Lying Media Bastards

December 31, 2006

Non-New Year’s News Assortment

Tel Aviv’s center blocked by the wall-

Israeli anarchists make a point by setting up a mock “security fence” (like the one built to divide Palestine from Israel), blockading a hip shopping district in Tel Aviv. The barricade allegedly uses razor wire and signs taken from the real security fence, and flyers were passed out discussing Israel’s checkpoints in Palestine and the ways in which the real fence steals Palestinian land.

What the Number 3000 Hides- the news media tells us that the number of US deaths in Iraq has just crossed 3000 (only days after telling us that more Americans had died in Iraq than had died in the 9/11 attacks). Juan Cole points out that this 3000 number is deceptive because it neglects to mention other Coalition troops (from other countries), the number of wounded, and the number who’ve developed psychological disorders (I’d also include the number of military contractors who are intentionally kept out of these casualty stats. Last I’d heard, that number was at least 500). He also is upset that the numbers don’t mention the number of American and NATO troops killed in Afghanistan. Of course, on top of that, estimates of more than 650,000 dead Iraqis, no idea how many dead Afghans, and no clue how many wounded Iraqis or Afghans.

DHS To Seize Eyeballs At U.S. Airports- cheekily-titled article which uncovers this gem- the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) is planning to sell advertising space at the passenger security checkpoints at airports. Which means that next time you fly, you may have to spend 10 minutes to 2 hours staring at advertisements so that Homeland Security can make a buck.

It’s Not a Race Thing… It’s Style- a silly idea for an article, but it has some interesting segments. The author wants to make a case that in some ways, race and racism have been eliminated and replaced with racialized styles and subcultures, by looking at Asians who “act white” or whites who “act black”, etc. The article doesn’t do much to support that argument. What it does do well is present snapshots of the complexities of race, style, culture, and self-presentation among teens in San Diego, particularly teens of mixed ethnicity.

Oaxaca Delegation 2006- a group of San Diego activists went down to Mexico recently, to visit and give aid to people in Oaxaca, and to attend the Encuentro Intergaláctico (”Intergalactic Meeting”, sort of a conference about Mexican activists’ efforts to promote independence and democracy, and international efforts to prevent corporate globalization). They are giving regular updates about their experiences, and I should try to have one of em on my show once they get back.

Posted by Jake on December 31, 2006 4:01 pm

December 29, 2006

LMB Radio Best of 2006

LMB Radio Best of 2006

I had a lot of fun with this show. Trying to narrow down all of the great music of the year, and a review of the top news stories of the year, crammed into 120 minutes. Bursting at the seams with melodic goodness, political analysis, and wisecrackery.

- Gerald Ford dead. Whatever.
- top political comedy videos of the year
- the Green Scare
- DICK CHENEY SHOT A 78-YEAR OLD MAN IN THE FACE!!
- DICK CHENEY SHOT A 78-YEAR OLD MAN IN THE FACE!!
- DICK CHENEY SHOT A 78-YEAR OLD MAN IN THE FACE!!
- (you can’t get enough of “Cheney shooting a man in the face” jokes)
- Iraq: civil war, or just a place where people of differing factions are murdering each other en masse?*
- Israel, Hamas, and Lebanon
- Bastards vs. me
- Inconvenient Awakening
- Bush’s imperial presidency theory
- Democrats win Congress, maybe will make a difference?
- racists and idiots vs. latinos
- Oaxaca
- Darfur
- Take Back the Land
- part 2 next week?

Music includes James Brown (R.I.P.), Rhymefest, Cat Power, the Vandelles, Girl Talk, Coachwhips, Camera Obscura, Gnarls Barkley, Devotchka, Jens Lenkman, Easy Star All-Stars, This Machine Kills, Busta Rhymes, Flunk, The Knife, Royal Treatment Plant, Ghostface Killah, Combat Wounded Veteran, and more.


* In this segment, I could not recall the name of a certain Palestinian city that Israel had destroyed some years back. It was Jenin.

Posted by Jake on December 29, 2006 1:56 pm

Finest Videographed Comedy of 2006

My favorite politicaly humor videos of the year.

- “President” Al Gore skit on SNL
- Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner
- The Daily Show’s “Middle Eastern Affairs Correspondent” Aasif Mandvi on conflict and democracy
- The Daily Show’s coverage of Dick Cheney’s hunting accident

Yes, most of them are Daily Show-related. Feel free to post links to your own faves in the comments.

Posted by Jake on December 29, 2006 1:57 am

December 28, 2006

End of Year Groove Thing

I’m excited about today’s LMB radio show. I’ve literally gone through every song/band I discovered in 2006 and have picked out my favorites to try to cram into 2 hours of radio, coupled with some commentary on the biggest news stories of the year. Actually, it looks like I’ve got about 4 hours of songs, and then at least 30 minutes’ worth of talking… Oh well, I’ll do what I can. Tune in, download on, drop out, eat a snowcone.

Posted by Jake on December 28, 2006 10:05 am

December 24, 2006

Every Time a Bell Rings, a Proletariat Gets His Sickle

Well here’s a fun way for my blog to go out at Xmas time.

In 1947, the FBI considered classic Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life” to be communist propaganda. Read the memo, it’s a laugh.

Have a nice holiday, tovarishes, see you in a few days.

Posted by Jake on December 24, 2006 12:25 pm

December 22, 2006

LMB Radio 12-21-06

LMB Radio 12-21-06

- Wookie carols
- help The Coup
- the Devotchka concert
- reformists on the move in Iran?
- solving the problems of Iraq
- exacerbating the problems of Iraq
- Bush rattles sabers at Iran
- Fox vs. FCC
- Time Magazine is thoroughly mocked

Music includes Massive Attack, Rhymefest, This Machine Kills, the Arctic Monkeys, Early Man, My Chemical Romance, Swan Lake, Brother Ali, Devotchka, the Vandals, Lily Allen, Please Inform the Captain This Is a Hijack, Loki, Megadeth, Bill Withers, TV on the Radio, Rhymefest and more.

Ugh, more tech problems this show, but I doubt they’re audible in the final mix. Just made the show more frustating to do live, and kept me a little distracted while talking. I sign off saying “see you in 2007″, but I do have one more show for 2006, so stay tuned.

Posted by Jake on December 22, 2006 12:26 am

December 18, 2006

Bang Bang

Thousands protested police brutality in the middle of NYC’s Times Square Friday, disrupting a busy shopping day. The called the event “Shopping for Justice”, justice for victims of the recent NYPD shooting, where unarmed African-American Sean Bell was killed and his friends wounded when police shot at his vehicle 50 times. One of the cops actually fired every bullet in his gun, reloaded, and shot some more.

I believe these killings keep happening for two main reasons.

1) A widespread belief/fear among Americans that young black men are inherently dangerous. I think that cops of all races share this fear, and it makes them far too quick to feel threatened and act with deadly force.

2) The lack of punishment faced by police officers for excessive violence against African-Americans. The cops who shot unarmed Amadou Diallo 41 times were acquitted of all charges. The cops who beat unarmed Rodney King on videotape were acquitted. Seriously, can you imagine police officers from any part of the United States getting off like that if they’d committed that sort of attack on a white person? I can’t (well, maybe if those white people were protesters…). If cops knew there were severe repercussions for violence on black men, I think they’d be less likely to dish it out. But there aren’t.

So folks in NYC took to the streets, in what was reportedly a huge, quiet protest (the “quiet” part was probably a practical tactic to prevent scared cops from whipping out the shotguns. If cops freak out when a single black man holds up his wallet, I can only imagine what they’d do when facing thousands of angry, yelling black men). As always, I think that seeing photos of protests is much more important than reading coverage of them. Go here, here, and here for good photos (but what the fuck is up with that family in the Christmas tree hats?).

The NY Times reports that shoppers nearby seemed to be “against the protest”. Fun quotes from passers-by:

“It’s New York, you always see crazy things,” Margaret Rajnik, a nurse from Atlantic City, said at Rockefeller Center, where mobs of shoppers jammed the plaza in front of the skating rink, the giant Christmas tree and the golden Prometheus…

“We just came here to go shopping at the American Girl store and go see the Rockettes,” said Cherrie Ostigui, 38, of Odenton, Md. “Now we can’t even cross the street to get our lunch.”

Steve Diomopoulos, 22, a student from Livonia, Mich., called it “a weird time to be doing this,” and added: “It’s an inconvenience to people like myself who came from out of town and want to get some Christmas shopping done. It’s almost like a hostile atmosphere. I don’t think that’s what people came here to see.”

“Crazy things”? Yes, it’s so crazy that people don’t want to be murdered by police officers. Aww, can’t get your lunch? You know who else can’t get his lunch? Sean Bell. “Inconvenient”? You know what’s inconvenient? Being shot and killed by police for no reason the night before your wedding, like Sean Bell. “Hostile environment”? Sorta like living your life in fear that you’re going to be murdered by police officers because of your skin color? “Not what people came here to see”? Go fuck yourself, you prick. People fighting for their lives trump your sightseeing desires.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Jesus! I understand, it’s Christmas, you’re busy, you want to see the beauty of New York or buy your loved ones gifts, but maybe you need to raise your eyes a little higher sometimes. “Gee, this protest really ruins my plans, but I suppose the cause of stopping unjust police terror is more important.” Or even, “maybe I should join them.”

[update]

Okay, read some accounts of folks who attended the protest and in their view, nearly all the spectators were sympathetic to the march.

Posted by Jake on December 18, 2006 9:09 pm

December 17, 2006

Species of the Year

When I was a wee lad, I had a Mickey Mouse storybook, in which Mickey and Donald and Goofy were on a sightseeing vacation by train. Along with them were maybe a dozen “Mouseketeers”, smiling children wearing those mouse ear beanie hats (why adults would send their children on a trip supervised by a three foot talking rodent is a good question. Maybe they didn’t read the brochure thoroughly enough). One of these Mouseketeers was depicted as a gray silhouette with a mouse-ear hat, who I believe they referred to as the Mystery Mousekeeter. A surreal touch for a kid’s book.

Anyhow, at the end of the train trip, on the final page of the book, they revealed a grand secret: the Mystery Mouseketeer was You, The Reader Of The Book! You were on the trip with Mickey and friends the whole time! I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy it at the time. I wasn’t a gray blob in a hat, and I’d never ridden on a train before, so obviously I couldn’t have gone on this trip with Mickey. But they said that it was me, so, well, whatever.

Now, apparently, The Mystery Mouseketeer is the 2006 Time Magazine Person of the Year:

No, seriously. The “Person of the Year” is all 6 billion people on planet Earth. Way to go, team.

Of course, there is no reason to have a “Person of the Year” for a newsmagazine, except as a marketing gimmick. As it’s become a yearly tradition, this issue will get a huge amount of free publicity as other news outlets cover the “story”, and then people can debate the decision. But by their own rules, this is pathetic. They can’t narrow down the “person” at least a little? Not to say that Time hasn’t cheated in the past. In 1966, it was people “Twenty-five and under”. In 2003, it was “the American soldier”. In 1982, it was “the computer”. I think that in 2007, Time should break more new ground. I propose that the next Person of the Year should be “this little dog we saw the other day” or “things that are green”.

That being said, I understand the point they’re trying to make. If you read their article, what they’re really saying is that “user-generated content” (like blogs, homemade videos on YouTube, MySpace pages, etc.) coupled with corporate and non-profit internet tools to share that content, had a big impact on society this year. Which is pretty accurate, but why you’d want to shoehorn that trend into “person” is beyond me.

And I suppose I exaggerate when I say that Planet Earth is Time’s choice for this year. Obviously, they only mean the people involved in this home-made, internet-distributed media. It is my understanding that only about 1/6 of the Earth’s population has internet access, and of that group, surely a much smaller group uses MySpace and YouTube and the rest. It’s also my understanding that about 1.1 billion people try to survive on less than a dollar a day. I imagine those folks don’t check their MySpace profiles very often.

That’s one of my ever-present concerns, that we Americans have a tendency to think that “people” or “the world” or “everyone” means folks like us, living exceptionally privileged lives, relatively speaking. Our comforts often come at the direct expense of people who are not us (sweatshops, blood diamonds, oil dictatorships). And while a common liberal dream seems to be the elevation of everyone to the comfort level of the American middle class, I doubt that’s possible. I fear that even with future leaps in technology and scientific discovery, that the goal of ending global poverty would only come with a huge decrease in the standard of living enjoyed by the West. And my even greater fear is that “You”, the millions referred to by Time magazine, would really rather let billions suffer, and would fight tooth and nail, to maintain their lifestyles.

Hmm, I started this post with Mickey Mouse cartoons, and ended with international class war. Guess that’s how my mind works.

Posted by Jake on December 17, 2006 5:06 pm

December 16, 2006

Red Light, Green Light

I am currently reading the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran. It’s the first “how we fucked up in Iraq” book I’ve picked up (I hear that Thomas Rick’s Fiasco is good too), and there’s a jaw-dropping moment every few pages. Emerald City focuses on the Green Zone, the huge, fortified compound that houses the US occupiers. The people who live and work there are almost entirely delusional, working on regulations for a new Iraqi stock exchange and privatizing state-owned factories while Iraqis outside the gates are in mortal fear for their lives.

I’m only about a third of the way through the book, but I can see some pretty broad explanations about how the Iraq invasion went so badly (apart from the obvious, that the war was a terrible idea to start with).

First of all, you had competing agendas. Essentially, the neocons, Defense Department and White House were on one side, and the “realists” in the State Department and CIA on the other. It seems that the first group was so intent on having their war, and was so afraid that negative information could derail it, that they went to great lengths to hide this information from everyone. This included information necessary to reconstruct Iraq; if people knew how much work and difficulty would be involved in reconstruction, it could prevent the war from taking place at all! And their solution to this was simple: don’t make any plans to reconstruct Iraq.

Then you had the Bush regime’s obsession with loyalty. If you talked about the difficulties in invading Iraq, you were undermining the war effort. If you opposed some of the policies or strategies involved in Iraq, you were undermining the war effort. If you were liberal or even moderate, you were undermining the war effort. The White House and Defense Department hired hundreds of civilian staffers to help turn Iraq into a free market republic, who had no relevant skills or experience. The only thing they had going for them were Republican beliefs and high-powered political connections. I mean, smart people with a few years’ experience in office jobs were put in charge the $13 billion Iraqi budget.

And third, you had the fact that no one involved knew anything about Iraq! Some of the folks in the book are idiots, some are scoundrels, but most seem to be well-intentioned people who are just clueless. They don’t know anything about Iraqi society, history, or public opinion, and it doesn’t occur to them to find out before taking action.

And the fourth problem was L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer, who was the emperor of Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004. He made two enormous mistakes that set the stage for the chaos and insurgency– “de-baathifcation” (firing almost everybody who had been a member of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party) and firing the Iraqi military– and he was such a stubborn jackass (or in Henry Kissinger’s description “control freak”) that he refused to reconsider any decisions after he had made them.

I’ve still got a ways to go, but I’d recommend giving it a read. I’ll try to post a review/essay about it all once I’m done.

Posted by Jake on December 16, 2006 2:38 am

December 15, 2006

Deconstruction in Toyland

A friend of mine is starting a “DIY toy company” called PG Toys. At present, they only have one product, which is a toy aimed at breaking gender stereotypes, and breaking down the concept that gender is binary (it’s analog, of course). But PG Toys is looking for feedback about this product/project, so they asked that I put this up so that people can contact them with their thoughts. So if you’ve got the time, check it out and send them your input. Grazi.

Posted by Jake on December 15, 2006 5:21 pm

Every Punchline is Hypocrisy

Border Fence Firm Snared for Hiring Illegal Workers

Really kinda speaks for itself.

Posted by Jake on December 15, 2006 11:57 am

December 14, 2006

Silent Radio

No radio show today. Our website was down, and now it’s back up. However, I’d thought it would continue to be down for several more days, so I didn’t prepare anything. I’ll be there next week. Probably.

In the meantime, I’ll post some writerly things on the site.

[update]

Writerly things ended up in the Media News section. Look right and down. There you go.

Posted by Jake on December 14, 2006 2:06 pm

December 13, 2006

Washington Post: “Pinochet Is Swell”

The Washington Post posted a skull-splintering editorial yesterday about the late Augusto Pinochet, which can be summed up as “Pinochet was good for Chile.”

I don’t know what the fuck they were thinking, but apparently the Post editorial board feels that torture, mass murder, and totalitarianism are okay, if they’re done in the name of free market capitalism.

They start the article with an unsupported attack on Pinochet-haters: the real reason you hate Pinochet is cuz the guy he overthrew was a hero to you commie pinkos. Maybe you thought you hated him because of his ruthlessness and destruction, but you’re wrong. You hate him because of your petty and incorrect political ideology, got it?

Then they go through a quick laundry list of Pinochet’s crimes, somehow making nearly two decades of horror and despotism sound bland.

Then comes the praise.

“It’s hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America.” The editorial lauds Chile’s economic indicators, and sort of snickers that socialist post-Pinochet rulers of Chile have “not dared to reverse” the dictator’s free market policies. Um, maybe that’s because last time someone implemented socialist policies, they were murdered and the country sucked into hell? (do I even need to mention that the US supported Pinochet and helped bring about his coup?) It’s also baffling that they try to claim that Pinochet is responsible for Chile’s recent economic “success”, despite the fact that he hasn’t been in power for 16 years.

And Pinochet wasn’t that anti-democratic, they say. When he lost a referendum in 1990, he stepped down from power without a nation-wide execution rampage. See, you dirty hippies? He wasn’t such a bad guy.

At this point, the Post decides we need to compare Pinochet to Castro. Why? I dunno. Pinochet was a right-wing dictator who brought “success”, while Castro was a left-wing dictator who brought poverty. Which leads us to our conclusion.

The also-recently-deceased Jean Kirkpatrick, Reagan mentor and former US ambassador to the UN, was famous for her theory that it was okay to support right-wing dictators because right-wing dictators were better than left-wing dictators (similar, I suppose, in the way that we should all support cancer, because cancer is better than ebola). Which is what the Post concludes as well, “Yet by now it should be obvious: She was right.” Hence the Cuba comparison, hence the “look at Chilean prosperity”, hence the “look how democratic they are now.”

Go to Chile, or the places where Chileans fled to, and ask if they want high GDP or whether they want their aunts and uncles and parents back. The Post editorial talks about how Chile is a “success”. Yeah, when you take a reeeaal narrow view. Let’s go to Chilean author Isabel Allende for her view:

The US press celebrated the triumph of Pinochet’s economic system and gave him credit for having turned a poor country into the star of Latin America.

None of the indices, however, revealed the distribution of wealth; nothing was known of the poverty and uncertainty in which several million people were living. There was no mention of the soup kitchens in poor neighbourhoods that fed thousands of families - there were more than 500 in Santiago alone - or of the fact that private charities and churches were trying to replace the social services that are the responsibility of the state. There was no open forum for discussing government actions or those of businessmen; public services were handed over to private companies, and foreign corporations acquired natural resources such as forests and oceans, which have been exploited with very little ecological conscience. A callous society was created in which profit is sacred; if you are poor, it’s your own fault, and if you complain, that makes you a Communist. Freedom consists of having many brand names to choose from when you go out to buy on credit.

The figures of economic growth, which won The Wall Street Journal’s praise, did not represent real development since 10 per cent of the population possessed half the nation’s wealth, and there were a hundred people who earned more than the state spent on all social services combined. According to the World Bank, Chile is one of the countries with the worst distribution of income, right alongside Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The head of a Chilean corporation earns the same, or more, than his equivalent in the United States, while a Chilean labourer earns approximately 15 times less than a North American worker. Even today, after more than a decade of democracy, the disparities in wealth are staggering because the economic model hasn’t changed. The three presidents who followed Pinochet have had their hands tied; the right controls the economy, the Congress, and the press.

So yeah, prosperity for the wealthiest, soup kitchens for the rest, everyone wins!

If anyone feels like writing to the Post to let them know they’re full of shit, the address is letters@washpost.com

Posted by Jake on December 13, 2006 12:51 am

December 11, 2006

Heritage, My Ass

Steve Gilliard has a pretty interesting post on his site about a high school in Kentucky that is decorated all over with Confederate Flags. As one would expect, the white students generally like the flags, and assume that the black students, who don’t speak out against the flag, think it’s fine (they don’t, but no one seems to ask them about it). And while the students and school try to defend the flag as part of their history/tradition/heritage, it turns out that Kentucky actually fought on the side of the Union in the Civil War, not the Confederacy.

How the hell does that happen?

Here’s a quote from famed Civil War documentarian Ken Burns:

the point you bring up about the confederate flag is a hugely disturbing thing. The confederate flag was adopted by many of the states as their flag, not before the Civil War, not during the Civil War, or not even in the immediate period afterwards, that much misunderstood period called Reconstruction. Those flags were instituted in the 1950’s and there’s only one thing that happened in the 1950’s that would have caused the southern states to add the confederate flag. They took one of the battle flags, and it wasn’t even the most popular confederate battle flag, and made it the symbol of segregation and resistance to civil rights and codified it in their flags.

So the “tradition” of the Confederate flag stretches all the way back to the ’50s, as a symbol of white supremacy. A star-spangled swastika, if you will.

Posted by Jake on December 11, 2006 11:58 pm

Vast Conspiracy of Whoops

Some of you may have noticed that the website for my radio station, RadioActiveRadio.org is down. This is clearly due to a government attempt to silence us, or because we forgot to renew our domain name. One or the other.

Might take a few days to get back up, so I’m not sure if I’ll be doing a radio show Thursday or not.

Posted by Jake on December 11, 2006 11:40 pm

December 10, 2006

Rot in Hell

Mass-murdering thug and former Chilean despot Augusto Pinochet died today. Too bad they couldn’t convict him of crimes against humanity first.

One down, thousands to go.

Posted by Jake on December 10, 2006 10:24 am

December 9, 2006

You Can’t Spell “Tragic Inhuman Catastrophe” without ISG

There doesn’t seem to be much reason to pore over the Iraq Study Group’s report, as it seems like the president isn’t real inclined to follow its recommendations. But it’s worth glancing at, just the same.

First, I’d just like to point out that there are no Middle East experts on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Zero. I’m sure they talked to experts for their opinions, and that helped, but still… If you were going to come up with a comprehensive report on any topic, it seems like you’d want someone with knowledge and experience on your team. If you were researching, say, a farming crisis, you’d probably want a fucking farmer on the panel.

But of course, this report was never about solving Iraqi problems, it was about solving the domestic problems of American politicians who see that the war is unpopular but don’t want to risk being called “soft on terror.”

While many in the media world are claiming that this report calls for radical changes, some of the recommendations seem exactly the same. It talks about training the Iraqi forces, and estimates that the training should be complete by early 2008. And when that’s done, all American forces not involved with the training and not “imbedded” (is that the right spelling? They use it throughout the report) with Iraqi troops (estimated up to 20,000) can be “redeployed” to somewhere else. Afghanistan, maybe, or the Home for 21-Year Old Vets with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Train them till we’re done, then we’ll leave. Sounds an awful lot like Bush’s soundbite, “when the Iraqis step up, we’ll step back.”

So the first groundbreaking thrust of the report is to do what we’re allegedly already doing. Nice work.

The recommendation also ignores the fact that the Iraqi military is largely made up of Shia militiamen who are responsible for a share of the civil war violence. So when you train and outfit the Iraqi military to fight the sectarian violence, you are simultaneously helping to exacerbate some of it. Why our beloved commentator class can’t seem to wrap their heads around that is beyond me.

The second major recommendation is for a new “diplomatic offensive.” Not “talk”, not “negotiate”, not “work together”, but “launch an offensive”, like we’re going to fire treaty missiles at them from fighter jets. But that’s the best way to reach Bush, as he’s so obsessed with the military. “Mr. President, would you like me to lead an assault on the kitchen to subdue a cup of coffee for you?”

Anyhow, this “diplomatic offensive” is one where the US would try to get Iran to use its influence to calm Iraq’s Shia population, and Syria would use its influence to calm Iraq’s Sunni population (the Kurds, who are living in relative Utopia at the moment, need no calming).

This proposal immediately hit a brick wall. Bush has already announced that he will not talk one-on-one to either Iran or Syria unless Iran stops enriching uranium and Syria stops “destabilizing” the Lebanese government.

Now, I find it doubtful that either of these nations would help the US unless they a) felt that the chaos in Iraq was the number one threat to their regimes, or b) they get a pretty sweet deal in return. Iran wants to run its nuclear program in peace (no pun intended) and wants the US out of Iraq. They’ve gotten almost everything else they could want out of the Iraq war (the US defeated their enemies Saddam and the Taliban, while putting friendly Shia leaders in charge of Iraq), so there’s just not much more they could ask for. Syria wants to run Lebanon, call off the UN investigation into their role in the past assassination of a Lebanese prime minister, and get back the Golan Heights from Israel.

About the only path that Bush is willing to accept along these lines is an “international group” meeting. At which I presume Iran and Syria would make the demands above, and Bush would refuse.

The third, somewhat novel idea in the report is that the US should work on a peace deal between Israel and Palestine. Before the war, the neocons argued that the way to peace in Israel was through Baghdad; meaning that once the US invasion of Iraq had made other Arab leaders piss themselves with fear, we could force them to accept a deal with Israel. The ISG report makes a case for the opposite, that peace in Baghdad might need peace in Jerusalem first. Of course, this is what every Arab and Muslim leader in the world told the US when it was initially trying to drum up Middle Eastern support for action against Iraq, that nothing was more important to changing the region than the Israel-Palestine conflict. But being pompous assholes, our brave leaders took no heed.

The interesting thing about this recommendation is that it is one of the only things that could possibly start to rebuild US credibility with the Muslim world. Well, only if the US was tough with Israel. And that seems pretty damn unlikely. So never mind, maybe.

Sadly, we’ve already seen signs that the White House wants to dismiss the ISG report, or try to minimize its importance. Bush has said that he’ll look over the ISG report, but that the State Department and Pentagon also have reports pending. So ya see, the ISG report isn’t a big deal, it’s just one of many reports with many recommendations and stuff (although Tony Snow later claimed that these would not be formal, printed reports). So much for that hope of getting out of Iraq.

But it’s much worse than that. If these Democratic Congressmen are telling the truth about their recent meeting with the President, we’re all doomed:

Bush began his talk by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.

Bush said that “in years to come they realized he was right and then his doctrine became the standard for America,” recalled Senate Majority Whip-elect Richard Durbin, D-Ill. “He’s trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you’re right you’re unpopular, and be prepared for criticism.”

Durbin said he challenged Bush’s analogy, reminding him that Truman had the NATO alliance behind him and negotiated with his enemies at the United Nations. Durbin said that’s what the Iraq Study Group is recommending that Bush do now - work more with allies and negotiate with adversaries on Iraq.

Bush, Durbin said, “reacted very strongly. He got very animated in his response” and emphasized that he is “the commander in chief.”

Well there’s a handy delusion. His unpopularity and stagnating death war are signs that he’s actually a hero, like good ol’ Harry Truman. Give him a few more months and he’ll figure out a way to justify cannibalism too.

I cannot believe these fuckers. They truly seem to think that their will and stubbornness is all that’s needed to win the war. Sure, you could argue that on a one-on-one brawl, willpower can play a vital role. But this is kinda different. Willpower doesn’t put your planes back together, or deflect mortar fire, or tell who’s friend and who’s foe.

I’ve got no conclusion here. Not only will the fabled ISG report not end the violence in Iraq, but it won’t even get the Americans out of Iraq. Everything I read says that not only will the Iraq civil war rage on for years to come, but that it might envelope and bring down Jordan and Saudi Arabia before it’s done. Hooray for World War III.

Posted by Jake on December 9, 2006 12:55 am

December 7, 2006

No Show for You

Ugh, today’s radio show didn’t go well. Talked about stuff I wasn’t entirely prepared to talk about, was attacked by a bout of sore throat, and had technicaly difficulties on top of that. Not worth the effort for me to edit and upload. But I’ll write up something about Iraq and Bush this evening.

Posted by Jake on December 7, 2006 12:27 pm

December 3, 2006

Suspended for Opposing Rape

Students suspended from LACC in retaliation to standing up to Sheriffs

Earlier this year, a woman was raped on the campus of Los Angeles Community College (LACC). Shortly after the rape, the campus sheriff in charge of investigating the rape, Detective Spelatz, told a group of students that “‘70-80% of rape reports are illegitimate’ and that most women who report rape have a ‘morning after slight’. He also said reports were from women who drank too much and regretted what they did the night before.”

Protesting students then went to the sheriff’s office to file a complaint, but the administrators tried to divert them. Two students refused to leave until they were allowed to file complaints.

You’d think that the school and campus police would be interested to know that their rape investigator doesn’t believe the reports of rape that he is supposed to investigate. But you’d be wrong.

Those two students and one other have now been suspended from LACC and all other community colleges in the district till April 2007.

Some of you may recall a news report I posted early this year showing that cops will go to extreme lengths to prevent complaints from the public. Intimidation and retaliation is nothing new.

You can contact the president of LACC, Steve Maradian, at maradis@lacitycollege.edu or askthepresident@lacitycollege.edu. I’m told his phone number is 323-953-4000 ext 2240.

[update]

According to reports from LA Indymedia, the students’ suspension has now been postponed until “an independent investigation was completed”. However, the student organization which began the protest, Students for Educational Reform (SER) is still calling for the removal of Detective Spelatz. SER also plans to attend the LACC District meeting this Wednesday, December 6 at 3:30pm, at 770 Wilshire Blvd. I don’t think SER would mind some company, for those of you reading in LA.

Posted by Jake on December 3, 2006 11:45 am

December 1, 2006

Mini-Siege

I was glad to hear about this.

As promised, the sort-of left-wing political party of Mexico, the PRD, tried to physically prevent right-wing president-”elect”* Felipe Calderon from taking his oath of office to become president. PRD members blocked the entry doors so that Calderon could not enter the Congress, and fistfights apparently took place between rival parties, but Calderon managed to slip in a back door and got sworn in anyway. How appropriate.


*I put “elect” in quotes because the election was so shady that no one with any honesty could actually say that Calderon was the winner

Posted by Jake on December 1, 2006 4:33 pm

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