Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Clinton's Brilliant Fit

Best piece I've read on Clinton's "interview" with that monkey Chris Wallace.

Bill Clinton wasn't sandbagged, because he is a smart politician. He just spent several weeks fighting ABC over its interpretation of his administration's hunt for Bin Laden. He knew the question was coming and he took advantage of it. Forty-three days before the election, he has provided a moment to rally party activists and attack the GOP at the heart of its perceived strength on handling terrorism.

Also, thanks to Keith Olbermann for pointing out something I constantly scream at the TV set. When Republicans claim that Clinton didn't act aggressively enough against terrorism because he was distracted by the Lewinsky nonsense, my first reaction is WHO THE FUCK MADE THIS A NATIONAL NIGHTMARE?!!! It was you stupid ass Republicans. Sure, Clinton probably should not have done what he did, but it was a private situation in his marriage. It was not a topic for national discourse, let alone an impeachment. Asswipes.

Bush Knew - Before the War

Bush was told by the CIA before the war that he would be increasing the threat of terrorism by invading Iraq. This key part of the story is not being told by the mainstream media.

From Eric Alterman's blog Altercation on Media Matters:

Not one of these articles highlights the key point that the CIA reported to Bush that this would be the case before we went to war. For instance, in the Times story -- which led the pack on this -- you need to wade in pretty deeply to learn that "The estimate's judgments confirm some predictions of a National Intelligence Council report completed in January 2003, two months before the Iraq invasion. That report stated that the approaching war had the potential to increase support for political Islam worldwide and could increase support for some terrorist objectives. In other words, the CIA -- not The Nation, not Media Matters, not George Soros -- warned the president that he would be increasing, not decreasing the threat of terrorism to the United States by invading Iraq. That story appeared above the fold in the right corner of The New York Times as well. Bush ignored the warnings and purposely misled the United States into the most ruinous war in its history. Liberal hawks cheered. And there's no good way out. All of that belongs in the story, too. The degree of both incompetence and dishonesty involved in the selling and conduct of this war is literally criminal. And it's all happening right before our eyes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Of course I didn't watch but I hear that Bush called for "unity" in last night's speech. Here's his idea of unity. Who is missing from this little photo op? Perhaps the duly elected DEMOCRATIC senators from New York? What a hypocrite.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Comment on 9-11

For me, the essential memory of 9-11 is the parade of world leaders who came to America in the days after the attack to pay their respects and offer their help. The headlines in the international press -- particularly the one in the French newspaper Le Monde that read "We Are All Americans" -- were very significant to me. This was a time for the world to unite and to denounce and take action against people who wish to drag us back to the 13th century.

And for me this is the worst aspect of 9-11 -- that Bush totally squandered all of that goodwill with this ridiculous war in Iraq and his administration's generally ridiculous foreign policy. That, now 5 years later, the U.S. has so few friends in the world and international public opinion so against us (not to even mention the incredible division within our own country) is absolutely appalling. Its the biggest indication of the Bush administration's incompetence and how totally, completely out of touch with reality they are.

Memories of 9-11

In September 2001, I was in my 3rd month of unemployment. I had two friends who were also unemployed and I called them once a week to share a little pep talk. I called the first on Sept 11 around 9am. He told me to turn on the news. Of course by then the first plane had hit the tower. But we saw the second one. Then I called the other friend and told him to turn on the news. I considered calling a friend in California but it was like 6:30 in the morning there and I wasn't sure he'd be awake.

What a horrible day. I was riveted to the TV of course. About 11:30, my son called me from school. He was in high school and the administration told the students what had happened and allowed them to watch TV in the cafeteria. My son told me he was "alright" as if something had happened nearby -- he was clearly shook up.

Around 3, I walked up to my daughter's school (she was in 5th grade) to pick her up. The teacher whispered to me "they don't know anything" and handed me a paper from the district with advice for parents on how to handle the situation. My daughter knew right away that something was up, since I had come to get her. As we walked home, I told her our country had been attacked, but that it seemed to be over for now. She told me recently that she didn't know what to think when I told her that; for her, the impact seems far less than for my son.

We all watched TV the rest of the afternoon and evening, even though I know the "experts" were saying that kids shouldn't watch so much. I thought they needed to know what was going on -- because at that point I wasn't really sure we weren't heading into world war.

Life went on for the kids with school the next day, but I had nothing to do but watch TV which I did for a solid week or more. I even dropped a freelance project I was doing because I just couldn't do anything else but watch it all unfolding. I particularly remember Ashley Banfield's reporting (on MSNBC, I think) and Aaron Brown on CNN.

I continue to be fascinated by how the media reacted to the events that unfolded that day. I wish I could watch the re-broadcasts that several networks are doing on Monday. So much chaos and mis-information during that week.

I had a friend who was living in Washington and saw the smoke from the Pentagon and his daughter was in NYC -- in fact, she had used an ATM in the WTC just before the first plane hit -- and he could not reach her for hours, didn't know if she was dead or alive. I have another friend who was in the air when it happened and didn't know anything until the plane landed in Atlanta; her boyfriend had to drive there so she could get home. Yet another friend was in California for his mother's funeral and could not get home for a week.

Another major memory for me was the absolute silence of the skies. We had become so accustomed to the noise of planes that to not hear them was eerie. I clearly remember the first plane I saw once air travel was reinstated.

It was a very, very frightening day, although of course less so for us out in the hinterlands than for New Yorkers.

Path to 9-11 Fiasco

This whole fiasco by ABC/Disney over The Path to 9-11 is appalling. Obviously, this project was started before the mood of the country changed against the lies and incompetence of the Bush adminstration and conservatives in general.

The writer is a known conservative and the director is a member (son of the founder, actually) of a conservative Christian group committed to creating films promoting their viewpoint. It is not true to the 9-11 Commission findings and instead is full of typical conservative made-up shit (especially about anything related to Clinton).

ABC has been incredibly disingenuous through all of this. My favorite is ABC claiming that no one has seen the final version -- and yet they sent out hundreds of screeners to conservative media!

Liberals have been writing letters to ABC and Disney and to ABC advertisers and local stations. Good -- time to let our voices be heard.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fighting Fear

New section on Huffington Post.

This book on the American culture of fear (about the wrong things) is also interesting.

Kabuki Security

Jeralyn from Talk Left comments on the absurd Kabuki show that is airport security.


How many admissions of illegal activity by this administration is it going to take before something is done about it? Oh, I forgot, his illegal actions don't involve consensual sex between two adults. So why would anyone care? Let's see -- there's the violation of the Geneva Convention at Abu Gharib, the illegal wiretapping, now the admission of illegal prisons. I'm sure there's more. Its going to take decades to recover from this bozo and what he's done to the Constitution and country.

Real Wages

I haven't been to Kevin Drum's blog in awhile but this post he put up on Labor Day about the how far median incomes have declined is great.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Permanently Unemployable

There's an article on the absurdity of zero tolerance in this week's New York that made me want to write about how hiring practices in this country are absolutely nuts.

This is something that I have first hand knowledge of via my son. Nearly every employer in America -- including the fast food chains and discount stores -- now does background checks before hiring. That means if you have been convicted or imprisoned even for misdemeanors you will not be hired. Since the war on drugs has meant the conviction and imprisonment of millions of (mostly black) young men who otherwise are decent people, those young men are unhire-able.

Its really quite ridiculous -- we're creating a permanent class of unemployable young men -- and what do you think they are going to do when they get desperate enough?

Instead of giving these guys a chance, employing them, showing them another way of life, we are relegating them to a life of crime, violence, imprisonment, permanent poverty and often early death. Its totally ridiculous, yet so typical of how authoritarian conservatism has distorted our values. This lack of forgiveness and incredible shortsightedness is so typical of conservatives and its killing our country.

Andre Agassi

I need to write about my love for Andre Agassi before he's gone from the U.S. Open and his career. I've been a big fan of his for along time. I think I may still have somewhere an Andre Agassi calendar from the late '80s or early '90s when he was at the height of his gorgeousness. My son is named Andre and I have been asked if he's named after Agassi -- alas, no. Agassi didn't come to prominence until 1988 and my son was born in 1986. Anyway, it'll be sad to see Andre go from tennis and I hope the American fans at the Open give him the same warm send-off that the British did at Wimbledon.