Saturday, March 15, 2003

In repression news, the Spanish courts let the government ban a Basque newspaper, the Turkish government is banning 2 Kurdish parties, and Germany is trying to ban the largest neo-Nazi party, but it turns out that most of the members who testified against it were actually agents provocateurs working for the intelligence services, while the press have discovered that the gov has been deliberately under-reporting the number killed in neo-Nazi violence, 99 since reunification (not 39, the gov figure). Also, Santa Cruz Public Library, followed by others, has put out signs warning that the FBI can get patrons’ records.

Speaking of Nazis, CBS is making a mini-series based on Hitler’s early life. But they’ve decided that Hitler--Adolf Hitler, mind you--isn’t that interesting, so they’re going to spice it up a bit. Ian Kershaw, whose biography of Hitler they were supposed to be basing this on (which I’ve read), has walked off and demanded his name be removed.

Someone at the State Dept has leaked a report trashing Bush’s hilarious “domino theory” idea that “regime change” in Iraq will create a cascade of democracy throughout the region. The problem is that what State is essentially saying is that these towel-heads aren’t up to the task of democracy, that it isn’t suited to them, and best stick with the authoritarian regimes we know and love. It’s hard to know which is more dangerous, Bush’s optimism, or State’s pessimism.

One of the countries Bush needs to get a Security Council vote from is Cameroon. The big news in that country is that the government is threatening to arrest people who drink their own urine. For medicinal purposes. And note to Chris: it’s supposed to restore hair too.

Fresh off its victory on victims of medical malpractice, the bastards, the Bushies are now trying to make it easier to deny coverage to Medicare patients by, for example, replacing judges as the persons who hear complaints about denials to employees of the DHHS. Astonishingly, they don’t need to go to Congress to do this.

The Observer today runs the silliest op-ed piece ever, someone saying that while Martin Sheen may oppose the war, Jeb Bartlett wouldn’t.

From AP: Procter & Gamble has agreed to include a disclaimer in a Metamucil commercial featuring Old Faithful to mollify the National Park Service. The commercial shows what looks like a Yellowstone National Park ranger pouring a glass of Metamucil, a laxative, into the geyser to help it stay regular. It will now say, "Dramatization — Please Obey Park Service Rules."

Israel has answered Bush’s “road map” with the environment-friendly response that it won’t be taking any road trips soon. Specifically, it refuses to dismantle even the illegal settlement outposts or freeze settlements, and that any movement from the first stage will be “conditioned upon the complete cessation of violence and terrorism, full disarmament of terrorist organizations, their capabilities and infrastructure, the complete collection of illegal weapons and the emergence of a new and different [Palestinian] leadership.” The road map as leaked to the NY Times was hilariously vague, although I did like the false equivalencies, such as the Palestinian leaders are supposed to urge the end of violence against Israelis, while the Israeli government is supposed to urge the end of violence against Palestinians. The falseness of the equivalency, of course, lies in the fact that most of the Israeli violence is committed by agents of the government. By the way, the shooting of 2 Israeli guards by Israeli troops, one killed by a missile shot from a helicopter while he was fleeing, shows, if more proof was needed, that the IDF shoots first and asks questions later, if then.

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