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04 May 2007

Beck's global warming special dominated by industry-funded "experts," serial misinformers

Use the following contact information to tell CNN that this issue is too important to get the facts wrong and mislead the American people.

CNN
One CNN Center
Box 105366
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1906

IPCC III: Mitigation of Climate Change

If you want it in Windows Media Player, as opposed to Real Player, here 'tis.

Here's the summary report. (PDF)

And the full report for I: The Physical Science Basis is now available online. (HTML page with lots of PDFs)

Finally, an honest statement: we must change our lifestyles. Oh, heavens, no! Gore doesn't emphasize this enough. Look, global warming requires a radical change in lifestyle, resource distribution, economics -- no matter what that mica-thin flat-brainer Friedman thinks (sic), with due attention to his investment portfolio. Sure, technological solutions will help, but, yes, Virginia, lifestyles must change.

03 May 2007

"Worthy and Unworthy Victims," Stephen Lendman

One of the finest political essays I've read since 9/11. Draws together many strands into one accurate and coherent tapestry of contemporary American moral hypocrisy, using the Chomsky/Herman dichotomy in the title. Read this.

PFAW Petition: Tell Your Senators to Pass Hate Crimes Legislation

Interview with John Pilger: The U.S.’ War on Democracy

New film coming 5/11 -- in the UK at least...

The Color of Olives; Palestinian child fatalities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory during 2006

The most noble army in the world in action. From ReliefWeb; PDF.

More on the occupation: The Color of Olives. Blurb:

From Mexican director Carolina Rivas and cinematographer Daoud Sarhandi comes this elegant and visually breathtaking new film about the Palestinian experience. The Amer family lives surrounded by the infamous West Bank Wall, where their daily lives are dominated by electrified fences, locked gates and a constant swarm of armed soldiers.

This unique and intimate documentary shares their private world, allowing a glimpse of the constant struggles and the small, endearing details that sustain them. THE COLOR OF OLIVES is an artistic and beautifully affecting reflection on the effects of racial segregation, the meaning of borders and the absurdity of war.


Mike Gravel: A Breath of Fresh Air

Add him to the very short list that includes Kucinich and no others.


Police Fire Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas Into Peaceful LA Immigration March; NPR on Boston Biotech Conference Protests

Or, "We Are All Palestinians Now."

Democracy Now! report...more burgeoning fascism. (Mistagged to start at the beginning of the report; you can listen to the headlines, but if you want, jump to 13:36 for the specific segment linked in the title to this post. Update from today's DN! here.)

LA Times on this (more here); even Fox affiliates are pissed off (who knows about FoxNews--National). When you get stomped, you get pissed.

We'll be seeing more and more of this in the good ol' USA:




Meanwhile, NPR (stands for, "Nonstop Propaganda Repetition") tells me today, without batting an eye, the day after this brutality, that a "protest zone" will be set up for the biotech conference. This is OK with them, of course. The entire segment was devoted to how law enforcement has been preparing for the protest. Not one word on why the protest is happening; not one word from a protester-to-be. Typical, I know. Will the Boston PD use rubber bullets, too?

02 May 2007

Raw Story on Cheney's Former Dealings with Pakistan

Nice. How much data will it take for Americans to realize that their "leaders" are their enemies? Add this to the articles of impeachment.

Rachel [Corrie]: An American Conscience

On Rachel Corrie and the International Solidarity Movement. No, they're not terrorists: "nonviolent direct action." Like Gandhi, MLK, et al.


01 May 2007

Fascism: Two Examples

1. Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt," New York Times Magazine, 10/17/04

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

* * *

Righteous rage -- that's what Hardy Billington felt when he heard about same-sex marriage possibly being made legal in Massachusetts. "It made me upset and disgusted, things going on in Massachusetts," the 52-year-old from Poplar Bluff, Mo., told me. "I prayed, then I got to work." Billington spent $830 in early July to put up a billboard on the edge of town. It read: "I Support President Bush and the Men and Women Fighting for Our Country. We Invite President Bush to Visit Poplar Bluff." Soon Billington and his friend David Hahn, a fundamentalist preacher, started a petition drive. They gathered 10,000 signatures. That fact eventually reached the White House scheduling office.

By late afternoon on a cloudy Labor Day, with a crowd of more than 20,000 assembled in a public park, Billington stepped to the podium. "The largest group I ever talked to I think was seven people, and I'm not much of a talker," Billington, a shy man with three kids and a couple of dozen rental properties that he owns, told me several days later. "I've never been so frightened."

But Billington said he "looked to God" and said what was in his heart. "The United States is the greatest country in the world," he told the rally. "President Bush is the greatest president I have ever known. I love my president. I love my country. And more important, I love Jesus Christ."

The crowd went wild, and they went wild again when the president finally arrived and gave his stump speech. There were Bush's periodic stumbles and gaffes, but for the followers of the faith-based president, that was just fine. They got it -- and "it" was the faith.

And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. "You think he's an idiot, don't you?" I said, no, I didn't. "No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!" In this instance, the final "you," of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

* * *

Bush's speech that day in Poplar Bluff finished with a mythic appeal: "For all Americans, these years in our history will always stand apart," he said. "You know, there are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one of those times. This is a time that needs -- when we need firm resolve and clear vision and a deep faith in the values that make us a great nation."

The life of the nation and the life of Bush effortlessly merge -- his fortitude, even in the face of doubters, is that of the nation; his ordinariness, like theirs, is heroic; his resolve, to whatever end, will turn the wheel of history.

Remember, this is consent, informed by the heart and by the spirit. In the end, Bush doesn't have to say he's ordained by God. After a day of speeches by Hardy Billington and others, it goes without saying.

"To me, I just believe God controls everything, and God uses the president to keep evil down, to see the darkness and protect this nation," Billington told me, voicing an idea shared by millions of Bush supporters. "Other people will not protect us. God gives people choices to make. God gave us this president to be the man to protect the nation at this time."

But when the moment came in the V.I.P. tent to shake Bush's hand, Billington remembered being reserved. "'I really thank God that you're the president' was all I told him." Bush, he recalled, said, "Thank you."

"He knew what I meant," Billington said. "I believe he's an instrument of God, but I have to be careful about what I say, you know, in public."

* * *

Joseph Gildenhorn, a top contributor who attended the luncheon and has been invited to visit Bush at his ranch, said later: "I've never seen the president so ebullient. He was so confident. He feels so strongly he will win." Yet one part of Bush's 60-odd-minute free-form riff gave Gildenhorn -- a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a former ambassador to Switzerland -- a moment's pause. The president, listing priorities for his second term, placed near the top of his agenda the expansion of federal support for faith-based institutions. The president talked at length about giving the initiative the full measure of his devotion and said that questions about separation of church and state were not an issue.

Talk of the faith-based initiative, Gildenhorn said, makes him "a little uneasy." Many conservative evangelicals "feel they have a direct line from God," he said, and feel Bush is divinely chosen.

"I think he's religious, I think he's a born-again, I don't think, though, that he feels that he's been ordained by God to serve the country." Gildenhorn paused, then said, "But you know, I really haven't discussed it with him."

2. George Orwell, 1984

O'Brien's manner became less severe. He resettled his spectacles thoughtfully, and took a pace or two up and down. When he spoke his voice was gentle and patient. He had the air of a doctor, a teacher, even a priest, anxious to explain and persuade rather than to punish.

'I am taking trouble with you, Winston,' he said, 'because you are worth trouble. You know perfectly well what is the matter with you. You have known it for years, though you have fought against the knowledge. You are mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to remember real events and you persuade yourself that you remember other events which never happened. Fortunately it is curable. You have never cured yourself of it, because you did not choose to. There was a small effort of
the will that you were not ready to make. Even now, I am well aware, you are clinging to your disease under the impression that it is a virtue. Now we will take an example. At this moment, which power is Oceania at war with?'

'When I was arrested, Oceania was at war with Eastasia.'

'With Eastasia. Good. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, has it not?'

Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth to speak
and then did not speak. He could not take his eyes away from the dial.

'The truth, please, Winston. Your truth. Tell me what you think you remember.'

'I remember that until only a week before I was arrested, we were not at war with Eastasia at all. We were in alliance with them. The war was against Eurasia. That had lasted for four years. Before that --'

O'Brien stopped him with a movement of the hand.

'Another example,' he said. 'Some years ago you had a very serious delusion indeed. You believed that three men, three onetime Party members named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford men who were executed for treachery and sabotage after making the fullest possible confession -- were not guilty of the crimes they were charged with. You believed that you had seen unmistakable documentary evidence proving that their confessions were false. There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.'

An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O'Brien's fingers. For perhaps five seconds it was within the angle of Winston's vision. It was a photograph, and there was no question of its identity. It was the photograph. It was anoth
er copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it.

'It exists!' he cried.

'No,' said O'Brien.

He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. O'Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O'Brien turned away from the wall.

'Ashes,' he said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.'

'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.'

'I do not remember it,' said O'Brien.

Winston's heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain that O'Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that O'Brien had really forgotten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the thought that defeated him.

O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.

'There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'

'"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,"' repeated Winston obediently.

'"Who controls the present controls the past,"' said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. 'Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?'

Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston. His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not only did not know whether 'yes' or 'no' was the answer that would save him from pain; he did not even know which answer he believed to be the true one.

O'Brien smiled faintly. 'You are no metaphysician, Winston,' he said. 'Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?'

'No.'


'Then where does the past exist, if at all?'

'In records. It is written down.'

'In records. And --?'

'In the mind. In human memories.'

'In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?'

'But how can you stop people remembering things?' cried Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. 'It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!'

O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the dial.

'On the contrary,' he said, 'you have not controlled it. That is what has brought you here. You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe
that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.'

* * *

'Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'

Winston was struck, as he had been struck before, by the tiredness of O'Brien's face. It was strong and fleshy and brutal, it was full of intelligence and a sort of controlled passion before which he felt himself helpless; but it was tired. There were pouches under the eyes, the skin sagged from the cheekbones. O'Brien leaned over him, deliberately bringing the worn face nearer.

'You are thinking,' he said, 'that my face is old and tired. You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even able to prevent the decay of my own body. Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die when you cut your fingernails?'

He turned away from the bed and began strolling up and down again, one hand in his pocket.

'We are the priests of power,' he said. 'God is power. But at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: "Freedom is Slavery". Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone -- free -- the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body but, above all, over the mind. Power over matter -- external reality, as you would call it -- is not important. Already our control over matter is absolute.'

For a moment Winston ignored the dial. He made a violent effort to raise himself into a sitting position, and merely succeeded in wrenching his body painfully.

'But how can you control matter?' he burst out. 'You don't even control the climate or the law of gravity. And there are disease, pain, death --'

O'Brien silenced him by a movement of his hand. 'We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation -- anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.'

'But you do not! You are not even masters of this planet. What about Eurasia and Eastasia? You have not conquered them yet.'

'Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us. And if we did not, what difference would it make? We can shut them out of existence. Oceania is the world.'

'But the world itself is only a speck of dust. And man is tiny helpless! How long has he been in existence? For millions of years the earth was uninhabited.'


'Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness.'

'But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals -- mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which lived here long before man was ever heard of.'

'Have you ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not. Nineteenth-century biologists invented them. Before man there was nothing. After man, if he could come to an end, there would be nothing. Outside man there is nothing.'

'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.'

'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.'

Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say anything. O'Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection:

'For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?'

Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever he said, the swift answer crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he knew, he knew, that he was in the right. The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind -- surely there must be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the corners of O'Brien's mouth as he looked down at him.

'I told you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different thing: in fact, the opposite thing. All this is a digression,' he added in a different tone. 'The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.'
He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: 'How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?'

Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.

'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?

It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now.
There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'

* * *

The trumpet-call had let loose an enormous volume of noise. Already an excited voice was gabbling from the telescreen, but even as it started it was almost drowned by a roar of cheering from outside. The news had run round the streets like magic. He could hear just enough of what was issuing from the telescreen to realize that it had all happened, as he had foreseen; a vast seaborne armada had secretly assembled a sudden blow in the enemy's rear, the white arrow tearing across the tail of the black. Fragments of triumphant phrases pushed themselves through the din: 'Vast strategic manoeuvre -- perfect co-ordination -- utter rout -- half a million prisoners -- complete demoralization -- control of the whole of Africa -- bring the war within measurable distance of its end victory -- greatest victory in human history -- victory, victory, victory!'

Under the table Winston's feet made convulsive movements. He had not stirred from his seat, but in his mind he was running, swiftly running, he was with the crowds outside, cheering himself deaf. He looked up again at the portrait of Big Brother. The colossus that bestrode the world! The rock against which the hordes of Asia dashed themselves in vain! He thought how ten minutes ago -- yes, only ten minutes -- there had still been equivocation in his heart as he wondered whether the news from the front would be of victory or defeat. Ah, it was more than a Eurasian army that had perished! Much had changed in him since that first day in the Ministry of Love, but the final, indispensable, healing change had never happened, until this moment.

The voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its tale of prisoners and booty and slaughter, but the shouting outside had died down a little. The waiters were turning back to their work. One of them approached with the gin bottle.
Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The longhoped-for bullet was entering his brain.

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Jewish Voice for Peace: Some Videos

From JVP's site. Btw, switching your rendering engine to IE if you use Firefox works (for me, at least).

Unless stated, most files require Windows Media Player. Get it free for Windows, or for Mac. You must watch videos using Internet Explorer web browser. Firefox/Mozilla will not work.

JVP

  • Brand New!
    Watch our moving video "Meet JVP" that we produced for our Olive Branch Awards. (Warning, it's a large file, so best if you have a high speed connection.) See many of the faces behind JVP and why we are so committed to this work.
  • News coverage of JVP on the Gaza withdrawal.
    Watch the demonstration and in-studio analysis.
  • Classic JVP Promo
    This video offers a short but compelling statement about JVP's work, and features footage of our sit-in at the Israeli Consulate in 2002. Watch with Windows Media Player or Quicktime.
  • In support of selective divestment
    Watch JVP Co-Director Liat Weingart and Israeli human rights attorney Shamai Leibovitz address Chicago's Presbyterian community on divestment.
  • Caterpillar action
    Inspiring video about home demolitions and JVP action on March 16, 2004, the anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. (Large file)
  • Joint press conference
    JVP sponsored a 2004 joint Muslim, Jewish and Christian press conference with Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights.

Home demolitions

Nazi Holocaust Documentary

Alfred Hitchcock, among other directors, contributed to this. Never shown till recently, on Frontline, and in the UK.

"The Mullahs and the Military" -- Channel 4 Dispatches Documentary on Pakistan

You know, the country that has a strong Taliban influence that could take over at any moment and have a nuclear arsenal? The country that opened a nuclear-technology mall under A.Q. Khan (and everyone knew all about it the world over, as William Langewiesche showed in the Atlantic a ways back)? The one that's almost gone to nuclear war at least once with India (who was equally blameworthy)?

Oh, yeah...Pakistan.

But Iran is the real problem. They are actually a key ally against Sunni extremists -- but no matter. (The Holst and intro graphics are a bit much, but at least the person posted it on YouTube!)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Smedley Butler: "War Is A Racket"

A half-hour on General Smedley Bulter, a man who saved us from a Fascist putsch in the '30s. Just like George Tenet and Dick Durbin. Read his book here; read about the putsch here.

Sen. Durbin and George Tenet: Totally Full of Shit

1. Durbin. From Democracy Now! --

Sen. Durbin: I Knew the Public Was Being Mislead [sic] into the Iraq War
In Washington, the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, Majority whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, has admitted that he knew in 2003 that the American public was being misled into the Iraq war but remained silent. Durbin said last week "I was angry about it. [But] frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy." Durbin went on to say "We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."
Huh? Dick Durbin, meet John Locke. Ever heard of "Lockean prerogative"? Nah, didn't think so. Try reading Schlesinger's The Imperial Presidency (pp. 321-22). It applies to the executive usually, but can be extended to any governmental employee, such as, say, Daniel Ellsberg. It's a matter of honesty and common sense: you go public and break the law, even the Constitution, to save the country from grave harm. Then you take the consequences. This prerogative is constantly invoked to start wars; how about to prevent a war? I'd like to see that.

Don't like Locke, Rousseau, or anyone else whose argued for this emergency prerogative? How about Thoreau, then? Civil disobedience? There are higher causes than bureaucratic rules, such as saving the country (ours and theirs) from an awful war. Not even unconstitutional in this case -- just requires the constitution to protect the Constitution. "Yeah, I'm breaking my statutory silence. Throw me out of the Senate; revoke my clearances. The news is out: this administration is lying us into war." How hard is that?

Vote this jellyfish out next time 'round, people of Illinois. Another loser Democrat. Which also, by the way, means that a lot of other Democrats knew -- as in factually knew -- the Iraq war was a total load of horseshit: Hillary, Kerry, Dodd, Biden, Edwards, et al. Losers, all. Fuck their lame apologies (if even those are forthcoming): they are disqualified for the presidency. But we can't possibly support Kucinich! The hair, as Vidal said, is deplorable. Ergo, no.

2. Tenet

Another example of a total careerist who could have saved possibly a million lives were he to risk not being invited to cocktail parties. He could have resigned and blown the whistle on these criminals. Just resigning would have been enough -- that would have spoken volumes.

To both of these cowards, I'd ask the following. If you didn't have the courage to stop this war honestly and openly, why didn't you do what every single person in DC does on issues of far less importance: leak!

Tenet needs to be on the list of people to be indicted. To say nothing of the torture program.

Bottom line: These people are indicative of the systemic corruption in our government. It would be comforting to dismiss them merely as cowardly "bad apples." The barrel causes the rot.

Snakes and Arrows, Rush's Latest

Yes, I'm still a Rush fan. I've never been a fan of the mid-'80s-to-mid-'90s Rush, and my standards are very high, so... This latest album is just great: very light on the synthesizers (thank god), great drumming (no shit?), and a nice dollop of acoustic guitar. The acoustic instrumental, "Hope," reminds me why Lifeson was considered the second coming of Jimmy Page in the mid-70s. Lee's bass is phenomenal, as per usual. The album's not quite as heavy -- or angry -- as the last one, Vapor Trails, but it's pretty goddamn heavy nonetheless. Full of unusual melodies and unexpected time changes galore. Peart just gets better and looser as a drummer. In other words, another typical set of MTV-ready, demographically micromarketed, cookie-cutter pop songs. You gotta love a group that includes an instrumental track of typically jazz-level complexity (but atypical trippiness) called "Malignant Narcissism."

The lyrics are direct -- more than usual, which was never surrealistic. In fact, realism (yes, even unto atheism) has been the touchstone. Luckily, he seems to have dropped his early Objectivism (sic). We all grow up. Peart's flirtation with the Amazing Ayn Rand-y did yield 2112, a great dystopian concept album, but I'm glad to see that it's long, long gone. Some very apt and engaged political lyrics, nonetheless -- well, any sane person can't help but look around and say, with varying degrees of profundity, "What the fuck is wrong with this world?"

So, he's not Lennon or Dylan, but Peart is literate, allusive but not elusive, and interesting. Writes a "pantoum" for this album -- no, I'd never heard of it. Here's a PDF of his album essay. He's written a few books good enough to make you forget that he's the drummer and lyricist for Rush: and that's meant as high praise.

It's just great to hear older artists, like Dylan (Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft, Modern Times), doing some of their best stuff. Other than that phenomenal chameleon Beck, I don't hear anyone who can hold a candle to the '65-'75-ish crop of groups that were either already working or just starting -- the post-punk (U2, Police -- the Clash, if they don't fit into the Golden Decade), the California '80s wave of Jane's Addiction and the Chili Peppers, some of the grunge stuff (Nirvana, especially), and a sport or two (e.g.: Stevie Ray Vaughan or Laurie Anderson), excepted. The density and variety of popular or rock music between '65 and '75 just can't be beat -- and it's worth wondering why, if you grant that I'm not just an old fogy (I'm 37, so I was 5 to 5 during the Golden Decade -- nostalgia can't play a role!).

I'm sure this apparent artistic downturn is as much a factor of the fracturing of the music business in marketing terms and the consolidation in ownership terms as any dubious theory of mechanism-less artistic downturn. Ani DiFranco is on the list, but haven't listened to much. Please give me tips!

30 April 2007

Prominent Voices Call for Impeachment on the Capitol Steps

About time. Again, Kucinich is the only decent candidate in the field.
"Wednesday, April 25, 2007: At noon today a distinguished group of public elected officials, prominent voices of conscience, actors and artists, and military families gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol to call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

With debate sharpening between Congress and administration over including withdrawal dates from Iraq in the Supplemental Spending Bill, today's press conference continued the growing momentum against the Bush Administration. Dennis Kucinich, having filed an impeachment resolution Tuesday against Vice President Cheney appeared at today's press conference and said that yesterday the press said he was alone in calling for impeachment. Today standing together with the 100 of us gathered in front of the Capitol, he declared that he is not alone, he is standing with the people for impeachment.

Among today's speakers were Mayor Rocky Anderson (Salt Lake City); Pultizer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges; Daniel Ellsberg; Cindy Sheehan; World Can't Wait Director Debra Sweet; The Nation correspondent John Nichols; co-founder of Afterdowningstreet.org David Swanson; and Washington State legislator Eric Oemig.

Several speakers brought out the full array of crimes of the Bush Administration. Chris Hedges said: "The President is guilty, in short, of what in legal circles is known as the 'crime of aggression'. And, if we as citizens do not hold him accountable for these crimes, if we do not begin the process of impeachment, we will be complicit in the codification of a new world order, one that will have terrifying consequences."

We will be showing more statements, press coverage, pictures, and video as it comes in. Today was a very important step in making the matter of impeachment one which is taken seriously."


Or, the Google Video version:
"A group of prominent Americans will gather at the U.S. Capitol to speak in support of beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Among them will be mayors, including Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City and John Shields of Nyack, NY; state legislators including Washington State Senator Eric Oemig; city council members, including Dave Meserve of Arcata, CA; and former government officials, including Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers; David MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright, a career diplomat who quit in protest the day the war began. Also participating will be authors, journalists, poets, and playwrights, including Chris Hedges, Justin Frank, Mark Kurlansky, John Nichols, David Lindorff, Gerald Stern, and Ann Marie Macari; actors, producers, and photographers, including Eunice Wong, and Kathy Chalfant, and leading anti-war voices, including Andy Shallal, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Richards, Medea Benjamin, Bob Fertik, David Swanson, Debra Sweet, Kevin Zeese, Michael Berg, Carlos Arredondo, Elaine Brower, and Jonathan Schwarz."

The Spanish Civil War: 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Guernica

Democracy Now! on Fighting Fascism: The Americans -- Women and Men -- Who Fought In the Spanish Civil War.

More information on the Abraham Lincoln brigade.

Wikipedia on the Spanish Civil War, for what it's worth.

George Orwell on the Spanish Civil War:

"Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship," by Noam Chomsky.

More resources from Anarcho-Syndicalism 101:
  • After the Revolution - by Diego Abad de Santiallan, theoretical text written by Spanish author in the leadup to the Civil War, discussing ways in which production, distribution and consumption could be organised according to anarcho-syndicalist principles.
  • With the Peasants of Aragon - by Augustin Souchy, description of the anarchist collectives by a former secretary of the International Workers' Association.



Here's a Luis Buñuel documentary, Land without Bread, from 1932 on "Las Hurdes," a poor area of Spain. This exemplifies what the Spanish revolution was trying to fix -- and did, to a large extent. Note the final message in this documentary.

There were the beginnings of a great human success, no thanks to the towering beacons of Western democracy (sic); none to the vanguard of world revolution (sic) in Russia, either, all of whom conspired to kill the revolution, even at the cost of empowering fascism. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Carl Sagan's Cosmos: All 13 Episodes

Part 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

Part 2: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

Part 3: Harmony of the Worlds

Part 4: Heaven and Hell

Part 5: Blues for the Red Planet
Seemingly missing...from the Google long-duration list, but here it is from YouTube, with I think Portuguese subtitles. The a/v synch is off; will replace if/when episode 5 shows up on Google Vidz:
a:

b:

c:

d:

e:

f:

g: [Credits]

Part 6: Travelers' Tales

Part 7: The Backbone of the Night

Part 8: Journeys in Space and Time

Part 9: The Lives of the Stars

Part 10: The Edge of Forever

Part 11: The Persistence of Memory

Part 12: Encyclopaedie Galactica

Part 13: Who Speaks for Earth?

29 April 2007

Independent Media In A Time Of War

"Part scathing critique, part call to action, 'Independent Media In A Time Of War' is a hard-hitting new documentary by the Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center (www.hm.indymedia.org). This film is composed of a speech given by Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! illustrated by clips of mainstream media juxtaposed with rare footage from independent reporters in Iraq. The documentary argues that dialogue is vital to a healthy democracy. 'Independent media has a crucial responsibility to go to where the silence is,' says Amy Goodman, 'to represent the diverse voices of people engaged in dissent.' She makes a compelling argument that the commercial news media have failed to represent the 'true face of war.'

Thanks to Joe Public Films and Tom Jackson for contributing footage from 'Greetings From Missile Street.'"

Media Coverage of the Gulf War: Journalism or Jingoism?

4/30/1991

Mr. Conor Brady, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Mr. Alexander Cockburn, Mr. Hugh B. Colver, Mr. Paul Gillespie, Mr. David Shukman, Mr. Larry Speakes.

Sound familiar?

Sovereignty and World Order

3/25/1999

Massacre in East Timor: A Case Study in U.S. Foreign Policy

4/21/1992

Ms. Barbara Anderson, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Mr. Larry Dinger, Ms. Amy Goodman, Mr. Allan Nairn, Prof. Henry Steiner

Chris Hedges: American Fascists

A Triumphal Trilogy: Blowback, Sorrows of Empire, and now Nemesis: a conversation with Chalmers Johnson.


"A Hope not Lost," Uri Averny

Excellent, as per usual.

General Odom: "The Commander in Chief Seems to Have Gone AWOL"

This general has no issue with Congress taking a stand...if only they would, beyond this faux-bill that Odom supports.

Used to run the NSA. A foaming-at-the-mouth liberal, that is. Of course.