Tuesday, November 28, 2006
United States v. George W. Bush et. al.
If the indictment and grand jury are hypothetical, the evidence is not. I've prepared for this case, just as I would have done for any other case in my years as a prosecutor, by reviewing all of the available relevant information. In this case, such information consists of witness accounts, the defendants' speeches, public remarks, White House press briefings, interviews, congressional testimony, official documents, all public intelligence reports, and various summaries of intelligence, such as in the reports of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the 9/11 Commission. I've discarded any evidence, however compelling, that is uncorroborated.That's from de la Vega's introduction; TomDispatch will be posting her indictment on Wednesday and her first day of imagined grand jury testimony on Thursday. Read and savor—'cause it's probably as close to justice as these people are ever going to get, at least in this life.
Then, using a sophisticated system of documents piled on every surface in my dining room, I've organized and analyzed the reliable information chronologically, by topic, and by defendant. I've compared what the President and his advisers have said publicly to what they knew and said behind the scenes. Finally, I've presented the case through testimony that will, I hope, make sense and keep everybody awake.
After analyzing this evidence in light of the applicable law, I've determined that we already have more than enough information to allow a reasonable person to conclude that the President conducted a wide-ranging effort to deceive the American people and Congress into supporting a war against Iraq. In other words, in legal terms, there is probable cause to believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States. Probable cause is the standard of proof required for a grand jury to return an indictment. Consequently, we have more than sufficient evidence to warrant indictment of the President and his advisers.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Random Flickr Blogging #1635; or, Biggest, Awfulest Shopping Day of the Year Flickr Blogging
We took our Random Flickr Blogophone out into the great mall called America and asked: What did you get today?
In other news, while there's not a lot to like about Slate, there is David Haglund—who this week has a head's up on a long-overdue collection of films from the underappreciated Preston Sturges. My friend jules turned me on to Sturges—though I still have only seen Hail the Conquering Hero and Sullivan's Travels (and of the latter I mainly remember the lovely, haunted Veronica Lake). I have got to see The Lady Eve:
While Sturges' men have less power than one might expect, his women have more. After making low-budget hits out of McGinty and Christmas in July, Sturges got enough studio money to write a script for Barbara Stanwyck, and he created a role inspired, in part, by his own mother—who began life as the poor, Irish-Catholic Mary Dempsey, then married three times, had Preston, divorced again, sailed to Europe, changed her last name to Desti (insinuating a connection to Italian nobility), and became the boon companion of the trailblazing modernist dancer Isadora Duncan. This example simply couldn't be ignored, and Sturges filled his movies with decisive, adventuresome women—none greater than Stanwyck's Jean Harrington in The Lady Eve.Meanwhile, Dana Stevens has a nice obit for the late, great Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau is in the midst of an interesting story arc wherein the pacifist Reverend Sloan and the three-time war volunteer B.D. team up to confront a classful of clueless brats who love wars—as long as the lower classes have to fight them.
Jean works with her father as a con artist finding dupes on transatlantic cruises. (There are few "traditional" families in Sturges' films.) They find the ultimate sucker in Charles Pike, played by Henry Fonda, son of a beer magnate and devoted ophiologist (he studies snakes)—with whom, of course, Jean falls in love. Sturges milks this scenario for all its Biblical and Freudian worth: Jean's first act is to drop an apple on Pike's head, shortly after which we see him reading a book titled Are Snakes Necessary? The movie is an exemplary comedy of remarriage, depicting the triumph of Jean's wordliness over Pike's outdated prudery: "You don't know much about girls," Jean tells Pike at one point. "The best ones aren't as good as you think they are and the bad ones aren't as bad. Not nearly as bad."
Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!
Labels: Random Flickr Blogging
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
What Goes Around Comes Around
Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist, began life as a slave on Maryland's Eastern Shore. When his owner had trouble with the young, unruly slave, Douglass was sent to Edward Covey, a notorious "slave breaker." Covey's plantation, where physical and psychological torture were standard, was called Mount Misery. Douglass eventually fought back, escaped to the North and went on to change the world. Today Mount Misery is owned by Donald Rumsfeld, the outgoing secretary of defense.I can see it now: when Rummy gets hauled before a human rights tribunal, he pleads demonic possession. "The disembodied spirit of Edward Covey made me do it."
Busy today; be back tomorrow with some Random Flickr Blogging, hopefully. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
This Is How You Talk to Think-tank Sophists
JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Senator McGovern, your powers of logic are failing you. I think it's perfectly appropriate for me, you or anyone else to criticize the policies of the US government or the execution of policies, which is what I was criticizing. But it's an entirely different thing to do what Congressman Kucinich did, which is to criticize and defame the motives of the United States in going into Iraq or anything else, to say that we had evil and sordid motives, that we wanted to kill all these Iraqis in order to steal their oil. That’s what --Read or listen to the whole thing if you dare. Muravchik trots out every tired cliché and smear in the warmonger book, and then has the gall to accuse McGovern of "failing" logic. Note to newly-empowered Democrats: let's have more elected representatives telling off think-tank sophists in public, please.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Who defames the United States? We went into a war based on lies!
JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: That is what Congressman Kucinich said --
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: We went into a war based on lies. Where's the defamation there? You defame the United States when you stand by a policy that says that we should stay in a war that’s based on lies.
JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Congressman Kucinich, you said --
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: You’re sending the people to death based on lies. It's time to tell the truth! The American people want the truth.
JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Congressman Kucinich, will you get off the stump speech and this sort of loaded politician --
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: The American people want the truth! Tell the truth, if you’re capable of it!
Elsewhere, Amy Goodman pauses to remember a terror anniversary that they won't be talking about on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc., and Rolf Potts pauses to remember the 40th anniversary of Ginsberg's magnificent "Wichita Vortex Sutra" (PDF).
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Still Not the News
Message: they don't care. And why should they? These are businesses, after all, and "news" to them is really just filler around advertisements. News costs money; advertisements make money. Small wonder that such outfits don't much care if the one morphs into the other. This is true of local broadcast stations, and it's true of big national cable networks. You can pretend that Tucker Carlson and Wolf Blitzer and Kyra Phillips and Tim Russert and Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly and the like are "journalists" or even "commentators" if you want, but let's face it: their primary job is to fill space around advertisements.
Anyone wondering why television news does such a piss-poor job of keeping us informed about the things that we actually need to know to function as free, informed, autonomous citizens of a democracy would be well advised to keep this harsh fact of life in mind.
Update: freepress.net has an action page for those interested in telling the FCC that they ought to take this violation of the public interest at least as seriously as they took a split-second glimpse of one of Janet Jackson's breasts. For those who think regulation of this kind of lying isn't the FCC's business, read this.
How Much Would You Pay?
I ask you.
Why Do People Go to Hear Live Music?
Led Zeppelin "IV" Classic Albums Live!I believe the expression is, WTF?
SONG FOR SONG... NOTE FOR NOTE
Hear classic rock albums performed LIVE on the King Center stage, note for note, from beginning to end by studio musicians and vocalists using the instrumentation used on the original recording. It will blow you away!
Monday, November 13, 2006
More Good News
What will be the largest of the ideological caucuses in the new House Democratic majority?Not that Nice Polite Radio will ever notice.
Why, of course, it must be the "centrists" affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council's "New Democrat Coalition." Yes, that's got to be the case because all the commentators at the Wall Street Journal keep saying that centrists were the big winners on Tuesday.
Well, then, it must be the more conservative Democrats who identify themselves as "Blue Dogs." Surely, that's the answer because all the folks on Fox News keeping talking about them.
The largest ideological caucus in the new House Democratic majority will be the Congressional Progressive Caucus, with a membership that includes New York's Charles Rangel, Michigan's John Conyers, Massachusetts' Barney Frank and at least half the incoming chairs of House standing committees.
I Couldn't Agree More
Our national political press is narrowly focused, schooled in inch-deep analysis, and completely results-obsessed. It's a huge and expensive mechanism bedecked with every conceivable bell and whistle (did anyone else catch the giant cyber-globe display frantically spinning behind Anderson Cooper's head? I thought I was going to have an aneurysm) and designed to roam the intellectual range of a chimpanzee. It also has no sense of humor. When the Daily Show spoofed the networks with its "Midterm Midtacular," dragging the venerable Dan Rather out and coaxing a scripted piece of instant "homespun" analysis out of him (he said Hillary Clinton ran away with her race like "a hobo with a sweet potato pie"), the real journalists freaked out. Joe Scarborough led a panel of experts who denounced the show as not that funny; one guest compared Rather's bit to Muhammad Ali's crudely scripted appearances on Diff'rent Strokes, saying it was "awkward."I actually caught some of that lame Scarborough discussion thanks to Crooks and Liars. It is a damn shame that you can learn more of critical value from watching a couple of damn comedy shows than you can from watching countless hours of CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc., I agree; in a sane culture, however, this would be grounds for a searching reappraisal of how the corporate media does business rather than for pointless tsk-tsking about whether comics are straying off their reservation. Of course, I won't be holding my breath waiting for such a searching reappraisal from Scarborough and his ilk anytime soon.
The reality is that Stewart's array of grotesquely pointless special effects and intentionally buffoonish commentary is an improvement on the real thing, and the real thing is an accurate reflection of our actual politics. Which means, basically, that we're fucked, stuck in an endless cycle of retarded lottery coverage -- 300 million people watching a bunch of half-bright millionaires in ties guess the next number to come out of the chute. I hope we're all insane. Otherwise, what's our excuse?
Random Flickr Blogging #6842: or, Return of the Son of Random Flickr Blogging
Labels: Random Flickr Blogging