Archives: August 2003
Sun Aug 31, 2003
The Central American Saddam Hussein
Why Won't Bush Condemn Rios Montt, the 'Central American Saddam Hussein'?
Commentary, Roberto Lovato, Pacific News Service, Aug 12, 2003
Editor's Note: The Guatemalan Constitutional Court has recently cleared the way for Efrian Rios Montt, responsible for mass killing in Guatemala in the 1980s, to run for president. The writer explores why the U.S. barely denounces Rios Montt while it condemns Saddam Hussein daily. Traducción al español.
We don't need to spend $4 billion a month to bring a genocidal dictator to justice. Not a single drop of American or non-combatant blood needs to spill in order to punish someone universally acknowledged in the early 1980s to have gassed, tortured and killed as many people as Saddam Hussein.
Instead of sending out several naval fleets to pursue justice, all that's needed are a few airline tickets -- to Guatemala. More...
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Sat Aug 30, 2003
"Learning to Be Stupid in the Culture of Cash"
By Luciana Bohne
08/12/03: You might think that reading about a Podunk University's English teacher's attempt to connect the dots between the poverty of American education and the gullibility of the American public may be a little trivial, considering we've embarked on the first, openly-confessed imperial adventure of senescent capitalism in the US, but bear with me. The question my experiences in the classroom raise is why have these young people been educated to such abysmal depths of ignorance.
"I don't read," says a junior without the slightest self-consciousness. She has not the smallest hint that professing a habitual preference for not reading at a university is like bragging in ordinary life that one chooses not to breathe. She is in my "World Literature" class. She has to read novels by African, Latin American, and Asian authors. She is not there by choice: it's just a "distribution" requirement for graduation, and it's easier than philosophy -she thinks.
The novel she has trouble reading is Isabel Allende's "Of Love and Shadows," set in the post-coup terror of Pinochet's junta's Nazi-style regime in Chile, 1973-1989. No one in the class, including the English majors, can write a focused essay of analysis, so I have to teach that. No one in the class knows where Chile is, so I make photocopies of general information from world guide surveys. No one knows what socialism or fascism is, so I spend time writing up digestible definitions. No one knows what Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" is, and I supply it because it's impossible to understand the theme of the novel without a basic knowledge of that work - which used to be required reading a few generations ago. And no one in the class has ever heard of 11 September 1973, the CIA-sponsored coup which terminated Chile's mature democracy. There is complete shock when I supply US de-classified documents proving US collusion with the generals' coup and the assassination of elected president, Salvador Allende.
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Fri Aug 29, 2003
Pentagon Rethinks Use of Cluster Bombs
Here's some images of a fin of a exploded cluster bomb piece from Afghanistan that I scanned.. Just laid the piece on the scanner and pressed scan so it's distorted and all. They're popular as ashtrays, I'm told.
The metal fin pieces act as fins, to throw the 202 'bomblets' out. The military apparently reports that 6% do not explode, but Land Mine removal people say it's closer to 20-30% (according to Land mine NGOs with Global Exchange trips to Afghanistan). That means if the military sends 6 cluster bombs to an enemy position somewhere between 72 (according to 6% US military estimates) and 363 (according to 30% claim of on-the-ground NGO land mine removal people) 'bomblets' become land mines to kill or maim whomever is unlucky enough to come across them.
To remove and detonate a land mine cost about $1000 apiece (I don't know how much cluster bombs cost, but land mines can cost about $15 a piece).
Here's an article about Cluster Bombs, from the Wall Street Journal. This piece speaks volumes about military thinking.
Pentagon Rethinks Use of Cluster Bombs
Unexploded Bomblets in Iraq Create 'No Go' Areas That Impede Maneuvers
Pentagon planners are rethinking how the military uses cluster bombs, because unexploded bomblets littering Iraq significantly impeded American troops' battlefield maneuverability.
Indeed, Marines trying to clean up unexploded ordnance in the Karbala region south of Baghdad say they are finding more deadly cluster bomblets than they expected, which are killing and maiming civilians and complicating U.S. reconstruction efforts.
"It's a big problem, and the military has come to recognize that it's not just a humanitarian problem, it's a military problem," says a senior Pentagon official recently back from Iraq. "You're creating 'no-go' areas on the battlefield. I don't think we appreciated that until this conflict."
At a time of increasingly precise weaponry, cluster bombs are among the most indiscriminate -- and thus controversial -- conventional munitions. Bomblets left over from the first Persian Gulf War killed 1,600 civilians and injured 2,500, according to a Human Rights Watch study. During and after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, they killed or injured at least 129 civilians, the group says. More...
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Ariel Dorfman: Martin Luther King: A Latin American Perspective
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Exploring the roots of radicalism
Exploring the roots of radicalism
from the Asia Times, By David Isenberg
Back in the fifth century, the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote a classic work called The Art of War . One of the key components of the book was his belief in preparation and in "knowing the enemy". Indeed, one point is widely cited to this day, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."More...
Now fast-forward to the ongoing United States global "war against terrorism". How well does the US and its leader, President George W Bush, understand the enemy? Not well enough, if one relies on public statements. Consider his remarks to the American Legion National Convention on August 26.
"They attack the civilized world because they bear a deep hatred for the values of the civilized world. They hate freedom and religious tolerance and democracy and equality for women. They hate Christians and Jews and every Muslim who does not share their narrow and violent vision ... because America stands for freedom and tolerance and the rights of all, the terrorists have targeted our country."
This sort of rhetoric reminds one of the saying of the American writer H L Mencken, "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong."
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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star,
May 7, 1918
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If it's Friday, it's Meet Victor Davis Hanson!
From VDH's Friday column on National Review Online:
"The theocrats all over the region wish us to fail as well. Modernism emanating from Iraq would undermine the strictures of the clerics, in empowering women and eroding the fossilized structures of a tribal society...
...The real story is not that the news from Iraq is sometimes discouraging and depressing, but that it so often not — and that after two major-theater wars we have lost fewer people than on that disastrous day in Beirut 20 years ago, and less than 10 percent of the number that perished on September 11..."
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Bush on Smog, R Buckminster Fuller on Smog
Bush Administration: Carbon Dioxide Not a Pollutant
by Seth Borenstein, Knight Ridder
WASHINGTON - Carbon dioxide, the chief cause of global warming, cannot be regulated as a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled Thursday.
'CO2 IS NOT A POLLUTANT'
Environmentalists accused President Bush on August 28, 2003 of further undermining international efforts to curb global warming with a likely ruling that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide occurs as a natural component of the atmosphere as well as being a by-product of industrial processes.
The decision reverses a 1998 Clinton administration position. It means that the Bush administration won't be able to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars.
Had the Bush administration decided that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and harmful, it could have required expensive new pollution controls on new cars and perhaps on power plants, which together are the main sources of so-called greenhouse gases. [...]
From R Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path', p. 278 (in 196?), speaking of industrial plants:
Christmas and New Year's Days are celebrated everywhere in America, but Los Angeles, being a relatively new and gigantic social body, is able to alter its celebration customs. The L.A. refineries and heavy industries have learned that the people of California want to take a Christmas vacation. So the holiday becomes a ten-or-more-day vacation starting the weekend before Christmas and continuing through the weekend after New Year's Day. It pays all the refineries and other heavy industries to shut down their plants. As the holiday proceeds, the air gets clearer and clearer, until on New Year's Day--the traditional Rose Bowl Day — you find throughout Los Angeles a dreamy-clear view of all the surrounding, often snow-capped mountains. If you went out with scientific devices to measure the fume-level from the cars, your instrument would read approximately zero. The only reason that auto fumes were previously measurable was that the industrial-fume-laden ceiling held the auto fumes down and locked them in at the level at which you and I are breathing. I have taken many New Year's Day pictures from the hills of Los Angeles showing it to be absolutely clear. Then, on back-to-work industrial Monday, you see a vast, molasses-brown cloud rolling in from the southwest gradually to obscure the whole of Los Angeles.
There is no question about it. It is the refineries, the steel and other mills, and the public utility fumes that produce the smog. But no municipal government anywhere in America is going to let its industry go away. Therefore, cities are always going to find political ways of absolving the industries while blaming the people. Air does not stay in any one place. There is a preposterously stubborn myth about "this being my or someone else's airspace.... This is my air." Air keeps moving right through the geometry of our environment to continually recircle the Earth. The air belongs only to everybody on our planet.
click more to read more from Bucky Fuller: More...
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Thu Aug 28, 2003
That’s Our Bush!- 9-11 Docudrama
That’s Our Bush! The President’s Re-Election Campaign Kicks Off With a Shameless 9-11 Docudrama: Lights, Camera, Exploitation by J. Hoberman, The Village Voice, August 27 - September 2, 2003
In the end 9-11 turned out to be a made-for-TV movie, or rather, the basis for one—a shameless propaganda vehicle for our superstar president George W. Bush.
The upcoming Showtime feature DC 9/11: Time of Crisis is a signal advance in the instant, ongoing fictionalization of American history, complete with the president fulminating most presidentially against "tinhorn terrorists," decisively employing the word problematic in a complete sentence, selling a rationale for preemptive war, and presciently laying out American foreign policy for the next 18 months. "We start with bin Laden," Bush (played by Timothy Bottoms) tells his cabinet. "That's what the American people expect. . . . So let's build a coalition for that job. Later, we can shape different coalitions for different tasks."
Scheduled for cablecast on September 7, DC 9/11 inaugurates Bush's re-election campaign 50 weeks before the 9-11 Memorial Republican National Convention opens in Madison Square Garden. DC 9/11 also marks a new stage in the American cult of personality: the actual president as fictional protagonist.
There are, of course, precedents. "One of the original aspects of Soviet cinema is its daring in depicting contemporary historical personages, even living figures," André Bazin dryly observed in his 1950 essay, "The Myth of Stalin in the Soviet Cinema." It was one of the unique characteristics of Stalin-era Soviet movies that their infallible leader was regularly portrayed, by professional impersonators, as an all-wise demiurge in suitably grandiose historical dramas. So it is with DC 9/11, where documentary footage of the collapsing WTC is punctuated by the pronouncements of Bottoms's Bush. More...
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How a Small Group of Dedicated People Might Actually Do Something
by Doris "Granny D" Haddock, Speaking in Hood River, Oregon – August 16, 2003
Well, you've heard that wonderful Margaret Mead quote about how you should never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, and that, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Well, I think it's time we stopped repeating that quotation and came to some agreement about what we happy few might do over the next five years or so. That is the purpose of my remarks today.
You know, there are two kinds of politics in the world: the politics of love and the politics of fear. Love is about cooperation, sharing and inclusion. It is about the elevation of each individual to a life neither suppressed nor exploited, but instead nourished to rise to its full potential--a life for its own sake and so that we may all benefit by the gift of that life. Fear and the politics of fear is about narrow ideologies that separate us, militarize us, imprison us, exploit us, control us, overcharge us, demean us, bury us alive in debt and anxiety and then bury us dead in cancers and wars. The politics of love and the politics of fear are now pitted against each other in a naked struggle that will define not only the 21st Century but centuries to come. We are the Sons and Daughters of Liberty in that struggle, indeed we are. Let us not shirk from the mission that fate has bestowed upon us, for it has done so as a blessing.
This struggle is real. A very close friend of mine, a college student, spent this summer in Guatemala to help small communities prosper in ways that support their local environments. Those villagers and their environments are under siege by international big business, using a captured U.S. Government to push through damaging treaties such as the proposed Central America Free Trade Agreement and the hemisphere-wide Free Trade Area of the Americas. The villagers of Guatemala want global FAIR trade, but the corporations and their captive governments want FREE trade. If fair trade wins, a global middle class will rise, as farmers and craftsmen are paid fairly for their work, and as they gain a voice in their governance and their environments are protected for their future generations. If free trade wins, it is colonial exploitation, torture and murder written in blood across another century.
Or do you wonder if it is really an honest difference of opinion as to which policies are best for the people? On July 24, three armed gunmen broke into the home where my young friend was staying in Guatemala, dragging her and another young woman to the ground, covering their heads with blankets. These young women began to count their lives in seconds. For three-quarters of an hour, the gunmen went through the biodiversity files in the home. Big business interests in Guatemala, in league with elements of the military, are trying to push-through the passage of free trade agreements and to do it they must suppress all dissent. Their partner and blood brother is the U.S. Government. Not the U.S. Government that we see, but the U.S. Government that much of the rest of the world sees: a world of C.I.A. treachery, the training of death squad leaders in our own Army facilities within the U.S., and a big business-friendly White House that winks and nods as great injustices continue.
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Wed Aug 27, 2003
more O'Reilly Factor
from the New Yorker - Talk of the Town
...O’Reilly, of course, is the commentator known for shouting “Shut up!” at those with whom he disagrees—such as Jeremy Glick, the son of a World Trade Center victim, who, on “The O’Reilly Factor” in February, questioned the U.S. decision to wage war in Afghanistan (“Get out of my studio before I tear you to fucking pieces!” Glick recalls O’Reilly shouting after the microphones were turned off), or, indeed, Al Franken, in a memorable televised exchange at the Los Angeles Book Exposition, in May...
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Tue Aug 26, 2003
OK. I posted this before, and I didn't get any comments, because I placed the movie in the 'More...' section where no one saw it. They give thanks to 'Little Green Footballs' in the credits. YOU MUST FLIP THROUGH THIS.
Pro-nuclear war. Hate. Fundementalism. Bad. Please Comment.
some text from the flash movie in question, attributed to the King David character:
We had just come out of the concentration camps: we weren't into feeling guilty. We were into feeling angry, and kicking the Arabs' asses.
Now look to the left of Zecharia: see that military base? It's home to several dozen nuclear devices, mounted on missiles. We have about 200 of these mamas: on submarines, on fighter jets, in suitcases - you name it.
If I was anointed King again, and the Moabites pissed me off at breakfast? This is what dinnertime would be like.
Ahhh, these clear, cold nights in the land of Efrath... ...the wind blowing gently from the sea, and not a single cloud in the sky... ...well, OK - maybe one cloud...
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[...]Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservative" agenda has fallen so far short of its ambitious goals, in a number of cases undercut by pressure from his conservative backers, that they fear he will be politically vulnerable on the issue in 2004.
At the same time, some religious supporters of Mr. Bush say they feel betrayed by promises he made as a candidate and now, they maintain, has broken as president.
"After three years, he's failed the test," said one prominent early supporter, the Rev. Jim Wallis, leader of Call to Renewal, a network of churches that fights poverty.
Mr. Wallis said Mr. Bush had told him as president-elect that "I don't understand how poor people think," and appealed to him for help by calling himself "a white Republican guy who doesn't get it, but I'd like to." Now, Mr. Wallis said, "his policy has not come even close to matching his words."
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Driven by a neo-conservative dream, the US is loath to relinquish control in Iraq. But the price for Washington's stubbornness may be failure, writes Brian Whitaker
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Mon Aug 25, 2003
help Jacques plan his Chicago trip.
this goes out to the Windy City Citizens out there: please send me dangerous sightseeing tips, deepdish do's and dont's, downtown parking warnings, thai joints to avoid, free health clinic locations, and any back-of-the-phonebook tattoo coupons any of you might have. The wife and I are coming to Chicago next month and I aims to be prepared.
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Tacitus "top 20 worst of the 20th century"
Interesting to see Lenin and Qtub made his top ten. Surprised at some. Bertrand Russell does seem a bit sniffy but he does qualify it:
Some were chosen for outright evil; some for bearing responsibility for actions that bore bitter fruit later on; some for failing to take actions that they should have. I'd probably take Bertrand Russell off if I had to do it again: I included him for being a person of detestable character, but that's hardly an outstanding characteristic in the 20th century.I agree with many on his list though.
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Sun Aug 24, 2003
Henry Wallace (a good Iowan) wrote this....
The Danger of American Fascism
By Henry A. Wallace
The New York Times
From Henry A. Wallace, Democracy Reborn (New York, 1944), edited by Russell Lord, p. 259.
Sunday 09 April 1944
On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:
What is a fascist?
How many fascists have we?
How dangerous are they?
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.
The perfect type of fascist throughout recent centuries has been the Prussian Junker, who developed such hatred for other races and such allegiance to a military clique as to make him willing at all times to engage in any degree of deceit and violence necessary to place his culture and race astride the world. In every big nation of the world are at least a few people who have the fascist temperament. Every Jew-baiter, every Catholic hater, is a fascist at heart. The hoodlums who have been desecrating churches, cathedrals and synagogues in some of our larger cities are ripe material for fascist leadership.
The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.....
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Sat Aug 23, 2003
brave or free?
nancy and I were in Nevada City, and we saw a guy wearing a "Home of the Brave" Tshirt. Nan thought it was a "Home of the Free" tshirt. Ah the same thing we chortled. But we then thought is it? Actually, not really - they seem to be at odds. Would you rather be free or brave? Given the current cloudy nature of freedom, it's a hard choice, but let's go with the commonly accepted idea of the groovy version of freedom. In that case I think I'd rather be free, cuz if you have to be brave, then there's some fucked up adversity in your way, which is entirely unfree-feeling. Facing adversity may be good for character-building, but it's a total drag, and I think I'd rather be free.
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"Blowing up petroleum pipelines and vital water supplies in a scorching summer is directed at the Iraqi people, not just the American military."
This seems like a the same strategy as the UN's Iraq embargo that existed before they got their freedom. Screw the people so they hate their government. Or, in this case, make them "hate freedom."
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more on UN
it's all good to Victor Davis Hanson.
failure of the policy becomes the justification for the policy
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Fri Aug 22, 2003
What an asshole.
this is what the 'anti-idiotarian' says in response to the UN bombing:
I heard this on the news this morning and had almost popped the cork off of a bottle of sparkly when I heard that it was the U.N. HQ in Baghdad.
Oh well, it's a start, I suppose.
This is from the 'apology':
"OK, OK. I blew it with that post. I couldn't for the life of me see how anybody could interpret it as anything but a joke. Except for the the usual horde of gum-flapping fuckwit Idiotarians whose rusty synapses have fused together in a helpless mess that even a neurosurgeon armed with a blowtorch and a buzzsaw can't fix (the ones with brains, that is, the rest of you need not apply).
What this means is that the bedwetting, whining, lying sons-of-bitches, Tranzis and Barking Moonbats, those worthless Chimpskyite dregs at the bottom of the oil drum of humanity channelling Hitlary Klintoon, those most dimwitted of Idiotarian retards, complete and utter fuckwits; including the corrupt, circle-jerking, appeasing fucktards of the UN helping out those goat molesting sand lice and ragheaded motherfucking sons of malformed goats and bitches are just too simpleminded to withstand my intellect.
thanks for summarizing: giveitback
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Fox vrs Franken Lawsuit
"There are hard cases and there are easy cases," U.S. District Judge Denny Chin told Fox's lawyers Friday. "This is an easy case in my view and wholly without merit, both factually and legally."
Newsday.com - Fox Blocked In Suit Against Al Franken's Book
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GeorgeWBush.com's ACTION CENTER
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Thu Aug 21, 2003
Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush
So afraid is the Bush administration of what could be revealed by inquiries into its failures to protect Americans from terrorist attack, it is unabashedly using Kremlin tactics to muzzle members of Congress and thwart the current federal commission investigating the failures of Sept. 11. But there is at least one force that the administration cannot scare off or shut up. They call themselves "Just Four Moms from New Jersey," or simply "the girls."
Kristen and the three other housewives who also lost their husbands in the attack on the World Trade Center started out knowing virtually nothing about how their government worked. For the last 20 months they have clipped and Googled, rallied and lobbied, charmed and intimidated top officials all the way to the White House. In the process, they have made themselves arguably the most effective force in dancing around the obstacle course by which the administration continues to block a transparent investigation of what went wrong with the country’s defenses on Sept. 11 and what we should be doing about it. They have no political clout, no money, no powerful husbands—no husbands at all since Sept. 11—and they are up against a White House, an Attorney General, a Defense Secretary, a National Security Advisor and an F.B.I. director who have worked out an ingenious bait-and-switch game to thwart their efforts and those of any investigative body.
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Wed Aug 20, 2003
"These aren't the droids you're looking for."
Jonah Goldberg and new wife and new baby and new dog drive to Vermont. There's more, but this is his funniest entry thus far:
...I loathe Vermont...the whole place gives off that “I Hope you’re not planning to stay here” vibe. It reminds me of that “Seinfeld” where the Maestro (played by that Niedermeyer actor from Animal House), insists there’s no room anywhere in Tuscany for any more visitors.
For example, we stopped in Putney, Vermont to get a bite to eat and put Lucy (our baby) and Cosmo (our canine companion, duh) through their paces. We stopped at “Bert’s Chuck Wagon” a mobile burger stand with picnic tables out front. Some locals were eating there, including a guy who looked like Ned Flanders in Teddy Roosevelt style glasses and was – as best I could glean from his conversation – an administrator at a liberal arts college. He wore a T-shirt which bore an excerpt from a dictionary. I couldn’t make out the whole word being defined, but the suffix was “biblio.” In short, this guy didn’t see the irony in his need to tell the world he was a Serious Reader. Perhaps he thought his persona was better suited for the biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota? Meanwhile, his shorthaired wife looked like her warmest memories could be found in the warm afterglow of the many bra-burnings of her youth. They had several kids with them, most of whom looked normal...They drove a white minivan with an “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker...Anyway, while waiting for Bert to serve up the vittles, we asked these fine folks if there was a place in or around town we could take our dog to play for a few minutes. The wife paused and then answered, “No, this is it.” She asked her Serious Reader husband if he could think of anyplace. He struck a pondering pose, as if someone asked him his favorite Walt Whitman poem. “Hmmm, no,” he replied. “There’s no place like that around here.” He might as well have said, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for...”
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Love Letter from America
I met one of the people that did this after September 11th. It's personal experiences and observations taken from people on a road trip across the U.S. I'll be reading it!
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Mon Aug 18, 2003
This is from American Samizdat.
If you're not familiar with Little Green Footballs, I suggest that you follow this link to a little movie which gives special thanks to the "great" Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs at the end. This can give you some idea about the kind of thinking that Charles helps and inspires. Or you can check out LGF's comment sections to hear his followers routinely refer to the Palestinians as "Paleos" (dehumanizing an entire race is definitely a sign of pro-ethnic-cleansing philosophy at work, or just watch the movie to see the ethnic-cleansing viewpoint openly espoused), and gleefully expounding upon their fervent desire to piss upon Rachel Corrie's grave whenever her name is brought up.
Frankly, it's a whole lotta racist, fundamentalist bullshit to me...
Some text from the flash movie in question, attributed to the King David character:
We had just come out of the concentration camps: we weren't into feeling guilty. We were into feeling angry, and kicking the Arabs' asses.
Now look to the left of Zecharia: see that military base? It's home to several dozen nuclear devices, mounted on missiles. We have about 200 of these mamas: on submarines, on fighter jets, in suitcases - you name it.
If I was anointed King again, and the Moabites pissed me off at breakfast? This is what dinnertime would be like.
Ahhh, these clear, cold nights in the land of Efrath... ...the wind blowing gently from the sea, and not a single cloud in the sky... ...well, OK - maybe one cloud...
Click 'more' for the whole movie. More...
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Sat Aug 16, 2003
Eighth version of a 'teaser' flash animation to be used for promotion of a print comic titled "Sanjay". Print comic modeled after Herge's Tintin, set 100 years into the future of a dominant Indian world power. Plot based on Sir Walter Scott's Red Gauntlet. It was 1999 and the world was fresh and new and ripe with opportunity. Forgive me, Miyazaki-san. More...
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Secondary animation for a Flash teaser for Sanjay comic.
Need to get this out there and away from me. More...
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Fri Aug 15, 2003
Nation braces for flood of self-absorbed NYC writing
Friday, August 15, 2003
KANSAS CITY--Following Thursday's blackout that affected nearly 50 million residents from Ohio to New York and into Canada, people across America are getting ready for yet another deluge of swollen, narcissistic output from New York City-based writers.
"The news clips of the Bronx cabby doing volunteer as a traffic cop; the thousands of people walking home in the dark chatting with people they would normally swear at in traffic. Right now it's kind of quaint to see these people surprised at their collective humanity. But that's going to wear thin pretty quick," says long-time Atlantic Monthly subscriber Brad Sprenger of Olathe, Kansas. "This is the kind of thing that will eventually spawn a dozen cathartic off-Broadway plays."
Added Sprenger: "Can you imagine what will be coming down the pike a few months from now? Wormy, double-spaced New Yorker poetry with titles like Walking To Staten and Dark Manhattan Forest. Save us."
Local resident Jeffery Roslef was sympathetic but unimpressed with the blackout: "I feel really badly that all those people were stranded in subways and everything, but from what I hear, the power is already coming back on. It lasted for...what?...maybe 12 hours? The last time we had an ice storm here in K.C., my block was without power for two weeks. For my family it wasn't about whether we would be able to go down to Bam Rose [theater] to catch the Brazilian Diaspora Film Festival. It was about wondering if my kids were frozen to death in their beds."
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Power Outage, Greg Palast, I'm going camping
Power Outage Traced To Dim Bulb In White House
--- The Tale Of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York, Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our Lights
by Greg Palast; August 15, 2003
I can tell you all about the ne're-do-wells that put out our lights tonight. I came up against these characters -- the Niagara Mohawk Power Company -- some years back. You see, before I was a journalist, I worked for a living, as an investigator of corporate racketeers. In the 1980s, "NiMo" built a nuclear plant, Nine Mile Point, a brutally costly piece of hot junk for which NiMo and its partner companies charged billions to New York State's electricity ratepayers.
To pull off this grand theft by kilowatt, the NiMo-led consortium fabricated cost and schedule reports, then performed a Harry Potter job on the account books. In 1988, I showed a jury a memo from an executive from one partner, Long Island Lighting, giving a lesson to a NiMo honcho on how to lie to government regulators. The jury ordered LILCO to pay $4.3 billion and, ultimately, put them out of business.
And that's why, if you're in the Northeast, you're reading this by candlelight tonight. Here's what happened. After LILCO was hammered by the law, after government regulators slammed Niagara Mohawk and dozens of other book-cooking, document-doctoring utility companies all over America with fines and penalties totaling in the tens of billions of dollars, the industry leaders got together to swear never to break the regulations again. Their plan was not to follow the rules, but to ELIMINATE the rules. They called it "deregulation."
It was like a committee of bank robbers figuring out how to make safecracking legal. But they dare not launch the scheme in the USA. Rather, in 1990, one devious little bunch of operators out of Texas, Houston Natural Gas, operating under the alias "Enron," talked an over-the-edge free-market fanatic, Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, into licensing the first completely deregulated power plant in the hemisphere.
And so began an economic disease called "regulatory reform" that spread faster than SARS. Notably, Enron rewarded Thatcher's Energy Minister, one Lord Wakeham, with a bushel of dollar bills for 'consulting' services and a seat on Enron's board of directors. The English experiment proved the viability of Enron's new industrial formula: that the enthusiasm of politicians for deregulation was in direct proportion to the payola provided by power companies. More...
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Russell Mokhiber is a white house press reporter and has posts his questions to Scottie & Me (formerly known as Ari & I) on commondreams.org
We Had a Democracy Once, But You Crushed It By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
In yesterday's Washington Post, Condoleeza Rice, the President's National Security Advisor, writes the following:
"Our task is to work with those in the Middle East who seek progress toward greater democracy, tolerance, prosperity and freedom. As President Bush said in February, 'The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life.'
Now, if we only had a nickel for every time Bush, or Rice, or Colin Powell, or Paul Wolfowitz or Dick Cheney or Richard Perle or Donald Rumsfeld talked about bringing democracy to the Middle East.
Talk, talk, talk.
Here's something you can bet on: Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz will not hold a press conference this month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-led coup of the democratically elected leader of Iran -- Mohammed Mossadegh.
Rice and Powell won't hold a press conference to celebrate Operation Ajax, the CIA plot that overthrew the Mossadegh.
That was 50 years ago this month, in August 1953.
That's when Mossadegh was fed up with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company -- now BP -- pumping Iran's oil and shipping the profits back home to the United Kingdom.
And Mossadegh said -- hey, this is our oil, I think we'll keep it.
And Winston Churchill said -- no you won't.
Mossadegh nationalized the company -- the way the British were nationalizing their own vital industries at the time.
But what's good for the UK ain't good for Iran.
If you fly out of Dulles Airport in Virginia, ever wonder what the word Dulles means?
It stands for the Dulles family -- Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, the CIA director, Allen Dulles.
They were responsible for the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Iran. More...
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Thu Aug 14, 2003
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE
The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had been reserved for the Ladies' Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club.
Here in Vermont the affair was not so picturesque as it might have been on the Western prairies. Oh, it had its points: there was a skit in which Medary Cole (grist mill & feed store) and Louis Rotenstern (custom tailoring--pressing & cleaning) announced that they were those historic Vermonters, Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, and with their jokes about imaginary plural wives they got in ever so many funny digs at the ladies present. But the occasion was essentially serious. All of America was serious now, after the seven years of depression since 1929. It was just long enough after the Great War of 1914-18 for the young people who had been born in 1917 to be ready to go to college . . . or to another war, almost any old war that might be handy.
The features of this night among the Rotarians were nothing funny, at least not obviously funny, for they were the patriotic addresses of Brigadier General Herbert Y. Edgeways, U.S.A. (ret.), who dealt angrily with the topic "Peace through Defense--Millions for Arms but Not One Cent for Tribute," and of Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch--she who was no more renowned for her gallant anti-suffrage campaigning way back in 1919 than she was for having, during the Great War, kept the American soldiers entirely out of French cafés by the clever trick of sending them ten thousand sets of dominoes.
Nor could any social-minded patriot sneeze at her recent somewhat unappreciated effort to maintain the purity of the American Home by barring from the motion-picture industry all persons, actors or directors or cameramen, who had: (a) ever been divorced; (b) been born in any foreign country--except Great Britain, since Mrs. Gimmitch thought very highly of Queen Mary, or (c) declined to take an oath to revere the Flag, the Constitution, the Bible, and all other peculiarly American institutions.
The Annual Ladies' Dinner was a most respectable gathering--the flower of Fort Beulah. Most of the ladies and more than half of the gentlemen wore evening clothes, and it was rumored that before the feast the inner circle had had cocktails, privily served in Room 289 of the hotel. The tables, arranged on three sides of a hollow square, were bright with candles, cut-glass dishes of candy and slightly tough almonds, figurines of Mickey Mouse, brass Rotary wheels, and small silk American flags stuck in gilded hard-boiled eggs. On the wall was a banner lettered "Service Before Self," and the menu--the celery, cream of tomato soup, broiled haddock, chicken croquettes, peas, and tutti-frutti ice-cream--was up to the highest standards of the Hotel Wessex.
They were all listening, agape. General Edgeways was completing his manly yet mystical rhapsody on nationalism:
". . . for these U-nited States, a-lone among the great powers, have no desire for foreign conquest. Our highest ambition is to be darned well let alone! Our only gen-uine relationship to Europe is in our arduous task of having to try and educate the crass and ignorant masses that Europe has wished onto us up to something like a semblance of American culture and good manners. But, as I explained to you, we must be prepared to defend our shores against all the alien gangs of international racketeers that call themselves 'governments,' and that with such feverish envy are always eyeing our inexhaustible mines, our towering forests, our titanic and luxurious cities, our fair and far-flung fields.
"For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more, not for conquest--not for jealousy--not for war--but for peace! Pray God it may never be necessary, but if foreign nations don't sharply heed our warning, there will, as when the proverbial dragon's teeth were sowed, spring up an armed and fearless warrior upon every square foot of these United States, so arduously cultivated and defended by our pioneer fathers, whose sword-girded images we must be . . . or we shall perish!"
The applause was cyclonic. "Professor" Emil Staubmeyer, the superintendent of schools, popped up to scream, "Three cheers for the General--hip, hip, hooray!"
All the audience made their faces to shine upon the General and Mr. Staubmeyer--all save a couple of crank pacifist women, and one Doremus Jessup, editor of the Fort Beulah Daily Informer, locally considered "a pretty smart fella but kind of a cynic," who whispered to his friend the Reverend Mr. Falck, "Our pioneer fathers did rather of a skimpy job in arduously cultivating some of the square feet in Arizona!"
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Are Episcopalians even Christians?
I mean, they don't even take every word of texts that have been translated by committee for thousands of years at their modern face value and accept them as unbending and universal law! They don't even believe that stuff that St Paul said about keeping women silent in church, and the slave's responsibility to obey the master, and the part about eating pork being an abomination! And yet they have the gall to call themselves believers in Jesus Christ's message of love and forgiveness. If you're askin' me, I'd say they're commies.
If you don't believe me, check out this Wall Street Journal "Commentary" piece by Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity at "Commie" Harvard:
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Wed Aug 13, 2003
On the 2004 Republican National Convention
Some relatives of people killed on 9/11 say they are considering joining protests or organizing their own, out of a feeling that the Republicans, by holding the convention in New York so close to the anniversary of the attacks, are exploiting it.[...]
"The unifying theme about the Republican convention next year is keep your hands off ground zero," said Rita Lasar, a founder of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of about 80 relatives of attack victims. "Do not make a political football out of this. This is a place where very close, dear relatives died. It's not the backdrop for a political campaign."
from: Protest Groups Planning for Republican Convention, Aug. 10th, 2003
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How the 'Radicals' can save the Democrats
This is a wonderful article.
How the 'Radicals' Can Save the Democrats
By SAM TANENHAUS
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — A battle for the soul of the Democratic Party has broken out, pitting a predominantly liberal field of presidential hopefuls against moderate party leaders and political strategists. While Howard Dean and John Kerry have been stirring up crowds plainly eager to have at President Bush, Democratic officials have been trying to tamp the fervor down, warning that "extremists" will take the party back to the dark ages of 1972 and 1984.
True, with Mr. Bush looking formidable and the Republicans in control of Congress, the urge toward moderation may seem sensible. But it ignores a glaring fact: Republicans have repeatedly won elections in recent decades largely by taking the opposite approach: giving free rein to their raucous base and choosing candidates who excite the party's rank and file. And isn't that, after all, what political parties are supposed to do? More...
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How Ben-Gurion Did It: Is Everyone Listening?
Letter from the Middle East
By JAMES BENNET
PHOTO: Israelis watched in 1948 as the transport ship Altalena burned in Tel Aviv Harbor. It was bringing arms and militant fighters to reinforce Menachem Begin's underground forces, and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered it shelled. (Jabotinsky Archives)
JERUSALEM, Aug. 12 — The official offered his prisoners a deal: he might let them go if they agreed to halt their "terrorist activities" and to use only political means to pursue their dream of statehood.
It was a proposal similar to the one Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, is making now to Hamas and other Palestinian factions that advocate terrorism. But this particular offer was made by a British officer to a group of Jews, at the time that the British uneasily governed Palestine, before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
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Traitors Who Think They're Christians??
Those commies at the National Council of Churches Have Gone Too Far!!
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March to More
August 13, 2003, President Meets with Economic Team
Prairie Chapel Ranch, Crawford, Texas
"I've reminded people -- I think this isn't the first time I've said this
-- that some would put on their TV screens that we were "marching to war."
As a matter of fact, it was a year ago that we began the "march to war."
During the August vacation, as I recall, there was the march to war. It's
hard to have an upbeat view of the world when you're "marching to war."
War is not exactly a positive thought, particularly when it comes to
people willing to take risks, and consumer confidence. "
No, it's not the first time he's said this, like many of his talking points. What impressive logic. It's not the actual war that gets to people (I mean consumers), it's just the way THEY show it on TV. Yes, George, it's hard to have an upbeat view of the world when you seem hellbent on destroying it.
God, I hate freedom. Just hate it.
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mini-nukes, no transperency
US proliferation and bunker busters
By Katrin Dauenhauer
WASHINGTON - The Strategic Command (Stratcom) meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, this week, behind closed doors, will involve some 150 people from weapons laboratories, the US Energy, Defense and State departments, and the White House. The weapons labs of the Pentagon and the Department of Energy have already proposed developing low-yield nuclear earth-penetrating weapons, also referred to as nuclear bunker busters.
Since President George W Bush last year announced plans to deploy a limited missile defense system at several sites in the US, counter-proliferation has moved center-stage.
Under current administration plans, new strategic nuclear forces will remain in the US arsenal until at least 2070, the 100th anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which the United States and other nuclear-weapon states promised to disarm.
"In my view, proposals for new nuclear weapons provide no military value for the United States and it would result in enormous political, diplomatic and proliferation costs," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based non-governmental research organization.
"To pursue the development of new types of nuclear weapons would make the task to ban the spread of nuclear weapons even more difficult," he said. "There is a 'do as I say, not as I do' philosophy implied. In order to develop and produce them, testing would be required that by itself would trigger a global reaction cycle that would harm international security. China might resume testing, or Russia."
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Fear/Agression-Based Pt. 2
Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve
Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday August 13, 2003
A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".
As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.
All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality". More...
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Tue Aug 12, 2003
Veterans for Peace, MFSO, William Rivers Pitt speech..
The following is an speech that I think I'm sending out to lots of people, I think. The author spoke at a Vetrans for Peace convention this last week in Livermore, CA. Vetrans for peace is made up of 160 different local chapters.
I heard one of the veterans said this at the convention (as told to me by someone who was at the conference):
'The Right thinks that people in the military are a bunch of killer robots. And they think that's really cool. The Left thinks that people the military are a bunch of killer robots. And they think that's really bad. But the reality is that the military is made up of regular human beings..'
They also talked about during vietnam there were networks set up in the soldier-ghettos outside of the military base in San Diego, where soldiers with leave could check up on the state of the anti war movement.
Vetrans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out have started a campaign called Bring Them Home Now.
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OK, this is the speech. It's good, read it.
Editor's Note | I delivered the following comments as the keynote speaker at the Veterans for Peace National Convention in San Francisco. - wrp
We Stand Our Ground
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Sunday 10 August 2003
I must begin by saying that standing here before you is, simply, one of the greatest honors of my life. I have never served in the armed forces in any capacity. My father, however, did. He volunteered for service in Vietnam in 1969. The changes that war wrought upon him have affected, for both good and ill, every single day of my life. Vietnam did not only affect the generation that served there. It affected the children of those who served there, and the families of those who served there. That war is an American heirloom, great and terrible simultaneously, handed down from father to son and from mother to daughter, from father to daughter and from mother to son. The lessons learned there speak to us today, almost thirty years hence.
Let me tell you a quick story about my father. His call to the freedom bird came while he was still out in the field. He arrived at Dulles Airport to meet my mother still dressed in his bush greens, still wearing the moustache, with the mud of Vietnam still under his fingernails and stuck inside the waffle of his boot sole.
A few days earlier, he had come across a beautiful old French rifle. It was given to him by a Vietnamese friend, a former teacher with three children who had been conscripted permanently into the military. My father managed to bring this rifle home with him, and sent it on the flight in the baggage hold along with his duffel.
My father and my mother stood waiting at the baggage claim for his things to come down. The people there - and this was 1970, remember - backed away from him as if he was radioactive. They knew where he had just come from. If the greens were not a giveaway, the standard issue muddy tan he and all the vets wore upon return from Vietnam was. When the rifle came down the belt, not in a package or a box, just laying there in all its reality, the crowd was appalled and horrified. My mother and father looked at each other and wondered what these people were thinking. What did they think was happening over there? What did they think it is that soldiers do? Did they even begin to understand this war, and what it meant, what it was doing to American soldiers, to the Vietnamese soldiers like my father's friend, and to the civilians caught in the crossfire?
The looks on those people's faces there said enough. The answer was no. They didn't know, and apparently didn't want to know. Now, thirty three years later, we are back in that same place again, fighting a war few understand that is affecting soldiers and civilians in ways only those soldiers and civilians can truly know. Ignorance, it seems, is also an American heirloom to be passed down again and again and again. More...
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Jack Van Impe presents...
OK Citizens, Mortimer hasn't yet set up a FascistFantazy™ catagory like I've been asking, so this is going in under Ruptured Spleen. Close enough.
"...I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Office of Public Liaison for the White House and by the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to make an outline. And I’ve spent hours preparing it. I will release this information to the public in September, but it’s in his hands."
That's walking bible Jack Van Impe of 'Jack Van Impe Ministries International'. Jack and Rexella are staples of American Christendom...I really do love watching if I actually stumble upon thier 'news updates' at 3:45am. They are awesome, and I so massively wish I can find either video or stills on this alleged 'meeting'. Oh, heavens-to-betsy I hope this is true. And, yes, the creepy Dungeons&Dragons-style art is from Van Impe's site.
hat tip to Claybourn's blog
UPDATE Fellow citizen Scott K. remarks "Can I get that painting airbrushed on my '78 Econonline?" You sure can, Scott. You sure can.
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Liberia, Reagan, Doe, Charles Taylor
the following text is from foreignpolicy-infocus.org. The photo I got from searching for 'reagan doe' on google, and is a photo of Samuel Doe at the white house with Ronald Reagan. Doe branded himself as an anti-communist, and got $500 million.
Historical Underpinnings of Crisis
Liberians have become the world's refugees, fleeing their country en masse. They have been running for the past 13 years, but some would say that they started running in 1980, when Samuel Doe took over the country. He did so in a violent coup d'etat during which Liberia's 19th President and then Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) William R. Tolbert was killed. The 1980 coup undermined and ultimately derailed the growing political reform and democracy movement that had emerged in the late 1970s to challenge the True Whig Party dictatorship of Tolbert. It also launched the country's descent into political violence and criminality, a descent which has continued unabated.
When Master Sergeant Doe took over the reins of power in Liberia, the Reagan administration embraced him. It viewed him as a line of defense against the Soviets during the cold war. The Liberian government between 1980-1985 was the largest recipient of U.S. aid in Sub-Saharan Africa, receiving $500 million during that period. But Doe did not spend that money on schools or hospitals, nor did he maintain the country's infrastructure. He did, however, with U.S. encouragement, modernize the Liberian military. Salaries and benefits for soldiers were increased. The army used its enhanced position to launch terror and mayhem on ordinary Liberian civilians. In this way, the militarization of politics in Liberia was born. Doe became the most repressive Liberian leader in its history, while President Ronald Reagan called Doe his good friend and entertained him at the White House.
text from foreignpolicy-infocus.org
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There was also a NY Times opinion editorial piece which deserves it's own posting, but I will put it right here: What the U.S. Owes Liberia
Pat Robertson is other name to search on regarding Liberia. Charles Taylor and Robertson, united in their supposedly Christian faith, and a business arrangement: http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/000042.html
and some more Liberia articles:
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listen to some of his tracks....
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Molly Ivins Column
Posted on Sun, Aug. 10, 2003
Mileposts on the road to societal ruin
By Molly Ivins
CAMDEN, Maine - Let us stop to observe a few mileposts on the downward path to the utter degradation of political discourse in this country.
A recent newspaper advertising campaign by "independent" groups supporting President Bush shows a closed courtroom door with the sign "Catholics Need Not Apply" hanging on it. The ad argues that William Pryor Jr., attorney general of Alabama and a right-wing, anti-abortion nominee to the federal appeals court, is under attack for his "deeply held" Catholic beliefs.
Actually, Pryor is under attack because he's a hopeless dipstick. That he also happens to be Catholic and anti-abortion has nothing to do with his unfitness for the federal bench.
The only person I know who believes that one's closely held religious and moral convictions should make one ineligible for the federal bench is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia argued last year that any judge who is opposed to the death penalty should resign, on account of it is the law.
By that reasoning, any judge who is opposed to abortion out of deep moral conviction should also resign. Even though that would include Scalia's resignation (an eventuation devoutly to be wished, in my opinion), I think he's wrong.
Pryor has said that Roe vs. Wade "ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children." Hey, there's objectivity for you.
His record on civil rights, states' rights and gay rights is equally ideological. He has a record of incendiary comments that certainly bring into question his "judicial temperament."
When the Supreme Court delayed an execution in Alabama, Pryor called its members "nine octogenarian lawyers." He once prayed for "no more Souters," a reference to Justice David Souter.
The New York Times observed, "He has turned the Alabama attorney general's office into a taxpayer-financed right-wing law firm." He has argued against a key part of the Voting Rights Act and was the only state attorney general to argue against the Violence Against Women Act.
Who cares if he's Catholic? He'd be a disgrace on the bench if he were a Buddhist. More...
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Sun Aug 10, 2003
Sat Aug 09, 2003
Micky D's wireless
Guess what. I'm sitting at McDonalds trying their wireless connection. In New York. An Egg and Cheese and Bacon biscut (a very guilty pleasure) 'extra value meal' gets an hour of wireless service. They don't have it set up right, so I didn't even have to use their screwy scratch-off-password card to login.
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Wed Aug 06, 2003
August 6th, 1945
It's around the anniversary of the Atomic Bombs dropping in Japan, and we can always expect some fantastic arguements about why the bomb is good. Like yesterday's Kristol article in the NY Times.
Last year I met and spent the day with 30 survivors of the Atomic bombings in Hiroshima, and visited the ruins of the WTC with them. They were on a mission to tell the people of the U.S. that small nuclear weapons are not acceptable (when it was publicised that the Bush Administration was seeking building new smaller 'usable' nukes) I sat with one man who spoke almost no english, but he tried anyway to talk about the morning when the atomic bomb went off a couple miles from his house. He was 14 years old at the time, and one of the oldest of the group who came to NY. He drew me out a floorplan of the small house he lived in with his parents and showed me which walls fell down and where he was at in the house when it happened. He was sweeping the floor.
The days and weeks after were spent walking around the city looking for relatives. Corpses were piled up at the school across the street.
A 73 year old American woman who remembered the event 57 years ago told me that "Nobody knew what an Atomic bomb was at the time, we only knew it was a 'secret weapon' that would end the war."
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Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima - an exerpt from Zinn
>From Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States:
The bombing of Japanese cities continued the strategy of saturation bombing to destroy civilian morale; one nighttime fire-bombing of Tokyo took 80,000 lives. And then, on August 6, 1945, came the lone American plane in the sky over Hiroshima, dropping the first atomic bomb, leaving perhaps 100,000 Japanese dead, and tens of thousands more slowly dying from radiation poisoning. Twelve U.S. navy fliers in the Hiroshima city jail were killed in the bombing, a fact that the U.S. government has never officially acknowledged, according to historian Martin Sherwin ("A World Destroyed"). Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, with perhaps 50,000 killed.
The justification for these atrocities was that this would end the war quickly, making unnecessary an invasion of Japan. Such an invasion would cost a huge number of lives, the government said--a million, according to Secretary of State Byrnes; half a million, Truman claimed was the figure given by General George Marshall. (When the papers of the Manhattan Project--the project to build the atom bomb--were released years later, they showed that Marshall urged a warning to the Japanese about the bomb, so people could be removed and only military targets hit.) These estimates of invasion losses were not realistic, and seem to have been pulled out of the air to justify bombings which, as their effects became known, horrified more and more people. Japan, by August 1945, was in desperate shape and ready to surrender. New York Times military analyst wrote, shortly after the war:
"The enemy, in a military sense, was in a hopeless strategic position by the time the Potsdam demand for unconditional surrender was made on July 26.
"Such then, was the situation when we wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"Need we have done it? No one can, of course be positive, but the answer is almost certainly negative." [concludes Baldwin]
[Zinn continues:] The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, set up by the War Department in 1944 to study the results of aerial attacks in the war, interviewed hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, and reported just after the war:
"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to December 31 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."
But could American leaders have known in August 1945?
The answer is, clearly, yes. The Japanese code had been broken, and Japan's messages were being intercepted. It was known the Japanese had instructed their ambassador in Moscow to work on peace negotiations with the Allies. Japanese leaders had begun talking of surrender a year before this, and the Emperor himself had begun to suggest, in June 1945, that alternatives to fighting to the end be considered. On July 13, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo wired his ambassador in Moscow: "Unconditional surrender is the only obstacle to peace." Martin Sherwin, after an exhaustive study of the relevant historical documents, concludes: "Having broken the Japanese code before the war, American Intelligence was able to--and did--relay this message to the President, but it had no effect whatever on efforts to bring the war to conclusion."
If only Americans had not insisted on unconditional surrender--that is, if they were willing to accept one condition to the surrender, that the Emperor, a holy figure to the Japanese, remain in place--the Japanese would have agreed to stop the war.
Why did the United States not take that small step to save both American and Japanese lives? Was it because too much money and effort had been invested in the atomic bomb not to drop it? General Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project, described Truman as a man on a toboggan, the momentum too great to stop it. Or was it, as British scientist P.M.S. Blackett suggested ("Fear, War, and the Bomb"), that the United States was anxious to drop the bomb before the Russians entered the war against Japan?
The Russians had secretly agreed (they were officially not at war with Japan) they would come into the war ninety days after the end of the European war. That turned out to be May 8, and so, on August 8, the Russians were due to declare war on Japan. But by then the big bomb had been dropped, and the next day a second one would be dropped on Nagasaki; the Japanese would surrender to the United States, not the Russians, and the United States would be the occupier of postwar Japan. In other words, Blackett says, the dropping of the bomb was "the first major operation of the cold diplomatic war with Russia." Blackett is supported by American historian Gar Alperovitz ("Atomic Diplomacy"), who notes a diary entry for July 28, 1945, by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, describing Secretary of State James F. Byrnes as "most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in."
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Tue Aug 05, 2003
"On the Media" interviews Marc Schultz, the Atlanta man who wrote about being questioned by FBI agents, after a coffee-shop patron phoned in a tip that Schultz was seen reading something suspicious -- "Weapons of Mass Stupidity," an article critical of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News.
found at www.cursor.org
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I read a pile of very sad stories yesterday about Iraq, below.
My heart goes out to all the American soldiers there, and I'm sure Saddam being gone is a good thing, but unfortunately the means to the ends from using 9-11 as justification for war on Iraq, to 'soft lying' to the American people about any number of intellegence scenarios is unfortunately the kind of thinking that results in terrorism here at home. Hand in hand with 'the enemy of your enemy is my friend'.
I guess what I want is for people to be able to see all sides to subjects and not interpret things as black and white. At least not on a personal level, which is where people experience things. What you can touch, who you can talk to, experiences. Not that by reading a bunch of writing amounts to that experience, but hey.
I think that if we or anyone is to engage in war then we should see it and have our faces rubbed into it like a dog who shits on the floor.
Here are some sad stories.
And another.. More...
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Mon Aug 04, 2003
Mideast's Voice of Peace to Rise Again
by Peter Hirschberg
JERUSALEM -- For 20 years, intrepid Israeli peace campaigner Abie Nathan broadcast his message of coexistence to Jewish and Arab listeners from his boat in the Mediterranean Sea, which housed his pirate Voice of Peace radio station.
In 1993, suffering from lack of funding, the station broadcast its last track -- Pete Seeger's 'We Shall Overcome'. Nathan then scuttled the ship.
Some peace activists, comforting themselves, suggested that The Peace Ship, as it was named, had achieved its aim: it ceased broadcasting in the very year that the Israelis and Palestinians signed the Oslo peace accords. But then the peace process got bogged down, derailed and finally collapsed as Israelis and Palestinians went back to war.
Abie Nathan's M.V. Peace More...
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Truth and Reconciliation
Published on Friday, August 1, 2003 by the Boston Globe
US Debates Bid to Kill Hussein and Avoid Trial
WASHINGTON -- Senior Bush administration officials are debating whether to order military commanders to kill rather than capture Saddam Hussein to avoid an unpredictable trial that could stir up nationalist Arab sentiments and embarrass Washington by publicizing past US support for the deposed Iraqi dictator, according to defense and intelligence officials.
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Sun Aug 03, 2003
Dave Eggers is a hero of mine, from his magazine 'Might', to his comics in the SF Weekly, to the wonderful McSweeneys.net and then his books, and in the past couple of years a storefront in the mission that's a, uh, pirate supply store (really it's a nonprofit tutoring kids on writing)..
well anyway here's a piece he did, writing about Americorps..
Muting the Call to Service
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US anti-war activists hit by secret airport ban
[reported in the U.K. Independent]
After more than a year of complaints by some US anti-war activists that they were being unfairly targeted by airport security, Washington has admitted the existence of a list, possibly hundreds or even thousands of names long, of people it deems worthy of special scrutiny at airports.
The list had been kept secret until its disclosure last week by the new US agency in charge of aviation safety, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). And it is entirely separate from the relatively well-publicised "no-fly" list, which covers about 1,000 people believed to have criminal or terrorist ties that could endanger the safety of their fellow passengers.
The strong suspicion of such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is suing the government to try to learn more, is that the second list has been used to target political activists who challenge the government in entirely legal ways. The TSA acknowledged the existence of the list in response to a Freedom of Information Act request concerning two anti-war activists from San Francisco who were stopped and briefly detained at the airport last autumn and told they were on an FBI no-fly list.
The activists, Rebecca Gordon and Jan Adams, work for a small pacifist magazine called War Times and say they have never been arrested, let alone have criminal records. Others who have filed complaints with the ACLU include a left-wing constitutional lawyer who has been strip-searched repeatedly when travelling through US airports, and a 71-year-old nun from Milwaukee who was prevented from flying to Washington to join an anti-government protest.
It is impossible to know for sure who might be on the list, or why. The ACLU says a list kept by security personnel at Oakland airport ran to 88 pages. More than 300 people have been subject to special questioning at San Francisco airport, and another 24 at Oakland, according to police records. In no case does it appear that a wanted criminal was apprehended.
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