April 6, 2004

mirror glasses iconoclastic

* How the Bush Administration handles global warming: deny, and deny aggressively. an excerpt:

"The Observer has obtained a remarkable email sent to the press secretaries of all Republican congressmen advising them what to say when questioned on the environment in the run-up to November's election. The advice: tell them everything's rosy.

"It tells them how global warming has not been proved, air quality is 'getting better', the world's forests are 'spreading, not deadening', oil reserves are 'increasing, not decreasing', and the 'world's water is cleaner and reaching more people.'

"The email - sent on 4 February - warns that Democrats will 'hit us hard' on the environment. 'In an effort to help your members fight back, as well as be aggressive on the issue, we have prepared the following set of talking points on where the environment really stands today,' it states.

"The memo - headed 'From medi-scare to air-scare' - goes on: 'From the heated debate on global warming to the hot air on forests; from the muddled talk on our nation's waters to the convolution on air pollution, we are fighting a battle of fact against fiction on the environment - Republicans can't stress enough that extremists are screaming 'Doomsday!' when the environment is actually seeing a new and better day.'

"Among the memo's assertions are 'global warming is not a fact', 'links between air quality and asthma in children remain cloudy', and the US Environment Protection Agency is exaggerating when it says that at least 40 per cent of streams, rivers and lakes are too polluted for drinking, fishing or swimming."

* Is this the beginning or the end.

"Mark your calendar: 04/04/04, the day the Iraqi house of cards stamped Made in America collapsed. That it has collapsed hardly comes as a surprise. The only surprise is that it stood for as long as it did. Nor will it be a surprise if the administration apologists in Washington and elsewhere, as well as their alter egos in Baghdad, try to dismiss the events of this bloody Sunday as representative of the "up-tick" in insurrection which they have long anticipated as the date for transfer of political authority draws ever closer"
"If the American political and military command does authorize a full-scale assault on Fallujah in retaliation for the inhumane treatment of our people, they will be faced with battling a hostile population in their own backyards. As any military tactician will tell you, street fighting in an urban environment can be the most difficult and costly assignment any force has to face. But as daunting as this challenge is, suddenly with the eruption of violence in cities from one end of Iraq to the other, it now seems to be only one of many such deadly challenges facing the young men and women of the American Armed Forces.

"It has long been believed by military/political analysts that as long as the Shia went along with the occupation then the American plan would be viable. As the Shia make up approximately 60 percent of the Iraqi population, their cooperation has been central to the success of any American strategy. Now that they have joined the battle, all bets are off.
"The United States, a nation which has long, and rightfully so, taken great pride in its track record as a liberator from tyranny, is now in the eminently unenviable position of trying to suppress a nationwide insurrection waged against it as the foreign occupying power. This is something that we have tried only a few times in our history. And we all know how it turned the last time we were so blinded by hubris to put ourselves in a similarly wretched position."

* "I feel like part of the vanishing breed that thinks a writer should be read and not heard, let alone seen. I think this is because there seems so often today to be a tendency to put the person in the place of his or her work, to turn the creative artist into a performing one, to find what a writer says about writing somehow more valid, or more real, than the writing itself. "

- William Gaddis on attention paid to the author rather than the works, from his acceptance speech for the National Book Award in Fiction for J R, April 1976.


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