Warning: include(/home/annezook/public_html/sidebar.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/annezook/public_html/archives/week_2003_04_13.php on line 23

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/home/annezook/public_html/sidebar.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/annezook/public_html/archives/week_2003_04_13.php on line 23
April 18, 2003
And, speaking of....

That darned Liberal Media? Eric Alterman rides again.

This is an eerie moment in American political history. George W. Bush was defeated in the popular vote by his more liberal opponent but rules from the most extreme wing of his party. He campaigned as a fiscal conservative but has pushed tax cuts that will create a deficit larger than any in US history. As a candidate, he articulated the need for a "humble" foreign policy but now conducts it with a degree of hubris that makes Lyndon Johnson look like the Dalai Lama. His hypocrisy, in other words, is so great as to be almost unfathomable, and yet he has somehow managed to convince the media to admire him for his "moral clarity."
I. Still. Don't. Get. It.

They're lied to almost daily, and almost daily, proof of this comes out, but they keep on keeping on, shoring up this horribly misbegotten Administration? How can they be that dumb?

Well, they can't be, of course. Someone's got to be pulling their strings. If it's not the devil, it has to be their corporate owners.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)
Baghdad and Bush

Doctors forced to guard Baghdad hospitals after looting

And, over at MSNBC, Eleanor Clift slaps Bush and his shameless supporters upside the head in a way that's nice to read.

More than 60 percent of Americans say large tax cuts now are not needed, yet President Bush is making support for tax cuts a test of party loyalty and patriotism.
Like he's going to start listening to the voters now?

Everyone's fair game in the fight to award money to the rich. Even the president's own party, to whom he shows no loyalty whatsoever unless they happen to be agreeing with him at the moment.

Two moderate Republican senators, Ohio’s George Voinovich and Maine’s Olympia Snowe, are under intense pressure to renege on their pledge to hold Bush’s tax cut at $350 billion. The conservative Club for Growth is running an ad in Ohio with a photo of Voinovich next to a French flag. The group’s press release calls Voinovich a “Franco Republican.” The same ad is slated for Maine with Snowe pictured alongside the French flag. A narrator equates the senators’ opposition to the full Bush tax cut with French opposition to the Iraq invasion.
If the Dems had done this, there would be a national outcry. Why is it okay coming from their own party?
The president’s claim that the dividend tax cut would benefit most taxpayers goes largely unchallenged. Seventy percent of taxpayers would receive no benefit at all according to the IRS. By contrast, the three top executives at each of the Fortune 100 companies would gain an average of $400,000 a year. Bush trades on the trust he enjoys with voters, which makes him a formidable campaigner. He gets credit for being plainspoken and a truth teller even when he falsely portrays his dividend tax cut as a jobs program.
Guess who I blame for this artificially rosy picture of the man?

Yep, you guessed it. That dreadful Liberal Media!

(I can't help it. I'm still wondering if they regret the free ride they gave Bush during the 2000 campaign?)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)
Plagues, police, and peaceniks
The four horsemen of the apocalypse--conquest, war, famine, and death--are currently rampant upon the earth.
I really enjoy the BMJ's "editor's choice" that appears every Friday. This week's entry is titled, "After War, plague". SARS and other current diseases are mentioned.

The USofA is the only major country I can find not significantly worried about SARS. The discovery that the virus is linked to the common cold shouldn't be a matter for comfort. They can't cure the common cold, which is actually a blanket name given for a handful of related viruses, okay?

And, speaking of diseases. I know I've complained about this before, but I have to make sure you're listening, don't I? So, go read this, then call someone or send an e-mail and demand that we clean up after ourselves. After all, as I've repeatedly pointed out, "liberation" shouldn't come with free cancer.

I don't know if that was their intention, but the folks at TomPaine quite adequately refute the Ashcroft Doctrine that the freedoms in the Constitution only require minimal interpretation.

(Add-on note: Also? It's a great article about the history of corporations in this country.

Thus, states made it illegal for corporations to participate in the political process: Politicians were doing the voters’ business, and corporations couldn’t vote, so it didn’t make sense they should be allowed to try to influence votes. States made it illegal for corporations to lie about their products, and required that their books and processes always be open and available to government regulators. States and the federal government claimed the right to inspect companies and investigate them when they caused pollution, harmed workers or created hazards for human communities, even if in the early years that right was unevenly used.
Ahhh, the Good Old Days. Go. Read.)

For those of you who say that soldiers aren't police and shouldn't be asked to handle police duties, please bear in mind that there are military police, trained to handle situations like what we've seen, post-invasion, in Iraq. Unfortunately, they're still still in New Jersey, and from this account, watching a situation unfold that they could have handled.

In addition to being trained for military police work, almost half of Montera's 150-member unit actually serves in law enforcement - something that is sorely needed now throughout Iraq.
I wonder what the Administration will say to this, if anything?

Mark Morford's new column is up!

"The Warmongers Were Right! A gutted Iraq, a low slaughter rate, an Exxon can for every peasant. See? Peacenik losers!"
Heh. Heh.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)
Surfing Friday's Headlines

You know what I want to know? I want to know who the slackers are working 1,978 hours a year? Even when you take out vacation days and holidays, I don't know many "white collar" folks who aren't putting in more like 2,200 hours a year. The 9-hour day average is fairly standard for most of us.

Remember what I said about soldiers who have to live with the memories of war?

Compassionate Conservatism seems to have reached the health care research field and with a vengeance. If you want to research AIDS, make sure you don't give the impression you care about homosexuals, drug addicts, or prostitutes. I'm thinking pregnant mothers who were inadvertently infected via blood transfusions are a sure-bet demographic for an AIDS study these days if you're hoping to get NIH money.

And what is going on behind closed doors in the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq?

The OpinionJournal finally found something intelligent to write about! Josh Marshall figures prominently in today's Taranto column. It's been a long time since I found anything in this publication actually interesting. (Essentially, Taranto is saying that the Administration isn't deceiving us...they've said again and again that there was going to be a long war in the Middle East. I guess that's so when we invade Syria, they can say we were told.)

Here's a link to keep handy. It's a list of the supposed weapons finds in Iraq and what the truth turned out to be. Good ammo for those who, in six months, will remember the headlines about "finds" but not the retractions. (Reading this article, I have the feeling I linked to it once before. A brain is a terrible thing to waste.)

Here's another handy link on a similar subject. Seems that while Rumsfield is even now helping lay the groundwork for finding no Weapons of Much Destruction in Iraq, over on Uggabugga, they took the time to collate a list of the times Bush announced we knew they were there.

I'm beginning to wonder if a movie about the rescue of Private Lynch might not be less interesting than a movie about the argument over who rescued her.

Reconstruction abroad Stories about rebuilding

Reconstruction abroad

Stories about rebuilding contracts continue to appear.

Foreign companies have complained that they cannot be prime contractors under USAID's Iraq programme, although the agency has repeatedly said non-US firms can be subcontractors. In recent weeks, US officials have intimated that they were unlikely to give a piece of the Iraqi pie to those countries who did not help bake it, such as Russia, France and Germany.
The subject of this article is Bechtel Group Inc., who were awarded a contract worth between $34.6M and $680M.

They gave generously for their ties to government, but as they gave to both parties, I don't suppose much partisan "hay" can be made out of it.

The company and its workers contributed at least $277,050 to federal candidates and party committees in the last election cycle, about 57 percent to Democrats and 43 percent to Republicans, the center found.
(The Center for Public Integrity)

Several Democratic lawmakers have criticized the fast-track bidding process that allowed only a few experienced companies to submit proposals. The U.S. Agency for International Development has controlled the bidding, saying speed was essential to meet Iraq's pressing postwar needs.
I have to say I sort of agree. From experience I can say that the government bidding process has been known to take three years or more on a contract. That's unacceptable in these circumstances.

I also have to say that using experienced contractors, especially those with experience overseas, is a good idea. We've done enough damage to Iraq without sending over companies run by people who don't have any familiarity with working with other cultures. There's a slightly longer article here.

Coalition forces find largest weapons stash yet in Afghanistan.

Yep. No weapons in Iraq. Still lots of weapons in Afghanistan.

Deconstruction at home

I'm not sure what else you'd call these attempts to dismantle environmental protections.

A few recent actions: In January, the EPA exempted the oil and gas industry from water pollution rules. Last month, the agency decided cities could not be held responsible for their toxic runoff. There is a move currently underway to loosen rules mandating that chemical plants, automobile factories and steel mills cut their emissions of air pollution.

(The EPA is, however, still being too aggressive for the Bush administration. The Office of Management and Budget has targeted the agency for "review" in an overall move to reduce regulatory constraints placed on industry.)

And, speaking of things that are disintegrating, there were more government resignations, three of them this time. This group resigned in protest of the failure to protect Baghdad's museums from looting.

Looks like Big Business is conducting business as usual, even in the face of bankruptcy. American Airlines employees have discovered that while they were being begged to take pay cuts, the top executives were getting the usual multi-million dollar bonuses and other perks.

According to the SEC filing disclosed late Tuesday, the company funded a pension trust for 45 top executives in October that protected some of their benefits even if the carrier filed for bankruptcy protection.

In addition, the company offered its six top executives bonuses double their annual base salaries if they remain until early 2005.

Carty, who has a base salary of $811,000, could get a $1.6 million bonus at a time when employees will still be struggling under huge pay cuts.

Looks to me like the world's largest airline might be about to crash-land under a load of corporate greed.

For those interested, the battle over Cheney's energy policy, the one probably written by his buddies in industry, is still being waged.

And, speaking of hearts and minds, even though we weren't at the moment, industry has come up with what I have to admit is a very clever plan to start rooting out the entrenched environmentalism from our culture. It's a disgusting, immoral, dishonest plan, but if they're not stopped, it's one that will totally work.

But not all the news is bad. For instance, not all carmakers are oil-sucking anti-environmentalists. Take a look at my next new car. (I have a friend whose family owns a couple of the current hybrids and who says they're incredible.)

Off to read some more.... Lots happening today.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)
April 17, 2003
Ashamed Via cursor.org, I read

Ashamed

Via cursor.org, I read this and was, not for the first time, ashamed of my country.

Ashamed for the deaths of civilians at the hands of soldiers primed, over-primed for guerilla resistance that virtually never materialized.

Ashamed for the mistreatment of the Marines by their own leaders.

Ashamed for the lies of our media, who should have been the ones to report this.

Maybe it was weeks instead of years, but the injustices and the senseless massacres are piling up and it is, it really is, a lot like Vietnam. What can we do for the soldiers who have to live with these memories? When the battle-madness passes and they wake up at 3:00 in the morning with the dying face of a child haunting them? When they come home and look at their children...and remember the day they killed someone else's child?

I'm not naïve. I know that this is part of what war is. The wrong people die for the wrong reasons.

But isn't that all the more reason to wage war only reluctantly, as an extreme last resort, and to plan for the probable outcomes?

Medical care for civilians, food, water, power, policing duties in urban areas to prevent crime and looting - none of these responsibilities should have been ignored in the plan for war, especially by a regime government pretending they were killing for the people.

If, in the end, it turned out that Bush really did have good intentions, that he gave a damn about the Iraqi people, and that he really was concerned about saving them from persecution, even if, in the end, that should turn out to be true, he'd still be criminally wrong in the way he allowed his Administration to go about this war.

He's not the brightest bulb in the lamp, as even his supporters admit, but in the end, he was appointed President and sworn in to the office and the buck stops there. Whether he knocks off at 6:00 and goes to get some exercise or not, decisions made while he holds the office are his responsibility, 24/7.

I begin to sympathize with those who think this Administration should be tried for war crimes. Since stupidity while in power isn't prosecutable, we'll need another charge and "war crimes" just might do.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)
Movie Of the Week! You

Movie Of the Week!

You know they'll shoot it. How can they resist? It's got the same plot that's worked for the last fifty MOtW disaster flicks, but doubled. An avalanche and a flood!

You know the plot. Someone predicts dire danger, the "experts" ignore the advice (in this case, the traditional "lone wise man" will have to be invented), and then hubris is once again punished by the gods when disaster strikes.

Heck, I'd watch it. I love those cheesy disaster movies.

Oh, and, by the way? Here's hoping any disaster stays fictional.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)
Blogs and other news Via

Blogs and other news

Via Avedon Carol, we get to Digby's post on those DynaCorp rent-a-cops that we're told may be used in Iraq. Charming bunch of guys and certainly just the types you want to send to an Arab country that already suspects we want to bring Western decadence and lack of morals to their shores.

Hesiod takes on the hypocrites who are pointing at the "children's prison" in Iraq, challenging them to step up to the plate on jails for kids in other countries. Like the U.K., Israel, and Spain.

While the Administration and the media were getting their war on, some other business did take place in the country. Among other things:

In Congress, some members "reintroduced legislation that would significantly reduce the burden on power plants to slow emissions of so-called greenhouse gasses" as a 'thank you' to heavy campaign contributors.

The House passed a bill April 9 that prohibits plaintiffs, and particularly local governments, from suing gun manufacturers and distributors for damages resulting from their products, in another 'thank you' to a big money campaign donors.*

The health care debate rages on over one bill with one side insisting it will lower premiums and the other side insisting it will raise them.

And I think we all know already, so no link required, that Republicans are trying to make the temporary powers of the Patriot Act permanent.

(* Personally, I'm ambivalent on this one. Manufacturers should be exempt. Distributors, maybe not so much, depending on the circumstances. The NRA should prove their claim that they're not in favor of guns being used to kill people by allowing bans on semi-automatic and assault rifles, which no law-abiding citizen has any need for. Also, I think, pistols, which hardly fall under the heading of "hunting and sport" weapons.

If the government can mandate seat belts for citizens too stupid to drive carefully, why can't they outlaw the kinds of guns involved in most in-home accidents?

I'm not anti-gun. I'm just anti-idiot. And, while I don't normally encourage legislation to protect idiots, considering that we might be better off without them under Darwinian principles, the people paying the price in this case are all too frequently the children of idiot parents. Death seems like a harsh penalty for being born into the wrong family, don't you think?)

Take a look at the Corporate Crime Reporter's Top 100. It's the Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade

The 100 corporate criminals fell into 14 categories of crime: Environmental (38), antitrust (20), fraud (13), campaign finance (7), food and drug (6), financial crimes (4), false statements (3), illegal exports (3), illegal boycott (1), worker death (1), bribery (1), obstruction of justice (1) public corruption (1), and tax evasion (1).
Just in case you're one of those citizens who likes to vote with their checkbook as well as in the voting booth, this will tell you what corporations to avoid. (I'm working on a list of the largest USofA corporations with names of all of their subsidiaries. There's probably a list already on-line somewhere, but it's an educational pastime.)

Another independent blogger who just happens to be a media employee in Iraq has been shut down. Don't just go over because you think he was muzzled. Read all of it because any unwhitewashed reports from Iraq are worth seeing.

For instance, what happened in Mosul? Will we ever really know? It's hard to figure it out, reading the USofA media. Undernews takes on the task of providing a lot of links, from all over the place, to try and give a rounded view not only of the killing but of the variations in media coverage.

Also keep reading the on-going debate about whether the ends justify the means in this war. Me, I don't think so, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. (I insist upon pointing at things like the disaster of Afghanistan as proof that this Administration might know how to kill, but it doesn't have the legs to finish a decent job of regime change. At the same time, I'm willing to accept that the lust, really, there's no other word for it, for making war on Iraq that overshadowed the real, and legitimate, conflict in Afghanistan might distort the results. This Administration never really cared about bin Laden, you know. Not half as much as they cared about Hussein, anyhow.)

(Also, because I think Mark Morford is funny, I suggest you go read The Lie of Liberation from 4/11.

Yay! The gorilla has crushed the mouse. The bazooka has blown apart the BB gun. The dinosaur has stomped the fly. Yay!
Hee. Hee.)

If you don't think the looting of Baghdad is important, if you scoff at those who mourn the burning of books, you're just not understanding what's been lost.

On a more serious note, Jimmy Breslin, over at Newsday, offers us an oddly moving tale of death and dogwoods.

And a POW says she was treated by Iraqi doctors who said they wanted to prove the Iraqi people "had humanity", but the POW doubts that said treatment had much to do with proving humanity.

Asked what she thought of that now, she said: "I appreciate the care that I was given. But I also know that there was a reason behind it. They didn't give me care just for the humanity of it."
I say that's ungrateful and shortsighted. If people were prone to acting "humanely" without the pressure of public opinion to prove themselves, we wouldn't need the Geneva Conventions. Or, indeed, a large percentage of the criminal laws on the books of civilized countries today. So, that POW should be darned grateful that a doctor wanted to prove his people aren't savages. (Also, it's possible she's just wrong. I'm sorry, but I don't subscribe to the belief that Arabs and Muslims are automatically barbarians. The man was a doctor. That means something about "humanity" in almost any culture.)

(The column is well-worth reading anyhow and details the story of the POWs who were captured alongside Lynch. And, I might add, it shows quite a lot of "humanity" on the part of the POWs' captors, some of whom used their own money to provide food for the captives.)

On the torture trail, the government finally responded to accusations of torturing detainees. Of course, it's one of their non-responsive responses, so it's useless except to show that they do still feel a certain obligation to acknowledge public opinion.

And, as I said, I'm against the sort of sensation-mongering that's encouraged by publishing tell-all books about public figures. Unless, of course, there's some kind of criminal behavior potentially involved.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)
Random headlines Michael Powell is

Random headlines

Michael Powell is still insisting on a quick-and-dirty vote about easing media ownership restrictions. This is one of those where a long debate would not be in the Administration's best interest since what they intend to do (that is, ease the restrictions) is not in the best interests of the public but most definitely is in the best interests of the half dozen media conglomerates that control most of this country's media outlets already.

What's going to happen in Iraq is all tangled up with why we made war in the first place, but it's even more tangled by the quite understandable Arab distrust of the USofA based upon our history in the region.

Why did we bomb Iranians is what I'm wondering today.

Without public announcement, American forces have bombed the principal bases of the main armed Iranian opposition group in Iraq, which has maintained several thousand fighters with tanks and artillery along Iraq's border with Iran for more than a decade.
.
The group, Mujahidin Khalq, has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United States since 1997. But the biggest beneficiary of the strikes will be the Iranian government, which has lost scores of soldiers in recent years to cross-border attacks by the guerrillas, who have sought to overthrow Iran's clerical regime.
Is this a group of terrorists or is it not? A lot of Congressmen don't seem to think so.

Looks like it's not only the USofA who has been contemplating the use of torture in recent days. What has gone wrong with the world that this is now a topic of serious discussion for seemingly rational people?

Lacking proof of Weapons of Much Desctruction, it looks like the Administration is turning back to the original, never-proven assertion that Hussein was in league with bin Laden to bolster the legitimacy of their war. How do I know? The Administration's newspaper, the OpinionJournal, if offering us a cheesy editorial dragging up the old claims and adding some new ones. The editorial say we went and taught them Middle Easterners a few things. We Big. We Strong. We Bad. Don' mess wit' us. That publication is embarrassing sometimes.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)
April 16, 2003
Church and State More separate

Church and State

More separate than some would like to see, which is okay, unless that "some" includes the U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige.

I heard about his remarks a few days ago, but this additional information makes the situation sound as though it was even worse than the first reports indicated.

Republicans aren't in favor of all free and open expressions of religion, of course. We all know that. There are even times when they flaunt their bias quite openly.

The California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today called on GOP leaders to repudiate recent Islamophobic remarks made by the former chairman of that state's Republican Party.

At a pro-war rally on Friday sponsored by the University of Southern California (USC) College Republicans, Shawn Steel said: "The Islamic community has a cancer growing inside it, which hates Jews, hates freedom and hates western society...The disease of Islam must be rectified. It's kill or be killed." He also blamed peace activists and the Democratic Party for the Holocaust, the Ku Klux Klan and slavery. During an April 8 rally at Loyola Marymount University, Steel referred to Islam as a "dangerous" and "diseased religion."

Does it seem to anyone but me that these types feel a lot more free to express disapproval of others' freedoms than they did, for instance, under the previous Administration?
"The Republican Party can no longer remain silent in the face of the anti-Muslim bigotry spewed by a minority of hate-mongers within its ranks.
Not that it will probably make the Muslims feel any better, but I'd like to point out that bigotry in the ranks of the Republican party isn't confined to anti-Muslin sentiments. There are even factions of the party that might bristle at the idea, implicit in the first quote above, that hating "Jews" is a bad thing.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
Now you see it.... Okay,

Now you see it....

Okay, Iraq did have Weapons of Much Destruction, you see, but those wimpy U.N. Inspectors didn't want to find them or couldn't see what was right in front of them or something (and shut up with the asking us why we didn't tell the U.N. inspectors where things were hidden if we knew so well) and so we bombed the country and now we're going to find proof that we were right all along except that maybe we bombed or some naughty civilian looted our proof and so we'll never be able to prove it!

But they were there! There was proof!

Now I understand why they weren't in any big hurry to protect the buildings housing government offices in Iraq.

"We are focusing on the preservation of [Iraqi] government documents," Rice said.
That's just a lie. At least, it was a lie before today.
"We feel they will prove very important in finding the weapons of mass destruction. … It will take a while because this regime was brilliant at hiding its true programs and weapons of mass destruction so no one should expect that to happen quickly."

However, this paper chase also could give U.S. officials an excuse for failure. Coalition airstrikes — and newly liberated, vengeance-minded looters — in Baghdad targeted government buildings that may have held records the U.S. military is trying to find. Looters have also torn up the homes — and the documents — of missing regime officials such as Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," who was apparently killed by coalition airstrikes.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)
Trouble in paradise? I don't

Trouble in paradise?

I don't know, but there's trouble in Cambodia and guess who's at the root of it?

Why, that would be a faction of the USofA Republican party. And they're active in a number of places around the world, as this quote shows.

The National Democratic Institute, which is informally tied to the [USofA] Democrats, has also been in Cambodia for years. For the past few months, in fact, NDI staffers have been gearing up for Cambodia’s elections by holding “workshops” for both the Sam Rainsy and royalist parties, where they teach such skills as organizing get-out-the-vote drives and media spin.

But NDI, its staffers say, is careful to offer their “consulting” services to all of Cambodia’s parties. “We’re guests. We’re not trying to undermine the sovereignty of anybody,” says NDI Program Manager Dominic Cardy.

The IRI [The International Republican Institute, which is funded by the U.S. government through a Reagan Administration, Cold War-era fund calling itself the National Endowment for Democracy] can’t say that. On April 12, 2002, Venezuela’s popularly elected President Hugo Chavez was almost overthrown in a coup d’etat that killed at least 18. Several in the junta’s crowd had ties to the National Endowment for Democracy, the IRI, or both.

The coup was just a few hours old when IRI President George Folsom issued a news release calling the coup the moment in which “the Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy” and boasting of the IRI’s role “as a bridge between the nation’s political parties and all civil society groups” in the coup.

(The coup collapsed a couple of hours later, leaving the IRI and our current administration with egg on their faces.) I can't say I'm pleased that the spinmeisters are out teaching the gospel of lying like a USofA politician, though.

Still. Those wacky rightwingers, huh? Always going after regime change somewhere, aren't they?

And they never seem to get discouraged by the failure of previous efforts, either. Maybe they should get a gold star for persistence.

Fortunately for the regime-change types, the international coalition formed to force regime change here was a joke.

(I'm not saying regime change isn't a good idea. I'm just saying that there are other regimes I'm more immediately interested in changing. I'm thinking, let's clean our own house first.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)
Stuff Telecommunications companies are inexplicably

Stuff

Telecommunications companies are inexplicably fighting a proposed rule that will let people keep their numbers when changing cell phone services. They say it will increase their costs and not really make the market more competitive, but we all know that having to give fifty people a new phone number keeps a lot of us from changing services, so that's a lie.

I have to do do some research and find out who McDonough is.

Is Iran getting all tough with us? Didn't they see what happened to the last country that got on our nerves?

It's just a personal opinion, of course, but I think that unless it's a matter of criminal behavior, those "tell-all" books about famous people are cheap exploitation by people trying to get rich quick.

Under the heading of "poliltics as usual,", we find the Republicans moving to change the system because it didn't allow them to ride roughshod over their opponents.

We're still hearing conflicting opinions on just how dramatic that soon-to-be-a-movie-of-the-week rescue of Private Lynch was. Seems to me that, like the toppling of Hussein's statue, this was something the media and the military tried to make more dramatic than it really was. The woman was rescued, and she's going to be fine. Why is that not enough?

I guess we've got a new "read it and worry" move on the part of the government. There's good stuff and bad stuff in this bill. Even the good stuff isn't good enough stuff, but it's better stuff than we have now. Does the bad stuff outweigh the good stuff? Yeah, it does.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
April 15, 2003
Idiot alert (I feel almost

Idiot alert

(I feel almost tainted just reading CNN any more. I may have to quit.)

Under the heading of, "I knew it," comes this article saying that Bush is already pushing for the full $550B in tax cuts that the budget bill left room for.

"The proposals I announced three months ago were designed to address specific weaknesses slowing down our economy and kept companies from hiring new workers," Bush said. "Those weaknesses remain today."
Everyone who thinks this is really going to create jobs and close the income gap, needs to have their medication checked.

The government is working on saving money, though. Don't ever think this Administration doesn't know how to squeeze a penny in the name of smaller government.

For instance, we're saving quite a lot by avoiding unnecessary minutiae like cleaning up cancer and birth-defect inducing weapons debris. Yep. We liberated 'em. Now let 'em die.

Both the US and the UK acknowledge the dust can be dangerous if inhaled, though they say the danger is short-lived, localised, and much more likely to lead to chemical poisoning than to irradiation.
Hey! Looks like Bush was right! There are chemical and biological weapons in Iraq!

I don't care what anyone says, I find Robert Fisk interesting. Certainly this take on USofA military personnel guarding the oil ministry building while letting the rest of the Iraqi physical government infrastructure be looted is interesting. If anyone in Washington cares, you just made the task of building a decent government in a reasonable amount of time almost impossible.

Idiots.

Government shenanigans

Editor & Publisher urges the press to stay on Ashcroft's case over Patriot II. Let's hope the press is listening.

Was a secret deal made to hand over Baghdad? This article makes a convincing case from circumstantial evidence. (If it was, was it a bad thing? Lives were saved. And I see why the White House would have done it. Their war was starting to bog down and they needed a quick, clean win that they could mine for political gain, nationally and internationally.)

And, in the, "can this be true?" department, White House aides are rumored to be about to start answering questions. I have to wonder why this PR stunt is taking place.

Heh. Heh. Considering the largely female audience that "soap operas" have, these guys would do better to offer a couple of guys in a liplock.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)
Interesting reading CNN was very

Interesting reading

CNN was very forthcoming about their past omissions in Iraq. Some suspect that's because bigger, badder things are still being hidden.

I dunno about this CNN thing, okay? I guess I only thought I understood that CNN was the same kind of money & ratings 'ho as the rest of the media.

Somewhere, deep down inside, I think I still believed they were somehow...I don't know. Better.

It's one thing with a news outlet that openly divorces itself from the facts (Washington Times, Opinion Journal, FOX news, etc.) and another for one that, while failing to live up to its "unbiased" claim, still appears to be a reliable source for basic information.

MSNBC, not that it was ever a bastion of tolerance and freedom, hires openly bigoted and racist columnists. FOX, always a haven for the worst of the right-wing, continues to sink into the mire. The only "national news" outlet left, CNN, is now revealed to be even worse than the other two because of being less open about it.

The government routinely lies, not even having enough respect for our intelligence to pretend to cover their tracks. They talk one game, play a different game, and are hiding behind closed doors trying to change the rules of the real game that they hope we never find out about.

I just can't begin to express my sense of disappointment, even betrayal, over what this country has sunk to.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)
Lying and warring With some

Lying and warring

With some of these reports, you really don't know what to think. As with the CNN revelation of silence in the face of threats, you have to sympathize with those who went to expose the horrors and found themselves trapped by simple humanity...by caring for the individual people they met.

I've read a fair amount of stuff over the past few days about the impossibility of "imposing" democracy upon a people unready or unwilling to make the effort that democracy requires of its citizens. I have no reason, quite frankly, to believe that the majority of Iraqis are either fit or willing. This is one of those I'd like to be wrong about.

And yet...I still can't support Bush. I just can't. I dislike and distrust him and I think he's unfit to be in the White House. Further, I'm just sick of being lied to, okay?

I neither like nor trust most of his advisors. (Nor did I need things like this to know that Rumsfeld is, in his way, a very special kind of idiot.)

Also? Things here at home aren't all that rosy after two years of his policies.

Here's more on the way the war was "sanitized" (some might even say whitewashed) for the USofA public's consumption. (My apologies to those of you not subscribing to Salon.)

And here's more on the concept of war as it's been waged in recent years.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)
Thoughts about war War, the

Thoughts about war

War, the part about where actual people have to shoot at and kill one another, doesn't come as naturally as some people think for most soldiers. That's the argument here, anyhow. The toll of war on the psyches of those who have to fight is tremendous, no one has ever denied that. It's a disturbing pastime. One all sane people wish we'd been able to replace with something more sensible by now.

Of course, the toll on non-combatants can be horrendous as well.

I worry, well, many people worry, that in these days of "sanitized" coverage, people are going to forget how ugly war really is, and start thinking of it as some kind of entertainment spectacle.

On the other hand, nothing excuses the USofA, the U.K., the U.N., or anyone else who knows the truth about human rights horrors and who choose to continue "business as usual" or to impose idiotic sanctions instead of taking real action.

I really do find myself wondering just exactly what the USofA's motive was for turning a blind eye to this all of these years. And, yes, I find myself believing it was money. It wasn't in the interest of USofA corporations to take out Hussein.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)
Corporate Money US fines sanction

Corporate Money

US fines sanction busting companies

Some of America's best known corporations have been fined by the US Treasury for busting sanction laws to trade with countries such as Iraq, Libya and Cuba.

Among the 59 companies fined a total of about $1.1m were Amazon, Bank of New York, Caterpillar, ChevronTexaco, Citibank, ExxonMobil, New York Yankees and WalMart.

Do we celebrate because these companies were fined, or do we weep because $1.1M is a drop in the bucket to any one of these companies? This amount, spread out over 59 of them, isn't even punishment. It's just an ugly joke.

And, speaking of corporate money, Philip Morris gets to keep an additional $6B of theirs.

Government Money

The multi-trillion dollar budget seems to have passed. Hands up, everyone who thinks the Republican's "promise" to keep tax cuts to no more than $350B will be kept. Especially since we already know that the language of the bill itself allows for up to $550B. On the other hand, there do seem to be indications that the behind-the-scenes battle was significant, so maybe this still-disgraceful $350B "cap" will be honored.)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
April 14, 2003
Except Except that now I've

Except

Except that now I've stopped for lunch and have been surfing around a bit. And I have to say that this is the most interesting thing I've read in days.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)