American Samizdat

Tuesday, August 31, 2004. *
How many lies did you count in Laura Bush's speech?
For starters: how can you have freedom if you have no elections? Iraq hasn't had elections yet--but a puppet government installed by the US who conspicuously retains Gepetto rights. Bush was undecided about invading? The plans were drummed up years ago. In addition to him going on record months before his so-called "indecision" as saying about Saddam, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."

Oh, and how nauseating they're continuing to run with their Iraq = World War Two pile of horseshit. "My grandfather, of the greatest generation, fought his own terrorists . . . like we do today in Iraq . . . " Jesus fucking Christ, lady! If anything, the US invading Iraq is more like Germany invading Poland! You don't invade sovereign countries while selling it to your people with gratuitous lies and then be compared to a country first attacked at Pearl Harbor! Are you nuts?

If I could ask her one question as a reporter, I would ask her, "How do you feel about killing your boyfriend with your car?"
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:56 PM
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A housewife calls to talk about a broken sewer pipe. A student calls to talk about a lost love. A shopkeeper calls to say what he thinks of the violent insurgency that has swept his country.

The callers have reached Iraq's first talk radio station, Radio Dijla, which opened in April and has been putting Iraqis' opinions directly on the air, mainlining democracy from a two-story villa in central Baghdad for 19 hours a day.

In all, about 15 private radio stations have sprung up since the American occupation began, but Dijla, Arabic for Tigris, is the first to serve only talk. The station is one of the most listened-to in Baghdad, according to its employees, a claim that appears to have merit, judging by its broad following among the city's taxi drivers, housewives, students and late-night listeners, who tune in to a night talk show about relationships.
posted by A.Q. at 11:44 AM
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For 25 years, this little clique has maintained sub rosa ties to Iran. They, and Israel, had multiple lines into Iran’s mullahs long before the Shah fell. Israel armed Iran throughout the 1980s, including during the 444 days when thugs held U.S. diplomats hostage. They were behind Iran-contra, trying to push the United States into a closer relationship with Iran when we were, sensibly enough, backing Iraq. And they’ve never let up. Since 2001, when they took power with the Bush administration, they’ve plotted war against Iraq and plotted how to establish ties with Iran’s national security apparatus and its military again, even if it meant undermining U.S. policy. A key figure in all this is Michael Ledeen, an AEI stalwart who’s long had intimate ties to Israeli intelligence. And then there is Ahmad Chalabi, another Mossad-linked creature.

We can discount, or throw out, Israel’s silly statement that it stopped spying against the United States after the Pollard affair. Israel has penetrated the United States so completely that it probably doesn’t even call it spying anymore. It's business as usual.
posted by A.Q. at 10:15 AM
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An attorney representing former detainees says his recent fact-finding mission to Baghdad uncovered dozens of cases of physical and psychological abuse, sexual humiliation, religious desecration and rape in ten US-run prisons throughout occupied Iraq.

The NewStandard spoke with Michigan-based attorney Shereef Akeel, who interviewed some 50 former detainees about their time and treatment in US custody. Part of the legal team behind a class action lawsuit against the firms for their employees' involvement in prison abuse at US-run facilities in Iraq, the former immigration lawyer found himself traveling to meet face-to-face with the people he is representing in the American court system.

His team has documented abuse dating from July 2003 to as recently as last month, when an Iraqi boy just fifteen years old says his captors at an American facility raped him. "He was told to go on all fours naked and was sodomized from behind," Akeel conveyed the fifteen year-old's testimony. "He said they made him dance and he was crying."
posted by A.Q. at 10:13 AM
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Few understand how likely this election is going to be taken by Diebolds, and if this election is taken by the Bushies, there won't be a real election in America for a very long time . . .

I've said it a million times and I'll say it again: Kerry will win hands down if there were a free and fair election in America this November. But Republicans can't not cheat and win . . .
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:12 AM
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Monday, August 30, 2004. *
Jean Shaoul of the WSWS reviews the Glasgow University Media Group’s new book, Bad News from Israel.
posted by Bill at 11:47 PM
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Rummy + Dick: 30 years of tryin' to hide sumthin'
"In November 1974, a reform-hungry Capitol Hill gave the newly sworn-in President Gerald Ford one of his first real challenges. Congress had passed a significant expansion of Ralph Nader's 1966 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), aimed at prying open for public scrutiny the previously exempt areas of national security and law enforcement.

When Ford was vice president to a commander-in-chief famous for his secrecy, paranoia, and abuse, he had supported the new sunshine amendments. But as chief executive, the interim president allowed himself to be talked into a veto by his intelligence directors and by his young chief and deputy chief of staff: Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

"'This was their first battle at Ford's White House,' says Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a nonprofit at George Washington University that has helped declassify more than 20,000 government documents. It was a battle the FOIA foes lost: Congress overrode Ford's veto.

Thirty years later, Rumsfeld and Cheney are again squaring off against the advocates of government transparency.

jogged by the MemoryBlog
posted by mr damon at 6:29 PM
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Dennis McNamara, the Director of the UN's Internal Displacement Division, told a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, that rape and sexual violence against women and girls in Darfur was an immense problem.
Subscribe to AllAfrica

He made his remarks on the day that the Security Council deadline arrived for the Sudanese Government to show that it is giving Darfur's vast population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) better protection and it is disarming the militias accused of attacking civilians.
posted by A.Q. at 1:28 PM
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"The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pfc. Luis A. Perez, 19, of Theresa, N.Y., died Aug. 27 in Fallujah, Iraq, when his convoy vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. Perez was assigned to the Army Reserve's 223rd Transportation Company, Norristown, Pa."

Perez was the 1000th American soldier to be killed since Iraq was invaded last March.
posted by mr damon at 12:10 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:27 AM
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Statue of Liberty Stencil
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:29 AM
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things from across the pond
I've often felt that the UK often acts as the USA's little brother, following him about with bright and curious eyes, holding his bigger brother is such esteem that he just can't help but want to immitate him in every way, following him into increasingly wacky schemes, no matter how ill advised, and occasionally sucking his dick when nights get lonely.

An example of this would be the new anti-piracy campaign launched by the government, in association with the British Phonograph Institute. Strangely enough, the focus seems to be on counter-feit goods being sold by pirates to unwitting consumers, and makes no mention of file-sharing. Is this focus an attempt to avoid the backlash the RIAA is suffering in the states, or is this careful use of a language a sign that they planning something sneaky? You have Jacqui Smith, the industry minister, saying stuff like "Intellectual property crime is not victimless," which in my eyes makes it sound like he is talking about filesharing and internet piracy and that we're in for a repeat of things in the states only wrapped up in conveniant new labour packaging, and then going on to say that "As well as cheating consumers, the trade in counterfeit goods costs UK companies billions of pounds and thousands of jobs every year."

Personally, I think it's consumer culture that is cheating consumers, not piracy, and to be honest, what with the billions of pounds of debt owed by british consumers, I reckon it kinda balances out.

On the Iraq war front, things in the UK are definately coming to a head. After Greg Dyke was forced to resign from his post as director-general of the BBC over their reporting on the governments flimsy arguements for going to war (original BBC report can be seen here (real video) ). The source referred to in the recording is one Dr Kelly, weapons inspector, who commited suicide after being named as the source.
(get the skinny on the hutton enquiry here)

Greg Dyke's memoirs detail his side of the story on how and why he was forced out of his job, and who applied the pressure (lemmie give you a clue, he shares a name with a famous kelloggs cereal mascot)
( original lockedinabox post here )

And I can't say I was surprised when Tony came out as a devout christian.

( Pan-atlantic christian conspiracy anyone? )

posted by Cecil B. Demented at 4:50 AM
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Sunday, August 29, 2004. *
See also: Swift Yacht Vets for Bush and Texas Cokeheads for Truth.

I think when Kerry brings up the negative ads he should say, first of all: "At least I was IN VIETNAM . . . "
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:51 AM
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Mazagwu allegedly said he wanted nothing to do with protecting the President and went on to criticize the President’s policies in both Iraq and Africa. The conversation ended with Mazagwu allegedly saying that both the President and his father, former President Bush, should be shot.

He reportedly went on to say that if he had enough bullets, he’d shoot the President in the head himself. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:23 AM
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On My Honor I Will Do My Best...
In most of the world you can be a girl Boy Scout. You can be in prison for robbery, rape, or murder and still be a Boy Scout. But heaven help you if you try to be an atheist Boy Scout. The Boy Scouts of America aren't vague about this ban either - they expressly state that no atheist can be a Boy Scout. The Boy Scouts is a private organization, and I think it is reasonable to allow them to exclude whoever they want. I think it is a private affair that an organization founded by a man who loved to watch naked boys, and had collections of photographs of naked boys, now excludes homosexuals. It is also a private affair that the Boy Scouts - the British original - allows atheists to join while the Boy Scouts of America does not. But in doing so, the BSA should not have access to tax-funded schools or tax-funded public lands, as our taxes are not supposed to support private organizations that discriminate.

But is the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization or is it a recruiting arm of the Mormons? Nearly 10% of the members of the Boy Scouts Advisory Council live in Salt Lake City; Mormons are less than 2% of the U.S. population but make up 21% of the Boy Scouts. The Salt Lake Tribune reports "If the Boy Scouts of America is forced to accept gays as scoutmasters, the LDS Church will withdraw from the organization and take more than 400,000 Scouts with it." As late as 1974, Mormon BSA troops reserved leadership positions for white men only. What does it matter if a 'private organizaton' discriminates against atheists? Oh, it matters a little.

This is just one more example that with God on your side all things are possible - and if you aren't willing to lie and say you believe in an invisible monster that lives in the sky, then no rides on the gravy train for you.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:18 AM
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Saturday, August 28, 2004. *
Pax Americana
The extent of American military strength is so obvious a fact, that it need not be re-emphasized. Some refer to the United States as "The American Empire" -a metaphor which deserves neither nationalistic embrace, nor rejection by denial.

The United States has much less choice in world affairs than many of the pacifists or foreign critics would like to believe. Despite the wishes of the French, no coalition is likely to form that will counter-weight US strength and restore a military balance similar to post-Napoleonic Europe. Contrary to the wishes of idealists, the UN has proven incapable of maintaining global order without the military, diplomatic, and financial support of the US. Lastly, if the pacifists had their way, and we became isolationists with a mediocre military ,the result would be International anarchy, rampant totalitarianism, and mass-bloodshed -- all of which is too horrifying a thought to contemplate.

America's current situation is most commonly paralleled to that of the Roman empire. However, the parallel is insufficient. The Roman empire was built by legions who slaughtered their way to world power. In the process, they suffered catastrophic defeats at the hands of the Gauls, Persians, Carthaginians, and numerous other Germanic tribes. The grand legions fell in clashes with rival dictators, and massive revolts the humiliated citizens of their occupations. The United States hasn't suffered comparable defeats since the Korean War. It also bears mentioning that the Legions owned their allegiance, not to Rome or the Emperor, but to their leaders and fellow troops. Thus, while Rome did dominate the world, it did so without the military superiority or discipline of the United States at present.

The other common parallel is that of the British Empire during the late 19th century. Unlike the Romans, the British had a relatively small army. Bismarck once joked that if the British army landed on the Baltic coast, he'd send the Berlin Police to arrest them. The British Empire was mostly sustained by their legendary navy. However, the huge mass of ships in the royal navy became increasingly obsolete. The Ironclad was introduced into the French Navy well before the British caught up. Even when the British introduced the revolutionary Dreadnought battleships, the superior industrial power of the Americans and Germans closed the gap of sea power within a blink of an eye.

Historically, the strength of the United States military is without parallel. Our military budget accounts for 50% of the overall international expenditures on defense. Within the annals of military history, the US is the only country to enjoy superiority in all spheres of warfare (land, sea, air, and space). No other country's military can compare to our technological sophistication. Not a single country can compete with the US's capability to move large forces within short periods of time to any part of the globe. In short, the legions of the United States have no match, and the gap between them and other militarize is only growing.

Perhaps the biggest military blunder in recent history was Vietnam. However, the damage of Vietnam is not comparable to that of Disraeli's regiments at Isandhlwana, or Augustus's legions in the Teutoburger Wald. In the end, its not the terminology of "Empire" that matters; rather its America's overwhelming military dominance. For now, no international coalition could be capable of blocking it, let alone willing to replace it. Our strength lies in our remarkably stable economy and political system, and our growing and extraordinarily productive workforce. The fact is that no president will call for a major reduction in defense spending in the next decade or deny that we must have the strongest military in the world: ready to exert its power at any point the world unilaterally.

In the end, our real choice is to exercise our power foolishly or prudently, safely or dangerously. In the case of Iraq, we excercised our power foolishly and dangerously. Our military is a mighty machine, but even now is showing signs of fatigue and ware. Had we not invaded Iraq, we would have ended a genocide in Sudan by now- which would have been an example of wise use of military force. However, we've over-stretched ourselves in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our European allies have shown complete denial and apathy towards the situation. If anything is clear regarding the future international order, its that Europe will continue to behave much as they did at the Munich Conference of 1938, and delude themselves into thinking that the temporary lack of war is peace. As for America, it rests in the hands of the people to elect a president who will continue to make the world safer. Judging from Bush's first term, he will not be that man.

Cross-posted at Net Politik
posted by Nick at 9:00 PM
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defend new york

"Police denied permits to disperse on the 29th into Central Park to incite confrontations. This is a political move based on the assumption that clashes will aid the sitting president in a 'law and order' campaign, as with the supposed 'Nixon effect' of 1968. They are using an out-of-date playbook.

"Eighty percent of registered voters in the city are against the convention. Fifty-eight percent support acts of non-violent civil disobedience. Eleven percent are personally planning on attending the August 29 march. Bush made a mistake coming here from the same deluded hubris that made him say occupation soldiers in Iraq would be greeted with flowers. Conservatives wanted to capitalize on the pain New Yorkers feel from September 11. We reject them. Direct action forces should know that the people here in NYC, and around the entire world are with us.

"Some liberals, notably tenured hacks like Todd Gitlin and the Clintonite leader of the DLC Terry McCauliff are trying to depress the turnout because they believe confrontations will swing centrist voters away from Bush.

"The problem isn't Bush –- it's the Bush agenda (falsely Christian, omni-corporate, anti-Earth, anti-human -- DT).

"Since Kerry has effectively endorsed that agenda including the war, 'free trade' and a domestic prison state, we need to send the world a message that we do not support the militarist course the elites have taken. We have a different audience than the liberal triangulators and we shouldn't be defensive or ashamed for taking our right to dissent. No fear.

"A popular resistance to the war and domestic repression will energize tens of millions alienated from any political action, and will let people under threat of American cruise missiles and F-16s know that we do not consent. We are not 'good Germans' doing the leaders' business. We are a free people whether the government gives us permission or not. If we have to choose between the warmongers and the world, then we choose the world. Our audience is small-town America, the city we live in, and the rest of the world. The conservatives are a tiny minority and the liberals defeated.

"We believe another world is possible and we're going to show it tomorrow. We will not allow police to suppress the will of the people. We are marching and the world will know. With their help, we can win."
posted by mr damon at 8:41 PM
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Friday, August 27, 2004. *
CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports the FBI believes it has "solid" evidence that the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials that include secret White House policy deliberations on Iran.

At the heart of the investigation are two people who work at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The FBI investigation, headed up by Dave Szady, has involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that CBS News was told document the passing of classified information from the mole, to the men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis.

CBS sources say that last year the suspected spy, described as a trusted analyst at the Pentagon, turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was, "in the draft phase when U.S. policy-makers were still debating the policy."

This put the Israelis, according to one source, "inside the decision-making loop" so they could "try to influence the outcome."

The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq? [more]
This is absolutely delicious.

We can only hope this investigation opens up a broader discussion of the Office of Special Plans, the forged Niger uranium docs, and that pesky neocon-Israeli connection.

Hell, maybe we'll even find out what Mossad was doing in the US around 9/11...
posted by Bill at 5:41 PM
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The truth is verboten! All 'lessons' must be filtered through the Ministry!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:38 PM
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The Delusions of War

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." -George Orwell

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." -Voltaire 

The very idea of a "just war" strikes me as oxymoronic. I'll conceed that wars are occassionaly fought out of absolute necessity. However, I remain unconvinced that necessity equals justice. The truth is: If you truly believe that all people are born equal, than you can never refer to a war as "just". Amongst the American public, I've identified roughly three different view points on war. These three views are not intended to be a label to pidgeon hole to others. They are extremes which reside within all of us to varying extents.

The Extremists are the most militaristic of views. They see war as a way to bring out the best qualities of men: courage, comradeship, and sacrifice.  They are nationalistic; they place their country or faction beyond good and evil. To them, the declared enemy of their country becomes sub-human. They often refer to an entire nationality or race as a whole, rather than a plurality. They say things like, "You know, the Muslims hate America..." In America, this group tends to use the defeat of Fascism in WWII as grounds for their belief that "America always fights for freedom". 

The Extremists show a remarkable ability for ignoring the "unpleasant" parts of our history. They look back on WWII and see the cheering French school girls throwing flowers at the American G.I.s; but they ignore the images of burned Japanese school children suffering from radiation sickness after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The images of hundreds of thousands of charred bodies from the fire-bombings of Tokyo and Dresden are not acknowledged by them. To them, anyone who mentions the atrocities of the United States is an enemy, un-American, or "trying to hamper the war effort".

The Majority of Americans fall into the second group which I'll label the moderates. The moderates love to weigh wars as either "just" or "unjust". They do not blindly support any war that is made in the name of their country. Unlike the Extremists, the majority of Moderates will judge Vietnam to be an "unjust" war. Typically, the moderates will gauge a war's justness using systems of morality which are rooted in organized religion. Indeed, the Vatican was worked out a rather detailed set of doctrines to judge the morality of a war. However, today the moderates tend to  judge the Iraqi war by strict party lines.

The third group, I will call the Pacifists, but I will not use the word in the ordinary sense. These pacifists are typically found among the radical-leftist, anarchists and the extreme-environmentalists. George Orwell observed this very group in his 1944 essay Notes on Nationalism:

But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defense of western countries... All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty.
It should be noted that these pacifists were much more insidious in Orwell's day; Imagine living in England in 1944, London is bombed into ruins, you've spent your nights in underground shelters- counting the explosions from the salvos... than  some intellectual tells you that we are committing atrocities in Germany, and that we should withdraw troops and let the Nazis invade. Today, this breed of pacificism is at most a nuisance.

These pacifists suffer from almost comical delusions. They believe that if we disbanded our military, that all of the world would magically join hands and sing We are the World. They will speak of America as though it were a group of sadists who were hell bent on bombing civilians for pure pleasure. They think France opposes us out of a desire to "save the childern". Similar to pro-lifers, they love to shoving pictures of dead corpses as a way of "waking people up".

All in all, a quick discussion with this group will reveal that they are totally ignorant of history, international politics, or current events(beyond the current events that share their political slants and interests). In the end, one gets the sense that they are not interested in the coherence, truth, or practicality of their views. Rather, it would seem that their views are formulated out of a self-centered desire to appear righteous.

I disagree with all three groups. War is a hellish tragedy which could never be ethically justified. However, the world is a dangerous place, and until we solve problems as large as national, economic, ethnic, and religious rivalries, we can expect much more war. I try to take a view of war which is free of political ideals and cultural bias. Expect that post in the near future.

posted by Nick at 12:34 AM
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Thursday, August 26, 2004. *
The chief counsel to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign resigned on Wednesday, after it emerged that he had provided legal advice to the Vietnam veterans who have launched a privately funded advertising campaign attacking John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate.

Benjamin Ginsberg's admitted involvement with the self-styled Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has undermined the Bush campaign's claim that it has had no connection with the campaign launched by the anti-Kerry veterans group.
posted by mr damon at 1:35 PM
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The Oust George Bush Song Parody
Here's my latest:

The Oust George Bush Song Parody (Sing to "Five Foot Two" a/k/a "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?")

It's time to oust them from DC.
Evict George Bush and all his pals.

Screwed New Yawk,
Yet those hawks,
Act as if they did not balk
At sending help to our locale.

Now if you run into
A Bushie crew,
Wand'ring the streets.
Tell them you
Love Dubya too.
Then explain that west is east.

But don't you shove.
That won't do.
Cops will grab you right on cue,
Which only helps George Bush's pals.

The rest is here with a midi sing-along link:
The Oust George Bush Song Parody

Hope you enjoy it!
Mad Kane
posted by Mad Kane at 12:40 PM
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A grandson of India's pacifist independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi, is on a mission in the Palestinian territories to preach unarmed, peaceful struggle in the search for reconciliation with Israel.

He feels that the Palestinians have no alternative but to pursue peaceful methods of resistance to Israel in the long term.

"It is the safest and sanest alternative. Violence has not achieved anything. The Palestinians do not have the capacity and the ability to match the weapons of mass destruction that are available to Israel. So it is virtually suicide for them," says Arun Gandhi.

Taking Gandhi's message to Palestinians would not be difficult, he says.

"I know Mahatma Gandhi has been forgotten in India but not outside. I think he is better known around the world than in India. The Palestinians are not only aware of him but revere him," he says.
posted by A.Q. at 9:40 AM
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This is the type of action I was referring to in ""The 20/20 Manifesto": Gay activists push 1-day economic boycott:
"A new Atlanta-based gay rights group wants the LGBT community to stop shopping for a day and call in sick to work on Oct. 8.
Remember it is only one more step, and more steps will be needed. But, we have the tools do be truly successful now. The technology that has been the source of power for the elite over the past few centuries, is now in our hands. We can watch. We can film. We can communicate. We can force change.

And, the system is dependent on our money.
Continue reading
posted by rick at 6:09 AM
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004. *
The True Sovereign
Once again, the rhetoric of this presidential election has turned into a steaming pile of schizophrenia, lies, and delusions. Once again, the masses of citizens have been convinced that voting in presidential elections is the ultimate act of democratic citizenship. That brings me to the topic of todays post.

It's likely that your high school history teacher didn't spend much time on the 1919 strike in Seattle. That's no surprise. Allow the 1919 mayor of Seattle to refresh your memory:

True there were no flashing guns, no bombs, no killings. Revolution . . . doesn't need violence. The general strike, as practiced in Seattle, is of itself the weapon of revolution, all the more dangerous because quiet. To succeed, it must suspend everything, stop the entire life stream of a community....That is to say, it puts the government out of operation. And that is all there is to revolt-no matter how achieved.

Civil disobedience, whether it be a strike, refusal to serve in the military, or outright protest, has the ability to bring our monstrous corporate state to its knees. Fearful of this, the corporate gluttons and their puppet political parties spew a messages of "everything is alright, watch more TV" ;their incestuously conglomerated airwaves have poisoned the minds of most. Watch NBC, ABC, CBS, UPN, or the WB, and you will quickly realize that they are not trying to sell entertainment. Our TV networks are selling the idea that everything is okay, just keep buying and drink beer. It reminds me of Emperor Nero, who played his violin as Rome burned to the ground.

For all of Bush's vapid rhetoric about insuring America's security, the fact is that we've never been less secure; the real danger has nothing to do with terrorism or N. Korean nukes. Security is having the ability to receive necessary medical treatment without incurring debts of $10,000 dollars for a broken leg. Security is not having to work at McDonald's until your death at 85. Security is being able to financially support yourself and your children; without having to neglect them because you're working two jobs. Security is knowing that if you can work, you can find a job. Unfortunatly, the politicians continue to deceive the electorate into believing that supporting a military machine will provide us with "security".

We are making less dollars as the value of our dollars decreases, but at the same time, living expenses have increased dramatically. One would think that this would be considered a serious matter. Yet, our politicians have given it nothing but silence. Why? Probably, because credit lenders have become the biggest donars to both of our parties. Americans must wake up and realize that we no longer control thier government. Its actions are against our best interests, it is an Inverted totalitarianism- a peculiar form of Fascism. Mussolini noted, "Fascism could be called Corporatism- the merging of the corporation and the state." Vice President Henry Wallace warned us of American Fascists in 1944:

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

The ultimate act of citiizenship is not choosing between two white and Anglo-Saxon males of inoffensive personality and orthodox opinions. I have much more to say about this later, but for now I can only tell you to start listening to wispers all around us. Remember the four college students who sat down at a whites-only diner in the early sixties. Remember the labor movement of the 1930's. Remember black and white photographs of protesters carrying signs which read: "I wish ma could vote". Perhaps those mystic chords of memory will remind you of what it really means to be American citizens.

Cross posted at Net Politik
posted by Nick at 2:36 PM
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Inside, we were greeted warmly. The Mahdi know how to work the media, and they know the world press generally likes the scrappy underdog — especially if they don’t actively try to kill you like the Sunni insurgents do. And to give Moqtada credit, he does try to discourage kidnappings and he’s been helpful in getting two of my friends released. There were no weapons in sight, and I don’t think — anymore — that there are any in the Shrine proper. But I did watch mortars being fired from just beneath and outside the eastern wall of the Shrine. The mortar teams were right up against the wall, allowing them quickly leave the mortar outside and dash inside to become unarmed pilgrims again.

And this is pissing off a lot of the people who live around the Shrine. The Mahdi aren’t particularly accurate in their firings, and they’re dropping live rounds in a densely populated area. Houses and cars are being blown up. People are dying, and the residents of Najaf are blaming Moqtada.

Sheikh Mustafa Muhammadi told me calmly and without rancor that no Muslim could tolerate it. He seemed to be tolerating all right, however, and I thought he would be the firebrand! And this is something I’ve noticed around Baghdad: The long-feared outburst of Shi’a anger just isn’t happening. The cemetery has been bombed and occupied by infidels, the shrine has been damaged, and we keep hearing warnings of a looming Shi’a uprising. But shouldn’t there have been some demonstrations or expressions of concern? I hear rote expressions, said more with a feeling that it should be said rather than what they really feel. I don’t have any quotes or anything to back that up, and it’s really more the way they say it anyway. It’s just an impression I’ve been struck by.
posted by A.Q. at 1:13 PM
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Rick Eddy on NASCAR and 'Bidness'

Okay, maybe a little politics, but hey...
posted by rick at 12:13 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:17 AM
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Tuesday, August 24, 2004. *
Media Release                                                  
For Immediate Release: August 24, 2004                         
Contact: Press Secretary, Megan Morrow

Secretary Packer to Address New York City Announcing "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation" At the Freedom of Expression National Monument

WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary Randall M. Packer will address the citizens of New York City, calling on them to carry out "10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation" during the 2004 Republican National Convention. The speech will take place on Thursday, August 26, 5:00 pm, at the Freedom of _Expression National Monument, Foley Square, at the intersection of Centre & Pearl St. in New York City. Secretary Packer will be introduced by Andrew Nagy, Commanding General of the USA Exquisite Corpse, the US Department of Art & Technology's "Artist Call to Service."

At the invitation of Creative Time and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Secretary Packer will speak to New York City through the Freedom of Expression National Monument, an enormous red megaphone, to voice the thoughts, grievances, and hopes of a nation under siege of the Republicans. The Secretary hopes to inspire the nation into action to confront the loss of free speech, power and powerlessness, and a multiplicity of social and cultural concerns in these post-apocalyptic times.

The Secretary will announce the US Department of Art & Technology's Experimental Party Disinformation Center, a state-of-the-art media installation that subverts Republican propaganda, currently on view at LUXE gallery in NYC. Additionally, he will reveal numerous acts of artistic mediation already in various stages of planning: from Jonny America's march down Lexington Avenue in colonial garb declaring "The Republicans are Coming;" to the Revelers who will mount the Staton Island Ferry and stage a heroic "Crossing of New York Harbor" to liberate Manhattan from the Bush Loyalists; to the Missile Dick Chicks, a posse of pissed-off housewives from Crawford, Texas charged with opposing consumerism by singing songs like "Shop! In the Name of War."

The Secretary added, "Like other totalitarian movements, the Republicans seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed, and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. We offer to the oppressed peoples of our nation and around the world, the great alternative of human liberty through freedom of artistic _expression. Our country must never allow the Republicans to preach religious extremism with 9-11, to use New York City and Ground Zero as the pulpit for its ideologies."

As Reverend Billy poetically declared, "we have to match that theater, to supplant it, and the RNC is going to be our 9th Symphony."


The US Department of Art & Technology

The US Department of Art and Technology is the United States principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

The Experimental Party DisInformation Center

From August 21 to September 4, the US Department of Art & Technology presents the Experimental Party DisInformation Center, "anarchic entertainment for the nation," at the LUXE gallery, 24 W. 57th St. in New York City. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am - 6pm. The installation closes on Saturday, September 4, 6 - 8 PM, with the Post-Mortem Lounge.

posted by Deleted at 8:59 PM
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posted by Bill at 1:00 PM
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"Secular as well as Islamic anti-occupation forces in Iraq are now beginning to drop their caution about Moqtada al-Sadr and are openly siding with his resistance forces in Najaf. The National Foundation Congress, the influential umbrella organisation that represents most religious, nationalist and other secular forces opposed to the US-led occupation, on Saturday issued an eight-point proposal, already approved by Sadr, to peacefully end the crisis in Najaf. This proposal strengthens Sadr's hand and is in essence a call to end the US-led forces' carnage in Najaf and Baghdad and all other areas of Iraq."

But as intense fighting continues around the Imam Ali shrine, where Sadr's fighters have resisted more than two weeks of US bombardment, it's worth taking a closer look at the man himself. There is much more to Sadr than meets the eye.
posted by A.Q. at 12:41 PM
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Another case study of the propaganda model
One tortured apology isn't good enough for Howie Kurtz, apparently. He's now written a rejoinder to criticism of the Washington Post's Iraq mea culpa from last week. In it, Kurtz argues that while Post reporters got some things right, the editors at the paper did a poor job balancing out stories that supported the administration's case for war with those that shed a skeptical light on their claims.

This is undoubtedly true, but not the crux of what Kurtz is trying to say. His main point is that the structural problems of journalism and the framing of the administration's case essentially preordained the fact that the press would fail.

Perhaps most amazingly, he seems to take solace in this since the Post's failures were thus due to the "limitations of journalism" rather than the paper's "political leanings." I find this much more disturbing, though. Kurtz is basically admitting that journalists could not develop a counternarrative to US government propaganda since they did not have enough "credible sources" saying something to contradict the government.

Well, maybe I've been absent for a few weeks, but isn't it the journalist's job to cultivate sources that enhance, contradict, or redefine whatever story they're working on? And if one source is dominating the framing of a certain story, isn't it also the journalist's job to seek out sources that could produce an alternative to the narrative being offered, or at least a different angle? Isn't that what a "free press" is supposed to do?

In theory, journalists are not supposed to be merely stenographers for the government or the powerful. With this revised admission, Kurtz is saying this was an impossibility in the Iraq case. In other words, the Post was so heavily dependent on government sources that it functioned as the propaganda arm of the state. Nevertheless, since the Post didn't succumb to ideologically tinted coverage, the paper should be absolved of most, but not all, blame.

The ramifications of this sort of logic are stunning. Chomsky and Herman must be smiling, somewhere.
posted by Bill at 12:01 PM
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Textbook Spindoctor Article

Bush and Kerry may have overplayed war hands.

The real message of the article and the heavyhanded campaign tactics is "Don't vote and don't get involved in politics because of the all shady characters". The writer tries to draw an equivalence between the MoveOn ads the Swift Boat Crackpot ads. There is none.

I have my differences with MoveOn and little love for Kerry, but they are miles ahead of the Rapture-demented, rabidly anti-human rights Republicans. From where I stand the choice is between the right wing, corporatist Kerry and the Bush gang, who could easily trash the planet as an act of faith. This is not a business as usual election.

Posted by Harry
Rapture link via DRT News

posted by Deleted at 6:49 AM
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Monday, August 23, 2004. *
"The 20/20 Manifesto"
You say you want a revolution

The revolution is under way. The cabal that is in charge, knows it and fears it. They know they cannot control it, and they know they cannot prevent it.

The best parallel I have found is the rise of capitalism and the industrial revolution. Prior to these movements, the church and the monarchy, and their ridged hierarchical structures controlled every facet of the average persons life. But, during the rise of capitalism and the industrial revolution, they found themselves forced to cede power to the new breed of merchants. They resisted at every turn, but the creation of wealth in that spectrum, forced them to cede things like 'free man' and sovereignty to towns and markets. This is what is currently happening, and the cabal knows it. They fear it. It will result in the loss of their power, but they can't resist it.

"The 20/20 Manifesto"
posted by rick at 9:07 PM
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Earlier reports and photographs from the prison have indicated that unmuzzled military police dogs were used to intimidate detainees at Abu Ghraib, something the dog handlers have told investigators was sanctioned by top military intelligence officers there. But the new report, according to Pentagon sources, will show that MPs were using their animals to make juveniles -- as young as 15 years old -- urinate on themselves as part of a competition.
posted by A.Q. at 8:31 PM
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Texas Cokeheads For Truth
"I knew George Bush . . . "

"We shared many an eight-ball together . . . "

"Oh yea, snorting lines and blowing up frogs--he was the King of that."

"George Bush was AWOL."

"George Bush was big into coke--big time, big time."

"George Bush was very resourceful--he always carried a small mirror and a rolled up dollar."

"His wife ran over her boyfriend with her car. That was funny. George respected her for that. Said she had edge."

"His nostrils were like turbo vacuum cleaners. We kept our sugar bowl hidden when he came over."

"'White lines offa naked black chicks'--that was like a mantra to him."

Texas Cokeheads For Truth

That's our Bush!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:10 PM
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Israel announced plans Monday for 500 new housing units in the West Bank, after an apparent U.S. policy shift.

(Shift is an awfully strong word for a policy which is basically written by the Israeli Government)
posted by A.Q. at 12:30 PM
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Would it be inappropriate to throw in a refrain of "God Bless America" now?
posted by Bill at 1:45 AM
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Sunday, August 22, 2004. *
It is quite likely and highly unfortunate that 1000 American soldiers will have died in Iraq by the time the Republican power rituals begin.
Of course, that total will be just a tenth, perhaps even a fifteenth, of the number of Iraqis who have been killed in order to be made free.
posted by mr damon at 2:48 PM
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More people (sitting on top of oil) need to be made free.
I just noticed a blip about this on another gentleman's site, which reminded me of an entry I made 7 months ago.

"The Bush administration is newly interested in Africa's largest country (which has large oil reserves, a civil war, and ethnic cleansing)."

"Bush needs victories in his terror war, hollow or substantial... and Africa provides him with a stage to play out his gloomy fantasies. By forging links with African leaders, Bush hopes to show that his obsession with battling terrorism isn't misplaced but is essential to improving global security...

"As a bridge between Islam and Christianity, Sudan is a flashpoint for conflict -- and a test case for the how Bush administration plans to peacefully manage tensions between these two antagonistic religions in other parts of the world (most notably in Middle East). Sudan is also crucial for another reason: The country began to export oil in 1999 and it holds substantial supply of oil, mainly in its southern zone."
posted by mr damon at 2:27 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:50 AM
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Saturday, August 21, 2004. *
I wasn't going to post this here, but I've read it five times, and I still find much of it 'laugh out loud' funny.

If you've ever served, you'll get it. If you haven't, you'll still probably get most of it, though you may have to google some of the acronyms.

If your a movie producer/writer looking for material, here is the 'MASH', 'Catch 22', etc. of Iraq, from the officers' perspective.

When it's SNAFU and FUBAR, rely on humor
posted by rick at 2:15 PM
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Kerry/O'Neil debate, June 30, 1971
It seems that John O'Neil, the author of "Unfit for Command" and founder of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", took part in a debate against John Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show back on June 30, 1971, several years after both of them had returned from Vietnam. Here is the 90-minute audio (15 MB) of that debate along with commentary by RadioInsideScoop host, Mark Levine. The entire debate is worth a listen, but pay special note at about the 58-minute mark when O'Neil states to Kerry in regard to Kerry's swift boat assignment, "you were receiving almost continuous fire the entire time." Clearly, a direct contradiction of his current claim that Kerry was not under fire during the incident for which Kerry earned several of his medals. Also note that at no time during the entire debate did O'Neil make any of the claims against Kerry that he is currently making.

Sorry, Mr. O'Neil, but you have outted yourself as a liar.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 8:44 AM
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Friday, August 20, 2004. *

You think I'd lie about something this cool? Hell no! I was finally getting around to trying to get back to at least visiting all my 'dailys', and like the third one I hit, 'cause I hadn't visited in a while, was The Corpus Callosum. Anyway, he obviously does not have my refined sense for inflamatory titles for postings, as his was Abu Ghraib: its legacy for military medicine.

My version of it ends on a happy note
posted by rick at 1:08 PM
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Really. In Afghanistan, under the Taliban, we knew who the enemy was, where they were, and they actually ran a stable government. Despotic and theocratic, but stable. Now we don't know where the Taliban is, and no one is in charge in the country. Total anarchy.

In Iraq, there was a stable government, we knew who the enemy was, and pretty much how to successfully mitigate their ability to cause harm. Now the country has fallen into anarchy, we have no idea who our friends and enemies are, and the anarchy keeps growing.

Venezuela, prior to this administration, was largely stable, a decent trading partner, and moving toward greater stability. This administration has changed our relationship with the Venezuelan to one of deep distrust, caused huge civil unrest, riots in the street and an unstable oil supply. Anarchy.
Please proceed in a disrderly fashion
posted by rick at 11:11 AM
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bush trialIf you go to the list of speakers here at, the most prominent is the controversial Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General, who has been calling for impeachment for a long time, and who founded the International Action Center, which organized this War Crimes Tribunal. Extreme? Maybe, but something like this, in Congress, might get the American PEOPLE, who've been deceived, a little off the hook at home and in the eyes of the world.

Thursday, August 26th

3:00pm to 9:30pm

Martin Luther King Auditorium

65th St. & Amsterdam
New York, NY

War crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.

Hear the testimony - The people will judge...

* From across the globe political leaders and expert witnesses are coming to NYC to testify on the criminal U.S. occupation of Iraq.

* GI resisters, eyewitnesses, and UN representatives will uncover Bush administrations lies, fraud and war profiteering.

* Community activists and labor leaders will describe the billions of dollars for war stolen from social services.

* Solidarity activists will discuss the impact of "Endless War" on Haiti, Palestine, Philippeans, Korea, Cuba and here at home.

* Videos, photo exhibits and panels will explain 14 years of war for oil.

via [root.cellar]
posted by root.cellar at 11:08 AM
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Errol Morris was the one who came up with those very witty ads that featured former PC users who switched to Macs. Now, he's lending his sure Madison Avenue hand to the Move On PAC. In these new versions he's profiling republicans who have pledged to vote for John Kerry. There's about a dozen, including the winner, who was a marine who served in Iraq. He's not happy. I kinda like the black republican who sez "Come on" a lot, but they're all good.

Move On plans on running these ads during the GOP convention. More power to them.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 10:54 AM
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"About thinking clearly" on ddjangoWIrE.

The current ddjangoWIrE Poll is still open.

. . . . . .
Be at peace
posted by total at 9:27 AM
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Thursday, August 19, 2004. *
"The CIA has taken much of the blame for the security lapses that led to 9/11 and the false intelligence on Iraq's WMDs. But now one spy has broken ranks to point the finger at the politicians -- and warn that the war on terror could plunge the US into even greater danger."
posted by mr damon at 11:30 PM
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A recently unearthed government memorandum prepared for the U.S. Congress addresses the power of the administration to postpone elections. But more notably, it reviews actions the executive branch might take that could preclude large numbers of Americans from casting a ballot in the coming presidential vote. [more]
posted by Bill at 10:20 PM
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"An unidentified supporter of President Bush tries to silence protester Kendra Lloyd-Knox (right) outside Southridge High School in Beaverton. Elsewhere in Portland, supporters of Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., rallied on the waterfront." [source]

You know, I'm not a pacifist. If someone did that to me, I would have to hurt them. With the aggressor's arm extended like that, it would be relatively easy to break their arm--for instance, if you moved under their arm with your shoulder placed firmly under their elbow and pushed their hand down, you could snap their bone. Or, you could open your mouth and bite their fingers. Either way, that woman on the left deserves a royal ass liberal beatdown.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:42 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:42 PM
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Questions I ponder, and perhaps a little progress

I believe that raping small children is 'bad' and even morally wrong, but I can't defend that position on a logical basis. It is something I feel. I believe a purely 'logical' argument could be made based on the necessity for expediency in gathering intelligence for our war effort to 'ultimately save lives', and can be made to justify our actions in Iraq. But I feel that it is wrong. There is no argument that you could provide which would change my feelings on the subject.

If you are devoid of these feelings (like I think this administration is), I can make no logical case against the act. Well, I could, but I'd have to resort to expanding the picture beyound the immediate war, and would have to rely on ephemeral things like global good will, and engendering a greater hate and resistance on the part of our friends and enemies. But, while I think these are valid, I can not make a causal relationship with out resorting to subjective analysis. And, if the supposition is that this is truly an effort to build a US empire, well, these arguments can again be ignored on the basis of expediency.
To see how Radically Inept I can get...
posted by rick at 10:28 AM
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The Trivialization of American Law and Politics
One thing is for sure: as of August 22 2004, eight-year-old Terrance Cottrell Jr. is as dead as he will ever be. While his mother and two other women held him down, Ray Hemphill lay on his chest for an hour until he suffocated. The two women were not punished. The mother was not punished. Hemphill was punished with about two and one-half years in jail. What makes this murder special, such that of the four people involved three walked free and one got such a small sentence? Read on.

Terrance had autism. Autism is a medical condition for which there is currently no known cure. But Ray Hemphill knows more than all the physicians in the world - he knows that autism is really caused by something no physician has ever encountered (demons) and is cured by something no physician has ever given credit to (exorcism). Hemphill's particular style of exorcism involved smushing the demons out, apparently. Instead it crushed Terrance's chest until he could no longer breath. His mother and the two other women held the thrashing boy down until Hemphill finished the job.

The miserable horror of what happened is plain: a little boy was murdered for no justifiable reason. The miserable horror of what came of it is plain: because the child was sacrificed in the name of religion, three of the murderers went free and one is doing a short amount of time in jail. Now let's look at how the mainstream media handled this case. Most of the nearly seventy articles online about this case describe the murder as an exorcism, but a few cover Hemphill's tracks by merely describing it as a religious service. A few writers are brave enough to cast a small shadow of doubt on what happened by placing exorcism and demon in quotes or writing about so-called exorcisms (as if, just maybe, we shouldn't give credit to such things here in the 21st Century). But not a single writer had the conviction to plainly say the truth: autism is a medical condition for which there is currently no known cure, there are no such things as demons, exorcism is an imaginary cure for an imaginary problem, this little boy was murdered by these four people.

I suggest that religion is the reason the media backed off from telling the plain truth in this case. Religion has been given a get-out-of-jail-free card by both the left and the right. If you criticize religion you are being culturally insensitive or a racist. The mass media is under the sway of religion. The courts are also under the sway of religion. Hemphill has been forbidden from conducting any more exorcisms until he gets training in how to do them. No training in critical thinking, medicine, first aid or common fucking sense was mandated, but the judge did require him to get training in how to conduct exorcisms.

The assumption that allows the courts and the media to excuse murder is that religious behavior must be protected at all costs - including the cost of an occasional child sacrifice. This assumption places religious people (and what does that really mean, when merely saying you are religious is the only qualification for being so?) over atheists in the eyes of the law. Let an atheist go kill some children, fire people for eating the wrong kind of sandwich, or any of the other protected behavior of religious people - then see if atheists get the same kind of protection. Their bottom line is that with God on your side, all things are possible - including getting away with child murder. It is time to challenge this assumption.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:01 AM
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Wednesday, August 18, 2004. *
Timing of new building in West Bank linked to political survival instincts of Ariel Sharon.
posted by A.Q. at 11:37 AM
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"I've posted here before (and no, I'm not going to try to find the links), that coincidences are curious. And the more coinicences pile up, the interesting they get. And Jeff at Rigorous Intuition has really compiled a great list of coincidences; the kind that make you laugh at just how silly the world is, Rigorous Intuition: "The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11".

posted by rick at 10:01 AM
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Roy is the beginning of the rainbow.

Anyhow, last night a friend took me to Seattle's Town Hall in order to listen to Arundhati Roy, author of "The God of Small Things" and, most recently, "An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire." She spoke in conversation with Alternative Radio host David Barsamian.

He posed questions, she gave responses, and this is what I scribbled with a borrowed pen:

"The whole debtate between the Democrats and the Republicans, whether Bush or Kerry is better, is like talking about detergent. It's like choosing between Tide and Ivory Snow, both of which are owned by Proctor & Gamble."

"There is a system of economic disparity that is being entrenched in the world today. It's no mistake that 580 billionaires have the equivalent wealth of 170 countries... {Therefore,} this is not a disparity between rich countries and poor countries. It is a disparity between rich people and poor people. So, what do we do about it?"

"The cornerstone of New Imperialism is New Racism. A few carefully bred turkeys are given pardon to Frying Pan Park (while 50 million others are slaughtered for Thanksgiving)... New Genocide creates the conditions for mass death without having to go out and kill thousands of people."

"In India, there is a distinction {and an understood bond} between the government and the people. Here, the synthetic creation of fear is what bonds the government and the people. It would be a disaster for the government if all of you started to feel safe... Not to be frightened here is a political act."

"Many of us think that the corporate media supports the neoliberal project. In fact, it is the neoliberal project*."

In regard to protest and progressive organization: "Now you musn't lose focus. Now, you can't think "If Kerry comes to power, then we can just go home."

"Thousands, hundreds of thousands of people marched in opposition to this war in Iraq. Yet these supposedly democratic countries went to war. So that begs the question, are democracies still democratic?"

--I was listening to Noam Chomsky's "Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind" on the way to school this morning, and he is unsparing in his assessment that democracy is not and was never the intended mode for American governance--

"The American soldiers who are dying in Iraq are conscripts of a poverty draft. They {the fighters on both sides} are products of the same system. They are dying for a victory that will not be theirs."

"Poverty and terrorism are being conflated" in India and other South Asian countries, in order for governments to pull a tighter rein on people. "These acts {India's Prevention of Terrorism Act, the USA PATRIOT Act} are not meant for the terrorists. They are meant for you. They are meant to terrorize you. They are meant to pick you off (as an activist for change) and dominate the rest."

"We really need to reimagine nonviolent resistance. There is no debate more important than in the stages? progress? of resistance. While we have watched the invasion of Iraq, the torture of its prisoners, the plndering of its resources, we are still waiting for some pristine, secular, feminist, fully agreed resistance that will not come any time soon."

"Nobody moves to the left after they come to power, they only move to the right... Can you campaign for someone (Kerry) who's said that he will send more troops to Iraq? How can you? We have to remain committed to principle. We are soldiers who are fighting a different battle and we cannot be co-opted into this contest {referring again to detergent} between oxyboosters and gentle cleansers.

I look at this situation and compare it to what it must be like for a homosexual person watching straight sex: Interested, but not involved."

"We must snatch our futures back from the world of the experts."

Barsamian: "There is an alternative to terrorism. What is it?"
Roy: "Justice."

"The logic of terrorism and the logic of the war on terror both hold ordinary people responsible for the actions of governments."

"When violence is deified {as Roy asserted that it is here}, on what grounds can you condemn terrorism? Only when a government is steadfastly committed to nonviolence can it legitimately condemn terrorism."

* Neoliberalism and the Demise of Democracy
(although I want add on the Lorax's warning, "Unless")
posted by mr damon at 9:53 AM
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Tuesday, August 17, 2004. *

I AM Radically Inept, and I approved this message...Just wish I had something to do with it.

If you're under the age of 18, you shouldn't be here anyway.

If you are here and under the age of 18, good for you. Might as well learn how to sneak computer time from your parents and libraries now, as in the future they'll probably rig the machines so's ya can only see AOHell crap.

Anyway, here's a prez speaking real, and ya know what, I can respect it:

Via The Blogging of the President: 2004 via Joe Hill Dispatch

Ah, the above disclaimer may only reflect the views of the poster, Radically Inept, and may not truly reflect the views of American Samizdat (though it probably does).
posted by rick at 12:20 PM
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In the latest matchup between Team Military-Industrial Complex (MilCom) and Team Soldiers, MilCom persevered in the 13th inning to hand yet another defeat to the Soldiers."

Click here for game details
posted by rick at 8:31 AM
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Monday, August 16, 2004. *
The GOP Hits New York Song Parody
I'll be street-blogging the GOP Convention and I'm celebrating with a new song parody. I hope you'll enjoy singing The GOP Hits New York song parody to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again." Here's how it starts:

The GOP bash will soon be here.
Oh, no! Oh, no!
Won't give 'em a hearty welcome cheer.
Oh, no! Oh, no!
They'll swarm our bars and they'll crowd our streets.
They'll praise and laud their nominees.
And we won't feel gay when The GOP hits New York.

Republican pols in NYC.
Oh, no! Oh, no!

The rest of my song parody is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 8:53 PM
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Notes on Polemicists
I enjoy debate and dicussion; but I find polemics to be boring and destructive. When a commenter accuses me of being a "neo-Marxist", or "left-wing fascist", my interest in their argument quickly falls to zero. The commenter is a polemicist, he is not interested in truth.

In constructive debate and dicussion, the audience and writer accept certain rights:
1. to remain unconvinced
2. to perceive a contradiction
3. to require more information
4. to emphasize different ideas
5. to point out faulty logic

The polemicist goes farther than taking away those rights. The polemicist will gladly enter an intellectual debate,but he will always have reached his conclusion before he hears the first argument. He will never agree to question whether his philosophy is ideal, legitimate, or even possible. If the polemicist identifies himself with Marxism, than he will respond to criticisms of his philosophy by accusing the critics of being part of the "petty bourgeoisies". Yet, he will never asses the merits or drawbacks of his view. The polemicist does not see those who challenge his assumptions as partners in the search of truth; he sees them as enemies, whose very existence constitutes a threat. The polemicist always relies on a legitimacy that his challengers are denied by definition.

The polemicists is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty: once he makes up his mind, he will persuade himself that his opinion, by definition, is the most righteous and correct. In the case of Marxists and Fundamentalists, you will often find unshakable beliefs, even when the facts (and indeed, the majority of people) are overwhelmingly in opposition. The polemicists seems to be fully unaware of his own dishonesty.

The polemicist loves to use vague or meaningless nomenclature to label his opponents. Rush Limbaugh has single handedly hijacked the word "liberal", which has dozens of meanings ranging from the capitalist of the 1830's, to the libertarian views of Thomas Jefferson, to porky-pig New Deal big government spenders. Yet, Rush, and most of his listeners, are content with the conclusion that Mr.X is "liberal" and therefore "bad". However this comes as no surprise, as George Orwell once remarked:
Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

While our political language blurs our grasp on reality, it unquestionably benefits those who would want us to conform to their views. A great deal of polemicists would see grossly obvious facts, if it were not for the emotions that are involved. But the loyalty of a polemicist to their own reality makes the facts intolerable, thus he will construct false theories to aid in their denial. For example, Mussolini and Marx's "theories of history" boiled down to the future being already set in stone.

Everyone is a polemicist in some respects, and it takes a moral effort to overcome it. One can begin by recognizing that some causes are objectively better than others, regardless of the past means that have been used to advance them. One must reflect upon the source of their beliefs, and than make allowances for the inevitable bias. Once you recognize the existence of polemics, you can begin to overcome its power. As Clarence Darrow once remarked, "
Chase after truth like hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat-tails."
posted by Nick at 4:38 PM
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"Pasteur Edouard Ruhanga is one of those who survived the massacre of refugees in Burundi.

More than 150 people were killed, including his sister.

He is a priest with the Great Lakes Evangelical church, normally based in the Democratic Republic of Congo town of Uvira. Like thousands of others, he fled to Burundi, following fighting in June.

Here, he tells BBC News Online what happened:
posted by A.Q. at 12:19 PM
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And the election is approved by international observers, including ex-prez Jimmy Carter, who dismiss the claims of fraud from the US-CIA-backed anti-Chavez cabal.

For up-to-date news and analysis about the recall one of the best sites has been Narco News (as well as the NarcoSphere blog).

Viva la revolucion!
posted by New World at 11:48 AM
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"Okay, Chocolate Morphine brought this article to my attention,
The New York Times > 'Out of Spotlight, Bush Overhauls U.S. Regulations', which answer the question, 'Hey, as long as everyone's attention is diverted to the war effort and terrorism, I wonder what we could do here to make things better:

'April 21 was an unusually violent day in Iraq; 68 people died in a car bombing in Basra, among them 23 children. As the news went from bad to worse, President Bush took a tough line, vowing to a group of journalists, 'We're not going to cut and run while I'm in the Oval Office.'

On the same day, deep within the turgid pages of the Federal Register, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a regulation that would forbid the public release of some data relating to unsafe motor vehicles, saying that publicizing the information would cause 'substantial competitive harm' to manufacturers.

As soon as the rule was published, consumer groups yelped in complaint, while the government responded that it was trying to balance the interests of consumers with the competitive needs of business. But hardly anyone else noticed, and that was hardly an isolated case.

Allies and critics of the Bush administration agree that the Sept. 11 attacks, the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq have preoccupied the public, overshadowing an important element of the president's agenda: new regulatory initiatives. Health rules, environmental regulations, energy initiatives, worker-safety standards and product-safety disclosure policies have been modified in ways that often please business and industry leaders while dismaying interest groups representing consumers, workers, drivers, medical patients, the elderly and many others.'"

Click here to continue to get pissed off, but take a prozac first.
posted by rick at 10:54 AM
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This post on Nathan Newman  points to a NYT  Op-Ed piece:

State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March. . .
. . . . . . .
Be at peace
posted by total at 9:43 AM
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Sunday, August 15, 2004. *
Cyber-Corpse 14 is now ready to cruise. As awed and sobering as a crow on blood-stained mylar or a drunk in a burning church, this new issue stands apart. Our new sections: "The Making & Unmaking of Persons," "Working Class Sweat," "The New Kulchur," "The Book of Revelations," and "Anti-Anthroporphism," are designed to aim at the white flesh visible now and then in the armored zeitgeist. We note also that "The Corpse Reads the Classics," and we hope you dig us plenty, as we have dug you, dear corpse fanciers, since Day One.

Andrei Codrescu, chief
Plamen Arnaudov, viceroy
Andrea Garland, webmistress
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:12 PM
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Olympic Security
The Olympics are underway in Greece. All the world can watch the events in real time online, except in the United States. And during a rehearsal of the opening ceremonies, the half-full stadium booed the United States. We just can't get a break! The policing at this Olympics is unprecedented, with constant surveillance above and pee testing below. Why? Religious people might try to harm others at this event. Of course we all read quite a bit about Islam being troublesome in this regard, but history shows that it is Christianity that spawns Olympic terrorists. The problem is Christians like Eric Rudolph, who in 1996 detonated a bomb for Jesus at the Atlanta Olympics (killing one and injuring over 100). He went on to attempt to blow up a lesbian bar (the bombs didn't detonate) in 1997, and successfully bombed the New Woman All Women Clinic (killing one and wounding another) in 1998. Rudolph wasn't captured by the police until 2003 - what happened between 1998 and 2003? Why, Rudolph's brothers and sisters in the Lord were hiding him so that he could keep up his good work. Even when he was captured, local coffee shops displayed fan posters and he signed his wanted poster for the local sheriff, just like a rock star. His hiding place is now a tourist spot. There are seven people policing the Olympics for every one athlete competing this year, at a cost of US$312 million. But how many articles have you seen on the real history of religious terrorism at the Olympics? And for all the money that has been spent on alleged Islamic terrorist cells in the USA, why has there been so little effort to root out this existing Christian terrorist cell? I'm Trevor Blake and I approve of this blog post.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:03 AM
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John Frum: 70 Years. Jesus Christ: 2000 And Counting
Vanuatu is one of the world's poorest nations. It is also a first-round recipient of the Millennium Challenge Fund, a US$5 million charity designed to be the nice version of what Iraq is the ugly version: US power in the world. But Vanuatu is also home of some of the last of the cargo cults. They've been waiting 70 years for the airplanes from America to come back with free gifts of advanced technology, and here they are. Life is strange and wonderful.
posted by Trevor Blake at 1:31 AM
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Saturday, August 14, 2004. *
Substitute the lemonade with cancer-causing toxins . . . substitute the government forcing them to give out broccoli with the government forbidding them to employ children in dangerous mines . . . etc. Jebus Christ!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:34 PM
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While Great Falls chews on its defeat, the plaintiff Wynne seeks surcease. Her home has been vandalized nine times. Hoodlums have killed her cat and hanged its gutted body. Someone put sand in the gas tank of her truck. Townspeople have ostracized her. [more]

They killed her cat? The Lord sure does work in mysterious ways, ah reckon. Ah yep. Fucking bible-thumpin' sadists . . .
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:31 PM
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"Like all the Marines, Lance Cpl. Joseph Nice, 19, wore a heavy vest with hardened plates in the front and back, the body armor that has saved many lives in this war. But as he turned to grapple with the wire, a single shot rang out. It pierced his side, under his raised arm, where the vest has only canvas webbing to allow flexibility. The bullet passed through his lungs and heart and exited the other side. He dropped on his back in the dust.

"Staff Sgt. Chris Bengison, 31, heard the 'crisp, clear pop' and calculated that the shot came from a cluster of two-story buildings in the distance. He and others laid down withering fire with their M-16 automatic rifles and a machine gun. Cpl. Jason Lemcke, 23, a squad leader, raced his Humvee toward the fallen Marine. Just as he opened the door, a shot crashed into the side mirror, just missing Lemcke's head. He fell back.

"Another Humvee pulled beside Nice, and Cpl. Robert Wells dragged him with one hand, firing an M-16 with the other. They raced toward the open area where Fontecchio had been airlifted. A Black Hawk helicopter was on the way.

"As they waited, corpsmen Adam Clarke and John Patrick Crate began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. For each breath they gave, they got a mouthful of blood. They took turns, vomiting between their efforts. Nice's eyes were glazed, his heart stopped, the life drained from the gaping wounds in his sides. He was dead before the helicopter landed.

"The Marines assaulted the buildings. The sniper was gone.

"[The loss of Nice and Gunnery Sgt. Elia Fontecchio, 30] were deaths 14 and 15 for the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment since it arrived in February. With 156 Purple Hearts as well, the casualty count for this battalion is higher than that of any other unit in Iraq, save for fellow Marines in turbulent Fallujah.

"But to the men here, this is a forgotten war. They are at the western edge of Iraq, the last stop before Syria. The world hears what happens here only in a faint whisper. They are far from the headline cities -- Najaf, Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi -- where every spasm is seen by a thousand eyes.

"Isolated at this far-flung outpost, the men live packed bunk to bunk, they guard one another's backs, they depend on the group to help ward off fear and loneliness. And they face losses in their own searingly personal way. When one man is killed, the rest are asked to go back where he died, to face the same danger, in the name of duty. They do it, they say, for their comrades, for themselves and for a country that expects it of them."
posted by mr damon at 2:25 PM
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The story of John Young's interview with ABCNews, for a story they packaged as "Web information that helps terrorists." Because of my few interactions with network affiliates, I wish I'd been able to give Mr. Young a heads-up on how these people can operate.

"'I know there are a lot of people in the government who find him troublesome, said former White House terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant. 'There is a real tension here between the public's right to know and civil liberties, on the one hand, and security on the other.'"

Well, he's one to talk, huh?
posted by mr damon at 2:23 PM
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Friday, August 13, 2004. *
I posted this piece here yesterday, "Can the anti-war movement learn from Animal Welfare Advocates",and then in the shower it dawned on me what we can learn from them. Really it's nothing new, but attacking a corporations logistics base to force change, does strike me as a brilliant application of war fighting tactics to social change movements. But as I stated in yesterday's post, I am against the use of violence in pursuing social change. I think you wind up with the same attitudes as those currently in charge if you use their tactics.

On the other hand, we can combine the old boycott tactic with the 'attack the logistics base' tactic, and possibly have a very effective tool at our disposal. In the past, we have used boycotts to affect change, but we've attacked the corporations directly. What I now suggest, is to combine these tactics to affect change at Halliburton, The Carlyle Group and Rush Limp-bowel's EIB (Ethically Inept Bullshit) Network.

(Link here to continue reading What we CAN LEARN from the Animal Welfare Advocates' Tactics)

posted by rick at 12:15 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2004. *
Sometimes I get so pissed off, something like this sounds like an able outlet. Altho I don't think I could live in DC again . . . still like to visit tho . . .

Facts About the School of Law:
61% of students are members of minority groups;

57% of students are women;

All students provide 40 hours of community service to non-profit public interest groups, the judiciary or federal and local government in the first year of law school; and

All students perform a minimum of 700 hours of faculty-supervised representation of low-income District residents in the School's outstanding clinical programs.

Activist Law School in DC Seeks Students

. . . and what's so bad about trial lawyers?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:03 PM
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Wednesday, August 11, 2004. *
Dub & Dick's Limerick; Daily News Haiku
Lately I've been busily writing political poetry -- everything from limericks to news haiku. Here's a pair of limericks:

Dub & Dick's Limerick
George Dub has a Veep named Dick Cheney.
Next to Dub he appears rather brainy...

The rest of Dub & Dick's Limerick is here.

Ode To Our Misleader
We have a misleader named George.
On power and lies he does gorge...

The rest of Ode To Our Misleader is here.

And you'll find some daily news haiku here, here, and here.

posted by Mad Kane at 1:33 PM
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The last days of Weimar?
One has to wonder sometimes. Yeah, I know: Bush is no Hitler and history never really repeats itself (or as Heraclitus would say, "You cannot step into the same river twice...for different and again different waters flow."). Still I and others have noted that there is a uniquely American form of fascism rearing its ugly head that has found friends in the White House, Congress, and elements of the mass media and corporate sectors. A round-up of some stories that grabbed my attention:

Not Scared Yet? Try Connecting These Dots by Ray McGovern. Among other things, McGovern looks at how Americans might react to a possible "delay" of elections:

On Friday I listened to a reporter asking a tourist in Washington, DC, whether he felt inconvenienced by all the blockages and barriers occasioned by the heightened alert. While the tourist acknowledged that the various barriers and inspections made it difficult to get from one place to another, he made his overall reaction quite clear: "Safety first! I don't want to see another 9/11. Whatever it takes!" I was struck a few hours later as I tuned into President Bush speaking at a campaign rally in Michigan: "I will never relent in defending America. Whatever it takes."

How prevalent this sentiment has become was brought home to me as Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) quizzed 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey (a former Democrat Senator from Nebraska) at a hearing last week on the commission's sweeping recommendation to centralize foreign and domestic intelligence under a new National Intelligence Director in the White House. Kerrey grew quite angry as Kucinich kept insisting on an answer to his question: "How do you protect civil liberties amid such a concentration of information and power?"

Kerrey protested that the terrorists give no priority to civil liberties. He went on to say that individual liberties must, in effect, be put on the back burner, while priority is given to combating terrorism.
Whatever it takes.

Does this not speak volumes? Would Kerrey suggest that Americans act like the "good Germans" of the 1930s, and acquiesce in draconian steps like postponement or cancellation of the November election?

These are no small matters. It is high time to think them through.

RNC Protest Organizers Reject Rally Site looks at the on-going struggle for protesters to be seen and heard at the upcoming GOP convention in NYC. On a related note, Jim Hightower of The Nation looks at Bu$hCo's efforts to quash free speech and protest even before the 9/11 tragedy in Bush Zones Go National.

One crucial element in the development of a fascist state is the merging of the federal government and big business to the extent that it is unclear as to where the public sector ends and the private sector begins. We see in this article, Big Business Becoming Big Brother by Kim Zetter of that the US government is increasingly contracting out surveillance work to private corporations which apparently allows the feds to keep an eye on the theat posed by peace sign-wearing activists without the inconvenience of those restrictions regarding privacy rights. Nice.

And David Neiwert of the excellent blog Orcinus continues to look at the role of mainstream media and (yes) mainstream GOP voters in allowing virulent racists and virulent racist ideas to go unchallenged in Home to Roost. Remember that old parental admonition that you are judged by the company you keep? Well, as long as GOP types continue to keep a blind eye to the right-wing extremists who've aligned themselves with the GOP, it'll be difficult to impossible for independents of a variety of political stripes (from the very liberal such as myself to those who are more moderate or libertarian) to trust representatives of that party. Something to think about.

While were on Neiwert's blog, don't forget to check out the post Good Christian Hate which looks at a recent gay bashing crime by someone who apparently was quoting Biblical scripture while working over his victim. In another post by Neiwert Shades of Kristallnacht, we get some commentary on a recent anti-Semitic vandalism of a large number of businesses in the Bay Area of California that had displayed signs for a local Board of Supervisors candidate David Heller, who so happens to be Jewish and whose grandparents had been killed by the Nazis during WWII. The vandals spray-painted swastikas on the windows of those businesses. Finally, Neiwert tackles one of my least favorite right-wing gasbags, Bill O'Reilly, in a post titled Just like the Klan which discusses a recent "debate" between O'Reilly and Paul Krugman on Tim Russert's CNBC show. I put "debate" in quotes as O'Reilly wasn't actually there to discuss issues as a rational human being and was instead content to threaten and intimidate. Real nice guy. Fair and balanced, and all that. In making the claim that the watchdog group Media Matters is just like the Ku Klux Klan, Neiwert notes that not only is O'Reilly factually wrong but is serving a sinister purpose with that claim:

Not only does O'Reilly smear one of his political nemeses -- he soft-pedals what real hate groups stand for. When he compares Media Matters to the Klan, he's not only telling his audience that the former is full of hateful vitriol that poisons the public well, he tells them that the Klan is a reasonably legitimate organization that mostly is engaged in mere political partisanship.

And that makes O'Reilly appear not only ridiculous, but genuinely dangerous.

Food for thought.
posted by Don Durito at 12:24 PM
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