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March 27, 2003

Iraq War Quiz

Interesting and informative.

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March 18, 2003

Core Matrix

tv's site where you'll find his daily articles, the most recent of which was written yesterday, and - according to tv - was rendered out-of-date 6 hours later, When Bush Spoke. Elsewhere, he posted the following article, stressing that he hadn't doctored a single word:

PENTAGON THREATENS TO KILL INDEPENDENT REPORTERS IN IRAQ

The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."

According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information."

"I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show."

Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control access to the airwaves.

Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that the Pentagon has also threatened they: "may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side."

Things are getting awful dark out there.

Posted by at 03:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saddamgevity

What are we saying the odds are that Saddam is around in 3 weeks? 3 months? 3 years?

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March 14, 2003

Dora Mwabela's Cell Phone

This is too terrible.

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The Thing Is...

In conventional wisdom, power has been equated with force. If you don't use force you would lose, and therefore to shun force was to abdicate: to let foe into your country, perhaps to destroy your town and kill your family; to dictate your faith; to rule over you; to determine the shape of the future. But in our era the bearers of superior force have, in an ever-widening sphere, failed to make their decisions stick. If force remained the essence of power and the final arbiter in politics, then the British today would rule India, the United States would preside over South Vietnam, the apartheid regime would survive in South Africa, the Communist Party would rule over the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union would rule over Eastern Europe.

-Jonathan Schell

Posted by at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2003

Three Things

First, it's amazing to me that this Dave Barry guy also finds time to maintain a job.

Second, last night on tv a comedian asked: "Is anyone worried that we're being led by a Bush a Dick and a 'Colon'?" Thought it strange that I hadn't heard anyone make this joke yet.

Third, $31,101,026?!

Posted by at 04:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2003

Lapham at Victoria

Nothing's made me happier recently than Lewis Lapham at Victoria College talking about Havana in 61, Saigon in 75, Henry G. Dearborn (who he shares blood with) and his decision not to cross the St. Lawrence and raid Montreal in 1812, because "it was cold" and because "on the other side there were men with guns" and because, despite the fact there were 7 million people in America and a mere 500,000 Canadians at the time - and despite the fact that the U.S. government had declared the invasion a cake-walk openly predicting Canada would fall by August - Dearborn's soldiers saw no point in the carnage.

At some point I got out my pen and started writing stuff down: America is a story that doesn't make sense if you start on Chapter 30. The Bush Administration is a "constituency of frightened rich", a band of "Utopian Anarchists". The Patriot Act was passed without discussion and a list of its effects, rendered in a mesmerizing sentence or two, shows it is being written by people who have no respect for, or understanding of, the American story. There's the Three Strike Policy (upheld by Bush's Supreme Court) that has recently sent a man to jail for 25 years for stealing three golf clubs. There's their axis of evil theory, their ideas about taxing the poor and not the rich, the affirmative action stance in Michigan, their vested interest in drilling in the arctic and overturning Roe V Wade. And there's this War on Terror, which Lapham deliciously put forth was more futile than the War On Drugs has been, or a War on Lust might be.

For the most part his focus was domestic, and he appraised the key players by taking issue with a few of their proudest insights. On Rumsfeld's "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" he took a minute to fathom the contempt. He had a go at Bush's "That's the interesting thing about being President," statement, offered to Bob Woodward, that followed "people might feel they have to explain themselves to me but I never feel I have to explain myself to people." Lapham took this to be the greatest proof yet that Bush doesn't understand the meaning of the word politics. And the greatest lie he tells is the lie that says "America will not live in fear." Where else, Lapham asked, does the current administration expect us to live? Something like 'suspect the sky, don't trust your neighbour, hide your children'. We are, after all, in a war with religious fundamentalists, and being led by a man who thanks God for American liberty in his State of the Union addresses, thereby denying outright the secularism of politics. He holds hands and sings songs about the Lord in the White House every morning.

To the question: Why now? Lapham was funny listing the reasons, chief among them "the weather". To be sure, soon it will be too hot to fight the kind of aggressive ground war the attack on Iraq calls for. But the reason this war has to happen now, in Lapham's mind, is because war is easier than peace. The War On Iraq is the easiest way the current administration sees to turn the economy around and look good in the next election. Never mind that there will certainly be another terrorist attack, and that WOI is only speeding such an attack along. Never mind that this war is brought to you by the greedy minds behind the Enron scam - just fear Saddam and realize his time has come. No one will be happier than Osama bin fuckhead himself.

Lapham's summation - "The Bush administration is the past" sounded such a hopeful note, however naive it may be. It crystalized with his assertion that the "Empire" premise no longer holds - as we're too vulnerable in too many ports and we have to see this before we are made to see it forcibly. Ground Zero as nuclear wasteland, or something even worse. America must not act alone, must listen to its friends and allies, must seek to hold on to whatever shreds of sympathy it garnered on the eleventh of September, and perhaps realize it is winning the War On Saddam the very same way it won the Cold War - bloodlessly.

Really, Lapham didn't say anything I hadn't read or heard before, yet boy, did he ever, in spite of this, manage to sound novel. It got me thinking how rare it is I hear a peace advocate actually finish their sentences without being jumped on by some monied pundit. And it made me feel a lot more comfortable about being in the same camp as Tim Robbins and Madonna on a political issue.

It had been killing me recently.

Posted by at 04:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 06, 2003

Prison Yoga

A few years ago, a google search for "prison yoga" yielded countless articles about heartless Wardens who wouldn't allow this silly spiritual stuff into their "correctional facilities".

Thankfully, those articles are gone now, replaced by pages about hope and flakiness.

Which either means we're progressing, or under-reporting a serious social-issue.

Were I running things, I would make yoga/meditation sessions mandatory for all inmates, and would fire on-the-spot any Warden who resisted by offering up the defeatist "they're supposed to be suffering" logic, (even if it's logic I can find no evidence of at the moment.)

Seriously though.

Posted by at 04:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 04, 2003

Harper's, again

I've posted about this before, perhaps I'll post about it again: this week's Harper's Review was particularly entertaining:

'American diplomats were telling Security Council countries that they risked "paying a heavy price" if they don't vote for war with Iraq, although Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, denied that the Administration was trying to bribe countries for war votes: "The president is not offering quid pro quos," he said. When a French reporter pressed him on the question, Fleischer said: "Think about the implications of what you're saying, you're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable," whereupon the assembled reporters all burst out laughing and Fleischer left the stage in a huff.'

Why didn't I read about this anywhere until today? When the press secretary gets laughed out of a press conference, shouldn't it be news?

I also liked the way the Review concluded:

'Lightning struck a small plane that was carrying Florida governor Jeb Bush but failed to destroy it. Mr. Rogers died. State Farm Insurance declared that it will not cover claims arising from nuclear blasts or fallout. Nevada was considering a special tax on whores.'

I like this Roger Hodge guy. I like that lightning struck but "failed to destroy" Jeb's plane. If the plane had gone down, I wonder how many in the press would say Jeb was "successfully destroyed" by lightning?

Posted by at 06:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack