26 April 2008
Nowhere will you find word one about the international food crisis.
Meanwhile, the "liberals" (not all, of course) are pushing biofuels: fill your tank with food from people's mouths, for the benefit of the Archer Daniels Midland Corp (not the "Jeffersonian farmer" Monsanto is currently suing out of existence for not paying for their naturally -- or intentionally -- dispersed, copyrighted GMOs).
After the coming economic cataclysm (already here for most people), ya think people will finally rise up and overthrow the global neoliberal regime? Think Obama will lead that fight here in the US?
I think South America is the brightest spot, relatively speaking, in the world right now: they are pointing, messily, toward the only possible future for the species. (Example of "messy": Lula is pro-biofuels -- and not the non-edible kind, either. Even non-edible biofuels will displace all other crops due to rising demand, and not just in the US/EU, but in India, China, everywhere.)
Basically, if we, the species, do not rein in our consumption, we are in for a Malthusian "correction" that will literally rival the Black Plague. Yet, readers of the New York Times, a.k.a., "the people that matter," think they can buy their way out of any crisis.
And all I see in today's Providence Journal, a paper I wouldn't line the bottom of a bird cage with (my wife insists on getting it), is bullshit feel-good stories and propaganda, via the Washington Post (ProJo is a typical cut-and-paste job of a paper; almost no original articles in national/international news sections), on how horribly dangerous Iran is. Puh-leeze.
Oh, but ProJo is all over the big story of the pie thrown at Tom "How Much Blood Is On My Hands?" Friedman. Should have been a brick, in my opinion: we should send that tub of propagandistic lard over to India to try farming in view of the wonderful laboratories and golf courses he loves so. With any luck, he'll join the thousands of farmers who have committed suicide under the "flat-earth" policies he's been touting.
When will people finally realize that the Owners consider us the enemy, and act accordingly?
Disgusted over here in RI.
25 April 2008
Utter genius. Somewhere Juvenal is laughing -- bitterly:
...getting plenty of help from our homegrown lunatics, of course.
Viz. on day of headlines from DN! (I know, Amy Goodman is a self-hating Jew. Aren't we all?):
Here's the Real News on the Gaza Blockade:
Facing Fuel Shortage, UN Halts Aid to Gaza
In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the UN has been forced to suspend aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says it’s run out of fuel because of Israel’s blockade. The UN delivers aid to two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.4 million people. The top UN official in Gaza, John Ging, said Israel had ignored the agency’s warnings.
UNRWA Director John Ging: “There is a crisis here, and it will not be solved with one truck. We need over nine million liters of diesel for Gaza per month. There has been no diesel supply to Gaza at all, not one drop of diesel, since the 9th of April.”
Israel has intensified its stranglehold over the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control last June. Gaza resident Abu Muhammad appealed for international intervention.
Abu Muhammad: “This is the world’s responsibility, the civilized and free world. This UN aid is the only source for this victim nation. If they stop the aid, it means we will die.”
Israel Rejects Latest Hamas Truce Offer
The aid halt comes as Israel has rejected Hamas’s offer for a six-month truce in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar said the deal could also extend to the West Bank.
Mahmoud Zahar: “We declare that the movement agrees to a truce in the Gaza Strip in the framework of a national consensus, such that it later extends to the West Bank and is fixed at six months, during which Egypt will work to extend the truce to the West Bank.”
Egyptian officials helped broker the offer. The Israeli government called it a ruse to allow Hamas to recover from recent military losses. Israel has previously rejected similar Hamas overtures.
Bush Hosts Abbas Amidst Claims of Secret Approval of Israeli Settlement Expansion
Meanwhile, at the White House, President Bush hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday. Bush said he assured Abbas he wants to see the creation of a Palestinian state.
President Bush: "I assured the president that a Palestinian state is a high priority for me and my administration, a viable state, a state that doesn’t look like Swiss cheese, a state that provides hope. It’s in—I believe it’s in Israel’s interest and the Palestinian people’s interest to have leaders willing to work toward the achievement of that state.”
The meeting came hours after the Washington Post reported the Bush administration may have secretly authorized Israel’s expansion of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. This week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said President Bush had OKed settlement expansion even though his so-called peace plan officially calls for a freeze. Ariel Sharon’s former chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, also said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice secretly reaffirmed White House approval of West Bank settlement expansion in the spring of 2005, right before Israel dismantled its settlements in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, the State Department denied reaching a secret agreement with Israel.
Israeli Ambassador to UN: Carter a “Bigot”
Meanwhile, an Israeli official has leveled Israel’s harshest criticism to date of former President Jimmy Carter’s peace efforts in the Middle East. On Thursday, Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said Carter has “[turned] into what I believe to be a bigot.” Gillmeran’s comments follow Carter’s meeting with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Syria earlier this week. The two discussed a ceasefire with Israel and a long-term peace deal. Carter has accused Israel of undermining any hopes for a viable peace through its expansion of settlements and ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Admin Shares Intel on Alleged Syrian Nuke Site
On Capitol Hill, the Bush administration has presented lawmakers with intelligence it says proves North Korea and Syria colluded on a nuclear facility that Israel bombed in September. A senior intelligence official said the US believed the site was nearing operational capability. But the Washington Post reports another senior official said US intelligence had formally declared only “low confidence” the site played a role in a Syrian nuclear program. The sole photograph publicly released of Syrian and North Korean officials does not appear to come from the site in question. Republican Congressmember Peter Hoekstra criticized the White House briefing.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra: “A trusting environment between the administration and Congress does not exist. I think many people believe that we were used today by the administration, not because they felt that they had to inform Congress because it was their legal obligation to do that, but because they had other agendas in mind. Remember, it is the legal responsibility of the administration to keep
Congress fully and currently informed on the issues that the administration is dealing with.”
Earlier this year, New Yorker correspondent Seymour Hersh reported there is no evidence the site was involved in nuclear weapons. Hersh said Israel did not know what it was targeting and was mainly hoping to send a message to Iran.
I am amazed, but not surprised, to hear otherwise liberal folks defend this policy, which is approaching Nazi levels -- and I mean that in full knowledge of what that means. Any counterargument, which I don't expect, would have to prove that the collective punishment, now threatening to become mass starvation, of 1.5 million people, in the face of years -- literally, years -- worth of truce offerings is something other than genocide. Thus, we are "approaching Nazi levels."
For years Israel's treatment of the OT population has been at the American Vietnam-era "strategic hamlet" level, of course.
And, of course, the US is just using Israel, which has gone completely off the rails, as a beach-head, or "Sparta," in the middle east, esp. re: Iran. As the legion of "pro-"Israeli propagandists must know. It's not "support" to whet the blade with which your purported friend is preparing to slice his own wrists -- and that's if you don't give a damn about non-Israelis. (For anyone who might get offended, this is "you" as in "one," not "you" as in "you, the reader.")
Finally: buy, borrow, or steal this book, written by the former head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv U, Zeev Maoz: Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security and Foreign Policy. (Sold out at Powells.) If you read only one book on Israel, this is the one to read. I happen to know how hard it was for Maoz to get this book published; big shock.
PS: Jimmy Carter is not a bigot; rather, he's a hero with real courage. And he's got plenty to make up for: cf., East Timor.
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A documentary of the takeover of buildings at Columbia in 1969.
That's Part I; here's Part II.
There's a roundtable on this event on DN! right now: I went right to the Internet Archive to find the film.
24 April 2008
...since June, 2006. From ClustrMaps:
We'll pass that mark sometime tomorrow -- or, given the lag time, we may have already passed it. I'm happy to see that the year-on-year has gone up considerably, too: 8,286 visits from 6/06 - 6/07; already ~11,700 since 6/07.
Let's take a break from the various political stories, such as the Pentagon-Media Access of Evil, and enjoy some of the better angels of our nature.
I think I may have waxed ecstatic about this book already, but I just read the chapter on Thoreau, and I must share some of it with you.
Brooks is a master not only of the apt and original figure but also of a now out-of-fashion style: marshaling an obviously intimate familiarity with his subject's writings to plausibly recreate his subject's thoughts, while simultaneously commenting on his subject with great subtlety. Intimate distance: a paradox more of a novelistic nature, at least nowadays, and wonderful to see in a work of history.
The following is from pp. 308-311 in the Everyman's Library edition (1952) that I picked up for fifty cents at a public library, which had deemed the well-preserved volume superfluous. For those currently enjoying a riotous New England summery-spring, this will have special significance:
For the sort of friends who never hurt one's feelings, one did not have to look far. Sometimes, in the midst of a gentle rain, Henry felt an influence about him that was suddenly sweet and beneficent. Every sight and sound, the very pattering of the drops, was filled with an unaccountable friendliness. It was to seek this, and all it meant, that he went for his daily walk, with note-book and spyglass in his pocket, and the hat with its lining gathered in the middle to make a little shelf, a botany-box. He was another Linnaeus, setting out for Lapland, though he did not wish to be a "naturalist." Looking at nature straight in the eye was as fatal as to look at the head of Medusa. The man of science always turned to stone. Henry wished to look at nature sidewise, or to look through nature and beyond it. Too many observations were dissipating. One had to be the magnet, in the midst of all this dust and all these filings. Sometimes he rose at two o'clock, for a walk to the Cliffs, to wait there till sunrise, or to watch the fog on the river. He loved those valleys in the fog in which the trees appeared as if at the bottom of the sea. Sometimes he spent the whole of a moonlight night roaming the lonely pastures, where the cattle were silently feeding, to the croaking of the frogs, the intenser dream of the crickets, the half-throttled note of a cuckoo flying over. The bushes loomed, the potato-vines stood upright, the corn grew apace. One's eyes were partially closed then; the other senses took the lead. Every plant emitted its odour, the swamp-pink in the meadow, the tansy in the road. One caught the peculiar dry scent of the corn, which was just beginning to show its tassels. One heard the tinkling of rills one had never detected before. The moonlight over the village, as one stole into the street, seemed to bring antiquity back again. The church, with its fluted columns, reminded one of the Parthenon. The houses had a classical elegance.This book won a well-deserved Pulitzer and National Book Award. I mean, it's not quite at the level of Jhumpa Lahiri, but it will serve.
Sometimes, even in the morning, usually sacred to reading and writing, the wind fairly blew him out of doors. The elements were so lively and active, and he felt so sympathetic with them, that he could not sit while the wind went by. His regular time was the afternoon, from two-thirty to five-thirty, the hour for a voyage to the Leaning Hemlocks, along the Assabet river, or perhaps to examine an ant-hill, nearer home. He had observed it the day before, with its little galleries, wide as a match, covered with the sluggish, crawling ants. In the early spring, the stalks and grasses, left from last year, were steeped in rain and snow, and all the brooks flowed with meadow-tea. Then came the May-days of the warm west wind, the dream-frog, leaping, willowy haze-days, when anything might happen and one thought that next year, perhaps, one might be a postman in Peru, or a South African planter, or a Greenland whaler, or a Canton merchant. Better still, a Robinson Crusoe on some far-off isle of the Pacific. Henry sometimes stood under a tree half a day at a time, in a drenching rain, prying with microscopic eyes into the swarming crevices of the bark, or studying the leaves at his feet, or the spreading fungi. He would watch for an hour a battle of ants, struggling on a chip, a black ant with two red adversaries, till the black ant severed the heads of the others, losing its own feelers and most of its legs, -- a second Concord fight, no doubt with as just a cause. Or, catching sight of a fox, in some woodland clearing, he yielded to the instinct of the chase, tossed his head aloft and bounded away, snuffing the air like a fox-hound, spurning the humanitarians and the Brahmins. For he felt as wild, at times, -- he who preferred a vegetarian diet, -- as if he lived on antelope-marrow, devoured without benefit of fire.
The midsummer days came, when the yellow lilies reigned in the river. The painted tortoises dropped from the willow-stumps as he walked over the bridge. The pickerel-weed sent up its blue and the vireo sang incessantly; the poison-sumac showed its green berries, all unconscious of guilt, the breeze displayed the white sides of the oak-leaves and gave the woods a fresh and glowing look, the rush-sparrow jingled her sliver change on the broad counter of the pasture. Henry sometimes felt, on days like this, as if he were nature itself, looking into nature, as the blue-eyed grass in the meadow looks in the face of the sky. He would stand for hours, up to his chin, in some retired swamp, scenting the wild honeysuckle, lulled by the minstrel mosquitoes: for he liked to subject his body to rougher usage than a grenadier could endure, and he dreamed of still remoter retirements and still more rugged paths. He walked to Second Division Brook and watched the yellow pebbles gleaming under the watercress, -- the whole brook as busy as a loom, a woof and warp of ripples, with fairy fingers throwing the shuttle, and the long, waving stream as the fine result. Just the place for a hut, with a footpath to the water. Or he strolled over to Boon's Pond in Stow, when the haze seemed to concentrate the sunlight, and he walked as if in a halo, while the song-sparrow set the day to music, as if the sparrow were itself the music of the mossy rail or fence-post. Or perhaps along the Price Farm Road, with its endless green-grass borders, with room on each side for the berries and birches, where the walls indulged in freaks, not bothering to run parallel with the ruts, and goldenrod yellowed the path. On these old, meandering, uninhabited roads, leading away from towns, these everlasting roads where the sun played truant, one forgot what country one was in. One waved adieu to the village and travelled like a pilgrim, going whither? Whither, indeed? On the promenade deck of the world.
Click title of this post to sign...
Dear Candidates for U.S. President,
In order for United States national security policy to be strong and effective, it must be consistent with the laws and values of our nation. The Bush Administration’s detention and interrogation policies have led to torture and other abuses, undermining American values, staining our reputation in the world and compromising our global leadership, jeopardizing our national security, and increasing the danger to members of the U.S. military serving abroad. The next president will have the opportunity to get the United States back on track. I am asking you to pledge that if you are elected President you will ensure that detention, interrogation and trial procedures adhere to international and domestic law so that the United States can reclaim the authority to enforce these standards to protect our own troops abroad and promote the values that define our nation.
As a candidate for the highest office of the land, you must let the American people know what actions you will take to:
- Put an end to torture and ensure a single standard of humane treatment for all interrogations conducted by U.S. personnel -- including by the CIA and private contractors.
- Halt the "extraordinary rendition" of detainees to countries known to torture prisoners.
- Close Guantanamo and try detainees suspected of committing crimes in accordance with international and U.S. law.
- Urge Congress to restore the right of habeas corpus to non-citizens – including longtime permanent residents of the U.S. – to ensure that courts can oversee the decision to detain anyone as an "unlawful enemy combatant."
- Ensure that trials of detainees are full and fair. Any trials by military commissions will be conducted consistent with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and in compliance with the procedures set forth in the Manual for Courts-Martial.
23 April 2008
22 April 2008
| From my buddy Otto Pohl's company... |
| || || |
| Dear Doug, |
We’ve updated our site to include articles on how to save water and electricity. Please take a moment today – Earth Day – to take a look and incorporate at least some of the tips into your daily routine.
So, check Google news to see how this is being reported. I leave it to y'all to see through the silliness. Bottom line: Hamas has -- again -- accepted the reality of an Israeli state within the June 4, 1967 borders. Which is only the ruling UN resolution(s) on the topic, and the international consensus for 30 years. Israel and the US have responded by telling Hamas to go fuck itself (Cheney's influence?), while pillorying Carter for doing the obvious thing -- if one wants a good chance -- any chance -- at peace in the region, upon which the fate of the species, literally, may depend.
Israel's government, it must be admitted, simply doesn't want peace. They have their own military-industrial complex, too. Of course, the Israeli people seem to be fine, by a majority, to talk to Hamas, so we shouldn't confuse states with people. I refer y'all to Zeev Maoz's Defending the Holy Land if you want to see how an ideologically blinded, expansionist set of Israeli governments since 1948 have serially self-destructed, with increasingly dire effects.
But my "pro-"Israel friends don't seem to get that they are supporting Israel to death -- its death. To paraphrase an Israeli refusnik who spent several months in prison in his slap-down of an American Jewish male at a recent Finkelstein talk at Brown:
"You want to fight so much? Make aliyah and join up. Oh, but you won't, if I can infer from your keepah [yarmulke] -- you'll take the religious exemption, move to a settlement, and make your secular brothers fight an immoral war to defend you."Exactly.
DN! has a well-deserved field day with this issue (more here). An excellent segment: this is why Democracy Now! is so necessary.
Meanwhile, DN! reports that CNN has snapped into action after the Times' article:
In other media news, CNN has hired former White House spokesperson Tony Snow to serve as a news commentator. Snow worked as President Bush’s chief spokesperson up until September. Prior to his stint as White House press secretary, Snow worked at Fox News. Snow is the second top former Bush administration official to land a prominent television gig. Former White House Senior Adviser Karl Rove has been appearing on Fox News as a commentator since February.
21 April 2008
Part 1 and Part 2 -- yet to be commodified by CSPAN. (Go try to watch anything a tiny bit older than utterly topical on their archive nowadays.)
Click the pic to see what Nader/Gonzalez keep on the proverbial table, as opposed to Hillary/Obama/McCain....
Questions in Arabic, which Chomsky obviously understands (or he has an earpiece); answers in English. Questions are inferable from answers, of course....
On the off chance any of you missed this article on April 20th, a very good day to publish an article on military-industrial-media complex propaganda offensives.
Gotta love those PR firms, TV "news" networks, and the over-riding fact that this was painfully obvious to anyone outside of elite media long before the Bush regime standardized the system. The Times is shocked -- shocked! -- to find gambling going on in this establishment! However, it is nice to see it in black-and-white, especially since the Times, via Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, was playing the same game in the run-up to Iraq, and Gordon has been a loyal "troop" in the run-up to Iran. The subtextual message, in this article about a message machine, is that somehow the Times (1) doesn't do such things, and (2) is thus a superior news source to its competitors. I leave that to y'all to judge.
Update: Ah, I see Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher points out the equal guilt of the print media.And -- for anyone who watches such things -- please let me know when Hillary, McCain, and especially Obama state clearly and unequivocally that they will cancel, roll back, and never again institute a propaganda campaign such as this one in any department of the executive branch, and that they will prosecute anyone caught doing such already illegal acts to the fullest extent of the law.
I won't be holding my breath.
See here for a petition to Congress to do something about this, like, you know, investigate and stuff; click the link above to read Parry's take on it, from which the following blurb is taken:
"After prying loose 8,000 pages of Pentagon documents, the New York Times has proven what should have been obvious years ago: the Bush administration manipulated public opinion on the Iraq War, in part, by funneling propaganda through former senior military officers who served as expert analysts on TV news shows."More here:
20 April 2008
Noam Chomsky, The installation of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe is, virtually, a declaration of war.
Simply imagine how the US would react if Russia or China or Iran or in fact any foreign power dared even to think about placing a missile defense system at or near the borders of the US, let alone carrying out such plans. In these unimaginable circumstances, a violent US reaction would be not only almost certain but also understandable, for reasons that are simple and clear.Correct. Sign petition here:
It is well known on all sides that missile defense is a first-strike weapon. Respected US military analysts describe missile defense as “not simply a shield but an enabler of U.S. action.” It “will facilitate the more effective application of U.S. military power abroad.” “By insulating the homeland from reprisal, [missile defense] will underwrite the capacity and willingness of the United States to `shape' the environment elsewhere.” “Missile defense isn't really meant to protect America. It's a tool for global dominance.” “Missile defense is about preserving America's ability to wield power abroad. It's not about defense. It's about offense. And that's exactly why we need it.” All quotes, from respected liberal and mainstream sources -- who favor developing the system and placing it at the remote limits of US global dominance.
The logic is simple, and well understood. A functioning missile defense system informs potential targets that “we will attack you as we please, and you will not be able to retaliate, so you cannot deter us.” The system is being marketed to Europeans as a defense against Iranian missiles. Even if Iran had nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, the chances of its using them to attack Europe are lower than the chances of Europe being hit by an asteroid, so if defense is the reason, Czech Republic should be installing a system to defend the country from asteroids. If Iran were to indicate even the slightest intention of such a move, the country would be vaporized. The system is indeed aimed at Iran, but as a first-strike weapon. It is a component of the escalating US threats to attack Iran, threats that are in themselves a serious violation of the UN Charter, though admittedly this issue does not arise in outlaw states.
When Gorbachev agreed to allow a unified Germany to join a hostile military alliance, he was accepting a very severe threat to Russian security, for reasons too familiar to review. In return, the US government made a firm pledge not to expand NATO to the East. The pledge was violated a few years later, arousing little comment in the West, but raising the threat of military confrontation. So-called “missile defense” ratchets the threat of war a few notches higher. The “defense” it provides is to increase the threat of aggression in the Middle East, with incalculable consequences, and the threat of terminal nuclear war.
Over half a century ago, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein issued an extraordinary appeal to the people of the world, warning them that they face a choice that is “stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?” Accepting a so-called “missile defense system” makes that choice, in favor of an end to the human race, perhaps in the not-too-distant future.
From a letter to Jan Tamáš
"I do not agree with the installation of a US military base on Czech Republic territory, as part of their NMD (National Missile Defense) project. The implementation of this project is increasing international tensions, generating a new arms race and is the first step towards the militarization and control of space. Since more than two thirds of the Czech population are against this project, I think it is only fair that the Czech people have the right to decide on such an important question by means of a referendum."