American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, October 19, 2002

United States: so proudly we hail - Le Monde diplomatique, October 2002

The United States claims the status of 'Empire of Good' it has coveted for a century. The strategic document published by the Bush administration promises to defend liberty throughout the world. But it ends disarmament, prevents any power rivalling the US militarily and removes Americans from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. [more]
Ted Rall on blogs
I'm still studying the blog phenomenon so my opinions are still in a state of flux. But they are worrisome. While they're obviously a function of free speech in and of themselves, the right-wing bloggers (seems to be most of them for some reason) often use their Borg-like structure to stifle free speech.

Specifically, they link up to an article or cartoon or whatever that they disagree with. That link spreads like wildfire, and soon they're all asking their readers to deluge the relevant creator or writer's publications with hate mail.

To the non-initiated editor the sudden deluge of hundreds or thousands of e-mails might seem like a spontaneous outburst of rage from his readers; in reality, it's an orchestrated Internet lynch mob.

This is exactly what happened with my "widows" strip. Very few complaints (if any) came from actual readers of the publications which carry my work. So, in a sense, the bloggers deprive those who want to read content from doing so--and they're people who don't even read the stuff in the first place. It's like me getting something yanked from the National Review--frankly, I'm not their demographic and they shouldn't care much about me.

I think the bloggers will go away after everyone gets hip to their deal--it's a self-correcting kind of thing. But they've already caused a hell of a mess with their pro-Bush posturing.

I think blogs are the CB radio of the early 21st century: People will get tired of writing them, others are already bored of reading them. Since they don't contain new information or (for the most part) arrange old information in a useful format there isn't much reason other than the desire to see invective to check them out. And on the Internet, right-wing hatred is a dime a dozen.

Blogs are dead.
U.S. intervention from Afghanistan to Iraq: David Barsamian interviews Noam Chomsky
A much more important issue is how the free institutions, which are not bound to follow government orders, behave. This is not Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. There’s no penalty for being independent and honest. The question is how they respond. On their own, do they voluntarily adopt the same stance? To the extent that they do, that is much more serious than the fact that a government is openly trying to propagandize the population. If the government has a propaganda ministry, it’s a bad thing. A free society shouldn’t tolerate that, but it’s minor compared to the voluntary subordination, not just of the media, but of the articulate intellectual community generally.
Friday, October 18, 2002
Rockstars Against The War

hi. i am part of a group organizing buses from new york to dc for the protest on Oct. 26. plus were put together some sort of afterparty in dc (nothing like last minute planning) before we rock back to the big apple. if anybody is interested they should get on it because time and seating are limited. hopefully we will be organizing more protest/parties soon. The Future is Wow!


Parents of Sickened Children Ask for Tighter Rules on Food

A priority of the group is to crack down on the cow manure that finds its way into meat products and becomes a source of E. coli illness. Tracing tainted meat and poultry early and obtaining the full cooperation of meatpackers to identify that meat is another goal of the group. What it does not want, members of the group said, is to be faulted for their children's deaths.

"The meat companies let cow manure get in the meat, and then they tell the victims that if we had only cooked it to 160 degrees my child would not have died," Mrs. Kowalcyk said.

Rosemary Mucklow of the National Meat Association said that the industry did not need greater regulations but that consumers needed to be educated.

"The biggest issue is to get the consumer to cook the meat thoroughly," Ms. Mucklow said. "People don't like that. They say you're blaming the consumer. But you wash lettuce and grapes thoroughly." [read more]

This really pisses me off. How can someone tell a parent, who's child has been killed by your product because it had shit in it because your company was too fucking cheap to keep the shit out, that it's all the parent's fault? How low can a person get?


Poop on poultry
The Bush Administration serves up another stinker
by Molly Ivins

Have you had a terrible stomach illness lately? It's quite likely you should blame the Bush administration. I know, that sounds like some demented spoof of left-wing paranoia, but it's actually an especially visceral example of one of life's iron rules -- you can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to.

Unless you have reason to suspect that your nearest and dearest are putting arsenic in your food, your bad stomach was likely caused by tainted meat. It is not hard to connect the dots on this one -- the massive meat recalls of recent months have now culminated in the largest in the nation's history, 27.4 million pounds worth, due to suspected contamination by the killer bacteria Listeria. [read more]
ACLU fears for liberties

The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday announced a nationwide campaign to recover what it says are civil liberties that the government has "rolled back" since Sept. 11, 2001. [read more]
General Anthony Zinni has some interesting things to say about Iraq, the Arab World, and the wisdom of the military.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
Big peace rallies in SF and DC - Sat Oct. 26.

Be there!

These antiwar demonstrations, organized by International ANSWER , are looking to be huge. Bus caravans will be converging on DC and SF from multiple cities. Dozens of buses will be leaving just from LA to SF. Ditto from NYC to DC. And from many other cities too.

DC information
Protest details . Includes a march to the White House.
Buses to DC

SF information
Protest details
Buses to SF

A Bird Lover's Guide to Chickenhawks
or Chickenhawk a la Mode by BEN TRIPP

George W. Bush couldn't cement the handle back on a shaving mug. He served some of a tour of duty defending Alabama from the Viet Cong, but the only scalp he ever saw was firmly affixed to George McGovern's head.
Julio Luna... Breaking Free (11 x 14 Pencil). "...The person depicted is confused because I struggle inside with good and evil, but I feel that the good in me outweighs the bad and that I will overcome my negative ways." From The Face Of Time: Prisoner Art Contest 2002 at the Fortune Society. "...There are over 130 artists, from 30 states represented in this contest. Some artists included a brief description of their artwork along with their submission. Others wrote a short paragraph describing what art means to them. The overwhleming message conveyed by these letters is that art provides prisoners with an outlet, as well as a sense of agency,of control over their lives. The artwork gathered in this collection represents over 130 different notions of freedom. It also gives a face to the people who are doing time in American's prisons."
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
California Prison hunger strike to resume

Hundreds of Security Housing Unit (SHU) Inmates in Prisons Across the State of California to Resume Hunger Strike on October 19, 2002.

Crescent City and Corcoran, Calif.-On October 19, 2002, the date of the annual "Prisoner Unity Day", hundreds of inmates confined within the Security Housing Units at Pelican Bay and Corcoran State Prisons, and Valley State Prison for Women, will resume a hunger strike, initially begun on July 1, 2001, in protest of the unfair and arbitrary rules governing their SHU placement.

The strike had been put on hold pending the outcome of negotiations arranged by Sen. Richard Polanco, between the California Department of Corrections (CDC) and the SHU inmates and their advocates. Currently, the CDC has since ended the negotiations and have failed to respond to repeated requests for cooperation and meaningful dialogue. The inmates pleas for fair and human treatment have gone unheeded, while even more abusive SHU regulations have been proposed.
(via email from Criminal Justice Consortium)

SHU's are the no-human-contact-allowed SuperMax prisons of California. A convict can be put in a SHU by a guard saying they could be a gang member. This can and does include being put in a SHU for simply talking to a gang member in the yard. The only way out of a SHU is either when your prison term is completed or you inform. Thus, anyone released fronm a SHU back into the general population is assumed to have informed.

For hundreds of SHU prisoners to resume a hunger strike, and unquestionably face more abuse, shows just how vicious ugly and brutal their treatment is.
CNN titles this article: "Canada's marijuana laws worry U.S." Said article includes this: "American officials caution they may be forced to drastically slow trade across the northern U.S. border if the Canadian government relaxes its marijuana laws." Bolstered by: "U.S. drug policy experts say decriminalizing marijuana in Canada will increase drug use in America and trafficking by organized crime elements on both sides of the border."

Really? So the U.S. threatens to hurt trade relations with Canada on the advice of it's "drug policy experts" and the titles says, "Canada's marijuana laws worry U.S.?" Note whose opinion the piece ends on, and also how many additional experts are quoted who question this (none).

CNN: Why don't they just fucking wear uniforms?

best to remain as informed as possible...
and if there's someone near & dear to you that may have
to face the possibility of conscription & allow el residente
to continue to wield his sword of american military might,
be sure to pass along this information from
and, well, you could consider this next item somewhat related,
from the Village Voice on-line, Together in Grief

"The squares are running it. What we need are hip people."
-- Oscar Brown, Jr.
Oct. 3, 2002 on Democracy Now

Warbloggers are squares, too, aren't they? Take Scott Ganz, for instance--that boy is so square that if he were standing next to Soupy Sales, he'd be cramping his style.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

A Jewish Demographic State
by Uri Avnery

It sounds like a bad joke, but it really happened: A rabbi went from Israel to Peru, converted a group of Native Americans to Judaism, brought them to this country and put them in a settlement, on land taken away from its Palestinian owners. There they receive, as all settlers do, generous government subsidies, paid for with money taken away from thousands of Israelis living below the poverty line. There they can live happily ever after (unless they leave the settlement in an unarmored car, in which case they may be ambushed by the original Palestinian owners.)

What causes a state to bring total strangers from another hemisphere in order to displace the native people, who gave lived there for many centuries, at the price of an eternal bloody conflict? The answer touches the foundations of Israel. [read more]


Israeli Tribes: Once Lost
and Now Found?

Searching for the Lost Tribes of Israel in India and Afghanistan


Journal axes gene research on Jews and Palestinians

A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal. [read more]


The Bible Unearthed

I personally draw a positive conclusion from this research. As an American-Jew, I have long struggled with the contradictions and problems of Zionism and the unjust policies of the State of Israel towards Palestinians. For those brave enough to seize this research in the right spirit, there is a solution in it for the problems of the Middle East. Simply stated, European Jews, Middle Eastern Jews, and Palestinians are brothers and sisters and share a common Canaanite ancestry. There were a small number of voices amongst the early Zionists who were against the creation of a separate Jewish state in the region. They lost out to the bigger faction lead David Ben-Gurion, who suffered from the disease of European colonialism. Ben-Gurion and those in his camp saw the natives of the region as an obstacle to be eliminated. I believe Jews around the world need to take pride not in Israel as a modern colonialist State but in the entire region Palestine as the homeland of Canaanite and Israelite culture that we are descended from. European Jews are simply Europeanized Canaanites, Palestinians, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish were simple Arabacized Canaanites. Even modern genetic research is proving that we come from the same ancestry. [read more]


Zionist Ideology, the Non-Jews and the State of Israel

Israel Shahak once remarked that for at least the last 200 years, Jews have demanded equal rights in every country in which they’ve lived – with the remarkable exception of Israel, the Jewish state. Israel has always founded its institutions on the denial of equality to non-Jews. From the beginning, a good half a century before 1948 when the state of Israel was established, Zionist ideology has held strict opposition to equality for non-Jews as a fundamental principle. [read more]


Their tragedy, and ours

The survey that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories presented to the cabinet Sunday makes disturbing and depressing reading for anyone who cares about Israel's welfare - and not just for those who care about the Palestinians' well-being and rights. Major General Amos Gilad paints a chilling portrait of Palestinian society, whose three million people, after two years of intifada, are wallowing in a hopeless midden of poverty, unemployment and economic dependency. Everything there is collapsing and decaying; only hatred for Israel is rising. [read more]


A fictitious debate

There is no difference between an "illegal outpost" and a "legal settlement": the question of the settlements' legality should not even be on the public agenda. The only thing that differentiates a "legal" settlement from an "illegal" outpost is a piece of paper, usually in the form of retroactive "laundering" of the outpost by the defense establishment. Yesterday's outposts are today's settlements and both are a disaster. [read more]
From a European viewpoint, parts of the American public discourse are fairly incomprehensible. Let’s face it: running for office in Europe on a Fundamentalist Christian, pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-death penalty platform would be, ahem, almost unthinkable. Or, at least, guaranteed not to take you anywhere. But not so across the Atlantic. Seen from here, something like this is utterly alien:

To the growing ranks of American aficionados of the sniper’s craft, the perfect shot is to hit ’the apricot’. That is the small area between the top of the spine and the brain, where a bullet will bring a man down without reflex, known as flaccid relaxation.

In recent years America’s saturated gun industry has looked to the sale of long-range, highly accurate rifles to boost sales. Playing upon the mystique of the sniper, gun dealers and weapons training schools have seen a rise in sales of the type and calibre of gun used by the Washington-area marksman.

There is web site called Sniper’s Paradise that says about itself:

This site was created and is maintained for the professionals doing the job as well as the public’s and media’s education. For the professionals, this is a valuable source of job related information. The sniping profession is misunderstood by many not educated about what we do. News reporters throughout time have mislabeled crazed gunman as “sniper,” darkening the profession’s eye. Through the pages seen here, we hope to show that true long-range shooting, military sniping, and police sharpshooting is an art and science.

Excuse me. Other than those employed by the state -- is there really anybody who can claim that their “profession” is being a sniper? Other than a select handful of law enforcement officers and military personnel, does anybody need the tools and the skills of a sniper? From the first article again:

Robert Barrkman, president of Phoenix-based Robar, makers of a powerful RC-50 ‘counter-sniper’ rifle, recently told Jane’s International Defense Review that ‘the proliferation of the sniper weapons is one of the few growth areas for small-arms makers’.

The Robar RC-50 is capable of piercing an armoured vehicle or a helicopter a mile away. The company has sold 20,000 of the $5,000 civilian-adapted versions. Tactical Shooter, a magazine designed for police and military snipers, said in a recent article that ‘the real future of tactical shooting, like it or not, is at the civilian level’.

Again: what civilian, exactly what civilian needs a weapon like that for any legitimate purpose?
Monday, October 14, 2002
roasted chicken hawks - a skippy rant

instapundit referred us to a new york post editorial by one retired army officer ralph peters, author and novelist. lt. col. peters makes some points that we would like to address.

lt. col. peters starts out, "there are few things more repugnant to a soldier than a coward who claims to speak on his behalf." at first, we thought he was going to be referring to the people in the adminstration who are happy to start a war without ever having served in combat, or even in the peacetime armed forces themselves (people like dick cheney, karl rove, andrew card, paul wolfowtiz, richard perle, ted olson, john ashcroft...oh, the list goes on. and don't get us started on the very very short list of commanders in chief who were in the service but went awol).

but no. lt. col. peters is talking about people who are against an armed invasion of iraq. apparently, he does not differentiate among the various points of view in the anti-iraq-invasion philosophies; there's no difference between a conscientious objector (pope john paul) or somebody who hopes saddam hussein wins (saddam hussein).

"self-appointed voices of conscience warn of tens of thousands of american dead. that's nonsense," he says, and he could well be right about that. although, personally, we have not seen anybody warn of "tens of thousands" dead; most reports indicate a few thousand young american service men and women could lose their lives in a worst case scenario. michael o'hanlon, in testimony to the armed services committee in congress, estimates casualties "could plausibly range from roughly 100 to 5,000, with total numbers of wounded about three to four times as great."

however, lt. col. peters goes on: "and when those who despise the men and women in uniform invoke the welfare of our troops to further their failing agendas, they transcend the commonplace cynicism of washington. this is hypocrisy as a moral disease."

ok, setting aside the question of what else besides a moral disease hypocrisy could possibly be, we must take offense at lt. col. peters' assertion that those of us who invoke the welfare of our troops are also those who despise our troops. we at skippy, and most of the people we know who are against a first strike against iraq, don't want our service men and women to die in such a war, because we think the war is not inevitable, necessary, or advisable, and therefore would only be political and economic in value. we don't want americans dying for that.

we don't want any young american troops falling in a first-strike battle against a small, weak country, which hasn't been proven to have any direct link to al qaeda terrorism, which hasn't made any aggressive moves against us, or anyone else for that matter, in recent history (yes, it invaded kuwait 12 years ago, and yes, we fought them back, and yes, we won. and the time before that when iraq used chemical weapons against another country, iran, it was with don rumsfeld's personally-delivered blessings).

but to say that those of us who oppose disregarding the united states' 200 year-plus standing position of not making the first strike, to say that we are in bed with saddam hussein, is to impune our patriotism, and our love of this, the greatest country in the world. yes, lt. col. peters, we admire and respect your service in the army for our country; but those bars do not give you the right to call us cowards because we refuse to support an obviously political drum-march into bloody battle, with no provocation, which is quite contrary to our country's moral code.

lt. col. peters goes on: "make no mistake: the anti-war voices long for us to lose any war they cannot prevent." whoa! hold the phone! way, way wrong, sir. when this country goes to battle, we want our troops to prevail. what kind of monsters to do you take us for? do you think we want our country to lose? just because we question the validity of one administration's aggression? maybe in the army there's no room for debate or questions, but sir, this is america, where debate and questions are the right of every citizen.

does lt. col. peters say that same thing about charles sheehan-miles, a decorated gulf war veteran who opposes a first strike against iraq? does he say it to any gulf war veteran who asks that we debate the validity of such a first strike?

does lt. col. peters say that about ordinary americans who express uncertainty about such a move? does he lump all of us into one big vat of cowardly traitors?

let us make one thing perfectly clear here: skippy's father served proudly in the pacific theater in world war two, and in fact was on one of the submarines in tokyo bay when the uss missouri hosted the signing of the surrender treaty. skippy's aunt and sister served in the navy, and both of skippy's sisters have husbands who served in the military. skippy's best friend was in the army. skippy will not stand for someone calling him a coward, or anti-military, or against our troops, just because that same someone questions skippy's right to disagree with one particular administration.

if this country goes to war, we are 100% on the side of our armed forces prevailing. we are not traitors, nor are we even so self-righteous or self-hating as to hope our country is defeated. but more to the point, we want as few casualties as possible when it comes to our young american men and women serving in our military. we support them all so much, we want them to return alive and well. you can't be much more supportive than than.

we would hope that the politicians back home don't put them in harm's way for nothing more than political expediency, or to pad somebody's pocket book, or to just make sure one party gets re-elected. the lives of service personnel are worth more than a seat in the house or senate. in fact, we'd rather see the politicians go to the front lines and experience the horrors of battle firsthand, and then make the decision as to whether or not they want to start a war.

make no mistake. if this nation commits to war, we want america to prevail. but it is not a game. it's not an x-box. it's not a pissing contest. it's not a political boost. it's war. it's life and death. and these decisions should be made with the gravitas and reverence that such weighty risks demand.

Columbus and Western Civilization
Throughout his journal, over the next months, Columbus spoke of the native Americans with what seemed like admiring awe: “They are the best people in the world and above all the gentlest--without knowledge of what is evil--nor do they murder or steal...they love their neighbors as themselves and they have the sweetest talk in the world...always laughing.”
And in a letter he wrote to one of his Spanish patrons, Columbus said: “They are very simple and honest and exceedingly liberal with all they have, none of them, in the midst of all this, in his journal, Columbus writes: “They would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

Cornell Leftists Trash Columbus/America
In point of fact, the Europeans who discovered America brought advanced civilization to a savage, vicious, animalistic New World. The Natives who inhabited the Americas were brutal thugs waging constant wars and engaging in widespread scalping. Their economies were primitive with little incentive for technological innovation. A three-course meal consisted of maize, tree bark, and human flesh. There were no buildings, no architecture, no offices.

Who do you believe? Zinn or Front Page Mag?
LA Times article on New Times folding. New Times shuts down its weekly in LA for Village Voice Media, and Village Voice Media in turn shuts down its New Times competitor in Cleveland.
Increasingly dominated by large, profit-driven corporations, the 118 members of the Assn. of Alternative Weeklies generate, cumulatively, about a half-billion dollars in advertising sales annually; about half those papers are not independent but function as part of some larger media group.

It's difficult to generalize about the alternative press since some of the papers -- the Chicago Reader, Boston Phoenix and Bay Guardian, to take just three -- are so idiosyncratic as to defy categorization, even in this age of what Brugmann calls "Chains-R-Us" alternative journalism.

"But once you get into chain journalism and you start empire-building, you take on the characteristics of the monopolizing dailies," Brugmann says. "You get involved with bankers and venture capitalists to get cash and then you need big, fat numbers to satisfy them.

"That means you tend to use the same formula everywhere because it's cheaper, and you cover entertainment because it's cheaper -- and that tends to squeeze out local politics."
Via Jim Romenesko's Media News.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Falwell targeted for death
"I think Mohammed was a terrorist. I read enough by both Muslims and non-Muslims, (to decide) that he was a violent man, a man of war," Jerry Falwell said in a CBS interview last week. Now, Mohsen Shabestari, a representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has fired back some rhetoric of his own, proclaiming, "The death of that man is a religious duty, but his case should not be tied to the Christian community."
It seems as if Neal Pollack is facing some stiff competition. The so-called
National Anxiety Center tries to outdo the inimitable trickster, although without the same panache and finesse and way with words. On the other hand, these fine humorists are never tempted to give themselves away in quite the same way as Mr. Pollack often does - no: they keep a very straight face, and prefer to pull your leg in more subtle ways. For while it is conceivable that each of the points they make (Greens bad! Capitalism good! Islam bad! and so forth) are valid points for somebody, it is quite farfetched that anybody would subscribe to all these opinions at the same time. Heck, even Pat Buchanan opposes a war with Iraq, does he not?

The only real give away is the supposed name of the jester, “Alan Caruba” - clearly an anagram for “Arab Lacuna”. That sort of tells it all.

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