Featuring the works and commentary of Andrew Bruss

Monday, February 28, 2011

George Jefferson: War Criminal

Thanks to Jack Lepiarz for the comparison. 

We’re Movin’ On Up… to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. George Jefferson isn’t really a war criminal. He’s not even a real person. He does look an awful lot like Momar Gadhafi, whose status as a war criminal has been proven in spades over the course of the past week.

As we speak, diplomats the world over are working on ways to loosen Gadhafi’s grip on power as fears mount that even greater atrocities will be committed against mounting opposition.

The United States is “reaching out to opposition groups” and has frozen $30 billion in assets that Gadhafi has been using to pay African mercenaries to attack an opposition movement whose ranks now include many of his former soldiers and diplomats.

Supposedly pro-Gadhafi forces are surrounding a city outside Tripoli occupied by opposition forces, waiting to launch an attack aiming to give Gadhafi some much-needed momentum. Even if they succeed, the civilian casualties such an attack would necessitate would only hasten the fall of Momar Gadhafi.

Things in the Middle East have been as unpredictable as ever, but as the Andrew Bruss of andrewbruss.com, I find it hard to believe that Gadhafi will be in power come Saint Patrick’s Day.

Do they celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in Libya?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Army Illegally Targets U.S. Senators

Caldwell and McCain. Photo courtesy of the AP
Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone reporter who single handedly brought down Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is reporting the military’s Psychological Operations department was ordered to operate against U.S. Senators visiting Afghanistan.

The orders came from Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, whose hopes were to manipulate legislators into providing more troops and funding for a war in peril. The use of Psy-Ops against Americans, civilian or congressional, is in clear violation of federal law. In fact, each year’s defense budget comes with stipulations pertaining to Psy-Ops ensuring that these types of orders will not be issued.

The article in Rolling Stone details the refusal of a Psy-Ops officer to obey this illegal order, only to face retribution by the Lt. General who was tasked with training Afghani soldiers.

According to MSNBC, both the Pentagon and White House are scrambling to address this issue. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, was apparently one of the folks Caldwell wanted to target. Mullen’s efforts to corner Obama into a troop surge in Afghanistan were well documented in Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars. Was Mullen’s push the result of Psy-Ops targeted against him (as well as Senators ranging from Republican John McCain to Democrat Al Frankin)? Or was pressuring an inexperienced president his idea of effective military leadership?

We will never know if these operations were carried out by other soldiers and if so, to what extent, but even if they weren’t, these shocking disclosures forever taint the decision making process that has gone into this war's strategy for the past two years.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Worlds First Slight Of Hand Songwriter

I conducted an interview with folkie Nathan Moore on the day Hosni Mubarak resigned. As I wrote in my interview, he’s one of the best songwriters you’ve never heard of, and if you have heard of him, odds are you agree.

I put him on the spot but he was cool enough to talk about everything from Egypt to his fusion of folk music and magic. Che-che-che check it out…

Monday, February 14, 2011

Iranians Hit the Streets: Egyptian Style!

The protests seen in Egypt and Tunisia have already spread to Yemen and Jordan, and it appears as though the spark of revolution has ignited a fire in Iran.

Hundreds of protesters are reported to have been arrested and thousands have taken to the streets around Tehran University to demonstrate against the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Iranian forces are using clubs and tear gas to beat back demonstrators and there is already one fatality reported. Although Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesmen demanded Hosni Mubarak respect the wishes and human rights of Egyptian protesters, it turns the Iranian leaders are a bunch of filthy fucking hypocrites.

Following the stolen presidential elections in 2009, Iran saw the biggest protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After widespread brutality (including the rape of imprisoned men and women) people stopped protesting.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul was visiting Iran and said at a joint press conference with Ahmadinejad that “the desires of people must be taken into account. In this respect, fundamental reforms must be carried out.” His trip was cut short when the Iranians learned that he planned to accept an invitation to visit the protests.

Many are wondering if the Iranian protests will go farther than they did in 2009 in light of the success of the recent Egyptian revolution. Menashe Amir, a veteran Israeli expert on Iranian affairs says the lesson Iranians should learn from Egypt is clear: When you take to the streets, don’t go home again!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BREAKING NEWS FROM EGYPT: Arcade Fire Wins Grammy!

This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about my utter disgust with CNN’s weak news judgment. Bumping North Korean aggression in favor of news on a long-missing blonde girl was bad. But at the time of publication, CNN.com has bumped news about Egypt’s parliament being absolved by their military government in favor of breaking news from the Grammy’s. Seriously.

I’m stoked an innovative, organic band like Arcade Fire won the nights top honor. Their underdog status was amplified by the fact that they went up against commercially successful superstars like Eminem and Lady Gaga.

I still can’t shake the fact that prioritizing Arcade Fire’s win over serious happenings in the Arab worlds strongest, most populated country is an insult to their readers.

When I want news on music Glide Magazine and Pitchfork Media do just fine. I can’t speak for all CNN.com’s visitors, but as a regular reader, I’d love to lobotomize their web crew with the long-shot hope it may actually enhance their judgment.

Happy Valentines Day…

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak’s Last Night: The Real Story

How many of my readers have seen the film Labyrinth?
The night before Hosni Mubarak resigned as President of Egypt, he gave a speech verifying his intent on staying in power. This was not supposed to happen. According to US officials, Mubarak went way off script of a carefully worded speech.

The Jerusalem Post reports: “The Egyptian president startled the Obama administration and many of his aides with an address in which he appeared determined to cling to office. In the end, Mubarak's efforts only ensured a hasty and ignominious departure, the officials said. Within hours of the speech, Egyptian army officials confronted the discredited president with an ultimatum: Step down voluntarily or be forced out.”

Egyptian officials informed their American counterparts of a plan by Egyptian military leaders that was "something between a negotiated exit and a soft coup d’├ętat to relieve Mubarak of most, if not all, of his powers.”

This is why on the eve of Mubarak’s final speech the army told protesters that all of their demands would be met. These facts also explain why CIA Director Leon Panetta made a scheduled appearance before the House Intelligence Committee and said there was a "strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down [Thursday] evening." It is also why the Egyptian people never formally heard Hosni Mubarak resign.

According to these reports, if he did not resign, the military leadership would have forced him out and taken his place. Well, his Vice President announced Mubarak’s resignation and the military swiftly assumed his responsibilities as Head of State.

It does not seem as though Mubarak finally made the right decision and walked away from the seat of power he held for over 30 years. In all likelihood, the Egyptian army effectively forced him out of office but did a helluva good spin-job to ensure Mubarak got to leave with his head up. This might not be the official narrative coming out of Cairo, but with Mubarak’s “resignation” coming the night after his refusal to leave office, it makes a lot more sense.

A New Day in Egypt: L’chaim

In the words of Rachel Maddow, "This is Egypt’s Berlin Wall Moment."

As hundreds of thousands of Egyptians party in the streets over the ousting of former-President Hosni Mubarak, many questions are left unanswered. (Former?)-Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that authority of the country’s affairs was being transferred to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. How long will they be the stewards of power, and or will they become the next despots?

Will the Egyptian people elect a secular leader like ElBaradei or will the Muslim Brotherhood hijack this revolution Ayatollah style?

Contrary to many fears, the peace treaty with Israel is likely to stay together. Whoever takes Mubarak’s place will depend upon the support of the armed forces and they will retain the peace.

The Egyptian Amy has never fared well against Israel. Even the 1973 war, which is a massive source of pride for the Egyptian’s, resulted in the Israeli Army miles from Cairo forcing the Egyptians to accept a cease fire. Nobody likes loosing and conflicts with their Israeli neighbor have always been destructive. However, Egypt’s Armed Forces have not had to suffer these consequences for over 30 years. Keeping peace that has allowed them to maintain their strength (and popularity) is the most sensible outcome.

In addition to the uncertainty facing Egypt, the fate of the Arab world is also in question. With protests in Yemen and Jordan already in action, will this amplify their efforts? Would revolutionary success on the Arabian Peninsula bleed into Saudi Arabia and possibly topple the House Of Saud?

Any of the above scenarios have the possibility of strengthening Iran by denying America a foothold in former allied nations. But this isn’t about the United States. Today is Egypt’s day: L’chaim

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bristol Palin For President?

How do you spell skank again?

The girl who made Sarah Palin a grandma told E! News she will “probably” run for office someday. "If I saw something that needed to be changed, then I would step up to the plate and do something about it," the ass-backwards abstinence advocate said.

As for her mother? "I think she would be a wonderful president, and I still think that she should run," Bristol said. "She's just so common-sense conservative….just, 'Here's what we've gotta do and this is how we're gonna do it,' and she brings a whole 'nother aspect to politics because she's a mom, because she runs a household, and I just think she's really smart." If being a mom qualifies someone for president, maybe we’ll see Bristol endorse Cindy Sheehan? Unlikely

Just trying to spell check the above paragraph confused Microsoft Word. God Help Us.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Breaking news and photo courtesy of CNN.com
SECOND UPDATE: It now appears that although Mubarak has resigned as leader of his party, he is retaining his position as Head of State. Smooth move buddy.

UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post has the full scoop!

This news literally just broke and there isn't much more I can tell you. I'll have more news as information disseminates. Something tells me this won't quell the violence we've seen on the streets of Cairo. At least not yet...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chinese/American feud in Space

Although Ronald Reagan abandoned the Star Wars program in the 1980’s, technology has caught up, and according to Wikileaks, the U.S. and China are already beefing over alleged tests of space weapons.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the United States shot down an aging spy satellite as a show of strength, not because of a fear of its reentry into the atmosphere. In January of 2007, China shot down one of its own weather satellites 530 miles above the earth, and this freaked the U.S. out.

According to the leaked diplomatic cables, the American missile launch against our satellite was not about keeping it out of the atmosphere, but to show the Chinese that two can play the Star Wars game.

The Telegraph reports: “In secret dispatches, US officials indicated that the strike was, in fact, military in nature. Immediately after the US Navy missile destroyed the satellite, the American Embassy in China received ‘direct confirmation of the results of the anti-satellite test’ from the US military command in the Pacific, according to a secret memo. The strike marked the high point of tensions between Washington and Beijing over the issue of ballistic missile defense. The cables show that China was deeply concerned about America’s plans to place missile defense radars in Japan. Another document discloses that the US was allegedly developing an ‘airborne laser system’ to counter the threat from “Chinese military build up.”

In response to the report, the Pentagon released a statement Wednesday night saying: “The President's June 2010 National Space Policy requires the Dept. of Defense (DoD) to have a range of options and capabilities. Our overriding objective is to promote the peaceful use of space. The United States did not engage our own satellite to test or demonstrate an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability. The purpose was to prevent the satellite's hydrazine fuel from causing potential harm to life on the ground. To conduct this engagement, we had to make modifications to three sea-based missile defense interceptors, three ships, and the system's command and control software. We have not made these modifications to any other missile defense system, nor do we plan to. Our missile defense systems are not intended or designed to engage satellites.”

Oppenheimer tells us that science cannot be stopped, and given the heavy commercialization of space in the near-future, this technology is only going to evolve and proliferate. It’s doubtful that the Star Wars of our future will feature warp-drives or Wookie-sidekicks, but as the weaponization of our orbit moves forward, the idea of future conflicts playing out in the heavens will be far from science fiction.