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Saturday, August 13, 2005
GO SEE CINDY!
[Note: Nixon Agonistes, part 2, will be up shortly.]
The Lone Star Iconoclast of Crawford, Texas (you know, that paper that endorsed Kerry to the disgust of the locals) has continuing blog coverage of the event. Pictures of today's pro-Peace and anti-anti-war rallies are there as well.
Massive numbers of "hits" have evidently forced them to move to a new server, so we'll just cut to the chase (Normally, it's http://www.iconoclast-texas.com/default.htm).
Go to: http://22.214.171.124/News/2005/31-40/32news09.htm
click here to go there
Friday, August 12, 2005
or, ALCIBIADES STRIKES AGAIN
Let me tell you a little story about the first successful democracy, Athens.
They were radically democratic, with rotating administrative positions often chosen by lot; a free-wheeling political whirlwind that puts even sleazy union politics to shame; and they were astonishingly successful.
When the Spartans attacked Athens in the early period of the Athenian rise, the Athenians withdrew behind their wall and would not give battle to the Spartans. Then, when it was necessary, the free Athenian hoplites marched out onto the plains, and defeated the formerly invincible Spartan infantry: a shock so profound to the Spartan mind that they withdrew into their city for a few years.
But listen to the opening to CALLIAS - THE FALL OF ATHENS, by Alfred J. Church:
It is the second year of the ninety-third Olympiad and the Theatre at Athens is full, for the great dramatic season is at its height, and to-day there is to be performed a new play by Aristophanes, the special favorite of the Athenian public. It is a brilliant scene; but a keen observer, who happened to see the same gathering some five and twenty years ago, must now notice a certain falling off in its splendor. For these five and twenty years have been years of war, and latterly, years of disaster. Eleven years ago, the City wild with the pride of power, and wealth, embarked on the mad scheme of conquering Sicily, and lost the finest fleet and army that it ever possessed. Since then it has been a struggle for life with it, and year by year it has been growing weaker and weaker...http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=church&book=callias&story=new&PHPSESSID=20b49643c876fbe962e3de10605da6e0
Well, old Alcibiades, having been the architect of Athenian war plans, found himself with his loyalists sailing from Athens to Syracuse (forgive is memory is imperfect, but it's not worth fact checking). With his "votes" beside him, the losing faction, having a quorum in Athens (Alcibiades' votes having left WITH Alcibiades), promptly cooked up a charge that Alcibiades had been smashing the marble genitalia of the Gods up on the Parthenon, and ordered him to detach from the fleet to come back and stand trial.
Alcibiades was no slouch, and realized that if he stood trial, he had little chance of survival, and defected to the Spartans, who eventually, suspiciously took his advice, and conquered Athens.
From the premier maritime "superpower" in the Mediterranean to a crushed and humbled nation had taken only a score of years. Part of the problem had been that Athenians couldn't distinguish their political enemies from their military enemies, and, sadly, who can blame Alcibiades for betraying a state that had betrayed him?
Earlier, Themistocles had been the motive spark in holding together the alliance and creating the battle of Salamis -- which threw the Persian civilization back from European soil, in a sense, until the fall of Constantanople in 1458 AD. He was, as well, cast aside by Athens, and ended up as a minor governor working for Xerxes -- the very Emperor he'd held the Greek alliance together to defeat.
"Themistocles had suffered the fate of many a politician in a democracy. The people like their leaders to rise high and to fall fast. The longer a successful politician stays on the scene, the more the public worries about what he wants. A man as cunning as Themistocles made people nervous, and it did not help to have him build a temple in Athens to Artemis of Good Advice, as if to trumpet his own genius. His political enemies were glad to unite against him, and in the late 470s he was ostracized. He lived in exile ..."(from THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS, by Harry Strauss; Simon & Schuster, 2004; p. 243)
Some things never change.
Because that's where we've gotten to again.
And the sad tragic farce of it all is: This is a play about the baby boomers. This is about the Flower Children; this is about the Summer of Love, Nixon, Vietnam, and the new Winter of our Discontent, Reagan, Bush and Bush and Iraq.
Did you realize that Newt Gingrich is the same age as Mick Jagger?
Here: look at these contemporaries and ask yourself, are these really the kids of the same generation?
Mick Jagger: 7/26/1943
Newt Gingrich: 06/17/1943
Sly Stone: 3/15/1944
Rush Limbaugh: 1/12/1951
Tom Petty: 10/20/1950
Bill Frist: 2/22/1952
John Kerry: 12/11/1943
Paul McCartney: 6/18/1942
George W. Bush: 7/6/1946
Elton John: 3/25/1947
Dick Cheney: 1/30/1941
John Lennon: 10/9/1940
Dick Armey : 7/7/1940
Jim Morrison: 12/8/1943
Jimi Hendrix: 11/27/1942
Jane Fonda: 12/21/1937
Peter Jennings: 7/29/1938
David Bowie: 9/8/1947
Tom DeLay: 4/8/1947
Trent Lott: 10/9/1941
Bill Clinton: 8/19/1946
Iggy Pop: 4/21/1947
Hilary Clinton: 10/26/1947
David Crosby: 8/14/1941
Dennis Hastert: 1/2/1942
Bob Dylan: 5/24/1941
Nancy Pelosi: 3/26/1940
Ringo Starr: 7/7/1940
Gene Simmons (of Kiss): 8/25/1949
Bill O'Reilly (of Faux): 9/10/1949
John Belushi: 1/24/1949
Tiny Tim: 4/12/1932
Ruth Bader Ginsberg 3/15/1933
Donald Rumsfeld: 7/9/1932
Little Richard: 12/5/1932
Karl Rove: 12/25/1950
Bruce Springsteen: 9/23/1949
So, the question becomes: what the hell happened to these politicians that they seemed to have entirely missed rock and roll. Imagine, if you will, almost any of the politicians named at a rock concert by one of the artists named.
But it's the same generation!
And, in the period since Nixon, they may have well placed this country on the same road to ruin that Alcibiades' generation witnessed.
It's astonishing to imagine that one generation has given us the dipoles of Woodstock, and the Department of Homeland Security; of the Summer of Love, and the War on Terror.
Of the Freedom of Information Act, and the Patriot act.
And two impeachments. (No convictions; one resignation).
But Scheherazade perceived the coming of dawn, and fell silent. More tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
or, A MENSTRUUM OF VARIEGATED TOPICS
There are any number of ideas whirling in my feverish brain at any given moment.
And no, Virginia, it isn't a matter of drugs.
A VISIT FROM OLD SCRATCH, HIMSELF
Indeed, one of Eugene's most noted R-G Letters cranks wrote me after my visitation on last Friday's KOPT-AM show as a guest of the remarkable Nancy Stapp (and having played "Gidget Goes to Salem," my little radio piece on GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis' killing of the Civil Unions bill S1000). His seemingly civil letter was, well ... you take a look.
From: "Don Richey"To be polite, I politely responded to his little Right Wing Valentine from Satanville:
Thanks for the kind words. "Master Blogger" wasn't my choice in names, especially considering that I've been a working writer for thirty years now. But it's not important enough to make an issue of.Interesting. He criticizes me for misspelling Dave Wooten's name (a typo on my part). If I misspelt Dave's surname, I apologize for the error: Mea culpa. A verbis ad verbera.
Diane Linn is, by the by, a friend from the 2000 Oregon Delegation to the Democratic National Convention, and I simply ignore Mr. Richey's baiting. The URL is for the famous, discredited Swedish "study" on gay marriage causing Swedish divorce rates to rise ...
Which carries (I am reliably informed that the survey itself is spurious) the same degree of "causality" as the following truth:
"Eighty percent of all persons who die in the United States die within 48 hours of eating hospital food."
Assuming that the figures are correct, it still doesn't tell us anything. Does anyone (except those of us who have eaten in hospital cafeterias) believe that hospital food is THAT deadly?
Well, just because gays marry, there is no causal link in mere statistics that "proves" any connection to heterosexual Swedish marriages. But this is how the Right Wing thinks (he generalized, speciously).
No response from Mr. Richey, who, following up last year's "anyone who doesn't love Ronald Reagan is a cockroach" screed, just published another of his monthly Profiles in HateSpeak, a letter in the R-G on Monday. It begins:
"Liberals would never admit it, but 'political correctness' is simply liberal-speak for cultural Marxism. The goal of cultural Marxism is a classless society, where money and rights are confiscated from those who risk, work hard and live responsibly, then dished out to the lazy, the losers and the lawbreakers."According to his May 26 "guest editorial":
"... Next time you hear anyone from the League of Women Voters talking taxes, you had better check the facts and keep one hand on your wallet."But at least he's listening to us Marxist, Collectarian, Anti-Ayn "Kampf" Randians, right? So, I guess there's a moral lesson there, somewhere.
Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced it somewhere in the clutter of my desktop. Whoops.
MAINTAINING YOUR RHETORICAL TOOLKIT - LESSON #23
A Scesis Onomaton is defined as a repetition in which a set of two or more different words having the same (or very nearly the same) meaning occur within the same sentence; or, as a successive series of words or phrases whose meanings are generally equivalent; as in the repetition of independent clauses in this sentence (except for the last, unparenthetical one).
Wow. Isn't that just a totally cool, groovy, evanescent, scintillating, amazing, corruscating, neat-o, swell, keen and meretricious rhetorical tool?
[Well, OK, it WAS meretricious of me to use "meretricious" in my exemplar sentence. Mea culpa. Mea minima culpa.]
No guidance is offered herein on how to pronounce "Scesis Onomaton." This isn't THAT kind of blog, pal.
(NEXT WEEK'S RHETORICAL TRICK: Anadiplosis! Stay Tuned!)
WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT
I was quipping earlier today, and, in relation to an event I'm going to be providing security for (I'll tell you what it was, later, for reasons that will become obvious when I tell you), and came up with a turn of phrase that I can't quite decide whether to word said quip as an
Epanalepsis (Figure of emphasis in which the same word or words both begin(s) and end(s) a phrase, clause, or sentence; beginning and ending a phrase or clause with the same word or words.)
QUIP A: "The skill here is not to get into a confrontation; the skill here is NOT to get into a confrontation."
or, should I use it as an
Epistrophe (Also called Antistrophe; a repetition that occurs when the last word or set of words in one sentence, clause, or phrase is repeated one or more times at the end of successive sentences, clauses, or phrases.)
QUIP B: "The skill here is not to get into a confrontation; the skill here is to NOT get into a confrontation."
It's six of one, a half dozen of the other. Your sage counsel, Gentle Reader, would be much appreciated. Should I use the epanalepsis or the epistrophic form?
This weekend's remembrance of Hiroshima (and, alas, not much of Nagasaki) was a festival of errata in the data, as all sorts of wild numbers, theories, etcetera were tossed around by all parties to the annual debate.
From WikiPedia: "At the time of the attack [on Hiroshima] the population was approximately 255,000. This figure is based on the registered population, used by the Japanese in computing ration quantities, and the estimates of additional workers and troops who were brought into the city may not be highly accurate."
Contrast this with the figure repeated Sunday by Laura Flanders that "237,000 were killed in the bombing of Hiroshima" which is, I find out, the estimate that the City of Hiroshima claims. They meant Nagasaki, too, but I still have a feeling that the numbers are perhaps not entirely accurate:
"According to the city of Hiroshima, as of August 6, 2004, the cumulative death toll of atomic-bomb victims was 237,062, (click here for article) but it remains uncertain how many of them exactly died of the effects of the bombing. There are about 270,000 hibakusha, "A-bomb victims," still living in Japan." (ibid.)
But, I have erroneously (though not on this blog, I think) maintained that the citizens of Hiroshima were warned with leaflets (as LeMay's Air Force had been doing with the conventional firebombing). I was in error. (from Wikipedia, same article):
On August 8, 1945 leaflets were dropped saying (PBS website):
TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE:Well, that was too late for Hiroshima (August 6), and it Nagasaki was leafleted on August 10, 1945, a day AFTER the nuclear attack.
I have a sneaking feeling that the Nagasaki leafleting was typical Army FUBAR, and that there was nothing sinister involved, other than screwing up.
Having had the intellectual honesty to admit my mistake, I took some time to rethink my interpretation of history, and a funny thought occurred to me:
The bombing of Hiroshima would have remained precisely the same issue, morally and ethically (sometime ask me to explain the difference between the two), leaflets or no.
So, as near as I can tell, it's not a critical error on my part, in terms of interpreting history.
It was interesting to find out that my "knowledge" of the leafleting of Hiroshima was the "official story" put out by the US government after the war. So my memory of "facts" was precise, except that they weren't facts.
An important sort of litmus test case in how our perception of "our" government (and its perception of "We, the People") has changed from World War Two through Vietnam, to the present day.
Here's another bit of trivia that I found:
"About an hour before the bombing, the Japanese early warning radar net detected the approach of some American aircraft headed for the southern part of Japan. The alert had been given and radio broadcasting stopped in many cities, among them Hiroshima. The planes approached the coast at a very high altitude. At nearly 08:00, the radar operator in Hiroshima determined that the number of planes coming in was very small--probably not more than three--and the air raid alert was lifted." (ibid.)
Well, putting myself in their place, I can understand why the Allied air commanders might not have wanted the Japanese to know they were going to drop an atomic bomb: there were only three planes to go up against the entire Japanese air defenses. They might have preferred to go incognito. And, if so, it worked.
None of this has any bearing on the Great Questions, however. Still, here's an interesting bit of trivia I never knew (same source):
According to some Japanese historians, Japanese civilian leaders who favored surrender saw their salvation in the atomic bombing. The Japanese military was steadfastly refusing to give up, so the peace faction seized on the bombing as a new argument to force surrender. Koichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito's closest advisors stated that "We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war." Hisatsune Sakomizu the chief Cabinet secretary in 1945 called the bombing "a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war." According to these historians and others the pro-peace civilian leadership was able to use the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to convince the military that no amount of courage, skill and fearless combat could help Japan against the power of atomic weapons. Akio Morita, founder of Sony and Japanese Naval officer during the war, also concludes that it was the atomic bomb and not conventional bombings from B-29's that convinced the Japanese military to agree to peace.
[Look up 'Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki' -- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It's a nice, balanced piece, with links and arguments from both sides of the "should we have or shouldn't we have?" debate.]
And, finally, here's the classic case of how military commands believe what they want to believe -- often to the detriment of their own soldiers and civilians. (Compare with our assessments of Iraq):
"The Tokyo control operator of the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation noticed that the Hiroshima station had gone off the air. He tried to re-establish his program by using another telephone line, but it too had failed. About twenty minutes later the Tokyo railroad telegraph center realized that the main line telegraph had stopped working just north of Hiroshima. From some small railway stops within ten miles (16 km) of the city came unofficial and confused reports of a terrible explosion in Hiroshima. All these reports were transmitted to the Headquarters of the Japanese General Staff.
"Military headquarters repeatedly tried to call the Army Control Station in Hiroshima. The complete silence from that city puzzled the men at Headquarters; they knew that no large enemy raid could have occurred, and they knew that no sizeable store of explosives was in Hiroshima at that time. A young officer of the Japanese General Staff was instructed to fly immediately to Hiroshima, to land, survey the damage, and return to Tokyo with reliable information for the staff. It was generally felt at Headquarters that nothing serious had taken place, that it was all a terrible rumor starting from a few sparks of truth.
"The staff officer went to the airport and took off for the southwest. After flying for about three hours, while still nearly 100 miles (160 km) from Hiroshima, he and his pilot saw a great cloud of smoke from the bomb. In the bright afternoon, the remains of Hiroshima were burning.
"Their plane soon reached the city, around which they circled in disbelief. A great scar on the land, still burning, and covered by a heavy cloud of smoke, was all that was left. They landed south of the city, and the staff officer immediately began to organize relief measures, after reporting to Tokyo.
"Tokyo's first knowledge of what had really caused the disaster came from the White House public announcement in Washington, sixteen hours after the nuclear attack on Hiroshima."
Now, I've corrected my error -- as integrity demands -- and I've added additional information that I learned while correcting said error -- as integrity demands -- but I am NOT rationalizing away my error. I was wrong, and I readily admit the error in the face of evidence to the contrary -- as integrity commands.
WORD GAME PARTIAL RESULTS -- HALFTIME
I like to play little word games. It's a writing thing. I have a blackboard. Things get started there, and go on until they stop. Since I don't keep score, it's tough to know when the game is over. But I know that it's about halftime on this one: "What does GOP actually stand for?"
The partial results:
God's Own Party
Grouse Out Parity
Grind Out Polity
Greasing Our Posteriors
Grasping Old Plutocrats
Grabbing Our Pocketbooks
Giant Oil Plutocracy
Greedy Oily Pit-vipers
Give Only Platitudes
Gyp Our Parents
Generating Oily Pestilence
God's Obesequious Partisans
Generically Obstinate Pigfuckers
Geriatric Oligarchic Pricks
Grunting On Potty
Gerbils On Prozac
Greasy Oilmen Pandering
Gutless Ostentatious Perverts
Genetically Officious Prudes
Gasping Old Politicians
Getting Our Perks
Gestapo Over Principle
George Owing Principal*
[*Refers to Dubya's sweetheart deal for ownership interest in the Texas Rangers, of which he only put down a 10% line of credit. He never fully invested, although he did cash in at the end: a $50,000 investment (10% of $500K) that was turned for him into $18 million. AND he traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago Cubs.]
Gestalt Overwhelming Prudence
Grubworms Overseeing Pestilence
Grinchy Overfed Poltroons
Giant Ostrich Promoters (I have no idea what this means)
Generational Overthrow of Priorities
Grossly Odious Pap
Germanic Ossified Puerulence
God's Own Pestilence
Gentry Over Peasants
Gentility Owing Providence
Gossip Over Precedent
Grotesquely Odious Prescience
Gelatinous Overweight Pontification
Gathering Oligarchs and Plutocrats
Gelding Others' Ponies
Grossly Overweight Papists
Guilty Odiferous Pantywaists
Gleeful Occipital Plonking
Guessing Our Pointspreads
Gruesome Ovarian Plague
Gaseous Orange Pestilence
Griping Obnoxious Persnickities
Feel free to send in your own suggested meanings for "GOP." We will publish them as cyberspace allows.
THANX AND A TIP OF THE HW HAT
I'd like to take a moment to thank my friend Bill Eagle, and the good citizens of St. Helens, Oregon and the Columbia River environs. Bill has supplied this blog with a thousand kindnesses and tips, and for that, I am truly grateful. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
Here's a little Latin Grace Note to leave our little olla podrida on:
Populus vult decipi, decipiatur: "The people wish to be deceived, let them be deceived."
Monday, August 08, 2005
This is a long blog. I started it yesterday and it just kept mushrooming. So it's really Sunday's and Monday's blogs - a mere 5,701 words. -- HWhart williams
IN THIS PALACE OF LIES
or, NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY
"Pooh! why should I be civil to them or to you? In this Palace of Lies a truth or two will not hurt you. Your friends are all the dullest dogs I know. They are not beautiful: they are only decorated. They are not clean: they are only shaved and starched. They are not dignified: they are only fashionably dressed. They are not educated: they are only college passmen. They are not religious: they are only pewrenters. They are not moral: they are only conventional. They are not virtuous: they are only cowardly." - George Bernard Shaw, MAN & SUPERMAN, Act IIIPART I -- The Palace of Lies
Note: I'm going to be using the "argumentum ad hominem" against some creepy creeps herein, and I'm perfectly aware that it isn't any way to debate matters of fact, but, given the near constant use of said fallacy by the culprits limned here, turnabout would seem fair play -- not that any of these weasels would know "fair play" if it bit 'em in the collective ass, which seems to be what they're trying to divert attention from.
Look! Sparklies! (Red State voters are consistently mollified by shiny objects.)
They really are shameless, you know. After nearly twenty years of a virtual monopoly of political talk radio, a 67-station startup on the left scares the thugs and bullies of the Right Wing Echo Machine.
But that's old news.
They hounded Dan Rather out of the anchor's chair; all but crucified Helen Thomas (but, unfortunately, they didn't quite succeed), and have utterly cowed what they term the "liberal media." Strutting around in their jackboots, spewing hate-speech the way that a spitting cobra sprays neurotoxic venom, the media monolith that gets its marching orders every morning from Karl Rove's fax machine seems to be running scared. Tinker to Evers to No Chance.
The latest "scandal" has been making the rounds of the "blogosphere," and I'll tell you what it is in a minute, but first, let's look at the manner in which the "scandal" broke:
The players have been NewsMax (whom you might remember had idiots with placards running around the Recount Protests in Florida in 2000, to start up their shamelessly Right Wing propaganda "news" site); then there's Michelle Malkin, a third-rate hate-monger who desperately craves the title of "Ann Coulter in Basic Black" (her August 5 column plays the race card viciously, using the term "Race hustlers" to tar her designated targets); of course, Sun Yung Moon's hemorrhaging-red-ink WASHINGTON TIMES (The Republican Party's own Brezhnev-era PRAVDA. It even LOOKS like a newspaper, in an astonishing coincidence); the blogs "Red State.Org," (just what it sounds like); Blogcritics (who, to be fair, have some actual critics and only a few blatantly partisan Rethuglican operatives); Faux "We don't allow facts to get in the way of good spin" Nooz (about whom, the more derisive laughter the better), and, according to the thug we're going to be talking about today, "the blogosphere -- Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, Free Republic, Captain's Quarters and other haunts." He neglects to mention GOPUSA.COM. He also SIGNIFICANTLY fails to mention Brian Maloney.
Yeah, the Usual Suspects. But the timing's been interesting, and you have to ask WHY the sudden attempt to focus attention on an "enemy" of the Bushies.
Consider: Tom DeLay is up to his armpits in self-inflicted slime; Dennis Hastert just dropped his speaker's gavel into a septic tank of unravelling corruption -- including the allegation that he took payoffs from foreign sources for "friendly" legislation; Karl Rove has already (via his lawyer) admitted that he identified Valerie Plame, reversals of causality notwithstanding; the whole White House is embroiled in two linked scandals that could bring it down -- Treasongate and the Downing Street Minutes -- Robert "Mouthpiece" Novak has been suspended by CNN for freaking out while speaking out, and the whole slimy smash and grab aspect of our illegal war in Iraq is unravelling faster than a ball of yarn in the paws of an overeager kitten.
Enter the thug, Lars Larson.
For those of you who don't hear his national show (is it still on?) and don't know about his Oregon radio show, Lars is yet another Limbaugh wanna-be. Formerly a "legitimate" newsman with TeeVee stations, Lars has a radio face, and as much fuzz as a mangy Yogi Bear teddy bear. He lives on a houseboat (now, conveniently anchored in Washington State, so he can pay fewer taxes); carries a concealed handgun with him at all times (no comment, except that he cancelled an appearance at Southern Oregon University in Ashland when told that the campus had a "no guns" policy, and makes it a point to call up minor officials to bully and ridicule them in front of his gaggle of slavering, drooling imbeciles.
He's perhaps braver than Rush, inasmuch as he'll talk to members of the "opposition" -- because he knows he can shout down anything that he doesn't want to hear, which is, as it turns out, a whole LOT of stuff. He used to be Michael Savage's fill-in host, for those times when Savage is home abed with the DT's. Now, at least for awhile, he has a national show, and does (or did) six hours a day of rhetorical goose-stepping.
So, Lars, ever the liar, sent out the following on Firday, August 5 (note that it claims to be from August 6 -- either that, or coprophagous Lars can't figure out how to set the time on his computer):
[* NOTE: The "fishwrapper" or the "dead fish wrapper" is Lars' consistently endearing term for the Portland OREGONIAN newspaper]
(This last, I presume, is so that orgasmic Lars listeners can, after wiping up their sputum, press their keyboards with sticky fingers to congratulate "davidreinhard" on his Ideologically Keereckt (IK) teapotting of the GOP tempest.
Now stop and ask yourself, why is this hirsute swine suddenly pimping for the hated "fishwrapper"? And whose agenda is served by it?
Doesn't that seem a little ODD to you? Or, doesn't it seem more like the classical, "nothing they say is true" -- except when it serves Lars' malefic purposes, and then it's authoritative? ('Hypocrite' is entirely too mild a term for this bipedal slime mold.)
But the column (e.g. Op-Ed) came out Sunday.
PART II -- JESUS WEPT
Let's listen to some of the polite debate on this "scandal":
OK. We're traitors for criticizing. Gotcha, "Christian" Marie. And here's another "voice of the people" not using ad hominem attacks:
FOX NEWS: Neil Cavuto hosted Jim Pinkerton of Newsday and Bill Press he introduced the discussion thusly:
CAVUTO: "All right. Well, a money scandal at radio network Air America and no one is covering it. A pill addiction of Rush Limbaugh's and boy, everybody was all over it. Is it a case of liberal bias in the media?"Happily, this wasn't an ad hominem. It was a false equivalency. It goes like this:
A: All news stories can't be covered.
B: Editors choose according to their (professional) values, thus making some stories front page, some back page, and most stories no page.
C: Editor A assigned priority to story X. Story Y is like story X. Editor A didn't print story Y. Since X = Y, therefore Editor A is biased. (Insert your value here).
But it has zilch to do with the price of tea in China.
The Air America "scandal" comprises, upper-end, $900,000.
By their reasoning, the missing Iraq funds that seem to be going to Halliburton amount to $8.8 billion.
Since 8.8 is nearly 9, we can therefore adjudge the Iraq Procurement issue to be ten thousand times more important than the Air America issue, whether anyone is guilty of anything in either, or not.
But that's specious, too. What IS indisputable is that Cavuto, having already reached (and broached) an "obvious" conclusion, is now going to debate it with a "Leftie" and a "Rightie." This is the journalistic equivalent of Creationism.
And rather disingenuous, when you consider that the "liberal media" (or, as the Rightische Republikanzer Korps increasingly call it, the MSM for "main stream media") is supposed to be universally tainted, there is nothing that doesn't suggest that FOX is tainted as well -- unless you accept the implicit statement of ETHOS (implied integrity): We are covering this story, therefore we aren't biased.
Or, worse, if their viewers were to think about it: If bias in the media is BAD, and you consistently exhibit bias, isn't that, then, also BAD? Most accusers of media bias in the media are openly and proudly biased.
The argument might then boil down to a sort of gay identity issue:
IK MEDIA: We are openly biased. You are closet biased. Step out into the blinding light of bias, and at least we're not hypocrites, like you.But Dave Reinhardt is an honorable man. Just like MARK STEYN, the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST wrote on the same day:
Speaking of shivering coatless girls in Bush's America, spare a thought for the underprivileged urchins of the Bronx. The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit social-services organization in New York, receives millions of dollars in government funds to give disadvantaged youth in poor neighborhoods a leg up the ladder of life. But mysteriously much of the money wound up being diverted to the coffers of Air America, the liberal talk-radio network whose ratings are yet another example of "deferred success." The needs of disadvantaged Al Franken and his pals apparently outweigh those of Bronx welfare recipients. Perhaps Janeane Garofalo is the coatless girl John Edwards was talking about all those months. Air America looks like the broadcast version of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, whereby money earmarked to save starving moppets somehow winds up in the bank accounts of bloated self-described do-gooders with political connections ...http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn07.html
Of course, it's odd understand how "Al Franken" et al had anything to do with the former CEO's weird financial stuff (if you've seen "Left of the Dial" you understand how the Air America staff suddenly found themselves without a management, as no paychecks showed up, and the CEO vanished:
From NEWS HOUNDS ("We watch FOX so you don't have to.") http://www.newshounds.us/2005/08/04/
In a nutshell, in 2004, Evan Cohen, Air America's former executive director (the same guy who said Air America had enough money to operate for something like eight months, but instead it turned out to be eight weeks), convinced a Bronx-based boys and girls club to "invest" approximately $500.000 in his company, Progress Media.A July 28, 2005 editorial in the Washington Times states:
Did Al Franken's liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That's the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America.More interestingly, it traces out some of the wiring I've alluded to.
"Most of the mainstream newspapers have ignored this story. We only found out about it through the reporting of Brian Maloney, who pieced a story together on his blog "The Radio Equalizer" which was picked up by syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin. The New York Daily News buried an item at the end of a column of news briefs. There was nothing in the New York Times, which has heaped flattering coverage on the flailing network."[Note the Malkin column, which is carried by the WASHINGTON TIMES, "broke" on July 28. Her August 4 column is the one shrilly demanding that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get involved in bashing Air America for beating up little poor black kids. And playing the race card against "Al Franken's" radio network.]
Maloney's website contains this (in addition to: "A talk host since 1993, Time Magazine compared Brian Maloney to Rush Limbaugh" which may or may not be true, but MALONEY thinks it's a rilly good complemint!):
What happens when the mainstream media, after years of seething over conservative talk radio's success, discover its alternative got diverted public funds, earmarked instead for inner-city youth and seniors?The Washington Times concludes:
Air America is struggling to find listeners, leaders and reliable funding. But should it take money from children and the ailing elderly? Al Franken and Randi Rhodes, ever the defenders of the "little guy," should explain this one.(After having opened with:
"Did Al Franken's liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That's the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America. Only a community paper and a few Internet bloggers seem interested in what could be an egregious case of illegal funneling of tax dollars to a private, partisan organization.")[HART'S INNER COWBOY SEZ: Big talk comin' from a Moonie, pal.]
"Al Franken's liberal radio network"? Get it? Al Franken steals money from poor black kids (about whom we normally don't give a fig) and that's just like Rush Limbaugh buying all that synthetic heroin, only it was "prescription pain medication" and he just sort of made a mistake. Hey we all make mistakes! Nobody's perfect!! But at LEAST he didn't steal money from POOR BLACK CHILDREN!!!
Al Franken's network! You know: like Dennis Miller's MSNBC, and Paul Schaffer'ss CBS. Like Doctor Demento's Westwood One radio network, or, heaven help us, like Robert Novak's CNN.
And so forth. Now, let me ask you a question, and you think about it until the end: Whom does this "scandal" serve? Why would anyone want to get Air America spending all its time defending itself, rather than being virtually the only media outlet regularly hammering on the Karl Rove Treasongate Scandal, the White House's stealth nomination to the Supreme Court, the Tom DeLay Scandal, the Dennis Hastert foreign bribes scandal, the Downing Street ("Can you say "Impeachable Offenses"?) Memos, and, of course, the War that Bush is vacationing from.
Who in their right(wing) mind would want the mainstream media pointed at an $800,000 "scandal" rather than at an Administration collapsing under the sheer weight of its shameless pilferage, pillage and persiflage? You just chew on that and we'll carry on.
OK. Now, having whipped up the firestorm to a fine froth of phony pious indignation and righteous flumfuffery, with a fine introduction by our Master of Crematories, Lars Larson, enter THE OREGONIAN'S own David Reinhard:
find the original here
Air America listeners to the rescue?The first two Paragraphs:
There's, like, a major corporate financial scandal goin' down, dude. Some greed-head wheeler-dealer took almost a million in government funds intended for children and Alzheimer's patients and put the money into a private start-up company. The money was supposed to be a loan, but the loan was never repaid, Now, the nonprofit is broke and under investigation for "significant inappropriate transaction and falsified documents." And, you know, like, the mainstream corporate media? They're paying no attention to the story, man. Children and Alzheimer's patients get the short end of the stick while fat-cat private interests line their pockets -- only in George Bush's America, right?Well, that's certainly Lars-esque. Did you notice how he's used the "clever" opening trick of showing you all those poor baby seals with the big eyes? "Chidren and Alzzheimer's patients" and evil "fat cats"? And then, Dave, that master of the word processor pulls out his big gun: But it ain't us Rethuglikkkans! No! It's LIBERULS!
Brilliant sense of irony, Dave. You are one HONORABLE man, dude! As are you ALL honorable dudes.
Ooooh. Funny how that's EXACTLY the same precise ad hominem (Franken = Air America; Air America = Scandal; Scandal = being mean to poor black kids; therefore Franken = being mean to poor black kids.) that the Washington Times and Michelle Malkin used. Given that it's a personal attack that Dave well knows is specious, how come it's coming out of his misshapen mouth third- or fourth-hand?
Well, poor Brian Maloney (hint; rhymes with "baloney") is no longer credited, but there's Malkin and the Usual Suspects. Poor journalism on Dave's part, when he can't even find the origin for his Talking Points. I guess he must be way down the Rethuglikkkan talking points food chain.
But: Way to go, Dave! You read the wacko right, and pimp your column through Lars the Thug (who consistently insults your newspaper and your professionalism by calling you the "daily fishwrapper"). I guess ideologues do make for strange bedfellows.
But please don't try to deny who you're in bed with. OK, Dude?
Now, the "brilliant" analysis from Dave:
In other words, what did Al Franken know, and when did he know it?[HART'S INNER COWBOY: Them's fightin' words, you pussy. They ain't "analysis." At least, they ain't "ysis," Dave.]
Here's a fallacy for you: "Liberals" form a homogenous, easily charactizable ideological position that ALL liberals hold, and are ALL wrong.
The positions AND the liberals, I mean.
[Thinking thusly of "Liberals", one can only wonder what Dave thinks about "Negroes." Oh. Whoops. Sorry: he's standing up for poor, inner city black kids on the Eastern Seaboard. Sorry, Dave. I didn't realize that you were that kkk-ind of guy. Didn't mean to conflate you with skinheads or anything.]
Oh, and the statement: "Liberals are always letting the rest of us know just how much sharper and more compassionate they are than the rest of us," takes on different shades of meaning, according to what Dave defines "us" as: hyperencephalic imbeciles? Lobotomy survivors? Bigots? Crypto-Lars underground "Freedom Fighters"? Just what do you mean by "us" Dave, or, in the immortal words of Tonto: "What do you mean 'we,' White Man?"
Dave has dropped the mask of journalistic independence; he has dropped the facade of rationality: he's just slinging "clever" quips as yet another Ann Coulter wannabe in basic phallus.
Heck, the Washington TIMES hatchet job was better than this lame poodle-ordure masquerading as journalism. Here's Michelle Malking in the ORIGINAL story, back on 7/28:
Will Air America's self-proclaimed champions of the poor and downtrodden--Franken? Garafolo? Springer?--touch this story with a ten-foot pole? Will Randi Rhodes trot out her gunshot sound effects to blame the messenger? Or will the gabbers continue maintaining their radio silence?But let us listen to Dave's brilliant finish, lest we be deprived of his wooden ear, tin irony and leaden phrasing.
First, its listeners should unleash their "we know better" candlepower and their you-can't-fool-us cynicism to get to the bottom of the Air America's kids-for-kilowatts scandal. And, clearly, a scheme that hurts children and Alzheimer's patients to fund left-wing outreach should appeal to progressives' dark sense of irony.
Second, Air America's listeners should go beyond the network owners on the financial front. Simply repaying funds to club isn't enough. Really, how cover-your-assets corporatist is that? Leftist listeners need to really showcase that storied compassion of theirs. Yes, how about a radio-thon to raise funds for kids and Alzheimer's patients across this broad land? Lefty listeners could, well, "Give piece of change."
Better yet, progressive forces should do what they do best -- hold a rock concert. Franken probably could put the finger on some major talent. It's hard to imagine that the Dixie Chicks, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand wouldn't want to participate in a Live Air America-Aid concert. The guess here is that even stars who said they would leave the United States if Bush were elected or re-elected would return home to help the victims of this hideous corporate scandal.
Granted, Air America's overall rating have fallen in major markets. But here, the left-wing network is still going strong, particularly in the crucial male-ponytail demographic. A little advice for the network's Portland affiliate:
Think globally and act locally.
Fine, Dave. Shove it up your ass, too, double and with a whipped cream on top. Glad to have had this rational discourse with you, you feces-flinging monkey? What's the matter? Jerking off in the monkey house got boring? Some OREGONIAN editor left his computer on? Because not only is your column a rehash of stuff that Right Wing Morons in the Not Liberal Media already did, and with a higher degree of fidelity to factual research -- no matter how shoddily twisted to specious rhetorical ends -- but it's not even witty by half, you recto-cranially inverted, toad-licking, reptilian, crypto-fascist poo-poo head.
If you want to be Ann Coulter with a penis, then you really need to get one first, and I don't mean Coulter.
Now, Gentle Reader, we turn our attentions away from Dave's wretchedly cobbled prose contortions to the question I asked earlier.
If Air America is, as Dave echoes (the standard talking point: they're so tiny they're LAUGHABLE) then why are they a threat to you, Dave? And whence this sudden interest in the inner city poor of New York City, when I doubt that you've ever cared about the inner city poor of Portland, except to lobby with your "Mighty Pen" for stricter loitering and vagrancy laws?
The salient bit in nearly all Right Wing "independently-written" zombie-talk is that Air American is too small to be concerned with (to "belittle" in the literal sense of the term"), AND they're LOSING MARKET SHARE.
Small, and shrinking.
We'll skip over the obvious Freudian projection involved in this Conservative impotence fantasy to the facts (which will, sad to say, probably only confuse Dave, stranger as he is to them):
Air America defies doomsayers as its ranking climbsLet's see, that would be a 500% increase in listenership. Well, the data is pretty clear, and now confirmed: Air America has reached a critical mass, and Karl Rove doesn't like it.
Oh yeah: Wanna see HOW incestuous these weasels are? Here's a piece on how Michelle Malkin and Horowitz, et al, are congratulating Dave on his sooper-dooper journalism in THE OREGONIAN:
According to David Horowitz' FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE, WAR BLOG:
It's dated Sunday, August 7, 2005. Amazing, isn't it, that Michelle Malkin would already have written about it in time for the "War Blog" to quote her quote of Dave's quote and it STILL be the same day that the article was written.
Er, you will note that Malkin is "Philadelphia-born. South Jersey-raised. I live with my husband and two children in Maryland."So, 7:56 AM EDT would be 3:56 AM Portland time. Early on a Sunday morning to be reading the Portland paper, don't you think?
But then again, Dave might have given a copy to Lars in advance. It would be journalistically corrupt, of course, and even a fireable offense at a lot of newspapers I've worked for, but after all, Dave is an honorable dude, right?
As are they all honorable dudes.
So, Air America is teeny. They're losing market share. And, they are in a scandal. Why the coordinated effort to finish off an opponent who's already dead in the water?
It couldn't be because it's having an effect, would it? I mean, why pretend that Al Franken and Randi Rhodes had anything to do with the weird finances of the departed-over-a-year-ago ex-CEO? Why would anyone want to hamstring Al Franken and Randi Rhodes, if no one's listening to them? I mean, if nobody's listening to them, then who cares how they answer the charges you want them to answer?
After all, no one's listening to them.
And, therefore, it's impossible that they have something to do with the fact that the Drug Store Cowboys' ratings (Dick and Bush) have been dropping faster than a kid in boot camp drops and gives his Sarge twenty. Right?
Because the Bush White House only gives marching orders to move on those that are dangerous to their bait & switch Sake Oil Show, and, according to said Snake Oil Show, Air America isn't a threat.
Or perhaps they're just being disingenuous. It wouldn't be the first time. But WHY is the Right Wing putting so much firepower into trying to flog this (allegedly dead) donkey?
While you're pondering that one, here's the Mahablog on July 30, 2005, http://www.mahablog.com/2005.07.24_arch.html :
"Let's recap. What do we have so far? All allegations that the allegedly pilfered Gloria Wise money went to Air America Radio are based on one, and only one, source: Michael Horowitz in the prestigious, if ephemeral, Bronx News. And Horowitz got his information from "informed sources" of undetermined origin.Now, just note this much: the whole spin and language of this "scandal" was already set in stone prior to the discovery of any facts. And it's a sad damned day when an OREGONIAN Columnist has to plagiarize his analysis from a set of talking points faxed to more important journalists from Karl Rove's office.
Shame on poor Dave. But pity for Dave, too: He's not even a very important coprophagous bottom-feeder. Heck, he's not even a very honorable dude, dude; and there's not a hint of irony in that.
Sure smells like media bias to me.
ADJECTIVE: Feeding on excrement: coprophagous beetles. OTHER FORMS: cop-roph-a-gy (-j) --NOUN -- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
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