Monday, November 08, 2004


Air America


Albion Monitor


American Newspeak

American Politics Journal

American Prospect



Atlantic Online

Axis Of Logic

Boston Review


Capitol Hill Blue

City Pages

Common Dreams

Consortium News


Covert Action

Crisis Magazine

Daily Howler

Deep Black Lies

Democracy Now

Democratic Underground

Democratic Talk Radio

Digital Journalist



Eat The State

The Economist

Editor & Publisher

Evil GOP Bastards


Failure is Impossible

FindLaw's Writ

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Policy


Free Inquiry

From The Wilderness

Guerrilla News



The Huffington Post

Information Clearinghouse


The Inquirer

Inside Europe

Intervention Magazine

Internet Infidels

In These Times

Kurd Media


L.A. Weekly

Left Business Observer


Liberal Slant

London Review of Books


Memory Hole


Middle East Realities

Monthly Review

moose and squirrel

Mother Jones


Multinational Monitor

Narco News

The Nation


New Internationalist

New Left Review


News From Babylon

News Making News

New Yorker

New York Observer

New York Review of Books

New York Review of Magazines

No Logo

Online Journalism Revue

Open Democracy



Practical Anarchy

The Progressive

Progressive Majority

The Register

Roll Call


San Francisco Bay Indy Media







The Stranger

Talk Left


Third World Traveler

Tom Paine

Truth In Politics

Truth Out

Unknown News

Video Activist Network

Village Voice


Washington Monthly

Washington Spectator


What Really Happened

The Wisdom Fund

Working For Change

World Socialist Web


Saturday, November 06, 2004

What Fun! Can I Play Too?

Seb catches David Frum playing a classic game, "The 'Speculative' Smear":

Speaking of media bias [WTF?!? -S,N!,] here's a question you won't hear [sic] in our big papers or on network TV: Does Yasser Arafat have AIDS?

We know he has a blood disease that is depressing his immune system. We know that he has suddenly dropped considerable weight ­possibly as much as 1/3 of all his body weight. We know that he is suffering intermittent mental
dysfunction. What does this sound like?

Later in the day, comedians not noted for right-wing leanings held a full-out roast for Arafat on the Mishak Machur comedy program on Israel Channel Two television.

"It's not cancer that he has - it's AIDS," said one, to the delighted applause and laughter of a studio audience. "You can't screw five million people for so long and wind up with just cancer - it's AIDS."

We'd like to go on the record and ask whether David Frum has AIDS.

Very good, Mr Frum! Not only do you go out of your way to grossly smear your political enemy, you also, as a bonus, go the extra step of accusing the "MSM" of bias because it doesn't share your penchant for character assassination. And we won't even get into tact and decorum issues regarding the deathly ill.

Not to be outdone -- but also, and so in character, not to be original -- Jonah Goldberg also goes The Speculative Smear route.

Now the grown-up thing would be to pass by this playpen of child ideologues and lesser primates, letting them do what they do best (smearing their own faces with feces while doing their level best to sling enough of the leftovers beyond the rails in the hope that it sticks on certain of the humanity outside), but I'm a born pedagogue and as such can't resist an opportunity to teach a lesson. Okay, that last part is a lie: I really just want to say, "Oh, yeah? Well, have some of this you fucking pricks." So here goes.

--I know that Danielle Crittenden always said that women should be good docile housewives ("the weaker vessel" and all that), and that they should take their owner's husband's last name when they marry. But then Danielle got married and kept her maiden name! Now it could be that Danielle was always a hypocrite, but couldn't it also be that -- now I'm just speculating here -- her husband, David Frum, beat her senseless until she became as hypocritical as he? If the media weren't so biased, you'd have heard this explanation before.

--I know that Jonah Goldberg's mother, Lucianne, did anything that Richard Nixon commanded, and maybe that only entailed garden-variety political spying. But isn't it possible -- and I'm just speculating here -- that she was also employed by CREEP to sexually service goons like Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt? Is it possible that Jonah himself was conceived via spillage from a bukkake-fest in the East Wing, an inadvertent spawn from the dripping streamer that John Dean -- guiltily, of course -- unleashed on Lucianne, who was and is such an eager trouper? Were it not for media bias, Jonah would be more certain of his pedigree; damn you, MSM!

--I know that Ariel Sharon is morbidly obese, and this is likely due to age and gluttony, but isn't it possible -- and I'm just speculating here -- that he achieved his Jabba the Hutt physique by unhinging his jaw and eating Palestinians whole? Ahh, I've just been notified that while Sharon may have indeed grown fat by eating Palestinians, as these innocents were microwaved, diced, and neatly prepared by Lebanese Phalangists, it's no fault of Ariel's. Whew! And why don't we have a clearer picture of Sharon's diet? Media bias!

--I know that Ronald Reagan, from, let us say, 1975 until his death, suffered from dementia-like symptoms which have been atributed to Alzheimer's disease, but isn't it possible -- I'm just speculating here -- that it was actually a virulent strain of brain-rotting chlamydia? And perhaps his colon cancer was just that, or perhaps it was, if I may speculate, only a condition produced by years colo-rectal abuse by the insertion of foriegn objects? Why haven't we heard about this? Media bias!

--I know that Ann Coulter's adam's apple is probably due to a hormonal condition (in other words, being a guy), but isn't it possible -- I'm just speculating here -- that she got that way from injuring herself trying to deep throat Donald Rumsfeld and a Colt Desert Eagle at the same time? If it weren't for that goddamn liberal media, we might know some of these things for sure.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Have It Your Way

Many are gloating, and I'll get to them later, believe me, but let me offer these words of encouragement.

This happened before, in 1972. The President then was nearly as scandalous and dirty as the current one; he was also just as hateful and hated. Though it took a Democratic Congress -- a luxury we don't have -- to really topple Richard Nixon, he was so discredited that many of his supporters promptly and judiciously discovered amnesia, and claimed to have voted for McGovern. Nixon was toast. Bush could very well be; even though we don't have the means to impeach him by law, we can do it in the nation's political consciousness.

It'll take "hard work", though. We need to do exactly what we've been doing, and we can do it even better because we're not trying to get someone elected at the same time. By which I mean, we stay on this adminstration's back twentyfour-seven.

They just thought we were snarky, vitrolic, hateful and "obstructionist" before. They ain't seen nothing yet, if we're smart and persevere. It's the same principle that was effected on Stratego Den Beste: wear him down and wear him out, because he's stupid and menacing, and it's the right thing to do. Eventually, he cracked and quit blogging. Only now is he starting to come out of it. No, it's not the same thing, but it's a useful analogy.

We, the anti-Republicans, the civilised, the reality-based, must watch this adminstration like a hawk and show absolutely no mercy when the scandals unfold and the idiots do something -- as they inevitably will -- that is stupid, depraved, and concentrated evil. Yes, merciless. They gave no quarter, and the time is long gone where we had the luxury of turning the other cheek. Fuck them and feed 'em fish heads.

Pat Buchannon famously declared a cultural war during the Republican National Convention of 1992. Everyone laughed or was dutifully disgusted. Buchannon was marginalised as much as possible but still hurt their ticket. But the Republicans quietly heeded Buchannon's call, and the effects were demonstrated with their base's turnout in this election.

So fine, it is a cultural war then, so let's treat it like one. Fascist theocracy menaces US in a far more dangerous (because it'll wreck the constitution in a way a suicide bomber never could) way than any jihadist could manage. Like most "isolationists" I believe in cleaning one's own house before presuming to clean someone else's. Ashcroftism and Bushism needs wiped from the face of America. I have plenty of Lysol, an exorcism kit, some sponges, and a fucking hell of a lot of inspiration. I'm willing to start scrubbing, and I'm willing to be emphatic and ruthless about it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Yesterday morning -- I couldn't sleep the night before, such was the excitement and expectation -- I strolled down the several blocks to the polling station on Beale Street. Memphis was still sleeping, closed -- and with the prevailing weather the last few weeks, wet.

I'm a new voter here, wasn't quite sure where to go. I only recieved my voting card Saturday. I found the station; it was closed. An elderly lady was entering it on the side. I asked if this was the voting station. She replied that it was, but that it didn't open until seven: apparently I'd misread the Election Commision's website. It was raining again by then, lightly; it was muggy and tropical. I walked all the way back home, took a shower to wake myself a bit more, and made my way back down Beale.

It was more lively this time. When I made it back to the polling stattion, the line was already out the door. A good sign. I was by now keyed-up and rehearsing the lines I'd say to the Republican goons who'd threatened to challenge votes in the city. I'd passed the Kerry-Edwards people further up Beale who were prepping a club for the after-vote party they'd posted on the Kerry website. I got my registration card ready, joined the queue. There were several obvious yuppies -- bad sign -- but more blacks and obviously aging hippies to more than balance it out. Everyone was country-courteous, but except for one loud middle-aged white woman wearing a Kerry button, nervously reserved. When a few others did speak up loudly enough to overhear, it was to remark that the lines were much much longer than they'd ever been, including in 2000. Another good sign.

My vote went painlessly, the woman who took my name was flirty, and focusing on that calmed my nerves (I have no Tennessee ID yet, and though the rules state I didnt need to have one, I'd been worried). There was no sign of the Rethuglican "observers". I reasoned that they were either too lazy to show up, or they'd concentrated on more heavily black precincts than mine, which is roughly fifty-fifty.

I left feeling better than I'd ever felt after voting, and I've not missed a Presidential election since my first in '92. I talked to some of the Kerry people at the club on the way back home, and got a sign to stick in my apartment window for the day. I came home and turned on the tele to see about every channel marvelling at the large turnout, especially on the east coast. After napping a few hours, I still felt good, even exhilerated.

The plan to join the party was undone by being glued to the television for updates. More rain.

Then Florida, and The Triumph of the Will was well on the way.

At 2 AM, or thereabouts, I called my girlfriend, whom I knew was just as distraught at the prospects as I was. Recently, I've fucked-up some things even more so than usual. Need I add that long-distance relationships are difficult? We've been off and on, and I've been here and there (she's east coast) for three years now. No more. On the bright side, I'll no longer have to be lectured that blogging is worse than a waste of time.

It was still raining.

I am a cynic who normally derides Hemmingway-esque cornball melodramas: no one lives like that, or thinks like that! But in art or in the observation of other people, what seems plastic and affected is actually profound and life-affirming when it happens in your own life. It's just too heavy to deal with, and so out with the regular weapons: humor, sarcasm, apathy. Then one reaches into the philosophical closet, to try on garmets that don't quite fit. Ahh, here's stoicism, a classic always in fashion. It's wanting of some alterations as one realises with a glance in the mirror, but it'll do. It always has.

It's a none-too-pleasing irony that many of the humanists one comes across in life are among the first to excise from themselves the heavy and painful aspects of the human condition; to close up shop, as it were, and take cover for fear of looting, while on the other hand some of the most robotic or even crass people are, when shove supercedes push, the most feeling, the -- for lack of a better word -- gamest of all when it comes to embracing the dangerous but rewarding aspects of.. what to call it? Emotion? Nah, too vague, too fortune cookie.


I suppose if I were like the majority of my countrymen, I'd raise my knuckles from the ground long enough to clasp them in prayer to my particular bronze-age deity; and after offering a requisite hosannah in gratitude that St. George had once again killed the secularist, pinko, abortionist beast in the land, ask for some sort of relief for my ..well, other disappointments, which are just like everyone else's: numerous, sometimes incapacitating, sometimes hilarious, always educational.

But I'm not, and I won't. Though the grossest sort of circumstantial materialism is at the root of most everyone's problems, believing in fairy tales isn't the answer. Most of the world is clued-in on this, but my countrymen, like Osama bin Laden, still don't get it; it's fairly amazing that the postcard from the Enlightenment still hasn't found my country's mailbox, but then as they'd say, the postal service is a government-run entity, so how can anyone expect it to be competent? Plainly, Voltaire should have used FedEx.


Yeah, yeah:

Another working day has ended
Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race
Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
He knows that something somewhere has to break
He sees the family home now looming in the headlights
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
Many miles away there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the
Shore of a dark Scottish lake

Many miles away...
Many miles away...

Incident At Loch Ness

Rather than say exactly what I think about the veracity of "Incident at Loch Ness," let me tell you a story. A few years ago at the Telluride Film Festival, Herzog invited me to his hotel room to see videos of two of his new documentaries. One was about the Jesus figures of Russia, men who dress, act and speak like Jesus and walk through the land being supported by their disciples. The other was about a town whose citizens believe that a city of angels exists on the bottom of a deep lake and can be seen through the ice at the beginning of winter. Wait too long, and the ice is too thick to see through. Crawl onto the ice too soon, and you fall in.

Herzog has made many great documentaries in his career, and I was enthralled by both of these. He's a master of the cinema, with an instinct for the bizarre and unexpected. After I saw the films, he said he only had one more thing to tell me: Both of the documentaries were complete fiction.


WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) claimed a re-election mandate Wednesday after a record 59 million Americans chose him over Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) and voted to expand Republican control of Congress as well. He pledged to pursue his agenda on taxes and Iraq (news - web sites) while seeking "the broad support of all Americans."

Claiming a second term denied his father, George H.W. Bush, the president struck a conciliatory tone, too. "A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation," he said, speaking directly to Kerry's supporters.

"To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it," he said. "I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.

Bush didn't use the word mandate, but Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) did, and the president's intention was clear as he ticked off a familiar list of second-term goals: overhaul the tax code and Social Security (news - web sites) at home while waging war in Iraq and elsewhere to stem terror.

Still many more miles away, Iran prepares to be invaded; only a few miles away, nineteen-year-olds prepare to be drafted.

I can't afford to move to civilisation, be it Canada or Europe, or even to a country with a more functional secular democracy than ours, be it Haiti, Paraguay, Belarus. Hell, I can't even afford to move to the relatively civilised east coast of this nation, to save my relationship.

Jung's synchronicity, while a fun concept, isn't "real". But in its welding of the personal with the cosmic, it's damn useful. I couldn't get my classes in October. Commodity prices are awful, and so I'll have even less money this year. A weird drought in August and September is bound to affect my soybean yield. Alicja and I are through, which was probably inevitable, but the timing surely sucked. I still haven't written anything I'm proud of. America is now an official theocracy. The Supreme Court is destroyed for another generation. Proto-fascism is ascendant, and is now given permission to metastisise into its inevitable "mature" form, here and in Russia. I'm sure a star exploded somewhere in the galaxy, and maybe it wiped out an Earth-like planet. It's still rainy. My grandfather, who raised me as best he could when irresponsible and insane persons would not, will have been dead 12 years this coming Monday. The world now hates the American people instead of only the selected American President. Many miles away, Werner Herzog may or may not have been menaced by a creature at the bottom of a dark Scottish lake. Yes, synchronicity is a contrived thing, but I like my version of unreal explanations, which I know are unreal, a lot better than the Bushie version, which they believe is all too real.

I want a drink.

(I'll probably erase this post soon.)