The Friends of California Libre...

17 July 2004

Let Them Eat God on Bastille Day

Greetings, friends,
A very subdued Bastille Day came and went here in Los Angeles...there was a sparsely attended event last weekend at Pan Pacific Park. I was thinking about this last night, huddled in front of my TV, enjoying a BBC version of Simenon's "Inspector Maigret". There are so many English adaptations of English mysteries set in the's interesting to see their interpretation of Paris and France in the same period. Grittier...less stylized...but like Simenon, I'd say deeply raw and alive. It made me feel for a Paris I'd never known.

Others celebrated Bastille Day with more aplomb:
Topless protesters march in Pamplona to protest bullfighting in Spain

But even in Canada, the French can't get a break:
New Brunswick university in dog house after insisting Quebec guide dog learn English

Of course, I responded to 4 July with a similar ennui. I was pleased to go one year without seeing a single firework, although we did hear them (and the requisite gunfire) from high in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I did attend an excellent 4 July parade in Boulder Creek, the last "town" left in those mountains, but the most patriotic thing I saw there was a "mature" woman dressed up like Wonder Woman carrying a huge fake stick of dynamite. It was rather weird.

I know some of my friends here in LA had a hoo-hah in Malibu, and this is for them:
Aussie surfers testing boards fitted with electronic shark repellents

By the way, several people have said to me recently that if I moved to Vancouver I would probably be "bored to death". That's's 10 pm on a Saturday night and I'm sitting at home reading my e-mail. LA ain't exactly a blazing inferno of fun these days either. I noticed that of the many people I invited to the Mackey last night, 7 showed up. Too bad for was fun. Wherever I go to, I'm bringing the party with me, so prepared to be bored to death.

Anyway, I intended to repost this event one more time and spaced it, sorry, Jenn. I'll be at a little kid's birthday party in Travel Town anyhow. This event is happening tomorrow/today:
Yoga for Kerry Fundraiser !Event Overview: The Yoga for Kerry Fundraiser is an antidote for both politics-as-usual and a boost for the growing Yoga movement. We have a chance to financially help Kerry's bid for President, and also give a message to the politicians that "yogis" want peace, socially conscious and just programs and ecological sustainability in the new administration.Date: Sunday July 18th 2004Times: 9am – 9pmLocation: Focus Fish Studios, 6121 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood (323)957 0901Updated schedule is available at:

Nope, it's not free, it's a FUNDRAISER for a planet-saving cause. PS I saw Jenn last night and that yoga has her looking HOT, if that's any encouragement for you. I'm about five years past hot myself.

This is more my style (it's free and relatively non-political) and you may see me there:
Sunday July 18, 8 PM Film Club at C-Level presents : Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Pekinpah, 1974, 110 m, English) Directions to c-level:'s been about ten years since I last saw this film. This film was initially put on many "Worst Films of All Time" lists (read details in the review below to see why it provoked such horror) only to become a cult classic. It is now considered central to Pekinpah's oevre and has been declared a "masterpiece" in many quarters. It aint a pretty film on any level, it is downright relentless. Please join me in seeing it this Sunday. Warren Oates is great in it (and he wears huge sunglasses!)

The day after tomorrow (Monday) there is a blindingly stylish gig at Tangier, with three attractive and "culturally significant" (an asshole term I heard this morning) women:Well-traveled rock & roll glamorist Abby Travis’ Mata Hari, "an evening of musical espionage," features guests actor-singer Ann Magnuson (Bongwater, Vulcan Death Grip), Jane Wiedlin (the Go-Go’s), 7:30 p.m. TANGIER, 2138 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz

Our government knows how to cut loose for the 4th of's how Colin Powell spent his holiday:
It's Fun for Powell at the 'YMCA'

The rest of the Feds weren't exactly doing backflips in the name of liberty:Effort to Curb Scope of Antiterrorism Law Falls ShortBy Eric LichtblauNew York TimesWashington - An effort to bar the government from demanding records from libraries and booksellers in some terrorism investigations fell one vote short of passage in the House on Thursday after a late burst of lobbying prompted nine Republicans to switch their votes.

Yep, this ain't exactly the year to let freedom ring, as the song says:
Many Denied Right to Counsel, Group Says By Henry Weinstein Los Angeles Times A defense attorneys' panel is launching a committee to address the lack of legal help promised by the 1963 Gideon ruling.

It's not a great time to speak out:
Terrorist Tree Huggers Bill Berkowitz Tom Paine One of environmentalism's biggest foes - Ron Arnold - is back, peddling the idea that environmentalism breeds terrorism. Arnold is the same man who once bragged to The New York Times that, "No one was aware that environmentalism was a problem until we came along." He's been so successful, says one environmentalist, that he's now "within striking distance" of checking off every item on his "wise-use" agenda.
Derail E-Mail Snooping Washington Post Editorial

People are getting irate:
Man Exposes Self During Airport Screening

Even downright freaky:
Druid charged for taking ceremonial sword on shopping trip

Our leaders and their minions see terror in the most interesting places:
Viewpoint: Keeping America safe from foreign writersElena Lappin NYTTuesday, July 13, 2004The treatment of journalists by American authorities is deemed untenable by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

But here's a small victory for your privacy, if you fly abroad:
Click the following to access the sent - Plan to collect flier data canceled*

Yeah, the "War on Terror" is going just as the terrorists:
Terrorism: We've Got Them Right Where They Want Us By Gwynne Dyer St. Louis Post Dispatch At the Fourth of July stone-laying ceremony on the site where the World Trade Center towers formerly stood, New York Gov. George Pataki dedicated the building that is to replace them, using the rhetoric that is standard in the United States on such occasions: "Let this great Freedom Tower show the world that what our enemies sought to destroy - our democracy, our freedom, our way of life - stands taller than ever."

If you want to learn about the real terrorists, read will scare the hell out of you (thanks, Dave):
The Real Enemy Staring Us in the Face By Bob Herbert New York Times Justin Hunt, a young man from Wildomar, Calif., about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, was determined to join the Marines. When recruiters pointed out that he was grossly overweight, he spent a year losing more than 150 pounds. Then he signed up and was promptly sent to Iraq, where he was killed last Tuesday in an explosion. He was 22.

Danger is all around us!
Smoker Ignites Portable Toilet Explosion

But global terror is doing just fine (thanks, Ellen):Subject: FW: 'The future is bright', consultants assure OsamaDear Reader, In a stunning report leaked to openDemocracy, a consultancy firm has advised al-Qaida that Osama bin Laden should allow himself to be captured by the US.Read the full report here:

The way our small-time invasion of Afghanistan is working out (dead football players aside), Osama and his friends will have no shortage of places to hide:Following the Afghan Drugs Trail By Andrew North BBC The Afghan drugs trade is growing so fast some fear the country could become a narco-state, where drugs barons rule, not the government.
Drawn Knives Between Karzai and the Warlords By Marie-France Calle Le Figaro

Yeah, let's fight terror, free Afghanistan, and then get everyone on drugs. How about screening preschoolers for mental illness, and starting them on Zoloft a few years early? (Thanks, Geri):

Speaking of people on drugs, I just saw ROGER DALTREY on an infomercial for Time-Life Records and he looked like SHIT. Do you know how depressing that is, to see the lead singer of the Who selling GARBAGE? Thomas Berger was right, this world is too ridiculous to live in.

On that note, here's the HOT CONSPIRACY THEORY that everyone, even my Dad, is all into:
July Surprise By John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman & Massoud Ansari The New Republic Late last month, President Bush lost his greatest advantage in his bid for reelection. A poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post discovered that challenger John Kerry was running even with the president on the critical question of whom voters trust to handle the war on terrorism. Largely as a result of the deteriorating occupation of Iraq, Bush lost what was, in April, a seemingly prohibitive 21-point advantage on his signature issue. But, even as the president's poll numbers were sliding, his administration was implementing a plan to insure the public's confidence in his hunt for Al Qaeda.

Conspiracy aside, here's another group ganging up on our leader:Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go By Ronald Brownstein Los Angeles Times The 26 ex-diplomats and military leaders say his foreign policy has harmed national security. Several served under Republicans.

Bush must be thinking like this clown:Ready for a Recall Vote By Hugo Chavez Washington Post Caracas, Venezuela - For the first 24 hours of the coup d'etat that briefly overthrew my government on April 11, 2002, I expected to be executed at any moment.

Here's how we should feel:
Primer for a Revolution By David Ignatius Washington Post Istanbul - How do you make a peaceful democratic revolution? That's the big issue these days for political activists from Cairo to Hong Kong. I put the question to the past year's most successful revolutionary, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

When the 9/11 commission releases its report, perhaps there'll be more hell to pay. Will any read about this gaffe?Translator in Eye of Storm on Retroactive Classification By Anne E. Kornblut Boston Globe Washington - Sifting through old classified materials in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, FBI translator Sibel Edmonds said, she made an alarming discovery: Intercepts relevant to the terrorist plot, including references to skyscrapers, had been overlooked because they were badly translated into English.

Or this?Before 9/11, One Warning Went UnheardBy Richard C. PaddockLos Angeles Times Perth, Australia - When Jack Roche telephoned Australia's intelligence agency in July 2000, he offered a tantalizing story: He had been to Afghanistan and ate lunch with Osama bin Laden. He had received training in explosives and plotted with Al Qaeda leaders to carry out a bombing in Australia.

But let's not fool ourselves...there is no "War on Terror". There's only a war against the future.Dean: Bush's War on Science By Gov. Howard Dean M.D. Boulder Daily Camera I write this week's column as a physician. The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored.

This war's been going on for years, and 8 years of Bill Clinton made you soft.Bush's Judges: Right-Wing Ideologues By Marjorie Cohn t r u t h o u t Perspective In 1988, while trying to convince skeptical conservative activists of his father's Christian bona fides, George W. Bush reassured them that George I was with them on judicial nominations, as well as abortion and other issues dear to their hearts. Then he punctuated his declarations with the six words that would ensure their support for him 12 years later: "Jesus Christ is my personal savior."

That reminds me, but the Governator just selected Susan Hildreth to be the State Librarian, in case you haven't heard. I know most of you are scratching your heads, but at least a few of you might be excited. It also increases my confidence in the Governor a bit...he could not have made a better choice than Hildreth, who just resigned as the San Francisco City Librarian with a catty speech that really warmed my heart. Back in the dark ages (1996) she recruited me to give a speech at a conference about keeping kids away from porn in public libraries without smashing the First Amendment, so I've owed her one. Our last State Librarian, Dr. Kevin Starr, is also a hoot who frequently wrote scowling letters to the Times about the ignorance of the public.

But meanwhile, back in the darkest heart of's God and his sidekick Jesus on a rampage!Bush Campaign Seeks Help From Thousands of Congregations By David D. Kirkpatrick The New York Times The Bush campaign is seeking to enlist thousands of religious congregations around the country in distributing campaign information and registering voters, according to an e-mail message sent to many members of the clergy and others in Pennsylvania.

Perhaps soon these innocent and easily duped Christians will understand the TRUTH...maybe they didn't see "The Omega Code" (a great date movie, by the way)(thanks, Miles):WASHINGTON DC -- According to freelance journalist Wayne Madsden, "George W Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs and his constant references to 'evil doers,' in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations--the anti-Christ."Madsen, a Washington-based writer and columnist, who often writes for Counterpunch, says that people close to the pope claim that amid these concerns, the pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations. John Paul II has always believed the world was on the precipice of the final confrontation between Good and Evil as foretold in the New Testament.

I think maybe Bush is a little too stupid to be the Anti-Christ, although admittedly, my image of the Anti-Christ is based more on "The Omen" than "The Bible" (thanks, Jenn):
Well, the sources are "un-named staffers" and the website is partisan (, but you cant get a better line than this one:West Wing staffers call Bush and Ashcroft “the Blues Brothers” because “they’re on a mission from God.”Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House AidesBy DOUG THOMPSONPublisher, Capitol Hill BlueJun 4, 2004, 06:15 President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind. In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.” Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home. “It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.” In interviews with a number of White House staffers who were willing to talk off the record, a picture of an administration under siege has emerged, led by a man who declares his decisions to be “God’s will” and then tells aides to “fuck over” anyone they consider to be an opponent of the administration. “We’re at war, there’s no doubt about it. What I don’t know anymore is just who the enemy might be,” says one troubled White House aide. “We seem to spend more time trying to destroy John Kerry than al Qaeda and our enemies list just keeps growing and growing.” Aides say the President gets “hung up on minor details,” micromanaging to the extreme while ignoring the bigger picture. He will spend hours personally reviewing and approving every attack ad against his Democratic opponent and then kiss off a meeting on economic issues. “This is what is killing us on Iraq,” one aide says. “We lost focus. The President got hung up on the weapons of mass destruction and an unproven link to al Qaeda. We could have found other justifiable reasons for the war but the President insisted the focus stay on those two, tenuous items.” Aides who raise questions quickly find themselves shut out of access to the President or other top advisors. Among top officials, Bush’s inner circle is shrinking. Secretary of State Colin Powell has fallen out of favor because of his growing doubts about the administration’s war against Iraq. The President's abrupt dismissal of CIA Directory George Tenet Wednesday night is, aides say, an example of how he works. "Tenet wanted to quit last year but the President got his back up and wouldn't hear of it," says an aide. "That would have been the opportune time to make a change, not in the middle of an election campaign but when the director challenged the President during the meeting Wednesday, the President cut him off by saying 'that's it George. I cannot abide disloyalty. I want your resignation and I want it now." Tenet was allowed to resign "voluntarily" and Bush informed his shocked staff of the decision Thursday morning. One aide says the President actually described the decision as "God's will." God may also be the reason Attorney General John Ashcroft, the administration’s lightning rod because of his questionable actions that critics argue threatens freedoms granted by the Constitution, remains part of the power elite. West Wing staffers call Bush and Ashcroft “the Blues Brothers” because “they’re on a mission from God.” “The Attorney General is tight with the President because of religion,” says one aide. “They both believe any action is justifiable in the name of God.” But the President who says he rules at the behest of God can also tongue-lash those he perceives as disloyal, calling them “fucking assholes” in front of other staff, berating one cabinet official in front of others and labeling anyone who disagrees with him “unpatriotic” or “anti-American.” “The mood here is that we’re under siege, there’s no doubt about it,” says one troubled aide who admits he is looking for work elsewhere. “In this administration, you don’t have to wear a turban or speak Farsi to be an enemy of the United States. All you have to do is disagree with the President.”The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the record.

One wonders if the President has any pals left:
Donald Trump blasts Bush

Democrats can be soothsayers too (thanks, Mrs. Lightwood):
> > >"Back in 2000 a Republican friend warned me that if I voted> > >for Al Gore and he won, the stock market would tank, we'd> > >lose millions of jobs, and our military would be totally> > >overstretched. You know what? I did vote for Gore, he did> > >win, and I'll be damned if all those things didn't come true!"> > >--James Carville

Think I'm kidding? Here's a fascinating article on religion and psychology, courtesy of Dr. Brad:
Subject: The Sleep of Reason

And here's some more soothsaying...a website which actually calculates the odds (for you gambling types) of which city will get the Olympics next:

'Cause the Olympics isn't all about medals and sports:
Olympic Flame Trail Busts Cannabis Farms

And finally, here's my "spam of the week":From: "Lisa Patton" To: Subject: Attention all Atheists! Attention all Atheists!>>Atheist Charities is here, an organization of >>helping hands to empower and educate those in >>need without imposing the chains of religion.>>>>Counseling, vocational/employment services, >>computer classes, food drives, and educational >>services are among the many programs we aim >>to offer for the working poor to assist in >>breaking the anchors of poverty.Please visit their website and give as much as you can to help them succeed. this to everyone you know and help spread the message.With each person you foward this to, the world will become more rational.Cheers,Lisa Patton

Vive le Screed!

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