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April 29, 2004
Slacking Through Lunch

Whatever I might want to be when I grow up, I sure don't want to be press secretary for an unpopular, secrecy-obsessed Administration.

Here's a story of ambassadors duking it out in the U.N. (Well, actually, it was one sucker-punch, from behind, but still. It's very unusual for anyone at the U.N. to engage in direct action, as the column makes clear.)

The Nation is doing a button contest. I object to being limited to ONE entry. I've already had one inspirational button idea come to mind and I'm sure I'll have more soon. (I googled my first idea "One Nation, Under Democracy" and found that it's been done already. Multiple times. No doubt I saw it somewhere and forgot.)

Forget the military-industrial complex. Let's make room in our brains for a Military-Academic Complex.

Nicholas Turse has been covering the military-industrial-entertainment-scientific complex for Tomdispatch now for many months. His last piece was on the nature-bending activities of the Pentagon's blue-sky scientific operation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA. Now, he adds another hyphen to the complex's complex equation, reminding us of the way in which higher education has become a wing of the Pentagon. The ivory tower is, he tells us, being rebuilt out of a high-tensile [classified] material and armed with [classified] [secret] [classified] and so is being readied to face the world explosively.

Go. Read.

Let's be rational, people. It's not rational to expect New York to grant a permit for "hundreds of thousands of protestors" to inhabit a space that holds, at most, 80,000 people. Protesting the decision won't make Central Park any bigger. (Although I have doubts about the official "capacity" of the park, based on cited usage in the past.)

I don't always agree with Jim Hightower, but I do this time.

And while I'd like to believe those on the ground in Iraq are doing their best in a difficult situation, I don't believe it of Donald Rumsfeld. Either he's getting bad data from his staff, and someone needs to be fired, or he's a serial liar. Or…reading it more closely, the article just proves once again that someone in the White House is paying attention to every semantic nuance they can find.

How long will we have police infiltrating non-violent groups with an eye to…what? Entrapping them? And here in Colorado, too. (From last April. The sentencing was this week.)

How far is it from Baghdad to LA? Closer than you think.

This in particular rang a bell:

Gang members are traumatized young veterans of war, with no outlets for counseling or treatment. We need a massive rehab program in the inner cities that includes surviving veterans of these wars as role models. Gang members are necessary scapegoats in the rise of law-and-order politics and vast expansions of police and prison budgets.

You remember the "enemy combatants" that also happen to be USofA citizens? There are two of them in the news today because of the Supreme Court case. For one of them, Jose Padilla, I know only two facts. #1 - He was arrested getting off a plane in Chicago because they thought he wanted to bomb someone/somewhere. #2 - He's a "former Chicago gang member." Those two pieces of information have been repeated again and again in the news. As though being a "former Chicago gang member" explains why someone is suddenly being held as a terrorist.

(Also, after having read the article, I've decided it's time to get soft on gangs. Getting hard on gangs hasn't worked. Let's bypass the police squads and offer real, valid, and viable alternatives.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:52 PM