American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, May 10, 2003
Have you ever signed a petition in support of an environmental or animal-rights issue? Do you belong to the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, or Greenpeace? Have you publicly protested some environmental or animal rights outrage? If legislation crafted and promoted by the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) becomes law, these fundamental rights of American citizenship could become illegal. [more]
Jim Lobe warns that the intellectual leader of the neocons, Bill Kristol, is setting his sights on Iran.

Kristol writes in this week's edition of the Weekly Standard that the "liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East...the next great battle--not, we hope, a military battle--will be for Iran."

He continues, "Iran is the tipping point in the war on proliferation, the war on terror, and the effort to reshape the Middle East. If Iran goes pro-Western and anti-terror, positive changes in Syria and Saudi Arabia will follow much more easily. And the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement will greatly improve."

In other words: let's get ready to rumble!
Friday, May 09, 2003
It's so uncool to even talk about kindness these days. So I thought, let's turn the damn thing on its head, put in some adjectives to describe it, and show these incredible acts that go on consistently, day after day, under the radar screen. And I was so outraged that the biggest value we have in our society these days is economics. Economic values override every other human value, be it justice, human rights, kindness, whatever.

I thought, let's take something that is conspicuous in its absence even at any point in discussion and let's see what we can do with it. And let's not make it wishy-washy. The book goes into areas where people least expect to find it or interpret it. [more]

Also see: Anita's links page, which American Samizdat is proud to be listed on.
...some intelligence sources and experts outside government believe that Al Qaeda has been quiet by choice, not because its plans have been disrupted. ...intelligence officials and experts on terror also point out that Al Qaeda never carried out spectacular attacks, like the 9/11 attacks or the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, in less than two-year intervals. Many of those attacks were in planning stages for more than four years.
Quiet by choice because 1) the Bush administration has been doing a good job of making the American people paranoid, and Al Qaeda doesn't need to bother; 2) Al Qaeda operates in a much longer time frame than America is used to; 3) the more ground America covers with its troops, the more thinly spread it will be, making a later attack harder to deal with than a sooner one. This is a big reason, I think, for Rummy's insistence on small troop deployments in Iraq. He wants to give the impression that we can do the maximum damage with the minimum resources and are therefore a very long ways away from our limits. But troop deployments are only one part of the equation; the PNAC folks are real big on the use of technology as a "force multiplier," which has worked out for them so far but is really expensive. Financial assets can be spread too thin as well. And 4) the economy is still looking shaky. I predicted a while ago that Al Qaeda would not attempt another major attack until after the fall of Iraq for propaganda reasons. I think it also may wait until the economy appears to be pulling out of its slump and American military adventurism appears to be slowing down.
...Al Qaeda has demonstrated it has a deep bench. The detentions of key operatives are setbacks, but 70,000 men have passed through Al Qaeda's training camps or fought with Arab freedom fighters in Afghanistan.
Damn, we have 3,000 suspected Al Qaeda operatives in custody, and high estimates of global membership during the Afghan operation were never more than 10,000 or so.

"The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to hold an up or down vote on judicial nominations]." [George W. Bush] Where in the Constitution is this responsibility delineated? From Article II, Section 2: "He [the president] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law. . ." Am I missing something here? Would some legal blogger enlighten me if I have misread this section or missed another part of the Constitution that states the Senate has "a constitutional responsibility to hold an up or down vote"?

Which is worse, that GWB is ignorant of the Constitution, or that he is a knowing & willing liar who assumes that the repetition of his lie will establish it as truth? (His press secretary Ari Fleischer has already been sent out to make the same outrageous claim.) Update: By way of Jeff Cooper I've just landed on this discussion of the Constitutional issues surrounding the appointment of federal judges. I haven't had time to do more than skim it, but it looks like a rich vein of information. More: I've now read the piece, as well as this contrasting view. The law is a stringent kind of poetry.
Thursday, May 08, 2003
"Conservative religious activists cite the latest insult: the Republican Party’s failure to rally behind Sen. Rick Santorum, whose comments about the upcoming Supreme Court case on consensual homosexual acts triggered a national firestorm."
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Okay Phil, with the Leiberman proviso and since Kucinich probably won't be a choice and since Utah is still Utah Dean or Edwards are certainly better than what's his name. I'll vote for the good guys. You've called and raised and since this game is for our country, I'll have to raise you one more time. My latest crusade cause is Ending Corporate Rule which is probably more important than any single issue facing us today. So I call your Center for Voting & Democracy and raise you an "End Corporate Rule" Reclaim Democracy!, but until all our dreams come true and if you believe, dreams do come true I'll vote for the Democratic choice (no Lieberman) in 2004 and save my protest votes for later.


Look, I'm a huge Ralph Nader fan. I think he's the greatest journalist who has ever lived. But I voted for Gore and yeah Ralph probably cost him the election. And yes, we would be better off with Gore in office, or at least that's what you'll be saying when the Office of Homeland finally takes you to Guantanomo (sp?) over your seditious anti-american web postings at One Good Move...

But you know what? I'm not that concerned about that. That's past...Please, just please, tell me that you won't vote for a third party candidate in 2004. Please tell me that. (Okay, unless the Dems nominate Leiberman, we can't be insane...did you catch Evil Glenn's endorsement today? The mark of Satan, indeed...)We don't have propotional representation yet or approval voting, and it would take a miracle to get those things by 2004. Tell me that you'll suck it up and give Dean or Edwards a shot, please, please tell me that...

Posted by: Philip Shropshire on March 24, 2003 09:28 PM

I'll vote for any candidate you like if you'll steal the approval voting graphic on my sidebar and link to them on your site. Do it for future generations. Lest I be accused of being disingenuous. I do live in Utah so my vote in a presidential election is almost always a just a protest.

Posted by: Norm on March 24, 2003 10:53 PM

Okay, Norm Jenson, I match you your Citizens for Approval Voting logo and raise you a Center for Voting And Democracy logo, which includes not just information about approval voting but proportional representation, PR history and even voting machines. The Center didn't have a logo so I made a cheap yet serviceable one in Paint. I have placed both of these logos on my homepage at Three River as you have requested. I think we can be reasonably sure that we won't be seeing any of these progressive measures in our country or Iraq anytime soon but we can all dream now can't we.

I simply ask that you give Howard Dean or John Edwards a reasonable shot or maybe you could vote swap. That's legal now. Yes, Edwards supports the war, but he can run on actually building a real democracy in Iraq. How about a suspension of those Haliburton and Bechtel contracts? That would be a nice start. It would be swell, just once, if the dems showed the same contempt for the Republican base as the Republican's show the Dem working class base. There is a way to ensure minority rights in Iraq by the way: You write a strong constitution ensuring civil liberties and you use a variant of Lani Guinier's proportional representation. It was good enough for South Africa. It might also help if you had an International Peacekeeping force to run the law and order, as opposed to the imperialist crusaders.
Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there facin' the hill.
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

– Bob Dylan
Playing catch-up here. Here's the NYT's Nicholas Kristof on the Weapons of Mass Disappearance:
Let's fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax, and proof of close ties with Al Qaeda. Those are the things that President Bush or his aides suggested Iraq might have, and I don't want to believe that top administration officials tried to win support for the war with a campaign of wholesale deceit.
And here's the Hersh article to which Kristof refers.
Pentagon adviser Richard N. Perle briefed an investment seminar on ways to profit from the conflict in Iraq and North Korea just weeks after he received a top-secret government briefing on the crises in the two countries, the Los Angeles Times reported.

One of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's closest advisers, he was a vocal advocate of going to war against Iraq and publicly questioned the reliability of some longtime U.S. allies, including France and Saudi Arabia.

The Defense Intelligence Agency briefing Perle attended took place in February, the Times reported on its Web site Tuesday, and he held his seminar three weeks later. Also in February, according to the Times, which cited agendas of the meetings and other documents, Perle and fellow advisers received a classified address about military communications systems. Perle runs Trireme Partners, a venture capital firm that has been exploring such high-tech investments.
BBC director general Greg Dyke has delivered a stinging rebuke to the US media over its "unquestioning" coverage of the war in Iraq and warned the government against allowing the UK media to become "Americanised".

Mr Dyke said he was "shocked" to hear US radio giant Clear Channel had organised pro-war rallies in the US and urged the UK government to ensure new media laws did not allow American media companies to undermine the impartiality of the British media.

"We were genuinely shocked when we discovered the largest radio group in the United States was using its airwaves to organise pro-war rallies," said Mr Dyke.

"We are even more shocked to discover the same group wants to become a big player in radio in the UK when it is deregulated later this year.

"The communications bill currently before parliament will, if it becomes law, allow US media companies to own whole chunks of the electronic media in this country for the first time.

"In the area of impartiality, as in many other areas, we must ensure we don't become Americanised."

The BBC chief expressed his concern that American media owners would apply the same pressure to their output in this country.

"You're surprised when you discover the biggest owner of American radio stations organised pro-war rallies - it's a long way from our idea of impartiality.

"They [American networks] must be clear that the rules are different here. What is now defined as impartiality in the US is different."

Mr Dyke singled out Fox News for particular criticism over its pro-Bush stance, which helped the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster to oust CNN in the US to become the most popular news network.

"Commercial pressures may tempt others to follow the Fox News formula of gung-ho patriotism, but for the BBC this would be a terrible mistake.

"If, over time, we lost the trust of our audiences, there is no point in the BBC," he said in a speech delivered at Goldsmiths College in London today.

Mr Dyke revealed there had been a huge increase in demand for BBC news in the US since September 11, saying this reflected "concerns about the US broadcasting news media".

"Many US networks wrapped themselves in the American flag and swapped impartiality for patriotism. What's becoming clear is that those networks may have misjudged some of their audience.

"Far from wanting a narrow, pro-American agenda, there is a real appetite in the US for the BBC's balanced, objective approach."

Mr Dyke also mounted a rigorous defence of the BBC's coverage of the war in Iraq after ministers publicly accused the corporation of bias towards the Baghdad regime.

He refuted accusations that the BBC had been "soft" on Saddam Hussein, insisting the corporation's commitment to "independence and impartiality" was "absolute."

Mr Dyke added the BBC had made "subtle daily changes" to the way it covered the war so it could "believe in and defend the integrity of our reporting".

Citing the history of war reporting from Suez through Vietnam to Kosovo, Mr Dyke said British governments of every persuasion had sought to use the media to manage public opinion.

"In doing so they have often sought to influence the BBC and, on occasions, to apply pressure," he said.

Mr Dyke conceded the government had a right to pressurise the BBC, saying it would only become a problem if the BBC caved in to its demands.

But he dismissed accusations from Downing Street that BBC correspondents in Baghad were Hussein's stooges as "absurd," saying that although journalists such as Rageh Omaar had Iraqi minders who occasionally restricted their movements, "they did not interfere with what was being broadcast".

He did, however, admit the war had raised new dilemmas, one of these being the controversial practice of embedding journalists with troops.

"Embedded correspondents may have given us better pictures and immediate insight of the battles but how much physical risk for our journalists and crews is acceptable in return for great pictures and commentary?" he asked.

"How do we ensure their reports are placed in the proper context; how can we guard against 'embeds' being seen as 'in bed' with their hosts?

"On this latter point, I think there is a need here for a serious piece of academic research on the impact of embedded journalism."

Tuesday, May 06, 2003
The dramatic footage of the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs swarming the Nasiriyah hospital and carrying Lynch out on a stretcher provided a proud moment for the military and America. The subsequent surge of patriotism muted the catcalls of the anti-war naysayers.

Military advocate Elaine Donnelly sees another political agenda behind the Post's apparent misinformation.

"I think someone in the Army – probably a woman – leaked the story to the Washington Post to spin it," she told WorldNetDaily. "If you plant the story first, it's almost impossible to turn."

And she can't remember a thing ...
The director of a Paris theatre responsible for staging a play critical of George W Bush has been viciously attacked.

He was assaulted in the building's entrance, said Claudine Simon, his assistant.

One man held him down, while another cut his face. They also splashed paint on the theatre walls, she said. (via)
Lula Sells Out?

More radio stations closed by the federal government
At least three other radio stations have been closed this week in the increasingly intense process of repression and criminalisation of free and community radios carried out by ANATEL (Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency) and the federal police....

In the first three months of the Lula government, more community radios were closed than in any three months of the FHC (Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula's predecessor) government.

Replicating Argentina, Brazil's Macro-economic Policy under the Control of Wall Street creditors
At the very outset of his mandate, Lula reassured foreign investors that "Brazil will not follow neighboring Argentina into default" ( Davos World Economic Forum, January 2003). Now if such is his intent, then why did he appoint to the Central Bank, a man who played a role (as president of Boston Fleet) in the Argentinean debacle and whose bank was allegedly involved in shady money transactions, which contributed to the dramatic collapse of the Argentinean Peso.

By appointing Henrique de Campos Meirelles, the president and CEO of Boston Fleet, to head the country's Central Bank, President Luis Ignacio da Silva had essentially handed over the conduct of the nation's finances and monetary policy to Wall Street.

Lula’s first 100 days—austerity for the poor, tax cuts for the rich
Since he took office 107 days ago, Brazilian President Luis Inacio da Silva (Lula) has carried out austerity policies in the interest of the international banks, in many cases outdoing his predecessor, Fernando Enrique Cardoso. In addition to pushing through legislation that would place the country’s Central Bank out of the control of the elected government and the country’s voters, he has cut public spending and increased interest rates, curtailing the Brazilian government’s ability to create jobs and provide social benefits.

He now plans to reform the state-run pension system. On April 17, Lula obtained the consent of the country’s 27 state governors to back a system that will raise the retirement age and lower benefits for Brazil’s public employees.
Monday, May 05, 2003
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he would be "amazed if we found weapons-grade plutonium or uranium" and it was unlikely large volumes of biological or chemical material would be discovered. He suggested that the sanctions and UN inspections probably prompted Mr Hussein to dispose of much of his stockpile.
So if the inspections mounted by that irrelevant and, per Perle, "dead" organization were effective, does not Bush's war, therefore, become more criminal than it already was.

Sunday, May 04, 2003
  • Size of reconsituted police force currently deployed in Baghdad: 3,000

  • Population of Baghdad: 5 million

  • Days since new Baghdad police chief has resigned: 1

  • Size of police force in Chicago: 13,000

  • Population of Chicago proper: 3 million

  • Number of days since Shiites in slums of East Baghdad have seen a US Patrol: 4

  • Number of radical Shiite militiamen patrolling slums of East Baghdad: 6,000

  • Percentage Iraqis without access to clean water: 40

  • Number of Iraqi children who are chronically malnourished: 1 million

  • Number of press reports saying most of Baghdad has security, electricity, water: 0

What the hell is up with this Kyle Williams kid? William MacDougall has the goods on the 14-year old conservative "whiz" who already has his own book and website.

Maybe Kyle and Ben can get together for a playdate...

Powell's Books

Site Meter

Creative Commons License