American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, March 01, 2003
But what do the Iraqis want?
The most tempting pro-war argument I've heard in favor of war in Iraq goes as follows: "Of course Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney etc. are hypocritical bastards who are out for oil, distraction and imperialist adventure, of course they have exaggerated Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and his connections to al-Qaeda, and of course Saddam's attacks on Iran and Kuwait went ahead with a green light from the US. But even so, it's worth toppling Saddam. A weakened, contained Saddam may not threaten anyone else, but he will be a menace to his own people. The terrors of the Gulf War brought forth the rejeuvenation of Kurdistan, and another war, however much it ends up enriching Halliburton and is played for Republican advantage, is worth supporting for democracy to flourish."

It is an attractive argument, realistic about Bush and co., in favor of liberty, and attractively optimistic about people's capacity for democratic regeneration when obstacles are removed.

It's also an uncomfortably easy one for civilians in the US to make. We might assess the costs and benefits differently if we were the ones to suffer the death and destruction of a war and to take the risk of things going horribly wrong. It's really presumptuous for us to decide that the price — another Gulf War at bare minimum, and utter horror in the worst case — Iraqis would pay for freedom from Saddam and the institution of democracy is an acceptable one. That is a choice for the Iraqis to make, because they will bear the brunt of the cost.

And now it seems increasingly unlikely that the US plans to institute a democracy in postwar Iraq.

The argument could be made that even a bloody war that results in a US-run protectorate could be better for Iraqis than a future under Saddam Hussein. I can imagine that an American military governor would have less criminal latitude than Saddam. But the results of that calculation, balancing the terrible damage of war, the risk of chaos and the prospects of a somewhat more benevolent dictatorship with minimal negative liberties on one hand, and more of life under Saddam on the other, is one that is properly calculated by the Iraqis themselves.

But how to measure the views of Iraqis?


Sharon in Palestine state u-turn
PM drops road map to peace in favour of settlers

Ariel Sharon yesterday virtually ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state under his hawkish new government just a day after President Bush pledged to broker a peace deal once he has dealt with Iraq.

Hazy Mideast Peace Vision

President Bush ended his protracted silence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this week by painting a vision of an independent state of Palestine living in peace next to Israel, a vision he has described before. But his picture of the path to permanent peace was too vague to be useful, especially given his recent neglect of the conflict.

Welsh pensioner turns freedom fighter
Ex-bank manager defends Palestinian suicide bombers

Anne Gwynne is conducting her own war on terrorism. A retired bank manager from Wales, she originally planned to join the thousands of other foreign volunteers who spend a few weeks each year picking olives, monitoring Israeli roadblocks and acting as human shields in solidarity with the Palestinians.

But after nine weeks in the West Bank city of Nablus, with bullet shrapnel in her leg and horrors she never imagined etched on her mind, she says she has come to understand - perhaps support - the more extreme and tragic tactics of a brutal conflict. She has found friends in the men with guns and the proud relatives of suicide bombers, the "martyrs" whose pictures paper the streets.

"I had never seen a tank before. I'd never seen a soldier. I've seen dead people, but I've never seen someone killed by these huge 25mm bullets. The injuries are horrific. The cannon from the tank takes the whole chest off," she said. "This is terrorism gone completely and utterly crazy. There is no other word for this because it's not one incident, it thousands of incidents across the whole city.
Friday, February 28, 2003
A Duty to Disobey All Unlawful Orders: [Many articles have been written on the illegality and the immorality of Bush's plans to attack the people of Iraq. While many of these articles are excellent, they are not usually directed at the people who need to read them the most — the members of the armed forces of the United States. If you find this information useful, please forward this article to anyone you know in the military or to websites that they would frequent...]
Excerpts from John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation sent to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell:

Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart...

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.
We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has “oderint dum metuant” really become our motto?

For those without the benefit of a Classical education, oderint dum metuant means Let them hate as long as they fear. You can read this letter in full at The New York Times.

LibertyThink Homeland Propaganda
Alert Level Remains at Orange ("High")

In response to Tom Ridge's decision to lower the Terror Alert level to Yellow, perhaps due to the untimely death of Mr. Rogers, LibertyThink has carefully evaluated the situation and decided to maintain the status of the Homeland Propaganda Advisory System to level Orange, the second highest level on the scale. A High condition is declared when there is a high risk of propaganda attacks.
Tom Ridge has issued the following statement today:
"Detained Al Qaeda operatives have informed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials that Al Qaeda will wait until it believes Americans are less vigilant and less prepared before it will strike again."
We believe that what Ridge is implying is that there is an inverse reality to lowering the Terror Alert level to Yellow and we will be offering the impression that Americans will appear "less vigilant", and thus subject to higher risk of terrorist attack.

Note that this level (Orange) of the Homeland Propaganda Advisory System is equivalent to the Justification Stage in Ottosen's system.

Citizens are advised to be on a high level of alert for the dead baby story or any event whose apparent urgency brooks no delay - specifically, no time for cool deliberation or negotiating on peace proposals. Human interest stories are ideal for engendering this atmosphere.
Also see: LibertyThink Homeland Propaganda Alert Level Raised to Orange ("High")

War is hell — but damned profitable!

For awhile, it looked like corporate America wasn't going to get to share in the spoils of our glorious upcoming war with Iraq.

I know that the usual thieves in the Defense Industry have already been profiting by the buildup, but aside from the obvious players, other segments of the economy have yet to exploit war fever to their advantage — until now.

Finally, the corporate media giants have stepped up to claim their share of war economy profits.

Fox News Channel, led by its infamous naturalized wingnut, Rupert Murdoch, has used its close ties to the Bush Cartel and its utter lack of journalistic ethics to convince the average American nimrod that it and it alone speaks the truth about the coming war. And while the numbers are relatively small, this important part of the conservative media machine has trounced CNN and MSNBC in the so-called Cable News ratings war; proving that when people find a media outlet that represents their narrow views, they don't dare change channels, lest they be exposed to another viewpoint that makes them question their own.

Fortunately (for them), the danger of this happening is becoming less and less likely.

In order to attract more of the factless Fox crowd, CNN is now promoting the war very heavily; even to the point of creating the Iraq Tracker for your browser so that you can keep up-to-date on the latest developments when Bush's war commences.

Radio giant Clean Channel Communications, with its 1200 stations in lockstep with it's conservative management hasn't sit still in its war planning either.

According to columnists Cary Spivak and Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sales personnel for the six Milwaukee area Clear Channel stations sent a memo entitled, "Planning for the Possibility of War with Iraq" to over 1,000 companies which "laid out the buying opportunities that could come from an attack."
"In the event of a war our coverage of these events allows for additional commercial inventory allotments,"wrote Keith Bratel, sales chief for six Milwaukee stations, including WMIL-FM (106.1) and WISN-AM (1130). "This could allow more than normal availability for advertisers."
According to Bratel, his memo was "largely lifted from one that was sent by Jeff Tyler, marketing manager for the six Clear Channel stations in Madison."

I suspect that this memo has circulated to all 1200 Clear Channel stations. But don't think that these two exemplary American business types are just about increasing corporate profits.

Tyler, like Bratel, said he hopes the situation with Iraq doesn't come to [war], offering the standard platitudes about armed conflict.
"Obviously, guys could be dying and women could be dying," Tyler said, "and it's a horribly tragic thing."

Still, business is business.

"Everybody has had the same problem since 9-11," Tyler said. "Everybody has concerns about the placement of advertising during times of crisis."
So when the war begins and the threat of pre-empted advertising looms, be sure to tell those companies who support the war effort to keep on buying radio time.

It's the patriotic thing to do.

In the meantime, I've got to sign up for the Iraq Tracker. I don't want to miss one exciting moment of Bush's boondoggle!

Thursday, February 27, 2003
War Protesters Use Telephone to Lobby
Thousands of calls and e-mails protesting the prospect of a war with Iraq flooded Senate offices today, making it impossible to reach Senators or their staffs. Senators were inundated whether they had supported the war or not, as protest organizers urged telephone and internet users to contact Senate offices across the board. NPR's Andrea Seabrook discusses the protest.

Watch it live:

Also see: Anti-war protesters flood Senate, White House offices with calls in 'virtual march'

From the front: As ones who volunteered their Kung Fu to set up and admin Voice/Fax dialing servers, all we can say is, "Jam the Circuits Baybee, Yeah!"
The call volume is estimated at over one million calls. Circuits were jammed, but on the lighter side, those staffers that were forced to field the calls and messages were sent "care packages" of snacks and such. Dissent hax0r stylee.

A voice in the MSNBC wilderness is silenced

It just got a lot tougher to make any real headway against the conservative hate machine.

Yesterday, Phil Donahue's MSNBC show was abruptly axed. While this had been rumored for quite some time, the ending demonstrated corporate despicability at its worst and was insulting as hell to a man who deserved much better.

Rather than be allowed to even work out the week presenting both sides of important public issues as he has been doing for the past six months, MSNBC simply yanked the show and lengthened Countdown: Iraq by an hour. Apparently a glitzy presentation the administration's push toward war is a safer corporate bet than a lively discussion of the issue. In fact, in a column by Rick Ellis of, he writes this:

At least some of the executives at [MSNBC] were concerned that Donahue presented a challenge for the company, at a time when the U.S. was preparing to go to war. I quoted a report which had been leaked to me, which described a possible "nightmare scenario" where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."
It must be noted that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the largest US defense contractors in the country; hence one of the company's reasons for concern.

Donahue's response was quick and to the point:

"We were hoping to break through the noisy drums of war on Cable and become a responsible platform for dissenters as well as Administration supporters. The New York Times op-ed page features a variety of views regarding the Bush war on Iraq, including regular columnists who have been quite critical of the Administration's foreign policy team. MSNBC's voice should be no less diverse."
When the Donahue show began, there was an uproar by wingnuts not used to being questioned in depth about their positions and there was a call to boycott the program. But there were enough responsible conservatives who ignored the boycott and got a much better shake than liberals do on the average hate machine program.

A couple weeks ago, it was announced that Mike Savage (AKA Michael Wiener) had been hired by MSNBC. I've never heard this guy's radio show, but having read excerpts from his book, Savage Nation, lead me to be amazed at the amount of hatred one man can dredge up. Whether opportunistic entertainer or mad extremist, this former health guru has become the latest filth-monger to attract the attention of the kind of people who will ultimately destroy this country from within.

Finally, just yesterday, MSNBC announced with great fanfare that Dick Armey, the great liberal-hater and former House Leader would join the network as a contributor. With Donahue's exit, MSNBC's conservative lockstep march to the right in is proceeding quickly.

As Donahue said yesterday, "the hiring of Mike Savage, Dick Armey and Joe Scarborough suggest a strategy to out-Fox FOX."

But why would anyone who watches Fox switch to the cable outlet of the great liberal media Satan, NBC? Your average brain-dead Fox viewer doesn't understand objectivity vs bias. He only wants to believe what he is told...and Fox does that blatantly and without subterfuge.

The irresponsibility and ethical bankruptcy of GE/NBC/MSNBC shouldn't surprise anyone who knows how the television game is played, but as voices of dissent continue to be silenced, this little medium known as the Internet will play a larger and larger role in disseminating the truth.

Spread the word!
'Mister Rogers' Dies of Cancer at 74

Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for more than 30 years, died of cancer early Thursday. He was 74.

I watched a lot of Mr. Rogers when my kids were little. This world just lost a very good neighbor.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Date: Wed, Feb 26th 2003 00:36:52
Subject: Virtual Protest

Thanks for adding your email address to The Department of Homeland Security Database.

In August 1995, Hussein Kamel, the son-in-law of Saddam Hussein who headed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs, defected, saying he "could not continue to tolerate the oppression of the Iraqi people and the savagery of the regime." This was of course the same Hussein Kamel who was behind Iraq's bizarre 1980s quest for a "supergun," who was accused of gassing Iraqi citizens, who committed atrocities at Kerbala and Najaf, and was personally responsible for a sizeable percentage of that savagery.

The time was right: Iraq had declared that it would terminate its (limited) cooperation with the U.N. and its weapons inspectors unless the devastating sanctions regime against Iraq were lifted. Further, Washington was reported at the time to have been "sending massive military reinforcements to Jordan and the Gulf on the pretext of protecting Jordanan against Iraqi threats or pre-empting Iraqi troop movements in the direction of Kuwait" despite Jordanian insistance "that it faces no threat from Iraq or Iraqi military buildup near its border" and Kuwaiti denial of "knowledge of any troop movements," as the Mideast Mirror reported at the time. How fortuitous that someone could be dredged up willing to tell the Associated Press that "All [Iraqi] army units were informed to enter Kuwait and the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia. The move was reversed after . . . our [Kamel and his fellow defectors'] departure," thus justifying a vastly unpopular parcelling of military resources.

Kamel's CIA handlers expected the proverbial intelligence windfall, though a none-too-close close read of the papers at the time was enough to let one know what game was being played: The Sunday Timeswrote of ''wary negotiations'' over how much Kamel would disclose and under what circumstances. A more plainspoken "Western official" told The Times' Michael Theodoulou that Kamel was "looking for a quid pro quo for talking." The opportunity to preen for CNN cameras was initially enough, and Kamel told all who would listen about imminent popular uprisings in Iraq and about a revived supergun program "'meant for long-range attack and also to blind spy satellites. Our scientists were seriously working on that. It was designed to explode a shell in space that would have sprayed a sticky material on the satellite and blinded it.''

"Information provided by Gen. Kamel," Ben Barber and Bill Gertz wrote later in The Washington Times, "helped convince the U.N. special commission that Iraq had failed to scrap chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs." Iraq would claim that the information provided by Kamel was "incomplete," and would invite Rolf Ekeus' U.N. inspectors to a erstwhile chicken farm to receive metric tons of documents on Iraq's programs for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the long-range missiles to convey them. The weapons themselves destroyed, Iraq claimed, the documents were all that remained.

It now turns out that Kamel's "tale raises questions about whether the WMD stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist," writes Newsweek's John Barry, a 10-year veteran of the inspections beat. His article in the March 3 edition begins:

Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein's inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them.
Barry then notes that Kamel's revelation was "hushed up" by U.N. inspectors to make Iraq, nervous over not knowing the content of the Kamel-U.N. talks, disclose information it otherwise would not have.

It seems that the hush-up will have the ultimate effect of causing the likely deaths of unknown numbers of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen and greater numbers - also unknown - of Iraqi civilians. After all, for the current crew locking down the block of 1600 Pennsylvania, the Kamel episode "should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself" - at least as long as a pesky inspection regime is proving a hindrance to war. In that case, the amazingly incomplete disclosures of palace intriguers now serve as rationales and rationalizations for the latest imperial exercise. Add them to the avowals of paid dissidents, and the half-baked confections offered by think tankers.

Incidentally, Kamel was murdered upon returning to Iraq after realizing the U.S. would not support his bid to serve as savior of the Iraqi people. The CIA, meanwhile, denied Barry's report within hours of its publication.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Ari Fleischer laughed off stage
Q -- the French press is quoting actually two different diplomats from the United States State Department that -- they're highlighting that the United States is giving some sort of agreements or benefits to Colombia -- and other non-members of the Security Council --

MR. FLEISCHER: I haven't seen the story. And you already have the answer, about what this will be decided on. But think about the implications of what you're saying. You're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition. (Laughter.)
Operation Northwoods
CODENAMED Operation Northwoods, the plan, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving [Lyman L] Lemnitzer* (right) and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.

Also see:
  • Culture and Life: Operation Northwoods and the two towers

  • Between Iraq and a Hard Place
    The comedy trio Bremner Bird and Fortune bring their viewpoint on the Iraqi crisis in their own unique way.

    Watch Part 1 (12 min 39s)

    Watch Part 2 (13 min 56 s)

    Watch Part 3 (9 min 27 s)

    Watch Part 4 (14 min 20s)
    The Assassination Business

    Thirty years after President Ford banned the assassination of foreign leaders, it appears that President Bush has put the United States back into the assassination business — at least hypothetically.

    According to Eric Krol of the (Chicago) Daily Herald,

    President Bush recently told Sen. Peter Fitzgerald he would order the assassination of Saddam Hussein "if we had intelligence on where he was now and we had a clear shot," the Illinois senator said Monday.

    Such an order would represent a major shift away from a nearly 30-year U.S. ban on assassinating foreign leaders. That ban was put into place during the Ford administration in response to criticism of CIA-backed plots in the 1960s and 1970s.

    The question of whether to resume this dangerous foreign policy is an interesting one. If by assassinating Saddam, the lives of thousands of innocent Iraqis as well as those of American military personnel could be saved, I don't think a policy like this should be dismissed out of hand. The great unknown, of course, after any abrupt change or loss of leadership in a country is the amount of sheer chaos that its people would be subjected to, and unless there is a strong political force ready to take over immediately, there could still be a great deal of suffering.

    In addition, the use of assassination in the past was always a highly-political decision and more often than not, the target of the assassinations were not enemies of their own people, but merely enemies of special interests in this country.

    So while it would be highly desirable to get rid of the Mideast madman, I'd hate to consider who would eventually wind up on Bush's "hit list".

    Monday, February 24, 2003
    In God He Trusts: How George Bush Infused the White House With A Religious Spirit
    Bush's born-again Christianity cannot be questioned. Indeed, it dovetails with his widely attested lack of intellectual curiosity, his seemingly utter certainty of his convictions and with the difficulty of persuading him to change a mind already made up. Few mortals can compete with God for his ear.

    Mr Bush's Christian fervour only confirms suspicions that the looming war with Iraq is indeed a "crusade" against Muslims, exactly as Osama bin Laden suggests. For world-weary Europe the presidential language evokes mirth and queasiness in equal measure. A European leader who spoke in such terms would be laughed off the stage. An American one who speaks this way only increases the fear that simplicities of faith, and a habit of seeing a hideously complicated world in a black-and-white, good or evil fashion, are a recipe for disaster. [more] [via]

    Crazy fuckin' fundamentalists.

    Declassified Mk-Ultra Project Documents

      Artichoke Project
      Bluebird Project
      Pandora Project
      Mk-Delta Project
      Mk-Naomi Project
      Mk-Action Project
      Mk-Search Project
      Mk-Ultra Project
    Operations Pipe Dreams And Headhunter Put Illegal Drug Paraphernalia Sellers Out Of Business
    National Sweep Shuts Down Retailers, Distributors and Internet Sites
    Attorney General John Ashcroft and Acting DEA Administrator John B. Brown, III today announced the indictment of 50 individuals on charges of trafficking in illegal drug paraphernalia. The charges are the culmination of two nationwide investigations code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter and include indictments against national distributors of drug paraphernalia and businesses nationwide. DEA offices in Boise, Idaho; Des Moines, Iowa; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Dallas and Tyler, Texas were involved in these investigations.

    "With the advent of the Internet, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has exploded," Ashcroft said. "The drug paraphernalia business is now accessible in anyone's home with a computer and Internet access. And in homes across America we know that children and young adults are the fastest growing Internet users. Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge. This illegal billion-dollar industry will no longer be ignored by law enforcement. Today, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and Associate Deputy Attorney General Karen Tandy, has taken decisive steps to dismantle the illegal drug paraphernalia industry by attacking their physical, financial and Internet infrastructures." >> |

    Labour out in cold as Sharon shifts to right
    New pact dashes hopes of talks with Palestinians

    The Israeli Labour party last night finally ruled out joining a national unity government with Ariel Sharon after the Israeli prime minister insisted on including a rightwing party as a partner.

    Amram Mitzna, the Labour leader, said that Mr Sharon had missed a "historic opportunity" by refusing to agree to a framework for peace with the Palestinians.

    Instead, Mr Sharon has chosen the National Religious party as a coalition partner. The NRP's major constituency is the settlers in Gaza and the West Bank. It rejects any evacuation of the settlements and the formation of an Arab state between the Mediterranean and the river Jordan.

    Israel's continued domination and destruction in the Bethlehem area

    Kids are gathered round a burned-out car in Bethlehem's Manger Square. There is no school today, their town is under curfew. A Palestinian ambulance is stopped and searched in the rain. It's another day under Israeli military occupation.

    For weeks Israeli soldiers have been invading and reinvading the Bethlehem area, holding the residents captive in their homes. In the past two nights Israeli soldiers abucted 20 Palestinians from the Bethlehem area, adding them to the approximatly 9,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held, largely without charge, in Israeli jails.

    A man who lives in a refugee camp called a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ambulance for his sick child last night. UNRWA informed him, "We are under orders to not move." This is the United Nations, too afraid of the Israeli military to use its own ambulance service. UNRWA is also talking about the one million Palestinians who could starve to death in the West Bank when the US officially declares war on Iraq -- and an expected punishing curfew is implemented.

    It's only Sderot. Only us

    Focusing exclusively on our victims while ignoring the other's victims is morally contemptible, but above all this it has grave political ramifications. With such selective and distorted information at the disposal of the Israeli public, it is little wonder the country has moved so far to the right. Every sensible person who is nourished by the Israeli press would reach the same conclusions. If the Palestinians really are firing rockets at us while they are ensconced securely in their homes, as could be understood from the reports of the Israeli media, the political conclusion is clear: the only solution is force. If there is no occupation, no appalling wrongs and no war crimes, the only possible conclusion is that the Palestinians really were born bloodthirsty. The news pages and the current events programs on radio and television shape public opinion in this way more than a thousand learned and enlightened op-eds.

    "We have different views partly because we see different news," the columnist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times last week. Krugman was talking about the great divide that has opened up between Europe and the United States, but his comment is even more true of the Middle East. Every night the Arab world - and to a lesser degree, the Western world - is exposed to images of atrocity from the territories, whereas the Israeli viewer doesn't have a clue about what is happening less than an hour's drive from his home. He knows only about the brutal suicide bombings and the Qassam rockets.
    How Bush buys positive war spin
    It's war. The nation's president is mad with imperial delusions. There is a burgeoning anti-war movement whose message of morality and peace screams for just a smidgen of fair attention from the media. Liberties face vicious attacks from the very leaders who have sworn to defend the Constitution; the press responds with yawns and shrugs. Courageous dissenters stand up against the power of the administration, and are derided or ignored by disdainful newspapers and TV chattering heads.

    At Atlanta's media Coxopoly, the issue is simple. Follow the big bucks. Pentagon spin is accorded the status of holy writ, the president is granted unconditional support -- and Cox executives who disagree are forced to choose between their principles and their jobs. The president gratefully responds with legislation that squashes press competition, and enriches Cox and other media conglomerates to the tune of billions of dollars.

    No, I'm not talking about next month at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I'm talking about 1970-'72. (more)

    This, the media, is where the war for whether war is acceptable is fought and won. We stand in relation to the media as the people of Iraq stand in relation to our techno-military juggernaut.

    In a brave move by the literary publishers the book 1984 has been re-branded and re-marketed as "totalitarianism for dummies"

    Now in a bright yellow cover with a photograph of George Bush emblazoned across it with the slogan "I did it and I can't even pass high school exams" the book explains in easy terms and step by step guides how to control your population with a state of "Permanent War", how to set up your own "Ministry of Truth" and how to control the minds of your minions with Doublethink.

    The thought police and ministry of truth have been merged into one by the president as the homeland security department and plans are underway to install a two way screen into the homes of millions of gullible Americans for their own safety.

    ...George bush has been thought to say "After I created a climate of fear, the oppression of my own citizens was a synch"

    Also see: Aldous Huxley: The Ultimate Revolution, March 20, 1962
    Aldous Huxley discusses using terrorism to create willing slaves out of the population. Questions / Answers
    Congratulations to the weblogs acknowledged by receiving the 2002 Medley Medals from the wonderful Lynette Millet of Medley.
    Sunday, February 23, 2003

    Strange Bedfellows?

    I guess it was too much to expect real political debate from Bill Maher's new HBO show, Real Time. I truly wanted to add his show to my TIVO Season Pass list, but after watching his first effort, I just can't do it.

    Maher started his show off with a spunky opening monologue...and included the sharp wit we'd come to know from Politically Incorrect. A bonus for Maher is that being an HBO program, he is also able to spice up his shtick with censor-free street language whenever he wants. This was all good.

    Then came his debate with Republican Congressman and Bush lock-stepper Dana Rohrbacher. Here Maher was less impressive. While Rohrbacher continually stressed the party line on Iraq, Bill seemed more intent on getting in his pre-written one-liners than in seriously debating the issues. Still, on balance, it was good to see some arguments on television against the soon-to-be war.

    The show's nadir came next. Here was the Politically Incorrect-like discussion that included Professor and Author Michael Eric Dyson (on the left), comedian Larry Miller (center/right) and media wacko and political wonk's wet dream, Ann Coulter (on the bull-goose looney right).

    After introducing Coulter as his "clubbing buddy", the level of intelligent conversation dropped below the radar as Coulter and Maher promoted not only her recent moronic diatribe, Slander, but took every opportunity to pre-sell her next book, Treason, which is unfortunately due out this spring.

    Fellow Liberals, grab your pith helmets! A shit storm of hateful wrath from this wacked-out dame is gonna fly once again!

    As much as he'd like us to believe he's just being fair and objective by having his hate-addled buddy on his program, her inclusion demonstrates to me only one thing: Maher is first and foremost an entertainer and the issues he discusses are perhaps important to him, but not important enough to deny one of the most objectionable human beings I've ever heard another forum to spew her hatred with extreme prejudice.

    The simplicity of her logic and the bankruptcy of her intellect was demonstrated once again when she repeated the rallying cry from her State of the Union column. I suspect that brilliant demagoguery such as the following will pepper her next book (excuse the expression, Annie) quite liberally.

    "Bush got a raucous standing ovation at his State of the Union address when he announced that 'this year, for the first time, we are beginning to field a defense to protect this nation against ballistic missiles.' The excitement was noticeably muted on the Democrats' side of the aisle. The vast majority of Democrats remained firmly in their seats, sullen at the thought that America would be protected from incoming ballistic missiles. To paraphrase George Bush: If this is not treason, then treason has no meaning."

    Isn't it going to be wonderful to have a nimrod like Ann Coulter defining for America what treason is? Yet this is what the harpy screamed about during the discussion.

    I've spent too much time over the years listening to more and more contemptible people getting airtime, just because they bring in an audience! Public executions would probably be as popular as the Super Bowl, but I'm not sure this is the direction we want America to take.

    I know it's like pissing into the wind to expect the corporate media giants (or recently-fired talk show hosts) to pass up ratings for responsibility, but I don't have to pass on the outrage of having Ann Coulter on television even if Bill Maher is the new darling of the left with his book, "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden".

    Bill, I expected better from you.

    Israeli Onslaught Continues; 11 More Palestinians Dead
    With world attention on Iraq, Sharon is making his moves in Gaza, leaving 11 dead and several family homes destroyed or occupied. The total killed last week was 33.
    Canadian in Passport Fiasco; humiliated by US Immigration in Chicago. Is this because INS officers still don't know the difference between Indians and Muslim Asians? Toronto Star
    Perhaps the only reason to watch the Grammy Awards is to see if this happens. [via Drudge Report]
    Fascism Blows - Remembering the "White Rose"

    Remember the last War on Terror?
    60 years ago, on Feb. 22 1943, three students of the Munich-based resistance group “White Rose” were executed for inciting young people to rise against Hitler - a fact that many young Germans today are unaware of.

    On a clear February day in 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl entered the deserted atrium of the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich bearing a suitcase full of leaflets containing a passionate appeal to Germans to engage in "passive resistance" against Hitler and the Third Reich.

    They worked swiftly, dropping stacks of the explosive leaflets throughout the corridors, just minutes before the atrium would be flooded with students leaving lectures and classes. Before hurrying outside to safety, the brother and sister, on a last-minute urge, decided to get rid of the remaining few documents in the suitcase.
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