"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Blame Canada!

Huge power outage? Blame Canada! Mad cow disease? Blame Canada! No weapons of mass destruction? Bomb Canada?

Canada had better watch out, or that steroid-driven bastion of "'"democracy"'" known as the United States of America (whose "preznit" ain't 'fraid of no stinkin' beef!) might just "free" its people -- and its cows!!!!
Blame Canada! Shame on Canada!
For the smut we must cut
The trash we must dash
The laughter and fun must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming us!
P.S.: This post is a parody of Superpowers-that-be who are too weak to admit errors. I'm not now, nor shall I be at anytime in the future, offering any "Imperial Mugs" to anyone who bombs or advocates the bombing of Canada.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Religion is still stupid

If you believe in god, then you might think that California has gotten what they deserve for recalling Governor Gray Davis and electing Arnold Schwarzenegger in his place, and that Iranians have been smitten down for, er, being part of the "Axis of Evil." If, on the other hand, you are an unbeliever, then you'd know that California's mudslides and Iran's earthquake are horrible news for residents in both of those places.

Having experienced a magnitude-6.6 earthquake myself earlier this month and a 7.6 quake a little over 4 years ago (with dozens of others between those 2 magnitudes in the meantime), I know that survival depends largely on construction quality. The death toll in Iran's 6.5 quake has already reached 5,000, and estimates of the final tally are already as high as 25,000 dead and 50,000 injured. In the 7.6 quake I experienced, there were "only" about 2,400 dead and 11,000 injured.

It's now winter in the northern hemisphere which is obviously the worst possible time to be left homeless by such disasters. From experience, governments are never fully prepared to handle such emergencies, and I hope that anarchistic people will fill that void in helping their fellow humans without waiting for someone to tell them how or where to do so. (Go to a shelter, donate food and blankets, help your neighbors, invite someone into your home -- that sort of thing.)

The Reuters article linked above mirrors a couple of the thoughts voiced in this post when it says:
The reformist Sharq newspaper said Iranians had to learn to live with earthquakes: "Nature is not violent, it is man that makes himself vulnerable by not observing the rule of nature". It also called for enforcement of the country's widely-flouted construction laws.

Iranian earthquake experts have attacked the Islamic Republic's dismal earthquake education and public fatalism.

"Most people think what God wills, will happen. This is absolutely wrong. This thinking is poisonous," Bahram Akasheh, professor of geophysics at Tehran University, told Reuters in an interview in October.
Assuming that the professor isn't presuming the existence of "God," then s/he's absolutely right.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Religion is stupid

In case I have to explain, just look at a few of these items from December 25, 2003:
* Israel missile attack in Gaza kills 5 Palestinians
Medical sources at Shiffa Hospital said the emergency roomreceived the bodies of the 5 Palestinians and 60 other woundedpeople. [Fused words in original]
* Israeli media: Blast near Tel Aviv kills at least 3
Thursday's blast came soon after Israel launched a helicopter strike in Gaza, killing five people and injuring 14 others, Palestinian security and medical sources told CNN.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that among those killed in the air strike was the target of the raid, Maklad Hamid. The IDF said he was a leader of the Al Quds Brigade, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.
* Rockets hit central Baghdad
Washington blames attacks on Saddam Hussein supporters and foreign Islamic militants. Officials had warned insurgents would launch spectacular attacks during the Christmas holiday season.


"This is a regular day for us," said U.S. First Lieutenant Kurt Muniz, as he led several soldiers on a foot patrol in the area.
* Pakistan Leader Survives Deadly Bombings
Musharraf appeared calm in an interview on state-run television about seven hours after the attack, saying the attempt was the work of misguided "extremists."

"I was the target," Musharraf said, clad in a navy blue business suit. "We must fight against them and cleanse the country of these extremists. These are cowardly people, but my resolve is strong and I have total faith in God."
* The World is Too Much With Us: Christmas Under Bush
I then thought of our born-again Christian President [sic], who spoke last week of his blood lust for the life of Saddam Hussein. Because he was such an evil man, and tried to kill his Daddy, you know. He ought to die. It is only right and just. Right and just?


I think of the constant mantra that Bush and our "leaders" spout about this being a great Christian nation. How Christianity is woven into the very fabric of what it means to be American.


Better that we profess our evil, as do governments like those of Korea and China, and govern and rule honestly as despots, than that we hide under the guise of Christianity and democracy.

So, Bah humbug on the Bush administration and all the evil it has perpetuated on the world this year. [Purposely removed from the context which sets out to make Christianity a wonderful thing]
Here's another from December 23:
* Religion divides new Europe at birth
[I]n Spain, the ethical message in a predominantly Catholic society is being reinforced after the Spanish authorities issued an official paper last week pinning their colors firmly to the mast in placing religious instruction in schools on a par with other subjects such as mathematics.

The foreword to the program, which will become law next year, does not mince its words in stressing the need for religious instruction in school -- preferably of a Catholic nature.

Students of other faiths -- or atheists -- will also receive up to three hours a week of religious instruction, but only in the context of the "history of religions" taught by history and philosophy professors.

Previously, such students would study ethics or other activities whose content was largely left to a school's discretion.

Catholic students, the government estimates, have a duty to "know the love of Jesus Christ" and trumpet the "values of marriage" as part of a program laid down for state schools to follow closely alongside the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.

"An integrated, and thus quality, education cannot exist unless all of a human being's inherent capacities, including the spiritual, are developed," says the text.

More specifically, "a pupil is going to discover [their spiritual capacity] in the language of the Bible, in Christian models of identification and notably in the presence of Jesus Christ," says the text, which also implicitly recommends Catholicism as the path to follow.

[All emphasis mine]
No wonder certain people I know get the "holiday blues." I'm fortunate enough to not be surrounded by people who would shove the "holiday spirit" ("If you're not with us, you must be against us!") down my throat. I maintain the same philosophy throughout the entire year, independent of holidays. So Merry Everything and Happy Always to all the good people out there who don't need a religion or "holy book" or "holy day" to tell them the difference between right and wrong or to force them to do things for others without necessarily benefitting themselves.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Supposedly excellent news: Bush, Blair don't only kill people

Yippee! Libyan President Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi (alternate spellings: Moammar Gaddafi, Gadhafi, and Kadhafi) has gotten himself scratched off of the United States' and Britain's shitlists for renouncing his programs to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Sorry, buds. That doesn't merit stories like this, from the SFGate:
Libya's decision to renounce its chemical, nuclear and biological weapons programs vindicates Prime Minister Tony Blair's carrot-and-stick approach to dangerous states, government ministers said Sunday.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said Libya's announcement, after months of delicate diplomacy, was "a diplomatic coup." [Emphasis mine] [LINK]
MichNews.com's J. Grant Swank, Jr. seems to be begging to be ridiculed himself when he says things like this:
US President George W. Bush's relentless push for world sanity brings still another plus. It is in Libya, of all places.


That is in direct response to Mr. Bush's persistence in the peace direction. There are certain stimulus-response reflexes that are obvious. This is one of them. Thus the world should be thankful to Mr. Bush and colleagues as well as determined in support of America's present administration.

Mr. Bush is daily ridiculed by the Democratic Party within the US while segments outside America come through with peace overtures. That is amazing and yet not surprising, considering the quixotic moves within the Democratic Party.

I have been thinking for the past eight months how reasonable it would be if the Democratic Party left the US to join in with France, Germany and Russia to form still another nation. It could be called Intarnation Nation for its stubbornness against sanity, peace measures and assisting humans such as Iraqis in grounding their own democracy base. [Emphasis mine]
I nearly quoted the entire article here, but there's yet more to ridicule if you go read the whole thing.

We must remember that UN weapons inspectors were already in Iraq until March of this year. No evidence of weapons of mass destruction was found, yet the inspectors were withdrawn and replaced with the "shock and awe" of aerial attacks. In response, no weapons of mass destruction were used, and in the subsequent nine months none have been found. Many attempts have been made to connect Saddam Hussein to the attacks of September 11, 2001 (none of which have stuck), but Gaddafi/Gadhafi/Kadhafi/Qadhafi himself has admitted responsibility for things such as the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The CIA World Factbook notes, "Libyan support for terrorism decreased after UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. Those sanctions were suspended in April 1999." Bush and Blair shouldn't try to take all the credit for this.

And right now on CNN, Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge is supposedly about to raise the "threat level" for the holidays. Be afraid. Be very afraid... as long as these bastards are in office.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Elephant talk

In what amounts to more double talk from the current White House administration, spokesman Scott McClellan said:
"[Bush]'s priority is to preserve peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait in order to safeguard Taiwan's democracy, to promote the spread of personal freedoms in China and spare the region the scourge of war." [LINK]
This comes a mere week and a half after comments by Bush warning Taiwan not to do anything to change the status quo (of the 496 Chinese missiles aimed in its direction). You may recall that (unelected) Bush had no reservations about meeting and dealing with Wen Jiabao, the Premier of (Communist) China, but he refuses* to meet with Taiwan's (democratically-elected) President Chen Shui-bian.

* It wasn't right when Clinton did it either.

It's not democracy...

Thumb, who's doing a great job handling things at Eschaton while Atrios is away, has an excellent post about the felons involved in Diebold and the lack of coverage given to this by any of the so-called investigative journalists. Anything else I could write about this would merely be redundant, so go read it, get pissed off (if you weren't already), and follow the links over there. (Thumb also has some advice you can follow if you've got a couple of minutes to spare.)

You can also visit Black Box Voting to see what Bev Harris is up to in her crusade to wrestle democracy back from those who think they can just steal it from us.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Flurries of factoids

"Fake beard," "basement," "stumbling," "picking lice from his hair," "obviously collecting DNA samples," "this will give Bush support and return the focus to (bringing democracy to Iraq, capturing bin Laden, defeating the foreign insurgents)," etc. These are but a few examples of the utter bullshit these so-called "reporters" are simply making up and broadcasting as "facts"! Talk about dumbing down the already dumb!

A Google News search for "fake beard" comes up with this article in the Boston Globe. The Google search results page says:
American forces capture Saddam in Tikrit, US announces
Boston Globe, MA - 16 hours ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Saddam Hussein, wearing a fake beard and burying himself in a cellar to hide from US troops, was captured alive near his hometown of Tikrit. ... [Emphasis mine]
The actual page says:
American forces capture Saddam in Tikrit, U.S. announces
By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, 12/14/2003 07:45

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) American forces captured a bearded Saddam Hussein as he hid in the cellar of a farmhouse near his hometown of Tikrit, ending one of the most intensive manhunts in history. The arrest, eight months after the fall of Baghdad, was carried out without a shot fired and was a huge victory for U.S. forces. [Emphasis mine]
There's no indication of a "correction," etc. This next one still has the "fake beard" quote:
'100 percent sure' that Saddam captured: INC
Sunday, 14 December , 2003, 19:11

Iraq After Saddam: Full Coverage

Doha: The spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress (INC) on Sunday said that Saddam Hussein has been captured, wearing a fake beard to disguise himself, the Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera reported. [Emphasis mine]
And the rats... The rats!!!:
Charles Gibson, co-anchor, ABC's Good Morning America: "(Saddam) was caught in a dirt hole filled with rats and mice. It couldn't have been any more humiliating for him." [Emphasis mine]
Then, there's this from NewsMax:
"Saddam was caught with a stained blue dress over his head while his shriveled penis twitched impotently. Results of DNA testing have shown the stain's source to be Bill Clinton."
I'm just jiving about that one, but I did hear somebody* use the word "impotent" on CNN a short time ago in describing Saddam's appearance.

An unlikely ApplegateOregonNews.com editorial takes some of this sensationalist reporting to task:
I know that a number of printrag editors in Northern Oregon and Southern Oregon spout stupids about national and international issues that are beyond the scope of their books. I find such air-headed opinions to normally be biased politicalthink or psychothink...so I don't pay them much attention. Most Oregonians, and most of the rest of the Nation, don't pay these airheads any attention, at all... [Ellipses in original]
While written in a humorous tone, that editorial sounds more like the voice of reason shouting at a blizzard of lies. This is "the news."

* I'm pretty sure it was a John Burns, a British guy who works for the New York Times speaking to Aaron Brown. Read that article and "go figure."

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Red dawn for Saddam

In an operation called "Red Dawn," coalition troops are said to have captured Saddam Hussein last night. About an hour ago, Paul Bremer announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him" to the cheers of journalists at a Baghdad press conference. (CNN says it was the "Arabic" reporters.) "Getting" Saddam was probably right, but the way it was carried out could only have been slightly more wrong.

Andrew Card recently labeled the WMD issue a "moot point." Sorry, bud. It's not a "moot point." It was the main justification. Remember "mushroom cloud" and all that? How about all those attempts to link the 9/11 attacks to Saddam?

What was all the fuss about "imminent threat"? It was because an imminent threat is the only justification for a preemptive attack!

Saddam's capture comes approximately 250 deaths after Bush announced "Mission: Accomplished" -- and that's only counting American soldiers, not Iraqi civilians. The name "Red Dawn" and its targets ("Wolverine I" & Wolverine II") were ironically taken from a 1984 film in which Soviet Russian soldiers attack a small town in America's Midwest which is subsequently defended by resident teenagers.

The one thing that would have made this worse is if they had killed Saddam instead of capturing him "without a shot fired." (You've got to hand it to the special forces who carried out this raid for their restraint.) Saddam is said to be "talkative" and "cooperative." Will his capture end the attacks on coalition troops? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Fuck Bush, Wen Jiabao, and the "status quo"!

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wants to "unite" Taiwan with China. Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian wants China to remove the 496 missiles it has aimed at Taiwan and renounce its threats of force. Bush just wants to maintain the status quo. Neither "moving toward independence" nor "unification with China" would be acceptable to the United States government. This is where American hypocrisy comes to the fore.

The U.S. celebrates its own Independence Day every July 4, yet its military dominance of the Pacific Rim depends greatly on this lopsided ménage à trois between itself, Taiwan, and China. The U.S. sells lots of weapons (F-16s, submarines, etc.) to Taiwan but often kowtows to China's demands when it comes to this strange relationship.

The blunt reality is that Taiwan is already independent. The Chinese have done everything they can to make the world believe otherwise, but it's the truth. Taiwan has its own currency, flag, passport, and democratically-elected president -- separate from China or any other country. Whether blocking the World Health Organization (WHO) from sending assistance during the SARS crisis or using both "dollar diplomacy" and threats to destroy many of Taiwan's international relationships, China has done everything it can to diminish the world's recognition of Taiwan.

UPDATE: Read, listen to, or watch a White House press briefing where spokesman Scott McClellan tapdances around the issue regarding this uncomfortable "love triangle." (After clicking that link, you'll have to scroll up one paragraph to see the question which initiates the cascade of "hypotheticals." Go to the top of the transcript page for audio/video links.)

FURTHER UPDATES: I didn't supply any links for the word "threats" above, but I will add links immediately below as I come across them.
* A Taipei Times editorial cartoon, Dec. 13, 2003.
* Another Taipei Times editorial cartoon, Dec. 14, 2003.
* A Google search.
* A Yahoo! search.
* An AltaVista search.
* An Ask Jeeves search.
* A WebCrawler search.
* "[T]he mainland's most severely wording warning [sic] to Chen Shui-bian since he took office." People's Daily, November 23, 2003

Ass bike-wards

Officials in "Communo-Capitalist" China have turned logic on its head:
China's biggest city plans to ban bicycles from all major roads next year to ease congestion brought on by a wave of private car ownership, official newspapers said yesterday.

Police will also raise fines tenfold for such cycling infractions as running red lights, Shanghai Daily reported. Such measures aim to "control the number of bicycles on city streets," it quoted police official Chen Yuangao as saying. [Emphasis mine]
As an anarcho-bicyclist -- in a "whole other country" -- who wears a helmet, stops at red lights, and uses hand signals in the interest of public safety (as well as my own), I hereby rip this police official a new virtual asshole. (R-i-p!!!)

This next guy, however, has the right idea:
"Bicycles are an environmentally friendly means of transportation that should not be banned," the paper quoted Zhao Guotong, an official of the Shanghai Economic Commission, as saying.

Shanghai should instead "take firm control of the increasing numbers of private cars," Zhao was quoted as saying. [Emphasis mine]
Do you think the police officials have their grubby little hands in the auto industry's pockets?

Fight liars with fire

That black belt of verbal martial arts, Al Franken, submits his 2 cents in the Star Tribune:
Q You must have seen this reference in Time magazine where a columnist said that you, as well as people like O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, are part of the "burgeoning American anger industry."

A There's a big difference between what I do and what O'Reilly does, and between what I do and what Coulter does. They lie and then I expose their lies. Actually, I do the opposite of what they do: I tell the truth. My book is jujitsu. I take what they say and use it to heap scorn and ridicule on them. And the scorn-and-ridicule part is the satire part.

Which they either don't get or pretend not to get. For example, they go, " 'Lies and Lying Liars'! He's calling us liars!" Guys? Ann Coulter's book was "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right." And "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism." The purpose of the title "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" is to parody their overheated rhetoric. [Emphasis mine]
Next time someone who's deficient in logical ability tries to tell you that lefties are "uncivil," remember, all you have to do is throw them a title or two from one of "their own."

Friday, December 05, 2003

Compare and contrast

In Wednesday's Washington Post, Courtland Milloy pretends that the Cincinnati police had nothing to do with Nathaniel Jones' death:
Well before Nathaniel Jones had his violent and ultimately fatal confrontation with Cincinnati police Sunday, something happened that pretty much sealed his fate.

He used PCP.

And what we saw on that police video was a predictable result from a drug with its own special ways of killing and getting people killed. [Emphasis mine]
In Friday's Herald News, however, this "opinion" comes from a coroner:
The death of a 350-pound black man who collapsed after being clubbed by police in a videotaped beating was caused primarily by the struggle, [according to Hamilton County Coroner Carl Parrott]...


"Since the struggle was the result of a purposeful act, in this case, the effort by the police to subdue him, to do their jobs, that purposeful act was a primary cause of death," Parrott said. [Emphasis mine]
People in cities other than Cincinnati use PCP. Cincinnati has a noted record of police brutality. Non-lethal tranquilizer darts and nets can be used to subdue even grizzly bears.

They could have and should have handled this differently. There would be one less casualty. The police would not have furthered their violent reputation. The illusion of democracy might have held on more tightly. (See below.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wag this!

They couldn't tell the truth if their lives depended on it

If you've ever seen the film Wag the Dog, you'd know exactly what has been going on in the Bush administration since before day one. Just when you might think the bullshit couldn't possibly get any thicker, the latest absurd lies are being uncovered almost as soon as they see the light of day. Wayne Madsen tells it like it is in CounterPunch:
Fox News, the only TV news crew permitted to fly with Bush, initially reported on Thanksgiving Day that Air Force One flew across the Atlantic and Europe during total darkness and in total radio silence. Of course, that also gave the impression that the plane must have left Washington much earlier than [it was] later reported [to have done] in order to give it the cover of darkness over the normally busy daytime air corridors of Europe. It was later reported that a British Airways pilot radioed Air Force One and asked whether he was, in fact, seeing the presidential plane whizzing by. We were told that Air Force One responded to the pilot by claiming it was a much smaller Gulfstream 5 executive jet, to which the British pilot replied, "Oh." Of course, by radioing the British plane, which now appears to have been a phantom, the Air Force One broke the radio silence originally reported by Fox News. But Fox reports and you'll have to decide. [LINK]
The time of day (turkey breakfast?), the British Airways pilot, the "corkscrew" landing, the multiple demises of "Chemical Ali," a "rankled" and "frantic" Hillary, the rescue of Jessica Lynch, the weapons of mass destruction, the Saddam/al Qaeda link, the foreign insurgents, Mission: Accomplished (which deserves a separate list), "we never said 'imminent threat,'" ... The list of lies coming from the Bush administration is long and thick, and they are not mere phallic references.

Our lives depend on the truth. This is not a silly fixation on sexual indiscretions with a willing White House intern. It's about people's lives, America's present and future security, and its already soiled reputation being brought to a state that may take centuries to repair. Impeach that murderous bastard Bush! And replace all those weakling "Democrats" who have given Bush everything he's wanted! They don't represent us!

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Trouble every day

From Rodney King to Nathaniel Jones

Was it just another aberration or part of a larger pattern? Shortly before 1:00 AM on March 3, 1991, George Holliday videotaped Los Angeles police officers from a nearby balcony as they beat Rodney King in a highly-publicized incident which eventually led to huge riots in the L.A. area. Twelve years, eight months, three weeks, and six days later, Nathaniel Jones -- who, although resisting arrest, was unarmed -- was beaten by police. This time it was Cincinnati. This time, the incident was caught on tape by the video camera in the police car. This time, the suspect died. And this is at least the 15th time since 1995 that Cincinnati police have ended up killing suspects.

In my rap, "It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!" (The Sedition Commission, An Ambient Boot to the Head, Fatal Enema Music) -- written near the end of George H.W. Bush's term -- I say:
The right to silence is the only right you've got
If you don't want to end up being beat or getting shot
Rodney King's not an isolated case
It's just one of the few we've got on videotape

Police brutality is not democracy
The "war on drugs" is one more conspiracy
To make us kill each other up in the streets
With war outside your door we'll never ever have peace

Never! Ever! No! It's a conspiracy!
Those are words I wrote 12 years ago. It's a terrible shame how true those words still are today. Peer into the mind of the late Frank Zappa in these lyrics which were written 37 years ago about the Watts Riots:
Well I'm about to get sick
From watchin' my TV
Been checkin' out the news
Until my eyeballs fail to see
I mean to say that every day
Is just another rotten mess
And when it's gonna change, my friends
Is anybody's guess
-- Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention,
"Trouble Every Day,"
from the 1966 album Freak Out

Monday, December 01, 2003

Opening the access, but limiting the data?

The Public Library of Science (among the regular links in my blogroll) is in the news -- again. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the concept of the PLoS is to "enable the creation of public libraries of science containing the full text and data of any published research article, available free of charge to anyone, anywhere in the world." Here's something from the above article which I don't remember reading in previous articles I've seen about it:
Unlike the major peer-reviewed scientific journals, which publish research submitted by scientists and charge subscriptions or fees to access database information, PLoS Biology has opted for a different approach -- an "author pays" policy.

It charges the researchers $1,500, or whatever they can afford to pay, for each study it decides to publish, and the research is then available in an open-access database.

"We use author charges to cover the cost of the peer-review process and production through the online version," said Siegel, a former editor of the journal Cell.

Peer review is a system in which submitted research is reviewed by a panel of experts who judge its scientific value before it is published. [Emphasis mine, link added]
I thought the idea was to increase accessability to information. It seems like it will now reduce the amount of research being published, therefore generating the same effect as before -- only different. Instead of lots of info but little access, it may turn into more access to less (new) info. I don't like the look of this development.
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