I said I'd take two days off to deal with e-mail, but events today warrant comment.
The passing of King Fahd must be a sad time, in the Texas "white house." I mean, the passing of repressive dictators is always a momentous occasion, but this has gotta hurt. After all, the Bush and Saud families have been in business for a LONG time. This isn't like Bush Jr's dalliances with the Bin Laden Family- this must be like Bush losing a beloved uncle...
But hey- Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (the new King), has been doing overtime as a Bush crony, since Fahd succumbed to his stroke, ten years back, and I'm sure that relations will continue, as cheery as ever.
As I predicted he would, about two months back, Bush took advantage of the August recess of congress to appoint John Bolton as our ambassador to the UN.
What better way to demonstrate the majesty and power of democracy, than to appoint a reckless, batshit-crazy lunatic as our ambassador to the world body, without congressional advice and consent? It brings a tear to the eye- it really does. But, there's a silver lining to this: even the republicans in congress are fundamentally disturbed by this action- Bush' hubris has taken him one step, too far, within his own party. However, just wait a few weeks, and the crisis du jour will drag these errant republicans into the fold of conformity, once again.
There has been a TON of discussion of this, on the blogosphere, today, and rightfully so. He's a self-absorbed, self-righteous hell-bent-for-leather mental patient. When he isn't busy skewing intelligence to fit his messianic neoconservative world view, he's either screaming, assaulting subordinates (and screaming), or throwing objects at subordinates (and screaming.)
Here's my take on Bolton: Ya'll remember when you were in grade school, and there was this fat little kid that everyone picked on? You remember- he was the guy who always wore pants two sizes too small, and always hadda pull them up, every few seconds. He did well in school, but never spoke much. He always shuffled along the hallways, dodging the occasional spitball, staring at the floor as he flitted between classes. He coped with this abuse and lack of social skills by turning inward. He was the guy who always stared bolt-forwards, never acknowledging anyone else, and inculcated within himself the mantra: "One day, they will ALL pay!"
Bolton is the bully-that-could-have-been, had he the guts to stand up for himself. Unfortunately, he never had the testicular fortitude to do so, and so, after a time in college, he was given a plum assignment, with subordinates ready and waiting. The day he moved into his office, the long-dormant beast emerged, and since that day, he has built a career on crushing people, out of a sense of spite that lay, festering and waiting, during his formative years:
"My secretary isn't giving me my coffee with the right amount of sugar- just like that BITCH cheerleader who spurned my advances, in junior high- time to throw a paperweight- all women are BITCHES!!!!"
"The intel my aide is giving me says that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction- but he looks JUST LIKE the captain of the football team, back in high school. I bet he's just WAITING to give me another wedgie- ooh- things are going blurry- where am I, again?"
Now- before I go forward with my rambling here- one thing, that every person of the world must understand about our new ambassador to the UN: He's clinically insane. If his screaming and hurling antics aren't enough to convince you- just look into his eyes- those beady dots, staring out from underneath a furrowed brow, are full of a rabid intensity that sends shivers down the spine. This is a man with serious, innate problems that, at a moment's notice, are prone to erupt, explosively.
The right wing counters with "Bolton is the kind of no-nonsense man we need at the CORRUPT UN- he'll set 'em straight!"
Okay- I'll admit- the UN has problems- but that's mostly due to the western powers (preeminently the United States) waffling, and not standing firm on key issues, and giving support where it's needed (Tea in Sudan, anyone?) But let's look at the record: Which entity invaded a country that never threatened it, or attacked it, and in the process, killed up to 120,000 innocent civilians, and wasted 300 billion in the process? Was it the UN, or the USA? You have two guesses, and here's a hint: It's not the UN.
John Bolton doesn't want to "reform" the UN- he wants to destroy it. I imagine he looks upon it as the equivalent of the 4-h club that refused him membership, back when he was a wee tot.
But I digress, and am repeating myself: Bolton is just the latest installment in the Bush Bowl's policy of "let's appoint the least-qualified, rabid neocon to the worst imanigable office." And that deserves a closer look.
The Light of Reason nails it, perfectly:
You can’t try to change the administration’s course by appealing to facts and argument: they’ve rejected facts and argument, on principle.
Most people seem not to understand that when we deal with the Bush administration, we are dealing with something unique, and uniquely dangerous: an administration which is fully committed to an ideology—an ideology that is entirely self-contained and completely self-referencing. It is not concerned with facts, evidence, logic and argument. It is concerned only with its own internal vision of the world, and how that world should be constructed and how it should operate.
So even if there are many utterly compelling arguments against the Bolton appointment, or against attacking Iran, none of that matters.
Bolton, along with Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rumsfeld, and the rest of this pit of vipers are operating in "bushworld"- a dimension that exists entirely within their own heads. Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, because we say so. Libya disarmed, out of fear of invasion, because we say so. The invasion of Iraq is a thrilling success, because we say so. Iranians will greet us as liberators, because we say so.
I get flashbacks to "12 Monkeys", when the mental patient leans his head on Bruce Willis's shoulder, and explains how he is "Mentally Divergent"- how, at times, he's a conquering hero on a planet halfway accross the galaxy, and, at the same time, a poor, hapless fool, locked up in a mental ward.
The difference between the mental patient, and the Bush administration? The mental patient is aware of his problem- the Bush Bowl isn't, and treats their grand delusions as if they were reality.
Strange, how, on the same day that Bolton wormed his way into the UN, that Iran decides to proceed with their muclear program. Coincidence? I dunno- all I know is that we're more screwed than ever.
Have you gotten your passport, yet? Just wondering- mine is never more than an arm's-length away. Things are only going to get worse- be prepared. If this means buying a gun- get to it. If this means getting involved, and taking part in petition drives and protests- get to it. If this means writing your congressperson- get to it. Do whatever you can, before the curtain comes down- we're headed into dark, dark times...
First off: WHERE IS THE NEW ANIMATION?
This month, I busted my backside producing a music video that I thought would lead to greater things, but only led to the realization that freelancing sucks. Long story short, I put in 10 hour days, seven days a week, for most of the month, and the whole mess falls apart, the day before completion, due to personality conflicts that I had no hand in creating, or controlling...
Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, when you're a freelancer. Hopefully, in the next week, something can be salvaged from this whole mess, and the video can still presented, online.
Next Month, I'll have more time, and be under less stress. But then again- hell- Bushflash provides more web entertainment on a weekly basis than Kontraband, and they're rife with ads.
In addition: E-mail has backed up chronically, during the intense workload of recent weeks. Some of the e-mail I have sitting about is six months old, and I still have half of the "plunger of Truth" premiums to send out (MUY apologies to those who have had to wait.)
I have been updating every two days, as of late, but until every last e-mail is answered, and every last disc and T-shirt has been sent out, I will only be updating every three days.
This is still a one-man operation, after all. (Except for the message board- I don't run that- Ava does, with the help of good folks.)
First off, last night saw the premier of a new series on one of fox's "edgier" scions, FX. "Over There" is a new series by the guy who brought us NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues, purporting to be a "gritty, realistic" view about the war in Iraq.
Now, the critics have been creaming their undies over this bit of fiction, but I'll be honest, before I give my review of this: I didn't watch it.
Ya see, the second season of SciFi's Tripping the Rift debuted at the same day, and same hour, and it wasn't hard to decide which program deserved my attention.
Before I go into my own comments, I believe that the following e-mail sums it up, succinctly:
there is a show that is going to air tonight on FX, called Over There. It is about a group of soldiers in Iraq and the effects that this war has on their families. Of course it is fictional.
As the spouse of a deployed soldier I am enraged that the media would further remove the reality of this war from the publics consience, by creating a weekly show. "See Ma, it is not really happening, it is a tv show", I can see it now.
It is bad enough that so many people watch the news, and can not connect what is happening to reality, now we have a television show to further make this war a non reality, and just fiction to all the American sheeple, who cant see thru this bullshit.
It is disgusting. This is a slap to every soldier serving in this illegal war, and a further slap to their families. I hope FX, hears from those of us who have some sense of common decency left.
(Name withheld by request)
Now, here's what gets me, personally: We have virtually NO coverage of the war in Iraq, from day to day, on the MSM- I still occasionally tune into CNN, and lemme tell ya- you'd think that the lost teeny-bopper in Aruba is the greatest crisis facing the world today. Sure- there's about 5 minutes a day, total, dealing with the true nature of the ongoing quagmire in Iraq, but unless you're lucky enough to catch them, the war very might as well not exist.
Now, instead of a network deciding to spend an hour a day covering the war, we have one putting forth a fictionalized, sanitized "drama", turning this meatgrinder into something that the family can watch with popcorn and beer, after which they can retire, thinking that they've gotten some sort of "special insight" into an issue that they, in reality, can barely understand.
Listen- I am making this offer to anyone out there, who is watching this program- you wanna see the "gritty drama" of this war? write me, and I'll send you all you'll ever wanna stomach. Sure, it won't have a stirring sountrack, nor will it have neat lighting effects, and the folks involved- well- considering the state they're in, they just ain't "camera friendly", but they're REAL.
At this point, it's appropriate to send out a shout out to the peeps at Operation Truth. If ya wanna truly know what it's like to be "over there", talk to these folks...
Secondly- Thomas Friedman, over at the New York Times, just wrote a new pile of bullplop, giving his advice to the government about what it should do, in the "war on terror"- OOPS- I mean "The struggle against extremism."
Among his reccommendations, is that the government crack down on those who, in the process of exercising their right to free speech, offer "excuses for terrorism."
Now, this is a touchy matter. After all, as Turd Blossom pointed out, none too recently, good, solid conservatives just wanna "wipe them terr'rists out", while limp-wristed liberals like me want to give them therapy sessions.
Friedman, echoing the words of Rove, is saying that anyone who refuses to follow lock-step with the one-dimensional "with us or against us" rhetoric of the Bush bowl, and seeks to more fully understand the motives and methods of terrorism, deserves to be locked up.
Now, to spend time pointing out the idiocy of this frame of mind is a waste. Friedman, obviously, has a very short cultural memory, and forgets how folks like him who didn't fit into the black-and-white thinking of the third reich were similarly locked up (and worse.)
Lemme give you my take, towards terrorism: Terrorism sucks- it's bad- it's indiscriminate, evil, shameful, and inexcuseable.
Let's go back into history a bit: Back in the fight against the nazis, we, on the allied side, had a "wipe them out" mentality- and on the surface, it was good and proper that we followed such- but:
We figured that, once we'd wipe out Nazism, by proxy, the twin cancers of Fascism, and Genocide, would also be wiped out. But- SURPRISE! They weren't.
Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Cambodia, Myanmar, Rwanda, Sudan- the littany of tyranny and genocide that has followed the defeat of the nazis is a damning refutation of the simple-minded approach to issues such as terrorism, fascism, and genocide.
Ya see- in the wake of WW2, we had ample proof, at our fingertips, to understand the underlying causes that allowed Nazism to come to the fore. If we had taken time to understand such, we might have taken steps to address these issues, before they flared up, and avoid the horrendous results that inevitably follow.
But we didn't learn from these warning signs, and thus, it has happened again, and again, and again. (I always get sick whenever I hear someone saying "never again!" in relation to the holocaust of WW2- nice slogan, but it means nothing, to anyone who studies the past half-century.
Now, we go from the paradigm of 50 years ago, to that which exists today. Now, as then, we have our government, along with a few others, taking a no-compromise stance towards terrorism- and ya know what? I aggree with them- we NEED to wipe these bastards out. Hey- Bush- you gonna find Bin Laden, anytime, soon? Just wondering...
However- if we do not understand the underlying causes and aims of this current brand of terrorism, it will happen again, again, and again, and we'll be caught in an endless cycle- just as we are, today, with the failure of our leaders, fifty years ago, never addressing the core causes of fascism, and genocide.
Take, for example, my previous comments, regarding the political aims of terrorism: Terrorism is an effort, on the part of a small group, to influnce people to act against their class and political interest.
In the last "election" Bush was "re-elected", on a platform of "getting tuff" with "terr'rism." Now- despite the fact that the election was rigged- if there isn't a more naked example of people acting against their political and class interests than voting for Bush, out of fear, I don't know what is.
Ya see- the "re-election" of Bush, in itself, was a direct result of the fear of terrorism- and the terrorists couldn't be more pleased, by this result. We played right into their hands.
Now, I have to sum it up- it's late, and I have lots to do tonight....
Condi Rice echoed the "Excusers of terrorism" talking point, just the other day, and I have a feeling we're going to see more of this, in the coming days.
Those, like myself, and millions of others, who seek to look into the deeper causes behind the calamity that we're facing today are being painted as "apologists"- nothing could be further from the truth. Actually- we're the ones who want to make sure that events like 9/11 never happen again, we're the ones looking for the solutions. Bush can bomb every country on earth into submission, and we'll still have terrorism.
We have to look deeper- we have to understand- we have to THINK- or we're all screwed.
CHILDREN SODOMIZED AT ABU-GHRAIB, OUR NATIONAL DIGNITY LIES ON RUINS- IF THIS WAR HASN'T OFFENDED YOU, MOVE TO NORTH KOREA, WHERE BLIND IGNORANCE IS A VIRTUE
Every day, I get sent pictures and film from Iraq, and 90% of it is just shameful. I used to have friends who declared themselves to be republicans, but no more. I make no apologies about this- if you supported this war, and still labour under a thread of misguided ignorance that Bush is doing a fine and dandy job, you are just as guilty as those in power who made this war a reality. You- YOU- are guilty- and anyone who sits idly by, cheering "amurka" in this misbegotten adventure, needs either psychiatric help, or a few days before a UN tribunal.
Whenever I hear a ditto-head talking in grand abstracts of "democracy" and "freedom", I get these strange flashes behind my eyelids. Sometimes, it's an image of a dead infant in Baghdad, buried under rubble, while her dead arms cradle a doll to her chest. Other times, it's the family of an american soldier, tearfully accepting a folded american flag, as they say goodbye to their child, for the last time. Other times, it's a decapitated head, lying, unidentified, in the dirt along an iraqi country road.
It's outrageous- the feelings defy words, and description. But this- THIS makes me want to crawl in a hole and die.
No- NO! Don't give me the same old tired conservative talking points about "a few bad apples", or about how talking about this brings "dishonor" to our troops.
It is time to stand up, and declare that this, above all we have seen, above every anti-american lie issued forth from the lips of Simple Scotty and Ari Fleischer, above every callous murder of innocent civilians, since this war began- that THIS IS A SIN, and a stain upon our national honor that we CANNOT- WILL NOT ABIDE.
Ten-year old CHILDREN, dragged into custody, with their families. The children SODOMIZED by american military guards, in front of their parents. I do NOT CARE about the soldiers who give out sweets to kids- they are IRRELEVANT to this issue. I don't CARE about whatever intel these sick bastards think they glean from brutally raping children- it's irrelevant.
Oh, and please- PLEASE- spare me the tired republican talking point about how "these people want to kill us, so everything is allowed."
What the HELL is a 10-year-old kid gonna do, that is harmful to us? What the HELL could a ten-year-old kid do, that warrants this treatment?
Even if it only happened once (which it didn't), it is still inexcusable.
Now, Cheney, along with the rest of the Bush Bowl, is scrambling to keep the films and photos of these acts under seal, despite an extant court order to make them public.
This burns my soul- this makes my blood boil, and my hair stand up on end. I'm not a big man, but I want five minutes, alone, with the US servicepeople who were in on this. I want them laid out, restrained, on a stretcher, with every imaginable dentistry device ever devised, at my disposal. (And I won't use them on their teeth- far more tender targets beckon.)
I'll bet the right wing 'blogs LOVE this (I'm, for once, too damned pissed to even bother researching it.) "Yeah- we're #1- our good ole boys are RAPING them durn terr'rist kids- bet they think twice, before being born on top of OUR oil, agin!"
There is NO DEFENSE for this- that's why the Bush Bowl is trying so desperately to keep this under wraps.
I don't know how to wrap this up, folks- I really don't... How do I summarize my feelings, knowing that american soldiers raped pre-pubescent children, in a dank, dirty prison in Iraq, under the auspices of an illegal, unjust war, waged against a country that never threatened or attacked us?
The right wingers might say I'm "weak", because I am so incensed about this- well- if condoning the systematic rape of children makes you "strong"- go right ahead- call me a weakling. Enjoy all the "strength" you want, boys and girls of the free republic- hell- if this is so damned grand, why not bring this policy home, here, to america?
"Show your support for Bush's freedom crusade! Rape a child, today! Show them Lib'ruls it ain't no big thang!"
I have to say, before the republican lurkers send me their tired e-mails, repeating the tired slogan "we've comitted crimes, but we're better than Hussein." That sick line of defense lost its last bit of tread, months ago. That's like saying "we've gassed a few jews, but we're better than Hitler."
Oh- and one last thing- I'll bet that these kids, prior to their internment and torture, never had a single gripe against the USA- after their ordeals, I'll bet my bottom dollar that they will grow up, and fight to their dying day against us- way to go "Operation Iraqi Liberation!" Many happy returns.
My hands are shaking, and my brain is burning. I'm signing off. We MUST stop this- by any (peaceful, legal) means necessary.
The media page was long overdue for a revamp- so much stuff was building up, that the page was taking way too long to load, and it was hard to find anything. Dividing it up into categories has begun, but more than likely will continue, as folks write in to complain. Hope it makes browsing a tad easier for all involved.
One can always tell when the Bush supporters are on the ropes. The cascade of failure and scandal that has backed up out of the bush bowl has even leaked through the forcefield that has kept Fox "news" divorced from fact, and even Britt Hume has been forced to acknowledge the facts.
This, as one could easily predict, has made those few diehard Bush supporters that still exist to fall back on their one tried and true rhetorical cornerstone.
Now, class: Can you tell me what two words these people are using to counter the growing tide of evidence that their precious leader has failed, for the umpteenth time, and the usual lies just won't work anymore?
9/11? Nope- even they are starting to see the inanity of repeating this.
Fiscal responsiblity"? Har! That went out the door as a republican value, back in the days of Reagan.
"Culture of Life"? Sometimes- but only by the most blind of the religious right.
Okay- time's up, kids- No- it's none of the above- the two words that justify the continued failure of the Bush crime family?
Ahh- the old standby- the MacGuffin that never fails, when even the most tenuous of republican lies snap under the slightest of informed Inquiry.
Here's the current republican grassroots talking point:
"At least Bush is FIGHTIN' 'gainst that thar durn Mooslim terr'rists- BILL CLINTON was too busy pokin' that Maw-nika, to do anything 'bout terr'rism."
Quite laughable, really. I'd let it slide, but the inanity of this last-line, desperate defense requires attention. The falsehood of Bush's commitment to tackling terrorism, and handling national security, in relation to the presidency of Clinton, has existed too long, and needs to be dispelled...
Thus, I present the facts of the matter:
CLINTON TRIED- BUSH LIED
Highlighted sections cribbed from here
Clinton Knew terror- his administration saw the first two major attacks take place on American soil, that they rightly saw as harbringers of things to come. These being the first attack on the World Trade centers, in 1993, and the Oklahoma city bombing of the murrah federal building.
The very first crime bill submitted by the Clinton administration addressed the issue of terror, providing language for both the death penalty for terrorists, and expanded deportation powers. Coming in the wake of the first WTC bombing, congress was swift to approve this bill.
Between 1996 and 2001, federal spending on counterterrorism increased dramatically to more than $12 billion annually. The FBI's counterterrorism budget rose even more sharply, from $78 million in 1996 to $609 million in 2000, tripling the number of agents assigned to such activities and creating a new counterterrorism center at the bureau's Washington headquarters.
Besides strengthening law enforcement, the Clinton administration sponsored a series of wide-ranging simulations that brought together local, state and federal officials to determine how government would respond if terrorists attacked with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Clinton himself was reportedly obsessed with the potential threat of anthrax and other bio-weapons. That is why, by the time he left office, scores of those planning exercises were taking place annually across the country.
Spending on "domestic preparedness" programs rose from $42.6 million in 1997 to more than $1.2 billion in 2000.
Several months before Clinton left office, the federal Centers for Disease Control issued a $343 million contract for 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine, as part of a wide-ranging research and development program of defense against biological weapons. The Clinton administration also established a new stockpile of drugs, vaccines and medical supplies for use solely in national emergencies. On Sept. 11, the first shipments from those warehouses went out in trucks headed for New York City, under orders from Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. How fortunate for Thompson and the rest of us that someone had thought ahead.
Bush, from the day he gained his first appointment to the presidency, sought to dismantle every antiterrorist program clinton had put into place, because he wanted to signal to his six-toed base that the era of Clinton was over, and he was working from a clean slate. Bush's first budget drained money from law enforcement, and security agencies, to ensure he'd be able to give that first huge tax cut for the richest 1%. Had Clinton's programs been left alone, we might have well been able to thwart the attacks on 9/11.
It was only after 9/11, that Bush finally remembered the importance of terrorist prevention, and decided to re-institute, and build upon, the initiatives pioneered by Clinton.
So, the best thing that the republicans can take out of one-on-one between Clinton and Bush on the issue of antiterror policy is that Bush first sought to dismantle our antiterrorist programs, and then built what Clinton started, when his approach failed.
Then we have to look at legislation:
Thanks to an increasingly obstructionist Republican majority on both sides of the Capitol, following the election of 1994, law enforcement officials were denied new authority for roving wiretaps and new powers to monitor money laundering that Clinton had requested. All that would have to wait until after Sept. 11.
Recalcitrant Republicans, led by then-Senator John Ashcroft, later defeated another potentially crucial White House initiative. Along with computer-industry lobbyists, they rejected proposals to tighten controls on encryption software and to ensure that law enforcement officials could crack the kind of coded messages found on the laptop owned by Ramzi Yusef, the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Intelligence experts believe that encrypted computer links were probably used by the Sept. 11 plotters and their masters in al-Qaida. Some Democrats, no doubt swayed like their GOP colleagues by the generosity of industry lobbyists, joined the Republicans to deny this important tool to law enforcement.
The Clinton administration's attempts to improve airport security were similarly obstructed in Congress. The Gore commission urged U.S. air carriers to screen all passengers with computerized profiling systems, to upgrade poorly trained private security personnel and to install high-tech baggage-screening equipment. But action on key measures was stalled by lawmakers at the behest of airline lobbyists, and ultimately by the sluggish bureaucracy at the Federal Aviation Administration. Key senators on the Senate Aviation Subcommittee shot down mandated changes recommended by the White House and instead urged "further study." (Eight of the nine Republicans on the subcommittee had received contributions from the major airlines.)
So, the best thing that the republicans can take out of one-on-one between Clinton and Bush on the issue of antiterror legislation is that Republicans were in the forefront of the efforts to derail the very legislation Bush would later put forward in response to 9/11. Bush was merely a copycat.
Now- the greatest fallacy-within-a-fallacy here is that Clinton did "Nothing about al-quaeda"
In 1998, After the african sucide bombings against our embasies in Tanzania and Kenya, Clinton signed a national security directive, with explicit language making the destruction of Al-Quaida, along with the seizure of Bin Laden concrete policy.
In the years following the WTC attack, Clinton Issued executive orders, Freezing taliban assets, in efforts to coerce the Afghani government to hand over Bin Laden.
Now- the republicans will scoff at the above- and decry Clinton once again, saying "well- He jest signed sum papers- thet don't mean nuthin- at least ol George had the GUTS to go to WAR!"
Uhh- okay- you have a point- Clinton's initiatives didn't succeed in wiping out the Taliban, Al-quaeda, or even capturing/killing Bin Laden. But- let's look at the situation, now, after Bush's invasion...
The Taliban is no longer in control of the government, true- but the Taliban still exists, Afghan Opium production in increasing, Al-Qaeda still continues to use Afghanistan as a base of operations, Mullah Omar is still at large, as is Bin Laden. Hamid Karzai is holed up within Kabul, and requires a battalion of security, each time he walks outdoors.
So, the best thing that the republicans can take out of one-on-one between Clinton and Bush on the Afghan issue is that they failed equally- the only thing that separates them is that Bush blew billions failing, while Clinton wasted a bit of ink and stationary.
So, in the end, Bush, and the Republicans, have been johnny-come-latelys to the whole issue of national security, and protecting the american public from terrorism. While Bush takes credit for what Clinton started, and talks tough, the republicans just weren't there, when things needed to be done. But then again, closing the barn door a few weeks after the horse fled seems to be standard republican policy.
And, on a personal note, I have to point out: The citizens of New York City, who were the ones who suffered the most on 9/11, voted 80% for Kerry, over Bush. The people with first-hand experience with terrorism didn't buy into Bush's BS, but the citizens of Lower Buttswamp, (insert red state, here), who only know terrorism as a vague concept as outlined on Fox "News", fell for the Bush lies, hook, line, and sinker.
A red state republican lecturing a New Yorker on the importance of the prevention of terrorism, and like a man lecturing a woman on abortion.
Here we go again. Now, despite the statements by the London metropolitan police that these attacks were meant to kill, nothing could be further from the truth. It's plain common sense. The chances of one of the bombs planted today fizzling is plausible, but all four? No- they were meant to scare- not to kill.
Make no mistake- the "bombing" attacks today had one purpose- and one purpose only- to serve as a warning.
The warning was "no matter what you do- we can get you, anytime, anywhere"- this was a demonstration of tactics to an already-jumpy populace, still recovering from attacks, just two weeks ago.
To understand the full dynamics of this incident, one must understand- London is an ideal city to showcase such tactics. London is the most surveilled city in the world- thousands of CCTV cameras watch, and record, everything that's happening 24/7, in every sensitive area of the city. It's a system that's almost orwellian in scope and intent. Coupled with facial recognition software, and other such trinkets, London makes Pyongyang look like a christmas village, in terms of security.
Despite this, the attacks of two weeks ago were pulled off without a hitch, with horrific result. Security was tightened, and just two weeks later, a similar attack was staged- the terrorists knew that this time, they wouldn't have to take lives to make their point- they just needed a few fizzles, to scare folks.
What's the purpose of an attack that just scares? Well, to understand such a strategy, one must look back into history, a bit. Back in the 70's, there was home-grown group of terrorists in the erstwhile western germany, called the "Red Army Faction" (RAF), which eventually became known as the "Baader-Meinhof gang", named after the group's ringleaders, Andreas Baader, and Ulricke Meinhof (read more here).
The details of the reign of terror perpetrated by the RAF is far too complex to go into here, but the core of their philosophy, in regards to terrorism, warrants notice, in the wake of today's events.
The RAF pursued terrorism, in a campaign to force government to take measures, in retaliation, that were against the class and political interests of the citizenry. They believed that if enough terror attacks were perpetrated against the people, the state would resort to overtly fascist measures to quell the terrorism. In this manner, the people would be incited to rebel- not against the terrorists, but against the government. In other words- terrorism was a method by which a group could cause a government to hang itself.
This is the same frame of mind that is behind today's terrorist fizzle in London- and shows a level of political sophistication that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere, in the pundits' bloviations in the MSM.
These terrorists are trying to get the government of the UK to dance to their tune, and well- they will succeed- just wait for the next attack. The terrorists have learned- they don't need to shoulder the burden of destroying our liberties- just plant a few bombs, and our governments will do it for them.
I'm just waiting to hear Bush say "It's good that the terrorists are killing folks in the UK, because that means they aren't killing us, here."
new images, and links. Whee!
The John Kasper Band Is well worth a listen- you might remember them, from my erstwhile (and maybe soon, revived) radio show. You can check out their tunes here, here, and here.
The producer of the downright magnificent film short Battle For America, has started a new film project, "On the Outs", a trailer for which can be seen here. Well worth a look.
Many might already be aware of the great gathering in Washington DC on sept 24. These guys are organizing a "peace train" from New Orleans, to DC. If you're on their route, check them out, and join in!
The big news, at this hour, is the appointment of John Roberts.
As I told you, just a few days ago (read below), the whole Rove scandal was to just distract folks long enough to get their minds off of the Downing Street Memo, now, watch Rove, Bolton, DeLay and the DSM fade fast into the mist as the blogs, media, and PACS gear up for the ensuing fight.
The Bush policy towards their sinking fortunes is to just surpass each offense against the collective sensibilities of america with an even greater offense. This comic pretty much sums up what we're having to deal with, every day.
But I digress.
This John Roberts character- the more you look into his record, the more your skin crawls. He appeals to his fundamentalist taliban-style "christian" base- this guy is a wet dream for them- anti-abortion, anti-environment, and anti-affrimative action. He likes mercury and lead in drinking water, hates veterans, gets giddy over prayer in schools, just ADORES strip mining, and republican "pro life" policies (as detailed below- under "I'm pro-life!") You can check out his full record here.
Hell- he was Rupert Murdoch's attorney- can you get any better than that?
But this is what gets me- O'Connor was the "swing vote" in the social decisions handed down by the supremes. If this guy gets appointed, say goodbye to legal abortion- it's GONE. Say goodbye to affirmative action- it's GONE. Say goodbye to any last environmental decisions on the side of the people, at the expense of corporations- they're GONE. Say goodbye to gay rights- they're GONE. Say goodbye to minority rights- they're GONE. Say goodbye to women's rights (outside of those outlined by the King James translation of the new testament)- they're GONE. Say goodbye to health protections in the workplace- they're GONE. Say goodbye to the rights of veterans, petitioning the government for recompense of broken promises- they're GONE.
But here's the big question- will enough democrats roll over, and approve this joker? The simple, and unfortunate answer is: yes. We can count on the usual gang- Lieberman, Clinton (more on her, later), and a dozen or so will cross the aisle, to give Bush's nominee his seat- and that's the saddest thing of all.
John Roberts, at the age of 50, will sit on the court for at least 20 years- and who knows how far down the toilet we'll go, in those years.
The rest of the western world is already looking at our country as a cultural backwater. Over the next two decades, as they progress forward with the creation of a more equitable society, we'll become more and more of a laughing stock, in the eyes of the world. So long, the days of us being the crucible of ideals and egalitarianism- those days are fading fast, and will soon be forgotten. The illegitimately appointed Bush bowl has decided to hold us back, while the rest of the world marches forward, because, well- it's more important, in the eyes of their "christian" world-empire-building ideology, to make sure two men (or women) can't get married, than to ensure that every american has equal access to health insurance.
God, "Bob", Buddha, Allah, Muhammed, Jesus, Jehovah, and Krishna above- I HATE REPUBLICANS. You're slime.
(one last note, on this ramble- even though I made less than 15,000 last year, the IRS sent me a letter, saying that I owe 3,000 dollars in taxes. Strange- how did I enter the 20% tax bracket, alla sudden?)
Urgent Chinawise bulletin, Eastasia front- doubleplusungood, BB reports. The MSM and a few corners of the blogosphere have touched upon China's recent announcement of their willingness to go to war (even nuclear war) against the US, in regards to Taiwan.
Artciles regarding such can be found Here, Here, and here.
Now, here's what gets me, first off. The memory of the american public is famously short, but this latest round of threats from China makes me wonder- is ANYONE in this country over 30 years old?
Doesn't ANYONE in this country remember the hard rhetoric that flew back and forth between the USA and the erstwhile USSR, back during the days of the cold war?
Far worse threats were made, on a daily basis, back during Reagan's time in office, and for decades before that. China, while it has been developing economically and socially, is still living in the geopolitical mindset of a decade ago. Listen to their daily radio broadcasts, and you'll see- they're still pumping out the old cold-war rhetoric- the only change is that, instead of railing against the "western imperialists", they have replaced this term with "US hegemony."
But- the fault isn't just that of the Chinese sabre-rattlers- I watched CNN today (sorry!), and Lou Dobbs spent about 15 minutes on this matter (which is HUGE, considering that CNN spent 23.5 hours on Michael Jackson, and 5 minutes on Iraq, daily.) Lou, on the very edge of bursting out of his XXL waitsband, trumpeted the "growing military threat of China."
Render unto me a FREAKING BREAK! Do you know that China spends 1/10th of the money that we do, on their military? Do you know that China's nuclear arsenal is less than 5% of the size of ours?
China is issuing these threats- because- well- BUSH MADE US WEAK, and they see this as an opportunity, to posture, on the global scale. It's empty rhetoric.
You know why I can say this, with confidence?
Look around your house. How many products around you bear a "made in china" logo? I'm willing to bet that a bare minimum of one out of four came from China. Go to K-Mart, and Wal-Mart (or any big chain)- see how many products hail from China. It's quite an amazing spectacle, when you look into it.
The simple fact is: China needs us, and we need China. Do you know how many billions are flowing into republican contributor's pockets from Chinese sweatshops? Trust me- it boggles the mind.
Do you think that Bush will forgo the millions given to his party by Wal-Mart, and attack their main supplier of goods?
This is just distraction, geopolitical posturing, and media hype.
On to other topics...
Hillary Clinton is a nutjob. Now- before the right-wing lurkers out there go ape, and wet themselves in a self-congratulatory orgy over my dismissal of the woman they soil their sheets over, during those desperate, lonely nights, I've NEVER been a fan of Hillary Clinton.
Her one, great initiative, during her years of influence, was Bill Clinton's national health care initiative, which died an unholy death, at the hands of Beck, Limbaugh, and the rest of the right wing media machine, well over a decade ago.
Since Bill Left office, and Hillary carpetbagged her way into office in New York, in the wake of his presidency, Hillary has been a DINO- a Democrat In Name Only, and has sided with the republicans far more often than any sane person should, and has shown herself to be a purile sellout, on every major issue that has confronted her. Along with Joe Leiberman, she's been a shill for the most shameful aspects of the the Bush Bowl policies, pretty much since she was sworn onto office.
Now, Hillary Clinton has taken on a totally insane crusade: a quest to censure video games.
In the wake of recent revelations that the latest installment of "Grand Theft Auto" contains hidden sex scenes (which are only available on the PC version, with the help of crack plugins that are far from easy to get,) Hillary has decided to make the federal regulation of video games her mission.
Uhh- Hillary- you're a MEMBER OF THE GODDAMNED SENATE. Why are you spending your limited politcal capital, trying to censor video games, when you could, well- maybe, just maybe- fight against the ongoing genocide in Sudan? Maybe you could spend the time you're fretting over digital sex, fighting against the AIDS pandemic in africa? Or, perhaps, you could cast your eyes closer to home, and call a press conference about stem cell research, gang violence, or lead poisoning, resulting from lax environmantal legislation, encated by the bush bowl?
But NO- you waste your time, complaining about a video game. GREAT priorities, there, Hillary.
Can I tell ya'll a story?
I remember back in the 80's... The religious right was all in a tizzy about a paper and pencil game called "Dungeons and Dragons". Jerry Falwell, along with the rest of the now-ascendent religious fascist right was raising a great commotion over that game, because 2 people out of the millions who were playing it had taken it too seriously, and killed themselves.
Now, I played Dungeons and Dragons, when I was a kid, and the worst thing that happened to me, as a result, was that I spent so much time playing this stupid fantasy dungeon game, that I was unable to develop an ability to relate with girls, and remained a virgin, until I was 22.
The game that Hillary is fighting so vehemently against (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) is already rated "mature", and I agree that anyone under 18 SHOULD NOT play the game- but that's why it has the rating sticker on it. Any game distrubutor (BestBuy, CompUSA) that sells this game to a minor should be held liable (and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law)- but is THIS Bernard-Goldberg-witchhunt sorta crapola the stuff that a United States Senator should be wasting his/her time with?
In engaging in this purile behavior, Hillary Clinton has sunken to the level of the right-wing nutjobs who tell us that Harry Potter novels lead kids into the arms to satan.
Get a life, Hillary...
Okay- alone amongst the progressive/liberal blogosphere, I'm going to have to break the sad news, to those sharks swimming around the recent "Rove-gate."
You've fallen into another distraction, here. Rove is laughing at us, and at you.
This is the Bush/Rove tactics at their most transparent.
I'm not diminishing the outing of Plame, in any way, in saying this. What Rove did was unconscionable, treasonous, and criminal- but ya know what?
This is the way Rove does things- notice that, in recent months, scandal after scandal has been pouring out of the republicans and the Bush bowl? First it was Tom Delay- then it was the Downing Street Memo- now, it's Rove.
They know how the american media works, and are well aware of how short the american attention span is. Yes- all the chickens are coming home to roost, and while we on the left enjoy seeing this happen, Rove and the Bush crime family are sitting back, and letting at all unfold- they know they'll never be called to account...
Why? Because the way the media works. Let's go back in time, for just a bit....
Delay's corruption scandal was trumpeted by the left as a damning indictment of republican hubris- What did Rove and the republicans do? They spouted their soundbites, their talking points, and treaded water, until the media (and the sheeple) were distracted by Michael jackson, and the Downing Street memo.
Once the downing street memo arrived on the scene, the left trumpeted this as the "smoking gun", that would bring down the Bush administration. The republicans dug in, spun their wheels, spouted their talking points and soundbites, until the bombings in London swept everything away.
Rove, knowing that the DSM was enough of a powederkeg to survive this terrorist attack, decided to put his own wedding tackle on the chopping block, and provide the media with this newest scandal, knowing that the MSM (along with the progressive/liberal alternative media) would latch onto this story. Rove KNOWS damn well that he's a prime target, and doesn't mind one whit, putting himself on the line, as a temporary distraction, until the next story erupts, and we all go dutifully scrambling after the newest "scandal."
Why would Rove do such a thing? Well- ask yourself- how many times, in the last two weeks, has the Downing Street memo been mentioned, via the MSM (compared to daily mention, prior to this?) How much coverage has been given to Bush's refutation of greenhouse gas restrictions, just in the past 48 hours? How much coverage has been given to the continuing collapse of "No Child Left Behind", and the dozens of other failures that are dogging this administration?
None- not one, single word.
It's been "Rove, Rove, Rove", and while weightier issues have fallen by the wayside, issues that are far more important, and meaningful, Rove has been basking in the light of media attention, and laughing at us on the left, while we spend so much energy going after him, and giving far more important issues a pass, in our collective bloodlust.
Mark my words- in a few weeks, Rove will walk free of this, the next scandal will emerge, and the whole cycle will begin again.
Rove is laughing at us, people.
Just as I abstained from covering the fluff that was "Gannongate", I will not be covering Rove's latest subterfuge. In my mind, the Downing Street Memo is of far greater import, and far greater gravity, as an issue.
This is a severe and true test of the "new media" of the blogs and the internet- will we follow in the steps of the MSM, and follow the "scandal du jour", and thus, dance to the tune of Rove, and others who "manufacture consent", or will we focus on what's important?
I haven't much faith, by what I've seen, as of late...
No matter what Rove did- treason, crime, or whatever, it pales in comparison to the criminality exposed by the Downing Street Memo. Rove knows he'll ride this one out (just as Bush as ridden greater scandals out), and by the time the smoke clears, no one will remember the DSM....
We're being snowed, once again...
Yep- you heard me right- "pro life!" Yeah, the christian right, along with the right wing of the republican party have pretty much taken the term unto themselves, and have had over a decade to define it.
When I assert my pro-life position, do I mean that I'm against abortion? Hell no- in fact, considering Bush's continued popularity amongst the developmentally-challenged red-staters, I'd have to say that far too FEW abortions have been taking place, in this country. It makes me regret my calling in life, really- If had gone into med school way back when, maybe I could have moved down to texas and rid the world of a few potential republican voters (red states have higher abortion rates than blue ones, so my chances of snuffing out a few freepers down there would be high- but that's neither here nor there.)
When I say I am "pro-life", I mean that I favor governmental policies that are geared not towards preventing abortion, but those which preserve the environment, our educational system, our health care system, and the community services that make life worth living.
Isn't it ironic that the same folks (Frist, Limbaugh, Delay, Beck), who spend so much time trumpeting their opposition to abortion, are the same folks who are so much in favor of "starving the beast" of big government?
To those who haven't the slightest understanding of the far-right lexicon- "Starving the beast" is the popular term amongst the republican right for cutting back the size and scale of (evil, intrusive, regulatory) government. Now, to a certain degree, I agree with the right- we do need to scale back government- since Bush took office, the size and scope of government has grown exponentially, with each passing year. Hell- makes me long for the days of Clinton, when the greatest scaling-down of government for the past half-century went into effect- but, again, I digress.
The very same people who preach to us daily about the "sanctity of life", are the very ones who long to see the tax burden on the rich relieved, and the hated "government" recede into just a faded memory. They are also the greatest cheerleaders for the 300 billion we've frittered away in Iraq.
I had to wonder- what would life be, for the average american, born into a nation that had come under sway of the "pro-life" policies (as defined by Frist, Delay, Beck, et al):
You're born, one fine day, in an emergency room at a local hospital (since all heath-care obligations for employers have been removed by pro-life republicans, they didn't have the cash for a full hospital stay), to two hard-working parents. The day after your birth, you're brought home- no recuperative time for your mom (as maternity leave has been legislated out of existence by pro-life republicans- she has to get back to work, or lose her job.)
Luckilly, when you arrive home, your grandfather is there to take care of you, while your parents are out, working. Ya see, he had to move in with your parents, because social security has been abolished by pro-life republicans, and he has to rely on his children for support. He does a fine and dandy job of raising you, for the first few years of your life, but then, contracts an ailment, and before you know it, he's six feet under (because pro-life republicans have extended Bush's texas policy of "no pay-no life support" nationwide.)
But hey- you're now 6 years old, and ready to begin schooling. (Kindergarten has long since been abolished by pro-life republicans as a "drain on local resources.") Unfortunately for you, your local school district has had to institute "membership caps", as their budgets have been cut so severely by "pro-life" republicans that they can only accept a limited number of students per year.
But, you're blessed- you have an inquisitive mind, and realize, in the lexicon of the "pro-life" republicans, that "This is america- and it's personal initiative that sets you apart." Sitting alone in your home, while your parents are away at work, you devour books lent to you by friends of the family (because libraries has been totally cut out of the budget by "pro-life" republicans, there's no other way of getting them.) You learn on your own initiative, and bless your heart, you hone your intellect to a point that it can compete with the greatest of minds.
On your 18th birthday, you apply to colleges nationwide- this might be your chance. Your parents can no longer hope to support you (as, under the benign leadership of "pro-life" republicans, the distance between rich and poor has risen to conditions reminiscent of pre-revolutionary france.) Your best chance, is to grab for the ring of higher education.
But your appeals fall on deaf ears. "Pro-Life" republicans have voted all pell grants and student aid out of existence, and institutions of higher learning have long since devolved into the exclusive domain of the ultra-rich (who are given generous tax breaks by "pro-life" republicans, while your parents are years behind paying their back taxes, as they just aren't worthy of notice, since they make less than 100K a year.)
Woah- you're screwed!
Since you're now without much option, you apply for a job at the local Wal-Mart (pretty much the only business left in town, thanks to the deregulatory measures put into place by "pro-life" republicans) for minimum wage (which still remains at sub-poverty level, thanks to the "pro-business" policies of the "pro life" republicans.)
On this generous wage, you manage to get a small one-room apartment, and bid your parents a tearful goodbye. Unfortunately, the apartment is in an industrial section of town- the only place unpleasant enough to offer rent low enough that you can pay it.
But, you make the best of it. You work 12-hour shifts at the Wal-Mart, and since workplace regulations have been relaxed by "pro-life" republicans, you don't earn any overtime- your life is reduced to a cycle of sleep, eat, work, sleep, eat, work.
You keep at it- running the treadmill, for a year or so- until one day, you come down with a nasty lung condition. Ya see, the factories in the area in which you live have been freed of air emission standards by "pro-life" republicans, and it turns out that, since you moved into your treasured apartment, you've been breathing in solid grams of mercury, benzine, and acetylene, daily.
You fall ill- seriously ill, and can't come to work for a week- but you soon learn the same lesson that your mother did, when she gave birth to you- it doesn't pay to be ill for too long. Thanks to the policies instituted by "Pro-life" republicans, workers have no rights, and as your condition goes from bad to worse, you lose your job.
At the end of the month, you can't pay rent, as you've been bed-ridden, and can't find a new job.
Out on the streets, you try your best. All free clinics have been shut down, because "pro-life" republicans have deemed them as a breeding ground for "immoral behavior," but you keep fighting. You go to the emergency room, but are turned away, because in the years since your birth, "pro-life" republicans have determined that the obligations of hospitals to offer sustainable health care are a "drain on the taxpayer." You go to the local church, but they're overwhelmed- "Faith based initiatives" have been tumpeted by "pro-life" republicans, yet haven't gotten 1/10 the support they need to provide the care they would wish to provide.
Your condition is getting worse, and one day, in the depths of winter, during a lucid moment (which are growing fewer and farther between, with each passing day,) You venture outside into the alley behind the church which has become your last refuge, and look up....
It's snowing. In a flash, you're brought back to your childhood- you remember the first time you saw the majesty of this simple wonder of nature- it was with your grandfather, who was your companion, and tutor, when you were young- you remember the years of trials, triumphs, and ultimate failure that your life has become, and you wonder- who are those, so far high above you, who have defined these parameters, which have defned your life? President Frist has always, with a quavering voice, spoken so piously of the sanctity of life.
Vice-president Delay has always spoken of the wonder and joy of a life that "god" (as Delay defined it) provides, yet...
Where are these great "pro-life" leaders, now, as you huddle, alone, forgotten, and forsaken?
Suddenly- you feel warmth enfolding you, you're so tired, so dispirited, and without any hope, you just offer yourself to the comfort, and release.
Five days later, your body is discovered, frozen, and unmarked.
Thanks to the policies of "pro-life" republicans, your body is dumped in the nearest landfill, because "pro-life" republicans have passed the "poverty renewal act", which stipulates that any unclaimed bodies of the "new urban deceased" aren't worthy of any public funds- after all- under the majority rule of "pro-life" republicans, 30,000 US dead in the past year alone have returned from the new battlefields in Syria and Iran- and, as we all know- any question of governmental "pro-life" policies means you're "with the terrorists".
I'm pro-life. I want my tax dollars to go to museums, libraries, veterans, and improving the lives of every american. Do I care about a 16-cell fetus? No. I don't. I'm more concerned about the impoverished family (which is comprised of LIVING, BREATHING human beings, not fetuses) that's struggling to make do with a minimum-wage income, and two kids, who need the education that it required to pull them out of the american quagmire, that grows stickier, every day, under the legislative practices of "pro-life" republicans.
Those republicans, and fundie christians, who cling to the "pro life" label, are in no way "pro-life"- what they are, is "pro-birth"- as long as you make it through the birth canal, they're satisfied- and you're on your own- you're fair game for their "starving the beast" mentality.
While Bill Frist, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Tom Delay hunger for a world in which every sperm that enters an ovum results in more cannon fodder for their sick neocon worldview, I long for a world in which every child that it born has access to free and universal healthcare, well-staffed schools, HeadStart, monumental libraries and museums, educational television and radio, and a culture that's willing to spend 300 billion on making life better for the average american, rather than on an unconstitutional and illegal war.
Thus, I am pro-life, in a more concrete, comprehensive, and coherent way than the most diehard, fundamentalist christian republican could ever hope to understand.
Folks- added a smattering of stuff here and there- I'm not gonna point it out to you- explore around the site, and you'll find it. I'd write more, but I'm in the middle of an insanely intense video editing job, and I'm not in the mood, tonight (give me one point for world's worst blogger.)
The upshot of the video project is that it will be featured here, when completed, and when the client lets it go live. It's rather esoteric- dealing with mercury in vaccinations, but it'll be fun to look at...
The one thing I will comment about, is the vitriol I've recieved, via e-mail, reegarding my post of the video about the 50-calibre rifles made avaiable, via recent legislation...
Can I tell ya'll something? When people visit to this country, from nations around the world, they walk away with a sense of disconnect. They see how puritanical we are, as a nation, about drugs, sex, and religion- some even call it stultifying, and chalk it up to our puritan founders. What confuses them, in relation to our relative conservatism on such matters, is the violence of our culture.
We don't allow four-letter words on our TV, we send anyone caught with a few grams of pot to prison, we appoint an attorney general that spends thousands of tax dollars to cover up a naked breast on an abstract statue, and in many of our states, alcohol and pornography are saddled with a "sin tax." But, you can walk into one of a few thousand wal-marts, and buy a gun, with the most cursory of investigations.
These folks who visit this country, walk away with a rather wierd view of us- and who could blame them?
I will say this here and now- we are way too violent of a country, and we have far too many guns. Some might counter this statement with "It's our constitutional right! I have more guns than I need, yet fewer than I want!"
Jeez- for those who want this style of life, I would suggest buying a plane ticket and a lease on a property in Mogadishu- go there and play out your paranoid fantasies.
Some others (particularly among the armed political partisains) will say "well- it's our obligation to stock firearms, in case the government becomes tyrannical, and we have to overthrow it."
Dream on, wankers. The last groups who tried that, were the Branch Davidians, and the right-wing militias (which were all the rage during the 90's.) Ya know what happened to them?
They were well-armed, well-trained, and had tons of weaponry, and you know what? They were CRUSHED LIKE FLIES. The right-wing militias which survived, and still exist, have not lifted one finger, to oppose the tyranny we see encroaching upon us, today, and I'm willing to bet they'll never do anything. They're worse than the democrats.
So much for the power of individual firearm ownership to dissuade governmental abuse of power.
I'm sorry- but gun owners who cling to the "opposing tyranny" argument- you've failed, and are, well, a bunch of pussies. In fact, I am willing to bet that every last one of you enjoy dressing up in ballet dresses, and find manly comfort in touching the asses of other men.
What- you think that if you have access to purchase a 50-calibre assault weapon, you'll have the power to take on a government seige? Again- HAHAHAHAHAAAAHAAAAA!
Or, perhaps, you dream of a "turner diaries" moment, in which the oppressed masses take to the streets in an armed insurrection, and you, the lone proud gun-owner who happened to get one of these 50-cal streetsweepers, in a golden moment, accompanied with a choir of angels, fires the shot that causes the evil empire to fall...
If you believe that such would EVER be the case- you're delusional, and might wanna look into therapy- it's cheaper than the gun.
Listen- I believe in the right of every american to own a gun. I am a strict constitutionalist on this matter. However- get real.
The only thing more dangerous than someone wielding a gun, is someone wielding a gun, who believes they're part of a "great crusade." Right or left- you're both delusional.
As an american citizen who believes in the right to bear arms, I can say, right here and now, the last thing I want commercially available (despite ANY security and background checks, which can always be circumvented,) is a weapon that can take down commercial aircraft. That's just wrong- period.
I know, as a result of this, I'll be inundated with angry e-mails from gun owners, and aspirants to the 50-cal dream-phallus- don't bother- your e-mails will be deleted, unread. Survivalists and paramilitaries never had that much truck with me, and they never will.
Remind me, again, George, and Blair, how the adventure in Iraq is so grand, because we're "fighting the terrorists over there, rather than on our own streets." It is a matter of public record, that since Bush began his war in Iraq, terrorist attacks have been on the rise, worldwide. Now, we have seen another horrific example of such- this time, in the fabled London underground.
Now- as much as I could wax and wane about this tragedy, I will defer to George Galloway, British MP (and, if I can convice him to emigrate and run, US presidential candidate:)
We extend our condolences to those who have lost their lives today and our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been injured by the bombs in London.
No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.
The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.
We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the Security Services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.
We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.
Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.
But here's what gets me: Just a I said, a few days ago: the Bush Bowl is on the ropes, on all fronts: The Downing Street Memo, the G8 climate debate, AIDS in africa, Social security, the economy, the continuing debacle in Iraq, declining poll numbers, the upcoming vote on the extension of the "patriot act", and the prize brownstorm that was due to erupt- the Rove/Plame connection. I said, look for a terrorist alert to distract everyone- and voila- just 48 hours later- we have it.
This clears the table- everything else is swept away from the popular conscience, and the corporate news networks will dutifully develop a collective bout of amnesia, concerning what happened this weekend, and air a ton of administration talking heads, mentioning 9/11 no less than twice a minute.
Convenient, don't you agree?
But, here's the final analysis:
The murders in London today, were horrific, unjustified, and despicable. Anyone with a sense of human conscience can only react with revulsion, and horror.
However, in the coming days, when we hear the talking heads, screaming for more deaths in retaliation, we have to consider:
The conflict in Iraq, to date, has claimed at least 100,000 Iraqi lives. We'e been in Iraq or 29 months- do the math- 29 months X 30 days=870 days. 100,000 deaths, divided by 870 days= 114 Iraqi deaths per day.
Think about that- as much as we lament the incident in London, today, we have, first, to come to grips with the fact that the US and the UK are responsible for almost three times as many deaths, daily, in Iraq.
Oh, but I know- they're just sand niggers- they dont count...
I'm sure ya'll are aware of the case of Valerie Plame Oh, yeah, that certainly taxes our short american memories, doesn't it?
Long Story short:
Valerie Plame (born 1963) is a former American Central Intelligence Agency employee who was identified as a CIA "operative" in a newspaper column by Robert Novak on 14 July 2003. This created a political controversy and eventually led to a Justice Department investigation into possible violation of U.S. criminal law regarding exposure of covert government agents. This ivestigation is to find out who "leaked" Plame's name to Novak. Why is this important? Because exposing a covert CIA operative is a felony, and in a time of war, considered to be an act of treason.
Well- the investigations have made their way all the way to the supreme court, and after a ton of stonewalling, the documents are set to come out, within days, and the culprit will be named.
He's a jelly-roll of a man who goes by the endearing name "Turd Blossom", in oval office circles. His other monickers are "Bush's Brain", and "The lord of the kingdom of impaled children"."
Let's give a big, Bushflash welcome to (Drum roll....)
Yep- that's right- in the next few days, it will be made public that Karl Rove, senior political strategist to Monkey Boy, was the source of this leak.
Now- I think this is, by my count, the 35th impeachable offense that has occurred during Bush's time in office, thus far. Strange- we brought Clinton to Impeachment over a sexual indiscretion, but Bush can get away with everything- wars, treason, lies, and crimes against humanity- he never takes a licking, and just keeps on ticking. But I digress....
The absolute best we can expect from this, in the coming days, is the sudden resignation to "spend more time with his family" of Karl Rove. But I have a feeling we'll see nothing- the machine will continue to roll on. If the press steps up to the plate (and that's a BIG "if"), and the story survives for just 48 hours, it may just get traction...
Just look for the inevitable "terrorist alert" in coming days- things are just getting worse and worse, for the Bush bowl.
I may actually listen to CNN for an hour tomorrow- this week is gonna be interesting...
I'm working through the holiday- gotta do a music video in about ten days, and I can't get away from the desk for any fireworks or barbecues- such is freelancing. But hey- celibrate the day however you wish- relax, enjoy the day off (if you can.)
Now- there are some on the far left that are eschewing this holiday, and some on the far right turning it into a gross nationalistic orgy (Monkey-Boy being the number-one culprit.)
To me, July 4 has always been a comemmoration of our break from the British empire- nothing more, nothing less. Personally, I'm in favor of the state of affairs that resulted- yeah, we're in a mess, right now, but hey- we had a good run. The first modern "revolutionary society" (as we would later come to understand it)- 13 colonies with chutzpah and a ton of slaves. The curious youngster in the 18th century, The plucky bully on the block in the 19th, and the triumphant worldwide power in the 20th.
Now, we're the empire in decline. But I don't say this with any bitterness. The United States of america was never intended to be an empire- we were never meant to dominate the globe, in the way that we have, since we inherited this power, by default. Say what you will about Pat Buchanan, his book on this subject nails it.
The irony is, that it took a republican to put this empire on the ropes, on the cusp of the new century. Not only a republican, but one whose cabinet was a "dream team" for the neocons and the PNAC, who saw his administration as a dead cert for their program of "Pax Americana."
Since Bush took office, the United States has grown less internationally significant, and influential. We do have veto power in the G8 and the UN- but that's just about it- but how long before other nations decide to turn their backs on us, as we've turned ours on the UN? The Dollar has continued to flounder, and the Euro has solidified. The Neocons cheered the collapse of the recent EU constitutional vote, but one must understand- the reason the constitution was rejected, was because europeans felt it was "too american" in its approach on domestic issues.
I could go on- but Watching Amertica will fill you in on all the juicy bits.
This country knew it was coming- I saw this starting, when the Berlin Wall fell- I knew the United States had reached its triumphant historical moment, and, untempered by cultural wisdom, we would bite off more than we could chew, eventually. The only surprise is, that it took us less than a generation, to take that bite.
Now, when I say that the american empire is in decline, that does not mean that I believe that our best days are behind us. I am confident, on this day of our independence, that whether it take four years or forty, we're going to overcome the crapola we see going on every day around us. The Patriot Act, "Clear Skies", "Healthy Forests"- all that stuff will be the subject of historical debates in centuries ahead over the nature of the collective delusion we're gripped with, today.
Once we're shed of the delusions of national exceptionalism and empire, we can start viewing ourselves with objectivity, and pull the logs from our own eyes, and stop swatting at the motes that we see in the eyes of other nations. THAT will be the dawn of the greatest days our country will ever see.
I had a few plugs to put up, tonight, but I felt the need to air out something:
John- you're a repulsuve, sweaty glob of murderous slime. Your crimes are a stain on this nation- you make me ashamed to be an american.
Ahh- just wanted to get that out of the way- Ahhh... I feel all limbered up, now- the air is clearer...
John, your recent appointment as head of your own little domestic spying agency has certainly been a personal coup for you. I mean- you had experiences with "demostic intelligence" back when you were Reagan's point man in central america, when you oversaw death squads and drug trafficking, but you never imagined, in your wildest dreams, that you could bring your special brand of domestic terror back home, and make it blossom with a budget of billions, shielded from the blinding rays of constitutionality by the Patriot act.
Congrats, boyo- who said that life ends at 40?
Now, considering that it is now your sworn duty to monitor folks like me, and everyone browner than Hervé Villechaize, I felt I should just be straight up with you.
I've colluded with the "Axis of Evil".
A few months ago, I was asked to interview with the world service of Iranian state radio, as "an american political activist and blogger." After consultations with the activist community, I agreed to be interviewed. The subject of the interview was you, John.
They asked me about you- I told them about your dirty little tricks in Costa Rica- the cocaine- the billions shuttled into bank accounts, the terrorism in El Salvador and Nicaragua. I told them you hadn't changed- I told them about PNAC, and alla your buddies.
It wan't anything scandalous- anyone who can type your name into Google can find alla this out. Trying to cast a shadow of scandal on a man like you is like throwing dirt on dirt.
But, I just wanted to make it public, now that you do have the power to take folks like me down, that I used my one appearance on an "axis of evil" radio station to rag on you, personally- not only that, but I loved every minute of it.
One last thing, John- ease up on the apple polish- your head reflects enough light to blind an orbital satellite.
Now- to the rest of ya'll. I know some right-wingers are gonna pounce on this- accusing me of "propagandizing for the enemy".
Firstly- I've lost count of the number of radio interviews I've done, and lemme tell ya- I've said the same things about Negroponte on Canadian and USA Radio. When I do a radio interview, I state my opinions as clearly and forthrightly as I can- regardless of who is asking the questions. Those who accuse me of "propagandizing" for Iran, by appearing on their radio, might very well, by the same token, accuse me of propagandizing insidious Canadian and Dutch values, for appearing on their broadcast networks.
Secondly- Did I speak out against the conservative Iranian Mullahs, and human rights abuses taking place nside of Iran, when I was interviewed? No- I did not. Why? Because I was not asked about such, as the interview had to do with Negroponte, not Iranian state policy.
Trust me- I have a LOT to say about Iran- if Israeli Radio wants me to go on their external service, and talk about it, I'll be every bit as pleased to speak with them on this subject. Hell- I'll interview with anyone, if I have the chance to speak out against any of the myriad of injustices we see in this world, today- put me in front of a microphone, and I'll ramble on for as long I have breath- I won't always make sense, but hey- the heart's in the right place, innit?
Thirdly- and most importantly- I have a right to speak out on every forum available to me, by virtue of something we call the "Constitution of the United States of America." Strange that I have to make this distinction, considering it's July 4...
The plugs will have to wait until later- sorry folks.
New links, new images, new "recruiter watch" stuff, new media, and a few items:
First off, the resignation of Justice O'Connor. Didn't like her- I don't care that she "swung" properly on a few issues- she "swung" WAY out of line when she voted with the 5-4 majority that handed Bush is first ill-gotten term.
What's interesting to me, is how the opposing forces are scrambling into place, for the ensuing confirmation battles. (OH- and that reminds me- Bolton? He'll be installed as ambassador, by Bush, during the upcoming congressional recess- but I digress...)
The reptiles sunning themselves on the rocks that line the lunatic fringe, have been strangely mum, on the whole subject. They seem more interested in complaining about the Democratic party's response, regarding the resignation. NewsMax.com (I'm not gracing their site with a direct link,) is simply parroting AP releases on the matter (although they mention Hillary Clinton three times in their above-the-fold stories- again, I say the republicans wouldn't have one thing to talk about, If Hillary would disappear, tomorrow- their heads would implode, as their brains turned into miniature black holes.- but I digress, once again.) The inbred contingent over at freerepublic.com (ditto) is likewise quieter than a prison before a riot.
I can only assume that Rove is working overtime, and hasn't come out with the talking points, associated with monkey boy's nominee, and the pundits are afraid to utter a word, yet.
Some are speculating that Alberto (Torture) Gonzales might be leapfrogging into the empty seat. This wouldn't surprise me, if it were to happen- it really wouldn't. Andrew Sullivan, ever the eternal enigma of the openly gay republican, is attempting, along with others among the moderate wing of the party, to push the Bush Bowl to appoint a moderate.
BWA- HAHAHAHAHA!!! Dream on, Andrew. We marched in our millions to stop Bush's war, and we got nowhere. You think that you're going to change Bush's policy, with a few BLOGS?
The left is anticipating the worst (with damned good reason.) We're going in to the weekend, which has always been a graveyard for news stories, so I can only assume that we aren't going to see any white smoke until monday. My prediction? We're going to see another "stealth appointment", as was the case with the recent "nuclear option" fracas in the congress: candidates with just enough religious zealoutry and freaky past decisions to appease the religious right, with a cheery ethnic/female face, to make the appointment an ideal time for rove to once again play the race/gender card (who'd a thunk republicans and "playing the race/gender card" would ever be in the same sentence- strange days, indeed.)
My own position? David Corn Sums it up best:
I was not happy to see the flood of mails with similar subject headings: "O'Connor resigning." From a parochial point of view, a titanic fight over a Supreme Court nomination can really ruin a summer in Washington. (Actually, despite the heat, summers in Washington tend to be quite pleasant; the town slows down, Congress is gone for a good spell, traffic eases, there's plenty of parking, and I can catch up on a year's worth of filing.) But, worse, the expected war over the nominee (whoever it is) will be ugly. It should be ugly. There will be much at stake. But ugly is ugly--and the Democrats are hardly in a strong position to block George Bush if he makes a not-dumb choice. So the pessimist in me--which is usually, though not always, right when it comes to predicting the success rate (or lack thereof) rate for the Dems--fears that after all the ugliness transpires Bush will win out, and the court will veer further to the right. The operative question may be, How much?
Read article, here
Kids- going to bed- will be back tomorrow, with a few plugs, and other such stuff.
I tried, so hard, to watch Bush's speech on Iraq. I really did. I thought it would be funny, to watch Bush tell the grandest and most horrific lies, about his misbegotten war. But- I was wrong. I could only stand 8 minutes of it.
The banality of the lies, that have led to so much horror, so much death, and so much loss- I couldn't take it. I wanted to kick in the TV screen, but my roomie just bought a new plasma TV, and I didn't wanna have to buy a new one.
I have nothing to say about his speech- here's my response- the preliminary declaration of the jury of conscience world tribunal on Iraq- released just days ago, from Istanbul:
In February 2003, weeks before war was declared on Iraq, millions of people protested in the streets of the world. That call went unheeded. No international institution had the courage or conscience to stand up to the aggression of the US and UK governments. No one could stop them. It is two years later now. Iraq has been invaded, occupied, and devastated. The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all. We the people of conscience decided to stand up. We formed the World Tribunal on Iraq, to demand justice and a peaceful future. The legitimacy of the World Tribunal on Iraq is located in the collective conscience of humanity. This, the Istanbul session, was the culmination of a series of 20 hearings held in different cities of the world focusing on the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
We the Jury of Conscience, from 10 different countries, met in Istanbul. We heard 54 testimonies from a panel of advocates and witnesses who came from across the world, including from Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom. The World Tribunal on Iraq met in Istanbul from 24-26th of June 2005. The principal objective of the WTI is to tell the truth about the Iraq war as clearly as possible, and to draw conclusions that underscore the accountability of those responsible and underline the significance of justice for the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein’s crimes against his people are not the focus of this Tribunal. We believe it is up to the Iraqi people to investigate these crimes in an independent and free trial.
1. The reasons given by the US and UK governments for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003 have proven to be false. The real motive was to control and dominate the Middle East. Establishing hegemony over the Middle East serves the goal of controlling the world’s largest reserves of oil and strengthening the position of the US’s strategic ally Israel.
2. Blatant falsehoods about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a link between Al Qaeda terrorism and the Saddam Hussein régime were manufactured in order to create public support for a “preemptive” assault upon a sovereign independent nation.
3. Iraq has been under siege for years. The imposition of severe inhuman economic sanctions at the end of the first Gulf war in 1991; the establishment of no-fly zones in the Northern and Southern parts of Iraq; and the concomitant bombing of the country were all aimed at degrading and weakening Iraq’s human and material resources and capacities in order to facilitate its subsequent invasion and occupation. In this enterprise the US and British leaderships had the endorsement of a complicit UN Security Council.
4. In pursuit of their agenda of empire, the Bush and Blair blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history.
5. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.
6. The occupation has intentionally exacerbated ethnic and confessionnal divisions in Iraqi society, with the aim of undermining Iraq’s identity and integrity as a nation. This is in keeping with the fam liar imperial policy of divide and rule.
7. The imposition of the UN sanctions in 1991 caused untold suffering and thousands of deaths. The situation has worsened after the occupation. At least 100,000 civilians have been killed; 60,000 are being held in US custody in inhuman conditions, without charges; thousands have disappeared; and torture has become virtually routine.
8. The privatization, deregulation, and liberalization of the Iraqi economy has transformed the country into a client economy that serves the Washington Consensus. The occupying forces have also accomplished their primary goal of acquired control over the nation’s oil.
9. Any law or institution created under the aegis of occupation is devoid of both legal and moral authority. The recently concluded election, the Constituent Assembly, the current government, and the drafting committee for the Constitution are therefore all illegitimate.
10. There is widespread opposition to the occupation. Political, social, and civil resistance through peaceful means is subjected to repression by the occupying forces. It is the brutality of the occupation that has provoked a strong armed resistance and certain acts of desperation. By the principles embodied in the UN Charter and in international law, the popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified. It deserves the support of people everywhere who care for justice and freedom.
II. Findings and Charges
On the basis of the preceding findings and recalling the Charter of the United Nations and other legal documents quoted in the appendix, the jury has established the following charges.
A. Against the Governments of the US and the UK
1. Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.
Evidence for this can be found in the leaked Downing Street Memo of 23rd July, 2002 in which it was revealed that: “military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy.” Intelligence was manufactured to willfully deceive the people of the US, the UK, and their elected representatives.
2. Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure, by intentionally directing attacks upon civilians and hospitals, medical centers, residential neighborhoods, electricity stations, and water purification facilities in violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”), Articles 7(1)(a), 8(2)(a)(i), and 8(2)(b)(i). The complete destruction of the city of Falluja in itself constitutes a glaring example of such crimes.
3. Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems, such as cluster munitions, incendiary bombs, depleted uranium (DU), and chemical weapons. Detailed evidence was presented to the Tribunal by expert witnesses that leukemia had risen sharply in children under the age of five residing in those areas which had been targeted by DU weapons.
4. Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and during the occupation period thereafter, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 13 and 27, and the ICC Statute, Articles 7 (1)(a) and 8(2)(a)(i). This is evidenced, for example, by “shock and awe” bombing techniques and the conduct of occupying forces at checkpoints.
5. Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors, beginning with, among others, the April 2003 killing of more than a dozen peaceful protestors in Falluja.
6. Imposing punishments without charge or trial, including collective punishment, on the people of Iraq, in violation of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Geneva Conventions, and customary international law requiring due process. Repeated testimonies pointed to “snatch and grab” operations, disappearances, and assassinations.
7. Subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the ICCPR, other treaties and covenants, and customary international law. Degrading treatment includes subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to acts of racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination, as well as denying Iraqi soldiers Prisoner of War status as required by the Geneva Convention. Abundant testimony was provided of unlawful arrests and detentions, without due process of law. Well known and egregious examples occurred in Abu Ghraib prison as well as in Mosul, Camp Bucca, and Basra.
The employment of mercenaries and private contractors to carry out torture has served to undermine accountability.
8. Re-writing the laws of a country that has been illegally invaded and occupied, in violation of international covenants on the responsibilities of occupying powers, in order to amass illegal profits (through such measures as Order 39, signed by L. Paul Bremer III for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which allows foreign investors to buy and takeover Iraq’s state-owned enterprises and to repatriate 100 percent of their profits and assets at any point) and to control Iraq’s oil. Evidence listed a number of corporations that had profited from such transactions.
9. Willfully devastating the environment, contaminating it by depleted uranium (DU) weapons, combined with the plumes from burning oil wells, as well as huge oil spills, and destroying agricultural lands. Deliberately disrupting the water and waste removal systems, in a manner verging on biological-chemical warfare. Failing to prevent the looting and dispersal of radioactive material from nuclear sites. Extensive documentation is available on air, water pollution, land degradation, and radiological pollution.
10. Actively creating conditions under which the status of Iraqi women has seriously been degraded contrary, to the repeated claims of the leaders of the coalition forces. Women’s freedom of movement has been severely limited, restricting their access to education, livelihood, and social engagement. Testimony was provided that sexual violence and sex trafficking have increased since the occupation of Iraq began.
11. Failing to protect humanity’s rich archaeological and cultural heritage in Iraq, by allowing the looting of museums and established historical sites and positioning military bases in culturally and archeologically sensitive locations. This took place despite prior warnings from UNESCO and Iraqi museum officials.
12. Obstructing the right to information, including the censoring of Iraqi media, such as newspapers (e.g., al-Hawza, al-Mashriq, and al-Mustaqila) and radio stations (Baghdad Radio), targeting international journalists, imprisoning and killing academics, intellectuals and scientists.
13. Redefining torture in violation of international law, to allow use of torture and illegal detentions, including holding more than 500 people at Guantánamo Bay without charging them or allowing them any access to legal protection, and using “extraordinary renditions” to send people to torture in other countries known to commit human rights abuses and torture prisoners.
B. Against the Security Council of United Nations
1. Failing to protect Iraq against a crime of aggression.
2. Imposing harsh economic sanctions on Iraq, despite knowledge that sanctions were directly contributing to the massive loss of civilian lives and harming innocent civilians.
3. Allowing the United States and United Kingdom to carry out illegal bombings in the no-fly zones, using false pretense of enforcing UN resolutions, and at no point allowing discussion in the Security Council of this violation, and thereby being complicit and responsible for loss of civilian life and destruction of Iraqi infrastructure. 4. Allowing the United States to dominate the United Nations and hold itself above any accountability by other member nations.
5. Failure to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United States and its coalition partners in Iraq. 6. Failure to hold the United States and its coalition partners accountable for violations of international law during the occupation, and giving official recognition to the occupation, thereby legitimizing an illegal invasion and becoming a collaborator in an illegal occupation.
C. Against the Governments of the Coalition of the Willing Collaborating in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
D. Against the Governments of Other Countries
Allowing the use of military bases and air space, and providing other logistical support, for the invasion and occupation.
E. Against Private Corporations Profiting from the war with complicity in the crimes described above, of invasion and occupation.
F. Against the Major Corporate Media
1. Disseminating the deliberate falsehoods spread by the governments of the US and the UK and failing to adequately investigate this misinformation. This even in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary. Among the corporate media houses that bear special responsibility for promoting the lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, we name the New York Times, in particular their reporter Judith Miller, whose main source was on the payroll of the CIA. We also name Fox News, CNN and the BBC.
2. Failing to report the atrocities being committed against Iraqi people by the occupying forces.
Recognising the right of the Iraqi people to resist the illegal occupation of their country and to develop independent institutions, and affirming that the right to resist the occupation is the right to wage a struggle for self-determination, freedom, and independence as derived from the Charter of the United Nations, we the Jury of Conscience declare our solidarity with the people of Iraq.
1. The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces from Iraq;
2. That coalition governments make war reparations and pay compensation to Iraq for the humanitarian, economic, ecological, and cultural devastation they have caused by their illegal invasion and occupation;
3. That all laws, contracts, treaties, and institutions established under occupation which the Iraqi people deem inimical to their interests, should be considered null and void;
4. That the Guantanamo Bay prison and all other offshore US military prisons be closed immediately; that the names of the prisoners be disclosed, that they receive POW status, and receive due process;
5. That there be an exhaustive investigation of those responsible for crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity in Iraq, beginning with George W. Bush, President of the United States of America; Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and other government officials from the coalition of the willing;
6. That we initiate a process of accountability to hold those morally and personally responsible for their participation in this illegal war, such as journalists who deliberately lied, corporate media outlets that promoted racial, ethnic and religious hatred, and CEOs of multinational corporations that profited from this war;
7. That people throughout the world launch actions against US and UK corporations that directly profit from this war. Examples of such corporations include Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle, CACI Inc., Titan Corporation, Kellog, Brown and Root (subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, Boeing, ExxonMobil, Texaco, British Petroleum. The following companies have sued Iraq and received “reparation awards”: Toys R Us, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shell, Nestlé, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Sheraton, Mobil. Such actions may take the form of direct actions such as shutting down their offices, consumer boycotts, and pressure on shareholders to divest.
8. That soldiers exercise conscience and refuse to enlist and participate in an illegal war. Also that countries provide conscientious objectors political asylum.
9. That the international campaign for dismantling all US military bases abroad be reinforced.
10. That people around the world resist and reject any effort by any of their governments to provide material, logistical, or moral support to the occupation of Iraq.
We, the Jury of Conscience, hope that the specificity of these recommendations will lay the groundwork required for a world where the international institutions will be shaped and reshaped by the will of people and not fear and self-interest, where journalists and intellectuals will not remain mute, where the will of the people of the world will be central, and human security will prevail over state security and corporate profits.
SO SAY WE ALL.