Monday, March 31, 2008

A Modest Proposal for Drug-Testing...

Amurka' (thanks Virginia!)--It should be law that every single politician holding office in the United States of America be required to have a monthly drug-test, and for all illicit and pharmaceutical drugs that can be abused. Period. Also, all corporate executives should be tested every three-days, since cocaine tends to leave your system. The corporations would be required to foot-the-bill for their own tests, and couldn't use their own subsidiary firms to do the drug-testing in any. No exceptions, no loopholes.

Also, everyone working at a drug-testing firm would have to be tested every week, especially the executives and shareholders. Outside of dangerous jobs, and vocations that absolutely require an individual to be clean and sober (like airline pilots, machinists, surgeons, etc.), the public should be completely immune to drug-testing.

Secretaries, clerks, and people who man cash registers aren't posing any threat. The President of the United States should always be tested for pills and booze, particularly if they're a Republican. It doesn't matter. Soon, there won't be money for anything, they're even pulling-the-plug on the war on drugs these days. Such are the ways of a a declining empire. And that brings us to the death of the month of March, 2008.

"Married Troops Can Live Together in Iraq"

Baghdada--And I wish them luck...

Ow! That's gotta hurt: The President is booed throwing the pitch for his favorite game

Washington Nationals Park--With the economy crashing, and American Empire going with it, it must be truly terrifying to know that you've been crucial in accelerating it with your incompetence, ignorance, and amorality. You would have to be heavily medicated to withstand the nearly ubiquitous hatred the president is enduring, almost Nixonian in its brilliance and intensity. They say Nixon drank and popped pills, a well-established GOP tradition going back to the years of Coolidge and Harding. Anyway, it's a new $600 million stadium. Rah.

What he knows that we don't--if he knows anything at all--is that the dislike of him is going to get cranked-up significantly higher once the economic reality sinks-in, and that time is coming before January 21, 2009. This wasn't supposed to happen, but that's life. The best made plans of mice and know.

But watch CNN, Fox News, or just about any major American news outlet, and you'll find that the audio from the president's pitch is gone and that's there's nary-a-mention that it happened at all. One would have expected this from the state-controlled television in the former Soviet Union. This isn't anything new with our dubious mainstream press in any respect. They rarely lie: they simply don't tell us what we need to know. AP's Ben Feller is a prime example (or was it his editor? ownership?). His article not only contains no mention of the "boos," it goes as far as the lie and obfuscation:
Bush also threw out the first pitch at the Nationals' first home game in 2005, when baseball returned to the city after more than three decades. He was mostly cheered [Ed.-And?] that day at RFK Stadium when he threw a pitch that sailed in a bit high to the catcher.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who threw the first pitch the next year, had it a bit rougher. He was greeted by boos, and his ball landed in the dirt. ("Bush Gets First Pitch, First Look," AP, 03.30.2008)

No, both Cheney and President George W. Bush were booed, and the majority of the American public didn't choose them to govern (not that they have, just blindly pillaged). Certainly, underplaying the damage and the real mood out there is that other weapon in the arsenal of the media and their owners, and it's an arsenal that's rapidly depleting and losing its sting. But lying is almost a new low, and it takes a climate of desperation (rah!) to sink a global pillage. Hey pal, journalists and editors have a mortgage to pay too, your rights-be-damned. Astonishingly, the Washington Times was more forthright than AP and many other outlets:

Before the game, flashbulbs popped, giant American flags unfurled, F-16 jets [Ed.-Where were they during 9/11? Ordered to stand-down.] performed a flyover and President Bush threw out the first pitch to a mixed reception of cheers and boos as brand new Nationals Park came alive on a chilly evening, just 22 months after construction began.

Wearing a red Nationals jacket, Mr. Bush took the mound as he did before the first home game at RFK Stadium in 2005. ("A home run for D.C.," The Washington Times, 03.31.2008)

By lying, the media's gatekeepers are showing us the puppet's strings and how the game of media manipulation works. Once again, we can thank George W. Bush and his reactionary backers for all of this. Without their desperate bumbling, corrupt nature, and general incompetence, we wouldn't be seeing the levers-of-control so readily, so easily. Thanks George, it's been real. You were our first Socialist president, thanks to your bumbling and arrogance.

And so, while all the King's men try to put Humpty back together again and tell us that it was "only a few people at the game" who were booing him, we the public, know better. WE were the ones who "booed" him, and have been booing him since well-before January, 2001. Most of us have simply decided he isn't even worth booing any more, just worth impeaching and charging with war crimes. We might just get our wish, and soon.

Dramatic geopolitical and economic events have a way of making the counting of how many people "booed" the president seem as petty and insignificant as they really are. At a 28% approval rating--and soon to be plummeting further--he's in trouble. Not that that's anything new. It's a good thing Congress has his back, but an army of municipal councils, state politicians, citizen action groups, and human rights lawyers are swarming. The war in Iraq is never going to "improve," contrary to John McCain's assertions. The GOP has created their own perfect storm that could make them a minority party for another fifty-years. Good often comes out of the bad.
6:30 p.m. -- The Secret Service prepares for Presdident [Ed.-This is the actual spelling by a paid journalist. Ahem. Sports be muy liefe.] George W. Bush's visit to Nationals Park. They were checking out everything everywhere. Media members were getting their bags and computers sniffed by a dog and checked. Now, as game time drew closer, Secret Service agents were all over the place on the first floor of the stadium, checking and rechecking everything. Several of them were in the tunnel/pathway that leads from the field to the first floor -- where the elevators are that lead to other parts of the ballpark and the locker rooms. Later on, the building's elevators will be locked down because the president is in the building. ("Opening night has many perspectives,", 03.31.2008)
The world is coming for a correction, for justice. Bush administration personnel can all be tried after the president's term; there is no statute of limitations on war crimes. One could say that the "boos" have just begun, but that began at the inauguration in January of 2001, and it was withheld from us. For the first time in American history, a riot broke-out at an inauguration, something that didn't even occur under Lincoln in the midst of a bloody civil war.

We weren't told then, but we always find-out, even if belatedly. Many more suppressed stories will come floating-upwards in-the-aftermath of what can only be called the most openly criminal presidential administration this country has ever seen. That it was a Republican one should be of no surprise whatsoever, but those Democrats will give it their best try in the future. Very few outlets even commented on the fact that most of the well-heeled audience at the game booed the president. It sure wasn't the poor of D.C.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A visitor from Pier Paolo Pasolini's Home Region

Site Meter/Friuli, Italy--For myself, there are only a few figures on our cultural and political landscape who warrant being called modern-day martyrs or saints: Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., George Jackson, Lenny Bruce, Karen Silkwood, Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

It thrills me to no end to see someone from the region where he was born and spent his early-life reading about him and how some of us in America value who he was. I can't do any justice to Pier Paolo, this modern saint and poet. Read his writings. Watch the films he directed, and often wrote as well. If you're lucky, you already know Friulian and Italian.

On the other hand, they might hate him, but that was Pasolini. The reactions to him were strong, because he was a voice of truth. And that's just his cultural and political writings; Pasolini was like Leonardo DaVinci, a polymath who could excel at almost anything. He angered both the Italian Communist Party, and the fascists. My feeling is that he decided very early-on that for Italian culture to absorb his ideas, he would have to offer-himself-up as a kind of sacrifice. Most interesting is that Friuli was that strange place on the Northeastern side of the Apennine penninsula that remained pagan well into the 15th-16th centuries...

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Petition-O-Rama: Sign the Ones You Agree With!

Richard Greene's show "Clout!" on Air America interviewed's David Swanson about the Iraq Town Halls project and urged Air America listeners to take part. Here's the audio:

Peter Rothberg of the Nation magazine has written about the Iraq Town Halls:

Progressive Democrats of America
is helping to organize Iraq Town Halls and has just launched its Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign to bring our troops home from Iraq and use the savings to pass H.R. 676, Rep. John Conyers' bill which guarantees comprehensive publicly-funded, privately-delivered health care for everyone in the U.S. Please sign their petition:

Win Without War
is urging its members to take part in Iraq Town Halls and wants Rep. John Murtha, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, to provide funding only for the safe and timely redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq.

Please sign their letter:

filed a complaint with the FEC because John McCain is breaking his own campaign finance law by spending $4 million above the limit he imposed on himself when he accepted public financing.

You can sign it too:

The Backbone Campaign
is helping to promote Iraq Town Halls and has just created the Procession for the Future, a creative organizing tool with which to inspire, educate and train students, youth and concerned citizens to be more effective activists. The Procession for the Future is a touring parade, using high production value art and spectacle to animate our aspirations and deliver a compelling progressive vision for the country. A dozen giant puppets and floats portray a set of progressive policy priorities.

Use this tool:

is asking its members to be part of Iraq Town Halls and is organizing against an attack on Iran at:

Cities for Peace
is also involved and is helping localities pass resolutions against an attack on Iran:
has almost reach 120,000 signatures on a petition to Bush and Cheney opposing an attack on Iran, and 100,000 on a petition to members of the military urging them to refuse illegal orders to launch such an attack:

Voters for Peace
is urging Congress to compel the testimony of Admiral Fallon, who reportedly resigned due to disputes with the White House over whether a military attack on Iran should be pursued:

Code Pink:
Women for Peace is working with us on planning Iraq Town Halls around the country, while at the same time keeping up the pressure on Capitol Hill every day:

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)
are available as speakers at Iraq Town Halls, and video of their Winter Soldier testimony is available as well and highly recommended:

Veterans for Peace
has just published a letter to the peace movement:

L.A.'s "Reason" magazine (who are they?) writes about...ME!

Los Angeles, the City of Raymond Chandler
--It took Michael C. Moynihan (who's he?) just four-months to discover my article "English Accents and American Advertising," a piece primarily about the proliferation of the UK-accent in American advertising, and my take on why it's occurring. But instead, to Moynihan, it's about "how enraged" I am about my "intellectual isolation," and how Brits are invading the United States to buy things and misbehave...or something along-those-lines. Maybe. Thanks, Mike, you read my mind, and you know everything about my life and Indiana. Thanks.

Moynihan either forgot or willfully misrepresented the real message--
the subtext--of my original article: that Americans have allowed themselves to be dumbed-down, and that even our politicians sound stupid when they talk. Listen to our current president and tell me with a straight-face that I'm wrong. For that matter, listen to almost any current incumbent holding office in these here U-ni-ted States attempting speech.

To Michael Moynihan, the run-up to the war in Iraq never happened, and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld never called the EU "Old Europe," or that most of our diplomats have such bad diction that they're unable to effectively form the right words required to negotiate with their peers from other nations.

Look, I know that "I'm just jealous," and that someone who can barely write (Moynihan) probably draws more money from his so-called "writing" than I've ever made (or ever will), or that who his exact audience is is beyond my lowly working-class comprehension. But enough about his connections, or his ability to kiss executive/foundation asses. Mike should do the thinking for us. Never mind that the subtext of his piece, "Rant: Take Them Back to Dear Old Blighty-The ugliest byproduct of the sagging dollar," supports the thesis of my original piece in-spades, and please-please, do step over the victims of America--you might get those expensive Italian shoes soiled.

Who are you talking to Mike? Who is your audience? My uneducated guess would be well-off professionals like you, the trust fund kids and the silver spoon crowd whose job is to tell the rest of us how to think and how wonderful you all are. Shame, but at least your article is utterly incomprehensible.

One might assume--making an ass of you and me--that his piece angered me, but that would be wrong. I'm loving the irony, and the tiny bit of exposure it's brought to my humble little blog, "J to the Power of 7" (, and the fact that it at least got him thinking for a few milliseconds. Cognitive dissonance hurts, I know. So, while all the comfortable people watch in horror as the economy they said shouldn't be regulated collapses for that very same reason, we can feel safe in the knowledge that Michael C. Moynihan...what does he feel?

I couldn't tell from his article, and couldn't locate a thesis. Maybe it's: "The British are coming! The British are coming!" Considering Moynihan's Irish-American, that might be measure of concern. Thanks for the laughs and the exposure, Mike, it felt good being quoted in the same paragraph as actor Val Kilmer (Brother Val, I agree!). And Mike, you're arch-neoconservative whether you know it or not. Go buy a tie, it looks better. But Mike and I have something in- common: nobody knows who we are, nor do they care.

"English Accents and American Advertising," 10.27.2007:

Michael C. Moynihan's article at "Reason magazine" (April 2008 issue):

Revised 07.02.2008

Updates from America's Stalingrad

<http://www.usatoday .com/news/ world/iraq/ 2008-03-27- security- abduction_ N.htm>Iraqi spokesman kidnapped in Baghdad 27 Mar 2008 An Interior Ministry official says the civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security operation has been kidnapped and three bodyguards killed. Sunni Tahseen Sheikhly often appeared with U.S. military and embassy officials at news conferences to tout the successes of the crackdown that began in Baghdad and surrounding areas more than a year ago.

<http://news. s/afp/20080327/ wl_mideast_ afp/iraq_ 080327111150>Key Iraq Oil Export Pipeline Blown Up By Saboteurs --105 killed in battles in Shiite areas of Iraq 27 Mar 2008 Fighting rocked two Iraq cities on Thursday as security forces battled Shiite militiamen for a third day in clashes that left 105 people dead, while saboteurs blew up a key oil export pipeline. Samir al-Maksusi, spokesman for the Southern Oil Company, said the pipeline had been blown up with a bomb. "The blast directly affects the exports," he said.

<http://www.iht. com/articles/ ap/2008/03/ 27/africa/ ME-FIN-Iraq- Pipeline- Explosion. php>Gunmen blow up another oil pipeline in southern Iraq 27 Mar 2008 A bomb struck an oil pipeline Thursday in Iraq's southern city of Basra where Iraqi security forces have been clashing with Shiite militia fighters, an oil official said, the second such attack this week.

< com/article/ ALeqM5g3yj077TBC e4pRDC9icZLe1XND KA>Oil prices surge past 107 dollars on Iraq pipeline attack 27 Mar 2008 Oil prices jumped above 107 dollars a barrel on Thursday when concern about tight supplies increased on news that saboteurs had blown up a major Iraqi export pipeline, traders said. New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, rose by 1.12 dollars to 107.02 dollars per barrel.

<http://news. s/afp/20080327/ wl_mideast_ afp/iraq_ 080327123656>Fighting spreads in Shiite areas of Iraq 27 Mar 2008 Iraqi security forces Thursday battled Shiite militiamen in the southern hub of Basra, where saboteurs blew up a key oil pipeline, as fierce fighting engulfed the Shiite city of Kut, police said. At least 105 people have died in clashes since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered his troops to crack down on "lawless gangs" in Basra on Tuesday, according to official reports. Some sources have put the toll at double that.

<http://news. s/nm/20080327/ ts_nm/iraq_ dc_45>Sadr followers march to demand downfall of Maliki 27 Mar 2008 Thousands of supporters of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched in Baghdad on Thursday to protest against a three-day-old crackdown against his followers and call for the downfall of the U.S.-backed government. Mass demonstrations were held in the Sadr City, Kadhimiya and Shula districts. An Interior Ministry source said hundreds of thousands had taken to the streets... Saboteurs blew up one of Iraq's two main oil export pipelines from Basra, cutting off a third of the exports from the city which provides 80 percent of the government's revenue.

<http://www.telegrap main.jhtml? xml=/news/ 2008/03/26/ wiraq326. xml>Moqtada al-Sadr orders Iraq PM out of Basra 26 Mar 2008 The Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has demanded that the country's prime minister leave Basra where he is overseeing a military operation to purge the southern city of its Shi'ite militiamen.

<http://www.independ news/world/ middle-east/ iraq-implodes- as-shia-fights- shia-801214. html>Iraq implodes as Shia fights Shia --Another tragedy as the Shia majority turn on each other 27 Mar 2008 A new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad. Heavy fighting engulfed Iraq's two largest cities and spread to other towns yesterday as the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, gave fighters of the Mehdi Army, led by the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 72 hours to surrender their weapons.

<http://news. s/ap/20080326/ ap_on_re_ mi_ea/iraq_ sadr_s_stronghol d_1>Shiite enclave back on edge 26 Mar 2008 The Associated Press toured Sadr City on Wednesday to observe its rapid swing from relative quiet to a return of the Mahdi Army swagger before the U.S. military troop buildup in Baghdad last year... "We are a different force than the one you saw in 2004," a senior Mahdi commander said at his Sadr City home. "We are now better organized, have better weapons, command centers and easy access to logistical and financial support," added the commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. Squatting on the floor next to two of his fighters, the commander sipped sweet black tea as a U.S. helicopter flew low overhead. A burst of gunfire rang out at one point. Another moment, he listened to the screech of a rocket. "That's going to the Green Zone," he said.

<http://www.aswatali look/english/ article.tpl? IdLanguage= 1&IdPublication= 4&NrArticle= 74346&NrIssue= 2&NrSection= 1>U.S. airstrike kills 60 gunmen in Hilla 27 Mar 2008 (VOI) More than 60 gunmen were killed on Wednesday evening as U.S. choppers fired rockets against buildings used by gunmen in central Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, Iraqi security source said.

<http://www.presstv. ir/detail. aspx?id=49091& sectionid= 351020201>Two US soldiers killed in Baghdad 27 Mar 2008 Two American soldiers have been killed in Baghdad during combat operations in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, the US military has announced.

<http://www.telegrap main.jhtml? xml=/news/ 2008/03/26/ wiraq426. xml>SAS trooper shot dead in al-Qa'eda raid 26 Mar 2008 An SAS trooper has been killed during a raid on a high-level al-Qa'eda [al-CIAduh] leader in Iraq. The soldier, who under Ministry of Defence policy will never be named, died from a gunshot wound during a covert operation to detain a 'terrorist' in the Baghdad area.

Ed.--Thanks goes out to Virginia Simson for providing these links.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Bloomberg Still Withholding Endorsement [of Candidates]"

Who gives-a-shit? Morons, that's who. At least he's old and he's gonna croak soon. Not one dollar he's hoarded from the rest of us will change this fact. As with Giuliani, New Yorkers and everyone driven-out of Manhattan thanks to gentrification are waiting with bated-breath for him to kick it. Now, if we can get-rid of "Our Man, Bitch" here in Indiana. Or is it "Our Man-Bitch"? No, I'd say it's "THEIR Man, Bitch." Mitch Daniels was George W. Bush's economics adviser (business shill) during the first term--you know, back around September 11th, 2001. The Republicans were so corrupt and incompetent that a successful terrorist attack occurred.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Missing-the-point of Technology (revision of July 2007 piece)

You ever noticed that whole swaths of the public and those in government just haven't--and still don't get--the implications of the Internet and the blogs? It's like the officer classes during WWI, sending wave-after-wave of infantrymen into machine-gun fire because they thought 19th century military-tactics still applied. Or what of the Kaiser's inability to recall the trains sending the German Army to the fronts as part of the "Schlieffen plan" in the first-days of the Great War? Yes, this is where the legendary phrase, "The trains must run on-time," comes from.

Quit sleep-walking through history, and start reflecting on these things. The Internet and the blogs serve as an even greater innovation than the advent of the printing press. Wake up. Develop an imagination. Use your head. Now act. It's time to end the apathy and boorishness. It's not a time for "niceness," it's time to really communicate with each other, directly. Technology has a way of bringing people together, while separating them. Experience gets more and more mediated and indirect in our modern world. Where do we get it to balance-out, where we control technology rather than it controlling us? Missing the implications of any new technology can have deadly results that are far-ranging, affecting millions.

The Iraqi-insurgents appear to understand this better, but necessity was always the mother of invention. They aren't alone--someone is testing weaponry on the battlefields of the Middle East right now. At the start of the war, they were blasting-holes completely through our best battle tanks with gold-tipped RPGs, developed in Switzerland. The Merchants of Death live, and their representatives are occupying the White House and Congress. That's not the most important aspect of technology--though we should recognize its origins in war as a warning. The most terrifying and important part is how technology shapes the patterns of our everyday lives, and how it alters our environment. Now that's scary.

[Ed.--This seemed very appropriate considering the recent Hillary Clinton gaffe over the alleged Serbian sniper-flap. Dr. Seuss would be proud of that last sentence.]

My Richard Widmark Moment ("Shrimp, or plate of shrimp.")

JUNGOSPHERE--It's an amazing coincidence, or there's something here: last-night, I finished watching the final Hammer horror film--"To the Devil a Daughter"--from 1976, a great film with Christopher Lee. This was the first major film role for the 18-year-old Natassja Kinski, and one of the later ones for Richard Widmark. The story is very similar to Roman Polanski's film version of "Rosemary's Baby" (1968, the year I was born).

What's interesting is that I began watching the film on Easter Sunday--it just felt right somehow, movie about satanists--and began watching it again Monday, then Tuesday night. Widmark died on Monday, and it doesn't appear that any information on the exact time is being given, but he died abruptly. On Sunday, I was watching the film, and wondered to myself, "Isn't Richard Widmark still alive? Surely, he still is, though he must be in his nineties." and I shrugged-it-off.

What's bizarre is where I stopped the film on Monday: there is a confrontation between Widmark (an expert on occultism, a "good" protagonist of the story) and Christopher Lee's heretic priest, a satanist. Widmark is literally struck-down in the scene, but he doesn't die. That's where I ended the movie, finally finishing it today...and the news flashed that Richard Widmark was dead, aged 93.

He was a great of the film noir era, one of the most creative periods of the golden age of Hollywood, and acted in films by Samuel Fuller like "Pickup on South Street" (1953), a real classic "Cold War-noir," the legendary "Kiss of Death"(1947), "Night and the City" (directed by Jules Dassin, 1950), "Broken Lance" (a western, 1954), and so many others. But it's going to be "Kiss of Death" with its scene of his character Tommy Udo pushing a wheelchair-bound old woman down a flight of stairs. When Widmark played a bad-guy, you really hated him, and he was believable--you never doubted his performances, he understood the fallen. This writer predicts more of a return to the noir-aesthetic in film, considering the darkness and uncertainty of this era (thanks Len).

D.B. Cooper's Parachute

Washington State--Here's to Dan Cooper and his 1971 hijacking for $200,000, back when it was worth something. Here's to those who steal from the thieves and get away with it. Here's to John Dillinger who might have gotten away. America could use some more social rebels--real ones, not the corporate-model.

The hope is that the finding of the remains of a parachute are from Cooper's famous 1971 bail-out (no, not Bear Stearns). What's really exciting is that the find fits the area of where Cooper probably landed, and covers previous search areas.

In 1980, a family found around $8,000 of the money on the banks of a Washington river, most of it half-rotted from only ten years of exposure to the elements. This isn't about finding the money, most of which is either with Dan somewhere on the other side of the globe (or next door to you readers), with his dessicated corpse hanging from a tree, or simply turned to dust on some Washington forest floor or riverbed.

The only important thing is to find-out what really happened after he parachuted from that airliner, almost 37 years ago.

Crime never pays, just don't tell that to the GOP and the White House, or even Wall Street for that matter. D.B. Cooper, I hope and pray that you got away, but it doesn't matter: a majority of bank robberies are successful in this country, and all property is theft. Banks losing their ass will always be better than the average person losing theirs. Bailout the public, and let the rich take their losses in the marketplace as they should. Otherwise, we can expect to see many more Dillingers and Coopers. You can bank on that one, if nothing else.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary's Gaffe (which one?) on Bosnia (OK)

"For Ronald Reagan, the world of legend and myth is a real world. He visits it regularly, and he's a happy man there." 
--Pat Buchanan

The Campaign Trail of Tears
--Why is anyone surprised by the fact that Hillary lied about sleeping with Sinbad? You have no idea how funny this is, he's from Benton Harbor, Michigan, a town close to my own home. I know--sex with Sinbad--but it'll at least squelch all those rumors...the kind that are orbiting furiously around Lynne Cheney.

Both Sinbad and Hillary flew to Bosnia, and weren't shot at by Serbian snipers. That part about the snipers was also bullshit. Does that mean she isn't going to fix our health care system and get us out of the Middle East? You think?

She [mis]spoke, for example, of how a welcoming ceremony had to be abandoned as sniper fire forced members of her official party to run for their lives.
"I remember landing under sniper fire," she said.
"There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.
"But it was a moment of great pride for me."
Unfortunately for Senator Clinton plenty of television footage has survived, showing the actual circumstances of her arrival, which were very different. ("Clinton's thrilling tale falls flat," BBC, 03.26.2008)
Someone needs to introduce Mrs. Clinton to that new-fangled invention called the telephone sometime as well. And why not show her around the Army's bases to see the recent innovation of the machine-gun. There are a few analogues to this peculiar assumption that others aren't going to remember since there are things like audio-recorders and videotape and video-cameras, or that someone wasn't going to check the newspaper archives for such bald-ass lies. Oh, I know, it's just because she's a woman (and a liar, that helps tip-the-balance) that she gets these attacks. I don't mean the phantom-Serbian snipers.

These kind of bumbling examples come from the Republican Party's behavior during the 1980s and 1990s. There were the many gaffes of the current president's father--George H.W. Bush--when he challenged journalists to produce recordings of statements he was purported to have made--and to his horror and surprise, they did. Poppy thought the gramophone was still in use. But remember Ronald Reagan? I sure do, and boy was he a funny guy, just not in a "funny ha-ha" way, since it's frightening to intelligent people when the president is an ignorant , bumbling-ass. Yes, I have been very afraid since late-2000. There was that wonderful story that then-President Reagan (nobody voted back then either, so he also creeped-into-office) liked to the tell the press corps and Israeli-leaders how he had helped film concentration camps in Western Europe
during WWII.

It was a half-remembered lie by the "Great Rememberer," which he told more than once to reporters. Ronald Regan never served any duty in Europe during WWII. Not in a combat unit, or even a combat film unit as people like Frank Capra, or combat journalists like Ernie Pyle. He made training films in Hollywood while real stars like Jimmy Stewart were serving their country on real battlefields. Feeble-attempts to muddy the waters surrounding the concentration camp story by former Reagan administration luminaries as Charles Hill (Exec. Asst. to Secretary of State George Schultz) have failed, and the fact remains that the president had a way of mixing fact and fantasy. He believed his own lies as most reactionaries do:

Secretary Shultz's version of this story, which suggests that the American press garbled an exchange understood by Prime Minister Shamir to mean that President Reagan had merely seen film of the camps, may be a little wishful. Lou Cannon, White House correspondent for The Washington Post during the Reagan administration, gave, in his 1991 President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, a detailed account of both how the story was originally reported and how the White House recast it. Cannon reports having first run into the story in the February 10, 1984, issue of the weekly newsletter Near East Report... ("'The Lion King': An Exchange," The New York Review of Books, 03.05.1998)
No, Mr. Hill wouldn't be biased in any way, having served in the Reagan White House, not in any respect. He wasn't protecting a legacy in any Maoist-fashion. It wouldn't mean much if it hadn't been the only occasion where the president couldn't distinguish something he saw in a film or a movie from actual reality. He also told a story of a courageous WWII bomber flight over Europe, again-and-again, to numerous audiences and to the press. It was really just a poor rehash of the "Gipper" story, and an early-sign of Reagan's dementia in his first term.

The problem was, the bomber story was just something he saw in a movie from 1944 called "A Wing and a Prayer." While the boys were fighting and dying on the beaches of Normandy, Reagan was watching and making movies in Hollywood on a kind of deferment for his eyesight. But that's how it goes with armchair soldiers claiming that they have some upper-hand, a better "national security" image than their political rivals, and that's exactly what Hillary Rodham Clinton was attempting to project with her lame story of her visit to Bosnia in 1996. It's also part of why she authorized the use of force against Iraq in 2002, but that's for later. At least Reagan had the excuse of senility and a generally atrophying-brain. From Reagan's New York Times obituary in 2004:

His flights of imagination remained equally vivid when he went to the White House. In 1983 he told Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel that as part of his war duties he had been assigned to film the Nazi death camps. One of his favorite stories, one that he told over and over again to different audiences, concerned a pilot in World War II who told his crew to bail out of their crippled B-17 bomber. When the tail gunner said he could not move because he was badly wounded, the pilot replied, "Never mind son, we'll ride it down together." When he told the story to a meeting of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society he added that the pilot was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. In fact, no medal was ever awarded for such an incident and the story came, almost word for word, from the script of a movie starring Dana Andrews called "Wing and a Prayer." ("Ronald Reagan Dies at 93;Fostered Cold War Might and Curbs on Government," The New York Times, 06.06.2004)
It's hard to tell what the actual effects of Hillary's fabrication are going be. One can only hope that it means the end of her questionable candidacy for president, as she offers no genuine alternative to the lies and corruption of the Bush II White House and the decades preceding it. Clinton was one of the many senators who voted to authorize the use of aggression against Iraq in late-2002. Only one Republican voted against this authorization.

Her behavior is so much like that of her Republican Party peers in the Senate that she's virtually indistinguishable from them. She echoes their agenda in so many areas of her voting behavior and in her public statements that she must be considered an extremist form of that dreaded creature, the arch-conservative. One can only shudder to think what she sounds like in her private conversations. Hillary Clinton has been one of the greatest enablers of the current GOP outside of Joe Lieberman. The Bosnian-gaffe is just one more lie, and a minor one at that.

The BBC on Hillary's Gaffe:

Ronald Reagan's New York Times Obituary:

Charles Hill vs. Joan Didion, March, 1998:

More Entertainment from the Site Meter: Some Asshole from Chicago...

Chi, Illinois--This one was an easy-call. I merely posted a news release without any comment from some anti-war protesters in Chicago who tried to throw fake-blood on El Presidente and some other goons, and got a torrent of...irrational B.S., frankly. I don't post anything from someone who lacks the courage to use their real name or web-tag. What I find most amusing is the idea that these folks think they're angering. Quite-the-opposite: you're my entertainment when things get boring.

The only exceptions I make with anonymous posts are when the input is constructive--none of them were, so none of them got posted, and never will be. Read the comments policy at my blogger profile. We get day-after-day of your right-wing vomit blasted at us from television and radio, and even in-print. This site isn't another platform for that, it's my and other individual's take on the aforementioned daily corporate propaganda--another view.

A number of the turds who lacked the balls to post under their names were from the Windy City (a town I have a lot of ambivalence over), and one of them made the mistake of posting from work at "ARK Consulting." I don't consider their comments actionable, but I notified the CEO of the company. Nuff said!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

The GOP's Louisiana Senator Can Still be Tried Under the Travel Act

Washington D.C. (and its environs)
--You have to hand it to Louisiana's Fourth Estate, they're rising to the challenge in exposing the obvious double-standard in the treatment of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and current Louisiana Senator (and escort service client) David Vitter.

Even prominent Republicans in the Southern state have been calling for a serious investigation, if not his immediate resignation, so it appears to be "on" down there.

If you've been following the ongoing legal saga in the case of Deborah Jeane Palfrey (dubbed the "DC Madam" by the national press), you know that the charges are money laundering and racketeering, stemming from the Travel Act. Is it likely that Vitter--who wasn't a Senator at the time of his calls to Pamela Martin & Associates from 1999-2001--crossed state lines to do his "sinning"? That's not even at issue, says Christopher Tidmore of the Bayou Buzz:
Since Palfrey was based in California, prosecutors say, every phone call and payment from clients violated the law.Vitter, by telephoning Palfrey over state lines could also be prosecuted under the Travel Act, according to legal experts that has consulted, putting the Senator in a similar legal position as the resigned former Governor, and potentially silencing critics who have said there were no parallels between the cases. The statute of limitations is 10 years for violating the Travel Act, leaving Vitter open to prosecution even today. ("Can Louisiana Sen Vitter Be Prosecuted Under the Travel Act?", 03.24.2008)
The logic of this makes sense, but I'm no legal expert. However, if Palfrey is being charged along-the-lines of using telecommunications across state lines, so too should Vitter. To do otherwise is selective prosecution, a strong possibility in Palfrey's case. What's certain is that there are more parallels between the Spitzer and Vitter stories than previously assumed. Partisan politics has a way of doing these things. Did he, or didn't he?

Nobody reads it, but you know what the Bible says: you sin even when you think about committing a sin, it's as though it really happened. If only we could have applied this to Senator Vitter months ago when Louisiana had a Democratic Governor. The lesson to be learned is that if you're in-trouble with the law, but have powerful friends, it's best to wait-things-out until your enemies are safely out of office. It goes without saying that Vitter is far from being a force of genuine change, but considering his possible fetish for diapers, he could be a force to be changed...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Canadian Tories Under Harper Attempting to Impose Film Censorship Through New Tax Credit Clause

"It means the minister of heritage will have unprecedented powers. Public policy--what is that? It's anything she decides it is. ...The platform they're suggesting is akin to a Communist Chinese panel of unknown people, who, behind closed doors, will make a second ruling after bodies like Telefilm Canada have already invested.''--Canadian movie director, David Cronenberg.

Ottowa/Toronto--If Canadians thought they were going to escape the reach of the Bush era, they were reminded of the impossibility this week by Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper's proposed amemendment to Canadian tax credit policy. But did he and his party really author it? No, this is a collective move by both parties and outside elements. Are they the real instigators of this ill-advised legislation? What's the role of Hollywood in all of this?

A 13-word clause buried in a 560-page tax amendment is pitting Canada's film industry against Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The proposal would allow the Canadian government to deny tax breaks to films deemed contrary to "public policy,'' as determined by the Heritage Department, headed by [Harper appointee] Josee Verner. ("Censorship Charges Fly as Canada Moves to Cut Film Tax Credit," Bloomberg, 03.21.2008)
The Bloomberg headline is misleading, which is unsurprising. The Canadian tax credit isn't being cut at all, but films that are deemed to be "against public" policy could have problems crucial getting funding. Without the tax credit, it's unlikely that very many movies would be made in the North American nation by Canadians. Foreign productions--namely Hollywood ones--will be unaffected by this legislative change that's being urged-on by Harper's government and his party. This is what should be setting-off the alarms, and it appears that the Canadian film industry is well aware of the threat posed within these few lines being amended to the existing Telefilm bill. Unsurprisingly, this call for a filtering system in Telefilm isn't exactly new.

Some of this goes back as far the mid-1990s, and the very same measures in exactly the same language were being urged as recently as November 2003, spearheaded by the former Liberal Party Prime Minister Paul Martin and allies in the Canadian Parliament. This was a Liberal Party move, and it failed at the time. The 2003 bill was virtually identical to the "new" C-10.
When Canada's government moved to strip tax credits from film and video productions that are "contrary to public policy," an election was on the horizon, and the public's reaction was swift and unanimous. No one noticed.

That was in November, 2003, when Paul Martin was about to take over from Jean Chretien as Liberal Prime Minister, and tax reform was low on the public priority list. With little fanfare and even less scandal, and after what they described as a long period of industry consultation, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley and Minster of Heritage Sheila Copps proposed that Canadian film and video productions will receive tax credits provided that "public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy."

Almost five years later, draft legislation with those exact words made it through the House of Commons with barely a whisper of dissent--Liberal John McCallum called it "sensible"--and is now before the Senate for review. ("Uproar over 'contrary to public policy," The National Post, 03.08.2008)

But what do they want to ban? According to supporters of the changes, we get the usual sweeping-generalities from the 1980s: it would mean films with "gratuitous and extreme" content, namely sex and violence. You know. Sounds like the rhetoric of the extreme right, doesn't it? Why would the Liberal Party support such an obvious rightist agenda? Neither side appears to harbor any sense of nationalism in protecting Canadian media's autonomy, so other forces must be at-play. Business reasons.

And so, the argument is that there is a great concern over the content of Canadian productions, but not foreign ones (primarily American). Yet, there's plenty of gratuitous sex and violence in American productions lensed in Canada, such as the recent "Masters of Horror" series, filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, which featured both extreme horror and even depictions of graphic sexual violence (this isn't an attack on anyone's right to create these productions, incidentally, this writer is a fan of the series). Masters of Horror received a Telefilm credit for each-and-every episode produced in B.C. Under this legislation, there are numerous other productions in Canada right now which would lose funding were they domestic ones. The real hit will come to the Canadian film and media houses, and not to American ones.

This brings us back again to the example of the now-defunct "Masters of Horror" television series. If these provisions pass the Canadian Parliament, such a series could still be produced by a foreign production company, but not a domestic one. Even more shocking, Canadian television productions will also be affected by the amendments to this newest Telefilm tax bill.

To Americans, groups like the Canada Family Action Coalition ( ring a very familiar bell. Like the American Focus on the Family, their focus is an extreme form of theocratic and anti-democratic rhetoric, calling for a rollback on basic rights and human services that the majority of Canadians and Americans have been traditionally accustomed to. What they really represent are authoritarian-trends in business and government which are empowering and using such groups as fronts for one legislative push after another. The play-book begins with the United States, and cross border ideological-ties between the extreme religious and political right in both nations stretches back to rightist demagogues like Father Charles Coughlin and the Canadian Nationalist and Fascist parties like Heritage Front, and could also be described as white supremacist and corporatist. Not your friendly neighborhood folks, but at least they have allies in skyscrapers, government ministries, and country clubs, who hold the same opinions.

Perversely, the right in both North American nations are suggesting that they know what everyone's standards are--the ones formulated by shadowy groups like Focus on the Family and the Canada Family Action Coalition. Who pulls their strings? One could expect elements of their membership to be represented in future appointments to the Heritage Department. A well-known Canadian evangelical crusader is claiming credit for the federal government's move to deny tax credits to TV and film productions that contain graphic sex and violence or other offensive content.
Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said his lobbying efforts included discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, and "numerous" meetings with officials in the Prime Minister's Office. "We're thankful that someone's finally listening," he said yesterday. "It's fitting with conservative values, and I think that's why Canadians voted for a Conservative government." Mr. McVety said films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars, and backbench Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers support his campaign. "There are a number of Conservative backbench members that do a lot of this work behind the scenes," he said. Mr. Day and Mr. Nicholson said through officials yesterday they did not recall discussing the issue with Mr. McVety. ("Evangelist takes credit for film crackdown," The Globe and Mail, 02.29.2008)
It's interesting that the Tories want to distance themselves publicly from Mr. McVety, but that's because one could correctly assume that he's that bumbling underling who's said too much. If Mr. McVety's comments are to be taken at-face-value, there's a good deal of impropriety going on in the Prime Minister's office these days regarding this censorship push. This shouldn't be any surprise to even the most casual observer.

When you have someone like Charles McVety getting preferential access to the Prime Minister of Canada, it's not about "public policy"at all, but about a narrow and private agenda (the public-be-damned). If it resembles the rollback of rights in the United States by neoconservatism, it should. These groups and politicians are their allies in Canada. What this most resembles are the "faith-based initiatives" foisted on the American public by the Bush administration and an extremist segment of North American evangelicals.

The ties between the politicized congregations are deeper than one might suspect. In October 2006, San Antonio-based mega-church evangelist John Hagee came to speak at Canada Christian College on recent actions by Israel in the war on terrorism, the "impending threat" of Iran, and the ties-that-bind Canadian and American evangelicals (money and fanaticism). His host? Again, it was Charles McVety.
Hagee’s assessment of Harper isn’t based on news clips alone. His Toronto host, not to mention his longtime Canadian major-domo, was Canada Christian College president Charles McVety, one of the most outspoken players in this country’s religious right wing. During the last election, as head of a handful of pro-family lobbies including the Defend Marriage Coalition, McVety emerged as a power to be reckoned with. He bought up the rights to unclaimed Liberal websites such as and stacked a handful of Conservative nomination contests in favour of evangelical candidates adamantly opposed to same-sex matrimony, a campaign he has vowed to repeat. As Harper navigates the tricky waters of minority rule—keeping the lid on any eruptions of rhetorical fervour from the rambunctious theo-cons in his caucus—it is noteworthy that he has continued to cultivate a man regarded as the lightning rod of the Christian right. ("Stephen Harper and the theo-cons," The Walrus, October 2006 issue)
An American could replace the names with the familiar Bible-backed demagogues running amok here in the South--it all sounds the same as the meddling of religion with politics here. Where did this new push all begin?

The answer is very simple: the movie "Karla," about the Homolkas and their saga of rape that culminated in a double-murder of two Canadian school girls during the 1990s. It's possible the couple murdered others, including Homolka's own baby-sister by poisoning. The 2006 film stars Lora Prepon of "That 70s Show" fame. The movie got such an ugly reaction during its 2005 production from canucks that it had to move shooting to the United States.

While the reaction from Canadians was to be expected--Karla Homolka orchestrated the murders, controlling her husband Paul Bernardo, but got-off with a questionable plea deal--it was immediately exploited by both the Liberal and Tory parties. Using the bodies of victims as one's starting-point is both unholy and unethical. One would think the theme of sexual sadism has struck some kind of nerve within the ranks of Canada's political and economic elites, never mind the cultural and religious ones.

Perhaps this pain of recognition was along-the-lines of Pasolini's "Salo "(1975), since power corrupts all who hold it. Sometimes, the truth is a mirror that's too painful to glimpse one's reflection in. Only Hollywood will come out well in this if C-10 passes in the Canadian Senate. Will censoring Canada's films prevent another Karla Homolka? With social policies in North America, and the element of genetics, it's not likely to accomplish anything but censorship. That's exactly what the architects of this legislation want, and not much else.

"Uproar over 'contrary to public policy," The National Post, 03.08.2008:

"Stephen Harper and the theo-cons," The Walrus, June 2006 issue:

"Evangelist takes credit for film crackdown," The Globe and Mail, 02.29.2008:

"Censorship Charges Fly as Canada Moves to Cut Film Tax Credit," Bloomberg, 03.21.2008: