"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Top ten films you may not have seen

1) American Movie
2) The Believer
3) Swimming With Sharks (also know as "Buddy Factor")
4) S.F.W. (So Fucking What)
5) Elephant
6) Out of Sight
7) Das Experiment
8) Storytelling


Friday, November 19, 2004

after some more melanie rants


In response to your diary entries: "Worlds apart" and "A Democrat gets it"

Your theory that concern for "children's welfare under the influence of a culture in which all the norms that keep most people safe are breaking down is uppermost in most parents' minds" is very probably high on the agenda for many of the Americans who voted recently and I'm sure that's why they have developed a "trust [for] their country's leader" who according to you has "reformed" and "showed backbone by allowing religion to turn him from vice to virtue."But if religious values are at the heart of American voters' decision making technique, shouldn't these values be better based on a person's (Bush's) actions and not on the various speeches he makes. Empty promises, apologies in advance for being glib, do not feed poor children. This is just a handful of Bush's ACTIONS:

According to the New York Times ""People in the very top income categories fared better by almost any measure, according to the report. The average after-tax income for people in the top 1 percent of income earners climbed 10.1 percent, while that of those in the middle 20 percent climbed 2.3 percent, and that of those in the bottom fifth only 1.6 percent."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau "For all children under 18, the poverty rate increased from 16.7 percent in 2002 to 17.6 percent in 2003. The number in poverty rose, from 12.1 million to 12.9 million," "The poverty rate and number of families in poverty increased from 9.6 percent and 7.2 million in 2002 to 10.0 percent and 7.6 million in 2003," "The proportion of uninsured children did not change in 2003, REMAINING AT 11.4 PERCENT OF ALL CHILDREN (my emphasis), or 8.4 million."

So "Concern for children's welfare" doesn't seem high on this moral minded man's agenda.

"He pats us on the back with his speeches and stabs us in the back with his actions," said Charles A. Carter of Shawnee, Okla., a retired Navy senior chief petty officer.
According to the Democrats "The President's budget raises health care costs for over 1 million veterans, increasing drug co-payments and imposing new enrollment fees that will cost veterans over $2 billion over five years. According to the Administration’s own figures, this will result in driving about 200,000 veterans out of the system, and discourage another 1 million veterans from enrolling. Every year since taking office, the Bush Administration has proposed to increase the cost of health care for veterans."

So, with family at the core of Bush's policies, he has decided to make a few grandfathers/fathers a little less well off, not to mention less able to deal with their disability, assuming they have one (and there is plenty to choose from). Aquired, no doubt, from "defending freedom" in countries they may never have heard of, aganist people they never new existed, but in the knowledge that if they do get injured they will be well looked after by their caring and religious president.

A new report from the EPI "The employment rate among single mothers fell from 73.0 percent in 2000 to 69.8 percent in 2003," [Between '95 and '00 employment increased BUT] "About one-fourth of these employment gains were lost between 2000 and 2003."

According to CNN "President Bush on Tuesday unveiled a welfare reform plan that touts marriage for unwed mothers and stiffens work requirements for recipients."
Seemingly Bush's plan is to get them married off so he can pay them even less, admirable stuff.

And for those children who have just arrived President Bush is planning "Providing food assistance to legal immigrants in need, after they have lived in the country longer than five years," assuming they last that long i guess.

In one respect you are completely correct, when you say "The choice is between fighting terror and defeating it, or making an accommodation with it that guarantees it will eventually defeat you. On the one side is the Bush administration; on the other is the United Nations," but regretfully for the wrong reasons. A large portion of the anti-war lobby and those of us who believe in human rights decided to vote for the lesser of two evils in the hope it will save countless civilian lives, but the fight to hinder US led terror hit a stumbling block with President Bush's re-election. Obviously a small majority of American voters have sided with Terrorism, but as you say, it will eventually defeat them. Well, the poor ones anyway (hint: most of them are).

Terrorism: "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives."

Low Intensity Warfare (Official US Policy): "... a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states. It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. Low-intensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of the armed forces. It is waged by a combination of means, employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. Low-intensity conflicts are often localized, generally in the Third World, but contain regional and global security implications."

Melanie meet Reality, Reality meet Melanie, "Nice to meet you Melanie."

Yours Sincerely,


http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/ (be careful)


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Andrew Sullivan

Wrote this in response to the discussion on 'real-time'.



In your discussion about Noam Chomsky's remarks on "real-time" you consistantly misrepresented almost everything he said, in the knowledge he was unable to respond. You said, according to the transcript (http://www.safesearching.com/billmaher
/print/t_hbo_realtime_110504.htm), "What?! He thinks that in discussion of Saddam Hussein he should raise the issue of Nuremberg trials for the United States? Well, yes. Welcome to the world view of the far left, in which the United States is the source of evil and Saddam Hussein is actually a source of good." Here you make a hugely loaded accusation aganist Mr.Chomsky, by misrepresenting his statement in the extreme. In no way did he intimate that Saddam Hussain was a force for good (and for the record, he also didn't represent the US as a force for evil, comparative or otherwise). How you translated his remarks, "the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein" (historically accurate, see: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/press.htm) and "the first Bush Administration authorized Saddam to crush a Shiite uprising which probably would have overthrown him" into [Chomsky] "support[s] tyranny and dictatorships" even taking into account Prof. Chomsky has descibed Saddam as a 'despotic dictator' and in this very interview he refers to him as a 'brutal monster'. How you mis-represent him is beyond comprehension and given the public way you did, borders on slander. In actuality Mr.Chomsky says only minutes before said "It's certainly true that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein" something you on the right (left/right, left/ left etc) have referred to, adnauseum, since the "end" of the "war". Your surprise at his mentioning the the Nuremberg trials is astounding. Even elementary logic (which i'm sure you are capable of grasping considering your completion of a PhD in Political Science) would follow that if one (whether it be a state of person) commits war crimes then they are subject to international law, given the fact that the "war" was illegal (see: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0305-01.htm) I can only infer that you believe America is not subject to international law and therefore a higher power, the global law enforcer (for whose benefit is simple to deduce) perhaps. You also say that Mr.Chomsky "disagreed with removing one of the most disgusting tyrants in human history" which is easily refuted by looking back to his earlier statement, possibly his oposition to the "war" is for other much less easily moralistic reasons which I won't represent in my own words, as his words are much less ambiguous and much more revealing (see: http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/noam_chomsky.htm). You continue with "he doesn't have a right to besmirch freedom and democracy in the world and support tyranny and dictatorships" and therefore not surprisingly contiune your slating of Mr.Chomsky with totally fabricated statements. In no way does anything he says show support for "tyranny and dictatorship" and this should not have even been entertained by the host. If "that aggression, invasion is the supreme international crime, which includes within it all subsequent crimes" and "enormous casualty lists which may be in the range of 100,000" (I will address these figures later), "the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein" (remember this support was during Saddam's worst attrocities, including the gassing of his own people, actively supported by the US) are actions of "freedom and democracy in the world" then I think we should change the literal meaning of these words in the dictionary. Your asertion that "If the United States wanted to invade and get oil supplies, we could invade and control purely the oil fields" while at first sight sounds logically possible, considering the US's overwhelming military capacity and the relative inadequacies (read, uselessness) of Iraqi military. Extended thought (by that, I mean several seconds) leads one to conclude subsequent unrest in the region, not to mention fear and paranoia would pose this, hopefully "off the cuff" statement, useless. Without wanting to waste any more of your time, could you provide references for Mr.Chomsky's "support [for] the Soviet Union, as Chomsky did for so long, who've supported tyranny in all sorts of places." You continue with "he claimed 100,000 dead in Iraq. No one believes that", "it [referring, I presume, to the Lancet report] is absolutely riddled with exaggeration", "We have a very good idea that it isn't anywhere near that amount." These remarks are all completely hollow, they show a total disregard for the report, showing that you probably dissmissed it out of hand without any effort to examine it in some sort of detail (see: http://image.thelancet.com/extras/04cmt384web.pdf). Considering it is one of the few, independent or otherwise, studies into the number of deaths caused by the US and the coalition of the willing in Iraq. If the number provided by the report is, I'm assuming, to high for your taste, would the lower, but less easily dissmissed number presented by www.iraqbodycount.net of over 14,000 civillians more acceptable to you? Considering that the forces of "freedom and democracy" have seemingly not bothered to keep a record of civillian deaths, and who have failed to provide a conclusive account of coalition troops dead (including those dying off the battle field due to injuries, suicide etc). Therefore those who were sent to fight a "war" for the purpose of defending their country from an imminent threat (known at the time to be false and since then admitted to be false by the US president) are not even given the respect of being counted and instead flown home in secrecy. Today in Britain (presumably another centre of "freedom and democracy") 11 representatives of "Military Families Against the War" a group made up of families who have either lost relatives serving in Iraq or are presently serving in the Black Watch have been refused permission to hold a minutes silence outside Downing Street as a protest aganist the war. If this is your "freedom and democracy" you can keep it. But it is not your right to force it on other people and other countries.

In closing, I'd like to know if you, as you assert Mr.Chomsky does ("His speaking fees? He draws crowds of thousands across the world, denigrating the United States for huge speaking fees."), make thousands by erupting in these false, mis-representative, straw man arguments whether in print or spoken word. Consdering the popularity of your blog, your postion, as that of one who either turns a blind eye to social injustice around the world or supports them. Finally, if you really think Professor Chomsky says what he says, or more accurately reveals what he reveals becase it is lucrative, do you not think it would have served him better to have "stuck with" linguistics. Leaving him with the obvious benefit of not being publicly abused by you and many others "[chomsky]the most poisonous intellectual in America."

Yours Sincerely,