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Issue #63

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Features:

Top Ten Hacks of 2004 Election - Matt Taibbi

MEMRI Problems: Was Kerry's Election Bid Lost in Translation?- Chris Riordan

Pick of the Litter: Bottom-Feeding all the Way to the Top

Redwoods Evil, Must Be Destroyed: Bush Wants Some Wood- Kit Smith

Too Cool for School: City Honors Censorship - Al Uthman

Tortures - R - Us - Christopher Lord


Faux-tures:

New Hotel on Baltic Ave: Boon or Burden? - Ian Murphy

10 Tips For Coping with your Dysfunctional Family this Thanksgiving

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Matchbook Romance/Midtown Show - Chris Meister

Goo Goo Dolls DVD - Seamus Gallivan

Elliot Smith CD- Michael Gildea

Odd Couple CD - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills could Make Playoffs--in the NFC - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

Beast Comix - Ian Murphy

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley





Issue #62

Features:

O Buffalo: Why Move When we can Secede? - Al Uthman

Love or Four Hour Erections: The Choice is Clear - Matt Taibbi

The Falsification and Death Administration: FDA Approval may be Hazardous to your Health - Kit Smith

Meaning of Tripe: Countdown to the Beast's Ten Worst Presidential Election Campaign Hacks of 2004- Matt Taibbi

10 Ultra-Cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

The Big Rig: This Election was Worse than 2000 - William Rivers Pitt

The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice - Chris Meister


Faux-tures:

The BEAST Interview With God

Who Voted Bush? - A BEAST Quiz

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movies:

Kino Korner

Sports:

Wide Right: O Captain my Captain - Ronnie Roscoe









Issue #61

Features:

Voting Guide of FEAR

Top 10 Reasons to be TERRIFIED This Halloween - Al Uthman

Onward Christian Assholes: Some Folks Just Can't Wait for the Apocalypse - Matt Taibbi

A Talk With Sam Hoyt - Eric Gauchat

Give 'em Enough Pink Ribbon to Hang Themselves: Breast Cancer? Chemical Firm Supplies Cause & Cure - Kit Smith


Faux-tures:

Our Election Campaign Sponsors

The BEAST Scary Election Fun Page!

Over 60 Million Killed in Huge Fucking Flu Epidemic - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Entertainment:

Movies:

Kino Korner

Music:

Album Reviews: Interpol, Mos Def

Sports:

Wide Right: Going Double-Negative - Ronnie Roscoe







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2004 The Beast

MEMRI Problems
Was Kerry's Election Bid Lost in Translation?

by Christopher Riordan

Stranded from intellect and worthwhile rhetoric in Utica, NY for the last few months, I have made a habit of visiting political discussion boards online for a dose of informed bantering and arguing. I tend to gravitate towards conservative cyber communities because I generally prefer arguing to agreeing.

On one such board I noticed the heading, "Bin Laden to US: Don't vote for Bush." Curious. Assuming it was a reference to the latest video release from that machinegun-toting psychopath, I checked it out to see what exactly the author of the post was referring to. After all, from the accounts I've heard the message was blatantly neutral towards the campaign, saying the safety of any nation is determined by the actions of inhabitants and not the leaders.

Apparently, however, Fox News reported that bin Laden was giving a solid endorsement to Kerry. They claimed the warning was not that individual nations were in control of their safety, but rather individual U.S. states were in charge of their fates. Since this message was joined by a strong criticism of both George W. and his father, the inference was made that bin Laden was telling us "red states" would be potential targets while "blue states" would be protected.

Now, any red-blooded, Wal-Mart-shopping American would rather give up his NASCAR tickets than do what bin Laden wants him to do. So, in effect, this was a big boost for Bush, who seems to represent a tougher stance on terrorism and all things foreign than John Kerry. Kerry himself has recently stated publicly he believes the bin Laden tape was what ended up costing him the election.

Dr. Michael Niman, a professor of Media Studies at Buffalo State College and the resident political opinion expert at Artvoice, agrees that this video was detrimental to Kerry's chance of success.

"Everything I've seen has the bin Laden message as being neutral," Niman said. "But what hurt Kerry was the FOX spin saying bin Laden was endorsing Kerry." It's not surprising that the right-wing propaganda factory at FOX processed this story and came up with such a translation, because if one were to consider the reality of the situation it seems that this video would deter people voting for Bush.

"It reminded us that Bush never captured him," Niman said.

Not only did Bush fail to catch the guy who masterminded the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans, but he had publicly stated he "wasn't too concerned" with finding bin Laden - despite what he claimed during the presidential debates.

So what is the big deal if one media outlet translates the message differently? Well, the big deal is that for some godforsaken reason FOX news is the highest rated news outlet in America. Because, you know, they're all fair and balanced.

So, did the guys at FOX just pull this translation out of their butts? No, but the source of the translation certainly stinks.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Westerners understand the text of Middle Eastern media outlets by "providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media."

First of all, I didn't find a single translation of anything written in Hebrew and I still don't know what the hell Farsi is. But I did poke around their website until some things became frighteningly clear to me.

A quick glance at the headlines of recently translated articles reads like a grocery list of American fears and stereotypes regarding the Arabic world. Such titles as "Arabic Guide to Wife-beating" serve to shock and disgust those very Westerners MEMRI claims to serve. Regardless of the accuracy of the translations, they are clearly handpicking articles to translate that would disgust and frighten and rational Westerner. And again, there is nary a trace of Hebrew or Farsi translations.

So what's the reason for this effort? Who are these people? Why are they trying to damage the already tarnished image of Arabic cultures in the U.S.?

The answer to that question isn't so easy to find. They don't use the names of any of their members and don't seem interested in mentioning their own political alliances or agendas.

MEMRI is located in Washington DC, and coincidentally I was visiting a friend in D.C. when this story first came to my attention. I jotted the given contract address (PO Box 27837) on a piece of paper and took the subway to try and track these people down to get some answers.

My suspicions were confirmed upon arriving at the post office. PO Box 27837 is far too small for even one anti-Arab person to fit inside, let alone an entire institution. I banged on the door for several minutes but no one answered. Dejected, I returned to my friend's apartment and filled his toilet tank with olives.

With that task completed, I went back to my internet detective work and found a bunch of brow-raising information on MEMRI. Without getting into the specifics and/or committing an act of plagiarism, let me just tell you Brian Whittaker from the UK paper The Guardian tracked them down and discovered it was an Israel-based organization that includes former members of the Israeli intelligence community.

Whitaker also states that MEMRI is hesitant to reveal their actual physical location because of the risk that "a suicide bomber" would walk into their office building and go boom boom. A queer concern for a non-biased language translation group, wouldn't you think?

Unless, of course, they were pushing a certain agenda. Namely Zionism.

Clearly, any advocator of Israeli agendas knows that it is in their best interest to see a neoconservative like Bush in the White House. A loaded translation suggesting that a vote for Kerry is a vote for bin Laden would, as Niman says, "get the NIMBY's (Not In My Back Yard) in the prairie."

"Neocons are aligned with the Israeli hawks using Israel as a client state - mercenary state - outpost in the Middle East," Niman said. "Hence, anything pro-Zionist is also pro-neocon."

And vice versa.

Keep in mind that as a non-profit organization, MEMRI pays no taxes. And no doubt there are inflammatory and disgusting things being written in Arabic regarding their feelings towards Christians and Jews and America. But do we need someone cherry-picking the worst of the worst and presenting it as the standard sentiment of that culture? It would be akin to someone taking the highly offensive, racist, and sexist (albeit satirical) Percieval Sneed articles the Beast used to print and saying, "Hey, look at what these Americans are all about - making women fetch their coffee and poking fun at mentally retarded people."

In these times, an institution like MEMRI would be an invaluable asset to our society that could promote understanding and insight. Instead, they promote fear and distrust.

"Language is an imprecise art," Niman warns. "I know the same words mean different things from country to country in Latin America. So we need accurate translations. That said and done, bin Laden and company know this and I'd assume speak in a region-neutral way."

With Rupert Murdoch, Jesus H. Christ and Osama bin Laden all factoring in on the election, you have to wonder if Kerry ever had a chance at all.



 

.. This Issue ...........Home............. Contact........Archives

The Top 10 Hacks of the 2004 Election

Matt Taibbi

10 - GEORGE WILL, NEWSWEEK: Will uses big words and pompous literary references to dress up what are basically the brutish and vulgar thinking patterns of a non-union meat-packing plant owner. He is a pig in a lace hat.


MEMRI Problems

Chris Riordan

Stranded from intellect and worthwhile rhetoric in Utica, NY for the last few months, I have made a habit of visiting political discussion boards online for a dose of informed bantering and arguing. I tend to gravitate towards conservative cyber communities because I generally prefer arguing to agreeing.


Pick of the Litter

Pat Ragpicker

It's 4am on a winter night, and I'm parked on a dead end street near Kaisertown. It’s a secluded corner of the city I found by driving around aimlessly. I'm new to town, and penniless after buying my van with $700 I squirreled away the last time I got a paycheck. That was 7 months ago. Over those months, I managed to live off a few hundred bucks while sleeping in a warehouse closet and helping some friends make a TV show to try selling to a network.


Redwoods Evil, Must be Destroyed

Kit Smith

Nature is a bad and inconvenient thing. It must be stopped. That's why so many of us environmental scientists voted for Bush. He recognizes that endangered species are tasty, that Yellowstone is the most awesome place for snowmobiling in the whole world, and that those horrible California Redwoods are home to Satan himself.


Too Cool for School

Al Uthman

In the decomposing cesspool of Buffalo's public schools, City Honors has long been regarded as something of a gem. In fact, it is widely regarded as the best school the city has to offer, with the brightest kids around.


Tortures-R-Us

Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day.


Buffalo in Briefs

Code Red - Everybody’s freaking out about Giambra’s proposed “red budget,” which would scale spending down to mandated minimums, and basically reduce Buffalo to some anarchic Escape From New York-style war zone within a year or two. People are understandably up in arms about the possible loss of branch libraries, the philharmonic and all arts funding (although we wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to that monumentally depressing animal Abu Ghraib we call a zoo), as well as a staggering reduction in nearly every other service, except high-level patronage jobs, of course.


Kino Korner

Michael Gildea

It’s amazing how pissed some parents will get if they see you drinking Remy Martin in a theater during a kids’ movie. Throw the three PCP-laced joints you smoked in the parking lot while disdainfully watching sports bar patrons with a hooker who promised you an express elevator to hell-of-a-night ahead into the equation, and you’ve got a recipe for ugliness, my friends.


[sic] - Letters

...The latter part of this summer and early fall espessially, I have noticed that your special brand of witty, in-your-face journalism has rubbed off on some other publications (ARE THEY SCARED? or ENVIOUS?) ARTvoice had a couple of weeks ago a cover wich depicted a puppetmaster type "pulling the strings"...Almost thought it was the new BEAST for a moment. ALTpress put out a cover story in their last issue about the finer points of rioting, WHAT!! are they just that desperate that they will use an old idea you guys used months ago? how boringly un-origional. And then finally this newest issue of ARTvoice with giambra depicted in an alice in wonderland spoof cover.....once again, thought it could be the new issue of the BEAST...




O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."


Love or 4-Hour Erections

Matt Taibbi

...If history is any guide, the DLC will spend the next four years trying to find a pious bomb-thrower to put up as the nominee- unless, of course, the poll numbers in a few years' time show that Barack Obama is good-looking, black and charming enough to get the party over the hump using the same basic playbook that worked so swimmingly this time.


10 Ultra-cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

Why did the Democrats lose? At least in part, it's because they thought that being right would actually work in their favor. Let's face it, logic doesn't mean squat in politics. People say there's too much cynicism in politics today, but we think there really isn't enough. Cynicism works. The Republican Party has embraced it, and it has worked wonders for them. The Democrats have made some progress in this area, but they are still lagging badly. If there's any hope for the blue states, they must learn the lessons of Machiavelli and Rove. To help them along, the BEAST offers these suggestions.


The Falsification & Death Administration

Kit Smith

The staff at the Food and Drug Administration may not actively hate you and want you to die, but a study of the agency's sordid history suggests that they don't really care if you live either. Lucky for us, drug companies are kind, conscientious, and self-regulating. For example, in late September Merck and Co, makers of Vioxx, agreed to voluntarily recall their famous drug, now that a new study suggests it may put people at increased risk for heart attack. Isn't that nice of them? How thoughtful…. Unless four years doesn't qualify as "new" to you.


The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice

Chris Meister

Mercurial weather put an electricity in the late October air in West Valley last weekend. Or perhaps that electricity came from the blazing fires of dissent? A nuclear waste processing plant, AKA the West Valley Demonstration Project, was the arena for a pre-Halloween protest-fest that drew a whopping…20 people.


The BEAST Interview With God

Feeling dejected and withdrawn over the stupidity of our fellow countrymen in reelecting George W. Bush, our thoughts turned first to suicide, then alcohol. Once we calmed down and sobered up a bit, we had no choice but to go to the source to ask the tough questions about the election, the future of our country and the world.


Top 10 Reasons to be TERRIFIED This Halloween

Al Uthman

1. The Supreme Court. Not only could this body again determine the outcome of this election by a widely scorned 5-4 vote based on indefensible logic, but if Bush stays in power he'll get the chance to ensure a religious right majority for decades-say goodbye to Roe v Wade. Chief Justice Rehnquist is about to go down, and if Kerry wins, that means a chance to tip the scales in favor of reason.


 

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