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Archive for May, 2009


Notes and reactions to Cheney’s desperate plea.   Discordant, I know.  No time to fine tune it all.  There’s just too much!  
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Cheney’s blast of the Obama administration is likely to vault him again to the top of the GOP pecking order, though if that is an actual achievement is harder to say.  Cheney’s lambaste was of course articulate and clear.  Yet it was smarmy and ultimately cheap.  It had some great phrases like “recklessness cloaked in righteousness” which sounds clever enough to be almost biblical.  However, it might be perceived as being twice as accurate when levied on the Bush-Cheney administration and their decisions made in response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001.  However, I for one was glad Dick Cheney made this speech, as self-serving and unrealistic as it was.  For it demonstrates that debate is alive again in America.  Not long ago a speech of such outspoken disagreement to the acting president would have been labeled as treason.  And back then, old Dick would have been shouting loudest.  Now he can directly oppose a president’s policies, openly and vehemently without accusations of putting American lives at risk.  A few months ago, Dick would have had to throw himself into a pit in Cuba after such a contemptuous tirade. 

 

Dick is in agreement with many in the Democratic Party on the transfer of Gitmo prisoners to American prisons.  Unfortunately he “came across the aisle” on the wrong issue.  They are all flat out wrong.  Dick cited some obscure research, saying that and estimated 14% of Gitmo detainees that were released went back to their countries of origin to continue violent jihad against the U.S.  I immediately wondered if he received that intelligence from the sleuths that convinced him that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were Country Club buddies.  Yet again, Dick continues to hear only the story he wants to hear.  Like President Obama said dick “trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.”  Look what that has reaped – an illegal prison full of angry, violent men, more dedicated than ever to doing harm to America.  There is no question the “prison” at Guantanamo Bay is immoral and ineffective.  No one legitimately argues for keeping it operating.  Yet our representatives get squeamish about keeping these prisoners on American soil?  Remember our collective abhorrence when we learned about Bush-Cheney’s policy of extraordinary rendition, whereby we decided it was not okay to torture within the confines of American shores, but we could torture as much as we pleased in far off secret locations in places like Czechoslovakia and Thailand.   Now we want to ship these now angrier, dangerous prisoners off to other countries.  Shouldn’t we keep them here, where we have can keep an eye on them, where we control their movements and activities?  Shouldn’t we keep them here where we can finally offer them something they likely can’t even conceptualize – a fair trial?  Shouldn’t we show them our best face for once, and not more of the ugliness that has only made more people disenchanted, if not violently angry, at America?  Dick wants more of the same. 

 

Wait there’s more… Dick questions using taxpayer dollars to finance the imprisonment of these suspects in the US.  Is he personally financing Guantanamo Bay?  Who does he think is paying for that venture?  We don’t want them here because we don’t want to pay for them?  Well no matter where they go, we are going to be paying for them for a long time.  And that is appropriate since we helped create them.  They are our bastard children we want to sweep away and forget.  If they are criminals, and if proven so after a fair trial, put them in prisons right here where they belong. 

 

This speech was an attempt to deflect attention from his questionable (and very likely criminal) decisions.  He never mentioned his involvement in Justice Department “interpretations” of laws, which really set the stage for Cheney’s dream definition of torture.  The torture issue is almost laughable at this point in its tragedy.  It is so shameful, if we don’t laugh we will drown in our tears – or at least be waterboarded by our own tears.  It does not matter if we discovered Osama bin Laden sitting on a pile of the most horrific WMDs, if we gained that information through torture.  It is morally reprehensible and the argument that it’s justifiable if it worked only compounds the guilt. 

Furthermore, there are other allegations of criminal activity Cheney glossed over.  He ignored (and likely buried) CIA reports that there were no Al Queda ties to Iraq and Saddam Hussein.  He deliberately mislead us to war.  This is an old argument I know, but as Cheney accuses the citizens of America of “forgetting” 9/11, I accuse them of forgetting that he and his cadre lied to us and there is direct evidence of that on public record. 

 

Sadly, it seems Cheney is so misguided he is blind to the facts.  Or perhaps he is desperately clinging to his old arguments in an attempt to save his skin.  He pledges to support the same policies today without hesitation.  Talk about a head in the sand.  He has learned nothing.  He still trusts his pre-approved intelligence briefings.  He still thinks torture works (as I said, even if it gets you all the information you seek, it doesn’t work, because the cost is too high.  It only costs us our national soul).  He still thinks he is a “defender of freedom” through illegal incarcerations and iron-fisted coercion.   

 

Cheney went back to his tried and true playbook evoking 9/11 – speaking for the heroes he has since shamed.  He once again linked Saddam Hussein to “known Mideast terrorists” – notice this time he did not have the audacity to try to say “Al Qaeda”.  I wonder if he is yet aware that there never was a connection between Hussein and bin Laden, or if he is capable of admitting it anyway.  He then pulled out a long-lost fearful phrase – weapons of mass destruction.  He has been spouting this rhetoric for over 8 years.  We have been duped by its emotional draw, and look where it has gotten us.

Shame on you, Dick.  For you brought shame on all of us.  As Obama said, “Too many of us – politicians, journalists and citizens – fell silent.”  That is our shame.  To allow you to twist your actions into some sort of noble cause would be a far greater shame.  You belong in jail, Dick and your desperate twisting and blathering grows stronger as you hear the construction of the gallows.  You will not be tried, you will not serve time.  Sadly however, you will not be punished as you should.  This is a sad fact of our infatuation with faulty tradition.  But history must remember you for what you are – a criminal, somewhere between Nixon and Hitler.

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photo-michael-savageMichael Savage sells snakeoil under his real name, Michael Weiner.  Later, as Savage, he woud really sling the serpent’s venom.  

Michael Savage’s latest attempt at poetry conveys a deep-seeded schizophrenic mind that should be pitied rather than feared… or, better yet, simply ignored. 

Recently the third largest mouth on radio today treated his audience to an extended live mixing of his latest poem The Weathervane.  First he read it solo.  Then he read it to a cheesy hip-hop beat.  Then he read it to The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  He shouted to his sound tech to put it to “that song from Patton” sure that was the only song worthy of his eloquent yet powerful verse. 

 Savage’s poem is reminiscent of the “I Am” poems so popular in elementary schools across the country, designed to introduce youngsters to poetry.  From there it is a little more than a scrap book of famous historical figures Michael knows of (mostly from television shows and Department of Defense news reels, and of course the movie Patton) and admires – people he purports to be like.  If you can hum the Battle Hymn of the Republic as you read this, then here it is below, in all its glory and its truth is marching on. 

 

 

I am Moses.

I am Isaac.

I am Abraham.

I am Charlemagne.

I am John Wayne.

I am Coltrane.

 They try to suppress me, try to redress me,

Call me incorrect, deserving no respect.

I am Patton.

I am Hatton,

Even Mountbatten. 

I am Eisenhower,

Not a Wallflower.

I am Washington.

I am Pershing. 
I am MacArthur.

I am Kipling. 

I am Audie Murphy.

And I am Sky King.

I’ll steal your crown,

Trample you down,

Take your good name

And put it to shame.

 I am Gene Autry.

I am Roy Rogers.

I am Tom Mix.

They tried to push me over

The River Styx,

But it won’t mix

With my true blood,

Which runs thick for America.

 I am the bane

Of those vain. 

I am the Weathervane.

 

It is a list of strange paradoxes for the prodigious author.  A series of idealized war heroes from a man who dodged the draft during Vietnam.  When did his true blood run thick for America?  He is suppressed by whom?  The person whose crown he later vows to steal?  Kipling?  How did he make this list?  Unless Savage has identified with the “white raja” from The Man Who Would Be King.   

 Gene Autry and Roy Rogers?  pop-TV icons?  From a man who claims be (and once vainly attempted to be accepted by academia as) a robust, well-read intellectual?  For those not well-versed in obscurity Tom Mix was the first cowboy megastar up on the old silverscreen.  Sky King is an old radio/television adventure series from the 40s and 50s.  Nothing wrong with that per se but in such an historic line up he might as well have put Lassie next to Lincoln.  As for “Hatton” I can only guess that he means Ricky Hatton who was just KO’d recently by Philippine sensation Manny Pacquiao.  Perhaps this is meant as a reference to his predilection to fight minorities even if it means a brutal defeat.  Hey, maybe that’s why he threw in Kipling!  One more interesting tidbit here: “true blood” incidentally is a nod to his fictional hero and alter ego, Samuel Trueblood.  At Salon.com  David Gilson perfectly describes the piece.

“Vital Signs,” Michael Weiner’s first and only book of fiction, published in 1983. A collection of confessional, stream-of-consciousness stories, it follows the exploits of Samuel Trueblood, who just happens to be a 40-ish New York Jew, an herbalist and writer with a tumultuous personal life, a substantial assortment of inner demons and a bit of a Napoleon complex. “I am physically not tall, but my eyes burn with fire,” he states. “Two black fires of Hell.” Trueblood narrates a series of misadventures, from procuring an illegal backroom abortion for his fiancée to beating the stuffing out of an abusive cop.

Trueblood describes his life as one long search for inner peace. He blames much of his discontent on his “childhood beneath tyranny,” during which he was cowed by his bullying father. Trueblood describes how his father mocked him with “brutal jokes and chides, ‘gentle’ kidding: ‘You’re not a fag, are you Sam?’ the little man would say each time the boy dared wear a colorful shirt or flashy trousers.” Unable to shake his dead father’s disapproving influence, the adult Samuel is tortured by feelings of weakness and inadequacy. “I am filled with fears,” he admits, “nearly all the time feeling I am about to become totally insane.”

Now I am wondering why Savage didn’t insert a more honest “I am Samuel” into his sophomoric poem. 

 

It is unclear who “they” are who tried to push the Weathervane over the River Styx.  Maybe Phlegyas or Charon the boatman.  Perhaps it was simply because Charon did not want Savage in his boat they tried to throw him over.  Perhaps he meant the river personified by the ancient nymph named Styx.  Her name literally meant hateful in which case I believe “they” succeeded not in throwing Savage over the river but rather squarely atop the hateful nymph.  For after a little research it became obvious that Michael Savage did undergo an otherworldly transformation in his life.  Perhaps he did meet Charon the boatman, perhaps he did cross to the other side.  If so, there is no doubt he came back altered.  “Redressed” perhaps?

 How else could a man go from writing books under his real name, Michael Weiner with titles like Plant a Tree; Earth Medicine, Earth Food and Healing Children Naturally to a guy named Michael Savage writing books with titles like The Death of the White Male; The Enemy Within and Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder?  Well, clearly it would be more easily understood if he in fact had the mental disorder, which his poem above indicates he does.  Especially when compared to the “heroes” he likened himself to as Michael Weiner. 

 

His own history reads like The Seven Faces of Eve.  His life twists from one paradox to the next.  A frustrated poet turned acerbic critic.  A frustrated artist turned professional hater.  An accomplished anthropologist turned isolated misanthrope.  A holistic healer turned toxic shock jock.  As Michael Weiner, his “I Am” poem might look something more like this. 

 The Heather Vein. 

I am Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna

I am Margaret Mead

I am P.T. Barnum

I am Kerouac

I am Ginsberg

 They try to caress me,

They try to undress me.

I am not shy,

Just another guy. 

 I am John Garard.

I am the Galloping Gourmet,

Leaving preservatives out of the way. 

 I wear no shrowd.

I am proud,

I am

And my son 

Will be named after me

The Goldencloud.

I  am a Rockstar

At least it seems nice.

But the academics

Don’t think I suffice.

 I been burned up.

I been churned up.

I been yearning up.

For love and acceptance.

I want to be great.

I am not.

I am…

 I am not sure.

Maybe I will reinvent myself.

Or better yet, simply

Let loose the Other One.

 

Although this version doesn’t paint Michael Weiner-Savage as the most balanced either, combine the two and you might have a more accurate view of what is going on in this mixed up man’s mind.  For other evidence you can imply listen to his daily public therapy sessions which really seem to only compound his insanity or you could peruse the many books of Weiner-Savage.  

“I learned to calm the inner debate that had threatened to drown me in madness!”

 That was from his book Maximum Immunity – his book that truly presents his descent into madness.  It is here, in another supported herbal health book, where he really begins to spout his rage and fears. 

Here is Michael Weiner’s true blood in all its American Beauty:  “Inner voice screaming at me for years, first rational, then crazy, telling me to do mad things. Every form of relief tried, painting, psychotherapy, running, diet, vitamins, etc., etc. Almost uncontrollable now. Impulses to stab children, strangers, wife, self with scissors.”

 Gee, on second thought, he really might be Patton after all.  I mean most historians agree Patton was a sociopath.  Thankfully Savage doesn’t have a real army or a real objective, other than to hear his own voice and hear his listeners call in and fawn over “Doctor Savage”.  He has only a loyal horde of like-minded paranoids who feel less alone when they hear their poser of a hero erupt daily into his caterwauling tantrums.  Read this and they will know what a sham this guy really is: http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2003/03/05/savage/index.html  After all, what is in a title?  What is in a name for that matter?  He may be called Doctor but he’ll always be just a loud-mouth putz (to use one of his favorite words).  He may be called Savage, and though it is an accurate adjective to describe the man, he will always be a Weiner.

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Some shocking statistics on television, children and increasingly irrelevant parents. 

MrTdolby

By the time you are 65 years old you’ll likely have watched 9 years of television.  Note, that is before retirement when you have plenty more time lounge about, drooling at the foot of our telemaster.  Today’s thirty-somethings will have been nurtured from cradle to grave by the omnipresent telemother.  In most households the rectangular portal provides the most influential view upon our world.  The teleparent becomes teleteacher.  It is a fine tool for disseminating information, but this teleteacher is not qualified, certified or in any way edified.  The teleteacher is more like a telepreacher or better still a telepusher. 

 

We used to call television the boob tube because of what it turned viewers into – brainless boobs.  Now the term might better reflect what now dominates its subject matter. 

 

Monetarily, the value of hours spent slack-jawed before the telesoother is $1.25 trillion buckeroos each year.  That means if we all gave up T.V. and did something productive, if not profitable, we’d be able to balance the federal deficit in a couple years.  And that doesn’t include making the little kiddos get a job.  However, it sure would help as they spend an astounding 1600 minutes of telebuddy per week!  That is more than an entire day each week.  That is 228 minutes per day or about 4 hours.  Conversely we spend 3.5 minutes per day engaged in meaningful conversation with our children. 

 

Children spend more time watching television than in any other activity except sleep.  And I’d be willing to bed sleep is going beddy bye.  Soon there will be no sleep, only 24 hour reality shows about sleep.

 

It is not easy being a parent – especially if they’ve lost the ability to make critical decisions.  Polls indicate that 73% of parents would like to limit the amount of telepacifier their children watch.  Of those 60% want “indecency standards” mandated for Cable TV; and 69% of those parents want higher fines for the media corporations who broadcast such material into their homes.  Furthermore, of those parents, apparently 100% have lost total control of the decision making process within their homes.  They dutifully hand over the remote when their child (and best friend) demands it of them.  They wouldn’t want to lose their best friend over such a trifling matter.  After all, we really shouldn’t push the issue for fear of alienating our children.  Alienating them further, I should say.  Over half of 4-5 year olds prefer telefamily to their actual parents. 

 

However, there are many quality programs to choose from.  Perhaps our children are watching educational shows.  Not according to Mr. Neilsen, back in ’05 kids ages 9-12 vociferously chose ABC’s Desperate Housewives.  Hello?  So what? Relevance?   That poll was taken back in early 2005, televiolence and telesex has only gotten better over the last four years.

 

It is not just the children.  We all worship at the feet of teleGOD.  It is the teacher and counselor to all of us.  Besides it is much easer than reading.  Who needs reading anymore anyway?  In 2006 80% of American families did not buy or read even one book, magazine or newspaper.  And what do we have to show for all of that?  Well, according to the results of a general intelligence survey as posted in the NY Times, “American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.”  ONE IN FIVE?!?  Come on!  We should be able to get that up to two in ten!

 

It seems Mr. T would certainly pity us fools.

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Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean cruiselines  have all decided to cancel all stops at ports of call along the coasts of Mexico.  So, basically all major economicaly developed countries will stop importing a dangerous swine species of their own.  Forget about TERRORISTS.  Who can save us from the TOURISTS???   

obese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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typicalamericans

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