American Samizdat

Monday, September 30, 2002. *
Dyer: Saddam, Like Evil the Cat, Is a Cartoon Villain, No Real Threat


Cartoon villains have no need of complex personalities or even motives; they're just evil, that's all. From the Joker in the old Batman comics down to Evil the Cat in 'Earthworm Jim', they seek to destroy our hero and conquer the universe simply because evil is their vocation. Saddam Hussein's image in Western propaganda is a lot like that.
posted by Norm at 4:45 PM
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Looking Behind Ha'aretz's Liberal Image, by Ran HaCohen
A new Israeli web-site, supported by two major settlers' sites from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, is dedicated to the holy cause of "encouraging and supporting the employment of Jews only". It is already listing dozens of Israeli firms that do not employ "Gentiles". In the first months of the Intifada, Israeli racists initiated a boycott of Arab shops and restaurants; now, employment of Arabs is targeted. Let's keep the inevitable historical analogies for another time; the point I want to make now is, that most of you haven't heard of this web-site. Right?

The site is neither confidential nor is it my discovery: I simply read about it in the Hebrew Ha'aretz a few days ago (24.9.02). But most of you could not. Why? Because this item was left out of Haaretzdaily.com, the English version of Ha'aretz.
posted by A.Q. at 9:41 AM
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Professors want own names put on Mideast blacklist
The Web site lists "dossiers" for the eight university professors and teachers, including a graduate student instructor from UC Berkeley, and portrays them as preaching dangerous rhetoric to students. The site also calls them "hostile" to America. Run by Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank, the site, www.campus-watch.org, also asks for people to snitch on Middle East lectures, classes and demonstrations.
posted by A.Q. at 9:22 AM
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Will the Iraqis welcome American soldiers?

The Iraqi people will welcome American soldiers and will cheer at the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, many people who support a war against Iraq contend. After all, the Iraqis are suffering under Saddam's rule. I suspect however, that the pro-war pundits base this belief on statements from certain elements in the CIA-sponsored Iraqi opposition living in Europe and the US. I guess they didn't ask Iraqis living in Iraq for their opinion. [...]

[...] The American soldiers will need the Iraqi people to respect them, they will need to be able to communicate, to be able to convince the Iraqi people that they are not there as an occupying army, that they are there to safeguard the transition to a new government. They will need the locals' respect even more when they want to effectively fight violent opposition from Saddam Hussein's supporters, a struggle - possibly urban warfare - in which they need help from the locals. If the soldiers want to earn respect, and if they want to be able to communicate, they need brains and some kind of "cultural awareness" training. They won't be respected by the locals if they don't respect the locals' culture. And to be able to respect the locals' culture, they will have to study it first. And I must say, the current negative and intolerant stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in the US and many other Western countries doesn't make me optimistic. [...]

[...] there don't seem to be enough brains in the US military to successfully overthrow a regime and safeguard the transition to a new and stable government in a culture that significantly differs from the "American culture".

More...
posted by Igor at 6:21 AM
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Triggering abrupt climate change: can global warming cause an ice age?

Global warming could actually lead to a big chill in some parts of the world. If the atmosphere continues to warm, it could soon trigger a dramatic and abrupt cooling throughout the North Atlantic region—where, not incidentally, some 60 percent of the world’s economy is based.

When I say “dramatic,” I mean: Average winter temperatures could drop by 5 degrees Fahrenheit over much of the United States, and by 10 degrees in the northeastern United States and in Europe. That’s enough to send mountain glaciers advancing down from the Alps. To freeze rivers and harbors and bind North Atlantic shipping lanes in ice. To disrupt the operation of ground and air transportation. To cause energy needs to soar exponentially. To force wholesale changes in agricultural practices and fisheries. To change the way we feed our populations. In short, the world, and the world economy, would be drastically different.
posted by New World at 1:45 AM
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U.S. Military Grows in Djibouti:

The five-month-old U.S. base in this former French colony just miles across the Red Sea from Yemen and within striking distance of Iraq is no longer a secret. But finding out what the Americans are up to is another matter.

Djibouti's acting foreign minister, Mahamoud Ali, said American troops have been conducting large-scale exercises involving ground troops, helicopters, boats and AC-130 planes fitted with air-to-surface missiles.

Giant U.S. Air Force cargo planes swoop in and out of Djibouti's small airport every day as camouflaged MH-53 helicopters with the word "Marines" barely visible on their shells ferry men and equipment to and from Le Monier.

Djiboutians say terrified sheep and goats tumble into ravines running from the roar of the helicopters sweeping overhead.
posted by New World at 12:59 AM
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The logic of dictatorship: Bush demands workers sacrifice rights to “homeland security":

According to Bush, collective bargaining rights are an impermissible obstruction to the actions required to defend the American people from the threat of future terrorist attacks. The executive branch—by which he means himself and his immediate coterie, not the hundreds of thousands of workers employed by the federal government—must have a free hand.

Of the 170,000 workers who would be employed by the new department, some 40,000 currently are union members with collective bargaining rights. The Bush administration initially sought the immediate elimination of these rights. It then settled for a provision that would maintain existing contracts for one year, after which the president would be free to impose new conditions on the workers by executive order.
posted by New World at 12:54 AM
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ADL condemns New Jersey poet laureate for 9/11 'big lie':

Baraka, who told the New York Times that reading the Internet had convinced him that Israel knew about Sept. 11 beforehand, said he had no intention of stepping down and defended his message.

"Obviously they knew about it, like Bush knew about," Baraka told the newspaper, suggesting that letting the attack happen served the White House's agenda in Afghanistan, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

Told he had offended people, Baraka replied: "I know. What can I do? I'm not perfect, alas."
posted by New World at 12:50 AM
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India planning pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan:

The government has picked up signals that India has begun putting in place a plan to carry out pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan in the eventuality of an American attack on Iraq, well-placed sources revealed to The News on Sunday.

The sources added that the government was taking the signals seriously and had ordered preparations to counter any such eventuality. "There have been several simultaneous developments in the past few days that indicate a sinister game plan by India against Pakistan," a high-placed official disclosed on the condition of anonymity.
posted by New World at 12:46 AM
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Free Trade Is Mythical Road to Prosperity:

After stinging criticism of the two organizations by Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, a new book from a Cambridge University professor challenges the very bedrock of these institutions -- that globalization and free trade are a sure-fire path to prosperity.

Embarrassing, perhaps. But not surprising, according to Chang's recently-published book, "Kicking Away the Ladder," which examines the economic policies that today's industrialized countries used during their development.

"The title of the book comes from a passage from German economist Friedrich List," Chang said, adding that the 19th century economist complained that British calls for free-trade policies were simply attempts to thwart growth and development in poorer nations such as Germany.

The British were trying to kick away the ladder -- protectionist economic policies -- by which they themselves had climbed up, Chang quotes List as saying. Two centuries later, Chang said List's complaint can be leveled against the United States.

American officials of the 19th century were deeply skeptical of free trade and Chang argues that U.S. industries were literally the most protected in the world until 1945.

Newly established industries were aggressively coddled and promoted, making the United States an early believer in the "infant industry" argument -- the same one many developing countries use today to impose limits on free trade and liberalization.
posted by New World at 12:40 AM
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Sunday, September 29, 2002. *

While the US Special Forces appear to be behaving in Afghanistan, the rank and file army, such as 82d Airborne Division are not; taking every opportunity to kick in doors, terrorize (that's a funny word) locals, and generally ruin any chance of catching any actual, real, live terrorists.


“Those guys were crazy,” said one Special Forces NCO who was there. “We just couldn’t believe they were acting that way. Every time we turned around they were doing something stupid. We’d be like, ‘Holy s— t, look at that! Can you believe this!’ ” Another said: “They were acting like bin Laden was hiding behind every door. That just wasn’t the way to be acting with civilians.”
posted by Grant at 8:23 PM
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A chapter from my novel (unpublished, for now) is up at Indie Journal: "Ed kicked him in the mouth. He flew backwards and landed on his ass. The back alley gravel ripped a hole in his faded and stained Jack Daniel's sweat pants and tore his ass skin. 'Just leave him alone!' yelled the guy's girlfriend. An ugly old woman. Fat jiggled underneath her tee shirt as she gesticulated. Missing teeth. A misshapen statute sculpted by collaboration between the famous artists Fear, Poverty, Ignorance and Despair. She didn't want to put down and possibly lose the beer she was carrying, but by the way the shit was going down it looked like she was going to have to risk it to help out her old man. She punched her husband's assailant in the back of his head. Ed turned around. The veins in his head and neck were throbbing. When he saw it was a woman, the typical reactions (a punch in the face, a kick in the groin, a breath-stealing headlock, a brain cell killing piledriver . . .) were suspended and the ethics that his dad had installed in him by drunkenly blathering while on sitting on the couch in front of the tube, the coffee table covered with empty beer bottles, allowed only for a little verbal abuse."
posted by New World at 11:50 AM
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Anita Roddick: How I Became a Target for America's Zealots

Check out some of the quotes from the hate mail she has received. It is not really funny when you consider that it is people like these who will also vigorously support Bush's megalomaniacal push to invade a foreign country by himself (ahem, with American Sues and Joes--maybe one of yours or someone you know, at any rate someone also familiar with Wal-Mart and cable tv soon to get a bullet in the head), at the risk of de-stabilizing the region and causing more blowback (foreign policy karma, see also: string theory), at a time when the American economy is good for only a small percentage at the top (at the bottom, see Nickle and Dimed, by the esteemed Barbara E.), poverty is widening, social services cutting, library and education suffering, surplus vanishing JUST SO he and Cheney and the rest of his transnationals-ridin' friends can make even more millions of dollars as if this will buy them a ticket into living ad infinitum (you can't take it--)--it won't. Instead they will have lived their lives as some of the most selfish sons-a-bitches humanity ever saw--and billions will have suffered in their wake.

These very same people quoted in Anita's article sound exactly like the people who comment so extensively in the comments section at Warblogger Watch. I've actually heard a blog who idolizes James Lileks and Instapundit say that something was: " . . . like a watermelon: green on the outside and red on the inside." If you oppose the war and the type of people who actually respect this common crook called Bush then why not go over to Warblogger Watch and tell them how you feel? Release your anger and frustration over the fact that in this country the will of the people is being not only being routinely ignored but held in contempt by this administration who is willing to kill thousands, tens of thousands or more. The Peace Movement is Alive and Growing: help it along; voice your consternation now. This is information war, boys and girls (absolutely nonviolent): speak your words, spread your wares; peacemongers share.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:36 AM
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Saturday, September 28, 2002. *
Newcomer News: A weblog about newcomers to Canada
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:06 PM
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Global warming forces Inuits to abandon swamped homes: "Thousands of years ago, nomads chased caribou here across a now-lost land connection from Siberia, 100 miles away. Scientists believe those nomads became the first Americans. Now their descendants are about to become global warming refugees. The village is being swallowed by the sea."
posted by New World at 11:20 AM
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Southland defense industry quietly heeds war's drumbeat: "At Pentagon contractors throughout the region, engineers have been ordered to put vacations on hold. Some have been told to plan for longer spells at the office. And companies that make sophisticated intelligence-gathering equipment have been directed by the government to field new technologies ahead of schedule."
posted by New World at 11:09 AM
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"Somebody Blew Up America" by Amiri Baraka.

Listen to it here.
posted by New World at 10:49 AM
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Governor Calls for State's Poet Laureate to Resign: "Gov. James E. McGreevey called for the resignation of the state's poet laureate Friday, based on a poem critical of Israel that Amiri Baraka read at a festival earlier this month."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:28 AM
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cbs: "the executive director of greenpeace is among the more than six-hundred people arrested today during protests against the international monetary fund and world bank. john passacantando says he was just riding his bicycle to work when police made more than two-hundred arrests near a park just outside of the extended white house security zone."


washington post: "joseph mayer, 69, a retired army lieutenant colonel who lives in alexandria and works in the district, approached the police line at the corner of 15th and pennsylvania and was among those caught inside the line of officers. 'they closed freedom plaza and turned it into a non-freedom plaza,' he said. 'they have turned the constitution off'."


This from Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, who features some nice coverage of today's D.C. protests, including his bringing up the possibility that blogger MaxSpeak might be one of those jailed.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:24 AM
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Friday, September 27, 2002. *
Mark "The Roadie" Steyn: Doing the heavy lifting

Mark "Plagiarism" Steyn, leading ideologue of the warbloggers was recently fact-checked by Eric Tam. Like others of the same political ilk, Steyn has difficulty dealing with criticism and instead uses his column to deliver a spray against his critics. In this case, Steyn throws down the gauntlet and writes:

So I'm grateful to Mr. Tam. He specifically disputed one fact and he called me a hatemonger. That seems fair enough. Dispute two specific facts and you can take me to the Human Rights Commission. Dispute three specific facts and we'll play your karaoke recording on the National Post Web site:

"Hatemonger, hatemonger,

Mong me some hate..."

But just plain old unsupported cries of "hatemonger"? Save it for your next Concordia riot.


That shouldn't be too hard. But, before we deal with the Steyn's attention to detail, let's deal with Steyn's journalistic integrity. If he passes that test, then we can look at the specifics of his claims.

Steyn writes:
In June 2001, for example, the newspaper BT reported that every single gang rape that had taken place over the preceding 18 months had been committed by second-generation immigrants or refugees -- in one instance by a gang from Eastern Europe, in the rest by ... well, I don't want to be more hateful to a certain "vulnerable social group" than I have to, so you're welcome to take a stroll through the archives story by story, if you can stand the details.


If you had read Lars Hedegaard's annotations to the Daniel Pipes "Something rotten in Denmark" screed, these words would be familiar to you. Yes, once again, the increasingly dishonest Mark Steyn has stolen someone elses words. Hedegaard writes:
In June 2001, the Copenhagen daily newspaper B.T. reported that every single gang rape that had taken place over the preceding year and a half had been committed by second-generation immigrants or refugees - and in one instance by Eastern European gangsters.


Pathetic. Once again, Steyn the Roadie is doing the heavy lifting for the war party.

Of course, this leaves out the fact that the most serious gang rape perpetrated during 2001 was carried out in December 2001 by a gang of Danes - not "second-generation immigrants or refugees" at all.


For a more detailed discussion of the facts surrounding the Danish rape statistics, one should read Betramonline's inspired analysis of the Hedegaard response (from which Steyn seems to have based his rebuttal on anyway).
posted by Amir at 11:53 PM
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Urgent warning by Israeli Academics: The Israeli government may be contemplating crimes against humanity:

In a recent interview in Ha'aretz, Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon described the Palestinians as a "cancerous manifestation" and equated the military actions in the Occupied Territories with "chemotherapy", suggesting that more radical "treatment" may be necessary. Prime Minister Sharon has backed this "assessment of reality". Escalating racist demagoguery concerning the Palestinian citizens of Israel may indicate the scope of the crimes that are possibly being contemplated.

Ariel Sharon's secret plan to remove Palestinians from Israel:

Israel's hard-line prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has ordered his defence forces to prepare to drive "hundreds of thousands" of Palestinians on the West Bank over the border into Jordan. Jordanian intelligence chiefs say the operation will commence on the day the forthcoming United States conflict starts against Iraq. Sharon believes that will give him "a just excuse" to remove the Palestinians - as they would then pose what he has called "a totally unacceptable threat to the safety of Israel"
posted by New World at 5:32 PM
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The Centers for Disease Control allowed on Thursday that "Fewer U.S. Teens Becoming Sexually Active." An earlier Newsweek story opened with this line, "Zack was an insecure kid who clowned around in high school and felt that no one really liked him." Zack, of course, did what 490,000 other folk not getting any did: he started blogging.

Though not as rigorous as the methodology employed by the CDC, amateur statisticians should monitor this list for additions. Any significant lengthening would suggest that teen sexual activity is down.
posted by Grady at 5:16 PM
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This is a must read. It's a .pdf file.

Paybacks
Policies, Patrons and Personell

How the Bush Administration is Giving Away Our Environment to Its Corporate Contributors

"The biggest challenge is going to be how to best utilize taxpayer's dollars to the benefit of industry..."
— Mike Smith, Bush administration Assistant Secretary for Fossil Fuels at the U.S. Department of Energy, Charleston Gazette, January 31, 2002 [read more]

thanks to Tapped
posted by Gordon at 12:50 PM
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A declaration of war against the world
A 28-page answer to the question 'why do they hate us'

Late last week, copies began oozing out of Washington of a remarkable document the Bush Administration plans to submit shortly to Congress. The document, entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States," is an overview of policies, most of them apparent or previously announced, that the White House sees as relevant to the nation's security. It should be required reading for any person who still believes the United States represents an unambiguous force for good in world affairs.

Bush's "strategy" is nothing less than a declaration of war against the world. For those of us who want to believe that our government reflects the ideals of our country and the good-heartedness of the American people, it is truly a repellant masterpiece. And while some aspects of the Bush strategy have been strains in American foreign policy for decades, give Bush points for honesty: as never before, he lays it all out, in one place, in 28 pages of arrogance that answer better than Osama himself ever could the question of Why They Hate Us. [read more]
posted by Gordon at 12:48 PM
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It occurred to me only this week that if the benevolent web association can raise five hundred for Mark Woods to get a new computer, we ought to organize something similar to get Unknown News back. Spending time today finishing helping Jason with his upcoming New World Disorder zine and trying to cover the events in DC, but someone needs to do this soon . . .
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:02 AM
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From NPR this morning I hear [pp]: "Protesters in DC made fake 911 calls, shattered windows, tried to snarl traffic with burning tires . . . " From the DC Indymedia center, I hear:
"Police have targeted: medics, legal observers, law collective . . . "

"10:50am: Freedom Plaza. The police are surrounding everyone and they are starting to make arrests, including an NPR journalist. Everyone is being peaceful, except the cops."

"The police beat up two men and dragged them across the street and threw them into a van."


We can only assume that the corporate media both locally in DC and nationally are going to be (have been) more shrill and alarmist than NPR. Local Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW, more humane than the NPR HQ, is currently running a one-hour show on the protests featuring an interview with Joseph Stiglitz, who won last year's Nobel Prize in economics and served formerly as chief economist from the World Bank. He now speaks out against corporate-only-globalization. Over 500 people in DC have already been arrested.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:16 AM
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Iranian Revolutionary Posters. "...social upheavals and revolutionary struggles often give rise to innovative forms of political artistic expression. Posters produced and disseminated during the Islamic Revolution in Iran were no exception. Engaged artists created posters whose iconography opposed and inverted ideas and images that supported the status quo. Not just a secondary reflection of the revolutionary movement, these posters played a vital role in the struggles for change and in the articulation of collective ideologies." From the exhibit Between Word and Image: Modern Iranian Visual Culture at Grey Art Gallery.
posted by Andrew at 8:50 AM
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Thursday, September 26, 2002. *
Oh? You thought the decision to drill in ANWAR was voted upon and decided against months ago? Maybe so, but the "president" is still pushing for the opening up of ANWAR to his oil buddies to be included in this upcoming energy bill. Of course, most Americans are against it, but hey, Bush knows best, right? Add ANWAR to the list of agendas being quietly but vigorously pursued while Bush touts the morality of invasion to the world.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:36 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:33 PM
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Is Bush's War Illegal? " . . . And basically saying that we reserve the right to use force in self-defense against any state we say is somehow involved in the events of September 11. Well, the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed me on that and asked what is the precedent for this? I said that the precedent again goes back to the Nuremberg Judgment of 1946 when the lawyers for the Nazi defendants argued that we, the Nazi government had a right to go to war in self-defense as we saw it, and no one could tell us any differently. Of course that preposterous argument was rejected by Nuremberg. It is very distressing to see some of the highest level of officials of our country making legal arguments that were rejected by the Nuremberg Tribunal."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:55 PM
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Robert Fisk in Wednesday's Independent: "Tony Blair's 'dossier' on Iraq is a shocking document. Reading it can only fill a decent human being with shame and outrage. Its pages are final proof - if the contents are true - that a massive crime against humanity has been committed in Iraq. For if the details of Saddam's building of weapons of mass destruction are correct - and I will come to the 'ifs' and 'buts' and 'coulds' later - it means that our massive, obstructive, brutal policy of UN sanctions has totally failed. In other words, half a million Iraqi children were killed by us - for nothing."
posted by Grady at 4:49 PM
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The “Me” Foundation Presents Awards
Each Winner To Receive $500 Million

Thu Sep 26, 6:28 PM ET


A somewhat unexpected winner, George Bush, has been developing new ways to explain why Imperialism is a good thing. I want to dispel the myth that imperialism is bad. I’ve been working on this ad campaign, but want to do it off the books if you know what I mean. The grant money will make that possible. Smart people know what's best for dumb people and I'm plenty smart. Now that George has been awarded the Grant he will be able to expand his work without the annoying scrutiny of the press I'll find more countries that need my guidance he said. Being recognized makes me feel special. I like me just the way I are. I’m a patient man and you can’t fool me.

Having this level of recognition of our work with bulldozers is wonderful, said Ariel Sharon another award winner. Ariel is a specialist at using tools in new ways. I'm thrilled with the opportunity to realize my dreams.

The “Me” Foundation has awarded the no-scruples-attached grants to those best equipped to use them since the beginning of time. It allows them to pursue their work without having to worry about anything.

The Foundation applies three criteria in deciding on winners. No scruples of course. An unwavering focus on "Me" and a record of prior accomplishments that show potential for future advances.

This years winners were announced Thursday. Potential grant winners are selected by hundreds of egotistical bastards; recipients cannot apply for the awards, but bribes are okay.

This year's winners include one British recipient, Tony Blair. "I have some original ideas about kissing asses." he said. Now with this grant I'll be able to find people willing to kiss my ass. Blair who has specialized in ass kissing is uniquely qualified to make important progress in this field.

It was really hard for me to get funding before "because well I’m Prime Minister and people think I have lots of money and there are a lot of ass kissers in the world, and everyone thinks he is an expert.” Tony promises to explore more unconventional ways of gaining favor. I thought the foundation just wanted me to kiss someone's ass. Then they told me about the grant I was just flabbergasted.


Another winner: John Ashcroft plans on working on his music career. “Do Eagles Soar” was just the beginning, he said. I have a song I’ve been working on, “Die When I Say So”, and the money from the grant will help me promote it. I have other songs I want to write. “Give Said The Little Stream” a song inspired by some prostate trouble I’ve been having. I think they’ll be great hits.



Dick Cheney the peripatetic Vice President hasn't decided how to use his grant. “I’m just tripping,” said Dick, The Foundation doesn't require or expect specific projects. I exceeded my travel budget last year. That’s one thing I won’t have to worry about again.

The youngest winner was Ann Coulter an aspiring journalist. I've always wanted to be accepted as a serious journalist, the money will allow me to finish some unfinished business I have with the New York Times building. This could lead to a Pulitzer prize winning story for me.

Friends have told me this will change my life. Perhaps! The ability to pay off my sources of information will make life easier. I’m finally free from any concerns about honesty and integrity. This is an incredible opportunity
posted by Norm at 3:48 PM
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US, Britain visit Paris, Moscow on Iraq resolution:

France and Russia have voiced some of the strongest objections, with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov questioning the need for any resolution before U.N. inspectors are back in Iraq to investigate its weapons of mass destruction programs. France prefers a two-step process, with the first resolution threatening Iraq if it did not comply and a second one authorizing force, if necessary.

When you read this, remember the words of CIA director James Woolsey:

"It's pretty straightforward. France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies work closely with them." But he added: "If they throw in their lot with Saddam, it will be difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraqi government to work with them."
posted by New World at 11:46 AM
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As you probably all know, Hitchens has left The Nation. Big loss. His work has declined over the years; de-evolving into simplistic, black/white, naive, bloodlusting dross like this:

In order to get my own emotions out of the way, I should say briefly that on that day I shared the general register of feeling, from disgust to rage, but was also aware of something that would not quite disclose itself. It only became fully evident quite late that evening. And to my surprise (and pleasure), it was exhilaration. I am not particularly a war lover, and on the occasions when I have seen warfare as a traveling writer, I have tended to shudder. But here was a direct, unmistakable confrontation between everything I loved and everything I hated. On one side, the ethics of the multicultural, the secular, the skeptical, and the cosmopolitan. (Those are the ones I love, by the way.) On the other, the arid monochrome of dull and vicious theocratic fascism. I am prepared for this war to go on for a very long time. I will never become tired of waging it, because it is a fight over essentials. And because it is so interesting.

He should get a warblog.

Here's Cockburn on the newest Bush useful idiot:

I suppose Hitch's departure has been inevitable ever since the Weekly Standard said he was more important than George Orwell. I think it was becoming increasingly bizarre for the Nation to publish his column. But people only very slowly take in these changes, much like Dorian Gray changes slowly in front of you. Hitch is no longer the beautiful slender young man of the Left. Now he's just another middle-aged porker of the Right.
posted by New World at 11:07 AM
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War without End? Not in Our Name

If you're reading this, you no doubt already opposed to an Iraq war. Let's get the word out on the blogosphere that we can do something about it.

On Sunday, October 6, there will be nationwide anti-war demonstrations, organized by Not In Our Name (NION). Locations include New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Atlanta and more. All will have music, spoken word, poetry, as well as speakers and, in the case of L.A., a march.

Central to all of these demonstrations is the NION Pledge of Resistance. Read it. It's quite good. I know people who cried when they first read it because they realized they weren't alone, that others were thinking the same things.

The primary demonstration will be in Central Park in NYC. From the NYC page on the NION website.


We will hear comments from those who have felt the effects of U.S. military actions in other countries and domestic repression in the U.S. We will hear from artists, writers, religious figures, activists and others about why they are taking the Pledge.

At about 3PM. we will assemble in a circle to form a gigantic image of the world. Then, as one, we will take the Not in Our Name Pledge of Resistance.

This message of solidarity with the people of the world needs to be heard especially loud from NYC where the deaths of thousands of innocent people on September 11, 2001 have been invoked as justification for the government's actions.


On Sept 19, NION ran a full page ad in the New York Times (check the impressive list of signers). Their website has been getting 10,000 hits a day since! Something is happening here. A LOT of people are opposed to a war.

Email your friends about this. Post it on your blog. Talk to people about it. Get involved. Do it now. Seriously.
posted by Bob at 10:56 AM
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University bans controversial links: "School administrators have told the group, called the Che Cafe Collective, that linking to a site supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) would not be permitted because it violated federal law. In a letter to the Che Cafe Collective, UCSD University Centers Director Gary Ratcliff said the hyperlink violated a law that bans 'providing material support to support terrorists.' Ratcliff warned that the student organization would face disciplinary action if it did not immediately remove the link to FARC." (via Sexual Hypertextual Vegetable)
posted by New World at 10:42 AM
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Wednesday, September 25, 2002. *

"A civilian gang of thieving lobbyists for the military industrial complex  is running the White House. If to be against them is considered unpatriotic -- Hell, then call me a traitor."

   -- Hunter S. Thompson, ABC Radio Network...
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:34 PM
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I thought I should weigh in on The Body Shop post by Doc earlier ... I work for Anita and I am hugely disappointed in the Body Shop's asinine statement supporting Bush and the war and totally misrepresenting Anita's position. Obviously some scared little boys in suits got some angry mail from some right-wing thugs and panicked. I expected more of them.

BUT. Boycotting isn't the answer.

The New York Post called for a boycott of The Body Shop last week because of Anita's comments criticizing Bush. Of course a right-wing boycott is silly, and could not begin to touch Anita (conservatives never shopped there in the first place, at least not knowingly). But a left-wing boycott of The Body Shop is just as wrong-headed. A boycott will not affect anyone in the executive suite. It will only hurt people way down the line -- young men and women working in stores, trying to finance their dreams; and thousands of people in the Third World who benefit from The Body Shop's unique programs to source ingredients at fair and sustainable prices. These people are not the enemy, they are innocent bystanders.

Don't boycott the Body Shop. Instead, send them an email saying you will withhold your business until they come to their senses, retract the statement, and apologize for abandoning their most loyal customers -- the ones who shop not because it's cheap (it ain't) but because they vote with their wallets. Then, if/when they see the light, let them know that you will resume shopping with them. We need to learn to use stick AND carrot with equal enthusiasm.
posted by brooke at 8:45 PM
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Cheney Wants More Money: "Vice President Cheney, whose travel this year has been mainly trips to secure undisclosed locations and GOP fundraisers, has exceeded his travel budget and is asking Congress to approve shifting $100,000 from other White House accounts to cover the tab."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:22 PM
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Received in email today:
Dear friends -

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop and a internationally recognized social activist, is under heavy fire by the right wing in America for criticizing George W. Bush and the US government for their record on civil liberties since 9/11. A few vocal people even threatened to boycott The Body Shop.

Meanwhile, The Body Shop -- where Anita is still on the board but
retired from executive duties -- has failed to support her courage and conviction. The Body Shop website has declared that the company stands "full square" behind George W. Bush and the War on Terrorism.

It is disappointing to learn that a once-progressive company would not only sell out its visionary founder because it feared a boycott, but that it would endorse wholesale and without exception the president, his misguided and dangerous open-ended war, and his flagrant disregard for civil liberties.


Tell The Body Shop that you are disappointed in their decision to endorse Bush and his war, and that you stand with Anita in her belief that it is not un-American to speak out against injustice.

Send an email to The Body Shop USA and tell them, "Anita Speaks For Me!"


usa.info@the-body-shop.com

(copy staff@anitaroddick.com to let Anita know you're with her.)

Send this letter on to your friends, and let the silent minority be heard!



I have a lot of respect for Anita Roddick. The Body Shop link is coming off SLA. I went into a Body Shop a few weeks back looking for some hemp lip balm. It cost six bucks! I thought about it, then decided I would continue on down to the Pike Place Market where I was headed anyway for produce, and there, in a natural foods store, I found some groovily-packaged vegan hemp balm for half the price. Well, the point is I almost bought a six dollar stick of hemp lip balm because I liked the Body Shop and what they used to stand for, but if I had known they supported George W. Bush, I wouldn't even have gone in the place. Now I know. (anybody hear anything about Aveda?)
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:28 PM
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Israel/Palestine

Showdown Between Sharon and Arafat

The ultimate goal of Sharon in everything he does is still the same: the total end of the peace process, the expulsion of the Palestinians from their remaining areas, and the establishment of an ever-growing Greater Israel.

His immediate tactics are aimed not only at Arafat but are intended to result in the complete destruction of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership and their ability to address themselves to the world community. [read more]

----------

Until they take to the streets

The murder in Hebron, like the murders in Tel Aviv last week, presents the events at the Muqata in a light that is surrealistic, in the full sense of the word. Alongside the continuing terror killings, the military show of hand opposite the shreds of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's headquarters is becoming non-real, detached from life. The more sophisticated the demolition gets and as the control becomes ostensibly absolute, the more they recede from the facts that are relevant to the conflict. [read more]

----------

Ramallah Diary / `We need to believe there are Israelis listening to us'
By Amira Hass

A group of elderly men was seen suddenly running for their lives along the road through the market that links Manara Square with Jerusalem Street. They were running from the square in an easterly direction. It happened yesterday afternoon at a time when Ramallah was officially under total curfew. It very soon became clear what the curfew-breakers were fleeing from. In seconds, two armored personnel carriers came charging down at about 30 kilometers per hour. Their guns were moving but the hatches remained shut and no soldier could be seen peeking out. Behind the APCs was a troupe of eight- to sixteen-year-olds, chasing them and hurling stones at them with all their might. [read more]

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People and Politics / Someone is not telling the truth

Either the political and security hierarchy of the Palestinian Authority has conspired with senior American and European diplomats to weave a web of lies, or for more than three months the political and security hierarchy in Israel has been deceiving everyone - and in particular themselves. Here are some selected Rashomons: [read more]

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Sharon under attack for Arafat strategy
Israeli media questions whether prime minister is becoming a hostage to events, while army investigates shooting

----------

Nothing doing
A new Palestinian report on UN resolutions exposes the double standards at the heart of Bush's rationale for action against Iraq, says Brian Whitaker
posted by Gordon at 11:20 AM
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"Local currencies are a practical way to act locally in the face of globalization."

Madison Hours had a booth up at the Food for Thought portion of the Madison Farmer's Market on the Capital Square Saturday morning that I visited. Pretty interesting idea. A number of local places accept this currency, and a request/offer trade board exists, too.

From a food-specific handout they offered on Saturday:

Local Currency is one of many tools we can use to fight globalization, but it is of particular significance in the "food economy".

Sustainable production of food is something which is inherently labor intensive, since diversified, small-scale production (as versus mono-cropping) is required, as is the avoidance of heavy machinery which can damage the land. Because sustainable food production is labor-intensive, we will never find an honest way to make its end product cheap, at least if food producers are to be given a living wage (part of what makes sustainable food "sustainable").

Mass production has made food artificially cheap over the past several decades. Household budgets have adjusted accordingly, and few of us could withstand the sort of increase in price that would be necessary to give sustainable food producers a truly living wage. As it is, organic food is out of the reach of many consumers, and most small scale organic farms can barely survive, even with a truly punishing work-load during the growing season….

Madison HOURs always recirculate locally, which prevents the wealth generated by the community from draining away into distant corporate coffers or the pockets of stockholders somewhere. They can't be lent at interest, one of the mechanisms by which wealth and credit (is, "new" money) becomes scarce. And HOURs are denominated in hours-of-labor to encourage equalization of rates of pay, a stepping stone to redistributing wealth in [a] way that might allow all of us to afford sustainable grown food, and growers to be given a living wage for it.
According to the spokesperson, the Madison currency is based on the Ithaca Hours system which has enjoyed success since 1991. While searching the Ithaca Hours site, I found an interesting speech by author Margaret Atwood endorsing local currency.
posted by Arum at 10:59 AM
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Terror Alert downgraded from Orange to Yellow

Americans breathed a sigh of relief as the dreaded Terror Alert was lowered to Yellow from Orange. Texas rancher Billy Bob Morris said "That Orange alert had me more nervous than a whore in church, but now we have a Yellow alert, I'm heading to the mall to spend money so the terrorists don't win."
posted by Bob at 9:56 AM
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Must-read editorial on the disasterous road (for both Palestinians and Israelis) Sharon is taking
If you only read one thing about the increasingly urgent and dangerous situation in the middle east, read this one.
posted by A.Q. at 9:12 AM
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Although I've referred to this before, I continue to find it matter for obsessive contemplation. From Robert Musil's journals, 1933:
March 33. Three days ago the Reichstag went up in flames. Yesterday the emergency regulations to eliminate the Communist party and the Social Democrat Party appeared. The new men don't wear kid gloves. In the circles with which I have some contact there was, at first, a general feeling of indignation, an instinctive response to this blow in the face for truth, freedom, etc. It is the reaction of the liberal education in which people have grown up. Yesterday, after Goering set out the measures in a radio broadcast, with a calm, friendly, masculine voice, Frau Witte is already starting to waver! 'If it is true what the Communist Party was up to, then things are really in a dreadful state!' The hypothetical part of this statement is shrinking. The feeling is growing that the new arrangements will not be so bad after all and that, overall, there will be a liberation from many of the things that were felt, at an unconscious level, to be oppressive. An impression of decided rejection comes only from the serving girls, even though they keep silent.

Freedom of the press, of expression of any kind, freedom of conscience, personal dignity, freedom of spirit etc., all the liberal fundamental rights have now been set aside without one single person feeling utterly outraged, indeed by and large without people being strongly affected at all. It is seen as a spell of bad weather. The average individual does not yet feel under attack. One might feel most profoundly disappointed over this but it is more correct to draw the conclusion that all the things that have been abolished here are no longer of great concern to people. This was indeed so. Did a person make use of his freedom of conscience for example? He had no opportunity whatever to do so! Nor did he trouble himself over this freedom... The newspaper did this for him and everything that the newspaper did he accepted with a degree of unease, even though it was seemingly indispensable to him. Seen in this way the discipline of the 'fascio' is indeed a creation that goes unerringly to the core of man's instincts.

The general feeling is: it isn't as serious as it sounds -- a process of 'making-things-less-serious'.... 'Life goes on' -- even though, each day, hundreds are killed, imprisoned, beaten up, etc. This is not frivolity, but is rather to be compared to the helplessness of the herd that is slowly pressed forward while those at the very front go to their deaths.

Definition: the modern person is a coward but likes to be forced to perform heroic feats.
posted by Ray Davis at 6:57 AM
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Tuesday, September 24, 2002. *
Booknotes has alerted me to The Obvious?, which is currently featuring a WOOD S LOT DISASTER FUND. He needs a new computer! The pot is already up to $485! Get him a nice one! (I recommend iMac G4, or the latest) Hey! Why stop there! Get him a year's worth of DSL! Marks Woods is one of my all-time top favorite bloggers. Get his ass back in here!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:14 PM
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Afghanistan back on top in opium production: "Afghanistan has reclaimed the top spot as a world producer of opium, and, despite optimistic signs, it will take several years to erase poppy production, the head of the United Nations drug control agency said yesterday."
posted by New World at 10:17 AM
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Monday, September 23, 2002. *
The word from the CIA: it's the oil, stupid:

France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq towards decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies will work with them. If they throw their lot with Saddam, it will be difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraq government to work with them.

Another Oil War:

"The most adventurous ingredient in the anti- Iraqi proposal is the use of US ground troops . . . significant numbers of [US] troops could also be called on in the early stages of any rebellion to guard oil fields around the Shia port of Basra in southern Iraq."

Isn't it amazing the London Times didn't refer to US troops guarding the new parliament, or the schools or hospitals full of ravaged civilians, or saving the men, women and children brutalized under years of Hussein's rule.
posted by New World at 11:09 AM
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Israel/Palestine

Ramallah Diary / Defying the curfew to demonstrate over the attack on Muqata
By Amira Hass

Suddenly, at about 11 P.M. on Saturday night, people started calling one another to ask with disbelief if it was true there was demonstrating in the streets. "Is it true what Al Jazeera is reporting - that dozens of young people are demonstrating in support of the besieged Yasser Arafat? Could the tear gas suddenly filling the room and burning the eyes with suffocating tears, and the gunshots drawing closer, all be aimed at dispersing such demonstrations?" [read more]

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Unconvincing explanations

The explanation that the government is giving for the decision to demolish the Muqata - the Palestinian Authority official compound in Ramallah - and to isolate Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat in the wake of the murderous terror attacks last week is unconvincing, and it involves the government in contradictions.

The government is contending that by tightening the siege on the Palestinian leader, it aims to reinforce his labeling as someone who is irrelevant to dialogue until he comes to the conclusion that it is best for him to quit the territories and leave it to other people to lead the PA. Another of the government's justifications is its demand to hand over the wanted men who have taken shelter in Arafat's office. This explanation is not believable because the government is not providing evidence that proves a connection between the latest terrorist actions and the involvement of Arafat and the aides who are with him. The organization that took responsibility for last week's terror attacks is the Hamas. [read more]

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Hanegbi: IDF action not over; Arafat 'will be deported'

Environment Minister Tzachi Hanegbi of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party said Monday that the IDF's Operation Matter of Time had not been stopped, and that ultimately, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be deported, perhaps this month or next. [read more]
posted by Gordon at 2:06 AM
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American Empire

Defending ourselves
Only a united Europe can counterbalance an increasingly paranoid and hawkish America

In ancient Rome, the statesman Cato the Elder was renowned for declaiming, at the end of every speech, that "Carthage must be destroyed", referring to Rome's long-standing enemy. It is perhaps appropriate, therefore, that one of the rightwing thinktanks in the US should be called the Cato Institute - except that the ultra-right of American politics sees enemies everywhere. [read more]

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Reasons Not to Invade Iraq,
by George Bush Sr.


While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome. [read more]
posted by Gordon at 1:21 AM
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Larry Lessig is our only chance to break the copyright monoply. This is a must read. Go Larry!

The Cultural Anarchist vs. the Hollywood Police State
A Stanford Professor Is One Supreme Court Decision Away From Ending Copyrights on Thousands of Movies, Books and Songs.

The entertainment industry, Lessig feels, is locking up old movies, books and songs that long ago should have transcended private ownership and become the property of the people, just as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the other framers of the Constitution intended. At stake, he says, is not only our common cultural heritage, but also the freedom that writers and musicians and filmmakers must have to interpret, reinterpret, adapt, borrow, sample, mock, imitate, parody, criticize--the very lifeblood of the creative process. [read more]
posted by Gordon at 12:41 AM
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Sunday, September 22, 2002. *
pssssssst...
not the usual kind of material yourstruly posts here,
but definitely in the spirit of mention of worthy cause,
so stop by Euen's The Obvious?,
& lend a hand, you'll feel really good about doing so, I promise;
personally, am grateful to Dean Allen at Textism for the heads-up.
we now return you to our regularly scheduled anti-programming...
posted by j at 11:23 PM
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The Order of Skull and Bones



You might expect this from Disinfo, but from The Atlantic Monthly? Where Alexandra Robbins, also a graduate of Yale, first published her article on the secret organization which she has since turned into a book, as currently seen on MSNBC . . . Or would you expect a story on The Order of Skull and Bones very nearly from Connie Chung on CNN before it was axed? How or why would a story like this ripple up into the mainstream?


An excerpt from the book:

Sometime in the early 1830s, a Yale student named William H. Russell--he future valedictorian of the class of 1833- traveled to Germany to study for a year. Russell came from an inordinately wealthy family that ran one of America's most despicable business organizations of the nineteenth century: Russell and Company, an opium empire. Russell would later become a member of the Connecticut state legislature, a general in the Connecticut National Guard, and the founder of the Collegiate and Commercial Institute in New Haven. While in Germany, Russell befriended the leader of an insidious German secret society that hailed the death's head as its logo. Russell soon became caught up in this group, itself a sinister outgrowth of the notorious eighteenth-century society the Illuminati.


. . . As soon as initiates are allowed into the "tomb," a dark, windowless crypt in New Haven with a roof that serves as a landing pad for the society's private helicopter, they are sworn to silence and told they must forever deny that they are members of this organization. During initiation, which involves ritualistic psychological conditioning, the juniors wrestle in mud and are physically beaten--this stage of the ceremony represents their "death" to the world as they have known it. They then lie naked in coffins, masturbate, and reveal to the society their innermost sexual secrets. After this cleansing, the Bonesmen give the initiates robes to represent their new identities as individuals with a higher purpose. The society anoints the initiate with a new name, symbolizing his rebirth and rechristening as Knight X, a member of the Order. It is during this initiation that the new members are introduced to the artifacts in the tomb, among them Nazi memorabilia--including a set of Hitler's silverware-dozens of skulls, and an assortment of decorative tchotchkes: coffins, skeletons, and innards.


Robert Anton Wilson, co-author of the cult classics The Illuminatus Trilogy, has this to say in a piece entitled, "Perils of Cocaine" currently displayed on his website:

Two recent political leaders allegedly had this nefarious habit.

Both came to power after dubious elections, by non-electorial and
irregular methods.

Both nations immediately experienced attacks on famous public buildings.

Both blamed an ethnic minority before forensics had
any evidence.

Both led "witch-hunts" against the accused minority.

Both suspended civil liberties "temporarily."

Both put the citizenry under surveillance.

Both maintained secret and clandestine governments.

Both launched wars against most of the world.

One had a funny mustache. Can you name the other one?


Of course we all know that Germany's justice minister recently compared Bush to Hitler, which produced this interesting mefi thread . . .


Speaking of Nazis, this also from Disinfo:

G.W.'s grandfather and great-grandfather, Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker, were among the chief American fundraisers for Germany's Nazi Party. Through industrialist Fritz Thyssen, the Bush-run Union Banking Company and W. A. Harriman & Company, the Bushes sold over $50 million in German bonds to American investors, starting in 1924. Thyssen in turn pumped money into the infant Nazi Party, which had proved its desire to rule and its willingness to use brute force in 1923's Munich Beer Hall Putsch.

George Walker, GW's great-grandfather, also set up the takeover of the Hamburg-America Line, a cover for I.G. Farben's Nazi espionage unit in the United States. In Germany, I.G. Farben was most famous for putting the gas in gas chambers; it was the producer of Zyklon B and other gasses used on victims of the Holocaust. The Bush family was not unaware of the nature of their investment partners. They hired Allen Dulles, the future head of the CIA, to hide the funds they were making from Nazi investments and the funds they were sending to Nazi Germany, rather than divest. It was only in 1942, when the government seized Union Banking Company assets under the Trading With The Enemy Act, that George Walker and Prescott Bush stopped pumping money into Hitler's regime.



Of course, if you don't want to take Disinfo's word for it, or the Bush Body Count's word for it, I can point you to articles about the Bush Family and it's ties to Nazi Germany in the Boston Globe, Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Jewish Advocate.

And finally, of course, you all know about the CIA's history of hiring Nazis, as well as George Bush Sr.'s record of service there . . . and then there was that reporter reporting from Florida on NPR the day after the last presidential election, who said [pp]: "There are CIA agents swarming all over the place down here."

The most amazing thing is that some Americans have actually fallen for the hilarious deception that Bush is fighting "evil" . . . so go the powers of brainwashing, I guess.


posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:09 PM
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News From The U.N.
The latest satire from Bogon
Gentlemen, War is a Game of Inches
posted by Norm at 4:22 PM
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Iraq crises due to Oil: Former Indian PM:

Former Indian Prime Minister I. K. Gujral has disclosed that he had made all possible efforts to defuse the crisis of Iraq in 1995 but the then US Foreign Secretary informed him it was due to oil reserves.

"I thanked God that we do not have oil," he said and elaborated "The pre-independent India had spices, and we paid for it,'' in an apparent reference to the colonial Britain's imperialistic policies.
posted by New World at 11:28 AM
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Saturday, September 21, 2002. *
The Murder of Arafat
by Uri Avnery

While I am writing this, Yasser Arafat is still alive. But his life is hanging on a thread.

When we visited him the last time in his bombed-out Mukata'ah compound in Ramallah, I warned him that Sharon is determined to kill him.(...)

Now Sharon believes that he can achieve his aim. He needs only Bush's approval. Not necessarily a formal confirmation. A subtle hint will suffice. Half a word. A wink.

It will be easy to implement the decision. An incident can be put in motion: soldiers enter the office in order to capture "wanted" people, somebody opens fire, Arafat will be shot "by accident". Arafat may draw his pistol, soldiers will "have no alternative" but to return fire. A shell may hit the office "by mistake", Arafat will be buried under the rubble. After all, in war accidents happen. A lot of accidents.

Sharon never wanted to "deport" Arafat to Gaza or any other place in this world. He wants to deport him to the next world. Now this is possible.

Therefore, it is necessary to speak out bluntly and unequivocally:

Morally, the murder of Arafat, the historical leader and elected president of the Palestinian people, is reprehensible. Like the murder of Rabin.

Legally, the murder of Arafat is a war crime.

Politically, it will be said about the murder of Arafat what a French statesman said about another political murder: "It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake!"

Arafat is the man who decided, 28 years ago, to start on the road to a settlement with Israel, in order to realize this way the national aspirations of the Palestinian people. At the time, that was an incredibly bold decision, and he took it long before Rabin and Peres even dreamed about Oslo. I know, because I was an eye-witness to the beginnings of the process.

Since than, Arafat has not changed by one iota the decision he took then: to seek conciliation with Israel within the framework of peace that will include an independent Palestinian state, return to the pre-1967 border with mutually agreed adjustments, Jerusalem capital of both states, withdrawal of the settlers, suitable security arrangements, a mutually agreed solution of the refugee problem.

On this basis, peace is possible even now. Immediately. But Sharon rejects is with both his fists. He wants a Greater Israel, the extension of the settlements, and, eventually, the elimination of the Palestinian presence west of the Jordan. [read more]
posted by Gordon at 9:31 PM
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Pacifist 'peace team' heads to Iraq: "Mauger plans to stay 'indefinitely' to report the stories of Iraqi citizens for newspapers and television stations in his home state, using video and audio equipment. He's not an apologist for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But Mauger and others in Voices in the Wilderness, the Chicago-based group organizing the trip, believe the suffering of the Iraqi people has not been highlighted enough. They oppose a U.S. attack and want an end to sanctions."
posted by New World at 3:26 PM
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Facing Mortality With Mischief Rather Than Tears The dying cancer patient with a dark, dry wit met one of his doctors for breakfast last week and handed over his two most recent CDs, one titled "Life'll Kill Ya" and the other "My Ride's Here." In his familiar baritone, Warren Zevon explained the gifts to the physician: "These are my last two albums. Maybe now you'll understand that eerie acceptance of death you keep asking me about."
posted by Joseph Duemer at 2:50 PM
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Israel plants flag in Palestinian HQ:

Israel planted its flag in Yasser Arafat's compound Saturday, and shell bursts shook his offices, chipping away at the building in an ever-tightening siege designed to make the Palestinian leader surrender militants or leave into exile.

Soldiers with loudspeakers in the evening shouted to the estimated 200 people holed up in Arafat's offices to evacuate the building – the last one still standing in the compound – or else troops would blow up the building.


200 Israelis refuse conscription:

Jerusalem More than 200 young Israelis called up for the national service said in a petition released Tuesday that they would refuse to serve in an "army of occupation".

The 213 petitioners accuse Israel of "committing war crimes and violating human rights" in the Palestinian territories, and back any form of refusal to do military service.


Israel tells the U.S. it will retaliate if attacked by Iraq:

The prime minister's position reflects a widespread belief among Israeli politicians and generals that Arab leaders perceived Israel's restraint in 1991 as weakness. Throughout his military and political career, Mr. Sharon has always held to the view that any attack on Israel must be promptly and powerfully punished.

Israel threatens to use nukes in coming war and totally destroy Iraq:

If Iraq strikes at Israel with non-conventional weapons, causing massive casualties among the civilian population, Israel could respond with a nuclear retaliation that would eradicate Iraq as a country. This grave assessment, from American intelligence, was presented last week to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Harvard president sees rise in anti-semitism on campus:

"Where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists," he added, "profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities."

Israel divestment backers slam Harvard president's remarks:

"He's a Jew. He's concerned about anti-Semitism. I'm a Jew. I'm concerned about anti-Semitism," said Danny Fox, MIT assistant professor of linguistics. "I think it's bizarre to relate the actions like the divestment campaign to anti-Semitism, and it's also dangerous. I don't quite understand what he means by that."

An Israeli company installs an electronic fence around Jerusalem:

This system which is actually used on the borders with Lebanon and the borders with Gaza to monitor any attempt to infiltrate into the city during day or night times and under all weather conditions.

The Iron Wall by Vladimir Jabotinsky:

Thus we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say 'no' and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.
posted by New World at 1:52 PM
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uh oh...
hmmm... where'd the archived postings go?
and now we using blogger pro, maybe yourstruly
would like to support the person shelling out good hard cash,
so drop me a note Doc, and lemme know where we can donate.
SO...
now, w/out any clue of what transpired hereabouts in early Sept.,
we'll proceed on our witless & clueless way and provide item we
only just noticed today, from the BuzzFlash folks,
Stepford Citizen Syndrome: Top 10 Signs Your Neighbor is Brainwashed,
and we credit Chuck T & his Looka for the heads up on that item.
posted by j at 12:30 PM
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The Fifty-first State?
by James Fallows
Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders—and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?

Over the past few months I interviewed several dozen people about what could be expected in Iraq after the United States dislodged Saddam Hussein. An assumption behind the question was that sooner or later the United States would go to war—and would go with at best a fraction of the support it enjoyed eleven years ago when fighting Iraq during the Gulf War. Most nations in the region and traditional U.S. allies would be neutral or hostile unless the Bush Administration could present new evidence of imminent danger from Iraq.

A further assumption was that even alone, U.S. forces would win this war. The victory might be slower than in the last war against Iraq, and it would certainly cost more American lives. But in the end U.S. tanks, attack airplanes, precision-guided bombs, special-operations forces, and other assets would crush the Iraqi military. The combat phase of the war would be over when the United States destroyed Saddam Hussein's control over Iraq's government, armed forces, and stockpile of weapons.

What then? [read more]
posted by Gordon at 9:43 AM
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Friday, September 20, 2002. *
Signs of Water Found on Distant Planets: "If the discovery is confirmed, it will fuel speculation that the Galaxy is teeming with life."

Earth to Life: HELP! Neutralize the Chimp!

posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:45 PM
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Mexico City Declares Air Pollution Emergency, Orders 350,000 Cars Off the Streets: " . . . as the city declared its first pollution alert in almost three years after ozone levels reached about 2.5 times acceptable limits. "
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:31 PM
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Video of New York police brutality: "In the video, one can see 26-year-old Anthony Carty, already in handcuffs, being subdued by at least six police officers. Many of the onlookers shouted to officers to "ease up," and moments before that, witnesses say Carty was sprayed with pepper spray or mace. Then, while being escorted to a waiting patrol car and held by three other police officers, Officer Charles Dorcent, a five-year veteran of the NYPD, struck Carty, who was already handcuffed."
posted by New World at 6:20 PM
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Israel/Palestine

The Rape of a Nation

It has been many months since I last wrote anything that I believe would be a contribution toward the struggle of Palestinians for freedom, independence and most importantly justice. I found that my inability to write was part of both an inner and external struggle as a deep sadness has been rooted in my heart and for so many months weaved itself around me--body and soul. Since September 2000, the outbreak of the Palestinian struggle for independence, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, I have born witness to the rape of a nation, people and land. In my thirty-one years on this earth I have gone though many struggles -- beginning as a young girl to womanhood to belonging to a 'minority; and being a firm and strong believer and follower of feminism. However, nothing in my thirty-one years prepared me for witnessing the rape of a nation and what I truly believe is outright ethnic cleansing of a people--all in broad daylight and on prime time TV. [read more]

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Killings of dozens once again called "period of calm" by US media

Many US media reports were quick to declare that two suicide bombings in Israel on September 18 and 19, in which eight Israelis were killed, had brought an end to a period of "calm" simply because there had been no similar attacks for six weeks and few Israelis had been victims of Palestinian violence. In fact, the bombings came at the end of a particularly bloody period in which dozens of Palestinians, most of them unarmed civilians, and a large number of them children, had been killed and injured by Israeli occupation forces. In effect, the definition of "calm" or a "lull in violence" inherent in these reports is 'only Palestinians are being killed.' [read more]

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PILGER: ISRAEL'S ROUTINE TERRORISM

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A country held captive

It's very sad, this Mitzna business with the empty chairs, and now the illegal donations. Because it proves that not only is there no room in the political arena for people with good intentions, but also for people who think differently. Our democracy has been commandeered by one man. [read more]
posted by Gordon at 1:59 PM
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Free U.S. Military Photos in the public domain. That’s right, copyright free high-rez images of Bush & chums, gear, and our boys in action, all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Great for powerpoint, procurement, and parody. Go get your Photoshop on.
posted by back at 12:31 PM
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Apple-pie disorder: Anatol Lieven congratulates the Bush administration. Its oft-stated desire to bring democracy to the Arab world is a stroke of 'malign brilliance'. By tapping into an American missionary tradition, the new imperialists have succeeded in co-opting the liberal intelligentsia. The promise of unconditional peace at the point of a gun sits at the end of their messianic charge. Tony Blair rides alongside: the 'heir of Gladstone, a muscular imperial Christian righting the world's wrongs, whether the world wants this or not.' [Open Democracy].
posted by Hash at 10:00 AM
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Earlier in the week, Rush Limbaugh became excited to report that the five alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Florida were all registered Democrats. Under the heading, "Al-Qaeda Terrorists Urge: Vote Democrat!", Rush says:
You've of course heard of the capture of the Buffalo Five, the Al-Qaeda cell up there at the mouth of the Erie Canal. Well, guess what we've learned about them, ladies and gentlemen? They're all registered Democrats. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Plus, they're all for gun control – except for themselves.

Well, The Smoking Gun have something for Rush. They write:
With that in mind, we wanted to let Rush know that we've just uncovered the political affiliation of another American outlaw (and, unlike the Buffalo guys, this degenerate has actually been found guilty of something). David Westerfield, who was just convicted of kidnapping and murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, is also a registered voter, according to San Diego County Registrar of Voters records. Now we're not sure what conclusions can be drawn from the fact that this pervert Westerfield is a Republican, but we're dying to hear Rush explain it all to us.


As Rush would say, "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"
posted by Amir at 2:31 AM
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Thursday, September 19, 2002. *
Cul-de-sacs and soup kitchens: the new suburban poor: "Here and nationwide, the suburb is changing: Long a symbol of middle-class stability and wealth, it's faced with a level of hunger and lack not seen since its post-World War II beginnings. The new service-based economy has enticed lower-income workers to the more expensive suburbs as staff in burgeoning strip malls and steakhouses."
posted by New World at 10:31 AM
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Right-wing governments 'increase suicide rates'
So, I propose that all Republicans should be labeled. Like cigarettes. "The Surgeon General has concluded that listening to right-wing rhetoric may cause you to go nuts and off yourself."
posted by Mike at 9:38 AM
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Shiny Blue Grasshopper is organizing in the anti-war arena. Get your anti-invasion, "regime-change, my ass" graff now.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:40 AM
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Education Week: "The Department of Education is in the process of a massive overhaul of its Web site to make it easier to use and to remove outdated data—and ensure that material on the site meshes with the Bush administration's political philosophy."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:50 AM
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The Guardian has a nice profile of Nelson Mandela. Excerpts :-

'Say what you like about Nelson Mandela, but he is not a man known to bear a grudge or lose his temper easily. Having waited 27 years for his freedom, he emerged from jail to preach peace and reconciliation to a nation scarred by racism. When he finally made the transition from the world's most famous prisoner to the world's most respected statesman, he invited his former jailer to the inauguration. '

'So when he criticises US foreign policy in terms every bit as harsh as those he used to condemn apartheid, you know something is up. In the past few weeks, he has issued a "strong condemnation" of the US's attitude towards Iraq, lambasted vice-president Dick Cheney for being a "dinosaur" and accused the US of being "a threat to world peace". '

'Coming from other quarters, such criticisms would have been dismissed by both the White House and Downing Street as the words of appeasement, anti-Americanism or leftwing extremism. But Mandela is not just anyone. Towering like a moral colossus over the late 20th century, his voice carries an ethical weight like no other. He rode to power on a global wave of goodwill, left office when his five years were up and settled down to a life of elder statesmanship. So the belligerent tone he has adopted of late suggests one of two things; either that some thing is very wrong with the world, or that something is very wrong with Mandela. '

[ ... ]

'In order to be deserving of accolades, history must first be rewritten to deprive them of their militancy. Take Martin Luther King, canonised after his death by the liberal establishment but vilified in his last years for making a stand against America's role in Vietnam. One of his aides, Andrew Young, recalled: "This man who had been respected worldwide as a Nobel Prize winner suddenly applied his non-violence ethic and practice to the realm of foreign policy. And no, people said, it's all right for black people to be non-violent when they're dealing with white people, but white people don't need to be non-violent when they're dealing with brown people." '

[ ... ]

'He made similar waves in the US when he refused to condemn Yasser Arafat, Colonel Gadafy and Fidel Castro. Setting great stock by the loyalty shown to both him and his organisation during the dog days of apartheid, he has consistently maintained that he would stick by those who stuck by black South Africa. It was wrong, he told Americans, to suggest that "our enemies are your enemies... We are a liberation movement and they support our struggle to the hilt." '

'This, more than anything, provides the US and Britain with their biggest problem. They point to pictures of him embracing Gaddafi or transcripts of his support for Castro as evidence that his judgment has become flawed over the years. But what they regard as his weakness is in fact his strength. He may have forgiven, but he has not forgotten. His recent criticisms of America stretch back over 20 years to its "unqualified support of the Shah of Iran [which] lead directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979". '

(In other words, Mandela is loyal to those who were loyal to him. This is something which, in the 1980s, Western human rights and anti-apartheid groups predicted would happen after the fall of apartheid. In the long run, it may be better to support the right people than the expedient people).
posted by steven at 12:29 AM
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Wednesday, September 18, 2002. *
Yahoo! announces in a news bulletin that a probe has found that the U.S. Knew of Jet Terror Plots, noting that intelligence agencies had received many more reports about possible strikes than was formerly disclosed. A sample:
The reports were generally vague and uncorroborated. None specifically predicted the Sept. 11 attacks. But collectively the reports "reiterated a consistent and critically important theme: Osama bin Laden's intent to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States," [Eleanor Hill, staff director of the joint House and Senate intelligence committee investigation of the terrorist strike] said.
Meanwhile, MSNBC reports that administration officials' support for the inquiries is less-than-complete: "Are we getting the cooperation we need? Absolutely not,' Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said on NBC’s 'Today' show."
posted by Grady at 7:43 PM
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BWB and BWS of America

Big Warblogging Brothers and Big Warblogging Sisters of America have remained the experts in maintaining the fervor for war since its founding on 9/11/2001. There have always been those who waved the flag and sent children to war in foreign lands, who have protected the Homeland from threats both foreign and domestic BWB and BWS lead the fight against evil doers every day of their lives. Americans adrift, those with only one flag, those who fly it only on holidays, those that are tired of thinking for themselves receive mentoring from these proud Americans and have shown a real understanding of the views expressed by the BWB and WBS of America. Studies have shown marked improvement in levels of aggression for those being mentored. They have all acquired a knack for committing logical fallacies in their arguments. Of ratting on their neighbors, but that is only the TIP of the iceberg. They have gained confidence in defending a sentimental emotional view of the world. WBB and WBS is a way of connecting with models of stupidity, arrogance, and feeling good about it. Think back to your first experience on the internet. Think about the first war blogging brother or sister who shared their world view with you. They introduced magic into your world and your eyes opened for the first time like wild flowers. You're contact with one of our mentors can be your ticket to a giant ego. Never again will you be afraid of the facts.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines success as a "desired outcome." Well then, thanks to our volunteer warbloggers, success abounds! Our BWB and BWS are helping members of the internet community learn, grow and achieve in ways that otherwise may not have been possible. And here's the kicker: Success is achieved without ever having to think for yourself! Here are some of our favorite success stories.

Capt Scott and Glenn
"I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today without Glenn's influence. I'd be sitting on some park bench dreaming about blow-jobs. I was headed in that direction. Glenn is so modest, so cool, so manly. He has no idea what he's done for me." It was only a year ago that Big Warblogger Glenn was matched with Capt Scott. Capt Scott has fond memories of late night sessions with Glenn learning the ins and outs of obfuscation. Glenn was patient even when Scott made posts that got him rightly fisked and when those nasty liberals fact checked his ass. Glenn taught him how to fight back. I remember his patience, he was as patient as could be. I must have made the same mistakes dozens of times. The thing I remember most was the day he permalinked me. I still get chills down my spine. I hardly ever think about blow-jobs anymore. Those were incredible moments for me.

Pejman and Lileks

Pejman and Lileks were matched as Little and Big Warbloggers in August. Holy poo said Pejman on learning the news. Today Pejman is all grown up the proud father of the "Adopt-A-Bomb" program. Lileks and Pej still exchange emails at least once a week Pej requesting a permalink Lileks saying no. What Pej remembers most are the little moments when their names were linked in print at Warblogger Watch. Pej was so happy with the program and his growth as a warblogger that he has become a Big Warblogger himself which leads us to the next success story.

Misha and Pejman

Pejman was matched at his request with Misha a cute little Rotweiller. You're my bitch now he was heard to say. Misha listens carefully to the instructions from his mentor. He has already learned several important warblogger commands. He understands Sic that dude deserves a fisking, but is having trouble understanding the concept of "Fact Check His Ass", he does a lot of sniffing around, but to date hasn't had any success. They seem happy together however. Pej says, "I like patting his head and the way he does whatever I say".

Asparagirl and Sasha Castel

Asparagirl was paired with Sasha Castell Castel, but ended the relationship when she found Sasha had been getting mentored by Ann Coulter on the sly. Well not every story is a success.(update: Sasha has assured me it was only the one time)

On a sadder note the Brothers and Sister's today mourned the passing of mentor War Now but seemed undaunted, word was circulating that "War in Two Or Three Weeks" would take his place.

Overall the success of the program is undeniable, the military has been mobilized. George is refusing to accept yes as meaning yes. More Americans than ever before are behind bars. Criticism of the government is at an all time low, and Tom Ridge has taken off his orange shirt and is once again wearing yellow. George assures us that maybe twenty or thirty years from now he wont need to where any shirt at all. "I'll never end the war until terror is well terrorless," he said.


Disclaimer:
This program is in no way related to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America
posted by Norm at 6:22 PM
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