April 15, 2004

I feel like a robot by the river looking for a drink

* Blumenthal on the Bush press conference: Hear no evil, read no evil, speak drivel. excerpt:

"On April 21 1961, President Kennedy held a press conference to answer questions on the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles that he had approved. 'There's an old saying,' he said, 'that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan ... I am the responsible officer of the government and that is quite obvious.'

"On Wednesday, President Bush held only his third press conference and was asked three times whether he accepted responsibility for failing to act on warning before September 11. "I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't [sic] yet," he said. 'I just haven't - you just put me under the spot here and maybe I'm not quick - as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.'

"Bush's press conference was the culmination of his recent efforts to staunch the political wounds of his bleeding polls since the 9/11 commission began public hearings and violence spiralled in Iraq. Bush had tried to divert blame by declaring that the August 6 memo he was forced to declassify at the commission's insistence contained no 'actionable intelligence', even though it specifically mentioned the World Trade Centre and Washington as targets.

"Bush, in fact, does not read his President's Daily Briefs, but has them orally summarised every morning by the CIA director, George Tenet. President Clinton, by contrast, read them closely and alone, preventing any aides from interpreting what he wanted to know first-hand. He extensively marked up his PDBs, demanding action on this or that, which is almost certainly the likely reason the Bush administration withheld his memoranda from the 9/11 commission.

"'I know he doesn't read,' one former Bush national security council staffer told me. Several other former NSC staffers corroborated this. It seems highly unlikely that he read the national intelligence estimate on WMD before the Iraq war that consigned contrary evidence and caveats that undermined the case to footnotes and fine print. Nor is there any evidence that he read the state department's 17-volume report, The Future of Iraq, warning of nearly all the postwar pitfalls, that was shelved by the neocons in the Pentagon and Vice-President Cheney's office."
"At his press conference, Bush was a confusion of absolute confidence and panic. He jumbled facts and conflated threats, redoubling the vehemence of his incoherence at every mildly sceptical question. He attempted to create a false political dichotomy between "retreat" and his own vague and evolving position on Iraq, which now appears to follow senator John Kerry's, of granting more authority to the UN and bringing in Nato.

"The ultimate revelation was Bush's vision of a divinely inspired apocalyptic struggle in which he is the leader of a crusade bringing the Lord's 'gift.' 'I also have this belief, strong belief that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the earth we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.' But religious war is not part of official US military doctrine."

* Issue number Two of the Land Grant College Review is available here. In the issue are stories by: Arthur Bradford, Alan Cheuse, Jonathan Goldstein, Jim Hanas, Roy Kesey, Jeff MacGregor, Nelly Reifler, Jeffery Renard Allen, David Schuman, among others. check it out.

* Long Seattle Weekly article on the Sun City Girls. excerpt:

"It?s Not Over ?Till the Skinny Arab Lights the Fuse is one of a mind-numbing number of releases by the impossible-to-pin-down, travel-addicted, mystically inclined, cantankerous, and often- brilliant musical trio of professional margin walkers. For 22 years now, brothers Rick and Alan Bishop?bass and guitar, respectively?and drummer Charlie Gocher Jr. have delightedly pushed the boundaries of music, art, and good taste. Originally formed in Arizona and named after a retirement community just north of the Tempe/Phoenix area where they lived in the ?70s and ?80s, the Sun City Girls have called Seattle home for the past 10 years.

"Unless you?re a devoted fan, you probably have no idea they live here?assuming you?ve heard of them at all. The Sun City Girls have toured Japan and performed with some of the world?s best-known out-there musicians, including San Francisco violinist Eyvind Kang, members of Japanese avant-rock gods the Boredoms, and experimental guitarist-banjoist Eugene Chadbourne. They have scored soundtracks to films by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine. They are widely credited as godfathers of multiple schools of indie rock, from the tribal hippie ethno-prog school of bands like Sunburned Hand of the Man and No Neck Blues Band to Asian garage bands like Neung Phak and Dengue Fever. And on the rare occasions when they?ve played out, fans travel across the country to see them play."


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