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andee's world: October 2004

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Magnet Magazine Article --by Henry Rollins

It seems to me that the world is smaller than it’s ever been. My daydreaming’s been marginalized by pointing and clicking. Feeling far away and leaving things to the imagination seem to be almost fiddling while the empire burns. These days, I don’t feel far away from anything. I’m not trying to be a drag but for me at least, the Bush Administration has knocked the magic out of the night, the poetry out of seasonal change and makes me feel like a bum for reading fiction and doing many of the things that a forty-something should be hard at work contending with: concentrating on finding the humor in midlife crisis and the endless irony that comes with the onslaught of all the “If I did that now, I would break my arm.” types of realities I am forced to face.

I would like to do all that stuff. I would like to but I can’t. Thousands of my country’s best are in a kiln-hot hellhole fighting constant skirmishes that are sending hundreds back dead, mutilated and mentally maimed. They are fighting a war that the President had no exit strategy for, no sound intelligence to act upon and thus, no good reason to send our nation’s best to go out and deal with. A war that the President doesn’t hesitate to send young people into but seems to forget that his daughters are the perfect age for a stint in the Armed Forces. I however, am well aware and can’t wait to see which way they’ll go—Army? Marines? The Air Force has the best food and there’s beer on base so their hands won’t tremble on the stick.

I read the reports of the dead and mutilated coming back here. I read the articles about the bombs that went to the wrong place and made a mother carry her child’s body parts down what’s left of her street as she howls in unfathomable misery. I try to imagine if that was my friend carrying her child and how that would feel to even be that close to such horror. I react to the information like a lot of people do, I get depressed, angry, hopeless and frustrated, knowing there’s not a lot I can do.
Then I can turn on the television and watch Sean Hannity tell me that the world is a safer place with Saddam gone, that our efforts in Iraq is the War on Terror, that Saddam and Osama are as close as Chang and Eng and we’re doing a great job winning this war. This is a guy who has never seen anything more intense than a football game. I hear that Michael Moore is just a damned liar and all he’s doing is spreading hate and propaganda. Bill O’Reilly will send me a Boycott France bumper sticker if I write in and he’s right about everything -- this Kerry guy, geez, what a flip-flopping loser.

I read an article about how the microfilm that held Bush’s military records seems to have disintegrated and now we’ll never know about his whereabouts during his time in the Texas Air National Guard. A day later, I seek to drag that article off the internet so I can make notes about it for my radio show but it seems to have fallen off the grid. I guess that’s because it’s being swept under the rug by the Elite Liberal Media. No problem, I found information on Al Jazeera. Wheeeee!

It might be about now that someone reading this might want to tell me to get the hell out of America if I hate it so much. That’s just the problem, it’s that I love it so much that I get so angry at what’s been happening in the last few years. America is hard at work isolating itself from the rest of the world; America comes off as a cold, forbidding and ugly — like Dick Cheney in nothing but a thong. In my opinion, quite the opposite is true. Americans are a great people and we have done so much to be admired, it’s amazing how easy it is to forget that. People in other continents are having a very easy time but I guess that’s because they’re cowards, liberals or intellectuals. President Bush isn’t much on reading or watching the news or attending meetings that last too long. Castro reads voraciously. That hardly matters, I was just being cute. Like when Bush did that little skit in the Oval Office where he searched for WMD under his desk. If he looked down the road, he could see young people getting buried in Arlington. You can see a lot when you look around.

I have been doing work for the USO for some months and it’s allowed me to see aspects of the war that I would have never been able to from the confines of Sean Hannity’s one bedroom brain. So far, I’ve visited Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. The more trips I make and the more troops I meet, the more trips I want to make and the more troops I want to meet. The more trips I make and the more troops I meet, the madder I get. These boys and girls are well trained and valuable, why are they being sold out? Why is methyl tertiary butyl ether still in gasoline? Why is a psycho like David Hager in charge of the Reproductive Health Drug Advisory Committee? Why is the President saying he’s optimistic about the economy when his daughter’s children are going to be bailing America out of the fix he’s putting us in? Why are all the neighborhoods that were beatdown when I was a kid still beatdown? Why is America’s prison population so huge and BLACK? Why does President Bush get to sell his Harken stock shares, not file with the SEC and magically escape even a scolding? Is it because Whoopi Goldberg said something naughty the other night at a fundraiser? Is it because I say that I can’t wait for the day when Dick Cheney is in a prison cell one down from Slobodon Milosevic any time there’s a live microphone in front of my face? Is it because I see a country that eats too much, smokes too much, takes too much for granted, worships little girls who lip synch through sold-out concerts, pay a day’s wage so they can buy a shirt that says Sean John on it, get run over, work way too long and way too hard for way too little and have nothing to show for it but credit debt? Is this why Americans are getting shot at, beheaded, hated and underpaid, so a guy who barely got through college can try and put an amendment onto the Constitution that will treat some Americans like they’re somehow not deserving of happiness?

America is the land of the free and the home of P-Funk, it’s time to get up for the downstroke. Please vote this November. --Henry Rollins

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Partisan Politics

I know I've talked about this before, but I have to say it again -- Republicans are letting Bush off the hook for everything. There are so many serious, serious questions that need to be answered about 9/11 -- why did it happen on Bush's watch? Why did he ignore all of the warnings and reoprts that were put in front of his face in the precious months before the attack? Why did he sit in that classroom for seven minutes like a retard while thousands of Americans were incinerating in the Twin Towers? Why did he personally fly those dozen-plus Saudis out of this country just days after the attacks, when all other US planes were grounded and the FBI was trying to conduct an investigation?

We took the worst hit in US history on 9/11, and these are some big fucking question marks hanging out there. And we should all want real answers.

But the Republicans don't want to hear about it. To raise a question is tantamount to being "anti-American." They formulate elaborate excuses for the President. Why? They're Americans, aren't they? Aren't they scared and concerned for this country? Or is their partisan allegience so blind that they would rather stick their heads in the sand than face these questions?

Oh, and by the way -- if it were Bill Clinton at the center of all of this? The Republicans would be all over him like rabid dogs. All over him.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Debates

Watching these debates has been rough going, hasn't it? About halfway through, I feel a knot forming in my stomach and I need to leave the room. Bush makes me angry and ashamed as always, and Kerry (and Edwards)'s attempt to water down their liberal views for the moderate types is very frustrating. Lies and deceptions detonate like firecrackers in the night; labyryithian rhetoric flows like the Mississippi. Not to mention that these things are too long. After 45 minutes, it starts to sound like a volley of verbal retreads (especially from Bush, who seems incapable of synthesising original dialogue).

But I think Kerry is winning. He at least understands composure and dignity. It's what they call being "presidential." He appears firm but not inflexible, while Bush looks naive and, paradoxically, fabulously arrogant. It has been good to see these two operate side by side, as much as it makes me queasy.

We should vote for Kerry just to get our country back from the man who stole it from us in 2000. I hope you all get out and vote in November.


PS -- identified just a few of the more outrageous lies Dick Cheney told during the Vice Presidential Debate:

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11"

THE TRUTH: As the Washington Post reports today, Cheney has repeatedly insinuated and "strongly suggested" that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on September 11th.[2] And in its fact check column today, the Boston Globe says "Cheney has consistently asserted strong prewar links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, even after the 9/11 Commission definitively concluded that there had not been a collaborative relationship between the two. In a radio interview in January 2004, Cheney said: 'I think there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.'"[3]

On December 9, 2001, Cheney went on "Meet the Press" to perpetuate the now entirely debunked theory that one of the 9/11 hijackers met with an Iraqi official.[4] He went back on a year ago to describe Iraq as part of ""the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11."[5]

Most recently, Cheney has claimed that Iraq harbored the terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and said Zarqawi "is an al Qaeda associate who took refuge in Baghdad, found sanctuary and safe harbor there before we ever launched into Iraq."[6] But yesterday, a report Cheney himself requested found that there is no conclusive evidence to support that claim. An administration official said, "The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything."[7]

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "900,000 small businesses will be hit" by the Kerry-Edwards plan to roll back tax cuts for people in the top income bracket.

THE TRUTH: As the Washington Post writes this morning: "This is misleading. Under Cheney's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who includes some income from a small business investment, partnership, limited liability corporation or trust. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent small businesses. According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business "S-corporations" earn enough profits to be in the top two tax brackets. Most are in the bottom two brackets."[8]

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "We have added 1.7 million jobs to the economy."

THE TRUTH: On November 2nd, George Bush will be the first president in 70 years to lose jobs. There will be about a million fewer jobs than there were when Bush took office -- and about 7 million fewer than Bush's own post-9/11 estimate. Cheney's using fuzzy math: 1.7 million jobs have been added, but millions more have been lost.[9]

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."

THE TRUTH: This one-liner was one of Cheney's best zingers of the night, but even it isn't true: Cheney and Edwards have met in public at least twice. They met when Edwards escorted Elizabeth Dole to be sworn in by Cheney as Senator and at the National Prayer Breakfast. At the Breakfast, he even called Edwards out by name, starting his remarks with the words, "Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I are honored to be with you all this morning."[10] You can actually watch video of the two of them shaking hands at