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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Memorial Day Madman

Monday, May 29, 2006


Bush's Memorial Day Quotes in the Lead

"We have seen the costs in the war on terror that we fight today."
-President Bush from his Memorial Day Speech

The war on terror. There have been in excess of 2500 service men and women who have lost their lives fighting what Bush calls "the war on terror". There have been about ten times that many who have been seriously injured by "Bush's War on Terror". There have been somewhere between 35,000 and 135,000 innocent Iraqis killed by "Bush's War on Terror". There is only one problem... The war in Iraq didn't start out as a "War on Terror".

Before we let "G"lobal "W"arming Bush define a war of his own making; a war that was waged for Weapons of Mass Destruction which didn't exist; a war that has made the Bush "base" of "haves and have-mores" into the "haves, have-mores and have-much-much-mores". This is a war that had no terrorist ties until Bush started his "crusade" (his word, not mine).

If he was honest, President Gush would have said "We have seen the costs of mismanagement, hubris and poor planning that a war like this can turn into and I am sorry I screwed this ting up so bad."

"I am in awe of the men and women who sacrifice for the freedom of the United States of America,"
-Bush, again

Assuming GW actually knows what the word "awe" means, of course he would be in "in awe" at the "sacrifice" these Children of America have made. They are the best trained, most loyal group of men and women in the recorded history of warfare. They would do anything for their country and for each other. When one is injured, almost to a man or woman, they all ask "When can I go back and join my buddies?"

Bush is in awe because he simply can't believe that anyone would actually put their life ahead of their own self interest. When the time came to do his duty, GW opted out while Dick "Go <F---> Youself" Cheney "had better things to do".

"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada."
-George W. Bush

Are these the words of heroism?

Additionally, if GW were honest, he would have said, "I am in awe of the men and women who sacrifice for the freedom of the United States of America. Being the son of privilege, it was not something I was willing to do"

I understand that a president doesn't have to have served in our nation's armed forces to qualify for office. But the words and actions of President Bush are insulting to those who have truly "scarified".

-Noah Greenberg



A New York Post Front Page Headline
"BAD LAY"


Isn't it funny (funny as in ironic, not funny as in ha-ha) how the New York Post, the paper owned by Fox News' Rupert Murdoch, would choose to put these words on their front page after the convictions of Ken "Kenny-Boy" Lay and Jeffery "It's All Coincidence" Skilling? Why that's a double entendre (double meaning). It's like Ken LAY was BAD and Ken LAY was... was... well, was what they ought to do to him in prison.

To quote The Honeymooner s' Ralph Cramden: "Hardee-Har-Har."

 

The New York Post, like Fox News has absolutely no problem with sexual innuendo, as long as they can sell newspapers or attract an audience as a result of it, and as long as it doesn't apply to Bill "Luffa-Boy" O'Reilly.

I bet the editorial staff at the New York Times and Washington Post are kicking themselves for missing that one.

 

The New York Post Motto:

ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS

-Noah Greenberg



Bush Makes a Stand

Today, President Bush signed an act that banned protests at military funerals. Karl "The Traitor" Rove then advised hom to travel with a dead soldier in a casket at all times from now on.

-Noah Greenberg



THE LAVENDER TUBE: THE OMEN
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Reporter, Inc.


The spring TV season has ended with both a bang (lots of murders to wrap season finales) and some whimpers (the mid/summer season begins with a whine, more on that next column)–from us, because our *favorite* ABC show, *Invasion* has been cancelled. Apparently the multi-layered storyline was too difficult for viewers to follow, to which we can only say: that's what happens when you put the Nielsen machines in the homes of people who voted for Bush. We loved *Invasion* with its thinly veiled government-is-dangerous and fascism-is-only-as-far-away-as-the-Pentagon metaphors. *Invasion* was stellar; we'll miss its smartness.

Among the whimpering at season's end, we think we might be hearing some–or is it snarling?–from ABC's Elisabeth Vargas.

Vargas has been anchoring *World News Tonight* solo for months. After years as a reporter for ABC news, a stint as weekend anchor as well as being co-anchor of *20/20*, Vargas had been anointed co-anchor with veteran news reporter Bob Woodruff after the lung-cancer death of longtime anchor Peter Jennings.

When Woodruff was severely injured in Iraq, Vargas became sole anchor of the evening news, a job no woman has held on network news, prior to CBS's announcement that Katie Couric would become their new evening anchor in September.

But this week ABC announced that *Good Morning America* co-host Charles Gibson would be taking over the news anchor position, shoving the pregnant Vargas out of her job.

Nice work, ABC: CBS lures Katie Couric from NBC for millions and ABC ousts their *proven* highest-ranked female journalist because she's going on a brief maternity leave. Sends a nice message to their female demographic, dontcha think?

Speaking of sending messages: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) was the only Republican to give a no vote May 26th on Gen. Michael Hayden's confirmation to head the CIA. Apparently Specter, a strict constitutionalist most of the time, had some issues with the NSA spying on average Americans, according to NBC News, and since Hayden orchestrated that little event for the Bush Administration, Specter thought he made a poor choice for the job.

Remember last column when we told you that BushCo would be providing the most exciting TV programming this summer?

We were right! On May 26th the first episode in what will certainly prove to be the summer's most compelling drama, aired on every network and CNN.

The killings by Marines of 24 Iraqi civilians (including women and children) in Haditha in November 2005 have *not* been swept under the rug like other atrocities committed during the war on Iraq. And according to ABC and NBC sources, the investigations instituted on May 26th are likely to lead to murder investigations. According to news sources, five unarmed civilians were killed when they had their hands in the air as they exited a taxi.

According to NBC, there has not been such an investigation of possible wartime misconduct since the Vietnam War. (Which does make us wonder what the investigation of Abu Ghraib was. And speaking of Vietnam, in a "blink and you'll miss it" crawl of a news moment, it was revealed on the eve of Memorial Day that Henry Kissinger had written to the North Vietnamese government that the U.S. would accede to their control and takeover of South Vietnam if they waited until U.S. troops withdrew. Nice gift to the 58,000 families who lost someone in that war, or to the hundreds of thousands who were injured or to the three million South Vietnamese who were slaughtered. It really is a chess game, isn't it?)

Meanwhile, back to Haditha: said NBC news consultant, Col. Jack Jacobs: "The heat of combat is never an excuse for doing things that are corrupt."

Too bad no one told either Richard Nixon or George Bush that.

Speaking of despicable acts, Mary Cheney was on David Letterman this week making the case for cloning. Or as a preview for the release of *The Omen,* it's hard to be sure. The reason given for her appearance (it's not like CBS is FOX, after all) was slogging for her new book (something else for us to boycott!).
Like father, like daughter.
Rarely have we watched any TV interview with the sort of growing revulsion and rising cynicism we had when Letterman was attempted to hold Ms. Cheney's cloven feet to the fire.
Cheney weaseled out of question after question on subjects from the war ("We gave them democracy") to same-sex marriage (Ms. Cheney supports it, naturally, but doesn't feel the Bush Administration's hateful policies are really an issue and *had* to vote for the Bush team in 2004 because she's not a single issue voter; apparently she forgot that the Bush team was running on a single issue–terrorism) to the shooting by her father of Harry Whittington ("I go hunting with my father all the time").

It was a pretty shocking half hour of TV.

After Cheney left Letterman muttered, "If my phone wasn't tapped before..."

The Dixie Chicks also appeared on Letterman, singing their new song about being trounced by the Bush supporters when they protested the war. Nice segue.

Meanwhile, Bono and U2 appeared for the full hour on *Conan O'Brien* talking about world hunger, aid to Africa and AIDS relief. Plus playing some fab tunes. Why is it that Bono can do more to help the world in crisis than the U.S. government?

The same question might be asked about Oprah (not that we don't ask it regularly), who over on daytime was doing what Oprah does best: lightly slapping people in the face with their ignorance over genocide in a post-Holocaust world. She headed into intense territory when she traveled to Auschwitz death camp with Elie Wiesel, who was interned there as a teenager. (The episode is available on video stream over at Oprah.com.)

If you haven't seen it, you must. It's about the most powerful hour of TV we've ever seen. They were there in the late spring, so there is snow everywhere, just as there was when naked female prisoners were forced to stand until they literally dropped dead in the snow.

The starkness of the barbed wire and brick buildings against a grey-white, snow-laced sky was breathtakingly, achingly beautiful: The graveyard of 1.5 million Polish Jews.

Wiesel, who has traveled back numerous times to Auschwitz where his entire family was murdered, said it was his last trip. The brutal landscape told much of the story; the soft voice of Wiesel told the rest.
"And here is where you saw the babies being thrown into the fire?" asked Oprah, quietly. "Yes," he whispered.

Oprah followed her trip to Auschwitz with a show on genocide. The last book Oprah nominated for her Book Club was Wiesel's *Night.* When she announced the choice several months ago, she also announced a contest for high school students: Write an essay on why *Night* is still relevant today.

There were 50,000 entries, judged by five prestigious judges, including the director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington and a Pan-African Studies professor at the University of California, Sacramento, who was himself a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Somehow these judges culled 50 "bests" from the entries, and Oprah brought the teens to her show to meet Wiesel, tell their own stories, read a bit from their essays. Two of the winners were survivors of genocide, one girl from the Congo, another from Rwanda.

These girls asked why–when, post-Holocaust the world said "never again"–it had happened again to *them* and to their families, who, like Wiesel's, had been slaughtered in front of them. (Oprah was able to reunite the Rwandan girl with the girl's parents whom Oprah had tracked down in Africa.)

Oprah also had some Holocaust survivors in attendance and relayed the story of one teenager who has befriended a survivor and promised to always stand against discrimination and on the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, to retell the woman's story.

There were video clips from recent genocides: Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur. Wiesel noted, "It's too late for the dead...it's not too late for the living."

Finally, this being the Oprah show, there were surprise gifts: $10,000 scholarships for each of the 50 students, who comprised an amazing mix of American kids: girls and boys. White, black, Latino, Asian, East Indian, Pacific Islander. Christian, Muslim, Jew. Immigrants and kids from families of many generations in the U.S., but all with an extraordinary articulation of how the book had influenced them–either by paralleling their own stories or by making their stories seem less bleak by comparison. But for all influencing them to never be silent about discrimination and suffering.

On May 26th a somber George Bush stood in a press conference with Tony Blair. Two disgraced and reviled world leaders, still standing for a war that will forever be a blight on U.S. (and British) history. Bush gave a sort of apology, voicing regret for some the language of provocation he had used throughout the early days of the war.

It was a somber moment, but a repugnant one. Because although Bush said he had learned things from these mistakes, he never acknowledged that the war itself was his mistake. And that the bodies continue to pile up because of it.

For some reason Oprah is better able to explain to America what creating "otherness" does to society, what eviscerating one group's humanity does to the all of humanity.

Now if we can just get Bush to watch Oprah, perhaps we can say "never again" and mean it.

Stay tuned.



In response to the DCC Plan for American and Madman's responses, Carol F Yost writes:

I agree in general with the comments on the DCCC's list of objectives--"The Democratic Plan for America." I thought Noah's ideas were mostly terrific, and it was wonderful to see what looked like workable solutions to problems--like the use of silt removal to create a seaway and then to place the silt strategically so it will help protect New Orleans from flooding. Another idea of Noah's that I liked (for all of this, see the latest "Weekend Madman", at the end) was his proposal for systems of checking the shipping that comes into our harbors for security purposes.

However, the statements on immigrants were far off base, I felt, and blatantly cruel. Illegal (so-called "undocumented")immigrants go through so much that any idea of punishing them is horrible. I don't think our borders should be blocked, walled, guarded or moated. (FYI: The word, Noah, is "moat," not "mote." It's like the use of the word "deportment" by somebody else when he meant "deportation." It's important to be clear which words we mean.--Yes, I'm turning a noun into a verb; it's all right to do that.) For one thing, people outside our borders suffer from very unjust actions carried out by our own government over the years; that is part of the reason they are so poor. Our government has actively created or increased poverty in other nations through the way it conducts trade and seeks to control and profit from foreign resources. This is part of the reasons people want to come here. It's our own fault. I think the only humane thing to do is create a workable, reasonable way for people to come here, without any quotas, and a reasonable way for them to earn their citizenship. I know that the word "reasonable" is hard to define, but it should be generally recogizable. Noah, you're so good at coming up with solutions, why did you come up with a set of biased and mean proposals for the immigrant problem? People wouldn't be literally dying to come here if they weren't desperate, as I've said here earlier. Americans create unjust laws and then hang people for breaking them. As we should have seen with the TWU strike in December, a thing may be illegal technically, but right as hell morally. Stop punishing the immigrants! Since they'll come, help them come. Make it legal, dammit. After all, their suffering is partly our fault. Since there's work for them here, let them take it. As things are now, money is taken out of their paychecks to pay for our Social Security and whatnot, and the undocumented immigrants don't benefit from that. They can't receive it.--Then the other thing to do is correct the unjust policies and practices and trade agreements that impoverish people beyond our borders--NAFTA, CAFTA, every kind of AFTA, and all that, and things that came before. Don't forget, too, that our Southwest consists largely of territory that the United States stole from Mexico. If Mexicans want to cross their border, they're crossing into land that once was theirs.

Immigrants don't come here to hurt us, the way a burglar will invade a house, or a robber will harm people to get their goods. Punish real evildoers. Don't punish immigrants.


 

These are good solid points. I don’t think that my ideas on immigration are “blatantly cruel.” It’s my belief that the borders should not be wide open. My problem with immigration the way it is (from Mexico and points south) is that these people will work for much less than American Citizens and legal immigrants will work for. Therefore, their presence here serves to lower the standard of living of those who can’t afford to have that standard lowered any more (the lower, working class poor). It also tends to make the Bush “base” of “haves and have-mores” become the “have-even-mores”.

I simply don’t believe that we should allow people into this nation whose only purpose is to look for work. I believe that they should already know their purpose (“I am a machinist and am going to look for work in the machine shops of San Francisco.”); have a place to live (“While I look for work, I will live with my cousin in San Bruno. Here is his telephone number.”); and show proof of his successes or failures while he stays here (Compare it to a Probation Officer for immigrants.) -NG



And Robert Scardapane follows up on the DCCC plan for America with this:

The Democratic party's 2006 platform has good principles in it. A commitment to clean government is good but should include Democrats as well as Republicans..

My second observation is that the devil is in the details. Platforms emphasize goals rather than details. However, voters will want details. Democratic candidates must be prepared to answer tough questions in areas such as the Iraq War.



In response to, "The rich are supposed to help the poor, not the other way around," Robert Scardapane quotes from David Sirota's book, Hostile Takeover:

"Corporate profits have risen, but so have poverty levels. Our politicians tell us they really care, tell us tax cuts and "free" trade are the only policies that can alleviate the problem. And yet, strangely, the only people who get tax cuts are the super-wealthy and the only people who benefit from "free" trade are executives at large corporations who funded both parties presidential candidates in the last election. CEO compensation is skyrocketing while workers paychecks get cut, yet few members of Congress say a thing about the inequity. Energy industry profits rise, more people can't pay their heating bills, our government promises to do something -- and yet, Congress's energy policy discussion are limited to a debate about which form of new taxpayer handouts should be given to which oil companies. HMO executives make millions while almost one in five Americans has no health care at all. Polls show Americans want a universal health care program --- and yet any discussion of the very concept is labeled "out of the mainstream" or "unrealistic" by elites in Washington, D.C."
-David Sirota writing in Hostile Takeover



In response to, “The theft of personal information is a travesty and insult to the 26.5 million American veterans, and all veterans for that matter, who have honored their country in the armed services. For these heroes to now be saddled with a new burden of re-securing their own identities because of a breach of security at the VA is outrageous," by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rhian, writes:

Why is the identity of the employee who took the data base home, undisclosed?

If there really is an 'employee' what innocent reason could could there possibly be for that employee to take home information like this?

Is news reporting nowdays really this bad, or is this whole episode a really stinky fish?

In other words, would disclosure of the employee and motives, kill the Senate bill for amnesty forever, if the database was sold to, say, Vicente Fox, or La Raza, or spark a call for annihilation of Nigeria, if the database was sold into that cesspool of corruption?

If the employee is fabricated and this is the NSA at work, or the CIA, or any of the other three letter, federal, secret freaks, we have so serious a problem in DC, that yellow crime scene tape could literally be run round the entire Washington compound, assets frozen, and everybody there, apprehended.

Until the Bush administration is laid to rest, it would certainly benefit the American people to fork over $10.00 per month per working person, to fund a team of investigators and attorneys, in representation of 'The People' to watchdog the thugs in the White House currently destabilizing the United States of America.

Half a dozen class action lawsuits, and additional arrests, would certainly give Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove, Rumsfeld and their lackeys, somewhere to focus their attention, other than further destruction of the US.


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-Noah Greenberg