Notes From The Overground

Progressive-minded weblog devoted heavily to politics and media with some music and popular culture sprinkled throughout working on the assumption that anything that comes out of Washington or the mass media is bogus propaganda unless proven otherwise.

Created by Tom

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Saturday, February 01, 2003
 


Say a Prayer

Condolences and prayers go out to the families of the seven astronauts lost in yesterday's terrible accident.



Friday, January 31, 2003
 


It's the Final Countdown

Bush is filling out his to-do list with a timetable toward war. Can't you hear his breath getting heavier as he works on his own Blair Blitz Project? Meanwhile Colin Powell is preparing his spin for the UN next week. Yet, Hans Blix says he saw nothing to prompt a war. Who do you believe, the UN weapons inspector or the Republican administration with clear and direct ties to big business and the defense industry, with a history of warmongering and support of human-rights abuses? Not to mention their laundry list of additional moral ambiguities (euphemistic code word for "dirtbags").

So as the current administration is seeking the UN's blessing based on intelligence that suggests mobile weapons labs and the procurement of the raw materials necessary for weapon-making, NORTH KOREA APPEARS TO BE MAKING MOVES TO BUILD ABOUT SIX NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITH THEIR STOCKPILE OF 8,000 NUCLEAR FUEL RODS (based on satellite detection of activity).

But Saddam Hussein is a menace and must be stopped.



 


Artist Imparts Sage-Like Wisdom

"Our leaders are lacking love, and love is lacking leaders." -- SHAKIRA

Which is rather odd, because I thought that it was "our love is lacking leaders, and our leaders are lacking love -- and our lack is loving leaders while our lead lacks love, but our lack leads lovers." Oh well.

Hasn't it been 15 minutes yet?



Thursday, January 30, 2003
 


Oil Oil Oil Oil

Here's a news flash: perhaps Shrub's war-fever is not really about disarming Saddam, the war on terrorism, and promoting democracy. Between you and me, I think it's mostly about .... oil (distraction and geo-political positioning running a close second -- disarmament, terrorism and democracy running somewhere near the back of the pack but good for window-dressing). obviously nothing new here, but it's nice to hear it articulated from diferent angles.



 


Marginalizing the Liberal Movement

The average "liberal" in America has become something of a sad, misguided joke in the media's view. "Liberal" is for all intents and purposes a pejorative term. Can you believe that? In a time when meaninglessly euphemistic oxi-morons like "compassionate conservatism" are being flung around like monkey waste in the Congo, "liberal" is hurled as an insult. Headlines refer to liberal groups as odd, special interest factions who are out of touch with reality. This marginalization is often done in a systematically insidious mannerthat leaves us looking like oddly dangerous anti-establishment party poopers and whiners. It is no wonder that moderate to right views now dominate the national discourse -- as the left has been (for the time being) effectively atomized, divided and kept at bay.

On Liberal Celebs

Meanwhile, liberal celebs are all but infantalized. Janeane Garafolo spoke out on how liberal celebrities , like their fellow "lefty" citizens, are put-down by the corporate media apparatus. Apparently anyone with the brains and the balls to speak out against American hegemony is marginalized as a leftist lunatic . In an interview with the Washington Post she asserted that liberal celebrity activists are often treated like misguided, attention seeking children by the mostly right-wing media. Labeled as "crusaders" who are off on some flight of fancy they are rarely taken seriously.

America does put too high a premium on wealth, celebrity and power. However, the stars who take the time to make the world a better place often work to subvert that typical American formula by trying to help people who aren't as spoiled. Sean Penn was lambasted when he wrote an open letter to George W. Bush against the impending war on Iraq. Bono of U2 is often trashed by the snobby elite as a flighty crusader. Why are they any less qualified to comment on society that any of the other talking heads on the TV screen? In this day and age I applaud anyone with wealth and power who uses their position to better humanity rather than increase their bling bling.

The unfortunate truth in this country is that the haves will always exert more influence than the have-nots. If more people of privilege existed who were willing to fight to level the playing field, America would be closer to being a better place.





 


Does Faith Lack Time, or Does Faith Lack Faith?

In music news (I said I'd do more music here), today's lamest excuse for a pop diva being nothing more than a voice and a body...

"I don't write my own songs. I don't have time." -- FAITH HILL

rrright... it's just because you don't have time...
Incidentally, I use the same excuse for not playing cello.



 


Thinking Makes My Head Hurt



"Ddddd-bbb-ppphhbbbllttt-aaaargh Kill 'em all and take their oil! LET THE POOR EAT RICE CAKE!!! YAHOOOO!!!"



 


Repelling Philosophy

Bob Herbert of the New York Times chimed in on the state of the Bush union by stating that, "behind the veil of rhetoric is a Darwinian political philosophy that, if clearly understood, would repel the majority of Americans." That's what I've been saying all along.

To Leak or Not to Leak, A Rather Moot Point...

In a piece entitled "Bush Officials Debate Release of Iraq Secrets," it is reported that the current administration is sitting on intelligence that demonstrate Iraq's defiance of U.N. inspections and may also illuminate ties to al Quaeda. Looks like their little secret is out of the bag because anything printed in the New York Times is pretty well known. All that's hidden now are the details -- I'm sure Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld et al are busy manipulating this very moment. It's amazing in this Orwellian saga of political news leakage how the "journalists" act like children awaiting word from Santa Claus.
1. Someone in the White House throws out a little bone: "We're debating the release of intelligence that demonstrates Iraq's non-compliance..."
2. "Journalists" foam at the mouth and say "didja hear that!? They have secret intelligence that demonstrates Iraq's non-compliance! Yippee! Let's broadcast it!"
3. It shows up as news that's fit to print. While the "journalists" dance at the end of their strings.



Wednesday, January 29, 2003
 


The Bushie's view of the world:
USGeography.gif



 


Have No Fear, Reason Is Here!!!

Well as hoped for and expected, the usual voices of reason and question have sounded over the last 24 hours to rebut, take issue with and ultimately contextualize Dubbie's war speech. Read David Corn's point-by-point analysis in the Nation. Corn exposes Bush's domestic policies for the farces that they are, but goes a little soft on the foreign-policy warmongering. Yes, Saddam is evil. Yes, Saddam must be contained, but what is the president fighting for? Liberation of the Iraqi people or the safety of Americans? Both? Or does he have other reasons (...ahem...OIL, MONEY, POWER, DISTRACTION)? Or is it a combination of all of the above?

The Democrats, for their part, issued a weak official response from Gary Locke. However their are signs of life from the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Farai Chideya of Popandpolitics.com has written a hopeful piece suggesting that Dubya is destined to the fate of his father: he'll be a one-termer. Also, William Rivers Pitt of Truthout.com points out all of the holes and unanswered questions raised by the "president's" musings.

Finally, in what can be filed under "No duh!", the "journalists" at Fox News all but climaxed over what they considered to be a triumph for Prince Georgie.



 


This Just In...

Doesn't anyone find it odd that in a speech that focused heavily on the "war on terror" Dubya did not ONCE mention Osama Bin Laden? Run a simple text search on the transcript of the speech and you'll see. That is awful strange considering that he is purported to be responsible for the first battle of the war. In his eagerness to turn Iraq into a parking lot and smite the "axis of evil" he made what can only be a conscious effort to steer clear of the one spot where it is apparent that the war on terror has thus far failed. If this were a true "State of the Union" address wouldn't the president make clear what the status is on the hunt for yesterday's most wanted man? Strange indeed...

"Bin Laden? Oh, don't worry about him, just get it straight, we're bombin' Iraq -- now go watch Joe Millionaire or something until GE/NBC's war show starts..."
(thanks to my better half for the tip on that one)



 


Ain't Ad-Driven Media Great

Comcast cable television refused to run ads submitted by an anti-war group during last night's State of The War address. Here's the ironic kicker, they claimed that the ads contained "unsubstantiated claims." Too bad that Shrub's speech wasn't held to the same standards...



Tuesday, January 28, 2003
 


Fear and Loathing in America:
Bush and the State of the Union...


The biggest problem with this type of speech is that the president would have to show serious signs of tourette's syndrome in order to come out of it badly. Everything is controlled, scripted and designed to bolster his point of view. For a large portion of America, that's enough. This speaks volumes towards explaining the fact that such an oily and devious man could have such a high (albeit dropping) approval rating.

Now, getting to the speech...

Hot air, empty promises and tedium were punctuated only by spikes of fear-mongering and good 'ol American strutting. Not to mention the inane pauses for applause and whooping. "President" dubya, doing his best John Wayne, with an icy cold stare promised that we are winning the war on terror. Speaking of those who may have been a threat but were captured he glared at the camera and said, "let's Let's put it this way, they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies." A fitting line that would have sounded just as natural from The Duke, Stephen Segal or even Grand Old Arnold. If only the great Commander in Thief had some plumage and tail-feathers on display, his masculine pride would have shown only that much greater.

When speaking of Iraq, the "president" was at his most convincing. Mainly because he is most confident and at home when speaking of Vengence, war, threats and despair. He issued serious warnings, tried to incite fear and spoke in hypothetical scenarios that projected horrific possibilities. But why should we believe Shrub? His credibility is on a par with Hussein's, his aims as nefarious and questionable. One could spend hours beating the dead horse of the Bushie's ulterior motives (oil, defense spending, distraction from a terrible economy, etc. etc. etc.). Should we rush to war fury just because the president told us some ghost stories? The biggest tragedy is that the national media will swallow and ask for more.

Bush spoke at great length about the possible threats posed by Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction. He pushed a button of fear by suggesting that a vengeful Hussein could deal out his weapons to hostile terrorists. This is a harrowing enough, indeed. But in light of that threat, is Georgie's current course of action the best route? Is it wise to keep threatening and angering a dictator who is certainly ruthless, probably insane. This issue has been beaten to death ever since Bush started waving his sword at Iraq -- and ever since the CIA reported that Hussein is not an immediate threat, but may be one if provoked. A better man or woman would have stood before the American people and promised to find a way out of this without war. But that person would have less up their sleeve, less to gain from a successful campaign in the Middle East. In the post-game analysis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put it best. She stated that while Bush's charges may have merit, he still cannot produce a convincing case that war is the only way. He also did not clearly illustrate why war is warranted in Iraq, but not in North Korea -- at least not beyond any of the party-line rhetoric.

Bush also failed to speak to the fact that a war against Iraq could have devastating effects on the homefront for those of us who can't afford a bunker, let alone survive a desperate economy that would take a colossal blow. Most tragically, however, Bush painted a familiar picture of the U.S. as liberators to the Iraqis. However, he avoided speaking about he Iraqi's he'd be "liberating" from their mortal coil.

When speaking on the economy, in the earlier, more friendly and applause-laden section of the speech, Bush gave his stimulus plan a wonderful glaze of sugar, but his promises sounded as empty as his gaze. How will he help those who can't afford health care? How will he help the drug addicted? He says he'll help them, but how? How will those who can afford a pricey insurance policy not be at a better advantage than those who depend on Medicare? On oil-dependency and the environment he promised to ear-mark money to accelerate the development of a hydrogen fueled automobile, but he stopped short of a promise -- he left an opening of infinite possibilities. In 1960 John F. Kennedy declared that man would step foot on the moon. Wouldn't a president worth his salt make a much more attainable promise today? Perhaps it's an empty statement, something that can be stonewalled and slowed down through GOP influence. Either way, his commitment to the project raises questions of how the energy companies he is so cozy with will benefit -- they must have some stake in this matter, otherwise Uncle Dick Cheney would have slapped him right across the back of his head from his posterior perch. One of the few bright spots to come from this softer section of the speech was his stance on alleviating the AIDS crisis in Africa. Again, not enough meat to his statement, but only time will tell.

The bottom line is that the State of the Union address gives the president the opportunity to put forth all of his slogans and rhetoric in bite-sized chunks that go straight to the ear of the average American. These TV-friendly nuggets travel insidiously over the airwaves, passing without scrutiny and essentially they become "truth." A competent media system will deconstruct and analyze the situation and allow for a plurality of views and interpretations. However, that scenario is highly unlikely in modern America, but not impossible. Unfortunately, once the corporate media complex and the conservative punditocracy get hold of this they'll do their duty to attempt to steer the national discourse away from the pertinent issues. But there is still hope,for the level of support or cynicism in the American public remains to be seen...

So What Now?

It is remarkable to me that the majority of Americans who make less than six figures a year aren't more angry. One would think that after learning Bush's track-record and hearing his plans for the economy the majority of normal folks would be at least protesting, if not openly revolting. But perhaps something is at work here that runs deeper than normal psychology. Perhaps it is the psychology of America, where no matter how disdainful we may be of the rich, we are taught to admire them, to aspire to be them. A strange cultural brain-washing is in effect where the rich can rape and pillage all they want, because hey, someday maybe even you too can rape and pillage along with them, maybe even supercede them, put them down. American consumerist capitalism preaches a Darwinian gospel of upward mobility that intoxicates those who don't look deeply enough beyond the vail. Or the rest who just accept it as the natural way of things, the "invisible hand" that rules our destiny. So the red carpet at the Oscars becomes a temple of worship, Access Hollywood a required text. And the media machine distracts and hypnotizes the masses...You know what George Clinton would say: "free your mind and your ass will follow!"



 


Dress Rehearsals Over, Time For Big Show

After rehearsing in front of the likes of Condi Rice, Karen Hughes and Andrew Card (call it his "choir," if you will), "president" Bush is ready for tonight's State of The Union address, says the New York Times. Oh boy, the excitement is mounting! It'll be sure to be a spontaneous moment of oratorical prowess that will rival in thickness and scent the refuse bin next to the elephant cage at the Bronx Zoo.

With Chaney pulling the strings from behind and God-knows-how-many special interests working their mouths under his podium, the "president" will be well under control this evening.

Shrubsy will in fact share his wisdom with us.

But Not Before He's Already Shared It With The Press

In a selfless act of rigging the media in his own favor, Dubya will "have lunch with the television anchors and Sunday news program hosts who will comment on his speech throughout the week," said the NY Times. So the likes of Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Peter Jennings, et al all have a sneak peak on his royal ramblings and I'm sure will give them fair and unbiased critiquing as they always have.

So get the popcorn ready, keep your soma nearby and bust out that bottle of JD. It's time for the State of the Union address -- if it had commercials it would be better than the Superbowl!!!

So What's In Store?

We will hear stern warning on Iraq.
He will tell us that he is seeking diplomacy with North Korea.
We will hear another stern warning on Iraq.
He will tell us how we have come together as a nation.
We will hear another stern warning on Iraq.
The economy is in turmoil, but he plans to alleviate (big word) the issue with his economic stimulus (sounded out with heavy emphasis on the usssss) plan.
But we must be stern with Iraq.

Now if only he were honest, this link might illustrate how it would go.

I've got my beer helmet ready -- hopin' for some war whoopin' woo hoo!!!





 


Get a Hummer, Get a Tax Break...

When it comes to blatantly doing the wrong thing in order to please a special interest group, the George W. Bush administration is a proven leader. In a time when clearer minds are calling for safer automobiles that are more friendly to the eco-system, Shrub's "economic stimulus plan" proposes to give a tax break to small business owners who purchase an SUV(!). Now, under the First Son's proposed plan, you can destroy the environment, help fund terrorist operations, and act as a menace to other drivers -- all the while earning a hefty tax refund.

In light of Bush's love affair with Big Oil, the American auto industry and irresponsibly bottom-line driven corporations in general, this piece of news is as unsurprising as it is insultingly outrageous.

And the evil empire continues to have its way with what once was America...
(Special thanks to a friend of mine for the tip in this one)



Monday, January 27, 2003
 


And After Further Review...

Well apparently the state of Florida knows football better than running fair and accurate elections. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won superbowl XXXVII.
At least the referees didn't have to count chads. Then again, call me a conspiracy theorist, but I want to know just how much influence Jeb Bush and Catherine Harris had in the outcome of yesterday's game...



 


More News From the Front

People with good intentions were covered in NY Times story entitled "17 Arrested as Anti - War Activists Protest at U.N."
Why does the article need to focus on the 17 arrested? Is it not news enough that almost 300 people converged across from the UN on a Monday to protest shrub's attempt to be Augustus?
Just more evidence on how the mainstream media slanders the left in the most subversive manner...



 


Rush Limbaugh is a...

Here's a little more public activism from one of my old professors, Mark Crispin Miller. It appears that Professor Miller has joined in a protest drive against corporations that support Rush Limbaugh...
Aside from being a big fat idiot, doesn't rush resemble the love child of John Madden and Jabba the Hutt? Just a thought.



Sunday, January 26, 2003
 


State of the Union

This is bloody brilliant! Watch dubya's real state of the union address...
Let's roll...



 


Here's a little reminder for those out there who think that a "war" is warrented against Iraq. Wouldn't it be nice to have a president with the cajones to tell the American people that he will do all he can to avoid bloodshed? Nah, not dramatic enough. Not enough to whip y'all up into a war-wooping fury complete with wavin' flags and yella ribbons and such. Yee haw!!! Besides, pardner, if the "president" keeps ya distracted 'nough, you'll fergit that he's linin' the pockets of the top 1 percent. Hee haw!!!





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