Monday, June 28, 2004

Michael Moore -- You Go, Girl... 

This isn't a comment on Fahrenheit 9/11 directly. I haven't seen the film yet -- which is a good thing, because it was sold out. But, unlike some people, I won't comment on content until I've actually seen the movie.

This is my comment on those commentators who have not seen the film, and they're making themselves pretty obvious over at imdb.com. The raves about the movie refer to specific moments and obviously come from people who've seen it. But there are also a bunch of posts from people who clearly haven't seen the film and who are also blatantly writing their posts at the direction of some organization, following a series of talking points. It's not hard to see that some most-likely rightwing group put out the word. "Go to public forums and trash this movie. Bring up these things."

Lets look at the format of the directed posts. They all start out by mentioning that Michael Moore distorts facts and lies in the film, and that nothing is true. No need to offer specific examples of this, of course. Just repeat "liar, liar, liar" enough and it must be true, right? I made it a point to read every negative post, and of all of them that followed this form, none of them simply said, "Michael Moore claims X, but Y." (A few conservative pundits have tried, but their attempts have been shot down; for example, they claim that Moore never mentions specifically a Representative who has a son in Iraq. Technically correct -- he never mentions the man by name. But he does mention that only one Congressperson has a child in combat. Same difference, different words.)

The second bit of business the monkeys were told to throw in their posts is rather laughable and ironic. Looks like they were told to mention propaganda, and make comparisons to Stalin and Hitler, specifically mentioning Leni Riefenstahl. Seeing as Moore has publicly stated his intentions, and makes no secret that this film is anti-Bush, he's taken the bite out of any claims of propaganda. Besides which, everything we see on the corporate media every night is Administration propaganda. If you want to compare Moore to some famous politico, then he's more like the angry socialist student in Berkeley who writes gushingly about Che Guevara. Stalin and Hitler -- and Bush -- had major money and firepower behind their propaganda machines.

Beyond that, the talking points are typical rightwing ad hominem attacks. Yeah, Michael Moore is fat and he dresses funny. What does that have to do with the content of the film? Yeah, Michael Moore is rich. (And so is John Kerry and every other Democrat, because you can't run for office without major money. Your point?) The difference is that Moore (like Bruce Springsteen, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Sting, Barbra Streisand, etc., etc., etc.) started out dirt poor and worked his ass off to become a millionaire. Oh, he frolics at Cannes in a tux? Yeah, he does now. Twenty years ago, he probably couldn't have even afforded the airfare to France, much less been allowed in. Consequently, I'm sure he much more appreciates the value of work and of money than any of a number of born to the manor assholes who had trust funds before their first tooth -- W., Cheney, and their big money backers, for example. Funny difference in attitude there, too. Those born poor seem to spend a lot of their time as rich grown-ups giving it back and giving it away, while those who were handed everything in the cradle spend the rest of their lives trying to hoard more of it, and trying to keep the evil government from taking 38% of it so that evil government can continue operating. (Note to Dick Cheney: lop 38% off of 35 million, you still have 21.7 million left. Or, in other words, the annual salary of at least 1,151 families who are living at or below the Federal poverty line. Help half of them for one year, and you still have ten million left -- and the interest on that kind of money, even at current crappy bank rates, will give an individual an annual salary of around two hundred grand a year, principal untouched.)

All of which is totally immaterial, as is bringing up this argument against Moore. Yeah, he's rich. Movies like this are how he got rich. And he's never killed anyone to get his money. I'd call that a badge of honor, not a strike against him. And anyway, nothing in the job description for documentary filmmaker says you have to be supermodel skinny and drop-dead handsome.

On the other hand, the job description for President of the US should say (but doesn't) that you should be reasonably intelligent, well-informed on history and world affairs, able to negotiate and adapt to new situations almost constantly. Apparently, from what I've heard, Mr. Moore's film proves that W is and can do none of those things. And that's what has the Rightwing so scared.

Unfortunately, Fahrenheit 9/11 will probably be eclipsed by the popcorn fest that is Spiderman 2. On the other hand, by the time that leviathan opens, maybe a lot of its fans will have already seen Moore's work, and will be inspired to get involved in the process, vote in the election in November, and send W and his entire pack of lying cronies back to the depths of Hell from whence they came.

It can happen. It will happen. I've already seen testimonials online from conservative Republicans who saw the movie and can only shake their heads in anger and say, "We cannot elect this man president." With any luck, W may set historic precedent by becoming the only incumbent president to not receive his party's nomination.

Hey, I can hope, can't I? And wouldn't that be the most beautiful revenge of all? That's how the left can fight back, you know. Let's start a "Draft McCain" movement now. After all, W and company can't steal an election in which they're not even allowed to run...

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

But When the Republicans Break the Law... 

The RNC tried to raise a stink to stop groups like MoveOn.org and ActForChange from spending money on (Democratic) political campaigns. Their rationale (now failed) was facetious. Apparently, Political Action Committees are okay if they're made up of the board members of fabulously wealthy (read: Republican) corporations, but not okay if they're made up of ten of thousands of poor working stiffs who only stand to benefit indirectly. (As opposed to the Republican method of benefiting, which is to add more millions to the billions you already have, and fuck the poor.)

But now, in producing a Bush campaign ad with Ronald Reagan in it, the Repugs have made a boo-boo. See, in order to use a person's image in advertising, you have to license it from the individual involved or their estate. This is a basic that every film, TV and advertising company in the world knows. Get permission (usually after negotiating a fee), and you're fine. Otherwise, you can get your ass sued off.

Guess what the Republicans forgot to do?
The Reagan family's spokeswoman said Tuesday that permission is needed for anyone to use Reagan's likeness in an ad because doing so implies that he endorsed one candidate over another. "No one has requested the permission to use his image in an ad, nor would we feel it appropriate to give such permission at this juncture," Joanne Drake said. "We protect his image very carefully, particularly as it relates to politics."
Thanks to Bartcop for this one.

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The Reagans don't like Bush either... 

First, there's this editorial cartoon, a quite accurate reflection of reality. I think that Nancy Reagan is going to become the Republicans' worst nightmare in the coming months, as she channels her grief into a screed against their "faith-based science" (an oxymoron if ever there were one.

Then, there's Ron Reagan, Jr's open hostility to the current administration. In his eulogy to his father, a decried politicians who use religion "to gain political advantage..." Prior to this, Reagan fils said of W, during the 2000 Republican Convention, "What's
his accomplishment...? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?" Last year, he said of the administration, "...these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."

You can read the whole article in the NY Times online, even though I think their "register to read" policy is ridiculous. I mean, nothing says you can't give them completely bogus information (wink wink), although that would be wrong. Very wrong...

Either way, the Bushes are in trouble with the Reagans. As Kenneth M. Duberstein, Reagan's former chief of staff, says of Nancy in the Times article, "Nancy Reagan is not somebody who walks away from anything. When she takes on a cause and a belief, she is very much like her husband. I think (stem-cell research) is very dear to her heart."

Bushes beware. Now, the Dragon Lady is going to go all medieval on your asses. And believe me, she can. And will.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Changing Stories. Again. 

Paul Wolfowitz, rah-rah war promoter, in an interview with Laura Ingraham, as reported at Antiwar.com:
"I'm not sure even now that I would say Iraq had something to do with it," Wolfowitz said in the interview, aired Friday.
And, from

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Asshat of the Week: Lamar Smith 

From the "really bad ideas" department, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is pushing something called the Family Movie Act. This comes in the wake of the dispute over Clearplay's technology to digitally censor movies via a specially-equipped DVD player -- a move that the film industry is, rightfully, fighting tooth and nail.
ClearPlay is the defendant in a lawsuit in Colorado's 10th District Court filed by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and other members of the DGA and the studios in 2002, when the filtering product first became available as a computer program. Smith said Thursday that he would introduce the legislation today if the parties in the lawsuit did [not] come to an agreement on how to settle the issue voluntarily.
Well, Lamar Smith can shove his proposed law up his Fascist ass. We don't need it -- and you should contact his office, your representative's office and the members of the House Judiciary Committee, who are considering the proposed law now.

"Oh, but it's for the children..." they'll argue.

Quoth George Carlin, "Fuck the children."

Here's how digital editing of movies should work when it comes to kids: Parents, put your finger on the "eject" button and push it. Or, better yet, do your goddamn homework. Read reviews of the movies. Look at that little ratings box. See where it says G, PG, PG-13, R or (rarely) NC-17? HINT: If your kids are still in elementary school, don't be renting that R rated movie to watch while they're around. What? Upset that you and spousey can't catch the latest violent action flick or that steamy romance? That's the price you agreed to pay the second the sperm hit the egg. It's called take responsibility for what your kids see, and don't dumb down the rest of the world to make it safe so you don't have to think.

Of course, the kicker is this: you can bet that the focus of the bill will not be on gratuitous violence, but on any kind of sexuality. Because that's what these prudish fucktards always focus on.

Quoth Lenny Bruce, "I'd rather take my kid to a stag film than a war movie any day."

And keep this in mind: right now, the MPAA has rated Fahrenheit 9/11 R. They claim it's because of disturbing images and language. And yet... PG-13 has become the realm of disturbing images, violence and language, as long as it's all kept in some fantasy world of muscular superheroes where the "good" guy wins. (To throw in a sideways Michael Moore reference, in Canada, films are rated more strictly for violence than they are for sexuality everywhere except Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. In Quebec, I don't think they raise the rating for sexuality at all.) Anyway, to the point of this paragraph: the first step in censorship is to try to "protect" the children, as an excuse to wedge in the controls. The second step is to apply those controls to content that is controversial for political reasons -- and (word to the Republicans) the politics are determined by whomever is in power. But censorship would be just as bad if the target were, say, an anti-choice documentary.

We already have the protections in place. Parents -- heard of the V-Chip? Learn it, love it, use it. TVs have them, and DVD players have them. Activate them on all the machines your kids have access to if you're so concerned about keeping them away from content to which you object. Or, if you absolutely insist on the family safe versions of R-rated movies, do what your parents did in the days before VCRs. Just wait 'til they air the damn thing on network TV, already hacked down to safety.

Ultimately, we need to overhaul the whole ratings thing completely. The system doesn't work because it has become de facto censorship, no matter how much Jack Valenti insists otherwise. There should be no stigma in a rating; it should be purely informational. But we've already seen that NC-17 has become a joke. All that that rating should indicate is "No one under 17 allowed." What it's come to imply is, "HEY, WHOA, PORNO!", many newspapers won't advertise NC-17 movies, and so pure economics dictate that this rating is hardly ever allowed.

The MPAA should take a clue from the TV industry, whose ratings system is a bit more informative, providing more categories and reasons. Not only do they rate by age, they indicate content with S (sex), L (language) and V (violence) tags. That's what the film industry needs, along with a little legislation of, not the studios, but the advertisers. Newspapers, TV and radio (as public assets) should be required to carry advertising for all films that have been rated by the MPAA, subject only to the content of the ad itself being acceptable for the standards of the particular advertising medium. And, of course, if the unions, particularly the DGA, had any balls, they'd force the studios to no longer require a particular rating for a film in order to ensure distribution.

Ultimately, it will be market forces that determine success. There should be more NC-17 films out there, and if there's no market for them, they'll go away. As we're seeing already with Fahrenheit 9/11, censorship always brings success. That's just part of human nature, particularly in America. As Ron and Nancy Reagan never learned, the quickest way to make somebody want to see something for themselves is to just say "No." As adults, that should be our right. As parents, you should be the enforcers of the "No" when it comes to your kids. Not Congress, not advertisers, not filmmakers, not a machine that arbitrarily censors. You. You made (or adopted) the kids, after all. Take some fucking responsibility in raising them, and leave the rest of us grown-ups alone.

And tell Lamar Smith to go to hell.

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Are They Going to Call This 'Evidence of WMD in Iran'? 

I wouldn't put it past our government to declare that a bit of toxic homebrew is, in fact, a WMD. You just know they're waiting for any excuse to go after Iran...
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Toxic moonshine killed 13 Iranians and blinded five others in the southern city of Shiraz, state media reported on Saturday.

The official news agency in Iran, where alcohol is banned, said 60 people were taken to hospital after knocking back the deadly homebrew and 20 were still in a critical condition. State television showed the victims stretched out on hospital beds and rigged up to drips.

A television broadcast reminded viewers alcohol has been outlawed since the 1979 Islamic revolution but it is, however, widely available in Iran, where it is smuggled across the nation's borders.
Side note: One more reminder that prohibition never works.

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Monday, June 14, 2004

Q: How Do You Know When W. Is Lying? 

A: Karl Rove's lips are moving.

Courtesy of Bartcop, this bit of unbelieveable W hypocrisy and lying:
"I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you. I’m not sure VP Gore is coming from, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course."
--Dubya, running for office in 2000
Bartcop gives the quote attribution as Stupidgit.com

And, of course, I probably don't need to point out that this is just one more example of a lie W told while running for office. Just one of many, many, many lies.

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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Have They Even Managed to Fuck This Up? 

According to a Red Cross spokesperson, the US must charge Saddam Hussein with something by June 30th, or release him, since we'll no longer be officially occupying Iraq, and ol' SH is classified as a prisoner of war.

Which begs the question: why haven't we charged him with anything yet? Could it be that charging him with torture would be highly hypocritical, and that charging him with anything else would reveal that he got his weapons back in the 80s from Donald Rumsfeld and Ronald Reagan?

So there's another fine and dandy conundrum this Administration has fallen into because they never plan anything ahead of time. No exit strategy for Iraq, and now they have two weeks and three days to press charges on Saddam. Don't get me wrong -- I think he should be tried, in a public court, with a defense team, and it would take a pretty crappy prosecutor to not get him convicted on charges that would put him away for life. However, the irony of BushCo fumbling this one, resulting in Saddam winding up back on the streets as it were, would be perfectly emblematic of everything this Administration has done wrong since day one. Hell, since before day one.

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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Last Word... 

CNN's latest poll -- has the media coverage of Ronald Reagan's funeral been too little, too much, or just right. Ah, yes. They're looking for Goldilocks. Funny thing is, "too much" is winning, and you can help it win more by voting here.

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Friday, June 11, 2004

"Dead Terrorists Body Dragged Through Streets by Gunmen" 

I think the headline says it all. You don't see this sort of thing every day...

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Real American Hero 

This is the man who should be getting all the media hoopla and a state funeral. Put their life achievements next to each other, and Reagan doesn't even come close. After all, Ray Charles was never responsible for anyone's death, and he never came up with that ridiculous "Just Say No" and "War on (Some) Drugs" bullshit.

Ray Charles was a true American hero. He was a blind black man, and overcame both handicaps at a time when it was far more difficult to be the latter than the former. This man broke barriers, entertained the world and never came across as anything less than a nice, caring, fun person. He was one of those great African American Trailblazers (along with people like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole) who used the power of art to pull off the most subversive act of all -- prove to paranoid white America of the 50s that black people were okay, because they could sing, they could entertain, they weren't all out to mug you in a back alley.

That may sound patronizing and somewhat facetious, but trust me -- my relatives of several generations back were those scared white people, and yet all of them loved Armstrong and Cole and Charles. After all, how could a blind man who played piano like an Angel be dangerous? And while people like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King certainly have their place in Black History, it's often the quiet souls who do the best ground work in knocking down walls.

To give a comparison to which I can relate -- Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly did more for gay rights among middle America than the most militant member of Act-UP ever could have. Act-UP, after all, was scary, but I doubt that many parents in the 60s would have had second thoughts about hiring Uncle Arthur as a baby sitter. And this extends to the modern age -- Ellen DeGeneris and Sean Hayes are "safe" queers who have paved the way for the more dangerous homos to move forward.

Ray Charles was a "safe" black man, and if it weren't for him and his compatriots, rap and hip-hop would not be major industries now, and pale white marketing wonks would not be knocking themselves dead to sell to the "urban" (i.e. "not white") audience.

Think about it. What's his best known song? Georgia. And what's Georgia best known for? A bunch of white assholes who still call the Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression" and think that it's okay to display the Confederate flag next to the gunrack in the FD-150.

I salute Ray Charles, and I mourn his passing. So, let's pretend that all the flags are at half-mast and everything is closing tomorrow in his honor, not in honor of that dead white asshole named Ronald.

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Fuck Reagan 

To quote a young friend of mine (who was born during the first Emperor Has No Clothes Administration), Fuck Reagan.

I'll say it again. Fuck Reagan.

The man was no saint. His personality was all actor bullshit. He was a xenophobic, homophobic, ignorant bastard. He's been out of the public eye for nearly a generation now, so save your fucking tears. He spent his last years dottering and drooling around the edge of a pool on Cielo Drive, raking the leaves from one side to the other as the Secret Service kept re-planting, just to keep him busy.

In fact, not a lot differnet than he did as President.

He promised smaller government, and then presided over the biggest increase in the Federal Bureaucracy in history.

He promised to cut taxes, and then raised them seven times.

He claimed to want to bring freedom and democracy to the world, and then propped up the most fascistic of dictators -- torturers with WMDs.

He created Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

He traded arms for the lives of American Citizens, the famous Iranian Hostages.

He ignored the AIDS crisis throughout most of his administration.

He's burning in hell right now, next to Richard Nixon and somewhere on top of Herbert Hoover. Reagan was no saint. He was a prick, and my only regret is that he died twenty or thirty years too early. When they march his coffin across your TV screen for the four hundredth time, remember two things...
1) He damn near brought us to nuclear war with Russia; the Cold War ending was an accident of history and, honestly, it didn't happen until his successor was in office;

2) Cheney, Rumsfeld and other such felons now in high office cut their teeth in Reagan's administration. We are now paying for the sins of the Gipper in a world gone mad.
Although I'm an atheist, I honestly hope that Ronnie Raygun is burning to a crisp in the hottest level of hell right about now, and wondering why, as his addled brain tries to remember who he is.

And as for all that sympathy toward Nancy -- Ms. "Just Say No" can go fuck herself as well, and would do this country good by tossing herself on St. Reagan's funeral pyre in Simi Valley. She always was a psychotic bitch on wheels, and no amount of "oh, they loved each other so much" media bullshit will ever change that.

Bitter, me? Nah. Except that I manged to get a glimpse of what the world could have been like, from January 20th 1993 until January 20th, 2001. The real American Hero of Democracy reigned in that span of time. His predecessors and sucessor were and are the vipers in Rome's bosom.

So, here's to you, Ronnie. May you rot in hell.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

But a Blowjob Was an Impeachable Offense... 

Adding to the list of crimes and misdemeanors, here's another bit of American law that this Administration has broken:

USC Title 18, Section 2340A

(a) Offense. -

Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction. -

There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if -


the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or


the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

(c) Conspiracy. -

A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.
[Emphasis added].

Thanks to Buzzflash for the tip-off on this one.

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War Crimes 

For your edification, the text of the War Crimes Act of 1991, USC Chapter XVIII, Sec. 2441:
War crimes

(a) Offense. -

Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection
(b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also
be subject to the penalty of death.

(b) Circumstances. -

The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).

(c) Definition. -

As used in this section the term ''war crime'' means any conduct -

(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;

(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;

(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or

(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians
Which perhaps explains why John Ashcroft is so, so desperate to keep that torture memo under wraps because, if it shows that the president approved the methods that were used in Abu Ghraid, among other places...

Well, see section (c)(1)-(3), above.

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Monday, June 07, 2004

"Killer, Coward, Conman..." 

Now this is a fitting obituary for the gipper.
The New York Times today, in its canned obit, wrote that Reagan projected, "faith in small town America" and "old-time values." "Values" my ass. It was union busting and a declaration of war on the poor and anyone who couldn't buy designer dresses. It was the New Meanness, bringing starvation back to America so that every millionaire could get another million.

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They Pay 2% on Your Dime... 

This news should make every good American riot at the pumps. Iraqis are paying five cents a gallon for gas -- on average, two percent of what we're paying -- and the kicker is, that price is because of subsidies handed out by... the American tax payer.

Yeah, damn, it'd be nice if our tax dollars went to help us, and knock down the price of gas. But no. Instead, we're paying out the ass, and never mind that we're paying 18 cents a gallon in Federal taxes. Which wind right back up the pipeline to give Iraqis cheap gas.

Fuck this shit. Mobilexxonchevronarcoshelletc are making record profits and Halliburton (via Dick Cheney) is raking in billions via illegal no-bid contracts in Iraq. Meanwhile, the rest of us are paying through the nose for gas.

Write your Congressmen and ask them why -- why aren't we paying a nickel a gallon for gas? Or, at the very least, why are we paying close to three bucks a gallon? Where's our government subsidy? Where is our outrage?

Where are the Articles of Impeachment that will bring these fuckers down? I won't rest until W et all are hanging from lamposts in DC, having been tried for and found guilty of the treason they have commited against us all since day one.

Five cents a gallon. My god, that's the kind of thing that makes my liberal heart beat in right-wing, isolationist ways. Anyway, how many gallons does a camel need, anyway? None.

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Fascist Fucker 

Ronald Reagan pays tribute to his political predecessors, the Nazis, as he lays a wreath at an SS cemetary in Bitburg, Germany.

One in a series of "Great Moments in Cowboy History." I do not share in the world's mourning over the death of this motherfucker, and I am overjoyed that I live less than twenty miles from the Reagan Library, so I can have the great pleasure of driving to the Simi Valley (cause of the LA Riots of '92) in order to piss on the Great Prevaricator's grave.

Reagan was no saint, he was no hero, he was no great man. He was a sell-out, a third-rate actor who abandoned the Democratic party because they seemed to be too friendly toward people who were called by liberals, at the time, "colored" and called by people like Reagan then and ever after "niggers." He engaged in regime change when convenient in Central America, while simultaneously propping up fascist regimes, funding death squads while turning a blind eye to assassins of nuns and priests. He sold arms to Iran in exchange for American hostages, then helped arm Iraq (and create Saddam Hussein) in order to counteract his arming of Iran.

The only difference between Reagan and W -- Reagan didn't stumble over words. But he was scum, a hateful man who ignored the AIDS crisis; a hateful man who cut funding for human services and sent more homeless people into the streets than had been seen in America since the days of Herbert Hoover's Depression.

I'm an atheist, so don't believe in an after life, but I hope that Reagan is now burning in hell next to Richard Nixon, Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover.

To quote a young friend of mine who was born during the first Gipper Administration: "FUCK REAGAN."

Fuck him, fuck his corpse, fuck his memory. He did more to ruin this country than any president since Hoover and any president until W.

Sigh. If only John Hinkley and Mark David Chapman had swapped assignments, the world would be a better place now...

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Saturday, June 05, 2004


About the only bad thing I can say about this man's death is that we'll now have to put up with neocons whining and stomping their little feet until they can stick him on our money and stamps and erect statues to St. Bastard.

This man did more damage to the country than anyone since Herbert Hoover and anyone until W. He was evil wearing a benign disguise. Don't be taken up by the mourning bullshit. Just be sorry that he didn't linger for another decade or two -- and remember that the assholes we're stuck with in government now mostly began their careers thanks to him.

Sic semper tyrannis.

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Friday, June 04, 2004

The Drudgery of Selective Vision 

Since he just can't leave Clinton's cock alone, Matt Drudge can't help but tossing up the headline indicating that Bill Clinton is a contender to be Kerry's running mate. He makes his motive obvious, though, in following this up with a quote from the Constitution (Amendment XII), "...But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."

Now, honestly, there are a whole bunch of reasons Kerry wouldn't offer the VP slot to Bill Clinton, and a lot more reasons Clinton would not accept. So all Drudge is doing is trying to wave a red flag at the conservatives, as if to say, "Ooh, look. Slick Willy is still evil."

Putting aside the little detail that Dick Cheney was an illegal running mate, by virtue of actually being a resident of the same state as W, let's take a look at Drudge's claim. Is Bill Clinton "constitutionally ineligible to the office of President"?

Actually, no. And that's not despite the 22nd Amendment. It's because of it. Here's what it says:
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
(Emphasis added.)

So -- is Bill Clinton ineligible to the office of President? Not if he becomes President by virtue of succession. Or, in other words, he could legally become President if he were elected Vice President and then had to replace the Prez; ergo, per the Constitution, while he cannot run for President again, there is no bar to his running for Vice President. Note that the 12th Amendment does not say "inelegible to be elected". It just says ineligible. That makes all the difference, doesn't it?

Of course, to prove that this is a double-edged sword, since W was not elected the first time around, he could theoretically run again in 2008 if, all the gods forbid, he finally is elected for the first time in 2004. But don't tell them I said that. Let's let the Republicans think presidential term limits apply.

Although, given the latest polls and the "one disaster after another" modus of the current Administration, I think W is going to experience the same term limits his father did -- a pissed-off electorate.

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Worse than Worse than We Thought... 

Capital Blue provides more on the "Bush out of control" saga that I originally wrote about here.
Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.

“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.”
The article also puts the lie to the White House insistence that George Tenet resigned of his own free will:
The President's abrupt dismissal of CIA Directory George Tenet Wednesday night is, aides say, an example of how he works.

"Tenet wanted to quit last year but the President got his back up and wouldn't hear of it," says an aide. "That would have been the opportune time to make a change, not in the middle of an election campaign but when the director challenged the President during the meeting Wednesday, the President cut him off by saying 'that's it George. I cannot abide disloyalty. I want your resignation and I want it now."

Tenet was allowed to resign "voluntarily" and Bush informed his shocked staff of the decision Thursday morning. One aide says the President actually described the decision as "God's will."
Nah. If there were a god, a lot of lightning would be striking in DC right about now. Of course, on the bright side, if the story above is true, there is now one very pissed off ex-CIA director who knows a hell of a lot of dirt on everyone. Let's hope he rushes out that book or does lots and lots of interviews between now and the end of October...

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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Flashback and Update 

My bullshit meter did tingle when I first read a piece by Ron Jacobs in which administration spokesman Dan Senor apparently went off the deep end and confessed the truth to a startled press corps in Iraq -- no enemy combatants, we came here for the oil, etc., etc. Well, Jacobs comes clean now, but the real question is why the hell he wrote such a piece with no disclaimer in the first place -- and why it was run on Counterpunch with no editorial warning.

He tries to claim that his piece was satire, but reading the original makes no indication of this intent. Now, he tries to excuse his behavior by saying his original was obviously false, blah blah blah. Sorry, Ron. I don't buy that. And I'd reprint his original lead here to show that but, oddly enough, that article has vanished, despite Jacobs linking to it in his follow-up retraction.

Anyway -- Jacobs is a flaming asshole. If he wants to write fiction or speculative opinion, let him start his own blog and do it. But he shouldn't do it on a site that's headlined as "America's Best Political Newsletter." Note those words. Political. News. Not satire, not coemdy, not conjecture. Political. News.

So, fuck you, Ron.

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What Planet Is She Living On? 

Things that make you spit coffee...
National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice insists that (George Bush) will one day rank alongside such towering pillars of 20th century statecraft as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
This coming from the unmarried woman who accidentally referred to W as "my husband," by the way... But let's look at one more bit of Condasleazy's fantasy world...
"Statesmanship has to be judged first and foremost by whether you recognize historic opportunities and seize them," Rice said in an interview with Cox Newspapers.
Hm. Well, okay. I guess that W recognized historic opportunities and seized them. Unfortunately, these were the opportunities:Yeah, I don't know what the hell they've been slipping into Condi's Ovaltine™, but I sure as hell want some...

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I have no idea what the hell is going on in this picture, but it makes a few things obvious...
Incidentally... they showed footage on the news of W speaking at the Annapolis commencement ceremony yesterday, and a couple of things stood out. First off, shots of Bush speaking had none of his audio as the news anchor did the blah blah blah, but the sound mixed under it was a huge cheer from the crowd. Intercut this with shots of the audience greeting the president, and it's quite obvious from the visual that the applause was polite, not enthusiastic. Then, as a capper, they cut to the "graduation is over, toss your hats in the air" moment -- and the cheer from the crowd with this scene was identical to the sound playing under the shots of Bush.

A wee bit of manipulation to make it look like everyone was wetting themselves over W, but the actual shots of the crowd told a quite different story. I'm sure more than a few of those grads were thinking, "I could have had a nice career in a peacetime military, but you had to fuck it up and we could all get killed, you pretzel-gagging asshat."

Okay, maybe I'm putting words into their heads -- but you think the guy in the white pants there is thinking, "Yeah, me and my buddies would love to Abu Grab your sorry Ivy League ass, coke boy," and that's why he's smiling?

Just a thought...

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Knee-Jerk Test... 

Here's a news story that's a good litmus test on whether your politics are determined by logic or emotion. The full story is here.

Here's the short version: judge in New Jersey rules that nightclub must end discriminatory business practices.

Short version sounds pretty good, right? A nightclub was discriminating against a certain class of customers, a judge puts an end to it, civil rights march on. If you're liberal, you're applauding. If you're conservative, you're moaning about another case of government blocking free enterprise.

Now, let's look at the long version.
The state's top civil rights official has ruled that taverns cannot offer discounts to women on "ladies nights," agreeing with a man who claimed such gender-based promotions discriminated against men.
Now, if you're a knee-jerk liberal, this information makes no difference. In fact, if you're a knee-jerk conservative, this information makes no difference. In the former case, you'll still be saying, "All discrimination bad." In the latter, "All regulation bad."

However, there's a big difference between this case and, say, a club that tries to enforce a "whites only" policy, or won't allow a lesbian couple to eat dinner together, or overcharges Asian customers, etc. The difference is intent. The three examples just cited are attempts to keep certain groups out of a business based on common traits -- and they'd be just as wrong if a nightclub in Harlem banned white customers or a spa in Beverly Hills banned men.

But... the club in New Jersey has a quite different intent, and it's one that any bar or club owner in the US can understand. They aren't trying to keep men out. Rather, they are trying to bring more women in. It's a sound economic decision based on simple logic: more men than women go out to bars and clubs because more men than women want to pick up a stranger and get laid. Ergo, these places tend to have a surplus of men and a surfeit of women. Without incentives to get the ladies in, they could easily turn into regular sausage fests, which will have the end result of driving the men away to greener pastures, in search of the places where the women gather. Yes, there is a certain element of it that's anachronistic; the practice still implies a male-dominant economic relationship -- i.e., the guys spend the money in order to get the women. But that's the price men pay for having a completely different emotional relationship to sex than women do. To quote the old canard, men use love to get sex; women use sex to get love.

And to quote the Beatles, "money can't buy me love." But it can buy sex, which is the ultimate raison d'etre for these places anyway.

So... if you're a knee-jerk liberal, you'll still think "All discrimination bad" and applaud this opinion. And you'd be wrong. If you're a knee-jerk conservative, you'll still think "Government should butt out of everything," and you'd be half right for the wrong reasons.

But if you're a true liberal who has a brain and can think, you'll think, "Discrimination is bad, but some things that group people by category are not discrimination. And sometimes, a free marketplace should be allowed to do what it needs to when it's good for business."

The interesting end result of this little discussion is this: the knee-jerkers of either persuasion do not change their opinion given the facts. The logical thinker can change their opinion; but note that there's no situation in this argument in which a conservative does change their opinion, knee-jerk or not. And that's the real difference between the two points of view -- something that should be obvious just from the dictionary definitions of "liberal" and "conservative." The former, by their very nature, take in new information and form new opinions based on changing circumstances. The latter take in new information and pound it with the hammer of rigidity until it either fits their world-view or they toss it onto the junk heap.

So, next time someone accuses John Kerry of flip-flopping, ask them which is better. A president who will not change his ideas about Iraq despite it turning into a debacle and a bloodbath; or a president who would be willing and able to examine new information and, when necessary, change tactics?

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Severina Vuckovic 

That's it. Severina Vuckovic. Hey, I'm not above tossing a little search-engine bait onto my page. But if you're looking for links to her sex tape, you might want to start looking here.

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Just Appalling, Part II 

Maybe heads will roll and folk will do prison time over this: Enron energy traders caught on tape (now in the hands of CBS News), gleefully bragging about manipulating California's energy market. Not only is this outright theft for which every single resident of the state deserves recompense from these vultures, it's also subversion of the Democratic process.

As I said at the time and I'll say again, Gray Davis was driven out of office largely because of the energy price fiasco that was created by these greedy fucks. Or, in other words, these pricks carried out a coup in the state of California by manipulating energy prices.

Something they were able to do because a Republican governor figured the poor little energy companies shouldn't have any kind of controls to keep them from... manipulating energy prices, ripping off state residents and fucking over a sitting governor.

Read the article. But here's a taste to get your blood boiling: when wildfires shut down a transmission line into the state, one of these traitors... er, sorry, traders, was heard to say, "Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing..."

A more beautiful thing would be his sorry ass in prison, playing punk-boy to a large, nasty man with several virulent STDs.

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Just Appalling, Part I 

From the Associated Press, a list of other things W's Iraq War funding can pay for:
Congress and President Bush have so far provided $119.4 billion for the war in Iraq. Here are examples of what else that money could buy.

--It could send 748,495 people, nearly everyone in Jacksonville, Fla., to Harvard University for four years. Based on Harvard's 2004-05 school year costing $39,880 for tuition, fees, room and board, multiplied by four.
And I'll add my own to the AP's already long list -- $119.4 billion dollars could fund 477,600 small theatres to the tune of a quarter million dollars each. Consider that most small theatres squeak by on less than fifty thousand a year, this could boost the arts enormously.

But no. Killing people and blowing shit up are much more important uses of your tax dollars, aren't they?

Fucking bastards.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Know Thy Enemy... 

I'm an anonymous subscriber to the official George W. Bush re-election committee emailing -- but of course. It's nice to keep tabs on what sort of crap the other side is spreading, and today's dispatch was rather amusing.

My comments appear in Blue.
While President Bush works to win the War on Terror,
Oh, sure, damn good job there, eh? Abandon efforts in Afghanistan, step into a quagmire in Iraq. Yeah, I'd call that winning...

safeguard America,
From? You mean all the new terrorists we've been recruiting in the Middle East? Or do you mean safeguard from environmental destruction wrought by corporations let loose from regulation? Kind of a failure on both fronts there.

and continue growing the economy,
Pardon me while I laugh my ass off. As I've mentioned here before, when you start at the bottom of the sea, moving upwards an inch is technically heading for the surface -- but at that pace, you'll run out of oxygen long before you see sunlight.

the Democrats have sunk to new depths in their personal attacks.
You mean -- gasp -- they've sunk as far as the Republicans? You mean Democrats have called the Bush Twins the Presidential Dogs, or said that all conservatives should be assassinated? Oh, oops, sorry. That was Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter...

John Kerry called Republicans "crooked" and a "lying group."
Which is untrue... why? Far as I can tell, Republicans are a crooked, lying group.

The Democrat Leader in the House called President Bush "an incompetent leader." And then went on to say, "In fact, he's not a leader."
And again, I say, how was Nancy Pelosi wrong when she said this? Bush is an incompetent leader; he's no leader at all. Hey, guess the truth hurts, huh?

A Democrat Senator casually referred to the "Taliban-wing" of the Republican Party.
Attribution? (BTW, that should be Democratic, not Democrat; think "Jew" vs. "Jewish," and you'll see the implied slur in that wording.) I'll bet the issue under discussion here was abortion rights; and certain elements of the Republican party would prefer nothing more than to have our women barefoot, pregnant, hooded and stupid.

Ted Kennedy remarked that "... Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management."
Again, this is wrong... why? Can you say Abu Ghraib? Why, goodness -- wasn't that one of Saddam's torture chambers that was reopened for torture... under U.S. management?

You understand what is at stake in this election;
Yeah. The destruction of the free world as we know it, vs. an effort to undo four years of incalculable damage by the non-leader nitwit squatter in the White House...

and you understand that the politics of negativity and anger are no match for the politics of optimism and hope.
Yep, and apparently something like 75% of Bush's campaign ads have been negative attacks on Kerry, while only 24% of Kerry's ads were negative attacks on Bush. Or, to put it another way (since the Repugs outspend the Dems), Bush's campaign ran more negative ads alone than Kerry's campaign ran ads in total. So, yeah -- the politics of negativity and anger are no match for the politics of optimism and hope.
And the Republicans are such a crooked, lying group, that they can't even admit to their own supporters that they're the ones spewing all the anger and negativity.

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