Monday, March 31, 2003

More Good News

from the teaching front and it's no April Fool's joke, either: mass layoffs of California's teachers are possible. Of course, many are receiving pink slips now just in case, but many are likely to be rehired.

They can stay away from Nevada and Oregon, both going through big-time problems with funding.

So much for the vaunted "teacher shortage," a shortage which never truly existed.
A Couple of Columns

from the NYT:

A Red-Blue Terror Alert

and this from Walter Cronkite:

Speaking With the Enemy

I don't really agree with Cronkite here about Arnett's supposed "impropriety." If we are going to look at proper conduct by journalists, Cronkite should look at what he did when he basically said the government was lying about Vietnam. One could argue Hanoi Walt, though not "speaking with the enemy," was giving "aid and comfort" by editorializing.

No matter. This is a tempest in a teapot and pretty goddamned laughable in the light of clearly biased b.s. from cable news networks as well as some crap from the broadcast networks.
For God's Sake

the morons in the Republican Party are trying once again to revive the dividend tax cut.

Yeah, kill off working and middle class young men and women, and let their survivors pick up the tab for the rich.
Peter Arnett Bounced Back, However,

and has joined the Daily Mirror. Arnett is quoted as saying, "I report the truth of what is happening in Baghdad and will not apologize for it..."

He shouldn't have to. As for Geraldo, I've been reading conflicting stories, first, that he was forced out of Iraq, and then the story being denied. Who knows?

And speaking of Rivera, always a sensationalist, the only time in my life I ever cheered on a bunch of racist pigs was when one of them took a chair to Geraldo and busted his nose back in 1988. I have a copy of that show on tape, and it's obvious he egged on Roy Innis and the skinheads. That was a day that will forever live in infamy.
I Debated Going Downtown

for the weekly anti-war protests, but I decided against it this time. Given the harassment they received the weekend before last, I am reluctant to do it.

Instead, I potted flowers in my containers. The weather has been great, but it isn't expected to last.
Senator Schumer

vows to put in the abortion provision in the proposed bankruptcy legislation, just as he did last session. Orrin Hatch is confident he can torpedo it in committee.

Interesting little passage from the American Bankruptcy Institute: "Critics of the legislation insist they have at least 40 Democratic votes necessary to sustain a filibuster." That's possible, especially if the abortion provision isn't included in the final bill. Surely the Senate must know this is the absolute WORST piece of legislation ever concocted, worse even than the "patriot acts." It would permanently destroy what remains of the safety net. We would have nothing but an indentured servant class in this country.
This Sounds More Like

Margaret Thatcher or George W. Bush than Tony Blair. Now he wants to privatize some government services. Never mind private industry couldn't do things worth a damn before, hence government taking up the slack.

It sounds like corporatist America wants to take over the whole world. They want to corrupt ALL of the world's governments.

Snip:

"In other words, the mood has changed, and Blair has to dance to the tune of the corrupt layer around Bush. He knows full well that if he does not give big business more of what it wants, then the media and the right wing corporations that control it will surely turn on his government. And he will find himself targeted for opprobrium by Rupert Murdoch's News International and others who presently portray him as a politician of Churchillian stature."

It's past due for the British to get rid of Blair. Corrupt business interests will be harder to root out, however.
From "Bay of Pigs Meets Black Hawk Down":

"Few analysts today, however, believe that George W. Bush and his senior advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have the common sense to swallow the short-term bitter medicine of a cease-fire or a U.S. withdrawal. Rather than face the political music for admitting the gross error of ordering an invasion in defiance of the United Nations and then misjudging the enemy, these U.S. leaders are expected to push forward no matter how bloody or ghastly their future course might be.

"Without doubt, the Bush administration misjudged the biggest question of the war: 'Would the Iraqis fight?' Happy visions of rose petals and cheers have given way to a grim reality of ambushes and suicide bombs.

"But the Bush pattern of miscalculation continues unabated. Bush seems to have cut himself off from internal dissent at the CIA and the Pentagon, where intelligence analysts and field generals warned against the wishful thinking that is proving lethal on the Iraqi battlefields..."

More here.

It's getting increasingly difficult to defend the indefensible. However, the propagandists and apologists for the dictatorship haven't given up their brainwashing tactics. What little I hear of talk radio tells me the propagandists want to label anti-war people as un-American (a Vietnam War-era cliche) and constantly cite the Sedition Act (long since dead because of a court decision) as ways to intimidate people.

It's disgusting. I am coming to the conclusion the "free speech" accorded to talk show hosts is no more a right than yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. It is meant to inflame passions, not to provide information in the public interest.
The Entire Internet World

has seen the latest Seymour Hersh article, this one ripping apart Donald Rumsfeld.

Hersh could do an article about each and every one of the perpetrators of the Middle East insanity. I await for a piece about Paul Wolfowitz, who is less high-profile than Rumsfeld or Perle.

Also worth reading is an excerpt from Stephen Brill's new book about the Septermber 11th society, 9/12. Free one-day pass to the premium article.
Oops

It looks as if there are deep splits over the administration's policies WRT Iraq.

I just don't know why Colin Powell, the only one of the bunch who wasn't a chickenhawk or deserter, bothers to stay in that administration. It's headed for sure failure, propaganda or no. He needs to get the hell out of there because there is no reasoning with the PNAC bunch hellbent on running roughshod over the Middle East. No reasoning with them at all.
Robert Kuttner

on the results of the administration's weapon of mass distraction.
Geraldo Rivera

has apparently been booted out of Iraq for telling about troop plans. Unlike Arnett who didn't put anybody at risk he'll probably keep his job.
Interesting Little Article

about whether reporters have the right to report remarks made by officials against other officials, even if those remarks are "slurs."

Media have a DUTY to report what is said. I can just see if the state court upholds censorship of reporters what will happen.

Hells, bells, we've already seen what happens to reporters when they report the truth (see below).
Bob Herbert

asks who will be helping Iraqi civilians.
So Much for an Independent Media

NBC has fired Peter Arnett for remarks made about the coalition "failing" because of Iraqi resistance.

If you dare to tell the truth, as this gutsy reporter did, you risk your job.

Is there any doubt at all we Americans are being completely brainwashed by a media which is a puppet of the corrupt Bush regime?

Sunday, March 30, 2003

This Requires Registration

but this is a good piece in Education Week about the "delicate balance" teachers must make in the classroom with regard to Iraq and other controversial issues.

To me the issue is cut and dried: teachers, because of the powerful influence they exert on students, MUST at ALL times refrain from propagandizing to their students about controversial issues. It doesn't matter at all if the teachers are liberal, conservative, middle-of-the-road, or apolitical. Teachers should be facilitators for students expressing their views in an atmosphere where their views will be respected. At no time should a teacher express his or her opinions or tell students how he or she voted in an election. It isn't a matter of "academic freedom," a fiction when it comes to elementary and secondary education. As for post-secondary education, by the time a student is college-age, he or she has pretty much developed intellectually, so teachers on that level can express points of view (though common sense should still guide them). However, high school and younger students still aren't intellectually developed, and teachers have to be extremely careful what they say in the classroom. They have to assume that EVERYTHING they say in the classroom will be repeated outside the classroom, and often parents will hear about what is said.

I have no sympathy for teachers who think they are being "censored" for their opinions. To that I say "tough shit." Find another occupation such as pundit to be paid for expressing opinions. That market is impossible to crack, however.
From BusinessWeek

The Doctrine of Digital War

and of course one on Richard Perle's troubles:


Richard Perle Is Not Alone
Meanwhile, Back in Washington

our dearly beloved Bush is suffering setbacks on the domestic front. While Bush Co. thought they could distract people on the 24/7 "war" and push through some truly vile programs in Congress, a few brave souls in the corrupt Republican Party are breaking ranks with the dictator.

There are many reasons for this. Note these passages:

"One reason is the inability of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and top White House officials [could that be Rove?] to keep moderate GOP senators from defecting on pivotal votes. Even appeals to Republicans' patriotism have failed to win backing for the president. Republicans hold a 51 to 49 Senate majority.

"Frist, who has devoted much of the year unsuccessfully pushing for the Senate confirmation of Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada, this month was unable to push through two of president's top priorities--a 10-year, $726 billion tax cut, and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration..."

Where have you gone, Trent Lott?

From Time Magazine

3 Flawed Assumptions about the cakewalk of a "war."

Oh, and no matter how badly the "war" is going, no matter what, AWOL Boy is more determined than ever to win his grudge match against Saddam.
They Have Blood on Their Hands

according to this excellent column by Jimmy Breslin.
Jeff Koopersmith

on our favorite among the den of thieves in the White House/administration, Richard Perle. It's a lengthy piece, but Perle is not a man for soundbite analysis.

Koopersmith should really get himself a syndicated column rather than being relegated to the fringes of the internet. He's that good.
This Is Why I Hate

the fucking media. In our paper edition of today's Reno Gazette-Journal there was a big letters to the editor section, and in there, in addition to the usual pro-war nonsense letters, were a half dozen very articulate letters critical of the war and critical of the pro-war people who sought to harass anti-war protestors last weekend in Reno. But do you think the RGJ would put those online? Hell, no.

Here's what they have online:

link

Here's a letter that was censored out of the online edition:

"I attended the peace rally at the Federal Building, and, after reading the Associated Press article in the Gazette-Journal, I wanted to correct what was obviously a misconception.

"In my view, the 'Rally for America' crowd did not stumble upon us 'inadvertantly.' They stormed into our area with their flags waving, shouting us down with invective you wouldn't want your children to hear. As far as I'm concerned, they were exercising some well-orchestrated tactics to intimidate and subdue us, and they succeeded.

"It was a sad spectacle that reminded me of the jackbooted thugs of Nazi Germany.

"What makes the whole scene even worse was to learn that Lt. Jim Ballard and Washoe County Deputy District Attorneys Jim Shewan and Roger Whomes were participants. No wonder the cops stood idly by.

"I served my country, honorably, in the U.S. Navy for four years during the Vietnam conflict and stood there, silently, while being called a traitor.

"I was the true American that day, along with my peace-loving friends. We were exercising out right to dissent, which was the very foundation this country was founded on in the first place. Perhaps a history lesson is in order." --Steve Moore, Reno

Here's another one:

"On Saturday (March 22) we were called slanderous names by members of the Rally for America. We were harassed, jostled, threatened and physically intimidated by those who overwhelmed us. Is none fo the above 'breaking the law'? We have witnesses to these acts and news videos of their malicious actions. There is no excuse for the primitive behavior and mad-dog attitudes of the mob, which descended on the RAWC.

"According to your article of March 23, three law-enforcement officers were among those with RFA expressing their 'off-duty' opinions. Law-enforcement officers must be held to a higher standard, and I question whether they are ever 'off-duty.' Only the highest standards of behavior are acceptable in one who is sworn to uphold the law.

"How much manpower would it have taken to post one or two officers at the west side of Virginia to keep marching pro-war traffic separated from the east side site of RAWC?

"The citizens of Reno require that the RPD are capable of evaluating an event, anticipating degrees of danger and taking immediate steps to avert that possible danger. As citizens we have a right to expect equal protection regardless of the 'personal opinion' of your men." --Corrine Cole-Donald, South Lake Tahoe, California

*****

Those are just a couple of the letters printed in the print edition of the RGJ but NOT on the online version. I don't buy the argument that those letters were omitted from the online version because of space considerations. There were short letters on the anti-war side in the RGJ that could have been included in the online version.

The "RAWC" mentioned in the letters is the Reno Anti-War Coalition.

Because of the ignorance and hostility of the knee-jerk right- wing in one of the most right-wing of all areas of the country, I have been reluctant to join the protests, even though they are held just a few blocks from where I live. It's the shits when one doesn't even have the right to peaceably dissent without harassment.

Not all of us who live in the Great Basin are ignorant beer swilling rednecks who get our "news" through Bill O'Reilly, Rusty Humphreys, or Fox News.
Iraq A Bad Remake of

Vietnam asks Eleanor Clift. Well, there are similarities in that this mess we have currently going could become a "quagmire," but it stops there. In Vietnam and Korea, the notion of "containment" of the spread of communism was supposed to be the objective. In the case of Iraq, we have illegally gone in and invaded the country for reasons of Manifest Destiny of the entire Middle East.

The comparisons are more like Hitler's invasion of Poland than of Vietnam, I'm afraid. Opposition is clueless thanks to a 30-year propaganda campaign by the right which culminated in the control of mainstream media. Any opposition is demonized or ignored. It doesn't help the public has been poisoned with lies from the media in general and talk radio in particular.

It only takes one person with an impeccable reputation to declare the Bush administration has no clothes, indeed no real authority because of the illegimatcy of the regime to get the ball rolling. There aren't any people with the integrity of Joseph Welch out there, I'm afraid. If I really wanted to put on my tinfoil hat, I'd say the opposition is very much afraid because of threats.
Time for the Spin to Begin

Again, I doubt Bush's true approval ratings are anywhere near the high of 68 percent reported in the link, but it is somewhat comforting to know his approval ratings for the "war" are far, far less than what his daddy enjoyed.

If this spin is even accurate, then it shows people are ignorant beyond belief about what is going on. Of course it is intentional on the part of the media and our illustrious PNAC mafia to keep people in the dark.
Newsweek Reports

on the so-called war bloggers, featuring Sean-Paul Kelley of the Agonist, one of the most-read blogs in the blogosphere.

It's good mainstream media are giving attention to the bloggers, but there's always the danger blogs will be seen as a fad that will die out.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

From Online Journal

German Military Historians Predict Anglo-American Defeat in Iraq

The Enterprising Hawk, about you-know-who.
And While Everybody Is Distracted

by the Bush blitzkreig, right-wing groups are continuing their assault on programs helping minority groups gain access to colleges and universities.

Link here.

It's racist phony-baloney under the guise of "merit." I have discussed the myth of merit at length. It's no more real than Bush being a legitimate president.

Oh, and here are the links to the right-wing groups talked about in the article:

American Civil Rights Institute (of course it's opposed to civil rights and this is Ward Connerly's group)

Center for Equal Opportunity (note who is the head of this organization)

In other words, both organizations are run by the usual suspects.
Incidentally, Speaking of Secretariat,

tomorrow will be the 33rd anniversary of the year of his foaling, March 30, 1970.
More from the Secretariat Chronicles

Abscess Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (excerpt from Will To Win, by Bill Heller with Ron Turcotte, 1992):

"Riding the elevator up to Penny's [Chenery, owner of Secretariat] suite, Turotte was optimisitc that he had an explanation for Secretariat's poor performance. The preceding Saturday at Belmont, he had encountered veterinarian Manuel Gilman, who asked about the abscess. The abscess? Gilman reported he had been an abscess when he was looking for Secretariat's tattoo number the morning of the Wood (each horse has a number stamped on his upper lip to ensure proper identification).

"'As soon as he said that,' Turcotte remembers, 'I said, 'That's it! Thank you!' Every time I had pulled on the reins, his head kept flying up.

"Horses are creatures of habit. When they feel pain, they turn away from it. When Secretariat felt the pull of the rein on the bit of his sore mouth, he jerked his head up, trying to get away from the pain. It was plausible, but hadn't anyone said anything?

"Turcotte walked into Penny's suite, where she and [trainer Lucien] Laurin were waiting. He closed the door. You could feel the tension in the air. They asked him what he thought of the horse. He told them Secretariat wasn't himself, but that the distance would be no problem because of his come-from-behind style. Confused as to why he hadn't been told of the abscess, Turcotte didn't bring the subject up: 'I didn't tell them. It wasn't my place. I said, 'If he's himself, he'll win. I'll let you know after I work him.'

"The next morning, Secretariat had his final work, five furlongs, three days before the most important race of his life [the 1973 Kentucky Derby]. The first thing [groom] Eddie Sweat said to Turcotte when he got to the barn was, 'The abscess is broken.'

"Sweat had known of the abscess. How could Laurin and Penny not? As far as Laurin knew, it never bothered the horse. 'If he had a bad lip, it didn't stop him from eating his dinner that night. He cleaned up everything. All his life, he could eat. Eat and sleep.

"As for Penny, in a conversation that took place in her house in the fall of 1973, Bill Nack asked her about the abscess. She gave him a startled look and said, 'What abscess? I didn't know anything about an abscess.' Nack thinks Lucien never told her: 'She looked genuinely surprised.'

"Gilman says, 'When I examine horses, I identify them. Part of it is reading the tattoo. The morning of the Wood, I lifted up Secretariat's lip and saw the abscess. It was quite sore. Looked a second time. It broke out. Some of the puss exuded. I told Lucien Laurin; showed him, and got hot steamers (rags used to hold against the affected lip).'

"The reason for secrecy? 'You don't want to advertise it,' Gilman conjectures."

********

It's pretty obvious looking at Secretariat's career from the vantage point of 30 years later he never should have lost a race. The first race he ran, on July 4, 1972, he was knocked almost to the ground at the start of the race, putting himself out of contention though finishing a very strong fourth. His second loss was in the 1972 Champagne Stakes, when he was disqualified to second after bearing in on Stop the Music. Then the loss in the Wood because of an abscess, the Whitney that fall to the Allen Jerkins-trained Onion because he was sick with the flu, and finally the Woodward because the trainer put him in as a last-minute replacement for Riva Ridge (scratched because of an off track) and Secretariat wasn't worked like he should have been. It was a trainer error, and Secretariat lost to yet another Allen Jerkins trainee, Prove Out (both losses to Jerkins horses were instrumental in Jerkins winning the Eclipse Trainer of the Year award, though Laurin by rights should have won it).

The greats do eventually get beaten, but there never was a better horse. As Charles Hatton, the dean of turf writers told Bill Nack, "He's the greatest horse I've ever seen. He's the greatest horse anybody has ever seen. Don't let anybody kid you. He could do anything, and he could do it better than any horse I ever saw. No question about it in my mind. He should never had been beaten."

That's a sound assessment of the great horse's career.

Will Hutton of the Observer

says Tony Blair has made the biggest mistake of his political career by hooking up with the Bush cartel and their right-wing supporters. It's a mistake he can't recover from.
Quote of the Day

"We had a great day," Sergeant Schrumpf said. "We killed a lot of people."

More here.
WSWS on

Washington, or rather the Bush administration(s), flouting the Geneva Conventions.
Apparently

people are getting weary of the ultimate reality television. Some 42 percent of those polled say watching the nonstop war coverage "tires" them out.

That can't be good for ratings or for advertisers. However, the networks have got to serve their puppetmasters, so cable news especially will still spew nonstop propaganda in favor of our fraudulent leader's fraudulent war.

It boggles the mind to think if today's media had been around during the time of the Vietnam War. I know I couldn't imagine a cable news network reporting 24/7 for ten solid years that war.
Long and Interesting Article

from the New York Times about the changing face of the armed forces.

The military is far more integrated today than in the past, and more women than ever before are serving, but the wealthy still tend to shun it. In the old days of the Vietnam War, when there was a draft, kids from wealthy families tended to get student deferments or go the the National Guard or go AWOL from the latter, while people from lower socioeconomic classes ended up serving. Now with the draft abolished, those who volunteer in the military are better educated, but not surprisingly, few kids of priviledge want to demean themselves by serving their country. The article also notes military service now is almost like a family affair, with sons and daughters of those who served in the military serving themselves. Many are concerned a "warrior class" has developed, with a big shift of military officers going from voting independent to the Republican Party.

That's one of the motives behind the push to reinstate the draft, to equalize this state of affairs. Another, more hidden motive, is to encourage more protest on the part of young people against (in this case at least) an illegal war.
It Looks Like

Chinagate for Richard Perle.

The scandals and revelations of Perle are coming at a faster pace than any of the bogus claims against Bill Clinton. But he's too valuable to the PNAC mafia to get out of Dodge entirely.
Booming Economy Casualty List 3/23-3/29

American Airlines--facing bankruptcy

U.S. Government--3,000 airport screeners
Now We Find

the "neocons" aren't the only ones with their collective fingers in the Iraq cookie jar. Now we have simply "cons" in the name of disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who have a bit of hand in this shameful state of affairs.
From Asia Times

The columnist asks the question of whether Saddam Hussein could still win. No matter what happens, Saddam is going to come out ahead, either as a hero or as a martyr.
So Bush


wasn't "forcefully" (whatever that means) presented with dissenting views that the invasion of Iraq wouldn't be the "piece of cake" others thought it would be.

It sounds like CYA on the part of Bush.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Boy, Is This Title

ever true: Perle's Resignation Not a Cure, Group Says.

It's just so bogus. A demotion doesn't mean squat.

I'd prefer it if he'd get himself arrested.

Note he's not the only one with corporate ties to the Pentagon.

More From the Same Site

The Un-American Media with reference to blogs and bloggers as alternative news sources.
From In These Times

Halliburton's Axis of Influence
You Know, I've

actually considered putting up another blog devoted exclusively to the "neoconservative movement," which is no more a political movement than the Mafia. There is so much information, so many outrages to write about, one could write only about them through providing numerous links and nothing else.

However, I have a pretty busy schedule as it is, and I don't want to ignore this blog. Perhaps some enterprising individual could put together a "Neocon Watch" page.

Here is the now well-publicized interview of the ubiquitous and iniquitous Richard Perle (via Eschaton).
Pot Meet Kettle

WSWS on U.S. hypocrisy over Iraqi "war crimes."
WSWS on

the frustrating business of Democratic elected officials supporting Bush's criminal invasion.

This may prove more infamous than the Gulf of Tonkin resolution increasing our involvement in Vietnam.

It's almost as if Congress was threatened if they didn't approve it.

I often think why we should even bother with Congress anymore. They have been completely coopted, and it isn't just because the Republican Party controls both houses, either. It's almost as if what they do is ceremonial or rubber stamping the regime's ruinous policies. It may be the most ineffective Congress in American history.

If there's nobody representing our interests, what do we do? Riot in the streets to intimidate our "leaders" to do something?
Speaking of Movies

As I said in an earlier post, I have always been a fan of terrible movies. I have an extensive video collection, mostly of videotapes. I am beginning a collection of DVDs, and I will slowly replace the old tapes.

I also collect classic movies of the studio era (silent era to 1950s), and these total several hundred. However, I find the really terrible films as entertaining or even more entertaining than so-called "great" films.

Right now I am looking at one of the most enjoyable of all grade-Z sci-fi flicks of the 50s, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958). It starred one-time Miss Washington D.C. Allison Hayes (1930-1977), who played millionaire heiress Nancy Fowler Archer, and married to philandering husband Harry, played by William Hudson (1921-1974). It seems while Nancy was in the nuthouse recovering from mental problems, Harry took up with comely Honey Parker, played by Yvette Vickers (born 1936, a one-time Playboy Playmate who also dated Cary Grant off and on for several years in the 1960s). But those who play must pay, and boy do Harry and Honey pay.

But I am getting ahead of myself. At the beginning of the film, Nancy is driving her Imperial down Highway 66 like a bat out of hell when she almost runs into a UFO with a 30-foot baldheaded giant in it. Screaming, she runs to town, trying to convince the sheriff and his deputy what she saw. When they go back out to find it, of course the UFO is gone. Meanwhile, Harry and Honey are necking in the town restaurant/club, and Harry tells Honey why he didn't divorce Nancy: "That community property routine works only for women. A man doesn't stand a chance." Honey tries to encourage Harry to drive Nancy nuts enough to go back to the nuthouse: "Once she's in the booby hatch, throw the key away. That'll put you in the driver's seat. You'd make a real wild driver, Harry, with 50 million bucks."

Cut back to Nancy returning home, and somehow Harry got there before she did. She tells him what she saw but he doesn't believe her. Neither does her butler Jess nor her doctor. Eventually she takes Harry out to the desert to find "that thing." When they do, Nancy runs to the satellite where Baldy reaches out and grabs her to steal the diamond. After shooting at the monster, Harry leaves his wife right there and drives back home. After a search Nancy is found on the "boathouse, loaded," as the deputy put it.

Of course, the movie has to live up to its title, and eventually Nancy, who was evidently exposed to radiation, balloons up to 50 feet. Just how she could fit in her bedroom, much less the mansion, isn't explained. We are treated only to a hilariously bogus paper mache giant hand and wrist to represent Nancy. While she is sedated much of the time, she finally comes to near the end of the movie, screaming about how she wants Harry back. Harry, of course, is back in town with Honey. Nancy tears the roof off of the minature house and tears off into town. The deputy finds the sheriff and Jess, who tracked down the transparent Baldy who in turn destroyed their car and then left in the UFO. All three head back to the Archer residence, when the doctor runs to them and memorably informs them, "It's Mrs. Archer. She's on a rampage. We've got to warn the town."

They head into town, where Nancy is tearing up the miniature buildings on the set. Sometimes she looks transparent, sometimes she looks less so. Harry and Honey are in the restaurant/club blissfully dancing when the deputy warns them, "Your wife is wrecking the town looking for you!" Too late. Nancy catches both them, tears off the roof, a beam falls on Honey, killing her, and she grabs Harry like King Kong grabbed Fay Wray. She pulls "Harry," in the form of a pretty obvious doll, up from the roof and carries him around town. The sheriff shoots her when she is near a power line, and he eventually succeeds in getting her electrocuted. Both Harry and Nancy fall to the ground dead.

The doctor and others survey the scene. In one of the most memorable lines in movie history, he opines, "She finally got Harry all to herself."

The film is more fun than a hundred Citizen Kanes. I've seen the film at least 50 times. I know there is a remake, but I have no desire to ever see it. It could never be as fun as this.

Silly Petition

to pressure the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to recall Michael Moore's Oscar. The petitioners have bogus reasons for this petition when the only reason for it is because they are upset Moore called Bush and his policies "fictitious."

Pretty sad people don't have anything better to do than this.
Conquering Baghdad

won't be the piece of cake the administration thinks it is.

And now there is talk of going after Syria for the flimiest of excuses. The PNAC scheme is going according to schedule.

When will people finally wake up and see this for what it is?
It Seems Those Polled

by the Washington Post approve efforts to slash Bush's ruinous tax proposals. However, there shouldn't be ANY tax cuts, unless targeted towards the middle class and poor, given the dismal state of the economy.

Giving tax cuts to people who don't need them doesn't help the economy.
Howard Kurtz

wrote today a typical whoring piece about some Democrats putting their campaigns on hiatus during Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq. Well, Kurtz's notion that national security--a phony issue raised for phony reasons--may not help Democrats but help Bush win election next year is pure hogwash.

Look at the Vietnam War, a war that lasted a decade, and tell me that people, presidential candidates as well as ordinary citizens, kept quiet.

The big difference between then and now is the information apparatus of the media has turned almost wholly propagandistic. Dissent is openly ridiculed or outright banned. People like Kurtz share a large portion of the blame with their endless cheerleading of an incompetent, criminal administration just to get tax favors and deregulation from said administration.

Edit: Even Howard Dean has been silenced a bit because he sent a written apology to John Edwards about remarks Dean made a couple of weeks ago at a California gathering of Democrats. Look for the screws to be tightened even more against Democrats.
Consider the Source

Speaking of Richard Perle, he is "a man of deep integrity and honor" who has a "deep understanding of our national security process." This according to a man who should know, Donald Rumsfeld.

From that quote you'd have thought Perle had left pseudo-public service or disservice instead of merely shuffling positions at the Defense Policy Board. Too bad he won't.

More here.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

From Alternet

All in the Neocon Family about all of the incestuous (figuratively speaking, of course) relationships of the people in the movement.

I simply wish writers would quit calling them "neoconservatives," since it sugarcoats what they really are.

The article concludes with this: "Contrary to appearances, the neocons do not constitute a powerful mass political movement. They are instead a small, tightly-knit clan whose incestuous familial and personal connections, both within and outside the Bush administration, have allowed them to grab control of the future of American foreign policy."

Kind of like the Bush clan.
God Help Us All

every single one of us. Bush, once a delegating "president," now is more hands-on.

I frankly think this is all P.R. But if it is true and it isn't spin "Bush has effectively taken personal control of the message machine for the war. That may be necessary [you know, a grudge match to avenge for his daddy's "loss"], but by doing so, he risks personalizing the war even more than he has, putting him in greater jeopardy for anything that may go wrong."
So Bush Declares

that the invasion of Iraq will last until the regime ends. The article notes the "regime" in question is Saddam Hussein's, not George W. Bush's.

But we all know the "war" with Iraq will end with Iraq, but that doesn't mean there won't be war with other countries.
First United Airlines

and now American Airlines is on the verge of bankruptcy.

What a hell of a mess.
Paul Krugman

on the regime's delusions of power. Not about the war, but about power as in the California energy scam.
It Isn't as Bad as It Was

for the first couple of months after 9/11, but flag sales have risen.

I've seen a few around Reno, especially on cars and trucks, but it isn't the sea of flags that were rampant almost two years ago. Then I felt as if I were in Nazi Germany with the flag display. Of course I know we are living in a more or less fascist country now, but it isn't as visible as then.
American Prospect

article on Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Cry Me a River,

Richard Perle. So you don't want any controversy over your shady business dealings, so you decide to resign from the Defense Policy Board. But only as chairman, not from the board entirely. Which is a distinction without a difference.

Too bad they won't deport you.

It's typical Republican tactics.

More Unconstitutional Crap

from the House when it declared a national day of prayer and fasting in account of terra and war, even though we are stinking perpetrators of the "war" against Iraq.

The vote was 346-49 in favor of this shameless pandering to whoever and whatever.

Prayer ain't gonna cut it, I'm afraid. It would take a miracle to undo the damage the Bush gang have wrought, and they have outlawed miracles.
This Has Been Posted

all over the place, but I should spam it here because it is important. It is the Joshua Micah Marshall article on the delusional policies of Bush and the PNAC crowd.

Spam it everywhere.
This

defintely needs to be said about dissent in America.

It isn't just official or media quashing of dissenting views, either. It happens in workplaces all over the country. I am a real believer politics and religion MUST stay out of workplace discussions because they can be so divisive.

In my case, it wasn't just the incident last week discussed below that concerned me. Last week I also had to attend an all-day workshop paid for by the school district. Colleagues at the table where I was sitting kept going downstairs at the hotel/casino where the workshop took place and were watching the Iraq invasion because the principal attending the workshop had to leave early. These "team players" would come up and report on the events (one of them I believe has a family member/members over there), and there would be all this discussion at the table while I am trying to hear speakers talking about TEACHING a program required at this school.

I was enraged enough I moved from the table and to another one closer to the speakers. Nobody is going to force me to listen to this crap that should be discussed during breaks or lunch.

You can guess what happened a few days later. I got an extremely rude email from one of the other "team players," a thirtyish second-year or rookie teacher lecturing a workplace veteran of almost 30 years about how I wasn't a "team player." Well, they want to be rude to people who have spent months preparing these workshops, but I want to hear what is being conveyed by these speakers, so I moved. That nonstop talking, especially about politics/the war, is as rude as people talking during a movie.

Needless to say, I didn't respond to the idiot but forwarded the email to the principal saying the comments were inappropriate. No, I didn't mention the war talk and won't unless I'm asked, which is doubtful.
Bush is a Complete

failure. It doesn't stop with his insane foreign policy failures. I'd add he's a man who has the reverse Midas Touch: everything he touches turns to trash. How many failed business ventures has he had? How many times has he had to be bailed out, from his dismal college career to his dubious military career, to his probable drug busts, to his sham "election."
So Much For

this war being a piece of cake. So it could last for months. And our arrogant government and military leaders find that the Iraqis aren't going to sit still and take the rape of their country.

I'd say the thing will last for years, not the Iraq invasion, but the takeover of the entire Middle East if it doesn't end in nuclear war.
Since I Will Be Gone All Day

until at least 9 p.m. tonight, posts will likely be few today.
Again, This Will Get the Tinfoil Hat Brigade

talking.

Have they really done any investigating? I haven't heard a peep. I hope members scream their heads off about the funding and keep this investigation in the news, if it actually gets much play.

The article notes the contrast between an investigation of 9/11, which cost over 3,000 lives to that of NASA's investigation of the Columbia shuttle tragedy, which cost seven lives, but the latter could cost as much as $50 million.

Can you spell coverup?

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

No, I Don't Have a Lot

of commentary today because the articles I have linked pretty much say it all.

I could talk about how much I love awful movies, but it's getting late.
Quote of the Day

"The administration is fighting two wars--one against Iraq and another against the very idea of a humane and responsive government here at home."

More here.
If You Can't Kill Off Senior

citizens by privatizing Medicare, then you merely jack up the premiums so they won't be able to pay for it. Seniors will face a 12.4 percent increase, to $66 a month.
Surprise! Not.

A panel found there was manipulation by energy companies during the 2000-2001 energy "crisis."

Snip:

"On one hand, the findings by the commission, which is made up of two members appointed by President Bush and one selected by President Bill Clinton, are likely to put to put to rest any serious arguments that manipulation and misconduct played little or no role in the California energy crisis. Initially, state officials were widely mocked for accusing energy companies of profiteering, but an increasing body of evidence has emerged that illegal behavior contributed to price spikes.

"On the other hand, the commission still made it clear today that the state's own deregulated energy marketplace was naively constructed and severely flawed, and made possible the abuses since documented ..."
Obituary

of the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Another Good Read from the Same Site


All Americans Are Now War Criminals
Good Reading From Online Journal


The Best Unregulated Families

9/11 was a Hoax

Is Bush Behind Watergate-Style Bugging in Europe?
Nat Parry

on International Law a la Carte.

A snip:

"The Bush administration's new regard for international law also comes after Bush failed to win the backing of the United Nations Security Council for the invasion of Iraq.

"Unable to persuade a majority of the counsel to endorse an immediate war with Iraq, Bush decided to ignore the U.N. Charter's ban on aggressive warfare. Indeed, Bush put U.S. troops in greater jeopardy under international law by ordering them to wage war outside the U.N. Charter, against a country not threatening the United States.

"That background has left many in the world viewing the administration's outrage over videotapes of American POWs as a case of a country that likes its international law a la carte, effectively picking and choosing when the rules apply and when they shouldn't.

"Now, as the U.S. military campaign in Iraq finds itself confronting unexpected obstacles and dangers, the Bush administration is using the videotaped interviews to fan the flames of American war passions.

"Meanwhile, the Bush administration has sidestepped any debate about its inconsistency toward the Geneva Conventions. In maintaining this contradictory posture, Bush has been aided and abetted by an American news media that has--with very few exceptions--substituted pro-war cheerleading for anything approximating professional journalism."
Al Gore

expresses his concern about the threats to freedom of speech.

Note this part:

"Using recent attacks on the Dixie Chicks that followed anti-war comments by one group member as an example, Gore said big corporations threaten the true meaning of democracies because representatives--through various media outlets--try to stamp out opposing views with financial retaliation."

They can do this because there is no Fairness Doctrine to ensure free and open debate.

Gene Lyons

on Underestimating the Enemy. It's about, of course, Bush's miscalculating the effort to remove Saddam in Iraq.
The Oscars of the Bad Movie

world have been announced. Swept Away, starring Madonna, won Worst Picture. The film also swept away the Worst Director Razzie for her husband Guy Richie. Madonna also tied with Britney Spears for Worst Actress in the film Crossroads. She is now tied with Sylvester Stallone for the most worst awards, nine total.

Roberto Benigni won Worst Actor for his role in Pinocchio.

Of Madonna's "performance" in Swept Away, Razzies founder John Wilson said, "She's not even in the movie for two minutes, but she's so awful in that one scene that for the whole rest of the movie, you cannot forget that your eyes and ears have been assaulted by the stupidity of her appearance."

Madonna also qualifies as one of the world's worst authors. Her book, Sex, was arguably the worst book ever published. It was cheap and as flimsy as the "author" herself.

As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of awful movies.
As Everybody Knows By Now

former senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan, 76, has died. He had several health problems the past couple of months.

He was U.S. Senator from 1977-2001, replaced by Hillary Clinton.
Somebody Should Tell

Donna Brazile to shut her stupid mouth. Of course Democrats should support the troops, but why should they support His Illegitmacy and his PNAC party's delusions of Manifest Destiny? She lost any respect I had when she admitted she is in frequent contact with Karl Rove. She's such an appeaser sometimes I get the feeling she's really a mole.
This

column contains some remarks about how the print media at least is "turning" against Bush.

It may be true, but so what. Most people get their information through broadcast news and talk radio.

I'm less optimistic.
Gee, People Are Getting

home equity loans in record numbers while at the same time new home sales have dropped 8.1 percent in February, the lowest in two years.

Again another example of our booming economy.
Somebody Really Should

start a Perlewatch webpage or blog. This guy has so much out there on him, and none of it good.

This article is yet another one about his conflicts of interest.
It's Headlines

like this that makes one pull one's hair out.

Clinton doesn't say anything about "supporting" Bush or his policies. Just that since the invasion is a fact, we should be pulling for its success and safety of the military and everybody involved. Big difference, but it escapes a lot of people, especially those who don't read past the headline.

While it would be gutsy for Clinton to say Bush and the PNAC crowd are committing war crimes and should be tried at the Hague, it's not very realistic in these times.

NOW

it looks like things are back to normal.

Gads.
I STILL Don't Know

what on Earth is going on with this webpage. All of the links are on the bottom and stuff is being cut off.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Courtesy of DU

The quote of the day:

"The U.S. has stirred up a vast amount of hatred against itself by this swaggering arrogance of the intellectually limited President, roaring like a bull in a bomber jacket in aircraft hangars to young men and women of the American armed forces, who, although they know very little of the world, are ready to get out there and kill."--British MP George Galloway.

More here.
Although the Senate

should have completely voted down any tax cut, it was good news they shaved it off by half.

At least it's a start.
I Am Trying To Figure Out

where all of the missing links are from my blog. They were there last night, and now they are gone from the page though not from the template.

Sometimes Blogger drives me up the wall. It's bad enough I am not a computer whiz as it is.
Bad Stuff

The NYT is reporting home equity borrowing is at record levels, and this understandably worries a lot of people.

Many people, not all, use home equity borrowing as a last step to stave off bankruptcy. It's really bad, and some lenders have those scam subprime (I think it is) loans.

People are much better off filing a chapter 13 or a chapter 7 than taking on even more debt.
There Is a God After All

Connie Chung, the host of the horrid Connie Chung Tonight, is leaving CNN. Or rather, she was sacked from CNN.

She'll bounce back and appear on some other network, I just know it.
Arthur Schlesinger

has his take on the Iraq mess, and calls it "Pearl Harbor in Reverse."

(via Eschaton)
Why Isn't the "War" a Cakewalk?

Howard Kurtz believes the media share part of the blame.

Well, the media are responsible in a way, but face it: Bush and his PNAC cronies fucked up big time. That's what happens when you have idealogues bent on some manifest destiny nonsense who never served their country in wartime and don't have a clue about the Middle East at all. We need to get out of there right away, but it isn't going to happen. Bush can't bear losing face.
Is the Reason

"everybody" is glued to the invasion story because of civic duty, or is it because the Rove administration and their shills in the media have guaranteed there is nothing else to report?

I can go to Democratic Underground and virtually all of the topics are about Iraq. Is it because posters are obsessed with it? Not exactly. It's because it's the only thing that's been reported, 24/7.

This is exactly what the administration wants. There are things going on, truly outrageous things, especially in Congress, and they are hoping to slip these awful things through--such as bankruptcy "reform"--when they think nobody is looking.

Contrast this with Vietnam. Vietnam was news every day for almost 10 years. However, it wasn't being reported 24/7. People were not kept in the dark about other things going on in their country and the world.

Those were the days when the media were halfway independent and free. Now we have only propaganda 24/7 with cable news networks and talk radio.
Again I Will Not Be Posting Much

until much later in the day. One of those inservice classes.
You Know

this is positively ridiculous. So now Democrats are treading "carefully" about campaigning during wartime?

For crying out loud, people weren't hesitant to run during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and definitely not Vietnam.

War has ALWAYS been an issue and a backdrop in political campaigns. It's like Rove Inc., and their pod followers in the public want all discussion and dissent of war and their feebleminded leader quashed.

Stuff like this really enrages me.
I Hope Nobody Misssed

this bit of news. Rep. John Conyers wants to investigate the ubiquitous Richard Perle and his dealings with Global Crossing.

Probably nothing will come of it.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Dissenting Opinion

on Bushwatch basically echoing what I said about Michael Moore. Moore has to do a lot more to undo the damage in supporting Nader.
From In These Times

Anti-war protestors shouldn't count on limiting their activities to the Iraq invasion; they should plan for the long haul.

This only makes sense because Bush and company do not plan to confine their antics to just Iraq. This is the thing the pro-war side just doesn't get. They are simply too brainwashed to think this could be extended to other countries.
For Blues Fans

the NYT has a story on the search for the blues, at its roots.

This year has been declared the Year of the Blues (boy, is that true). While some still perform the great music, the best has already been done and is preserved for all time on record.
Caught In a Trap

I can't walk out...

This isn't Elvis, but Bush warns everybody for a harder war than the piece of cake he and his PNAC advisors thought.

Bush may be setting the troops up for a disaster in Iraq and not know it. They need to be out of there pronto. I wouldn't put it past Saddam to set up a trap in Baghdad.

Saddam is a lot of things, but stupid he ain't, unlike some unelected people we have in Washington.
Paul Krugman

on the scandal of Clear Channel and other radio outfits organizing pro-war rallies.

Pretty pitiful when the right wing has to buy or sponsor political rallies, just like they feel they have to buy public opinion.
This Little Blog

finally hit 1,000 hits in about two week's time since I put in the Site Meter. No, it's not like the major blogs, but it's quite an achievement for me.

Edit: I changed the word "posts" to "hits," but sometimes I feel I have posted 1,000 times here.
Thanks to DU

for this Asia Times link about our friend Richard Perle and more problems with conflict of interest.

I don't think he has any real government position outside of some kind of advisory role, so he's not even accountable for his actions:

"It's the latest in a series of revelations of Perle's business dealings that, in the very least, make clear why he decided against taking an official position in the administration of George W. Bush. It seems that Perle, for all of his hawkishness, wants to get rich in ways that government service may not permit."
Howard Dean

has been stirring up the shit again on Shockin' Awful.

Unfortunately, Kerry and Edwards are digging themselves deeper because they simply refuse to criticize Usuper Boy and his PNAC puppet masters. Not only have they screwed themselves out of the presidential nomination, they have likely screwed themselves out of the VP slot for Al Gore. They don't help their chances any by nitpicking about Dean's rhetoric.

I am fully aware Kerry and Edwards have much more to lose than Dean because they are serving in the Senate, but still they aren't helping themselves. It's almost as if people want all dissent stifled (if not these two), even as dissent in this case of all cases in the world is the correct decision.
About Michael Moore

As I said below, I missed all but the last fifteen minutes of last night's Academy Awards. I have read what Moore said, and frankly, I don't have a problem with him saying what he said on national television. It was the truth, and it was good somebody said something that everybody knows or should know.

Moore wasn't passing himself off as some kind of expert, nor was he being passed off as some kind of expert. I don't have any trouble with him making a political statement on Oscar night at all.

That said, Moore has a lot to answer for. He was a shameless supporter of the despicable Ralph Nader this last presidential election, and without the fools who voted Green, Gore would not have had to worry about contesting the election. We wouldn't have to worry about living in "fictitious times." We wouldn't have a shitty economy and an invasion which threatens to turn into World War III. That's not much to be proud of.

One speech stating the obvious isn't going to make up for such a lousy choice. The same can be said for Phil Donahue and his canceled show as well.
Thinking of the Posts

I wrote last night about the rise of talk radio, if I were appointed President of the United States, the very first thing I would do is order the FCC to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. It is absolutely crucial to a democracy that as broad a spectrum of opinions need to be heard so citizens can make informed decisions. As it currently stands, we have nothing but propaganda mills posing as "news." For the survival of the country this can't be.

If the Fairness Doctrine could not be reinstated, I would work to ban talk radio or put a moratorium on it unless or until radio owners take the notion that these airwaves are OUR airwaves which are designed for the PUBLIC INTEREST seriously. While some consider talk radio as mere "entertainment," the truth is many people, far too many people, consider talk radio their primary source of news. In addition to this, I would return strict regulations on media and destroy the monopolies which have so polluted public discourse. Fox "News" as it currently exists would no longer exist. It would be required to give a fair hearing to differing points of view. Currently it's no better and probably worse than the old communist paper Pravda. Finally, there should be as little mixing of different types of media as possible (television stations/networks owning far too many radio stations, etc.) with the old restrictions put back in place.

We've got a real problem here in this country. The far right would never have gotten where it is if we even had a free, independent media. It's time to get it back.
One Way Out of the Morass

of the Moron-in-Chief is to draft Al Gore for 2004.

Of course this assumes there will be elections in the usual manner of speaking. But given the history of the Bush Cabal, I don't believe we can take ANYTHING for granted.

I would say Gore's having taken himself out of the running (as a result of a ratfucking by the DNC honchos) was a wise tactical move. He could keep a low profile and see how the other prospective candidates are doing. He could also see if there is indeed a public clamor for his return. I just can't see anybody on the horizon who can beat the Bush machine. If they have a prayer they will be battered beyond recognition. We have seen this in almost every presidential election cycle since 1980, and in the cases of Carter and Clinton, winning didn't stop it.
There's More Than One "War"

in Iraq, and that's with Halliburton's investors.

This should be front page news here instead of being played up in the foreign press. But it won't.
If It Bleeds, It Leads

Howard Kurtz column mostly on the wisdom or lack of it of showing pictures and footage of U.S. POWs and of dead American soldiers.

Despite all of the disclaimers by the news networks, they aren't sorry they did it. The whole purpose of showing them was for propaganda purposes, to inflame the ignorant public.

Bob Herbert

writes about the shockin' awful invasion

Sunday, March 23, 2003

In the Immortal Words

of our Resident, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."

The link is from the now widely discussed Time article earlier reported by Drudge.

About the only time Bush is articulate is when he swears like a man from the military he went AWOL from.

Chicago Won Best Picture

at tonight's Academy Awards.

I forgot about them and watched only about the last 15 minutes. I didn't catch Michael Moore's comments.

More here.
More From the Secretariat Chronicles

Excerpts from the SI article by Whitney Tower, "Putting a Whole New Light on the Derby," circa April 1973 following Secretariat's infamous defeat in the Wood Memorial:

"Before the Wood Memorial the 1973 Run for the Roses was being conceded to Secretariat despite the fact that until last week he had never tried running beyond a mile and a sixteenth. He was the big, glamorous chestnut who could do it all on any kind of track. He could run on the pace or come from behind. He could circle his fields or bull his way through them. They gave him names like Sexy or Big Red II, for here was the second coming of Man O' War, another horse of the people like Native Dancer, Kelso and Carry Back. They considered him a shoo-in to become the first colt since Citation in 1948 to capture the Triple Crown.

"Now, suddenly, all that has changed and there is going to be a Kentucky Derby after all instead of a one-horse walkover. It may not be necessary to start the race in rows, Indianapolis 500-style, but following Secretariat's defeat a lot of guys are going to be cranking up 3-year-old maidens from New England to Nevada and shipping them to Louisville.

"In a way the 49th Wood Memorial was a series of vignettes that show why the sport of horse racing is a very special attraction for many different people. Stars of Secretariat's caliber draw large crowds to any track, and Aquaduct's attendance of 43,416 was the best of the New York season. Racegoers are fickle: they began by cheering Secretariat in the walking ring, then, after he had finished third, they boisterously booed him (or was it his jockey, Ron Turcotte?). Winning (and losing) Trainer Lucien Laurin was so nervous before the race that when he went to the saddling enclosure he stood by mistake in Sham's stall. When the challenger walked in, Laurin looked at him and exclaimed, 'Who's this?' And after the race was over and Laurin's eyes remained focused on Secretariat, a fellow in the box behind the trainer leaned over, slapped him on the back, and said, 'Congratulations!' 'Congratulations for what? Who won?'

"'You did--with the wrong horse!'"

...

Laurin trained the winner and Secretariat's stablemate Angle Light. Sham was second in that race. As fans know, Secretariat developed a boil in his mouth which irritated him, and he grabbed the bit and threw his head up, according to jockey Turcotte. It bothered the horse so much he wasn't focused enough on the race and lost as a result.

But back in April of 1973, vicious rumors began to circulate about Secretariat. He had arthritis, he was lame, and the most common explanation: he was the son of Bold Ruler, the greatest sire of the twentieth century, but a horse who mostly sired sprinters.

Well, Secretariat proved the doubters all wrong as we know...
Reporters

are also hampered because of the sophisticated propaganda network of cable television of the Fox/CNN variety, and the wildly profitable talk radio circuit, both of which serve the Republican Party's interests (again because of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine). If reporters other than Helen Thomas ask tough questions, they will be lacerated by these propagandists for hire.

In my remarks a few weeks back about Limbaugh, I believe I said I used to be a regular listener of talk radio from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s (to about 1987). Those were heady days for talk radio because not only were the shows designed to discuss issues and opinions, but talk radio operators had the public interest in mind. Oh, sure, there were whack jobs like Joe Pyne, but he was the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, in my teens until I was about 30 I avidly listened to talk radio, chiefly KGO in San Francisco. They had hosts of all persuasions of the political spectrum (though they didn't have people of the Bob Grant/Gordon Liddy vile variety), and by and large the hosts there and on other stations weren't rude to callers, unless the callers got out of line (exception: Larry King of Miami--yes, THAT Larry King, who was the rudest bastard ever on talk radio bar none). I listened as they talked about Nixon and Watergate, I listened when the murders of George Moscone and Harvey Milk were being reported, and at the Denver talk station, I listened as a grieving Ken Hamblin (before he became a wingnut for hire) was informing people of the murder of talk show host Alan Berg. Perhaps my favorite talk show host of that time was the late Ira Blue of KGO, who was a political moderate, but he was great. I also loved his use of the George Gershwin song "Rhapsody in Blue" as his theme song. (Blue died of cancer in 1974, so that REALLY dates me.) Talk shows were actually educational, and there were many things discussed on those shows that weren't generally discussed on news programs and the then-prestigious Sunday public affairs programs.

Among the last talk show hosts I listened to regularly was personal finance expert Bruce Williams, who was unfailingly polite to everybody who called and who seemed to have an unlimited amount of knowledge about business and personal finance. I also listened to Michael Jackson out of Los Angeles, who was pretty good but generally stuck with having celebrities on as guests. Somewhere along the line, though, I got bored with talk radio. I believe it may have been around the time of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. When I heard about the repeal, my first reaction was this was the first step to propagandizing the airwaves. I was right.

The rise of Limbaugh and others seemed to coincide with the rise of trash talk television of the Geraldo Rivera/Jerry Springer variety. It was lowest common denominator television, and radio seemed to ape it. Say things outrageous and that will get ratings. Public interest and education went out the window. It was all for ratings and money. Roger Ailes and Limbaugh found there was a market for those "angry white males" and they decided to appeal to that market (and never mind the issues advocated by these Republican shills would screw that very audience). Since there was no longer a Fairness Doctrine, Limbaugh's producers could screen callers in advance. This basically made the show a monologue for this overpaid, egotistical windbag. It wasn't long before there were numerous other imitators of Limbaugh.

As a result of this 24/7 propaganda, the public discourse shifted even further to the right of what it was during the Reagan/Bush eras. And with it the gradual disintegration of the United States.

We Can All Say

"no kidding" to the idea the media were and are largely responsible for the invasion of Iraq.

Why? Liberals quoted in the article say basically the media refused to ask the tough questions needed to generate a debate on the issue, and they especially didn't follow up on the Bush administration's claims there was a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Conservatives, idiots that they are, claim reporters are asking too many skeptical questions, a notion that challenges one to keep a straight face when confronted with such a preposterous claim.

I could add that thanks to the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, media, especially cable news and talk radio, have shut out criticisms of administration policy, which could embolden reporters to ask tough questions. Because there is no counterargument presented, the media become nothing more than propaganda organs for the government. This is certainly true now. Administration officials can out-and-out lie and few people in conventional media challenge it.

Bill Plante of CBS News claims reporters ask the tough questions at White House briefings, but the administration simply refuses to answer them. Then why don't the media look at that very thing of why the administration is less than forthcoming on matters of policy. Just because the administration refuses to level with reporters doesn't absolve reporters of doing their jobs.

At least in theory it shouldn't. But when there are an overwhelming number of far right business owners of the news media, owners who stand to gain a great deal from Republican handouts in terms of deregulation and tax breaks, reporting without spin and propaganda can be risky to reporters' careers. And that is the real unsaid message in the article.
WSWS Doesn't Mince

words with it calling the Bush blitz a "shameful day in American history."
Somehow I Missed

this excellent piece by Jeff Koopersmith on the longterm outlook for George W. Bush. This was written before the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

Regardless, the prognosis isn't good.
Here's a Brief

bio of Schneider from AEI.

So, like Bush and Bill O'Reilly he has an advanced degree from Harvard. I don't exactly think it's good publicity for the school.

For fun here's Richard Perle's bio.

It sure makes me glad I went to a land grant university.
A Disturbing Article

in the L.A. Times written by AEI and CNN whore Bill Schneider. Of course, he thinks it's all wonderful that Bush is using this goddamned invasion as an excuse to destroy all programs benefiting the vast majority of the American people.

Schneider is a whoring bastard. He can barely contain his glee at the prospect.
Don't Mess Around

with the Bush family, warms Eleanor Clift.

How about this juicy excerpt:

"The United Nations effort failed in large part because the member nations on the Security Council could see through Bush. They knew this was never a serious diplomatic discussion. Bush was going to war no matter what the U.N. decided. 'Anybody who knows the Bush family knows they aren't going to back down,' says a Republican consultant. 'End of story.' Bush miscalculated when he assumed other nations would fall into line, but that's another family trait: it's called 'to the manner born,' or 'to the presidency born,' meaning a family of Bush's social status that has spawned two presidents assumes if they think it's right, it's right. A streak of religiosity [sic] further strengthen's Bush's belief in the rightness of his cause, which he initially called a crusade..."
Though Bush's Invasion

has hogged up most of the news coverage--hell, ALL of the coverage--most people are still more worried about the sinking economy than anything else.

It could spell trouble for Bush, all right, but contrary to many, I also believe the war could spell trouble for Bush as well, trouble in all kinds of ways. He and his policies are FUBAR, but whether that carries over to next November is questionable.

It might as well be ten years off the way things are going.
I Am Extremely Heartbroken

In yesterday's Reno Gazette-Journal, it reported a southern California software engineer (remaining anonymous), visiting Las Vegas to attend an NCAA basketball game, went to the Excalibur casino, plunked in $3 in a megabucks slot machine, and hit $39.7 million dollars, a world record.

Damn it all. I was hoping to play the megabucks machine this weekend. I just know, just know, there is a progressive jackpot with my name on it.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

And For a Pleasant Change of Pace

from all invasion, all of the time, here is a Newsweek article about accused murderer Phil Spector.
More Sunday NYT

This article is on the ongoing antiwar marches going on all over the world.

Yet apparently there are some who think the antiwar people should change their tactics. It seems to me the stuff is working, and the more people protest, the greater likelihood people will think about what the hell these madmen are doing.

Not that you will ever convince the Pod People in this country who support the Junta. They are pretty hopeless.
No Shit, Sherlock

Bush warns the invasion may last longer than anticipated.

We all know he ain't limiting it to E-rack.

Try ten or twenty years, assuming the Rove Mafia can rig the elections next year, in 2008 and 2012 for Jeb, and 2016 for Jebbie's boy George P.
Maureen Dowd

about our gem of a Perle.

The man is certifiable.
Article in Sunday's NYT

about the Bushian plot to remake the Middle East in the U.S.'s image. No matter what the author tries to claim, that the U.S. can make the Middle East into a "democracy," and it isn't hopeless, why the fuck should we be meddling in their business in the first place?

Oh, sure, the U.S. was involved in some truly noble rebuilding programs, most notably the Marshall Plan. But that ain't what Halliburton's subsidiaries have in mind for Iraq.

The only reason we are there--besides the insanity of the PNAC mafia--is because of the vast natural resources Bush, Inc. wants to plunder for profit. Nothing more, nothing less.

As Nicolas von Hoffman said so well in his column the other day, we are going to exchange one dictator for another, and we have a "president" who wasn't elected promoting his notion of "democracy" in the Middle East. It's enough to make one puke.
What, Me Worry?

Although the Middle East is going up in flames, and millions of people are protesting against the Bush blitzkrieg, Bush's days are unchanged.

I'm sure Hitler went about his business of doting on Eva Braun and enjoying his vegetarian meals while his henchmen were murdering millions. I'm sure Ted Bundy went about his business working at a department of emergency services, the outfit which was looking for women Bundy killed, with not a care in the world.

Sociopaths are sociopaths no matter what they do in their off-hours.
It Might Be Worth

a look at the concept of Manifest Destiny in the 1840s in the light of the PNAC delusions of global conquest.
The Media Can Be Bought.

The Congress can be bought. However, Bush is having a hard time buying allies.

But, hey, we are in the right and everybody else is wrong. You know, our government has the same mentality of those who believed in the Manifest Destiny nonsense of the 19th century. The dead Iraqis are like the Native Americans who were slaughtered by the settlers.
Andrew Greeley

on what the Pope said about the U.S. invasion of Iraq (I am going to try and quit calling it a "war" because "war" implies there are two sides instead of this unilateral operation).
Media Whores Online

is off on vacation until sometime in April. The owners pulled this after the 2002 election theft.

I just think maybe they are so disgusted, so pissed off, so demoralized they can't bring themselves to work on the website.

Although my website is itty-bitty in readership (thanks to the fact I haven't figured to get the page on RSS), I do try to make the effort to post here almost every day. In fact, I have posted here every single day (except Christmas of last year), almost four solid months, yet I find time to do other things. I find what is going on too important not to give this site attention, and it will get it daily unless I am out of town (and even then I try to make it a point to post daily as long as I have web access).

These are dark times in which we are living in, maybe even darker than WWII and the Civil War. Never have so many people been in so much peril because of this country being run by insane, unelected leaders. We bloggers need to get the word out any way we can.
If Anything

Bisbort's invective is mild compared to what I really think.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Booming Economy Casualty List for 3/15-3/22

Bell South--1,077 jobs

Gateway--1,900 jobs

Continental--1,200 jobs

NW Airlines--4,900 jobs

United Airlines--possible liquidation
If You Are Interested

in the House debate on the bankruptcy "reform" debate, just click on the link on the ABI homepage. It is a PDF file.
So the Senate

is considering raising the medical malpractice limit to a princely sum of $500k.

Don't you feel better already?
I Don't Know Which

"justice" on the United States Supreme Court is stupider, Antonin Scalia or William Rehnquist.

Rehnquist is "worried" about the "independence" of the court. Well, the idiot should have worried about it before capitulating to the fascistic Bush mob and ruled in favor of them in Bush v. Gore, surely the worst Supreme Court decision in American history (worse even than the slavery decisions like Dred Scott).

If he is so goddamned worried, he should require that ALL future judges NOT be members of the fascistic Federalist Society. That won't happen, of course.
And Here Is Yet Another

article about the insane people who are in charge of U.S. foreign policy and their designs to take over the Middle East:

"In the Middle East, impending 'regime change' in Iraq is just the first step in a wholesale reordering of the entire region, according to neoconservatives--who've begun almost gleefully referring to themselves as a 'cabal.' Like dominoes, the regimes in the region--first Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, then Lebanon and the PLO, and finally Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somali--are all slated to capitulate, collapse or face U.S. military action. To those states, says cabal ringleader Richard Perle, a resident rellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an influential Pentagon advisory committee, 'We could deliver a short message, a two-word message: 'You're next.' In the aftermath, several of those states, include Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, may end up as dismantled, unstable shards in the form of mini-states that resemble Yugoslavia's piecemeal wreckage. And despite the Wilsonian rhetoric from the president and his advisers about bringing democracy in the Middle East, at bottom it's clear that their version of democracy might have to be imposed by force of arms..."

And so on.

It never ceases to amaze me why writers and other commentators constantly refer to these fascistic criminals as "neoconservatives." What the hell does that mean? It's like they want to sugarcoat these despicable people by giving them an innocuous-sounding label.
Jeff Koopersmith

on how the media, especially Fox News, manufactures anger by the public.
Oh, and If the Below Articles

didn't cheer you enough, how about the WP article about Bush strongarming the so-called "allies."
Destruction Abroad,

destruction at home. The idiot Congress approves unnecessary and ruinous tax cuts.

I can just see what the fallout is going to be for this economy. Tax cuts for people who don't need it, and maybe foreign companies will pull out because of our insane "leaders."

**********

I can hardly stand to watch television. The networks act as if this Nazi Germany-style attack on Iraq is something to cheer about. And the American people have fallen for this obvious pack of lies.

And don't forget, the PNAC people don't want to stop with Iraq. They want to rule over the entire Middle East.
Buzzflash

We Are In a Nation Ruled By Madmen
Excellent Opinion Piece

from of all places the Washington Times on Bush's reckless war.
Kiss America Goodbye

A Stanford study is showing this Pox Americana War is costing the nation over 1.1 trillion dollars (lost stock market, oil prices, the economy in general). Who knows what it is actually costing our government? The report said speculation about the war cost a fifteen percent drop in the Standard and Poor financial index since last September.
In Case Everybody Missed It

and it is on the Democratic Underground site, Arabs are calling for a jihad against the U.S.

Thanks, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, Bolton, and all of the rest who made this all possible. While your brain dead squawk show hosts go around and malign those who oppose Pox (as in smallpox) Americana as being unpatriotic, those of us who care are terrified of the possible repurcussions of such an insane foreign policy.

Anybody with a brain knows you don't fuck around with the Middle East. It doesn't matter how "backward" they are or anything, but all of those hatreds will come to a boil and this whole thing will quickly spin out of control. You also need the United Nations to help mediate disputes, and the organization has been very effective in helping to prevent another world war.

But when you're an idealogue, preferable of the chickenhawk variety, you have no real sense of what is going on in the real world. Fine and dandy if you are in some crackpot think tank like the PNAC, but this is now reality and those things that look so good on paper turn out to be a disaster when tried. In fact, the PNAC's "statement of principles" (sic) reads like something Napoleon or Hitler could have written.

The trouble is you guys are taking the rest of us down with you.

Howard Kurtz

profiles CBS News and other media coverage of the Pox Americana 'war."

I am sure CBS News, the best of all of the networks by far because it reports hard news, will be around for a long, long time to come. The only thing that would stop me watching it is if Scott Pelley should ever take over Dan Rather's job. I absolutely detest Pelley because he so brazenly lied about Bill Clinton during the sham "scandals" and impeachment farce. It was as if he was one of Ken Starr's little pets in the media. Furthermore, Pelley made himself look worse when he interviewed with TV Guide basically saying what a horrible liar Bill Clinton was, how terrible he was, etc. Not only was Pelley a liar himself but he was being completely unethical in his capacity as a so-called "objective" journalist.

I don't think such an opinionated jerk like Pelley will ever get the anchor's job at CBS. If he did, I would stop watching their network news. I put my money on John Roberts, a man who always appears to be impartial and very professional. Not to mention Roberts is cute as hell, which doesn't hurt.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Somehow I Don't Believe

people are so fouled up believing the administration propaganda they overwhelmingly "approve" the asshole's attempt to become the second coming of Adolph Hitler.

If it is even remotely accurate, it's because of the nonstop lies of the corporate media.
Well the Credit Card Industry

hasn't won yet. The House-passed bankruptcy bill's future seems uncertain at this point.

The bill basically turns an effective, humane, and efficient system of debt relief into a collection agency, with ludicrous means-testing of debtors. Despite the claims of Sensenbrenner and others about "abuse" of the system by "deadbeats," these supporters admit there is little chance the bill will pass Congress as is after the House and Senate confer about it.

Let's hope Senate Democrats will gut this piece of crap again.
Alternate Universe

Today I spent all day at one of my halftime jobs, and I once again had to suffer through listening to dipshit Bill O'Reilly and other squawk show hosts. Mostly, though, I tried to stay as far away from that radio as possible.

Earlier in the day the library hosted a read aloud session because of Nevada Reading Week, and Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval (Republican, of course, in this now one-party state) came to read a story to some fifth graders. When he was finished, the kids asked him all kinds of questions, and a lot of the kids had the "war" on their minds. Of course, being a Republican he supported the action, but I could tell he was very nervous about what might happen. Well, being the AG means you-know-what if terra ever hit Nevada. Not a good position to be in especially when you've been on the job only a couple of months.

Sandoval was pretty careful about what he said to the kids, and he did say he was at the White House just a few days ago and saw Bush, who Sandoval speculated didn't even know who he was. That figures. I doubt BUSH even knows who HE is, though everybody in the world outside of Freeperland knows WHAT he is. Sandoval put on as good a front as possible. It was also interesting that one of the kids asked him about the stolen election of 2000. Sandoval did admit Gore got more popular votes, but he alluded to the "investigation" (meaning, of course, the newspaper consortium) which allegedly showed that Bush was actually the proper one to be in there. Well, I knew what he was trying to say, and of course there was no way in the world as a Republican official he was going to say Bush was a goddamned crooked thief who had five "justices" bail him and his brother out of a jam. I might have admired him more if he had, but I am also a realist.

For a guy who ran an absolutely filthy campaign for the A.G. job (and his opponent ran an equally filthy campaign), Sandoval seemed to be a geniunely nice person who went out of his way to come to an at-risk school. Politics does weird things to people, and nice people who should know better sometimes get screwed up on their political choices. I think this is the case here. He also struck me as being almost naive.

Anyway, back to talk radio in the afternoon. I didn't really listen to O'Reilly and the rest. However, two people at my job were talking about the war and they were so impressed with Donald Rumsfeld and how he explained things, and oh, how wonderful Bush was because he was so "calm" (I wanted to tell them he was likely heavily medicated), and what a wonderful contrast he was to "previous" presidents. I wanted to throw up. Instead, I went out of the library a couple of times because I couldn't stand to hear such utter nonsense. These people, both apparently "born-again Christians," live in such an alternate universe it seems they are right out of the movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They were genuine pod people. I will admit, however, one of them did say she didn't vote for either candidate (Bush or Gore) in 2000, and she still felt nervous about Cheney. There was something about him she didn't like.

What I should have done was print off the homepage of the PNAC and that might have answered her concerns.
More Bullshit About Richard Perle

link

Of course, conflict of interest, corruption, and other wrongdoings of any stripe are REQUIREMENTS in the Bush administration.