The River

Friday, January 27, 2006

Come on


But the way some people are acting, if we now lose this one [Alito] it will be seen by the grassroots as just another example of Democratic fecklessness, even Kerry's fecklessness, which is self-defeating and unfair. If we carp when our elected politicans take risks just as we carp when they don't take risks, they have no motivation to listen to us at all.

When will the Democratic pundits admit that their leaders have been nothing more than shameless enablers of the right wing takeover for about as many years as I've been alive?

The 2004 presidential election was the biggest sham ever perpetrated on the American people. No, that's not quite right, 9/11 would have to take that shameful spot. No, perhaps it's handing Bush the authorization to use military force, thereby opening the way for endless, undefined war (and endless, undefined war powers for the executive) without the need of Congressional vote, or, conveniently, responsbility.

Admiting to those realities and the Dems' enabling role and changing the paradigm would take leadership and guts, the antithesis of "fecklessness." But Kerry could care less.

On the bright side, "Democrat=feckless" has entered the mainstream. (thanks Harry, for your tireless efforts)

Monday, January 23, 2006


Threatening the PTB...

Money, it's a hit / Don't give me that do goody-good bullshit / I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set / And I think I need a Lear jet

In a typically link-filled post, Mike Golby points to a piece that has me wondering: why haven’t I seen this information before? This is not a idle or trivial question. We’re talking about truth here.

The piece is The approaching war with Iran: Part 1.

Here is the money paragraph (pun intended):

Is it mere coincidence that the Fed will begin hiding M-3 [index of the supply of U.S. dollars] the same month that Iran will launch its Iran Oil Bourse, or is there a direct threat to the stability of the U.S. dollar, the U.S. economy, and the U.S. standard of living? Are Americans being set up for a collapse in our economy that will make the Great Depression of the 1930’s look like a bounced check? If you cannot or will not make the value and stability of the U.S. currency of personal importance, if you are unwilling to demand from your elected officials, an immediate abolishment of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the fiat money scheme that the banking cartel has used for nearly a century now to keep our government and our people in a state of perpetual debt, than you are faced with but two alternatives, abject poverty, or invading Iran.


Consider the alternatives...

Money, it's a crime / Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie / Money, so they say / Is the root of all evil today

Money / Pink Floyd

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

I'd rather be a pig than a fascist

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Castle in the Sky" (on TCM last night) was typically excellent Miyazaki, with his themes of respect for nature and the dangerous abuse of power woven into a rousing adventure set in a fanstastic, gorgeous and organic universe.

Now I'm draggin after a long night, two flicks (the first on as background, having seen it twice already), two loads of laundry done, two beers, and two snacks, popcorn and chips and dip.

Good times. Anyone else catch Miyazaki last night?

Stop Me Before I Vote Again

I've discovered a great blog -- Stop Me Before I Vote Again


Dedicated to the deconstruction of the Democratic Party.

The American Left may not be much, but it won't be anything at all until it ditches the Democrats.

Within its pages, Michael J. Smith clears his throat and politely mentions that Democrats have become so addicted to their feckless role that they're completely incapable of representing the Left. He explains how this has come about in a chapter from his book "Stop Me Before I Vote Again".

In what I've read by him so far, having found him yesterday through a link at American Samizdat, he makes two points that have been espoused by progressive thinkers Harry and Frank: Democrats won't wake up until they see their constituency leaving in droves, and Democrats have abandoned one of their most potent pillars -- class warfare.

Tell your Democratic friends. Stop them before they vote again.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

VCR alert

I know you folks don’t need recommendations for more screen time, but if you feel the need to indulge at the end of the day, TCM is a decent destination tonight.

The cable channel is running a Hayao Miyazaki film fest every Thursday night this month. Miyazaki is the Japanese animated film director, writer and artist referenced in my slam of “Revenge of the Sith.” For scifi fantasy, you can hardly do better than Miyazaki’s “Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind.” It’s on tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern, letterboxed and without commercial interruption.

Japanese poster for "Nausicca"

It’s followed by “Castle in the Sky”, which I haven’t seen and can’t vouch for. I haven’t seen “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Porco Rosso” either, but they will air next Thursday, and I’ve heard they are excellent.

It’s Japanese animation, so you have to get past the freakishly large eyes (you get used to them). But from the visual artistry, to the characters, themes and storylines, Miyazaki’s films are intelligent and sophisticated, designed for to achieve popular appeal by elevating the audience rather than pandering and manipulating.

A.O. Scott did a nice article on the animator in the New York Times a while back, and it’s online here

An excerpt:

In an interview last week, on the morning before his latest movie, "Howl's Moving Castle," had its New York premiere, he spoke about the new technology with a mixture of resignation and resistance. "I've told the people on my CGI staff" - at Studio Ghibli, the company he founded with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki in 1985 - "not to be accurate, not to be true. We're making a mystery here, so make it mysterious."

That conscious sense of mystery is the core of Mr. Miyazaki's art. Spend enough time in his world - something you can do at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, which is presenting a sumptuous retrospective of his and Mr. Takahata's work - and you may find your perception of your own world refreshed, as it might be by a similarly intensive immersion in the oeuvre of Ansel Adams, J. M. W. Turner or Monet. After a while, certain vistas - a rolling meadow dappled with flowers and shadowed by high cumulus clouds, a range of rocky foothills rising toward snow-capped peaks, the fading light at the edge of a forest - deserve to be called Miyazakian.

So do certain stories, especially those involving a resourceful, serious girl contending with the machinations of wise old women and the sufferings of enigmatic young men. And so do certain themes: the catastrophic irrationality of war and other violence; the folly of disrespecting nature; the moral complications that arise from ordinary acts of selfishness, vanity and even kindness. As a visual artist, Mr. Miyazaki is both an extravagant fantasist and an exacting naturalist; as a storyteller, he is an inventor of fables that seem at once utterly new and almost unspeakably ancient. Their strangeness comes equally from the freshness and novelty he brings to the crowded marketplace of juvenile fantasy and from an unnerving, uncanny sense of familiarity, as if he were resurrecting legends buried deep in the collective unconscious.

So hey, here’s an opportunity to fish a few gems out of the murky stream served up by your cable/dish service. Popcorn optional but recommended.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Reading between the lies

Frank pointed to a recent speech by Bush to the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education. He titled the post to laugh, or to cry? Intrigued, I followed the link. I read it. On first glance, it is weird. Bush has all his homies there – Condi, Rumsfeld, Negroponte (Cheney off in the bunker). He “sounds” relaxed, like he’s talking shop.

Remembering that such talk must use code, and locating the source of my cognitive dissonance in that fact, I decided to pass the speech through my decoder, a software program which I backward-engineered from a pair of special sunglasses I received from a mail order company I found in the back of an old Rolling Stone magazine. “The sunglasses that inspired the legendary B-movie They Live!” the ad screeched. I had recently broken my own pair, and, scam or not, I couldn’t resist.

Much to my surprise the only thing uncontrived about the movie was the effect of the sunglasses. Using little-known underground technology, they actually do reveal the truth behind the lies.

The following may sound harsh, but consider the face that lies behind the smiling, folksy mask. In the movie, it looks like this:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Madam Secretary, it's your building, you can give my speech, if you want to. (Laughter.)

But first, our nation sends our deepest sympathies to Ariel Sharon. He lies immobilized in an Israeli hospital. We pray for his recovery. He's a good man, a strong man, a man who cared deeply about the security police state of the Israeli people and a man who had a vision for peace expansion, war profiteering and demagoguery. May God the elite hierarchy bless him.

Madam Secretary, thanks for having me. I'm here to let the good folks know here how strongly I support the national security police state language initiative. I've had a little problem with the language in the past, so -- (laughter.) If you've got room in the initiative for me, let me know. (Laughter.) Condi said, come on by, we've got a bunch of university presidents here. And I said, great, just so long as we don't have to compare transcripts. (Laughter.) She's the Ph.D., I'm the President doofus figurehead for sham democracy. (Laughter and applause.)

She's a heck of a toady carrying water for elite scumbags Secretary of State, though. And Don Rumsfeld is a heck of a toady carrying water for elite scumbags Secretary of the Defense, and I want to thank you both for joining together on this initiative. It's interesting Orwellian, isn't it, that the State Department and the Defense Department are sponsoring a language initiative. It says something about the world we live in. I felt certain that the Secretary of Education would be here. After all, we're talking about education indoctrination. And I want to thank you for being here, Margaret. But I also find it's interesting Orwellianyou're sitting next to John Negroponte, who is the Director of National Intelligence black ops.

In other words, this initiative is a broad-gauged initiative that deals with the defense aggressive war of the country, the diplomacy threats of the country, the intelligence black ops to defend conduct war for our country, and the education indoctrination of our people. And it's an important initiative, and I'm going to tell you why in a second. But thank you for joining your -- together to make this happen.

I want to thank Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick, and I want to thank the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Lugar from Indiana. Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas is with us. I think you'll find this interesting: He has promoted the advanced study of foreign languages through the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program. Thanks for doing that.

And I want to thank Congressman
Rush Holt for being here, as well. Thank you for coming, Rush. Thanks for taking time. you are all on the team and your job is safe as long as you keep doing a heck of a job, har.

I appreciate all the Ambassadors who are here. I'm scanning the room. I see a few familiar faces, and thanks for serving. What the heck are you doing here? Like, you're supposed to be -- (laughter.) The deal was overseas. (Laughter.)

We're living in extraordinary times -- totalitarianism is on the march. I wish I could report to you the war on terror was over. It's not -- totalitarianism is on the march, but alas not fully instituted. There is still an enemy that lurks, that wants to hurt us. I hate to report that to the American people who like authoritarianism on a grand scale, but my duty is to lay it out dumb it down. as plainly as I possibly can. And that's the truth It's called propaganda.

And so the fundamental question is, how do we win take over? What do we do? Well, in the short-term, our strategy is to find them and bring them to justice an undisclosed location before they hurt expose us. In other words, we've got to stay on the offense continue torture, wanton destruction and murder. We've got to be unyielding cruel and never give them a, you know, a breath of fresh air, never give them a hope that they can succeed resist our despotism. It's the only way to do it. We must defeat them in foreign battlefields so they don't strike us here at home.

And that's one of the reasons why the Secretary of Defense War is here. He wants his young soldiers minions who are the front lines of finding these killers to be able to speak their language and be able to listen to the people in the communities in which they live understand the terrified populace as it tells them who is in the resistance so that they and their loved ones can live. That makes sense, doesn't it, to have a language-proficient military -- to have people that go into the far reaches of this world and be able to communicate threaten in the villages and towns and rural areas and urban centers, to protect the American people plutocratic elites.

We need intelligence officers who, when somebody says something at gunpoint or during a torture session in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu knows what they're talking about. That's what we need. We need diplomats enforcers -- when we send them out to help us convince threaten governments that we've got to join together and fight these terrorists the resistance who want to destroy life the neoliberal agenda of corporate serfdom for the masses and promote an ideology that is so backwards not accepting of our right to dictate. It's hard to believe. These diplomats need to speak that language fight these resisters.

So our short-term strategy is to stay on the offense more war, murder, destruction, and torture, and we've got to give our shock troops, our intelligence officers, our diplomats all the tools necessary to succeed bring misery. That's what people in this country successfully indoctrinated masses expect of our government. They expect us to be wise about how we use our resources violence, and a good use of military resources is to promote this language initiative in K through 12, in our universities indoctrination centers. And a good use of resources is to encourage foreign language speakers from important regions of the world to come here and teach us how to speak their language.

You're going to hear a lot about the specifics of the program. What I'm trying to suggest to you that this program is a part of a strategic goal, and that is to protect this country elites in the short-term and protect it in the long-term by spreading freedom friendly fascism. We're facing an ideological struggle, and we're going to win take over. Our ideology is a heck of a lot more hopeful for the dark world we wish to rule than theirs.

You can't have an ideology that works if you say to half the population in a part of the world, you have no rights -- you have to say it to all of the world’s population. You can't say to a group of people, my ideology is better than freedom, and if you speak out you're going to get -- you'll be tortured unless you can back it up with the military and fascist structure we have built.

You see, freedom friendly fascism, enforced until the punishment is internalized is the ideology that wins. We got to have confidence in that as we go out. But you can't win in the long run for democracy totalitarianism unless you've got the capacity to help spread democracy it. You see, we got to convince people of the benefits of a free society servitude. I believe everybody desires to be free our servants. But I also know people need to be convincing -- convinced tortured -- I told you I needed to go to language school. (Laughter.) And you can't convince people unless you can talk to torture them. And I'm not talking to torturing them right now directly; I'm talking torturing through an interpreter on some of these Arabic TV stations.

But we need people in America mercenaries who can go and say to people, living in freedom servitude to the elite is not the American way of life, it is a and we want it to be the universal way of life.

[There's more, but at this point my decoder program froze.]

UPDATE: From Dave Johnson, Seeing the Forest:

I believe this system [the system with Abramoff at the center] is a component of an organized threat to our democracy from a well-financed, self-described "Leninist," subversive, cult-like, conspiratorial movement intent on imposing a corporatist/theocratic authoritarian system on us. I think history teaches us that we are already well down the "slippery slope" of increasingly repressive government, with a president who says laws do not restrict his authority and that Democrats "provide comfort to our adversaries" and I fear the signals such language sends to "the base."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Starting the new year with a little excerpt from the novel I'm reading right now, Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle," copyright 1962. A novel which asks, "what if the Nazis won the war?". A good question.

Holiday's over; time to get back to work.

"The Man in the High Castle":

Then it is in me, too, the psychotic streak. A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power. How long have we known this? Faced this? And – how many of us do know it? Not Lotze. Perhaps if you know you are insane then you are not insane. Or you are becoming sane, finally. Waking up. I suppose only a few are aware of all this. Isolated persons here and there. But the broad masses…what do they think? All these hundreds of thousand in this city, here. Do they imagine that they live in a sane world? Or do they guess, glimpse, the truth…?

But, he thought, what does it mean, insane? A legal definition. What do I mean? I feel it, see it, but what is it?

He thought, it is something they do, something they are. It is their unconsciousness. Their lack of knowledge about others. Their not being aware of what they do to others, the destruction they have caused and are causing. No, he thought. That isn't it. I don't know; I sense it, intuit it. But -- they are purposely that it? No. God, he thought. I can't find it, make it clear. Do they ignore parts of reality? Yes. But it is more. It is their plans. Yes, their plans. the conquering of the planets. Something frenzied and demented, as was their conquering of Africa, and before that, Europe and Asia.

Their view; it is cosmic. Not of a man here, a child there, but an abstraction: race, land. Volk. Land. Blut. Ehre. Not of honorable men but of Ehre itself, honor; the abstract is real, the actual is invisible to them. Die Gute, but not good man, this good man. It is their sense of space and time. They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life. Because eventually there will be no life; there was once only the dust particles in space, the hot hydrogen gases, nothing more, and it will come again. This is an interval, ein Augenblick. The cosmic process is hurrying on, crushing life back into the granite and methane; the wheel turns for all life. It is all temporary. and they -- these madmen -- respond to the granite, the dust, the longing of the inanimate; they want to aid Natur.

And, he thought, I know why. They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archetype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. It is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate -- confusion between him who worships and that which is worshipped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.