American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, February 09, 2002
A behind the scenes look into the making of a recent epic of American journalism:

After the phone call with Rove, Woodward went to Downie's office to brief the editor on his progress. "Len, I'd like to do this story in fewer than forty-seven parts," Woodward said, putting his hands on Downie's desk and leaning toward him, "but it just wouldn't be right. History deserves better."

"OK. But what have you got?" Downie asked.

Woodward remembered Bradlee asking that question. He drew himself up and said: "I can't reveal my source, Len, you know that. But I have a senior White House aide who says that Bush was"--he paused to look at his meticulously crafted notes--"'brave, decisive, and never-wavering' in the days after September 11. 'The president set the course for the war on terrorism and everyone else fell in behind him.' My source says that Bush's performance was reminiscent of Roosevelt--both of them." The hair on the back of Downie's neck stood up.

In the Newsroom, Nerves of Steel
worth watching
awfully late notice, I know...
Caleb Carr, author of
The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians
on Book TV, C-Span, Sunday;
here a brief NYT item, dated 12.21.01
Gone With the War? hopes for a return to the honesty and realism of classical 19th-century Western liberalism:
"Over the last few months we have heard a litany of politically correct lamentations: The orcs were too predictably dark in Lord of the Rings, fiction which employed a "good" North and West against an "evil" East and South. The Somalians of Black Hawk Down were all black, their American opponents nearly all white. The photo of the three white firemen at Ground Zero should be transmogrified, through sculpture, into representations of people of color. A new word - "Islamophobia" - is needed to capture a spreading hatred toward those of Middle Eastern descent. And on and on.



Footage of the burning Twin Towers became increasingly rare on our television screens - lest it inflame Americans. And perhaps it was also deemed unwise in that regard to show too often the pictures of the 19 terrorists, lest someone derive that they were all male Middle Easterners, or surmise that their comrades in Cuba were not really POWs. Yet after September 11, such cosmetic efforts at political correctness have been both recognized and jeered at by the general public. Conventional wisdom suggests that the present conflict will not affect much the underlying and entrenched ideas beneath this daily Orwellian assault. But I am not so sure."
bitter lemons is a website that presents Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints on prominent issues of concern. This week's edition is on Israeli proposals for unilateral separation. A Palestinian view: Another form of occupation and an Israeli view: It's time for a serious public debate.
There is much I dislike about Edward Said (not referring to his literary scholarship), and I have found him frustrating over the recent past because he expresses full contempt for Arafat, seems to believe he knows what is best but offers not much other than a return to 1967 borders (the Right of Return? Jereusalem?), but he is an important voice in the discussion of the mess that is the Middle East, and for that reason, I post this piece by Edward Said on Arafat & the state of the State of Israel
be afraid... be very afraid...
wgirls
tippin' our ol'red fez to the everlasting blort
(note to Eliot G. --& los harbingers--.:
s'okay E- keep piling it on!
some of us may be quite familiar, but there's a great
hulking mass of ignorance out there, trouble is, HOW do we
get this info more easily and readily into the mainstream AND
somehow convince them it is in their best interest to increase
their awareness.
on another note: is there not some way many of us included
in the list of contributors could come together someplace--
cyberville speaking-- oh maybe once or twice a week, for
some active dialog, sharing of info, communing, so to speak?
Ideas & suggestions welcome)

Philippine Arrest Offers Clues to Web Of Asian Terrorists. As attention in the America-Strikes-Back® Show shifts to the role of Islamic insurgencies in Southeast Asia, I wonder whether the US notion about a global conspiracy of terrorists, reflected in stories like this from the Washington Post, is largely a self-serving fantasy-land misreading of local movements. In an earlier iteration of the same pathology of American thought, it is clear in retrospect that there really was never a global conspiracy of Communism to dominate the world; rather Marxist ideology and alignment with foes of the West was a convenient and inspiring peg on which local self-determination movements hung their hat. Makes me wonder whether shaping bin Laden and al Qaeda's image into that of global masterminds of terrorism is actually going to drive local insurgents to forge new links to their heroic figurehead, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I haven't seen much to indicate the contrary, that other 'terrorist' groups are running scared, chastened by the ferocity of US resolve.

A related point by Michael Kinsley: 'The more things you call terrorism, the fewer you are likely to wipe out.' Slate And The Progressive's editor Matthew Rothschild comments:

'There was something almost pathetic about George W. Bush's attempt to make his fight against terrorism akin to the fight against the Nazis.



In his State of the Union address, he evoked the comparison when he said that North Korea, Iran, Iraq, "and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil." '



And, from Toronto Star
columnist Thomas Walkom [via wood s lot]:

The war against terrorism is a brilliant construct. It may not have been started by George W. Bush, but it certainly works to his advantage.

It has provided oomph to the sagging U.S. economy and a new raison d'être for the alliance of politicos, defence contractors and security specialists who make up what former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower christened the military-industrial complex.



What makes this war so superior, in political terms, is its vagueness. Since the terrorist, by definition, can be anyone — the man in the next apartment, the person lurking on the subway platform — we can never be sure who the enemy is.



Also noticed by wood s lot, from Stephanie Salter in the SF Chronicle [via CommonDreams]:

Bush: All War All the Time --
"...(W)hen it comes to marketing a mediocre product, my hat is off to the GOP.

Nobody does it better.

In George W. Bush, Republicans have transcended the Emperor's New Clothes Hall of Fame. And, now, thanks to the murderous, Sept. 11 deeds of a newly christened "evil axis," Republicans hardly need to work to ensure long-lasting, widespread brand loyalty for their boy.

In fact, as Bush so enthusiastically demonstrated in his State of the Union message last week, the only thing his administration must do is keep America afraid and "at war."
[All right, enough already, Eliot, they get the picture...]
Action Alert: Ann Coulter could be dismissed as a contemptible idiot if her message wasn't so insidious. The writer's letter (he, and I, suggest you do something similar) makes it clear what's at stake. Dear Members of the American Conservative Union Foundation:

I am highly concerned about an escalation among people to advance their political causes through violence. What has been remote for most of my lifetime--groups with particular interests expressing their positions with car-bombs and automatic weapons--is no longer just something I see on the news. I've seen terrorism out my window. It is out of this concern that I appeal to you to issue a public statement denouncing the call to violence implicit in the comments of Ann Coulter at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 2, 2002.


Ann Coulter said, "When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors."


It promotes neither unity nor security to stand behind a statement that people who share a particular ideology within our society ought to be murdered. It does not serve national unity to assert that John Walker is a liberal when he is not. It does it serve national security to assert that liberals have any particular likelihood to evolve into traitors.


The purpose of the CPAC, to "advance important everyday issues such as taxes, crime, culture and foreign policy and to provide basic conservative viewpoints and solutions" is ill-served when the overwhelming message the CPAC brings to the greater community is a call to exterminate fellow citizens. I think that the community at large wants to know that conservatives don't truly intend to work toward a future where opposing viewpoints are punishable by death.



I am concerned about the impact of Ann Coulter's statement on the people of our nation, wherever they stand on the political spectrum, as they read about the recent conference in the press. As the developer of the nations premiere conservative conference, the CPAC, it is up to you to whether you want to send a message to America that a new mission of conservatism is to promote the murder of "college liberals" by letting Ms. Coulter's statement represent the tone of the CPAC, or to send a message to America that the American Conservative Union does not advocate the physical intimidation of law-abiding citizens because of their political beliefs. As much of the public is concerned, I appeal to you to make a public statement denouncing Ms. Coulter's inflammatory remarks.



Thank You...

How To Marry a High-Quality Woman -- I hope this is a send-up to lampoon the Aryan ethic, but unfortunately I think it's a for-real Neonazi guide to propagating the master race by finding true love, romance and domination over your Nazi dream goddess. For example:
'State Openly that You Want to Be a Patriarch. Say things like, "I want to have at least four kids, and I want my wife to stay home while they're young," or "I'm looking for a High-Grade Woman to have my kids, none of this messing around stuff; I don't play the dating game." Say it simply and definitely, in a way that closes the door to questions. If a feminazi starts yelling, who cares. Extremely good-looking men actually have a disadvantage dating high-quality women because they're assumed to be promiscuous or carrying a disease. She's seen the Jew values on TeeVee and the phony "sexual double standard" myth is burned into her head, so it's only reasonable of her to be suspicious of you.' [via the null device]
Full of a pitiful and horrifying blend of xenophobia, grandiosity and whining inferiority complex.
Timothy Feresten... Industrial Interior and the Michigan Central Railroad Station in Detroit, MI. Modern ruins photographed by Timothy Feresten.
Patten lays into Bush's America

Fury at president's 'axis of evil' speech

Jonathan Freedland in Brussels
Saturday February 9, 2002
The Guardian

Chris Patten, the EU commissioner in charge of Europe's international relations, has launched a scathing attack on American foreign policy - accusing the Bush administration of a dangerously "absolutist and simplistic" stance towards the rest of the world.
As EU officials warned of a rift opening up between Europe and the US wider than at any time for half a century, Mr Patten tells the Guardian it is time European governments spoke up and stopped Washington before it goes into "unilateralist overdrive".
[more]
Ronald Dworkin in the New York Review of Books asks and answers:
"What has al-Qaeda done to our Constitution, and to our national standards of fairness and decency? Since September 11, the government has enacted legislation, adopted policies, and threatened procedures that are not consistent with our established laws and values and would have been unthinkable before.

On October 25, Congress passed the "USA Patriot Act" with only one dissenting vote in the Senate and sixty-six in the House....
[more]
The Criminal Bee by Hakim Bey demonstrates our relative stature while outlining our deviant statutes.


Our founding myths here in America, which take the form of such texts as a declaration of independence or a bill of rights etc. prove so infinitely flexible as to become, like all myths, their opposites.

Friday, February 08, 2002
Ann Coulter alert

The American Conservative Union Foundation developed the Conservative Political Action Conference and is its primary sponsor. At the conference on February 2, 2002, Ann Coulter said, "When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors."
Aldous Huxley once wrote George Orwell that he felt we are moving
inexorably from 1984 to "Brave New World". Apparently Orwell
agreed. The Irish Eye Inquiring asks: Was
Orwell Right?


One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain
that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally
different interpretations from different sources.

Newly released documents show assorted wierd British plots for foiling Hitler. I was very excited about this one:
"The now declassified documents also show that British agents developed a one-man midget submarine to target enemy shipping."
Until I thought about it. I guess the submarine was to be midget, not the pilot. Rats.
Iran Arresting Taliban Fighters
Despite being part of the Axis of Evil, and despite claims from Israeli intelligence (who see Iran as their only competent foe in the region) that they were hiding Al-Qaeda terrorists, Iran has been arresting Taliban fighters who cross the border. More on the issue from Ethel the Blog is here.
President George W. Bush's State of the Union address on January 29, 2002 was the first in many years to focus primarily on foreign policy. Despite widespread accolades in the media and strong bipartisan support in Congress, a careful examination of the language and assumptions in the address raise disturbing questions about the direction of U.S. foreign policy under the current administration. Deconstructing George W. Bush:
A Critical Analysis of the 2002 State of the Union Address
Thursday, February 07, 2002
LA Weekly has several good pieces this week:
-- Steven Mikulan on the World Economic Forum protests
-- Marc Cooper on the World Social Forum in Brazil
-- Judith Lewis on the drugs = terrorism Super Bowl ads
-- Charles Rappleye on a legal challenge on behalf of the Guantánamo prisoners filed in LA
Bush uses simplicity to obfuscate
A former Clinton speechwriter explains how the simple terms in Bush's State of the Union were carefully crafted to create false impressions of his policies. (Some presidents have paraphrased Churchill; Bush paraphrases Goldilocks. Over and over and over again.)
"From Fox TV's repeated camera shots of U.S. troops watching the game from Kandahar (at 4 a.m. local time?), to Budweiser ads with the Clydesdale horses bowing to the Statue of Liberty, patriotism and warfare and corporate branding were very much considered interchangeable, all part of a spectacle suffused with smarmy jingoistic bullshit."

Bush's Sickening Super Bowl Propaganda, by Geov Parrish

At least a dozen individuals, not to mention the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, are seeking a trademark for "Let's roll" and variations such as "America Let's Roll" and "Are you ready? Let's roll!"

Jack L. Williams, 59, a contractor from Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., applied for a trademark on Sept. 24, two days before the Beamer foundation. He said he ignored a warning letter from the foundation's lawyers.

"I don't care what your name is, it's first in, first swim," said Williams, whose application lists T-shirts and sweatshirts as potential uses. "It's all about good old American capitalism."

`Let's Roll' Trademark Battle Is On
From the Digital Journalist... Requiem. By The Photographers Who Died In Vietnam and Indochina.
Most experts agree that the Caspian Basin and Central Asia are the keys to energy in the 21st century. Said energy expert James Dorian (Oil & Gas Journal, 9/10/01), "Those who control the oil routes out of Central Asia will impact all future direction and quantities of flow and the distribution of revenues from new production."

America wants the region under total US domination.
[more]
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Nukes In Space
"The proposed 2003 budget for NASA was announced on Monday and would direct $125 million to a new program in nuclear powered space exploration, while cutting funds for human spaceflight and axing missions to Pluto and Jupiter's moon Europa."

. . . like Hanford made isotopes?

And now for something completely different....
Corny article about Enrons disturbing Star Wars fetish. Thanks to Fark.
as if there isn't already enough to worry about
whilst perusing our local fishwrap this AM, we caught this item;
& although unable to determine link for the story, we did come up with a couple of interesting ones:
some related & relevant linkage from the Western Interstate Energy Board;
a resource I had previously been unaware of: NucNews;
these from the increasingly less than useful NYT: Science will play Catch-Up; NYT abstract on Yucca Mtn Nuclear Dump
holy shit!
ratting on your friends and neighbors makes you
a real patriotik amerikan: Operation Tips;
courtesy the fine mind @ Medley,
who credits 12 frogs
LIFE Covers by Larry Burrows: 1958-1968, including the wonderful Geisha Bowling (September 11, 1964) and one of LIFE's most famous covers, Vietnam War Victim (November 8, 1968). From Compassionate Photographer: A Tribute to Larry Burrows. "...Larry Burrows covered the war in Indochina for LIFE magazine for nine years under conditions of repeated and extraordinary danger. A Brit, he was driven by a personal commitment to record 'the suffering and sadness that war brings.'"
Enron, Afghanistan, Oil all mix well together via Bushwatch. We did not (my guess) go into Afghanistan for the oil. But we are staying for it.
In my [the writer's] own field of physics, we make a distinction between applied physics, which is motivated by some social need, and pure physics, the search for knowledge for its own sake. Both kinds of physics are valuable, but not everything pure is desirable. In seeking to deploy a national missile defense aimed at an implausible threat, a defense that would have dubious effectiveness against even that threat, and that on balance would harm our security more than it helps it, the Bush administration seems to be pursuing a pure rather than applied missile defense—a missile defense that is undertaken for its own sake, rather than for any application it may have in defending our country.

[more] an eloquent argument by a physicist in The New York Review of Books on how a missle defense would anger our allies and fail to do what its proponents claim it would do.
Tuesday, February 05, 2002
This must be the companion to the CIA manual linked to below! Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare. Just one of many excellent texts at textz.com.
A Guide to the Enron Collapse:

A Few Points for a Clearer Understanding
by Darren Puscas


With the sordid collapse of Enron and the multitudes of journalists, politicians, economists, academics, and Wall Street types that have remarked on it, many people have still been asking for a basic, overall guide to understanding Enron and some of its implications. This article attempts to contribute in that way, though, given the enormity of the story, it is a far from comprehensive account. It tries to give a picture of what has gone on so far, and, following the pattern of the many excellent alternative press writers following this story, it attempts to broaden the debate from the standard, narrow financial or scandal-based story you can read in newspapers like the New York Times (though it has some of that too).
OOPS!
The Smithsonian has torqued off a benefactor who is now withdrawing her $38 million "donation" because she doesn't get to tell the curators what to put in an exhibit dedicated to profiling individuals who have made a great impact on American society. Her suggestions included Martha Stewart and Dorothy Hamill (!?). For once I applaud the Smithsonian. I'm sure they'll fuck up again shortly.
damn! this young fellow makes us all proud...
and nice to see someone at that age interested in making a difference,
I know I wasn't, and shame on me...
iSee is a web-based application charting the locations of closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras in urban environments. With iSee, users can find routes that avoid these cameras -­ paths of least surveillance -­ allowing them to walk around their cities without fear of being "caught on tape" by unregulated security monitors.

The past several years has seen a dramatic increase in CCTV surveillance of public space. Video cameras peer at us from the sides of buildings, from ATM machines, from traffic lights, capturing our every move for observation by police officers and private security guards that often act with very little public or legislative oversight. While the effectiveness of these devices in reducing crime is dubious at best, recent cases of misuse by public and private authorities serve to question the appropriateness of video monitoring in public space.

William Fields, a member of this community, is a fine composer -- let's implore him (in his spare time) to create an 'American Samizdat' theme -- or perhaps a 'Theme for American Samizdat.' Something that combines the most stirring qualities of the Dr. Who theme with La Marseillaise, with a sly nod to Shostakovich thrown in.

On a related note, give yourself a music-box two-fer today: Check out William's whatitwas, which you can download from his music page. Then compare and contrast, for extra credit, Philip Glass' Music Box melody, from his "The Music of Candyman" CD; you can download the track for free from Amazon. Both are lovely pieces. Glass has the edge of menace you want in a piece for a horror soundtrack; William's music-box melody has an extremely lovely tone.
Political Caricatures of the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1875-1905. "...a portion of the political caricatures and cartoons which were published during a pivotal period in Hawaii's history. Most of the prints, appearing prior to the overthrow and continuing through the annexation of Hawaii, were extracted from the American magazines, Puck and Judge."
You know many of these people by name. What they have in common is Big Bucks and more on the way through the war on terrorism: Meet the Carlyle Group
Monday, February 04, 2002
Spirited Guardian interview with Norman Mailer:

Manliness is what is missing from the current conflict, he says: America is behaving like a timorous giant. "What would we think of someone who was seven-foot tall, weighed 350 pounds, was all muscle, and had to be reassured all the time? We would say that fella's a mess!" The sentimental patriotism engulfing the country appals him. "My feeling is that you're patriotic about America if you're obsessed with America because it's a democracy, and its obligation is to improve all the time, not to stop and take bows and smell its armpits and say 'Ambrosia!'"
Two World Forums: Ideology vs. Pragmatism?
Mark Weisbrot, AlterNet

Of the two world forums that happened this weekend, the Economic one was deemed "practical" and the Social one "idealogical." But a closer look shows the economic elites to be the stubborn ideologues, and the social entreprenuers to be the realistic pragmatists.
Who are the stubborn ideologues, and who are the pragmatists? Who is offering practical alternatives to the madness of a world that has more than enough food and resources for everyone, but where 800 million people are malnourished, and tens of millions die each year from hunger and easily preventable diseases? These are the questions that American journalists should be asking.
we could be generous...
and simply refer to el residente as shortsighted,
but we know how inaccurate & misleading that is.
It is something that appears to be endemic in a particular class of folk & institutions,
else why wouldn't something like this get more attention and funding.
More on the Hybrid Vehicle from UC Davis
THE ENRON VALUES


Michael Tomasky reveals an economic side-effect of Ken Lay's
experiment in regulation-free capitalism.

Enron, you see, was big on puffing up its values, and
not just its stock values. The company produced
posters, paperweights and kindred baubles for its
employees that were larded with talk of "values."
There was even an acronym for the company's
ideals - RICE, which stood for respect, integrity,
communcation and excellence. Former employees have
been reduced to hawking these wares on eBay, in the
hope that the Internet, a person-to-person system
of capitalism, might treat them more kindly that the
corporate version did.


So get this, from a poster being peddled on eBay
recently. "Respect. We treat others as we would like
to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive
of disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness,
and arrogance don't belong here." Under the word
integrity, the poster says: "We work with customers
and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely. When
we say we will do something, we will do it; and when
we say we cannot or will not do something, then we
won't do it." Under communication comes "the obligation to communicate." In the company's annual
report for 1999, these "values" were printed alongside
a photo of two affluent-looking, beaming African
Americans. In 1998, they were next to a photo of an
Indian woman in a hard hat.


Dig deep and you can be the proud owner of
an Enron "visions and values" t-shirt, an Enron koozie or, the prize of
prizes, a copy of the Enron code of ethics handbook.
The Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, and the largest country in Africa, is potentially a source for more oil than even that which is in Saudi Arabia. One hitchj" the Northern part of the country consists mostly of Muslims identifying with Arab states and oppossed in an endless civil war with the South, a section that is mostly Christian and identifying with Africa. Now America is to intercede because of all the terrorists that are claimed to be there. And the oil.Oil, The Sudan, human rights & terrorism
see too: slouthsudanfriends.org and: More Southern Sudan of interest also is the investment of American companies, congress, and SEC (now under fire for Enron): American policy, oil, and Sudan
The evolution of "human rights" and the United nations and why in part because of the U.S. it lacks teeth to enforce these rights:Human (and minority) Rights
Sunday, February 03, 2002
This Tuscon Weekly article covers a local panel discussion about the assault on American civil liberties under the guise of the Patriot Act.
Politically-motivated hate email project (PMHEP)

Liberal Arts Mafia (now in its second year btw) is collecting examples and contextual information (what triggered it? what was your response? etc.)

Op-ed piece by Jonathan Power about the USA's increasing international isolation
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Freedom Fighter's Manual. "...In the early 80's the CIA published a sabotage manual and distributed it throughout Nicaragua. The anti-Sandanista pamphlet is full of tips on bringing down the infrastructure of the country."

LAST week, the US government announced that it was building the biggest-ever war machine. Military spending will rise to $379billion, of which $50billion will pay for its "war on terrorism".

There will be special funding for new, refined weapons of mass slaughter and for "military operations" - invasions of other countries.

Of all the extraordinary news since September 11, this is the most alarming. It is time to break our silence.

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