Saturday, September 30, 2006
Ever since the end of the primary, Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District has received the very dubious honor of being one of the most hotly contested and rhetorically vicious in the nation. Gard's people wasted no time in lauching their attack entitled "Dr. Millionaire." It accuses Dr. Steve Kagen, a well-respected allergist who has treated hundreds of thousands of patients, of suing 80 of them. This is, however, more of a compliment than anything else - only 80 patients in his entire career? My hat's off to Dr. Kagen.
Kagen countered with an ad trying to demonstrate Gard's close relationship with oil companies, yet these examples were taken from a few votes that are decades old.
When the acrid smell of desperation comingled with the stench of Republican bullshit Gard let loose a follow-up ad. Here, he focuses on a single case where a mother's child dies and Kagen allegedly pursues legal action against her. What this commercial neglects to tell you is the mother in question collected and pocketed her insurance money and still refused to pay. This Gard ad, in my opinion the most shameful of this election, falls just shy of claiming Kagen kicks puppies and wants to eat your baby Jonathan Swift-style.
One ad from Kagen which I felt was particularly effective was a general assault on many neoconservative postures. In it he pointedly proclaims "I'm too conservative to be a Republican." He then goes on to list his traditionally conservative stands on stemming profligate governmental spending, spearheading health care reform and establishing a blueprint for real national security. All things Republicans have heretofore been unable to accomplish.
By the looks of the Mellman Group's most recent poll both sides seem to be failing, or succeeding, depending upon the way you view it. Failing in the sense that they're unable to definitively pull ahead of the other and succeeding insofar as they're not out of the race. It's anybody's guess who'll take over Mark Green's seat. Anyone who knows the climate of American politics will tell you to examine one facet of any candidate's campaign to determine who'll be the winner in November. That facet is, of course, the money.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
In the least surprising, albeit inexplicably villainous, news of the day, Halliburton has been selling nuclear technology to Iran, including components for a nuclear reactor, as early as 1995, when Dick Cheney was chief executive, and as recent as last year. This runs counter to US-imposed sanctions on this third leg of the Axis of Evil in accordance with Clinton's signing of such restrictions in March of '95 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Skirting this legal stumbling block is easy, simply generate a "shell" company based off of American soil and maintain your dealings through it. That's exactly what Halliburton did, they placed a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, funneled millions of dollars from an Iranian company, Oriental Oil Kish (the vice chairman of which works as a developer on the Iranian nuclear program), through the Islands and into Dallas.
The analysis has been the Bush administration and Halliburton are working in tandum to enhance Iran's nuclear capabilities in order to initiate yet another war. This sounds plausible and not completely outside the realm of possibilities given recent approval of military operations inside Iran, but remember this relationship has been in place for a decade. Look at the effect governmental deregulation has had on the environment and now national security. This is just another example of corporation uber-alles. Profits trump honor. Profits trump ethics. Profits trump human life. This is the strongest proof yet that the biggest threat to our way of life is greed.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
"Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."
The above quotation has been credited to Abraham Lincoln by a countless number of conservatives who were attempting to fashion a historical argument for the silencing or, in some extreme cases, the trying and execution of vocal opponents of our floundering military actions in the mid-east. As factcheck.org recently noted this statement was made by right-wing scholar, J. Michael Waller.
Do a google search of this faux Lincoln quote. Most bloggers who invoked this saying as the lynchpin for their flimsy misdirection also shoehorned John Kerry and John Murtha's names as Congressmen who should be first in line to be made examples of.
Oh, the irony.
The one side of the political spectrum who shamelessly boast of their unqualified support of the troops will in the next breath malign such patriots as Kerry, Murtha, Max Cleland and the generals who called for Rumsfeld's resignation. How dare they call into question the Americanism of these fine men. To disagree with their politics is one thing, but to actively vilify their good name is depravity in its ugliest form.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Five years after 9/11 36% of Americans believe the government was complicit in carrying out the attacks. It may be chic to buy into these conspiracy theories, but I'm not quite ready to grab my tinfoil hat just yet. There's just no evidence contradicting the "official story". I've seen Loose Change and I've read and watched plenty of Alex Jones documentaries. In my mind, embracing this theory gives our government more credit than it deserves.
For those of you who are not yet privy to their version of those events, in a nutshell, corrupt governmental forces, an arm of shadowy global puppeteers known as the Illuminati, launched massive attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with explosives stashed inside the former and an unmanned fighter jet punching a hole in the latter. This created an excuse to strip the nation of her civil liberties and initiate an attack on Iraq and Afghanistan. Makes for an excellent Tom Clancy novel, but serious political analysis it is not.
Why did the authors of this charade decide to include hijackers who originated from Saudi Arabia and not Iraq or Afghanistan? Is this really the most advantageous means of obtaining their ends?
Of course hardcore adherents of the "9/11 Truth Movement" rear away from the facts. I suggest you pore over as much literature disproving the events of 9/11 then visit 911myths.com. This is an exhaustive debunking of many of their claims through official government reports, mainstream news articles and peer-reviewed scientific studies.
P.J O'Rourke said it best during his appearance on Realtime with Bill Maher when he said not even guys with PhDs have figured this stuff out how can we? The reason we take comfort in conspiracy theories is because we can say "I get it!" The real truth of the situation is that world events and international affairs depend upon class, culture, foreign policy, economics, religion, psychology and race. Besides, do you really think the administration that installed nuclear detection devices in our airports which couldn't tell the difference between nuclear material and kitty litter devised and executed these types of intricate attacks? Me neither.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest. - Mark Twain
Many saw Rush Limbaugh's tirade on CBS's "Free Speech" segment which was basically his daily radio show trimmed down to sixty seconds. This is the same draconian blowhard who said America fetishizes science above religion and "liberal government and food stamps" were responsible for America's obesity epidemic.
In typical fashion Limbaugh understates America's role in creating these indestructible savages, imagine the multitude of moderate muslims who have joined the ranks of radicals due to American bombs decimating their homes or American bullets killing their family members or both. In a staggering display of audacity Limbaugh brandishes his interpretation of patriotism amounting to no less than the complete forfeiture of our civil liberties. I'd like to substitute Limbaugh's definition with Twain's and by that measure Rush is the country's pre-eminent patriot.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
After an outrageous statement like this I'm now convinced Pat Robertson's favorite snack is his own foot. What he said was violence is the rule and not the exception for Muslims worldwide and "Islam is not a religion of peace". Interesting sentiment, Pat, seeing how the Bible seems to say the following:
Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Micah 5:6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
Obadiah 1:8-9 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.
And that's just for starters.
Let me take this one step further with this verse:
Ezekiel 5:10 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.Should we say that Christianity is the religion of cannibalism? Of course not, that's absurd. Islam, one must bare in mind, is a relatively young religion struggling to come to grips with its reactionary minority. But it hasn't always been like that. Not many people remember how everyone, including Jews, practiced their faith freely under Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula, most historians credit this era as the Jewish "Golden Age". Let's not even mentioned what happened to the Jews at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition.
While Christianity once interpreted the above passages literally it underwent a reformation and emerged with a shiny coat of civility. It is my feeling that Islam is experiencing just such a transformation, it's the unavoidable direction of human progress. Something Pat Robertson conveniently omitted.