Saturday, January 24, 2004

State of Denial address

I just need to vent some of this stuff before I have a fucking aneurysm. Skip this post if you're already too bruised by the condition of the US to hear any more about it.

My fuckhead pResident gave what was supposed to be a State of the Union address, but turned out to be just a soundbite condensing of his lies over the past three years. Almost all of the reviews I have read about the address are in agreement about the sparcity of actual information, the prevalence of belligerent hype, and lack of cohesion that we have come to expect from Mr Bush, but even so, the 'liberal media' informs us that we are all 'reacting positively' to the speech and we believe that Bush's proposed policies will move the country in the right direction. (The actual content of the address is remarkably similar to another politician's speech style, but in addition to invoking Godwin's Law, such talk apparently violates the Republican copyright on hate-speech.)

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated Democrat computer files for a year, leaking most of what they found to the press. Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and all-around minion of evil, made a preliminary inquiry and described himself as "mortified that this improper, unethical and simply unacceptable breach of confidential files may have occurred on my watch", but in general Republicans are ignoring the potentially hazardous ethical and moral aspects of the case, choosing instead to focus on the legal aspects, which shouldn't be a problem for them since they own all of the judges and routinely allow the subjects of investigations to perform those investigations themselves. (Ashcroft did finally recuse himself from his investigation; Cheney remains obdurate in his heresy.)

Speaking of Cheney, he recently spoke to the World Economic Forum:

...the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001, gave all nations "the merest glimpse of the threat that international terrorism poses to us all." Nurturing democracy, especially in the Middle East, is essential to halting terrorism.

"Democracies do not breed the anger and the radicalism that drag down whole societies or export violence," he said. "Terrorists do not find fertile recruiting grounds in societies where young people have the right to guide their own destinies and to choose their own leaders."

First: what is the big deal about democracy? If we had a true democracy, this shitheel and his little president friend wouldn't be in the White House. Second, if you assume for the sake of argument that the US is a democracy, it's not like our record has been particularly spotless. The best that can be said for us in this regard is that we believe that our reasons for killing people are better than anyone elses. I'd argue that the hatred being bred by the conservative right in this country is exactly the sort of ideology that can 'drag down whole societies or export violence'... just turn on the news for confirmation if you doubt it.

When asked about the Christmas cards that Cheney sent out ("If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it likely that an empire can rise without His help?"), Cheney denied that the US is an empire. ('Empire' being just another one of those words that the Ministry of Misinformation has redefined in the past few years, apparently.)

In a report that surprised precisely zero people, Halliburton, which still has Cheney on the payroll, admitted that the Kuwaiti fuel supplier that charged double the going rate for millions of dollars of gasoline was given the lucrative work after they showered $6,000,000 on Halliburton employees. Cheney's take on this: "They get unfairly maligned simply because of their past association with me." Yeah, it could be that... well, it might be corruption so rampant in this administration that they don't even bother to hide it anymore, but you're right, they are probably just 'unfairly maligned'.

This feeling that the conservatives are being picked on is as epidemic as it is absurd. A group of University of Colorado republicans are protesting 'liberal bias' among their professors... even soliciting complaints through a handy online form. (I just watched 'Swing Kids' so I find this subtly and disturbingly reminiscent of the Hitler-Youth "rat on everybody" program). Of course, the T-shirt they are selling to raise money and awareness exposes the true situation:

Republican bullshirt

If my irony-meter wasn't busted I'd think it was funny that the republicans, who are intolerant of hearing points of view different from their own, can simultaneously attack liberal bias in schools while trying to force creationist science, prayer in schools, and 'faith-based' services. But it's gone way beyond funny. It's gone way beyond irony. This is just another sad manifestation of that same impulse that leads conservative Americans to believe that Canadians who wear maple-leaf logos are 'putting America down'. Perhaps some self-reflection is in order.

I was exposed to all sorts of viewpoints in college. I thought that was the whole point.

Another recent example of the poor treatment our ruling class is receiving at the hands of the proles: the American Family Association set up an online poll to determine the public's position on gay marriage. From the start they planned to use the results to show congress that America opposes any form of gay marriage. But when the people spoke, the results weren't what they had hoped for. Their analysis: "homosexual activist groups around the country... decided to have a little fun... to try to cause [the poll] to represent something other than what we wanted it to". I can't speak for anyone else, but as for myself I simply voted my conscience, and as far as I can tell I wasn't under the sway of any nefarious gay activists. Note that they didn't say the poll doesn't represent the facts, they just say that it doesn't represent what they want it to... therefore, it must have been tampered with and as such is invalid.

In his speech, Bush touted US successes in removing WMD capability from Iraq. (What ever happened to Osama?) But Chief US Iraq arms expert David Kay, the head of the team searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has resigned, saying that the quest for imaginary weapons is wearing him out.

"I don't think they existed," Kay told Reuters news agency on Friday. "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the [1991] gulf war, and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s."

Kay is being replaced by Charles Duelfer, a former deputy executive chairman of the UN Special Commission that was responsible for dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, who said earlier this month that he believed the chances of finding chemical or biological weapons in Iraq were now "close to nil":

"I think that Mr. Kay and his team have looked very hard. I think the reason that they haven't found them is they're probably not there," Duelfer told NBC television earlier this month.

You've probably heard about the problems with Diebold voting machines... I just read a recommendation that if this concerns you, you can register as an absentee voter, which leaves a paper trail. Of course, it won't matter much since all of the other votes won't be counted correctly, if they are counted at all.

Which reminds me: I've been hearing a lot of revisionist talk about the last election, which may make people feel better but it doesn't change the fact (yes, fact) that the last presidential election would have turned out different if it weren't for some very shady dealings on the republican side. The sad part is, in the international press this is all old news, but here in the land of the free, a reporter who presses the issue won't be invited to any more press conferences. (The sadder part is that more Americans aren't furious about this.) If you missed it, or if all of the hate flying around made you ignore the whole deal, read 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy'... you can read the first couple of chapters as PDF files here. If nothing else, read Chapter 1... you may be surprised at how different the documented facts are from the spin that we were given at the time.

Speaking of buying elections, you can now make 'grass-roots' contributions to various presidential campaigns via This is life imitating art imitating insanity, but as such it is very representative of the true state of our nation.

Rant done. I feel a little better now, thanks. Go back to sleep, sheep.