31 December 2006
Read the Series in Order
(This completes the series)
(requires the free Acrobat Reader)
If you only have time to read ONE , then read "The Locusts" (Part 5).
[NEW!] And HERE is the smear on me that they've tried to hide: hart-williams-exposed.html
- Prologue: A Ball of Snakes
- Part 1: 48 Bucks
- Part 2: Kids! Make BIG Money as a Political Consultant!
- Part 3: Under A Western Sky
- Part 4: The Friends of Howie Rich
- Part 5: The Locusts *
- Part 6: Media Hash
- Part 7: Objective Journalism (part i.)
- Part 7: Objective Journalism (conclusion)
- Part 8: America At Its Worst (i)
- Part 8: America At Its Worst (ii)
- Part 9: Autolycus Among The Rubes
- Part 10: The Present Through the Past
- Part 11: As The Stomach Turns
- Part 12: Adrift In A Sea of Lies (And Cash)
- Part 13: The Empire Strikes Back
- Part 14: The Hoop Snake
- Part 15: Oregon, Chicago, ALG and Al Capone
Click here to download the .pdf of parts 1-15.
- Part 16: Howie's Bad Week
- Part 17: Follow The Bouncing Ball
- Part 18: By Their Pigs Ye Shall Know Them
- Part 19: Breaking News
- Part 20: The Unedited PBS Interview
- Part 21: So Which One Is Shemp?
- Part 22: Working the Airwaves
- Part 23: The Secret Life of Duncan Scott (i)
- Part 24: The Secret Life of Duncan Scott (ii)
- Part 25: The Secret Life of Duncan Scott (iii)
- Part 26: Bringing Home The Bacon
- Part 27: A Thousand Words (more or less)
- Part 28: Howie Goes International!
- Part 29: Anatomy Of A Smear
- Part 30: Ayn Kampf
- Part 31: Jumping At Straws
- Part 32: The Last Trojan Horse
- Part 33: The Final Smear
There is a PARALLEL series of postings at DailyKos, as a compliment to sandlapper's superior series.
27 December 2006
(OK: It was a private joke, but I stumbled across it in the wee hours this morning in an old hard drive cache, and, well, hell, I might as well use it, right? The ersatz cover was created -- according to the file info -- 15 November 2005 at 15:56:59 PST) :The new blog is called "Zug." There is a reason for this. It is explained over at the new cyberfacility. You can go there now. Click: http://www.hartwilliams.com/zug/blogger.html
All in all, this has been a pretty happy little blog. Thanks for reading.
25 December 2006
It's a 4 meg download and runs 22:47. Right click on Santa's hat and "save as."
24 December 2006
Solstice or, The Night Before Christmas
As of this writing, in fact, if you are reading this, then YOU are TIME magazine's Person of the Year, too. It's a pretty nebulous concept to try and get your head around, unless your head is nebulous to begin with, in which case you may well be on the editorial board of TIME.
How, you might ask, did I obtain this highly prized no-prize? In my case, I wrote a blog. Many others wrote blogs, too, and, in large part, t'were the blogs that cracked the Iron Curtain of the controlled media, matey.
TIME gets it eventually, but by the time they're through with it, things often look like you would see 'em in a funhouse mirror:
In May, 1980, my report on the Herpes (Simplex, Type II) epidemic was a cover story in HUSTLER magazine. I talked to CDC in Atlanta;, I talked to Harvard Medical School experts. Many times, it was the first time they'd been asked certain questions, and so the answers weren't cut and dried. In 1990, in New Mexico, a friend of mine who was getting her Masters Degree in public health nursing at the University of New Mexico asked to read my piece. She said that, with a couple of minor changes, it would still be completely timely.
I was always proud of that piece as public health writing: minimize panic, maximize understanding. A disease is a disease. Moral issues are another department.
More than two years later, on August 2, 1982, TIME ran this (immensely responsible) cover "HERPES - TODAY'S SCARLET LETTER"
You can find comments everywhere, like, say SALON:
The campaign of fear of genital herpes began with a lurid cover story in Time magazine on August 2, 1982, "Today's Scarlet Letter", which sensationalized the issue, stigmatized everyone with herpes and scared the bejesus out of everyone else. Even though shortly afterward the news media were reporting on AIDS, the scarifying stigma of herpes remained.And here is TIME itself's (itselves'?)comment:
But it's still just cold sores, folks. And not many of them.
On U.S. newsstands, the bestselling cover of the year was about herpes, "Today's Scarlet Letter," and drew 480 letters. A majority accused the magazine of fanning the flames of Victorian fears. Said one victim of the disease: "All I saw was example after example reinforcing the so-called leper mentality toward herpes." From the minority, however, there was little sympathy for the afflicted. Many quoted the Bible, particularly Galatians 6: 7: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."So, you can see what a fine thing having TIME magazine writing a story about you can be. But, as I said, it is a left-handed compliment of a sort.
The United States of America was spawned as much by the printing press as by the gun, you see. It was Lucas Cranach the Elder's political cartoons printed on the newfangled presses that did as much as anything to spread the Reformation to the masses -- and the USA is a child of the Reformation and the Printing Press.
The printing press was the first internet. Prior to that, only the very rich, the very clever or the very lucky had any access to books. As late as the Southern Rebellion, er, the "Civil War" the old "Nat Turner" laws made it illegal for any slave to learn to read or write.
(see question 1)
Scary things, them books.
(It is an irony of history that the slaveholders, who forbade literacy on the part of their slaves would, through their children, attempt to deny the freed slaves their right to vote by enacting laws demanding 'literacy' tests, to prove that the voter could read and write. This continued as late as 1964.)
The endless censorship of the press was very much in the minds of the Founding Fathers. A teenage Benjamin Franklin had been required to run his older brother's newspaper after the elder went to jail for going just a little too far against the Puritans who held Boston in a sort of religious Tammany Hall.
The Federalist congress passed the infamous "Alien and Sedition Act" during the second president's term.
The newspapers were the internet of their time, and in 1776, literacy rates were above 90% as a whole, and over that for women in Massachusetts.
But presses remained expensive presses, and expensive presses formed the giant newspaper chains of today. There have always been little presses, but usually little noticed, as well. Think of "Citizen Kane."
In the early years of the Twentieth Century, radio came into play. Motion pictures came into being.
And again, the most expensive radio stations and the most expensive movies held a virtual monopoly.
Running through this all is this: whoever's hand controls the press controls the news. Whether it be nobly or ignobly, the zeitgeist is driven by the hand that controls the "press" -- that, which we now call 'media.'
The internet has become the printing press of its time. I think that's what TIME meant to say, but, locked inside their bubble, they don't see that we all compete on an even footing, for a change.
It is the old phenomenon I noticed when I was freelancing in Los Angeles in the 1980's. I would frequently be at events that showed up in the press the next day. And I noticed that, while every person that I asked "what do you think happened?" had a widely different view of what had gone on, the thing I always found to be odd was that every REPORTER there wrote the same damned story. Weird, I used think. Why would this happen?
Not possible (get a grip).
But, if not that, then what?
No: a "consensus." The reportorial "consensus" on what IS and what ISN'T news is very conformist, believe it or not. Years ago, the late Gary Webb uncovered a little story on how CIA cocaine was turning up as this new drug "crack" in South Central Los Angeles, Florida, etc.
The NEW YORK TIMES, the WASHINGTON POST and the LOS ANGELES TIMES jumped all over the lowly SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, and Gary Webb was quietly executed as a mainstream news reporter (his Pulitzer prize notwithstanding -- they aren't any more valuable in writing than Oscars are in movies. Just because you got one don't mean that anybody will hire you ... if you catch my drift.) And the mainstream press went on its merry way.
That's the danger of a media that's controlled by those that have the priciest "presses."
Webb committed suicide two years ago, February. The LOS ANGELES TIMES has been bought out by a Chicago Media company and gutted. The New York TIMES and the Washington POST continue to serve the interests of the hand that controls the press, and we can all see the result, perhaps.
Oh, and all of the allegations in Webb's original story were confirmed a few years later. But the damage had been done. Reality had been "fixed."
But that ironclad monopoly over the news -- that every report would be like every other report -- isn't possible when EVERYBODY has a press (a blog), a radio station (a podcast), and a movie studio/television station (the YouTube phenomenon). That stranglehold on "consensus reality" that the media have had for centuries is coming to a close.
There will still be big media. There will still be big presses. But that power is leeching away like the power of the Big Three TV networks and the old Radio Networks before them.
That's TOO mindblowing for a mainstream and very EXPENSIVE press (TIME/Warner Brothers pictures, music, etc./CNN/HBO/et al, ad infinitum).
The medium has arrived. What you do with it is your business, and, soon, your BUSINESS.
So what did we expect? TIME to "get" it?
Part of it is an acknowledgement that much of the news in this election was driven by the new printing press, the "blogosphere."
No: they're smearing the "blogosphere" by expanding the franchise so far out that it's meaningless. But ...
something is happening hereThey've had it their way since the printing press. Fine. The internet ... blogosphere, et al ... is just a medium, like watercolors or pen and ink. You make the optimum use of the media you're working in.
and you don't know what it is,
And that's why we're "Person of the Year" -- cheesy mirror cover and all. Okay.
Now, the Giant Red Patriarchal Dude is arriving in his sleigh pulled by magical flying reindeer (this is a definite Rudolph year) ... and it's time to grab wrapping paper, scissors and tape. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good. He's a lot like the N.S.A.
I miss my sister-in-law's "Coors Lite" silver foil wrapping paper (the company printed it on paper too thick for the label machine, and had to trash-can a bunch. She got rolls, it seemed, and every year, we got these amazing Christmas presents that Lissa had wrapped in Coors gift-wrapping paper).
Merry Christmas, Lissa. And Merry Christmas to all you TIME Magazine Persons of the Year out there, too.
Ho ho ho.
20 December 2006
THE DOG AND PONY SHOW
The last of the nativity scenes have pretty much all gone up, or been taken down, according to which side of the anti-Santa door you're swinging on.
But NEWSWEEK's cover this week is a tabloid cut-and-paste "face off" (friendly) between Senators Obama and Clinton. What?
Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa appears on the Daily Show, another candidate appears on the Thom Hartmann radio show. Ed Schultz quotes polling indicating Republican John McCain has LOST seven points to ex-NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Good lord.
It isn't even Christmas, and, just in case you hadn't noticed, one year is an ETERNITY in American politics. Can we please stop with the presidential election spam?
There are two theories as to why this is.
The first (paranoid) theory is that this is just a continuation of the endless PR show of "look at the shiny object" that characterizes the current regime.
The second is that we really are a bunch of dogs trying to operate heavy farm machinery.
I'm inclined to the second theory, but I could be wrong.
It's happened before.
18 December 2006
Who Gives A Shit?
Who is Paul Jacob? you might ask. Good question. Howie Rich's brother-in-law is heard on "over 100 stations" every week on his commentary spot produced by "Americans for Limited Government*" (Howard Rich, President)
[*ALG is in trouble again, according to late breaking news as I was posting this: http://www.takingsinitiatives.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=255&Itemid=62 ]
The radio spot/column is called "Common Sense," and evinces pretensions of being a modern Thomas Paine, but, unlike Paine, it is delivered in a pseudo-folksy manner crammed chock full of phony populism and specious argumentation from ALG's Washington D.C. studios. The column version is carried in a number of media outlets, including on TownHall.com, the official Establishment Right-Wing internet watering hole. [Which is NOT, as Thom Hartmann suggested yesterday, "William F. Buckley's website."]
You may have heard of ALG. They're the ones who financed a huge chunk of the "TABOR" and "TAKINGS" ballot initiatives, in that whole bramble thicket of interlocking, secret money "political" organizations that have Howard Rich in common. In this case, the president of the Cato Institute, Edward Crane III, is also responsible, sitting on the ALG board of directors, under whose aegis Paul Jacob opines -- when Jacob is not out campaigning as the public face of term limits, takings, TABOR or whatever the oligarchy's cause du jour happens to be. ALG "sponsors" Jacob, although they spout is the standard "does not necessarily reflect" disclaimer for standard C.Y.A. purposes.
Jacob attends events at Cato quite a bit, to judge from his prior radio spots/columns.
As noted, Paul Jacob had a thought while taking a shit, or, to be more precise AFTER taking a shit, because this week's screed is, naturally, a sneer at that horrible Congress for mandating water-saving toilets.
December 18, 2006Hyuck hyuck hyuck. "Common sense," get it? At this point, you might prefer calling it "shit" to dancing around it in a cutesie pie manner that makes a mountain out of a ... well let's just say ... shitpile.
Flushing Congress from the Toilet Industry
by Paul Jacob
Every time I have to flush a toilet twice, I think of Congress.
No, I'm not crazy. It's actually Congress's fault. Well, I may be crazy, but in this case my point is: it really is the fault of our legislative wonders in Washington.
After so many decades of we citizens taking our toilets for granted, well, Congress wandered into the toilet regulation business. And now I'm buying plungers.
Back in the '90s, Congress legislated these new-fangled low-flow toilets. And like Congress, these toilets are regularly full of...well, let's just say they...don't get the job done....
[Note as well the inclusion of that "hip" with-it "now" slang term: "new-fangled." Jeepers.]
I understand the problem. Indeed, in my acoustic repertory is a ditty I wrote, "I gots the low-flow, slow flush blues ..." But the humorousness of the issue ends there.
In Paul Jacob's angry world, everything restricts his freedom: all taxes are theft (even if they're for roads for him to drive to protests on), all laws are suspect, and politicians only seek evil power -- generally over Paul Jacob.
But, underneath the phony populist rhetoric lies an elite ethic that fundamentally rejects democracy as mobocracy. It is, conveniently enough, a philosophy that justifies wealth as its own moral justification. We've dealt with this elsewhere.
Taking his shit that day, Paul Jacob saw his freedom imperiled, sees the menacing hand of power-mad congressmen at the throat of his toilet-paper roll. One would be curious as to the exact nomenclature of his imperiled freedom would be:
- The inalienable right to freedom of defecation?
- The right of Americans to keep and bear toilets?
- That Congress shall make no establishment of plumbing?
Alas, Mr. Jacob reveals himself to be a scientist of somewhat limited acumen, maintaining that "Needing several flushes uses more water and wastes the most precious of all commodities: your time."
But, he has not thought this crap through. When one balances the number of flushes that are successful, (i.e. liquid), against the more infrequent flushings that require multiple flushes (viz. containing more solid matter), one still ends up saving water. Debits against credits still produces a net credit. What could be more free-market than that?
This is the reductio ad absurdum that Professor Jacob attempts to draw: Congress regulated toilets to save water. But we flush more times, ergo, we flush more water. Congress has, therefore, wasted water in trying to save water. Ha Ha!
The error lies in the second proposition: we waste more water. Without that 'scientific' observation, the proposition is merely a cranky plunging of a recalcitrant toilet carried to the Universal Human Rights extreme.
Alas, this is specious. And it is offal logic: that Mr. Jacob's ire at having to flush his toilet more often than he REMEMBERS flushing old toilets can ONLY be ascribable to the United States Congress? And not, say, to an increasingly large (in both number and volume) colonic outflow? IS that a proven theory?
Or is it a not-very-carefully-thought-through hypothesis? Dr. Jacob?
So: is the problem in attempting to deal with what is increasingly a vital national problem: water supplies have not increased in the past 90 years, but our population has tripled -- most especially in the arid and semi-arid West? Is Mr. Jacob against dams as well? Should water be "free market"?
Or does Mr. Jacob's specific problem lie with one angry asshole? The reader must decide. But ...
Ask not for whom the commode flushes, Mr. Jacob;Who gives a shit, indeed?
It flusheth for thee.
08 December 2006
Something About Howard Rich, More About War
Once upon a time, a president from Texas convinced us all that the People's Republic of North Vietnam had sent rowboats out to attack our navy's destroyers. And, we were stuck in a quagmire, called Vietnam. The Texas president's term was ruined, and in early 1968, with the TET offensive, the country turned against the war.
The Democratic Party tore itself apart, although the primary voters gave the nomination to Bobby Kennedy, who promised to get us OUT OF VIETNAM. Sadly, on the day he secured the nomination in California, Sirhan B. Sirhan assassinated him.
Richard Nixon won the presidential election in a squeaker, beating Hubert H. Humphrey, the Vice President, with Nixon's "Secret Plan To End the War."
Now -- this is the important part -- neither party nor candidate was willing to admit that we should just get out. We had to "save face" or else "no one would trust us," and everyone would see that the USA was a pussy.
The communists would triumph, sliced bread would come to an end, and the sky would fall.
So: Nixon's first term managed to rack up the majority of the 58,000 US combat casualties -- AFTER everyone had agreed to leave Vietnam.
It was called "Vietnamization," and, although the Nixon tagline WASN'T "We'll stand down when they stand up," it might as well have been.
And we left, and Vietnam fell, and the whole anti-commie hysteria never noticed that nationalism was more powerful to the Vietnamese than communism, and they had two quick wars with their fellow communist countries China and Cambodia.
And, if we had just pulled out in January of 1968, the final outcome would have been no different, and all those American boys who died AFTER we realized that Vietnam was a mistake never had to die.
They died for the "macho" of a bunch of liver-spotted politicians, they died so that we could "save face."
Why is the life of ONE soldier less important than the ego of the powerful? It is an unjustifiable and monstrous hubris.
And now, again, those who lived through Vietnam, that huge possum-sized lump in the anaconda of American history, the Baby Boomers, have forgotten that lesson, as we now engage in what none dare call "Iraqification."
Vietnamization didn't work then, and Iraqification won't work now. As Santayana said: Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.
The only issue now is "saving face." Well, I don't know about you, but I am unwilling to sacrifice ONE soldier's life to salve the national ego. We screwed up, we need to stop flushing good blood after bad. The people of Iraq will self-determine, whether we are there or not, and occupation will never work. Period.
And, again, we're making the mistake of thinking that ideology will trump nationalism. This is, once more, the basis of our "thinking" about Iraq.
So: in the name of all those kids who died needlessly AFTER we realized that we could not win in Vietnam, leave Iraq. Leave Iraq now. Don't sit here and lecture us about how we'll look to the world. We already look like monstrous horses' asses. Killing our kids to "save face" is as insane under Bush as it was under Nixon.
There's even the sub rosa movement to invade Iran, just like Nixon managed to invade Cambodia, even though he'd been elected promising to wind DOWN the war, and not to expand it.
Recall that famed quote of the Vietnam war: "We destroyed the village in order to save it."
We've collectively decided to leave Iraq. Now let's have the cojones to admit we made a mistake and leave. Or, every politician who insists on "stability" or any other rationalization for not leaving is an active participant in the murder of every US soldier killed in Iraq, and every Iraqi killed by a US soldier.
The waters have changed time and time again since Johnson escalated an attack from a couple of rowboats on some US destroyers (which may not have ever happened) into the decade-long Vietnam war. Now, as baby Bush fiddles and Rome burns, we've been there, post "shock and awe" almost four years. If we don't watch it, we'll be there for ten.
Oh, and one other little thing. The press is on vulture watch: we're at (as I write this) 2945 dead troops in Iraq, according to the radio. (see http://www.icasualties.org/oif/ for more complete stats)
They're waiting for that "magic" moment when US casualties top the death count for 9-11 -- about 3,000.
I got's news for ya's kiddies: we passed that death number a long time ago. According to the WASHINGTON POST:
So, Americans killed as a direct result of this war passed 3,000 a long time ago.
Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq
By Renae Merle
The Washington Post
Tuesday 05 December 2006
There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield ... About 650 contractors have died in Iraq since 2003, according to Labor Department statistics....
Let's show the world that we can be the high-minded moral pricks that constantly have all the ethical answers -- as we remind them on a near-constant basis -- and admit we made a mistake. Let's do the honorable thing and leave. Let's be less afraid of being laughed at by other countries than we are of murdering our own sons and daughters.
And let's stop murdering Iraqis. We were going after Saddam, and now our kangaroo court has caught, tried and convicted him, and sentenced him to death. We had no other issues with the Iraqi people. Can we please stop killing them now?
Bring the troops home, NOW. http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/