28.12.03

Flash mobs & Media

Fahrenheit 451- media-dominated culture. Parallels to today.

If anyone would like to continue, please do.

25.12.03

Troubles in Pakistan

Two assassination attempts- one a bridge bombing of his convoy, another a two-pronged suicide attack on his motorcade- of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have occurred in the last twelve days. Of course, in Pakistan, these attacks are most likely the work of Islamic militants, possibly linked with "Al-Qaeda." Since 9/11, Musharraf has initiated a series of nationwide crackdowns on terrorists and extremists. Even though he has attempted to mantain a balance between hardliners and moderates in his government, making concessions in actions (as opposed to rhetoric, where he sides with the US), this tactics may be beginning to backfire. At this point, Musharraf is faced with a choice- go with America and risk consequences including death, or go with the rest of his country and (eventually) face "coalition" GIs.

Either choice will be a problem. If Musharraf continues his current path, there is a real chance that his party could be overthrown and rule could revert to some sort of fundamentalist dictator. If not, the Americans will come a'knocking. Keep in mind that Pakistan actually has WMDs- including a number of nuclear weapons.

Pakistan is at a crossroads, as are many other Arabic states. Unfortunately, the invasion of Iraq isn't helping the US in terms of PR. We can't just have the leaders of these countries- we need their people behind us as well.

23.12.03

Code orange

"In response to the national terrorism alert, Los Angeles police have made "a number of pre-emptive arrests," a high-ranking LAPD source said Tuesday.

Those arrests were made in the past 48 hours and included people who came to authorities' attention after the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terror attacks in the United States.

The source stressed that none has been charged with any terrorism-related offense but were rounded up on unrelated charges -- in one case, credit card fraud -- in an effort to get information about possible threats. None of those picked up was identified. "
CNN

22.12.03

ATTAC

"Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC - Association pour la Taxation des Transactions pour l'Aide aux Citoyens) is an activist organization for the establishment of a tax on exchange transactions.

Originally a single-issue movement demanding the introduction of the so-called Tobin tax on currency-speculation, ATTAC now devotes itself to a wide range of issues related to globalization, monitoring the decisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). ATTAC attends the meetings of the G8 with the goal of influencing policymakers' decisions.

Though ATTAC criticizes the neoliberal ideology dominating economic globalization, it is not 'anti-globalization'. It supports globalization policies that are sustainable and socially just. One of ATTAC's slogans is 'The World is not merchandise', denouncing the merchandization of society. "

from Wikipedia

An interesting idea to slow the process of globalization, by its many names- to tax the exchange of currency.

2.12.03

Canada

"Canadians and Americans still dress alike, talk alike, like the same books, television shows and movies, and trade more goods and services than ever before. But from gay marriage to drug use to church attendance, a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values.
A more distinctive Canadian identity - one far more in line with European sensibilities - is emerging and generating new frictions with the United States.
'Being attached to America these days is like being in a pen with a wounded bull,' Rick Mercer, Canada's leading political satirist, said at a recent show in Toronto. 'Between the pot smoking and the gay marriage, quite frankly it's a wonder there is not a giant deck of cards out there with all our faces on it.'...

French-speaking Quebec, with nearly a fourth of the population and its open social attitudes, pulls Canada to the left, just as the South and Bible Belt increasingly pull the United States in the opposite direction, particularly on issues like abortion, gay marriage and capital punishment.
Recently, while musing about his retirement plans, Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien said he might just kick back and smoke some pot. "I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand," he said with a smile.

When Massachusetts' highest court ruled for gay marriage, the issue instantly loomed over American politics. Conservatives vowed to change the Constitution. President George W. Bush said he would defend marriage. Even the major Democratic presidential candidates backed away from supporting gay marriage outright.
Contrast that with Canada, where two provincial courts issued similar rulings this year. With little national anguish, Canada became only the third country - after the Netherlands and Belgium - to allow same-sex marriage as a matter of civil rights."

IHT: U.S. and Canada: a deepening chasm

'Nuff said. I'm moving to Canada.

"...we don't know if it's actually civilians. I called them all terrorists."

-----US Staff Sergeant, currently stationed in Iraq

CNN

Not all troops think this way. Support Armed Forces liberals! Clark in 04, perhaps?