We've all heard about how the White House's corporate cronies are winning lucrative and shady contracts for post-war Iraq, but many of us don't know many of the details.
No more excuse for not knowing, thanks to Windfalls of War, a lengthy and highly detailed report from the Center for Public Integrity. The report lists every company, how much their contract was for, what duties they are supposed to perform, and who's their contact on the inside (of the government).
Video News Releases. PR videos masquerading as news. You've been watching them for years and probably didn't know it. Read the article.
This message comes from the journalist website Poynter Online. It's a letter from Charlie Reina, the producer of Fox News Channel's media criticism show "News Watch". I'm posting the whole thing here cuz the links on the Poynter site are a little screwy. Read on, read on.
"The Memo" is the bible at Fox News
10/29/2003 4:46:23 PM
Posted By: Jim Romenesko
From CHARLIE REINA: So Chris Wallace says Fox News Channel really is fair and balanced. Well, I guess that settles it. We can all go home now. I mean, so what if Wallace's salary as Fox's newest big-name anchor ends with a whole lot of zeroes? So what if he hasn't spent a day in the FNC newsroom yet?
My advice to the pundits: If you really want to know about bias at Fox, talk to the grunts who work there - the desk assistants, tape editors, writers, researchers and assorted producers who have to deal with it every day. Ask enough of them what goes on, promise them anonymity, and you'll get the real story.
The fact is, daily life at FNC is all about management politics. I say this having served six years there - as producer of the media criticism show, News Watch, as a writer/producer of specials and (for the last year of my stay) as a newsroom copy editor. Not once in the 20+ years I had worked in broadcast journalism prior to Fox - including lengthy stays at The Associated Press, CBS Radio and ABC/Good Morning America - did I feel any pressure to toe a management line. But at Fox, if my boss wasn't warning me to "be careful" how I handled the writing of a special about Ronald Reagan ("You know how Roger [Fox News Chairman Ailes] feels about him."), he was telling me how the environmental special I was to produce should lean ("You can give both sides, but make sure the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word.")
Editorially, the FNC newsroom is under the constant control and vigilance of management. The pressure ranges from subtle to direct. First of all, it's a news network run by one of the most high-profile political operatives of recent times. Everyone there understands that FNC is, to a large extent, "Roger's Revenge" - against what he considers a liberal, pro-Democrat media establishment that has shunned him for decades. For the staffers, many of whom are too young to have come up through the ranks of objective journalism, and all of whom are non-union, with no protections regarding what they can be made to do, there is undue motivation to please the big boss.
Sometimes, this eagerness to serve Fox's ideological interests goes even beyond what management expects. For example, in June of last year, when a California judge ruled the Pledge of Allegiance's "Under God" wording unconstitutional, FNC's newsroom chief ordered the judge's mailing address and phone number put on the screen. The anchor, reading from the Teleprompter, found himself explaining that Fox was taking this unusual step so viewers could go directly to the judge and get "as much information as possible" about his decision. To their credit, the big bosses recognized that their underling's transparent attempt to serve their political interests might well threaten the judge's physical safety and ordered the offending information removed from the screen as soon as they saw it. A few months later, this same eager-to-please newsroom chief ordered the removal of a graphic quoting UN weapons inspector Hans Blix as saying his team had not yet found WMDs in Iraq. Fortunately, the electronic equipment was quicker on the uptake (and less susceptible to office politics) than the toady and displayed the graphic before his order could be obeyed.
But the roots of FNC's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The Memo is the bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it.
The Memo was born with the Bush administration, early in 2001, and, intentionally or not, has ensured that the administration's point of view consistently comes across on FNC. This year, of course, the war in Iraq became a constant subject of The Memo. But along with the obvious - information on who is where and what they'll be covering - there have been subtle hints as to the tone of the anchors' copy. For instance, from the March 20th memo: "There is something utterly incomprehensible about Kofi Annan's remarks in which he allows that his thoughts are 'with the Iraqi people.' One could ask where those thoughts were during the 23 years Saddam Hussein was brutalizing those same Iraqis. Food for thought." Can there be any doubt that the memo was offering not only "food for thought," but a direction for the FNC writers and anchors to go? Especially after describing the U.N. Secretary General's remarks as "utterly incomprehensible"?
The sad truth is, such subtlety is often all it takes to send Fox's newsroom personnel into action - or inaction, as the case may be. One day this past spring, just after the U.S. invaded Iraq, The Memo warned us that anti-war protesters would be "whining" about U.S. bombs killing Iraqi civilians, and suggested they could tell that to the families of American soldiers dying there. Editing copy that morning, I was not surprised when an eager young producer killed a correspondent's report on the day's fighting - simply because it included a brief shot of children in an Iraqi hospital.
These are not isolated incidents at Fox News Channel, where virtually no one of authority in the newsroom makes a move unmeasured against management's politics, actual or perceived. At the Fair and Balanced network, everyone knows management's point of view, and, in case they're not sure how to get it on air, The Memo is there to remind them.
"Atrios" is the pseudonym of a fellow who writes/edits the weblog Eschaton
Donald Luskin thinks that Paul Krugman is a liar. Luskin has spent lots of time trying to expose what he claims are Krugman's lies. Lots and lots of time. I checked Luskin's site today, and 13 of his last 14 blog entries have been about Krugman in some way.
On October 7, 2003, Atrios posted a three word entry on his weblog, entitled "Diary of a Stalker". The entry simply says "By Donald Luskin" and has a link to Luskin's weblog. Knowing Atrios' general style, it seems most likely that the post was meant as a snide, sarcastic comment pointing out Luskin's seeming fixation on Krugman.
On October 29, Jeffrey J. Upton, lawyer for Donald Luskin, sends a letter to Atrios claiming that many of Atrios' readers submitted comments to the Oct. 5 post (which are visible if one clicks on the "comments" link, like most blogs) that were "libelous". Upton threatens to find Atrios' true identity by issuing a subpoena to Atrios' blog host, and "take further legal action" if Atrios does not erase the offending post and all of the related comments.
Wow, what a whiny motherfucker this Luskin is. People on a website insulted you. Boo fucking hoo.
Only three real explanations for Luskin's actions:
1) Luskin is really super thin-skinned and can't tolerate people making fun of him, so he decided to sue somebody.
2) Luskin wants to intimidate Atrios, and perhaps other pseudonymous writers, but exposing their true identities. Maybe they'd be afraid to speak out then.
3) Luskin is using your standard "win at any cost" strategy to silence his critics.
Either of these makes Luskin look like an unpleasant individual.
The Legal Stuff
First of all, are any of those comments libelous? Can an opinion be libelous? Seems like a bunch of nonsense to me.
If I detach myself from the situation, I do see an interesting legal conundrum here. Is Atrios actually responsible for the comments that other people post to his site?
On one hand, the answer should obviously be "no." He didn't write those things. Each individual comment poster is responsible for their own words, and Luskin should go sue each of them if he truly found their comments libelous.
On the other hand, it is Atrios' site and he is responsible for its content.
But on another (third?) hand, the comments aren't technically on Atrios' site. When you click the "comments" button, you get a pop-up window from a third party, a company called Haloscan. And on Haloscan's site, they claim that "We are not responsible in any way for the content posted on the members' sites or for the comments posted to this server as a result of the commenting service we provide." So Haloscan claims that they are not responsible for the content of comments, but does not say who is.
So who is responsible for all this libelousness? I have no idea. Is this potential lawsuit a waste of everyone's time? Hell yes.
Apparently, Atrios is not responsible for the comments that his readers post, there's actually legal precedent which explicitly says so.
"The vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice."
-GW Bush, Oct. 27, 2003
You may remember a weblog that became fairly popular around February and March of this year, "Where's Raed?" by a fellow going under the pseudonym of "Salam Pax". Pax claimed to be an Iraqi living in Baghdad, giving his personal take on the Iraqi regime and on the coming war. I was quite skeptical as to its authenticity (I'm naturally skeptical), but the sheer volume of posts (going back to December 2002) and the numerous photographs eventually convinced me that it was probably legit.
Months later, a second Iraqi blog in English rose to popularity, Baghdad Burning, by a woman calling herself "river". It too is one person's take on daily life in Iraq, focusing more on the effects of the occupation, and the picture it paints is often quite grim. Again, I have been skeptical of its authenticity, but with the level of detail it contains, I concede that it probably is real.
But apparently someone here in the States feels that Baghdad Burning has too much of an effect on public opinion, and has launched a look-alike site in which all of the content is pro-occupation. The original site is riverbend.blogspot.com , and the new one is riverSbend.blogspot.com, just one letter's difference. The second site is nearly identical in layout, font, etc., obviously trying to trick people into thinking that these are the words and feelings of river herself. Pretty scummy, if you ask me.
Who would stoop so low as to perform this charade? Blogger John Gorenfeld has some answers.
Digging around, he found one of the first references to this new blog on Usenet by a fellow calling himself "El Solerito Troy." And if you examine the very bottom of the fake page, there is a link to a hit counter. And the login name for that hit counter account? "Solerito." A bit too coincidental for my tastes.
Oh, also, El Solerito Troy ends all of his Usenet posts describing himself as, among other things, a GOP team leader. Lovely.
So there you have it. Some aging American Republican trying to boost his party's popularity by pretending to be an Iraqi woman who loves her American occupiers (Raise your outrage level by inserting various other relevant nationalities into that sentence).
From today's Bush Press Conference:
"The world is more peaceful and more free under my leadership, and America is more secure."
- GW Bush
Make the bad man go away, Mommy, I can't take anymore!
Commenter mjb points out that this quote is taken a bit out of context. And s/he's kind of right. Bush is saying what he will say about his foreign policy next year when running for re-election. So he's saying that he'll be able to say the above next year. Although I've seen other quotes from Bush claiming that it's true now.
Rev. Stephen White (aka "Brother Stephen") was a preacher who would travel to college campuses on the eastern seaboard and give fiery, unsolicited sermons about the evils of homosexuality and promiscuity to college students who didn't really give a damn.
Which then makes it either shocking (or predictable) that he was recently arrested for trying to pay a 14 year old boy to let him suck his dick.
You've got to wonder what goes on in a man's head like this. He hated homosexuality so much that he decided to partake in it as some form of penance? He received a message from Jesus Christ saying "go suck that kid's schlong. Pay him if you have to"? After a painful back surgery, his doctor prescribed a regimen of underage gay sex and he became addicted to it?
Oh wait, I know what it is. Brother Stephen is a sick fuck.
I'll end with a letter:
Dear American clergy,
Please leave our children's penises alone.
"The Sun Wants to Kill Your Momma" aka LMB Halloween show '03
Coil- The Hellbound Heart
Anthrax- Intro to Reality/Belly of the Beast
Coil- Love's Secret Domain
Tom Waits- The Black Rider
Rasputina- Transylvanian Concubine
Front 242- Motion
Creepy Jake Mix featuring the Venetian Snares, Brighter Death Now, Raison d'etre, Memorandum, Archon Satani, Inslaughter Natives, Britney Spears
Nine Inch Nails- Closer (precursor)
Bauhaus- She's In Parties
Skinny Puppy- Worlock
Tom Waits- Russian Dance
Insane Clown Posse- Hall of Illusions
Deadbolt- You Don't Want to Know Me
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- From Her to Eternity
Siouxsie and the Banshees- Peek-a-boo
Sisters of Mercy- Alice
Skinny Puppy- Rivers
Christian Death- Figurative Theater
Wumpscut- Slave to Evil
Hellbillys- Surf Zombies
Anton Lavey- Hymn of the Satanic Empire
Cranes- Sixth of May
Trent Reznor- Driver Down
I'm off to rock my Halloween radio show. 2-4pm PST. Listen, you'll like it.
Ever suspect that the oil industry was jacking up the price of gasoline based upon their own greedy schemes and not due to actual petroleum shortages?
Well, one magazine did some research and has some answers.
One of the most important political questions running in the US these days is "what the hell are we going to do with Iraq?" I'd like to answer that question, but it seems only natural that I first try to explain where we are now and how we got there.
I guess the seeds of the latest Iraq war can be traced back to the end of Gulf War I. A number of political and military men were dissatisfied with the results of that war, that the U.S. had not gone all the way to Baghdad. They began advocating massive U.S. military intervention in the Middle East for various reasons. These folks have come to be known as "neoconservatives" or "the neocons." Their main public face was a think-tank called the Project for a New American Century.
When George W. Bush took office, he took many of the neocons with him: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and a few others. Very loud and influential voices inside the White House.
Near as I can figure, the decision to invade Iraq was made by the Bush administration in December 2001, maybe even before that. A National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq-- which would analyze all data assess it as a threat-- had not been performed for over two years, and Bush didn't ask for one to be performed till 10 months later. So at best, this decision was made on old intelligence, if intelligence was used at all.
So how did this decision get made? I'd say that it was probably 90% neocon agenda, 10% Bush ignorance and fear.
The neocon agenda is scary and idiotic at the same time. It basically calls for the use of military force to turn the nations of the world into capitalist pseudo-democracies that maintain the U.S.-dominated status quo. Of course, all nations seek to expand their power and shape the world to best suit themselves, and the U.S. has done so on a regular basis for quite some time. But the neocon plan is an huge escalation in scope, aggression, destructiveness, and, well, stupid optimism. With regards to Iraq, the rose-colored neocon theory is this:
Overthrowing Saddam Hussein and easily turning Iraq into a free market "democracy" will destabilize all of the governments of the Middle East, which will in turn also become free market "democracies," bringing peace to the region and ending terrorism.
I'm serious, that's pretty much what they've been arguing. Well, with the exception that the countries that don't "destabilize" enough might have to be invaded. Which might mean future wars against Syria, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. But since we have this force, we shouldn't be afraid to use it, they say.
A few qualifiers:
- the "democracy" envisioned by the neocons is not real democracy. As is ever the case, the U.S. government will want these new Middle Eastern governments to be U.S.-friendly. Nothing else is acceptable.
- the U.S. will not allow these governments to be Muslim theocracies, even if that is what their people want.
- "capitalist" and "free market" are terms that are largely abused to the point that their meanings are often unclear. So to clarify, the new Middle Eastern economies will likely be corporate capitalist, with heavy protections on intellectual property (especially copyrights and patents from other countries), and will allow a great deal of foreign interference.
- no matter who becomes the leader of each of these new countries, and no matter what their political actions, they will be referred to in the U.S. as "moderates" overseeing the "difficult transition" to democracy. Should they censor, repress or starve their people, they will be portrayed as well-intentioned people making the hard decisions to modernize their countries. You see a lot of this in Latin America and southeast Asia.
- in the view of many neocons, all terrorist groups receive haven and support by national governments, primarily Islamic dictatorships. Therefore in their eyes, if the governments are replaced, terrorist groups will lose their support and terrorism will shrivel on the vine. This is really, really stupid. As 9/11 showed us, you can be a terrorist for the cost of a plane ticket and a knife blade. You don't exactly need a sheikdom to afford that.
I don't know to what degree the neocons should be seen as short-sighted optimists or opportunistic cynics. On the one hand, if they believe their own rhetoric, they probably think that an American-led world with mildly democratic institutions and rampant consumerism is the best possible outcome. It would make for relatively peaceful stability and some amount of freedom.
Or, if they are opportunists, this is all pretty rhetoric to cover up their goals of rich Americans (and lucky others) running the world for their own economic benefit. The entire world transformed into a colony for their own profit, the peace and stability of total control.
Either way you look at it, I don't like philosophy, the means, or the ends.
Now when I refer to "Bush's ignorance and fear," it is just a guess, really. But I've seen Bush give a few speeches about the Iraq war where he lays out his case, and seems to sincerely believe it. His case in a nutshell is that he feels the need to protect the U.S. from another attack like 9/11. And since Iraq hates America, and might have nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, it is conceivable that these weapons could be used in an attack that is like 9/11 times one hundred. And he can't let that happen.
That's really his total argument. Iraq, weapons, terrorists, possible WMD terrorist attack, therefore we have to attack Iraq. With this mindset, it's easy to understand his unwavering support of this plan, and his never-ending attempts to link Saddam Hussein and terrorism. Nevermind that there were no real links, and no real weapons. Bush was unwilling to take that "chance".
So the decision was made. Around this time, the administration began its PR campaign to convince the U.S. and world (and maybe itself) to invade Iraq.
This led to the "stovepiping"-- taking raw intelligence data and sending it to high ranking government officials before it has been analyzed, or even examined for accuracy (not my term, it's intelligence lingo). This bypassed much of the CIA and sent information, both correct and incorrect, straight to the White House.
On one hand, this actually made a little sense, but just a little. After all, the CIA somehow failed to stop, or even really predict the 9/11 attacks. How much trust would you have put in their assessements? But on the other hand, would you trust your own knowledge of current events and geopolitics over that of teams of CIA staff? You'd have to be a genius or a fool to do so.
Or maybe I'm giving the Bush team too much credit. Maybe the stovepipe had nothing to do with trust in the CIA, and was entirely about building a propaganda case for the war.
And they had plenty of help for that. Not only did the White House have their raw, questionably accurate stovepipe data, but they also created the Office of Special Plans. The OSP was a mini-agency created inside the Defense Department with the sole purpose of gathering any and all raw data and rumor about an Iraqi threat. This served the twin purposes of providing the administration with ammunition for their rhetorical campaign, but it also allowed them to keep the CIA distracted by continually asking them to research the "leads" that they'd received from OSP.
The propagandists were also helped greatly by Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. The INC was made up of Iraqi exiles who hoped to one day take power from Saddam Hussein. The INC managed to provide much "intelligence" to the OSP and White House. But they had an extreme vested interest in convincing the U.S. to invade, and therefore any information they provided should have been treated with much suspicion. The INC were the ones who assured the White House that the Iraqi people would be thrilled when "liberated" by the U.S. troops, and shower the soldiers with flowers and sweets. Unfortunately, the INC's intel did not receive the skeptical scrutiny that it should have.
So with a mountain of faulty intelligence (endorsed by CIA director George Tenet, apparently afraid of losing his job if he did otherwise), the Bush administration tried to convince the American public about the need for war. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, many Americans were willing to put their faith in their government to keep them safe. And after a solid decade of low-level "Saddam Hussein is the devil" propaganda, it didn't take much to convince Americans that he was a threat. However the WMD "evidence" was only enough to convince the nations of the world that weapons inspectors should be sent to Iraq, not that the country needed to be invaded.
The U.S. then abandoned its efforts to get the UN to join in the anti-Iraq quest, and decided just to fight with its "coalition of the willing": the U.S., the U.K., and a handful of other countries contributing tiny amounts of money and staff. But it continued the domestic propaganda, focusing not on WMD but on defeating an evil man and bringing freedom to an oppressed people. And when portrayed as a simple morality play, the people approved.
Coming soon- Iraq: What Do We Do Now?
Candypants- Monkey Boy
Ozomatli- Aqui No Sera
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead- It Was There That I Saw You
Rage Against the Machine- Bombtrack
Skinny Puppy- Optimissed
Paris- Sheep to the Slaughter
Rev. Horton Heat- Big Little Baby
Rasputina- Dig Ophelia
Anthrax- Got the Time
Blur- We've Got a File on You/Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Rich
Gza- Animal Planet
Ani Difranco- Untouchable Face (live)
Against Me- Baby I'm an Anarchist
Outkast- Bombs Over Baghdad
The Black Keys- Have Love Will Travel
The Distillers- Sick of It All
Fishbone- Lemon Meringue
Billy Idol- Rebel Yell
Okay, I'll finally concede that we are in the Information Age.
They have made the text of 120,000 books searchable and viewable via their website. For free. You have to register with their site, and of course they want you to buy their books from their site, but still...
Here in Los Angeles today, there is a large fire in the San Bernadino National Forest. I first saw the effects of the fire this morning, when I noticed an odd orange sheen on all outdoor surfaces. There was a hazy scrim of cloud and smoke in the air, turning the sun into a grimy, Day Glo orange bindi in the sky, and that light was shading everything below it. My friend Jeremy and I were headed out to get some breakfast, and we decided that this was an omen of doom, and therefore both opted for the chicken fried steak & eggs.
But the sun's not through with us yet. Apparently some sort of big ol' solar storm is headed towards Earth. Oddly, the "mass of solar gas" that will hit the Earth at 2 million miles an hour might cause some cellphone trouble, but nothing else. But, to freak yourself out properly, check out the photo here.
Now, I'd been planning on trying to swap radio show timeslots with someone this coming week so that I could do a proper Halloween-themed show. My show is usually right in the middle of the afternoon, not your peak witching hours. But given the fact that the sun is creeping me the fuck out lately, I think doing a daytime horror show is now entirely appropriate.
Lying Media Bastards radio show
Scary Halloween Version
(aka "The Sun Wants to Kill Your Momma")
Monday, October 27
Lots of evil, creepy, disturbing muzak
Probably no politics
If you want to hear "Monster Mash", you should probably listen to something else
Inquiry Faults Intelligence on Iraq- "The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is preparing a blistering report on prewar intelligence on Iraq that is critical of CIA Director George J. Tenet and other intelligence officials for overstating the weapons and terrorism case against Saddam Hussein, according to congressional officials... [Sen. John] Rockefeller is under considerable pressure from the Senate Democratic leadership not to allow Roberts to focus only on intelligence bureaucrats while avoiding questions about whether Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others exaggerated the threat from Iraq."
This Senate report is correctly saying that the CIA did a lot of terrible intelligence work done on the issue of Iraq. Unfortunately, this plays right into the Bush administration's hands with there "if we went to war erroneously, it was only because the CIA gave us bad information" spin.
Anyone who reads that should make sure to read this report by Seymour Hersh. It recounts how the Bush administration restructured the national intelligence apparatus so that erroneous yet politically useful "intelligence" could go directly to the top policy makers, withough having to be examined, analyzed and checked for accuracy by the intelligence establishment-- a practice known as "stovepiping"(there's an online Q&A with Hersh on the subject with some simple explanations here). In other words, the Senate report is correct that the White House got bad intelligence, but it got bad intelligence because it wanted to.
I've been meaning to write a long "Iraq: How We Got Here" article for a few days now, and this is a large part of it. Maybe I can hammer out such an article over the weekend.
Republican victory trick #49385303: if you think that newly registered voters might vote against you, try to have their registration revoked.
Yes, in Troy, NY, close to 300 college students registered to vote in the week leading up to their local city council elections. Fearing that these students might vote Democrat and not Republican,
Republicans Art Judge, Robert Armet and Cathryne Collington said the college students are temporary residents of tax-exempt dorms, and they might challenge the enrollments.
"I think it's a little unusual," said Collington, who faces Democrat Bill Dunne in District 4. "They only stay here nine months out of the year. Most of them are not going to stay here. I think we should at least see if they are eligible to vote."
Yes, because they only live in the area 75% of the year for the four years that they are enrolled in school, they should not be allowed to vote there.
I could sit here and mock her logic, but she's not trying to make a reasonable argument. She's trying to win, logic and democracy be damned. It's like comedian Bill Maher said lately, "I'm beginning to think that Republicans will do anything to win an election -- except get the most votes."
[Thanks to August]
Henry Kissinger is a guest on The Daily Show.
Had to shut it off. I ain't gonna watch that fucking butcher pleasantly hawk his new book unless the segment ends with him getting his war criminal ass stomped to death by hundreds of angry Cambodians.
"We're lucky if we can get over here [to the Burger King at the Baghdad International Airport] once a month, we're so busy raiding houses and kicking down doors in the middle of the night."
- Adrian Miller, U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
Get Your War On returns, with quality.
Candypants- Monkey Boy
Ozomatli- Aqui No Sera
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead- It Was There That I Saw You
Rage Against the Machine- Bombtrack
Skinny Puppy- Optimissed
Paris- Sheep to the Slaughter
Rev. Horton Heat- Big Little Baby
Rasputina- Dig Ophelia
Anthrax- Got the Time
Blur- We've Got a File on You / Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Rich
Gza- Animal Planet
Ani Difranco- Untouchable Face (live)
Against Me- Baby I'm an Anarchist
Outkast- Bombs Over Baghdad
The Black Keys- Have Love Will Travel
The Distillers- Sick of It All
Fishbone- Lemon Meringue
Billy Idol- Rebel Yell
Should've posted this earlier.
If you're in southern California and are tempted to cross the picket line of striking (and locked out) supermarket workers to get your groceries, here's a list of locations where you can shop and still honor the strike. They're mostly more upscale supermarkets like Gelson's and Whole Foods (who could use a union themselves, I'm told), so the food might cost a bit more. But if you can stick it out a little while, some low paid folks might be able to win against the grocery giants and retain health care benefits for themselves and their families.
I have a lot to say about this strike and several other local strikes, I'll be ranting about it on my radio show today.
I dig the cover of the new Blur single:
The artist is named Banksy, I think I've linked to his stuff here before. Grafitti artist who veers from the politically poignant to the absurd.
He's up to some tricks these days, apparently hanging his art on the wall of a prominent London art gallery without anyone noticing.
Art can be fun.
I am now back in Los Angeles. My time in NYC was particularly relaxing, mainly because I left my laptop (and therefore most of my work capacity) moldering in my LA apartment. I actually almost rode on that deadly Staten Island ferry trip, let's all thank the cold weather for averting that possibility.
But I now leap back into the belly of the work beast. I'll never figure out how someone as lazy as I am spends so much time working.
Radio show will resume Monday.
Two different people told me this week that I should write a book. The idea of doing so has crossed my mind in the past, but somehow "maybe I should write a book" and "wow, other people want me to write a book so they can read it", are entirely different thoughts. Flattering, of course. Not sure what I'd write about. I'll give the idea some more thought.
Greetings from Manhattan.Just hopping on the internet with a brief warning for y'all.I saw the new Quentin Tarrantino movie "Kill Bill" last night. The Village Voice had called it "the most violent American movie ever made." And they're right. But I feel they should have added "by a lot."That's my warning. KB is really, really violent and gory. Lots of severed limbs, decapitations, fountains of blood, etc. Keep that in mind if you're going to go see it.
"If the ass is protecting the system, ass-kicking should be undertaken, regardless of the sex, ethnicity, or charm of the ass involved."
Going on a trip. Won't have much computer access, so we're unlikely to have many LMB entries for about a week. In the meantime, keep apprised of the happenings in our evil world at the following:
Also, you might want to look into the recent PBS documentary Truth, War & Consequences. It provides a pretty good accounting of how the Bush adminstration led the U.S. to war, and what the new Iraqi looks like at the moment. You can apparently watch the whole thing online starting tomorrow, or just browse through their related material.
India building nuclear attack platform in space- I don't know this news source at all (The Daily Times of Pakistan), but it quotes Indian military officials saying that they want to put some kind of space station/satellite thing into space that would have nuclear capabilities. To be used to defend India against nuclear attacks from other countries, of course.
I imagine it'll make some of you (us) Arnold haters feel a little better.
Before I read the forwarded email completely, I started to flip out.
It was the story of how Nike had temporarily bought the rights to a historic public square in Vienna, changed its name from "Karlsplatz" to "Nikeplatz", placed a huge "swoosh" sculpture there, and built some sort of store and info-center on the premises. And Nike apparently had plans to do this in other cities around the world, including my own Los Angeles. I was pissed and ready to mobilize.
Lucky for me, I gave the email another look.
It's all a big hoax by an art collective called 0100101110101101.ORG.
Apparently it's a big arty prank designed to raise issues about the corporatization of public space, the manipulation of symbols, etc.
As one might imagine, Nike plans to sue. To which the wry artists reply, "Why should they? We produced the first Nike no-budget advertisement!"
How the hell did they move a 100 foot sculpture into downtown Vienna and get away with it? I'm impressed with that feat alone.
As you may or may not know, the record industry has come up with many bold new plans to stop the scourge of music piracy. The latest is called MediaMax CD3, created by a company called SunnComm. When you put a MMCD3-treated disc into your computer's CD-ROM drive, it automatically installs a small program onto your hard drive which intereferes with the copying of sound files, preventing you from turning the CD tracks into mp3 files to trade on the internet.
But there's a flaw. If you hold down your computer's "shift" key as the CD loads, the software doesn't install, foiling the anti-piracy technology entirely.
A Princeton student named Alex Halderman discovered this huge, colossal, glaring, immense flaw with MMCD3, who revealed it in an academic paper that he published online.
And now, SunnComm is suing Halderman for $10 million. SunComm claims that Halderman's paper was incorrect, and that his paper caused the company's stock to drop by $10 million.
No, what caused SunnComm's stock value to drop is the fact that they're idiots, and now everyone knows they're idiots. Sometimes, you reap what you sow.
I'm happy to hear that Halderman is confident that he'll beat the lawsuit: "I hardly think that telling people to push shift constitutes trafficking in a (copy-protection technology) circumvention device. I'm not very worried."
I've never been a big fan of comedian Margaret Cho, but I just discovered that she has a high quality blog on her website. And while it's not strictly political, her blog page currently has some crazy, hip hop style rants against some of today's most prominant/evil conservative icons. For example, about Arnold Schwarzenegger:
What the fuck is wrong with you? Bodybuilding is alright and everything, but you are not doing multiple reps, you are making multiple missteps. I got nothing against Austria. I got mad love for Vienna Sausage and shit, but you need to stop grabbin' on ladies and wipe that steroids eating grin off your face. All these women came forward to talk about how you were harassing them, and will not say their names because they are afraid you are gonna fuck them up like Sarah Connor. This is way worse than Clarence and Anita. We are not talking about a pubic hair on a Coke and unsolicited movie reviews of Long Dong Silver. You didn't get some head from a hot and willing intern, you molested ELEVEN women who did not show you some thong to pump you up, and if it is just six that had the bravery to step up, then I suspect there are a lot more waiting in the wings getting the courage up to call you out What I see in you is testosterone od, and if you don't get yourself into some x chromosome management program, you are going down. You don't need to check yourself because you have already wrecked yourself.
Check it out, I think you'll enjoy.
I've been told that a Bill O'Reilly interview is being aired on the NPR show Fresh Air today, and that it's... interesting.
I only have the info on hearsay, but it sounds like O'Reilly gets really pissed, berates the host, and walks out of the interview.
Might be worth a listen.
I listened to the interview. Well, I skipped straight to the end to see what happened. Basically, O'Reilly accused the host of making the entire interview a series of defamatory attacks against him that he needed to defend himself against, hoping that he'd slip up and say something that could get printed in Harper's Magazine. Then he walked out of the interview.
I didn't listen to enough to know if O'Reilly's accusations were true (why would I want to?), but that description matches his own show pretty well.
I'll keep this brief.
As a fellow who can see issues from many, many sides, I sometimes write from a point of view that I am holding at the moment, forgetting to try to incorporate that view into a larger whole, combined with all the other possibilities. I'm going to try to throw a few of the perspectives I've neglected in here.
1) Gray Davis should have resigned. I was reminded of this from Steve Gilliard this morning. If Davis had actually been concerned about California or his own political party, he would have quit the governorship before a special recall election was announced. This would have averted the recall, and put Bustamante in the governor's seat. The state would've saved $66 million, and the rest of the world would not be laughing at us. But no, Davis decided that he wanted to keep his job. Thanks a lot, fella.
2) I'm angry. I generally think that electoral, representative politics is a complete farce, so my anger at Schwarzenegger's victory confused some of my friends. If all election campaigns are about choosing which corrupt motherfucker is going to have power over you, does it really matter who gets into office? And I guess my answer is that I hate seeing people be tricked and manipulated. All election campaigns are that process, of course: lies, smears, misdirection, promises, plans, slogans, image, and illusion. But I felt that Schwarzenegger took shallowness to a new level. His campaign, quite honestly, was 90% movie quotes and promises to "clean up Sacramento". He said almost nothing about policy, barely even pretended to have a plan. His answers on the only debate he'd agree to go on (you know, the one where they agreed to give him the questions in advance, so he could just read pre-scripted answers?) sounded like someone's high school speech class homework. His answer for dealing with the California economic crisis was "we're going to open up all the books and audit everything." That's not a solution, that's Step One in actually understanding what the problem is.
What made me angry about Arnold's win is the contempt for the public behind his campaign. Other candidates built up their own illusions, making detailed plans, taking stances on policy, talking about their experience, etc. These are the steps one would think were necessary to convince voters to choose one candidate over another, because voters want to put someone in office who agrees with their own point of view and who will make their lives better. Scwarzenegger didn't even pretend to do that, didn't even pretend that voters would want to hear why he'd make a good governor. He just smirked for the cameras and said "hasta la vista, baby" for two months.
And he won.
I feel like California voters have been tricked by the most vulgar, obvious, transparent con job ever, and they don't even know it. It's revolting.
3) My main concern for California at this point is the budget. With such massive shortfalls, I fear that schools and health care might take huge hits. I'm also concerned about what right-wing economic strategies and cronyism we might see out of the Arnold administration
4) Now that Recall has proven itself a useful strategy, we will probably see it used in other states that have recall provisions in their constitution.
5) Senator Orrin Hatch has been talking publicly about an amendment to the U.S. Constitituion that would remove rule forbidding immigrants from running for president, if they have been citizens for 20 years. Schwarzenegger has appeared at some of Hatch's fundraisers, and became a U.S. citizen in 1983...
Well, the good news is that the high numbers of people voting in favor of the California recall shows that the residents of the state are really fed up with governmental business as usual, and that they're fed up with being screwed over.
The bad news is that they were so easily suckered into believing that a movie star millionaire is actually going to accomplish this.
And the other good news is that Proposition 54 looks to have been defeated. See, small silver linings here and there.
Arnold Schwarzenegger. What were you people thinking?!
White House Rules Out Three Aides in Leak on CIA- what a relief. The Bush administration has exonerated members of the Bush administration.
White House Turns Up Heat in CIA Controversy- "The White House adopted a more combative approach today to the leak of a CIA agent's identity, with spokesman Scott McClellan trying to cast doubt on the credibility of Joseph C. Wilson IV, one of those at the center of the controversy."
This is irrelevant. Let's say that Wilson is a tremendous liar and political hack. Doesn't change the FACT that someone leaked his undercover wife's name to the press.
But my favorite part is this statement from White House spokesman Scott McClellan: "[Wilson] has made previous statement and then backtracked from those statements. I think its very important to understand that there is a Washington, D.C. game of rumor and innuendo. … And I'm not going to play that game."
You're not going to play that game? Have you turned in your letter of resignation?
Is it true? I have no idea. Stewart cites one unnamed former staffer, and a former aide she calls "K.", who relays her story to Stewart "through a close friend." Certainly not the most vigorous sourcing job I've ever seen. At least the Schwarzenegger scandal is backed up by more sources, even if some are anonymous.
But it's quite possible that all of the people who might win the governorship are completely unfit for the job. Whee.
(Yeah, it ain't real, but it's funny)
[Idea stolen from "Brett W" from the Counterspin Central comment board]
Good ol' political manipulation at yesterday's Schwarzenegger rally:
Staffers told supporters to discard whatever signs they had brought with them. As they entered a security check area, they were told to collect new official signs like "Remarkable Women Join Arnold" and "Democratic Women Love Arnold."
So if you went to the rally with a sign stating your own personal pro-Arnold slogan, security told you to throw that sign out and take one with the PR spin of the day designed to counter the charges that Arnold uses and abuses women. Your opinion isn't important, only the cover-up is.
And, as some others have pointed out, the signs were designed to look as though they were handmade by Arnold's supporters.
Not expecting this revelation of mine to have an impact, I just hate deception.
Recall Davis: NO
The entire recall debacle was a strategy by Republicans to gain power by any means necessary. Like the Florida recounts, like the redistricting in Texas, like the Clinton impeachment. This has little to do with Davis' actual performance, it is about exploiting popular anger and disgust with Davis to put a Republican in the governor's mansion. While recalls are, in the abstract, extremely democratic (throwing your leader out of office? Sweet!), in this occassion it's nothing but a power grab. And to me, stopping the power grab is the most important aspect here. If it works here, we'll surely see campaigns in other states to recall Democrats in power. Would Democrats try it to get rid of Republican governors? They might, but they'd probably bungle it somehow.
By all accounts, Davis is as mercenary as politicians get, doing whatever he feels he needs to get campaign money and votes. He's sleazy. But anger towards Davis is mainly about the budget crisis and the economy. And honestly, the economy is largely the fault of the dot-com bubble-bursting, which we can't really blame on Davis. The state budget crisis is also a cause of anger, and Davis is partially to blame for this because he fucked up. The crisis was sparked when the electricity-brokering jackals bled the state dry by continually manufacturing shortages and jacking up the price of power. To stop prices from getting even higher, Davis made a long-term deal with these companies to buy electricity at a constant price, a price that was still too high. He fucked up, and we have to pay for it.
But more than Davis' sleaze and mistakes, I am angered by the Republicans playing games with the tiny bit of democratic process we have here in this state. I wish there was a Proposition 55: "Should everyone in California get a chance to punch Darrell Issa in the head?" I'd vote twice.
I'm voting against the recall because of that. If you're angrier at Davis' corrupt ways than you are and Republican manipulation, then vote for the recall.
Candidate to Succeed Davis: Cruz Bustamante
Bustamante stinks. He's an awful lot like Davis. But again, my main goal in voting this election is to foil the Republicans' scheme. And should the recall voters win, then Stinky Bustamante is the only real chance to defeat the Republicans.
Best Candidate (Actual Good Candidate): Peter Camejo
Honestly, I think Camejo has the best, most far-reaching plan, which is mainly to make rich folks pay more of their taxes by closing up loopholes. My runner-up choice would be Charles "Chuck" Pineda Jr. He's a Democrat who's main platform seems to be to stop building prisons and start building more schools. Seems reasonable to me.
Best Candidate (to Piss Off Jake): Arnold Schwarzenegger
Dude comes in with no plan, figuring that his charisma and fame will sweep him into office. As a person, he seems to be an utterly self-centered asshole who does whatever he thinks he can get away with (which is pretty much anything, because everyone near him is afraid they'll lose their jobs). As a governor, I presume he will smile and wave and spout movie dialogue, while implementing all of the ecnomic policies spouted in secret by his right-wing pals.
Proposition 53: No. I think.
Honestly, I don't know about this one. I've heard people debate it, and they pretty much keep calling each other liars. Since I can't figure out who's right on this one, I'll vote no, just in case.
Proposition 54: No
One of the stupidest plans around. "If we stop collecting data about people's racial or ethnic backgrounds, racism will go away." Brought to you by Ward Connerly, the fellow who brought us Proposition 209-- "if we stop affirmative action, racism will go away." Won't accomplish the alleged goal, and even if it did, we wouldn't have the data to show that it was working.
Last week, David Kay- head of the Iraq Survey Group-- testified before Congress about what his team had found so far. Blogger Billmon went through the testimony with a fine-tooth comb. You can read his detailed analysis, or skip down to his conclusions that I will repost below.
According to Billmon, all that the ISG report really reveals is:
1.) Dual use R&D work with non-prohibited organisms that might have developed techniques suitable for use with weaponized anthrax and/or rictin. Not clear if the clandestine status of these programs has been confirmed by Iraqi scientists, or was merely inferred by the ISG.
2.) One vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. stashed in a scientist’s home refrigerator since 1993. No toxin found, or evidence of any effort to produce toxin.
3.) Preservation of some (undescribed) nuclear equipment and documents that might have been useful to restarting work on centrifuge purification of uranium at a later date.
4.) Several suspected efforts to build or adapt prohibited long-range ballistic missiles. Most never got beyond the drawing boards, and all were scrapped prior to the return of the UN inspectors last year.
5.) One alleged test flight of a drone aircraft beyond the maximum allowed range.
6.) Alleged discussions with the North Koreans about purchasing prohibited long-range ballistic missile technology. No actual transactions ever completed.
As you can see, Iraq was a dire, immediate threat to the United States and needed to be invaded.
Sorry folks, but I can't make my radio show for the next two weeks. This means that I'll probably have a substitute DJ tomorrow, and play some "classic LMB" the week after.
On August 30, members of the Fresno anti-war organization Peace Fresno noticed an photo of one of their members in the oobituary section of the local paper: Aaron Stokes, an independently wealthy man who came to their meetings regularly, spoke little, and took copious notes. He had died in a motorcycle accident.
Except that obituary listed him as "Aaron Kilner", detective for the Fresno County Sheriff's Department, and member of the "anti-terrorism" team.
Yes, apparently the Fresno police felt that the peace group, based out of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, was potentially a violent threat to the community. And therefore, they needed to be spied upon.
The sheriff's department claims that Peace Fresno "was not and is not the subject of any investigation by the Fresno County Sheriff's Department." Then is it possible that Kilner was attending the meetings because he was truly against the war, yet hid his true identity because he feared it could cause trouble? Kilner's mother and brother both say no, that he was both too busy, and that he would have mentioned it if he was going to these meetings on his own.
Which leaves the most likely explanation: the Fresno police are wasting their manhours and resources investigating peace groups when they could instead be actually protecting us from terrorism. Good work, fellas.
The article's quote from Kilner's brother is also a little creepy: "We asked him, 'How do you do it when your views don't coincide [with those of the group your surveilling]?' And he said, 'The really great thing about this country is that people are allowed to express themselves.' He really strongly believed in that, but he was concerned about the line where opinions become actions."
That's a comforting thought. Every organization needs a cop to monitor their meetings just to make sure that they behave themselves, and don't get out of hand. "I love you Big Brother", and all that.
There is another article on the Kilner story here, with more context, but it is less objective than the previous one.
The important fact: whoever wins the recall election will essentially decide the outcome of the $9 billion that Enron stole from California during its wild energy fraud days. The Davis administration is pressuring Bush's folks to demand that Enron pay up. Cruz Bustamante personally launched a lawsuit against Enron to make them pay up. But the governor of California can sign any sort of deal s/he wants with Enron to resolve the situation...
And Palast claims that there is already a "compromise" plan at the ready, drawn up by Bush's energy regulators, where Enron would pay around $180 million instead of the $9 billion (for reference, the current California budget deficit is $8 billion). And if the right governor was in office, this plan could go forward...
Then, the not-so-believable part. Palast claims that he has just received internal Enron documents that prove that Arnold Schwarzenneger met with Ken Lay of Enron in May 2001 and concocted a scheme for California. Unfortunately he gives little to no detail about these documents, or the meeting, so it's hard to take what he's saying 100% seriously.
So that's his argument, really, that during this secret meeting in 2001, Arnold and Ken Lay made plans so that if the California government kept demanding its $9 billion back, that the two would try to recall the California governor, to try to get the sweet compromise deal instead.
Yeah, seems a bit far-fetched to me. I think the bit about Davis & Bustamante and the compromise deal is true, but Palast really provides no evidence of the Arnold-Enron conspiracy. But remember come voting day, that whoever takes power can either lose or regain the state a huge chunk of stolen money.
I really can't believe this story isn't getting more coverage.
The short version:
Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker" of 9/11 (who didn't actually hijack anything), is on trial on six counts of conspiracy to commit various terrorist acts. To build a legal defense for himself, Moussaoui wanted to interview al-Qaeda members held by the US government. The government refused, and the judge in the case insisted that the government allow Moussaoui access to the prisoners. The government again refused, giving the judge no choice but to sanction the prosecution. She did so by barring the prosecution from seeking the death penalty, and by forbidding them from introducing any "evidence or argument that the defendant was involved in, or had knowledge of" 9/11. In other words, if the government is going to hamstring Moussaoui's defense attempts, the judge must legally hamstring the prosecution as well.
So the three options seem to be:
1) the government concedes and lets Moussaoui talk to the al Qaeda prisoners
2) Moussaoui wins the case and goes free
3) the government shifts the case to a military court and prosecutes Moussaoui in a military tribunal
I suspect that #3 has been the goal all along.
Israel plans more homes in West Bank settlements- "Israel issued plans Thursday for about 600 more homes in West Bank settlements despite the Mideast 'road map' peace plan, which calls for a freeze on new settlement construction." You ever get the sneaking suspicion that the Israeli government isn't really interested in a peace plan?
US and Turkey to hit PKK- someone please tell me I'm reading this wrong. The US is going to team up with Turkey to attack a Kurdish independence group in Turkey? When Kurds are the majority ethnicity in northern Iraq? Are we trying to turn the Kurds against the US troops in Iraq and start an Iraqi civil war?
Never Too Soon to Say Goodbye to Hi- "Hi" is the name of a new "lifestyle" magazine aimed at young Arab men and women, created by the US State Department as a way of making those Arabs like the US more. This article is an analysis of Hi. The main findings are the amazing way in which the magazine depoliticizes the explicitly political, and its universal condescending tone, as if its readers were all in junior high school. And my eyes bugged out when I saw that Hi had previously featured an article titled "Arab Music Invades the West." Given that the US has recently, non-metaphorically "invaded" two Arab nations in the past two years with potentially more to come, maybe that wasn't the most appropriate phrasing.
Lobbyists Set Sights On Money-Making Opportunities in Iraq- sigh. Let the true looting begin.
Study: Wrong impressions helped support Iraq war- according to some poll, 60% of Americans have held one of the three following errors about Iraq: 1) U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 2) There's clear evidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein worked closely with the Sept. 11 terrorists. 3) People in foreign countries generally either backed the U.S.-led war or were evenly split between supporting and opposing it. And among those who held these beliefs, the greatest proportion said that their primary news source was Fox News. Go figure.
US Seen Dragging Feet on Iraqi Oil Money Watchdog- on May 22, the UN Security Council voted to create the International Advisory and Monitoring Board to "monitor U.S. spending of Iraq's oil revenues." Apparently the US has been stopping the IAMB from starting its duties. And will most likely continue to do so till the money's all been allocated.
Bush: Hussein 'A Danger to the World'- somehow in the mind of GWB, the lack of evidence that Saddam Hussein had dangerous weapons is proof that Saddam Hussein was a "danger to the world." When Bush talks about "faith-based initiatives," his faith is apparently Zen Buddhism.
Miller's Star Fades (Slightly) at 'NY Times'- Judith Miller is a star reporter at the NY Times, even though she kinda sucks. She broke a number of stories this year, largely based upon information she got via highly suspect source Ahmed Chalabi, that later turned out to be false. And yet, "she continues to prosper, the sources keep calling her back, she keeps getting published, and the editors like her because she 'delivers.'"
Limbaugh at center of controversy again- the greatest symbol of right-wing radio hot air, Rush Limbaugh, is in the middle of two scandals simultaneously. First, he made a racist remark on the air during a taping of ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, basically alleging that black quarterbacks aren't as good as white ones, but get unjustified hype by the liberal media. Secondly, he is allegedly accused of abusing illegally obtained prescription drugs.
FTC/FCC Complaint Challenges Product Placement- interesting. Ralph Nader's Commercial Alert organization has filed a complaint with two federal government agencies about the quasi-advertising strategy of product placement in TV shows. Wonder how that will play out.
Talk about your "faith-based initiatives".
Kay Says No WMD Stocks Found in Iraq- "The U.S-led team hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has not found any stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons."
Officials Say Bush Seeks $600 Million to Hunt Iraq Arms- "The Bush administration is seeking more than $600 million from Congress to continue the hunt for conclusive evidence that Saddam Hussein's government had an illegal weapons program, officials said Wednesday."
"All evidence tells us that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, which means that we must search harder than ever for evidence of the unlikely," said Secretary of State Harvey the Rabbit in a press conference today. This sentiment was mirrored by Vice President Tooth Fairy. "We are so, so, so certain that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that we just NEED to show the rest of you. And if it turns out that he doesn't have them, then we're sure that we'll find evidence that he had plans to make them. And, barring that, we're pretty sure we'll find some dirty magazines."
"Meow meow meow meow meow," said Secretary of Defense Fucked-Up-Cat-Puppet-from-Mr.-Rogers'-Neighborhood.
The Department of Leprechauns and Unicorns could not be reached for comment.
600 million American dollars to search for weapons that probably aren't there. Jesus fucking Christ. Remember back at the beginning of this year, when UN weapons inspectors were investigating Iraq for free!?!
Can't we just impeach these motherfuckers already? For killing, lying, looting, take your pick.
And read the end of that second article, it should really get your blood boiling. "During the initial months of the weapons hunt, the Iraq Survey Group spent its first weeks installing air-conditioned trailers, a new dining facility, state-of-the-art software and even a sprinkler system for a new lawn, according to officials and experts who worked with the group this summer."
Okay, you know what's an important part of scouring a desert nation looking for hidden nuclear weapons? NOT SPENDING YOUR TIME PLANTING A NEW LAWN!!! If these allegations are true, I want these bastards fired, and I want them to repay every damn cent they spent on frivolous crap.
Yes, I'm pretty sure that Iraq had some amount of chemical or biological weapons. It just seems unlikely that the entire nation is barren of such things. And they probably had programs to develop weapons that they didn't have. And, if we spend enough time and money, we might find evidence of one of these things. But American kids gotta get an education, American families gotta have healthcare, and American territory needs to be protected from future terrorist activity. Hell, keep that money in Iraq even, make sure that Iraqi familes are educated, healthy and safe. But using this $600 million for the WMD hunt (which the Iraqi Survey Group will probably waste on wet bars and solid gold saunas anyway) accomplishes none of these things.
Only two explanations for this insanity. One, the Bush administration is so riddled with incompetency, that they truly thought Iraq was a threat and attacked it to save us, bungling mightily along the way. Or, two, this was a war for oil and empire, clothed in terror fears. I think y'all know which I believe.
I'm getting tired of non-confession confessions.
Less well-known, but two and a half years ago:
If you walk through it, between the first two articles, Schwarzenegger is accused of groping, stripping and molesting unwilling women, both in private and in public, on a number of occasions.
While the press is paraphrasing Arnold is such a way that it sounds like he has admitted to these acts and is apologizing for them, let's make sure we see what he really says. First he says that much of what's in the LA Times article is "not true." Then he says:
Wherever there is smoke, there is fire. That's true. What I want to say to you is that, yes, I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right that I thought were playful. I now recognize that I have offended people and to those people that I offended, I want to say that I am deeply sorry and I apologize.
So first, he claims that some of the allegations, who knows which ones he means, are not true. Then he says that he "behaved badly" as though he was a toddler who made a mess in the kitchen. He tries to explain away the allegations by saying that he was just kidding around, being playful. But, he realizes that some of those things were "not right". In the end, he apologizes not for doing these things, but because the things he did "offended" people.
Just warms your heart, don't it?
Oh, and he vows to be a "champion of women" if elected. Y'know how easy it is to vow something? Watch: I vow to grow wings and fly to the moon.
So what sort of things does Schwarzenegger consider "bad behavior"? I guess stuff like this:
In late 1990, Schwarzenegger was in the San Bernardino County town of Fontana, shooting "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." According to a female crew member, Schwarzenegger harassed her on several occasions.
She recalled encountering the actor in an elevator as she headed downstairs to the pool of the hotel where the cast and crew were staying. On each occasion, she said, she was wearing a terrycloth robe over a black, one-piece Speedo swimsuit.
"At least three times — if not more — he would end up in the elevator with me, groping me and trying to take my robe off," said the crew member, now 41 and still working in the movie industry.
"He would pin me against the corner in the elevator" and try to take off her robe and pull down the straps of her suit, she said.
The incidents did not last long, she said, because the elevator ride was short.
The woman said her response to Schwarzenegger's actions evolved with each incident. "The first time, you're like, "Oh, my God! I was groped by Arnold Schwarzenegger!' The second time you're like, 'This is disgusting.' The third time you're like, 'Get the ... away from me.' "
She said she told her boss, who advised her, "Just stay away from him."'
After that, the woman said, she would check the hotel hallway before entering the elevator. She said if Schwarzenegger got into the pool, she would get out.
"What could you do? He was the highest-paid actor in the world. I was a peon," she said. "The only thing you could do is stay away from him."
Yes, pinning a woman in a corner of an elevator and trying to strip her naked (and god knows what else) against her will, is "bad".
I think this incident sums it all up, and gives a titanic reason why Schwarzenegger should not be let anywhere near the governor's office. Schwarzenegger is one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. This means that he can do whatever he wants, and that nearly anyone around him is afraid of what he might do with that power should they oppose him. He surely has come to expect this from everyone around him, subservience. That's why he thinks it's okay to molest women; no one calls him on it. In fact, he surely has managers and cohorts who will help him explain it away as "playful" and whatever. He'll be used to giving orders and having them be obeyed, not having to work within rules and boundaries, compromising with legislators and such.
That who you want in charge of your state?
Due to some sort of techno-problem at this site's webhost company, all my entries (and your comments) since September 28 have vanished. I apologize, and have learned a valuable lesson about obsessively backing up files "just in case."
You really didn't miss much, I guess. I mainly talked about the Wilson-Plame/CIA leak story, and you can get the info pretty much anywhere. Wait a minute, I think I also had a good piece about political pack journalists, maybe I'll repost that.
Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.
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October 29, 2003
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