Here's a question I thought of last night: To what extent is the Busheviks' belief that they can alter reality created or supported by the mainstream media's

Here’s a ques­tion I thought of last night:

To what extent is the Bushe­viks’ belief that they can alter real­i­ty cre­at­ed or sup­port­ed by the main­stream media’s prac­tice of report­ing oppos­ing sides’ state­ments with­out con­sid­er­ing the facts?

For exam­ple, when the Feds start­ed claim­ing Sad­dam Hus­sein had thrown out the UN weapons inspec­tors, the media start­ed repeat­ing it as if it real­ly hap­pened. Is this an exam­ple of the Bushe­viks alter­ing real­i­ty; or at least, real­i­ty as per­ceived by peo­ple with short mem­o­ries who rely on the main­stream media for information–which is to say, most peo­ple?

Hobbits and Scotsmen .
Oct 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Hob­bits and Scots­men. The Wash­ing­ton Post reports: Sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered a tiny species of ancient human that lived 18,000 years ago on an… [Hit and Run]

The pun of the week comes from the com­ments to this post:

bq. Researchers sus­pect the ear­li­er ances­tor may have migrat­ed to the island and evolved into a small­er dwarf species as it adapt­ed to the island’s lim­it­ed resources. This phe­nom­e­non, known as the “island rule,” is com­mon in the ani­mal world but had nev­er been seen before in human evo­lu­tion.

So island liv­ing can be hobbit-forming.

From root : "How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." -- Henry David Thoreau
Oct 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

From root:
“How does it become a man to behave towards the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment
today? I answer, that he can­not with­out dis­grace be asso­ci­at­ed with
it.” — Hen­ry David Thore­au
[End the War on Free­dom]

news flash: fundamentalism and traditionalism aren’t the same thing .
Oct 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

news flash: fundamentalism and traditionalism aren't the same thing. An article in the Independent discusses the popularity among ordinary Afghans of shrines dedicated to the "Arab Afghans" and other fighters who made up the core of al-Qa'ida. The first thing that occurs to anybody reading this who is at all familiar with the various movements in Islam is that the Wahhabi form of Islam practiced by many of the Arab fighters and the Taliban's version of Islam are fervently opposed to the "folk Islam" that includes making pilgrimages to shrines and praying at them.

In fact, the article itself mentions this, twice:

Ironically, the mainly Arab and Pakistani al-Qa'ida fighters who are so venerated in death by the people of Khowst were widely hated when they were alive and living in the town. They were Osama bin Laden's men, jihadis who had arrived from all over the Islamic world to prepare for a holy war in Khowst's terrorist training camps. The camps were handy for Pakistan, an hour's journey away with its connections to the outside world, but the foreign fighters never had much support in the area, which was always ambivalent about the Taliban, unlike some other Pushtun towns.

Some of the fighters may have escaped death in the cruise missile strikes ordered by Bill Clinton in 1998 after the US embassy bombings in east Africa; many must have personally known Bin Laden, who had a base in the town. But local people remembered them mainly as strutting and arrogant, a superior clique who didn't disguise their contempt for Afghan culture, which they saw as a decayed form of Islam riddled with superstition...

...Ironically the strict Wahabi Arabs buried at Khowst and the other shrines were opposed to Afghan burial customs they considered idolatrous. One of the reasons they were so hated in Afghanistan was their habit of tearing down flags and decorations on Afghan graves in fits of iconoclasm.

They would surely have hated to think that, in death, with an obsession for jihadis, they would be invested with magical powers and be prayed to by the superstitious tribesmen they looked down on in life.

When they talk about fearing a "resurgence of fundamentalism", they're referring to the kind of Islam practiced by Wahhabis and the Taliban, right? So how exactly does the popularity of a practice (veneration of shrines) that is absolutely abhorred by the fundamentalist groups indicate a "resurgence of fundamentalism"? It may indicate that there's a resurgence in traditionalist Islam in Afghanistan, or that there's a rapprochement between traditionalist and fundamentalist groups. But I'm not not quite seeing how it indicates a "resurgence in fundamentalism". [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

It's interesting that the Arabs were going around tearing down decorations on graves. I've read the same thing about the Arabs who went to Bosnia.

# Russell Madden at Atlas Magazine — The Miracle of Voting — Mr.
Oct 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Rus­sell Mad­den at Atlas Mag­a­zine -

The Mir­a­cle of Vot­ing
— Mr. Mad­den teach­es a col­lege class, with a
sim­ple hypo­thet­i­cal exam­ple, that theft is still theft no mat­ter how
many peo­ple vote for it. [claire­files]
Unless and until all vot­ers under­stand the true nature of modern-day
vot­ing as a means to dis­trib­ute oth­er people’s wealth (rather than as
mere­ly a pro­ce­dur­al means to elect those who will guard and pro­tect
our rights); unless and until they real­ize that it is wrong — immoral
— to rob Peter to pay Paul and vice ver­sa, we will con­tin­ue down the
path to a bur­geon­ing State and a dimin­ish­ing free­dom.

I accept and acknowl­edge that such a sea-change in aware­ness and
action among peo­ple today is unlike­ly to occur any­time soon. But there
was a time not so long ago in this coun­try when most cit­i­zens real­ized
that they had no claim on the lives of oth­er Amer­i­cans. If such
atti­tudes pre­vailed once, they can gain ascen­dan­cy again.
[End the War on Free­dom]

A clear and sim­ple expla­na­tion of what vot­ing real­ly means.

MTV Protest
Oct 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Around noon last Fri­day a cowork­er stopped by my cubi­cle and told me that there was some sort of protest going on in front of the MTV build­ing, which is across an inter­sec­tion from the office com­plex where I work. I wasn’t busy at the time so, I picked up my cam­era and head­ed out to see what was going on.

I found per­haps twen­ty or thir­ty peo­ple on the side­walk in front of the MTV build­ing hold­ing Bush cam­paign signs and hand­made signs accus­ing MTV of lying. I couldn’t tell exact­ly what MTV was sup­posed to have lied about, so I crossed the street and asked the first per­son I came to what it was all about. This par­tic­u­lar pro­test­er was a middle-aged woman who looked like a stereo­typ­i­cal soc­cer mom. She told me that MTV had claimed that Bush intend­ed to rein­state the draft and that it was a lie. Although she didn’t pro­vide any more details, with that infor­ma­tion I was able to fig­ure out from the signs that the pro­gram in ques­tion was some­thing called “rock the vote.” The soc­cer mom had a stack of print­ed signs lying on the ground, which led me to won­der if their turnout was low­er than expect­ed.

Both groups of pro­test­ers were over­whelm­ing­ly made up of white middle-class peo­ple in their ear­ly twen­ties. They looked like a bunch of col­lege kids, and indeed some ever had col­lege t-shirts. Ignore their signs and polit­i­cal t-shirts, and they looked identical–you couldn’t tell them apart.

The Repub­li­cans who were the­o­ret­i­cal­ly protest­ing MTV were stand­ing with their signs fac­ing the street. Only one or two of them were vis­i­ble from the MTV build­ing, and those were some of the more unin­tel­li­gi­ble signs. There was a small group of MTV employ­ees on the steps of their build­ing watch­ing.

Besides myself, I saw two oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers (one of whom was a Repub­li­can car­ry­ing a sign), and there was some­one with a small video cam­era and attached micro­phone inter­view­ing pro­test­ers. It looked like a cheap ama­teur out­fit, so I fig­ured he prob­a­bly worked near­by and was there out of curios­i­ty, as I was.

I don’t watch MTV, so I’ve nev­er seen the ads the Repub­li­cans were so upset about. How­ev­er, I described what I had seen to my cowork­ers lat­er and got some back­ground from one of them. Appar­ent­ly MTV has a non-partisan cam­paign to encour­age young peo­ple to reg­is­ter to vote, called “Rock the Vote.” In their ads, this cam­paigns sug­gest­ed that a rein­state­ment of the draft was a pos­si­bil­i­ty, and that peo­ple who might be sub­ject to it should keep that in mind and vote. The Repub­li­can Par­ty then sent a nasty threat­en­ing let­ter to MTV claim­ing that this ad con­sti­tut­ed a par­ti­san attack on Bush. A search on Google lat­er revealed that this is cor­rect.

So the ques­tion remains–why are the Repub­li­can par­ti­sans get­ting so worked out and (as it turns out) lying them­selves about what MTV’s ad said? Look­ing at the mat­ter log­i­cal­ly, it would seem that if the ad is unfair to any­body, it would be unfair to Ker­ry, who has said that he intends to increase the occu­py­ing force in Iraq by around 30,000 while Bush is say­ing that no more troops are need­ed. Those new troops would have to come from some­where, and since the mil­i­tary is cur­rent­ly over­bur­dened, it seems that (tak­ing their state­ments at face val­ue) a draft would be more like­ly under Ker­ry than under Bush.

It’s quite obvi­ous that the Feds’ mil­i­tary is cur­rent­ly not large enough to even main­tain a firm grip on Iraq, let alone invade oth­er Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries. Clear­ly the draft is one way of get­ting enough sol­diers to solve that prob­lem. This is only real­is­tic. And that’s where the Bush wor­ship­pers are get­ting upset. They have lit­tle or no con­nec­tion with real­i­ty, believ­ing instead that they can alter real­i­ty just by wish­ing it. To such peo­ple, real­i­ty is indeed “par­ti­san.”

From Talking Points Memo : Looking over various reporting on Tora Bora from the winter and spring of 2001/2002, it seems clear that most major news outlets ra
Oct 25th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

From Talk­ing Points Memo:

bq. Look­ing over var­i­ous report­ing on Tora Bora from the win­ter and spring of 2001/2002, it seems clear that most major news out­lets ran sto­ries which flat­ly con­tra­dict what the Bush cam­paign is now say­ing on the sub­ject (see this ear­li­er post for more details.)

I’d be curi­ous whether, in report­ing the Bush campaign’s cur­rent denials about what hap­pened at Tora Bora, any major news out­let has made ref­er­ence to their own ear­li­er report­ing which makes it clear that, as near­ly as such things can be known, what the pres­i­dent is say­ing is sim­ply not true.

I doubt they have. This isn’t the first time the main­stream media has repeat­ed Fed lies as the truth even when it con­tra­dicts their own web site’s archived cov­er­erage of what real­ly hap­pened. Con­sid­er, for exam­ple, the lie about Sad­dam throw­ing out weapons inspec­tors.

# Manuel Miles, aka Kapt Kanada at The Libertarian Enterprise — The Need for Manners — an entertaini
Oct 25th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Manuel Miles, aka Kapt Kana­da at The Lib­er­tar­i­an Enter­prise -

The Need for Man­ners
— an enter­tain­ing rant on man­ners and the
dif­fer­ence between man­ners and tact. [tle]
I once received an email from a read­er who wished to inform me that I
was an opin­ion­at­ed idiot. I wrote him back to say that he could both­er
to begin his epis­tle with a greet­ing if he wished to have a reply from
me. To my sur­prise, he apol­o­gised in his sub­se­quent, prop­er­ly writ­ten
email let­ter, and we entered into a brief but infor­ma­tive
cor­re­spon­dence. Nei­ther man changed his views, per­haps, but we were
bet­ter able to berate one anoth­er once the suit­able for­mat was
[End the War on Free­dom]

The arti­cle as a whole is ram­bling and semi-coherent, but he does make an excel­lent point:

bq. Well, it obvi­ous­ly isn’t tact that I’m con­cerned about; tact is just anoth­er word for dis­hon­esty and trick­ery. (These traits are com­bined in the word we bor­rowed from the French, ruse.) You see, one can have man­ners with­out hav­ing any tact at all.

For exam­ple: on occa­sion, I men­tion the rather obvi­ous fact that I am ugly. It isn’t a char­ac­ter defect and, short of plas­tic surgery, there isn’t much I can do about it. I’ve learned to live with it, and I have dat­ed some remark­ably good-looking women in spite of it, but it’s a fact as plain as the huge, twist­ed nose on my face. I have a mug that fright­ens babies and hors­es. Yet, when I refer to this fact, most women will auto­mat­i­cal­ly and reflex­ive­ly say, “Oh, no, you’re not ugly at all.”

That is tact­ful, but it’s bad man­ners. In fact, it’s down­right rude, because it’s a lie that’s as plain as, oh, say… the schnozz on my face. I have to shave this ugly mug every morn­ing, and you think I don’t know what I’m talk­ing about? That’s like say­ing that Bush and Ker­ry don’t know how to tell lies–hell, they’re pro­fes­sion­als. And if ugli­ness were a pro­fes­sion, then Jamie Farr and I would be the chair­men of the asso­ci­a­tion, and a por­trait of Our Founder, Jim­my Durante, would hang on the club­house wall. It’s insult­ing to con­tra­dict peo­ple when they com­ment on a sub­ject in which they are expert.

So, a tact­ful lie is bad man­ners, campers. You don’t have to pub­licly agree with state­ments which embar­rass you, but don’t go on record with a damned lie, either.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell .
Oct 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Avoid­ing the Johnny-come-latelies: what are those non-white ear­phones you got there? Wired on iPod and indi­vid­u­al­i­ty.… By Karen De Coster. [ Blog]

An inter­est­ing look at how sil­ly peo­ple can be. I don’t use the white ear­phones that came with my iPod, but I’m not inter­est­ed in appear­ance or “fash­ion,” I don’t use them because they don’t fit my ears. I bought replace­ment ear­phones from Ety­motics instead.

Lind on Iraq.  Our nightly bombing of Fallujah illustrates another important point about 4GW: to call it “terrorism” is a misnomer.
Oct 23rd, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Lind on Iraq.  Our night­ly bomb­ing of Fal­lu­jah illus­trates anoth­er impor­tant point about 4GW: to call it “ter­ror­ism” is a mis­nomer. In fact, ter­ror­ism is mere­ly a tech­nique, and we use it too when we think it will ben­e­fit us. In Madam Albright’s bou­tique war on Ser­bia, when the bomb­ing cam­paign against the Ser­bian Army in Koso­vo failed, we resort­ed to ter­ror bomb­ing of civil­ian tar­gets in Ser­bia prop­er. Now, we are using ter­ror bomb­ing on Fal­lu­jah. [John Robb’s Weblog]

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