Opinions, Etc 4.07.04

Oh, God, this is going to be one of those “I’m doing a column because I have to do a column” columns. Really, there’s nothing much to discuss in the current line of news. It’s repeats of the same old shit. And what there is is just not very tasty, really. Do you honestly think I can do a graph on J-Ho’s mom breaking the bank in Atlantic City? I can’t do some lines on Wal-Mart being locked out of Inglewood, California by voters because I grocery-shop at Wal-Mart (although I am shocked to hear that they’re actually considering opening stores in the city of Chicago, where they’ve stayed out because of my hometown’s union-rights laws; Wally World can’t stand the concept of unions). So I’ll just crank out a One-Hour Special ™ and see what flies…

THE PIMP SECTION

Yeager doesn’t get all caps and an exclamation point until he starts pimping me the way Baxley did.

To answer Rutherford‘s query in his teaser: Hyatte or me. That’s how things work here.

Morse and his Comics boys have another battle royal in store for you.

Cocozza gets a big smooch from me for saying that Journey was a better band than Nirvana. Which is true.

Smilowitz has a column that’s timely to pimp, for once. But accidentally misspelling Don McLean’s and Barrett Strong’s names? Shame, shame, shame, Smil. And speaking as someone who’s close enough to be 40 to put into that demographic, there’s nothing that I want to listen to that’s coming out now, at least nothing that’s being promoted by so-called “mainstream” radio. Just a couple of singles here and there that are catchy.

Randall gets all pucked up here and here.

Haley is truly a prince among earls.

(and Memo to Laflin viz. Regal’s status as English white trash: guys from the poor end of Blackpool aren’t considered white trash. They’re sort of the Noo Joisey Guys of the UK. You want white trash in the minds of the English, try the Cornish and Welsh.)

And to the reader who asked me what I thought of The Passion, I will leave it at a quote from one Mister S. Marsh of South Park, Colorado: “Dude, it’s a snuff film.”

WELL, IT WORKED THE FIRST TIME

Soon-to-be President John Kerry knows what works. And what worked in the Nineties to reduce the budget deficit was to trim gummint spending and hike the taxes on the rich bitches who the Republicans fellate, both financially and sexually. I can’t argue with this. The deficit is, again, out of control thanks to the imbecilic tax cuts that the Junta put out there in order to “stimulate” the economy (instead, they only led the economy into a deeper section of the bottomless barrel that it’s been in), and a jack in military spending for their free-wheeling little play war in Iraq. We can’t rely on the economy to improve until Kerry’s been in office for a while, so measures need to be taken now to stop this trend.

If there’s one thing I have to give Dubbaya credit for, it’s this: he shattered the stereotype that Republicans were fiscally responsible in re the public coffers. Clinton’s last budget had a surplus of US$236 billion. The deficit this year will reach as much as a half-trillion. That’s a US$700 billion dollar swing in four years, folks. Dubbaya has spent our money like he was an eighteen-year-old girl given a Black Amex card and carte blanche on Rodeo Drive, Michigan Avenue, Oxford Street, and the Faubourg St. Honore. And what do we have to show for it? An economy that’s still in ICU and dead boys being hauled back from the Middle East on a daily basis. It’s amazing, really. I saw the same damn thing in 1984 that I am this year (although the dead boys from the Middle East happened the year before, mainly). A neocon nimrod spending the hell out of the taxpayers’ money on military boondoggles while the country’s economy was trying to get jump-started. Of course, it was Morning In America back then, so everyone gave it a free pass, and the ideologists who have a stranglehold over the GOP deify the senile old f*ck and want to emulate him any way they can in order to fool the public into believing that this shit works. Well, Morning Has Broken, people. Time to wake up.

(Memo to Fleabag: Sorry, but I still don’t believe supply-side works and never will. Of course, when you go to the University of Chicago, you can’t help but avoid being infected by the Friedman Virus, even if you did study physics.

Of course, in order to do this, Kerry is going to have to cut proposed programs…oh, hey, that destroys another stereotype, doesn’t it? A Demo cutting gummint programs? What will the neocon talking heads have to fulminate about now? The biggest tragedy in the needed cutbacks was Kerry’s universal pre-school program. I’m a firm believer in early education, but having seen how a huge public school system runs itself from the inside, I’m of two minds, because I’m also a believer in quality over quantity.

The one thing I’m upset about is that Kerry will be maintaining the Department of Homeland Fascism…Security. DHS is the best example of Dubbaya’s ability to waste taxpayer money that I can think of. In two years, the only thing DHS has done is put the term “orange alert” into the English language and promote some of the most abominable laws in the history of the Republic (like the Patriot Act)*. They, in fact, are the one fear I have about the possibility of reentering government service. Working for USDA is one thing, but meat and poultry inspection has been threatened to be transferred to DHS for a while now under the whole “public health” rationale, and I definitely don’t want to be working for that particular agency.

The Dubbaya Dipshits have been clamoring for Kerry to get off the stick and start talking about what he’d do with the economy. Now he has, and all they can patter on about is his Senate voting record, as you can see in any political ad that’s been broadcast on any station. Does anyone else find the fact that the Junta is attacking John Kerry for being free-spending to be ludicrous in the extreme, given the evidence of the last four years? Get a goddamn clue.

* – And here’s a programming reminder: Condi gets to lie to the commission tomorrow. If you’re not watching the first round of the Masters, be sure to tune in.

SITUATION NORMAL, ALL MUQ-ED UP

The deaths in Fajullah last week, when looked at from a historical standpoint, will mark the beginning of the newest and deadliest phase of the Junta’s ridiculous invasion of Iraq. That was the official start of the religion-influenced phase of the resistance. I’m surprised it took this long, personally.

There was always the risk of someone with a little bit of charisma and a fundamentalist bug up their ass casting the action as Western infidels oppressing believers in Allah. And, let’s face it, when you have shit like this little blurb from CNN being put out, it makes the job of doing that spin pretty easy:

Fighting was particularly heavy in Fallujah, where insurgents had holed up inside a mosque complex and fired at U.S. Marines. With Marine forces pinned down, the military dropped two precision-guided 500-pound bombs on the walls of the mosque and fired a Hellfire missile. A Marine source said that “we specifically did not target the mosque.”

Uh, the insurgents were holed up inside a mosque. The bombs and missile were targeted at the insurgents. Since the insurgents were inside the mosque, wouldn’t it logically follow that the mosque was, indeed, targeted? “Precision-guided” does not mean “able to blow up people inside the building without doing property damage”. We’re not talking about a rocket launcher from Unreal Tournament 2004 here, you know.

I had enough of the military’s spin doctoring while I was in. Hell, I had enough of it even after I got out, when I found out my old CO from the hospital I was stationed at in Germany had been given a star and put in charge of the Pentagon’s “Gulf War Syndrome Doesn’t Exist” effort. I knew at that moment they were planning on lying through their teeth. But enough of that.

So now Muqtada al-Sadr, a charismatic fundie cleric, has built up a small private army of whackos in an effort to turn Iraq into an Islamic government, and he’s been able to bring people over to that viewpoint with surprising ease, causing death and mayhem all over the place, especially over the past couple of days, which has become Open Season on Marines. He whipped up people last Friday during a sermon, calling for US heads. If that wasn’t enough, the coalition provisional government decided to aggravate things by shutting down al-Sadr’s newspaper, claiming that it “incited violence”. Gee, no shit. Do you think you could have provided a clearer signal to start the mega-violence, oh great military nabobs? Would a flashing neon sign have been too subtle for you? Here’s a hint: his followers don’t care that he’s been indicted for killing another religious figure. In fact, by some people, that’s considered a plus. He doesn’t need credibility; he’s got God on his side. You know, kinda like the way Dubbaya thinks of himself.

Memo to Muqtada al-Sadr: “Medhi Army”? You definitely need to come up with a better name. Now, admittedly, the good ones like Islamic Jihad are already taken, but you’re really scraping the dregs here. Besides, it sounds too much like Medhi Ali, the guy who single-handedly destroyed Commodore. Us old Amiga users aren’t going to rally to your side by being reminded of him, you know.

So now we have a bunch more guys heading home in body bags. And it isn’t only US boys who will be zippered home. The Poles, Ukranians, Spaniards, and Brits are involved in actions against al-Sadr’s bunch. And it’s going to get worse. There’s a religious festival coming up for Shi’ites (ironic that it’s taking place during Christian Holy Week, isn’t it?), and that’s a call for violence these days. All of a sudden, the word “quagmire” just doesn’t seem to cut it. That June 30th deadline won’t be met by any stretch of the imagination.

Fortunately, we all know who to blame for this, and we all know that we can rectify this situation the first Tuesday of November.

In fairness, I will give you this counter-statement from Mike the Man:

In a nationwide survey conducted for ABC and the BBC by Britain’s Oxford Research International, 56 percent of Iraqis say their lives are better now than before the war; only 19 percent say things are worse. Asked how things are going for them personally, seven out of 10 Iraqis say that life is good. Because of “Bush’s war,” Iraqis today brim with optimism. Fully 71 percent expect their lives to be even better a year from now; less than 7 percent say they’ll be worse. Iraq today may just be the most upbeat, forward-looking country in the Arab world.

Putting the “upbeat” forecast aside, the optimism of the people of Iraq tells me that we are wanted there. Only small pockets of the country reflect the brutality of what happened in Fallujah…the rest of the country is reflected in the nationwide survey above. Or are ABC and the BBC just another mouthpiece of the Republicans and part of the vast right wing conspiracy.

Here’s the problem, Mike: the optimistic ones aren’t the ones with the guns. They’re also not the ones with the alternative leadership structure in place. In Iraq, religious leaders had more credibility than anyone in the Baath Party, and people have been turning to them for years in the absence of any other safe way to protest against Saddam’s regime. And those religious leaders do not have favorable opinions of Westerners, especially Shi’ites, who are conditioned by years of negative messages to regard infidels as people who are incapable of doing good. Iraq has no one on the secular side who commands a deep level of popularity and loyalty from the people to counter this. What the Iraqi people think about their country is irrelevant, because, at this moment, they’ve taken no action to establish a forward-looking country. Instead, the regressionists have the upper hand. You want forward-looking and optimistic in the Arab world, try Morocco.

As for the media in question, no, they’re not part of the vast right-wing conspiracy. I reserve that honor for Fox. But ABC is owned by Disney, and we all know what I think of them. There’s a deeper evil at work there. And the BBC? After the Hutton Report, I don’t know what to think of them.

MARK THIS ONE ON YOUR CALENDARS, FOLKS

Last Tuesday, I awarded You’re A Moron to Abid Malik courtesy of a letter he sent me on February 24th wondering why I didn’t give Steve Austin the benefit of the doubt. The delayed YAM made perfect sense given Austin’s recent adventures in woman-beating. I rarely hear from YAM winners (which answers the question of one reader who asked if I ever hear from Kotex Long; haven’t heard from him since his last bitch-slap almost two years ago), and if I do, it’s rarely nice. But Mistah Malik posted this to me earlier this week:

Although I feel quoting my email two months after it was sent and giving me YAM status was undeserved, I’d like to retract any statements I made defending Steve Austin. I still strongly believe that people make mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance, however, Austin’s problem clearly wasn’t an isolated incident as we have now learned. It pains me to say it, but you were right and I was wrong. I shall continue to read your column and hopefully you won’t mind.

Actually, it was a little more than one month after you wrote it, but never mind.

Due to this act of contrition, I will hereby do something I’ve only done once before: your YAM status is rescinded. Go and peace to love and serve me. And follow the lesson taught in the Book of Big Daddy:

Never relent on the Austin thing. Megan’s Law makes sure no one ever forgets that someone who molested a child is in their neighborhood; Eric’s Law makes sure assholes like Austin get the same treatment.

AND MARK THIS ONE ON YOUR CALENDARS AS WELL

Last Wednesday, Anton Semenov was the prestigious YAM winner. You remember him, the guy who told me that I should be sued for “verbal assault” and that I was disgracing the name of 411. Normally, after the bitch-slapping that I give to YAM winners, they curl up in the fetal position and die. However, I had a feeling I’d be hearing from him again because of his use of a Kurt Cobain quote as a tagline in his mail, and, yep, after my remarks yesterday concerning the ten-years-dead overrated junkie, up he popped:

Yo man atleast have some respect for the dead.

That’d be new for me, wouldn’t it? Can one of the veterans in the readership please bring up the name “Barbara Olsen” so I don’t have to?

The man was a legend,

Not in my book, and that’s the only tome that counts.

and it’s not just about teen spirit, The entire of Nevermind suddenly made rock music cool again.

Only to those who weren’t listening to what was coming out of Seattle for the three years before Nevermind, when most of the best music of what would be called “grunge” was made. The whole scene was just waiting for the one song that would bring it out into the mass market, and that single just happened to be “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (it holds the same relationship to the Seattle scene that “Somebody To Love” has with psychedelia). Nevermind is one of the most overrated albums in rock history, and its success brought us one of the most dull periods of music ever, so dull that once it was played out, the music industry turned to boy bands and adolescent girls who pretended to be walking out of the pages of Nabokov.

If you don’t like it thats fair enough. He was a junky, but just becvause a man is a junky it doesn’t mean he is not a nice guy,

He was a heroin addict. People on heroin are not “nice” people. They’re the walking f*cking dead.

I hate people like that, that assume just because youy do drugs you’re a piece of shit,

If your life is so miserable that you have to turn to street opiates to deaden the pain you’re feeling, you need a lot of help. And if you don’t seek that help and are content to wallow in your misery, then you are a piece of shit.

but he also was, or atleast is believed to have been a kind guy, who wasn’t prejudiced, and a great father.

Great father? He was so self-absorbed that he took his own life and left his daughter behind. If he cared about Frances Bean, maybe he wouldn’t have knocked himself off. She’s now a twelve-year-old who hasn’t had her father in her life for ten years. I have this feeling she’s more than a little resentful of that, especially with her mother around playing the Widow Cobain for the benefit of her career and the idiot fans like you who treat Cobain like some kind of tragic god.

As far as his choice in women, I have to agree with you. Courtney love had him killed, it’s obvious if you look at the evidence.

Courtney’s a piece of shit, but she’s not a murderess.

But Nevermind I ramble. Anyway man atleast pay your respects to a true legend.

No, absolutely not. Not for that no-talent piece of crap.

Of course, there are people who agree with me. Since The Joe In Me is a Raw Regular, he gets the representative slot for the correct point of view on this issue:

First, I have to say that it feels GREAT to see someone other than myself not giving a shit about Kurt Cobain. I found the fact that he not only left a 2-year-old daughter behind, but that he left her with Courtney FUCKING Love (god I wish she’d do herself in too), to be one of the most selfish acts imaginable. Yes, I understand all the psychological problems he had, but he should have just grown up and gotten some goddamn therapy, like you and I do. That’s what I hate about (the majority of) new rock music these days: People making money off their “pain and suffering.” If you’re so depressed, get some f*cking therapy. Of course, if they do that, then they won’t have anything more to write about, and the world will see them for the nothings that they are. I understand people writing poetry or whatever for therapeutic purposes, but to go and make money off of it is complete bullshit, and is an insult to those of us who have psychological issues and are getting the proper treatment for them.

Now, I normally don’t give out YAM to someone twice, especially two weeks in a row. That’s why I’m leaving it up to my loyal readers. Should Anton here get a second gong, or do I just leave it at this?

MAILBAG!

Thanks to everyone who mentioned Air America’s webcasts. But I regard Real as so evil that not even Air America can redeem it.

Regular Timothy Byrne gets the God slot this week, and he’s talking American politics from an Antipodean view:

I can’t see how Kerry will win (much as it pains me to say). There is an administration that has been rocked by demonstrated proof of malfeasance and inaccuracy, compared with a candidate who is comparatively scandal-free, and the polls are still neck-and-neck! As soon as a manufactured scandal hits Kerry, it looks as if there will be real trouble. I admit freely this is a foreign perspective, and would love to be told that I’m wrong…

Don’t worry, you are. In the US, there’s a definite inertia when it comes to elected officials. Incumbency is an enormous boost to any candidate here, and it takes something on an enormous scale to shift that momentum. In 1992, it was the economy and the fact that Ross Perot was able to attain substantial support, just to cite one example. A lot of people in the US are uncomfortable with political change, and if they’re coming into the voting booth essentially undecided, they vote for the incumbent due to that discomfort.

The situation this year is similar to a couple other elections. 2000 would be a good example. Dubbaya was able to get close because Karl Rove and his crew of disgusting human beings decided to tar Gore with the scandals of the Clinton Administration, tapping into what they determined was a vein of dissatisfaction with the people for Clinton’s antics (a vein that was created by the neocon talking heads and the Gingrichites). In 1976, despite a party that was disgraced by Watergate and rampant inflation, Gerry Ford kept it close against Jimmy Carter up to the end. In both those cases, the incumbent party lost. So don’t fear for Kerry.

Semi-Regular James Lawson asks this:

With my state primaries still a ways away (June 1st) and Kerry and Bush the chosen ones for their respective parties, what can I do with my primary vote since it is for all intents and purposes useless?

Well, you still have your more local elections to consider, including federal offices. You can express your support or disapproval for those candidates, and you should. Just because the presidential contenders are decided doesn’t mean that there aren’t reasons to vote in a primary. I encourage everyone to do so if your state hasn’t had their primaries already.

Paul Riggs gives us another good reason to vote against Dubbaya, as he had a rather vociferously negative reaction to a recent Baltimore Sun article exposing the waste of money the federal government spends on fighting porn:

Well, Bush has done it. He’s lost my vote. This is coming from a Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Republican. Fuck Bush. Fuck him until he is dead.

What in the hell is he doing? Really, truthfully, does porn ever matter? Is that the biggest problem in our country? Mr. Bush refuses to do anything about the illegal immigrants, who in the smallest estimates are costing my economy in California more than 5 billion dollars a year in unpaid taxes, health care, and public schooling. In fact, his brother is endorsing driver’s licenses for these people who break the law! The only thing I can think of is that Bush is doing this to help the wealthy businessmen who profit from the illegal immigrants. But that’s not all.

The budget deficit. Trillions of dollars. Frivolous spending. It’s like we got a bunch of drunken whores. I thought Republicans were fiscally conservative. I guess I’m also having problems with his decision to keep taxes low, which I love because government spends too much to begin with, but then SPEND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON NON-WAR ITEMS!!! How is this possible? WHAT IS HE DOING?!?!? WHERE IS HIS PRIORITIES!??!?!

I supported him through 9/11, the slow economy he inherited from Clinton, as well as the Iraq War. But I will not vote for someone who lowers taxes, then raises spending, who won’t do anything about illegal immigrants that are helping to kill the California economy (not to mention the “Homeland Security” issues involved with that), and continues to devalue our freedom. Porn is not an issue. My vote is. And you, Mr. Bush, have lost it.

I do have to mention one thing, Paul: you can be socially liberal and fiscally conservative without being a Republican. I’m a socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative Democrat, you know. But having a government task force funded to find porn and prosecute people under the Miller statute because Attorney General Bormann has his religious agenda to promote is a complete waste of funds. Say what you will about Janet Reno, but she never busted people because the male human is sexually-obsessed and someone wants to fill that need. It also shows that the Junta doesn’t have a clue as to how to bring the economy back. They want to harness the commercial power of the Internet, but we all know that the only thing that makes money on the Net is porn. So why not promote it?

Max Katz brings up a good issue about disgracing the work of Joe Don Baker:

MST3K did a nice job with their analysis on Mitchell. Flex is stealing his inspiration from everywhere, it seems.

Don’t bring up Mitchell. That was Joel’s last episode. Still breaks my heart. Not to mention the fact that it’s highly overrated.

Scott Granell brings up a point about a certain National Security Advisor who’s ready to spill her spin tomorrow:

I have to respectfully disagree with you about Condi. She makes the perfect victim to the GOP. The Junta will not throw her any lifelines, as now they will not have her getting in their way.

One, she DARED to lock horns with the REAL president, Dick Cheney. No one does that and lives, even W’s daddy found that out.

I’ll give you that one. You don’t f*ck with Mad Dog, especially if his Halliburton buddies have anything to do with the situation at hand.

Two: She’s a black female. I don’t even need to get into this. I can hear the talk in some smoke-filled rooms now though: “They can’t say we never gave those annoying minorities a chance, but if even a good girl like Condi was a failure, well, we will have to make sure we keep some good White, er the right MEN in charge to keep things going right, right?”

I don’t think they’re that cynical, especially in an election year. The last thing they want to jeopardize is the female vote. Plus, in an election as close as this one, the small percentage of African-Americans that vote Republican can be a key, and leaving Rice, a successful African-American female, hanging out to dry may push those votes into the Demo column.

Three: It keeps her out of the running as a possible Veep for Jeb in 2008. Let Hillary get all the ANGRY White Males and their “Good Women” up in a tizzy.

Agreed on Jeb trying in 2008 no matter who wins in November. Disagree with Rice being a Veep choice. The moment she’s gone, it’s back to academia and book authoring. It’s a well-trod path to financial and political success courtesy of Kissinger.

Four: Last but not least: As Martha Stewart has shown, whenever you punish a Woman, people immediately think “they” have gone too far and been too harsh. Ken Lay has not been in court yet for stealing billions, whereas Stewart is already looking at a possible 20 years. Granted, Stewart screwed herself, but how much you want to bet Stewart does harder time than many of the Enron folks do, oh, and don’t forget the fact the Tyco trial was almost thrown out on Mistrial.

It was thrown out on mistrial, but there was a lot of kinkiness going on there concerning one of the jurors. There’ll be a retrial. Yes, Stewart will do more time than anyone from Enron, but being a woman has nothing to do with that. Being a celebrity does. The courts would love to send a message that fame and fortune do not stop you from doing hard time (or in Stewart’s case, soft time in Club Fed For Women). Memories of O.J. are still fresh.

And, to close, a message to all of you:

ShareReactor was taken down four weeks ago when the Swiss cops busted Simon Moon for aiding and abetting piracy. ShareLive was shut down on March 31st for the same reason. ByteMonsoon is up for sale. But there are lots of other places out there to help with file-sharing. Keep on downloading, keep on sharing, and don’t let them keep you down. After all, it’s legal in Canada. Download this as a file