The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, March 15, 2003


Charles Taylor of Salon has written an open letter to Nader voters. In it, he has a suggestion about the Iraq issue:
And I know you've been chastised by those old-style Democrats like me for being blind to the consequences of your actions. But a unique chance exists right now for you to show your true colors, to prove that you are entirely aware of the consequences of your actions and are willing to face them: Volunteer for the invasion of Iraq.

The news in the past few weeks has been showing us tearful separations of reservists and their families. Many of the men and women going over to the Gulf are ambivalent about the necessity of war, but they feel obligated by a sense of duty. They've even been honest enough to admit they are frightened of possibly facing biological or chemical weapons.

Wouldn't it be great if just one of them didn't have to go, didn't have to separated from their sweethearts or families because all you Nader voters put Bush in office and helped pave the way for the invasion of Iraq? Wouldn't it be great to show America your guts by taking one of these brave soldiers' place, by declaring that you're not willing to let anybody else die for your actions?
Again, President Gore would not launch a pre-emptive, unjust war on Iraq.

Yet conflict remains within me. I am a substantially progressive liberal who voted for Gore (and against Bush). I am thoroughly upset at how the actions of Nader and his supporters helped to give us the worst president in American history. Yet I agree with most everything on the Green platform. With that in mind, I want to find a truce of some sort: If I recognize that the spectrum of political debate in America needs to incorporate the left more (which it definitely does), and that money has a corrupting influence on almost everyone in the federal government (which it certainly does), then Nader voters need to acknowledge that the consequences of the choice they made are bigger than just a "cold shower" (as Ralph put it).

Remember, if you combine Gore and Nader's votes in 2000, you get 52%, almost 53, of the electorate, a true majority. If you wished to turn progressive ideas into reality, wouldn't it be a better idea to consolidate that as much as possible?

Anyway, Taylor gets a bit heavy and melodramatic in his letter, but I think he has a bit of a point.
Blogging will be light for the rest of the day, possibly through tomorrow night, as various academic duties call. For semester types, kick ass on those midterms, and for quarter people, rock those finals.

I have to go write about Bela Bartok and 19th century Hungarian nationalism. TFM signing off from the dungeon!

Oliver Willis has a great idea concerning the whole "freedom fries" thing:
The way I see it, if this idiotic meme continues - we need some way to counteract the morons. How about we change the word for "deficit" to "Bush"?

But there's one problem.

According to budget analysts, we're looking at Bushes as far as the eye can see!

Do you really want that? (:

We're about to launch a preemptive war. Our allies are at odds with us. We have no coherent policy on North Korea. The administration is trying to deceitfully weave Saddam and Osama together. Only just in the last instant or so do the Bushies realize that the whole Israeli-Palestinian thing might be related to the Iraq war in some way or another. And by the way, everyone in the world is angry at us, and the only "coalition" we can form is that of countries we bribe or threaten.

How did it come to this? Well, Josh Marshall points to a Michael Lind piece on the Bush foreign policy debacle up to now, that points to three central fuck-ups: 1) aspirations of global hegemony, 2) preventive, or preemptive war, and 3) the "war on terror". Here's a taste from point #2:
It is not clear whether the Bush administration regards preventive war as a prerogative of the United States alone, or as a newly recognized right of all countries. If the former is the case, then the U.S. is claiming that it is exempt from the rules that govern other nations. If the latter is the case, then Pakistan could wage a preventive war against India today, on the grounds that India might be a greater threat in a decade or two. The distinction between wars of defense and aggression would collapse entirely, if the United States, alone or along with all other nations, had the right to wage war on the basis of speculative future threats. And it is deeply troubling that the Bush administration has now adopted, as its own strategy, a “Pearl Harbor” strategy for which Japanese war criminals were hanged by the U.S. after World War II.
An interesting parallel on the "global hegemony" point is that recently the last elected president to serve, Bill Clinton, made a similar suggestion as to what the nature of our foreign policy should be:
Right after winning UN Security Council support in November for weapons inspections, the White House "sent 150,000 troops to the gulf, which convinced everybody we weren't serious about UN inspections. That's how we got into this political mess."

The U.S. should be strengthening the UN and other "mechanisms of cooperation," Clinton said. "We need to be creating a world that we would like to live in when we're not the biggest power on the block." (emphases mine)
Like the men and women whose 401(k)'s have devolved into 201(k)'s, I echo a likewise sentiment: I wish he was still president.

Saturday is another big protest day around the nation and the world, but the weekend's events come with an interesting twist. Sunday night, 7pm local time, MoveOn is organizing a global vigil for peace.

At this moment, there are over 4300 candlelight vigils scheduled in 113 countries. Follow the link, select your country and then your zip code, and you will see the list of local vigils with which you can register.

On friday I discussed my inner conflict about direct action protests, but I am 100%, without a doubt, pro-vigil. I think there is a profound rhetorical significance to the idea of a nationwide and worldwide candlelight vigil to protest a possible war in Iraq. Why? 9/11, that's why. There were spontaneous vigils all over the nation and world after that awful morning. I participated in a couple, I might add. Bush, or more importantly middle America, will see that the very same sentiment and actions are being employed directly against the aims of the adminstration and other likewise warmongers. I am an optimistic lad, but I don't think I can be terribly faulted for that.

Friday, March 14, 2003


Atrios reprints the comments made by a program director at KFKF, a country station in Kansas City, vowing to continue playing Dixie Chicks music despite redneck outcry regarding singer Natalie Maines' comments about Bush ("we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas") and Iraq. And guess what? The fellow, Dale Carter, does the right thing: Respecting the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which gives us the right to criticize our leaders. Carter does express his disagreement with Maines, but the bottom line is he did the right thing.

Also, in a related boycott-France note, Digby notes that a variety of country artists, from Hank Williams Jr, to Shania Twain, to Trisha Yearwood, to Vince Gill and others are working for Vivendi . . . a FRENCH COMPANY!!! Traitors!!!!!

Digby also produces a more broad-based list of Vivendi artists:
U2, Bob Marley, Elton John, Eminem, Nelly, Diana Krall, George Benson, John Coltrane, Enrique Iglesias, Limp Bizkit, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Ashanti, Elvis Costello, Smokey Robinson, B.B. King, Melissa Etheridge, Blink 182, Cranberries, Mary J Blige, Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Ja Rule, Nirvana, 50 Cent, The Temptations, Bon Jovi, Ludacris, Jay Z, Shaggy, Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Lionel Richie, Hanson, Hoobastank, Injected, Tatu, Wallflowers, MS Dynamite, 2 Pac, Ms Jade, American HiFi, Def Leppard, Die Trying, Letter Kills, PJ Harvey, Portishead, MJ Cole, Rosy, Shorty 101, Hoobastank, A Teens, Avant, Res, The Roots, Brian McKnight, India Arie, Remy Shand, AZ Black Coffey, Corey, DJ Rogers J, Melanie Durrant, Dave Hollister, India.Arie, Jene Jose Brian McKnight, Stephen Marley, Remy, Shand, Charlie Haden, Al Jarreau
Why does U2 hate America so much? And Diana Krall? But she looks just like Ann Coulter!

Obviously, the warmongers have bigger fish to fry than the Dixie Chicks.

(yes, there is sarcasm in there somewhere, just in case)

Michelle Goldberg of Salon takes on the active escalation of the antiwar movement in an in-depth fashion. Again, it's Salon, so enjoy the 15second flash ad du jour.

TBOGG reads Ann Coulter so you don't have to. That should count towards those 4000 hours we're all supposed to give.

In this case, Coulter makes it really easy for him to critique.

She attacks liberals by saying they only try to defend their side of issues by citing non-existent studies and such. She follows that up by quoting John Lott on guns. As TBogg puts it, "that John Lott".

From the SF Chron:
In a protest aimed at shutting down the Pacific Stock Exchange, hundreds of anti-war marchers gathered in downtown San Francisco this morning, blocking streets and snarling traffic.

The demonstrators failed to close the exchange. "We had absolutely no disruptions to trading," said stock exchange spokesman John Werts.

About 70 protesters have been arrested. Most were held for minor charges but a handful allegedly resisted arrest, San Francisco police said. Among those in custody are the former president of the Pacific Stock Exchange, Warren Langley, Sister Bernie Galvan of the group Religious Witness for the Homeless, and Father Louis Vitale of St. Boniface Church.

Protesters sitting in the street have also blocked San Francisco Municipal Railway busses, trolleys and street cars along Market Street between Van Ness Avenue and First Street. A Muni spokesman says to expect major delays.

Demonstrators continue to stand with locked arms at the gates of the Mills Building, located on Montgomery Street, and according to police will most likely be arrested if they fail to move from the site.

San Francisco police officers dressed in riot gear are monitoring the demonstration and about 12 motorcycle officers are diverting morning traffic away from the protest. Police have made an announcement that they are prepared to arrest demonstrators who refuse to move from the street.
I must say, I am thoroughly conflicted about actions such as this one, organized by Direct Action to Stop the War.

There are low-income workers, trying to support 4 kids or something, who use public transportation to get to and from work. They may oppose the war rather strongly, but they do need to support their families and keep themselves above water. This sort of protest strategy doesn't bode well for them. All those normal working SFers, who aren't part of the war machine, who lose income, who get shit from daycare centers because they were late picking up the kids, etc, those would be considered "collateral damage" from the actions of those involved in the protest. I thought we were better than Bush!

Also, consider what Bush let the honchos at Duke Energy, Enron and others do to California's power supply. You really think Dubya gives a shit about California being shut down?

But then again, for the protest movement to really make a difference, it has to be present in many forms as much of the time as possible. This is how some people do it, though it is probably not how I'd do it. In my case, I run this teeny little blog, I write songs, I sign petitions, I call representatives, I talk to my peers and others, I march, I make love not war, and more. Other people try to block intersections and get arrested for the same cause, and inasmuch as one understands that the local consequences of such actions are greater than the shutting down of a stock exchange or a street, that's okay.

Thursday, March 13, 2003



(link via tbogg and -- ugh -- sully)

In your face, Charlie Daniels and Toby Keith.

Dixie Chick Natalie Maines (the singer one with the fashionable very-blond hair) spoke out on Bush and Iraq during a recent London concert:
Reporting on a Chicks' concert, the Web site for the United Kingdom paper The Guardian said singer Natalie Maines (pictured, center) told the crowd, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

The singer's barb got the audience cheering, the Guardian said.

In a statement on the Chicks' Web site Wednesday, Maines said, "We've been overseas for several weeks and have been reading and following the news accounts of our government's position. The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding."


"I feel the president is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world," Maines said in the statement. "My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."
With this news, TFM is officially off the fence . . . that is, I no officially appreciate their cover of "Landslide".

(inspired by a visit to counterspin central)

So as long as we're chomping on freedom fries, and boycotting Evian and all, what are you warmongers gonna do with this?

Now where did we get that from?

And that word? BLACKLIST:
THE backlash against prominent stars opposing any attack on Iraq has impacted on this year’s Oscars, with organisers drawing up a blacklist of people who will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war views.

Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman and Spike Lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears they could turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally.

In a move denounced by some as a return to McCarthyism, star presenters have been ordered to stick to scripts, while winners, who the producers have no control over, could find their acceptance speeches cut if they say anything much more than a brief thank you.

Officially, executives say that politics is a turn-off for the show’s television audience. But in the wake of a public backlash against actors such as Martin Sheen, from the West Wing, who have voiced opposition to war, producers do not want to upset advertisers who have paid more than £50 million for adverts. In previous years, high-profile presenters have grabbed the spotlight to promote their political causes. Richard Gere urged China to end its occupation of Tibet and Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins appealed for HIV-positive Haitians to be allowed into the United States.

Sarandon and Robbins are also among those on this year’s unofficial blacklist, along with Ed Norton and Dennis Hopper. The only anti-war campaigner on the presenters’ list so far is Salma Hayek, the star of Frida and a best actress nominee.
Has it really come to this?

They realize, of course, that if Streep wins (a distinct possibility according to my film buff housemates), their McCarthyite house of cards will tumble. They're threatening to cut acceptance speeches and such. What are they gonna do, cue the music?

The worst fears of the precious advertisers could be realized when you-know-who's documentary wins an Oscar.
Top of the loose-cannon list this year is the Bowling for Columbine director, Michael Moore, a favourite to win the documentary feature award.

Last month, Moore thanked the French for not supporting the proposed Iraqi invasion while accepting an award in Paris. And on Saturday, he used the Writers Guild of America awards in Los Angeles to voice his opinions of George Bush, the US president.

Worryingly, for the Oscar producers, Moore won loud applause after telling the audience: "What I see is a country that does not like what’s going on. Let’s all commit ourselves to Bush removal in 2004."

If Moore does not win an Oscar, insiders claim Hollywood will be reverting back to the witch-hunting 1950s, when Senator Joseph McCarthy and his cohorts destroyed the careers of supposed Communist sympathies. The "Red scare" stories saw off Charlie Chaplin, who left Hollywood for Switzerland, and a host of other high-profile celebrities.
If he doesn't win, it would be akin to, say, George W Bush holding a news conference and barring Helen Thomas from asking a question. That would never happen!

(link via hesiod)

How bout some real high crimes, baby!
House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) assembled more than two-dozen prominent liberal attorneys and legal scholars on Tuesday to mull over articles of impeachment drafted against President Bush by activists seeking to block military action against Saddam Hussein.
Best served cold, I suppose. Aside from impeaching the entire chain of command until, say, Norman Mineta (soon to be played by George Takei on Showtime!), how exactly would it make anything better? Cheney's already the acting president, so basically we'd have the status quo. Also, if Gephardt hadn't fucked up the midterms so badly, this might have actually made it out of committee.

As for me, I have a plan to oust Bush, and it will come to fruition in November of 2004. According to this, Rove is worried about the eventual Dem nominee.
Whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination will pose a serious challenge to President Bush's re-election bid in 2004, White House political adviser Karl Rove says.

"I think at the end of the day whoever emerges from the Democratic process of selecting a candidate for president will be strong," said Mr. Rove, Mr. Bush's chief campaign strategist. "Nine times out of 10, the process of selecting the presidential candidate strengthens the eventual nominee, not weakens him."

The Washington Times reported Monday that the White House was repressing any talk of the 2004 presidential election until after a resolution of the military showdown with Iraq. But Mr. Rove's remarks in an interview Tuesday indicate that presidential politics is never far from his mind.
That piece comes from the Washington Moonie Times. I was especially entertained by the "BOYCOTT FRANCE" banner at the top of the screen. Again, you're driving and you come to Lafayette Street, what does that mean to you?

I'll be sitting back, chomping on french fries and french toast, watching Third Rock reruns featuring French Stewart. So there. Silly American kiiiinigggits!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

THE SEX FILM PROJECT John Cameron Mitchell's next endeavor after the astounding Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He, and the filmmakers, say
"Why can't there be a movie that tells a strong story, is full of humor and pathos, is packed with powerful performances, and features a lot of explicit sex -- hard-ons, cum and all?"
"We, as filmmakers, respect and love the complexity of sex and we feel it's been cinematically hijacked by people who don't."
Here's a peice in Salon about one man's audition for the project. Given that it's from Salon, enjoy the flash ad du jour.

DeBeers may be selling large amounts of shares to black investors in the very near future. Hmm, surely a step in the right direction, definitely in the symbolism department.
"De Beers has been approached by parties interested in partnering with the company," Mr. Roodt said. "But until we know what the bottom line is, we aren't in a position to take fully informed decisions."

South Africa has told mining companies to sell 26 percent of their assets to black investors within 10 years to help make up for apartheid era inequality. The demand has prompted companies including Anglogold and Lonmin to sell stakes in their mines. South Africa is also preparing a plan to charge royalties on minerals production.

De Beers, which is owned by Anglo American, the Oppenheimer family and the government of Botswana, may sell a share in its mines to a group of investors including Tokyo Sexwale, Cyril Ramaphosa, Saki Macozoma, Moss Ngoasheng and Bongani Khumalo, a press report said. Those named are all current or former members of the governing African National Congress.
(may I say, it's refreshing not to be blogging about Iraq!)

Hmm 26 percent of their assets to black investors . . . correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that still approximately the reverse of racial proportions in South Africa? Nevertheless, progress is indeed progress...

As a willful, motivated and positive member of the antiwar protest movement that is currently picking up steam in America and around the world (just you watch this weekend), I do recognize that there is a split on one signifcant concept: patriotism.

In fact, there is a split within myself, even. Patriotism as a concept is something I don't particularly like (and no, I don't hate America, in fact I love it so much that I want to fix it and make it less selfish), and I am particularly averse to wrapping myself in any national flag, let alone this nation's. I mourned along with the rest of the world when 3,000 people suddenly lost their lives a year and a half ago yesterday, but ultimately my tendencies are personal and not national (I got tired of and sickened by the flag-waving real fast, for example). I shy away from forms of patriotism and jingoism that render individual American lives more important than those of other nations, and I hate when I read a headline like "Explosion in Thailand kills one American, 23 others". BUT as someone who doesn't want to see blood needlessly spilled, whether it is that of Iraqis or our own soldiers, I think that peace, and the well-being of people everywhere, is a patriotic value. It is not a philosophical contortion by any means to say I love my country and that I want to preserve the health of my fellow citizens.

It also happens that the peace=patriotism idea is one that middle America just might vibe to. And according to this piece from the Sac Bee, the peace movement is seeing this as well:
"Hell No, We Won't Go!" has morphed into "Peace is Patriotic" in the modern anti-war lexicon, as peace strategists urge their followers to embrace the flag rather than burn it.

Aware that screaming denunciations of the United States might alienate mainstream Americans, some leaders of the peace movement are borrowing a tool from the right and using patriotism to sell peace.

"It's an epiphany the left has experienced," said Susan C. Strong, an activist and researcher who studies language. "People realized: 'Oh yes -- we're Americans, too.' Our frustration has been the degree to which our government wasn't living up to the values -- the American values -- we hold."

Strong, a former teacher of rhetoric and argumentation in Berkeley, has a Web site she calls the Metaphor Project. On it, she's collected a raft of catch phrases and clichÈs for peace advocates to weave into their conversations with Middle America.

"I began to realize that a key problem we had was that the language we were using was very remote from the mainstream way of talking and understanding things," she said.

Some samples from her metaphor buffet: "the cradle of liberty," "the wild frontier," "rags to riches," "common sense," "justice for all," "the little guy," "Joe Six Pack," "a beacon of freedom" -- even "dance with the one that brung ya."

She cited a sample slogan. "Win without War. It fits another American core value: We like to win!"
Hehehe, very clever.

Oh and yes, the exercising of the right to disagree with the government is also a patriotic act in my opinion.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announces that all six national sponsors of MSNBC's "Savage Nation" -- hosted by right-wing wacko bigot Michael Savage (real name Michael Weiner) -- have withdrawn.

The six companies are Procter & Gamble, Dell, Casual Male, Idea Village, Cole Media Group, and The Sharper Image. Also, Kraft and General Mills say they won't support the tv show.

Now all we have to do is wait for Bill O'Reilly to come to Savage's defense, saying his "first amendment rights" are being infringed upon.

The next time an Iraq hawk comes up to you and says a vast majority of Americans support a war with or without a UN resolution, make sure you have a notecard in your pocket with these two paragraphs from yesterday's NYT poll report on Iraq:
Although Mr. Bush's statements at his news conference last week appear to have increased the nation's support for a war, he apparently did not succeed with one argument: convincing more Americans that Mr. Hussein had a role in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The poll found that 45 percent of Americans said Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in the attacks, a number essentially unchanged from a month ago. (emphasis mine)
Pop quiz, everybody: If the media was doing its job (the administration too, btw), what would that percentage be? (answer: probably around 4-5 percent, you gotta account for at least some righteous idiocy from Americans in the face of absolute fact).

If Bush is gonna force a bullshit war on us, could he at least have the decency to force a bullshit war on us on the merits, rather than playing a game of confusion in league with the lapdog American media? The entire game of gaining support for a preemptive war in Iraq has been to cultivate 9/11-related fear, and use confusion and ambiguity to apply it to something completely unrelated.

The big question for George W Bush and his buddies: If you "trust the people", as you often like to say, why are you draping your case for war in a fog of 9/11 fear cultivation, rather than responsibly arguing the case for war on its merits??? If you're so right about this, then you can "trust the people" to agree with you without resorting to scaring them with unrelated bogeymen, right?

Here's the reason, perhaps: In the United Kingdom, the case for war has been made largely on its merits. At this moment, unconditional support in the UK for war in Iraq is at 19 percent.
"It was reported that two of bin Laden's sons were apprehended in Afghanistan, but Bush is not gloating, he knows how embarrassing it is when your kids get arrested."
Given that the Bush and Bin Laden families have long-running ties, perhaps some matchmaking is in order?

...something called Found Magazine, which specializes in
we collect FOUND stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles- anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life. anything goes.

we certainly didn't invent the idea of found stuff being cool. every time we visit our friends in other towns, someone's always got some kinda unbelievable found note or photo on their fridge. we wanted to make a magazine so that everyone can check out all the strange, hilarious and heartbreaking things people have picked up
(oh, i found it through TRR, the lighter side of the Rittenhouse Review)

I enjoyed the notes section, among others...

Ok, back to studying...

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


Digby digs (hehe) up a gem from a 1999 Dubya appearance on This Week:
"One of the tests of a leader is to convince your allies what's right and what's wrong," Bush said. "And that's what a leader does. A leader builds up alliances."
Show of hands, how's he doing?

Bush is throwing a tempertantrum about the UN, and here, from the piece:
Some White House aides said Bush is so frustrated with the United Nations that it is likely to have long-term ramifications.
Hmm, by my calculations, the "long-term" in "long-term ramifications" means "1 year, 7 months, and 22 days". We'll see.

Rummy's comments...
"I think until we know what the (U.N.) resolution is, we won't know the answer as to what their role will be," Rumsfeld said.

"And to the extent they are able to participate -- in the event that the president decides to use force -- that would obviously be welcomed. To the extent they're not, there are work-arounds and they would not be involved, at least in that phase..."

"That is an issue that the president will be addressing in the days ahead, one would assume,"
...earlier today are big news over on Airstrip One, where Tony Blair is getting ice cold feet.

Basically, the Bushies want to sacrifice our last remaining significant supporter of a possible war in Iraq by trying to stick to the March 17 start date for war. What's the problem in the UK?
Mr Blair desperately needs the second resolution to prevent revolt by his ministers and MPs.

Panic gripped Downing Street on Monday after the French president, Jacques Chirac, said in a televised interview that he would veto the resolution.

Mr Blair has apparently been told by government lawyers that without a second resolution, it will be illegal for Britain to participate in war.
Wow. Oh, and there's this:
According to British sources, Washington is alarmed at the extent to which the British government is prepared to be flexible in offering compromises to the six "undecided" members.

Cameroon, Guinea, Angola, Mexico, Chile and Pakistan yesterday demanded that the proposed US-British ultimatum, set last week for March 17, be extended to allow Iraq 45 days to disarm.

They also suggested that Saddam Hussein be given a short list of disarmament tasks to complete.

The White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, insisted that the proposal to push back the March 17 deadline by a month was "a non-starter." But the UK ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, offered the six an extension to the end of the month and was ready to concede ground over the benchmarks.
Hmm, one country is being reasonable, and it ain't ours.

This is getting really heavy, and we're this close to it being America against the world. Can't we just elect Kerry/Edwards/Dean now?
(CBS) Sources tell CBS News that Great Britain – America's closest ally – may find it politically impossible to commit its military to a U.S.-led attack on Saddam Hussein. And that could force the United States to go it alone in Iraq. (full story)
We shall see what effect this could have. There is some thinking that British support has been the only thing keeping this together.

Also this is encouraging for the antiwar protest movement. Public opinion is beginning to make war impossible for the Brits, it can work here too.

yes, why are you reading my blog? Get over there!!!
Bush Orders Iraq To Disarm Before Start Of War
WASHINGTON, DC—Maintaining his hardline stance against Saddam Hussein, President Bush ordered Iraq to fully dismantle its military before the U.S. begins its invasion next week. "U.S. intelligence confirms that, even as we speak, Saddam is preparing tanks and guns and other weapons of deadly force for use in our upcoming war against him," Bush said Sunday during his weekly radio address. "This madman has every intention of firing back at our troops when we attack his country." Bush warned the Iraqi dictator to "lay down [his] weapons and enter battle unarmed, or suffer the consequences."
And of course, the picture near the top right of the screen is priceless.

It was something to the effect of this, I think, from last weekend, talking about Dubya:

"Because there's no better way to show the world you aren't imperialist than to ally yourself with Britain and Spain"


Try and believe you're reading this!
WASHINGTON (AP) Show the flag and pass the ketchup was the order of the day in House cafeterias Tuesday. Lawmakers struck a lunchtime blow against the French and put ''freedom fries'' on the menu.

And for breakfast they'll now have ''freedom toast.''

The name changes follow similar actions by restaurants around the country protesting French opposition to the administration's Iraq war plans.

''Update. Now Serving in All House Office Buildings, 'Freedom Fries,''' read a sign that Republican Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio and Walter Jones of North Carolina placed at the register in the Longworth Office Building food court.

Jones said he was inspired by Cubbie's restaurant in Beaufort, N.C., in his district, one of the first to put ''freedom fries'' on the menu instead of french fries.

''This action today is a small but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France,'' said Ney, chairman of the House Administration Committee.
Oh boy, pour the victory gin. Remember it's not just France, it's everybody except Britain, Spain and maybe Bulgaria. That's a lot of shit we have to boycott. German shepards. Fine china. And turkey.

So at the House dance parties, no "Lady Marmalade" or "Psycho Killer"?

More whining from Bush on his failed judicial nominee.

I like that it's a letter from Bush being read by Frist on the senate floor. The Republicans are being very careful about their choice of words (and who's doing the talking). Because if a single one of them gets excessively sanctimonious about how there should be a required up-or-down vote, we may have some first-degree hypocrites on our hands.

Besides, Tom Daschle pre-emptive (hehe) takes care of that in the piece:
But Democrats said GOP senators have blocked Democratic judicial nominees from getting confirmation votes in the Senate as well.

"Because that precedent stands in the way of their political ends, Republicans now seek to deny their own words and their own actions," said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "They're here today to claim that the Constitution is threatened by the very same procedures that they themselves have employed. They're here today to claim the Constitution is going to be threatened by the very same powers that it grants."
Tom Daschle, perhaps the most demonized person in America by the media and conservatives, gets it exactly right here.
Jake Tapper of Salon on Bush and Iraq, jn the context of Bush's father. An interesting read indeed:
March 11, 2003 | In his second presidential debate with Vice President Al Gore, on Oct. 11, 2000, Gov. George W. Bush faulted the Clinton-Gore team for not working hard enough multilaterally to keep the heat on Saddam Hussein.

"The coalition that was in place isn't as strong as it used to be," Bush said, calling the previous eight years a foreign policy failure. "It's going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him." The fact that he was the son of the man who had built that coalition, the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, gave the Texas governor's argument added political credibility.


But that was three-plus years ago, and now President Bush has a completely different take on things. His father's views on Iraq, which once seemed to guide his own approach, have been drowned out by a chorus from a rival school of foreign policy. No longer does Bush say that the U.S. can't be "arrogant," that we "will not be able unilaterally to keep the peace," that the country needs to "be humble partners in coalitions," as he did to the Washington Post in December 1999. A month later, on ABC's "This Week," he talked about the need "to get the inspectors back into Iraq" and pushed the need for the U.S. to lead internationally, multilaterally. "One of the tests of a leader is to convince your allies what's right and what's wrong," Bush said. "And that's what a leader does. A leader builds up alliances."

That was then. Now the test of a leader seems to be his courage to go it alone. And no longer is mere disarmament -- "take them out" -- his demand. He now insists upon regime change: to "take him out."

What a difference one pronoun can make. The debate over whether we need to get "them" or "him" separates warring factions of Republican foreign policy makers, and it represents George W. Bush's break from the faction of his father. The elder Bush believed in multilateralism and international cooperation and containment. He spent generations fending off the more unilateral, preemptive beliefs of those who now run his son's foreign policy. An ambassador to the United Nations, he believed strongly in that body's importance.
Yeah, it's Salon, so you're probably gonna be subjected to 30 seconds about how much you need a shiny new AmEx card, but it's worth it.

...this time from the LA Times:
WASHINGTON -- France and Russia declared Monday that they would veto a resolution authorizing war against Iraq, forcing the United States to put off a Security Council vote while searching for a compromise that would salvage the proposal.

With 300,000 troops massing in the Middle East, the U.S., Britain and Spain were still unable to muster a majority of the council members to back a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm or be invaded. The Bush administration still hopes to have a vote this week.
And thanks to Wright and Farley, the two LAT staffers who wrote this piece, we have come to the curious third incarnation of the exact same story. The first two came from the Associated Press: First, AP led by saying the US failed to get the 9 votes necessary to approve a 2nd UN resolution. Second, AP led the exact same story by saying that the lack of votes "forced" the US to delay a vote. Not a word, of course, about Bush's "show their cards" comment last thursday. And part three? The reason for the US delay of the vote suddenly isn't the lack of votes for passage, according to the lead paragraph of the Times piece. Rather, the veto capabilities of France and Russia come into play! Suddenly it's the wine-making, Jerry Lewis-loving, cheese-making surrender monkeys fault! With an assist from those oft-suspected closeted reds from Moscow! Nevermind Bush backing down on his tough talk! We have an international narrative to prop up!

Perhaps to create anticipation for that rumored summer tour (???), Led Zeppelin will be releasing a live triple-CD and a DVD:
To celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of Led Zeppelin's formation, Atlantic Records will release two exhaustive sets of Zeppelin rare live material on May 27th. The two collections -- one triple CD called How the West Was Won and one double DVD called Led Zeppelin DVD -- feature no overlapping material, and promise to render the band's only other official live set, the uninspired The Song Remains the Same, obsolete.

How the West Was Won is culled entirely from two 1972 Zeppelin shows in Southern California: one at the L.A. Forum on June 25th and one at Long Beach Arena two nights later. The set features a twenty-six-minute "Dazed and Confused," a twenty-three-minute "Whole Lotta Love," "Rock and Roll," and "Stairway to Heaven," as well as songs from the then-yet-to-be-released Houses of the Holy.
Yay, 1972, before Robert Plant lost his range! And presumably before Jimmy Page began to rival Keith Richards in the heroin-stream department.

Though I'm curious, wasnt The BBC Sessions essentially a live album? (double album) If so, it kicks TSRTS's ass around the schoolyard. But ooh, 26minute DAC, wow!

Hmm, earlier today it was "U.S. Fails to Secure Iraq Deadline Votes" (link).

Hours later, the SAME ARTICLE acquired a new headline: "U.S. Forced to Delay U.N. Vote on Iraq"

That's quite a change, don't you think?

Let's analyze the thinking behind the 2nd headline, based on the actual statement of George W Bush in this matter, during last week's primetime press conference... Why is the US "forced" to delay the vote? Because, one would argue, they currently don't have the votes in the SC to get their resolution passed (at present it would fail by a vote of either 10-4 or 11-4, in fact, depending on Pakistan's decision whether or not to abstain). But what did Bush say to the press on thursday? That's right, he'd take an up-or-down vote on the 2nd resolution at any time, to get everyone on the record, to get everyone to "show their cards". By that logic, the US wouldn't be "forced" to delay a vote!

Neither incarnation of the AP story mentions Bush's statement from thursday, naturally.

Monday, March 10, 2003


Remember the news conference a few days ago, how Bush said that even if the US and Britain didn't have the votes for a 2nd resolution, that they should "show their cards" now anyway? That bold, cowboy Bush?

Well, so much for that.
UNITED NATIONS - President Bush's urgent phone campaign to world leaders, seeking their support for a tough deadline on Iraq, came up short Monday — forcing a delay of the Security Council's vote and opening the doors to a possible compromise to give Saddam Hussein more time.

The United States had hoped to present the resolution to the council on Tuesday, setting a March 17 deadline for Iraqi disarmament or war. But the vote was put on hold when it became evident that America and its allies had not yet won the nine votes they needed for a majority.

But even nine votes wouldn't be enough. French President Jacques Chirac declared that his country would veto any resolution that opened the way to war. The Russians also said they would vote against the proposal as it was currently worded.

Both the United States and Britain said they were willing to negotiate both the deadline and other changes to the resolution.
Hey Congressional Democrats, I hope you're watching this. People are standing up to Bush, not backing down, and it's helping their cause. What a concept!

Then again, Bush could be just following the advice of his poppy:
THE first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity.

Drawing on his own experiences before and after the 1991 Gulf War, Mr Bush Sr said that the brief flowering of hope for Arab-Israeli relations a decade ago would never have happened if America had ignored the will of the United Nations.

He also urged the President to resist his tendency to bear grudges, advising his son to bridge the rift between the United States, France and Germany.

“You’ve got to reach out to the other person. You’ve got to convince them that long-term friendship should trump short-term adversity,” he said.

The former President’s comments reflect unease among the Bush family and its entourage at the way that George W. Bush is ignoring international opinion and overriding the institutions that his father sought to uphold. Mr Bush Sr is a former US Ambassador to the UN and comes from a family steeped in multi-lateralist traditions.

Although not addressed to his son in person, the message, in a speech at Tufts University in Massachusetts, was unmistakeable. Mr Bush Sr even came close to conceding that opponents of his son’s case against President Saddam Hussein, who he himself is on record as loathing, have legitimate cause for concern.
I'm not a fan of Bush Sr, but at least he had a concept of international diplomacy.

In a slight tangent of the fuck-the-UN discussion, Hesiod discusses the implications of Bush/Blair defying a UN veto for Israel. Likudniks, think hard:
It's very, very bad for Israel. Here's why...

In the past, the United States has exercised it's veto to prevent Israel from being slapped by various odious UN Security Council resolutions.

If the U.S. and Britain, essentially, abrogate the veto power of Russia, France and China on Iraq, and argue that all they needed was nine vote majority on the Security Council, what will the U.S. say the next time the S.C. decides to bitch-slap Israel on the Palestinian issue? And you KNOW they will.

United States: "Whoops! Sorry. We veto that resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories in 6 months or have thousands of UN peacekeepers inserted into the region."

UN: "Oh. So sorry. But a nine vote majority outvoted you. Too bad. You lose. There is no such thing a permanent member veto anymore. You waived your right to that privilege when you abrogated it over Iraq."