Friday, September 10, 2004
I don't have a lot of time to comment much on the whole Killian document "scandal." (Maybe later. I'd like to talk about how responsible CBS News has been in giving plenty of coverage to the skeptics, in contrast to the shameful irresponsibility and transparent partisanship of Fox News during the time it was the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Channel.) Like most people, I'm a working guy who is just trying to make a difference. (Just like Rupert Murdoch, only without billions of dollars and all the lying. So I guess, not at all like Rupert Murdoch.)
But just as the Kerry-haters are celebrating the triumph of the conservative (why is this word becoming synonymous with liar?) bloggers for exposing the forgery, it turns out to be a "forgery."
Daily Kos has offered a very inspiring example of what an individual can do with a little honesty, a little common sense, a little research, and a whole lot of suspicion about anything these liars say. He spent the day researching typewriters and fonts, and goes a long way toward debunking the myth of the Stone Age typewriters of 1976. In the Fox News Fantasy World, 1976 typewriter technology was kind of like the Flintstones.
It may yet turn out that the memos are forgeries, but the claims put forward so far are highly suspect. However, these memos are not really very important anyway. The people who are still desperately clinging to the idea that George W. Bush didn't use family influence to get special treatment in the National Guard, they will not be convinced by anything. It's way past time to drop this matter and focus on more important matters, such as how many more Americans do we want to see dead in foreign wars, and on how appropriate it is for our leaders to profit from wars they started.
I'm pretty sure your not in the military or have been to iraq. So how can you write about things you only read in the paper or see on your tv. Just as a reference to you I am in the military and I have been over there. It's not a pretty place, but it has come a long way from the first time I was there. The men and women that are serving over there understand that they might die. You don't join the armed services thinking its a joy ride. We train all the time for this. Please respond.
I am very glad to hear from someone who has actually been to Iraq. Even though I am against the war and I think the War on Terror has been badly mismanaged, I admire the courage and the commitment to service that compelled you, and others like you, to volunteer for military service. That is one of the things that makes me mad about the war. I feel it is so much energy wasted, causing death and destruction and the loss of so many American and Iraqi and Afghani lives.(These views are more fully represented elsewhere on my blog.)
I generally have a policy of not responding to the comments, but you have actually served in Iraq and you have asked a question that, yes, I should address.
No, I have not been to Iraq. I have never been in the military. But I live in a country that prides itself on civil liberties, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. And I am proud to live in this country. And I am lucky, so lucky, to live in this country and to have these freedoms.
And they are, after all, the freedoms that you, and tens of thousands like you, are supposed to be fighting and dying for in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Freedom of speech means nothing if it only applies to popular or accepted speech. If I have to actually go to Iraq or Afghanistan in order to give my views on the war, then my ability to express my views on the war has been crippled, even negated. Especially considering the very stringent rules applied to journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan. If such a rigid standard is applied to all reporting, commentary or opinion, then very few people will be able to say anything about anything. And that's not freedom.
I would go if I could. And I suspect that there are veterans of the Iraq conflict who are against the war. Your letter has encouraged me to find more veterans of the War on Terror willing to talk about their experiences and the conditions in Iraq, something I should have done a long time ago. Thank you for making me get off my butt to do something more constructive.
And I enthusiastically welcome more comments from American soldiers in Iraq, even if they disagree with me.
Mushtown Media Corp.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
"I believe it is an unnecessary war; it is an unwise war. The United States, by invading that country and taking over its capital, we have inflamed the entire Middle East and Arab and Islamic world. American prestige and support for the president and the United States has never been lower in that part of the world. And Mr. Rumsfeld's question has been answered.
He asked, "Have we been creating more terrorists than we are killing?" When he said that, some 5,000 insurgents were said to be in Baghdad by General Abizaid. The latest count is 20,000. I believe this war itself is creating a pool, a spawning pool out of which Osama bin Laden can draw recruits. I think that there has been nothing that has done more to put Osama bin Laden, if you will, in the mainstream of the Arab cause of nationalism than what appears to the Arabs to be a near-imperial adventure by the United States in Iraq."
That statement was made by Pat Buchanan, that loony lefty.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
We have a new policy on obscenity. I have used some language that some people find objectionable. And if people are going to get angry and complain about so-called dirty words (and breasts at the Super Bowl) at the same time as many of these same people remain silent on the counter-productive and useless deaths of thousands of innocent people (including 1,000 American soldiers) in Afghanistan and Iraq, then I guess I should make an effort to accommodate their strongly-held belief that it is much worse to say a bad word than it is to pursue ruinous and violent policies that kill thousands of people and generate great wealth for the people who promoted the war.
In the past I have defended my use of obscenity by saying that the right word is the right word, and I am the kind of writer who uses the right word. But from now on, I will work extra hard not to use obscenity.
Regular readers will notice that I have never used an obscenity to refer to George W. Bush. The reason is simple: I can't think of anything worse to call him than "George W. Bush." "George W. Bush" is the worst thing I can think of to call someone. But I will continue to use this particular obscenity for simplicity's sake.
From now on, when I feel it to be absolutely necessary, I will disguise the objectionable words that I use. I will use an asterisk for every letter and I will mention the most important letters. For example, if the offensive word is tinkle, we would represent it with six asterisks, followed by a comma, and the first letter of the word will be indicated. "Bill O'Reilly likes to (******, starts with t) on the truth every chance he gets.
This way, my readers will still be able to get the effect of my angriest writing without having to be upset by bad words (so much worse than the images of pieces of children strewn about the rubble of Baghdad that the all-knowing media protects us from; it would be just awful if we Americans had to face the full horror of the consequences of our actions; we might not vote for Bush!).
To further illustrate, Mel Gibson will be referred to as an (*******, begins with a) and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, John Ashcroft and all my favorite fictional characters at the Fox News Fantasy World are lying pieces of (****, begins with s).
Hopefully our new policy will ensure that our more sensitive readers will not have to deal with reality any more than they have to in the hard times ahead.
RUMSFELD MINIMIZES SOLDIERS' SACRIFICES, INSULTS EVERY AMERICAN WHO, UNLIKE HIMSELF, BUSH, CHENEY, LIMBAUGH, ETC., HAS EVER SERVED THIS NATION IN COMBAT
Speaking of (*******s, begins with a), Secretary of State Donald H. Rumsfeld made the following statement, as reported in the Los Angeles Times today: "If you think about the fact that we have thousands of patrols every day ... if you take all of those patrols, and look at the number of incidents, [the casualties are] relatively small."
(I'm sorry. Using an obscenity was absolutely necessary. It's Rumsfeld, and look at what he's saying! What an (*******, starts with a)!
Mr. Rumsfeld, how many casualties would you call "relatively moderate"? 20,000 to 30,000? What would you call "relatively high"? 50,000 to 100,000?
How much more blood needs to be shed before you are satisfied?
It's very easy for this (*******, starts with a) to talk about casualties being "relatively small" when he isn't one of them.
WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH ASKS HIMSELF "WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?", JESUS SAYS, "BOMB THE POOP OUT OF SOMEBODY!"
Also in the Los Angeles Times today is the charming story of a Bakersfield Republican who supports Bush. He says Bush's religious faith inspired him.
"He prays before he makes decisions, and that's important to me," says the guy.
I just don't get it. Why do Christians who support Bush hate Jesus so much? Bush has pursued two wars that have proven damaging to civilian populations, he has allowed unrestricted and unsrupulous contractors to monopolize Iraqi development for years to come, he has silently condoned vicious accusations of "treason" hurled against his critics. (Fill in with your favorite outrage.)
And some people who call themselves "Christians" are voting for him because he says he is religious, he says he is born-again and he says he prays before every decision.
(Bush: "Jesus? Should I drive drunk tonight, endanger my underage sister, and then lie about it until I get caught?"
Jesus: "Yes, my son, I think you should."
Bush: "Thank you, Jesus!")
So I guess that means that these so-called "Christians" believe that Jesus condones the policies of the Bush Administration. And that means that they have a vastly different view of Jesus than the one I have, you know, the one that I read about in the Bible.
I pray to Jesus. And he has never told me that the answer to my problems was to bomb the poop out of someone.
MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORES CHECHNYAN WAR IN COVERAGE OF BESLAN TRAGEDY
I have no words of horror adequate to describe my feelings about the massacre of children at a school in Beslan in North Ossetia. The stories in the mainstream media have had words, as difficult as they may be to wade through.
However, the mainstream has had no words to describe the horror of the long and brutal war that Russia waged against Chechnya in the 1990s. What I mean by that is: they didn't mention it at all.
Some people think that there is a connection between Russia's devastation of Chechnya (an estimated 70,000 Chechnyans killed, for example) and the outrages committed by Chechnyan terrorists. By not mentioning that there was a long and particularly nasty war in Chechnya as a prelude, the media might be giving uninformed viewers the idea that the Beslan terrorists massacred 300 children simply because "they hate freedom."
For more information on Chechnya check out Global Issues: Crisis in Chechnya.
Here's an excerpt of a letter from the Los Angeles Times from a writer I'll call "Studio City": "The condemnation of terrorists by Muslim religious and political readers reacting to the slaughter of more than 300 children and others in Russia is welcome. However, I wonder if they realize that a similar level of timely outrage over the deaths of nearly 10 times that many on 9/11 in America might have helped prevent these latest atrocities."
Score one for the Fox News Fantasy World! Muslims did express outrage on September 11, 2001, but the media coverage was sparse at best.
If you want to talk about things that might have helped to prevent the tragedy in Beslan, Studio City, let's talk about American outrage over the Russians' atrocities in Chechnya. There wasn't any.
Such talk might lead to a discussion about the futility and the death and the waste of any cycle of violence, and how it's just going to get worse and worse without new ideas about the future. And some people might start to wonder if we, as Americans, should consider if there are any parallels to our own situation in Iraq. And yelling "traitor" every time such a suggestion is made is only going to work while casualties are still "relatively small."
Its time for all of us to get up off our butts and learn a little bit about the world around us.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I come across some really awful stuff when I surf the Web, including some conservative hate message boards that say the most, awful, vile, hateful stuff about liberals, the Clintons, Chelsea Clinton's sex life, Muslims. It is very dispiriting to see that so many conservative extremists are not just wrong; they are really vile.
In the past, I chose to give the conservatives a break. I know that most conservatives do not feel this way. But I think they have been a little too willing to ignore this very ugly aspect of their movement if it means that it will get votes for them and their saintly candidate.
The following features some charming responses to something Margaret Cho said about George W. Bush. When you are standing in the voting booth, remember the opinions of all these nice people who will be voting Republican with you.
(I know my Republicans friends will try to argue that liberals can be just as bad. It's probably only true to an extent. Please try to strenghten your argument with examples.)
Monday, September 06, 2004
Well, Bush may have gotten a slight bounce after the Republican convention, but there's still eight weeks to go before the election, plenty of time for the adults to do a little fact-checking. Slate's Fred Kaplan wrote an article on the truth about Zell Miller's speech, and the truth is, there ain't much truth in it.
The most important thing in this article is the effort to set the record straight on Kerry's Senate votes regarding defense. All my Republican friends who think defense is important should read this article, and especially click on the link about what is actually going on in these votes. And then, all my Republican friends who think honesty is important should ask themselves why the Republican leaders let Miller tell these lies, and why "Fair and Balanced" Fox News has made no effort to clarify that these are lies. They could also ask themselves why that so-called liberal bastion CNN has made no effort to point out that Kerry's defense record has been so grossly distorted. (Answer: CNN is not liberal. Anyone who thinks otherwise should stop believing everything they hear on "The O'Reily Factor.")
Then, my honest Republican friends can ask themselves what else the Republican leadership might have lied about.
Save the Republican Party! Let them know the truth is important to you! Vote Kerry!
Let's see here, what's the worse thing you can say about John Kerry? Well, there's lots to choose from, if you're a Kerry-hater and you like Fox News fantasies.
He didn't bleed enough to earn his Purple Hearts.
He "betrayed" his fellow soldiers by protesting the war. (This argument conveniently ignores the fact that thousands of Vietnam veterans supported, and still support, John Kerry. It's acceptable for the warhawks who fought in Vietnam to be angry about his courageous stand against the war. But this continuous use of the theme of "betrayal" is pretty slimey. What's real betrayal? Real betrayal is the cruel and political attacks on a fellow veteran just because you disagree with his politics. Why do the Swift Boat Veterans for Troof hate freedom so much? They only help the terrorists when they abuse our democracy in this shameful manner!)
He voted against a few weapons appropriations bills, you know, the ones with the over-priced, inefficient, outdated weapons systems? (And the Republican attack dogs are, as usual, neglecting to mention that vice preseident Cheney voted against many of the same appropriations. Can you handle the truth? Check out the link elsewhere on this blog. Must be another one of those things that's okay for Republicans but not for Democrats. I guess I just don't understand politics. Thank God for Fox News and Sean Hannity to help me understand!)
Kerry flip-flops! (Which, like so many other things, is only bad when a Democrat does it! Ask Bush about the 527s. He supported them in 2000, before the Republicans realized how much more money the Democrats would be able to raise. Now, he says they're bad! What else? So many flip-flops for this man!)
There's probably a few more fake reasons to hate Kerry, but they're all just as lame.
So, now, let's talk about Bush just for a minute. I don't really want to hammer the President too much, so I'll provide a single example of the kind of "man" the Republican leadership is trying to foist on us for another four wars, er, years.