Archives: May 2003
Thu May 29, 2003
The Secrets of September 11
With a coalition of 9-11 families finally forcing the issue of September 11 investigations into finally happening (and absurdly, sparsely attended, the hearing rooms have been mostly empty), don't forget that the Bush administration just plain 'doesn't want to talk about it,' and would much rather wave flags and utter nonsense and has done everything they can to obstruct this happening, and when it was unfeasable to oppose it anymore tried to appoint Henry Kissenger as the chairman.
The September 18th testimony of Kristen Breitweiser is especially of note. It was her activism, along with 3 other women in her NJ neighborhood who lost husbands in 9-11 that Lobbied congress, senate and the administration into actually following through.
It's notable thing about the following article is that it is coming from as mainstream a source as Newsweek.
Tagline to this story: The White House is battling to keep a report on the terror attacks secret. Does the 2004 election have anything to do with it? More...
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What Color is your Diaper?
Tonight I went to SF to meet a friend who is back visiting and met some of his friends - just normal, dorky people like me, and one of them, this girl turns out she has been working for a couple of weeks as a producer for Michael Savage. She first brought his name up and I said something like "oh yes, listen to him on AM radio when I'm driving in the Midwest, he's the worst of the worst.." And then she said that she just got a job being an executive producer at which I said something to the effect of "That's Great, sounds interesting" and trying to not appear like I think she's dealing with pure evil. Eventually I got to the "Uh, you know he's an asshole.." to which she said she "wasn't gonna take any shit from him", and that "he buckles to the sound of a stern motherly voice" and he's a "mamma's boy." And she knows how to handle "east coast loudmouths" like him. Her words. "I told her that I've never watched his show and that if I did I would probably feel even more hopeless for humanily than I do allready. She said he lives in Tiburon, a ridiculously marvelous gold plated SUV super rich part of Marin.
She was allright with him and very much admires the guy and his politics... "I'm really quite conservative" she said, and we laughed about the "Red Diaper Doper Babies" reference that Savage makes. She was wearing a hip camoflauged printed halter top. Minutes before she was talking about taking ridiculous drugs and partying at Burning Man and shit, yet she admires this guy who is working for a world where.. uh let's just say there's less tolerance for that kind of stuff. Geez. More...
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Wed May 21, 2003
Chris Hedges was Booed off the Stage and had his Microphone Cut Twice as he Delivered a Graduation Speech on War and Empire at Rockford College in Illinois
from Democracy Now this morning
“As I looked out on the crowd, I was witnessing things I had witnessed in the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina or in squares in Belgrade… it breaks my heart when I see it in my country.”
“Speaker disrupts RC graduation” – this is the headline in the Rockford Register Star in Illinois.
The article describes how a commencement speaker was booed of the stage for making an antiwar speech at the Rockford College graduation on Saturday. The paper reports that two days later, graduates and family members are “still reeling.” They had envisioned a “go out and make your mark send-off.”
The speaker wasn’t an antiwar student. It wasn’t an antiwar faculty member. It was New York Times reporter and veteran war correspondent Chris Hedges. Hedges reported from war-torn countries for fifteen years. Hedges spent the last year covering Al Qaida cells in Europe and North Africa. He was a member of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.
In his new book War is a Force that Gives us Meaning, Hedges writes: “War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I began covering insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then went on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally to Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of road in Central America, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guard, strafed by Russian Migs-2IS in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo.”
But this didn’t stop Rockford College officials from pulling the plug on his microphone three minutes after he began to speak. The college president told Hedges to wrap it up. He resumed his speech as to the sound of boos and foghorns. Some graduates and audience members turned their backs to Hedges. Others rushed up the aisle to protest the remarks; one student tossed his cap and gown to the stage before leaving.
Text of the Rockford College graduation speech by Chris Hedges:
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Sun May 18, 2003
Udderly American Breastpump - Are you a proud American mother with a newborn patriot in your arms? If so, you're in dire need of this amazingly beautiful U.S. Flag Breastpump. Nurture your child with Old Glory. Betsy Ross would be proud! - $349.95
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Wed May 14, 2003
Chris Buckley, The adminstration and the Senator from France
"Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon unveiled a half-dozen thirty-second spots designed to emphasize Mr. Kerry’s “alarming and unapologetic Francophilia.”
The ads, which McKinnon admits have been “somewhat” computer-enhanced, variously depict the Senator singing the “Marseillaise” on the floor of the U.S. Senate during a filibuster in the discussion of Bush judicial appointees, raising the French tricolor over the U.S. Capitol, and groping French actress Sophie Marceau during an anti-Iraq-war protest march on the Mall in Washington."
Good stuff. Cheers to the Corner blog.
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Tue May 13, 2003
WFBuckley with the final word on the subject of Bill Bennett
Read the rest. Its the best post-mortem on the whole affair that I have read.
Mon May 12, 2003
Victor Davis Hanson resumes duties as Gentleman Farmer
After a year as the Shifrin professor of military history at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, one of my most beloved pundits quits the Beltway for the isolation of his Selma, California farm. Here is his latest from NRO, with some interesting observations about post-war resconstruction.
"The complexities of Panama, the Gulf War, Kosovo and Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the Iraqi War involved not just military challenges, but postwar reconstruction and global opinion-making as well. In part, our problem arises from our very success and the intrinsic power of the American military. We can take out rogue regimes within a matter of days or weeks without inflicting the level of pain, injury, and humiliation on enemy forces that traditionally rids opponents of any lingering doubts about the end of the old order and the onset of the new. In short, we win so quickly that some of the losers inevitably do not quite concede that they were really defeated." More...
Fri May 02, 2003
Sayyid Qutb: Theologian of the Terrorists
Paul Berman, veteran member of the New Left, editor of the Socialist magazine Dissent, frequent contributor to New Republic, and author of the upcoming book Terror & Liberalism writes a compelling tome–and I do mean tome–discussing the Koranic commentaries of Sayyid Qutb, whom Berman calls a sort of Karl Marx to the Islamists. My pastor tipped me off to this, and it is an incredible read, and an even better re-read.
Berman’s piece is fascinating, and confusing. I wonder what makes it so? Certainly many central questions raised–from Qutb, from Berman, sometimes from both–have been answered, endlessly, over centuries of Christian thought (or ‘philosophy’ as Berman would have it). What could the diseased mind of Qutb show us about the failings of ‘the West’ that we don’t already know? And show us, no less, through the prism of a twisted Islam?
Berman is himself a pretty interesting character, and certainly not an idiot. He is, in fact, a great fan of our Western way of life. Still, I can’t imagine what are Qutb’s “deep things” that Berman feels need answering by philosophers and religious leaders. Who should give answers to poor Qutb’s agony in contemplating the West’s “schizophrenia”? Berman already hinted at Nietzsche. Who else might work from his secular viewpoint? Ayn Rand? Thomas Jefferson? The ladies from Sex In The City? An XBox? These would be some of Berman’s choices, no doubt. But I think Berman knows that an answer from ‘liberal society’ would not be enough for those who dream of Shariah law. So why has he written this article? Since 9/11 many have written calling for–begging for–some formal repudiation from the greater Islamic world against Qutb’s Islamists. Perhaps some sort of Vatican II is in the works now, and we in the West can look forward to things settling down after a while.
Consider Qutb’s bottom line: the idea that “human nature and modern life are somehow at odds”. To the law-bound Islamist and (as Berman agrees with this concept) the earth-bound Humanist, this is a problem that needs an answer. And indeed it does. Qutb’s vision rests in a utopia where there is a “total liberation of man from enslavement by others”. A vision that, as it most often has in the past, ends with large open pits and sacks of lime. But for the Christian, we reject the idea that (as Qutb wrote) “the human race has lost touch with human nature”. Could anything else be further from the truth? Depraved humanity and modern life go wonderfully well together–like milk and cookies. For the Christian, the only answer to this problem is one that eluded Qutb’s bizarre understanding of Christian theology, and it is an answer that is unavailable to Berman’s secular humanist mind: Grace.
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