The War Against Some Terrorists
thanks to Cursor
"That is baseless, absolutely baseless," Ahmadullah says. "Osama is alive, healthy, and safe. Last night our friends in Urozgan informed me by phone that he had met Osama somewhere near the border, and he said Osama was safe. He is always in close contact with Mullah Omar.
"I am personally requested by Mullah Omar and Sheikh Osama to go to Urozgan and take the command of new guerrilla war preparations, which will start as soon as possible, and you will hear the news in papers and on BBC," he adds. "We withdrew from major cities and provinces because the ruthless bombing of Americans had killed a lot of civilians as well as our holy warriors. We took that tactical step for our safety, and we will start our guerrilla campaign against our enemies as soon as we regroup."
thanks to follow me here...
When the Bush Administration began its war on terrorism, announcing that if you weren't with us you were against us, did it imagine that from the dizzying heights of its sole superpowerdom it would command the nations, rewarding some, raining bombs on others, and dominating all, according to its sole interest and pleasure? The nations have had other ideas. Preferring American practice to American preaching, they have taken up arms in their own causes, just as previously many built nuclear arsenals whose use again urgently threatens the world. We have not one unified war on terrorism but many clashing wars. It's hard to say which are more dangerous--those that, like Israel's, seek to join the American one or those that, like India's, seem to undercut it. All are burning out of control. For now, the instruments that alone might stop them--negotiation, treaties, a readiness to compromise, measures of disarmament--have been cast aside.
thanks to wood s lot
It often happens that the lunatic right, in its feckless way, gets closer to the heart of the matter than the political mainstream, and so it was with Jerry Falwell's notorious response to September 11. In suggesting that the World Trade Center massacre was God's judgment on an America that tolerates abortion, homosexuality and feminism, Falwell--along with Pat Robertson, who concurred--exposed himself to the public's averted eye. For most Americans, from George W. Bush on down, resist the idea that the attack was an act of cultural war, and fewer still are willing to admit its intimate connection with the culture war at home.
Opponents of the "clash of civilizations" thesis are half right. There is such a clash, but it is not between East and West. The struggle of democratic secularism, religious tolerance, individual freedom and feminism against authoritarian patriarchal religion, culture and morality is going on all over the world--including the Islamic world, where dissidents are regularly jailed, killed, exiled or merely intimidated and silenced. In Iran the mullahs still have police power, but reformist President Khatami has overwhelming popular support and young people are in open revolt against the Islamic regime. In Pakistan the urban middle classes worry that their society may be Talibanized. Even in the belly of the fundamentalist beast, the clandestine Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has opposed both the Taliban regime and the scarcely less thuggish Northern Alliance.
At the same time, religious and cultural reactionaries have mobilized to attack secular modernity in liberal democracies from Israel to the post-Communist countries of Eastern Europe to the United States. Indeed, the culture war has been a centerpiece of American politics for thirty years or more, shaping our debates and our policies on everything from abortion, censorship and crime to race, education and social welfare. Nor, at this moment, does the government know whether foreign or domestic terrorists are responsible for the anthrax offensive. Yet we shrink from seeing the relationship between our own cultural conflicts and the logic of jihad. We are especially eager to absolve religion of any responsibility for the violence committed in its name: For that ubiquitous current cliché, "This has nothing to do with Islam," read "Antiabortion terrorism has nothing to do with Christianity."
THERE is the smell of a coup in the air these days. It was like this in Iran just before the 1953 U.S.-backed coup overthrew the Mossedeah government and installed the Shah. It has the feel of 1963 in South Vietnam, before the military takeover switched on the light at the end of the long and terrible Southeast Asian tunnel. It is hauntingly similar to early September 1973, before the coup in Chile ushered in 20 years of blood and darkness.
Early last month, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department held a two-day meeting on U.S. policy toward Venezuela. Similar such meetings took place in 1953, 1963, and 1973, as well as before coups in Guatemala, Brazil and Argentina. It should send a deep chill down the backs of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the populist coalition that took power in 1998.
The catalyst for the Nov. 5-7 interagency get-together was a comment by Chavez in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. While Chavez sharply condemned the attack, he questioned the value of bombing Afghanistan, calling it "fighting terrorism with terrorism." In response, the Bush administration temporarily withdrew its ambassador and convened the meeting.
thanks to BuzzFlash
God Is On His Side
has been restored to reflect the greatness of
the Church's new icon, George W. Bush.
In this panel, entitled "The Creation of Dubya, God
awakens Dubya, bestowing upon him a new gravitas.
At any rate, we're now informed by Time's Man of the Year and high ranking Church officials that God intervened and "made" Bush President. Then - although capable preventing terrorist attacks, just as He was capable of preventing Al Gore's votes from being counted - God allowed great tragedy and violence and sorrow to befall Americans, all so that Bush could shine. Because that's what matters. To God, and to all right-thinking Americans. Evidently.
According to Giuliani, Russert, the Cardinal, and Freepers, God is up in heaven, perversely manipulating human beings like toy soldiers, so that his - we presume they believe second son, Dubya - could save us all and get the credit the liberals have so unjustly deprived him of for so long.
thanks to BuzzFlash
Me and Big Media
Ever a slave to my mother's smile-and-be-sweet upbringing, I spent years trying to assimilate myself to the interviewers' culture long enough to answer their questions politely. And for years I was left feeling compromised and icky. For example, a semirhetorical icebreaker such as, "So, you're on tour supporting your new record?" could stun me at the outset. "Uh...yeah," I replied, until I developed the courage and composure to say things like, "Well, no. I am on tour...because that's my job as a working musician. In contrast to the commonplace industry model of: make an album then go on tour to sell the album, I do not play live music for the purpose of marketing a commodity. I see touring as an end in itself, as all folksingers do. Live performance is activism, exorcism and music school for me. Albums are peripheral. In fact, the scheduling of my touring itineraries and my periodic documenting of songs on albums is so disconnected that I have repeatedly found myself touring right up to album release and then taking an unstrategic but much-needed vacation."
thanks to wood s lot
Just when I start taking things too seriously, Weblog Wannabe comes through again.
Smiling - Do these Primitive Response Mechanisms really work?
Yes they do!
That sounds complicated, where do I begin?
Begin by smiling at people (but brush your teeth first). Gradually, over a number of weeks you will overwrite their previous experiences of you and, pixel by pixel, they will build a new picture of you.
All I can say is that it seems as though making prank phone calls are back in style. I am overwhelmed by the people who request these calls every day.
To those of you that have no idea what any of this is, the links on the bottom are sound boards with clips taken from movies with the intent to play to people over the phone. Go ahead and check it out, you will understand in no time.
So, your hand is getting a little warm while playing or surfing the net? This little mod could help you. The basic function is somewhat similar to the device in bowling alleys where you can dry you hands and the bowling ball. Lets try out if this idea works :)
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
thanks to the bitter shack of resentment
The War Against Some Terrorists
In this time of heightened national security, the snitch lines are back. In the aftermath of September 11th, the FBI received tens of thousands of calls on so-called "tip" lines, and folks were broadly rounded up for questioning.
One tip-line caller reported a suspicious-looking billboard near Times Square in New York. Soon after, a Department of Defense agent paid a visit to Chashama, the theater and art gallery that had leased space to Adbusters for its Corporate American Flag billboard. The agent had a lot of questions: Why were they displaying the billboard? Who paid for it? Who created it? (One clue might have been the website listed on the sign.)
You might call this vigilant grassroots anti-terrorism work. Or you might call it low-level intimidation. In the current climate, it seems, some types of social commentary are off-limits. If you've chosen this time to exercise your First Amendment rights in a critical way, you may find yourself under investigation.
thanks to Blowback
When are they going to come for the bloggers? Safire had better watch out too.
The universal use and likely abuse of the national ID — a discredit card — will trigger questions like: When did you begin subscribing to these publications and why were you visiting that spicy or seditious Web site? Why are you afraid to show us your papers on demand? Why are you paying cash? What do you have to hide?
Today's diatribe will be scorned as alarmist by the same security-mongers who shrugged off our attorney general's attempt to abolish habeas corpus (which libertarian protests and the Bush administration's sober second thoughts seem to be aborting). But the lust to take advantage of the public's fear of terrorist penetration by penetrating everyone's private lives — this time including the lives of U.S. citizens protected by the Fourth Amendment — is gaining popularity.
Beware: It is not just an efficient little card to speed you though lines faster or to buy you sure-fire protection from suicide bombers. A national ID card would be a ticket to the loss of much of your personal freedom. Its size could then be reduced for implantation under the skin in the back of your neck.
thanks to Progressive Review
ENHANCED AIRPORT SCREENING TO INCLUDE MAMMOGRAM
Arguing there is more than one way for a passenger to bring a "ticking time bomb" aboard an aircraft, the FAA today unveiled a new, more rigorous airport screening system that includes a mammogram.
Although the new system has caused massive delays at airports where it has been tested, female passengers overwhelmingly approved of the added precautions.
"Sure, I worry that someone will bring a knife or a bomb on board, but what if I have a bomb slowly ticking away inside of me?" said 53-year-old Pamela Sardozian as she slowly disappeared with her luggage into an x-ray machine at San Francisco International Airport.
"I feel much more confident knowing our government will be securing America's skies and scanning America's breasts," she added.
Some People Need a Life Department
A New Mexico church plans to burn Harry Potter books because they are "an abomination to God," the church pastor said on Wednesday.
Pastor Jack Brock said he would have a "holy bonfire" on Sunday at the Christ Community Church in Alamogordo in southern New Mexico to torch books about the fictional teen-age wizard who is wildly popular with young people.
"These books encourage our youth to learn more about witches, warlocks, and sorcerers, and those things are an abomination to God and to me," Brock, 74, told Reuters.
"Harry Potter books are going to destroy the lives of many young people."
Shoppers may think they have seen enough bargains this holiday season, but CDs at $9.99 may soon be a standard offer at music stores as retailers slash prices in bid to battle the scourge of online music piracy.
Trying to get back in the groove. Maybe tomorrow.
I did some more playing around with Groove Mechanic. It did a good job of removing the pops and clicks on Steve Miller's Space Cowboy but was not as succesfull on my dirty (from the factory) opening of Wagner's Das Rheingold.
I searched the web for cleaning techniques and the old soap and water helped some. I might try rewashing them again. There are some commercial cleaning solutions and brushes but I will try the low cost route for now.
I've been out of music stores for too long. I went shopping for a niece and had sticker shock. $18.99 for a CD? Come on! And the music industry wonders why everyone is ripping CDs? I know it doesn't cost a lot to make a CD. I have a lot of musician friends that produce their own CDs. A CD, in a run of 500, costs about $2 a CD for professionally done package. Unit costs come down with a bigger run.
It doesn't seem that long ago that CDs were $14.99. So what do we get for the extra $4? Screwed?
Labels Singing the Blues Over Expensive Failures
Pop diva Mariah Carey was the biggest free agent in the music business when she signed a four- album, $80-million deal last spring with British music giant EMI Group. Carey's albums had sold more than 100 million copies, and EMI figured she would add luster to its music lineup and trigger plenty of cash flow along the way.
But the September release "Glitter," Carey's first album under the EMI deal, has been a dud. Only about 2 million copies have been sold worldwide, leaving the company with an estimated $10-million loss on the album, including marketing costs. The conglomerate now is in talks to pay a settlement to Carey and bail out of the rest of the contract, sources said.
Hello! Does anyone notice that the music sucks?
The War Against Some Terrorists
Policies of Power
Asleep at the switch
thanks to BuzzFlash
Everyone professes to love free speech -- the president of the University of Texas calls it the "bedrock of American liberty," the American Council for Trustees and Alumni supports it, the mayor of Modesto defends it, the president of the University of Florida -- they are all committed to free speech.
Just not on their dime, not on their campus, not in their backyard. Not when it disrupts or upsets. Everone is all for free speech, but a closer look at a number of recent cases suggests that when right-wing pundits stir up controversy -- which, it's important to mention, they have every right to do - - people in power, from city councils to boards of trustees, are responding by silencing the troublemakers. And a troublemaker, these days, is anyone who dares to criticize any aspect of the war on terrorism as waged by the Bush administration.
War's Forgotten Faces
The Enemy Within
Israel’s gravest danger today is not the Palestinian Authority, or even Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but the one it faces from within. During the past year, peace activists have been “invited” to meetings with the secret service, where they are “warned” about their activities. The secret service routinely intercepts the e-mails of peace groups, and often obstructs solidarity meetings or protests in the West Bank by declaring whole regions “closed military zones.” For months, the Gaza Strip has been totally closed off to Israelis from the peace camp—including members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset—and only Jewish settlers, journalists and soldiers can now enter the region. The security forces’ ongoing attempts to frighten activists have surely affected the left, but their attack on civil liberties is only one manifestation of much broader social processes taking place within Israel.
There weren't any surprises in the foreign-aid bill Congress passed last week, least of all in the appropriation the U.S. handed Israel: more than 17 percent of the entire foreign-aid expenditure, $2.7 billion. That's on top of the $2.5 billion in military support from the defense budget, forgiven loans, and special grants the tiny state rakes in each year. Up to 80 percent of this aid never leaves the U.S., because it's earmarked for arms purchases that must be made here.
As usual, there wasn't any significant debate, and to be sure, nobody seriously suggested America's largesse be linked to Israel's compliance with human rights accords, UN resolutions, or international law. The prevailing view—as the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC puts it—is that "U.S. aid to Israel enhances American national security interests by strengthening our only democratic ally in an unstable and vital region of the world."
Nonetheless, in the 15 months since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada, scores of groups around the country have come out against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem —some pressing for a two-state solution, others emphasizing the Palestinian right of return. Now the question of U.S. aid is at the cutting edge of this activism. Campaigns from Berkeley to Boston are connecting demands for peace and justice in the region to Congress's underwriting of the occupation and Israel's use of F-16s, Apache helicopters, and other American-made weapons against Palestinian neighborhoods and refugee camps.
Back at the keyboard
Winding down from Christmas. Spent the day cleaning up and organizing. Did some testing in preparation for ripping my vinyl. With the new receiver, and the turntable set up, I did some recording with SoundForge. Did some testing with Groove Mechanic which removes clicks and pops. Magic! I need to test some record cleaning techniques and I will be ready to rip vinyl to CDs. Or MP3s.
Why religion and government might not be the best mix
Seeing the light
This morning I drive to work thinking about the lipstick on my front tooth that I can't fix until I exit the freeway, my college freshmen students who will not be prepared for class and firemen, my new heroes. I turn on NPR. An interview.
A scholar explains how difficult it is for a religious fundamentalist to function with the concept of multiple identities. While most of us are comfortable defining ourselves in several different roles, a fundamentalist cannot. She is called to forsake anything that challenges her mission as a single-minded follower of God. Even good things can distract her from the narrow road. Once the image of "zealot" has been forged, the radical will cling to that self- definition and disregard anything but her mission of serving God with her whole heart, soul and strength.
Can the zealot be a city councilman, a lover of literature, an expert at chess or backgammon? Unlikely. These pursuits have the potential to hinder the believer from becoming a sold-out follower of God. The Old Testament God who consumed his servants' sacrifices in a blinding flash of fire is not a God content to be a suburban pursuit, a scheduled event on a crowded calendar. The zealot capitulates in the face of this demand and is rewarded with sure answers secreted in inerrant scriptures and promises of eternal security. In a chaotic world, the clarity of seeing oneself simply and irrefutably as a child of God is immeasurably comforting. No need to quibble about what is important and what is not -- God is important and everything else is not.
I know this to be true. The interviewee on the radio is describing my former incarnation, a religious fundamentalist who would have died defending her faith. Remembering how I spent my youth clinging to a sole identity makes me cry, there on Interstate 235 on my way to teach paragraph development to sleepy and hung-over youngsters.
Religious Right Finds Its Center in Oval Office
For the first time since religious conservatives became a modern political movement, the president of the United States has become the movement's de facto leader -- a status even Ronald Reagan, though admired by religious conservatives, never earned. Christian publications, radio and television shower Bush with praise, while preachers from the pulpit treat his leadership as an act of providence. A procession of religious leaders who have met with him testify to his faith, while Web sites encourage people to fast and pray for the president.
There are several reasons for the adulation. Religious conservatives have regarded Bush as one of their own since the presidential campaign, when he spoke during a debate of the guidance of Jesus. At the same time, key figures in the religious right -- Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Billy Graham and Franklin Graham -- have receded in political prominence or influence, in part because they are no longer mobilized by their opposition to a president. Bush's handling of the anti-terrorism campaign since Sept. 11 has solidified his standing by painting him in stark terms as the leader in a fight of good against evil.
"I think Robertson stepped down because the position has already been filled," said Gary Bauer, a religious conservative who challenged Bush in the Republican primary. Bush "is that leader right now. There was already a great deal of identification with the president before 9-11 in the world of the Christian right, and the nature of this war is such that it's heightened the sense that a man of God is in the White House."
thanks to also not found in nature
Most infuriating about the right's capture of the media since the war is the fact that, according to the Pew study, nearly three-quarters of the respondents say they want news that includes the views of America's enemies, and just over half say reporters should dig hard for information rather than trust official sources. So just why are the media wimping out exactly when tough, critical reporting is not only crucial for the functioning of democracy but is also being demanded by their audience?
Conservatives will never stop whining, but it is hard to remember a time when they were riding any higher in this country. Liberalism is in disarray, as evidenced by the New York City mayor's race, and the mainstream media are indecently obsequious to the right's worldview. Al Hunt, the Wall Street Journal's token moderate, recently observed that Bush's selection as President, however shamefully executed, has turned out to be a lucky break for the nation. Why? Because liberals are more patriotic than conservatives and far more civilized in their opposition. The far right--including, no doubt, the folks on the other side of the page from Hunt--would have been merciless in their attempt to exploit September 11 as a stick with which to beat Gore, just as they used Kosovo to pummel Clinton. Hunt reminds us that House Republicans refused to pass a resolution supporting the troops there, even after the fighting began. Tom DeLay and Don Nickles both suggested that the atrocities in Kosovo were more Clinton's fault than Milosevic's. In other words, conservative hysteria has made America all-but ungovernable for anyone but conservatives.
thanks to reading & writing
But what if the world is more than 10,000 years old?
Over the past decade or so, there has been a shift—inevitably labelled a "paradigm shift"—in the way scientists regard the Earth's climate. The new view goes under the catchphrase "abrupt climate change," although it might more evocatively be called neo-catastrophism, after the old, Biblically inspired theories of flood and disaster. Behind it lies no particular theoretical insight—scientists have, in fact, been hard-pressed to come up with a theory to make sense of it—but it is supported by overwhelming empirical evidence, much of it gathered in Greenland. The Greenland ice cores have shown that it is a mistake to regard our own, relatively benign experience of the climate as the norm. By now, the adherents of neo-catastrophism include virtually every climatologist of any standing.
Abrupt climate changes occurred long before there was human technology, and therefore have nothing directly to do with what we refer to as global warming. Yet the discovery that for most of the past hundred thousand years the Earth's climate has been in flux, changing not gradually, or even incrementally, but violently and without warning, can't help but cast the global-warming debate in new terms. It is still possible to imagine that the Earth will slowly heat up, and that the landscape and the weather will gradually evolve in response. But it is also possible that the change will come, as it has in the past, in the form of something much worse.
We spent last night exchanging gifts with Zoe's mom and the my kids. The best present? Katie and Jenny had Robyn and Mike make hand prints on a piece of paper and they framed it and gave it to Zoe. She was blown away. Now it is off to my mom's.
Robyn and Mike are here creating Kid Kaos. Hard to get sharp pictures of moving balls of energy. They are playing under my desk right now.
It's just too hard to put up links to the death an destruction happening in the world around us, current and imminent, with Christmas so close.
I'm not a religous person so the Christmas fable is not why I like Christmas. Nor am I an inveterate shopper. I can't afford that. Christmas, for me, is about family and friends. It's an opportunity to come together. To share.
Last night we went shopping. My LOML, Zoe, needed to make a COSTCO run, I needed to do some Christmas shopping, and two of my children, Katie and Robby, wanted to join us so it was off to the other side. My other child, Jenny (Jenny is almost 23, Katie is 21, and Robby is 19 so they really aren't children but they aren't my adults but adult children is to much of a mouthful and I'm sure this parenthetical aside has you completely lost from the begining of the sentence), watched Katie's little boy, Michael. Spending time with those you love, even shopping, should be a joy. And it was.
COSTCO usually leaves me exhausted on sensory overload. But last night was fun as we roamed COSTCO as a foursome or split up in varying pairs. Playing with each other. Doing funny walks behind a shopping cart. Maybe you had to be there.
After COSTCO, we went looking for Christmas gifts for a niece and nephew. Zoe and Katie spied a Pier 1 Imports, so Robby and I dropped them off there. We went into the Everett Mall looking for a gift for Cameron. We found the right shop but they didn't have exactly what we wanted to get for Cameron. I guess I will have to go to the U-District tomorrow. Part of the fun of Christmas is getting just the right gift for someone. It's worth the extra effort. I had Robby help me pick out a CD for my niece.
We picked up the "girls" at Pier One. They were in a good mood. Having way to much fun. We caught the 9:30 ferry back to the Island.
Today Katie and Jenny (they are up on the Island from Tacoma for the week before Christmas) are driving around hand delivering cards to old friends. They will be having lunch with Zoe and I will be watching Mike and Robyn. Jenny and Robby will be organizing their storage this afternoon and Katie will be joining me with Mike and Robyn.
Tomorrow? Some last minute shopping and we are all going down to my Mom's in Kent for a family brunch and gift exchange on Christmas day.
So fuck the world! I'm going to have fun. Back to reality on Wednesday.