Saturday, April 21

The Insane Plan of Extending the Surge Escalation!

From the AP: Analysis: Iraq surge may be extended

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is laying the groundwork to extend the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq. At the same time, the administration is warning Iraqi leaders that the boost in forces could be reversed if political reconciliation is not evident by summer.

This approach underscores the central difficulty facing President Bush. If political progress is not possible in the relatively short term, then the justification for sending thousands more U.S. troops to Baghdad — and accepting the rising U.S. combat death toll that has resulted — will disappear. That in turn would put even more pressure on Bush to yield to the Democratic-led push to wind down the war in coming months.

If the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki does manage to achieve the political milestones demanded by Washington, then the U.S. military probably will be told to sustain the troop buildup much longer than originally foreseen — possibly well into 2008. Thus the early planning for keeping it up beyond late summer.
The first step toward building a politcal solution would be to work with powerful coalitions like that of Moqtada al-Sadr to help bring consensus into how Iraq will be governed. Unfotunately that cat is long out of the bag...

"Radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pulled his six ministers out of Iraq’s beleaguered coalition government on Monday as he pushed his demand for a rapid withdrawal of US troops from the country." Prime Minister Maliki’s government is expected to survive.

Unfortunately, survival of the government is not enough. As Harry Reid has pointed out the the War is already lost.

The war in Iraq "is lost" and a US troop surge is failing to bring peace to the country, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, said Thursday.

"I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week," Reid told journalists.

Reid said he had delivered the same message to US President George W. Bush on Wednesday, when the US president met with senior lawmakers to discuss how to end a standoff over an emergency war funding bill.

"I know I was the odd guy out at the White House, but I told him at least what he needed to hear ... I believe the war at this stage can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically."

Which is exactly what the ISG report said, not it hasn't stopped the Reich-wing attack dogs from biting.

But then Reid's comments shouldn't be a surprise to anyone since the Pentagon has now given up on "Standing the Iraqis Up, so we can Stand Down".

Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces. Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said. ... Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq."

And as we've seen, the Iraq Surge is working so well that we've had record numbers of military and civilian deaths over the last couple of months.

Yesterday was the deadliest day since the escalation strategy began, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people. A car bomb killed 140 in a single blast at the Sadriyah marketplace, making it the deadliest single such car bomb attack since the US-led invasion four years ago. Many Iraqis today are expressing their outrage over the impact that escalation is having on their lives:

"After two months of the security plan in the hot areas of the city, the attacks have moved to the cold, quiet areas to make them hot, while the hot areas burn," said [Iraqi parliament member] Nasar al-Rubaie.

Aljazeera.net reported that locals "cursed at the security plan of the prime minister" in the scene of the bombings. The website added that when Iraqi Army units appeared on the scene, outraged locals hurled insults at the soldiers and chased them out of the area. A US Army patrol entered the district shortly afterwards, only to be received by stones and slugs thrown by the residents. The American force withdrew from the scene as well.

"Where is the government? Where is the security plan?" [65-year-old Abu Adnan] raged, while bystanders crowded to see the three metre (yard) wide and two metre deep hole ripped out of the black tarmac by the force of the car bomb.

"How could anyone bring a car bomb to this place? What were those innocents guilty of?" [28-year-old Imad Basim] demanded. "Where is the government and its security plan?"

The increasing presence of the U.S. occupation is fueling a bloody cycle of violence: it motivates terrorists to carry out attacks; the locals blame the attacks on the U.S.; the terrorists then find a new recruiting pool willing to carry out new attacks.

So it's seem the perfect definition of something or the other to continue on the course that's already been set until the inevitable finally sinks in, or the next President takes office - whichever comes first.

The latter preferably sooner than 2009.

Vyan

Skid Row - Monkey Business

Skid Row - Monkey Business

Ohio Election Audit Find Massive Descrepancies

Ohio Vote Audit for 2004 election finds massive discrepancies:
CLEVELAND — Computer vote-memory card totals failed to match electronic voting machine ballot tallies in more than one quarter of the samples checked from the November election in the state’s most populous county, an independent audit showed Thursday.
In the 37 sample precincts where results didn’t match, there may have been corrupted memory cards, missing or torn reports, faulty printers or other problems, according to the independent audit commissioned by the Cuyahoga County elections board.
These are exactly the kinds of memory cards which were highlighted by the HBO Documentary, Hacking Democracy earlier this year. But where the differences in totals enough to change the outcome of the 2004 elections?

Because the checks involved unofficial counts, the audit committee wasn’t in a position to say whether vote totals might have been affected, member Ron Olsen said.
So although there may have been massive problems, exactly who those problems may or may not have benefited remains unclear - so far. Clearly these results should warrant further investigation and explaination particularly in the wake of the scandal upon scandal which has plagued Cuyahoga County.

Ohio's Bob "Ballots for Bush" Bennett, an essential player in putting George W. Bush back in the White House in 2004, is no long chair of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. His milestone resignation leaves a legacy of scandal, recrimination, massive voter purges, felony convictions and a pivotal role in a stolen presidential election.

Bennett has quit in a signature cloud of graceless accusations and cheap shots at Jennifer Brunner, Ohio's newly elected Secretary of State, who asked him to resign along with the rest of the Cleveland election authority. His forced departure marks the biggest landmark yet in the unraveling theft of the presidential elections in Ohio 2004.

Bennett remains chair of the Ohio Republican Party. In 2004 he was apparently asked by White House consigliere Karl Rove to stay on at the Cuyahoga BOE to help guarantee Bush's second term. Cleveland is Ohio's biggest and most Democratic urban center. A massive sweep there by John Kerry was widely expected to have given him the White House. It was Bennett's job to mute that margin, and apparently that's exactly what he did.

Leading up to the 2004 vote, Bennett oversaw the quiet purge of some 168,000 registered voters from the Cuyahoga rolls, including 24.93% of the entire city of Cleveland, which voted 83% for Kerry. In one inner city majority African American ward, 51% of the voters were purged. Centered on precincts that voted more than 80% for John Kerry, this purge may well have meant a net loss to the Democrats of tens of thousands of votes in an election that was officially decided statewide by less than 119,000.
Vyan

Friday, April 20

Paranoia and Loathing in Right-Wingistan Radio at a Fever Pitch

Following not far behind the fetid footsteps of Rush Limbaugh who called Media Matters "Stalinist" for actually daring to publish his statements and regularly pointing how how completely full of shit he is.

Other wingerettes have begun to join in the refain of "They're Coming to Get Us, hee hee..."

On the April 16 edition of his television show, Bill O'Reilly invited Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce to comment on the firing of Don Imus, which, according to O'Reilly, "has metastasized into an ideological witch-hunt by evil forces." Bruce asserted that "small groups of people" are engaged in an "effort" to "silence[]" and "destroy[]" "people who are not intimidated" and that these groups "have a list of individuals that are to be targeted."

Later, when O'Reilly asked how she would respond to those who questioned why liberals would "target Don Imus" since he "was essentially a liberal guy on the radio," Bruce claimed: "There is a civil war going on right now between the far-left individual extremists, as you have noted them to be, and the classical liberal basic Democrats." She added: "In order to be able to even go after Republicans eventually, or conservatives, these far-left forces need to purge our own House of Democrats like myself who speak the truth and will confront them on what they are. That's why Imus had to be eliminated and that's why they went after him first. And now they'll proceed down their list."

Democrats like "herself?" Tammy Bruce is No Democrat. She like Joe Lie-berman, uses that appelation to lend legitimacy to her regular and lengthy skreeds about Democrats such as when she stated that putting "Howard Dean in charge of the DNC is like putting OJ Simpson in charge of a woman's shelter". She's no more a Democrat than O'Reilly is an "Independant."

Further, if Liberals are making a "Hit-List" why is it the O'Reilly described "Far Left Liberal" Frank Rich has called Imus firing a lynching? Why has John Kerry - the alleged "biggest Liberal in the Congress" come out against the firing? From the ever-so-left-leaning New York Post:

April 18, 2007 -- Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry yesterday said he doesn't think Don Imus should have been fired for his racially charged comments - a sharp break with the current Democratic 2008 front-runners.

"You know, the punishment has to fit the crime, so to speak," Kerry, the Democrats' defeated 2004 White House hopeful, told NY1.

For the record, I happen to agree with Kerry and felt that this situation should have been handled the same way that FCC has handled other examples of profane and offensive speech on the public airwaves. (i.e. Let them speak - so we know just hot fucked-in-the-head they are - but make them pay for it in the pocket book to the tune of $1M or so if they go too far.)

In fact, I think that's exactly how they should handle O'Reilly, Bruce and of course - Michael Savage who jumped in during the chorus of this little self-pitty-ditty from his own radio program...

On the April 13 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage said of Media Matters for America: "They're people who attack me. It's run by a homosexual activist who hates anybody in the media who does not kowtow to the homosexual agenda." Referring to Media Matters' CEO and President David Brock, Savage added, "The man who runs it is, in my opinion, a straight-out maniac. He would belong much more happily in the ex-Soviet Union." Savage has previously referred to Media Matters as "a gay website that attacks me every day" and called Brock "a psychopath."

Echoing Limbaugh, Savage went on to claim that somehow the dreaded George Soros is at the bottom of it all...naturall.

Savage further claimed on his April 13 show that Media Matters is "funded by" progressive philanthropist George Soros. He stated: "They've held themselves up as somehow above the fray, only looking for fair-mindedness in the media. It turns out that they are, in fact, funded by one of the most vile anti-American creatures in the world, George Soros." Savage went on to call Soros "a totally dangerous individual" who "doesn't miss an opportunity to attack this country" and "should be stripped of his citizenship."

By the way Soros funds and supports Moveon.org not Media Matters.

And just to round out our trifecta of projection there's the comedy stylings raving lunacy of one Debbie Schlessel.

In an April 18 weblog entry, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel responded to a Media Matters for America item that highlighted her "speculat[ion]" in an April 16 post (since removed) that Cho Seung-Hui, identified as the Virginia Tech gunman, might have been a "Paki" Muslim and part of "a coordinated terrorist attack." As Media Matters pointed out, "Paki" is a disparaging term for a person of Pakistani descent. Schlussel attacked Media Matters, writing: "Media Matters bragged to the Wall Street Journal that it was responsible for taking down Don Imus. I suppose now that Don Imus is gone, they've assigned the vegan lesbian transsexual 'interspecies erotica' devotee they had monitoring the Imus show to monitor my site."

But wait she wasn't done...

Yesterday, Keith Olbermann--MSNBC resident uber-left crank and bizarro--picked me for the bronze for his daily "Worst Person in the World Award." Damn--Only bronze?

Yes, with all the terrorists, murderers, and assorted other malefactors in the world, I am the third worst person in the world. As usual, the nutty, angry Olby's got his priorities and sense of proportion straight. Well, at least, his puppet masters at the aprocryphally [sic] named, far-left "Media Matter for America" have their priorities straight. When they say jump, Olbermann asks "how low." (And FYI, in case you haven't heard, there are all kinds of rumors that Olbermann stalked then-WNBA player Rebecca Lobo, when she was no longer interested in him. Only a girlie-man would stalk a manly-girl.

Talk about low-blows, that one's scapping the bottom of the septic tank. And just think she actually managed to top this by then going on to claim that George Soros, who is jewish, was really a Nazi Simpathiser and Collaborater when he was a 14-year-old in occupied Hungary during WWII.

The many ironies of this situation are varied. How is what happened to Imus all that different from what happened to Dan Rather at the hands (keys) of Pajama's Media? The result of course was that Right-Wing attack poodle Katie Couric got a cushy spot on the CBS Evening News and a chance to sink her claws into Presidential Candidate John Edwards on 60 Minutes when she should be doing the weather in Skokie.

In this case it appears that MSNBC has decided to replace the politically vaccilating Imus with right-wing radio host Michael Smerconish, who in the past has stated:

  • The only alleged abuse at Abu Ghraib was the taking of "naked pyramid pictures."
  • That the alleged mistreatment of detainees at Guantanemo amounted to "play[ing] Christina Aguilera music a bit too loud."
  • That "maybe law enforcement ought to step in" at pro-immigration demonstrations and consider "gathering ... up" illegal immigrants. (Y'know, like they used to do in Germany I suppose?)
  • that political correctness has made the United States "a nation of sissies."

So if the great plan of the "Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy" of Brock, Soros and Olbermann - all of whom of course are being manipulated behind the scenes by the dastardly Hillary Rodham Clinton - was to take out Imus for not being left wing enough they've sure done a great job by having him replaced by the likes of Michael the Smear-con-artist.

Vyan

Sevendust - Praise

Sevendust - Praise

Thursday, April 19

Skeptical Senator's Rake Gonzo over the Coals

From the AP:

WASHINGTON - His job in jeopardy, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insisted Thursday he played only a minor role in the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors. Skeptical senators reacted with disbelief.

"We have to evaluate whether you are really being forthright," Sen. Arlen Specter bluntly informed the nation's chief law enforcement officer.

The Pennsylvania Republican said Gonzales' description was "significantly if not totally at variance with the facts."

In a long turn in the witness chair, Gonzales said that despite initial administration claims that the prosecutors had been fired for inadequate performance, he approved their dismissals without looking at their job evaluations.

Offering an apology to the eight and their families for their treatment, he said he had "never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people" on that or any other matter.


Both Senator Leahy and Specter were highly skeptical of Gonzales' testimony. Specter, the ranking Republican on the committee (who has on previous Gonzales appearances while he was Chairman had refused to let him be sworn in) at one point even stated as Gonzales insisted that his involvement was "limited" that either "You are not being candid with us or we have to begin to seriously question your judgement and competence."

Gonzales offered a scenario to the Senators where he claims to have approved the removal of eight U.S. Attorneys based on recommendations primarily compiled by his Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson even though he himself had only cursory knowledge with any reasons for six of those included on the final list and no knowledge of the reasons for two of of the firings at the time of his approval.

Of those attorney's which he had heard complains, such as allegations that Prosecutor Carol Lam in San Diego had not persued enough gun and immigration cases, or complaints from Senator Dominici about Prosecutor David Iglesias in New Mexico, Gonzales claimed neither to have investigated the veracity of these complaints, used the nominal U.S. Attorney evaluation E.A.R.S. system in his determination or even talked to any of the U.S. Attorney's in question as part of a management effort to help them correct any problems in their handling their duties - with the exception of Prosecutor Bogden whom who spoke too after he had been fired.

Update:During his testimony he confirmed that he had spoken not only with Dominici (about whom the Senate has confirmed an ethics investigation) regarding Iglesias, but also with Karl Rove and President Bush. Iglesias vigorously maintains that he was fired for political reasons.

Regarding the removal of H. E. "Bud" Cummins in Arkansas, Gonzales maintained that his resignation was approved in June, prior to the late 2006 purge, and that it's justifications had to do with his own desire to spend time with his family and that fact that their was already another "Well Qualified Candidate" available. That candidate was Karl Rove's former assistant and Monica Goodling's former boss in 2000.

To say that most Senators, which the exception of Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who did little but praise the beseiged Attorney General's service and qualifications, where highly dubious and visibly angered by some of Gonzales claims would be an understatment. Even Republican Senator Sam Brownback looked nothing but pained as he asked Gonzales to explain the reasons for each firing decision in the most prefunctory way imaginable.

In response to Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) Gonzales vigorously claimed that they persure cases without a partisan bias or regard to party. "We prosecuted Republican Bob Ney." They also prosecuted Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham and rewarded the U.S. Attorney responsible for that successful prosecuting, Carol Lam, with being fired.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) reflected what may be the general sentiment even among some Republicans on the committee.
COBURN: Mr. Attorney General, it’s my considered opinion that the exact same standards should be applied to you in how this was handled. It was handled incompetently, the communication was atrocious. It was inconsistent. It’s generous to say that there was misstatements, that’s a generous statement. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered, and I believe the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.
The Newspaper Op-ed Pages have been even less kind than the Senate. The New York Times editorial page:

Gonzales v. Gonzales

Published: April 20, 2007
If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge.

Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch.

Dana Milbank writes in Maybe Gonzales Won't Recall His Painful Day on the Hill:

Alberto Gonzales's tenure as attorney general was pronounced dead at 3:02 p.m. yesterday by Tom Coburn, M.D.
The good doctor, who also happens to be a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made this clinical judgment after watching Gonzales suffer through four hours of painful testimony. The Oklahoman listed the cause of death as management failure and other complications of the Justice Department's firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Andrew Cohen writes in a WaPo columnn called Out of Touch, Out of Line, and Running Out of Time:

If there was one single moment in this morning's testimony by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee that encapsulates the sheer gall and shamelessness of the man in the hot seat, it occurred at about 10:52 when he said that questions about "partisan politics" within the Justice Department actually are an insult to (and criticism of) the career attorneys who bring controversial cases. For that cruelly cynical statement alone-- pretending that legitimate criticism of his own failed leadership as Attorney General actually is instead unfair criticism of some of the victims within the Justice Department-- Gonzales deserves to be fired. Not in a month. Not in a week. Today.

*********************

...for Gonzales to try to defend himself and his lackeys from attack before the Committee by playing the "career professionals" card is not only disingenuous it is downright appalling. It demonstrates once and for all that Gonzales isn't merely a hapless hack in over his head and a lethargic lapdog for the White House. It demonstrates that he is willing to say or do anything to protect himself and his allies at the expense of the people he purports to lead. It demonstrates that he is still unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for his own lack of leadership that has led directly to this controversy. And it proves conclusively that he is a big part of the problem and certainly not the solution at the Department.

Editorial from the Boston Globe:

No support for either Gonzales
April 20, 2007

IT IS DIFFICULT to say which version of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's role in the firing of eight US attorneys more disqualifies him as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. There is his version, in which he was only tangentially involved in an unprecedented mid term purge of federal prosecutors. If that is true, he allowed unsupervised underlings to handle one of the most important responsibilities of the Justice Department.

The other version is the one described by three of those aides: that Gonzales was closely involved in selecting US attorneys to be fired and building a case against them. If that version is true, Gonzales was lying again yesterday when he downplayed his role in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In either case, he should have long since resigned.

The reactions to the testimony from some of the fired U.S. Attorney's has been even more scathing if possible: Former Washington U.S. Attorney John McKay:

Gonzales cited McKay’s authorship of a letter criticizing delays in implementing a law enforcement information-sharing program, as well as comments he made to the Seattle P-I last fall about the staffing levels in his office.

“Generally I recollect there being serious concerns about his judgment,” Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee. […]

I think it’s a sad day for the Department of Justice,” said McKay, who previously represented the Western District of Washington. “The attorney general missed an opportunity to testify with honor.”

Asked to elaborate, McKay declined, saying, “The senators savaged him enough. I certainly don’t want to talk about his absurd allegations. He’s obviously so disconnected he has no idea what my performance was like and what my judgment was like, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

Former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias:

Iglesias watched the hearings from a naval base at Newport, R.I. He’s finishing a naval reserve deployment and called the hearings “painful to watch.”

“I can only liken Mr. Gonzales’ testimony to a bloodied swimmer in a shark tank. He’s really getting beat up,” Iglesias said. […]

“Now we’re hearing from the A.G. that he apologized on how this was handled. That doesn’t quite get us to where we need to go which was that they shouldn’t have done it. Kyle Sampson stated that under oath a couple of weeks ago, that the Department of Justice should have never gone down this path and if he had it to do over he would have never put me on that list,” Iglesias said.


With the President continuing in his bubble-tinted-view of the situation with claims that "Gonzales performed well" before the Senate, the likelyhood that he'll ask for Gonzales' resignation is about the same as the likelyhood that Abu will give it. Republican Senators have shown that they'd like this entire embarrising episode to end, but the choice before Democrats is weather it's better for the nation to continue to draw this out - as they've reportedly already issued subpoenas for the testimony of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers - or look at the information they already have before them, which clearly indicates that Gonzales may have Obstructed Justice and knowingly lied to Congress, and seek his immediate Impeachment and Removal from Office as is their constitutional right.

Vyan

RNC To Waxman: We’ll Only Show You The Emails We Want You To See

Source: Thinkprogress

In a new letter to the Republican National Committee, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman writes that the RNC has provided only minimal information regarding White House officials’ use of RNC e-mail accounts. The purpose of Waxman’s inquiry was in part to determine the extent that White House staff used “non-governmental e-mail accounts to conduct official government business.”

In the new letter, Waxman reveals that the RNC’s response thus far has been to propose that any Congressional requests for emails be filtered through “eight search terms, such as ‘political briefing,’ ‘Hatch Act,’ and ‘2008.’” Waxman notes that these proposed search terms would not have produced the RNC email that transmitted a copy of Karl Rove’s Powerpoint slides that were presented at a General Services Administration meeting. That e-mail read: “Please do not email this out or let people see it. It is a close hold and we’re not supposed to be emailing it around.”

Waxman says that before Congress can agree to the RNC’s proposed “search terms,” the RNC must provide basic information about the extent their email accounts have been used to transact government business:


Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/04/18/waxman... /



This issue has also been looked at by diarist on Dailykos who surmises that the letter sent by White House directing the RNC to refuse the Waxman document requests just might amount to Obstruction of Justice.

Vyan

They DID Fight Back

Source: Daily Kos, New York Times

Of all the arrogant ignorance displayed in the past couple of days regarding the Blacksburg Massacre, nothing trumps what John Derbyshire and Nathaniel Blake had to say Tuesday about the alleged passivity and cowardice of students at Virginia Tech. As numerous commenters pointed out, it's easy to pin medals on yourself from the comfort of your parents' basement. Today, we've got more of the same from Mark Steyn at NRO.

While many of us think we would react calmly and bravely in a dire emergency - and it is worth the exercise of preparing oneself psychologically and physically for such circumstances - none of us knows for sure how we would behave until we actually come face-to-face with peril. Would we rush to pry some stranger or some stranger's children from a burning car as the flames sped toward the fuel tank? Would we take on the bully pounding the class nerd behind the school? Would we join the passengers of the hijacked plane and crash the cockpit door? Easy to type "of course" on the keyboard. Easy to be a hero when there's time to ponder it over a martini. Easy to mock people who don't measure up to your never-tested standards. Talk is cheap, and brave talk is cheapest of all.

What we now know is that some of those who faced the gunman at Virginia Tech did selflessly risk their lives to save others.

As reported in the The New York Times (and noted in jhritz's Diary), one of those was Engineering Professor Liviu Librescu, an Israeli Holocaust survivor, who blocked Cho Seung-Hui from entering the room, urging students to escape. Many did. He was murdered on the spot.

Read more: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/4/1...




In additional to the armchair cowboy's such as Derbyshire, Blake and Steyn the usual suspects from Fux News have also jumped into the fray.

Michelle Malkin: “Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense — mind, spirit and body. It begins with two words: Fight back.

Living in the same delusional fantasy world where America still has a chance to be greated with flowers and candy in Iraq are Fox's John Gibson and Joe Napolitano who imagine that what this situation really needed was an appearance by Wyatt Earp for an old-style western shoot-out:

GIBSON: So, theoretically, in this lecture hall where all 31 were killed, there could have been someone with a carry permit carrying their gun to shoot the shooter?

NAPOLITANO: No, because the same people that just dropped the ball, as Bo just described, that allowed 32 additional people to die, also said: “Virginia lets you carry a gun at a gas station or a bank or a stadium, but not on a college campus, where you may protect kids.”


Before we turn a school campus into the "O.K. Corral" perhaps we should think about not letting people who've been diagnosed as suicidal and prescribed anti-depressants have accesss to firearms in the first place.

Vyan

FBI Raids Rep. Doolittle’s Home (R-CA)

Source: Roll Call

The FBI searched the Virginia home of Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) last Friday in its investigation into the ties of the congressman and his wife, Julie, to disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to law enforcement and other Congressional and K Street sources. <…>

Doolittle has been under fire for paying his wife’s company, Sierra Dominion, a 15 percent commission on all contributions that the company raised for Doolittle’s campaign committee and leadership PAC. Her only other clients were Abramoff’s former firm, Greenberg Traurig; Abramoff’s former restaurant Signatures; and the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, which Ed Buckham, a former chief of staff to ex-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), created.

The Justice Department previously subpoenaed Julie Doolittle’s files.

Doolittle also received contributions from indicted defense contractor Brent Wilkes and his associates, and investigators are probing whether those contributions are linked to any official action Doolittle took to help Wilkes’s company obtain millions of dollars in government earmarks.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/04/18/breaki... /




The fallout from the Abramoff Scandal continues to rain down upon the head of yet another Republican Congressman, in this case California Republican John Doolittle's home was raided by the FBI as part of a federal investigation of the Congressman and his wife, and her company.

Waxman says that before Congress can agree to the RNC’s proposed “search terms,” the RNC must provide basic information about the extent their email accounts have been used to transact government business:

Wednesday, April 18

Silent Rage: From Columbine, Virginia Tech to Iraq and Back

Eight years ago while I was a member of a struggling hard rock band in Sacramento called Planet X, I wrote a song called Silent Rage (which can be downloaded from the MySpace Page for my Live365 Radio Station) about the rash of School Shootings which had been occuring at that time.

(Note: You'll have to click the pause botton on the station just above the embedded JFK video so that you can listen to the "Silent Rage" track by itself)
The song was written from the shooters perspective at the moment of his execution after years on death row looking out at the survivors and victims of his rage - which is undimmed - and seeing it reflected back at him, having spread like a demented virus.

Now do you hear me? Now do you care?
Now you hear my voice screaming through the air?

Yeah, I told you - told you this day would come. The killing fields are festering in your mind, this rage has made you blind.

At the time I was making a comment on capital punishment and the cycle of violence, which was likely to continue and grow IMO. But just a few weeks after we had finished recording the song, the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado occured. I don't know if I can accurately describe what it was like to sing that song during our next gig. Surreal doesn't really cover it, because I had essentially predicted that this violence was going to escalate. In nearly al these cases, the shooters are suicidal, perfoming an elaborate and desperate act so heinous they couldn't possibly be forgiven and either forcing law enforcement to take deadly action, or finally working up the courage to do the deed themselves.

My head was swimming then, but today as I watch coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings - my head is shaking. It seems we've learned just about nothing in the intervening years, but there are some things we should have learned long ago...

From American Free Press 2006

Many of the nightmarish killings of recent memory, especially the bizarre family tragedies which seem to be occurring with increasing frequency, have been scientifically linked to a sleep disorder caused by commonly-used, but dangerous and addictive anti-depressant medications.

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? - Our Serotonin Nightmare is an expert consultant in cases like Columbine in which anti-depressant medications are involved. Tracy says the Columbine killers' brains were awash in serotonin, the chemical which causes violence and aggression and triggers a sleep-walking disorder in which a person literally acts out their worst nightmare.

Shortly before the Columbine shooting, Eric Harris had been rejected by Marine Corps recruiters because he was under a doctor's care and had been prescribed an anti-depressant medication. Harris was taking Luvox, an anti-depressant commonly used to treat patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

From CNN:

On May 17th, 2000 the United States House Sub-Committee on Early Childhood, Youth, and Families looked into reported problems with Ritalin. There are problems with over prescribing, giving samples without proper diagnosis, stealing, and selling Ritalin in the school yard! Ritalin is an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) in the same category as Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft, and Paxil. With just a little investigation there is a definite relation between School Violence and kids taking these drugs!

(Note from comments: Technically Ritalin is not an "SSRI")

And here....

Journal of the American Medical Association shows 50% increase in Prozac with Preschoolers. 2/23/2000

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that shows that there is a tremendous increase in prescribing anti-depressants to preschoolers aged 2 to 4 years old! The "Terrible Twos" are just that! If you start throwing these drugs at preschoolers, what are we going to do for them when they hit their teens? There has been a connection between school shootings and the shooters having been on these drugs!

Gun violence in schools has actually gone down since 1992, while violence in general has gone up in schools! If a majority of the school shooters were on (or had abruptly stopped taking) anti-depressants then it stands to reason that most of the other violence in schools may be related to these drugs as well! I have read a lot about the Oregon shootings and how Kip Kinkle had been on prozac. I had heard that, but now a Vermont Outdoors writer has said that "Just about every massacre that occurred anywhere in the U.S. and Canada over the last decade has involved an individual using a prescription drug called Prozac or one of its relatives."

As has already been well reported, the shooter at Virginia Tech had been diagnosed as suicdal and had been taking anti-depressants. He had been interviewed by police twice in the previous two years for apparently harrassing young women on campus, as was referred for a psychiatric evaluation which in turn led to the prescription.

Although Tom Cruise has been almost literal run out of Hollywood on a rail and turned into a laughing stock by Keith Olbermann for his comments against the over dependance of anti-depressants by doctors, it's high time that we stop this runaway train and take a serious look at these kinds of mental health issues, as well as the deadly backlash they seem to be creating.

Many have pointed out how deeply felt this tragedy has become to the people of America, while noting that we seem unable to have a similar outpouring of simpathy for all those American families who've lost children to the Iraq War even when were talking about 100 Times as many people. We're losing as many of our sons and daughters in Iraq as we lost on Tuesday every ten days. The Iraq people are losing that many people Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes more, like today...

CBS News: "A parked car bomb detonated in a crowd of workers at a Shiite marketplace in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 82 people, police and hospital officials said. The attack was one of four bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday afternoon, which killed at least 127 people in total, officials said."

That death toll eventually rose to 157.

I understand, as many of us should, that their is a known risk in going into war, the risk of being killed, maimed and permenently injured is well known to our troops and their families - hence they are far better prepared for the worst if it should happen than the Virginia Tech students and families. But there is another risk and danger that is often overlooked, that of becoming mentally injured by the stress that soldiers have to endure. The fact is that repeated deployments and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as the prescription of anti-depressants to active duty soldiers, are leading our troops into record breaking levels of suicide.

Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq last year, accounting for nearly one in five of all non-combat deaths and the highest suicide rate since the war started, the newspaper said.

Some service members who committed suicide in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring, the Courant reported. Those findings conflict with regulations adopted last year by the Army that caution against the use of antidepressants for "extended deployments."

"I can't imagine something more irresponsible than putting a soldier suffering from stress on (antidepressants), when you know these drugs can cause people to become suicidal and homicidal," said Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a New York-based advocacy group. "You're creating chemically activated time bombs."

What's going to happen when these troops finally do come home damaged and drug-addled with Luvox and Proloft? I'm sorry but I for one have to again state what I was screaming back in 1999 which might not seem quite so obvious: What we've just witnessed in Blacksburg is NOT GOING TO BE THE LAST MASSACRE WE'RE GOING TO EXPERIENCE over the next few years.

Watching 10,000 students all shouting "HOKIES!" together was truly moving. Yet, I can't help what might happen if we could put together a similar vigil for those who've needlessly died in Iraq, and for those who've yet to succumb to the sucking chest wound that this pointless and unneccesary War has left on our nation's integrity, common sense, good name and youth.

Vyan

Tuesday, April 17

Rush Limbaugh is LOSING IT over Media Matters

We've all known the great melt-down was coming - and I think it's finally arrived. Rush Limbaugh has decided that since all those dirty faggot hippie Libruls are out to get him, he'll just attempt a devastating first strike.

Unfortunately his mouth, just like his poor little viagra powered pecker is firing blanks.

On the April 16 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called Media Matters for America "Stalinist" and part of the "Clinton machine agenda." He further falsely asserted that Media Matters receives funding from philanthropist George Soros and that he is "not demeaning people on this program in any way."

Doesn't demean anyone - what about his little Michael J. Fox Dance? What about when he said that seperating Survivor contestants into tribes based on race was unfair because "blacks can't swim"? Or when he said some women would "love to be hired as eye candy"?

No, that's not demeaning or anything..

The following comment is where he really jumped the shark, when he suggested that Imus' firing was all Hillary Clinton's fault.

Limbaugh asserted that syndicated radio host Don Imus was fired because he was "critical of [Sen.] Hillary [Clinton (D-NY)]," and added, "This is an election year. Clinton Inc., you get on their case, they're going to take you out."

And he wasn't done...

This is an election year. Clinton Inc., you get on their case, they're going to take you out. They're going to do what they can to marginalize you or do whatever. I've seen a couple stories I was reading over the weekend, that the Clinton team saw their opportunity. And when I say the Clinton team, I include Media Matters for America, this supposed tax-exempt media watchdog group. It's just an arm of the Democrat Party. They have an agenda. They are tax-exempt, and they're doing nothing but advancing a political agenda. And they are George Soros-funded. This is clearly part of the Democrat Party machine.

I find all of this just so highly ironic because Media Matters first of all doesn't receive any funding what so ever from Soros. Second, it is founded and run by David Brock - who used to be part of a right-wing Conservative attack operation funded by Richard Mellon-Scaife to Attack the Clinton's all during the 90's.

In his book, "Blinded By the Right", Brock describes faxing talking points TO LIMBAUGH for him to repeat about Anita Hill.

Brock also used to be close friends with Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter and on page 196 says...

Through my lawyer friend Ann Coulter, I saw a deeper level of partisan scheming and political manipulation in the Jones case, which Coulter herself later described as "a small, intricately knit right-wing consipiracy."

Brock gradually had a change of heart about being involved in that "intricately knit" group and their tactics. So much so that he eventually conveyed Coulters' words to Hillary Clinton as he was writing a biography on her. Brock who was actually part of the conspiracy is where Hillary got her "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" line.

Brock is intimately familiar with the smear tactics employed by the right and via Media Matters has dedicated himself to fighting against them. He isn't particular liberal, rather he's an anti-Conservative - who meticulously documents and points out all their lies and distortions one at a time.

He has nothing, what-so-ever, to do with the Clinton campaign.

. On the March 1, 2005, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Limbaugh claimed that "[w]omen still live longer than men because their lives are easier."

. On June 14, 2004, Limbaugh shared with listeners his "pet name" for the National Organization for Women (NOW): "National Association of Gals" (his acronym: "NAG"). Limbaugh claimed that the "militant feminists" who make up the "NAGs" "aren't determining who wins elections. White men are."

. Responding to an Associated Press report that women had recently been appointed as chiefs of police in four major U.S. cities, Limbaugh on May 27, 2004, referenced the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib: "If we've got four new female police chiefs out there, then I guess we can watch out for some naked pyramids among prisoners in these new jailhouses that these women ran, because we had a woman running the prison in Abu Grab [sic]."

. According to a June 7, 2000, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) article, "As a young broadcaster in the 1970s, Limbaugh once told a black caller: 'Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.' "

Doesn't demean anyone. Yeah, right.

Still, his recent rants against Media Matters are truly an amazing thing to behold.

They got a trial run with this Imus thing, and they're feeling their oats. I'm certain and make no mistake, other people are in the crosshairs, and they're targets, and it's a Democrat Party machine operation that is getting this done. I look at this, and I say this is my country too. And I say I'm not going to let the Democrat Party or the left or some lackey watchdog group or a couple of race hustlers dictate my speech. Its just not -- I'm not going to let it happen. They don't get to use the power of government to silence conservatives, which is their real purpose.

Yeah, not like the way Michael Powell ran the FCC or anything...

These are totalitarian tactics that they are employing here. It's the liberal constituency that repeatedly and daily demeans people -- black, white, in between, I don't care. We don't play rap music on this show. (Ugh, Stop with Phoney the Rap Attack already! V.) We're not demeaning people on this program in any way. We don't air South Park, we don't air MTV or Comedy Central on this show, and the rest of talk radio doesn't either. Now look at [Rev. Al] Sharpton and [Rev. Jesse] Jackson. You've got two liberal Democrats who ran for president who are bowed to by the likes of Hillary and other Democrats despite their long history of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a problem festering in the Democrat ranks, not in the Republican Party.

Ummmm... NO!. It's the Republican Party that's doing everything it can to disenfranchise black voters while pandering to them through their churches - not to mention lying to all of us about a war.

Understand that this is a Democrat Party, drive-by media, Clinton image machine -- or Clinton machine agenda. And it is to suppress and kill conservative information, which it labels "misinformation." The conservative information by definition, according to the template of the drive-by media and the Media Matters of the world, is "misinformation."

They're using our own words against us. Waahhh!! Boo Hooo. Project much do you, Lardball? Is that creeping paranoia in the wake of the Imus flambe finally pushing you over the edge?

Maybe Limbaugh's real problem is that his favorite sugar daddy, Richard Mellon-Scaife, has decided to sit this latest Presidential dance out.

In a February 16 article, The New York Times, noting that Scaife "spent more than $2 million investigating and publicizing accusations about the supposed involvement of Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in corrupt land deals, sexual affairs, drug running and murder," reported: "But now, as Mrs. Clinton is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Scaife's checkbook is staying in his pocket."

Although Scaife did not comment for the article, the Times reported that Scaife business partner Christopher Ruddy said of himself and Scaife, " 'Both of us have had a rethinking.' Ruddy added, 'Clinton wasn't such a bad president. ... In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick [Richard Mellon Scaife] feels that way today.'"

Ooh, Snap! That's gotta hurt.

Vyan

Monday, April 16

Hyping the Hip Hop Hate Myth

Ever since Imus laid down the Hip-Hop Card as a defense for his silly-ass statements about the Rutger's Basketball team - I've been hoping that people would know better than to pick it up.

Unfortunately I hoped in vain.

Michelle Malkin on O'Reilly April 12th:

"Whose mouths are the words coming out of? So, Snoop Dogg doesn't bear any responsibility for spreading this filth? And Young Jeezy, and Crime Mob and all these people, they don't bear responsibility? It's all whitey's fault?"

Color me surprised and skeptical that Malkin even knows who Young Jeezy is. I'm even more skeptical that she could acually name specifric song or lyric by these artists that matches the comments made by Imus.

But here's the thing: We've already been down this road before and the artists always win.

Malkin was essentially using this arguement to bash Al Sharpton of course...

"When was the last time Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson looked at the top of the Billboard hot rap tracks charts? Just look at it this week. Every single one of the top six songs has the N-word, the H-word, the B-word. When was the last time that Al Sharpton said anything about it? Was it two or three or four years ago?"

And here I thought conservatives just got all weak in the knees over the magic of the marketplace - but as it turns out both Sharpton and Jackson have been arguing against vulgarity in popular music, particularly black music, quite recently. Sharpton brought it up as he eulogized James Brown and recounted their final conversation.

SHARPTON: It was the last conversation we had. He said to me, "Reverend," he said, "I've been watching you on the news. I want you to keep fighting for justice. But I want you to tell people to love one another. I want you to fight to lift the standards back." He said, "What happened to us that we are now celebrating from being down? What happened we went from saying I'm black and I'm proud to calling each other niggers and hos and bitches?" He said, "I sung people up and now they're singing people down, and we need to change the music."

So much for those "Why doesn't Sharpton try to clean up his own house" claims.

Oh and as a matter of fact, Billboard doesn't have a "Hot Rap Tracks" chart, it's actually called "Hot R&B/Hip-Hip" and the top six songs are as follows (link goes to lyrics):

  1. Robin Thick - Lost Without You
  1. Musiq Soulchild - Buddy
  1. R. Kelly or Bow Wow Featuring T.I. and T. Pain - I'm a Flirt
  1. T. Pain Featuring Yung Joc - Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')
  1. Akon - Don't Matter
  1. Mims - This is Why I'm Hot

Contrary to Malkin's claim none of these songs say anything about "Bytches" or "Ho's" - although besides being fairly trite and vapid most of them are sexual. Only two songs - "I'm a flirt" and "This is why I'm hot" - actually do say "Nigga" several times, but it's not used in a negative or derogatory context.

I'm not surprised that the actual filth content is so low, we all know that if it were the FCC would have put most Hip-Hop radio stations in the "Po House" or else their broadcasts would be one long Beeep!

Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy aren't even in the top ten right now - but Crime Mob (featuring Lil Scrappy) with "Rock Your Hips" is at number 8 and in the interest of being "fair and balanced" here's a lyrical sample:

Lil' Jay, on the track,nigga, aye & you already know, its ya boi lil scrappy
we finna have the whole M-F world, rockin'in dis bitch,
look at shawty check her out. southern smokin

That's just in the intro but the point that is obvious, if you're paying attention, is that this isn't aimed at anyone specific - it's not even intended as an insult. "Bitch" is talking about the song itself, not a person.

I'll speak more about N-words, B-words and context later - but right now I want to note that unfortunately Malkin wasn't alone in her commnents. During ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous one of the roundtable panelists, Torie Clark, made the exact same claim - that Rap Artists are the source of this language.

Oi Vey!

And then George Will got into the act..

What are we not talking about when we talk about Imus? We're not talking about what everyone knows is the biggest problem in the African-American community - the high percentage of their children born to unmarried women

It's at this point where I have forcefully apply the emergency brake and pull this "bytch" over to the side of the road...

Unweb mother's are the biggest problem in the African-American community? Really now? Where do you think all those absent fathers might be - could it possibly be - JAIL

As of right now the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that...

The prevalence of imprisonment in 2001 was higher for
-- black males (16.6%) and Hispanic males (7.7%) than for white males (2.6%)
-- black females (1.7%) and Hispanic females (0.7%) than white females (0.3%)

This is the source of the stat the black men are 8 times more likely to be involvement in the criminal justice system than white males. This stat drives forward the perception by law enforcement that greater scrutiny of these individuals is warranted, which in turn means that their rate of being stopped, questioned and searched without justification is also higher as studies by the ACLU have shown.

In one study involving New Jersey State Troopers the percentage of stops and searches for minorities was found to be significantly higher, but the rate of finding illegal contraband such as drugs was the same between White, Black and Hispanic drivers. In the end the fact that their pulling over and searching far more black drivers leads directly to more being incarcerated, couple that with the 100 to 1 disparity in sentencing on drugs that blacks frequently have (crack) vs those that whites might have (cocain, ectasy or crystal meth) and the chasm only widens from there.

Just like Malkin's mistaken and dangerous presumption that "Every single one of the top six songs has the N-word, the H-word, the B-word." the mistaken impression that Black Males have to be guilty of something continues to drive police, courts and even juries to convict them at rates far higher than others. How do you respect the law when the law clearly doesn't respect you?

But the criminal injustice system isn't the only issue:

• In 2004, half of African-American men in their 20s were without work. Among high school dropouts, it was 72 percent. The dropout classification is relevant, because in inner cities more than half of all black men do not finish high school.

• By their late 20s, more African-American male dropouts are behind bars than behind a desk or otherwise legally earning a paycheck. By their mid-30s, 6 in 10 black men who had quit high school had done time in prison - a record that compounds the challenge of finding work.

Programs such a "No Child Left Behind" rather than helping the most vulnerable to improve and be the best they can be instead coerce school administrators into shoving marginal children out the back door to keep their overall testing scores high and the federal money flowing.

This has occured in Houston:

Robert Kimball, an assistant principal at Sharpstown High School, sat smack in the middle of the "Texas miracle." His poor, mostly minority high school of 1,650 students had a freshman class of 1,000 that dwindled to fewer than 300 students by senior year. And yet — and this is the miracle — not one dropout to report!

Nor was zero an unusual dropout rate in this school district that both President Bush and Secretary of Education Rod Paige have held up as the national showcase for accountability and the model for the federal No Child Left Behind law. Westside High here had 2,308 students and no reported dropouts; Wheatley High 731 students, no dropouts. A dozen of the city's poorest schools reported dropout rates under one percent.

And this scenario as been repeated all over the country while at the same time we have these "Abstinence Only" requirements in place, which have been shown to be a complete and abject failure.

The latest federal report on abstinence-only programs shows that they have had "no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence."

Actually it's much worse than that, because these programs specifically teach disinformation on the effectiveness of condoms they've been shown to actually increase the risk of sexual disease as well as high-risk practices such as anal and oral sex.

But of course, the Real Problem in the Black Community is all that Nasty Rap Music!

Whatta crock of Shit!

Look, I find a lot of modern music uninspiring and banal, but it's not the source of our problems - it's a symptom. All of these issues, an unbalanced justice system, inadequate schools and joblessness all add to the lack of hope in these communities which in my view is the true source of all these problems.

Without Hope - you have nothing, literally.

Rapper and Air America Radio Host Chuck D of Public Enemy once said that "Rap Music was the Black CNN." He has long argued that they're simply reporting what it is that they see in the world around them - what the regularly CNN can't - or won't - report.

How many times in the last week and half have reporters on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC and FOX repeated what Imus said?

It's become the age of the "Nappy-Headed HO", but everyone understands the context in which they using the word don't they? (Told you I'd get back to context...)

We accept that usage because we realize these people don't mean it literally, yet when a rapper does it we presume that it could only mean one thing? Well, that's just patently ridiculous. I understand those that feel offended anytime certain words are used - but I we can also recognize the fact that some people like to t alk trash harmlessly, others actually DO trash to people.

Context and intent matters.

<>There are those who argue that any and all uses of the N, H, and B-words are always wrong, except of course when they're complaining about someone using those words. But as I pointed out in my last Dkos diary, we shouldn't fear words - we need to fear actions that people take using the hate these words describe. The true haters do everything they can to hide it because real discrimination is against the law unless you catch them in an unguarded moment as Imus was caught last night on 60 minutes stating to a producer off camera that...
<> "McGuirk is there to provide the all nigger jokes".

Yikes!

Again, the word itself isn't the issue to me, the issue I feel is the sentiment and his actions. He could have said "darkie" and it would mean the same thing, he could have said "mud-duck" - in fact if he were in mixed company he just might have used a code word like Maccaca as Sen George Allen tried to do, but that doesn't change McGuirk mandate to stir the shit-pot.

Banning words doesn't change how someone feels, thinks or behaves.

And it's not like we haven't had these battles over language and lyrics before - when Tipper Gore and the PMRC went after the music industry in the 80's they faced direct opposition from Frank Zappa, Dee Snider and even Bob Denver.

Dee pointed out that they had mis-interpreted the Twisted Sister song "Under the Blade" to be some kind of advocacy of torture when in fact it was about undergoing surgery. Tipper had been set off on her crusade by the song "Darling Nikki" after she'd bought the Purple Rain soundtrack for her daughter. I always found this highly ironic since Purple Rain was an "R" Rated Movie - and that song was part of the plot. Like a musical, that movie used the music to tell the story including the Up's (The title track) and the Downs (Nikki).

She already had her warning sticker on the back of the album, but failed to pay attention - just like so many other self-appointed moral watchdogs who can't seem to do their own homework and try to foist it off on everyone else.

Fortunately the PMRC failed to implment a movie-like rating system for music and were forced to accept a deal from the record industry for simple "Parental Advisory" stickers.

Following that a Florida judge declared 2 Live Crew's "As Nasty as they wanna be" (WHICH WAS STICKERED) to be obscene and had it banned. This dispite the fact that they had already released an alternate version of the album - "As Clean as they Wanna be" (No Sticker Needed). The gropu was actually arrested for a music performance, as if they were in soviet russia or china. Respected artists such as Bruce Springsteen lept to their defense, and they were eventually aquited.

In 1991 we had the "Cop Killer" Controversy which gave Rap it's most serious black-eye yet - even though it wasn't even a rap song. It was the result of a Rock Band ("look a Black Guy with a Microphone - it's gotta be a Rap Band!" No, it doesn't!) side project by rapper Ice-T called Bodycount. The name of the group came from the "If it bleeds, it leads" doctrine of local news programs.

Ten people killed in drive by shooting - Now Sports!

It was a comment on how callously the lives of those living in poverty were (and are) treated. Gang violence in L.A. had raged thruout the 80's, but it didn't become "News" until a innocent asian UCLA student was accidentally shot in Westwood. That's when it became a problem, and that's when LAPD began to go on a serious warpath, and the backlash against their brutal and oppressive tactics began to grow. There were many unjustified shootings over the years such as Yula Love, and citizens who were mauled by police dogs or killed by the choke hold (Ron Settles). The was even an LAPD Home Invasion on Dalton Ave where the cops broke through the walls, smashed the bathroom fixtures, scrawled their own tags on the wall (LAPD Rules!), then tried to hide the evidence when they found out - it was the wrong house! LA is the home of the battering ram and the city that invented S.W.A.T., the use of paramilitary tactics and weapons against civilians. (Tactics which work oh-so-well against the S.L.A. that they were adopted by the H.R.T. - the FBI's version of S.W.A.T. - and produced the exact same results at Waco, not to mention Ruby Ridge)

Bodycount was simply documenting the growing resentment and essentially predicted the Rodney King Riots which broke out just one year later. People should have been listening to them not criticizing.

At the time though, every politician available jumped on the anti-Ice-T bandwagon including Vice President Dan Quayle and President G.H.W. Bush. Too bad they, like Malkin, got their facts completely wrong in the interest of political expediency as shown by this BBC documentary on the Cop-Killer Controversy


In the wake of the bruhah and death threats being issued against the employees at Time Warner, Ice (Tracey Morrow) T relented and pulled the track off his album. He and Time later parted company, but this hasn't shut him down - he and Bodycount are about to release their fourth album "Murder 4 Hire".

It may be fair to say that much of this music is exploitative, even if it is "reporting" the state of life in the ghetto accurately. But it's not like we haven't seen the news industry salivate at the prospect of milking every second out of a sensationalistic stories like say - Natalie Holloway, Terri Schiavo, Jennifer Wilbanks, Scott Peterson and The Astronaut in Diapers - while ignoring poverty, onging war crimes, torture and our crumbing national infrastructure.

It would be nice if more people strove to lift us up, and give us more hope as James Brown did almost 40 years ago when he single handedly ended the violent outbursts which erupted after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr - but that was a long time ago.

Anti-Rap comments by him or Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and the late C. Deloris Tucker all have the about as much sting as the bitter old fogey on the corner screaming at the kids "Get Off My Lawn!!"

Sorry, but the kids aren't listening to Al or Jessie because for starters they've failed to recognize who the kids truly are - not to mention the tide of history. Long before 2 Live Crew and Ice T the kids have been making noise. Ever since Chuck Berry did the first duck-walk, Little Richard screamed "Tutti Fruity" with all his fey fabulousity, Elvis twitched his hips on Ed Sullivan and Jim Morrison played with his wango-tango popular music has pushed hard at the boundaries of what is "acceptable" and shocked the living daylights out of all the crusty old codgers.

Guess what - "The Kids Are Alright!" and given time they'll figure it all out.

There are already some artists - even in Rap - who actually are making positive statements. Artists such as Queen Latifah who long ago stated "I aint a bitch or Ho", Will Smith and Kanye West who won a grammy for his song "Jesus Walks".

These days though if your truly trying to say something that hasn't been Hanitized and Dizneyfied for your protection - you just might run into another solid stone wall as Pink has discovered when she wrote and released "Dear Mr President" a song which sharply criticizes the Bush Adminstration.

Pink on Jimmy Kimmel Last Week where she explained that she's been essentially black-balled from Radio.

If this Rap-Lash begins to stick, although I doubt it will, how much chance will people who have say anything controversal via music? I don't think anyone wants to see the music world filled with nothing but American Idol wannabe's, but if we allow fear-mongers like Malkin to have their way - that's exactly where we're headed.

------

In the interest of full disclosure I am a long-time rock musician, I am black, I live and work in South Central L.A. and I happen to have my own Live365 Radio Station which focuses primary on protest music including uncensored songs by Bodycount and Suicidal Tendencies.

I have tracks by System of a Down (B.Y.O.B. and Boom!)
As well as Disturbed's cover of Genesis's "Land of Confusion" (which can be heard during the promos for the new Sci-Fi channel show "Painkiller Jane") and a song they directed straight at Bush called "Deity".

The video for "Everybodies Fool" by Evanescence makes a great point about consumerism and dehumanization - which is pretty topical these days.

Other notable examples although not as recent and on point would be Tupac's Letter to the President", BodyCount's "Born Dead", Extreme's "Warheads", "Peacemaker Die", "Rest in Peace" and "Cynical Fuck".

There are a lot of people out their besides Pink who are making some noise, but not necesarily exploiting or demeaning anyone.

Vyan