Tuesday, February 28, 2006
CBS News Poll shows that Bush's popularity has dropped to 36%, an all time low. The poll also shows that overwhelmingly Americans don't like the way the Bush Cadre handled both the Iraq war and Katrina.
36 percent, and I can't see how it can possibly bounce back. The funny thing was--I was talking to my Dad about this when Bush fell under 50% and my Dad, who's sometimes a bit more long sighted than I am, posed the question, "So what happens when his popularity goes to 40%, 30% , 20%, 12? At what point does a President realize that he's lost the faith of the American people and is forced to leave? Then again would this President leave, or does he have to be impeached? And in a Republican congress that's so out of touch with America, would they impeach him or will they continue to play the delusional role (much like FOX News) that the sky is green, Iraq is calm, and everything is A-ok?
I didn't know then if it would come to that, but it sure looks like it now. I do know one thing. If his popularity dropped down to the point that only his daughters, his mom, and his dog had faith in him, he still wouldn't leave. He's going to stay the course even if it takes him, and us, to hell.
If a President started a Civil War in his own country would they call him the worse President ever? Not FOX News I suppose, they think Civil War is a good thing...
In case you haven't heard of it, the Mexican government was involved in a war against Left wing rebels and for years there have been charges that the Mexican military committed gross human rights violations against the rebels including torture, kidnapping, and murder.
"The draft reports authors write: "The authoritarian attitude with which the Mexican state wished to control social dissent created a spiral of violence which... led it to commit crimes against humanity, including genocide." "
The draft report can be found here (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB180/index.htm) on the National Security Archive's website. The documents are in Spanish so I haven't gotten the chance to translate them, but I wanted my readers to be able have access to these documents since they are important in understanding the events that occurred in Mexico, and also the relevance they have to today's "War on Terror." It would be a horrible thing to have this type of report issued for the American government 20 years down the line about our war but it seems that this is the road that we are walking.
Monday, February 27, 2006
The European Union voted today to give a 120 million Euro financial aid package to the Palestine government to keep the country from collapsing. The aid will be distributed by the United Nations as a bill-by-bill system. The decision was made by the EU as other donors of Palestine, including the US, debate to continue their aid unless Hamas changes their position regarding Israel.
To those that think that all there are are pro-fundamentalist and terrorist rallies going on (and lord knows, if you watch the major networks that all you would think are going on), check out the above link about a major protest against terrorism in London. There were about 8,000 to 10,000 people there, but unless you look, you'd have never known it.
Today the curfew ban was lifted in Iraq by coalition forces. The curfew, instituted last Friday in response to the threat of civil war, managed to rein in violence some over the weekend, although sporadic attacks still bubbled over. This morning there were four mortar attacks in a Shiite neighborhood killing four and wounding 16. Sunday was also bloody, ending with 29 deaths that included three American soldiers, bringing the US body count to 2,291.
On a positive note however Sunnis have agreed to return to the bargaining table under the condition that Shiite's return mosques that they captured during last weeks riots.
"Adnan al-Dulaimi, whose Iraqi Accordance Front spearheaded the Sunni boycott, said the Sunnis have not decided to return to the talks but are intent on participating in a new government."
This is both good and bad news for US forces. It's wonderful to get some head way with the Sunni leadership, but, as I stated before, the US and UK alone don't have the numbers to keep the peace in Iraq. The curfew, which reduced but by no way eliminated violence in the region, was forced down because of food and economic shortages. Yet the same freedoms that allow people to participate in their unstable economy are the same freedoms that allow the insurgents to attack that infrastructure. Without a rise in troop number the US is playing a game of tug-of-war with the rebellion. Hopefully this week we'll be able to get beyond the Distraction game so that we may address this issue.
Yesterday, during a two-hour long shootout in a suburb of the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, Saudi police killed five suspected militants and captured one, who were linked to a failed attempted to blow up one of the largest oil refining plants in the region. This comes after Al-Qaida warning of further strikes.
The oil refinery that had been attacked refines about 2/3rds of all Saudi oil and its destruction would have been devastating for the Saudi economy.
The increased Al-Qaida activity in Saudi Arabia further compounds my feeling that the Saudi's are now under a squeeze play. As reported here before, Saudi Arabia, not exactly a popular government in the Middle East, has been under a great deal of pressure to simultaneously gather Islamic support while maintaining its close ties to the West. There has been a great deal of evidence that the Saudi government financially supported various anti-Western Islamic groups out of Denmark to disseminate cartoons mocking Islam and Mohammad to build up hatred towards the West in order to distract its people from the stampede in Mecca during this year's Hajj (Something that the Saudi's have allowed practically yearly by refusing to reconstruct certain paths) and the overwhelming greed and corruption of its rulers. (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/5/13149/60748). As shown with this latest round of attacks, Al-Qaida is now putting its own pressure against Saudi rulers who they see as lapdogs of the West.
From a detached political perspective it's interesting to watch this situation unfold. Yet any attacks on Saudi oil would mean horrible repercussions for both the Saudi government and the Saudi people, and it won't be avoided by using the same methods of distraction of the Bush administration.
Seems like the author of A Million Little Pieces isn't the only one who's got problems in the literary world.
Dan Brown, author of the incredibly popular book The Da Vinci Code has been sued by the authors of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail for ripping off material from their text.
The strange thing about this suit to me, is the fact that they don't accuse Brown of taking plot, or characters from their book, but instead claim that Da Vinci Code uses theories that they created. I find this claim both interesting and disturbing. Literary, and philosophical theories seem to me to be part of public domain, especially if its a non-fiction theory. Not only that but I believe (unfortunately I don't have a copy of Brown's book, but perhaps someone could check this for me) that Brown at his endnotes credits the Holy Blood for developing the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and gave birth to His child, the key point of his book. Brown seemed to encourage further research into this subject and used his book to ignite the controversy, something that I would think would benefit Holy Blood's authors. Likewise, should this suit be successful, would novels developed from other theories have to pay money to the people who propounded these ideas? Would the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby have to pay money to Charles Darwin for X-men? It seems rather silly to me, but this suit, should it be successful, would definitely change fiction writing forever and close an unfortunate option for writers who use existing contemporary ideas for inspiration. We'll be following this one closely.
Friday, February 24, 2006
"And let's get some other things clear. If there is a civil war, we need to do three things.
ÂWe need to choose a side right the now, and stick to it until the bloody end.
ÂWe need to increase our troop strength in-theater ASAP, so that the bloody end comes sooner rather than later.
ÂAnd we absolutely need to hold accountable those most responsible for things getting this far out of control Â Donald Rumsfeld (for his idiotic ideas about low troop-levels), and the Mullahs in Tehran who have been fostering this civil war since long before we invaded."
This isn't a pick up game on your local basketball court. We can't just pick a side in this conflict, either one we choose is going to hate our guts, and we'll alienate the rest of the Middle East even more than we already have (and trust me, that's alot). From there the next point falls. Raising troop levels now would be a disaster politically and unless you want a civil war here it ain't happening. I'm down with point number three, but how the hell are we going to hold the Mullahs responsible besides having Scott McClellan shout harsh rhetoric at them? Surely we won't be going to war with them, especially without a Saddam Hussein over there to give biological weapons so he can act as out de facto general. (Oh mah bad, I forgot Big Brother wanted that deleted from our record). What Vodka's recommending is still more of the same of what's been coming out of administrationtion, and more of the same will only give us more of the same.
Then again it seems that he shares the same type of conservative callousness and arrogance that landed us here in the first place:
"If we're looking at an Islamic civil war, then vast numbers of good people will die, from Libya to Oman. Luckily, they won't have to be our people. In the very worst-case scenario, the Middle East could blow up Â and we could bug out, pronto. "This is the good news?" you ask. Yes, and I'll explain why.
Christianity was a violent religion until the Thirty Years War. That war lasted so long, and killed so many people (the population of Germany was reduced by a third), that Christendom lost its bloodlust. Freedom of conscience was born on the battlefields of central Europe. The Middle East hasn't suffered that kind of loss; they haven't yet had their fill of blood; they haven't yet become disgusted with tyranny. I'd like to think that the Middle East can do what the West did, without all the suffering. But if it takes regional fratricide, then so be it."
So after instigating the problem the best we can do is let them commit years of genocide and wash our hands like Pontius Pliate, hoping once again, when the smoke clears, they'll be like us. Yeah that'll work, and likewise it's very moral and Christian. Sounds to me like "Freedom of Conscience" died in the delivery room. And that last quote reminds me of Madeline Albright's infamous "that's the price we're willing to pay," comment when asked about the 1 million or so Iraqis that died from our embargo under the Clinton administration. (If you remember the Islamic world got sorta pissed off about that one). If you think that them killing each other will reduce anti-American sentiment over there, you have another thing coming.
Sadly I'm positive that this is the rhetoric that's going on right now in the White House. But with Bush's track record of only listening to people who agree with his points I'm sure that debate has been left out in the cold.
I really don't want to report about this. I really wish the whole thing would just go away like Iraq, Dubai ports, Health Care, TomKat and Bradgelia, but alas, as Helen Thomas would say, we can't choose the news we can only report it.
A report on the website Capitalhillblue.com, (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_8184.shtml) as reported on The Human Stain, claims the the VP was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting, as reported to him from various White House aides and Secret Service members. How likely should we take this story? Well from what I've read from CapitolHill's defense of its article (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_8187.shtml) they seem to be on the up and up on their sources and honesty. But beyond that the Cheney ploy of ignore and hide along with the deceit of this administration doesn't provide me with a reason to give the VP the benefit of the doubt. He admitted himself that he had one beer during the trip after the woman who owned the ranch, who originally broke the story, said that no one had ingested any alcoholic beverages. Then there's the fact that Texas law enforcement was denied entry into the ranch for a day and a half, more than enough time for everyone to sober up. Hopefully the investigation will clear this up... (cricket, cricket...there is an investigation right?)
Personally I have to agree with Bill Maher here. I don't have much pity for rich guys who run around with shotguns shooting little birds, much like I don't have much pity for drunken frat boys who run their cars into trees (and this is coming from a former drunken frat guy, and current drunk). However if a law was broken--and if the report is true, and Cheney was indeed hunting drunk, then he should be prosecuted. Not that I'm holding my breath. He only shot a man--wasn't like he was selling weed in Harlem or anything.
Anyone out there know of good deals to Iceland?
Fueled by Islamic fundamentalists and Al-Qaeda, civil war would put the US is an unfightable role. When is a rout not a rout? When there is no way to win, and should civil war occur everyone will be a loser.
Now while I don't hope for a civil war (and every American, Republican or Democrat should hope for a peaceful resolution to this situation), hope seems to be all we have left. I do think we need to go back to our drawing board to work up new foreign policy. Historically it's been our way to destabilize countries unfriendly to the US through embargos, assassination, and war to create a vacuum and then hope that whatever fills that vacuum will be friendlier to America. However what we've seen in the last three years is a complete annihilation of that system. In Iraq barely anyone is friendly to the US and those that do like us, hate the next Iraqi. Whatever our next target will be, (and believe me, this is only the beginning), we have to; a) get rid of Bush and his cronies and replace them with competent leadership, and b) come up with a new game plan. We've often heard that new problems require new solutions, but unfortunately we're still playing the same game that we've used since the Spanish-American war. We can no longer afford to continue on the same path we've come across, the costs, both in American life and moral fiber is much much to great.
As for Iraq? I shake my head right now. About a year ago I was all about pulling out. But now, faced with a situation as we had in Somalia we may be forced to leave. If I did have to come up with a solution then I would go with my original plan; we have to get our allies in NATO involved in this conflict and form a coalition similar to what Clinton accomplished in Bosnia, and maybe if we ask nicely we can get Wesley Clark to take charge. Iraq has now developed into a peacekeeping mission and there is no way we can complete that objective on our own. Today US troops began a curfew, but without troops, without proper tools, a curfew will be impossible to enforce. I'm a fan of comic books and I remember that in trouble even Captain America would call for help. Well the bomb is seconds away from exploding, and Doc Doom and the Red Skull are standing between us and it. Either we call for the rest of the Avengers, or we are toast.
Check out the whole tragic story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11491483/
Remember two posts ago when I mentioned that Bush has reassured us that "people don't need to worry about security."? Well surprisingly he was wrong.
Now I don't believe Brooklyn dancer, Vado Diomande, is a terrorist (although looking at that outfit, I imagine that he might be a trifle annoying), but it is very frightening that in this post 9/11 time he was able to walk through customs with goat skins that he planned to use to make drums. In case you don't know, bringing animal skins into the US is expressly forbidden unless declared to customs and checked for biological agents, especially Anthrax. Fortunately Vado and his family have been the only ones so far who have contracted the deadly spore, and they should be fine after treatment, though the Center's for Disease Control are looking into others who might have bought drums with the Anthrax laced goat skin.
It just amazes me that for all the money and manpower we put into Homeland Security someone can just walk right in with Anthrax. Wait, that doesn't amaze me. In the time of Bush we live in a world of absurdity, and looking at Vado it doesn't get much more crazy than this.
Check out the whole story here: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/394401p-334269c.html
In the Daily News today there was a story that was so strange that I couldn't help but acknowledge it. Turns out that a couple of guys in the New York area were robbing corpses from funeral homes and stealing their body parts to sell on the black market, where the allegedly made up to 5 million dollars. They are currently charged with 122 counts of body stealing, grand larceny, forgery, and other charges pretty much ensuring (now that Jonny Cochran is dead) that they'll be in jail for a long time.
Now here's where I might surprise you. Personally while these guys broke the law and of course should be punished, I personally don't see too much wrong with what they did. The charge of body stealing I think is pretty dammed draconian, and has too dammed much to do with ancient religious and cultural traditions to mean much any more. I think that when people die everyone's body parts should be put up for organ donation. You know why? Umm let's think about this one...because they're DEAD!
Now I feel a bit sad for the sister of one of the women whose body was plundered who said, "My sister made very formal wishes that she be cremated. She didn't want anybody to touch her body after her death, so I feel she was raped by these people and violated." Unless you're a heartless bastard these words must touch you, but if these words touch you then take a trip down to a hospital and look at the people with failed livers, kidneys, and hearts. Look at the people who have lost their sight because eye disease, and the children dying of leukemia because they need a bone marrow transplant. Take a look at all those people and then tell me about how someone's dead body was raped while live people get screwed. I think there should positively be a mandatory national organ transplant system for every citizen of these nation. Not only would thousands of lives be saved, but it would stop this black market, pay-to-live system going on right now. It would help to equalize the classes, and would be more fair to the suffering.
And by the way, just in case you think I'm being all George Bush here, yes I did sign the back of my license, so when I croak tear my body apart. Have an organ fest! What the hell do I care? I'll be up in heaven with my 69 virgins and Marilyn Monroe!
It's about time that this country, this world puts aside their ideas about the afterlife for the reality of real life, because if we can't do that then literally, the terrorists and the fundamentalists, have won.
Yesterday the White House indicated that they're ready to give some more time to study the Dubai port deal. In a briefing President Bush reassured the nation that "people don't need to worry about security," and swore that the deal had been analyzed for security issues. He also leaned back from the position that he would veto any bill killing the sale.
Sorry if I'm not relieved.
It seems as if this plan had been studied about as closely as the Iraqi war plan, and Sec Rumsfeld, who was supposed to be part of the board that passes this plan, claims that he wasn't there. Perfect attendance these guys don't have. They must be too busy shooting people or something.
Sen. Clinton, in true form, also eased back from her partisan position, giving Bush a bit more room to weasel out, calling this a "failure of judgment" on the part of administration. Someone should have handed her the memo explaining that this is all a failure of intelligence. Human intelligence. Thankfully New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (or Gov. Bloomberg as I like to call him) filed suit in federal court today which will force the White House to properly investigate the matter.
Which ever way you dole it out, believe me this will be in the headlines for weeks to come as the crisis in Iraq reaches a head. Exit plan anyone? Or was that Exit Wounds? Gotta love DMX.
Check out the story here: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/394368p-334259c.html
Thursday, February 23, 2006
"...people are worried about the ports, they need to scrutinize the Coast Guard and the administration's own DHS. Much of the rest is xenophobic nonsense. Leave that crap to Lou Dobbs."
Let me get some thing straight about my view on doing business with Arab nations. I have often written in the past about the importance of opening trade with Arab countries and giving the poorer nations Federal aid, especially with those who have been our allies in the war against terror. Much like the carrot and the horse metaphor, if they work with us they should be rewarded. But what sort of reward is selling off our ports? That's like leading a horse with a carrot and then feeding them lobster. This isn't xenophobic nonsense, it's prudent policy. It is not safe to have a foreign country, any foreign country, build and maintain vital security sections of the nation. It just isn't. There's nothing wrong with trading and encouraging investment with Arab nations, but you don't need to go overboard with it. What Bush and Co. need to do is go back to the drawing board and find possible investments for Arab companies that don't endanger security interests. I have an idea, maybe we could sell FEMA to them. Lord knows they can't screw it up any worse than we already have.
Yesterday nearly 130 Iraqis were killed as peaceful protests were led against violence in the region. This comes a day after a suspected Al-Qaida bomb destroyed a major Shiite shrine.
This is all building up to a massive civil war in the region, and right now it looks like our troops are getting caught in the middle of it. We're going to have two choice here, either pull out Miss Saigon style with the choppers and everything or we've got to get a major multi-lateral coalition to get in there and seal everything up. One would be a disaster for the US and the other would be a disaster for Bush's admistration and ego.
Wanna guess which one Bush will choose?
By the way, the last time we were in positive figures was in 1975 when we were ahead 9,149.
I still want to know how the hell we're buying stuff. I once had a deficit like that with Mastercard and that was only about 10,000 bucks in the hole. I went bankrupt. Then again I didn't have the greatest military in the world? Lesson for today boys and girls--might makes it all right!
Anyone watch that show on Comedy Central, Distraction? Yeah me neither, but I've caught the commercials so I think I get the general gist of the game. This British dude asks a bunch of people questions while they're caught up in humiliating situations, and if they answer the most questions correctly they get a car or a corn dog or whatever. The premise is pretty lame in a game show but it's even lamer when it's the domestic policy of the United States.
Seems to me that for the last three weeks we've been caught up in the biggest game of Distraction on the planet, but the only difference is; you don't win. There's no car at the end of the road for you--instead you lose; money, morals, and intelligence. The whole process reminds me of Goodfellas where Ray Liotta's doing that voice over describing what happens when you do business with the mob.
"You want more time? Fuck you pay me. You want an extension on a loan? Fuck you, pay me. And when you can't pay anymore? Then you light a match..."
Last week was the VP shooting scandal, and now this week there's the Dubai port sale. Both were important, but the carefully devious manner in which this administration either ignores or deflects the press, forces intense attention to what should be otherwise inconsequential matters.
I was watching Real Time last night (caught it On Demand) and the panel for a moment drilled Helen Thomas (White House Corp member, now relegated to the White House parking lot) about the media's coverage of the VP scandal, accusing her of reporting on something that "wasn't news." Far from squirming she responded back that it was news, and this I agree with; it was. If the VP or the President, or any one high up in the administration shotguns someone it is pretty important. And if it hadn't been an accident, if it had of been intentional then everyone would be praising our press right now. The fact that it turned out to be an honest mistake, doesn't take away from the seriousness of the situation. But the facts that Cheney wouldn't talk, along with Bush's ignorance, led to this story going wildly out of hand. In the absence of facts people will speculate. I don't blame the press for reporting on the subject because it was news, I blame this administration's opaqueness in addressing the issue. A little communication can go a long way. Just ask my girlfriend...
Now the same type of situation is occurring regarding the sale of a port to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. Is this news? Of course it is! And by the way, let's quickly address the reason why this is news. It's not for the fact that Arabs will be in charge of securing the port. Let's make that clear. Many foreign companies own ports in the US, and they are not in charge of security. That job is the area of the US Coast Guard and Customs. What they will be in charge of, and have access to, are the blueprints and plans of the actual port. Not only that but Dubai Ports World is a government owned business, or more specifically owned by the United Arab Emirates, a government not exactly friendly with the US. Yes they claim they are a friend in our war against terror, but historically they've given aid to Bin Laden, as well as other terror organizations. Utimately the US shouldn't hand our ports over to any foreign government. Knowing the blueprints--hell building the dammed port--is too much knowledge for any foreign government to have about US security and I wouldn't care in it was the British, or the French or the friggin South Africans who were in charge, it's not prudent policy. Furthermore, isn't there an American company who's up to the task? Why the hell are we outsourcing this to begin with? What's next? Are we going to sell the CIA to the Chinese? Our Airports to the Russians? What the hell is the matter with our Government?
But yet again, something that's mad obvious to you and I is a quagmire (and no, I don't mean that dude from Family Guy, giggidy!) of confusion for the Bush administration. Bush backs the proposal (what a big surprise, wonder what pieces of advice Bandar gave to George Jr.), but then says that he really didn't know about it till like two days ago. So let me get this straight, the President of the United States didn't know that his second-in-command shot someone, now he doesn't know who he's selling our ports to...I don't even know what to say, and if you could see me right now I'm just shaking my head in sheer amazement. Last night on Hardball, Matthews said that his credibility goes up when he feigns ignorance. Let me repeat that for you, so that, like me, your brain will liquefy. Matthews said that when Bush feigns ignorance his credibility goes up. Well I supposed it worked for Reagan, but didn't he get Alzheimer's after he left the White House? Repeat after me. George Bush, worse president ever.
But this is just another Machiavellian ploy. We're still not talking about the war, we're still not talking about the national debt, we're still not talking about wiretapping, or the obscene Deficit Reduction bill. Will the sale go through? Probably not, but he might veto the the bill if only for the Republicans to look rebellious and go against something that the President wants. It's all a dumb show for our entertainment, except we're the dummies, sitting woodenly while our pockets get picked.
I wonder what will happen next week? Maybe...oh the whole thing is so pathetic not even a joke will save us now.
Iceland's looking pretty nice this time of year.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
"In the short run, the issuer of a fiat reserve currency can accrue great economic benefits. In the long run, it poses a threat to the country issuing the world currency. In this case that's the United States. As long as foreign countries take our dollars in return for real goods, we come out ahead. This is a benefit many in Congress fail to recognize, as they bash China for maintaining a positive trade balance with us. But this leads to a loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas markets, as we become more dependent on others and less self-sufficient. Foreign countries accumulate our dollars due to their high savings rates, and graciously loan them back to us at low interest rates to finance our excessive consumption.
It sounds like a great deal for everyone, except the time will come when our dollars-- due to their depreciation-- will be received less enthusiastically or even be rejected by foreign countries. That could create a whole new ballgame and force us to pay a price for living beyond our means and our production. The shift in sentiment regarding the dollar has already started, but the worst is yet to come."
If any one's got comments on this I'd really like to hear them. Logically, and empirically I've often thought that the sale of our industries overseas has lowered the wealth of our nation, and we've been using our military to keep our dollar afloat. Of course its not prudent financial planning but when something starts wrong it usually ends wrong.
The entire text of the article is here: http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2006/cr021506.htm
Friday, February 17, 2006
Of course they might not have oil...
Last night Jonny Weir fell out of medal contention in men's figure skating amid rumors of his 'diva-ness,' and a charge by openly gay figure skater Rudy Galindo, that Weir is gay.
Look...I'm not going to say he is homosexual, but could we all finally admit, once and for all, that the whole sport of men's figure skating is a bit gay?
On Friday, during a protest of the Islamictoons in Pakistan, a muslim Cleric offered a bounty on the heads of the men who drew the cartoons that parodied the prophet Muhammad. His bounty, when added to the bounty of several other Muslims now come to over one million dollars. And a car.
"If the West can place a bounty on Osama bin Laden ... we can also announce reward for killing the man who has caused this sacrilege of the holy prophet," Qureshi told Reuters, referring to the $25 million U.S. bounty on the al-Qaida leader's head."
This is whoh to say the least, and I can't recall anything like this since Iran placed the bounty on the head of Salman Rushdie when he wrote Satanic Verses. At that time Rushdie had been forced underground for years, only resurfacing sporadically.
The solution? Well if you had asked me that question a month ago I would have said a united front behind free speech might have worked, but the Muslim world is so agitated, and Western culture so divided that a united front has no possibility of working. At the same time ducking for cover isn't going to work either. This war...no war isn't the right word. In a war you have targets, and you have an enemy, and you have goals. This conflict has none of those things. Instead this is a war of ideals as much as policy, and with their backs against the wall (and yes, it is the Islamic world on the defensive by the way--you don't see Iraqi troops patrolling down 5th Avenue do you?) they truly have nothing to lose. I still support freedom of speech. I have to. And yet this freedom is a great power, and if reading Spider-Man should have told us anything, it is that with great power comes great responsibility.
I'm going to take a brief sideline here, and then talk about some recent developments in the Israel/ Palestine conflict, so bear with me here. My rant has some purpose.
When I was an undergrad in college I was a member of a fraternity, Tau Epsilon Phi. At the time we paid roughly $180 a semester for dues. Yet for the most part, much like US taxes, that money went to our national organization and we never saw a cent of it. (Turns out later that we had our own Bush in charge of National, and he was robbing us blind, but that's another story). Anyway there was a huge debate within our chapter about whether we should pay dues or not. We all loved being in our frat. We loved the brotherhood and the camaraderie among us, but we were pretty broke and that $180, that we perceived as going up in smoke, sometimes meant the difference between eating or starving, buying school books or paying rent. Furthermore, when we asked to know where the money was going--when we asked for national to have itself audited--we were placated, and patronized. We were told that the dealings of National were complex and intricate and an audit would cost us even more money than we had.
(Did I mention to you that we were getting robbed blind at this point? I did? Ok...)
When I think about this time in my life, I think about this Islamictoon problem, and our general issues with the Middle East. We're told by our great and terrible leader Bush that they "hate us because of our freedoms." Bullshit. You'd have to be seven years old and a moron to believe that. They hate us, not for our freedoms, but because we use these freedoms wantonly, and in ways that punish them, and only punish them.
Do you think that they are hearing the voices of moderation over there? Are we hearing the voices of moderation here? All we see on the news, in our blogs, are the attacks on Westerners, and the extremists Clerics calling for blood and death. Yet, what do they see over there? They see those new Abu Graib photos that Australia released. They see American soldiers dragging Iraqis from their homes with complete disrespect, and British troops beating Iraqi teenagers in the streets. They see Israel drawing up measures against Hamas yesterday, barring Palestinian workers and goods from entering Israel from the Gaza Strip and banning travel between Gaza and the West Bank. You might think, "Ok that's fine, what's so wrong about that?" What's wrong with it, is the economic damage that will be inflicted on the Palestinians. Much like our legal and illegal Mexican immigrants, they depend on work and trade with Israel. Cutting them off from that will cause a massive loss of income. You say "Well they're blowing up Israelis! Why shouldn't they cut them off to save their selves?" I could talk about the historical damage Israel's done to Palestine. But you know, I'm tired of belaboring that point. The fact is that you can either keep spinning the wheels of the past or you can try something new, and we all know that the former is the definition of insanity.
It's a long hard road. No one is going to deny it. But the goal at the end of it is more than worth some struggle. We cannot fight their fire with fire. We must fight their fire with water, and like Pat Buchanan has suggested that water comes in the form of various foreign aid and incentives to countries in the Middle East, especially Hamas and Palestine. Which would you rather spend? Money from our country, one of the wealthiest in the world? Or the blood of American troops? It is hard to hate the hand that feeds, especially when the hand comes with the opportunity of freedom. And for God's sake, could we please, please! Stop making every dammed TV show and movie feature Muslims only as terrorists and taxi drivers? Maybe if we had a friggin sitcom or something showing Islamic people as normal rather than insane it would help perceptions on both sides of the Atlantic. By the way, that just happens to be free speech as well. It's called realism.
Look, all I'm saying here is that we're losing this battle, and doing the same thing, or as Bush likes to say, "staying the course," is suicidal. We need to change our strategy and change it now, before it is too late. When I was an undergrad I joined with the voices of moderation and tried to argue that maybe National was misunderstood. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and it turns out that I was wrong.
Years down the road, when the Middle East is a sheet of glass and our friends in Israel are charred pieces of flesh, will it turn out that we were wrong? One can only pray.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Taking a page out out the landmark Steve Martin film Bowfinger, actors Collin Farrell and Noah Emmerich (This could possibly be the only time your name lands in my blog, so enjoy it) crashed the funeral of slain NYPD Officer Eric Hernandez, and filmed segments of it for his new movie "Pride and Glory." A move with leads me to say that Pride and Glory are two attributes these people are sorely missing. Can any one spell 'Suit?" Sometimes it is nice to live in the United States of Litigation.
Read the whole story here: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/391873p-332278c.html
What do Vice-President Dick Cheney and FEMA have in common?
Answer: It takes them at least a week to respond to a tragedy.
The cover of Newsday today: Blame Me! (Under a picture of Cheney). No shit Sherlock. Who was I going to blame? I can't even pin this one on Bush, and God knows I tried.
Eight days is how long it took the VP to respond to the allegations that he shot his friend Harry Whittington during a hunting trip, even though, from all eye witness reports, it seems as if Cheney had been innocent of any wrongdoing. Law and Order could have solved this one in half an hour (because you wouldn't have needed the Order part, get it?) Saturday, after five days of refusing to talk about it at all, and another two days of White House urging, Dick Cheney answered some hard questions about the subject during a Fox News interview with Brit Hume.
Wait. Did I just say 'hard questions?' Sorry my bad. 'Hard questions' and Fox News should never be written in the same sentence, especially when it deals with any one in the Bush administration. Regardless Cheney said that, "...it was, I have to say, one of the worst days of my life."
Dear Lord. I would play the world's tinniest violin but you wouldn't be able to see it. There just seems to be something so vile, so hypocritical about Cheney making that statement that I think my computer is going to blow up. "Worse days of your life..."yeah Dick, and it was a hallmark moment for Whittington. Well, he definitely will be getting tons of Hallmark cards in the hospital. Dick sure lives up to his name.
Now there's been a lot of speculating about why it took so long for Cheney to come out and address this issue. The Daily News today hypothesized that it was Cheney's disdain for the media and need for privacy that made him clam up. And is it just me or are these hypocrisies just mind boggling...you know? The man who's for wire tapping, needing his privacy?
Dear Lord, give me the strength to finish this post without my head launching off my shoulders and exploding like the Space Shuttle.
In fact, according to the News, when Cheney was Gerald Ford's chief of staff in '76 his was quoted as saying, "In this town, when you stick your head up, you get it shot off."
Oh God, now the irony...can't...head popping...must finish post!
Personally I have another theory as to why Cheney didn't talk about the incident. I think Rove and crew took this situation to deflect the attention away from the Deficit Reform Bill and the wiretapping scandal. I'm not saying that Cheney purposely shot Whittington and told him to take one for the team--that's what Scooter Libby is for--but I think they used their political savvy to use a minor issue to distract the media. During this week, the lead story pretty much every night has been the Whittington shooting. They have to put out bios on all the characters, they have to find and show as many pictures and videos as possible that have Cheney hunting or holding a gun (and you'd be surprised how many of them there are! There's more pictures of Cheney holding a gun than Wyatt Earp), then they have to do a report on quail hunting, the ranch where they entire thing occurred, and...well you get my drift. And when it all simmers down, like it is now, half of us look up from this wondering what the hell else happened this week, and the other half looks up and wonders how Bode Miller could have screwed up what should have been an in-the-bag Gold medal.
Next Week! Rumsfeld "accidentally" throws acid on White House spokesman Scott McClellan in a very special episode of Jackass.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Either way I have reason for celebration and, since no one is going to read this anyway, I can write pretty much whatever I feel like. Now I'm not going to make this blog a pessimistic rant, but, unlike the major Western media I can at least publish anti-Islamic cartoons if I so wish. Though I really don't. This whole Islamictoon thing has become cliche and rather gets on my nerves. Instead I think I'd rather put up a picture of Michelle Malkin:
Ah, that's better. In picture form Michelle is great (and notice the American flag behind her--that means she's a patriot!), but when she opens her mouth she's only a slightly bit less offensive than Ann Coulter. She's one of those neo-conservative Republican's that has one toe in Reganism but the rest in the cult of George W. Bush that's pretty much sold out every tenet of traditional conservatism to Halliburton and tax breaks. She's been spending her time inflating this whole Islamictoon thing--and to think, she could have been posting up my picture instead! Well I guess that's what happens when you become successful, and a mouth piece for Bush and Cheney.
But maybe I'm being unduly rough on the pundit. After all it seems that we're all mouth pieces for some piece of agenda or another. Daily Kos is looking like the home page for the Democrat Party, and Ann Coulter is looking like the spokeswoman for the KKK, and through it all Andrew Sullivan earns his best, and most rational points when he talks about gay issues. Although I do feel bad for him losing his conservative rep when he came out of the closet. No not that closet silly! The Bush closet he stepped out of when he realized that the whole GOP had become a cult and Bush was handing out the Kool-Aid. How people can so blindly follow this man makes me instantly prick up my ears when anyone comes to his defense, and while I'm not going to compare him to other dictators I do so for the same reason that I'm not posting banners to tell everyone to buy Danish...because I can't work out the HTML. No, no, I'm not doing it because it has become cliche. Everything on the political blogsphere has become a dammed cliche. Someone writes an article, and the rest of us copy, paste, and write a couple of blurbs about what we "think" of the issue, and its called reporting. Meanwhile thousands suffer around the world and we congratulate ourselves on the witty joke we made about Dick Cheney shooting his boy while they were literally shooting quail in a can.
What a revolting state we are in folks when this is mistaken for real debate.
Someone told me that the concept of selling out died in the 90s with Public Enemy and Professor X (not the X-man but the Afro-centric rapper). He said that its all about selling stacks. Well if that's the case then maybe having a hopeless blog is a blessing in disguise. Maybe my lack of financial success will ultimately lead me to spiritual happiness since I will be without the need to sell out my mind on the altar of money and partisanship. Yeah that sounds cool. I'll keep it so real, and so underground that my street credibility will be unbreakable. After all the trendiest things are those which were never trendy in the first place.
Sigh... now I'm quoting Bushisms; a true sign that I'm losing my mind. If this is liberation, take me back to the plantation. At least there we knew who was kicking our ass. Now we do it to ourselves.
Dick Cheney "accidentally" shot his hunting partner this weekend. Insert your favorite joke here...
By the way, maybe it's just me, but I'm starting to get sick of these guys taking vacations all the time. It's become a walking joke that Bush has taken more vacation time than any other president, and now it seems Cheney needs a break from...what? What do you need a break from? Does your mouth hurt from all that talking?
Anyway I've figured out a way to solve everyone's problem. Dick, next time you need to go hunting, I suggest you fly yourself out to Iraq, and do a couple of patrol details with the Marines. That way if you shoot someone instead of getting humiliated you'll get a Medal! That is of course unless you have things to do like you did back in Vietnam.
I'm going to look for studio apartments in Iceland...
"Spotsylvania Sheriff Howard D. Smith said that the practice is not new and that only unmarried detectives are assigned to such cases. Most prostitutes are careful not to say anything incriminating, so sexual contact is necessary, he said."
It's a dangerous job, but some one has to do it right? Good thing cops are out getting assigned to handjob detail instead of...oh I don't know...catching terrorists and stuff...my wang's feeling safer already.
Check out the whole story here:
I don't know if it was because I was sick yesterday, or maybe because it was a Sunday, but it was my experience that yesterday's snow storm generated just about excitement for me, and other New Yorkers, as the Winter Olympics. And believe me, that's not much...
Maybe it was because this "blizzard," wasn't a blizzard at all. According to the National Weather Service a blizzard requires winds of 35 miles per hour and a quarter mile or less of visibility for three straight hours, none of which occurred. So for all its intensity we just got a storm.
Not that it wasn't impressive. After all we had nearly 30 inches of snow; no mere feat. But it just didn't seem all that great. Call it Global Warming but in the last two or three years NYC has recorded some of the highest snowfall ever, and we're growing numb to anything less than "A Day After Tomorrow," type weather. When we get wolves prowling the streets then I think we'll get worried, but right now they all seem to be in Iraq.
Maybe that's why I'm sitting at work right now, instead of home drinking Irish Coffees and cavorting with my girlfriend while watching the never-ending parade of Law And Order reruns on TNT. In fact pretty much every one is in the City is sitting at work like its just another day, and this snow flows off our back like we were a friggin tribe of Eskimos. About 8 years ago we'd had a storm like this and everyone had like a week off of work, but I supposed our city government learned its lesson and as soon as the snow began to fall the plows were outside, making that scraping racket as it shoveled and sprayed salt all over the place, staining everything that sickly chalk white. We were well prepared for this and it shows. Thanks a lot Mayor Bloomberg.
I supposed Bush should have put him in charge of FEMA back in the days. Hell, he could have done better if he'd put Ronald McDonald in charge of the department. At least he might have gotten the refugees some Chicken McNuggets. Even after all these months, and a change of director, it appears that FEMA is still flunking the exam. According to the Daily News today, 4,500 families were forced out of their hotel rooms for not registering, and 12,000 will be evicted today as their FEMA subsidies elapse. All this during a time that FEMA has left 10,000 new mobile homes sit unused while the department argues over bureaucratic details. That's good, at least Michael Brown will have a place to live once people get done firebombing his mansion.
The glaring examples of inaptitude shown by the Feds, only make me realize the superb work done by my city. Sure enough New York isn't exactly some small town in the midwest, but the fact that we can have a record snowfall and have the luxury of barely noticing such an event only highlights what can be accomplished through sense and competence. It sucks that I had to get out of bed and go to work today, but when the other option, the FEMA option, is not to have a bed to come back to, then I think I'll take choice number 1.
Friday, February 10, 2006
No that isn't a joke.
Ann Coulter was also nominated for Miss Congeniality. I'm moving to Iceland.
Poor Michael Brown. I really feel sorry for him. It's like a knot in my stomach that...Oh wait, that was indigestion...no I don't feel sorry at all.
Testifying before a congressional committee regarding Katrina, former director of FEMA Brown claimed that it was FEMA's merging with Homeland Security that led to it's slow response.
"The policies and decisions implemented by the DHS put FEMA on a path to failure..."
Brown also criticized the now popular timeline of the events leading to the flooding of New Orleans, contradicting officials who claimed that the agency had no awareness of the situation till the next day.
The saddest moment came when he was asked if he felt like he's a scapegoat, where Brown sadly commented, "Yes, I certainly feel somewhat abandoned."
Poor baby. You think he knows that the Government's subsidies for Katrina refugees ran out less than a week ago, leaving hundreds of people homeless? Quick fact MB, that's what you call abandoned.
Yet, Michael Brown was a little fish in a big pond when it comes to incompetenceance shown by the administration in handling Katrina, and the shark out there is George W. Bush. He's the guy who put FEMA in with DHS, and put Brown as the director. Michael Brown who had no experience with disaster relief, and who's greatest sin was being pals with an obvious cronyist. Do I pin the blame on Brown? Well I'm certainly not going to give this knucklehead my pity. If someone offered me the job as Sec. of Treasury would I take it and say "Hey cool, look at me!" or am I going to say "you know this might be a bit out of my league." Brown took the first option and now he needs to suffer the consequences. (Yeah, like there's going to be any. Guys like them sadly end up on their feet while the poor in NO end up floating down Main Street for a week, while Congress gets their thumbs out their asses).
But make no bones about it, while Brown deserves shame, Bush is the man who made it happen. He put this fool in the position, and the buck should stop with him.
But I do have a suggestion. It might help out Brown, and New Orleans at the same time. Get MTV or VH1 to build a house in NO, have Mike play butler for a poor family whose life was destroyed, and make the whole thing a reality show. Now that would really be must see TV.
Whole story here:
Abramhoff? Wiretapping? War in Iraq going bad? Well isn't it great timing then that our President just happened to thwart a possible bombing in Los Angeles yesterday, detailing how the evil doers planned to use a mix of shoe bombs and a 747 to take down the largest skyscraper in LA.
Problem is, nobody is buying it. Of course the Democrats think something is up. Why wouldn't they? That's their job. But even members of GWB's own party think that his timing was pretty bad and very transparent. Several members of US counterterrorism departments don't think that this plot was ever "set in motion," and the Democratic mayor of LA, claimed that he was never warned about any such plan to harm his city.
So here we have a President who feels that the sky is falling, and he screams about terrorism plots that no one is aware of and the Republicans wonder why no one trusts them. This administration has used the public's benefit of the doubt years ago, and our patience is wearing thin.
Even Ray Charles could read the writing on the wall, and it spells I-M-P-E-A-C-H.
Check out the whole story here:
"The workplace is not an appropriate place for games," Bloomberg told reporters Thursday when asked about firing a clerical worker in the city's lobbying office in Albany.
"I expect all city workers, including myself, to work hard."
God, I hope he never comes to my job...or do you think he count blogging as work?
Thursday, February 09, 2006
"Maybe if they'd covered the murders of von Gogh and Fortuyn more aggressively they'd have a better idea of what's going on; and stared down this intimidation. The whole business reminds me of the NYT's coverage of the Nazis in the 1930s. They didn't get the threat then. They don't get it now. "
Sullivan touches on some of the problems inherent in this when he talks about the media not covering the Van Gogh murders, yet that's only the cusp of the situation. It's not enough to show how decitful and violent some Anti-Western Islamic fundamental groups are--I mean let's face it; the West views the entire Middle East as a giant Anti-Western Islamic Fundamenal organization--but what makes the Western media toothless is that it hasn't addressed any news of substance and gave the West after 9/11 a blank check to do anything in the name of patriotism. The didn't cover the Downing Memo, the Valerie Plane leak, or the lack of evidence for going to war in Iraq. They replaced real news with Bradgelina and tabloid journalism and in the process lost their teeth, and developed a severe guilt complex. Now, instead of exposing the issue, they feel the need to asuage Musilm intrests because they know some of the situation that the Islamic world finds themselves in stems from their inaction. The US government checked in our IOUs to have our little war and now that it has (both literally and figuratively) blown up in their faces they know they're treading on thin ice. What we have left, is a stubborn right unwilling to compromise, a flaccid left, who's too busy apologizing for the right's mistakes to stand up for anything, and a media between them that's too busy acting as a propoganda machine for each side to do any actual reporting.
I know I've said this till I'm blue in the face, but I'll say it again. The West has made many mistakes in our foreign relations policies, and many of the problems and issues we are facing today are the results of past errors. These dummy dictators we've propped up over there (Saudi Arabia anyone?) are now, much like another dictator we backed named Manuel Norieaga, refusing to play ball with us. But because of our "addiction to oil," we have to play their game, and the result are these backward conspiracy's and closed door deals that raise extremism and reduce moderation. Is this whole Islamictoon problem something created by a Anti-Western Islamic front? More than possibly it now seems a reality--but the only way to defuse the issue is for the press to do their jobs on both sides of the field. They must expose the story on the right and the left. The ethics of polarize and divide have gone on long enough, and they only way to correct the mistakes of the past is to act properly now.
In Lebanon yesterday there was a huge but peaceful protest of the Danish cartoons that was sponsored by Hezbollah. This came after Bush and Sec of State Rice has told the Arab world to remain calm in light of recent events:
Who would have thought WWIII would be started by a cartoon.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Previously I has only reported the cuts to student loans, but it turns out the full bill puts a huge burden on social programs including a $36 Billion cut over five years for Medicare, $5 Billion in farm subsidies, $4.9 Billion in Medicaid support for poor children's health care and $16.7 from other agencies to bail out the government's pension benefit plan.
Should they be tossed out? Well this blogger will have to wait and see how many stories float onto the media stage, but I think if an extension is given maybe Exxon-Mobil might wanna chip in...I hear they have some extra money to spare.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Turns out the so called Deficit Reduction bill, intended to reduce the deficit $40 Billion over five years, will cut the Student Loan program by 30%, or 12.7 billion. The loan program by the way represents one half of 1% of the entire federal budget.
Not only that, but also sunk into the bill is a piece that will make it illegal for anyone currently in school to consolidate their loan, thus locking their interest rate.
So Bush comes out in his STOU, talking about enticing students to excel in new industries so that we may remain competitive in the world, and then they cut student loans. Good thing I didn't need a college degree to spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e.
I'll be following up on this story, since no one's going to mention it, and if they do, the bloody bill will do an Alito as it gets lost in the wiretapping hearings and then passed at midnight. The 9/11 commission was correct; America does have a serious intelligence problem.
Their quote: "The Vatican deplored the violence, but said: "The right to freedom of thought and expression . . . cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers."
So freedom of speech can be used as long as it doesn't offend "the religious sentiment of believers?" What makes religious sentiment so important? If that is the case then why can't it be "political sentiment?" or "personal sentiment?" Of course one imagines that the rapidly falling membership of the Catholic church (no longer as Universal as it was 200 years ago), is bound by necessity to defend the uniqueness of the religious position, but, as always, the logic of their statement is unsound. Freedom of speech cannot be hampered by the concept of "offense," for doing that leads one down the slippery slope of eliminating the whole ideal. The whole idea of Freedom of speech is to confront someone with ideas that go against the grain, and to encourage thought and change. I'm sure there was much anti-slavery rhetoric that popped the bubble of the concept of the noble slaveowner, but it was through that rhetoric that the most inhuman institution was destroyed. I'm not saying this to push some atheist point of view, but when one runs across this type of statement, one must also look at the statement's source.
As the site says, no western news outlet has reviewed the charges, and I certainly can't say I've heard about any of these on any of my regular stations (including the Daily Show). If these charges are true then, at least to me, it sounds like a true case of libel. Freedom of speech does have it own limitations and should this be true then the groups responsible have used these doctored pics to incite violence, and should be indicted by an international tribunal immediately.
This picture (actually taken while Busta was running for his life) was taken yesterday as gunfire rang out during a music video shoot in Brooklyn, NY, killing Busta's bodyguard and sending a 500 person crowd scurrying for their lives.
I've said it before and I'll say it again; I just don't get violence and hip-hop. These guys aren't gangsters, they're musicians and poets. Poets. Did you ever hear about beef between Blake and Keats? Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman lickin shots at each other? Or what about the Beatles and The Beach Boys getting into a coast to coast feud? No you didn't, because they, like any real poets or musicians, were too busy having sex with groupies and getting high. Every time I hear about this kinda stuff I wanna shout "my people, my people!" We take one step forward and two steps back. Sigh...
Then again maybe I'm rushing to judgment. After all Busta, among hip-hop artists, is a pretty pacisfist sort. Maybe it didn't have any thing to do with hip-hop at all. With 500 people in a crowd, any psycho with a gun could have gone off their nut and decided to shoot away. My guess though...find out Tipper Gore's alibi. She's had it in for hip-hop for years.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
"For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being President of this country was, to a certain extent, about character. And although I've not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I've been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character.
For the record, yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is "Why aren't you, Bob?" Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago.
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free. (Italics mine).
I've known Bob Rumson for years. And I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it!
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she's to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore.
Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.
I've loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer. And I lost the other 'cause I was so busy keeping my job, I forgot to do my job. Well that ends right now.
Tomorrow morning the White House is sending a Bill to Congress for it's consideration. It's White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a twenty percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I'm throwing it out. I'm throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and hand guns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I'm gonna convince Americans that I'm right, and I'm gonna get the guns.
We've got serious problems, and we need serious people. And if you want to talk about character, Bob, you'd better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up.
My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I AM the President."
Now where are those kinda Democrats?
"He's a person who was elected legally, just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally and then consolidated power, and now is of course working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others."
Got that folks? Just a slightly Pistol Pete, behind the back bounce pass indicating a link between Hitler and Chavez. Pretty smooth Rummy, pretty smooth.
Tossing the name Hitler out there has become the quickest and simplest method to demonize anyone you want. Nowadays anyone who is anyone has thrown the Hitler comparison at Bush. Hell I routinely call my girlfriend "lil Hitler," when she forces me to eat fruit, (I'm not very health conscious). So I'm not about to tell anyone to stop doing it, even though every time our leaders use that name it demeans and softens the atrocities Hitler committed, but hey! If its good enough to be used for a guy who sells soup on a sitcom written by a Jewish guy, then I guess its good enough for any one right?
But I was thinking that when we use Hitler for anyone, all across the world, we are doing a cultural and historical disservice to other groups of people. After all, this world has had its share of bad people, and perhaps its time we extended our definition of Hitler to reflect our changing global culture. So for example, in Venezuela, a South American country,
Their Hitler could be,
Fidel Castro...although he's some what cliche right now, so how about...
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, the US backed dictator to the Dominican Republic who tried to wipe out his neighbors the Haitians? We don't talk about him that much.
So you see there's many "Hitlers" out there to choose from that are much more culturally relevant. I mean if you really wanna demonize some one you should hit them where it counts. Here are some more examples.
If you're Native American:
Then your Hitler is:
Any random white man.
If you're black:
Then your Hitler is:
That's right, any random white guy.
If you're Japanese:
Then your Hitler is:
If you're from Antarctica:
Then your Hitler is:
Orca, the Killer Whale.
If you're Martian:
Then your Hitler is:
If you're Kryptonian:
Then your Hitler is:
If you're German:
Then you're Hitler is:
If you're Hitler:
Then you're Hitler is:
And, God help you...if you're Stalin, then you're Hitler is....
GALACTUS! THE WORLD EATER!!!!!!!!
Now go forth, and properly shout out your Hitlers...
Right now this is Wimbalton; just a huge back and forth between the powers that be. Now the situation has been knocked into the Security Council. Think they'll strap on their guns and fight? Well if the crap that's been coming out of Rumsfeld's mouth is any indication, US troops might be moving on north. That's of course if they're not too busy in South America.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Following up on the Islamictoon controversy: Today the Paris newspaper France Soir fired its managing editor Jacques Lefranc, following his reprinting of the Danish cartoon satire that has inflamed hatred of the West in the Muslim world.
Since the cartoon was released Danes in Arab countries have been attacked, and in the past week armed gunmen have attacked the EU offices in Gaza city.
This firing, strangely enough, comes after the newspaper vehemently defended its right to free speech, triggering solidarity with the European press. The cartoon has been republished in German, Spanish, and Italian countries.
When The Satanic Versus was published, forcing its author, Salman Rushdie, to go into hiding, I opposed the Islamic response. Unfortunately, what seemed at the time as an isolated case (frankly I think Islam was completely off the West's radar, at least culturally), will now be an ongoing struggle as Islam will continue to be an item placed up for satirization. The easy thing, as a Westerner, and a believer in free speech, is to dismiss their outcry, but in this complex world of globalization, I don't believe that is a viable option, and complex problems will require complex solutions.
One thing I believe we must combat is our perceptions of Muslims in general. Look, I'm not trying to get PC here, but one thing we've been unwilling to do, is to break apart the individual Muslim from their factions and rhetoric. There are plenty of good, honest Catholics for instance that are moderate in their beliefs. Likewise, I think that when we see the supposed "reaction" of the Muslim world we are only watching a small but loud segement of the Islamic faith. When we shape our plans to counteract fringe groups then we have already lost the war, because either we force moderates towards these radicals (think of Iraq) or we lose our values in succumbing to these groups' barbarity (Abu Ghraib, torture). Some how our leadership has to proactively find these moderates in the Islamic world, and encourage them to step forward. How will that be done? While specifics would be too long to go into now (and hell, I'm just a friggin blogger over here) I would suggest that we look back at our own history for inspiration. Nowadays we toss around words like 'liberty' and 'freedom,' and we talk about our country as being the greatest in the world, but I think somewhere in our rhetoric we forgot what those words mean, and why America is great. It's not because we have bombs, and a Starbucks on every corner, but because of these very liberties that we have the luxury of taking for granted. These ideals are magnetic for all people, if you let them approach it and not cram it down their throats (something that sorta goes against the idea of freedom in the first place). Out there right now is some Muslim man or woman, who thinks that freedom of speech means only the right to condemn and humiliate them, and the vast spectrum of what that encompasses this liberty escapes their grasp. We need to find away to let them understand that liberty will make you happy, and it will make you sad, but regardless it is the launching point for everything that is truly worthy in mankind, whether they be black or white, man or woman, Christian or Muslim.
Until that time however, I am forced to stand with my brothers in the press. It may make some people upset, but our freedom is the only path to truth.
Read up about it here:
Stare deeply into the eyes of evil! I say throw the book at them! When are we going to get tough on these drug-peddling pooches!
Historically, I am a huge advocate of Affirmative Action. Like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, I have personally benefited from Affirmative Action programs both in the private sector and academic institutions, and I know that I would not be where I am if not for Affirmative Action. So on one hand I have a personal debt to the program. I also believe that Affirmative Action is just as necessary now for the country as it was when it was first instituted. I loath the arguments that the "playing field" is now "level." Why? Because Puffy has a bejillion dollars, and Kanye is able to get on television and say "George Bush doesn't like black people?" The exception is not the rule, and though blacks are one of the fastest growing middle classes in the nation, they still rate far behind or VERY far behind whites in most major categories such as infant mortality, life expectency, health care coverage, and income. But economic reasons aside there's another strong cultural reason behind Affirmative Action. Pretty much every one I've heard speak about racism talks about the negative effect of seperating the races. Affirmative Action, more than any other program in the United States, bonds the races together in common causes. Whether it be a group project for a class or putting together a presentation for a job, Affirmative Action puts blacks, and Latinos, and Asians, and whites together, strengthening their ties and developing mutual understanding. And if a interracial couple comes out of it, well I'm sure as hell ain't complaining.
Ideologically, Affirmative Action in its present form does create some problems. It goes against the grain of the American spirit of equality, because, in essence, it does benefit a particular race over another.
So we have pragmatism versus ideology. For me, I believe pragmatism must come out in front, but there has to be respect shown to the ever changing world around us. Until we hit Utopia (which will occur in 2180, or when ever the rapture hits your block) there will always be our haves and have-nots. For a nation, it is important for have-nots to have equal access to opportunity as everyone else. Right now blacks, as a group, have a nice hold on that have-not status, but as Globalization sweeps over Earth, and our markets shift, and poverty goes on the rise we are now threatened by a new class of have-nots, and this new class won't be so easy to identify. They are springing up like weeds all over the towns and cities of America and they come from all races and religions. On a personal and spiritual level we should want them to succeed for themselves, but as citizens of this country, we should want them to have the opportunities to make our nation stronger, and more competitive. I don't believe in a sink or swim mentality, which only leads to the road of tyranny, but I do believe now may be the time to seriously begin looking at reforming Affirmative Action, not to shut it down, but to open it up to embrace a more diverse population than ever before.