2009: A True Story.
"My name is Sara Ford and I am 18 years old. I moved to California at the end of last year. Before the first attacks... before everything changed." [Via] [more inside]
"They called it 'the American Century,' but the past hundred years actually saw a shift away
from Western dominance. Through the long lens of Edward Gibbon's history, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
, Rome 331 and America and Europe 2006 appear to have more than a few problems in common." By Niall Ferguson, whose views on the American hegemony have been discussed previously
John Ashcroft's Patriot Games.
An interesting article from last month's Vanity Fair on Ashcroft and his revolution inside the Justice Department. Now the Justice Department wants to wage a war on porn
, and "are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains." [Via Boing Boing and Instapundit.]
Thou shalt not make scientific progress.
"Medical research is poised to make a quantum leap that will benefit sufferers from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and other diseases. But George W. Bush's religious convictions stand in its way."
Salon has an interesting two part series on the tensions between antiwar protesters and law enforcement. Part 1: "Outlawing dissent:
Spying on peace meetings, cracking down on protesters, keeping secret files on innocent people -- how Bush's war on terror has become a war on freedom." Part 2: "A thousand J. Edgar Hoovers:
State and local police are taking it upon themselves to investigate antiwar activists -- and in the computer age, the threat to our civil liberties is even greater than it was in Hoover's day." Does Protester = Criminal?
is a powerful Flash video about the war. "Doctor Bushlove"
is darkly comic. Both are by Eric Blumrich
, and are well-crafted but quite graphic. And in the interests of fairness, Blumrich has given equal time
to his critics. [Via BuzzFlash
America Still Unprepared - America Still in Danger,
a new report sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations
, claims that "a year after September 11, 2001, America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil. In all likelihood, the next attack will result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to American lives and the economy. The need for immediate action is made more urgent by the prospect of the United States going to war with Iraq and the possibility that Saddam Hussein might threaten the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in America." While of al Qaeda, George Tenet says
that "the threat environment we face is as bad as it was before Sept. 11. It is serious—they have reconstituted, they are coming after us." This is not comforting (more inside.)
The End of Empire?
"You can't sustain an empire from a debtor's weakening position--sooner or later the creditors pull the plug. That humiliating lesson was learned by Great Britain early in the last century, and the United States faces a similar reckoning ahead."
The clash of battling war plans.
"Imagine Operation Overlord for D-Day splashed all over the front page of the New York Times. Unthinkable, you say. Then imagine the German high command's plans to repulse the Allied invasion announced by Adolf Hitler himself in a meeting with his closest advisers and then leaked to a London newspaper. Equally unthinkable. But this is how the invasion of Iraq by the United States and Saddam's plans to counterattack have been played out in the New York Times and a Kuwaiti newspaper â?? all before a single shot has been fired." First there was the parade of leaks
from the U.S., even an influential insider
making predictions on TV. Then there was the apparent counterleak of Saddam's war plan
. What is going on? Is the Iraqi leak credible? And if so, what price are American civilians going to pay?
The pursuit of permanent military supremacy.
"The question facing all Americans, therefore, is whether the expenditure of hundreds (later thousands) of billions of dollars to defend against hypothetical enemies that may not arise until thirty or forty years from now is a sensible precaution, as contended by the President and Defense Secretary, or whether it eventually will undermine US security by siphoning off funds from vital health and educational programs and by creating a global environment of fear and hostility that will produce exactly the opposite of what is intended by all these expenditures."
Department of Homeland Security to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act?
The last episode of NOW
ran a piece on the FOIA
which described how back in 1974 President Ford and his staff, which included Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, opposed Congress' strengthening of the FOIA, and Ford tried unsuccessfully to veto it. Now this new exemption looks like the continuation of a 28 year-old feud. Ridge says it is in order to not "draw a road map of critical infrastructure vulnerabilities,"
but are complete exemptions really necessary for that? The potential for abuse seems quite dangerous. (Some previous discussions of FOIA revelations here
Another interview with Greg Palast.
This is a follow-up to the previously discussed interview
with the self-imposed exile journalist.
The Next World Order.
A fascinating article suggesting that the new guiding principle of American foreign policy, originally formulated by Cheney and Wolfowitz during the first Bush administration, is the prevention of the rise of any other great power which could rival the U.S.
Interview with Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie,
the two French authors of the increasingly infamous book "Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth." That's the book in which former FBI deputy director John O'Neill claimed that U.S. oil interests were an obstacle to fighting terrorism.