the watch
bush lied, people died. escalate nonviolence.

Evict Bush!

Saturday, February 22, 2003  

I remember when MTV came out. There was music on all the time. And I remember a time when CNN Headline News (the people who bring us a once hourly 'world news minute,' which used to seem funny but now seems borderline criminal) carried news as a matter of course. They had a brief entertainment segment, even though it seems to have been getting longer.

But I just finished listening to Alice Peacock doing a full live version of some song, and I will here admit that I have no idea who she is, and never heard the song before. And it occurred to me while listening to this music coming out of the TV set that the station hadn't been changed to MTV, or even VH1, as was my first thought. In fact, CNN Headline News was still on. Concert dates were announced, and they went to commercial.

The switch from infotainment to pure 'tainment has begun. God have mercy on our souls.

posted by Natasha at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK |

Notable Posts:

Orcinus tells us about the racial climate during that ignominious point in our nation's history when we were rounding Japanese people up and putting them in camps, usually stealing their property in the process. He has pictures.

PLA celebrates the repeal of the Eli Lilly protection clause that was added to the Homeland Security Bill. Apparently, public notice still has some effect, after all.

Eschaton tells us about a Canadian citizen having her passport destroyed, and being deported to India, and the utter worthlessness of US inspection tips in Iraq.

Ruminate This talks about the virtual march on Washington to be held on February 26th, 2003, aka, next Wednesday.

Body and Soul brings us the latest on our bribery of Turkey, and other links on the sellout of the Kurds and other backroom deals. If you keep reading down, always a good idea on Jeanne's blog anyway, you'll find a post on the proposed privatization of Iraqi oil.

The Better Rhetor sounds off about troop deployment to the Phillipines, and he is right on. If you move down the page a bit, you can find yet another exchange between Russell Mokhiber and Obfuscation Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Al-Muhajabah talks about Muslim anti-Semitism, and recommends some commentary on Israel/Germany comparisons, which isn't what you may be expecting.

To The Barricades gives us a pleasant clip from Bill Maher's new HBO show wherein he gives Ann Coulter a comeuppance. Go, Bill.

Stonerwitch posts two pictures that say it all about France and Germany.

Talk Left has up a raft of good posts today, and I'm just too lazy to link to each one of them.

Digby talks about global manifest destiny. Start from there and continue reading.

Trish Wilson talks about how the so-called 'father's rights' movement isn't any less obnoxious just because it's now masquerading as children's rights. She says in part:

...When a nonprimary caregiver has a "divorce-bed conversion" and demands "equal" time and "shared parenting," a lawyer may tell that parent that most likely he (nonprimary caregivers tend to be dads) will not get what he wants not because the system is "biased against men," but because he had not been doing that work from day one. If dads want custody upon divorce -- if they want "equal" time and "shared parenting" -- they must do the work from the beginning, not make demands years later in a lawyer's office.

Although it would be ideal for a parent to be awarded sole custody because one had earned it due to accepting the life, financial, and career sacrifices that come with the responsibility of caring for children, that's not necessarily what happens. When dads contest custody, they get some form of it (most often legal custody) more than half the time, even if they had been abusive, absent, neglectful, or simply not the primary parent. The Massachusetts Gender Bias Report stated that when fathers contest custody they win it about 70% of the time. The drive for joint custody has led to cases like Feministe's: "dad gets a "discount" on child support for taking a few extra hours each week," and he is "free to veto any major decision" that before the divorce he had no problem leaving to mom. He has the legal ability to meddle with mom's major life decisions: her wish to relocate, to remarry or become seriously involved with a new man, school and health decisions related to her child that she had always made on her own with his blessing before the divorce, decisions related to religious instruction and using daycare. Most people don't understand that joint custody is not necessarily 50-50. In some states, visitation may go only as high as 35% before the noncustodial parent qualifies for joint physical custody. So, mom continues to have the child most of the time and continues to be responsible for major decisions, but she has a much lower child support award because the father cashed in his joint custody chips to get that lower order. ...

What? I might not have time to post worth a damn, but I'm not going to stop reading my favorite sources of news and commentary.

posted by Natasha at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK |

This was too good not to post. I watched NOW with Bill Moyers this evening, and he interviewed the authors of Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media, John Nichols and Robert McChesney. Here is their interview. Here's a timeline of US media history, with links at the bottom to other media related stories. And this page on war and propaganda.

A sample from the interview, which should be read in its entirety:

ROBERT MCCHESNEY: You know, you're right. But the way to look at this, it's not all demand driven. I think the crucial thing is much of this is supply driven.

The reason we don't have international coverage, or hard investigative pieces on how power works in our society, isn't that people aren't necessarily interested in it. That basically isn't done because it costs so much. It's so much cheaper to have a couple of blowhards exchange insults...

...Or so much cheaper to have people just sort of press release of what someone in power is than to go out and investigate the press release. So it's really supply driven. It's just inexpensive to do.

And then of course when people watch it, they say, "Well, we're giving people what they want." But let's give them some really good investigative journalism, how power works in our society. I think people love that. They're just not given a choice to vote for that in the marketplace.

Among the many important topics discussed was the virtual media blackout of any discussion of the formation of media policy, and the absence of reporting on FCC hearings. They talked about the stranglehold on TV broadcast licenses, the decrease in electoral journalism coinciding with the rise in political advertising, the tendency to tabloidism, and the fantasy of 'deregulation.' Moyers also related some quotes from radio personality Michael Savage, who Microsoft and General Electric will be bringing to us by way of the cable network MSNBC, though that portion is not included in the transcript of the interview (but you can find Savage in his own words in this NewsMax article archive).

At the end, when Moyers asked what people could do, the response was to contact congress. Our media is the way it is because the legal framework has been set up by corporate lobbyists convincing congress and the FCC to do their bidding behind closed doors. But our government is supposed to represent our interests, and we need to call them to account for having failed us in this respect.* Read up about media consolidation, about the proposed relaxation of the FCC cross-ownership rules, and write your representative to tell them you would like a democratic media to go along with our democratic country.

* This is a bipartisan indictment. The 1996 Telecommunications Act (aka, the latest nail in the coffin of a free press) was signed into law by Clinton, opposed by McCain, but generally supported on both sides of the aisle. In this case, we end up with the press not wanting to offend the people who regulate them, and the regulators not wanting to offend the people who can make or break them. As usual, it's citizens who end up with the bad deal.

posted by Natasha at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK |

Thursday, February 20, 2003  

Really tired today, this has been a hell of a week. Hopefully, I'll be back shortly, or find a guest commentator. Enjoy Daily Kos, Eschaton, or any of the other fine bloggers on the sidebar.

posted by Natasha at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK |

Wednesday, February 19, 2003  

Links courtesy of Payvand:

Bush administration planning to revamp US nuclear arsenal with 'mini-nukes' that could be used more liberally in combat. They would have to resume nuclear testing, and combined with Rumsfeld's hawkish nuclear posture review, countries all over the world will be clamoring fervently for some of that sweet, sweet deterrence.

A Chinese automaker will be setting up its first international production facilities in Iran.

Roya Monajem talks about Craze-sapiens.

Iraqi opposition forces backed by Iran have already crossed into northern Iraq. This move is claimed to be a defensive action, to prevent Iranian opposition forces backed by Iraq from entering Iran. Is this just the biggest mess or what?

270 dead in a plane crash in Iran. The cause is thought to be bad weather, but I'm sure a lot of Iranians immediately remembered the last time one of their planes went down.

An American in Tehran.

posted by Natasha at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK |

Notable Posts:

Is terrorism against abortion clinics returning? Orcinus has more on this, and other tales of those wild and crazy folks in the wingnut brigade.

Insty (bolstered by eastern european op-ed) thinks that France and Germany are now the equivalent of Cold War Russia, while Pandagon disagrees. Spirited discussion, plus dittohead interjections, follow. It seems Jesse's still plagued by that Freeper infestation.

See the Forest talks about self government, and why Antonin Scalia doesn't believe in it.

Lean Left finds that apparently the GAO pulled it's lawsuit to view Cheney's energy task force paperwork because the GOP threatened to cut their budget if they didn't pipe down.

Digby takes Thomas Friedman to task for not noticing until just now that the Bush administration is unserious, unprepared, and woefully inadequate to the challenges at hand. Our dear Friedman must have been too busy dreaming of his imperialist utopia to notice that we've got a Nero instead of a Julius on the throne.

Ruminate This points us to a journal about the Iraqi people that you really should read, a piece on the further consolidation of our media and what effects a lack of media diversity has already had, and an Israeli paper's 'scoop' on the US' future war plans.

MonkeyX highlights people talking about emergent democracy, and also informs us that Jedis will no longer be discriminated against in the UK, a country where some 390,000 people claim to follow the sci-fi doctrine.

Update: Some things I forgot to add... (I have way too many browser windows open waiting for me to remember to post their contents)

The Mad Prophet points us to a French history lesson by Molly Ivins.

Where is Raed? is back. Blogging from inside Iraq, his site went down a while ago, and I only recently discovered that it was just a temporary outage.

Joshua Segall talks about GWB's confidence game as highlighted by David Frum in his book tour, though surely Mr. Frum didn't mean it that way. I'd been meaning to comment on this after I heard Frum relate Bush's loyalty trick on the Daily Show, but never got around to it.

posted by Natasha at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK |

In the Asia Times:

Is northern Iraq going to be as easy as we think? And what's Turkey's agenda in that region?

India fast becoming a leading center for developmental R&D, though it faces stiff competition from China and other countries. Their world class talent pool and lower costs have been a big draw for multinational firms.

Ethnic Chinese Indonesians must deal with discriminatory paperwork requirements, religious persecution, and the fear of physical attack. Throughout SE Asia, people of Chinese origin may still be viewed with suspicion even when they were born and raised in the country, and have been the targets of ethnic rioting in several countries over the years, including Indonesia. Unscrupulous governments sometimes use the Chinese population of their countries as a scapegoat for mismanagement, worsening the problem and likelihood of violence in times of unrest.

Some of the deep ironies of America's current PR blitz to try and improve our 'brand' cache around the world. Included is the distribution of a book that would be illegal to sell in the US due to anti-propaganda laws.

...When the TV ads hit the airwaves in Africa, the Middle East and Central and South Asia, thousands of people from those regions living in the US had been rounded up, detained without charges or evidence against them, or subjected to interrogation on the basis of their ethnicity or presumed religious affinity.

...Likewise, Jacobs' experiment in plugging pluralism comes as the Bush administration expands its repressive USA Patriot Act and proposes to supplement it with a Domestic Security Enhancement Act, apparently modelled on the internal security laws of countries that Washington is accustomed to lecturing on human rights.

...However, what has irked so many people the world over is that the US has installed or backed despots and dictators overseas while hoarding the fruits of democracy at home. This contradiction, long lamented overseas as hypocritical, is left untouched by the collection of essays touting pluralism as a defining US value. ...

posted by Natasha at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK |

Arab News headlines, followed by comments from the peanut gallery:

Anti-Americanism on Anti-Unilateralism? The author is of the opinion that our foreign policy doctrine hasn't changed since 1919. He may be correct.

Interview with an official executioner. I wasn't going to read this article, but I'm glad I changed my mind. Not what I expected.

Riyadh asks Baghdad to comply with the UN. Yet, as Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal says, “There has never been in the history of the world a country in which a regime change happened at the bayonets of guns that has led to stability.”

Crown Prince Abdullah has proposed several reform measures, including limited elections to a council that advises the Royal Family. They have also issued a call for opposition groups to return to the country in a spirit of reconciliation.

Wife Beating: The Entire Family Is Victimized. Take a good look everyone, and don't get to feeling all superior. This is about where western culture was before domestic violence was put on the public political agenda. This is what happens to many women when they live in societies where the culture hasn't made a point of respecting their rights as individuals. It isn't about religion (as the article notes), and it isn't about race, it's about the systemic lack of protection for a particular group of people in a society. When an anti-feminist starts going off about how women had it so much better off before feminism, send them this article, and tell them to go to hell.

Also, I have to say, kudos to the Saudis for starting to take a serious look at these problems. For a variety of reasons, many nations around the world haven't fully made the transition to modernism, much less getting to prattle on about being post-modern. In some of these countries, ways of life that have been unchanged for hundreds of years coexist in uneasy tandem with rapidly industrializing urban centers.

It's easy for us to see only where we are today and forget the struggle it took to get here. We can't expect everyone to get comfortably through in a decade what it took us over 200 years to achieve. In personal terms, it's the equivalent of George W. Bush looking at a Carribean sugar cane worker and wondering why said field hand hasn't done much with their life. It's the height of petulance and the snobbery of inherited privilege for anyone born in the US to look down their noses at the rest of the world. It doesn't mean we should stop working to improve things, but that we should recognize that we stand in receipt of improvements made to this culture before we were born.

America, being a multi-racial endeavor, hasn't succeeded on so many fronts due to some inherent superiority of character and genetics. It succeeded on all these fronts because an experimental social technology was tried here (we haven't worked out all the bugs yet, bear with us) and it took off like a rocket. All of our ancestors who migrated here from their 'old countries' were the same people they were before they got here, just living in a system that worked a bit better. And just like every successive wave of immigrants, people who come to this country today usually do better than they did at home because of that system.

But it takes longer to reform an old system than it does to go to a new place and build another one. The social technology curve is always the slowest, and it isn't about differences between groups of people, it's about the tendency towards inertia seen in every culture. And after the hell that developing nations have been through in the last century, we should have nothing but support for their still being game to try to move ahead anyhow. Presuming, as I do in this case, that they're genuinely trying to do so.

posted by Natasha at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK |

As Jon Stewart said yesterday in his comments on the protests around the world:

Latin America roiled with protest from Mexico, to Brazil, to Argentina. And I just want to say... you know you're in trouble when thousands of South Americans take time out from a busy schedule protesting their government to protest ours.

posted by Natasha at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK |

Tuesday, February 18, 2003  

I was thinking about doing a post on the many ways that the Iraq situation seems to be going to hell before a war even officially starts. Fortunately (been pressed for time lately, if you couldn't tell), Daily Kos and Body and Soul beat me to it.

posted by Natasha at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK |

Parecon: Life After Capitalism.

posted by Natasha at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK |

Iran not so evil anymore.

...Khatami, whose domestic reform agenda and overtures to the outside world have been stalled by religious hard-liners, also warned Washington this week not to intervene in Iran.

"America has tested its luck once in confronting this nation by supporting the (former) shah's regime," he told tens of thousands at a Tehran rally. "I hope America would not test its luck once more."

The administration has assured Iran that they are not 'next,' which begs the question of how much more Bush administration crow will this country have to eat? Is it genuinely impossible for these people to open their mouths without causing trouble? As much as Bush I and Reagan were walking policy messes, it never appeared that they got up every morning wondering who they could p*ss off today.

The press conference is still on in the background, and a reporter just asked Blair how his relationship with Chancellor Schroeder of Germany was. He said that it was really very good. There was some laughter, but Blair basically said that though they disagreed about the question of Iraq, they agreed on many other issues and they were not at odds with each other. Just imagine it... other countries can disagree with you and remain close allies.

posted by Natasha at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK |

In the Guardian:

Tony Blair at his monthly press conference. The telecast is on C-SPAN right now, and I have to say that even though I still disagree with him, listening to Tony Blair talk about going to war doesn't give me the screaming heebie-jeebies I get hearing Bush talk about 'smoking them out.' His response to questions about protestors concerns indicated that at least he isn't giving them a brush off. He said that he did not believe that an invasion would result in the kind of mayhem that seemed to motivate the protests. He had this to say about anti-American sentiment. And it should be said that the British press corps beats ours hands down when it comes to asking tough questions.

Chirac says that he will veto a use of force resolution.

Monbiot suggests that maybe it's all about finance. You should really read this one.

posted by Natasha at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK |

Notable Posts:

Dave Pollard talks about corporate innovation, and how much managers hate both innovation and the people who practice it. I can semi-confirm this, as when I was a product manager, the last thing I wanted to hear out of an engineer's mouth was 'I have a great idea.' Why? Because no great idea in the history of the world has ever caused product to be shipped out *earlier* than its deadline. So, though I'm in theory a big fan of ever-advancing technological refinement, actually profiting from it is a tremendous pain in the tookas and never a sure thing. Also, he provided this cool link to a good ecology website, Vegan Blog: The (Eco) Logical Weblog.

Ampersand tells us Five Reasons Conservatives Can't Be Feminists. I can only applaud, his ability to explain applied feminism beats mine every day of the week.

In a similar vein, Avedon takes conservatives to task for selectively using liberal arguments and then wondering why we don't fall all over ourselves basking in the glow of their logic. Digby runs with it.

Skippy gives us the 'Happy Presidents' Day' economic roundup.

Liberal Oasis reviews the political fallout of saturday's protests.

WampumBlog on the hypocrisy of warbloggers and the perfidy of President Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast.

I mentioned the other day my suspicions that Republicans were really opposed to affirmative action because they know how badly they'd abuse it given half the chance. To The Barricades now indicates that they already have affirmative action for Republicans, and yes, they do abuse it.

Dwight Meredith talks about uncertainty as it applies to Iraq.

Not really a blog post, but I'm chagrined to have missed Mark Morford's Valentine's Day column. Always nice to have a steamy retrospective of Lupercalia.

posted by Natasha at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK |

Monday, February 17, 2003  

I just got the Spring issue of Earth Island Journal, and since it doesn't seem to be online or in a section that they normally post to the web, I'd like to reproduce part of a response to a reader on the subject of DDT. I hope that the excellent folks who put out the journal will indulge me, as this is a point that I've heard from anti-environmentalists that I've personally talked to, and the claim is repeated in the World Net Daily 'expose' of environmentalism linked in the post below:

[From a reader in response to a piece about ecoterrorism] "You're right. ELF hasn't killed many people. That record is held by the racist Sierra Club - 40 million Third World women, children and babies murdered because these eco-fascists won't allow DDT spraying. Hope you can sleep well, killer"

The writer's point of view is increasingly widespread. Certain well-known radio talk show hosts use the "enviros kill malaria victims" line with increasing frequency, and each time they do so, their listeners log onto the Internet ard use the same line - often word for word, if occasionally misspelled - in newsgroups and chat rooms.

Let's consider the errors in the letter quoted above, which is fairly typical of it's genre:

  • It was the Environmental Defense Fund, not the Sierra Club, that was instrumental in lobbying for the ban or DDT in 1972.
  • The ban applied only to use in the USA. DDT has remained in widespread use throughout the rest of the world until the present day.
  • The World Health organization estimates just under a million deaths a year from malaria since 1972, which works out to 30 million, not 40 million.

These are minor errors of fact. But the core of the pro-DDT argument relies on an error of a much larger sort: ignoring the reality of evolution. Insecticide use places what evolutionary biologists call "selective pressure" on insects. Unless an application kills 100 percent of the target insects, which never happens, those insects that are better able to tolerate the pesticide will survive, passing on their genes to the next generation. Repeated pesticide use inevitably breeds insects that are resistant to the pesticide(s) being used.

Researchers reported finding DDT-resistant Anopheles gambiae - one of the species of mosquito that carries malaria - in Africa in 1968. Africa accounts for 90 percent of the world's malaria deaths. Resistance was noted in other African malaria vectors soon after. In other words, DDT was increasingly ineffective in preventing malaria as much as four years before the United States bowed to pressure from us "eco-fascists" and banned the domestic use of DDT. The fact that the US ban may have lessened global use of the pesticide ironically means that we environmentalists may have prolonged DDT's effectivenes for use in emergency situations.

As we point out in our Around the World section in this issue, a huge number of malaria cases stem from the dislocations that accompany war and the legacy of colonialism in Africa. If people like our correspondent truly worry about malaria victims, they might better spend their energy thinking about how they might help curb social dislocation in Africa: say, by buying shade-grown coffe (reducing deforestation, and by the way protecting birds that eat mosquitoes) or minimizing the number of cell phones they buy (which use coltan, an ore mined by thuggish companies in the war-ravaged Congo Basin). it's not as much fun as reviling "eco-fascists," but it's likely more effective in the long term.

Chris Clarke [Editor]

And, probably unwittingly, the case is again made for not allowing people who finish an undergraduate science degree without 'believing' in science to go on to graduate work in the life sciences. And certainly, for refusing to allow religion to be taught in science classes. Given the facts, the conclusions of the editor would be second nature to larger numbers of people if teaching the practical consequences of evolutionary biology weren't held hostage to outraged fundamentalists.

The magazine, and the organization that puts it out, are excellent resources for environmentalists. Check them out, and sign up for membership and a great quarterly update on activism and sustainable development projects around the world.

posted by Natasha at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK |

Monday morning funnies, courtesy of World Net Daily. If you can't stomach more than the headlines, don't feel bad:

Enviromentalists exposed for the freedom-hating, KKK-loving, commie-fascist, terrorist abetters we are.

WND unveils the radical agenda for America's future, by leading intellectuals Joseph Farrah, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage.

Let the UN die.

Pat Buchanan tells us to expect to live with terror alerts for the rest of our lives.

Why it's good to hate the French.

The gay agenda revealed.

Woman saved from homosexuality by god.

A pastor tells us that the dividend tax should really be repealed because it's evil, as well as explaining why income tax discriminates against the rich.

posted by Natasha at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK |

Sunday, February 16, 2003  

Enjoy this editorial about the financial policies of the Bush family. You can say one thing for them, they've been remarkably consistent over three generations. In part:

...If a president who came out of the widget industry spent all his time trying to promote the widget business, it would be obvious — and it would raise major ethical problems. But the magnitude of the Bushes' investment involvement and bias is too little understood.

Great-grandfather George H. Walker was the president of two major New York investment firms: G.H. Walker & Co. and W.A. Harriman and Co. Grandfather Prescott Bush was the managing partner of Brown Bros., Harriman & Co. Presidential uncles Jonathan and Prescott Jr. have been, respectively, the heads of small investment firms named J. Bush & Co. and Prescott Bush & Co. Prescott Bush Jr. has also been closely involved with Asset Management International Financing and Settlement Ltd.

Presidential brother Marvin runs hedge funds at investment company Winston Partners. Presidential brother Neil started an investment deal in Austin, Texas, and both George H.W. and George W. Bush have been in the kind of oil business that is largely driven by tax shelters and financing from friends and relatives.

Such finance doesn't look out for widows and orphans. Besides President Bush's problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his sale of Harken Energy stock, his uncle, Scott Pierce, resigned as president of the now-defunct securities firm E.F. Hutton after pleading guilty on behalf of the firm to check-kiting. Brother Neil was fined because of his culpability in the Silverado savings and loan debacle in Colorado in the 1980s. A Tokyo investment firm that hired Uncle Prescott as an adviser in 1989 was identified by Tokyo police as a mob front.

The point is simply that the average American could be forgiven for thinking that the Bush motto is "public service means private opportunity." ...

posted by Natasha at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK |

Notable Posts:

Atrios links to some alternate perspectives on the French position. Read all the links.

Digby talks about attempts by wingnut Christian groups to portray themselves as victimized outsiders, enabled by no less than our wingnut in Chief.

Body and Soul collects the numbers for yesterday's rallies in one place. Turns out that there were 100,000 people in Seattle, so my partner in crime gets a big kiss. Using Jeanne's numbers, my handy little spreadsheet program tells me that at least 7,510,000 people demonstrated against the war yesterday. Go us.

Orcinus talks about what it really means to have consumption tax replace income tax, with a handy historical lesson about what America was like when we did have that system in place. A brief quip:

...Nearly every economist with whom I’ve spoken confirms that, in order to replace the revenues provided by the current tax structure, a national sales tax would have to be in the vicinity of 50 percent. And that means other problems too -- the rise of a huge black market for all kinds of goods; increasingly lax controls over the public-health aspects of these goods; and ultimately, the near-impossibility of actually administering such a tax. ...

In a linked post on the same topic, Orcinus points us to the blog of Angry Bear, an economist who talks about the effects the Bush plans will have on the economy. In this post, he directly challenges the administration line that 'viewed over time' a consumption tax won't really be all that punishing.

Also, RonK of Cogent Provocateur takes the time to utterly demolish Colin Powell's presentation to the UN. Starts at the Feb. 12th entry, no permalinks to individual posts.

posted by Natasha at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK |

In the Asia Times:

Bin Laden now listing Pakistan as an apostate state that needs to be liberated. They join the august company of Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, but mysteriously, not Egypt.

Total Information Awareness temporarily halted. Keep sending those letters to your spokesentities, this isn't over yet.

As alternative disarmament and regime change plans emerge from Europe and the Middle East, and western public opinion hardens against even a UN mandated war, Bush and Blair blithely ignore opposing views.

But perhaps just to keep westerners and middle easterners from feeling especially put upon, the Bush administration will also ignore public opinion in Japan and South Korea. North Korea has helpfully decided to radicalize their position, as lunatics in Washington and Pyongyang compete to see who can thump their chests the loudest.

Now that even CIA Director George Tenet is drinking the administration Kool-Aid, what gives with the claims that Al-Qaida is holed up in Iraq? It turns out to be a complicated mess of allegations which seem very unlikely, and are better explained by the relationship of the Kurds in northern Iraq and the government in Tehran. Indeed, only if you are prepared to assume that all Islamists are by definition members of Al-Qaida does the charge hold, as the group in question seems an independent (of Al-Qaida) operation. But once the fighting starts, and the Kurds and Turks square off over oil-rich Kirkuk, adding a third group into the mayhem will make the region a nightmare for US troops. Can you say 'Clusterf***' ladies and gentlemen? I knew you could.

posted by Natasha at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK |

The Swiss have gone ahead with the US snubbed conference to discuss ways to minimize the potential humanitarian catastrophe that could occur in the aftermath of war in Iraq. In other news from Switzerland, the peace rally in the capital, Bern, was much larger than expected

posted by Natasha at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK |

In the Guardian and Observer:

Special report on the anti-war movement. Three hundred cities, sixty countries, broad spectrum support, and loads of first-timers.

We are going to punish Germany. As described by the ubiquitous 'one source', the Pentagon (and I bet you didn't know that the Pentagon could enact sanctions) intends their actions in the following manner: "We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy."

And, speaking of our soon-to-be former allies, what's it going to take to get the French back on our side after all this?

Bolivia appears to be having an IMF riot. I guess you can never tell these days, but it sounds like the predictable pattern. First with the austerity measure, then with the rioting, looting, and rampaging in the streets. There has just got to be a better way to tell the IMF to go to hell.

Leading members of the exiled Iraqi opposition very unhappy with US plans for a post-war Iraq. Neither are they thrilled with the Germans or the anti-war protestors. But what surprised me is their bizarrely naive belief that the Bush administration ever intended to bring democracy to Iraq. They sound like Thomas Friedman, but without the desire for a twenty year occupation. One of their leaders speaks about it in full in a column published in full.

The opinions of 'New Europe' examined.

Nepal going mad with civil war and random executions. The poverty stricken populace is caught between organized and retrograde Maoist rebels on one hand, and a royal family of seriously questionable character on the other. Human right's agencies have reported serious atrocities committed by both parties, and refugees are fleeing to India.

posted by Natasha at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK |