One Nation Under Bush
At a campaign rally, Republicans recite the "Bush Pledge."
"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."
thanks to Whiskey Bar
Billmon comes out of retirement ot comment of some of the historical precedents for this.
The Future Belongs to Me
All officers of the SS were required to take the loyalty oath. Raising their right hand and their left hand placed on their officers sword, the oath went as follows: "I swear to thee, Adolph Hitler as Fuhrer and chancellor of the German Reich, my Loyalty and Bravery. I vow to thee and the superiors whom those shall appoint, obedience until death, so help me God."
The truly sinister thing -- and the reason why that Slate story made the hair stand up on the back of my neck -- is that even as these people move, like sleepwalkers, towards a distinctly American version of the cult of the leader, most of them honestly appear to have no idea what they're doing, or creating. I'm not even sure the Rovians themselves entirely understand the atavistic instincts they've awakened in Bush's most loyal followers. But the current is running now, fast and strong. And we're all heading for the rapids.
A new photography magazine...
thanks to Conscientious
Tolo Llabrés - Lomoáfrica
We are into the final days before Kerry is elected President. We needn't worry. Zoe (my LOML) found the link that has the definitive answer...
The Planets Have Made Up Their Mind: Kerry Wins
Surveys in the United States may be showing the race for president as too close to call but top Indian astrologers say the planets have clearly made up their mind: John Kerry will win.
The polls aren't polling some significant populations...
Get ready for a November surprise
A "black young'n" says the polls and pundits just don't get the new voter realities. Kerry wins in a blowout, predicts this Salon reader.
I am a 21-year-old African-American/loyal Salon reader/ frequent writer to you. Although I love you all a lot and, like you (assuming so), I am a liberal, I just feel I have to scream at you for a bit. Almost two weeks ago, I sent a letter to you guys telling you how the new Eminem song "Mosh" has many young'ns riled up, angry, motivated and against Bush. Now 10 days or so later, not only you guys but many publications are up on it. My point? Maybe you guys should listen more to us young'ns, maybe have a young person consultant of sorts. After all, we will decide this election, as I will point out later in this letter.
First, let me just say prepare for the death of polls, as that will be the dominant story coming out of election night. First blacks. I saw Ann Coulter on some show where she was literally speaking for black America. Being that she is an aging white chick with poorly dyed roots, she obviously got it wrong. Those polls saying how Bush will get 16 to 18 percent of the black vote are just wrong. To quote ODB, "Nigga please." Since black people aren't really polled, here is a bit of insight. Although we aren't that excited about Kerry, he has nothing to worry about with the African-American community. We as a whole don't like Bush, period. Yes, Democrats take us for granted and regardless of which party, we are at the bottom of the totem poll, but we realize that Democrats talk to us, try with us, are down with us, and give us a seat at the table. We are gamed to what the GOP do, or rather don't do for us.
thanks to MyDD
Even the conservative Conservatives are coming out for Kerry...
Former GOP Sen. Bob Smith endorses Kerry
Bob Smith of New Hampshire lived at the far right of the GOP. He even left the Republican Party at one point because he considered it too moderate. In fact, he was one of those guys who waved around plastic fetuses whenever abortion was debated.
But in 2004, this hard right winger is endorsing Kerry (PDF).
In Case You're Wondering Why the Bush Gang Is Desperate
The Angry Liberal, a moniker which describes a lot of us these days, has dredged up a late October, 2000, CNN tracking poll for everyone’s edification.
Thugs R Us
It's certainly looking like the prospects of a clean Kerry victory are becoming plausible. But in case anyone forgot, that's just the first battle.
America is the most divided it has been in more than a century. Feelings are running extremely high on both sides. It's a bitter, ugly environment, and there's going to have to be a real effort to heal the divide.
The people who have brought us to this pass -- the dividers, not uniters -- are not going to go away. In fact, they're almost certainly going to step things up.
And considering the frenzy they are in now, it could get ugly.
2004's Scariest Halloween Costumes
Transform Daddy's little girl into America's NEW favorite bad girl, Private First Class Lyndie England. For the costume, simply add an invisible-dog leash from a novelty shop to a pair of camouflage pants and a khaki-colored shirt from your local Army/Navy surplus store. (Candy cigarette optional.)
Total cost: Under $30.
Total time: Under an hour.
thanks to Everlasting Blort
Arafat is sick, maybe dying, in Paris. I doubt that he will ever return to Palestine, even if he recovers. Israel said they would let him return but I think they said that only because they don't expect him to live. With Arafat gone, Israel won't have a scapegoat to cover for their atrocities against the Palestinians. This will be a time of instability with the Palestinians and the Israelis. I just can't imagine the Israelis giving up the settlements, thought.
Doctor: Arafat has blood platelet deficiency
Palestinian leader headed for a Paris hospital, aide says
thanks to The Agonist
End of an era? End of an aura?
Yasser Arafat stole the show again. This was supposed to be Ariel Sharon's week, after the disengagement plan was passed in the Knesset on Tuesday. But on Wednesday evening, the prime minister discovered that his veteran adversary, a man whom he occasionally considered assassinating for more than 20 years, was one step ahead of him again.
Analysis: Few Palestinians show support for Arafat
By Amira Hass
The Palestinian public's disappointment with Yasser Arafat was expressed Wednesday in the streets of Ramallah.
Very few people gathered outside the Palestinian Authority chairman's headquarters to express their concern for their leader's health. The fact that more could be learned about the situation by watching Al Jazeera was not the only reason for the small crowds. Despite the fact that during his public appearances on television Arafat is surrounded by cheering supporters in his headquarters, it appears that large segments of the Palestinian public felt remote from their leader, even though they do not blame him directly for the deteriorated state of affairs.
Analysis: Without Arafat, it grows harder to justify pullout
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's departure from the scene would bring about a significant transformation in both the Israeli and Palestinian political scene.
The claim that "there is no partner," which has formed the basis of Israeli foreign policy over the past four years and justified the refusal to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, would depart together with him.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan would lose the central justification for its existence - the lack of a Palestinian partner.
Only one day after the Knesset approved the disengagement plan and the dramatic schism took place in the Likud leadership, all the circumstances appear to be suddenly changing.
thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
Harassment As Military Duty
by Amira Hass
Every day soldiers confiscate the identity cards of West Bank Palestinians even though this is prohibited by the law - even by military orders, except under very specific conditions. It looks like a concentrated mass violation of army instructions. Every day soldiers confiscate the identity cards of West Bank Palestinians even though this is prohibited by the law - even by military orders, except under very specific conditions. In the best cases, people are delayed for five, six, or seven hours - far more than any reasonable security check - and then they get their cards back at the end of the day. In the worst cases the ID cards get lost in the shuffle between soldiers' shifts. Often, the soldiers tell people "come tomorrow" to some place where they will get their ID card back - the district coordination office, another checkpoint. The West Bankers show up the next day and are greeted by apathetic shrugs.
thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
Israel's Coming Civil War
by Uri Avnery
Everybody in Israel is talking about the Next War. The most popular TV channel is running a whole series about it.
Not another war with the Arabs. Not the nuclear threat from Iran. Not the ongoing bloody confrontation with the Palestinians.
The talk is about the coming civil war.
Only a few months ago, that would have sounded preposterous. Now, suddenly, is has become a possibility, and a very real one. Not another blown-up media sensation. Not yet another of Sharon's political manipulations. Not just a new blackmail attempt by the settlers. But the real thing on the ground.
Peace with Jordan: Another opportunity missed by Israel
It is logical in the light of all the above to deduce that Israel sought its treaty with Jordan also as a means, rather than an end; a means to tighten its stranglehold on Palestine and the Palestinians, to facilitate the ongoing process of colonisation and Judaisation. How could it be possible, otherwise, to understand why Israel has, for over ten years now, blocked any positive functioning of the treaty, leaving the worst disappointments to flourish and to render the historic achievement a dead letter?
It is hard to comprehend how Israel fails to see that it can never enjoy warm peace with one Arab country while it continues to occupy and butcher people in others, or that any peace agreement imposed from the top, without engaging the people and offering them justice and dignity, without rightly resolving the components of the conflict, can ever work. Israel's behaviour is not consistent with a desire for peace, but with an unquenched appetite for land acquisition and expansion.
Ten years after the Jordanian-Israeli treaty provided such hope, the Zionist experiment in Palestine is in more trouble than it has ever been, and Israel is running into a dead end of its own making. On this sombre anniversary, the Israelis should ask their leaders why they never missed an opportunity to miss all the opportunities for peace that their neighbours have repeatedly offered them.
In the light of the growing discussion initiated by Israeli politicians and Zionist enthusiasts regarding the eruption of new anti-Semitism I am here to announce as loudly as I can: there is no anti-Semitism any more. In the devastating reality created by the Jewish state, anti-Semitism has been replaced by political reaction. I am not suggesting that Jewish interests are not being mutilated and vandalized. I am not saying that synagogues aren'tOn Anti-Semitism being attacked, that Jewish graves are not brutally smashed up. I am saying that these acts, that are in no way legitimate, should be seen as political responses rather than racially motivated acts or 'irrational' hate crimes. If Israel is the state of the Jewish people and the Jewish people themselves do not stand up collectively against the crimes that are
committed on their behalf, then every Jewish person, Jewish symbol and Jewish object becomes an Israeli interest and a potential terrorist target. It is up to the Jewish people to take a stand against their Jewish state and to disassociate themselves from their zealous national movement.
thanks to Street Photography mailing list
Researchers claims that 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in war
MORE than 100,000 civilians have died as a result of the allied invasion of Iraq in March last year, the first study of mortality in the country claims today.
The research, conducted in Iraq last month by a team of American and Iraqi researchers, will be published on the online edition of The Lancet, the medical journal.
It suggests that most civilian deaths have been due to military activity, with those caused by violence rising sharply in recent months.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
A SOLDIER'S STORY: "VOTING FOR BUSH WON'T HELP US"
I JUST SAT NEXT TO A VERY TOUGH SOLDIER FROM THE 82ND AIRBORNE on a flight back from Europe. I have been thinking for two days about how to share some of the things he told me without compromising him.
thanks to Political Animal
Increase in War Funding Sought
Bush to Request $70 Billion More
Americans prepare for the 'final assault' on rebel stronghold
For the American military, Fallujah is "the last battle", an overwhelming assault that will destroy the epicentre of the rebellion sweeping through the country, the beginning of the end of major American military action in Iraq.
For the insurgents, Fallujah is a rallying cry. An American attack will, they declare, lead to retribution throughout Iraq, re-invigorating the resistance, just as an attack on the city did six months earlier.
thanks to Antiwar.com
Provincial Capital Near Falluja Is Rapidly Slipping Into Chaos
The American military and the interim Iraqi government are quickly losing control of this provincial capital, which is larger and strategically more important than its sister city of Falluja, say local officials, clerics, tribal sheiks and officers with the United States Marines.
I linked to this some time ago. Now there is some neat new stuff
Stop Motion Studies - Series 11
It is said that 90% of human communication is non-verbal. In these photographs, the body language of the subjects becomes the basic syntax for a series of Web-based animations exploring movement, gesture, and algorithmic montage. Many sequences document a person’s reaction to being photographed by a stranger. Some smile, others snarl, still others perform. The camera, the net, and I are all characters in this setting. The project is not about the transparency of these actors, but about exploring them. This means probing socio-cultural boundaries within our emerging digital environment.
thanks to things magazine
bush screws the troops
The military's new Catch-22
Extended duty leaves some enlistees torn by a sense of loyalty and a feeling of being misled.
To understand the effect of the Army's "stop loss" (what some call the "back-door draft"), it's important to know how this sudden extension of military service affects those caught up in it. And to know that for those who volunteer to serve for a limited time — and then are told they must continue in service long after they thought they could go home — the issue is not partisan.
It is neither Republican nor Democratic. It is not a statement for or against the U.S. mission in Iraq. It is simply a shocker: a mysterious and sometimes unfathomable trip into a kind of Twilight Zone that has left thousands of military volunteers confused and disillusioned — and sometimes deployed when they feel they should not be — but still patriotic.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
Here is an interesting blog to watch.
From things magazine...
Early warning sound mirrors
A forerunner of Radar, acoustic mirrors were built on the south and northeast coasts of England between about 1916 and the 1930s. The 'listening ears' were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aeroplanes and airships about to attack coastal towns. With the development of faster aircraft the sound mirrors became less useful, as an aircraft would be within sight by the time it had been located, and radar finally rendered the mirrors obsolete.
thanks to Life In The Present
The Health of Nations
Two decades ago, when Washington embraced the for-profit model to curb escalating charges, health care spending represented 10.5 percent of gross domestic product. Now it is approaching 16 percent. We spend more per capita on health care than any other developed country. Yet on the important yardsticks, like life expectancy measured in healthy years, we don't even rank among the top 20 nations. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, we come in an embarrassing 29th, sandwiched between Slovenia and Portugal.
The explanation for this abysmal record is one that politicians decline to discuss. The market functions wonderfully when we want to sell more cereals, cosmetics, cars, computers or any other consumer product. Unfortunately, it doesn't work in health care, where the goal should hardly be selling more heart bypass operations. Instead, the goal should be to prevent disease and illness. But the money is in the treatment - not prevention - so the market and good health care are at odds. Just how much at odds is seen in the current shortage of flu vaccine, as men and women in their 80's and 90's line up for hours at a time, hoping to get the shot they have been told they need, but may not receive because not nearly enough has been manufactured.
The reason for the shortage is this: Preventing a flu epidemic that could kill thousands is not nearly as profitable as making pills for something like erectile dysfunction, a decidedly non-fatal condition. Viagra, for example, brings in more than $1 billion a year for its maker, Pfizer. The profits to be made from selling flu vaccine are measly in comparison. If selling flu vaccine were as lucrative as marketing Viagra, sports broadcasts and the nightly news would be flooded with commercials warning that "winter is almost here; ask your doctor about flu vaccine" - and it would be available to anyone who wanted it. Instead, while many of those at risk of the flu go without the vaccine, primetime programs are sponsored by the makers of Viagra ("Get back to mischief"), Cialis ("Will you be ready?") and Levitra ("Stay in the game").
What's needed to control the costs and to provide basic health and hospitalization coverage for all Americans is an independent agency that would set national health care policy, collect medical fees, pay claims, reimburse doctors fairly and restrain runaway drug prices - a single-payer system that would eliminate the costly, inefficient bureaucracy generated by thousands of different plans. It's not such a radical idea; a single-payer system already exists for Medicare.
thanks to This Modern World
Joystick has been working with stencils in Barcelona.
Our work with stencils is opened for everybody, if you want, you can download these .eps files, and do some stencils on your city. Also you are all invited to send us your stencil designs, we'll publish them here for everybody to use.
thanks to gmtPlus9
Black gold, Texas tea. Find some and you can be rich. Now selling at $55/barrel. You'd think everybody in Texas would be doing well. But we're not.
In the past, whenever oil prices were good, nearly everyone prospered in my home state. That is no longer the case. Why?
Because the oil is gone.
Yeah, we have all those maps that say it's there and in truth a lot still is, but here's the unspoken truth: A lot of the oil that's left can't be extracted without expending as much energy producing it as it will yield. And no way of finagling the books or changing the price of oil alters that fact.
Nogle eksempler på spændende brochurer.
Hvis du har billeder som du gerne vil vise frem på denne side, så send dem til ACD .
thanks to Life In The Present
This is part 6 of what is now going to be a 7 part series by David Neiwert. This series is a must read.
The Rise of Pseudo Fascism
Part 6: Breaking Down the Barriers
Pseudo fascism, as it is now, is still a political pathology, but a manageable one. The real danger comes when the differences begin disappearing, when the barriers begin coming down. To the extent that this occurs, the hologram will begin taking on the real substance of fascism.
To the extent that the nation finds itself in the throes of a real crisis of governance; that we demand utter fealty to the national identity, even at the expense of democratic institutions or democracy itself; that we identify liberalism as the root of all evil in America, as a domestic enemy little distinguishable from those from abroad; that we justify acts of monstrousness by pointing to our own victimhood; that we rely on the "strength" and instincts of our leaders instead of their wisdom and powers of reason; that we allow violence to become part of the political landscape; and that we pursue an insane apocalyptic vision of world domination -- then, to that same extent, we put flesh to the fascist bones and make it real.
Can it happen in America? The truth is this: America is one of the nations in which fascism may yet manifest itself in this era of mass politics. Preventing this from happening hinges on the extent to which Americans themselves stand up to it.
"Yellowbacks" were a publishing phenomenon in the second half of the 19th century. They were popular books, simply bound in boards, with highly-coloured graphics on the covers. The designs were lithographed onto paper, pasted over boards. The profusion of Victorian advertisements, printed inside the book, forms another interesting feature of the yellowback.
thanks to plep
Wednesday October 27 2004
I picked up the negatives from my first roll through my new late 60s commie camera, the FED 2a. Everything looked good. All speeds worked and no light leaks or shutter curtain pinholes. The camera is a joy to use. It feels a lot like my Leica IIIc but with an updated combined rangefinder/viewfinder and a removable back which makes loading film easier than any Leica.
Here is a page with other pictures from the first roll.
Now I'm playing the battle of the lenses. The 35mm Jupiter 12 I ordered is somewhere in Italy and I haven't heard if it's been shipped yet. I really want that lens! The 50mm Jupiter 8 that I used on my first roll is not complete anymore. It had a *lot* of cleaning marks on the lens and focusing didn't feel right. I partially disassembled it. I couldn't get the focusing ring back on it's threads so the lens is pieces. Not a big deal, really. I planned on learning lens cleaning on this lens. The FED came with an Industar-61, which is not as nice but will do until the mint Jupiter 8 I ordered last night arrives from the Soviet Camera Store in the Ukraine. More later.
What The Kerry/Edwards Campaign Told The Media Today
Lockhart and Devine told the national media that Kerry/Edwards are in a very strong position nationally, with demonstrated strength in the battleground states, which recent polls show are leaning towards Kerry. Both made the point that unlike four years ago, the campaign has the resources and the ground operation to compete in the full range of battleground states. Both indicated that there will still be adjustments in the final week, based on what the other side does and what the last minute polls indicate. For example, according to late polls, Arkansas is now a legitimate Kerry pick-up target as the state is tied. That for example may dictate not only more resources for Arkansas, but a last minute re-entry into Missouri, as we predicted here last week. Nora O’Donnell of NBC News mentioned that a Detroit News poll out tomorrow will show that Bush has surged to a five point lead in previously safe-for-Kerry Michigan, yet Devine indicated that this poll given past Detroit News’ polls may be an outlier.
Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sounds off on the fun-hogs in the passing lane
Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with my man John Kerry turned into a series of horrible embarrassments that cracked his nerve and demoralized his closest campaign advisers. They knew he would never recover, no matter how many votes they could steal for him in Florida, where the presidential debates were closely watched and widely celebrated by millions of Kerry supporters who suddenly had reason to feel like winners.
thanks to The American Street
The Discovery of America
Saul Steinberg (1914-99) was ‘one of America’s best known artists’, yet, until a month ago, I was completely ignorant of his work. I am grateful then, to Mr P___ for his e-mail, in which he warmly recommended that I look up Steinberg’s book The Discovery of America, or, more specifically, the German-language edition of the same, Die entdeckung Amerikas, as published by Diogenes Verlag in Zürich in 1992. The images that follow are thumbnails from scans of pages in my lately-acquired copy of that book. Click on the thumbnails to see the drawings in full.
the end democracy / the coming civil war
The Coming Post-Election Chaos
A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected
by John Dean
This next presidential election, on November 2, may be followed by post-election chaos unlike any we've ever known
Look at the swirling, ugly currents currently at work in this conspicuously close race. There is Republicans' history of going negative to win elections. There is Karl Rove's disposition to challenge close elections in post-election brawls. And there is Democrats' (and others) new unwillingness to roll over, as was done in 2000. Finally, look at the fact that a half-dozen lawsuits are in the works in the key states and more are being developed. Click here to find out more!
This is a climate for trouble. A storm warning is appropriate. In the end, attorneys and legal strategy could prove as important, if not more so, to the outcome of this election as the traditional political strategists and strategy.
The Art of Stealing Elections
What if they gave a constitutional crisis and nobody came?
The Republicans are out to steal the 2004 election -- before, during, and after Election Day. Before Election Day, they are employing such dirty tricks as improper purges of voter rolls, use of dummy registration groups that tear up Democratic registrations, and the suppression of Democratic efforts to sign up voters, especially blacks and students.
On Election Day, Republicans will attempt to intimidate minority voters by having poll watchers threaten criminal prosecution if something is technically amiss with their ID, and they will again use technical mishaps to partisan advantage.
But the most serious assault on democracy itself is likely to come after Election Day.
Here is a flat prediction: If neither candidate wins decisively, the Bush campaign will contrive enough court challenges in enough states so that we won't know the winner election night.
The End of Democracy
Losing America's birthright, the George Bush way
Thomas Mann is a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, noted for his deliberateness of manner, his decency, and his near religious devotion to the ideal of bipartisan comity. Now, he says, "I see the damage to our system and our sense of ourselves as a democratic people as really quite substantial. . . . The consequences of both the policies and the processes have been more destructive of our national interest and our democratic institutions than any president I know." When someone as level-headed as Tom Mann begins to worry for the future of our democracy, that's news.
If you thought Florida in 2000 was a debacle that inflicted a grievous wound on American democracy, just wait. Thanks to Team Bush, the 2004 election is shaping up to make that look like a tea party.
Think Florida times 10. And then think about the shambles that will remain of our democratic institutions afterward.
Conversation with a Conservative: John Dean
The former counsel to President Nixon says the way the Bush administration has governed has been "worse than Watergate."
Looking at the Bush administration, I found that I really had to tell the story that no one was telling, and that is the secrecy of this presidency.
thanks to Conscientious
Falluja In Their Sights
As the British government prepares to send its soldiers north to free up the US army to attack Falluja, it is necessary to focus on what this coming onslaught will mean for the city and its people. Falluja is already now being bombed daily, as it is softened up for the long-awaited siege. It has been a grueling year for its people. First, they were occupied by the US army's 82nd Airborne, an incompetent group of louts whose idea of cultural sensitivity was kicking a door down instead of blowing it up. Within eight months of the invasion, the 82nd had killed about 100 civilians in the area and lost control of Falluja, leaving it to the US marines to try and retake the city last April. After killing about 600 civilians, the marines retreated, leaving the city in the hands of 18 armed groups, including tribesmen, Islamists, Ba'athists, former criminals and an assortment of non-Iraqi Arab fighters said to be led by the Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Religious Leaders Ahead in Iraq Poll
Leaders of Iraq's religious parties have emerged as the country's most popular politicians and would win the largest share of votes if an election were held today, while the U.S.-backed government of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is losing serious ground, according to a U.S.-financed poll by the International Republican Institute.
Is the IRI Spinning the Poll
by Juan Cole
I find the cover page at the International Republican Institute web site concerning its recent polling in Iraq to be extremely disturbing. IRI is of course closely linked to the US Republican party and does the polling with US tax dollars (i.e. you and I are paying for it). The web site tries to spin the alarming results of the poll so as to emphasize the positives for the Bush administration. The only positive signs they can come up with, though, are that 64% of Iraqis remain optimistic that next year will be better than this; that 58% of Iraqis believe elections will be held in January; that 2/3s think a civil war unlikely; and that 52 percent of Iraqis believe that religion and state should respect one another but remain separate.
50 Iraqis ambushed, executed
This kind of thing requires precise timing and serious force, enough to kill them in a fire fight. This may be the single most stunning guerilla attack of the war, and a real demonstration of strength. These were armed soldiers, trained soldiers and they walked into an ambush and were murdered. Yet, they were so trapped, they couldn't resist and were shot. How does that happen to soldiers?
Friday sermons from Iraq
by Helena Cobban
Did I tell you that Bill and I have both been focusing a little on our Arabic-language skills while we've been here in Beirut? Yesterday, we worked through the lead article in al-Hayat, which gave some interesting reports of what was in some Friday sermons the day before. I thought it was pretty interesting, so I've typed out my rendering of the first half of the article. Here it is:
Headline: A political-sectarian split in Iraq 100 days before the elections; The Shiites threaten anyone who abstains from voting with the fire of "hell" and the Sunnis see voting under the shadow of occupation as "a sin"
Talking Points Memo
This has been rumored in Washington for several days. And now the Nelson Report has broken the story.
Some 350 tons of high explosives (RDX and HMX), which were under IAEA seal while Saddam was in power, were looted during the early days of the US occupation. Like so much else, it was just left unguarded.
Not only are these super-high-yield explosives probably being used in many, if not most, of the various suicide and car bombings in Iraq, but these particular explosives are ones used in the triggering process for nuclear weapons.
In other words, it's bad stuff.
What also emerges in the Nelson Report is that the Defense Department has been trying to keep this secret for some time. The DOD even went so far as to order the Iraqis not to inform the IAEA that the materials had gone missing. Informing the IAEA, of course, would lead to it becoming public knowledge in the United States.
Josh, at Talking Points Memo, has a lot of other comments on this story
Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq
The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.
The Costs of War
A Mother's View
I am not a pacifist. I am a mother. By nature, the two are incompatible, for even a cottontail rabbit will fight to protect her young. Violent action may well be necessary in defense of one's family or home (and that definition of home can easily be extended to community and beyond); but violence, no matter how warranted, always takes a heavy toll. And violence taken to the extreme -- war -- exacts the most extreme costs. A just war there may be, but there is no such thing as a good war. And the burdens of an unjust war are insufferable.
A final note on how well things are going in Iraq. My son-in-law is somewhere near Ramadi. Their base is receiving mortar rounds at will. He describes having to hit the ground five times just crossing the base. That's mortar rounds landing *in* the base. One night a Marine Captain was killed by a mortar round when he was in the Porta Potty. Every few days his internet access is denied until the next of kin can be notified. If we can't even secure our bases we are in deep trouble.
THE MANIFESTO OF STENCILISM
The true story of the art of stencil graffiti.
It was on a trip to New York City in 1971 that I saw my first wild art graffiti. They were popping up everywhere : on the subway and around the basketball courts. I remember graffiti painted with a marker, like nervous signatures with a crown, allover NY, and big letters filled with spirals and many colours. These miniatures made me so curious that I asked to Larry Wollhandler, my American friend lodging me in his home in NYC, the inevitable question :
"What does all this mean ? Why are these people doing this ?"
thanks to gmtPlus9
UN official reports on 206 Palestinian, 13 Israeli deaths in month of violence
Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian attacks on Israelis have cost more than 200 lives and created a sense of ``drift and foreboding'' in the Middle East, a senior U.N. official said Friday.
Kieran Prendergast, undersecretary-general for political affairs, said ``even to speak in terms of a peace process seems to put one at a distance from the present reality'' in the region.
Prendergast said that 206 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the month since his previous report to the Security Council. He said the latest deaths raised the toll since the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000 to 3,839 Palestinians and 979 Israelis.
The injustice of the new formula
In recent weeks, the discussion of the chances of the struggle for the establishment of a Palestinian state as a way to resolve the conflict has become sharper and more profound, and alternatives to the formula "two states for two peoples" have been raised; despair over implementing this solution is reinforcing the idea of "one binational state." As long as there were only "a few more or less naive Israelis, who were caught up in the foolish idea of a binational state" (Avraham Tal, Haaretz, October 14), the issue could be treated with condescending dismissiveness.
But when the matter is starting to be discussed by groups and people who belong to the heart of the political and military establishment in both the Israeli and the Palestinian camps, and the attention being devoted to it by pundits and journalists the world over is reaching new heights, the sense heightens that a process of a paradigm change has begun, and that it won't be long before a contest erupts as to who owns the patent for the new formula. After all, the slogan "two states" is less than 20 years old, and many of those who are rejecting the binational formula scornfully and aggressively had the same hostile attitude toward the two-state formula, until it gained legitimacy - after being emptied of meaning.
thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
A unilateral danger
If the disengagement plan is the illusion of a political solution, the real danger lies in its unilateral character. We have learned how to get along with political illusions, but when we are told that it's possible to withdraw from Gaza, leaving behind chaos and destruction, without proposing a political plan, without examining how a million and a half people will earn a living, and without conducting negotiations with someone who will be able to assume responsibility and ensure that the only thing that's launched from the alleys of Gaza will be a silent song of praise, that is not only an insulting lieu, it's also dangerous to our health.
To disengage from Gaza peacefully requires disengaging from the slogan according to which there is no Palestinian partner. In its place we have to adopt the approach holding that Israel is not looking for a partner but for someone who will run things - someone who in a year's time, or less, will be ready to accept the keys. And without prior conditions, without empty discussions, without checking whether he's as pretty as Mohammed Dahlan or as charming as Yasser Arafat. After all, we're going for a unilateral plan, aren't we?
Israel settlers row at crisis point
Sharon risks political chaos as parliament debates plan to pull out of the Gaza Strip
Ira Nowinski: The Photographer As Witness
The Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections, is pleased to announce the exhibition Ira Nowinski: The Photographer As Witness. This exhibition highlights the Stanford University Libraries’ holdings of San Francisco-based photographer Nowinski, and his series of works focusing on Holocaust memorials and sites, and the lives of Jewish émigrés in San Francisco and abroad. Ira Nowinski: The Photographer As Witness will be on view at Stanford University’s Cecil H. Green Library, Peterson Gallery, second floor of the Bing Wing from August 15 through November 30, 2004. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
thanks to wood s lot
Asia Times has been having some very interesting articles on Iran. It's worth paying attention.
PART I: The enemy beyond
After the US dismantlement of the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iran has emerged as a major target of the acrimonious rhetoric of the Bush administration and Israel's threats related to that country's nuclear aspirations. Given the fact that Iran's active nuclear program has been the focus of US concern since the early 1990s, it is likely to acquire a crisis situation in the near future.
PART 2: The US-Israel tag-team act
As the US presidential election campaign is coming to a close and Iraq continues to burn, another dangerous diplomatic tussle is taking place: the United States and Israel are acting as a tag-team against the potential emergence of Iran as a nuclear power. The stakes are high in this tussle. At a minimum, that tag-team will make sure that Iran never emerges as a regional power, challenging the hegemonies of the US and Israel. At worst, the intention of this tag-team is to prepare grounds for a regime change of a different type - not necessarily through military invasion, but by taking concerted actions to weaken the Islamic government of Iran so much that it is ousted from within.
The dangers of playing hardball
Israel bides its time on Iran
US not ready to rock the boat
My second commie camera arrived. It's a late FED 2 made in the late 60s. It's in pretty good shape.
The FED 2 was based on FED's copy of the Leica II but it improved on the design with a longer rangefinder base, with combined viewfinder and rangefinder, and a removable back (no more bottom loading!). The shutter speeds look good and I have a roll of film in it for testing. I had some problems with the my Zorki 6. The faster shutter speeds aren't working right. There are some adjustments I can make but I think the FED 2 will be just fine until then. The FED is a joy to use.
There is a problem with the lens I ordered — a 35mm Jupiter 12. The person I bought it from, Irina Fursova in the Ukraine, sold a similar lens with a Contax mount at the same time and shipped them at the same time and the postal inspectors mixed them up. I now have a beautiful Jupiter 12 for a Contax/Kiev and Piero, in Italy, will soon be receiving my Leica mount Jupiter 12. We are in contact and will be exchanging lenses. Until then I will use the worn Jupter 8 50mm lens. I hope to get a newer Jupiter 8. It will be good to be over getting the equipment and just worry about shooting.
the war against some terrorists
This is a must read.
After Terror, a Secret Rewriting of Military Law
In early November 2001, with Americans still staggered by the Sept. 11 attacks, a small group of White House officials worked in great secrecy to devise a new system of justice for the new war they had declared on terrorism.
Determined to deal aggressively with the terrorists they expected to capture, the officials bypassed the federal courts and their constitutional guarantees, giving the military the authority to detain foreign suspects indefinitely and prosecute them in tribunals not used since World War II.
The plan was considered so sensitive that senior White House officials kept its final details hidden from the president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, officials said. It was so urgent, some of those involved said, that they hardly thought of consulting Congress.
White House officials said their use of extraordinary powers would allow the Pentagon to collect crucial intelligence and mete out swift, unmerciful justice. "We think it guarantees that we'll have the kind of treatment of these individuals that we believe they deserve," said Vice President Dick Cheney, who was a driving force behind the policy.
But three years later, not a single terrorist has been prosecuted. Of the roughly 560 men being held at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, only 4 have been formally charged. Preliminary hearings for those suspects brought such a barrage of procedural challenges and public criticism that verdicts could still be months away. And since a Supreme Court decision in June that gave the detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court, the Pentagon has stepped up efforts to send home hundreds of men whom it once branded as dangerous terrorists.
"We've cleared whole forests of paper developing procedures for these tribunals, and no one has been tried yet," said Richard L. Shiffrin, who worked on the issue as the Pentagon's deputy general counsel for intelligence matters. "They just ended up in this Kafkaesque sort of purgatory."
The story of how Guantánamo and the new military justice system became an intractable legacy of Sept. 11 has been largely hidden from public view.
illustration and design
100 Years of Illustration and Design
thanks to The Cartoonist
The site is put together by the guy who designed much of Polaroid's graphics.
The Bush Budget Deficit Death Spiral
Lenders talk about a “debtor’s death spiral.” It occurs when borrowers get so far in over their heads they begin borrowing money just to cover the interest payments on past borrowings. The borrowers have to do this to keep the lending flowing but they can no longer plausibly pay down the principal. As new debt compounds on old, bankruptcy becomes imminent. Further lending is foolhardy. Foreclosure is only a matter of time.
The U.S. is starting to look like it is entering just such a death spiral. It is foretold not simply by the large and growing deficits, nor by the fact that their carrying costs will rise quickly as interest rates rise. Rather, it is the fact that these trends are becoming irreversible, a structural part of the U.S. economy.
When the ultimate collapse will occur, whether it comes with a bang or a whimper, how it will be triggered, and how severe it will be are as yet unknown. But as Herbert Stein, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Richard Nixon was fond of saying, “Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.”
Ian's Shoelace Site
Similar in technique to Hash Lacing, but limited to shoes with six pairs of eyelets, this method forms a neat woven lattice in the middle of the lacing.
thanks to Coudal Partners