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Peter B. Collins
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March 16, 2006
President Bush is expected to get much of what he requested in a $92 billion House measure for wars and hurricane cleanup, but a provision on the controversial Dubai ports deal is a reminder that legislators are increasingly apt to part ways with the president.
Not really, but I've been rather puzzled by the concerned reactions to V for Vendetta. The two basic ones seem to be "it glorifies terrorism!" and "it makes references to the Bush administration which means it's really about the evil Bush administration!"
The first one is just silly. The world of the comic book, and presumably the movie, is a genuine fascist totalitarian state. I'm reasonably sure that the violent overthrow of tyrannical governments is something we're usually okay with. I mean, we kept encouraging Iraqis to do just that. I seem to remember something in our own history too. The fact that the fascist state evolved from the country we know as the United Kingdom doesn't change the fact that it is indeed a fascist tyranny.
As for the references to contemporary events in the film, that's a way to provide a frame that the audience can understand. Whether the filmmakers intend it to be part cautionary tale or not, if you do a movie about the "near future" it certainly makes sense to ground it its past, or our present. The original book is similarly grounded in the author's view of then-contemporary England.
Anyway, I haven't actually seen the movie, but if a movie about a fascist tyranny has people freaking out because they view it as a critique of the Bush administration I think that says more about their own view of the administration than the filmmakers'.
Oh, and David Denby's smack on Moore for being concerned at the time about quarantining AIDS patients is ridiculous. Discussion of quarantining AIDS patients was pretty standard fare in the mid-1980s, and though it never went anywhere as a matter of policy in the US, LaRouche did get quarantine proposals onto the California ballot twice. Yes it was LaRouche, and yes they were defeated, but he still managed to get the signatures to get them on the ballot.
And, from the December 20, 1985 New York Times:
In the mid-80s there was plenty of reason to be concerned that such measures could be taken. From a Nov. 4, 1985 CSM article:
Besides the typical shortcomings that any Republican budget bill has, this one has a particularly alarming problem: ANWR is in it and because it's a budget bill, we can't filibuster.
We need to call the 41 anti-drilling Dems (and Jeffords) and tell them to vote it down because of ANWR. Same goes for Chafee, Coleman, DeWine, McCain, Smith, Snowe, and Collins (gonna need some more convincing for McCain and Smith especially).
We need to call Burns, Ensign, and Coburn and tell them to vote it down because of the debt ceiling amendment and fiscal responsibility (as noted in the previous comment).
We need to call Akaka and tell him to vote down the budget because his amendment was not agreed to and subsequently, there isn't enough money for veterans in the bill.
Some others who are likely or may vote down the budget are Voinovich and Specter.
Etc, etc, etc.
In my opinion, the key votes will be: Landrieu, Akaka, Inouye, Specter, Snowe, Collins, McCain, Smith, Burns, Ensign, and Coburn. Call these Senators and tell them to oppose this disastrous budget!
There's plenty in this bill to fight. Use this diary to coordinate.
America has been at war for 3 years, with no end in sight, and Congress has refused to debate the war since the initial authorization to use military force was debated in 2002
John wants a list of Bush stupidities. I want to take us all the way back to the beginning when a spy plane was downed in China. The crew was held for weeks and Bush's biggest concern was whether or not they had Bibles. The Chinese returned the plane itself in crates months later, presumably getting a nice look at whatever tech goodies were in there, after Bush got down on his knees and begged forgiveness. At the time the spin from the wingers was that even though we apologized we didn't super duper apologize, so it was okay.
Jessica Simpson -- singer, actress, and America's sweetheart in the minds of many fans -- came to town in her new role as a spokesperson for Operation Smile, the nearly 25-year-old nonprofit volunteer medical organization that performs free dental surgery around the world.
By Jay Shaft- Editor of Coalition For Free Thought In Media
Video Hosted at San Francisco Bay (INDYBAY) Indy Media
The New York Times this morning gleefully claimed that the censure move is rallying Bush's base (Read Digby's excellent take on it here). From Soledad O'Brien to the NYT to the pundits on TV who snickered and sneered when Feingold made his announcement, the press has minimized the story. During this morning's press conference, Senator Feingold put the press in its place:
FEINGOLD: It seems to me appropriate, when the spin machines are out there and people are using various language, to come out and reiterate my reasons for doing this.
I think that the press decided immediately that somehow this was a bad thing for Democrats and a good thing for conservatives. The facts don't bear it out. You don't have the polls to prove it. The way my colleagues are responding to me suggests to me they're thinking about this, that they feel that there has to be some accountability.
So the instant decision about what the story is, actually, I think is going to backfire on those who made up the story. I don't get the feeling that I had on Monday about this -- yes, people were concerned -- I'm not getting that.
And if the right wing really believes in this country that -- Rush Limbaugh and others -- that they can somehow turn the president's reputation around by saying, "You're darn right he violated the law, and it's a good thing," I think they're just as confused as they are about their Iraq politics. People aren't buying it anymore.
So not only do I not regret it, I felt an absolute obligation to do it.
Senator Feingold is correct. There are no polls to support the contention that censuring the President for his lawlessness would negatively affect Democrats. Indeed, in the first poll out on censure, 46% of Americans agree with the resolution, compared to 44% who do not. There are 10% who are undecided. From the way the media has portrayed censure, you would think we would see Dubai-like numbers with opposition at 80%. But the American people want accountability.
The discussion about the President's violation of the law is just beginning. As the truth unfolds, the American people will realize that this President broke the law, and possibly invaded their privacy on a grand scale. Will the media report on those numbers? As Chris Bowers notes, "Let's see how many news outlets are willing to actually report on facts and scientific surveys of public opinion on this story, and how many are just willing to write stories filled with "truthiness" and anecdotes.""
By John Ward Anderson, Washington Post
Locals say several Iraqi women, children among dead.
Baghdad - At least four and perhaps as many as 13 people were killed, including a number of women and at least one child, in a U.S. military operation Wednesday against a house where insurgent collaborators were believed to have taken refuge, local officials and the U.S. military said.
According to the military, the incident occurred as U.S. forces were attempting to apprehend a "foreign fighter facilitator" for al-Qaeda in Iraq at a house near the town of Ishaqi, about 55 miles north of Baghdad. As troops advanced on the house, the statement said, they came under fire and "coalition forces returned fire utilizing both air and ground assets."
Steve Fraser reviews Death in the Haymarket, in which James Green uses the story of the Haymarket riot to expose the hopes and fears of nineteenth-century America, a nation living on the knife-edge of social catastrophe.
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