American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Bush Far Outspent Gore on Recount
Public Citizen, which advocates strong enforcement of election laws, said "the recount fund created by the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign evaded a soft money campaign finance disclosure law for 18 months and did not file required forms until the last day of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 'amnesty' program for out-of-compliance groups." [more]
caught an AP story in today's SF Chron...
by the esteemed C.J. Hanley,
Experts Assess Landmine Crisis in Afghanistan;
and we'd like to know where are the american reporters
with the kind of courage that Sabina Slonkava possesses?
from the Boston Globe, 4 Held in Alleged Plot to kill Czech Reporter.
holy boy! is that a screenplay waiting to be scripted or what?
Friday, July 26, 2002
New [Corporate] Secrecy Proposals Are Center of Homeland Security Debate: "The top Democrat on a House government reform panel accused the Bush administration on Wednesday of supporting a proposal she said would let corporations keep embarrassing secrets from the public by claiming they involve the security of important computer networks and other systems."
BUSH-CHENEY WHITE HOUSE OBSTRUCTS HALLIBURTON LAWSUIT: White House Refuses to Allow Complaint to be Lawfully Served On Vice President Cheny

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

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

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

Since that time Nigeria ranks as one of the globe's most forest-ravaged nations and The Worldwatch Institute has noted that oil companies (like Shell) continue to evade Nigeria's environmental laws and policies and have failed to pay damages to the local communities that have suffered on the Nigerian delta due to unsustainable drilling there. Again, in 1999, Shell undertook another major review of its policies concerning the Niger Delta communities but so far Shell's actual performance only points to a change in rhetoric.
Israel/Palestine

The settlements are Israel's center piece in the the war against the Palestinians. Eyal Weizman exposes them for what they are — a multi-billion dollar investment in a permanent occupation of Palestine and control of the Palestinians.

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

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

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

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

----------

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

----------

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

The Meaning of the Gaza Bombing

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

Fishman was right. Twenty-five Israelis died.

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

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

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

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

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

----------

Getting away with murder: Israeli impunity triumphs again

Shame on A World Where Sharon is A Free Man

Palestinian Cease-Fire Was in Works Before Israeli Strike

The politics of murder

"A digging through these images and sinking into them is recommended. At the least, they give the vanities and conceits of contemporary culture a little context." -- Michael Webb, MLWebblog

Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Playing Politics with the Big Trees
Sure enough, the first article that I clicked through on the sequoia wildfire had the media playing their usual puppet for the "management" propagandists:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIPS stopped by Armey

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

Pat Buchanan opposed to Iraq invasion

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

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

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

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

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

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


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

------------------------------------------------------------------



BARBARA NITKE, THE NATIONAL

COALITION FOR SEXUAL FREEDOM, and

THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR

SEXUAL FREEDOM FOUNDATION



Plaintiffs, COMPLAINT



-against- Index No. 01 Civ.



JOHN ASHCROFT,

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;



Defendants

lost in each other

also:
unconstitutionally vague


><((((º>

Why Democrats become Greens

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


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

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

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

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

Tony Kushner's commencement address at Vassar
Israel/Palestine

The Army has a State
by Uri Avnery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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