Saturday, May 29, 2004

AmCop Poll: What's Funniest? 

speakingcorpse writes:

What's funniest?

a) The fact that Bush invited 7 Iraqis whose hands had been cut off by "the dictator" to the White House for a "plastic-handshake" photo op after the men had been given prosthetic hands by American doctors.

b) The fact that many Americans are somehow reassured by the fact that, as of yet, it has not been revealed that our military intelligence professionals have cut off the hands of any Arabs.

c) The fact that I, personally, do not believe that MIs have cut off the hands of Arabs. 

d) The fact that the Hispanic-American and also African-American (but Caucasian-appearing) CNN television "personality" Soledad O'Brien (a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and also a member of the board of directors for The Harlem School for the Arts) introduced a segment about Al Gore's recent speech about the torture being done in her name by calling it a "rant," repeatedly; she then asked her three guests nothing about the content of the speech at all, instead asking whether or not this sort of "ranting" helped or hurt John Kerry.

e) The fact that the pictures of the torture being done in the name of Americans have not convinced two-thirds of Americans that torture is being done in their name.

f) The fact that torture is being done in our name.


I personally think "f" is funniest. I'm laughing about it as I write these words. So I don't understand what Mark Danner is getting at in this article when he asks whether or not Americans will be able to accept and acknowledge the obvious fact that torture is being done in our name, and that the leadership of the country is responsible.

Not only can I accept it, I can affirm, with joy, that I love it.

Really Funny Things in the News 

speakingcorpse writes:

Sometimes I feel that AmCop has no purpose. Now I have always thought that, in one sense, it lacks purpose. It is not an "activist" site, nor does it usually aim to offer analysis that is unavailable elsewhere. It aims, as far as I have understood it, to provide a place for rage to be discharged, and for jokes to be told. These activities have no larger purpose or end beyond themselves (which is not to say that they are unnecessary). But sometimes--today--I feel that there is no point in expressing disgust or turning disgust into jokes. Not because it is inappropriate, but because what I am trying to respond to is itself a joke. It's already funny. This is really fucking funny. Read about the 7 men whose hands were cut off by Saddam, who were then given prosthetic hands by American doctors, and who were then invited to the White House on Tuesday to shake the hand--how fitting!--of Bush. (The story does not raise the issue of whether or not Bush's hand is itself prosthetic. If Bush is a prosthetic person, appended to the minute remains of an aborted attempt to create a human being, then is his hand prosthetic?) Anyway, I refuse to read this story as anything other than a hilarious joke, regardless of the fact that it is true. I refer AmCop readers to the original story, and encourage them to have a good laugh. It's a good bet you can find some other really funny things in the news if you read the news carefully and try to consider the ironic dimensions of certain current events.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Courtesy of the Chien... 

Watch this special, newly obtained, unedited footage of president Bush's State of the Union speech. See the rest of it here.

Give Some Turkee (As They Say) to Kerry Today 

The DNC writes:
It's the end of the month again -- another FEC deadline that the Bush campaign and the media will be watching. Your past contributions have made an enormous difference. We've beaten Bush-Cheney two months in a row -- help us do it again, by contributing today. This month ends with a three-day holiday weekend -- so today is the day for you to make another contribution and help us reach this month's goal.

On July 29th, John Kerry will accept the Democratic nomination, a full five weeks before George Bush accepts the Republican nomination. The Republicans will have a $50 million August advantage because they will have five extra weeks to raise and spend money as part of their primary campaign.
I'm going to click on the John Kerry button in our sidebar right this minute and donate something. $25 or $50. Haven't decided yet. It'll be one or the other. Please join me!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Caption Contest Winner: Le Chien 

And the winning caption is...

"Resolve, clarity, honor"

(Almost) Annular Flashback: April 21, 2003 

Dawkins writes:

Now that Judith Miller and her bullshit, tendentious reporting is finally being held to (vague, hesitant) scrutiny by her employer, I went back into my email archives to find that, back on April 21, 2003, I sent around to the pre-AmCop gang her classic article that began:

"A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team that Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began, members of the team said."

Always fun to walk down memory lane.  Check it out:
Subj: Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert
Date: 4/21/03

Thank God the Bushies found this guy. 

According to the Times reporter who talked to "an American military team," that military team was told by a "scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program" that:

1. Iraq indeed had chemical and biological weapons, but destroyed them all "only days before the war began."  (There's your case for WMDs... without having to do any more bothersome looking for actual WMDs!)

2. Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990's.  (Cool!  Might as well just invade Syria then...)

3. More recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda.  (That wraps that one up nicely too.)

I think a wise man once called this "hitting the trifecta."

Read the article for an account of this airtight case.

DNC Matching Funds 

Donations to the DNC through this link are being matched dollar-for-dollar right now. (Don't know by whom--the email from Terry McAuliffe just said "a group of leading Democrats."

So give $25 now and you'll actually be giving $50.

Stand Up and Holla! (cont'd.) 

Scats writes:

Rejected essay topic ideas and entry questions:

Why is the US Constitution important and have you read it?

If you have demonstrated the President's call, can you perform it live?

Could you be anymore of a twit than you are now for applying to this contest. If so, how?

Why are the Geneva Conventions important? Where is Geneva?

Describe ten things you could do to prevent drug abuse and/or war crimes in your neighborhood.

Bill Bennet once wrote a book about shame in our culture. Do you have shame? If so, what are you ashamed of? Explain with examples from your life.

What is a community? How is it served? Which of the following Presidential initiatives have served a community? Elaborate (choose at least two):

a) killing people in the community
b) torturing people in the community
c) kidnapping people in the community
d) exploiting a community
e) impoverishing people in the community
f) becoming feared and hated in the community

Did the MTV legal representative inform you that if you win the contest you will be awarded with the use of 47 virgins in the afterlife?

Why does the President's call for community service not make him a Communist?

Are you yourself a Communist? If not, why do you serve the community?

Do you do everything the President tells you to do? If not, why not?

Do you really believe that what you think matters? Did anything the President has done lead you to believe this?

You wouldn't happen to have $2000 on you, would you?

Since you hate yourself so much, why do you wish to show that to the nation on television?

Who is the President? What is the Executive Branch of the US government? What can it do? What can't it do?

What is propaganda? What is a "tool"? How are "tools" used for propaganda? Can "tools" write essays of no more than 300 words? Can they win contests? Can a "tool" speak at a national convention?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Stand Up and Holla! 

The RNC, in conjunction with MTV, presents "Stand Up and Holla!", the "2004 Republican National Convention Essay Contest":
Young Adults Ages 18-24

An essay of no more than 300 words that answers this question: Why is the President's call to community service important and how have you demonstrated it?

Write your essay and fill out the form below. Ten finalists may be invited to film a video clip that will be posted to the web and voted on by the public.

Because what you think matters... and the winner may deliver a speech to the nation during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

The deadline for contest submissions is June 15, 2004. Voting will be available on the Convention website and on the RNC's voter registration vehicle, "Reggie the Rig," and on MTV.com. The winner will be announced on MTV's TRL.
Yes, you read that correctly: "Reggie the Rig." The RNC's "voter registration vehicle" is called Reggie the fucking Rig! Why not "Billy the Big Black Box"? "Diebold Danny, the Paperless Bus"?

Also (if you click the link and go to the page): am I crazy, or does the "Stand Up and Holla!" podium graphic a) strangely resemble a skyscraper and b) seem to be exploding?

Kerry and the Bad Catholics 

Just wanted to share an email I got from my uncle, who knows something about this subject. I wrote:
I've been meaning to ask you (since I know you're involved in Catholic activism) what you make of these stories that keep trickling out of certain Church higher-ups issuing fatwahs against Kerry because of his pro-choice stance. I've even heard certain figures have told their parishioners it would be sinful to *vote* for Kerry. At the same time, I've heard no reports of Church denunciations of the many pro-choice Catholic Republicans (including the ones in the Bush administration) or the even greater number of pro-death penalty and pro-Iraq war Catholics. In your opinion, are these stories being overblown by the media? How widespread is this? I should say that whenever I hear about it it makes me feel utterly enraged against whatever part of the Catholic Church is doing this.
And my uncle replies:
It is a complex story. Several right-wing bishops are playing into the hands of the Republican party by saying that Catholics who vote pro-choice, as well as politicians who do so, should not go to communion. These include, at the least, the archbishops of New Orleans and St. Louis, the bishop of Colorado Springs and one in New Jersey. This is out of something like 190 "ordinaries" (bishops in charge of a diocese vs auxiliary or retired bishops). It is surely un-Christian and it diminishes the credibility of the Catholic Church.

I have given up on my years of work toward Church reform. At least you can vote a politician out of office. This should be true of bishops. In the early Church, and also in the early years of the Church in the United States, bishops were elected by the people. That should happen again, but it probably will take a century or more.

Bush vindicated! Madman dictator produced and shared WMDs with terrorists 

Dawkins writes:

So it turns out that, in fact, a tyrannical "Axis of Evil" dictator indeed has been developing nuclear technology and indeed has shipped uranium to Libya.

The war in Iraq was justified! Their nuclear weapons program has been crushed! Now nuclear technology will never make it into the hands of other enemies of the US!

The world is better off with Saddam out of power!

Now if only we had a plan for dealing with Kim Jong Il, who, uh, actually has developed nuclear weapons and has shared technology with nations hostile to the US.
"I admit there appears to be more than a little irony here," said one senior administration official.
Yes, ironic. Ironic, isn't it, that Americans will very likely be killed by nuclear weapons made and distributed not by Saddam Hussein, but by someone else? And that our intelligence services have been watching for years that someone else painstakingly build a nuclear weapons from program from scratch, and our leaders have decided not to do a thing about it.

Blicero adds: Let's just hope Kerry does not attempt (in a calculated and craven political stunt) to "politicize" the issue.

Well, That's One Take 

Le Chien comments:
I would like to see the polls after Bush's five points speech. He hit a grand slam last night. That speech will go down in history as one of the most significant foreign policy talks in our time and maybe even be more impotant then Wilson's 14 points, the Gettysburgh address and the I have a dream speech.
Blicero adds: Did the "five points" refer to the number of ways Bush could mispronounce "Abu Ghraib"?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

At what point does this little turd-eater get literally laughed off the paper? 

Bad writing.

This may or may not mean anything, but as it came out of the hole in Bush's head it is certainly not an "argument":
The only real way to secure Iraq, Bush argued, is through self-governing democracy...It is only through self-government that Iraq can become secure.
Laughable, if "laughing" to you means having to choke on your own regurgitated wastes:
It's a huge gamble to think that the solution to chaos is liberty. But it's fitting that during the gravest crisis of his presidency, President Bush reverted to his most fundamental political belief. He began this war in Iraq repeating the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence, that our creator has endowed all human beings with the right to liberty, and the ability to function as democratic citizens. He said last night with absolute confidence that the Iraqis are democrats at heart.
Stupid/ignorant, condescending, dishonest:
Because, let's face it, we don't know whether all people really do want to live in freedom. We don't know whether Iraqis have any notion of what democratic citizenship really means. We don't know whether they hear words like freedom, liberty and pluralism as deadly insults to the way of life they hold dear. We don't know who our enemies are. Are they the small minority of Baathists and jihadists, or is there a little bit of Moktada al-Sadr in every Iraqi's breast?
Simply not true:
And if this gamble fails, it won't be only the competence of our officials that will be called into question — it will be the American creed itself.
Just plain embarrassing:
Perhaps democracy and freedom are not really universal values, some will say.
Both aggressively and insultingly empty of meaning, yet somehow also an outright lie:
But at least Bush has now squarely faced the consequences of his creed.
Actual flagrant nonsense:
At least he is now behaving consistently with the elemental conviction of this nation.

Code Blue 

Zogby's electoral map says Kerry ahead 320-218.

The Antichrist cometh...

Sign the petition, it takes two goddamn seconds 

Howard Dean writes:
Right now, some states are planning to use machines that will not allow voters to verify their choices. This means that any flaws in the machine or software will never be caught -- and no recount will be possible. And the head of the largest e-voting machine company -- who is a major contributor to George Bush and has promised to deliver Ohio to him -- asks that we just trust him.

Today we call on Congress and the states to require any electronic voting machine used in this election to produce a paper trail -- one that allows voters to verify their choices and officials to conduct recounts. Add your name to the call for accountability:


Chalabi Quiz 

Mark A. R. Kleiman asks:
Which is the most embarrassing element of the Chalabi situation?
(He gives the answer.)

Caption Contest (Updated) 

My entry: "Petty Man Smacked Across Face by Earth"


"A Texan Trombone" (Critter)

"Iraq Advisors Tell Bush Steal for Home" (Bobo)

"Slightly wounded face can only be read as an unconditional demand for crushing of skull in vice, hammering of nails through flesh." (speakingcorpse)

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads."
--Revelation 13:16 (Dawkins)

"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."
--Revelation 14:9-12 (Dawkins)

"Governor Bush, that's not a glory hole, it's a red ant hill!" (Blicero)


You'll notice the Kerry and MoveOn donation buttons in our sidebar. All you have to do to contribute money to the Kerry campaign and/or MoveOn.org is click on those buttons to be taken to a secure credit card donation page. Plus: every donation you make using those buttons will be tallied on a special AmCop fundraising tally-sheet thing. (We don't get a cut or anything--we just get the glory of being a "fundraising" blog.)

So I would ask our readers: please show your loyalty to AmCop, and make your next contributions through our buttons!


Everyone's got to hear the latest Levin and Lammers song, "Sorry" (as featured on the O'Franken Factor). You can download it here.

It's a snappy jingle, the opening lyrics of which are:
Sorry 'bout the prisoners
Sorry they got raped
Sorry they got tortured
Sorry it got taped...

Also: Dawkins passes along these:



A month old, but prescient then, timely today. And funny!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Serve the Servants 

I guess it's not surprising:
Heading off on their modern version of a Grand Tour this summer, the 22-year-old Jenna and Barbara will also do an interview and photo spread for Vogue and then work for Bush-Cheney 2004 -- likely in the Arlington headquarters but perhaps also making speeches to rally support for their old man.
Q: will Pansy Division perform at the speeches?

Also, Milbank provides this reminiscence, from just after the Bush twins were arrested for alcohol:
"I would urge all of you to very carefully think through how much you want to pursue this," then-press secretary Ari Fleischer warned menacingly. After a Houston Chronicle reporter asked Fleischer if the president had talked to his daughters about substance abuse, Fleischer later called the reporter to say, ominously, that his question had been "noted in the building."
It occurs to me that in the summer of 2001 the press was starting to get pretty mean toward the Bushes, and that perhaps the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 constituted our collective "punishment."

Like the Bush daughters, the country had gone astray; we had to be called to account.

Florida Wants to Win 

A sad, hopeful article:
As Election Day 2004 draws near in a battleground state whose 27 electoral votes could prove crucial to the victor once again, a movement is rising in poor black communities to register and to educate, reassure and entreat. A top goal is to change the mindset of people like Mr. Johnson, who still harbor deep suspicions about everything from the accuracy of voting equipment to how polling places are chosen and what role Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, will play in Florida's outcome.

People for the American Way is training volunteers to fan across the state's northern swath, registering and reinvigorating black voters from Jacksonville to Pensacola. Its African American Ministers Leadership Council is recruiting church members for "Jericho walks," nonpartisan door-to-door efforts not only to register black voters, but also to quell their fears of disenfranchisement and to dispel myths that have circulated since 2000.

Summer Reading 

We recommend

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus

by Rick Perlstein, author of "The Jesus Landing Pad" (see below) and AmCop afficionado!

Kerry "against the nomination" 

Dawkins writes:

So I assume you've been following the Kerry nomination delay story.

Here's the account from the Washington Post.

Obviously the Republicans are having a hissy fit / shitting their pants.

Any idea what the fuck Ken Mehlman is talking about when he says:
"Only John Kerry could be for a nominating convention but be against the nomination," said Ken Mehlman, campaign manager for Bush's reelection committee. "This is just the latest example of John Kerry's belief that the rules are for other people, not for him."
Okay, so the trope of a political candidate believing that "the rules are for other people, not for him" is tried and true. But I'm a pretty close follower of these things and I have never seen this smear applied to Kerry before. Am I wrong? Have the Republicans been using this one all along? No, right? Seriously, help me if I'm missing something.

So why the "this is just the latest example of..."? What are the previous examples? It's like Mehlman, the fatigued, despondent, delirious witness to the implosion of the Bush enterprise, is reciting any old political smear adage that comes to mind when asked to respond to Kerry. Or maybe, knowing he's going to lose, he just doesn't give a fuck anymore.

[Blicero adds: "...say anything to get elected...looks French...hates troops...loves terrorists...ah fuck it, whatever."]

Since we're on the subject, what the fuck does this mean: "Only John Kerry could be for a nominating convention but be against the nomination?" That doesn't even come close to describing this situation let alone to articulating a cogent, sensible, or even effective attack on Kerry's position.

"Against the nomination"? "For a nominating convention"?


[Blicero adds: How about this: "the nomination" = troops/America; "a nominating convention" = terror/European appeasers. Thus: against nomination, for nominating convention. Makes perfect sense.]

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Question for David Brooks 

speakingcorpse writes:

I recently sent this question in to Brooks, who is taking reader questions this afternoon on the Times website.

Here is the link for this "book."

Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 15:58:12 EDT
Subject: Question for David Brooks
To: Heathernyt@aol.com

How can you in good conscience peddle the garbage you're peddling about Emerson and the American dream? You've got to know it's bullshit. Emerson was all for hope and desire, but he wanted us to THINK in order to figure out what it is we really WANT. That thinking involves sustaining a terrible loneliness in order to listen to the inner voice, and in order to avoid the bombardment of FALSE DESIRES that we are constantly being sold. Emerson knew that a consumer culture depends upon convincing people that they want things that they DON'T REALLY WANT. And unlearning or moving past these false desires requires hard and difficult thinking. In your book you essentially say that all forms of desire are the same, and that our current hopes and dreams--fed to us by a debased media culture, and resulting in our blind dive into the Iraq bloodbath--are the same as the visionary hope that Emerson celebrated. Emerson would have laughed at your absurd abuse of him. (He was magnanimous.) Just go read "The American Scholar" with an open mind (not scouting it for quotations that support your glib and convenient self-salesmanship) and you'll see that Emerson knew that most people, including himself, did not know what the fuck they really wanted, and that it would take the most arduous struggles to escape the American cult of inevitable success and meaningless "triumph" over the corpses that we manufacture to give ourselves the illusion of victory.

Kinsley Dons Bio-Hazard Suit, Approaches Pile of Toxic Shit Warily, Wittily 

Kinsley reviews Brooks' new slab of benignly packaged poison:
'On Paradise Drive': Sociology or Shtick?
So, Kinsley does a pretty good job. But there are places where I might have written differently. For instance, Kinsley writes:
The Brooks sociological method has four components: fearless generalizing, clever coinage, jokes and shopping lists.
I would have said,
The Brooks sociological method has four components: consuming shit, spewing shit forth, forcing others to eat the regurgitated shit, and tossing Satan's salad for him.
Similarly, Kinsley writes:
In his new book, Brooks flings coinage after coinage up against the zeitgeist, hoping that one will stick.
However, I would have written:
In his new book, Brooks flings turd after turd after turd at the reading public, hoping that after eating some of the turds the public will lick its lips ruefully and, ashamed of what they've done, thank Brooks for providing them with this "food."
Kinsley, in his review, makes some very good points. Like:
''Is he serious?'' is an interesting question about David Brooks. But a more important question, for Brooks himself and for all of humanity (now that he is a Times columnist), is ''Is he conservative?''
Pertinent questions, true. But I would have framed them thus:
''Is he a man?'' is an interesting question about David Brooks. But a more important question, for Brooks himself and for all of humanity (now that he is a Times columnist), is ''Why, if David Brooks is not a flesh-eating zombie like the 'infected' in the film '28 Days Later,' does he continually projectile-vomit jets of toxic blood toward his reader-victims, trusting that they'll slurp down some of it, begin to twist and shake spasmodically, thank Jesus and the President, bless America, and then stagger off into the countryside where they will starve to death on the ground unless they can find some more living flesh to sustain them?''
Still, Kinsley's review is a decent read.

Congrats to Moore 

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Wins Top Prize at Cannes
And, as "the chien" has astutely noted:
I wonder why "DC 911: A time of Crisis" was not even given a chance to compete against Farenheight 911? I have seen reports that DC 911 was blacklisted by the liberals controlling hollywood
C'est vrai, chien, c'est tout vrai!

Also check out Frank Rich's piece:
In particular, the movie's second hour is carried by the wrenching story of Lila Lipscomb, a flag-waving, self-described "conservative Democrat" from Mr. Moore's hometown of Flint, Mich., whose son, Sgt. Michael Pedersen, was killed in Iraq. We watch Mrs. Lipscomb, who by her own account "always hated" antiwar protesters, come undone with grief and rage. As her extended family gathers around her in the living room, she clutches her son's last letter home and reads it aloud, her shaking voice and hand contrasting with his precise handwriting on lined notebook paper. A good son, Sergeant Pedersen thanks his mother for sending "the bible and books and candy," but not before writing of the president: "He got us out here for nothing whatsoever. I am so furious right now, Mama."
As speakingcorpse notes:

This is going to be a really big deal. I think that he IS going to have problems distributing it, in part because I think that it could spark violence. The people who don't want to hear this are not going to take being informed lying down. They are going to be furious to the point of committing terrorist acts. We may well be on the verge of patriotic acts of aimless maruading, terror, and violence.


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