Saturday, November 29, 2003
Also see: prior info on Miami events, post 1 and post 2, and
Heavy-handed police and propaganda tactics brought Baghdad to Miami with a thread that has more links and a discussion about the unsettling trend to embedding reporters.
David Neiwert of Orcinus on growing up conservative, missed invitations, and when politics becomes personal:
It is hardly different in nature from the kind of hate regularly spewed by the cross-burners at Aryan Nations ... There is a special quality to eliminationist rhetoric, and it has the distinctive stench of burning flesh ... (T)his is a large part of what is happening to our national body politic: People in key positions of media and conservative ideological prominence (Coulter, Limbaugh, even Bill O'Reilly) exhibit multiple symptoms of being pathological sociopaths, either antisocial or narcissistic, or a combination of both. And not only their fellow participants in the conservative movement, but mainstream centrists and even liberals are unable to figure out that there is something seriously wrong with these people because they are projecting their own normalcy onto them. They cannot perceive because they cannot believe -- that, above all, these people are not operating within a framework guided by the boundaries of basic decency that restrain most of us.
Friday, November 28, 2003
There's something very strange about receiving a letter from Tony Blair's office asking me if I want to accept this award. In the past couple of months I've been on Blair's doorstep a few times. I have begged him to come out and meet me; I have been longing for a conversation with him, but he won't come out, and now here he is asking me to meet him at the palace! I was there with a million people on February 15, and the last time I was there was just a couple of weeks ago. My cousin, Michael Powell, was arrested and taken to Thornhill Road police station in Birmingham where he died. Now, I know how he died. The whole of Birmingham knows how he died, but in order to get this article published and to be politically (or journalistically) correct, I have to say that he died in suspicious circumstances. The police will not give us any answers. We have not seen or heard anything of all the reports and investigations we were told were going to take place. Now, all that my family can do is join with all the other families who have lost members while in custody because no one in power is listening to us. Come on Mr Blair, I'll meet you anytime. Let's talk about your Home Office, let's talk about being tough on crime. [more]
Senior citizens angry over the AARP's endorsement of the Medicare bill are ripping up or burning their AARP membership cards and flooding the lobbying group's Internet message board with complaints in what could be the biggest revolt in its ranks since the 1980s.
The aid agencies have complained bitterly to Israel about soldiers firing on their relief workers, even when traffic has been co-ordinated in advance. "Several organisations are now seriously considering whether they should continue to work at all under these circumstances," they said. [more]
Chris Floyd on the recent Patriot Act expansions, anointing with oil, full-contact lap dancing, and a cross-dressing martinet :
Don't kid yourself -- and don't let them kid you. When they come at you with that pious sugar, telling you how they're going to protect you, secure you, keep you free, you better run and check the back door – because that's where their goons will be breaking in. ... All Ashcroft's boys have to do is say, "Boo! Terrorism!" and they can take whatever they want. ... As usual, the power grab was accompanied by earnest pledges that it would only be used in the most extreme cases of genuine terrorist danger. ... This was, of course, the usual load of mule manure we've come to expect ...
Thursday, November 27, 2003
A few links for the holidays
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
He had hiked several miles out of his way to help two American strangers, simply because he saw that we were lost.
That, in a nutshell, is Istanbul to me. I never met kinder or more gracious people anywhere.
During my two weeks in that city, I never heard a harsh word said about Americans or any other national group. No one ever uttered an ethnic or religious slur. They did not seem to have negative words for people who are different — they merely acknowledged the difference.
Now people are dying in Istanbul and President Bush says Turkey is a “front” in the war against terrorism. I don’t know what that means. I only know that I am sad.
Via Sideshow, the Dems who voted for this rape of seniors that this presciption drug bill is:
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
America built a prison and put the world on Death Row
My life is like a cage of pain ... Of course I am embarrassed to say this, with my easy life and available contentment all around me. I am shamed by men like Ernst Zundel, who languishes in his tiny prison cell in Canada, abused by callous guards and corrupt judges ... Of course, of course, and about American soldiers murdering innocent families in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom, right? Freedom from life is what.Meet John Kaminski. John and I have been internet freinds for a long time, and though I do not argree with everything he says, I respect him as a passionate advocate of what he believes. And he most totally believes in the liberation of Palestine.
Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson is a must read considering the news coming out about the direction America seems to be headed in.
"Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people." -- Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism"
America is a country that now sits atop the precarious latticework of myth. It is the myth that work provides rewards, that working people can support their families. It’s a myth that has become so divorced from reality that it might as well begin with the words “Once upon a time.”
Monday, November 24, 2003
MIAMI - We were loading our video equipment into the trunk of our car when a fleet of bicycle cops sped up and formed a semi-circle around us. The lead cop was none other than Miami Police Chief John Timoney. The former Police Commissioner of Philadelphia Timoney has a reputation for brutality and hatred of protesters of any kind. He calls them punks," "knuckleheads" and a whole slew of expletives. He coordinated the brutal police response to the mass-protests at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000. After a brief stint in the private sector, Timoney took the post of Miami police chief as part of Mayor Manny Diaz's efforts to "clean up the department."It was hard to pick a selection from this--a must-read. You can also catch Jeremy Scahill recounting the same story verbally on today's Democracy Now! show.
In a preview of his forthcoming book, Chalmers Johnson examines "the inescapable consequences of the national policies American elites chose after September 11, 2001," what he terms "the sorrows of empire."
Four sorrows, it seems to me, are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787. First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut. Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co-equal "executive branch" of government into a military junta. Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions. Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens.Sobering words from an author who, whether addressing "blowback," the march to war in Iraq, or a Phoenix Program for the 21st century, has proven to be an invaluable voice in the post-9/11 world.
Witness to the illegal Occupation of Palestine Tom Hurndall was killed last April by an IDF gunman as he sought to protect some children from Israeli gunfire last April.
The fact he was unarmed and wearing fluorescent clothing did not protect him from the high velocity rifle shot to the head. His family has turned off the severely brain damaged peace activists life support. He never regained consciousness.
His parents went to Israel to be by his side and bring him home. While there they went to see the place where he was shot. The checkpoint they needed to pass through was notified three times that they were going to arrive. Days before as well as when they set out, again ten minutes before their arrival. The British diplomatic convoy was fired upon from the watchtower at the checkpoint. Your tax dollars at work.
His family spent 17000 pounds to bring him home to Great Britain. Months later a check from the Israeli Defense Ministry for 8300 pounds arrived in the mail with a letter from Ambassador Zvi Stauber arrived in the mail. The check bounced.
Attorney General, General Menachem Finkelstein, after much work from the boys family has agreed to start an investigation concerning his shooting.
Ideally the investigation will be better than the check.
Read about Caoimhe Butterly, another life risking young activist who stands between children and the IDF.
Amiri Haas writes in Haaretz about another innocent child killed.
93 children have been killed by Palestinians. 449 have been killed by Israelis (figures collected early September 2003) .
ALL were innocent, they were kids.
"Page's detailed and compelling case, based on his investigation of Murdoch's operations in Australia, Britain, the USA and the Chinese People's Republic, amounts to this: as an international operator, Murdoch offers his target governments a privatized version of a state propaganda service, manipulated without scruple and with no regard for truth. His price takes the form of vast government favors such as tax breaks, regulatory relief, monopoly markets and so forth. The propaganda is undertaken with the utmost cynicism, whether it's the stentorian fake populism and soft porn in the UK's Sun and News of the World, or shameless bootlicking of the butchers of Tiananmen Square."
No matter what your feelings about the legitimacy or necessity of Israel's occupation of the W. Bank and Gaza, there can be few who would argue that is has been managed successfully, or that it should be a model for Iraq. From virtually every point of view, the Israeli model can be shown to be a failure, and yet the US War planners are increasingly asking for advice from Israel on how to:
"set up roadblocks to the best way to bomb suspected guerrilla hide-outs in an urban area." among other techniques.
Perhaps they would like to know more about how to drop massive bombs from F-16s into urban areas, or how to make sure to kill innocents virtually every single time an attack is made, or perhaps how to turn the population against them even more rapidly.
Did the Brits also have their own "Office of Special Plans"?
"Operation Rockingham [a unit set up by defence intelligence staff within the MoD in 1991] cherry-picked intelligence. It received hard data, but had a preordained outcome in mind. It only put forward a small percentage of the facts when most were ambiguous or noted no WMD... It became part of an effort to maintain a public mindset that Iraq was not in compliance with the inspections. They had to sustain the allegation that Iraq had WMD [when] Unscom was showing the opposite. ...
Although the "conquest" of Iraq has unraveled into murderous chaos, at least the Bush Regime is winning its ferocious battle against another dangerous foe: American soldiers who were captured -- and tortured -- by Saddam Hussein's forces in the first Gulf War.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Europeans are inherently anti-Semitic and their leaders are guilty of pushing a biased policy in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has told EUpolitix.com.These remarks come on the heels of a report that the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) has shelved a study of anti-semitism in Europe because, as the Financial Times put it, "the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined."
Crimes Against Nature: Bush Is Sabotaging The Laws that Have Protected America's Environment For More Than Thirty Years, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
George W. Bush will go down in history as America's worst environmental president. In a ferocious three-year attack, the Bush administration has initiated more than 200 major rollbacks of America's environmental laws, weakening the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife. Cloaked in meticulously crafted language designed to deceive the public, the administration intends to eliminate the nation's most important environmental laws by the end of the year. Under the guidance of Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the Bush White House has actively hidden its anti-environmental program behind deceptive rhetoric, telegenic spokespeople, secrecy and the intimidation of scientists and bureaucrats. The Bush attack was not entirely unexpected. George W. Bush had the grimmest environmental record of any governor during his tenure in Texas. Texas became number one in air and water pollution and in the release of toxic chemicals. In his six years in Austin, he championed a short-term pollution-based prosperity, which enriched his political contributors and corporate cronies by lowering the quality of life for everyone else. Now President Bush is set to do the same to America. After three years, his policies are already bearing fruit, diminishing standards of living for millions of Americans.
A Defense Ministry check, sent "without any admission of liability by the State of Israel and/or the Ministry of Defense" to the family of a International Solidarity Mission volunteer shot by an Israel Defense Forces soldier, bounced when the family tried to cash it earlier this week. The ISM volunteer was rendered incapacitated as a result of the gunshot wounds sustained last April.
"Stock markets often give rise to a boom-bust process, or bubble. Bubbles do not grow out of thin air. They have a basis in reality—but reality as distorted by a misconception. Under normal conditions misconceptions are self-correcting, and the markets tend toward some kind of equilibrium. Occasionally, a misconception is reinforced by a trend prevailing in reality, and that is when a boom-bust process gets under way. Eventually the gap between reality and its false interpretation becomes unsustainable, and the bubble bursts.
Exactly when the boom-bust process enters far-from-equilibrium territory can be established only in retrospect. During the self-reinforcing phase participants are under the spell of the prevailing bias. Events seem to confirm their beliefs, strengthening their misconceptions. This widens the gap and sets the stage for a moment of truth and an eventual reversal. When that reversal comes, it is liable to have devastating consequences. This course of events seems to have an inexorable quality, but a boom-bust process can be aborted at any stage, and the adverse effects can be reduced or avoided altogether. Few bubbles reach the extremes of the information-technology boom that ended in 2000. The sooner the process is aborted, the better.
The quest for American supremacy qualifies as a bubble. The dominant position the United States occupies in the world is the element of reality that is being distorted. The proposition that the United States will be better off if it uses its position to impose its values and interests everywhere is the misconception. It is exactly by not abusing its power that America attained its current position."
More than three dozen of President Bush's major fundraisers are affiliated with companies that stand to benefit from the passage of two central pieces of the administration's legislative agenda: the energy and Medicare bills.
Bush is nothing but a high-rent con man. He wants you to watch his one hand which speaks on and on about democracy and freedom ad infinitum/ad nauseum--while with his other he steals US elections, lies to the American people while sacrificing their lives and rapes the US Treasury with no lube and no condom. I agree with Michael Moore: unelection is not good enough for him; Bush and his gang all need to be frog-marched to the Hague. The world should settle for nothing less.
CBS Editorial Director Dick Meyer:
"I believe there is now a professional, well-trained elite, supported by large institutions, that is adept and willing to use corrupt practices to accumulate wealth. Despite assurances from game-theorists and anthropologists that the criminal cadre in the species remains a constant percentage over time, I believe today's mainstream, sanitized, and institutionally sanctioned financial crime rackets are being run by a new breed of crook. There have always been scandals and crooks in the history of American money, but our predator class is a distinct creation of the late 20th century.
I believe there is no way the counter-class made up of regulators, watchdogs and do-gooders and hack columnists can match wits with the predator class. Today's piles of money are so huge, great fortunes can be amassed by swiping the tiniest of slices in the wiliest of ways long before picked pockets are discovered."
The 101st Airborne Division said its soldiers in Mosul were shot while driving between U.S. garrisons. Several witnesses also said the soldiers were shot during the attack in the Ras al-Jadda district, though earlier reports by witnesses said assailants slit the soldiers' throats.
American military personnel funerals to date that Bush and Cheney have attended: 0.
The 2000 Presidential Election is the riveting story about the battle for the Presidency in Florida and the undermining of democracy in America. Filmmakers Richard Ray Pérez and Joan Sekler examine modern America's most controversial political contest: the election of George W. Bush. What emerges is a disturbing picture of an election marred by suspicious irregularities, electoral injustices, and sinister voter purges in a state governed by the winning candidate's brother. George W. Bush stole the presidency of the United States… and got away with it. " …the movie highlights those on the front lines —from the African-Americans who were turned away from the polling booths for assorted reasons. In one memorable scene the filmmakers freeze-frame a 'protest' against the ballot recount, identifying participants as staff members of Republican elected officials." --Elaine Dutka, Los Angeles Times (video)
It's as natural as curry in Indian food: Al-Qaida is cited in every terrorist attack everywhere in the world. Western intelligence officials are quick to attach the al-Qaida label to every unsolved case of terrorism. The attacks in Iraq? Al-Qaida is involved, along with supporters of Saddam Hussein. Turkey? Al-Qaida, in collaboration with the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders group. Jordan? Al-Qaida, together with local elements. And it's the same in Chechnya, Kashmir and Morocco.
Al-Qaida is alive and kicking, but replacing all the local terrorist organizations with one "world" organization is liable to make it possible for governments to absolve themselves of responsibility for taking action. Governments prefer to attribute their failures to the activity of "foreign elements," which, of course, have to be dealt with by some sort of "world community" and not by them.