Saturday, May 31, 2003.
Legitimacy Crisis In The Making
jihad advances not because of any intrinisic merit, but because ideological entrepreneurs like Glenn Harland Reynolds promote it endlessly. It's only because of the tireless work of his supporting hacks that Andrew Sullivan is regarded a serious media critic instead of a an aggrieved shitcanned ex-Times
contributor. The Blair witch hunt is a story because they make it a story.
It's not beyond the power of the anti-Sullivans to make the non-discovery of WMDs that Bush et al
assured us were there a story. The good for nothing crypto-fascist Europeans are growing plenty pissed. Seems the Merc's John Walcott
The senior Marine general in Iraq said Friday that extensive searches had failed to locate any chemical weapons.
``It was a surprise to me then -- it remains a surprise to me now -- that we have not uncovered weapons,'' Lt. Gen. James Conway, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, told reporters at the Pentagon in a video teleconference.
``Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there,'' Conway said.
Bush, however, told a Polish television network: ``We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories . . . and we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, we found them.''
After watching this hate vomit, be sure to check out who the creator gives "special thanks" to.
Friday, May 30, 2003.
The case for war is blown apart
From the Independent
The build-up to war: What they said
Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal weapons
George Bush, US President 18 March, 2003
We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd
Tony Blair, Prime Minister 18 March, 2003
Saddam's removal is necessary to eradicate the threat from his weapons of mass destruction
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary 2 April, 2003
Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest they wait a bit
Tony Blair 28 April, 2003
It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy them prior to the conflict
Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary 28 May, 2003
Somebody's got to hold these lunatics accountable for their words. And the above are their
Thursday, May 29, 2003.
Rumsfeld pushes for regime change in Iran
Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, is spearheading efforts to make "regime change" in Iran the official policy goal of the Bush administration, but his campaign is meeting with considerable resistance from other senior figures, according to officials and analysts.
Iraqi Looters Tearing Up Archaeological Sites
Throughout Iraq, US troops allow looters to tear up Iraq archaeological sites
Iraqi Looters Tearing Up Archaeological Sites
The Arrogance of Rumsfeld
The Scotsman attacks Rummy
The Arrogance of Rumsfeld
Telegraph | News | Telegraph man is first British reporter inside Camp Delta
America’s case against Iran is full of holes
MidEast paper The Daily Star takes apart US accusations against Iran
America’s case against Iran is full of holes
American T.V. Personality Dennis Miller is confronted by his younger self. An excerpt:
DENNIS MILLER (1988): We were all scared when those planes swan-dived into the towers, OK? But what separates real Americans from the faux variety is that real Americans don't turn in their spines to the hatcheck lady in times of stress. People in this country today hear the word terrorist and immediately snap into action -- which means locking themselves in the loo, defecating on the Constitution and using the Bill of Rights to wipe their ass. We're made of better stuff than that, and all the shrieking Rush Limbaughs in the world are not worth one brave man who will stand up and say, "hey, the emperor is starkers, and besides that, he wants all of Yemen's oil." I wasn't around, but I'm pretty sure the guys at Valley Forge weren't eating sautéed rat so that George W. could attempt a three-point landing on an aircraft carrier moored three miles off the coast of Catalina.
Selective Targeting in the anti-Times Jihad
continues to blather on about the Rick Bragg nonstory. Glenn Harlan Reynolds, as per his usual, is noting the "story"'s progress and adding precisely nothing. Meanwhile neither has so much as mentioned the fact that the Raines Times
had Ahmad Chalabi's niece
set up the paper's Kuwait bureau. Imagine their reaction if, say, Yasser Arafat's niece had once even taken an escorted tour of the paper's offices.
Lying the Public to War, Continued...
Despite Bush's specific and unambiguous assertion that the war against Iraq would be fought because of the urgent threat
posed by Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, administration scumbags are now saying the WMD line was but a "bureaucratic convenience
," and that the real reasons for the war elsewhere:
Wolfowitz said another reason for the invasion had been "almost unnoticed but huge" -- namely that the ousting of Saddam would allow the United States to remove its troops from Saudi Arabia, where their presence had long been a major al Qaeda grievance.
So the war against Iraq was fought to appease al Qaeda? Way to let the terrorists win!
The heat being felt by the Bushite
s, should activists and others bang away on this fraud to the widest possible audience, may just erupt into a full-on conflagration. Even the willfully deluded Rumsfeld
is questioning the WMD claims, and a pathetic Undersecretary Bolton can do no better than to claim that, no WMDs found, the war was really fought to impair Iraq's "intellectual capacity
...to recreate systems of weapons of mass destruction." Graduate students in the physical and chemical sciences everywhere are no doubt terrified....
has a round-up of the disinformation circulated to date, including the latest allegation that the Blair dossier portraying Saddam as having the "capacity to activate his biological and chemical weapons in just 45 minutes" had been re-written, with "unreliable" information added to make the document "sexier."
Wednesday, May 28, 2003.
"...The Residents' first touring show tells the story of two very different cultures being forced into contact with one another. The dourly religious but hard working Moles are forced out of their underground habitat by a natural disaster. They are reluctantly forced to seek refuge in the land of the Chubs, who are more technologically advanced and materialistically better off. While life may not be so harsh there however, they don't take too kindly to 100,000 refugees. The Chubs exploit the Moles. They take on some of them as cheap labour and consign the rest to poverty in ghettos. One Mole, a scientist, decides to build a great machine which will bring 'freedom in the holes.'" From The Moles Present The Residents
. The Residents, the whole Residents and nothing but The Residents.
"Hi, my name's Andy,
and I cover scandals at the Times
as comprehensively as I
cover myself with testostogrease."
The Weapons of Mass Disappearance which threatened us so imminently that we had to wage a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq are nowhere to be found. Handily, a chap "clad in nondescript clothes and a baseball cap" is then located by New York Times
reporter/Pentagon flak Judith Miller. Cap-clad chap is said, via Army intermediaries, to vouch for everything the Bushite
s have said re: WMDs. No need to worry ourselves about Administration duplicity and the fraudulent sale of a criminal war to the public. Everything is fine.
More than a month passes. A spat erupts at the Times
when a bureau chief charges Miller with poaching stories on his turf, namely a piece on the convicted swindler installed by the Bushites as head of post-war Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi. In accounting for her appropriation of the story, Miller makes a stunning disclosure: Chalabi "has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to
" the Times
. So the only person in the world with more to gain from the alleged existence of Saddam's vast stockpile of WMDs than My So-Called President is in fact the source for the most public affirmations of the actual existence of same.
Meanwhile, the WMD-detection team that liaised between Miller and the aforementioned clap-cad gentleman leaves Iraq without finding anything
The usual venues for Times
-bashing, jam-packed to capacity with spectators to the Jayson Blair lynching and the Rick Bragg incident, are giving this one a by. It hasn't gotten so much as a mention in Andy Land
, where Howie's canonical and Howell's worse than Hitler.
In criticizing Moore, it's hard not to sound like sour grapes. Moore's defenders will claim I'm jealous because I lack a camera and large audience and my views are consigned to small magazines. I grant the point. Moore has expended a great deal of energy and time to ensure his views reach a wide audience. For that, he deserves respect. My point is simply that he's paid a price in the process of getting heard. Here is what I would call the Moorean dilemma: do leftists stay on the margins or do we bust through and play by the rules of the entertainment industry? I am not against humor (ask my friends). But I am worried about what happens to the vision of the left when it plays on the grounds of the sound-bite society. [more]
Tuesday, May 27, 2003.
Vancouver is North America's Most Skateboard-friendly city
By the mid-1990s, Mr. Cutler said, skateboarding had entered its darkest days. All downtown plazas were "capped" and police were confiscating boards. Mr. Cutler, encouraged by Mr. Gordon, decided to fight city hall. He formed a lobby group and began to press politicians until, this spring, the effort paid off.
Stating the Obvious
Paul Krugman: Stating the Obvious
the people now running America aren't conservatives: they're radicals who want to do away with the social and economic system we have, and the fiscal crisis they are concocting may give them the excuse they need. The Financial Times, it seems, now understands what's going on, but when will the public wake up?
The Dems are finally raising questions about the Bush Iraq fiasco
Classified: Censoring the Report About 9-11?
The bush administration is refusing to release the 9/11 report that documents bush's daily briefings on dangers of al Qaeda attack and connections of al Qaeda with Saudi Arabia, this could be some smoking guns
Classified: Censoring the Report About 9-11?
As a result of the cuts, 275,000 fewer Texan children will receive health care, and in Nebraska almost 25,000 low-income mothers have lost medical cover for their families because eligibility thresholds have been raised. Over this year and next, 1.7m Americans risk losing their health insurance.
And I'm sure that's just for starters . . .
Sunday, May 25, 2003.
The Absurdity Matrix .1
Americans are so deluged with the ridiculous these days that it is impossible to keep up. We were flabbergasted over 2 years ago when our presidential office was wrestled away in a multi-faceted coup and our open jaws have only gotten dull spasms from being open so damn long since.
As Tom Tomorrow denotes, it's all enough to make your head explode.
We all know that in ten years some cute little coffee table book will be made which sifts out all of the most absurd actions of our day and cuts them up into easily manageable reading-bits. I.e.: President-Select who was AWOL stays an aircraft carrier in the ocean for one extra day after committing them to a war based on a lie when they want nothing more than to get home to their families, at a million dollar taxpayer expense, just to fly in in a fuckin' pilot suit with socks stuffed down your pants to get slaphappy with the cuckholded servicemen and all the American media shouts: TOP GUN!
Kurt Nimmo is right, absurdity must have reached it's peak. If we don't slide back into a more empirical attitude toward dealing with the world then the concept of universal balance must be a crock. You want good, solid evidence? You want good, solid facts? I will sell you their meaning for 10 dollars. Exchange for other words which sound better and quicken the blood. Whatever.
But instead of waiting ten years I will slow things down and give you an example, now: "Moore bowls over some key facts."
This is the title of the article. Note that the title doesn't say: "Moore accused of thwarting facts," which would be a more balanced approach (assuming this attack on Moore's movie is newsworthy in the first place, such as it is). Apparently, the journalist has already made up his mind. 'Moore bowls over some key facts.' Done deal. The rest of the actual article body is superfluous now--case closed; go home.
But we must persist--what was the evidence that this journalist had that gave him such a damning opinion?
Here's one piece of it:
[Moore critic] Hardy strongly disagrees with Moore's assertions about Canada, especially the claim that we can buy as much ammunition as we want at Wal-Mart outlets. He points out something that a Canuck lover like Moore should have known: Canadian law requires all ammo buyers to present proper identification, and non-Canadians must have both picture ID and a gun importation permit.
Now, if we didn't already know anything else about this particular point of dissent, let's look at the two opposing views presented in this paragraph: 1) Moore claims that in Canada, you can buy as much ammo as you want in Wal-Mart. 2) Canadian law requires ammo buyers to present proper ID and a gun importation permit if you're not Canadian.
Now, this is supposed to be evidence refuting a Moore claim? Number 2 doesn't even mention the main point of number one: buying as much ammo as you want. Number 2 just tells you about needing id and maybe a permit--which, at least on the face of this paragraph, is not even linked to the amount of ammo bought. It would seem apparent to a logical reader that as long as you have the right paperwork, you can
buy as much ammo as you want in Canada.
Hardy makes many other anti-Bowling points, but he misses one that is made elsewhere on the Web: even the title of the movie is inaccurate. According to police, Harris and Klebold didn't go bowling the day of the shootings; they skipped their bowling class because of their rampage. (Moore contests this, saying that at least five witnesses, including their teacher, saw one or both of them at the bowling alley.)
Ok, so let me get this straight: the cops say Harris and Klebold didn't go bowling that day, but Moore says 5 witnesses (including a teacher) say they did. Well, I guess if you've read the headline already you'd know that Moore is already the one with his ethics impugned, so of course the cops are right and Moore is lying--it's not a case of conflicting statements, it's the word of the cops versus an obvious liar, right? Memo to populace: "Cop Word Trumps All. Especially When Dealing With Leftie Freaks."
I mean, this must be the rock solid case positively bursting with deadly and damning evidence for Pete Howell to get up on the roof of his insurpassable moral tower and sadly proclaim:
We do indeed live in "fictitious times," as Moore observed, and it would seem he's part of the problem.
Or perhaps the Toronto Star is going pomo on our ass, deliberately fusing the heretofore uncombinable categories of article and editorial, previously unthinkable to traditional newspapers. Or, perhaps, this whole way of presenting an arguable piece of "news" has something to do with item number two of this newspaper's founding principles
Social Justice: Atkinson [paper founder] was relentless in pressing for social and economic programs to help those less advantaged and showed particular concern for the least advantaged among us.
Which would explain perfectly why this godawful excuse for a hatchet piece was written in the first place, yes? George Bush stands for helping "those less advantaged among us" and Michael Moore is his diabolical opposite. George W. Bush lies to a nation and the world as an excuse to invade another country already devastated by a decade of sanctions--in the process unhinging the democratic relationship between the US and the majority of the rest of the world (not to mention the thousands of lives lost, sprayed across windshields and dirt)--and yet it's one of Bush's number one critics who is designated to be attacked for his truthfulness on evidence that couldn't convict a common housefly of being low on the evolutionary ladder?
These are absurd times, ladies and gents. And, in the cultural flavor of said times, we suppose that you could even call it this: the Absurdity Matrix.
[next up on the Absurdity Matrix Webwatch: "Hipublicans?"]
According to a report in a UK tabloid, The Mail on Sunday
, the "US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp
, with its own death row and execution chamber." Prisoners could therefore be "tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal."
So what it appears we were really after was for Saddam to produce the 'nuclear mujahadeen' those who knew how to produce weapons, scientists and technicians and such ostensibly for lobotomies. No wonder they seemed reluctant.
The official, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, spoke here at a luncheon hosted by the National Defense University Foundation.
Explicitly addressing the lack of WMD stocks found in Iraq so far, Bolton said, “There has been a lot of misunderstanding as to exactly what it was we expected to find and when we expected to find it.”
Since the first Gulf War, he said, “The most fundamental, most important thing that was not destroyed [by international weapons inspectors] was the intellectual capacity in Iraq to recreate systems of weapons of mass destruction.”
Bolton said U.N. and International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors “could have inspected for years and years and years and probably never would have found weapons-grade plutonium or weapons-grade uranium.”
“But right in front of them was the continued existence of what Saddam Hussein called the ‘nuclear mujahadeen,’ the thousand or so scientists, technicians, people who have in their own heads and in their files the intellectual property necessary at an appropriate time … to recreate a nuclear weapons program.”
Bolton said the United States was justified in attacking Iraq because of that alleged capacity.
Evidence is mounting to suggest that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the recent war, according to researchers involved in independent surveys of the country.
None of the local and foreign researchers were willing to speak for the record, however, until their tallies are complete.
Such a range would make the Iraq war the deadliest campaign for noncombatants that US forces have fought since Vietnam....
US and British military officials insisted throughout the war that their forces did all they could to avoid civilian casualties. But it has become clear since the fighting ended that bombs did go astray, that targets were chosen in error, and that as US troops pushed rapidly north toward the capital they killed thousands of civilians from the air and from the ground....
[Human Rights Watch researcher Reuben] Brigety and his colleagues in Baghdad say they are especially concerned by the wide use of cluster bombs during the war in Iraq.
They say they have found evidence of "massive use of cluster bombs in densely populated areas," according to Human Rights Watch researcher Marc Galasco, contradicting coalition claims that such munitions were used only in deserted areas.
Dispersing thousands of bomblets that shoot out shards of shrapnel over an area the size of a football field, such weapons become indiscriminate and thus illegal under the laws of war, if used in civilian neighborhoods, Human Rights Watch has argued during past conflicts.
"At one level it is unhelpful to talk about large or small numbers" of civilian casualties, says Brigety. "It is more important to ask if the deaths were preventable."
The combination of cluster-bomb use, inaccurate artillery fire at Iraqi troops concentrated near civilian areas, and street fighting in towns throughout Iraq means that the number of civilian deaths might be as high as 10,000....
[Mahmoud Ali] Hamadi's family died in Rashidiya, a village of palm groves and vegetable plots on the banks of the Tigris, half an hour north of Baghdad.
Nearly 100 villagers were killed by US bombing and strafing on April 5, including 43 in one house, for reasons that they do not understand. "There was no military base here," says Hamadi. "We are not military personnel. This is just a peasant village."
money-and-death juggernaut advances. To secure his anointment as Resident in 2000, G.W. raised a full $193,088,650
from supporters. Comprising the vanguard were the so-called "pioneers
," those raising $100,000 to help install Bush as President. The implicit quid pro quo secured access for the pioneers.
This time around, the elite - rebranded "Rangers" - are to secure $200,000
apiece. If the Bush junta contents itself with $193,088,650, then those to whom the president would respond would number at just 965.
They call this "grass-roots
The Bush administration, alarmed by intelligence suggesting that al Qaeda operatives in Iran had a role in the May 12 suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia, has suspended once-promising contacts with Iran and appears ready to embrace an aggressive policy of trying to destabilize the Iranian government, administration officials said.
Saturday, May 24, 2003.
Hadeb Hamed Hamed, the tribe’s sheikh, sat on mats on the prison officer’s porch, and said: “The Americans promised us food and medicine and freedom. But we have lost our homes, our land, our crops. Now we live in prison with nothing, and they ignore us.
“It is the allied forces that have done this to us. When we run out of food, I don’t know what we will do.”
In fact, he does know, because with starvation looming, he has been talking about it with the other elders.
“If we don’t have a solution, we will fight the Americans even if they kill us. It is better than sitting here with nothing and just dying,” he said.
"The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates. `Security' sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can't just give up land.
"Above all else, reaffirm your position that first terrorism stops, and then negotiations begin." [more]
There is little for humanity to cheer about in the organization's "Vital Signs 2003," which outlines how the continued failure to address widespread poverty serves as a lightening rod for health, social and environmental problems across the world.
The consumption choices of the rich and the inability of political leaders to act has brought this situation to bear, says Michael Renner, coauthor and project director of Vital Signs 2003, and there are few signs that things will change anytime soon. [more]
Friday, May 23, 2003.
In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert under the watch of American troops.
After screening the videotape last fall, the European Parliament called for an investigation. The United Nations has authorized an official investigation into the film’s allegations, but only if the security of its members can be guaranteed. And security is hard to find in northern Afghanistan. Since this documentary was filmed, eyewitnesses have been tortured. Others have disappeared or been killed.
Watch brief excerpts (Part I; Part II) from a 50 minute documentary,
Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death by Scottish journalist Jamie Doran and Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi. Hear Doran talk about the massacre and its implications and why there's been no investigation into suspected war crimes.
Yesterday, Amy Goodman played a speech by Dr. Helen Caldicott on Nuclear Proliferation and the Invasion of Iraq
. There’s no transcript, but you can download the audio. In one section, she describes a meeting with Reagan during his presidency. She says it scared her silly. As a medical doctor, she’s trained to do quick calculations of a person’s IQ (it’s so doctors can determine if their patient can follow directions on perscriptions, etc.). She says Reagan’s is probably about 100. Caldicott is brilliant; highly recommended.
Also from Democracy Now!, check out: New York Times Reporter, Chris Hedges was Booed off the Stage and had his Microphone Cut Twice as he Delivered a Graduation Speech on War and Empire at Rockford College in Illinois.
Bush Proposes Universal Time Zone
At the United Nations today President George W. Bush announced a proposal to unify all the world's time zones into a single Universal Time Zone (UTZ), formerly known as the Eastern Time Zone.
"It's unfair to the United States that other countries have the advantage of being in tomorrow while the US is stuck in today," said Bush. "If it's 9 PM in Washington D.C., it's already tomorrow in London or Paris. That patently unfair."
Bush continued, "Right now, Americans are losing jobs to other countries whose workforce can give overnight service during their normal daylight hours. We'll level the playing field and keep more jobs in the US with the UTZ." BBspot
"I saw it. The TV monitors show Nazis, Hitler, and an atomic explosion, and somewhere in the midst of all that the face of George W. Bush can be seen for a second or so." "Why would such a peace-loving president so emotionally engaged with the struggle of the common man ever be included alongside such dark images?"What could the filmmakers have been thinking? Is it too late to start a boycott of this film? ... Maybe if enough pressure can be exerted, they can have the offensive image removed before they press the DVD!"
I am speechless. I'll let the two gentlemen in question handle this one:
Irrational Reactionism: The Last War on Terror, by valis
"There ought to be limits to freedom."
"We come not as conquerors, but as liberators."
-- George Bush
"Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators."
"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland."
"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death."
-- Adolf Hitler
Texas TV stations pull CBS 'Hitler' miniseries
"The Nazi concept, if you will, is still very real, and I think anything we do to give that particular thinking a venue, a format, is a mistake," Remy said.'Hitler' Exec. Producer Fired Over Remarks
American Rings Warning Bells, Sacrifices Job for Country
"It basically boils down to an entire nation gripped by fear, who ultimately chose to give up their civil rights and plunged the whole nation into war," Gernon said in the interview. "I can't think of a better time to examine this history than now."
Thursday, May 22, 2003.
An excellent WSJ
piece this morning, showing that Ahmad Chalabi, the scumbag tapped by Resident Bush to preside over Iraq, did not
embezzle $30 million from a Jordanian bank as has been widely reported. No, he seems to have been complicit in the disappearance of a full $158 million. The Journal
notes that courts found that Chalabi, too cheap to pony up the cash to transport his deceased father's body for burial, stuck his Petra Bank (a/k/a Piggy Bank) for the $35,000 bill. As per Journal
usual, this piece ends on an up-note:
They say they would arrest Mr. Chalabi if he returned to the kingdom, and he would be liable for the penalty assessed. But in an odd twist of Jordanian law, because Mr. Chalabi's absence had left him not legally entitled to a defense, upon his return he could mount a defense and in that way challenge the court ruling.
He says he has no plans to return.
I wonder why.
The idiot son
editing the idiotic Sun
, on the commencement of hostilities in Iraq, is alleged to have assembled his poor staff for a champagne toast to mass death, calling Bush's jihad "my war." One wonders if the bigoted
lightweight is likewise willing to appropriate the war's aftermath
Beer, Patriotism and Testosterone Dept:
I hadn't realized that the NHL playoffs are a fight for the survival of the free world
. WorldNetDaily [thanks, walker]
He said Evian's main goal would be "to build the institutions and rules of a global democracy, open and interconnected", a swipe at the American administration, which has little patience for such rhetoric.
How else can we embarass Bush? How about if Bob Graham were to pull a Daniel Ellsberg? We could hope for a situation where Bush appears in public without a script, but this seems unlikely. The latest edition of the collective American memory is about to pull the phrase "presidential press conference" from it's list. Bush can't appear at a real press conference because he's too stupid. Oh, but look at him swagger. He's sure full of something. Whatever it is, there is a minimum of a brain attached. And then, of course, there are the strings that lead back to the puppetmaster: Karl Rove.
Yes, I believe Bush truly is dumb but the people surrounding him are not. They are vile, vicious, and evil. But not dumb.
But how can you embarass a man who cannot feel shame? How can you embarass a man who is incapable of feeling compassion for others?
No matter. As long as there are people who care about the truth, people like Karl Rove and his puffed-up frat boy will not win. A healthy appetite for the actual truth is the best antidote to their turbo-paced mendacity campaign. Embarass Bush by seeking the truth.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003.
Tonight on Wednesday May 21, two dissident members of the Federal Communications Commission will host the final public hearing on the upcoming FCC rule changes on media ownership. FCC chairman Michael Powell is pushing an accelerated deregulation of media which will allow an unprecedented consolidation of media ownership into the hands of even fewer corporations. His new rules are due to be voted on June 2nd. Democracy Now! will be webstreaming tonight's event live between 6 and 10 p.m.The audio will also be archived on this page.
Dissident FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps will both speak tonight at the event, "Media and Democracy Hearing: Where Are We and What's Next."
Other speakers include legal media expert Christopher Yoo of theVanderbilt University Law School; Amy Goodman, producer of "Democracy Now!"; John Sugg, Senior Editor of Creative Loafing; Jabari Simama, Director of the City of Atlanta's Office of Community Technology; and Loretta Ross, Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education. All of the panelists will discuss the impact of media ownership rules on diversity in programming, viability of independent production, the variety of editorial, cultural and ethnic voices and barriers to industry entry. Most importantly, public comment will follow the panelists presentation.
Evidence is mounting to suggest that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the recent war, according to researchers involved in independent surveys of the country.
Which brings us to IndyMedia, the newswire that lets almost anyone post articles -– many of which are unique and excellent bits of reporting, and some of which emphatically aren't. Those apolitical computers at Google News have had an on-again, off-again love affair with the IndyMedia reports, and IndyMedia itself rages with speculation it has been cut off from the News Google site, or is about to be cut off, or was cut off but is now back on. By some accounts, Google News is avoiding Indy Media as an expression of pro-war "patriotism," by other accounts it's been pressured to do something about IndyMedia postings considered anti-Semitic. Whatever the case, IndyMedia –- all of it -- is off of Google News. You can tell by conducting a Google News search for IndyMedia and sorting it by date; nothing comes up after May 16.
So a uniquely editor-free, computer-generated news service feels the need for human intervention after all. Why? To block out a uniquely editor-free, citizen-generated news service. Will Google News now steer clear of every Middle Eastern publication to have ever given voice to an anti-Semitic remark?
Conrad Black's Hollinger, which owns the Telegraph newspaper group, is under mounting pressure from a major company shareholder to explain nearly £45m in executive payments.
In a letter filed with the New York securities and exchange commission ahead of tomorrow's annual general meeting, Tweedy Browne claimed £120m had been paid to Lord Black and his management since 1995.
The firm's lawyer, Robert E Curry, has asked non-executive directors - who include US defence adviser Richard Perle and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger - to "take all action necessary, including litigation" to recover the money paid to executives.
Portland police are offering a reward for your help in identifying several anti-war protestors.
Police arrested several dozen people during the recent anti-war protests - but some of those taken into custody - didn't carry identification and refused to give their real names.
Congo: 230 bodies found in streets
The bodies were recovered after a rise in fighting between rival Hema minority and Lendu majority for control of Bunia and fears of a Rwanda-style genocide.
Ethnic killings between the groups have consumed at least 5,000 lives between July 2002 and March 2003, according to the U.S.-based group, Human Rights Watch
Tuesday, May 20, 2003.
In one weekend we saw the first president to enter office with a criminal conviction climb into a Navy jumpsuit, 31 years after vanishing for seven months from his military reservist tour, only to use a U.S. aircraft carrier and thousands of troops as a backdrop for what amounted to a campaign commercial.
In that same weekend, the nation's own Inspector Javert of morality, former drug czar and self-appointed virtue czar William Bennett, gets caught blowing $8 million at casinos during those same years he was wagging his finger at the last president and much of America for sins of character. In the immortal words of Daffy Duck, "Ha, ha. It is to laugh."
Iraq's interim administrator L. Paul Bremer III today designated the car alarm as Iraq's new national anthem, calling the decision an "important step on the road to normalcy."
By giving the nod to the car alarm as the country's new anthem, interim administrators are hoping to dispel the widespread impression that lawlessness reigns in the newly liberated country.
In other Iraq news, the smash hit "Uday, Where's My Car?" topped the box office chart here for the third week in a row.
The hit comedy tells the tale of two clueless Iraqi teens who lose their car to Uday Hussein, along with one billion Euros in small bills.
But as Tom Tomorrow reports
That .02 rating really makes you a player
Joe Scarborough, whose show I--along with the vast majority of Americans for a change--have never watched, is claiming that his influence is so vast that MCI was forced to drop Danny Glover from its ad campaign.
Before this meme is spread too widely, I want to note that last winter, well before the war, well before Joe Scarborough even had a television show that no one was watching, I had dinner with a friend who is well-placed within the ad agency which produces those MCI commercials, and according to my friend, the scuttle even then was that MCI was trying to figure out a way to dump Danny Glover because they didn't want to be associated with his anti-war views.
In short, Scarborough's victory is as nonexistent as his triumphalism is pathetic.
Afterthought: here's an MCI contact page. Let them know what you think of their decision. Remind them how easy it is to switch long distance carriers.
Yes, let's all contact MCI, why don't we? Of course, even without their canning Glover it's not like they're an ethical company, are they?
[drmenlo : samizdat] Still, they managed to score the Iraq cell phone contract
. So, somebody must like them, right?
Overall, it's hard to conceive of anything sillier than the schedule the Senate has laid out. Indeed, the first President Bush had a name for such activities: "voodoo economics." The manipulation of enactment and sunset dates of tax changes is Enron-style accounting, and a Congress that has recently demanded honest corporate numbers should now look hard at its own practices.
As Bush rapes the U.S. Treasury above-board using his rubber-stamp House and Senate to shift more and more money up into the richest hands, a trillion dollars goes missing from The Department of Defense
. How else has Bush been raping America's wealth? Hm, let's see . . . arm a country and make money (Lockheed Martin/Heritage Foundation, Carlyle Group, etc.), then declare war on the same country and make money (Lockheed Martin/Heritage Foundation, Carlyle Group, etc.), then award more of the nation's money to the companies chosen to go in and clean up the mess (Bechtel, Halliburton, etc.).
Oh yea, and be sure to throw in by-now meaningless words like freedom and democracy now and again so that the uninformed masses of this country actually cheer you on as you're raping their country. Stupid proles. Deserve what they get, right Leo?!
Monday, May 19, 2003.
In a display of what might be called Saddam's revenge, the discredited dinar soared by about one-third against the dollar on Thursday and is now at its highest value since 1996. Its remarkable comeback is likely to cause heartburn for American officials here, and not just because Iraq's currency of choice bears a portrait of the former dictator on every bill.
A potentially bigger problem is that the dinar's surge and the dollar's plunge have wiped out a big part of the purchasing power of the $20 emergency payments American administrators have been handing out to workers in lieu of their unpaid monthly salaries.
On Kifah Street — the gritty and occasionally violent open-air meeting place for hundreds of currency traders and cigarette smugglers — the most prevalent theory for the dinar's startling surge was that the Americans did it to themselves by flooding the market with more dollars than people wanted to spend.
With the Americans handing out $20 payments to several million Iraqi workers and preparing to give $40 to about one million pensioners, traders said they were essentially speculating on a looming saturation of dollars. "If you have one million pensioners getting $40 apiece, that's $40 million coming onto the streets," said Ahmed Muhammad Ali, a trader on Kifah Street. "What did you expect would happen?" (reg. req.)
"The land of Israel was originally owned by God," said Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a Republican presidential contender in 2000. "Since He was the owner, only He could give it away. And He gave it to the Jewish people."
Calling the peace proposal "a Satanic road map," Earl Cox, executive producer and host of Front Page Jerusalem, a radio program, asked, "Do any of you believe [Palestinian leader] Yasser Arafat will embrace traditional family values? There will be a mosque on all the holy sites. How can anyone who's a Jew or a Christian support such a proposal?"
"We may have disagreements about who [the Messiah] is," Mr. van de Hoeven said, "but He is not coming back to a mosque but to a third temple."
A Valis original
...This is obviously extreme paranoia. These "delusional America-haters" have sided with the enemy. Remember, there are evil boogeymen hiding under every single bed in every home in America. Without a KGB-style police state to "root them out", they will strike again. They will take away your freedom. They will come over here wielding swords and force everybody to grow beards.
Don't believe me? You must be a "terrorist" yourself...
Sunday, May 18, 2003.
Arundhati Roy, speech delivered at the Riverside Church in Harlem, New York, on May 13:
Democracy, the modern world’s holy cow, is in crisis. And the crisis is a profound one. Every kind of outrage is being committed in the name of democracy. It has become little more than a hollow word, a pretty shell, emptied of all content or meaning. It can be whatever you want it to be. Democracy is the Free World’s whore, willing to dress up, dress down, willing to satisfy a whole range of taste, available to be used and abused at will. [more]
Roy's speech is also available
on the Outlook India
Saturday, May 17, 2003.
Includes material the Bush Administration wants to retroactively classify. Download it now, mirror it now. [go]
Remains of Toxic Bullets Litter Iraq:
Friday, May 16, 2003.
by Carl Takei, the Boston Globe
"Watching America with Pride, not Prejudice.''
This is the Orwellian motto of the New Jersey-based Community Anti-Terrorism Training Institute, or CAT Eyes, an antiterrorist citizen informant program being adopted by local police departments throughout the East Coast and parts of the Midwest.
Mike Licata, a high school teacher and retired Air Force officer, created the CAT Eyes program in cooperation with ex-military SWAT officer Jason McClendon and businessman Tony Elghossain.
In a recent telephone interview, Licata said he wants to use CAT Eyes to create what he calls ''a modern civil defense network,'' converting neighborhood watch groups into antiterrorist informant cells. These groups, constantly watching for signs of terrorist activity in their neighborhoods and workplaces, would report suspicious activities directly to the FBI.
Said Licata: ''I envision 100 million Americans looking for indicators of terrorism and promptly reporting it to a central database where it would get analyzed.''
[More from Libertythink
to the position of honorary harbinger.
Highwayrobbery.com fights the good fight against the evil red light cameras, some of which are manufactured by Lockheed-Martin, which gets a cut of each ticket issued by their machines.
In early May, Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon came to the U.S. and lobbied Congress and Christian fundamentalists. He also brought along his peace plan. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Elon calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state -- but not in the Occupied Territories. In a statement Elon said: "Our stay in Judea and Samaria is not temporary." (Judea and Samaria are ancient Jewish names for the occupied West Bank).
Elon: "It's clear that Islam is on the way to disappearing. What we are now seeing across the Muslim world is not a powerful surge of faith but the dying embers of Islam. How will it disappear? Very simply. Within a few years a Christian crusade against Islam will be launched, which will be the major event of this millennium. Obviously, we will be up against quite a large problem when only the two great religions of Judaism and Christianity remain, but that's still a long way off."
The Great Hidden Issue of the Mideast Conflict
During the latest Iraq conflict Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and A-10 Warthog aircraft, among other military platforms, all fired the DU bullets from desert war zones to the heart of Baghdad. No other armor-piercing round is as effective against enemy tanks. While the Pentagon says there's no risk to Baghdad residents, US soldiers are taking their own precautions in Iraq, and in some cases have handed out warning leaflets and put up signs.
"After we shoot something with DU, we're not supposed to go around it, due to the fact that it could cause cancer," says a sergeant in Baghdad from New York, assigned to a Bradley, who asked not to be further identified.
Thursday, May 15, 2003.
Bush gave his speech Monday at a company in Albuquerque called MCT Industries. "We're standing in the midst of what we call the American dream," he said. MCT is privately owned by the family of Ted Martinez, who founded it on a shoestring in 1973 and is now a wealthy VIP who hangs around with politicians. "The Martinez family is living that dream," Bush said.
Apparently the "American Dream" is creating companies whose primary business model is to give money to Republican politicians, and then slurp off the Government Teat. Here are some examples of MTC's American Dream dug up by Michael Kinsley:
October 2002. MCT is one of the contributors to a PAC that paid for the mayor's family to visit China.
July 2002. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approves an MCT municipal garbage landfill on an Indian reservation. Also, the New Mexico Rural Development Response Council and several state agencies help MCT to acquire land for a factory to build platforms for aircraft repairs.
August 1999. Waste News reports that Albuquerque has a bizarre regulation requiring all city garbage trucks to be made out of a particular brand of steel. Only one company sells trucks made out of this material. Guess.
December 1998. The Energy Department (secretary: Bill Richardson, now governor of New Mexico) hires MCT to build magnets to be used in making tritium for nuclear warheads.
June 1997. MCT, as a local company, competes against a national waste-management firm for a local garbage-collection contract. It wins the contract and sells the business to the national firm the next day.
Now that the war in Iraq has come to an end, the Bush Administration is planning to prosecute former Iraqi officials for war crimes. According to Administration sources, hundreds of Iraqis will be put on trial, and thousands more may be granted amnesty in return for confessions. As Pierre-Richard Prosper, US Ambassador for War Crimes explained it, "There must be credible accountability. For crimes committed against US personnel, we, the United States, will prosecute." Crimes committed against the Iraqi people are to be judged by Iraqis, acting under American guidance and control. "Atrocities and abuses by the regime of its own people should be tried by Iraqis," a high-ranking US official said. "We're prepared to provide support which could range from financial aid to legal experts to judges, to make it credible." The obvious premise is that only American control will result in a "credible" process.
There is much confusion about what does and does not constitute a war crime. While many have a clear notion of the concept, others are befuddled. In order to bring clarity and understanding to this troublesome subject, a quiz is offered below. A total of five exercises will test the reader's comprehension of the issue of crimes against humanity. In each exercise, a number of incidents are described, but only one qualifies as a war crime. The object is to correctly identify which example in an exercise is a war crime. Ten points are awarded for each correct answer, and at the end the reader can compare his score against a chart to gauge his or her knowledge of the subject.
Blue whale II:
The monster returns
- "Scientifically enhanced New York landmark splashes into ocean hall." Nature
A little progressive-voter/Dean-bashing going on in the DLC
But the great myth of the current cycle is the misguided notion that the hopes and dreams of activists represent the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. Real Democrats are real people, not activist elites. The mission of the Democratic Party, as Bill Clinton pledged in 1992, is to provide "real answers to the real problems of real people." Real Democrats who champion the mainstream values, national pride, and economic aspirations of middle-class and working people are the real soul of the Democratic Party, not activists and interest groups with narrow agendas.
“If a voter has a choice between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, he’ll vote for the Republican every time.”
--Harry S. Truman, former U.S. President
Wednesday, May 14, 2003.
Indeed, the Republican Attack Machine is now such an entrenched part of the political landscape that it no longer seems remarkable — until you stop and think about the corrosive effect it has on our political discourse. And few have benefited from its toxic rhetoric as much as George W. Bush.
George W. Bush: the unelected puppet-dictator, raping America and bombing the world. Just wanted to make sure we got the nomenclature right.
"Like reading or breathing, web browsing itself is agnostic with respect to politics and culture. Unlike reading or breathing, however, surfing mimics a postmodern, deconstructionist perspective by undermining the authority of texts. Anyone who has spent a lot of time online, particularly the very young, will find themselves thinking about content -- articles, texts, pictures -- in ways that would be familiar to any deconstructionist critic. And a community of citizens who think like Jacques Derrida will not be a particularly conservative one."
My favorite line:
"Chong faced charges after Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officers bought some of his pipes and tested them."
Prosecutors will not be pushing for a jail term, though "guidelines recommended a six months-to-one year sentence."
Ah, celebrity justice.
Though speaking of celebrity justice, the campaign against New York's racist Rockefeller Drug Laws is heating up with plenty of star power
Tuesday, May 13, 2003.
Hardline Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ruled out a freeze of settlement activity during a meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sharon's office said Monday. Powell met Sharon Sunday in occupied Jerusalem as part of a regional tour aimed at promoting the roadmap for peace in the Middle East, a three-phase plan aimed at ending the violence and creating a Palestinian state within three years.
The blueprint calls on the Palestinians to crack down on resistance activists but also demands Israel freeze settlement activity and pull back to pre-Intifada lines.
I wear this smug look
because my beloved war
seems set to continue....forever
Amazing how The War Against Terror (TWAT) propagates itself. Prior to the war on Iraq, it seemed likely that Iranian President Mohammad Khatami might actually succeed in realizing his reformist agenda, a much hoped-for scenario amongst the Iranians. That's changed. Now killhappy assholes like Meyrav Wurmser are citing the reversals in Iran and the "wide impact the Iraq war has had upon the region" (duh!) as reasons for pursuing "regime change," a euphemism whose meaning should now be obvious to all, in Iran.
American military promiscuity having driven idiots inclined to terror to a frenzy in Saudi Arabia, a country supposedly "on the brink," one can only wonder how long it will be before the Meyrav Wurmsers allied with unelected Resident George Bush step up their campaign to split - preferably with ordnance - the Saudi kingdom from its oilfields.
With the destabilizing prospect of Shi'ites - thought to form a majority in the Eastern Province, where most of the oil lies - agitating for a greater role in the kingdom, Ms. Wurmser, eager for the broadcast of some Saudi warnography, probably finds herself in a state of severe sexual arousal.
"The Partnership for Civil Justice is handling four key First Amendment lawsuits stemming from protests against corporate globalization, the Bush inauguration and the war in Iraq. The causes vary but the complaints are the same: That the D.C. police collaborate with the FBI and other federal agencies to suppress dissent. And that the police engage in preemptive mass arrests, spying and brutality....
Among the preliminary findings:
- Two undercover D.C. Police officers have infiltrated local protest groups, an assistant chief testified recently. A federal judge has given the District one month to identify the officers' aliases so plaintiffs can tell whether their rights have been infringed. A city lawyer said the surveillance is necessary not because of suspected criminal activity but because police need to know whether more officers are required for upcoming marches. Two other infiltrators were unmasked by activists, who say one suggested planting bombs on Potomac River bridges.
- Two men in street clothes -- one wearing a black ski mask -- were captured on amateur videotape roaming through the inauguration crowd. They shove bystanders and one pepper-sprays people seemingly at random. After two years of pressing by the Partnership, the District acknowledged the men were on-duty police officers. One has admitted pepper-spraying, but both deny anything they did was improper.
- FBI agents took notes on protesters boarding buses to the Bush inauguration and monitored activists' gatherings, including one at First Congregational United Church of Christ on G Street NW, according to government records.
- A document that the Justice Department claimed is a 'state secret' turned out to be mainly a list of protest groups and activities, including the Sunday Anarchist Bowling League, according to records.
- A D.C. police video obtained by the Partnership called 'The Changing Face of Demonstrations' shows footage of protests, and the narrator says that 'law enforcement would target anybody dressed in black,' the color of 'anarchists.'"
Check the Web site of Partnership for Civil Justice - Legal Defense & Education Fund
Last week, there had been a few reports in Pakistani papers that Karzai was planning a secret meeting with members of the ousted Taliban to offer them positions in the foundering Afghani government. I didn't know how to gauge these stories, but the meme is snowballing. Muhammad Khurshid of paknews.com points out that, as with many other major moves by Karzai, extending a hand to moderate Taliban is a U.S. machination
The United States has also realised that these people have no importance in the political landscape of Afghanistan and this is the reason that it has given a go ahead signal to Afghan transitional president Hamid Karzai to establish contacts with Taliban leaders to persuade them to give up armed struggle against the US forces.
A prime target for Karzai is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the fundamentalists we supported in the Afghani-Soviet conflict.
This has left many Afghanis in a tizzy, most notably our oh-so-recent allies, the Northern Alliance, who helped us "kick out" the Taliban a long, long time ago in 2002. This report from the Swiss press
indicates that many Afghani citizens aren't too happy with Karzai's plan either.
Perhaps the move is intended to internally divide the Taliban, some factions of which are, by their own account, being funded by the Russians
But, hey, don't worry about a thing. The Pentagon says everything's all right. Everything's all right. Everything's all right.
"Fighting terrorism, y'understand . . . " It took 20 military vehicles and dozens of police and soldiers to cart away the 3 women, steal the computers and mess up the joint. "Won't be bringing in no more internationals into this place to nonviolently oppose our ongoing genocide, no sir!"
On the other hand, real men do this:
suggests renaming the neocons: "the Chaos Cabal, the Gang that Couldn't Conquer Straight."
Easy to destroy, hard to create.
Meticulous researchers at the media watch group FAIR (where I'm an associate) recently pointed out that U.S. news outlets "have been quick to declare the U.S. war against Iraq a success, but in-depth investigative reporting about the war's likely health and environmental consequences has been scarce."
During the war, the London-based Guardian has reported, the Pentagon dropped 1,500 cluster bombs -- horrific weaponry that fires small pieces of metal which slice through human bodies. Unexploded cluster bombs are now detonating, sometimes in the hands of Iraqi children. And, as it did during the first Gulf War, this spring the U.S. government fortified some munitions with depleted uranium, which leaves fine-particle radioactive dust that has been linked to cancer and birth defects. [more]
America: Turn off all tvs. Get on the internet for clear, uncut wordlines. Corporate media should be handled like cyanide.
"When one of the students asked, 'do we have to talk now? Can we be silent? Can we get legal council?' they were told, 'we own you, you don't have any legal rights,'" Felson says.
At first glance, the LEIU's gathering looks like any of the dozens of trade shows and conferences that enable America's professionals to enjoy a tax- deductible, or taxpayer-paid, few days of Northwest summer. This one happens to involve a trade association for cops. But hey, you want your public officials to be up on the latest trends, too, right?
Well, maybe. The problem with the LEIU seminar--and the reason planned protests of it have the Internet buzzing, particularly among folks who've cut their teeth protesting wars and the WTO--is that the LEIU might be very ordinary, or very, very sinister, or both--and there's no way to tell. The Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit is a private entity whose dues-paying members are hundreds of North American law enforcement agencies. Its founding purpose, in the Cold War atmosphere of 1956, was "to promote the gathering, recording, and exchange of confidential information not available through normal police channels, concerning organized crime."
Monday, May 12, 2003.
In 1987, Brown told Hunter and two dozen other first-graders at Brookfield Elementary School that she would put them through college if they graduated from high school. Four years ago, most of them did, with 19 enrolling in college.
On Saturday, Hunter became the first person in her family -- and the first from that first-grade class -- to earn a college degree, a bachelor's in accounting from Alcorn State University. And Hunter's beloved Miss Brown was there to see it, telling her afterward: "It's a new beginning for you."
"I have tried to do all that I can do," said Brown, who had been making $45, 000 a year when she started setting aside $10,000 a year into a trust fund nearly two decades ago.
Visit Arafat? For God's Sake, Why?
by Uri Avnery
But does Arafat really want peace? Most Israelis are unable to imagine such a thing. How could they? Did they ever hear the true story?
Rerouting the road map to peace
From my personal experience, I can recount this: At the end of the October 1973 war, Arafat concluded that if the armies of Egypt and Syria were defeated after their unexpected brilliant initial successes, then there is no military solution to the conflict. As usual, he decided quickly and decided alone. He instructed his trusted aide, Sa'id Hamami, to publish an article in London calling for the attainment of a peace settlement with Israel by political means. (This induced me to meet with Hamami in secret, and since then I have followed Arafat's moves closely.)
For the Palestinian national movement, the proposed change was redical. A political process instead of the sole reliance on "armed struggle". A peace settlement with Israel, which had taken possession of 78% of the Palestinian land and expelled half of the Palestinian people from their homes. That necessitated a mental and political revolution, and since 1974 Arafat has promoted this revolution cautiously and with determination, step by step. (I witnessed these steps - first through Hamami and Issam Sartawi, later in personal contact with Arafat.) in 1988 the Palestinian National Council at long last adopted this line explicitly, after a series of ambivalent resolutions. Abu-Mazen was closely connected with this process right from the beginning.
Throughout this period, Yitzhaq Rabin and Shimon Peres actively opposed this development. (On this, too, I can bear personal witness, since I conveyed several messages from Arafat to Rabin.) It must be stated clearly for history's sake: Not Rabin and Peres were the spiritual fathers of Oslo, but Arafat and Abu-Mazen. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Peres and not to Abu-Mazen was, therefore, a gross injustice.
Sharon, of course, does not want peace that brings with it a viable Palestinian state in all the occupied territories and the evacuation of the settlements. But he is far too shrewd to openly obstruct Abu-Mazen, the protegee of the West. Therefore he is concentrating all his efforts on breaking Arafat - knowing that without Arafat, Abu-Mazen would be ineffective.
That is the crux of the matter. Arafat is essential for the peace effort. That's why I went to visit him.
The president has spread out the road map. Now, a few discussions about key intersections, modest rerouting in a few spots and destination peace in the Middle East.
Return of the 'constraints ministers'
Not so fast. The Israeli right wing has plans to tear up the dangerous idea of peace. And it knows where to go for support -- Christian fundamentalists in the United States.
As was mentioned in Post-Intelligencer news pages last week, Haaretz, the liberal Israeli daily, had an excellent report on the pre-emptive organizing among hard-line settlers. Haaretz (www.haaretz.com) reported that Tourism Minister Benny Elon would tour the U.S. Bible Belt to whip up opposition to peace plans.
In the United States, Elon says his visit is focused on tourism, not wrecking the peace efforts. But Haaretz points out that he has been talking about the road map with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and other critics of the administration's Middle East policy.
None of that removes the chill of his original statement in Haaretz: "It's clear that Islam is on the way to disappearing. ... Within a few years a Christian crusade against Islam will be launched, which will be the major event of this millennium."
More than a decade ago, Ariel Sharon led the troika known as the "constraints ministers" in Yitzhak Shamir's last government. Sharon and his partners, David Levy and Yitzhak Moda'i, wanted to constrain their prime minister from pursuing the path of concessions advocated by Shimon Peres and George Bush Senior's administration. They therefore erected various roadblocks to the diplomatic proposals of those days.
U.S. envoy William Burns, who visited Jerusalem this week, can report upon his return to Washington that the "constraints ministers" have reappeared, in a new incarnation. Burns, who heads the State Department's Middle East desk, came to discuss implementation of the road map and prepare the upcoming visit by his boss, Colin Powell, who will arrive this weekend. His Israeli hosts met him with lists of their reservations and the difficulties entailed in implementing the international plan for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.
Will there be ramifications? Or will the Washington Press Corps let this one ride into the Sunset? You don't have to be a nuclear scientist to figure it out...
Sunday, May 11, 2003.
Norman Mailer Writes To Dennis Miller
Just because the two big guys who flanked you on Monday Night Football took away your balls and left you with a giggle in replacement doesn't mean you have to suck up to The Wall Street Journal. But thanks for appreciating my fine use of "keen."
Keen up, then, to my piece and read it again without panic.
You're too good to become squalid and kiss-ass for so little.
Reprinted from Bartcop.com
, who got it from the WSJ.
Saturday, May 10, 2003.
Have you ever signed a petition in support of an environmental or animal-rights issue? Do you belong to the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, or Greenpeace? Have you publicly protested some environmental or animal rights outrage? If legislation crafted and promoted by the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) becomes law, these fundamental rights of American citizenship could become illegal. [more]
Jim Lobe warns that the intellectual leader of the neocons, Bill Kristol, is setting his sights on Iran
Kristol writes in this week's edition of the Weekly Standard
that the "liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East...the next great battle--not, we hope, a military battle--will be for Iran
He continues, "Iran is the tipping point in the war on proliferation, the war on terror, and the effort to reshape the Middle East. If Iran goes pro-Western and anti-terror, positive changes in Syria and Saudi Arabia will follow much more easily. And the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement will greatly improve."
In other words: let's get ready to rumble!
Friday, May 09, 2003.
It's so uncool to even talk about kindness these days. So I thought, let's turn the damn thing on its head, put in some adjectives to describe it, and show these incredible acts that go on consistently, day after day, under the radar screen. And I was so outraged that the biggest value we have in our society these days is economics. Economic values override every other human value, be it justice, human rights, kindness, whatever.
I thought, let's take something that is conspicuous in its absence even at any point in discussion and let's see what we can do with it. And let's not make it wishy-washy. The book goes into areas where people least expect to find it or interpret it. [more]
Also see: Anita's links page
, which American Samizdat is proud to be listed on.
...some intelligence sources and experts outside government believe that Al Qaeda has been quiet by choice, not because its plans have been disrupted. ...intelligence officials and experts on terror also point out that Al Qaeda never carried out spectacular attacks, like the 9/11 attacks or the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, in less than two-year intervals. Many of those attacks were in planning stages for more than four years.
Quiet by choice because 1) the Bush administration has been doing a good job of making the American people paranoid, and Al Qaeda doesn't need to bother; 2) Al Qaeda operates in a much longer time frame than America is used to; 3) the more ground America covers with its troops, the more thinly spread it will be, making a later attack harder to deal with than a sooner one. This is a big reason, I think, for Rummy's insistence on small troop deployments in Iraq. He wants to give the impression that we can do the maximum damage with the minimum resources and are therefore a very long ways away from our limits. But troop deployments are only one part of the equation; the PNAC folks are real big on the use of technology as a "force multiplier," which has worked out for them so far but is really expensive. Financial assets can be spread too thin as well. And 4) the economy is still looking shaky. I predicted a while ago that Al Qaeda would not attempt another major attack until after the fall of Iraq for propaganda reasons
. I think it also may wait until the economy appears to be pulling out of its slump and American military adventurism appears to be slowing down.
...Al Qaeda has demonstrated it has a deep bench. The detentions of key operatives are setbacks, but 70,000 men have passed through Al Qaeda's training camps or fought with Arab freedom fighters in Afghanistan.
Damn, we have 3,000 suspected
Al Qaeda operatives in custody, and high estimates of global membership during the Afghan operation were never more than 10,000 or so.70,000
"The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to hold an up or down vote on judicial nominations]." [George W. Bush
] Where in the Constitution is this responsibility delineated? From Article II, Section 2
: "He [the president] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law. . ." Am I missing something here? Would some legal blogger enlighten me if I have misread this section or missed another part of the Constitution that states the Senate has "a constitutional responsibility to hold an up or down vote"?
Which is worse, that GWB is ignorant of the Constitution, or that he is a knowing & willing liar who assumes that the repetition of his lie will establish it as truth? (His press secretary Ari Fleischer has already been sent out to make the same outrageous
By way of Jeff Cooper
I've just landed on this discussion
of the Constitutional issues surrounding the appointment of federal judges. I haven't had time to do more than skim it, but it looks like a rich vein of information. More:
I've now read the piece, as well as this contrasting view
. The law is a stringent kind of poetry.
Thursday, May 08, 2003.
"Conservative religious activists cite the latest insult: the Republican Party’s failure to rally behind Sen. Rick Santorum, whose comments about the upcoming Supreme Court case on consensual homosexual acts triggered a national firestorm."
Wednesday, May 07, 2003.
Okay Phil, with the Leiberman proviso and since Kucinich probably won't be a choice and since Utah is still Utah Dean or Edwards are certainly better than what's his name. I'll vote for the good guys. You've called and raised and since this game is for our country, I'll have to raise you one more time. My latest
cause is Ending Corporate Rule which is probably more important than any single issue facing us today. So I call your Center for Voting & Democracy and raise you an "End Corporate Rule" Reclaim Democracy!, but until all our dreams come true and if you believe, dreams do come true I'll vote for the Democratic choice (no Lieberman) in 2004 and save my protest votes for later.
Look, I'm a huge Ralph Nader fan. I think he's the greatest journalist who has ever lived. But I voted for Gore and yeah Ralph probably cost him the election. And yes, we would be better off with Gore in office, or at least that's what you'll be saying when the Office of Homeland finally takes you to Guantanomo (sp?) over your seditious anti-american web postings at One Good Move...
But you know what? I'm not that concerned about that. That's past...Please, just please, tell me that you won't vote for a third party candidate in 2004. Please tell me that. (Okay, unless the Dems nominate Leiberman, we can't be insane...did you catch Evil Glenn's endorsement today? The mark of Satan, indeed...)We don't have propotional representation yet or approval voting, and it would take a miracle to get those things by 2004. Tell me that you'll suck it up and give Dean or Edwards a shot, please, please tell me that...
Posted by: Philip Shropshire on March 24, 2003 09:28 PM
I'll vote for any candidate you like if you'll steal the approval voting graphic on my sidebar and link to them on your site. Do it for future generations. Lest I be accused of being disingenuous. I do live in Utah so my vote in a presidential election is almost always a just a protest.
Posted by: Norm on March 24, 2003 10:53 PM
Okay, Norm Jenson
, I match you your Citizens for Approval Voting logo and raise you a Center for Voting And Democracy logo, which includes not just information about approval voting but proportional representation, PR history and even voting machines. The Center didn't have a logo so I made a cheap yet serviceable one in Paint. I have placed both of these logos on my homepage at Three River as you have requested. I think we can be reasonably sure that we won't be seeing any of these progressive measures in our country or Iraq anytime soon but we can all dream now can't we.
I simply ask that you give Howard Dean or John Edwards a reasonable shot or maybe you could vote swap. That's legal now. Yes, Edwards supports the war, but he can run on actually building a real democracy in Iraq. How about a suspension of those Haliburton and Bechtel contracts? That would be a nice start. It would be swell, just once, if the dems showed the same contempt for the Republican base as the Republican's show the Dem working class base. There is a way to ensure minority rights in Iraq by the way: You write a strong constitution ensuring civil liberties and you use a variant of Lani Guinier's proportional representation. It was good enough for South Africa. It might also help if you had an International Peacekeeping force to run the law and order, as opposed to the imperialist crusaders.
Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there facin' the hill.
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?
– Bob Dylan
Playing catch-up here. Here's the NYT
's Nicholas Kristof on the Weapons of Mass Disappearance:
Let's fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax, and proof of close ties with Al Qaeda. Those are the things that President Bush or his aides suggested Iraq might have, and I don't want to believe that top administration officials tried to win support for the war with a campaign of wholesale deceit.
's the Hersh article to which Kristof refers.
Sounds about right. Heh. Indeed.
Pentagon adviser Richard N. Perle briefed an investment seminar on ways to profit from the conflict in Iraq and North Korea just weeks after he received a top-secret government briefing on the crises in the two countries, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's closest advisers, he was a vocal advocate of going to war against Iraq and publicly questioned the reliability of some longtime U.S. allies, including France and Saudi Arabia.
The Defense Intelligence Agency briefing Perle attended took place in February, the Times reported on its Web site Tuesday, and he held his seminar three weeks later. Also in February, according to the Times, which cited agendas of the meetings and other documents, Perle and fellow advisers received a classified address about military communications systems. Perle runs Trireme Partners, a venture capital firm that has been exploring such high-tech investments.
BBC director general Greg Dyke has delivered a stinging rebuke to the US media over its "unquestioning" coverage of the war in Iraq and warned the government against allowing the UK media to become "Americanised".
Mr Dyke said he was "shocked" to hear US radio giant Clear Channel had organised pro-war rallies in the US and urged the UK government to ensure new media laws did not allow American media companies to undermine the impartiality of the British media.
"We were genuinely shocked when we discovered the largest radio group in the United States was using its airwaves to organise pro-war rallies," said Mr Dyke.
"We are even more shocked to discover the same group wants to become a big player in radio in the UK when it is deregulated later this year.
"The communications bill currently before parliament will, if it becomes law, allow US media companies to own whole chunks of the electronic media in this country for the first time.
"In the area of impartiality, as in many other areas, we must ensure we don't become Americanised."
The BBC chief expressed his concern that American media owners would apply the same pressure to their output in this country.
"You're surprised when you discover the biggest owner of American radio stations organised pro-war rallies - it's a long way from our idea of impartiality.
"They [American networks] must be clear that the rules are different here. What is now defined as impartiality in the US is different."
Mr Dyke singled out Fox News for particular criticism over its pro-Bush stance, which helped the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster to oust CNN in the US to become the most popular news network.
"Commercial pressures may tempt others to follow the Fox News formula of gung-ho patriotism, but for the BBC this would be a terrible mistake.
"If, over time, we lost the trust of our audiences, there is no point in the BBC," he said in a speech delivered at Goldsmiths College in London today.
Mr Dyke revealed there had been a huge increase in demand for BBC news in the US since September 11, saying this reflected "concerns about the US broadcasting news media".
"Many US networks wrapped themselves in the American flag and swapped impartiality for patriotism. What's becoming clear is that those networks may have misjudged some of their audience.
"Far from wanting a narrow, pro-American agenda, there is a real appetite in the US for the BBC's balanced, objective approach."
Mr Dyke also mounted a rigorous defence of the BBC's coverage of the war in Iraq after ministers publicly accused the corporation of bias towards the Baghdad regime.
He refuted accusations that the BBC had been "soft" on Saddam Hussein, insisting the corporation's commitment to "independence and impartiality" was "absolute."
Mr Dyke added the BBC had made "subtle daily changes" to the way it covered the war so it could "believe in and defend the integrity of our reporting".
Citing the history of war reporting from Suez through Vietnam to Kosovo, Mr Dyke said British governments of every persuasion had sought to use the media to manage public opinion.
"In doing so they have often sought to influence the BBC and, on occasions, to apply pressure," he said.
Mr Dyke conceded the government had a right to pressurise the BBC, saying it would only become a problem if the BBC caved in to its demands.
But he dismissed accusations from Downing Street that BBC correspondents in Baghad were Hussein's stooges as "absurd," saying that although journalists such as Rageh Omaar had Iraqi minders who occasionally restricted their movements, "they did not interfere with what was being broadcast".
He did, however, admit the war had raised new dilemmas, one of these being the controversial practice of embedding journalists with troops.
"Embedded correspondents may have given us better pictures and immediate insight of the battles but how much physical risk for our journalists and crews is acceptable in return for great pictures and commentary?" he asked.
"How do we ensure their reports are placed in the proper context; how can we guard against 'embeds' being seen as 'in bed' with their hosts?
"On this latter point, I think there is a need here for a serious piece of academic research on the impact of embedded journalism."
Tuesday, May 06, 2003.
The dramatic footage of the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs swarming the Nasiriyah hospital and carrying Lynch out on a stretcher provided a proud moment for the military and America. The subsequent surge of patriotism muted the catcalls of the anti-war naysayers.
Military advocate Elaine Donnelly sees another political agenda behind the Post's apparent misinformation.
"I think someone in the Army – probably a woman – leaked the story to the Washington Post to spin it," she told WorldNetDaily. "If you plant the story first, it's almost impossible to turn."
And she can't remember a thing ...
The director of a Paris theatre responsible for staging a play critical of George W Bush has been viciously attacked.
He was assaulted in the building's entrance, said Claudine Simon, his assistant.
One man held him down, while another cut his face. They also splashed paint on the theatre walls, she said. (via
Lula Sells Out?
More radio stations closed by the federal government
At least three other radio stations have been closed this week in the increasingly intense process of repression and criminalisation of free and community radios carried out by ANATEL (Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency) and the federal police....
Replicating Argentina, Brazil's Macro-economic Policy under the Control of Wall Street creditors
In the first three months of the Lula government, more community radios were closed than in any three months of the FHC (Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula's predecessor) government.
At the very outset of his mandate, Lula reassured foreign investors that "Brazil will not follow neighboring Argentina into default" ( Davos World Economic Forum, January 2003). Now if such is his intent, then why did he appoint to the Central Bank, a man who played a role (as president of Boston Fleet) in the Argentinean debacle and whose bank was allegedly involved in shady money transactions, which contributed to the dramatic collapse of the Argentinean Peso.
Lula’s first 100 days—austerity for the poor, tax cuts for the rich
By appointing Henrique de Campos Meirelles, the president and CEO of Boston Fleet, to head the country's Central Bank, President Luis Ignacio da Silva had essentially handed over the conduct of the nation's finances and monetary policy to Wall Street.
Since he took office 107 days ago, Brazilian President Luis Inacio da Silva (Lula) has carried out austerity policies in the interest of the international banks, in many cases outdoing his predecessor, Fernando Enrique Cardoso. In addition to pushing through legislation that would place the country’s Central Bank out of the control of the elected government and the country’s voters, he has cut public spending and increased interest rates, curtailing the Brazilian government’s ability to create jobs and provide social benefits.
He now plans to reform the state-run pension system. On April 17, Lula obtained the consent of the country’s 27 state governors to back a system that will raise the retirement age and lower benefits for Brazil’s public employees.
Monday, May 05, 2003.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he would be "amazed if we found weapons-grade plutonium or uranium" and it was unlikely large volumes of biological or chemical material would be discovered. He suggested that the sanctions and UN inspections probably prompted Mr Hussein to dispose of much of his stockpile.
So if the inspections mounted by that irrelevant and, per Perle, "dead" organization were effective, does not Bush's war, therefore, become more criminal than it already was.
Sunday, May 04, 2003.
- Size of reconsituted police force currently deployed in Baghdad: 3,000
- Population of Baghdad: 5 million
- Days since new Baghdad police chief has resigned: 1
- Size of police force in Chicago: 13,000
- Population of Chicago proper: 3 million
- Number of days since Shiites in slums of East Baghdad have seen a US Patrol: 4
- Number of radical Shiite militiamen patrolling slums of East Baghdad: 6,000
- Percentage Iraqis without access to clean water: 40
- Number of Iraqi children who are chronically malnourished: 1 million
- Number of press reports saying most of Baghdad has security, electricity, water: 0
What the hell is up with this Kyle Williams
kid? William MacDougall has the goods on the 14-year old conservative "whiz"
who already has his own book
Maybe Kyle and Ben
can get together for a playdate...
Saturday, May 03, 2003.
around for stories about bill "you moral incompetents, can you bring me a drink while i play the slots" bennett, we came across this one in the charlotte observer
that has nothing to do with gambling:
bill bennett, the former national drug czar and voluntary national curmudgeon, sent us a letter recently that expressed deep concern about today's youth….
as an example of "how morally at sea some young people are," he cited this result, among others, from a national survey he commissioned: "35% of the students said they would be likely to evade a draft were it reinstituted; 21% of students would be willing to serve, but only if stationed in the u.s.; and only 35% of students would be willing to serve and fight anywhere in the world."
we share mr. bennett's concern about morality of young people, and older people as well. but a wish to escape the draft is hardly new, and it's not necessarily illegal. consider these examples:
• george w. bush avoided the draft by enlisting in the texas air national guard, the kind of duty that, as former joint chiefs of staff chairman colin powell said in his memoirs, was generally reserved for "the sons of the powerful."
• vice president dick cheney evaded the draft by receiving five student and marriage deferments during the vietnam war.
• hawkish defense department official paul wolfowitz didn't serve, nor did a fellow hawk, defense adviser richard perle.
and the article goes on. at least nobody pointed up the hypocracy of lecturing on virtue while dropping $8 mill in atlantic city!