May
23

Zombie Protesters — Seriously, Part 2

Any good zombie story deserves a sequel!  Spotted last Saturday in Oakland:

Zombies lurch down Telegraph to support libraries, brains

 

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Written: May 23, 2011
Apr
4

Zombie Protesters — Seriously

Zombies are all the rage these days — and now, it looks like they’re joining the “Days of Rage.”  A group of zombies was seen recently, heading for the Wisconsin state house in Madison:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/03/963087/-New-developments-in-Wisconsin-solidarity:Zombies-on-Parade!UPDATE:Faux-News-reports! (from DailyKos)

Any protest is better with a zombie horde on your side!

 

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Written: Apr 4, 2011
Sep
6

Five Years and a Zillion Lies Later

Newsflash for the neocon apologists in the audience:  Co-opting 9/11 for political purposes is poor ethics.  Lying about it is downright sinful.

ABC Television is going to ram some steamin’ hot propaganda down Lady Liberty’s throat, celebrating 9/11 like a horny Mongol horde.

“ABC, what is best in life?”

“To crush your enemies, see demm driven buh-fore you, and ta hear deh lamentation uff deh women!”

Let’s contrast such cynical knee-biting of the national psyche with a taste of hard facts, hm?

How 9/11 changed America: In statistics
To break the numbers down:

A) Defense spending has gone up $50 billion for every year since.
B) Mainstream news media report on Osama bin Laden, public enemy numero uno, less and less every year.
C) The airline industry has only just begun to recover.
D) The number of hate crimes against Muslims has quintupled.
E)  President George W’s approval rating is lower than Clinton’s at his worst…and has been lower for a few years.

9/11: Five Years Later
A study by Columbia University researchers reveals the following:

A)  Bush’s poll numbers go up whenever the American public is scared.
B) The number of terror alerts increases around national elections

“When you have media organs viewing fear-mongering as a payday,
senior politicians seeing fear-mongering as sound political strategy,
and terrorists considering fear-mongering as a victory unto itself,
where are citizens expected to find a voice of reason?”

–Matthew T. Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs. 

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Written: Sep 6, 2006
Jul
4

A Day for Patriots

Sorry to all and sundry for being scarce.  Your pains, pleasures, and other p-words have not gone unnoticed.  Just lots of work to be done.  I’m like Gandalf that way…maybe more like Sir Ian McKellan’s Gandalf, the one that takes only a few edits instead of 17 years to get back to you.  (Oh boo hoo, you Fourth Age purists — you loved it, baby.)

Anyway, now’s the day when we folks in the US o’ A make a big to-do.  Luckily it’s turned out to be a good day so far.

Space Shuttle Discovery is in orbit, safe and sound.  Not a peep from that stupid fuel tank.  Yeah, I know — it’s obsolete tech, never worked right, we have no business in space, yadda yadda.  The crew are fine.  With luck, they’ll be just as fine in three weeks.

I wanted to note the holiday this time.   Here’s a special something…for George and Karl.

The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.
The language is not Narn or Human or Centauri or Gaim or Minbari.

It speaks in the language of hope. It speaks in the language of trust.
It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion.
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice.

It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us.
And the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born.
It is the small, still voice that says we are One.

No matter the blood, no matter the skin,
No matter the world, no matter the star,
We are One.
No matter the pain, no matter the darkness,
No matter the loss, no matter the fear.
We are One.

Here, gathered together in common cause
We agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another.

Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us,
And each voice lost diminishes us.
We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation,
The fire that will light the way to a better future.

We are One.

–J. Michael Straczynski
Babylon 5:  “The Paragon of Animals”

And yes, I’m still angry.

Comments: 0
Written: Jul 4, 2006
May
26

Orwellian Immigration

Virtually since day one, I’ve been openly and bitterly opposed to right-wing politicos.  I scan partisan hacks with a jaundiced eye, regardless of where they land on the political spectrum.  I don’t need reactionaries of any stripe.  But for the longest time, I’ve held a unique distrust for conservatives in American politics.

Now check my math, but wasn’t the first scandal in United States history the work of conservatives?  Puritans, the religious conservatives of their day, got it into their heads that women were good wall hangings.  Right-wingers are the first to kill, the most eager for war, the most hungry for money and power, always the most afraidAttacking southeast Asia?  Their idea.  That third-rate burglary in a hotel.  Trading arms for hostages.  I could go on all day like this.  Then again, listing only their colossal screw-ups through history might crash the entire ‘net.

Okay, I’ll stop sitting on your chest and tell you what’s with me and neocons lately.  Illegal immigration.   I’ve been meaning to get a good flame going on this one too.  And yes, I’m Hispanic.  That doesn’t change the fact that their obsession with our southwestern border is becoming a right-wing fetish.

Mayhaps it’s arrogant of me, gentle reader (and kindly fuck yourself with sweaty gelignite if you think it is), but I’m sick of it.  Their whiny fears.  Their rabid complaints.  Their panicked backpedalling at justified accusations of racism.

C’mon, of course it’s racism.  They hates us little brown people.  They’s a-scared of my parents, my aunts and uncles, my nieces and nephews.  And yet they’ll tool around a parking lot in a pick-up truck and (ha-ha) picks themselves up a handful of “guest workers” for two bucks an hour.

And you know it’s about us beaners.  They don’t care if a white glassy-eyed psycho soaked in blood crosses the Canadian border.  If you’ve got a tan and can’t wait to make a decent living, you’re…an illegal alien!   Aliens!  Invasion!  Time to kick your hard-working, naturally tan ass back to Mars!

Boot.

Here’s the clincher.  Frank Luntz, professional Mr Potato-Head look-alike and neocon newspeak architect extraordinaire, had lent his skills at warping language and discourse to this issue some time ago.  Y’know, sort of the way Sir Isaac Newton had equations lying around just in case someone had to track a comet.  Luntz and his ilk prepared a document chock full of Orwellian doubletalk and catchphrases for this very subject.  And now it’s making the rounds on the Internet.

I’ve been going over this document.  It’ll cost me my blood pressure, but one must know thine enemy.  Admirable advice.  (Yeah, I’m going serious link-happy today, kids.  Good luck keeping up.  Marcel Proust ain’t got nuthin’ on me.)

Anyway, this is how Luntz’s Ministry of Truth intends to “frame” the discourse.  Make note of this.  These psycho-linguistic potholes are going to come at you from every aspect of the mainstream news media — viral advertising in its purest form, at its most brilliantly executed.  These are the words, the metaphors and verbal images that you’ll be bombarded with.  This isn’t some tinfoil hat conspiracy at work.  It doesn’t have to be.  All it has to be is ubiquitous, persistent, and repetitious in order to work.

“Linguistically, as you enter the debate, there are four key themes that must represent the core of your message:  prevention, protection, accountability and compassion.”

There, he states his intention to co-opt those words, to re-define what they mean whenever anyone in this country talks about immigration.  And now, their ideal framings for those four important words….

[On prevention:]  “If we stop the inflow of illegal immigrants, we can start to address the problems created by illegal immigrants already here.”

It doesn’t take much time for anyone to notice how absurd that premise is.  If prevention was really of interest, they’d stop illegal immigration at the source.  They’d work with the Mexican government (such as it is) to give the Mexican lower class a reason to stay home.

The hardline right-wingers paint Mexicans as moochers, as if they’re coming across the border to have fun at our expense and because they like to commit crimes.  In reality there are two simple reasons why people are crossing the border.  First, they want to make a decent living.  To feed their families, to live in good health, with dignity.  Second, they want to be free.  Violent crime is rampant.  And half of it comes from the local police.  Negotiate with the Mexican government, address these issues productively, and two-thirds of the human traffickers on that border will be out of a job.

But the neocons don’t really care about the poor.  They buy into the Calvinist view that you’re poor because you’re too weak to be rich.  In other words, they’re not really interested in getting to the heart of the problem.  All they want is scapegoats.  For two bucks an hour.

[On protection:]  “For most Americans, protection is as much about economic security as it is about homeland security – so say it and personalize it.”

Uh huh?  Yet neocons aren’t the least bit concerned about infiltration from the Canadian border.  And they should.  I don’t mean the Travis Bickle wannabe several links up.  I mean terrorists crossing the northern border, as they did back in 1999.  The Millennium Plot — the one the Clinton administration stopped.

But then you probably don’t remember that, do you, little neocon?  Too busy scanning dresses for protein stains.

Don’t let these yahoos play this protection scam on you.  The scary 9/11 card is their favorite play, but in the end, it’s just a ruse.  Uninspected cargo containers, chainsaw-wielding nutjobs, it doesn’t matter to them.  They don’t care what’s coming across our borders unless it’s got a darker complexion.

[On accountability:]  “Those who flaunt the rule of law should be held accountable.”

How about those who flout Strunk & White?  Fraggin’ morons, the whole lot.  Hey, at least when I do it, it’s a stylistic conceit or an honest mistake.  (A…an…?)  Meanwhile the Melanin Police over there insist on making English the official language of the United States when they don’t even know how to use it.

I dunno, what do you expect from the rabid followers of the Great Decider?  Maybe they were thinking of him when they made that error.  Little neocon, considering your complicity in torture, violating everyone’s civil rights, corruption, and elective wars, you don’t exactly have the moral high ground on any issue.

Just to be fair, let’s give ’em another bite or two at the apple.  It’s fun to watch them choke when they find the worm.

“We need to say to those who commit crimes: ‘you’re out of here.’ We’re not going to fund you in jail, we’re not going to pay for your food, and we’re not going to allow you to work out on weights. We’re not going to pay for your cable television. […]  We will deport you within 72 hours….”

Ooh, zero tolerance on vatos, man.  They’ll bust you, stick you in a cell and give you the first decent meal you’ve had in weeks!  But just for three days, ese.  Four days is gonna help the terrorists win.

[On compassion:]  “I do have compassion for illegal immigrants, but if I have to choose, I’m going to choose American citizens first….”

Fine, pick your own pinche grapes.   And clean your own damn house while you’re at it.  Then keep going till you clean up the whole federal government.

You don’t have to choose between immigrants and American citizens, Mr and Mrs Small Government.  Streamline the immigration process.

These losers like to gripe about how the country “punishes people who play by the rules.”  They’re the ones who set it up, made it bloated with bureaucracy, let it fall apart, and later replaced it with the Bureau of US Customs and Border Protection.  They’re also the ones who make cracks about clearing out crowded restaurants by simply shouting, “La migra!”

Wanna try it again?

“We believe that everyone deserves a second chance. If an illegal immigrant working here would like to re-enter the country as a guest worker and as a legal immigrant, they should be given that chance.”

Gotta love these neocon claims of compassion for people they secretly despise.  Whether they come in legally or illegally, neocons are still gonna bitch to high heaven about immigrants clogging our schools and our emergency rooms, about them taking our jobs and moving into our neighborhoods with their smelly cooking and how they breed like rats.  Burdening the country’s safety net…the very safety net they want to tear down.

Of course the true hypocrisy behind Frank Luntz’ s pre-manufactured bromides:  Under a section called Words That Work With Hispanic Republicans, the report suggests the following line:  “If we take human life seriously, we will take these human trafficking rings seriously.”  Not a point of policy.  It’s a talking point.

Talk.  That’s all they’ve got.  They don’t want to fix the problem.  They only want to sound like it.

Meanwhile I’m going to keep talking about it — burning — until they come clean or offer some real solutions, whichever comes first.

So you know this is gonna go on for a while.

Comments: 0
Written: May 26, 2006
Apr
19

More news you won’t see

Ever wonder why you hear about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, but never about this stuff?

All-White Jury Acquit Milwaukee Police of Brutality Charges
(This link includes a rush transcript text and downloads of the story on “Democracy Now.”)

New White House Policy Chief Was “Brooks Brothers” Rioter

CIA Expands Operational File Secrecy
This gets complicated, so I’ll encapsulate the story a bit with quotes from the article:

  • As they do every ten years, the CIA “conducted a review of its ‘operational files’ last year.”
  • This refers to a file’s status as either “operational” or open to the public.
  • Instead of removing files from operational status, the CIA “added twenty three new file category exemptions.”
  • In other words, they’ve just made fewer files available under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • They also twisted the law to do it.  The statute addresses only the curtailing, not the extension, of a file’s operational status.

The next time you read the paper or fire up the tube, ask yourself:  Are you sure you know what’s going on?

Comments: 0
Written: Apr 19, 2006
Mar
30

A World of Enemies

Courtesy of Tom Feeley’s Information Clearing House:

“Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by ‘a world of enemies’ – ‘one against all’ – and that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism p.227

Something to think about, sweet little neocon.

Comments: 0
Written: Mar 30, 2006
Mar
18

Operation Swarmer Was Hype

You heard me.  If you followed the news media’s passionate coverage of “the biggest air assault” of the Iraq war, you now know what happens when someone dangles a big shiny in front of the American news media.

Time has a web exclusive on it:  On Scene: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled

A quote from the article, with my bold lettering:

“But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. (“Air Assault” is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.”

Some are suggesting it was all a big publicity stunt to show off the new and approved Iraqi army.  The troops secured some documents and war materiel.  That much is true, and it’s a good thing.  No one gets to use those weapons on them.  Everything else is psychic lip gloss.  Don’t be fooled by the shiny.

I suppose some under-informed yahoo is going to complain that I shouldn’t challenge the official story coming from the White House, that it’s arrogant, that it’s undermining the war effort.

What freakin’ war effort?  Go back and read it again.  Our own government is lying to us.  Lying.  Bad thing.  And instead of doing their homework, mainstream news is going by faxed press releases.  They phoned it in.  Lazy.

Besides, how is a soldier going to feel when pseudo-patriotic idiots pat them on the back for something that never happened?  That soldier is going to feel like a fraud.  That kind of patriotism isn’t for the troops.  It’s for the poor sucker at home, the one that’s too scared, too overwhelmed, or sometimes too damn lazy to use her brain.

Listen, little neocon.  The information is out there, but it doesn’t always come to you.  If you can’t get enough news about your favorite movie or TV show, you’ll hit the ‘net faster than you can say “fanfic.”  But if it’s about the real world, about us, suddenly you can’t be bothered.

The war protesters and angry lefties ain’t holding us back.  They’re not the ones who take turns cheering and then ignoring the Abu Grieb pictures.  They’re not the ones blowing off high crimes and misdemeanors.  They’re not the ones who feel safer under a dictator who sends people out to be tortured, who uses a secret police force to quelch free speech, who hides behind Allah and squirms when told that he might like “Brokeback Mountain.”

Think about it.  Did I just describe America…or Iraq?

No, it’s not them.  It’s you.

Comments: 0
Written: Mar 18, 2006
Mar
15

Hang Together

Recently Jamie posted a humble lament for the current state of modern America and humanity in general.  I was going to post a comment on her blog to show some solidarity, but the comments window wouldn’t be enough to contain the things that had come to mind for me.
Let me end the suspense for ya.  I agree with her.

Re the first item…no, the government doesn’t give a flying f*** about us.  This administration never did.  How else can we explain a government that would sooner side with big business than keep rat poison out of the mouths of children?  A government that would sooner teach kids that contraceptives cause mental health problems?    A government that lets a city drown and still hasn’t cleaned up the mess?

Oh dear, was that arrogant of me?  Ask yourself:  What is more arrogant, to speak one’s mind in good conscience or to shout down those who do?  Or maybe death threats beat either one.

And frankly, to let all this corruption and cruelty and incompetance hide in the skirts of Lady Liberty…that is nothing short of cowardice.

Re the second item…it’s one of the more disturbing news stories I’ve seen in a while, for more reasons than you might think.  Orange County Assistant District Attorney Susan Kang Schroeder said in the article, “It shows how a group mentality can breed disgusting behavior.”  And that’s true, as far as it goes.  The problem is that it doesn’t go far enough.

Youth gangs and the violence they perpetrate has its roots in racism and economic injustice that has taken place over generations.  And before your eyes roll up into your head, I’m not blaming America.  Minority communities carry as much of the burden as anyone else, but racist violence made these gangs a necessity in the early 20th Century.  Zoot Suit Riots were more than just a cool song.  They were set off by acts of terror — men beaten with baseball bats into a bloody pulp, chicanas raped in the streets, cops that arrested the hispanics and let the white guys walk.  Criminal gangs form in communities that feel oppressed.  Until the cycle is broken from within or without, we face the tragic prospect of writing off entire families simply because they were the wrong color.  Genocide can happen slowly as well as with modern efficiency.

So we’re left with one chestnut of wisdom that I’ve heard recently and often, from many, many voices:  ” We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Comments: 0
Written: Mar 15, 2006
Mar
8

America’s Right to Know

Over the last six years, I’ve heard many well-intentioned but otherwise pathetic Americans defending the government’s right to withhold public information.

Withholding public information…from the public.  A government of the people is hiding from…the people.  It belongs to us.  It comes from us.  It’s ours.

But no, no, the government says, you can’t be trusted with your own information.  Let us hold it for you because you don’t know how to handle your own information properly.

Mind you, this isn’t sensitive info about tactical movements, transnational ops, or confidential staff meetings.  I mean public info like, “What the hell are you doing with my tax money.”

“What the hell are you doing to my son or daughter.”

“Where the hell have you been keeping my husband for the last five years.”

“Why the hell are you tapping my phone line.”

“Where the f*** is my lawyer.”

Little things like that.

All this has come up for me for two reasons.  When I hear or read otherwise sensible people defend the government’s failures or even the government’s “right” to hide them from us, it takes a long time for me to let it go.   So I’ve been running on a slow burn for a few weeks now after a particular instance.  And this piece here at Steven Aftergood’s Secrecy News got me thinking about it further:

Origins of “The Right to Know”

It’s short.  It’s simple.  Even pro-Bush people can understand it.

Also make note of Carol Monical’s posting in the comments section:  “To me it is inherent in a representative democratic system that a person has the right to know what the government is doing.  Otherwise, how can one make any decision, particularly intelligent decisions, about for whom to vote.”

Oh dear.  Does that mean we’re supposed to know what we’re voting for?  Or what the government is doing?

Maybe it’s arrogant to ask where the hell does the Vice-President, perhaps the most powerful person in my employment — in other words, the f***er works for ME — get off hiding from me for 18 hours just because he didn’t want me to know that he’d accidentally shot someone.  It wasn’t arrogant six or seven years ago to make detailed public inquiries about a President’s family jewels in open court.  I think that kind of trumps embarrassment by bird shot, so I’m entitled to know.

Yes, I’m still angry.  It’s created a burn mark under my chest that only disappointment and betrayal can inspire.  We should all be friends, but we’re not.  We shouldn’t be at each other’s throats, but we are.  The powerful, the connected, and the glib pierce our eardrums and inject hate speech, rotten logic, and outright lies directly into our brains.  And we don’t even have the decency as a nation to question anything we’re told.  Anything at all.

We should be informed.  And thinking.  And awake.  But we’re not.  There is blood on the hands of the mighty.  But it’s okay.  And yet in the hearts of every man, woman, and children in the United States for whom honor, integrity, and conscience aren’t a matter of convenience, it will never truly be.

And now we have a government whose primary goals are to enrich the enrich, to protect the powerful from the powerless, to suppress knowledge, to oppress anyone who thinks or loves differently than them.

And those of you out there responsible — the perpetrators, the apologists, the fearmongers, and the spineless who lick up their bile — you have a right to know how much I hate you.  The least you could do was apologize.

One day, I’ll forgive.  But I’ll never forget.  And neither should you.

Stupidity is a greater crime than dissent.  And we’re all paying for it.

I mean, not that I’m bitter….

Comments: 0
Written: Mar 8, 2006