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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Huck Gutman: Packaging the Violence

In today’s American media, violence erupts on basketball courts, while corpses and hospital wards slip quickly and quietly into a haze of unseeing. We in the USA do not see what is happening right in front of us. We see what television wants us to see, the stylised violence in movies, the pretend violence of commentators shouting at one another in spurious political debates, the small-scale violence of a couple of basketball players accosting some basketball fans.
The dead are mourned only by their families. The wounded forgotten. That is how war is packaged in the post-modern era.

Read It!

What we have in America today is what Chomsky refers to as "Manufactured Consent". The reality of the war is something far removed from what the media markets to the American people.

Remembering Baghdad Bob

Mohommed Saeed al-Sahaf, the former information minister of Sadam Hussein's Iraq, made a name for himself by making outrageous claims in the face of invading coalition forces. While television footage showed U.S. troops rolling across the desert in the first stage of the war, al-Sahaf claimed "...They're not even within 100 miles of Baghdad. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion." Because of such demonstrably false claims, he was derisively referred to as "Baghdad Bob" by the American media.

On the eve of the "Shock and Awe" campaign, which was designed to pacify the Iraqi people, Baghdad Bob proclaimed:

"Faltering forces of infidels cannot just enter a country of 26 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege. Therefore, in reality whatever this miserable Rumsfeld has been saying, he was talking about his own forces. Now even the American command is under siege."

A month later, President Bush stood on the deck of a warship and proclaimed "Mission Accomplished". Baghdad Bob's outrageous claims earned him worldwide ridicule and exile; our liars end up with a "mandate". Even to this day, Washington Dubya assures the American people that "Freedom is on the march", while the truth is quite the opposite. Of course freedom is on the isn't safe to fly!

Disintegrating security in Baghdad was underlined in a sombre warning yesterday from the British embassy against using the airport road or taking a plane out of Iraq.

The embassy says a bomb was discovered on a flight inside Iraq on 22 November. It shows that insurgents have been able to penetrate the stringent security at Baghdad airport. The embassy says its own staff have been advised against taking commercial planes.

The warning is in sharp contrast to more optimistic statements from US military commanders after the capture of Fallujah in which they have spoken of "breaking the back of the insurgency".

The embassy says that the road between Baghdad and the international airport, perhaps the most important highway in the country, is now too dangerous to use. The advice says starkly: "With effect from 28 November, the British embassy ceased all movements on the Baghdad International airport road."
Juan Cole on Fallujah

The US military seems strangely unaware of the realities of insurgencies. It seems to think there are a limited number of "bad guys," who can all be killed or captured. The possibility that virtually all able-bodied men in Fallujah supported the insurgency, and that many are weekend warriors, does not seem to occur to them. In fact, as Mao noted, guerrillas swim in a sea of supportive civilians. The US military slides suggest that now that the bad guys have been taken care of, the civilians can be won over. That this outcome is highly unlikely does not seem to occur to them.

IRAQ = I Remember Another Quagmire

Read Juan Cole:


Monday, November 29, 2004

Equatorial Guinea Watch: It's The Oil, Stupid

Several years ago, I attempted to obtain a visa to Equatorial Guinea while visiting the Nigerian port city, Calabar. Equatorial Guinea is the smallest and least populated nation in West Africa, and its unique geography and cultural history fascinated me. The capitol of Equatorial Guinea, Bioko, is situated on a volcanic island shrouded in mist with black sand beaches and a few surviving virgin rainforests. It's of particular interest to botanists and zoologists because its isolation has created unique ecological niches unknown elsewhere in the world. Equatorial Guinea is also a singular nation in the sense that it is the only former Spanish colony in West Africa, and in 1996, massive oil reserves were fond offshore. The Lonely Planet guidebooks have very little to say about E.G., and in my wildest daydreams, I imagined myself venturing into the unknown like Conrad's intrepid protagonist, Marlow. Prior to obtaining my visa, I was mugged and beaten up by a Nigerian gang after exchanging currency. The horror. Needless to say, I never made the trip.

Equatorial Guinea has been in the news quite a bit lately, and with good reason. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been documenting human rights abuses in E.G. for years, but it's only recently have western nations taken notice. Why, you may ask, does the western world suddenly care about the actions of a petty African dictator? Those willing to frame the question within the context of American and British military campaigns can use Occam's razor to arrive at the most logical conclusion: It's the oil, stupid.

The Times of London has been covering the story of an attempted coup led by the infamous South African mercenary Nick du Toit. The E.G. government is currently trying to extradite Sir Dennis Thatcher, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher:

Equatorial Guinea alleges that Sir Mark and other British financiers commissioned the bid to overthrow the 25-year-old regime of President Teodoro Obiang and install Mr Moto (the opposition party leader) as the figurehead leader of Africa’s third largest oil producer.

Sir Mark separately faces charges in South Africa in connection with the alleged conspiracy.

Read the full article:

Recent documents leaked to the London Observer make it clear that both the U.S. and British government were, at the very least, aware of the plot and did nothing to stop it:

In December last year and January, two separate, highly detailed reports of the planned coup, from Johann Smith, a former commander in the South African Special Forces, were sent to two senior officers in British intelligence and to a senior colleague of Donald Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary, documents seen by The Observer say.

Read the full article:

Mark Thatcher knew, following the arrest of the coup plotters, that he would be implicated. As a result, it was time to flee South Africa. Where would a mercenary like Thatcher seek refuge from the law? Texas, of course, where he could count on his old friend George W. Bush and Triton energy, which has over 5 billion invested in E.G. oil exploration:
Read the full article:

My prediction is that we'll be hearing quite a bit about Equatorial Guinea in near future. 5% of America's oil comes from Equatorial Guinea, so an invasion to "liberate" the people of this impoverished nation can't be far off.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Why John Ashcroft Really Resigned

Now you know why Bush changed his position on Civil Unions. We're registed at Crate and Barrel. John just loves their stemware.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Tale of Two Elections

Two words for Canonfire's commentary on the Bush response to the Ukrainian election: Nailed It.

Should we trust the Ukrainian exit polls? Colin "the compromised" Powell has announced that the United States does not accept as legitimate the recent vote in the Ukraine, citing "credible reports of fraud and abuse." Of course, the only real evidence of fraud comes from the exit poll disparities.

Bush apologists who have touted the party line -- "exit polls are not accurate" -- suddenly turn mum when the subject switches to foreign elections.

Let's view the events in the Ukraine in Morris-vision. What if the exits, not the final tallies, are at fault?

The exits favored pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. So did the Bush administration. So who paid for this exit poll information? According to the Los Angeles Times, the poll showing the widest Yushchenko lead was "financed in part by the U.S. Embassy and other Western diplomatic missions."

Freeze frame; reverse the image. What would most Americans say about the legitimacy of an exit poll financed by the Ukrainian embassy and other former Soviet republics? The answer is easy to guess.

Read The Cannonfire Blog:

If American journalists were half as courageous as their Ukrainian counterparts, the exit polling in the United States would still be an issue.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Six Assists to the Republican Congress and the President

By allowing the Assault Weapons ban to expire on their watch, President Bush and the Republican congress are culpable for the deaths of several hunters in Wisconsin. Thanks to their leadership, our country is now flooded with cheap Chinese semiautomatics that sell for a fraction of the price of a Winchester bolt-action automatic. Sure, Vang could have killed a few of them with a rifle, but it would've take more time and skill...I'm sure the framers of the constitution had deerhunting with semiautomatic weapons in mind while crafting the second amendment. Thanks, NRA!

Sawyer County Sheriff James Meier said Vang was "extremely calm" at the time of his arrest and had been "showing some cooperation" with authorities. The 20-round clip of his rifle, an inexpensive Chinese-made SKS assault weapon, was empty when he was arrested.

The SKS is a precursor of the AK-47 assault rifle. Though it has a longer barrel, it otherwise looks much like the AK-47. It has become popular in the United States among gun collectors, target shooters and some criminals, because it sells for less than $200, or more than $100 less than an AK-47, said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group.

By executive order, President Bill Clinton barred the importing of Chinese- and Russian-made SKS rifles. But the Bush administration, Ms. Rand said, has specifically authorized the importing of SKS's from Yugoslavia and Albania.

Read the NYT article:

No, This Isn't Photoshopped

Link to original AP photo:


Monday, November 22, 2004

How I'm Going To Save The World From A Mad Dictator

My emissary, Rick Fawcett, negotiating a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula

As a former resident of Seoul, I was often asked for my take on the menacing spectre of North Korea and its wingnut leader Kim Jung Il.

After two years and many discussions with my Korean colleagues, I came to the conclusion that South Koreans, by and large, considered North Korea less of a threat than the Americans did. There are several compelling reasons why an invasion would be unlikely to occur. For example, this time around, there won't be a million Chinese red army soldiers backing the fellow commies. However, there's no telling what a madman and a desperate nation in the grip of famine and pestilence might do.

For this reason, my emissary, Rick Fawcett, has encouraged the South Korean army and U.S. forces to withdraw from the DMZ. He also cordially invited the North Korean troops to "invade" and "capture" Seoul, South Korea's capital. The city will offer no resistance.

To the uninitiated, this may seem like cowardly capitulation. However, while the U.S. and R.O.K. troops are retreating, a secret weapon will move northward; a weapon the likes of which the world has never seen. The advancing troops will be met with no resistance, but rather with buffet trays, fine Korean booze, and heaping piles of seasoned meats. It shall be called "Operation Old Country Buffet". After a gluttonous feast, the invaders will be showered with all the wonders of a technologically advanced democracy.

As the North Korean forces trudge into undefended downtown Seoul, they will witness at least one bungalow-size HDTV on every block, Seoulites will gladly loan their cellphones to their "visitors" as the South Korean government will officially refer to them.

The inevitable conclusion of the "Operation Old Country Buffet" is clear. The North Koreans, accustomed to dining on grass and tree bark, will fix their bayonets and march back to Pyongyang seeking revenge.

Of course, this sounds like a far-fetched scenario, but really, is it any less likely to succeed than our current "strategery" in Iraq?

Friday, November 19, 2004

We Don't Need No Regulation

The Bush Administration says it has no plans to expand testing of cattle for mad cow disease, citing -- in the words of unnamed administration officials -- the "gargantuan" cost of testing the 35 million cattle slaughtered each year in the United States, the McClatchy newspaper chain reports.

The administration says it will test 40,000 cattle for the disease in fiscal year 2005 -- the same as this past year. But the new budget will include $47 million more to bolster federal meat-inspection programs and fund a national animal identification system, according to the report published in Friday's Sacramento Bee...Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., notes that "in the first seven months of 2003, not a single cow was tested [for mad cow] in Washington state."

By comparison, Japan tests every single head of cattle, and Canada's meat inspections are also far more rigorous than ours.

In 2003, The United States exported 2.3 Billion dollars worth of beef. This year, experts are predicting the yearlong total will be 400 million. The Bush administration has proved itself penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to keeping American consumers safe.

This is the type of thing that happens when you elect candidates from a party with anti-regulatory policies. Thanks, red states.

Read The Full Article
Mr. Crediblity Does It Again

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell shared information with reporters Wednesday about Iran's nuclear program that was classified and based on an unvetted, single source who provided information that two U.S. officials said yesterday was highly significant if true but has not yet been verified.

According to one official with access to the material, a "walk-in" source approached U.S intelligence earlier this month with more than 1,000 pages purported to be Iranian drawings and technical documents, including a nuclear warhead design and modifications to enable Iranian ballistic missiles to deliver an atomic strike. The official agreed to discuss the information on the condition of anonymity and only because Powell had alluded to it publicly.

Read The Full Article

Here's how it's going to play out: Already, the right-wing Washington Times is hyping the intelligence cited by Powell, and omitting the part about a single, unvetted source. Without a doubt other papers will follow suit. For the next few weeks, we'll read in the mainstream media how this is frightening, shocking news if it's true. Eventually more "evidence" will emerge of Iran's treachery, and military action of some sort will be deemed necessary. Iran will plead the case that they are cooperating fully with UNSCOM, but the U.S. will insist otherwise and eventually use military force in Iran.

The timing of Powell's comment was very interesting.
On Monday, UNSCOM inspectors came to an agreement with Iran to halt its nuclear program:

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency Monday endorsed Iran's agreement to suspend all uranium enrichment within a week, the key element of a deal worked out with European countries.

But the apparent victory for diplomacy falls short of U.S. demands for a permanent suspension -- or scrapping -- of Iranian activities that Washington asserts are meant to make nuclear weapons. Iran insists it only wants to generate electricity.

Read The Full Article:

Any high school girl can tell you what type of intelligence is generated by a single, unvetted source. It's called a rumour.

I have it from a single, unvetted source that Colin Powell has no dick. Unlike Colin Powell, I take that sort of information with a grain of salt, even if it is from his wife.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Condi: An Improvement Over Powell

That's my prediction. Allow me to explain.

In the past few days, it's been almost impossible to find a critic of Colin Powell, the outgoing secretary of defense. On Monday, Newsday printed an article entitled "Reactions to Powell's Resignation". Even in this left-of center publication, every single reaction portrayed Powell in a positive light. It's as if the newspaper was trying to make it into the Powell family scrapbook rather than actually reporting a cross-section of reactions to his tenure as secretary. Here are a few of the quotes:

"As a soldier and a statesman, Colin Powell provided exceptional leadership. His steady hand and the reasoned approach he brought to his work will be sorely missed." -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"Colin Powell commands tremendous respect on Capitol Hill; his successor will have quite a legacy to live up to." -- Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.

"The resignation of Secretary of State Colin Powell is a major loss to the country. Secretary Powell has been by far the most responsible, thoughtful, realistic, and credible member of the administration's foreign policy team." -- Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

Excuse me, folks, but are you out of your damn minds? Colin Powell was the worst of a bad lot. As a young man, Colin Powell was responsible for trying to cover up the Mai Lai massacre. Instead of telling the truth, Colin told his superiors exactly what they wanted to hear--a pattern that marked his career trajectory from Vietnam to Iraq. When Colin Powell stood before the United Nations and presented a case for war based on evidence that he knew was bogus, he made a mockery of values he claims to adhere to.

Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rumsfeld, and Rice have the courage of their convictions. They believe they're doing the right thing; they're true believers with a truly warped mindset. Powell, on the other hand, embodies the greatest danger to democracy: Someone who will act against his own conscience and intellect for the sake of loyalty and career advancement. The media has fallen for cheap "bad cop/good cop" theatrics. Here's what happened: Cheney and Rumsfeld rant. Colin asks them to leave the room. He offers Kofi Annan a smoke, gains his confidence, and then tells him "the straight story". The world bought it because they didn't know the real Colin Powell. By playing the straight man, Powell was able to do more damage than the rest combined.

Condi Rice's nomination is a disaster. It means a tremendous powershift to the neoconservative right. The good news is she has absolutely no credibility, and this will mitigate her influence on world affairs.

This Administration views itself as an unstoppable juggernaut with a mandate from the voters. In the next few years, our aggressive foreign policy will be humbled and marginalized as Condi's abrasiveness rubs other nations the wrong way.
An excerpt from "Behind Colin Powell�s Legend",
written by Robert Parry and Norman Solomon


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

On Romanticizing The Military

Pierre Tristam of the Daytona Beach News had an interesting editorial today in which he takes to task the conventional wisdom that proclaims soldiers are the fount of our individual liberties

"A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty," James Madison wrote.

Soldiers are as much instruments of repression as of protection, depending on how they're used, and by whom. Romanticizing them doesn't honor them. It makes it easier to misuse them, as they are so effectively being misused in the folly in Iraq, while drowning reason and dissent in the thumbs-up submission of mass rallies.

Read The Full Article Here
The Toronto Star: Should Bush Be Thrown In A Canadian Jail?

When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa — probably later this year — should he be welcomed? Or should he be charged with war crimes?

It's an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush seems a perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada's Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

This act was passed in 2000 to bring Canada's ineffectual laws in line with the rules of the new International Criminal Court. While never tested, it lays out sweeping categories under which a foreign leader like Bush could face arrest.

In particular, it holds that anyone who commits a war crime, even outside Canada, may be prosecuted by our courts. What is a war crime? According to the statute, it is any conduct defined as such by "customary international law" or by conventions that Canada has adopted.

Read The Article

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I Support The Conscientious Objectors

Every war has war criminals. Because United States troops have been involved in battles all around the world almost perpetually since WWII, it's not surprising that many documented cases exist of U.S. soldiers committing war crimes and atrocities as defined by the Geneva Convention.

Those who would argue that we must "support our country, right or wrong" are in denial about this fact. When forced to consider the true nature of warfare, and the inevitable loss of innocent life they adopt one of the following defense mechanisms:

1. Alberto Gonzalez, our pro-torture A.G. appointee, is on record referring to the Geneva conventions as "quaint". If you don't accept the definition of war crimes, war crimes can't take place.

2. Shoot the messenger. If a war crime takes place, and nobody hears about it, does it really occur? Their rationale is that loyalty trumps truth and justice.

3. It's excusable because the end justifies the means.

This is my message to the "My Country Right Or Wrong" crowd. Your faulty understanding gives more aid and comfort to the enemy than a thosand Jane Fondas. Your blind, deaf and stupid loyalty makes such abuses possible, and fuels the fires of anti-Americanism. Osama BinLaden could ask for no better recruiting tool than our president and his followers.

"My Country, Right or Wrong" Then:

Image from Vietnam's War Remnants Museum
Did this photo terrify the Viet Cong, or infuriate them?

"My Country, Right or Wrong" Now:

The US Marine Corps launched an investigation into possible war crimes last night after video footage taken inside a mosque in Fallujah apparently showed a Marine shooting dead an unarmed Iraqi insurgent who had been taken prisoner.

Full Article:


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Bringing Home The Bacon At The CIA

Bush's CIA director, Porter Goss, is currently engaged in a campaign to ideologically purify the CIA. As a result of this quest, top CIA officials are resigning left and right, leaving America less safe, according to many within the organization.

I can't say I'm surprised that the administration would put politics above security, but I was suprised to realize Bush's nominee for the no.3 spot at the CIA was a bacon thief!

The Washington Post's Dana Priest and Walter Pincus provide a must-read look inside the agency, and what their reporting reveals is nothing short of astounding. Here are some excerpts:

The deputy director of the CIA resigned yesterday after a series of confrontations over the past week between senior operations officials and CIA Director Porter J. Goss's new chief of staff that have left the agency in turmoil, according to several current and former CIA officials.

John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was acting director for two months this summer until Goss took over, resigned after warning Goss that his top aide, former Capitol Hill staff member Patrick Murray, was treating senior officials disrespectfully and risked widespread resignations, the officials said.

...Michael V. Kostiw, who was Goss's first choice for executive director -- the agency's third-ranking official -- withdrew his name after The Washington Post reported that he had left the agency 20 years ago after having been arrested for stealing a package of bacon.

It doesn't matter to the Bush regime if you have a chequered past--as long as your ideology is pure, they'll ignore the rap sheet. Michael V. Kostiw may not be a great CIA agent, but he sure makes a mean bacon cheeseburger.
What About Bob?

The year was 1963, and a young folk singer from Hibbing Minnesota was already being referred to as the voice of his generation. It's rumoured that former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara regarded him as the individual most responsible for the end of the Vietnam war.

The words of "Masters of War" are a bitter commentary on the military-industrial complex's influence on world affairs. Sadly, the song remains relevant to this day. Unfortunately, Bob Dylan has drifted off into obscurity. His last claim to fame was appearing in a Victoria's Secret commercial in 2003. While I have nothing against quality lingerie, selling bras and panties is a far cry from burning draft cards. Selling silk teddies ain't exactly stikin' it to the man.

We need the idealistic songwriter who gave us these lyrics:

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

Bob Dylan's Music:


Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Sticker On The Back Of Your Hummer

Proclaims, "Freedom Isn't Free".

My father wants to know what you think that means.

My guess is that you would explain how our freedom was bought with the blood of soldiers who stood up to tyranny, and how we need to support the president in a time of war.

Come to think of it, you're right. Freedom isn't free.

Freedom is like prescription drugs...Every nation on earth pays less for it than Americans do.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Kerry May Have Conceded, But I Haven't

The evidence is mounting, and even mainsteam media outlets are starting to take an interest. There are thousands alarming abnormalities in the vote tallying in Florida and Ohio, and Democratic legislators are demanding action. It's time to put toes to the fire.

Project censored award-winning investigative journalist Thom Hartmann dug into the voting mess in Florida and found something interesting:

In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.

In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.

Air America diva Randi Rhodes has found similar results in Ohio, and has been justifiably apoplectic about what she's found.

Perhaps the best site for information on the evolution of this scandal is the Brad Blog.

Read The Brad Blog

See also:

Buzzflash's Election Fraud: How You Can Help And What You Can Do

How You Can Help

How To Avoid Mind Control

Let's face it. We're in the midst of a cultural war. Liberals are inculcating our children with all sorts of gay propaganda, the media is full of left wing hacks, and, according to a prominent evangelical, a senator hates God's People!

On George Stephanopolis' This Week, the facts were laid bare by Dr. James Dobson:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Dobson, you also have a problem with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy. I want to show something that was reported in "The Daily Oklahoman" during the campaign. In the "Daily Oklahoman," it quoted you saying, "Patrick Leahy is a God's people hater. I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's people." Now, Dr. Dobson, that doesn't sound like a particularly Christian thing to say. Do you think you owe Senator Leahy an apology?

DR JAMES DOBSON: George, you think you ought to lecture me on what a Christian is all about? You know, I think -I think I'll stand by the things I have said. Patrick Leahy has been in opposition to most of the things that I believe. He is the one that took the reference to God out of the oath.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But Dr. Dobson, excuse me for a second. You use the word hate. You said that he's a "God's people hater." How do you back that up?

DR JAMES DOBSON: Well, there's been an awful lot of hate expressed in this election. And most of it has been aimed at those who hold to conservative Christian views. He is certainly not the only one to take a position like that. But
I think that that is -that's where he's coming from. He has certainly
opposed most of the things that conservative Christians stand for.


DR JAMES DOBSON: No apology.

Amen, brother James! The vast left wing conspiracy is after all a y'all! Thanks for setting me straight! Fortunately, I have the answer to all of these attempts to turn our nation away from God.

Wear an Aluminum Foil Reflector Beanie!

An Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) is a type of headwear that can shield your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. AFDBs are inexpensive (even free if you don't mind scrounging for thrown-out aluminium foil) and can be constructed by anyone with at least the dexterity of a chimp (maybe bonobo). This cheap and unobtrusive form of mind control protection offers real security to the masses. Not only do they protect against incoming signals, but they also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading, keeping the secrets in your head truly secret. AFDBs are safe and operate automatically. All you do is make it and wear it and you're good to go! Plus, AFDBs are stylish and comfortable.

What are you waiting for? Make one today!

How To Make Your Own Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie:

Please send in your tinfoil beanie photos to me for publication...Let's start a movement!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Welcome To Dreamland

There is a famous postmodern painting entitled "This Is Not A Horse". The explanation of the piece is as obvious as it is thought provoking. The painting is an image of a horse depicted on a canvas, and not a horse itself.

As we consider the assault on Fallujah, we should keep in mind that we're not seeing the battle, but rather a controlled image of what's happening over there. On the corner of this portrait of human misery is the signature of Donald Rumsfeld. A suitably ironic title might be "Winning Hearts And Minds".

Madeline Bunting, a Guardian correspondent, writes:

With fitting irony, one of the camps used by the US marines waiting for the assault on Falluja was formerly a Ba'ath party retreat occasionally used by Saddam Hussein's sons. Dreamland, as it was known, has an island in the middle of an artificial lake fringed by palms.

Now the camp's dream-like unreality is distorting every news report filed on the preparations for the onslaught on Falluja. We don't know, and won't know, anything about what happens in the next few days except for what the US military authorities choose to let us know. It's long since been too dangerous for journalists to move around unless they are embedded with the US forces. There is almost no contact left with civilians still in Falluja, the only information is from those who have left.

A good investigative journalist never relies on only one source for information, yet I can guarantee that you will read the military-generated account of what is taking place in Fallujah as gospel truth in our newspapers.

Read The Guardian Article
Remember When...

"VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq...The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that"

Clueless Dick Cheney speaking with Tim Russert on Meet The Press March 16th, 2003


Friday, November 05, 2004

The Incomparable Molly Ivins Speaks

"Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

And at least Democrats won't have to clean up after him until it is real clear to everyone who made the mess".

Molly is right. With control of every branch of government and Clinton four years in the past, there's nobody left to blame when the policies lead this country down the road to ruin.

Don't Mourn, Organize
From Iraq With Sympathy

Iraqi blogger riverbend reminds red state voters how truly fitting their designated color is, and sends her "election condolences" to Kerry supporters. Here's some of what she'd say to Americans if Hallmark ever printed her sympathy card poetry:

"Sympathies in advance
For when they reinstate the draft!
We hope (insert_name_here) stays as safe as he/she can
And writes frequently while in Iran!"

"Bush and Cheney- what a pair!
Who said life isn't fair?
While Iraq gets tanks and occupation-
You have idiots to run your nation!"

Riverbend Blog
This is truly a brilliant blog. Please read it.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Boss Hoggs For Bush

During the runup to the election, many Canadians asked me why the voting process seems to be so complicated in the United States. Like most other democratic nations, Canada has a uniform voting procedure throughout the country, whereas the polling process in America is a mixed bag. The following graphic from the Christian Science Monitor indicates the mosaic of voting procedures in the U.S.:

Why isn't there a national procedure in the U.S.? The answer is elusive, but part of the problem can be traced back to the Jim Crow laws in the American south. On any number of issues stretching back to the time of slavery, the issue has been framed as "State Control vs. Federal Control". Conservatives tend to be suspicious of any attempt to federalize matters originally conducted at the state level. When white southern politicans start talking about "State's Rights", African-Americans start to get worried. Republicans have traditionally thought of the federal government as "Big Brother" (at least when Democrats are in office--remember Ruby Ridge and Waco), while Democrats view local control as being synonymous with turning the government over to thousands of local "Boss Hoggs".

On the issue of elections, standardized federal election procedures would make it far less likely that minorities could be disenfranchised, which is exactly what has happened yet again in this election. There are currently hundreds of lawsuits alleging vote theft. I don't believe Americans elected Bush, I believe Boss Hogg won.

Consider the map above again. Is it merely a coincidence that many of the diebold electronic voting machines without a paper trail are used in states that were won by the president?
Message From An Iraq War Veteran From Operation Truth

...From the very start I knew that this was the wrong place for us to be. I mean the people just were not cool with us being there. They let you know to. Rock throwing and middle fingers by day and then mortar and rocket fire by night. I kept thinking, What did I ever do to you? No soldier over there gives a fuck about a mission. If they tell you they do, they are lying. I fought and survived to see my family and make sure my boys were O.K. I was completely selfish and have no regrets about it. Really, Iraq is not my business, It is the business of politicians. If those politicians care so much about Iraq, then send their sons over there. Only poor people die in wars. That is how it has always been, always will be. Bush makes me so mad because he has turned our great nation into a joke. Why aren't his daughters in fallujah? Why is every word out of his mouth a lie?I had to bite my tounge for four years because service members are not allowed to bad mouth their commander in chief. Well I am out of the service now and I just do not give a fuck. I will tell Bush to his face that he is a punk and that he is on a course that will bring our nation to an catostropic end. Stop Loss and IRR call up do not mean shit to me. I will sit in jail for ten years before I spen a year in Iraq. At least I know what i will be doing my time for. I have nothing to prove to anyone and really do not give a fuck in general. Iraq has made me bitter and mad all the time. I used to be pretty laid back,shy and quiet. Now I am eaisly angered and ready for anything to go down. The Va says I have PTSD and prescribed me some medicine but I tossed that shit in the trash. I have never been the mental, group therapy type. I just cannot see myself sitting in a circle, talking over my problems. Might work for some, sounds pretty stupid to me. It just is not cool to be a Veteran in 2004. I mean I have a decent full time job and my family still does not have health care. After all I did for this country. I am a nobody now and it sucks.

-Nobody's Hero

You're a hero to me, nobody. Thank you for having the courage to tell your story.
They Didn't Win a Fair Fight

The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.

The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system.

"To be honest, monitoring elections in Serbia a few months ago was much simpler," said Konrad Olszewski, an election observer stationed in Miami by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"They have one national election law and use the paper ballots I really prefer over any other system," Olszewski said.

Read the IHT article

Image culled from
Bin Laden and The Neoconservatives Want the Same Thing

Today, Al Jezeera released the full text of Bin Laden's tape. What the translation reveals is that President Bush is doing exactly what Bin Laden wants.

"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.

He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers."

"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.

The Neoconservatives, for many years, have wanted to bleed the treasury dry as well. Neoconservative Guru Grover Nordquist is famous for remarking that the objective of neoconservatives is to "shrink the government down to a size where it can be drowned in a bathtub". As Tom Delay claimed today, "Time to start thinking beyond just growing the economy, and about fundamentally strengthening it by ridding our economy of the overtaxation, overregulation and overlitigation that has hamstrung it for decades." They simply believe that "the government that governs best is the government which governs least".

In the next few years, you can expect that many social programs will be cut. The rationale will be that "we simply don't have the money". The reason we won't have the money is because of the Iraq war tab and tax cuts.

This may be cause for Tom Delay and Bin Laden to celebrate, but for the rest of us, them's fighin' words. Chin up.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Let's Make Every Vote Count!

Every registered voter deserves to have his/her voice heard; Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, whatever. Please remember to be courteous out there. Agree to disagree. The time for campaigning is over. May the next few weeks see healing and reconciliation in our troubled country.

If you have any trouble voting, please contact:

If you have a digital camera, bring it with. In the event that you witness an attempt to block the vote, document it, and send the pictures to the Video Vote Vigil.

Monday, November 01, 2004


It could all be over tomorrow night. Consider this letter from the trenches in Florida as recorded on Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo:

...My job is to get people to the polls and, more importantly, to keep them there. Because they’re crazily jammed. Crazily. No one expected this turnout. For me, it’s been a deeply humbling, deeply gratifying experience. At today’s early vote in the College Hill district of East Tampa -- a heavily democratic, 90% African American community — we had 879 voters wait an average of five hours to cast their vote. People were there until four hours after they closed (as long as they’re in line by 5, they can vote).

Here’s what was so moving:

We hardly lost anyone. People stood outside for an hour, in the blazing sun, then inside for another four hours as the line snaked around the library, slowly inching forward. It made Disneyland look like speed-walking. Some waited 6 hours. To cast one vote. And EVERYBODY felt that it was crucial, that their vote was important, and that they were important...The best of all was an 80 year old African American man who said to me: “When I first started I wasn’t even allowed to vote. Then, when I did, they was trying to intimidate me. But now I see all these folks here to make sure that my vote counts. This is the first time in my life that I feel like when I cast my vote it’s actually gonna be heard.”

To see people coming out — elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc — and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours... Well, it’s humbling. And it’s awesome. And it’s kind of beautiful.

Sometimes you forget what America is.

I think there’s hope.

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