Saturday, January 22, 2005

"I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective."

Here's a link to an interview with that great Python, Terry Jones, who just released a collection of his commentaries in the form of Terry Jones' War on the War on Terror. Over the past couple of years, Terry Jones has been writing about the so-called "War on Terror" with a fine balance of wit and outrage. His moral vision has guided through the farce of naked propaganda eminating from the White House and 10 Downing Street, and brought some much needed levity to these dark times.

Coupled with Eric Idle's post-election cheer and Michael Palin's fun travelogues, the Pythons are back and better than ever!

Here's Eric's advice:

Cheer Up America.

Ok it looks bad but here are my tips for surviving the depression....

1) Cancel the papers for four years.
2) Ignore all letters from the army.
3) Don't f#*& Republicans.
4) See if you can find an asshole to run next time.
5) Be extra nice to gays. They may be rounded up soon.
6) Remember the Roman Empire fell when the Christians took control.

Friday, January 21, 2005

On the Orwellian Inaugural speech...




-- George Orwell, 1984

and then from 1984, there is the junior anti-sex league, thoughtpolice (right-wing media), minitrue (propaganda), minipax (war), miniluv (torture), etc.

enough said...

Grant him that much, George Bush is a master of doublethink and doublespeak, or more succinctly put by Hitler, "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." Moreover, his regime fuses elements of Kafka and Orwell. Yet many Americans still love to death their big brother. Reading Orwell, we know why.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration 2005: Episode III

It's only fitting that Bush's inauguration, or more accurately his coronation is taking place as Star Wars: Episode III comes out this spring. It seems the timelines of the movie releases and events in the real world are converging, as the Republic falters, the clone wars rage, and the Sith prepare to exact their revenge on the Jedi by declaring a Galactic Empire. Indeed, neo-cons have already put in their case for an American Empire modeled precisely on the Star Wars example!

More interesting still is that Bush is restarting the Star Wars Missile Defense and looking forward to "Full Spectrum Dominance" as well as the restarting of production of mini-nukes. Hmmm... Death Stars, battlestations, massive military buildup to fight "Phantom Menace"...

"fear will keep the local systems in line. fear of this battlestation. It is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it."
-- Grand Moff Tarkin

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Salvador Option: Supreme Evil

Just this past week, the mainstream news (Newsweek) revealed the probable course of the Iraq war as the US shifts into its genocidal end game of pacifying the Iraqi resistance. The signs were clear from the beginning as Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte -- those murderous characters from the 1980s were tapped to bring their charnel house in Central America to the Middle East to mutilate yet another country. It's as if the spirit of Jack the Ripper lives on in US foreign policy.

The worst thing about the whole affair is that these people would even admit to contemplating the Salvador Option. Long denied by the US, they basically admitted that the Reagan administration was behind the counterinsurgency campaign in Central America that led to some of the most gruesome atrocities ever recorded in modern history. However, such programs had their precedents as Allan Nairn made clear to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. -- beginning with the terror campaign against the Seminoles in Florida, the butchery of the Philippines, the black ops in Vietnam, and the "dirty wars" in Central and South America.

Indeed, the killing of Margaret Hassan, the well-respected and beloved humanitarian worker in Iraq, echoes the killing of American Nuns in 1980 by Salvadoran death squads, so I would not be surprised if covert operations were already underway. It already seems likely that much of the sectarian violence being committed against Shiites is actually being carried out by US-backed death squads.

This article explains some of the gory details of El Salvador's experience.
[link] Always illuminating, Robert Parry places the sudden interest in death squads in the larger context of Bush's dictatorial designs. He also takes a look at Guatemala where the genocide has been extensively detailed owing to the declassification of secret US documents in the 1990s.

And here's another grim story of how barbaric the US occupation has become with the destruction wrought by a military base in the archeological wonder of Babylon. The destruction of at least 4000 years of history parallels the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, yet with perhaps even longer term consequences to archeology.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

In tragedy, Imperialism lives on

I have always admired Jeremy Seabrook. He has an incredibly deftness with language to reveal movingly as well as lucidly the structures of inequality that straddle our world. In this article on the tsunami he at once humanizes the victims and also touches upon the poignancy in which westerners were cared for first as guests of countries that had suffered so much. Even better, this commentary appeared in the Toronto Star, a mainstream paper. [link]

Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami aid in context

The tsunami that devastated so many coastal communities in the Indian Ocean has really dwarfed comparable disasters in the sheer extent of the destruction and enormity of the death toll.

Exactly a year to the day earlier, an earthquake rocked Bam, Iran, leading to thousands of deaths. However, as commentaries have noted, the total aid delivered has fallen far short of the amount promised, a problem that will likely be repeated in this case as governments fall over themselves to beat their chests in demonstrations of grand compassion, while quietly preparing to pull hard on the purse strings.

The mismatch in what is said and done in the past is listed in this Guardian piece. Bush's petulance and mean-spiritedness in this affair has also not escaped media watchers, as the initial US aid offer rose from a measley $15 million to $35 million to $350 million only after the administration was pounded by the press and they realized that the disaster offered a golden public relations opportunity to the US. On the other hand, Earl Ofari Hutchison offers a more optimistic note, but also raises the point that it shouldn't take a disaster of such magnitude for rich countries to do more.

Harsha Walia writing on ZNET has been most critical, taking to task the discourse of compassion that maintains the world as it is, while degrading those it ostensibly cares for. Comparing the outpouring of grief over this natural disaster (albeit greatly exacerbated by poverty and conflict in the regions affected) to other hotspots that fail to register with the media, Walia strongly attacks these injustices and ties it to the bitter ironies that are revealing themselves day by day in the crisis (e.g., Coke donating bottled water after it sucked dry the aquifers of local communities in the region).