S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Thursday, June 19, 2003
WHY I CHOOSE HOWARD DEAN
I'm supporting Howard Dean for President, unless there is an unforeseen or unfortunate turn in events, and that's that. I think it is unlikely any other viable presidential candidate is going to demonstrate the balls, the will to lead, the wherewithal, the charisma and the compassion to lead this country in a good way.
He scares conservatives, and I that, to me, is the central element of his attractiveness. He makes them afraid, they keep repeating that "Lieberman can win, Lieberman will win the nomination." Lieberman can't win, he's a REPUBLICRAT, people who are afraid of Republicans (like Lieberman) will be beaten like Republican illegitimate stepchildren.
REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICRATS ARE AFEARD OF GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN
This is from the Drudge Report:
"Democratic strategists have begun to express concern about what they say is the potentially negative effect the former Vermont governor could have on Senate and House races if he becomes the party's nominee," ROLL CALL is reporting in Thursday's edition.
"This line of criticism underscores an approach to the campaign Dean has employed to great effect thus far, pitching himself as a straight-talking outsider who will challenge the political orthodoxy of the inside-the-Beltway Democratic establishment."
Of most concern: "Dean's outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq and his call for a complete rollback of President Bush's tax cuts, positions that some strategists argue makes him unattractive - even potentially alienating - to swing voters needed to win competitive House and Senate seats."
These are precisely the reasons why every progressive in this great natoin needs to get behind this guy, and promote him like we would ourselves, BECAUSE BY PROMOTING HOWARD DEAN, WE ARE PROMOTING OURSELVES.
HOLDING POWERFUL FEET TO THE FIRE ORRIN HATCH WANTS OUR COMPUTERS DESTROYED?! WELL, HE USES UNLICENSED SOFTWARE HIMSELF!!!
Wired News reports:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed.
But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes.
On Wednesday, Hatch clarified his comments, but stuck by the original idea. "I do not favor extreme remedies -- unless no moderate remedies can be found," he said in a statement. "I asked the interested industries to help us find those moderate remedies."
Just as well. Because if Hatch's terminator system embraced software as well as music, his servers would be targeted for destruction.
The apparent violation was discovered by Laurence Simon, an unemployed system administrator from Houston, who was poking around Hatch's site after becoming outraged by his comments.
We need more citizens like Laurence Simon. Thanks Laurence Simon, we gotta smoke out these politicians and bring 'em to justice.
THE BUSHIES ERASE CLIMATE CHANGE FROM ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT
Fox News will not touch this story for another two years.
This is little more than further confirmation that Bush and his people have an agenda, and if their agenda conflicts with the scientific consensus, they just pretend that most scientists, and most research don't exist.
If Bush and his people cared about the environment, wouldn't they let both sides of the global warming debate sit out there at least on an even plain? This report was supposed to be on the state of the environment. If the state of the environment mattered to this lot of right wing extremists they would have let the Environmental Protection Agency do its job.
Apparently, the Bush cabal knows more about the state of the environment than the people who are paid to know-- the EPA. Andrew Revkin and Katherine Seelye from the New York Times report:
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs..
The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tail-pipe emissions and could threaten health and ecosystems.
Administration officials defended the report and said there was nothing untoward about the process that produced it. Mrs. Whitman said that she was "perfectly comfortable" with the edited version and that the differences over climate change should not hold up the broader assessment of the nation's air, land and water.
WHAT?!?! That is a load of B.S. right there. Climate change affects "the nation's air, land and water." Climate change, pollution, warming, cooling or whatever the environmental reality may be is going to affect our environment and our lives. I know this notion does not resonate with the far right, but I say F**K MONEY IF WE CAN'T BREATHE TOMORROW!
If you feel like reading about some more Bush B.S. click the link above, I'm just glad there are people in the Bush Administration with the integrity to let us know what's going on behind the scenes of the cabal...
An April 29 memorandum circulated among staff members said that after the changes by White House officials, the section on climate "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change."
Another memorandum circulated at the same time said that the easiest course would be to accept the White House revisions but that to do so would taint the agency, because "E.P.A. will take responsibility and severe criticism from the science and environmental communities for poorly representing the science."
E.P.A. and NOT the White House. These are clever bastards, clever indeed...
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
ERIC ALTERMAN'S SMART TAKE ON BUSH'S B.S.
I admire Eric Alterman's work, and "admire" isn't even a strong enough word to express my regard for his reporting, blogging and research.
Now that I'm done kissing arse...
President Bush and many conservatives have decided to change their reasons for invading Iraq, which has caused the deaths of scores of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi innocents.
Bush now says it is most important that Iraqis are "free," and are "liberated" from Saddam Hussein's absolute power.
What Bush, and the t.v. networks will not tell you is, before the war, Bush never said that "liberating" Iraqis would be the most important victory of the war, that neutralizing a threat posed by Saddam Hussein and whatever WMDs he had.
When caught lying, change the subject...
“AP reports today that President Bush is now saying the major reason we went to war was to liberate the people of Iraq — an incredible departure from just months ago when he said the major reason we needed to go to war was an imminent threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. As the AP story reported
.“President Bush shot back Tuesday at those suggesting his administration inflated prewar intelligence data on Iraq’s weapons program. He said the most important fact was that ‘the people of Iraq are free.’”
However — take a look a the following excerpts from Bush’s March 17th address to the nation on the eve of war. In that speech, Bush tells the American people that the major reason for war (if not the ONLY reason for war) is the imminent threat of danger of Saddam’s WMD...Take note especially of the “threat” language that is boldfaced:
“The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.”
- “The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security.”
- ”[Saddam Hussein] and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.”
- “We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.”
- “Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.”
His full speech can be found here
Thanks Eric Alterman
CONSERVATIVE SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R-UTAH) SUPPORTS DESTROYING FILE-SHARERS' COMPUTERS
This guy VOLUNTEERED the idea of computer destruction!
"No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer," replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads.
"I'm interested," Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."
This guy is out of his element! If he wants to impose punishments like this, then he ought to go to Singapore or Saudi Arabia where they cut off peoples' hands for stealing. This guy also does not recognize how many government computers would be destroyed.
Most people download via high bandwidth connections, the government, corporations, educational institutions would all see their computers destroyed. How many computers is Senator Hatch willing to buy in the future? How much money is he willing to cost businesses? He would probably say these places should not be allowing file-sharers to download copyrighted material.
They're simply frustrated that the internet is open, and authority isn't as powerful on the world wode web.
CANADA WILL ALLOW ANYBODY TO MARRY WHOMEVER THEY WANT
Why weren't people allowed to marry whomever they want in the first place? Anti-gay bigotry, of course. I frankly don't care that homosexuals are allowed to marry, but this has definitely been a long time coming, and it's a good thing. The Washington Post reports:
TORONTO - Canada will change its law to allow homosexual marriage...
Chretien said the new law would be drafted within weeks and submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada for review, then put to a Parliament vote.
His Liberal Party has a commanding majority in the legislature, though the issue has caused division in the Liberal caucus.
The announcement means the government decided against appealing recent court rulings that declared the nation's definition of marriage as unconstitutional because it specified the union of a man and woman.
This is not a "special right" for homosexuals, it is an equal right, an acknowledgment that democracy extends to everybody, and that an option that has been extended to everyone but a group that is hated for a lifestyle that hurts no one will no longer be denied to any two individuals because the government tacitly supports this kind of bigotry.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
A STUPID POST FROM BILL MAHER'S WEBSITE
Some random Con wingnut opined:
Have you ever noticed that liberal men tend to be soft? …many seem borderline homosexual? They drive little women cars, enjoy fresh flowers and don’t eat meat.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s just that liberal men appear to be more in touch with their feminine side.
Why is that?
So the question stands, as I am a man of 19 years. Is there anything sissy-like or womanly about this page? A matter of fact, I bet I could take our republican friend in a death cage match to, well... the death! So how do ya like that sucker?!
ALL ABOUT THE "ROAD MAP" FROM THE HANDY-DANDY COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
This is an interesting breakdown of the road map. This "road map" has been referred to by the mass media for a week or two now, but I have not seen one analytical breakdown of the form and function of this vision. By clicking reading this analysis in full at the title link, you too can benefit from the information provided by the CFR.
The road map is a U.S. backed, and U.S. authored proposal that seeks to create a sovereign Palestinian state by the end of a three year process (the road map itself).
The road map calls on the Israeli government to dismantle settlement outposts in Palestinian territories, all of which are illegal in lands occupied after 1967 according to a United Nations resolution.
The road map demands that the Palestinian Authority curb violence against Israelis.
The plan, however, DOES NOT resolve the border disputes between the two parties, especially not in reference to Jerusalem's city limits, or it's general status.
The United States, as I mentioned earlier, wrote the raw draft of the road map, via the State Department and this was modified by "The Quartet"-- representatives from the European Union, Russia, the United Nations, and, of course, the United States.
According to the CFR:
[The road map] lays out a three-phase process that, according to its preamble, will “bring an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories that began in 1967” and create “an independent, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.” The quartet is to monitor and facilitate the peace process.
Broadly, [Palestinian Territories] are the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, though exact borders are not identified.
You can find more information in the link above... or by going to the Council on Foreign Relations website
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON SAYS: IF THE TERRORISTS KILL US, GIVE 'EM WHAT THEY WANT: NO PROGRESS
This is the actual quote from a speech Sharon gave to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) yesterday:
"As long as there is terror, it will not be possible to make progress."
Does Sharon really think that these terrorists in Hamas WANT progress? What is this guy smoking?! He's just giving them what they want! Progress is not on Hamas's mind, and apparently, neither is it on Sharon's agenda.
At a point before this quote Ariel Sharon said that the Israeli military would "hound" Hamas. Doesn't he realize that this is going to prompt more attacks. Thomas Friedman points out that whenever there is a moderately lengthy period of non-violence in Israel, Sharon calls in another strike on a "senior Hamas official." Link to that column here.
Have you noticed how often Israel kills a Hamas activist and the victim is described by Israelis as "a senior Hamas official" or a "key operative"?
This has led me to wonder: How many senior Hamas officials could there be? We're not talking about I.B.M. here. We're talking about a ragtag terrorist group. By now Israel should have killed off the entire Hamas leadership twice.
Unless what is happening is something else, something I call Palestinian math: Israel kills one Hamas operative and three others volunteer to take his place, in which case what Israel is doing is actually self-destructive.
Ariel Sharon can either negotiate with Hamas or he can negotiate with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas. When Sharon decides to deal with Hamas, he hits them and they slap back, Abbas is marginalized and powerless, Israelis die and others are put at risk.
The problem, in my view, is that Abbas is the one more likely to be the key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians; Hamas wants to wipe Israel off the map. Abbas wants a Sovereign Palestinian Nation alongside Israel.
The central difference between the two parties (as long as Yasser Arafat stays out of the process) is that Hamas is an extremist splinter Palestinian group that targets Jewish innocents. Sharon, the official Israeli government authority, targets the terrorists, kills Palestinian civilians in the process and accordingly, the terrorists multiply like insects by building off of the outrage that swells upon the deaths of Palestinian women and children.
In order to have the moral authority to crack down on the Palestinian terrorists, the Palestinian Authority needs the good will of a safe majority of its people. This good will is impossible when the Israeli military drops a bomb on a crowded area where they believe a "senior Hamas official" is.
I believe that the lessons of non-violence from Gandhi and Dr. King could be put to good and historic use here. This would demonstrate the courage of the Israeli government and its people. But we live in times that lend themselves to knee jerk reactions rather than deep constructive thoughts, so what is there to do?
RADIOHEAD'S "HAIL TO THE THIEF" DEBUTS AT NUMERO UNO
I've gotten into many arguments about this band and their music. Some people think that their lead singer, Thom Yorke, is a shreaking, whining lunatic, but I've always insisted that its necessary to listen to their work several times through to hear the fundamental strengths in their music, they break through like a chilly breeze on a scorching day.
Plus, ya gotta give 'em kudos for taking a back hand slap at Furious "Chief Thief" George. I urge all of you to get this album, there is no band in music like Radiohead.
I believe that no other band in popular music shows as much care and skill in creating melodies and harmonic balances, I think this band is special, but don't take it from me, hear this record through...
Monday, June 16, 2003
THE ISRAELI / PALESTINIAN CREDIBILITY GAP
A Jewish settler youth stands in a makeshift construction decorated with Israeli flags atop the hill outpost of Tel Haim, east of the West Bank settlement of Beit El, close to the Palestinian town of Ramallah, Sunday, June 15, 2003. The illegal outpost, consisting of several mobile homes, is likely to be demolished by the Israeli army under the terms of the U.S-backed 'road map' plan for peace which calls for Israel to dismantle all illegal outposts it established since March 2000, a total of about 60according to U.S. government. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
The Associated Press is apparently not censoring or limiting the truth about Israeli settlements. Nonetheless, The New York Times, CNN, and even National Public Radio are using euphemisms to name and characterize the illegal Israeli settlements.
Our friends in the mainstream news media often do not mention the fact that these settlements are illegal according to international law, and rarely (if ever) do the reporters in mainstream news organizations talk about the ultra-Zionists who move to these settlement posts and who do not want a Palestinian state under any circumstances. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (link above and to the right) says:
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported last month (5/31/02) that at the behest of a Likud party minister, the Israel Broadcasting Authority has banned its editorial departments from using the terms "settlers" or "settlements" on radio and TV....
Nonetheless, the opinion pages of an Israeli paper like Ha'aretz often show a franker debate over Israel's aggressive settlement policy than one can generally find in mainstream U.S. media.
Direct government interference doesn't seem to have been necessary to convince some major U.S. news outlets to avoid honest investigation of settlements, and sometimes even to avoid the word itself.
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Sunday, June 15, 2003
ASHCROFT TRYING TO DRIVE AN AIRPLANE THROUGH SURVEILLANCE LOOPHOLES OPENED BY USA PATRIOT ACT
If Ashcroft can make sure all of these surveillance measure are being used against us, then why can't we make sure that they're used against him?
Long-sought details have begun to emerge from the Justice Department on how anti-terrorist provisions of the USA Patriot Act were applied in nonterror investigations, just as battle lines are being drawn on proposed new powers in a Patriot Act II.
Key objections include authorizing FBI agents to monitor mosques, which the Justice Department said was done only by 20 percent of FBI's 45 field offices;
access to business records, which they say includes files at libraries and bookstores; and expanding CIA influence over domestic intelligence by authorizing the agency to request individual surveillance.
Among other things, the DOJ revealed it obtained 113 secret emergency search or electronic-surveillance authorizations in the year after September 11, compared with 47 in the 23 years before that attack. The law lowered the standard for such intrusions from terrorism being "the purpose" to being only "a significant purpose."
In all of this, there's one point that got brought up toward the end of this piece, and I have not seen it made anywhere else; The reason why the terrorists got through IS NOT because the FBI or CIA did not have enough information, it is because they did a shitty job processing what they had.
None of the hijackers should have been in the country under existing laws, so what makes Ashcroft believe that spying on regular Americans is going to help us?
I smell an agenda! His paranoid obsession with making all Americans suspects has nothing to do with stamping out terrorists, it has everything to do with asserting the government's authority though...
HEARINGS ON BUSH'S LIES NOW!!
From a New York Newsday column by Jimmy Breslin:
It leaps out that the reason given to Americans for going into Iraq -- to stop them from blowing us up with nuclear weapons -- was an outright lie. It was told to America by President George W. Bush. And people died because of it. What kind of a lie and why it was told is something that only a full investigation by Congress, full and on television, can tell the public and tell us who lied and why.
SOMEBODY'S GOTTA SET THESE GUYS IN PLACE
``In any other place but Washington, this would be viewed as bribery.''
Check out the Republican Congressmen being their usual corrupt selves...
IGNORANCE = A BUSH'S BEST FRIEND
This Miami Herald article says the following:
33 Percent of Americans believe that WMDs have been found in Iraq.
22 Percent of Americans believe Iraq used WMDs during this past Iraq war.
Steve Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, said ``Given the intensive news coverage and high levels of public attention, this level of misinformation suggests some Americans may be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance.''
That is, having their beliefs conflict with the facts.
Well, it's a free country, we can believe whatever we want. But just because a prowar person believes something does not mean that the facts do not exist...
Kull added that the poll's data showed that the mistaken belief that weapons of mass destruction had been found ``is substantially greater among those who favored the war.''
REALLY?! I would have never guessed! I wonder how many pro-peace people actually believe that weapons have been found in Iraq... these newspapers somehow find a way of making the obvious seem really stupid...
Before the war, the U.S. media often reported as fact the assertions by the Bush administration that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of illegal weapons. CBS News in December reported how Bush officials were ``threatening war against Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction.''
During and after the war, reports of weapons discoveries were often trumpeted on front pages, while follow-up stories debunking the ''smoking gun'' reports received less attention.
And since the media lied for Bush, why should they be allowed to spread their seed, and own a larger part of our information than they already do?! Why has THAT story dropped off the front pages? Maybe the 5 big media owners (soon to be 3) don't want you to think about that one...
Only 17 percent [of American poll respondents in January] correctly said that none of the hijackers were Iraqi.
Wow. What is there to do?! Should I take the cynical elitist stance, and say screw 'em and just let the "well informed" do the ruling? Of course not. But one problem must be answered, and that is the problem of the roll of the opposition party.
If the President can get his message out, why can't the Democrats?
HOWARD DEAN KICKS ASS AT THE WISCONSIN STRAW POLL
It's about time we had another big 'D' Democrat step up (as opposed to a small d Democrat).
STRAW POLL RESULTS
Combined total: Dean (203), Kerry (50), Kucinich (27), Graham (19), Edwards (18), Gephardt (10), Moseley Braun (5), Lieberman (4), Sharpton (2), various write-ins (14).
All Dean needs is some money. Bush boy is on pace to raise $20 million over the next 2 weeks for his reselection campaign.
BOOYA!! IRANIAN STUDENTS ARE PROTESTING FOR DEMOCRACY
In case you do not know, Iran has a very unique and complex system of government, I spent the past semester studying Iran intensively and I believe that the American media dismiss Iran as a 'theocracy' although such a term is too simple to truly capture what Iran's system is.
I suppose one could liken the system of "democracy" of Iran to the setup of a high school student government, although that is not the perfect analogy either.
The political system is bound to Islam, as interpreted by the fundamentalist clerics who sit on the nation's "Guardian Council." This council apoints a "Supreme Leader," and together they control the political system.
These folks almost never excercise direct political power outside of their mandate to screen every candidate for every government position in the nation, from dog catcher to president.
The Guardian Council, to my knowledge, has never prohibited a candidate from running because he was too fanatically Muslim, actually they commonly weed out candidates who are seen as too liberal, or sympathetic to the West.
With this system in place, it is not hard to imagine why liberal students in Iran are protesting their government, urging it to allow democratic reforms-- these students realize that the notion of Iran as a democracy is a lie.
By "democracy" I mean freedom of association, freedom of expression, universal suffrage, universal eligibility to run for office, universal ability for all candidates to compete, right to alternative sources of information, free fair and frequent elections with negligible fraud, lawmakers are elected and held accountable.
Of these 8 "democratic" rights, Iran allows for only 3 (universal suffrage, free fair and frequent elections, lawmakers held accountable). These students want more for themselves and their children.
When they get more, theat'll be the day...