American Samizdat

Sunday, December 31, 2006. *

If every community in the United States embraced the No Kill philosophy, we would save 4.1 million dogs and cats who are scheduled to die in shelters this year, and the year after that. It is not an impossible dream. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:03 PM
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Happy New Year, it's gonna be a strange one...
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:42 PM
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The Dildo Diaries
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:48 AM
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Everyone has been on my ass about Global Orgasm Day, this December 22nd.

"Harrumph," I say - and no, that's not the sound of my climactic approach. Before I even clicked on the G.O. link and listened to the new age strums of the global orgasm guitar, I was already turned off.

How could I be such a curmudgeon? After all, I do want to "stop the war," and any moment dedicated to orgiastic pleasure and whirled peas can hardly be criticized.

It comes down to this: If I had a shred of evidence that my orgasm would force an immediate American withdrawal from Iraq, I'd be beating off furiously now.

The thing is, I'm more of a monkey-wrench masturbator. I'm one of those people who believe you have to throw your body on the cogs of the machine:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

Listening to Mario Savio's speech still gets me more choked up than any arguments from the global-O organizers.

I'm an atheist; that may be the culprit. When the power of prayer, even lustful, is called upon - to "change the energy fields - " I get a little tense. I want to do something that has a chance of working, that goes beyond a media stunt. But rather than be a complete Scrooge about it - because I do appreciate the intent, after all— I always hope the prayer/orgasm marathon will at least be public, and defiant.

I could so get into the Global Jill-Off if it was combined with a work stoppage. I'd like it, if on December 22nd, everyone called into the office and said, "I'm not coming in today - I'm wanking for peace instead." Booyah!

I seek something that disturbs, something a little rude. Even if you didn't want to go to jail, get fired - or, in the most common scenario, have everyone stare at you - there are still other risks one could take that chip away at the cement block of the military industrial complex. Like...
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:40 AM
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Among other predictions for the U.S. in 2007: One in four, 25 percent, anticipates the second coming of Jesus Christ. The telephone poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Dec. 12-14 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points.

[One in four of the people I will see today believe that the Paul Bunyon of ancient Israel will drop out of the sky next year and use magic spells and monsters to set up a super-Disneyland for all the C-ticket holders. Gloom, doom in 2007 indeed.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:31 AM
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posted by Philip Shropshire at 12:01 AM
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Saturday, December 30, 2006. *
posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:59 PM
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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:55 PM
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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:42 PM
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Saddam's execution will boost opposition to capital punishment worldwide, including the United States and the Middle East, "because it will be viewed as following a flawed, rushed trial that resulted in a penalty that is cruel and inhumane," said Zahir Janmohamed of Amnesty International, winner of the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.

More than half the world's countries -- 129 -- have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, according to Amnesty.

China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States accounted for 94 percent of the executions recorded by Amnesty International in 2005. Of the known total, China had the lion's share with at least 1,770 while 60 were executed in the United States, Amnesty said.

Seventy-two percent of the 50 U.S. states had no executions in 2006, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Most executions in 10 states are on hold as aspects of their capital-punishment laws are examined. Two states -- Illinois and New Jersey -- have a formal moratorium on all executions while their legislatures weigh the issues. [more]


Maybe we see so many pictures of the people Bush has killed for a simple reason: he's proud of it; it's the only thing he knows how to do.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:36 PM
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Number one most popular video on CNN right now is "Hussein in hangman's noose": "Watch masked executioners place noose around the neck of Saddam Hussein."

I never tune in to the news on tv, but once in a while I do and it couldn't be more hideous, more obvious, more ugly: snuff porn and celebrations. No context such as this:

Man Hung for Killing 148 in Operation Which Killed 650,000+



Or, Iraq Torture 'Worse After Saddam', or "More than 90 per cent of Iraqis believe the country is worse off now than before the war in 2003" or Iraq: More Hellish Now Than Under Saddam. (This paragraph could go on forever - then follow the money.)

Instead the corporate machine has been propelled into motion to utter this line: Snuff Porn, and Celebrations.

This is the word. From the top two percent which own the world to you, the sorry proletariat.

Snuff Porn, and Celebrations



Eat it like the rest of the dog food they let you have. Eat it and like it.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:06 PM
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Not mean-spirited, just "Texas-spirited."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:25 PM
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Over the past 10 years, more than 50 people aged 30 and under were violently murdered by assailants who targeted them because they did not fit stereotypes for masculinity or femininity. The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) released the groundbreaking human rights report “50 Under 30: Masculinity and the War on America’s Youth” documenting this tide of murderous violence and the key demographics of its victims and their assailants. The report reveals a unique vulnerability at the intersection of age, race, and gender non-conformity that makes a fatal assault exponentially more likely.

“While many youth who don’t fit gender stereotypes for masculinity or femininity face harassment or bullying, when it comes to gender-based murder the victims are specific and consistent,” said Riki Wilchins, GenderPAC executive director. “These victims tended to share the same characteristics: they were mostly Black or Latina, were biologically male and presenting with some degree of femininity, and were killed by other young males in attacks of extraordinary and often multiple acts of violence.”

[Article continues at link. This has absolutely nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with Leviticus 20:13 so don't even say that God commands Christians to kill gay and femmy men. And don't say that Jesus agreed that is the law, because Matthew 5:18-19 and Luke 16:17 don't exist.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:53 AM
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Friday, December 29, 2006. *
Today President Bush signed the H.R. 6407, the "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. In doing so he added a few signing statements. One of them is particularly alarming, as it says that they can search our mail without a warrant.
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:26 PM
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Wikipedia Page for Saddam Hussein's Execution

Confirmation of Saddam's hanging went out about ____ minutes ago and this Wikipedia page is growing as the information is made public. Nice living case study on the growth of a Wikipedia page.


Looks like it made Al-Jazeera, too: Saddam hanged

Also see, Fisk: A dictator created then destroyed by America

Oh, and Thanks for the memories...
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:19 PM
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When George Bush banned funding [for research on human embryonic stem cell lines] he effectively put researchers into quarantine.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:44 AM
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Thursday, December 28, 2006. *
Who would have guessed the author of Jurassic Park would turn into such a rightwing nutter?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:00 PM
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. . . via Spitting Image.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:47 PM
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Interview with Professor Francis Boyle
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:06 AM
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WASHINGTON -- The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans' willingness to serve in uniform.

The idea of signing up foreigners who are seeking US citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

The proposal to induct more noncitizens, which is still largely on the drawing board, has to clear a number of hurdles. So far, the Pentagon has been quiet about specifics -- including who would be eligible to join, where the recruiting stations would be, and what the minimum standards might involve, including English proficiency. In the meantime, the Pentagon and immigration authorities have expanded a program that accelerates citizenship for legal residents who volunteer for the military. (emp mine)

The Boston Globe
posted by platts42 at 6:20 AM
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Steal this Disc
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:23 AM
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006. *
Covert Actions Against American Citizens Living in America

COINTELPRO never went away...
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:48 AM
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Watergate Scandal Escalates......Gerald Ford is named V.P.

Fuck Gerald R. Ford, never-elected president, Ford is the guy who pardoned the evil bastard Nixon he was on the Warren Commission, and his administration put Rumsfeld, Cheney and furthered Henry Kissinger into the top echelons of power. Please take a moment to fall down a flight of stairs in his memory.
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:04 AM
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006. *
As US troops battle Islamic extremists abroad, the Pentagon and the armed forces are reaching out to Muslims at home.

[Always stress the difference. Why, some of my best friends are non-Islamic extremist Muslims.]

An underlying goal is to interest more Muslims in the military, which needs officers and troops who can speak Arabic and other relevant languages and understand the culture of places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

[Maybe the military shouldn't have kicked out those six Arabic translators because they were gay.]

The effort is also part of a larger outreach. Pentagon officials say they are striving for mutual understanding with Muslims at home and abroad and to win their support for US war aims.

[And where I say 'mutual understanding,' I mean 'lip service to superstitious morons so we can make use of them.' We conned the Christians to get their votes, now let's work on the Muslims. Allah forbid that any understanding of Islam be based on reading the Quran.]

Among the efforts to attract and retain Muslim cadets:

• West Point and the other service academies have opened Muslim prayer rooms, as have military installations.

[You know, they didn't really mean it when whoever those guys were wrote the United States government would not establish a state religion, using tax dollars to fund someone else's superstition. Fucking First Ammendment of the fucking United States Constitution.]

• Imams serve full- and part-time as chaplains at the academies and some bases.

[Now now, why stop there? We need representatives of every major and minor and current and historic religion at the academies and bases. Just in case.]

• Top non-Muslim officers and Pentagon officials have taken to celebrating religious events with Muslims overseas and here in the US.

[Isn't that kind of like saying DURKA DURKA DURKA JIHAD except instead of being wooden puppets in a satirical movie, you're putting on supernatural blackface to trick Muslims into... fighting Muslims?]

"There is a message here, and that is that Muslims and the Islamic religion are totally compatible with Western values," says Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England in an interview.

[Secretary England went on to announce the end of banking, democracy, and several other entirely trivial and optional Western values.]

[Article continues at link. Accomodating superstition in tax-funded venues is always and forever a mistake.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:57 PM
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More on BearingPoint Inc. from my below post: Old Iraq Strategy Lives On In Weekly Progress Reports

Antonia Juhasz* has been all over this, showing that BearingPoint Inc is nothing more than another Enron/Arthur Andersen like accounting firm.

And its running not only the State Department in the USA but the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan.

BearingPoint has worked extensively on homeland security matters over the last two years, including with the Transportation Security Administration on airport security and the Defense Department on identification card technology. BearingPoint also worked with then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now director of Homeland Security, to develop the Justice Network, a Web-based crime fighting system that links Pennsylvania's criminal justice agencies and offices with federal agencies.

In October 2002, KPMG Consulting Inc. changed its name to BearingPoint Inc. KPMG Consulting was formed in 1997 as the consulting division of accounting firm KPMG LLP. An initial public offering on Feb. 8, 2001, marked the official separation of KPMG Consulting from KPMG LLP. BearingPoint was the first of the Big Five consulting firms to separate from its audit and tax parent and become an independent, publicly traded company. The crisis that engulfed the accounting profession in the wake of the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal later that year hastened the company's decision to change its name in 2002. Under the leadership of current Chairman and CEO Randolph Blazer, BearingPoint underwent a dramatic expansion by acquiring most of Arthur Andersen's worldwide consulting operations.

Clients include nine of the top 10 global wireless carriers, all software, electronics and pharmaceutical companies in the Fortune 100, six of the world's top 10 manufacturing companies, and all 14 Cabinet-level departments of the U.S. government. BearingPoint reported $2.4 billion in net revenue for FY 2003 and has a workforce of approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries.

In March 2002, Richard Roberts (Johnson's successor), testified before the House Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy in support of another bill sponsored by Rep. Davis, the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2002, a bill designed to streamline the process by which the government purchases information technology services. Roberts was testifying on behalf of the Information Technology Association of America, a trade group of which BearingPoint is a member. BearingPoint Senior Vice President Dave Sanders sits on the ITAA's board of directors. The ITAA helped the House subcommittee draft the legislation.

In 2001, BearingPoint spent $60,000 to lobby on homeland security issues and matters pertaining to the accounting industry. In 2002, BearingPoint spent $420,000 to lobby on information technology procurement and homeland security, among other issues.

In July 2003, USAID awarded BearingPoint a $9 million initial award to facilitate Iraq's economic recovery. According to USAID, the contract, which can be renewed annually for a maximum of two more years, is worth $79,583,885. According to the contract, the estimated value, including the two option years, is $240,162,668. The contract was bid on by 10 companies with existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts, according to USAID. Under the contract, BearingPoint will support the provisional government's efforts to facilitate Iraq's regional and international economic integration, stimulate trade, increase employment, and create a competitive private sector, according to USAID. BearingPoint will examine Iraq's current laws and policies regulating trade, commerce and investment and provide support to the central bank and the ministries of finance, trade, commerce and industry. BearingPoint might also undertake specific initiatives relating to "credit, micro-finance and small business loans."

In March 2003, USAID awarded BearingPoint a three-year, $39.9 million contract to help rebuild the country's economic infrastructure. That agreement includes an option to extend the contract for another two years, bringing the total amount of the award to $64.1 million. Under the contract, BearingPoint will work with the government in developing and repairing most of the key areas of Afghanistan's economy: tax policy, budget planning, banking, trade policy, commercial law and private sector development. After winning the contract, BearingPoint announced it was sending 30 employees to Afghanistan and hiring 30 more Kabul residents, adding to the 50 residents already employed.


Takes War Profiteering to a whole 'nother level. Build trap doors to governments from the inside when you build the government itself!

I wonder if they wrote the legal underpinning for all the "help" that the ISG envisioned for the oil sector in Iraq? D'ya think?

Further, Prior to the invasion, as we have seen Bearing Point received a $250 million contract from US AID to develop a blueprint for the remaking of Iraq's economy into a 'free-market' economy friendly to U.S. corporate interests. Bremer's job was to implement the Bearing Point plan. Juhasz points out that while there may have been an inadequate military plan, there was in fact a plan for the takeover and remaking of the economy of Iraq. Bremer had the power to create laws by issuing "binding instructions or directives." Bremer issued 100 Orders, Juhasz in 2005 interview describes some of the key orders:
"Order No. 39 allows for: (1) privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises; (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) "national treatment" — which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses; (4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5) 40-year ownership licenses.

"Thus, it forbids Iraqis from receiving preference in the reconstruction while allowing foreign corporations — Halliburton and Bechtel, for example — to buy up Iraqi businesses, do all of the work and send all of their money home. They cannot be required to hire Iraqis or to reinvest their money in the Iraqi economy. They can take out their investments at any time and in any amount.

"Orders No. 57 and No. 77 ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations.

"Order No. 17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq's laws. Even if they, say, kill someone or cause an environmental disaster, the injured party cannot turn to the Iraqi legal system. Rather, the charges must be brought to U.S. courts.

"Order No. 40 allows foreign banks to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks.

"Order No. 49 drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40% to a flat 15%. The income tax rate is also capped at 15%.

"Order No. 12 (renewed on Feb. 24) suspends "all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq." This led to an immediate and dramatic inflow of cheap foreign consumer products — devastating local producers and sellers who were thoroughly unprepared to meet the challenge of their mammoth global competitors."


The Democracy Rising Interview: Antonia Juhasz

Finally, from above, BearingPoint Clients include nine of the top 10 global wireless carriers, all software, electronics and pharmaceutical companies in the Fortune 100, six of the world's top 10 manufacturing companies, and all 14 Cabinet-level departments of the U.S. government.

Can we say embedded?

There is simply no way to spin this other than the complete rape of a country, plain and simple. Rape is in fact far too benign a word. Dismemberment is more like it; What these laws describe is the dismemberment and dismantling of a country.

Oh, one last thing... take a wild guess who got many no bid contracts for undisclosed amounts to clean up New Orleans from the Katrina disaster (e.g. relief operation)... did you guess BearingPoint Inc.?

McLean, Va.-based BearingPoint Inc (formerly KPMG Consulting )is also involved in Homeland Security contracts, Border Security contracts, EzGov software sevice contracts, Physical Infrastructure Protection, and Immigration Law; of course most of this imformation is behind subscription and pay walls websites and the average person would never know.

"Everything in this room is eatable. In fact even I am eatable, but that is called canabalism my dear children and is frowned upon in most civilizations."~Willy Wonka, from the movie 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'

*Interestingly enough, I have posted about Antonia Juhasz and her work maybe three or four times here on Amsam.org, however, plug that name into the search eng to the right and you get nothing.
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:06 PM
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Schoolgirls as young as 12 are to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease linked to cervical cancer, under controversial plans being drawn up by the Department of Health. [...] This summer Hollie Anderson, 13, became the first British girl to get the vaccine privately. Hollie's grandmother died of cervical cancer and her mother, Lisa Anderson, said she believed every mother and daughter should have the jab. She said: 'I've seen how awful the disease can be. I saw it as my role to protect Hollie.' The main obstacle for the government could be financial - three doses cost the NHS £241.50, although there would be a discount for a universal programme and savings on treating the 2,800 women annually diagnosed with cervical cancer could be significant.

[Ooops, that should have gone in British Samizdat. Here in the American Samizdat, it's virginity or death.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:22 AM
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The State Department continues every Wednesday to issue a 30-page public report that details exactly how the U.S. government is meeting the goals set forth in the president's now-abandoned plan. The report frames the data around Bush's storied eight pillars, which include such goals as "Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgents" (Pillar 1) and "Increase International Support for Iraq" (Pillar 7).
...
The report is prepared not by State Department officials but by a team of about 10 people hired by a management consulting firm. The firm, BearingPoint, has a $2 million contract to produce the report and to manage the process of running Iraq policy in the administration, the State Department official said.

Below the level of the top policymakers, working groups from across the government implement Iraq policy day by day. The BearingPoint employees, who work out of offices in the State Department, arrange the meetings, set the agendas, take notes and provide summaries of the discussions, the official said. They also maintain the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
...
The report seemed uncertain how to treat the release of a report by the Iraq Study Group, the independent bipartisan panel that criticized the administration's policy and spurred the White House to come up with a new plan. The earliest mention of the study group's report, in the Dec. 13 edition, came under Pillar 3, "Help Iraqis to Forge a National Compact for Democratic Government."

The headline said it all: "Iraqi Leaders Blast Iraq Study Group's Report." The State Department, perhaps in an effort to demonstrate the unity of Iraqi leaders, then devoted a whole page to negative quotes about the panel's recommendations.

The Dec. 20 report featured one curious item. Under the rubric of increasing international support, the report highlighted a visit to Damascus, Syria, by Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.). The senators "arrived in Syria December 19 to discuss how Damascus could help bring stability and security in Iraq," the report said, noting that another senator, Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in early December.

The State Department had strongly discouraged the trips, saying Syria is a key source of problems in Iraq.



Also see, It looks like the oil men are going to carry the day in Iraq
While President Bush offered a variety of reasons for invading Iraq, to find weapons of mass destruction or to spread democracy, he has been quite steadfast regarding the role of Iraqi oil. As late as this summer President Bush declared, “The oil belongs to the Iraqi people. It’s their asset.” A wonderful sentiment, though the Iraqi people view this a bit differently.

In a poll sponsored by the University of Michigan this summer, Iraqis gave as the reason behind the United States’ invasion as 1) To control Iraqi oil (76 percent), 2) To build military bases (41 percent) 3) To help Israel (32 percent). Only 2 percent of Iraqis thought we were coming to spread democracy. Politicians might offer benign statements, but the reality is on, or in, the ground. Very shortly we shall see who shall define the reality, and it sure looks like the oil men shall carry the day, at the expense of democracy and economic fairness.

While President Bush proclaims the oil belongs to the Iraqis, it turns out the U.S. State Department proposed the use of Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) for Iraq even before we invaded Iraq in 2003. Since then, the Coalition Provisional Authority, and the various interim Iraqi governments, all heavily influenced by the U.S., have sought to implement this type of agreement. In late summer it was reported “the administration and major oil companies reviewed and commented on a new law governing Iraq’s crucial oil sector, before it has even been seen by the Iraqi parliament.” Corporate lawyers and the oil industry are writing laws for the Iraqi government. The process is skewed to favor the oil industry and unfair to the Iraqi people. snip

Back in 1953 the United States and Great Britain sent Kermit Roosevelt to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran.

Why?

Because Iran’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, had the audacity to nationalize Iranian oil supplies, potentially threatening our energy security. Operation Ajax, as this illegal and covert CIA operation was known, cost less than $500,000, while setting the tone for a generation of subsequent covert operations. This time, a manipulative president deceived a pliant Congress and a gullible American public. In an illusionary grasp at energy security Iraq suffered a ‘shock and awe’ treatment.
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:34 AM
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Monday, December 25, 2006. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:01 PM
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This letter demonstrates that Vatican City, by way of the Roman Catholic Church, has systematically sheltered child abusers for decades. Were these actions carried out by a secular government, I have no doubt that Amnesty International would not hesitate to speak out against such a government. Were these actions carried out by an Islamic government, I have no doubt that Amnesty International would not hesitate to speak out against such a government (as has been the case in 'honor killings'). I suggest it is appropriate for Amnesty International to issue a statement condemning the actions of Vatican City. Is Vatican City an appropriate subject for criticism by Amnesty International? Because Vatican City is a country, and because Amnesty International addresses criminal and immoral behavior in countries, the answer is yes. This open letter to Amnesty International will demonstrate that Vatican City is a country, that Vatican City is responsible for systematic child abuse around the world, and that it is appropriate for Amnesty International to hold Vatican City accountable for this abuse.

[Letter continues at link. This letter has gone unanswered for one year.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:14 AM
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Sunday, December 24, 2006. *
The US is insolvent. There is simply no way for our national bills to be paid under current levels of taxation and promised benefits. Our combined federal deficits now total more than 400% of GDP. That is the conclusion of a recent Treasury/OMB report entitled Financial Report of the United States Government [PDF] that was quietly slipped out on a Friday (12/15/06), deep in the holiday season, with little fanfare. Sometimes I wonder why the Treasury Department doesn’t just pay somebody to come in at 4:30 am Christmas morning to release the report. Additionally, I’ve yet to read a single account of this report in any of the major news media outlets but that is another matter. But, hey, I understand. A report is this bad requires all the muffling it can get.

Despite improvement in both the fiscal year 2006 reported net operating cost and the cash-based budget deficit, the U.S. government’s total reported liabilities, net social insurance commitments, and other fiscal exposures continue to grow and now total approximately $50 trillion, representing approximately four times the Nation’s total output (GDP) in fiscal year 2006, up from about $20 trillion, or two times GDP in fiscal year 2000. As this long-term fiscal imbalance continues to grow, the retirement of the “baby boom” generation is closer to becoming a reality with the first wave of boomers eligible for early retirement under Social Security in 2008. Given these and other factors, it seems clear that the nation’s current fiscal path is unsustainable and that tough choices by the President and the Congress are necessary in order to address the nation’s large and growing long-term fiscal imbalance.

From $20 trillion in fiscal exposures in 2000 to over $50 trillion in only six years? What shall we do for an encore… shoot for $100 trillion? And how about the fact that boomers begin retiring in 2008… that always seemed to be waaaay out in the future. However, beginning January 1st we can start referring to 2008 as ‘next year’ instead of ‘some point in the future too distant to get concerned about now’. Our economic problems need to be classified as growing, imminent, and unsustainable. And let me clarify something. The $53 trillion shortfall is expressed as a ‘net present value’. That means that in order to make the shortfall disappear we’d have to have that amount of cash in the bank – today - earning interest (the GAO uses 5.7% & 5.8% as the assumed long-term rate of return). I’ll say it again - $53 trillion, in the bank, today.

[Article continues at link. See also this list of countries by current account balance. The CIA World Book states the USA is number one in debt to other countries to the tune of $8.837 trillion. When the world is ready to reign in a superpower gone wild, just present the bill.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 11:49 PM
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Saturday, December 23, 2006. *
A militant animal rights group claims to have poisoned bottles of POM Wonderful juices in several retail chains on the East Coast to protest animal testing.

A communique from the Animal Rights Militia (ARM), which was posted on the North American Animal Liberation Press Office Web site, reads: "Those who drink the contaminated juice won’t die like the animals in pom labs, but the diarrhea, vomiting and headaches will hopefully send a strong message that people will no longer allow innocent defenseless animals to be tormented and killed for a health juice." The validity of the claim has not been verified.

The communique goes on to say, "more and more activists like us will choose to retreat into the shadows and fight for the animals underground since the government is making it impossible to do the kinds of things that those who came before us did to oppose injustice, oppression and exploitation."

[Article continues at link. Portland Oregon's own animal rights superstar, Craig Rosebraugh, wrote extensively about the abolition of capitalism. Then he opened an upscale (vegan) restaurant, and when the IWW came to set up a union there he threatened them with the police.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:22 PM
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The United States of America, indeed the whole world, is in deep doo-doo.

There is, in America, a potentially powerful, but presently only nascent (if even that), force for positive change. I submit that if that force is not unleashed in the coming months, there is no hope for reversing a catastrophic path toward what will be the final world war. The political terrain is now littered with explosive devices and our government, all of it, carries around the ignition engines, just looking for an opportunity to push the little buttons.

That force is the American political Left. At present, though, it's just a sleeping giant. What will it take to wake it up, feed it, and unleash its power to drive positive change?

For new readers here, let me clarify that by "American Left" I do not mean the so-called "progressive" or "liberal" wing of the Democratic Party. There are indeed several members of Congress, such as Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, and John Conyers, who take a decidedly leftist position. For the most part, however, those who now call themselves "progressive" are really classical, middle-of-the-road politicians who have consistently supported the Bush administration's foreign and domestic policies.

Keeping abreast of the new Congress's plans for the upcoming session, it is clear that the Democrats will not take up the issues that the "Hard Left" sees as critical priorities: an immediate exit from Iraq, demilitarization of our society, rescinding the PATRIOT Act, reversing the attack on civil rights, rescinding tax breaks for the richest citizens and corporations, and impeaching Bush and Cheney.

In my opinion, it should be clear to those on the Left that spending the past two years hoping to reform the Democratic Party from within was a waste of time. To hope that it will just take more time (two more years? four? ten?) is a mistake, because we don't have more time. I submit that if we do not form a vital and vibrant third-party alternative, with a known and attractive presidential/vice-presidential ticket and strong candidates for Congress, in the next two years, we will be beyond the brink.

Rather than moving an inch or so leftward as the result of a slim Democratic Party majority, the Bush administration will spend the next two years escalating their efforts to forward their agenda. How can we think otherwise? Bush/Cheney have shown just in the past two weeks that they are prepared to ignore any resistance, even from the military leadership. The commander of the war in Iraq, General Abizaid, who has supported Bush unequivocally until recently, has just resigned because he can not influence the President to take a more prudent course. Insiders in Washington report that a thorough shake-up in the military command structure is imminent. And rather than withdrawing troops, the government, with Democratic Party collusion is about to send thousands more troops into harm's way, as well as growing the arms services with the possible reinstitution of a military draft.

At the same time, there is much evidence that the government may soon take even more disastrous military measures in the Middle East, possibly including nuclear strikes.

In order to pull all of this off, I predict that the administration is prepared to pull out all the stops for a domestic counteroffensive against what will surely be a growing protest and resistance. The technology to do this is pervasively in place and we cannot ignore the fact that "detention camps" are being built as you read this. This administration has already proven that they will not countenance any effective opposition to achieving their goals.

So I ask, "What will it take?" What will it take for the Left to abandon the Democratic Party as an agent of real change? What will it take for the dozens of leftist parties, independents, and the unaffiliated and disenfranchised to organize and unify, negotiating common principles and values? And what will it take for this movement to educate the people about what is really happening?

I'm asking because I don't know. In the past, I was a community organizer affiliated actively with Mobilization for Survival, as well as the Democratic Socialists, led by the late Michael Harrington. Although the Left was as much fragmented as it is now, we consistently were able to find common ground in a sustained effort to have our voices heard against the Vietnam war and later against the US military and CIA interventions in Central and South America. We didn't just show up at the semi-annual marches; we worked hard all the time, bringing unrelenting pressure against the reactionary forces of the Right.

Somehow, over two decades, that movement has been discredited. In my recent essay "Just Because It's An Old Idea Doesn't Mean It's A Bad Idea" I wrote that we seem to have left behind many old ideas simply because they're old. We have succumbed to fashion, assuming that these old ideas, principles, and actions won't/don't work anymore.

The Reagan onslaught of the 80s decimated the liberal presence in our government. I remember several liberal members of congress, notably Bill Bradley and Pat Schroeder, simply retire. There is, by the way, a significant body of scholarly work on this issue. Unfortunately it is in Political Science journals for which you need a membership to read on-line. When Bill Clinton, a neoliberal centrist, was finally elected, after twelve years of Reagan and Bush I, the true left was at best moribund, at worst dead.

In "Name That 'Toon: Why There's No Still No Vital Third Party" (here), which I wrote in late October, I explored briefly (and somewhat satirically, I might add) the present state of third parties in the US. Wikipedia lists over sixty third parties, admitting they probably don't have all of them.

Clearly not all of these parties are lefties. Of those that are, many are localized, single issue, small, and/or probably so radical that, as parties, they would be difficult to mobilize. However, if a third party could actually be generated, it might be able to attract many members of these parties.

There have, of course, been third-party and independent candidates in recent elections, Ralph Nader for example. But they have not really been anything except vehicles for celebrity candidates. And some of these candidates rely mainly on endorsements by existing third-parties. In effect, the candidate runs the party, rather than the other way around, so the party disappears and its allies become once again invisible as soon as the election is over.

The Left and its many parties does not have a good track record in organizing. The history of forming a "circular firing squad" is well known. The effort would have to be very principle, value, and goal driven. They main obstacle to overcome is the extreme resistance of many of these parties, mostly on the fringes, to concede some of their ideology in negotiations for common ground. Frankly, this behavior is intransigent and, under the present circumstances, very destructive. Some of these parties have openly and steadfastly held to the line of, "We'll just wait until all else fails and people see that we're right. Then people will flock to us." That just ain't gonna happen.

Although I'm convinced that this path is the only one which might save us, I have neither the expectation nor the influence to lead such a movement. I do, however, have some suggestions:

  • people must contact the leaderships of the various parties and groups and encourage them to reach out to other parties

  • after some initial negotiations, these parties must at a "summit" at which consensus must be reached as to principles, tactics, and strategies

  • those parties who currently espouse violence must by all means reject that. Parties and groups who continue to embrace violence must be excluded

  • there absolutely must be a spirit of cooperation, flexibility, and some degree of selflessness. Focus on what can be done, rather than what can't

  • the movement must be multi-racial and cultural. It must not be exclusive

  • the urgency of the situation must be recognized and turned into a powerful force for mobilization

  • principles must drive candidates, not the other way around. To simply endorse Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader is defeatist, although fielding candidates with some name recognition is important. Once principles are negotiated, appropriate candidates will appear


As I said, I can't make this happen. I'm not sure where to start, other than the suggestions I've just made. Maybe the Meetup system can be a tool. All I know is that this kind of thing has happened successfully in the past, and must happen now.

Saul Alinsky said, "We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it." I say, "Git 'er done"!
posted by ddjango at 12:54 PM
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A UN gift to our new boy King!

Following two months of debate, the UN Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:14 PM
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Religion in the UK and the USA
Julian Glover and Alexandra Topping: Religion does more harm than good. "More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension - greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good. The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree. The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities."

Eva-Marie Ayala: "Women said peer was 'demonically oppressed.' "Two women fired from UT-Arlington told supervisors that they prayed and rubbed religious oils on a co-worker's cubicle because they believed she was 'demonically oppressed,' according to personnel records the university released Friday. In an e-mail to supervisors, [a] male co-worker said he was invited to witness the praying and cleansing but became uncomfortable when Shatkin began to chant loudly and rub perfumed oil on the absent co-worker's cubicle wall. The man quoted Shatkin as praying, 'You vicious evil dogs. Get the hell out of here in the name of Jesus. ... I command you to leave.'"
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:28 AM
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Looking for a DVD for a Christmas Gift perhaps??

A former US policeman and undercover drug agent has appalled narcotics officials by introducing a Christmas video for drug users on how to avoid arrest and fool the police.

Barry Cooper, who is described by former colleagues as perhaps the best drug- enforcement officer in America, will next week begin marketing Never Get Busted Again, which will show viewers how to “conceal their stash, avoid narcotics profiling and fool canines every time”.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:31 AM
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Friday, December 22, 2006. *
retired Colonel Sam Gardiner said in an interview this week that he sees several signs that the United States is in fact moving on a warpath to Iran. He suggested that the talk of sending additional troops to Iraq could actually be about Iran, and said he is also seeing signs that the administration “is beginning to develop the strategic communications message. It is about Iran more and more that you hear people talking …The evidence suggests the White House put an embargo on talking about Iran beginning the second week in October…” That embargo now appears to have been lifted, Gardiner says. “A story” -- an Iran narrative -- “is being put together.”
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:48 PM
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Six years ago, the Boy Scouts convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that their deep-seated principles gave them a constitutional right to exclude gays and atheists. Now the California Supreme Court has been asked to look at the other side of that coin - whether the Scouts are a religious organization ineligible for certain types of government aid, including dollar-a-year leases of public land.

[Article continues at link. I support the Boy Scouts of America being able to exclude anyone they want, as long as they remain a private organization. When they get tax funding, they have to play by the same rules everyone else does.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 4:59 PM
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Robin Hayes


North Carolina 8th Distric Congressman Robin Hayes claims stability in Iraq depends on "spreading the message of Jesus Christ [...] everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the savior."

[Rather than more of one superstition and less of another, I suggest less superstition across the board is the way to have more peace and stability in the world.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 4:53 PM
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This is why it seems to me that organization is the most important thing. Education and organization.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:23 PM
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(pic goes to different link)
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:10 PM
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More college students seem to be practicing traditional forms of religion today than at any time in my 30 years of teaching.

At first glance, the flourishing of religion on campuses seems to reverse trends long criticized by conservatives under the rubric of “political correctness.” But, in truth, something else is occurring. Once again, right and left have become mirror images of each other; religious correctness is simply the latest version of political correctness. Indeed, it seems the more religious students become, the less willing they are to engage in critical reflection about faith.

The chilling effect of these attitudes was brought home to me two years ago when an administrator at a university where I was then teaching called me into his office. A student had claimed that I had attacked his faith because I had urged him to consider whether Nietzsche’s analysis of religion undermines belief in absolutes. The administrator insisted that I apologize to the student. (I refused.) [...] Distinguished scholars at several major universities in the United States have been condemned, even subjected to death threats, for proposing psychological, sociological or anthropological interpretations of religious texts in their classes and published writings. In the most egregious cases, defenders of the faith insist that only true believers are qualified to teach their religious tradition.

[Article continues at link. Tell you what: you don't pray in my schools and I won't think in your church.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:05 AM
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Thursday, December 21, 2006. *


posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:46 PM
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Why do we hate the puny bands we see on MTV (when they bother to play music)? Because some of us remember when Gods walked the Earth (see below)..

posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:44 PM
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posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:41 PM
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"Failure" by the Kings of Convenience

posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:30 PM
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Video coverage of the Swift immigrant raids
Via BlueLatinos.org: Greeley Colorado.

Via HispanicTips: Video from Cactus, Texas.

Both will feature the occasional clueless person (in the interest of being "fair and balanced"), but will at least give you some idea of what went down.
posted by Don Durito at 3:56 PM
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The Mississippi-based American Family Association says it has sold more than 500,000 buttons and 125,000 bumper stickers bearing the slogan "Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saying."

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal aid group that boasts a network of some 900 lawyers standing ready to "defend Christmas," says it has moved about 20,000 "Christmas packs." The packs, available for a suggested $29 donation, include a three-page legal memo and two lapel pins.

And Liberty Counsel, a conservative law firm affiliated with the Rev. Jerry Falwell, says it has sold 12,500 legal memos on celebrating Christmas and 8,000 of its own buttons and bumper stickers.

[Article continues at link. Are secular people equally tricked by marketing programs like this, or does it take superstition to make people gullible enough to pay protection money for nontroversies like the 'war on Christmas?']
posted by Trevor Blake at 2:53 PM
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Merry X-mass! to nice Mr. nsa guy and the contract paid wanna be g-men...Something for YOU sadist's to masterbate to...


Warning!

This video contains graphic images and audio of torture and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


posted by Uncle $cam at 9:46 AM
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Brian Eno, Arundhati Roy, Ahdaf Soueif, and John Berger are among the 94 artists from Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East who have joined a cultural boycott against Israel.

The Berger letter, signed by artists from across Europe, North and South America, as well as Palestinians and Israelis, reads:

"There is a fragile ceasefire in Lebanon, albeit daily violated by Israeli overflights. Meanwhile the day to day brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues. Ten Palestinians are killed for every Israeli death; more than 200, many of them children, have been killed since the summer. UN resolutions are flouted, human rights violated as Palestinian land is stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For archbishop Desmond Tutu, as for the Jewish (former ANC military commander presently South African minister of security), Ronnie Kasrils, the situation of the Palestinians is worse than that of black South Africans under apartheid. Meantime Western governments refer to Israel's 'legitimate right' of self-defence, and continue to supply weaponry.

The challenge of apartheid was fought better. The non-violent international response to apartheid was a campaign of boycott, divestment, and, finally UN imposed sanctions which enabled the regime to change without terrible bloodshed. Today Palestinians teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental organisations have called for a comparable academic and cultural boycott of Israel as offering another path to a just peace. This call has been endorsed internationally by university teachers in many European countries, by film-makers and architects, and by some brave Israeli dissidents. It is now time for others to join the campaign ¡ as Primo Levi asked: If not now, when?

We call on creative writers and artists to support our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues by endorsing the boycott call. Read the Palestinian call (The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).

Don't visit, exhibit or perform in Israel!"
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:32 AM
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US interrogators have devised a new form of torture. It debases the democracy they claim to be defending.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 12th December 2006.

After thousands of years of practice, you might have imagined that every possible means of inflicting pain had already been devised. But you should never underestimate the human capacity for invention. United States interrogators, we now discover, have found a new way of destroying a human being.


US/Nazi torturers "have found a new way of destroying a human being," (a "new form of torture") - thanks to George Monbiot for remembering Jose Padilla, a US citizen. We should too. And that requires hard work, courage - nothing less than delegitimizing the entire system and bringing these fucking bastards to justice.
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:48 AM
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006. *
The United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran that will come as the United Nations continues to debate possible sanctions against the country, Pentagon and military officials said Wednesday.

The officials said that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was expected this week to approve a request by commanders for a second aircraft carrier and its supporting ships to be stationed within quick sailing distance of Iran by early next year.

Senior American officers said the increase in naval power should not be viewed as preparations for any offensive strike against Iran. But they acknowledged that the ability to hit Iran would be increased and that Iranian leaders might well call the growing presence provocative.
...
Steps are already being taken to increase the number of minesweeping vessels and magnetic “sleds” carried by helicopters to improve the ability to counter Iranian mines that could block oil-shipping lanes, Pentagon and military officials said.

As part of future deployments after the first of the year, the British Navy plans to add two mine-hunting vessels to its ships that already are part of the international coalition patrolling waters in the Persian Gulf.

A Royal Navy news release said the ship movements were aimed at “maintaining familiarity with the challenges of warm water mine-hunting conditions.” But a senior British official said: “We are increasing our presence. That is only prudent.” Military officers said doubling the aircraft carrier presence in the region could be accomplished quickly by a shift in sailing schedules.
...
at present there are about 45 warships deployed in the Persian Gulf and waters across the region from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, with a third of those supplied by allies, which this month include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Britain.


Tick tock, tick tock...
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:40 PM
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Happy Solstice 2006
posted by Youngfox at 10:07 PM
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One of the characteristics of the illness I call "americanism" is the tendency to pay attention to style and hype rather than truth. We want so much to embrace the latest popular trend, as dictated by Madison Avenue and mass media, that we forget that fashion passes, but truth does not. Fashion can be made up, but truth cannot; it can only be discovered or revealed.

We are destructively ready to abandon the truth of basic principles and believe the latest fashion. Fashion is the great distracter; exceptionally seductive. So, for Americans, there is no real truth, there is no lasting truth. There is only a deep desire to embrace the Mississippi River of new jargon, new hype, new dress, new products, new "trends", new values, and, demonically, new wars, new exploitations, new lies. In America, there is a universal conviction that if something is new, it must be better. New ideas are good, old ideas are bad garbage.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm no neo-Luddite. The new idea that emotional and mental difficulties are often the result of a brain disease, a biochemical imbalance, rather than some failure of will and character, has saved my life. The latter (old) idea nearly killed me. The new idea allowed me to explore new solutions. Interestingly enough, however, this particular old idea is dying hard, thanks to the economic necessity of marginalizing the mentally ill into the lumpen proletariat, the insanity of Tom Cruisian Scientology, and the unrelenting popular history of absolute fear and hatred of crazy people. We're still ready to kill the insane, rather than compassionately help and nurture them (sorry . . . us, because I am one by society's definition). I have found in general that those old ideas which allow one man to claim superiority over another tend to be the most enduring.

In this post-capitalist era, a decidedly deadly and destructive period of humanity, most new ideas are driven by the need to sell something, and folks only buy antiques because they're cool. We've sacrificed our brains, our hearts, our will, and our souls for the current sexy image. Our common religion is not Christianity, but "progress".

It is safe, I think, to assume that an idea is held as "good" or "bad" by listening to what people say and watching what they do. With this in mind, let's examine several contrasts between what appear to be "bad" (old) and "good" (new) ideas.

One that most exemplifies my above notion that many new ideas are driven by the needs and functions of capitalism: "Money is the root of all evil." Benjamin Franklin on this subject: "He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money." And Xun Zi (310-237 BC): "Human nature is such that people are born with a love of profit If they follow these inclinations, they will struggle and snatch from each other, and inclinations to defer or yield will die." So the corrupting power of money is a pretty old idea.

Contrast this with, "Greed is good." That's a pretty popular new idea. "He who dies with the most toys wins." After 911, President Bush encouraged the American people to remain steadfast in the protection of our way of life by "getting out and shopping." The implications of this are many, including "the new is always better than the old", therefore it must be more valuable. The concept that "more is better than less" is a corollary of this new philosophy.

We can explain this rejection of the old (bad) idea by writing it off as "human nature." Even if that is so, the need of capitalistic progress to maintain "growth" and "progress" certainly exploits this (possible) aspect of the essential human character. And now we admire and value the rich more than we do the poor, often regardless of the spiritual values and principles which the poor person may carry.

I recently came across a quote from Henry George's Progress and Poverty:
The evils arising from the unequal and unjust distribution of wealth become more and more apparent as modern civilization goes on. They are not signs of progress, but tendencies that will bring progress to a halt. They will not cure themselves. Unless their cause is removed, they will expand until they sweep us back into barbarism -- the path every previous civilization has taken.

But this truth also shows that these evils are not imposed by natural laws. They arise solely from social maladjustments that ignore natural laws. Poverty, with all the evils that flow from it, springs from a denial of justice. By allowing a few to monopolize opportunities nature freely offers to all, we have ignored the fundamental law of justice.
Next, we seem to have abandoned the old idea that "war is bad; peace is good" and embraced its opposite. Never mind that the majority of Americans think this war is bad. I am not convinced that we will practice restraint if we are given a good excuse for the next one. We only abhor wars we cannot win.

From antiquity to the very present, wisdom has shown us that war is a bad idea. Ben Franklin again: "There was never a good war, or a bad peace." Cicero "An unjust peace is better than a just war." Percy Bysshe Shelley: "Man has no right to kill his brother. It is no excuse that he does so in uniform: he only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder." Voltaire: "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." The Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not kill."

None of these statements sounds equivocal to me, but it seems that it is not so hard to abandon the old idea because "this time it is justified." It looks like peace might be considered a bad idea for a long time, since warmongers claim that "the war against terror" will last for decades. So now we have a bulwark justification for a nearly endless war.

The initial justification for waging our current wars was revenge. "We can't let the attacks of 911 go unanswered." Considering the fact that Christ in the New Testament urged us to "turn the other cheek", we have embraced the even older, Old Testament idea of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." Retaliatory war causes retaliatory war causes . . .

[more at P! . . .]
posted by ddjango at 3:53 PM
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Core Strategic Premises

* Our obedience is the goal of rulers.
* Enclosure is their process to gain obedience… when murder quits working.
* Commodification is their method to accomplish enclosure.
* Ideology is the disguise that conceals and reproduces their power inside our minds.
* Epistemology is the constructed "knowledge" of which the disguise is assembled.
* Independence is the precondition of effective and active resistance.
* Independence of action facilitates independence of mind, and independence of mind facilitates independence of action.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:02 PM
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In life, Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was among the most famous Jews of the 20th century. In death, he wound up on a list of people eligible to be posthumously baptised as Mormons so they could enter heaven.

Bowing to protests from Jewish groups, The Church of Latter Day Saints said on Tuesday that it had removed Wiesenthal's name from its International Genealogical Index, a database of names of people who be could be baptised after death.

A church spokesman said the Nazi hunter's name was taken off the list after receiving a complaint from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights group named in his honour.

[Article continues at link. The Mormons baptised Hitler after death, so Hitler is going to heaven while Wiesenthal is going to hell. Religion softens minds and hardens hearts.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:05 AM
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The post-hurricane gambling boom in Louisiana more or less came to a stop in November as gamblers lost $199.7 million in state-licensed casinos.

The figure was up from $184.4 million in November 2005, but that included a time when Harrah's New Orleans Casino was shuttered because of Hurricane Katrina. Harrah's provided $32.6 million of the overall take last month, state police reported today.

[Article continues at link. Critical thinking skills might have prevented those people from giving $199.7 million in tax dollars designated for disaster relief to casinos instead. It might have even prevented them from living in a flood-prone area, or caused them to make their own provisions for surviving a flood. Critical thinking skills also might influence people to not vote for politicians who will clearly betray their best interests, or to tolerate superstition enfranchised into law. What can I do today to increase my and other people's critical thinking skills?]
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:58 AM
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006. *
Former CIA Official Exposes Bush Administration Fraud

Flynt Leverett worked as a senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, the NSC, and he was a CIA analyst. He was recently threatened with criminal prosecution for trying to publish an op-ed in the NYT's.

Also see, Also see, Censored former official: White House blocked op-ed with no classified data
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:41 PM
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"We retain the rhetoric of liberal democracy, but in concrete terms this supposed democracy gets enacted as the commodity culture, in which freedom of choice really means [Coke versus Pepsi]." It looks like the 'tapeworm' is on the move:

Cheney’s Revenge
"This is the largest massing of military power in the region, and it is gathering for a reason."



The cabal will find a way to attack Iran...they have to. Notice that link I posted above about how Haliburton is being cut out of the action even via one of it's proxy companies?

For that and for many other reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the 9/11 truthers are catching up with all the lies...there has to be another catastrophic event, and soon.

This one will be 'the enchilada' as the Nixonion White House staffers used to say. This one will be the one where the cabal stares down the pathetic leftist opposition and merely says... We have star wars, we have HAARP, we have The Bomb we have numerous other biowarfare weapons...we have the entire world surrounded and we're taking over.

We're setting up a NWO and the first thing that goes is the Internet. At least as it is now known and loved....the new Internet will be just a high speed version of the boring and dried up Zionist MSM that nobody pays any attention to anymore. Like it or lump it.

Oh, and by the way, the banks have taken all your money and locked it up and will be doling it out to you in nickles and dimes.....so don't make any expensive plans.

Yes, it will be a Brave New World...and it will be starting shortly in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Democratic majority in Congress almost guarantees that the Cabal must launch a "DOS" (Denial-of-Service) attack on Democrats by melting-down the economy, launching a new war, and creating as many crises as possible to keep (nosey, investigating) Dems busy.

It's all part of The Long Coup which began you-know-when. By the time U.S. military are on U.S. streets, the "military" part of The Long Coup will be merely a technical formality.

Hell, it's already begun...

US Army Might Break Goodyear Strike
By Bernard Simon
The Financial Times

The US Army is considering measures to force striking workers back to their jobs at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Kansas in the face of a looming shortage of tires for Humvee trucks and other military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan. A strike involving 17,000 members of the United Steelworkers union has crippled 16 Goodyear plants in the US and Canada since October 5.
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:11 AM
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I can't help but think of Amira Hass's article of this past summer. Her words reverberate over and over again in my mind.

The experiment was a success: The Palestinians are killing each other. They are behaving as expected at the end of the extended experiment called "what happens when you imprison 1.3 million human beings in an enclosed space like battery hens.

The average person don't know what to think anymore. They are confused and and exhausted and mostly very, very afraid.

As a friend of my mother put it today, "We don’t know anymore who's right and who’s wrong, and who’s at fault and who isn’t. And we just want it to end."


Given that last quote, I would say the "policy" (heavy sarcasm) is working just exactly the way it was intended to.
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:17 AM
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Monday, December 18, 2006. *
The other day, a natural healing practitioner explained the strategy used by a tapeworm to prosper. A tapeworm, she said, injected a chemical into its host that triggered a craving by the host for what the tapeworm wished for its dinner. By managing its host’s desire, a tapeworm manipulated its host to set aside self-interest and please its parasite. And so the tapeworm proceeded to consume its host’s energy and health, with the host doing most of the work.


The story of how a tapeworm parasitically eats away at its ecosystem came at a moment when the math lover in me was having an adverse reaction to the description of America as the new Roman Empire that seems to be inspired by the recent occupation of Iraq. The investment economics of American imperial conquest work more along the lines of the tapeworm than of the Romans.


If my rudimentary understanding of the rise and fall of ancient empires is useful, the Roman Empire brought an advancement of science, infrastructure, technology and material progress to many of the poorer lands that it conquered. In essence, Rome’s territory grew in part from its ability to increase the ‘return on investment” of many of the places it conquered.

...

The tapeworm -- a parasite that over time eats its host ---can more accurately describe the demonic patterns of stripping places of intellectual capital that come with American imperial conquest. The “dumbing down” so often complained about within America’s borders is a phenomenon that our military appears to be implementing globally. We seem intent on removing spiritual power and intellectual IQ as we depopulate globally, moving out the honest and competent and putting the corrupt and bureaucratic in charge.


One of the things that is most disturbing about the American tapeworm is that it has organized its leadership around private banks and defense contractors and its governance and intellectual air cover around think tanks and private universities and their tax-exempt endowments.

...

The Tapeworm Ransacking of Iraq

The economic desperation that lead up to the invasion of Iraq has been eloquently described by Chris Sanders of Sanders Research Associates and fits the patterns that SRA colleague John Laughland and his colleagues at the British Helsinki Human Rights Group, have documented in Eastern Europe. Assuming the patterns that we have seen throughout the world apply, that tapeworm’s economic desperation will feed on Iraq as follows:


- The first meal to be harvested on Iraq is the profits of invasion --- from government contracts and arms trafficking to media coverage.


- The second meal to be harvested on Iraq is the resulting control of assets, including gold, oil, bank accounts and antiquities. Iraq will be stripped, shipped, or otherwise switched to new ownership. Occupiers will use Iraqi assets to leverage more debt that generates more contracts and business for the inside companies. The antiquities in Iraq and this area of the world have a special meaning and attraction for the American and British leadership networks, so don't underestimate the value of these. The gold bugs at LeMetropole Café reported that the Americans have captured $1 billion of gold which was quite relevant as the NY Fed Banks (particularly JP Morgan, Goldman, Citibank) are running significant short positions to suppress the gold price. Such a replenishment of their stocks (or the US Treasury whom they may be trading on the account of -- they usually simply move the shorts over to the taxpayers on all these types of situations) will be quite refreshing.


- The third meal on Iraq to be harvested will be “occupation management.” If Eastern Europe is representative, America will partner with local and global organized crime and other intelligence agencies to significantly increase organized crime profits from the place. Attractive children will be culled from the population for shipment to Europe and other areas for sex slavery and pedophilia. Narcotics trafficking will increase as it has in Afghanistan. The award to CSC DynCorp of a $500 million sole source contract to run police, courts and judiciary in Iraq is an important signal. After years of research, my question is whether CSC DynCorp’s core competencies relates to enforcement infrastructure designed for places with growing financial fraud, narcotics trafficking, sex slavery and control of leadership through "control files.” These are the talents that the U.S.-based economic elites need to stripmine the assets to feed its economic desperation.


- The fourth meal to be harvested on Iraq will be “fixing” it and declaring “victory.” This will involve significant government contracts to bring “Western Civilization” as defined by building those things that ensure the assets that the private corporations and investors have now acquired have the largest increase in value at no expense to themselves. A careful analysis will show expenditure rations in the “soviet” style—that is, the U.S. government will spend much more than necessary to get anything done. The banks will acquire an entirely new market. Critical to the fixing it phase is the financing of the occupation with the requirement that Iraq use the US dollar. We will print dollars and the Iraqis will use them. This is free financing for us. Next will come the payback for the not-for -profit groups. Because Christianity is an essential political support base for legitimizing the de-population of the Muslim territories, a flow of resources to the right church groups to support an expansion of their missionary ministries is likely. Progressive groups will bid for contracts to bring the rule of law and economic development and things like “the rights of women.” There will be a flow of money from foundations and universities to study how to help Iraq and to justify what we are doing.The Tapeworm's Triumph? Confronting the Parasitic Corporate Underpinnings of U.S. Empire



Re: Tapeworm Talk

Some scientists recently proposed that parasites were, in fact, the "top of the food chain" and that we other organisms evolved specifically to be vehicles for them.

Interesting. We do seem to have the predisposition for it. I used to have regular fights with a day-trader friend of mine who insisted that welfare recipients were "social parasites", whereas I insisted that that distinction belonged to the leisure class (whether you define the leisure class as merely bourgeois, or if you expand that, as I do, to include highly overpaid, but useless, CEOs). By my reckoning, the Bush Dynasty represents the penultimate achievement of human parasites.

The analogy of how a tapeworm influences behaviour chemically is illustrative, but there are better examples. Take the humble Sacculina carcini , which does not have a common name because few people want to get to know it any better. It's an amorphous crab parasite that injects itself into its host where it grows "roots" into every part of the crab's body. It then steers its host in the same way that we would steer a car... it takes over the motor functions of the crab who then becomes a zombie slave. If the host crab is male (which is unsuitable for the parasite to reproduce), it changes the host into a female. The crab will no longer moult or be able to regrow appendages as healthy crabs do... it's short, unhappy life is dedicated exclusively to foraging for food for its parasite with no nutrients going towards its own survival any longer. Kind of like what Halliburton does to congress.

Also see, August 2000 Discover Magazine article Do Parasites Rule the World? , by Carl Zimmer.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:30 PM
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Today's young adults are feeling the full, deep impact of a massive shift in the US economy, and are no longer able to start and sustain a family, build a career and grow assets in the same manner as the previous generation, according to a new report series published today by Demos, a national, nonpartisan public policy center.

The new five-part "Young Adult Economics Series" shows that America's young people are feeling the full effect of a 30-year shift from an industrial to technology- and service-based U.S. economy. The series shows that the combination of stagnant wage growth, growing debt, and high costs of education, homeownership and healthcare are new realities. These are now common factors that challenge the ability of America's 20-and 30-somethings to start, and sustain, an economically stable adult life.


whether you "buy into" the "American dream" or not, this situation is like Saturn devouring his children. I do think the US needs to downsize its consumption, but not at the expense of the young.
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:33 PM
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People who seek and hold power over others aren’t influenced for the good by public discourse. They mine it for leverage, seek ways to direct it towards things supportive of their programs and mine it for trendy, effective rationales. Public discourse is a vehicle for their psychological warfare. The first step is always getting people to consider something patently ridiculous as worthy of serious attention. Social Security, for example, is now under attack by Charles Rangel [D-NY] and Robert Rubin , the Clinton administration Secretary of the Treasury. They know their arguments are bogus. They want them to be taken seriously, and discussed seriously, so that elements of them appear in the received wisdom columns in the newspapers. Eventually, enough people will accept that there must be something wrong. Why would people be talking about it so much if there weren’t?

One might well ask how anyone could know that such things are psychological warfare, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s because the designers of the campaign explicitly say so. They’re proud of it, they think it’s good and a good thing to be doing. When someone says he’s going to do something and then verifiably takes steps to do it, you’re not going to get much better proof. People like that aren’t going to be swayed by debunking. At best, they’ll be forced to change their perception management tactics. They’ll be swayed when 20 or 30 percent of the labor force refuses to show up for work. They’ll be swayed when they lose privileged access to crony networks. The “lesser evilism” votes harvested by cretins like Rangel aren’t persuasive. Every counter-argument, no matter how well explicated, becomes a waste of effort if the last step of it is affirming the shreds of legitimacy he’s gained through formalized, circumscribed democracy.

The programs offered by Spartacus and Lohmann offer much more scope for achieving something positive. They’re fairly modest, goodness knows.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:20 AM
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