Monday, June 30, 2003

Iraq War...

Just what was our goal in the Iraqi war? Weren’t we told it was to disarm Iraq of WMD? And couldn’t we have managed that without invading the country and making the area that much more unstable?

Consider this: prior to this war of ours the number of American and British soldiers killed on a monthly basis in Iraq was somewhere between zero and…well zero.

Now we have successfully overthrown Saddam’s regime and yet we continue to look for WMD only now we have put ourselves into a much more unpredictable (not to mention) dangerous position where every week American and British soldiers are killed by groups we have no control over.

I think it's safe to say overthrowing the Iraqi leadership was one of the very first things on the Bush Administrations agenda when they waltzed into the White House.

But they had to justify the war - because killing between 5000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians is not usually in the interest of anyone.

A good many Democrats and Liberals (although no Leftists I can think of) believed that going to war with Iraq was accceptable - like Josh Marshall - under other factors. Still, the Bush Administration decided that the WMD angle was most plausible.

Instead it is still very questionable.

Alternet has a good article on Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq

Friday, June 27, 2003

Sodomy Laws...

Given the Rightward lean of the Supreme Court it is good to see that (most) of them struck down the atavistic Texas sodomy law .

It's about freakin' time the Court is in line with the progressive direction of this country.

But to be fair I must let Conservatives like Texas State Rep (Republican) Warren Chisumare have their say about the ruling:

"We got kicked in the teeth today. Gee whiz. I don't like what I see at all," said Texas state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, an advocate of the recently passed state law outlawing same-sex marriages in Texas.

Chisum said he's afraid that the court's decision could clear the way to make prostitution, incest and bigamy legal.

"I'm not sure you can't marry your dog if you want to after this," Chisum said. "They opened a Pandora's box about regulating any immoral act."


Now, I read the concurring judgement and (other than the rumblings of dissent by Justice Scalia) I didn't come to this conclusion.

In fact, I hadn't even considered this angle. But hey(!) you have to hand it to a Right Wing Conservative fool to take an extremely liberal reading of the ruling and help all of us sinners slouch toward Gomorrah.

I don't know about you but I now clearly see that this is an open door to my (until now, undisclosed) prostitution ring.

I've also been in email contact with my many friends who practice bigamy and incest and even though they thought this ruling only applied to homosexuals they are now overjoyed. They may now even put old Chisum on their Christmas card mailing list for the suggestion.

And the one (okay, two) friends I have that practice bestiality are just about ready to celebrate too.

I'm sure the Court will concur...
Speculation...

Counterpunch considers Saeed al-Sahaf (AKA Comical Ali) and what we can learn from his prevarications.

The question puzzling me, however, is what exactly the U.S. occupying authority intended to charge poor Comical Ali with when they first picked him up. He was, after all, not torturing anybody-- except with laughter.

The guy was a flak. His job wasn't to tell the truth. It was to tell reporters whatever his bosses wanted him to tell them about the course of the invasion.

Sort of like his White House counterpart Ari Fleischer.

Maybe we should encourage the military to go ahead and prosecute Saeed al-Sahaf for public lying. Then we could bring that concept home to the U.S. and bring similar charges against the whole Bush administration, using the legal concept of reciprocity.



DVD action...

You just knew this was coming…[Please turn off your library filter].

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Today is Appropriate Michael Savage's Name For Your Own Purposes Day

Michael Savage is suing some web sites who have dirt on him. So a good many blogs today are appropriating their posts to make fun of Savage.

Neal Pollack in particular is having fun at the expense of Michael Savage. Check it out. (Note that he has about a dozen links to other sites poking fun at Savage)
Here is Savage Stupidity.
And Michael Savage Sucks.
And here is Take Back the Media.

I've found little on this guy that I like. He's the kind that makes Conservatives look bad. And what's worse he's been known to get sexually aroused by wax dolls.

Micahel Savage is shown here fondling a wax statue of Barbara Streisand.

To each his own.

I haven't had time to dig dirt on Savage so I'll just let Elmer Fudd translate a plea by Savage, which he wrote about the poor white males who have suffered because of Affirmative Action.

I wwote 'DE DEAF OF DE WHITE MAWE' in 1977. It began as a poem, a pwea fwom the heawt to then Pwesident Jimmy Cawtew. You see, I was in twoubwe. I had just eawned my Ph.D. fwom the Univewsity of Cawifownia, Bewkewey. I had 2 young chiwdwen to suppowt. My wife-wong dweam to teach was 'put on howd' by the ACWU and theiw eviw sociawist scheme fow waciaw gewwymandewing cawwed affiwmative action, uh-hah-hah-hah.
I wwote to the Pwesident because I was suddenwy an outcast. Despite my Ph.D. fwom one of the nation's top univewsities (at that time). Despite my having wwitten many cwiticawwy accwaimed books, and having won numewous awawds they wouwd not empwoy me. Fow one cawdinaw sin, uh-hah-hah-hah.
I am a White Mawe. You see, the wibewaws had destwoyed my futuwe to make a futuwe fow wess qwawified peopwe. My babies wewe cwying. My wife was a newvous wweck. I couwd imagine my ancestows who had faced deaf many times and escaped watching me. To see if I was as good as them. If I wouwd fight back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Fill - a - busted...

Senate committee - without Democrats - votes to limit filibusters on Bush judicial nominees

Frist is quoted at the end of the article.
I've included the exact quote with editorial notes [added] just to clarify what he really means.

"Filibusters are so unfair [when the Democrats use them] to each individual [Republican] senator, unfair to the [Right wing] nominees, unfair to [our Republican] president and unfair to [our interpretation of] the Constitution that we must continue [while we are in the majority] to use all avenues to reverse this inexcusable [except when we use it] precedent that the Democrats are trying to set."
Which Candidate...

Kucinich or Dean?
Bob Harris had made a very good list comparing and contrasting where both Democratic candidates stand on the issues.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Ah Ha...

Well now, this explains it:

Bush in his radio address tells what happened to the WMD:

"For more than a decade, Saddam Hussein went to great lengths to hide his weapons from the world. And in the regime's final days, documents and suspected weapons sites were looted and burned," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

Wow... what next? They're hiding with the Easter eggs?
Group-think...

Over at Little Green Foothills they have a poll that asks:

Do you think Iran will get nuclear weapons?
Thus far the answers are:
38% say No. We will stop them with a preemptive attack.
25% say It's too late. They already have them.
25% say Yes. We can't stop them.
And a mere 11.5% say We will delay it through diplomacy

Now, Little Green Footballs is, of course, a right wing blog but it shows that a good number of people are as paranoid as ever and ready (although not necessarily willing) to march into Iran. As far as the readers of that web blog are concerned time for diplomacy is apparenly over before it began.

---------------

On a similar note and speaking of reactionary I watched Paul Harvey on Larry King last night and at one point Larry King asked him what the world has learned in this post 9/11 world.
I don't have an exact transcript but Harvey answered; 'We have learned that there are no longer civilians out there. And it is being proved every day in the Middle East.'

Taking this to some kind of logical conclusion I guess then that the between 5000 and 7000 Iraqi civilians who were killed in the war were not civilans but enemy combatants. And the Jewish and Palestinian peoples killed each day are also not civilians either but soldiers for some cause.
And hence - war and the death of civilians is okay.
This is exactly the problem that the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote about.
It's not the death and destruction that matters because history - and even the Bible - has all of this but instead the problem is the justification for warfare.
Paul Harvey essentially joins in this mad chorus.

I wonder if Harvey thinks the close to 3000 people killed at the World Trade Center were civilians.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Stinkin' Taxes...

Flatulance Tax in New Zealand

Flatulence from cows, sheep and other ruminants is a serious environmental problem, accounting for about 15% of worldwide emissions of methane - one of the most potent of greenhouse gases.

Last year New Zealand signed up to the Kyoto Protocol, and agreed to reduce production of such gases.


It comes out to about 70 cents per cow and 9 cents per sheep.

A search at Google News reveals some of the headlines for this story:
"Fart tax causes a stink" (News24 South Africa)
"Farmers let rip on flatulence tax" (CNN)
"New Zealand farmers fume over flatulence tax" (CNN Asia)
"NZ farmers sniffy over 'flatulence tax'" (Yahoo)
"Rumblings over flatulence tax" (Stuff NZ)
"Flatulence tax: wherever they be, their wind won't go free" (Sydney Herald)

What a gas...

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Head Spinning Speculation...

Nader: to Run as a Republican???

Nader says that if the Greens reject him, he might choose to run as an independent, or possibly even as a Republican, which would pit him against George W. Bush in the primary.

"Wouldn't that be interesting? A Republican run?" he muses.


- Apparently the Democrats are still sore over Nader in the 2000 election. But this is a bit much.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Speculation...

Gore TV?
Family religion hour with Liberman?
The Tipper Music show?


Seriously, it would be good to have a real progressive television network. Although I'm not sure I would call Gore progressive he could possibly have good alernative programming to FOX and MSNBC the two right leaning networks out there.

Many on the Right think the media is already Liberal. But they fail to define it as anything other than that which is acceptable by most Americans. For instance, many journalists may in fact be pro-choice, believe in civil and gay rights, understand the importance of presenting multi-cultural stories and promote sexually open programming. But other than that one need look no furthur than the coroprations who own the networks to understand the real content is no where near Liberal. Much less progressive.
My guess is this network idea would probably fall through because media networks today are tied to the all mighty dollar more than ever before. And advertisers don't much like progressives because they are very critical of the shortcomings of capitalism.

Can you imagine Chomsky or Nader having a show where every 10 minutes they would have to break away for a commerial break from the sponsors?

Monday, June 16, 2003

Comic Book POW...!

I have no time for any more serious posts today so instead I've included every action, fight, crash noise from my vintage comic book choice of the month.
These are from The Invincible Iron Man #9 (January, 1969).

K-BRAK!
KA-RASH!
WHA-LOM!
BA-LOW!
WOM!
KWUM!
WUNG!
KA-VROOM!
SPDAK!
THUD!
Headlines...

Here's a headline that made my head spin:

Bush Blasts 'Revisionist Historians' on Iraq

So, basically sit down, shut up and let the Bush Administration tell you the version of history they want written into the history books.
- Forget that the WMD threat was blown way out of proportion.
- Forget the fact that 5000 - 10000 Iraqi's died due to our hasty rush to war.
- Forget that one of the primary reasons for the war was to achieve economic goals in the region.

What will the future hold? Or has that already been written into Bush's version of history?

Friday, June 13, 2003

Error...

Weapons of Mass Destruction Error page
Ill Logic...

'The Devil's Highway' can no longer scare small-minded Christian Conservatives.

For 77 years, Route 666, christened as the sixth tributary off Route 66, has woven its way through three states, beginning in the drab, fast-food corridor of Gallup, N.M., a two hours' drive west of Albuquerque. Then it travels through the vast, dusty Navajo Reservation, curving into Cortez, Colo., and rolling through the cattle ranches of Colorado and Utah before ending up 191 miles later in the town of Monticello, Utah.
But this spring, politicians in those three states, led by Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, petitioned the federal agency that handles such things to change the highway's number, arguing that the New Testament's association of 666 with Satan was impairing the economic vitality of the towns along its route.


Doesn't Bill Richardson have other serious concerns to deal with rather than the trivial pursuit of changing the name of a highway?

Richardson cites economic concerns for this area. But you’ll note from this map here that Highway 666 runs between Gallup and Shiprock where there isn’t much anyway (and I should know since I grew up fairly close to here and have driven it often enough).

The tourists who come into the area usually go to the Four Corners, which doesn't have a lack of tourists. Then again tourists aren't exactly invited into the area because there is no major lodging to be found. The greater number of tourists go over to Monument Valley, which isn't acccessed by 666. And what's more, there is just no way tourists are going to now flock to the area because the Highway is called 491. If anything, fewer people will be inclined to travel that way. How can anyone get excited about the number 491?
Sorry Ladies...

The Hulk nude?:

Director Ang Lee admits something has bothered him from the beginning of "The Hulk" project: Normal man Bruce Banner grows to be a 15-foot giant and splits out of his shirt, shoes and socks, yet his pants remain on.

"It's a question I always had myself: 'How come his pants always stay on? I thought he should be naked."


But, alas Hulk must keep his pants on.

"Originally, we thought we could do a nude Hulk with careful lighting," says special effects wizard Dennis Muren. In the end, it was a hard jockstrap to fill.

Speech...

Bill Moyers at the Take Back America Conference.

As a citizen I don't like the consequences of this crusade, but you have to respect the conservatives for their successful strategy in gaining control of the national agenda. Their stated and open aim is to change how America is governed - to strip from government all its functions except those that reward their rich and privileged benefactors. They are quite candid about it, even acknowledging their mean spirit in accomplishing it.

Their leading strategist in Washington - the same Grover Norquist – has famously said he wants to shrink the government down to the size that it could be drowned in a bathtub.

Instead of shrinking down the government, they're filling the bathtub with so much debt that it floods the house, water-logs the economy, and washes away services for decades that have lifted millions of Americans out of destitution and into the middle-class. And what happens once the public's property has been flooded? Privatize it. Sell it at a discounted rate to the corporations.

It is the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime. I'll be frank with you: I simply don't understand it – or the malice in which it is steeped. Many people are nostalgic for a golden age. These people seem to long for the Gilded Age


Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Taxes and Services...

Thomas Friedman tells it like it is:

Whenever Mr. Bush says, "It's not the government's money, it's your money," Democrats should point out that what he is really saying is, "It's not the government's services, it's your services" — and thanks to the Bush tax cuts, soon you'll be paying for many of them yourself.
Everyone wants taxes to be cut, but no one wants services to be cut, which is why Democrats have to reframe the debate — and show President Bush for what he really is: a man who is not putting money into your pocket, but who is removing government services and safety nets from your life.


Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I'll just add that in the state of California everything from DMV fees to cigarette tax to camping fees are increasing at an alarming rate. This is because the States must now deal with the burden that has shifted over to them due to Bush's tax cuts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

DVD...

Today the Criterion Collection releases by Brakhage: An Anthology, which is a two disc set of 26 short films by the late great avant-garde film poet Stan Brakhage. I've watched well over half of it and have to say it is amazing on all levels.

Brakhage, who died in March, made close to 400 of the most idiosyncratic films in 50 years. He attempted - with much success - to free cinema from predictable, conventional narrative structures and refined photography and bring it into a more natural mode of personal expression. He did this in a variety of ways through editing, camera movement, optical printing, superimposition, as well as physically altering the film by scratching, painting or warping the actual surface of the celluloid.

Due to the very nature of his films they can be appreciated on - and indeed require - multiple viewings.

This is a DVD I will savor.

The best writing on Brakhage can be found here at Fred Camper's site.
O'Reilly takes on Madonna ' n shit...

Bill O'Reilly is gettin' down with the program by telling what's up with Madonna.

The fabulously wealthy diva's career is on da skids, 'n brizzle is probably as shocked as anyone, know what I'm sayin'? Her new album opened at No." 1 but wuz heavily discounted, selling in many places fo' less than $10. Since that first week, her sales has slipped badly, 'n radio play is down 40 percent according Billboard Magazine, know what I'm sayin'?
[yo]
This is not da Madonna we used know, da bouncy ho who rose up from da school of hard knocks." Sadly, that shiznit is now quite obvious that da singer is not being true her school n' shit.
[yo]
Madonna used be fun watch 'n listen ." Her success demonstrated da fact that in America yo' ass can make that shiznit da top by starting at da bottom."
[yo]
Today, however, Madonna is no longer fun 'n is no longer symbolically accessible da fans who made her a star, know what I'm sayin'? She is living over there in England 'n talking trash 'bout da president of da USA, while using a funny accent that would get yo' ass shoved in Detroit n' shit.
Get back crib, Madonna n' shit. Get back where yo' ass belong."


It's clear O'Reilly can now talk with the likes of Snoop Dog and Ludicrous.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Politics...
Like a good many Americans I’m not pro-abortion but rather pro choice.
But one thing is clear - the Right wing and pro-life groups have won the latest politcal struggle with the passage of the 'partial birth abortion bill', which denies the right of a woman to choose abortion over the birth of a terminally deformed baby.
It is in fact a very rare procedure that according to one study accounts for less than one-tenth of one percent of the 1.3 million abortions performed in 2000.

Talentshow has some astute comments.

[T]here is no medical procedure called "partial-birth abortion". The procedure they're referring to is commonly called "D&X" which means "dilation and extraction". Got that? D&X is an "extraction", not a "partial-birth".

Rather than tell the truth, abortion opponents have dubbed D&X a "partial-birth abortion" in order to try to evoke mental images of a doctor waiting at the end of the birth canal with a saw, ready to chop a baby's head off. The D&X procedure has as much to do with abortion as artificial insemination has to do with sex.

D&X "abortions" are not an elective procedures. They are done in rare cases where the baby is has a terminal (y'know, "is going to die anyways") deformity and a natural childbirth will affect the health of the mother. Of course, if people really knew this, then "pro-lifers" wouldn't have as much luck convincing the public that doctors are immoral monsters who love killing babies. In reality, this procedure has more to do with euthanasia than abortion.
Net Escape...

What time is it?
Try writing this fast all day every day!
This WMD thing...

This is on many blogs today but I figured I'd add it too cause it's kind if timely.
John Dean lays it out pretty well.

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause.

This is along the lines of what I wrote back in May 23.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Boys will be boys…

This just in

Men start pushing women around even before they leave the womb.

A mother-to-be carrying a male fetus eats significantly more than one carrying a female because the male fetus somehow sends out signals requiring more calories, says a report in the June 7 issue of the British Medical Journal.
Congress battles...

AP writes:
Democrats argued that Republicans were slavishly following Bush's desire to rewrite Senate rules to free up his nominations of Estrada and Owen to federal appeals courts. They said the Senate has approved 127 of the 129 Bush nominees to the bench that the Senate has considered.

- So let me get this straight.
The Republicans are upset that two Bush court nominees have been upheld and questioned by Democrats so now the Republicans want to ease the Senate filibuster rules so that the Senate basically becomes nothing more than a rubber stamp for whatever the President wants?
Somebody please put a lasso on these Republicans before they rewrite the Senate rules, House rules and Constitution to suit their needs.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Poem by a fabulous poet...

The Myth and How we Live it

Since 9 one, one of 2001
We have done many a bombing run
They tell us it's about security and control
Not about economics and oil

We don't believe them but we know
If we challenge them we could be in Guantanamo
Sure they have found no WMD
But now we're distracted by the FCC

Just wave the flag and shut your mouth
Accept that you're living in a myth

And that tax cut for the rich
Is just another sales pitch
If we ask them about the facts
They feed their press news to distract

We're told that once the Bush Campaign is in full gear
That that will be the answer to our prayer
Don't hold your breath my dear friends
There is no cure for the Republican bends

Just wave the flag and shut your mouth
Accept that you're living in a myth

MDL
WMD where are thee...

Maureen Dowd reports:

U.S. News & World Report reveals this week that when Mr. Powell was rehearsing the case with two dozen officials, he became so frustrated by the dubious intelligence about Saddam that he tossed several pages in the air and declared: "I'm not reading this. This is $%&*#."
First America has no intelligence. Then it has $%&*# intelligence.
So this is progress?
For the first time in history, America is searching for the reason we went to war after the war is over.



Here’s the US News and World Report article.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Update on FCC...
I was incorrect earlier.
Some conservatives are voicing concern about the FCC's recent moves.
William Safire of the New York Times speaks up:

The concentration of power — political, corporate, media, cultural — should be anathema to conservatives. The diffusion of power through local control, thereby encouraging individual participation, is the essence of federalism and the greatest expression of democracy.
Media (almost) Monopoly...

FCC Loosens Regulations
U.S. communications regulators on Monday narrowly approved sweeping new rules that will allow television broadcasters to expand their reach, despite fears about reducing the diversity of viewpoints.

So where are the Libertarians on this issue?
Where are the free market Republicans on this issue?
Huh?
The only ones compaining about this are the Liberals (who apparently run the media) and the left.
As has been mentioned on many other blogs - specifically This Modern World - if the Liberals ran the media wouldn't we welcome this? And wouldn't the Conservatives be adamantly opposed to it?