Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Saw a huge HOLLYWOOD-type sign on Bernal Heights Hill today at lunch - looking south from the Mission - it read:
BUSH STEP DOWN
Seems to be part of the World Can't Wait group, who I've seen demonstrating here in SF - doing freeway blogging.
Get busy, y'all.
UPDATE: Here's a pic of the sign I saw (World Can't Wait):
Indymedia covers, too.
Another day, another victim. This cop should be tried and convicted of attempted murder, and sentenced to jail for the rest of his life.
It looks like the LA Times got rid of the original article - not just hid it behind the 'Archive' walls, but actually got rid of it. We can't be sure, but here's a followup, also from the LA Times:
Of Garcia's 10 shots, six went through a rear passenger-side window and four through an open passenger door. Seven rounds hit Brown
Garcia, identified only as "Officer A" in the report, believed a cellphone held by Brown's companion was a gun, according to the summary.
Listen, this was a straight-up execution - and most of them are. It's not even worth discussing whether or not this cop intended to do what he did - if anything, he's disappointed that he didn't kill the other black kid, too. Shame on the LAPD. Shame on Mayor Villaraigosa. Shame on every person who tries to defend the right of the LAPD to execute any black kid they want. Or to say, "well, where were the parents?" As this letter points out, upper-class white kids from the burbs get out and wild just like poor kids from the ghetto.
I personally don't care how hopped up those cops were on steroids, and I don't care how hopped-up they were on adrenaline from chasing down their prey - it's not a justification for murder.
The kid's name was 'Devin Brown'. He was executed by the LAPD. The question now is, are we going to do anything about it, or just say, "ah, cops are cops"? I don't recommend violence at all, but we do need to organize and figure out a way to resist these killers.
UPDATE: 7 white and latino teens go on crime rampage in Florida. They are not executed by police officers. Developing...
Monday, January 30, 2006
Not tryin to hate - just callin it like I see it. The NYT thinks these guys are the second coming.
Been listening to their song 'Fake Tales of San Francisco' to check myself from thinking I'm too cool, now that I live in SF - and it is a good, funny song, but this?
If only the music weren't so thrilling, there would probably be a serious backlash afoot.
What songs was he listening to? Whatever.
Props to the Arctic Monkeys for doin their shit, regardless of the hype.
Influence peddling doesn't have to be illegal to be immoral. One of my favorite lefty heroes is Greg Palast. Back in 2002, on a Democracy Now! show, he lamented Krugman's involvement with Enron. I built a transcript of the pertinent section (not easy work!) by listening to the audio stream:
Amy Goodman: I wanted to go back to Enron and the kind of stories
you were doing long before, uh, it all, long before Enron collapsed
because it wasn't the newspapers that exposed Enron, Enron collapsed
and now the reporting is being done.
Greg Palast: Yeah, and they're all saying oh my gosh, you know, like,
oh, um, you know, uh - they're all surprised. Though I'm not su..,
it's hard to understand why journalists were surprised given the
amount of money journalists were taking including, i'm ashamed to say,
Paul Krugman, whose, you know i was reading Paul Krugman's defense of
energy deregulation, i'm thinking my God, this is against everything
he's ever said in his career - in his life as an economist. And now
he's flacking for this goofball Reaganite/Thatcherite phony idea that
you can have markets in water and power and things like that, and
then I find out he gets fifty grand from Enron. Now I'm not saying it
bought his ideas, but..
Amy Goodman: for what?
Greg Palast: for, um, deregulation.
Amy Goodman: but, what did he get fifty thousand [unintelligible]
Greg Palast: uh, well-uh, he got fifty grand for doing some study for
'em or you know, some writing uh, giving some talks or doing some study,
um, it's just, this is, y-, now he disclosed it - there are other
journalists who aren't disclosing their payments or who have not
disclosed their payments from Enron. Joe Conason was writing about that
story, broke that story.
Amy Goodman: Enron-[interrupted]
Greg Palast: I don't take any money from Enron.
Amy Goodman: Enron and Argentina.
Greg Palast: Enron and Argentina. You can't actually divide the Enron
collapse from the collapse of Argentina...
I don't know exactly which piece it was of Krugman's that Palast was reading, but I trust Palast's reporting and his opinion tremendously. His opinion and integrity is right up there with Chomsky, in my book. There's a very good chance that if Palast doesn't like that something went down, I won't like that something went down.
So, I think it's fair to say that even though Krugman disclosed his Enron ties, I don't believe Krugman was able to see Enron in an objective light - due in large part to that $50,000 he took from them as payment for 'whatever' - thus, Krugman's article came out heavily pro-energy deregulation - Enron's business. Is it possible that Krugman could have taken such a dramatically different stance on deregulation without the influence of $50,000 - even if Krugman thought it had no effect on him? Sure - it's possible, but likely? I'm not buying it. So, no, I don't want part of that timeshare in Baghdad.
So, how wrong was Krugman's decision to write on Enron? Well, I have no idea if he had a choice - if Fortune (or whomever) asked to do an article on Enron or energy deregulation or whatever, but it'd be worth looking into. This is an old story now, so I'm sure someone already has.
The point is that you should not be writing about companies that you took money from, and you should not be covering their industries, arguing-by-proxy that the company you took money from is great because its market is great.
Money buys influence even when you do everything in your power to stop it - even when you're doing your honest best to not let it influence you. It's like asking a judge to convict a cop. It's like asking the Bush Administration to criticize itself. It's like asking the military to investigate its sadistic, torturing, murdering, criminal soldiers - it doesn't happen fairly because of inherent biases built into the system. Taking money from someone will inherently bias you towards that person/company/entity - it's as simple as that.
What's the solution? Disclose, of course, but better, don't write articles in which you have a severe conflict of interest - as there are different levels of conflict. Having a lunch with the CEO of a company you're about to write about - maybe not the end of the world, as long as you disclose. Accepting $50,000 from a company you're about to write about - don't ever do it, even if you do disclose it.
Back to how wrong Krugman was - it's tought to say. He disclosed - that's the gold standard, so I can't hate too much, but it all smells a bit fishy. Not good. It should not have gone down like this. In my critique, I'm comparing Krugman's business ethics with the likes of Chomsky and Palast - folks I consider to be near-flawless in business ethics land, but of course, maybe it's just because I've never had the chance to read of their dirty dealings - if any do, in fact, exist. So my comparison of Krugman to Chomsky/Palast might not be fair, but I expect and demand the best from the people I look up to.
There it is. Love and hate. (this quote not included at linked site, sadly)
I think I need to contact the Chinese Chamber after reading this. I also want to wear an honorary Falun Gong t-shirt the day of the parade.
That Rose Pak chick sounds like a real bitch.
They get letters:
Subject: Include Falun Gong in the parade!
I'll be damned if 'business interests' are going to dictate who
gets to march in a parade in my city. This is still the U.S.,
and this is still San Francisco. Tell Ms. Pak to go ahead and
try to move the parade to Oakland. I encourage her to try.
She'll be out on her ass quicker than you can say 'Falun Gong'.
Stand up for the rights of the powerless, not the powerful.
Where do I get my Falun Gong t-shirt?
And one to Daly, the guy on the board doing all the protesting:
Subject: where is Daly's email address?
Wanted to encourage him to continue to fight for Falun Gong's
inclusion in the Chinese Parade...
And one to Ross Mirkarimi - a Green!
Subject: support Falun Gong inclusion in SF Chinese Parade...
Would love to see a Green take a stand on this issue. It seems
And at least one to a major advertiser - Southwest Airlines - supporters of the oppression of Falun Gong. Southwest doesn't do email, apparently, so I called up their 'Public Relations/Media Relations' folks at 214-792-4847. My message was a little garbled, but it went something like:
My name is Peter Smith. I called to register my...I guess it's not really a complaint...to register my displeasure that Southwest is supporting the Chinese Parade in San Francisco which is not allowing the Falun Gong group to march in the parade. I didn't think that Southwest would want to be a part of something like that.
Thank you very much!
I'm sure I'll do more on this later...
UPDATE: Southwest got back to me. Amazing. I think they thought I was a reporter or something. I'll call them back to clear things up, but that's cool that they called back.
UPDATE: More letters!
Subject: Congress to subpoena Cingular over Falun Gong and Chinese Parade?
Has Cingular been subpoenaed to testify before Congress yet?
I'm just curious, since the internet companies have been invited to testify
about the China/censorship stuff. I figured y'all might have a chance to
go over this Chinese Parade/Falun Gong thing.
UPDATE: More letters! This one to Macy's/Federated via their online web form:
I have added Macy's and Federated to the list of sponsors of the Chinese Parade who support banning Falun Gong from participating in the event. If you wish to be removed from this list, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
I just thought of something - this issue, believe it or not, is actually something that those crazy-ass wingnuts should be able to get behind, too. Can you imagine? The fuckin crazy wingnuts could actually do something to promote democracy instead of doing what they usually do - deter it. Amazing. Let's see if those lazy fucks will get off their asses. Fuckers.
UPDATE: SF supes vote to condemn persecution of Falun Gong
But resolution, passed 9-2, doesn't mention China by name It's a start.
And more articles:
Some Say China's Agenda Leads New Year Parades
Falun Gong dispute hangs over S.F. Chinese parade
Falun Gong debate hits Chinese New Year parade
UPDATE: Daly plays Falun Gong issue like a Stradivarius - I'm not sure why this article's title is so anti-Daly, but I only skimmed the article text, so can't comment yet either way on its substance. Not enough coverage out there yet, so I'm linking to it - good or bad.
UPDATE: (Incomplete) List of sponsors below. Please contact them any way you can and let them know that 'freedom of religion' is still something you very much believe in, and you don't want any form of religious discrimination in your beautiful city by the bay. The lists starts from the biggest sponsors down to the smallest.
Southwest Airlines - http://www.southwest.com/
Public Relations/Media Relations 214-792-4847
(no email address or web form; call - they return calls!)
Web form: https://secure.ford.com/en/support/emailUs.htm
phone: 866-CINGULAR (1-866-246-4852)
KTVU, Fox 2
web form: https://www.wellsfargo.com/contactus.jhtml
Phone: (415) 778-1350
Fax: (415) 543-0976
Bank of America
web form: https://www.bankofamerica.com/contact/?lob=news&contact_returnto=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ebankofamerica%2Ecom%2Fcontact%2F%3Fstatecheck%3DCA
(or try this tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/bpps2)
Pacific/Southwest Newsroom People:
Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada,
New Mexico, Oregon & Washington
Michael Chee, 213.621.7414
web form: http://www.cathaypacific.com/intl/contact/relations/0,,,00.html
Centralized Reservations Number:
1(800) 233-2742 (Local Toll Free)
California Market - Bay Area
Andrew C. Johnson
Vice President - Communications
Area served: San Francisco Bay
TO contact Harrah's online, you have to give them your name - or, a name - and your email address - or, an email address if you want them to respond. I Sent this form to Harrah's:
online form: http://www.mcdonalds.com/app_controller.custsat.custsat_form_marketing.html
And I wrote a couple more briefs notes using the online forms I found above.
This one to Harrah's:
I don't believe it is right for the Chinese Parade to exclude from Falun Gong from marching in the parade. This is America, not China, and we still have some 'freedom of religion', and good company's like Harrah's should support the best of America.
I ask that you please ask Chinese Parade to allow Falun Gong to march in the parade. If they refuse, I would ask that Harrah's immediately pull your support - financial and otherwise - for the Chinese Parade.
Thank you very much.
This one went to McDonald's:
Please withdraw your support from the Chinese Parade in San Francisco, as they are not allowing Falun Gong to participate in the event.
Typos, spelling mistakes - blah. Can't we all just be excellent to one another?
A lot of folks diss Drudge for lying and obfuscating and distorting the truth - and deservedly so - but not often enough do they praise the good work he does do when he does it. I've often made the case that his slams against the Bush Administration should be more than enough to have brought it down. Today is another great example - here's a snapspot of the headline this morning, 9.15 am PST, January 30, 2006:
Now, this home page display surely has more than enough to give the Bush Administratin a major kick in the nads. If there existed an opposition party, Bush would probably already have been impeached for headlines like this:
The headline, 'BLOWOUT: EXXON PROFIT BIGGEST IN AMERICAN HISTORY', refers to record profits for those oil guys at Exxon, whom Bush and Cheney are blood brothers with. The problem is not that a company makes a profit, the problem is that so many Americans are suffering from extremely high gas prices while the richest of the rich - the oil guys close to Bush/Cheney continue to live it up. This is a direct results of many Bush policies, not the least of which are his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Eagle represents America - it might even be a bald eagle, and the eagle's expression seems to be one of shock and horror. When the symbol of the United States of America is shocked and horrified, that it saying that the people of America are shocked and horrified - and if they're not - they should be.
Just above the banner headline is evidence of Bush attempting to drum up yet another war in the Middle East on trumped up reasons: "Iran's answer to compromise efforts not satisfactory: Rice..." This goes to Bush's attempt to get better control of Iran's oil, and the neocon ideology that runs through his Administration. This is a huge opening for Dems to attack Bush on legitimate grounds - at least a 'Wag the Dog' attack is necessary. But it won't happen. The Dems are not just cowardly - not only cowardly - they're co-conspirators.
To the bottom right is another Iran/Iraq/neocon/oil/poverty-and-desperation-of-the-American-people-type headline: 'Savings Rate at Lowest Level Since 1933...' There's not a much more direct way to attack the immorality of the Bush Administration than this. People are suffering badly - they can't even save the paltry amount that Americans usually save - but Bush and his boys at Exxon/Mobile are living lavishly. But you won't hear Dems make that connection - like I said, co-conspirators. Not to the same degree, of course, but co-conspirators none-the-less.
Dem critics of Drudge will seize upon one anti-Dem headline on the left as proof that Drudge never bashes Rethugs: 'DEAN UNDER FIRE FROM PARTY DEMS; NEARLY ALL CASH SPENT...' Why would these critics do that? Whiny-ass-tittie-babies? Got me.
As a side note on Iran allowing some type of inspections: mistake. There's nothing Iran can do, really, to stop America from invading, but the answer, surely, is not to do the same thing Iraq did - and slowly let America grope every nook and cranny of your precious country until America has finally had enough groping and decides that full-on rape of your country is what is required - all while you are forced to watch the grotesque display as the rest of the world looks-on in shock and horror at the display of inhumanity, at the display of power and sadism put on by the United States of America. We'll all feel helpless once again as the Bush Administration creates new realities as we are forced to watch.
They raped Afghanistan, they raped Iraq, and they want desperately to rape Iran. Will they get away with it?
Does it say something about me that I continue reading the more-frequently-delusional writing of Justin Raimondo? Don't answer that.
In an article defending the freedom of Google - I guess - from the tyranny of the all-powerful 'liberal-lefties' in our current government, Raimondo rips into those who possess a 'hatred of capitalism':
Hatred of capitalism also motivates the get-Google campaign: they've made 'too much' money and aren't being 'socially responsible,' wail the liberal-lefties in their whiniest, most self-righteous tones. These types glory in what they hope is the company's comeuppance. Allied with these charming folks are the literary types, with their tweed jackets, smelly pipes, and elbow patches, who take great pride in their ignorance of and disdain for computers, technology, and modernity in general, and see themselves as the Guardians of Lost Standards. In reality, they are Luddites who would sabotage the enormous advances the Internet has made possible in the field of journalism, for one.
Question for Raimondo: Who are these 'whiny', 'wailing', 'anti-capitalist', 'liberal-lefties' who are complaining that Google has made 'too much' money 'most self-righteously' in their 'get-Google campaign'?
Answer: They don't exist.
The article Raimondo pointed to is titled 'Google Starts Up Philanthropy Campaign', with the byline 'Some Question Structure of Giving, Which Allows Company More Flexibility'. Doesn't sound too anti-capitalist to me, but what do I know - let's read it and find out.
Ah-hah! Got it! Listen to this:
The board of directors should make it clear to the company's founders what should be personal and what should be corporate," said Patrick S. McGurn, special counsel to Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. "Google is spending shareholders' money, and it raises questions if there is not a valid corporate purpose.
There it is - in black and white - that guy Patrick McGurn (sounds like an anti-capitalist name if you ask me) of ISS (notice the 'SS' in the name of the company - kind of like 'Social Security' - that socialist program!) is saying that he wants Google to make money - lots of it - and he wants as much of that money as possible to go directly to Google's capitalist shareholders, not to some whiny liberal-lefty nonprofit organizations. So there it is, the proves my point that....huh?
Raimondo is arguing here that the guy trying to maximize shareholder value/profit over the interests of the two lefty co-founders of the company is an anti-capitalist? Make sense? Of course, not.
Or, maybe Raimondo is pissed-off that the lefty Google founders made so much money? Ahhh, maybe that's it.
No, that's not it. I think I know what it is, though - and it ain't pretty: Raimondo's has gone off a cliff - again.
As readers, we have to understand when certain writers are too emotionally tied up in a subject to make any sense. Their sentimentality towards a given subject is so extreme that they fail in their task to write objectively/convincingly/honestly. So, here's a brief list of people who 'lose it' and the topic they lose it over:
* Justin Raimondo - 'the Left'
* Alan Dershowtitz - Israel
* Eric Alterman - Noam Chomsky
The list, I'm sure, is much longer - these are just the folks I have been known to read, so I know their failings pretty well.
Who could these people possibly be that Raimondo is referring to? Google? The people who run Google? Institutional Shareholder Services? I checked out the ISS site - they seem pretty legit to me. Maybe Raimondo found something else? Ah - maybe that's it. Raimondo is Libertarian, which means he wants corporations to be able to do whatever without any government oversight, no laws, etc., and this ISS company counsels businesses on business law so ISS should be condemned? Got me.
Occam's Razor - it's probably just his way of balancing out his attack pieces, I guess. He criticized a bunch of Rethugs, so I guess he needed to say something about 'liberal-lefties'. Not cool.
UPDATE: A letter to website editor of AntiWar.com said that the link on the "aren't" in the quoted text was actually meant to be sarcastic. I didn't realize that - it would have been possible to decipher that had the author linked to an article that actually tried to make his point - that Google gives a lot of money. Instead, he linked to an article debating the legality and profitability of Google's corporate giving with respect to shareholder value. The article's suggestion of a vast left wing conspiracy out to get Google is still laughable (no, I'm not being sarcastic).
I didn't say it. This is so true - not only the part about Republicans being racists, but about partisans, especially Republicans, being able to dismiss any information that is detrimental to their beliefs. You give them information that George Bush committed a crime, and they say that the liberal American justice system was biased against Bush. That's why the Rethugs will just throw any excuse out there at all for their faithful - it doesn't really matter what the substance of the defense is, just that the GOP is willing to defend it's illegal/immoral behaviour. Democrats often avoid the truth about their politicians, too - no doubt - but the Rethug partisans are so much worse. It's really just about impossible to get them to believe that George Bush or any other Republican could ever do anything wrong. Just. Not. Possible. Reality be damned. Reality is irrelevant to these folks - and 'these folks' are probably 120+ million Americans (40%+ of the population).
UPDATE: Corrected my math - 120/300 (million Americans) is 40%, not 60%.
A documentary on the U.S. Haiti Coup may be shown on tv tonight.
When I saw that the NYT was running a piece on our overthrow of the Haiti government, I thought, "Why bother?" - but lots of people on the net have been jonesing to get more details - to get video coverage. The NYT article is entitled "Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos" - I guess that's the polite way to say "U.S. Overthrew Democratically-Elected Government of Haiti - Now What The Fuck Did We Have To Go And Do That Shit For?". Because I didn't initially read the article, I didn't see that they mentioned the fact that their investigation led to the production of a documentary.
There are quite a few interesting tidbits of info in the article - most of which point to the fact the U.S. did, in fact, knowingly overthrow the government of Haiti. That's pretty consistent with U.S. foreign policy for the last fifty years or so.
I love the tone of the article, though - 'but, but...Mr. Bush said democracy, not banana republic?" The feigned confusion of the NYT staff is all too typical of their coverage of U.S. invasions of the past few decades. Just playing dumb. And when they're finally forced to to tell the truth, they just use some racist bullshit - like, 'the blacks couldn't handle running things' - or throw out some anti-commy fear-mongering - like, 'first Haiti falls to the Commies, then Texas! We have to stop them now!!!'
The documentary was supposed to show in Canada last night (Sunday, the 29th), I believe. First time to show here in the U.S. is supposed to be tonight, but I heard Bush already had it canceled. We'll see. I can't imagine he'll want anything else detracting from his speechifying.
Check the wiki to learn more about the coup, involvement by the IRI and that lovely, potent destroyer of democracies, the USAID (which has recently been trying to make its presence felt in other parts of the world, too).
UPDATE: My layman's overview of the NYT's article on the U.S.-Haiti Coup (also linked above):
First, why did Aristide have to go? (Hint: he wanted to help poor people)
Seven months later, an accused death squad leader helped armed rebels topple the president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Haiti, never a model of stability, soon dissolved into a state so lawless it stunned even those who had pushed for the removal of Mr. Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest who rose to power as the champion and hero of Haiti's poor.
Current state of affairs? (Hint: fucked up)
Today, the capital, Port-au-Prince, is virtually paralyzed by kidnappings, spreading panic among rich and poor alike. Corrupt police officers in uniform have assassinated people on the streets in the light of day. The chaos is so extreme and the interim government so dysfunctional that voting to elect a new one has already been delayed four times. The latest date is Feb. 7.
Which U.S. organization is actually responsible for doing the overthrowing? (Hint: a very evil one)
The International Republican Institute is one of several prominent nonprofit groups that receive federal funds to help countries develop the mechanisms of democracy, like campaigning and election monitoring. Of all the groups, though, the I.R.I. is closest to the administration. President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his administration's democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building "a growth industry."
Where did these Bush anti-democracy kooks get their money and what did they do with it? (Hints: where most government money comes from; lots of bad stuff)
With Washington's approval, Mr. Lucas used taxpayer money to fly hundreds of opposition members — but no one from Mr. Aristide's Lavalas party — to a hotel in the Dominican Republic for political training that began in late 2002. Two leaders of the armed rebellion told The Times that they were in the same hotel during some of those meetings, but did not attend.
So, what's so bad about Aristide being concerned for the poor? Is that bad? (hint: more for the poor means less for the rich; yes - very - nothing worse - that is the only thing that matters)
"He was espousing change in Haiti, fundamental populist change," said Robert Maguire, a Haiti scholar who has criticized American policy as insufficiently concerned with Haiti's poor. "Right away, he was viewed as a threat by very powerful forces in Haiti."
President Aristide promised not only to give voice to the poor in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but also to raise the minimum wage and force businesses to pay taxes. He rallied supporters with heated attacks on the United States, a tacit supporter of past dictatorships and a major influence in Haitian affairs since the Marines occupied the country from 1915 to 1934.
"He wasn't going to be beholden to the United States, and so he was going to be trouble," said Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a Democratic critic of Bush administration policy on Latin America. "We had interests and ties with some of the very strong financial interests in the country, and Aristide was threatening them." Those interests, mostly in the textile and electronic assembly businesses, sold many of their products cheap to the United States.
How, exactly, did all this happen? Did it just, like, happen as soon as Bush got into office? (Hint: it is a U.S. tradition and involved knowing how to foment a coup, which the U.S. has had lots of practice in; yes)
It was in these months that two ingredients were added to the roiling Haitian stew: a new American ambassador, Brian Dean Curran, arrived in Port-au-Prince and a Republican administration was inaugurated in Washington.
Who the heck are these IRI people? And what do they have to do with anything? And that 'Republican' in the name - does that mean 'Republican', as in the Republican Party? And please don't even tell me some crazy, wack, off-the-wall-drive-me-batty-type shit like, some mad-ass conspiracy theory-type bullshit - that Halliburton or some shit was involved in this. They were not involved, were they? Were they? (Hints: the IRI are 'Republicans Gone Wild Abroad'; they were created to foment coups and keep foreign governments in check - compliant with business interests in Washington; yes - the 'Republican' in IRI essentially means 'Republican' as in 'the Republican Party'; yes, Hallicheney was involved; yes, Hallicheney was involved)
Mr. Curran was supposed to have help from the I.R.I., which had been active in Haiti since 1990. Along with the National Democratic Institute, the I.R.I. was formed in the early 1980's after President Ronald Reagan called on Americans to fight totalitarianism.
Its board includes Republican foreign-policy heavyweights and lobbyists, and its chairman is Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, who did not answer requests for an interview. The group's financing comes from the Agency for International Development, as well as the State Department, foundations and corporations like Halliburton and Chevron.
So, you're saying the IRI is associated with the Republican Party - in reality, if not officially - and the people of Haiti hated the Republican Party, too? (Hint: yes)
The I.R.I.'s Republican affiliations did not go unnoticed on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Graffiti condemning the I.R.I. had been showing up for some time, the work of Aristide supporters. "I think they distrusted I.R.I. as an organization because they were affiliated with the Republican Party, and Lavalas just felt the Republican Party was out to get them," said David Adams, a former A.I.D. mission director in Haiti.
So, you're basically saying what Chomsky always says, that it was a combination of the Haitian elite - the business community - and the U.S. elite, that helped get rid of Aristide? (Hint: yes)
The anti-Aristide message had currency around Washington. Mr. Einaudi, the veteran diplomat, recalled attending the I.R.I.'s 2001 fund-raising dinner and being surrounded by a half-dozen Haitian businessmen sounding a common cry: "We were foolish to think that we could do anything with Aristide. That it was impossible to negotiate with him. That it was necessary to get rid of him."
These IRI guys - what's their repuation for 'building democracy'? (Hint: shit)
A year later, the I.R.I. created a stir when it issued a press release praising the attempted overthrow of Hugo Chávez, the elected president of Venezuela and a confrontational populist, who, like Mr. Aristide, was seen as a threat by some in Washington. The institute has since told The Times that praising the attempted coup was wrong.
So, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti was actually trying to get rid of this crook, Stanley Lucas, who was trying to overthrow Aristide with U.S. taxpayer money, and the Bush Administration said 'Fuck you'? (Hint: yes)
He asked that the institute's program be canceled or Mr. Lucas dismissed. Neither happened.
So, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Brian Dean Curren, was actually trying to stop the criminal, Stanley Lucas, from overthrowing Aristide, so Curren was fired? Are you fuckin shittin me? (Hint: yes; no - I wish I was)
The seminars were still under way in September 2003 when the Bush administration sent a new ambassador to Haiti. Mr. Curran wanted to stay longer, Mr. Reich said. But he said Mr. Curran was replaced because "we did not think the ambassador was carrying out the new policy in the way we wanted it carried out."
Who were these guys the U.S. government was funding to overthrow Aristide? (Hint: real sweethearts)
Rights groups have identified Mr. Chamblain as the leader of death squads when the military ran Haiti after Mr. Aristide's first ouster in 1991. He had twice been convicted in absentia — for his role in a massacre in Gonaïves in 1994 and in connection with the 1993 killing of an Aristide supporter.
So, what the fuck did Bush say when his plan finally worked - when Aristide was actually in the process of being physically kicked out of office by a United States-sponsored coup? (Hint: what a U.S. President always says)
In Washington, the Bush administration voiced its official policy. "We cannot buy into a proposition that says the elected president must be forced out of office by thugs and those who do not respect law and are bringing terrible violence to the Haitian people," Secretary of State Powell said.
So Bush obviously did nothing to help Aristide put down the rebellion that Bush started? (Hint: obviously)
But when Mr. Aristide asked for international troops, he did not get them.
So, what the fuck? I mean, didn't anyone say, like, what the fuck? (Hint: yes)
"It doesn't add up for the greatest country in the world to be fearful of 200 thugs, my goodness," said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.
So, Bushco just says, 'Fuck you' whenever someone asks why they overthrew a democratically-elected government? (Hint: yes)
The State Department said there was nothing to investigate. "I think the U.S. role was clear," a spokesman, Richard A. Boucher, said at the time, adding, "The focus needs to be on moving forward."
So, everything's back to normal now, right? Poor people are still poor and all that shit, Aristide is gone, and the U.S. government and Haitian elite are happy? (Hint: no; yes)
Several days later, in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood, uniformed riot police officers swept through a crowd at a soccer match, singling out people to kill — with guns and machetes — outside the stadium. Unable to leave, people screamed and huddled on the ground. An estimated 10 people were killed at the event, which had been financed by the United States to promote peace in the area.
Things have only deteriorated from there. Kidnapping gangs hungry for ransom money have waged an expanding war on the capital. Several months ago, the Haitian police chief, Mario Andrésol, said a quarter of his force was corrupt or tied to the kidnappers. Assassinations, mob violence, torture and arbitrary arrests have created a "catastrophic" human rights problem, a top United Nations official said in October.
So, what you're saying is, the U.S. has this penchant for invading countries and fucking them up beyond recognition - kind of like Iraq, where people are kidnapped and tortured and raped and murdered and all that, all the time, right? (Hint: right)
Yet the violence in Haiti, especially the kidnappings, is eating away at society.
A reporter for The Times was with United Nations troops in Bel Air, a Port-au-Prince slum, when they found and freed André Boujour, 41, who said he had been kidnapped two weeks earlier and held in a 10-by-10-foot hut, accessible only by a narrow path through a warren of tightly packed shacks.
Mr. Boujour said he was abducted after delivering several thousand dollars he had raised from friends and family to free his kidnapped sister.
Jesus Christmas - does anyone know what has happened? Does anyone get it? (Hint: yes; yes)
Mr. Maguire, the Haiti expert, is skeptical. "I don't see that the U.S. is exporting democracy," he said. "I think it's more exporting a kind of fear, that if we don't do the things the way the U.S. and powerful interests in our country want us to do them, then perhaps we'll be as expendable as Mr. Aristide was."
What happened to that heroic ambassador dude who tried to stop Buscho and his co-conspirators from overthrowing Aristide? (Hint: quit)
Mr. Curran has left the Foreign Service and is working for NATO. In the final analysis, Mr. Einaudi said, the former American ambassador was simply no match for the anti-Aristide lobby in Washington.
That is 'exporting democracy' American-style. Text. Book.
Well done, Bush. CIA. IRI. McCain. You're all a bunch of criminals and I hope you all rot in jail for the rest of your miserable lives, for the pain and suffering you've inflicted on millions of innocent people.
More Haiti reading from Mr. Blum.
UPDATE: added final 'hint'.
Sometimes it seems like that. It's not about arresting someone and trying them and all that nonsense - it's about whether or not we have to notify the host government before we murder someone. How fucked up is that?
I mean, notifying the host government is probably a good thing, but I'm not really into China wacking me, for instance, even if they got permission from Bush, first. Similarly, I don't think we should murder the citizens of other countries - regardless of whether or not their government approves of that murder.
It's pretty unbelievable when you think about it.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Read about Robert Fisk a couple of times the other day - apparently he's saying something the wingnuts don't agree with. While perusing newspapers around the world, I stopped in the 'Palestine' section to get their p.o.v. on the Hamas victory, and found out about an op-ed Fisk had run in the LA Times last month:
So let's call a colony a colony, let's call occupation what it is, let's call a wall a wall. And maybe express the reality of war by showing that it represents not, primarily, victory or defeat, but the total failure of the human spirit.
Quick article. Worth your time.
[Note: I totally hacked and re-arranged this post - too many mistakes.]
The best documentary film at Sundance this year was given to a film with the title "God Grew Tired of Us".
There is a documentary that already existed called "Lost Boys of Sudan".
Same subject. Different movies.
'God Grew Tired of Us' had some celebrity-power: narrated by Nicole Kidman and executive-produced by Brad Pitt. I wonder if Angelina Jolie's involvement with all this activism stuff, and the UN, and baby adoption stuff rubbed off on Pitt. I wonder how Kidman got involved in this kind of stuff, now that Drudge has pointed about she's about to follow Jolie's footsteps as some sort of UN-type rep. And I wonder if any of these folks are Green Party members?
Yeah, me neither. I'm really starting to think, though, that Bush's extremism, even for an American president, is pushing people to do something more than just sit back and watch the world crumble.
As far as the movie goes, it sounds good. I can't even imagine what it must be like to go from Africa to middle America. Oh wait - I can, if only a little bit - I once traveled from Atlanta to Houston, the dirty, stripped-malled, concreted asscrack of America - that was pretty shocking.
I'm sure Quinceañera is a great flick, too - it's just that I did some Sudan/Darfur-related stuff back in the day, so was very familiar with the refugee problem there, thus I quickly latched onto 'God Grew Tired of Us' as being a flick I'd want to see.
I've been seeing a lot of lefty-type celebrities getting more politically active, lately. I haven't been paying attention long enough to know what the trend is - if it's Bush-related or not - but Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails just did an ad for PETA.
China's in the spotlight right now - with the Chinese New Year/Year of the Dog.
Pretty gruesome stuff in that video. Do like I did, and become a PETA member. That way you can go on being a hypocritical carnivore while feeling a little less guilty. You could also become a little less ignorant about the world around you - not to mention do some doggies and kitties a big favor.
(original idea to look up PETA came from article/pic at Drudgery)
Under Syariah law, a woman caned in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, for staying with her boyfriend in a house. I guess that would be, as opposed to, a car?
(pic from the SF Chronicle)
That's the same Indonesia I wrote about here. The same one with the tsunami. The same one that Chomsky's been writing about for years. The same one that brutally beat Amy Goodman and Alan Nairn - Alan, almost to death.
As we were lying on the road everyone around us was being killed. About 12 of them were lined up, took the U.S. M-16s and put them to our head and they were screaming, "politic, politic" saying we were political. Because, of course, anyone - any Westerner who was witness to something like this and any journalist to them was political. Alan was covered in blood. His whole body was in spasm, and he couldn’t protect himself anymore because he had been beaten so badly. All I could say was "we’re from America ... we’re from America". And as each person joined in this firing line when we said "we were from America" to make it very clear who we were. They would say, "Australian? Australia?" We knew what happened to the Australian journalists and we said, "no, America." They stripped us of everything but I still had my passport. I threw it at them and they saw we were from the U.S. They still screamed and held the guns to our heads but then eventually they decided to pull the guns away. And we think that it was because we were from the same country their weapons were from. They would have to pay a price for killing us that they had never had to pay for killing the Timorese.
With all the attention William Blum has been getting, I thought I'd try to highlight some of what Blum means when he says the following:
"If I were the [U.S.] president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize—very publicly and very sincerely—to all the widows and orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism."
Most Americans have no clue what Blum means when he says 'widows', 'orphans', 'impoverished', 'tortured', and 'many millions of other victims of American imperialism' - so I wanted to point out how wide and deep U.S. treachery has been. Who knew that the U.S. was involved in horrific dealings with Indonesia? Who'd a thunk it?
A quick perusal of Blum's book Killing Hope will give one all the background they need to know what Blum means in that aforementioned quote.
Shoot - there are so many countries that the U.S. has invaded and ruined, it's almost difficult to keep track. Are there any countries in the world that the U.S. has not invaded or tried to ruin or control in one way or another, at one time or another?
The next picture in the Chronicle's 'Day In Pictures' viewer - right after the caning picture above - was this picture:
This lady is burying her dead son who died as a result of lack of medical attention when doctors went on strike for more salary. One has to wonder, though, would this be the situation in Managua, Nicaragua if the U.S. hadn't virtually terrorized that Central American country to death starting 25 or so years ago? Nicaragua has had about fifteen years to start picking up the pieces from Reagan/Bush I's fanatical terrorism in that country - is it possible that the harsh economic climate in that country is due, at least in part, to the terrorism inflicted upon it by the United States of America over a period of ten or so years? I don't think that's a stretch at all.
Chomsky has written in at least one case - possibly Nicaragua, but I can't recall - that a central American country was faced with an election decision - elect the guy the U.S. government wanted to win, or elect the guy the people of Nicaragua wanted to win and starve to death. This is how the U.S. operates, in general. The people of this country - I believe it was Nicaragua - eventually elected the U.S.-promoted candidate. The citizens of that country were tired of war and violence and pestilence - they didn't want to continue living in the terror environment that Reagan and his mighty country had inflicted upon them, so they gave in - they elected the guy the U.S. wanted. The people of Nicaragua are most likely still suffering today the ill effects of extreme American violence brought to their country during the Reagan Era. These Nicaraguans are just a few of the many millions of people all over the world who have suffered gravely at the hands of America.
Every time someone mentions to me Nicaragua as a tourist hotspot, I'll say, "Yeah - let's go! Heard it awesome - imagine how much more awesome it'd be if we hadn't terrorized those people for so long."
T-shirts saying stuff like "Stop snitchin'" are legit on the streets of Oakland:
Right or wrong, the code of the street in poor, largely black neighborhoods in the Bay Area is never, ever cooperate with police.
It's obviously a big problem for police trying to solve crimes, and obviously self-defeating for neighborhoods who want to rid themselves of crime and criminals, but poor black people don't trust cops - and why should they? Cops are at least as dangerous as the criminals the police are trying to capture - so much so that my talking of 'cops and criminals in the hood' doesn't necessary betray that I'm referring to 'cops and people-who-are-not-cops'.
This dude sums it up pretty well, I think:
As parent Melvin Palmer sees it, the culture of secrecy is not one that is going to die any time soon.
"Growing up, I was told to turn the other cheek," said Palmer, a 35-year-old father of three from Richmond who was raised in San Francisco's Sunnydale housing project. "It's just a fact of life. The police got their 'blue shield.' 'Stop snitchin' is the code of the streets."
The 'Blue Shield' meets the 'Black Shield'.
A cop kills a black kid - his fellow cops cover for him.
A poor black kills a black kid - his fellow poor blacks cover for him.
Who wins? The killers.
Who loses? The victims, and society.
How to solve this problem? Somehow we have to get police to stop terrorizing and murdering black people in their own neighborhoods. It's gonna take a lot more than 'sensitivity training' and whatever else the cops have thrown at the problem. We need something drastic - something like:
* mandatory - yearly, progressive sensitivity training (40 hrs)
* mandatory - all officers must speak at least one foreign language fluently within 3 years on the force
* mandatory - cops will be forced to take a two-month vacation in the summer, and one month in-between the other 9 months that they work.
Why all the vacation time? Because cops are stressed, and when they're stressed, they kill - and we know they don't ever get convicted, so we need to stop them from killing - so we need to de-stress them. Heavy vacation, spaced apart appropriately, will help offset their tyrannical behaviour.
Most cops are not racists/bigots/sadists when they start on the force, but many become that. Once we have some of these 'load lightening' measures in place, we'll be able to push through more-strict regulations on prohibiting racism/sexism/classism on the force. The snowball effect of good relations and a more-professional police force - one who prime directive is not to brutalize poor black people - will take us where we need to go - a place where the police force is not a terrorist organization in any sense to any citizen.
UPDATE: Whoops. Bad type. My last graph started 'Most cops are racists/bigots/sadists when they start on the force' - I corrected it to read 'Most cops are not racists/bigots/sadists when they start on the force'.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
This worldwide music festival-type thing seems prety cool:
E M E R G E N Z A is Europe’s and North-America’s biggest music contest. A festival where bands of all musical styles proceed through various elimination rounds, having the opportunity to play in major international venues. The festival is designed for unsigned bands who have not yet found a promotional channel and who are trying to gain notoriety and experience on the national and european music scene. Top bands will be chosen to get live exposure on the open air circuit throughout 12 U.S. cities, as well as taking part of the Vans Warped tour, The Taubertal Open Air festival in Germany and get radio exposure. Emergenza is an official scouting agent for TRACK 1 Records, The MECA Music Conference & Festival, and other international labels and promoters. The very best bands will be presented to the A&R teams.
while Fatah goes fuckin crazy...
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Firing into the air, Fatah gunmen and police stormed Palestinian parliament buildings on Saturday in growing unrest after their long-dominant party's crushing election defeat by Hamas Islamists.
Which party does the U.S. government label 'terrorist'? These things are so confuzing...
I've known for several years now how gay the military was, but stories like this seem to be making the headlines more often these days:
RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- Army officials are investigating allegations that members of the celebrated 82nd Airborne Division appear on a gay pornography Web site, a spokeswoman said Friday.
This is not surprising to me, in the least, but I suspect a lot of people are still trying to get over that whole Jim Jeff thing.
I'll tell you what - if you're a straight-laced straight white guy like myself, the first time you hear a guy tell you, "Yeah, I used to fuck this seargent all the time - he had a great body," - well it kinda throws you for a loop, even if you thought you knew that gay military life was well-known and accepted. Statements like this make you start to wonder how widespread homosexuality in the military really is.
I'm kinda with Gore Vidal on this - I think most people are bisexual at some level - or as Vidal might suggest, there is almost no such thing as having a preference for 'male' vs. 'female' sex - you just prefer what you prefer. It seems natural to me that if all you're ever surrounded by are other men - and your stuck in the desert, or at sea, for months at a time - why not do like the Romans? Soldiers have been doing it for centuries - why not talk about it?
Like my one-time gay male roomy once said, "Think about it - if you're a gay man, what better place to live and work than the military?"
Maybe the Army of One needs a new recruiting slogan - something that would call attention to the greatness of gay Greek warrior-statesman heroes of days past.
Let me guess - yet another 'destabilization program'?
Hamas gunmen ambushed a Palestinian police patrol early on Saturday, wounding two officers, Gaza police said, amid mounting tensions in the coastal strip following Hamas's resounding victory over the ruling Fatah Party in parliament elections earlier in the week.
It doesn't take a genius to know that the U.S. government will continue its work to overturn the will of the people of Palestine. This 'work', when performed in a multitude of other countries around the world, has included murder, kidnapping, bombing, torture, and other forms of terrorism. Let's see what USAID/CIA can pull off this time.
Remember, when USAID/CIA is involved, an election is not over until it's over, and then, it's still not over.
UPDATE: In case it's not clear from my post, I'm suggesting that it was the CIA or people with CIA funding/backing who attacked Palestinian police. As soon at Hamas won the election, they probably told their peeps to 'stay cool' and wait for the U.S. to get done with its 'end-of-the-world' pronouncements and its possible two-to-four weeks of terrorist actions in the area - trying to frame Hamas. Hamas figured correctly that the world would see through the CIA game, as Hamas would have no reason to take to the streets - they won.
The CIA just has too much of a history when it comes to destabilizing regimes about to take power. They know how to do a frame-up. This is not disputed - this is well-known and accepted, but of course, it should not be as acceptable as it is to most.
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Never shy of drawing glaring publicity, American skier Bode Miller stirred another hornets' nest Friday by accusing cycling legend Lance Armstrong and baseball slugger Barry Bonds of doping.
Not sure how long Morales is gonna last:
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — President Evo Morales cut his salary by more than half and declared no Cabinet minister can collect a higher wage than his own, with the savings to be used to hire more public school teachers.
This kind of stuff doesn't piss off the United States, but he best not go off on that 'nationalization' tip - else, he'll be a walking dead man. That's not a threat from me - that's the implied threat from the United States of America that every Central and South American leader must contend with. Americans don't know about this implied threat, but leaders south of the Border know it all too well.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Well, he's far from perfect, but what he's done, on the whole, is still impressive:
But what's not so well known is that Moulitsas, a 34-year-old Berkeley, Calif., resident, is also the CEO of a network of sports blogs called, appropriately enough, SportsBlogs. The network created by the lifelong Chicago Cubs fan already has 43 different sites covering sports such as baseball, football, basketball and cycling.
Well, with a headline like that, you'd think that at least Forbes got their information from a reliable, independent source, right?
GAZA CITY (AFX) - The ruling Fatah faction won the Palestinian general election with 42 percent of the vote while Islamist party Hamas won 35 percent, Fatah campaign manager Nabil Shaath said Wednesday, citing an exit poll.
Well, at least they weren't the only propaganda outfit spreading disinformation. Bloomberg said this:
Fatah Wins Palestinian Election, Beating Hamas, Exit Polls Show
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The ruling Fatah Party took first place in Palestinian elections today, beating the armed Islamic group Hamas, which will enter the Legislative Council for the first time with more than a third of the vote, exit polls showed.
This Indian article (switched links; original article deleted from source website) (with links added) shows just how far the U.S. wil go to deter democracy:
US using foreign aid funds to promote Fatah in polls
Ramallah, January 22 (PTI) The US was using USD two million of foreign aid money to help the ruling Fatah win the upcoming Paletinian polls in which the party faces stiff opposition from the radical Hamas movement, a report today claimed.
The funding is being done through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and is said to be more than the money any Palestinian party can spend by the election day, the Washington Post reports.
US and Palestinian officials fear there will be strong presence of Hamas, a terrorist outfit according to the US, in the election, scheduled for Wednesday.
The USAID programme for the polls is "a temporary paradigm shift" from the way the aid agency otherwise operates, an internal document said, according to the newspaper.
The programme organises street-cleaning campaigns, food and water distribution to Palestinians at border crossings, sponsoring a soccer tournament and donating computers to community centres.
It is being co-ordinated through Rafiq Husseini, chief of staff to Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president and leader of Fatah.
The programme, however do not show any evidence of US involvement, especially thorugh logos on the posters advertising the events.
"US officials say their low profile is meant to ensure that the Palestinian Authority receives public credit for a collection of small, popular projects and events to be unveiled" before the Palestinian polls, the Washington Post reports. PTI
Here, the U.S. government is admitting openly that they hate democracy and thus are willing to swing an election by contributing millions of U.S. tax dollars to the party that they want to win. Imagine if Osama bin Laden took a few million bucks and covertly threw it at Hillary's campaign, to use in beating whichever Rethug she runs against?
It is also instructive to point out that USAID is acting, in this case, as a wholly functioning branch of the U.S. government. It's primary goal in this case was to overturn the will of the people of Palestine. This is not compatible with democracy.
* U.S. Pushing for Fatah Victory
* Various polls predict Fatah win over Hamas on national ticket
* Fatah Forecast to Win Parliament Vote
* Fatah wins 63 seats, Hamas 58: exit poll
This headline is pretty cool: Palestinians choose between peace or confrontation with Israel. So, electing Fatah means peace, whereas electing Hamas means confrontation. What is the evidence? None. What is the general theory that might lead one to believe such nonsense? Not present, sir.
Some newspapers have attempted to erase their propaganda, but I'm guessing someone has a copy of it somewhere.
And, interestingly enough, the 'militant' party, Hamas, didn't manage to murder one of their own political leaders - but Fatah did:
A leader of the ruling Fatah Party in Nablus was shot dead today in violence related to upcoming elections for the Palestinian parliament.
Despite the chaos in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent months, violence related to tomorrow’s balloting has been relatively limited.
Early this month, a Hamas supporter was killed in a firefight that erupted while rival factions were hanging election posters in Gaza City. Hamas blamed the ruling Fatah Party for the shooting.
Nine gunmen, also affiliated with Fatah, pulled up in two cars to the house of 44-year-old Abu Ahmed Hassouna in the early hours of today and began firing at posters of election candidates on his house, relatives said.
Hassouna leaned out a window, shouted at them to stop, and they shot him in the head, they said. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died shortly after.
The gunmen fled, some by car and some on foot, after one of their cars broke down, relatives said.
Police wouldn’t comment on the incident, which is under investigation. Islamic tradition requires immediate burial of the dead, but relatives said they would not bury Hassouna until his killers were caught.
About 1,500 people, including Fatah candidates, activists and party-affiliated gunmen, were milling around his house this morning.
Nice guys, those 'peaceful' Fatah folks.
That the U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organization is a bit of a joke. As one of the leading terrorist states in the world, you might think that the U.S. should first try to ween itself from this whole terrorism thing first, before going around and pointing fingers at others.
Lots of good info on U.S. terrorism out there. Maybe start here. Or take a look at this guy's books. Don't worry - there's enough reading on this topic to keep you busy for a few years.
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.
Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.
Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official.
So, Israel started Hamas? Just like America effectively started Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda? You're kidding, right?
Apparently, not. It is kinda funny, though, in a fucked-up way.
Just so we're clear on why Google got called to Capitol Hill:
News of the congressional hearing came hours after another lawmaker, Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, spoke out on another issue that has enveloped Google in recent days: the company's refusal to comply with a subpeona by the justice department that would require it to hand the government extensive records about the way people use the company's search engine.
In a letter to attorney general Alberto Gonzales, Mr Leahy demanded more information about four subpoenas to big internet companies, including how the justice department intended to use the information while protecting privacy rights, and whether it planned to request further information from the companies.
It's not like the Gonzalez and his InJustice Department made it obvious or anything. Gonzalez must really want that Google info. Fucker.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The other day there was a thread citical of Chomsky's ideas/politics - on dKos. I offered my own smackdown, part of which ran into being highly critical of a Justin Raimondo article I'd just run across in looking for criticism of Chomsky's ideas - I've reproduced that Raimondo section below, as I've new evidence to offer in this case of Raimondo's capacity for ignorance and/or mendacity and/or 'other':
As far as the distorting of Chomsky's remarks thing goes, just today I found an old article at antiwar.com from Justin Raimondo - who seems really smart, writes really well, is on top of his game related to Bush crimes - even Clinton crimes - but he did this attack piece, I guess, on Chomsky that was so typical of right-wing anti-Chomsky pieces. Check it - I really respect this dude Raimondo's writings on a lot of stuff - he's good, which makes this article all the more baffling. Like a lot of other anti-Chomsky stuff, well, I can't really say what he was thinking when he wrote it - it doesn't make much sense to me. For instance, he goes off on Chomsky for telling the U.S. to stop sending arms shipments to Indonesia, arms which the Indonesian government was using to suppress/oppress/murder/torture the East Timorese due to oil-type reasons, of course (are there any other kind?) - something like that, but it seems as though Raimondo just outright ignores Chomsky's call for the U.S. and other governments to stop helping the Indonesian government in their evil deeds, and accuses Chomsky of being an interventionist, and then implying (at least) that Chomsky is ideologically confused ('clueless') because he can't decide between being either absolutely pro-interventionism or absolutely non-interventionism - as if that means one is what we would generally call ideologically confused. I mean, reality check - is there anyone out there who believes the U.S. should never, ever, under any circumstances, intervene in another country? Or anyone out there who believes the U.S. should always, under any circumstances, intervene in another country? If so, then according to Raimondo, it seems, those people are not idealogically confused, they do, indeed, 'have a clue', as it were, and will be spared Raimondo's sharp pen. Or something.
In addition to the ridiculous nature of the supposition put forth by Raimondo - that all of us who, say, don't sleep on our sides every night, as opposed to sleep on our backs, are idealogically confused about how one should sleep - besides that ridiculousness, all of Raimondo's critique relies on believing that Raimondo himself actually believed that Chomsky was calling on the U.S. to intervene in Indonesia as opposed to just refrain from aiding and abetting the criminal Indonesian government (with guns, etc.). If you can convince yourself that Raimondo actually believed what he was saying, then Raimondo would be able to slip the 'willful deception' label, but his argument would still be totally without merit because Chomsky was not calling for intervention so much as he was calling for the U.S. to stop intervening - to stop helping the Indonesian government maim and slaughter. So, at worst, Raimondo's a liar - at best, he's a fool. I'm not just name-calling - are these labels not deserved for critiquing events that only happened, at best, in Raimondo's head?
How do we explain this Raimondo article? How would Raimondo explain it? It does appear on a fundraising-type drive/period/page, so maybe that's the motivation - attack Michael Moore, attack Chomsky, raise some quick bucks, whatever - but I have no idea. It's either stupidity, ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, or some combination of the three.
So, these types of writings do make me wonder - wtf are these people thinking? Do they, like Alterman and Dershowitz, just go batty when it comes to certain subjects? I don't get it, because they often come off as being personally convinced in what they're arguing for, and I know they're smart, in the sense that they can process a lot of information and see, in general, how it relates, and draw sensible conclusions from that process - but sometimes, they're just out there - seemingly ignoring inconvenient facts, or drawing wild conclusions on flimsy/nonexistent evidence. Whassup with that?
Why is all this important? Well, the National Security Archive - key documenters of official U.S. government war crimes and immoral activities - have published East Timor's 'Truth and Reconciliation' Report:
Washington, D.C., January 24, 2006 - The final report of East Timor's landmark Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) has found that U.S. "political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation" of East Timor from 1975 to 1999, according to the "Responsibility" chapter of the report posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive, which assisted the Commission with extensive documentation.
There is more - go read it, Raimondo, and then come back and give us an explanation.
UPDATE: We don't recall at this time if we've notified Raimondo of his treachery, so it is possible that he is still wallowing in malice and/or ignorance. We have also updated this post title from 'U.S. and East Timor' to 'Raimondo on U.S. and East Timor: Liar or Fool?' for its inclusion in the Chomsky criticism wiki page.
Semi-interesting article that touches on free speech, or lack thereof, in the olden days of the empire. Not everyone in American today - even self-described liberals - believes in free speech, but we must never let them forget the lessons of the past:
During the War of 1812, an angry mob smashed the printing presses of a Baltimore newspaper that dared to come out against the war. When the mob surrounded the paper's editors, and the state militia refused to protect them, the journalists were taken to prison for their own protection. That night, the mob broke into the prison, killed one journalist and left the others for dead. When the mob leaders were brought before a jury, they were acquitted.
This article seems to demonstrate how the U.S. military treats murderers within its ranks when there are political consequences for a conviction. For whatever reasons, the Pentagon had to pretend to take this case somewhat seriously - I guess cause the victim was a general. I was going to let this all-too-typical article pass, but the info was just a little too shocking to let slip - even for someone like me who expects the worst of the U.S. military:
“I deeply apologize if my actions tarnished the soldiers serving in Iraq,” Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. said at his sentencing hearing.
Apologize to the victim's family? What victim? I'm the victim here!
Prosecutors said Welshofer put a sleeping bag over the head of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, sat on his chest and used his hand to cover the general’s mouth while questioning him at a detention camp in Iraq in 2003.
Prosecutors said the general suffocated.
It's almost surprising when you think about it. Stuffed head-first into a sleeping bag - a grown man sitting on your chest - while at the same time covering your mouth with their hand? That led to suffocation? Who'd a thunk it?
I love it how the last quoted sentence above is put in the passive voice - so as to assure Americans that we're not letting loose our soldiers over there to act on their most base, horrific, animalistic, sexual, violent, sadistic urges. It was all, you see, an accident. The guy covering his mouth didn't mean to suffocate him - he'd actually planned to torture and fuck him for a few more weeks - but wouldn't you know it - the ol' general just couldn't take it. The guy sitting on the general's chest - well, you see, Halliburton is not very good at getting supplies to the troops - and some of those supplies are chairs - there was no place else to sit, you see.
Here's the wife talking about the righteousness of her husband's decision to contest the charges against him:
“I love him more for fighting this,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes. “He’s always said that you need to do the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do.”
Now, I have to admit, if I'd pulled some sadistic shit like this I'd probably try to mount a defense, too, but the blubbering by the wife of a killer is really a little too much for this peacenik. There was no representation from the victim's family?
Earlier, Lt. Col. Paul Calvert, testifying on Welshofer’s behalf, said attacks by Iraqi insurgents around the western Iraqi city of al Qaim, the area where Mowhoush was taken into custody, “went to practically none” after Mowhoush died.
Let me guess - the prosecution didn't bother running down this cooked up 'evidence', right?
In any case, whether true or not, the implication is clear - we murdered a general, thus, we saved the lives of American GI's.
Prosecutor Maj. Tiernan Dolan did not question the assertion but suggested Mowhoush’s death probably denied coalition forces valuable information.
The prosecutor didn't rebut the testimony about the lowered attack rate? Nawwwww.
And I love the prosecutor's take on why murder is a bad thing - not because it's immoral and against the fucking law (UCMJ), but because murdering this particular fellow before we'd tortured the last bit of unreliable information out of him prevented us from saving the lives of yet more American GI's. In fairness, I guess he had to offer something in an attempt to actually, you know, prosecute this case.
Dolan did not call any witnesses at the sentencing hearing.
Really? That's such a surprise. I wonder if Dolan got confused during the trial and thought he was working for the defense? Just asking.
Oh - and a surprise - simulating drowning - aka, waterboarding! How awesome is that?!
The Third Reich ain't got nuttin on us, suckas!
Of course, it is our war criminal leaders who deserve to rot in jail - not these poor sadistic schleps doing the grunt work of suckin and fuckin and beatin and torturin and maimin and killin. This dude is just another peon in the modern war state that is today's America.
And I have no idea what kind of pressure the judge and prosecutor were under to let this case slide - I suspect a lot. Doesn't make it right, of course, I'm just acknowledging that things can be different than they appear to the casual observer.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Place was decent. Nice club, but music sucked.
The end of the night saw me not getting involved in a brawl - attempting to stop it like I might have in the past, but have since decided to let fools go about their business - and I seen this dude get KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT. Cold.
It was a punk move because this one cat sucker-punched the other dude, who never saw it coming. I mean, we've got cowardice in the club, cowardice in left-Academia, cowardice in the Right-wingnut-osphere. Sheesh. Stop the madness.
I was worried the dude might be dead, but he woke up in a few minutes. And then his boys went on the stereotypical, "Oh my God! I'm gonna kill that motherfucker!" rampage. I wanted to tell them - "listen, you stupid fucks, what the fuck did you think was gonna happen?" Fuckin idiots.
In any case, club cowardice is a big problem - for clubs, for the police and the courts, and even for innocent bystanders who often get caught up in the mix and are injured when the fists start flying. I have a solution - Fight Club. My middle school wrestling coach, upon finding out that any two kids were talkin shit to one another, would force them into the ring - mano a mano - where they would proceed to beat the fuck out of each other - using only legal wrestling moves. If one guy was a heavyweight (say, 180 lbs) and the other guys was not a heavyweight (say, 130 lbs), then my coach would make them wrestle anyways. After the little kid got his ass kicked (usual) - the coach would jump in the ring (at 150 lbs or so), and proceed to wrap the heavyweight up like a pretzel. The heavyweight would almost be in tears when the coach got done manhandling him, and then you knew there weren't going to be any more problems from those guys. Similarly, I'd like to separate men from the boys, the brave from the merely shit-talking. If you talk shit, be sure about yourself, because someone might tell you they want to take it to the ring. You'll either have to man up or back down. It's all legal - no more sucker punches, no more lawsuits, no more police/court/lawyer involvement, no more injured innocent bystanders, none of that shit - instead, you take it to the ring. It's either boxing, or Ultimate, or Fight Club-like, but it's a better alternative. No more club violence, no more guns. You want a little east coast vs. west coast? Take it to the ring. No more dead Tupacs and Biggies.
On second thought - I can see where this type of thing could lead to a whole new machismo thing, with muscled-up gangs roaming the streets, terrorizing all in their paths. Maybe not such a hot idea after all.
Posted by Peter at Monday, January 23, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
All the Trini haters of Belafonte need to get a grip. This cat is a lot more than a Kaiso/Calypso-type singer - he's a true hero. This kid is all over the place - speaking truth to power. More like this, please:
Entertainer Harry Belafonte, one of the Bush administration's harshest critics, compared the Homeland Security Department to the Nazi Gestapo on Saturday and attacked the president as a liar.
'We've come to this dark time in which the new Gestapo of Homeland Security lurks here, where citizens are having their rights suspended,' Belafonte said in a speech to the annual meeting of the Arts Presenters Members Conference.
'You can be arrested and not charged. You can be arrested and have no right to counsel,' said Belafonte.
Belafonte's remarks on Saturday _ part of a 45-minute speech on the role of the arts in a politically changing world _ were greeted with a roaring standing ovation from an audience which included singer Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, and members of the arts community from several dozen countries.
Rock on, Harry.
Posted by Peter at Sunday, January 22, 2006
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Who knows if bin Laden is still alive or not, much less whether he's issuing peace treaties from a dark cave in Tora Bora, but I wanted to read what was supposedly written, and finding it was not easy. I finally stumbled upon a couple of sites, Jihad Unspun and Information Clearinghouse, both of which I'd known about, or at least heard about. I thought for sure that Juan Cole would have either done a translation or at least pointed to one, but maybe he's been too intimidated by his school, the U.S. government, and the right-wing wackos who, I would guess, continue to threaten his life.
From Jihad Unspun, here is one translation of what was supposedly said in the bin Laden tape:
In The Name Of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.
My message to you is about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the way to end it. I was not intending to speak about this subject, because for us it’s obvious; blood for blood, and all praise be to Allah, our situation is getting better and better while your situation is the opposite.
What motivated me to speak out is the repeated fallacies made up by your president Bush commenting on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he (Bush) has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that “it is better to fight them (Muslims) on their land than their fighting us (Americans) on our land”.
My response to these great fallacies is this. I say that the war in Iraq is boiling up without end and the operations in Afghanistan are continuing in our favor, all praise be to Allah. And the Pentagon’s numbers declare the rise in the death and injuries toll, needless to mention the grave material loss and the mental defeat of the soldiers and the mounting number of suicides among them. So you can imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts a soldier as he gathers the remains of his colleagues after they stepped on land mines that tore them apart. After this situation the soldier is caught between two hard options. He either refuses to leave his camp and is dogged by punishments handed out by the Vietnam Butcher (American army) or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation ignores him. The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell.. The solution is in your hands if these soldiers matter to you.
However, the news about our Mujahideen brothers is quiet different from what the Pentagon publishes. What is published in the media is not the truth or the reality on the ground. What makes the doubts greater is the information leaked out about the intentions of the White House administration in targeting media stations that are trying to publish some of the truth. Documents have surfaced lately about how the world’s freedom butcher (Bush) had intended to bomb the offices of Al Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Afghanistan and Baghdad.
On the other hand, Jihad is continuing, all praise be to Allah, despite all the atrocities committed by the American army and its agents; to a point where there is no differentiation between its crimes and those of Saddam’s. Its crimes have reached the degree of raping women and taking them as hostages instead of their husbands. As for torturing men, they have used burning chemical acids and drills on their joints. And when they give up on (interrogating) them, they sometimes use the drills on their heads until they die. Read, if you will, the Human Rights Watch reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram prisons.
Let me say, despite all the sadistic means used, they did not break the sharp blade of the resistance or the Mujahideen, all praise be to Allah. Instead the resistance is rising stronger. All the reports show that the defeat and grave failure for the cursed quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Declaring this defeat is only a matter of time, partly due to how much awareness the American people have about the magnitude of their misery.
The wise among you know that Bush does not have a plan to reach his alleged victory in Iraq. If you would compare the small number of deaths when Bush announced his fake declaration on top of the airplanes’ carrier; the termination of the grand operations, with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.
This takes me back to the original subject, I say that results of polls please those who are sensible, and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he (Bush) claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of (our) energies. At the same time, the Mujahideen, all praise be to Allah, have managed repeatedly to penetrate all security measures adopted by the unjust allied countries. The proof of this is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition.
As for the delay in similar operations in America, is not because of the inability to pierce your security measures. Operations are in preparation and you will see them in your own homeland as soon as they are ready, Allah willing.
Bush’s falsehoods have been laid bare. However, the one thing that went over his head, which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops is this: “It is better that we (Americans) don't fight Muslims on their lands and that they don't fight us on ours.”
We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution that prevents wasting billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars that makes clear the insistence by Bush and his gang to carry on with war.
If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book "Rogue State," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."
Finally, I tell you that the victory in this war is either ours or yours. If it’s is ours, you will be disgraced and this is the direction it is headed, all praise be to Allah. And if it was the latter, then read history and you will know that we are a nation that does not sleep on defeat, and that we will seek revenge for ever, and that the days and nights will not pass until we revenge, like we did on September 11, Allah willing. And you will continue to live in disgrace and fear and in the end you will be defeated.
As for us we have nothing to loose. He who swims in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our land, you have attacked our honor and dignity, you have spilled our blood, stolen our wealth, destroyed our homes and you have shattered our security. And we will give you the same treatment.
You have tried to prevent us from living with dignity, but you won’t be able to prevent us from dying with dignity. Sitting down and leaving Jihad behind in our religion is a great sin that we fear. And dying under the shade of the swords is the best that we wish for. Do not be deceived with your power and your armaments, it can only make you win some battles but you will loose the war. Patience and standing fast is better than what you have, and it’s the finish line that you should be watching for.
We were patient fighting the Soviet Union with small humble arms for ten years and we depleted their economy till they vanished, all praise be to Allah. You should take a lesson from that, we will be patient fighting you, Allah willing, till either one of us dies. We will never run away from fighting you until the end.
I swore that I will not die except free…. despite the bitter taste of death.
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.
Osama bin Laden
19 Thw al-Hijjah 1426 A.H.
January 19, 2006
I realize that I am jeopardizing my life by publishing words that Eric Alterman and President Bush may not approve of, but I believe that I am acting in full accordance of the Constitution, particularly with respect to the First Amendment.
Free speech in this country is under serious threat, folks. Just ask Sherman Austin of Raise the Fist.
UPDATE: I picked up Rogue State - the book that Osama recommended (in the text above) Americans read, if you believe that was is written above is an accurate transcript of whatever video was shown on Arab tv. So far, it's awesome.
Hat tip: Salon.com - The bin Laden book club.
Posted by Peter at Saturday, January 21, 2006