Will the White House Moron Bring On Armageddon?
John Bolton, a notorious neocon warmonger who could not be confirmed as America's ambassador to the UN by even the compliant and corrupt U.S. Senate, got the job as a recess appointment. He is using the platform to push America into war with Iran.
Bolton told the Financial Times (June 9) that the Bush Regime has no intention of reaching an agreement with Iran. Time is running out for diplomacy, Bolton told the Financial Times. Iran has a short time remaining in which it can give up its right under the nonproliferation treaty to enrich uranium for nuclear energy or be attacked. Bolton said that U.S. security guarantees for Iran "were not on the table."
There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Every physicist knows that the enrichment requirement for weapons is many times greater than for nuclear energy and that Iran can barely achieve the latter. Despite the facts, Bolton told the Financial Times: "They've [Iran] got both feet on the accelerator, which is why we have a sense of urgency. Each day that goes by gives Iran more time to continue to perfect its efforts for mass production."
Bolton is lying through his teeth. Bush Regime lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and propagandistic references to mushroom clouds convinced the befuddled American public to accept an illegal invasion of Iraq. The same collection of neocon war criminals is again deceiving the American public about Iran.
In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
After seeing Capote I went down to my local library to check out In Cold Blood. It was already checked out. There were 47 people before me and I waited a couple of months to get it. It was worth it. I don't know why I waited so long. If you've been waiting, don't. From Amazon:
In Cold Blood was a groundbreaking work when released in 1966. With it, author Truman Capote contributed to a style of writing in which the reporter gets so far inside the subject, becomes so familiar, that he projects events and conversations as if he were really there. The style has probably never been accomplished better than in this book. Capote combined painstaking research with a narrative feel to produce one of the most spellbinding stories ever put on the page. Two two-time losers living in a lonely house in western Kansas are out to make the heist of their life, but when things don't go as planned, the robbery turns ugly. From there, the book is a real-life look into murder, prison, and the criminal mind.
Palestine: It's All Over
Population Transfers, Land Theft and Bankrupt Ghettos
Back then you had to dig a little harder to excavate what Jewish Israelis were actually doing to Palestinians. Lay out the facts about institutionalized racism, land confiscations, torture and a hail of abuse would pour through the mailbox, as when I published a long interview in the Voice in 1980 with the late Israel Shahak, the intrepid professor from Hebrew University.
It's slightly eerie now to look at what Shahak was saying back then and at the accuracy of his analysis and predictions: "The basic trends were established in '74 and '75, including settler organizations, mystical ideology, and the great financial support of the United States to Israel. Between summer '74 and summer '75 the key decisions were taken, and from that time it's a straight line." Among these decisions, said Shahak, was "to keep the occupied territories of Palestine," a detailed development of much older designs consummated in 1967.
Jewish Opposition to Zionism
Review: A Threat from Within
None of this will be found in Rabkin's work, yet his title is appropriate. Rabkin brings us into the world of the anti-Zionist orthodox, for whom Zionism is the antithesis of Judaism and the destroyer of everything properly speaking Jewish. This may seem like an irrelevance today, or at least as a topic of very limited interest. By Rabkin's own account, the numbers of these orthodox anti-Zionists are small, and their influence has declined steadily over the last century. To many they are a lunatic fringe; to most they are a force with little political future. But Rabkin teaches us about realities we could never understand without his help. He deepens--that's utterly accurate here--our understanding of Zionism and Judaism; he reveals what the former has done to the latter; and in the end his message could not be more contemporary or more relevant to the present conflicts in the Middle East.
Death on the beach: seven Palestinians killed as Israeli shells hit family picnic
A barrage of Israeli artillery shells rained down on a busy Gaza beach yesterday, killing seven Palestinians, three of them children. The attack put further strain on the 16-month truce between Israel and the governing Hamas movement.
The war on children
The most vulnerable people in Gaza are suffering the worst acute mental and physical trauma as a result of Israel's actions: almost half the population is under 15.
Arthur Miller wrote, "Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."
Miller's truth was a glimpsed reality on television on 9 June when Israeli warships fired on families picnicking on a Gaza beach, killing seven people, including three children and three generations. What that represents is a final solution, agreed by the United States and Israel, to the problem of the Palestinians. While the Israelis fire missiles at Palestinian picnickers and homes in Gaza and the West Bank, the two governments are to starve them. The victims will be mostly children.
This was approved on 23 May by the US House of Representatives, which voted 361-37 to cut off aid to non-government organisations that run a lifeline to occupied Palestine. Israel is withholding Palestinian revenues and tax receipts amounting to $60m a month.
Such collective punishment, identified as a crime against humanity in the Geneva Conventions, evokes the Nazis' strangulation of the Warsaw ghetto and the American economic siege of Iraq in the 1990s. If the perpetrators have lost their minds, as Miller suggested, they appear to understand their barbarism and display their cynicism. "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet," joked Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert.
This is the price Palestinians must pay for their democratic elections in January. The majority voted for the "wrong" party, Hamas, which the US and Israel, with their inimitable penchant for pot-calling-the-kettle-black, describe as terrorist. However, terrorism is not the reason for starving the Palestinians, whose prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, had reaffirmed Hamas's commitment to recognise the Jewish state, proposing only that Israel obey international law and respect the borders of 1967. Israel has refused because, with its apartheid wall under construction, its intention is clear: to take over more and more of Palestine, encircling whole villages and eventually Jerusalem.
Begging for a Response
Israel's Air Strikes on Gaza are Politically Motivated
The Israelis are a stiff necked people. They refuse to accept anything less than full acquiescence by anyone involved in their plans, no matter the cost -- human, political, financial, or otherwise. Israel's non-stop aggression against Palestinians averaging two Palestinian deaths a day for several years now is much more than what is popularly being coined in Israel and abroad as low-intensity warfare. If international and humanitarian laws are to be used as a measure, the ongoing Israeli killing spree is taking on the shape of a sustained campaign of war crimes aimed to remove the Palestinians from Israel's way.
Palestine on the Brink
Time is Running Out
The political and ideological division separating Palestinian society in the Occupied Territories has metamorphosed into a formidable chasm, despite the urgent need to consolidate Palestinian national unity in this current crisis.
And a time of crisis it is. Never since the concoction of the Israeli state and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of nearly one million Palestinians in 1947-48, has an Israeli government been as determined as that of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to settle its account with the Palestinians, in so vile and careless a way.
There is a growing realization among Israeli politicians that mirrors a sense of fear and anxiety from a possible relegation of the political hegemony and import of the United States. The US has served--and paradoxically inconsistently with its own interests--the role of the protector and provider, leaving Israel emancipated of any regional and international accountability, free to pursue its own agenda--imperialistic and violently racist, as it were--at the expense of the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors. The Israeli heyday may be over soon, due to growing predictions that the American project--for various reasons, notwithstanding the disaster-prone Iraq war is likely to diminish in coming years. And without US patronage, Israel is much less capable of serving as the region's bully.
In November, 1959, the shocking murder of a smalltown Kansas family captures the imagination of Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), famed author of Breakfast at Tiffany's. With his childhood friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), writer of the soon-to-be published To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote sets out to investigate, winning over the locals despite his flamboyant appearance and style. When he forms a bond with the killers and their execution date nears, the writing of "In Cold Blood," a book that will change the course of American literature, takes a drastic toll on Capote, changing him in ways he never imagined.
Hoffman is amazing. It's much more than the imitation of the eccentric Truman Capote. Great acting. And a great story well told. Made me go down to my local library for the first time in years to check out In Cold Blood, which I had never read.I should proably read To Kill A Mockingbird, too.
Fort Sam lacks cash to pay the light bill
It's stranger than fiction, a tale bizarre beyond belief: The Army that helped conquer Iraq in three weeks doesn't have enough cash to keep the lights on at Fort Sam Houston.
The post is in crisis mode, not dark but deep in the red.
Its garrison office, which provides services to more than 70 tenant commands, has frozen hiring, shut off cell phones and BlackBerry devices, turned in leased cars and forbidden troops from using government credit cards. If a computer breaks down, the tenant command has to pay for the part.
The post's $1.4 million-a-month CPS Energy bill is due June 30.
"I don't have the money to pay that bill right now, but I believe the Army will assist us," said Col. Wendy Martinson, Fort Sam's garrison commander.
Fort Sam is grappling with a $26 million budget shortfall partly because of congressional wrangling over a measure to fund wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But problems at Fort Sam and many of the Army's 179 posts worldwide won't be over even if Congress approves a $94.5 billion supplemental appropriations bill next week as expected.
The war, rising military health care costs and Pentagon efforts to transform the armed services will make sure of that.
thanks to firedoglake
Utthita Parsvakonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana
Elastigirl: "Well, it looks like Duke managed to haul all the G.I. Joe Sigma 6 operatives out of their weapons cases and into the shala today. Good work, Duke!"
Duke: "Thanks, Elastigirl."
Elastigirl: "I also see you changed into your skintight underwater ops uniform."
Duke: "I don't do baggy."
Elastigirl: "I'm not complaining! So how'd you get this bunch of assassins to do yoga with you today?"
Duke: "I basically shamed them into it, Elastigirl. I said, You can defuse a ticking bomb in an unpiloted airplane nosediving toward Mt. Kilimanjaro at 700 m.p.h. but you're AFRAID of YOGA?" Of course, some of them were bound to complain . . .
Storm Shadow: "Aww c'mon, Duke, me and Kamakura finally got a date with Strawberry Shortcake and Mermaid Barbie. We were going to go sit by the window and slowly melt in the sun over the course of several weeks."
thanks to alphabitch.org
Another essay from Joe Bageant. He's such a silver tounged devil. I had a lot more to put up but it's late and I'm going nighty night. I will leave you with this to warp your mind. If your mind isn't already warped, it needs to be.
Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven
Democracy rots from the inside out as a nation of telemarketers and war criminals parties on amid the stench.
A spring Sunday morning and I am at the politically incorrect 7-Eleven buying my cholesterol loaded half-and-half for my peasant slave labor grown coffee. In the parking lot, car speakers blare out Bob Marley from a grungy 1987 Olds Cutlass (the last year GM made 'em), while the owner, a Haitian guy, sits on the curb eating his Smokey Big Bite hot dog, sunshine pouring over the whole world sweet as that quart of chocolate milk he is going to wash it all down with. Bob Marley is singing "One Love" and that Smokey smells so damned good I order one for myself and settle in next to that Haitian dude. And I think, "Is this a great fucking country or what? Yessiree, the world's best hope."
And it is. Or was. Or something. Ask any poor suffering bastard in the garbage dumps of Mumbai or Caracas to name the best place in the world to live and most will answer "The United States." Maybe it's for all the wrong reasons. And surely the image is driven by the global hype and bullshit of an America that cannot get over itself -- cannot pause from its huckstering long enough to see that the America of both John Wayne and FDR quit circling the drain thirty years ago. It has since been pulled asunder by spectacular greed and the learned helplessness of the consumer state. And denial. The kind that allows us to sanctify the young men starring in that horrific snuff flick over in Iraq as "heroes." But we were talking about the third world weren't we? Where if you are eating spoiled cat meat and getting raped nightly in a Bangkok slum, things like a Cutlass gunboat with busted springs and a Smokey Big Bite on a Sunday morning look good. Damned good. There is not much that cannot be explained by population geography and proximity to basic goods and services. This is not wasted upon the predatory few among us concerned with capturing, holding and blackmailing others for access to them under our free market system. It's a brutal process, one we can only coexist with through ironclad denial. Did free people make your clothes? Mine neither.
My Dutch friend Bram is mystified at our denial, which he says "is spooky." "How can anyone sustain such a thing?" Well, it's easy when you are born numb. Most of us born under American extremist capitalism are inured to its sheer brutality. To Americans, it's just the way things are. The world is a tough place. We agree that god has blessed us; we deserve what we have and let it go at that. Citizens born under the Third Reich felt the same way about their consensual reality. Not many of us can grasp the national hubris involved, thanks to the heady patrio-religious mythology of American exceptionalism in which we were spawned and educated in preparation for adulthood as citizens of the consumer state. Collectively, we feel exempt from human folly because our particular god, the Christian God, the Jewish God, The Mormon God, the Seventh Day Adventist God, Muslim God or whatever one's cult deems divine, has chosen us. Whatever we think we are as liberals, your nation and mine, the government we are responsible for has always acted on these beliefs, destroying whole nations, peoples and the planet under that exceptionalist banner. At some point, liberals and neocons and the apolitical alike, are going to have to own all of America's history, not just the parts we prefer. For instance, it was FDR who packed off all those decent Japanese families off to internment camps. Abraham Lincoln loved his nigger jokes. Bram remains mystified.
The World's Fastest Indian
I had planned on posting more this evening but Zoe rented this movie and we watched it in between the start and end of the last post. Incredible on so many levels. Great acting, a fast motorcycle, and a great story. Burt Munro was setting land speed records, while in his 70s, on a bike he bought new in 1920, on a zero dollar budget. A movie for everyone. The DVD also includes the documentary the director made in 1971 of the real Burt Munro. This movie is a labor of love.
It's the next day and I can't stop thinking about this movie and Burt Munro. Inspirational isn't a strong enough word. Here are some Burt Munro links.
The Worlds Fastest Indian, The Munro Special.
A Tribute to H.J Munro, a.k.a 'Bert' Munro
Here is a great two part interview with Burt Munro and with more links:
'Dear John' ... Letters from Burt Munro, a New Zealand Motorcycling Legend.
Part One of Two
'Dear John'... Letters from Burt Munro, a New Zealand Motorcycling Legend.
Part Two of Two
Anthony Hopkins Talks About His Process Approaching "The World’s Fastest Indian"
A movie about Burt Munro and his quest to build the world's fastest Indian
Last Saturday Zoe and I went to a going away party for a friend. Derek was one of the first people I met when I moved to Whidbey Island in 1987. He was with me when I started TestingTesting, a streaming music show from my living room, in 1998 and was with it until I had to stop it a couple of years ago. He's a very good singer/songwriter. He's moving to Kuai. He's visited there a few times and has decided to move there. Maybe having a new love waiting for him had something to do with it. It will be good for him but it will leave a hole in the community. The celebration was at the American Legion. All the local musicians showed up and jammed. We couldn't stay too long but long enough to listen to some good music and start thinking about starting TestingTesting again.
I took pictures. I brought a variety of gear but it was pretty dark so I had to use the FlashMaster™.
You can take all your auto TTL flashes sitting on top of a focal place shutter and throw them away. I will take a Vivitar 283 and a leaf shutter any day. Leaf shutters are synched at all speeds. This gives you many more options. Expose for what you want and let the flash fill in. The Ricoh Diacord has a leaf shutter. I will be trying out some outdoor fill flash tomorrow. I'm using Kodak Portra 160NC which is great for flash. It's been awhile since I've used flash like this so it will be interesting to see how it works out.
The shutter on my 4x5 Polaroid project is synched for electronic flash so I will be able to use the Vivitar 283 with it. I will need to get a special connector but that's not hard. The 4x5 Polaroid project has been on hold with all that has been going on but it had just slowed down, not stopped. Part of it is that I'm taking a different direction for the 4x5 back part. Greyhoundman has put together a great Polaroid Automatic 250 conversion that I will base mine on. You can see his progress: Part 1- The lens, Part 2- The Back Plate, The Completed Back, Part 3- The RF Unit, Part 4- Final Additions. Here is a picture of it done:
32 ounces with film holder. Prettty neat! The key is the back design which is based on a 4x5 view camera he built. (If you want a nice cheap view camera, this is a very nice design.)
A very simple design. The spings that hold the film holder in place are bent from metal rake tines. I will back my back a little thicker to accomodate my Polaroid back and a future Grafmatic back. (Blaine — How thick is your Grafmatic?) Greyhoundman uses an old film holder to hold the ground glass. I took one of my Graflex film holders apart in preparation of putting in some ground glass.
The film holders are wooden but there is an alulminum piece riveted on that holds the light trap. I drilled out the rivets.
There are two metal septums that hold the sheet film. They slide out the end of the film holder.
Here it is ready for the ground glass. I need to order some. I want to be able to still put the dark slides back in to protect the ground glass. I finally got the shutter off the lens board. I ended up pretty much destroying it to find that the shutter was pinned to the lensboard which kept it from rotating. I finally took some needle nosed pliers and put them in the screw holes holding the collar on to get it to screw off the shutter. I still have a lot of filing to do on the Polaroid lens board. Onward!
It's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks. As I mentioned before, we had to move Gerry, Zoe's mom, from the Alzheimer's care facility she was living in to the hospital in Sedro-Wooley that worked on adjusting her meds. We spent the time looking at other facilities to see if we could get a better fit. That, and driving the hour and a half to Sedro-Woolley to visit Gerry. We picked her up yesterday and took her back to HomePlace where she had been living. All went well until we left. She has always been fearful but it has reached new levels. It's heart rending to see it. We are staying away until she can get settled back in and start trusting the nurses and caregivers again. It's very hard to see someone you care about so afraid. She still recognizes us but her cognitive powers are fading. She mostly talks nonsense. It's so hard to tell what the right thing is to do.
give us this day our daily photograph
gordy's image archive index
Hmmm. No links today. How did that happen? I have high hopes for tomorrow.