President Cheney and Vice-President Bush will testify together in front of the 9/11 Commission to keep Bush from saying anything incriminating. Nice.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
The Asia Times brings more revelations.
John O'Neill was a leading FBI specialist on al-Qaeda up until July 2001 when, frustrated, he quit his government post and went to work as head of security for The World Trade Center. On September 11, O'Neill was killed during the WTC attacks. Why did O'Neill finally quit the FBI, even during times of heightening al-Qaeda activity? He, like Clarke, seemed to live to capture al-Qaeda terrorists. Wonder if someone will be able to provide his story? His wife, perhaps?
AntiWar.com has a good article up on statements made before the war by Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission. Reminds me of what is still the some of the best writing on the reasons for this war.
And I don't remember who said it, but the Iraq War possibly marked the first time a militarily-superior country launched a war of proxy for an inferior country.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
The new US-installed dictator of Haiti is Jean-Claude Duvalier, number six on Transparency International's 'worst ever' corruption list. Congrats to the humanitarians in the Bush Administration. I guess they really do care about people.
See the TI press release here.
Posted by Peter at Thursday, March 25, 2004
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Monday, March 22, 2004
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Thursday, March 18, 2004
MSNBC does an interactive special on Iraq veterans who've been injured. It's the cost of war Bush/Fox/Warmongers don't let you see.
Posted by Peter at Thursday, March 18, 2004
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Might it once again be time to make an attempt at reading that famed novel?
So here's what all the fuss is about: On one level, “Ulysses” follows an Irish Jew named Leopold Bloom through his day in Dublin — a day on which he's cuckolded, has his own run-ins with pretty women and anti-Semites, and saves young writer Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego) from a heap of trouble. On deeper levels, the book mirrors Homer's Odyssey and Ireland's history, takes on the universal spiritual quest and stretches the envelope of language itself. Joyce wrote the book to reflect the way people really think, speak and act, even in the outhouse — and his descriptions celebrate the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Dublin.
Posted by Peter at Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
I'm about as anti-war (that is, anti-murder, anti-rape, anti-torture, pro-humanity, pro-peace) as they come, but watching Marine One fly over you in DC is a sight to behold. The chopper is just massive, and it usually doesn't fly very high as it moves to/from The White House, so you can catch a pretty good look at it as it flies over. I usually manage to catch it flying over the DC Polo Grounds area - grass fields galore - where I'm either jogging or playing some pickup soccer. I guess the chopper could be making its way to either the Pentagon or to Reagan National Airport.
I'm usually left with one major impression every time I witness this spectacle: U.S. military might is...mighty. The reasons why:
- The chopper itself just looks expensive as all get-out. You just get the idea that not too many countries - even if they wanted to - could really afford to drop the kind of coin required to maintain a Marine One fleet. Even in the air a couple of hundred feet above you, it's like you can see the sparkle of the wax job that the Marine One chopper just received before it took off.
- Whenever the President travels, there's always a second helicopter traveling with to act as a decoy. It's kind of bizarre to watch - feels like you're right in the middle of an international espionage flick, but again, impressive.
- The enormity of the chopper - it looks like it could just attach a cable to the top of The Capitol and pick it up and move it somewhere. And though Marine One doesn't seem to have any big guns hanging off it, you get the idea of what it must be like to be a Palestinian about to get chewed-up by some massive anti-personnel guns mounted on Israeli-American gunships. I mean, why bother to run? - it's just not worth it - just hope they hit you dead-on instead of blowing off all your limbs and letting you bleed to death.
Posted by Peter at Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Well, I was going to brush-up on my Spanish skills, but I don't want to look like I'm good with languages and computers, lest Rummy will get me!
Still waiting for all those pro-Iraq War, Fox News watchers to voluntarily sign up for service in Uncle Sam's military. Can't imagine that we'd have a shortfall with so many Republican warmongers running to their local recruiting stations...
I've gotten very interested in the Willie Horton thing recently for a number of reasons (which I won't go into here), but I thought I might get around to using that FOIA thing that I see so much these days. FindLaw has the law text - the text is fairly outrageous, as you might expect, but it's kinda cool to be able to read it anyway. Maybe one day I'll even understand it.
The National Security Archive at GW has a small site about what the FOIA is and how to use it. There is also a short, layman's intro guide to the FOIA, done by Ralph Nader's Center for Responsive Politics (aka opensecrets.org) with The Litigation Group of Public Citizen. I leave it as an exercise (in futility) for the reader to figure out how these groups relate to one another.
It seems like each government agency has their own FOIA department to handle all the requests that come in. 'Reading rooms' have been established to allow people to come in and study-up, but not too sure why they exist if we have this thing called the Internet. Maybe not everyone is internet savvy - fine. If it keeps the gubment slightly less dishonest than they would have been without the reading rooms, then I'm all for them.
UPDATE: Seems like these 'reading rooms' may be virtual, internet-based reading rooms where commonly-requested documents are archived for the public's viewing pleasure.
Friday, March 12, 2004
I just watched some CSPAN coverage of Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, talking at the National Press Club about the Guantánamo Bay detainees and other terrorism-related threats to civil liberties. Apparently, the ACLU has brought some of the family members of the detained men from their home countries (the USA, and other countries) to help publicize the plight of the detainees and to help 'paint a human face' on the detainees. Of course, it's in the Bush Administration's best interests to continue to paint the detainees as a bunch of smelly, dark-skinned, gobbly-gook-speaking, unshaven, children-eating monsters - and thus far they've been fairly successful.
Romero seems smart (Princeton undergrad, Stanford Law), is a good speaker, very polite, potentially charming, and maybe most importantly - he looks good - at least I think so. Turns out that he born in New York City to immigrant parents from Puerto Rico - so maybe that accounts for the Latino good looks. I think the 'good looks' thing is hugely important - not that it should be - but that it is, period. The Executive Director of the ACLU, as the top dog of the ACLU, is going to be their spokesperson. The ACLU is commonly labeled a Communist organization, or at least Communist sympathizer. It's an organization that constantly struggles with its image. It's easy to see why ignorant people would hate on the ACLU, and that's why it's important they at least see a pretty face when they hear ideas that are not what they believe - it can really temper their anger and make them more open to listening. Put an ugly or not-so-attractive person up there, and their message is that much tougher to get across.
Romero also does time on CSPAN's Washington Journal. He handles some tough callers here.
Posted by Peter at Friday, March 12, 2004
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Whenever I want the details and implications of some type of explosion in the Middle East I turn to Juan Cole - professor of something at Michigan. Today, however, Juan changes the subject and takes up for Kerry after his fairly un-Democratic (Party) pronouncement about the GOP. It was un-Democratic, of course, because there was a pronouncement of anything at all by some member of the Dem party. Add to that, Kerry actually called the GOP crooked. That's no joke, yo! The entire GOP is crooked! This dude is obviously in the zone right now - no doubt.
So, check out Juan Cole's defense of the tall Frenchman.
Yet another story of the airport security criminals messing up someone's completely unmessed-up day:
U.S. agents take an IMF economist off a plane in handcuffs and hold him for three hours because his name matched one on a watch list.
Making his 8-months pregnant wife wait for hours....hours....with no indication....no indication of where her husband was. Did he die? Did he supposedly make the flight? Who to call first? He's sorta brownish - could the crazy keystone cops have detained him? Are there terrorists? Why isn't he answering his phone? Where is he?!
Found a very interesting story - well, interesting - linked from Political Theory. It says something about how studies show that studying economics can do some sort of vulcan mind meld on you and make you more....Republican! Doh!
And the author's sig cracked me up....for no particular reason at all...
Yeah, I don't know what it stands for either (CISSM), but I've heard of them before - I think they might be doing something right. They've just released a report on the sloppy media coverage on 'WMD' during the runup to the War on Iraq. They've done a 100-page report and a condensed/summarized 30-page report. Here are the major findings, as pulled from the summarized report:
- Most media outlets represented WMD as a monolithic menace, failing to adequately distinguish between weapons programs and actual weapons or to address the real differences among chemi-cal, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons.
- Most journalists accepted the Bush administration’s formulation of the “War on Terror” as a campaign against WMD, in contrast to coverage during the Clinton era, when many journalists made careful distinctions between acts of terrorism and the acquisition and use of WMD.
- Many stories stenographically reported the incumbent administration’s perspective on WMD, giving too little critical examination of the way officials framed the events, issues, threats, and policy options.
- Too few stories proffered alternative perspectives to official line, a problem exacerbated by the journalistic prioritizing of breaking-news stories and the “inverted pyramid” style of storytelling.
When you're a hard-core lefty - you know, you believe in telling the truth, human and civil rights, etc - reports like these become blasé after a while. It becomes easy to say oh, is that another report telling me something about who lied to Bush, how Bush lied to the American people, how Powell sold his soul to the devil, how there were no WMDs since 1994, etc.? Well, just tearing through this brief report was very interesting. MUST TAKE TIME TO READ. I could tell from a quick glance that it had some pretty special stuff in it that I've not yet read anywhere else. Tough to do these days...
Figure this article can't be too good for the war party. Of course, the most intelligent response comes from one Christine Dooley:
Christine Dooley, who's 22 and living in Murrysville, Pa., with an infant daughter, is mourning the loss of her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Micheal Dooley, 23, killed in June. "The fact that I lost Micheal does not change my feelings about what we needed to do over there at all," Dooley says via e-mail. "Many Americans forget that we were attacked on 9/11. . . . We need to kick some butt and clean up!"
As these types of articles continue to creep out, lots of thoughts run through my mind. By now I've managed to suppress most of the heavy thinking about the waste of human lives - about what all these now-dead kids could have achieved in a full lifetime - another 60 years or so. So now I just think How? How did it take these families so long to figure it out? How long will it take the others? Does it really take the death of a loved one - a spouse, a child - to allow yourself the breathing room to re-evaluate your long-held positions on the glories of war? And some are still not convinced....interesting...
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Today's Express (Cars, p. 10) has a false statement posing as a subtitle for one of its articles. The article was written by John Porretto of the AP. Man, the AP just continues to lose credibility. And I don't expect credibility from the Post. It's even more ironic when you consider the title of the article - Trust Me, I'm American. The subtitle says:
U.S.-made vehicles top reliability ratings in consumer survey
I have to say, as a big American-made-car-hater, this came as a bit of a shock to me. So, I start reading and encounter this:
For the first time in 25 years, U.S. carmakers can say they make more reliable cars than their competitors in Europe. Asian manufacturers still hold top bragging rights, however.
OK - so the subtitle was a lie. The subtitle said that U.S.-made vehicles topped the reliability ratings, and they did not.
Later on in the article, much later on, we get what we should have gotten up front:
The magazine said vehicles from Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota have been the most reliable over the past five years.
Oh! All those guys are American companies, right?! Cool. Gotta go get me a Ford, I mean a Toyota, built in the heartland of America!
Posted by Peter at Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Interesting.....I've said before that Dean needs to be in this race to suppress the Nader effect. It seems Dems love to quote the Kerry vs. Bush polls instead of the Kerry vs. Bush vs. Nader polls, but that doesn't mean that Dems are interested in reality. Are we looking at a Dean VP run?
Posted by Peter at Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Monday, March 08, 2004
I thought Brookings was supposed to be slightly left of center, but then their guy Ken Pollack came out in a big way for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Now, a couple more of their guys have written a book which states, inexplicably, that George W. Bush is not, in fact, anyone's puppet. I honestly don't even know what to say. All of the insider accounts of the Administration - most recently Paul O'Neill's account - paint Bush exactly the way he seems to be - dumb, uninterested, lazy, incapable, an ordinary buffoon, fully capable of being convinced of any absurdity. I don't get it. So much for Brookings...
That is just no joke, man. I thought you could only get 15 or 20 grand, which was still a lot, I thought, but $220,000! That's a little scary...seems like that's enough motive to drive would-be robbers to go one step further. All would depend on how strict the buyers were about paperwork...
Boucher singled out Venezuela as an example of how Washington has supported democracy in the region. "We've stood up for threats to democracy in Venezuela, whatever side they might be coming from," he said.
Sunday, March 07, 2004
Started amassing some 'workout' music for the home and ran across some very old-school stuff that is just outrageous intense. I used to listen to Suicidal Tendencies when I was a little G, back in the 80's. No idea how I heard about them, but damn - about fifteen years later and this stuff is still slammin. Apparently the group is still going strong - new albums, tours, etc.
Dont' know if this music is for everyone, but I'll give a little pointer to those who have no idea where to start. I only owned one record and am really only familiar with the songs on it, and nothing else, but at least a few of these tracks are tight. Lights... Camera... Revolution has a track called 'Alone' which, to me, exemplifies Suicidal.
It seems these guys have a fairly loyal following and their longevity and philosophies have helped to cultivate the Suicidal Lifestyle, whatever, exactly, that is. I'm just impressed, though. Listen to this one track, Alone, and it makes everything else I've been listening to seem like a Kenny Rogers love ballad. I've never seen a live show, but I imagine it might be scary...which is a good thing...
Posted by Peter at Sunday, March 07, 2004
Don't worry, Republicans - it's not another big government program - not that Mr. Bush would have any problems with that. It's a charity that takes care of greyhound dogs once their usefulness on the track has expired.
Check it out.
Posted by Peter at Sunday, March 07, 2004
Saturday, March 06, 2004
I'd always heard that Sydney was very 'gay friendly' - whatever that means - but this year's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival seems to support the theory.
And, is it just me, or do gay people really know how to party?
The Sydney Morning Herald does some good coverage of the events.
Think you know the basics of what's going on in Haiti? What about Venezuela?
Well, the reason I ask is because sometimes, even with the best intentions some of us have of getting both sides of a story, both sides don't always seem to be readily available. Either that, or we're just too lazy or trusting to ask the question why?
In Greg Palast's book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Palast details the one-sided US coverage of the US-led Venezuela coup attempt. It's really unbelievable stuff, but what was so shocking to me was that I had no idea that there was even another side of the story. I remembered hearing every few weeks or so a short clip on CNN about protests against the evil dictator Hugo Chavez, the democratically-elected President of Venezuela, but that was about it. I never even thought to ask 'why?'. Why were people protesting? After that, the questions can really flow. Who, exactly, was protesting? Of course, CNN never told us about the implications of Chavez's unfavorable actions towards his country's oil industry - at least some part of which is managed by US-owned companies. If you haven't figured it out yet, oil reserves is something that America's powerful, oily elite care a whole lot about.
Read this story in his book. Watch the BBC video clip. Just do something to educate yourself. I'm guessing you'll be devastated, like I was, at how ignorant you were about the situation in Venezuela.
This documentary film on the 2002 coup attempt seems like it'll probably be interesting, too.
Or listen to this audio feed. Wow - this audio clip is...I'm over-using the word 'devastating', but how else could it be described? Talk about media consolidation. Howard Stern getting pulled off the air by Clear Channel just a couple of days after he became a Bush hater instead of a Bush supporter. Rush Limbaugh coming out to defend Stern because of his worries of censorship. A media propaganda machine drumming up support from the masses for action? Does any of this remind you of the US run-up to the Iraq War? Scary, man.
Now we have the situation in Haiti. Are you really prepared, again, to believe what your government is telling you? Aristide is saying he was kidnapped in a US-led coup.
I really like the idea of The Palast Investigative Fund. No details on it yet, but I know that more investigative reporting would be a very good thing for America...
p.s. full disclosure - I should mention that Greg Palast is my personal hero. right up there with James Bovard. and i reserve the right to have as many personal heros as i like.
If we allow a young guy - a kid - to get his ass shot off in Iraq then shouldn't we allow that kid to play football in the NFL? I think so. People claiming to worry about Maurice Clarett's vulnerability on the football field because of his tender age should do a little more worrying about our kids in uniforms getting blowed up by guys with guns and grenades. Now, as expected, others are following in Clarette's footsteps. Good for them.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
To guarantee re-election, stupid! Rove must be laughing at us all. Would we invade another country just to get re-elected? Well, why not? A massively flagging economy, burgeoning deficits, rampant unemployment, Bush was basically guaranteed to get booted from office without another war or another major attack on US soil. The US has never dumped a 'wartime president', so why would we start now?
I've probably pointed this out before, but Justin Raimondo over at AntiWar.com wrote my favorite article on why we invaded Iraq. He doesn't think oil had anything to do with it - on that count I think he's wrong - but the other stuff is pretty enlightening.
Posted by Peter at Thursday, March 04, 2004
Doing what is good for your home community is patriotic, doing what is good for a community you may only visit once in your life, then, is certainly patriotic.
Beyoncé Knowles' bandmembers chased down a suspected carjacker after he assaulted a 91-year-old driver in a Florida parking lot.
I'm so tired of hearing stories of tired-ass bystanders. The story usually goes something like this: People were just standing around, watching, as I was:
- all of the above?
Mad props to these cats for lookin' out. If every punk on the street knows they are up against a citizenry that won't put up with nonsense, we could be a much better society. I don't want anyone getting shot or stabbed, but I like the idea of us all being in this together, and that means not standing around while someone else gets it handed to them.
Posted by Peter at Thursday, March 04, 2004
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Orcinus points out that actual domestic terrorism doesn't always get reported with the same zeal and vigor that alleged pseudo-wannabe international cases or theoretical terrorism gets reported. This is especially true when the suspected terrorist is more than likely a white, fundamentalist Christian - an Ashcroft clone. Don't want to offend the base!
Among the cases that Orcinus points out is that of the recent breakup of an actual WMD plot in Texas. Yes, actual WMD plot with actual WMD. But it wasn't a big deal! But it's not Saddam!! But...but...what do I say Rush?!
Posted by Peter at Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Monday, March 01, 2004
Heard about this weird 24-hour Art/Music/Film event/exhibition thing going on this past Saturday night. This special event, titled 24 Hour Access: 24 Hour Psycho, was part of the Douglas Gordon exhibition at Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum.
What to say? It was very cool, semi-bizarre, and just generally very entertaining. The museum itself seems like it could make almost any piece of art seem cool. Massive, open spaces - rounded outer walls. I've never seen so many cool kids in my life. Seriously. Take every 'cool kid' from every DC-area college (and high school) and put them in 'cool clothes' and give them a place to come hang out and 'look cool' - this was the place. Oddly, I thought it'd be a more pretentious atmosphere, but I didn't feel that at all. How many people were there? During my two and a half hours - about 1:05 am to 3:45 am - 450 people dwindling to 250. Just a guess. It's a big space with at least three floors.
What else? There was this Andy Warhol-esque 'wall of tv sets' (about 60 tvs?) that had all this really cool imagery synchronously flashing up on it in the outline of the U.S. flag. Very, very cool-looking.
I'd have to say the best exhibit was the Robert De Niro Taxi Driver Movie 'thing' (fd: I've never seen the movie.). Two big movie-theatre-sized screens sit opposed to one another about 20 meters apart. You can stand anywhere in the room, between the two big screens. A three-minute clip of De Niro's scene in his apartment, standing in front of the mirror practicing pulling his gun on his unwitting adversary, is playing in a loop. Actually, both screens are looping the same video clip, with about a seven-second delay between the two. De Nero's now-famous line:
Of course, with the short delay between movie screens, it looks/sounds like the De Nero on one screen is having a little mano-a-mano chat with the De Nero on the other screen. Thus, you have created what is sure to be common around DC social settings for the next month or two, at least - the you talkin' ta me? introduction. Think of it as the current incarnation of the Whazzzuuuuuuuuhhhhhh Budweiser introduction of a couple years ago.
Last, but not at all least, I need to talk about the best band I've heard in at least six months. As part of this special event shindig, there were bands and DJs present. As I was finishing the exhibit - one loop around an entire floor of the museum - I heard some band playing. But I could tell they weren't just playing - they sounded good. I could tell it was live music - and it was emanating from 'down there somewhere'. Apparently the basement is where the bands and DJs were doing their thing. I eventually made my way downstairs and realized I'd just missed the band and caught some DJs holding it down fairly well - I'm guessing they might have been Yellow Fever (couldn't find a link) - given that it seemed like a couple of Asian-looking DJ dudes who were taking turns spinning records. Then 'the band' comes back on. At this point, I'm not positive if this band is the same one that was playing before the DJs, but whoever they were, they proceeded to wreck sh*t. Unbelievable.
I think the name of the band was Gully Jimson (no links), and you couldn't really hear the vocals b/c the sound in the box-like basement floor of the museum was semi-deafening, but damn did they rock it. I heard something about 'they rarely play together', and 'the older dude taught the other dudes how to play guitar', and 'the one dude is something-or-other at Catholic University of America', and one dude is the owner of Signal 66. I'm not even sure what genre I'd call it - George Thorogood meets Buddy Holly? Guitar action was nice - I'd compare it to the full and energetic sound produced by the new Aussies on the scene - Jet - with their single Are You Gonna Be My Girl.
All in all, an interesting exhibit, an interesting night.
Posted by Peter at Monday, March 01, 2004
I've just purchased my first SmarTrip card for the DC Metro. I'm psyched. Never lived anywhere long enough to justify semi-permanent travel paraphenalia!
I thought of the Octopus card which I saw being used in Hong Kong. I got the impression that Hong Kong was, like, so advanced, and stuff, or something, just because they were an Asian country and I saw evidence of a smart-card-type system. So, SmarTrip is a bit of a reality check for me - or was, until I read what the Octopus card is really all about. I guess it can be and is used for anything and everything in HK. Nice.
p.s. Mad props to Wikipedia. Been seeing a lot of it lately. It's like the Google of definitions.
Posted by Peter at Monday, March 01, 2004