Manipulation

“American forces and Iraqi police continued raids on insurgents in the Baghad slum of Sadr City…”

How many times have you read or heard a very similar statement over the past month or so? Quite a few, I’d venture.

It’s all part of the government / media manipulation of U.S. public perception of the ‘war’. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqis have died in this particular neighborhood of Baghdad in the past 18 months.

But it doesn’t resonate with most Americans. First, it’s half a world away. Second, the word “insurgent” has become a code word for “any brown people not like us”. Third, it’s happening in a slum.

What’s happening in Sadr City might as well be happening in South Central L.A. (California), or Harlem (NYC), or Little Havana (Miami). You know why? 90 percent of Americans could care less what happens in those slums, either. It’s brown (or black) poor people who cause nothing but trouble and suck on Uncle Sam’s teat.

And there you have the lense through which the average American views the operations in Sadr City.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

I Understand…

…where billmon is coming from with this image…

If you don’t, then you’re just not paying attention.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Ann Richards, another of my long-time favorite women

And you know, Hulkette and I don’t like just any old politician, woman or man. But from my overlook far from Texas I’ve liked what I’ve seen and heard about Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, for many years. She lost her bid for reelection to Georgie Boy, and as I remember it, their debates factored in (along with the unmentioned Bush Cabal wheeling and dealing that is).

She has some words of wisdom, bred of experience, for Kerry in the upcoming debates.

Read. You’ll like.

Excerpt: “Kerry, like Richards and other Democrats who have faced Bush in past debates, probably knows too much.

“As a consequence, we see issues in less simplistic terms than the president. The president speaks in terms that are so simple on the most complex issues that it sort of leaves you with your mouth hanging open,” says Richards, who was unseated by Bush 10 years ago this fall.”

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Kate Storm |
Category: Uncategorized

The Hurricane Didn’t Get Me

My building is in that picture, though pretty far away. Anyway, folks, I am back, though posting may be few and far between for another week. I need to throw out a bunch of carpet tomorrow, for one thing. And there is that Chicago trip this weekend.

I loved the Crawford Texas stuff, Richard. But I’ve not read everything here. It’s odd. I feel almost compelled to post a link or something. I certainly need a laugh. So how is

this?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by SpinDentist |
Category: Uncategorized

George Orwell Requests Your Presence

.

Say No to a National ID Card

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Oh My Goodness

How in the hell did I miss this?

Text of Bush speech, 9/28/04:

“In a different kind of war, we had to recognize that we’re not facing a nation; we’re facing a group of people who have adopted an ideology of hatred and love to find places where they can hide. They’re like parasites. They kind of leech on to a host and hope the host weakens over time so they can eventually become the host. That’s why I said to the Taliban in Afghanistan: Get rid of al Qaeda; see, you’re harboring al Qaeda. Remember this is a place where they trained — al Qaeda trained thousands of people in Afghanistan. And the Taliban, I guess, just didn’t believe me. And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence. And the people of Afghanistan are now free. (Applause.) In other words when you say something as President you better make it clear so everybody understands what you’re saying, and you better mean what you say. And I meant what I said. (Applause.)”

I am awestruck. Literally. And I don’t mean that in a just-saw-Britney-walking-naked-down-the-street kind of awestruck.

This is wrong (actually, the whole speech is wrong) on so many levels. And I don’t mean just morally wrong. Or bullshitting wrong. We’re talking fundamental, real world, basic facts wrong.

Fortunately, Team Kerry responds…

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Obliging Sukabi

A bit earlier this afternoon, I posted a snippet of an Associated Press article about an editorial in George Bush’s hometown newspaper, the Lone Star Iconoclast. The editorial is an early endorsement of John Kerry.

When I posted the original link and brief commentary, it was just a quick hit on my part between tasks at my day job – I read the AP piece, and just thought it was kind of funny. Heh. A weekly newspaper from Crawford, Texas not endorsing its hometown boy. And I kind of blew it off from there. After all, according to AP, the Iconoclast doesn’t exactly have a huge readership, with a circulation of 425. I know of “neighborhood watch” newsletters that have a larger readership.

So, in my own prejudice of the piece (formed by AP’s pooh-poohing), I pictured in my mind’s eye a post-high school kid running a scaled down version of “Shopper’s Gazette”. I didn’t figure there would be a lot of great editorializing going on.

Then, along comes ASZ reader (and frequent commenter) Sukabi. In the comments to the original posting below, Sukabi said, “Richard, you should really link to the original editorial for this piece. It’s great, and well worth reading the entire thing. They lay everything on the table.” We’ve got such a great group of regulars here, that I figured there was something to it. So I clicked over on the link to the Iconoclast that Sukabi provided.

Sukabi understated “well worth reading” – another of our regulars, NEPAJim, said it should be required reading for all ‘Muricans. After reading it, I agree.

Here’s a link to the original Iconoclast editorial that endorses John Kerry, and cuts to the core of why George Bush is wrong for America. But I’m not going to make you click through. No, no, no. You get to read it, right here, right now. If no one on ASZ blogged another post between now and November 2, this would be topping on the ice cream that blogging on All Spin Zone has been for me:

The Lone Star ICONOCLAST – Editorial, Opinion of the Publishers

Kerry Will RestoreAmerican Dignity – 2004 Iconoclast Presidential Endorsement

Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would:

• Empty the Social Security trust fund by $507 billion to help offset fiscal irresponsibility and at the same time slash Social Security benefits.

• Cut Medicare by 17 percent and reduce veterans’ benefits and military pay.

• Eliminate overtime pay for millions of Americans and raise oil prices by 50 percent.

• Give tax cuts to businesses that sent American jobs overseas, and, in fact, by policy encourage their departure.

• Give away billions of tax dollars in government contracts without competitive bids.

• Involve this country in a deadly and highly questionable war, and

• Take a budget surplus and turn it into the worst deficit in the history of the United States, creating a debt in just four years that will take generations to repay.

These were elements of a hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.

The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda.

Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry, based not only on the things that Bush has delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that Kerry says our country needs.

Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq.

President Bush has announced plans to change the Social Security system as we know it by privatizing it, which when considering all the tangents related to such a change, would put the entire economy in a dramatic tailspin.

The Social Security Trust Fund actually lends money to the rest of the government in exchange for government bonds, which is how the system must work by law, but how do you later repay Social Security while you are running a huge deficit? It’s impossible, without raising taxes sometime in the future or becoming fiscally responsible now. Social Security money is being used to escalate our deficit and, at the same time, mask a much larger government deficit, instead of paying down the national debt, which would be a proper use, to guarantee a future gain.

Privatization is problematic in that it would subject Social Security to the ups, downs, and outright crashes of the Stock Market. It would take millions in brokerage fees and commissions out of the system, and, unless we have assurance that the Ivan Boeskys and Ken Lays of the world will be caught and punished as a deterrent, subject both the Market and the Social Security Fund to fraud and market manipulation, not to mention devastate and ruin multitudes of American families that would find their lives lost to starvation, shame, and isolation.

Kerry wants to keep Social Security, which each of us already owns. He says that the program is manageable, since it is projected to be solvent through 2042, with use of its trust funds. This would give ample time to strengthen the economy, reduce the budget deficit the Bush administration has created, and, therefore, bolster the program as needed to fit ever-changing demographics.

Our senior citizens depend upon Social Security. Bush’s answer is radical and uncalled for, and would result in chaos as Americans have never experienced. Do we really want to risk the future of Social Security on Bush by spinning the wheel of uncertainty?

In those dark hours after the World Trade Center attacks, Americans rallied together with a new sense of patriotism. We were ready to follow Bush’s lead through any travail.

He let us down.

When he finally emerged from his hide-outs on remote military bases well after the first crucial hours following the attack, he gave sound-bytes instead of solutions.

He did not trust us to be ready to sacrifice, build up our public and private security infrastructure, or cut down on our energy use to put economic pressure on the enemy in all the nations where he hides. He merely told us to shop, spend, and pretend nothing was wrong.

Rather than using the billions of dollars expended on the invasion of Iraq to shore up our boundaries and go after Osama bin Laden and the Saudi Arabian terrorists, the funds were used to initiate a war with what Bush called a more immediate menace, Saddam Hussein, in oil-rich Iraq. After all, Bush said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction trained on America. We believed him, just as we believed it when he reported that Iraq was the heart of terrorism.

We trusted him.

The Iconoclast, the President’s hometown newspaper, took Bush on his word and editorialized in favor of the invasion. The newspaper’s publisher promoted Bush and the invasion of Iraq to Londoners in a BBC interview during the time that the administration was wooing the support of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Again, he let us down.

We presumed the President had solid proof of the existence of these weapons, what and where they were, even as the search continued. Otherwise, our troops would be in much greater danger and the premise for a hurried-up invasion would be moot, allowing more time to solicit assistance from our allies.

Instead we were duped into following yet another privileged agenda.

Now he argues unconvincingly that Iraq was providing safe harbor to terrorists, his new key justification for the invasion. It is like arguing that America provided safe harbor to terrorists leading to 9/11.

Once and for all, George Bush was President of the United States on that day. No one else. He had been President nine months, he had been officially warned of just such an attack a full month before it happened. As President, ultimately he and only he was responsible for our failure to avert those attacks.

We should expect that a sitting President would vacation less, if at all, and instead tend to the business of running the country, especially if he is, as he likes to boast, a “wartime president.†America is in service 365 days a year. We don’t need a part-time President who does not show up for duty as Commander-In-Chief until he is forced to, and who is in a constant state of blameless denial when things don’t get done.

What has evolved from the virtual go-it-alone conquest of Iraq is more gruesome than a stain on a White House intern’s dress. America’s reputation and influence in the world has diminished, leaving us with brute force as our most persuasive voice.

Iraq is now a quagmire: no WMDs, no substantive link between Saddam and Osama, and no workable plan for the withdrawal of our troops. We are asked to go along on faith. But remember, blind patriotism can be a dangerous thing and “spin†will not bring back to life a dead soldier; certainly not a thousand of them.

Kerry has remained true to his vote granting the President the authority to use the threat of war to intimidate Saddam Hussein into allowing weapons inspections. He believes President Bush rushed into war before the inspectors finished their jobs.

Kerry also voted against President Bush’s $87 billion for troop funding because the bill promoted poor policy in Iraq, privileged Halliburton and other corporate friends of the Bush administration to profiteer from the war, and forced debt upon future generations of Americans.

Kerry’s four-point plan for Iraq is realistic, wise, strong, and correct. With the help from our European and Middle Eastern allies, his plan is to train Iraqi security forces, involve Iraqis in their rebuilding and constitution-writing processes, forgive Iraq’s multi-billion dollar debts, and convene a regional conference with Iraq’s neighbors in order to secure a pledge of respect for Iraq’s borders and non-interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.

The publishers of the Iconoclast differ with Bush on other issues, including the denial of stem cell research, shortchanging veterans’ entitlements, cutting school programs and grants, dictating what our children learn through a thought-controlling “test†from Washington rather than allowing local school boards and parents to decide how young people should be taught, ignoring the environment, and creating extraneous language in the Patriot Act that removes some of the very freedoms that our founding fathers and generations of soldiers fought so hard to preserve.

We are concerned about the vast exportation of jobs to other countries, due in large part to policies carried out by Bush appointees. Funds previously geared at retention of small companies are being given to larger concerns, such as Halliburton — companies with strong ties to oil and gas. Job training has been cut every year that Bush has resided at the White House.

Then there is his resolve to inadequately finance Homeland Security and to cut the Community Oriented Policing Program (COPS) by 94 percent, to reduce money for rural development, to slash appropriations for the Small Business Administration, and to under-fund veterans’ programs.

Likewise troubling is that President Bush fought against the creation of the 9/11 Commission and is yet to embrace its recommendations.

Vice President Cheney’s Halliburton has been awarded multi-billion-dollar contracts without undergoing any meaningful bid process — an enormous conflict of interest — plus the company has been significantly raiding the funds of Export-Import Bank of America, reducing investment that could have gone toward small business trade.

When examined based on all the facts, Kerry’s voting record is enviable and echoes that of many Bush allies who are aghast at how the Bush administration has destroyed the American economy. Compared to Bush on economic issues, Kerry would be an arch-conservative, providing for Americans first. He has what it takes to right our wronged economy.

The re-election of George W. Bush would be a mandate to continue on our present course of chaos. We cannot afford to double the debt that we already have. We need to be moving in the opposite direction.

John Kerry has 30 years of experience looking out for the American people and can navigate our country back to prosperity and re-instill in America the dignity she so craves and deserves. He has served us well as a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and has had a successful career as a district attorney, lieutenant governor, and senator.

Kerry has a positive vision for America, plus the proven intelligence, good sense, and guts to make it happen.

That’s why The Iconoclast urges Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country.

The Iconoclast wholeheartedly endorses John Kerry.

I got caught in the trap this afternoon in which many, many Americans have been snared. I read the AP blowoff article. And I blew off researching the subject of the AP article. I guess in my own defense, I was at work and didn’t have the time. But I can’t really say even if I had discovered the AP story this evening that I would have dug much further. I took it as the piece I posted below. A funny little story.

I learned a valuable lesson today.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

FYI – SpinDentist

Just got off the phone with SpinDentist’s fiancé, and he’s doing OK down in FLA. Still without power, and took some water damage from upper floors in the complex where he lives. He’ll be on the road this weekend to the Bears / Eagles game, and his fiancé said he’s looking forward to a hot shower and A/C.

Just thought you’d like to know!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Crawford, Tx. Newspaper Endorses Kerry

You just know this has to piss off Darth Rove and Chimpy McFlightsuit:

CRAWFORD, Texas – A tiny weekly newspaper that bills itself as President Bush’s hometown paper has endorsed John Kerry for president, saying the Massachusetts senator will restore American dignity.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Take Action

If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a move afoot by Ohio GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to quash voter registrations because they didn’t meet paperstock requirements. Now, we’ve heard some creative excuses for denying a qualified person the right to vote, but this about takes the cake. Here are the details, and two ways you can take action to protest this ridiculous ruling.

New Democratic voter registrations are up 250% in Ohio. Democrats throughout the “Buckeye State” are prepared to turn out in record numbers to demand change on November 2nd in federal, state and local elections.

With only 6 days left before the voter registration deadline, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is trying to bar thousands of newly registered voters from the polls.

Citing an arcane ruling requiring voter registration cards be printed on 80 pound paper stock, Blackwell is threatening to void registrations submitted on any other paper, demanding these registrants re-apply. But there is no time to reapply which could leave thousands of new voters off the rolls.

Tens of thousands of Ohioans have registered online or with registration forms printed in newspapers, copied by friends, community activists, and even state offices. These are valid applications that must be processed immediately.

We’ve known all along that Republicans were going to play hardball with new registrations this year. Secretaries of State are supposed to empower voters, not disenfranchise them. There are two easy actions that ASZ readers can do to protest this obvious ploy to disenfranchise voters:

  1. Sign the ACT petition.
  2. Write or call Mr. Blackwell, and ask him why an African American such as himself would want to disenfranchise a largely minority population from voting. Here’s the address, phone number, and email:

    J. Kenneth Blackwell-R

    180 E. Broad St., 15th Floor

    Columbus, OH 43215

    614-466-3910

    E-Mail: blackwell@sos.state.oh.us

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized
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