Monthly Archives: June 2004

New Digs (Nearly) Secured

The leasing company finally called me back. They aren’t pro-rating down the one month free their giving so my monthly payment will be more than I expected – but I’ll only be charged for half-rent in September as well as the last month of the lease – so I guess it all evens out. ANYWAY I’m movin’ on up baby! Broadway and Roscoe. Woohoo!

Fahrenheit Filmmaker’s Footage Fractures the Official Story

Remember the footage from Fahrentheit 9/11 – where the soldiers are demoralizing the Iraqi with a bag over his head?

U.S. soldiers touch the penis of one Iraqi man. He’s hooded, he’s on the stretcher, and totally powerless.

The filmmaker that caught the footage is named Urban Hamid and was embedded for part of his stay in Iraq. Amy Goodman interviewed him about his upcoming doucmentary:

Goodman: Did you try to give it to the networks?
Hamid: Oh, yeah. I came to the States mid-February until mid-March and, you know, we sent out lots and lots of press releases, and nothing.Goodman: What do you think has changed? Now they’re showing the photos of Abu Ghraib.Hamid: You know, I think that in revealing what happened in Abu Ghraib– there was no way of stopping this. I feel that the administration felt that, well, you know, it’s out, and now we have to sort of try to at least make it look like we are doing something about this. But I really feel that it is a red herring. It’s a red herring to cover up what’s really happening in Iraq.

Fahrenheit Filmmaker’s Footage Fractures the Official Story

Remember the footage from Fahrentheit 9/11 – where the soldiers are demoralizing the Iraqi with a bag over his head?

U.S. soldiers touch the penis of one Iraqi man. He’s hooded, he’s on the stretcher, and totally powerless.

The filmmaker that caught the footage is named Urban Hamid and was embedded for part of his stay in Iraq. Amy Goodman interviewed him about his upcoming doucmentary:

Goodman: Did you try to give it to the networks?

Hamid: Oh, yeah. I came to the States mid-February until mid-March and, you know, we sent out lots and lots of press releases, and nothing.
Goodman: What do you think has changed? Now they’re showing the photos of Abu Ghraib.
Hamid: You know, I think that in revealing what happened in Abu Ghraib– there was no way of stopping this. I feel that the administration felt that, well, you know, it’s out, and now we have to sort of try to at least make it look like we are doing something about this. But I really feel that it is a red herring. It’s a red herring to cover up what’s really happening in Iraq.

Supreme Court Affirms Detainees’ Right to Trial

This is good news.

The court said the president may order a U.S. citizen detained as an “enemy combatant” — but soundly rejected the administration’s expansive interpretation of that authority, ruling that such detainees are entitled to contest the government’s case against them.

And further

Each of the 595 alleged members of al-Qaida and the Taliban being held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has the right to ask a U.S. judge to set him free.

If you don’t think that this is good news then I ask you if you fully endorse secret military tribunals with little or no oversight and dissolving a person’s right to know why they’re being held in Guanatamo – a ‘no man’s land’ of international law. Out of any of the proceedings of the last four years – this has been one of the worst – the idea that the Chief Executive alone has the right to decide the fate of individuals based on his whims and preducies. Sandra Day O’Connor confirmed:

We long have made it clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens.

Being jailed without trial indefinitely and never told why you are imprisoned. That’s not something you should find in a self-proclaimed ‘home of the free’.

Imagine if these detainees were white Christians.

Appeals Court Tells FCC to Reconsider

A federal appeals court rejected the change in FCC regulation that would increase the percentage of a media market one company could own in any geographic region. Bitching about lack of diveristy in radio? Pissed off about Clear Channel? Think there’s a bias in the media (pick a side)? You need to be watching this. Don’t forget that the broadcasting spectrum is owned by the people and companies are under an obligation to reflect the diversity and needs of the markets they serve as a use of this public good.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Let’s get the idea of objectivity out of the way immediately. Michael Moore is not here to be fair and balanced. He presents a bombshell of connections and conundums that enrage, engage and sadden.

I look forward to the fact-checking effort as the movie gets more widely seen – but there are still undisputable connections between Bush and big oil that can never ever be denied. The movie could have been four hours and it couldn’t have covered it all. You can’t deny Moore’s talent in rhythm – every joke and nuance hits dead on. I guess I can understand still voting Republican – but I cannot understand how someone can still vote for Bush this fall – he seems to be causing the very disintegration of the Republican party’s credibility (if it ever had any). From a spaghetti western roll-call of the current administration to a Christmas Eve raid on an Iraqi household to a dead child tossed into a truck of bodies being driven away, Moore arranges the throughline for maximum impact.

As I’ve said before, Michael Moore’s biggest gift is as a business case for liberal media – he’s proven to producers and publishers that there is an audience for these themes and these viewpoints. Other documentary makers have been able to use this new channel for their own distribution. The other part of this movie is that it is a sampler of the work and research tons of other journalists have uncovered in the past four years – and will lead many to read more at their local bookstore. Also useful is to keep brining up the same names: Harken, Halliburton and other companies – names that should send up a red flag when heard at anytime.

Ron and I went to the opening morning showing of the movie at 11:30 – I’d bought the tickets three days prior so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. When we got out of the theatre the line was snaked five floors down the spiral ramp inside the Century shopping center. I told a few people on the way down ‘Don’t worry! It’s worth it!’ The theatre was packed and this was like going to see a Star Wars movie on the first night or when they had the special editions of The Lord of the Rings movies – the true die-hards show up. Sort of like seeing opening night of the X-Files movie. Yeah, you’re preaching to the choir – but it’s nice to hear a different viewpoint for a change.

Deeply sad is one grieving mother as she journeys to the White House and doubles over in grief at the administration she holds responsible for her son’s death. Her pain and rage at the protestors before her son’s death and her pain and rage at the men that sent her son to a war afterwards are raw and moving.

Deeply shocking is seeing Bush sit there for 10 minutes in the classroom after he’s told America is under attack and he just sits there like a dumbass. I think that should just be the campaign ad for the rest of the summer and fall. Just Bush sitting there thinking Goddammit, Jeb was supposed to be president, not me! I still cannot believe the Secret Service did not usher him out – that is just wild. I know he didn’t want to upset the children but I think may we could have upset a small classroom of children when 3,000 people were in the process of incinerating to death.

Particularly shaming is to see 11 members of the House each get up to file a complaint during the Florida election scandal – each of them a minority and each of them without a single member of the Senate to sign on to their brief to allow it to be heard. Essentially they are told to just go sit down and shut up. Bush never won Florida. Gore fucked up and didn’t count all the votes – only the counties he thought would help him win. If he’d stuck to integrity instead of the same greed the Bushies had he might be sitting in the White House today.

I guess that the Bushies don’t understand the idea of a live satellite feed – that if there’s a camera on that you assume it’s broadcasting – if not to the public then to the studios and producers. Paul Wolfowitz will forever be burned in my memory slicking back his hair with a dab of his own slimy spit. And footage of George Bush practicing his facial expressions is especially telling.

Anyway – it’s not going to shake any True Bush Believer out there but it is an important event in this year’s election. If Moore is smart he’ll pull a Blair Witch and put the movie out on DVD right before the election – that is if attendance drops off in theatres.