Leaving it to the pros

Sorry I have been terse and monosyllabic lately. When I get like this at home, She Who is Most Sane and Lovely always says “Is something wrong, sweetie?”

(I have yet to come up with a good answer for that question, by the way. Something usually is wrong, but if I am being terse and monosyllabic about it, it is probably something so remote to my daily life that there’s nothing I actually CAN do about it, so I am mulling over it… chewing on it like a dog worries an old chop bone.)

In the meantime, (speaking of things remote to me and out of my control) David Ignatius has this to say over at the WaPo OpEd:

When I hear U.S. officials describe the suicides of three Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay last Saturday as “asymmetric warfare” and “a good PR move,” I know it’s time to close that camp — not just because of what it’s doing to the prisoners but because of how it is dehumanizing the American captors.

The American officials spoke of the dead prisoners as if they inhabited a different moral universe. That’s what war does: People stop seeing their enemies as human beings and consign them to a different category. It was discomfiting to see this indifference stated so bluntly, and subsequent U.S. statements tactfully disavowed the initial ones.

Really, I have been trying to find a handle on the whole assertion that committing suicide could ever be construed as a PR move. I mean, amongst the musicians I know, we have joked that perhaps one of us should OD as a career move, but, y’know, oddly enough, we didn’t ACTUALLY MEAN IT.

There’s a giant vacuum somewhere, and it’s sucking the humanity of us.

Has everyone seen this?

A friend on the Left Coast sent this to me in an email this week. I thought you folks might enjoy it if you haven’t seen it already.

Common oversights by close minded people living in fear:

1. Putting a ‘face’ to villainy: Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.

2. International trade aggreements: Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony (not to mention, vital to the well being of rich corporate americas fat pockets)

3. Believing that unity matters: In reality, the UN has accomplished nothing, and lets put this in a time frame: EVER! The United States government has repeatedly told us that they are wasting time and money being a part of a worthless actionless organization and should get out of the United Nations all together, and yet our highest national priority right now is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq and now Iran as if we have the right to tell another country what they can and cant do just because we belong to some ‘world’ organization, when it is convenient for us.

4. Personal Responsibility: A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

5. Religious Hypocrites: Jesus loves you, and he shares your mindless pointless hatred of homosexuals (which in reality is actually self loathing).

6. Support Our Troops: The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay, and by putting stickers on your car while never actually thinking about them, and by wearing yellow ribbons that mean nothing while denying the truth and not paying benefits to over 7,000 families of US troops.

7. Sex Education: If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex. (Ignore the problem and it will go away)

8. International Support: A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

9. National HealthCare: Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy because it makes us think that they will actually like us at some point, which they never will. Yet, providing health care to all Americans is still considered socialism.

10. Scientific Fact: Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

11. Presidential Words: A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, while a president knowingly and willfully lying about another country having weapons of mass destruction so we can illegally invade them is completely fine and no one should even try to impeach him.

12. Using Politics for Personal Gain: Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

13. Personal Records of Public Figureheads: The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s driving record is none of our business.

14. Popularity and Religion: Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.

15. History is History: What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.

Sweet. Otis Redding’s birthday will be a national holiday!

That’s my first decree as Adviser to the President.

Back when I bought a house, The President told me “You’re never going to have a free weekend again.”

Boy, was he right. This weekend, noah, e p o n y m o u s and I scraped and primered about half of my old farmhouse. Boy, does a coat of white primer make a shabby little farmhouse look fresh and new. On the advice of a friend, I went ahead and bought the more expensive American Tradition primer at Lowes. That stuff really fills in the cracks. It’s like priming with liquid caulk! It means I have to do a lot LESS scraping, too, which is a bonus.

But it’s not finished, and I feel like not being in my chair at work… I would much rather be getting the house taken care of.

a brief clarification

I got an email from a dear friend that said, essentially, aren’t you happy that al Zarqawi is dead?

Yeah sure. He was a real piece of shit, of course.

But, as I said in my email back to him:

To be sure, I have no sympathy for al Zarqawi, and would have cheerfully killed him with a garden spade or a hammer, if I had one handy.

But the Iraq war created that monster. I am cynical about what, if anything, it will avail in any real sense in the long term.

That’s all.

I think any chest beating at this point is about a thousand Shiite Iraqis too late, since al Zarqawi is one of the prime instigators in the civil war.

It’s like George Bush was contracted to paint my house, and instead he found a way to flood it from a nearby creek. After destroying the foundation, the plaster walls, the floors and breaking all the windows, now he comes running out to tell me “Hey, I caught the catfish in your bedroom!!”

Yay, us.

Double-plus good news!

The voice from the telescreen paused. A trumpet call, clear and beautiful, floated into the stagnant air. The voice continued raspingly:

‘Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived from the Malabar front. Our forces in South India have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end. Here is the newsflash -‘

Bad news coming, thought Winston. And sure enough, following on a gory description of the annihilation of a Eurasian army, with stupendous figures of killed and prisoners, came the announcement that, as from next week, the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty.

Winston belched again. The gin was wearing off, leaving a deflated feeling.

Somebody say something funny.

Or otherwise enlightening.

I dunno. I am sort of skimming paragraphs that read like this:

Busby lost by 4.5%, but it took the Republicans a lot of money to get it done. The good omen in the race seems to suggest that Busby had a shift of 18% her way from the last time she ran. As Bowers states, if that happens across the country in November, we’ll have a rout. Independents are falling heavily for Democrats, but as others who follow these things for a living have said, turn out was abysmal.

Apologies to Taylor Marsh for what’s about to come (because I respect your work and your optimism… I REALLY DO…) but fucking shit this sort of thing depresses me.

We’re spending an inordinate amount of time and resources rampaging towards the middle in our elections in this country. There’s some magic percentage of “undecided” voters that “centrist” candidates are chasing, and frankly all I can say is “Fuck those people.” Who, in the brave year of 2006 can look at a television news program for longer than an hour and think “Oh, ho-hum, who shall I vote for? I am undecided!”??

I know that Markos wants to form coalitions and work the local races and Crash the Gates through the ballot box, but when I read stories like this in the local paper:

Athens Regional Medical Center can charge uninsured patients higher rates than patients who do have health insurance, a state appeals court has ruled.

In a decision handed down May 26, the Georgia Court of Appeals said the practice violates no state laws.

The court’s ruling upheld a July 21 decision by Clarke County Superior Court Judge Lawton Stephens, who dismissed a 2004 lawsuit brought by five former ARMC patients.

“The Court of Appeals says Athens Regional does completely what they’re supposed to do under Georgia law,” said Ed Allen, a lawyer for Athens Regional Medical Center.

Lawyers for the five former ARMC patients said the dual-pricing system is unfair and fraudulent and should be declared illegal, partly because the burden of the higher charges falls disproportionately on poor people and minorities, those least able to pay.

Among the plaintiffs were Mercer Cox, charged $941.60 for ointment and a bandage in ARMC’s emergency room for a minor burn; Keith Hambrick, charged about $8,500 for a two-hour outpatient hernia operation – not counting what the surgeon charged; and John Wilson, charged $10,650.26 for a one-day hospitalization for a cardiac catheterization.

The hospital did not dispute that it charges more to uninsured patients, but maintained that the law doesn’t prohibit the price structure.

I just despair that we’re ever going to see candidates who are going to be able to get past the corporate media’s distortions and slavering obeisance to power and the status quo. I just don’t know how real fundamental change is possible if we have to squeak by on margins of “undecideds” when there are clearly so MANY COMPLETELY FUCKED UP THINGS GOING ON, and anyone with half a brain could see that.

Shorter US Healthcare System: Fuck the poor. Those insurance companies have mean lawyers and they won’t pay for stuff. Poor people? FUCK YOU.

I am having a little trouble getting enthused about electoral returns right now, unless there’s a headline that says “Angry mob of 100,000 moves on Washington.”

I just don’t know how this country got this fucked up, but I don’t think that the DNC has any plan to fix it.