Stateside: Liar, Liar, Tie's On Fire!
Liar, Liar, Tie's On Fire!
I missed the president's press conference on Tuesday night - it was on at 5.30 on the West Coast and I was on my way to night class - but I got the gist of it as I passed by the newspaper vending machines the next morning. Most of the headlines had the words "stay the course" in them.
Inside Edition, the entertainment news show, the next night had a big segment interviewing a TV producer about the problem with the president's tie. Since the moire effect caused by any fabric that has fine lines has been known for as long as there's been television cameras, it seems incredible that the president was sent out in front of cameras wearing a tie with that kind of pattern for any purpose other than to distract people from what he was saying.
Scary thought: maybe his dressers thought he'd remind viewers of the voice of Moses coming out of a burning bush. More interesting, though, was the information that the White House had told the journalists participating in the conference that their own necktie could be only blue or red. Assuming that the journalists all complied, what does that tell you about the press corps in this country?
They remind me of those Feeders I saw on the Channel 4 documentary in Oz: in order to gratify their own hunger for power, they pour fat down a tube directly into the stomach of their pet Fat Girl, the faster to make her dependent on them for everything. Sadly, the pet Fat Girl in this case is the public at large, which drags itself along on the inch-thick skin of its butt because its lost the ability to stand up for itself.
But it's Sunday morning now, and I managed to catch a few tidbits of the talking head shows: John Kerry on NBC, Condoleezza Rice on CBS, and Tony Blair on ABC. Since they're all on at the same time, they have to compete for my attention, and usually ABC wins. However, in the ad breaks I did get to see Kerry say that he's big friends with Ralph Nader and hopes to convince Nader supporters they can vote for Kerry instead and see real change. Yawn.
One piece of news I didn't see in the media was that a radio talk show host in Alabama was taken off the Republican ballot for a state school board election without any explanation. Kelly McGinley was to be on Fox News Saturday, last night, but I don't get cable, so I didn't see it. However, here's a link to her April 7 statement and that of her attorney: http://www.retakingamerica.com/statement_001.html
The story pretty much contains all the elements of US elections that seem bizarre, if not downright undemocratic, to folks from a different sort of democratic culture. As the Associated Press account of the event said at the time: "Incumbent Orange Beach businessman Randy McKinney is now unopposed in the June 1 Republican Party primary. No Democrat qualified to run for the seat in the November general election."
To clarify: not only is the seat on the school board uncontested from outside the Republican Party, but that same party is not allowing it to be internally contested either. This is the party that supports the president that went to war to enlighten the rest of the world about what democracy is!
Oh, and here's a heads up on what will be important this week. I caught the tail end of the CBS Sunday talking head show, in which the host - and brother of the Bush-appointed US Ambassador in Oz - Bob Schieffer, gives his commentary. He praised Bob Woodward as being perhaps the best reporter of all time for the revelations in his book that Bush redirected money earmarked for Afghanistan to making plans for war on Iraq very soon after the 9/11 attack.
Thankfully, Woodward also points to Cheney as being the driving force for this war - the thought of Bush being impeached and replaced by Cheney is too horrible to contemplate. Not that Woodward will be believed by the folks on the other side of the ideological divide, and why the hell should we care what he writes three years after the fact, anyway?
A good reporter, you'd think, is inquisitive AND timely, not a red-or-blue tie-wearing apologist for the grandiose fictions of a policy that millions of ordinary people in the world could see was only going to lead to disaster even before it began. Still, the homefront battle to keep public opinion in favour of what's going on in Iraq continues, bolstered by the way the word "terrorist" is now regularly used in connection with the kidnappings.
The biggest part of the problem of the US in Iraq can be summed up in the catch phrase from a new TV ad for a car: Luxury means never leaving home when you leave home. It seems to me that as long as the troops in Iraq are perceived as having never actually left the US behind - with the type of food and entertainment they get supplied with from US contractors - they'll never win much support from the locals for what they're doing.
And that's even without disasters like the one reported earlier this week right here on Scoop. Read it and weep.