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Thursday, April 14, 2005
SPRINGTIME POETRY IN THE LAND OF THE FREE
Today dawned cool and crisp, sunny and beautiful. But I couldn't help but think of another spring day, long ago, even though you'll find scarcely a reference to it in the media today ... not important, I guess.
Here is a bit of the tale, courtesy of a retired history teacher at AOL: (hereinafter flagged with *):
As usual the President arose at seven. Friday, April 14, 1865, began as a lovely spring day.That was 140 years ago. Let's see what happened today. Oh, yes, the Oregon Supreme Court punted on Gay Marriage, in a unanimous decision, saying that it was the legislature's business to regulate marriage, not the municipalities or counties, and, therefore, while they wouldn't actually rule on gay marriage, Multnomah County's marriages licenses, issued last year, were null and void.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,Oh yes: the House of Representatives passed on a 306-126 vote, the bankruptcy bill, earlier approved by the Senate, to fundamentally strip Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy out of the code, claiming that the (less than 5%) abusers were a grave threat to the banking industry (who routinely charge 30% and greater interest charges).
"Those who abuse the system make getting credit more expensive for everyone," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said after the vote as he and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., signed the bill to speed it to the president. "Bankruptcy is for those who need help, not those who want to shift costs to other hardworking Americans." (AP)Good to see that Illinois Republicans still have influence in Congress. 140 years ago, an Illinois Republican met with the House Speaker:
And in the Senate, the committee overseeing the nomination of John Negroponte -- the enabler and author of the Death Squads in Honduras in the 1980s -- voted behind closed doors (thus, no recorded tally) to send Negroponte's nomination to the full Senate, where it was virtually guaranteed that the former Iraq and UN ambassador would be the first national intelligence "Czar," overseeing a 100,000 person department with $40 billion in annual "overt" budgetary funding and God-knows-how-much covert. Such power has never been concentrated in the office of one bureaucrat in the nation's history before. And they chose Negroponte.
Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
I was listening to the afternoon show on KOPT, and a fellow called in to say that he found two men holding hands disgusting and sickening. He cackled horribly, pleased with himself at every moment, until he let slip that he was just as disgusted at seeing white and black couples. Ah, Progressive Oregon!
Our local "prograssive" newspaper continued the guilt-by-association attacks that have become almost routine on anyone who ever knew former Governor Neil Goldschmidt (and noted that State Sen. Vicki Walker was now being talked about as a gubernatorial candidate), leading off a cover story on Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson's candidacy challenging incumbent Gov. Ted Kulongowski with this:
[Cover Story By Alan Pittman]Why, to read it, you'd SWEAR that Kulongoski held the girl down while Goldschmidt put the wood to her. [No mention is made of what happened when the girl turned 15, then 16, then 17.] A week earlier, the WEEKLY had apportioned a share of the Pulitzer Prize to Walker, along with a seamless self-congratulatory segue into how they, the WEEKLY, were forcing the REGISTER-GUARD into doing better reporting with their "scoops" in much the same manner that the WILLAMETTE WEEK had "forced" the OREGONIAN into better reporting through their expose of Goldschmidt's thirty--year-old sexual secrets. But then again, that's par for the WEEKLY'S (crapulous) course.
I would only wonder how much about the sexual lives (and their details) of his co-workers that Mr. Pittman knows. Or, perhaps I wouldn't like to know that. In his world, not being aware of the most intimate secrets of one's associates seems to be unthinkable, and THAT perhaps says more about Pittman than about reality. (The two are often at odds in most cases, anyway.)
I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,
And that was the way that this anniversary was celebrated, today, with nary a mention of that spring day, long ago:
And, finally, today, to protect us -- courtesy of Oregon's own progressive senator, Ron Wyden -- Bic lighters were banned from all commercial flights. (You can, however, carry four packs of "safety" matches.) We are now safe from the scourge of terrorists wielding butane lighters. After all, these must now take their rightful place in the pantheon of menaces next to fingernail clippers, crochet hooks, metal nail files and other instruments of international terrorism. Let us all pray that terrorists never learn how to light fuses with matches.
I suppose that there's nothing much more to say, that the poet hasn't said better than I:
How well have we honored you, Mr. Lincoln.
(poem: When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, by Walt Whitman; used entirely without permission)
Monday, April 11, 2005
EL CABALLERO DEL POLLO'S FESTIVAL OF MENDACITY, or, Dubya, Deadeye Dick and Rummy Ride Againhart williams
I learned the way that the military thinks about media back during the Grenada Invasion (and of course, post-Mayaguez, where you claim bloodless victory and only release the body counts MUCH later, after achieving the intended effect).
The LAPD used to pull it too: whenever Ed Davis or Darryl Gates would decide to jackboot through incipient Porn Valley's warehouses, they'd ALWAYS also do a street-hooker sweep, to make sure that no First Amendment voices were raised ... "linking" porn and hookers the same way Dubya linked Saddam and Al Qaeda. None of this is new.
Sadly, unlike the average citizens of the Soviet Union, we don't realize that we're often lied to. So, we don't look for the "invisible man."
I'm referring to H.G. Wells' novel, and the endless movies. How do you spot the invisible man? By creating a cloud, or tossing flour, or looking in the snow. You know where he is by where the fog ISN'T.
So where is this tortuous narrative leading us?
I listen to a lot a crappy network radio news while slaving away in the wee small hours of the morning, and I happened to hear the "big" story that the Military-Oil Complex decided on for its media geishas to start the week: There was a "big sweep" in Baghdad, and they captured 65 "insurgents."
OK? Now, students: where is the invisible man?
Take a few minutes.
Got it? Good.
Here's the skinny:
First of all, "Baghdad" is the tipoff. According to Sy Hersh (who's only been utterly RIGHT about every damned thing he's reported from the Misbegotten Mesopotamian Misadventure -- or "3M" for short), outside of Baghdad, we barely control any of the country: it's strictly, to use his words, "cowboys and indians" out there.
Secondly, you might recall that there was a HUGE demonstration in Topple-Saddam-Square (and some of you might recall how BARE that square actually was when the "huge crowds" greeted the liberators, who had to bumble for hours and bring in a Humvee to actually topple it). The square was filled, within eyesight of the journalists who cover the entire occupation of Iraq from the hotel's balconies.
Well, the Terry Schiavo case successfully managed to smoke-obscure the demonstrations on the anniversary of the invasion. But NOW, the Bushies were caught with their metaphorical pants down around their obfuscatory ankles, and something must needs be quickly done.
Lucky for them, the Iraqis didn't understand the US news cycle, so the weekend news of the demonstrations could be quickly supplanted by the "massive sweep" of ... streetwalkers and pornographers!
I meant "insurgents."
Now, given the US track record in Iraq for picking up the wrong people on trumped-up charges, and, given that Baghdad is the ONLY city we're operating in with impunity, what's the story do you think?
Where is the invisible man in all this smoke?
Right. You got it: They DESPERATELY want you to think that they're IN CHARGE, and everything's just a "mopping up" operation. That full-scale military assault on Abu Gharib Prison was just an anomaly! A drive-by. Some random "gang" violence.
(Don't be surprised if we see the equivalent of a TET-style offensive soon. Sadly, though, Walter Cronkite won't be there to re-evaluate. It'll be Judy Woodruff, instead, sniffing that she ALWAYS knew that this was a misadventure, and how useful is THAT?)
So just remember, look not at what they're saying: look at what they're not saying, and you'll find the 'invisible man' every time.
And, the additional Pentagon "leak"/announcement that "thousands of US troops might start coming home" in the indefinite definite future (reported in the same breath on the network radio news) was a coincidence, don't you think?
Of course it was. Happy Trails.
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* O T H E R S T U F Fo There is no other stuff at this time. There might be someday, though. One can always hope.