Dissento's (Culture) War Journal

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  Absentee Ballots, Part II

Dear Military Folk,

As we approach the 2004 election, I ask each of you to reconsider exactly who in the government is looking out for you and yours. The administration that has sent you to the middle east kill-zone for an open ended amount of time on skimpy or made up justifications? Or the party that wants to increase your pay! Sure, it may be pandering, but hell, if it works you will have a bigger pay check. I know you may not like the idea of sharing a barrack with openly gay guy (I say "openly" because odds are, you're already sharing it with a closeted one), but you wouldn't put up with that for some extra cheddar in your check.

Send those absentee ballots the democrat way next year. Dump Bush, Rummy, and the rest of the chickenhawks. You'll get far more respect from us than you've been getting from then.


Tom Dissento 

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
  Don't Count Your Absentee Ballots Before They Hatch, George

The president helped alienate some of his best supporters by blaming the crewmen of his infamous aircraft carrier for the "mission accomplished" banner. Smooth move, Georgie. Back in July, I talked about Shrub's inability to admit an error and it's obvious he has not changed his ways. Just look at this week:

1. "The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society."

Pure fantasy. No, beyond that -- pathological bullshit. I almost think he believes this nonsense.

2. He said Army Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander for U.S. forces in Iraq, "makes the decision as to whether or not he needs more troops."

Lovely bit of compartmentalization. If they get killed, it's General Abizaid's fault. Coward.

3. "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country. In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment -- yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. "

Uh oh. Was that the "A" word? Did the sneaky crewmen slip it into your speech?

Where are the thousand points of light? Shrub also used one of his dad's old terms when he promised to "stay the course." That's a good sign. I think "Mission accomplished" is going to be dubya's "read my lips."

Bubba done good. Ladies and gentlemen, we may be witnessing the making of the best ex-president ever. Look out, Jimmy Carter; Bill's up to some good work. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
  See No Evil

What you can't see, can't hurt you, right? I suppose that's what dubya thinks about letting us see our fallen soldiers: News coverage banned on homecoming bases for dead soldiers homeconings. And nothing exemplifies this presidency better than this:

A White House spokesman said Bush has not attended any memorials or funerals for soldiers killed in action during his presidency as his predecessors had done, although he has met with families of fallen soldiers and has marked the loss of soldiers in Memorial Day and Sept. 11, 2001, remembrances.

You see, to attend a funeral may mean that a casket may actually get on TV. God forbid. 

  Barbara's Beautiful Mind

Quote of the week: Barbara Bush to Diane Sawyer, on the question of Iraqi war casualties:

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's, not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

What a bitch! 

Monday, October 20, 2003
  Monday Morning Quarterbacking

By now, you know Greg Easterbrook of TNR and ESPN has apologized for his anti-semetic remarks and was fired from ESPN (do people get "fired" from on-line journalism?). First, I'd like to say that I do accept his apology. I don't think he really meant what he said.

On the other hand, I do not let him off the hook. I suppose anyone could slip up, myself included, but I cannot fathom what exactly could make a statement like this escape my lips or worse, wind up in print:

Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.

That's no slip of the tongue. That's some messed up thinking. What's worse, the rest of the article was dumb too! He blames studio execs for mindless movies. Greg, there's a demand for this crap. It's the people that shell $9 to see this stuff to blame. Either that or blame the educational system that puts almost zero value on art and creative expression. Like the proverb says, don't blame the snake for being a snake (or something like that).

Oh, and I hate this:

I wondered how any top executive could live with his or her conscience by seeking profits from Kill Bill, oblivious to the psychological studies showing that positive depiction of violence in entertainment causes actual violence in children. I wondered about the consciences of those running Disney and Miramax. Were they Christian?

Jesus H Christ, Kill Bill is an R-rated film -- y'know, like, not for kids. Shall all our art and entertainment be put through the "What about the children?! Won't somebody think of the children?!" test? I hope not, Greg. We may have to ban NFL football.

News from Victorious and Jubilant and Not-at-all a Fuck-up Iraq: Good news! Half our troops DON'T think morale in their units was low or very low. An 2 out of 3 DON'T think that their mission lacked clear definition and that they would characterize the war in Iraq as having little or no value. Hooray! (This news brief brought to you by Spin-a-rama).

A good Kinsley column on Bush's avoidance of the media.

And finally, from the 'I don't know what to think about this' file: George Bush gives Sen. Kennedy and award. And here's a related story on the rift between Poppy and Dubya. 

  Our Democracy Is F--cked!

Here's a story that's only getting press in the blogosphere and the UK. Basically, the companies that make and administer the new electronic voting machines are owned by Republicans. Recent elections involving these machines have been highly suspicious; most notably Max Cleland's loss when he was nine points up in the polls. Check this scary shit on blackboxvoting.com. I know it sounds like paranoid nonsense, but back on election night 2002, didn't you wonder every single close race broke for the Republicans? 

Thursday, October 16, 2003
  Bush Tries to Plug Leaks; Ignored Completely by Senior Staff

Who says Republicans don't have a sense of humor? This will make your month, courtesy of the Philly Inquirer:

Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge - told his top officials to "stop the leaks" to the media, or else.

News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately.

Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories" quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used.

Oh my. I'd love to shake the hand of this leaker. Major stones at work here. This is the direct result of too much arrogance. Way too many people in one area who put there ego before their work. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if this was meant to be "intentionally leaked," to show the president's concern over Plamegate, but then it went awry with these reporters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
  Faith Based Intelligence

The Bush Administration has ruined a good man. Colin Powell's former aid basically called him a big fat liar. Here's some of the quotes:

. “…I think my conclusion [about Powell’s speech] now is that it’s probably one of the low points in his long distinguished service to the nation."

. “…The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence.” (Runner up for Quote of the Week).

“We were told we were going to the site to look for refrigerated trucks specifically linked to biological agents,” Allinson tells Pelley. “…We found seven or eight [trucks], I think, in total, and they had cobwebs in them. Some samples were taken and nothing was found.”

Not that I absolve Powell from a single ounce of blame, but this must kill him. He can redeem himself by resigning and criticizing the war the decision. I'm not holding my breath.

Quote of the Week: "I believe gay marriage is between a man and woman." - Your governor-elect of Kally-forn-ee-ah, Arnold "The Gropinator" Schwarzenegger. 

Monday, October 13, 2003
  Bush Pays Respect to 'Sacrifices' in Iraq, Golfs Two Under Par

On a day when three more US soldiers and god-knows-how-many Iraqis die, George Bush talks about the war, telling us "People are willing to sacrifice for the country they love." He then teed up with three buddies. Bush told reporters that he writes a letter to the family of each fallen American soldier and has wept with relatives. "It is hard," Bush said in an interview with the Dallas-based Belo affiliate services TV network. The president then sacrificed a new Titleist into the right rough on his tee shot. Earlier Bush discussed how hard it's been:

"I've hugged and cried with, and talked to a room full of families, of loved ones, and I did the best I could do to console them in their grief. And I owe that to those who have suffered," Bush said.

According to a report by a very challenged AP reporter: The foursome wrapped up the 18-hole course in a little over three hours.

At least one front advances: Gray Davis is going to go down swinging! (Not literally). He's signed a domestic partner bill for Kall-ee-forn-ee-ah. The criticism, of course, is that it will force homobigoted business men out of the state. Why did they recall him again?

Dissento Cowboy's Up: If posts have seemed sporadic and short lately it's because it is difficult to concentrate here in Red Sox Nation. Dissento, although disappointed in the Mets, is firmly ensconced upon the Bosox bandwagon.

And that reminds me: Arrest Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia now! 

  Educating Clark

Gen. Clark on education (courtesy of The Talking Points Memo):

"For example, take the idea of competition in schools. OK now, what is competition in schools? What does it really mean? Well, competition in business means you have somebody who's in a business that has a profit motive in it. It's measured every quarter. If the business doesn't keep up, the business is going to lose revenue, therefore it has an incentive to restructure, reorganize, re-plan, re-compete and stay in business.

Schools aren't businesses. Schools are institutions of public service. Their job--their product--is not measured in terms of revenues gained. It's measured in terms of young lives whose potential can be realized. And you don't measure that either in terms of popularity of the school, or in terms of the standardized test scores in the school. You measure it child-by-child, in the interaction of the child with the teacher, the parent with the teacher, and the child in a larger environment later on in life.

So when people say that competition is-this is sort of sloganeering, 'Hey, you know, schools need this competition.' No. I've challenged people: Tell me why it is that competition would improve a school. Most of them can't explain it. It's just like, 'Well, competition improves everything so therefore it must improve schools.'

If you want to improve schools, you've got to go inside the processes that make a school great. You've got to look at the teachers, their qualifications, their motivation, what it is that gives a teacher satisfaction, what it is a teacher wants to do in a classroom. We've got to empower teachers. Give them an opportunity to lead in the classroom. Teachers are the most important leaders in America. All that is lost in the sloganeering of this party. And the American people know it's lost. So you asked me to give you one thing about this party that's in power -- it's the sort of doctrinaire ideology that doesn't really understand the country that we're living in. "

+20 for Clark
-4 for Kerry for trying to capitalize on the Bosox ("Cowboy up for Kerry!") 

  A Rush to Judgement

I couldn't agree more with David Ehrenstein. His thoughts on Rush are clearly laid out here in his Fablog.

No mere apology can undo the years of hypocrisy and deception Limbaugh has wrought upon the public. I hope the man gets better. And I hope his professionally career is ruined.

But I doubt either will happen. 

Saturday, October 11, 2003
  Death in Iraq Continues Unabated: Bush Says it's Due to His 'Clear Vision'

If this goddamn fool wants to continue to take credit for this mess, I say let him. Now he says the situation in Iraq is due to his "clear vision." Why does he never talk about the casualties? On either side?


Thursday, October 09, 2003
  Open Letter to Sterling Newberry, proprietor of www.draftclark.com

Stirling - As a Clark supporter I request that you take this site down as soon as possible. It's obvious that's it's being considered by the press a part of the official Clark Campaign, and it clearly is not. The words expressed here speak no more for the Clark Campaign than the average blogger. The conflict of interest with Kos only exacerbates the fact. It's important that this site no longer misrepresent the campaign. Thank you for all your past work and now I welcome you to the ranks of the average Clark supporter.  

Monday, October 06, 2003
  A New Fall Lineup

As you can guess by the link to the right, Rush's bad news is Dissento's schadenfreude. But I should of know we did not need a petition; he was doomed to implode. That's the one good thing about putting these wingnuts in the mainstream -- they expose themselves to be the hateful, fearful, little toads they are. To wit, here's some casting I'd like to see:

Thrice-married Newt Gingrich on The Bachelor
Pat Robertson gets a makeover on Queer Eye for The Religious Guy
Jerry Falwell as the contestant on Boy Meets Boy
Trent Lott as guest host of the Chris Rock Show
George Bush on Jeopardy!
George Will on Fear Factor (instead of eating bugs he can eat his own words -- Blech!)
John Ashcroft on Big Brother 5
Donald Rumsfeld, George HW Bush, and Saddam Hussein on Friends

We're talking big numbers here... 

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
  Getting to know Clark

Joshua Micah Marshall, of the Talking Points Memo had a good interview with Gen. Clark yesterday. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here's one section I wanted to pointed out:

I have strong views. I have strong feelings about what's right and what's wrong in the way of policy. I taught economics at West Point, I taught political philosophy. I worked in the South Bronx in 1966 for three or four weeks in the neighborhood youth corps as part of the Johnson administration's anti-poverty program. So I had seen urban poverty. I worked as a counselor at the Little Rock Boys' Club back in the late '50s, early '60s, ended my last staff member position at the Little Rock Boys' Club in 1965, meeting kids from not the most affluent backgrounds. You get a certain feeling for America. And that's the feeling for the America I know. That's the America I want to-you know, I want to give everyone in America equal opportunity, including those people that are like I grew up with.

OK, a little bit of awkward wording at the end, but I think it's important to know that there is more to Clark's resume than bombing the shit out of Kosovo. 

A look at politics, media, current events, and the "culture wars."

07/2003 - 08/2003 / 08/2003 - 09/2003 / 09/2003 - 10/2003 / 10/2003 - 11/2003 / 11/2003 - 12/2003 / 12/2003 - 01/2004 / 01/2004 - 02/2004 / 02/2004 - 03/2004 / 03/2004 - 04/2004 / 04/2004 - 05/2004 / 05/2004 - 06/2004 / 06/2004 - 07/2004 / 07/2004 - 08/2004 / 08/2004 - 09/2004 / 02/2005 - 03/2005 / 03/2005 - 04/2005 / 02/2007 - 03/2007 /

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