Thursday, June 30, 2005

Covering up Napalm in Iraq

From ZNet:

Defense Minister, Adam Ingram, admitted that the US had misled the British high-command about the use of napalm, but he would not comment on the extent of the cover up. The use of firebombs puts the US in breach of the 1980 Convention on Certain Chemical Weapons (CCW) and is a violation the Geneva Protocol against the use of white phosphorous, “since its use causes indiscriminate and extreme injuries especially when deployed in an urban area.”

Regrettably, “indiscriminate and extreme injuries” are a vital part of the American terror-campaign in Iraq; a well-coordinated strategy designed to spawn panic through random acts of violence.

It’s clear that the military never needed to use napalm in Iraq. Their conventional weaponry and laser-guided technology were already enough to run roughshod over the Iraqi army and seize Baghdad almost unobstructed. Napalm was introduced simply to terrorize the Iraqi people; to pacify through intimidation. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Negroponte are old-hands at terrorism, dating back to their counterinsurgency projects in Nicaragua and El Salvador under the Reagan Administration. They know that the threat of immolation serves as a powerful deterrent and fits seamlessly into their overarching scheme of rule through fear. Terror and deception are the rotating parts of the same axis; the two imperatives of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy strategy.

Napalm in Falluja

The US also used napalm in the siege of Falluja as was reported in the UK Mirror (“Falluja Napalmed”, 11-28-04) The Mirror said, “President George Bush has sanctioned the use of napalm, a deadly cocktail of polystyrene and jet-fuel banned by the United Nations in 1980, will stun the world…. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh…Since the American assault on Falluja there have been reports of ‘melted’ corpse, which appeared to have napalm injuries.”

“Human fireballs” and “melted corpses”; these are the real expressions of Operation Iraqi Freedom not the bland platitudes issuing from the presidential podium.

Click here for the rest.

At this point, rarely do I hear something about this war that makes me just stop and go "wow." Hearing about the Pentagon's use of napalm on Iraqi civilians did exactly that. It is beyond ironic that anti-Saddam rhetoric noted again and again that the deposed dictator used chemical weapons, and here we are using chemical weapons. This is sick. It's light years beyond the torture scandal--if Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are evidence of the depraved immorality of the Bush administration, then the use of napalm takes us into archetypal Satanic territory. As of this moment, the Nazi metaphor is dead. This is beyond Hitler.

This fits in very nicely with New Yorker reporter Sy Hersh's assertion that these pacification "operations" are not at all about taking out insurgents: "The idea is to go to major cities. They did Fallujah, they're doing Ramadi right now, take it down, make the people of the Sunni heartland more afraid of the American/Iraqi Mukhabarat than they are of the resistance." In short, these insurgent hunts are terrorism, plain and simple, the kind of strategy used by Nazis in occupied Greece and Yugoslavia, but on a much larger scale with more horrific weaponry. It's horrible.

I don't really know what else to say.



From Nike's website courtesy of my buddy Matt:

Nike Skateboarding sincerely apologizes for the creation of a tour poster inspired by Minor Threat's album cover. Despite rumors being circulated, Wieden & Kennedy and Odopod had nothing to do with the creation of this tour poster and should not be held accountable. To set the record straight, Nike Skateboarding's "Major Threat" Tour poster was designed, executed, and promoted by skateboarders, for skateboarders. All of the Nike employees responsible for the creation of the tour flyer are fans of both Minor Threat and Dischord records and have nothing but respect for both.

Click here for the rest.

Well, it sounds like somebody in their PR department decided that pissing off a key demographic group was not as good of an idea as it originally appeared to be. It's nice of Nike to back down like this, but just remember that this has nothing to do with ethics: this is a business decision, and if they decided that there was more money to be made by stealing from people who can't defend themselves, they'd do it in a heartbeat. I suppose this is a small victory, but I'm still annoyed that they even tried this stunt in the first place.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Earlier this month I wrote about how, despite spending countless taxpayer dollars, the Bush administration has left our nation's borders wide open to one and all, done nothing to make the hazardous chemical industry more secure, and has not convicted a single terrorist.

Last week, the other shoe dropped. From CNN (just in case you didn't already hear about this):

CIA chief has 'excellent idea' where bin Laden is

CIA Director Porter Goss says he has an "excellent idea" where Osama bin Laden is hiding, but that the al Qaeda chief will not be caught until weak links in the war on terrorism are strengthened.

In an interview with TIME magazine published Sunday, Goss said part of the difficulty in capturing bin Laden was "sanctuaries in sovereign nations."

Click here for the rest.

Never mind the fact that the Bush administration has made it repeatedly clear that national sovereignty means nothing as far as hunting terrorists goes, what's important here is that Goss cryptically claims to know where bin Laden is, but offers a slipshod excuse as to why we don't go get him. The only way that statement makes any sense is if either Goss is lying about bin Laden's whereabouts or Bush is lying about his desire to capture him "dead or alive." One way or another, somebody's lying. My guess is that it's Bush.

Adding fuel to the fire is this report from MSNBC courtesy of the Daily Kos:

Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind

With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.

Click here for the rest.

If you read the article, you'll find the same kind of flimsy explanations offered by Goss. Again, the point is that US officials know where terrorists are, but do nothing about it. This isn't simple incompetence; it's happening too consistently. It's pretty easy to conclude that our President just doesn't want to do anything that would actually make Americans safer from terrorists. Throw in the fact that making war on Afghanistan and Iraq has done nothing but enrage Muslim populations world wide, and it appears that Bush is trying to provoke Islamic terrorism.

But why?

The answer is pretty simple. Just look at Republican history. The Reagan administration back in the 80s managed to stoke the Cold War fears of American voters by trumping up the danger of such communist powerhouses as Grenada, Nicaragua, and Cuba. The Gipper's "Evil Empire" gambit worked exceedingly well, convincing Americans to vote against their own economic interests, believing that only the GOP was tough enough to deal with the threat of the menacing Nicaraguan Red Army, which was "only three day's march" away from the Texas border. It was all bullshit, of course, but the perpetual fear mongering had its effect, and Reagan was reelected in a landslide in 1984.

The obvious connection to today is that numerous officials and advisors from those sick days are back in the White House, playing the same game. Bush really seems to want another terrorist attack on American soil--it's the only way that Americans will put up with the rest of his conservative lunatic policies; he'll keep us "safe." That's why "Homeland Security" is simply a charade. That's why bin Laden and his top lieutenant Zarqawi remain at large despite excellent opportunities to capture or kill them. They're much more valuable to Bush alive, as propaganda tools, than dead. The "War on Terrorism" is a joke, and Bush actually likes Islamic terrorism.


The hunting of liberals

Seattle journalist David Neiwert riffs on this image sent to him by a reader.


But there should be no real surprise that Rove made these remarks. They've been a long time coming. I mean, Ann Coulter published Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism two years ago. Sean Hannity's Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism came out a year ago. Michael Savage published The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Schools, Faith, and Military
last year too. Meanwhile, there's been a steady drumbeat on the airwaves from Rush Limbaugh and his thousand little imitators making the same charges.

This is how propaganda is supposed to work: Circulate ideas on the popular level first, perhaps disguised as "humor" or "edgy commentary," until they become part of a broadly popular "conventional wisdom." Seemingly "outrageous" ideas gradually gain broader acceptance, leveraging the populace toward the movement's agenda. Then, when these notions are enunciated at the official and most powerful levels of government, any outrage that might be voiced is easily ignored. (Indeed, Rove's remarks are notable for being the embodiment of a panoply of propaganda techniques all rolled into one.)

here for the rest.

I've personally heard Michael Savage on the radio referring to liberalism as a "mental illness" and liberals as "vermin." I'm not expecting progressives to be rounded up and put in camps any time in the near future, although I admit that anything could happen these days, but this right-wing rhetoric is pretty damned irresponsible in that it invites the wild eyed members of the conservative persuasion to turn these words into reality. That's not unthinkable, either: violent anti-abortion rhetoric in the 80s and 90s definitely morphed into bombings of abortion clinics and murders of abortion providers. There is a very real danger here, and it's not at all pleasant to think that some right-wing wacko might whack me or any other American for publicly speaking out against the war or any other favorite conservative idea.

This doesn't even get into the notion that attacking liberals themselves is not at all the same thing as attacking liberal ideas: such rhetoric only worsens the sorry state of public discourse, and consequently, the state of American "democracy."


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


You may have noticed either last weekend, or will notice this weekend, strange goings-on in your city. You know, like this:

Yes, that's right; it's time for Gay Pride again. As I've said before here at Real Art, not only do I consider myself to be in solidarity with the gay rights movement, I also see the movement as the guardian of everyone's sexual freedoms--after all, the pornographers and media moguls of the world are only interested in exploiting sexuality. The movement pretty much stands alone today as a symbol of sexual freedom, celebration, and safety.

Not to mention how amusing such celebrations can be. It is easily forgotten amid all the camp and circumstance, however, that gay rights were not simply granted by the political powers on high because of some quirk of the sexual revolution. Gay men and lesbians had to fight for their freedom and recognition. That fight began thirty six years ago yesterday.

From OUTreach:

The Stonewall Riots - 1969

Duberman describes the scene as the two dozen "massively proportioned" TPF riot police advanced down Christopher Street, arms linked in Roman Legion-style wedge formation: "In their path, the rioters slowly retreated, but - contrary to police expectations - did not break and run ... hundreds ... scattered to avoid the billy clubs but then raced around the block, doubled back behind the troopers, and pelted them with debris. When the cops realized that a considerable crowd had simply re-formed to their rear, they flailed out angrily at anyone who came within striking distance.

"But the protestors would not be cowed. The pattern repeated itself several times: The TPF would disperse the jeering mob only to have it re-form behind them, yelling taunts, tossing bottles and bricks, setting fires in trash cans. When the police whirled around to reverse direction at one point, they found themselves face-to-face with their worst nightmare: a chorus line of mocking queens, their arms clasped around each other, kicking their heels in the air Rockettes-style and singing at the tops of their sardonic voices:

'We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair...
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!'

"It was a deliciously witty, contemptuous counterpoint to the TPF's brute force." (Stonewall, Duberman, 1993) The following evening, the demonstrators returned, their numbers now swelled to thousands. Leaflets were handed out, titled "Get the Mafia and cops out of gay bars!" Altogether, the protests and disturbances continued with varying intensity for five days.

here for the rest.

This is my favorite revolution story: hundreds of pissed off drag queens in Greenwich Village facing down the riot squads. It must have been glorious.

So if you see a bunch of flamboyant men running around with big rainbow flags and banners, do enjoy the spectacle and show your support. But don't forget this image, either:

Because in many ways, that's what gay pride celebrations are about. Fighting the man.


Halliburton's Iraq deals called contract abuse

From Reuters via the Houston Chronicle:

A top Army procurement official said today Halliburton's deals in Iraq were the worst example of contract abuse she had seen as Pentagon auditors flagged over $1 billion of potential overcharges by the Texas-based firm.

Bunny Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting official-turned whistle-blower, said in testimony at a hearing by Democrats on Capitol Hill that "every aspect" of Halliburton's oil contract in Iraq had been under the control of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR (Kellogg Brown and Root) represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career," said Greenhouse, a procurement veteran of more than 20 years.

Her blistering criticism came as the Democrats released a new report including Pentagon audits that identified more than $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.

here for the rest.

This is another old story that the press seems to be revisiting, and it's about time, I say. The whole Pentagon no-bid give-away to the company in which our Vice President still owns stock stinks like a sewage treatment plant. The brush-off right-wing rationalizations - that only Halliburton has these specific capabilities - rang hollow two years ago, and they ring hollow now. Make no mistake: this overbilling isn't simply an oversight; it's crony capitalism of the worst sort, and Halliburton is milking it's government cow for all it's worth. But then, on many levels, that's what this whole damned war has been about, enriching Bush and Cheney's oil buddies at the taxpayer's expense. Hell, that's what their whole administration has been about.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Report: U.S., Iraq insurgents talked

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

U.S. officials recently met secretly with Iraqi insurgent commanders at a summer villa north of Baghdad to try to negotiate an end to the bloodshed, a British newspaper reported today.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, asked about the report, suggested that meetings between Iraqi officials and insurgents "go on all the time" and said "we facilitate those from time to time."

The insurgent commanders "apparently came face to face" with four American officials during meetings on June 3 and June 13 at a summer villa near Balad, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, The Sunday Times newspaper in London said.

here for the rest.

This is old news. In fact, I even posted something about it last February. However, the press seemed to be all over it on Sunday, which was not the case before--I imagine they're feeling a bit more bold given Bush's extraordinarily low approval rating; heck, the elites who own the press may even be getting sick of the war themselves, and allowing their pet journalists a limited amount of freedom.

At any rate, Rummy's quite right when he says that this goes on "all the time;" he simply neglects to point out that these negotiations represent a dramatic shift in past policy, and belie current right-wing rhetoric about liberals, terrorism, and "therapy" for the terrorists. The truth is that these talks are a strong sign that the Pentagon has no idea what to do with Iraq: in January British veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk pronounced the US occupation all but over, asserting that the Pentagon would now be looking for a way out of the quagmire without losing face, and predicted that they would be forced to negotiate a deal with the insurgents that would leave them in power. So far, Fisk's looking like an oracle.

Of course, these negotiations are off to a typically arrogant start:

The U.S. officials tried to gather information about the structure, leadership and operations of the insurgent groups, which irritated some members, who had been told the talks would consider their main demand, a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the newspaper said.

Expect the Pentagon's attitude to change as the bodies continue to pile up. This war really is over. Our leaders just haven't figured it out yet.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Longhorns win College World Series

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Texas is back on top with another College World Series championship.

Kyle McCulloch pitched 6 2-3 strong innings in 93-degree heat and David Maroul and Chance Wheeless homered today to lead the Longhorns past Florida 6-2 to win the school's sixth CWS title.

here for the rest.

Texas, Texas, yeee-hah!!!!

Okay, this is a weird year for me and baseball: the
Astros are sucking bigtime, but my former high school and university win state and national titles, respectively. Two out of three ain't bad, I guess.

Longhorn baseballers: sexual restraint in victory, unlike Kingwood counterparts



Continuing the series of pictures I took in New Orleans last month. (
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Here's a fence ornament at a house on the corner of Royal and Esplanade in the French Quarter. There's stuff like this all over the place, which is one of the things that makes the Quarter so unique: the whole place is an aesthetic experience.

Even things that serve a utilitarian function have an aspect of beauty about them. Air grates, like the one below, are on house foundations throughout the area because all the buildings predate air conditioning--my guess is that these grates somehow served to cool interior spaces during the steamy summer months. Of course, the age of the architecture is also why everything is so cool looking: buildings today, like in, say, Houston, are built quickly with lots of prefab materials; beauty is only a minor consideration, if at all.

To continue my comparison with Houston, it's important to point out that because New Orleans existed before the freeway era in which we now live, there is such a thing as street culture there. Despite the city's Houston-like heat during the summer, people walk to get where they're going, which creates marvelous scenes of life-in-action everywhere. Like this one below of a side street off Bourbon near downtown.

Or this cool shoe shine scene a few blocks down Bourbon from the above shot.

The closed quarters of the French Quarter, with its narrow streets and sidewalks, also create scenes of mystery and weirdness. Especially if you're drunk. And let me tell you, I was ripped when I took this picture below.

Speaking of weirdness and mystery, I took this pic below at the R Bar on Royal Street. It's of a skeleton on a motorcycle. If you look closely, you can see the skull in the upper left corner. The bright spot is the bike's headlight.

Still more to come...


Nike Campaign "Borrows" Album Art

From Pitchfork courtesy of my old pal Matt:

Exhibit A: Classic cover art of Minor Threat's self-titled 1984 compilation.
Exhibit B: Nike Skateboarding's poster image for its "Major Threat" 2005 East Coast Tour.


Just to make sure Dischord hadn't truly gone back on everything they've ever stood for, we asked a representative from the label if Nike had asked to borrow the image. They said the following: "No, they stole it and we're not happy about it. Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission. It's disgusting."

Click here for the rest.

It's pretty clear that so-called "intellectual property rights" only apply if your corporation has a large staff of lawers ready to sue the hell out of anyone who infringes. What's that you say? You don't have your own corporation? Tough shit: you don't have any intellectual property rights.

This is outrageous because Minor Threat was pretty much a pioneer of the hardcore punk genre, and band leader Ian MacKaye has managed to stay true to his anti-establishment roots for over twenty years, which is really something in this era when the Dead Kennedys are violently ramming the corporate cucumber into former bandmate and leftist rabble rouser Jello Biafra while they laugh all the way to the bank. It's no surprise that the original third world sweat shop labor exploiter, Nike, is behind this brazen and unholy transubstantiation of anti-corporate rage into contemporary commercial pablum.

The really sad thing is that Nike has the ability to keep any potential copyright infringement lawsuit tied up for years, bankrupting Dischord in the process. Like I said, "intellectual property rights" are only for the rich and powerful, which makes sense because our "democracy" is only for the rich and powerful, too. Those damned bastards are going to get away with it.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

KRUGMAN: The War President

From the New York Times courtesy of
BuzzFlash, Princeton economist Paul Krugman on why the media must address how Bush lied in order to get his war going:

But they're wrong: it's crucial that those responsible for the war be held to account.

Let me explain. The United States will soon have to start reducing force levels in Iraq, or risk seeing the volunteer Army collapse. Yet the administration and its supporters have effectively prevented any adult discussion of the need to get out.

On one side, the people who sold this war, unable to face up to the fact that their fantasies of a splendid little war have led to disaster, are still peddling illusions: the insurgency is in its "last throes," says Dick Cheney. On the other, they still have moderates and even liberals intimidated: anyone who suggests that the United States will have to settle for something that falls far short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic.

We need to deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate. And the best way to do that is to make it clear that the people who led us to war on false pretenses have no credibility, and no right to lecture the rest of us about patriotism.

The good news is that the public seems ready to hear that message - readier than the media are to deliver it. Major media organizations still act as if only a small, left-wing fringe believes that we were misled into war, but that "fringe" now comprises much if not most of the population.

here for the rest.

Indeed. I'm not holding my breath, but I still think there's an outside chance that if the news media starts doing its job, this country could be radically different three years from now. That is, if what's actually happened since 9/11 becomes achingly clear to the US public, the House and the Senate could conceivably see Democratic majorities after the 2006 elections. Under pressure from the press, the Democrats would then convene numerous show-hearings, maybe even get some impeachment procedures going for everyone from Rumsfeld to Rice to Cheney to Bush. In the aftermath, a demoralized American population swings left: "my god; what have we done?"

Like I said, I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: This fantasy scenario in my head, with Democrats taking both houses in '06, is not as far fetched as it might seem. Bush's disapproval rating among the all-important swing-voting independents is a whopping seventy five percent, and that's pretty much without the press doing its job. It seems to me that there is a very good chance that disillusionment with the White House could turn into Democratic votes for Congress. If only the Dems can keep from shooting themselves in the head again.


Friday, June 24, 2005






KARL ROVE (a.k.a. "Bush's Brain") SAYS

From the New York Times courtesy of
Blogoland, courtesy of Eschaton:

Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."

"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

here for the rest.

If you haven't been following this, I think it's safe to say that Rove's clearly slanderous statement has driven liberals into a frothing rage. Never mind the hypocrisy vis-à-vis GOP statements about the Nazi thing, the outrageous aspect here is that not a single Republican seems willing to denounce Rove's comment. No one. And they've been asked to repeatedly. In other words, the right wing is in perfect lock-step in asserting that liberals want American soldiers to die. Unlike the Nazi comparison, which, admitedly, has some room for debate, Rove's statement is obviously false from the get-go, not to mention extraordinarily divisive.

Like I've already said,
liberals should never apologize to these guys. Ever!!! Even though Durbin finally said he was sorry for his Nazi comparison, the GOP is still attacking him: to them, apologies are simply a sign of weakness; truth and lies are simply weapons. Meanwhile, the right wing opens up this new libelous front, and their unity on the issue seems to be orchestrated.


White House intentionally had Rove call
Democrats and 57% of Americans traitors

1. The White House released the TEXT of Rove's speech today. According to my sources who know about such things, that NEVER happens. This is prima facie evidence that the White House coordinated this thing from the beginning.

2. The RNC put out talking points today about how the Democrats "blamed America" for September 11. Those detailed talking points were clearly prepared well in advance of this noon today when this thing blew up. WE BLAMED AMERICA?

3. The RNC today reportedly released a new attack web ad going after Durbin for his comments about Guantanamo Bay. Isn't that convenient that something that took at least a few days to prepare was suddenly ready today at the same time that Karl Rove made his comments that anyone who recognizes that Bush has no idea what's going on Iraq is a traitor who loves Osama.

Click here for the rest.

Rove plays dirty. Really dirty. It's just usually not this obvious. Clearly, this is a White House reaction to Bush's plummeting poll numbers. It's classic Karl Rove: when cornered, fight dirty, really dirty. And it usually works.

Maybe not this time. After all, three fifths of the nation now opposes the war; the GOP magic fairy dust seems to be wearing off. If we're lucky, this stunt, like the Schiavo stunt pulled by Congress, will simply make Republicans look like the trolls they actually are. What will the reaction be when America realizes it's been kissing a frog instead of a prince?


U.S. doctors linked to POW 'torture'

From the Toronto Star, courtesy of
Crooks and Liars, courtesy of AMERICAblog:

Medical records compiled by doctors caring for prisoners at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay are being tapped to design more effective interrogation techniques, says an explosive new report.

Doctors, nurses and medics caring for the approximately 600 prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are required to provide health information to military and CIA interrogators, according to the report in the respected New England Journal of Medicine.

"Since late 2003, psychiatrists and psychologists (at Guantanamo) have been part of a strategy that employs extreme stress, combined with behaviour-shaping rewards, to extract actionable intelligence from resistant captives," it states.

Such tactics are considered torture by many authorities, the authors note.

here for the rest.

Okay, so we haven't reached the depravity of the Third Reich's "Angel of Death,"
Dr. Josef Mengele, just yet, but it sounds like we're on the way. The more I learn about what's going on in America's name at these "detention centers," the more I believe that "Nazi" is the right word to use. I guarantee that if this was happening to American soldiers, the right wing would be screaming "Nazi" at the top of their lungs, and, of course, they'd be justified in doing so. This use of doctors and POW medical records is really fucking creepy. Things are bad. Really bad.

Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's "Angel of Death"


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Or Iraq is as good as Houston. It's hard to tell with a nut like Tom DeLay.

From the Houston Chronicle:

"You know, if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways," DeLay said.

"And if you took that as the image of what is a great city that has an incredible quality of life and an incredible economy, it's amazing to me. Go to Iraq. And see what's actually happening there.

Click here for the rest.

You know, as much as I criticize Houston for it's blandness, for being under the control of robber barons, for it's out-of-sight levels of industrial pollution, and on and on, it's still my hometown, and I think I can safely say that it bears absolutely no resemblance to Iraq. For one thing, I've never seen or heard of any improvised explosive devices taking out cops and Galleria shoppers. For another, I've never had my home invaded by soldiers searching for insurgents.

Wait, scratch that last one: Harris County Sheriff's deputies did once search my apartment, illegally, weapons drawn, for a car thief who was nowhere in the vicinity, but that only happened once, and, fortunately, they didn't break anything. Really, that's nothing like what Iraqis endure.

Clearly, this is another piece of Republican bullshit rhetoric attempting to put a happy face on all the insanity going on over there. I'm reminded of Rumsfeld making light of the looting of Iraqi museums, remarking on the news media continually running a clip of some guy taking a vase out of a building: "How many vases could there be in Iraq?" Actually, there were quite a few. Were quite a few.

No, Mr. DeLay, Iraq is not as good as Houston. Iraq is in chaos, and it's all your fault; it's the fault of all your ideological brethren, and it doesn't matter what you say about it. At this point, all the words in the universe couldn't spin the reality that Bush's war is a complete disaster. If there is any vestige of justice left in America, one day you and your cohorts will pay for your crimes.


O'Reilly: FBI should arrest the "clowns"
at Air America Radio for being traitors

From Media Matters for America courtesy of Eschaton:

Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less.

Click here for the rest (and for an audio link).

What I don't understand is at what point anti-war speech becomes "undermining" to the war itself, and therefore traitorous. Frankly, it strikes me that all anti-war speech is intended to undermine the war. But then, I don't really understand much about O'Reilly reality to begin with. I wonder if this means that I'm a traitor, too.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Back in the early 90s I was taking a course at the University of Texas on the economics of the cable television industry. For one lecture, the teacher brought in a guest from Austin Cablevision. At the time, there was some pending legislation in Congress that would regulate the payment rates for cable TV. A classmate asked this guy what he thought about it. Instead of going into the specifics of the bill, or the intricacies of revenue and profits, he simply said with a smile, "Anytime the government tries to regulate business it hurts everybody, both industry and consumers," and he left it at that. At the time, I was a bit angry that our teacher never really made any attempt to discuss his remark--I mean, obviously, there's another point of view about this little bit of economic conventional wisdom. Is it true that government regulation always results in inefficiency that hurts both business and consumers? Or, put differently, does deregulation always result in a more competitive business environment that benefits everybody?

Well, putting aside our economics textbooks for a moment, let's take a look at the real world. From the Houston Chronicle editorial board:

Electric bills: Higher prices through
competition is not the way it was supposed to work.

Still, the fact remains that the regulated markets are outperforming the competitive markets, eroding claims that the free market will always outperform regulated or government-owned providers. John Wilder, CEO of TXU Corp., a large competitive provider, said his company had made no money on retail electricity sales.

Meanwhile, in addition to enjoying lower prices, consumers in some regulated markets also escape the bother and expense of having to shop around. Texas' competitive electricity providers face a stiff challenge in demonstrating the superiority of competition.

here for the rest.

Texas deregulated its power companies a few years back. So far, it doesn't seem to have resulted in the debacle that we saw in California, with power giants like Enron manipulating the system to jack pay rates sky high while causing numerous rolling blackouts at the same time. Nonetheless, simply because Texans have been spared from the worst ravages of robber baron capitalism in the energy industry, it doesn't mean that deregulation is a success. Indeed, competition, according to the priests of free market fundamentalism, is always supposed to result in lower prices. In this case it hasn't, which suggests that economics, as an academic field, is, at the very least, wildly more complicated than the corn-pone platitudes offered by conservative politicians about "the way the world works" would seem to indicate.


Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Trooper allegedly told pair to take off clothes

A judge in Rolling Meadows set Dozier's bond at $50,000. Dozier bonded out later in the day, said Marcy Jensen, a spokeswoman with the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Dozier, driving an unmarked squad car, came upon the couple while their car was parked along Interstate 94 near Northbrook about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, prosecutors said.

Dozier gave the 22-year-old man and 18-year-old woman a Breathalyzer test, prosecutors said.

Dozier told the woman she had failed the test and then asked her what he should do, Jensen said. The woman suggested Dozier write a ticket. But Dozier allegedly said he didn't want to put her "in the system."

Dozier then ordered the couple to strip down to their underwear, which they did, Jensen said. At some point, Dozier stepped back, and the couple were able to jump into their car and get away, Jensen said.

here for the rest.

You know, it seems like half of these cop abuse stories I find have some sort of pervy sexual component. I've been wondering what that's all about, but then I remembered that interview with the former Seattle chief of police and his remarks about law enforcement's machismo culture. Apparently, wanton violence isn't the only manifestation of police culture's pulsating masculinity.



From CNN courtesy of

Nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war in Iraq and a growing number of them are dissatisfied with the war on terrorism, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

Only 39 percent of those polled said they favored the war in Iraq -- down from 47 percent in March -- and 59 percent were opposed.

here for the rest.

When I started this blog back in the fall of '02, I think something like 80% of the country was in favor of the invasion. I watched what I said at the school where I was teaching. I was flipped off by motorists as I participated at a peace demonstration the next spring. I watched, mouth dropped open, as the Dixie Chicks were reviled by one and all for their anti-war views. I listened to an endless stream of idiot television pundits and retarded radio talk show hosts call the anti-war movement everything from irresponsible to treasonous.

It's nice to be in the majority for once. Now let's end this bloody "mistake."



An E. J. Dionne essay from the Washington Post courtesy of
Crooks and Liars:

The autopsy in the Terri Schiavo case provides a rare moment of political accountability. We should not "move on," as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist suggested. No, we cannot move on until those politicians who felt entitled to make up facts and toss around unwarranted conclusions about Schiavo's condition take responsibility for what they said -- and apologize.

Nothing in the autopsy report prevents those who opposed removing Schiavo's feeding tube from continuing to insist they were right. It's legitimate and honorable to argue on philosophical grounds that every medical decision in a tragic circumstance such as Schiavo's should be made on the side of keeping the sick person alive.

But those who supported an extraordinary use of federal power to force their own conclusion against the judgment of state courts knew that philosophical arguments would not be enough. Most Americans were uneasy about compelling Schiavo's husband, Michael, to keep his wife alive if -- as the state courts had concluded and as the autopsy confirmed on Wednesday -- she had suffered irreversible brain damage and was incapable of recovering.

So the big-government conservatives had to invent a story. They had to insist that they knew, just knew , more about Terri Schiavo's condition than the doctors on the scene. They had to question Michael Schiavo's motives and imply that he wanted to, well, get rid of her.

here for the rest.

You know, I can deal with the fact that people disagree with my views. What I can't deal with is people playing fast and loose with the truth in order to "prove" me wrong. The Republicans behaved really atrociously on this one, but I think the lesson that should be learned here is that this is how they operate all the time. Years ago, when I was a teenager, I think that the right wing was much more principled in its opposition, but not today. Don't get me wrong; I know that there are many rank-and-file conservatives out there who still think facts are important, but conservatives in power lie about everything now. This Shiavo incident is a textbook example of how they work: avoid real argumentation, and go for the jugular with shit they've made up. That's why we're in an unwinnable war. That's why the polar ice caps are melting. That's why HIV infections are on the rise. And on and on and on.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Soldier Sues Over Guantanamo Beating

From the Los Angeles Times courtesy of the
Daily Kos:

Spc. Sean D. Baker, 38, was assaulted in January 2003 after he volunteered to wear an orange jumpsuit and portray an uncooperative detainee. Baker said the MPs, who were told that he was an unruly detainee who had assaulted an American sergeant, inflicted a beating that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.


As he was being choked and beaten, Baker said, he screamed a code word, "red," and shouted: "I'm a U.S. soldier! I'm a U.S. soldier!" He said the beating continued until the jumpsuit was yanked down during the struggle, revealing his military uniform.

The lawsuit says of the extraction team: "Armed with the highly inflammatory, false, incendiary and misleading information that had been loaded into their psyches by their platoon leader, these perceptions and fears … became their operative reality, and they acted upon these fears, all to the detriment of Sean Baker."

No one has been disciplined or punished for the assault, said Baker's lawyer, T. Bruce Simpson Jr.

Last June, a military spokesman said an internal investigation in February 2003 had concluded that no one was liable for Baker's injuries. He said training procedures at Guantanamo had been reviewed after the incident.

Click here for the rest.

Uh..."no one was liable?" That's a crock of shit. It's pretty clear that these soldiers were doing exactly what they were trained to do, beat the crap out of prisoners: that means that ultimate liability lies with their superiors.

What's really damning about this is that we learn from as trusted a source as you can get in this situation, a loyal and obedient longtime US soldier, that vicious beatings are business as usual at Guantanamo. "Fraternity pranks," "isolated incidents," "bad people," all these right-wing excuses and flimsy explanations are shown to be the bullshit that they are. The US tortures people, and that is, quite simply, intolerable--they weren't even trying to get any information from this guy; they were just beating his head on the floor for fun.

Meanwhile politicians and the press are mired in endless discussions about whether such behavior is like or unlike the Nazis. Here's an Alexandrian solution to this Gordian Knot of a "debate:" Nazis tortured; the US tortures. Period. What don't they understand about that?



I really should have posted this on Sunday. Better late than never, I guess.

From the Houston Chronicle:

In the 140 years since Union Army General Gordon Granger landed on Galveston Island and pronounced Texas slaves freed, the Juneteenth holiday marking the June 19 event has been increasingly celebrated by blacks embracing their roots.

A Web site,, offers a history of the holiday and a state-by-state listing of celebratory events. An online store has commemorative items: Juneteenth cups, caps, aprons, T-shirts and buttons.

Since the jubilation of 250,000 newly emancipated Texas slaves in 1865, Juneteenth festivities have moved from annual family barbecues to formal galas replete with jazz, blues and gospel artists.

Fueled by a heightened awareness of identity after the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and the political gains that followed, increasing numbers of blacks are remembering a part of their history.

Click here for the rest.

This is actually pretty cool. The traditional Texas celebration commemorating the freeing of enslaved African-Americans is apparently spreading to other states. Really, this is a celebration that white Americans would do well to observe, too. The end of the Civil War meant that blacks would no longer be slaves, but it also meant that whites would no longer be enslavers. That's one giant leap in our history toward civilization and national morality, a cause for rejoicing by all Americans.

In honor of the holiday, I give you the San Francisco Symphony's performance of the Duke Ellington classic, "Come Suday," via WebJay. The guy singing the Mahalia Jackson part is intense, very much in the Paul Robeson tradition. Check it out.

Happy Juneteenth! (Belatedly.)


Saturday, June 18, 2005


Damn it!

From the Copely News Service via the San Diego Union-Tribune courtesy of

Attempting to stem growing criticism, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said yesterday that he regretted any misunderstandings caused by his comments that compared some U.S. actions at Guantanamo Bay to those committed by the Nazis or Cambodia's Pol Pot.

"I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support," Durbin said in a statement issued by his office yesterday.

here for the rest.

Durbin's apology really bothers me because it so completely plays into the Republican noise machine's hands. That is, we've seen this pattern again and again: somebody makes a true but slightly flawed statement about Bush's policies, the right-wing seizes on the slight flaw and comes howling down on it relentlessly from every direction possible; under the onslaught, the person originally making the statement feels forced to retract it.

The only lesson to be learned here is to NEVER EVER APOLOGIZE TO THE RIGHT WING. Ever. Sure, clarify the statment. Admit any technical inaccuracies. But only do so in passing, without enough words to make a soundbite, and always, always, always, stress the veracity of the statement as a whole. Durbin, a politician, probably feels that he doesn't have the luxury of proclaiming the harsh truths about this war that, say, Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization, has. Republicans, however, brilliantly seize upon this weakness, and like the bullies that they are, push Democrats into the mud and steal their lunch money.

Take a lesson from Howard Dean, Mr. Durbin, and never apologize. Those old rules of gentility no longer apply; the conservatives have shredded them. Never apologize to those bastards.

Look, Guantanamo is like something out of a WWII movie. Sure, there are differences, but there are also startling similarities--murdering innocent captives is but one of many. It's the similarities that the right wing is trying to drown out by railing away on the differences. Apologizing for not being clear enough simply aids that effort. Comparing the atrocities at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere, to the Nazis and Soviets is exactly the right thing to do, because if such comparisons are not made now and often, there is a very real chance that a few years from now there won't be any differences at all: Bush's policies really will be indistinguishable from those of Hitler.

USA Uber Alles--another little Paintshop self-indulgence



Taking up the challenge implied by this Real Art post from a week ago, Mike over at This is not a compliment makes a first attempt at defining the largely unknown Houston music scene, and manages to turn me into a believer. Go check it out. I'm particularly fond of the Linus Pauling Quartet, but Charlie Naked, Freedom Sold and ASHS are pretty great, too.

The really solid quality of the work going on in the Bayou City leads me to an inescapable conclusion: good music doesn't necessarily translate into good reputation. What is it about H-Town that makes it seem to be such a cultural backwater? My speculation is that there is very little community and institutional support for grassroots arts in Houston, but I really have no idea what the deal is.

At any rate, Mike's attempt to illustrate that there is, indeed, something going on worth listening to in the Space City might ultimately lead to an overall codification of Houston's music scene, which in turn, might make it more easily understandable as a concept. That is, trying to pin down what Houston music is all about could change the city's reputation as being simply a haven for strip malls, freeways, and corporate radio.

You know, given that Houston is so totally Bush country, so totally anti-cultural and Republican, indeed, the conservative vision of what a city should be, pushing the local music scene becomes pretty subversive on a political level, and, ultimately, that's what real art is all about.



Mr. Scott!



A friend in Houston forwarded me this email last week:

On Saturday evening my boyfriend and I were driving on Kirby. While stopped at the traffic light on Westheimer, we kissed, only to be interrupted by someone honking their horn at us from behind. When we turned around, we saw a guy and his friend yelling at us. They yelled that we were FAGS and that we should die and go to hell. They followed us down the road yelling and harrassing us. They made a right on Shepperd but not before letting us further know their views on homosexuality.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens quite often without us being able to do anything about it. These idiots didn't realize, however, that they were in a bright yellow hummer that had their company phone number, 713 TICKETS, in big font . The first thing we did was call the number to find out who was driving the car. It turns out the owner and one of his assistants were the people shouting at us. The receptionists apologized for his boss' behavior and gave us the boss' name, Kent Maree. His assistant, who was also shouting obscenties at us, is Max Velazquez.

A friend of mine, who is black, called Kent this monring to ask if this is the way he treats all minorities. Kent responded by saying that it is a free country and he can express his views as he wishes. He also let my friend know that Fags choose to be fags and they should burn in hell. Since this is a free country, I urge you all to please give Kent a call and let him know your opinion on the way he expresses his views and his business practices. Pass this on to as many people as you know so that they too can give Kent and Max a piece of their mind. Their number is 713TICKETS.

Thanks for your help.

Of course, real homophobes are, indeed, big idiots, but they're usually not this stupid. Wanting to do my small part, I did a little Googling and found these ticket scalpers' website:

It turns out that the company is called Front Row Tickets, a fairly high profile outfit in the Bayou City, so it was weird that the owner would be such a moron--I mean, at the very least, it's bad business to alienate a demographic with lots of spending money. But homophobia is irrational, so I guess losing business wasn't on this half-wit's mind at the time. Anway, on their site I found their email address:

I sent this info back to my friend and suggested that a nice little spam campaign of free speech might be in order--I mean, it is a free country, right? I didn't hear anything back from her about that, but she did let me know that the spat actually raised enough of a ruckus such that it made it into a gossip column for Houston's alternative weekly wanna-be. You've already heard the gay guys' version, so I'll skip that and excerpt the ticket scalper's version:

Rashomon on Westheimer

"When we got here [to the office] one of my employees said, 'Kent, did you shout and scream at some people?' I said, 'We honked at somebody to go at the light, but we didn't roll down our windows and shout obscenities.' 'They called here saying that you screamed "Fag" at them,' which is totally not the truth."


Maree has a slightly different version of that conversation, saying he told her, "We're all here. We have to live together. And we have to, you know, live together and get along." He says, "Nobody said anything about fags burning in hell and all that kind of stuff."

Maree told Hair Balls that Caldera would be issuing a retraction under threat of a lawsuit; instead Caldera filed a report with the police.

here for the rest (and scroll down to the last gossip item).

Well, I must admit that I find the gay guys' story to be much more detailed and compelling, so maybe I will send off an email of protest. Or not. It seems to be cooling down. Still, it's nice to hear that this all too familiar tale of the street harassment of homosexuals twisted in a more empowering direction. For once, on this front anyway, it sounds like the good guys won.


Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the Houston Chronicle:

Conroe ISD cop found guilty; jury mulls sentence

A jury will deliberate today the sentence for a former Conroe schools police officer who was found guilty Thursday in his trial over the sexual assaults of four high school students.

The jury took three hours to find Donald P. Mauro guilty on all 18 counts. Mauro, 43, was accused of assaulting four students last fall while working part-time at Oak Ridge North High School.

Click here for the rest.

You know, I haven't mentioned this for quite a while, so it bears repeating: the police corruption stories that I post here are only a very small sampling of what's available in the press on a daily basis--what makes it into the press are only those instances where cops get caught. It stands to reason that police abuse of power is going on all over the place all the time; we simply don't hear about it.

Unless, of course, you're African-American or Hispanic. In that case, it's common knowledge due to personal experience.

UPDATE: They gave this Conroe ISD cop 160 years!!!


Friday, June 17, 2005






Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the Houston Chronicle:

Kendleton's ex-police commissioner sentenced

A federal judge sentenced the former Kendleton police commissioner to more than five years in prison Thursday and ordered him and a former police captain to pay $390,000 in restitution for fleecing motorists and mishandling federal money.


Mann and Davis ran what prosecutors called their "own private toll road," on a section of U.S. 59 in Kendleton, a town of about 500 about 40 miles southwest of Houston, between November 1997 and May 2000.

Click here for the rest.

At last! Someone finally goes to jail for running a speed trap. 'Bout time.


How To Be Idle

An interview from
Mother Jones courtesy of This is not a compliment:

MJ: What about this paradox that you do more by working less?

TH: I had lunch with these French people who said, “Travailler moins, produire plus.” In other words, the less you work, the more you produce. And certainly in my own experience—even in the really good jobs—a lot of the day is just spent sitting there, staring at your screen, pretending to work, checking your emails, on the phone to your girlfriend. I realized I’d rather work hard for two or three hours in a day—which was the only real work I was doing—and then bobble about the rest of the time, in the park or whatever. I’ve found that there isn’t any correlation whatsoever between the hours put in and the quality of what comes out. Most of the Beatles’ songs probably originated in about five minutes. Often, the things that a lot of work has gone into have been incredibly bad because they’re over-worked.


TH: For most of us, the opportunity to become creative is being squeezed at both ends. We think, “Well, I’ve been doing all that work, and now I’m going to reward myself by doing a lot of spending.” What would happen in the days before time was money and money and machines weren’t quite so dominant would be you’d have all this other time when you’d do what turned into hobbies. Little things like making clothes, baking bread, cooking, even useless things like bird-watching, sketching flowers, playing guitar in the home--that sort of time is gone. And the time we have? We’re so exhausted, we want to let ourselves get sucked in to the escape world of TV. I’m speaking from experience; I’m not above all this.

I like the idea of becoming [fairly] good at lots of things rather than very good at just one thing. So it would be nice to be okay at the guitar or at the piano, a reasonable cook, perhaps able to fix your car or do some basic carpentry, and be able to write the odd article. Rather than being super good at one tiny thing, to be kind of average at lots of things. It might mean that you have a more kind of enjoyable, complete life.

Click here for the rest.

The real question here is "why do we work?" The obvious answer is to keep civilization up and running. But do we really need to work forty hours a week in order to do that? Karl Marx long ago suggested that, in order to produce what society needs to function, the amount of time an indivudual should work is about four hours a day. That observation was made looking at nineteenth century technology: probably much less time is required today.

The reason we work so many hours for such low pay is because that suits the profit needs of big business. But what about our needs? When I was teaching, I was generally so drained by the time I got home that my own creative output did, indeed, suffer. True, I started this blog because I could work as much or as little on it depending on how much time I had, but I also had to pass up numerous opportunities to act and direct because I just didn't have the time. I wrote no songs during this period, no open mike nights. In many ways, it makes sense that so many people just come home and turn on the TV--what else do people have the energy for after a long day at work? I also went out a whole lot less, had fewer friends, saw my family rarely.

Our economy could easily absorb the lost work-hours with nary a ripple. Furthermore, fewer hours worked would turn into more employment opportunities for the jobless. In short, the quality of American life would be greatly enhanced if we were able to start living for ourselves instead of for the companies who employ us. This is no pie-in-the-sky fantasy: America could do this, if only the will to insist on it existed.

But who has any will power after eight to ten hours of the grind?


Thursday, June 16, 2005

GORE VIDAL: Something Rotten in Ohio

Gore Vidal may be an elitist, but, damn it, he's our elitist, and he's in fine form with this biting essay on how, once again, we're having to face up to the fact that Bush stole this last election, too. From the Nation:

Asked to predict who would win in '04, I said that, again, Bush would lose, but I was confident that in the four years between 2000 and 2004 creative propaganda and the fixing of election officials might very well be so perfected as to insure an official victory for Mr. Bush. As Representative Conyers's report, Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio (, shows in great detail, the swing state of Ohio was carefully set up to deliver an apparent victory for Bush even though Kerry appears to have been the popular winner as well as the valedictorian-that-never-was of the Electoral College.


It is well-known in the United States of Amnesia that not only did Ohio have a considerable number of first-time voters but that Blackwell and his gang, through "the misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters."

For the past few years many of us have been warning about the electronic voting machines, first publicized on the Internet by investigator Bev Harris, for which she was much reviled by the officers of such companies as Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, Triad; this last voting computer company "has essentially admitted that it engaged in a course of behavior during the recount in numerous counties to provide 'cheat sheets' to those counting the ballots. The cheat sheets informed election officials how many votes they should find for each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a full county-wide hand recount mandated by state law."

Click here for the rest.

At some point in the second half of the 90s, I came to the conclusion that corporate cash and big media shaping of issues and national narrative had become so rampant that democracy no longer has any real meaning in the United States: representatives and senators no longer represent citizens, and citizens, for the most part, no longer have any realistic notions about what's actually happening in the world. We go through the motions of democracy, but it's all just a show. The real power is in money, not voting.

As if that wasn't good enough for the plutocracy.

Even though it's pretty clear by now that the Florida Presidential election was rigged in Bush's favor in 2000, I was still pretty skeptical about it happening again in 2004. After all, this sort of issue plays strongly into the hands of conspiracy-minded individuals, and I had already written off American democracy, anyway, so why worry about it? But the evidence has been piling up, thanks to Conyers' magnificent efforts: I feel like I now have enough compelling information to jump on the election-rigging '04 bandwagon.

It's the massively long lines in African-American precincts that swayed me. This is similar to what happened in Florida. Republican state election officials in both Florida and Ohio targeted the voting rights of black people, who overwhelmingly vote Democrat: this seems to be quickly becoming the GOP modus operandi for election fixing. In Florida, it was a bogus list of disenfranchised felons; in Ohio, it was purposely leaving black precincts with too few voting machines, resulting in huge numbers of African-Americans not being allowed to vote. Both approaches were extremely effective--both approaches are racist, too, I might add.

As usual, Congress, almost all of Congress, deep in the pockets of corporations and the super wealthy, ignored what happened in Ohio, just like with Florida four years ago. As usual, the corporate owned news media, reflecting the desires and views of their masters, also ignored the racist election fraud in Ohio, just like with Florida four years ago.

So, even though American democracy is simply a show, that show has become extraordinarily insincere. It's like going to see a production of Oh! Calcutta!, but the actors are all wearing flesh-colored body suits. You know it's not real life, just a show, but you wanted to see some full-frontal nudity, damn it! Alas, it's only fake nudity that you get to see, and the tickets cost just too damned much for that.

Oh! America!