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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Tim Pawlenty: Bailed Out By Canadians on Health Care Issues, Screwing the Working Poor

The other day, Tim Pawlenty proudly unveiled his new Health Care Initiative: Letting the Candian system bail us out. You may recall that his previous solution to the health care crisis was the same as Bush's: Medical care savings account. Have you heard of anyone setting up a medical savings account lately? Tell you what. Call your doctor tomorrow, or call any HMO and ask them if you can start a medical savings account...After they stop laughing, log on to the Minnesota RXConnect website.

What is the Minnesota RXConnect website? The Star-Tribune reports:

"The nation's first state-sponsored Web site that links Minnesotans to two Canadian pharmacies offering low-cost prescriptions is open for business, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Friday.

Minnesota RxConnect is the first concrete step taken by any of the more than two dozen states that are exploring the use of Canadian drugs to lower medical costs to state programs and residents. And it is a shot across the bow of federal regulators who have consistently said the action is unsafe and may be illegal."

Do you buy brave Governor Tim shooting across the bow a la Russel Crowe in Master and Commander? I don't, and here's why:

What the Star-Tribune failed to report was that Senator Mark Dayton has been hooking up seniors with Canadian pharmacies for years. Senator Dayton considered this a stopgap measure; a way to hold ground while he fights for meaningful, sustainable reform.

While Dayton and former Sen. Wellstone fought for meaningful reform, Governor Pawlenty was busy cutting healthcare for the working poor.

In 2003, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported:
"As part of their proposals to erase the state's $4.2 billion budget deficit, Pawlenty and the House Republicans have proposed sharply reducing state subsidies for health and child care for the near-poor. That would double, triple or in some cases quadruple their out-of-pocket costs for health insurance and day care".

Tim Pawlenty's actions seem to show he might not care too much about healthcare for the working poor, but he's smart enough to realize that he's on the losing side of public opinion. His own health care survey found that 80% of Minnesotans favoured a single payer healthcare plan. He'll only get away with it if we don't see through the high tech smoke and mirrors that hide his actual performance.
I'm Looking For The Pro-Drug, Pro-Sex Candidate

Before he became a big movie star, Dennis Leary had an outrageous rant in his standup routine about drugs. As I recall, it went something like this..." Ya hear people talking about the war on drugs...My solution is this: Not less drugs...More drugs, and give 'em to the right people...Whenever you hear about someone dying of a drug overdose, it's always some really talented guy, like Jim Belushi or Len Bias..."

As I think about which Democratic candidate I'm going to vote for, I've concluded that I'll vote for the candidate that is most clearly pro-drug and pro-sex. We need more of both.

We don't need a war on drugs on this country, we need a war for drugs...Specifically cheap prescription drugs from Canada! Better yet, let's find a way to produce drugs cheaply here so we don't have to meet Canada in a dark alley to buy grandma's thyroid medication. Keeping drugs out of the hands of kids: Good idea. Keeping drugs out of Grandma: cruel. As far as marijuana, Dennis's theory is especially applicable. Pot itself is neither good nor bad, it's how it's used, and by whom that assigns any moral value to it. Some people should have less THC; some should have more.While I've seen some recreational users who would benefit from smoking less, I've also heard the testimonials from terminally ill cancer patients and elderly people suffering from glaucoma and other maladies. In addition, maybe a toke or two would take the cork out of Condolezza Rice...The world might be a different place if a few stoners in the seventies had taken her under their wing. She could be listening to the Greatful Dead somewhere and making dandelion necklaces rather than talking about "WMD-related program activities". Then again, who's to say she isn't smoking up? How else can you explain her? Who's to say toking up and making dandelion necklaces doesn't fit her definition of a WMD-related program activity?

We not only need a pro-drug, pro-sex candidate, we furthermorse need a pro sex drug candidate. Case in point: Bob Dole. For years, he was the crankiest old buzzard in congress; a real stuffed shirt; a fuddy-duddy. Then, he developed a well-known fondness for Viagra, and pretty soon he's kissing his wife in public and making videos with Britney Spears. Recently I wrote about the fact that he's come around to the idea of a single-payer healcare system...Coincidence? Hardly. Let's have more drugs for the right people! John Ashcroft should have a free lifetime supply of Viagra, free of charge. Other prominent Republicans in need of a good seeing-to include: Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Henry Kissinger...the list goes on and on. Rush Limbaugh is another Republican who would benefit from increased drug use; as we all know, he lost his hearing due to his Oxycontin addiction. While I'm glad he's received treatment for that particular addiction, maybe there's a drug out there somewhere that will take away his voice...

We need a pro-sex president. Sure, Clinton got the hummer under the oval office desk, but during his presidency, he never once sent a soldier to his death on the battlefield in eight years of office (the 18 soldiers who died in Somalia were sent there by George Bush Sr., and I doubt that he and Babs were shagging like doublejointed bunnies on crack, for obvious reasons). I don't care if he/she is straight, gay, monogamous, polygamous...whatever. I want my next president to have a happy, gratifying sex life. A sexually satiated president, I contend, would be far less likely to accquire massive stockpiles of heatseeking missles.

My Sincere Apologies To Willie Nelson

There should be a statuate of limitatations on crimes against good taste. A few days ago, I took the piss out of Willie Nelson for his eighties duet with Juilo Iglesias, "To All The Girls I've Loved Before". While I believe my criticism for that particular song was justified, Sam is right. Willie deserves respect for being a songwriter of the highest caliber; one of the greatest of his generation. Consider the following lyrics you've never heard on any clear channel station (he wrote it last Christmas):

" What Ever Happened To Peace On Earth? "

There's so many things going on in the world
Babies dying, Mothers crying
How much oil is one human life worth
And what ever happened to Peace On Earth?

We believe everything that they tell us
They're gonna' kill us
So we gotta' kill them first
But I remember a commandment
Thou shall not kill
How much is that soldier's life worth
And whatever happened to Peace On Earth?

And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth
And whatever happened to Peace On Earth?

So I guess it's just
Do unto others before they do it to you
Let's just kill em' all and let God sort em' out
Is this what God wants us to do?

(Repeat Bridge)
And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth
And whatever happened to Peace On Earth?

Now you probably won't hear this on your radio
Probably not on your local TV
But if there's a time, and if you're ever so inclined
You can always hear it from me
How much is one picker's word worth
And whatever happened to Peace On Earth?

But don't confuse caring for weakness
You can't put that label on me
The truth is my weapon of mass protection
And I believe truth sets you free

And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liar's word worth
And whatever happened to Peace On Earth?


Friday, January 30, 2004

Feeling Discouraged?

Adam Hochschild's writing always opens my eyes and inspires me. His latest book, King Leopold's Ghost told the story of exploitation and reform in the Belgian Congo. His complex meticulously-researched history tells the story of men like Edmund Morel; men with little more than the courage of their convictions and an unwillingness to see injustice perpetuated. It's also the story of the world's first multinational corporation; King Leopold's Congo Free State. Morel's transformation from humble shipping clerk to whistleblower to human rights champion, and the corresponding downfall of a corrupt and ruthless dictator has its modern parallels, to be sure.

The best part of Hochschild's work is that you're able to get a preview of it at Eric Schlosser, author of the thought-provoking Fast Food Nation also works for mojo, providing the best one-two puch in investigative journalism today.

Here's a preview of Hochschild's Against All Odds:

On Slavery in the British Empire, he writes:

"...If you had proposed, in the London of early 1787, to change all of this, nine out of ten people would have laughed you off as a crackpot. The 10th might have admitted that slavery was unpleasant but said that to end it would wreck the British Empire's economy. It would be as if, today, you maintained that the automobile must go. One in ten listeners might agree that the world would be better off if we traveled instead by foot, bicycle, electric train, or trolley, but are you suggesting a political movement to ban cars? Come on, be serious! Looking back, however, what is even more surprising than slavery's scope is how swiftly it died. By the end of the 19th century, slavery was, at least on paper, outlawed almost everywhere. Every American schoolchild learns about the Underground Railroad and the Emancipation Proclamation. But our self-centered textbooks often skip over the fact that in the superpower of the time slavery ended a full quarter-century earlier. For more than two decades before the Civil War, the holiday celebrated most fervently by free blacks in the American North was not July 4 (when they were at risk of attack from drunken white mobs) but August 1, Emancipation Day in the British Empire".
Read Against All Odds

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have".
-Margaret Mead

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Shameless Daily Lowdown

Making the simple complicated is commonplace;
making the complicated simple,
awesomely simple, that's creativity.

- Charles Mingus

The Karl Rove Seaworld Offensive:Sowing the Seeds of Confusion

Warning: This paragraph features gratuitous use of on at your own risk. The Bush Administration is notorious for making the complex simple; Bush espouses a dichatamous worldview in which shades of grey simply do not exist; John Ashcroft is an emissary of truth, light, and virture, whereas opponents of the "War on Terra" might as well wear black cowboy hats and sport sinister handlebar moustaches. Bush is the geopolitical equivalent of the guy that goes to a modern art museum and scoffs at a Jackson Pollack painting--it's an "I coulda painted that" worldview. Great leaders are those able to translate a complex concept into layman's terms; they're able to distill an issue down into it's essence. The Paul O'Neil revelations make it pretty clear that the president has not only confined himself to the shallow end of the pool--he hasn't even gotten his trunks wet. He starts and ends with the same oversimplifed understanding of the world; perpetually chasing his tail in progressive circles of impudent certainty.

The newest Rove strategy is a radical departure from Bush's hallmark oversimplifications. When it comes to WMD's, the strategy is to intentionally complicate and muddy the issue so that people are unsure of what semantic path they must walk down in order to discuss the issue. "Weapons of Mass Destruction" have morphed into "Weapons of Mass Destruction Program-Related Activies", for example. The adminstration has also thrown out enough Red Herrings to feed a million Shamus. Could the weapons actually be in Syria? Has Saddam been deceived? Who knows, but let's discuss every possible theory until no one considers the central issue anymore.

Article of the Day: "America Stumbles Into Complexity"

"...So it refused to wait for a consensus to build in the UN Security Council, arguing that Saddam had already had 12 years, and that was enough. So it persistently upped the ante, shifting from a demand that Iraq disarm to an insistence on regime change, arguing that only a root-and-branch approach would work.

So it settled on a messianic scheme to plant democracy in Iraq and thus instigate a reverse domino effect in the region, arguing that the sweetness and light radiating outwards from Baghdad will inaugurate a new age of Jeffersonian democracy in the Middle East.

In the past nine months since Mr Bush proclaimed the end of major combat in Iraq, Americans have learnt a whole new set of surprising 'unknown unknowns': There are no WMDs in Iraq, proving that international action to force disarmament on rogue states does work. That the superpower does in fact need the UN, and so is pleading with the international body to return to Iraq. And that a free vote in Iraq will probably install an Ayatollah in power.

In short: What the administration has stumbled into is complexity."

The Other War

"Seven American soldiers in Afghanistan were killed and three were injured in an explosion today in one of the single most-deadly incidents involving American forces there, the United States Central Command said".

This brings the total number of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 107. I was just wondering...Is Bush going to stand in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner in Kabul when we reach 138 casualties (the number of soldiers killed in Iraq on the day Bush played dressup on the U.S.S. Nimitz).


Shock and Awe Closed the Schools: Thoughts On Happy News

Do you remember Vietnam? I don't...Too young. Do you remember Kissinger assuring that "peace was at hand"? It was a rosy scenario at the time, and we're hearing some happy news from Iraq right now. Happy happy, joy, joy; double plus good news! Schools have re-opened! Hospitals are working again! That is indeed good news, but these hopeful reports neglect to remind us that the reason the hospitals and schools were closed in the first place was because we were dropping bombs on them. 34% of them were not precision guided munitions; they were stuff like cluster bombs, MOAB bombs, etc. "Shock and Awe" closed the schools and hospitals, not the arbitrary whim of a dictator. If the best news we can come up with is that we've repaired much of the damage we've done, I'm afraid I'm not very impressed, and it makes me wonder about the big picture.

Whenever you read a news article about the war, look for this statement: "...U.S. Central Command said". Remember it's not their job to tell us nothing more or less than the truth. Their job is to win the war, and sometimes this means telling us more or less than we'd like to hear. I'm not criticizing Central Command for this, but rather suggesting that the official version of events should always be received with a healthy dose of skepticism. Of course, when the offical story is all that gets through, impressionable, gullible people will always assume that the offical story is the only story.

Is He The Most Corrupt Vice-President Ever?

"In Paris, a French judge is investigating allegations that Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, paid $180 million in bribes to build a Nigerian gas plant. Halliburton has called the accusations untrue".

So let me get this straight: Halliburton is paying the military millions for overcharging in Iraq, he's under investigation for his role in a scandal in Nigeria, he still receiving money from the country while they enjoy the fruits of bid-free contracts in Iraq...Good thing he's not getting a blowjob from an intern!

How I Will Salvage Lee Greenwood's Sagging Record Sales and Save The Free World From Oppression

The other day on the way to work, I heard an updated rave mix of Bonny Tyler's 1987 Hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Later that evening, I heard a remix of an old Elvis tune. That got me to thinking of my old pal Lee "God Bless the U.S.A." Greenwood. I thought to myself, what ol' Lee needs is someone willing to update his signature tune a bit to fit with these changing times. After all, he's not exactly added to his repetoire lately, as far as I can tell.

As I was thinking these thoughts, I read the news...

The International Herald Tribune reported that the U.S. was releasing three kids who had been detained since the start of the "War on Terror". Now of course we can be assured that they weren't mistreated anyway. Sure, the military refused to allow the Red Cross to verify this, but hey, my man Lee and I trust the military...
"The three ranged from 13 to 15 years old. They were the only juveniles among 660 suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda guerrillas who were seized during and after the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan following the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington".


I read further...

The Toronto Star reported that about a court case in which a Canadian citizen was sent to Syria by the CIA for interrogation. Why Syria, you ask? Well, it seems they're less squeamish about the use of torture...

"...Here was a case where a Canadian citizen accused of no wrongdoing catches the attention of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, then is detained by American agents in a New York airport. He is deported to Syria, his birthplace, possibly because of information from either the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Mounties. In Syria, a "confession" is extracted from him under torture. It's a nightmare".
Kinda makes a fella proud...Sing it, Lee Greenwood...( I've written a final verse to his song...)

"I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the Syrians
Who torture just for me
So let's lock up kids in Gitmo
And deny it all the way
Ain't no doubt it's outta hand

Thank you, thank you...


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Media Bias in "Comedy": The Unofficial Tonight Show Clinton's Cock Joke Pool Revisited...

Jay Leno, the Shameless Antagonist's "2003 Horse Flogger of the Year" still hasn't buried the Clinton sex jokes. Night after night, his Ahab-like obsession with Clinton's sex life elicits groans from his studio audience, yet he can't let it go.

Why does he do it? Is he on the president's payroll?, is he sexually frustrated and jealous? Is he a deeply closeted homosexual? What do you think?

If you think I'm exaggerating,I challenge all my readers to watch Jay Leno for a week. I absolutely guarantee that you will hear at least one poor quality Clinton sex joke every night without fail. ...Does anyone care to wager on it? Why not start a Clinton's Cock Joke Pool?

Here's how it works...
This coming week, set up a Clinton Cock Joke Pool with your friends and neighbors. Put some money in the kitty, then try to guess how many jokes about Clinton's sex life Jay will make next week. At the end of the week, in true Republican fashion, the winner takes all. My prediction: five Clinton jokes, two Monicas, and three Hillaries. It's a guaranteed money-maker. Hey, you've gotta make the dough any way you can during the Bush presidency.
Don't Stop Believin'

A recent AP press release cited the following as the favorite albums of the Democratic contenders. My generation has always believed that our musical taste is the avatar of our souls. Bearing this in mind, I've attempted to analyize the psychology of the leading Democratic contenders based upon their musical taste.

Wesley Clark: "Journey-Greatest Hits"
A cheesy, hard-rocking sap. Wes secretly aspires to a Steve Perry mullet.
Howard Dean: Music by Wyclef Jean
Does he really listen to Wyclef? I can't picture it. Howard's the schizzle.
Sen. John Edwards: "The Essential Bruce Springsteen"
I'm sure image-conscious Edwards with his clean fingernails and perfect hair hired a team of marketing wonks to find the right music to resonate with working-class Americans. I like him, but this seems almost less plausible than How-dogg's musical taste. I'm curious: which Springsteen songs are essential? "Tunnel of Love"? For people under 50, I'd say none of them. I had him pegged for a Skynard fan....Freebird!
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Music by Willie Nelson
O.K. Willie has written some great songs, but you have to wonder about a guy that would actually intentionally listen to a full Willie Nelson album. Ever since he sang "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" with Julio Iglecias, I've vowed retribution from beyond the grave.
Sen. Joe Lieberman: "Sueno" by Andrea Bocelli
What do you expect from a Connecticut eleteist in his 60's? Bocelli, that's who.
Al Sharpton: Music by Yolanda Adams
Who is Yolanda Adams? I'm disappointed. I'd to vote for any candidate that prefers James Brown, Spearhead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Marvin Gaye. Al, you could've had my vote. Don't just copy James Brown's hairstyle--listen to the music!
Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites): "Abbey Road" by the Beatles. As the candidate who most resembles an emaciated basset hound, Kerry's choice seems authentic. An album of loss and melancholy regret tinged with hopefullness; stoned thinking man's album.

If I were to choose a candidate solely on musical taste, I'd have to go with Kerry or Dean.

What does George W. Bush listen to? I'd have to guess Kenny G. and Michael Bolton.

What do you think?


Monday, January 26, 2004

Another Good Reason Not to Trust Lieberman:

( Watch in amazement as the Shameless Antagonist performs Intellectual Judo on a Republican website from the 2000 elections...).

Senator Palpatine (Star Wars:Return of the Jedi):

"This Senator has a reputation for wisdom and fairness and has recently been named Chancelor of the Republic. His careful manueverings disguise his plans for galactic domination. He is the master and teacher of Darth Maul".

Senator Lieberman (Connecticut):

This Senator has a reputation as a moderate Democrat and is currently running for president. His careful manueverings disguise his plans for galactic domination. His careful maneuverings brought about the downfall of Vice President Al Gore. He supports the "Star Wars Missle Defense Shield Program" and supports the ill-conceived War in Iraq. At one time, he was a senator of great promise, but now seems to have been won over by the dark side.

Lieberman is Palpatine

Military Lawyers Stand Up For Fundamental American Values

"...The military defence lawyers challenged the government’s sole power to act as jailer, judge and possibly executioner in the case of prisoners captured overseas and held indefinitely at the US Navy prison camp in Cuba.

“Unlike earlier wars, the struggle against terrorism is potentially never-ending,” the military lawyers wrote.

“The constitution cannot countenance an open-ended presidential power, with no civilian review whatsoever, to try anyone the president deems subject to a military tribunal, whose rules and judges have been selected by the prosecuting authority itself.”..."


Gee, Why Didn't U.S. Newspapers Cover This Big Story?

"The United States was warned of impending September 11 terrorist attacks by an Iranian spy, but ignored him, German secret service agents testified yesterday in the trial of an alleged al-Qaida terrorist.
The spy, identified as Hamid Reza Zakeri, tried to warn the CIA after leaving Iran in 2001, but was not believed, two German officers who interviewed him told the Hamburg court".

Click Here to Read the Guardian Article

Government by Mike Myers

At the beginning of the original Austin Powers movie, Dr. Evil (who has been cryogenically frozen since the 1960s) returns to run his evil empire in the 90s. He proposes several hare-brained schemes to extend the reach of his Evil Empire; for example, threatening to create a hole in the ozone layer with a lazer. When the doctor is told that his nightmare scenarios have already come to pass, he becomes flustered, and shouts,

" I'm the leader! I need the info! Throw me a frickin' bone here!"

I would assume that President Bush is throwing the same sort of temper tantrum right now. At the very least, he exhibits the same lost-in-time bewilderment and incompetence.

Welcome to the era of slapstick government.

"Last year, David Kay had confidently predicted weapons would be found. But after nine months of searching, he said Sunday: 'I don't think they exist.'"

David Kay, as you may recall, headed the U.S. WMD inspection campaign following the departure of the much-derided U.N. team, headed by Hans Blix. David Kay is a fellow at the conservative Patomac Institute--a Washington think tank composed of former military officers. Bush thought that his hand-picked man would deliver the desired results.

What does it say about Bush's WMD claims when his own weapons inspection team contradicts him? President Bush's administration has about as much credibility as a Jessica Simpson concept album.

Even Colin Powell, ever the dutiful soldier, conceded today that he had no fricking idea what he was talking about in the speech he gave to the U.N. on the day before the war began. Yesterday in Europe, this is what he had to say..

"The open question is how many stocks they had, if any. And if they had any, where did they go? And if they didn't have any, then why wasn't that known beforehand?"

Aren't you the same guy who made such a compelling case for waging the war, Colin? The best that could be said about the most credible person in the administration is that he's a bungling doofus who can't keep the story straight. If you're going to lie, Colin, at least lie consistently.

Be warned, David and Colin. In the words of Dr. Evil, "this organization will not tolerate failure". Don't you remember what happened to Will Farrell's Mustapha character?

Joe Lieberman: The Turd in the Democratic Party Punchbowl

Just who does Lieberman represent in the Democratic party anyway? Is there any democrat in the United States other than Lieberman who takes Bush at his word about WMD? This is what Joe had to say the other day to CNN about Kay's WMD revelations:

"The fact that David Kay now says they weren't there doesn't say [Iraq] never had them."

CNN also reported that "...Lieberman touted his support for the Iraq war as a sign he is prepared to be tough on national security efforts".

Senator Lieberman also quipped,
"For me, Saddam Hussein was the weapon of mass destruction."

Switch parties, Joe, and save yourself from continued scorn and derision.

No wonder Bush won the last election...He had his man bringing us down from the inside.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Bush's Leave No Child Behind Act, Part Two: The Final Solution

"Since 1990, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, and Yemen have executed child offenders. Most of these countries have now changed their laws to ban this practice, but the United States remains the only country that openly acknowledges executing child offenders and claims for itself the right to do so".
-Amnesty International Newsletter

My Prediction: Whitey Wins New Hampshire By a Landslide!

Percentage of African-Americans; United States: 12.3
Percentage of African-Americans in New Hampshire: .7
Percentage of Hispanics; New Hampshire: 1.7

Story Problems from Hell #2

If 12.3% of Americans are African-americans, and 93% of African-americans voted Democratic in the last presidential election, what percentage of black voters have been ignored throughout the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries? ( Assume that African-americans are primarily urban, and that residents of NH and IA are primarily rural--assume as well that Democratic nominees want African-american votes, not African-american input).

Don't Take The Bait

Sure, the President couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel, but there are plenty of zealous underlings eager to curry favor, many of them well versed in covert operations.

George Bush Sr. was the head of the CIA for many years, and if ever there was a goverment willing to deceive the people to consolidate political power, this is it. It may seem that the administration has been battered since the O'Neil book hit the shelves, and the recent resignation of Kay pretty much nails the WMD case shut.

Nevertheless, I predict serveral October surprises. Remember that you saw it here. My sources say that Osama Bin Laden may actually be in U.S. custody in an undisclosed location, and I'm sure that covert ops could very easily plant credible evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction--they can just use the same stuff Rumsfeld sold Iraq in the '80's...If they forget whether it was the Ames, Iowa strain or the Ft. Dietrich, MD strain, they can simply ask Rummy to look at the receipts.

Right now, the Republican strategy is to concentrate on the divisive social issues such as gay marriage and late term abortions and avoid discussing the war and the economy. It seems that the correct Democratic strategy should be hammering away at these two issues...I'm not so sure anymore...

If the war and the economy prove to be, as I suspect, variables the administration can manipulate, the Democrats will be in trouble in November. Because of this, candidates need to attack the broad spectrum of Bush's disdain for the average American. We need to pinpoint how untrustworthy and scandal-ridden this administration has been since day one; we need to hear about arsenic in drinking water, the gutting of the clean air act, the deficit, the number of American jobs going overseas, etc. If the nominee fails to do so, we'll be taken out at the knees.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Misrepresented, Misunderstood Martin

Has anyone in the media reminded Americans that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam war? Without a doubt, he'd be opposed to our misadventure in Iraq as well, but his life has been pidgeon-holed; his message is for us all, not just for blacks in the 1960s.

This truncated version of Dr. King's life is hardly accidental. While people refusing to fight for imperialism must be terrifying to conservatives, the image of African-Americans turning the other cheek must be somewhat comforting, if taken at face value.

Here's part of the message you don't hear about on MLK day:

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided man.

- Martin Luther King Jr., "Strength to Love", 1963

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

- Martin Luther King Jr., "The Trumpet of Conscience", 1967

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

- Martin Luther King Jr., "The Trumpet of Conscience", 1967

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

- Martin Luther King Jr., "The Trumpet of Conscience", 1967

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Homosexual Threat Is Alive and Well

So all you liberals think we should just "live and let live", eh? You think that what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes is their own business...Well, I've got news for you!

Make no mistake, traditional values are under attack! The 2004 Gay recruitment drive is underway, and believe you me, it's an insidious attack. Why, just the other day, I saw one of these homosexual men, attempting to attract me with his firm, taut, buttocks while running down the street in front of my apartment. It was disgusting. So disgusting, in fact, I just can't get that image out of my head!

To make matters worse, they're luring our children astray! Don't take my word for it! Check it out!

Shameless Antagonist Research Inc. has uncovered PROOF that the beloved DR. SEUSS is actually the Propaganda Chief of the Homosexual Menace. Don't take my word for it! YOU be the judge!

Click on this link to see incontravertable proof of Dr.Seuss' Homosexual Advocacy: Dr. Seuss Link

It's a good thing brave, noble President Bush is taking a strong stand against homosexuals, whose sole objective is to bring an end to the sacredness of hetrosexual marriage...It's no wonder poor Britney Spears couldn't hold her marriage together.

State of the Union: By the Numbers

"$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens by the end of 2003

$13 billion: Amount other countries have committed towards rebuilding Iraq (much of it in loans) as of 24 October
$127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush became President in 2001

$374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003

2.4 million: Number of Americans who have lost their jobs during the three years of the Bush administration

1,000: Number of new jobs created in the entire country in December. Analysts had expected a gain of 130,000

1st: This administration is on its way to becoming the first since 1929 (Herbert Hoover) to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office.

32%: Percentage of the bombs dropped on Iraq this year that were not precision-guided

1983: The year in which Donald Rumsfeld gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs

28: Number of days holiday that Bush took last August, the second longest holiday of any president in US history (Record holder: Richard Nixon)

13: Number of vacation days the average American worker receives each year"

Source:"President Bush and the Real State of the Union"
Set 'Em Up and Knock 'Em Down:

Conventional wisdom has apparently concluded that things are actually much better in Iraq than the media reports seem to indicate; the press, after all, pays attention to the more sensational attacks rather than the far-ranging improvements brought about by coalition forces.If one subscribes to this position, it makes it easier to write off coalition casualties. "We have to look at the big picture" they say. The Bush administration has framed the discussion in such a manner, but is their frame large enough for a picture of 500 soldiers? 1000? How many lives are too many to spend on the sands of Iraq?

What is the big picture, anyway?

We've ridded the world of a cruel tyrant, and the assumption is that the world is much better off as a result. After coaltion forces secure the peace in Iraq, other despots will be persuaded by threat of force to convert their countries into western-style democracies. A victory in Iraq will be the beginning of a Pax Americana, or so the reasoning goes. After the dictatorial states are taken in hand, terrorists will have nowhere to run; nowhere to hide. In a nutshell, this is the neocon vision.

Many Iraqis are quite skeptical that the producers of "Shock and Awe" have devoted themselves to their wellbeing. After all, we were Saddam's patrons until Gulf War I. In the eyes of the rest of the world, the United States is the puppetmaster; we set 'em up and knock 'em down; as long as our chosen despots operate in the best interest of U.S. corporate interests, they're allowed to stay in power, but when they get too big for their britches, it's time to test the bombs (they have an expiration date, you know). Here's what Reuters reports people are saying on the streets of Iraq:

"In street interviews, Iraqis said Saddam must be tried by an Iraqi court prepared to hand down the death penalty and examine his ties to past U.S. governments.
The United States backed Saddam in his war with Iran in the 1980s. During that time, he also gassed an estimated 5,000 Kurds to death in the village of Halabja.
A few years later Washington began branding Saddam a tyrant and an enemy after his troops invaded oil-rich Kuwait in 1990.

"Saddam was a top graduate of the American school of politics," said Assad al-Saadi, standing with friends in the slum of Sadr city, formerly called Saddam City, a Shi'ite Muslim area oppressed by Saddam's security agents. "My brother was an army officer who was executed. Saddam is a criminal and the Americans were his friends. We need justice so that we can forget the past.""

Source: Iraqis Want Saddam's U.S. Friends On Trial

We're not the first nation to rid the world of a dictator; Stalin, for example, helped to rid the world of Hitler, and then proceeded to subject his own people to brutality that dwarfs that of Hussein. The end of the cold war brought an end to Tito's Yugoslavian dictatorship, but the euphoria collapsed rather quickly as the Balkans descended into chaos and ethnic cleansing.

The newly annointed Democratic frontrunner, John Kerry, is quick to point out the obvious; that Bush has incompetently prosecuted the war effort, that his promise to seek all diplomatic means to avoid war was a hollow sham, and that his proof of weapons of mass destruction was a foregone conclusion. He stops short of reframing the big picture, however.

The big picture, Mr. President, is that all attempts in the history of humanity to bring about peace via the barrel of a gun have met with unforseen disaster. The end doesn't justify the means, no matter how you frame the argument.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Bush's new job training program as outlined in the State of the Union Address:

New job traing programs for high tech jobs plus a free one-way ticket to Bangalore or Mumbai where all the American jobs are headed!

"Backlash brews in jobs sent overseas"

Monday, January 19, 2004

The Real Winner in Iowa and New Hampshire: Whitey

Consider the statistics:
Percentage of African-Americans; United States: 12.3
Percentage of African-Americans in Iowa: 2.1
Percentage of African-Americans in New Hampshire: .7
Percentage of Hispanics; U.S.: 12.5
Percentage of Hispanics; New Hampshire: 1.7
Percentage of Hispanics; Iowa: 2.8

Do you think the frontrunners have been discussing urban renewal in Iowa? Will they discuss crumbling inner-city schools in New Hampshire? Will immigration be a topic of discussion? Will they discuss gun control at any length? Could the homogenous population in these two states have anything to do with the issues left out of the discussion?

The Iowa presidential primaries tomorrow of the first milestone in the U.S. presidential campaign, and it looks as though the field is narrowing down to five: Dean, Clark, Edwards, Gephart, and Kerry. Al Sharpton and Carol Mosely Braun never had a chance; even a black Democrat of the same stature as Colin Powell would have had a hard time. The Iowa and New Hampshire primaries effectively weed out minority candidates, and cause the remaining candidates to focus on issues of interest to the mostly agrarian, white populations of these two states.

One (presumedly) unintended consequence of the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries is that it dampens the voice of minorities within the Democratic party. Outside of purging voter rolls like Katherine Harris did in Florida, it would be hard to think of a better way to disenfranchise a minority population.

Of course, there was a D.C. Democratic primary, but the mainstream press, with the exception of the hometown Washington Post didn't see fit to report the results (Dean won, edging out Sharpton 43/37).

Have you ever heard or read of anyone discussing the racial makeup of IA and NH and discussing the possible consequences of these skewed demographics in the mass media? It's time for those who believe in Democracy to raise the issue.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Beyond Google

My colleague Aaron has put together an excellent web tutorial and valuable websearch resource. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Aaron's Web Tutorial

The Door Was Open. Somebody Had to Walk Through It Dept.:

President Bush is apparently willing to do whatever it takes to get to Uranus...

DU Satire Link

Friday, January 16, 2004

Remember When...

"Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know
he's got about a third of what he had in 1991...But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no
underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military
organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder

Richard Perle, neocon luminary and former chairman of the Defense
Policy Board, in a PBS interview July 11, 2002:

500 soliders and 98,000,000 dollars later...I think I'm smelling a whiff of a different source from the oval office...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Universal Health Coverage Endorsed by the Institute of Medicine, Bob Dole, and a Majority of Republicans

Hardcore conservative ideologues consider the concept of universal health care blasphemous, but when seniors have to travel to Canada and Mexico to obtain prescription drugs at reasonable prices, pragmatism trumps unquestioning ideology...

"The Institute of Medicine recommended yesterday for the first time that the government provide universal health insurance, attempting to spark an election-year debate on a decades-old problem that keeps getting worse...Separately, a survey by two pollsters, a Republican and a Democrat, for the American Hospital Association found that a majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, are willing to pay higher taxes to "assure every American citizen receives health care coverage."

A.P. News Link

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Remember When...

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” Dep. Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz..(House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03)
2003 Reflection

For Laurie and I, 2004 began in a Cowboy-themed bar called the “Grumpy Mole” in Nelson, New Zealand. We swilled Speight’s lager and struggled to keep our tired eyes open until the countdown while a burly, Mauri Elvis impersonator sang a Patsy Cline tune in falsetto. “I go out walkin’ after midnight searchin’ for yooouuu..” Breathtaking. We celebrated on the balcony under the Southern Cross, which was pointed out to me by an amiable tattooed antipodal cowboy who looked like the bastard child of Henry Rollins and Gene Autry.

Earlier in the day, my buddy Michael “Torpedo” Topodas and an entourage of helpful Kiwis saved me from an untimely demise while whitewater kayaking—I never should have missed that lesson on rolling back in ’92. Our kiwi friend Al told me that if I tipped, I should simply thrust my hands to the surface and wait for him to paddle to the rescue; quite an unsettling process. Through my first two spills, this procedure worked pretty well, but the third time, my hands stretched out in vain, and since I was unable to spontaneously grow gills, I had to bail. Out of fairness to Al, he was whacking the bottom of my kayak with a paddle, but that sounded an awful lot like my helmet striking the rocks, which naturally attracted my attention a bit more.

Once I dislodged myself, I knew I was going to be all right. The river was teeming with safety-conscious Kiwi paddlers. My only real danger at this point was the possibility of becoming entangled in a web of throw-ropes and drowning like a dolphin in a tuna net. You see, there aren’t any poisonous snakes, large dangerous mammals, or handguns in New Zealand, and with so few threats to life and limb, the Kiwis have raised risk management to unparalleled heights.

After several years of flirting with disaster in the natural world, the skin on my shins is as thin as parchment paper, and even a slight bump can lead to a bruise or a tear, leading many to assume that I suffer from athletically-induced stigmata. Aside from that, I only had a slight cut on my nose and a wounded ego...I ended 2003 reassuring both friends and strangers that "'s not as bad as it looks."

To me this incident captures the essence of 2003 for me: It was a yearlong cautionary tale. Don't bite off more than you can chew. However, as the new year rolls around, I'm hopeful for better days ahead.
Duelling Quotes

McNeil Leher News Hour Nov. 20th 2002

"At an earlier press conference with President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, Mr. Bush said the United States was prepared to lead a "coalition of the willing" if Iraq refuses to abandon its weapons programs but also repeated previous statements that he considers war a last resort".

PBS News Article Link

Yesterday in Monterrey, Mexico

""The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear -- like the previous administration, we were for regime change," Bush told a joint news conference in Monterrey, Mexico, with Mexican President Vicente Fox."

Seattle P.I. News Article Link

Colin Powell on "Meet the Press" Nov. 20th, 2002

"All we are interested in is getting rid of those weapons of mass destruction. We think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off with a different leader, a different regime, but the principal offense here are weapons of mass destruction, and that's what this resolution is working on".

U.S. Link

Pandora's Box In Northern Iraq

Just as the dissolution of Tito's Yugoslavia led to ethnic conflict in the Balkans, the end of the Saddam Hussein regime will lead to chaos in the Middle East. Preemptive war will not lead to democracy flowering in the middle east any more than copulation will lead to virginity. Northern Iraq is an oil-rich ethnic powderkeg...Or am I paranoid to think anyone would be so craven as to kill for oil?

Northern Iraq News Article Link

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Give 'Em Enough Rope II

The anaemic Democrats seem incapable of pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes, so Republicans have to do it for them...Krugman's on the money in today's Op-ed:

"...The point is that the credentials of the critics just keep getting better. How can Howard Dean's assertion that the capture of Saddam hasn't made us safer be dismissed as bizarre, when a report published by the Army War College says that the war in Iraq was a "detour" that undermined the fight against terror? How can charges by Wesley Clark and others that the administration was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq be dismissed as paranoid in the light of Mr. O'Neill's revelations? "


Monday, January 12, 2004

Quote of the Day

"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That's our problem."
Howard Zinn
Shameless Seeks Professional Help

Breaking Up During The War…

My friends and family said she was a heartbreaker; that she was no good for me, that my loyalty and obsession to her would eventually destroy me…What did they know? None of them really knew her like I did. To me, she always represented the best in life; she was the consummate independent free spirit…

About three years ago, it all started to turn sour. I tried to reason with her, but it was as if she expected me to turn a blind eye to her increasingly erratic, antisocial behavior. Our longtime friends, unable to stomach her Jekyll and Hyde personality, began to make themselves scarce. It hurt, but who could blame them? To make matters worse, she had bounced several checks, and to my dismay, had even cashed in the trust funds we’d set up for our children. In spite of all this, we’re still together, and thanks to numerous trips to a therapist, our relationship is still hanging on-- by a thread. I want this relationship to work, I really do, but I’m not sure how much more I can take. To help you understand what we’re going through, I thought I’d share with you, my closest friends, a transcript from one of our therapy sessions. (Dr. Hertz records the session on video, and suggests that we watch ourselves in order to enhance our ability to communicate with one another). I hope being frank, honest and open with our struggle can be of some use to others going through the same experience. Tell me what you think…

The setting is a well-appointed psychologists office. Dr. Hertz is seated in a comfortable office chair in front of his desk, and the two of us sit before him on either end of a comfortable leather couch.

DH: “ O.K., before we begin, I’d just like to remind the two of you that we’ve agreed to ground rules prior to this session. First of all, you both need to use “I” statements to indicate how you truly feel. For example, Steve, rather than saying, “You’re trampling my right to free speech underfoot, you might say, “I need to have the freedom to express my views on this war without feeling threatened”. In the first sentence you’re expressing your needs, and then these needs and be addressed and worked out. The second approach can be seen as criticism, and might lead to a defensive reaction…Our ultimate goal is honest, heartfelt conversation…Do you understand?

Steve: (tentatively, fidgeting in his chair), Yes. I think I understand.

DH: (Relaxed, composed, in his element), Fine, then shall we begin?

America: (leaning forward and pointing at Steve), If you don’t love me, why don’t you leave me? You never support me in anything! Asshole!

DH: Whoah! Didn’t you just hear what I said about “I” statements?

America: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that only applied to him…Can I try again?

DH: Sure.

America: Well, ever since 9-11 I’ve felt as though I’ve been under the gun, you know, and when Steve questioned my administration’s “War on Terror” response, well, I guess I just lost it. It still burns my toast. The way I see it, if you’re not with me through the hardest times, you’re against me.

DH: Give me an “I statement” to summarize your thoughts, America.

America: (She rolls her eyes and snaps her gum), Fine…When Steve and his friends criticized my actions following September 11th, I felt betrayed. There…Are you happy now?

Steve: (He leans toward her in an imploring manner). America, it wasn’t that I didn’t feel the same anger and rage you felt, it was just a matter of the way you handled the situation. Maybe if you didn’t wage war against an intangible concept, I could have supported you, but don’t you think, if you had treated the attack as a crime against humanity rather than an act of war, we’d have a lot more support from France, Germany, Canada, and--

America: (Furious), Canada! What are you, obsessed with her! Do you see what I have to put up with! It’s always Canada this and Canada that. Canada has free healthcare! Canada has less crime! All he ever does is compare me with some other country. I feel like I never do anything right….

Steve: Darling,( leaning forward now, pleading his case to her as well as the doctor), I know I don’t tell you enough, but I really do love you, it’s just that, well, you’ve changed…You’re not the same girl I fell for…

America: (Sobbing)…I’m just being myself…You just can’t accept me for who I am, you bastard!

Steve: (With a far away, misty look in his eyes). I remember; it was back in the summer of 1991. Thousands of students had flooded Tiennamen Square; the heart of communist China. Tears came to my eyes when I saw them raise a replica of Lady Liberty…I was a proud day for me…For us, America. Don’t you remember what that was like, honey? Those were hopeful times…The Berlin wall had just come done and it seemed as thought the chimes of freedom were ringing in the air, and when they thought of you, they thought of freedom…I can’t sleep at night sometimes, wondering what they think of you now—a Camp X-ray jackboot and “shock and awe”—winning hearts and minds with your smart bombs… I know you think I’m being hard on you, baby, but that’s how I really feel...Sweetheart, I still care for you, and want this relationship to work, but you have to face up to the facts…You’ve alienated all our friends, you’ve bankrupted the treasury…

America: (Bitterly), Well, Freedom isn’t free! We spent 8 years ignoring our responsibility under Clinton…

Steve: Raising his voice for the first time, There you go again! He hasn’t been president for three years, and yet you blame him for everything! Were eight years of relative peace and prosperity too much for you to bear? Sure, he got the occasional hummer under the desk, but you’re not exactly lily white either, are you? When are you going to take responsibility for what you’re doing now, and the policies that have been guiding your actions since you started seeing George? The Project for the New American Century outlined--

DH: Steve, you’re forgetting your “I statements” again.

Steve: Sorry. I feel as though you’re blaming problems with our current relationship on a past relationship, I also feel anger because I feel George is screwing you and you’re not being honest with me about it.

America: (Indignantly), He’s…he’s… not screwing me! That’s a lie!

Steve: Oh Come on! You’ve spent over 150 billion on this war, and there’s no end in sight! The Clean Air Act has been gutted! The Clean water act has been eviscerated! All our friends have turned against us! The Turks won’t help us, the coalition is fragmenting, and Tony’s not even returning your calls these days. Forty soldiers have already died this month, and you’re in serious denial!

DH: “I statements! I statements!”.

Steve: (Regaining decorum, speaking softly now), I feel as though we should reconsider our relationship with the rest of the world…I feel we should spend less money on bombs, and more on schools and healthcare…I feel as though you’ve become reactionary and aggress-

America: (Shouting him down), SHUT UP! SHUT UP! You know what you are? You’re a TRAITOR! You’re giving aid and comfort to the enemy!

DH: Those are some pretty serious charges, America…Do you really believe that?

Steve: Well, do you, America?…Is that the way you really feel? Is any criticism a crime now?

America: She falters…I…I…

DH: Noticeably shaken…She’s obviously emotionally distraught…She’s a basket case! Look what you’ve done to her!…This is the textbook definition of an emotionally abusive relationship! You should be ashamed of yourself!

Steve: Taken aback…But I…I was only trying to be honest…to help heal our relationship…Please, honey, listen to me…

DH: (Indignant)…After all she’s been through! How could you, you inhuman monster…She lost a lot of people she loved in the World Trade Center, or perhaps you’ve forgotten…According to the Patriot Act, I believe I have to report this to the Department of Homeland Security…Don’t worry, Cuba’s quite nice this time of year…
Link of the Day:

Can Dean beat Bush? Can Clarke? Can Kerry? Yes, yes, and yes. When republican businessmen, generals, and war college researchers think your presidency is a disaster, your days are numbered.

Watch the Paper Trail

The Bush Administration has been stung by Paul O'Neil's assertion that the Bush regime began planning the invasion of Iraq in the first few days of the administration. In response, senior officials are claiming that O'Neil is a 'sour grapes' former employee with an axe to grind.

That may be true, but the fact is, O'Neil's account is well-documented in "The Price of Loyalty" by pulitzer prizewinning Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind.

You can't explain away the proponderance of evidence. According to the AP, "...In addition to interviews with O'Neill, Suskind drew on 19,000 documents O'Neill provided, according to CBS, which said Suskind also interviewed dozens of Bush insiders to flesh out his account of the administration's first two years".

Will 19,000 documents from the most right-wing treasury secretary in the history of the United States be enough to convince people this president deceived us into launching a preemptive attack?

Does it matter to republicans that we were deceived into a war that has resulted in the deaths of 500 U.S. soldiers so far?

Retired General and Republican Anthony Zinni has also been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's war campaign.
How many prominent Republicans have to fall off the Bush bandwagon before people take notice?

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