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The Last Bastion of America's Liberal Media

15 Dec, 2003

Turd of the Week

Dick Cheney, your recent hunting expedition of ducks in a pen rendered moot the shooting fish in a barrel expression, while providing rich metaphorical fodder for many an editorial writer.


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Iraq War Cost
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Civilian casualties update
This data is an accounting of civilian deaths in Iraq to date.
See Iraqbodycount.net for statistical methodologies



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Growing fat off juicy Iraqi rebuildin' contracts. Did you know the bin Laden group is one of our top investors?


screw all the other stockholders, we're cashing out!


Hey, what do you know? We make money from American militarily screwed up countries in the Middle East!


We're already negotiating with the “new Iraqi democracy” for oil rights!


Selling weapons all over the globe to ensure civilian death and instability which in turn ensures a strong market for years and years...

 

 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, We Got 'im"
Well lookee here. It seems we've captured Bush's peer in destroying Iraq. Looking more like Jerry Garcia than a nefarious plunderer of Iraqi emotional capital, SH is displayed in the same beard-scratching footage all over every TV channel, even making a guest appearance on the Powerpuff Girls and the Weather Channel.

What does this bode for Iraq? Who knows, although whatever catalyst the fear/hope of Saddam grabbing power after a humiliated America pulls out, seems to be gone. We will soon see the insurgency in its true form of resentment toward America, despite the glowing White House assurances that Iraq can now stop killing our soldiers in accordance with the Cheney Powerpoint presentation distributed to the Iraqi Governing Council.

Also interesting is the IGC's demand that they get the bearded one for the early and ultimate test of their nascent justice system. Whoa!!! hold on there upstarts! The election year is just a few weeks away. We can't have a ragtag collection of Mullah wanna-bes and ex-pat Oxford dropouts bungling this great opportunity to dress George up as GI Joe wailing on a bearded disheveled old man with a Karl Rove backdrop "Justice Up Your Ass!!!"

Does it mean Bush gets re-elected? Probably, although how capturing Jerry Garcia justifies the upfucking of Iraq in the first place is a messy piece of logic best left to the intellectuals of the AM dial and Fox"News"..

Told Ya So!
Last issue (when Van Buren was a mere Congressman) I spoke of the new powers sought by Ashcroft in ferreting out dissent and crushing it like an Afghani preschool. In my mock-paranoia, little did I realize that I was about to be the target of an insidious plan to upset the last bastion of the liberal media.

Yep, the Justice Dept's goon squad bashed my mailbox, crashed the hard drive on SOTC.com's global digital nerve center, then disabled my canine security system so they could wreak further havoc on your truly, the 237th greatest threat to global dominion the Bush administration faces.

Well, their sticks and stones may have broken some bones, but baby cakes, we're back with a vengeance. Having completed the mini-nuke hardened digital upload bunker, installed a rolled steel Israeli mail receptacle, force fed my canine security squad with a mixture of drug-addled Rush Limbaugh liposuction castoffs, steroids and Ann Coulter armpit squeezin's (yeuchh!), I'm now back in action, able to toss barbs without fear of... hold on a second... what's this little circuit board doing under my mouse pad?

Professor Pissed - Disgust from Across the Pond

"State-Funded" Education -- Corporate Style
While Arnold Schwarzenegger is already on a rampage to gut (once again) the California tax base (having already abolished the sate car tax, thus adding $4 billion to the state deficit), the UK government is proposing to increase university fees by an astonishing £3000 a year.

What is it about these people, from supposed "left" (Blair's right-leaning labour government) to supposed "right" (Schwarzenegger's administration, reactionary in economic policy, not bad so far in appointments and penal policies -- more "liberal," in fact, than his legitimately elected predecessor Gray Davis)?

They just never learn from the past. For example, the California public schools were among the best in the nation until, in 1978, the Republicans (just after Ronald Reagan's gubernatorial reign) passed Proposition 13, a property tax-cutting bill that eviscerated the state tax base. The first thing to go, as always, is programs for the young, the poor, and otherwise disenfranchised people, reflecting the fact that, due to such short-sighted initiatives, and to the routine gutting of public school funding, which inevitably reduces the quality of service and sends wealthier families elsewhere to educate their children, the public schools are largely perceived as being "only" for those who can't afford private schools). Now, California schools routinely rank in the bottom 5 schools in the entire USA.

I could make a knee-jerk liberal comment about how this redistribution of wealth, and virtual abandonment of state-funded education, contributes to poverty, despair, and crime -- but I won't. I'll leave that for my readers to figure out.

So, if the UK government massively raises fees (about double what they are now, raising the cost of a year's university education in this supposedly "free" system to the equivalent of about $10,000), it's pretty easy to predict what will happen. The universities are already becoming more privatized in the UK -- as in California, where the premier state university system is raising fees on a yearly basis, increasingly shutting out the children of the less wealthy. The government moans about attracting a broader demographic. And then it wants to double the cost -- this doesn't compute.

I guess it's naive in this age of rampant corporatization of all "public" initiatives to imagine that wealthy politicians would even give lip service to caring about those who can't afford -- or don't want to buy into -- the class stratifying system of private education. Following the legacy of Thatcher and Reagan, the US and UK are the most egregious examples of national cultures in which privatization has bred increasing class stratification. In this column I have laboriously moaned about how ideologies of international friendship, of "freeing" supposedly oppressed peoples in order to make the world "safe for democracy" (aka, American-style capitalism), and so on simply veil the nefarious effects of the corporatization of governments, peoples, and cultures. Economic and political policies reducing the quality of education for the less advantaged perpetuate the logic of corporatization in that they produce ignorant, apathetic, or enraged but misdirected citizens.

Resistance is still possible, but only barely. There are people with integrity who resist the corporatizing status-quo of governmental policy-making. British-Jamaican poet Benjamin Zephaniah, in response to Tony Blair's invitation that he appear before the Queen to accept the appointment of officer of the Order of the British Empire, stated today in the Guardian, "I woke up on the morning of November 13 wondering how the government could b e overthrown and what could replace it, and then I noticed a letter from the prime minister's office.... [on reading this invitation, I thought] Me? ... OBE, me? Up yours."

Neither Blair nor the Queen (however well-educated in their elite private schools) seem to have understood Zaphaniah's 2001 poem entitled "Bought and Sold," a hardly subtle rant in which he notes "Smart big awards and prize money/ Is killing off black poetry.... Take your prize, now write more... Fuck the truth/ It reminds me of those capitalists that say, 'Look you have a choice,'/ It's sick and self-defeating if our dispossessed keep weeping/ And we give these awards meaning/ But we end up with no voice."


The good professor may be in England, but her political outrage is still hangin' out in sunny Californee.

Only OUR Pigs at the Iraqi Slop Trough
Two despicable developments occurred in this week's bunglement of the Iraquagmire. First, the Pentagon's budget chief announced findings that Dick Cheney's Halliburton was guilty of overcharging the American taxpayers for services and goods provided in the American effort to completely destabilize the middle east. Specifically, Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, is accused of fleecing the taxpayers of $61,000,000 in delivering fuel to Iraq (there's an irony!) under the terms of their obese $5,000,000,000 no-bid reconstruction contract. Halliburton is charging America $2.64 a gallon for oil purchased from distant Kuwait.

So, the President's pigs get the no-bid contract and charge near-European prices for oil they buy for pennies. Sweet Deal! Where can I get a piece of that deal? Oh yeah, I need a sweet connection to the Oval Office... Sigh...

It was bad enough when the infighting was contained to the State department vs. the Pentagon (resulting in the lapdogification of Colin Powell), now we've got the Pentagon threatening the Oval Office. Way to run the team, Georgie!

But don't forget these plums are members only deals! If you weren't part of the bloody fang sanctioning minions you don't get a place at the trough of engorgement (Yeah you, Russia, Germany, Canada!). It doesn't matter if your firms are better equipped at providing the service, you don't get to play. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.

Riddle me this, Calamity and Holmes: if America can provide better services cheaper, then why not open the bidding to everybody? We'd mop up the contracts anyhow. And... isn't this move a blatant admission that rebuilding contracts are fat deals that we will use to reward buddies and punish enemies? Who cares about the best value for the Iraqi people and the American taxpayers? certainly not 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Turkey for the Troops
Well, well, well. The guys who came up with the Fighter Pilot Bush action figure thought they could do an encore. Bush eating Thanksgiving with troops in the field? Brilliant. So Airforce One gets a Groucho mustache and they sneak him into the temporarily heavily fortified Baghdad airport Admirals' Club to shoot the shit with the RPG fodder while the cameras roll. Once American babes see the Commander in Chief with fatigues and sweat and stuff, they'll all swoon and cream their Hanes Her Ways. But what was supposed to be another brilliant PR coup came off instead as a shallow and pathetic attempt to curry favor with an American public growing predictably impatient with an international mess with no good options. Careful polling and analysis reveals this impression was based on the finding that the stunt was in fact, a shallow and pathetic attempt to curry favor with an American public growing predictably impatient with an international mess with no good options.

The ultimate irony is that GOP can state, with some validity, that the Dems can't offer any good answers to the Iraq quagmire. Neither can Bush, but that's beside the point. In creating the mess in Iraq, the GOP is in the position of exposing any plan for Iraq as unviable, since frankly, the success path, if it exists, is costly, very long term and more to the point, anybody's guess.

Pre-emptive Killing
Brilliant new strategy for Rumsfeld! Kill terrorists when they're still children, before they even start to get brainwashed into thinking America is somehow not nice. The Afghani kinder-count of fatalities in the past few days is so shameful and appalling that it's hard to get beyond the sheer horror of our actions. But somehow, in between crocodile tears of soap operatic apology, the Bush administration slyly mitigates the tragedy with the scalp of a supposed Al Qaeda leader.

What they still haven't put into their happy inverse ratio algorithm of USviolence/everybodyelseterror is the fact that the killing of 15 children at the hands of America breeds multitudes more anti-US sentiment than any AQ leader could muster. America's actions, under the stewardship of George W. Botch, have stunningly turned world opinion one hundred eighty degrees, from America as victim of a undeserved attack to America as perpetrator of terror.

"So what?" answer the AM radiots. We don't need to please the other 95% of the world. If they don't like it, what are they going to do? We hold all the cards!

The Power of Pride goeth before a fall.

Is Dean the Guy?
So Al Gore gave the ultimate snub to Joe Leiberman by embracing Howzer. The only thing that matters is that someone, anyone, derail the policies of Bush that seeks to transform America into a financially and morally corrupt cesspool both reviled and feared throughout the world. Is Dean the guy to do it? I sure hope so, although one senses that a well supported Clarke campaign would be very tempting to the undecided center and the queasy GOPsters.

But Goddammit, it's time for the Dems to stop doing Karl Rove's job for him!!! Instead of circling the wagons, the Dem contenders are taking pot shots at the front runner! In a recent gathering of the candidates, a showing of handlessness revealed that only one candidate, the good doctor, saw Dean as a viable threat to Bush. That is piss poor politics, you buncha self-serving whiny... whoops, now I am doing it. Please Dems, the differences between you are quibbling compared to the gulf between what's best for American and the GOP view of the world as a plunderable and disposable playground for American greed.

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