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Monday, February 07, 2005 Links Miniblog

• • • • •

Sunday, February 06, 2005


"Rall" /Rall/ verb To brawl with or maul a right winger whose views you find offensive and lacking in common sense or where you sense financial reward was exchanged for spouting his/her nonsensical thinly veiled fascist propaganda... A left version of Fisking, a wingnut term used to deride a courageous journalist (probably marked for death) who goes to war zones and writes what he thinks is the truth. Two things that you will never see the Instapundit stringers for the Talon News Agency do.

How to use in a sentence:

Ted Rall ralls this right wing nutjob but good over at his online blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
The Iraqi Resistance

Jason writes a letter that reveals much of the mindset of the pro-invasion set:

So, Ted, I was wondering if you were willing to acknowledge, at this point, that the despicable terrorists in Iraq aren't quite the bold Freedom Fighters that you had painted them out to be. Not too long ago, you werepainting them out as to be noble fighters for the common Iraqi against the oh-so-sinister American regime. I'm just wondering if your opinion has changed now that they have bombed Iraqi mosques, killed Iraqi judges and done everything they can to usurp the democratic process.

First and foremost, let's get our terms straight. There is no democratic process in Iraq. Iraq is occupied by 150,000 U.S. troops. The Baath and other parties are proscribed from participating in elections or holding public office. In a real democracy, voters are free to choose from any party. In a real democracy, a foreign occupation force does not exert any political influence whatsoever. And in a real democracy, people aren't afraid to venture out into the streets, risking rape or kidnapping in order to vote. You can't have democracy without basic security, period.So this is not democracy.Which gets us to the next term: "Iraqi judges," etc. By definition anyone who holds public office in an occupied country is a collaborator. This would include, for example, Palestinian Authority "leaders" under the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Now a collaborator may or not be a good person, and he may or may not be laboring under a benevolent occupier, but he is certainly a collaborator and thus a fair target for nationalist/patriotic resistance forces seeking to expel the occupiers.Collaborators are, in some ways, even more of an enemy to the Iraqi resistance than the Americans. They demoralize the resistance and set an example of subservience that other Iraqis may emulate. It's not surprising, therefore, that Iraqi guerillas would choose to execute them.

I can understand your fear that we, the filthy Americans, seek to set up a puppet regime in Iraq. However, I can't see how any civilized person would believe that blowing up voting stations and killing candidates is the properway to retaliate against such an alleged invasion.

The puppet regime is already a given. And the election is a lame attempt to legitimatize that puppet regime. Iraqis who vote in this show election are no different than Frenchmen who cheered Marshall Pétain during the Nazi occupation. Had there been an "election" under Vichy rule, it would have been the patriotic duty of every Frenchman to bvoycott it.

I've known many of your type and I know that you never, ever are willing to admit to a wrong. You were unwilling to admit that you had severely overstated your case against the Nazi werewolves, and I'm sure you'd be unwilling to admit that you were incorrect in your support of these vile murderers.

I can and do admit when I'm wrong, as readers of the Rallblog well know. And, by the way, I checked into the comparisons with the Nazi "werewolves" resistance after the fall of Germany at the end of World War II. As I wrote originally, there are no documented cases of casualties inflicted by them. None. They may have cut a few power lines, but they had nothing like the effectiveness of the current Iraqi resistance fighters--to which the Hard Right tried to compare them.

So go ahead and put my e-mail address up on your blog if you wish. All of your fanatical fans are just as blinded with anti-American hatred as you are, and I always love to hear from such idiots. And, please, Ted, drop thepretense about you being a great patriot. You're not. You're a fucking socialist piece of shit who abhors everthing about our nation - other than the wealth and the freedom of speech that it bestows upon you.

I only run your email address if you cross the rhetorical line outlined in my email rules. (Which Jason didn't.) Whether or not I am a patriot is for others to judge. I do love this country, however, and I'm fighting my damnedest to remind my fellow Americans of our core values, those we all learned as children, and to stop the Hard Right from revolutionizing us into a neofascist nightmare. (By the way, I don't recall labeling myself. And another by the way: since when are socialists anti-patriotic?)

If you would in some way condemn the Iraqi terrorists, then perhaps I'd think a little bit better of you, but - until then - you are disgusting.

And I might think better of you when you stopped using loaded rhetoric like refering to resistance fighters (a clearer and more neutral term) as "terrorists." Unless, of course, you also consider George Washington to have been a terrorist, in which case we'll let it go.For the record: I don't share the vision of radical Islamism that some of the anti-US resistance in Iraq apparently wants to impose on Iraq and the Middle East. I wish nothing more than to see the people of the world rise up, overthrow their dictators and autocrats, and create just, peaceful, representative political and economic systems that reward people for their hard work and provide security in their everyday lives. Taliban-like theocracies are obviously antiethical to that goal.But ultimately it's up to the citizens of each nation to decide for themselves, sometimes via civil war and acts of violence, to determine how they want to live. Who is to say that my vision, that our vision of democracy, is best for every country? Besides, we still have too much work to do here in the United States of America before we can hold ourselves up as a shining beacon of hope to the rest of the world. We have an unelected dictator for a a"president," a nation that denies tens of millions of people access to basic healthcare, kids throwing their unwanted babies into Dumpsters, young adults plunged into student loan poverty, systemic racism that divides our cities and suburbs into haves and have-nots, a wildly inadequate retirement system that the ruling party is trying to get rid of--like I said, we have a lot of work to do.The choice between radical Islam and American-style pseudodemocracy is a false one presented by the Hard Right. There is 0.0% danger that Islamists will take over the United States. And it is 0.0% our business whether it takes over other countries.


Juan Cole completely Ralls and destroys Jonah Goldberg.

Jonah Goldberg attacked yours truly in a column recently.

I think it is time to be frank about some things. Jonah Goldberg knows absolutely nothing about Iraq. I wonder if he has even ever read a single book on Iraq, much less written one. He knows no Arabic. He has never lived in an Arab country. He can't read Iraqi newspapers or those of Iraq's neighbors. He knows nothing whatsoever about Shiite Islam, the branch of the religion to which a majority of Iraqis adheres. Why should we pretend that Jonah Goldberg's opinion on the significance and nature of the elections in Iraq last Sunday matters? It does not [...]

Jonah Goldberg is a fearmonger, a warmonger, and a demagogue. And besides, he was just plain wrong about one of the more important foreign policy issues to face the United States in the past half-century. It is shameful that he dares show his face in public, much less continuing to pontificate about his profound knowledge of just what Iraq is like and what needs to be done about Iraq and the significance of events in Iraq [...]
The reason Mr. Goldberg is alarmed that I pointed this obvious fact out [that the Iranian elections in 1997 were more Democratic than the Iraqi ones in 2005] is that he wants to kill thousands of Iranians and thousands of US troops in a war of aggression on Iran. If the American public knows that there is a lively struggle between hardliners and conservatives in Iran, and that an American intervention there would be a huge disaster and would forestall the natural evolution of Iran away from Khomeinism, then they might not support Mr. Goldberg's monstrous warmongering.

That is why he attacked me.

So let me propose to him that we debate Middle East issues, anywhere, any time, he and I.
Otherwise he should please shut up and go back to selling Linda Tripp tapes on Ebay.

Cole even challenges Goldberg to a debate, A courageous man would have immediately accepted the challenge. We're still waiting for Jonah.

• • • • •

Saturday, December 25, 2004


I brazenly stole that from Tom Tomorrow.

And here's a Christmas Wish from Riverbend:

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas Wishlist...I have to make this fast. No electricity for three days in a row (well, unless you count that glorious hour we got 3 days ago...). Generators on gasoline are hardly working at all. Generators on diesel fuel aren't faring much better- most will only work for 3 or 4 straight hours then they have to be turned off to rest. Ok- what is the typical Iraqi Christmas wishlist (I won't list 'peace', 'security' and 'freedom' - Christmas miracles are exclusive to Charles Dickens), let's see:

1. 20 liters of gasoline
2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
3. Kerosene for the heaters
4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
5. Landmine detectors
6. Running water
7. Thuraya satellite phones (the mobile phone services are really, really bad of late)
8. Portable diesel generators (for the whole family to enjoy!)
9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries (you can never go wrong with a fancy flashlight)
10. Scented candles (it shows you care- but you're also practical)

When Santa delivers please make sure he is wearing a bullet-proof vest and helmet. He should also politely ring the doorbell or knock, as a more subtle entry might bring him face to face with an AK-47. With the current fuel shortage, reindeer and a sleigh are highly practical- but Rudolph should be left behind as the flashing red nose might create a bomb scare (we're all a little jumpy lately). By the way, until further notice, please send any emails to as I'm having some minor problems with the other accounts.
posted by river @ 3:57 PM

• • • • •

Monday, November 01, 2004


This hasn't been a time of writing for me. I've worked the last seven months at America Coming Together and my pithy web entries have slowed to a crawl, probably from exhaustion. I have personally knocked on over several thousand doors, talked to several hundred voters and registered over 300 of them to vote. I led the Pittsburgh office actually. And I'm tired. But hopefully, we'll get some good news later tonight despite some of the very evil yet predictable tactics of the Republicans.

By the way, here's two things I wrote about Kerry.

First up, an endorsement from my Better Humans column Red Hour Orgy:

Here in the US, you'll soon have a chance to get involved. I try not to even think what a George Bush victory means in terms of science policy. But it certainly can't be good, unless the tech emerges under the radar or concern of the government, much as the Internet has arisen. (For more info on the horrible tech record of the Bush administration, go see this Sterling essay, or this Scientific American article—they both mention Lysenko, serendipitously enough—or this Science article, or this Henry Waxmen Website or these Nobel Prize winners.) In a nutshell, a Bush future means a more top-down and regulated science, where the Little People never get an Internet or, if they do, it costs several thousand a month.

I'm not saying that Kerry would bring about tech Nirvana. I don't trust him on trade, or with having the balls to punish American multinationals for profiting from Third World slave labor. And whenever there's talk of him picking a Republican VP (reward the very evil and silly party with the number two position?) I gnash my teeth so loudly that it can be heard from 10 meters away. I'm a former Dean supporter, so I don't worship at the alter of Kerry. But it would be nice to see an American president on an international stage and have absolute confidence that the French or Soviet leader doesn't have a superior grasp of the English language. Call me a wild-eyed utopian.

And I think that any progressive person would find Kerry's science policy favorable. It's full of good ideas such as investing in long-term research and development, and working away from fossil fuels—as opposed to profiting from them and stealing another country's oil. There's even a graph or two about software defined radio and encouraging a world class broadband system in the US. Kerry's also wholeheartedly in favor of stem cell research.

I just think that the equation for any decent future requires Bush to be written out of the calculations. It's beyond my grasp why any sane person who believes in a worthwhile future would fail to understand this. I'm not just a transhumanist who thinks that, I'm willing to work for my dream future, one door at a time.

And just for the record, while I know Kerry is way way better than Bush (watch those debates and guess who the bumbling idiot is...hint: he's wiring a wire and he's still losing...) I won't be some Instapundit lapdog calling white black and then slurring the reputation of anyone who can't see the blackness. In fact: If Kerry prosecutes the war like Bush is, he'll lose the war in Iraq, just like Bush, and he'll earn my contempt. We need a different policy because the current policy--kill them damn swarthy fur eh ners and steal their oil--doesn't work. And we need a new president who understands that we need a newer and smarter policy. My only choice here is Kerry. I'll take it. And at worst, at least he'll run a bad policy with some measure of professionalism which would lower the death toll on all sides, just like George Bush senior did. I said as much in the comments section of the aforementioned column here:

I just wanted to say something about the wage slavery deal: Actually, I don't have much of a choice. Or to quote this great line from C-Span: Democracy in America means choosing which fascist I get to work for. I wasn't born rich and I really don't have the lobes (warning: star trek Ferengi reference) for capitalism, most of the time. So I have to work at wages that, well, aren't very fulfilling. Perhaps I should find some suckers who are willing to work for me and get rich off of their labor. Sounds so American.

As for as this counter slavery that Socialist John Kerry would bring about, please. I mean, really, please. You might want to check out what a real socialist thinks about Kerry. His name is Ken MacLeod. You might find it interesting (Editor's note: Actually, Ken was quoting a Socialist publication but it reflected his own opinions):

'Fellow Americans, Senator Kerry and I agree on our vision for Iraq and are determined to carry through the mission, no matter what the cost in Iraqi and American blood. Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world. Our principal vision is for these vast natural resources to be taken from the Iraqis and placed under the control of ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. This will simultaneously advance our strategy of asserting US global hegemony by means of military force, and further enrich the financial oligarchy that we both represent.

'We cannot abandon Iraq. If we are defeated by the masses in that country, it will only embolden people in other parts of the world to rise up against the rule of the banks and transnational corporations, and fatally undermine the myth that its military might makes US imperialism invincible.

'Finally, such a debacle would expose before the American people the complete rot of the political system in this country. We are deeply concerned that many of you would demand that we be held accountable for dragging the country into a war that is criminal in every sense of the word. The viability of our two-party system, which ensures the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the vast majority of you, my fellow Americans, would be called into question.'Senator Kerry and I agree that the draft must be reinstated. We are calling upon you to sacrifice your children and support the slaughter of the Iraqis to further the interests of the banks, the oil conglomerates and the super-rich.'

For the record, I'm hoping that Kerry will pull us out the Israeli death spiral that is Iraq, but I wouldn't be shocked if he didn't...I still think he would be a better president even if all those horrible aforestated things are true...

• • • • •

Sunday, September 12, 2004


Hilariously tragic new counter-propaganda toons' from disgraced yet still gifted cartoonist Micah Wright.

And this just in: Weapons of Mass Destruction have finally been found! Let's all just be grateful that Colin Powell doesn't lie about the important things...

And thank God we're beating the terrorists, except for this of course. Then again, who cares what happens to Australians? Isn't that near France? So what if we're inflaming a generation of moslem extremists near their borders? Suck it up Australia. Suck it up.

You Aussies should adopt the Russian model like America has done. It's worked so well for The Russians. I have no doubt it will work equally well for us one day. Your schoolkids are a dime a dozen anyways...

• • • • •

Monday, July 26, 2004


I just wanted to add a few things to the last post. Right now, Kerry is winning. If the election were held today, and I'm assuming daft Aussies know very little about electoral counts or trend lines, but there's this Time Poll.

NEW YORK, July 25. — Democratic challenger Mr John Kerry would have an advantage over incumbent Republican President Bush if the presidential elections were to be held today, a new poll showed. The poll just released by Time magazine shows that 48 per cent of the voters surveyed would vote for Mr Kerry compared with 44 per cent for Mr Bush. But the President’s job approval remained at 50 per cent.

And then there's the Rasmussen Poll, which I think leans Republican, which has shown Kerry with a one to four point advantage. Rasmussen also does state polls and shows Kerry with a lead in Pennsylvania of 5 points. I saw another poll of my homestate that showed him with an 8 point lead. Rasmussen also has Kerry with a five point lead in Florida. Gallop also has Kerry leading in Ohio. It's not over yet. We have a long way to go. But I like Kerry's prospects.

Now, in the comments section, it was mentioned that the Republicans have their usual lot of crazed fundie church support and evil Big Corp backers. Yeah, they had that and they still lost in 2000. If not for the infamous purge of black voters in Florida (which they're still trying to do), Gore wins. What's different has to be the door to door groups. We're in every single swing state. It's probably worth a point or two. Now, while I'm dying to take apart this latest Den Beste missive, where he touches upon my two pet peeves with his work (disdain for an alt fuel future and his support for the Iraqi War), I'm going to let that wait, get some sleep and go register voters tomorrow. Blogging can wait. I'm sure I'll have more free time and a better paying job under a Kerry administration anyway...

One final note, as someone who talks to voters everyday, Bush is not a popular guy. Even people who support him say stuff "Well, Kerry is just as bad...they're all crooks". Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I did meet one articulate Bush spokesperson. She just happened to work for the oil industry and she even had some nice Instapundit style factoids about how cool Halliburton is and don't you pay no mind to them no bid contracts and that man behind the curtain...I think I ended our little debate by saying "I wouldn't follow Bush across the street, let alone to Iraq."

Gotta go. Got real work to do.   And you right wing bloggers, or as I refer to you, the worst intellectuals of our time, don't dream of knocking on doors or putting in 10 hour shifts registering voters. It's beneath you. Blog away Instapundits, Pejmans, Den Bestes and others. Punditry from crazed ideologues really helps Bush...I'm sure of that.

• • • • •

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


I haven't posted here in a while because, like other commentators I suspect, I have more important things to do than critique the obvious failings of the worst intellectuals of our time. And I don't miss the clueless often nameless Aussie commentators ("'ealth care is free in Amurica by scum!") who defend them. In fact, after the Dean debacle, I decided to get away from the keyboard and do something hard and difficult for political change in America.
I've joined the Vast Left Conspiracy, which consists of the NAACP/ACORN/ACT/MOVE On and a dozen other groups and I register voters door to door and on busy streets when I get a spare moment. I do it six days a week. I left my job selling Dell computers to do this. And if you're wondering about what's wrong with the American economy, I make more money working for the non profit.    I actually wrote about
this in my newest column for Better Humans. Excerpted here:  
Today, I'm back at it in Pittsburgh, knocking on doors and asking people if they're registered to vote. You might ask yourself what this has to do with the transhumanist dream, where we live out our lives in fusion-driven Betterhumans space habitats, whiling away our several century lifespan seeking to understand every allusion and reference in the works of Joyce or Alan Moore, or actively partaking in the terraforming of Venus or Titan, or even studying up on that hot new personal genomic cosmetic item, the black rhino horn, grown wherever you like, with accessories.

The answer is that unless transhumanists think seriously about politics and self-promotion, this vision will always remain an interesting dream and not a reality. In fact, not only will you have to work for such a future—a future with real self-determination, no wage slavery and more than a vote every two or four years when all the real issues have already been settled—you will have to fight for it. And most likely, your opposition will be violently stupid people who refuse to give up what Carl Sagan described as the "demon-haunted world" and the obligatory yet soothing bliss stations—an eternity with Jesus and departed loved ones or Allah's 40 virgins—that go along with it.
I might note that this is the most evil administration that I've ever lived under.  Or as Bob Harris so eruditely put it over at Tom Tomorrow: "Yes, I do believe that Team Chimpy is likely to exploit any possibility of postponing our elections in one way or another. My opinion only, but it seems delusional to imagine they wouldn't, given the laundry list of the unimaginable we already know they're perfectly happy to do: muscle into power, steal multiple entire Congressional districts by redistricting, expose our own intelligence people for political gain, start an entire war based on obvious lies, endanger our safety by subordinating the fight against Al-Qaeda, treat our own wounded troops as pariahs, claim the right to imprison indefinitely at the president's whim, rationalize torture, try to time the arrest of Bin Laden to sabotage the Democrats, and build their entire freakin' convention around the shameless exploitation of a mass murder. I can't think of a single damned thing that these people won't try to spin and twist and distort into a political advantage. Right this very minute, it's an uphill fight to make sure the voting machines themselves aren't simply hijacked. And you know perfectly well which side Chimpy is on.
If you truly imagine there's a line they won't cross if they can, you're not paying attention. This is not about democracy for them. It never has been. As Molly Ivins put it so well: They wish not to govern, but to rule.

These are guys who not only stole the election once, but would ineptly try again, get busted, and then act as if nothing is wrong. Even "reasonable" liberal commentators are outraged. It's about the war, but it's also beyond that, a clear strong choice between pure evil and shades of patrician gray. I'll take the gray.

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