The news & media page
04 April 2006 - Woody Harrelson as an undiluted idealist...
19 March 2006 - Here's one to read if you like things concise and poignant: The farcical end of the American dream by Robert Fisk. (Click here for the entire article.)
10 March 2006 - For this weekend I do have something on offer for you. You should be familiar with Noam Chomsky as the linguist that showed us that our brains are (genetically) pre-wired for handling language. By now, you could be more likely to know Chomsky as a political analyst and strategic thinker.
Anyhow, here is a lecture by Chomsky you really should give a listen to. It's a longish talk, but Chomsky has a pleasant voice, and what he says has significance for world politics and your backyard, in which atomic weapons could be dropping shortly if we insist on this path. Chomsky is not a sensationalist. He is an analytical mind who has chosen to put his ample mental capacity towards clarifying the state of the planet.
In this lecture Chomsky paints the whole picture. In the end he admits to seeing some reasons for optimism; especially in the developments in Latin-America. But it's mostly a talk of warnings: about nuclear weapons, Iraqy, Iran, Israël, de demolishion of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, and about capitalism, multinationals, the US's rampant imperialism, and of course the consequences of all this, clearly, irrational behaviour.
It goes all to well with the nasty weather outside.
02 March 2006 - Saying I had had it with world events lately is understating matters considerably. By now the realisation that the world is about to end, should have sunken with the general audience. Since the traditional media have picked up on the apocalyptic chatter of bloggers around the world, you are ensured of your daily dose of doom and gloom. For as long as the hype lasts, of course.
Be that as it may, my resentment of the crooks that currently inhabit the White House is undiminished. So when I come across a comment on the unsavoury state of affairs, I still wont keep it from you. Especially not if it happens to be an analysis of the language used in shaping our mindsets.
This why I link you to an artikel by Answaar Hussain with the title Terra, Terra, Terra.
Here and here you'll find reprints, in case you are having trouble accessing the original.
06 February 2006 - On the day we were informed that the Rolling Stones concert during the Super Bowl was censored in some countries because of "sexual content", I hazzard a guess this and this are not allowed either. Let alone this; if a bomb in a turban is blasphemous, so undoubtedly must be a head in flames and scenes of decapitations.
It does offer an interesting peek into the history of depictions of Mohammed.
Which by the way is only prohibited according to some sects and interpretations islam, and by no means all of islam. Hence, I guess, the small scale of the demonstrations around the world, which do not number more than a few hundred people on each occassion.
24 November 2005 - I wonder how many Americans, when reading the headline 'NIGER FOOD CRISIS', assume it's domestic news.

12 October 2005 - Quick glance at the war barometer... More bad weather coming our way, say the experts.
You will probably have to be quick to do something about it!

05 September 2005 - Katrina turns out to be informative in more than one way. This last week I decided that a disaster like this happening in the US would be an excellent moment for a big attack by al Qaeda. Kick the giant while he is down, as it were. I hazzard a guess, the same thought occured to you or people around you. I sure wasn't the only one this side of the Atlantic, I can tell you.
There was no such attack (yet). This could be very educational.
My conclusion: al Qaeda lacks the recources to pull a such a stunt. If Al Zawahiri and Bin Laden and there followers ignore an opportunity like this, it is not because they wouldn't like to, but because they can't. (What would be there to stop them? Pity?) Al Qaeda is no able to act on a moments notice and exploit a situation such as this - it is that simple.
03 August 2005 - In need of a brush up on GWOT and stuff? Here's professor Juan Cole telling the tale of the crazy cowboys and the desperate desert dwelers.
27 July 2005 - These are excellent times to be argumentative. Here's two dissidents I would like to bring to your attention:
Columnist Matthew Parris - the seasoned BBC viewer will recognize him as a presenter, politician and pundit - reveals the forces behind al Qaeda. (Here's a longer version; and here is more on the documentary Parris mentions: the Power of Nightmares.)
Nothing strikes terror in the hearts of the powers that be, like political analyses by linguist and politial activist Noam Chomsky. His disections of modern politics are as sharp as his work on language and grammar back in the sixties. According to Chomsky, history shows that nasty things are bound to happen when politicians start deploying fear as an insturment of government.
19 July 2005 - The name al Qaeda (which translates to the Base) as a label for an international terrorist organisation is a product of and was popularised by US governement personal. We have to wonder whether these people had a working knowledge of memetics. If so, they must have been aware of the possible outcomes of releasing such a dangerous idea into a world teeming with brains lusting for things to imitate.
Never before did the concept of terrorism of the islamic persuasion have such a nice compact little handle, such a ruthlessly efficient hook by which to infiltrate our brains! It is hard to believe that the people who coined the al Qaeda brand, did not forsee it could have the same potential to spread as Coca Cola, Nike or Von Dutch.
In the days of the internet merely releasing a concept like al Qaeda will lead to adolescents DIY'ing bombs (as happened in the Netherlands recently).
Suicide also is a dangerous concept. In the years directly following the publication of Goethe's Das Leiden des jungen Werther (1774), for instance, suicide was all the rage amongst young people all over Europe. And suicide has shown itself to be a frighteningly contagious concept on more than one occassion since - specially if 'marketed' properly. Like a virus, a concept does not care how it's hosts fare; as long as it gets a chance to replicate and spread, it will.
If suicide is contagious by itself, blowing yourself up for the good cause can easily become a fad, attach a catchy label and - god help us - a cool logo and you have the makings of a full blown hype. Just like young Werther's suffering was for 18th and 19th century European romantics, the concept of an al Qaeda martyrs death threatens to become an inspirational force for 21st century muslim youths - wherever they live.
Efforts to root out this dangerous social virus can and will result in an evolutionary arms race. A proces of mutation and adaption will be set in motion that could easily result in ever more resistent variations of the virus.
We already know what happens if we over- or misuse antibiotics; it would be good to bear in mind the the same risks apply when using antimemetics!
19 July 2005 - In a world full of overstated, politics-laden retorics, it is good to do a thorough stop-and-think every now and then. Get your reality checked by Charles Reese.
11 July 2005 - Because Bush needs to be bashed, as often as possible, I would like to link you toBoy President in a Failed World by Tom Engelhardt and Are the good times really over for good by Sheila Samples.

17 June 2005 - Here's an update on the puma situation: the police have called of the hunt. Public outcry has led to something positive in the Netherlands. Which is nice, for a change.
The Pantera Foundation, who did a great deal of the lobbying in this matter, are gonna whip out the old tranquilizer gun 'n' darts and go catch the animal. Whether it will work, isn't clear though. Pantera says this might be the same animal they were after a couple of times before. If so it has been roaming our desginated green zones for years - as far as we can tell without ever eating anybody.
Still, if one of these days you happen to find yourself in a wooded area in the Netherlands and you hear something suspicious in the undergrowth, you might wanna remember something I picked up in the Panamanian jungles: puma's are frightened by things coming toward them, anything that flees before them is concidered eadable until proven otherwise.

15 June 2005 - There is a puma on the loose in the Netherlands. The big cat is roaming the Veluwe - one of the semblances of nature we have created (in this case by chopping down an original forrest) in our fully cultivated, wholy man-made country. The police have said they will "simply kill" the big cat.
In case you thought the Dutch are an animal friendly people, think again. And next time you see a Dutch person proudly pointing to the lion on his orange-clad chest, ask him about that puma on the Veluwe...
01 June 2005 - For a moment there I considered voting 'no'. My abhorrance of the religion-based, business-oriented politics of this miserable prime-minister of ours, almost pushed me into an irrational decision. I'm happy to say, in the end reason and the pro-European in me gained the upper hand. Nothing good can come from the fearfull, petty provincialism that drives the 'nay'-sayers. History has proven this sort of small-mindedness to be misguided, time and time again.
The Netherlands simply can't stay behind in the greater scheme of things! And, after all, that constitution really isn't as bad as some people would like you to believe.
So: up with Europe, down with negativity! I will vote 'yes'!
20 May 2005 - Added to the news page: two new sources to track the news.
BuzzTracker maps the news onto a map of the world, NewsMapper uses colour coding and spatial mapping to improve your overview of events.
10 May 2005 - So he wasn't the third man after all. Sheila Samples knows about her Libbi's en Liby's.
13 April 2005 - Ted Rall is a cartoonist. According to his website he is "hard hitting". Well, in times of crimes of imperialist proportions we can do with some of that. Right on the nose, is Ted's column on the propagandistic labels as used by the kapitalist media. Make up your own list!
12 April 2005 - It will take one and half hour to watch (more if you replay the all bits you can't believe at first), but it's more than worth it. Why we fight is an eye-opening BBC4-documentary on the madness that is the American war machine. (If the link doesn't work, try here orhere.)
19 March 2005 - Three remarkable titbits in the categrory 'news':
- Germans not victims, but eager followers of feelgood Führer. Here's a game: try not thinking about the analogies with current day USA while reading the article.
- Fall out of an Iranian oil-euro. Hands up who saw this one coming?
- If it wasn't so horrific... Well, yes, it would probably not be as hilarious: new slogans for a new America!
16 March 2005 - Getting used to the new weather pretty quickly, here in Amsterdam. Everybody is expecting an early onset of spring! As we say in Dutch: it can freeze, and it can thaw...
12 March 2005 - The language coming form the neo-conservative clique in Washington is as Orwellian as it gets these days. Tom Engelhardt thinks that there is a malign intend to misdirect lurking behind all this, wordplay. He especially takes intellectual offence against the use of the term World War IV Read this spot-on-analysis here!
16 November 2004 - Since Fallujah, I think it's sort of official now: Bush and Hitler can be mentioned in one sentence.
14 November 2004 - The Americans simply air there war crimes on television these days. It's the sort of images that will be on your mind for days. The Information Clearing House collects this kind of stuff. Here's the murder as documented by (as far as i can gather) by an Australian news team froim ABC Television.
(Note added November 19th: this is not the much publicised murder in the mosque.)
04 November 2004 - It's now two days ago Theo van Gogh was shot in Amsterdam by a islamic fundamentalist. This bodes ill for the future of Dutch multicultural society. So far public reactions have been within the limits of the acceptable. I can't help but wonder what is brewing underneath the calvinist veneer.
Don't be supprised if the emerging Lonsdale generation has it's revenge on someone somehow.
Summer 2004 - Terrorism is the new rock 'n' roll!
Somewhere in 2003 (re-edit in March 2006)- Three links on the same subject is a Theme: It's all lies! Here are 31 lies of George Bush's. An article in the Guardian on the same theme I had a link to, seems to have expired. But the one on the culture of lies over at the Future of Freedom Foundation still exist.