Friday, May 28

Bush Lays Groundwork for Future Torture 

Our old friend, the AP, says:

"The Bush administration is adding Burkina Faso in Africa and Dominica in the Caribbean to the list of countries that exempt U.S. troops from international prosecution for war crimes.

The United States has signed bilateral treaties with more than three dozen nations that have agreed not to hand over American citizens to the International Criminal Court."

Some of you simple-minded folk wondered why Bush forces countries to sign this. He witholds aid until they cave in, because it is important. Why? Because of the illegal and unsavory things we planned to do in Iraq and other places. This is a signal that we intend to continue to torture people and be held accountable to no one, and continue illegal and unsavory actions. Why else would we need to be exempt from laws everyone else must follow?

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Bush to Eliminate Government 

The AP says:

The Bush administration has told officials who oversee federal education, domestic security, veterans and other programs to prepare preliminary 2006 budgets that would cut spending after the presidential election, according to White House documents.

The programs facing reductions - should President Bush be re-elected in November - would also include the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department.

Many of the targeted programs are widely popular. Cuts could carry a political price for a president who has touted his support for schools, the environment and other domestic initiatives.

A spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget said the documents, obtained by The Associated Press, contained routine procedural guidelines so officials could start gathering data about their needs for 2006.

Elect me! I'll get rid of education, security, veterans, health, environment, interior... we can't afford those things now becuase we are at war. Forever. Against anyone we don't like.

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Thursday, May 27

MTV Wants Kids Fat, Sick and Lazy 

Reuters reports:

"Cable network MTV refused to air advertisements for documentary 'Super Size Me,' a critical look at the health impact of a fast-food-only diet, its distributors said on Wednesday.

Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films said in a statement the cable TV channel targeted to young audiences told them the ads are 'disparaging to fast-food restaurants.'

An MTV spokeswoman disputed the claim and said the network was willing to run the commercial but the distributors turned it down. She did not provide details of the negotiations.

MTV and VH1 are owned by media giant Viacom Inc., which depends on advertising for a major portion of its revenues.

The distributors also said MTV sister network VH1 was planning to use clips from the movie in a program called "Best Week Ever," but the clips were pulled before the show aired."

A channel for young people should not be trying to help its audience eat and live better. It should only try to make them into consume-ers. They should be overweight and sickly so they spend more time sitting and watching TV. Their brains should be undernourished so they don't develop critical thinking skills. They should continually be made to feel bad about who they are and their circumstances in life, making them edgey and upset. This primes them to fill the hole in themselves with fast food and dumb songs.

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Treasury Secretary Doesn't Read Statements 

Ye olde AP tells us that our Treasury Secretary Snow doesn't bother reading his financial statements:

"It turns out his investment adviser made a $10.87 million mistake. Snow didn't catch it because he didn't bother to read his financial statements for more than a year."

Look, he's a busy guy. How could someone in charge of the Treasury find time to read his own financial statements? Isn't that asking too much? It's only ten million dollars...

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Nixon Wasn't Drunk 

The rather unreliable New York Times tells us:

"The episode involving Nixon's drinking occurred on Oct. 11, 1973, shortly after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war erupted. Aides to Prime Minister Edward Heath of Britain telephoned shortly before 8 p.m., hoping to reach the president so the two leaders could discuss the war.

Mr. Kissinger asked: 'Can we tell them no? When I talked to the president, he was loaded.'

Brent Scowcroft, then an assistant to Mr. Kissinger, said: 'Right, O.K. I will say the president will not be available until first thing in the morning but you will be this evening.'"

What he meant of course was "loaded with excitement" to discuss things immediately, but that Kissinger should take the lead.

The White House always says things like this. He choked on a pretzel. He fell off his bike. It isn't a drinking problem and it never has been. The highest pressure job in the world does not lead to occasional blackouts. How could it?

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Tuesday, May 25

Nader Counterpoint 

Last night I heard Patti Smith sing “People Have The Power”, and then Ralph Nader spoke before a small gathering at the Jazz Standard in New York City.

He warned the Democrats, “The lesser of two evils is still evil and still less.”

He shouted, “The GDP of the United States has grown 20 times over the last 15 years and yet the combined wealth of 1% of this country is equal to the combined wealth of 95% of the rest. And there are more people living in poverty without healthcare, husband and wife working 50-hour work weeks just to be able to afford a one-storey house and pay for the car and food. What’s wrong with this country?”

He said that we had entered an age of fascism in this country where if you publicly debate a policy of the administration or challenge the political machine, you are shouted out of the room, whether by the liberal intelligentsia (Air America comes to mind) or the conservative right. John Kerry just hires former Dean campaign workers to attack independent challengers like Nader.

He believed that the Democratic Party was beyond repair, that it was finished, it could not be revived or reformed and that there was a need for a new party, a new progressive party. Otherwise, the Republicans will continue to be more radical, and the Democrats, who no longer challenge or dare oppose the Republicans for fear of being called “partisan” or worse, will follow further down the path of morphing into Republicans.

What there is in Washington is return to McCarthyism. The Republicans in power are all McCarthys, waving doctored papers at the camera, shouting rhetoric, branding you unpatriotic if you disagree with them, and destroying people’s careers. The Democrats, meanwhile, are like the Republicans of the 1970’s. Pretty soon, they’ll be up to date, and when the Democrats become like the Republicans of today, who knows what the Republicans will be like tomorrow.

How bad do things have to get before people do anything?

Nader gave his German theologian argument: first they rounded up the gypsies, but we were too preoccupied to pay attention; then they rounded up the gays in the theaters, but we were too occupied with other matters to do anything about it; then they went after the communists and the socialists, but we couldn’t do anything about that; and then they arrested the jews, but we couldn’t do anything about that; then they rounded up the workers, but we couldn’t do anything about that; and then they rounded up us.

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Just Can't Stop 

The AP informs us that military investigators forced a confession from the world famous torture photo star:

"Lawyers for one of the soldiers accused of abusing prisoners in Iraq said Monday they will ask a military judge to throw out her confession, because they contend military investigators pressed her to talk after she had asked for an attorney."

OK, she wasn't stripped naked and held at bay by a snarling dog. No one put a leash around her neck. Her genitals were un-pointed-at. But they still couldn't follow the rules:

'She had invoked her right to counsel, and those statements are illegal."

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Monday, May 24

The Rest of Us Are Prepared for Prison 

The AP tells us that the District Attorney says Michael Jackson, unlike the rest of us, wouldn't want to go to prison:

"'The defendant here is 'Michael Jackson, international celebrity,' a man whose lifestyle to date would not have prepared him to adapt readily to a prison environment and routine, and whose physical stature will present its own problems for him in making the necessary adjustments."

The rest of us? Our lifestyles have prepared us to adapt readily to a prison environment, or so the DA implies.

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