November 26, 2007 archive

I Just Don’t Care Anymore

I just don’t.

I don’t know when I woke up and realized that, but I’m watching CNBC right now with spittle-flecked Chris Matthews doing his schtick, and while I work, I’m browsing through the latest blogs, both progressive and wingnut…and all I can utter is…


I just don’t care…couldn’t give a damn what’s going on in America right now…for the first time in my life.

I don’t know if I ever will again, to be honest…once you fall out of love, or even sibling affection (I always regarded America as the shinier, jazzier big brother to Canada), it’s hard to get that lovin’ feeling back, isn’t it?

Tell you how bad it is…I have a business opportunity that I could take RIGHT NOW by moving to the States immediately…and I’m passing…no fucking way…

I could give this same business opportunity a good go in Europe…and that’s what I’m planning…

Four at Four

Some news and Monday afternoon’s Open Thread.

  1. The AP reports Iraqi government may offer US long-rerm presence, business preference in return for security. “Iraq’s government is prepared to offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq and preferential treatment for American investments in return for an American guarantee of long-term security including defense against internal coups”. As Spencer Ackerman of TPMmuckraker writes, “So it begins. After years of obfuscation and denial on the length of the U.S.’s stay in Iraq, the White House and the Maliki government have released a joint declaration of ‘principles’ for ‘friendship and cooperation.’ Apparently President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed the declaration during a morning teleconference.” Ackerman also reports that “war czar” Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute believes Permanent Iraq bases won’t require Senate ratification.

  2. The New York Times reports Short of funds, Republians recruit the rich to run. “Confronting an enormous fund-raising gap with Democrats, Republican Party officials are aggressively recruiting wealthy candidates who can spend large sums of their own money to finance their Congressional races, party officials say. At this point, strategists for the National Republican Congressional Committee have enlisted wealthy candidates to run in at least a dozen competitive Congressional districts nationwide, particularly those where Democrats are finishing their first term and are thus considered most vulnerable. They say more are on the way. These wealthy Republicans have each already invested $100,000 to $1 million of their own money to finance their campaigns”. Even more blatantly the Republicans are the party only of the rich.

  3. According to the Washington Post, Class makes cameo as a campaign issue. “Who’s rich? Who’s middle class? … Class, always an awkward topic in the United States, made a rare cameo appearance at a recent candidates debate in Las Vegas.”

    The exchange between Obama and Clinton began when the senator from Illinois said he was open to adjusting the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax. That’s the tax that the government prefers to call a “contribution” to Social Security. Under current law, a worker pays a flat percentage (and employers match it) of wages up to $97,500. Wages beyond that aren’t taxed.

    Clinton responded by saying that lifting the payroll tax would mean a trillion-dollar tax increase, adding that she did not want to “fix the problems of Social Security on the backs of middle-class families and seniors.”

    Obama replied: “Understand that only 6 percent of Americans make more than $97,000 a year. So 6 percent is not the middle class. It is the upper class.”

    Clinton: “It is absolutely the case that there are people who would find that burdensome. I represent firefighters. I represent school supervisors.”

    … As for how people see themselves, location is key. Is Clinton right that firefighters make the kind of money mentioned in Las Vegas? Yes, sometimes, in some places. According to the Web site, the base pay of a New York City firefighter with five years’ experience is $68,475, but with overtime and holiday work, the same firefighter can make $86,518. A city fire captain can make $140,173 with overtime. Most school superintendents in New York state make more than $100,000.

    Online calculators allow anyone to make an instant city-to-city cost-of-living comparison. One such Web site calculates that someone making $97,500 in Washington could live just as comfortably on $67,846 in Ames, Iowa.

    The story goes on to try to give a definition of who is wealthy. Some of their ideas are degree of ‘financial stress’ and the ability to live off of wealth. Personally, I think it is only fair to remove the Social Security wage cap.

Two more stories below the fold. First proof, the weather is getting worse. Then a story about the time lords of Paris.

Lessons from the Australian Election

My friend and colleague, American pollster Vic Fingerhut, was instrumental in Australian Labor Party candidate Kevin Rudd’s smashing victory over Liberal Party Prime Minister (and George Bush ally) John Howard on Saturday.  

Thanks to the Vic’s sage advice, which the Australian Council of Trade Unions used to develop hugely successful TV ads in support of Rudd and the ALP, Howard and his party were delivered a landslide defeat.

The lessons learned so well in Australia should be studied and implemented in this country by organized labor and the Democrats, as outlined in Vic’s memo below.


I read a headline this morning that claimed that LCpl Justin Sharratt has been exonerated in the Haditha massacre.  The definition of exonerated is freed from any question of guilt; “is absolved from all blame”; “was now clear of the charge of cowardice”; “his official honor is vindicated”.  

I also listened intently to a Pundit Review Radio show featuring Justin and his father.

His father is upset because the press hasn’t jumped all over Justin’s exoneration.  He says that he is going to release 1800 pages of evidence that was previously marked classified that is going to clear all of the Haditha Marines in our hearts and minds. He claims they were operating within their ordered Rules of Engagement. To my knowledge the ROE that the Marines were operating under that day have never been made clear to the American people.  He claims that the Iraqi witnesses lied and refused to come to America to testify because they would now be in jail for perjury.  He claims that Jack Murtha lost it over the Haditha incident to advance his political career and not because he was a past Marine just shown photos of children shot in the head by American Marines.

I wait patiently for this mind blowing 1800 pages of classified evidence to be revealed and if I owe any apologies for my anger and outrage I will be forthcoming with any and all.  I’m sad that I deleted the most graphic photos of three small children shot in the head from my photo files because after I had written a diary of outrage I came to a place where seeing them everytime I opened my photo file stopped being a healthy thing for me.  I can’t find them on the net anymore.  I think I swiped them out of the TIME Haditha article.  If you have any better ones than I have up here I would really appreciate the additions. We won’t see official photos for a very long time because they are considered a national security risk like everything else is by these fuckers in the White House.  Here is a link after the commercial to the CNN report from last year describing drastic differences between what those photos that were shown to CNN seem to indicate and the story that the Marines involved told.

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I think I know why the press hasn’t jumped all over Justin’s exoneration.  It’s because it isn’t that credible of an exoneration.  The press is often found lacking but I can tell from the way this father speaks that he has been doing everything to attempt to get the press to carry his son’s exoneration on the front page and there are reasons why they haven’t jumped all over this and it’s probably because for the most part the evidence is still a he said she said deal.  Justin was probably “exonerated” due to a lack of enough incriminating evidence and dead toddlers tell no tales.

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Euphemisms: In War & Peace

When I took my last long trip, I took along George Carlin’s “When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops.”  I’ve been a fan for years, but was particularly struck by his treatment of the prevalance of euphemisms.  For a long time, I’ve noticed sanitized language used to talk about war (eg. “collateral damage” or “precision bombing”).  It’s not hard to find it when reading history (eg. “Indian removal” or “internment camps”).  I’ve been thinking about the propaganda and the framing of messages we’ve seen in the more recent past, and it all fit.

As George points out, euphemisms obscure meaing rather than enhance it; they shade the truth.  They may replace words that people are uncomfortable with or simply put a better face on things that sound too negative.  They may also dress up something that seems too ordinary.  “Thighs” become “drumsticks,” “crow’s feet” are “laugh lines,” and “pimples” are “blemishes.”

“Toilet paper” is “bathroom tissue,” and “sweatpants” are “active wear.”  “Second-hand clothing” is now “vintage apparel.”  “Toupees” have been referred to as “hair appliances” or even a “hair replacement system,” much as an “answering machine” is an “answering system” or a “mattress and box spring” is a “sleep system.”  Cars now have “braking systems” rather than just brakes, and the seat belts and air bags are an “impact-management system.”  We watch “animation” rather than lowly “cartoons” or “daytime dramas” rather than “soap operas.”  

Theaters have become “performance spaces,” and arenas are now “event centers.”  Hospitals are “medical centers,” libraries are “learning resource centers” and so on.  “Profits” are “earnings,” “criticism” is “feedback” and “special delivery” is now “priority mail.”  “Trailers” are “manufactured homes,” “mouthwash” is a “dental rinse,” “soap” is a “clarifying bar,” and “hair spray” is a “holding mist” or “sculpting gel.  “Cough drops” are “lozenges,” and “constipation and diahrea” are “occasional irregularity and lower gastric distress.”

Euphemisms have been used to “soften the language” when it comes to the condition in combat where a soldier’s nervous system has reached the breaking point.  In World War I, it was called “shell shock.”  In World War II, it became “battle fatigue,” definitely less harsh-sounding, though two syllables became four.  

By the Korean War, the condition became known as “operational exhaustion,” nice and sterile sounding, like something that might happen to your car.  Finally Vietnam, and “post-traumatic stress disorder.”  It still has eight syllables, but has been hyphenated.

Published also today at Democracy Cell Projectand Silenced Majority Project

Pony Party: Procrastination

Happy Monday, all! Hopefully, everyone had an enjoyable long weekend. ‘Twas not a long weekend for the Pickle, though, since I live in Canada. Nevertheless, I had an enjoyable weekend. We actually had decent weather, so Mr. Pickle and I went for a few long walks.

Oh, and I forgot to assemble something for today’s Pony Parties. I am SUCH the procrastinator. And, I’m vying to have the worst Pony Parties evah! So, instead of commentary from me, let’s hear your Thanksgiving stories!

Greeks and Buddhists in Afghanistan: When Euripides was Performed in the Hindu Kush


This is a quite interesting read for anyone interested in cross cultural interaction.  It goes to show that the Hellenic miracle (thank you Zeus and the Olympians as well as the Hellenes themselves) was much more important and widespread than the brutal overlordship of the barbarians from Rome.

How Dare Brown People Participate In Politics?

If the point is that money corrupts politics, well duh. But the choice of example by the Washington Post bothers me a great deal:

Clinton's success in this unlikely setting is based almost entirely on her friendship with one man, McAllen developer Alonzo Cantu. A self-made millionaire who once picked grapes on the migratory farm labor circuit, Cantu persuaded more than 300 people in Hidalgo County, where the median household income in 2006 was $28,660, to write checks ranging from $500 to $2,300 to the senator from New York.

Cantu offers a simple explanation for what he's doing for Clinton. “To me, there's two things that will keep us from being ignored,” he said. “Money and votes. I think we've shown we can raise money. That will get us attention, or at least get us a seat at the table, get us in the room.”

Gawd forbid a self made Latino, an American citizen, involve himself in the political process by raising money. Does the Washington Post think this is a unique or even an unflattering story? In a way it is, to them.

Look, I am for complete public financing of political campaigns myself. But until that is even remotely a reality, Latinos, just like everyone else, will and MUST participate in the political system as it exists. To single Cantu out, as the WaPo does, is patronizing at best, racist at worst.

For comparison, consider how the same WaPo reporter covered white people bundling money for Obama:

They had a second dinner a few weeks later. This time Obama, Smoot and a small group of New Yorkers joined them to talk about how they would tap Manhattan for campaign funds. Wolf was on board and was on his way to becoming one of the senator's most prolific fundraisers.

As Obama's announcement neared, his outreach intensified.

. . .  By early February, Obama had recruited billionaire hotel heiress Penny Pritzker to head his national finance team. The two had met when Michelle Obama's brother was coaching her children's basketball team, and they became friendly before Obama launched his political career.

. . . Obama also landed several Kerry bundlers, including Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mark Gorenberg, and lured two former fundraisers of Bill Clinton's, Boston financier Alan Solomont and New York investment manager Orin Kramer. Solomont said he was surprised by the notice his decision received. “I wasn't looking to make a statement about the Clintons,” he said. “My decision wasn't in any way based on less affection or respect for her. [Obama] just had this energy. I could tell this was going to be something different.”

I am sure access had nothing to do with white man Solomont's decision to bundle for Obama. Riiiiight.

Let's be clear, Cantu operates entirely within the law. Does not even come close to skirting it. But yet, this is supposed to be an unflattering piece. Shame on the Washington Post.

Kiss my Liberal Bias(s)

I have been thinking about interrogation, and “Too Much Information” in blog-land of late.

It gave me a stand-up routine.

You will admit your Liberal Bias, and You will admit it now.

Pony Party, NFL Roundup

Docudharma Times Monday Nov.26

This is an Open Thread: Open Minds Open Thoughts

Headlines For Monday November 26th:Thompson’s plan offers Americans flat tax option : Obama PAC Is Active In Key Election States:Iraqi Shiites denounce draft legislation


Thompson’s plan offers Americans flat tax option

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson proposed an income tax plan yesterday that would allow Americans to choose a simplified system with only two rates: 10 and 25 percent.

Thompson’s proposal, announced on “Fox News Sunday,” would allow filers to remain under the current tax code or use the flat tax rates. “We’ve known for years any time we have lowered taxes and any time we’ve lowered tax rates, we’ve seen growth in the economy,” the former Tennessee senator said.

I’m sorry for the lack of content in todays Times. There was one finished and ready to be automatically posted to the Front Page but, reasons that shall remain a mystery it was deleted. Thank you for your understanding.  

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

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