Monday, October 31, 2005
Then I started thinking about the position that a judge has, especially one on the Supreme Court. The job is inherently non-partisan. I hate deferring to an analogy from someone who seems a bit sketchy, but John Roberts had it right: It's not the job of a justice to make rules, it's his job to make calls on them like an umpire in a baseball game. An umpire can't be rooting for one team or another, he has to apply the rules, not bend them to one party's ideology or another.
I don't know if John Roberts will be able to do that, but he's given an assurance that he will. That's really all I can ask. If he doesn't play by that standard, he can be impeached.
I'll be fine if Alito can give me that non-partisan, umpire like assurance. If not, Democrats should fillibuster the shit out of him.
Also, when the democrats take control of the senate and white house, they can add two more justices if they want...
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Since I wrote that last post I've been thinking alot about Karl Rove and talking about him to some people, too.
I think the deciding factor in what Karl Rove will do in the coming months is 100% dependent on where his loyalties lie. There are two scenarios here and they both depend completely on where his loyalty is.
Scenario 1) Karl Rove's loyalty is with George Bush and he will do everything he can to keep all of the various scandals and political woes as far from the offices of Bush and Cheney as possible. This also includes feeding Scooter Libby to the lions as he knows that he can keep even that away from his boys. Basically, in this scenario, he goes down on a sinking ship, polishing the brass as best he can so the legacy of the administration is tarnished as little as possible when it's finally sunk. Democrats will gain seats in the midterms and most likely take the White House in '08.
Scenario 2) Karl Rove's loyalty is with his party and he's going to resign and jump ship. He realizes that Bush's wing of the party had its 15 minutes of fame but Moderate Republicans and Americans in general, left and right, are sick of their extreme right-wing lunacy. (Whether Rove agrees that it's lunacy or not is up in the air, I'm the one who views it as lunacy.) He attaches himself to John McCain or some other Moderate Republican and brings his party back to victory, poising themselves for gains or at least a stalemate in the midterm and in another term in the White House for the '08 election.
It pains me to think that Rove has this much power, but I think he does. I think that if he were to jump ship and graft himself to a moderate that he would sail his party into a much better position. If he stays in the administration, he's just part of the sinking ship.
But like I said, this all comes down to where his loyalties are stongest. I know he loves his party, but does he love Bush as much?
I think it's an interesting question to ponder. Please, help me ponder it in the comments below. Tell me if I'm way off base or if you think I might be on to something.
I think it's time for Karl Rove to resign. I'm not the only one and I think it's high time.
I just want to relate one story about Karl Rove that may or not be news to you, and ask if this is the kind of man we want in politics on either side of the political spectrum:
During the Repiblican Primaries leading to the 2000 election, when John McCain was trouncing Bush, Rove masterminded a push polling campaign. Basically what he did was organize a "poll" of registered Republicans and likely voters in the primary. The poll was very pointed and without specifically stating as much, insinuated things about McCain that were damaging to his image, although nothing was out of place. McCain has an adopted black daughter. Rove had these pollsters call up likely voters and say, "Would you be more or less likely to vote for Senator McCain if you knew he had an illegitimate black daughter?" Less obviously. Then they see that McCain is using a fmaily portrait in his commercials and see a black daughter and they ask themselves, "Is that girl illegitimate?" Who do you think they're going to vote for now? An alcoholic draft-dodger or an interracial philanderer? To a voting block that thinks the only "real crimes" are sexual, I'm betting they'd go with the draft-dodging alcoholic.
This is creepy and ugly.
This is Karl Rove.
In order to bring honor back to politics, men like him must go. Men like him on both sides of politics (I'm sure there are democratic counterparts to Rove) need to be tarred and feathered and removed from our political process. Don't get me wrong. The man is brilliant and he has so much respect from me because he does his job almost too well. But we need to remove the need for his job.
They need to step aside so democracy can actually work, not just pretend to.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
You can read more about it here.
It's amazing to me the amount of times that George Bush mentions 9/11 when defending Iraq and deflecting criticism.
"Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals," Bush said. "I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001, and al Qaeda attacked us anyway. The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse."This logic is just really, really fuzzy to me. He seems to say in the first sentence that it's ridiculous to think that Iraq has caused more terrorist activities and that it's silly to think that it's easier to recruit more terrorists when there is a war going on. Then in the second sentence he says that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but fails to mention that we were in Israel and had our hands in various other Mid-Eastern pies. The third sentence is the most baffling of all: These people hated us before Iraq and they'll continue to hate us after we're done there. That says to me that what we're doing in Iraq isn't going to help us fight terrorists at all, it's as though Bush is admitting that Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism (and I believe that it had nothing to do with terrorism in the first place but has created a war zone that makes it easier to recruit terrorists.)
It seems like what he's saying overall is that despite the facts, things aren't worse and to just trust him. It seems as though George Bush is oblivious to the causes of terrorism. It seems as though he's oblivious to the problems he's caused. It seems as though he's decided how things ought to work, despite the facts and wants to proceed anyway.
Violence begets violence. Violence in Iraq caused by us will cause violence against us. It's common sense. Imposing political ideology at gunpoint will only cause more problems. Imposing political ideology at gunpoint in the middle-east will only cause a larger cultural rift between us and them.
It's clear to me (and the majority of Americans, according to recent polls) that Iraq was a gigantic folly and is only going to make things worse.
If you read that whole article that I linked to, you'll read where Bush and Cheney were making their speeches and when. In an effort to draw attention away from Patrick Fitzgerald's press conference, Bush and Cheney had simultaneous televised speeches to rally support from the troops for the "mission" in Iraq. It seems to me a sad day in a conflict when the you have to go to the military and try to convince them after 2 years of conflict that we're doing something, anything with their lives beyond wasting them.
I think that's all we're doing. Wasting their lives.
Friday, October 28, 2005
I know I'm not telling anyone something they don't know by saying that Scooter Libby was indicted by a Grand Jury today.
Obstruction of justice, perjury, making false statements. That's pretty serious stuff.
I don't want people to think that this is no big deal because it's not actually "leaking a CIA operatives name." Lying about it under oath is every bit as serious as doing it in the first place. Fitzgerald said it was like this: A baseball umpire is trying to make a call in a game and the "obstruction of justice charge" is that someone throws sand in his eyes in an effort to keep him from making his call. That seems like pretty serious stuff to me.
I'm wondering how long it will be before Karl Rove is handed an indictment. Fitzgerald left the idea open that other indictments can still be handed out. Don't let Bush-supporters get away with making people think this is just some "technicality."
This is a good day for justice and the country.
The only thing that would make it better would be a Rove indictment.
UPDATE: My apologies to Terrance at Republic of T. It seems as though I was stealing his bandwidth by linking to his picture of Scooter Libby. I've since reconfigured it so that blogger is now hosting it.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Harriet Miers, over concerns of "too much paperwork" has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.
It seems to be a good political move, however, it's a day late and a dollar short. It's amazing how much credibility the administration has lost. They want to get rid of her because she's unpopular, so they come up with an excuse to save face and the best they can come up with is, "Paperwork is hard."
I think they dumped her not because the paperwork was too hard, or even the mounting political problems of the Valerie Plame affair. I think what happened was this: They did make calls assuring Christian conservatives she's was a devout christian who would champion causes against abortion and sanity and what have you. I think the fallout from that scandal would be even worse than her nomination in the first place. Imagine what would happen if Arlen Specter brought in some of these people they called? What could they say?
I heard on NPR they had a 14 (or so) person conference call with various prominent Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives, assuring them of Harriet Miers' "christian qualifications." That's a bombshell. She would not have stood muster. And it would have been an even worse political situation for Bush if the Senate flat out rejected her nomination.
Now Bush has a hell of a time on his hands finding a new Nominee. And it's going to be very carefully watched.
He's under the heat lamps now.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I read this in the Washington Post: Planned GOP Budget Cuts Target Programs Such as Foster Care. This is mind-boggling. Taking slices out of Medicaid, Foster-care and pension protection programs seem like stupid things to sacrifice in order to pay for Iraq and federal disaster relief efforts. I think a good way to sacrifice is to raise taxes. I know on the surface that sounds ridiculous, but how far do you think we would have got against Germany if Roosevelt engaged in the war, then started cutting taxes, axing social welfare programs and didn't make calls for conservation and recycling and rationing of vital supplies?
Why have we not been asked to sacrifice? Why won't George Bush come out and say, "In order to pay for my war of choice and the mounting costs of disaster relief, I need to scale back on my tax cuts. As soon as we emerge victorious in this road to democracy in the Middle East, we'll be able to bring you back your tax cuts. Additionally, in order to keep our country running smoothly in these times of strife and to lessen the economic impacts of this war, I would ask that you only drive when completely necessary. Conserve gas, ride your bicycles and carpool. And this winter, be sure to lower your thermostat and wear a sweater. And you rich folks out there, be sure to cut down on the excesses of your class."
Instead, the message we get is this: "We're gonna be cutting taxes and funding to vital social programs and will offer you no idea as of to how we're going to pay for Katrina and the war on Iraq. We'll not leave it to our kids though, even though that's really what we're doing."
What is the value of reducing funding to vital social safety nets? Why can't we just expire the Bush tax cuts? The purpose of the government is to provide for the good of the people and the common defense. I think the common defense includes taking care of our own. But I believe in Democratic Socialism, so how far can you really take my word?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Check this link out. Dick Cheney has asked John McCain to exempt the CIA from anti-torture legislation. McCain rejected it.
No one has given me a compelling argument in support of torture or inhumane treatment. I don't think anyone can. Feel free to try though.
Just a note: I would be just as outraged by this if this were Al Gore or Franklin Roosevelt himself. Torture and a lack of humanity is a NON-PARTISAN issue.
I'm not the biggest fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. His movies are okay. Predator was amazing and True Lies was fun as all hell. The Conan movies were pretty rad and the first two Terminator pictures were pretty bad ass, too. I've even met the man once and it's really, really, really hard not to like him in person. He's as charismatic as they come.
I read this on the Washington Post's website and thought I would post it here because it's about what I've been bitching about for a while. He actually fielded questions that were A) from the opposition and B) weren't handpicked.
This is the most admirable thing a politician has done in a long time as far as I'm concerned. Granted this seems like a one-time only thing, but the man seemed to have handled it with grace. I'd love to see the video. This is what I think we need in our political discourse. We need politicians that are willing to engage their supporters and detractors equally on a daily basis in a civil manner. They need to explain why they think what they're doing helps everyone. (Not stand in front of a podium and shout "neener-neener-neener-stay the course in the face of obvious failure-neener-neener-neener")
We need to take the careful scripting and stump speeches out of politics. We need to take speechwriters out of politics. If George Bush or John Kerry or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Charlie Rengel or whoever want to support something, they ought to be able to do it convincingly and in their own words. It think what has happened in politics is that it has become "Hollywood." You need someone behind the scenes to push your project (Karl Rove), you need to find money to pay for your message (lobbyists), you need to hire someone to write the message (Michael Gerson), then you need to find an actor (he doesn't even need to be charismatic or well read) to read the part (George Bush). Then you need to hire a gaffer, a good DP, some makeup and hair people, a props guy, a wardrobe guy to crack open a new shirt from walmart, a dialect coach to make sure that Bush is speaking some semblance of English, I can go on down the list.
We need to make politics more impromptu. What happened to Lincoln-Douglas style debates? What happened to putting your candidate on a train on one end of the country and stopping in every city between there and the other end of the country? Anyone could stop by, see the candidate and question him and call him on his bullshit. And as far as state elections, pack up a truck and go from city to city talking to people. And when these people need to sleep and eat, they can sleep and eat with "ordinary folks" and not some millionaire lobbyist in his mansion. That's a good way of avoiding all the Hollywood bullshit and a real good way to find out what your constituency actually cares about.
I want to commend Ah-nuld for taking a step in the right direction.
Also, we should get rid of this "President/Vice President" ticket business. We need two candidates, not four. You win the presidency, great. You lose, guess what, you're the vice president. It would keep the white house a lot more honest.
Monday, October 24, 2005
I don't like listening to commercials. I don't listen to any radio except for NPR (usually) because it's about the only radio station that doesn't have commercials. I don't even have TV (I have to get my Daily Show highlights from OverSpun, Futurama is totally on DVD and Simpsons is getting there, so yeah, no TV...) . So, I really hate commercials. And NPR switches to all Jazz music after 8:00, which is good, I just like to be recieving information while I'm driving. Sometimes LoveLine is able to fill that void if I'm out late enough.
(Stick with me, this anecdote is going somewhere.)
Other times I just flip through stations. I've noticed recently that there is an inordinate amount of FM talk radio stations in my area all of a sudden. I like listening to them during my drive time because it's odd to see what people are saying. This is what they seem to have been saying for the last two weeks I've been listening: THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES IS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. If all I listened to were these talk radio hosts (I don't even know who they are, one was a dude named Rusty or something , another was like called American Night or something like that, I caught Sean Hannity once...) I would be forced into believing this. Every single issue they spoke about was related somehow back to illegal immigration. I heard various "Minuteman" leaders on the radio as pundits.
"We need to curb all of these illegals." "These people are bleeding us dry." "Illegals are the scourge of the United States. They're costing California alone billions."
It all seems to be shouted with one voice. But I did some research and found out that most immigrants aren't a burden, only a small percentage. Most pay taxes, most take jobs your average white person wouldn't and our economy would collapse without them. (This is probably why Bush is talking about work permits as opposed to shutting the borders. The hawks in his administration know that cutting off a labor-pool that cheap would be disastrous to the US economy.)
The thing that scares me the most about this is that we are a nation of illegal immigrants. I doubt the founding fathers would see a need to "cap" immigration. We have plenty of room. The more citizens we have the more taxpayers we have. We would be a stronger nation if we made it easier to get citizenship. But it seems as though the people on the radio have an irrational fear of "foreigners" in this land. They would honestly like (I heard them say this on the radio) to close our borders completely. No one comes in. Period. I doubt they've thought about what that's going to do to the tourism industry. I doubt they've thought about anything beyond not wanting minorities in their neighborhood.
Irrational fear and exclusion makes me sick. That's not America. People of all colors and nationalities deserve to be here every bit as much as we do. Let them come.
Unless you're a Native American, quit bitching about illegal immigrants.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The thing I hate about blogger is that it makes things like "indenting" ridiculous and impossible. (Maybe it is possible and I'm just an idiot.)
So, head over here on occasion to read some poorly formatted (bloggers fault, not mine) short stories. I'm going to try to convince Elias to post some over there, too. I like his short stories. I'm not so sure about mine though. I've never read any of Steve's, but if he has some, he should post some, too.
It seems as though 317 people have downloaded the movie from a bit torrent site.
Seriously, you should buy it from Amazon instead of stealing it.
Movie Piracy is evil, no kidding. But I guess getting bootlegged is a high form of flattery I suppose.
UPDATE: In spectacular Orwellian fashion one of the other team members here revised my post to get rid of the link to the bit torrent site. Just for the sake of clarification, I wanted everyone to know that I didn't delete it. It's my policy to post all links, good or bad and I doubt the 20 of you who frequent the site would actually bootleg it.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
I think the only person making this whole Tom DeLay thing a "partisan witch-hunt" is Tom DeLay.
I read this in the Washington Post. Is DeLay insane? He wants the judge to excuse himself for a campaign contribution during the 2004 election cycle; because he's a democrat? If political affiliation is something a judge should recuse himself for, wouldn't it be just as bad for a Republican to preside over Tom DeLay's trial? It seems as though all judges have some interest in politics or are affiliated with one party or another.
I just can't stress enough how tottally ridiculous this is.
Man, I want to see Tom DeLay serve time for this.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I can already hear, from 5 miles away, the gears working overtime in the heads of students there, trying to process such an odd concept. Liberal and religious? Liberal and MORMON? How interesting, how bizarre. How can this be?
*UPDATE: That was only his parting thought in the print version. The online version is much more extensive.
Plastic the Movie: The guys over at Plastic the Movie (a group of guys in Salt Lake making indie films) were kind enough to put a link to our site on their "Indie Cats" page. So, we certainly appreciate that.
The Chutry Experiment: A good blog mention.
Those are the only two I have for now. (Unless you want to buy stock in our blog on blogshares...)
There are a couple of things that are sad about this. But other than those I honestly laughed like hell when I heard that they issued an arrest warrant for Tom Delay.
The first sad thing about this: That this is a rare occurence. We should be able to take crooks from the Congress and the Senate to jail more often for the kind of shennanigans (sp?) they pull in the hallowed halls of our great capitol. I think it should be illegal to take campaign contributions from any private company. A politician taking money from a company, any company, is an instant conflict of interest. We need campaign finance reform that keeps contributions anonymous and from individual donors only. And they shouldn't be tax deductible. (Also, I think they should arrest Bob Bennett (R-Utah, big surprise) every time he says we need to reduce the federal minimum wage to $3.00 an hour.)
The second, sadder thing about all of this: That behaviour like this from those who hold office in this country isn't surprising. What was surprising is that the justice system had the wherewithal to actually prosecute a congressmen for his misdeeds. Our system is so broken that the exception to the rule is an indictment and an arrest warrant.
We need to go after people that break the law in office, no matter how white-collar their crimes might be (*cough*bill frist*cough*), no matter what party they come from. Why do we have to wait to find a dead hooker in their trunk? Strike now, pre-emptively. Small crime leads to larger crimes. These public office-holders need to know that they can't cross the people, that they aren't above the law. They need to stop holding corporate interests above those of the people. Period. It seems like, as days go by, they are more and more in the pocket of private corporations.
And, someone once said, "If you're not with us, you're against us..."
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I was sitting in a Fed Ex Kinkos the other day printing some posters for THIS DIVIDED STATE and I was sitting next to this man in Khaki Dockers, a white shirt and tie working on his laptop. He had a Blackberry, his Palm Pilot, and laptop setup in a kind of "war room" motif. Obviously a businessman of some sort, but white shirts and ties are common for Utah, so I didn't pay any mind.
When I began to organize my posters, he blurted out "Oh, is that some kind of Michael Moore thing?". I told him, "yes", and gave him the synopsis of THIS DIVIDED STATE. Then he dropped his bombshell, "Micheal Moore's film crew came by my work the other day asking questions. I work for Abbott Pharmaceuticals and apparantly, Moore is working on his new healthcare documentary."
He then went on to explain about how his company has weekly meetings wherein they have "Michael Moore updates". In fact, when his film crew showed up, workers called the company's "Michael Moore hotline". After a few minutes, he came out of the closet. "I'm actually a universal healthcare supporter and I love Michael Moore. You see, not all people who work for Pharmaceutical Companies are evil. I think what Moore is doing is great."
So, there you have it. Michael is moving at full speed to expose the fallacies of the American Health Care System. I can't wait to see it. "SICKO".
One Good Move: They posted this review chiding people to buy the DVD. I like that.
Media Mouse: Here's a flyer for a lecture that Bob Fitrakas, one of the lead investigators into the election fraud of 2004 in Ohio, is holding. After the lecture he will be screening This Divided State. (Warning, this link goes to a .pdf)
Bafflegabber: Here's some interesting and fairly well-written commentary about some clips of the film that ifilm posted.
Bloggernacle Times: Here's a review of the film that chides you to read another review.
Maybe I'll be back later for some "riveting political commentary." Or maybe it's not so riveting. Or maybe I'll just talk about how great a movie "Ghostbusters" is.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I sort of don't know what to make of this. Since the recruiting effort is in such bad shape, the military is now working on a $10 MILLION ad campaign targeted at those who influence the decisions of those they're trying to recruit (teachers, parents, etc.). Now, I'm not exactly opposed to the military doing its job recruiting, but aren't there better uses for $10 million dollars? Instead of all that money on a campaign, can't George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld get on TV every week or so and plead with parents to allow their kids to join the military? Or they could spend that money on ads that say: If you support the war, come fight in it. But spending that much money trying to convince parents they should send their kids to the war seems a little ridiculous.
Here's a novel idea, what if they spent that money to properly equip the troops? Maybe outfit them with what they need to meet whatever goals we have in Iraq this week. Maybe we could give those brave enough to fight in this war of choice for us a raise. Or we could forgive their military debts when they come back wounded. Or maybe we could throw that $10 million back into their VA medical benefits. I would even rather see it used as a signing bonus for the Bush twins.
I think the last thing we, as taxpayers, need to foot the bill for is a marketing campaign for the military. Especially ads that aren't even targeted to those who would be fighting, nee dying, in this war of choice.
Maybe I'm wrong, but this just seems outrageous.
Anyhow, please keep coming back to the blog and reading it. Whether you disagree with us or not, I'd still like to hear from you.
And I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
MovieContests.com: Here's a good review. 4 Maple Leaf's (no joke). And apparently they're posting an "exclusive" interview with Steve and I. I can't wait.
Oh Sweet Pea: We were dissapointing to this reviewer. And although our editing was praised in Variety, this person thought it was the worst part of the movie.
As I find more, I'll post them as well.
Check out the This Divided State website and buy a copy of our movie.
Also, check out Robert Greenwalds website.
UPDATE: Apparently, the link to the radio went to the hosts bio page for some reason. It's fixed now.
Is the current state of affairs getting you down? Longing for the Leave it to Beaver style good old times. Well guess what, Wally and the Beaver attended racially segregated schools and June wasn't allowed to wear pants. There were no "good old times", and unless you were Ward Clever, everything has pretty much always sucked. But never fear, through hard times comes great art, music in particular, "American" music. Indeed through our countries most shameful practices of slavery and racial segregation, came one of the greatest gifts ever given the human race. The Blues.
We've sure made a mess of that one didn't we? You'll never find me copping out with "music sucks nowadays" or "Punks Dead" nonsense, we just have to dig a little deeper for the goods and when you dig deep enough, you might just find a hidden treasure.
Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots in one of those hidden treasures, though I didn't have to dig very deep, Munly is a member of another one of my favorite bands, "Slim Cessna's Auto Club".
For anyone whose perception of country music is a power ballad singing Gap model like Kenny what’s his nuts, this album is a much needed history lesson. And for any shoe gazing, eye make-up wearing, black haired teen who thinks that Interpol epitomizes gloom, this album is also a necessity, though I'm sure Munly is unlikely to tap either the Nascar or Hot Topic market. The album is a released under Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, which has been frightening, and pissing parents off ever since I was a toddler.
Lyrically fearless and as beautiful as it is frightening, this album is the type of well-rounded and sophisticated masterpiece that is simply impossible to market to a general populace whose artistic standards seem plunge lower and lower every day. Dark acoustic "thinking mans country" with string accompaniments and hypnotic female back ups is not exactly a hip new fad in popular music, but hopefully the slowly swelling psycobilly revival will sway some young people in Munly's general direction. My man Jello knows it is important to support independent artistic innovators, as they are the ones who make all of our lives more bearable as we hopelessly long for those imagined "good old days", or pray for thier eventual arrival.
Step out of your musical comfort zone for a couple minutes and give Munly a listen... Jerk.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
She gave me a copy of their CD when I was down there and I can honestly say I've listened to it more than a few times.
That's her on the far right. From left to right is: Megan, Steve, Bryan and Becca. I don't like smiling.
Why aren't people more outraged by the fact that we are doing nothing to keep the heat on in America's poorest homes? I really don't care about the Miers nomination when you compare it to poverty and a lack of minimum wage. People need to be more upset that we don't have a Livable Wage Law. Why can't we get someone on the news everynight saying, "The cost of living increased by X dollars a day today, bringing the total to X thousand dollars a week since the last minimum wage increase."
Why doesn't that stir people up? Why don't the Democrats try running on a platform like that this mid-term? They'd win with this: "The Republicans are costing you money. The cost of living has gone up. A dollar buys a nickel's worth. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. We'll raise the minimum wage and give you free healthcare." (Sorry. I really like Network.) Instead, they'll go with this: "Hey, vote for us, we're not George Bush! Please... Maybe?"
Not only do the democrats need to do it because it's a winning strategy, it's the right thing to do. And I know alot of Republicans seem to think raising the minimum wage would strain the economy, I say, "Bullshit." You give people who need more money more money and what do they do? Spend it. Instantly. You're reinserting that money right back into the economy. Poverty stricken people can't afford savings accounts. They'll blow every extra dollar at the local big-box superstore.
If you work 40 hours a week doing ANYTHING you deserve to be able to support your family of four. We need to make that a reality. Get pissed off about this. Forget about Harriet Miers and Staged News Conferences. We need to get mad about this goddamnit. This means something.
"We are healthy to the extent that our ideas are humane." --Kilgore Trout
But yes, the idea of Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court does scare the bejesus out of me.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Here's some news censored in the U.S. that he was able to sneak onto the BBC.
Basically, according to him, the move into Iraq was nothing but an Imperialist step on the march of Corporate Globalization.
It's a good read and some more good viewing. All of his BBC reports are online.
ZineCat: This one is a top ten list of films people should have seen during Vancouver. Guess what number This Divided State was.
ZineCat: Here's their 4 star review of the film.
FilmThreat: Here's their 3 1/2 star review of the film.
Terminal City: This is an html version of a PDF of a news weekly in Vancouver with a 3 1/2 star review of the film. You need to apple-f (or control-f) to find it.
That's it for now. I'll post more as I find them.
And no one seems able to respond to the question: "Why shouldn't Bush be able to hold his own against people that aren't handpicked and well-rehearsed and scripted? Why can't he talk to people candidly?"
I bet Clinton could do it. H.W. Bush could and did I saw him do it. I bet Reagan could. Why can't this Bush? Why won't his handlers let him?
I've blogged alot about Bush and him getting away from his handlers in order to talk to people as a person who cares, not a President at a photo-op.
That's my problem with this mess. I don't care if something is staged as long as they say, in a straightforward manner, "This was very well-rehearsed and planned. They were a handpicked crowd and they knew what was going to be asked. There was very little room for ad-libbing." I think people from both sides deserve to know when something is actually candid and something is only "fake" candid.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
This is sort of childish of me to post this here like this in the above satiric context. I do respect their opinion even though I don't agree with it. But it's worth checking out.
Crooks and Liars posted this business with Scott Mclellan. After insulting Helen Thomas a reporter asks him point blank "Was the event with the troops choreographed?"
He gives a pretty firm, "No. But talk to the DOD about that. I don't think it was rehearsed."
I was listening to NPR this evening and on "All Things Considered" they played a sizeable chunk of the rehearsal where Alison Barber gives very specific instructions to the troops about what to do in case Bush goes off script. She then goes through a list of questions Bush is going to ask and rehearses the answers with the troops, coaching them along the way. You can listen to the entire rehearsal or read transcripts here.
How did she know what Bush was going to ask if Bush and his cronies (Mclellan included) weren't involved? It seems as though Mclellan and the administration are caught up in another lie and I think this staged event is tantamount to Goebbels-style propaganda. Maybe I'm wrong, but an event this scripted and passed off as candid seems like nothing but a ruse for the American people.
Why can't they let Bush talk to people without controlling it? Why can't they let soldiers that aren't happy with him speak? It seems to me that this was just a major PR move. "Let's get W. on TV talkin' to some troops that think he's tops. That'll curb these bad poll numbers...not that we pay attention to that sort of thing..."
I'm outraged by this and I think others ought to be as well.
UPDATE: I'm not trying to compare the administration to the Nazi's, merely their propoganda machine. Goebells is the benchmark in propoganda so that's why I used that reference.
UPDATE: Part 2
Also, I was wondering. We haven't got word about how our added screening in vancouver went yesterday. Was anyone there? How'd it go?
This is sad. We are so desensitized to dirty and corrupt and evil men, like Bill Frist, working for us in our government that nothing surprises us. But the fact that this man owns stock in the first place is a tip-off. Why can't we have some of our elected officials come from the "too-poor-to-have-ever-owned-stock" category? We need Mr. Smith to go back to Washington. That way, when Mr. Smith does something wrong, we can all be shocked again. And we'll be so shocked we'll do something about it and quickly.
We've become too complacent with our leaders. We so readily give up the fact that they are corrupt that we almost don't care when they are. And when it's one of our own, we try defending them to the death. Let's try something different. Let's take all of these rich fat-cat politicians. Your Bill Frists, your Tom Delays. Let's throw these assholes to the wolves. Let's remake the law so that an indictment of any felony charge while your sitting in office, no matter how small or large that office may be, you are gone. Let's scare these people straight.
Let's make the law work for us for a change. And let's call private campaign contributions what they are: BRIBES. I say, we should change the laws so that you must recuse yourself of any vote on a law that affects an industry you've recieved money from. That way, there's no conflict of interest. And if we catch these bone-heads voting anyway, we throw them in stocks and kick them down the steps of the Capitol. And if a company you're involved in gets a no-bid contract working in a region you helped destabilize with your shoddy decision making (*cough*halliburton*cough*) then you should be thrown off the top of the Capitol building with an anvil strapped to your ankles.
I'm sorry if I sound a little harsh. I can't tolerate corruption. I can't tolerate people who have their own interests in their heart over the interests of the people.
These people sicken me. Especially Dick Cheney. Fuck that guy.
I think my point is, we should trust our leaders enough to be surprised when they've done something wrong. I don't want this to be the norm. And those that hold themselves to higher Christian standards ought to know better. I don't know when Jesus taught that Chrisitianity was there to help you get rich. Last I checked we'd be judged by how we treated the least among us. And if you look around, it seems as though the Republican controlled White House, Congress and Senate are failing the least among us in spades.
I feel like we can do better.
To be honest, I just don't know how at this point.
(I apologize if this post isn't that well written. I'm sort of writing this in a fit of anger. I'll be around to revise it into something less than the turd that it is as the next few days go by.)
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
We also got word that our screening yesterday at the festival was sold out and the applause furiously ran through the entirety of the credits.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
I think this proves more than anything that George Bush and those closest to him are terrorists.
Why would you veto a bill based soley on the fact that it would force you to no longer perpetrate torture and inhumane cruelty? Truly these men have evil in their hearts. The scary part about it is that they don't know they have evil in their hearts. They're too concerned about making a buck than saving their souls (if they have any left among them.)
I think people of both sides can generally agree that vetoing this measure would be against the will of the people. I think people of both sides will generally agree on their mutual outrage at this. He's going to have a helluva time explaining this one in the media. Our country is founded on the idea that all men (American born or not) were created equal and should be held to the high moral standards of our laws and rights. We want that for everyone. So why should we deny it to enemy combatants? Love thine enemy.
The whole ship is sinking. Americans don't want to see themselves as the bad guy. If we can't even promise to stop torturing people, then not only are we the bad guy, but we need to be put down and fast.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Some of you may have noticed the Pete Ashdown banner on the side of the site. I want to thank Pete Ashdown for personally writing the code for the inclusion of that direct link to his site. I'm all thumbs when it comes to things like html and when I asked him if they had some code to cut and paste I got a prompt personal reply stating that his campaign didn't, but if I picked out a banner I liked, he'd code it for me personally. I think that's really cool.
I'll be back later tonight or tomorrow with some interesting political commentary. Or maybe it's not so interesting. I guess that's up to you.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
What seems to have been a secret is that Neal has a hidden body of work online. Aside from his blog (which is quite insightful, if not a bit infrequent) I discovered a trove of articles he'd written for various places. I found one that I thought would be worth all of you reading. (They're all worth reading, but this one seemed a bit more special.)
So, click this link and read it. I'll wait for you to get back.
You're back? Great. I think this is the sort of journalism that needs to be done more often. It's not groundbreaking, but it really gives you a sense of the event and makes you want to be there to experience it yourself. Hell, more than a few times while reading this I asked myself why there isn't anything like this around me. I think we need to do more things like this as communities. Could you imagine 4,800 people sitting in a parking lot or a park, watching a great movie for free? I think we'd have a much stronger sense of community. (I'm with Vonnegut and his crazy notions of massive extended families.)
Anyhow, I just wanted to turn you onto something that I thought was cool. And I know Neal occasionally reads this blog, so I want to disclaim that this is in no way me trying to kiss his (or your) ass.
UPDATE: Apparently the link to the article was bad. It was my fault. But this blog is so well read, no one informed me of it until Neal in his comment. Thanks Neal.
These are the pictures from that Dutch blog. The top one is a plywood wall on Granville street that Steve and I covered in This Divided State material. (I was surprised at how few filmmakers felt the need to promote their films in any meaningful way)
And the bottom picture is Steve and I at the Q & A. Yes. We're wearing our missionary tags.
READ this article.
So, there was a vote about the military spending bill and a number of Senators added on riders that will outlaw torture and force the government to play by the rules of the Geneva convention.
It's about damn time. I wonder what those 9 senators that voted against it were thinking. Regardless, this bill will get a veto despite the obvious will of the people. What does that say about the leader of the free world if he vetoes bills that help make it more free? (Did that last sentence even make any sense?)
The biggest problem I see with this legislation, however, is that the Bush Regime is incapable of changing it's ways. Therefore, we'll see all of these abuses swept under the rug, hidden in back rooms and the documents reporting them will be classified and then reclassified. The Regime argues that this would tie their hands behind their back in a time of war. I say good. If we can't win a war based on the merit of the cause and need torture and abuse to win it, then I'd say it's not worth winning.
If we're going to fight in this conflict, a conflict with the potential to cause instability the world over, and we can't do it under the principles and morals this country was founded on, then I say that the war has no principal or moral value. Do unto others... If we pretend to be a Christian nation, then tell me who Jesus would torture if he needed information? No one comes to my mind. It seems to me that nothing in the Bible would suggest that it would be okay to torture your enemy. In fact, maybe I'm remembering this from something else (I'm not terribly versed in the Bible) but doesn't it say in there somewhere to love thine enemy? Let's fight them with good deeds, not weapons. Let's treat them with dignity and respect when they are in our detainment facilities, at that point we can hope they would do the same for us.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Well hello. As you may have read, we're back from the Vancouver International Film Festival. The two screenings we were in town for were both sold out and we got a standing ovation at the first one. The Q & A sessions were amazing, and coming from an audience that doesn't generally live in the States it was a little bit different, too.
The first thing is that some people didn't respond well to us saying we were Americans. "We're American's, too," one person said, "people from the US tend to forget that." So we had to get used to the idea that we we're from the States, not just "Americans." That was probably the oddest difference to get used to and it really turned my vocabulary about my country on it's ear.
I think the most interesting thing I discovered at the Q & A's though was that people were glad that Steve and I were from the States and that we weren't a stereotype that has been propogated by the utter arrogance of our government. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that George Bush is the face of the United States of America for the world, as much is Tony Blair is the face of the UK to us and Osama bin Laden is the face of Saudi Arabians. It's easy to forget that, so it's a little amazing to meet people amazed at the fact that you're not an arrogant American conservative. (One guy told me that in Canada they'd taken to calling us Us-ians. (We're from the US and all we think about is us...)) The point I'm trying to make though is that it was bizarre to realize that This Divided State could help serve as a document to other countries to help de-bunk the myth that we're all arrogant cowboys like the hawks in the Bush administration.
I was actually proud of that, that we were able to take that message to our friendly neighbors to the north. American's...err...people from the States...are just as complex as international politics should be. Nothing is black and white, but when the representative of your country tells the world, "Either you're with us, or you're against us," you can understand why they might think that.
So, we're doing our part to debunk stereotypes of US citizens abroad and it feels good.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I was sad to leave. But we will be returning to regular updates on the blog.
And thanks for those of you who continued to read the blog in our absence. And thanks to Elias for updating the blog in such a hilarious manner.
Monday, October 03, 2005
After enjoying a thick stack of pancakes swimming in 100% all natural maple syrup, Steve and Bryan should be returning from Canada today to regail us all with stories about how they became the belles of the ball at the 24th annual Vancouver Film Festival, where their very masculinity was put to the test by way of burnt and bitter Starbucks coffee and nightly spooning in order to keep from dying a lumberjacks death of hypothermia or abduction by Sasquatch.
Last I heard, things were going swimmingly for this dynamic duo as Minority films seemed to be the only entity that saw fit to bring promotional materials to the festival. These big-shots don't even try sometimes, it truly boggles the mind.
There's still more than a week to until the Vancouver Film Festival churns to a halt, but I know that "This Divided State" made a good dimpression, and win, loose or... win, the international film festival circuit has not seen the last of these Utah filmmakers with winning smiles and go-get-em attitudes, oh yes, we shall return. We shall... Return.
Stay tuned for news on upcoming projects.