Sunday, August 29, 2004

To answer those who may claim my ideology, I say that I do not think in terms of ideology. I am an independent thinker, free of the spectrum of 'liberal' or 'conservative' or whatever may fall in-between. Liberalism and conservatism are equally good doctrines (at least according to their dictionary definitions), but I reject both, because ideology is a filter of truth, and if there is an ideology with which I think it is this: common sense. I attempt wherever I can to use reason, and logic, both of which are products of the Enlightenment, as is Liberalism; and so, if this is 'liberal', so be it. And as for the extremes, I am absolutely opposed to them: extremism is extremism, and so 'ultra' liberalism is just as corrosive as 'ultra' conservatism, or 'ultra' anything. I do not think in terms of extremes, at least rationally; it follows that I also do not try to think in terms where anything is unconditional, for that is just as malignant as an extreme. And then there is absolutism, which I also vehemently reject: so, in conclusion, I try not to adhere to any ideology and only think in terms of what makes sense to me, and that is all.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A New York Times editorial ("Abolish the Electoral College," 29 August 2004) writes that the electoral college is "a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority, distorts presidential campaigning and has the potential to produce a true constitutional crisis. There should be a bipartisan movement for direct election of the president." I do agree that the electoral system established by the Founding Fathers is indeed flawed, but to abolish the Electoral College altogether would be to visit the nightmare that they rightly feared: the Tyranny of the Majority. Its "main problem", the Times editorial writes, "is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War [in 1876, 1888, and 2000], that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote." Because the number of electors per state is determined by the number of representatives in Congress plus its two Senators, the electoral college inherently skews the vote. For instance, in Wyoming, whose population is around 500,000 and whose number of electors is 3, the peoples' vote is about four times more powerful than that of California, whose population is about 36 million and has 55 electors. "The arcane rules governing the Electoral College," the Times editorial continues, "have the potential to create havoc if things go wrong. Electors are not required to vote for the candidates they are pledged to, and if the vote is close in the Electoral College, a losing candidate might well be able to persuade a small number of electors to switch sides. Because there are an even number of electors - one for every senator and House member of the states, and three for the District of Columbia - the Electoral College vote can end in a tie. There are several plausible situations in which a 269-269 tie could occur this year. In the case of a tie, the election goes to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation gets one vote - one for Wyoming's 500,000 residents and one for California's 35.5 million." Again, because of the skewed nature of the College and the Republican domination of the House of Representatives, a tie would signify a victory for Bush. The stakes, the editorial concludes, are simply too high to not "mak[e] every vote count."
The White House has released its definitive report on President Bush's record during his term in office ("President George W. Bush: A Remarkable Record of Achievement," Aug. 2004*), in which it lays out all of the reasons why Bush deserves another four years in office. I must admit that it is convincing, and by "is" I mean "appears". In the conclusion, we are told that ...

The economy "has grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation," although this has no bearing on the amount of growth; if reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the US Census Bureau are any indicators, the economy - with stalled job growth (only 32,000 new jobs in July), stagnant household income, an increase in poverty (up to 12.5% nationally), and a very substantial trade deficit ($55.8 billion) - is in trouble. But, nevermind; in addition to our economy having "grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation" (that is, presumably, of any other member of the G-8: the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany, France, Canada, and Mexico), its growth is "as fast as any in nearly 20 years"! Where were we 20 years ago, anyway? Oh, right: 1984, just out of a recession under Reagan. Great frame of reference there.

We are told that "nearly 1.5 million jobs have been created since August 2003 and 1.3 million new jobs have been created this year alone," although, conveniently, it is not specified whether this means net job creation. My guess is no. Why talk about all the jobs we've lost? No point there. Also, the unemployment rate "today is below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s," though it is omitted that once one's unemployment runs out, one is no longer counted as 'unemployed', and so the figure is probably bound to be a lot higher, when it is also factored in that job creation has stalled and a couple million jobs were lost since the beginning of the recession that began in March 2001.

More spinned figures are trotted out piecemeal by the Executive, concerning productivity, stock market gains (hardly of any effect to your average American worker), "manufacturing activity" (it appears irrelevant to point out the loss in manufacturing jobs since the beginning of Bush's tenure, which may have been accelerated after the repeal of the steel tariff, much to the detriment of the industry), "real after-tax incomes" up 11% over the past four years (nationwide, median income remains stagnant at $43,318, according to the Census report; DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Mills, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-226. 'Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003.' U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, Aug. 2004, p. 3), interest rates being at "their lowest levels in decades" under Bush, "homeownership" at "its highest level ever" and mortgage rates at "their lowest level in decades" with - "for the first time" - "the majority of minority Americans" owning "their own homes," etc. (So fuck record oil and gasoline prices {national average of around $2/gallon and nearing $50/barrel, respectively}! Who cares?)

Partially taking credit for achievements under the Clinton administration, we also read that, "between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002", the rate of violent crimes "decreased 21 percent" and "is now down to its lowest point in the last three decades," or since 1974, when crime rates where quite high; in addition, again partially thanks to the work done under the Clinton administration, the rate of property crime "dropped 13 percent between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002." (*, 'The Condition of America,' p. 44)

And there are other figures, many of which Bush cannot possibly take credit for, such as the figure where it is read that "recent use of ecstasy, which sharply increased between 1998 and 2001, fell by half among high school students – and past use of LSD fell by almost two-thirds." (ibid, p. 45) And, in a real nod to the Clinton administration, we read that "the largest welfare caseload decline in history occurred between 1996 and 2003, with the caseload falling 60 percent." [Isn't it amazing how the achievements of one President somehow wind up as the achievements of another?] Also, "a March 2004 study by the Council of Great City Schools, the achievement gap in both math and reading between African Americans and whites, and Hispanics and whites, is narrowing," but apparently not by any figure that the White House thought interesting enough to show. More blacks "today are finishing high school, going to college, and earning higher salaries than ever," (id.) although more are still in jail than in college. Finally, there is some "other" miscellanea that Bush has presided over but for which is somehow responsible.

A good record, yes. But what is omitted could fill a whole book, not to mention an entire record of the achievements of the Bush administration that are either not so positive but are outright bad (concerning Bush's real record on the environment and the economy, for instance). And don't forget the war in Iraq. But who wants that? Now go and re-elect this bastard on November 2. Can't change a horse mid-stream, right?
Was at Sea Isle City, NJ, for the second year in a row. Fun stuff. Anyway, there's a new book out, The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America, that reinforces the ridiculous myth that we are, as a nation, divided up into 'red' and 'blue' states; in the Great Divide, the argument is augmented, with its premise, in addition to the 'red' and 'blue' paradigm, that our society is split into 'Metro' and 'Retro'. From the website's description of the book, the Great Divide argues that America "is two nations: Retro America - conservative and rooted in the past; and Metro America - progressive and focused on the future."

Such bullshit: the idea that a whole state is emblematic of one 'half' of society or behind a party - as is suggested by Massachusetts being classically labeled a 'blue state' or Texas being classically labeled a 'red state' - does not stand to reality. Case-in-point: the 2000 Presidential election.

Take Massachusetts, for instance; in 2000, the majority of the people of the state voted for Gore. However, the votes for Bush in the state of Massachusetts amounted to a pretty sizeable margin of the vote (
32.5%, or 878,502 votes). This is not much smaller than the number of votes cast for Gore (1,616,487; the number of votes cast for Bush in Massachusetts comprised over 54% of the votes cast for Gore). Blue state? No; in addition, Massachusetts has a Republican governor, as do all of the supposed 'blue states' of New England. (So does California, another so-called 'blue state'.)

Take Texas; in 2000, the people of the state voted for Bush. But, like Massachusetts, it was hardly a landslide: whereas Bush won a little over 59% of the vote, Gore won nearly 38% (2,433,746 votes; the number of votes cast for Gore in Texas comprised about 64% of the votes for Bush). Red state? No. In conclusion, I do not see any evidence that there is any backing to the idea of red states and blue states. It's just not true.

P.S.: Although the book is exclusively for sale on Amazon, you can read the entire thing for free. (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9) So you can decide yourself whether you believe this nonsense.

(Source: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, Election Results; 2000 Presidential Election Figures: Massachusetts, Texas)

Friday, August 20, 2004

I'm gone. See y'all some other time.
The Bush administration policy of preventive war seems to have backfired: the Iranian Defense Minister, Ali Shamkhani, "has warned that Iran may resort to pre-emptive strikes to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities," presumably by the United States, according to "an interview on Al Jazeera television" Wednesday "in response to a question about the possibility of an American or Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear projects," as cited in the New York Times (Nazila Fathi, "Iran Says It May Pre-empt Attack Against Its Nuclear Facilities," 20 August 2004, A4). According to the article, Vice Admiral Shamkhani declared in the interview that Iran "'will not sit to wait for what others will do to us'"; he added, "'Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly. Any nation, if it feels threatened, can resort to that.'" Thanks to the National Security Strategy of the United States (2002), wherein chapter five of the historic document the concept of preventive ('pre-emptive') war was officially codified, rogue states such as Iran now feel entitled to exercise that doctrine. To Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumsfeld, and Dr. Wolfowitz, I ask: What have you unleashed upon the world?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

In case you all missed it the first time, here are the Articles of Impeachment against the current high-ranking members of the Administration (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft), if it were at all possible to draft them, courtesy of William Ramsey Clark, Attorney General under the Johnson Administration and controversial figure who defended Slobodan Milosevic in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and others (and thus is not really in a position to accuse anyone of 'war crimes', I suppose). Nevertheless, here are the 17 Articles of Impeachment, which are also accessible here. I should add that I am attributing these Articles to Clark, and do not personally endorse them. It's called journalism. Look for the quotation marks.

"Articles of Impeachment


"President George W. Bush


"Vice President Richard B. Cheney,
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and
Attorney General John David Ashcroft

"'The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.' - - ARTICLE II, SECTION 4 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

"President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Attorney General John David Ashcroft have committed violations and subversions of the Constitution of the United States of America in an attempt to carry out withimpunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes and deprivations of the civil rightsof the people of the United States and other nations, by assuming powers of an imperialexecutive unaccountable to law and usurping powers of the Congress, the Judiciary and thosereserved to the people of the United States, by the following acts:

"1) Seizing power to wage wars of aggression in defiance of the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter and the rule of law; carrying out a massive assault on and occupation of Iraq, a country that was not threatening the United States, resulting in the death and maiming of tens of thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of U.S. G.I.s.

"2) Lying to the people of the U.S., to Congress, and to the U.N., providing false and deceptive rationales for war.

"3) Authorizing, ordering and condoning direct attacks on civilians, civilian facilities andlocations where civilian casualties were unavoidable.

"4) Threatening the independence and sovereignty of Iraq by belligerently changing its government by force and assaulting Iraq in a war of aggression.

"4) Authorizing, ordering and condoning assassinations, summary executions, kidnappings, secretand other illegal detentions of individuals, torture and physical and psychological coercion ofprisoners to obtain false statements concerning acts and intentions of governments andindividuals and violating within the United States, and by authorizing U.S. forces and agents elsewhere, the rights of individuals under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

"5) Making, ordering and condoning false statements and propaganda about the conduct of foreign governments and individuals and acts by U.S. government personnel; manipulating the media and foreign governments with false information; concealing information vital to public discussion and informed judgment concerning acts, intentions and possession, or efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction in order to falsely create a climate of fear and destroy opposition to U.S. wars of aggression and first strike attacks.

"6) Violations and subversions of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, both a part of the 'Supreme Law of the land' under Article VI, paragraph 2, of the Constitution, in an attempt to commit with impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes in wars and threats of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq and others and usurping powers of the United Nations and the peoples of its nations by bribery, coercion and other corrupt acts and by rejecting treaties, committing treaty violations, and frustrating compliance with treaties in order to destroy any means by which international law and institutions can prevent, affect, or adjudicate the exercise of U.S. military and economic power against the international community.

"7) Acting to strip United States citizens of their constitutional and human rights, ordering indefinite detention of citizens, without access to counsel, without charge, and without opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the Executive of a citizen as an 'enemy combatant.'

"8) Ordering indefinite detention of non-citizens in the United States and elsewhere, and without charge, at the discretionary designation of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Defense.

"9) Ordering and authorizing the Attorney General to override judicial orders of release of detainees under INS jurisdiction, even where the judicial officer after full hearing determines a detainee is wrongfully held by the government.

"10) Authorizing secret military tribunals and summary execution of persons who are not citizens who are designated solely at the discretion of the Executive who acts as indicting official, prosecutor and as the only avenue of appellate relief.

"11) Refusing to provide public disclosure of the identities and locations of persons who have been arrested, detained and imprisoned by the U.S. government in the United States, including in response to Congressional inquiry.

"12) Use of secret arrests of persons within the United States and elsewhere and denial of the right to public trials.

"13) Authorizing the monitoring of confidential attorney-client privileged communications by the government, even in the absence of a court order and even where an incarcerated person has not been charged with a crime.

"14) Ordering and authorizing the seizure of assets of persons in the United States, prior to hearing or trial, for lawful or innocent association with any entity that at the discretionary designation of the Executive has been deemed 'terrorist.'

"15) Institutionalization of racial and religious profiling and authorization of domestic spying by federal law enforcement on persons based on their engagement in noncriminal religious and political activity.

"16) Refusal to provide information and records necessary and appropriate for the constitutional right of legislative oversight of executive functions.

"17) Rejecting treaties protective of peace and human rights and abrogation of the obligations of the United States under, and withdrawal from, international treaties and obligations without consent of the legislative branch, and including termination of the ABM treaty between the United States and Russia, and rescission of the authorizing signature from the Treaty of Rome which served as the basis for the International Criminal Court."

Of course, with a Republican-dominated House of Representatives and Senate, it is simply not possible, as I have said above, to impeach the current incumbents. And Mr. Clark's own record does not seem to fare well. Nevertheless, the arguments put forth in the Articles appear quite damning.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Hurricane Charley's trail of devastation is unsettling, indeed. My hope, and that of everyone else, is that those affected directly by its path of destruction find home again, and their lives, too. I'm sorry that I didn't talk about this sooner. I just really couldn't find the right words, and for my thoughtlessness I apologize. Thankfully it did not reach where I live, and for that I am most grateful; many others were not that fortunate, not the 16 Floridians who were killed, nor the poor people whose lives are ruined and whose houses are obliterated.
According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics - as cited in a New York Times graphic (15 August, 2004, 'The Jobs Picture', A12) - from March 2001 (when the recession officially began, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research) to June 2004, 17 states (34% of the total) have seen an increase in employment* ranging from .4% (South Carolina) to 7% (Nevada), and 31 states (62% of the total) have seen a decrease in employment ranging from .1% (Wisconsin) to 5.7% (Massachusetts). The number of jobs** created in the intervening 38 months range from 260,000 (Florida) to 3,000 (South Dakota), and the number of jobs lost range from 1,000 (Vermont) to 222,000 (Illinois).

When you figure that a significant majority of states*** have seen net job losses, the dictum that our economy "has turned the corner" does not stand to scrutiny.

*Presumably net employment (for all figures), although it is not specified in the graphic.

**The numbers regarding new job creation or loss are also presumed to be net.

***Again, 34% of the States have had net job growth and 62% of the States have had net job decay; the remaining 4% (Maine and Missouri) have had no net change since the beginning of the recession (March 2001).

Friday, August 13, 2004

The lowest 20% of American taxpayers* are paying 1.5% less in federal taxes and the highest 1% are paying 6.8% less, between 2000 and current (2004) law, according to figures from a new report by the Congressional Budget Office ('Effective Federal Tax Rates Under Current Law, 2001 to 2014', CBO, August 2004, Appendix A/Table A-1, p. 17).

Disgusting, isn't it? And the CBO is not a partisan group with an axe to grind, either. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: Happy Friday the 13th.

*This refers to the 'lowest quintile' income bracket, whose 'base-year income level' is $14,900; the highest 1% refers to those whose minimum annual income is $1,050,100; to emphasize the income gap in this country, the difference of magnitude between the highest income bracket ($1,050,100 or more) and the lowest ($14,900) is almost 70.5.

For those who are not familiar with the comparative size of the nation in which we find ourselves embroiled, here it is. I have to admit that it surprised me, too. (Via

Monday, August 09, 2004

The post facto rationale for preventive war against Iraq, once no WMDs were discovered, was the 'liberation' of the Iraqi people. In Sudan there is a current humanitarian crisis; there are no calls from the White House for the liberation of the Sudanese from their regime that is sanctioning the murder, pillage, and expulsion of African villagers in Western Darfur by Arab rebels. Either this administration is composed of shameless, opportunistic hypocrites, or Sudan has no real strategic importance, I don't know. I suppose both. But, in our silence we are complicit: Elie Wiesel once said that evil is allowed to persist when good men do nothing. President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are not good men, but we must do something. We have to, although many others and I have no power to make a difference, and therefore we must delegate the authority to our self-declared leaders.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

An international body will be observing the Presidential general election this November, according to a report from CNN. The US State Department reportedly "invited" the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) "to monitor the election". The call for international monitoring of a US Presidential general election (unprecedented in American history), came after 13 "Democratic members of the House of Representatives, raising the specter of possible civil rights violations that they said took place in Florida and elsewhere in the 2000 election, wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July, asking him to send observers." Annan rejected the call on the grounds that the Bush administration can only sanction it, and so "the Democrats" (unnamed in full; only two of the alleged thirteen) asked State Secretary Colin Powell for international monitoring, which led toward heated discussion in the House, "and Republicans got an amendment," according to the Associated Press, "to a foreign aid bill that barred federal funds from being used for the United Nations to monitor U.S. elections". The OSCE "will send a preliminary mission to Washington in September to assess the size, scope, logistics and cost of the mission," according to OSCE spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir, adding that it "will then determine how many observers are required and where in the United States they will be sent." Although, according to an anonymous "State Department spokesman", "'the OSCE routinely monitors elections within its 55-state membership, including Europe, Eurasia, Canada and the United States,'" he stated, according to CNN, that "the United States does not have any details on the size and composition of the observers or what countries will provide them." In a final note, nonewithstanding that it is unprecedented that the United States will have the monitoring from an international body of its general Presidential election, the OSCE did monitor the November 2002 mid-term election as well as the 2003 California recall.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The New York Times (*) posted this article ('Diplomacy Fails to Slow Advance of Nuclear Arms', */2004/08/08/politics/08nuke.html) in what appears to be a cut off. There's no 'next' button. Anywhere. At least at the moment.
The Baghdad office of al Jazeera, the world's largest Arab-language news network, has been shut down by the interim Iraqi government, according to a report by CNN. A "statement" from the Iraqi Interior Ministry read, in a ridiculous statement, that al Jazeera "has accepted to be the mouthpiece of terrorist and criminal groups thus contributing to attempts to impair security and achieve aims of terrorism in spreading terror in the minds of peaceful Iraqi citizens with activities that have nothing to do with acts of violence." This is outrageous; I have regularly read news from the English mirror of Jazeera, and it is nothing of the sort. Does covering terrorism equate to supporting it? Isn't al Jazeera the very kind of democratic mechanism we ought to hope for in Iraq or, for that matter, in the entire Middle East? Freedom of the press and criticism is the antidote to repressive state media, such as the propaganda organs of the regimes of Syria, Saudi Arabia, et. al., which view al Jazeera with hatred as it is a threat to their 'interests'. Do we want Iraq to become a repressive, police state, with an autocracy at its helm that rules by decree as to what its citizenry is allowed to be exposed to? If so, we cannot call it democracy.

Friday, August 06, 2004

I do not think I believe in global warming anymore:

The National Weather Service reports, tonight, "near record low temperatures expected" due to a "A STRONG COLD FRONT [that] PUSHED TROUGH THE REGION EARLY THURSDAY[,] ALLOWING NORTHERLY WINDS TO USHER IN A COLD CANADIAN AIRMASS. ... TEMPERATURES WILL QUICKLY FALL DURING THE LATE EVENING. BY DAWN[,] TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM THE MID TO UPPER 50S IN DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON DC AND BALTIMORE[,] TO AROUND 50 IN THE OUTLYING SUBURBS[,] AND THE MIDDLE 40S IN THE HIGHER TERRAIN WEST OF THE BLUE RIDGE." According to general NWS statement, "Atypically cool, Canadian air by early August standards is in control of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic."

I know, I know, global warming deals with the increase of planet-wide, average temperature, but still, this weather is very unusual for this time of year.
Although quite long (145 min.) and not-so-well edited, nonetheless The Corporation is a fantastic documentary on the excesses of corporate wealth and power, and how, if not kept to account by the people who are directly affected by its influence, the corporation (which, legally, is a 'person' because of its nature as a singular entity that under the law is allowed to act as one) can become something of a monster to society, indeed. The film does not argue that the corporation is inherently evil; but, like most powerful, moneyed institutions, does have the capacity to do wrong to people. In short, to paraphrase, the film puts forth the premise, as the Bible also states, that the love of money is the root of all evil; in putting the profit margin and the 'bottom line' ahead of all other concerns, the corporation leaves much room for malfeasance, to say the least. Exploring many case-studies, such as Monsanto and its carcinogenic rBST milk-producing hormone, to IBM and its relationship with Nazi Germany as well as its complicity in the Holocaust, The Corporation is a film not free of bias, in that it classifies 'the corporation' as a 'psychopath' following a checklist of psychological conditions (being that a corporation is defined as a 'person', after all). Nonetheless, in light of its overt agenda it is a powerful film that is, above all, a warning: IF YOU PUT UNCONDITIONAL FAITH IN AN INSTITUTION WHOSE POWER NOW DOMINATES OUR SOCIETY, YOU GIVE THEM FREE REIGN TO DO WHATEVER WILL MAXIMIZE THEIR WEALTH AND POWER, OFTEN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE LESS PRIVILEGED AND POOR.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This is a Public Service Announcement:

Attention, 40% of registered voters who plan to actually cast their ballots this November: PLEASE DO NOT vote NADER-CAMEJO if you live in the following states,* listed in alphabetical order:

Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

*The states in bold are those in which you not voting Nader-Camejo is especially important.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The intelligence upon which the latest terrorism alerts from the Homeland Security Department was based, according to an article from the Washington Post, came from reported al Qaeda 'surveillance' of US financial institutions 3+ years ago and, most significantly, predating September 11, 2001. So, is this new 'threat', unprecedented in its specific nature, really anything substantial? or, worse, is it just a diversion? If it is the latter, that would prove that this administration really has no shame. Homeland Security Secretary Ridge today defended the new terrorism threat in lieu of criticism of its validity, stating that "the government needed to take 'preemptive action' to warn the public that al Qaeda had been casing five U.S. financial institutions [the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank (Washington); the Citigroup Center, the New York Stock Exchange (New York), and Prudent Financial (Newark)], even if the alleged surveillance was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."* Seriously, what is with this administration and preemption? Either preemptive war (actually preventive) or, such a case as this, preemptive fear.

*Emphases added.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Although I am no longer linked to Karmaloop for some reason, I'm linked at it's new Korean mirror, aptly titled Karmaloop Korea (I hope that's South Korea, Greg). So if there are any South Koreans out there who would care to read whatever I think worthy enough to post (such as this), then go right ahead. No, seriously; please.
This Thursday I am seeing The Corporation, a documentary about the psychology of corporations as, in legal terms, the 'persons' that they are.* It appears very objective, has interviews with some of the best commentators in the field, including Noam Chomsky, and, from the preview, looks fantastic.

Also, the brilliant creators of South Park, one of my favorite TV shows, are releasing a new movie this October, Team America: World Police. Watch the trailer; it's funny as shit, and I can't wait to see another production from Matt and Trey (it reminds me of the South Park movie a little): it's a film that we need right now.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Tonight at 10 PM the Discovery Channel is scheduled to broadcast a program about the real identity of Christopher Columbus, "Columbus: Secrets From the Grave." Dramatically declaring, NO MAN HAS EVER GONE FURTHER TO HIDE HIS TRUE IDENTITY, the program will concern recent DNA testing ('genotyping') and "3D laser scanning" conducted by "forensic anthropologists" of the bones attributed to Columbus, who contributed toward the extermination of the native Arawak population of Hispaniola (as noted by historian Howard Zinn), from "the chest that holds his bones", owned by "his direct descendant Anunciada Colon". In addition to being a murderer from Genoa, like most conquerers, the program will ask whether Columbus could "have been a pirate, a Jew fleeing the [Spanish] Inquisition or the illegitimate son of a Spanish aristocrat", and will attempt to answer why Columbus went "to such great lengths to keep his origins a mystery". So, tune in. And, uh, drop out.