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May 23, 2008

The Field of Play -- After a month of traveling and some isolation from US politics I return and take a look around. How much things change and how much they stay the same! Barack Obama, who I still think is by far the best choice among that which is offered for president, said that he had no big beef with the way George H.W. Bush ran his foreign policy. Actually he said that "the first George W. Bush [sic] did an excellent job when it came to the first Gulf War. That is a model for how we should be operating." (see YouTube). Actually it's almost a misstatement to say "when it came to the Gulf War". "It" never came to the Gulf War. Bush himself created the Gulf War, forced it, and forced us and the Iraqis into it. It was trumped up, unnecessary, many people died for no good reason. It furthered the expansion of power that Bush was after. It perpetuated the war industry that demands new conquests. It was entirely unnecessary. Saddam Hussein was practically a creation of the US. He served essentially at the pleasure of US leaders, was funded and enabled by them. Bush Senior's ambassador gave Saddam the idea that the US would stand by and allow him to invade Kuwait. After the war, the US maintained a vicious domination over the country and the people of Iraq which went on during the Clinton years. This is not "a model for how we should be operating." Sure, Bush senior was not foolish enough to get enmired in a full-fledged occupation of the country as his dunce son has done. Bush Jr is such a catastrophe, he makes Bush Sr look good in comparison. But it's the same people, the same corrupt game and it is a model for how we should not be operating.

But politics is a relative frame of reference. Obama's comments do not take place in an Aristotelian ivory tower discussion of logic and ethics. They are gestures on a field of play. Within that game, it is irrelevant to speak of anything very far from that so-called middle ground as already defined before he came on stage. Obama is seeking an advantage against McCain. He can align himself with the slightly more humane, rational policies of the previous Bush administration and be "left" of McCain, who has aligned himself with the rabid radicals of the Bush II administration, but still try to make himself appealing to more mainstream Republicans who may have supported Bush Sr. but have finally turned against Bush Jr. It's not to say that Obama does not "sincerely" believe what he says. He bristled when Rev. Wright suggested that he said what he said because he's a politician, as if that meant he did not believe what he professed. But Wright was right in the sense that Obama is a player on the field of politics. The concept of "sincerity" hardly plays into how one conducts oneself on that playing field. One is seeking advantages, leverage. It's a game of strategy against an opponent. Anything that doesn't serve to further that cause is irrelevant. So politicians must "choose their issues." You can't fight every fight, so you must conserve your political capital and expend it wisely in limited areas. As Obama prepares for the general election against McCain, almost any political position left of George H.W. Bush is irrelevant. Why would he identify himself with anything any farther "left" if he can claim that middle ground against McCain. It's smart strategy, and that's the game he's playing. So he wouldn't dare put forth a more radical position than he has to. It's not about sincerity. Sincerity is an irrelevant concept. It's like asking if a basketball player is sincere. Yeah, when he aims for the rim, he means it. Nothing else is relevant.

This is what he must do. Losers don't count. He wants to win. Sure he wants to maintain some integrity. But he chooses his issues. He's a very talented politician. He's not going to stand for principle if it's going to cost him the election. He's not going to waste his time on issues that will not be likely to swing the election one way or the other. If he wins the election, if he surives the election season and is actually elevated to that office, the people will have to keep up the pressure to make him do the right thing, especially in any situation in which the majority wants him to confront established power. He's not going to deal in a humane, rational way with the Israeli government's brutal suppression of the Palestinian people, not without a lot of pressure. He may attempt to scale back the war to the degree to which Bush Sr. prosecuted his aggression in the Middle East, but that is not nearly enough of a change. It is unlikely that he will make any moves to aggressively seek accountability for the crimes of the Bush administration. Not without a lot of pressure at his backside. It will be the responsibility of the people to keep that pressure on before and after the election.

  • Meanwhile, there are always developments worth taking note of. Hillary Clinton, an opportunist of the highest order has spoken words few would dare to speak regarding one reason she is staying on in the race until the last shred of hope is torn from her grasping claws. And who can blame her? Could a black man who arouses a passion in crowds probably not seen in a presidential race since Robert Kennedy possibly survive in the United States of America? All it takes is one "lone nut" to fulfill the wishes of the vicious, the frightened old establishment of racism, hate and greed, and one more hero is cast to the dust. And if Obama were assassinated, then to whom would the Democratic party turn? Better hang in there and be the closest doughnut on the plate, as it were. Hillary is nothing if not practical. And though it may be an uncomfortable reality, it is a reality, and she is no doubt cognizatn of it and eager to serve in case she is suddenly the last one standing. This is a fact of life in America. It is not something people want to take into consideration in their plans and reckoning, but in a history littered with dead heroes, it remains an unspoken reality. So what was on Hillary Clinton's mind when she said in an interview with the editorial board of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader in South Dakota, "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it." (Boston Globe) Was this a Freudian reference to the fact that the spector of assassination looms a little higher in the case of Obama than in the case of most of the dull figures the establishment thrusts up before us, like John Kerry? She issued a desperate, stumbling statement afterward saying that she was only referring to the fact that the Democratic nomination had not yet been decided by June in those two previous races. Why then did she mention the assassination instead of just saying that the nomination was not settled by June? An unfortunate slip of the tongue, but in her giddy proximity to power, Clinton is revealing her Machiavellian underside quite frequently. In this case, one can hardly blame her, she's just being Hillary Clinton, with her relentless ambition being her defining characteristic. What makes this incident so crushingly depressing is that it raises is such a deeply tragic aspect of American life. We call ourselves a democracy, but often the course of an election is determined by guns.

  • Heat Rises Under Rove -- According to the Associated Press, "The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former White House adviser Karl Rove as part of its inquiry into whether the Bush administration politically meddled at the Justice Department." Rove, like the rest of the pirate Bush administration, laughs at subpoenas, cares nothing about the law, does not recognize any power in the legislative branch that applies to him. So we'll see where this bit ends up. Bush may just launch his war on Iran to distract attention from his bosom buddy Rove.
  • Republican Massacre? Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Senator Trent Lott and President Bill Clinton, wrote in opednews, that the way things are going right now, Republicans could lose many seats in Congress this year, unless the voting machines are even more accommodating than usual.
  • History for a Laugh -- In this New York Times article from 2000, Times reporter Katharine Q. Seelye said, "Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude. 'I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply,' Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. ''Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.'" It's great to have a guy that has real clout in the oil industry as president. At least that's one thing we can count on. He'll use the sheer force of his personality to keep gas prices low. Glory Hallelujuah!
  • Desperate Measures -- Mark Crispin Miller on "Endgame: Bush & Cheney's desperate measures PT. 1" and "Part 2".

    May 6, 2008

    Further Down the Rabbit Hole -- How far can you go? See Morgan Reynolds and Kevin Barrett interviewed at a Wisconsin 9/11 conference. Listen to Kevin Barrett's discussion of Edward Luttwak and his book Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook, which was a handbook for Leo Strauss, Paul Wolfowitz and the Neocons, for whom democracy is a mess that needs to be cleaned up by imposing military order. Much of this theory matches quite closely the scenario that has unfolded since Bush took office, not the theater presented in the controlled media, but the underlying actions of the shadow or permanent government. youtube.com. See also "Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and Iraq" at informationclearinghouse. According to Jim Lobe in "Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception" at alternet.org, Strauss, the father of the Neocon movement, believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior." For the sympathetic conservative view of Leo Strauss, see frontpagemag.com. Robert Locke says, "He believes that contemporary liberalism is the logical outcome of the philosophical principles of modernity, taken to their extremes. In some sense, modernity itself is the problem. Strauss believed that liberalism, as practiced in the advanced nations of the West in the 20th century, contains within it an intrinsic tendency towards relativism, which leads to nihilism. He first experienced this crisis in his native Germany’s Weimar Republic of the 1920s, in which the liberal state was so ultra-tolerant that it tolerated the Communists and Nazis who eventually destroyed it and tolerated the moral disorder that turned ordinary Germans against it."

    May 2, 2008

    Black Presidents

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- It's great to fly into Johannesburg, see the Star, the local broadsheet newspaper that's a good two inches wider than the broadsheet papers in the states, and to pick up the clattering electricity of South Africa's multicultural society. While waiting to change planes for Cape Town I stopped into a bookstore -- it's great to be where the books are in English. And the books, too, reflect that amazing alternate reality of South Africa, that gem so undiscovered by so many for so long. It was a tiny bookstore in the Joberg airport, just a book nook, but there is that astonishing novelty browsing a bookstore in a different culture.

    There was a nice healthy Africa section, with many books about Africa, much great literature. Beethoven Was One Sixteenth Black by Nadine Gordimer caught my eye. There were familiar things like Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, asking Yeats' increasingly pertinent question: "What rough beast, its hour come round at last Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" There were newer things like The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg. Of course there were plenty of nice fat paperback copies of Nelson Mandela's autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. And, strikingly, featured on one of the front tables was Barack Obama's Dreams from my Father. It reminds me of how much the meaning of the phrase "Black President" has changed for me since my last visit here a year ago.

    The story of Nelson Mandela resonates so powerfully it would be impossible to remain totally unaffected by it even in America, a place ruled by the likes of Dick Cheney, who voted to keep Mandela in prison when a resolution to urge his release came before Congress during Cheney's short stint as a congressman in 1985. Mandela had already been in prison 21 years and would remain for six long years more. Reagan and Bush were also both big supporters of the apartheid regime, temperamentally in sympathy with it. But now Mandela has entered the pantheon of great leaders and even Cheney pretends to agree that he's "a great man." But for me the story of Mandela really came to life when I was in Africa and heard the song about him sung by the South African singer Brenda Fassie. It's called "Black President" and it is a soul-stirring piece of music. (See BuildAfrica.org, photo gallery, BBC bio, Stern's Music discography, Stern's detailed discography with one-minute MP3 samples.)

    When I heard Brenda sing, "I will sing for my president. I would die for my president," with such volcanic passion, it reminded me of a much more innocent time when I might have believed in leaders myself, though probably never as much as she seemed to. Politics has become so corrupt and worm-eaten in the U.S. it's hard to imagine that leaders can be legitimate, that they may have a legitimate function and may on occasion live up to something beyond their own money-grubbing. But no, Mandela shows us that there are times in human affairs when there is a call for leadership and when someone sincerely rises to the challenge and devotes himself or herself to the greater good, not just to the enrichment of oneself and one's friends and co-conspirators.

    Now I realize that I believe Barack Obama has the potential to be a legitimate leader, even a great leader in America at this time and place when the country desperately needs a radical change from its present direction. He is up against a tremendous force, terrible odds, including flawed voting machines that the Republicans seem to be able to control and a ruthlessness that seems to preclude no method or tactic no matter how vicious. It's only incidental that he, like Mandela, could be his country's first Black president.

    And much as I find myself wanting to hold myself aloof from politics, that dirty, disappointing game, I find myself irresistibly caring, caring about him personally as well as about the movement he has come to represent. I find myself wanting very much for him to be the next president, not John McCain, God forbid, or even Hillary Clinton. So there it is. I confess.

    April 28, 2008

    Votes That Don't Count -- Bev Harris, the champion of Black Box Voting who has led the charge against corporate-controlled secret vote counting, was invited to submit comments into the record for the United States Election Assistance Commission's Round Table, which, she said, "featured and agenda entirely devoted to a what is basically a celebration of computerized vote-counting." Harris took the opportunity "to tell it like it is." (See her article at opednews.com) "Like it is" is that "Any system that forces the citizenry to trust government insiders to count their votes represents a change in the original design of this nation. The United States of America was designed to uphold the right of citizen sovereignty over the government. In addition to hiding the counting of votes from public view, computer-counted elections hide the chain of custody of the vote data. Citizens are never allowed to view the original input in order to compare it to the output, and are relegated to trusting circumstantial evidence controlled by insiders. Such a system is, in fact, a transfer of power." We, the citizens of the United States, did not consent to this transfer of power.

    April 22, 2008

    Enjoy It While You Can, McCain -- McCain sold out everything in seeking the Republican nomination, including his image as a "maverick" who sometimes stood against his own party. But he kissed the asses of the right wing from Bush to Falwell so much to gain political power, that he sacrificed his main assets. See "Why McCain Can't Win", by Bob Beckel at realclearpolitics.com.
  • Michael Moore for Obama -- "This sleazy attempt to smear Obama was brilliantly explained ... by Stephen Colbert. He pointed out that if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!" Clinton, says Moore, "cast your die when you voted to start this bloody war. When you did that you were like Moses who lost it for a moment and, because of that, was prohibited from entering the Promised Land. How sad for a country that wanted to see the first woman elected to the White House. That day will come -- but it won't be you. We'll have to wait for the current Democratic governor of Kansas to run in 2016 (you read it here first!)." And, important point: This is not just about Obama. "There are those who say Obama isn't ready, or he's voted wrong on this or that. But that's looking at the trees and not the forest. What we are witnessing is not just a candidate but a profound, massive public movement for change. My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate. That is not to take anything away from this exceptional man. But what's going on is bigger than him at this point, and that's a good thing for the country. Because, when he wins in November, that Obama Movement is going to have to stay alert and active. Corporate America is not going to give up their hold on our government just because we say so. President Obama is going to need a nation of millions to stand behind him." Michael Moore
  • Ugly Politics -- Andrew Sullivan writes, "the Clintons are running as the Rove Republicans. If they fail to destroy Barack Obama as effectively as Karl Rove -- George W. Bush's master of the dark arts -- destroyed Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004, with tactics just as brutal but even more personal, then they will have driven American politics to a critical point. They will have shown that the paradigm that has reigned in US politics for at least two decades has been shattered. That's what is being tested this week. It may be the most important vote in America until the final one, in November.Obama has been pummelled by a Democrat in ways never witnessed in a primary campaign. Hillary Clinton has argued he is less qualified to be commander-in-chief than the Republican nominee, John McCain. She has said she doesn't know for sure he is not a secret Muslim. She has said his choice of church is unacceptable to her. She has said he deliberately wants many Americans to continue scraping by without health insurance. Her campaign has insinuated he was once a drug dealer. The Clintons have publicly associated Obama with domestic terrorist William Ayers, with the militant Palestinian group Hamas and with anti-semitic demagogue Louis Farrakhan. And what is remarkable about all this is most of it was not done by surrogates, but by her husband -- a former president against a senator in his own party -- and directly by Clinton herself." The Australian

    April 19, 2008

    Clinton's Anti-Anti War Passion -- If it is not apparent from her actions, Hillary Clinton has made it clear she has no use for anti-war activists. According to Celeste Fremon on the Huffington Post, "At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the 'activist base' of the Democratic Party -- and MoveOn.org in particular -- for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had "flooded" state caucuses and 'intimidated' her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post." According to talkingpointsmemo.com, Clinton said, "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me." MoveOn executive director Eli Pariser responded: "Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim."
  • More Clinton Defections -- Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich endorses Barack Obama. huffingtonpost.com
  • Hear This, Barack! -- According to Paul Krugman in the NT Times, Obama's statement that the jobs in the midwest fell through during the Bush and Clinton administrations off the mark. "In fact, the Clinton years were very good for working Americans in the Midwest, where real median household income soared before crashing after 2000... We can argue about how much credit Bill Clinton deserves for that boom. But if I were a Democratic Party elder, I’d urge Mr. Obama to stop blurring the distinction between Clinton-era prosperity and Bush-era economic distress."
  • Poll Shows Obama Pulling Ahead -- Not that Newsweek should necesarily be considered trustworthy, but it has published a poll saying, "1,209 registered voters found that Obama now leads Clinton by nearly 20 points, or 54 percent to 35 percent, among registered Democrats and those who lean Democratic nationwide. The previous Newsweek poll, conducted in March after Clinton's big primary wins in Ohio and Texas, showed the two Democrats locked in a statistical tie (45 percent for Obama to 44 percent for Clinton). The new poll puts Obama ahead among women as well as men, and voters aged 60 and older as well as younger voters. One of the more devastating results for Clinton was that a majority of all registered voters now see her as dishonest and untrustworthy." Newsweek shows a picture of Obama looking cool and smooth and a picture of Hillary looking haggard and weird, presumably to illustrate their story. It only looks like a distraction and a manipulation. Is the poll legitimate or reliable? Who knows?
  • Dean to Superdelegates: Decide -- CNN
  • The Real McCain, the Real Issue -- , according to Joe Conason in Salon, "The female voters in the groups were surprised, dismayed and angered to learn that the Arizona Republican not only favors overturning the Roe v. Wade decision and curtailing abortion rights but is also opposed to requiring contraceptive coverage by health plans and favors abstinence-only sex education." Wake up!

    April 15, 2008

    The Circus From Afar

    SEVILLE, Spain -- One of the most striking things for an American abroad is the experience of being outside of the American media fishbowl. I open up AOL News, one of the most idiotic, low-minded, talking-down media sources and the top story that flashes back at me is "Obama Mocks Clinton". Oh golly! Did he really do that? That little shit! Buried somewhere the article there may be a soundbite from the performance referred to. God forbid they actually discuss some of the issues that are squeezing the American people to death. And I have not the slightest doubt that corporate America, the operator of the propaganda machine known as the mainstream media knows exactly what it is doing, making these candidates look like nasty, squabbling children, while avoiding any substantive reporting on the ongoing crises of America. Just shove all the rabble to the sidelines, keep the masses out of the way! That's the mandate of the corporate media. This is not just an accident, not just "they'll do whatever sells". No, it's worse than that, though that is bad enough considering our Constitution (remember that?) designated a free press as an essential part of a functioning republic. The forgotten document was designed explicitly to prevent abuses of power. Any idea why it's been hammered so mercilessly by the Cheneyites?

  • Mentioning the Unmentionable -- Meanwhile, a few interesting items surfaced in spite of the random noise generated by the corporate media to confuse and distract the masses. Obama went on the record as saying, "By the way, I have to say, I think Al Gore won," in response to a comment made by Hillary Clinton disparaging Gore. (See Buzzflash). Though this is a fact shown by a media consortium that counted the votes but was too timid to make it clear (see KeatingPaper), in the bizarro world of American political media, it's an extremely radical thing to say. See some more amplification on this by Mark Crispin Miller.
  • What They Didn't Say -- While the Big Media was erupting orgasmically over Obama's "mocking" of Clinton, El Presidente admitted he approved torture methods. (see ABC, Washington Post) Bush: "I'm not so sure what's so startling about that." Why has this criminal not been impeached yet? (Tell congress to impeach Bush and Cheney here.)
  • Break in the Barrier -- Here's some good commentary on the reporting by the New York Sun that a U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel called for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which is in itself news, news about news, metanews. (opednews.com)
  • More Scorched Earth -- Hillary Clinton said Gore and Kerry lost their elections because they "didn't understand and respect the values and the way of life of so many of our fellow Americans." Actually they did not lose their respective elections without some big help from fake voting machines, but the point here, made by The Australian, is that "The unprovoked attacks on Mr Gore and Senator Kerry came as a British newspaper reported that Mr Gore and former president Jimmy Carter would either privately or publicly appeal to Senator Clinton to pull out of the Democratic primaries and clear the way for Senator Obama to be anointed as the party's candidate for the November presidential election." The Clintons, who hang out socially with the Bushes, are now trying to claim that Obama is "elitist".

  • American Death Toll in Iraq
    Iraq Body Count
    The Toll of American Wounded
    Coalition Casualty Count

    Liz Trotta, a guest on Fox News, says Osama, Obama, kill them both (!)

    One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

    George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

    May 30, 2008

    All the stuff coming out from Scott McClellan's insider Bush tattletale book is fascinating. (See this in the freshly designed Truthout.) The people at impeachbush.org are saying this is another milestone in making the case for impeachment of the Bush-Cheney gang, but one wonders if the population could ever reach that tipping point, if people are just too numbed out, the boiling point has come too gradually and people are too distracted and hypnotized to ever be galvanized into action. One wonders, but fervently hopes otherwise. Hope springs eternal, and one never knows. History cannot be predicted. There are no laws, no principles that can confer the power of prediction.

    I was alive (as in the song ) when the Berlin Wall fell, and it was a stunnning incident. It was a massive silent explosion heard round the world, still reverberating. Still on such a longwave vibration that its effect is barely perceptible. Probably most of the world-changing events of the world were similarly barely perceptible, too large to see or hear. Nixon's resignation -- who'da thought it two years before, when he was re-elected in a so-called landslide even after the Watergate burglaries were in the news? The giant reverberations of that series of events are very much with us now as the Bush administration is the revenge of the Nixon administration, the return of the Nixoids. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush Sr., they were all Nixon boys, and Nixon was in turn Prescott Bush's boy. Today they have unleashed their revenge for everything they hate: the 60s and the social revolution that further democratized society, Nixon's forced resignation, Women's Lib, birth control, the Freedom of Information Act, rock and roll, whatever. Bush was the face under which the revenge was carried out. And now we stand under the culmination of all the Nixon administration strived for, secrecy, total authority, freedom from legal restraints or checks on power. It's Nixon's dream come true. And Nixon's dream was Prescott Bush and his daddy's dream, of course.

    It's an extremely regressive swing of the pendulum, the undoing of the New Deal, the return to the Robber Baron days. But there is still a hope. There is still an everpresent possibility, inert and under the surface, a potential still unignited. And like the patterns of frost on a windowpane that spread instantly in crystalline patterns throughout the pane as soon as the process is catalized by a speck of dust, it could suddenly take off. There is always that possibility that the galvanization could take place and make the change manifest. I hope to see that spirit ignited, globally, and take off like a spark through the internet. It is a possibility. There could come the moment when Americans decide it has gone far enough, it is time to restore justice, to heal the legal system and begin to rebuild the country. I spoke to people who lived in Berlin at the time the wall came down and they told me that no one, even the Berliners expected the wall to come down even a few weeks before the event. "Oh we all believed it would come down some day, but probably not in our lifetimes," one told me. "Not in a few weeks!"

    I would love to be able to be alive at the time that the country decides enough is enough with the Bush-Cheney shenanigans. The evidence against them has been compelling for so many years, it hardly seems like it's more evidence that people are looking for. But something some time, perhaps, will make people mad and they will finally wake up and take action and take America back from the thugs. "I was alive and I waited waited. I was alive and I waited for this. Right here right now, there is no other place I'd rather be. Right here right now, watching the world wake up from history!"

  • Honor to a Grand Soul -- Will Elder, one of the greatest American artists, in my estimation, died in early May. (see New York Times) God rest his soul, a good and kind man. His work in Mad Comics was some of the greatest cartooning ever by anyone. His later work with Harvey Kurtzman in Playboy, "Little Annie Fannie", was also brilliant and hilarious, with unbelievably fine technique. But the best was the early Mad stuff. I was privileged to meet him in person, and even to be given a poster by him, an experience that I am more than ever grateful for.

    May 15, 2008

    Back to the Edwardian Backing of Barack -- Returning to the US after two weeks in South Africa I come home to hear John Edwards coming out for Barack Obama. Air America's Rachel Maddow, spending more time with the big MSNBC pundits lately and perhaps having a little of it wash off on her, largely discounted it saying that endorsements don't mean that much. But I think she underplays it by considering it just an endorsement. Coming as it does at this moment, it represents an effort for the Democratic party to create a new narrative and to come together based on the common purposes of all the democratic candidates and the extreme urgency of beating the Republicans out of Washington. This is not going to be easy considering all the weapons the White House has and is eager to employ against Bush's many enemies, which now includes almost everyone except the very few who are still benefitting from and loyal to Bush. Edwards issued a call for unity around those common principles and he provides a point from which the others can unite. It's not just another endorsement, it's a beginning of a turning in the road. Hillary Clinton has roped in some of her more desperate, destructive tactics and gained some poise as a result of that and of having some victories to tout.
  • Meanwhile, Jason Linkins reports on the Huffington Post on "a clip of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggesting that America, having voted the Democrats back into Congressional power, could benefit from suffering another terrorist attack, and doing so in the presence of the very same military analysts who went on to provide commentary and analysis of the Iraq War." Rumsfeld can be heard saying, "This President's pretty much a victim of success. We haven't had an attack in five years. The perception of the threat is so low in this society that it's not surprising that the behavior pattern reflects a low threat assessment. The same thing's in Europe, there's a low threat perception. The correction for that, I suppose, is an attack. And when that happens, then everyone gets energized for another [inaudible] and it's a shame we don't have the maturity to recognize the seriousness of the threats...the lethality, the carnage, that can be imposed on our society is so real and so present and so serious that you'd think we'd be able to understand it, but as a society, the longer you get away from 9/11, the less...the less..."
  • Rove Won't Testify -- Rove will talk on TV about it, but refuses to testify for the Judiciary committee about his alleged involvement in the Don Seigelman case, the former Alabama governor convicted of bribery on a very shady looking case and hauled away in handcuffs without even being able to speak to the press. Rove's fingerprints are all over the case. See Montgomery Advertiser.
  • O'Reilly the Hothead -- See gawker.com.
  • Stop the Next War -- Rep. John conyers is rallying congressional opposition to an attack on Iran, which the White House seems to be planning. truthout.org
  • West Virginia: Big Deal? According to chron.com, "West Virginia has a total population of about 1.8 million. The largest city, Charleston has about 53,000 residents. The population is 96% white and 51% female. Only about 1% of the state’s residents are foreign-born, ranking 50th out of 50 states. On the economic front, West Virginia is third lowest in per capita income, ahead of only Arkansas and Mississippi. They rank last in median household income. The growth in GDP in West Virginia ranks 49th out of 50. On education, West Virginia has the lowest percentage of people with a college degree in the country."
  • Steer Clear of Bush -- According to the NY Times, "The Republican defeat in a special Congressional contest in Mississippi sent waves of apprehension across an already troubled party Wednesday, with some senior Republicans urging Congressional candidates to distance themselves from President Bush to head off what could be heavy losses in the fall." If the votes are counted.
  • More Concerned with Bush than Wright -- The people aren't as stupid as the rulers would like to think. They aren't buying the media's pounding to generate some fear of Obama's association with Reverend Wright. More voters are concerned with McCain's association with the Prince of Death, George W. Bush. (voxverax) It may not work this time. The swift-boating of Barack may fail. His constituency may not be rocked by that kind of dopey crap. There is a chance that he could amass such a majority that it will be impossible to even fake a victory by McCain. That is our only hope because the counts will be skewed.

    May 5, 2008

    The Worst -- "A new poll suggests that President Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history," says AOL. Bush makes history. The highest disapproval rates ever. Another of many affirmations that Bush is indeed the worst.

    May Day, 2008

    In America it's forbidden to ever suspect powerful politicians of foul play, but the so-called "suicide" of the DC Madam who was likely to expose prominent politicians is hard to swallow as an unsuspicious incident. The DC Madam predicted that she would be suicided and said that, no, she would not commit suicide. According to prisonplanet.com, "During several recent appearances on The Alex Jones Show, Palfrey also said that she was at risk of being killed and that authorities would make it look like suicide. She made it clear that she was not suicidal and if she was found dead it would be murder. Palfrey had threatened to release the names of well-known clients of her upscale call girl ring in the nation's capitol, and had indicated that Dick Cheney may be one of them." See also opednews.com, huffingtonpost.com and Washington Post.
  • No Way Around It -- Bush appointee says 9/11 was an inside job. "George Bush, come out with your hands up!" This is worth seeing. YouTube
  • Molten Metal -- Where did the molten metal come from under the three World Trade Center buildings that collapse come from? It was there six weeks after the incident. youtube.

    April 23, 2008

    The saddest thing about the whole election circus is that we have this crazy voting system based on machines that cannot be tracked, audited, and certainly not trusted. As Jon Stokes wrote on April 21, previous to the Pennsylvania primary, "On the eve of tomorrow's hotly contested and relatively close Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania, a number of voting activists are sounding the alarm one last time about the state's election systems. Over 85 percent of PA voters will vote on paperless touchscreen machines that are hackable, failure-prone, and fundamentally unauditable. (arstechnica.com) It's hard to know who pulls the strings. How can anyone have faith in the system?
  • Mad Media -- Steven G. Brant asks, "Why, To The Mainstream Media, Does Hillary's 9.4 Victory Margin Equal "Double Digits"? huffingtonpost.com
  • Something Funny -- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who endorsed Hillary Clinton, said, "I’m not saying anything bad about my candidate but I– it is funny at New Hampshire that all the ones that were hand-counted went for Obama and all the ones that were machine counted went for Hillary." Op Ed News.
  • Luck is a Lady -- "Hillary Clinton: The Luckiest Woman in the World" bradblog.com.
  • Slippery Slope -- Chris Matthews said, "I think in the effort of the media, to try to keep this game going, we’ve created the delusion that somehow this race is still open. I don’t think it is open. I think if you look at the numbers Barack has to really blow it in the weeks ahead to lose." Chuck Todd: "The pledged delegate count is basically over" and "it now appears like it's going to be impossible for Obama to lose his lead." But the networks are hungry for viewers and are drumming things up as much as possible. Brad Jacobson at mediabloodhound, issues this chilling warning: "Buckle up, Democrats, and proceed with caution. Right now, more than any one entity, the indiscriminate knife twisters in the mainstream media have the strongest hand on the wheel and they are driving this nomination process toward a cliff. Keep playing this game of chicken, keep operating within their craven frame of a never-ending steel-cage death match, and the only viable candidate standing - viable as in capable of winning in November - might soon be John McCain. To corporate media chiefs, along with their friends in the GOP and their advertising sponsor pals in the defense, energy and pharmaceutical industries, this ongoing cutthroat nomination process and its very possible outcome (say hello to President McCain!) would be a tremendous win-win. And a classic demonstration of the Democratic Party's uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Especially when you consider President Bush just received the highest job disapproval rating in Gallup Poll's history (69%) and over 80% of Americans think this country's on the wrong track."
  • Turn the Tables -- Now that Bush has admitted he approved of torture, will Congress hold anyone accountable or give them and other politicians a green light for more crime? See "Impeachment Now Or Apocalypse Later?" by Bernard Weiner at crisispapers.org


    April 20, 2008

    The Gory Details -- A story in The Guardian describes how General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, was "hoodwinked", according to him, into torture by top Bush administration officials. The Guardian says, "In his new book, Torture Team, Philippe Sands QC, professor of law at University College London, reveals that: Senior Bush administration figures pushed through previously outlawed measures with the aid of inexperienced military officials at Guantánamo. Myers believes he was a victim of 'intrigue' by top lawyers at the department of justice, the office of vice-president Dick Cheney, and at Donald Rumsfeld's defence department." The Bush administration has tried to blame junior officials, but Sands' book "establishes that pressure for aggressive and cruel treatment of detainees came from the top and was sanctioned by the most senior lawyers." And of course now Bush himself has admitted authorizing it, saying "I don't know why that should surprise anyone..." No it probably shouldn't surprise anyone, knowing what sadistic, sick creeps Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. are, but one reason why it does surprise some people is that Bush repeatedly said "The US does not torture," etc. etc. Bush is such a habitual liar he apparently doesn't expect anyone to take him seriously. He certainly doesn't expect to be held accountable for anything he says or does. Wave goodbye to America as it spins down the toilet.
  • If Americans Still Believe in Justice -- If you still believe in the law and that it should be applied to people who commit crimes, no matter how powerful they are, then there are some issues surrounding the now acknowledged approval of torture by top Bush administration officials, including the top killer himself, George W., a man who has come a long way from when he used to explode frogs with firecrackers as a boy. The Washington Independent has listed some 20 comments by legal authorities on the subject.

    April 16, 2008

    End Game

    SEVILLE, Spain -- Looking at the U.S. from what feels like a relatively safe distance, here are some of the headlines that catch my eye today.

  • Getting Serious -- Never ever understimate the ruthlessness of Cheney-Bush and company, or their utter lack of moral restraint or respect for the law or the people. Think about it, this administration has never governed like it gave a fuck what any of the people think. They express utter contempt for anything that stands in their way. Do I err? Now then, consider the following. Really consider it. We do not live in a vacuum isolated from history, though your high school history text and CNN may try to portray such a world of changeless inevitability where every morning the same day begins again just like the last one. But under the surface, history does continue. There are always tyrants standing ready to usurp power when an opportunity presents itself. It is human nature, an eternal recurrence of human history.

    Lewis Seiler, former congressman and the president of Voice of the Environment, and Dan Hamburg, executive director of Voice of the Environment, wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle , "Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of 'an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.' Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees. According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of 'all removable aliens' and 'potential terrorists.'" That is, whoever The President deems an enemy. See also infowars.net for more on this.

  • Air America Lost and Confused -- Now that Air America suspended Randi Rhodes for using dirty words in her comedy act -- not on the air -- she has reportedly found a new job. She talks about the situation on MySpace. Air America is justified to prohibit its hosts from saying things on the air that are prohibited by the FCC. But if Randi gets raunchy in her comedy act, what does Air America have to get hot about? Air America is acting like the mainstream corporate media, creating a sense of fear, zero tolerance for beliefs that may be outside of what the corporate media has defined as the acceptable zone. Air America's anti-free speech stance extends beyond its own broadcasts to any behavior of a person who has a program on the show. If Air America is going to be just as much of an establishment ass-kisser as CNN, what is its point in existing. Why doesn't The McLaughlin Report fire Pat Buchanan for saying Blacks should kiss the ground in thanks that their ancestors were dragged to America with chains around their necks and converted to Christianity? Why isn't O'Reilly fired for writing about sleazy sex acts? Apparently free speech is only for right wing lunatics in America. Air America, we don't need any more establishment "mainstream" chicken media.
  • Fighting Words -- Asked if he would prosecute criminals in the Bush administration if elected president, Obama gave a politician-like non-committal non-answer, saying he would "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but also that he worried that such a probe could be spun as "a partisan witch hunt." He would go ahead if there was willful criminality, because "nobody is above the law." (see huffingtonpost.com). Unfortunately this is exactly the reason the Bush-Cheney-McCain team will go to unprecedented lengths to make sure Obama does not become president. The Clintons hang out socially with the Bush family these days, so there are no worries about any Bush crimes coming to light if they gain control of the White House. Obama appears to be a little more of a wild card. They will try anything to stop him, and they have a lot of power.
  • Foresight in Hindsight -- Alex Jones in summer of 2001 in effect predicted 9/11. Check it out on youtube.
  • 'Nothing There' -- Here is some news footage from the crash site in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, footage that only appeared that day, and never was seen again. Check it out on youtube.com

    April 13, 2008

    Deja Vu

    MADRID -- Reporting from Spain where I just saw a huge Picasso exhibit at the Reina Sofia Museum. Picasso's Guernica screams as loud now as it did when he painted it in 1937 as a white hot expression of outrage over the bombing of the city of Guernica by German Nazi bombers in support of their fascist buddy in Spain. It's the kind of crap that has been going on in Iraq for five years now. We have become desensitized to mass mechanized killing. Why did the French and English governments recognize and thereby enable the Franco dictatorship in February 1939? The freedom-loving Spanish people were abandoned and isolated and the fascist dictator Franco held power until his death in 1975. Why?

    Meanwhile, couldn't help noticing some interesting things in the news.

  • Election Fraud Eternal Recurrence -- Mark Crispin Miller's new book Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008 is out and addresses one of the most serious problems America now faces. Oddly, it's a problem that could be solved quite easily if there was the will to do it. But again we find the American people in many cases, but certainly the corporate media and the hostage congress in a trance, unable or unwilling to face the problem of a voting system that is broken down.
  • Changing Times Changing Minds -- Is it my imagination, or is the awareness that something is terribly wrong in the official account of 9/11 spreading outward and upward? This, like the election fraud story, has been pushed violently out of the collective consciousness for years in spite of very pronounced failures in the official report to account for what we know happened. But one by one people of good reputation are breaking ranks and openly questioning the official story. Now we have a report in the New York Sun on Richard Falk, Milbank professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University, who was named by unanimous vote of the U.N. Human Rights Council to a newly created position to report on human rights in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Falk was named to monitor Israel for the Human Rights Council, but he is now calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the 9/11 attacks. Falk said, "It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don't think we can answer definitively at this point. All we can say is there is a lot of grounds for suspicion, there should be an official investigation of the sort the 9/11 commission did not engage in and that the failure to do these things is cheating the American people and in some sense the people of the world of a greater confidence in what really happened than they presently possess." It's a momentous historical event that such an opinion, rational as it may be, is appearing in the mainstream press at all. Also noteworthy is the tone of the article. It's an informative article that reports the story without the knee-jerk compulsion to constantly denounce the very idea of asking questions about 9/11. This is very significant. Israel doesn't want him in the country.
  • It Was Rove -- Now almost miraculously released from prison, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is fingering Rove not only in manipulations of the Department of Justice to use it as a political hit squad, but also in the widespread election fraud of the Bush period. See Mark Crispin Miller at democraticunderground.com

    Book Credits:


    In the 21st Century, being naive to the workings of corporate media can get you killed.

    Chomsky For Beginners written by David Cogswell, illustrated by Paul Gordon, published by Writers and Readers, is a documentary comicbook about Noam Chomsky the man, the linguist and the political voice, but more than anything, it is a guide to media propaganda, how the corporate-owned mass media are designed not to inform you but to manipulate you for the benefit of the owners.

    Order Chomsky For Beginners from Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com

    See also Existentialism For Beginners.

    Existentialism For Beginners

    Post Script, Fortunate Son: The Making of an American President by J.H. Hatfield, second paperback edition, published by Soft Skull Press, 2001

    For more on the late J.H. Hatfield, who wrote the controversial Bush biography Fortunate Son: The Making of an American President, see below

  • Behind the Bushes: Fortunate Son by J.H. Hatfield
  • Dilulio and Hatfield: A Study in Terror
  • Hatfield on bin Laden, Bush and attacks by hijacked aircraft

    The following piece was written for the French and Spanish translations of J.H. Hatfield's Fortunate Son: The Making of an American President, published by Editions Timeli in Geneva, Switzerland. (See www.timeli.ch.)

  • The Death of Jim Hatfield [5.15.03]

  • The French language version: La Mort de Jim Hatfield is included in the French translation of Hatfield's Fortunate Son: The Making of an American President, published 2003 in Geneva by EditionsTimeli.

    Le Cartel Bush

    More Book Credits:

  • Introduction to Ambushed By Toby Rogers
  • Introduction to America's Autopsy Report, John Kaminski

    Interviews with Noam Chomsky
  • Chomsky Interview 1993
  • Interview with Noam Chomsky 1997

    Search www.davidcogswell.com

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  • May 26, 2008

    Memorial Day -- Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, writing for Truthout, say: "We honor our war dead this Memorial Day weekend. The greatest respect we could pay them would be to pledge no more wars for erroneous and misleading reasons; no more killing and wounding except for the defense of our country and our freedoms."

    May 7, 2008

    Election Fraud in North Carolina -- The vote manipulators seem to have their resources well organized and from the ground in North Carolina we are hearing outrageous reports about voter suppression. (BlueNC) The US is becoming more of a banana republic every day. It's really time for the people of the democratic republic of the United States of America to rise up and reclaim their right to vote. This is getting really sordid. It's extremely embarrassing that the place once considered the bastion of democracy no longer has it.

    Featured Pieces

  • The Day the Free Market Died [Late March '08]
  • Democratic Self Destruction [March 6, '08]
  • See No Evil [February 25, '08]
  • Only Words [February 21, '08]
  • The Election Carnival [Mid January '08]
  • Bruce on Bush [Early November '07]
  • Nukes Over America [Late October '07]
  • Rediscovering McLuhan [October 28, '07]
  • Radical Cartesian Doubt [August 28, '07]
  • Revolution Time [Early July '07]
  • 9/11: Question Authority [Late June '07]
  • Bush's March to Destruction[March '07]
  • Democracy Rears its Head[November '06]
  • Power and Desperation [September '06]
  • Middle East in Flames[July '06]
  • Third World America: The Gulf Coast After Katrina [3.19.06]
  • Travel Journal: Antarctica [2.3.06]
  • Bush Implosion [3.12.06]
  • BreakAway [3.12.06]a>
  • Pull It [8.28.05]
  • Devolution and Destruction
  • The Unenlightenment
  • Courage to Think [9.23.04]
  • Don't Go There: Conspiracy Phobia[9.21.04]
  • Bush's Imperial Vision
  • Northwoods to 9/11[4.29.04]
  • Fiddling Around While New York Burns [7.1.03]
  • Waking Up in Nazi America [3.23.03]
  • George W. Is High on Killing [3.20.03]
  • Martin Luther King and Existential Politics [1.17.03]
  • The Fascistification of Culture [12.21.02]
  • Escape to a New Media Environment [11.17.02]
  • How to Fight Fascists and Restore Justice [10.1.02]
  • Fascism, Freedom and the Internet [6.21.02]
  • Alternative Media and the New Paradigm [5.15.02]
  • Learning to Love Totalitarianism [spring 2001]


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    May 3, 2008

    Ubiquitous States of America -- No matter where you are, America looms large on the horizon. What happens in America affects the whole world, now more than ever. Here are a few news items that catch the eye even from far away.
  • The New Robber Barons -- The unbelievable arrogance of major corporations who now openly control the United States government was portrayed vividly in an article in the New York Times business section a few days ago. It said, "A fight has erupted in Congress over the question of whether drug makers and other companies should be allowed to keep patents they obtained by misrepresentation or cheating." Patents, which are enforced by the federal government at a cost to taxpayers, can be voided by federal judges if it is found that the patent holder lied or deceived the patent office. As the Times says, "In such cases, judges can declare the patents unenforceable." That seems fairly basic, right? You got a patent by lying, so the patent is void. But nooooo! Not if you're a powerful U.S. corporation. In that case you respect no law that limits your activities. Though corporations have the rights of people under our bizarre corporate law, they don't want to be held to accountability of any kind. Surely any CEO would like the law to be enforced if someone tries to knife him or rob him on the street. But any law that would serve to hold a major corporation accountable for behavior that in effect robs or kills others is called "regulation" and is therefore struck down under the religion of freemarketism. Taking away a pharamceutical corporation's patent away just because it obtained it through fraudulent claims is "like imposing the death penalty for relatively minor acts of misconduct," according to Robert A. Armitage, a senior vice president and general counsel of Eli Lilly & Company. Actually it's just like forcing a thief to give back stolen property. The death penalty would be taking away Lilly's corporate charter, which, come to think of it, sounds like a pretty good idea.
  • Banana Republic -- Here is a movie about one of the most extremely urgent issues of the day, election fraud, which is rampant in the U.S. and has actually swung the major elections since 2000. Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, by David Earnhardt.
  • Turn On, Again -- Albert Hoffman, the creator/discoverer of LSD, died. See New York Times
  • Music Discovery -- My first music discovery on this trip to South Africa is, oddly enough, a Black British hip hop/soul singer named Estelle, who released "American Boy" with Kanye West on April 29. This is nice. With all this bad PR the US has been getting in the last eight years, this is a refreshingly positive spin on the real America. Enjoy! See also "1980", "Free<"/a> and "Come Over" with John Legend.
  • Action -- On May Day 25,000 dock workers went on a one-day strike to protest the war in Iraq. Yes! See democracynow.org. According to truthout.org, a written statement from the union said, "We're loyal to America, and we won't stand by while our country, our troops and our economy are being destroyed by a war that's bankrupting us to the tune of $3 trillion. It's time to stand up, and we're doing our part today."
  • Time to Take Action -- Len Hart talks about "Bush's Conspiracy to Create an American Police State" at OpEd News. This is a very interesting analysis with rich historical references. In Part One, he says, "Police States Begin With False Flag Attacks".
  • Veteran Reporter's Had Enough -- Helen Thomas on Bush's admission that he approved torture after many statements of the opposite.

    April 29, 2008

    Bye Bye -- We need a new Air America. Now they got rid of Randi Rhodes. The way she tells it, the new ownership wanted to break her contract, which was a very advantageous contract because Rhodes was one of the driving forces in the formation of the station. They weren't getting what they wanted, so it was they who put the video of her private stand-up comedy performance on YouTube and publicized it. Then in the uproar about Rhodes' references to Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro as whores, they suspended her. An earlier incarnation of Air America got rid of Mike Malloy, the personnification of white hot anti-Bush fury, and one who certainly finds many like minds in the broadcast universe. He's gone. Randi Rhodes is gone. Walmart is still on. I don't care much for listening to Walmart telling me how I can get low-priced building materials there. I know about Walmart and don't want to do business with them. What happened to Air America? Someone new has to come along and recognize that the progressive audience is out there and is potentially huge. Flattening out and corporatizing Air America is not going to win the progressive audience. So what audience are they trying to appeal to? With an 80 percent anti-Bush population, you shouldn't have to become right wing to make money in broadcasting. It sounds like the typically money-mad dizzy chicken investor mentality has seized control of Air America. Ownership making very scared judgments based on strange interpretations of statistics, thinking skewed by panic and weighed down by convention. Or just flat-out coopted. Anyway, it looks like both Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy have turned up elsewhere, on Internet radio at novamradio.com.

  • Here, my friends, is a link to share. Arianna Huffington on "Why the discredited right still sets the agenda..." She lays it down nicely.
  • Too Supreme -- Rob Krall at

    opednews.com asks if the Supreme Court is in effect picking another president. We know how that turned out. And speaking of the not-supremes, check out "Getting Over Scalia" by William Betz in which he says, "A thug is a thug regardless of his ethnic identity, whether his thuggery is perpetrated at the point of a gun or the point of a pen. Surely there were many people who believed Hitler was charming and that Mussolini had a wonderful sense of humor. The crimes of the two, however, remain unforgivable. The crime perpetrated by black-robed thugs in 2000, a crime hidden behind pseudointellectual and dishonest legal reasoning for purely political purposes, a crime so vile that it makes a mockery of democracy, is equally unforgivable. 'Get over it,' indeed."


    April 21, 2008

    Obamaphobia -- Morning news in the evening, not the latest news, cold off the press! I've been getting some e-mails from people who exhibit a virulent hatred for Obama that is so intense it's puzzling. The emotion in these messages about Obama is never followed up and completed by its complement in the realm of logic. These are from intelligent people, don't get me wrong. But they come on so strong in the subject line I am ready for a real bombshell in the message. But the charges seem increasingly light and without substance. It leaves me wondering why the hatred driving the message is so strong. I'm not saying I have an answer to the question. Just wondering why supporters of Hillary Clinton seem intent to portray Obama as Lucifer. I have no doubt they are sincere, and I know they are intelligent, so I'm just puzzling over it. The message I got yesterday said something about Obama dishonoring us all by giving Hillary the finger. I've seen some variations on this, and one had a link to a video of the alleged act of lowlife profanity by Obama. As I am clicking on it, I'm almost shaking in anticipation asking myself: Am I really going to see Obama giving Hillary the finger?

    I just cannot feature this. I have seen a few instances of George Bush very pointedly and unambiguously giving the finger to the camera, still shots, movie footage and vivid verbal descriptions. There was no doubt about it and seeing them makes it hard to doubt that these are true, sincere acts on the part of George W. In fact, it's one of the most actual and real expressions you are ever likely to see from this bad boy. And I confess I have often felt exactly the same way toward him as he expresses so tangibly in the obscene gesture and in fact in almost his every act. George Bush is giving the finger to the world. That is his meaning in history.

    We're talking about a very resentful frat rat who grew up with two insane parents and was so damaged he could barely read, so he had to go through his life with every break, and always falling dismally short of the example and expectations of his father. And don't forget the stern presence of George W.'s grandfather, the banker who set up a Nazi front bank in New York to raise money for the Nazi war effort until he was finally closed down years into the war under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Shut down under the Roosevelt administration, and now his descendants are getting us all back for it. He's a guy who blew up frogs with firecrackers with his best friend for kicks. He's expressing the same attitude as an adult in his scornful presentation of the bird and in his destruction of every principle held dear by a majority of Americans. After waking from 20 years of booze and cocaine abuse, he was little evolved emotionally from when he was a kid. This is what we are dealing with here. Check out Bush on the Couch for the details.

    Enough with Bush, we've had him to kick us around for nearly a decade and now even the Clintons are under the sway of the Bush family with their parties in Kennebunkport and Hillary's dream of sending Bill Clinton with Poppy Bush for a "fence-mending" tour. Mend fences and shore up alliances with the powerful of either party, effectively monopolizing the political system among an elite power-sharing arrangement. But none of them have to worry about the others protecting the people from them. If Clinton is elected, the Bushes have at least another term's protection from accountability for their crimes. Old man George Herbert Walker Bush is practically at the end of this tether now, so he will escape prosecution for his many crimes. But George W. still has to keep a hand on power to a certain extent to immunize him and his mob from prosecution for a while for their insane thrill kill ride through America. And there is certainly no threat to his power from McCain or from Hillary Clinton. But I digress.

    I could not feature Obama doing that. You don't have to in any way like him to find it very far fetched that this sharp cookie is going to be caught dead giving someone the finger. You may consider him the vilest of creatures, but you can't say he's stupid. There has been nothing in his behavior that has indicated that he could do anything to ridiculously out of control.

    And indeed when I opened up the thing and put on the video it was a colossal puff of hot air. There is Obama giving his speech, and looking quite good actually, and at a certain point after referring to Hillary Clinton he touches his hand lightly to his cheek, all fingers extended, but the one that actually touches is the middle one. This is the big moment for which we are to pronounce Obama suddenly an obscene, petty fool who should be denounced and exiled. Suddenly his real character is revealed! He's not only a black suprematist, black separatist, a fraud, so liberal his unamerican, he also has the mentality of a junior high punk. Sorry, I'm not buying it. That kind of scorch-and-char political strategy is short term. It may work through the Pennsylvania primary, but ultimately it will burn itself out. These increasingly absurd charges against Obama are starting to create an immunity in the public against them. So the Clintons, as is really the only correct way of referring to that candidate, may win a short-term advantage, but they are ultimately destroying themselves by their increasingly desperate foolish behavior.

    This thing about the dramatic story about going to Bosnia, and now to say, "I misspoke"! I love that word. Miss poke. Again, putting aside her character and intentions, what is the point of cooking up such a story about a scene that was filmed by network news? What is the intelligence of the move itself even if you believe the intentions are good? It is a very bizarre turning in history. Watching the self-destruction of the Clintons' place in history is lurid, something you feel like you shouldn't be watching. After the agony of America under the Bush-Cheney crush machine, the Clintons looked like a golden age in retrospect. If it weren't for Obama, that unlikely phenomenon of a powerful opponent, she would have sailed into the nomination it appears. She was anointed. And now there's this damned upstart. But Obama is only the expression of a large part of the population that just wants enough with the Clintons already.

    April 18, 2008

  • An Abuse of the Public Airwaves -- Will Bunch of The Philadelphia Daily News, wrote to ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos: "It's hard to know where to begin with this, less than an hour after you signed off from your Democratic presidential debate here in my hometown of Philadelphia, a televised train wreck that my friend and colleague Greg Mitchell has already called, quite accurately, "a shameful night for the U.S. media." It's hard because - like many other Americans - I am still angry at what I just witnesses, so angry that it's hard to even type accurately because my hands are shaking... With your performance tonight - your focus on issues that were at best trivial wastes of valuable airtime and at worst restatements of right-wing falsehoods, punctuated by inane "issue" questions that in no way resembled For tthe real world concerns of American voters - you disgraced my profession of journalism, and, by association, me and a lot of hard-working colleagues who do still try to ferret out the truth, rather than worry about who can give us the best deal on our capital gains taxes."
  • Come Out from Hiding, Karl -- According to Larisa Alexandrovna, "The House Judiciary Committee is taking Karl Rove up on an offer to testify about claims that he influenced a federal corruption case against former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama. The committee on Thursday asked former White House adviser Rove to appear under oath soon. (atlargely.com). See also Locust Fork Journal. Cold -- Theda Skocpol, who attended a "January 1995 meeting convened by the Clintons at Camp David to help them sort through the 1994 election debacle and help him prepare for the 1995 State of the Union Address," recalls on the Huffington Post that while Bill Clinton showed real empathy for "the ordinary people whose motives and supposedly misguided choices were under analysis," Hillary's attitude toward working class whites who had not supported Clinton in 1994 was hard nosed. "what is clear in both in my memory and my notes is that there was extensive, hard-nosed discussion about why masses of voters did not support Clinton or trust government or base their choices on economic as opposed to what people saw as peripheral life-style concerns. Hillary Clinton was among the most cold-blooded analysts in attendance," writes Skocpol. "She spoke of ordinary voters as if they were a species apart, and showed interest only in the political usefulness of their choices -- usefulness to the Clinton administration, that is." The article was in response to another on Huffington Post by Sam Stein.
  • Deserved Insult -- A Wall Street Journal parody featuring a topless Ann Coulter is almost as disgusting as the real Konservative Kitten. See Huffington Post.

    April 14, 2008

    Trivializing the Process -- One of AOL News' top stories is a big drama over whether Obama uttered a no-no. Apparently he said something about frustrated people becoming bitter. This statement has "given Clinton an opening." It doesn't even say what it was that he said that caused the controversy, supposedly, until deep into the article. When you read it, it's not really such a big thing, but by then you're beyond the comment and deeply into this big drama. Referring to people who are frustrated with economic conditions, he said, "It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." This is what the big hassle is about? I believe that this constant trivializing of the real issues facing Americans and reducing the campaign to a series of trivial arguments over some supposedly offensive comment serves at least two purposes. It distracts people from the appalling issues that really face Americans and are relevant to their choice of whom to vote for. And secondly, it reduces it all to such petty crap that it turns people off of the whole thing. Either way it serves to keep people from the real problems and from any effective action to deal with the problems. It's all superficial talk about the campaign as a contest, not about the issues themselves, and there's little indication that the campaign has any other substance besides these totally superfical comments back and forth.
  • So? Can the people stop the power usurpers from attacking Iran? William Cormier opednews.com thinks yes.
  • Piling on the BS -- A fascinating insight from Theda Skocpol, who writes that, "I have been in meetings with the Clintons and their advisors where very clinical things were said in a very-detached tone about unwillingness of working class voters to trust government -- and Bill Clinton -- and about their unfortunate (from a Clinton perspective) proclivity to vote on life-style rather than economic issues. To see Hillary going absolutely over the top to smash Obama for making clearly more humanly sympathetic observations in this vein, is just amazing. Even more so to see her pretending to be a gun-toting non-elite. Give us a break! I wonder if she realizes that gaining a few days of lurid publicity that might reach a slice of voters is going to cost her a great deal in the regard of many Democrats, whose strong support she will need if she somehow claws her way to the nomination -- and even more so if she does not clinch the nomination. The distribution of 'we're not bitter' stickers to her campaign rallies is the height of over-the-top crudity, and the reports are that very few audience members seem to have much enthusiasm for this nonsense. Not surprisingly, people cannot see the reasons for so much fuss." talkingpointsmemo.com

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