Saturday, September 20, 2003
Hitler victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a so-called “Master Race.”This piece is adapted from Edwin Black's recently released book, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race.
The soldiers had been drinking beer when they entered the zoo Thursday night after it closed, said the guard, Zuhair Abdul-Majeed.
Friday, September 19, 2003
An art installation by Jon Haddock that consists of ninety-eight paper mache pulp figures representing the members of the US senate who voted for the USA Patriot Act.
He has other interesting works too, including John Walker Lindh and People Falling - Imagined and Real. Also, on the same theme as the last link, here is a powerful essay called The Falling Man.
(thanks to John Walkenbach of J-Walk Blog and Mo Nickels of World New York for the pointers.)
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Joesph Wilson, the former American ambassador who was sent to Niger to verify--but ultimately debunked--the Bush administration's claim about Iraq's weapons stockpiles, spoke with Talking Points Memo. He was candid, to say the least:
So, setting aside why we're in Iraq, how we go there, whether we should have gone in in the first place, where are we now? Where do you see our position right now?
WILSON: Well, I think we're fucked...
F___ Saddam. We're taking him out." Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested.
Note the date on the above...
As Teeley explained it to The New York Times in October 1984, “You can say anything you want during a debate, and 80 million people hear it.” If “anything” turns out to be false and journalists correct it, “So what. Maybe 200 people read it, or 2,000 or 20,000.”
Do you listen to Democracy Now! everyday? You ought to consider fitting it in... (I do)
I'm hoping by now that mainstream news sources have been all over Mr Cheney's "Meet the Press" Propaganda Lie Fest. And I say "Lie Fest" advisedly, as in Hitler and Company's proven technique of governance, The Big Lie. The very concept of Democracy is predicated on giving the citizens the facts though, this technique of lying is obviously autocratic. Before I get going specifically about the Oscar meriting performance of "vice president" Cheney, think about how this technique has paved the way along with a non-critical media's collaboration, to our nations journey into prosecuting an illegal war, and sustaining an occupation that is still costing lives... While some of us believe quick snatches of "the company line" that we hear- you know, " A trailer found containing a biological weapons lab" that turned out to be a helium gas generator, but you don't hear that part of it, the retraction... I read that 23% of one polling sample were sure that the US had found the weapons of mass destruction that ol' Saddam had squirreled away to deliver to America, right along with his Nuclear devices that Mr Bush said could be here in 45 minutes. Sure Saddam Hussein is a very bad man, a man no worse after being our friend than he was before, he just had more weapons, good American weapons. I remember when President Reagan was worried that little impoverished Nicaragua was going to march 3 days into Texas too. And look and see who comprise the present Bush administration- among the neocons a bunch of felons from that era. Liars all around. Go figure.
Cheney lied his mean-spirited ass off before the American people. Listen here. View the show courtesy of the Information Clearing House. The homepage for Democracy Now! is down at the moment, you can search out the transcript there, I suggest you do. Read it , mull over in your mind what the "Second-in-Command" bald faced lying on national television means. Anyone who has been reading the news in any depth can see through the BS.
You know about the bogus claim concerning Uranium from Niger I'm guessing. Well, Mr Cheney is pushing it. How about the "Iraqi" (born in Bloomington Indiana and Cheney calls him an Iraqi) that is one of the FBI's 25 most wanted- that Bush didn't want back when Hussein offered him, despite the fact that Mr Abdul Rahman Yasin is important enough to rate a 25 million dollar reward.
Lying about the flying out of Saudi nationals including the Binladin family while most other planes were grounded in the US. This is a link a reader sent June 1 of this year concerning the Saudi escape flight.
How is it that Mr Cheney is so comfortable transparently lying? Could it be after the media was so well managed during the stealing of the presidential election, during 9/11, during the attack on Afghanistan and then the buildup to and the attack on Iraq that he is showing fatal hubris?
Or is he sure that "We the People" will never question too loudly, that the masses of us are cowed and stupid here in Plantation America. Freedom means more than the ability to shop at a gazzillion locations. America is seeming a big complacent feedlot for the "top of the foodchain" elite. Cheney, Bush, did they risk their asses in Vietnam? Well their kids won't in Iraq or wherever the next Neocon stop is for Empire America. Our's will though. We will pay in blood. The taxes on our work will not go to make America a better a better place for it's people, but to subsidize the protection of oil interests, to directly subsidize a near unaccountable defense industry.
Did you ever see a feedlot? In the distance on the plains of Western Kansas one could see a bubble of light. A massive fenced in area, full of cattle. Massive. Automatic feed dispersal belts so the bovine inmates (This was my impression. For the record: I enjoy hunting, I eat meat) standing about shoulder to shoulder can eat, gorge I'm guessing because what else do they have to do? Eat and crap. Suddenly a mist arcs above the place from spray nozzles stategically placed. It seemed nightmarish, so futile- putting me in mind of Jewish folks in WWII, then my mind flowed to the apartheid bantustans of the beleaguered Palestinian people and their Israeli occupiers.
To us, to our society...
Given a car, a tv, just enough bread to get by supplemented by a non-stop media circus and a good dose of learned helplessness, of institutionally cultivated apathy and you have Mr Cheney's view of America. A vast feedlot the top .05% income level oversee, they manage. And harvest the wealth of. Cattle, chattel, it is all the same as long as we remain quiet and forget about the ideals our nation is founded on. As long as we pocket our dignity and give our autonomy up to the experts, to the pundit collaborators. I stand amazed at the doublethink we are subjected to, the doublespeak. And the fact that regular folks like me seem unable to pick out the inconsistencies what we are offered each day. The instances come as a daily avalanche. How this administration can revise a history just months old. Without a peep from most of the governed.
Help get the truth out. Act. We can't let them get away with this. What sort of world will we be leaving our kids?
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
When you are home, relaxing in the quiet hours after a busy day do you ever search out the Congressional Record because you want a good read?
Nah, neither do I. But I did come across this entry from the House of representing and was heartened. Take a look at "Iraq Watch, We Must Do Right By The American Taxpayer" from September 9, 2003.
I'll offer some teasers:
Mr. STRICKLAND. Mr. Speaker, it is good to be here this evening. I am here tonight to say something that for me is kind of difficult to say. I believe the President has deceived us, that he has distorted the truth, and that he has engaged in false claims which has taken us into a war which is daily claiming the lives of our soldiers.
He goes on to cite such examples of lying as the fictitious 9/11 Iraq connection, Saddams supposed tons of biological, chemical and atomic weapons that we faced immanent attack with. He mentions Cheney saying we will be greeted as Liberators. Wolfowitz saying that our illegal and immoral attack will pay for itself thanks to Iraqi oil.
Strickland gets a slap on the wrist.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. King of Iowa). The Chair would remind all Members to refrain from improper references to the President, such as accusing him of deception.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Let me ask the gentleman, does this mean that at some point in the future, if we continue to have a foreign policy that creates these significant needs for military personnel, that some day on the floor of this House we will be debating the necessity for a draft?
Please give this Report a read. Refer to it in e-mails, get the word out that there are people in Government that are stating the obvious. Mr Bush and his Administration are liars. You wont hear about it on Fox, but with the facts and figures in this report you can be the media, you can better the media just by relaying the truth.
Read about the screwing of our Veterans:
Then they decided that they were going to create a new category of veteran. We call them Priority 8 veterans. You can make as little as $25,000 and this administration considers you high income. And they say you cannot enroll in VA health care. You can be a combat decorated veteran and be excluded.
Let folks know what you have learned. Share the facts and figures. The truth can't be denied.
Train wreck is a way overused metaphor, but we're headed for some kind of collision, and there are three things that can happen. Just by the arithmetic, you can either have big tax increases, roll back the whole Bush program plus some; or you can sharply cut Medicare and Social Security, because that's where the money is; or the U.S. just tootles along until we actually have a financial crisis where the marginal buyer of U.S. treasury bills, which is actually the Reserve Bank of China, says, we don't trust these guys anymore — and we turn into Argentina. All three of those are clearly impossible, and yet one of them has to happen, so, your choice. Which one?
Well, how about your choice? What's your best guess?
I think financial crisis, and then how it falls out is 50-50, either New New Deal or back to McKinley, and I think it's anybody's guess which one of those it is. It's crazy stuff, but think about where I am on this. My take on the numbers is no different from Brad DeLong's, it's no different from CBO's now, and we all look at this and we all see this curve that marches steadily upwards and then heads for the sky after the baby boomers start retiring. I don't know what Brad thinks, I think he's open-minded , but the general view is: yes, but this is America, it can't happen, so something will come up. And I'm just willing to say I don't see any noncatastrophic solution to this, I don't see an incremental stepwise resolution. I think something drastic is really going to happen.
Monday, September 15, 2003
Eye on AmSam
Hello, everybody Dr. Menlo here. Just wanted to take a minute to thank all of you incredible bloggers for doing such a great job here. I mean, I moved a week ago and have not had dsl since then--won't have it until this Thursday--so tonight I see the Samizdat for the first time and it totally kicks ass. Nice to know. Really. If I had nothing to do with this site whatsoever, I would still be a big fan. You all do great work, both here and on your own individual blogs, and I'm honored to have a small part in your sharing some of your great work here.
Ok, long overdue, I want to give a big welcome to our newest contributors: Patton Price of Postmodern Potlatch and Metafilter (can we give out your pseudonym there, Patton?); Eli Stephens of Left I on the News--which was mentioned on FAIR's Counterspin show a couple weeks back--good job, Eli!; and Estimated Prophet--thank you, all! (You know I never thanked every new blogger individually but I should have and will from now on--this is a learning experience, natch.) And before that, thanks to: Hanan Cohen of Death does not justify Death; Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged ; MadamJuJuJive of Everlasting Blort and Warfilter and Ashley Benigno of Notes From Somewhere Bizarre. Those are all the most recent generous contributors. Now, please remember all you have to do is recommend someone and I will most probably send them an invitation if you know anyone who would be good for and/or is interested in being a part of the Samizdat.
Ok, am at a cybercafe now here on Capitol Hill, Seattle, so have to finish soon and walk back home. Thanks again everybody! Viva la Samizdat!
"We will not capitulate - no, never! We may be destroyed, but if we are, we shall drag a world with us - a world in flames."
Save the Bespectacled Iraqi Women (Or: Why We Just Can't Leave)
From the ever angry Ted Rall...
The ad hoc Iraqi resistance is comprised of indigenous fighters ranging from secular ex-Republican Guards to radical Islamist Shiites, as well as foreign Arab volunteers waging the same brand of come-one-come-all jihad that the mujahedeen fought against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan. While one can dismiss foreign jihadis as naďve adventurers, honest Americans should call native Iraqi resistance fighters by a more fitting name: Iraqi patriots.
I collect propaganda posters. One of my favorites, from World War II, depicts a strapping young SS officer holding a smiling local kid in his arms. "Trust the German soldier," the caption exhorts citizens of occupied France. But when liberation came in 1945, Frenchmen who had obeyed that poster were shot as collaborators. The men and women who resisted--the "terrorists" who shot German soldiers, cut phone lines and bombed trains--received medals and pensions. Invaders always say that they come as liberators, but it's almost never true. Whether you live in Paris or Baghdad or New York, you're expected to know that, and to act accordingly (From this Ted Rall Essay)
Ted Rall not only wrote the above cartoon and quote, he's among a number of people who have called on us to just pack up and leave Iraq. That group also includes Atrios and Max Sawicky. I respect and admire all of these writers but I think they're wrong about this one. I actually think that we should stay in Iraq for several reasons. One: If we leave now, Iraq will probably turn into Iran, a place that actually harbors terrorists who are hostile to US interests. It will also make life absolutely Hellish for women, especially since woman intellectuals are already being gunned down in the streets. (Please read Baghdad Burning) Two, as Hesiod predicts, the situation could easily descend into a civil war, which would presumably kill thousands.
Now, by no means do I support the Bush administration's pathetic and incompetent handling of Iraq. Then again, bank robbers and thieves generally aren't interested in reconstruction and utilities. They're just there for the loot. And if the choice is between the Bush administration handling of the region and leaving, then I'll take leaving. I'm betting, however, that the Bush administration is evil enough and greedy enough to stay in Iraq right up to election day. The only priorities of this administration is its cronyism and its love of fossil fuels. Iraq allows them to scratch both itches at once.
Yet, the President's own ineptitude has offered the Democrats, especially those presidential aspirants who are now ashamed of their blank check vote for the war, a way to recover some spine and some credibility. The administration actually needs to ask for more than the $87 billion it floated some weeks ago. Surely, the Democrats can act like an opposition party and demand some accountability. The Daily Kos is already listing some of the things the Dems should ask for ( I kind of like sending the bill to states who voted for Bush and of course if they're unpatriotic and believe that we should not be spending more on Iraqi reconstruction than American then of course they hate America...).
Here is what I think that you should do immediately if you would like the very well armed Iraqi populace to stop shooting at you. First, they should adopt the South African constitution which includes proportional representation. In fact, PR, which some people know that I'm a strong backer of, is actually a principle in the South African constitution. Structurally, it's better for minorities. Or as De Klerk noted: "[W]e must move away from the winner-take-all system that we inherited from Great Britain. It works in homogeneous societies, but it is not the right system for a big country with vast regional interests and many language and culture groups. It is not a question of taking the prize away, but of ensuring that a government won't be able to do again what the National Party did with absolute power, merely because it had a majority." South African President F. W. De Klerk People have wondered how you could have a working democracy in Iraq without ceding control of Iraq to the majority fundamentalist population. Well, the answer is Proportional Representation, or PR.
Two, the troops should use nonlethals. I might note that nonlethals can be very painful and even fatal if used at close range but if you gave me a choice between them and bullets, I'll take the nonlethals, preferably in the buttocks. Afterall, we're supposed to be the good guys. We're not supposed to kill offhandedly or carelessly, which is what American soldiers--arguably way out of their depth--are doing a lot in Iraq. This, of course, is why they hate us, and quite justifiably I might add.
Three, anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of the oil revenue should go to every Iraqi adult in the form of a monthly check, not Halliburton or Bremer's quiet guidance. Where has the Iragi oil money gone? Does anyone know? It certainly isn't going to the people. Now, Glenn, our favorite Instapundit, has been pushing this trust fund idea for a while, like in Alaska. But that amounts to a kind of a bribe and its why Alaskans like drilling in wildland. Think of it as a payoff. My plan is more along the lines of an ESOP, where the Alaskans own the oil and negotiate their fee. This does a number of things: it proves that we're not stealing their oil and every Iraqi citizen gets a nice monthly reminder to not damage the oil pipelines. Afterall, that's my property now Riverbend would exclaim.
Four, and this is a no-brainer, the bidding process should be open and transparent. And all those Bechtel and Halliburton sweetheart deals should be rescinded. Open up the bidding process to not only the world but to Iraqi companies and talent. It's not only the right thing to do, but it will save us money.
Fifth, internationalize the effort by allowing UN control over democracy building, something they're generally interested in and have the troops operate under NATO authority.
Now, before that 87 billion number was bandied about, these common sense suggestions would have never seen the light of day. Now, of course, the Democratic Party has a chance to insist upon all of these proposals. Kerry has already said he would vote no if there was no proof of multilateral involvement. But why stop there? If you rescind this year's tax cuts you would get back 100 billion, which would leave money left over to fully fund homeland security, something the Bush admininstration hasn't seen fit to do. By the way, this has long been the Green's argument, that essentially the Democratic Party is just another less enthusiastic business party that institutionally has to screw over its core base in order to survive. I didn't vote for Nader because that's silly math in a winner take all system (go read the PR page and find out why). But there are many times when I understand why the Greens vote as they do and see no difference between the two parties.
The Democratic Party failed its base and the country by its handling of those monstrous budget busting tax cuts and by it's rolling over on this "miserable failure" of a war. They should strongly reclaim their advise and consent roles with this massive budget request, at the very least insisting upon a deadline for when to get out and transparency in bidding. Afterall, if Riverbend is right, we might only need $200 million to reconstruct Iraq, not $20 billion. Come on fellas. Show me that I was right to vote Democratic in 2000. Insist that the President act in a competent fashion.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Muhanned Tull, Palestinian citizen, engineer, father & husband writes:
Arafat will not go away until public opinion shifts away from him. But there now seems to be only one way that can happen. The end of the era of Arafat will come with the end of the occupation. That's what Arafat stands for; if the occupation goes away, so does he. There will be no more need for him -- even he would agree. If the U.S. government were to force the Israelis to leave and give us our own state, I think all parties would be very pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the first Palestinian election. But instead, the United States ignores the whole situation. And the Israelis madly go after Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, not seeing the insult to the Palestinian people.
So, as a Palestinian citizen, I find myself in an impossible situation. I have to cheer for rulers I'm not convinced of only because the alternative--the continued occupation--is completely unacceptable.
architecture as terrorism and warfare against the palestinians
Ariel Sharon has been operating a very large and very deady shell game. Eyal Weizman has been studying how the settlements are, in fact, part of a master plan to control and destroy the Palestinians. Here are his latest findings. These findings may shock those who only pay attention to the Palestinian resistance, but every Palestinian is only too aware of the decades long assault on their existence.
Ariel Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation:
strategic points, flexible lines, tense surfaces, political volumes
Part one: Border versus frontier
The post-1967 transformation of the occupied territories is the story of how Israeli military and civilian planning became the executive arm of geopolitical strategy. The Suez Canal battles of the Yom Kippur war in 1973 were a national trauma that returned the ‘frontier’ to the Israeli public imagination. The figure of Ariel Sharon is central to this process.
Part two: Architecture as war by other means
How does Ariel Sharon imagine territory and practice space? The settlements, the ‘battle for the hilltops’, and now the security fence embody his long-term territorial ambition: to combine control of the West Bank with physical separation of its populations.
Part three: Temporary permanence
The ‘barrier’ exemplifies the dystopian logic of Israeli occupation of the West Bank, where a fragmented, borderless, always-provisional territory refuses accommodation with security ambitions that seek definitiveness. There is no spatial-technical design solution to the conflict: it can only be political.
BUZZFLASH: As a professor, if you were giving a lecture and you had to define the economic policy of the Bush administration, could you get your arms around it? How would you define it?
KRUGMAN: There is no economic policy. That's really important to say. The general modus operandi of the Bushies is that they don't make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway. So there is no policy to deal with the lack of jobs. There really isn't even a policy to deal with terrorism. It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do.
Now if you ask what do the people who keep pushing for one tax cut after another want to accomplish, the answer is they are basically aiming to create a fiscal crisis which will provide the environment in which they can basically eliminate the welfare state.
Also: A loooong Krugman article on the Bush admin. tax cuts can be found here.
Ben Lynfield, Jerusalem based reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and the Scotsman, said on The Connection this morning that the decision to "expel" Yasser Arafat from the West Bank has been described by at least two members of the Security Cabinet to "liquidate" him. I found myself experiencing an extremely odd sensation while listening to this discussion, which also included former ambassador Dennis Ross. Supposedly rational people were sitting around calmly discussing the decision of one state to assassinate the head of another state. It is a measure of the degraded state of the discourse on the Middle East that such a discussion was not disrupted by howling outrage. But those of my fellow citizens who called in seemed entirely capable of discussing the matter calmly. What if a bunch of my townsmen were sitting around at the local cafe discussing whether or not to murder one of our neighbors. He's a drunk, or a liar, or doesn't control his dog--let's get rid of the son of a bitch. Well, none of us know Arafat, nor any Palestinians. It doesn't concern us except in some abstract way. This attitude goes beyond mere criminality into a kind of insanity that blinds us, not only to the suffering of others, but to our own best interests. Rationality is broken.
Abbas also spoke of other reforms he and Fayad initiated, confirming the existence of the monopolies during the Oslo period. "We canceled the fuel monopoly and the PA's income increased by $6 million a month - during the PA's existence, $72 million was being stolen annually," he said.
Another issue Abbas addressed is the security people's wages, which were previously paid in cash to the heads of mechanisms, to be distributed at their discretion. Abbas and Fayad managed to change this in the police and preventive security subordinate to Abbas, but encountered stiff opposition when they tried to touch operations in Arafat's control. "Citizens get their wages in the bank. That's how they can get check books and a loan. Why can some policemen get their wages in a bank and others in bags? I was told, `how can we reveal the names of our men to the Israelis or the banks?' But everybody knows the Israelis and Americans already have all the lists, they've been officially transferred to them. They told me the American navy also gets money in sacks. I'm sorry to say this is a lame excuse and a cover-up of theft. So far the the issue has not been solved and the result is that interested parties and people receiving illicit benefits are still in business."
Abbas revealed that following the attempts to regulate security operations and pay wages directly to policemen, the Palestinian treasury offices in Gaza were broken into and vandalized. Two demonstrations were held, calling Finance Minister Fayad a traitor. "Fayad was very sad when he was attacked. He told me `they can call me anything but two things: traitor or spy.'"
[How do they say in the USA? "It's The Economy, Stupid . . ."]