The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

The AIDS ploy and the democracy ploy


I heard the new Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, on the radio this morning, saying he was "blown away" by something in Bush's speech last night. Namely, that Bush had promised $15 billion to help fight AIDS in Africa. That sounds like a fairly big number. By my reckoning it is an average of $150 per household. If someone were passing the hat to help fight AIDS in Africa, that would be a pretty good haul. So good on Bush for doing _something_ for Africa, but shame on him and Frist for acting like it is a) a sacrifice on Bush's part (he's not paying the taxes, after all), and b) it is anything but a cynical spin point.

This also raises a point that neither Frist nor Bush seems to get. John Lewis, a member of the black caucus (I don't need to specify the Democratic black caucus because the GOP has no black members in the house or senate), said he was disappointed that Bush didn't mention race relations in his speech, which was a little surprising given the Lott thing and the U. Michigan case. Then NPR (which is becoming more and more a shill for their corporate masters - it is such a shame to hear that happening. I mean, we expect that kind of crap from Fox (or Faux, as it is so aptly nicknamed), but when we get Republican spin from NPR you know things are bad) puts on Frist to talk about sending money to Africa. Was this supposed to soften the paucity of Bush's vision on race? Why would NPR juxtapose these two points in this way?

Whenever Frist talks about race relations he also mentions his work in Africa, but never anything about what is going on in _this_ country. Here is a news flash for Frist and Bush: Africa is not where black Americans live! Those people are Africans, and no matter what you do for them, it doesn't change or improve the state of race relations among us here in this country. I guess the more important point for the GOP is this: black Americans aren't Africans!! Helping Africans != helping black Americans! You'd think they could grasp that basic concept, but I guess it is symptomatic of them not seeing non-white people in this country as true Americans. They can't fathom why African Americans don't trust the GOP - just look at the good work they do in Africa! Ha ha. It would be funny if it weren't so warped.

State of the Union Watch

I missed Smirk last night. I couldn't bear to watch everyone standing up and cheering and clapping how he read off the teleprompter, while having to listen to him mangle the language. There are several excellent (and some funny) takes on the speech, however: TBogg, A good editorial from the Daytona Beach News Journal (who knew?), and a line-by-line commentary by D. Ehrenstein.

Iraq Watch

There's a lot of rhetoric lately about how by invading and occupying Iraq we will be bringing democracy to Iraq and maybe we can get other countries in the region to have democracy, etc. This argument is a stinky load of dung. Do not be misled by it. Democracy is the last thing our government wants in many of those countries, for example, Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have a secular ruling class, suppressing a huge, highly fundamentalist Islamic religious underclass. Democracy for the Saudis would mean having the world's largest oil supply in the control of Islamic fundamentalists. We can't have that now, can we? This is why we can't say boo to the Saudis, even though most funding of terrorists comes out of Saudi Arabia, 16 of the 19 9/11 highjackers were Saudi, and Osama bin Laden is something of a favorite son there. If we don't like that, we should start work on fuel cells or something. (By the way, I heard the Smirky recommended hydrogen-powered cars in his speech last night. This, according to his partisans, belies the fact that the coming war is about oil. What a joke. The republicans know how to treat this issue. First, ridiculing people who actually believe it, like Gore. Then, adopting the rhetoric when it serves their purpose. Finally, offering little to no funding for the projects or not enforcing regulations on Detroit, etc. That was a huge whopper he told.)

On to two very strange articles. The first describes the "Shock and Awe" strategy which might be used against the Iraqis, especially those in Baghdad. I know everyone keeps talking about how "grateful" the Iraqi people will be when we "liberate" them, but if we bomb the crap out of Baghdad, killing civilians, won't they hate us? Wouldn't we expect them to? Also, doesn't that totally violate the Geneva convention? Since when has "total war" been acceptable? Isn't it a major war crime? Fortunately, we'll be spared having to worry about this further, since our reporters will not be allowed to cover this war except in very controlled and fawning ways.

Second, this very strange article about the US buying up Iraqi oil now, to cover some shortfalls. It also talks a bit about some of the international wrangling over oil which will come out of this conflict. But it all strikes me as very weird that the public is not really being informed of our true position in all of this. Iraq is ramping up its production of oil for us! Why? How strange.

Thanks to Paul for this excellent article on the cynicism and hypocrisy of the administration on the issue of inspections.

I think I am in love with Janeane Garofalo. Read how she hands the always obsequious-to-power Howard Kurtz his butt in this transcript.

Bush Watch

Consortium News has a really fascinating article about Bush's behavior and the way the corporate press has "enabled" his behavior. Full of good things which are important to remember.

Humor Watch

In honor of the State of the Union speech, the image at the top. (If you aren't a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, don't worry about it).

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