Wednesday, March 31, 2004


"It's obvious to me that this country is rapidly dividing itself into two camps - the wimps and the warriors. The ones who want to argue and assess and appease, and the ones who want to carry this fight to our enemies and kill them before they kill us." - Zell Miller, Democrat from Georgia.

Colin Powell, Meet Morris Pripstein 

"Three days before President Bush's inauguration, Colin Powell at his confirmation hearing discussed for the first time his priorities as the nation's new secretary of state. He spoke on 20 topics - from China and the Balkans to U.N. sanctions and Iraq. He never mentioned the al-Qaida terrorist group."

That's from this report from the AP.

Meanwhile, a month before the inauguration of President Bush, the UN was imposing sanctions on Afghanistan to encourage it to hand over Osama Bin Laden. The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday gave the Taleban regime a month to hand over bin Laden and to close terrorist training camps -or suffer new sanctions. A month later, as those sanctions ended without, obviously, any handover, The New York Times ran a three part investigation into Osama Bin Laden. It spawned this letter to the editor:

"'Dissecting a Terror Plot From Boston to Amman' (front page, Jan. 15) highlights a greater threat than that being considered by the missile defense shield proponents in the new Bush cabinet. That threat is terrorism from fundamentalist groups using aspiring martyrs as delivery systems, which are certainly simpler and cheaper to use than missiles. The Bush administration may be gearing up to face the wrong threat, as was the case in the 1930's with the French High Command, led by Gen. Maxime Weygand, who advocated a buildup of its cavalry at the expense of mechanized tank divisions. Not great horse sense, to judge by the subsequent events." - MORRIS PRIPSTEIN, Berkeley, Calif., Jan. 15, 2001

Comrade-Lovers, For Your Health's Sake, Fuck Freely! 

Step One To Overthrow the Bush Regime: Kiss a Random Stranger. Same Sex, opposing sex, who cares. You owe it to yourself and to your country to explore your sexuality.

Joe Trippi has it. It's the new Bush Admin position that allows federal employees to be fired or demoted for the grave offense of being homosexual. Not because you are an outspoken homosexual rights activist who causes problems at work. Not because you are having gay sex at work in full view of the workplace nursery. But because you, in fact, engage in a certain sexual act in your private time that is unrelated to your job performance.

Bloch, who began a five-year term as special counsel in January, said he does not believe the list of prohibited personnel actions outlined in the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act covers discrimination based on sexual orientation. - Federal Times.

Then, Trippi finds this: "A newly arrived Republican appointee [Bloch] has pulled references to sexual orientation discrimination off an agency Internet site where government employees can learn about their rights in the workplace."

Bloch used to be deputy director of the Task Force for Faith-based Initiatives, or, in a parallel time- say 1936, when Heinrich Himmler set up a specific branch of the Gestapo: "The Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion" or "Special Office (II S)". They also, in 1933, set fire to the Institute for Sexual Science, which "sponsored research and discussion on marital problems, sexually transmitted diseases, and laws relating to sexual offenses, abortion, and homosexuality." Good to know that no Republican threatens to blow up or kill the people who work in such buildings today. Oh, wait...

You know why politicians hate sex? Because it is the last unpolitized moment of absolute freedom available to us cogs. It's the last autonomous zone, the last span of time that cannot be properly politicized. As Wilhelm Reich said it, "Fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples." Try as they might to commercialize it, exploit it, strip it of all the creative anarchy it brings with it, it's the last piece of relief left to many a lost and sputtering wheel, which also accounts for the tremendous amount of energy and power capitalists give to the sexual image. It's like when newborn turtles go toward streetlights instead of the reflection of the moon on the ocean; when we're all supposed to be shacking up, humans go to the store and we both end up crushed.

That's the problem: give the people actual, personal sex and they're turning off the TV. It's non consumptive and completely creative, and the creative force is the precise enemy of authority. Creativity subverts, undermines, turns the wheels around. Proper Sex liberates, and that is why our society is ordered principally on alienation, sexual puritanism, and the repression of creative energy. Because Fascists hate spontaneity.

Air America Starts Now, More On Chomsky and Saving the World 

Streamin' it. 12 Noon, the premier of "The O'Franken Factor." Gonna be great. I hope.

PS: A night with the Chomsky Blog is seriously strenuous. "Structural Adjustment" starts out with this: "What can we do about it? Just about everything." Then proceeds to provide absolutely no advice as far as what it is that we, in fact, can do about it.

What do I do about it? I swear to god, there has to be something I can do about it besides making phone calls asking if the Registered Democrat on the other end of the phone is a 1 or a 6 in support of Kerry. I want to affect positive change and I'd do anything to get it done, but no one seems to have a clue as to where people like me, and possibly you, are supposed to put our energy. This is what Dean did right and what Kerry and the DNC do wrong, and Kerry and the DNC do it wrong because they don't want the same damn things, not most of the time. The only reason we have any agreement with the DNC right now is because we both want Bush out. But after that there is a whole generation of kids out there who want to save the world. So we need to figure out how to do it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Noam Chomsky has a weblog. So you know what to do. I like this post: "The voters are heavily skewed towards the wealthy and privileged, who tend to vote for the more reactionary of the two factions of the business party." Which seems to be a continuation of this one.

-c/o Mr. Pants

Condi To Testify 

We'll see if what she says opens up a perjury charge against her or Richard Clarke. Either one would be good because it keeps the issue alive in an election year and also gets "Condoleeza Rice" and "Lying Under Oath" into a lot of the same sentences.

But my question today is, why is there a fire engine directly behind Bush on the White House Lawn? With the caption that Bush will testify to the 9/11 commission? A little bit of terror-nostalgia at work, perhaps?



On Eagles and Turkeys 

My last week on the road was a delightfully bad one for Bush. Richard Clarke on "60 Minutes" and "Meet the Press" got the White House to open their wings and squawk full throttle, which makes you wonder- if Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and the likes are all co-ordinating so well to take this guy down, who's running the country?

The polls have shown a frustrating trend: Bush's approval on his "key strength", the "War on Terror", are down to 57% from 65%. But he's tied with Kerry, and it appears this is a non-Nader poll.

The only question is, what will it take for Bush to get below 45%? Because that is where he should be, in terms of voter support. The Clark testimony should have told Americans a thing or two- you know, Bush didn't do anything against Al Qaida until 2001. But there are people who are, by and large, "Republican", the party of the crushed soul and annihilated spirit, who will stand by their man like the abused dogs they have been told they are. Which may explain why "Half those surveyed in the poll after Clarke's testimony Wednesday said they thought he was acting for political and personal reasons." Of course, because otherwise they'd lose Bush's anointing of American Victimhood that they embrace.

On the side of the road in Western New York I saw the back of a farm covered with rotten, rusted cars and scraps of sheet metal. The house was falling apart, the paint was chipping, there was no joy in that man's farm. But certainly, that doesn't dissuade him from nailing a hand painted chunk of wood to a tree that reads "Vote Bush Lazio" on it. It's now about 4 years old, crooked, and part of the sign is splintered. But that's the guy who sees Clarke out of the corner of his eye while watching the local news and says "that guy is a real son of a bitch." Neverminding that Clarke served under Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2, that he has rejected the notion of a seat in Kerry's cabinet, and that he's criticized Clinton as well. What matters is, he's saying something bad about the President, so he's a partisan. He's saying we didn't do all that we could have, and that transforms us from a Wounded Eagle into a Nation of Turkeys, wandering out dumbly into a field and getting shot by an enemy in plain sight.

A wounded eagle, by the ethos of bootstrap-republicanism, has a right to his SUV, a right to his tax refund. A wounded eagle is entitled to vengeance against the foreigner. A Turkey, though, a turkey "deserves what he gets." A Turkey is a welfare mom, a gay married couple getting AIDS, it's the black kid who can't read. Republicans view these people with disdain because they "chose" to be victimized: they were Turkeys. A Republican can't stand to think that he's a Turkey too. It's no longer a matter of evidence, since no stack of condemnations from any source will convert those Americans immunized by self righteous outrage over their own forced victimization.

I found some of Ben Franklin's writing on the subject of the Eagle vs the Turkey as our national bird, and it is surprisingly apt today. I'll post the whole thing here:

"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country....

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Canadian Arthouse Cinema 

I just watched "The Corporation" here in Toronto.

The film is pretty much a composition and unification of the left's complaints about the current organization of society, noting that corporate power has usurped the position in the olden days once held by the Church- that is, the position of transnational (as in, transcending national government) influence.

Most of the stuff I already knew about, but was pleased to be reminded of. Case in point, the chemicals in American milk that not only increase the rates of cancer in Americans but can also create tremendous and unnecessary pain for the cow in a market that is already flooded with product. The Canadians may put their milk in plastic bags, but at least their cows are happy and it's citizens don't get cancer from their cocoa puffs. Also a notable piece of trivia: when the reporters who uncovered this story tried to show it on their local Fox owned 10 o'clock news, Fox bowed to pressure from Monsanto. After several legal battles, Fox was later vindicated in a court case that set up a precedent: Whistleblower status only applies when a corporation asks its employees to break the law. In the case of releasing a misleading news segment that was altered by Monsanto lawyers, no law had been broken. Thus, Fox News set up a legal precedent from a case in 1999 that news had no legal responsibility to provide true, accurate information. We Report, You Decide.

"The Corporation" is also notably positive. It definitely is one of those documentaries that, unlike it's anti-corporate manic-depressed and proudly unmedicated brethren, Adbusters, shows how some victories have been achieved in the battle against corporate dominance. Most notably, two towns in Pennsylvania that have stripped corporations of their ill-gotten "constitutional rights" to be treated as "people" instead of multi-personal entities.

There's a ton more to the film, it's definitely recommended. It comes out in the US in June.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Christian Left Radio in the Heartland 

From Southern Michigan to Northern Indiana, to Northern Illinois, there's really no indication of what state you are in. The only way you can really even be sure you are in America is the combination of Christian Radio and Giant Roadside Ads for Fireworks and The Adult Toy Superstore.

I somehow or other couldn't find Chicago's skyline, so I passed through it until I ended up in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Wisconsin is great because it has its share of Christian Fundamentalist talk radio but also really weirdly liberal patriotic radio. Which, I think, is brilliant. For example, on Christian Radio you have preachers talking over dramatic music trying to point out why Gay Marriage is wrong. On the other channel, you have a man talking in hushed tones over the glory of God's Idea (America) over decades of oppression and racial intolerance. It's the sort of Patriotism that you'd expect for flag waving barbeques down in some fireworks capital of the heartland, but it's also decidedly progressive, without being intellectually alienating. It's emotional progressivism and I've never heard anything like it.

Sunday, March 21, 2004


I don't know if this is more about me or America in general, but if you want to judge a society by it highways, America's cuisine is releasing a cascading torrent of shitmud into the local sewage economy of every small town along I-90 to the US/Canadian Border. There's not a single thing I ate that didn't force me to make an emergency stop at the next rest area, where, had I been any other citizen less suspicious of McDonalds, Sparro's and Dunkin Donuts, would have immediately purchased something else to make up for the total net loss of nutrients. This is maybe how we'll take care of social security?

If Canadian Drivers are any indication of the society in general, I can say no wonder it's orderly. A massive accident on the QEW was a simple pull to the left lane and every driver let you merge- not a single horn was honking, and this is all prior to the arrival of any traffic authority. It was an interesting contrast to the traffic in Boston, which still cannot deal with a construction project that has been going on for 12 years or so now.

Toronto is also very clean, from the streets to the construction projects covered up with modern-art poster prints to block the eyesores of construction. We don't do that much here, either. And while I am totally offending every American when I say this, I feel it needs to be said: Western New York, for whatever reason, smells like a mixture of elephant shit and circus peanuts. Canada, on the other hand, smells like sulfur.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Road Trip USA (and Canada) 

I'm going on a road trip for the next two weeks, so I have recruited my friend Tay to cover the blog while I am away. There's also Corrente, Buck Hill, and Otters for your political fix, and then there is Mister Pants for news from the World of Yarn. A world of Yarn where Rodeo Clowns are King.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

No Child Left Behind, Etcetera 

Got this in my inbox. I've cleaned it up to anonymize it, but don't let that get too distracting:

"I am a grad student in [anonymized] school of urban education with a focus on secondary ed. Which means I student teach [...] at one of the local high schools. By chance, I have student taught at [...] two of the worst schools in the country. It has been an eye opening experience, one which many of our politicians should experience before they get on their soapbox about the state of education in our country and pass ridiculous school reforms such as "No Child Left Behind" (which is really quite funny). Anyhow, politicians really don't want the state of urban education to change, nor do most affluent individuals, (Republicans and so-called liberals alike), because to balance the scales of education would mean taking tax money from more affluent areas and spreading it around in the inner city. Who wants that? The more affluent communities fight such a policy because it would mean taking money out of the coffers of their child's education and thus take away any advantages they might have. No one really wants an even playing field. If we had an even playing field who would be our unskilled laborers and workers? Certainly not the white kids..."

"But anyways, pardon the preaching. I have just seen some serious shit since I have been teaching here. Very different from the world I grew up in and the education I received. Can you imagine going to school and not being able to take your school books home? Not even that, but having one book to share amongst 3 students while in class? What is [the city's] remedy? Scripted curriculum. Seriously. They made a deal with Kaplan and now all teachers have these cute little scripted lesson plans that they must teach verbatim and on the scheduled time frame so that our students have the basic skills to pass standardized tests. There is no literature or discussion to be had in the classroom. When I asked my principals, at the beginning of the year, when this new script would allow time for discussion, I was told "discussion has no place in the classroom." Eh??? The scary thing is that my students share this sentiment because this is how they have been taught for years."

I thought this was really, really interesting. I'm really interested in the idea about affluent neighborhoods rejecting the distribution of educational funding...

"Sexy" + "Urinal" = "Oxymoron"  

Virgin Airlines brings you a urinal shaped like a woman's lips.

"We expect the response to the urinal to be very positive. With everything we do, we want there to be a smile, and that's also the case in the clubhouse. The urinal is just for fun."

What could be more fun than pissing in a woman's mouth? The company that created the "sexy" urinal advertises it with: "This is one target men will never miss." Nice to see the misogynist market getting cornered, particularly the rich, business class misogynist.

c/o Bitch

The Coalition of the Misled 

"I personally think that today, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is a truly better Iraq than with Saddam Hussein," [Polish President] Kwasniewski told a small group of European reporters. "But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction." -AP

Poland has troops on the ground in Iraq. One of the biggest supporters, in fact. So, if Bush criticizes Kerry's position now, he's also criticizing Poland.

Chomsky On The Saddam Trial 

"The trial should bring to the bar of justice his associates, those who gave decisive and substantial support for him right through his worst atrocities, long after the war with Iran. [...] All of those people should be brought to justice. They're not all equally culpable but they were all critically involved - that includes European countries right through the 80s, including Russia and France, Germany and others, it includes, crucially, the United States and Britain all the way through, including 1991." -Hi Pakistan

I love that, especially the way it's phrased. "You know, I am really glad Saddam will be on trial, because it's important to capture and prosecute everyone who helped him out with those atrocities. That's why I would prosecute Donald Rumsfield, Dick Cheney, George Bush the Elder..." and so forth.

Surprise Endorsement for Bush 

In a surprise for the Bush Administration, it has been officially endorsed by Al Qaeda.

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization. Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected." -Reuters

The article claims that Al Qaeda chose Bush because "it was not possible to find a leader 'more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom.'" Maybe later, Al Qaeda will announce plans to start up a 527 group and invest $5 million into anti-Kerry ads in swing states.

Help Fight Terrorists, (or at least annoy them): Donate to John Kerry!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Red Alert 

This is a short documentary about the "designer" of the Color Coded Terror Alert System. It's funny, and I don't post funny things here very often, so take advantage. -c/o Clowntech

Now It Really Gets Scary 

A new scoop on the Bush AWOL story has emerged, and it is scary as hell.

"Bush's pilot code was among those covered by Air Force Regulation 35-99, a previously undisclosed document recently obtained by The Spokesman-Review. Regulation 35-99 contains an extensive explanation of the Human Reliability Program. Human reliability regulations were used to screen military personnel for their mental, physical and emotional fitness before granting them access to nuclear weapons and delivery systems."

In other words, Bush may have been banned from flying planes because the Military didn't think he was emotionally stable enough to be in possession of a nuclear bomb as payload on his plane. It goes without saying, by the way, that he is now in charge of every nuclear bomb on every plane.

This is plausible given the Spectacle in Chief's cocaine addiction and obvious love of mass inflicted casualties provided he's not in any danger- but I am withholding judgment on the matter until someone in the press does their fucking job.

Thank You Mr. Kerry 

I've started up my own personal webpage to track donations made to John Kerry through this website. So if you want to make a contribution, feel free to make it here, so I feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my life. You can make one big one or just a couple of small ones, but it's important to give something. I'll track the donations and post important milestones.

Here's a reason why:

John Kerry is hitting Bush where they least expect it. Seems like an hour with Howard Dean goes a long way.

"When it comes to protecting America from terrorism, this administration is big on bluster and they're short on action. But as we saw again last week in Spain, real action is what we need. The Bush administration is tinkering while the clock on homeland security is ticking. And we really don't have a moment of time to waste." and "He pushed away our allies at a time when we needed them the most. He hasn't pursued a strategy to win the hearts and minds of people around the world, and win the war of ideas against the radical ideology of Osama bin Laden."

Winning Hearts and Minds? Yes please. Fighting the War with Intelligence instead of Bombs? Yes, please. By the time Bush rebuilds all the "established" fundamentalist Islamic states back from the Anarchy he leaves in the wake of their faux-liberation, the underlying principle of the culture in the region will be the alienation of Islam from Liberal Democracy and Secularism. In other words, Bush's plan isn't just morally corrupt, it also simply doesn't work.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Angry 15 Year Olds For Bush 

For whatever reason, a poll was taken of 12 to 17 year olds that show they favor Bush over Kerry. But I don't know if that's a Bragging Right.

(Yes, the blog, it's a parody.)

Please God 

I'm not a praying man, but please God, please, please, please, God, let it be the French that catch Bin Laden.

Little Darpa Has a Treat For You 

So we all know how much day to day technology comes out of military research. For example, building water powered missiles. I like this, because it means, essentially, a water powered combustion process. But a lot of people don't know precisely where this stuff actually comes from, or how.

The "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency" (DARPA) is designed to come up with new technology independently of the evolutionary model of design- that means, they think of stuff they think will be cool in a war, and then try to invent it, as opposed to trying to improve existing technology. DARPA is a part of the Defense Department since Sputnik took off and we got all scared of the commies. All of their projects are public, however, in basic outline form, so I figured I'd take a look at what the future of our military is going to look like.

Here's a great one: Soldier Self Care (SSC) for Acute Intractable Pain
The Soldier Self Care Program explores methods for managing acute traumatic pain in the battlefield, focusing on those free of side effects that could hinder the warfighter's performance. These methods include, but are not limited to, non-allopathic approaches such as acupuncture, acupressure employing stimulation to release pain-relieving biomolecules, biofeedback, training, and meditation. East Asian techniques for combat medicine and pathways/mediators of pain meridian points are of particular interest.

The Dalai Llama must be thrilled. But sure, military use with a definite potential day to day application, right? But we're just getting started. Take a look at this beauty:

This program will develop a number of different strategic approaches to prevent the effects of sleep deprivation over an extended period of time, nominally set at 7 days (24/7). These approaches will capitalize on emerging concepts in neuroscience, neurobiology, cognitive psychology, cell signaling/regulation, noninvasive imaging technologies, and novel mathematical approaches to modeling and analysis. In short, the capability to operate effectively, without sleep, is no less than a 21st century revolution in military affairs that results in operational dominance across the whole range of potential U.S. military employments.

Imagine what that will do to the American Workforce! Praise Ye, The God of 200% Productivity. But here it comes folks, your worst nightmare:

The program will create new technologies for augmenting human performance through the ability to noninvasively access codes in the brain in real time and integrate them into peripheral device or system operations. Faaaaantastic!

So if they reinstate the draft after all this, get ready kids, cuz it's not going to be just a matter of being cannon fodder anymore. Now, you're going to be transformed into a full blown motherfucking cyborg. I really can't wait for that fucking war. I guess the thinking goes: tear out the humanity first and war won't be so bad. Which is what makes things like this so fucking scary in the first place.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Droppin' The Science 

The massive attacks in Spain last week are a very frightening revelation of how weak we actually are in the field of Terror attacks.

If you watch the news, you know that the Terror Alert level rises and falls based on several factors, one of which is the issue of "chatter", increased talk and communications on monitored channels and reports from insiders, etc. But prior to the Spain attack, there was no chatter, part of the reason why they initially blamed the ETA.

"Our understanding of al-Qaida is not as it should be," one well-placed source admitted yesterday. "There was no tangible lead." - the Guardian

There was a tape found near a dumpster near a mosque in Spain, with a videotape where Al Qaeda takes responsibility, saying: "You love life and we love death. If you do not stop your injustice, blood will flow."

Which is precisely why dropping bombs on the populations of these countries doesn't work. Not only does it kill people who have nothing to do with terrorism, but the "terrorists" it may kill (which would barely be 1/100th of any bombed population) consider it a glorious honor to die for Allah, while the people who are supposed to be "scared off" by the perpetual bomb storm sit around wishing one would fall on them, so they can be greeted by 70 Virgins in Heaven. While they're waiting for that bullshit party to come true, they'll point at the deaths of "innocents" to prove to moderates that "America is at war with Islam."

They're not afraid of death, and that concept is so completely foreign to Western Liberal Democracy that it cannot comprehend it. This makes us think we can fight terror through war- that we can fight terror through the fear of retribution, that we can fight terror by "scaring" the terrorists into "behaving." When the goal of terror is not the establishment of political order, or the foundation of a new state, or separation from an existing one, you can "win" by bombing the will for that state out of people- effective albeit corrupt and devastating. When the opponent is fighting for the glory that his death will earn them in a fictitious afterlife with 70 virgins to fuck, no war is going to stop it.

The real solution to the terror problem is clear: secularism. The secularization of the Hotbed Fundamentalist Regimes. I know, I know- there's a lot to be said for "respecting the culture" of any people. But that is very different from respecting the fundamentalism of any culture. No one ever said, you know- "Killing Jews? That's just what Germans do. It's their culture and you have to respect it." I am not going to argue that Western Culture is "superior" to any other culture, but Secularism is.

Like, totally.

First off, Secularism doesn't deny any religious reverence. America used to be a Secular country until the Blowjob Coup overthrew the winner of the popular vote. Secularism is, "in society, any of a range of situations where a society less automatically assumes religious beliefs to be either widely shared or a basis for conflict in various forms, than in recent generations of the same society." - Wikipedia

Here comes the liberal: If we're going to drop anything on the population of fundamentalist Islamic countries, it's science. What kills terrorism is secular education and what creates secular education are secular governments. But Bush can't do this because he depends on the survival of a particularly American brand of fundamentalists for a good sum of his votes. They're just Christians Fundamentalists, not Islamic ones, and- because of our wonderful history of secularism these people are so deadset against- they don't go around killing people like gangbusters in the name of Christ. They just annoy everyone with lectures on airplanes and random visits to your house to hand you magazines or brochures on the street.

The Problem is, Bush has already defined the War on Terror. While Clark and Dean didn't use the words "War on Terror" Kerry, of course, does. Which means that Bush will win even if Bush loses, unless Kerry can redefine the War on Terror into terms of not only a fundamental rot in the nation states that house extremists, but also argue that bombs aren't a means of establishing change in those states. Sponsoring a culture of secularism is, a culture that exists outside of the ruling regimes and eventually overwhelms it. It's hard work, but it's a hell of a lot less difficult compared to the Bush Doctrine of "Kill them faster than they spawn."

Sketchy Connection Contest 

Who wants to guess how soon until the polygamy murders come up in some Right Winger's column citing it as one reason why traditional marriage needs to be maintained?

Bonus points if it uses this as the thesis: "Because of this tragedy, America now knows that traditional marriage is a matter of life and death."

Sunday Blog Outsourcing 

New Blogs
Buck Hill was a new-to-me blog which was added to the lofty and sprawling blogroll to your left (as "Color Me Impressed"). The author comes off as young and hip with what y'all in the moderate stream would call a bleeding-edge political bent. It's good!

The other notable find this week is Odd Hours, which has more in-depth and independent research than your usual politblog as well as insightful Presidential horserace coverage (which is almost an oxymoron).

This Genius Thinks We Came From A Monkey
Pharyngula notes a Jack Chick Parody comic of the famously ridiculous "Big Daddy? (Picture of a Monkey)" Comic Brochure, including annotations with references to why everything Jack Chick believes in is wrong. In the original, a Creationist Student stands up to his sweating teacher in class. Because his professor simply hadn't thought of all the stuff that is "wrong" about evolutionary theory, Creationist PHd convinces him- with a few well-made observations that turn the caricature of an educated liberal prof into goo, and one of his classmates declares, "The system has been feeding us a BIG LIE! We really do have a soul!" The parody has its share of flaws, too- I never really could get a hold of the "no historical evidence for Jesus" thing. For one, it really doesn't make sense sociologically. Saying he's the product of a book is almost like imagining that Holden Caulfield could spawn 2000 years of massive social and political change. The fact is, the guy kind of had to have actually been around just for the Christ Meme to spread enough to the degree it did.

The Difference Is How We Laugh
Craptastic has your favorite pastime: Mocking Stupid Things Republicans say. Which got me curious: Has anyone ever done a "stupid thing Democrats say" round up for a few yuks at our expense? Google says: No. Instead, this happens:

If you vote Democrat, you should repent, ask God to forgive you, and tell your neighbors that you're sorry. The Democrats have aggressively led the effort to destroy the morality and law that was the foundation of this nation. The Democrats celebrate the most despicable perversions known to man. Better than 98% of all Democratic leaders are destructive.

So they do it funny weird, we do it funny ha ha.

Abstinence Ed Greatly Reduces Chances of Knowing What STD You've Got
Otters makes her obligatory Outsourcing appearance this week with a post on the subject of the effectiveness of Abstinence Education. The New results are in, and guess what, it still doesn't do a god damned thing. I don't know how depriving people of knowledge and the means to having safe sex is going to make more kids knowledgeable and safe! How? How is taking away the thing the same as giving people the thing? It never is. It never is.

Banning Edward Said; Update
Looks like HR 3077 is still in the wasteworks. Rubber Hose mentions it (by way of Juan Cole). I mentioned it way back in November, so I wonder what the hell is going on with it. This and the "draft" resolution which has been sitting out about twice as long. No wonder the trains don't run on time.

All You Need is Rove
Seems like the Bush strategy is: If we keep making ourselves look like idiots and the other guy looking brilliant, we'll win this thing! Edwardpig has some commentary on some Bush propaganda that made Kerry look good. Which is interesting, when you consider Bush's last ad was, essentially, about how bad the last four years have been. Seems a counter intuitive strategy. It's like they're running a fake campaign just so when the next election is rigged they can pretend they actually tried.

Rush Limbaugh Eats A Lot Of Food
It's fine and all, but man alive: $58.00 for lunch? "Make Me A Commentator" has the scoop on Rush's attempt to come off as a "man of the people" with a story that inadvertently reveals that he spends as much money on one lunch as a guy making minimum wage makes in a ten hour day.

The Post Modernism Police
This is the second Sunday in a row that I've pointed to a blog entry that discusses or uses the word "post modern", this time Musing Squared has a write up of one pundit's reference to "homosexuals" in our "post modern society". The author uses "post modernist" for no good reason, it seems, except to not use the word "hedonistic" which is what the article seems to talk about. The only thing post modern about this article is the level of sheer stupidity involved in writing it, which Musing rightfully skewers. "Gays are wacky, therefore they don't really want gay marriage because that would make them less wacky!" and that Gay Promiscuity is part of the whole "Gay thing."

Granny D
Granny D!

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Pretty Soon They'll Ban Abstinence 

A lot of people are putting up Melissa Ann Rowland as some sort of martyr for abortion rights, which she isn't. She's definitely a warning shot to States everywhere about how they care for and identify mentally ill patients in this country.

Rowland denied a Caesarian Section on the grounds of its cosmetic disfigurement even though she was warned that the life of her twin children were at risk. While this is an incredibly tough case to defend- the prosecutors rightfully argue that it is "depraved indifference to human life"- it helps to know that Rowland is absolutely crazy, and it still seems wrong to me that anyone can be arrested based on refusing an invasive medical procedure.

On the religious side of things, I don't really see if anyone can argue that the Caesarian Section is a part of a natural law but abortion isn't. IE, "We can force medical procedures that give life when God might not have, but we can't allow patients to choose medical procedures to take it away when God might not have." Coming from where I am- that the position of a God granting and taking life away at appropriate moments is, really, a matter of superstition- you can see why any discussion of this law rubs me the wrong way. I am fed up with pretty much all of the religious law being made in this country, but start codifying "Be Fruitful and Multiply" into the constitution and we're living in the wet dream of a 15 year old Southern Baptist boy. (If you think I'm joking, it was already used as an argument against Gay Marriage.)

So it seems that forcing people to make medical decisions for the sake of the pro-life argument is a slippery slope. I know slippery slope arguments are usually bullshit- you can, in fact, have legal gay marriage without allowing bestiality to be blessed by the court. The slippery slope argument only applies when you change the definition of something, and the slope only goes so far as the language allows. (IE, allowing gay marriage changes the definition of Marriage to between two grown adults of either gender, this means that it does not allow polygamy, group marriage, incest, bestiality or pedophilia.)

But a law defining the refusal of a medical procedure that results in the death of a fetus is very very close to a law defining the choice of a medical procedure that results in the death of a fetus as murder. IE, if you can willingly refuse a procedure that would save a child's life and be tried for murder, what does that say about the right to have an abortion? What does it say about a woman who refuses to stay at home for the last few weeks of her pregnancy and loses the baby? That's is, effectively, refusing medical care and endangering the life of "the child."

Now, Rowlands case is a right-winger dream: It's a woman they contend chose to kill her fetus because she didn't want a big ugly scar on her stomach. This is essentially the caricature of Abortion that Pat Robertson has been waiting his whole life for. It's the sort of case that people can get on the news shows and defend by showing someone straight from the Jerry Springer show. The problem is, Rowland has been hospitalized for mental illness. She's not some limousine liberal getting abortions on the way to the debutante ball for the sake of lifestyle convenience, but you'll see this case pop up in the religious literature- "In this country we favor the appearance of our young women over the lives of our unborn" blah blah blah. It's bullshit.

Imagine if they tried to pull this shit on an Fundamentalist Christian Scientist who refused a Caesarian Section based on her religious beliefs against medical procedures? Or if they paraded pictures of an Amish woman around and made her a tabloid celebrity based on her "murder" of her child based on her resistance to modern medicine. It's the same principle and the same precedent from this case would apply to both of them. But with Rowland, they have their unsympathetic caricature which they can use to break down the dam. Eventually, they'll wind their way to the Amish.

Should Rowland be allowed to have direct and sole responsibility for her living child? No. She shouldn't. She is crazy. She is a crazy, crazy person. People who are capable of making concentrated decisions, however, should be allowed to care for their bodies the way they want to, should be able to accept or refuse any medical procedure that is offered to them, and should not be tried for murder for either one.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Fair and Balanced 

Why are Democratic-Leaning Blogs using the images of people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center as a source of "humor" at Bush's expense? I think it's kind of unfair to cheapen the lives of those people for the sake of scoring political points, don't you? Doesn't everyone? Isn't that what everyone is pissed off about in the first place? I also don't think I want to see the words "hilarious" anywhere near a picture of the World Trade Center any time soon. It's not because of "patriotism" either, it's because of the basic human dignity of individuals, particularly the people who are inadvertently slaughtered by the convergence of insane religious doctrine and international politics they have no control over.

I don't know, I don't think it's a really ripe source for humor, especially humor with an agenda against the "politicization" of the images. Am I a prude?

5:00 Horror 

Like clockwork at 5:00PM on Friday, the Bushies come out with some piece of news that ends up buried in the weekend newspapers, when readership declines and less people watch the news. I've first heard of this over on the West Wing- CJ Refers to Friday as "Take Out The Trash Day"- and then Corrente has started looking. Sure enough, today at 5:30 on the AP Newswire: Rumsfield, FBI Official Kept 9-11 Items. My favorite tidbit:

The Justice Department investigation also collected testimony that Pasquale D'Amuro, FBI Director Robert Mueller's executive assistant director for terrorism until last summer, asked a supervisory agent to "obtain a half dozen items from the WTC debris so the items could be given to dignitaries."

That's one classy gift. I remember when Tom Brokaw was chastising Americans who had collected paperwork from the 9-11 debris with total disgust, but if Rumsfield and D'Amuro want to keep it as a lagniappe for visiting dignitaries, I guess that's okay?

Bad News Everywhere 

Women's Rights Activist Killed In Iraq. She quit her job as a lawyer in Washington to go there and investigate human rights violations. While there, she was killed by Iraqi Rebels dressed as official policemen at a fake roadblock.

Thank you, Mr. President.

God Must Be Thrilled 

Tears of sorrow flowed at San Francisco City Hall Thursday as word spread that the state's top court had ended, at least for now, the city's month-old policy of allowing same-sex couples to marry. - CNN

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has approved a bill that would ban Gay Marriage but allow for Civil Unions with full legal protections of Marriage. It doesn't reach public memorandum until 2007, so Gay Hating Bigots will be able to see tears of sorrow in full, high definition picture quality on their TV sets.

But at least God is happy. Right, God?

192 Killed, 1400 Injured In Madrid 

This is when it stops going from "Bush went after the wrong guy with Saddam, haha" to "Bush went after the wrong guy with Saddam, and 1600 people are the victims of his mistake."

Granted, no one knows for sure who is responsible- either Basque Seperatists or Al Qaida- but Basque Socialist "Revolutionaries" don't usually quote the Koran, as far as I know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Patriotic Art 

This painting is a classic. As hard as Bush prays and prays for Peace, all he seems to get are giant glowing crosses on his back and the shadowy specters of Lincoln and Washington. God even sends a miniature, floating Statue of Liberty down, but no peace! Damn it to hell God, why can't you send him the peace he is praying so hard for?!

Restoring Honor and Integrity to the White House: Lessons From Karl Rove, Pt 1 

Rule #1: In a Political Argument, It Is Legitimate to Attack Family Members of Your Opponent.

President Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, told the FBI in an interview last October that he circulated and discussed damaging information regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame with others in the White House, outside political consultants, and journalists, according to a government official and an attorney familiar with the ongoing special counsel's investigation of the matter.

But Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
-The American Prospect

The "Voting Is For Old People" Tee Shirt 

A usually beloved blog, Bitch, has a kind of annoying write up about a shirt sold at Urban Outfitters that I almost bought a few months ago. It just says, "Voting Is For Old People." Now, don't ask me why- maybe because the UO I was at was in Harvard Square in Cambridge, which is, politically, the San Francisco of the East Coast- but I immediately sensed that it was a shirt that was saying "what a stupid thing to say this is." Which is what the designer claims it was: "The shirt's real intention is to sum up the current state of political affairs, pointing a finger at all of us who've been so apathetic in the past."

Bitch questions it anyway: "Maybe so, but how are UO's young, conformity-obsessed shoppers to know that?" As a young, conformity-obsessed shopper at UO, my answer is that maybe it really doesn't matter- if someone seriously molds their political beliefs around a tee shirt they saw at Urban Outfitters, why do we want them voting in the first place? And, if people keep saying things like "the young kids'll do whatever the tee shirt says to do," don't the kids sort of have a right to be pissed off at the (very noble but, I think, slightly misguided) people handing out "Voting is for ALL People" shirts?

Oh, and how ironic is it that Al Jourgensen from Ministry is complaining about someone "profiting from cynicism"? What the fuck do you call a "Ministry" album? Here's what the tee shirt should have said, I guess, to really inspire idealism in America's Youth, the way Al Jourgensen has: "I'm gonna rip her flesh/ I'm gonna piss in her face / I'm gonna rip her open/ and then hit her with mace/ I'm gonna make her suffer/ I'm gonna make her suffer / I'm gonna make her cry/ I'm gonna watch her die/ coz I hate her." That's from the beloved Ministry spiritual, "Flashback". Thanks Al, for all the goodness you inspire in the young people!

PS: Y'all know the coolest Tee Shirt this election year is right here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

That Electronic Voting Sure Is Going Great 

Approximately 7,000 Orange County voters were given the wrong ballots in last week's election by poll workers unfamiliar with a new electronic voting system, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. As a result, many people voted for candidates outside their legislative districts, the newspaper said. However, "from what we have seen so far, we do not believe any of these instances where people voted in precincts they shouldn't have voted in would have affected any of the races," said Steve Rodermund, Orange County's registrar of voters. -AP

The same article goes on to mention, however, that: "An exact number of incorrect votes is impossible to determine because of steps taken to ensure voter confidentiality, said David Hart, chairman of Texas-based Hart InterCivic, which manufactured Orange County's voting system."

So the Registrar knows that there weren't enough "wrong votes" cast to change the outcome of an election, but the people who make the machine say there's no way to tell how many "wrong votes" there were.

Perfectly Reasonable, Perfectly Democratic.

It's Like TRL With, Like, The Governor 

MTV News says that California (where else?) might allow teenagers as young as 14 to vote. The rule would be: 14 to 15 year olds count as a quarter of a full vote, and age 16 to 17 counts as a half vote.

I say, why not? Most Americans vote with a middle-school mentality anyway. (How do the cool kids get to be cool? It's the momentum, stupid!) The good news is, California has already put polling machines in the shopping malls, so kids don't have to make any special effort whatsoever to determine the future of our Democracy.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Hillary Clinton 

To Dick Cheney:

"In the Clinton administration, we used to say in eight years, we've added more than 22 million new jobs... You guys could say: 'Since 1993, our country has created 19 million new jobs."

Spalding Gray 

Dead at 62.

Bush Classic 

From a debate in Boston with Al Gore in 2000:

BUSH: I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place.

Kerry Media Defense Squad, Round One 

Well, it wasn't going to be long before the talking heads started talking crap about John Kerry. So it's time to analyze an anti-Kerry meme coming out of the Frothing Right Wingers:

When Ralph Reed, the Bush-Cheney campaign strategist tells you that Kerry, as a Senator, was "voting to dismantle 27 weapons systems, including the MX missile, the Pershing missile, the B-1, the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-16 fighter jet, the F-15 fighter jet, cutting another 18 programs, slashing intelligence spend by $2.85 billion, and voting to freeze defense spending for seven years", you would think, "wow, that's a pretty consistent record of being against defense." Right?

Nope. All of the above, the long list of systems Kerry allegedly wanted to destroy in his attempt to deliberately weaken America on behalf of Osama Bin Laden, were "voted against" with one vote, against one bill (S 3189, if you're looking) written in 1990. A bill that, in what is clearly a gift from the Hypocrisy Muses, was also rejected by Dick Cheney while he was serving as a Senator.

"You've squabbled and sometimes bickered and horse-traded and ended up forcing me to spend money on weapons that don't fill a vital need in these times of tight budgets and new requirements" said Cheney of the Bill when voting against it back in 1991.

But here comes that "steady leadership in a time of change" again. Last week he told Fox news, "What we're concerned about, what I'm concerned about, is his record in the United States Senate, where he clearly has over the years adopted a series of positions that indicate a desire to cut the defense budget, to cut the intelligence budget, to eliminate many major weapons programs."

There are three bills toted by Republicans as proof that John Kerry is against 14 types of defense systems. 10 of these defense systems are part of the one bill that Cheney also voted against. The other defense cuts should be seen in the context of the Reagan Era, where Military Spending was at one of its highest points in human history in a race against the USSR. Even Bob Dole, a senate Majority leader under Reagan, urged Reagan to cut defense spending. Kerry explains, in one of his campaign fliers from 1984:

"The Reagan Administration has no rational plan for our military. Instead, It acts on misinformed assumptions about the strength of the Soviet military and a presumed "window of vulnerability", which we now know not to exist."

Amazing how right he turned out to be- almost prescient. The Reagan Military build up- for a war that never happened- helped send this country into soaring deficits. Yet, that doesn't stop the dash-R's from running the "John Kerry didn't know what was coming" card.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Hans Blixmas  

Is that the worst possible blog caption in the history of blog captions, or what?

So, Hans Blix- the UN inspector who was precisely right about Iraqi WMD's, and was withdrawn because Bush said he was completely wrong about Iraqi WMD's? He has a book coming out, and he makes a fair case against Bush and Blair:

"I am not suggesting that Blair and Bush spoke in bad faith, but I am suggesting that it would not have taken much critical thinking on their own part or the part of their close advisers to prevent statements that misled the public," he writes. "It is understood and accepted that governments must simplify complex international matters in explaining them to the public in democratic states. However they are not vendors of merchandise but leaders of whom some sincerity should be asked when they exercise their responsibility for war and peace in the world."

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Take Back Massachusetts 

The Human Rights Campaign will match any donations made at this website. All the funds go toward raising public awareness in Mass against a Constitutional Gay Marriage ban. Minimum down is $10.00, which automagically turns into $20.00. Nice!

Friday, March 05, 2004

Weekend Blog Outsourcing 

New Format for the Blog Outsourcing. Topic, links, synopsis. Let's show you how it works.

Ralph Nader
Pandagon has the numbers, interesting as they may be. Nader has neutralized Kerry's six point lead naturally, but is drawing one and a quarter Republicans away from Bush for every 2 Dems he's pulling for Kerry. That's not good, really. But I don't like Pandagon's suggestion to Kerry: "It strikes me as a potential opportunity. By using Nader as the extreme liberal foil and Bush as the extreme conservative, Kerry can paint himself as the mainstream candidate. Running against both Bush and Nader and equating them in every speech creates the potential for Nader to actually help offset Kerry's perceived liberalism while highlighting Bush's extreme right-wing ideologies." The thing is, Nader is speaking the truth to a lot of issues, he's just speaking to them in a manner that ensures his own destruction. (Read: "Expiring for Love Is Beautiful But Stupid", my little op-ed on Nader.) Marginalizing a candidate who is against corporate rule and painting him as an "extremist" is going to do more damage to Kerry than it will do good. I'm hanging on to beating Bush way more than I am hanging on to Kerry, and if Kerry starts attacking Nader's anti-corporate oligarchy agenda as "extremist" then he's going to lose my vote. Theoretically anyway. He's got my vote no matter what, pretty much, and it's not something I'm all that proud of.

George W Bush: The Post Modern President?
Skip this whole paragraph if you are one of the millions of people who totally don't care if Bush is a Post Modern President. American Street asks and answers the question, sort of. But I don't know if I can imagine Karl Rove and Jean Beaudrillard getting together for drinks. Post Modernism is pretty much impossible to define, but it seems to me that all the examples given here are actually examples of what the post modernists despise. For example, the association of "conservative" with "good" is less about identity politics than it is about linear narrative: "We are conservatives, marching towards the endgame of the good and noble." Pomo hates the linear narrative. But the Burroughs-esque notion of the cut up seems to work to get rid of that linearity: "They have WMD. They don't have WMD. That is why we're, Saddam was a bad man, liberating the Iraqi people." Ahem. Granted, Bush also embraces the Spectacle, and ditches the kinda-modernist / kinda-po-modernist ideology of the Situationist Internationale. I sometimes think Karl Rove reads "The Society of the Spectacle" as an instruction manual.

The Draft
Estimated Prophet rounds up all the evidence (or enough, anyway) for a revival of the draft. I did mention I am a Liberal Quaker?

Microsoft Humor
Poison Kitchen made me laugh pretty hard with his expose of inane Microsoft glitches. You know I'm a loser.

Blogging the Op-Eds
Chris Brown has a letter to the op-ed column of his local paper. Do you? It's easy and it's fun and it makes a difference, sort of. Everything "sort of" makes a difference- donating money, for example, sort of makes a difference. When you add up a bunch of stuff that sort of makes a difference, however, it starts making a difference, actually.

Girl Scout Liberals
Elayne Riggs on why the right now has a problem with Girl Scout Cookies. (Here's a theory: is it because the money doesn't go to rich old white men?)

Bush 9.11 Ads
Edward Pig weighs in.

International Prestige
Speedkill has a post on the North Korean "spin" on The Diary of Anne Frank. Look for Rove to adapt this to Kerry sometime soon. I don't really like comparing Bush to Hitler, but calling the neocons "nazi's" is fair game, I think, unless you're using it to criticise the round up of Muslims or our unprovoked invasions of foreign countries. Then it's a weak metaphor. But as long as it's because of how they view the social order, go with it. The whole "Fascist" thing is more than just mass genocide. It really brought out a whole wide range of great stuff, like, for example, encouraging the individual to feel powerless and then to inspire them to gain power by working to empower the state, and to feel empowered by military victories that the aforementioned powerless individual really has no connection with. That part of Fascism was totally fucking awesome.

Inconsequential Election Night Mystery, Solved.
I am actually really grateful to Gotham for seeing a sign at Kerry's nomination party on super tuesday, and then doing the legwork that I was too lazy to do for myself. Maybe you, too, were interested in the same level of detail that he and I were: "CNN is Bad News" being held in front of all the major news outlets cameras.

Media Deconstruction Watch
Echidne at her deconstructionist best here, this time toward a David Brooks column on poverty.

On The Temptations of the Gay Lifestyle
Otters gets at the whole "homophobia is a symptom of repressed homosexuality" concept. Freud, you know- you overcompensate as a means of repression? That was kind of the idea behind my Letter to Congresswoman Musgrave. There's a second one in the works, but it's turning into a sort of "Congresswoman Musgrave Gay Sex Fan Fiction" thing and I don't want that sort of thing on my website. I wish I could be happy with subtlety.

That's your weekend, punks.

Roy Moore For President 

Roy Moore, the ultra conservative biblenazi that wanted the ten commandments on display in Georgia and acted as if its removal was a systematic forced abortion for every Christian on Earth, is mulling a run for President, which I wholeheartedly support because he's got no chance and would take Religious Fundamentalist votes from Daddy Warbush. But I would support him for another, less likely reason: He's against the Gay Marriage Amendment.

"I don't think you can make a constitutional amendment for every moral problem created by courts that don't follow the law of their states [...] If you do, you pretend to do what God has already done and make it subject to the courts. I think it's a problem to establish morality by constitutional amendments made by men when the morality of our country is plainly illustrated -- in Supreme Court precedent and in state-law precedent and in the common law -- as coming from an acknowledgement of God."

Seriously, when our President is more Conservative than Roy Moore, you know we're totally fucked.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Annoy The Bush Campaign 

Go tell the Bush campaign why you're voting for Bush in November.

Here's my reason:

"I support George W Bush because I like watchin' the wars on the TV. Them bombs sure is cool. Bush kicks ass and I don't care whose ass is gettin kicked so long as the boot says "America" and the kickin is damn hard."

If you can't think of some reasons, feel free to use some the others I've come up with (and feel free to post suggestions in the comments):

"I'm supportin George W Bush cuz I hate them homy-sexuals, and want to make sure they don't get no happiness that I got."

"I'm supportin' George W Bush cuz I don't deserve my job anyway."

"I'm sportin' George W Bush cuz he was a real war hero, not some pot smokin' draft dodger like John Kerry."

"I'm supportin' George W Bush cuz my parents was Republican and even though blacks is fine with me I don't trust'em all that much just yet."

"I'm sportin' George W Bush cuz I respond to fear like an abused dog."

If they offer to mail you stuff, say yes, because it'll waste their money. I know I am totally annoying for doing this, but it's fun.

A Letter to the Editor 

To The Editors of A Certain Local Newspaper:

George W Bush runs on the campaign slogan, "Steady Leadership in a Time of Change." Last January, President Bush assured Americans about the September 11th attacks, "I have no ambition whatsoever to use this as a political issue." But this week, he is launching an ad blitz that shows him standing with firefighters after the attacks. What the picture cannot show is how Bush has handled firefighters and first responders since the attacks- with cuts in funding. Pictures cannot show us how Bush has refused to testify for the 9/11 Commission Investigation. While the President's pictures make him out to be a hero, neither are there any compelling images to show how he has cut combat pay for our veterans in the line of fire in Iraq and Afghanistan. These people, firefighters and soldiers, are our true heroes, and until George W Bush can stand behind them in action as well as pictures, he has no right to exploit September 11th for his own political gain.


It's a New 9/11 In America... 

Remember that old "New Morning In America" song that Reagan used, alongside patriotic Burger King ads, to get into office? Well Bush has his own spin, and some people are none too happy.

"It makes me sick," said Colleen Kelly, who lost her brother Bill Kelly Jr. in the attacks and leads a victims families group called Peaceful Tomorrows. "Would you ever go to someone's grave site and use that as an instrument of politics? That truly is what Ground Zero represents to me."

"We're not going to stand for him to put his arm around one of our [International Association of Fire Fighters Union] members on top of a pile of rubble at Ground Zero during a tragedy and then stand by and watch him cut money for first responders," [Union Leader] Schaitberger said.

Barbara Minervino, a Republican from Middletown, N.J., who lost her husband, Louis, in the attacks, questioned whether Bush was "capitalizing on the event."

David Potorti, an independent from Cary, N.C., whose brother Jim died in the north tower, called the campaign's use of the images audacious. "It's an insult to use the place where my brother died in an ad," Potorti said. "I would be just as outraged if any politician did this."

Until Bush cooperates with the federal commission that is investigating the nation's preparedness before the attacks and its response "by testifying in public under oath ... he should not be using 9/11 as political propaganda," said Kristen Breitweiser, of Middletown Township, N.J., whose husband, Ronald Breitweiser, 39, died in the World Trade Center. "Three thousand people were murdered on President Bush's watch," Breitweiser said. "He has not cooperated with the investigation to find out why that happened."

Some people get upset over Bush using death, fear and turmoil- and bragging that 3000 Americans killed on his watch was "steady leadership"- as a "positive message" in his ad campaign. Some people have a similar reaction to Janet Jackson's Boob.

Priorities, Priorities.

Bush Eliminates Sewage Sludge While Helping Small Farmers 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing that the government's definition of compost include sewage sludge. The rule change is couched in a December 10, 2003 Federal Register notice about proposed revisions to the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG). It would consolidate all compost designations under one item called "compost made from recovered organic materials."

Mmmm, who wants to throw some compost in the garden now? If Republicans say Democrats throw money at problems, is it safe to say that Republicans just rename things until they aren't problems anymore? The article calls it "Linguistic Laundering":

"The problems deriving from sewage are indeed massive. Sewers give sewage. Treatment gives sludge. What to do? How to get rid of the sludge? The solution proposed here is only linguistic laundering: call sludge "biosolids", call "biosolids" compost, and, through the "Comprehensive Procurement Guideline V for Procurement of Products Containing Recovered Materials," legally oblige federal, state, and local entities, and contractors working for same to preferentially purchase sludge aka "biosolids" aka "compost" when purchasing "recovered materials." To put in bags of neat looking pellets to sell as "compost" to unwary gardeners. That will get rid of a lot of it, and it will take a long time for people to come to understand what happened to them." - Common Dreams

So, if Bush keeps on dropping in the polls, do you think he'll change his name to John Kerry?

Running Thither and Yon 

The same website that published an editorial suggesting that Howard Dean would wrap up his nomination by flying a plane into the World Trade Center is now, of course, on John Kerry like, well, Republican Nutcases to Democratic Candidates. But why? Well, because John Kerry wants peace, that's why.

"Kerry then, according to his communications with Democrats, will set things straight by going to each nation damaged by Mr. Bush, set up dialogue tables worldwide and usher in the peace long-awaited. No wonder when profiling Kerry, I cannot help but picture the rider on the white horse in the Apocalypse: The Book of Revelation, chapter 6. There the rider appears out of nowhere. He has a bow in his hand but no arrow. He goes forth on a white horse (the good guy) in a campaign to bring in peace, for without an arrow he cannot slay anyone. However, he's fake. In due time he reveals himself to be none other than the antichrist having been under cover. In fact, he's one of the four riders of death and destruction. So it is that Kerry, not necessarily the antichrist, but a workout of his shadow, gives to the world a false policy of peace and hope, love and kindness. The world, of course, is not like Kerry's Eden. The world is presently bereft with killers international. They are running thither and yon, already showing their bloody hands in one country after another. So if Kerry gets elected, they will have received the welcome mat, the open door, and engraved invitation to enter America for the kill."

I'm not linking to it because they're copyright Nazis and will probably sue me for even excerpting their political editorials. But I just wanted to reassure everyone that Republicans are, for the most part, completely fucking crazy, and their candidate has $130 million dollars more than ours. So why not contribute ten or twenty to Mr. Kerry? Or five or six. Seriously. $5.00 a month is equal to about a $50.00 donation. It's all good, folks.

I Could Have Bigger Problems 

Act For Love is a dating website designed for "activists". You may have seen it on a couple of lefty blogs, I found it on Atrios and on Taegan Goddard.

But man, what a pile of crap. I always thought Friendster could be an amazing tool for political activism- "search within (25) miles for all people interested in (anti war) with commitment level of (protester)" and bam, you've got yourself a psuedo-flashmob. Not to mention, you know, a chance to hook up with politically active people- instant date ideas! Instead, Act For Love is just a stupid dating service that seems to serve no real "activist" purpose whatsoever. For example, take "Cheebs", a preppie with a goattee (I guess that makes him "political"?) whose political statement is: "I want kids in three years, so get ready." Wow!

You can't sort people by political orientation, but you can find what sign they are and what color eyes they want you to have. The front page is mostly vapid "hotties" who sound like our good friend and psuedo-activist, Cheebs. So anyway, I know there's more important things to worry about, but it's amazing how they can co-opt political concerns and just turn it into bullshit like this when it really could have been something incredible.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Bukowski Week 

Charles Bukowski died ten years ago this week. I've been posting some of his poems here. They aren't neccesarily my favorites, though they're all good, they're just the ones that are short enough to make for acceptable blog reading.

8 Count

from my bed
I watch
3 birds
on a telephone
one flies
one is left,
it too
is gone.
my typewriter is
and I am
reduced to bird
just thought I'd
let you

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Dean Wins Vermont, Edwards Drops Out, Kerry Nominee 

That says it all. The election starts now, which makes this all the more important. Give money. Stop thinking. Go! Now! Now! Now!

What's the Charge, Officer? 

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (AP) -- The village's mayor was charged Tuesday with 19 criminal counts for performing marriage ceremonies for gay couples. Jason West was charged with solemnizing marriages for couples who had no licenses, a misdemeanor under the domestic relations law, according to Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams. [...] State Sen. Thomas Duane, a Manhattan Democrat and one of three openly gay state lawmakers, called Williams' actions "malicious.''

"Does the Ulster County D.A. really want to put someone in jail for recognizing long-term relationships between people?'' he said. "Does he really want to put in jail someone who recognizes same-sex families? Really, the Ulster County D.A. should be prosecuted for malicious prosecution, which is a felony in New York.''
- The New York Times

Jason West, by the way, is backed by the Green Party, and totally frickin' awesome.

How To Give 

1. Take your tax cut, look at it, and repeat after me: "This is how much I am getting paid to have George Bush as my president."

2. Realize that, had Al Gore been president, you may in fact not have that tax cut. Then ask yourself if you would trade that in for having Al Gore as your President for the past four years. The answer, of course, is yes.

3. Donate some or All of Bush's Tax Cut to Cut Bush. You'd be surprised how little you need to give in order to be cool with the cool kids. These people love small donations, because they can use them to tout how the underprivileged are funding their revolution. So here:

Pledge time or money or both to, which will air ads attacking Bush in ways the candidates can't. You may have already seen the ad with children working on assembly lines and as janitors and the like, that ends with "Who will pay for Bush's deficits? Our Kids". That sort of thing. It's a media assault, which is useful, because Bush has got something like 3.6 million going into ads next week alone.

Then there's the chance to donate some money to Democratic Action (Congress) and/or the Democratic Senate Funds, both of which will go towards electing a Democratic Majority in the house and senate. These guys look at candidates who are struggling in their districts and give them a cash infusion to boost their chances. If Bush wins, somehow, next election, then having a Democrat-controlled House or Senate is still vital, because, if anything else, it means we can impeach the President. (We can't as it stands without a Majority.)

Then, of course, there is giving to the Democratic Party in General. Which does a few things. One, it helps with ad buys for the Presidential Nominee as well as the congress and senate. Two, it helps the Democrats establish an infrastructure, helps them better prepare the talking heads going on the news shows, helps them with polling and get out the vote drives.

You can also donate directly to John Kerry, who, let's face it, is going to be the Democratic Nominee. He's also pretty much broke already. Bush has got $127 Million. So, you know, we're the guys Kerry gets money from. It doesn't grow on trees or spontaneously emerge from the odor of corruption in corporate boardrooms the way it does for Bush.

If you're interested in donating to smaller races, you can do that too. Act Blue has a great list of close but winnable races in play this election year, with links to each candidate. So, even if you're in Georgia and you like a guy in Nevada, you can donate to him. "Adopt a Democrat" from out of state, which is fun. It's like having a pen pal. This one takes a bit of work on your part, but it might be the most important thing the internet can do for Democrats this year.

So that's that, folks.

Bukowski Week 

It was 10 years ago on March 9th that Charles Bukowski died. So, throughout the week I'll post a few poems he's written.

Drive Through Hell

the people are weary, unhappy, frustrated, the people are
bitter and vengeful, the people are deluded and fearful, the
people are angry and uninventive
and I drive among them on the freeway and they project
what is left of themselves in their manner of driving-
some more hateful, more thwarted than others-
some don't like to be passed, some attempt to keep others
from passing
-some attempt to block lane changes
-some hate cars of a newer, more expensive model
-others in these cars hate the older cars.

the freeway is a circus of cheap and pretty emotions, it's
humanity on the move, most of them coming from someplace
hated and going to another they hate just as much or
the freeways are a lesson in what we have become and
most of the crashes and deaths are the collision
of incomplete beings, of pitiful and demented
when I drive the freeways I see the soul of humanity of
my city and it's ugly, ugly, ugly: the living have choked the

Monday, March 01, 2004

The Passion 

I haven't seen "The Passion of the Christ" yet, but I did hear a caller on the NH NPR affiliate call up to imply that maybe, just maybe, the film itself is the second coming of the Messiah, the last chance for non believers to understand and accept Christ before the Rapture.

Which leads me to my biggest problem with this film: not the violence, which caused one woman to die of a heart attack while watching it, and which is glorified by the same people who abhor violence in any other type of movie. Neither is it Anti Semitism (I hear it's anti-Italian!)

What it is is, it's heralding the triumphant resurrection of American Fundamentalism at a time when the most dangerous thing that could happen to this country is "someone" "accidentally" allowing the "war on terror" to turn into Jesus v Mohammad. Chris Hitchins, that bloated motherfucker, had one thing right, which is that the battle against terror is not a battle of Christianity vs Islam, it's the battle of Fundamentalism vs Secularism. But this country is swept up into a fundamentalist euphoria- Where we crucify Howard Stern as if he posed a threat to Democracy instead of just our sense of decorum, while Ann "Bomb Christianity Into the Arabs" Coulter isn't- and we round up Gay Marriages as the sign of our societies ongoing freefall into the abyss of Godlessness.

It's "Fill In The Blank" Fun Time! Bonus if you can identify the source:

"The task that Christ has started, I will fulfill. _________ is nothing but the practical fulfillment of teachings of Christ."

Give up? The answer is National Socialism, and the speaker is Christianity's own prodigal son, Mr. Adolf Hitler, in a 1926 speech in Munich, as documented in a police report at the time. But don't give me a tin foil hat yet. It's right at the end of chapter two in Mein Kampf: "Today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the ______ I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Now, I know you can say Hitler wasn't a "true" Christian, and that is true. That's not the point I am making anyway. The point I am making is, "true" religion or not, the governance by religion is governance by passion, and passion is easy to manipulate and thus, a pretty fucking scary thing to have running the country.

Those quotes are from a chapter in John Rawls' The Law of Peoples, where Rawls sums it up nicely: "Since the time of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, Christianity punished heresy and tries to stamp out by persecution and religious wars what it regarded as false doctrine. To do so required the coercive powers of the state. The Inquisition instituted by Pope Gregory IX was active throughout the Wars of Religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In September of 1572, Pope Pius V went to the French Church of St Louis in Rome where, joined by thirty three Cardinals, he attended a Mass of Thanksgiving to God for the religiously motivated massacre of fifteen thousand Protestant French Huguenots by Catholic Factions on St Batholomews Day that summer. Heresy was widely regarded as worse than murder. This persecuting zeal has been the great Curse of the Christian Religion. It was shared by Luther and Calvin and Protestant Reformers, and was not radically confronted in the Catholic Church until Vatican II." (Which, by the way, is precisely the same Vatican II that Mel Gibson is so pissed off at- and established this movie to fight back against.)

The idea behind a separation of church and state is that we need a fundamental societal set of rules for fairness in a society that exists outside of the morality of passion that comes with Religion. I have nothing against Catholicism, or Religion in general. I like Christianity, in part, because it favors isolation over the crowd, it is an individual religion rather than a frothing mass. You take communion with a crowd but with your own thoughts. You confess sins for forgiveness with one priest, anonymously. You pray silently. The passion that religion invokes is not a bad thing for individual lives. Focused, driving, furious passion cures alcoholics, gives people the strength to move on from devastating losses, inspires people to reach beyond their own imagined limitations, gives sight to the blind and walk to the walkless, etcetera. But Christianity can turn into a frothing mass when it is abused by political elements of the Church, and the passion it gives us to overcome individual existential struggles is manipulated into a fight for political power. The legislation of passionate reactions is an attack on the core of a Liberal Democracy, and it is the trademark of Religious Theocracy.

The danger of Christianity comes when it feels threatened by outsiders. The Crusades, the Inquisition, and now, the manipulators of religion are using "defense" against an onslaught of "Liberals" and "Activist Judges", feminists, gays, the ACLU. Bush may well know how quick the Christian Belief rises to its own defense, and now, whipped into a furor over Islam, it's also told- in an election year where attention turns to the homeland- to focus on the homeland enemy. Not Pedophile priests, but Liberal Democrats. When the people of a church feel threatened, it does two things. One, it divides the church between fundamentalists and moderates and liberal practitioners, (reinforcing, for the fundamentalists, the sense of attack) and two, it identifies the "individual" as part of a group, part of a mass that has power- previously identified as armies, and now identified as voters. It takes that blinding and furious passion that Religion gives as a gift to inspire people to personal greatness, and bends it, weakens and dilutes it into a crowd crystal designed to achieve political aims.

So it is no coincidence, in my mind, that Bush made a "surprise" announcement on his support of a Gay Marriage Amendment only 24 hours before a film would be released that, it seems, some fundamentalists believe may just be the second coming of Christ himself. For Bush and Rove- a strategist who has gone so far as to pose Bush in positions that make it appear as if a Halo is over Bush's head- this would be enough, I believe, to justify waiting three months between telling Musgrave that Bush would support her Amendment, and the actual announcement to the American people.

But I believe in the moderates. No less than John Leland, a Baptist Minister, spoke in 1802 on the same subject: Be always jealous of your liberty, your rights. Nip the first bud of intrusion on your constitution. Be not devoted to men; let measures be your object, and estimate men according to the measures they pursue. Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. It converts religion into a principle of state policy, and the gospel into merchandise. Heaven forbids the bans of marriage between church and state; their embraces therefore, must be unlawful. Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void of it. Let honesty, talents and quick dispatch, characterize the men of your choice. Such men will have a sympathy with their constituents, and will be willing to come to the light, that their deeds may be examined.



The thing is, if our Government did indeed stage a coup to overthrow Aristide, there's no way to know. It's down to Aristide's word vs McClellan's word. Aristide is a freely elected former Priest who maybe ran drugs through Haiti, but if he did, it might have been because drugs brought in 10 times more money for agriculture than the aid we were giving them to crack down on drugs. McClellan is a hired spokesperson for George W Bush who may or may not believe everything he says. If you're interested in figuring out just what the fuck is going on in Haiti right now, Stirling Newberry has a history of the crisis that gives you the answer: no one knows what the fuck is going on in Haiti right now. You should read the comments section at the BOP link too, to get even more confused.

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