"USSR in Construction" offers some of the greatest examples of early 20th-century photomontage. With elements such as oversized pages and multi-page fold-outs, each issue exists as an elaborate artistic creation. As a whole, the series is a monument to the energy, innovation and dynamism of the Russian avant-garde, and proves that even in a society held hostage by a highly repressive and restrictive totalitarian state, the creative spirit can endure.
Komsomol Youth at the Wheel
thanks to gmtPlus9
electronic voting fraud
I've blogged this before. I feel that this is the biggest story happening now. This goes to the heart of democracy in this country. As Bev Harris has ponted out before, voting should not be privatized. (This is a Salon article. Look at the ad. It won't kill you. Ignoring this issue can.)
An open invitation to election fraud
But according to Bev Harris, a writer who has spent more than a year investigating the shadowy world of the elections equipment industry, the replacement technologies the court cited may be worse -- much worse -- than the zany punch-card systems it finds so abhorrent. Specifically, Harris' research into Diebold, one of the largest providers of the new touch-screen systems, ought to give elections officials pause about mandating an all-electronic vote.
Harris has found critical flaws in Diebold's voting software, and she's uncovered internal Diebold memos in which employees seem to suggest that the vulnerabilities are no big deal. The memos appear to be authentic -- Diebold even sent Harris a notice warning her that by posting the documents on the Web, she was infringing upon the company's intellectual property. Diebold did not return several calls for comment.
The problems Harris found in Diebold's system are perhaps the best proof yet that electronic voting systems aren't ready for prime time. Indeed, the vulnerabilities in the software, as well as the internal memos, raise questions about the legitimacy of the California recall election. In its ruling, the 9th Circuit Court put the election on hold until the six counties that currently use punch-card systems -- six counties that comprise 44 percent of the state's voters -- upgrade their systems. On Monday, 11 judges on the 9th Circuit reheard the recall case; they may very well overturn the decision halting the Oct. 7 election. If the recall vote is put on hold until March, however, many may wonder whether to trust the results: Four of the six punch-card counties -- including the largest, Los Angeles and San Diego -- have plans to upgrade to Diebold machines by March.
Blackbox Voting.org is Bev Harris' site exposing the security vulnerabilities of the Diebold voting machines.
As of 8:46 p.m. PST, the site has been pulled, with the following message:
Due to a dispute with Diebold, Incorporated, and its wholly owned subsidiary Diebold Election Systems, Inc. (collectively "Diebold"), which is claiming links to certain materials that do not reside on the blackboxvoting.org website constitute copyright infringement, blackboxvoting.org has been temporarily disabled.
CalPundit is starting to take notice...
You know, I haven't gotten hugely excited about the Diebold voting machine story. You know, the one about how it's easy to hack into their code and maybe tamper with it to rig an election. Sure, it seems like a problem, but I didn't want to get too tinfoil hattish about the whole thing.
Well, break out the Reynolds Wrap! Apparently it's serious enough that Diebold has managed to shut down blackboxvoting.org, Bev Harris' site devoted to exposing Diebold's problems, by bullying her ISP. Note to Diebold: nobody really took the problems with the Corvair all that seriously until GM hired a couple of goons to hassle Ralph Nader. It's the coverups that get you.
Travel brochure "Tours to the USSR 1932."
Published by Intourist. Signed "A. Salensky '31."
whistle ass is in trouble
Attending the Unknown Soldiers. 1939.
Watercolour, Indian ink on paper. 34 x 24 cm
thanks to gmtPlus9
No End in Sight
Elmer: But it does seem to be a discussion that is taking place throughout the whole of Israeli society. In a recent article you site a survey, from Israel's largest daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, saying that a majority of Israelis believe Arafat should be killed, and that a majority also believe that this will not stop terrorism, and may even increase it. What do these figures indicate to you?
Levy: People are brainwashed by the media. Time and again, they are told that Arafat is the only one who is guilty. The other day there was a cartoon in Ha'aretz showing a family stuck in their car, smoke coming out of their engine as they sat on the road, and the father says, "Oh, maybe we should assassinate Arafat." And that’s the idea: instead of [addressing] the real reasons for terror, the government and the media find all kinds of outlets, and one of them is Arafat. When people are so brainwashed, and they think he is the only obstacle to peace, it's very clear that they will be in favour of removing that obstacle.
Elmer: Is talk of assassinating an elected leader while carrying out a brutal occupation not incongruous with being "the only democracy in the middle east"?
Levy: Absolutely. I wrote an article a couple months ago with the title "Half a democracy", claiming that, just as you cannot be half-pregnant - you are either pregnant or you are not - you cannot be half-democratic. You cannot draw a line and say, I'm a democracy on a certain territorial line, and on the other side of this line I'm not democratic; or, I'm democratic only to one people and I'm not democratic to the other people who live in the same land.
It is a myth today [that Israel is a democracy]. Israel is a democracy - a real and liberal and full democracy - only to its Jewish citizens, only within the old Israel, within the 1967 borders. The rest [of Israel], on the other side of the line, is the farthest thing from a democracy. It is one of the most brutal, cruel regimes in the world today.
thanks to cipango
iraq — vietnam on internet time
The effect on the Army
We are facing death in Iraq for no reason
For the past six months, I have been participating in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After the horrific events of September 11 2001, and throughout the battle in Afghanistan, the groundwork was being laid for the invasion of Iraq. "Shock and awe" were the words used to describe the display of power that the world was going to view upon the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was to be an up-close, dramatic display of military strength and advanced technology from within the arsenals of the American and British military.
But as a soldier preparing to take part in the invasion of Iraq, the words "shock and awe" rang deep within my psyche. Even as we prepared to depart, it seemed that these two great superpowers were about to break the very rules that they demanded others obey. Without the consent of the United Nations, and ignoring the pleas of their own citizens, the US and Britain invaded Iraq. "Shock and awe"? Yes, the words correctly described the emotional impact I felt as we embarked on an act not of justice, but of hypocrisy.
Protests Grow Over Year-Long Army Tours
Life in Iraq
For Sale: A fertile, wealthy country with a population of around 25 million… plus around 150,000 foreign troops, and a handful of puppets. Conditions of sale: should be either an American or British corporation (forget it if you’re French)… preferably affiliated with Halliburton. Please contact one of the members of the Governing Council in Baghdad, Iraq for more information.
To hear of the first of the economic reforms announced by Kamil Al-Gaylani, the new Iraqi Finance Minister, you’d think Iraq was a Utopia and the economy was perfect only lacking in… foreign investment. As the BBC so wonderfully summarized it: the sale of all state industries except for oil and other natural resources. Basically, that means the privatization of water, electricity, communications, transportation, health… The BBC calls it a ‘surprise’… why were we not surprised?
After all, the Puppets have been bought- why not buy the stage too? Iraq is being sold- piece by piece. People are outraged. The companies are going to start buying chunks of Iraq. Or, rather, they’re going to start buying the chunks the Governing Council and CPA don’t reward to the ‘Supporters of Freedom’.
The irony of the situation is that the oil industry, the one industry that is *not* going to be sold out, is actually being run by foreigners anyway.
Iraq: the reality and rhetoric
Another Day In The Bloody Death Of Iraq
And then there are our fearful leaders
Indulge me in a pop culture reference.
Remember that big tin robot in those early-‘60s sci-fi films? Remember how at the end of every movie there’d come a point where the hero would outwit the robot or set him on some problem he couldn’t solve and the robot would slip into a feedback loop and smoke would start coming out of his ears?
The White House is the robot.
How else to explain President Bush’s defiant speech to the U.N. General Assembly and all the recent zigs and zags about bringing in the United Nations?
People disagree over how much we should involve our allies or the United Nations in our various military and diplomatic forays abroad. But we’re beyond that now. It’s no longer a matter of which approach is better. The problem is that the White House seems incapable of choosing one over the other and now oscillates back and forth between the two on an almost weekly basis.
"Can You Handle the Truth?"
Tonight I have been authorized by our President to tell you the truth. We have been reluctant to do this, because, as that movie actor once said, we didn't think you could handle the truth. But we have become concerned that your support for the Iraq effort is wavering, and we cannot let that happen.
So we're going to tell you the truth, because, to be frank, we've tried just about everything else and you still don't seem satisfied.
In recent years, you, the American people, have demonstrated your toughness. You have shown that you can deal resolutely with horrifying attacks on our country, with terror alerts, and with seeing your sons, daughters, and spouses sent off to war in Asia. You have stoically accepted - most of you - some adjustments in your Constitutional rights. You have tolerated floods, droughts, forest fires, and a massive electrical blackout.
You have worked your way through many difficulties, but there is one blow that has not yet struck you - a blow the full force of which, we are convinced, you simply could not withstand. It is a challenge that we must confront head-on or else be crushed. I am talking about a sharp and permanent rise in the price of petroleum.
more to come
I've got to go to a class I'm teaching. I'm teaching four Middle School and High School kids, at the South Whidbey Youth Center, website design. This will be our first class. More links when I get back. The best and worst is yet to come.
thanks to cipango
The Price of Dignity
In the past two years, 500 export assembly factories have shut down in Mexico, throwing 218,000 workers on to the street. Their crime was the $1.26-an-hour base wage they were paid by companies such as Alcoa Fujikura to produce auto parts for export to the US. Those wages are now "too high" in the global economy. Never mind that the Alcoa workers in Acuna live in makeshift cardboard huts that lack potable water. Never mind that many of the workers in nearby Piedras Negras were selling their blood plasma twice a week to Baxter International for $30 in order to survive. Those same auto parts are now being made in Honduras by workers earning 59 cents an hour, in Nicaragua for 40 cents an hour and in China for 27 cents an hour.
Right now, in Nicaragua and Honduras, factory workers report that management is telling them to get ready to work harder and longer for lower wages, because there are 1,000 people in China lined up and ready to take each of their jobs. If they don't like it, the company will just have to shut down the plant and leave.
Multinational companies sourcing production in China are having an enormous impact on the global economy, lowering wages and rolling back labor rights. Workers in China assembling healthcare products for companies such as Viva and Sport-Elec are being forced to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week (with just 12 days off a year) for 16 cents an hour. There is no overtime premium. The workers have no health insurance and no pensions. If they try to organize, they will be fired, perhaps even beaten and imprisoned.
It does not have to be like this. But what happens when workers dare to stand up to ask that their basic rights be respected? When young women in Bangladesh, being paid just five cents for every $17.99 Disney shirt they sewed, asked for one day a week off, the Walt Disney Company responded by pulling its work from the factory. These women needed these jobs, but they also wanted to be treated as human beings. The message Disney is delivering to workers across the developing world is that if you dare to raise your voice, you too will be fired and thrown out on the street with nothing.
These are true 360 spherical panos. Amazing panos of amazing places.
The WHTour is creating a documentary image bank of panoramic pictures and virtual reality movies for all sites registered as World Heritage by the UNESCO.
You are here : World > Asia > China > Hongcun > Yuan Zi
thanks to panoramas.dk
This is a Salon article that requires looking at an ad. It's worth it.
Rumsfeld's McArmy goes to war
Any occupying army would be hard-pressed to contain the terrorist attacks, the warring political passions, and the anger erupting right now in Iraq. The powerful explosions in August that targeted in quick succession the head of the U.N. legation, a moderate Shiite cleric, and an Iraqi police chief made it painfully clear that the war has entered a new and deadly phase. Now, facing a protracted guerrilla war, the vulnerabilities of the U.S. occupation force spring from what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld must have supposed would be its greatest strength: the fact that it is being managed like a corporation.
From the beginning, Rumsfeld assumed the role of a corporate CEO, downsizing the infantry and outsourcing many of its logistical functions in an attempt to create a more nimble and cost-effective fighting force that could be deployed in multiple hot spots around the globe. Some corporations may serve as better models than others, however. It is telling that Rumsfeld has clung to the fantasy of a "fast" war, ignoring history and the advice of seasoned generals, and running the Pentagon along lines better suited to a fast-food franchise than to the complex task of nation building. His choice of the fast-food model of warfare exposes several fallacies that underlie the administration's ideology of privatization.
photography — japan
Coolie Winter Dress, [1860 - ca. 1900].
thanks to Spitting Image
Suicide terrorism has been on the rise around the world for two decades, but there is great confusion as to why. Since many such attacks — including, of course, those of Sept. 11, 2001 — have been perpetrated by Muslim terrorists professing religious motives, it might seem obvious that Islamic fundamentalism is the central cause. This presumption has fueled the belief that future 9/11's can be avoided only by a wholesale transformation of Muslim societies, which in turn was a core reason for broad public support of the invasion of Iraq.
However, this presumed connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism is wrongheaded, and it may be encouraging domestic and foreign policies that are likely to worsen America's situation.
I have spent a year compiling a database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 to 2001 — 188 in all. It includes any attack in which at least one terrorist killed himself or herself while attempting to kill others, although I excluded attacks authorized by a national government, such as those by North Korea against the South. The data show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any religion for that matter. In fact, the leading instigator of suicide attacks is the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are from Hindu families but who are adamantly opposed to religion (they have have committed 75 of the 188 incidents).
Rather, what nearly all suicide terrorist campaigns have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel liberal democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland. Religion is rarely the root cause, although it is often used as a tool by terrorist organizations in recruiting and in other efforts in service of the broader strategic objective.
I was listening to Whole Wheat Radio when one of VoGE's (Voice of Golden Eagle) songs came on. It was the story of the Trail of Tears written by a soldier who was guarding the Cherokees during that journey of death. A quick google and I had the original written piece. Here it is. VoGE's song is called Trail Of Tears - A Soldier's Story. You can request it at Whole Wheat Radio or listen to it at this direct link at VoGE's mp3.com site: Trail Of Tears - A Soldier's Story. You can download it, too.
John Burnett's Story of the Trail of Tears
The removal of Cherokee Indians from their life long homes in the year of 1838 found me a young man in the prime of life and a Private soldier in the American Army. Being acquainted with many of the Indians and able to fluently speak their language, I was sent as interpreter into the Smoky Mountain Country in May, 1838, and witnessed the execution of the most brutal order in the History of American Warfare. I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west.
One can never forget the sadness and solemnity of that morning. Chief John Ross led in prayer and when the bugle sounded and the wagons started rolling many of the children rose to their feet and waved their little hands good-by to their mountain homes, knowing they were leaving them forever. Many of these helpless people did not have blankets and many of them had been driven from home barefooted.
On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snow storm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th, 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold, and exposure. Among this number was the beautiful Christian wife of Chief John Ross. This noble hearted woman died a martyr to childhood, giving her only blanket for the protection of a sick child. She rode thinly clad through a blinding sleet and snow storm, developed pneumonia and died in the still hours of a bleak winter night, with her head resting on Lieutenant Greggs saddle blanket.
I can truthfully say that I did my best for them when they certainly did need a friend. Twenty-five years after the removal I still lived in their memory as "the soldier that was good to us".
However, murder is murder whether committed by the villain skulking in the dark or by uniformed men stepping to the strains of martial music.
Murder is murder, and somebody must answer. Somebody must explain the streams of blood that flowed in the Indian country in the summer of 1838. Somebody must explain the 4000 silent graves that mark the trail of the Cherokees to their exile. I wish I could forget it all, but the picture of 645 wagons lumbering over the frozen ground with their cargo of suffering humanity still lingers in my memory.
Let the historian of a future day tell the sad story with its sighs, its tears and dying groans. Let the great Judge of all the earth weigh our actions and reward us according to our work.
interactive internet radio
I've mentioned Whole Wheat Radio before (and I will probably mention it again). Here is a blog post that captures the listener experience of an early WheatHead. And then go listen!
I feel lucky to be in the regular company of artists such as Voice of Golden Eagle, Ellen Thompson, The Farmer's Wife, with 3 Blind Mice and Pretending to Work, of Violet Edge. I have learned a few Dutch phrases from Jeroen (Ik houd van voetbal, but I twisted my eikel!). I have started a webpage, refreshing my HTML skills, and recently through the inspiration of people like J-Walk, Lalo, eyeno, Phil and others, I found amazing corners of the internet that I never knew existed, and I even started my own blog, for which I had to learn another skill - CSS. I was also introduced to other quality broadcasts run by other listeners, such as Gordy and Zoe at Testing Testing, Roxx and Splash and Cotolo at Cotolo Chronicles. I have also learned that the internet isn't only for hackers, file sharers and porn-seekers. There are some very genuine and honest people out there, and I have made some friends in Louie, fine-line, Mozie, Fred, and numerous others, and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to open my door to any of them if they were in need or just passing through my area.
I can (and will) rave about the resource that Jim and Esther have provided for us, at their own cost and by their own desires. I want to thank them publicly for all of their hard work that they have put into creating and maintaining this community. It has quite literally saved me a couple of times. I don't think that I could have made it through eight months in that mail room without the constant companionship of my Whole Wheat Radio friends, and I have depended on the afternoon antics of the Rants-N-Raves for a daily break from my monotonous work. Someday, Jim and Esther will decide to move on and do something else, and that will be ok, because I have appreciated this experience, but meanwhile I am enjoying the company.
What good friends left behind
At the Labour party conference following the September 11 attacks, Tony Blair said memorably: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broadbased, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence." He was echoing George Bush, who had said a few days earlier: "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people."
Almost every word they spoke was false. Their declarations of concern were cruel illusions that prepared the way for the conquest of both Afghanistan and Iraq. As the illegal Anglo-American occupation of Iraq now unravels, the forgotten disaster in Afghanistan, the first "victory" in the "war on terror", is perhaps an even more shocking testament to power.
It was my first visit. In a lifetime of making my way through places of upheaval, I had not seen anything like it. Kabul is a glimpse of Dresden post-1945, with contours of rubble rather than streets, where people live in collapsed buildings, like earthquake victims waiting for rescue. They have no light and heat; their apocalyptic fires burn through the night. Hardly a wall stands that does not bear the pock-marks of almost every calibre of weapon. Cars lie upended at roundabouts. Power poles built for a modern fleet of trolley buses are twisted like paperclips. The buses are stacked on top of each other, reminiscent of the pyramids of machines erected by the Khmer Rouge to mark Year Zero.
thanks to BookNotes
thanks to cipango
rule of law
Bush Accused by Lords of the Bar
No citizen shall be . . . detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress. —18 U.S.C. 4001 (a) a law passed by Congress in 1971
The [president's] constitutional argument [in the case of Jose Padilla] would give every President the unchecked power to detain, without charge and forever, all citizens it chooses to label as "enemy combatants." —friend-of-the-court brief, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, by the Cato Institute, the Center for National Security Studies, the Constitution Project, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, People for the American Way, and the Rutherford Institute.
Ignored by most media, an array of prominent federal judges, government officials, and other members of the legal establishment has joined in a historic rebellion against George W. Bush's unprecedented and unconstitutional arrogance of power that threatens the fundamental right of American citizens to have access to their lawyers before disappearing indefinitely into military custody without charges, without seeing an attorney or anyone except their guards.
While the rest of the media failed to vigorously ring the liberty bell on Padilla v. Rumsfeld, The New York Observer came through with Greg Sargent's front-page August 11 story, "Bush's Tactics in Terror Case Called Illegal." It focused on the brief by the former judges, government officials, and renowned lawyers alarmed by the president's bypassing of the Constitution. Quoted was Harold Tyler, a former federal judge, and deputy attorney general under President Gerald Ford, who brought him in to cleanse the Justice Department after Watergate:
"They should charge this man if they've got something against him. And they should give him the right to counsel. These are all constitutional rights. . . . I have been a longtime Republican, but I'm a disenchanted Republican in this case."
The amicus brief he and the other members of the establishment bar signed declares: "Throughout history totalitarian regimes have attempted to justify their acts by designating individuals as 'enemies of the state' who were unworthy of any legal rights or protections. These tactics are no less despicable, and perhaps even more so, when they occur in a country that purports to be governed by the rule of law." And George W. Bush regularly intones his allegiance to "the rule of law."
thanks to Information Clearing House
The picture and sound archive for Monday's TestingTesting is up. Enjoy!
Links will be coming in batches. Zoe is still in pain (stomach/gut) and we don't have any answers yet. She had a CAT scat yesterday and more tests on the first. We will have to wait 3 to 5 days for results of the CAT scan. So life at Chez Gordy has been focused on tending to Zoe, then work, and then blog. I should have a batch of tasty and terrifying links up today to satisfy the Blog Monster.
Tonight is another live webcast, from my liviing room, that we call TestingTesting. Click on in at 7pm (pacific), other time zones at the TT website. Tonight we will have Dennis Reed and Kirk Francis. Joanne says Kirk plays Hawaiian slack key guitar and is *very* good. The TT House band will be in full force with Steve Showell, Joanne Rouse, Derek Parrott, and Lisa Toomey. Enjoy an evening of living room music.