This is my attempt at political humor. It's A satirical look at various recent current news events, written in the style (but not the ethics) of Steve (or Joe) Rosenbloom.
Minus Five #1, posted July 18, 2001.
ONE--THANKS FOR TELLING US NOW.
"Laws skirted using NAFTA: Cluse lets firms sidestep labor, environment rules"--read a front page headline in the Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2001.
Tribune readers now know what progressives have known for years: that NAFTA's Chapter 11 allows North American companies to supersede government laws courtesy unaccountable private tribunals.
But hey, don't blame the Tribune: it's only been seven years since the NAFTA got rammed through--I mean, approved by--Congress.
Next week, Trib readers will get breaking coverage of the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel.
TWO--WHERE DO BROKEN HEARTS GO?
So "Vice-President" Dick Cheney now has an IUD--oops, I mean ICD--inserted into his heart as a protective measure.
Despite getting an internal defibrillator, the State of the Cardiac Union hasn't looked good for Cheney since getting "elected."
Some people are even asking what would happen should, heaven forbid, Cheney expire before his term does?
Ever see ~Weekend at Bernie's~?
THREE--SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS.
Kelly Bulkeley, a dream researcher announced at the 18th Annual International Conference of the Association for the Study of Dreams that "Republicans [are] Nearly Three Times As Likely As Democrats To Have Nightmares."
It also so happens that people who hold political views to the left of Democrats have nothing but dreams. That's because for us, real life is already enough of a nightmare.
FOUR--MUD IN YOUR EYE, MUD IN MINE.
Beijing won its bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. This has met justified controversy because of China's human rights violations. The New York Times sports page (July 14, 2001, pg. B16) even noted an Amnesty International report that "China has executed 1,791 citizens since April in a renewed anticrime campaign."
Speaking of AI, Amnesty International also released a report about human rights violations in the United States. These violations didn't adversely affect the U.S.'s bids for the 1996 or 2002 Olympics, nor (gasp!) did they get mentioned on the New York Times sports page.
Physician heal thyself.
FIVE--REACH FOR THE STARS.
Robert S. Mueller III, the prosecutor chosen by "President" Bush to direct the FBI, has prostate cancer. (Mueller's prostate, Cheney's heart. Can Bush find anyone healthy?) Doctors say that the cancer was treatable and curable, and that shouldn't prevent Mueller from assuming the director's role and get right to work fixing the Bureau's recent PR fiascos and interfering with our civil liberties.
Moral: Prostate cancer shouldn't get in the way of political aspirations. Just ask Rudy Giuliani.
Minus Five #2, posted July 25, 2001.
MINUS ONE--GENOA ON MY MIND
"Genoa is Ready for Talks, and for Trouble", read a surprisingly accurate headline on the front page of the July 19, 2001 New York Times right before G-8.
Genoa hosted talks and colloquia from various coalitions, organizations, and citizens at the "Genoa Global Forum" (as the Times initially called the Genoa Social Forum).
Anyone reading this already knows about the trouble that the police caused and provoked all weekend long.
For once, the newspaper told it like it is. Except that you had to read the paper with a certain orientation.
MINUS TWO--GENOA STILL ON MY MIND
"President" Bush dissed the organizing and educational efforts of tens thousands of dedicated activists in Genoa during G-8. As quoted in the New York Times (July 19, 2001, pg. A12), Bush said the protesters were "voices of isolationism and protection", even though he spent the weekend isolated in the Red Zone and protected from police-wrought violence outside.
Bush also said that the protesters are "condemning people to poverty as far as I'm concerned", even though he advocated neoliberal policies which condemn hundreds of millions to poverty.
While the Genoa city streets were filled this past weekend with members of Ya Basta, the Ducal Palace was filled with members of Ya Bastards.
MINUS THREE--DATELINE, PLANET OBVIOUS
"Age-bias complaints up sharply", screamed a huge front-page headline in the July 15, 2001 Chicago Tribune. A big surprise, considering the fact that, as Sara Rix of the AARP said in the article accompanying this headline, "we are also seeing a significant aging of the labor force."
This is sure to join the pantheon of immortal Tribune headlines, like "Water Is Wet," "Grass Is Green," and "Dewey Defeats Truman."
MINUS FOUR--EAT YOUR HEART OUT, AL CAPONE
"Tax enforcer says cheating is on the rise", said a July 19, 2001 headline on the front page of the Business Section the New York Times. Alcoa-boy Paul O'Neill said tax evasion by Americans is rising, while testifying before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (a name that falls rather than rolls off the tongue).
Looks like Americans don't need "President" Bush to help them out with a tax break. Looks like Americans just help themselves.
American corporations too.
MINUS FIVE--I DARE YOU TRY TO COME UP WITH A CUTE PUN WITH "OREGON DEMOCRATIC PARTY" IN IT
From the New York Times, July 23, 2001, page A15: " The Oregon Democratic Party endorsed a drive...to impeach five United States Supreme Court justices for the decision that effectively gave George W. Bush the presidency last year. The party's central committee voted overwhelmingly to begin a campaign it hoped would take the issue to the House of Representatives, which has the authority to impeach justices."
Why stop at the Supreme Court?
Minus Five #3, posted August 25, 2001.
MINUS ONE--STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE?
An August 5, 2001 headline from AFP read: "World Bank chief slams 'superficial' anti-globalization protests." Said James Wolfensohn in the accompanying article: "My worry is that the real issues of poverty, of AIDS, of corruption of the things that we're trying to fight, get pushed to a back burner and you see on the front page really the superficialities of the protests."
He's right that corporate new$paper$ don't cover matters of substance, but hey, who was able to get extensively quoted in AFP without any opposing response? And who's tarred as violent thugs--overwhelmingly peaceful protesters beaten by police and violent infiltrators, or privatization-happy suits touting structural adjustment?
On the whole, Wolfensohn's remarks seem to be...superficial.
A headline in the August 23, 2001, business page of the New York Times (page C4) read: "Toyota Developing a Fuel Cell Vehicle."
A fuel-cell vehicle? Exactly one?
How about a headline about the number of NON-fuel-cell vehicles that Toyota is developing?
MINUS THREE--UPON FURTHER REVIEW...
In the August 15, 2001, Chicago Tribune, a headline on page A10 read: "Petroleum-happy, anti-environment, pro-death, pro-corporate greed electoral thief touts character, moral values."
Actually, let me apologize. After I took another look at the headline, I must admit that it didn't actually say that. The first 11 words before "touts" in that headline have to be replaced by a single word:
MINUS FOUR--LOOKING FORWARD.
The New York Times published a letter to the Sports Editor from Ann Arbor's Dragomir R. Radev (July 22, 2001, pg. 32): "The 1936 Olympics were given to Berlin, and the Nazis fell nine years later. Moscow got the 1980 Olympics and witnessed, nine years later, the end of Communism. I am personally looking forward to 2017."
But are the Chinese looking forward to 2005 or 2011?
MINUS FIVE--WHAT'S NOT TO SAY?
In late August 2001, segregationist homophobic blowhard Jesse Helms announced that he would not run for the U.S. Senate in 2002 elections.
[insert your witticism here]
Minus Five #4, posted January 9, 2002.
MINUS ONE: WE CRY FOR THEE, ARGENTINA
The Argentine economy is screaming, and has been turning the Argentine presidency into a merry-go-round.
Fears of the spreading Argentine virus might puree hopes to pass the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
And remember: the next Summit of the Americas, which may seal the FTAA's fate, will be held next year in Buenos Aires.
MINUS TWO: (D'OH)A
The World Trade Organization barely squeezed out a rain check at its Fourth Ministerial in November 2001. All it took was coercion, extorsion, blackmail, a ministerial in sunny and repressive Qatar...
And the last shred of legitimacy the WTO had left.
MINUS THREE: SOMETIMES THESE THINGS JUST WRITE THEMSELVES
Headline from the New York Times, August 28, 2001, pg. A13: "First School of Astrology is Accredited"
"Dateline--Scottsdale, AZ: A school here in suburban Phoenix [the Astrological Institute], where students learn to write horoscopes and give advice about the future, has won accreditation from a federally recognized body [the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology]."
But wait. The article ends: "Astrology contends that a person's character and fate are directed at birth by the position of the sun, the moon, and the planets. This is charted in a horoscope, which is often done these days with computer software."
Imagine that: a tool built by scientists being used for pseudoscience.
MINUS FOUR: A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND LAUGHS
The cover photo of the Summer 2001 issue of ?Hasta cuando? features a caption labelled "Tres Tetas", translated "three boobs": a woman in a low-cut dress standing right next to George W. Bush.
MINUS FIVE: FRINGE BENEFITS
"Regulators Urge Easing U.S. Rules on Air Pollution" read a front page headline in the New York Times, January 8, 2002. "Gain for Power Industry"
Apparently, these regulators sold their souls to industry and got as an added bonus not having to breathe.
Minus Five #5, posted February 10, 2002.
MINUS ONE: WORLD TROUBLE ORGANIZATION
The WTO issued a final ruling on January 14, 2002, which nailed the United States for a $4 billion subsidy to U.S. corporations.
U.S. corporations were displeased.
You know what they say about a house divided...
MINUS TWO: WELCOME TO EARTH
The June 16, 2001 cover issue of the Economist asked the question: "Does inequality matter?"
The June 23, 2001 cover issue of the Economist asked the follow-up question: "Do dumbass Economist readers need to wonder about the obvious?"
MINUS THREE: WHAT A COINCIDENCE
A personal remark: I took part in a small antiwar protest in November in downtown Chicago. One jerk, sitting nearby in his car waiting for a red light to change, saw our protest, then laughed at us and said aloud: "No, no, no. Payback time!"
I wonder if that's what those terrorists also thought.
MINUS FOUR: I'M GLAD THAT'S OVER
"Cheney Doctors Find No Cardiac Irregularities", read a February 9, 2002 headline in the New York Times.
One interpretation of that headline is that Cheney's heartbeat totally stopped.
MINUS FIVE: NOW I'VE HEARD EVERYTHING
The Guardian and the Polish news portal poprostu.pl reported last week that, by some unimaginable accident, George W. Bush and Tony Blair received a joint nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maybe it was Henry Kissinger's idea.