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Archive for the ‘Lies’ Category

Matt Taibbi gets it. How many times in the last few weeks have you heard the word populism used by the mainstream media to describe the desire to reform our financial system? It takes a completely valid argument and uses that word to make it trite.

I also like how Taibbi calls bullshit — and actually uses the word bullshit. Favorite quote:

That’s basically Brooks’s entire argument here. Yes, the rich and powerful do rig the game in their own favor, and yes, they are guilty of “excesses” — but fucking deal with it, if you want to eat.

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The Party of Assholes

I am loath to blog about the worst of the worst wingnuts like Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Lynn Cheney and Glenn Beck. I mean what’s the point? Their assholeishness is hardly something so subtle that it needs a blogger (let alone thousands of them) to point out.

Nonetheless what is truly disgusting lately is the glee with which these assholes seem to treat human tragedy. Can there be any doubt after the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day how much these jerks want a terrorist attack to happen? They treated the attempt as a Christmas Day present to themselves and their ideology. They jumped right away with how Obama couldn’t keep us safe and launched a coordinated effort of historical revision regarding attacks during the Bush presidency. One wonders how much more excited they would be if this guy succeeded?

And now we have a human tragedy of catestrophic proportions. A poor country that has suffered for so many years gets kicked while it is already down with a natural disaster. And how do these guys react? What compassion do these “saviors of family values” give us? You have to know that Pat Robertson woke up to the news excited that God had finally put the nail in the coffin of this heretic country. And how about Limbaugh? Don’t give any money in aid to Haiti because we already do that through income tax. It’s not enough that you are an asshole Limbaugh, you have to try to influence others to behave like you.

What is there to say to all this? I apologize for this rant but these guys are truly evil. How else to explain their utter joy at so much tragedy around us.

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Two short observations

Pat Robertson on NPR speaking about Oral Roberts’ 1987 plea to his supporters that they donate money to his church or God would kill him:

It was unseemly. We all have a mole or a wart somewhere in our lives.

What do you mean it was unseemly? He said God told him that he was going to kill him if he didn’t raise the money. Are you insinuating that Oral Roberts was lying? Is it so common for televangelists to lie that you can use that word unseemly instead?

Second observation of the day.

A new provision being rolled into the unified House health care bill would allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 27, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Tuesday.

I think it says a lot about the state of this country’s health insurance problems that reform involves infantilizing adults in order to get them covered. And how classist is this anyway? This is a big benefit for upper middle class families who sent their kids off to college when their kids have not yet found work that includes benefits. Baristas anyone? What about poor 27 year olds? Chances are their parents don’t have insurance either. What a bunch of crap. Full disclosure: I was on my parents’ insurance until I was 23 years old.

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Todd Willingham

Ever since reading the heartbreaking New Yorker article about Todd Willingham’s execution, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him. I haven’t talked about it, because what can you say? What can say about something so evil as the execution of an innocent man? It challenges our beliefs in a way that isn’t comfortable to think or talk about.

Since I read that article, Governor Rick Perry of Texas has done everything in his power to sabotage an investigation of his conviction and execution. While I can’t transfer my own feelings into words, I feel that John Cole and DougJ at Balloon Juice are really on target.

Pointing out a comment on a Megan McCardle post, DougJ cites the following user comment:

Well Megan, I really don’t see any smoking gun in this case. We know you’re anti death-penalty but this is grasping at straws.

And then says this:

There is no smoking gun that the guy is innocent, so the state was right to execute him.

I totally agree with his sentiment. We’ve come to a point in this country where “innocent until proven guilty” is meaningless. We have guilty until proven innocent. We see that in the indefinite detention of Americans in America, and we see it here in Willingham’s case.

How about this from John Cole:

No, we will not have a serious discussion about the death penalty. In fact, if you want to be exceptionally horrified, check out this Kay Bailey Hutchison statement referencing Rick Perry’s actions:

Cole then quotes Hutchinson:

“As hard as Rick Perry’s office and his campaign may try to divert from the issue, this is not about one man or one case. The issue is Rick Perry’s heavy-handed politicization of a process and Commission established by the legislature to provide critical oversight. First, Rick Perry delayed the formation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, then he tried to ensure it didn’t have funding and when all else failed, he fired everyone he could. The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up.

And provides this commentary:

She’s not concerned that an innocent man might have been killed by the state. She’s concerned that evil liberals might get in the way of killing more people.

This is truly a low point for America.

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“You lie”

It’s amazing how low the stakes are with the Republicans. Outrage over illegal immigrants getting health care? I might add that the President said it wasn’t true.

I would have paid good money — campaign contribution money — to hear anyone — ANYONE — say “you lie” during one of the George W. Bush speeches in Congress. I mean how many lies did tell? How many people died because of the lies he told?

I wish this were a trend. I propose yelling out “you lie” at all sessions of Congress where a politician blatantly lies.

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In the Loop

I saw In the Loop last night and I can’t recommend it enough. The film is an offshoot of the British television series “The Thick of It” which I have only seen a couple of episodes of. The series and film have a sort of docu-drama feel although the actors don’t confront the camera at any time and you don’t get the idea that what they are saying is made for public consumption, but it has the shaky camera the quick cuts that are normal in such films.

The premise is to take the events that led up to the UN Resolution to attack Iraq and to show them through lower level cabinet officials of both the British and the American governments. What’s fascinating about this film is that each major point is fact. We know that the British supported America in their endeavor to declare war on Iraq. We know that the reasons were inexplicable to a large percentage of the British and American public. Tony Blair’s inexplicable unconditional support of the Bush Administration led many to characterize Blair as being the lap dog of the Americans. We know that British intelligence was used by the Bush Administration as justification to the war. We know that opposition was squashed despite very serious reservations about the quality of such intelligence.

So in this film, we see a fictionalized account of how all of the above came to be. The characters are fictional, but again I think the major points of the film are accurate. The film is funny. Depressing. How can so many people put their careers above the common good in such a callous way? It’s hard to swallow. The dialogue is great though I think the dialogue of the American characters is somewhat off. I think Americans are more likely to smile to your face and tell you what you want to hear than stab you in the back, so I guess what I’m saying is the Americans talk a little bit too much like the Brits. The Brits swear with such foul relish. It’s poetry really and very clever. And very funny. But not so American which is why it sounds odd when the American characters do it. I suppose we’ve heard of politicians like Cheney throwing fuck yous out there, but that’s not really so clever and funny. Just foul.

I loved Peter Capaldi’s performance. Just like on the television series he is fantastic. I wasn’t so taken with James Gandolfini but again I think that’s because the words coming out of his mouth just didn’t quite sound right. A little too British and not so American. It’s certainly an uncomfortable film to watch at times because the humor is so incredibly dark. This is an incredibly dark subject and very smartly done. The next day I’m still thinking of what a tragic clusterfuck this all was.

Update: I’ve just been looking on google for what other clips they show of this film. Ignore all the trailer clips. The film’s charm is the swearing which sadly is not included in any trailer.
I enjoyed the crossest man in Scotland: “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa3eoMnMC80”

And the Steve Coogan clip: “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5kdOvsyv98”

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With all of this talk about someone forging a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama, I was reminded of a fascinating article I read many years ago in the Guardian.

Mark Hofman was a really good forger. He conducted careful research and he chose his victims well. They were people who bought the forgeries because they wanted to believe they were real. Or in the case of the Mormon Church, the church wanted to destroy “real” documents which contradicted existing Mormon Orthodox. They made their purchases to destroy the documents. Here is an excerpt. The whole article is a great read.

The man he was describing is no ordinary murderer. Poetry and literature were the accomplices in his crimes; parchment and ink the tools of his trade. His name is Mark Hofmann and, until he was incarcerated, he was America’s greatest literary forger: a man who combined obsessive historical research, extraordinary craftsmanship and an unerring instinct for what his customers wanted. Two years ago, one of those forgeries, a masterfully-executed poem by the much-loved American poet Emily Dickinson, who died in 1886, turned up at Sotheby’s, New York, where it was sold for $21,000 to the Jones Library, in Dickinson’s home town, Amherst, Massachusetts.

“I thought: this is just extraordinary,” says Daniel Lombardo, the former curator of special collections at the Jones Library, recalling the moment when he first saw the poem in Sotheby’s catalogue for its June 1997 auction of fine books and manuscripts. “A complete poem, not a fragment of a poem. In my recollection, it had been decades since a poem came up this way.”

And part two is here.

Update: It occurred to me that an excerpt of the Mormon bit of the article might stir some interest.

Forging coins had taught him two lessons: that things have no intrinsic value, and that people will believe what they want to believe. The Church of the Latter Day Saints was the perfect victim. Since its beginnings, in 1863, it has been a religion in search of authentication. The hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of documents that Hofmann sold to the church were faith-promoting documents of the highest order. They included the earliest known Mormon artefact – a letter from the mother of the church’s founder, Joseph Smith – and the last: a letter written by Smith from jail just before he was murdered.

Hofmann’s real intention, however, was to destroy the faith he despised. Like a virus planted in a computer, he began to feed the Church of Latter Day Saints with documents that called into question some of the fundamental tenets of the faith. His most famous forgery came to be known as The White Salamander Letter. In it, Hofmann portrayed the Mormon church’s prophet, Joseph Smith, as a money-grubbing gold prospector who dabbled in black magic. Instead of angelic inspiration, he invented a diabolic, talking lizard. The Mormon Church bought the document for $250,000, and locked it away so that no one would see it.

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