Thursday, May 27, 2004

Rolling Thunder

I was pretty psyched about posting on these Rolling Thunder cats because they're veterans, in general, but they openly criticize their government. True patriots, I thought. But I just found out that they are going to endorse Bush again for the Presidency. I understand a lot of people bought into the marketing in 2000, but now, after all we've been through?

The purpose of Rolling Thuder is supposedly to draw attention to veterans issues, specifically the issue of POW's - how and why to keep looking for them, etc. So, Bush dodges the Vietnam draft, and he attempts to cut veterans benefits at every turn. What should Rolling Thunder do? Endorse Bush for President, of course!

Patriots, my ass.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Mossad Has New Website

Well, with all the success they've been having abroad, why not open up the recruiting gates to a worldwide audience? They helped prevent US authorities from uncovering the 9/11 plot. What can they do for an encore?

Maurice Clarett Out Of NFL Draft

This is not cool. The NFL may be supported by the law, maybe, but I'm willing to bet there are enough fans out there to influence the NFL to let him and others play. It's weird to think that the current NFL players, who are protected by the collective bargaining agreement, are probably not overly anxious to invite a whole lot more competition for their positions.

The court opinion is harsh:


For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the district court is REVERSED and the case REMANDED with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the NFL. The order of the district court designating Clarett eligible to enter this year’s NFL draft is VACATED.

Check out the DraftClarett.org website for info on how you can help make the world a little more just.

2004 Athens Olympics Will Bust

For a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which may be that the whole thing will be shrouded in the latest drug scandal. ESPN recently wrote-up how Tim Montgomery is fending off his role with Balco labs.

I say let the truth out, let the chips fall where they may, and I hope all the drug abusers get busted - bigtime! Man, it'd be soooo nice to see a drug-free Olympics. I just want to see a level playing field. Who knows - maybe after all the druggies are gone, people will actually want to watch again?

Meeting I Have Decided To Miss

Got an email today at my job. I work for one of the bazillion government-related contracting companies - sort of. Anyways, I get the email reads:


To All:

There will be an All Hands Meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, May 26 at 3:00 pm. All are invited to attend. The meeting will be held in the Elevator Lobby at [this particular building] on the 13th floor. We are working with [our realtor] to have the elevators turned off for the 13th floor during the meeting. I suggest everyone to be prompt.

Thanks,
[Human Resources Manager]

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll clean-off my desk before the end of the day, but I'll be damned if I'm going to some mass execution party. Seriously, this one is just a little too spooky for me. On the 13th floor - in the office, not the lobby - we've got a very big conference room that would serve the purposes of a mass meeting very well. Call me paranoid - I'm just not quite ready to kick it just yet. I'm not worried about getting canned, mind you; I am worried about getting a bullet in my skull. How is that for paranoia? Even when you think you're not being conned, you're being conned at a subconscious level. Hope it's going to be nice tomorrow - I got the afternoon off!

UPDATE: First, a wise one told me they thought it was strange for our building to even have a 13th floor. I have to agree. I told him about how a few days ago, the elevator just decided to stop stopping on the 13th floor.

Then, another email:

[Our realtor] has confirmed they will stop the elevators from stopping on the 13th floor of [our building] during the All Hands Meeting tomorrow between 3:00 and 3:30 pm.

UPDATE: I went, I saw, it was just a stupid company-wide 'keep up the good work' meeting. The world of government contracting is interesting, to say the least...

Get Active

I'm still trying to figure out how to 'get active' in politics. There are all sorts of things going on that I'm unhappy about, but I'm still not sure what to do about it all. For now, I've found at least one outlet - that's my Congressional Representative - Eleanor Holmes Norton. I've decided to start writing to her daily to express my feelings. I can also contact Mayor Anthony Williams, but not sure what he might have to do with national policy - which is what I'm concerned with most. I could also contact President Smirk himself, but not sure that would do any good. So, here's today's letter to my rep, written using a form on her website:


Representative Holmes-Norton,

There are several things I am very concerned about. I'll just list them briefly:

1) Two more Israeli Mossad agents were caught trying to enter a U.S. naval base in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday. If you've followed the 'Israeli Art Student' scandal, you'll know that Mossad agents had penetrated the FBI and prevented Sibel Edmonds from doing her job. Israel was complicit in 9/11. I want these two agents investigated, as well as their company. Moving companies are a frequent cover for Israeli organized crime. You've undoubtedbly heard about people's horror stories about moving - they get quoted $2,500 for the move, but then the Israeli-owned moving company charges $10,000. If you don't pay, you don't get your furtniture back. Israeli organized crime, of course, has strong ties to Mossad, Israel's FBI. Here are some links. The 9/11 Commission is keeping Israel's connection to 9/11 secret. This is not acceptable. Sibel Edmonds should be allowed to testify in front of Congress, in public. The American people deserve to know the truth about 9/11, and we need to prevent the next 9/11. We will not be able to prevent the next 9/11 if Mossad still occupies the corridors of power of the FBI. So, in short, the point here - I want these Israeli 'movers' investigated, as well as their company. I've included a couple of links for your further information.

http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/052504/geo_15693259.shtml

http://www.antiwar.com/israeli-files.php

2) I want Sibel Edmonds to be able to testify in front of Congress, under oath, in public. Congress needs to do its job of oversight. This 9/11 Commission is avoiding Israeli involvement.

3) It is clear that the abuse and torture of detainees around the world has been condoned, at a minimum, by higher-ups in the U.S. military. General Sanchez is being removed from Iraq most likely because he has finally been implicated in the torture scandal. It is obvious that The President, his lawyer, Rumsfeld, and other top officials throughout this Administration were well aware that they were openly flouting the Geneva Conventions. I want them all investigated - every single one. I want them charged with war crimes and brought to justice. Nobody is above the law. The abuse and torture - including rape and murder - of men, women, and children around the world at the hands of the U.S. military, CIA, and third-country agents is reprehensible, and we won't stand for it.

4) I want to know who provided Chalabi with classified information. I want his to appear in front of Congress and testify under oath, as he has offered to do. Congress, again, needs to do its job of oversight. Chalabi has offered to testify. Let's get the truth.

5) I want our troops withdrawn from Iraq. We should never have gone in - it is wrong to stay.

That's it for today. Too many corrupt things going on with this Administration. We need to get rid of the whole bunch of them.

Thank you very much.

--peter--

Monday, May 24, 2004

Rafah Outrage

The recent Israeli seige of Rafah is making me think this whole thing really is about ethnic cleansing - a la Holocaust, albeit on a much smaller scale - so far.

People are rightly condemning Israel for its monsterish tactics. One of the Knesset's ministers, Yosef 'Tomy' Lapid,
was harshly critical of Sharon and his policies in an article published in Haaretz.
I decided to write a quick email to Mr. Lapid, encouraging him to continue to speak out, and to let him know
that I was doing my best to get the word out about Israel's involvement in 9/11 - some would call it a
'veiled threat' - I'd call it 'wishful thinking on my part' - but regardless, I feel better having written. The
links at the bottom of the email are kind of ugly, I know, but they serve their essential purposes - if he wants
additional info, he can easily find it in those links.





Sender:Peter Smith
Recipient:ylapid@knesset.gov.il
Subject:Rafah outrage...
Minister Lapid,

Just a quick note to tell you that I appreciate your recent remarks against the destruction of civilian homes in Rafah. The most militarily-powerful nation on earth has teamed with the Israeli government and given Sharon free reign. As with the soldiers of Abu Ghraib, we know what happens when frustrated people are left to their own devices - the most base and dastardly of human instincts flourish - kill, humiliate, dominate. Please continue to call on the people of Israel to find their humanity, and end the murderous seige on Rafah, and to finally end the Occupation. Of course, I offer these critical comments and encouragement with full knowledge of my own government's treachery.

As a resident of Washington, DC, I often jog by the Holocaust Museum. I haven't brought myself to be able to go inside yet because I think I would just be overwhelmed. Samantha Power, Harvard Professor and author of 'A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide', recently spoke at the Museum. Ms. Power is a powerful voice against ignorance. The ignorance that led to the Holocaust has also led to Israel's disastrous occupation of Palestinian lands, and daily diminishes the moral standing of the state of Israel and all that she is supposed to stand for. Will the Holocaust Museum here in DC become just one side of the story? In 100 years, will the people of the United States of America begin construction of a new museum - this time to hold onto the collective memory of the millions of Palestinians who endured the brutal Israeli occupation? To remember the thousands of Palestinian civilians - men, women, and children - who were killed and maimed while living under the Occupation? Will we create an addition for the current Holocaust Museum to commemorate the lost lives of Israeli civilians - men, women, and children - who were killed and maimed by Palestinian terrorists? This is policy madness. For what?

On the issue of Israel's ties to the U.S., it seems more Mossad agents were just caught down in Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Lapid, what are they trying to distract us from this time? When America finally learns of Mossad's activities leading up to the terror attacks of 9/11, there will be little goodwill left for Israel - regardless of the importance of the Jewish lobby in electoral politics. That Israel can act with relative impunity at this particular moment in time - just months before a U.S. presidential election - should not make Israel overconfident. President Bush's 'war on terror' charade is coming to a close. U.S. foreign policy will become less insane, and our policy towards Israel will receive a newly-critical reading. Israel had better start garnering support from nations other than the U.S. if it hopes to flourish in a rapidly-changing world. That support will come from civilized nations only when Israel's policy towards the Palestinian people becomes civilized.

Thank you.

--Peter--
===============================
Links:
--------
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=431051&sw=Lapid
http://www.ushmm.org/
http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/052204/geo_15672724.shtml
http://www.antiwar.com/israeli-files.php
http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/degreeprog/courses.nsf/wzByDirectoryName/SamanthaPower
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=bsq1W8y6YG&isbn=0060541644&itm=2

DC Dragon Boat Festival

The sun was shining on and off and it was crazy hot down at the Georgetown Waterfront - and it was all perfect for Dragon Boat racing. The 2004 Dragon Boat Festival aims to promote Chinese culture, but I aimed to promote beer-drinking at Tony & Joe's.




Paddle Power: Rowers from the Northern Virginia Chinese School team participate on Saturday in the third annual Dragon Boat Festival on the Potomac River. The festival, which concluded Sunday, promotes Chinese culture.

Picture compliments of today's express.

Friday, May 21, 2004

National Geographic Dog Day Afternoon

Pretty good scene down there. I guess this outdoor shindig was a way to kick-off the new exhibit: Dogs: Wolf, Myth, Hero & Friend. I missed the races, but saw a bunch of doggies!




Retroactive Classification?

Yes, it is kind of bizarre, but this is the Bush Administration, after all. Sibel Edmonds, of course, is the former FBI translater who told Congress and the world of Israeli spies inside the FBI - Israeli spies who prevented the FBI and other U.S. intelligence units from preventing 9/11. I know it sounds unbelievable, but if so, you'd have to ask yourself why the U.S. government would go about classifying testimony that is already in the public domain.

T.A.O.T.P. also drafted a quick e-note to Chuck Grassley - Republican Senator of Iowa - who is critical of this retro-classification shenanigans.


Your take on the retroactive classification of Sibel Edmonds' testimony is partly correct. It is, indeed, a coverup by the FBI to cover its own tracks - and the tracks of the Mossad agents (or FBI agents) who are working for the Israeli government inside the FBI. That the translation of intelligence information was actively suppressed by operatives inside the FBI is well-known and documented - even though the FBI has attempted to quash the story with secrecy at every turn. If Israel is shown to have played an active role in 9/11, Bush's entire house of cards would fall through.

Read the following article for more information. Feel free to email me if you need support to investigate the Israeli connection to 9/11, including the Israeli spies inside the FBI who prevented U.S. authorities from foiling the 9/11 plot.

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j070802.html

Thank you.

We've pointed out this article to you before, but you just have to read it for yourself.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Whiskey Bar

Shout out to Billmon, primary (only?) bartender at the Whiskey Bar. He's a blogger dude who's currently in Jordan for his day job, where he'll be attending the World Economic Forum. Interesting because this is another still-too-rare, yet compelling case of the blogosphere mingling with a 'real reporting' situation.

But perhaps even more interesting are the super-cool pics of people floating in the salt-dense Dead Sea - which apparently can float just about anythying.

I really like the quote at the top-right of his page:


For if we don't find

the next Whiskey Bar,

I tell you we must die

     -- Bertolt Brecht

Riggs Bank: Terrorism Financier Extraordinaire

Riggs Bank Logo It seems that Riggs Bank, local to DC, apparently, has just accepted civil penalties of $25 million, increased oversight, and the stepping-down of some execs for this:


In imposing the fine on Thursday, regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bank regulator, and at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a law enforcement unit of the Treasury Department, said the bank failed to report, detect or even look for clearly suspicious transactions in accounts related to foreign embassies.

Riggs officials have acknowledged years of deficiencies in reporting to law enforcement hundreds of millions of dollars in suspicious financial transactions by foreign customers, particularly those connected with the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea.

Man, Saudi connections all over 9/11. So, for an easy $25 million, Riggs gets off without having to admit to funding 9/11. Seems fair, right?

It gets better. The bank is connected to whom? You guessed it - Bush:

A political Web site written by a Democratic operative drew attention yesterday to the fact that President Bush's uncle, Jonathan J. Bush, is a top executive at Riggs Bank, which this week agreed to pay a record $25 million in civil fines for violations of law intended to thwart money laundering.

Sirota's blog has more details and links.

So, President Bush, how do you feel about the fact that your uncle's bank laundered money that funded the 9/11 terrorists? Just asking...

Response to Senator John McCain

McCain and the Israeli-Republican recently co-authored an editorial in the WaPost titled 'What Must Come Next'. I thought it severely misguided, so felt compelled to respond:


Re: 'What Must Come Next'

Washington Post Editorial
Sunday, May 16, 2004; Page B07

Senator McCain,

I totally disagree with you and your co-author from across the pond. Our ultimate objective is not a secure and stable Iraq; our ultimate objective is a secure and stable United States of America. The United States has ceded the moral high groun, and this has greatly weakended us in a very real sense. I challenge you to find a historian who disagrees. We have already given Osama bin Laden and terrorist networks 'moral clarity' for the next one hundred years - should we make it that long.

Begin correcting the mistakes of the Bush Administration by leaving Iraq immediately. U.S. private enterprise will find a way to financially colonize Iraq even without U.S. military bases there. Do not invite further antagonism from radicalized Muslim factions by leaving U.S. forces in the Middle East. Other than being the right thing to do for U.S. security, it is also the right thing to do morally. Begin repairing the tremendous damage the torture scandal has brought by trying *all* of those who are responsible. You've seen the evidence. It doesn't take a genius. Move to have Rumsfeld gonged, immediately. Move to have all responsible generals, including General Sanchez, tried, or at least reprimanded. I would argue that there is NO GREATER STABILIZING FORCE in the world today than that of the impression the rest of the world has for the 'inherent goodness' of the United States of America. If the U.S. pulls out of Iraq immediately, we we recapture most if not all - and possibly *even more* - of the stature we surrendered by torturing prisoners on multiple continents.

Do your job and reign in this out-of-control Administration! Get some moral clarity and stop the torture of prisoners by U.S. authorities and their 'third-country' counterparts! The people of the WORLD are looking to you, Senator McCain, for leadership, because those who hold the important titles right now are severely lacking in ability and moral clarity.

Respectfully,

Peter

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30045-2004May15.html

Godzilla

Godzilla Saw Godzilla, the original, this weekend. Totally dope. Some of the old-school effects were funny, but very cool. I had no idea it was a political movie! Apparently when they did the first American version they totally stripped out all the 'message' and turned it into a straight monster flick. What is so cool is that the message was about the inherentdangers of WMD, due to man's weakness. Timely, and an important lesson anytime.

The Washington Post covers the new Godzilla flick with several articles, but the one which explains the political message is here.

P.S. Saw this flick at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The center has all sorts of cool activities going on - and it seems like there might even be a free event of some sort or another every weekday evening at 6:00 pm! That's pretty dope. There is nothing on the Kennedy website about the little theatre where the flick was shown, which is disappointing, but the American Film Institute has this page.

The AFI apparently operates in DC, Silver Spring - Maryland (a burb of DC), Los Angeles, and Orlando. Seems like they do funky 'partnerships' with different theatres in DC to get their flicks shown. The AFI theatre in Silver Spring, though, is totally dope. They have at least one old-school theatre that can seat 500+ people I'm guessing. They show mostly indy flicks, and you can get there on the Metro.

Arsenal Unbeaten Throughout Season

It's a tremendous accomplishment for the London-based football club. Hasn't been done in over 100 years. Unreal. Congrats!




An estimated 250,000 Arsenal
fans took to the streets

2010 World Cup Host...South Africa!

Awesome!


Nelson Mandela holds up World Cup trophy

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Bay to Breakers

The largest road running race in America (~75k people), The Bay to Breakers, is about to go down in San Francisco. I've done the Peachtree Road Race when it had about 55,000 people, and that was a a lot of people. The B2B also seems to have a lot of cool/funky things going for it. It's one of the oldest races in the world, it seems - almost 100 years old now. It's got its nude runners contingent. It's got a costume contest. It's got this 'centipede' concept where a bunch of runners get together to try to form the largest centipede for prizes. That has got to be a fun race.

I knew I'd heard of it before, but I found out about it this year because the Run Against Bush people are organizing a centipede. Cool!

Shout out to the Sallie Mae folks for their 10k this Sunday in DC. May I forever be indebted to them. [I will.]

The Great Blackout of 2000 / 2004

I've seen Greg Palast pitch all these ideas before, but the dude's got mad skillz, so pay up - pay up! He makes a convincing case that yelling and screaming by ordinary citizens can make a huge difference. He uses the Diebold turnover in California as an example. Which reminds me, I need to check on my local vote-stealing scam!

Palast uses the term 'Blackout' to describe the 89,000+ votes of blacks Floridians that were not counted, for one corrupt reason or another, during the 2000 election. He thinks it's going to happen again in 2004. You'll remember that the person running elections in Florida was Republican Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush's buddy. Most black Floridian voters in the 2000 presidential election voted for Al Gore - by something crazy like 98% to 2%. So, essentially, removing a black vote from the vote rolls was as good as removing a vote for Al Gore.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Libertarian candidate for President!

Interesting. Libertarians are typically Republicans, or vice-versa, so if Nader steals votes from Kerry, Aaron Russo steals votes from Bush.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Out Rumsfeld!

Street theatre! I'm so pissed at myself for missing it! Been trying to set something similar up for days, but couldn't find any takers. Well, congrats to the DC Anti-war Network for getting it done!





Jose Rodriguez, of the DC Antiwar Network, performs street theater, mimicking a recent photo from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Thursday, May 13, 2004, at Dupont Circle in Washington. Protesters marched from Dupont Circle to Defense Secretery Donald Rumsfeld's house, demanding his resignation. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Boitano)

The link to the photo tour for the day at Yahoo! is here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Ferry Happy

Maybe it's the spring weather that made me think of this, but taking a ferry to work has got to be one of the most pleasant experiences one could ever hope to have. I tried it a few times during my short stay in Sydney, but I also tried it going from the Jersey Shore to Manhattan. Yep, there is such a ferry, and it's awesome. SeaStreak seems to be the most dominant ferry company, but I think there may be a couple of others that fight for the scraps every now and again.

Rolling out to Manhattan early in the morning, sun shining, coffee, newspaper, the smell of salt water - nuthin' better. You do have to jive with the Ferry Schedule - 'last train out' at around 8 pm (which was a problem for us Internet-boom-indentured-servant types) - but boy is it worth it. And on the way home, if you've had a rough day at the office, feeling like you need a little attitude adjustment? Well, have no fear, because the ferry has a full cash bar. It's like going on a miniature cruise every day, twice! Unreal.

On a semi-related, but not so happy note, many people who died on 9/11 in the WTC were from the Jersey Shore area. Many of them take the train to get to 'the city', but a bunch of them took these ferries. When regular service did continue after 9/11 I'm guessing that it was possible for riders to notice that some of the people they used to ride with were no longer riding - perhaps killed on 9/11. I kinda like to think that those riders who died on 9/11 at least had a nice ride into work that morning...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bush the Deceiver

This article makes a pretty good case that Bush purposely nixed plans, three times, to kill Abu Musab Zarqawi - because it might undercut Bush's case for war. This isn't the al Qaeda #2 Zarqawi, but still, he's not a nice guy. End of the day, Iraq was going to happen whether it made sense or not.

On a lighter note, people are reporting that the murder of an American contractor in Iraq was carried out, directly or indirectly, by that same Zarqawi who Bush refused to kill last year. You've heard all the lies about 'Clinton not pulling the trigger on Osama' (actually, Clinton gave the 'kill order', but the CIA didn't want to get caught holding the bag if they missed), now you know the ways in which Bush and his cronies endanger us.


“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

...

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

...

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

I need a drink...

Chinese Propaganda

I looked for a propaganda site as a joke, but I found this awesome site - now I want to learn how to read Chinese! Or Mandarin, or Cantonese, or whatever these posters are written in.

Some of these posters are just wicked. Not sure why...I really like 'em, though. Must be my inner communist...



Uniform Code of Military Justice

It sounds cool. Seems like something we're all soon gonna be pretty familiar with...

Monday, May 10, 2004

War Influence Seen Everwhere

Cruising around the Net the other day, I read a blog comment that suggested how strongly militarism is ingrained in our culture, especially our sports culture. For instance, American football has 'the bomb', soccer has the 'counterattack', etc. I would't think our culture would be much different than any other in that respect, but still interesting.

Looking at the ESPN.com homepage for today (below), I was reminded of these war-culture sentiments. Everyone who's been listening even a little bit knows about 'exit strategies' and The Powell Doctrine.

What I like about this cover is how crucial this 'exit decision' was for the Boston Red Sox. We can draw a parallel between the ex-Manager of the Sox, Grady Little, and our embattled SecDef, Donald Rumsfeld. Should Little have pulled Pedro Martinez? Should Rumsfeld pull the troops? But really, the true parallel is not whether or not Rumsfeld pulls the troops out (he wouldn't make that decision himself, anyways), it is whether or not 'Manager' Bush will leave in his starting pitcher, Rumsfeld, or yank him.





The game is hanging in the balance. Your starter looks a little shaken, but you've seen him finish in worse condition. The crowd is worried, and will back your decision initially, unless it turns out disastrously. Is it a gut decision? Should it be? What will Manager Bush do? We've heard about his baseball management skills, and they don't give us confidence.

I was struck by how off-limits was a discussion of exit strategy just a few months ago. Talking about exit strategies would automatically get you labeled a commy-lovin'-traitor.

My, how times change...

Dumsfeld

Well, I didn't think we'd be able to find any humor in the story of Rumsfeld's torture chambers, but I think I have found it. And it is at Rumsfeld's expense - deservedly so. It's actually humor expressed with furor. Great stuff.

You can always count on the New York dailies to provide a little fun. This cover comes the day after Rumsfeld gives his testimony in front of both Houses of Congress where, after hours of testifying that 'things are working as they should', he drops a little dose of understated reality on us - things are going to get worse - to which the New York Daily News responds:





Dumsfeld...he's gotta go...

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Fishy...



So, you've heard about the white laywer from Oregon, Brandon Mayfield, who got picked up by Ashcroft in connection with the Madrid bombings. At first I thought huh? But now I'm thinking railroad. A plastic bag that once contained explosives had a single fingerprint on it that sorta matches this white Muslim convert from a temple we hate in the Northwest U.S. where a bunch of other dark-skinned Muslims are already in trouble for doing al-Qaeda-type things? I dunno, take a look and decide for yourself.





Sounds more like an intimidation tactic, or retribution to me. Retribution for being Muslim...retribution for giving up Ashcroft's religion for Islam. Retribution for defending a Muslim in a U.S. court. Retribution for defending all Muslims' civil liberties rights. He hated the Patriot Act. No doubt he hates John Ashcroft like the rest of us thinking people.





You white? You a lawyer? You considering speaking out about the Patriot Act? You best think again - we'll Gitmo your ass!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Sami Omar Al-Hussayen

Al-Hussayen was arrested for building web sites that allegedly support terrorism. Now, what exactly constitutes 'supporting terrorism', as you might expect from our current Justice Department, is a bit on the murky side. I think Ashcroft tends towards the if you are brown and Muslim, then you support terrorism philosophy, but let's hope the jury disagrees.





Basically, this case is about free speech and the Patriot Act, but it's interesting on several levels. Parts of the Patriot Act, which are being used to prosecute Al-Hussayen (am I engaging in criminal activity by just linking to a site that links to a site that 'supports terrorism'? if it's been longer than a few days since this post, then you'll know I'm in Gitmo...), have already been deemed unconstitutional, which means any convictions based on those parts of the Patriot Act would be automatically overturned, yet Aschroft is persuing the case - I guess to make his Aryan/Christian friends happy. Al-Hussayen is a Saudi citizen - so the Saudi royal family got him a team of high-priced lawyers. The whole Saudi connection is interesting because we know they (and the Israelis) funded the 9/11 terrorists. But wait - even though Al-Hussayen has been linked with Islam extremists in Saudi Arabia who wish to overthrow the Saudi royal family, the Saudi royal family is still paying for his high-priced lawyers. Huh? Well, it might have something to do with the delicate balancing act that the Saudi royal family has to do to stay in power. Kissing America's ass on one hand - kissing the arse of the Islam extremists on the other. Saudia Arabia, unlike Iraq was, is a very, very religious society. Must be a fun balancing act.





The case is currently in trial - in Boise, Idaho. Other Muslims Ashcroft has tried to 'Gitmo' have been exonerated because of the constitutional problems with the Patriot Act, so now he's asking for more specific and powerful language in the Act.


Critics charge that the law already is murky and say it could invite prosecutors to go after people who innocently make a donation or provide a service to a group they didn't know had terrorist ties. Two federal court rulings in California have ruled as impermissibly vague the law's definitions of "expert advice and assistance," "personnel" and "training."



Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said similar questions surround cases such as that of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho computer science graduate student on trial for using his skills to create Web sites for terrorist recruitment and to draw financing.



"Could you go after a repairman who comes by to fix the computers?" Leahy asked.



[Assistant Attorney General Christopher] Wray responded that the law would apply only in circumstances where a terrorist sympathizer used his expertise to repair a device he knew was being used for terrorist purposes.

This non-answer answer, in other words, means yes. That is why we all need to be very afraid of this insane, unconstitutional law. The dude, as far as I know, just posted messages on a website! Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?! Will I be in Gitmo tomorrow for calling Ashcroft the biggest asshole the world has ever known? (Ashcroft is the biggest asshole the world has ever known.) This is madness. (Not the part about Ashcroft being an asshole - the other stuff.)





I don't know all the facts, but this case just seems like another round-'em-all-up sweep by the Justice Department. Fascists. They're hoping that the sheep jurists are still scared to death of all brown Muslim people. Let's hope they're wrong.





p.s. Ever curious to know what the fascist 'USA PATRIOT Act of 2001' stands for? Yes, most of it is actually an acronym. From that handy-dandy Library of Congress, we have:

Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001'.

Sort makes sense - kinda. Not too sure I'm satisfied that 'intercepting terrorism' is the appropriate phrase-ology, but hey, if it frames the issues correctly for the sheep, more power to the fascists!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Aftermath of War

Kevin Drum's Political Animal has a post up about an Apache Helicopter video. The footage, months old now, has hit the tv airwaves in Europe and Canada. It's pretty barbaric - chunks of body flesh just flying into the Iraq desert like a waterfall - literally. It's like someone did a canonball (no pun intended) into a swimming pool, but instead of water splashing, it's human flesh and blood.





One of the comments was kind of striking:


The actual targets here are the vehicles, hence, "hit 'em, hit the truck and hit him." Does this give the pilot the right to shoot a blatantly critically wounded Iraqi? No.



Of course, with the calliber of weapon being used (most likely a 25mm chain gun, or someting to that affect) firing on him a second time most likely saved him a few hours of agony before a innevitable death.



This does not excuse these actions, but lets face it, these are kids on the ground, and college frat boys in the air. This sort of thing happens CONSTANTLY in wartime. We just now have the technology to see it.



I watched a 22 year old kid shoot a surrendering Iraqi in the chest once, because he was pissed that the guy had just been shooting at us. This kid was a great guy in garrison. Kind, helpfull, motivated... but in combat.... War fucks with your head, and makes you do things you regret.



I know he regreted his behavior in Iraq, because he shot himself this past January.



Posted by: loki on May 5, 2004 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK


The whole 'soldier kills self after return from war' thing is pretty well-known in some circles, but it's usually not in your face like this. Half the country doesn't want to know anything about the real cost of this war - I guess either because they'll feel guilty, or they figure it'll hurt Bush's standing, or maybe just because it might force them to challenge their long-held beliefs about the glamourous nature of war - orrrrrrrr, maybe because they're afraid they might start to agree with those lilly-livered liberals about war being not-so-much-fun. This comment is powerful because it's a first-person account by a military person ('loki' has a '.mil' email address).

You got messed-up color

Cool article on racism, the innocence of kids, and how we have to be taught to hate. If I were a female, I'd probably say this story was 'cute'.

Fahrenheit 911

Michael Moore's new film is kicking up a storm because Disney is refusing to allow Miramax to distribute it. I don't really understand that Disney/Miramax relationship. The story I hear is that Bush doesn't want this movie coming out - of course - but the movie is also very critical of Bush's ties with the Saudi Royal Family, and they don't want it coming out, either - of course. Will be interesting...

Google's Got a Lot of Stuff

Wow. I'm starting to see why everyone's getting all hyped about the IPO. First, peruse this article. Then get to it. Search features. Google services and tools. Pretty wild stuff.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Teaching Our Children Well

Compassion is so overrated. At least, according to one set of Middle School basketball coaches from New Jersey:


PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. - The coaches of a middle school basketball team who humiliated one of their players by giving him a "crybaby award" will likely face disciplinary action from district officials.



The 13-year-old boy's coach called him just before last month's team banquet and told him to make sure he attended because he was getting a special trophy, the boy's father said.



At the event, the boy watched as all of his Pleasantville Middle School teammates received trophies or certificates.



He was then called up to receive his award, and a coach told the crowd that the boy was being honored because "he begged to get in the game, and all he did was whine."



The trophy had a silver figure of a baby atop a pedestal engraved with the boy's name, which was spelled incorrectly. Family members said the teen — an honor roll student — was so embarrassed that he stayed home from school on the following Monday.


So, I had to drop the Board of Ed folks a little note in support of punishment:






Sender:Peter Smith
Subject: Re: 'Crybaby Award'
Recipient:coyle.edwin@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, barbin.nancy@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, carrington.derrick@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, carter.marilyn@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, dold-collins.linda@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, johnson.eileen@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, london.charlotte@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mitchell.kathleen@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, norman.anthony@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, crouse.janet@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, smith.ernestine@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mcbride.helene@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, moran.steve@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mitchell.steven@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, todd.marionette@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, holcomb.dawn@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, avarmi.skendar@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mora.ben@pleasantville.k12.nj.us


Dean Mr. Coyle and other esteemed members of the Atlantic County Board,



I was horrified to learn about what these coaches did to this kid (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040504/ap_on_fe_st/crybaby_award_1). They should be punished swiftly and severely.



I was cut from my 8th grade basketball team. I'm 30 years old now, but I remember getting cut, vividly. Fortunately, one of my 8th grade teachers was a maniac when it came to encouragement. With his support I tried new things - wrestled for the school team, and did well. Remembering his advice to 'be brave' and 'try new things' and 'just do your best' I went on to try other sports in high school - at least one of which I also excelled in. My 8th grade teacher's encouragement has carried-over into other parts of my life. I'm not afraid to try things which I have no business trying to do. In short, thank God I had such hearty encouragement when I needed it most.



Kids are so impressionable - as you well know - and a single event can make a dramatic difference in a child's life. It seems at least one young boy didn't get the encouragement he needed and deserved. Let's hope it doesn't hold him back for the rest of his life.



Thank you.



--peter--

Pat Tillman: Pacifist Warrior?

The more we learn about this dude, the more interesting he gets. I wasn't thrilled that he left his wife (and kid?) to go fight in a war, but life is full of decisions. Just feel bad for his immediate family. He had just gotten back from his honeymoon when he decided to enlist.





This article is about events at his burial ceremony:


Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.





"Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''





What? This didn't happen for God, as well as country? A professional athlete turned soldier, and we're supposed to believe that he'd have no use for piety? Robbed of a cliche, where does that leave us?


Think that pretty much says it all...

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Record income at Chevron-Texaco

Thanks to Drudge, for the link.


ChevronTexaco, the second-biggest oil and gas company in the US, on Friday reported record first-quarter net income - $2.56bn, or $2.40 a share, up 33 per cent on the year.



The record figures continue a trend among the company's peers. The industry has profited from high oil and natural gas prices, as well as increased demand and better margins for refined products and chemicals.


Interesting...