Some months ago, Akira3099 made this avatar for me to use. I modified it slightly, but I thought my Grumpy Monkey looks pretty cool. What do you think?
I've had some very unexplainable technical problems here, so I'll be making some changes to the blog. I'm not going to fling any poo over it, but it did make me a Grumpy Monkey. Hopefully, it won't be too much hassle. You may notice one or two things changing every week.
If you were hoping for Marcus Monday, sorry. I'm simply not in the mood. My hot water heater also seems to have quit working. Unexpected cold water in the morning makes me a Grumpy Monkey. You can go read Verissimus anytime you'd like. It's there for you.
Technorati ticks me off. I finally got so irritated with their non-parsing of Thunderstorms for the last ten months, I unclaimed it after having it listed there for over two years. Then, I reclaimed it. I'm hoping that fixes things since their so-called upgrade. Here's my Technorati Profile.
Google Tabs don't tick me off. I just found that little techno-nugget on my personalized Google home page. Now, I have a handy-dandy Google Tab page of my favorite BD blog feeds all on one page. This is another handy page for great blogs, too. My Google Tab page just makes me feel like Santa Claus though -- I know when you've posted, I know whether you've been bad or good. (wink)
If you haven't seen it yet, check out the Outfoxed site. I watched all the video clips freely available on this page. While it's not as academic as reading Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent, you might be able to wrap your mind around the idea that you do live inside the U.S. corporate media bubble. Fox news just makes it more Matrix-like for BushWorld.
Here's the deal. If you wonder why everyone around you is parroting the same opinion, you know they don't bother looking past the TV for news and information. Some people call it the "echo chamber."
Just in case I don't bother re-editing my last post "Sunday Funnies: Iran" to add some helpful links, I should explain my tone that war with Iran is planned in the corridors of power at BushCo:
Harper's Magazine writer Ken Silverstein interviewed the recently retired Middle East CIA analyst, Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh. His actual job title was Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program. While the Iraq and Guantanamo info may be entertaining, I was more interested with his insights concerning Iran.
The are rumors that Israeli Mossad units have been training (Iraq) Elite Kurdish Peshmerga forces. While this is officially denied by everyone concerned, it makes some sense when you factor in this CNN interview by Wolf Blitzer with retired U.S. Air Force officer Sam Gardiner. "Retired Air Force General Sam Gardiner tells an astonished Wolf Blitzer that 'the evidence is overwhelming' that military operations in Iran have been going on for 18 months already."
Many of these clues are not classified and publicly available. However, most people only listen to McFoxNews version of the issue. The U.S. government has public hearings and files official reports. First you have to read them. Then, understanding the context, analysis and reading between the lines is also helpful.
Consider a recently published offical report by the House Permanent Select Commitee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Peter Hoesksta (R-MI). Consider the title of the report, "Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat: An Intelligence Challenge for the United States." [PDF press release]
Consider the way Committees control the selection of witnesses giving testimony. It's like hearing only the prosecution side of a criminal trial sometimes. Congressional staffers help vet these witnesses. If the final report is simply supposed to be a rubber-stamp for already proposed policy by BushWorld, then that's whose supporting testimony you'll hear.
Consider the actual report. Read the PDF. It's like a 29-page sales brochure for attacking Iran. Oh, no we can't talk to them or use diplomacy. Our only option will be a military option.
The very first sentence in the report is extremely instructive:
"Threats against the United States and Israel by Iranian President Ahmadinejad – coupled with advances in the Iranian nuclear weapons program, support for terror, and resistance to international negotiations on its nuclear program – demonstrate that Iran is a security threat to our nation that requires high caliber intelligence support.
Excuse me! Who do these Congress-critters work for, you and me, or the Israeli lobby AIPAC whose agents have been convicted of spying?
You'd think after the Iraq experience, people would be cautious. Your Republicon congress-critter can throw caution to the wind when DC lobbyists pay for their continued existence. They don't have to listen to you. They'll just claim to pray for your sons in the next war.
I only had the time to blog briefly and snarkastically about the U.N. General Assembly Meeting (UNGA61) this week. Even still, I seemed to have made a new friend that followed me from a link on TruthDig. Dubya-defenders have always been so easily riled up and thin skinned, but these days I just feel sorry for them.
It has to be traumatic to admit the obvious about George Bush, then also suffer the indignity of having to recover from the overdose of fumes of nail polish remover they spilled all over their SUV bumper trying to remove the "Bush/Cheney '04" bumper sticker in the darkness of night. To use a Bushism, "I honor their sacrifice and I pray for their families."
I like this Don Wright editorial cartoon because most rational people on the planet do look at both country's leaders as less than presidential and emotionally childlike. Unfortunately, the Democrusader has more than a toy soldier army with which to act out his childlike aggressions. It's mildly unfortunate for you and me, but more unfortunate for the Iranian people. Media buzzwords for the future: "The Straits of Hormuz."
It's redux. While I may have only been a teenager at the time, I am a Reagan-era military veteran. I remember both the first Lebanon invasion and the birth of Hezbollah and the Washington hubris of Iran-Contra. I'll skip over the Reagan Doctrine South American projects in order to keep focus. Let's just say that Nancy even helped sell that with the "Just say no!" media campaign for the diversion d'jour "the war on drugs."
The war on terror, or GWoT, is our current reason to allow war crimes and atrocities to flow out of the U.S. foreign policy like free Venezualan heating oil to Harlem from Hugo Chavez. The Bush administration tolerates Chavez because he's easily dimissed and still within reach. The Iranian situation is vastly more complicated.
Stategic energy resources are key, obviously. Since our Reagan-era sanctions, Iran has made other key economic partnerships. China and India will buy the Islamic Republic's oil because -- unlike the U.S. -- they are not burdened with the political baggage of Israeli or Evangelical Christian influences. Pakistan is working a pipeline deal to supply India with natural gas from Iran.
The world knows these things, and they remember these things. Politics and media in the U.S. are not giving the whole story. Fox news is nothing more than a symbiotic, propaganda parasite of the powerful. Right now, it's for the Bush White House. Other corporate media will echo Fox news, because it works. CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS -- as companies -- generally like to make money, too.
Remember when I said it was incorrect to label the Bush/Cheney administration as idiots? It's the same thing. Media outlets will label people stupid, or outrageous, or extremist to help you decide about free-range ideas. The U.S. media omits key facts, or pundits don't ask the obvious questions -- or in the case of Fox news, it has an obvious and structured agenda in order to make a profit from their demographic target.
Welcome to the United Nations General Assembly #61 in New York City! I'll be calling it UNGA61 for short, if you don't mind. It just kicked off yesterday, but most of you Faux News viewers probably didn't realize that it's actually a week-long event with leaders of countries big and small speaking, too. Your Commander-in-Chief, err, Friend-in-Jesus, err, Bushworld CEO, err, President of the United States spoke yesterday. Video and transcript are available at the Crawford Ranch North website, here.
I told you in an earlier entry about the new White House website convention of supplying a "fact sheet" that seems to accompany every public speech George Bush gives nowadays. I can only imagine that it's Karl Rove's idea to be able to bullet-point some talking points and even expand on things not specifically said in the speech itself. Perhaps Rove is just trying to combat that pesky, little, credibility monkey the Bush administration has been carrying around on its back since January 20th, 2001. Perhaps it's just a way to boil it all down, so NASCAR fans can have something to parrot on Rush Limbaugh radio call-in shows.
In his address to the UNGA61 members, Bush spent about 20 minutes giving his infomercial for the "Broader Middle East." We've all heard it -- 9/11, blah, blah, blah, terrorists, extremists, ideology, democracy, and of course -- purple ink-stained fingers.
Actually, Bush delivered a calm, cool and collected speech compared to the last several weeks of hearing him speak here or try to answer questions from our U.S. media about torture, rendition and kangaroo courts, lately. Two things did seem to stand out to me when I watched and listened to our president's address to the world leaders.
First, standing in front of world leaders, Bush decided instead to speak to the people in the countries in his BushWorld Broader Middle East:
Today, I'd like to speak directly to the people across the broader Middle East: My country desires peace. Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false, and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam, but we will protect our people from those who pervert Islam to sow death and destruction. Our goal is to help you build a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people of all faiths and promote the peace.
Honestly, I only wish it were that simple. Doesn't Bush even realize how impossibly hypocritical he sounds talking about propaganda, confusion and even terror?
Second, when he referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he started that topic off with "The world must also stand up for peace in the Holy Land." I have to say, my heart skipped a beat. In his pause between sentences, I thought for sure he was about to say something next that certainly was going to toss gasoline onto the still smoldering effigies of Pope Benedict laying around the main streets of some cities in the world.
Back to the fact sheet
After speaking directly to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine, (and others) the double-plus-good fact sheet at the Crawford Ranch North says:
Freedom, By Its Nature, Cannot Be Imposed - It Must Be Chosen.
Perhaps U.S. citizens now need to choose not to support the rubber-stamping Republicons this November that enable Bushworld democracy at the barrel of gun. Let's be clear. I'm not bashing the idea of democracy. I'm just calling a liar and a hypocrit, "a liar and a hypocrit."
View more editorial cartoons by Lalo Alcaraz here.
It seems like the Republicons in power in Washington D.C. have found the issue they can run up the flagpole for this year's election -- immigration. They've framed the issue and the debate in such a way as to appeal to their core constituency. Clues of this purposeful framing is found in the language that they use.
Rather than solving the problem of "undocumented workers," Republicons can get tough and crack down on "illegal aliens." Look at the language used for their proposed laws:
Secure Fence Act
Alien Gang Removal Act
Criminal Alien Removal Act
Alien Smuggler Transportation Act
Dangerous Alien Detention Act
I understand that immigration reform is a serious issue. At the same, I can't help but be a little cynical when I see language the politicians use. Knowing that fear and xenophobia can get them re-elected, they seem to have successfully taken a portion of the immigration issue and turned it into a crime and homeland security issue. And of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent for more law enforcement, detention facilities, and border security technology. (news conference video)
There are serious issues with how the federal government handles the immigration problem. The recent 'get tough on enforcement' stance can have both sad and cynical unintended consequences, though.
One example would be the aftermath story of the small, one-factory town, likely to be repeated all over the country. As reported by CNN:
STILLMORE, Georgia (AP) -- Trailer parks lie abandoned. The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce. Business has dried up at stores where Mexican laborers once lined up to buy food, beer and cigarettes just weeks ago.
This Georgia community of about 1,000 people has become little more than a ghost town since September 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal immigrants.
The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.
The humor in any joke is based upon a twist of some truth. The common joke about the idea of building a 700-mile-long border fence in the American southwest is, "Whose going to build it? Are you going to have Mexicans building it and then ask them to kindly get back on their side of the fence?"