Episode #310: Military Conflict
First Broadcast: 3/24/03 Transmission started at about 2:00:30 in black, switched to color bars for 2 seconds, then returned to the "Coming up at..." bumper, then to the program, about a second or 2 in progress.
Repeated: 6/23/03 Episode did not begin until 2:01:29 AM, with audio at a very low level. End of episode cut off at 2:28:31 AM.
Repeated: 2/9/04 Episode began a few seconds in progress.
When George W. Bush made his speech on March 17, 2003, in which he gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to get of Iraq or else face a war initiated by the U.S., I was appalled. I am no less appalled now that the war has started, and I present to you tonight some selections from the current "Thought of the Moment": Lies, Lies, Lies! In short: Bush's rationale for starting a war is unsubstantiated, unwarranted, and illegal in the strongest sense. This essay explores the hyperbole behind the speech, and hopefully leaves all of us a little bit wiser. Stop the war!
Episode #311: Illegal Weapons
First Broadcast: 4/7/03 Episode began at 2:03 AM. Even though the episode began 3 minutes late, it was cut off in progress promptly at 2:30 AM, cutting off all our end credits as a result.
Repeated: 4/14/03 Transmission started in black at 2:00 AM, switched to color bars from about 20 to 45 seconds after the hour, then switched to the "Coming Up at..." bumper until 2:01:37 AM, finally joining the program a second or two after the beginning. Part of our end credits still cut off at 2:29 AM.
Am I talking about the chemical and biological weapons which Iraq is alleged to have, even though the U.N. Inspectors found no evidence of their being in Iraq, and "coalition" troops haven't found any evidence there either? Or, am I talking about the depleted uranium (a.k.a. DU) ammunition which American troops used in Southern Iraq throughout the 1991 Gulf War, and which they're using all over Iraq today, even though the U.N. itself has recognized DU as being just as much a "weapon of mass destruction" as nuclear and chemical weapons? Isn't it hypocritical of the U.S. to say that the current war is about disarming Iraq of alleged illegal weapons of mass destruction, while the U.S. litters Iraq with illegal weapons of mass destruction in the process? Aren't cluster bombs just as dangerous as well, especially when they are the same bright yellow color as the food packets being dropped from the air (confusing people who either get injured or killed when they approach the bombs, or go hungry when they avoid the food), and when they essentially act like land mines when some of the bombs don't detonate, which will probably keep killing civilians long after the conflict is over? Are American soldiers fighting in Iraq today in danger of making the same mistakes that American soldiers made in Vietnam over 30 years ago: treating the whole country as an enemy, civilians and soldiers alike? And was a less flattering aspect of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan's past left out of most of his eulogies because the mainstream media forgot about it, or because no one wanted to remember the role he once played in supporting genocide in East Timor? All important things to think about.
Episode #312: Maintain Order
First Broadcast: 4/21/03 Program started in black at 2:00 AM, switched to the "Coming Up at..." graphic at 30 seconds past the hour, then joined the program in progress at 2:00:53 AM, cutting off our opening animation and our "Free New York" title.
Was the toppling of the big statue of Saddam Hussein staged by the U.S. military? Well, there's no denying that it was organized and carried out by the U.S. military, as pictures from the BBC show. And, if other wider shots of the scene are any indication, the crowd at the statue was much smaller than it looked through the telephoto shots on television, as can be seen here, here, here, and here. So, the event which sparked the looting of Baghdad was basically a photo op for American troops, with Iraqis playing a supporting role. And the looting itself? It was actively encouraged by the U.S. troops, according to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, and actively ignored by the U.S. troops according to the British newspaper The Independent. The result? Among everything else, the complete destruction of the Iraqi National Museum and the National Library, places which two cultural advisers to Mr. Bush had been assured would remain protected when troops would enter Baghdad. As could be expected, the only building the troops guarded was the Oil Ministry, and the cultural advisers resigned. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's reaction to all this? "Stuff happens." Sheesh, I'm sure that's good news to everyone who was arrested during the Rodney King riots. I think the Beastie Boys had the right idea: it is "A World Gone Mad."
Episode #313: Anarchy Is The Perfect Word
First Broadcast: 5/19/03 Transmission began at about 2:00:50 AM, with our countdown at "2".
We start off by discussing the New York State Supreme Court ruling which invalidated the MTA's fare hikes across the board, and rolled back the subway & bus fares to $1.50. Following that, we talk about that new guy whom Bush put in charge of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, who had the stupidity to say this about Iraq on May 15: "This is not a country in anarchy." What the hell else do you call it when there's no government in power?!? If this is the kind of idiot who's supposed to rebuild an entire country out of nothing, then I don't think it's going to happen any time soon, folks.
Episode #314: Are You Guys For Real?
First Broadcast: 5/26/03
Iraq is going to hell, American corporations are raking in billions of dollars to "rebuild" the country that the American government decimated, and what are some people upset about? The "wacko" politics of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Huh? Yeah, some people are apparently so bugged about Ben & Jerry's progressive politics that they've created a new "conservative" ice cream brand that donates 10% of all profits "to charities that support the men and women of the US Armed Forces." Never mind that Mr. Bush plans to cut veteran's benefits by $15 billion over the next ten years--the problem is obviously caused by corporations who wanted to divert 1% of the "Defense" budget towards peaceful programs like education, and so forth. Maybe Iraq is following in the U.S.'s footsteps in more ways than one after all. P.S.: The story about the U.S. and Britain "indefinitely" postponing Iraqi self-rule can be found here. The story about Saudi Arabian "outsiders" having too much access to Western compounds in Saudi Arabia was over here, but now The Independent wants money for it.
Episode #315: There's No "There" There!
First Broadcast: 6/2/03 Episode began at 2:01:40 AM. Transmission ended at 2:29:10 AM, cutting off some of our end credits.
Repeated: 8/11/03, 8/18/03
CBS News says the "bunker" the U.S. bombed on March 19 in an effort to kill Saddam Hussein really didn't exist--i.e., there was no bunker there in the first place, even though Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said on March 21 that "the strike on that leadership headquarters was successful." The BBC says that British intelligence exaggerated claims about Iraqi chemical weapons capabilities in order to make it sound "sexier"--specifically, by inserting a claim "that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to activate his biological and chemical weapons in just 45 minutes," information which was unverified. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz tells Vanity Fair that claims of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was merely a "bureaucratic" excuse for the U.S. invasion. And Rumsfeld himself has now said that there may not be any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq now, and there may not have been any there before the war either, since "It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict." In other words, if there were any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (and at this point, I sincerely doubt that there have been any there since 1998), Iraq might have disarmed, doing exactly what George W. Bush was asking for in so many speeches and appearances in the months and weeks before he started the war! (e.g., on March 7: "Our demands are that Saddam Hussein disarm. We hope he does. We have worked with the international community to convince him to disarm. If he doesn't disarm, we'll disarm him.") So, does this mean we were all lied to with a 21st Century version of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, force-fed propaganda in order to create enthusiasm for a war no one wanted outside of the White House? Well, I don't want to say "I told you so," but see Lies, Lies, Lies! and then tell me if I wasn't on to something in the first place. P.S.: For Mayor Bloomberg to say, on this past Memorial Day, that "The war in Iraq began 20 months ago in the streets of New York City," is insulting to everyone's intelligence. There is absolutely no proof that the events of September 11, 2001, were linked in any way to the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and for Bloomberg to perpetuate that lie is nothing less than fear-mongering--an attempt to scare the city into compliance for who knows what ends. That alone is reason enough to throw his ass out come 2005. Contesting candidates: start your engines!
Episode #316: Bullshit
First Broadcast: 6/9/03 Episode began a few seconds in progress.
There's two kinds of bullshit: the shit from bulls (and cows) that gets sprayed all over a carcass on a sloppy assembly line, which the meatpacking industry and the government now want to cure by irradiating the meat (as detailed in Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser); and there's the bullshit that George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Tony Blair, et. al. have all been spewing about alleged weapons of mass destruction--weapons which NO ONE has found to date, weapons which no one has any evidence of, weapons which don't seem to exist now, and didn't seem to exist before the U.S. started the War in Iraq either. That's right kids, bullshit no matter how you slice it. P.S.: I also talked about The Supertones, a local surf band, in case you're interested.
Episode #317: Area Of Distortion
First Broadcast: 6/16/03 Episode began at 2:00:18 AM with countdown at "2". Episode cut off shortly before the end at 2:28:03 AM.
So, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Tommy Franks, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush have all been insisting since last August, in one way or another, that "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." And yet:
The Defense Intelligence Agency reported in September, 2002, "that there was 'no definitive, reliable information' that Iraq was producing or stockpiling chemical or biological weapons." (Boston Globe, June 7, 2003)So, with there now being no signs of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, with the White House's claims of evidence turning out to be no evidence at all, and with the reason for starting a war against Iraq (where the U.S. has killed anywhere between 3000 and 5000 civilians, at least--more people than were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks) turning out to be what looks like a complete lie, shouldn't we, as Americans, now be considering impeachment for George W. Bush? I mean, if Bill Clinton can be impeached for lying about a blowjob, surely it's a greater and far more impeachable crime to lie about a reason for war that leads to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Hell, even John Dean thinks it's an issue, and he should know, of all people.
"The Bush administration distorted intelligence and presented conjecture as evidence to justify a US invasion of Iraq," according to Greg Thielmann, a retired Director from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the State Department. (Boston Globe, June 8, 2003)
The U.S. lied to the U.N. about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, according to Joern Siljeholm, a former U.N. Weapons Inspector from Norway who spent 100 days in Iraq. He also says "Much of what has been claimed about WMDs has proven to be sheer nonsense." (Aftenposten, Norway, March 19, 2003)
Anonymous intelligence officials tell The New York Times that two trailers found in Iraq were not used for producing chemical weapons, contrary to claims made by Bush and other members of the White House. (The New York Times, June 7, 2003)
And the British newspaper, The Observer, says that those two trailers were in fact used for "hydrogen production to fill artillery balloons," and were sold to Iraq by Britain in 1987. (The Observer, June 8, 2003)