S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Friday, April 11, 2003

The Guardian is reporting some good news, and presenting strong evidence that capitalism overcomes all obstacles. Sony's move to patent "shock and awe" for a video game demonstrates that even after the tragedy of thousands of our fellow, human peeps dying big companies can make it all better by making some loot!!

Japanese electronics giant Sony has taken an extraordinary step to cash in on the war in Iraq by patenting the term "Shock and Awe" for a computer game. It is among a swarm of companies scrambling to commercially exploit the war in Iraq, which has killed more than 5,000 soldiers and civilians in the space of three weeks.

It applied to register the term as a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office on March 21 - just one day after war started. It wants to use it for computer and video games, as well as a broadband game played both locally and globally via the internet among PlayStation users.

I bet those Iraqi computer geeks will be all over this one, why the hell is Sony going to make a game that the Iraqi computer geeks will be able to have an unfair advantage over American computer dweebs, given the Iraqis have experienced shock and awe themselves. UNFAIR, BIASED, GRRRR...

However, the Sony game is only the tip of the iceberg as the US market is set to be flooded with goods ranging from T-shirts, toys, board games, train sets, sunglasses, mugs and fireworks branded with slogans such as "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and "Battle of Baghdad".

Other goods planned for sale in the US include an "Axis of Evil" board game, "Iraqi Freedom" crockery and clothes as well as "Shock and Awe" trainers and dolls.

I can see it now!!! "Shock and awe" condoms, "Battle of Baghdad" Monopoly, maybe Republican Guard vs. Republican Party comic books, or best of all "In God we trust, in Allah we don't" t-shirts. The possibilities of money and war are endless, God bless Corporate America!!

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Onion reports:

RUMAILAH OIL FIELDS, IRAQ—The U.S. continued to make progress in its fight against totalitarianism Tuesday, when 137 more oil wells were liberated for democracy.

"For decades, these oil wells have suffered untold misery under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule," said U.S. Commander General Tommy Franks, speaking from southern Iraq's Rumailah oil fields, the site of the liberation. "With this victory, these long-oppressed wells will soon pump their first barrels of crude as free and equal wells in the global petroleum marketplace. They will join the ranks of the world's liberated oil wells, enjoying the same rights as their democratic brethren around the globe."

The Rumailah wells are the latest of nearly 900 to be freed from the yoke of oppression by coalition forces. As U.S. troops continue to advance deeper into Iraq—armed with constant standing orders to "Secure the oil wells; repeat, secure the oil wells"—an estimated 1,500 more wells are expected to be liberated in the coming weeks.


A long long time ago there were two caves overlooking a valley populated by similar people. Winter was in the wind and the leaders of each cave went out to hunt. Leader Liberal came across a buffalo, killed it, and with his fellows dragged it back to the cave for his people. From the other cave, Leader Conservative and his men also killed a buffalo, but he sat down with his fellows and ate it. Back at their respective dwellings, Leader Liberal and his people, with bellies half full, celebrated with a song and dance while Leader Conservative and his fellows returned with bellies distended and a speech.

Leader Conservative told the hungry crowd of mostly women and children that they needed to be more responsible for their own lives, that as Conservative people, they were rugged individualists and should act as such. If they wanted to eat, they would have to reach down and yank on their sandal straps. A few women and children still strong enough to bend down that far understood and so asked The Conservative for a few spears and hand skinners. The Conservative and his fellows owned the equipment, and as giving anything away was not part of their makeup, The Conservative instead gave them another speech about how the Great Conservative Spirit wanted them to help themselves, for if these women and children became dependent upon free food, that lack of self reliance would soon turn them all into horrific child murdering cannibals.

Thus it was that the women and children of Conservatives went out into the valley to suck on old bones and eat grass while The Head CON and his fellows sat full and belching, telling each other how smart they were.


Hello all, I'm Wrathful Ricardo, the knewest addition to this blogspot. Let's get to it.

As you know, the right wingers have committed themselves to freeing this country from the ruthless mercy of affirmative action. There are simply too many pigmented types on the inside of elite college gates, 80% to 85% white populations are too low for Furious George Dubya, blacks are catching up to whites too fast in this country, for godsakes, they have 11 cents for every dollar white people have in this country!! So, now that the playing field has been leveled to its most equitable level ever (blacks used to have 0 bucks for every buck whites made) affirmative action is racist and does as much damage as slavery, the multi-million member ku klux klan, separate but equal AND, lest we forget, lynching!!!

Given how evil racism is, and the success of our war against it, it is now time for our right wing friends to open up a new front in the war against racism. It is time for us to confront our foes on this issue. Arianna Huffington makes the crazy, groundless claim that too many blacks are admitted into jail. I say FOOLERY!!! Too few blacks are taking advantage of the opportunities our prisons provide-- libraries, cable television, gang showers and toilets, Nation of Islam counceling, a telephone call (25 cents for 3 minutes, that's less than 9 CENTS A MINUTE!) These prison opportunities are all payed for by out compassionate conservative government:

Instead of spending an enormous amount of time and effort obsessing about African American candidates to the University of Michigan receiving special treatment, maybe the White House should focus on a genuinely pernicious form of affirmative action: the special treatment blacks get when it comes to jail admissions. The damning fact is that while blacks make up 13 percent of drug users, they account for 37 percent of those arrested on drug charges, 55 percent of those convicted and 74 percent of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Doesn't sound too much like Bush's shining ideal of color-blindness to me.

Her points are simply too foolish for rebuttal, here's something I can mock:

46 people, 39 of them black -- roughly 15 percent of the small Panhandle town's African Americans -- were rounded up and arrested in the summer of 1999 solely on the uncorroborated testimony of Tom Coleman, a white undercover cop with a shady past and a fondness for racial epithets. Outrageously long prison sentences soon followed -- even for first time offenders. But despite growing doubts about Coleman's credibility and howls of protest from civil rights activists, prosecutors stood by their narc -- and the Tulia defendants languished behind bars.

All that changed last week when, following an extraordinary hearing in which Coleman's integrity was shredded -- with former coworkers portraying him as dishonest, untrustworthy, and a racist, and Coleman himself labeling his sworn testimony "questionable" -- presiding Judge Ron Chapman declared: "Tom Coleman is simply not a credible witness under oath," and moved to vacate the convictions. Which, in prosecution-friendly Texas, is the equivalent of pointing out that not only does the emperor have no clothes -- he's got a really lousy body.

HEY!!! DON'T MESS WIT TEXAS!! TEXAS IS THE GREATEST NATION ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH, NOT JUST ANYBODY CAN LIVE THERE! YOU MESS WIT US, WE'LL ZAP YOU GOOD ARIANNA!! Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, I can get excitable over these things, I hope you learned a thing or too here, over and out and thanks to the head honcho for signin me on, his columns are fantastic too!!


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

From the Associated Press:

LAS VEGAS - Ever the contrarian, media veteran Barry Diller Monday said deregulation of media conglomerates will limit diversity in movies and television and stifle competition.

Most large media companies have been pushing the Federal Communications Commission to remove or relax the 35 percent ownership cap that has limited the number of newspapers, television and radio stations one company can own in a market.

But Diller, speaking to the National Association of Broadcasters, said big media companies need to be restrained or they will push out smaller competitors.

"There are real dangers in complete concentration," Diller said. "The conventional wisdom is wrong. We need more regulation, not less."

"The big four networks have in fact reconstituted themselves into the oligopoly that the FCC originally set out to curb in the 1960s," Diller said during his keynote speech at the association's annual convention. "Five corporations, with their broadcast television networks and cable, are not on the verge of controlling the same number of households that the big three did 40 years ago."

Independent producers such as Universal, with no network of their own, rely on the networks buying their programs. Networks such as CBS and ABC, have been buying more shows from their own production arms, a strategy that keeps profits within the vertically integrated media company but shuts out independent producers, critics have charged.

"Ten years ago, independents produced 16 new series," Diller said. "Last year, they produced just one. The independents are dying in droves."

Diller also slammed the effect of media consolidation in radio, where large companies such as Clear Channel produce programs that supplant locally produced shows in their national chain of stations.

"Local broadcasters should not be simply the distribution arms of monolithic enterprises," he said.

And this guy is a CONSERVATIVE. Free enterprise must be preserved through regulation, if its not regulated, it may as well be a one party system!


From Commondreams.org:

The images were stark.

A convoy carrying Kurdish soldiers and coalition special forces had come under attack from two U.S. fighter jets early yesterday morning.

Several vehicles were strewn along the scorched dirt road, pulverized beyond recognition. Others, still smoldering, were reduced to heaps of tangled steel and charred debris. The road was stained with blood.

BBC World was broadcasting this footage yesterday morning. It also reported at least 18 people were killed and another 45 injured by the so-called "friendly fire" attack.

"I actually saw the bomb dropping from the aircraft, and then I saw it, as it came down beside me," said John Simpson, BBC's world affairs editor.

Simpson rushed to help his translator. The man, not identified, suffered horrific injuries when shrapnel sliced off his legs. He died a few minutes later.

And so, on Day 18, more mindless carnage and devastation.

But had you been watching CNN in the morning, you wouldn't have heard much about this deadly "mistake" in Northern Iraq.

So what exactly are they telling people on CNN?! They change their tune, they cater to a government that has seduced them with a sweet deal that can give AOL-TIME WARNER the right to own all the media. Their viewership has gone down. They're not trustworthy, because this is the crap they're omiting, they're haphazardly reporting, they're killing the meat of the news:

Even by 4:17 p.m., when CNN aired its daily "War Recap," details of the incident were curiously sketchy. The graphic read: "6:33 a.m. — Friendly fire incident reported."

This means the network had about 10 hours to investigate. But all anchor Leon Harris could offer viewers was a pre-programmed, "No word yet on U.S. casualties."

It's near impossible to watch CNN war coverage and not: 1. Shake your head; 2. Roll your eyes; 3. Laugh out loud.

Its just about money, the news is secondary, education does not matter, corporate journalism is rare, good corporate journalists are few and far-between, risky, challenging corporate journalism is courageous. Let's hope for some more courage in journalism.



NEAR NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) - A facility near Baghdad that a US officer had said might finally be "smoking gun" evidence of Iraqi chemical weapons production turned out to contain pesticide, not sarin gas as feared.

A military intelligence officer for the US 101st Airborne Division's aviation brigade, Captain Adam Mastrianni, told AFP that comprehensive tests determined the presence of the pesticide compounds.

Initial tests had reportedly detected traces of sarin -- a powerful toxin that quickly affects the nervous system -- after US soldiers guarding the facility near Hindiyah, 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Baghdad, fell ill.

Mastrianni said: "They thought it was a nerve agent. That's what it tested. But it is pesticide."

The turnaround was an embarrassment for the US forces in the region, which had been quick to say that they thought they had finally found the proof they have been actively looking for that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

So. Since the President invaded this country, ordered attacks that killed thousands all in the name of toppling a regime to DISARM, would it not make sense to DISARM?!?! Where are the weapons? We look stupid. Starting this war was embarassing to begin with, but at least if weapons were found then part of Bush's war justifications would be valid. This war has gone on for three weeks, the U.S./U.K./Aussie forces control all of Iraqi airspace, the vast majority of Iraqi soil, and ZERO illegal weapons have been found. This would be a truly devastating embarrassment for our country, that would take years to repair diplomatically. Thanks Furious George...


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. forces near Baghdad found a weapons cache of around 20 medium-range missiles equipped with potent chemical weapons, the U.S. news station National Public Radio reported on Monday.

NPR, which attributed the report to a top official with the 1st Marine Division, said the rockets, BM-21 missiles, were equipped with sarin and mustard gas and were "ready to fire." It quoted the source as saying new U.S. intelligence data showed the chemicals were "not just trace elements."

It said the cache was discovered by Marines with the 101st Airborne Division, which was following up behind the Army after it seized Baghdad's international airport.

U.S. Central Command headquarters in Qatar had no immediate comment.

The United States and Britain launched the war against Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies having such weapons.

Gotta love those last two sentences, just reminding us of the truth, no?

Monday, April 07, 2003

Many of you have asked me why I never posted a blog discussing the controversial comments by Professor de Genova. I believed his comments were wrong, but did not want to become associated with the chorus that was using his narrow point of view to take a swipe at peace advocates and pro-peace faculty, my political science and history professors have received death threats, and not that any of you crazy Republicans who reads this weblog would turn around and threaten the lives of your school's faculty, but I am not here to fuel the fire and make anyone question his own livelihood. In any case, I do not think to be against this war is to want the deaths of the American soldiers in the field, as the Professor said during the teach-in.

Perhaps de Genova is one of those people who spits on the homeless veterans right outside the school's gated walls, after all, they didn't die in Vietnam the way those American soldiers died in Mogadishu... The Professor claims that to be against this war is to be against racism and U.S. imperialism, he forgets that many of the soldiers in Iraq are doing a job, they do not democratically decide whether they are going on a mission and a disproportionate amount of them are people of color. The overwhelming death of these soldiers does not help to alleviate the suffering that goes on in African-American and Hispanic-American communities. Mr. de Genova should think before he thinks, maybe the big real picture will render itself useful to something he has to say.


I am appalled by Assistant Professor Nicholas De Genova's outrageous comments. I want to assure you that his comments in no way represent my views nor anyone with whom I have spoken at the University. His comments were not made in a classroom, but rather at a teach-in, an informal gathering where faculty and students come together to discuss and debate the pressing and important issues of the moment. They are not authorized or officially sanctioned classroom experiences.

Assistant Professor De Genova was exercising his freedom of speech when he made those remarks. However, free speech does not insulate him from criticism. Our faculty and students, regardless of their position on the war, have not been silent in their denunciation of his remarks.

While Nicholas De Genova's words properly invite anger and sharp rebuke, there are few things more precious on any University campus than freedom of thought and expression. That is the teaching of the First Amendment and I believe it should be the principle we live by at Columbia University.

At a time of war, when American troops are in harm's way, his comments are especially disturbing. I am particularly saddened for the families of those whose lives are at risk and who must endure the pain provoked by his statements.

Lee C. Bollinger

April 3, 2003


"I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus....If we really believe that this war is criminal ... then we have to believe in the victory of the Iraqi people and the defeat of the U.S. war machine."


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