Saturday, June 29, 2002
Nukes in Space (revisited)
The physician/activist Helen Caldicott is on CSpan's Book Events this weekend and she gives a powerful one hour presentation on the current arms situation. Her website is here. I urge you to set your TIVOs...
She insists that there is no question that the Pentagon currently runs the White House and that nukes in space is numero uno on the general military agenda for the future, with the goal of being able to vaporize enemies from beyond the stratosphere. The following recent articles provide context to this assertion:
US spurns Russia, China's bid to ban arms in space -- Reuters
Russia, China Seek To Ban Space Arms -- Guardian
And on 6/26/02:
US to have single command for nuclear force, missile defence - Hindustan Times
The Pentagon is to create a single military command for US nuclear and missile defenses, as well as a network of early warning satellites and radars, US ...
Also: Bush approves plan to merge Strategic, Space Commands - Nando Times
Rumsfeld Announces New US Military Command - Reuters
Bush Oks Plan To Merge Commands - Guardian, UK
Pentagon creating a new military command - China Daily
Si Lewen... The Parade - A story in 55 drawings (1957, H. Bittner And Company, New York). Also... A Journey - 72 Drawings by Si Lewen (1980, Philadelphia: The Art Alliance Press, London and Toronto: Associated University Presses). "...Si Lewen's work reflects a world of step-by-step progression of often tragic events and images. For him everything is but a step, a transition to the next stage. All of his work is a part of a procession, a migration, an Odyssey. In A Journey the 'visitor' travels through the nightmare of the concentration camp, where the camp serves as the ultimate expression of the nation state." From The Art of Si Lewen.
Friday, June 28, 2002
People Power On Tour
The event is entitled "Democracy Rising," a stop on the "People Have the Power Tour." Consumer activist-cum-presidential candidate Ralph Nader organized it. He'll headline the concert/rally, part of his latest stab at finding ways to mobilize huge crowds of disaffected young people who are more likely to attend rock concerts than to canvass voters or picket nukes.
our lack of affection and respect...
for the current resident of la casa blanca is pretty obvious
to anybody who's visited the dumbmonkey over the last year
or so, but in this instance, we do have a minor bit of sympathy
for el residente, & Please the Goddess, don't let Cheney get any ideas...
For the uninitiated, the minor procedure described.
Tennis Bonds Jewish-Muslim Friendship
The Wimbledon men's doubles pair of Amir Hadad and Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi are doing their part to show the unifying spirit of sport - Hadad is an Israeli and Qureshi a Muslim from Pakistan.
Israel wants UN observers
Israel demands that UN personnel start reporting all military activity in the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza to the UN. "Israel has begun a campaign in the United States and the United Nations to urge a reconsideration of the way the UN Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA], which runs the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, operates," Ha'aretz reports.
International observers could prevent or defuse violent escalations in the conflict by monitoring who is provoking who and how, who is starting violence, who is reacting, etcetera. By publishing those observations, it will be much more difficult for all parties to get away with unjustifiable actions and to manipulate public opinion with false information. However, despite strong international pressure, Israel has in the last few years refused to allow international observers in the Occupied Territories. Now it seems that Israel does want observers, but, observers who only monitor the Palestinian camps, and not the actions of the Israeli army and the settlers.
Problem is that UNRWA does not "run" the camps. And saying that "UNRWA is complicit in terrorism because it turns a blind eye to militant activity in 'its' camps," is nonsense. UNRWA about this myth:
UNRWA does not run refugee camps. It is a UN agency with a clearly defined mandate, in accordance with which, it provides health, education and other humanitarian services to refugees, only one third of whom live in refugee camps. The Agency has never been given any mandate to administer, supervise or police the refugee camps or to have any jurisdiction or legislative power over the refugees or the areas where they lived. The Agency has no police force, no intelligence service and no mandate to report on political and military activities. This responsibility has always remained with the host countries and Israel, who maintained law and order, including within refugee camps.
[More myths and facts about UNRWA]
UNRWA has problems enough fullfilling their actual mandate, especially with the violence and the severe economical crisis in the Occupied Territories caused by the closure imposed by Israel. The Agency barely has enough money to provide the Palestinian refugees with basic education and very basic health care. Moreover, UNRWA is responsible for the refugees' housing and for the infrastructure in the camps: the organization has to rebuild the houses, clinics, roads and sewer systems that have been destroyed by the Israeli army.
If Israel wants observers, it should ask for trained observers with a proper mandate, a mandate that includes monitoring the actions of the Israeli army and the settlers.
A Jewish demographic state
Having lodged itself close to the top of the national agenda, the issue of demography is forcing both the right and the left to grapple with the difficult dilemma at the heart of the state's character. Can Israel be a Jewish and democratic state? Is there any such animal?
About three months ago Prof. Arnon Sofer sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The subject was the need for separation from the Palestinians. "Most of the inhabitants of Israel realize that there is only one solution in the face of our insane and suicidal neighbor - separation," wrote Sofer. "You should have known this months before they did, as the grave demographic data were put on your desk many months ago. In the absence of separation, the meaning of such a majority (of Arabs - L.G.) - is the end of the Jewish state of Israel. You should remember that on the same day as the Israel Defense Forces is investing efforts and succeeding in eliminating one terrorist or another, on that very same day, as on every day of the year, within the territories of western Israel, about 400 children are being born, some of whom will become new suicide terrorists! Do you realize this?"
At Bar-Ilan University there has been an examination, in a series of surveys, of attitudes toward basic values like peace, democracy and a Jewish state. At various points in time, the Jewish state has been perceived as the value of supreme importance. Peace and democracy alternate among themselves in secondary places after this value, in accordance with events in the background of the particular survey. This is no doubt the reason so many people avoid discussing the issue, as they are aware of the fact that behind "the demographic issue" there are masses of people whose very existence is defined as a problem.
"It's frightening when Jews talk about demography," says Dr. Amnon Raz- Krakotzkin of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "There were those who believed that the ethnic cleansing of 1948 solved the problem. Now they are discovering to their dismay a reality in which the Jews will always be a minority in the Middle East." By "they," Raz-Krakotzkin means the Israeli left. As he sees it, the left's view of the world is based on a demographic principle, just like the worldview of transfer. [more]
Can anyone tell me how this discussion of a Jewish state, which talks about the removal of a "problem" population — the Arabs, is any different than the discussions, in a European country almost 70 years ago, of an Ayran state, which talked about the removal of a "problem" population — the Jews? Enquiring minds want to know.
It's almost funny watching the politicians fall all over themselves lining up behind the Pledge of Allegiance and against that 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that the words "under God" makes the Pledge unconstitutional.
I'm sorry, but the Pledge of Allegiance was just fine WITHOUT those two words.
Those two words were added during the McCarthy/ Cold War era of the 50's, in order to "distinguish" ourselves from the Communists. You know--like, See, we're different, we're better--our government believes in God.
There's no place for God in government. Our government is for the people, by the people, not by God. Our lives are by God. Government is not the end all and be all; if you believe in God, than you know that God's laws are higher than those of government. Separating God from government ensures that we don't live in a God-ordained kingdom, with a God-ordained king, or a God-ordained despot.
Bush: "We need commonsense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God." via DAILY VEXATION
'When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. ' - Benjamin Franklin.
'The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. ' - Benjamin Franklin.
'I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.' - Benjamin Franklin.
'Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so.' - Benjamin Franklin.
'Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.' - Benjamin Franklin. via PLEP
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Books: Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy
A good many socially minded Americans have invested some energy working in opposition to one corporation or another. Perhaps it is to curb a potential abuse or bring about some remedy for past harms: to clean up a toxic waste site, to stop a harmful mining operation, or to prevent road building or logging in an old growth forest. If the campaign succeeds there’s good cause for happy, hopeful celebration. Yet, after the immediate elation passes, so many other issues seem to say nothing has really changed. The essential powers granted to corporations that allow them to ravage public lands, to pollute the air, land and water, to privatize and plunder publicly held resources, remain solidly entrenched beyond the control of the people. We spin our wheels, dissipating our common pool of energy battling a host of staggering abuses one by one.
Euphemism for Israeli Settlements Confuse Coverage
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported last month (5/31/02) that at the behest of a Likud party minister, the Israel Broadcasting Authority has banned its editorial departments from using the terms "settlers" or "settlements" on radio and TV.Somewhere, there sits the men and women who think up the language of what the government of the United States of Hypocrisy and Israel are really doing. Then they basically hand it to the corporate media who repeat it with high-priced sets, mugs and hair. Statisticians, linguists, and evil-writer-types all confer and come up with things like "Tell the public they are attacking us because they are resentful of our freedom. Repeat 'we are a freedom-loving people' every chance you get." If they are the Heritage Foundation, they deliver daily notes to the House and Senate, member by member (and also call up NPR when they are ready to spin; npr, in turn, slobbers all over them like a dog feeding on bacon). They consult Hollywood: Fiction Dept., to solicit advice and also to inject with the party line: CONTROL (and the messages thereof).
The rebel alliance counterspins, and continues to grow. They have the (media) markets; we have the truth. They cannot win, if we keep our brains. What happens next, depends on everything: you.
For Some Religious Groups, Drug Laws Do More Harm Than Drugs Themselves
...a devout Christian, started looking into the research on marijuana and what she found surprised her. She found no evidence to back up the horrible things she had heard about the drug, and when she searched the Bible for any reference to it she found nothing at all. So she began to wonder why some religious leaders seemed to favor stiff penalties for marijuana users. Linkage via Anodyne.
Channel Surfing the Apocalypse! Check the vid wicked action @ inna EBN stylee. wget that if you're a dialup like I.
Raymond Pettibon... No title (Acid got me) (1986, ink on paper). "...Acid got me fired at Disney." From selected Works by Raymond Pettibon at David Zwirner. Also... Raymond Pettibon (January 12 through February 12, 2000). Works from Pettibon's third exhibition at David Zwirner. "...One of the most important artists to emerge from Southern California, Raymond Pettibon's work embraces the full spectrum of American culture from the deviations of marginal youth-culture to art, literature, sports, religion, politics, and sexuality. His early works appeared on album covers for his brother Greg Ginn's band, Black Flag, and in fanzines and photocopied books that he distributed himself."
Supreme Court OKs random drug tests in schools. "The Supreme Court approved random drug tests for many public high school students Thursday, ruling that schools' interest in ridding their campuses of drugs outweighs an individual's right to privacy. The 5-4 decision would allow the broadest drug testing the court has yet permitted for young people whom authorities have no particular reason to suspect of wrongdoing. It applies to students who join competitive after-school activities or teams, a category that includes many if not most middle-school and high-school students."
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
I blurred at once the chart of trite routine
by splashing paint with one swift motion.
I showed upon a plate of brawny glutin
the slanting cheekbones of the ocean.
Upon the scales of tinny fishes
new lips summoned, though yet mute.
But could you
right to the finish
a nocturne on a drainpipe flute?
A vy mogli by? (But Could You?) A visual poem by V. V. Mayakovsky illustrated by the great El Lizzitsky. From Mayakovsky and His Circle.
George W's Bloody Folly
It bore so little relation to reality that diplomats around the world spent yesterday shaking their heads in disbelief, before sinking into gloom and despair. Our own Foreign Office tried gamely to spot the odd nugget of sense in the Bush text - but, they admitted, it was an uphill struggle. Israelis committed to a political resolution of the conflict were heartbroken. Even Shimon Peres, foreign minister in Ariel Sharon's coalition, reportedly called the speech "a fatal mistake", warning: "A bloodbath can be expected."
S o the president's speech shows a man unconnected to Middle Eastern reality. But it is worse than unhinged; it is dangerous. First, Bush has given a green light to Sharon to continue his policy of military force coupled with a refusal to freeze settlement building on the West Bank. Monday's wording implied that Sharon is only obliged to pull back from Palestinian cities or freeze settlements once the Palestinians have worked their way through the US wishlist. So long as violence goes on, or Arafat remains in place, the Israeli PM can do what he likes.
Bush continues to drive America into debt for the benefit of his millionaire chums and defence contractors leaving YOU and your CHILDREN to pay off the tab. "The Treasury Department put off a planned debt auction on Tuesday and President Bush urged Congress to increase the government's ability to borrow, saying action was essential 'as we fight for freedom' against terrorism. Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, issued a statement saying that over 40 percent of the nation's 'fiscal mess' is the result of Bush's tax cuts, and that an increase in the debt limit would increase interest rates."
Africa: Western Nations Condemned For Selling Weapons of War
Industrialized nations are fueling conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia by their relentless selling of weapons of war, said Amnesty International, one of the largest human rights advocates worldwide.See also: . . . via Blowback, The Mighty
In Northampton, Massachusetts--a nineteenth century center of abolition and the longtime home of Sojourner Truth--some 400 citizens attended a town meeting on February 4 to organize a way to protect the residents of the town from the provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Thus was born the Northampton Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
WorldCom Finds $3.8 Billion Error, Fires CFO
WorldCom Inc., the No. 2 U.S. long-distance carrier, on Tuesday said it had fired its chief financial officer after uncovering improper accounting of almost $4 billion in expenses, in the latest financial scandal to rock Corporate America.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Oil Giant Sues Greenpeace
The oil giant Exxon Mobil is suing Greenpeace for misusing its corporate logo after the environmental pressure group replaced the two "S" letters in Esso with dollar signs.
Solar Cells From Bucky Balls?
One of the more remarkable discoveries of the late 20th century was that nature builds nanostructures in the form of geodesic domes. The prototype molecule of such materials, consisting of 60 carbon atoms arranged in a pattern resembling a soccer ball, was aptly named buckminsterfullerene. However, it soon became apparent that "buckyballs" were only the first of a huge family of so-called fullerenes having a rich variety of shapes and sizes.. . . via SynEarth: News for a Synergic Earth, via Sassafrass
how many ways can the Chronicle screw up a headline?
yah, perhaps our beloved fishwrap is up to the usual tricks,
(& then again, we are dumbmonkey) see this item:
Researchers calculate the planet is ecologically overburdened by 20 percent ;
and all we ask is "okay, izzit 20 percent or 120 percent, or do I need to go back
to school and re-educamacate myowndamnself?"
Haven't yet located the actual study at the PNAS site,
but we happy to discover the news that an
ol' baboon can be good for something besides writing a web log
Bush's "offer" of a Palestinian state disappoints but doesn't surprise. It disappoints because there was an opportunity to do something to stop the violence in Israel and Palestine. It doesn't surprise because Bush only took the position of his master — Sharon. The Israeli right wing is trumpeting this as a victory. How can anyone see this as a victory when it only guarantees more of the same violence on both sides?
Bush: Off With Arafat's Head
Last night's long--awaited speech by President Bush was to set the pace for the Palestinians and Israelis to step back from the vicious and bloody cycle of violence that has gripped them for nearly two years. Instead, President Bush and his administration have publicly adopted the Israeli agenda of battering the Palestinians into submission. President Bush's illusion that the Palestinian--Israeli conflict may be 'talked away' in a series of speeches is not only a poor example of leadership but seriously places U.S. interests in the region at high risk.
President Bush's administration has utterly failed to comprehend the Palestinian--Israeli conflict and in particular the Palestinian predicament today which is an Israeli re--occupation of the small parcels of land that were transferred to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Peace Accords. To add insult to injury, President Bush continues to mismanage U.S. policy with unprecedented unaccountability to the U.S. Congress or the world community. Bush's chronological attempts to address the crisis are as follows: ignore the conflict ---- failed, send Powell to the region -- failed, the Mitchell Report -- failed, the Tenet Plan -- failed, Bush's UN speech -- failed, Secretary of State Powell's policy speech in Kentucky -- failed, send General Zinni on multiple missions -- failed, and the most recent call for an international conference (completely ignored in Bush's latest speech) -- failed. If the creativity applied to avoiding real U.S. action were used to put an implementation mechanism in place to end the Israeli occupation the region would be well out of the conflict by now. [more]
Bush Speech Ignores Bloody Reality
Palestinian officials see president's map to peace as unrealistic
One-sided offer that will change nothing
Analysis / Yasser won't go
Analysis / Sharon's victory
Tell a Vision
When is a state not a state? When it's Palestinian.
I'm actually quite surprised no one posted this link. Basically, what we have here, is an in-depth article that chronicles the tentacles of the current administration in the destruction of Texas. Oh, and even though I hate "spoilers", I'd like to post for you here the last paragraph of the article, which I hope will encourage you to read the rest.
"On 11 September, while Al-Qaeda's planes slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Carlyle Group hosted a conference at a Washington hotel. Among the guests of honour was a valued investor: Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama."
Monday, June 24, 2002
FBI Begins Visiting Libraries. "The FBI effort, authorized by the antiterrorism law enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks, is the first broad government check of library records since the 1970s when prosecutors reined in the practice for fear of abuses."
Robert Fisk: Fatal vision: how Bush has given up on peace
A vacillating President and lack of a credible plan is fuelling hatred in the Middle East
Now, however, after six visits to the United States by Ariel Sharon – and after Bush was totally ignored by the Israelis when he demanded an immediate end to the West Bank invasion and an end to the siege of Palestinian towns – the President has had yet another vision, a rather scaled-down version of the earlier one. Now he dreams of an interim Palestinian state.
But what does interim portend? Talal Salman, the editor of the Beirut daily As Safir, wrote in his newspaper last week that interim envisages "a provisional state on territory segmented like beehives'', with every town, village and refugee camp cut off by "a wall of tanks and permanent and moving checkpoints; with everything under helicopter surveillance ... with death squads monitoring intentions and dreams, targeting anyone they discover, determine, speculate or suspect may have explosive materials in their blood".
A provisional state is an innovation no one has ever heard of before. It's a state unrelated to its land or to its people. All other states are permanent. But the Palestinian state will be a stop-gap, according to President Bush, and thus its role or existence can be ended in a day or a year if its usefulness comes to an end. It does not need to find territory – after all, it is only interim – and permanent institutions such as an army (perish the thought), the luxury of independence, or sovereignty, or an economy, or foreign relations will be denied. This will be Israel's luxury. [more]
PM: IDF preparing 'massive operation' against Hamas in Gaza
Sharon, speaking at a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset, said that Israel was "preparing to launch a massive operation in the Gaza Strip against the Hamas organization, the beginning of which we witnessed today," a reference to Monday morning's apparent assassination in the Strip, in which missile-firing IAF helicopter gunships killed two senior Hamas military commanders and four other people.
Sharon said that due to the recent increase in terror attacks and warnings of attacks, "a number of measures in the territories, beginning with a massive incursion into cities and remaining there indefinitely," will be carried out. [more]
Israel to deport the families of suicide bombers
Israel will deport families of suicide bombers from the West Bank to Gaza after demolishing their homes, it emerged yesterday, amid signs that the government was feeling increasingly impotent as the spate of suicide attacks continues. [more]
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Dave Barry explains all about the crucial mohair subsidies
What? You didn't know your tax dollars were going towards supporting the ever more important mohair industry?? Without domestic mohair, the terrorists could win. Confused? Let Dave explain.
Brazil: Bush's next target?
Unhappy with the rising popularity of the "Workers Party" presidential candidate in Brazil, who aims to improve public works on roads and sewers, and who has reservations about NAFTA and other free trade measures, the US downgraded Brazil's investment rating. The result: millions of dollars wiped off local investments and decreased economic stability in South America. This is regarded as a bad move by some financial analysts, including the Financial Times. Is it "economic terrorism"?
Globalization as a Network of Fortresses, by Naomi Klein
Before the end of the month, there will be two major summits: the first, the EU summit in Seville, the other a G8 summit in Kananaskis. A major focus inside and outside each gathering will be renewed attempts by to criminalize human migration from poor countries to richer ones.They Start with the Physical Hand, Clamping . . . and then it's On to the Brains (already going) . . . while down in every basement it's MemeMaster Mike! (et Mikaela) Brewing their truth virus stew . . .