Monday, April 03, 2006

When you lie down with dogmatics . . .

Now that the New York Times has imprisoned its op-ed pages behind a subscribers-only wall, I'm setting free this beautifully reasoned statement from Paul Krugman's column of Monday April 3:

". . . if you choose to make common cause with religious extremists, you are accepting some responsibility for their extremism. By welcoming Mr. Falwell and people like him as members of their party, Republicans are saying that it's O.K. — not necessarily correct, but O.K. — to declare that 9/11 was America's punishment for its tolerance of abortion and homosexuality, that Islam is a terrorist religion, and that Jews can't go to heaven. And voters should judge the Republican Party accordingly."

The column describes John McCain's recent flip-flop on religious hardliners. In the 2000 campaign, Krugman reminds us, McCain denounced Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance." Now McCain (with 2008 firmly in his sights) has -- among other things -- signed on as this year's commencement speaker at Falwell-founded Liberty University (an American madrassa?).

Beyond demolishing McCain's claim to the label "moderate," this should remind us how the cynical right's unholy union with radical conservatives and religious hard-liners has altered public discourse. By standing by while their partners preach intolerance, bigotry and hatred in the name of Family Values, the strategists of the GOP seem to think they can bludgeon the body politic without dirtying their own hands.

This has to stop. Speak up. Hold the GOP accountable. Make them explain.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The War Is A Lie

Let me make it plain and clear: I claim no credit as the author of this Freeway Blog, and none for the previously posted one.

In part, they're here because they represent more words than I have contributed to this blog in recent weeks . . .

Writing is NOT talking about writing, thinking about writing or getting ready to write. Writing is putting something on the page. So, when the page is the back of a road sign, and it takes a ladder, paint, and serious guts to write, let us all hail Anonymous.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

One word, one picture = priceless

This was snapped March 1 on Interstate 40, on the west side of Nashville, Tennessee.

One anonymous word, lots and lots of cars passing beneath it.

Nicely done.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Shoot First, Dodge Questions Later

I am not the first person to note the bloody symmetry in the events leading up to the Iraq invasion, and last weekend's shooting incident involving Dick Cheney.

If there's one thing the Vice President does well, it's The Big Lie.

According to Wikipedia:
The phrase Big Lie refers to a propaganda technique which originated with Adolf Hitler's 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf. In that book Hitler wrote that people came to believe that Germany lost World War I in the field due to a propaganda technique used by Jews who were influential in the German press. This technique, he believed, consisted of telling a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously". The first documented use of the phrase "big lie" is in the corresponding passage: "in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility".

Cheney's insistent, carefully phrased assertions regarding Iraqi weapons, the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the culpability of Iraq in the 9/11 attacks, and the "last throes" of the Iraqi insurgency (to name just a few) were echoed as gospel from the right wing megaphone to the mainstream media.

In his post-shooting interview with Fox TV, Cheney did the same thing, pretending that his office was waiting for the facts on the victim's condition before announcing the incident, arguing that the property owner was the right person to handle the matter with the local newspaper, and justifying his utter arrogance and disrespect for the obligation of a public servant to inform the public.

Today, the AP headline reads, "President Satisfied With Cheney's Account."

The gang that can't shoot straight has chosen again to shoot first and dodge questions later.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dangerous Dick Cheney

This series of commentaries on the language of politics could have started at almost any moment in the past three decades. That's how long the conservative elements have been hijacking language for their own ends.

But, this weekend comes a rare chance to watch a giant talking points exercise, as Vice President Cheney shoots a member of his hunting party. Put the guy in the hospital, but the news didn't start hitting the headlines for some twenty-four hours after the incident.

Does anything say "irresponsible" as loudly as a friendly-fire hunting accident? And yet, with a day to organize the language, the Cheney apologists are promoting the idea that accidents will happen, and that the victim was more at fault than the shooter.

So, for the next week, while we read and hear of the Vice President's little mishap, please remember to respond with a dose of the truth: Dick "Trigger Finger" Cheney ignored the most basic tenets of gun safety, shot a 78 year-old fellow hunter, and should NOT get off the hook.

Irresponsible, careless, negligent -- all the way to trigger-happy -- these are the terms we should insist on when talk turns to Dangerous Dick.

Remember, this is the man who shattered the decorum of the U.S. Senate, of which he is president, with that famous F*ck yourself.