Mr. Bipartisan' with his arm around his opponent (stabbing him in the back the whole time), while the TOS would've been standing there going 'homina homina homina,' digging himself in deeper trying to explain yes, no, what I meant was - he would've won the flip-flopper title away from Kerry on the spot. But Kerry was too busy dressing up in surplus Elmer Fudd hunting clothes to think of trying something like this, I guess.
So now we hear that Hilary is positioning herself for '08 - making nice to the bigots, expressing reservations about abortion. Once more a Democrat is trying to meet them halfway, again forgetting sticking our necks out like that only gets our heads chopped off. Don't worry Hil, the rightwing media goon squad will call you a panderer anyway and their true believers will lap it up, so why bother? The only way I'd sign onto this is if the 'values' crowd gave up on their 'abstinence only' fairy tales and got behind family planning & contraception to reduce the demand for abortions - but that ain't gonna happen, and once again Democrats will come off as valueless politicians who will say anything to get elected. Don't get cocky, Hil the same polls that show you in the lead for '08 also showed Kerry as the strongest guy to Beach the TOS a year ago.
I think I'll start talking about what we should be doing to win the next election. for starters, how about going on the attack 24/7 against these characters:
Attack the TOS for his phony, staged social security rallies; ask him why he's afraid of democracy, why he hates our freedom of speech; challenge him to let real opponents in to these shows, not just loyal true believers. Call him a coward, call him that out loud - a COWARD who likes to dress up as a soldier but is afraid of answering an honest question from someone who doesn't already support him. Attack him as a coward for taking questions from a phony shill gay porn peddling 'reporter' (can we blame the 'liberal' media for not jumping on this story?) instead of real journalists.
Attack the TOS as a heartless person who laughs at a woman working at three jobs ("Get any sleep?") to keep her family afloat: http://www.justorb.com/index.php?p=2218 (Didn't hear about this one either? Just blame the 'liberal' mainstream media again.)
Here's my favorite: attack this whole crowd as a bunch of. illiberals! ("Ungenerous, mean, or stingy") These guys have spent 30 years turning 'liberal' into a dirty word, without a single peep of anger out of Democrats who should be proud of the progress liberal values (women's suffrage, social security, civil rights) have brought to the U.S. So let's turn that against them: if a 'liberal' is evil, can you imagine how much more horrible an 'ill-liberal' must be?
I'm not holding my breath on any of the above, at least not from the Democratic Party as it now stands. Those spineless shits are not getting cent one from me unless and until they change their ways - until they stand up on every issue, not just the ones they think they can win. Until that happens, I'll keep on saying it: we need a new political party, an actual opposition party - one that will stand up against the Rices, the Gonzaleses, one that won't cast a single vote for an anti-consumer bankruptcy bill.
It's not enough to say the TOS stole Florida in 2000, or if we'd gotten 120,000 more votes in Ohio Kerry would be president today. We don't need our own non-popular vote-winning President - we need a country where the vast majority of people vote against a reactionary political party in numbers that will keep them from getting close enough to steal the election in the first place. A lot of people are counting on Howard Dean to turn the party around. I'm still waiting, Howie - what have you got to say besides "EEYAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!"?
Okay- first off: The turn of events in Lebanon.
Well- turns out that after a few anti-Syrian demonstrations that the Bush spin machine were turning into an endorsement of Bush's agenda of "Freedom"TM, ten times as many took to the streets, in support of Syria.
Well, Bush said that:
All the world is witnessing your great movement of conscience. Lebanon's future belongs in your hands. And by your courage Lebanon's future will be in your hands.
Well- guess he's willing to stick with perviously-stated policy, when things don't go his way...(HAR!)
Ya wanna know why the Lebanese still value the Syrian military?
I remember the day that Syria moved into Lebanon- Beirut was a place of street-by-street fighting, with seperate militias running the city, block by block. Carbombings were commonplace, and armed militias roamed the countryside (hmn- sound familiar?)
A few years previously, The Sainted Reagan had sent in marines, in force, to try and secure just a few blocks of the place, and was forced to withdraw, after a truck loaded with explosives gave a great number of marines a fatal "bad hair day."
(and, as an aside- I remember, after the event, Reagan went on national TV- and said that he took full responsibility for the event. Well, they WERE just empty words, but hell- at least Reagan had the courage to admit when he screwed up, so blatantly. Bush STILL has not admitted one, single error- whatta putz.)
Anyway, that was the situation on the Ground in Lebanon, the day the Syrians rode into town.
A LOT has happened, in the intervening time, but I think one image sums it all up...
I was watching a BBC newscast of the day's events in Lebanon- and they showed a long-shot of pro-syrian demoNstrators riding in the back of a truck, waving pictures of Assad, and Lebanese flags. In the background, as they rolled by, was a Virgin "Megastore."
A Virgin Megastore? And, it looked every bit as big as the one that graces Times Square, here in NYC.
That summed it up, for me. Since the Syrians moved in, and restored order, not only were they now a relatively peaceful middle eastern city, they had Virgin Megastores- huge, shining, neon-bedecked multi-level consumer palaces that house piss-poor record stores. I'd be willing to bet there was a "Planet Hollywood" around the corner.
So- ya see, republicans, neocons, etc... Unlike the American Incursion into Iraq, the Syrian incursion into Lebanon actually STABILIZED the region, and resulted in LESS CHAOS IN THE REGION. It's clear that a goodly number of folks of Lebanon would like to have Syrian Troops out, but still support Syria- after all- The Americans came in, and left with their tails tucked neatly between their knees. The Syrians stuck around, and got the job done.
So who gets the Love- Syria, or the USA? (Two Guesses, and the Answer is five letters long...)
Now, secondly. I have never been one for conspiracy stories, but the Sgrena incident gets more interesting, as events unfold. Turns out that the folks who shot up Sgrena's car, and killed mr Calipari, were part of a security detail that was there, ostensibly, to guard John Negroponte....
I've written on Mr. Negroponte- spoken on radio shows about Mr. Negroponte, and ya know, I don't wanna re-type it here- just do your research here. Go and read a tad, as you should know more about this guy (Now director of intelligence, in the Bush White House.)
Tum te tum...
Lemme ask you- when I say "Negroponte"- what phrase pops into mind? For me, it was "death squad". This guy, remember, was the captain of the good ship USS Honduras, during the most violent years of the cold war, and death squads were his specialty.
However, maybe he chilled out, in his later years- his squads never missed a target, in the good old days- maybe he was content to just send a warning, this time around.
Back in the months leading up the the theft of the 2000 election, I was still on relatively pleasant terms with a few republicans I've known in years past. The more "reasonable" among them admitted that, indeed, while Bush wasn't the sharpest pencil in the batch, he was good at assembling a good team, to get things done.
Well- yeah- back during his days as Texas Governor, he brought together a staff that was successfull in pushing through an insane agenda that resulted in (among many other things), Texas becoming the most polluted state in the union, with the worst air quality (living in New Jersey- I can say- that's quite a feat.) He also instituted a streak of educational "reforms", which basically turned the texas educational system into a vast exercise in "teaching to the test", ensuring that student could pass a state-mandated test, but couldn't do elementary math, or parse proper grammar. His streamlining of the texas legal system made the texas death row into a fast-track death machine that turned minority retarded prisoners into corpses faster than my intestines can turn beef vindaloo into sphincter-searing feces.
The Ironic thing? When the supreme court gave Bush his job as "president", and he flew the coop, within days, the texas ledge began overturning just about everything Bush had implimented- despite the continued republican control of the state. Yep- even though the state was solidly red republican- even they couldn't stomach what Bush and his "expert" cadre of advisors had wrought.
When Bush came to washington, he continued his sterling record by choosing a rouge's gallery of neocons (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Perle), right-wing whackos (Ashcroft, Orlovsky, and Thompson), and utterly incompetent jokers (Rice, Rice, and Rice) that would have been hilarious to watch in action, had it been the cast of a sitcom, rather than the people who have the power of life and death over the planet earth.
Now that Bush has again secured power through questionable means, and he doesn't have to face the spectre of "re-election" again (yet), he's decided that his earlier choices were just not insane ENOUGH. Exit John Ashcroft- welcome Alberto "Abu Ghraib" Gonzales. Goodbye Colin Powell- Welcome Condi Rice (I tried to come up with a neat nickname for her- but I couldn't- just look at This picture- it sums it up better than any trite monicker.) And, of course- goodbye John Danforth- welcome John Bolton.
"Who is this John Bolton?" I hear you asking. Well- long story short- Imagine the following:
If Bush, Condi Rice, and the nest of neoconservative vipers that make up the inner circles of the Bush administration were asked to come up with one, single candidate for the post of UN ambassador that would simultaneously show our contempt for the UN, world opinion, and the very concept of multilateralism, they couldn't come up with a better candidate than John Bolton.
Looking very much like the bastard child of Captain Kangaroo and Vyascheslav Molotov, Bolton is the neocon's neocon. He's a senior at the conservative "American Enterprise Institute", and has spent the majority of his career advocating that the United States of America leave the UN. Let's look over a tad of Bolton's history:
The extremist right-wing senator Jesse Helms said that Bolton was ”the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in this world.” WHAT AN ENDORSEMENT! Bolton as instigator of the christian vision of the apocalypse- can't get better than that.
Under the Reagan administration, despite his total ignorance of conditions in third world nations, he held posts at USAID, until he was made a deputy of Reagan's notorious attorney general, Ed Meese. In that post, he steadfastly worked to thwart any congressional or state investigations into the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1994, he stated that ”if the U.N. (secretariat) building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference”. He stated, at about the same time, that "there is no such thing as the United Nations".
Fast forward to 2000- Bolton became a senior member of Bush Jr's legal team, during the 2000 florida election theft, at which time he had become senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute. In this position at the AEI, he had become a major spokesman for the formalization of relations with Taiwan- the rub is, that he was recieving BIG checks, from the Taiwanese government, for his lipservice.
He opposed the ABM Treaty, the Kyoto protocols, and international arms control agreements on the sales of non-combat arms, because he believed that limiting the sales of american arms to other nations would somehow undermine the second amendment here, in the United States.
Bolton led the drive to renounce the international criminal court, the first permanent tribunal with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. He described his endorsement of the renunciation of the court as ”the happiest moment of my government service”.
So- I'm utterly speechless, really. This is like putting David Duke in charge of the NAACP, or naming James Dobson as chief of the "Spongebob Squarepants" writing team. It makes me fondly recollect the days when Negroponte was UN ambassador- at least he'd just piss off the central american delegation- Bolton will piss off EVERYONE.
I know it doesn't mean much, in the grand scheme of things, but, well- I feel the need to apologize, to the rest of the world, now:
People of the world: From the frozen enclaves of Irkutsk and Iqaluit, to the balmy climes of The Bahamas and The northern Australian coast, to the deserts of Botswana and Iran, and all places in between:
I'm sorry- I truly am. Please don't take the actions of this administration, and their chosen representative to the world body of the UN as a reflection of my own feelings, and inclinations. Despite what you may have heard, these people do not represent the american people. Indeed, a majority of us are steadfastly opposed to the actions being taken, supposedly in our name, by the current administration that holds sway here.
We are a young country, and while we may be strong, we have yet to develop the maturity, as a nation, that is required to use that strength in a responsible manner. People like John Bolton, Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld are the misbegotten children of an ideology that says that "might makes right." They are the ideologically stillborn- people set in an ideology that threatens to drag us all into a vortex that, without our combined efforts, will bring us all to ruin.
Our very opposition to such an ideology is our greatest strength. Bush, Bolton, Rice, and their cadre of neoconservatives think they can go it alone, and impose their will on the world. Such an ideology is doomed, from the very beginning. We saw it fail, time and again, in centuries and decades past.
Please forgive us, and we shall meet, in better times- I know we will.
The news has been abuzz with the incident in Iraq, this last friday.
For those who don't follow the news, I'll recap. Those who were watching the news, when the story broke, were told that Giuliana Sgrena, an italian journalist that had been held hostage by Iraqi insurgents, had been released from captivity. However, that good news was tempered by bad news, that day. We were told that Sgrena's vehicle had been fired upon by US troops, as it sped toward a US checkpoint. We were told that the vehice ignored repeated warning shots, and that troops were thus forced to open fire.
Tragically, Nicola Calipari, an italian secret service agent was killed in the incident, when he threw himself over Sgrena, in hopes of shielding her from the incoming fire.
Sgrena herself was injured, and after treatment, was put on a flight back to Italy.
Well- on the surface, it sounded like a tragic accident- a story in which the Italians were just too dumb to heed warnings, leaving the gallant defenders of the airport no other choice put to take extreme measures.
At least, again, that's what the media told us- Then, the FACTS started coming out.
It turns out that the vehicle carrying Sgrena, the driver, and the late Calipari, wasn't approaching a checkpoint, at all- in fact, they had passed through every security checkpoint, already, and were only 700 meters from the airport, when the attack took place.
It turns out that the American forces were well aware that Sgrena was on her way to the airport, for extraction. Embassies and the military had been informed of what was going down.
According to Sgrena, the car was far from "speeding", and she says that there were no warning shots- just an instant hail of gunfire. She says that one moment, the mood in the car was jubilant, and happy- the next, there were bullets tearing through the vehicle. The next thing she knew, Mr. Calipari was on top of her, in an attempt to save her life. Within seconds, Calipari had recieved a shot in the head- Sgrena says that she heard him breathing his last breath, into her ear.
This was an attempted assassination- pure and simple.
Consider the words of Sgrena: "It can't be just said that it was just an accident. We can't accept this, it is not possible."
Consider the words of her Partner, Pier Scolari: "either this was an ambush, as I think, or we are dealing with imbeciles or terrorized kids who shoot at anyone."
Consider that the soldiers' first move was to confiscate the italians' weapons and mobile phones. Sgrena and her entourage were prevented from resuming contact with Rome for more than an hour. Sgrena's car, the US claims, is now "lost," and cannot be inspected.
Consider that the soldiers who fired on the vehicle fired into the REAR seat, where Sgrena, and the late Calipari were sitting, rather than shooting at the driver, who emerged from the incident, unscathed. Consider that the US military has shown absolute disdain for journalists who refuse to be "imbedded", declining them even the most minimal of services.
Consider that Sgrena was a vehement opponent of the war in Iraq, and had written innumerable columns critical of such. Consider that she broke innumerable stories about what was going on in Fallujah, and Abu Graib.
Consider the vehement vitriol that has begun coming out, against Sgrena, since she returned, and began telling the press about what heppend. Prior to friday's incident, the corporate media was describing her as simply a "journalist"- since Sgrena began speaking out, she's suddenly "a journalist for the communist paper 'Il Manifesto'." (Expect a LOT more about that- red-baiting is the neocon's trump card- and, as a side note- this page was mirrored on the official page of the Italian communist party- does that make me a communist? But I digress.)
This story will build, in coming days- revelations are still emerging, and considering that the facts are coming from europe, rather than the United states, the facts of the matter will come out- the only problem is, the corporate media here in the US will stop paying attention, once it gets too uncomfortable to handle...
As some might be aware, I've been moving. True- it was only from one apartment to another in the same building, but it's been a pain in the keester. The last couple of nights, I've been putting off an update, simply because I needed to spend some time feverishly working on a few projects, listening to Tom Waits, and generally settling into this new place. The bathroom's on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLACE, for god's sake- IT'S HARD WORK, DANGIT!
But, after this period, I finally, at long last, feel settled in, here. Whee- yay for me.
But, as a result, I find myself a whole (gasp) 24 hours behind in my update schedule.
So- tomorrow, I plan on presenting new media, new links, and a few other bits of fun stuff. Stay tuned.
But, before I depart, I have to dribble a bit of my attention upon the subtle neocon media chest-thumping that has been polluting our airwaves, in recent days.
I turn on CNN, Fox "News", and even "The Daily Show", and I see the same crapola going on...
The neoconservatives have siezed onto the popular revolt in Lebanon, as proof that the recent elections in Iraq have set into motion a "democratic revolution" within the middle east.
Not that they come out and say such... Their media shills, such as Robert Novak (a guy that should be in jail, considering his outing of a covert CIA operative), say time and time again "Gee- I was opposed to the war in Iraq, but doesn't this whole turn of events make you re-consider things?"
They even go so far as to attribute the recent "elections" in Saudia Arabia as having their genesis in the example set by the recent "elections" in Iraq. (even though the plans for such were in place, well in advance of Bush's war in Iraq.)
If you listen to this pantload of porridge, you get the impression that Bush's war in Iraq set into motion a series of events every bit as momentous as the collapse of the Berlin wall, and every state from Morrocco to Pakistan is crumbling under an irriststable force (freedomTM) which God's son, himself, George Bush, mentioned so often in his divinely-inspired state of the union address.
The facts, on the ground, of course, do not bear any resemblance to this media-created propaganda facade.
As stated before, the "elections" in Saudi Arabia are a sham- women weren't allowed to vote, and they were for the most basic of governmental posts. The plans for said elections were made before Bush's invasion of Iraq, and certainly weren't brought magically into existance, at the wave of Bush's "freedomTM wand."
The uprising in Beirut, that overthrew the Syran-backed government in Lebanon were inspired NOT by the "elections" in Iraq, but by the example set by the noble people of the Ukraine.
As far as the promised elections in Egypt- well- my apologies to the 3500 egyptian visitors to this site- but your election is going to be every bit as much an exercise in democracy as our recent "election" here, in the USA.
So, in the final analysis, as much as the conservative (and a bit of the liberal) pundit corps would like you and I to think that a few, isolated turns of events in a disparate group of nations that covers about 20% of the liveable surface of the planet are a result of the inspired policies of the blessed Bush- it just ain't so- but expect these people to milk it, for all it's worth- because, remember- we're only a few months away from the initiation of hostilities against Iran- they've gotta build up that propaganda capital...
And- on a side note- when I look at Robert Novak- I can't shake the certainty that he wipes his butt with 20$ bills- is it just me?
The link above will send you to a comprehensive, well-researched list of 2004 election fraud resources and articles. It's from some guy over in Germany, and I have the feeling it's updated, quite frequently. Check it out!