October 20, 2006

Must read

If you haven't already, you simply must read this magnificent editorial by Kevin Tillman, courtesy of truthdig. Excerpts:
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that...

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military...

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this...
What more is there to say?

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October 17, 2006

Wise words

At various times, I've found Bill Maher to be (in equal measure) insightful, smug, hilarious, condescending, informed, ingratiating, vital, and even occasionally boring. This past Friday - as he also is on a regular basis - Maher was simply brilliant, with his final "New Rule":
If you think the worst thing Congress doesn't protect young people from is Mark Foley, then wake up and smell the burning planet. The ice caps are cracking, the coral reefs are bleaching, and our poisoned groundwater has turned spinach into a "side dish of mass destruction." Read the labels on your food. It turns out the healthiest thing you can put in your body is Mark Foley's penis.

But that's America for you: a red herring culture, always scared by the wrong things. The fact is, there are a lot of creepy, middle-aged men out there lusting for your kids. They work for MTV, the pharmaceutical industry, McDonald's, Marlboro, and K Street.

And recently, there's been a rash of strangers making their way onto school campuses and targeting your children for death. They're called military recruiters. More young Americans were crippled in Iraq last month than any month in the last two years. And the scandal is that Mark Foley wants to show them a good time before they go?

When will our closeted gay congressmen learn, our boys aren't for pleasure, they're for cannon fodder? Why aren't Democrats and the media hammering away every day about who we're supposed to be fighting for over there, and what the plan is? Yes, Mark Foley was wrong to ask teenagers how long their penis was. But at least someone on Capitol Hill was asking questions.

You know who else is grabbing your kids at too young an age? Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. By convincing you that your kids are depressed, hyperactive or suffering from ADD. In the last decade, the number of children prescribed anti-psychotic drugs in America increased by over 400%. Which means either that our children are going insane - which we might look on as a problem - or more likely, we have, for profit, created a nation of little junkies.

So, stop with the righteous indignation about predators. This whole country is trying to get inside your kid's pants, because that's where he keeps his wallet.

I don't care if Mark Foley had been asking boys to describe their penis because I have some sad news for you: your kid is so larded out on Cheetohs and YooHoo, he can't even see his penis. So many of our kids are fat drug addicts nowadays, it's almost as if Rush Limbaugh had puppies!

So we can pretend that the biggest threat to our children is some creep on the Internet, or we can admit it's us. Because when your son can't find France on a map, or touch his toes with his hands, or understand that the ads on TV are lying, including the one where the Marine turns into Lancelot - then the person fucking him... is you.

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Still on the go, on the run, burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Involved to the teeth in an increasingly nasty political fight over a Massachusetts ballot issue. But I couldn't let the day go by without linking to Cenk Uygur's brilliant post at HuffPo this morning, concerning the travesty of Iraq:
George Bush now threatens to go from one of the worst leaders in US history to one of the worst leaders in world history. Iraq had allowed the weapons inspectors back in, they were doing their job, Iraq had absolutely no weapons of mass destruction, the United States military was doing a fantastic job of containing Saddam Hussein, there was no sectarian hostility in Iraq, there was stability in the region - and we came in like a bull in china shop and turned the whole country upside down. For what?

Democracy? Conservative pundits are now saying the Bush administration is considering replacing the Iraqi government. What? I thought they had a democracy. I thought that was the noble mission (of course, I didn't really think this, but that's the bullshit they've been feeding us all this time and the press has dutifully written down as if it had any merit in fact).

No WMD. No connection to 9/11. No democracy. No stability. Nothing accomplished but a horrible, unspeakable civil war. We ought to cover our faces in shame for what we have done to Iraq. Yes, it was us. There was no civil war before us. There were no Shiite militias. There were no death squads. There was no insurgency. We broke it, now we own it. To make excuses and to blame the Iraqis at this point is revolting.

George Bush has done the impossible - made Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq seem not so bad by comparison. When you manage to make Saddam look good, you can't go any lower.
As I've said many times in the past, the unspeakable mess this Administration has made of... well, of everything it's touched, frankly, will have repercussions through the remainder of my lifetime, and possibly my children's as well. Good God, how have we allowed America to come to this in just 6 short years? And, as Mr. Uygur concludes:
If you vote for any of these guys again, you are one hundred percent guilty. You are voting for men and women who say they would make the same horrific choices again. They have warned you of how unimaginably callous and barbaric they are - and if you vote for them again, you are no better than they are. This is a democracy. What our leaders do, we do. If we break it, we own it.

Now, it's up to you. Are you going to send these guys back in to make the same mistakes they promise to make again?
I couldn't agree more.

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