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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

February 04, 2006
We're Makin' War

That War on Terror? We really are in for a long haul.

The document, more than a year in the making, refers to the terrorism fight as the Long War.

Toldyouso. They're not even pretending we can (a) accomplish this in our lifetimes, or (b) actually win in the sense that this "war" will ever be over.

As part of the effort to shift the focus of the military toward more non-traditional terrorist enemies, the plan calls for doubling the procurement of unmanned aircraft, particularly for surveillance; calls for the development of a new long-range strike system, as a greater deterrent against future threats and stresses the need to build strong partnerships both with other nations and other U.S. government agencies.

Yeah, because what we really need is the DoD's tentacles even more deeply into every aspect of our government.

If you're in doubt? I don't like anything about this Administration or their supporters and I loathe the country they're turning us into.

By the way. Afghanistan? The forgotten war there? "Fierce fighting" taking place against...you guessed it, those terrorists we said we'd whupped before we left to invade Iraq.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)
What's A Civil Right?

Another late-night vote, another so-called "Patriot Act" extension.

The cops think it's okay to herd protesters into pens and make notes and take video on their activities...unless the cops are the protesters.

I don't know why people are always moaning and complaining about the DoD's database of info on kids, even if they are going to pass the information around to everyone under the sun. Heck, it's not like government-compiled databases are dangerously inaccurate or deliberately fraudulent or anything.

Besides, a lot of these people couldn't have cared less when it was just folks with funny foreign names being targeted. If you're a Muhammad or a Jibril, no one cares that the government is building a data file of everything they can find out about you. If you're Jimmy Smith from Portland, Oregon, it's a gross invasion of privacy and civil rights.

But don't let it worry you. So what if it leads to expanded "domestic spying"? That's not dangerous either.




(Still linky!)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)
Proper Blogging

Sorry about the ranting yesterday. Those of you who stop by to see if I'm linking to any stories that the rest of the world isn't probably hate that kind of thing.

I'm going to do proper blogging today. More links, less lip.

But first....

Trouble in Cubicle Nation says that massive corporate profits don't mean happy workers. What's good for corporations isn't necessarily good for people. Well, duh.

And if it's corporations against people? Smart money knows to bet on the corporations. (They're "persons" you understand, but not to the extent that they're required to obey the law or be punished for their transgressions.)

He's another corporation, which probably explains why Pat Robertson won't be called to account for hate speech, making death threats, or acting to incite terrorist acts after he repeated his demand that we assassinate Hugo Chavez.

Although he's not the only one throwing stones that direction right now. Hitler? Is Rumseld, as a good Bush Family Administration official, hinting that we should do business with Chavez? Appease him? What?

He doesn't seem to feel that way about other folks. Another headline says, " Rumsfeld Urges Diplomacy in Iran Dispute. (You think they'll send Bolton, the Bush Administration's poster boy for diplomacy?)

Okay, still plenty of attitude but I'm trying. (Still! It's all linky, right? So it's more like Real Blogging.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:32 PM | Comments (4)
Misc

An oil and gas tanker is stranded off the Alaska coast. Another environmental disaster in the making?

The bottom line? Haters are haters. They hate. If it wasn't for the religious extremists in this country, aided by the Bush Administration, whipping them up in a frenzy againsts homosexuals, they'd be out hating and killing someone else.

NPR just rocks. Not only the lead article, but the Q&A on other topics that follows.

The Manchester Guardian has it partly right. We should be working for love, not money.

Oh, the money is good. We all want roofs over our heads, food on our tables, heat from our vents, and all of those other things, but many of us make much more than those basic needs require. Once you've got the basics covered, you have the leisure to consider how you're wasting the days of your life. And, if you're not doing a job you love, or at least find interesting and challenging, you really are wasting your life.

Take me, for instance (always my favorite topic of conversation). I probably could have been employed before now if I didn't have a lot of rules around the kinds of companies I'd even apply to, much less work for. I held out for a job that wasn't evil.

Yeah, I'm taking a temporary pay hit but that will equalize eventually and in the meantime, I can feel good about what I'm doing with my life. (I won't be retiring in grand splendor, short of winning the lottery, but at least I won't be being paid for making anyone's life worse in any way, and I'm okay with that.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
February 03, 2006
3 - Operation Clean-Sweep

I'm not sure if this actually brings me to the point I thought I was going to make when I started this this morning, but for the two people still reading by this point, everyone's naming things these days, so that's mine. Assuming we don't all decide to just vote Republican and go to hell in the express lane; we gotta do something to fix this mess.

Forget Party affiliations. Print out a list of Congressional representatives and post them up, together with a list of the issues you care about and how they voted on them. Don't label them with Party affiliations. Then, put a checkmark beside the names of people who have voted contrary to your interests and needs.

And then, with apologies to the sane Republicans, who do exist, admit that the Republican Party is a corporate entity with a vested interest in smoothing over recent revelations of fraud, corruption, and outright lying to the public in order to provide for the future of their corporation.

They have to lose their majority and full investigations of what's been happening have to take place. Not to punish the Right, but to serve as warning to both the Right and the Left that a lot of us are watching and that we will not accept that kind of government any more.

We need a clean sweep this fall. We keep saying it...no more "business as usual" but most of us pay attention briefly during an election year and not otherwise. There's a tiny bit of momentum around the idea of new ethics standards and more open government, but the Right is never going to follow through honestly. They can't. Whether they like the Bush Administration's behavior or they don't, they just can't stand up consistently against them. Their careers would be over.

For that matter, there are a lot of elected "Democrats" in Washington these days who need to just re-register as Republicans and be done with it.

I say, we toss out everyone who has consistently voted with the Bush Administration or who has shown a visible lack of backbone, regardless of Party affiliation, and replace them. I'm not certain yet with whom they should be replaced, but I do know that trained monkeys couldn't make a bigger mockery of the process than most of our Congressional population these days.

It's just not enough any more not to be the worst of the worst. It's not enough to have been keeping a low profile and not attracting attention. Anyone who hasn't been shouting about torture, pressing the Bush Administration on torturing people, demanding answers about illegal spying on USofA citizens, protesting over turning the Supreme Court majority toward rightwing extremism, and speaking out on behalf of abortion rights, peace demonstrators, honest voting systems, cleaning up corporate fraud, or whatever issue(s) you care most about will have to go.

We hire representatives to go to Washington and work on our behalf every day so that we have the time and leisure to take care of our personal lives.

We're angry. If they're not angry, they're not representing us.

They're representatives. If they're not representing us, they have to go.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:53 PM | Comments (1)
2 - What About Me?

Okay. I don't care that much about Party affiliations. I care about what someone does when they're in office. The label "Republican" doesn't make a person or a politician a wingnut. The label "Democrat" certainly doesn't guarantee a politician is a labor-supporting, planet-protecting, future-looking Lefty.

Also, not all of the issues most important to me are "Constitutional" ones.

So. What matters to me?

Public education - We need more and better, not less. Even the Bush Administration threw a sop to the value of public education in his recent SoTU, admitting that without teachers, and schools, we can't hope to compete in the world today. And I don't think they were thinking about regressive and censored religious education when they talked about "science."

You can't just teach kids to code xtml or to support Oracle databases. You have to teach them to think if you want a work force that's responsive to your precious "market forces", and that means a liberal education. Philosophy, metaphysics, history, social studies, government, and mathematics and science. (Yes, a well-educated and informed populace may be a danger to the ability of the government to do whatever it feels like doing. Only venal and corrupt politicians think that's a bad thing.)

Right to privacy - No secret wiretaps of war protesters, no reading the e-mail of environmentalists (and no prosecuting environmentalists under the label of "eco-terrorists" and claiming a victory in the "war on terror), and no interrogating the neighbors of people guilty only of being of Middle Eastern heritage. No secret trials or tribunals. No indefinite detentions. No prisoners, of any kind, classified as being outside the scope of the Geneva Conventions.

Even if I die in a brutal "terrorist attack" later today or tomorrow, never, ever torture anyone in my name.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights give the government the right to torture people and I deny them the right to do so on my behalf.

Besides:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

un•u•su•al - Not usual, common, or ordinary.

Torture is not usual, common, or ordinary for the USofA, so it's unconstitutional, regardless of the semantic hokey-pokey danced by the Bush Administration. To say we can torture people if it's on foreign soil is the same as saying it's okay to murder people in other countries, to buy a six year-old for sexual purposes, to steal money, or to deal drugs. We've denied that the laws of host countries apply to soldiers on foreign soil and now we're denying that our own laws apply? Not acceptable. The rule of law is not optional, not even if you are George Bush or Dick Cheny or Donald Rumsfeld.

Labor rights - It's a source of continual amazement to me that there actually seem to be those in this country who don't believe that, well, that people are more important than things. No matter what the Supreme Court ruled, a corporation is a "thing." It's a legal fiction. Possibly a kind of social force. But it's not a human being. If commerce isn't run for the benefit of labor and consumers, it must necessarily harm labor and consumers...or people. Bottom line? People are more important than products and many's the "social force" that has passed into oblivion unmourned. This concept is so basic for me that I can't even find words to argue it.

Abortion rights - My body. My choice. You don't approve of abortion? Wear a condom or keep it in your pants. You want to eliminate abortion on a broader scale? Invest in education and help eliminate the crippling social and economic divisions in this country that contribute to the abortion statistics. (Note: Pre- or extra-marital sex and abortion are not the same topic. "Marriage" is a legal institution that allows two people to merge their financial assets. Over the centuries, religions have attempted to corner the market on marriage and thus corner the market on sex...and thus control women, the ones most likely to experience the consequences of sex. Now we have the pill, and condoms, and other things and you don't own us any more.)

Freedom of religion - Your religion. Your private business. If my bare elbows offend you, don't look at them. Your freedom to worship your god stops at the edge of your personal life.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Like it or not, that includes my right not to have a religion. I am neither an atheist nor an agnostic. As long as you keep them out of my government, your primitive superstitions are not important enough in my life for me to actively oppose them. (I find such things academically, intellectually interesting, but I wouldn't trade every "saint" ever canonized for the right of one child to be raised in an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance.)

Open Government - There should exist no "privilege" that allows the White House to consult with any members of any industry in secret. For instance, energy policy is not a fit subject for secrecy in this country. The public is entitled to know with whom the President (or Vice-President) consults and what is discussed. Claims of "privilege" on such topics serve corporate interests in that they can "advise" on what bills they'd like to see passed but they are in direct conflict with the public's interest and welfare.

Claims of "national security interests" should be rare and rarely upheld. If people with terrorist links discover that our government is tracking down individuals with terrorist links, they might get worried and leave the country. I'm okay with that. Most of them probably don't want to terrorize anyone but us and if they're not here, they can't do much. (Unless, of course, we give the world a "pocket nuke.")

I want transparent government. Little or nothing that the government does should be behind closed doors or under seal of secrecy. Contrary to what some of you believe, it's still supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. There is nothing the government does that is not my business.

And while I'm on that theme, let's have open, honest, and transparent voting processes. Everyone votes, and everyone's vote is counted. Let's do away with corrupt and unreliable electronic machines and throw out complicated and confusing paper ballots. There's no reason why a ballot can't be a single column of names and offices next to a punch-hole or an oval to be filled in. The money states spend on the extra paper should be more than made up for by the time and energy they save on the maze-like design processes currently in use. (Not to mention the time and effort that must have to go into proofreading those fold-out double or triple-column messes.) I don't really give a shit if it takes four days sitting on the Capitol building's steps to count them all. It's not like the country doesn't still have elected officials during the counting process. Business can continue.

Isolationism - No, I'm not actively an isolationist. But these days I'm hard-pressed to find any examples of the USofA interfering in any other country's affairs that hasn't turned out disastrously. (I'm talking post-WWII.) When it comes to South America, Africa, and the Middle East, our track record is pretty appalling. I don't disapprove of using USofA troops or military might to spread human rights and justice around the world. I just don't think, grandiose rhetoric aside, that's what most of our 'interventions' have been about. I think they've been about protecting USofA corporate interests.

There's probably other stuff, but this is already 'way out of hand.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:50 PM | Comments (4)
1 - Damn Those People

(Sorry about this. I went on a bit. I'll split it so it doesn't break anyone's browser.)

The rumors were right. That change in military execution policy does mean they might decide to execute prisoners at Guantanamo.

We're taking that last step to being a country that holds secret trials on unidentified prisoners and then executes them out of hand.

Welcome to Stalin's Amerika.

If this is what we're going to be, then let's just do it. Let's all vote Rightwing Republican this fall and just take the plunge. Stop pretending we're a democracy and stop killing ourselves by inches.

Let's just all stand up and say that we never really liked the Constitution anyhow, it's just a dirty bit of paper and the Magna Carta is even dingier.

(The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments in the Bill of Rights are particularly unnecessary. If they weren't criminals, the cops wouldn't be after them, right? Folks like that don't have no rights.)

The importance of humans in human society has been grossly over-exaggerated over the years and mindless corporate consumerism is what we all really aspire to anyhow.

We don't care if you tap our phones and read our e-mail as long as we can choose between four kinds of Bounty paper towels for our kitchens.

"Illegal search and seizure" means nothing when compared to the convenience of shopping for groceries at 11:00 at night. (But only if you're white. If you ain't, don't be driving our streets after the sun goes down. And if you're a woman, better be prepared to prove your man gave you permission to be out and about on your own. If you're wearing shoes and you ain't pregnant, you may find yourself answering questions.)

We'd rather have drive-up banking than freedom of religion. (Yeah, freedom of religion is important if you're talking white Protestant religion but we don't need no stinking "freedom." Just start baptizing in the birthing rooms and add bible studies to the k-12 curriculum.)

Comprehensive public education is totally overrated and what's really going to keep this country going over the next millennium is the right to drive down the freeway, packing heat. So don't take our guns! When we say the Constitution is just a piece of paper, we don't mean that bit about our right to walk around heavily armed and shoot anyone whose sex life, skin color, or accent doesn't match ours.

We need more guns but less health care for those who can't pay for it. If people want health care, they've got no business being poor. They should just go ahead and die and decrease the surplus population.*

Instead of a de facto federal government that only cares for military and commercial interests, let's just go ahead and remake the system so that that's all the federal government has to care about.

Then, the next time a hurricane takes out New Orleans (or Miami) or a tornado decimates Houston or Dallas, no one will be disappointed in the government's response because they won't have to make one.

The next time we're reading headlines about 15 elderly people in Detroit or Chicago freezing to death in their rundown apartments, it won't be anyone's fault because it's not anyone's responsibility to take care of the poor and the aged.

The next time we read about ten foster children being kept in cages, we won't be pointing fingers at the government for failing in its duty, because it won't have a duty.

We can have a Federal government that's responsible for killing people overseas, spying on people here at home, and making sure the wheels stay greased for corporate donors interests everywhere. And, you know, transportation. But only if the unions get busted.

Education, healthcare, the environment, the poor, the elderly, animals, agriculture, civil rights, food safety, the FDA, energy research and safety, the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Labor, mine safety, national parks services, the EPA, and all of those other unimportant things can just...take care of themselves.

And individual states and communities can have what they want and can afford to pay for.

If Missouri doesn't have high-tech industry, they don't need internet access. If Mississippi doesn't have any jobs, they don't need labor rights. If Wyoming has more cows than people, they probably don't need any social services. If Kansas doesn't have any trees, they shouldn't have a say in logging issues (regardless of what deforestation does to the climate in states east of the west coast). If Oklahoma doesn't have any rain, they're not contributing to the country's water resources and don't deserve water rights.

Everyone who thinks Oklahomans should die of thirst because it hasn't rained there, raise your hand....




________________

* Extra credit for Dickens reference.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
I Get It

This pretty much sums up what I find about the level of interest in Federal politics in most of this country. The farther you get from the Beltway, the less people care. I spent a lot of years being one of those uninterested people. It was only the advent of the Internet that allowed me access to enough news sources to understand even a fraction of the deal-making and squabbling that constitutes our Federal government.

But there's also something else in the entry that the Left needs to consider. People care about what D.C. does when it interferes in their state or community. And mostly D.C. gets press when they say, "you can't do that."

That might explain a lot about why uninformed people consider themselves "small government" types. They naively assume that life will go on much as it always has even if there's only a skeleton government at work in D.C. but that they'll be free of "interference" in state matters.

This was of interest to me since I've been trying to figure out why and how people could believe something so stupid...that in this day and age, a very limited national government would or could function successfully to keep this country strong.

(It's also a mystery to me how Republicans can simultaneously posture as the party of "strong defense" while posturing as the party of "small government" but that's a different issue.)

(As is the public's indifference to this Administration's SoTU addresses. They've certainly elevated the annual, "what's happening" moment to a new pinnacle of irrelevance.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)
Honey, I'm Home!

Wow, that was exhausting. Sure am glad I've found a Real Job.*

So, what's new? Well, the SoTU speech of course, but I think that Tuesday's speech has been thoroughly canvassed by the world o'blog already. I didn't watch. At his absolute best, Bush is a pathetic public speaker and I hear that he was more than usually drone-like on Tuesday, so no big loss.

For those of you not yet saturated, I found an interesting preliminary run-through of the numbers for the "American Competitiveness Issue."

I'm not linking to the "decreased dependence on foreign oil" thing because I assume you all know the White House said, "just kidding!" first thing Wednesday morning. I assume they'll be using the rhetoric to try and pass their Alaska plans again this year since Middle East oil is Bush Family Friend territory.

And, speaking of George Bush's friends in the energy business, the big Enron trial is finally underway amid much finger-pointing and claims of bad memories and "bad intelligence". (Hey, it worked for Bush on Iraq.)

And, speaking of George Bush and Iraq, are we going to announce "mission complete" again? (He wants another $120 billion first, though. At least, that's what he's estimating now. They're admitting he'll need more than that.)

(Speaking of billions of dollars, how about that new Medicare program? And the relevant portion of Tuesday's speech.)

Also, speaking of George Bush and criminal trials, I see "Scooter" Libby will be going to trial, two months after the mid-term elections. Wouldn't want any more scandals to upset the increasingly cranky electorate, would we?

The military wants a ten-percent cut in nukes. We could cut our nuclear weapons stockpile by fifty percent and still have enough left to kill everything on the planet twice over. (Anyhow, I'm assuming they're making a PR parade out of something like getting rid of their oldest stuff and that it will eventually be replaced with "pocket" nukes or some gargantuan "bunker-buster.")

And, speaking of nukes, France says we're a bunch of cheese-eating, surrender monkeys.

Making war on a tactic. (Well, it all depends on your definitions, doesn't it?)




____________________




* I'm employed! I start on the 13th, back at my old company, but in a new position.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:04 PM | Comments (6)
January 29, 2006
Stuff I Demand That You Care About

Education and more education.

Check out TalkLeft and follow the links.

And, as one of the people on the panel said,

"When you're a law student, they tell you if say that if you can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you if you can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either, apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations offensive and make it a political issue... to say over and over again "it's lawful", and to think that the American people will somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough

Indeed. Heh.

I don't think I'm smart enough to understand it but for those interested in Palestine and the recent Hamas political victory this seems to be an awfully detailed and thoughtful analysis. Or this one. My brain isn't up to either of them tonight.

For more on the Woodruff and Vogt story, their condition and some context for what happened, see Joe Gandelman.

Avedon Carol wants us to hear What real people said about Al Gore's speech on the 16th.

Everybody's got the story but as so frequently happens, the General covers it best.

What's happened to the NYTimes editorial? Sounds like the Bush Administration moved their cheese or something. In fact, they're getting right up into people's faces. I'm...astonished. Impressed. And very surprised.

Under the heading of, "bookmark this, you'll want to refer to it later" here's a good Katrina timeline. (To be fair, I don't think the actions of Condaleeza Rice or Rumsfeld are relevant. They aren't the part of the government that's supposed to handle this stuff. Also, I have some doubts about the looting and raping reports, some of which were later shown to be inaccurate. Don't know which reports were confirmed and which ones weren't.)

So, Tuesday's the ol' State Of the Union speech? I'll be on the road doing temp work, but probably back in my hotel room by 7:30 or so MT. I'll have to check and see what time it's supposed to be on. And then I'll have to decide if I can stand to listen to the man talk or not. Usually I elect to read the text later instead. Maybe this year I'll decide it's just not relevant. (Via Cliopatria.

(I'm talking a lot today but starting tomorrow afternoon, I'll be offline until Thursday.)

Posted by AnneZook at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)
Doggone It

I shoulda' done that, shouldn't I?

Well, here it is, my Project Censored score. The stories I was aware of (i.e., read about during the year, from some source) before reading the list are in bold:

#1 - Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
#2 - Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death
#3 - Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
#4 - Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
#5 - U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
#6 - The Real Oil for Food Scam
#7 - Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
#8 - Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
#9 - Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#10 - Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy
#11 - Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights
#12 - Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators
#13 - Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges
#14 - Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers
#15 - Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom
#16 - U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada
#17 - U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region
#18 - Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy
#19 - Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments
#20 - American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others
#21 - New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People
#22 - Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny
#23 - Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem
#24 - Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations
#25 - Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail

Okay, if I knew about 18 out of 25 of these, they weren't that "censored."

On the other hand, there are a lot of dedicated bloggers who don't hit the number of news sites I do during a day, which leaves the average newspaper/tv news consumer 'way behind when it comes to knowing that the MSM is choosing not to talk about.

Me, I remain particularly indignant about 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 and 13. Not that the others aren't important, but the fact that the national media/press has not chosen to educate the public about what's going on and what's at risk really irritates me.

Okay, so Ahistoricality was all fair and stuff. I'll be fair, too.

The rightwingnut...I mean World Net Daily list of important stories they think the MSM underreported.

Only, because I am not Ahistoricality, I'm gonna be rude.

1. Failure of the 9-11 commission to investigate "Able Danger." (Wasn't this declared to be "outside their mandate"?)

2. Successes in rebuilding Iraq. (If it bleeds, it leads. Besides, the USofA public isn't likely to be emotionally moved by the digging of a new well for the people they're being told are evil monsters out to slaughter Americans, are they? You can't have it both ways. Either Muslims are the evil force trying to destroy our society and force us all into worshipping Allah, or they're ordinary human beings who like a drink of water from time to time. I promise you that pictures of children at play outside a school won't increase support for a war when next week's news announces that four of the children were killed in a targeted missile strike we kinda hope might have come close to also killing an actual terrorist or two.)

3. Cover-up of David Barrett's probe of Clinton IRS and Henry Cisneros. (Bill Clinton got laid by a woman not his wife. Get over it.)

4. The impact of illegal immigration on the U.S. and its security. (They cite 51 people arrested on "suspicion" of being some kind of terrorists over the course of a year. Whatever problems illegal immigration might or might not be causing us, I think 51 people suspected of being terrorists by virtue of their ethnicity are not at the head of the list.) (Note: I hadn't read about the 51 arrests before, but I've certainly read a number of stories warning that we can't let them brown people sneak across the border and kill us all way too often in the last year.)

5.The truth about Terri Schiavo and her death. (Shorter version: "We're sticking to our story, she wasn't brain-dead, and her husband was getting laid by a woman not his wife." They're just being stupid and stubborn on this one. The woman was brain-dead. The doctors said so. I promise you that there are darned few doctors in the country who make a mistake about that kind of thing, Frist's long-distance political-stunt-diagnosis via video-tape notwithstanding.)

6. Sandy Berger's slap on the wrist for stealing classified documents. (This one puzzled me, too. I can only conclude that even in the current Democrat-baiting and hating climate, not even the Right really thought he was deliberately committing a crime.)

7. The fact that WMDs were found in Iraq. (They cite unconvincing "evidence" including an Iraqi-language audio tape that was "overlooked" before. They also conflate "weapons" with "programs." I can open a Word document, title it, "I Wanna Make A Nuke", then fill in the first hit I get on a Google search, and that qualifies for a "weapons program.") (Note: I've read stories claiming that the jury was still out, or that we'd found chemical weapons, or chemical weapons dumps, but I can't remember where. So, just to be fair, I'm marking this one, "not known.")

8. Atrocities of radical Islam. (Of all the things we've heard plenty of over the last year, this is one of them.) (Also, why didn't the atrocities in Darfur make the list? Why isn't the Sudan on their list of "underreported" stories? There's even an Islamic component, so it fits right in with their theme here.)

9. Islam's impact on French riots. (Because people are rioting and because their religion is Islam, does not make it an Islamic riot. Although, to be fair, they do say "impact on" but I read quite a lot about the "impact" of "Islam" on the Paris riots at the time. I think a lot of us did. Maybe the USofA media didn't, to be fair. I get a lot of my news from international sources. But, as I recall, the Paris riots didn't get 1/10 of the coverage Schiavo or half a dozen missing attractive young blonde women got, so it's not like the MSM was fixated on the riots or anything.)

10. Good news about the economy. (I read this in the MSM all the time. I don't see it in the job market, but I certainly read about it.)

So, you know, I got 9/10 on this list.

Possibly both lists should have been "underreported" stories. But if that was the case, this bunch should have left Schiavo off (we heard about it endlessly). They also should have left off #3 because they totally need to find a ladder and get over it.

#10 has been in the news over and over and over. Forgive us all if the repeated announcements of tens of thousands of layoffs and a housing 'bubble' about to burst and the elimination of bankruptcy protections for individuals combined with increased credit card payments and warnings that Medicare might not be there for us in a few years and dire predictions about Social Security and a mushrooming federal deficit are distracting us from how wonderful things are in our country today.

Synopsis: Clinton evil, Islam evil, brown people dangerous, USofA fabulous, Clinton evil.

Mostly, though, I just don't agree that these stories were underreported.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:40 PM | Comments (4)
Hmmm

You remember how Kerry's announcement that he'd support a filibuster on Alito was issued from Davos?

What's that all about? Read this.*

I posted in Avedon Carol's Sideshow yesterday that Kerry's failure to step up to the plate the way people kept hoping he would, struck me as the result of one of two reasons:

1) He lacks the courage

2) He's just not really that passionate about liberal causes

I think we're seeing #2 edging ahead here. The bottom-line truth of the matter is that upper-class in this country have a solidarity of goals and needs that is much stronger than any political party ties.

The problem is, if we stop electing the upper-class, will the "regular joe" who gets the job be able to get it done if he's not cousin to the oil industry and brother-in-law to the international banking community?

___________________


*And this is the group behind it.

Their aims look very noble and I'm sure many of them mean well, but some of the stuff I read gave me nightmares.

Finding balance in the global economy— While the global economy is growing very strongly, it could be described as "astonishingly unbalanced", said Martin Wolf, Associate Editor, Financial Times. He cited low savings and high consumption in the US, its large current account, and budget deficits as indications of the imbalances.

"Sometime in the next couple of years, an adjustment will come," said Lawrence Summers, President, Harvard University, and Annual Meeting Co-Chair. "It will require rather more policy coordination than we have seen," he commented.

"Global imbalances are deepening and that has serious consequences for developing countries like India," Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s Minister of Finance, told participants. "The first [potential trigger] is a southward movement of the dollar; the second is an unexpected increase in US interest rates; [and the third] is spiralling energy prices [which] will lead to inflationary expectations," he explained.

Sounds to me like due to irresponsible fiscal policies here in the USofA, it's been decided that we need to take one for the team.

There's a lot of stuff there.

Don't get me wrong. I don't dislike groups like this because they're full of rich people. I dislike them because they have so much power and they aren't accountable to anyone for how they use it.

Like their assumption that market forces are the primary consideration. See the Alternet article for just one example of how "market forces" moved labor (that's "people") to the sidelines.

Or that "open markets" are the most desirable outcome internationally. Consumerism does not lead to happiness and it's not necessary to be able to choose between fifteen brands of toilet paper in nine stores to have a good life.

World Economic Forum summits bring decision-makers together to address the world's most crucial issues. These events enable members and constituents to discuss global and regional issues by sharing first-hand information and insights.

Constituents?

Any of you vote for any of these people? I know I didn't, but I also know that the decisions they make are going to have as much impact on the future of this country as anything that comes out of the White House or Congress.

I am not a fan of unfettered "globalization" and I think the only safe way to allow the existence of megalithic "multinational" corporations meddling in economic policy in countries around the world is if they're balanced by strong labor movements in all of those places.

Besides. Commerce is not the be-all and end-all of human existence and I'm annoyed by people who view it as such.

Now I'm thoroughly grouchy, so I'm going to go get ready for lunch with some friends. Hmph.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)
Getting Cranky

Big deal. They couldn't do that a year ago, when thousands of us were screaming it was all a big boondoggle that was going to create more problems than it solved?

2005's "top ten censored news stories" list is out. I'd call some of these less "censored" than "ignored by the MSM" but whatever. These are stories we need to be pushing.

Like this (which didn't make the cut as it's from 2006), these are things more people need to be thinking about. Don't let anyone fool you that we don't deliberately make war on civilians.

We'll be prepared in case of an "emergency" (like the country rising up against the neocons, one presumes), because the KBR contract to build detention centers has already been awarded. Ignore the snarky intro. These won't be nothing like prisons. Honest. (Don't you trust the Bush Administration?)

Bush's Midterm Challenge

Tuesday's State of the Union speech is an opportunity for Bush to seize the initiative from the Democrats and frame the election season.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. At this point, any "initiative" the Democrats have could be seized with a kleenex.

Apparently there's so little happening in the world that the NYTimes decided to fill some space talking about...how they fill their space.


Posted by AnneZook at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)
I knew it

Not content with trying to bully India over their vote on Iran's nuclear program, we're also trying to strong-arm them into opening their doors to Wal-Mart.

The cabinet Tuesday approved major reforms in foreign investment, including opening its retail market the world’s eighth largest and estimated at 250 billion dollars to single brand outlets such as shoemakers Nike and Reebok.

The left parties, which have 61 MPs in a 545-member parliament and whose support is vital to the coalition government, opposed the move, saying it will hit small stores which dominate the Indian retail market.

Mulford questioned their reasoning.

“I recognise there are complicated problems there because of the innate structure of your current small sector. But ... large retailers and small shopkeepers can co-exist perfectly well,” Mulford told PTI.

The diplomat said the move will not only benefit US companies but also the Indian economy.

“Large-scale retailers would come into India and build backwards the infrastructure all the way out to the farm that’s required to improve the efficiency of India’s agricultural sector.”

Suuure they would. Just ask any small-town shopkeeper in the USofA whose seen a superstore move into their area. If you can find one who hasn't been "coexisted" out of existence.

Or ask any local farmers in an area where some USofA superstore has moved in a grocery-drug-clothing-toys megamart. Oh. Wait. Those superstores don't buy local produce, do they?

The envoy welcomed the government’s decision to allow 51 percent foreign investment in the retail sector but said it needed to do more than just allow single-brand outlets to set up shop.

Doesn't surprise me. Considering how little of the product of those single-bands is actually made in the USofA, not much profit would be reaped back on home shores.

“US retailers should be able to come into India and do the full range of retail business.”

He also said the government should change investment caps in the insurance sector and the existing limitations on foreign banks expanding in India.

Because you don't really control a country until you control the flow of money.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)
Iraq

US news anchor hurt in Iraq blast

Top American TV journalist Bob Woodruff and his cameraman have been seriously wounded in a bomb attack in Iraq.

Dangerous place to be traveling, even or especially if you're "embedded" with the military.

ABC News' Bob Woodruff and Cameraman Injured in Iraq

"This is very common over there now," said White House correspondent Martha Raddatz, who also covered the Pentagon for years and has had entensive experience in Iraq, on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" this morning. "These attacks are planned, and this [the small arms attack] is a secondary attack. Sometimes when the medical personnel come in, they have small arms fire following up on that."

Both were wearing body armor, helmets and ballistic glasses. They had been traveling in a U.S. armored humvee, but then transferred into the Iraqi vehicle. The men were medevaced to the Green Zone to receive treatment. They were then flown by helicopter to Balad which is about a 20-minute ride from Baghdad, said Raddatz.

Attacks on military convoys are "very common" and those who have body armor aren't safe. But things are going swimmingly and we're winnin' the war.

It sounds as though these two didn't hesitate to visit the hotspots. My thoughts go out to them and their families. None of the articles I can find indicate whether or not anyone else was injured or even killed.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:46 AM | Comments (1)