Archive for November, 2005

Dewey versus Truman. Wallace wins.

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

New York Times November 1, 1948

Berlin, Oct. 1 (AP) — The Soviet Army newspapers here today predicted a victory for “reaction” in the United States Presidential elections Tuesday because Henry Wallace would not be elected.

The newspaper Taegliche Rundschau said Mr. Wallace would win if there were enough “progressive and discriminating” persons in America.

“Unfortunately,” the Soviet mouthpiece said, “there are many Americans who are so hoodwinked by election propaganda they don’t realize that votes for Truman or Dewey are votes supporting the policy of war and strengthening of reaction.

“Whatever the results, one thing is for sure — the Wallace Progressive party will become stabilized as a new force in the United States which will have a great future.”

It’s curious. Throughtout the Cold War, short articles on Pravda and the set of Soviet government paper’s take on American affairs would be published. I wonder if instead newspapers should have just published various Pravda and the assorted Soviet government news organs. Whatever happened to Wallace’s Progressive Party anyway?*

I thought I had on this blog a piece from the old American Mercury Magazine on how Soviet Propaganda supposedly works, and how it supposedly weaves its way into American discourse. I was going to link to it here. I can’t find it, thus I’ll just have to say that this piece about Pravda contradict’s the American Mercury’s claim that the Soviet Union press always wryly endorsed the Democratic candidate by slamming the Republican candidate. For whatever that’s worth.

If I knew of a manner of thinning out the number of Joseph McCarthy related New York Times articles (particularly any letters to the editor or editorials in support of McCarthy), I would place them here. So, I guess… watch for a Joe McCarthy post coming… sooner or later.

* Harvey Pekar: In 1948, my mother was for Henry Wallace. You know who he was? Yeah. So she gave me all these posters, to go around the neighborhood, stuffing in mailboxes. I thought I was gonna get red-baited. And it was weird: All these kids did start to razz me about it — ‘Harvey’s a communist,’ you know, stuff like that. And then this one guy, Chucky Welch — only he didn’t look like a Chucky Welch, and his grandmother had an Italian accent so I figured it was a changed name — anyway, this Chucky Welch guy was considered to be like a hoodlum-in-the-making, or something like that. And when he heard these guys riding me about Henry Wallace, he leaped to my defense. He said, ‘No, no, no. Wallace is for the working man.’ It was amazing. I’d never expected any help from Chucky Welch.”

Ramsey Clark again.

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

It wasn’t enough for those democrat congressmen and senators to betray our troops who overthrew a dictator and are still fighting his forces in major battles. One Democrat is even on the ground in Bagdad defending that mass murderer Saddam Hussein. Over two thousand of our troops have fallen in battle removing Hussein and a DEMOCRAT Ramsey Clark is over there defending him. It’s time to start bringing traitors to justice. What kind of idoit supports such a party.

Skip sentence one, which is the standard holding of American troops as a rhetorical hostage. Go to the descriptor “DEMOCRAT” to describe Ramsey Clark. Ramsey Clark is not a member of the Democratic Party, and as far as I can tell hasn’t been since before the Carter Administration (who he piqued in the same way he’s piqued the Clinton and Bush II administrations). As anyone should know — and will be reminded whenever there are massive anti-war marches in the streets organized by International ANSWER, Ramsey Clark’s ties are with something called the “World’s Worker Party”, which runs their own presidential candidate every four years.

During the 2004 presidential election, “Accuracy in the Media” (and I believe “Human Events”), two right-wing media bastions, ran an article that suggested that Ramsey Clark favoured John Kerry for president. Perhaps, perhaps not; but from what I remember all I really saw was praise for his Vietnam anti-war service. It was moot… to the folks at AIM and Human Events, Kerry is melded in with Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark and John McCain in a 40 year plot to destroy America by losing the war to the Viet Cong.

The best I can say is that I saw the link I was referring to on the “Democratic Underground” message board suggesting that Ramsey Clark is a worthy individual whose support means something (shortly followd in the thread by an anti-Ramsey Clark whiplash), meaning that a Democrat or two or a hundred finds Ramsey Clark worthwhile. (For what it’s worth, I see that Ramsey Clark has a new editorial circulating out there. Read it and ponder some predictable enough omissions and emissions. Is there truth in what he says? There is some.

I need to reprise the “ECLU”…

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

“This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It’s letting the terrorists know we are out there,” Fernandez said.

The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.

Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.

Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other alleged terror cells have operated in the area.

Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains, while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.

“People are definitely going to notice it,” Fernandez said. “We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don’t want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears.”

When the hell did “Shock and Awe” become acceptable use for a police force to use, especially for police activity that could easily be re-branded “Community Policing” (except, I guess, that would require the police to lose the robo-cop gear). Last I checked, the original “Shock and Awe” was a massive bombing campaign meant to overwhelm Iraqi troops into utter fear to the point where they would surrender. Do words matter anymore? The Miami Police Department wants Miami bank customers to fear them?

This is what is going to stop Terrorists?

So, we can expect the ACLU to come out strongly against this, right?

Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people’s rights are not violated.

“What we’re dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution,” Simon said. “We’ll have to see how it is implemented.”

I personally might respond with a similar even-handed “on one hand, on the other hand” response. Or I would if they didn’t describe their activity in the manner that they have, as a “Shock and Awe” campaign. But I’m not the freaking ACLU!! Here’s the question: has the Florida ACLU been “shocked and awed” in compliance, or are they actually secretly government agents?

Maybe I need to actually found this ECLU idea of mine. The ECLU. The EXTREME CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION. Now needed more than ever, because the ACLU is wimping out on us.

(More on wondering what this is supposed to do to fight terrorism here, and ponderings of the ACLU found here Thank you Libertarians.)

As I contemplate how all of this will play out in the streets of Miami – and, perhaps, in other American cities – I am reminded of the horrors depicted in 1940s-era films of German gestapo agents stopping people on the street and demanding “you vill show us your papahs!” In assessing such a police-state tactic, ACLU officials may turn to history to inform themselves as to “how it is implemented.”

on Randy Cunningham

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Looks like Randy”Duke” Cunningham is going to plead guilty to … A Whole heck of a lot of bad doings.

This despite never having smoked a marijuana cigarette. (The kids call it a “joint”, but Randy Cunningham is so unaware of illicit narcotics, his drug of choice being lavish gifts from Lobbyists.)

I guess this is a victory for the House Ethic’s Committee — headed by the esteemed Doc Hastings, because you have to figure that since they have a House member in their midst who now is an admitted crook, they had to have played a role in uncovering much of Randy Cunningham’s corruption. Right?

Er… No. I guess not.

In Doc Hastings’s defense, the House Ethics Committee has been quiet and non-functioning for the last decade, in a bi-partisan truce. In fact, the only reason Doc Hastings sits at the head of that committee now is because, by some weird fluke, the prior House Ethics Committee head admonished Tom DeLay. So…

Let our retro-fit Gilded Age continue unabetted!

Pondering the Ramsey Clark Blog-Burst

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

For the life of me, I don’t know what the answer to this question is:

I don’t really understand this. All of a sudden everyone’s all, “Whoa! Can you believe Ramsey Clark is going to defend Saddam? What a scumpuppet!” Yes, he’s an America-hating turd, but I thought I knew that already. […] since December of 2004, in fact.

I’m just wondering why this is news again.

It’s a case of forgetfulness. I remember hearing a right-wing radio show host around December of 2004 shouting out his outrage at Ramsey Clark’s legal (and, frankly, beyond) defense of Saddam Hussein. It didn’t seem terribly relevant to the world at large, but in the end… you have to get outraged at something if you are a political radio show host. Why not Ramsey Clark?

Hammorabi has comments about Saddam’s trial. It’s safe to say that he doesn’t like Ramsey Clark much. Take a number.

Never mind. Just accept Ramsey Clark as a useful strawman (regretably, I cannot come up with the blog at that states categorically “This is what all liberals think but do not dare say.”) and an embarrassment, and move on. Embarrassingly enough, there he was… during the run-up to the Iraq War… on… Democracy Now! It’s interesting to look over the programming of Democracy Now… how it bends about when the politics of the time move away or toward it. Example in waiting: just after 9/11, they show excerpts from a war protest of the worst sort. Anarchists, generic drum-beats… and then you have the interview with one of the protesters, rambling on about how the “Peace Movement” and the “Social Justice Movement” are the same thing. They would not show anything like that today. (Actually, for the interest of politico-sociology, for both good and ill.)

Here’s a decent exploration of Ramsey Clark:

Taking that line of reasoning, and stealing and bastardizing a line from Bogie, I’d ask Ramsey Clark, then, of all of the trials in all of the world where a defendant might need your help, why would you choose Saddam Hussein? Certainly, with 3500 Americans on death row and more than half of them with no legal representation whatsoever, Clark’s humble services might be better proffered to one of these hapless, condemned souls.

That Clark, instead, chooses to defend a war criminal already outfitted with literally dozens of lawyers and paid for the by vast fortunes he has squeezed from his victimized population, makes it impossible (at least for me ) to have any tempered view of him. I can only conclude that in helping Saddam, or in gesturing to help him which is more like it, Clark believes he is making some broader political statement about America’s role in the world. It’s a piss-poor platform from which to do that sort of political work. And it is marvelously counter-productive and I would say downright stupid when you have simultaneously positioned yourself as a major figure in an already struggling peace movement. And that’s the trouble with Ramsey. Big trouble.

Not that I believe in a “peace movement”. Upon reflection, I’ve come to the belief that the populace will turn against this or that war completely separate of what any movement does. But I shrug at Ramsey Clark and declare “who’s he going to select to run on the World’s Worker Party for President next time up?”

As for his defense of Lyndon LaRouche:

Things started to smell really fishy in 1989, when Clark represented ultra-right cult-master Lyndon LaRouche and six cohorts on conspiracy and mail fraud charges. The LaRouchies had been bilking their naive followers of their savings by getting them to cough up their credit card numbers. Clark (who had been silent when the real COINTELPRO was conducted under his watch at the Justice Department) now charged that the LaRouche case was an “outgrowth” of COINTELPRO. He said the case was manufactured by LaRouche’s “powerful enemies within the establishment” who targeted the cult because of its crusade “to combat the traffic in so-called ‘recreational drugs’…and the practice of usury.”

Clark was echoing the standard line of the LaRouche organization, which paradoxically pleads government persecution while boasting of its connections to the intelligence establishment (uniquely merging paranoia with delusions of grandeur). In fact, the cult has exchanged information with the FBI, and farmed out its “intelligence” services to Panama’s Gen. Manuel Noriega. LaRouche’s 1970s campaigns for a “War on Drugs” and space-based missile defense eerily predicted Reagan-era programs.

Clark couldn’t keep his client from a conviction and brief prison term. But Clark’s relationship with LaRouche went beyond legal representation to actual advocacy. Researcher Chip Berlet, a watchdog on radical right groups, told Judis that Clark’s brief was a “political polemic.”

In June 1990, a LaRouche front organization, the Schiller Institute, flew Clark to a cult-organized conference in Copenhagen. His speech there claimed the US government had moved against LaRouche because he was “a danger to the system,” and decried that he was a victim of “vilification.” The speech was printed in full by the LaRouchie New Federalist propaganda rag.

Bill O’Reilly Continues to Defend Christmas… will be joined in his crusade by Dennis Miller

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Hm. According to the Fox News website, for tonight’s “O’Reilly Factor”: Enough Already! Dennis Miller joins Bill to sound off on the “assault on Christmas” and … [blah blah blah Iraq blah blah blah anti-war cowards]”

I can’t quite figure out what the hell happened to Dennis Miller. Placing himself as a Super-Hawk and an Iraq War Defender is one thing, but why the heck is he now “Defending Christmas” from the “Evil Secularists”? (Christopher Hitchens wouldn’t do such a thing, I don’t believe.)

I think I started to find Dennis Miller tedious when he co-anchored Monday Night Football, where I felt his schtick became schtickier and schtickier. (Take an athlete’s name, and make a reference to a famous figure from history who shares his name… clumsily inject this reference when the athlete does anything at all. Feign spontainety.)

Currently, I muse: Zell Miller, Judith Miller, Dennis Miller. What’s with the Millers?

In the meantime, I’ll just have to content myself with Bill O’Reilly’s latest defense of all that is holy with Christmas:

“Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable. More than enough reason for business to be screaming ‘Merry Christmas.’ But many will not. They’re afraid of being attacked by secular forces. It is now time to draw the line, ladies and gentlemen. We must decide whether we value our heritage or not. … George Soros and Peter Lewis, the money men behind the secular curtain, have financed a number of websites which routinely attack those with whom they disagree in the most vile ways. Most mainstream media avoid the far-left smear sites. But some help them. In the coming weeks we will expose those media which pass along the vicious personal attacks. We’ve already listed some of them on and we hope you steer clear of those organizations.”

“If traditional America rises up and punishes mainstream media, which furthers the cause of Soros and the ACLU, they will lose. The defamation pipeline that has been cleverly devised. will collapse. If Christmas in America can be marginalized, ANY tradition can be, including marriage and the way you raise your kids. …”

Hm. Bill O’Reilly composes another list. Just like Santa Clause, that bastion of traditional Christmas. (And, yes, yesterday I saw somewhere the standard yard with the Jesus – themed nativity scene right next to Santa with his 9 reindeer.) He’s making several lists. One of companies that greet you with “Merry Christmas.” Another of companies that greet you with “Happy Holidays”. And another of his political enemies. Happy Holidays, Everybody!

(In other newts, Sean Hannity fights against the “Holiday Tree”… details found here.)

“Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.” — Bart Simpson.

Sports Corner

Monday, November 28th, 2005

So I had the radio turned on to the pre-game of the Lions — Falcons game on Thanksgiving. Within the same segment I heard these two sentences: “It doesn’t matter the record, the Lions always play tough and close on their Thanksgiving Day game.” and “Last year, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Lions 41 to 9.”

I did not watch any of this game. I did not hear any of this game. It was pretty obvious where this game was heading, even without the help of our supposed football experts — basically to a point where the post-game talk was about how after this most embarrassing of defeats, the Detroit Lions were going to fire their coach.

The line about “always playing tough” is a cliche, and quite obviously false.

Good times for the Florida Marlins. This is that decade-old franchise that came up with an oddly effective strategy on how to win multiple World Series (that is two, which is two more than the vast majority of Major League baseball franchises) by — um — selling off their team right after they win the World Series (or a year after they win the World Series) and slowly building themselves back up in a morass or horrible seasons — thus going from being essentially a glorified Triple-A minor league ball game (such as teams like the Detroit Lions and the Milwaukee Brewers are) to a World Series Champion, and back again. They can’t get the Miami public to buy them a stadium. They play in the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, which isn’t good for a baseball team. They can’t sell tickets — perhaps partly due to their record of being a bad team for a few seaons, then sneaking their way to a World Series victory unexpectedly — to the point where nobody realizes until very late in the season that they have a World Series contender here, then selling off their ball-players and becoming a bad team again.) So… they’re likely to take off and move to either Los Vegas or Portland. Where, I imagine they’d perform about the same — without the occasional freakish World Series.

Weirdly enough, Ralph Nader stepped into the Terrell Owens fight and advocated in defense of Terrell Owens. Why, I do not know. I admire Ralph Nader for his battle against tax-payer funding of stadiums (most notably the battle in Hartford, Connecticut to stop the city from giving what would have been the most outlandish deal in history to lure the New England Patriots to that city), but what the heck was Nader doing with this story?

Well, well, well. The Seattle Seahawks beat the New York Giants, thus taking a huge step toward home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. But they didn’t win the game. Essentially, the game went like this: the New York Giants said, “Hey, Seattle Seahawks. Go ahead and win this game.” The Seattle Seahawks responded, “Nah. You go ahead.” The New York Giants then reiterated, “No. I insist. You win this game.” The Seattle Seahawks then shrugged, and decided “Fine.” Which is how the team has been winning all season, really. It’s… their style.