Saturday, May 12, 2007


DemiOrator: "As I consistently stress: I have no grudge against Christians. However, those Christians who focus almost exclusively on 'evil' and finding groups of people or ideas to burn are in a separate category. I continue to maintain that, despite calling themselves 'Christian', they are essentially consumed by hatred and the elevation of Satan to the status of a god. There is little in their philosophy I recognize as 'Christian' as I understand it. My perspective may offend some Christians and I apologize but this is what I see manifest in some fundamentalist groups and philosophies. I refuse to call hatred 'love'."


Uncle Moore fixes up a Tar Baby for Bush

I stumbled across this - literally.

Bush Administration Goes After SiCKO: "There are a number of specific facts that have led me to conclude that politics could very well be driving this Bush Administration investigation of me and my film.

First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.

Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles. It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry's main recipient of its contributions -- President Bush -- would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience."

Since I was there, I was moved to say this:

Michael Moore's high-wire political stunts are now legend. Of course it makes his job a lot easier when the Administration reacts with such laughable predictability. Taking several 9/11 heroes to Cuba for health care is both effective and brilliant. It is also an act of at least technical civil disobedience, and given who Moore is, absolutely guaranteed to cause a Republican administration to tweak uncontrollably, faced with the illustration of a government that cannot afford paint for government buildings manging to provide quite decent, universal health care.

Worse yet,(from the Bush Administration's perspective) due to the embargo and the crash in sugar prices, Cuba has been forced to turn to alternative and complementary medicines and has made some significant progress in that direction.

Just the last thing Big Pharma wants seen in a theater near you. And so dey tried to throw Mike into dat dere Briar Patch...

Friday, May 11, 2007

The ethics of leadership - as seen on doppler radar.

It seems that we are re-entering the Middle Ages, where the eliete could and would gallop through the packed streets and marketplaces, with outriders whipping and scourging the "little people" out of their paths...

Politicians' Hubris Takes to the Open Road

Do as Jon Corzine says, not as he does

But I found it interesting that at a short press conference held just before he left the hospital, Gov. Corzine apologized for his "poor example" in failing to buckle up, but didn't apologize for the actual cause of the accident - conveying the idea that he, the governor, is too important to obey traffic laws.

We now know that Corzine and his driver were barreling down a busy highway at more than 90 miles per hour, flashing their lights, shunting commoner motorists to the side of the road. The sight of Corzine's car rushing up in one driver's review mirror caused him to lose control of his truck in an effort to get out of the way, triggering a chain reaction that resulted in the accident that put Corzine in the hospital. It's fortunate Corzine's driver didn't kill someone.

And what exactly was so important that Corzine had to put the lives and safety of his fellow citizens at risk? He was on his way to a reconciliation meeting between shock jock Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team. Essentially a photo-op.

That's a pretty clear summation of his priorities over the "working people" - which in rush hour could be anyone of nearly any non-political station. Janitor, executive, off-duty cop; social worker or resteraunteur; all are but chaff in his wake. But Corzone is not alone in this - he's but the latest example, and not even the most tragic.

In 2003, South Dakota Rep. Bill Janklow blew through a stop sign while speeding and killed a man on a motorcycle. Janklow had been previously pulled over 16 times for speeding, but never ticketed.
There is a certain irony - not to mention a certain obvious futility - of governance by scofflaws. And certainly, if society can tolerate their liberty - it can tolerate ours. Or if not, then they should not be making exceptions for themselves.

Monday, May 07, 2007

In search of a new Autism Tsar

Aspie humor at it's best and deadliest, gutting the curbie industry with wicked glee.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

An Open Letter to George Soros

Dear George Soros:

No O'Rielly Whining

It's come to my attention, via Bill O'Rielly, that all his critics are supposedly funded by you, in order to provide "lies and smears."

I didn't know anyone needed to be paid to pick on Bill. Making fun of Bill is getting cheaper every day, to the point of being a minor vice like chewing gum. If it were a full time effort, of course, it might be another matter; having to actually listen to every word of his would be for me right up there with golf, gardening and exposure to sunlight.

I can see asking for grants to ease the pain might be in order if I were dedicated to listening to and transcribing all the the conservative asshattery out there. And clearly, Media Matters deserves our support for all the harmless fun it provides us. So if you have been clandestinely slipping them money under the table - thank you. And if you haven't, why not?

Despite my impressively well-endowed IQ, I still don't quite understand how it would be wrong for you to fund Media Matters, or even directly fund a "smear site" that unfairly targeted Bill O'Rielly. Short of provably actionable statements, e have a First Amendment and last I checked, there wasn't an "except for rich people" clause.

Even stranger, it's seems to be OK by Bill if Sun Myung Moon, that Coors fella and Rupert Murdoch perform the same exact stunts he's accusing you of, to the tune of many, many millions more. Could it be that he sincerely believes that everyone is as obviously corrupt as he, with no motives but the ulterior? Or perhaps he simply can't understand that he and his ilk simply don't matter enough for you to notice.

I'm less concerned at the double standard, where "Lies and Smears" are bad for Liberals (and me) but OK for the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" I don't really mind being held to a higher standard than Bill and the Swifties.

It really isn't that hard.

But I do find it hilarious that Bill and his listeners are incapable of noticing a level of cognitive dissonance that should literally crack their skulls. Or at least Bill is. Perhaps by this point a significant fraction of his listeners are rolling in the aisles at his expense. I'm sure they are over at Media Matters. Hell, I wonder if there's a pool on Bill's next public meltdown?

Anyway, I must congratulate you on maintaining plausible deniablity in this matter of the funding you OF COURSE have not provided by way of the clever ploy of provoking Bill into this "hard-hitting expose.'" As most of America has come to realize, if Bill says it, it ain't plausible.

But I AM somewhat miffed at Bill's latest excretion, courtesy of Media Matters.

Now, I confess I've never actually had to lie about Bill, not with so many sharp and truthful rocks lying about, sadly unused. I'll admit to an occasional negative appreciation of him, the odd derogatory comment, but then, I'm an editorialist. I try and tell the truth as I see it, but it is my own humble opinion that he's a corrupt, lying, womanizing incompetent who WISHES he had access to as good a grade of pharmaceuticals as Rush Limbaugh. But having said that, I do understand that he may feel unappreciated by those of us with IQ's above that of tepid water and the capability to read and comprehend above a fourth-grade level.

No, what troubles me is that, despite our alleged collusion, you have yet to buy one of my t-shirts! These are very high-quality shirts, even a billionaire would be hard-pressed to find such a combination of ring-spun cotton goodness and hilarity. Furthermore, they are available in a full spectrum of politically relevant colors. They display a particularly skillful and unflattering image of Bill and the light-colored shirts feature a reverse (shown above) that says "No Whining."

Now, in the spirit of candor our conversations have always enjoyed, Iconfess that I'm not really a Liberal; I know that O'Rielly, Limbaugh and the like would say I am, even as they say you are, but I'm a Libertarian and you are a Billionaire, so I expect our mileage varies on a few, tiny, barely perceptible core issues of Liberalism.

But O'Rielly and those who find him compelling and persuasive continue to lump all their opponents together as "liberals," as if common sense, competence, ethics and a sense of proportion were the native fruits of any political philosophy. Would that they were, of course, but I doubt I'll live to see that day.

Still, I was somewhat miffed to find that we have been lumped together thusly and rudely by Bill: (Transcript, of course, from Media Matters,) apparently as a result of the gleeful fun-poking at his expense by all and sundry due to the Indiana University Study.

By the way, did you know that Soros' Open Society Institute donated $5 million to Indiana University? I'm sure that was just a coincidence. Also sure that Soros is very disappointed he didn't get more bang for the buck this time around. Most of the committed left press didn't mention the nutty Indiana paper. Only those truly bought and paid for elements at NBC News and Rosie O'Donnell spit it out there.

I confess a childish and sadistic glee in being able to write this headline: O'Rielly "less nuanced" than Father Charles Couglin. Other than that, the study was an exercise in quantifying the obvious; a five-finger exercise in sociology barely requiring statistical tools more complex than a clipboard and anti-nausea medication. But hey, what are undergraduates for?

For me, the sweetest bit is that references to Fr. Charles Couglin is probably lost on both O'Rielly and his core audience, making the allusion truly tragicomic. In Bill's case; "Those who will not remember history are forced to impersonate it."

Now, whether or not you cleverly funded this delightfully accurate research or whether it's the sort of thing students do when they are trying to find an easily documented research topic against a looming deadline with an eye toward sucking up to a particular professor is moot. As a result of being slightly associated with the production and enjoyment of these "inconvenient truths," you and I are now accused of being fellow "liberals."

But I suppose one could be called worse things; "Ineffective Liar" comes to mind.

I don't mind at all being called a Propagandist, that is what I am. However, there's white propaganda which relies on telling the most inconvenient possible truth in the most effective and damning way possible; "Black Propaganda," which is Karl Rove's forte' and then there's Bill - an embarrassment to competent propagandists everywhere.

You see, it's not so much his politics I despise, or even his lack of ethics both journalistic and personal. Even worse, in my mind, is the contempt for his audience his shoddy workmanship reveals. Cheap jingoism, clumsy and obvious false associations, moldy and unconvincing straw men and of course, the transparent appeal to the willful stupidity of anti-intellectualism, jingoism and racism. If carpenters built houses like Bill makes an argument, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.

However, I was trying to twist your arm, presuming upon our now obvious commonalities. Since we are now"Fellow Travelers" - along with Rosie O'Donald - may I point out that my Cafepress shirts now come in women's plus sizes?


Bob King.

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But, We HAVE a War Czar!

Help wanted: War czar with clear vision - Yahoo! News

"The problem is not broad strategy and policy, it's that the bureaucracy is so inefficient and there's been so little follow-up that the machine doesn't work," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

Let's be blunt We HAVE a "War Czar" - we refer to him as "Commander in Chief." He HAS a National Security Adviser. There IS a Secretary of Defense, as part of a cabinet - and it is the President's job to keep all these ducks in a row to implement his "broad strategy and policy."

The problem is, he's trying to sell a "broad strategy and policy" that is intended to impress and convince the ignorant and uninformed, ideologues and authoritarians to people within a worldly, well-informed and highly sophisticated microcosm of careerists. You can't fool ANY of these people most of the time, so any "broad strategy and policy" that boils down to "trust me, I know what I'm doing," and which runs counter to the informed common sense and established practice of, say, the State Department, FBI or Treasury is going to be scrutinized and then, if implemented at all, implemented in such a way as to minimize blow back onto those suck with the duty.

This is, of course, assuming they cannot figure out how to bury the directive under a basement filing cabinet. So, when problems like this manifest, even though they manifest in the way Gingrich observes, it's beside the point. Ordinarily you would expect our bureaucrats to operate much more efficiently. What Gingrich needs to ask himself is why there is such an ongoing and obvious "white mutiny."

This is a failure of leadership, manifesting in systemic, passive resistance to the implementation of idiot ideas - probably complicated by internal disagreement as to which ideas are idiotic. This is made even more critical by the resentment created by the Bush Administration's practice of appointing reliable fools to head critical burocracies, people who's only qualification is that they have known George Bush a long time and still trust his judgment.

The fact is that there are very few people who are genuinely qualified to to hold such an office even in the best of times - and none of them are people who are primarily motivated by politics or so blinded by ideology that they cannot tell "a hawk from a handsaw."

So, bet that whoever Bush finds for this office, it will be someone who is either inept, corrupt, vulnerable to pressure or a combination of all the above. It's pretty clear that honor, ethics and honesty are qualities that are stark deficits to a career in Bush-Style politics.

Our Civil Service employees have been very badly served by such appointed masters and as a result those appointees are being "handled," "managed" and "Mushroomed*" with the goal of at least preserving the institutions themselves, even at the expense of current Administration policies. Appointing a "fall guy" will not change this in the slightest, it is a case - in the immortal words of Steven Colbert - of "rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg."

There is nowhere this can be seen more clearly than in the current scandal erupting in the Justice Department, where the battle lines are clearly drawn between the political masters and the professionals they supposedly oversee and direct. This situation is particularly illustrative of the problem, as it's becoming apparent that the goal was to subvert the Justice Department into a political apparatus of reward and punishment. Of course, the first step would have to be a general purge of those who value the law and the constitution above party affiliation and loyalty to the Adminsitration.

Bush's refusal to ask for Gonzolez's immediate resignation is nothing less than a clear declaration of war upon the Civil Service in general; implicit and direct support for the ideal of a completely docile and politicised Civil Service.

We can only speculate at the moment to what degree this agenda has been successful in other agencies, but it's clear that something is rotten at the core of the Department of Homeland Security, and that little has been learned from Katrina. We must prudently assume that what is now evident at the Department of Justice is ongoing in every other branch of federal government, with equally damaging outcomes yet to be widely revealed.

Aside from the loss of critical staff, remaining prosecutors could not possibly ignore the stain that would leave upon the credibility of their offices, or the increased difficulty in gaining convictions against those who's convictions will have political implications.

The Justice Department is filled with people that you don't want to meet in the dark alley of procedural maneuver or upon the dueling grounds of public opinion. When they cannot act directly, they have networks of allies that can speak pointedly, directly and without much fear of political reprisal, such as James B. Comey, the Justice Department's second in command from 2003 until August 2005.

[Comry]... told a House Judiciary subcommittee that although he was the "direct supervisor" of all U.S attorneys, he was never informed about an effort by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and his aides to remove a large group of prosecutors that began in early 2005.
That strikes me as being remarkable, and obviously improper. Clearly, Comry himself is honked off enough about it to take great public exception to the Attourny General's efforts to justify these firings.

The testimony from Comey, a highly regarded former prosecutor who is now general counsel for Lockheed Martin, further undermines assertions by Gonzales and his aides that dissatisfaction with the prosecutors' work led to their dismissals. It also underscores the extent to which the firings, which originated in the White House, were handled outside the normal chain of command at Justice.

Comey's appearance followed revelations Wednesday that the Justice Department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating whether a former Gonzales aide, Monica M. Goodling, illegally considered political affiliation in reviewing candidates for the positions of career assistant prosecutors in the offices of interim or acting U.S. attorneys.
But, aside from defending the fired prosecutors from what he characterized as "smears," he put his thumb directly upon the more critical principle.

Comey said it was "very troubling" to hear allegations that political considerations may have been taken into account in the hiring of assistant U.S. attorneys, or AUSAs.

"I don't know how you would put that genie back in the bottle, if people started to believe we were hiring our AUSAs for political reasons," he said.

This nation cannot function without the essential safeguards represented by a system of justice that is as untainted as humanly possible by bias and politics. Right now, there are hundreds, if not thousands of cases being re-examined by lawyers who are considering the possibility of politically-motivated prosecutorial misconduct.

The more diffuse but even more damaging impact is a cynical public perception that our current government is as corrupt as any South American oligarchy, where the system of "justice" exists for the benefit and convenience of the oligarchy, and that it's various "wars on" are waged solely for the social and financial benefit of those at the top with no actual consideration of the impacts, benefits or deficits endured by ordinary citizens.

This leads to a general contempt for the law and a willingness to ignore, subvert and circumvent it.

In the absence of a large, powerful and ruthless federal secret police presence, the view that the law exists for the convenience of the Administration, an administration that has evident, manifest contempt for the law and Constitution when it inconveniences them, there is but one outcome - the eventual dissolution and extinction of the rule of those who champion such a form of governance. The only question is, will it be the "hard way," or the "easy way."

Whether by ballot or bullet, by impeachment or Constitutional convention, the general direction is clear. An increasingly obvious public revulsion is manifest and evident, there is a demand for the return to ethical and Constitutional governance that is of direct benefit to ordinary citizens, and not just the cronies of whatever faction of the political elite hold sway.

I've been stating with increasing urgency over the last year or so that Civil War is becoming a distinctly possible future outcome, and it becomes more and more possible with every single such revelation of the mindful and deliberate subversion of the public trust.

*Mushroomed: "Kept in the dark and fed bullshit;" the approach to appointed or elective leadership clearly incapable of making reliable judgments based on fact, precedent and tradition. See also "Yes, Prime Minister."

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