Bush thereby committed perjury and obstructed justice. Bush improperly interfered with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to benefit his patron, Kenneth Lay of Enron. This illegal quid pro quo is graft.
Bush directed his representatives to deceive the UN Security Council and the Congress in violation of US and international law. Bush's pattern of criminal deception shattered US credibility and requires impeachment.
thanks to BookNotes
Too high expectations
American, European and Israeli spokesmen lately have been creating great expectations of the new government that Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Mazen, is trying to put together for the Palestinian Authority. The prime minister-designate is supposed to rein in the terror, put some order in the PA governmental chaos, eradicate corruption, form a regime of law and order, and, of course, neutralize chairman Yasser Arafat, whom Israel regards as the father of all evil. After the PLC votes confidences in the Abu Mazen government, Washington will publish the road map, which is perceived as being sympathetic to the Palestinians, and which is regarded with suspicion by the Sharon government. Abu Mazen is promised visits to the White House and European capitals. The Israeli government has also promised to greet the new government with a series of steps meant to ease conditions in the territories.
The Palestinians are, of course, waiting for Abu Mazen, but their expectations are much lower, it seems. Judging, for example, by the poll published last week by the Jerusalem Media Institute, most Palestinians have very little hope from the new government, saying it won't significantly change the political reality and won't remove the daily suffering in the territories. Three years ago, the Palestinians also did not share America and Israel's high expectations from the Camp David summit. Many warned at the time that an outbreak of violence was coming. Israel interpreted that pessimism as an attempt to threaten violence to squeeze more concessions out of Ehud Barak's government. That Palestinian pessimism can now be read as a more accurate reading of reality.
David Hirst, the veteran correspondent for The Guardian, reported in 1996 on fears in Yasser Arafat's entourage that the Israelis would turn the Palestinian security forces against the Palestinian leader. According to Hirst, a Palestinian official said that the Israelis had so "penetrated" the security forces "that some of its leaders now depend on them at least as much as they do on Arafat. The time is coming when the Israelis decide that Arafat - who argues too much - has served his purpose." The official told Hirst that, "the Israelis are grooming Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], one of the secret negotiators of the Oslo accord, to take Mr. Arafat's place, and that they will count on Muhammad Dahlan, head of Preventative Security in Gaza, to lead the putsch."
Seven years ago such fears and infighting could be dismissed as so much paranoia. And yet, as I write this, Arafat clings desperately to the rubble of his bombed-out headquarters, the Israelis having declared him "irrelevant," while the US- and Israeli-chosen Palestinian 'prime minister' Mahmoud Abbas is locked in a dispute with Arafat over the formation of a cabinet. The key sticking point is Abbas' insistence that Dahlan be placed in charge of security. Arafat's paranoia appears in this case to have been justified. Even the most level-headed observer is tempted to see in this a conspiracy.
The IDF rules the current government, just as it ruled the previous one and the one before that. The prime ministers and ministers of defense, Barak, Sharon, Ben-Eliezer, Mofaz, and some of their reigning cheiftans, know no thought or feeling that is not militarized. The IDF, and the state it tows behind, are waging a war the sole goal of which is the utter subjugation of the Palestinian people living in the occupied territories. We should not forget this for a moment. The IDF is a criminal army. Immersion in the details of daily events -- including the shootings of children and elderly women -- diverts our gaze from the overall view, from the broad move being undertaken here, minute by minute, by well-disciplined soldiers.
The soldiers' role is to crumble the Palestinian population. Unthinkingingly, they are destroying not only the physical infrastructure of West Bank and Gaza Strip cities, not only homes and roads and fields and orchards, but also every trace of the human spirit. Over 50% of the Palestinians in the occupied territories are suffering from malnutrition. Overall health conditions verge on a catastrophe, and people in need of more than a bare minimum of health care fade silently away, uncounted among the casualties. At least 75 people have died in the last two years because the curfew, the road blocks and the ruined passes prevented them from receiving medical attention in time. Just yesterday we got word of two stillborn babies whose mothers could see the ambulances waiting from a distance, but couldn't reach them. The Palestinian educational system is limping along, functioning with extreme difficulty, and the universities hold classes in warehouses and private homes, in order to keep alive a small ember, so as not to burn out altogether. Family visits, travel from cities to villages, going to the beach -- all these are concepts long forgotten.
Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates as "Good Eye." The Miksang Society offers a number of programs, courses and events that present a form of contemplative photography. This school of contemplative photography brings together the art of photography, the discipline of meditation and the Dharma Art teachings of the meditation master and scholar Chogyam Trungpa.
thanks to Coudal Partners
American anger at France over its refusal to support war in Iraq reached new heights yesterday when President George Bush took a direct swipe at President Chirac.
"I doubt he'll be coming to the ranch any time soon," was Mr Bush's tart comment in an interview with NBC News, when asked about Jacques Chirac – a reference to the informal summits Mr Bush likes to hold with favoured foreign leaders at his cherished retreat in Crawford, Texas. Many in his administration – by implication, himself among them – had the impression "that the French position was anti-American", the President said.
The latest warnings of retaliation against Paris only underscore that acute strains in the Western alliance have not ended with victory in Iraq. Although Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, made moves last night to repair relationships with countries in North and South America and in the Middle East, in the case of France, they may be about to worsen.
In Paris, one French official was told by a White House official that "I have instructions to tell you our relations have been degraded", while senior Bush aides met on Monday to decide on the nature of the punishment.
Thanks, Mr President
Love him or hate him, but at least acknowledge the fact that President Bush has a knack for bringing the most unlikely people together. Could anyone have imagined that Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims - historic foes for centuries - would unite in a Baghdad mosque to oppose US occupation of their land and vow to work hand in hand to remove the infidels from their ancestral ground? Equally impressive, President Bush's Iraq policy has helped millions of Europeans, who often find themselves at odds with each other on the most banal considerations of life, to find their common identity in opposition to the war.
I was thinking about this last week, as EU leaders met in Athens to welcome 10 central and eastern European countries into their ranks. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, while officials from the old and new Europe stood side by side at the foot of the Acropolis posing for photos, many continued to express concern over the rift that has been created between European powers in the wake of the earlier failed diplomatic efforts leading up to the war. Some wondered out loud whether the growing division and bitterness among European nations might even derail the future prospects of the EU itself. While European leaders engaged in a collective handwringing, they failed to notice that an extraordinary transformation has occurred among ordinary people all over Europe in the course of the past several months.
Mr. Wong's Soup 'Partments
It's easy as 1, 2, 3! Just download the template-PSD of your choice and customize it as you wish!
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
Amid heightened concerns about SARS, the US economy is starting to feel the effects of the deadly new strain of pneumonia, according to new industry and government reports.
The US Federal Reserve, in its Beige Book survey released Wednesday, cited SARS as a factor holding back an ailing US economy by cutting into tourism in some regions of the country.
thanks to This Modern World
thanks to Coudal Partners
L A D L E R A T R O T T E N H U T
From an interview when Chace was in his 80s, for the original Whole Earth Catalog in the Sixties
Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage, honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry putty ladle rat cluck wetter ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.
Wan moaning, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut's murder colder inset. "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker cockles. Tick disk ladle basking tutor cordage offer groin-murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake! Dun stopper laundry wrote! Dun stopper peck floors! Dun daily-doily inner florist, an yonder nor sorghum-stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers!"
thanks to reading & writing
This Case took took a couple of years to complete-mainly because I was doing a lot of other things at the same time. It is made of 12 cast sections and some sheet (all aluminium) TIG welded and fit together. There is quite a bit of painstaking fitting involved in getting all the hinges right and getting all the doors to have nice fits. Then I put in several days polishing the whole thing. The interior of the drive bays is paneled with curly maple, and I plan to do some upholstering on the insides of the doors to complete the feeling of luxury.
thanks to gmtPlus9
civilization wasn't that bad
We did make it back from the other side (as we islanders refer to the mainland) yesterday and have been spending time with Gregg. Lots to catch up on including many new blogs to add to the blogroll. I've also been working on moving up to Moveable Type. Maybe next week. Too many projects, too little time.
your intrepid blogger ventures forth to do battle with the forces of civilization
I'm afraid that the reports that the war in Iraq was over may have been premature. A new phase of fighting seems to have begun and the administration's efforts at rebuilding Iraq are taking on the qualities of slapstick comedy — if only it weren't so tragic.
via Stratfor: U.S. Forces in Iraq have been under attack for the past 11 days by fighters with the recently formed National Front for the Liberation of Iraq (NFLI), Al Jazeera television has reported. The unconfirmed attacks have been widespread, occurring in Baghdad, Basra, Babylon, Mosul, An Najaf and Kirkuk, according to Al Jazeera. The attacks are isolated and reportedly have resulted in the deaths of more than 20 U.S. and British soldiers and damage to eight coalition tanks and armored personnel carriers. The NFLI has threatened to kill retired U.S. Gen. Jay Garner, in charge of reconstruction efforts, in an effort to protect Iraqi oil interests. The NFLI also has demanded that U.S. supporters vacate all Iraqi government premises they occupy "illegally."
THE BUSHIES TWO PLANS FOR IRAQ.
Last week, an Iraqi exile named Mohammed Mohsen Zubaidi strode into Baghdad and declared himself mayor, meeting with local sheiks and promising them potable drinking water and electricity. "With your help, we can manage our country by ourselves," The Washington Post quoted him as saying. Barbara Bodine, the former U.S. ambassador to Yemen who has been tapped for administrative responsibility over Iraq's capital, was forced to tell reporters that the United States did not recognize Zubaidi's authority.
But Zubaidi isn't the only one eager to fill the power vacuum left by the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Last week, both Ahmed Chalabi, a senior member of the Pentagon-backed Iraqi National Congress (INC), and his old rival Ayad Allawi, who leads the CIA-backed Iraqi National Accord, also arrived in Baghdad. Both major Kurdish parties have set up offices there as well. In Mosul, a Kurd affiliated with one of those parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), declared himself mayor of the city, sparking riots by the townspeople. Representatives of Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr Al Hakim, the head of the Iran-based and -funded Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), have started to assemble large crowds in Basra, Karbala, and Najaf.
"It is vitally important," says Barhim Salih, the prime minister of the Regional Kurdistan Government, "that an interim national Iraqi authority is established very soon and that it assume responsibility for maintaining law and order and provide public services while preparing for elections as soon as possible." But, while Salih is undoubtedly right, it's unclear whether he'll get his wish. That's because the Bush administration is as divided over how to replace Saddam's regime as it was over how to topple it. There is not one U.S. plan to create an interim Iraqi government but, rather, two competing ones--one backed by the Pentagon, the other by the State Department and the National Security Council (NSC)--and this bureaucratic infighting is sowing confusion, delaying reconstruction, and leaving the political field largely open for the worst kind of anti-Western, anti-democratic leaders to rise.
thanks to Talking Points Memo
dissent in america
The San Francisco Chronicle has fired technology columnist Henry Norr. He was arrested while taking part in an anti-war rally last month. Norr was participating in the massive direct-action protest that spread across the Bay area on they day after the US invasion of Iraq began.
The next day his column on computers and technology was pulled. He was suspended for a month and now he’s been officially fired.
They have been called Saddam's Angels and the Dixie Sluts, traitors and big mouths, all because they made a disparaging remark about President Bush at a concert in London last month.
Radio stations stopped playing their new CD and invited listeners to dump their old albums in rubbish bins and there have been death threats and calls to boycott their upcoming US tour.
Now the Texas-based Dixie Chicks are fighting back. They have posed for the cover of next week's Entertainment Weekly cheerfully wearing nothing but the epithets they have attracted and vowing to continue to speak their minds.
thanks to Eschaton
According to reports reaching Jerusalem from Israeli embassies in dozens of capitals, the entire world is cheering the prime minister for his painful concessions. The fact that he mentioned Beit El and Shilo in that context raised the hopes of many Israelis that the penny has also dropped for Ariel Sharon. Some of his political rivals on the left hurried to find a launching pad into the government due to Sharon's words. On the other side, his partners on the extreme right are in no hurry to hang up their ministerial suites. They wink and nudge, promising that all of Sharon's talk is bullshit.
Instead of playing with crossword puzzles over the holiday weekend, politicians and commentators were immersed in the intellectual exercise of deciphering Sharon's riddle. Is it possible the war in Iraq opened his eyes and he recognizes an opportunity to become part of the American effort to consolidate the moderate force of sin in the area? Has the fear of an open dispute with an extraordinarily friendly American president pushed Sharon into a corner? Is it possible the economic crisis has persuaded him that the occupation will lead to a disaster for the economy and society? Has Sharon begun paying attention to the forecasts that say he could end up being the last prime minister of a Jewish majority in the country?
Abu Against Abu
The clash between Abu-1 and Abu-2--Abu-Amar v. Abu-Mazen--is not a personal matter, as it is presented by journalists in Israel and all over the world. Of course, the egos of the two personalities do play a role, as in all political fights. But the controversy itself goes much deeper. It reflects the unique situation of the Palestinian people.
He introduced the piano accordion to the US, introduced the piano accordion to vaudeville, was one of vaudeville's biggests acts, the first to record the piano accordion, and he married a young Mae West.
thanks to Coudal Partners
American secretary of state Colin Powell has written to Spain's foreign minister defending the decision by US troops to open fire on a hotel in Baghdad used as a base for foreign journalists.
Two journalists were killed, including a Spanish cameraman, and a further four injured when a US tank shelled the Palestine Hotel on April 8, provoking widespread criticism from press watchdogs and politicians.
"Our review of the April 8 incident indicates that the use of force was justified and the amount of force was proportionate to the threat against United States forces," Mr Powell wrote in a letter to Ana Palacio dated April 21.
My Lai, Iran Contra — you can count on our good soldier to protect the Army, not the country.
The My Lai massacre. On March 16, 1968, US soldiers from the Americal Division slaughtered 347 civilians--primarily old men, women, children, and babies--in the Vietnamese village of My Lai 4 (pronounced, very appropriately, as "me lie"). The grunts also engaged in torture and rape of the villagers.
Around six months later, a soldier in the 11th Light Infantry Brigade--known among the men as "the Butcher's Brigade"--wrote a letter telling of widespread killing and torturing of Vietnamese civilians by entire units of the US military (he did not specifically refer to My Lai). The letter was sent to the general in charge of 'Nam and trickled down the chain of command to Major Colin Powell, a deputy assistant chief of staff at the Americal Division, who was charged with investigating the matter and formulating a response.
After a desultory check--which consisted mainly of investigating the soldier who wrote the letter, rather than his allegations--Powell reported that everything was hunkey-dory. There may be some "isolated incidents" by individual bad seeds, but there were no widespread atrocities. He wrote: "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between Americal soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." The matter was closed.
To this day, we might not know about the carnage at My Lai if it hadn't been for another solider who later wisely sent a letter to his Congressman.
Along with taking care of my family and enjoying our summer break, I've been busy working on some new designs, which have just been posted on the site.
So, are you ready to have your belly painted? I'd love to decorate your pregnant belly in any of several colorful designs, from a big orange pumpkin to a bright green watermelon to something festive for the holidays. Maybe you have an idea of your own we can work on.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
The United States has regained the capability to make nuclear weapons for the first time in 14 years and has restarted production of plutonium parts for bombs, the Energy Department said Tuesday. (...)
Under a Bush administration plan, the Energy Department will begin limited production of plutonium parts for the existing stockpile of nuclear weapons and begin laying plans for a new factory that could produce parts for hundreds of weapons each year.
thanks to The Agonist
Hunkabutta is a site designed to display the life and work of me, Mike Clarke. I've always enjoyed living vicariously through other people's sites, so now I feel that it's time to give something back, to share a little bit of my life in Tokyo with whoever might be interested.
thanks to Esthet
Republicans take aim at the 40-hour work week
Boy, there is no shortage of creatively terrible ideas from the Republican Party these days. Those folks are just full of notions about how to make people's lives worse -- one horrible idea after another bursting out like popcorn -- and all of them with these sickeningly cute names attached to them.
Consider the Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act (Senate version) and the Family Time Flexibility Act (House version). The Bush administration is leading the charge with proposed new rules that will erode the 40-hour workweek and affect more than 80 million workers now protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
To hear the Republicans tell it, you'd think these were family-friendly bills, something like Clinton's Family Leave Act, designed to help you balance the difficult combined demands of work and family. With such a smarm of butter over their visages do the Republicans go on about the joys of "flexibility" and "freedom of choice" that you would have to read the bills for maybe 30 seconds before figuring out they're about repealing the 40-hour workweek and ending overtime.
More work to get done today so light linking again but work, especially work that actually pays money, is good. I'll be back.
Goodman: After spending a month in Iraq, could you describe your thoughts?
Fisk: Well, my assumption is that history has a way or repeating itself. I was talking to a very militaristic Shiite Muslim from Nashas about only five days ago and a journalist was saying to him "do you realize how historic these days are?" and I said to him "do you realize how history is repeating itself?" and he turned to me and said "yes history is repeating itself, and I knew what he meant. He was referring to the British invasion or Iraq in 1917 and Lt. Gen. Sir Stanley Maude, when we turned up in Baghdad and Sir Stanley Maude issued a document saying "we have come here not as conquerors but as liberators to free you from generations of tyranny." And within three years we were losing hundreds of men every year in the guerilla war against the Iraqis who wanted real liberation not by us from the ottomans but by them from us and I think that's what's going to happen with the Americans in Iraq. I think a war of liberation will begin quite soon, which of course will be first referred to as a war by terrorists, by al Qaeda, by remnants of Saddam's regime, remnants (remember that word) but it will be waged particularly by Shiite Muslims against the Americans and the British to get us out of Iraq and that will happen. And our dreams that we can liberate these people will not be fulfilled in this scenario.
WOLVES AND SHEEP
Then the looting began, and the US stood by. I saw it in Haiti. Let the chaos rein for a bit and they will beg for order, even if it comes from unwelcome quarters. Certain facilities were protected, like the Oil Ministry building. Then there was the most symbolic event of the war, in my opinion.
Iraq is the geographic and cultural cradle of Western civilization. The US military was sent to attack this cradle of civilization, and the US military initiated the looting of the Museum of Archeology, where 7,000 years worth of priceless artifacts were kept to posterity. Eyewitnesses report that before the looting began, Americans had been keeping the streets clear with gunfire. Then they pulled up in front of the Museum and started firing into it. I saw a tank round's hole in the front on a CNN report, far too high for a looter to have made it. They murdered the two Sudanese guards in front of the administrative building, then directed the looters, through the US military's Arabic translators, to enter the building and gut it. By April 15th, the National Archives as well, where millions of pages of historical documents, some centuries old, were stored, was looted, and the precious records burned by a street mob while US military looked complacently on.
thanks to Liberal Arts Mafia
What is Happening in the United States?
In a scarcely reported speech given on the Senate floor on March 19, the day the war was launched against Iraq, Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia and the most eloquent speaker in that chamber, asked "what is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might? How can we abandon diplomacy when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?" No one bothered to answer him, but as the vast American military machine now planted in Iraq begins to stir restlessly in other directions in the name of the American people, their love of freedom, and their deep-seated values, these questions give urgency to the failure, if not the corruption of democracy that we are living through.
thanks to consumptive.org
Lot's of images from one of my favorite photographers and one of my favorite people. I had the chance to meet her in 1974 on the occasion of her 92nd birthday and show at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle.
Truly an amazing person. She had go up to the San Juan's the next day for a portrait shooting — she was doing the shooting. She was working on a book on old people at the time. She never stopped working and creating and she has inspired me to do the same. Now, I'm not 92 yet, but this year I will be celebrating my 20th 39th birthday and I feel that, body willing, I will be doing the same. The portrait I put up is of Morris Graves, one of my favorite artists and one who did some of his best work at the end of his life. I guess there's hope. I hope there's hope.
Here are some other Imogen links including this incredible interview with Imogen. I didn't know she worked for Edward Curtis for two years. Amazing photography history.
Interview with Imogen Cunningham
One of my favorite portraits of Imogen, by Judy Dater.
Linda Connor says of her work, "It appears to be our nature to be ritually inclined. We construct belief structures, whether they're spiritual, political or whatever. I'm interested in how that works ... How certain things are culturally designated as part of a belief structure ... How we elevate and convert the natural and ordinary into another order of recognition. Above all I'm interested in the power of imagery. In how a medium as factual as photography can evoke responses on the border between the world we know and the one we can't".
Talking Points Memo and dailyKOS both have comments on something that many warned about, but that the administration ignored — what if the Iraqi majority voted in an Islamic government?
Ahh, the forces of Democracy and freedom continue to consolidate their gains in Iraq. Well, except that the nation's largest minority group is agitating for an early US withdrawl and the establishment of an Iran-friendly repressive Islamic state.
And somehow, this has "surprised" US planners.
As Iraqi Shiite demands for a dominant role in Iraq's future mount, Bush administration officials say they underestimated the Shiites' organizational strength and are unprepared to prevent the rise of an anti-American, Islamic fundamentalist government in the country.
This article paints a bleak picture of breathtaking incompetence within the administration and its chickenhawk war boosters. (...)
Whether you were for or against the war, the treatment the intelligence agencies received at the hands of the Bush Adminsitration has been shameless, and as a result we are unprepared to deal with the reality on the ground.
When planning an operation of this sort, you prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In this case, the admin prepared for the best and assumed the best.
The newsflash of the day is the surprising strength of clerically-based Shi'a groups in Iraq. Perhaps 'surprising' should be placed in edgy quotation marks, since the articles and columns appearing in today's papers are based on the comments of those who aren't surprised at all -- namely folks at State, CIA, the broader intelligence community, and region experts generally. The argument behind these critiques is not that the problem is insurmountable but that the planners of the war seem to have given the issue so little attention.
And in the last two years our economy has nosedived – over a hundred thousand Americans lose their jobs every month – we’ve gone from a war on personal privacy to an illegal war for oil, and our President has become an international war criminal. Our “nightmare” of peace and prosperity is gone (knowing reference to an Onion satire). Things don’t seem like they can get worse.
But don’t worry, they will – the most incompetent administration in the history of this great country has a way of screwing everything up from the China-EP3 incident to calling for permanent military bases in Iraq.
But, the horror the horror, what happens if Bush is reelected?
Because you know he’s going to go back to that same well oiled (quite literally) machine that got him into power to begin with.
This is why it is so important to keep your eye on the ball, to understand what’s going on, and to know what you have to do...
This should scare the shit out our fearful leaders in Washington — but it won't, until it's too late.
The bottom dollar
The presidential elections next year might prevent an immediate entanglement with another nation, but there is little doubt about the scope of the US government's ambitions. Already, it has begun to execute a slow but comprehensive coup against the international order, destroying or undermining the institutions that might have sought to restrain it. On these pages two weeks ago, James Woolsey, an influential hawk and formerly the director of the CIA, argued for a war lasting for decades "to extend democracy" to the entire Arab and Muslim world.
Men who think like him - and there are plenty in Washington - are not monsters. They are simply responding to the opportunities that power presents, just as British politicians once responded to the vulnerability of non-European states and the weakness of their colonial competitors. America's threat to the peace and stability of the rest of the world is likely to persist, whether George Bush wins the next election or not. The critical question is how we stop it.
Military means, of course, are useless. An economic boycott, of the kind suggested by many of the opponents of the war with Iraq, can never be more than symbolic: US trade has penetrated the economies of almost all other nations to such an extent that to boycott its goods and services would be to boycott our own. Until recently, as Bush's government sought international approval for its illegal war, there appeared to be some opportunities for restraint by diplomatic means. But now it has discovered that the United Nations is unnecessary: most of its electors will approve its acts of aggression with or without a prior diplomatic mandate. Only one means of containing the US remains. It is deadly and, if correctly deployed, insuperable. It rests within the hands of the people of the United Kingdom.
Were it not for a monumental economic distortion, the US economy would, by now, have all but collapsed. It is not quite a West African basket case, but the size of the deficits and debts incurred by its profligacy would, by any conventional measure, suggest that it was in serious trouble. It survives only because conventional measures do not apply: the rest of the world has granted it an unnatural lease of life.
work, work, work, work, work
I'ts going to be a little light today. I have a proposal to get together for a meeting this afternoon followed by teaching a weblog class at the South Whidbey Youth Center. No shortage of links — just a shortage of time.
The director general said he was confused by the lack of any formal notices, and had a only a vague idea of the committee, backed by the Iraqi National Congress, the formerly exiled opposition group. "I don't honestly know who they are, who chose them, how they are being motivated. I know I am in contact with no one and no one is in contact with me."
However, he lamented the whole US approach to dealing with post-war Iraq. "We have a lot of experience with coups d'etat and this one is the worst," he said. "Any colonel in the Iraqi army will tell you that when he does a coup he goes to the broadcasting station with five announcements.
"The first one is long live this, down with that. The second one is your new government is this and that. The third is the list of the people to go on retirement. The fourth one, every other official is to report back to work tomorrow morning. The fifth is the curfew."
This is usually done within one hour, he added. "Now we are waiting more than a week and still we hear nothing from them."
thanks to CalPundit
It becomes more obvious all the time that there is no agreement, or plan, in Bush's administration for what to do in Iraq. It takes a week for General Garner to wander into Baghdad. He's supposed to be the head of the new government? Pathetic.
This occupation is a disaster. The US must leave - and fast
Ever have a burning desire to build your own large format camera? This is how and there are links to a lot of other build-your-own camera sites. Thanks to Blaine.
I am an adviser and head of information at the Norwegian Language Council, a government agency under the Norwegian Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Building large format cameras is one of my hobbies:
The sugar industry in the US is threatening to bring the World Health Organisation to its knees by demanding that Congress end its funding unless the WHO scraps guidelines on healthy eating, due to be published on Wednesday.
The threat is being described by WHO insiders as tantamount to blackmail and worse than any pressure exerted by the tobacco lobby.
In a letter to Gro Harlem Brundtland, the WHO's director general, the Sugar Association says it will "exercise every avenue available to expose the dubious nature" of the WHO's report on diet and nutrition, including challenging its $406m (£260m) funding from the US
The industry is furious at the guidelines, which say that sugar should account for no more than 10% of a healthy diet. It claims that the review by international experts which decided on the 10% limit is scientifically flawed, insisting that other evidence indicates that a quarter of our food and drink intake can safely consist of sugar.
The Original Formula
IDEAL FOR DEALING WITH:
Plumbers Butt Calk is a high quality crack filler (sorry about that) for dealing with those embarassing tradesmen.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
By price I don't just mean the budget cost; I also mean the cost of sacrificing other potential pro-employment policies on the altar of tax cuts. Once you take those sacrifices into account, it becomes clear that the Bush plan is actually a job-destroying package.
Not that the budget cost is minor. The average American worker earns only about $40,000 per year; why does the administration, even on its own estimates, need to offer $500,000 in tax cuts for each job created? If it's all about jobs, wouldn't it be far cheaper just to have the government hire people? Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration put the unemployed to work doing all kinds of useful things; why not do something similar now? (Hint: this would be a good time to do something serious, finally, about port security.)
The answer is that we can't have a modern version of the W.P.A. because, um . . . because tax cuts are essential to promote long-run economic growth. Yes, that must be it. Just look at a new study by the Congressional Budget Office, now headed by an economist handpicked by the Bush administration. It concludes that the Bush plan may have either a positive or a negative effect on long-run growth, but that in any case the effect will be small. Wait, that's not the answer we wanted. Quick, find another expert!
thanks to Speckled paint
The Internet never fails to amaze me. It isn't just the links from text to page. That certainly is amazing enough. I'm amazed by the links to people. I put up pages with text, images, and sound. I throw the things that amaze and horrify me into the void of the web, like a message in a bottle thrown into the ocean. Then one day a bottle comes floating back with a message for me. You mean I am not alone?
Last night and this morning were good examples of that. Derek was over last night. I was showing him the amazing thing called Whole Wheat Radio streaming to us from a 12 x 12 cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska. My LOML Zoe, 15 houses down the street, was also on. Whole Wheat Radio is much more than listening — it's also about talking back. The site has a chat room; it lets the listeners contol what's playing; it even lets the listener draw pictures. And when Jim, the host, the master of ceremonies, the cosmic clown of interactive whatever you want to call this thing because even though some people would call this Internet radio it's not radio since radio only really goes one way and what he his doing goes out comes back in and then goes sideways. A similar thing to what Zoe, Derek, many friends, and I have been doing with TestingTesting
So I'm showing Derek this amazing thing called Whole Wheat Radio that is not radio but some other sort of group performance art thing and Zoe, 15 houses down but also on the chat page, suggets to Jim the cosmic clown of Whole Wheat Radio in Talkeetna, Alaska, that he show Derek how he Jim can catch a TestingTesting stream and route it through his pipe of audio wonderfullness. Zoe suggested he stream the Karin Blaine show we did last July. Derek and I, with Zoe 15 houses down the street, are hearing our show from last summer with Jim improvising on top of it flowing out into the ether of the Internet — a moment from 9 months ago flowing from Whidbey Island to Talkeetna to be augmented by a cosmic clown and streaming out and back in a loop that tickles and connects and amuses and excites from the possibilities of actual people with inexpensive tools to reach out and touch and connect others without even asking the permission of someone that is more concerned with a bottom line and how to maximize shareholder value than with the beauty and passion and difficulty and joy that we call music. Hot damn! We are not alone!
So, while Karin is singing from 9 months ago, Jim posts the URL of the archive page of the show with pictures and someone else notices Zoe's pictures of the feet of the musicians from that sunny evening and then Jim grabs and posts Derek's feet from 9 month's ago on the chat page and another riff begins with Jim Derek Zoe myself and the other 12 or so people listening watching writing including J-Walk.
This is not your father's radio. By this time I've got to get off the WWR roller coaster but then Jim comments in the chat room on my page of dead bugs. J-Walk notices it too and then I'm off WWR and back in meat space with Derek.
This morning I'm drinking coffee and making my rounds of blogs and check out what sort of delightful visual delights that Josh over at Speckled Paint might be sharing. This morning Josh has quite a few wonderful links of visual stimulation including a link that he found via J-Walk — my page of dead bugs. Jim's riff from last night ripples through the Internet from router to router to unknown monitors in dark rooms and then loops back.
Links. Around and around they go. I have no idea what it means but it was all a hoot. End of ramble and back to work and more links.
I'm up late because I got seriously side-tracked by this Internet radio site — Internet radio with chat site. They play indies and you can interact with the DJs and make requests. They are limited to indies that give them permission to play their music (streaming only) without pay. Good exposure for the musicians and great fun for everyone else.
Jacquie and Rich of Small Potatoes had stopped by the WWR studio (a 12 x 12 cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska) and told us about them. I finally checked them out after Zoe raved about them. Zoe and I were in the chat room and Jim was talking to us about linking internet music sites like WWR and TestingTesting. He grabbed an archived TestingTesting on RealAudio and rebroadcast it with mp3 streaming. Totally cool! We will be talking some more. We are not alone. Thanks Jim.
Then Jim checked out my profile and went to this webblog. He said he was going to talk about this blog Mon morning. So...If there are any WheatHeads reading this — welcome to the blogosphere.
Whole Wheat Radio - LIVE
(Note that there are different shows each hour - often with widely varying types of music (acoustic, folk, singer-songwriters, political protest, jazz, blues, bluegrass, country, world, new-age, classical, pop, rock). If you don't like what you hear right away, stick with it for a little while or come back later when we're playing something else. On the other hand, if you're looking for hip-hop, urban, top 40, techno, electronic, rap or christian music - sorry, it's not our specialty so we don't play much of it.)
[Update: WinAmp or MacAmp required to listen.)
Great Scenes in Rock & Roll History
thanks to MetaFilter
The greatest gulf
Whatever its immediate apparent outcome, the war on Iraq represents a catastrophic breakdown of the British and American imagination. We've utterly failed to comprehend the character of the people whose lands we have invaded, and for that we're likely to find ourselves paying a price beside which the body-count on both sides in the Iraqi conflict will seem trifling.
Passionate ideologues are incurious by nature and have no time for obstructive details. It's impossible to think of Paul Wolfowitz curling up for the evening with Edward Said's Orientalism, or the novels of Naguib Mahfouz, or Seven Pillars of Wisdom, or the letters of Gertrude Bell, or the recently published, knotty, often opaque, but useful book by Lawrence Rosen, The Culture of Islam, based on Rosen's anthropological fieldwork in Morocco, or Sayyid Qutb's Milestones. Yet these, and a dozen other titles, should have been required reading for anyone setting out on such an ambitious liberal-imperial project to inflict freedom and democracy by force on the Arab world. The single most important thing that Wolfowitz might have learned is that in Arabia, words like "self", "community," "brotherhood" and "nation" do not mean what he believes them to mean. When the deputy secretary of defence thinks of his own self, he - like me, and, probably, like you - envisages an interiorised, secret entity whose true workings are hidden from public view. Masks, roles, personae (like being deputy secretary for defence) mediate between this inner self and the other people with whom it comes into contact. The post-Enlightenment, post-Romantic self, with its autonomous subjective world, is a western construct, and quite different from the self as it is conceived in Islam. Muslims put an overwhelming stress on the idea of the individual as a social being. The self exists as the sum of its interactions with others. Rosen puts it like this: "The configuration of one's bonds of obligation define who a person is . . . the self is not an artefact of interior construction but an unavoidably public act."
Broadly speaking, who you are is: who you know, who depends on you, and to whom you owe allegiance - a visible web of relationships that can be mapped and enumerated. Just as the person is public, so is the public personal. We're dealing here with a world in which a commitment to, say, Palestine, or to the people of Iraq, can be a defining constituent of the self in a way that westerners don't easily understand. The recent demonstrations against the US and Britain on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Sanaa and Islamabad may look deceptively like their counterparts in Athens, Hamburg, London and New York, but their content is importantly different. What they register is not the vicarious outrage of the anti-war protests in the west but a sense of intense personal injury and affront, a violation of the self. Next time, look closely at the faces on the screen: if their expressions appear to be those of people seen in the act of being raped, or stabbed, that is perhaps closer than we can imagine to how they actually feel.
I think I learned more from this piece than any thing else I've read lately. A must read. The following picture struck me pretty hard when it was first published. Even more so now.
John Pilger: The unthinkable is becoming normal. Do not forget the horror
Last Sunday, seated in the audience at the Bafta television awards ceremony, I was struck by the silence. Here were many of the most influential members of the liberal elite, the writers, producers, dramatists, journalists and managers of our main source of information, television; and not one broke the silence. It was as though we were disconnected from the world outside: a world of rampant, rapacious power and great crimes committed in our name by our government and its foreign master. Iraq is the "test case", says the Bush regime, which every day sails closer to Mussolini's definition of fascism: the merger of a militarist state with corporate power. Iraq is a test case for western liberals, too. As the suffering mounts in that stricken country, with Red Cross doctors describing "incredible'' levels of civilian casualties, the choice of the next conquest, Syria or Iran, is "debated'' on the BBC, as if it were a World Cup venue.
iraq — the real reasons we are there
The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project U.S. influence into the heart of the unsettled region, senior Bush administration officials say.
U.S. military officials spoke of maintaining perhaps four bases in Iraq that could be used in the future: one at the international airport just outside Baghdad; another at Tallil, near Nasiriyah in the south; the third at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, along the old oil pipeline that runs to Jordan; and the last at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north.
Some Iraqi's may have a hard time with this. CalPundit has some comments on this...
DO WE WANT TO BE LIKED OR RESPECTED?.... Writing about our desire to have a permanent military base in Iraq, Matt Yglesias points out today that we are probably going to have a choice to make in the near future: a democratic Iraq vs. a pro-America Iraq.
The inability of most Americans (well, most humans, I suppose) to see the world through any eyes but their own is truly remarkable. We seem to feel that because we think America is a great and altruistic country, others will feel the same way if we can only get them to look at the world rationally. Thus, democracy will produce an America-friendly Iraq.
Is it really so impossible to understand that Iraqis view our presence quite differently than we do? By way of comparison, can you think of any circumstance — nuclear devastation, total economic collapse, bubonic plague, anything — that would make you happy to accept a reconstruction of America along Mideastern lines even if it were carried out by an Arab country that truly had our best interests at heart?
Israel seeks pipeline for Iraqi oil
Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.
The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.
Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.
Now, let's see...what could we do to show the very concerned Iraqis that this war wasn't about oil or helping the Israelis? Give Iraqi oil to Israel! What are they thinking? Just how much insult are we going to add to their injury. Just how much insult do they think the Iraqi's will take?
iraq — regime change
“A free and democratic Iraq will begin today,” Jay Garner, the retired American general overseeing the politics of the new Iraq, told opposition and community leaders in the southern town of Nasiriya this week. At the same time, however, at the other end of the country, US troops were protecting a man whom many Iraqis consider one of the worst of the old regime - a Sunni tribal leader who gained a fearsome reputation as a personal bodyguard to Saddam Hussein.
Some of the most powerful images of Iraq's newfound freedom have been the pictures of the Shiite pilgrimage to Kerbala, a holy ritual long forbidden to under Saddam's rule. Now that Hussein and his primarily Sunni Baath party are gone, many Shiites now say they welcome the promise of a democracy. But it may be a form of democracy the Bush administration has very little interest in seeing.
As Ahmed Chalabi, the Pentagon's candidate for leader of Iraq, was being asked if he was a thief, the sound of gunfire interrupted the press conference. Mr Chalabi insisted his conviction for embezzling $60m (£38m) was all a plot.
Outside, one of his supporters, Haqi Ismail, sat in shock dabbing the graze on his nose from one of the eight bullets fired into his pick-up truck.
A leading Republican lawmaker said on Sunday it could be at least five years before a new government is up and running in Iraq.
I don't think that this is what the Iraqi's have in mind.
Now, by birth and choice, the 30-year-old Sadr, his hands soft from a life of religious study, has inherited his family's mantle of leadership.
In the void left by the precipitous fall of Hussein's government after a U.S.-led invasion, Sadr and his followers have overseen checkpoints to end looting and moved, with the force of arms and power of persuasion, to restore authority in the streets. They have kept a distance from U.S. forces, suspicious of their motives. Sadr and his men are cognizant that their authority derives from their independence. With little hesitation, Sadr has reached out to Iraq's powerful tribes for support and rallied his followers from the pulpit of Friday sermons.
In words lacking the usual subtlety of religious discourse, Sadr's message is clear: He is both a political and religious leader, carrying the still-resonant banner of the Sadr name. The future of Iraq, he insists, is in the hands of the Shiite majority he hopes to represent.
iraq — wmd
Anthrax, Chemicals and Nerve Gas: Who is Lying?
If US and British forces are scratching their heads at their inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, perhaps they should talk to Scott Ritter, the United Nations weapons inspector who famously quit in 1998, after seven years on the job, and has been a controversial figure ever since.
For months, Mr Ritter has said Iraq's capability of producing or deploying chemical or biological weapons was 90-95 per cent destroyed on his watch and was very unlikely to have been built up again under international sanctions and the constant surveillance of spy satellites and US and British war planes.
So where are they, Mr Blair?
So where are they? In case we forget, distracted by the thought of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, looted museums and gathering political chaos, the proclaimed purpose of this war, vainly pursued by Britain and the US through the United Nations, was to disarm Saddam Hussein and to destroy weapons of mass destruction deemed a menace to the entire world.
But, Mr Blair, where are they? A month has passed since American and British troops entered Iraq, more than a week since the fall of Baghdad. But thus far not even a sniff. Not a drum of VX or mustard gas, not a phial of botulin or anthrax, not a shred of evidence that Iraq was assembling a nuclear weapons programme.
The Ad*Access Project, funded by the Duke Endowment "Library 2000" Fund, presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Ad*Access concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II, providing a coherent view of a number of major campaigns and companies through images preserved in one particular advertising collection available at Duke University.
thanks to Coudal Partners
Can a global hyperpower also be a global hyperdebtor?
Debates about the cost of occupying Iraq and reconstructing its burnt-out economy tend to duck this question. It is as if such costs were simply an item on the federal government's military budget. In reality, direct government spending on aid and reconstruction is unlikely to amount to much. Having won the war on a shoestring ($79 billion is less than 1 percent of the annual output of the American economy), the Bush administration apparently hopes that the reconstruction of Iraq will soon be paying for itself. A trifling $2.4 billion has been allocated to the postwar Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.
Yet history strongly suggests that Iraq's reconstruction will require a kick-start of substantial foreign capital, particularly to modernize the antiquated oil industry.
Can the United States provide the necessary cash, even in the form of private-sector money? The answer is yes — so long as foreign countries are willing to lend it to the United States. For the fact is that America is not only the world's biggest economy. It is also the world's biggest borrower. Its muscular military power is underwritten by foreign capital.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
Wampum is starting up a new weblog on economics. Check it out.
And with that newsworthy tidbit, I guess it's time to unveil a side project I've been putting together in my limited free time, It's Still the Economy, Stupid, an attempt to collect weblog and traditional media articles in one place. I've just begun to put together the blogroll; any suggestions as to other center-to-left weblogs which regularly post on economic news would be welcome.
book cover art
Why The War of the Worlds?
For a couple of reasons. First of all, it's been in print for over one hundred years, so it has an extremely long history of interaction with society's ideas on alien invasion, science fiction as a genre, and science fiction art. Secondly, it's been reinterpretted in other media (radio, film, and television), providing other influences on the interpretation of the aliens. But many of Wells' other books have these attributes as well, and in fact The Time Machine is often considered a more important work. The real reason I chose The War of the Worlds is its first paragraph. Late one New Year's Eve, I had an epiphany reading it, and it simply holds a special place in my heart.
thanks to Coudal Partners
Genetically modified crops specially engineered to kill pests in fact nourish them, startling new research has revealed.
The research – which has taken even the most ardent opponents of GM crops by surprise – radically undermines one of the key benefits claimed for them. And it suggests that they may be an even greater threat to organic farming than has been envisaged.
It strikes at the heart of one of the main lines of current genetic engineering in agriculture: breeding crops that come equipped with their own pesticide.
thanks to MetaFilter
Biblioteket har kun få bøger om fisk & øvrige marine fauna, men blandt vore bogværker findes nogle af verdens ældste & fineste billedværker om den forunderlige dyreverden under vandet
thanks to Speckled paint
Bush Goes AWOL
One of the many maddening feats of this Administration is that in choosing to fight the war on terror by going to war with Iraq, George W. Bush has inspired new terrorist threats to the United States--according to the official testimony of his own CIA--where none existed. At the same time, he purposely starves those localities and institutions on which the complex and expensive task of terrorist protection ultimately falls.
The Economist compares New York City to Atlas, bearing the weight of the world on its shoulders. Already reeling from a massive deficit, declining income and the economic aftershocks of 9/11, the city must pay an estimated
$1 billion a year for emergency and counterterrorism costs. Bush could care less. After attempting to stiff New York entirely, Congress has finally agreed to kick in about $200 million, far more than Bush proposed. My shaken city can ill afford to make up the difference. It already has 4,000 fewer cops than it did two years ago but must assign more than a thousand of those remaining to the terrorist beat. It may shutter forty fire companies. Massive layoffs, tax hikes and cutbacks in every kind of social service are in the offing. And Gotham is hardly alone. Enhanced security measures cost the nation's cities an estimated $2.6 billion in the fifteen months after 9/11.
But as with Vietnam, "W" is AWOL and Cheney has "other priorities." They have not merely ignored "homeland" protection, they have sabotaged it. Shocking, yes. But don't take my word for it. A January Brookings Institution report explains, "President Bush vetoed several specific (and relatively cost-effective) measures proposed by Congress that would have addressed critical national vulnerabilities. As a result, the country remains more vulnerable than it should be today." A Council on Foreign Relations task force chaired by Gary Hart and Warren Rudman concurs: "America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil," it warns.
The images on these Web sites provide an indication of the diversity of the people, culture, history and geography of the countries of Polynesia.
thanks to Speckled paint
Shuttle Doomed at Takeoff
Investigators now have the strongest evidence yet that the space shuttle Columbia's left wing was critically punctured during liftoff, when falling debris started the fatal chain of events that led to the breakup of the shuttle when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere, ABCNEWS has learned.
thanks to Drudge Report
The Columbia shuttle disaster may been triggered by a combination of a new external fuel tank design and ageing of the spacecraft, a Columbia Accident Investigation Board press conference was told on Tuesday.
thanks to follow me here...
Since 1982 we have specialised in photographs of Japan taken during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
thanks to Esthet
I'm an Insignificant Microbe at The Truth Laid Bear Blogosphere Ecosystem — I'm at 567 this afternoon. I'm in the bigtime now!