you can't fool all of the people all of the time
Hold on to your seat -- check out Zogby's latest numbers (august numbers in parenthesis):
Bush Job Performance
I've seen the work of a lot of photographers. This body of work by Frank Horvat is breathtaking. From 50s street photography to digital imaging. Spend some time here. You won't be disappointed.
"photography is the art of not pushing the button"
Documentary Photos - Paris (1951-60)
From Ovid's "Metamorphoses", Book V:
But Cyane, heartbroken at the rape
thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
Bad, Bad, Bad Day...
Today in Al-Sha’ab area, a highly populated area of Baghdad, armed men pulled up to a mosque during morning prayer and opened fire on the people. It was horrific and chilling. Someone said 3 people died, but someone else said it was more… no one knows who they are or where they’re from, but it’s said that they were using semiautomatic machineguns (not a part of the army arsenal, as far as I know). And these were just ordinary people. It’s incomprehensible and nightmarish… if you are no longer safe in a shrine or a mosque, where *are* you safe?
No running water all day today. Horrible. Usually there are at least a few hours of running water, today there’s none. E. went out and asked if there was perhaps a pipe broken? The neighbors have no idea. Everyone is annoyed beyond reason.
A word of advice: never take water for granted. Every time you wash your hands in cold, clean, clear water- say a prayer of thanks to whatever deity you revere. Every time you drink fresh, odorless water- say the same prayer. Never throw out the clean water remaining in your glass- water a plant, give it to the cat, throw it out into the garden… whatever. Never take it for granted.
The Arrogant Path to War
How arrogant was the path to war. As President Bush now desperately tries to cajole the old UN donkey to rescue him from Iraq--he who warned us that the UN was in danger of turning into a League of Nations "talking shop" if it declined him legitimacy for his invasion--we are supposed to believe that no one in Washington could have guessed the future.
Messrs Bush and Blair fantasised their way to war with all those mythical weapons of mass destruction and "imminent threats" from Iraq--whether of the 45-minute variety or not--and of the post-war "liberation", "democracy" and map-changing they were going to bestow upon the region. But the record shows just how many warnings the Bush administration received from sane and decent men in the days before we plunged into this terrible adventure.
A former U.S. commander for the Middle East who still consults for the State Department yesterday blasted the Bush administration's handling of postwar Iraq, saying it lacked a coherent strategy, a serious plan and sufficient resources.
"There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the pieces together," said retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, and so, he said, "we're in danger of failing."
In an impassioned speech to several hundred Marine and Navy officers and others, Zinni invoked the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and '70s. "My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice," said Zinni, who was severely wounded while serving as an infantry officer in that conflict. "I ask you, is it happening again?"
The Bush administration's top security adviser in Iraq has completed his stint and is returning to the United States, the Pentagon said Friday.
This top security dude was there for 3 months. I can't imagine coming up to speed on a job of this magnitude in 3 months. Now they are waiting for replacement. They don't seem to be taking this security thing very seriously.
Remembrance of quotes past
Shiites struggle for power
The Big Lie Of Jessica Lynch
Hey, remember that dramatic CNN footage of that big statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled by U.S. forces in that Baghdad square a few months back, during the "war"? Remember how powerfully symbolic it was supposed to be?
Remember, later, seeing the wide-angle shot on the Internet, the one of all the U.S. tanks surrounding the square and the whole bogus setup of how they staged the event, complete with a big crane and some strong cable and strategically positioned "citizens" cheering their "liberation" as the statue fell, as just off camera, a handful of genuine Iraqis loitered nearby, looking confused and bored?
Remember how you felt then? Like this little black worm had bored into your skin and was crawling around in your small intestine and you had the perpetual urge to go off into the corner and eat pie and slam double scotches and scream at the state of BushCo's nation?
The Jessica Lynch story is just like that, only much, much worse.
Bell Rock Lighthouse
This site commemorates probably Scotland’s greatest single engineering feat of the early 19th century; its creator and builder, ROBERT STEVENSON; the workmen and seamen who were engaged on its construction; and to JOHN RENNIE, who was appointed Chief Engineer to the project.
thanks to The Cartoonist
Mozambique's lost cashew nut industry
Mozambique's cashew nut industry used to be one of the largest in the world.
And crucially for a country which is among the poorest, they could process the nuts as well, adding value and profits to the raw materials.
But the nut industry collapsed after the World Bank insisted that Mozambique end subsidies as part of a tough austerity package.
The new winds of economic reform were designed to enable Mozambique to enter the world economy, winning debt forgiveness and new international funding.
But the result instead was that 10,000 people who were directly employed by the industry lost their jobs, another million nut collectors lost an income, and Mozambique remains resolutely close to the bottom in league tables of world poverty.
Mozambique's Vice Minister of Trade, Salvador Namburete, will be one of the eight-person team sent by Mozambique to Cancun to negotiate with the hundreds of specialists and officials who will be fielded by the developed world.
He is surprised by the gap between promise and delivery in what the developed world is offering.
"Is there any chance for us to take these proposals very seriously? Or is it just a way of entertaining us?" he told the BBC.
Two worlds prepare for a showdown in a Mexican nest of vipers
Thirty-five years ago there was little trade on Kan Kun island, in the remotest corner of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. It was a series of pristine white sandbars in a calm blue sea. Only three fishermen lived there, and only for part of the year.
But in the early 1970s it was discovered by international bankers, who thought they had found financial paradise, and the world's first purpose-built giant holiday resort was built.The ancient Mayan name Kan Kun -which means "nest of vipers" - was softened to the more tourist-friendly Cancun.
Next week 10,000 trade ministers and other government delgates, up to 20,000 Mexican peasants, students and intellectuals, 5,000 activists from international pressure groups and 2,000 media personnel from 146 countries will gather there for the biennial global trade summit. They will find themselves in one of two worlds.
In the hotel zone 12 miles of sandbars have been replaced with the fantastical skyline of modern industrial tourism - 200 luxury hotels plus casinos, fast-food joints and tacky pleasure palaces. The lagoons, coral reefs and wetlands are now irrevocably destroyed. Last month a Cancun marine park imported 36 dolphins from the Solomon Islands. World Trade Organisation delegates will be invited to swim with them for $86 (£54) a time, or pet them for $45.
In the other world, nine miles away across a narrow spit of land, a sprawling city of about 300,000 people has grown in the past 30 years to serve the tourists. Environment and development groups say that up to 40% of them live without sewerage or piped water, lucky to earn $10 a day.
The U.S. continues to fuck over the world however they can while the somambulent citizens at home watch unreality shows and wonder, in their media drugged state, why do they hate us? The Matrix continues to rule.
Welcome to VintageViews! This page is a gateway to a suite of four websites with over 3000 pages. There are three sites based on my postcard collection, and an Illustrated History of my hometown, Rochester, NY.
An open 'Camp' in the Adirondacks
thanks to Cartoonist
Despite signs the U.S. economy is gathering a strong head of steam, the number of payroll jobs fell by another 93,000 last month, bringing the total job loss since January to almost 600,000, the Labor Department reported today.
"The jobs report is just awful," said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. "Businesses across the board are figuring out ways to do more with fewer people. Practically every sector of the economy got rid of jobs in August."
Cheney also voiced a concern shared some analysts that if employment does not begin to increase substantially, the strong economic growth now expected for the rest of this year might begin to wane in 2004.
U.S. high-tech companies are flooding the labor market with foreign workers who are willing to work more cheaply than Americans, according to a report released yesterday by the Federation of American Immigration Reform.
The report says the industry is importing overseas workers as it lays off U.S. personnel and sidesteps American computer programmers, electronics engineers, mathematicians and other professionals who are already out of work.
"Cheap labor has become the holy grail of many in American industry, and access to foreign workers is viewed as an inalienable right," FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein said.
Bush has fought unemployment by creating a job: “a new post of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing to work on bringing jobs back to the hard-hit sector.”
Meanwhile back in the real world, MSNBC reports:
“The New York Fed economists conclude this is a new kind of recovery, driven not by job gains, but by productivity increases. That productivity is great for employers, but may be costing some workers their jobs.”
“Productivity increase” is a highly technical term used by economists to describe the performance formerly known as “sweating the worker.”
And of course wages are indeed the central problem in today’s troubled economy, however much the conservatives of both parties ignore that fact as they blather on about taxes and deregulation and tort reform and government spending.
Reagan’s first act in office was to fire the striking air traffic controllers, which I can assure you would not have occurred had Jimmy Carter won reelection.
The administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (I was an assistant adminstrator) planned to rehire the controllers after the courts declared their union’s strike to be illegal.
He knew that a new union would reemerge (as it has) after the old one collapsed. And he welcomed that inevitability, on the theory that a good union works to the benefit of both labor and management.
But Reagan, once a union president himself, wanted to destroy organized labor. In this he had, of course, the enthusiastic help of big business. Bush I carried on the great work, and Bush II has greatly intensified it. The latter even soiled himself by twisting 9/11 into a tool to bust government employee unions.
The carefully-planned result of this decades-long campaign is everywhere around us.
The U.S. continues it's slide towards becoming a third world country.
thanks to Riley Dog
A disillusioned Mahmoud Abbas resigned as prime minister Saturday after a four-month power struggle with Yasser Arafat, leaving Israel and the United States without a negotiating partner and prompting calls by some top Israeli officials to expel Arafat.
Just hours later, an Israeli warplane dropped a 550-pound bomb on a Gaza City apartment in a botched attempt to kill several top Hamas leaders, including the Islamic militant group's founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, who escaped with a minor injury.
Palestinian suicide bombings are vicious and grave abuses, clearly war crimes under international law for intentionally killing civilians. They have also been a strategic disaster for Palestinian national aspirations, souring the Israeli public on peace and damaging the Palestinian cause in the court of world opinion.
Nevertheless, it is nearly impossible to avoid concluding that the current Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has either deliberately provoked a number of them or at least undertaken actions that would clearly risk them. Either way, it is complicit in the deaths of scores of Israeli citizens.
For how else can one explain the Israeli decision to assassinate senior military and political leaders from militant Palestinian groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad during the past three months when it is well documented that such actions frequently result in a suicide bombing, usually within a week?
In four of the past five suicide bombings, the timing of the bombing, the fact that group whose senior militant was assassinated carried out the attack, and the explicit claim of revenge for the assassination in all of these cases leave little room for doubt about cause and effect.
Few countries in the world - so said a television newscaster in a surge of patriotism on Monday - would carry out such an exhaustive and painful investigation against itself as Israel has with the Or Commission. Unintentionally, the newscaster seems to have touched on the deep-seated motives, buried in the collective soul, which help to explain the frenzy of self-flagellation and media-hyped masochistic ecstasy that has swept the country since the publication of the commission's findings this week.
thanks to Conscientious
Landslides specializes in illustrative aerial photography and works throughout the United States for clients in the fields of advertising and editorial design, land-use planning and architecture, environmental protection, and historic preservation, among others. Our mission is to create and distribute artistic and meaningful images that help our clients bring understanding and beneficial results to our natural and built environments.
thanks to Conscientious
Kazakhstan's glaciers 'melting fast'
They say glaciers are melting so fast in parts of Kazakhstan that the livelihoods of millions of people will be affected.
They found the area's glaciers were losing almost two cubic kilometres of ice annually during the later 20th Century.
With regional temperatures rising, they believe climate change is responsible.
Europe's harvest crisis
The prolonged heatwave has devastated crops across Europe, leaving some countries facing their worst harvests since the end of the second world war.
The searing weather, especially in central and eastern Europe, has forced countries that usually export food to import it for the first time in decades. Several, including Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, are experiencing rising food prices and the UN is warning this will have a severe impact on economies
According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), wheat output in the EU is expected to be millions of tonnes down on last year, with much greater losses in southern Europe than in the north.
thanks to Riley Dog
The Post-Modern President
Every president deceives. But each has his own style of deceit. Ronald Reagan was a master of baseless stories -- trees cause more pollution than cars -- that captured his vision of how the world should be. George H.W. Bush, generally conceded to be a decent fellow, tended to lie only in two circumstances: When running for president, or to save his own skin, as in Iran-Contra. Bill Clinton famously lied about embarrassing details of his private life, and his smooth, slippery rhetorical style made some people suspect he was lying even when he was telling the truth.
George W. Bush has a forthright speaking style which convinces many people that he's telling the truth even when he's lying. But in under three years, Bush has told at least as many impressive untruths as each of his three predecessors. (See The Mendacity Index, p.27) His style of deception is also unique. When Reagan said he didn't trade arms for hostages, or Clinton insisted he didn't have sex with "that woman," the falsity of the claims was readily provable--by an Oliver North memo or a stained blue dress. Bush and his administration, however, specialize in a particular form of deception: The confidently expressed, but currently undisprovable assertion. In his State of the Union address last January, the president claimed that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda and a robust nuclear weapons program, and that therefore we needed to invade Iraq. Even at the time, many military and intelligence experts said that the president's assertions probably weren't true and were based on at best fragmentary evidence. But there was no way to know for sure unless we did what Bush wanted. When the president said on numerous occasions that his tax cuts--which were essentially long-term rate reductions for the wealthy--would spur growth without causing structural deficits, most experts, again, cried foul, pointing out that both past experience and accepted economic theory said otherwise. But in point of fact nobody could say for sure that maybe this time the cuts might not work.
Everything you've wanted to know about Japanese pottery, but were afraid to ask.
Welcome to e-yakimono, a learning center devoted to Japanese pottery. Yakimono means fired thing and we wish to make this word known worldwide. Enjoy your visit. Learn, shop online, and return often for updates.
Suzuki Goro's Yashichida Oribe Gunomi
thanks to dublog
There are sites with many more ebooks available for free but these are PDF files that are formatted to be easy to read. I'm halfway through A Tale of Two Cities.
Planet PDF is now offering an assortment of some of the most popular classics -- free! Help yourself to them, and feel free to share them with your friends. We'll be adding new ones each week, so come back soon for new eBooks.
Murray McDonald: How did you start in art?
thanks to dublog
September 11 was a tragedy. Not because 3,000 Americans died… but because 3,000 humans died. I was reading about the recorded telephone conversations of victims and their families on September 11. I thought it was… awful, and perfectly timed. Just when people are starting to question the results and incentives behind this occupation, they are immediately bombarded with reminders of September 11. Never mind Iraq had nothing to do with it.
I get emails constantly reminding me of the tragedy of September 11 and telling me how the “Arabs” brought all of this upon themselves. Never mind it was originally blamed on Afghanistan (who, for your information, aren’t Arabs).
I am constantly reminded of the 3,000 Americans who died that day… and asked to put behind me the 8,000 worthless Iraqis we lost to missiles, tanks and guns.
People marvel that we’re not out in the streets, decking the monstrous, khaki tanks with roses and jasmine. They wonder why we don’t crown the hard, ugly helmets of the troops with wreaths of laurel. They question why we mourn our dead instead of gratefully offering them as sacrifices to the Gods of Democracy and Liberty. They wonder why we’re bitter.
But, I *haven’t* forgotten…
I remember February 13, 1991. I remember the missiles dropped on Al-Amriyah shelter- a civilian bomb shelter in a populated, residential area in Baghdad. Bombs so sophisticated, that the first one drilled through to the heart of the shelter and the second one exploded inside. The shelter was full of women and children- boys over the age of 15 weren’t allowed. I remember watching images of horrified people clinging to the fence circling the shelter, crying, screaming, begging to know what had happened to a daughter, a mother, a son, a family that had been seeking protection within the shelter’s walls.
I remember watching them drag out bodies so charred, you couldn’t tell they were human. I remember frantic people, running from corpse to corpse, trying to identify a loved-one… I remember seeing Iraqi aid workers, cleaning out the shelter, fainting with the unbearable scenes inside. I remember the whole area reeked with the smell of burnt flesh for weeks and weeks after.
THE WAR IS LOST. By most measures of what the Bush administration forecast for its adventure in Iraq, it is already a failure. The war was going to make the Middle East a more peaceful place. It was going to undercut terrorism. It was going to show the evil dictators of the world that American power is not to be resisted. It was going to improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis. It was going to stabilize oil markets. The American army was going to be greeted with flowers. None of that happened. The most radical elements of various fascist movements in the Arab world have been energized by the invasion of Iraq. The American occupation is a rallying point for terrorists. Instead of undermining extremism, Washington has sponsored its next phase, and now moderates in every Arab society are more on the defensive than ever.
Majid Muhammed Yousef yearns for democracy. As an Iraqi Kurd, he and his family suffered tremendously under Saddam Hussein. After the U.S. overthrew Saddam, Majid was grateful and excited about building a new Iraq. But the first four months of U.S. occupation have left him wondering what America means by democracy.
'This is no good, sir!'
Iraq is the country with the greatest freedom in the world, but since freedom without law and order is chaos, it is also the most dangerous. There are no customs, nor customs officers, and the CPA (coalition provisional authority) governed by Paul Bremer has abolished all tariffs and duties on imports until December 31. As a result, the Iraqi borders have become strainers, through which all kinds of goods - except weapons - are pouring in without difficulties or costs. At the border with Jordan, the US watch officer assured me that just this week an average of 3,000 vehicles a day had entered Iraq with all types of merchandise.
Number of Wounded in Action on Rise
U.S. battlefield casualties in Iraq are increasing dramatically in the face of continued attacks by remnants of Saddam Hussein's military and other forces, with almost 10 American troops a day now being officially declared "wounded in action."
The number of those wounded in action, which totals 1,124 since the war began in March, has grown so large, and attacks have become so commonplace, that U.S. Central Command usually issues news releases listing injuries only when the attacks kill one or more troops. The result is that many injuries go unreported.
10 a day wounded in action. These wounds aren't paper cuts. These wounds are missing body parts.
In the early '50s, Charles Tekula and his wife and children, Joanne and Charles, Jr., moved to a Levittown house at 103 Bloomingdale Road. Like most postwar American families recently moved to the suburbs, the Tekulas photographed their lives together in snapshots using small, consumer-oriented cameras of the time, like the Kodak Brownie and Starmite. The pictures are fuzzy at times, but they are invaluable records of one family's life in the new landscapes of postwar American suburbia
thanks to gmtPlus9
Israeli Panel Faults Police In Killings
A government-commissioned report concluded today that police used excessive force against Israel's Arab citizens during protests in the earliest days of the Palestinian uprising three years ago, resulting in 13 deaths in a fusillade of bullets and sniper fire.
The portrait painted by the Or Commission Report regarding the missteps of top police officers and politicians during the violent clashes of October 2000 resembles the depiction of blunders made by the Israel Defense Forces General Staff on the eve of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In October 2000, as in October 1973, the writing was on the wall, but the brain refused to process what was written.
Precise evaluations of what might come of volatile tensions within Israel's Arab sector reached the desks of the police commissioner and public security minister before October 2000. The extent to which they refused to acknowledge what such estimates meant is simply staggering. The October 1973 syndrome returned, and delivered a devastating blow to the country's security forces (including the Shin Bet) 27 years later. This is a syndrome born of arrogance and condescension, which comes to a country that is too confident about its own power.
"First of All - the Wall must Fall!"
There is, of course, an important distinction between the German and the Israeli wall. East Germany had a border fixed by international agreement (between the Soviet Union and the Western allies at the end of World War II). The wall was built entirely on this line. Its path was self-evident. But here there is no agreement, no border, no self-evident path. Everything is determined by anonymous planners.
It is easy to imagine them sitting in their air-conditioned offices, a map spread out before them. A very special map, because it shows only Jewish settlements and bypass roads. The Palestinian towns and villages do not appear on it at all. As if the ethnic cleansing, that so many in Israel (and in the Sharon government) are longing for, had already happened.
That is what's so special about this Wall: it is inhuman. The planners have completely ignored the existence of (non-Jewish) human beings. They took into account hills and valleys, settlements and bypass roads. But they totally ignored the Palestinian neighborhoods and villages, their inhabitants and their fields. As if they did not exist.
And so the Wall stands between children and their school, between students and their university, between patients and their doctor, between parents and their children, between villages and their wells, between peasants and their fields. Like a big armored bulldozer that crashes into a village and crushes and destroys everything in its path without faltering, the Wall cuts thousands of the thin threads that constitute the fabric of people's daily lives, as if they weren't there.
What the fatality statistics tell us
But it turned out that according to calculations of the Shin Bet and by its own definitions, of the 2,341 Palestinians who were killed up to the beginning of August this year, 551 were terrorists, "that is, bearing arms and explosives" (Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz, August 8, 2003). To those who wonder who the other victims were, whether they were suspects, or civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time - here is a partial answer: Until the end of August this year, IDF soldiers killed 391 minors, according to B'Tselem. According to the Red Crescent, the IDF killed 141 women. B'Tselem determined that 291 Palestinian security personnel were killed, some of whom were participating in the fighting, whether during an IDF incursion or during attacks they initiated in the settlements or against soldiers.
However many did not take part in the fighting, and were killed while they were standing at their posts as defined in the Oslo Accords. Many others were killed in bombardments, in invasions of cities, or in attempts to detour roadblocks. In addition to some 120 Palestinians who were targets of assassination, 82 Palestinian civilians were killed "by mistake." They, it is to be assumed, are not included in the 551 terrorists as defined above.
Here are the disastrous proportions, in the hope that someone in Israel will take notice: 80 percent of the Palestinians killed were not connected to armed actions.
It used to be said about Yitzhak Shamir that he wanted to wake up in the morning and see newspaper headlines saying, "The threat of peace has been lifted." All the signs now point to Ariel Sharon approaching the accomplishment that the former Likud premier dreamt of. The "window of opportunity" for renewing the peace process, opened after the war in Iraq, has been slammed shut. The efforts for a political deal have once again given way to the routine of managing the conflict, with Israel controlling the territories, and all the settlements in place.
Mixed Venetian Wound Beads #191
Strand length: 34 inches
Date: Late 1800s – early 1900s
thanks to plep
LO: In the intro of “The Great Unraveling,” you mention how you came across an old book by Henry Kissinger from 1957 that you believe helps explain what’s happening in American politics today. How so?
PK: What Kissinger told me was not so much what the people running the country are doing, as why it’s so difficult for reasonable, sensible people to face up to what it is in fact dead obvious.
He talked in very generic terms about the difficulty of people who have been accustomed to a status quo, diplomatically, coping with what he called a “revolutionary power.”
The book is about dealing with revolutionary France, the France of Robespierre and Napoleon, but he was clearly intending that people should understand that it related to the failure of diplomacy against Germany in the 30s.
But I think it’s more generic than that. It’s actually the story about how confronted with people with some power, domestic or foreign, that really doesn’t play by the rules, most people just can’t admit to themselves that this is really happening.
They keep on imagining that, “Oh, you know, they have limited goals. When they make these radical pronouncements that’s just tactical and we can appease them a little bit by giving them some of what they want. And eventually we’ll all be able to sit down like reasonable men and work it out.”
Then at a certain point you realize, “My God, we’ve given everything away that makes system work. We’ve given away everything we counted on.”
And that’s basically the story of what’s happened with the Right in the United States. And it’s still happening.
You can still see people writing columns and opinion pieces and making pronouncements on TV who try to be bipartisan and say, “Well, there are reasonable arguments on both sides.” And advising Democrats not to get angry – that’s bad in politics. And just missing the fact that – my God, we’re facing a radical uprising against the system we’ve had since Franklin Roosevelt.
thanks to Magpie
The Three Fates
thanks to cipango
By March 2002, the terrorist called Abu Zubaydah was one of the most wanted men on earth. A leading member of Osama bin Laden's brain trust, he is thought to have been in operational control of al-Qaeda's millennium bomb plots as well as the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in October 2000. After the spectacular success of the airliner assaults on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, he continued to devise terrorist plans.
Seventeen months ago, the U.S. finally grabbed Zubaydah in Pakistan and has kept him locked up in a secret location ever since. His name has probably faded from most memories. It's about to get back in the news. A new book by Gerald Posner says Zubaydah has made startling revelations about secret connections linking Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and bin Laden.
Posner elaborates in startling detail how U.S. interrogators used drugs—an unnamed "quick-on, quick-off" painkiller and Sodium Pentothal, the old movie truth serum—in a chemical version of reward and punishment to make Zubaydah talk. When questioning stalled, according to Posner, cia men flew Zubaydah to an Afghan complex fitted out as a fake Saudi jail chamber, where "two Arab-Americans, now with Special Forces," pretending to be Saudi inquisitors, used drugs and threats to scare him into more confessions.
Yet when Zubaydah was confronted by the false Saudis, writes Posner, "his reaction was not fear, but utter relief." Happy to see them, he reeled off telephone numbers for a senior member of the royal family who would, said Zubaydah, "tell you what to do." The man at the other end would be Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a Westernized nephew of King Fahd's and a publisher better known as a racehorse owner. His horse War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby in 2002. To the amazement of the U.S., the numbers proved valid. When the fake inquisitors accused Zubaydah of lying, he responded with a 10-minute monologue laying out the Saudi-Pakistani-bin Laden triangle.
Top White House officials personally approved the evacuation of dozens of influential Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, from the United States in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when most flights were still grounded, a former White House adviser said today.
etch a sketch art
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
war against some terrorists
Last Friday’s terrorist bombing outside the Tomb of Ali in the Iraqi city of An-Najaf was the deadliest such attack against a civilian target in Middle East history. It recalls a similar blast in the southern outskirts of Beirut in March1985, which until last week held the region’s record for civilian fatalities in a single bombing.
There are some striking parallels between the two terrorist attacks: both were the result of a car bomb that exploded outside a crowded mosque during Friday prayers and both were part of an assassination attempt against a prominent Shiite cleric that killed scores of worshipers and passers-by.
There is a key difference, however: While no existing government is believed to have been behind the An-Najaf bombing, the Beirut bombing was a classic case of state-sponsored terrorism: a plot organized by the intelligence services of a foreign power.
That foreign power was the United States.
The compilation of species will continue to be updated at irregular intervals. All species listed here have been documented, and links are added whenever I can find spare time for updating. These images are made for illustrative purposes, not as artistic statements per se. However, there are lots of food for thought in the convoluted ways Nature expresses itself, so for once the artist can step backand let the subjects speak for themselves. "Das Ding an Sich" to paraphrase Kant, or Eigenvalue of Nature.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
The coming first world debt crisis
thanks to wood s lot
Asia, its reserves and the coming dollar crisis
FinanceAsia: Posterity may remember it as a seminal book in the field of 21st century economics. Indeed, rarely has a book offered such a grim yet well argued view of the current economic situation facing the world and Asia. The author - a former Salomon banker, and World Bank staffer - is Richard Duncan and the book is called the Dollar Crisis. In this essay, the American explains why the US dollar is at the root of global deflation, and recent bubbles, and what it will mean for Asia.
thanks to Robot Wisdom
Epact is an electronic catalogue of medieval and renaissance scientific instruments from four European museums: the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence , the British Museum, London, and the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden. Together, these museums house the finest collections of early scientific instruments in the world.
16th century; German
Gilt brass; 100 mm in height
This sundial is in the shape of a column with a quadrilateral cross-section. It has a dome-shaped lid which, when opened, can be seen to contain a small compass. The column is provided with a plumb-line which allows the instrument to be kept in a vertical position. The faces of the column bear the gnomons which project their shadows on the hour lines inscribed on its surface.
The instrument is calibrated for a latitude of 48° (Munich, Vienna), suggesting that it originated in the German lands.
thanks to plep
Now Hear This
Grist: Can you elaborate on their religious and political dogma?
Moyers: They are practically the same. Their god is the market -- every human problem, every human need, will be solved by the market. Their dogma is the literal reading of the creation story in Genesis where humans are to have "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing ..." The administration has married that conservative dogma of the religious right to the corporate ethos of profits at any price. And the result is the politics of exploitation with a religious impulse.
Meanwhile, over a billion people have no safe drinking water. We're dumping 500 million tons of hazardous waste into the Earth every year. In the last hundred years alone we've lost over 2 billion hectares of forest, our fisheries are collapsing, our coral reefs are dying because of human activity. These are facts. So what are the administration and Congress doing? They're attacking the cornerstones of environmental law: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, NEPA [the National Environmental Policy Act]. They are allowing l7,000 power plants to create more pollution. They are opening public lands to exploitation. They're even trying to conceal threats to public health: Just look at the stories this past week about how the White House pressured the EPA not to tell the public about the toxic materials that were released by the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.
thanks to BookNotes
Not Just Warmer: It's the Hottest for 2,000 Years
The earth is warmer now than it has been at any time in the past 2,000 years, the most comprehensive study of climatic history has revealed.
Confirming the worst fears of environmental scientists, the newly published findings are a blow to skeptics who maintain that global warming is part of the natural climatic cycle rather than a consequence of human industrial activity.
Prof Philip Jones, a director of the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit and one of the authors of the research, said: "You can't explain this rapid warming of the late 20th century in any other way. It's a response to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
thanks to amberglow
genetically modified food
Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser will get his last chance in January 2004 to defeat agribusiness and biotechnology giant Monsanto, when the Canadian Supreme Court is to hear a case that could affect farmers the world over.
At 72, Schmeiser has become a hero of the global anti-transgenics movement for his legal battle against Monsanto's attempts to enforce its patent rights over the genetically modified seeds the transnational company sells.
Five years ago, Canadian law enforcement officials seized Schmeiser's entire canola crop (also known as rapeseed or Brassica napus) from his 1,030-acre farm in Bruno, Saskatchewan, after Monsanto filed a legal complaint.
Monsanto said Schmeiser violated the patent rights on the company's genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready canola by growing it without paying for the seed and without signing a technology use agreement.
While Schmeiser agreed some of his fields contained Monsanto's GM canola, he said they were contaminated the previous year by pollen from a neighbor's fields and by seeds that blew off trucks on their way to a nearby canola processing plant. The tiny seeds are easily carried by wind, bees or birds.
In a conversation with Tierramérica, Schmeiser said he simply planted seed saved from the previous year, as has been his practice in 50 years of farming.
Careful seed selection had given him some of best yields of any farmer in his area. He was unaware that some seeds collected in 1997 contained Monsanto's proprietary genetics.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
In 1943, the British magazine Picture Post ran a photograph of a girl dancing in front of friends on a London street. The photo was used to illustrate the unfortunate consequences of the lack of youth clubs -kids were forced to play "juvenile games" in city streets.
Just seven years later, Picture Post ran the same photo again, this time with an article that called for a return to the days before massive slum removal, when the charming sight of children playing in the streets was common.
The picture was the well-known "Dancing the Lambeth Walk." The photographer was Bill Brandt, one of Britain's most prolific post-World War I photo-journalists, and the subject of a biography in progress by Paul Delany, the Center's Senior Research Fellow and professor of English at Simon Fraser University. Picture Post's use of Brandt's photo for two opposite purposes likely would not have surprised or dismayed him because Brandt didn't treat photography as a quick-snap documentary window on reality.
Dancing the Lambeth Walk
thanks to consumptive.org
I'm just back from another night at the emergency room. I've had to take Zoe, my honey, to the ER three times in four days. The last two were early morning affairs getting home around 6 in the morning. We think we now know what has been causing her pain. She's doing better and we hope not to have to see the ER again any time soon. It has put a cramp in my blog entries, if anyone noticed. I'm going to bed now.
1. In the U.S. it is easy for citizens to form a corporation but difficult to form a union. Name three countries where workers can form a union as easily as investors can form a corporation in the U.S.
2. In 1770 what percentage of the colonial population lived in slavery?
3. At the time of the War of Independence, what percentage of the people who made up the colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were or had been indentured servants?
4. Who was the richest man in America at the time of the Revolution?
5. What percent of "We the People" could vote in 1776?
thanks to Monkey Media Report
Corporate Crime Reporter asked scholar and labor historian, Peter Kellman, about what he learned as he researched "Building Unions: Past, Present and Future." This new publication from POCLAD describes a fundamentally different theory of organizing, one that gets labor out of the straightjacket imposed by the National Labor Relations and Taft-Hartley Acts. Kellman presents a compelling case for labor law and organizing to be based on the constitutionally-protected, fundamental human rights of free speech, freedom of association, and freedom from involuntary servitude. More than just for labor audiences, "Building Unions" is about leaving behind a regulatory agency (here, it's the NLRB, but it could be the EPA, OSHA, FCC, NRC, ad nauseam); withdrawing hopes and dreams from laws which corporate operatives designed to screw people and vacuum out the planet. Following is the CCR interview:
thanks to Monkey Media Report
My name is Jay Shafer, and I designed, built and inhabit a house smaller than some people’s bathrooms. I call my tiny home Tumbleweed. The decision to live in 130 square feet arose, in part, from some concerns I had about the impact a larger house would have on the environment, and mostly because I just do not want to pay for and maintain more space than I need to be happy. Tumbleweed meets my needs without exceeding them. The simple, slower lifestyle my home affords is a luxury for which I am supremely grateful.
The assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim in Najaf on August 28 is the opening volley in the coming Iraqi Civil War. The United States will reap the whirlwind.
Beating their chests and calling for revenge, more than 300,000 Muslims began a two-day, 110-mile march Sunday to the holy city of Najaf to mourn a cherished Shiite leader assassinated in a car bombing.
Two more posts from Riverbend...
Everyone is still discussing the death of Al-Hakim. Al-Hakim isn’t particularly popular with moderate Shi’a. One of my cousins, and his wife, are Shi’a and when he heard the news, he just shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t like him much anyway- power-hungry clerics (of any religion) make people nervous, I guess. No one I know personally seems very traumatized with his death, but everyone is horrified with the number of casualties. 126 people dead and over 300 wounded- some of them dying.
An interesting development on the much-shaken puppet council- Bahr Ul Iloom has suspended his membership in the council. The elderly cleric claimed, in an interview, that America was doing such a bad job of keeping the Iraqi people secure, he didn’t want to be a part of the council anymore. I wonder if he’s going to return to London. That makes a council of only 8 members now… we need a new nominee otherwise we will have four months of the year without leadership. Maybe if Bush doesn't get re-elected, Bremer will give the position to him. Love to have him in Baghdad...
My brother, E., was out at 8 am this morning getting gasoline for the car. He came home at 12 pm in a particularly foul mood. He had waited in line of angry, hostile Iraqis for 3 hours. Gasoline lines drive people crazy because, prior to the war, the price of gasoline in Iraq was ridiculously low. A liter of gasoline (unleaded) cost around 20 Iraqi Dinars when one US dollar equaled 2,000 Iraqi dinars. In other words, 1 liter of gasoline cost one cent! A liter of bottled water cost more than gasoline. Not only does it cost more now, but it isn’t easy to get. I think they’re importing gasoline from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
We (a cousin, his wife, my mom and I) dragged E. out of the house at 12:30 to go visit my aunt on the other end of the city. We heard the usual instructions before we left- stop at checkpoints, return before dark and if anyone wants the car, give them the keys- don’t argue, don’t fight it.
The moment I had a foot out the door, the heat almost forced me back inside. Our sun, at noon, isn’t a heavenly body- it’s a physical assault. I could swear that at noon, in Iraq, the sun shuts out the rest of the world from its glory and concentrates its energies on us. Everything looks like it’s traveling on waves of heat- even the date palms look limp with the exhaustion of survival.
We climbed into a battered, old, white 1984 Volkswagen- people are avoiding using ‘nice’ cars that might tempt hijackers (‘nice’ is anything made after 1990). I mentally debated putting on sun glasses but decided against it- no need to attract any undue attention. I said a little prayer to keep us safe as I rummaged around in my bag, checking for my ‘weapon’. I can’t stand carrying a pistol so I carry around a big, red, switchblade hunting knife- you don’t want to mess with Riverbend…
Salam Pax's take on the latest bombing...
Today we shall have a world premier. An Iraqi blog-fight. Roll up your sleeves Riverbend, let’s talk about al-Hakim’s death.
Two posts [Chaos] and [Position Open]
With the assassination of Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim the SCIRI leadership has been put in a very difficult position, they have to bring their militia into the play now. Their followers demand it and this is something abdul-Mahdi was visibly agonized about during today’s press conference. We all realize that if Badr Brigade got on the streets of Najaf the other factions will see no reason to send their militias down as well and this is never good, they will start fighting for turf and places like Najaf and Karbala should not become fighting grounds. I hope the Shia in Iraq, their leaderships, are wise enough to realize these holy cities should stay a symbol of their unity, their united struggle.
Billmon has two exellent pieces...
The problem with Louis XVI -- the king who lost his head over the French Revolution -- was that he was perpetually behind the curve, until at last he found himself under a guillotine. Or so I've read.
As I recall, it was in a book by the Dutch popular historian Hendrick Van Loon. The king, he wrote, could never keep up with the revolutionary demands he faced. When the people screamed for "A", Louis said no, absolutely not -- until fear finally forced him to say yes. But by then, the people wanted "A" plus "B." Again Louis said no, and again he was eventually forced to yield. But by then the list of non-negotiable demands had grown to "A" plus "B" plus "C".
And so it went, until finally the list of demands included his own head.
President Bush isn't facing a revolution, but his stubborn refusal to seek an expanded U.N. role in Iraq bears more than a passing resemblance to Louis's arrogant refusal to compromise while compromise was still possible.
Having committed one huge error in disbanding the old Iraqi Army, the Coalition appears to be on the brink of comitting an even worse one: letting the various factions on the Governing Council put their supporters on the street with guns:
The officials said the force could consist of thousands of Iraqis already screened by the political parties for prior affiliations with Saddam Hussein's government. Some Iraqi officials said that such a militia could ultimately take control of Iraqi cities from American soldiers.
Given the way the Council has handled its business so far -- carefully partitioning everything (seats, ministries, the rotating presidency) among the its various factions, it's hard to believe a new militia wouldn't be created in the same fashion. This how private armies get created. This is how Lebanons get created.
Such a scheme would also pose an immediate, potentially mortal threat to Sheikh Badr's faction, which is not represented on the Council and thus would have no official militia wing to protect it.
That's the Badr faction, not the Badr Brigade, which is named after Sheikh Badr's father but is actually affiliated with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- the target of the Najaf bombing.
See how much fun this is?
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this portrait of Mars within minutes of the planet's closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. This image was made from a series of exposures taken between 5:35 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. EDT Aug. 27 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. In this picture, the red planet is 34,647,420 miles (55,757,930 km) from Earth.
The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.
There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Nor is this merely an internal Israeli affair. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out. If the pillar collapses, the upper floors will come crashing down.
The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Arik Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there's nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theater and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed.
It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun.
thanks to Altercation
The deadly bus bombing in Jerusalem on August 19 was foreshadowed by a pair of suicide attacks a week earlier which killed two Israeli civilians. While U.S. media tended to portray these attacks as a return to violence after a relatively peaceful period, there were numerous killings in the weeks leading up to the suicide bombings that underscore the lack of evenhanded attention given to loss of life in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
When the two Palestinian suicide bombers each killed an Israeli civilian along with themselves on August 12, U.S. news outlets immediately depicted the attacks as an apparent resurgence in Mideast violence. "Summer truce shattered in Israel," announced CBS (8/12/03), while NBC (8/12/03) reported that "the attacks broke more than a month of relative silence." The Los Angeles Times (8/13/03) wrote that the bombings "broke a six-week stretch during which the people of this war-weary land had enjoyed relative quiet."
During this six-week period of "relative quiet," however, some 17 Palestinians were killed and at least 59 injured by Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The dead included Mahmoud Kabaha, a four-year-old boy, who was sitting in the back seat of a jeep with his family at a checkpoint when an Israeli soldier shot him dead-- in a spray of bullets that the army simply called an "accidental burst of gunfire" (Associated Press, 7/25/03). Virtually none of the major U.S. news reports on the August 12 bombings alluded to the Palestinian death toll in this period, leaving out a key piece of the story: For Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, the violence had never ceased; while the Israeli attacks had decreased, there had never been anything like an Israeli cease-fire.
Two Palestinians were killed and others wounded yesterday in the latest Israeli assassination attack on Hamas members in the Gaza Strip.
The men died after an Apache helicopter gunship fired four missiles at a van on a road between two refugee camps in central Gaza. Initial reports said at least two bystanders were injured. Hospital officials identified the dead as Farid Mlayet, 21, and Abdullah Akel, 24, and Hamas sources said both were members of the Hamas military wing. It was the fourth Israeli attack in the 11 days since the Palestinian suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus which killed 21 people.
Israel's open season on Hamas militants has forced the Islamic group in Gaza underground for the first time since the Palestinian Authority's 1996 crackdown on it. Over the past 10 days, Israel has killed Ismail Abu Shenab, the most moderate Hamas leader, nine activists and two bystanders; Hamas has declared its ceasefire, kept since June, over; and Israeli officials have declared all Hamas members to be assassination targets.
The following adverts show lots of examples of the beautiful stockings which were available in the 1950's. The 1950's vintage magazines were packed full of adverts for Hanes, Du-Pont, Berkshire, Luxite (to name a few!). The old ads seem to be very collectable today and you will always find them popping up on e-Bay.
This Arundhati Roy piece was originally in The Hindu but is gone but is saved at this site which has a problem with their digital certificate. Just ignore the certificate.
The loneliness of Noam Chomsky
SITTING in my home in New Delhi, watching an American TV news channel promote itself ("We report. You decide."), I imagine Noam Chomsky's amused, chipped-tooth smile.
Everybody knows that authoritarian regimes, regardless of their ideology, use the mass media for propaganda. But what about democratically elected regimes in the "free world"?
Today, thanks to Noam Chomsky and his fellow media analysts, it is almost axiomatic for thousands, possibly millions, of us that public opinion in "free market" democracies is manufactured just like any other mass market product - soap, switches, or sliced bread. We know that while, legally and constitutionally, speech may be free, the space in which that freedom can be exercised has been snatched from us and auctioned to the highest bidders. Neoliberal capitalism isn't just about the accumulation of capital (for some). It's also about the accumulation of power (for some), the accumulation of freedom (for some). Conversely, for the rest of the world, the people who are excluded from neoliberalism's governing body, it's about the erosion of capital, the erosion of power, the erosion of freedom. In the "free" market, free speech has become a commodity like everything else - - justice, human rights, drinking water, clean air. It's available only to those who can afford it. And naturally, those who can afford it use free speech to manufacture the kind of product, confect the kind of public opinion, that best suits their purpose. (News they can use.) Exactly how they do this has been the subject of much of Noam Chomsky's political writing.
I love jazz. I've been listening to it for 35 years but I'm always hearing something new. It could be a new player or an old player that I missed. An example of the last category is Jaco Pastorius. Friday I posted about some pieces by George Sessum. One of them was about Jaco Pastorius. What a treat to discover someone that was there all along. George's pieces are at All About Jazz, which I've just discovered. There is much to read here but today's link is to their pages on building a jazz library. If you don't know jazz and want to begin listening to it, this is an excellent place to start. If you've been listening to jazz for years, this is an excellent place to continue your journey.
There's more to jazz than Kenny G and Wynton Marsalis. [Ed. — No shit!]
That's why we created Building A Jazz Library. With this resource, you can home in on the players and styles essential to the past and future of jazz. Each section in this series features a brief introduction which provides some background and biographical information to shed light on each particular artist or style.
Then we list the discs. You'll find landmark material here, true high-water marks worthy of respect and attention. We recruited a special enthusiast to assemble each section in this series. These people have spent a lot of time with the subject (and probably bought way too many records to back it up). We assure you that the nuggets listed here are carefully considered and on-target.
If you're new to Jazz -- or new to an artist or style -- treat Building A Jazz Library as a primer of sorts. It will provide you with enough information to step confidently into the store (or the library) and find something tasty. Or if you're a serious collector, you might just find that a few of these recommendations may fill some gaping holes on your shelf.
Building A Jazz Library throws its doors wide open to all different kinds of Jazz fans and interests. Certain sounds may mesh with your particular tastes, and this series aims to bring you and the music together in perfect harmony. So dig in, and enjoy!
Larry Kudlow, from the National Review Online, has posted an all out attack on Howard Dean, advising the Bush Administration to "take out the long knives" and kill his candidacy. I highlight this for two reasons. One, the Right is getting very scared. The opening paragraphs of Kudlow's piece demonstrate that, as he whines about Dean's superior media coverage.
Two, when fisking the piece for the Dean Defense Forces, I found that the poll numbers are simplay astounding. On nearly every position, the numbers support Dean (or the Democrat) and go against Bush's policies. He truly is FAR from the mainstream of America. If you're interested, the whole fisking is below, just click on the link to keep reading...
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
This handy little Black Cat Exposure Guide should be in every photographer's camera bag. No batteries required. It's just three pieces of paper held together with a rivet. It's the best thing I've seen to teach you to see light.
The instructions are pretty simple.
The Black Cat Exposure Guide is a tri-fold. Inside are many different scenes with corresponding scene letters. Average scene, in full sun would be B. Cloudy, bright with no shadows, is D. Shade, under tree, is G.
If you are serious about photography then you should be serious about seeing light. This exposure guide is a wonderful aid in understanding just how much light there is. It's also a life saver if the light meter should stop measuring light. Not to mention that it gives bracket and zone information. There is even information on how to use it with pinhole cameras. But wait! There's more! There's also a gray card on the back.
This site explains it in more detail...
You can buy it here...
This month, the General Accounting Office (GAO) - the investigative and auditing arm of Congress - issued a report that contains some startling revelations. Though they are couched in very polite language, they are bombshells nonetheless.
The report - entitled "Energy Task Force: Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy" - and its accompanying Chronology strongly imply that the Administration has, in effect, been paying off its heavy-hitting energy industry contributors. It also very strongly implies that Vice President Dick Cheney lied to Congress.
thanks to Eschaton
thanks to wood s lot
Burningbird concluded her discussion of Chief Justice Roy Moore’s granite statue of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building by saying:
All in all, I like Joi’s Shinto beliefs, with the concept of there being room for all gods. Yeah, hard to fight about that one.
I like Joi’s Shinto beliefs too, as does my friend Natsuko who, as she was eating the last of her pancake stack in my garden this morning, said: “I’m not religious, that wasn’t part of my upbringing, but I do believe in supernatural beings. And it suits me to know that there are gods everywhere—in these plants and stones, in this pancake and that unko.” (The unko in question being a lump of dried cat shit that Reimi had neglected to cover with soil.)
But it’s not just the animist belief that there are gods everywhere that I like. It’s the fact that Japanese “religious” belief encompasses Buddhism and Confucianism as well as Shinto. As Edwin O. Reischauer explains:
Since Shinto was unconcerned with the problem of the afterlife that dominated Buddhist thought, and Mahayana was no exclusive, jealous religion but throughout its spread easily accommodated itself to local faiths, Buddhism and Shinto settled into a comfortable coexistence, with Shinto shrines often becoming administratively linked with Buddhist monasteries. The Japanese never developed the idea, so prevalent in South and West Asia as well as the West, that a person had to adhere exclusively to one religion or another. Premodern Japanese were usually both Buddhists and Shintoists at the same time and often enough Confucianists as well.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros