S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Friday, April 04, 2003
THE MEDIA IS SKEPTICAL FOR ONCE, BUT ITS WAY TOO EASY THIS TIME
(CBS) Two appearances on Iraqi television Friday were the strongest signs yet that Saddam Hussein is alive. They come as U.S. troops lurked on the edges of Baghdad. Iraqi television broadcast what it called a speech by Saddam in which he made reference to events since military action started on March 19.
Then several Middle Eastern television stations displayed pictures of a man resembling Saddam walking through Baghdad, surrounded by cheering supporters. He even held up and kissed a baby at one point. It was unclear when either appearance was filmed or whether the man pictured was in fact Saddam. It was also unclear whether Iraqis were able to see the broadcasts, given widespread power outages in Baghdad.
There is little reason to conclude unequivocally that the person seen on Iraqi television was Saddam Hussein. CBS is being skeptical for once, using phrases such phrases as "it is unclear" and "what [Iraq] called" to let it be known that they (CBS) is in no position to conclude whether the person on T.V. was actually Saddam Hussein.
Why is it alright for the media to call Saddam Hussein simply by his first name? They don't do this for other people. It's a sign of institutional disrespect for Saddam. Imagine if they called President Bush "Georgie," or the Vice President "Dick"?
I can see the headline now, "Vice Prez DICK in Undisclosed Location." Why can't the media as a whole be this skeptical when ANY piece of information or news comes out, the reporting on Saddam has been some of the sharpest, most critical and best researched I have seen since the Clinton Impeachment Scandal. Why don't they try being critical when it actually matters for the American people? Like NOW when the conservatives in Congress are trrying to blow a few holes through the budget, the deficit and the pockets of every American who does not inherit a life savings.
This media is very good at shooting the wounded but it takes real cajones to be equal opportunity, and be critical where it counts.
Thursday, April 03, 2003
THE RECORD INDUSTRY GESTAPO IS PROSECUTING COLLEGE KIDS
From the Washington Post:
In its ongoing, aggressive effort to stem Internet music piracy, the record industry filed suit today against four college students who run Napster-like file-sharing computer networks at three universities, including Princeton University.
The suits-filed by the Recording Industry Association of America, the music industry lobby-ask three U.S. District Courts for injunctions to shut down the file-sharing systems that live inside the computer networks at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich., and the Ivy League school.
The four defendants were chosen because the RIAA found them to be among the most active, enabling thousands of songs to be freely shared, the industry group said. The music industry considers such file-sharing to be in violation of copyright and fair use laws.
The RIAA suits allege that these four students offered between 27,000 and 1 million songs for free trading. The Washington Post is seeking to reach the students for comment.
The RIAA employs software that scours the Internet looking for what it believes are illegally traded songs. But the networks named in the lawsuits are internal college networks, known as "local area networks" or LANS, and are not seen by the RIAA software.
Instead, the RIAA discovered them by reading college newspapers, in which the LANS are discussed. Several Princeton sites were listed in a November article in the Daily Princetonian, which also included a statement from the school's information technology department saying that it is against university regulations to use the Internet to violate copyright laws.
The problem with the record industry's holier than thou position is that they pay off radio stations and DJs to play the same songs on the radio over and over again. ONE company has a monopoly on music videos, SIX companies own the entire news media, NOT EVEN THE GOVERNMENT wants to end their corruption, the CLINTON and BUSH administrations have made it easier for them to control everything.
As long as I have been interested in capitalism, I've believed that it is a self-correcting system when the rules applied in society are generally fair. We are living in an era in which we have all of the tools of mass movement and protest but little desire to demand fairness from the government or the news media. Even if the record industry does not prompt younguns across this great land to rebel and raise hell about their bullying us (as opposed to the government's accommodation of the record industry's corruption) they are wasting money if they think they can wage war on these internet speakeasies.
This rebellion against big industry and big government, industry's pimp, does not require large and loud protests. It will be done on the low, in a silent way, as Miles Davis once put it. The record industry cannot stop file sharing. They will not help themselves by suing. They will help themselves when they change their own conduct, when they understand that not everybody wants to hear eminem on the 4 top radio stations at the same time. Until they let music be music, they will have lost the designation of being the sole judges of what music will be, popular music will be what WE make it.
If the music industry thinks they can bite the hand that feeds them (16-25 year olds), they can go to hell.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
NO FOOLIN', THIS IS WAR
William Branigin of the Washington Post:
NEAR KARBALA, Iraq, March 31 -- As an unidentified four-wheel-drive vehicle came barreling toward an intersection held by troops of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, Capt. Ronny Johnson grew increasingly alarmed. From his position at the intersection, he was heard radioing to one of his forward platoons of M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to alert it to what he described as a potential threat.
"Fire a warning shot," he ordered as the vehicle kept coming. Then, with increasing urgency, he told the platoon to shoot a 7.62mm machine-gun round into its radiator. "Stop [messing] around!" Johnson yelled into the company radio network when he still saw no action being taken. Finally, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Stop him, Red 1, stop him!"
That order was immediately followed by the loud reports of 25mm cannon fire from one or more of the platoon's Bradleys. About half a dozen shots were heard in all.
"Cease fire!" Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"
Fifteen Iraqi civilians were packed inside the Toyota, officers said, along with as many of their possessions as the jammed vehicle could hold. Ten of them, including five children who appeared to be under 5 years old, were killed on the spot when the high-explosive rounds slammed into their target, Johnson's company reported. Of the five others, one man was so severely injured that medics said he was not expected to live.
Dealing with the gruesome scene was a new experience for many of the U.S. soldiers deployed here, and they debated how the tragedy could have been avoided. Several said they accepted the platoon leader's explanation to Johnson on the military radio that he had, in fact, fired two warning shots, but that the driver failed to stop. And everybody was edgy, they realized, since four U.S. soldiers were blown up by a suicide bomber Saturday at a checkpoint much like theirs, only 20 miles to the south.
This is war. Explain to me why I have to love it or leave it. Why shouldn't I want to change it or stop it.
Monday, March 31, 2003
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer shows the true face of Iraqi Liberation, as executed by the military...
The Iraqis are being freed as we speak, and we're going to be freeing them for the next few years...
MODERATE REPUBLICANS TAKE A STAND AGAINST BUSH'S WACKY EXTREMISM
WASHINGTON, March 30 — With a series of contrarian votes in the past few days, Republican moderates on Capitol Hill have begun to overturn their image as an ineffective fringe group and are threatening to become an impediment to the Bush administration's domestic agenda.
After moderates provided the pivotal votes to reduce President Bush's $726 billion tax cut by more than half and block his plans to drill for oil in the Alaskan wildlife refuge, the loose-knit group of Republicans no longer brings a dismissive smile to the lips of the party's mainstream conservatives.
"I have to say, I'm really starting to get concerned about this phenomenon," said Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the conservative chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. "It really bothers me that at a time when the president is focused on other things, well, Republicans ought to be rallying around him, and they aren't willing to be part of the team. I hope they don't continue to block his agenda."
Sunday, March 30, 2003
ONION REPORTS: U.S. CONTINUES PROUD TRADITION OF DIVERSITY ON THE FRONT LINES.
CAMP COYOTE, KUWAIT—With blacks and Hispanics comprising more than 60 percent of the Army's ground forces in Iraq, the U.S. military is continuing its long, proud tradition of multiculturalism on the front lines of war. "Though racism and discrimination remain problems in society at large, in the military—especially in the lower ranks where you find the cannon fodder—a spirit of inclusiveness has prevailed for decades," Gen. Jim White said Monday. "When it comes to having your head blown off by enemy fire, America is truly colorblind."