Saturday, April 28
George Carlin's Post-9/11 American Humor
Veteran and "Old School" comedian George Carlin demonstrates his pertinence to American post-9/11 sensibilities; the man's hard-edged anger is relevant to Americans now as it was during the the 60s and 70s Nixonian police state.
Friday, April 27
Brazilian TV's Public Service: Prep for Political Anal Reaming
In contrast, the clip from Brazilian prime time TV below suggests the level of psychological and physical preparation provided viewers for the a**f**king they expect from their elite-sponsored government officials.
Though the political sex therapist's Portuguese is beyond comprehension of most Americans, her use of rubber models is more comprehensible.
Wednesday, April 25
Whitehouse Nails White House on 2002 Memo Instituting Patisan Justice
Slate.com appropriately characterized Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony last Thursday (19 April) before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the White House's partisan dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys as "bloodied."
Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island was a major reason for the reddening water engulfing the hapless AG. In setting his trap for Gonzales on the DoJ's independence of White House political meddling before questioning him, Whitehouse aides gave Gonzales this telling graphic identified by the senator in the vid clip below.
Now here's Whitehouse explanation of the graphic's two components--the respective Bush (top) and Clinton (bottom) White House-DoJ "protocol" for approved discussion about Justice Department policies and prosecutions--and Gonzales' response to the startling revelation.
To recap those box scores on the number of White House officials allowed to exchange DoJ information:
White House: 4
Justice Department: 3
White House: 417
Justice Department: 30
So, it appears the Bush White House not only politicalized DoJ personnel decisions, but investigations--and prosecutions--as well.
And what was Gonazles's response to the numbers Whitehouse cited to him? “I do recall being concerned about that as White House counsel.”
But he wasn't concerned enough to do anything about "that" after he replaced John Ashcroft in 2005. (Do you see and hear a desperate man grasping at straws--any straw?)
Folks, in the clip Sheldon further itemizes Bush White House officials allowed access to DoJ policy discussions; it's rather rather remarkable staffers in Dick Cheney's office were included.
Hmmm....Do you think the VP et al. could have meddled in DoJ investigations?
According to the TPMMuckraker Report, Arizona congressman Rick Renzi's corruption probe--initially filed by dismissed U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton--also was slowed-walked , according to investigators.
As midterm elections approached last November, federal investigators in Arizona faced unexpected obstacles in getting needed Justice Department approvals to advance a corruption investigation of Republican Rep. Rick Renzi, people close to the case said.
The delays, which postponed key approvals in the case until after the election, raise new questions about whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or other officials may have weighed political issues in some investigations....
Investigators pursuing the Renzi case had been seeking clearance from senior Justice Department officials on search warrants, subpoenas and other legal tools for a year before the election, people close to the case said....
...the investigation clearly moved slowly: Federal agents opened the case no later than June 2005, yet key witnesses didn't get subpoenas until early this year , those close to the case said. The first publicly known search -- a raid of a Renzi family business by the Federal Bureau of Investigation -- was carried out just last week....Well, now...
Could other investigations also have been slowed by the widened White House access active DoJ cases? Could Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's probe into the role of Rove, Libby and Cheney in leaking the identify of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame be one such case?
Could there have been "input" by Cheney's office for the DoJ to opt out of any probe into the Niger forgeries on Iraqi nuclear weapons?
Will Dems look into the matter or, as the case with New Orleans' massive post-Katrina reconstruction contract fraud, let it drop by the wayside on the way to a cross-aisle whitewashing of more White House criminality?
Inquiring minds want an answer--or, in exchange for congress's fostering of fascism, a one-way plane--train or bus--ticket to Canada.
Sunday, April 22
Stupidity Schooling: American Elite's "Mismanagement" of Public Education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
--Pink Floyd, The Wall, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2," 1979
It took American TV news (see video below) a century to figure out the Great American Dumb-Down. Perhaps the lag time in noticing the phenomenon reflects the purposively impaired ability to think inculcated in U.S. public schools.
That conclusion is implicit in a controversial 2003 book by a award-winning but angry New York City educator and 2006 ABC News special on public education as idiocy-making. In addition, the book and report further imply that an increasingly higher percentage of Americans since World War II fail to grasp, much less assume, responsibilities essential to democratic citizenship, a talent noticeably absent in 21st-century America.
After 30 years of teaching at some of New York City's best and worst schools, John Taylor Gatto, twice New York's Teacher of the Year, had seen enough children crushed beneath the bureaucratic machinery of public "education." Angered at the systematic death of students' intellects and spirits, Gatto took retirement to begin chronicling how public schools were less about teaching students how to read or think well, than about stifling creativity to ensure graduates became docile employees for their social betters who wanted them to aspire littler higher than compliant consumism.
In 2003, Gatto wrote The Underground History of American Education, a book dutifully panned by the mainstream press. His chilly critical reception in no small part was occasioned by his apparently radical thesis: American public education by the early 20th century had become "a servant of corporate and political management" foisted on working-class children by elite U.S families--J.P. Morgan (left) and J.D. Rockefeller (right), chief among them--who saw themselves as genetically and intellectually superior to America's monetarily unanointed masses.
Indeed, the sub-themes of racism and classism permeate Gatto's angry insights into public education as an elite tool of social control. But where is an author taking readers when he makes this generalization about public schooling:
Horace Mann had sold forced schooling to industrialists of the mid-nineteenth century as the best "police" to create moral children, but ironically, as it turned out in the twentieth century, big business and big government were best served by making schoolrooms antechambers to Hell.
Oh, my. He wants us to walk through Kansas' looking glass, doesn't he Dorothy? But Gatto's teaching experience and grasp of his historical materials make it well worth the paradigm leap he asks of us in rethinking public education's social mission.
To support his view of public schooling as compulsory class indoctrination in intellectual subservience, Gatto establishes a timeline of 20th-century educational developments he links to a cornucopia of expert quotes and excavated historical documents, to include private letters exchanged among America's elite discussing their progress in socially constructing a nation of subordinates incapable of comprehending the contours of the covert class war being waged on them, must less challenging it.
Of the Big Business ethic that imbued the thinking of leaders and scholars who crafted modern public education in support of American industrialization and empire-building (Hawaii, the Phillipines, Cuba, etc. were forcibly annexed) emerging in the 1890's, Gatto writes:
In the first decades of the twentieth century, a small group of soon-to-be-famous academics, symbolically led by John Dewey and Edward Thorndike of Columbia Teachers College, Ellwood P. Cubberley of Stanford, G. Stanley Hall of Clark, and an ambitious handful of others, energized and financed by major corporate and financial allies like Morgan, Astor, Whitney, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, decided to bend government schooling to the service of business and the political state....
In these planners' hands, public education became mind control, an institution in which "[c]hildren were literally trained in bad habits and bad attitudes! Teachers and principals, 'scientifically' certified in teachers college practices, were made unaware of the invisible curriculum they really taught."
The secret of commerce, that kids drive purchases, meant that schools had to become psychological laboratories where training in consumerism was the central pursuit.
In a pre-World War I speech to U.S. business leaders, President Woodrow Wilson reiterated public education's adjunct support status of commerce by intimating most children should become acclimated to factory work while the children of the elite attended college:
We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.
Around 1917, the time of Wilson's remarks, Gatto reveals a group of elite educational administrators and policymakers, informally called "the Education Trust"--"representatives of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the National Education Association"--sought to "impose on the young the ideal of subordination."
Even Hitler and Mussolini's fascist terrorizing of Europe in the early 193os inspired some of these patrons of compulsory mass education to metaphors of total authoritarian control. In the early 1930s "an executive director of the National Education Association announced that his organization expected 'to accomplish by education what dictators in Europe are seeking to do by compulsion and force'." "You can’t get much clearer than that," Gatto quips.
The author also reminds us the elite's mass education agenda was pocked with notions of racial and class superiority, a point demonstrated by university classes for future leaders. For example, by 1900, "a special discipline existed at Indiana for elite students, Bionomics. Invitees were hand-picked by college president David Starr Jordan, who created and taught the course. It dealt with the why and how of producing a new evolutionary ruling class."
When his course for future managers of dullard laborers became a smashing success, Jordan "was soon invited into the major leagues of university existence, (an invitation extended personally by rail tycoon Leland Stanford) to become first president of Stanford University, a school inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s famous 'Gospel of Wealth' essay. Jordan remained president of Stanford for thirty years."
In the 1920s, another pseudo biological science, eugenics (from the Greek, meaning "well born"), also was popular among America's largely white managerial student body, a development accompanying white working-class Americans' spiking membership in the Klu Klux Klan. The KKK became the antidote for their quite desperation over Eastern European immigrants they say as threatening their jobs and "racial purity" at their less exclusive end of America's gene pool.
Architects of public education believed environsed forced schooling eventually could assuage "[t]he Spectre Of Uncontrolled Breeding" by eventually supplanting the family's role in assimilating immigrant and minority children to American "ideals."
Arthur Calhoun’s 1919 Social History of the Family...declared that the fondest wish of utopian writers was coming true, the child was passing from its family "into the custody of community experts." He offered a significant forecast, that in time we could expect to see public education "designed to check the mating of the unfit."
Gatto's well-researched and -reasoned book offers additional arguments in his autopsy of middle and lower-class children's creativity he knew from experience lay murdered across New York's classrooms. For example, he deconstructs the social engineering behind continuing social inequality fortified through a tediously heartless curriculum with few details left to chance, to include uninspiring sterile classroom layout and design; he also explicates the federal, state and local educational police's ever-changing buzz words, phraseologies and philosophies de jure, all based on quasi-scientific research, used to awe concerned parents and fanagle congress out of more tax dollars for the next "reform" program to reverse students' declining ability to read, write or tame a column of numbers.
By the end of his provocative text, Gatto has peeled back the hypocrisy and revealed the Potemkin Village that is American public schooling and the "technology of subjection" making the American Dream through education so compelling a sell among the Unwealthy. But what we have in America, Gatto tells us, is essentially a thin fig leaf covering the well-born's abiding concern for deferential professional and social subordinates who subscribe to --and wish to emulate--the rituals that underscore their privileged social status they've discretely ensconced in upscale zip codes of gated communities.
Elite Payoff: The ABC's of What "Stupid in America" Looks Like
Among Gattos' most compelling evidence of this agenda's effectiveness to make the Unwealthy intellectual midgets are historical literacy rates among U.S. Army enlistees, a common entry-level vocation for the working-class.
While only 4% of World War II enlistees between 1942-1944 (those schooled in the 1930s) were turned down of the 18 million tested, by the Korean War (1952-1954) 19% were rejected for their inability to read at a fourth-grade level, though on average they had more schooling than WWII recruits. But among Vietnam War-era draftees and volunteers entering the army from the early 1960s through 1973, "the number of men found noninductible by reason of inability to read safety instructions, interpret road signs, decipher orders, and so on—in other words, the number found illiterate—had reached 27 percent of the total pool."
While this evidence may only reflect the army increasingly became attractive to enlistees with limited education and skill packages, Gattos confirms this downward national trend in functional illiteracy through states' high school achievements scores. (1)
This failure of schools to teach reading is painfully seen in a January 2006 ABC 20/20 news special titled "Stupid in America." Hosted by John Stossel, the program suggests that American public schools (academically ranked 25th internationally in 2003) indeed may have become the "antechambers to Hell" Gattos described.
As you view the program, notice the failure to educate extends to so-called "better" schools in American suburbs--at the four-mark mark of George Bush's 12-years vaunted No Child Left Behind education bill mandating "100% proficiency" for all U.S. public school students by 2014. Moreover, Stossel provides charts (and case reports of charter school administrators) revealing that increased government funding has had little impact on improved student performance. (2)
Post-9/11 America: Laugh at Yourself...then leave
Canadian and Australian television executives have found programming gold in capitalizing on this "stupid in America" theme, which their views apparently find to be hilarious. Camera crews have conducted the old standard "man in the street" interviews across the U.S. in which Americans are asked basic questions about geography, international leaders and their own political system.
The results? That depends on your point of view.
Check out this 24-minute clip hosted by Rick Mercer; it's a commercial-free Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV special titled "Talking to Americans." The responses to questions Mercer gets from Americans as he travels across the nation's fruit plains are sobering, yet not without considerable humor--provided, that is, if you're an American, you can laugh at being depicted as an arrogant, moronic imbecile.
Nonetheless, the tape (as does this 3-minute Australian clip) explains how an arrogant and moronic mental midget such as George W. Bush can feel relatively comfortable in sharing his disjointed thoughts on "democracy" with millions of "fellow citizens" who remain clueless his administration has achieved that fascist state only envisioned by the Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies, Fords, Astors et al.
While Canadians and Australians enjoy laughing at Americans, those of us stateside able to comprehend Gattos' thesis and place it against America's evolving social and political backdrop since the 9/11 terrorist attacks should sell the house and immigrate abroad to laugh, if that's possible, with the citizens there.
The sooner, the better--the safer.
"Stupidity Schooling" Update: 30 December 2007
In June 2007, Harvard's Civil Rights Project released an 82-page report concluding that four years of George Bush's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, his signature piece of domestic legislation, had achieved no appreciable change ("full of sound and fury signifying nothing") in narrowing historic achievement gaps among children of affluent and poor U.S. families, among white and minority students, principally Hispanics and African-Americans.
In the report's "Foreword," Gary Orfield offered the revealing passage below arguing that the intense pressures NCLB places on schools to meet annual testing benchmarks (toward 100% "proficiency" by 2014)--to avoid losing federal funding--have a deleterious effect on retention of good teachers and the instruction of traditional subjects such history and civics ("democratic institutions"):
A combination of intense pressure for gains and a narrow focus on measurement means schools at risk of being branded as failures concentrate on moving those scores that will determine their fate. One way they do this is to focus more time on preparing for those particular tests at the expense of all the other outcomes that are not measured. For example, there is no accountability for whether or not students learn anything about American history and our democratic institutions. There is significant evidence that the students receive even less instruction than previously in subjects not tested and that excessive pressure can actually undermine another goal of the law—attracting highly qualified teachers to high poverty schools and holding them there. Our survey of teachers in California and Virginia school districts show most of those teachers believe that this narrowing has happened and a recent report from the Center for Education Policy shows that this pattern is widespread across the nation. An Associated Press study shows a sharp reduction of recess in a society with children whose physical fitness is declining. As schools are branded as failures, teachers in threatened schools narrow what they are teaching, eliminate instruction on subjects not on the tests, and tend to transfer out of the schools more rapidly. Things that help keep kids attached to the school experience like recess, arts and music, and career related training as well as extracurricular activities are reduced in pursuit of goals that are not being achieved. (p. 8)
1. Mother Jones' January/February 2007 issue reported that "over the last few years" --apparently since the start of the Iraq War in 2003-- the Army has relaxed, among age and medical requirements, its educational threshold. For example, the number of high school dropouts (10% to 19%) and "cap on GIs with substandard aptitude scores" (2% to 4%) almost doubled.
2. The 110th Democrat-controlled Congress must reauthorize Bush's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 sometime this spring or summer. Preliminary reports are that the "grassroots rebellion" against the law erupting in many of states over underfunding and impossible achievement standards will be address in the Dem's subsequent allocations of funds, etc.
Monday, April 16
Marilyn Manson's Uniquely Creative Interpretation of Post-9/11 Amerikkka
Years ago, I stopped listening to rock musicians or seeking out their music, because I believed the industry was, like other American institutions, increasingly irrelevant, self-indulgent, coopted or moribund--pick your adjective or add your own.
Then I watched Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, an uneven documentary about guns in America linked to the massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School, with some 9/11 terrorist attack and South Park footage sprinkled in. Moore didn't seem to have a plan for where his documentary was headed.
(That Moore won the Academy Award for Best Documentary for BfC while totally snubbed for Fahrenheit 9/11 speaks volumes of Hollywood's voting process, which official Academy accountant PriceWaterhouseCopper apparently has rigged as successfully as were the 2000 Florida and 2004 Ohio presidential elections.)
But in BfC, Moore interviewed Mason in which he cited an incident to illustrate America's hypocritical view of violence: national leaders and the media ignored that President Bill Clinton either the day of the Columbine massacre (or the day before) had ordered the most murderous US bombing of the Balkan War to focus exclusively on Columbine--and even project national blame on Manson's influence on teen violence at Columbine. That insight from a...well, rock musician--or even average American, for that matter--was refreshing, and I realized then Manson deserved more serious consideration, though I made no effort to follow his music.
Then I happened upon Manson's "Sweet Dreams" music video below, a brilliant visual and lyrical retelling of that 1964 song appropriately recast to the unique political and economic realities besetting a post-9/11 Amerika he suggests is devolving into chaos and perversion.
I have it on good authority (wink, wink; nod, nod) Manson's production crew contracted with the Republican National Committee for a U.S. House of Representative hearing room (since the GOP had left most unused since Bill Clinton's cigar sex episode with Monica Lewinsky) to stage and shoot the video.
If you pay close attention to around the 3:30-minute mark of the clip, you will see Manson make a dramatic statement abroad the gaily attired House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), whose 9/11 money laundering activities between overseeing House sessions still permitted him to make a cameo appearance.
But I think you must agree Manson's version of "Sweet Dreams" is, at minimum, a cynical view of the American Dream gone very, very bad.
Who says Manson isn't for the masses? After all, he went mainstream when Hollywood director Tim Burton, whose films are known to exude Manson-esque sensibilities, recut "The Nightmare Before Christmas" to include Manson's song "This is Halloween" in a new release of the film. I swear this is the blurb accompanying that YouTube clip posted below:
Tim Burton's 'The Nighmare Before Christmas' re-cut with Marilyn Manson's version of 'This Is Halloween' for the re-release of the film in Disney Digital 3-D and 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack.
Of course, some of Mark Twain's angrier works castigating mainstream America--"The War Prayer," Innocents Abroad and "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg," readily jump to mind--also either weren't popular or were simply kept from public view.
Though Burton apparently took some liberty with the lyrics, I've included them below as one Manson fan indicates he wrote them.
Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn't you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat 'till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It's our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween
I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
I am the one hiding under your stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
In this town, we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
In this town, don't we love it now?
Everybody's waiting for the next surprise
'Round that corner man, hiding in the trash cans
Something's waiting for the pounce and how you'll
This is Halloween
Red 'n black, slimy green
Aren't you scared? Well, that's just fine
Say it once, say it twice
Take a chance and roll a dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night
Everybody scream, everybody scream
In our town of Halloween
I am the clown with the tear away face
Here in a flash and gone without a trace
I am the "Who" when you call, "Who's there?"
I am the wind blowing through your hair
I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
Tender lumplings everywhere
Life's no fun without a good scare
That's our job, but we're not mean
In our town of Halloween
In this town, don't we love it now?
Everyone's waiting for the next surprise
Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back
And scream like a banshee
Make you jump out of your skin
This is Halloween, everybody scream
Wont you please make way for a very special guy
Our man Jack is King of the pumpkin patch
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
In this town, we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
La la la, lalala, la la, lalala, la la, lalala, lalala, woo!
by marilyn manson
Bobby Kennedy's Secret CIA/Mafia/Cuban Assassination Team for Castro Turned Weapons on Brother
Nigel Turner Productions, a British documentary team, in its 1995 production for the History Channel, "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" (Part VI), provides some startling revelations into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a death that still, as the program shows, can still induce tears among those touched by the heady "Camelot" myth fostered by his brief administration.
The amazing industry-developed phototronics imaging program developed by Tom Wilson is astounding, although it's unlikely you never heard of his pioneering work in examining photographs of Kennedy's assassination and pre- and post-autopsy pictures.
Here's a synopsis of what the filmmakers conclude:
Rogue CIA agents in conjunction with their contracted Mafia hit team for assassinating Cuban dictator Fidel Castro via Project Freedom, a secret program U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy ran out of his office, developed their own respective set of grievances against Kennedy occasioned them turning their gun sights on the president instead, since Castro proved uncannily resistant to years of US-backed attempts on his life that Richard Nixon initiated when he was Eisenhower's Vice-President.
Mafia kingpins certainly felt Bobby's mounting vendetta against their criminal activities was a slap in the face after they threw the 1960 election to Kennedy in Chicago. Similarly, the CIA had its complaints against Kennedy: his perceived lack of support in their failed Bay of Pigs invasion to topple Castro, which royally pissed off CIA director Allen Dulles, who Kennedy fired for mishandling the fiasco; Kennedy's ensuing vow after chief rogue Dulles publicly embarrassed him to shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and spread them to the wind; his impending withdrawal of U.S. Special Forces advisers and regular troops from Vietnam.
This is the most intellectually believable scenario for Kennedy's death that implicates both the U.S. government and the Mafia--which essentially supports Oliver Stone's 1991 Academy- Award nominated film JFK. So take that, Washington Post and George Will.
But there's one final chapter that must be told next in his 43-year-old murder mystery: George Herbert Walker Bush's role as a CIA agent in Kennedy's death.
Postscript: Bush Sr. has long maintained he had no contact with the CIA until President Gerald Ford appointed him CIA director in 1976. In January, investigative journalist Russ Baker reported that recently released CIA documents revealed Bush had oil business dealings with a covert CIA agent in the 1950s.
Sunday, April 15
Iranian Diplomat Tells BBC US Embassy In Iraq Coordinated His Kidnapping, Torture
Frances Harrison, the BBC's correspondent in Tehran, filed this story on 11 April detailing the torture U.S. officials sanctioned during two months of interrogation of Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary of Iran's Embassy in Baghad kidnapped in February by U.S. troops.
Iran's Press TV reported the next day that "White House national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters" that the White House refused to release other Iranian diplomats U.S. forces also forcibly abducted a month before Sharafi.
"US troops stormed into Iran's Consulate in Irbil in January and abducted five Iranian diplomats. Iran has so far been denied access to the diplomats and its pleas on international organizations to that effect have not been answered.
On 11 April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) acknowledged that [Sharafi] had been subjected to torture while in custody."
Press TV followed that report up on Friday (13 April) with disturbing details on the extent of Sharafi's injuries while in U.S. custody.
According to [one physician attending Sharafi, Dr. Ali-Reza] Hosseini, a thorough medical examination shows scars and deep wounds on Sharafi's head, nose, ear, and dark bruises on his back which are clear indicators that he was severely beaten in those areas.
According to Sharafi's personal physician, the sudden weight loss the Iranian diplomat experienced is a sign that his body was under constant and severe pressure.
Doctor Hosseini revealed that Sharafi suffered from intestinal bleeding as a result of the severe blows he suffered on his sides and stomach.
Meanwhile, Sharafi's psychiatrist stated that his patient is a true victim of "intense psychological torture."
According to Doctor Ali Sharifi, unlike a normal prisoner who knows the identity of his captors and what he is up against, the Iranian diplomat was never charged with any crime and was completely left in the dark regarding his fate which all mounts up to psychological torture.
On 18 January, the BBC reported Iran's claim that U.S. troops kidnapped five consulate officials, an act condemned by Iraq's Shia political leadership. According to the report
Iran said the building [from where U.S. troops kidnapped the Iranians] was a consulate, but the US disagreed, saying it had no official diplomatic immunity, and nor did the men.
All of this--the kidnappings, torture, blatant provocation of war and US media blackout--makes me so very proud in being an Amerikan, synonymous in the post-9/11 global community with jack-booted fascism.
Monday, April 9
Cafferty's Pre-election Conclusion: Voting Against Incumbents is Voting Against Banana Republicianism
Years ago my health required me to give up watching commercial TV. In large part that decision was tempered by my overwhelming desire during "news" broadcasts to reach for the nearest brunt object and toss it through the television screen.
I simply could not watch what had become the primary news source for two of every three Americans without feeling rudely --and crudely--insulted. At best, TV is propaganda; at worst, it's progressive brain rot. I realized I had no more brain cells to contribute to that lost cause.
Since then, You Tube and Google online clip have introduced me to Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's replacement for veteran talk show host Phil Donahue who in 2003 was fired six months into his new contract by the cable network's parent company GE, a defense contractor, over his opposition to the Iraq War--though Donahue was hired to foster a left-of-center viewership. At the time of his dismissal, Donahue was among MSNBC's most-watched shows!
One had to the collective brain trust running MSNBC/NBC/GE had been watching too much of their own product. Nonetheless, Olbermann's regularly elegiac essays pasting George Bush and Amerikan fascism have demonstrated he is a worthy successor to Donahue.
Only recently did discover Jack Cafferety through YouTube/Google clips; clips of his low-keyed but direct skewering of the post-9/11 fascism consuming the US are readily available.
The clip below--an cut-and-paste version of Jack's 16 October 2006 pre-election "Broken Government" fiesty essay advocating we vote out Capitol Hill incumbents--is compelling viewing; it gratifies my sense of how TV talking heads should talk about America's political leaders, who, as Cafferty explains in the clip, have made American into a "banana republic."
The title of this YouTube clip is "The Campaign to Given Jack Caffery His Own Show: Broken Government." In the marginal notes, it asks viewers to click on www.givecaffertyashow.com and sign the petition.
While I won't ever again become a fan of commerical TV, how could not accept that offer?
Wednesday, April 4
Excursus: Brigham Young University Students Circulate Anti-Cheney Petition
In October 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney's Secret Service detail had halted all car and light rail traffice on the street to the boss's four-star Salt Lake City hotel in preparation for his limo ride to the airport and return flight to Washington.
Cheney had come to town to speak to a convention of retired military veterans in which he needed applauding attendees for that needed those coveted TV sound bytes in promoting the White House's pro-Iraq War position. Now Cheney was leaving town, in arguably the most conservative state in the nation, where he visits regularly for that good crowd ju-ju vibe his PR-team televises out to the rest of America.
So I'm standing in the light rail train commuter car, hand in the overhead strap, for ten minutes before I ask no one in particular what the holdup is.
"Big Dick Cheney's leaving in his limo," a dishevsled college student-type impatiently tells me.
And sure enough, a black stretch limo just then turned out of the underground parking garage to exit the wrong direction down the one-way street and zip off to SLC International Airport.
Ah, the good ol' days, Dickie C., you thought they'd never end...
Dick thought his Utah stock was still rising when his recently asked BYU's board of directors to invite him to deliver the university's commencement address 26 April; they "accepted his request." (http://cheneyspeech.blogspot.com/)
But judging from a petition now circulating at BYU, the conservative Church of Latter Day Saints' privately supported flagship university, younger Utahans concerned about their futures have had they fill of Big Dick.
According to a 2 April Wall Street Journal post ("Et tu, Brute," http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/04/02/e-tu-brute/blog), 2,300 mostly students have signed a petition asking the tranced adults who invited the VP to withdraw their "invitation for Cheney to speak at commencement later this month. Critics at the school question whether he sets a good example for graduates, citing his promotion of faulty intelligence before the Iraq war and his role in the CIA leak scandal."
Here's an excerpt of the petition:
..Cheney has made misleading statements about the tragic war which continues in Iraq, levied outrageous partisan accusations against his Democratic opponents, and used vulgarity on the Senate floor. He has been linked to serious scandals involving botched intelligence reports, no-bid contracts awarded to friends and political donors, and perjury convictions handed down to his own staff. Mr. Cheney is simply not the type of role model to whom we wish to bestow the responsibility of addressing our best and brightest as they "go forth to serve".
Warner Woodworth, a university business professor who sponsored the petition, noted “Cheney just doesn’t measure up" to the university's "heavy emphasis on personal honesty and integrity in all we do."
Dr. Woodworth's observation suggests he is audting a BYU graduate lit class this semester on understatement as a literary device in American post-World War II novels.
So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it; it is official: If BYU students sack Cheney, the old Texan quail hunter will be politically comatose as yesterday's Fox News Network headlines.
BYU commencement speech petition:
Postscript: Iowan Supports BYU petition
An Iowan reads a local news report on BYU's anti-Cheney petition at BYU for the first three minutes of his 4.5 minute YouTube.com video response to the story.
You also may wish to view a 1.5-minute video post from 24 March by a squeaky-clean BYU student after learning about Cheney's invitation to speech at the university commencement exercise. A denizen on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, he politely rants against Cheney's invitation--and SLC major Rocky Anderson, a civil liberties Democrat attorney, who publicly denounced--oh, no!!!-- the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq War.