Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- I killed JFK (I know I wasn't born yet, but I'm pretty sure I influenced the guy who did the actual shooting). Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley as well.
- I killed MLK. Malcolm X too.
- I killed RFK.
- Shot the Pope, Killed Ghandi.
- I was the mastermind of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.
- Keeping Monica's blue dress was my idea.
- New Coke.
- S&L scandal.
- I shot Archduke Ferndinand (thereby igniting WWI).
- I introduced Cocaine to America and am currently funding all the underground meth labs in the US.
- Breaking into DNC headquarters at the Waterage hotel, my idea.
- Enron, all me.
- I outed Valerie Plame.
- I was the behind the failed attempt to get the US to convert to the Metric system.
- The USFL.
- Calculus (I'm particularly sorry about that one).
- The vast right wing conspiracy.
- George W. Bush (Don't tell his Dad, I promised Barbara that I keep this one secret).
The fact that the administration decided to start a pre emptive war against a sovereign nation that had not taken a single aggressive step toward us was not bad enough. They then decided to turn themselves into international criminals by ignoring the UN treaty which the United States signed, which strictly forbids torture of prisoners. In fact the treaty makes it clear that anyone who sanctions torture or commits torture is guilty of a criminal act. Trying to change the definition of what torture is, does not change the reality of what you are doing. To have our government sanction the inhumane and barbaric treatment of human beings is a crime. The words of the then Attorney General, John Ashcroft will echo through time, "History will not judge this kindly". No shit Sherlock.
They accuse Obama of not being a tough candidate because he refuses to engage in the type of tactics that Clinton has. But for some reason they fail to realize the fine line that he is walking. If for instance he were to mock all of her supporters as she has his, the press would say that he was picking on her. If he were to engage in the type of politics that she has, they would say that he no longer has the moral higher ground that he has become just another politician.
None of this matters however because there is no question about who is going to end the primary season with the lead in delegates and votes. It's not important which states were won, unless you believe the bizarre and disproven theory that a win in the primary somehow translates to the general election. The super delegates will no doubt affirm the will of the voters. There has been a lot of talk from the Clinton campaign and from the press about how the super delegates will vote, but they are simply not going to pick the second place finisher as the Democratic Presidential candidate.
I understand that Clinton has to continue with the thought that she can somehow win, but there is no reason why the press has to play along. If, for instance, the situations were reversed, there is no way that he would be treated with the same seriousness that Clinton is. A win by a trailing Obama in say North Carolina would be explained away because of the demographics of the state. However since Clinton is in the trailing position, a 9 point win by her in Pennsylvania, a state in which she held a 20+ point lead a few weeks ago and has a demographic which is perfectly suited to her message, is hailed as a master stroke of political genius and a sign that Obama is somehow in real trouble.
I have no hope that I will be looked upon as the voice of reason here, but I just felt like it was time that someone stated the obvious. I am not trying to belittle Senator Clinton or her many supporters, but even they must realize that there is no way for her to win outside of pulling off something that would cause a full scale riot within the Democratic party. I have tried to stay pretty neutral in my coverage of the race, but I think we've passed the point of no return. Whether anyone likes it or not Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. So for better or for worse, the new creed of the Democratic party will be based on an old James Brown classic. So all you Democrats join in and say it once, say it loud, WE'RE BLACK AND WE'RE PROUD!
Headlines and lead stories in the press are all generated by the talking points that are force fed by politicians and staffers. Yesterday the press started reported on an ad that was supposed to start running in North Carolina which bashes two politicians who have endorsed Barack Obama. The Ad shows a picture of Obama and Wright together and includes the famous speech of Wright denouncing America. Now this ad hasn't actually run anywhere, in fact it may never run anywhere because both the RNC and John McCain have denounced it. However, because the MSM decided this was an issue, they have given the ad more air time than it ever would have gotten otherwise. Now instead of this ad just being run in parts of North Carolina, it's been seen all over the country. Could the Republican group in North Carolina have asked for anything more? All they did was release the ad to the press and then sit back and collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in free national air time.
From providing a forum for Bush administration propaganda to publicizing attack ads to reporting on nonsensical topics is about the breadth of "news coverage" these days. And with Rupert Murdoch moving closer to owning yet another NY news outlet (Newsday), this brand of so called "journalism" isn't likely to get better any time soon.
MS. PERINO: Because we do not.
THOMAS: Are you saying that we did not?
MS. PERINO: I am saying we did not, yes.
THOMAS: How can you when you have photographs and everything else? I mean, how can you say that when he admits that he knew about it?
MS. PERINO: Helen, I think that you’re — again, I think you’re conflating some issues and you’re misconstruing what the President said.
THOMAS: I’m asking for the credibility of this country, not just this administration.
MS. PERINO: And what I’m telling you is we have — torture has not occurred. And you can go back through all the public record. Just make sure — I would just respectfully ask you not to misconstrue what the President said.
THOMAS: You’re denying, in this room, that we torture and we have tortured?
MS. PERINO: Yes, I am denying that.
Where is everybody, indeed. Thank you, Helen. At least we know one reporter in Washington is still paying attention.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
“Sen. John McCain is proposing tax cuts that would either cause the federal deficit to explode or would require unprecedented spending cuts equal to one-third of federal spending on domestic programs.”
-I’m not bullshitting. That was in today’s Wall Street Journal, not The New York Times, and not The Nation. See it for yourself right here. There’s even a mucous and rotting grey color bar chart with breakdowns in case you’re confused about exactly how America gets fucked this time while big business rolls along on everybody else’s backs.
Make no mistake, John McCain will be our next president, and so far the WSJ seems to be the only paper asking hard questions about his intentions, their analysis impeccable… for at least a little while longer anyway. So say goodbye to all that useful shit, folks.
It would seem that Marcus Brauchli (who had a very good reputation for protecting reporters and their stories) was installed to calm everyone down a few months ago, staff, investors, editors, reporters, readers included. But now it’s apparent that was his only purpose, and at just short of a year (11 months) he is out as managing editor today, having outlived his uselessness (yes I’m feeling clever today). He filed his letter of resignation after meeting with the editorial independence board that was created when News Corp. bought WSJ’s publisher, Dow Jones. Now think about it... that an “editorial independence board” was formed as soon as Rupert Murdoch crept and slunk in through their window is an indication of how blatant his corrupting partisan elitist influence is. Rupert Murdoch is on a mission to end American journalism. The staff at the Wall Street Journal knew it, and so did you. Expect no editorializing, no talking points, opinions or other castigations and theatrical outrage from Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Anne Coulter or any of those other liars who claim to be watchdogs of bias and unfairness in the news media, while fomenting and perpretrating bias and unfairness in the news media.
Now that Brauchli has resigned, there is no one to protect this paper's credibility from its owner. For a fictional corresponding example, think of J. Jonah Jameson’s patrician mangling of the Daily Bugle… Oh wait, that’s right, JJJ at least went after the King Pin as well as Spiderman but Rupert Murdoch is the King Pin in this analogy. News Corp. executives reportedly visited the newsroom to address editors and reporters about the change and any concerns that might arise. They finished their remarks and purposefully didn’t give Mr. Brauchli a chance to make a formal farewell in the newsroom to his staff, something of a tradition when a managing Editor leaves a paper.
Bulldozing anything resembling the responsibilities of the Fourth Estate is the new tradition that Rupert Murdoch represents.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Last week we had hearings in Washington in which the military leader of our forces in Iraq basically said that there is no way out of this conflict. Last week over 20 Americans were killed in a conflict with seemingly no end. Last week, there was a report that high ranking officials in the Bush administration had meetings in which they not only condoned torture, but laid out the blueprint for that torture. Last week the President acknowledged not only that these meetings took place, but that he was aware of the subject matter of the meetings. Last week thousands of children in this country went to bed hungry. Last week millions of Americans were still without health care. Last week thousands of Americans lost their homes. Last week thousands of Americans lost their jobs.
All these things went on last week, but yet the press is focusing on the semantics of a comment made by Barack Obama. Where are the priorities of the press? They say people are tired of the war and don't want to hear anymore about it? That is not a reason to limit coverage of a conflict that is costing American lives daily and is increasing our debt exponentially by the second. Ratings are not a substitute for news coverage. All stations are licensed to broadcast by the FCC and part of their responsibility in order to keep those licenses is to demonstrate that they are serving the public. At this point, the TV "news channels" are barely functioning as a benefit to the public. They have a string of talking heads come on and dazzle us with their brilliance while providing a minimum of actual substance. I personally don't care what Obama's pastor has been preaching for the past 20 years, I don't care that Hillary Clinton was once a Goldwater supporter, I don't care that John McCain's wife was a drug addict who used her own charitable organization as a front to acquire drugs illegally (Ok, I think that last one is kind of interesting, but irrelevant). I want to know about the issues that are affecting this country today and the ones that will affect us tomorrow. I want to know what the candidates solutions to those problems are. I don't care if Obama can bowl, I don't care if Hillary can shoot a rifle and I damn sure don't care what John McCain made for the press at his last cookout.
The push for ratings and sales has replaced journalistic integrity in today's press coverage. Why put an unpopular story about people dying in a war in front of the American people when you show them clips of Obama dancing on Ellen, or Hilllary chatting it up on the Tonight Show, or John McCain making fun of David Letterman on the Late Show? The press has decided that the American people can't handle the truth. We would rather be shown a string of sound bites than be made aware of what actually matters in this country. The dumbing down of America is complete when the press becomes a willing ally of the party in power and WE THE PEOPLE are too either too bored or too complacent to care.
I can hope that somewhere out there in this vast sea of nonsense, where it's hard to tell the difference between the nightly news and Entertainment Tonight, there is a beacon of light pointing the way toward a better future. Will the press ever bring down a President again? Unlikely, but perhaps it's time they try again. At least that way the President will have someone or something that actually questions his actions. This administration is a clear example of what happens when the executive branch is allowed to run unchecked. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and this administration has been study in absolute corruption.
The press will rise again when WE THE PEOPLE demand it. I'm just afraid that the American people have already become so used to the cult of personality, that we are sujected to on a daily basis, that the idea of real investigative journalism will fade into history and be lost forever. It's not too late to make a change, but it requires more than one voice to make a difference. Remember folks the best journalism is not supposed to reinforce what you already think, it's supposed to make you question what you think you already know.
Where have you gone, Edward R. Murrow? A nation turns its lonley eyes to you.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom… amused.
Excerpted from the 1976 film “Network”: Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen berating Peter Finch as Howard Beale.
Where will it end?
I’ve never thought the Rome analogy entirely applied to the United States. If only because the rest of the world has never been completely under US sovereignty, the cold war itself was at best the era of “two Romes”. Neither has collapsed, despite the fall of Stalinist Communism, Russia is still a world power and one of the world’s “emerging” economies at the same time. Yet I can still see the point.
What does exporting jobs and manufacturing contracts overseas -while keeping civil rights, labor rights and all safety standards stateside- have to do with Globalism?
Just as free market capitalism actually means oligarchy, Globalism actually means shifting everything you can’t make a buck on legally, to some off-shore faraway place where you can defy all parameters for fair business and labor practices, and essentially laugh at the unions and tell the working mothers of America to “go suck a dick”.
You know what I mean, that real profitable stuff like: child laborers for Nike, lead-based paints for Hasbro toys, and a slew of other throwbacks to the days of Carnegie and Fricke like 18 hour work days, insufficient light and food, indentured labor owing more than they make to on site company stores operated by their “employers”… Don’t you see how that all makes the world flatter?! More egalitarian?!! More competitive?!!!
Thomas Friedman is a fucking douche bag.
This is not what Adam Smith had in mind.
We elect the rich, the corporate leaders; so we get what we deserve.
While no one would argue that putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop is a sound strategy, it seems perfectly acceptable to make the fox “president” of the chicken coop.
“I mean come on; he’s their president, why would the fox do anything to harm the chickens?”
The answer is not because the fox is hungry or greedy… the answer is:
“because he can, stupid”.
The elites have figured out that a manipulated perception of reality is reality: thusly our media, our newspapers, our beloved Fourth estate is also hopelessly fucked. The watchers not only watch us, they own the only institutional means by which they can be observed and held accountable.
“Where will it end?” I asked at the start of this third and final post on the modern horrors of blindingly trusting our guardians. The answer is… it never ends. The empowered rich who achieve government office always have that strange way of asking, “we the people”, who they supposedly represent, to be patient for the things nobody should wait for: e.g. shelter (Hurricane Katrina victims are still in trailers and Bear Stearns is bailed out while millions of Americans are losing their homes thanks in large part to their failed dealings).
The elites must ask us to be patient for these things because they benefit directly from those needs: from their prolongation, and the promise of the resolution of those needs, whether they allow themselves to consciously recognize it or not.
Why help someone, if you can only make profits off of their need? The answer is you don’t. You capitalize on misery and misfortune; maybe even create a problem or two that only you have the solution to. Charge accordingly, hit the dumb bastards with a high APR if they can’t pay outright, always encourage financing.
Why do we still trust the rich, vote them into office and ask them to watch over us, over our government, over our very lives?
If it’s hard to see, that’s because “it’s twilight in America” and the AAA has always said the worst accidents happen at dusk.
Who watches the watchers?
Now, I don’t know anymore… and nobody’ll tell me.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Excerpted from a conversation between Gustave Gilbert, Ph.D. and Hermann Göering, Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe Chief, in 1945.
Here we are. The first financial quarter of 2008 has closed and even President Bush is finally admitting we might be in an economic downturn… so you know things are in actuality much worse since this administration has never acknowledged any reality or fact it didn’t like. After all, it took years before anyone in the Bush administration admitted things didn’t go as they planned in Iraq. We are in a war that transformed into a police action and is now an occupation with no end in sight. If the goal was to knock Iraq back into an unstable feudal state, well then “Mission Accomplished”.
Before you accuse me of being a leftwing pacifist (which is only an accusation if the person calling you that, is not a leftwing pacifist) let me outline the reasons, before and after the War’s commencement on why it should not have been fought.
Before the war’s start:
-The power to declare war is clearly delegated to the legislative branch in the Constitution, i.e. the Congress. (See Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.) Now while Congress drew up an authorization of the use of force against "those nations, organizations, or persons he [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons”. No actual connection was ever determined between the 911 attacks and Iraq. Frankly there was a bigger case to be made against Saudi Arabia and Syria, if the President and his administration were interested in holding nations accountable.
-There was no credible evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The reports and testimony of Yellow Cake procurement in Africa by Iraqi agents and proxies was not credible, and was disputed by various individuals and analysts within the Intelligence community. There were CIA reports that essentially stated that Iraq had abandoned WMD programs after 1991.
After the war’s start:
There is a fundamental lack of competency with which the war was planned. Military experts and senior staff, and even Generals were coerced into undertaking the invasion and subsequent war with insufficient forces and inadequate equipment all under the direction of Donald Rumsfeld.
Then there is also the hiring of private security firms to protect independent contractors in danger zones. Private security firms are not held to the conduct standards, legal strictures nor are they accountable to the chain of command of the United States Armed Forces and ultimately our Commander in Chief. Private security firms should never be contracted for protection in places of war, they are not the Army. By the way, there is another word for private security firms, a more brusque word, but one that needs to be reinstated as it has no euphemistic quality. That word is “mercenary”. We have contracted mercenaries in Iraq to protect independent contractors.
All of this administration’s failures, its breaches of law and protocol, and its incompetencies are grounds for President Bush’s impeachment, in my opinion, as a citizen of the United States. Why? -because these lies, malfeasances and abuses of power have cost many, many lives. George Tenet and Donald Rumsfeld are just the sacrificial lambs for this colossal tragedy. Remember that they didn’t get charged with any crimes. Their ousters were just pacifiers for the journalists, who were too late realizing their own gullibility, incompetence and complicity.
I am not a pacifist, and never have been. But I would never commit a soldier; a human being who has essentially rescinded his right to abstain from mortal combat for the good, for the well being of the nation, to a war I would not personally take up arms to fight in. Therein lies the answer perhaps... If we lived in a nation where every single one of us, every man and woman had to serve -with no deferment possible-, no rich daddies sending you to the National Guard in Texas in time of war, maybe we’d ask more of our “leaders” when they said we were going to attack a country just to keep us safe. Maybe we’d ask if the war was really worth it. Maybe we’d ask why?
I’d like to suggest something to you, a simple thing:
Congressional powers of oversight are not the congress’s to give away.
The Congress’s powers of oversight are bestowed upon them by the people. If our Congress and is unwilling or unable to speak the truth to power, especially when we the people don’t have the good sense to tell a president’s administration that; it is stepping over the line, it doesn’t rule us, that it is supposed to represent us, -then they are not the Congress anymore. They went along with a very big spurious lie. The powers of oversight implicit in the doctrine of checks and balances are what install government as an extension of the people’s will, not the president’s.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
The answer is still you, dude.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
On September 12th, 2001, whereas many of the world’s nations expressed compassion to New Yorkers and their fellow Americans, the White House and its various shadow players looked at its citizens and identified a particular confusion, perhaps even a weakness and a willingness born of the former, in the public will.
One thing stood in the way: the Constitution of the United States. No one should be surprised that a piece of paper is no match for a country’s fear and anger.
The Bush administration’s first hurdle was the Constitution’s protection against “unreasonable search and seizure”. It was internally decided that such protections didn't apply to its efforts to protect the people against terrorist acts. It wouldn’t end there; torture and rendition would also be secretly considered, tacitly approved in later documents.
What? Nobody told you? That’s because it was spelled out in a secret Justice Department legal memo on October 23, 2001...
The October 23, 2001 memo is what I am calling the “dark heart” of this new twilight in American democracy, it is an as yet unseen writ that radiates justifications for abuses of power, its arteries snaking outward to all critical aspects of government and public policy in the 21st century. Welcome to the new American Republic, where disregard for the bill of rights is the new patriotism, and your civil liberties are a danger or at least an inconvenience to national security.The “dark heart” memo was written at the request of the White House by Professor John C. Yoo. Professor Yoo is that gentleman who used the term “Executive Powers” so often in public appearances, he seemed to be advocating a switch to monarchy in times of war. The man was so enamored of the expansion of powers that he gave his ideas a name, eschewing that whole tacky “Monarchy” connotation. Professor Yoo called it his “Unitary Executive Theory”. No I’m not kidding... He later contributed passages to what would eventually be called the Patriot Act and wrote memos in which he advocated the legality of torture and insisted that enemy combatants could be denied the protections granted under the Geneva Conventions. Yes, those Geneva conventions. Those Geneva conventions which we, as a nation, also signed and swore to uphold, -and not just when we felt like it.
And just to show you he meant business and wasn’t some starry eyed high-schooler who was obsessed with “the Royals”, and pining for our own King of the United States and Lady Di, Professor John C. Yoo made the following statements in a 2005 debate with Notre Dame Law School Professor Doug Cassel in Chicago with everyone listening… or apparently not:
Professor Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Professor Yoo: No treaty.
Professor Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Professor Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
Hide your kid’s balls from the president, we are at war people.
Professor Yoo has repeatedly criticized the Separation of Powers doctrine, a cornerstone of our Republic, as “problematic” for the “War on Terror”. I know, I know, democracy is such a damn nuisance when you’re trying to declare everyone who opposes the president an enemy combatant.
The 37-page secret Justice Department legal memo is an officially classified document. Its existence was discovered Tuesday (Happy April Fool’s you dicks, you don’t live in a democracy!) in the footnote of a different special secret memo from March 14, 2003, that was finally released by the Pentagon. The only reason we know about this later memo in the first place is due entirely to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by those dependable troublemakers at the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations" the 2003 footnote states. The footnote indicates the earlier October 2001 memo by Professor Yoo called "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States."
While it may seem that I’m simultaneously citing instances of the Bush administration’s initiatives to leapfrog over constitutional privacy protections and international law, it’s important to note the synchronicity at work in this administration’s efforts to undermine basic democratic principles.
It is the overreaching surveillance, and the persistent illusion of privacy that makes the erosion of basic human rights principles possible… and perhaps inevitable.
Exactly what specific domestic military actions are indicated by the “dark heart” memo are as yet unknown. We know that it is perhaps the first salvo by the NeoCons, so eager to seize the September 11th attacks as an opportunity to disarm the Constitution... that they forgot their own communications can also be seized for the sake of national security.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?