|No Fear of Freedom||
|Anti-right rants from an obnoxious lumpen proletarian. Aiming to Arm the Choir.|
April 28, 2004
American Idol, American Refusal To Face FactsElton John Says 'Idol' Vote Is Racist
John -- who rehearsed with the show's wannabe pop stars during a recent week in which they performed his songs -- said three performers he was really impressed with "happened to be black, young female singers and they all seemed to be landing in the bottom three."Was the vote on American Idol racist? I haven't got a clue. I've literally never seen the show, not even once. Is America still a racist country? You fuckin' A right it is, and to claim, "Racism's over. Get over it," is fuckin' well evil, pure and simple. It's racist as well. An' it ain't liberals I hear sayin' it. Now ask yourself again why roughly 90% of black people vote against (And I believe that's exactly what they're doing. They ain't votin' for Democrats.) Republicans.
posted 10:04 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
"Are you the Epsilon who's going to serve us tonight?"See, now that's why I can't work in resorts for the rich. The only correct reply to that question is "I don't know. Are you the person about to be beaten to death?" That asshole definitely falls under the "He needed killing" law.
Brave new jobs
I've always thought of myself as a winner.Yeah, and that's exactly the problem. If the author was a winner, that meant others were losers, and therefore she deserved more than them. She doesn't say that. I do. Later in the story she mentions that she also thought of herself as a conservative. What a surprise.
At least she has learned the truth. Her sojourn as a waitress at a resort for the rich and powerful would make a wonderful nightmare if it wasn't reality.
I wonder how many of us imagined when we left school to embark on the bright and shining futures heralded by our graduation ceremonies that we would be staring down our 30s, 40s and 50s as minimum-wage earners?She doesn't add what her article makes clear, that said minimum-wage jobs are also demeaning, apart from the pay. It's funny, I just wrote a line in a song a couple of days ago that I thought at the time some people would find extreme. Yet this article affirms every jot and tittle in that line:
"Elitist pricks -- get their kicks -- runnin' poor folks into the ground."
posted 9:50 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Will The Supremes Advance The Imperium?Uh, these are the same Justices that put Bush on the throne aren't they? Why wouldn't they rule that Bush is Above The Law?
U.S. Supreme Court justices listened skeptically last week as Solicitor General Ted Olson argued that foreign detainees being held in U.S. military facilities in Guantanamo Bay have no right to seek relief from U.S. courts. Wednesday, Olson will be back before the court, this time arguing in two historic cases that the government has the authority to lock up U.S. citizens, too -- without charges, without a lawyer, without a trial, without any rights at all -- simply by declaring them "enemy combatants" in the administration's war on terror.See, now that's the one good thing about the orthodox right libertarians. They actually believe in freedom, unlike most of the rest of the right which is just paying lip service. (There's a modern blues song, sung by a woman whose name I can't recall at the moment, with this line in the chorus, "All the men want to give me - lip service, lip service don't do it for me." Me neither. Expecially when it comes to real, as opposed to merely economic, freedom.)
Administration disciples (Surely they have no reasonable supporters at this point.) will claim that Hamdi and Padilla are horrible bad men and must be held without rights in order to protect the American people. Let's deal with the two being horrible bad men. How do we know that? The only evidence I'm aware of, and, more importantly, the only evidence required by the administration's position, is the administration's say-so. The say-so of the lyingest administration in US history. As Lynch of Cato points out, if the Supremes approve this, then the president, on his say-so alone, can lock up any or even all Americans without resort to Constitutional rights.
Right ding-dongs will no doubt say, "Oh, that's silly and alarmist. It would never happen." They're right, it wouldn't happen. But here's what would happen. The moment the Supreme Court rules that the president has such power, every single American will have Constitutional rights in name only. The moment the president, any president (And how would the right feel if that president were Clinton?), declares you an enemy combatant, you'll have lost all rights based on the president's word alone. I swear, and I know this sounds paranoid, that the right's eagerness to hand that kind of power to the president makes me wonder whether they have some reason to believe there will never again be an opposition president. Can you see the yahoos deliberately handing this kind of power to a Democrat?
In briefs filed with the Supreme Court, the Bush administration makes the circular argument that "enemy combatants" like Hamdi and Padilla aren't entitled to counsel because the government hasn't charged them with any crime.Interesting argument, ain't it? Cuz it amounts to arguing that if you're charged with a crime, then you have rights, but if you're not charged with anything, like, say, most Americans, then you have no rights and can be locked up forever. It kinda makes the old right wing shibboleth into reality. Only (accused) criminals will have rights. If that happens, the terrorists will have definitely won. They will have destroyed America, sort of. Actually, they will have cleverly provoked America into destroying herself. We has met the enemy and they is us.
That's always been my biggest fear in this "war" with terrorism. The attacks themselves I fear about as much as I fear crossing a busy street, but the irrational fear that results from those attacks is an enormous threat to the America we were brought up to believe in. And Bush has done everything in his power to stoke those fears. FDR said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." That's pretty close to the truth of our present situation. Yet Bush has essentially said, "Be afraid, be very afraid." Odd. Why ever would he do such a thing? Things that make you say, "Hmm." And maybe consider forming a revolutionary cell.
Thus far, the courts are divided on the propriety of the administration's actions. In Padilla's case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held that the government may not hold a citizen indefinitely simply by declaring him an enemy combatant. In Hamdi's case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reached the opposite conclusion.Hey, the 2nd Circuit made the right decision, but the 4th Circuit clearly made an anti-democratic, anti-freedom decision. Why inna a hell would they do that?
The 4th Circuit is widely considered the most conservative of the federal appellate courts;Oh. Conservatives used to believe in the Divine Right of Kings, too.
The Admin's policy on all this amounts to "Trust us." I follow a simple policy in these matters. I never trust anyone who says "Trust me." It's something honest folks rarely say, but it leaps to the lips of con men everywhere. Especially in the White House.
posted 8:53 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 27, 2004
Go, Huey! Burn, Baby, Burn!Like a shining star, that is.
He's Gotta Fight the Powers That Be
Remember when "The Boondocks" first came out and a lot of people thought it was racist? I remember thinking to myself, "Can they say this shit about black folks." This was before most people knew that Aaron McGruder was black. I remember a strip where Grandad was razzin' Huey 'bout wantin' to see some movie in a black neighborhood, saying something like "You know how nice and quiet black folks are in the theater." Ooh, that must be racist, to say that.
Well, actually, black people, on average, are fairly notorious for makin' noise in theaters. McGruder knew it, Honey Punkin' knows it. It's not racist to recognize genuine differences between people of different cultures and different gene pools. It's almost like it's taboo these days to admit what I think is obvious: For whatever reason, black athletes are notably quicker and faster on average than non-black athletes. Yeah, can't admit that reality. Have to pretend it's a coinky-dink that whenever ten men line up for an international sprint, eight or nine of 'em are black, an' tha whites ain't got a chance.
Racism is not the evil recognition that there are genuine differences between the so-called races. Failure to recognize that, besides being a weird manifestation of political correctness, is simply deranged. Racism is drawing major conclusions based on minor differences, making a bigger deal out of those differences than is warranted. And, despite what so many white people would desperately like to believe, the remedy for racism is not refusing to talk about race. The hidden wound will fester. We got to bring it out into the light.
I love Aaron McGruder. The Boondocks knocks - me - out. Of the park. Sans steroids. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but I sure like his style. It's intelligent. It's refreshing. It's doomed in 1984 + 20 BNA. Brave New America.
And woe to the unsuspecting person who approaches McGruder at a party to challenge his views.
See what I mean about style? Some folks have accused me of being funny, and I appreciate it, but it's really not humor, though I do try and often fail to be funny from time to time. What it really is, and I think for Aaron too, is white hot outrage expressed through no mere biting sarcasm but, one hopes, through rending, tearing, ripping, violent -- sarcasm. This shit ain't funny ta me, either. It's literally life and death.
The white right dares not criticize McGruder too sharply. They'll claim that's a result of political correctness. No, it's a result of the white right regularly, and reasonably, being associated with racism. So they bring in the ever-reliable, though miniscule, do as they're told black right.
On the other side of the "Boondocks" fence is conservative radio talk-show host Larry Elder, who labels McGruder an artist out of control. Elder regularly rants about the cartoonist on his daily syndicated show.Yeah, an' none a that would apply to oh, say, Rush Limbaugh, right?
Elder believes the strips about Rice and her love life "went over the line."Oh, Christ, I din't know Condi was a concert pianist! I'll never say a bad word about her again! Why, if Stalin had been a concert pianist (he was also fluent in Russian, ya know), he too would have been deservedly immune from criticism and ridicule. Sage of "I say what they tell me to say," seems ta me. He must mean the herb of South Central. Somebody needs to tell people that genuinely smart, not to mention wise, folks don't go around telling you how smart they are. I can't ever remember McGruder, f'r instance, braggin' on his smarts, though they are obvious.
Another Rice-flavored stir erupted in December during a Washington, D.C., dinner marking the 138th anniversary of The Nation magazine, which a few years before had put Huey on the cover. Referring to their NAACP Awards conversation, McGruder told the audience that he had called Rice "a murderer to her face." (Rice's office did not return phone calls regarding McGruder.) He drew boos when he proclaimed that Democrats had to be meaner if they wanted to take back the White House.Democrats do need to be meaner. If that's a controversial thing to say at an anniversary dinner for "The Nation," we're in a lot more trouble than I thought. And I already thought we were livin' in a world o' hurt.
He can't get over it, he just can't. After all, I seriously doubt that Rice is technically a murderer, unless it's under international law. And it's so much worse to call Rice a murderer than to call abortion providers and abortion seekers murderers. I mean, they are technically guilty of -- oh, wait, no they're not. Turns out murder is the unlawful killing of a human being. If it ain't against the law, it ain't murder. Shit. Now I just can't get over the fact that superstitious right wing yahoos call abortion murder. I'm sure that bothers Armstrong Williams just as much as it does me. Is there any hope these assholes will ever grow up? No, no percentage in it. And how the hell come you see and hear more black conservatives on radio and tv than you do black Democratics? Doesn't the media reflect reality? No? Must be that fuckin' liberal bias again.
Outside of Comedy Central, Fox, which airs "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill," would seem like the perfect spot for "The Boondocks." But Fox is also where "The PJs," an animated series set in a housing project, failed to catch on, while catching fire for some of its depictions. McGruder is not expecting the animated "Boondocks" to be controversial.I'll tell ya, I guess I'm not the most politically correct kinda guy, but I liked "The PJs." Ooh, they had a black crackhead on that show. Well I got crackheads all around me. Some are black, a lot are white. The Super had his 40s, what a racist cliche. Well, it ain't nothin' a the kind. The 40 is a hallmark of poor neighborhoods, not black neighborhoods. Forty ouncers are relatively cheap. Six-packs cost more ounce for ounce than 40s, and malt liquor, though higher in alcohol content, is much cheaper than regular beer. See, either po' folks is just too un-so-phist-icated to drink fine wines, or maybe it's just economics. Your call.
I think we need somebody like Aaron McGruder to start kickin' ass an' takin' names. I'm damn glad he's got the guts to do it.
posted 7:54 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Read It As Every Elite
"There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob."An' thass why I b'lieve in democracy. It's not that I b'lieve the masses are smart enough to rule. It's that I b'lieve the elites are just as likely to act like idiots, so we might as well suffer the idiocy of the majority. At least their selfishness serves the majority rather than the minority. Here's one for the conservatives:
"Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening."Now you traditionalist sorts, you keep up the efforts. I love watchin' you waste your time and energy.
Thanks to Quotes of the Day.
posted 6:22 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 25, 2004
And Failing The English TestAdministration Details Plan for Returning Power to Iraq
This is complete and utter nonsense. The Bushitters have no intention of returning power to Iraq, and they make that clear in this story.
Bush administration officials offered Congress on Thursday their most detailed explanation yet of U.S. plans for turning power over to Iraqis after June 30, saying that although the nation's sovereignty will be limited, the transition government will be in charge of most ministries, oil revenues and an international development fund.Limited sovereignty is an oxymoron. Sovereignty is supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign state. You could look it up. Supremacy?
But three days of administration testimony, including closed-door briefings Thursday from national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, also made it clear that security would remain the responsibility of the United States. The officials reiterated that United Nations plans call for a transitional Iraqi government whose primary purpose would be to prepare for elections next year but which will not have the power to enact laws.Sovereignty in the presence of an occupying army and without the authority to enact laws? That's a novel concept. Who's kiddin' who? Unfortunately, I know those who read this blog already know the answer, but I'm gonna tell ya anyway. Ain' nobody kiddin' the Iraqi people. Any fool ought ta know they can figger it out. The Bushitheads are tryin' to bullshit the American people. An' it's workin' on way too big a percentage of 'em.
posted 10:54 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Failing The Dover TestPhotos of Coffins Draw U.S. Crackdown
"Quite frankly, we don't want the remains of our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified," said John Molino, a deputy undersecretary of defense.Nor do we want them to be the subject of warranted or dignified attention, he forgot to mention.
"At Dover, as a rule, there is no ceremony. It's a ritual more than a ceremony, to my mind," he said.Another political asshole drawing a distinction without a difference.
In 1999, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, said a decision to use military force was based in part on whether it would pass "the Dover test," as the public witnessed the images of the war dead arriving home.All of the secrecy surrounding the return of the US war dead to Dover is about avoiding the Dover Test. It is inherently, massively anti-democratic to try to avoid the Dover test. If we are ashamed to honor our war dead, then we should not be at war. If the American people cannot handle the truth, then that truth is unacceptable and our political leaders have led us astray.
posted 10:49 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Whoopee Yahoo An' All That CrapYes, I'm back, and even on the day promised. Even I am shocked. Since some readers kindly inquired, I'll mention a little about what's been going on with me. I've had chronic health problems for years. They're not drastically horrible problems. They're not likely to kill me any time soon, though that is a possibility, but I do spend an awful lot of time in doctor's offices and the symptoms can take an awful lot out of me. I've been going through a spell where I feel sicker than usual, and that's part of what took me off the blog for awhile.
The other part has been my renewed interest in blues playing. I jam as much as I can, and sometimes, given my health, jamming for an hour can send me to bed sick for three or four hours or more. I also spend time thinking about music. Lately I've been thinking about how to explain what the blues are as a musical form, cuz I hear people ask the question. I know the answer. What I've been cogitatin' over is how to explain the answer. I don't know a hell of a lot about music theory, but I do know a lot more than the average harp player. (Ain't sayin' much, ya know?)
The blues, to the shock, perhaps, of music theorists, are not a chord structure nor a scale or combination of scales, nor are they a combination of structure and scale. The blues are a sound and a feeling. It takes both. It has to sound like blues, it has to feel like blues. That's it. That's all the rules. The so-called blues scale is bullshit. If you play nothing but blues scale notes, what you play may sound somewhat blue but it won't be blues, because you've artificially restricted yourself.
On "One Way Out," Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) blows a 12 bar intro in which he plays 77 tones. (At least, that's the way I play it.) Of those 77 tones only 57 appear on the three blues scales that would apply. More than that, in the first four bars that set the intro's overall tone, only 9 out of 24 tones come from the blues scale. In the ninth bar he plays a tone twice that doesn't appear on any formal scale, the slightly flat 4th, a tone between the 3rd and 4th tones.
So if Sonny Boy violates all these "rules," how can we say he's playing blues? Because it sounds like blues and it feels like blues. Those are the only real rules. I don't care if you take the chord structure from a 16th century English funeral dirge, set it to a calypso beat and use a melody drawn exclusively from the major pentatonic scale (which tends to sound country), if the end result sounds and feels like blues (it probably won't), then it's blues.
I think what defines blues much more than the "blue notes" are the sliding notes. It's difficult to play blues on a piano because the notes don't slide. It's done, but it ain't easy. The blues have got to wail, just like me. Maybe that's why I love to play the blues. There's so much to wail about.
At any rate, I am back, but probably not at the same level I was before. I doubt I'll be posting as many times a day as before, and I may miss a day or two here or there and, judging from this post, I guess you'll have to suffer my thoughts about the blues. The blues are huge to me. Dave Alvin, formerly of The Blasters, now Dave Alvin And The Guilty Men (last I heard), wrote a song called "American Music," most of which I don't remember, but I remember this part:
They wanna hear some American music.American music is a mixture of musical styles, but what makes American music uniquely American is the blues. Modern American music has many roots, all important, but blues is the taproot. An' now yer stuck wit' hearin' bout it. Sorry I'm back, ain'cha?
posted 9:22 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 11, 2004
High Ate UsThis blog is going on at least a two week hiatus beginning today. I'll be rethinking how to do this. Play amongst yerselves.
posted 6:29 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 08, 2004
Another Damn Dem Lying About The AdministrationRice faces accusation on eve of testimony
A senior terrorism expert said yesterday that he had delivered a final desperate warning of an inevitable terrorist attack to Condoleezza Rice five days before al-Qaida struck New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington.Yeh, and everyone's lying except the Bushies. What kind of odds would you put on that scenario?
posted 7:25 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Iraq Headed South In A Hurry - Thanks, President Bushwa!US loses control of two cities
Up to 300 dead in Falluja
Three Japanese 'taken hostage'
Iraqi interior minister resigns
Before the war, like a lotta liberals, I suppose, I expected this Iraq invasion to go sour on us. I just couldn't, no way in the world, see it coming out any other way. And now, maybe, it looks like the beginning of the absolute catastrophe. And you thought things had been going badly already. The Sunnis hated us from the get. No surprise to anyone, except possibly the neo-con faction. Now al-Sadr's Shiites are after us too. They're a minority of Shiites, but my impression of al-Sistani's support for the "coalition" is that he's not mad enough to kill us - quite yet. And he controls the majority of Shiites. The hastily "trained" Iraqi police and security forces have turned out to be - 'nother big fuckin' surprise - useless.
Maybe the US can crush these uprisings with overwhelming force, but only at the cost of angering huge numbers of Iraqis. I used to go along with the moderate liberal line that we can't just pull out of Iraq, but I've had my doubts for months now. The longer we stay, the worse this gets. If we pull out immediately, that'll be bad too. But if it's gonna turn out awful either way, why should it be at our expense in both money and, more importantly, American lives and limbs? If I thought it would do significant good, OK, ya make sacrifices, but it looks more and more to me like our sacrifices are for nothin'.
I just hope to hell this is enough to make sure Bush gets beat. The country won't stand another four years of incompetent, idiotlogue clowns.
UPDATE: Not freedom: a free-for-all
In Iraq, the US did not read the small print on the Arabic social contract and now it is reaping the whirlwind, argues William Beeman
A nice little primer by a Brown University prof on good reasons why Iraq is going to hell.
ANOTHER DAMN UPDATE: Account of Broad Shiite Revolt Contradicts White House Stand
Amazin' how often somebody's contradictin' the White House these days, ain't it?
United States forces are confronting a broad-based Shiite uprising that goes well beyond supporters of one militant Islamic cleric who has been the focus of American counterinsurgency efforts, United States intelligence officials said Wednesday.Wheee, kids! Ride the magic handbasket to hades, fueled by an infinite supply of White House lies.
posted 6:59 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 07, 2004
Most Brazen Liars In White House HistoryAn' like I keep sayin', that's goin' some.
White House criticism disputed
Dealing with criticism that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice wouldn't testify in public before the 10-member commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, White House spokesman Scott McClellan complained last month that when she testified in private, "only five members showed up" to hear what she had to say.Well, it's either the Bushy Boy's are lyin' or damn near ever'body else is.
posted 11:46 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Best Healthcare System In The World - In CrisisShouldn't it be one or the other? When you say, "The US should have single-payer healthcare, like Canada." The dingers say, "We don't need it. This is the best healthcare system in the world!" But when the right wants to pass a bill to help out their buddies in the insurance biz:
Senate GOP Tries to Curb Medical Lawsuits
Senate Republicans are trying for a third time to persuade Democrats to curb medical malpractice lawsuits and help alleviate what proponents of limits call a health care crisis.Crisis. When it suits 'em, the system's in crisis. These people got no firm attachments to reality.
posted 8:00 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Remember How Rush Used To Say, Look, It's Simple?
"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated."Too bad more right dingers don't read this site. This could cause their heads to explode. But, they can always fall back on this:
Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.Tip O'The Tam to Quotes of the Day.
posted 7:38 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Bush's Reality Check - Nope, Failed AgainUprising in Iraq could derail Bush
As US forces suffer another bloody day, Republicans turn on president
Thirty American soldiers and 130 Iraqis have been killed since the weekend in Falluja, where heavy combat continued last night. Unconfirmed reports said US planes fired rockets yesterday, destroying four houses and killing 26 Iraqis.See? I told you people things were getting better and better in Iraq.
"There are thugs and terrorists in Iraq who are trying to shake our will," the chief White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, told journalists. "And the president is firmly committed to showing resolve and strength ... They cannot shake our will."What, me? Worry? They ain't shootin' at me.
Opinion polls show Mr Bush's approval ratings eroding, despite spending $40m . . . on campaign advertising in the past month. A survey by the Pew Research Centre found only 43% of Americans thought the presi dent was doing a good job, down four points from last month and 13 points from January. The poll, taken before the disastrous weekend in Iraq, showed a majority of the population disapproved of the way Mr Bush had handled the situation there.Uh-oh. Maybe they are shootin' at me. [The Pew Survey is here.]
Edward Kennedy, his fellow Democratic senator from Massachusetts, described Iraq as "George Bush's Vietnam". Paul Bremer, the US governor in Iraq, said: "There is nothing in common with Vietnam." But Republican senator John McCain said Mr Bush should avoid the mistakes of the Vietnam war: "We have to tell the American people that we are in this for the long haul. We cannot say, as we did in Vietnam, that the light is at the end of the tunnel."Ah, crap. Now even the Republicans are cutting on me. I don't understand it. I keep telling people I'm doing a great job.
posted 7:05 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 06, 2004
Political Division, Partisanship, The End Of Civilization As We Know ItWell, some people say that. Some very nice work by the "Austin-American Statesman." If nothing else, this article answers the burning question, "How'd that guy win. I don't know anyone who voted for him."
The schism in U.S. politics begins at home
The assumption since the 2000 election has been that the United States is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Nationally, this is still true.I wonder how this segregation came about? The Statesman offers no theory. One thing I notice, though: I live in a predominantly Democratic county and neighborhood, but you'd never know it. Nobody ever says anything overtly political. Even the confirmed liberals I know don't like to talk about politics much. But I go over ta my brother's place in Orange County, seven times out a 10, somebody brings politics up, an' it's always Republican poltics. They assume everyone there agrees with them. I 'bout fell out one time when a woman sez ta me, "Don't you think Pat Buchanan is wonderful?" An' I'm thinkin', yeah, 'bout as wonnerful as you think Satan is. They were burn agins, a course. In tha "Ain't Pundits Brilliant?" category:
Thirty years ago, the Washington Post's top political reporter, David Broder, wrote a book titled "The Party's Over." Broder, like most political scientists, noticed that people had grown tired of the two major political parties.Ya know how ya can spot a financial bubble near it's peak? In 1999-2000, people said information technology had fundamentally changed the business cycle, and P/Es were meaningless, and everyone knew the stock market would go right on rising, maybe forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future. "Everything's changed," might be the key phrase here. The other one is "You can't lose." As in during the real estate boom of 20-25 years ago, "You can't lose money on real estate." People did when the market crashed. An' then there's "The parties are dead." Right before they make a comeback.
I'm not sure what practical difference any a this makes. Ya play tha hand yer dealt. But it's interestin', an' appears ta be tha beginnin' of a series in "The Statesman."
Thanks to CJR's Campaign Desk.
posted 6:42 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 05, 2004
Good To See How Wrong The Left's Been About IraqApaches swoop on Shia militiamen
The coalition [read: foreign invader] accuses Mr Sadr of trying to usurp its power and says the revolt will not be tolerated.No one defies the imperial power of Rome! You men over there. Erect a few crosses. We'll teach these barbarians.
The protests were triggered by the closure of Mr Sadr's main newspaper a week ago; they intensified after the arrest on Saturday of one of his top aides, Mustafa Yacoubi.We said we was bringin' you peebles democracy. We dint say nothin' bout free speech.
Paul Bremer accused Mr Sadr of seeking to "establish his authority in the place of the legitimate authority".Wuh-oh. The imperial governor is pissed. And he's got a point. The US and its hand-picked minions are the only legitimate authority in Iraq based on the oldest law known to man: Might makes right. And that's why everything's going swimmingly in Iraq, as they seem to have stopped telling us lately.
posted 10:09 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 04, 2004
Iraq: The Nightmare Never Freakin' Ends9 Coalition Troops Killed as Violence Erupts Across Iraq
Shiite violence. Yeah, it's Muqtada al-Sadr's people, for now. But the "pro-American" Shiites think they're going to get the power in democratic elections. The US is working hard to see that that doesn't happen. How long before all the Shiites are against us?
Three months to go before the "turnover," and everything's goin' great. Sure it is. Somebody give me just one reason why Bush should be reelected. Just one.
posted 5:34 PM by Phaedrus | Link | |
The Evil "Cure." Take It Ta Hell 'n Gone, Wouldja?Going Straight : A Mythical Cure
Before developing a cure, shouldn't you first establish a disease? Ratboy's Anvil quotes at length from a "Guardian" article about the deranged "ex-gay" movement and "reparative" therapy. Reparative. That assumes something's wrong, which we surely don't know to be the case. There are good reasons to suspect just the opposite. I've never understood all this bullshit about homosexuality. I know it's mostly religious, but even accepting that, it doesn't make much sense. Why aren't the religious nuts raisin' a similar ruckus about divorce? Similar? Shit. Aren't there a hell of a lot more divorced people than gay people? Seems ta me Jesus was pretty fuckin' unequivocal about divorce.
Matty (Hey, we were close.) 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.So these anti-gay warriors are pretty Goddamn selective when they reads they Bibles.
Does Randy believe his son will change? He looks ashen, and for a moment broken. "It's possible he won't," he whispers. "But I pray every day." Then, louder: "You see, Drew knows it's wrong! He wants to change it! He said he'd turn it off if he could." Randy tails off and gazes at the floor. "That's what's so strange about the whole situation. He knows if he continues in this lifestyle, he is going to hell. For him to make that choice ? It's mind-boggling. It's blown me away."He knows, at least in his own mind, that he's going to hell if he doesn't change. This is not an uncommon situation, yet many, if not most, are unable to change. And so God sends them to hell. That's what the religious folk say. They say it's always the individual's fault and never God's, but it's ridiculous to say that people have total control of their behavior. Some people have no choice, and then God sends them to hell. And that doesn't even count the fact that God's sending 'em to hell for essentially trivial reasons. Any God who would do that is evil. I could never bring myself to worship such a God. It would be worshipping evil. That might be OK with right wingers, but it ain't OK with me. And I don't want the evangeli-fundies arguin' with me. Evil! Don't make me come out ta yer churches an' slap each an' ev'ry one a ya!
posted 11:45 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Welll, It's 1, 2, 3, What Were We Fightin' For?That's sumpin' I been dyin' a know for years now. From time to time I see these right dingers own personal brilliant plans for how they would've "won" the Vietnam War. Most of them seem to involve turning North Vietnam into fields of glass with nukes. I suppose that would've worked, but what they never tell me is, why? To what purpose?
Course, we "lost" cuz a wimpy liberals like me. Never mind that the "wimpy liberal" in power when we gave it up was Richard Nixon (or Ford, depending on how you want to look at it). It's simply not even a possibility that we didn't lose, we just recognized our mistake and went home. Because even without the nuclear option, we saturation bombed parts of North Vietnam, defoliated vast sections of the country, many of which will never recover, killed millions of people, wounded multiples of that, terrorized multiples of that number, committed war crimes (like using napalm on personnel), and lost quite a few of our own.
And for what? The communists did win, they took control not only of Vietnam but other countries as well, and the consequences for the United States were -- what? What in the hell were the damaging results to the US that would have justified not only all that we did but worse, much worse, as well? As near as I can tell they amount to loss of face. The dingers're wailin' the blues cuz they can't say we "won." If that's it, that's kinda pathetic.
And then there's a few left over problems.
Decades After First Refugees, Readying for More Hmong
Thousands of these poor bastard's been livin' in refugee camps ever since the war. These are people whose tribes fought for the US in the Vietnam War, only in Laos. Here where I live we got a lotta Cambodians. Some of 'em, I think most of 'em, are tribal people who also fought for the US. The older ones, and you don't see so many of them any more, have obviously tribal tattoos over much of their bodies. People who'd never driven anything more complicated than an oxcart had to learn to drive cars, and to take abuse because they weren't very good at it. Why would they be? (Actually, I imagine driving an ox cart is complicated in its way. Ya have to get a living creature to do what you want. But it's a lot slower moving than a car.)
They had to learn a whole new lifestyle, new language, new weather (It's hard for me to imagine what it must be like to be Laotian Hmong living in St. Paul, Minne-fucking-sota. Last I heard, it's cold there.). I know the Cambodians have had a hard time here. Know what they've specialized in? Running donut shops. Turns out that when you've got a large family willing to work about a million hours a week for practically no money, you can drive everybody else right outta the donut business. An' it don' take a college degree.
So. All the suffering added up from the Vietnam war. Was it worth it? And if you say yes, please tell me this. Worth it for what? What was the point, what was the need? A deluded, paranoid fantasy that Communism was going to take over the world, one backward asian country at a time? What?
posted 7:56 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 03, 2004
Quotes About GoatsFrom Quote of the Day:
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."No wonder the right wingers believe so hard. If they ever stop, much of their "reality" will go away.
"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."And that's a bit of good sense you're not likely to hear from many right wingers. Wrong about their beliefs? Impossible!
Hey! There's no quotes about goats here! Goddamn bait-and-switch bastard! I'm gonna take myself outside and slap me around some.
posted 6:35 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 02, 2004
Harp Hack's TalesYah, hokay, I'm a little distracted lately. I don't even have my new amp in my hands yet, and I'm already modifying it. Definitely need to change the tubes to get a warmer tone. I'd like to change the speaker out for a Weber Vintage American series speaker. The oddest thing about all this crap is harp dogs and guitarists go through all this hassle and expense trying to duplicate a sound that was really just a lucky accident.
The old blues guys, the early rockers, they didn't have any money. They bought the cheapest crap available because it was all they could afford. I ain't kiddin', most a those guys were playin' Sears & Roebuck mail order rigs. Coolest sounds I've ever heard come out of a harmonica were made by cheap shit speakers that sounded like the cones were made out of cellophane. Now if I just knew where I could get me some cheap shit cellophane speakers. I'd pay anything.
I also just got Richard Clarke's book, so I'm gonna try ta dope that out. Hang in, y'all.
posted 1:42 PM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Memoirists Trash The President - Will We Ever Know The Facts?A burgeoning genre: the White House tell-all
Throughout the modern publishing era, nearly every administration has had its "turncoats" -- high-level officials who leave and write tell-all books criticizing their former bosses.Shouldn't that tell us something? An unusual number of unusually senior members of the administration are publishing books, unusually, in Bush's first term. Thass a lotta unusual.
To be sure, the White House has its own weapons in the book wars: Karen Hughes, one of Bush's closest advisers, who left the White House to spend more time with her family, has a new memoir as well -- painting a glowing portrait of Bush. Ms. Hughes, who is ramping up her involvement with the Bush campaign, is embarking on a six-week book tour, and expects to join the campaign full-time in August.Another sycophantic pack of lies written by Bush's advisor and speechwriter is going to counter all the negative books? God, I hope not. What would that say about the intelligence of the American people?
Many of the current books depict Bush as simplistic and narrow-minded, unwilling to listen to opposing points of view -- a portrayal that Senator Kerry is already attempting to exploit in his campaign.Yeah, let me tell ya sumpin' bout hunch and intuition. I used to play poker, both in the casinos and online. I won. They were all low level games, $1-2, $2-4, $3-6, that kinda thing. Structured limit Hold'em. Coupla things I loved to hear the other players say: "Change the deck! Change the deck!" They think a deck change will change their luck. And: "The cards don't matter. It's all in the feel." You know, the feel? The hunch? The intuition? Ya know what always happens to those kind of players in the long run? They lose their money. Period. Always.
I know we have this big mythology built up about "going with your gut," and "do what your heart tells you," and all similar garbage. But that's all it is. Mythology. Superstition. First Ronnie Raygun with the fuckin' astrologer, and now Bush with his magic "gut instinct." Will we ever tire of electing superstitious idiots to the presidency? I love this too:
To some, the charges in books such as Clarke's or O'Neill's are undermined by their timing. Aides who wait until the president is out of office before releasing memoirs gain credibility by taking their work out of the political arena and aiming it at history, says Marlin Fitzwater, press secretary to President Reagan and the first President Bush. But those who publish during the president's tenure are open to question about motives -- whether they're driven by a desire for profit or revenge.Yeah, their motives are the most important thing. As Ronnie da Raygun said, "Facts are stupid things."
posted 6:51 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Our (Incompetent) "War Time" PresidentI.R.S. Request for More Terrorism Investigators Is Denied
The Bush administration has scuttled a plan to increase by 50 percent the number of criminal financial investigators working to disrupt the finances of Al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations to save $12 million, a Congressional hearing was told on Tuesday.Crucial. Maybe even critical. You'd think so, woud'n ya? Well, you'd be wrong. Where's the P.R. pop for Bush? Ya can't get any spin outta adding 80 agents at the IRS to track terrorist financing. Bor-riiing. This isn't an administration that gives a shit about reality. All Bush's Brain cares about is image. All Bush's brain cares about is listening to Bush's Brain so he can get re-elected. No political pop, no point in doing it. Simple.
Via Bad Attitudes via Body And Soul.
UPDATE: Bush signs rights-for-foetus law
Now there's yer P.R. pop, babee! At best, this law will have a trivial effect on crime and on the safety of Americans. But it plays really well to the base, and probably some others as well. Bush's Brain at work.
posted 5:14 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
April 01, 2004
1st Amendment Center On The Pledge - If You CareThe Pledge at the Court: Is 'under God' religious?
The school district was equally adamant that the pledge is "not a religious act or a profession of religious belief," but merely "descriptive of the historical ideals upon which the country was founded."Aha! Maja's favorite argument. But not everybody's.
But what does it mean to claim that affirming allegiance to "one Nation under God" has no religious meaning or significance? That's the concern raised by 32 rabbis and ministers in an amicus brief filed in support of Newdow's position.No matter what they do, the court is going to offend a lot of people. Well, they would if anybody was paying attention and actually cared about the nuances. People try to say their support for this is logical, rational, non-religious. Yet if this nation were forty-five percent atheist, do you think the decision might be more likely to go against "under God?" This is about religion and I'm tired of people pretending it's not.
Some of the strongest support for the current pledge comes from Americans (mostly conservative Protestants) who see the United States as a divinely blessed "city upon a hill" -- whose prosperity and freedom depend on public acknowledgement of our dependence on God. Those who hold this conviction would view removal of "under God" from the pledge as yet another sign of America's fall from grace.So, they clearly consider it religious. Are they confused, Maja? Wait, they can't be. You told me this wasn't really confusing at all.
But many other supporters of keeping "under God" don't see it as much of a religious issue. If polls are accurate, many of these folks are wary of government involvement in religion -- and would likely oppose any attempt by government to endorse one religion over another.So many other supporters don't see "under God" in the pledge as religious, huh? So what do they see it as?
At the same time, however, they're attached to a patriotic vision of the United States that inseparably links God and country. That's why the words "one Nation under God" capture for them America’s special place in history and in the world. Any attempt to change the pledge (especially by an unpopular atheist) is seen as unpatriotic.But, if the United States is inseparably and officially linked to God, isn't that at the very least an eensy-weensy establishment of religion?
Maja, there's only one thing I can say. BLASPHEMER! HERETIC! BURN THE WITCH!
posted 1:26 PM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Has Nader Just Lost His Mind?I'd really like to know. He insists he's not going to draw votes from Kerry, he's going to draw them from Bush. He still insists that he had nothing to do with Gore losing, although any nitwit can figure out that without Nader in the race Gore would have won, and we wouldn't have been saddled with four or more years of President Bonebrain. And every poll has shown that Nader's wrong about the effect he'll have on this race.
Reason to Run? Nader Argues He Has Plenty
A New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this month found that when voters were asked to choose between Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, 46 percent chose the president and 43 percent Mr. Kerry. When Mr. Nader was added to the mix, Mr. Bush's support stayed at 46 percent, Mr. Kerry's dropped to 38 percent and Mr. Nader drew 7 percent. More than half of Nader supporters preferred Mr. Kerry in a two-way race.Yeah, there's disgruntlement on the right, but those people will have to hold their noses to vote for Kerry. They're gonna need full biohazard suits and decontamination chambers outside the polling places to vote for Nader. Look, if Nader had a chance, if a 3rd party had any hope of success in this system, I'd probably vote for both. But the reality is if you don't like the two party system, and I hate it, the only hope is to get enough influence in one of the parties (hint: starts with a D) to change the system. We need proportional representation and a parliamentary system. All a "protest" vote for Nader can do is get us another four years of Bushwa.
posted 12:44 PM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Why Are Mercs Needed In Iraq?U.S. civilians defiled
Four U.S. civilians employed by a North Carolina security contractor were killed Wednesday in an ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, and crowds beat, stabbed and burned their bodies in a televised spectacle.Those guys were mercs doing a military job, guarding US food deliveries. We're using mercenaries more and more. Maybe it's just me, but this use of mercs seems more in line with imperialism than democracy. Democracies ought to be defended by citizen/soldiers.
posted 11:51 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Poll Says Clarke Rakes Bush Over CoalsClarke's Charges Gain Acceptance
Most Americans accept Richard Clarke's key criticisms of President Bush's anti-terrorism record, but a majority also thinks that politics influenced the timing of the charges by the former White House aide, a Los Angeles Times poll has found.The all but pointless news is that Dems support Clarke over Bush and Repubs are almost the opposite (though their support is a bit more tepid than the Dems opposition). The real news is:
Over three-fifths of independents said Iraq had been a higher priority for Bush than fighting terrorism, while just less than three-fifths said he did not pay enough attention at first to the terrorist threat.Independents, by a lesser margin to be sure, agree with Democrats. That's kinda been the steady story for awhile now. The independents are leaning Democratic. They oughta be. The Repukes don't give a cancerous rat's lumpy red ass what the people want.
If only wild-eyed radicals and "haters" oppose Bush, how do you explain this:
The poll also found that Kerry led Bush by 5 percentage points among independents, and by 25 points among those describing themselves as political moderates.Which is just as it should be. BushCo is anything but moderate. Oh, but Kerry is an elitist:
Bush hopes to use cultural and national security issues to appeal to working-class families, but that strategy has suffered from disenchantment with his economic record. While the president holds a solid lead among voters earning more than $40,000 annually, Kerry attracts nearly three-fifths of those earning less.An elitist, and I 'spose this happens all the time, who's opposed by the more elite and supported by the non-elite. Reality is not whatever the person best able to sell their bias says it is. Talk about a nihilistic attitude. If there is no objective reality, then none of us know anything at all and we might as well be children squabbling over differing fantasies.
posted 11:01 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
It Was Necessary To Destroy Democracy In Order To Corporatize It.Left gains as Europeans show distaste for austerity
"It is very difficult to step back from social benefits, and we have never faced the need before," [Stefanie Wahl, an analyst at the Institute for Social and Economic Research in Bonn] adds.That's the line that got me thinking. Europeans have never faced the need for austerity programs before. Why not? Oh, I know, aging population and all, but still. And then this:
Some of the opposition to reform is rooted in Europeans' tradition of relying on the state to organize social solidarity, setting aside a good chunk of the national wealth to weave reliable safety nets for the old, the sick, and the unemployed.Oh. The new "competitive" rules of the CORPORATIST globalized market. They are an alien imposition on their culture. International corporatist institutions are coercing countries into doing what corporatists want rather than what their people want. Democracy's a dead letter. It's ironic, to say the least, that those who feared a one world government have helped to create one, a CORPORATIST one world government.
The corporations encircle the globe with their many tentacles and choke off democracy wherever they find it. They have a better God, the say. They call their God efficiency. In the market you have no right to be wrong, and that's fine with the CORPORATISTS. In democracy you must have the right to be wrong. That's why the "free" marketeers have no respect for democracy.
Look at the right (CORPORATIST) wing of the Repukes party. The American people like Social Security, quite a lot. Repukes don't, therefore the American people are wrong. The people support universal health care. Repukes don't. The people are wrong. There's a bunch of issues like this. Notice how their idea of statesmanship is to 'nobly' ignore the will of the people. The CORPORATISTS and the right wing are out to destroy true democracy all over the world. Are we gonna let 'em?