Monday, December 31, 2007
My favorite Bushie jingle is the unbowdlerized version of the one Randi Rhodes uses:
"Oh, he's a lying sack of shit
He's a lying sack of shit.
He's a reeking, leaking, drooling, stumbling
Lying Sack of SHIT!"
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The reason I mention it is that it was 1) filmed in New Mexico, around Santa Fe, and so will be visually stunning and 2) my own, personal 15th film as a 'background artiste.' In the one up here, I portray a murderous, back-shooting frontiersman who participates in the Council House massacre. The Texans invited the Comanche in, under parley flags, to discuss the exchange of prisoners. Then the Texans surrounded the meeting tent, and shredded it with gun-fire, killing many Comanche leaders and setting the course for conflict for the next 25 years.
Among other characters, I'll also appear--if I do--as a townsman in Austin in several different costumes and scenes. Just about everyone in northern New Mexico with a sufficient display of facial hirsutitude (male and female) is in that show.
[Cross-posted on MyLeftWing.com]
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Doncha think that's a pretty amazing thing to let pass?
Pakistan is a god-blighted invention of post-War II/Soviet-containment real-politik, beset with anarchic/sectarian rebellion, a fascist dictatorship, and an authoritarian (at best) history. It's been like that for at least 50 of the 60 years of its existence. It was USer officialdom--beginning with Carter, but growing exponentially during the Raygun Reign--which either facilitated or, at least, turned a blind eye to Pakistani nuclear development, because, in the real-politik of the era, a nuclear Pakistan dependent upon the US for maintenance, not unlike Israel 2300 miles to the west, seen as a counterweight to China and Russia in the Central Asian region. It's a nuclear-armed state, 'governed' by a tribalist ontology the only regulation on which is a "western"-styled military. The only practical ofrm of government in Pakistan is a militzry dictatorship.
The kind of democracy that marks the regimes of Central Asia is not one that inspires trust. Pakistan's a "nation-of-convenience," composed and assembled out of fantastically disparate parts, with at LEAST 7 different "national languages." Call me crazy, but I don't think that's a place that should bave been provided with the wherewithal to create and deploy armageddon-style weaponry. You may regard me as a rampant neo-whatsoever, but it occurs to me that any expedient which keeps the militant, fundamentalist, tribal ontology at bay, out of power, and away from the Nukes, is OKAY with me.
Call me paranoid, but I don't trust the ISI (or ANY national "intelligence" service, our own included. It just amazes me to hear 'liberals' defending the CIA.)
On the domestic front, of course, any potentially mortal tensions in Pakistan--or eslewhere, world-wide, for that matter--is good for the Pukes' election prospects, because it contributes to their one and only campaign platform plank: fear, in all its permutations and ramifications. Anything that ramps up fear, that agitates the twitching masses' (un-nameable) anxieties, that amplifies the dread many Murkins feel subliminally from their carefully concealed complicity is "good" for authoritarians.
It is also 'good' for Mrs. C, who is the most authoritarian candidate of the soi-disant opposition Democrats. Additionally, imho, this significantly improves Bill Richardson's chances to become the first Latino/Hispano (read: 'latifundista') elected to national office in the USofA, as the running-mate of whomsoever the eventual Dim nominee turns out to be (likely, to me, still, Mrs. Clenis).
Friday, December 28, 2007
"When it comes to committee gavels, use it or lose it"
Posted December 28th, 2007 at 12:45 pm
If one were to list of all the reasons Joe Lieberman is spectacularly annoying, it’d take a while. There’s his support for the Bush/Cheney foreign policy; his broken promises from the 2006 campaign; his constant reinforcing of right-wing media frames; his support for GOP obstructionism; etc.Ed. note: "Annoying" don't put a patch on it. Try: despicable, treacherous, vile, repellant, disgusting, revolting...
While all of those are, to be sure, maddening, I’d put an entirely different problem at the top of the list: his wholesale negligence as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.(Ed Note: Under the circumstances, why anyone in the Dim leadership would have bought that line of putrescence bespeaks a singular absence of political olfactory competence on the part of Mr. Reid and the other party luminaries.
Brian Beutler has a great piece today on “The Year in Oversight,” and notes a point that doesn’t get emphasized nearly enough:There certainly have been gaffes, softballs, and missed opportunities. And the most obvious are found in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security — the Senate’s version of Rep. Henry Waxman’s Oversight Committee in the House. Unlike Waxman’s enthusiastic probing, the Senate chair conducted zero proactive investigations into Bush administration malfeasance. It’s chairman? Connecticut’s Joseph Lieberman.A year ago, seeking re-election, Lieberman said this committee was his top priority, and he was desperate to return to the Senate so he could wield the gavel. And now that he has the authority he sought, he’s decided not to conduct any real oversight of the administration at all.
He seems to have desperately sought a chairman’s gavel just for the sake of having it — Lieberman wanted power he had no intention of using.(There's more; follow the link)
I appreciate the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was in a bind before the 110th Congress began. Rumor has it, to keep Lieberman in the caucus, Reid had to give him the chairmanship.
But consequences have to matter. Instead of a Senate Committee on Government Affairs that functions as it should, Lieberman just treads water, using his gavel as a flotation device. It’s an embarrassing waste of what’s supposed to be the Senate’s watchdog committee.
I have been of the opinion since 2000 that Sen Dewlap has always been a GOP mole in the Dumbocrat party. In four campaigns, after unseating maverick GOPster Lowell Weicker, he NEVER had any serious challengers. In the state that was the very well-spring of the Bush family political fortunes. That suggests to me he was ALWAYS their stooge.
I STILL harbor the suspicion that he and John McStain will end up on a spoiler, UNITY '08 ticket. A lot of Raygun Dems like McStain, and if the Dim nominee were anybody but Shrillary, Dewlap captures a lot of the 'orthodox' Dim votes.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Police are reportedly investigating whether one or more of the young men mauled by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo may have taunted the animal before its deadly rampage, a possibility the father of one of the victims said Thursday he hoped wasn't true.I disagree. If the little shitwhistle was taunting the tiger, trying to prove for his buddies how tough he was (past tense, please), then he deserved what happened to him, in spades. Shoulda given the tiger a fucking medal...
"I don't think my son would do something like taunt animals," Carlos Sousa told ABC's "Good Morning America." "It's unbelievable, but only the evidence can prove that. And right now I can't say much."
His son, Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, was one of three men attacked by a Siberian tiger around closing time on Christmas. Police shot the 300-pound animal to death after it killed Sousa and severely mauled two brothers who also were visiting the zoo.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police found a shoe and blood in an area between the gate and the edge of the animal's 25- to 30-foot-wide moat, prompting the possibility that one of the victims dangled a leg or other body part over the edge of the moat.
Police on Thursday could not confirm the Chronicle's report to The Associated Press.
"I don't think this deserves to happen to anybody — taunting or not taunting," Carlos Sousa told ABC. "Animals should be protected from the people and the people should be protected from the animals."
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
So what we have arrived at here - and although the first shock wave of this arrival was in 1859, it's really the arrival of the computer that demonstrates it unarguably to us - is 'Is there really a Universe that is not designed from the top downwards but from the bottom upwards? Can complexity emerge from lower levels of simplicity?' It has always struck me as being bizarre that the idea of God as a creator was considered sufficient explanation for the complexity we see around us, because it simply doesn't explain where he came from. If we imagine a designer, that implies a design and that therefore each thing he designs or causes to be designed is a level simpler than him or her, then you have to ask 'What is the level above the designer?' There is one peculiar model of the Universe that has turtles all the way down, but here we have gods all the way up. It really isn't a very good answer, but a bottom-up solution, on the other hand, which rests on the incredibly powerful tautology of anything that happens, happens, clearly gives you a very simple and powerful answer that needs no other explanation whatsoever.Cosmologists and physicists and such know this from the ascending--not descending--levels of the complexities of elements, I would think, nest paw? Stars start with the really simple elements, the really low numbers on the periodic table. Everything, literally, builds on those. Thr model for reality is emergent, not depository. (What Friere knew, too, for my friends in 'education.')
(Excerpted from: In memoriam
Douglas Adams' speech at Digital Biota 2, Cambridge U.K., September 1998. Do yourself the favor of reading all of it. A Festivus present for your brain.)
To Obama, liberals are too strident. We are divisive. We are not willing to compromise with those who've destroyed this country. He does not see us as his allies. He sees us as the enemy and attempts to dig up dirt on liberal bloggers. He will do everything possible to marginalize us if he is elected president. (Ed. Note: How do you 'compromise' with people who want you dead? I really wanna know! Do you promise to die the NEXT time, if they let ya go this time?)A-fucking-MEN!
Time and time again, Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she represents the corporate wing of our party--she will represent the owners in our burgeoning ownership society. She surrounds herself with the worst our party has to offer, people like Chris Lehane, who was recently hired to break the writers strike; Lanny Davis, who called Markos Molitas an anti-semite because of what a single commenter wrote about Joe Lieberman; and Mark Penn whose company represents Blackwater and cites union busting as one of its specialties. When asked to release Penn because of his union busting and Blackwater work, Clinton refused. Her refusal shows where her loyalties lie.((Ed Note: Fucking DUH!)
Sure they talk a good game. Both said they supported Chris Dodd's filibuster of the FISA Bill, but were absent on the critical day. (Ed Note: WTF, did they think nobody'd notice? FUCKING PUNKS!) Both say they want to bring back the troops as quickly as possible (which is in a decade if you look closely at their actual plans). Clinton has never voted against major Iraq funding legislation and there are few people in government who are more hawkish on Iran than she is. (Ed. Note: Only her good buddy, the feculent loser/AIPAC clone, Lie-berman, may surpass her zeal for war.)
A Clinton or Obama presidency, although preferable to a Republican one, will set liberals back even further, Obama's need to compromise and Clintons fealty to the corporatists will only institutionalize the worst of the Bush Era abuses, resulting in further values creep.
I will never consume another shrimp again.
And I will act--as I am acting now--to try to convince others to quit 'em, too.
Go to NPR.
"...Photos helped convince government officials to ban fishing near a few of the reefs. Unfortunately all the other reefs were vulnerable to shrimp trawlers that dragged giant nets with steel doors on them through the fragile coral forests.No person alive today will live long enough to see the restoration of these magnificent, necessary structures. Nothing about the "product" shrimp is worth the gratuitous and wholesale devastation of this vital ecosystem that 'harvesting' them requires. Nothing. Not fisherfolks' jobs, not expensive menus, NOTHING!
"One pass would destroy several thousand years' worth of growth," said Reed.
NOBODY "needs" to eat shrimp. Nobody should be buying this shit. Nobody.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
* A step backwards for union workers’ right to organize: “The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers have the right to prohibit workers from using the company’s e-mail system to send out union-related messages, a decision that could hamper communications between labor unions and their membership. In a 3-to-2 ruling released on Friday, the board held that it was legal for employers to prohibit union-related e-mail so long as employers had a policy barring employees from sending e-mail for “non-job-related solicitations” for outside organizations. The ruling is a significant setback to the nation’s labor unions, which argued that e-mail systems have become a modern-day gathering place where employees should be able to communicate freely with co-workers to discuss work-related matters of mutual concern.”Anyone expecting any different behavior from the NLRB under Mrs. C, or Obama--both of whom are bought-and-paid-for by Big Bidness--is delusional.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Interestingly, if you ask 'em, most advertizing 'professionals' (at least publically) EMPHATICALLY reject the idea that they engage in anything so tawdry as 'propaganda.' I got more or less drummed out of the journalism teaching /bidness/ cuz I wasn't fooled and wouldn't shut up.
And besides, everybody knows Murkins don't think they are effected by advertizing, either. Like kelp isn't effected by the tide. Right...Cuz if you think there is a difference between a Dodge and a Ford, they're laughing at your fatuous ass in Dearborn and in Manhattan; you've been SOLD, dumb-ass. There is a difference between a Ford and a sea-bass. There is no difference between a Ford and a Dodge. A fucking pickup truck or a sedan is a fucking truck or a sedan, no matter the label/marque that's attached to the engine bonnet.
Now that's out of the way, on to pertinent stuff.
On The Pond today I have posted a poll in honor of the weaknesses betrayed over this last year by some(many/most) of those paragons of athletic virtue who occupy so much of our national attention. The question is "Would you "dope" for success?"
If you want to answer, or chirp, or chide, please do...
Can blogger make a poll? I dunno, and I'm not nerdy enough to wanna find out. If you want answer without actually texting a message, it's up on My Left Wing, too, if ya actually wanna "vote."
There's also a post on a very alarming story I heard on NPR this morning, regarding the "unforeseen"--i.e., "nobody could have EVER predicted"-- increase in the decay of the Greenland Ice shee-itt! Cheerful thoughts to tide you through the avalanche of smarm that attends this celebration more and more every year. In recent days I have also remarked on CIGNA, TSA, and the eagerness with which putatively 'Democratic' presidential candidates announce their desires to incorporate (suitably repentant?) GOPukes into their prospective cabinets. I have also ventured a precis on why I believe Obama won't be the next President of the USofA.
Over on the Lamb, I have put my X-mas present to all my friends who are admirers, from their varied perspectives, of the nude and semi-nude female human form. The cheesecake is legitimized (to the extent that it needs to be) by it's contribution to a fairly quick exposition on the relation of "propaganda" to the political and other sensibilities of many (most) Murkins. Boobs and buttocks...and trucks, the usual stuff.
The previous post is yet another cautionary tale, this one about the apparent willingness, even eagerness of the Israelis to attack Iran to prevent the Iranians from challenging Israeli nuclear hegemony in oil-states of southwestern Asia. Previously, there's a clever vid about the (vain, naturally) efforts of "Santa" and his "Elf" to deliver copies of the Constitution to the White House. None of the Praetorians even cracks a smile. Prior to that, I engaged in a soliloquy on the "purpose" of "Science," which arose in a comments section exchange about Foucault. Courtesy of Eli, there's a new Mr. Deity episode, too. That 'show,' now in it's second 'season,' is one of the very smartest of its kind.
I haven't been as busy on The Guitar, for reasons of which even I am not clear. But, in keeping with the holiday spirit, there are a couple of tuneful, antic seasonal reminders. Not safe for work/kids, probably, but very little is anymore. In addition there's the usual eclectic mix of music and spoken vids. Also recently I put up my favorite Kenneth Patchen poem: As We Are So Wonderfully Done With Each Other
Possibly you're asking yourselves what may be the meaning of this sudden (and unwonted?) resumption of these (occasionally objectionable) missives? Why did they stop? Why did they EVER start?
All good questions. The last is the easiest. They started in an effort to boost traffic on my blog. This I endeavor to do because I want an audience. I'm a horrible show-off. I have never stood too close to the cnter of attention. With my abrupt termination as a commentator on some other blogs, I found my appetite unassuaged, and settled on this expedient to try to drum up a few more colloquists and interlocutors.
Why, once they started, did I then cease them? More complicated. What happened was, sometime in the summer, I started getting clouds of hits from google searches for one particular image which I had posted--the carcases of the 4 Blackwater mercs hanging like sides of meat from the bridge in Fallujah. Those hits came in waves, and the surfers never stayed longer than a second or two. Sometimes there would be hundreds of them over just a few days. Lately there have been almost none. I wondered if it might have been the object of some internet treasure hunt. Dunno. Anyway, it distracted me (lately, I have the attention span of a hummingbird). Anyway, hits are hits. and I kinda got out of the habit.
Then, the third question: Why resume 'em? Well, believe it or not, there have been a few folks write to remark they were astonished to remark on missing them. I know, I was stunned. But I resoned, if there were a few who admitted to it, there were probably a few more who were silently battling their withdrawal.
So--will ye, nil ye--I have resolved to resume the distribution of these notices, probably only 5 days per week, beginning today.
And so, I leave you today with my favorite festive salutation: JOLLY HOLIDAYS! to one and to all.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
"I came back from a trip to Israel in November convinced that Israel would attack Iran," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and senior adviser to three US presidents, George W. Bush among them, told the American Newsweek magazine in an article published Friday. Citing conversations he had in Israel with officials in Mossad and the Israeli defense establishment, Riedel concluded that "Israel is not going to allow its nuclear monopoly to be threatened."Repeating: "Citing conversations he had in Israel with officials in Mossad and the Israeli defense establishment, Riedel concluded that "Israel is not going to allow its nuclear monopoly to be threatened...This [the NIE] makes it [a strike on Iran] even more likely.
...While some US experts doubt Israel's ability to tackle Iran alone, David Albright, of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, was quoted by Newsweek as saying that although information on the exact location of Iran's nuclear facility is incomplete, Israel's air strike on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility on September 6, widely discussed in foreign media outlets, could be seen as a test run for any future strike on Iran's facilities, as well as a direct warning to Teheran.
Riedel told the magazine his impression that Israel would venture a strike on Iran on its own was formed before the publication of the joint US intelligence agencies' report, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). "This [the NIE] makes it [a strike on Iran] even more likely," he said.
Well, really: Ka-BLAMMO!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
She was really sick.
But she had insurance.
But the insurance company (CIGNA) said her illness was too complicated (read: "Expensive").
So they denied her the procedure.
But the story got out.
CIGNA backed down and finally, evntually authorized the procedure.
And Natalie died.
But the CIGNA CEO made $20 MILLION in salary last year.
That Foucault said it is in and of itself not warrant to believe it, without the evidence of your own experience. the relevance of the observation stems from its (uncomfortable, to some) truth-to-life.
'Human' science disappeared into 'social engineering' without a ripple. The wholesale surveillance state has been a "Liberal" dream since Bentham. Its genius being that since, in the perfect Panopticon, one might be at ANY time under observation, one NEVER knows when one is under observation, and so constrains one's behavior to conform to the expectations of the watchers whether they be watching or not. The inclination of the State to perfect the Panopticon is undeniable, and virtually every apparently democratizing tool developed in the culture of the State always already is designed for use by the State to observe, and thereby to enforce discipline upon, the unruly, untrustworthy, unreliable populace.
Agreement with the main point is not necessary, since experience indicates that this is indeed the direction in which society and culture are 'developing' (it can scarcely be called 'progress'), and that this impetus is exaggerated, not impeded, by the practitioners of the "human sciences," their apoligists and philosophers as well...
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Via Wiki-Leaks: Lecture on torture techniques by Dr. Larry Forness of the American Military University. The document explains the rationale behind torturing prisoners, torture methods, and a justification for ignoring international law. Forness advocates the injection of truth serums, threatening to inject Muslim prisoners with pigs' blood, and torturing detainees' friends and family.That explains it. We don't have the 'humint' element, so we have to do the next best thing: torture captives into becoming our 'humint'.
The American Military University teaches courses primarily to US military and associated personnel. Forness, in his faculty biography states "Dr. Larry Forness is a former United States Marine, with expertise in intelligence and unconventional warfare. He provides consulting services to various units of the U.S. Military. He has also worked with special units of our allies, particularly Israel and South Korea."Forness says: "When Israel suffers a terrorist attack, almost invariably they retaliate within 24 hours. The reason that they can do this is that they have the world's best human intelligence (humint), and they know how to interrogate people. Their intelligence is so good and they keep it so current that they know who has attacked them, and they already have plans in existence for retaliation. Their humint sources are not just Israelis, but actual members of the society on which they are spying. They use humint and supplement it by signal intelligence (sigint). We do it just ass-backwards, because we CAN'T do it the way the Israeli's do it -- we simply do not have enough people on the ground. It takes $500,000-1,000,000 and 3-5 years to train and put in place a good humint source (assume this is an American hired by, say, the CIA, to try and infiltrate some terrorist group). NOTHING that is going on at present can quickly change this equation or situation. Forget the hearings, the posturing, the proposals, the realignments, the debate. It's all based on the INCORRECT assumption that we already have the tools, they just need to be rearranged. We do NOT have all the tools and no flow chart or organization chart can change that.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Pretty big story back about 10 months ago.
But there are SO MANY scandals. It is hard to keep them all straight. And new ones every day. Bill Moyers and Keith Olbermann were schmoozing on that topic the other night, on Bill Moyers' Journal. Olbermann said there were so many Bush/GOP scandals that the People needed a score-card to keep track of them. So he--Olberman--had started a nightly "where are they now?" segment to his show to remind people of what the news of the day was obscuring. He--Olbermann--said that's what 'journalists' were (FUCKING!) supposed to do.
Olberman noted how, for example, the story of the destruction of the CIA tapes just about totally eclipsed serious coverage or editorial concern over the NIE on Iran, or why it took 10 months for it to be released. (In fact, iirc, it's possible the Walter Reid story drove the "impending NIE delay" story out of the headlines.()
But anyway, there is still an enduring story about the Bush cabal's cavalier attitudes regarding the care and repairing of soldiers injured in their fascistic war-games. First they were reclaiming pro-rata pieces of re-enlistment bonuses paid to soldiers who were subsequently wounded so badly they couldn't return to duty. It took a fucking act of Congress to stop that one. It is universally understood among veterans thqat the VA saves money by denying claims, especially for PTSD, which allegedly is easy to counterfeit. The brass ALWAYS suspects victims of shell shock/combat fatigue/ptsd of malingering or gold-bricking.
But the toll of injury exacts on returning vets is staggering: violence, addiction, suicide, homelessness, psychoses. And the Bushevik VA want to ignore it. This chart from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is chilling:
(I'd like to think he'd have done the same thing if he'd been in second, not second-last, place in the polls. Me? Yeah, I'm a rough crowd, amigo...)
Monday, December 17, 2007
It will NEVER get 'better' unless you are Seymour Rotstein or Rupert Murdoch, or the Disney CEO...
Who is "Seymour Rotstein?" Well, he's better know by his nom d'goy: "Sumner Redstone."
Consolidation is the inexorable trajectory of media development from now on, forever. It's never going back to the palmier days of individual ownership in individual markets.
The Pukes are all already in the consolidation camp.
Mrs. C is ALREADY owned body & soul by Murdoch's chain, and Obama can be bought easily and cheaply. Edwards could/might try to resist it, but of course, resistance will be futile, and because he might, his cances of being selected are vanishingly small...It's just one of the many 'strikes' against him among the elites.
But I would be surprised if the issue ever saw the light of day in this campaign.
Everybody remembers Howard Dean in '04. He was winning: took Iowa, was ahead in NH, and threatening in SC. He had net-roots, and passion, and a machine...
But then he appeared on (Hardball? iirc), and said that, if elected, he would look into restraining--perhaps even reversing--media consolidation. That was it, was all it took. That night, the coverage of the Scream began, and in never subsided. By the end of two weeks, his campaign was in shambles. And Seymour Rotstein was gloating.
What is needed is a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting the ownership of MORE than ONE media outlet of ANY kind by any one individual, partnership or corporate entity. Nothing short of that will solve the problem.
And that will NEVER happen. Never happen: Geschehen Sie nie. Nooit gebeur. Ne vous produisez jamais. Μην συμβείτε ποτέ. Non accada mai. Nunca aconteça. Никогда не случайтесь. You get the picture...
You might have noticed about the Viacoms, the GEs the Disneys? They never lose. Check w/the OTHER Clinton, in 1996. You know that. They have all the fucking money and pols they need to obstruct ANY effort to roll back consolidation. They've been working on building their empires for almost 30 years. They won't quit, and they won't back down. They've won. The Institutional State Apparati have BECOME the State.
Gay-Ron-fuckin' TEED, chers.
The Media Will NEVER Again Be LESS Consolidated Than They Are Today
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The chances are slim that you saw much news coverage of Human Rights Day when it blew past the media radar — as usual — on Dec. 10. Human rights may be touted as a treasured principle in the United States, but the assessed value in medialand is apt to fluctuate widely on the basis of double standards and narrow definitions.
Every political system, no matter how repressive or democratic, is able to amp up public outrage over real or imagined violations of human rights. News media can easily fixate on stories of faraway injustice and cruelty. But the lofty stances end up as posturing to the extent that a single standard is not applied.
When U.S.-allied governments torture political prisoners, the likelihood of U.S. media scrutiny is much lower than the probability of media righteousness against governments reviled by official Washington.
On September 20, 2001, before a joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush declared, "Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there.... Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."No one, of course, could have predicted it would work out that way, could they?
As it turned out, those fateful words ushered in not a concerted worldwide campaign against militant fundamentalism but a wave of repression felt around the globe. Instead of being a standard-bearer for human rights and civil liberties, the United States lowered the bar, creating secret prisons or "black sites," erecting Guantánamo, rationalizing torture and curtailing civil liberties at home.
The US-fashioned "global war on terror" (GWOT) was then replicated in country after country, adapting to local circumstances to provide rhetorical refuge for tyrants and forsaking democratic principles. As the articles that follow show, the "war on terror" has been invoked to arrest and torture pro-democracy activists in Egypt, round up street vendors and protesters in El Salvador, rationalize politically motivated assassinations in the Philippines, jail bloggers and censor websites in Thailand and condone military dictatorship in Pakistan.
The criminalization of dissent is not new to these places, and it does not always reflect US intervention or security interests. But the "war on terror" is a new paradigm, and it has proven remarkably versatile and severely damaging. While purporting to protect democracy against its enemies, the "war on terror" has become one of them.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Posted on December 11, 2007, Printed on December 11, 2007
Fewer than one percent of Americans are millionaires, but almost one in three believe they'll end up among that group at some point.(Ed.: delusional/propagandized White Americans persist in believing their race provides them no inherent advantage in life, too, and that their successes, such as they are, are the result solely of their efforts and 'some luck.')The belief that our chance of moving up the economic ladder is limited only by our innate abilities and our appetite for hard work is almost universal in the United States. When you define the "American Dream" as the ability of working-class families to afford a decent life -- to put their kids through school, have access to quality healthcare and a secure retirement -- most will tell you it simply doesn't exist anymore. (Ed.: This is a crucial distinction, between the hard realities of post-industrial survival, to say nothing of comfort, in the metrics outlined above, compared with the 'pie-in-the-sky' manifested in what follows:In stark contrast, when you define it according to mobility, the picture is radically different; according to a study of public opinion in 25 rich countries, Americans are almost twice as likely to believe that "people get rewarded for intelligence and skill" than working people in other advanced economies (PDF). At the same time, fewer than one in five say that coming from a wealthy family is "essential" or "very important" to getting ahead -- significantly lower than the 25-country average.
It's impossible to overstate the impact that has on our policy debates. Americans are less than half as likely as people in other advanced economies to believe that it's "the responsibility of government to reduce differences in income." Working Americans are parties to a unique social contract: They give up much of the economic security that citizens of other wealthy countries take for granted in exchange for a more "dynamic," meritorious economy that offers opportunity that's limited only by their own desire to get ahead. Of course, it's never explicitly stated, and most of us don't know about the deal, but it's reinforced all the time in our economic discourse.(Ed.: Propaganda Here, tread carefully. "They
But new research suggests the United States' much-ballyhooed upward mobility is a myth, and one that's slipping further from reality with each new generation. On average, younger Americans are not doing better than their parents did, it's harder to move up the economic ladder in the United States than it is in a number of other wealthy countries, and a person in today's work force is as likely to experience downward mobility as he or she is to move up.Talk about something you're never gonna see on the Tube.
Moreover, the single greatest predictor of how much an American will earn is how much their parents make. In short, the United States, contrary to popular belief, is not a true meritocracy, and the American worker is getting a bum deal, the worst of both worlds. Not only is a significant portion of the middle class hanging on by the narrowest of threads, not only do fewer working people have secure retirements to look forward to, not only are nearly one in seven Americans uninsured, but working people also enjoy less opportunity to pull themselves up by their bootstraps than those in a number of other advanced economies.
Justice Dept.: Back off on CIA tapes
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer (12 minutes ago)
WASHINGTON - The controversy over destroyed CIA interrogation tapes is shaping up as a turf battle involving the courts, Congress and the White House, with the Bush administration telling its constitutional coequals to stay out of the investigation.Hey Cisco?! I don' like de luke o'dees? Mukasey has offered no clue, no hint, no suggestion of actual character in his confirmation hearing. I reckon we'll soon learn whether, like virtually every other nominee for any position in this feculent, putrid, reeking, shit-drenched Regime for at least the last 6 years, the Attorney General lied to Congress to gain its Consent and confirmation.
The Justice Department says it needs time and the freedom to probe the destruction of hundreds of hours of recordings of two suspected terrorists. After Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused congressional demands for information Friday, the Justice Department filed late-night court documents urging a federal judge not to begin his own inquiry.
The administration argued it was not obligated to preserve the videotapes and told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about them "could potentially complicate the ongoing efforts to arrive at a full factual understanding of the matter."
The documents represent the first time the government has addressed the issue in court. In the papers, acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey S. Bucholtz said Kennedy lacked jurisdiction and he expressed concern that the judge might order CIA officials to testify.
Congressional inquiries and criminal investigations frequently overlap and it is not uncommon for the Justice Department to ask lawmakers to ease off. The request for the court to stand down is more unusual. Judges take seriously even the suggestion that evidence was destroyed, but they also are reluctant to wade into political debates.
Legal experts say it will be up to Mukasey, a former judge who was only recently took over as the nation's chief law enforcer, to reassure Congress and the courts during his first high-profile test.
"We're going to find out if the trust Congress put in Attorney General Mukasey was well placed," said Pepperdine Law professor Douglas W. Kmiec, who served in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration. "It's hard to know on the surface whether this is obstruction or an advancement of a legitimate inquiry."
Me? My money's on "Yep, he's another lying motherfucker." 3-to-1 odds.
"The people who control Institutions care first and foremost about their Power within the Institution rather than the Power of the Institution itself. Thus, they would rather the Institution "fail" while they retain Power within the Institution, than for the Institution to "succeed" if 'succeeding" meant they might lose Power within the Institution."(Courtesy of Jon Schwarz, A Tiny Revolution dot com)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Somebody who is sympathetic to the sophisticated workings of the Congress is gonna hafta explain to me how this is in the political interests of opposing the continued desolation and despoliation of the principles that have provided such an inspiration to so many for so many years and returning oversight to Regime intrusions...
This is gonna take som' serious 'splainin', Lucy! (By Greenwald, via Hecate:
The summarized version is that there were two competing bills which Reid could have brought to the floor -- the Senate Intelligence Committee version engineered by Jay Rockefeller and Dick Cheney which gives the administration most of what it wants, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which does not contain telecom amnesty and contains far more extensive oversight protections. Reid could have brought the bill to the floor using whatever process he wanted, and he has decided -- contrary to weeks of assurances -- that the SIC bill will serve as the "base" bill, meaning that improving it (by removing amnesty and increasing oversight) will require 60 votes, rendering such efforts virtually impossible. In doing so, Reid is brazenly ignoring the demands of 14 Senators -- including all of the Democratic presidential candidates -- to have the Judiciary Committee bill be the base bill.Some-fuckin-body wanna tell me me again why Harry Reid is Leader?!?
Worse still, Reid is completely disregarding the "hold" placed by Chris Dodd on any amnesty bill -- simply refusing to honor it, even as he respectfully honors literally scores of "holds" from GOP Senators such as Tom Coburn. And while Dodd is interrupting his campaigning to fly to Washington to lead the filibuster he vowed, Reid has ensured with scheduling manuevers that the filibuster will take place only over the weekend -- when all of the members are away raising money anyway and journalists aren't paying attention -- with the intent to try to force cloture once everyone returns on Monday.
Question: He can NOT NOT KNOW!?!?
Answer: Is that a question?
The criticism isn't that Harry Reid is being insufficiently aggressive in opposing the White House. It's that he's doing what he can to support the White House, serving as their key ally. I suppose one option is to cheer on Democrats anyway, no matter what they do. But I can't understand how anyone who actually believes in anything other than partisan power for its own sake would consider that option to be an attractive one.Stoller writes: "Progressives have no leverage with Reid whatsoever. Though I know little about Nevada politics, I wonder if Reid could possibly get a primary challenge in 2010. He's not liked in the state.
Fewer than half of Nevada voters rated Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid favorably in a newspaper poll, with just 41 percent giving both Reid and Republican Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons good or excellent ratings....Sixteen percent rated Reid's job performance as fair and 42 rated it poor.The Dems in the Senate are led by someone who not only does NOT want to impede the Bushevik rush to fascism, he's actively abetting the fascist GOPhux. Can we get some tar and feathers over here please?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Okay, now kids, ONE MORE TIME:
Oh He's A Lying Sack Of Shit, Yes He's a Lying Sack of Shit. The Rev. Mike's a Raving, Stupid, Crazy, Wacko LYING SACK OF SHIT!!!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It was the day after the guys in Alpha Company got slaughtered in a Bradley when a 500-lb IED blew up under it...
Just like had happened to four guys in Charlie Company, about three months before.
So, after they heard about Alpha Company, and when they realized it could--it SHOULD--have been them, instead, when the next orders came to take a patrol, they refused. "Not us. We're not going."
It's an excruciating story.
From The Army Times.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Israeli tanks, bulldozers move into Gaza
By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 40 minutes ago
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip - Israeli tanks and bulldozers backed by attack aircraft moved into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing four militants in the widest operation in the territory since Islamic Hamas forces wrested control in June.If you're Palestinian, and you're dead in Gaza, then you're a militant.
The violence took place on the eve of the first formal peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians since early 2001.
The Israeli military described it as a routine operation "against the terror infrastructure" in Gaza. Palestinian officials accused Israel of trying to sabotage the peace talks. (Accompanied by a photo of a tank seen in the distance, amid rubble.)
In Tuesday's operation, tanks and bulldozers pushed about a mile into southern Gaza on the main road between the towns of Khan Younis and Rafah, and deployed over a 2.5 mile-stretch of territory.
Residents and Hamas security forces said at least 30 tanks and bulldozers took part in the operation, but the military said 10 tanks were sent in.
Since the Hamas takeover, Israel has carried out frequent airstrikes and ground incursions into Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli border communities. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group and holds it responsible for all attacks launched from Gaza.
At the same time, Israel has been pursuing a peace agreement with the rival Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.
Among Israel's targets Tuesday was a multistory building that suffered heavy damage. Amid the rubble, at least two militants lay dead, including one man whose body was torn in half by a blast.
As rescuers pulled the bodies away, two Israeli shells struck the building seconds apart, sending people scrambling for cover. The body of a third man lay motionless after the blast.
The incident was filmed by Associated Press Television News. An AP cameraman and several other journalists at the scene suffered minor injuries and shock.
For some reason, I think the calm rhetoric would be quite different, and the photo illustration would be far more provocative if the story-- instead of reporting this Israeli escalation of violence in Gaza--were reporting a Palestinian suicide bombing which killed four Israelis at a check-point, don't you?
Monday, December 10, 2007
I suspect this means that Israel will attack Iran and rely on the US to intervene to prevent or to mitigate, somehow, the inevitable blowback.
Dec 9, 2007 8:32 | Updated Dec 9, 2007 11:08
Prosor: War with Iran may be unavoidableBy JPOST.COM STAFF
It must be clear that if Iran does not cooperate with the West on the nuclear issue, confrontation will be unavoidable, incoming Israeli ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, was quoted as saying Sunday.
Prosor, who served as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's senior adviser on Iran, told the Sunday Telegraph that Teheran could enrich enough uranium to make an atomic bomb by 2009.
"At the current rate of progress Iran will reach the technical threshold for producing fissile material by 2009," he told the British newspaper. "This is a global threat and it requires a global response. It should be made clear that if Iran does not co-operate then military confrontation is inevitable. It is either co-operation or confrontation."
Prosor went on to say that the Iranians would soon be able to fully control all the elements of enrichment and from that point on, it would only be a matter of time before they had a nuclear weapon.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Predictably, they're going on about how, if EVERYBODY were carrying a weapon, events like those in Omaha--and Blacksburg, Va, etc.--either 1) wouldn't happen at all or 2) would end sooner, with less injury/loss of life.
But I don't buy it.
I mean, I trust ME to carry a loaded weapon. But I do NOT trust ANY of "you."
Not ONE of "y'all."
Not a fuukin' lick.
Friday, December 7, 2007
GOP Senate Leader McConnell Appears To Belittle Deaths Of American Troops
By Greg Sargent - December 7, 2007, 10:17AM
Uh oh -- looks like GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has got a problem on his hands. Check out what he said about the death of American troops in Iraq in a meeting with constituents this week, according to Kentucky's Grayson County News-Gazette:It will come as no surprise that McConnell declined to participate in his (our) generation's war to spread USer-style, world-wide democracy.“Unfortunately, most of our friends on the other isle are having a hard time admitting things are getting better; some days I almost think the critics of this war don't want us to win. Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers."It's hard to read this as anything but belittling the importance of the deaths of troops because they're "professional soldiers." What McConnell is basically saying here is, "hey, they signed up for this."
Maybe someone should get clarification from McConnell on this.
I, of course, being a peaceful and rational man, would never advocate inflicting violence on an elected official, especially one so prominent as the Senate's Minority Leader...But I would not EVER convict any Veteran who took her or his prosthetic limb--or the femur of a deceased 'buddy'--and beat that gutless, smirking, simpering, prissy-lipped, feculent fucker McConnell to death with it.
by: Con Coughlin and David SangerWhat's "tail wags dog" in Hebrew?
December 7, 2007ISRAEL has warned Iran to either co-operate with the West over its uranium enrichment program or face military action.
Ron Prosor, Israel's newly appointed ambassador to Britain and one of his country's leading experts on Iran's nuclear program, said that Tehran could enrich enough uranium to make an atomic bomb by 2009.
"At the current rate of progress, Iran will reach the technical threshold for producing fissile material by 2009," he said.
"This is a global threat and it requires a global response.
"It should be made clear that if Iran does not co-operate, then military confrontation is inevitable. It is either co-operation or confrontation."
Mr Prosor, who served Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, as his senior adviser on Iran, said that time for resolving the nuclear issue was rapidly running out. But he was non-committal about the possibility of Israel launching military action.
"There needs to be full verification of what is happening in Iran," Mr Prosor said. "In Israel (read: Mossad?), there is a belief that the Iranians are continuing with their nuclear weapons program."
Mr Prosor spoke after Washington published its latest National Intelligence Assessment, compiled by the main US security agencies, which concluded that Iran had frozen its nuclear weapons program four years ago.
US intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes several months ago from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program, senior intelligence and government officials said. (This was unacceptable to the Zionist Fascists in Tel Aviv.)
The notes included conversations and deliberations in which some of the military officials complained bitterly about what they termed a decision by their superiors in late 2003 to shut down a complex engineering effort to design nuclear weapons, including a warhead that could fit atop Iranian missiles.
The newly obtained notes contradicted public assertions by US intelligence officials that the nuclear weapons design effort was still active.
But according to the intelligence and government officials, they give no hint of why Iran's leadership decided to halt the covert effort. Ultimately, the notes and deliberations were corroborated by other intelligence, the officials said, including intercepted conversations among Iranian officials, collected in recent months.
It is not clear if those conversations involved the same officers and others whose deliberations were recounted in the notes, or if they included their superiors.
(Emphases added; there's another page, on the jump.)
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Yesterday I put up a (mainly c&p) piece on the pardon then-Gov Huckabee sought for a convicted rapist, and the information he apparently ignored to pursue that course, in order to placate a fundamentalist leader of a huge Arkansas congregation. The piece drew a lot of search-engine hits. Read it here.
Today I am putting up just the headline/search words that drew a all those google-hits, to see if that is enough to draw traffic.
If this works, I'm going to put at least one of the terms in every subsequent hed.
Filed under: Democrats, Iraq, Middle East, United States —
Michael van der Galien on @ 8:40 pm
The Politico reports that, slowly but surely, Democrats are backing away from their demands for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Instead they now focus on relatively non-binding benchmarks on political progress.An outfit called PoliGazette-dot-com has this story, and draws together some other pertinent threads.
Each day lately, Democrats inch closer to giving President Bush more money for the war in Iraq without any serious mandates for withdrawing U.S. troops.
Democratic leaders are loath to acknowledge they’ve backed off, but lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, as well as congressional aides, say Democrats are trying to find a way to provide continued troop funding while searching for some compromises that show they’re still intent on challenging the president on the war.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Let us start with the most crucial point. The reaction from all quarters to the NIE relies on several interrelated central assumptions, ones that are regarded as so unquestionably true that no one thinks they need to be stated: that major policy decisions, including decisions of war and peace, are based on intelligence in the first place; that a decision to go to war is one made only after cool and careful rational deliberation; and that nations go to war for the reasons they announce to the world.Arthur Silber is not for those easily distracted. He requires the payment of attention. His prose is dense, self-referential, but seldom oblique. And absolutely necessary for anything like a comprehensive outlook on the 'realities' of contemporary political life.
ALL OF THIS IS ABSOLUTELY, UNEQUIVOCALLY FALSE.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
They have money and time and motivation. Motivation comes from the fact that they've spent the past 80 years, and countless trillions of dollars to corner the market in ideas, and they're not gonna let some electronic johnnie-come-lately horn in without they've got sumpin to say about it.
I do not doubt for a single moment that they will succeed.
They'll do it the way the fascists do everything in this country: a cocktail of bribery and intimidation.
The bribery will come in the form of tangible trade-offs--lower prices if you let us track ALL your virtual travels, i.e., they way they do at supermarkets--which most citizens will accept because they have no interest in nor knowledge of the empowerment the Web represents.
The intimidation will come in the form of 'official' regulation on the content, probably by forcing ISPs to impose 'libel' bonds on anyone who uses their service to post personal opinions about matters of public importance naming any names.
The Web as we know it will not survive the 2012 election cycle, especially if it seems/appears to be as influential as it seemed to be in '06. There is NO FUCKING WAY the bosses are--even CAN--let that stand unmolested.
The only thing yet to be decided about the forthcoming 'election' is the size of the right-wing 'victory.'
It all depends on what the corporatist elites have decided they want to have happen.
Do they want to destroy the Democrat 'party' once and for all?
Simple. It will be at least 30 years before all the malign effects of the last 8 years will be even partially erased. No Dim will have the Congressional votes to do anything anyway. So, you put in a Hillary (or even Obama, or Edwards; any Dim will do, really, because the problems spawned by almost a decade of GWB are wholly intractable without a general reorganization of the whole political culture, and that is NOT gonna happen) and let them fail--as they inevitably must--to clean up the mess the Bush crime family has left behind. The GOPhascists then swarm around in four years (or sooner, if they can pin the Vince Foster murder on Hill, the madrassas on Obama, or the poor on Edwards) to regain and consolidate power.
Or do they want to cement the GOPuke presidency, and simply IGNORE all the damage the Busheviks have done, by submerging them in a future that mimics, and expands upon what has already been done? Any Puke candidate can do that.
I plan to campaign against the whole rotten edifice. I may or I may not 'vote,' since it a) doesn't matter, b) won't count and c) merely ratifies the sleazy system.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sweet fucking Christ, this piece'o'shit has more public lives than Ceasar's fucking cat. Like the turd in the toilet bowl that just will NOT flush.
Paul Wolfowitz, the creepiest, sleaziest, spit-comber in history, has been brought back to the public trough by none other than that gap-toothed, talentless, shrieking harridan, Condi "Kindasleezy" Rice, to direct a major, international "anti-terrorism" board within the State Dept.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
What needs to happen next is that Karl Rove get the lying shit beaten out of him. Some body needs to corner the twisted little twerp and open up a six-pack of Kick-Ass all over his pudgy butt. He needs to be beaten til his knees collapse and he shits himself while crawling away, weeping in his shame and humiliation.
I am, of course, not advocating such a thing; i would NEVER call for harm to befall a fellow human being, particularly a (former) public official. I am merely remarking: cosmically, karmically, it needs to happen. Some balance needs to be restored. Karl Rove sobbing piteously in his shit-sodden pants would be a good first step.