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Chronicling the new Empire of America, the uber-Bully.

26 May 2003

Turd of the Week

Chrissy Todd Whiteman, you may have been a voice of pseudo- moderation in an otherwise environmentally hostile White House, but girl, you gotta take your ass-spankin' on the way out the door. The atmosphere is considerably worse off since you came on board, largely due to air quality standards you butchered.

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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...

 

Jayson Blair and Jessica Lynch
What a bitter pill for the New York Times faithful! The exaggeration, wholesale fabrication and plagiarism employed by a staff reporter for the Times left many of us gasping in disbelief that the gray lady would allow rampant mistruths to go unchecked for so long. It is reassuring to see the Times ultimately caught the journalistic travesty and embark on a healthy journal of self-analysis with a hint of self-flagellation. Meanwhile, Mr. Blair's punishment? He's shopping for a book deal... <sigh> I guess Janet Cook struck a couple decades too soon to hit the big money.

Meanwhile, the Jessica Lynch story has all but completely unraveled with the mainstream media quietly admitting the heroism angle pilfered every trick from Jayson Blair's media kit. Exaggeration? Yep, that firefight at the hospital was actually in the general vicinity of the hospital, not exactly in the hospital as originally reported. Fabrication? The gunshot and stab wounds of Cpl. Lynch? Well, they were impact lacerations. Serious yes, but earned in hand-to-hand combat they were not. Plagiarism? Well, as the BBC revealed, the US military had consulted with Hollywood directors to ensure the heroism was custom-tailored for the cinematically accustomed audience.

Are the Washington Post and other media providers experiencing the same castigation as the quasi-liberal NYTimes? Are you serious?

Professor Pissed - Back, Pissed and Ready to Ship Out!
Code Purple
I've been just sitting back watching things calm down now that the U.S. is not actively bombing the hell out of some Middle Eastern country where an evil dictator is supposedly hiding from us. I was wondering how long it would take the Bush administration to issue another code orange (red, yellow, whatever) warning -- these alarms, of course, being necessary to maintain the level of fear that ensures they will have carte blanche (excuse the unpatriotic French term) to erode civil liberties. Only a few weeks after we heroically "conquered" Baghdad -- not bad.

The code orange mentality gives the administration and their tentacular, insidious strands of power (Jeb Bush in Florida, Bush cousin managing Fox News, Clear Channel execs following their lead, etc.) the mandate to suggest that any criticism of their policies is unpatriotic or, at least, indecorous. So Michael Moore was chastised for making his "embarrassing" overly political (and anti-war) comments at the Academy Awards. So Laura Bush (designated first lady by her husband's theft of the 2000 election) exhorted the Georgetown nursing school grads (see the LA Times, May 18) to focus on the personal not the political --as well she might. For, if we paid attention to the political, we'd see exactly what these power-mongers (greedy for money perhaps even more than pure political advantage) are up to.

So much for the 1970s ideals promoted by feminism and other rights movements -- that every personal act and experience has a political dimension. Laura Bush's advice to "Take time for yourself.... Order a full-fat latte" (no kidding -- it's printed right there verbatim on p. A32) thus seals the Republican ideal, promoted first by Reagan during his presidency, that it's perfectly OK to be selfish and think only of your own needs. Not only OK, it's actually proof of your patriotism. Goshdarnit, we aren't going to let some towel-heads tell us how much oil we can have. And, if you're fat, all the better -- it's American to consume in excess.

So, for those Americans who are sick and tired of thinking about the needs of others, and of questioning their own choices as inevitably having political (as well as economic, environmental, etc.) consequences, the Bush family's message is surely welcome. Now, we can all just wallow in our personal needs and desires without guilt or concern for others. I'm running over to Starbucks right now for my full-fat latte, my tattered American flag flying off the roof of my Hummer.


Professor Pissed has finally had enough. She's packing up Jed, Jethro and Ellie May and moving overseas where her politics will find more harmonious hospitality.

Four Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero
That's the amount folks, that the Bush and congressional patsys' tax plans will cumulatively reduce the federal coffers by over the next nine years. Hooray! say the conservatives who view every dollar of tax collected as discriminating against the sweat and dreams of hard working Americans. The logic continues that Americans able to retain their money will patriotically "invest" in all-terrain vehicles, colorful sneakers and Franklin Mint freedom-eagle-twin-tower figurines for every household's bravery shrine (most of these items no doubt manufactured in southeast Asia or Chinese prison factories to complete the irony continuum). These investments will selflessly serve as a catalyst to stoke the national economy into fiscal steam roller, devouring nations in its path. The less we collect in taxes, the more jobs will be created, until we become infinitely efficient by collecting no taxes and keeping all the money in the patriotic infraeconomy. And they all lived happily ever after.

Great vision, as long as you assume the spending goes down by $4,000,000,000,000,000, or something reasonably close to it. Whoops.

Where are the jobs created by the 2001 tax cuts? the 2002 tax cuts? Ahh, but the not-so-secret Bush strategy for job creation is the deliberate devaluing of the dollar. That's right. By making disingenuously discouraging statements about American views of international fiscal policy, the Treasury and State departments are driving the dollar down from relative strength to a tattered currency that shrinks in the face of the Euro and Asian currency. Well, that's a good thing, right? It means American goods will be cheaper on the international market which will drive up global demand, thus creating a demand for hiring. So what if we can't afford that Parisian vacation? Who wants to go to cheese eatin' peace freak land when we gots an Eiffel tower in Vegas?

The problems are a little more complicated. First of all if we think our manufacturing can cost-compete with the ever marginalized, yet increasingly savvy third-world labor forces, we're kidding ourselves. Same for the service industry, as more and more services are being shipped to India, Malaysia, etc... Do we really want to compete with those countries on a wage basis? Then, there's the little issue of consumption. Foreign goods will cost more. Sure we can forgo those little tins of canned clams from South Korean, but with more and more large goods being built from global parts, our overhead grows.

We used to be able to compete despite higher labor costs because we were better trained and more ingenious. I guess we have to rely on the significant investments in our education system to continue that trend.

Oops.

Iraqn
Well, well, well. The Rumsfeld led department of defensiveness has ordered up an investigation into intelligence gathering that may, although probably not because we're going to find a thermos of deadly toxins if I have to plant one there myself, by God, have slightly, though believe me that Saddama bin Laden guy is one evil mofo and certainly deserving of having his countrymen, women and children blown to bits, exaggerated the imminent menace posed by the thousands of guys on camelback with rusty machine guns.

Particularly interesting in all this is that Rumsfeld, did I mention he is never wrong?, did not accept the mainstream intelligence community's assessment of Iraq's low-grade risk. Instead, Rummy ordered up his own intelligence gathering with instructed bias toward disproving those who were more objective about invading Iraq. In the end, Rummy chose his own pre-biased sources over the CIA and NSA, both of whom were unable to present the compelling threat of imminent danger that Rummy sought to portray.

Not that America particularly cares, but the investigation will be an interesting one, although the question must be asked: What instructions did Rummy give this team of investigator investigators that will yield a favorable outcome? It is hard to imagine a conclusion from this team that avoids excoriating Rummy's squad of private dicks and Rummy's own interpretation of their findings, unless of course, there is a cynical attempt to taint that investigation. But that would never happen in America, would it now? Of course, if it does, rest assured we'll order an investigation of the investigator investigators.

Meanwhile back at the pentagon, Rummy is rattling the sabre, this time toward Iran, as harboring weapons of mass destruction and cohorting with Al Qaeada. Is there an echo in here?

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