Check this Out!

For crazy pro-Bush posters, paid for (although inadvertently) by the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, check out this link.

Warning: if you are a member of the FCC or the religious right and are offended by these things, there is some profanity.

Who’s to Blame?

Timothy Noah over at Slate had an interesting piece on right-wing denial earlier this week. It seems that columnists all over the web have been trying to rationalize the torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison. Linda Chavez, that fount of illogical thought, even blamed it on the feminists (!? last time I checked, abuse of prisoners of war and civilians has been going on for thousands of years–I can’t think why suddenly adding women into the combat mix makes feminism responsible for torture). Others are blaming gays, pornographers, and left-wing academics. I think I would count myself in with the academic left crowd (which for right-wing commentators is any college teacher who isn’t a member of the NRA). I cannot think of any classroom situations in which I’ve advocated torture of anyone.

I’ve got a bright idea–why don’t we blame the military? This is, after all, the institution that gave us Tailhook (if anything dehumanized women, that was it). Or, for another example of dehumanizing, one might look to the Air Force Academy. A reported 20% of women cadetsare sexually assaulted during their time there. Some women who were raped were actually ordered to remove their clothes by superior cadets. Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?

It seems to me that the United States Armed Forces has a serious problem that starts at home. This isn’t to say that the vast majority of men and women serving aren’t decent, upstanding people. But one needn’t make up ridiculous sources for the photos we’ve seen on CNN–one need only look at the culture of the armed services.

Rush Limbaugh on how the Torture and Humiliation of Iraqi prisoners is OK

I just read this on Josh Marshall’s fabulous site Talking Points Memo. Rush Limbaugh is the first commentator I have heard of that has even attempted to justify the torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners:

This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?

I really don’t know what to say, except that I was already ashamed that military personnel who supposedly represent and protect our country could do the horrific things we’ve been seeing pictures of. I am even more ashamed, though, that anyone would try to justify this behavior, let alone explain it away as “blow[ing] some steam off” and as Americans “having a good time.”

Marshall follows this comment by asking how illberal people can be part of a liberal democracy. Good question.

I think Limbaugh’s comments tie into something President Bush said earlier this week regarding democracy in Iraq:

“There’s a lot of people in the world who don’t believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren’t necessarily — are a different color than white can self-govern.” [This version was printed in George Will's column in the Washington Post; link is now accessible only by paying money.]

The identity of that “lot of people” who supposedly believe that Iraqis cannot govern themselves has been debated lately; I’ve wondered if Bush was using the smear of racism to neutralize Democrats and other opponents to the war. But after Limbaugh’s comments, the real racists who are dehumanizing Iraqis are those, like (Republican partisan) Rush, who justify the acts of American soldiers in Iraqi prisons.

Will Bush denounce Limbaugh? I doubt it, but he should, and loudly.

Boycott Disney Now

If the ridiculous film Pocahontas was not enough to sour your stomach on the subject of Disney, this ought to:

According to an article in today’s New York Times, Disney executives have instructed its subsidiary Miramax NOT to distribute a documentary film by Michael Moore that is critical of the Bush administration. The film, entitled Fahrenheit 911 examines, among other things, the Bush family’s ties with the ruling family of Saudi Arabia.

According to the article, Disney came under heavy criticism from conservatives last May after the disclosure that Miramax had agreed to finance the film when Icon Productions, Mel Gibson’s company, backed out.

Mr. Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney’s chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush’s brother, Jeb, is governor.

Let’s get this straight: a corporation is AFRAID to release a film critical of the administration because it fears retaliation from the President’s brother.

Where the heck do we live, anyway? A banana republic? The People’s Republic of China?

Even people who don’t like Mr Moore’s films should be outraged about this. (Put it this way: if the administration were a Democratic one, and the film was made by a conservative activist and was critical of the administration, and Disney blocked its distribution, wouldn’t you be outraged?)

We cannot tolerate these affronts to free speech. Boycott Disney. Turn your stuffed Mickey Mouses into voodoo dolls.