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Remember, it's only a video. A work of fiction... from Chicago's very own Second City Network. Any resemblance to actual American foreign policy present or future is purely coincidental.


https://www.youtube.com/...

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Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:21 AM PDT

Kill for Peace!

by PhilJD

Not much to add to this... well, nothing at all to add really. It's by the nearly-forgotten New York band The Fugs, off their eponymous 1966 album titled (wait for it!) The Fugs. They are described in the AllMusic database as "arguably the first underground rock group of all time, " but the album soared to 95 on Billboard's pop charts, so I ask you how underground they REALLY were.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to current events living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Near or middle or very far east
Far or near or very middle east
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
If you don't like the people
or the way that they talk
If you don't like their manners
or they way that they walk,
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
If you don't kill them
then the Chinese will
If you don't want America
to play second fiddle,
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
If you let them live
they may subvert the Prussians
If you let them live
they might love the Russians
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
(spoken) Kill 'em, kill 'em, strafe those gook creeps!
The only gook an
American can trust
Is a gook that's got
his yellow head bust.
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, it'll
feel so good,
like my captain
said it should
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill it will give
you a mental ease
kill it will give
you a big release
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace

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Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM PDT

Pardon Bradley Manning, Mr. President!

by PhilJD

Dear President Obama,

Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, a lot less than the prosecution was demanding. He could be free in eight years. Certainly, this is a better outcome than many of us feared.

It's not good enough.

Please, Mr. Obama, devote some time to really thinking about Mr. Manning... not so much on his crimes, nor on his conviction and sentencing, but more on the treatment he received while in custody. That treatment--solitary confinement, forced nudity--including during roll-call with his peers--and all the rest--has been well-documented. I'm certain you know the details. Please ask yourself if the true interests of America are served by his continued confinement. Mr. Manning's detractors are many, but not even the most vicious among them can plausibly claim that he poses an ongoing "threat" to America. Locking him up even for eight more years can only be a manifestation of vengeance and blood lust.

I hope you can rise above that. American justice owes a debt to Bradley Manning for the torture and degradation he experienced, regardless of his "crimes". Executive clemency is the only way that debt can be discharged. You alone have the opportunity to pardon Manning, or commute his sentence to time served. I hope you see that opportunity to do the right thing as the rare privilege it is.

Mr. Obama, you can earn my gratitude and respect by pardoning Mr. Manning.

You SHOULD do that.

If you are the thoughtful compassionate leader so many believe you to be, you WILL do that.

Thank you.

Discuss

Belated Happy Birthday, Mr. President. I hope you spent some relaxing time with your family and were able, if only for a day, to feel like you were once again simply Barack Obama, husband and father.

Like many of us, you probably spent some of your birthday reflecting on the trajectory of your life. I shook your hand once, exchanged a few words and wished you well, at the 2004 rally at the Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park that established your credibility as a candidate in the Democratic Senate Primary. It was a small room, tiny compared to the venues you've spoken in since, and your honesty and compassion absolutely filled it. I was more enthused by your candidacy than I'd been by any mainstream politician since the death of the late great Harold Washington.

A lot has happened since then. It's safe to say that neither of us anticipated that less than five years later, you would be on the way to the White House. It's no secret that I've been less than satisfied with many of your policies, but I'll leave it to others to recap the successes and failures of your life and Presidency. Your birthday is no time for that anyway.

One thing needs to be said though. I hope some portion of your birthday was spent reflecting on Bradley Manning; not so much on his recent conviction, but more on the treatment he received while in custody. That treatment--solitary confinement, forced nudity and all the rest--has been well-documented. I'm certain you know the details. I hope you asked yourself if the true interests of America are really served by his continued confinement. Mr. Manning's detractors are many, but not even the most vicious among them can plausibly claim that he poses an ongoing "threat" to America. Locking him up for many years--or forever--can only be a manifestation of vengeance and blood lust.

I hope you can rise above that. American justice owes a debt to Bradley Manning for the torture and degradation he experienced, regardless of his "crimes". Executive clemency is the only way that debt can be discharged. You now have the opportunity to pardon Manning, or commute his sentence--whatever it turns out to be--to time served.

Mr. Obama, you can earn my gratitude and respect by doing that.

You SHOULD do that.

If you are the thoughtful compassionate leader so many believe you to be, you WILL do that.

Happy Birthday.

Discuss

Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 03:40 AM PDT

An Unashamed Apologist for the Left

by PhilJD

Now that I’ve sucked you in with the bait, I’ll wallop you with the switch. This is going to be brief... and it’s hardly going to talk about the Left at all. Sue me. Instead, I’ll bore you with a short excursion into the meaning and use of a word.

Here’s a proposition I'm confident pretty much everyone here, on every side of the DKos meta squabbles, can agree on: There are some very silly ideas expressed on this web site. A particularly silly one is the idea that the word “apologist” is some sort of an insult. I’ve even seen it HR’d, though not recently. This apologist-as-insult notion pops up from time to time, most recently last night, right here. This isn’t any kind of a call-out of any of the participants in that thread; the discussion was brief and civil, even—wonder of wonders—borderline good-natured. It was fine. The Kossacks who disagreed with me were utterly mistaken, but they were nice about it.

Cordial, civil... but wrong wrong wrong. “Apologist” is a perfectly neutral word; it doesn’t become an insult merely because it makes some Kossacks uncomfortable. Here are various definitions of “apologist,” from The Free Dictionary:

1. A person who argues in defense or justification of something, such as a doctrine, policy, or institution.

2. A person who offers a defense by argument

3. A person who defends an idea, faith, cause, or institution.

4. A person who defends, in speech or writing, a faith, doctrine, idea, or action.

5. A person who argues to defend or justify some policy or institution; "an apologist for capital punishment."

See anything negative in any of those definitions? Me either. Nor am I cherry-picking to make a case; those are the only definitions given. You can look it up.

So why are Kossacks confused? We usually see the term used on DKos in the sense of “An apologist for the Obama administration.” Unquestionably, it appears most often in conjunction with other comments that are more or less critical. So that’s part of it; a sort of linguistic “guilt by association.” If other words in a comment are less-than-positive, even disparaging, this one must be too. More basically though, I think the confusion stems from a real misunderstanding of the meaning of the word. “Apologist” sounds like “apology,” and it does of course share the same Greek root... and what does one apologize for, if not for being wrong or making some sort of mistake? It’s a short jump from the notion of apologizing to that of making excuses, to “I’m sorry, but...”  I think the Kossacks who object to “apologist” feel like they’re being accused of making excuses for the President and the Democratic Party, and that might indeed be disparaging; it might feel like an insult; hell, it might be an insult... if “apologizing” were indeed the meaning of “apologist.”

It never has meant that though. Originally, in classical Greece, an apologia was simply a speech given by the defendant in a court case. The classic example (so to speak) is Socrates’ passionate justification of his life and teachings. Paul uses the term in much the same way in the New Testament. In the related word-form "apologetics" it refers mostly to a defense or proof of Christianity. The exact word "apologist" arrived in English around 1640, via French apologiste. A summary of apologetics through the ages can be found here. Nowhere is it anything but neutral or even positive; nowhere are there any negative connotations at all. 2500 years of usage aren’t washed away by some objections on DKos, particularly not by objections stemming from a basic misunderstanding.

Now, probably this misunderstanding isn’t limited to Kossacks. It may well be endemic in America or in the whole English-speaking world. And, of course language is an ever-evolving human creation, and English, with its enormous, unmatched vocabulary, may be more protean than most. The time may come when “apologist” is used by most as an insult; in that case, the dictionaries will eventually reflect the change. Until they do, we can reasonably stick with what they say now, and use a perfectly good word when it seems apt to us.

And about the title:  I really do consider myself an unashamed apologist for the left, without the slightest irony or sarcasm... and I would hardly be likely to insult myself, now would I? I'd put it on a bumper sticker, if I were prone to such things. Unashamed, unabashed, unafraid.

Our next lesson: ilk.

and oh, ahem... each and every one of my previous diaries has made the rec List, a nearly unparalleled perfect record. Y’all really wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining that, now WOULD you? Just sayin'.

Discuss

Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:40 PM PDT

Reinstate Timaeus!

by PhilJD

I've gone to considerable pains to avoid writing diaries. I just now had to search for the "New Diary" button. (As some of you know, I have a thing about buttons.) It was a challenge to avoid writing them, but one I thought I was up to. Now though it seems events have gotten the better of my best intentions.

I won't rehash any of the backstory here. Those who care, know it already. The rest of you guys are lucky. I'll just say that Timaeus acted badly, but it turns out there were extenuating circumstances. Big-time extenuating circumstances. I think he should be sentenced to time served and reinstated immediately.

Reinstate Timaeus!

I'm hoping some of you guys agree.

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