Saturday, June 26, 2004

The Progressive: Moore Overdoes It


Moore delights at exposing the Bushies Posted by Hello

Farenheit 9/11: #1 at the Box Office!

Official Site

Clips from the film at Yahoo

Roger Ebert review of the film


Friday, June 25, 2004

"Fahrenheit 911" hits the political scene

Here are some links on the upcoming opening of Michael Moore's "Ferenheit 911" and some commentary on the defensive posturing of conservatives concerning the film:

Michael Moore's controversial Fahrenheit 911 opening nationally Fri.
WIS, SC

'White Chicks' likely to lick 'Fahrenheit'

Variety 6/24/04

That's just depressing...but telling.

Gary's Review: 'Fahrenheit 911'
SanDiego Channel.com, CA

MOORE FILM, LESS OF A SHOWING? 'Fahrenheit 911' may not reach 1,000 theaters.
Eurweb, UK - Jun 24, 2004

Film Review: ''Fahrenheit 911''
Filmjerk.com - Jun 21, 2004

'Fahrenheit' Fight Nears Boiling Point This Week
Reuters Fri Jun 18, 2004

By Thursday, it degenerated into something close to self-parody as Move America Forward sent out a bulletin headlined, "Terrorist Group Hezbollah Endorses Michael Moore Film: Offers to Help Promote 'Fahrenheit 9/11/."'

The warning cited a report in London's the Guardian, which referenced a June 9 story in Screen International. The Screen story, about plans that United Arab Emirates-based distributor Front Row Entertainment has for the film, reported "organizations related to Hezbollah ... have rung up from Lebanon to ask if there is anything they can do to support the film."

Reps for the film declined comment, but one can only imagine how that somewhat-hyped Hezbollah endorsement will play at the local multiplex: "Say, Marge, what movie should we go see tonight?" "How about that 'Fahrenheit' flick? I hear Hezbollah gave it two big thumbs up."


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Wow! Implying that Moore's film is consistent with the ideology of a hardened terrorist organization is pretty low. It's also about as accurate as saying that Harry Potter books lead children to Satanism.

While I haven't seen it yet, I expect that it will help make sense of the rather chaotic political landscape of the post-9/11 world. Something that I think a lot of people could benefit from- especially with the Bush propaganda team in full force. After seeing the film I expect that most reasonable people will understand the motivation behind these rabid anti-Moore attacks. It's hard to attack the truth- so they will likely just pump out more lies. Only this time the smoke and mirrors won't be as effective with the curtain pulled back.

I just hope that people on both ends of the ideological spectrum see the film and form their own opinions, rather than avoid the film for fear that they might not like what they see. I'm sure there will inevitably be some that would prefer to put their heads in the sand than see the film- but they will be hard pressed to defend themselves against an informed following who gets Moore's message. That makes the film a powerful political weapon and an important work on a historic subject.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Bush and Cheney Won't Give Up the Lie

Add "the Progressive" to the list of media sources editorializing that Bush and Cheney continue to mislead on the subject of an Iraq/al Qaida connection. Pretty damning stuff.(I like to think that I started the trend...but probably not).

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Bush and Cheney Won't Give Up the Lie
The Progressive 6/18/04
Matthew Rothschild

The report from the September 11 commission was clear. "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," it said. And there appears to have been no "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, it added.

This finding undercuts one of the major rationales the Bush Administration put forward for the war against Iraq. Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, and George Bush himself all played up the alleged links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. But the links, in any operational way, did not exist.

...Note how slippery Bush and Cheney are getting. Now they are talking about amorphous "ties" and "a relationship." But before they were talking about specifics, scary specifics, like joint work on chemical and biological weapons.

All of their falsehoods served a purpose: to scare the American people into going along with the Iraq War.

Now that their falsehoods have been exposed, they are way out on a limb of lies.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Just in: Saudi al-Qaida leader killed/ Condoleezza: certified spin doctor

Al-Qaeda head in Saudi killed: Report
Saturday, 19 June , 2004, 09:10

Riyadh: : The presumed leader of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, was shot dead by security forces last night, security men at the scene in Riyadh told AFP.

Al-Muqrin's group had claimed responsibility earlier for the gruesome murder of US hostage Paul Johnson. Discuss: US fighting a fake war against terror

The Arab-speaking al-Arabiya television network said two other presumed members of Al-Qaeda were also killed in the clash with the Saudi security forces, while a fourth was wounded and arrested.

It said Muqrin and his colleagues had been shot while they were trying to get rid of Johnson's corpse.

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And, following up the previous post on this blog:

9/11 Report Cited No Iraqi 'Control' of Qaeda - Rice
Fri Jun 18, 2004 05:16 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In publishing a report that cited no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, the Sept. 11 commission actually meant to say that Iraq had no control over the network, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

The New York Times runs an editorial on the lack of a Saddam/ bin Laden connection today.

Show Us the Proof
NYT June 19, 2004

When the commission studying the 9/11 terrorist attacks refuted the Bush administration's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, we suggested that President Bush apologize for using these claims to help win Americans' support for the invasion of Iraq. We did not really expect that to happen. But we were surprised by the depth and ferocity of the administration's capacity for denial. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have not only brushed aside the panel's findings and questioned its expertise, but they are also trying to rewrite history.





At least they're consistent

Bush Insists al-Qaida-Saddam Ties Existed

AP
Thu Jun 17,11:11 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein had "numerous contacts" with al-Qaida, President Bush said Thursday in disputing the Sept. 11 commission's finding that the former Iraqi leader had no strong ties to the terrorist network responsible for the attacks.

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Even the "experts" most sypathetic to Bush suggest that if there was any contact at all between the two, it was likely combative. There is no evidence that there has ever been a conspiracy involving the two camps and definitely nothing linking Saddam with the 9/11 attacks.

Obviously Bush is on the defensive, but the evidence just doesn't exist. The Bush team likes to think of things in terms of dichotomy. There are those with us and the "evildoers", with Saddam placed solidly in the latter category, along with his good friend (or so they say) bin Laden. So...they must have been in on it together, or so the logic (or lack thereof) follows.

Even those linked closely with bin Laden deny any ties with Iraq. I don't think they approved of Saddam's lavish western lifestyle, whores, booze and cigars. His invasion of Kuwait and adversarial relationship with Saudi Arabia probably didn't help any either.

Theoretically, if a link does exist between al Qaida and Iraq, it is among fringe Islamic fundamentalist groups in Iraq, not with (ex)followers of Saddam's Bathist regime. These groups are more dangerous than ever without a centralized power structure in place.

Under this scenario, Americans in Iraq become targets and the power vacuum fuels terrorist groups, groups with intricate organizational structures, and therefore the ability to effectively compete for control in an arena marked by chaos.


Bush unveils a striking new connection. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

We won't get fooled again!

Cheney says Saddam tied to al-Qaida
Associated Press June 14, 2004, 8:41PM

"ORLANDO, Fla. -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that Saddam Hussein had "long-established ties" with al-Qaida, an assertion that has been repeatedly challenged by some policy experts and lawmakers."

--------------------------------------------------------------

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

OR

as Bush put it, "fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
hillarious audio of him saying it in Tennessee

Either way...they seem to think they can keep pumping out the same old unsubstantiated misinformation. Either come up with some evidence linking Saddam with al-Qaida or talk about something that the guy actually did do (like there isn't enough?) Bring up how he gassed the Kurds again, or better yet, talk about something that actually concerns Americans- like how the hell we plan to manage this situation in Iraq when the entire world despises us.


Well we're not. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 14, 2004

I'll let them say it:

I'm sick of Fox News Republicans calling those who object to the policies of George W. Bush "unpatriotic". America was founded on dissent and rejects mindless subservience. Here are a few quotes that are worth revisiting:

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“Loyalty is the realization that America was born of revolt, flourished in dissent, became great through experimentation. Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present.”
---Henry Steele, Historian

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official."

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.”
--President Theodore Roosevelt (both)

“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”
--Thomas Paine

“My country right or wrong, when right to keep right, when wrong to make right.”
--Carl Schulz

“My country, always. My government when it deserves it.”
--Mark Twain

“War is a racket… conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the very many…of course it isn’t put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and ‘we must all put our shoulders to the wheel,’ but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket and are safely pocketed.”
--Marine Corps General Smedley Butler

"America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher of the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."
--John Quincy Adams

"No, I know all the war rhetoric, but it's all aimed at achieving peace." (Oh...well of course)
--George W. Bush

"It's a different kind of war because we're fighting people who are -- they send youngsters to their suicidal deaths and they try to find a dark cave. They're kind of lurching around in the dark corners of some cities around the world. They're in over 60 countries. And slowly but surely, we're dismantling the terrorist network, which hates us because of what we love. See, they hate the fact that we love freedom. They can't stand the fact that in this country people can worship the almighty God any way he or she sees fit." (This is pretty disturbing).
--George W. Bush

"The other day, as you noticed, there was a fellow hiding in the dark caves -- or dark corners, not caves, it was in the city, dark -- dark corners of a city in Pakistan. He was going to be the 20th hijacker, bin al-Shibh. He wanted to come here to kill. He didn't make it, because we fortunately did not give him access." (Yeah, thank God there were only 19 hijackers instead of 20. And why is everyone always lurking in a shadowy cave? Maybe they should look in flight schools and Starbucks instead of fucking caves all the time)
--George W. Bush

"This is a man who continues to murder his own people, a man who has gassed -- used gas on his own citizens, a man who has used chemical weapons on his neighbors, a man who has invaded two countries, a man which hates -- who hates America, a man who loves to link up with al Qaeda, a man who is a true threat to America, to Israel, to anybody in the neighborhood."
--George W. Bush

"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once -- shame on -- shame on you. You fool me, you can't get fooled again." (Man...did he butcher that).
--George W. Bush

And just for fun, this priceless incoherent statement by our fearless leader:

"The march to war hurt the economy. Laura reminded me a while ago that remember what was on the TV screens -- she calls me, "George W." -- "George W." I call her, "First Lady." No, anyway -- she said, we said, march to war on our TV screen." (what!?)
--George W. Bush


He's not...well...very smart. Posted by Hello




Bush team wrong on terrorism- at least Powell admits it

Powell: Terror report was 'wrong'
Newsday
June 14, 2004

It's a numbers error. It's not a political judgment that said, 'Let's see if we can cook the books.' We can't get away with that now. Nobody was out to cook the books. Errors crept in," Powell said on ABC's "This Week."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," he called the problem "very embarrassing. I am not a happy camper over this. We were wrong."

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Bush shamelessly targets the Catholic vote

Bush Asked for Vatican's Help on Political Issues, Report Says

It's interesting that Bush appeals to the Catholic Church when it is consistent with his policy positions, but disregards their views completely when they run in contrast.

Bush sees "churchgoers" as a key block of voters and wants the Church to get the word out on some social issues...as long as those issues don't include the war in Iraq or the death penalty, both of which the Church strongly opposes.

Can Kerry Carry the Catholic Vote

Kerry seems to target the Catholics themselves, and does not appeal as much to the Church hierarchy. This may be partially because of his views on abortion and gay rights.

Is he actively trying to win the all important Catholic vote? Of course. But at least 1) he's Catholic! 2) he is targeting the voters themselves and not the Church leaders.

Bush soliciting the Catholic Church to act as another advertising wing for his campaign is rather demeaning.

So...you would expect Church leaders to feel insulted by Bush's advances, especially considering that he supports issues that the Church strongly condemns, right?

Wrong! While they make strange bedfellows, the Catholic Church seems to buy Bush's born-again Methodist line and overlook his glaring inconsistencies.

Who do they target instead? John Kerry. They have attacked him relentlessly over his positions on abortion and endorsement of civil unions for homosexuals. Some Catholic bishops have even threatened to withhold holy communion from Kerry because of his stance on abortion. Some have went as far as to endorse excommunicating him!

What about Bush!? I know he isn't Catholic, but you would think that holding the record for executions during a term as Texas governor and leading the nation to a war with little justification would warrant at least an old fashioned Catholic scolding.

Evidently, the Church's intolerant and patriarchal views on some social issues outweigh some of their, what seem to me, more principled tenants. It won't matter though. The Catholic vote goes Kerry, with or without the "Church" behind him. Voters don't want to have politics preached to them at church, they get enough of that on Fox News.


Bush meets the Pope Posted by Hello

actions speak louder...

Kerry touts stem cell research; Bush remembers Reagan

Much respect to John Kerry who was able to generate a policy attack out of Reagan's death.

While some may see this as underhanded politics, you have to admit, if Reagan was more than a vegetable he would have likely fought Bush tooth and nail over stem cell research for Alzheimer's. Well...actually, Bush probably would've promised to get Star Wars passed to shut him up.

And to continue my blood lusting, anti-Reaganism:

Top ten reasons why Reagan should not be missed (By abbamouse)

10. Reagan supported Bob Jones University in its fight to remain tax-exempt. Did I mention that BJU prohibited inter-racial dating, and that racially segregated schools are not permitted to claim tax exemptions?

9. I'm not exactly a fiscal hawk, but Reagan did vastly increase the size of the federal deficit by simultaneously cutting taxes, raising military spending, and proposing only modest, politically palatable cuts to welfare programs for the poor. He never submitted a balanced budget for Congress to consider and left Americans (and his successor) with a huge public debt burden.

8. Reagan targeted kids for budget cuts, since kids don't vote. AFDC (hint: the C stands for Children) was cut, as were subsidies for housing and school lunches. As a direct result, the economic boom during the middle of Reagan's Administration actually led to a DROP in the incomes of the poor and an explosion of the number of children living in poverty. Note that it wasn't all families who were expected to tighten their belts -- just the poor ones. Aid to households with incomes of less than $10,000 a year declined nearly 8% his first years in office, even while subsidies for households with more than $40,000 income were left essentially unchanged.

7. Not content with merely offending racial and ethnic minorities, Reagan decided to deny them access to equal protection of the law. When Congress appropriated money to enforce civil rights laws, he simply refused to spend it or to appoint anyone to the enforcement positions. The offices charged with civil rights enforcement remained padlocked during his Administration.

6. Imprisoned hundreds of thousands of poor and minority Americans in a "War on Drugs" -- even while supporting the drug smuggling of Burma, Afghanistan's rebels, the Nicaraguan contras, Panama, etc. I should point out that African-Americans and whites use drugs at exactly the same rates, yet African-Americans (one eighth of the US population) make up almost 60% of those in prison on drug charges. Of course, this policy continues to benefit Reagan's Republican Party since felons generally lose voting rights, even after being released. In some states about 1 in 7 African-American males cannot vote for this reason.

5. In order to fund a campaign of terrorism against Nicaragua (when I strip out the country names, my students consistently call the contras terrorists by a 5-1 margin), Reagan secretly sold arms to another group of terrorists (Iran's hardline government and its puppet Hezbollah in Lebanon) in violation of about a dozen American laws and every sensible policy towards terrorists. Tens of thousands died in the Nicaraguan "war" that Reagan started and fueled.

4. Reagan crusaded against tougher pollution laws and energy conservation measures. He slashed funding for renewable sources of energy, in favor of using oil and nuclear power. Leaving aside environmental concerns, these policies encouraged continued dependence on imported oil and reversed improvements in energy conservation made a t great cost during the 1970s. Even though gas prices dropped to near-record lows during his terms in office, Reagan refused to fill up America's strategic petroleum reserve. The reason this comes in at number 4 is that it practically guaranteed a recession and a war in the Middle East when any threat to cheap oil emerged, since it meant the US had no safety period to attempt to restore supplies. So Reagan deserves part of the blame for a war that happened years after he left office! And of course the first Gulf War led to the US presence in Saudi Arabia, the causus belli of Osama bin Laden. And finally, the unfinished business of the first war against Saddam Hussein dragged on for more than a decade, embroiling the US in yet another Middle East war. Of course, different policies by the Bush and Clinton Administrations might have averted much of the damage, but Reagan did limit the options of those that came after him.

3. Reagan waged war against the United Nations. I'm not talking about the controversial stuff like the Israel/Palestine dispute or nuclear weapons, but rather of the health and social functions the UN actually performs quite well. "The Administration withdrew from UNESCO, cut off America’s contribution to the UN Fund for Population Activities, cast the single vote against a World Health Organization code for infant formula, and supported the Kassebaum amendment reducing America’s contribution to the General Assembly by 25% unless the UN should amend its charter." In short, Reagan's war on global health and social welfare probably killed tens of thousands.

2. The Reagan Administration lined up in support of Pol Pot, perpetrator of the second most deadly genocide of the 20th century. Lest we forget, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces killed something like 1 in 5 Cambodians -- nearly 2 million people in all! When Vietnam finally invaded to put an end to the genocide of ethnic Vietnamese and repeated attacks on its territory by the Khmer Rouge, the United States decided to get some payback for its defeat in Vietnam. It armed and trained a new generation of Khmer Rouge cadres in secret bases in Thailand, then sent them back home to terrorize the Cambodian people (and occasionally even kill a few Vietnamese soldiers). Something like 50,000 people were killed during his 8 years in office.

1. Reagan's cynical response to AIDS directly contributed to MILLIONS of deaths. AIDS has killed almost half a million Americans and killed 3 million people worldwide in 2003 alone. As with any infectious disease, lowering transmission rates early in the epidemic can save millions of people from infection many years down the road. The logic is rather similar to compound interest rates -- even a minor shift in interest rates, compounded over many years, can lead to a huge difference in wealth. Well here the wealth is dead people, Reagan's gift to the world. I won't go into detail about how Reagan neglected to mention AIDS for the first 7 years of his Administration, barred the Surgeon General from even talking about the epidemic, opposed every safe-sex program and effort to inform high-risk groups of the dangers and how to minimize them, and cut off all American funding for UN safe-sex programs around the world. Let's not mention the sorry state of research funding in the early years of the epidemic that ultimately delayed life-saving discoveries by years -- years in which millions died. No, I'll leave it to other people to provide the grim details. Try the Encyclopedia of AIDS entry on the US Presidency, for starters.

http://www.wright.edu/~jeffrey.dixon/abbamouse/mouseymusings.html


Mr. President...you aren't a moose. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Welcome to the Poliblog

Tens of Thousands View Reagan's Casket

Maybe they will embalm his body and display it, like the Soviets did with Lenin.



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