The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, February 14, 2003

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at TFM!
It's already been sung,
but it can't be said enough:
All you need is love
-pearl jam

No WMD's found by inspectors means no cause to go to war yet. I apologize to those guys in my Polisci section who were so excited.

Pro-Iraq-war college students are very amusing, and yet very instructive in their existence. They get excited about the prospect of "killing Iraqis". They even create pools as to what day the war will start.

From these types, you never hear that humble-ish rhetoric about how "we do not seek this war" or anything like that. Sometimes Bush will be in front of a mic and he'll say that. But he wants the same thing as these eager college hawks. Listening to those kids reminds me that Bush's rhetoric is a bunch of hooey.

Anyway, look for the usual cadre of extra-chrom types to tell us about how we still have grounds to go to war, even though no WMD's have been found. That might work for you, and you might even find some legal wiggle-room to support your opinion. But the American people won't bite. The UN won't bite. The world won't bite.

And by "christian conservative", I mean this guy. I have a love-hate thing with the Pope. As in Love (anti death penalty, anti war in Iraq, religiously reconciliatory in ways that a thousand Franklin Grahams and Pat Robertsons could never be), Hate (anti choice).

I had forgotten that Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz was a Christian. Boy, that must cause some cognitive dissonance in Bush world! (wait, his skin is too dark, he's not a real christian -ed well, not to them no)

I was watching the UN session this morning, and a thought hit me, like a bolt of lightning, or at least like an empty missile capable of going 12 miles:

George W Bush and his administrtion LIED about alleged office vandalism by outgoing members of the Clinton administration, not to mention the alleged theft of various White House items by the former first couple. They simply MADE IT ALL UP. Thus, why the fuck should I believe a damn word they say about the weapons inspctions?!?

After all, they're thousands of miles away, and the Bushies were lying about things happening in DC. Furthermore, the attitude of Bush and his cohorts to Bill Clinton, as well as the rhetoric, is strikingly similar to their attitude towards Saddam. Sure, Clinton was never an evil dictator -- he was legally elected, not something Bush can say about himself -- but Bush sure talked about him as if he was one. Remember the 2000 GOP primaries? Bush threw a hissyfit because in a campaign ad, John McCain compared him to -- gasp!! -- Bill Clinton! The nerve!

The point is, we saw the tactics used by Bush against the Clinton administration. There's no reason to believe those same tactics wont, or haven't already been employed with Saddam. Hell, they probably want their Iraq war even more than they ever wanted to demonize Clinton. We'll see what happens. As that Bond-girl from Goldeneye said, they're like "boys with toys!"

Hey guys, I got your poetry symposium right here!

An example:
"The Ballad of Arbusto"
By Legion

Subliminal rat trickling down
The shadow of Saint Raygun
Weapons of mass media hath
This knight of the long knives
Ignorance is strength through joy
For this C.E.O. Caesar
Ugliest American
Pretender to the Throne
All honor and dignitude
To the Kennedrunkport cowboy
Empty suit squatting
Coke snortinâ, draft dodginâ
Granny killer for Christ
So that this Nation
Conceived in abstinence
Of, by and for the wealthiest 1%
Shall perish with this earth
Now hanging in the balance
As the Dim Son dreams

His oh so snippy
Armageddon dream

Wednesday, February 12, 2003


It is very likely that I will not be blogging between now and monday night. Please everybody have a wonderful, frank and productive Valentine's/Presidents' Day weekend!

TFM out!

Over at Uggabugga, here's a helpful color-coded map of Europe and each country's stance on the Iraq war. Obviously smirk and company still have some work to do.

...when you mess with us.
If U.S. forces attack Iraq, Bay Area anti-war activists hope the war at home will intensify within hours.

Nonviolent protesters plan to try to blockade the Transamerica Pyramid, the Pacific Exchange and other "war-making" corporate and federal headquarters in San Francisco the first business day after a prospective U.S. attack.

After much thought and soul-searching, I've decided that this is good news:
With a Valentine's Day benefit concert at San Francisco's Warfield Theatre, the Other Ones will abandon their name in favor of one somewhat closer to their roots: the Dead. The surviving members of the Grateful Dead -- drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, guitarist Bob Weir -- said in a statement that they made the decision "after some deep soul searching and out of our love and respect for what we had created together."

The band said that after its initial reunion shows last summer at Wisconsin's Alpine Valley, "we were all profoundly affected by a sense of awe and connection that none of us had felt since we played with Jerry," referring to the late guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia. "It was a magical occurrence that no one could have anticipated, yet one we all want to embrace. To us, this was the Grateful Dead -- without Jerry. We had stopped being the 'Other Ones' and were on our way to becoming something new but at the same time very familiar."

Shortly after Garcia's 1995 death, the surviving members retired the name Grateful Dead, but now acknowledge that its spirit has lived on in the years since. "Therefore, with the greatest possible respect to our collective history, we have decided to keep the name 'Grateful Dead' retired in honor of Jerry's memory, and call ourselves: 'the Dead.'"
Wow, I didn't hear about that benefit show. Ah well.

Do I have any reservations about this? Maybe just a little bit, and for one reason alone: They were the Grateful Dead, until they were without their spiritual leader. Now they're "The Dead". Other reunion groups, sans-leader, with original names include: The Heads (ugh), and The Doors (quadruple ugh!). Why will The Dead be cool instead? Because the spirit has lived on! Everyone wants to call them The Dead! Everyone already does! No one wants to call that Ian Asbury-monstrosity "The Doors".

The Dead live on. Ten years ago, Kurt Cobain wore a tshirt which read "Kill the Grateful Dead". Kurt, I love you, but you're dead, and they're not.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003


If you're sexy, and in the Bay Area this weekend, make sure you're out on the street this sunday, to stop an unnecessary, and frankly illegal war!

and no matter how much you may dream of protesters being beaten and shot, it's not going to happen, kiddo

There are two acceptable reasons for being cynical about Valentine's Day.

One is, of course, its commercialization, which is actually a phenomenon rather unique to America.
"Love and money,
Gettin' all mixed up"

-Talking Heads, "Love For Sale"
Ok, that's one.

The other is for those who have sworn off love, or haven't had the best social luck as of late. At this moment, TFM does not fit in that category, hehe. (see the left column)

But for those of you who are both cynical and morbid when it comes to love, enjoy this flash cartoon! (somewhat graphic)

(courtesy intrepid web-surfer and avowed music geek Alex Charlow)

That guy on the "wanted dead or alive" poster made possible reappearance earlier today, with the discovery that Osama recordings may be in the posession of Al Jazeera.

A sign of a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam? Anything the Bushies could use to their advantage in getting their war on? Let's check in with Bush Cheney and Rummy as they read the Reuters wire:
In a broadcast coinciding with a major Muslim festival that prompted tight security in the United States and Britain to avert possible attacks, the man blamed for September 11 urged Muslims to fight America and repel any war against Iraq.
The boys drop their drawers and get comfy...
"We stress the importance of martyrdom (suicide) attacks against the enemy. These attacks inflicted on America and Israel a disaster they have never experienced before," said the statement, broadcast on the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite television channel.
Mmm, solidarity with Iraq from Bin Laden, lube it up nice, get a happy thought going...
Any Arab ruler supporting America or providing logistical or verbal backing for a war on Iraq would be "an apostate whose blood should be spilled," it said.
Oh boy, they're getting close!

But then,
But the statement did not express support for Saddam. It said Muslims should support the Iraqi people rather than the country's government.


While urging Muslims to support the Iraqi people and repel any attack on their country, the tape said Saddam's secular "socialist" government had lost credibility.

"Socialists are infidels wherever they are," the statement said. But it added: "It does not hurt that in current circumstances, the interests of Muslims coincide with the interests of the socialists in the war against crusaders."
Abort! Abort! Abort!

Sorry guys, no link today.

My favorite touch is Bin Laden's use of the word "socialist", a smear tactic more suited for the likes of Reagan, Buckley, Nixon and other archconservatives.

I don't mean to sound giddy about this. And I am in no way pro-Saddam. However, there is some sad humor in seeing the Bush administration grop and flail around for a case to go to war pre-emptively. There is no humor, however, in the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians that war would bring about. Then again, the embargo isn't helping in that cause either.

Humbling extra thought: As few are mentioning, if we go to Iraq, we're there for decades.

So at the end of the day, Osama wants Muslims to attack non-Muslims. I'm shocked. In all this, I'm trying to figure out where the news is.

...that I love The Onion:
Saddam Enrages Bush With Full Compliance
WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush expressed frustration and anger Monday over a U.N. report stating that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is now fully complying with weapons inspections. "Enough is enough," a determined Bush told reporters. "We are not fooled by Saddam's devious attempts to sway world opinion by doing everything the U.N. asked him to do. We will not be intimidated into backing down and, if we have any say in the matter, neither will Saddam." Bush added that any further Iraqi attempt to meet the demands of the U.N. or U.S. will be regarded as "an act of war."

Monday, February 10, 2003


Want clean elections? Sick of the scourge of being the only democracy in the world without free or cheap advertising time for candidates, and other likewise scourges?

It's PatrickAndAnne* to the rescue!

Check out the Berkeley chapter of Democracy Matters!

*- it always seems like one word to me, hehe
I haven't had time to blog since yesterday afternoon, my apologies, it is midterm season here at TFM headquarters. Blogging may resume as early as tonight, though I will most likely stop again from thursday through monday night, as I will be off on official TFM businessness.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

MATERIAL BREACH GIRL (sorry, that was lame)

Go Madonna!!!

I haven't seen the video yet, but I can already tell you it's a lot better than Swept Away!

Will it get play on MTV? Who knows, they almost fully censored Madonna's last video from an album, for "What It Feels Like for a Girl". MTV is owned by Viacom, I wonder what the higher-ups there will think. Then again, they play Rage videos, they oughtta play this.

He's spent the past few weeks bashing the anti-war left and Europe, without terribly much context involved. For his appearance on Oprah's show, which I missed, he gets partial, very partial credit.

(via murtaugh and jeanne d'arc):
The latter part of the show consisted of an interview with Tom Friedman, and the interesting thing there was not Oprah's fawning, but seeing what happens to Friedman's suggestion that war with Iraq will have to be followed by a twenty year occupation when it hits the real world. People who follow news religiously – and for the most part, that's not Oprah's audience – have heard the call to imperialism so many times we've become numb to the idea. But when the camera turned to the audience after Friedman's suggestion, you could see the shock on their faces. Mouths open. Shaking their heads. Friedman looked increasingly ridiculous saying that this twenty-year occupation is what Americans have to be prepared for, while (mostly) women looked at him as if he were out of his mind. One man in the audience, in fact, rose to tell him exactly that.
As Murtaugh points out on his blog, we don't hear a lot of this. The supporters of war talk on and on about how Saddam is so evil, how he has been "deceiving, not disarming" as Dubya puts it, and other such things. But you never from them what happens after we boot him out (certainly killing tens of thousands of civilians in the process), and after we get a parade in Baghdad in our honor. We'd be there for years. Osama was pissed at us for having troops in Saudi Arabia, imagine what he and his henchmen would think of a twenty-year US military presence right in the middle of the fertile friggin crescent. Again, how does this help the war on terrah?


(via Marshall and 100monkeystyping)