Friday, April 09, 2004

Unicorns & AF in Boston Tonight!

Dynamic Duo, anyone? Tonight, our fellow Montrealers the Unicorns and the Arcade Fire will be playing in Boston, MA. Chromeo will also appear. The Boston Globe listed the following coordinates for this Can-Rock (Yes They Can) bash: 275 Tremont St., Boston MA, 617-931-2000. Tickets will set you back $10 bucks.

Howard Stern and the Swing Vote

We all knew that Michael Moore and Al Franken were Democrats but now the Bush camp is gaining a new enemy combatant to deal with, shock jock radio host Howard Stern. On April Fool's Day, he pretended to be kicked off the air by his parent company Viacom. This hoax was followed by yesterday's announcement that the FCC will fine Clear Channel up to $495,000 USD because of Stern's online antics. He is also out of work for now.

Stern's response to the fine (and of course getting fired) is both impassioned and vitriolic, typical of his brash individualist attitude. Bush has taken on the wrong guy. Stern won't go down without a fight. He had this to say.

"This is not a surprise. This is a follow up to the McCarthy type 'witch hunt' of the administration and the activities of this group of presidential appointees in the FCC, led by
'Colin Powell Jr.' and his band of players. They and others (a senator from Kansas City to a congresswoman from New Mexico) are expressing and imposing their opinions and rights to tell us all who and what we may listen to and watch and how we should think about our lives. So this is not a surprise. It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S. It's hard to reconcile this with the 'land of the free' and the 'home of the brave'. I'm sure what's next is the removal of "dirty pictures" like the 20th century German exhibit in a New York City Museum and the erotic literature in our libraries; they too will fall into their category of 'evil' as well."
A quick glance at Stern's official site gives away even further details of his ire. One of the links in the navigation bar of his page is called "Bush Facts" and lists a whole host of links to Anti-Bush or Pro-Democratic sites. Keep in mind that the majority of his listeners are males--Republicans poll better with men than with women--and many of them live in crucial swing states. Perhaps the action by the FCC is a Bush Administration tactic to limit his reach, thereby reducing his chance of swinging enough votes to the Democratic side to tip the scales in the Fall election.

One of the links I found on Howard Stern's page was about the "historical record" of the Bush family's involvement with the Nazi German state, ending in 1942 when the U.S. government seized some of the Bush family assets due to "dealing with the enemy." George H. W. Bush joined the military soon after to absolve his lineage from their previous history. I can't attest to the accuracy of their information but I will follow up on this in the future when I have the facts straight. Judge for yourself.

Iraqi Citizen Sees Sunnis, Shi'ites Allying Versus the Occupation

Today, Dan Murphy interviewed a former Fallujah resident who is now stationed in Baghdad as part of the fledgling Iraqi resistance movement. The young man had this to say and it speaks volumes about the way things are going.
"This character Sadr, I have a lot of sympathy for him now and respect his bravery...This isn't about Shiite or Sunni, or who will lead Iraq. Now it's a war of liberation to kick the occupiers out of Iraqi lands."
This supports my earlier assertion that the insurgency may begin to draw on pan-Iraqi support, meaning everyone except the Kurds (who have been too eager to assist the Americans from the beginning and therefore cannot join the movement) will throw aside their differences and begin to work together. This won't bode well for the American Democracy Project in this troubled country. In my opinion, it will sow the seeds of a future Islamist Theocratic Iraqi nation, one that respects the sectarian divisions of the population but which is fundamentally based on Islamic law. Of course, that is only assuming that they succeed in driving out the American-led mission to revamp their system of government. They are at a disadvantage when it comes to weaponry: homemade bombs and rocket propelled grenades versus F-18 fighter jets and Apache helicopters; AK-47's versus tanks. Their only chance is to recruit larger segments of the population. Otherwise, their cause appears hopeless.

What do you think? Comment below if you have something to say!

Jeremy Brendan Blog Seen on a Cellphone in Japan!

According to my hit counter, we've had our first mobile visitor, an anonymous reader using a Japanese cellular browser known as "DoCoMo". Since I'm not getting paid to do this, I must be allowed to pat myself on the back at least once or so. It keeps the blood pumping and the hands at their rightful place in the "home" position (ASDFJKL; and both thumbs above the spacebar!).

In terms of visitors, we receive between 12 and 30 visits a day, although the average is closer to 12 because certain posts garner more attention. For the computer geeks and technological voyeurs out there, you can view our site statistics (or otherwise you can click the counter in the right-hand margin of the page.)

If you are interested in joining the Jeremy Brendan team, we are offering an internship beginning May 1st. It is unpaid (if revenue is ever generated, wages will be dispensed) but will offer you an insight into the ever-evolving world of online publishing. Expect to contribute at least one article per day on a topic of your choice: it doesn't have to be long but it must hold water and also be a breezy read. (Sorry about the constant nautical references!) Contact me if you want in. (Please send at least two examples of your writing; it doesn't have to be already published)

I have to shout out some props to the guys who started all of this. Justin from is one of the first bloggers I ever read but back then (He started publishing in '94 but I only got access to the net in '95), it was just considered a repository of links. Eventually, he abandoned that pursuit and just began to chart the course of his own life online. Other sites that inspired me with their vivacity and boldness were Feed Magazine and, before the dot-com flameout sent them crashing into the Hudson river, their sites abandoned or gone altogether (Suck stands still for perpetuity but it doesn't get updated anymore!)

I am trying to attain the same level of literary excellence without losing my rebel spirit and my cynical "glowstick generation" attitude. Get out there and blog, play music in bars, march in parades or protests, whatever is your kick--just don't hurt anyone maliciously and remember to laugh a lot. Peace.

"Freedom Fighters" and the Occupation of Babylon

Just days ago, I was still reading reports that Iraq's Shia majority were solidly behind the Coalition Provisional Authority and the American presence in Iraq. Supposedly, their natural rift with the largely Sunni Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein meant that they wouldn't join the insurgency. In a manner of days, that has changed. The people of Iraq (with the exception of the Kurds, who will never expand out of the north) are rising up to smite their "enemy" and they are doing it regardless of sectarian divisions.

Robert Fisk, a journalist for the Independent (UK), has illuminated the state of affairs in Iraq and he reminds us that the supposed "civil war" is not materializing. Shi'ites and Sunnis are appearing to put their differences aside and join the resistance as a unified force (even if operations are being carried out sporadically without any centralized leadership).

Muqtada Al-Sadr, a relatively low-level Shi'ite cleric and son of a former spiritual leader (for whom Sadr City in Baghdad was named after Saddam was overthrown), has declared that all Iraqis must resist the occupation of their lands. He has also called for an Islamic state and formed both a shadow government for all ministries & a paramilitary force to protect the interests of his faction.

There is historical evidence that the occupation will fail. Remember the American revolution? How about the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets? I must agree that not all guerrilla movements are successful, and the examples I've cited may have certain fundamental differences (the American revolution was backed by France & Spain, while England could not commit enough troops to secure their colonies in North America; Afghanistan is a mountainous country and the Mujahadeen were supported by America and England in order to disrupt the Soviet plan of conquest).

Even so, they do show that if a populace is united behind a cause, it is very difficult for a foreign power to retain control of their nation. By launching a Hellfire missile and dropping a 500-LB laser-guided bomb on the wall of a Fallujah Mosque on Wednesday, the American forces may have given the Sunnis and Shi'ites a reason to join hands and aim at the same target, that being the American flag.

Imagine if the situation were reversed and America were being invaded by a largely Muslim force. If they attacked a Church (especially in the Reverent South), every Christian denomination would put their differences aside and rise up against the invasion.

Granted, there was apparently a rocket-propelled grenade fired from the Mosque's general area and this shot was directed at an American Humvee. Apparently, this voids the protection afforded to places of religious worship under the Geneva Convention, since once you use a Church or a Mosque as a base of military operations, military forces are free to fire at will.

Sadly, eyewitness accounts have announced that as many as 40 innocent civilians were killed just for being inside the Mosque at the time. They are caught in the crossfire and their deaths will only incite further Iraqis to join the resistance. They have been martyred for their cause and the ranks will surely swell. The only way out of this situation is to renounce all claims on Iraq and to hand over power to a United Nations-led peacekeeping force. It may even be too late for this.

Perhaps we will have another Iran on our hands, if Al-Sadr rises above his shortcomings (he isn't placed high enough in Shi'ite circles to really convince everyone to follow him, due to his lack of religious training), he may gain a high enough profile to be considered the leader of the movement, and therefore a potential leader or president down the line.

Christ said to turn the other cheek, not to preemptively invade your neighbours house because he may be building weapons. The Americans should have known better. And if they were just doing it to free the Iraqi people, why did they support Saddam's regime for so long? Why did they provide him with satellite information on Iranian troop movements, so that he could unleash the chemical weapons that they (and other G8 nations) sold to him for billions of dollars?

I truly hope that Iraq retains some freedoms no matter which side wins. If the resistance movement succeeds, hopefully they won't end up with a dictator like Saddam Hussein. If the Americans win the war, hopefully they won't trample the Iraqi's demands for a religious-minded theocratic democracy.

When I read about the insurgents invading Kut, driving out the Ukranian forces, raiding their base and stealing their weapons and supplies, and then raising their flag above a grain silo, I was reminded of an American computer game. It is called "Freedom Fighters" and involves liberating America from a foreign occupier (in this case, communist Russia). At the end of each level, you symbolically raise your flag above the highest building available to show the people that you are resisting and winning. Looks like the Iraqis are winning.