American Samizdat

Wednesday, July 31, 2002. *
Top Interior Official Resigns: "A top Interior Department official said he was forced to quit Tuesday because he challenged the department's claims that it is repairing a historically mismanaged trust fund for American Indians."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:54 PM
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Retired Army intelligence officer Ralph Peters tells The Christian Science Monitor that Bush's belligerence and planning a sneak attack in plain public view serves a purpose: "You're getting the Europeans and the Arabs accustomed to the idea" of war.

Mission, sadly, accomplished.
posted by Grady at 9:56 AM
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Gabrielle de Montmollin... Miss Milligan and La Belle Lucie, at the Dance. A brilliant new series of 30 photographs by one of our favourite fine art photographers, Gabrielle de Montmollin. From Art Is Hell. Works by Tony Calzetta and Gabrielle de Montmollin.
posted by Andrew at 9:36 AM
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The United States Ousted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mary Robinson, the outgoing United Nations human rights commissioner, discusses the U.S. role in her leaving: "'I am not somebody to just walk away,' Robinson, a former president of Ireland, told Reuters in an interview in Geneva. She said she would have agreed to stay if asked, but added, 'There seems to have been strong resistance from just one country.'
    "Robinson has had sharp differences with the Bush administration on several issues. They include her criticism of U.S. treatment of prisoners from Afghanistan being held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the idea of using U.S. military tribunals to try suspects on charges arising from the Sept. 11 attacks, and the lengthy U.S. detention without trial of some suspects.
    'I do appreciate that the United States was very traumatized by the attacks of Sept. 11 and geared itself for a situation of being at war,' she told Reuters. 'That meant that it did not put the same emphasis on human rights standards, and it was my job to say that human rights standards apply even more at times like that.'"
posted by back at 7:16 AM
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Tuesday, July 30, 2002. *
CIA Expert: Leaks of Classified Information Must Stop: "We’ve got to do whatever it takes – if it takes sending SWAT teams into journalists’ homes – to stop these leaks,” admonished James B. Bruce, vice chairman of the CIA's Foreign Denial and Deception Committee.

Foreign Denial and Deception Committee? Even the name spooks.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:40 PM
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Fundamentally unsound
Left Behind, the bestselling series of paranoid, pro-Israel end-time thrillers, may sound kooky, but America's right-wing leaders really believe this stuff.

Israel is the key to the theology that dominates Left Behind, the chain of events that lead to the return of Christ depends on the existence of a Holy Land that is under catastrophic assault. No wonder the born-again lobby is obsessed with Israeli self-defense, but opposed to any peace plan.
posted by Mike at 4:29 PM
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Congo and Rwanda Sign a Peace Agreement
The presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a peace agreement Tuesday aimed at ending a devastating war which has killed about two million people in the heart of Africa.
posted by A.Q. at 1:32 PM
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Words yesterday from our unelected supreme genius on the subject of welfare reform, caught via the boxed brief on the WSJ's front page. In strict accordance with the new e-business logic, the Journal charges for premium content; crap, such as reptilian James Taranto's Best of the Web Today [sic], is free:

In other words, they're [the Senate] saying we've got to spend a bunch more money in order to make us feel better and make things work better. We don't need that.

Earlier in the "speech," Bush, lifelong recipient of corporate welfare, gentlemen's Cs, and hand-outs from his family's plutocratic friends, noted the following:

Under the way they're kind of writing it right now, out of the Senate Finance Committee, some people could spend their entire five years -- there's a five-year work requirement -- on welfare, going to college. Now, that's not my view of helping people become independent.

Outfitting welfare recipients with a college degree, of course, would be an unpardonable indulgence, what with workfare working so well already.
posted by Grady at 12:53 PM
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Powell gives human rights pledge
United States Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday tempered his anti-terrorism message with a pledge on human rights, as he continued a lightning six-nation tour of Southeast Asia in Malaysia.

Mr Powell said that he raised human rights issues in talks with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and senior government ministers.

``We did discuss human rights in each meeting. In the context of our counter-terrorism efforts I made the point to all my interlocutors that we still believe strongly in human rights and that in everything we do we have to be consistent with the universal standards of human rights,'' he said.
posted by A.Q. at 12:47 PM
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Gush Shalom

The Renewed Israeli Occupation
2 million Palestinians under curfew for 39 days!



Victims of pre-conceptions

Israel's political and military commanders want the Palestinians, including the parents of the children killed and wounded in Gaza, to believe that nobody took into account the possibility that a ton of explosives dropped from a plane into a crowded residential neighborhood would harm only the bomb's target, no matter how deserving he was.

Those same politicians and generals mock those who believe in the possibility that a few hours before the bombing, a Palestinian declaration for a general cease-fire against Israeli civilians had been finalized. No wonder Israel's propaganda effort is trying so hard to minimize the reports about a dramatic change in the thinking of the Palestinian leadership, the Tanzim, and even the Hamas. If they were to admit the process is serious, in the worst case it would be confirmation of Hosmi Mubarak's conspiracy theory that the bomb was meant to disrupt the cease-fire. In the best case, it would be a slap in the face to the concept that there's nobody to talk with on the Palestinian side about "painful concessions." [more]


If there's smoke, there's no cease-fire

Israel's propaganda machine worked overtime this week and proved its efficacy. The prime minister, the foreign minister, intelligence officers, officials and spokesmen changed overnight from a fight for a cease-fire to a fight against a cease-fire initiative. For many months, they told the entire world that it's a waste of paper to reach a cease-fire with the Palestinian Authority, explaining that Tanzim and Fatah leaders are in control of the street, along with Hamas. They claimed that with one hand, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat signs condemnations of terror and with the other signs fat checks that he shoves into the pockets of the terrorists. Some backed their claims by saying that even Alistair Crooke, the head of the EU security team in the territories whose integrity and professionalism is unassailable, says that there's no value to a cease-fire that doesn't include at least the Tanzim.

But when a unilateral declaration for a cease-fire, an initiative that rose from the deepest of the grassroots of the Tanzim and Fatah, was presented to them, everyone made a mockery of it. They weren't impressed by Arafat and his associates jumping on the bandwagon driven by Fatah's Hussein a Sheikh and his associates, because Arafat et al fear being shoved off the road by the young leadership. After we heard, unceasingly, that everything is under Arafat's thumb, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer announced to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the cease-fire was initiated by local leaders, and that they have no influence over the terrorists. [more]
posted by Gordon at 2:02 AM
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Monday, July 29, 2002. *
Palace revolt by the Joint Chiefs?

Despite President Bush's repeated bellicose statements about Iraq, many senior U.S. military officers contend that President Saddam Hussein poses no immediate threat and that the United States should continue its policy of containment rather than invade Iraq to force a change of leadership in Baghdad.

The senior officers' position -- that the risks of dropping a successful containment policy for a more aggressive military campaign are so great that it would be unwise to do so -- was made clear in the course of several interviews with officials inside and outside the Pentagon.

For those who ask, what is the about-to-be-forced-out Colin Powell been doing, I would say the above is your answer. When Joint Chiefs are letting it be publicly known they think the White House is deeply stupid, this is serious dissension indeed. Lately, most criticism of Bush is coming from the Right, while mainstream Democratic politicos snooze - or try to out-hawk the White House hawks.

Revolt by the police?

The Fraternal Order of Police point-blank says they oppose a bizarre law passed by the House that makes any attempt to break a Federal law a punishable act, even it was only an attempt and didn't result in a crime.

Malcolm McMillin, sheriff in Jackson, Miss., said, "I don't think this country wants us to move closer to a police state. We need to work harder enforcing the laws we have." The Fraternal Order of Police, a police labor group with 300,000 members, also opposes the change.

"It's scary and it's at variance with common sense," Jim Pasco, the executive director, said. "It creates literally thousands of crimes."

And where are protests by mainstream Democratic politicians on this grotesque law? When Democrats are apparently silent on huge civil liberty violations while police protest the possibility of us becoming a police state - well, the wheels are coming off the wagon, aren't they?
posted by Bob at 11:52 PM
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Bush Admin Backs Bill for Offshore Energy Projects

Surface: "The Bush administration last week urged Congress to pass legislation giving the Interior Department authority to permit wind, solar and other alternative energy projects in federal offshore waters."

Beneath: "However, environmentalists fear the bill would allow the department to also easily approve facilities that are related to traditional oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, providing a shortcut to avoid jurisdiction by existing federal agencies."

Remember, folks: play Surface/Beneath with all corporate news items before ingestion! You'll be glad ya did!

posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:13 PM
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Here is the sound of Homer Simpson introducing Paul Krassner. Here is Paul Krassner talking about his latest album--dedicated to Ken Kesey--and how the aforementioned snippet of Homer Simpson was supposed to be on it, but Fox said no. The Guardian reports: "The album, which was due out this month, pokes fun at President Bush, the US attorney general, John Ashcroft, and the 'war on terrorism'."

If you point out that Krassner is the "father of the zine," he will, for the umpteenth time, demand a paternity test. The Guardian also points out that Krassner is finishing up a novel about his friendship with the late Lenny Bruce. As always, Lenny lives on.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:15 PM
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Nobody mention this to Ben Shapiro. It may really upset the poor young man.

Peres: Bombing in Gaza was `100 percent a mistake': Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said yesterday that the Israel Defense Forces' bombing of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh's apartment in Gaza last Monday had been an "absolute mistake."

"Yes, it was a miscalculation, 100-percent a mistake. The outcome shows clearly that we used the wrong weapon. The bomb caused more harm than good," Peres told the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, in an interview released ahead of publication yesterday.
posted by Grady at 7:00 PM
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posted by A.Q. at 2:09 PM
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Woof Woof...
Operation Sniffs
be a volunteer for amerika!
posted by j at 1:34 PM
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From odball Jude Wanniski, who hauls off on Paul O’Neill this morning.

posted by Grady at 10:23 AM
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Sunday, July 28, 2002. *
US ships Al Qaeda suspects to Arab states: In addition to snatchin’ ‘em up and holdin’ ‘em incommunicado, we’re now sendin’ ‘em to Egypt, Syria, and Jordan for torture. I wonder if the warbloggers will continue to indulge in their collective fever dream of bombing the former two? I'm guessing they will.
posted by Grady at 9:38 PM
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Blair's brilliant answer to a question of deep moral complexity. Meanwhile, our own supreme genius flaunts his qualifications as honest broker [sic]. Sigh...
posted by Grady at 11:48 AM
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yo! is 'dis a great country or wha'?
particularly if you priviledged & monied, datz fo sure.
I.R.S. Loophole Allows Wealthy to Avoid Taxes
yah, okey, tell us sometink we don' already know, eh?
posted by j at 10:09 AM
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Saturday, July 27, 2002. *
Bush Far Outspent Gore on Recount
Public Citizen, which advocates strong enforcement of election laws, said "the recount fund created by the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign evaded a soft money campaign finance disclosure law for 18 months and did not file required forms until the last day of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 'amnesty' program for out-of-compliance groups." [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:51 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:42 PM
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caught an AP story in today's SF Chron...
by the esteemed C.J. Hanley,
Experts Assess Landmine Crisis in Afghanistan;
and we'd like to know where are the american reporters
with the kind of courage that Sabina Slonkava possesses?
from the Boston Globe, 4 Held in Alleged Plot to kill Czech Reporter.
holy boy! is that a screenplay waiting to be scripted or what?
posted by j at 11:33 AM
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Friday, July 26, 2002. *
New [Corporate] Secrecy Proposals Are Center of Homeland Security Debate: "The top Democrat on a House government reform panel accused the Bush administration on Wednesday of supporting a proposal she said would let corporations keep embarrassing secrets from the public by claiming they involve the security of important computer networks and other systems."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:22 PM
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BUSH-CHENEY WHITE HOUSE OBSTRUCTS HALLIBURTON LAWSUIT: White House Refuses to Allow Complaint to be Lawfully Served On Vice President Cheny

posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:14 PM
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Israel Epitome: This is Democracy?
Perhaps the most laughable condonation is Israel calling herself a democracy. America constantly reminds the world that Israel is the only democracy in the middle east, while other world leaders scratch their heads, recalling that nearly every regime in the middle east has been installed by the United States, including Saddam's Iraq. Israel's blueprint for a democracy is as follows: first and foremost you must share a single religion in order to share the full benefits of Israeli citizenship. Second, if your territory is annexed by Israel through occupation or war, count on being expelled or just living a terribly difficult life, as you have no recourse but blowing yourself up in Israel's democracy. Israel's 'democracy' is full of second and third class citizens, and many who don't even count as humans, even when they die. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:04 PM
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Trade Cards from the Daniel K.E. Ching Collection featuring racist depictions of the Chinese. Also... to put it all into historical perspective... Rough on Rats: Racism and Advertising in the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century. "...Show an image of a Chinese person eating a dog to enough people enough times, and that image will become a stereotype. Eventually, the portrayal of a Chinese person eating a dog will no longer be needed to elicit the stereotype of the Chinese as dogeaters. Simply show a Chinese person, and the stereotype of dogeating will be invoked within the viewer's mind."
posted by Andrew at 9:24 AM
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Thursday, July 25, 2002. *
Shell Oil Going Green?

In the latest round of multinationals seeking to get in on "sustainability" as a good PR marketing ploy, Shell is "shelling out" $3.5 million to Rice University in (uh) Texas.

Now, Shell did meet its general Kyoto emissions limit by downing its emissions by 11% over 1990 in the year 2000. But this is the same company that is also deeply complicit in the atrocities against local peoples and communities in Nigeria. The Movement for the Ogoni People (MOSOP) successfully shut Shell down for its unsavory practices in the region in 1993, but then the military dictatorship (which was bought and brought to power by oil powers such as Shell to protect its interests) responded with a campaign of terror that ended with the infamous execution of MOSOP's Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others.

Since that time Nigeria ranks as one of the globe's most forest-ravaged nations and The Worldwatch Institute has noted that oil companies (like Shell) continue to evade Nigeria's environmental laws and policies and have failed to pay damages to the local communities that have suffered on the Nigerian delta due to unsustainable drilling there. Again, in 1999, Shell undertook another major review of its policies concerning the Niger Delta communities but so far Shell's actual performance only points to a change in rhetoric.
posted by Richard at 8:32 PM
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The settlements are Israel's center piece in the the war against the Palestinians. Eyal Weizman exposes them for what they are — a multi-billion dollar investment in a permanent occupation of Palestine and control of the Palestinians.

Lines in the sand
Israeli architect Eyal Weizman won a competition to represent his country at an international conference. But the invitation was abruptly cancelled when it was discovered that his work criticised Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank. He talks to Esther Addley about the politically loaded nature of planning in the region.

But how can a small town full of civilians infringe people's human rights? "If you look at the layout of settlements, they are always built on hilltops. People know that, but they may not realise that they also are built in rings, over the summit, in a way that generates territorial surveillance in all directions. I began to understand that these are urban-scale optical devices, and every design move in them is calculated to enhance vision." Only by looking at the original architectural plans, he argues, would one register something so simple as the fact that each house is built with its bedrooms innermost, its living quarters facing the vista.

"The planners always speak about the view as pastoral and biblical, almost in a romantic sense. They speak about the terraces and olive groves and stone houses, which are obviously created for them by the Palestinians. The Palestinians are almost like the stage workers who create a set, but they then have to disappear when the lights come on." But it is not only the Palestinians' rights who are infringed, he argues. "The army also uses the eyes of the civilian settlers, almost hijacks them, to generate territorial surveillance. There is almost an illegal use of civilians to generate supervision of another part of the civilian population." [more]

The study that is the basis for this: The Politics of Verticality


Professionals in Israel
A major Berlin exhibition on the architectural politics of Israel’s West Bank settlements has just been abruptly cancelled by the Israeli Association of United Architects. Paul Hilder tells a story of political censorship, intellectual complicity with power – and the ethical responsibility of true professionals.


Sharon's other tactic (he is the father of the settlements) is to answer any Palestinian effort towards de-escalation of the violence with Israeli escalation of the violence.

The Meaning of the Gaza Bombing

Alex Fishman was reporting that (a) last October, Hamas had under pressure from the Palestinian Authority agreed to stop suicide bombings inside Israel proper; (b) the Israeli government knew this; (c) it discussed whether to kill a Hamas leader for his involvement in planning such terrorist bombings; (d) it knew if it did so the cease-fire agreement would lapse; (e) if so, there would be more suicide attacks against Israelis; and (f) the authorities probably could not prevent all such efforts, so at least one would succeed.

Fishman was right. Twenty-five Israelis died.

Why do I think it is important for us to know this history?

Because on MONDAY just this past week, according to a detailed report in the London Times of July 24, the "militant" factions besides Hamas that have joined in terror attacks during the last few months had agreed to issue a formal statement abandoning all attacks against Israeli civilians. And as those discussions went forward, on Monday, the chief of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, announced publicly that Hamas was considering entering into a cease-fire if Israeli troops left the Palestinian cities and villages they have recently reoccupied.

These discussions, and the public announcement by Hamas, were known to the Israeli authorities.

THE VERY NIGHT OF THE DAY on which Hamas made its public statement and the broader discussions achieved agreement on a cease-fire by other groups, came the midnight bombing of the Gaza apartment complex that killed Sheikh Salah Shehada and 14 others, mainly children and women. [more]

And let's not forget that the Saudi peace initiative was answered with the reoccupation of the West Bank.


Getting away with murder: Israeli impunity triumphs again

Shame on A World Where Sharon is A Free Man

Palestinian Cease-Fire Was in Works Before Israeli Strike

The politics of murder
posted by Gordon at 11:16 AM
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"A digging through these images and sinking into them is recommended. At the least, they give the vanities and conceits of contemporary culture a little context." -- Michael Webb, MLWebblog

posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:05 AM
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Wednesday, July 24, 2002. *
Playing Politics with the Big Trees
Sure enough, the first article that I clicked through on the sequoia wildfire had the media playing their usual puppet for the "management" propagandists:

This is the conclusion to a new Reuters piece, "Woman Arrested in California Wildfire":
Young said the build-up of underbrush that fueled the fire and allowed it to travel 18 miles in its first 72 hours "is the worst we have seen in 100 years."

Thomas Bonnicksen, a forest science professor at Texas A&M University and a national sequoia expert, said mammoth fires that have burned nearly four million acres this year in Western states should sound a warning to environmentalists whose opposition to forest management have allowed the undergrowth to proliferate.

"My only hope is that this threat to a national treasure will make people understand that the forests have to be managed," Bonnicksen said. "The sequoia is one of the most durable trees in the world, but it cannot resist this kind of fire -- it's too hot."

What the piece never tells you is that while Prof. Bonnicksen is certainly a forestry expert (and I'll take him at his word: a lover of forests), he is the spitting image of the highly politicized ideologue that is in bed with and entirely complicit with big-logging practices and right-wing forestry officials.

Importantly, the Reuters story fails to mention that Thom Bonnicksen was the primary conceptual force behind the drafting and creation of The National Historic Forests Act of 2001 (HR 2119), legislation that grassroots forests groups and ecologists summarily decried as a HORRIBLE attempt to pass further logging opportunities off as forest preservation.

Jeers to the oft-reliable Reuters for not doing its homework and (at least) presenting both sides of this hot political issue...
posted by Richard at 5:58 PM
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Yue Minjun... Farmer (1997, Oil on canvas). From Yue Minjun at Chinese Contemporary Art. "...After Fang Lijun and Liu Wei, Yue Minjun is the most important artist of Cynical Realism. He repeatedly uses his own image, in varying funny positions, always laughing with a cynical but infectious laugh. He laughs both at himself and at the apathetic spiritual void in present day Chinese society."
posted by Andrew at 9:15 AM
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Tuesday, July 23, 2002. *
Something's happening here...

All of a sudden, major factions on the Right are speaking out against Bush and his policies. The Religious Right is upset with Ashcroft, Dick Armey killed the noxious TIPS program, and Pat Buchanan thinks an invasion of Iraq would be a huge mistake. This is a sea change, folks...

Religious conservatives are increasingly appalled by John Ashcroft, New York Times

Many religious conservatives who were most instrumental in pressing President Bush to appoint John Ashcroft as attorney general now say they have become deeply troubled by his actions as the leading public figure in the law enforcement drive against terrorism.Their dismay comes as several Bush advisers have begun complaining that Mr. Ashcroft, with his lifelong politician's fondness for attention, has projected himself too often and too forcefully. More significantly, they say privately that he seems to be overstating the evidence
"His religious base is now quite troubled by what he's done," said Grover Norquist, a conservative strategist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

TIPS stopped by Armey

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, in his markup of legislation to create a Homeland Security Department, yesterday rejected a national identification card and scrapped a program that would use volunteers in domestic surveillance.

Pat Buchanan opposed to Iraq invasion

First among them is why. Why, when Iraq was not involved in 9-11 and has never attacked us nor used biological or gas weapons on U.S. troops, are we launching this war on Iraq? Has deterrence failed us? How so? And who is the aggressor here?

Second, how many U.S. dead and wounded may we expect, and how many U.S. troops will be needed to occupy Iraq? Will we be welcomed as liberators, only to be reviled as occupiers

Third, how long do we intend to hold the city that hosted the caliphate of Islam for 500 years?

Fourth, how will the war impact allies like Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons; Turkey, which is unraveling and hosts a rising Islamist movement; Saudi Arabia, whose population is virulently anti-American; Jordan, a Palestinian powder keg; and Egypt?
posted by Bob at 10:47 PM
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CIA agents on Enron payroll engaged in corporate espionage

From New Zealand via Progressive Review
The fraud-racked Enron Corporation has had at least 20 CIA agents on the payroll in the last eight years. But while the Houston Chronicle reported the operatives as “former” CIA, a February 26, 2002 National Enquirer story quoted a top Washington insider familiar with several secret investigations into Enron, as reporting that they were given “leaves of absence without pay and put on the Enron payroll.”

The source added that Enron’s CIA members used “info gleaned from a satellite project called ‘Echelon,’ which intercepted emails, phone calls and faxes with detailed business information,” adding that “pure and simple, [taxpayer-funded] U.S. intelligence agents were involved in corporate espionage.” Another Enquirer source with ties to the CIA revealed that "the cozy deal between Enron and the CIA allowed the 'on-loan' undercover operatives to return to the Agency's payroll before Enron's collapse."
posted by Bob at 6:04 PM
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Plaintiffs, COMPLAINT

-against- Index No. 01 Civ.






lost in each other

unconstitutionally vague


posted by riley dog at 4:47 PM
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Why Democrats become Greens

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, yesterday strongly endorsed giving soldiers the power to arrest American civilians. Interviewed yesterday on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Biden, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prevents the military from exercising police powers in this country, should be re-examined and "has to be amended."

posted by Bob at 3:34 PM
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Monday, July 22, 2002. *
The Rogue Elephant, by Francis A Boyle
In quick succession the world saw these Bush Jr Leaguers repudiate the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), an international convention to regulate the trade in small arms, a verification Protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, an international convention to regulate and reduce smoking, the World Conference Against Racism, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty, inter alia. To date the Bush Jr Leaguers have not found an international convention that they like. The only exception to this rule was their shameless exploitation of the 11 September 2001 tragedy in order to get the US House of Representatives to give Bush Jr so-called "fast-track" trade negotiation authority so as to present the American People and Congress with yet another non-amendable fait accompli on behalf of American multinationals, corporations, banks, insurance companies, the high-tech and biotech industries, Wall Street, etc. The epitome of "globalization," American-style.

. . . There very well could be some itty-bitty "rogue states" lurking out there somewhere in the Third World. But today the United States government has become the sole "rogue elephant" of international law and politics. For the good of all humanity, America must be restrained. Time is of the essence! [more]

. . . via Jorn's Robot Wisdom
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:55 PM
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oh yah, we realize how perverse it is of us...
to take so much delight & joy in the discovery of this sort of story:
Bush Clan Full Of Black Sheep ;
Harley Sorensen, in the S.F. Chronicle;
oh yah, got a few black sheep in my family, matter of fact,
our wooly coat sortablack, but definitely silverbacked...
c'mon Harley, tell us something we don' already know...
posted by j at 1:23 PM
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Am I some sort of gesture, am I a symptom of your despair

I am here to organize. I am here to be political. I am here to be a citizen in a pluralist democracy. I am here to be effective, to have agency, to make a claim on power, to spread it around, to rearrange it, to democratize it, to legislate it into justice. Why you? Because the world will end if you don't act. You are the citizen of a flawed but actual democracy. Citizens are not actually capable of not acting, it is not given to a citizen that she doesn't act, this is the price you pay for being a citizen of a democracy, your life is married to the political beyond the possibility of divorcement. You are always an agent. When you don't act, you act. When you don't vote, you vote.

Tony Kushner's commencement address at Vassar
posted by riley dog at 7:20 AM
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The Army has a State
by Uri Avnery

Mirabeau, one of the fathers of the French Revolution, coined the phrase: "Prussia is not a state that has an army, but an army that has a state." Does this apply to Israel, too?

In theory, the Israeli army is subject to the political leadership. We are a democracy, after all. The elected government makes the decisions, the army executes them. That is how it should be. But reality is far more complex. [more]
posted by Gordon at 1:03 AM
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Sunday, July 21, 2002. *
Navy Sets Its Sights on Tiny Bird's Island Home

With everything going on in the world, it may be hard to get fired up in defense of a small little endangered bird -- the Loggerhead Shrike. But with the threat in the guise of the U.S. Navy, and with the Navy making headlines for their new whale-deafening ocean sonar, perhaps we can give just a brief moment to consider one of our smaller members of the planet? If for nothing else, the story is precious because of wacko militarist statements like this:

"Everything you need to go into combat can be practiced on this range," said Tom Soden, a former Marine who serves as range manager at the island's China Point site. "This is one-stop shopping for Naval warfare."
posted by Richard at 8:09 PM
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Look What I Found! - Republican Electoral Strategy for the 2002 Elections

"Well, not me, really, but someone in Washington DC found a computer disk lying on the ground in a park (or maybe a street, I've heard both) and wouldn't you know it but the disc contained a Power Point presentation by White House Chief Political Adviser Karl Rove on Republican Electoral Strategy for the 2002 elections ...

Check out slide 19, Democratic strategies: Use Budget, Tax Cuts and Enron for Class Warfare. Yes, bringing up the fact that a low income family might actually need a tax break more than a multimillionaire does, that's class warfare all right ...

And, as if to definitively illustrate that fact, PBS Frontline last night aired a very good expose on the events leading up to the Enron scandal, including the deep complicity by Congress in removing regulatory barriers and enabling these sheisters to basically make up profits out of thin air. It's amazing the lengths some legislators will go to to make sure that the rich never have to do any actual work." - Matthew Duss
posted by Emmanuel at 5:31 AM
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Saturday, July 20, 2002. *
Tour de France

j p, the Incomparable d'Monquis, sent me this link that I had been unaware of. It's a good piece on what multi-stage bicycle racing, especially the Tour de France, is all about. It also is the best writing I have seen on just what Lance Armstrong is accomplishing. The Tour de France, as a sporting event, has no equal — and Lance Armstong is becoming a Tour de France legend.

How did Lance Armstrong manage the greatest comeback in sports history?

A couple of weeks ago, on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, I found myself in the passenger seat of a small Volkswagen, careering so rapidly around the hairpin turns of the French Alps that I could smell the tires burning. Johan Bruyneel, the suave, unflappable director of the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, was behind the wheel. Driving at ninety kilometres an hour occupied half his attention. The rest was devoted to fiddling with a small television mounted in the dashboard, examining a set of complicated topographical maps, and talking into one of two radio transmitters in the car. The first connected Bruyneel to the team's support vehicle, laden with extra bicycles, water bottles, power bars, and other tools and equipment. The second fed into the earpieces of the eight U.S. Postal Service cyclists who were racing along the switchbacks ahead of us. The entire team could hear every word that Bruyneel said, but most of the time he was talking to just one man: Lance Armstrong. [more]


Another Postal One-Two; Armstrong, Heras tops in Stage 12

The sun was shining on Lance Armstrong at Friday's 199km stage 12 of the 2002 Tour de France. The three-time defending champion woke up wearing the maillot jaune for the 37th day of his career. Movie star buddy Robin Williams kept things light at the start, joking with fans and signing autographs. And though Friday's hot, long, five-climb stage through the French Pyrénées was much harder than Thursday's two-climb stage, the result was the same.

Armstrong won the stage in a much more familiar style, attacking with 6km to go. He dropped a group of 11 riders and finished alone. ONCE's Joseba Beloki fought the brave fight to finish third and solidified his hold on second place. [more]

OVERALL after 12 stages
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal, at 46 h 47:47.
2. Joseba Beloki (Sp), ONCE, at 02:28.
3. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Sp), ONCE, at 03:19.
4. Raimondas Rumsas (Lit), Lampre, at 05:15.
5. Santiago Botero (Col), Kelme, at 05:44.


Tomorrow's stage will be mostly decent and flats. It will be a sprinter's race.

But the next day's race will be up a wall.

The curse of the Ventoux
The 'Giant of Provence' is not like other climbs.

Then a day's rest and then onto the Alps and the most difficult stage of the race.
posted by Gordon at 1:51 AM
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Friday, July 19, 2002. *
From the Citizen Corps’ Citizen’s Preparedness Guidebook:

You have a great asset to draw upon-your experience-when deciding what blogging is suspicious. You know what is normal blogging. If a blog post seems to be outside the norm or frightening, let law enforcement and authorities know. Just remember it’s your job to watch out and report. Let law enforcement officials handle the investigation and take further action. That is what they are trained to do.

When reporting suspicious blogging please cut and paste the offending post into the body of your email and include the URL.

Contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) immediately if you see blogging that

- states that the War on Terror is not done to fight evil but for America to secure oil supplies/transportation routes or to increase the approval ratings of the President.

- addresses academics and journalists such as Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, John Pilger, and Robert Fisk in a non-critical way.

- professes sympathy with the Palestinian cause or the civilian casualties of the War on Terror.

- shows concern for the erosion of civil liberties and the Constitution.

- implies that defense contractors and energy companies may monetarily gain from the War on Terror.

- calls America a “police state.”

- criticizes the Citizen Corps.

If you believe you have information that would help authorities, do not take any action other than to inform your local police department or the FBI as soon as possible. You can contact the FBI by

- calling your local FBI field office. To find out your local office go to or check inside the front cover of your local phone book.

- reporting online at .asp.
posted by New World at 6:29 PM
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TIPS topples

The grotesque plan by the Feds to recruit our neighbors to spy on us is apparently dead. The Postal Service said no way, and the administration is backtracking furiously with ludicrous denials saying it wasn't really spying and we are only going to do it in public places (Uh huh, and the mail carrier and meter reader are in public places you say).

The U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it would not participate in a new Justice Department program that encourages millions of American workers to report suspicious activity they see while doing their routine work.

Conservatives are just as appalled by this as liberals. This following is from the Cato Institute.

Every 20th-century dictator appointed civilian armies to watch over their neighbors. The Bush administration would do well not to follow in those footsteps. We can do without block fuhrers — a spy on every street corner.

One odd thing about this story is that is was broken by SMH of Australia on Monday July 15, certainly an odd place for a story this big to appear first. Then, as far as I can tell, it spread meme-like through blogdom that day and night, appearing on many. By Tuesday, major media was running the story. By Wednesday reaction was already strong against it.
posted by Bob at 9:35 AM
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"Sanitation is more important than independence", Mahatma Ghandi

Excerpts from the Human Waste Project, from WaterAid, "the UK’s only major charity dedicated exclusively to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion to the world’s poorest people. WaterAid works in 15 countries in Africa and Asia with a wide variety of different cultures and communities".

Improper disposal of human waste is one of the developing world’s most serious health problems. The statistics are staggering: nearly two million children die each year from diarrhoea.

In China, India and Indonesia twice as many people are dying from diarrhoeal diseases as from HIV/AIDS3.

People suffering from water-borne diseases occupy half the world’s hospital beds.

Four out of 10 people, 2.4 billion, are without adequate sanitation. This figure will rocket to half the world’s population by 2025.

In Asia half the people are without adequate sanitation
posted by Bob at 9:31 AM
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The Gary Sheraton Hotel (465 Broadway, Gary, Indiana). "...The exact date of the hotel's closing is difficult to pin down - no record in the newspaper exists. Most accounts place it in 1984 or 1985, but it could have closed even a few years earlier. Thus a symbol of failed urban redevelopment overshadows City Hall only a few steps away - the mayor and the city council park their cars in what once was the hotel's shared front parking lot." From Lost Indiana. A fabulous chronicle of the lost, abandoned, and derelect.
posted by Andrew at 9:08 AM
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Depression and Islam.

"Al Yusra is here to provide information about mental health issues in Islam. We are coming towards the time that the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned in a hadith. This is the time when mental illnesses will be prevalent. One of the coming signs of the Day of Judgment is that people believers and non-believers will "lose their minds" and suffer from mental illnesses. These mental illness manifest themselves in a number of areas such as depression, paranoia, post-partum depression, pre-menstrual syndrome, amongst others.

There are solutions out there for the believers although there is very limited information that has been compiled in one place for Muslims. Our goal is to find all of the information available and place it here at Al Yusra. "

posted by Emmanuel at 6:52 AM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:40 AM
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israelinsider: Spreading the Secret
One of the best-kept secrets in Israel is that most Israelis are fed up with the occupation, and just want to get out.

According to June's findings by Mina Zemach, Israel's foremost pollster, 63% of Israelis are in favor of "unilateral withdrawal." In fact, 69% call for the evacuation of "all" or "most of" the settlements. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:33 AM
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E-mails Bare Coverup: "The Justice Department apparently didn't tell the whole truth when it denied that new curtains were meant to hide a bare-breasted statue that loomed over Attorney General John Ashcroft's news conferences."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:23 AM
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Thursday, July 18, 2002. *
Scott Ritter: Bush Could Not Do More For Al-Qa'ida
You don't allow a friend to drive drunk. We have now got a drunk at the wheel of America; Britain needs to take the keys away from him.

What George W Bush is proposing, taking military action against Iraq to eliminate Saddam Hussein, will effectively mean that Osama bin Laden will have won. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:41 PM
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Operation Snitch Is Comink!
to a neighborhood near You!
from the Op-Ed page of the SF Chronicle,
Peter Y. Sussman, Your Neighbor Is Watching.
my neighbor better expect an Eyeful!
posted by j at 1:17 PM
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'Corporate Socialism'
Ralph Nader has taken much heat for his role in the 2000 election, but here is an article that reminds one why Mr. Nader became a candidate in the first place: cutting insight to the root of a problem being ignored by mainstream politicians. In this case, corporate greed and the sick form of capitalism being promoted by a bough-and-paid-for government:

"Corporate socialism" -- the privatization of profit and the socialization of risks and misconduct -- is displacing capitalist canons. This condition prevents an adaptable capitalism, served by equal justice under law, from delivering higher standards of living and enlarging its absorptive capacity for broader community and environmental values. Civic and political movements must call for a decent separation of corporation and state.
posted by A.Q. at 12:14 PM
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McRice meals rattle small Hong Kong restaurants. "With McDonald's charging HK$22 (S$5) for the rice meal, local restaurants fear the marketing push will gobble up their remaining market share. Business has been bad enough this year, with dozens of traditional Chinese eateries closing down amid an economic slump and a record unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent."
posted by New World at 8:32 AM
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Hamas and Hezbollah supporters sue Bush and Powell. "The suit's anonymous plaintiffs focus their complaints on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the leaders of the Israeli military and security services, whom Cohen accuses of 'genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, racketeering, acts of murder and torture, bodily harm, arson, kidnapping,' and other crimes. They target Bush and Powell for allegedly failing to comply with federal laws requiring the executive branch to certify to Congress if U.S.-made weapons exported abroad were used to commit human rights abuses. In this regard, the suit also targets American arms manufacturers, including Boeing, McConnell-Douglas, and Textron-Bell Helicopter. The plaintiffs also accuse American Jewish and Christian groups, including a Lutheran church, of crimes because they sent aid to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank."
posted by New World at 8:24 AM
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Gaza and the West Bank: Israel’s present and future penal colonies
The deep background of the recent conflict is Israel’s post-Oslo military plan for total control of the Palestinian majority areas. Its pretext might be a war on terror; its underlying logic is to reduce the population of the occupied territories to destitution. From the consequences of this nightmare prospect, there is no escape except full Israeli withdrawal.

The new stage of Israel’s ‘separation’ can no longer be compared to the apartheid system in South Africa. As Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs, said in an interview with Al Ahram Weekly (28 March–3 April 2002): “the South African apartheid regime never engaged in the sort of repression Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians.” We are witnessing the daily invisible killing of the sick and wounded who are being deprived of medical care, the weak who cannot survive in the new conditions of poverty, and those who are bound to reach starvation.

Nevertheless, the public debate in Israel revolves around questions of efficiency. Is it possible to stop terror by such methods? Even if so, is it permitted? Is this what we (Israelis) want to be? [more]
posted by Gordon at 2:21 AM
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Wednesday, July 17, 2002. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:15 PM
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Ex-U.S. Officials Warn that U.S. Policies Threaten Repression
Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and former FBI and CIA chief William Webster challenged administration policies dealing with terrorism suspects Tuesday, and Christopher warned that secrecy threatens to lead America down a path to repression... In a panel discussion of national security and civil rights, Christopher raised the specter of the kind of repression once common in Argentina.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:11 PM
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Wednesday is Two for One Day:
first up, The Greed Patrol Is Back,
by Charlotte Allen, via the L.A. Times;
next, Ashcroft vs. Americans,
an editorial piece from The Boston Globe.
posted by j at 2:50 PM
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MOACIR: Works by Moacir Soares Farias. "...Moacir Soares Farias is an artist that lives in São Jorge, a small village next to the entrance of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in the state of Goiás. 'Seu Nô' suffers from bone malformation, and has speech and hearing impediments. Nowadays he lives off his art, but before he searched for crystals. He began drawing on local stones using colored rocks when he was eight years old. Crying, he would often ask his mother to make his visions stop. Most of his works are done with crayons. He paints and draws his visions. According to him, the images he creates are all things he sees. Moacir has no formal art instruction, and believes in the beings he depicts in his paintings." New from Lost Art em São Paulo. (br)
posted by Andrew at 9:07 AM
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Barak: A Villa in the Jungle
by Uri Avnery

A well-known Israeli theater critic once left the opening performance of a new play after the first five minutes and then wrote a withering review about it. When his colleagues said that this was unfair, he answered: "I don't have to eat the whole egg in order to know that it is rotten."

One does not have to read the whole long interview with Ehud Barak, published in The New York Review of Books (June 13, 2002), in order to know that he is - well, not exactly an enlightened statesman. It is enough to read the following words of his:

"They (the Palestinians, and especially Arafat) are the products of a culture in which to tell a lie…creates no dissonance. They don't suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category…The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don't work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance (on which the tests are based)."

This passage speaks volumes. [more]


The Right of Return
by Uri Avnery

The new scarecrow is the “Right of Return”. Not as a practical problem, to be dealt with in rational terms, but as a hair-raising monster: now the Palestinians’ sinister design has been revealed! They want to eliminate Israel by this terrible ploy! The want to throw us into the sea!

The Right of Return has again widened the abyss, which seemed to have been narrowed to a rift. We are frightened again. The end of our state! The end of the vision of generations! A second Holocaust!

It seems that the abyss is unbridgeable. The Arabs demand that each and every Palestinian refugee return to his home and land in Israel. The Israelis staunchly object to the return of even one single refugee. On both sides, everything or nothing. There goes the peace.

In the following lines I shall try to show that the scarecrow is indeed a scarecrow; that even this painful problem can be resolved; that a fair compromise can even lead to a historic conciliation. [more]
posted by Gordon at 1:39 AM
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This is hilarious: Scoobie's Interview With Ann Coulter . . . I found this just tonite via MeFi, and, perhaps, by coincidence, had never heard of Scoobie until yesterday (well, Monday now), when I saw him highly recommended by The Rittenhouse Review--another site which is new to me. Scoobie's main site is here.

I am also pleased to announce that both Scoobie and the proprietor of The Rittenhouse Review--James Capozzola--have both accepted invitations to participate at Warblogger Watch.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:55 AM
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Tuesday, July 16, 2002. *
New bill allows the US Navy to use ultra high frequency sonar waves to detect the new quieter subs of China and Russia, more than likely harming marine mammals who use sonar themselves...bad enough- but the pathetic joke is that the 4 ships scheduled to use this sonar are "supposed to check visually to see if there are any turtles or marine mammals in the vicinity, and turn it off if there are..." Ummm... right.

"Environmentalists' fears are partly based on the Navy's deployment of a powerful mid-range sonar in March 2000 during a submarine detection exercise in the deep water canyons of the Bahamas.
At least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and North Eleuthera within hours. Eight whales died. Scientists found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones, injuries consistent with exposure to loud sounds."

Brothers and sisters, can I get a "Duh"!
posted by Kirsten at 11:05 PM
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Cara Scissoria

Cara Scissoria has political greeting cards, done in collage style. That's Dubya poking his head in the door, with the caption saying "Did someone say dim son?".

posted by Bob at 10:46 PM
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Rantburg Reports - Tehran Coppers Tear Gas Workers

"Iranian police on Tuesday used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesting workers in central Tehran after they tried to storm the labour ministry, witnesses told AFP. Hundreds of workers, protesting against low wages, pushed their way through the ministry's entrance in the centre of the city, witnesses said."

"They don't need jobs! They need religion! If they were devout, by Allah, they wouldn't worry about their families starving! Ardeshir, flog them!"
posted by Emmanuel at 7:58 PM
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Operation RATS - the Retrograde Activities and Treachery System -

will be a nationwide program giving millions of American bigots, paranoiacs, nosy neighbors, snoops, snobs, and others a formal way to report innocent actions by others that offend them. Operation RATS, a project of the U.S. Department of Anachronisms, will begin as a pilot program in 10 cities that will be selected based on the number of statues they have erected to Senator Joseph McCarthy ...
posted by Emmanuel at 7:46 PM
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Neighborhood Watch or... the U.S. Republic of Fear?

(Adding something to a previous post...)

"Who is an informer? In Ba'athist Iraq the answer is anybody."(1) And in the United States of America? One million informers in just 10 cities?

In August, the pilot stage will begin of operation TIPS - the Terrorism Information and Prevention System. The Washington Post summarizes: operation TIPS will, in the pilot stage, involve a million workers, who, "in the daily course of their work, are in a unique position to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement." It will offer them "training ... in how to look out for suspicious and potentially terrorist-related activity." It will also provide "a formal way to report" that activity "through a single and coordinated toll-free number."

The Opinion Journal is being rhetorical, doesn't see any reason for concern and compares it to the Neighborhood Watch. Ritt Goldstein, in the Sydney Morning Herald, compares the system to the Stasi secret police of former East Germany. Goldstein warns and plays with numbers:

"[TIPS] means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany ...
... According to a 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on Justice, the accuracy of informant reports is problematic, with some informants having embellished the truth, and others suspected of having fabricated their reports.
... The targeted individual will remain unaware of the existence of the report and of its contents.
The Patriot Act already provides for a person's home to be searched without that person being informed that a search was ever performed, or of any surveillance devices that were implanted."

The Washington Post writes that the description on the TIPS website poses more questions than answers. And those questions have to be answered:

"Public vigilance is a good thing ... But having the government recruit informants among letter carriers and utility workers - people who enter the homes of Americans for reasons unrelated to law enforcement - is an entirely different matter. Americans should not be subjecting themselves to law enforcement scrutiny merely by having cable lines installed, mail delivered or meters read. Police cannot routinely enter people's houses without either permission or a warrant. They should not be using utility workers to conduct surveillance they could not lawfully conduct themselves."

The quote with which I started this post (1) is from the book "Republic of Fear, The Politics of Modern Iraq" by Samir al-Khalil. Some more food for thought from his book:

"Nothing fragments group solidarity and self-confidence like the gnawing suspicion of having an informer in your midst. Therefore, to the extent that the public polices itself - a function of the number of informers - it inevitably disintegrates as an entity in its own right, separated from those who rule over it. Informer networks invade privacy and choke off all willingness to act in public or reflect upon politics, replacing these urges with a now deeply instilled caution. In so doing they destroy the reality of the public domain, relegating what little remains to a dark and shadowy existence. In such a world the more well-known violence of state institutions - executions, "disappearances", murders, reprisals, torture - take on a new societal meaning. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing can be taken for granted. (Page 63.)"

"The Ba'thist [the party in power in Iraq - IB] postulate that society depends for its very existence on having an unbreachable basic moral norm entails as a necessary consequence that all deviance is immediately and directly an act of treason. The new Arab order must be a seamless moral web. This is the fundamental source of the party's coherence, and its license to violence. (Page 206.)"

"Once political identity is accepted as belief in an absolute moral imperative, and once morality itself is seen as a striving for perfection towards an unrealizable ideal, then no aspect of conduct is in principle outside the purview of the political organization of the state. Moreover, there is no way to avoid the implication that such all-embracing interference is justified. Justice as the problem of arbitrating between claims on society (rights) never arises, and is not expected to rise. (Page 208.)"

For those readers who are a little confused now: TIPS is an American project, not an Iraqi project. So, nothing to worry about... of course...
posted by Igor at 3:33 PM
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where will we find salvation & relief...
from the woes besetting us, courtesy the current administration?
from Robert Scheer, courtesy the L.A. Times,
Cheney's Grimy Trail in Business.
posted by j at 7:22 AM
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The IDF shuts away the sea at Rafah
by Amira Haas

The entire coast-line between Rafah and Dir al-Balah has been closed to Palestinians. IDF positions, replete with rifles poking out of watchposts, and the occasional jeep or larger army vehicle which races up and down the road, ensure that nobody trespasses beyond clearly demarcated borders. The sea, a natural place of escape from the over-bearing heat and an idyllic leisure spot for children during the summer holiday, has become an inaccessible place visited only in dreams.

It cannot be reached, even though it's only a 10-minute walk, or a two- minute car ride away. Those who have permits remind themselves what the waves are like when they travel up to Gaza City. But these are just a minority of lucky Rafah residents; few have the NIS 14 needed for a round- trip journey.

During recent months, when the IDF has enforced a policy of "cutting-up" and isolating the Gaza Strip, and has blocked movement between northern and southern areas for hours or days, the sea off the Gaza coast has become no more than a memory. [more]
posted by Gordon at 12:34 AM
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Monday, July 15, 2002. *
Two Blogs of Interest to someone. But who???

Cointelpro Tool
"Manufacturing Consent since 2002" - and mincing no words about wrongheaded individuals, groups and viewpoints in the process!

"Devoted to smashing conspiracy theories and humiliating their purveyors!"

Posting these items feels a little like tuning in to Radio Moscow for better coverage of your own country's nuclear freeze movement ... or turning on Rush Limbaugh because he's sufficiently upset with your buddies that he's putting them all over the national airwaves for free. Perhaps someone's up for digging through the informational manure and "spreading it skillfully on the field of enlightenment," as the guru suggested.
posted by Emmanuel at 6:57 PM
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Homeland Security May Require Environmental Sacrifices
The Bush administration's proposed new Department of Homeland Security could cause a variety of harmful environmental side effects, ranging from increases in invasive species to restricting the types of information available to the public.

Earlier in the week, House and Senate committees debated provisions of homeland security legislation that would exempt industries providing security information from the Freedom of Information Act.

One such provision would bar the federal government from disclosing information regarding environmental hazards, health hazards, product defects and other dangers, including reports of accidental spills. The exemption also would give industry shelter from the consequences of violating the nation's environmental, consumer protection, and health and safety laws...
posted by Mike at 1:31 PM
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Military-industrial-complex salesman G W Bush in Poland. "We hope the Polish government picks quality. If they do they will of course come our way. We will offer a fabulous product called the F-16 and we will work with our friends in order to compete on an above-board basis."
posted by New World at 11:54 AM
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Arthur Andersen was everywhere

Halliburton, formerly headed by Vice President Cheney is being investigated by the SEC for questionable accounting practices, while Harken, the firm that Dubya was a director of, had similar accounting practices challenged successfully by the SEC.

Halliburton and Harken had the same outside auditor. Arthur Andersen. What a coincidence.

But there's more. The former head lawyer for this accounting firm, Harvey Pitt, now heads the SEC, the very entity charged with the investigations. I'm sure he'll be completely unbiased, aren't you?

posted by Bob at 12:04 AM
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Sunday, July 14, 2002. *
Thank God I'm a fuckin' Canadian. US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies. "The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS, means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police. The program would use a minimum of 4 per cent of Americans to report 'suspicious activity.'" Here's the Citizen's Corps website.
posted by New World at 3:37 PM
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This is excellent background on the colonization of Palestine by European Jews and how colonization ultimately corrupts the colonizers. Not to mention the resultant destruction of the native inhabitants — the Palestinians.

A Process of Dehumanization
Raping the Palestinians

Massacre, theft, torture, destruction, and ethnic cleansing: the Palestinian native is well aware of his history-not an ancient history recalled through myths and symbols, but a sharp, painful history reinforced decade upon decade, day upon day, hour upon hour. It is not the history of the comforting textbook held in one's hand, but of the dagger thrust into one's side. The Palestinian cannot-no, dare not-forget it, not if he wishes to stay alive at any rate. For if he fails to remember that his home may come crashing over his head at the whim of a bulldozer, that his crops may burn at the arrival of a settler, that his life may be ended at the command of a soldier, he is all but finished. [more]


A Process of Dehumanization
Raping the Palestinians
Part Two: Brutalities of Colonial Occupation

Following the 1967 war Israel seized East Jerusalem, forced out all of the 6,500 residing Palestinians, and bulldozed their religious centers. The UN reported that by 1971, 48 Palestinian villages were destroyed, and by 1974 the Red Cross counted almost 20,000 Palestinian homes crushed by Israeli bulldozers. The surviving refugees joined their 1948 counterparts in squalid camps. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders had come to a certain consensus about the nature of their victims, namely that they were all animals. "Two-legged beasts", "grasshoppers", "snakes", "drugged insects", "cockroaches"-terms employed not by random Israeli fanatics, but rather very well-placed ones, i.e. prime ministers, defense ministers, and so forth-have been used to describe, or rather dehumanize, Palestinians. One wonders if Israeli leadership plans on erecting zoos across the country to house the newly dispossessed 'Negroes': it would be a welcome respite from the hovels and ghettoes that comprise much of the Occupied Territories. [more]
posted by Gordon at 10:15 AM
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listening to NPR on a sunday morn...
caught the news re item in the Charlotte Observer,
decoding the prices Duke Energy sold electricity to
California utilities during last year's "energy shortage"...
Duke prices in California soared,
a fine piece of reporting by Stella M. Hopkins.

posted by j at 8:56 AM
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Terrorist alert

The Bush Administration today issued a red alert for a new "suspected terrorist", saying they have received important confidential information that the Bogeyman, long thought to be just an imaginary childhood fear, is actually real and further, is a long-time member of underground terror organization Al Qaieda.

"Children should have their parents look under the bed for them, or have trained Office of Homeland Security agents do it", warned a spokesperson. They also advised citizens to be on the lookout for the Wicked Witch of the West and the Big Bad Wolf.

posted by Bob at 12:01 AM
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Saturday, July 13, 2002. *
Democrats Call Bush Global Warming Plan "Baloney"

"Demo-crats" . . . sounds vaguely familiar . . . what do these people do, again?

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:45 PM
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Oh, man, this is sad: Black Sparrow folds.
Martin was manager of a Southern California office supply company that did some printing when he read the work of writer Charles Bukowski in mimeographed magazines in 1965, and sought him out. Meeting over the next six months, the two men worked out a deal. Bukowski needed $100 a month in order to quit his post office job and work on the writing that was stacked waist-high in his closet. Martin gave up one-fifth of his monthly salary to sponsor Bukowski and become his publisher.

In an interview with Transit magazine before his death in 1994, Bukowski said, "Black Sparrow Press promised me $100 a month for life if I quit my job and tried to be a writer. Nobody else even knew I was alive. Why shouldn't I be loyal forever? And now the royalties from Sparrow match or surpass all other royalties. What a flashing heaven of luck."

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:09 PM
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The Great Charade
As the West prepares for an assault on Iraq, John Pilger argues that 'war on terror' is a smokescreen created by the ultimate terrorist ... America itself
It is 10 months since 11 September, and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and lies about the 'war on terrorism' - when the most enduring menace, and source of terror, is them.

The fanatics who attacked America came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. No bombs fell on these American protectorates. Instead, more than 5,000 civilians have been bombed to death in stricken Afghanistan, the latest a wedding party of 40 people, mostly women and children. Not a single al-Qaeda leader of importance has been caught. [more]

. . . courtesy of Douglas Kellner of BlogLeft
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:21 PM
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from this morning's mail to the dumbmonkey:


Higgs and Vidal Join Program Host Peter Robinson to Debate Hoover
Institution Research Fellow Dinesh D'Souza on America's Terrorist Crisis

OAKLAND, Calif. - The PBS program "Uncommon Knowledge" is now airing two
episodes featuring Gore Vidal, author of the new book, Perpetual War for
Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated, and Robert Higgs, senior fellow
at the Independent Institute, editor of its quarterly journal, The
Independent Review, and author of the book, Crisis and Leviathan.

The programs were taped in conjunction with an Independent Institute forum
held on April 18th and co-sponsored by Harper's Magazine entitled
"Understanding America's Terrorist Crisis: What Should Be Done?"

The second "Uncommon Knowledge" program entitled "Enemies of the State"
includes Dinesh D'Souza, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and
author of the new book, What's So Great About America, and debates whether
Islamic terrorists hate America because of its freedoms, or because of U.S.
intervention in the Middle East?

Please check your local listings for broadcast times of "Uncommon Knowledge"
or consult

Vidal and Higgs also appeared on last week's episode of "Uncommon Knowledge"
entitled "Taking Liberties." The pair discussed the curtailment of civil
liberties since September 11th and made predictions for the future of basic
rights and freedoms in America. The transcript and streaming video of that
program is accessible via the World Wide Web at:

For a transcript of the Institute program "Understanding America's Terrorist
Crisis: What Should Be Done?" see:

For additional Institute resources on the "War on Terrorism," see:

we think it rather interesting to note where this program may be available
posted by j at 9:57 AM
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Colorado Man Dies of Mad-Deer Disease
This very important 7/11 story appears to have fallen through the major-media news cracks as reporters focus upon Bush and Cheney's highly unethical previous corporate dealings, the upcoming Gulf War II: Fields of Fire, and the final end of market madness. One reason for not giving higher coverage to Mad Cow-Mad Deer disease (besides that it offends big agro-business and the large civillian population of hunters) is that until now it hasn't been demonstrated that it is a "human" problem. That is, it hasn't crossed that tenuous threshold of narcissism by which media and politicians consider the importance of information -- does it directly affect consumers or not? But, contrary to many claims to the opposite, it appears that Chronic Wasting Disease does have the capability of crossing "species barriers" and killing the people involved in infected areas. As this disease is spreading more rapidly than the Southwest wildfires, farmers, hunters, rural citizens, and policy makers need to start paying attention now, less our only solution to the problem be the slaughter of millions of animals...the recent slaugher of nearly 30,000 deer in Wisconson alone (without mentioning what happened previously in England or Japan, etc.) should underscore that this is no joke and a serious social-issue brewing under-the-surface.

The link to the story is here.
A link to a recent short synapsis of Mad Cow / Mad Deer by expert John Stauber is here.
posted by Richard at 8:18 AM
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Friday, July 12, 2002. *
ol' Georgie B. Jr doesn't really care...
'bout ya if you happen to be black, brown, asian, or any "tweener",
he's really only concerned with the lot of those like hissowndamnedself,
white, priviledged, male (sorry republican gals) and it helps if you're
dumb as a post, 'cause goodness knows, GWB don' like getting shown up...
from Bob Herbert, at the NYT, Suffer the Children.
"Follow the money," said Ms. Edelman,
"and you will find what we truly care about and stand for as a nation."
posted by j at 1:30 PM
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DOJ To Attempt Shut Down of 9/11 Evidence
U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Robert D. McCallum, Jr. and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York James B. Comey advised U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, also of the Southern District of New York, that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will intervene to control access to all evidence and documents related to all private litigation before Hellerstein’s court regarding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 -- citing “grave national security concerns” as their motivation.
posted by A.Q. at 12:05 PM
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Beyond Face Value: Depictions of Slavery in Confederate Currency. "...Many Southern notes did not feature images of slavery; this exhibit focuses on the ones that did. This collection features notes issued and circulated in the South during the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction Eras. Notes were issued by various entities, including the Confederate government, state governments, merchants, and railroad companies."
posted by Andrew at 10:02 AM
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more Stupid Bush Tricks
courtesy the L.A. Times,
As a Board Member, Bush OKd a Deal Like Enron's;
Write your granny, write your uncles & aunties,
write friends you haven't written to for years and
the moron in the white house's betting on them remaining ignorant fools...
posted by j at 8:08 AM
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Thursday, July 11, 2002. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:13 PM
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Ain't That America
A Strange Kind of Freedom
by Robert Fisk

Inside the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, the Californian audience had been struck silent. Dennis Bernstein, the Jewish host of KPFA Radio's Flashpoint current affairs programme, was reading some recent e-mails that he had received from Israel's supporters in America. Each one left the people in the church-- Muslims, Jews, Christians--in a state of shock. "You mother-fucking-asshole-self-hating Jewish piece of shit. Hitler killed the wrong Jews. He should have killed your parents, so a piece of Jewish shit like you would not have been born. God willing, Arab terrorists will cut you to pieces Daniel Pearl-style, AMEN!!!" [more]

The above article also had this little gem...

James Abu Rizk, an Arab-American of Lebanese origin, told the Arab-American Anti- Discrimination Committee afterwards. "No one else, no average American, has been asked either. But that is the state of American politics today... The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators' love for Israel. They have everything to do with the money that is fed into their campaigns by members of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that $6bn flows from the American Treasury to Israel each year."

I was curious as to the amount this came to per Israeli. I went to Google to search for Israeli population data and found the following. This is what Israeli children are being taught.

Akhla: The Jewish Children's Learning Network
Israel Fast Facts

Israel is located in the Middle East, along the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. It lies at the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. (...)

Israel is a country of immigrants. Since its inception in 1948, Israel's population has grown seven-fold. Its over six million inhabitants comprise a mosaic of people with varied ethnic backgrounds, lifestyles, religions, cultures and traditions. The population of Israel is about 5.8 million. The population can be divided by religion into a Jewish majority (82%) and a non-Jewish minority (18%).

What's the message here? Israeli children are being taught that the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights belong to Israel — they are within Israel's borders. They are also taught that, within these borders there are 5.8 million people of whom 18% are non-Jewish minority. What about the 3 million Palestinians living within these borders? They, apparently, simply do not exist. Israeli children are being taught that the land belongs to people who lived elsewhere and that those that have been living there for millenia have no right to this land.

I find this to be truly insidious — but that's the nature of racism.

By the way — the American subsidy to Israel comes out to $1,000 per man, woman, and child — per year. Year after year after year.
posted by Gordon at 7:29 PM
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posted by A.Q. at 2:43 PM
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In an interesting confluence of art and current events, the above painting [click it for a larger view and more info], Peter Paul Rubens' Massacre of the Innocents yesterday became the world's most expensive piece of art, as it was sold for more than 49 million British pounds. The work is a grisly depiction of mass-murder that is unafraid to confront the viewer with scenes of depravity. For related works, check out this great page: artistic responses to war, with a huge collection of links to various war-related art through the centuries....
posted by A.Q. at 2:32 PM
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the only thing the Bush administration excels at...
is lies, Lies, LIES...
sometimes masquerading as subterfuge & obfuscation,
but at their heart, naught but L I E S . . .
from K. Pender, S.F. Chronicle;
Ant-fraud Plan Has No Teeth;
from M. Allen, Washington Post,
Bush Took Oil Firm's Loans as Director
posted by j at 2:11 PM
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posted by New World at 10:51 AM
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Fully vetted by the SEC:
"April 1991: The SEC begins an investigation into Harken dealings. Chairman Richard Breeden, who had been appointed by the senior Bush and served him as an economic policy adviser, hails from Baker & Botts, a big Texas oil law firm where he was a partner. Inside the SEC, James Doty, general counsel and the official in charge of any litigation that might come out of the Harken investigation, is another alumnus of Baker & Botts. And as a private attorney, before joining the government, Doty represented the younger Bush in matters related to Dubya's ownership of the Rangers."
George Bush, Failed Corporate Crook by James Ridgeway
posted by Michael at 12:43 AM
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Wednesday, July 10, 2002. *
Prison reform movement gains new supporters!

Prison reform activists are reporting a sudden, unexpected, and massive new interest in prison reform. "Contributions are coming from people who didn't return our phone calls three months ago", says one pleased activist, adding that "Issues we couldn't organize on before, like harsh prison terms, 'no human contact' rules, and non-existent visiting hours, are now no-brainers. Doors are opening for us everywhere, especially in the corporate boardrooms of America, and these CEO's are really funding us well."    
posted by Bob at 10:14 PM
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Weapons of mass destruction
it's amazing how easy it is to become what you hate.
found thru ::


posted by riley dog at 2:49 PM
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Former contributer Fred Lapides sent me an interesting email full of questions regarding my post below about immigrants and 'curfew'. As I value Fred's input (and wish he hadn't left in a huff previously), I will respond to his comments here to give him is voice... Fred's original email is in white, with my comments interspersed in green. I have attempted to put this into a smaller font as to not hog this page with too much Israel/Palestine stuff.

I read with a bit of confusion your recent post at American Samizdat about how Palestinians can not leave their homes but immigrant workers can go to work and indeed convert in Israel.
Actually, these were not workers who converted and joined Israel, they were people specifically recruited from the far-reaches of questionable Judaism in order to stock settlements in the West Bank. In effect these people are human shields designed to make a Palestinian state on the West Bank impossible.

Fact: some thousands of Palestinians lost their jobs becausae of Intifada II and were replaced by those who wanted work.
Jobs were lost because Israel's response to the response of lethal crackdown on violent protests was to put an entire people in a giant prison. Of course, Israel has no legal obligation to allow Palestinians to work, but if Sharon was truly interested in peace he might try other techniques such as enforcable borders, work permits, etc. in order to ensure that Palestinian society didn't descend into abject poverty and madness. As you later note, despite the lock-down, the terror-attacks continues unabated. Security is not the issue, thousands of jobs were taken by the Israelis as punishment for the crimes of a few. By putting it in terms of "those who want to work," you are only revealing your own feelings about Palestinians and not offering any factual challenge.

Not allowed to leave homes? Do you mean a curfew--not the same thing.
No, they are not the same things. A curfew (such as the one Arab citizens of Israel lived under from 1948-1967) means people must be in their homes at night. What Israel is imposing is a 24-hour "curfew", with a couple hours of breathing room allowed every third day. To enforce this "curfew" they are slaughtering children and adults. This is not a "curfew," it is mass home detention backed up by the threat of death, a clear violation of the Geneva convention and international law which forbids collective punishment.

The curview imposed by the Isrfaeli military sent into the Palelstinian ruled lands because of the daily suicide bombings which were then stopped by the military incursion, which rooted out many terrorists and destroyed their weapons....
So are you saying the only way to find peace in the region is to put all Palestinians, including the 99% not actively involved in terrorism in a virtual prison? Obviously terrorists should not be allowed to operate freely, and their weapons destroyed, but punishing civilians for their non-roles in that terrorism is the surest way possible to both break down society and strengthen the terrorists' support. Furthermore, there are no longer and "Palestinian-ruled lands" The very idea is anathema to Sharon, whose major attacks were on Palestinian institutions and ministries, not on terrorist strong-holds. By crippling the Palestinian infrastructure, he ensured that Palestinians would be unable to police or otherwise govern their own people. And again, this is not a curfew, it is mass home dentention, otherwise known as collective punishment.

How would you respond if in your country a neighboring people (say, American Indians) blew up your buses and restaurants on a daily basis?
If my government, after having removed them from most of their land and population centers in the past, then tried to settle their remaining land with Peruvian Indians, religious fanatics, and other random thieves, and then enforced those settlements built on stolen land with brutal force including shooting hundreds of unarmed children, I would respond by petitioning my government to leave the stolen lands and offer the aggreived party compensation for their suffering as well as a formal apology for the theft, murder, and oppression levied against them. I would petition my government to end terrorism by declaring borders (Can you tell me what the borders of Israel are? Can anyone) and patrolling them, and by hunting down and arresting the known terrorists who use violence as a political tool. I would do everything in my power to ask my government to recognize its wrongs and right them through strong, unequivocal, unilateral action. I would respond by reaching out to the vast majority on the other side who, like me, want to live in peace. I would present ideas that conform to international law, and I would give up immediately all claims to land outside my international recognized borders.
posted by A.Q. at 11:14 AM
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