Tuesday 16th of August 2022

For blind ideologues

The US Defence Science Board, an advisory board to the Pentagon, published a study last December claiming that Muslims in the Middle East do not yearn for freedom.


But it seems clear that few in the Bush administration have read it or, if they have, then it is being ignored for not being ‘on message’.


The Board’s report asserts that Muslims in dictatorial regimes do not seek freedom as those in countries that had been dominated by the Soviet Union after World War II. The board said that unlike those who lived in East Bloc states, Muslims do not see the United States as their liberator.


Quotes from the report include:


"There is no yearning to be liberated by the US groundswell among Muslim societies - except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the US so determinedly promotes & defends."


“The US Government does not understand the problem. The problem isn't one of disseminating information or crafting the right message. It's a problem of credibility & we don't have any.


this poem (1870), on the back of a classical music CD sleeve....

The flag passes through the putrid countryside and our chatter suffocates the drum.
For urban sites we’ll feed our most cynical of prostitutions.
We shall massacre insurgent revolts of logic.
In countries of peppercorns and soakin’ rains!
To serve the most monstrous exploitations, industrial or Milit’ry.
See you later there, who cares where.
As conscripts of good will, we’ll grab onto the ferocious thought;
dumb to science, armed with comfort;
Putrefaction for this vanishing world.
It’s the fair way. Full forward, go!
(Putrefaction for this vanishing world.)

Song of the Rupert

Glenn Milne, in The Australian, A step closer to four-year parliaments
... Although the Prime Minister says he's not "mad keen" to hold a referendum, he is in favour of four-year terms. But only if the prime minister has the flexibility to call an election in the fourth year. Labor is also in favour of four-year lower house terms -- but wants those terms fixed. There is not much difference between the parties here. ...

As far as I heard, Labor merely went along with Howard's fleeting interest in putting extension of term up for debate. Labor may have fixed terms buried in the agenda, but that message didn't come out, and Milne's point about lack of difference seems to hold. But there is an enormous gap of principle between fixed and floating. Howard's position is quite clear - leave the choice of election date in the PM's hands. In fact Howard probably thrives on control of the short electoral cycle, and would be reluctant to give in to other arguments to extend by a year. If Milne is trying to talk up a bipartisan approach to a referendum on the issue, then either he is being intentionally duplicitous, or he is a dill. The statements he makes in the quote are not consistent. His managers should keep an eye on him.

On the other side of the great media ownership non-debate, Michael Gawenda, writing for The Age in President bushwhacked
... As a result, even journalists for the virulently pro-Bush Fox News Network have done what they never did before; aggressively question Bush about his Katrina failings. ...

There's probably no risk of Murdoch going down with GWB. It will be interesting to watch Howard's efforts to convince punters that the domestic affairs of America are less important than cricket. Heeyuh-huh-huh.

There's a great article by Frank Rich in the new pay-for-view segment of New York Times, [TS] In the Beginning, There Was Abramoff
... We have to hope that the law will get to the bottom of these cases and start to connect the recurring dots. But while everyone is innocent until proved guilty, the overall pattern stinks and has for a long time. It's so filthy that the Republican caucus couldn't even find someone clean to name as Mr. DeLay's "temporary" stand-in as House majority leader last week. As The Washington Post reported in 2003, Roy Blunt, the Missouri congressman who got the job, was found trying to alter a homeland security bill with a last-minute provision that would have benefited Philip Morris-brand cigarettes. Not only had the tobacco giant contributed royally to Mr. Blunt's various campaign coffers, but both the congressman's girlfriend (now wife) and his son were Philip Morris lobbyists at the time. ...

Murdoch, again.

From Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal
... But the accountability office said on Friday: "The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual. The essential fact of attribution is missing." ...

From [TS] The Way It Is
... When Senator James Inhofe, who has called scientific research on global warming "a gigantic hoax," called a hearing to attack that research, his star witness was Michael Crichton, the novelist. ...

Meanwhile, as reported in AFR, Rupert is struggling to increase his stranglehold over communications and media broadcasting in China. The article mentions China's 'Order 44', which was supposed to "give foreigners open entry into programming and advertising joint ventures." The Chinese have stalled on the activation of Order 44. I'm sure Rupert can convince China that he can control access of dissidents to exchange of ideas on the internet, while he provides their over-supply of young men with an excess of pay-for-view tits and bums.

I'd like to know what was showing on the big screens in the Kuta beach bars, just before the bombers ran in.

Happy, happy Joe

Dr Goebbels would be satisfied with the work of the last few days.

During World War 1, the Allies built up a sustained burst of propaganda, based on isolated incidents of brutality in Belgium. The 'Hun' was demonised, with the express intent of mobilising feeling to goad civilians into greater efforts. If the establishment wanted to achieve that goal - more productivity - it could be said the most direct way to get there would have been to manufacture the evidence of atrocity. Since propaganda is a filthy business, filthier even than politics, if the two can be separated, it just is not possible to know with certainty who told the first lie or cast the first deception.

Consider the Bill Bennett episode, where one of Bush's buddies spoke 'hypothetically' about the positive consequences of genocidal activities. He brushed it off as a joke, and a small army of his supporters have risen to embed his remarks in the political frame (Natural Unborn Killers). So, no matter what he was thinking when he said those words, they are now ammunition to fire back at critics. Senators Boswell, Fielding and Joyce could pick up some clues here, if they want get some publicity about petrol-sniffing.

Today, Oct 5th, The Australian sees fit to make a big deal out of Abu Bakar Bashir's ranting against the West (Evil call to arms). Not all of it, just the bits about Islamists perhaps thinking about using thermonuclear weapons. Why publicise the man, and give him more credibility? For one thing, it gives George Bush more ammunition to push his nuclear agenda. Convenient, when it comes just at the time when the Australian populace needs to convinced to mine more uranium, for China.

The big boys are meeting somewhere on the Gold Coast today, Warfare conference shrouded in secrecy.
... About 1,100 delegates from defence forces, defence industries and scientific organisations are expected to attend the conference, whose theme is "Warfighting in the 21st century: new threats, new technologies, new solutions". DSTO's chief of land operations Steve Quinn said the conference at the Gold Coast Convention Centre was not open to the public for security reasons. Mr Quinn said the conference was about "sharing more visionary ideas". "It's a little bit like a medical conference really," he said. ...

The Australian also editorialises in support of Ruddock's moves to enable journalists to protect their sources (Keeping confidences), without being sued for contempt of court.
... Public servants who obey their conscience and provide information to the media on issues the public has a right to know about are providing a community service. ...

That will be handy, especially if a staffer from the A-G's office wants to drop a little deceiver, and then be able to hide behind journalist's privilege.
From Who is Judy Miller Kidding?
Now that Judy Miller has finished testifying, finished spinning for the cameras on the courthouse steps, finished hugging her dog and finished eating that special meal she wanted her husband to prepare, she needs to do what Time reporter Matt Cooper did and immediately publish a full and truthful account of her involvement in Plamegate. Because what she — and the New York Times' publisher and editor — have said so far just doesn't add up. The story being pitched to the public — that Miller was a heroic, principled martyr who sacrificed her freedom in the name of journalistic integrity, then fulfilled her "civic duty" after she "finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver" from her source — is laughable. ...

defining democracy

‘George W. Bush’s recent claim that the U.S. war in Iraq is part of an attempt to spread “democracy