Sunday, December 19, 2004

Hail to the Chief ...

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Before I go on hiatus for the remainder of the year, it's time right about now for my summary of 2004 (unless, of course, something noteworthy happens in the next two weeks), and all of the crazy shit that went down this year. And crazy it was. Alright then:

Well, to begin there was the Superbowl and the whole ridiculous controversy over Janet Jackson (wasn't that stupid? I mean, in hindsight do you still give a shit?!), as well as the ensuing FCC crackdown.

The election year began in March, with Bush's campaign launching one of the most negative campaigns in American history against Senator Kerry, who never really got a platform going (that, I believe, was why he wasn't elected; the disaffected voters who cast their ballot for the President in 2000 simply did not see an alternative in Kerry, as he really didn't provide one).

The war in Iraq took a decided turn for the worse in April, when a mob burned and mutilated four contractors in Falluja, leading some to wonder whether it would mirror Somalia (it didn't; we're still in Iraq, over 8 months later). And in May prisoner torture at Abu Ghraib was disclosed; as I recall, initially we were all told that Pvt. England and the rest were just a 'few bad apples', of course, and were not links in a chain of command, as investigative reporter Seymour Hersh would later elaborate upon meticulously in his expose.

Muckraker and self-righteous filmmaker Michael Moore released his film, Fahrenheit 9/11, through an independent distributor on June 25 after Disney CEO Michael 'Craven Coward' Eisner balked on the plan. The film, intended to oust the president and his administration in the coming election, was a huge success; and, it grossed highest in cinema history for a documentary film, although its status as such was heatedly argued in light of its prevalent bias against, well, Mr. Bush, and its extensive distortions and misrepresentations. (I had written a review of the film, and I liked it a lot; however, as time went by my appreciation of it had diminished. I still will not compare him to Leni Riefenstahl, as many actually did.)

During the summer months, we had the ludicrous Swift Boat shit; what a fucking waste of time: "Was John Kerry really in Cambodia in Christmas 1969? ... Did he throw away the medals, or the ribbons in protest while he preached anti-American hate speech with Hanoi Jane?? We'll be right back, after ..." Jesus. How did we let this happen? It was a damn shame.

And then, the Republican National Convention ... in New York City, apparently a major Republican stronghold in which there was no opportunism at all and the tragedies of 9/11 were not used as the theme out of respect for the victims; oh, how I wish: of course, the exact opposite is what happened. In essence, the RNC was occupying enemy territory; many said it shamelessly exploited the September 11 attacks in order to lend some sort of credence to its agenda. I am, well, inclined to agree.

Election 2004: Wow. I was shocked, but mostly because I had assumed it would be closer than it turned out to be; in fact, I predicted it would be closer than 2000. Then again, I also predicted a few times that Bush would still win anyway, although it felt wary of admitting it. Fuck! Bush had won four more years, didn't he? How the hell did that happen? Wait ... was it stolen? Thus went the conspiracy theories. But there is some reason to 'em, I think. Watch this ... the CEO of Diebold (based in Ohio, state upon which election hinged), contributor and campaigner for Bush, owner of the machines used in the state; to this, we add the track record of gaping security holes with the machines (easy hackability and crash-prone ... hell, they're run on Windows, for God's sakes), as well as the holy grail of no recorded votes, hence no paper trail. And there's the purging of 'spoiled' and 'provisional' ballots, disproportionately affecting the poor, black population that most likely would not have given Bush another four years in office. Well, at least the only place where Bush was simply crushed was his own backyard, right? And as I said right after it was all over, 'Shame on all of us.' Yeah. But that's over and done with: 'We got an inauguration to set up here! so move out the way before I shock you with this tazer ...'

What a year, indeed. Last time I had concluded 2003 to be 'a strange year,' but this one's been at least as equally fucked-up, that's for sure.

See you folks in 2005. Shit, 2005 ...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Going to see George Carlin in January, I think ...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Apparently the Battle of Falluja is not over: insurgents continue to launch attacks, and there is now word that US warplanes have begun bombing targets in the city. 2 GIs have thus far been killed. No further updates.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Reports are now surfacing that Ukrainian opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned by dioxin. Tests were conducted under the direction of Dr. Michael Zimpfer, who said that his team had found "concentrations of dioxin 1,000 times above normal levels," according to a bulletin from MSNBC. I think it merits note that dioxin is the chief ingredient of Agent Orange. Beforehand I had asked myself, 'What's wrong with that guy's face?' And now I know. So, I hope he gets better, but it's kind of hard to recover from Agent Orange ...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Finally, some goddamn unity here: after a nearly month-long stalemate in trying to pass the largest overhaul of national intelligence in a half-century, the Senate this afternoon voted overwhelmingly (89-2, with 9 abstaining) to endorse the bipartisan 9/11 Commission's recommendations toward establishing the post of a national intelligence director to oversee all of the nation's intelligence-gathering agencies. Yesterday, the House passed the bill by a margin of 336-75, and it is now on its way to Mr. Bush, who is expected to sign it. (Has he ever vetoed any substantial piece of legislation as our President? I can't recall.)

The objections made the leading members of the "near-rebellion" (as The New York Times worded it) in the House toward the bill were that the bill would impede communication between the Pentagon and the soldiers on the field, or something to that effect.

The Pentagon? Isn't this really about the CIA? You know, intelligence-gathering organizations? [Oh, well, there's the lesser known Defense Intelligence Agency.] But nonetheless, if some of the money that went toward the bombs that are helping bin Laden went instead toward overhauling the FBI's antiquated computers (I still cannot believe this) so that we could better do some real damage to bin Laden and his followers, it would be a great prospect.

Alas, as Richard Clarke (who referred to the 9/11 Commission recommendations in their final report as "toothless") has recognized, Bush has practically given almost every prospective terrorist in the world a sign-up for jihad. Where the legislation is for putting a quick and decisive end to this asinine and self-destructive (if not wholly counterintuitive) policy of lending a helping hand to our enemies, is something I would really like to know ...

Friday, December 03, 2004

Here's a fucking obvious bit of news: DEFENSE SECRETARY RUMSFELD TO - WHAT?! - STAY?! My God, how shocking ...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I'm really sorry, but news from Iraq: the American troop level has been raised to 150,000, largely through extending deployments for 10,000 soldiers already serving who had been told that they were going to go back home in the next few months. Of course, this roughly 9% increase in the occupation level of our forces is for securing the war-torn nation for the January election, but I see it as the subtle escalation of the war, billed under the usual pretexts of security. But what the hell do I know ...