TOP TEN SIGNS THAT IT HAS HAPPENED HERE

By Allan Uthman

1. The Internet Clampdown

One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate conglomeration has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed predigested news on TV and in mainstream print publications, the truth-seeking individual still has access to a broad array of investigative reporting and political opinion via the world-wide web. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the government moved to patch up this crack in the sky. Attempts to regulate and filter internet content are intensifying lately, coming both from telecommunications corporations (who are gearing up to pass legislation transferring ownership and regulation of the internet to themselves), and the Pentagon (which issued an "Information Operations Roadmap" in 2003, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, which outlines tactics such as network attacks and acknowledges, without suggesting a remedy, that US propaganda planted in other countries has easily found its way to Americans via the internet). One obvious tactic clearing the way for stifling regulation of internet content is the growing media frenzy over child pornography and "internet predators," which will surely lead to legislation that by far exceeds in its purview what is needed to fight such threats.

2. "The Long War"

This little piece of clumsy marketing died off quickly, but it gave away what many already suspected: the War on Terror will never end, nor is it meant to end. It is designed to be perpetual. As with the War on Drugs, it outlines a goal that can never be fully attained — as long as there are pissed off people and explosives. The Long War will eternally justify what are ostensibly temporary measures: suspension of civil liberties, military expansion, domestic spying, massive deficit spending and the like. This short-lived moniker told us all, "get used to it. Things aren't going to change any time soon."

3. The USA PATRIOT Act

Did anyone really think this was going to be temporary? Yes, this disgusting power grab gives the government the right to sneak into your house, look through all your stuff and not tell you about it for weeks on a rubber stamp warrant. Yes, they can look at your medical records and library selections. Yes, they can pass along any information they find without probable cause for purposes of prosecution. No, they're not going to take it back, ever.

4. PRISON CAMPS

This last January the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million to build detention centers in the United States, for the purpose of unspecified "new programs." Of course, the obvious first guess would be that these new programs might involve rounding up Muslims or political dissenters — I mean, obviously detention facilities are there to hold somebody. I wish I had more to tell you about this, but it's, you know . . . secret.

5. Touchscreen Voting Machines

Despite clear, copious evidence that these nefarious contraptions are built to be tampered with, they continue to spread and dominate the voting landscape, thanks to Bush's "Help America Vote Act," the exploitation of corrupt elections officials, and the general public's enduring cluelessness.

In Utah, Emery County Elections Director Bruce Funk witnessed security testing by an outside firm on Diebold voting machines which showed them to be a security risk. But his warnings fell on deaf ears. Instead Diebold attorneys were flown to Emery County on the governor's airplane to squelch the story. Funk was fired. In Florida, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho discovered an alarming security flaw in their Diebold system at the end of last year. Rather than fix the flaw, Diebold refused to fulfill its contract. Both of the other two touchscreen voting machine vendors, Sequoia and ES&S, now refuse to do business with Sancho, who is required by HAVA to implement a touchscreen system and will be sued by his own state if he doesn't. Diebold is said to be pressuring for Sancho's ouster before it will resume servicing the county.

Stories like these and much worse abound, and yet TV news outlets have done less coverage of the new era of elections fraud than even 9/11 conspiracy theories. This is possibly the most important story of this century, but nobody seems to give a damn. As long as this issue is ignored, real American democracy will remain an illusion. The midterm elections will be an interesting test of the public's continuing gullibility about voting integrity, especially if the Democrats don't win substantial gains, as they almost surely will if everything is kosher.

Bush just suggested that his brother Jeb would make a good president. We really need to fix this problem soon.

6. Signing Statements

Bush has famously never vetoed a bill. This is because he prefers to simply nullify laws he doesn't like with "signing statements." Bush has issued over 700 such statements, twice as many as all previous presidents combined. A few examples of recently passed laws and their corresponding dismissals, courtesy of the Boston Globe:

Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."
Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.

Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.
Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."

Essentially, this administration is bypassing the judiciary and deciding for itself whether laws are constitutional or not. Somehow, I don't see the new Supreme Court lineup having much of a problem with that, though. So no matter what laws congress passes, Bush will simply choose to ignore the ones he doesn't care for. It's much quieter than a veto, and can't be overridden by a two-thirds majority. It's also totally absurd.

7. Warrantless Wiretapping:

Amazingly, the GOP sees this issue as a plus for them. How can this be? What are you, stupid? You find out the government is listening to the phone calls of US citizens, without even the weakest of judicial oversight and you think that's okay? Come on — if you know anything about history, you know that no government can be trusted to handle something like this responsibly. One day they're listening for Osama, and the next they're listening in on Howard Dean.

Think about it: this administration hates unauthorized leaks. With no judicial oversight, why on earth wouldn't they eavesdrop on, say, Seymour Hersh, to figure out who's spilling the beans? It's a no-brainer. Speaking of which, it bears repeating: terrorists already knew we would try to spy on them. They don't care if we have a warrant or not. But you should.

8. "Free Speech Zones"

I know it's old news, but . . . come on, are they f**king serious? [editorial note: Putting "Free Speech" in what's literally a containment zone is much, much more profane than the word Allan Uthman uses here, entirely proper. It's bewildered me for years that some get so exercised by the use of one of those 4-letter words, when the reality it references is so much more obscene than that word of speech. It seems to me that such vehement reactions should be aimed at real problems such as poverty, starvation, health, exploitation, totalitarianism, education, the environment etc. Grappling with issues like these is, pardon me, a hell of a lot more civil than screaming about obscene language.

9. High-ranking Whistleblowers:

Army Generals. Top-level CIA officials. NSA operatives. White House cabinet members. These are the kind of people that Republicans fantasize about being, and whose judgment they usually respect. But for some reason, when these people resign in protest and criticize the Bush administration en masse, they are cast as traitorous, anti-American publicity hounds. Ridiculous. The fact is, when people who kill, spy and deceive for a living tell you that the White House has gone too far, you had damn well better pay attention. We all know most of these people are staunch Republicans. If the entire military except for the two guys the Pentagon put in front of the press wants Rumsfeld out, why on earth wouldn't you listen?

10. The CIA Shakeup

Was Porter Goss fired because he was resisting the efforts of Rumsfeld or Negroponte? No. These appointments all come from the same guys, and they wouldn't be nominated if they weren't on board all the way. Goss was probably canned so abruptly due to a scandal involving a crooked defense contractor, his hand-picked third-in-command, the Watergate hotel and some (no doubt spectacular) hookers.

When Bush's nominee for CIA chief, Air Force General Michael Hayden, is confirmed, that will put every spy program in Washington under military control. Hayden, who oversaw the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and is clearly down with the program. That program? To weaken and dismantle or at least neuter the CIA. Despite its best efforts to blame the CIA for "intelligence errors" leading to the Iraq war, the picture has clearly emerged — through extensive CIA leaks — that the White House's analysis of Saddam's destructive capacity was not shared by the Agency. This has proved to be a real pain in the ass for Bush and the gang.

Who'd have thought that career spooks would have moral qualms about deceiving the American people? And what is a president to do about it? Simple: make the critical agents leave, and fill their slots with Bush/Cheney loyalists. Then again, why not simply replace the entire organization? That is essentially what both Rumsfeld at the DoD and newly minted Director of National Intelligence John are doing — they want to move intelligence analysis into the hands of people that they can control, so the next time they lie about an "imminent threat" nobody's going to tell. And the press is applauding the move as a "necessary reform."

Remember the good old days, when the CIA were the bad guys?

MAY 30 , 2006
MEMORIAL DAY, 2006

On this day, as millions of americans enjoy an (unpaid) day off and head to their backyard grills with a case of suds and a few pounds of meat, I'm feeling a deep sense of disquiet, concerning these sacrifices of lives in times past, and today.

These people deserve a greater legacy for their lives, which were cut short so brutally, than the reality of what america has become. These men and women did not fight and die for a government that wiretaps american citizens, and "traces" their phone records. The men who fought on the beaches of Normandy didn't die so that people could be arrested and held without warrant or recourse to justice. Those who liberated the concentration camps of western europe didn't do so, to ensure that our government could "render" "suspected terrorists" to nations that engage in practices every bit as heinous as those perpetrated by the Nazis. They did not die to prop up a "Unitary Executive" that acts in flagrant disregard for the rule of law.

Bush is certain to take to the airwaves today, and spew out a cloud of standard neocon bullplop filled with the oft-repeated buzzwords of "honor" and "sacrifice." To spend a single word dissecting this certain onslaught against all that is good and decent would be a waste.

Screw him, and the usual useful idiots among the right-wing noise machine. They have no right- NONE- to claim one precious drop of american blood as a legacy worthy of their insanity. When Bush purports to speak in their names, he poisons their memories, and spits upon their graves.

In a time in which Alberto Gonzales (author of the US "strategy" of torture) is at the head of the law enforcement structure in this country...

In a time in which Michael Hayden, who engineered domestic wiretapping and unwarranted surveillance of american citizens, is now head of the CIA...

In a time in which an unelected "president" is intent on sending as many bodies into Iraq as necessary to keep the profits of Halliburton afloat..

It's up to us to put this desecration to an end. These people fought to protect us from enemies abroad. It's time for us to fight to protect our nation from the most dangerous threat facing us, today- our own governent (but, peacefully, and through legal means.)

MAY 27 , 2006
A LOT OF EMPTY WORDS- NEW ANIMATION UNDERWAY (I swear!!!)- MORE IN 48...

Joe Galloway? Anyone heard of him? Well, as of today, after a journalism career that took him from the battlefields of Korea to the bloody sands of Iraq, a career that included personal acts on the battlefield that led him to be the only civilian journalist to be awarded the Bronze Star for bravery, is now soon to be painted as a coward, a poser, and a charlatan by the right-wing pundit corps (wait for it- just keep checking "free republic...")

Why? Because Galloway, on the eve of his retirement, has disclosed a series of e-mails exchanged between himself, and chief pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita. The exchange can be read, in length, here, but if you wanna skip to the coup-de-grace, here goes:

DeRita: “Again, what bothers me most about your coverage is your implication that the people involved in all of this are dumb or have ill-intent or are so sure of what they know that they don't brook discussion. That's the part you're just way off on, friend. This is tough stuff, and we're all hard at it, trying to do what's best for the country.”

Duckspeak-english translation: "Why do you have to tell the TRUTH?- I mean- be so MEAN? We're TRYING so HARD- It's HARD WORK! Give us a break! Trust me- we're NOT IDIOTS- I SWEAR!"

Galoway's response: “I like to think that is what i am doing also, and it is a struggle that grows out of my obligation to and love for america's warriors going back 41 years as of last month.

"there are many things we all could wish had happened. i can wish that your boss had surrounded himself with close advisers who had, once at least, held a dying boy in their arms and watched the life run out of his eyes while they lied to him and told him, over and over, ‘You are going to be all right. Hang on! Help is coming. Don't quit now...’ Such men in place of those who had never known service or combat or the true cost of war, and who pays that price, and had never sent their children off to do that hard and unending duty.

“I could wish for so much. i could wish that in january of this year i had not stood in a garbage-strewn pit, in deep mud, and watched soldiers tear apart the wreckage of a kiowa warrior shot down just minutes before and tenderly remove the barely alive body of WO Kyle Jackson and the lifeless body of his fellow pilot. they died flying overhead cover for a little three-vehicle Stryker patrol with which i was riding at the time. i could wish that Jackson's widow Betsy had not found, among the possessions of her late husband, a copy of my book, carefully earmarked at a chapter titled Brave Aviators, which Kyle was reading at the time of his death. That she had not enclosed a photo of her husband, herself and a 3 year old baby girl.

“Those things i received in the mail yesterday and they brought back the tears that i wept standing there in that pit, feeling the same shards in my heart that i felt the first time i looked into the face of a fallen american soldier 41 years ago on a barren hill in Quang Ngai Province in another time, another war. someone once asked me if i had learned anything from going to war so many times. my reply: yes, i learned how to cry.”


I'm sure that the scumbags who still think this war was such a damned good idea since day one will respond to this with abstract bullshit about "Honor", and "Sacrifice."

Bullshit, and bullshit, once again. Stuffed-shirt conservative talking heads who have made their livings propagating a culture of fear, hatred, and selling war as a freaking PRODUCT while pulling in six-digit incomes from the American Enterprise Institute know jack-all, about "sacrifice," and even less about "honor" (trust me- I've been there- they are evil, incarnate.) There are times at which I wish I were a christian, because then I could live content, knowing that these people would meet their just desserts in hell.

Doubly damned would be those armchair warriors amongst the right-wing noise machine, who sit contentedly behind their keyboards and microphones, treating this all like it was a SPORT. "Ooh- Iraqi elections- one point for me!! Oh, I'll concede the opposite team one-half of a point, because of the three soldiers and 20 Iraqis killed by that roadside bomb, this morning."

GODDAMN IT- I HATE THESE PEOPLE.

The paragraph that hit me right in the heart was:

"there are many things we all could wish had happened. i can wish that your boss had surrounded himself with close advisers who had, once at least, held a dying boy in their arms and watched the life run out of his eyes while they lied to him and told him, over and over, ‘You are going to be all right. Hang on! Help is coming. Don't quit now...’ Such men in place of those who had never known service or combat or the true cost of war, and who pays that price, and had never sent their children off to do that hard and unending duty.

Holy freaking "Bob" in the Xist saucers. Imagine that- read it again...

i can wish that your boss had surrounded himself with close advisers who had, once at least, held a dying boy in their arms and watched the life run out of his eyes while they lied to him and told him, over and over, ‘You are going to be all right. Hang on! Help is coming. Don't quit now...’

A man is dying in your arms, and the only damned thing you can do is tell him a lie, just so he can slip into death, with a tad of hope, instead of naked, abject fear. You're the last face he or she will ever see, the last voice they will ever hear, and all you can do is lie, as they die...

Come on, Michelle Malkin, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of you bastards- tell me about how much you "honor" these people, as you collect fat checks for spewing idiocy, while they die.

It's the saddest damned thing in the world, and it's happening every day, thanks to these cavalier merchants of ignorance and empire.

I see so many conservatives trying to cover their sorry asses, pleading ignorance, these days. They protest:"gee- I never thought it would get THIS bad- I've changed my position on this or that issue- can't we be friends?"

Uhh- only if you agree to shut the hell up, and not vote, in the next election (which would leave Ron Paul as the only republican member of congress-) no- make that the next TEN elections. The people who spent so much time and hot air supporting this administration in times past have to understand:

They are personally responsible for every american and "allied" soldier who has died in Iraq. They are personally responsible for every last dead civilian in Iraq. To accept this responsibility, they must voluntarily surrender their right to vote, or speak publicly, on any political issue. They must accept, personally, that their participation in the american political process is fundamentally harmful, and show respect for their fellow man by divorcing themselves from politics until such a time comes that the damage they have wrought is fixed. It's time for the "children" to shut the hell up, and let the adults clean things up.

OH-, AND TOTALLY OFF THE RADAR...

A few months back, I totally panned VNV Nation's latest album, Matter + Form... Not that such matters much- I mean, who actually READS this page?

If you don't know VNV nation, they're a futurist/techno band whose material I've used in times and animations past, particularlyhere, here, here, and here. Their music inspired me, in my first flash animations, and they continue to, to this day. After having spent a few months away from the album, I plugged it into my drive, and well, while it falls far short of Empires, it's still a magnificent work. "Chrome", "Arena", "Endless Skies", and "Perpetual" are just magnificent tracks, and well worth the price of the album.

One of these tracks is the soundtrack for the new animation, and well- no other band could create what VNV nation has. They continue to to forge vistas that are so magical and pregnant with emotion that they defy description. If you're among the younger set that digs the techno- pick it up, now...

BTW- this band officially gave their permission for their work to be used for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential bid- being the second Irish band to allow their works to be used for an american political campaign (after U2's permission for Kerry to use "It's a Beautiful Day".) Gotta give them credit...

MAY 25 , 2006
AS PROMISED, AN APOLOGY...

In keeping with my policy of holding myself to a higher journalistic standard than every right-wing media source in existence, I apologize for featuring the Jesse MacBeth video. Within the past 48 hours, MacBeth has resigned from IVAW, and has pretty much been completely discredited. One wonders who was behind alla this, but to me, it looks like MacBeth was just a limelight-seeking charlatan in the mold of James Frey.

Now that that's over with, I wonder when the folks over at Blackfive, Free Republic, and Fox "News" are going to apologize for featuring erroneous information for the duration of their existence?

I'm not gonna hold my breath, for that one.

DEBUNKING THE JUSTIFICATION FOR DOMESTIC SPYING

The Bush Bowl has always used fear to justify their policies, and continued existence- and why not? It apparently works. Leaving the rather troubling implications of this aside for a moment, one must examine this tactic, in relation to the current controversy regarding Illegal domestic spying, wiretapping, and phone tracing.

The right-wing pundit corps has spoken with one voice, in defending these policies: "If we had had these programs in operation prior to 9/11©, it's likely that we would have been able to thwart the attacks of 9/11©"

WRONG! It's important, at this juncture, to once again mention the ignored August 6, 2001 presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S." In this briefing, New York city is mentioned as a potential target in the first paragraph, Washington DC is mentioned as another potential target in the second paragraph.

Now- in light of this, one can only reach one conclusion- the attacks on 9/11 might very well have been prevented, had the "President" and his staff bothered to READ this daily brief. But, alas, they were too incompetent to do so.

And that's the bottom line, here- to ensure the safety of our country, we don't need warrantless wiretapping, domestic spying, and the rest of this crapola. The best preventative measure against any calamity that might face our country, either foreign or domestic, is COMPETENCE in our leadership.

AND VARIOUS OTHER STUFF...

The folks over at Chaosfilm.de sent me a link to a parody "advertisement" for Abu Ghraib as a potential vacation destination. I liked the idea, but well, the video contained a lot of imagery that was WAY too graphic for inclusion in the media gallery (I try to keep a PG-13 standard, there.) That having been said, I still think that more mature audiences might want to watch it. You can view the piece here, but I STRONGLY suggest that the younger viewers out there give this one a pass...

And what new fresh hell is this? I can only assume that I'm spending WAY too much time over at YouTube, and not enough time animating, when I find stuff like this. It looks like the inbred idiots over the the Westboro Baptist "Church" found a convert that's a video wiz (or whiz) and have produced some VERY slick, MTV-style videos. With wholesome titles like "Fag Pimp Bush", "Thank God for Dead Soldiers", and "Thank God for IEDs ", I'm sure they're a shoo-in for big kudos at the next Sundance festival. What really gets me about this, is that the person who put these things together has "mad skillz" (as the kids would say). It's a true pity that the creator decided to use his/her talents for such an odious cause.

MAY 24 , 2006
A DISCLAIMER, AND OTHER CRAP...

Regarding the Jesse MacBeth video...

Two days ago, I posted a video of a man who claimed to be a veteran of the Iraq war, as well as a witness to atrocities perpetrated by U.S. forces. In the intervening 48 hours, the authenticity of this man's claims have been brought into serious question. Iraq Veterans Against the War, whose logo was featured prominently during the video, has disavowed any connection with this individual. The right wing blogs have gone into hysterics, denouncing the video and individual in question as a fraud.

In light of this, I have removed the video, pending authentication of all elements of this tempest in a teacup.

If, indeed, the video is a fake, well- such dishonesty is harmful not only to the antiwar cause as a whole, but also to the men and women in our armed forces, particularly those who have, in increasing numbers, come forth to denounce this war.

Further, this will undoubtedly serve as fodder for right-wing blogs, which will most certainly lambast those of us who featured this video as "dupes" who will "fall for anything." Well, indeed, from time to time, erroneous information has been posted on this site, and every time that it has, I have made a public apology the first priority, in the next update. (Unlike the right-wing noise machine, which pumps out tons of steaming BS, and never issues an apology, when time, events, and facts prove their assertions incorrect.)

Finally- if the worst thing that I'm guilty of is featuring an antiwar video of suspect origin and content, I'll sleep easy tonight. The right-wing blogs and commentators who will undoubtedly make this grist for their operations for the next few days, are guilty of far worse, in their efforts to prop up far greater lies.

These are the folks who fell for the "WMD" claims, and used their bully pulpits to demand and cheer on a war that has claimed the lives of over 100,000 innocent civilians, even as their arguments fell to tatters. These are the folks who spend their days typing away in their blogs about the "amazing success" of Iraq, while conveniently ignoring the death and destruction that continues to spiral out of control. These are the folks who believed the words of Ahmed Chalabi (a convicted felon and mind-blowing charlatan,) who filled their heads with visions of a grateful Iraqi public throwing sweets and flowers at our invading forces.

I've already given this more column inches than it deserves, but I wanted to make things clear, here...

Also- I recently did an e-mail interview with Heyoka Magazine. You chack it out here, but it's best you spend your time reading the other articles (and dammit- I've GOT to get a better publicity shot than this.)

I've GOT to get back to animating- more later- gotta get up early to see "An Inconvenient Truth", tomorrow!

But one last thing- whatever happened to Russia Today? I've come to enjoy having this newsfeed going on in the background while working, but they've been "under construction" for a week. The last time this happened, hackers were responsible (there seem to be so many virus creators and hackers over there in the former "eastern bloc".) I'm jonesing, here...

SUCKS TO BE YOU!
Americans' unforgivable attitude toward immigration

By Daniel Patrick Welch

Those who wish to read US history undistorted, rather than use its mythology for their own ends, are already hip to the never-ending plight of immigrants to "America"'s shores. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Lazarus' famous poem, like its namesake, winds up rising from the dead, or rather, being tediously exhumed by those who wish to resurrect the self-serving image of America's open-armed embrace of those less fortunate. Notwithstanding the hostile receptions that each wave encountered, their only desire was to share in our unearned bounty and work their way toward a piece of the elite pie that is American wealth. Shame on them! How dare they do what our own ancestors did 20, 50, 100, 150 years ago!

But the very topic itself is a deliberate digression, a topic-changing distraction from the true business of the people-any people-facing the enormous issues we face. Unending imperial wars? Gays are getting married! Impending destruction of the ecosphere? Iran is enriching uranium! Those in power in the US are rife with corruption, greed and lies from top to bottom? Mexicans are taking our jobs!

(Im)Migration is as old as evolution itself. Yes, the dreaded E-word. Sorry, right wing lunatics, no safe haven here. It is the nature of multicelled organisms, from the first fish who flopped onto land in search of better feeding, breeding, or investment opportunities, to seek the better life.

George Bush, plumbing the Nixonian depths of unpopularity, would love to incite the racist backlash that propelled Nixon to power before his own criminality forced the American people to rethink their own horrific mistake. It seems gay marriage has not resulted in the implosion of Massachusetts society, much to the chagrin of the Church and its far-right allies. So immigration comes, right on schedule, as the wedge to separate god-fearing, law-abiding white people from their own common sense.

But it has always been the most difficult task of out-and-out racists to finesse their own lurid ideology so as to be palatable to some amorphous "majority" who will dutifully keep them in power. Even Bull Connor didn't openly embrace the Klan. Every generation of white people in America has its own semantic trick, a sort of racist rabbit-in-the-hat to disguise its morally reprehensible agenda. Genocide? Noooooo. Manifest Destiny! Racism? Nooooo. States' rights! Racism? Noooooo. Typhoid! Public health and safety! Etc.

And now, the new mantra is legality, or taxes, whatever floats your boat. In some uncharacteristic glint of rationality, Bush wants to seem "fair." The millions of undocumented workers should not be rounded up and sent "back where they came from" (whew!); instead, they should pay some meaningful penalty for daring to pick fruit for fifty cents an hour, back taxes on all the earnings their agribusiness bosses condescended to actually pay them, and learn English. Sounds fair to me! But really, shouldn't we all examine our own complicity in this affair? I'm not one to point fingers without proof, so I'll confine the fateful lightning of my terrible swift sword to those whom we know to be guilty. Hands up, all who have, say, eaten or purchased fruit in the past six months! Aha! Pay your meaningful penalty and join the line on the left. Anyone get their lawn mowed? Aha! Pay your penance and join the guilty. As for the agribusiness owners of transnational corporations--well, the simple notion of proportionality might impose incarceration, public caning or humiliation. Sorry, the law's the law. And if some upper-level management crony of any of these multinationals is more fluent in, say, Dutch than English? Well, suffice it to say that DHS swat teams are available at a moment's notice. Along with a few Berlitz books. Hey, we're not Barbarians!

And speaking of the law, let's engage the new states' rights argument. The great thing about white people, and westerners in general, is that they can be cowed by simple (-minded) references to "The Law," even when they themselves are descendents of the centuries-old abuse of this very same principle. You're illegal! Follow the LAW! Bark the pit-bulls of the right wing assault on immigration rights. But what is the law, exactly? I remember following the ever-shifting law of immigration when I myself got married (to an immigrant-gasp!). If we got married before date X, Y would happen. If we waited until date Z, AA would happen. Ugh.

This quintessentially racist backlash is running up against more powerful north-south and east-west divides, much to horror of Karl Rove and the corporate oligarchy that would continue to control America. From my own personal perspective, my mother's Irish grandparents were considered white only because of what a German-American friend jokingly calls a "clerical error." Until the end of the Civil War, the pastiest white people on earth, "the pale and blotchy race," in the words of a famous poet, were legally considered non-white. When emancipation threatened to make several southern states "majority non-white," The Law miraculously changed to suit the situation.

In the same way, law has served the interests of imperialism and oligarchy throughout history. I am fond of telling my students that the only reason I speak English is that the powers that invaded the country of my ancestors made it "illegal" for the indigenous people to speak their own Irish language. Presto! Official English is born.

On the recent Dia Sin Inmigrantes, our school participated by erecting signs on our roof saying "We are all immigrants" in English and Spanish. Aside from a total lack of press coverage, we were treated to the invasion of a certain self-appointed corrections specialist, who wandered into the school to tell us that we should change our signs to reflect "legal" immigrants. Oh really? My mother's grandparents weren't "legal" as far as my research reveals. And how, exactly, do families separate the "good" from the "bad" immigrants within our own ranks? Contrary to popular myth, the overwhelming majority of "illegal" immigrants did not sneak across the Mexican border. In most cases, they are people who came to study or work, with legitimate visas. Maybe they fell in love and had children (disgusting!) or ran out of money for school. So they stayed, and got jobs under the table, jobs that fuel much of the economy on which we all rely. God forbid they should be treated like human beings.

But speaking of the Mexican border, let's deal with this up front. I had a recent discussion with my own staff, most of whom are immigrants who have "made it," in the sense that they have now gained citizenship and bought houses, etc. Perhaps feeling guilty about their own success, they play Devil's Advocate: "Pero Daniel," they tell me. "I didn't come here in a banana crate. I came legal. What if someone sneaked into your house at night, without your permission, and started to live there? Wouldn't that be a crime?" I'm not sure if they are serious, so I take them at their word. "The United States is not a house," I counter. Let's change the analogy. What if, say, instead of a house, you were on a banana plantation, and all those outside the walls were dying of hunger? Wouldn't you feel differently about someone who dug under the wall and stole a few bananas?""

My staff, my colleagues, my friends, my fellow Americans, were silent. As devout Catholics, they could not resist the argument, so I (perhaps unfairly) hone in for the kill. Even as new Americans aware as few others of the realities beyond their borders, they are skittish. Did they realize, I ask, that half of the humans on the planet subsist on less than a dollar a day? That two thirds subsist on less than two dollars a day? My Dominican colleague, a devout Catholic herself raised on a coffee farm back home, was incredulous. Yes, I said. Who are "WE?" Is this all something we 'deserve?' The US population consumes almost half the natural resources of the world, yet we represent about 6% of the global population. Is this something we can sustain?

We--who now reside within borders defined by a series of genocidal wars and wield wealth and power gained through enslavement and  expropriation-we now feel empowered to close the doors behind us. Ha! Sucks to be you! Get your own country!

Since we had recently been flooded, I used a readily available analogy: the dam. It seemed perfectly logical to me, absent racist claptrap about how white people are more productive, that the threatened dams in the region supplied the perfect metaphor. Given the disparity that exists, might the correct analogy be that the flood engineers are dealing with at this very moment? If the level on one side of the dam is too high, then something must be done to prevent the dam from bursting: If you don't want to eliminate the dam itself, the unequal pressure from both sides forces certain decisions: sluiceways might lower the pressure for the time being; shoring up the infrastructure might keep the water at bay for now. But the pressure is unrelenting--come hell or high water--whether we are prepared or not.

Elephants, donkeys, and other animals may not survive the flood. Ostriches bury their heads in the sand, willfully oblivious of what is to come. Democrats and Republicans alike would be wise to choose a different mascot.

© 2006 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit and link to http://danielpwelch.com. Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School (http://www.greenhouseschool.org). Translations of articles are available in two dozen languages. Links to the website are appreciated at danielpwelch.com.
MAY 23 , 2006
I JUST WANTED TO THROW THIS INTO THE WHOLE "IMMIGRATION DEBATE"

See the young woman to the left? Her name is Vanessa Gamboa. She's originally from Guatemala, and is a single mother, age 24. She became a US citizen on May 19, 2006. Prior to her becoming a citizen, she served two tours of duty in Iraq.

After being discharged from the military, she came home, and despite the promises made to her by the recruiter, she found herself with no money, no place to live, and no one to turn to for support. She's currently homeless, on the streets of New York...

Now- the Glenn Becks of the world would say that this is her just desserts. After all, this is America©, and HOW DARE this dark-skinned woman assume that someone would give her a handout? Good lord...

I have cited time and time again an article of faith that has previously existed in this country- when you sign on the dotted line to defend the nation, well- then the country OWES you. This isn't "welfare"- this is giving someone who put their lives on the line (for good or ill) just rewards for duties done.

About 45% of Bushflash.com's traffic comes from outside of the United States- I want the rest of the world to know, right here and now: In Bush's america, the men and women who are recruited to fight in Iraq are treated like yesterday's garbage, once they leave the service. There's no support structure, anymore.

The department of veteran's affairs reports that there are between 200-250 Iraq war veterans that are homeless, today. The right-wing kneejerk response is "gee- that's a small number- less than 1% of those who have served, thus far."

To the right, I issue a hearty "SCREW YOU!" There shouldn't be a single homeless veteran in America, today. Where would we come up with the cash to cover the expense of caring for our veterans? Well- the Bush bowl recently extended the 70 billion dollar tax cut for the rich. There are currently 200,000 homeless veterans in the united states- divide 70 billion by 200K, and you get $350,000. I trust you can figure out the rest...

I'm tired, and quite heartsick, after viewing Baghdad ER, and I gotta get up early tomorrow, for "work."

MAY 20 , 2006
A FEW ITEMS...

First off- Google fun. While doing a spellcheck, I typed "Incompetent" into Google, and voila- what was the first entry? "The President as Incompetent Liar". This piqued my curiosity- what other pejoratives would result in #1 rankings for the Bush bowl? Here goes:

Moron- First result: President Moron (non-functional, but worthy of note.)
Asshole- First result: Film Strip International (Anti-Bush slideshow)
Idiot- Second Result: This animation (should be familiar)
Failure- First result: The biography of Bush, hisself.
Miserable- First result: same as above.
Blundering- First result: "Blundering on Iran" (Guardian article critical of Bush)

I'm pretty sure that there's a ton more out there...

VIDEO INSANITY...

Insane, insane, INSANE stuff... I spent a great deal of my day scouring about for content for the new animation, and I spent the majority of such time over at the Internet Archive. Lemme tell ya- it's been an education. The archive is an amazing source- unrestrained by the limitations of content/length/filesize that YouTube imposes on their members, it's become a repository for a ton of bizarre stuff- including full, uncut insurgent recruiting videos from Iraq.

I downloaded about a gig of them, and man... Here you see raw footage of american forces under guerilla attack, along with the grisly aftermath- including shots of the burned, mutilated corpses of american servicepeople, still smoking. In one video, an offscreen assistant uses a stick to push the limbs and head of a corpse into more pleasing configurations for the camera.

As disturbing as this is, it doesn't hold a candle to what follows.

Here's the standard video:

White arabic script against a black background- with recitations from the Quran as an audio backdrop, followed by a young man, garbed head to toe, reciting his parting statement for the world.

He is approached by his comrades, who embrace him in a ritual that is laden with haunting finality. The next shot, we see this man behind the wheel of a car, waving to the camera- close-cut to a handheld shot from a camera in a car tailgating the suicide vehicle.

Then, a long shot- usually from a nearby building or street- a shaky, darting camera scans the rooftops for the inevitable...

The explosion...

If there are remains left of the suicide bomber, you get to see them, in gory detail- it's apparently the "money shot" for any aspiring insurgent videographer...

Now- understand- these are videos that the insurgent groups themselves are disseminating, to draw volunteers- the selling point is: "Look at this mangled corpse- this could be you! Join today!"

Now- the neocons and their few remaining hangers-on would like to say that this is a visual example of why we must spend the next hundred years bankrupting ourselves to "defeat the islamic threat". All par for the course, considering the source. Armchair generals are prone to hyperbole...

But here's the deal, people: We created this insurgency. You and I did- with our tax dollars, and our inability to stop this war. Now that this war is upon us, there is no longer any military solution to the problem which we created. Unfortunately, the Bush bowl, along with their sycophants in the corporate media, have long since defined the paradigm of the problem of terrorism in military terms.

There. Is. No. Military. Solution.

I know, I know- it hurts, doesn't it? I mean, the military is our first and last recourse, as a nation, when confronted with that which we cannot (or will not) understand. It's the collective penis of the uninformed masses, and the right wing. I'm sorry, but in light of the situation that we've sown in Iraq, this raging phallus of guns/money/capital/oil is a weak, flaccid little thing, and quite frankly, it's never going to force the Muslim world to "come" to our side of things (Just ask any rape victim, if they ever "came" during their violation- it's basically the same thing.)

MAY 18 , 2006
NEW IDIOT, LINKS, IMAGES, REVIEW, MEDIA, AND OTHER FUN STUFF.

Technical crap: I've finally had some down time to mess about with Flash 8, and it's great to see that the boffins over at Macromedia/Adobe have finally decided to release an update that offers concrete visual tools, instead of the same-old, same-old with a load of new superfluous actionscript. I'm hoping that use of alla these gizmos doesn't slow down performance, because I'm certainly going to be doing the next animation in 8 (Which I can tell you is on the way, although after seeing the stuff possible with version 8, I've had to scrap alla the work, done to date.) This opens up a lot of new possibilities- if you're a developer, and haven't switched over yet- I suggest you do so now.

I'm off to twiddle with it, right now- enjoy the stuff- more in 48.

MAY 16 , 2006
New idiot, and I couldn't let a "presidential" address go by, without comment...

Okay, first off- does anyone still believe any damned word that comes out of this guy's mouth, anymore? Remember his speech in New Orleans, after Katrina- remember how he promised the greatest public works project in a half-century? Did that go anywhere?

Last I heard from my friends in New Orleans, a majority of the city is still wrecked to hell, and there hasn't been much good news, out of the rest of the gulf region. But then again, maybe it's that "damned liberal filter" preventing me from hearing about the "great progress" made along our gulf coast.

That having been said- this was totally laughable.

Okay- 6,000 unarmed national guard troops, without the legal authority to arrest or detain, stationed across our 2000-mile southern border would roughly equate to one confused dude every 600 yards. Now, no matter where you stand on the immigration debate, you have to scratch your head at this one, unless you recognize it as the wimpy political gesture that it is (roughly equivalent to the wilted-lettuce slap that victorian gentlemen bestowed upon each other, before rapiers at dawn.)

This is a false and pitiful move, by a desperate "president," and quite frankly, this ain't gonna fly, except on Fox "news." (Which, by the way, is becoming more and more Orwelian, as the traditional conservatives and base republicans leave the Bush tent. John Gibson's latest comments, about how important it is for aryan Americans to reproduce, to out-breed those damned "mud people." is the most sterling example. (on an off-note, I'd like to say how important it is to preserve Bushflash genes, in preparation for the future in which such will be lost in a genetic morass of sperm and eggs donated by falafel-wielding double-digit clones from the Coluter-O'Reilly-Weyland-Yutani bloc. For details, all hot babes should drop me a line, and lemme know when they have a night off- the future of our republic hangs in the balance....))

I think I can see 27% coming soon, here...

MAY 14 , 2006- new stuff in the usual locations.

All's I can say is... If you live in the gulf coast area, you're on your own, this hurricane season. Not only is our military overextended overseas, the remaining national guard is gonna be overextended, here at home.

One thing, tho- the national guard on the border has been on the far-right wishlist for quite some time- Bush is trying to shore up the base, here, just in time for the election. However, Bush has gone out of his way to assure Flimflam Fox that this is just a temporary deployment- be sure that the guard will be withdrawn, come December...

APOLOGIES.

I didn't know Qwest was owned by the Carlyle Group. These are nasty folks- best to stick to working assets

Switched providers, yet? Working Assets. Please do check them out. They're one of Ben & Jerry's projects- a 100% blue, liberal business (and not ashamed to flaunt it...)

I'M SICK AS HELL OF THIS....

I recently put a couple of my animations up at Youtube.com (a freakin' amazing place to waste hours of your life,) and tonight, just as I was settling back to deal with the business of the day, I happened to receive a notice that someone had commented on my last animation, "3." Here's the comment, in full:

"The death and destruction in this clip likely caused by terrorist IED's.they hide their faces,blow up their own inocent people...The Iraqi people now can vote,girls now go to school,women vote,even hold elected office,electricity,running water,and sewage systems are at levels higher than ever in thier history.Yes liberation and subsequent FREEDOM does come at a cost,so did yours.Why deny them??????? "

This is sheer idiocy, and I can't believe people are still throwing this kinda crap out, as justification for this war.

This is the rote recitation that the neocon memo-machine belched out, once it became clear that the initial cause for this war (WMDs) was a load of bullplop. I hadn't heard it in months, but seeing it again, just cheesed me off. Have any of you gotten a similar e-mail, that contains the same fake, vague claims, with no statistics to back them up? I'm sure you have.

I always figured that refuting these comments would be an exercise in futility, but confronted anew with the spectre of purple-assed stupidity on the part of those few who still think this war is such a keen idea, I felt the need to lay this load of BS to sleep, once and for all:

The death and distruction in this clip likely caused by terrorist IED's.they hide their faces,blow up their own inocent people...

This is a common conservative argument- "I'm just cheesed off about alla them insurgents, blowing things up- things would be all well and good, if they'd just make nice."

Uhh- we invaded this country, blew things to hell and back, disbanded the army, killed 120,000-plus of them, wrecked their infrastructure, and these neoconservative hangers-on are shocked, still, that a utopian paradise didn't sprout up immediately in the craters, amongst the mutilated bodies? These insurgents wouldn't be there, had we not screwed up their home.

The Iraqi people now can vote

The iraqi people, before our invasion, could vote. Yeah- it was a one-party state, and their voting was merely a formality- but at least in those days, they had a GOVERNMENT. These days, people vote, and don't have a government- I'd call that a step in the wrong direction- call me silly. I guess there are still people out there who think alla those sham elections in Iraq actually meant something.

girls now go to school,women vote,even hold elected office

GODDAMNIT TO FREAKING HELL! I am so sick of people lauding post-invasion Iraq as a muslim women's paradise. You want facts? Here ya go. Yeah, Iraqi women, along with men, suffered under the boot heel of Hussein's government, but Iraqi women had far more rights, under law, then they did in most of the arab world. Women could vote, hold office, drive, smoke, and consume alcohol under Saddam's tyranny. Now, Iraq is devolving into a fractured regime, in which religious parties hold enormous power. Iraqi women, despite the propaganda, are falling behind in their own country as a result of our invasion.

electricity,running water,and sewage systems are at levels higher than ever in thier history

Do tell. Strange- Want some facts? Go here, here,and here. Even oil production remains below prewar levels- so much for the invasion paying for itself. We, as americans, would like to think we're doing good for the Iraqi people, but we aren't. We must, must, MUST- get over this conceit that wherever we drop bombs, prosperity flowers. It's just insane.

Yes liberation and subsequent FREEDOM does come at a cost.

Oh, yeah- put that "freedom" in ALL-CAPS, baby! (after all, once you hit that "caps lock" it's easier to type with one hand, while the other is otherwise occupied- let your imagination soar, on that one.) As always, it's easy to sit behind a keyboard (or a lectern, or a tv camera), and dictate how much "cost" a foreign people must suffer, before they are "worthy" of our version of FREEDOM©.

so did yours.

Ooh- SWIFT one there, dude- trying to equate the American Revolution to the ongoing clusterf**k that's going on over there. This is like equating a hypodermic syringe to a box of jello. It's the most senseless thing I've ever heard, and only deserves a response equally as senseless:

"Rhapdor sneezebox whiffleball over pepper spheres, and instigating fooseball!"

Why deny them??????? "

Oh, I tried to deny them so much, me being the liberal monster that I am. I tried to deny them the cluster bombs and white phosphorous which we, in our infinite wisdom, dropped on their cities and people. I tried to deny the iraqi people the glorious honor of having tens of thousands of tons of FREEDOM©brand depleted uranium dropped on their country.

Screw this- there is no cohesive argument in favor of this war, anymore.

As Pat Buchanan said in his acceptance speech at the reform convention in 2000:

"Quo Vadis, America?"

MAY 12 , 2006
DID YOU CHECK WHO OWNS YOUR PHONE COMPANY?

I'm not up on my corporate spiderweb, but after two seconds of research, I found out that Verizon owns MCI, so that means that my phone records are in the NSA database. Has anyone heard of the possibility of a class-action suit against Verizon, ATT, and the rest?

I'm going to see about changing my phone service over to Qwest- pretty much the only company that refused to bow to NSA demands. They seem to have good services available, at good prices! If anyone else knows of good service alternatives, lemme know, and I'll list 'em here.

THE REPUBLICAN 'TAX CUT"- WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?

This was just stupid and, as we said back in my Tennessee days, "godawful."

This tax cut helps NO ONE, and ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING.

You know how much someone who makes 30,000 bucks a year is gonna get, from this tax cut? Nine dollars. Nine measly dollars. A family making 50,000 a year will get a great, whopping 46 dollars. Ah- but if you're a millionaire- you get FOURTY-TWO FREAKING THOUSAND DOLLARS in tax cuts.

We're at war. We're going into insane quantities of debt. The levees down in New Orleans need fixing. Our schools are going down the toilet, along with our national infrastructure. We haven't the cash to protect our borders, or our ports. And what do the rich have to sacrifice, in these troubled times?

Nothing- not one, damn thing. In fact, they get 42,000 dollars extra a year, simply because they have the peachy-keen fortune of being rich, while the rest of us are pawning our possessions to fill our gas tanks.

This is wrong- this isn't conservative- I'd even go so far to say this this isn't even Republican. Even Reagan would have had the sense to see the sheer idiocy of this.

I MAY HAVE TO MOVE, SOON (A PERSONAL AND HEARTFELT SONG OF SORROW.)

I have loved Montclair, New Jersey, since the day I moved here. It's a wonderful little town that is the opposite of every Jew Jersey stereotype and joke ever told. When I moved here, it was bohemian and cultured- with a goodwill store, lots of antique shops, lots of cool places to eat- a great bookstore and an even better music store.

Seven years later, it has changed a lot. Many of the independent businesses and shops that made this place so cool have moved away- forced out by skyrocketing rent. The record shop shuts down one week, and is replaced by a fully-remodeled japanese restaurant (the fourth one in two blocks) two weeks later. They knocked down a large vacant building next to my apartment, and have had to deal with deafening racket for months, as it is turned into a luxury condo building that will offer one-bedroom apartments for sale at a starting price of $400,000. It's clear that Montclair is soon to become a bit beyond my modest means, as a freelance web developer, but dangit- I still loved this town- until today.

What changed?

I sighted the first Segway moron, today. There he was, desecrating the streets of my adopted hometown at five miles an hour on his silly little machine. A fat bastard with white hair, a gray suit, and a silly little bike riding helmet adorning his head like a cherry on top of a pile of horse manure.

There's nothing more that typifies what's wrong with this country than the Segway. (UTT! I can hear the geek corps lining up with their hurtful whines, but I shall ignore them.) Here's what the Segway is: It's an oversized, overpriced machine that someone invented because he figured there were enough lazy people in this country who just couldn't be bothered to practice an activity called "walking" (you know- that neat little thing our ancestors figured out how to do on the plains of africa a few million years back?) and could be conned into believing this piece of bullshit on wheels was some sort of technological eco-friendly wizardry that doubled as a status symbol.

What made the spectacle all the worse, today, was the fact that all of the restaurants had dining tables out on the streets, which were all filled- this guy, with his ass-machine, was bumping into tables, disturbing folks eating their lunches, and basically hogging the sidewalk width that would normally accommodate two people- this on the busiest shopping street in town.

I hope this is the last Segway incident that takes place on our mean streets. If I see this guy again, he'll get away with a warning. If he multiplies, I'll have to start looking at apartments down in Bloomfield.

In closing: I have more respect for Scientologists than I have for people who own Segways. Scientologists are just brainwashed dupes. Segway owners are public displays of moneyed laziness and self-obsession.

MAY 10 , 2006
DAMN AND BLAST- I CAME CLOSE ENOUGH TO TRUTHINESS TO TASTE IT...

Sorry about the dearth of media, or naught else to show for this sorry mess of an update- Today was to be a great day- a friend of mine had tickets for the Colbert Report, but because of a "real job", and the sorry-ass public transit system we have in this country, I wasn't able to make it in time.

Poop- to have basked in the glory of the slackmaster of politics.... So close, yet so far away...

THE NSA HAS YOUR NUMBER- FREAKING ORWELLIAN

Massive domestic surveillance- is it 1984, yet? (I know it can't be past 1998, but that's another story)

I really have nothing to say about this, beyond what's there. if you can't figure out why this is fundamentally screwed up, then I have no time for you.

THE NEOCONS AREN'T RETREATING...

I don't have the tech and time available to be another Crooks and Liars, but today was one of those situations in which I wish I did.

After coming home from work, I flipped on CNN to catch the spin of the day- and there it was:

An elderly white dude mouthing off about how the "situation" in Iran could be solved with a few decisive airstrikes. He was being taken seriously by Herr Blitzer, who never asked a critical question.

Seriously- these folks are trying to set the world on fire. The guy was lying through his teeth- he knows that such an action would set in motion a series of events that will lead inexorably to a catastrophic war- it doesn't matter, since the end justifies the lie, in his mind. No wonder that Bush's remaining supporters consist of neocons and "christian" rapture-freaks- they both believe in a coming catastrophic, world-destroying event- The aftermath is all that matters, to both of them, and damn the means. The "Christian" reconstructionists call it "the kingdom of God on earth"- the neocons call it the "new american century."

May I still remind all the hotheads out there- Iran, under the best of conditions, is still at least FIVE YEARS from building a primitive nuclear device. Good freaking lord- will some adults step in, and take over, here?

THE CON- KERRY WON, NOW GET OVER IT...

From Greg Palast's new book, "Armed Madhouse"

...because they're putting '08 in their pocket. Republicans just seem to
have that winning spirit. They also have caging lists, felons of the future,
rotting ballots, snuffed canaries, and a lock on the votes of Kissinger-
Americans and the undead.


WARNING! There are cranks and kooks and crazies out there on the Internet who say that George Bush lost the 2004 election, like one titled, "Kerry Won" published on the TomPaine.com web site two days after the election. I wrote it.

On November 11, a week after TomPaine.com published it, I received an e-mail from The New York Times Washington Bureau. Hot on the investigation of the veracity of the vote, The Times reporter asked me pointed questions:

Question #1: Are you a "sore loser"?

Question #2: Are you a "conspiracy nut"?

There was no third question. Investigation of the vote was, for The Times at any rate, complete. The next day, the paper's thorough analysis of the evidence yielded this front-page story, "VOTE FRAUD THEORIES, SPREAD BY BLOGS, ARE QUICKLY BURIED."

As America's self-proclaimed Paper of Record had no space for the facts, I thought I'd share some with you here.

"Kerry Won" was not a two-day inquiry à la Times. It was the latest in a series of investigative reports coming out of a four-year team examination, begun for BBC Television's Newsnight, Britain's Guardian papers and Harper's Magazine, dissecting that greasy sausage called American electoral democracy.

Read more, here...

MORE IN 24- I PROMISE!
MAY 7 , 2006
CONSERVATIVE RE-BRANDING, A CANDIDATE IN FLORIDA THAT NEEDS YOUR HELP- NEW ANIMATION COMING.

First off, I just got an e-mail from Brian Moore, Florida candidate for the senate- He's anti-war, anti-patriot act, and independent, and is fighting an uphill battle. He needs to raise a considerable sum to qualify for the ballot. If you can help him out, donate a few bucks here.

IN 2006, THE REPUBLICANS WILL BE RUNNING A LARGER ANTI-BUSH CAMPAIGN THAN THE DEMOCRATS- IT'S THEIR ONLY HOPE.

Let's face it- no one supports Bush, anymore. The incompetence and cronyism of this administration has become not only a national embarrassment that we all laugh at (in lieu of crying,) but also has become the target of ire from all parts of the political spectrum- even the "christian" right has started to bubble and boil.

I sorta feel like Bender in that episode of "Futurama", when he protested: "Hey- I was hating Zoidberg LONG before it was COOL!"

As much as I'd like to revel in finding an increasing number of conservatives and hawks on the anti-Bush bandwagon, I have had to step back, and consider this lemming-like plunge from the lofty precipice of hubris and idiocy that these same people spent so much time building up.

Case in point: Doug McIntyre's public apology for voting for Bush. If you haven't listened to it- do so now.

(Side note- I'd like to accept this apology, and the others that are certain to follow from the right-wing talking heads, but I can't- unless they come over to my apartment and apologize, in person, while rolling naked in steel tubs filled with ebola-infected pig feces and razor blades as Hurricane Katrina victims beat them with two-by-fours. (oh- and I want the "Yackety Sax" theme from Benny Hill to be pumping out of my stereo, while I watch.))

You're going to be hearing a lot of this, over the next three months. A lot of conservative luminaries will be announcing their titular opposition to Bush, while playing footsie with the issues that are at the basis of their "disagreement" (as brazen as McIntyre's statement is, I doubt he'll follow up on 1% of his differences with the administration, in months to come.)

Limbaugh, Malkin, Coulter, and the majority of the folks over at Fox "News" will continue to shore up the idiot base (citing that their main difference with the Bush Bowl is that it hasn't been wacky ENOUGH.) At the same time, look for Boortz, Beck, and maybe even Falafel Man himself to publicly divorce themselves from this administration (while, again, simultaneously adhering to the same ideological and policy precepts as before, thus rendering their "confessions" irrelevant.)

This is the coming republican strategy- run against Bush in name, but not in policy. They know that the only way they can save the whacky right wing idiocy that they've fought for, for so long, is to abandon the prophet, to save the prophecy.

And credit where credit is due- the republicans are far ahead of the democrats, in this regard. They know that Bush can't run for re-election, and there's no political future in adhering to this withered husk of an administration. They're setting the strategy for years to come. The Democrats, well- they're still flopping around, bereft of a cohesive strategy, for this coming election.

Is there one? Please tell me there is- I've been all over the web, and well, I see little there.

MAY 6 , 2006
IS IT CMS, YET?

Nope- not yet- but in the course of developing the CMS layout, I happened upon this look, which struck me as better than the layout I've been chained to since the site started. I decided to give myself a birthday present, and spent the past 14 hours changing everything over. It's virtually identical to the eventual CMS site, so this'll give you an idea of how the site will look, when it finally makes the transfer. Take a look around- everything should be 100%. If you disapprove, or spot any egregious errors, drop me a line.

I'll be posting new content, tomorrow. After messing about with this, for two days, I feel the need to take a few hours off, and deal with the stuff that's piled up, over the past 48 hours.

Now- I have added Blogads to the site. In the past, I've had this service slow down page performance, so if you're a regular, and you notice a difference, let me know.

More, in 24.

MAY 4 , 2006
THE PATHETIC DESPERATION OF THE RIGHT

Well, I awoke this morning to hear that Ava over at Peace Takes Courage has been receiving death threats via e-mail. Seems some mouth breathing double-digit republicans out there took exception to Ava's animations, and decided in a particularly drunken moment that the best way they could defend their beloved president/war was to send death threats to a fifteen-year-old flash developer. As outrageous as this is, it's unfortunately par for the course in the idiotic level of public discourse that's arisen since Bush took office.

I went through the same mess back in 2003, when some rabid right-wing whackjob decided to post my address and personal information on his site, along with offers of a free plastic beer mug to the first person who could report that I had had an "unfortunate accident."

What's particularly galling about such incidents is that one of the more frequent insults hurled at the antiwar movement is that we who happen to oppose this war and this government are "cowards."

Ya know- I think one of the most cowardly things someone can do, is hide behind an e-mail address or blog pseudonym, and make blithe violent threats, simply because one lacks the intelligence and maturity to accept criticism. It's pathetic.

Welcome to the club, Ava- just remember: The folks who send you these pissy little threats are just a bunch of cowards (half of which are probably younger than you), and haven't the gumption to leave the comfort of their mother's basements, much less carry out a hit on someone. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't take the threats seriously- just don't let it keep you up at night.

GEORGE W'S HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR PALACE RISES IN BAGHDAD

I'm speechless, after seeing this- we're building an embassy larger than Vatican City. It'll be visible from space- why the hell do I bother paying my taxes, anymore, when it goes to crap like this?

AND THAT BRINGS US TO COLBERT

If you haven't watched Stephen Colbert's performance from the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, go and do so now...

The right-wing hysteria following this performance has been glorious to behold. From Free Republic, to Drudge, to every conservative talk show pundit, the bleeding-heart conservatives have gone into cornered-rat mode.

Not that this is surprising- every time anyone makes the mistake of speaking ill of Bunnypants, the pundit corps falls into line with startling efficiency. We can all recall the insanity that took place in the days after Chris Rock's monologues during the Oscars.

However, in this case, if these critics want to be intellectually honest in their whining, they might also want to criticize a chronically incompetent and clueless event staff, who invited Colbert- the most vociferous and agile lampooner of right-wing idiocy alive today- to speak at the event. They had obviously never watched his show, and had signed him up after reading a few press clippings.

The main criticism, however, has been that Colbert "stepped over the line." Can I tell you something about this "line" they speak of?

It's the false, smarmy genteelness that so pervades all that goes on in Washington. It's the oily mist of evil that blanketed the recent IPDI conference that I had the misfortunate of attending. In Washington DC, you have to "make nice."

If the world were to be collapsing to burning ruins, the folks in DC would simply cluck their tongues, and say that it would be "bad taste" to even mention the acrid smoke.

But Colbert doesn't come from DC- he's from New Jersey* (lives a few miles from where I sit- I saw him at a CVS a few weeks back.) You know how we say "hello" in New Jersey?

"F**K you- I'm sleeping with your wife/husband!"

Colbert, a democrat, found himself in a position to open up a can of whoopass, and dump the contents into the lap of the moron that was sitting but five feet away. And so he did. Reports are that half of Bush's staff walked out of the event, halfway through, and the look on Bush's face during the latter half of the event leaves little question as to his frame of mind.

How un-DC of Colbert. I love this man.

*Yes- I know he's from South Carolina. I'm from Tennessee, by way of Oregon and California, but New Jersey has a tendency of pervading you, body and soul...I've only been here for seven years, but consider myself a true-blue New Jerseyan.

MAY 1 , 2006
NEW MEDIA, NEW IMAGES, MORE IN 48.

Folks- I've spent the past week assiduously avoiding the news and politics, and while tomorrow, I have to delve right back in, I'm enjoying my last few minutes of blissful ignorance.

ANY REPORTS FROM THE APRIL 29TH PROTESTS AGAINST THE WAR?

I hate to say, I was so swamped with work at home, that I couldn't make it. It truly sucked, as this was the first antiwar action I've missed, since the war started. I've heard reports of hundreds of thousands, but, as usual, the corporate media didn't mention it at all. Anyone who has details of the event should drop me a line, and fill me in.

BOOK PLUGS

Currently, I'm wading through about 908 pages:

The first 303 pages are from Bill Katovsky's "Patriots Act: Voices of dissent and the risk of speaking out"- a compendium of essays and interviews. So far, it's a great oral history of the travails of life during the age of the Bush bowl.

Another 262 pages are in the barely-skimmed "Bush on the couch", which looks to be an interesting read- a detailed psychoanalysis of the resident-in-chief by Justin A. Frank

The final 343 pages, "The Bu$h Agenda- Invading the world, one economy at a time." I have little to say, right now, about it, but the jacket reviews come from reliable sources.

Finally, I wanted to give mention to "Jesus was a Liberal", by Jerry Wilde. Books that address the hijacking of Christianity by the right wing are especially important, these days.

Now, before anyone accuses me of filling column inches with plugs in return for payola- such ain't the case- in all cases, all I get is a free copy of said book, and lemme tell you- I have no shortage of such, around here.

It's just that, in the days in which people spend five minutes skimming Kos and a few other sites (including this sorry cesspit), and feel they're getting a cohesive, holistic view of what's going on, I feel the spirit of Harlan Ellison entering me, because of the sheer shallowness of it all.

Do yourself a favor- go to your local bookstore, library, or go to Barnes and Noble, and find a book that interests you. Unplug for an hour a day, and just enjoy losing yourself in something that isn't instant. Take the time to read, learn, and measure, rather than indulging in the incestuous frame of mind that so pervades the internet.

More in 48.