|No Fear of Freedom||
|Anti-right rants from an obnoxious lumpen proletarian. Aiming to Arm the Choir.|
May 31, 2004
At Least They Mention The Campaign LiesFrom Bush, Unprecedented Negativity, via Rat Boy's Anvil, via the WaPo. A case where the media actually cover Bush lies, though only in a campaign context. I seem to remember the Republicans confidently predicting that this would be the most negative campaign in history. They were implying that it would be the Democrats doing, but I remember thinking that you can confidently predict something like that if you know that your side is going to make it the most negative campaign in history.
As the article points out, that's what the Rethugs have done. Now if only all the media would point out all their lies. Dana Millbank seems pretty good, but one guy, who's stories often get buried, is not enough.
posted 5:57 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
How Do Journalists See Their Jobs?I'm sorry, I know I'm gonna get called paranoid and a conspiracy theorist over this. I'm not trying to explain it, just pointing it out. The Bushit mis-Administration keeps claiming that we will turn full sovereignty over to Iraqis on June 30. A more blatant lie is hard to imagine. Full sovereignty, that's what we're giving the Iraqis. Just pay no attention to that occupying army over which they will have no control. But that's not my point.
Full sovereignty, they say over and over again, and the media repeat it without pointing out that it is an obvious, blatant, humongous lie. Bears no relationship to reality whatsoever. So what can you say about the news media of a country when they uncritically trumpet everything the government says even when it is obvious, Orwellian bullshit? Is it a conspiracy?
Shit, I don't know. I doubt it. I think the the news media basically are part of the government. I think this is a corporatocracy and the media are owned by corporations. And no, I don't think it's a conspiracy. I think it's very like a democracy in which citizenship is limited to representatives of corporations and the very rich. There are disagreements, there is a "liberal" wing of the corporate party (we call them Democrats), but in the end corporations make the decisions, not the people, not everybody who nominally has the right to vote.
Don't like my explanation? Pick another one. But it has to explain why the media, the supposed watchdogs of the government, constantly repeat outrageous lies, lies so outrageous that they must know that they're lies, and they repeat them without comment about they're obvious falshood. I'd love to hear an innocent explanation for that.
posted 4:46 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 29, 2004
Brain CaromsHad a weird, disgusting kinda thought. People close to the Bush mis-administration say that Karen Hughes is sincere in her effusive praise of Bush. One said she just doesn't see any flaws in him. So I got to thinkin'. I don't see any bad qualities in Honey Punkin'. I'm sure others do, but I don't. She's perfect. I love everything about her. I love the way she staggers uncertainly to the bathroom in the morning. She wakes up really slowly. I love the way her frizzy hair sprouts every which away on her head while she blearily sips her morning coffee. But all of that's normal. I'm in love with Honey Punkin'.
I read somewheres that when you love someone, the critical part of your brain actually shuts down when it comes to that person. The cliche was "Love is blind." If by blind you meant uncritical, you'd apparently be right. So I see no flaws in Honey Punkin' and Hughes sees no flaws in Bush. That just might mean -- whoa! Now wait a minute! That is disgusting!
And we all thought it was Condi was in love with him. Well, it's not an exclusive club. Could be both of them are. Hell, for all I know, moral Republican women all over the country are wettin' their knickers over Boy George W. Anybody know what knickers are?
posted 3:14 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 26, 2004
34% Liberal, 7% Conservative, 54% LiarsNancy Pelosi loses control
And Brent Bozell has not lost his grip on reality. Ya can't lose what you ain't never had. (Link is to Townhall. Sorry.)
Two comfortable institutions of the liberal media establishment, the Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, have discovered once again that five times as many national reporters (34 percent vs. 7 percent) identify themselves as liberal than conservative. As for that broad middle of 54 percent that declares itself to be "moderate," just consider them liberals with an honesty problem.Notice the thrust of his argument here. "You can only trust the numbers that appear to support my argument. The numbers that don't seem to support my argument are obviously false." Hey, isn't that the same form of reason used to justify the war in Iraq? Given the level of evidence provided here by Brenty, why shouldn't I just believe that the only reporters not lying are the 7% who say they're conservative? Maybe there are no liberal reporters. I mean, if Brenty can make it up as he goes along, so can I. How stupid are the people who actually believe these right wing hacks?
Bozell seems to think that the SCLM did Pelosi a favor by burying her remarks.
But the networks aren't the only media outlets that buried the Pelosi outrage. The New York Times submerged it into the bottom of a story on page A-18. The Washington Post also wrapped it at the bottom of an inside-the-paper story. USA Today didn't even notice in the same week, getting to a mention on the following Monday.
Don't you think she wanted them to be heard and read? I wanted them to be heard and read. Still do. He thinks this internment is evidence of left wing media bias, I think it's just the opposite. But to the Bozos, I mean Bozells, of the world, everything the media does is evidence of left wing bias. Remember when the damned, biased media refused to tell us the truth about how well things were going in Iraq. Lying, left wing bastards! Course, everything's been steadily going to hell in Iraq, as even most right wingers now acknowledge. And it is true that the media weren't telling us the truth. Things were much worse than they told us. And that, too, proves that the media are made up of lying, left wing bastards. I haven't figured out how yet, but it does.
posted 5:27 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
We Fired Him Because Of His Excellent WorkU.S. replacing its top army commander in Iraq
"Ric Sanchez is doing a fabulous job," U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday as the ground commander in Iraq made a visit to the Oval Office, along with some Iraqis tortured by the ousted Saddam Hussein regime."That's why I told him not to let the door hit him in the ass."
posted 5:16 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Grotesque Political Attacks Part Dos Y DoughBush speech alarms even war enthusiasts
Whoo. Maybe it's just me, but I would not enjoy being referred to as a "war enthusiast." You people know who you are. You're just not clear on what you are. Pelosi caught hell from the Repugs for her traitorous criticism of pResident Booshwa:
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she believed "that the president's leadership and the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience." "The emperor has no clothes," she added. "When are people going to face reality?"Yet, others have made criticisms just as harsh and have hardly been criticized at all.
[-----] called Abu Ghraib "a symbol of the inescapable fact that the war has been run incompetently, with an apparently deliberate contempt for history, strategy, and thought." [--] asked why the administration was trying to occupy Iraq with current troop levels, "even as one event cascading into another should make them recoil in piggy-eyed wonder at the lameness of their policy."Oo. That's even stronger. Deliberate contempt. So why aren't the war weinies jumpin' all over it? Party registration. [-----] is Mark Helperin of the Wall Street Journal, a card carrying Republican. A little-known article of the Double-Secret Provisional Constitution restricts free speech to members of the Republican Party. Can't just let the riff-raff say whatever the fuck they want, ya know.
posted 4:47 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 24, 2004
Grotesque Political AttacksCJR's Campaign Desk Spin Buster takes on the Republican responses to Nancy Pelosi's admittedly strong criticism of Precedent Bushwa in Nasty As They Wanna Be.
Yesterday, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she believed "that the president's leadership and the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience." "The emperor has no clothes," she added. "When are people going to face reality?"The AP story cited two responses.
[T]he first, from Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt:Check CJR for the details, but these are obvious non sequiturs. The second quote comes with an extra special insult though. Let me decode it for those who haven't sussed it out yet. Pelosi "should just go back to her pastel-colored condo in San Francisco." What that means, and what Republican supporters are expected to hear is, "She's another fuckin' faggot from Sodom by the Bay. Who gives a shit what those pansies think?" Of course, he's found a way to say it that's difficult to directly criticize. All Reynolds has to say is, "I meant nothing of the sort and there's something wrong with you if you think I did." Maybe that makes Reynolds more clever than me. Or maybe I don't mind being honest about it when I set out to give offense.The comments "represent a grotesque political attack. They're simply outrageous and the American people will reject that type of blame America first. ... American troops are bravely fighting the terrorist enemy and it is the terrorists who are responsible for the violence, not the president."
posted 5:39 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Americans Take Great PrideAnd wouldn't it be nice if Americans had some legitimate justification for doing so? But, 'tis an ill-wind and all that shit. At least this crap is hurting Bush.
Bush battered by abuse photos
Americans take great pride in their image of themselves as a just, democratic nation that is a force for good in the world and they place a lot of faith in their troops.And yet we refuse to drive back underground, where they belong, the clearly anti-justice, anti-democratic, force-for-good-only-if-they-get-to-define-good, right wing scum that have achieved such excessive influence over our nation.
Americans could legitimately take pride in our image of ourselves if we weren't about the only population left in the world dumb enough to believe it. That ain't the image the rest of the world holds of us, and these pictures out of Abu Ghraib are just a small part of the reason. See, funny thing is, many foreigners get much more accurate news about the US than US citizens do. So very odd, ain't it?
The Psychological View
Soldiers Vented Frustration, Doctor Says
Physical abuses by U.S. military police of Iraqi prison detainees stemmed from a mixture of soldiers' anger and frustration over poor working conditions, their racism and the absence of any meaningful supervision, according to the report of an Air Force psychiatrist who studied the episode for the Army.Well, that surely lets the spooks off the hook. I feel so much better.
He reported that one military police platoon leader was openly hostile to Iraqis, and that a police dog handler was "disrespectful and racist" -- attributing to his dog a dislike of Iraqi "culture, smell, sound, skin tone [and] hair color."Proving, once again, that projectionist isn't just a job at the movie thee-ate-er. I guess he couldn't find any liberals, so he had to project his own ugliness onto the innocent dog.
A prisoner who smuggled in the weapon was shot in the legs, and then a military police soldier ripped off his bandages, beat him on his wounds, and hanged him by the arms until they became dislocated, Nelson reported.Well, thank God it hasn't sunk to the level of, ya know, actual torture torture. We need to get past this, forget about it, pretend it never happened. Otherwise it might mess with American pride.
posted 4:44 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 23, 2004
What Was Their First Clue?Suspicion of Chalabi Deception Intensifies
Really. After over a year of nearly every left of center blog screaming that Chalabi was a crook, after over a year of former intelligence officials screaming the same, the US has come to suspect that Chalabi might have deceived us. And that he's an Iranian agent. How bad does this administration have to screw up before a solid majority recognizes that it's made up of total screw-ups?
posted 7:34 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 22, 2004
Putting American Ideals At RiskPelosi won't back off Bush condemnation 'Her words are putting American lives at risk,' says her House counterpart
Republican leaders accused Pelosi of taunting the troops, inspiring the enemy and putting American lives at risk by telling The Chronicle on Wednesday that Bush is an "incompetent leader'' who lacks the judgment, experience or knowledge to make good decisions.In other words, telling the truth is taunting the troops, inspiring the enemy and putting American lives at risk. This right wing crap-a-thon would be comical if not for the fact that it's so tragic.
."She apparently is so caught up in the partisan hatred for President Bush that her words are putting American lives at risk," said House Majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "This nation cannot afford the luxury of her dangerous rhetoric."Damn right, Hammer. We can't afford any political opposition whatsoever, any partisanship, and, above all else, we cannot afford the luxury of free speech. Somebody let me know when we're officially allowed to call the US government autocratic, would you?
Let's assume for the sake of argument that what Nancy Pelosi said is true. I think it is but if you have doubts put them aside for a moment and ask yourself, "If Pelosi knew that the so-called leader of the free world was incompetent, how patriotic of her would it be to say nothing?"
I don't know if Pelosi's words are putting American lives at risk. I do know the words of Tom Delay, Dennis Hastert, Marc Racicot and more are putting America herself at risk. Anti-democratic bastards.
posted 6:06 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 20, 2004
Easy To Talk When You Ain't In The War ZoneFresh Iraq prison photos emerge
As I understand it more, and worse, pictures will probably come to light. They exist. Bush and others have seen them. I don't approve of what the accused (and one convicted) soldiers did, but while we all, in facile fashion, condemn their behavior, I'd like to remind people what we ask our poor soldiers to do.
First, they say they were following orders, and I think it's fairly likely that's pretty much true. Commentators whose real goal is to protect the incompetent muckity-mucks of the Bush administration have derided the soldiers claims as the Nuremberg defense. Well, I was never all that comfortable with the Nuremberg trials, though the Nazis were exceptionally heinous.
People say, "Oh, you have to disobey an illegal order. It's your duty." Yeah. In fact, it's an incredibly tough decision to disobey an order, legal or not. In fact, obeying an illegal order is far less likely to get you court martialled than disobeying. But, luckily, every private has access to a legal scholar who can make a determination on the legality of the order for him.
You can claim that people should know the difference between right and wrong, they shouldn't need a legal scholar. To me, that's doubtful under any circumstances, but in war? That's ridiculous.
Then, look at what we ask our soldiers to do. Get your shots, grab your gear and get your ass over to Iraq to kill the filthy heathens who murdered something close to 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11. (Not that that's true, but I bet most of the soldiers believed it, because that's what the Administration wanted them to believe.)
Hate your enemy, our enemy, kill your enemy, maim your enemy, destroy your enemy, for they are evil beyond belief. They are Satan's spawn and, as our idiotitrous President has said, we are going to rid the world of evil. Oh, one other thing. When you happen to capture your filthy, stinking, evil, cowardly, murderous enemy, you must remember to treat the alien scumbag with all the caring, respect, and dignity naturally due to any human being.
Yeah, that's likely to happen all on its own. The low-level soldiers are, and have to be, emotionally manipulated because it's a hard thing to go to war. It's normal for the low-level guys to get out of hand, go to far. Their friends are dying, being maimed, same for the wider circle of brothers in arms. They're angry and they're hurt and their hatreds have been deliberately stoked. The senior officers and the Pentagon and the CINC do the manipulating, and I don't necessarily blame them for that. But it is also the muckity-mucks job to keep it from getting out of hand. They didn't do that in Abu Ghraib. They're the ones who ought to pay for what went on over there, but they seldom do.
There's one more group that deserves to share the blame for what happened at Abu Ghraib. Every ill-informed American who supported this plainly stupid, not merely unnecessary, war bears responsibility. War is no frivolous thing. It not only kills and physically maims, it does psychological damage that sometimes lasts a lifetime. The hard right dipwads (by which I mean the Republican Party) love to prattle about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Is a little collective responsibility once and a while totally out of the question?
posted 6:32 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
'Lying Conservative' Is Almost RedundantCase anybody missed it, scoot on over to Eschaton for George Will, Then and Now. Atrios catches Will writing outta both sides a his pen when Will either a) thought no one would be paying attention, or b) wasn't actually paying attention himself. Like I keep saying, conservatives will tell any lie. It just depends which side of the issue their on at the moment. They wouldn't give you a shovel full of shit for facts or honesty. They are the true immoral minority.
posted 6:11 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 19, 2004
Class Warfare, Damnit!Though Far From Poor, a Family Struggles Daily
By the federal benchmark, 13% of Californians are poor, according to the Census Bureau. By the self-sufficiency standard, 30% don't make enough to get by.It may not be that bad for the whole country but I'll betcha anyt'ing it's worse than what the gummint tries to tell us.
One reason why the wage-earning middle class increasingly can't afford California is that wages, adjusted for inflation, have been stagnant for two decades. In the same time, the percentage of income needed to pay for rent, healthcare and child care has spiraled.They're saying that wages kept pace with inflation, but the cost of living rose dramatically. At least for those nearer the bottom than the top. So, somebody tell me again. What inna fuck does the inflation index measure? The price of gold bathroom fixtures? "Rents have gone up 30%, but gold bathroom fixtures are down 80%, offsetting rents, so there's no inflation." Oo, that helps me a lot.
Through years of colds, flu, bumps and bruises, Maryellen followed word of mouth on cheap clinics until she found the state's Healthy Families program four years ago.Thought I ought ta point out that the near doubling in cost of their childrens' health insurance is actually a good thing. See, that's Gubernor Gropinfuhrer cutting the fat outta the budget, jus' like he promised he'd do. He's one a them liberal Republicans, don'cha know.
Little about the Basurtos conforms to the stereotype of the poor. They don't ask for help. In fact, they volunteer their time generously in causes ranging from education to single mothers.Yeah, and so's the story about the lazy, profligate poor. Let's not forget that this is not some unfortunate but minor glitch in a wonderful economic system. Employers want people hurting, underpaid, out of work, desperate for a job, any job. It's a wonderful way to hold wages down. And the employers are, as the Conceptual Guerilla puts it, cheap labor conservatives.
The American working class consists mainly of indentured servants. Oh, they've changed the forms so you won't easily snap to that realization but, effectively, it still works like indentured servitude for the employer. Sure, you can quit, but you damn sure better get another job fast. We don't have laws binding workers to their employer for long periods (ya know, 'cept in the music business), and we don't have company stores. But we have mortgages, and credit cards so usurious they amount to loan-sharking. And that "X% of Americans own homes" shit really cracks me up. If you're still makin' payments, you don't own it. Doubt me? Stop payin' the mortgage for a while. See what happens.
Add in spouses, kids, health insurance (And if you have chronic health problems, it's awful hard to quit a job with health insurance. You gotta go through that pre-existing condition crap.), saving for retirement, saving for college, and you got a lotta desperate people out there. And desperate people do desperate things if that's what the employer wants.
If you're caught in this situation, for God's sake, don't blame your neighbor or inner city youth or liberals or welfare mothers or the black, the brown, the Asian (they don't look yellow to me), or the white. Blame the people responsible. Blame the green. Blame the rich. All those other people are your natural allies against the rich, and we all need to get that through our heads.
And yeah, you fuckin' well right I'm talkin' class warfare. The rich started it. It's time our side started fightin' back.
posted 6:22 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 17, 2004
The Stuff Everybody KnowsOne of my many pet peeves is that much of the shit everybody thinks they know is wrong. This one is a particular peeve of mine.
Divided Mission in Iraq Tempers Views of G.I.'s
The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib concerns soldiers, too. They ask whether their work has been irrevocably tarnished in the minds of Americans and Iraqis. "Now we wonder what people back home think of us," said First Lt. Erik Iliff, 24, of Columbia, S.C. "Will it be like Vietnam, where everyone who's fought there is labeled a baby killer?"I was in uniform during the Vietnam war. Nobody ever abused me in any way. Certainly somebody labeled Vietnam vets baby killers, but it was in no way a general social phenomenon. The only place that happened was in the movies. But people, often unconsciously, believe what they see in the movies. That's why the right wing has been able to use this lie to tar the left ever since.
Oddly (though not for them), they simultaneously argue that Vietnam vets were treated horribly by the American people and that such treatment, even coupled with the trauma of war, did them no harm whatsoever. I mean, they say Vietnam vets suffered at the hands of the left, although they really didn't suffer at all.
You watch 'em, you'll frequently find the right arguing two or more contradictory sides of the same issue. Seems odd, until you realize they don't give a shit about facts or honesty.
posted 7:11 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Pigs At The Trough?Short answer, no. Pigs behave much better than the rich.
Pioneers Fill War Chest, Then Capitalize
Since 1998, Bush has raised a record $296.3 million in campaign funds, giving him an overwhelming advantage in running against Vice President Al Gore and now Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). At least a third of the total -- many sources believe more than half -- was raised by 631 people.That's in four and a half years. That's only part of the total spent just to elect a Republican President. A lot more money than that flows. A lot.
The Pioneers have evolved from an initial group of family, friends and associates willing to bet on putting another Bush in the White House into an extraordinarily organized and disciplined machine. It is now twice as big as it was in 2000 and fueled by the desire of corporate CEOs, Wall Street financial leaders, Washington lobbyists and Republican officials to outdo each other in demonstrating their support for Bush and his administration's pro-business policies.They used to say that campaign contributions didn't buy favors, only access, as though such access was completely benign. From the second part of the article, Fundraiser Denies Link Between Money, Access:
Richard T. Farmer is one of America's richest men and a Bush Pioneer by virtue of having raised at least $100,000 for the 2000 campaign. Over the past 15 years, he and his wife have given $3.1 million to Bush campaigns, the Republican Party and Republican candidates.For those keeping score at home, that's just over $200,000 a year to Republicans. A little more if you adjust for inflation. And what does he get?
"If you think I'm giving money to get access to [President Bush], you're crazy," Farmer said. "I'm just trying to get the right guy elected. That's all I care about."Ain't that noble? Of course, they ain't no possibility that a person making $15,000 a year and donating nothing to politicians might have a different idea about what constitutes "the right guy." Hell, the poor and the working class, when they vote, often vote for "the right guy," and I'm sure massive propaganda (What do people think advertising is?), paid for by people who just want to see "the right guy" elected, has nothing to do with it. Government bought by the rich is the democratic ideal. Isn't it?
No sir, all that money rich folk spend to get Republicans elected doesn't buy 'em a Goddamn thing, unless you believe another, more honest Bush Pioneer.
"You dance with them what brung ya."And, since rich folk aren't tryin' a buy anythin' but "good government," one wonders why this is necessary:
A system was needed to make certain there was no double or triple counting, that when a check came in for $1,000, proper credit was given to the fundraiser who had solicited the money.But, right wingers argue, money doesn't determine election results. The guy with the most money doesn't always win. True, but meaningless. If you've ever followed horse racing, you know that there are many ways for the fastest horse to lose the race. Getting parked outside on the turns, boxed in along the rail, the jockey falls off, the horse breaks down, and so on. But, as Damon Runyon famously paraphrased the Bible, "It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong--but that is the way to bet." Same goes for the best financed campaign. It won't always win, but it sure inahell's the more likely winner, on average.
The whole article is dismal, and really not news to me. Merely confirmation. Ever since the Neoconmen and the Bushies started selling this idea that America would bring democracy to the Middle East I've been wondering, shouldn't we start here first?
posted 5:21 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 16, 2004
Rots A Ruck, RumfuckTHE GRAY ZONE, by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib.
The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of elite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.Geez, is that all? It's a damn good thing BaBOOSHka is doing such a fine job against terrorism, cuz nobody else in his administration is. Rummy went before Congress last week and said (I'm condensing this to save us all time and boredom.), "I know noth-ing. NOTH-ing."
The senior C.I.A. official, asked about Rumsfeld's testimony and that of Stephen Cambone, his Under-Secretary for Intelligence, said, "Some people think you can bullshit anyone."Gawwwd Damnnn! They actually believed that shit. An' I thought they were just lying. Ya know, when I thought my country was in the hands of a bunch of shameless liars, I was worried. But now that I know they're not liars, they're just raving, bumbling idiots, I feel a lot better. Don't you?
Inside the Pentagon, there was a growing realization that the war was going badly.But the SCLM (So Called Liberal Media) simply refused at that time to tell us the good news about Iraq.
One internal report prepared for the U.S. military, made available to me, concluded that the insurgents' "strategic and operational intelligence has proven to be quite good." According to the study:Is there someone surprised by this? Is there one, solitary, fucked-up asshole who's surprised? Cuz if there is, that asshole better be thankin' somebody f'r the fact that Social Darwinism is bullshit. Do I have to be the one to point out that it's their fucking country?
The odd thing about Americans isn't that we think we live in the best country in the world. That's pretty normal, though seriously illogical. The odd thing is we seem to think everyone else hates their country and wants to move here. Surprise!
[Major General Geoffrey] Miller's concept, as it emerged in recent Senate hearings, was to "Gitmoize" the prison system in Iraq—to make it more focussed on interrogation. He also briefed military commanders in Iraq on the interrogation methods used in Cuba—methods that could, with special approval, include sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of cold and heat, and placing prisoners in "stress positions" for agonizing lengths of time.See, now that's just not torture. Just because we're deliberately causing them agony, it doesn't mean we're torturing them. Or will the new argument be 'We don't torture people real harshly?'
So the Pentagon (Maybe Rumfuck can foist the blame on Stephen Cambone) brings their black-op special-access program to Abu Ghraib and:
By fall, according to the former intelligence official, the senior leadership of the C.I.A. had had enough. "They said, 'No way. We signed up for the core program in Afghanistan - pre-approved for operations against high-value terrorist targets - and now you want to use it for cabdrivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the streets'" - the sort of prisoners who populate the Iraqi jails. "The C.I.A.'s legal people objected," and the agency ended its sap involvement in Abu Ghraib, the former official said.But Bushies never listen to the intel community. Ya know, the Neoconmen have always claimed that one of their primary goals was to bring democracy to the Arab world, I think because they couldn't get anybody to believe that they had a bridge to sell. Yet . . . .
The Patai book, an academic told me, was "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior." In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged - "one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation."So, at one and the same time, Neocons professed to believe that what the Arab world really needs is democracy but, more privately, they believed "that Arabs only understand force." Not a wee bit contradictory or anyt'ing, eh?
"If you even give a hint that you’re aware of a black program that you’re not read into, you lose your clearances," the former official said. "Nobody will talk. So the only people left to prosecute are those who are undefended—the poor kids at the end of the food chain."Or, as we used to say in the Army, shit flows downhill. According to the article (Sy Hersh is a damn fine reporter, by-de-by.), Rumfuck didn't actually approve "atrocities." He just approved violations of the Geneva Convention. Those will never come back to haunt us. I am as sure of that as I am that I am The King of Los Angeles.
posted 7:08 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 15, 2004
It Was Necessary To Torture Democracy To Save ItPayback time
Starting with the last paragraph first:
There was no ticking bomb at Abu Ghraib, just torture at its most elemental -- done for the sheer pleasure of the humiliation and violence it inflicted. But the justifications that are peeping out through the seemingly uniform chorus of disgust -- the soldiers were following orders; it was no worse than what Iraqis had done to us; these people weren't in prison for traffic violations -- are the voices of people who cannot or will not confront the implications of their own revenge fantasies. The justifications suggest that the war in Iraq is generating a self-hating image of ourselves, an image that fulfills every grotesque caricature of us. The axiom used to justify the worst excesses of the Vietnam war -- "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" -- has come back to haunt us. We are the village.Our souls, however you want to define soul, are the village some of us are determined to destroy. Let's say torture and murder are truly deadly sins. You do either one, you wind up in hell. Hitler's in hell, Stalin's in hell, etc. What's our defense? We're not as bad as Hitler and Stalin? We'll only do it until we need glasses? It doesn't matter, we're still going to hell.
I'm not a huge fan of religious myth, but I do think it often reflects a kind of metaphorical or allegorical reality. I don't know if any of us will wind up damned for all eternity, but I do know these thoughtless, vengeful attitudes will degrade us in this life, will send us into a kind of self-made living hell, a place of bewilderment and violence and irrational hatred.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan characterized his boss's reaction to the Abu Ghraib photos he saw at the Pentagon on Monday as "one of deep disgust and disbelief that anyone who wears our uniform would engage in such shameful and appalling acts" [italics mine]. Disbelief? If George W. Bush is so clueless about the reality of war that he can't imagine American soldiers abusing prisoners, then he is clearly too naive and too ignorant of history to occupy the post of commander in chief.Yeesh! If GWB is not a nitwit, why does he keep talking and acting like one?
Nothing I say about this war, or prisoner abuses, or atrocities should be construed as a smear on our troops. I suspect the truth is Lt. Calley, of My Lai infamy, finally got off light because most Americans felt he was taking a hard fall while the higher ups, those truly responsible, were able to just traipse along their merry way. That's about the way I feel about the MPs implicated in Abu Ghraib. Not that they bear no responsibility, but that they certainly don't bear primary responsibility. And the American people bear a lot more responsibility than the party of "personal responsibility" ever wants 'em to admit.
The photos coming from Abu Ghraib look as if they sprang from some homemade version of "Salo." You'd have to have something of the cretin in your soul not to be disgusted by them. It's no surprise that that cretin resides in Rush Limbaugh, who called the psychological torture no worse than a Skull and Bones initiation. And it apparently also resides in Inhofe who, during Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba's testimony on Tuesday, declared himself "outraged by the outrage." But his contention that the prisoners were terrorists and murderers with American blood on their hands is a lie corrected by Taguba's report, which states that 60 percent of the prisoners were merely picked up in sweeps.Yep, all the prisoners in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in the States, all of 'em, are the worst of the worst. And so many of us are so willing to believe that, but based on what? Have we seen hard evidence, heard eyewitness testimony? Have there been trials and convictions?
Not only have we seen no evidence that all the prisoners are the worst of the worst, what evidence we do have contradicts that lie. Gen. Taguba's report says that 60% of the prisoners in Iraq were merely caught up in sweeps. And of those who did participate in the insurgency, what's their crime? Have the rules suddenly changed? Last I checked, someone who fights and kills the invaders of his homeland is a hero, not a criminal. The only evidence that the worst of the worst claim is true is that Republicans say so. I trust 'em, don't you?
How long before we start treating American "criminals" the same way. "Rights? You forfeited your rights when you committed the crime for which you haven't been convicted." We've been moving that way for some time, anyway. Republicans have taught us that human rights and due process are for wusses.
I tell ya one thing, if we're losing our souls, I guarantee we're gonna miss 'em when they're gone.
posted 3:41 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 13, 2004
Gen. Taguba's Another Fucking Traitor, I Guess.We're about hip deep and sinkin' in all the traitors around these days.
The polls and the American people. I like the way they reveal our fantasies. When I was twenty, I was arrested for disturbing the peace when I asked an officer for his badge number. I was trying to get them to make sure that a man beating his pregnant wife would stop. It was their third trip to the apartment. This was in a very small town which, at that time, had a notoriously corrupt police department. I insisted on a trial. Several people at school told me that if I was innocent I would certainly be acquitted. I don't think they'd heard of testilying. That's an American fantasy, that the innocent will be magically acquitted by our wonderful justice system. I was convicted, in case ya care.
Here's another one from a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll.
26. When the U.S. decides to go to war, do you think U.S. soldiers generally do – or do not – have higher standards of behavior than soldiers from most other countries?Eighty-one percent said yes, do. Fourteen percent said no, do not. Kinda funny when you read this: General Took Guantánamo Rules to Iraq for Handling of Prisoners
When Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller arrived in Iraq last August with a team of military police and intelligence specialists, the group was confronted by chaos.Mind you, those were the conditions before we started deliberately abusing Iraqi prisoners. When Gen. Miller, the guru of Guantanamo, arrived with his recommendations, things got worse for some odd reason.
According to several officers who served at Guantánamo, the methods, begun in early 2002, included depriving detainees of sleep; leaving them in cold, air-conditioned rooms; placing them in "stress positions"; and forcing them to stand or crouch for long periods, sometimes with their arms extended, until exhausted.
Now, look, I know this is a tuffy for right wingers to understand, but that's torture, peebles. An if ya don't think so, how 'bout you let me do that shit to you. What, it ain't torture if there are no obvious signs of physical damage? So cops can go back to using rubber hoses to get confessions, right? Ya know, I actually believe there is a (relatively) moral majority in this country, and it has a name. It's called NOT Republicans, or, sometimes, NOT right wing moral scolds. Do these right wing dingbats really believe that when they die and face their maker he's gonna say, "Wuh-oh, you had sex outside of marriage. Sorry, you're going straight to hell. Now, let's see, you supported the moderate torture of prisoners. That's not so bad, come on into heaven."
Jesus, I can't understand how, in the pantheon of sins, the right wingers can regard things like drinkin', smokin', and listenin' to the Devil's music on Saturday night are sins, and out of wedlock fucking and gay fucking and what have you are truly deadly sins, but supporting unnecessary wars and the torture of prisoners is perfectly acceptable.
I expected these kinds of reports once we went to war. Americans think you can fight a clean war, a moral war. You cannot. War's are collections of atrocities. That's the nature of war, and that's why you need a real good damn reason to go to war.
Although I was in the military, I've never been to a war, unless you count Korea. That war never officially ended, it's just a very long-running ceasefire. But I've known men who've been to war. I've known WWII vets who rarely, if ever, talked about the war to anyone, not even family, but in their 60's they were still having nightmares almost every night. I don't even want to think about what they experienced.
The only way a war can be morally justified is if the evil it's intended to prevent is greater than the evil of the war itself. That's an awfully high standard and we never came close to meeting it.
NOTE: I have been remiss. Haven't posted for a week. Damn it. Only felt like a couple a days, honest. I got this Home Studio program and its been driving me nuts. The more frustrated I get, the more obsessed I get with figuring the program out. I want to record, damn it. It's supposed to be a good program but, from what I can tell, the documentation and support suck. If I ever figure it out, though, I hope to get some MP3's up. Enough about that.
posted 7:22 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 06, 2004
The Hits Just Keep On Comin' - Bush Needs Another $25 Billion Now$25 Billion More Sought for Iraq, Afghanistan
Remember when the news media were lying, according to the Bushies and the right, because they weren't telling us the "good" news about Iraq? But according to we shlubs on the left, the news media were lying because they weren't telling us the true extent of the bad news in Iraq? I wonder who turned out to be right?
Oh, you might think bloody April meant something, and it ought to, and of course the Iraq polls suck. Now here's another little item. The Bushies fully intended to wait until after they'd slithered and connived their way back into office before requesting more funds for Iraq and Afghanistan. They'd rather pull out their own fingernails and toenails with pliers than make this request now. The only reason they're making this request now is because circumstances have left them no choice. Iraq is going down the tubes. An' they ain't no chanced ta hell the Iraqi people are gonna start likin' us more. Ever. We've got two choices. Continue to fight for years and years and years, after which we lose, or give up now and save some lives. Thank you, President Bushwa.
posted 8:11 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
The Left is Evil - South America Brought to HeelU.S. Fears of a Lurch to the Left in South America Fail to Materialize
Most of the continent's leaders, even those with radical backgrounds, have shown themselves to be pragmatists who govern from the center.
Of course, by "govern from the center" they mean kowtow to the international capitalist structure, which is to say, kowtow to the right. Ya need a damn decoder ring to read the newspapers these days.
Days before the landslide election of a former leftist firebrand to the presidency of South America's largest country, U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde warned the White House of a new "axis of evil" in the United States' backyard.Everything, I mean every damn thing, is a threat to the civilized world these days. Pretty damn fragile civilization if ya ask me. Clearly inferior. Notice that leftists automatically qualify for membership in the "axis of evil," but it's uncivil to call the American right evil. Left evil, right good. At least it's a philosophy right wingers can understand.
Most of the continent's "suspect" leaders, even those with radical backgrounds, have proved themselves to be pragmatists willing to stick to orthodox economic principles and play by accepted international rules. Although some may advocate European-style social democracy instead of unfettered U.S. capitalism, their actions reflect none of the extremism predicted by doomsayers.Wuh-oh! Time to add Europe to the "axis of evil." What? Oh. Right wingers already have.
In Brazil, for example, Lula rushed to soothe nervous international investors by hewing to the same anti-inflationary, fiscally conservative policies of his predecessor. Farther south, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner has, on the whole, tried to pump new life into Argentina's moribund economy by following a prescription generally pleasing to Wall Street.See? Governing to the right equals centrism. Better get that decoder ring.
Experts see a parallel with Britain, where Prime Minister Tony Blair gave the socialist Labor Party a face-lift to create "New Labor," which embraced moderate principles once anathema to the party.Yeah, "New Labor" (Shouldn't that be Labour? It's the official name of the party.) has "embraced moderate principles." Well, if by moderate you mean moderately right/authoritarian in a supposedly socialist party.
Many of the new batch of leaders rose to power on the back of growing disenchantment with the so-called Washington consensus, the agenda of economic liberalization and privatization that the U.S. promoted as the pathway to growth but that has produced disappointing results and left glaring social inequities in place.But allays r'member, chillun, capitalism works! It's not a matter of science or pragmatism or trial and error, it's a matter of faith. Capitalism works even when it doesn't. We can save Tinkerbelle if we only all truly b'lieve!
Yet once in government, the new leaders found themselves constrained by the system, their shaky economies faced with the certain flight of foreign capital and investor confidence if they suddenly were to reverse course. They continued to criticize, and tried to tinker with the model they inherited, but did not reject it outright.Watch what this means, see. The voters can vote for whatever they want but, in the end, the international capitalists ("foreign capital," "investor confidence") will determine how the economy works -- and for whom. All hail democracy! All hail Western civilization! All hail greed uber alles!
posted 7:49 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
Who Cares About Evil? Not The Right Wing.
It's not really that "nasty". It's much nastier when someone is blown apart into chunks of meat and their family is ruined forever. I'm not trying to start a debate, just offering perspective. Who cares if they were humiliated?A Freepish opinion on the abuse of prisoners in Iraq.
Abuse Investigation Includes 25 Deaths
Victims include Afghans and Iraqis, two of whom might have been murdered, the Pentagon says. Bush will talk to Arab media today.
Two deaths have been ruled unjustified, 10 more are under investigation. But, ya know, who cares if they were humiliated to death? I mean other than them, their families, the Iraqi people, the Arab world, and the entire Muslim world, the liberals, the decent Americans, and one or two right wing Christians who still know what a conscience is. And has the right wing forgotten that none of these prisoners has even had a fair trial, much less been convicted of anything? Under American law they are innocents. Under Iraqi law . . . oh, right, there is no Iraqi law. But who cares if innocents are humiliated, tormented and killed? "When ya got a job to do ya got to do it well --- ya got to give the other fella hell ---"
posted 6:26 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 05, 2004
$10 A Gallon Gas Blues
When the last oil well runs dry(To the tune of Willie Dixon's The Same Thing)
An article in Scientific American in March 1998 by Dr Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere concluded: "The world is not running out of oil - at least not yet.But the USGS estimate is one of, if not the, very highest. They're almost surely overly optimistic.
In May 2003 the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (Aspo), founded by Colin Campbell, held a workshop on oil depletion in Paris.When the peak is recognized, the price will go crazy and the only question will be how severely Western economies will be damaged. Severe recession? Great Depression? Worse? All I know for sure is it won't be good and it will come to the US after the Bushies have beggared the government, thereby limiting our ability to deal with the situation.
The world's overflowing oil reserves?
"If all the remaining reserves were burnt it would cause massive amounts of pollution," said a Greenpeace spokeswoman.Yeah, but real men don't give a shit.
posted 8:42 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 04, 2004
The Discontents of EmpireThis is just one of the kinds of things that have been done in our name to win a war of aggression. I don't know what else to call it when the substantial majority of the American people don't think there was any serious defensive justification for this war.
Sy Hersh on Abu Ghraib
A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating. Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P. Battalion, which reported to Karpinski's brigade headquarters.) Taguba's report listed some of the wrongdoing:Thanks to Back to Iraq, which links to the Hersh article. I think. I'm thinking of joining the "I don't want to think about it," brigade. Or we could just take a look at the:
Right wing opinion roundup --
From a GOPUSA forum:
I agree with the President and with everyone in this forum that the actions of the few soldiers involved were reprehesible and does not reflect the American Military or the American people. However, Al Jazeera has been "reporting" American "atrocities" for over a year now. If this one is real, it so rare as to be unique. Just as Mi Lai was such a unique occurrance in the Vietnam war that I even remember the name of the commander of the unit responsible. It was Lt William Calley. And I also remember they fried his A#* but good.It's so rare as to be unique. I'm not sure the writer knows what unique means. Unless the Toledo Blade's story on Tiger Force is totally fictional, My Lai certainly was not unique. How could the writer possibly know that American "atrocities" are rare? And it's amazing what right wingers remember, ain't it. From Findlaw:
[Calley's] sentence was reduced, and reduced again, and finally, in 1974, a year and a half after the last American ground troops left Vietnam, Calley was released. Having spent nearly three years confined to his army apartment while appealing his conviction, he ended up serving only a few months in military prison.Oddly enough, that's roughly how I remembered it, butcha know, I'm just an irrational lefty. Lt. William Calley, convicted for the premeditated murder of 22 innocent civilians, including a two-year-old child, sentenced to life in prison, served a few months in the stockade and three years of house arrest. Yeah, they burned his A#* but good. What's an A#*, anyway? Do we capitalize ass now? Is ass too dirty a word for the right to use? Are right wingers wusses right down to their very souls, or what?
The Freepers can always be counted on to take a reasoned position:
As I said in an earlier thread, take no prisoners and we won't have to worry about this sort of thing. We don't shoot them in the back of the head, make a tape of it,then send it to the media. There are reports that some of the prisoners released from gitmo have again been found fighting our guys in the Afghan/Pak theater.That's right, and stupid liberals just don't get it. To avoid torturing prisoners, simply commit mass murder. Of course, they were tortured for information, and it's freakin' hard to get information out of dead folk, but what the hell. This war should be planned and directed by the mentally deficient. Or Freepers. 'Bout da same t'ing.
It's not really that "nasty". It's much nastier when someone is blown apart into chunks of meat and their family is ruined forever. I'm not trying to start a debate, just offering perspective. Who cares if they were humiliated?First, there was more, and worse, than humiliation involved, but I'm not sure the writer knew that at the time of writing. Second, "Who cares if they were humiliated?" Hmmm. I'm really gonna have ta cogitate on this one. Let's see, uh, THEM? The Iraqi people, maybe? Wait, they're not Americans and are therefore an inferior species. Fuck 'em. Ya know, to a Freeper, I'm pretty sure shit fer brains is a compliment.
Their stupid, s***-eatin' grins in the pictures just made me want to throw a punch at the screen.Yeah! That's right, they need to be raped in a fictitious American prison! Never mind that prison rape is one of the great evils of American "justice." Besides, they deserve it because they "murder" American soldiers (What law, exactly is that against? The law of the occupiers, or legitimate Iraqi law? There is no legitimate Iraqi law, so . . .) Also, they want to murder our families here in the Fatherland, I mean homeland. Well, they might want to now, but as far as we actually know anything, they had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks except in the minds of right wing idiots. Unless you believe that Laury Milroie crap. Does it matter whether her crap is lie or lunacy?
From the Liberty Forum (but NOT a typical Liberty Forum post). I checked a couple of other posts and I'm pretty sure this character is not being sarcastic, but serious.
Hell, why don't our guys just shoot them in the head and then we wouln't have to read these stories.Ya know, it's entirely possible for a man to be brave, true, patriotic, and sadistic. Would you still want your daughter to marry him? And if our troops are facing the entire, united Iraqi people, whose fault is that? Weren't they supposed to welcome us?
To be fair, these comments don't appear to represent the majority view on the right, not even among the Freepers. Still, I find it flabbergasting that the right constantly harps on the left's "immorality" when murderous sadists are happily harbored on the right. I guess cussing and getting laid and failing to believe in the one true god are worse sins than murderous sadism and constant lying.
posted 7:16 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 02, 2004
Brain Caroms -- Traditional Marriage, An Unnatural ActThe right wing's "defense" of "traditional" marriage is another in an extremely long queue (Yup, thass right. We British today. Ya gotta problem with that?) of issues on which they make arguments which appear logical, but only on the surface. When closely examined, right wing "logic" usually falls apart faster than papier-mache in a monsoon. The Republicans and the even farther right right-wing financiers hire whip-smart people to construct pseudo-logical arguments which the vast, sheep-like right then repeats and repeats and repeats, more or less verbatim. The object is to create a construct which allows reasonable people to continue, or even start, to believe in the plainly unreasonable. Though the right wingers always claims to be the rational ones, their appeals are actually to emotion, but are dressed up as false logic.
Traditional marriage. This is the beginning of the pseudo-logical, but actually emotional, claim. I really don't know what most people think when they hear the term "traditional marriage." I got a pretty good notion of what most people feel, though. Traditional is one of those warm and fuzzy words, good old reliable tradition, the ways of our forefathers. But in fact, traditional, like most words, is actually pretty neutral. Its meaning depends on context. Negative's another one. I'm hearing right wingers use negative as if it means bad. If it did we wouldn't need it. Why use three syllables when you only need one. Wait for your HIV test to come back and then tell me how you feel about the word negative. I'm bettin' it'll sound pretty fuckin' good to ya then.
Notice, the f'right dingers, in their unflagging efforts to stir up fear everywhere they go, never actually tell you what they mean by traditional. The last 1000 years, the last 10,000 years, what? Can't be the last 100 years. Marriage has quite noticeably evolved in the last 100 years. I know, I was raised by my grandaddy. In his day, and in his marriage, divorce was simply taboo. Today divorce is commonplace, and it ain't because a homosexuality. It'd be commonplace regardless.
In the last 100, maybe 200 years we transitioned from one understanding of marriage to another. The truly traditional understanding of marriage, the one that eventually led to the divorce is taboo stage, was a form of chattel slavery (another "traditional" practice). The wife and kids were the property of the husband. The husband could screw around all he wanted to, presuming he could find partners, and the wife had no say in the matter. Of course divorce was rare in those days. Women couldn't divorce at will, and for a man to divorce his wife was tantamount to setting fire to his own property. Sure, she might be an unpleasant woman, but a good beating would usually take care of little problems like that. Lifelong marriage (not lifelong monogamy), is pretty easy if one partner has all, or most, of the power.
Later, marriage evolved into something more like economic interdependency. The wife, though still subservient, wasn't quite a slave. Still, for the wife, and to a lesser extent the husband, separation entailed economic hardship. That, along with the taboo, kept divorce to a minimum.
I'm not an expert on the history of marriage, and I'm sure I'm glossing over lots of stuff. Still, the major point is that "traditional" marriage bears very little resemblance to the modern view of marriage. People used to get married by arrangement, for convenience, or due to circumstances, but rarely for love. Now we like to think most people marry for love. Certainly most of us are searching for a compatible mate. I found mine, but I sure kissed a lot of frogs and/or witches (or whatever rhymes with witches) over the long years. It's not easy to find a compatible mate in an equal relationship. "Traditional" marriage never involved equality between the parties. That's pretty new. What, maybe the last 25-30 years? Maybe less. Whatever, it's one more damned big obstacle in the path of lifelong monogamy. The biggest obstacle to lifelong monogamy is, of course, that it's an unnatural act, as anyone with a little intelligence and a very little knowledge can quickly figure out on their own.
There are some species that mate for life. Some mate and, even if their mate dies or is lost, never take another mate. They live out their lives as widows and widowers. Very poignant. However, humans ain't one a those species, which seems rather obvious. Quick, all the adults who have had one and only one sex partner in their lives, raise your hands. You adults who have never had a sex partner in your lives, keep yer friggin' clammy hands in yer pockets. You ain't normal to begin with. Unless it wasn't by choice. Then you're still normal. Adultery has been as traditional as marriage over thousands of years. There has never been a time when unforced, lifelong monogamy prevailed. Never.
The major threat, in fact, I think, the only serious threat to "traditional" marriage makes all other threats look trivial. It ain't gay marriage, it ain't gay sex, it ain't single mothers, it ain't "blended" families (I always think there must be a lot of blood involved in blending families, but maybe not if you use a wooden spoon.), it ain't liberals, it ain't communists, it ain't none a the shit the right wing con men try to sell ya. People just obviously ain't made for lifelong monogamy, yet that's what the right ding-dongs would like to impose under the guise of "traditional" marriage.
Ya know, it's pretty damn hard to get everyone to behave abnormally.
posted 8:37 AM by Phaedrus | Link | |
May 01, 2004
Fun With Polls, Part 38You don't get to see everything I do. Okay, yes you do. I just made the part 38 up.
The New York Times/CBS News Poll, April 23-27, 2004.
This poll, once again, confirms my belief that the American people are stupid, although I suppose I have unusually high standards for intelligence. All you elitist pricks out there who think I'm accepting your position, that the average person isn't smart enough to have a say in how things are run, think again. If you're able. See, I think you're stupid, too, and I'd rather be governed by a stupid majority than a stupid minority. Even if the minority is a little bit smarter (I wouldn't bet on it.), their selfishness will outweigh that advantage. Democracy 'til the day I die. Probably. Everything's subject to revision in the light of new information.
4. How likely is it that you will vote in the 2004 election for President this November -- would you say you will definitely vote, probably vote, probably not vote, or definitely not vote in the election for President?Eighty-eight percent say they will definitely vote. Another 10 percent say they will probably vote. So I guess we can assume incredible turnout in November. Either that or self reporting isn't all that reliable. Take your pick.
The war on terrorism is the centerpiece of King George's campaign, so how do the American people feel about the job he's doing on that. (They clearly think he sucks at everything else.)
16. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the campaign against terrorism?This one's fascinating. Sixty percent approve, 32% disapprove. People love the way Emperor Bush is handling the war on terror. But why? Compare it to this question for instance.
21. Do you think the policies of the Bush Administration have made the United States safer from terrorism, less safe from terrorism, or have the policies of the Bush Administration not affected the U.S.' safety from terrorism?Forty-nine percent, down from 68% in January, say safer. But 46% say either less safe or no change. Does that sound like people think Bush is doing a wonderful job on terrorism? Maybe? Well, most of the money and other resources have gone to Iraq, most of the casualties have come from Iraq, and this is because Bush believes, or says he believes, that Iraq is the major front in the war on terror, but . . .
63. Do you think of the war with Iraq as part of the war on terrorism, or do you think of it as separate from the war on terrorism? IF ANSWERED "PART OF WAR ON TERRORISM", ASK: Is it a major part of the war on terrorism, or a minor part of the war on terrorism?Thirty-eight percent think it's a major part, but 13% think it's only a minor part, and 45% think Iraq is not part of the war on terror. So, basically the American people feel Bush is fighting the wrong war, and fighting it badly, as we shall see, but they think he's doing a wonderful job in the war on terror. I developed a pounding headache just from writing that last sentence.
And how do the people feel Bush is doing on Iraq?
15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?Forty-one percent approve, 52% disapprove.
54. Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq or not?Thirty-three percent say it was worth it, 58% say it was not.
55. Which comes closer to your opinion: Iraq was a threat to the United States that required military action now; OR Iraq was a threat to the United States that could have been contained; OR Iraq was not a threat to the United States at all?Only 32% think Iraq required military action, 65% do not. Now here it gets interesting
56. Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?Forty-seven percent say it was the right thing, 46% say we should have stayed out. So. Sixty-five percent think that Iraq did not require military action, 58% think the war wasn't worth it, but only 46% think we should have stayed out. That 12% to 19% who thought the war wasn't necessary and wasn't worth the cost. Why do they not also think we should have stayed out? How do they justify the war? I have to think that for a large number of Amercans, logic is just the name of a class they avoided in school.
65. So far, do you think the Bush Administration has developed a plan for rebuilding Iraq after the war, or hasn't it developed one yet?Over a year after the invasion, only 32% think the Bushies have a clear plan, 58% do not. The results are nearly the same on a plan for the transfer of power in Iraq, which is only two months away.
So, apparently, the people think the Bushwa boys have pretty much screwed the pooch when it comes to Iraq. Again, it looks to me like the people think Bush is a miserable failure at what he (foolishly) considers the major front in the war on terrorism, yet continue to think he's doing a great job in the war on terrorism. Come on, peebles, stop that. One million synapses were just shredded by the strain of writing that sentence.
I told you the people think Bush sucks at everything except the war on terror. (It's baffling why they don't think he sucks at that too.) Heres why I said it.
Question 11, after three years and four months under the Bush Imperium, 55% think the country's on the wrong track. Only 36% think we're on the right track. Why is this race close?
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling foreign policy?Forty percent approve, 51% disapprove.
14. How about the economy? Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the economy?Thirty-nine percent approve, 54% disapprove.
72. As a result of the United States' military action against Iraq, do you think the threat of terrorism against the United States has increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?Forty-one percent say increased, 39% say stayed about the same, and only 18% say decreased. In other words, though I know they wouldn't put it this way, 80% of the American people think the war in Iraq was a miserable failure.
Remember, no change equals failure. After all, we've spent 100s of billions of dollars trying to make ourselves safer.
19. How do you think the war with Iraq is affecting the United States image in the Arab world? Is the war making the U.S. image in the Arab world better, making it worse, or is the war having no effect on the U.S. image in the Arab world?This one's really a no-brainer, so even ill-informed Americans couldn't get it too wrong. Ten percent say better, 71% say worse.
22. Should the United States try to change a dictatorship to a democracy where it can, OR should the United States stay out of other countries' affairs?Twenty-two percent said change, 62% said stay out. For a while there the right was trying to sell this notion that the war was really fought to topple Saddam Hussein and free the Iraqi people. Ya know, humanitarian killing. This poll result makes obvious what I said then. If they had tried to sell the war on that basis to the American people, they'd have had no chance at success. About the best poll numbers they show on this issue are from April, 2003, 29% change, 48% stay out. So it wasn't popular even then.
24. Do you think the United States made a mistake getting involved in the current war against Iraq, or not?Forty-eight percent a mistake, 46% not. Jesus, peebles, there you go again. Every other answer you give indicates you think Iraq was a mistake, by clear margins, but ask directly whether Iraq was a mistake, we get a dead heat. People just hate admitting mistakes.
36. Do you think of George W. Bush as more of a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative?Twelve percent think George Bush is a liberal. Twelve percent think George Bush is a liberal. See, now I want to talk to those people. Are they mental deficients, KKKers, what?
74. Do you think Iraq probably does or probably does not have weapons of mass destruction that the United States has not found yet?Fifty-two percent still think Iraq probably has WMDs. I put this, also, in the everybody hates to admit a mistake category.
75. Members of the Bush Administration have said the decision to go to war with Iraq was made in March 2003, just before the war began. Do you think the decision to go to war in Iraq was made in March 2003 or do you think it was made before that?Sixty-eight percent think the decision was made before that. They think the Bush Administration lied. But many of those same people don't consider the Bushies liars. I don't get that. Guess why?
77. When it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States, do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?Only 24% think the Admin is telling the truth. Well, I got news, peebles. When you ain't telling the truth, your lying. Based on other polls, most Americans think the Bushies either lied or exaggerated, but didn't lie. What a dumbass position. When you're exaggerating, you're lying. I'll prove it. Fisherman are renowned liars. What is the nature of their lies? They exaggerate the number of fish they caught, or the size of the fish they caught.
84. Was the Bush Administration paying enough or not enough attention to terrorism prior to September 11, 2001?Seventy-five percent think they weren't paying enough attention, same thing Richard Clarke has said. I guess now the Bushies will have to conduct character assassinations on three quarters of the American people.
Generally speaking, do you usually consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?Twenty-nine percent Republican, 35% Democrat, 29% Independent.
Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican party or to the Democratic party? (Percentages include the results of the previous question.)Forty-one percent Republican, 49% Democrat. Now, what I want to know is, given those numbers, how in the hell, in a "democracy," did we end up with a Republican Federal Government from top to bottom?