Notes From The Overground

Progressive-minded weblog devoted heavily to politics and media with some music and popular culture sprinkled throughout working on the assumption that anything that comes out of Washington or the mass media is bogus propaganda unless proven otherwise.

Created by Tom

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Saturday, February 08, 2003
 


Doublethink or Stupidity? You be the Judge...

Taking the notion of doublethink to its illogical extreme, Bush and Rumsfeld warned reluctant allies that giving Iraq another chance to disarm only makes war more likely. So they basically said that if these countries do not support America's wish to bomb Saddam, war will be all but imminent. What a perfect way to ensure that you get your war, use the double-headed coin scenario. Either way it lands, it comes up war! Am I the only person who finds that strangely Orwellian?

To be fair, the war-hungry Bush-folk claim that not preparing for war (i.e. not pouring even more money into the defense contractors and creating a distraction from the state of the home front) sends a signal of uncertainty to Saddam. So now we have moved passed the realm of the Orwellian and strictly into guilting and bullying. In a nutshell it is a childish attempt to push the fence-sitters into compliance without giving it more thought -- because thought, according to these anti-intellectual yahoos, would be a sign of "uncertainty" (code word for weakness).

When it comes to scaling the depths of dangerously propagandistic stupidity, the Bushies' never cease to amaze...
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Meanwhile.... Big Brother is Watching You...



 


Drivel From a Brain-Washed Hawk

Bill Keller, columnist for the New York Times unwittingly proves just how effective the Bushies' right-wing propaganda effort has been on the minds of so-called intelligent Americans. Clearly supporting Bush's folly, Keller lays out a dung-heap of apologetic, pro-war prose that is equally as Pollyanna-ish as it is arrogant. His basic thesis (if you can find it) revolves around the fact that America will go to war with a surprising amount of backing from liberals. I'm not sure what rock Keller lives under, but every intelligent person, let alone liberal, I've come across realizes the dangerous folly of Bush's "pre-emptive strike" mentality.

The fact that an un-provoked act of war by an elitist presidential administration with nefarious ties and motives can be spoken about in anything but a negative light in one of America's most respected newspapers illustrates just how insidious and pervasive Bush's propaganda has been. Keller's article accepts the notion that war is warranted despite the fact that he has not proven this to be so. Keller has been so brainwashed to accept and apologize for a war that he cannot even prove is necessary. And this is happening media-wide. The so-called liberal media has been chanting in unison to Bush's war drum without scrutinizing the motives or the need.

When true, multi-sided debate disappears from the mass-media (as it has ever so gradually over the last few decades) you can kiss democracy and free-thought goodbye.

Don't worry. It's time to bomb Saddam.




 


Scotland Recycling Yard

The British government admitted that its report on Iraq was in fact based mostly on magazines and scholarly journals. The New York Times picked up on the story originally broken by Britain's Channel 4 and the Associated Press. Although the report was pulled together from a variety of secondary sources Blair's government defended it as "solid and accurate."

James Bond is highly disappointed.



Friday, February 07, 2003
 


WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


Only a day after "President" Bush virtually triple-dog-dared the UN to allow use of force against Iraq, while millions of Americans are on the fence about the necessity of this war, the administration raised the national terror alert level from yellow to orange. In a great Orwellian fashion, playing the public like a Stradivarius and conducting national opinion as if he were Bernstein, the fear-mongering has been accelerated. This all has such a familiar ring to it that it is almost humorous in its similarity to Orwell's masterpiece, 1984. All previous alerts fly down the memory hole as Big Brother Ashcroft gives basically a replay of the last time the terror alert was raised. He gave such a wide and disparate listing of probable targets that his message is sure to drive the anxiety level that much higher. But have not fear, Big Brother Bush loves you.

Ashcroft said apartment buildings, hotels or other "lightly secured targets" in the United States could be vulnerable. The attorney general also said terrorists might seek "economic targets, including the transportation and energy sectors, as well as symbolic targets and symbols of American power. (AP)


Well at least they narrowed it down some. As O'Brien, the chief government tormenter in 1984 said:

Unless he [man or woman] is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing the human minds to pieces and putting them back together again in new shapes of our own choosing...always their will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.


In today's case, the "pain" inflicted is the anxiety and fear. "We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves." The promise of eternal war against "terrorism" ensures the eternal thrill and fear that is necessary in controlling the bewildered herd. Keep the masses afraid, terrified of a constant enemy, yet simultaneously offer them the narcotocizing balms of consumer capitalism. Torture the people with fear and want, until they love you for it.

It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph, The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant; the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism.


Orwell may have gotten the year wrong, but the prophesy is chillingly accurate. There is still hope for us, but the evil and power-lust still thrives.





 


Big Orange Distraction

Isn't it a funny coincidence that raising the terror level comes at the end of the same week that the NY Times reported that the U.S. economy is in its worst hiring slump in 20 years? Wouldn't want the people fussing too much over the economy, would they?

Meanwhile, there's always that irritating nuclear stand-off with North Korea.

Don't worry. It's time to bomb Saddam.



 


War Hangs on the Words of a Grad Student?

William Rivers Pitt of Truthout.com published a story stating that Colin Powell's UN remarks relied heavily on a British intelligence report that virtually plagiarized portions of a student's essay. The essay, written by California graduate student Ibrahim al-Marashi, was published last September. The story, which was broken by Britain's Channel 4 and the Associated Press, is further augmented in Truthout.com by links to both the original British Intelligence dossier and al-Marashi's essay. It is also asserted that while the British plagiarized portions of the student's essay they also changed key words to give Hussein's actions more sinister overtones. The fact that the U.S.'s closest ally passed along such a slipshod piece of evidence raises a plethora of authenticity issues. It is more than obvious that Blair wants desperately to be bushes trusty lapdog, yet at the same time he is weary of acting with UN backing.

This raises many questions as to the accuracy of Powell's report. Powell himself claimed that his statements were backed up by "solid sources" and were not "assertions." He ultimately claimed, "what we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence." However, if this British document is was as dubiously created as it seems, the prospect of war (or at least the UN's backing of war) swings on the balance of a shoddy piece of propaganda.



Thursday, February 06, 2003
 


...and Mediocrity for All

Metallica will embark on a tour with Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. This should come as no surprise as Metallica, once THE quintessential metal band, jumped the shark back in 1991 with their "Black Album" and proceeded to climb right into the shark's mouth with their Napster fiasco. They should market a 1/3 price ticket for those who would rather use Fred Durst's head as a percussive instrument than sit through his whining. And Linkin Park?... they're like 'N Sync on testosterone therapy...Christ I'm getting old...



 


Waiting for a Miracle

Barring anything short of a miracle, it appears that questions of a war with Iraq are officially in the realm of "when" not "if." "President" Bush addressed the nation from the Roosevelt Room of the White House today to reiterate Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council. As has been widely reported, Powell was able to give compelling evidence that Iraq may be hiding weapons of mass destruction, but he fell short in proving any clear and direct ties to al Quaeda. Ultimately he showed no proof that Iraq is a direct threat worthy of a grisly and costly war. Furthermore, according to UK's Guardian, chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, dismissed Powell's central claims of "mobile biological weapons laboratories."

The Bush Rides in on his White Steed, Waving His Mighty Sword of Righteousness...

But "el presidente" would have you think otherwise. In his remarks today he fell just short of issuing a direct and personal threat the Hussein himself. He stared directly at the camera and spoke of war, breaches of Security Council resolution, and his God-given ability to wreak righteous violence on the oily rogues in his most lucidly cold manner. As has been proven time and time again, Bush is no verbal slouch when speaking of his favorite topic, righteously warlike vengeance. Again, even if the worst of the Bushies' assertions are correct, nobody has given a clear and solid case on why this cannot be handled without waging an open war. Bush's insistence on this matter betrays a war-lust that can only be linked to partially-hidden agendas. (I say partially-hidden because any thinking person following current events knows that Bush et al are more transparent than scotch tape and just as stuck to their various pressure groups). What I find most mind-numbingly obvious is that if there were a real reason for was against Iraq, it would be patently obvious. I find it hard to believe that the rest of the world would just sit idly by as innocent lives are in danger. The fact that the U.S. of A has to market and campaign this thing like an unpopular candidate speaks volumes about how "justified" or "warranted" it is.

The Spoils of War, Re-Revisited...

But still, the warmongers and chickenhawks are foaming at their mouths and chomping at the bit with their proposed opening volleys and strikes already laid out. To dispel any myth that this is going to be a benevolent liberation mission on the part of the U.S. VoteNoWar.org sent out a message that describes how the war will likely begin...

The Pentagon has disclosed its plan to maintain peace by carrying out an opening blitzkrieg on Iraq of more than 3000 bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours. This plan is titled "Shock and Awe" by the administration. 300 to 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles will rip through Iraq on the first day of a U.S. assault, which is more than the number that were launched during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War. On the second day, another 300 to 400 cruise missiles will be sent. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," said one Pentagon official. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before," the official said. One of the authors of the Shock and Awe plan stated the intent is, "So that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes." (CBS News January 27, 2003, New York Times, February 2, 2003)


Seems like pretty harsh action to be taken based upon some circumstantial evidence and hypothetical connections. If Hussein is in breach of Security Council resolutions there must be a more humane way of dealing with this. Just goes to show what a difference 13 years makes. Hussein, no less barbarous and diabolical, was a U.S. ally throughout the 1980s in their campaigns against Iran. Just over a decade later, today's mirror-image of 1980s American power is poised to unleash hell on the people of Bagdad over what is, essentially, small potatoes in comparison to the threats that other countries pose (eg. North Korea, Pakistan's unstable arsenal, various other terrorist-friendly states, etc.).

In light of this all, I can't help but feel ashamed to be an American today...

Pyongyang Bang

Well, it's a good thing all of this talk about blowing Bagdad to smithereens is distracting the public from this powderkeg in the East: N. Korea threatens US with first strike. Korean officials in Pyongyang are asserting the right to a preemptive attack in response to the buildup of U.S. forces.

But Saddam Hussein is a menace and must be stopped. Rrright...



Wednesday, February 05, 2003
 


Bronze Humor

Have to pass this one along, it's a joke someone told me:

This guy is in an antique shop in San Francisco. He's looking around and he finds a bronze rat. He asks the owner, "how much for the bronze rat?"
The owner replies, "$12 for the rat, but $900 for the story behind it." Well the guy says, "screw that, I'll just take the rat for $12."

So he buys the rat and he starts walking around San Francisco with it. He finds that as he's walking real rats start to follow him. The more he walks, the larger the trail of rats. Finally, he's so freaked out that he starts walking over the Golden Gate Bridge with this trail of rats behind him (must be every rat in San Fran). So, panicked, he throws the statue into the bay. To his relieved disbelief he finds that all of the rats plunge to their death into the bay behind the statue.

Freed of his plague the man returns to the antique shop. The owner asks, "so, have you returned for the story?"
"No," the man replies, "I was wondering if you had a bronze Republican."



Tuesday, February 04, 2003
 


Them Pesky Decorations

In a televisual age when mise-en-scene and various aesthetics go hand in had with the message it is hardly surprising that the UN covered Pablo Picasso's "Guernica," a painting that adorns the entrance to the Security Council. The painting, which often serves as a backdrop for press briefings, was covered because officials believe it would be jarring to discuss the impending war in front of a graphic depiction of terrified women, children and animals gasping at the horrors of bombings.

What is so amazing is how a painting created by Picasso half a century ago better illustrates the impending horror than the video-game images of "smart bombs" silently wiping out entire buildings from "Desert Storm '91." Such is the narrative value of warm low-fi are as opposed to the utterly cold and lifeless high-fi digital images of the defense industry's toys.

The painting should be left bare to show the world just what is being proposed.

Meanwhile in the land of the censored: Laura Bush cancels White House poetry event for fear of anti-war poetry.

And while the war drums beat, the largest anti-war movement since Vietnam picks up steam. But where is the mainstream media coverage?



 


Rage: Now More Than Ever

Tom Morello, Audioslave guitarist and formerly of Rage Against the Machine, weighed in on the impending war on Iraq in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. In the article, Morello provides a laundry list of clear and lucid reasons why the war on Iraq would be nothing more than a giant mistake. Morello has long been a clear, intelligent and articulate voice of dissent in a rather homogenous sea of rockers and posters. For more of Morello's politics visit www.axisofjustice.org, a site co-created with Serj Tankian or System of a Down.



Monday, February 03, 2003
 


NASA: More Than Just Space Exploration

One fact often glazed over in the mainstream news is that NASA serves a purpose other than innocuous "space exploration." Started as a high-minded offshoot of the US Airforce, NASA serves a geopolitical and military purpose. Even in the early days, while most rhetoric dealt with slipping the bonds of earth in order to explore the "final frontier," NASA was locked in a cold-war race with the Russians to see who could master space travel first. Winning the space-race meant a technological advantage in global domination. Forty years later, the more things have changed the more they've stayed the same. With modern-day talk of "star wars" and missile defense, NASA is a key factor in U.S. geo-political domination.



Sunday, February 02, 2003
 


Deregulating the FCC

Michael Powell, Colin's big-business-loving son, is doing all that he can to turn the FCC from a regulatory check on Big Media into an enabling puppet group. His latest move is to deregulate the nation's largest telephone companies and media conglomerates. The New York Times piece story on the topic is entitled "Dream Nears Reality: Ease Up at the F.C.C." Yes it's a dream for any darwinistic, conservative MBA with his or her hand in the pie, a nightmare for democracy. Using the trickle-down rhetoric of his immediate forefathers, Powell believes that the massive deregulation will encourage investment and competition. Sure, the investment side of it works as there will be nobody left to invest in but two or three companies, but competition? Mass media regulation, having been chipped away at since the conservative salad days of Reagan, has left the citizens with homogenized media content that is virtually indistinguishable from company to company. Furthermore, de-regulated media run only by a few large companies serves almost exclusively as a propaganda machine for their interests. Rather than promoting competition, Mini-Powell will empower an oligopoly.



 


Is it a Case of Good Constable/Bad Cop?

"President" Bush and his good buddy Tony Blair agree that Saddam is running out of time. Yet, while John Wayne Bush is prepared to start Desert Storm 2 with or without the U.N., Blair stated that Britain would prefer full U.N. backing in any offensive against Iraq. Dubya just sulked, called Blair a "Pussy" and smashed a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon against his head.



 


All is Less Than Quiet on the Eastern Front...

Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific has requested more air and naval forces to act as a deterrent against North Korea. Could this be the start of a buildup on a second and more silent front?



 


Within Protesting Distance

The GOP announced that they will hold their 2004 convention in New York. Like the city hasn't had enough tragedy in the past two years.





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