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Saturday, June 04, 2005

It began innocently enough: I received an email from a mailing list I subscribe to -- one that usually asks me for money, or else asks me to write my congressperson, or asks me to sign an electronic petition and THEN give money.

Left or Right, this is the fact of being at all involved these days, and I almost filed it in its e-folder, where most of them go after a cursory reading. But the header caught my eye, and I realized that I was going to have to make an ethical decision.


German philosopher Immanuel Kant defined the "moral imperative":

"Kant distinguishes among three types of commands: technical (imperatives of skill), pragmatic (imperatives of prudence), and moral (what is of interest to Kant here). The first two bind conditionally. ... Kant indicates the conditionality of these two sorts of imperatives by calling them "hypothetical imperatives."

Kant thinks that the moral imperative binds unconditionally, and accordingly calls it the "categorical imperative." ... [this] includes the terms "perfect duties" and "imperfect duties."

--[Reading notes for Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals - Michael Taber, St. Mary's College of Maryland http://www.smcm.edu/users/mstaber/kantnote.htm]

I arrived on Saturday afternoon. The sender of the email couldn't make it, and six of us had responded, out of the hundreds, or even thousands in Lane County who had received the same email that I did.

We were gathered in a pleasant waiting room, with art on the walls, magazines on the table, and, perched precariously on the magazines, a bowl of cashews and a bowl of Japanese trail mix -- dried seaweed snacks mixed together with what looked like Cheetos. They had obviously been brought out for us.

Of the six gathered (along with two of the personnel who worked there and myself) there were four other women and one man.

The person who would be giving us the training apologized that the emailer couldn't attend and began the orientation session.


Perfect duties are duties which can be perfectly satisfied, like the duty not to steal, or not to murder. Imperfect duties are, on the contrary, always imperfectly satisfied, like the duty to help others. There is always more one could do along the lines of satisfying these duties. ...

This is not to say that Kant thinks that imperfect duties are optional. ... Contemporary thinkers usually use different terms for this distinction, but it is the same point: negative and positive duties. So negative duties would be the thou-shalt-nots (varieties of "bring no harm"), and positive duties are the thou-shalts (varieties of "bring aid"). -- ibid.
This was the letter I received when I RSVP'ed that first letter. Perhaps you'll be way ahead of me in understanding WHY I felt it a moral imperative (an imperfect one, to be sure, since one can always do more), but I'll explain it a bit anyway. Here's the letter:

Thank you for signing up to attend the Clinic Defense Escort Training on **** in Eugene. Your spot has been reserved and your participation will make a big difference.

The pro-choice community has seen a recent increase in harassment and protests outside one of only two abortion providers in Eugene. Clinics need our help in ensuring that every woman has the ability to safely and privately access their right to choose. Your participation in the Clinic Defense Escort Training program will ensure that women do not encounter unwarranted harassment.

Clinic Defense Escort Training

Where: ****
When: ****

At the training, you will learn how to be an effective clinic escort and how you can defend choice in your community. Join your fellow pro-choice supporters for a morning of Choice Activism and Clinic Defense!

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact ****.
Now, you may ask WHY I feel that it's a moral imperative. As well you might. (And please believe me that this is not intended as braggadocio or hubris -- I simply cannot figure how to write this without including my small role and decision in the matter.)

It's really for two reasons: first, I believe in every human being's right to the privacy of their own body. With few exceptions, I don't believe anyone has a right to touch you without your permission, nor to invade the sanctity of your skin without your permission.

Secondly, I believe in the absolute freedom of religion, at least in thought. No one has a right to tell you how to believe, or to force you to act against those beliefs. You may go to jail (as the Quakers have done in times of war) but they cannot MAKE you fight.

The first, sad to say, is routinely ignored in our society for any number of reasons. But, to me, no one but the woman whose body is going to be severely strained by a pregnancy should have the choice as to whether or not to bring the pregnancy to term.

And, corollary to that comes the second point: The determination of what "human life" is -- beyond the agreed-upon definition of "viability" -- a matter of religious belief. Most religions believe in a "soul." But there is no scientific evidence, nor objective evidence of a soul. It is a matter of religious belief and experience. So, the question of whether there is a 'life' present or not depends on one's religious beliefs.

And in that case, only the woman who is pregnant can determine whether or not she's going to choose "life" or termination of the pregnancy. Remember: once the child is born, she is legally responsible for it for 18 years, whether the father has abandoned her -- an all too common feature of abortion -- or she chooses the legal route of giving the child up for adoption.

When Abagail Adams got to Philadelphia in the laste 1770s, to join her husband at the Continental Congress, she was shocked to find that there were bins all over the city where unwanted babies were deposited. Fully one third of them did not survive. But there was no mechanism for terminating pregnancy, and contraception in this country has been illegal for a very long time.

Margaret Sanger, who had been prosecuted and convicted for dispensing information on birth control by that Right Wing Zealot, uber-censor Anthony Comstock, smuggled the first diaphragms into this country from France, where she'd hidden them in wine bottles, after ending her exile. And that wasn't very long ago: indicted by Comstock in 1913 for "mailing obscenities," Sanger fled to Europe, and the indictment was withdrawn. In 1914 she founded the National Birth Control League which was taken over by Mary Ware Dennett and others while Sanger was in Europe. She founded the first birth control clinic in 1916, and was sent to a workhouse in 1917 for "creating a public nuisance."

In 1946, after mergers and consolidations, her work culminated in the founding of Planned Parenthood.

And why?

Because there is an unremitting hostility in some quarters to women having control over their own reproductive systems. We speak of "private parts" but, legally and in fact, for too long this government has considered those anatomical portions of a woman's anatomy to be public property.

Which, if engaged in for hire, we call prostitution, but when a matter of someone else's morality is considered in some religiously intolerant circles as "moral."

Were Kant alive today, he might term this the "Morally Imperious."

[I wrote a long piece on this in 1992, in the SANTA FE SUN that I seem to have forgotten to post on my website. I'll see about remedying that. It dealt with the Supreme Court decision in Rust v. Sullivan, or the gag order on doctors, and predated the resignation of Justice Thurgood Marshall by only a few weeks. Things have gotten a lot worse, since then.]

In 1998, I successfully placed -- after getting fifty delegates to sign a petition, and a floor fight with the then-Chair of the DPO, 'liberal' Mark Abrams -- the following language in the Democratic Party of Oregon's platform, where it has remained -- albeit increasingly watered down -- ever since:
Health Care ... We believe that clinic personnel and patients have an inalienable right to freedom from harassment, intimidation, and physical harm.
It did not pass by a very large majority.

(This was the same language I convinced my fellow delegates at the 1998 Democratic Party of Lane County platform convention to adopt. I do not know whether it has remained. The last platform was never published completely or put up on the DPLC website, so I can't say with any certitude what became of it. I would sincerely hope that they have retained it. Happily, it passed unanimously.)

The Moral Imperative here, then, is to protect the sanctity of a woman's body -- AND of her religious beliefs -- by allowing HER to choose the arduous and sometimes fatal course of bringing a fetus into the world as a fully formed baby.

In other words: I respect YOUR beliefs, but I respect hers MORE. (As should you, are you not personally involved. Undesired pregnancy, generally at a young age, is one of the most devastating and soul-wracking dilemmas that a woman faces, in my experience.)

And so I felt duty and honor-bound to put my money where my mouth is and has always been, and to take the training to become a clinic escort.

But listen to the "polite" version of Right-wing sneerage on May 24th of this year, in the National Review (the most prestigious of the conservative publications):
5/24/05 interview with Brian Anderson author of South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/anderson200505240758.asp :

"I don't know what Parker and his [South Park] co-creator Matt Stone actually think about abortion -- they may just have been trying to irritate liberals, though they've had similar sequences in at least two other episodes. But I'll ask you and NRO's many pop-culturally attuned readers: Has there ever been anything in television history comparably contemptuous toward the unyielding liberal position on abortion as that sequence? I can't come up with an example. It's smart on several levels -- and funny. Of course, the episode is filled with profanities and vulgarities, too."
Yes. And isn't it funny that it's so many of the MEN who are so rabid about denying women their say in the matter? Penis uber alles, one would be tempted to say.

But here in Eugene, there have been two very vocal, physically intimidating protesters: they were described as males in their late 30s, somewhat stocky, with short haircuts, 190-220 lbs. -- surely intimidating to most women -- who have been increasingly verbally agressive outside of the clinic, and have trespassed as far as entering the waiting room on at least one occasion.

There is another fellow who has a long FBI record whose picture we were shown, of whom we were told, if you see him, we need to call the police IMMEDIATELY.

I could not help but be struck by his physical resemblance to Eric Rudolph.

You remember Eric Rudolph? Here, to jog your memory, from April 15, 2005:
ATLANTA (AP) -- Abortion clinics around the country are bracing for attacks after Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph issued his manifesto justifying the use of violence to stop "the worst massacre in human history."

"When one of these extremists puts out a call to action, oftentimes, others do try to follow in their footsteps," said Vicki Saporta, head of the National Abortion Federation, which represents 400 U.S. clinics. "He clearly is speaking to the extremists who believe in justifiable homicide."

Rudolph will get four life sentences without parole after pleading guilty Wednesday to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and attacks at two abortion clinics and a gay nightclub. The blasts killed two people and wounded 123 ... In an 11-page manifesto handed out by his attorneys, Rudolph said the Olympic bombing was an attempt to embarrass the United States in front of the world for allowing abortion.
"Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified ... in an attempt to stop it," Rudolph wrote.

This is terrorism, pure and simple. And if we are against terrorism, then we have the moral imperative to do what we can to stop it.

I almost said something about it at the training session, but I thought better of it: If you decide to act as an escort for women entering the clinic, you could well be putting your body and your life on the line.

But, with only six people answering the call (one woman's husband couldn't make it, so make it seven, provisionally), it seemed foolish to scare anyone off.

With a clear understanding of the possible consequences, I believe firmly that volunteering against these terrorists is a moral imperative. And, while I firmly commit myself to non-violence in answering that call, there is something that I find strangely ironic in it all.

If these be "Christians" then why am I the one turning the other cheek?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Let's start with some Watergaiety from the loony Right, who are now convinced that a) Vietnam was a winnable war, and b) Nixon was a 'victim' of some sort. From MSNBC on June 1:
Pat Buchanan: Well, it brings you back to those days, and look, I think the breaking of Richard Nixon and the destruction of his presidency by people who had hated him for a long time -- Nixon gave them the sword -- that resulted in really pouring down a sewer really everything which 58,000 gave their lives in Vietnam. People forget that six months after Watergate, Nixon was at 69 percent, he had won 49 states, the POWs were coming home, every provincial capital was in South Vietnamese hands. Two years later, after he was destroyed, you had a holocaust of a million people dead in Cambodia. So I think that Mark Felt was ashamed at what he did. That's why he lied about it for 30 years, and he ought to have been. He's an FBI agent for heaven's sakes, the top man in the Bureau except for one and he's sneaking around garages leaking the results of an investigation to a Nixon-hating newspaper?
Charles Colson: People talk about a hero. A hero might have, if he had the courage, gone in and talked to the President. I know Richard Nixon well enough -- no paragon of moral virtue - but out of expediency, if he thought the FBI really had the goods on him, he would have turned off what was going on in the White House and he might have saved the government. Then, we really would have built a shrine to him.
Joe Conason in SALON (6-3):

"But now Buchanan, and Rush Limbaugh, have gone still further, claiming that those who forced Nixon to quit were directly responsible for the ensuing communist victory in Vietnam and the Cambodian genocide."
Conservative Columnist John McCaslin on June 2, 2005 on TownHall.com:


Oh, what one D.C. cop might have spared the nation were it not for a few late-night snorts.

During the night of the Watergate break-in, recalls political consultant Craig Shirley in his new book, "Reagan's Revolution," a uniformed police officer abandoned his patrol area, which included the Watergate complex, in favor of several cocktails at a local bar.

When the call came in for him to investigate suspicious behavior at the Watergate, he deferred the call to backup officers in order to avoid repercussions for his drinking while on duty. As it turned out, those backups dispatched to the Watergate arrived in an unmarked vehicle and were dressed in plain clothes.

"They were able to enter the complex undetected by the lookouts for the burglars," Shirley says. "Had the uniformed police offer not been drinking on duty and was able to respond to the call in his patrol car, the lookouts that night would have had time to alert the burglars of the policeman entering the complex and the Watergate scandal would have never happened; (President) Nixon's resignation would have never occurred."

Er, exCUSE ME? Watergate was JUST that one break-in? And if they hadn't been caught, everything would have gone away? This is nothing short of a psychotic delusion. The botched (Liddy) burglary was the LEAST of Nixon's excesses. The human mind, as I've said before, has a nearly infinite capacity for rationalization. McCaslin proves it here.

Karl Rove spent the summer of 1974 as a Republican operative, honing his attack the liberal media, sending out memos from a phony grass-roots group called Americans for the Presidency, decrying "the lynch-mob atmosphere created in this city by the Washington Post and other parts of the Nixon-hating media." (Not much has changed there. Just ask Dan Rather, Helen Thomas and NEWSWEEK).

And, finally, Mark Follman reports in Salon's "WAR ROOM" June 2:

"There's something deadly serious here," Buchanan said on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews. "People that brought down Nixon also resulted in the fall of South Vietnam, the death of hundreds of thousands of people. ... Nixon was brought down by people who were a hell of a lot worse than he was."

Buchanan got some solid backup from fellow history wiz Rush Limbaugh, who added that Woodward, Bernstein, Felt and company were also responsible for the genocide in Cambodia that left approximately 1.7 million dead. "Had they not brought down Nixon, we wouldn't have lost Vietnam," Limbaugh affirmed during his Wednesday broadcast. "Had [they] not brought down Nixon, the Khmer Rouge would not have come to power and murdered two million people in a full-fledged genocide."
OK. Do you GET that these people are nuts? Living in a dream world? Never "got" that what was going on in Watergate was that classic "cancer on the presidency" that spread into all aspects of the Nixon White House ... and was WRONG?

Nope. Suddenly Vietnam was a "good" war, Nixon was a "victim." The old Nixon hatred and intimidation of the media has finally come to full bloom, and Joe Conason finally has stolen my old line that Dubya the Younger's administration is "Nixon's Revenge." Reading his piece today, and hearing him on Al Franken, I almost wondered if he were reading my blog. But I'm sure it's a coincidence. None of my stuff about Watergate is particularly earthshattering or new.

But let's descend even further into the alleged mind of the Conservative (if you've got the stomach for it). This comes from HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE: The National Conservative News Weekly -- May 31, 2005

I was going to bring this up on KOPT Tuesday, but time and circumstances didn't permit. So here's the list, from fifteen "judges," including such stalwarts as Phyllis Schlafly, and the Executive Editor of Regnery Publishing (the thousand pound gorilla of Right Wing ink, who brought us the slander on Kerry, Unfit For Command, among other wingnut masterworks):
Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

"Appropriately, The Communist Manifesto, -- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, earned the highest aggregate score and the No. 1 listing.

1. The Communist Manifesto -- Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
2. Mein Kampf -- Adolf Hitler
3. Quotations from Chairman Mao -- Mao Zedong
4. The Kinsey Report -- Alfred Kinsey
5. Democracy and Education -- John Dewey
6. Das Kapital -- Karl Marx
7. The Feminine Mystique -- Betty Friedan
8. The Course of Positive Philosophy -- Auguste Comte
9. Beyond Good and Evil -- Freidrich Nietzsche
10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money -- John Maynard Keynes
OK. Well, the first three are probably givens. But Kinsey? Dewey? Friedan and Keyes? And, of course, snarking Neitzsche ... I wonder if any of these loons have ever read any of these books. The list ought to give you their mindset: Prudish, Close-minded and narrowly strait-jacketed ideologues. But the REAL story is in their little addendum:
Honorable (??) Mention

These books won votes from two or more judges:

The Population Bomb -- Paul Ehrlich
What Is To Be Done -- V.I. Lenin
Authoritarian Personality -- Theodor Adorno
On Liberty -- John Stuart Mill
Beyond Freedom and Dignity -- B.F. Skinner
Reflections on Violence -- Georges Sorel
The Promise of American Life -- Herbert Croly
Origin of the Species -- Charles Darwin
Madness and Civilization -- Michel Foucault
Soviet Communism: A New Civilization -- Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Coming of Age in Samoa -- Margaret Mead
Unsafe at Any Speed -- Ralph Nader
Second Sex -- Simone de Beauvoir
Prison Notebooks -- Antonio Gramsci
Silent Spring -- Rachel Carson
Wretched of the Earth -- Frantz Fanon
Introduction to Psychoanalysis -- Sigmund Freud
The Greening of America -- Charles Reich
The Limits to Growth -- Club of Rome
Descent of Man -- Charles Darwin
Anti-evolution? (TWO Darwin titles!) Anti-John Stuart Mill? Margaret Mead? Ralph Nader? Paul Ehrlich? Anti-consumer, anti-multi-cultural, anti-ecology, anti-freedom! Anti-contraception and birth control! (If you doubt the problem go to China, or India).

I have long maintained that the neocons are hell bent on building a bridge back to the Nineteenth Century (see my 1986 essay on Reagan "The Emperor's New Suit" http://www.hartwilliams.com/no3f.htm). Now, it seems that what they really object to was the Enlightenment (if not the Reformation). When you consider that the American Revolution was grounded in the Enlightenment, it chills the blood. You can't throw out the Enlightenment without tossing out the Declaration and the Constitution.

Just last week, a clueless neocon wrote a letter to the local paper stating bald facedly that the "Founding Fathers" were foursquare behind the Pledge of Allegiance (an 1890s document amended with "under God" in 1954) as "proving" that America was a "Christian nation."

History is being rewritten by the neocons, and after awhile -- reading no doubt, Regnery Publishing bestsellers -- one wonders whether they actually remember WHAT history actually was.

I would like to point out that one of the salient features of totalitarianism is the rewriting of history. Because, unfortunately, history is filled with uncomfortable truths. We want to sanitize our heroes and tar our villains, no matter whether the former occasionally erred, or the latter occasionally did something right.

Humans are fallible, flawed creatures, and there is an admixture of good and evil in all of them. But if, as Napoleon advised his son, "history is the only true philosophy" then twisting it to our ideological purposes is to fundamentally reject both truth and philosophy (which, literally, means, "the love of wisdom.") And therein lies a clue: when we hate wisdom, we cease to act wisely. And that is a prescription for disaster.

Imagine a world WITHOUT Darwin, Margaret Mead, Betty Friedan or Ralph Nader (his recent, priggish lunacies notwithstanding). Imagine a world without John Stuart Mill, John Maynard Keynes or Friedrich Nietzsche. Sigmund Freud? Simone de Beauvoir? RACHEL CARSON?!?!?!?

Or even, without Mao, Hitler and Marx?

Oh, and "On Liberty" was not a book. It was an essay. A long essay, perhaps, but an essay nonetheless. So, technically, these pricks couldn't even confine themselves to their own rules. When I read Mill's masterwork, as a philosophy major in college, and a REPUBLICAN, it left a deep and lasting impression. So it's chilling that its liberal, libertarian message is SO frightening to these "conservatives" that they made it the fourteenth-most-dangerous "book" of the last two hundred years!

Good Ghod.

I think that if they'd have thought, they'd have had to get rid of Hegel as well, because Marxism was firmly based in the Hegelian dialectic: that history proceeds by thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Well, that's a good description of how American politics is SUPPOSED to work: two antithetical positions resolving themselves into a higher "compromise" that often draws from both points of view.

But then Hegel, as a lover of wisdom, probably appreciated that history is what it was. No more, no less.

And the better that we understand history, the better chance we have of learning from it, or, at least, avoiding some of the most egregious errors of history.

But these "conservatives" (actually radicals, espousing radical change) don't LIKE history. They would, like Stalin, or Mao, ERASE history.

And that would be not merely unwise: It would be tragic.

Let's let that fourteenth-most-dangerous book of the last two centuries speak to conclude our little odyssey into the Neocon Circle of Dante's Inferno:
"THE TIME, it is to be hoped, is gone by, when any defence would be necessary of the 'liberty of the press' as one of the securities against corrupt or tyrannical government. No argument, we may suppose, can now be needed, against permitting a legislature or an executive, not identified in interest with the people, to prescribe opinions to them, and determine what doctrines or what arguments they shall be allowed to hear."

-- John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty," Chapter II: Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion (1859)
Thursday, June 02, 2005

Following yesterday's revelation of the CIA SpokesCartoons, disturbing new evidence has come to light. But more on that in a moment.

First, as noted in this space a couple days ago, the standard arguments were hauled out again, this time for the snarking of "Deep Throat" alter ego ex-FBI man Mark Felt.

Tim Noah, of "Slate" an online Magazine was quoted during MSNBC coverage during the "non-question" controversy that Faux Nooz had engendered and spread to the so-called "legitimate" media, which is to say, the question was posed: Is he a hero or a villain?

Now, NBC had been running an orgy of coverage (I missed this morning's TODAY reunion of Woodward and Bernstein) which was excerpted with sound bites from Chuck Colson and G. Gordon Liddy, talking about how "awful" that the "Deep Throat" revelations had been.


Charles Colson spent felony time in prison, famously converting to Jeezis, over Watergate. Again, as reported here, he has come full circle, now shilling for the Religious Right a featured speaker on "Justice Sunday." He is a convicted felon, a co-conspirator in the vicious morass of Watergate -- which has since, with increasing tape revelations trickling out, turned out to be FAR worse than advertised at the time. Watergate was characterized by paranoia, racism, police-state tactics, cash shakedowns of big donors (paper bags filled with cash lying around CREEP -- the Committee to Re Elect the President) etc. etc.

One of the criminals caught in the burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex (giving the scandal its name) was G. Gordon Liddy. Liddy, you probably DON'T remember, came to fame as an overzealous prosecutor who busted Timothy Leary again and again, using SWAT team tactics, in, I think, upstate New York. He came to Nixon's attention, and ended up as a third-rate second story man. (Few will recall, as well, that Liddy's "plumbers" were busted because they were at the Watergate to REMOVE the bugs from the DNC offices that they'd installed in an earlier, successful burglary.)

This gang had earlier attempted to burglarize the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, to obtain psychiatric reports to smear Ellsberg, who had leaked the explosive "Pentagon Papers" to the NEW YORK TIMES. Those papers proved that the military knew that Vietnam was a quagmire and unwinnable during years that they were spinning Vietnam as "exporting democracy" ... er, much as the Iraq-War Propaganda Machine is cranking out sunshiney PR today.

Some of that CREEP cash, by the by, funded a young Karl Rove, just finished dropping out of college to become the Chair of the College Republicans, who was a "dirty trickster" with Donald Segretti, working to destroy the presidential campaigns of Sen. Edmund Muskie, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, and other contenders that Nixon feared.

Then, as now, the White House could not distinguish between external enemies, domestic protestors and political opponents: they were all in that neat false dichotomy that "either you're with us or you're against us." National Security, the mantrum of Nixonian secrecy, was indistinguishable from the political self-interest of the White House. Aided and abetted, of course, by the Republican National Committee, chaired by one George Herbert Walker Bush, just by the by.

And then, as now, every dirty trick, every illegal dodge, every vicious discussion was aimed at destroying all opposition. One of Segretti's and Rove's dirty tricks, by the by, is widely credited with destroying Ed Muskie's presidential campaign. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post's head honcho in those days, noted pointedly yesterday that not only was Liddy and Colson's snarking absurd, but that Liddy wasn't THAT long out of federal prison. Liddy is now a successful syndicated radio host, and Colson's "Prison Ministries" is awash in money, prestige and, increasingly, right-wing political clout. As no good deed goes unpunished, evidently, no evil deed goes unrewarded.

But young Tim Noah (who, as a "SLATE" spokesnake, is paid by MSN, a subsidiary of MicroSoft, who owns it, who, coincidentally, in partnership with NBC co-owns MSNBC, as in 'MicroSoftNationalBroadcastingCompany') decided to pull the "plague on both their houses" argument, as if you could equivalence any action by "Deep Throat" with Watergate's excesses.

[NOTE: NBC is owned by General Electric, which is one of the largest defense contractors, and has one of the highest hiring rates of military retirees. Hmmm. Wonder what their corporate culture's bias would be?]

Hint: he was convicted in 1980 of illegal break-ins of suspected Weather Underground cells. Before you pass judgment on that, consider that the Weather Underground was engaged in domestic terrorism and bombings, and, post 9-11 everything he did then would be considered not only legal, but even laudable. Reagan pardoned him. But consider the moral dilemma here: those who support such behavior against terrorists, and those who engaged in such behavior AGAINST political opposition are accusing Mark Felt of doing something "wrong"?

Surely you jest.

And, since he was passed over as Director of the FBI, following the death of J. Edgar Hoover, Pat Buchanan (ex-Nixon speech writer) screams that he was engaged in vendetta, and did it for personal motivations.

Laying aside for a moment whether it was the right thing to do -- which it unquestionably was, given that Nixon hack Patrick Gray was sent over from Justice to run the FBI, and that the Attorney General, John Mitchell was not only Nixon's campaign chairman (twice), but also was up to his eyeballs in Watergate, leaving Felt no chain of command to report to -- ask yourself whether it matters WHAT Deep Throat's motives were? The crimes involved represented such a profound threat to the Republic that it wouldn't have mattered whether Felt was being paid for his information with hookers and tequila.

The whole "spin" has been to attempt to deflect attention from Watergate, and rightly so. It is TOO closely parallel to what the Bush Administration is doing today. And that's why the attack dogs of Rove have been snarling after a 91-year-old stroke victim.

It's your classic bait & switch, like the "Swift Boat Veterans" or the "Rathergate" or the "Newsweek" controversies. Each has been a successful attempt to deflect debate away from the core issue.

As far as I'm concerned, Colson, Buchanan and Liddy all need an extended stay at Club Fed. And Karl Rove should be hanged in the public square for the treasonous weasel that he is.

If they manage to create the civil war they seem hell bent on reigniting, it will become legal for my side to shoot Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove. I got dibs on Rush. And you'd better race me to the Casa del Karl.

Which brings us to toon town.

Yesterday, I was listening to our favorite cartoon weasel, Dubya the Younger, doing his snickering routine. For a long time, a nagging realization has been niggling at the receptors of my cerebral cortex. And yesterday, finally, it clicked.

Bush is the reincarnation of Muttley, the evil hound of Hanna-Barbara's "The Wacky Races," which premiered as a Saturday morning cartoon (remember them?) on September 14th, 1968.

Muttley has exactly the same evil, reflexive snicker that Dubya the Younger does. (click to hear)

Like Bush, Muttley was a redux of an earlier caricature:

"The first was Snuffles, who appeared on the Quick Draw McGraw show almost a full decade before Muttley made his TV debut. Snuffles would perform his bit of anti-gravity glee when he would get a doggy snack. Muttley on the other hand, went into his floating euphoria when his master, Dick Dastardly, would give him a medal."
(from http://www.hotink.com/wacky/mfiles/ - a cartoon fan page)

Yes, that's right. Muttley's master was Dick Dastardly, "Dastardly" being Portuguese for "Cheney." (Dastardly himself, of course, was Snidely Whiplash, or, the standard melodrama villain, stringy mustache and all).

Who on the Hanna-Barbara staff in 1968 had such keen psychic powers? How could they have so accurately predicted the 2000 and 2004 presidential races, and presciently filled them with such perfect grotesques? Whoever it was, we need their talents to find Osama bin Laden. Nobody else seems to be succeeding. (Or even, now that I think about it, seems to be LOOKING).

But it gets even stranger.

"Dastardly and Muttley" was a spin-off of The Wacky Races, premiering on September 13, 1969. A typical Hanna-Barbara ripoff (even notice how "The Flintstones" was a straight ripoff of "The Honeymooners"?), the show was modeled on the then-recent movie hit, "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines." (As "Wacky Races" had been modeled on the then-recent Tony Curtis hit "The Great Race." Weirdly, a sequel to "Flying Machines" would then appear, "Those Daring Young Men in their Jaunty Jalopies" bringing the whole plagiarism cycle round full circle -- pun intended.)

The plot was that Dastardly, Muttley and their wacky henchmen in dopey-looking planes, on orders from the unseen "General" constantly were trying to stop "Yankee Doodle Pigeon" from delivering his top-secret communiques.

Yankee Doodle Pigeon is all-but-exactly replicated by the CIA's Aerial Pigeon, the CIA Kids' Page co-mascot of our infamous spy agency. They both are pigeons. They both have the Rocky Squirrel aviator's cap with goggles, and both have a leather mail pouch slung over one shoulder.

The only difference?

Aerial has a tourist's camera hung from a strap around her neck. (click here to see)

Hanna-Barbara should sue, except that would make them monstrous hypocrites on a par with Liddy, Colson, Buchanan, Bush and, of course, Dastardly Dick.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Well, yesterday's KOPT appearance was a delight. One nice thing about radio is that you don't have to be able to see, and I fulfilled the requirements perfectly -- they call it "acute allergic conjunctivitis" or "pinkeye" but I can't for the life of me figure out what's "cute" about it.

I am reminded of my years of hosting open mikes -- I can never actually remember what happens when I'm on a 'stage' in any sequential manner. It's bits and pieces, flashes of songs performed or things said, but not remembered in time and space in the manner that I associate with memory. More like the way that I remember dreams, but even in dreams I can remember more or less linearly. A unique phenomenon, but not germane here. But thanks to Nancy Stapp for the opportunity.

Surfing the gestalt: what I'd planned to talk about never actually materialized, but I think that's the nature of the beast. Either you adapt or you get bypassed by the flow. I have a feeling that if one enters the arena of verbal punditry with an agenda, one becomes VERY frustrated very rapidly.

Which brings us to the point of this blog entry, which is that there is no point. But I'm going to try and weave a lot of disparate bits and pieces into something resembling a tapestry -- or at least an "installation," which, in Art, is what you do by pretending to fill a space with not-quite-art. (Or, as it's pronounced in proper circles, "Aaaht.")

Onward, as Mort Sahl used to say.

CNN is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, which has got to be a bad idea. From "the little network that could" or "the chicken noodle network" as it was disparaged, the hoary 24-hour cable news network has turned into "the little network that doesn't even try." The Right Wingers assassinated Peter Arnett a long time ago for being the NARRATOR of a report. Larry King descends ever deeper into the trivial (more on that in a minute) and yesterday's show was a typical embarrassment. From a network that was mildly progressive (remember: good journalism is always fundamentally iconoclastic, speaks truth to power, and when it becomes a mouthpiece for propaganda, ceases to be news at all), CNN has become an embarrassment: a FAR greater embarrassment than the overtly fascist mouthpiece FOX, from which we EXPECT the "official" Repugnant ... er, Republican spin.

John Dean is now sound-biting that "Deep Throat" ex-FBI number two man Mark Felt may have "broken the law" by "obstruction of justice." Which is, Mr. Dean, INSANE. One of the demands of military justice (established, if not earlier, then at Nuremberg) that one has an ABSOLUTE duty not to obey illegal orders. And the attempt to control the FBI, in the wake of Hoover's death, for political reasons, and to whitewash Watergate was clearly "illegal orders." Only a lawyer (which Dean was) or an ex-Nixon aide (which Dean was) would be so absurdly hidebound as to pretend that what "Deep Throat" did, in revealing Watergate, was "illegal."

Seig Heil, John. Or, I guess some grudges transcend time and reason. Appropriately, the lunatic sound bite is running on CNN radio, as the "counterbalance" to any praise of "Deep Throat" -- for potentially saving the Republic, no matter how tarnished his motives might have been.

The Right Wing Scum of Faux Nooz (in the persons of Britt Hume, Charles Krauthammer -- has ANYONE ever been so aptly named? -- Mort Kondracke -- who can't pronounce, I learned, "archipelago"* -- and some female journalist from the Boston GLOBE -- and the guilt by association with non-journalist, propagandistic swine convicts her far beyond than my humble powers to add or detract ... ) put the official "spin" of the neo-Nazis up early yesterday afternoon. This morning's "lead" (read that both ways) news story on the Faux Nooz website was:

"Hero or Turncoat? Some question motive of W. Mark Felt in his role as Deep Throat during Watergate scandal."

For those of you familiar with Faux Nooz's Goebbels approach to "news" you'll recognize their classic "some say" smear. The "some" here being on orders of Reich's Marshal Karl "Are Mein Jackboots Polished yet, vermin?" Rove.

The nooz story is, significantly to Faux, "TURNCOAT!" The rest of the world is concentrating on finally finding out the 30 plus year secret. Faux is cranking up the slur machine, the goose-stepping morons. I'd call them jackals, but I have far too much respect for jackals. Onward.

I turned to CNN because this was a CLASSIC Larry King story: get old putty-faced Bob Woodward on, along with a panel of idiots, and maybe Ben Bradlee, for whom I have vestigial respect. And Larry could have that whore Sally Quinn on -- whom I can never forgive her "unretirement" to slur and slam the Clintons during the impeachment for not KISSING HER ASS when they got to Washington, and revealing herself as being ENTITLED, as a Washington hostess and denizen, to some fundamental acknowledgement as being MORE IMPORTANT than the rest of "We, the People" in the external beltway. Sally Quinn is the most reprehensible, vain, clueless snob in America. A good Larry King guest, in other words.

Hmm. Maybe they can use her at Faux Nooz. She'd sure as hell fit in perfectly. Oh? What's that you say? She feels that they're not a "legitimate" news network? Oh well. If ever a corrupt "journalist" was deserved by a corrupt "news" network, it's Sally and Faux. Onward.

Larry King, instead, had George The Elder and his Hell-Spawn wife, Barbara on, with Barbara now openly contradicting and stomping on George in the manner that we never saw in the White House years. The "interview" was the followup to yesterday's "interview" with the First Lady and First Man of Fascism, the Dickless and Dicked Cheneys. (I'll leave the perceptive reader to pin the genitalia on the jackasses in question.)

So, no news of the "Deep Throat" story. Just a dusty, musty, valedectory interview with Larry as a "celebration" of his 20th Anniversary on the formerly-known-for-news network CNN. Which, when you think about it, is a fitting metaphor for what CNN's become. A kiss-up, kick-down kind of Nooz network, increasingly removed from "news."

Their White House correspondent, John King, reminds me almost EXACTLY of McGruff the Crime Dog: NOT interesting, NOT funny, and NOT anything other than a propaganda tool, a Retooling of an actual cartoon character.

It rather bothers me that, beginning with the lie of Smokey Bear (with which, as a son of a Forest Service Engineer, I was raised), government has become increasingly administered by Cartoon Characters: Woodsy the Owl, Smokey Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, Harry and Ariel Recon, the CIA's Spy Pigeons (don't believe me? Look at the CIA for Kids website at http://www.cia.gov/cia/ciakids/aerial/index.shtml); although, sadly, Mr. Zip, the Zip Code guy was murdered, probably some time during the Nixon Administration.

In New Mexico, they hired an ex-Disney artist to come up with the three Chili Peppers "Hal" "Eee" and "Peenyo" (spelling is approximate) which they stick up outside of construction projects. In 1992 and 1993, during the remodeling of the "roundhouse" (The Capital Building) in Santa Fe, they had these 5-foot-tall cartoon chili peppers mounted on plywood cutouts saying "Pardon our mess! We're REMODELING!"

And I thought: "Yeah. We're a REAL state. Our capitol building is guarded by cartoon chili peppers." Talk about your fundamental credibility and tax dollars at work!


And, increasingly, we're a REAL country. Our republic is administered by cartoon characters. Why, our spy agency has its own cartoon mascots!

Might I suggest for the FBI: "Wally Weasel, the Undercover Investigator"? "Hey kids! Wally Weasel here! If you see anything suspicious, when you're over at your friends' houses, turn their parents in ANONYMOUSLY for cash and prizes!" We could add it as a rider to the Patriot Act II that's slithering through the capital.

Or, what about "Choker the Anaconda," your Homeland Security Snake? He could remind you that we've got to "put the squeeze" on terrorists and put him outside every dam, power plant and unguarded chemical facility in the country.

Or, perhaps the IRS could use him, instead.

Oh yeah. We don't have enough cartoon characters.

But at least CNN has John King.


* archipelago

SYLLABICATION: ar-chi-pel-a-go
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. ar-chi-pel-a-goes or ar-chi-pel-a-gos
1. A large group of islands: the Philippine archipelago. 2. A sea, such as the Aegean, containing a large number of scattered islands.
ETYMOLOGY: Italian Arcipelago, the Aegean Sea, alteration (influenced by arci-, chief, archi-) of Medieval Latin gopelagus : Latin Aegaeus, gus, Aegean (from Greek Aigaios) + Latin pelagus, sea (from Greek pelagos; see plk-1 in Appendix I).
OTHER FORMS: archi-pe-lagic (-p-ljk) ADJECTIVE

-- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

Mort Kondrake: AR chee pel AH go

-- Arrgh Dictionary of the Subliterate Moron, 2005
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous." -- Chinese Proverb
Increasingly, it becomes apparent that Civics classes were either not attended, nor were they, evidently, offered; and that "speech" classes that used to teach rhetoric and debate must not have been much attended.

The language out there is the language of the playground, and there are two arguments that we hear over and over and over and over and over and over again, as IF they made any sense.

The first one is "Well, you started it."

The second on is, "Both sides are to blame."

Dick Cheney pulled a favorite variant of the "Well you started it" yesterday, when he said that the Amnesty International Report on our torture was booshwah, because, "[CNN]I think the fact of the matter is, the United States has done more to advance the cause of freedom, has liberated more people from tyranny over the course of the 20th century and up to the present day than any other nation in the history of the world," he said.

"Just in this administration, we've liberated 50 million people from the Taliban in Afghanistan and from Saddam Hussein in Iraq, two terribly repressive regimes that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their own people."
Er, what does that have to do with the price of cheese-whiz? If you have tortured someone, you have tortured them. If you've broken the law, you've broken the law.

But let's look at what that would mean, WERE it a legitimate argument:

A priest molested children? Why, that's absurd. That priest has raised thousands of dollars for charities.

(So it's OK, I guess.)

Let's just pass over the blatant lying going on here: WE also slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their people to "liberate" them. And, of course, while the USA has been a great force in the advancement of human rights and freedom, the Bush Administration has been a great FARCE in same. Listen to the simple, blatant lie: "I think these people [detainees at Guantanimo] have been well treated, treated humanely and decently." As did, in typical Administration repeat-speak, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Saying so, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary -- especially considering that Gitmo is locked down, and what goes on is kept hush hush -- is just a lie. But this administration specializes in blatant lying.

Oh yeah. And Amnesty International is lying: AP ""Frankly, I was offended by it," Cheney said in an interview videotaped for broadcast Monday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously."

One recalls that another title for Satan is "The Father of Lies," and further recalls how these creeps wrap themselves in the flag and the Bible so tightly it's a wonder they can breathe. But, the GOP (GOP.COM, which pretty much validates their true agenda) defines hypocrites so they can accuse Democrats of it.

But back to our point. The "you started it" argument is generally used with the term "Clinton" -- as if, even were it true, which it generally is some twisted moral equivalency like "lying" about oral sex is JUST THE SAME as lying to send us into war, etc. etc.

The weird thing is that this argument never worked with five year olds, as no mother in the Universe has ever bought it. "He started it," to the best of my knowledge has never stopped any punishment ever meted out on the playground or in the kitchen. So, one wonders, WHY is it so popular among the Festival Of Mendacity set?

The other one, of course, is "Well BOTH sides do it." This is the favorite whine of those "above" the battle. Above? You mean that they're too good to get in the trenches and fight the constant fight that democratic government requires? But, USUALLY, it's a con: the caller or writer is actually defending the crimes of a certain unnamed current administration by pretending that it's no worse than what another administration might have done.

ER, we break for BREAKING NEWS! (This isn't even up on Google yet, so it's hot).

Washington Post Confirms Felt Was 'Deep Throat'
Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee Reveal Former FBI Official as Secret Watergate Source

By William Branigin and David Von Drehle
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 31, 2005; 5:29 PM

The Washington Post today confirmed that W. Mark Felt, a former number-two official at the FBI, was "Deep Throat," the secretive source who provided information that helped unravel the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s and contributed to the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon.

The confirmation came from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story, and their former top editor, Benjamin C. Bradlee. The three spoke after Felt's family and Vanity Fair magazine identified the 91-year-old Felt, now a retiree in California, as the long-anonymous source who provided crucial guidance for some of the newspaper's groundbreaking Watergate stories.
Which is eerily in keeping with the point that I was about to make. The "Everybody does it" was the final and favorite rationalization of Nixon apologists in the waning days of Watergate.

And your mother used to have an answer for THAT one, too: "If everyone jumped off the Empire State Building, you would too?"

Again: The guilt of another does not establish the innocence of the accused. Got that?

I only point this out because over and over and over and over again -- including the last time I was on Nancy Stapp's show -- the argument is used to defend the indefensible. The idea that I was against Hate Radio was supposed to be "refuted" by the use of a few equally egregious examples from AirAmerica hosts.

Perhaps. But whatever the sins (and proportionality is always thrown out here: the firecracker is equated with the atomic bomb -- both 'explode'), a sin is a sin is a sin is a sin, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein.

And it's rather eerie here.

I came of age during Watergate: Between my high school graduation and my return to college, a newlywed, for my sophomore year, Agnew and Nixon both resigned. The whole summer after Watergate was spent watching the Watergate Hearings. And the Nixonians were (a little less polished, perhaps, since they were still burdened with vestigial consciences) not as adept as the current Regime, but they twisted language in the same manner.

The apologists and defenders loved using those two arguments, as well: Hey, the Democrats started it. And, BOTH sides are guilty of this stuff.

Well, no Democratic administration ever held a candle to the sheer pushing-the-envelope of Nixon and Co. -- although the Reagan/Bush secret war, arms deal, drug smuggling operation was far worse, BUT no outrage could be found in a Watergate-weary nation.

Which is what has emboldened the Bushies.

It's eerie that Watergate has suddenly resurfaced in spades. Perhaps it's manipulation, and perhaps it's merely providential.

But lord knows we can use it.

Because lying and making schoolyard arguments has become the "gold standard" of current discourse, and, on that basis, democracy cannot continue. As John Adams said, bravely defending the "Boston Massacre" soldiers:

"Facts are stubborn things."

And what the Bushies and their stooges need is a long time out.


NOTE: Yesterday's mystery quote was from Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" character in "Magnum Force" (1976): "A man's got to know his limitations." (I mildly altered it to make it sound a little odd to your trivial pursuit subconscious. Yesterday was ALSO Clint Eastwood's 75th Birthday (May 30, 1930; or, according to about HALF the websites, it's today, May 31. Love that precision.) Happy Birthday, Clint.
Monday, May 30, 2005
[Note: yes. I've been silent for three days. I haven't had anything to say, so I'm not going to yank your collective chain merely to babble. And, I needed the recharge. - HW]


I heard Bobby Kennedy, Jr. croaking hideously on "Ring of Fire" this weekend. He's a fine activist, has blue blood and all, but jeezis, the guy is PAINFUL to listen to. I DO believe that being blind SHOULD be an impediment to being a proofreader, and, therefore, I also believe that being Bobby Kennedy, Jr. should be an impediment to being a talk show host on the radio.

Seriously: If he had a tracheotomy and used a buzzer, or just typed into a speech synthesizer like Stephen Hawking it would be an improvement. A SIGNIFICANT improvement. As it stands, I'm always afraid that he's going to keel over any second. He has a voice that, when it's not like nails on a blackboard, you would SWEAR perpetually that he'd taken one in the gut at Iwo Jima and wants you to get his lucky rabbit's foot back to his best girl and tell her, tell her ...

I grow increasingly tense waiting for the death rattle that never comes. But it's THAT kind of voice. Aargh.

A man gots to know his limitations. (Trivia contest: Whose character said that in what movie? And who was the character?)

But that isn't really the point. I'm just establishing my bonafides for what I'm about to say about the monobrow'ed, knuckle-dragging Right Wing a-holes that are currently using the bully pulpit in an entirely-too-literal manner in our former land of the free. (We'll get back to Bobby in a moment, he plays a role here.)

You see I'm bloody sick to DEATH of hearing "up or down."

I've heard it so much in the last month that I'd swear it was either part of the Pledge of Allegiance or the Boy Scout Creed: (hangon: "Ascoutistrustworthyloyalhelpfulfriendlycourteouskindobedientcheerfulthriftybravecleanreverent and UP OR DOWN! Yeah. That's it. Right. Of course.) Well, that ...

And, of course, "Do An Evil Deed Daily." (Undoubtedly Dick Cheney's Scout Troop lived by it. Which might explain why Casper, Wyoming is such an armpit.)

So, whilst doing a little nonpartisan googling on the term "up and down" I ran across the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, so I thought I'd see what it was. Bad idea.

It was the life-destroying, unindicted felon, evil-eyebrowed, not-even-crypto fascist Robert Novak.

Listen to this crap. Just so that you won't be biased by the personalities involved, I'll just substitute the names of various Christian saints so you can get a good idea of the cesspool that passes for a brain that Novak uses to feed the chamber pot that passes for his mouth:

Cooperation falls apart in Senate
May 30, 2005


"I have been criticized for being too hard on [Jesus Christ], pointing out his obsession with normalizing U.S. relations with communist Cuba. That was the original source of his vendetta against Bolton, dating back to 2002 when Bolton disclosed intelligence information that charged Fidel Castro with biological weapons development.


"[Jesus Christ]'s campaign against Bolton, of course, could not be limited to Cuban relations. It began with accusations that Bolton was unpleasant to subordinates. That influenced hardly anyone but Sen. [Mary Magdalene], the feckless but well- meaning Ohio Republican who single-handedly slowed the confirmation progress."


"But he mobilized Democrats even though his campaign against Bolton was a decision in search of justification."


"As a non-judicial nominee named to much less than a lifetime job, Bolton ought to be much less of an issue for Democrats. The U.N. post might not seem worthy of a convulsive battle in the minds of Democrats -- particularly when he could serve out the next two years as a recess appointment. Backed by [Mephistopheles], the White House is adamant against giving additional information to [St. Peter] and [Jesus] for a fishing expedition. That means that somehow two Democratic senators will have to be found to vote for cloture without satisfying [Jesus]'s demands for documents. That is not an automatic.

"The overriding point is that warmth generated by last week's deal did not extend to giving John Bolton an immediate up-or-down vote without going into [Jesus]'s dubious complaints. For all of Sen. [John The Baptist]'s treacle about the Republic being saved, Thursday night's behavior was in the tradition of the reactionary body that blocked civil rights legislation for a century."

Attack, attack, attack from this "moral" Republican. Vitriol and viciousness is masked as "analysis." And, he speaks the "up-or-down" mantra of the noodle-brained and narrow-minded: the official "talking point."

This performance, compared with most of what's out there is rather mild.

But let's start with the implicit "Commie/Pinko" attack of obviously being "in bed" with Fidel Castro. reflex McCarthyism and a red herring to suggest that somehow Bolton's over-the-top insanity towards fellow workers and, yes Virginia, his VENDETTAS disqualifying him as a 'diplomat' are just so much pfiffle.

Or that since it's not a "lifetime appointment" it shouldn't be a problem. Not a problem? Bolton's goal and view is to destroy the United Nations! That was someone else's lifetime of work, and has been a US work-in-progress since the Wilson Administration! Had Bolton his way, there could BE no lifetime UN appointment, since there would be a very short lifetime for the UN. The utter deviousness of these arguments must have Beelzebub himself weeping with envy. And, of course, it's a non-sequitur.

The LENGTH of the appointments has never been an issue. It's the barking moonbats Bush wants to appoint that are the issue. But then, Novak is probably so far gone in his little "Festival of Hate" (the Woodstock of the Armageddon Crowd) that he might actually think he's being reasonable. Gott mit uns -- as the Nazi belt buckle used to say. "God is on our side," roughly translated.

This was a favorite of old Bob Dole, the first real Attack Dog of the New Right since Joe McCarthy made his big boo-boo. Attack and always presume that you're right and they're wrong -- BECAUSE they're Democrats. Quod error demonstrandum.

And you have to love that new Republican tactic of accusing the other side of doing what THEY are doing: vendettas, procedural blocks to judicial nominees, 'hatespeak' et al. Or "Nuclear Option" being a "Democrat" phrase? (Coined by Trent Lott). Or, of being a crypto-Klansman (like, maybe, Trent Lott?).

[John the Baptist] is, of course, Robert Byrd, who the Republican slimeballs like ... er, NOVAK, love to note was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan -- and note the slimy, weaselly way that Novak slithers in a little underhanded dig, ironically implying that Byrd & Co. were the ones stopping Civil Rights legislation. No greater shame attaches to the Republican Party than their adamant opposition to Civil Rights legislation and the voting act.

Which brings us back to Bobby Kennedy, Jr. A fellow driving in Connecticut (he'd reached New York City by the time they took him off hold) started out by making the point that these people are STILL fighting the Civil War. (The Red and the Blue as opposed to the Blue and the Gray might be another way of putting it.)

And Kennedy blew him off. Ignored it entirely. Just pooh-poohed it and moved on to his analysis. (Emphasis on "anal").

But that's the whole damned problem. These vicious attack dogs of the new Right or the Far Right or the Religious Right are always talking in code. "Vouchers" means that we, the taxpayers should fund the new Segregation of the South (and, increasingly, the North). The 'private school' craze dates exactly from Brown v. Board of Education, and most wrap themselves in "Christian" drag.

One assessment that I've seen suggests that we are now MORE segregated than we were in 1954 when Brown was decided! But, by implication, the DEMOCRATS are the segregationists.

And, according to Karl Rove, the Republicans are the "Party of Lincoln." Again: code for "hey, NIGGERS! We LOVE you. Come VOTE for us."

Which they condescendingly believe many blacks to be so stupid as to swallow. Everything in the Republican Party belies their so-called "Lincolnism." Just ask Colin Powell, who was shamelessly pimped as a token while he was useful and then never listened to. Ever notice how his son was named to head the FCC (I'm SURE that it was Michael Powell's CREDENTIALS and not family connections that did it) and then "resigned" the second that Colin Powell was off the scene and no longer useful.

Hey. They had ANOTHER token Negro to take his place, and she didn't have any pesky kids to appoint.

Or the shameless way that they pimp their "sharecropper's daughter" for the federal judgeship that she is now virtually assured of (from the official GOP.COM's "up or down vote" page -- er. shouldn't it be GOP.ORG?):

Democrats' Double Standard
hyp-o-crite -- n. One who pretends to be what he is not or to have principles or beliefs that he does not have

The Democrats' efforts to block President Bush's qualified judicial nominees are not only hypocritical but are examples of partisan politicking at its worst.

Republicans in the Senate are working to ensure that all of President Bush's judicial nominees receive a fair and final up-or-down vote. Despite Senate history and tradition, Democrats are aggressively trying to prevent qualified judges from receiving what's been afforded every judicial nominee for over 200 years.

During the Clinton Administration, Democrats demanded up-or-down majority votes on judicial nominations, but, now that they are in the minority, they have become the party of obstructionism and double standards.

The Constitution guarantees an up or down vote, but the Democrats don't want to perform their duty.

On July 25, 2003, President Bush made history by nominating Janice Rogers Brown to the federal bench. Brown is the first African American elected to the California Supreme Court and was reelected by California voters with 76% of the vote.

The daughter of Alabama sharecroppers who grew up in segregated schools in the midst of Jim Crow policies in the South, Brown is a single mother who worked her way through college and law school.

Despite her sterling personal and legal credentials, during the 108th Congress, Senate Democrats used a hypocritical double standard to block her nomination. Judge Brown is not alone. Senate Democrats obstructed an up-or-down vote on 9 other well-qualified judges. Some of these judges have been waiting for a vote for four years.

Uh, yeah. And they don't mention that "Judge Brown" is ALSO adamantly opposed to the ENTIRE NEW DEAL, finds minimum wage, etc. unconstitutional. (And the "up or down" guarantee part, is, of course, a lie.)

I have oft-times argued that the G.O.P. ("God's Own Party") should rename itself to the "F.O.M." ("Festival Of Mendacity") if only to comply with truth in advertising laws.

"They done attacked our Niggah! What them Demmycrats done is bein' Unconst'tushunul. We loves them Niggahs! Sho' nuff!"

To vote for a candidate BECAUSE of the color of their skin is just as racist as voting against them because of the color of their skin. But the Republicans do not now, nor ever have (since at least the 19th Century, IF then) "gotten" that it's about equality of rights, not color of skin.

And, thus, the Bushies shamelessly play the race card at every opportunity, the Janice Rogers Brown case being the latest example. That she is unqualified is a matter of issues not race. That Condoleeeeeza Rice is unqualified to serve as Secretary of State is EQUALLY a matter of issues, but she certainly played the implicit race card in her case just as well.

This is a mockery, coming from these crypto-Confederates. Their whole agenda bespeaks a hatred for civil rights, but they shamelessly flog the boogieman of race to get their way.

We have reached a point in this country where we can no longer see the minority for the tokens.

Witness the Indianapolis 500 coverage. A woman led for awhile. She finished fourth. I'd like to tell you who won, but his victory was COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. All the coverage has been of the fourth-place finisher.

It's like the old joke about PRAVDA (lit. "truth" in Russian) that old propaganda paper of the USSR, who report: "The Glorious Soviet Socialist track team came in second place in the track meet, but the Imperialist Americans could only manage finishing next to last."

They didn't bother mentioning that it was a dual track meet, just the USA and USSR.

Now, ironically, Pravda is a lot more accurate than CNN --who has been blasting the message of the Fourth Place Finisher for nearly 24 hours straight now: see, our GLORIOUS advance for Women's Equality and Freedom! I'd be a HELL of a lot more impressed if women got equal pay for equal work, or weren't subject to the tyrannical demands of White, Male "moral" preachers demanding that they bear children by Government decree, should they "fall" and have unprotected -- or failed protected -- sex. Wouldn't that be a LOT more impressive than some chick finishing fourth at Indy?)

Here's PRAVDA from Saturday:

US-led campaign in Afghanistan reminds the experience of the USSR
05/28/2005 17:55

The situation in the war-torn country has not changed over the recent 20 years "Twelve gunmen of the Taliban movement have been recently killed in the south of Afghanistan as a result of a military operation conducted by American troops. The Talibs came to Afghanistan from Pakistan." This is a piece of a news report from the radio station Svoboda (Freedom). Replacing just two words in this message - Talibs to Mujahideens and US troops to Soviet troops - will make it look like a typical message that the TV news program Time delivered in the USSR about 20 years ago.

Meantime, CNN and the GOP deliver mindless propaganda. Hey, we come in second. Poor Pravda finishes next to last.

And the neo-Con(federate)s attack, lie, dissemble, and find their token hatemongers (Ann Coulter for the women), like little Michelle Malkin, with her process 'do (or, as I like to call her, Condi Rice, Junior), who, when not shilling GOP (FOM) talking points like good ol' boy Bob Novak, is proudly proclaiming her hatefulness:
I began my career in newspaper journalism more than a decade ago as an editorial writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News (1992-94). Covered school board meetings and pole sign ordinances. Exposed Rep. Maxine Waters' gang-infested job-training center boondoggle. Received a death threat from the Mexican mafia. Moved to the Pacific Northwest and worked at the Seattle Times from 1996 to 1999. Wrote editorials supporting a repeal of the death tax. Opposed editorial board on everything else. Exposed Gov. Gary Locke's Buddhist temple cash connections. Opposed publisher and supported successful campaign to abolish race-based affirmative action in government hiring, contracting, and college admissions. Quit job and moved to Washington, D.C.

My column, now syndicated by Creators Syndicate, appears in nearly 200 papers nationwide. My first book, Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores (Regnery 2002), was a New York Times bestseller.


Other: Fox News Channel contributor. Oberlin College grad. Philadelphia-born. South Jersey-raised. I live with my husband and two children in Maryland. Reach me via e-mail at astarte@satan.com
[OK, I made the email address up - HW].

In other words, being a Republican snot and causing trouble with perceived "liberals" is your ticket to fame, fortune and big bucks. Just ask former KUGN talk jock Victor Boc, now shilling Hitler up in Portland for filthy fascist lucre.

And look at those "lovely" book titles. Nothing like a little xenophobia and crypto-racism, right?

It reminds me of Bob Dole, whose epitaph should read: "Here lies Bob Dole (no pun intended) who cared more for his party than for his country." Because old Bob always could find the "spin" that put Republicans in the Right and Democrats in the Wrong, no matter how torturous the stretch or how baldfaced the lie.

If only he'd have come along fifty years later, he'd be a rich pundit and syndicated columnist, rather than a shill for soda and peter pills (Viagra! It's the QUICKER pecker upper!) Such are the ironies of history.

The point being that this IS about the old South, and the prejudices, the vitriol and the point of ONLY winning are primary, while the Republic itself burns. Why? Because they don't CARE, that's why.

So, as they wrap themselves in the flag (or, more accurately, WARP themselves in the flag) this Memorial Day, remember that it was originally "decoration day" when we decorated the gravestones of our soldiers who fought in the Civil War. For the freedom of all men (and later all women -- we ARE evolving, you know) and not for the subjugation of foreign countries just because they have oil reserves.

This whole "up or down" nonsense is simply propaganda, just like their Greatest Hit, the big con: calling slave-holding "State's Rights" so that they convince the vast majority of Southerners who WOULD NEVER OWN slaves to die for them and their "property."

And Bob Dole's dilemma? First you must be accepting of the weird propaganda that Viagra causes blindness -- an unimaginably unethical breach of scientific protocol, in blasting out this seeming "fact" knowing the panic it would cause, without anything other than unexamined, anecdotal information. Consider that Pfizer stock has dropped precipitously since the FDA announcement that they would "investigate." Suppose Levitra and Cialis put 'em up to it? Dole's Dilemma: will old Bob give up Viagra, or just decide to go blind (not necessarily a bad idea, given what he has to look at during sex: Elizabeth Dole)?

Well, it's a trick question. Bob Dole has been blind for a very long time already.

Still, given Bobby Kennedy's radio employment, Dole can always look forward to a rewarding career as an art critic.

hart williams
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