the capped crusader
He's been busy.
I have written a new book, and this Tuesday it's being released. It's called, "DUDE, WHERE'S MY COUNTRY?" Because its content is likely to upset more than a few people, the publisher has "embargoed" the book until midnight Monday (which means no store or media outlet or anyone has access to a copy of the book until then).
They have taken these measures because I have written a book that seeks not to defeat the Bush people next year, but to have them removed from Washington right now. I know, I'm not asking for much. But I have spent the better part of the past year researching and writing this new book, and when you read it you'll see why the current criminal investigation of the White House for outing a CIA agent in revenge is, in my opinion, just the tip of the iceberg. I can only hope that my book will make a small contribution toward that day when we'll see one long perp walk of administration officials in handcuffs being led out of the White House and into a waiting paddy wagon. Like I said, I'm not asking for much.
"Dude, Where's My Country?" is also my humble attempt to violate the Patriot Act on every single page of the book. And, I have learned that many want to get on John Ashcroft's evildoer list with me. There are already a record number of orders from bookstores across the country. The first printing alone is almost one million copies (my last book's first printing was 50,000). Chapters include "Oil's Well That Ends Well," "The United States of BOO!", "How to Talk to Your Conservative Brother-in-law," and more. (Click here to see the cover that will win me a free ticket to Gitmo)
If you get the New York Times, you may have noticed a mysterious ad for the past four days in the Arts section. Each day, the ad simply asks a new, pointed question of Mr. Bush. They are questions from my new book, from a chapter entitled, "Seven Questions for George of Arabia." We are running one ad each day until the book comes out on Tuesday. In case you've missed them, here are the first four:
1. Dear Mr. Bush, is it true that the bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?
In my book, I provide some of the answers and all of the background evidence. It is astounding, and it is criminal. Will there be one Democrat in Congress willing to begin the investigation?
(The emphasis is mine)
The capped crusader
In the US, a supposedly rightwing country, Michael Moore's fearless campaigning and coruscating criticism of 'that frat boy' Bush have aroused huge hostility but also rapturous fellow feeling. Gary Younge meets an engaging man, who is intent on mobilising America - and is extending the clarion call to us Brits, without whom, he believes, there would have been no war on Iraq.
The long-exposure photographs document the blossoming, growth and finally the slow fading of bouquets of tulips. The length of exposure was determined according to the relative bouquet. If one had faded after five days, the exposure was ended. If it lasted for seven days, so did the exposure. The motif took over the control from Michael Wesely by determining the length of exposure. Although the process of blossoming and fading seems to remain the same, the photos differ surprisingly from each other. In one case, the tulip’s blossoming may dominate, but in another, it might be the fading stage that is recorded in the photograph. The natural process of blossom and decay retains its individual significance, which would not be as evident in reality. The photographs actually show us more than we would be able to see in nature.
thanks to Conscientious
more 9-11 questions
On Aug. 20, 2001, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a man who would soon be named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country's most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders.
His journey here was to include meetings and contacts with officials of several Saudi-sponsored charities that have since been accused of links to terrorist groups, including the Illinois-based Global Relief Foundation, which was shut down by U.S. authorities last year.
He met with the creators of Islamic Web sites that U.S. authorities contend promote the views of radical Saudi clerics tied to Osama bin Laden. And among the imams on his travel schedule was a leader of a small religious center tucked into a nondescript office building in Falls Church, the same site used for a time by the spiritual leader of a group of area men indicted in June as suspected jihadists.
On the night of Sept. 10, 2001, Hussayen stayed at a Herndon hotel that also housed three of the Saudi hijackers who would slam an aircraft into the Pentagon the next day, though there is no evidence that he had contact with them.
thanks to CalPundit
The following article is from the archives of the Guardian. It's dated September 10, 2001. Curious.
US pulls the plug on Muslim websites
Five hundred websites - many of them with an Arab or Muslim connection - crashed last Wednesday when an anti-terrorism taskforce raided InfoCom Corporation in Texas.
The 80-strong taskforce that descended upon the IT company included FBI agents, Secret Service agents, Diplomatic Security agents, tax inspectors, immigration officials, customs officials, department of commerce officials and computer experts.
Three days later, they were still busy inside the building, reportedly copying every hard disc they could find. InfoCom hosts websites for numerous clients in the Middle East, including al-Jazeera (the satellite TV station), al-Sharq (a daily newspaper in Qatar), and Birzeit (the Palestinian university on the West Bank).
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan via WhatReallyHappened.com
Here is a photography site and blog by Jörg Colberg. A most excellent site and blog. He also has the infinite good taste to be using a Leica IIIf (1955), along with other rangefinders. I have a Leica IIIc (1949) in need of repair. Seeing someone else using these old Leicas is an inspiration. I must get it fixed. I must find the money.
This is a Salon article. There is an ad you will have to look at. It's worth it. For those that weren't there, John Dean was Counsel to the President of the United States during Watergate. He was Nixon's lawyer. He brings an interesting perspective.
John Dean says the Bush team's leaks are even viler than his former boss's -- and that Plame and Wilson should file a civil suit.
I thought I had seen political dirty tricks as foul as they could get, but I was wrong. In blowing the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame to take political revenge on her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for telling the truth, Bush's people have out-Nixoned Nixon's people. And my former colleagues were not amateurs by any means.
For example, special counsel Chuck Colson, once considered the best hatchet-man of modern presidential politics, went to prison for leaking false information to discredit Daniel Ellsberg's lawyer. Ellsberg was being prosecuted by Nixon's Justice Department for disclosing the so-called Pentagon Papers (the classified study of the origins of the Vietnam War). But Colson at his worst could barely qualify to play on Bush's team. The same with assistant to the president John Ehrlichman, a jaw-jutting fellow who left them "twisting in the wind," and went to jail denying he'd done anything wrong in ordering a break-in at Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office, where the burglars went and looked for, but did not find, real information to discredit Ellsberg.
But neither Colson nor Ehrlichman nor anyone else I knew while working at the Nixon White House had the necessary viciousness, or depravity, to attack the wife of a perceived enemy by employing potentially life-threatening tactics.
The CIA officer whose cover was blown by an alleged Bush administration leak and her diplomat husband have retained a Washington lawyer to find out who they can sue and how much money they can seek.
thanks to The Agonist
'Slime and Defend'
On July 14, Robert Novak published the now-famous column in which he identified Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a C.I.A. "operative on weapons of mass destruction," and said "two senior administration officials" had told him that she was responsible for her husband's mission to Niger. On that mission, Mr. Wilson concluded — correctly — that reports of Iraqi efforts to buy uranium were bogus.
An outraged President Bush immediately demanded the names of those responsible for exposing Ms. Plame. He repeated his father's statement that "those who betray the trust by exposing the names of our sources" are "the most insidious of traitors." There are limits to politics, Mr. Bush declared; Mr. Wilson's decision to go public about his mission had embarrassed him, but that was no excuse for actions that were both felonious and unpatriotic.
Everything in the previous paragraph is, of course, false. It's what should have happened, but didn't. Mr. Bush took no action after the Novak column. Before we get bogged down in the details — which is what the administration hopes will happen — let's be clear: we already know what the president knew, and when he knew it. Mr. Bush knew, 11 weeks ago, that some of his senior aides had done something utterly inexcusable. But as long as the media were willing to let the story lie — which, with a few honorable exceptions, like David Corn at The Nation and Knut Royce and Timothy Phelps at Newsday, they were — he didn't think this outrage required any action.
And now that the C.I.A. has demanded a Justice Department inquiry, the White House's strategy isn't just to stonewall, Nixon-style; as one Republican Congressional aide told The New York Times, it will "slime and defend."
Criminal leak investigations are notoriously futile, and the identity of the administration officials who illegally blew the cover of CIA operative Valerie Plame may never be known. But one name keeps coming up, and so far it hasn't provoked a specific, emphatic White House denial: Lewis "Scooter" Libby, assistant to the president and Vice President Dick Cheney's powerful chief of staff.
The Chinese in California, 1850-1925 illustrates nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigration to California through about 8,000 images and pages of primary source materials. Included are photographs, original art, cartoons and other illustrations; letters, excerpts from diaries, business records, and legal documents; as well as pamphlets, broadsides, speeches, sheet music, and other printed matter.
" A Corner in Chinatown, San Francisco, California":
From San Francisco Chinatown (ante-1910)
how bad is it?
To say that there's blood in the water and the sharks are circling around the Bush administration's Iraq policy would be understatement at this point.
It's more like a blood bank that's been dropped into the water, the sharks have taken the first bites, and Amazonian piranhas are clamoring for visas on an expedited basis.
The administration of US President George W Bush - including virtually all of its top officials, from Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice - is on the defensive. Not only have the president's approval ratings plunged to the lowest level in his term, but his administration has opened a potentially lethal credibility gap on so many different fronts that reporters hardly know which to write about.
thanks to Magpie
Shaking the House of Cards
No wonder the sky-high poll numbers for President Bush have collapsed. The fiasco in Iraq is only part of the story. The news on one substantive issue after another could hardly be worse. It's almost as if the president had a team in the White House that was feeding his credibility into a giant shredder.
Arcturus UX280 rectifier, circa 1930.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
thanks to Information Clearing House
In a week that has already seen five more U.S. combat deaths and the wounding of 41 soldiers, the commander of military forces in Iraq indicated Thursday that resistance to the occupying troops was strengthening and warned Americans to brace for more casualties.
With 313 American soldiers dead in the conflict so far, more than half since President Bush declared major combat over May 1, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told reporters at a weekly news briefing here, "This is still wartime."
On July 2, President George W Bush, in referring to combat operations in Iraq, said, "Bring them on." And bring it on they have. As everyone knows, coalition forces, primarily American, are being killed and wounded on a regular basis - 357 US and British fatalities to date. But while the US dead, whether in combat operations or from other causes, are reported publicly, the wounded have almost disappeared from public view. And their numbers are growing, and providing appropriate care is an increasing burden for the military and civilian health systems.
How many wounded and injured are there? Nobody really knows for sure. Understandably, it is difficult to be precise when more casualties are being created on a near daily basis. But gathering data is difficult for other reasons.
THE outbreak of pneumonia-like symptoms in US troops serving in Iraq could be the harbinger of a new and potentially enormous wave of Gulf war syndrome cases, according to American veterans' organisations and defence analysts.
To the surprise of few, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency-led survey group hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has admitted in his latest report released on Thursday that none have yet been unearthed.
But the Iraq Survey Group's leader, David Kay, did say that Saddam Hussein "remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons". However, they have not found any, nor any evidence of any.
'There are no shining weapons'
The man in charge of a £180m ($300m) hunt for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction last night admitted that no weapon stocks had been found, and that all a three-month search had uncovered was a single vial containing a possible strain of biological agent.
This is about as straight & clear as you can say it: Henry Allen, in his Foreword to Another Vietnam, writes:
I'd imagined them looking sly but pathetic and stupid--either misguided nationalists or stooges of the communist slave masters. Once we did the old carrot-and-stick drill on them, they'd come over to where the Ford Fairlanes and Princess telephones were, maybe even get a chance to demonstrate how to cut barbed wire on the Ed Sullivan Show, in the manner of Sam Snead hitting cotton golf balls into the audience.
This was in 1966. I was on a Marine civic action team along the coast, south of Da Nang, in Chu Lai, winning hearts and minds by giving away flour, cement, roofing tin, fishing engines, medical care, all the latest nation-building goodies. I had an easy time of it. Why would the Viet Cong want to kill the guys giving them the goodies?
He's baaaack! Thankyouthankyouthankyou.
thanks to consumptive.org
The Walls of the Third Temple
Continuing the theme of nuclear proliferation by those supposedly opposing it, we explore the Holy Land of Palestine, a corner of the world where the ancient and the modern are forced to coexist cheek by jowl. Whether it is Sharon's cheek or Arafat's jowl is of no consequence. Who is more afraid of whom, is. Events on the ground show Old Testament terror tactics being visited on some while others enjoy New World protection. In such an environment, equilibrium and harmony will remain elusive until the United States removes itself from the equation.
"...America has remained Israel's most steadfast friend and ally. In turn, Israel has become America's most steadfast friend and ally in the Middle East." U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman
As much as I appreciate the thrust of Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah's 10th anniversary editorial commemorating the failed Oslo peace accords, I believe he evades fundamental truths.
I cannot accept Palestinians, forced to flee their homes following Israel's 1948 UN-sanctioned independence, see a two-state settlement as more than a brief respite on the long march to a united Palestine. Daily, directly and indirectly, South Africans see the deep emotion evinced by the return of land to dispossessed persons or peoples. Indeed, land restitution forms a fundamental building block in South Africans' reconciliation to each other.
In a violation of the "road-map" peace plan backed by President George Bush, Israel announced plans to build more than 600 new homes in Jewish settlements inside the West Bank yesterday.
The announcement will exacerbate fears that the road-map is being pushed off the agenda. The day before, the Israeli Cabinet defied American pressure and decided that its controversial "separation fence" would cut deep into the West Bank so that settlements would be on the "Israeli" side.
As far as the latter is concerned, what I said about the Holocaust and Israel being the new gods of the Jewish people are confirmed to me over and over. This Rosh Hashana, the theme at Bnei Jeshuran was Israel. At one point in the service the Rabbis lead the congregation in a rousing song of "Peace will Yet Come" with the whole congregation linked arm in arm, swaying to the music. It was at that point I walked out.
What I really wanted to do is go up to the podium and grab the microphone and say: "My friends, here we all are, feeling all warm and fuzzy as we link arms and pray for peace. What bullshit! Peace is not to be found in the heavens or something to pray for. Singing these songs is not going to save even one life. Talking about how we "support Israel" while we allow it to commit collective suicide is not the way to show our love. For gods' sake, get out there and do something to stop the madness before it is too late!"
The Middle East peace process is finished. It did not die: it was killed. Mahmoud Abbas was undermined by the President of the Palestinian Authority and humiliated by the Prime Minister of Israel. His successor awaits a similar fate. Israel continues to mock its American patron, building illegal settlements in cynical disregard of the "road map." The President of the United States of America has been reduced to a ventriloquist's dummy, pitifully reciting the Israeli cabinet line: "It's all Arafat's fault." Israelis themselves grimly await the next bomber. Palestinian Arabs, corralled into shrinking Bantustans, subsist on EU handouts. On the corpse-strewn landscape of the Fertile Crescent, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, and a handful of terrorists can all claim victory, and they do. Have we reached the end of the road? What is to be done?
Last Independence Day eve, I was invited to a party at the home of some friends. On the program was a private torch-lighting ceremony, scheduled to precede the official ceremony on Mt. Herzl.
One young man called up to light a torch said: "I hereby light this torch on the 55th anniversary of the State of Israel in honor of my peers, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who bear the burden of defense with devotion and self-sacrifice, and in honor of my peers who refuse to serve in the territories, reminding us, in spite of punishment and social ostracism, that we are fighting not only for the security of our nation but also for the occupation and dispossession of another people seeking, just as we are, to live proudly in a country of its own. And to the glory of the State of Israel."
Osama bin Laden might have delivered a shattering blow to a fragile U.S. psyche and Saddam Hussein might have drawn a blinkered administration into a long, costly and deadly war from which it is unable to extricate itself, but traitors in the White House have undermined citizens' faith in their leaders' integrity far more successfully than any outsider could have done.
For corrupt governance, the Valerie Plame Affair and Washington proxy Israel's flagrant abuse of power might combine to be the straw that breaks the camel's back, ending America's bid for perpetual global hegemony. Wars of conquest cost money and a believable sales pitch, or the public does not buy into them. Instead, they put their palm-greased advocates out of office.
While Americans acknowledge that their tax dollars bankroll Israel, the quiet disbursement of their billions deflects attention from that on which it is spent. The U.S. economy is in the tank and betrayed citizens have besieged a lying, war-mongering White House.
The Rove-Libby-Cheney-Tenet-Wilson-Plame debacle, the release of U.N.C.H.R. Special Rapporteur John Dugard's report (given little coverage in the U.S.) on Israeli violations of human rights (Question of the Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine), and former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg's Rosh Hashanah statement (A Failed Israeli Society Collapses While Its Leaders Remain Silent) could not come at a worse time for the Bush and Sharon administrations.
Chamberlain developed his remarkable technique in 1977 while a student at Rochester Institute of
thanks to Conscientious
let's not forget korea
North Korea boasted yesterday that its nuclear arsenal is being strengthened with plutonium extracted from 8,000 reprocessed fuel rods, and said it was ready to start an assembly line for atomic weapons.
If confirmed, the reprocessing would give Pyongyang enough for five or six warheads in addition to the one or two it is believed to possess. This would significantly expand its options to test, target and export nuclear bombs.
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea successfully finished the reprocessing of some 8,000 spent fuel rods," a spokesman for the foreign ministry told the state-run KCNA news agency.
"The DPRK has made a switchover in the use of plutonium churned out by reprocessing spent fuel rods, in the direction of increasing its nuclear deterrent force."
Traveling the Rails in Grand Style
Fred Harvey (1835-1901) began a partnership with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1878. In 1889, the Railway gave Harvey exclusive rights to manage and operate his eating houses, lunch stands, and hotel facilities upon the Santa Fe's railroads west of the Missouri River. The Harvey Houses took pride in their first class food, service, and cleanliness.
thanks to this Public Address 3.0
They try to get a little cute withn with the navigation. Finding Aid takes you to the pictures.
I had never heard of Fred Harvey until I saw a picture and link at this Public Address 3.0. That afternoon I ran across this page at MEFI with many other links about Fred Harvey hotels and restaurants. Pictures of a way of life that revolved around the railroad. A way of life long gone.
World oil and gas supplies are heading for a "production crunch" sometime between 2010 and 2020 when they cannot meet supply, because global reserves are 80 per cent smaller than had been thought, new forecasts suggest.
Research presented this week at the University of Uppsala in Sweden claims that oil supplies will peak soon after 2010, and gas supplies not long afterwards, making the price of petrol and other fuels rocket, with potentially disastrous economic consequences unless people have moved to alternatives to fossil fuels.
While forecasters have always known that such a date lies ahead, they have previously put it around 2050, and estimated that there would be time to shift energy use over to renewables and other non- fossil sources.
But Kjell Aleklett, one of a team of geologists that prepared the report, said earlier estimates that the world's entire reserve amounts to 18,000 billion barrels of oil and gas - of which about 1,000 billion has been used up so far - were "completely unrealistic". He, Anders Sivertsson and Colin Campbell told New Scientist magazine that less than 3,500 billion barrels of oil and gas remained in total.
Dr James McKenzie, senior assistant on the climate change programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, said: "We won't run out of oil - but what will happen is that production will decline, and that's when all hell will break loose."
While this may not be the most esthetic image of Comet Halley that you have ever seen, it is likely the most unique. The tiny cluster of pixels circled is the famous comet along its orbit over 4 billion (4,000,000,000) kilometers or 28 AU from the Sun -- a record distance for a comet observation. Its last passage through our neck of the woods in 1985, Comet Halley presently cruises through the dim reaches of the outer solar system, almost as far away as outermost gas giant Neptune, and shows no sign of activity. Captured in March, this negative image is a composite of digital exposures made with three of ESO's Very Large Telescopes. The exposures are registered on the moving comet, so the picture shows background stars and galaxies as elongated smudges. An earth-orbiting satellite appears as a dark streak at the top. Comet Halley is clearly extremely faint here, but large earthbound telescopes will be able to follow it as it grows fainter still, reaching the most distant point in its orbit, more than 5 billion kilometers (35 AU) from the Sun, in 2023.
the truth will set you free
Hesiod had this comment which I reproduce in full...
COUNTERSPIN PHRASE COINING: What term do you use to descibe someone who used to be a conservative, or a Republican, but is so disgusted with George W. Bush and his administration that he or she will vote for just about any Democrat who is nominated?
That makes all of us, of course, the "liberalators."
Feel free to use the term -er- liberally.
valerie plame affair
This issue has been categorized by the chairman of the Republican National Committee as "bigger than Watergate". No shit! The White House is currently under attack by the CIA. This may not be a bad thing. The rumors are currently pointing to the President's office (Karl Rove) and the Vice-President's office (Lewis "Scooter" Libby). The implications and possible fallout from this are the biggest thing I've ever seen. Pay attention. The Big Boys are playing. And they are playing for keeps. It may end with both Bush and Cheney being toast.
For most of what you need to know about where we're going here, read this clip from the lead article in Thursday's Washington Post ...
As the White House hunkered down, it got the first taste of criticism from within Bush's own party. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) said that Bush "needs to get this behind him" by taking a more active role. "He has that main responsibility to see this through and see it through quickly, and that would include, if I was president, sitting down with my vice president and asking what he knows about it," the outspoken Hagel said last night on CNBC's "Capital Report."
Hagel is a Republican, even if not much of a loyalist, and he's pointing at what everyone's saying: that the problem centers on the vice president's office. And people are adding a name: Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff and close advisor.
A mountain of rumor doesn't amount to a single fact. But two respected ex-CIA officers have now publicly pointed to the vice president's office -- a good sign, I think, that that's what they're hearing from ex-colleagues at CIA. An increasing range of circumstantial evidence points in that direction. And now a United States Senator of the president's own party has suggested the same.
If true, Libby's involvement would mean much more than a rapid escalation in his attorneys' billable hours. Much more.
Call it Wilson-Plame-gate. It's not about cigars and blue dresses; it's about the security of this nation and the danger of revealing the identity of an undercover CIA operative. In a word, it is serious.
Here are two posts about former CIA analysts and their take on this...
This not an alleged abuse. This is a confirmed abuse. I worked with this woman. She started training with me. She has been under cover for three decades. She is not as Bob Novak suggested a "CIA analyst." Given that, i was a CIA analyst for 4 years. I was under cover. I could not divulge to my family outside of my wife that I worked for the CIA unti I left the Intelligence Agency on Sept. 30, 1989. At that point I could admit it. The fact that she was under cover for three decades and that has been divulged is outrageous. She was put undercover for certain reasons. One, she works in an area where people she works with overseas could be compromised...
Missoula, Montana: This incident has the smell of a White House dirty trick, but isn't the significance of the leak being overblown? After all, lots of people in Washington and elsewhere must have known of Ambassador Wilson's wife's connection to the CIA.
Mel Goodman: The incident is not being overblown because it is a violation of a federal statute and it reveals the essential cynicism of the Bush administration. There was no need to leak this name; it was done only as an act of political revenge to make sure that other critics did not come forward. Very ugly!!
Brad DeLong has a couple of posts on some of the implications of this...
A great many people seem to be unclear on one or more of the key concepts in the scandal revolving around the continued presence in the White House and out of jail of Bush aides who give aid and comfort to our enemies in time of war by blowing the cover of CIA operatives who are actually hunting for weapons of mass destruction.
Andrew Sullivan is confused about what is happening in Washington. So a precis of the Plame affair seems called for to tell him what it is "about":
www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: Well, I sat down yesterday afternoon and tried - no, really tried - to understand what this whole Wilson-Plame "scandal" is about...
Let me help:
That's what the Plame Affair is "about."
This piece is from the writer that first wrote about the criminal aspects of this leak.
Scott McClellan, White House press secretary, falsely accused me of rigging the truth. But before we get to that, the news of the day: the Bush administration is responding ridiculously to reports that the CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether White House officials revealed the identity of an undercover CIA officer to punish or discredit an administration critic.
And last, but not least, Billmon has some interesting thoughts on some of the fallout we may be seeing from this.
World Sunlight Map
thanks to Incoming Signals
Dave Niewart, at Orcinus, is starting a new series. It will be much more than sound-bites. Another must read.
The ongoing Valerie Plame affair is more than sufficient to remind us all of a certain fact: Conservatives have a long history in America of resorting to traitorous acts to further their own private agendas, which typically revolve around matters of power and greed.
Thus, in addition to "Manifestly Unfit," another ongoing Orcinus series this fall will be sporadic entries detailing the ways conservatives have, over the years, engaged in various acts that are either identifiably treasonous or have involved dealing with the nation's enemies in ways that enabled them to later commit violence that cost Americans their lives.
I briefly considered giving the series the highly original title Treason: Conservative Treachery From World War II to the War on Terrorism, but my ace legal team (who just got done advising Fox News on a major lawsuit) tells me it might unfairly violate the rights and tender feelings of lying, sociopathic blond Republican bimbettes everywhere. So I'll refrain.
Instead, I'll be posting entries periodically detailing the careers of a variety of right-wing traitors, focusing on the years since about 1920 (when the foundations for the Second World War were being laid) to the present.
And unlike certain other extremist and deranged attempts to cast, Newspeak-like, liberals as historically prone to treason (which will here go unnamed), these accounts will be entirely factual, based solely upon published and substantiated fact.
As regular readers will recall, I've already examined in detail the activities of two such noted conservatives who contributed substantially to the rise of the Nazi regime in the 1930s: Prescott Bush and Henry Ford. You may, if you wish, consider these posts the first installments in the series.
Describe a drawing to Hannes Kater. Write about an event or situation from your life and your thoughts and feelings on the matter.
Send the text to Hannes Kater by snail mail or e-mail. Soon after, you'll receive your own custom-made drawing.
I had this dream that a middle aged woman and a man in his thirties were standing at a beach fishing. Each had a fishing pole that was at least 20 feet long. Really skinny and long. The ocean looked like a storm was coming—violent waves and high winds although the poles weren’t swaying too much. The man walked away to get something so the woman was standing by herself behind the two very tall fishing poles. She sees that a fish must have bitten the bait on her pole so she reels it in all the way—but once the big brown and round fish is at the top of the pole, she can’t get to it because the pole is too long and the fish is dangling at the very top of the pole. All of a sudden the sky is filled with eagles (not seagulls) and the eagles start chomping on the fish. Then I woke up.
thanks to Riley Dog
I'm posting this entire link by daily KOS. I might give you an idea of what we have to look forward to.
To all the chickenhawks and their apologists who think things in Iraq are getting better, the top US general in that country begs to differ.
The top American general in Iraq said Thursday guerrillas fighting his troops were becoming deadlier, after the killing of three more soldiers added urgency to U.S. efforts to garner help stabilizing the country [...]
"The enemy has evolved. It is a little bit more lethal, little bit more complex, little bit more sophisticated and in some cases a little bit more tenacious," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq.
"As long as we are here the coalition need to be prepared to take casualties," he told a news conference. "We should not be surprised if one of these days we wake up to find there's been a major firefight or a major terrorist attack.
In Vietnam, we suffered 1,864 killed between 1961 and 1965, an average of 373 per year (someone I'm sure can find more precise numbers).
In the eight months since Bush launched his war, we have suffered 316 dead, plus an additional 54 allied deaths.
And that paints just part of the picture. In the first five years of the Vietnam War, we suffered 7,337 wounded in action, or an average of 1,467 per year. In Iraq, we have suffered at least 1,695 wounded -- meaning we are running higher than casualty rates of those early years of the Vietnam War.
Bush has gotten us into a mess he can't fix, and real people are suffering the consequences. And no matter how rosy a picture they may try to paint, fact is, we've got a clusterfuck on our hands.
Oil, War And A Growing Sense Of Panic In The US
Oil is slippery stuff but not as slippery as the figures now being peddled by Iraq's American occupiers. Up around Kirkuk, the authorities are keeping the sabotage figures secret - because they can't stop their pipelines to Turkey blowing up. And down in Baghdad, where the men who produce Iraq's oil production figures are beginning to look like the occupants of Plato's cave - drawing conclusions from shadows on their wall - the statistics are being cooked. Paul Bremer, the US proconsul who wears combat boots, is "sexing up" the figures to a point where even the oilmen are shaking their heads.
Take Kirkuk. Only when the television cameras capture a blown pipe, flames billowing, do the occupation powers report sabotage. This they did, for example, on 18 August. But the same Turkish pipeline has been hit before and since. It was blown on 17 September and four times the following day. US patrols and helicopters move along the pipeline but, in the huge ravines and tribal areas through which it passes, long sections are indefensible.
European oilmen in Baghdad realise now that Iraqi officials in the oil ministry - one of only two government institutions that the Americans defended from the looters - knew very well that the sabotage was going to occur. "They told me in June that there would be no oil exports from the north," one of them said to me this week. "They knew it was going to be sabotaged - and it had obviously been planned long before the invasion in March."
THE SITUATION in Iraq continues to worsen. Already six months into the occupation, the security situation is so grave that the United Nations secretary general is withdrawing UN staff whose presence there is vital for humanitarian work. In addition to the armed robbers who have been roaming the streets of Iraqi cities, terrorising people since the collapse of the old regime, the resistance is acting indiscriminately, targeting, besides the occupying forces, foreign missions, UN installations, Iraqi police, worshipping places, political figures and members of the Governing Council. With every added day to the already delayed and indeed incapable handling of the growing security problem, the outlaws grow stronger and harder to remove.
There are no visible prospects of any change soon. The two main occupiers, the US and the UK, seem to have stretched their military means to the very limit, and their ongoing efforts at the UN to bolster the occupation by involving other nations' men and money seem to be discouraged by the large scale of the risk involved and by the reluctance to join the occupiers, rather than, as a UN force, replace them.
Cousins and Veils...
This work of Philipp Franz Balthazar von Siebold (1796-1866) was compiled by three scholars of the Leyden Museum on the basis of the enormous number of zoological specimens collected by Siebold during his stay in Nagasaki 1823-1829 and of rough sketches by the Japanese artist Keiga Kawahara and others. It was published serially in five volumes over the long period of 1833-1850.
This was the first material written in a Western language on Japanese fauna, and it introduced Japanese fauna to the West on a wide scale.
thanks to cipango
Afghanistan rarely makes front-page headlines anymore. American combat there officially ended on January 10, 2002, when the Taliban fled Kabul. Yet, since that day, American troops have sustained six times as many casualties as during the war. Today, 12,500 'coalition' troops are stationed in Afghanistan, and they include 10,000 Americans. Major battles have erupted in the country every month since June.
Who's responsible for all this violence? "Taliban remnants" usually get the blame. But that phrase optimistically suggests a single organized entity, of whom the last few are now being killed. Actually, the violence stems from structural instabilities that keep generating new militants as fast as (and partly because) the old ones are killed.
The instability starts at the core. The government is a contraption cobbled together at a U.N. conference in Bonn in 2001. There, cabinet and sub-cabinet posts were doled out to various factions according to their strength and numbers. Power ended up in the hands of several groups who share little except mutual hostility and suspicion. These wary forces still circle around President Hamid Karzai, whose constituency is not any Afghan faction, but America (where he lived for many years.)
Fractious as it may be, this government is grappling -- heroically actually -- to restore a shattered society. Lacking an army, its only mechanism for extending it authority is through patronage. By controlling the flow of reconstruction money, it can draw various rural leaders into binding networks of obligations. Unfortunately, the government doesn't have much money to control the flow of. It can barely pay its own bills.
thanks to Body and Soul
the typewriter-keyboard conversion
thanks to Idle Type
The world suddenly looks bleaker
FIRST, an apology. Buttonwood has received a slew of e-mails from readers either chastising him for defending Richard Grasso in last week’s column or congratulating him on standing up for the erstwhile head of the New York Stock Exchange. Suffice to say that no defence was intended: Buttonwood suggests a little light reading of Jonathan Swift, an eighteenth-century Irish satirist. Second, another, more important apology. Underlying some of this column’s cheer these few weeks past has been an assumption that President George Bush and his administration were not as stupid, short-sighted, parochial and economically illiterate as they sometimes appear. Buttonwood now realises that this was a mistake and retracts this view as hopelessly optimistic and naive. Over the past couple of weeks, the risks to the world economy and financial markets everywhere have risen as the full force of their economic myopia has visited itself on the world stage.
The reason for this column’s volte face was the outcome of the G7 meeting in Dubai. The communiqué issued by the group of industrialised rich countries on September 20th called for “more flexibility” in exchange rates, which sounds innocuous enough but most certainly wasn’t. Whatever other countries thought this meant—and the British and the Japanese denied it—the signal the Americans wanted to send was unambiguously clear: the Bush administration wants a lower dollar. John Snow, the treasury secretary, even called the statement “a milestone change”. Perhaps he was even hoping for a new version of the Plaza Accord, an agreement reached by the then G5 in 1985 to drive the dollar lower. Certainly, the currency markets thought something along those lines: since the meeting the dollar has fallen another 5% against the yen, to stand at three-year lows, and has dropped against other currencies as well.
None of the noises coming from Capitol Hill suggest that the markets are wrong in this view. This week, Medley Global Advisors, a consultancy run by Richard Medley, a former advisor to George Soros and a man with strong links to administrations past and present, issued a report saying that it was indeed the government’s intention to push the dollar lower. And a junior apparatchik in the Treasury claimed that, specifically, it wanted to lower the value of the dollar against the yen (since the Chinese are unlikely to play ball). Thus has the strong-dollar policy long espoused by Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, metamorphosed into a weak-dollar policy. Mr Rubin, a former boss of Goldman Sachs, and as safe a pair of hands as could be wished for in troubled times, is said to be spitting blood at the stupidity of such a move.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
The Harvard-Yenching Library holds some 5,000 photographs and 10,000 negatives taken by Hedda Hammer Morrison (1908-1991) while resident in Beijing from 1933 to 1946. The photographs, mounted in thematic albums prepared by Mrs. Morrison, and the negatives, were bequeathed to the Harvard-Yenching Library, "the best permanent home for her vision of a city and people that she loved [Alastair Morrison]."
Man carrying three tethered and hooded hawks
on a perch hanging from a shoulder pole
thanks to plep
Unfortunately, this site uses a search engine that is searching a number of Harvard libraries and is so powerful that it becomes a case of not being able to ask the question unless you already know a good part of the answer. Read the VIA Search Strategies. The section on searching by Site Types was most helpful for me. It's worth the effort.
Israeli cabinet extends 'security fence'
Ariel Sharon's cabinet has agreed to extend Israel's controversial "security fence" to encircle Jewish settlements deep in the West Bank, moving closer to formally annexing hundreds of square miles of Palestinian territory.
But under pressure from Washington, the government said it would leave gaps in the fence where it would link the settlements of Ariel and its satellites to the main barrier that Mr Sharon envisages will eventually encircle the bulk of the Palestinian population.
Palestinians condemned the decision. They claimed that the barrier, which is mostly fence but includes sections of wall nine metres high, would wreck the possibility of creating a viable Palestinian state.
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said: "This is an attempt to sabotage the peace process, because it kills the United States president's vision of a two state solution. This is not a security fence, this is the biggest land grab by Israel. This does not separate Israelis from Palestinians; it separates Palestinians from Palestinians."
My son was born in San Francisco. He is an American. He was also born to a Palestinian father. He is also Palestinian. This summer, at 6 weeks old, he became an international traveler, with a brand new American passport, when we traveled to Palestine to introduce him to his father's family. Two days before we were supposed to return to America, we were told by the Israeli military that my infant son was not allowed to travel with me on his American passport. As a Palestinian citizen, he was subject to the regulations of the Israeli military occupation and needed a Palestinian passport and permission from the Israeli army to leave the country.
In one fell swoop, my son gained another passport and lost his freedom. Once he left Palestine, he could roam the globe, protected by the most powerful government in the world. But within the boundaries of his father's country, he could not travel from one town to another without permission from an occupying army.
For the next 10 days, we felt as if we were imprisoned. By night, Israeli military jeeps patrolled the streets. By day, Israeli soldiers manned checkpoints outside the town, restricting entry and exit. Over the hill, the Israeli army was confiscating Palestinian farmers' fields – and ripping out ancient olive groves – to build a towering concrete wall to encircle Palestinian towns. We called the Palestinian officials every day, but they were helpless. The Israeli army controlled all domestic and international travel for Palestinians, but the military was no longer taking their calls. I could leave, but my son and my husband were not allowed to come with me.
Pierre-Joseph Redouté was a French artist of the late 18th and early 19th century. The images here were taken from his famous book of prints, Les Roses. Redouté mastered the unusual technique of stipple engraving--the use of tiny dots, rather than lines. This made possible the subtle variations in coloring for which his work is known. We hope you enjoy these prints!
The home telephone numbers of 11 top executives of the Direct Marketing Association - which has waged a bitter court battle to kill a federal no-call list - are on the new registry, which would make them off-limits to those annoying sales calls.
The Courant found the DMA employees, and top executives from two large telemarketing companies, among the 50 million numbers on the Federal Trade Commission's anti-telemarketing do-not-call list.
The DMA executives, some of whom admit they signed up to protect their own privacy, did so even as their organization waged a legal campaign to prevent federal regulators from blocking telemarketers' calls to millions of other Americans.
thanks to Badattitudes Journal
those cheating artists
Most art historians believe the majority of European painters since the Italian Renaissance deployed elaborate systems of mathematical perspective to achieve their effects. Over the past several years, however, Hockney and Falco have been arguing that, on the contrary, most artists in the High Tradition, going all the way back to Bruges in the 1420s, were deploying a variety of optical devices (ranging from concave mirrors through lenses and cameras obscura and lucida). In effect they suggest that painters (from Van Eyck through Caravaggio, Lotto, Velazquez, Vermeer, Chardin, Ingres, etc.) were using precursors of photographic cameras for centuries before the invention of chemical fixatives in 1839; and that it was only with the spread of such chemical fixatives that European painters, suddenly disenchanted with the "optical look," began to undertake the critique of photography implicit in impressionism, expressionism and cubism and the rest of the modernist tradition.
Hockney's first inklings regarding his theory occured as he was attending the great Ingres retrospective in London in January 1999. He was dumbstruck by the clarity and precision of the quick pencil protraits Ingres had produced in Rome during the early 1800's.
Presently, however, he became convinced that he'd encountered the French master's line — fast, confident, without the slightest groping — somewhear before, that indeed it bore an uncanny resemblance to Andy Warhol's. Warhol had famously traced his images from slide projections. Mightn't Ingres have been deploying some similar sort of optical device — say, a camera lucid?
And come to think of it, Hockney now surmised, couldn't one make out a similar optically derived look in Carravagio, Holbein, Vermeer, Velazquez, Vermeer?
Hockney has made a lot of fuss about this. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw a presentation by the photography writer David Vestal in the early 70s that was saying the same thing. He was focused on painters after the introduction of photography. He found these same photographic elements in the works of many artists. He even went to the extent of having the paint removed on a the corner of a portrait to find a photograph underneath.
For the record, I don't really consider painters using optical devices cheating.
valerie plame affair
This is moving fast. This is really big. If Borger is right, Bush's brain is going to jail. He will not pass GO. He will not collect the $200. He may have some company, too.
"Several of the journalists are saying privately 'yes it was Karl Rove who I talked to.'"
The FBI began a full-scale criminal investigation Tuesday into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer, and President Bush ordered his staff to cooperate with the first major probe of his administration.
What Are They Hiding?
Allegations are swirling that Karl Rove, senior political adviser to President George W. Bush, may have committed a felony by blowing the cover of a CIA operative. CIA Director George Tenet has called on the Justice Department to investigate but the White House said Monday that "President George W. Bush has no plans to ask his staff members whether they played a role." And what makes this story even more remarkable is how seriously the Bush family has viewed outing intelligence operatives in the past.
Bush Vows Action if Aides Had Role in Leak
war against some terrorists
Information Clearing House has a streaming video of this excellect report. See Rummy shake hands with Saddam. See Colin and Condi explain (in 2001) how Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction. See the lies. Shake with rage.
It's RealVideo. GO LOOK AT IT RIGHT NOW! Do I make myself clear?
Sunday I posted an entry about zone|zero's 10th anniversary. This prompted me to go back into their archives to see if some of the pictures that originally attracted me to zone|zero were still there. They are. Here's some of them.
electronic voting fraud
The Agonist is starting a series on the electronic voting fraud issue...
With the emergence of paperless billing and online banking, many of us save considerable effort, time and money every month. The transition to digital information has gone well beyond paying bills or taxes, and booking airline flights. Virtually all aspects of our lives are affected. Not surprisingly, the same technological shift has been occurring in the field of voting machines, accelerated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) passed by Congress at the end of 2002.
While differing in implementation, these systems share a crucial feature: all information about the votes is stored exclusively in digital format. The crucial difference from more traditional voting systems (e.g., punch card and optical scan machines) is that those systems keep the original vote in a physical form (usually paper) that can be directly verified by the voter. This "paper trail" can later be used during a recount, if the need were to arise.
A recount is generally possible with Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines, but what is recounted is simply what the machine recorded in the first place and this can be quite different from the intended vote.
Discrepancies arise through a number of factors, ranging from machine malfunction to malicious tampering with its software. Without the hard-copy redundancy offered by traditional voting systems, performing an independent audit is virtually impossible.
BUZZFLASH: Electronic voting machines, including touch-screen voting, have been touted as the salvation of a fair voting process. Your tenacious research over the last year has shown that this idea may be the Trojan Horse of voting machine reform, allowing elections to be stolen more easily than in the past. What are the basic reasons that you argue that electronic voting machines pose a threat to democracy?
BEV HARRIS: Four reasons:
1. Secrecy: What has always been a transparent process, subjected to many eyes and belonging to all of us, has very recently become secretive and proprietary. This happened when voting systems, which should be considered part of the "public commons" were turned over to private companies. These companies now assert that the process underlying the vote must be held secret from the voters.
2. Ownership: When a system that belongs to the public becomes secret, it becomes doubly important to make sure we can completely trust those who run it. Voting machine companies are not required to tell us who owns them. Two of the top six firms have been foreign-owned: Election.com, owned by the Saudis until an acquisition by Accenture recently, and Sequoia, now owned by DeLaRue (Great Britain). Three of the top six firms have owners and/or directors who represent vested interests:
-- Election Systems & Software, the largest company. Main owner is a company owned by Senator Chuck Hagel's campaign finance director, Michael McCarthy. Hagel has owned shares in both the voting company itself and in the parent company run by his campaign finance director, and Hagel was the CEO and Chairman of the voting machine company while it built the machines that counted his votes.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
A provisional list of artefacts confirmed to have been looted from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad was released on 29th April during a meeting of experts on Iraqi Cultural Heritage convened at the British Museum. The 26 objects listed clearly represent the tip of the iceberg, but prior to accessing the master inventory databases on damaged and destroyed computers in Baghdad, the precise scale of pillage and identification of further objects will remain a matter of speculation. For this reason UNESCO is organising a mission comprising eight high-level experts to formulate a preliminary assessment of the situation in the National Museum of Iraq and to specify immediate actions to be taken to enable UNESCO to ‘ensure the appropriate institutional framework and its coordination role in the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Iraq.’
Bearded head of king, probably Naram-Sin.
Nineveh/Kuyunjik, Akkadian Dynasty, c.2300-2200 BC.
thanks to Counterspin Central
On May 1, off the coast of California, president George W. Bush landed in flying gear on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln—which sported a banner reading mission accomplished—and said, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
The war, said Bush, had been carried out "with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before."
But the mission wasn't accomplished then, and it still is not. The reconstruction of Iraq has proved far more difficult than any official assumed it would be. Since May 1, 170 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, as sporadic guerrilla attacks have continued. Two potential leaders of the new Iraq—Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim and Akila al-Hashimi, a member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council in Iraq—have been assassinated. Also dead is Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. chief representative in Iraq, who was killed when a bomb exploded at U.N. headquarters last month. After a second bombing last week near the building, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered a reduction in the size of the organization's mission—already much smaller than it had once been—for reasons of safety.
thanks to CalPundit
Shortly after the occupation, Jay Garner began meeting with the prominent members of Iraqi society- businessmen, religious leaders, academicians and sheikhs. The sheikhs were important because each sheikh basically had influence over hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘family’. The prominent sheikhs from all over Iraq were brought together in a huge conference of sorts. They sat gathered, staring at the representative of the occupation forces who, I think, was British and sat speaking in broken, awkward Arabic. He told the sheikhs that Garner and friends really needed their help to build a democratic Iraq. They were powerful, influential people- they could contribute a lot to society.
Almost every single sheikh had his own woeful story to tell. They were angry and annoyed. And these weren’t people who loved Saddam. Many of them hated the former regime because in a fit of socialism, during the eighties, a law was established that allowed thousands of acres of land to be confiscated from wealthy landowners and sheikhs and divided out between poor farmers. They resented the fact that land they had owned for several generations was being given out to nobody farmers who would no longer be willing to harvest their fields.
So they came to the meeting, wary but willing to listen. Many of them rose to speak. They told the representative right away that the Americans and British were occupiers- that was undeniable, but they were willing to help if it would move the country forward. Their one stipulation was the following: that they be given a timetable that gave a general idea of when the occupation forces would pull out of Iraq.
They told the representative that they couldn’t go back to their ‘3shayir’, or tribes, asking them to ‘please cooperate with the Americans although they killed your families, raided your homes, and detained your sons’ without some promise that, should security prevail, there would be prompt elections and a withdrawal of occupation forces.
Some of them also wanted to contribute politically. They had influence, power and connections… they wanted to be useful in some way. The representative frowned, fumbled and told them that there was no way he was going to promise a withdrawal of occupation forces. They would be in Iraq ‘as long as they were needed’… that might be two years, that might be five years and it might be ten years. There were going to be no promises… there certainly was no ‘timetable’ and the sheikhs had no say in what was going on- they could simply consent.
The whole group, in a storm of indignation and helplessness, rose to leave the meeting. They left the representative looking frustrated and foolish, frowning at the diminishing mass in front of him. When asked to comment on how the meeting went, he smiled, waved a hand and replied, “No comment.” When one of the prominent sheikhs was asked how the meeting went, he angrily said that it wasn’t a conference- they had gathered up the sheikhs to ‘give them orders’ without a willingness to listen to the other side of the story or even to compromise… the representative thought he was talking to his own private army- not the pillars of tribal society in Iraq.
Who's Sordid Now?
8-hour battle follows new bombings
What country in the Middle East occupies the lands of other people? What country in the Middle East is in violation of more than 60 United Nations resolutions? What country in the Middle East openly practices a policy of assassinating its political opponents? What country in the Middle East routinely violates international law? What country in the Middle East possesses nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities?
The answer to all of the above is Israel.
And here's one more question: What country in the world poses the greatest danger to the future of the United States?
Same answer: Israel.
And, by the way, it is Yasser Arafat who is the man of peace, not Ariel Sharon. It was Arafat who persuaded Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist, who persuaded them to accept a two-state solution, which means they will settle for 22 percent of their own country. And it is Sharon who refuses to give them even that. It is Sharon who rejected the "road map." It is Sharon who kicks sand in the face of little George Bush any time he feels like it.
The question for Americans is this: How long do you want to bleed lives and treasure because your corrupt politicians have sold their souls to the lobby of a foreign country now led by a fanatic right-wing extremist?
The eve of the Jewish New Year is an excellent occasion for what Jewish tradition calls Kheshbon Nefesh, or soul-searching on so-called "anti-semitism", which has now become the single most important element of Jewish identity. Jews may believe in God or not, eat pork or not, live in Israel or not, but they are all united by their unlimited belief in anti-semitism.
When a Palestinian kills innocent Israeli civilians, it's anti-semitism. When Palestinians attack soldiers of Israel's occupation army in their own village, it's anti-semitism. When the UN General Assembly votes 133 to 4 condemning Israel's decision to murder the elected Palestinian leader, it means that except for the US, Micronesia and Marshal Islands, all other countries on the globe are anti-semitic. Even when a pregnant Palestinian woman is stopped at an Israeli check-point and gives birth in open field, the only lesson to be learnt is that Ha'aretz journalist Gideon Levy – who reported two such cases in the past two weeks, one in which the baby died – is an anti-semite.
Anti-semitism is an all-encompassing explanation. Anything unpleasant to anti-Palestinian ears is just another instance of anti-semitism. Jewish consciousness focused on anti-semitism has taken the shape of anti-semitic conspiracy theories, like that of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: whereas the anti-semitic classic relates every calamity to Jewish conspiracy, Jews relate to anti-semitic conspiracy every criticism of Israel. As we shall see, this is not the only similarity between anti-Palestinianism and anti-semitism.
thanks to Geisha asobi blog
The key issue is the working poor. Forty percent of the families in these lines have one parent working. Rick Payne is working full time at a big home improvement store. But he’s supporting a wife and four kids on $7.50 an hour. When we sat down with Payne, his wife, Alexis, and 12-year-old, Brandon, they had $17 to their name.
Payne says he needs gas, diapers, milk and bread. For other expenses, he has little money.
The Paynes get food stamps - $300 a month. That much lasts about three weeks. But at the end of the month they’re living on potato soup.
“It’s funny, I sit and watch these news programs and they tell you to have six months of your income saved. And I just have to laugh at that because you know, I can’t put $5 away per paycheck. I can’t imagine somebody having six months of their salary put away. That’s just completely unobtainable for us,” Payne says.
Almost half the people fed by these lines are kids. The Agriculture Department figures that one in six children in America face hunger. That’s more than 12 million kids. Nationwide, children have the highest poverty rate.
thanks to The Cartoonist
the psalms according to bush
-- Lewis Silverman
thanks to Drew Kampion
for when only too much is enough
The biggest and most expensive cruise ship ever -- Queen Mary II -- set out to sea on Thursday, just days after a deal between France and the European Union saved its makers from immediate bankruptcy.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
Our Man in Korea is back.
In Korea, there's F-Mart and D-Mart, L-Mart and G-Mart, and the current top dog of the X-Mart retailers, E-Mart. They are all much of a muchness, and are a microcosmic case study, I suppose, of the Korean predilection (and skill, it must be said) in taking someone else's idea (in this case, a household goods retailer, K-mart (of course)), reshaping it for the Korean market, and barfing it out again, adding only the most cursory Groucho-glasses-and-nose disguise.
Yesterday we went to the nearby E-Mart to do some shopping, pick up some beer, and generally engage in the Retail Ritual. The Retail Ritual calms me, these days, if it's in one of these huge ultramodern, brightly lit stores. Odd, for an old hippiepunk like me, who has little good to say about our marketing-driven civilization.
That said, I loathe shopping for anything other than food, so I guess I can still fly my freak flag proudly. And although stores like Walmart and Costco are a scourge on the landscape back in North America, sucking the life out of smalltown centres, feeding low-wage, no-security, permanent part-time slavery, homogenizing the already desperately whitebread-and-mayonnaise landscape even further....that's not so much the case here. The box stores sit in the middle of already existing major shopping areas, beside subway stops, and have the opposite effect, if anything, revitalizing cruddy areas and triggering some urban renewal. These stores also tend to employ women under better conditions and for better wages than they might otherwise receive in this sexist nightmare of a nation. But more on that later.
the wilson/plame scandal or don't fuck with the cia or the big shit is hitting the big fan or it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys
This pot has taken months to reach a boil but it's boiling now! John Dean (Of Watergate fame. Oh! The irony!) has a good background piece.
On July 14, in his syndicated column, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Robert Novak reported that Valerie Plame Wilson - the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, and mother of three-year-old twins - was a covert CIA agent. (She had been known to her friends as an "energy analyst at a private firm.")
Why was Novak able to learn this highly secret information? It turns out that he didn't have to dig for it. Rather, he has said, the "two senior Administration officials" he had cited as sources sought him out, eager to let him know. And in journalism, that phrase is a term of art reserved for a vice president, cabinet officers, and top White House officials.
On July 17, Time magazine published the same story, attributing it to "government officials." And on July 22, Newsday's Washington Bureau confirmed "that Valerie Plame ... works at the agency [CIA] on weapons of mass destruction issues in an undercover capacity." More specifically, according to a "senior intelligence official," Newsday reported, she worked in the "Directorate of Operations [as an] undercover officer."
In other words, Wilson is/was a spy involved in the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence, covert operations and espionage. She is/was part of a elite corps, the best and brightest, and among those willing to take great risk for their country. Now she has herself been placed at great - and needless - risk.
Why is the Administration so avidly leaking this information? The answer is clear. Former ambassador Wilson is famous, lately, for telling the truth about the Bush Administration's bogus claim that Niger uranium had gone to Saddam Hussein. And the Bush Administration is punishing Wilson by targeting his wife. It is also sending a message to others who might dare to defy it, and reveal the truth.
A Federal offense has been committed by high level government officials by outing a CIA agent. So, is anyone going to pay for this?
CIA seeks probe of White House
The Wilson War Continues
Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry
Tha last piece is from the Washington Post and here is what Josh has to say about it (go read it)...
Okay, no question: the Washington Post has the story about the Wilson/Plame scandal. This story, frankly, blows the whole thing wide open.
In any case, this is truly a bombshell and for the first time I suspect someone may actually lose their job over this -- though loyalty being what it is to the prez I still have my doubts. Here's what this means, as nearly as I can see it. Clearly, the White House knows who those two people are. They also know that the wrongdoing did in fact occur. Perhaps most important, the public now knows that they know. Given all that, I don't see how -- in a climate of media feeding frenzy -- it will be possible to keep their identities a secret for long. And once their identities are known ...
How big is this? Look at the list of suspects at Eschaton...
That leaves eight candidates:
1) Dick Cheney – Vice President
I am not sure I would consider Libby and/or Gordon to be top and senior but maybe they are.
If any of the first 5 (Cheney, Rove, Rice, Card or Fleischer) is involved, it is a major scandal.
The identity of the six journalists may soon be known. We know from the efforts to smear Wes Clark that phone records are kept at least for incoming calls to the White House. It does not seem hard to match those calls up with the small circle of suspects.
Pass the popcorn and get out the handcuffs. This is going to be fun.
Body and Soul has a chronological list of links on this, too.
Where did I put that popcorn?
A big Happy Birthday! to one of the best photography sites on the Internet. This was one of my first discoveries when I first got on the Internet in 1995. It has only improved over the years. While it's success is the result of the all the photographers who have had their images shown here, special mention must be made of it's founder Pedro Meyer. A great photographer and a great promoter of photographers and photography.
Our Tenth Anniversary.
During this past decade our theme at ZoneZero has been "from analog to digital". No work that we have brought to our pages during this period could better epitomize this idea, than the work of Ken Merfeld. His wonderful imagery made on glass plates, through the process of wet collodion which in the end would migrate to the digital domain, would therefore allow us to bring you his work over the internet. No other photographer that we have published would span such a spread in technologies while still remaining true to his own style.
We hope to bring a degree of clarity through Ken Merfeld's work, to an issue that all too often has been a source of total confusion, in that digital photography is not a specific style of photography but only a technology with which you can produce any style that you wish. In this particular case it has been from wet collodion to digital portraits.
To my dismay I have seen contests sponsored by some of the better known photographic brands which requested images for categories such as "digital photography", as if they were a specific style of photography, thus only creating the present confusion. Some have imagined then that digital photography has to do solely with images that use every filter in the tool chest to produce a sort of "lava lamp" effect, in order to become digital. Well, if you enjoy doing those kind of images, fine, but know that this is only one of the many styles that can be produced digitally. In fact, any style can be produced by digital means.
Pedro Meyer first came to my attention with a CD-ROM that was a photo-essay on the last days of his parents. Then the Internet came along and zone|zero. That essay is now on zone|zero in another incarnation that Pedro could not have imagined when he first took those images. I've linked to this before. I will probably link to it again.
I Photograph to Remember
iraq — vietnam on internet time
Even Thomas Friedman is starting to get it...
2 Servings of Reality, Please
The American public got a real tutorial in diplomacy last week, one that I suspect it could have done without. It was introduced to two concepts: the free rider and the war of choice. How the U.S. public digests these two concepts is going to have a huge impact on our next presidential election.
The free rider lesson was administered by all of America's friends, allies and rivals at the United Nations. President Bush went up there last week, hat in hand, looking for financial and military support for the war he chose to launch in Iraq. I would summarize the collective response of the U.N. to Mr. Bush as follows:
You talkin' to us? This is your war, pal. We told you before about Iraq: You break it alone, you own it alone. Well, you broke it, now you own it. We've got you over a barrel, because you and your taxpayers have no choice but to see this through, so why should we pay? If you make Iraq a success, we'll all enjoy the security benefits. We'll all get a free ride. And if you make a mess in Iraq, all the wrath will be directed at you and you alone will foot the bill. There is a fine line between being Churchill and being a chump, and we'll let history decide who you are. In the meantime, don't expect us to pay to watch. We were all born at night — but not last night."
The hunt for weapons of mass destruction yields - nothing
An intensive six-month search of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction has failed to discover a single trace of an illegal arsenal, according to accounts of a report circulating in Washington and London.
Aqila Al-Hashimi was buried today in the holy city of Najaf, in the south. Her funeral procession was astounding. Rumor has it that she was supposed to be made Iraq’s ambassadress to the UN. There are still no leads to her attackers’ identities… somehow people seem to think that Al-Chalabi and gang are behind this attack just like they suspect he might have been behind the Jordanian Embassy attack. Al-Chalabi claims it’s Saddam, which is the easy thing to do- pretend that the only figures vying for power are the Governing Council, currently headed by Al-Chalabi, and Saddam and ignore the fundamentalists and any inter-Council hostilities, rivalries and bitterness between members.
What is particularly disturbing is that the UN is pulling out some of its staff for security reasons… they pulled out a third tonight and others will be leaving in the next few days. Things are getting more and more frightening. My heart sinks every time the UN pulls out because that was how we used to gauge the political situation in the past: the UN is pulling out- we’re getting bombed.
Regret at UN's Iraq retreat
Brutal Reality That Fans The Flames Of Hatred In Iraq
If anyone wants to know why Iraqis set bombs for American soldiers, they had only to sit in the two-storey villa in this little farming village and look at the frozen face of Ahmed al-Ham and his angry friends yesterday.
Ahmed's 50-year-old father, Sabah, was buried just a week ago - 35 days after he died in American hands at the Abu Ghraib prison - and the 17-year-old youth with his small beard and piercing brown eyes blames George Bush for his death. "Pigs," he mutters. Ahmed was a prisoner, too, and his father died in his arms. According to a cousin of Sabah's, their tragedy began at 3am on 3 August when about 40 US military vehicles arrived in Saqlawiyah, a Sunni village 10 miles from Fallujah, the scene of dozens of fatal attacks on US occupation troops. A framed and undamaged photograph of Saddam Hussein hangs on the wall above us as we talk.
Bush Fails to Gain Pledges on Troops or Funds for Iraq
President Bush ended two days of meetings with foreign leaders today without winning more international troops or funds for Iraq and with a top aide saying it could take months to achieve a new U.N. resolution backing the U.S. occupation.
Bush's failure to win a promise of fresh soldiers in meetings with the leaders of India and Pakistan -- aides said the president did not even ask -- increased the difficulty the United States will have in assembling another division of foreign troops in Iraq, which senior Pentagon officials say is the minimum needed to relieve overstretched U.S. forces.
In GOP, Concern Over Iraq Price Tag
Armies are fragile institutions, and for all their might, easily broken.
It took the better part of 20 years to rebuild the Army from the wreckage of Vietnam. With the hard work of a generation of young officers, blooded in Vietnam and determined that the mistake would never be repeated, a new Army rose Phoenix-like from the ashes of the old, now perhaps the finest Army in history.
In just over two years, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and his civilian aides have done just about everything they could to destroy that Army.
Vietnam's Shadow Lies Across Iraq
"By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome," President George H.W. Bush crowed after his swift triumph in the Gulf War in 1991. His effusive proclamation was meant to suggest that the U.S. public had finally shaken off the memory of the humiliating disaster in the Far East and would henceforth underwrite fresh engagements overseas, without guilt or anxiety.
But he was mistaken. His optimism notwithstanding, Americans remained haunted by the specter of a defeat in some distant realm, and their uneasiness continued as President George W. Bush made his plans to invade Iraq. The younger Bush excoriated pundits who cautioned that we faced a catastrophe there, and at first he seemed to have been proved correct, as Americans witnessed the amazing speed with which our battalions drove into Baghdad. But it has since become apparent that Iraq, if not exactly "another Vietnam," could degenerate into an equally calamitous debacle.
The military in Baghdad is now planning how to get out of the present mess. What's being discussed is a military retreat into several well-defended bases well away from the capital and Iraq's other cities. These undoubtedly are mostly the same bases Washington had in mind before the war as permanent U.S. installations.
The idea is to hand over Iraq's security to newly recruited Iraqi police and militias, as well as to whatever multinational force the United States can put together.
While the plan looks interesting on paper, if it works at all, it would end by handing control of Iraq to forces incompatible with the idea of a shining new Middle Eastern democracy in Iraq that the Bush administration has for the past year been promising. It might look a lot like an old-fashioned authoritarian Arab state, run by generals, tribal leaders and policemen.
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edward said 1935-2003
We mourn with greatest sadness the death today of Professor Edward W. Said. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Edward Said's family, and we share our profound sense of loss with the many and diverse communities that loved and respected him.
Yet the greatest significance of Said's contribution is not only that he was an outstanding advocate for justice and peace in Palestine, but also that he consistently located this cause within a much greater struggle for a truly universal and humanist vision, entailing a firm rejection of ethno-nationalism and religious fanaticism. He taught by eloquent example that being faithful to a cause did not require blind loyalty to leaders or symbols, but rather necessitated self-criticism and debate. This fact meant that his engagement with the Arab world, and his fierce criticism of its status quo, was as important as his work communicating with people in the West.
Edward Said was a fountain of humanity, compassion, intellectual restlessness and creativity. At a time when the crude calculus of raw power and fanaticism threatens to swamp global discourse, his irreplaceable voice never needed to be heard more.
The most fitting tribute to Professor Said's life and work is to struggle with increased commitment for the vision of justice and humanity that inspired all of his efforts.
The last time I saw Edward Said, I asked him to go on living. I knew about his leukaemia. He had often pointed out that he was receiving "state-of-the-art" treatment from a Jewish doctor and - despite all the trash that his enemies threw at him - he always acknowledged the kindness and honour of his Jewish friends, of whom Daniel Barenboim was among the finest.
Edward was dining at a buffet among his family in Beirut, frail but angry at Arafat's latest surrender in Palestine/Israel. And he answered my question like a soldier. "I'm not going to die," he said. "Because so many people want me dead."
Edward Said's breadth of interest
Perhaps the first thing one remembers about Edward Said was his breadth of interest. He was not only at home in music, literature, philosophy, or the understanding of politics, but also he was one of those rare people who saw the connections and the parallels between different disciplines, because he had an unusual understanding of the human spirit, and of the human being, and he recognized that parallels and paradoxes are not contradictions.
A Mighty and Passionate Heart
Here is a site with extensive links to articles about and by Edward Said...
The Edward Said Archive (TESA)
thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
Camera Obscura Image of El Vedado,
Habana, Looking Northwest (2002)
Abelardo Morell’s camera obscura images are created by the age-old optical principle of darkening a room and projecting an inverted image of the world outside through a small aperture. Morell photographically records ephemeral, upside-down images of the outside world by placing his four-by-five view camera in rooms and opening the shutter for time exposures lasting typically as long as eight hours.
CONVERSATION: A BOOK OF BOOKS
Robert Birnbaum: Looking at your book, The Book of Books, I thought about the dichotomy of a visual culture and a literary culture and how we are always being told that we live in a visual culture. That's puzzling to me because I can't see how you can have pictures without words being attached.
Abelardo Morell: Right, right. Actually there is an interesting tradition of important photographic books like Robert Frank's The Americans, which had a very short poetic [Jack] Kerouac text, not really explaining the pictures at all, and Walker Evans' American Photographs, which, when it came out, had no words—zero words. There has been that kind of backlash of artists trying to take claim over the language of the visual without the support of words—apart and being considered on its own merits. I like the idea that images alone can carry it all. But I think you are right, the appetite for visual stuff is somewhat perverse now because it assumes that there is no intellectual appetite at the same time. It's this weird "swallow it fast" and pay now. I think a lot about language. The idea of how things are communicated and that's one of my interests in books, the surface that communicates ideas and stories and all that. In some ways, I am trying to integrate the two. I even have a close-up of a page of A Tale Of Two Cities and A Farewell to Arms to try to get a visual equivalent of what it is to read or to have words be significant.
Down the Rabbit Hole (1998) Abelardo Morell
all Abelardo Morell links thanks to wood s lot
Poverty rises, income levels fall
In a report that offered fresh ammunition to critics of President Bush’s economic policy, the government said Friday that the nation’s median income fell nearly $500 in 2002 and the poverty rate climbed for a second straight year.
The more money you have, the easier it is to own it all - so print your own! Just click on the image of the money you want to find a whole page-full.
thanks to follow me here...
globilization or why do they hate us?
New world potion that was poison to Dr Sam
With the end of the cold war and the coming of globalisation we had the opportunity to create a new international order based on American values, reflecting our sense of the balance between government and markets, one which promoted social justice and democracy on a global scale.
The Clinton administration had some notable successes in our efforts to create a new international economic order. But as we look back on these achievements, as we see the protests around the world, as we feel the pulse of anti-Americanism, it becomes clear that something again had gone wrong, badly wrong.
Underlying the protests there were deeper symptoms. Globalisation had often not produced the benefits that were promised. Except in Asia - which had largely not followed the prescriptions for growth and development the United States had put forth - poverty was up, in some places dramatically so. With growth in Latin America during the reform and globalisation decade of the nineties just over half of what it had been in the fifties, sixties and seventies, no wonder there was dissatisfaction.
The gap between the haves and have-nots - both between the United States and the developing world, and between the rich and the poor within the developing countries - was growing.
Even many of those who are better off feel more vulnerable. A decade of unparalleled American influence over the global economy was also a decade in which one economic crisis seemed to follow another. We survived these crises. We may have even benefited as a result of the lower prices at which we could buy some imported goods, and our investment banks may have profited. But they caused untold hardship in the countries that suffered them.The heralded transition of ex-communist countries to a market economy, which was supposed to bring unprecedented prosperity, brought unprecedented poverty.
rubber stamp art
thanks to The Cartoonist