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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

June 04, 2005
Some Day We'll Vote Again

Via PacificViews, yet more evidence that Florida's voting system was perilously vulnerable to tampering. (Also at Online Journal.)

In related news, the New Democrats Online are talking about redistricting reform.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)
IRAQ

Topic #1

Journalist Dahn Jamail comes home from Iraq and tells us about his mixed emotions. He also tells us some things that are going on here that we need to understand. Hard, but necessary reading, as the truth is sometimes.

(There's another face to the war, of course. There are the soldiers doing their best. None of the soldiers on the streets are to blame for the intolerable stress of war of for the incomprehensible incompetence of the Bush Administration.)

Yet another report of veterans swelling the homeless population should surprise none of us. If you read Jamail's article, and then contemplate the idea of soldiers returning from war suffering some serious problems...it's an obvious outcome. This story is on the same theme.

One can only hope some high-level person in the Bush Administration reads The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course and suffers a blast of cold reality, but I doubt it. The book is about the limits of "regime change" and was mentioned in this very interesting article about North Korea and the increasingly delusional White House.

Even if our corporate media owners read it, we're not likely to find anyone with the courage to say so publicly. Not if they're really on a mission to avoid offending the Bush Administration and the rest of the Radical Right.

I agree with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan...up to a point. The idea of the charitable NGO's as the world's new "superpower" has a certain appeal...but these organizations are neither as non-political as many people think nor as immune to corruption as we'd hope.

(Tell me it ain't true. Tell me we're about more than long-term war planning. No wonder this country is in such a mess....)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)
Bloglines Clippings

So, one of the features of Bloglines is that you can "clip" a post, that is, add it to a list of posts you might want to reference or talk about later.

(I'm still enjoying Bloglines, but I'm finding that when I'm at home in the evenings with my cable modem and a couple of hours to spare, I still prefer visiting the individual blogs. On Bloglines everything looks the same. I think the design a person chooses for their site tells you a lot about them. It creates a sort of atmosphere that you read their words in, you know? No doubt the Bloglines interface is easy on the eyes, but that soft blue and white design is also sort of...bland.)

But the Clippings thing is cool, no doubt about it. I've kept a lot of handy links.

TalkLeft pointing us to the PFAW site and their chart (pdf) of the history of filibusters of nominations.

Paperwight pointing us to William Galston's "Taking Liberty", one of those articles advising the Left on how to take back the political landscape.

From DemocracyArsenal, an awfully good list of questions liberals should be prepared to answer. I haven't yet had the time and leisure to contemplate all of the questions in depth.

Cliopatria's Caleb McDaniel talking about the newest Google feature Google Print. (Another thing I haven't had time to play with yet.)

Juan Cole's "The Lies that Led to War".

Via David Sirota, a link to an interview with Matt Taibbi about his new book, Spanking the Donkey. (I already have more books than I have time for reading, but who doesn't?)

From Chris in Paris, on Americablog the news that a wilderness site in Mississippi is probably slated for oil drilling.

Ahistoricality told us the moment that the NYTimes and WaPo finally figured out that UsofA support for repressive regimes in the Middle East is one reason why "they" hate us.

Sisyphus brings us a valuable look at post-war planning for Iraq, before the invasion. (It looks pretty much like we'd all expected.)

Americablog's Joe in DC says the Ohio Coin-gate scandal is reading toward Bush.

Mustang Bobby informs us that the Abramoff Indian-casino-gaming-both sides of the fence scandal is revealing some Democrats with unsavory ties to the whole mess.

From Donkey Rising, a link to The American Prospect's Paul Starr's "The Liberal Project Now as well as, from the same publication, Robert Kuttner's "The Death and Life of American Liberalism.

Dr. Fallon has another good entry on the USofA and Colombia and drugs.

David Sirota, again, this time talking about how many Democrats in Congress are voting with Republicans.

And again (it seems to have been a Sirota kind of week), Progressives & the Politics of Oil Drilling

And my first link for Josh Marshall's new TPMCafe, Steve Clemons on the White House playing politics with money needed for the troops in Iraq.

Whoosh! Clipping is a good way to collect posts for a blogaround, but it's hard to keep track of how much material you're saving up.

And now I have to go back to the TPMCafe and see what guest-blogger John Edwards has been saying this week.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:54 AM | Comments (3)
June 03, 2005
Creating A Liberal Media

Did I link to Robert Parry recently? Because he had a good column on the media and the Right's propaganda machine in mid-May (but then I started traveling and now I'm too lazy to go check my own entries).

I have a few problems with his article.

Like, transferring donations away from PBS to other "independent" media outlets? Is the same kind of cut-and-run BS that the Left has been indulging in for years. We've proven in the last few years that sufficient voter outcry can influence even this Administration and I refuse to abandon PBS (and NPR!) to the Right's machinations.

His assertion that we'll "show PBS" a thing or two is just stupid. PBS doesn't control their own destiny. The government and the viewers and supporters do. (He writes like PBS woke up one morning and decided to become a league of right-wing lunatics. Media Matters has a better approach.)

I'm all the more bemused by his first sentence in next section.

Second, invest both in existing outlets and in new ones.

Huh?

1. Abandon a national, existing outlet that provides (some) balance.

2. Invest in existing outlets.

Beyond that quibble, yes, I agree that diverting a bit of your donations budget to existing progressive and liberal publications (or media outlets) is an excellent idea.

He also says:

It also would be a mistake to put much effort in trying to get the Federal Communications Commission to re-regulate the telecommunications industry or to re-apply the Fairness Doctrine. In the current political environment, progressives can expect almost nothing positive from the FCC.

It's not a mistake. That's our money they're using. This is our government. It is not easier to try and kill the patient under the theory that you can get another one later.

All his strategy will do is to create a permanent "outsider" status for liberals. You don't influence public policy by refusing to dirty your hands with debates (and even fights) over current policies. And you don't wait for the wind to change. You make it change.

At the time, I was at the AP and saw first-hand how the information that we developed about secret White House operations in Central America helped break the Iran-Contra scandal and put the Reagan-Bush juggernaut on the defensive for the first time in years.

While we viewed our investigation of Oliver North’s activities as just a good story, the repercussions were far-reaching. Indeed, if accommodationist Democrats like Lee Hamilton and mainstream news outlets hadn’t pulled back, the political reputations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush might never have recovered.

You see? He says it himself. Holding back was a mistake then, deciding not to fight that fight back then had repercussions. Why, then, does he advise us not to fight today?

The FCC may feel to him like a small, or even a "lost" battle. Well, first, he's wrong. Second, it matters anyhow. Because if you just cave in without a fight, or even a public debate, the "public" assumes there isn't any problem.

[...] the Left has long underestimated the political importance of the Right’s populist talk-radio monopoly. Many on the Left simply changed the channel to music or sports, but many Americans didn’t, explaining why so many – especially in the heartland – grew to despise liberals. That was all they heard on the radio.

And yet...he counsels us to just abandon the FCC and PBS?

Those people who are working three jobs to keep a roof over their family's head or are 17 and just starting to grasp the concept that the government does have something to do with their daily lives and all of the rest of the individual "little people" in this country deserve better advice from the Left than, "let them have it all, we'll get ours someday." The people who are 70 and choosing between medicine and food and wondering what to believe about Medicare don't have a "some day." This is their "some day." They deserve better.

(Cough, cough. Ahem.)

He also addresses that money issue that several blogs have been debating recently. (I know, I should have addressed this in any of the comments I've made on various blogs, but it took me three days to track down where I'd read about the subject recently. Also, those blogs frequently included themselves among the "publications" that should be supported via donations and I have some issues around that, but that's an entirely different topic.)

But the Right’s success should convince the Left that it needs to invest serious money in both the outlets and the journalists. For too many years, hand-to-mouth progressive media outlets have survived largely on subsidies from freelance journalists who contributed their work for a fraction of its value.

He's absolutely right, as are the bloggers who have been hitting this topic. For far too long the Left's progressive publications and media outlets have subsisted by begging for handouts. I know that I, personally, just assumed that since the history and destiny of this country were clearly liberal, spending money to convince people of that was a bit silly. (Boy, is my face red....) It's time to stop that. Some of us don't have a dime to spare. Others of us can find $10 to give to any one of our favored progressive publications. (It won't buy a subscription, but most of them accept donations online.) Some of us can find $100

Anyhow, he has other good things to say and, assuming y'all didn't read and discuss it when I was out of town and that you're not tired of it by now, go read it.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:55 PM | Comments (2)
Things You Can Read

Via MediaTransparency.org, I found this cool project tracing the evolution of think-tanks.

Bookmark Now, by Robert Francis, talks about the book of the same name by Kevin Smokler. How we read, what we read, and what "Yes, I read" will looks like in the future. Sounds like a collection of essays I want to read....

Is there such a thing as a failed presidential candidate"> How does one "fail" to be a candidate? (Okay, I'm nitpicking but it always amuses me when the Right tries really, really hard to find new insults for Left-leaning politicians.) The important thing is that the story says Kerry is going to bring the Downing Street Memo before Congress. (Note: I didn’t read the comments.)

Constitutional dreaming

Already, Republican judges are in the majority in 10 out of the nation's 13 federal appellate courts. By the end of President George W. Bush's term the count will likely be 12 out of 13, and about 85 percent of those circuit court judges will be Republican appointees, according to a March report in the National Law Journal. Seven of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices (and 16 out of 22 appointments in the last 50 years) were put forward by Republicans, as well.

All of which lends a certain antic quality to House majority leader Tom DeLay's description of the federal courts last month as ''the left's last legislative body.'' Federal judges are appointed for life; it could be a generation before the political balance shifts again.

He'd say anything to try and distract the country from the mounting scandal over his ethics problems.

And a column on watchdog journalism from Poynter.

Whoosh. We've had some weather here in Denver. Some areas had 2-1/2" of rain in less than an hout, along with hail that piled up in huge mounds. Intersections flooded out, cars drifting down the road in brand-new rivers of water, lightning, tornado warnings.

Ahhh....Colorado in the spring.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)
No Pictures, No Autographs

The Bush Administration does sell access to the president, but not if reporters ask about it.

The White House was not aware whatsoever it would be used in this fashion.

The White House is shocked! Shocked! Its modesty is offended, its self-esteem is lowered, and its feelings are hurt. It knew it had a minor infestation, it noticed it four or five years ago, but it assumed it was just one of those little rashes that go away if you ignore them.

The White House has been especially sensitive about the issue in light of President Clinton's use of the Lincoln Bedroom for overnight stays for campaign contributors.

Privately, the White House didn't mind that so much. It likes to feel needed and it likes that people come in and admire it. It didn't approve of the whole money thing, because it is not a 'ho, but its seen a lot worse in its years.

(It would appear that no human being was involved in the organization of these "briefings" and thus no Bush Administration official is...wait for it...responsible!)

Posted by AnneZook at 02:42 PM | Comments (1)
The 12,000, and More

12,000 dead. That's what I heard on NPR this morning.

12,000 Iraqis have died from "insurgent attacks" since the "new government" was elected in Iraq. (That's the figure the Iraqi government released, not from us counting those unimportant dead brown people.)

Hostility toward military recruiters is an old story now, but reading how activist parents are one of the biggest blocks recruiters face warms my heart. That old spirit of protest isn't dead...just dormant.

"They don't realize that they have a role in helping make the all-volunteer force successful," said Colonel Slotwinski, who retired in 2004. "If you don't, you're faced with the alternative, and the alternative is what they were opposed to the most, mandatory service."

Shorter: "Give us your children voluntarily or we'll come and take them.

Sheesh.

I sympathize with the military. Really I do. In ordinary circumstances, the "regular" military people have little or no influence over who they're sent to fight and recruiters shouldn't be made the targets of personal attacks.

On the other hand, the military needs to understand that one thing the all-volunteer army does is reflect the nation's willingness, or otherwise, to fight any particular war. After the disaster of the last election cycle, people are beginning to show their opposition to this war.

I understand that the military's desperation for bodies (and money) is forcing them to some unwanted cutbacks.

On the other hand, the truth about how we're behaving in Iraq doesn't make the military look any more attractive.

(You know...if I spent my "down time" at the office, that time I spend sitting on hold or whatever, working instead of blogging....)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)
June 02, 2005
Other Stories

CorpWatch's latest story is about British Petroleum's new pipeline, calling it "time bomb" environmentally. (And those new green and yellow colors are hideous. They've redone all of the Amoco stations here in Denver in the new colors and the combination looks like some tired holdover from the 50s.

Remember earlier, when I was wondering about SFGate's motivation in posting that 49er's video? Survey says, 200,000+ hits.

Ruy Teixeira talks about Bush and the latest polls.

Heh. Ted Turner takes a shot at CNN's story choices.

CNN should cover international news and the environment, not the “pervert of the day,” network founder Ted Turner said Wednesday as the world’s first 24-hour news network turned 25.

Heh.

And go to Molly Ivins for a mind-boggling glimpse of Texas politics at work.

If you still have an appetite to consider what's wrong with politics in the USofA, read this transcript of Ann Wright's remarks from the Global Good Neighbor Initiative held last month.

And there in Mongolia, seeing the—seeing in spades why America is so despised right now. I saw the extortion that the Bush administration is using on the world to wage his war on Iraq. when you extort small little countries like Mongolia by telling them that you’re going to cut off all their economic aid, you’re going to cut off all their aid—they were only getting $10 million dollars in economic aid—and all their military aid, which only was peacekeeping training for their tiny little military—unless they voted with the United States on the Article 98 provision of the International Criminal Court. So vote against the International Criminal Court, and tell us how many soldiers you’re going to put into the Coalition of the Willing.

The ITT List (In These Times blog) provides highlights of Take Back America so far. (I'm listening to John Edwards at the moment, on a C-SPAN repeat. He was my preferred nominee last time and he's my preferred nominee for '08. By god, the man sounds like a liberal!) (Voting reform! He talked about voting reform!)

Over at TheHill, Alexander Bolton is skeptical of Edwards' chances. (Or maybe it's just that the people he asked were skeptical?)

And I wasn't aware that the Mars rover is still having trouble. (I guess I should have noticed that the rover fell out of the news cycle...but I'm too used to the national media's ADD.)

And one man can make a noticeable difference, even globally, if his name is Bill Gates. An impressive list of accomplishments, indeed.

I was surprisingly moved by this. Why do we climb the mountain?

But what, exactly, is necessary human behaviour? .... At what level does risk become selfish — and, come to that, at what level does risk become inspirational and life-affirming ?
Posted by AnneZook at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)
Tiny Political Rant

If the DC Democrats don't like Dean, he must be doing something right.

Maybe we need to send a flood of e-mails to Reid and Pelosi and thank them for their hard work while asking them, very politely, to stop trying to turn Dean into a whitewashed version of the kind of "Party Chairman" whose tactics have been failing for the last 20 years? The fact that he's rebuilding the Party from the ground up is what we want to have happen. If that means the current Democratic "leadership" winds up on the dole...well, cry me a river.

(Dean's plan has support. Look at the fundraising success. Yes, the Right is outstripping the Left on pure dollars, but studies prove that most voters agree with Liberal positions on most issues. We don't need to outspend the Right. We just need to speak up and simply say what we stand for and what we want to do.)

(Okay, a free press would help...but we have to go to the polls with the media we have. Or the one we can create between now and '06.)

On the other hand, Huffington is wrong.

While I share the frustration that Kerry didn't flat-out denounce our invasion and occupation of Iraq, I reluctantly understand that at a time when things were precipitous in Iraq, it was not the moment to stand up and announce it was all illegal and wrong and we'd be pulling out almost immediately. That would have torpedoed whatever remote chance we might have had at turning the Iraq fiasco into even a limited success. (She shouldn't make the mistake of buying into the Right's propaganda that the Left wants Iraq to go down in flames, just to prove the Bush Administration is peopled with incompetents. First, there's already plenty of evidence about venality and incompetence to go around. Second, we don't want democracy to fail anywhere.)

The USofA election cycle was a time when playing with the "terror alert system" for political gain was routine. There was no way Kerry was going to win the election by denouncing either it or the invasion of Iraq. The Peepul, bless their pointy little heads, weren't yet ready to hold the Bush Administration accountable.

Now it's different. Iraq had their election. The sense that there was a delicate balance over there has passed.

Now we can stand up and say this is wrong, we were wrong, and we want to fix what we broke in the way Iraqis want it fixed.

(And then we need to come home and practice humility.)

Now we can stand up and say the Bush Administration is doing everything wrong, "they" hate us more (and for better reason) now than they ever did, and this is Not. Who. We. Are.

Now is the time to talk. Now is the time to do something loudly and definitely about torture, racial profiling, murdering civilians, and occupying countries because we want their natural resources.

Now is the time to move ahead on renewable energy sources, so that we never again find ourselves killing 100,000 people so that I can drive my car to the grocery store any time the mood for an ice cream bar comes over me.

All just my uninformed and amateur opinion, of course. I just think we're not losing the public on issues and principles. We're losing on rhetoric, and that's just pathetic.

The Democrats' continued obsession with framing? Get over it. There's nothing in that book (yes, I read it) that you wouldn't learn in Advertising & Public Relations 101, people. Do we really need a four-year debate over whether or not saying what we mean in concise, meaningful sentences is a good idea?

The problem is that the Left has been arguing from the evidence...facts and figures and that sort of thing. The Right has been using jingoism. Yhere isn't any reason why the Left's facts can't be presented in catchphrases, repeated for easy memorization. (It's a basic rule of sales presentation. Tell 'em what you're going to tell them. Tell 'em what you have to tell them. Tell 'em what you told them. What kind of clueless nitwits are running the Democratic Party, anyhow?)

Sigh. I never get invited to the good parties.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)
Iraq and Otherwise

Tom Englehardt is always worth reading and his column Bases, Bases Everywhere is no exception. (And don't miss The Return of the Body Count.)

Bush Tells Reporters: Yes, Iraq Is America's 'Golden Moment' . We're in trouble now.

The failed siege of Fallujah.

Help the children.

Feart and Rejection and Truth and Deceit. Why is David Brooks such a nitwit and Bob Herbert always so worth reading? Maybe it's my liberal bias showing.

(There will be a brief pause while I give thanks for my liberal bias.)

Moving on, I don't know if New York not spending worker's compensation money for 9/11 workers is good or not, but I'm not surprised that the Bush Administration wants the money back. They're pretty desperate for money.

Count exhuming the body of Emmett Till, searching for clues about his murder, among the good ideas.

In the category of me (as usual) being distracted by side thoughts, I find myself wondering if airing that 49er's video is a service to the public so they can see it for themselves, or a cheap stunt to grab traffic for the website?

Looks like those worries about the USofA running out of bodies to fill the labor pool after the Boomers retire left something out of the equation.

Because there's not a damned thing going on in the world of any importance, that stupid woman who ran away from her wedding is all over the front pages of the USofA corporate media "news" sites today.

I'm becoming completely addicted to international, non-corporate, and non-traditional news sites. In fact, I'm reorganizing my bookmarks to put the usual suspects, NYTimes, WaPo, CNN, etc., in a separate folder. I'll still check what they have to say every day, but I'm more and more convinced that I get more of the truth from the Guardian, Independent Media Center, BBC, ConsortiumNews, Alternet, and similar sites.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)
Such A Bad Idea

Add "private intelligence services" to the list.

Whitewashing history, too. Yes, I know "history" is written by the "winners" but I keep expecting us to have matured beyond the point of needing to glorify ourselves with lies. (Although I should know better by just glancing at the White House, shouldn't I?) I'm just saying. A little intellectual honesty would do us all some good.

(Well, not all of us. There are a few of us whose heads might explode.)

The Right's determination to turn this country into a police state? Bad and scary.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)
June 01, 2005
Other Items Of Interest

You may not agree, but I think headhunter bounties on human beings are wrong. I can accept that a case can be made when the exact identity of a provably criminal person is known.

I can't accept just a bounty on just turning over an Iraqi, which is essentially what has happened. This article doesn't cover it, which is pathetic, but I've read about it over the last year or more, people claiming they've been targeted by personal enemies or just 'sold' for profit to ignorant Westerners.

Hey...the information was there, it's just that the CSMonitor chose to prune it out. Read it here. (Thanks to Raw Story for the pointer to the second version.)

Sigh. Okay, precisely what are we up to in Columbia* Colombia? (Be sure and check the list of other stories in the column on the right.)

(Note: I knew I'd read an entry somewhere recently where someone was talking about this kind of thing. See Dr Fallon's post at In The Dark for a related discussion.)

I see...airport security is becoming just another marketing tool. You can skip security lines if you spend enough money with an airline. (This "pass" also answers my question, some time back, about those new full-body scanners and how long it was going to be before you saw a picture of some actress's or politician's nekkidness online. The rich and famous will be exempt.)

It rather looks as though David Hawkins* O'Neil Walker is getting the shaft.

*Sigh. I have to stop typing faster than I can think.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:51 AM | Comments (5)
May 31, 2005
Impeachment
Article II, Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

New articles are out by Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese and Norman Solomon.

Believe it or not, I was contemplating the topic before I saw these headlines. And now, before I even read them, let me tell you where my thoughts were going.

The move to impeach Clinton was a childish and petulant gesture that cost this country dearly. (Yes, he told a lie about having sex. His non-criminal, if immoral, sex life is not Congress's responsibility and the matter should never have been the subject of any investigation.)

It's already been revealed that a major facet in the decision to try and impeach Clinton was "revenge" for the impeachment of Nixon.

This worries me for a lot of reasons.

First, are we to understand that the Republican leadership didn't think Nixon's behavior should be punished?

What else are we to understand? That Republicans in Washington think criminal behavior by the (Republican) President of the United States was just, I don't know, business as usual? Are we to infer that they don't find this kind of thing to be a problem? Exactly how much of this stuff is going on in Washington, anyhow? Just exactly how corrupt has the system become?

Second, is this why there was no move to impeach Reagan for the criminality of the Iran-Contra affair? Were Washington Republicans shielding the Reagan Administration, even in the face of revelations of even more serious crimes than the Nixon Administration committed, out of some insane partisanship?

So...now we're at GWBush and there's a move afoot to impeach him for lying us into an illegal and immoral war. As far as that goes, I support the move, even if we won't succeed and we all know it. No Republican-dominated Congress is going to impeach a Republican President. (At least not without a heckuva lot of screaming from the so far apathetic majority.)

I think the Bush Administration was determined to invade Iraq on any pretense they could find. There's mounting evidence to support this. They were determined to wage an aggressive war to secure for our country an undue influence on the distribution of Iraq's all-important oil (and not incidentally to enrich their billionaire friends and campaign donors even further). (//digression// Every gallon you pump into your tanks from now on is going to be stained with the blood of Iraq's people. Unless you join the BUY-cott. //end digression//)

But I also wonder what this all means for our future? Is the next Democratic president going to be facing impeachment on any charges a group of infuriated neocons can drum up? (Or maybe on some real charge, because I begin to wonder just how many politicians' careers could stand close scrutiny.)

Are we to be faced with a succession of years'-long investigations that eat up tens of millions of dollars each and waste time our elected officials should be spending on governing, in a never-ending cycle of vengeance and payback?

I'm sure we'd all like to think of our elected officials as men and women of stature and gravitas. 'Tain't so.

At the very least, we'd like to think of them as grown-ups. Sadly, the Bush Administration acts more like a gang of playground bullies, which leaves me wondering...are they a trend, or an anomaly?

And now, to read the above-referenced articles....

Posted by AnneZook at 06:47 PM | Comments (3)
Patriotism

Torture isn't funny, but that's what a lot of editorial cartoons are for. Saying the things no one else is saying, clearly and explicitly.

(How's that for short?)

Posted by AnneZook at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)
MAINTENANCE NOTE

I spent some time this weekend trying, once again, to shut down access to the ISPs that are sucking down most of my bandwidth with spam attacks.

If anyone has problems with the site or can't access it (yes, I know, those people won't be reading this), please let me know. I may have gotten carried away with the "Ban ISP" button."

(Just so your trip over here won't be a total waste, let me add that I totally heart Mark Danner at this moment.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)
Too Much Information

That's what Rumsfeld says the Overseas Basing Commission gave everyone.

Apparently, had any of us known it was there, we could have looked at it and found out what we're planning for Iraq and who we're going to bomb next. (No, of course the article didn't put it that way.) Or maybe everyone's just in a snit because, once again, military experts have pointed out that what the Bush Administration wants isn't feasible.

Looks like this is the report they pulled off their website. (Don't have time to read it all at the moment, but it seems to be the one.)

It's probably also what the Bush Administration thinks about Jean-Louis Bruguiere telling the world that Al Qaeda is more dangerous than ever. Saying Al Qaeda might hit anyone, anywhere isn't tidy. Like we did after those pesky 9/11 hijackers almost deflected our noble invasion of Iraq with their insistence on being headquartered in Afghanistan, we'll decide for ourselves who the terrorists are.

It's certainly what General Myers thinks about that Amnesty International report. I guess international agencies ought not to be bothering us, they should be off sniffing around for human rights abuses in...well, in places where those things happen. Anyhow, those people claiming to have been abused are "trained liars."

It's anyone's guess whether he thinks all Iraqis are trained liars, which accounts for how all of the ones we have in custody are clearly trained liars, or if he thinks these men, the cullings of the 50,000 reported initial detainees, are all flat guilty, so that they're all terrorists and trained liars. (And is anyone besides me surprised to learn that terrorists get Liar training?)

You have to give the government credit. When they decide on a policy of Stout Denial, by gosh they stick with it, no matter how the documents, photographs, and bodies mount up.

And now it looks like we've been sanctioning, or at least tacitly allowing, more torture.

Okay, so, not so much a short post on one topic, but a short post on one theme, anyhow. (In my next life, I want to be less opinionated.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)
Your Government In Action

CNN's front page, politics section, has two headlines:

Cheney dismisses Amnesty

Bush: Gitmo report 'absurd'

In the "More News" hotlinks at the top of the page? Cheney is saying that the Iraq war will end before 2009.

That's nice. Only four more years at $1,000,000,000,000 a week and then "some kind of presence" he's not able to define for however long.

I can't even begin to do these justice....

I notice that CNN is also offering a Breaking News strip saying that "Deep Throat" has outted himself and CBS is saying it's W. Mark Felt, a former "top official" at the FBI. Looks like Nixon's habit of using the FBI to create an "enemies list" backfired.

(I'm trying something new from now on...very short posts on primarily one topic at a time. That seems to be the way everyone else does it.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:36 AM | Comments (5)
Blogaround

I finally made it through (most of) the blog posts that stacked up wile I was out of town.

Have to say, I'm impressed with the Huffington Blog. Some good stuff being posted there, such as America's Coup From Within. Haven't a lot of us been saying this already? It's not enough to vote. You have to pay attention between elections, too.

Learning to Say No to the Military. It's worth considering. All the more so since the Iraq War was judged to be illegal in a military court.

CathyFromCanada points us toward Slate's new primer on torture. (I say we keep shouting about this, louder and louder, until we make people understand how heinous this behavior is.)

Shouting louder and louder, as the undeniable evidence mounts up.

50,000 people?

It was one of those days when I was hopscotching around, following links, and I have no idea how I found this January Economist excerpt by James Wolcott on how we're behaving in Iraq.

I might have blogged about this before, but it's worth reminding you.

I'm really not comfortable with these chartered CIA flights, either. The fact that we routinely kidnap people (or send people to countries where they'll be tortured) really bothers me, okay?

It also bothers me that so many people in this country have an inflated idea of how much foreign aid we actually provide to developing countries. And that we lie about it.

And that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez lied to the Senate Armed Services Committee and it doesn't look like there's going to be any fallout for him.

I'm assuming you all read the news that there are documents proving that the Bush Administration (and Blair's government) tried to provoke Hussein before they gave up and just invaded Iraq?

And another good Molly Ivins column, skewering Bush.

Another thing I need to buy and read.

Other than that, I've been pondering Congressional Quaarterly recently. I signed up for the free trial and while there's no denying the site and the weekly magazine provide a wealth of good information, the price tag is a bit steep and I'm not sure there's any real point in me trying to become a Legislative Expert. There are a lot of them in the world o'blog already, you know?

When I consider the other subscriptions I have on my wish list, along with the online donation list I've been putting together, it just seems to me that spending $1500 or whatever for a subscription to this one site/magazine isn't practical.

In the meantime, my big debate during my free time this weekend was whether or not I could stand the heartbreak of reading what Robert Hewitt Wolfe would have done with Andromeda if Star Ego hadn't gotten in the way. (click on Andromeda: Coda)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)
May 29, 2005
And Yet More

Okay, I'm calmer now.

I was in Connecticut last week, for the college graduation of a friend. It's a beautiful state. It's a shame about the toxic waste

Some on the left, including liberal churches, want the Left to take back the moral high ground.

It's a pity we spend that two or three hundred billion dollars killing people in Iraq. There were better uses for the money.

And it's a pity about the civilian employees of Halliburton and subsidiaries, isn't it? Well, no, it's not. It's a disgrace, is what it is. KBR is a USofA corporation using tax sheltering to get out of obeying USofA law and providing employees with the kinds of benefits many of us take for granted.

Stopgap filibuster compromises don't change anything.

Looks like Krugman and Okrent are going to duke it out. The continuing duel is supposed to be here.

It's Memorial Day weekend. Doonesbury and Nightline are going to commemorate our Iraq war dead. (Doonesbury)

Remember the soldiers.

Back at E&P, read Greg Mitchell. He has a point. If 57% of the USofA public believes the Iraq war is "not worth it" then where is the public protest? Why is the media coverage so bland? (Allow me to mention that Mitchell is being a jerk by saying that objecting to an illegal and immoral war in some way invalidates or devalues the service of the individual soldiers. Perhaps he's the only one left in the country who doesn't understand that the line soldiers don't make the decisions?)

What are they up to now? Our "policy" on fighting "terrorism is becoming "a broader strategy against violent extremism." (Betcha ten bucks they don't mean fighting right-wing extremists here on USofA soil. The neo-nazis and white supremacists and other home-grown terrorists can still sleep easy at night.) maybe the key Is in the last 'graph? If they "supercede" Bush's vow to do away with terrorism, then they don't have to fulfill it, do they?

And, thanks to their own behavior, the neocons sure do have a lot of Muslims extremists to wage war against these days.

(BTW, do you suppose that our rabid refusal to accept that USofA troops could be tried in international courts for war crimes has anything to do with plans laid in advance for something like Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib?)

The good news is that a lot of our citizens haven't heard that we're no longer a democratic republic. They're doing their part to put a stop to the abuse. Not that it's necessary, because Condi Rice says they have it all under control and no independent investigation is needed.

Or...maybe those reports of how environmentalists are on the government's hate-list of terrorists are at the bottom of part of it?

Any way you slice it, it spells, "unrealistic lying swine" but that's just my perspective.

The whole Bush-Hitler thing again. Worth reading, though.

And if the USofA (or at least the voice of the neocons) doesn't want the European Union, then I do.

Either way, in the future, we're going to be nuking people.

The Lure of Opium Wealth Is a Potent Force in Afghanistan

Western officials warn of a nascent narco state as drug traffickers act with impunity, some allegedly with the support of top officials

Nascent? Nascent? Sheesh.

What the heck do you suppose Bolton has been getting up to?

Exxon shareholders get mad. And about time, too.

You might think discovering a way to maybe quadruple our life spans, or even a tiney step toward that goal, is a good thing, but if you do, you're probably not one of the poor or dispossessed whose descendants will never get a shot at it.

Heh. Heh. That's the entry I would have written a couple of days ago, if I were smarter.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:49 PM | Comments (1)
Politics and the Press

Democrats need to pay attention to their voters. And not just the ones being "organized" by grass-roots and other movements. They need to pay attention to those who need them most...the people too busy working three jobs in order to survive to have time to pay attention to political nuances.

And all the time, not just because an election is nigh. Politics is about more than elections. It's a pity the Democratic "leadership" forgot that, isn't it?

Consolidating our national media and creating just a few national (or multinational) corporations ruled by bureaucracies has consequences.

According to Parry, journalists have learned to be afraid. While the rest of us were going about our daily business, working, raising kids, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, and paying our taxes, a war was going on behind the scenes and the side spending the most money won.*

Actual journalists couldn't have been terrorized into silence instead of reporting the truth if their corporate owners hadn't given them reason to think they'd be fired for doing it. I assume the conglomerate "media corporations" looked to where corporations always look...the profit bottom line, and decided that playing footsie with the conservatives was more profitable than taking a principled stand.

The Left, having lost its backbone somewhere during the Carter years, allowed itself to be cowed by a claim it knew was untrue, the myth of the Liberal Media, and skulked in the corner quietly, afraid to speak up for what it believed in for fear of being accused of having bias...as though bias in and of itself was some kind of bad thing.

That left the neocons free to bully the national media into timid submission. (Not that it took much bullying. Once you start consolidating media outlets, you create huge conglomerates and big companies are always inclined toward conservative protectionism.)

It goes without saying that one big media outlet with a backbone and the courage to expose the behind-the-scenes shenanigans could have blown the entire scam wide open, but corporations aren't about courage. They're about profit and maximizing market share.

Anyhow. As soon as they taught the public that celebrity gossip was "news," they were in gravy. Toss in the occasional shaggy dog or runaway bride story and you have a "news" machine that's never going to run out of fuel.

I'd like to think the Internet is changing a lot of that, but between the people who can't spend hours every week looking for real news, instead of the 5-second soundbite on their television, and the loudmouthed wingnuts, I'm wondering for just how long the trend will continue?

____________

* We all know it. In this country; everything is for sale. That's what you get when you accord corporations the status of "persons" with all the political and legal rights of actual people, you know? In a system of pure capitalism, them what has the money has the power. Using the profits generated from the labor of 10,000 individuals, these "corporate persons" buy legislation that favors them, to the detriment of the individual laborers.

I don't mind a system where there's balance between corporate interests and the interests of real people, but I do mind a system where real people are considered disposable, replaceable rodents in a cycle of consumption that exists only to make large, influential corporations ever larger and more influential.

What kind of warped sense of values do you have to have to think that corporate profit is the measure of a healthy society?

While I'm at it, I might as well admit that I don't think there's anything wrong with Marx's theories. They've always made a lot of sense to me, in the abstract. The one thing that they overlook is human nature. When you take that into account, the history and the fate of the Soviet Union were givens.

Unhappily, the propaganda around "godless communism" has shoved our political system (and economy, you really can't discuss one without the other) too far to the Right and totalitarianism. The current Administration is a nice example of that, cracking down on individual liberty and personal freedom and rewarding massive corporate interests for the "economies of scale" that mass-production and mass-employment produce. (Ignore the people from the Right giving you blah-blah-blah about the Republican Party's support of rugged individualism. If those people had been watching their party for the last 25 years, they'd be Democrats by now.)

In real life, I prefer balance, leaning just a bit to the Left, as the system most likely to provide the most benefits to the most people.

I have no idea where I was going with this except now that I glance over it, I realize I'm about to be added to some government watch list, but whatever.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:27 PM | Comments (2)
Other Newsy Stuff

Molly Ivins is all about the irony these days.

You suppose those "freedom of religion" types today will care a bit about freedom for Muslims?

And don't miss the moment of bigotry buried in this.

The complaining student added that Bush was also made to look "like an Israeli.

I'm sorry the student was "distraught" and "in turmoil" about a poster for a school play but I fear this child is just a teeny bit too delicate, don't you? If a pair of Groucho eyebrows can rock his or her entire world to this extent, the Real World is going to be an awful shock.

I read Friedman's column, but forgot to link to it yesterday. This reminds me of the oversight.

If we shut down Gitmo, we know the Bush Administration will just move the torture somewhere else, out of the public eye. They already have other facilities up and running, although those get almost no press coverage. Friedman doesn't go far enough. We have to stop the torture.

You think journalists really are at increased risk in Iraq?

Posted by AnneZook at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)