Saturday, May 19, 2007

What is that paper
Flying over springtime fields?
Oh, my happy girl.


Postcard From The Museum of Scientism

For Hecate
Posted by olvlzl.
Though it was perfectly all right, “Robot” (1974-75) was not my favorite Dr. Who series. For one thing it didn’t have Leelah or the first Romana. As with the first Lois Lane, I’ve always liked a woman who didn’t have any trouble putting the male leads in their place. Compared to the first one, the second Lois Lane always seemed to me like she’d had a lobotomy.

Anyway, in “Robot” Sara Jane Smith, the reporter and traveling companion of The Dr, is snooping around a meeting of the “Scientific Reform Society”. She’s gotten wind that they have hatched a plot to use an invincible robot for world domination*. Talking with the snooty, stuck-up geek who is checking credentials at the door about the Society she asks him about their plans to reform society. He makes an observation about the “unsuitability” of her outfit. She replies that what she wears is her business. “For the time being”, was the smug and sinisterly suggestive reply. At least that’s how I remember the exchange going. Rule by those clever scientists with the intent to control our lives is a mainstay of paranoid sci-fi and spoofs of such.

I’ve hurt a few feelings by publicly doubting that some of those clever scientists would be practical enough to rule much of anything in the real world. Though some of them could definitely make good legislators**. It does sort of get up my nose when they assume, as one of my adversaries from here a while back stated baldly, that non-scientists “must accept scientific authority” unquestioned.

You'll be glad to know I've cooled down and have decided to hold back on that 900 word post I threatened here the other night. The subject was the pervasive superstition of scientism*** among those who believe themselves beyond superstition.

I’ll just leave it at this. Is anyone else getting tired of the materialist bullies of the blogs telling everyone what to think? Are peoples’ personal thoughts and beliefs any of their damned business? Aren’t you getting tired of hearing how much smarter they are than you? Especially when they are in the process of proving themselves to be quite stupid as they say it?

* Interestingly, for the time, it’s a female scientist, the director of Think Tank, Miss Hilda Winters, who is the ring leader of the plot. She wears glasses.

** The governorship of Dixy Lee Ray in Washington doesn’t lead me to suspect that they should immediately be assumed to make good executives in government. Though not properly a scientist, ex-Sen. Frist is, perhaps, also a caution.

*** 2. an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science to explain social or psychological phenomena, to solve pressing human problems, or to provide a comprehensive, unified picture of the meaning of the cosmos. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary 8th edition

For more, go to a good print dictionary, preferably a philosophical encyclopedia. The Wiki article on scientism is rather hilariously biased in favor of scientism while kind of denying it exists. Try asking a devotee of this absurd idea to locate “the separation of church and state” with science and see what happens. I did recently and the results were hilarious. If you think that kind of thing is funny. Once its presence occurs to you, I believe you will notice that scientism is one of the superstitions that is endemic on the leftist blogs and in the general society.

Like many words “scientism” has recently been used and distorted by creationists. I am also researching a post to demonstrate that creationists are far from stupid and have proven themselves very able to turn the words of scientists against science. I’ll try to hold that one to under a thousand words. I do want someone to read it.

Bonus Outakes Blooper: Took me a while to catch this one.

"I’ve always liked a woman who didn’t have any trouble putting the males lead in their place."

Go Look At A Great Blog Before it Goes Extinct

Posted by olvlzl.
If you want to see an unusually fine and original blog while it's still alive you should go and look at Subversive Christianity before it stops publishing tomorrow. For fairness, great writing, and unusual, enlightening point of view there are few blogs that can match it. At one point The Deacon said something about taking down the content, leaving only the very useful Peace Calendar up. You might want to look through its too short archive before then. I only stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago and feel like I jinxed it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Kudos to Forbes

For actually talking about a study which finds that boys and girls are pretty much the same in how their brains develop. I was beginning to think that no such study will ever be popularized.

Are Working Fathers To Blame For Childhood Obesity?

A headline you will never see on television. But you do see the same thing with "mothers" replaced for "fathers". NTodd alerted me to today's version:

CHETRY: This just another case of blame mom for everything? Could working mothers be responsible for kids getting fatter? Well, it's a controversial theory that Doctor Sanjay Gupta takes a look at in today's "Fit Nation" report.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, good morning, Kiran. I was a little -- talk about blaming women. I have to be a little careful here.

Women have been blamed for everything going back to the Garden of Eden for sure. But we're taking a look at some -- some people believe that working mothers may actually be contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic. We decided to take a look at this controversial theory.


SINGER: Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin' --

GUPTA (voice over): Working 9 to 5 was a movie and a mantra in the 1980s, as American women entered the workforce en masse. That's about the same time that American kids started packing on the pounds.

TERRY MASON, CHICAGO PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We saw that started to happen and you could track childhood obesity and there was a direct correlation.

GUPTA: So, did working women lead to chubbier children? Well, 16 percent of children six and older are overweight. That is triple the number from 1980.

LEW FULLER, OBESITY SOCIETY: We don't have the traditional approach of a woman being at home, cooking dinner, taking care of the kids, getting the kids outside and getting the kids exercise.

GUPTA: Families now eat out an average of four times a week, a big jump from 30 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a working mom, I do find myself taking my children out to McDonald's and fast food a lot because when I get back after the commute, I'm too tired to fix those meals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that blaming women for childhood obesity is absolutely ridiculous.

GUPTA: Others say obesity may be caused by a variety of factors.

My pet theory is that childhood obesity is caused by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Now you can go out and say "some people" say that Gupta causes fat kids. As there is no research evidence on this question my guess is as good as his. And it has the added advantage of not slamming poor women who sometimes work two jobs to put food on the table.

This would be a good time to promote my piece on how research into gender roles is popularized in the media.
You can comment on the program here.

Clouds in the East

I'm not happy with the recent events in Russia or in Estonia. Vladimir Putin is not a fan of democracy and the Russians don't have a long history of democratic participation to help them in resisting his push towards czarism.

Worth Reading

Scout prime writes about a murder case on an American base in Iceland:

Ashley Turner was murdered on August 14th, 2005 at the US Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland. Turner was murdered 8 days before she was to testfy in the court martial of fellow Airman Calvin Eugene Hill who was accused of stealing her ATM card and withdrawing $2700, an act apparently caught on an ATM video. However inexplicably Airman Hill had not been placed in a holding facility and Ashley Turner "had been ordered to live in the same dorm as a man she was scheduled to testify against for stealing from her." Hill was eventually charged with Turner's murder with prosecutors claiming "Hill hunted her down, slammed an exercise weight into her face, dragged her body into the spare room and then attacked her with a knife." Ashley's blood was found on one of Hill's shoelaces. An Army private testified that Hill had confessed the crime to him in the jail cell they shared in Germany. But despite motive and the evidence Hill was found not guilty of her murder on Wednesday.

It is a worrisome story, and I fear that stories like that might become more common now that the military is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find enough recruits.

Get Your Own Cat And Friday Grumblings

I'm not talking about real cats here, though those are excellent, of course. But you can get Felix, a cat which lives on your desktop.

Then the grumblings. I have a wonderful post idea but I'm not up to doing the research for it yet and by the time I am ready and able something else is the focus of the public conversation. Blogging really is like doing the dishes and wiping the counters every day, just to wake up to the same chores. And the only time anybody notices is when the dishes pile up and the counters get grubby.

On The Immigration Bill

Ezra has a post up on TAPPED about the politics and policy details of the bill. I don't feel adequately geeky to contribute to that discussion. But I have some general ideas about the immigration debate in the United States.

First, because the immigration is almost totally from the south of the border the debate often becomes mixed with racism and a certain kind of classism, given that it is mostly the poor who immigrate. Second, the debate about illegal immigrants tends to be about immigration and racism and similar issues, as much as it is about the illegal status of certain immigrants. Third, the whole question of immigration looks very different for people who live in the American south than it does for the rest of us, simply because the largest concentration of recent immigrants will be there and the largest societal changes will take place there, too.

Fourth, because illegal immigrants are also extremely cheap labor, the Republicans have a divided base problem in addressing this issue. The employers need cheap labor, but some in the base see the cheap labor as taking their livelihood away from them. Fifth, the Democrats also have a divided base problem, as some Democrats believe in the free movement of all individuals across the borders and others believe that some people shouldn't skip the line and get into the country that way.

I have some sympathies for both the pro-immigration and the anti-immigration camps. You might be surprised to hear about the latter. But it is very difficult for people to experience rapid societal change in a very short period of time, and that is what happens when immigration continues rapidly and when the immigrants gather in one area. The society changes equally rapidly, and those who live in the area find their neighborhood quite different. The effect is very much like an externality in economic jargon: an effect (either positive or negative) caused by something other people do for which you are not compensated or required to pay. Such effects are small when immigration is but a trickle. They only start to matter when immigration is strong and affects certain areas disproportionately. Illegal immigration by its very nature is controlled and therefore more likely to cause such effects.

But my sympathies for the poor who migrate in search of a better economic future are even stronger. Sadly, I can't see a real solution to the immigration problem as long as the United States sits side by side with countries which are much poorer and offer few opportunities for the bulk of their people.

Untamed Beauty

A different kind of beauty pageant from Iceland. Check out the contestants. Then check out who won.
Stolen from Princess.

Buh-Bye, Little Wolf

Paul D. Wolfowitz is resigning, effective June 30, from the job of presidenting the World Bank. The president of the World Bank has been traditionally a job for the U.S. president to hand out, while the similar job in the sister organization, the International Monetary Fund, has been something for the European silverbacks to use as a reward. So do our political systems work. Meritocracy? Heh.

In any case, Wolfie was not beloved by the World Bank staff. When word of his resignation spread:

Staff members described a celebratory mood inside the World Bank's headquarters near the White House, with people embracing, singing songs and hoisting flutes of Champagne.

The ethics scandal that ultimately brought down Wolfowitz was merely the latest in a long list of his infractions in the eyes of many staff members, who accused Wolfowitz of insulating himself behind tyrannical aides, disregarding the counsel of veteran bank officers and running the bank as an adjunct of the Bush administration.

Sound familiar? There must be a textbook somewhere on how to be a good wingnut administrator: Destroy what you are appointed to manage by ignoring the goals of the organizations and all its accumulated knowledge. Then alienate everybody by your arrogance. The next step would be to set up fidelity tests consisting of the person's views on abortion, but perhaps little Wolf didn't get to that point yet.

It is all very sad in some ways, and not the least in the way this whole debacle belittles the poor the World Bank is supposed to serve.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Melanie Morgan and the PBS

Melanie Morgan will not be invited back to the PBS' News Hour because of the complaints from the viewers about her rudeness. Morgan is a right-wing radio talk show host who once said that she:

"would have no problem" with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller "being sent to the gas chamber" if he "were to be tried and convicted of treason" for the paper's reporting of a Treasury Department program that monitors international financial transactions for terrorist activity.

I am glad to know that saying such things wasn't held against her by the PBS and that she got one chance to perform on the News Hour. Glad, because I am a blogger and we are well known to be uncouth and vicious, yet some of us may still harbor the dream of meeting David Brooks in person. PBS has shown itself capable of facing the challenge.

More seriously, Morgan's presence at the show had probably more to do with the conservative takeover of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and its effects, as exemplified by the past reign of Kenneth Tomlinson. But the political winds might be changing.
Image from Possibly cross-posted at the TAPPED (don't know yet).

More on Feckless Feminists

I should trademark that, because it sounds good. The word "feckless" is what the Christina Hoff Sommers called American feminists in her recent piece. She singled out Katha Pollitt as one of those feckless belly-button-focused feminists. Yes, the same Katha Pollitt whose most recent column in the Nation magazine is on the videotaped stoning of a young woman in Iraq and on the lack of women's rights in that country in general. Pollitt points out that the American invasion has made things worse for the women of that country, both because the general lawlessness allows crimes against women to take place pretty openly and because the occupation has strengthened the hands of all those political participants who really don't like women to exist outside the house. Religious extremism flourishes and the number of honor killings is on the rise.

Now the American invasion was carried out by people in Sommers' own political party, and some of them justified the invasion as a way to improve the position of women in Iraq. But oddly, it is just the American feminists who are responsible for women all over the world. Not the governments of countries and certainly not Republican anti-feminist women.

Yes, But What Does He Really Think?

Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell. Hitchens gets a little heated.

Added later: Chris Matthews blew his stack, too, on another topic related to the conservatives: Iraq. It seems that he can actually be incisive when he wants to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oh My!

If you haven't read my piece on how research on women and gender roles gets a selective form of popularization, you should do that first. Then read this USAToday article, which came out right before the Mother's Day celebrations! I love the way working mothers are stabbed in the back just a few days before receiving flowers and breakfast. Nice.

Note that the article begins like this:

Companies that woo and retain employees by offering mothers flexible schedules may not anticipate a backlash from others who consider it unfair.

A survey out this week and timed for Mother's Day exposure, shows that 20% of women and 25% of men say, "I am often left picking up the slack for my co-workers who are moms."

Then the article invites people to comment on:

YOUR OPINION: Is flex time for mothers good or bad for the office?

Mmm. Eighty percent of women and seventy-five percent of men answered that picking-up-slack question negatively, but that is not the headline. The headline is about the minority who did not. Suppose that we had asked people at the office how often they have to pick up slack because their bosses have gone golfing? What do you think the percentages might have been? But we don't ask such uncouth questions.

Me: Feckless and Fatigued

Christine Hoff Sommers, the self-appointed conscience of American feminism, has written a critique of the feckless feminists for the Weekly Standard. When the Weekly Standard prints anything on feminism or women rights you can be prepared to hear something negative. This I have learned by the simple expedient of reading the paper!

Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (I'm fascinated by the term "resident" and imagine her camping out at the office). Her task is to bash feminism, and to that effect she has written a book about how feminism hurts boys at school and also an earlier book about who stole feminism. That book got her the job with the wingnut boys.

Explaining Sommers' purpose in life is important for the proper understanding of what she writes in the most recent piece. Her major argument is that American feminists have let down the cause of women's equality because they are not creating a mass movement to save Muslim women from the oppression so many of them experience, but are instead frittering away their time at attacking the very fair American gender system. Her evidence consists of looking at what feminist organizations designed for addressing problems within the United States do, and, lo and behold!, they indeed don't talk much about the plight of Muslim women in other countries. A little Googling could have given her some of the many websites which are involved in the very work she argues is not being done.

And who are the evil feminists who don't carry out the tasks Sommers would assign them? Katha Pollitt gets several mentions. This is very weird indeed as Pollitt has been one of the most vocal critics of the oppression of women within Islam.

I am very tired of taking down the straw-feminist the wingnuts keep erecting. It is so easy to make an argument like that if you don't care about the proof. To take it down you must show that the proof is lacking. Then the next round of straw-building starts. What also helps in all this is the almost-total darkness in which the mainstream media chooses to keep feminism in this country. Only voices like those of Sommers get instant media attention.

The fatigue is why I proposed a different approach to this whole problem: Let Christine Hoff Sommers do the work she thinks is not being done. She has money from the American Enterprise Institute and an office in which she resides. She can write a long book about the plight of Muslim women everywhere and about the ways she can free them or help to free them. She could grab a pen and do some feminist work for a change. I'm willing to be her self-appointed conscience, to keep her working on the correct topics. I can write articles telling where she goes wrong. We feminists will welcome her with open arms to do the work that needs doing.

Come to think of it, where she has gone wrong already is in her life's task of killing feminism. Once feminism is all dead and done for in the U.S., the women under Islam will be so much better off, right?
A post-script: I have more to say about some of Sommers' arguments when I've replenished my now-depleted fecklessness levels.

Today's Action Alert

An e-mail from ACLU says this:

Late yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Representatives Michael Michaud (D - ME) and Tim Ryan (D - OH) the green light to offer their amendment to the
Department of Defense reauthorization bill that would restore emergency contraception to the pharmacy formulary, or list of available medications, on military bases worldwide.

What does that mean? If the amendment passes, American military women stationed in the U.S. and abroad will once again have access to emergency contraceptives that can help prevent unintended pregnancy if taken quickly and correctly after sex or sexual assault.

For military women stationed abroad, with limited access to reproductive health services, this is a vitally important vote. A vote is expected tonight or tomorrow. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard now at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your member of Congress - urge him or her to support the Michaud/Ryan amendment to the DoD reauthorization bill currently on the floor.

Emergency contraception is not currently available at many military health care
facilities. Instead, each base commander determines what will be stocked on their
individual bases.

Springtime Reading

There are always stories that don't get quite the attention they receive because something else takes the foreground in our public discussions. Right now it is the death of Jerry Falwell that is the focus of much attention, but I'd be remiss not to recommend for your attention this riveting story about the chauffeur-driven cars racing towards the hospital where John Ashcroft was lying, semi-conscious, and the events surrounding the car chases. Reading it is well worth the few minutes of your life it takes.

If you like irony and laughing at the way we humans stumble through our lives, how about an article which starts like this:

A senior lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers nominated by President Bush to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission will receive a $150,000 departing payment from the association when he takes his new government job, which involves enforcing consumer laws against members of the association.

Either the National Association of Manufacturers are truly enlightened beings or something else is in the works.

Who needs fiction to stay entertained, these days?
Cross-posted at the TAPPED.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerrry Falwell, RIP

Has died.

Here are some quotes from him:

I listen to feminists and all these radical gals - most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men - that's their problem. ~Jerry Falwell

And we're going to invite PETA [to "Wild Game Night"] as our special guest, P-E-T-A -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We want you to come, we're going to give you a top seat there, so you can sit there and suffer. This is one of my special groups, another one's the ACLU, another is the NOW -- the National Order of Witches [sic]. We've got -- I've got a lot of special groups.

Some Waffle

Still on the sinus treatment. It makes me tired, as if I'm sitting at the bottom of a very deep dry well, looking up. Quite enjoyable, too, in an odd way, almost like a vacation. Which reminds me that I do need one and will take a week off at the end of this month from blogging, most likely from 23rd to 29th. Olvlzl and other interesting guest posters will entertain you, I hope.

Some of you may not know that I also blog at the TAPPED. Mostly the posts there are different and more nerdy or geeky, though not always. So.

Meanwhile, at the Plantation

I'm going to get into trouble for that headline. It is a reference to this quote:

On her last day in the Civil Rights Division's voting rights section, an African-American 33-year veteran of the Justice Department wanted to send her colleagues a message: "I leave with fond memories of the Voting Section I once knew," she wrote, "and I am gladly escaping the 'Plantation' it has become. For my colleagues still under the 'whip', hold on - 'The Times They are A Changing.'"

The woman, who retired in late December of last year, was not alone in seeing racial discrimination in the Civil Rights Division and the voting rights section in particular. The section, which is charged with protecting the voting rights of minorities, has seen a dramatic drain in African-American staff over the past few years. And a number of those who have remained have alleged discrimination -- according to a knowledgable source, at least two African-American employees have filed Equal Employment Opportunity complaints against their supervisors, claiming they've routinely been passed over for promotions given to white staff.

How extremely odd it all sounds. Surreal, in fact. Of course asserting discrimination does not mean that it has been proven, but that two employees have filed complaints does raise a few eyebrows (or scales) here at the Snakepit Inc., and also makes me determined to follow the story carefully.

These stories about the Bush administration employment policies can be conveniently filed under "Fox and the Henhouses".

Monday, May 14, 2007

Voter Fraud and Prosecutor Firings: The Plot Thickens

Here is what the Washington Post says about the connection:

Nearly half the U.S. attorneys slated for removal by the administration last year were targets of Republican complaints that they were lax on voter fraud, including efforts by presidential adviser Karl Rove to encourage more prosecutions of election- law violations, according to new documents and interviews.

Of the 12 U.S. attorneys known to have been dismissed or considered for removal last year, five were identified by Rove or other administration officials as working in districts that were trouble spots for voter fraud -- Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; New Mexico; Nevada; and Washington state. Four of the five prosecutors in those districts were dismissed.

It has been clear for months that the administration's eagerness to launch voter-fraud prosecutions played a role in some of the firings, but recent testimony, documents and interviews show the issue was more central than previously known. The new details include the names of additional prosecutors who were targeted and other districts that were of concern, as well as previously unknown information about the White House's role.

Just for your clarification: The voter fraud being talked about is not any that the Republicans might have been guilty of. It is Democratic voter fraud.

And then to the really juicy bits:

Rove, in particular, was preoccupied with pressing Gonzales and his aides about alleged voting problems in a handful of battleground states, according to testimony and documents.

Last October, just weeks before the midterm elections, Rove's office sent a 26-page packet to Gonzales's office containing precinct-level voting data about Milwaukee. A Justice aide told congressional investigators that he quickly put the package aside, concerned that taking action would violate strict rules against investigations shortly before elections, according to statements disclosed this week.

Wow! This is a more interesting plot than anything I can find on television, and it is only a small part of the soap opera that used to be called the Department of Justice.

Nina Simone

Vigilant Justice?

I'm not sure what to make of this:

Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections, the White House urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators.

In two instances in October 2006, President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, or his deputies passed the allegations on to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson.

Sampson tapped Gonzales aide Matthew Friedrich, who'd just left his post as chief of staff of the criminal division. In the first case, Friedrich agreed to find out whether Justice officials knew of "rampant" voter fraud or "lax" enforcement in parts of New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and report back.

But Friedrich declined to pursue a related matter from Wisconsin, he told congressional investigators, because an inquiry so close to an election could inappropriately sway voting results. Friedrich decided not to pass the matter on to the criminal division for investigation, even though Sampson gave him a 30-page report prepared by Republican activists that made claims of voting fraud.

Late Thursday night, a Justice Department spokesman disputed McClatchy's characterization, saying that the White House asked for an inquiry, but never ordered an investigation to be opened.

While it was known that Rove and the White House had complained about prosecutors not aggressively investigating voter fraud, Friedrich's testimony suggests that the Justice Department itself was under pressure to open voter fraud cases despite a department policy that discourages such action so close to an election.

Something For You To Read

A longer piece I wrote on how research on gender is popularized. I did a lot of research for the piece and it's pretty good. Well, it is really very, very good.

It tells you why all the research on gender roles we hear about appears to support traditional sexual division of labor, and it dusts off all those pieces that show something different. The ones the mainstream media seldom embraces with any kind of vigor.

How The Pope Thinks

It is educational to study the publicity on Pope Benedict's trip to Brazil. First we learn that politicians who are pro-choice should be excommunicated:

But when an Italian reporter pressed him on whether he agreed that Catholic legislators who voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City should rightfully be considered excommunicated, he caused a fury that led his spokesman to try to downplay his response.

"Yes," Benedict replied. "The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the (canon law) code. It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in Communion with the body of Christ. Thus, they (the bishops) didn't do anything new or anything surprising. Or arbitrary."

Then we learn that priests shouldn't engage in politics. How does one reconcile this? Well, it is easy if you are the pope, I guess. It's certain kinds of politics that are off-limits for priests:

Pope Benedict decried the growing gap between rich and poor in Latin America on Sunday but told priests to stay out of politics even as they fight for social justice.

And check out that latter link for Benedict's opinions on how indigenous people of America were silently longing for the Catholic faith long before the kind invaders arrived. Good stuff.

Well, good stuff if you are a cynic watching the show. Not so good stuff if you care about the people.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

This Must Be Spring Fever

Posted by olvlzl.
The internal clock seems to need a winding. And I could be a lot less listless.
Today I finished planting the things I should have been planting in April.
Now I get to start May, on the 13th. That is if I don't put it off.

Death Throes of Democracy.

Posted by olvlzl.
Why would The American People put up with conservative politicians and other assorted and connected war mongers who blanket the media talking as if they were an inconvenient detail to be overcome or ignored? Bush’s invasion of Iraq is a total disaster, the various PR campaigns that sold and sustained it have fallen apart one after another. Even the sanitizing filter, the corporate media, hasn’t been able to block enough of that reality from a majority of The People. When the Bush cult could point to poll numbers and election successes which suggesting “support for the commander in chief*” they were happy to claim political support for the invasion. Now a war that never passed the truth test has failed the test of time, the various lies used to promote it have worn through and majority of The People have woken up to reality. But the corporate establishment who have been able to change their war slogans on a dime have changed their line on The American People.

Today’s media line is that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is not the business of The American People, it is the business of the generals, or at least of those who haven’t distanced themselves from the disaster and those who respect the law more than their career advancement. It’s turned upside down now. Now the war is held to properly be beyond politics, the only real expression of the popular will. The strict constructionists now see war as none of The Peoples’ business, except when it comes to getting killed and paying. The war is too pure, too noble to allow politics, which is nothing less than the expressed will of The People, to interfere. You wonder what their line will be when the current crop of generals covering for the boy-king have failed. What lie will they sell next?

It has to be noted, once more, that it is the free press, the so called voice of The People, that now carry the Bush lie that The People should just butt out and let the Bush regime and their most recent rotation of generals and flacks drag it out. There are even feelers talking about American military involvement for at least a decade.

This is the line of a late stage and decaying empire, not of a democracy. Democracies fail when the cultures that are their only support turn away from the values necessary to sustain them. We are losing ours pretty fast. Saving it won’t be entertaining, it will be hard work. It won’t be broadcast on TV.

* “Commander in chief” is a phrase that should be expunged from our vocabulary. That’s the title for the leader of a military junta. A media that adopts it for the President of the United States is guilty of treason against democracy.

Make It a Peaceful Mother's Day

Make it mean something.