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me see Saddam on teevee
he bad man
George Bush good man
kill Saddam dead
everybody happy now
--a typical American
(image from deviantart.com)
...the US and its Iraqi allies chose to try Saddam on one of his relatively minor crimes because if they did so they could get him safely hung before they had to try him for the major ones, the gas attacks and massacres that happened during The Years of Playing Footsie with the United States. The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddamís own trial, by two orders of magnitude. They were also the sort of war crime that people like Ralph Peters and a hundred other pundits and parapundits think the United States should be committing. Every time you read a complaint about ďpolitically correct rules of engagementĒ you are reading someone who would applaud a Dujail-level slaughter if only we were to perpetrate it. Those are the people who are happiest of all about tonightís execution. Smells like - victory! Itís the pomander they don against the stench.Juan Cole, writing for Salon:
Saddam Hussein was tried under the shadow of a foreign military occupation, by a government full of his personal enemies. The first judge, an ethnic Kurd, resigned because of government interference in the trial; the judge who took his place was also Kurdish and had grievances against the accused. Three of Saddam's defense lawyers were shot down in cold blood. The surviving members of his defense team went on strike to protest the lack of protection afforded them. The court then appointed new lawyers who had no expertise in international law. Most of the witnesses against Saddam gave hearsay evidence. The trial ground slowly but certainly toward the inevitable death verdict.New York Times headline writer: "Saddam Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped." Oh, man, you should be, like, a writer. That makes me feel like, I don't know.
One of the witnesses, Judge Munir Haddad, was quoted by CNN as saying that as the noose was being tightened around Mr Husseinís neck, one of the hangmen shouted out "Long live Moqtada al-Sadr." "Moqtada al-Sadr," said Mr Hussein mockingly [...] According to the report, those were Mr Husseinís last words.Glenn Greenwald:
It really is striking, and a potent sign of just how absurd is our ongoing occupation, that the "Iraqi Government" which we are fighting to empower could not even conduct this execution with a pretense of legality or concern for civilized norms -- the executioners were not wearing uniforms but leather jackets and murderers' masks, conducting themselves not as disciplined law enforcement officers but as what they are (death squad members and sectarian street thugs). [...] But as Floyd also correctly observes, Saddam was in U.S. custody until the very last minute, and both the fact and the terms of the execution required the approval of Bush officials, which they gave -- implicitly, if not explicitly, by handing over Saddam for his middle-of-the-night noose fitting. Comparisons to the relatively dignified and orderly Nuremburg executions only serve to highlight how far America has tumbled under this administration, on every level that matters.
Artist and Bodenstandig 2000 musician drx (Dragan Espenschied) has stepped up to the plate and showed us his gnomes.
I think if the uptown Abstract Expressionist who was hiding his gnomes had done ones this good his dealer wouldn't be screaming but thinking of ways to reinvent him as an artist in the Peter Saul/Basil Wolverton school.
Beautiful-sounding, twisted logic from the antiwar sister of an American in Iraq:
Victory being out of the question at this point, the only democracy my brother is fighting for in Iraq is our democracy. The only constitution he is in Iraq fighting to defend is our Constitution. If my brother dies, it will not be for a mistake but rather because of his deeply held belief that the time it takes us as a people to figure out through democratic processes that we are wrong is more important than his own life.Great, lovely, but what about all the Iraqis he's helping to kill while we democratic idiots figure out what we did wrong? The essay in the Washington Post where this paragraph comes from is just comforting sophistry from someone stuck between the rock of her convictions and the hard place of her brother's participation in a war that has needlessly slaughtered people who never threatened the US. She's ultimately enabling his bad choices (or our leaders') with this desperate argument.
"Massively Huge" [mp3 removed]
Happy and e-piano-y tune for the holidays. The back story is I found this bunch of samples buried inside a Reaktor "groovebox" called Massive. (Not to be confused with Massive the synth, also from Native Instruments--but of course they will be.) The samples are supposed to be raw material for further slicing and granular weirdness in the beatbox context. I find that kind of music to be mushy, arty and same-y but I really liked the samples by themselves. So I moved them into a sampler and gave them pitches and wrote simple tunes for them. The piece has a kind of kitchen sink feel, with house music piano chords rubbing up against mangled electronic percussion stabs, but it moves along. The drum tracks are 3 different machines playing at once, two hardware and one soft.
(Similarities to London Elektricity are happily acknowledged, although breakbeats are hardly used.)
Headphones 2, a ceramic piece from my student days.
The New York police department now has a cable-car-like boxes for elevated surveillance, raised and lowered on extensible arms like fireman's ladders. They make appearances whereever crimes might occur--most recently that danger zone Times Square. Officially they're called Sky Watch; Curbed calls them the Towers of Fun. Portable prison camp turrets gets my vote. In a pinch they could probably be outfitted with those new microwave "crowd control" weapons, to complete the degradation of the citizenry. Police state, we're on it.
"Two Note Lead" [mp3 removed]
An exercise in musical minimalism using the Electribe RmkII, an instrument I've been neglecting as I learned my way around the Vermona analog drum machine. The Electribe, being an analog-modeling digital synth, has a more brittle, metallic sound, but that's not without its pleasures. I only used the machine's onboard sequencer for the "break" or second theme in the middle--everything else was performed in my computer's host sequencer, which plays the Electribe via MIDI. The played and internally sequenced parts were then sampled and overlayed inside the host; you can hear some phasing and detuning when two like parts are played simultaneously and crossfaded. The most time was spent on changing the settings of the Electribe's rhythm synthesizer voices, away from some fairly awful presets. The resulting piece has an "Assault on Precinct 13" feel--if I can be so presumptuous--but clangy and jangly (and more upbeat than the Carpenter).
Update: snipped out four bars in the middle.
"Entropic Funk" [mp3 removed]
A sequence I wrote is played with four Sidstation patches--Sharp Interval Lead, PWM1, Subloop, and Moonmachine (the last is the crunchy, high pitched one)--all run through the Mutator filter using a gate setting to shorten the envelope. These segments are recorded into the sequencer one at a time and overlapped with each other to create a kind of round and/or counterpoint. Also in the musical staff is a marimba sequence using the same notes phased and "fattened" in a sampler, and a drum pattern that comes and goes. As the title suggests, the piece starts off energetic and urban and gets more Subotnick-abstract but without losing the spine of a perky melody.