Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oh, Snap! The San Francisco Marathon

The San Francisco Marathon currently has a flash video up on its home page. In case it doesn't stay there, try this.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Puerto Ricans Protest Against FBI

FBI terrorizing Puerto Ricans.

Iraq Vet Accused of Stabbing Wife 71 Times

Iraq War keeps coming home:

Spc. Brandon Bare, 19, of Wilkesboro, N.C., was charged with premeditated murder and indecent acts related to the mutilation of his wife's remains.


Bare had returned to Fort Lewis from Iraq in April to recuperate from cuts and internal ear injuries in a grenade attack on his Stryker brigade unit in Mosul. He was there as a machine-gunner with the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

His wife, Nabila Bare, 18, was killed July 12.

"The murder was premeditated, deliberate and savage," prosecutor Capt. Scott DiRocco said in January during Bare's Article 32 hearing, similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian court. "He did not stop after he killed her."

Bare's lawyer said there was nothing to show the killing was planned.

"What this looks like ... is an act of rage, or some sort of other unexplainable act," defense attorney Capt. Patrick O'Brien said.

Witnesses testified that Bare had enrolled in treatment programs for anger management and combat stress after his return from Iraq. He had said he was having trouble controlling his anger and didn't like his wife going out and partying, said Michael Collins, a nurse and case manager at Madigan Army Medical Center.

A day before his wife was found dead in the couple's kitchen, Bare told his rear detachment commander Capt. Mickey Traugutt that he was taking a new prescription that made it hard to get up and that he had missed a treatment.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Author Sentenced... (post removed)

I posted about David Irving, but cannot confirm the account I found at ravingatheist.com. Not sure what proper protocol is, other than to admit the mistake and attempt to get at the truth. Will re-post if we find the account to be factual, and will update on our results, regardless.

UPDATE: It seems I was fooled by a rather lame attempt at satire. I knew the post was coming from an atheist site, and the headline made obvious ('Author Sentenced for Denying Extermination of Christ-Deniers') that we were in for a biting, hopefully-funny, put-down of the crazies who support the anti-free speech laws like the one that put Irving in jail - but I never suspected that the entire blog was satire. I'm used to seeing all kinds of satire in The Onion and on individual blogs with both truthful and satirical posts, but I don't think I've ever seen a blog make up quotes to make a point, much less quotes that aren't obviously satire, and mix those fake quotes in with real quotes. The blog didn't seem like a satire site - the couple of other posts I surveyed seemed to be legit. I saw that the second paragraph used a quote that had made its way around the world over the past few days - it looked like the same one I'd read at least 20 times in many national publications. And then, apparently, the author of the post threw in a fabricated quote. Do what? Here's the offending graph:

The tough sentence, which came after a one-day trial and was based on statements made in 1989, was welcomed by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. "While Irving's rants would not have led to legal action in the United States, it is important that we recognize and respect Austria's commitment to fighting Holocaust denial," said the center's associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper. "We must never forget the evil of punishing people merely because of what they believe."

The first sentence of this paragraph seemed factually correct to me. The italicized text is lifted straight from the Simon Wiesenthal Center's press release on the Irving conviction and sentencing - I actually checked that, but I was already very familiar with it, as mentioned above. The AP must have used it in their copy that went out over the wire. The bolded text is completely fabricated - I didn't check that until after I'd blogged about this post.

Bad satire is...bad. It clogs the internet with bad information, which wastes my time. Good satire is obvious - it does not mix-in actual facts and quotes with fabricated facts and quotes in a non-obvious fashion. If an author doubts their own satirical skills or the ability of their audience to ascertain wholly-made-up quotes from actual quotes in a highly-ironic story, then that post should be marked as 'satire'. I think the satirical skills, here, were lacking in the extreme. This Irving case is highly ironic in its true form, alone - without the fabricated quote. We have people punishing other people just for their beliefs - just like the Nazis (or so one could reasonably make the argument). It's the old 'Al Gore invented the internet' line all over again - straight-up disinformation. The Bush Presidency pumps out headlines nearly every day that could be considered satire, but they're actually true. The blog post we referenced was unique in that it managed to mix in an actual quotes with a fake quote in order to convince at least one blogger for at least a little while that Rabbi Abraham Cooper (an actual person who actually commented on the story) had actually said something slightly more ridiculous than he actually did say. Wack.

How to Pick a President

Sarah Vowell on how to pick a President:

Bonhomie, as our ex-cronies the French call it, should have its limits. Seems as if American voters picked the current president because they thought he'd be a fun hang at a cookout — a jokey neighbor who charred a mean burger and is good at playing Frisbee with his dog. What we should be doing is electing a president with the nitpicky paranoia you'd use to choose a cardiologist — a stunted conversationalist with dark-circled eyes and paper-cut fingertips who will stay up until 3 tearing into medical journals in five languages trying to figure out how to save your life.

Who's First to Applaud the Breakup of Iraq?

Just curious who's going to come out publicly for it, first. Republicans? Neocons? Journalists? Liberals? Fuckayama? Who?

I got on the bandwagon a few months ago - called it - the true intentions of Bushco, that is - but who's actually going to come out and say "the breakup of Iraq is a good thing"? Fox and other media are already heralding the onset of full-scale civil war - so it probably won't make a splash when they go over to "this is what we wanted", but still - who's going to be the first to float it? Probably one of the usual suspects - someon on Fox. Someone over at the Bush apology corner - 'the corner'.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Jack Abramoff: Terrorist?

Maybe not, but it sure seems like Abramoff's got some terrorist ties:

Today we spend the hour with legendary South African editor and reporter, Allister Sparks on wiretapping and torture. He knew it well in apartheid South Africa. He talks about what it means for the U.S. today. And what does Jack Abramoff have to do with South Africa? In the 1980s, he was head of the pro-apartheid International Freedom Foundation in Washington. His counterpart in South Africa: Craig Williamson. Sparks sat on the Truth and Reconciliation hearings next to the man who lost his wife and daughter to a letter bomb that Williamson was involved in sending.

This Allister Sparks dude seems like the real deal. Here's an article on him as guest visiting professor at UNC.

It’s About the Oil

Ted Koppel - on board with us conspiracy theorists.

Joe Canada: Asshole

Is there any other way to describe this dude after his outrageous behaviour? It's pretty unbelievable what people will do to get some attention - even at the expense of others. Just another lesson that 'liberals' can be assholes - even 'evil', too.

myspace: the movie

This thing is hilarious. Tellin' ya - this filmmaking thing is blowing up.

Digital cameras are making it easier and easier for regular people to start making quality movies, and the success of films such as Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' are driving indy flick development - especially in these repressive times.

Even folks in the hood are getting in on the act. While these 'street documentaries' are very troublesome on a bunch of levels, they may also help some white folks realize how awful the ghettos really are - and do one of two things - either:
1) convince white folks that black folks are animals, or
2) help white folks to understand the desperation and hopelessness and terrorism that black folks are faced with from their earliest days.

Let's hope it's the latter...

My Future, Always Uncertain, Now Has Value

Not sure why I'm often reminded of this phrase from Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, but it does come back to me often. Might be part of that whole 'carpe diem' speech I give myself every few days. That part in the book is just slightly more awesome than the rest of the book, which is awesome - here are two graphs (pp. 224-5):

On the other side of the rise, bodies and vehicles are everywhere. The wind blows. I assume this is what remains of an Iraqi convoy that had stopped for the night. Twelve vehicles--either troop carriers and four supply trucks--are in a cirle. Men are gathered dead around what must have been their morning or evening fire. This is disturbing, not knowing what meal they were eating. I am looking at an exhibit in a war museum. ZBut there are no curators, no docents, no benefactors with their names chiseled into marble. The benefactor wish to remain anonymous.


The sand surrounding me is smoky and charred. I feel as though I've entered the mirage. The dead Iraqis are poor company, but the presence of so much death reminds me that I've alive, whatever awaits me to the north. I realize I may never again be so alive. I can see everything and nothing--this moment with the dead men has made my past worth living and my future, always uncertain, now has value.

If you haven't read it yet - or seen the movie - I highly recommend both, though the book, for me, was better - because it had all of Swofford's kick-ass prose in it. You totally feel like you're right there, in that brutal desert, when you're reading it.

Welcome to The Suck.

Another Day in the Empire

A damn good blog. Add it to your 'every day must read' list. Good stuff.

UPDATE: I read a few more posts of this dude's and it's all crap. First, let's start with a post that I knew about but thought the author would correct once I alerted him to the fact that the information he was relying on for his critique was known to be bad:

However, after reading Emma Brockes interview with Chomsky (published in the Guardian), my disenchantment with “the world’s top public intellectual” (according to Prospect magazine) has increased exponentially.

The Guardian apologized to Chomsky for (we believe, deliberately) misrepresenting his views, and they withdrew the article from their website (as you can see first-hand if you click on the link in the quoted text from the post, above). So, any critique of Chomsky based on the false and misleading information in that interview should be withdrawn, too - obviously. Our letter to the author of the blog, 'Another Day in the Empire', Kurt Nimmo, has gone unanswered (we found his email address from the internet, the paypal link, something).

We next found another post on Nimmo's blog criticizing Chomsky (not sure how/why we stumbled upon it), and we took a close look at it. I mean, the dude criticizes Chomsky for being 'disingenuous' like 'Nancy Pelosi'. WTF? I mean, this dude sounded like a more sane version of Justin Raimondo when I first started reading his stuff, but apparently not. Check out some of this post:

...is not surprising, nor are other insights into the disingenuous behavior of Nancy Pelosi, Noam Chomsky, Barbra Streisand, Ralph Nader, and other so-called liberals and Democrats.

Pelosi and Chomsky? This dude is either smokin the crack, or he's just being dishonest. Chomsky may or may not detest Pelosi, specifically - who knows what he thinks about her - but his views on Democrats as 'a business party' (meaning, anti-'regular people') make it difficult to believe he's a big Pelosi fan. He consistently rallies for regular working-class people and against elites like Pelosi. Is that what makes Chomsky 'disingenuous' like Pelosi? That he rails on people like her?

And Chomsky's descriptions of 'liberals' as relatively 'statist' are hardly compliments - considering that Chomsky is an anarchist - an 'anti-statist', if you will. Does bashing statist liberals make one disingenuous?

This blog even parrots the now-discredited right-wing smear about Michael Moore owning Halliburton stock. Pathetic.

People can say what they want to say and criticize who they want to criticize - even Chomsky, even Moore, whatever - but they should be honest about it. The whole right-wing/lying/smearing thing is not good for our society. People deserve the truth. And reading 'Another Day in the Empire' will not give them access to it.

Unfortunate, but true.

UPDATE: We've since gone back to reading Another Day in the Empire. Yes, it lied and mispresented and all that, but we think more of it was due to laziness, bad sourcing, and stupidity than intentional mendacity (lying). Unfortunately, Another Day in the Empire is one of the very few blogs on the net that we've found with relatively decent writing, and semi-independent thinking. There's just not enough folks out there willing to say what their neighbors aren't comfortable hearing - Nimmo does at least that much, and that's valuable. Kind of like Drudge - lots of mendacity and bad information, but at least he puts it out there.

Ask A Mexican

I like anything that can talk frankly about racism in this fucked up country. And if it hurts some feelings, well better that than letting racism go unchallenged.

America, Narcoleptic Pit Bull

It's pretty shocking to see an outright anti-Bush, anti-GOP article in a major newspaper - even if it is in San Francisco.

Republicans Even In San Francisco

Rent control is a controversial issue, but I know one issue which is not controversial:

And although she's grateful for her pending settlement and the legal help she got from the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, she knows a few extra thousand dollars and a few extra months will go only so far with her Social Security payments of $500 a month.

'It's just so brutal -- I'll be 68 this year. Why did they have to buy this place?' she asks with a sigh. 'Can you tell people, if anyone has a one-bedroom they're renting ... I have a cat but I'm very reliable.'

You don't kick little, old ladies out of their houses when they're 68 years old and living off of a $500 a month Social Security check.

Justice Department Intimidating News Reporters

Hilarious. These guys are true gangsters - the Justice Deparment, that is. Some CEO's got pissed that these financial newspapers would have the audacity to print some truth about their corrupt businesses - so the Justice Deparment was called in - not on the companies, but on the reporters! Totally. Awesome.

Florida To Stop Killing Kids

They also say they are going to stop beating, punching, and otherwise manhandling the kids. Why would they stop? I mean, it sounds like they got a good thing going down there, right? I mean, if a kid goes to juvenile he pretty much deserves to get brutalized and killed, right? Laws are laws, sure - and common human decency and human rights and blah blah blah - but these are predominantly black kids - so none of that shit counts, right?

RIM Apologists Scurrying

The powers that be are out in force to make something happen. Bush already ordered that the patents be overturned, but that might not be enough to keep RIM from having to pay for the technology they stole. Why do Congresscritters even care? For a couple of reasons - one, RIM has been lobbying (bribing) Congresscritters for years now, and Congresscritters actually use these crappy little devices and they're tired of getting complaints from other RIM users.

Will justice be served, or will Bush manage to reverse the laws of this land once again?

UPDATE: Judge gives RIM ultimatum - says to settle.

Or, is it the other way around? Who knows for sure.

One thing is pretty clear, though - RIM and the Congresscritters it has in its pockets are trying put this decision on the judge. They don't think the judge has the intestinal fortitude to make this decision - to shut down the RIM service. It's basically like overturning Row v. Wade in the capitalist system - there will be lots of unhappy Congresscritters and uber-rich elites who bribe them. Let's see if the judge has what it takes. Really - the American judicial system - as incredibly corrupt as it is, is the one thing that separates America from Liberia - a judge can bring an elite to his/her knees if he/she so chooses. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

UPDATE: This article, which quotes the judge in the case, seems to align with my contention that RIM was purposely putting it on the Judge to make the decision to shut down the RIM service. Apparently, the judge is not happy. He wants a big promotion from daddy Bush, but daddy Bush ain't gonna be too happy if the judge shuts down RIM. So, what's a judge to do? Give RIM more time, a little polite scolding, and pray to God that RIM executives find Christ and settle the case, to save this judge's career. Here's some of the judge's riot act/pleading:

The hallmark of sanity is that one remains firmly tethered to reality.

And one unfortunate reality for RIM, and one that they would just as soon forget or ignore, is that in this very courtroom there was a trial, a jury was selected, a trial was carried out for a period of weeks, and evidence was received, and the jury heard arguments from some of the best legal talents that money can buy. And when all was said and done, they decided that RIM had infringed NTP's patent, and that the infringement was willful.

The jury consisted of 12 men and women, tried and true citizens of this district, and I can assure you that the citizens of this judicial district and the Commonwealth of Virginia are not foolish or frivolous when it comes to the matter of fixing legal liability. After all of the appeals, the petitions, the politics, the lobbying, this central truth, this reality of the jury verdict has not changed in any essential or substantive way.

So here we are on remand with very clear direction from the federal circuit...two legal issues to be resolved, damages in light of the Federal Circuit's opinion, and whether or not injunctive relief is appropriate; and a sub-issue is what is the appropriate scope of such injunctive relief. And I think at least every lawyer sitting in here today understands the rules and standards that must be applied by the court to come to a legal conclusion regarding these legal issues. And I have been doing this for almost 20 years, and my approach will be no different in this case than any other cases I have had to similarly resolve.

I must say I am surprised, absolutely surprised, that you have left this incredibly important and significant decision to the court. I've always thought that this, in the end, was really a business decision. And yet you have left the decision in the legal arena, and that's what you're going to get, a legal decision.

I can discern from reading the pleadings and preparing for this hearing that a legal decision, a court imposed solution, will be imperfect. The legal squabbling will continue, RIM's business will continue, in plain words the case should have been settled. But it hasn't. So I have to deal with that reality.

I must admit I was somewhat surprised at RIM's argument, which seems to me to be inconsistent on the one hand, that if the court was to impose an injunction, that it would have a catastrophic effect and the very foundation of western civilization would be shaken by wireless e-mail or the absence of it. ...

In other words, the judge is saying:

I really, really, really want this promotion, so can you RIM guys please settle this? Pretty please?

Kinda pathetic. But, we'll see...

UPDATE: The gangsters at RIM have decided to settle. I guess they knew the judge was gonna end up putting the smack-down on them. And they got pressure from their customers to do something. Their payoffs to congresscritters with influence over USPTO had no effect in the end. Suckers.

James Boo'ed

Unbelievable. Would a white player have been boo'ed just the same? I doubt it.

A player deserves to be boo'ed if he's dogging it - not if he's just having a terrible game. I wasn't there, and I didn't see it, but I didn't hear about any dogging going on, so shame on Cavaliers fans. Losers.

The NBA plays too many games, anyways.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Chomsky Lecture To Be Simulcast

Chomsky is going to be getting busy in Missouri on Monday, February 27, at 7 PM CST, that's 5 PM PST:

After selling out the Missouri Theatre, Noam Chomsky’s lecture at 7 p.m. Monday will be simulcast at locations around campus.

Jonthon Coulson, the event’s organizer, said the lecture would be shown at Stotler Lounge. He said it also might be shown at Waters Auditorium. He said students should go to Stotler Lounge first, and they would be directed from there.

Coulson said the lecture would be broadcast on KOPN/89.5 FM and Mizzou Cable’s channels 98 and 99. He said the lecture eventually also would be screened on public access television.

Chomsky, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also is scheduled to lecture on linguistics at 4 p.m. Monday in Ellis Auditorium. That event also is free and open to the public.

He'll also be at SUNY-Binghamton - or, BU - on Monday, March 4, 7 pm EST, or 4 pm PST.

Was hoping I could hear both of these speeches in real-time, but doesn't look possible right now...

UPDATE: I thought 'simulcast' meant 'over the internet'. I was wrong. Sh*t.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bring 'Em Home Now Anti-War Concert

Good shit:

The anti-war movement just got a whole lot cooler. Billboard.com reported yesterday that R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, Bright Eyes, Devendra Banhart, Rufus Wainwright, Fischerspooner, Public Enemy's Chuck D, and Peaches have signed on for the 'Bring 'Em Home Now' benefit concert, which will take place at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on March 20. It will commemorate the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and will raise funds for Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace.

Activist mom Cindy Sheehan will speak at the show, setting the stage for her 15-date April speaking tour with authors yet to be announced. Jaeane Garofalo's Air America Radio show 'The Majority Report' will broadcast live from the concert and will run interviews with its artists.

Fischerspooner's Casey Spooner told Billboard, 'We have been at war for three years. One desperately feels the need for someone to speak some sort of truth, either poetic or factual.'

Whether or not performing electroclash songs while dressed up as extras from the musical Cats will bring about such truth remains to be seen.

* Iraq Veterans Against the War: http://www.ivaw.net/
* Veterans for Peace: http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

Been waiting for our musicians to step it up - not to diss any of these artists, who I know have been working to remove Bush and stop war for many years now.

Alterman Defends Bennett, The Racist

Pretty unbelievable:

That thing Bill Bennett said about abortion, which was just fine in context, I thought

Or, not. This is Eric Alterman we're talking about here - not exactly a black person's best friend. Not necessarily a black person's worst enemy, either, but still.

Bennett's 'about all black babies' comment may have been technically true - but his intent was racist - implying that black babies are predisposed to commit crimes.

The other thing that struck me about the comment was that he would never have been able to get away with saying 'white babies', as opposed to 'black babies'. There would have been an uproar. Too many white people in America claim not to be racists, but there is 'KKK racism' (the kind that Robert Byrd used to participate in) and there is 'passive racism', where whites just accept bad things that happen to blacks because those white people are 'passively racist' - they don't think of blacks as being fully-qualified human beings - i.e. 'passively racist' white people don't see black people as people, but as some human-like things less deserving of all the human rights which all humans deserve.

Not trying to hate - just speaking the truth - with love. I'm far from perfect, too - but I'm not about to defend racist Republicans who call for the elimination of the black race.


This is the first I've heard of P2OG - Rumsfeld's Proactive Preemptive Operations Group.

Recall the remarks of an anonymous senior military officer on April 22, 2004, declaring a spate of bombings in Basra had “all the hallmarks” of “al-Qaeda.” Several months later, two British “undercover soldiers” wearing “traditional Arab headscarves” were caught red-handed by Iraqi National Guard “driving a booby trapped car loaded with ammunition.”

Cay you say, C.I.A.?

UPDATE: More details on Pentagon's own terrorist organization.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rape Academy

Whether this dude is guilty or not is anybody's guess at this point, but the culture of rape, humiliation, and abuse at our nation's top military schools is undeniable. It seems Clinton and Bush are all-too eager to let the raping and brutalizing continue. Maybe a female President will change things? I doubt it, but you never know.

Chomsky vs. Dershowitz: The Verdict

The verdict? Dershowitz folds like a wet paper bag. Well, you already knew that. But to make his humiliation complete, some fine person went back to the video and checked Chomsky's sources - and they all check out (the Herbrew sources have not been verified yet - apparently, the fact checker doesn't speak Hebrew - we'll have to get on him/her for that).

Read the whole post for more info on the juvenile behaviour of Dershowitz. Why is Dershowitz such a whiner? See "Dershowitz's History With Chomsky" here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Michael Morales Scheduled to Be Executed on February 21st

Austria is putting in jail for saying something they don't agree with, and America is just killing people. What the fuck?

I don't know or care what Michael Morales did, nor do I know or care if he is remorseful or not - the state should never execute a man, period.

Brightpath Video is supposed to be streaming the event, which could be helpful to the cause, but I suspect Arnold won't stop it. It could hurt him amongst racist white voters - which is all he's got.

All I can think of is something I heard Sy Hersh say: Civil breach. Basically, U.S. citizens are fed up and one of these days are going to 'take it to the streets'. The U.S. government will temporarily lose its ability to control us, and it won't be just in the inner-city streets - it'll be in downtown New York City, downtown Atlanta, downtown Chicago and Kansas City, and other places.

UPDATE: Holy shit - execution delayed. Maybe Arnold's folks suspected the same thing I did.

UPDATE: From the Drudgery, execution delayed indefinitely.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Eric Alterman: 1 Free Speech: 0

Welcome to this week's episode of 'The State Determines What Is The Truth'.

UPDATE: Blowback?

UPDATE: This is really fuckin sickening stuff. I mean, they just jailed this dude. Don't agree with the government? FUCK YOU. JAIL, MOTHERFUCKER!

Look at Irving now, seemingly trying to backtrack:

"I said that then, based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn't saying that anymore and I wouldn't say that now," he said.

"The Nazis did murder millions of Jews," added Irving, who addressed the court in fluent German.

But who knows what he actually believes now? And who cares? It's just such a pathetic sight. Can you imagine yourself, about to walk into a U.S. court, for your sentencing, and you're forced to say, "I know I said Bush was an asshole sixteen years ago! I know it! I said it! But that was a long time ago! Since I've come across the Fox News Channel, I realize how wrong I was! As soon as I discovered Fox News I wasn't saying that anymore, and I wouldn't say that now!"

UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLY HORRIBLE. And YOUR FUCKING FRIENDS, like Eric Alterman, APPROVE of this SHIT. How the fuck did we get here? Fuckin 'liberals', man. Gangster Nazi Totalitarian fucks.

I'll end with a quote of something Chomsky wrote on the matter:

It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers.

Learn, you fuckin fucks, before it's too late.

UPDATE: Good point:

A few Austrians, such as Lothar Hobelt, an associate professor of history at the University of Vienna, believe it should never have been set up at all.

"This is a silly law by silly people for silly people," he said.

"In fact, having a law that says you mustn't question a particular historical instance, if anything, creates doubt about it, because if an argument has to be protected by the force of law, it means it's a weak argument."

Is the argument so weak that the government has to stop people from talking about it in the 'correct' way?

UPDATE: IRAN calls 'the West' hypocritical on freedom of expression. Jesus.

Even a wingnut agrees with the ACLU and Chomsky on this - holy shit! Eric Alterman - defend your position, son!

Dissident Voice points out that it's OK to insult Muslims, but insulting Jews is against the law.

Australia-based email/news service Crikey thinks free speech is a good thing:

It cannot be said too often that a belief in free speech means defending the rights of people we disagree with. Those whose views are agreeable to the majority are never in much danger. Free speech must protect bigoted, wrong-headed and offensive speech, or it protects nothing.

That is why the three-year jail sentence handed down overnight in Austria on Holocaust-denier David Irving is so disturbing. It would be hard to find a clearer case of penalising someone purely on the basis of their opinions.


One of Irving's strongest opponents, Deborah Lipstadt, whom he unsuccessfully sued for libel in 2000, put it very well: "I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don't believe in winning battles via censorship", she told the BBC. "The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth."

Austria's laws against Holocaust denial, like Germany's, were an emergency measure enacted shortly after World War II. The threat of a Nazi revival could then be reasonably regarded as a "clear and present danger" that would override concerns about free speech. But to make the same argument today is just nonsense.

"Free David Irving" doesn't have the same sort of cachet that, say, "Free Nelson Mandela" had. But while he stays in jail, Europe's claim to be the home of free speech will ring hollow.

Holocaust author says free speech is a good thing - 'The ironies of history are seldom subtle.'

New Zealand Prime Minister says Austrians probably went 'too far'.

UPDATE: Globe and Mail bashes. Part 2.

Articles like these make me think that nobody cares to remember that more than just Jews died in the Holocaust. 6 million Jews. 12 million or so, total. Who were the other 6 million? They don't exist, apparently. Does this author of this this referenced Independent article get jailed, now?

Another prominent Erving opponent comes to the defense of...Erving?

Not all members of the Jewish community were as convinced by the sentence. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, director of the Jewish Information and Media Service, questioned whether Irving should have been jailed. "I welcome yet another public rebuff for David Irving's pseudo-historical views, although personally I prefer to treat him with disdain rather than with imprisonment.

UPDATE: This case makes me wonder - will Saddam still be entitled to a trial? And after he's convicted, will Iraq pass a law against denying the Kurd genocide? And will I, Peter Smith, go to jail for claiming that there was, indeed, a genocide committed by the United States of America, in Vietnam, and that President Lyndon Johnson was the commander of that genocide? Two to four million civilians. I know - it's not quite six or twelve million, but it's a high enough number where I suspect the U.S. government would rather have me in jail than running around repeating it.

The Austrian Embassy gets letters:

That law should be overturned immediately and he should be released immediately! Freedom of speech!

Quoting Chomsky:

"It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers."

The Austrian President gets something, too (almost identical - this is to an email address which permits a 'subject' line):

Subject: Sir, that law is a travesty. Free Irving immediately, and repeal that law!

That law should be overturned immediately and Irving should be released
immediately! Freedom of speech!

Quoting Chomsky:

"It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust to
adopt a central doctrine of their murderers."

UPDATE: I Think As I Please:

I think as I please
And this gives me pleasure.
My conscience decrees,
This right I must treasure.
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator,
No man can deny —
Die gedanken sind frei.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Udland Jyllands-Posten

The title to this post is the name of the Danish (Denmark) newspaper that printed the anti-Muslim cartoons. Here is what the editor had to say during a subsequent interview:

Absolutely not. That's not our newspaper's attitude. It's not any newspaper's attitude. We have a set of ethical guidelines that require us to be considerate of people, of minorities, etc, and we viewed these drawings in that light. Even now, when I look at those drawings I still ask myself: 'How in the world could anybody react so dramatically to what for me are simple, commonplace, and harmless cartoons?'

I kid you not. The dude really is, apparently, that much of an asshole.

My interest in this racism was recently renewed when another editor-type, presumably from the same paper, maybe the guy who actually 'pulled the trigger', so to speak, got some space in the WaPo for pushing his tired defense. He listed his email address, so I wrote letters, despite how tired I am of writing to such crude people:

To: flemming.rose@jp.dk

There are serious flaws with just about every piece of 'evidence' you put forth to support your decision to recklessly publish those anti-Muslim/Islam images. Trying to latch onto totalitarianism? You gotta be kidding me, man. You sound like Bush - talkin about 'freedom' and 'democracy' - it's all hollow.

Let me cite just one example of flimsy evidence from your weak defense: the museum that didn't want to 'rile things up' in England. First, that museum was an equal-opportunity religion basher. Had you printed cartoons of the 'Pope sucking the penis of a little boy', next to the anti-Muslim cartoons, I suspect that the often-violent response we're seeing around the world would not be limited to Muslims, but all sorts of Christians, too. Second, you seem to suggest as a bad thing a newspaper choosing to not print something that would incite worldwide violence. Are you really that irresponsible? I guess you thought you were safe up there in good 'ol Denmark, but there are these other places in the world that, you know, have those Muslim folks there - and the people in those places actually have to live with Muslims - close by, next door and stuff. Comprende?

It was irresponsible in the extreme. You should own up to it, finally, at long last. I wrote on my world-famous blog (or something) that i was anxiously awaiting the publication/re-printing of the winners of the Iranian anti-Jewish/pro-Holocaust-as-myth winning images - and i still am. Let's see how far this free speech thing really goes. You can make the case for Muslim intimidation - I can make the case for Jewish intimidation, most often occurring here in the United States in the form of the 'anti-Semitic' labeling of any person who disagrees with Israeli policy.

I really feel like maybe you don't 'get it' yet. Let me say this - I supported Chomsky, and still do, when he defended the right of a Holocaust denier to speak his mind without being punished by the state (France). That's a pretty hard-core belief in 'free speech', wouldn't you say? Yet, I would not have, and do not, support your position in publishing those images. It would be akin to a major U.S.-based newspaper running a bunch of cartoons depicting the 'Fun of lynching blacks' - you can imagine what those cartoons would look like. It is, on its face, completely outrageous. Am I getting through yet? I don't walk around the streets of the U.S. pushing the limits of 'free speech' by dropping 'N-bombs' on every black person I see because I'm not racist, but even if I was, I wouldn't do it unless I had a death wish. Do you, sir, have a death wish? Or, perhaps you had a death wish for innocent non-Muslims and Muslims around the world who would be caught up in the violence caused by your decision to recklessly print that garbage?

You should be deeply ashamed of yourself for this horrific thing you've done which has led to so much violence, destruction, and death. Granted, Bushco helped build Muslim passions (and all decent people, one would hope, though that is obviously not the case with you) over the last few years with his systematic rape and torture of Arab and Muslim men, women, and children, but that makes me wonder even more what planet you've been living on. Are you that righteous that you couldn't even begin to understand your role in what was to become this catastrophe? You just had no idea that something like this was going to happen? Have you heard about this thing going on in the Middle East. Ira...Ira....Iraq? Something like that, anyways. Abu...Ab...Abu Grhaib? Is that it? Gua...Guant...Gitmo? Torture? Rape? Murder? Occupation? Heard of any of that sir, or have you been watching Fox News full-time?

It's deeply offensive, this article of yours - suggesting that you were just innocently defending free speech, and freedom from intimidation. And i'm not buying it. Your story doesn't hold water. Don't be a John Rocker - we're not buying it, and we never will. Come clean, now - it's the best way - it's the only way.

You put your email here - good job. I feel bad about all the hate mail you're going to get, but forgive me for not losing sleep over it. You are responsible for this. You had plenty of help, but you are the one who did this. Life is long, though - so there may still be time for you to do some good in the world. Start by coming clean about why you published these cartoons. Come clean about your disregard for the feelings of billions of Muslims around the world. Apologize.

And to think that I've harbored such a positive vision of Denmark, ever since I visited as a teen, to play soccer on your awesome soccer fields. Shame. Shame. Your country is just as bigoted as America.

Looking forward to those 'Holocaust-as-myth' cartoons!

Dude's trying to play righteous and/or dumb. Unreal. Nobody died when John Rocker went on his racist tirade.

UPDATE: Changed 'anti-Muslim articles' in the first line of this post to 'anti-Muslim cartoons'. Thanks to a reader for pointing it out.

UPDATE: What is this wacky Danish newspaper all about, anyways? Raimondo links to a Counterpunch article:

So, let’s look at the guy who started this whole cartoon escapade. He’s Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of the Danish newspaper. In all of the Lexis-Nexis database of stories from the American media on the Mohammed cartoons, there is absolutely no mention of the fact that Rose is a close confederate of arch-Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. Indeed, there is almost no context at all about Rose’s newspaper. On a brief mention in the Washington Post gave a hint at a fact desperately needed to understand the situation. The Post described the affair as “a calculated insult … by a right-wing newspaper in a country where bigotry toward the minority Muslim population is a major, if frequently unacknowledged, problem.

How bad is Pipes? He wants the utter military obliteration of the Palestinians; indeed, from the Muslim world, his racism is about as blatant as that of the Holocaust denying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Pipes’ frequent outbursts of racism -- designed to toss gasoline on the neo-cons’ lust for a wholesale conflict of cultures -- earned him a Bush nomination to the U.S. Institute of Peace, a congressionally funded think tank. Rose came to America to commune with Pipes in 2004, and it was after that meeting the cartoon gambit materialized.

[WaPo link added by moi.]

Holy freakin' racism, batman! Daniel Fuckin Loony-Tunes Pipes?

Now we know what you're all about, Flemming - you fuckin fuck. Are you a neocon now, too, you evil fuck?

UPDATE: More evidence of Flemming Rose's Straussian tactics - provocation.

UPDATE: An article/interview of Flemming Rose's from October 29, 2004, apparently. The man interviewing him is Daniel Pipes, who said this:

"Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene..."

Someone should ask Flemming Rose if he, too, thinks that brown-skinned peoples have lower hygiene standards thatn do Western European societies. Remember, Bush appointed this guy, Pipes, to the US Institute of Peace. Seriously. Even the WaPo called it a 'cruel joke'. The WaPo didn't call it a cruel joke - as most internet postings I ran across seemed to suggest (and I blindly followed suit once I saw the words) - the editorial from the WaPo was just reiterating the feelings of many Muslims. That's different. But I did notice, this second time through the editorial, its title: 'Fueling a Culture Clash'. That is saying the WaPo editorial board is convinced that Bush is purposedly trying to start a War of Civilizations - World War IV. Maybe they didn't mean to go as far as they did.

Bush Hammers Regular Folk - Slowly But Surely

This article from the LA Times shows how the Bushies, through the broad and growing strength of the federal government, is abusing working-class folks on the down-low.


Drudgery points us (careful - Breitbart is some news service put together by a Republican operative dude who runs the Drudge website, so not sure what the quality is yet) to an indy flick called 'Grbavica' - a Bosnian rape drama, that won some top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, which is a pretty big deal in Europe, apparently.

Much I've read recently, from Chomsky and folks at AntiWar.com, suggests that Clinton's war(s) were not for humanitarian purposes at all, but to prove American military strength through NATO, and other nefarious purposes. One problem I have with this is that Chris Hedges, someone whose work I respect tremendously, has stated that he was glad that Clinton bombed Sarajevo. Hedges was there, and he's anti-war, but he still wanted the bombing to happen - I think because he was witnessing all sorts of atrocities on the ground. That counts for a lot to me, so I need to figure out what happened during the Clinton years, besides Monicagate.

Why We Fight - A Film By Eugene Jarecki

Good flick. Definitely a must-see. But I don't like how it gave so much time to Neocons to spit their nonsense unchallenged. All these films are just preaching to the choir, but they're not even converting us. We're left with a false dichotomy - either promote freedom or scale back our military industrial complex. That's what's left by the time this film is over, with the Neocons having had 20 minutes of a 90-minute film to talk about 'democracy' and how great America is for 'doing it' for other countries. It's total bullshit.

There are some people in the film who try to clean up the lies of the neocons, but it's not nearly enough. We've been propagandized with the neocon line for, oh, 5 or so years now - how about a different point of view for once?

I didn't think I'd learn anything - or anything of much importance - in this film, but I did - two very big, very important things:

1) There seems to be a fundamental conflict between capitalism and democracy. I've heard this sentiment expressed before by Socialists and by Chomsky (who probably qualifies as some type of pseudo-socialist, though I really don't know much about his financial/economy thoughts) - I think, and I wasn't sure if I bought into it, this apparent conflict between capitalism and democracy, but I'm starting to buy, now. I believe it was Charles Lewis in the movie who said the 'capitalism vs. democracy' thing, and I respect his opinion. He's been a crusader against politician bribe-taking in both parties for years. He's very much an equal-Party basher - and that's a very good thing, in general. I need to read more on this now - how corporations are tyrannical by nature and how they obviously don't get along well with democracy. I guess it was the extremist lefty-winger (and Republican), Dwight D. Eisenhowever, who most famously expressed that opinion the night before he left the Office of the POTUS.

2) Chalmers Johnson said that the reason the U.S., or any other country, needs oil is because that is the thing that fuels a nation's military - figuratively and literally. Without oil, a nation's military could not function - thus, a nation would be left virtually defenseless, or at a minimum, unable to carry-out its imperialist adventures without great cost. This rings true because that is apparently what forced Japan to attack us at Pearl Harbor - we'd cut off their oil supply, among other things. Japan apparently had a choice of radically changing their foreign policy or going to war with the U.S. and the UK, and they chose war. My reading thus far suggests that President Roosevelt was seeking a way to get the U.S. into the war, and this was how he hoped to do it. Mission accomplished, asshole.

As a footnote to this second 'lesson learned' from the move 'Why We Fight', I have to mention that it was a hard-core, Bush-loving, liberal-hating, Republican that once told me about Pearl Harbor:

Well, they had no choice. We cut off their supply of <something>.

I certainly don't remember what that 'something' was, or maybe I never heard it right in the first place, but I certainly do remember that this guy, a fanatical Republican, said of Japan - a foreign country that viciously attacked the United States of America, where over 2,403 Americans were murdered, of which 68 were civilians - that Japan 'had no choice' but to murder those 2,403 Americans. This was shocking to me for any number of reasons, but to hear a Republican suggest that his own government had some responsibility - from his statement, much if not all of the responsibility - for Pearl Harbor, was quite unbelievable. Because of that Republican, though, I learned something new. Maybe not four years ago, when I first heard it, but now, after it'd been drilled into my head a few more times. I finally got it. I finally get it. What's the lesson, here? Several:
1) Even Republicans speak the truth once in a while.
2) We should not disregard everything a person says because we disagree, in general, with most of what a person says.
3) Activism means drilling a message home, over and over, often over years. Not in a propagandistic way - sometimes it just takes people - people like me - several times of hearing something to start to really consider it. The brainwashing we'd received throughout our lives it tough to overcome. [That's why we need to get into the classrooms and start teaching our children the truth about our history.]

Finally, wanted to mention that Ike had supposedly originally written 'military-industrial-congressional complex' instead of just 'military-industrial complex'. Forget whether this appeared in the movie or not - I think it did. The Wiki says this:

In the penultimate draft of the address, Eisenhower initially used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, indicating the essential role that U.S. Congress plays in propagating the military industry. But, it is said, that the president chose to strike the word congressional in order to avoid offending members of the legislative branch of the federal government. The author of the term was Eisenhower's speech-writer Malcolm Moos.

Here's the director on the Daily Show.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Davis Walks His Talk

Good for him. And I'm glad he beat the bleached-teeth fool for the 1500m, too. Props to the Italian for winning. Props to Davis for offering a big F-U to U.S. Skating.

Italian Official PRINTS T-shirts

Roberto Calderoli, the loser Italian political official who wore the anti-Islam t-shirt on national television, didn't just wear the t-shirt - something the New York Times fails to mention - he actually had them made and distributed:

An Italian government minister says he is distributing T-shirts displaying controversial cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.


The minister is quoted as saying: "I've had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I shall start wearing them today."

The New York Times - voicing the opinion of the powerful and oppressing for over 150 years.

Maher Arar Denied Justice Again

Feel bad for that dude. He really got worked over by this government of ours.

'National Security' is the overused 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card for the U.S. government all the time. Total bullshit.

Detectives 'Getting Serviced' In Prostitution Coverup

More crooked cops. Let's just tell ask it like it is - are there any honest cops left on the beat?

California Bicycle Race

One more reason to love California? Or maybe hate it? Might depend on how much you are offended by a pack of drugged bicyclists cruising by at high speeds, all while making public pronouncements of their innocence, even after they've tested positively for drugs.

Me - I can still enjoy it. Like druggie Ben Johnson once said, (paraphrasing) "it's a level playing field, it's just not the field you thought it was."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Confronting America's Racial Divide

Is it actually possible that television can do some good in the world? Maybe. But really,k on the whole, probably not.

I like how the article mentions the book Black Like Me, though. If you haven't read it yet - do so now. Immediately.

Only in San Francisco

Cafe Gratitude. Or, maybe someplace cool overseas. I tried the 'I AM CHEERFUL':

I AM CHEERFUL live sun burger!
Sprouted pumpkin seed and walnut burger served on a buckwheat-sunflower flatbread with sliced tomato, onion, smokey tomato sauce, cucumber pickles and sprouts. $12
Add cashew cheddar cheese $2

Pretty good. Felt pretty healthy when I was done, too. Long wait, though.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Haiti Reborn

Haiti Reborn. Finally was able to track down some organizations that are trying to help the U.S. from smashing Haiti once again. From their home page:

30 Organizations and 80 Individuals Send Letter to World Bank

On August 30, 2005 thirty organizations and eighty individuals sent a letter to Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, to decry an article published on the World Bank’s website. The letter accuses the World Bank of misleading readers about the current situation in Haiti and the impact of World Bank policies.

The World Bank article, titled “Haiti: One Year Later”, was posted on July 27 under the banner “Haiti’s Recovery, A Year of Progress”, and beginning with the teaser “New schools, roads and jobs are among the chief achievements of the Interim Cooperation Framework.”

The sign-on letter denounces this misrepresentation and provides an alternative analysis by citing reports of various human rights violations committed by the Haitian National Police, the deteriorating economic situation, the politically motivated detentions by the state as well as the massive deficiencies in the electoral process, among others.

The letter denounces, “The World Bank's whitewash of Haiti’s dire situation ,” and calls “upon the World Bank to cease taking sides in Haiti's civil conflict, and to conduct an independent investigation into its own role in helping to destabilize the prior elected, constitutional government.”

The open letter was signed by such organizations as The Robert F.Kennedy Memorial for Human Rights, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and Global Exchange along with such individuals as Noam Chomsky and Paul Farmer.

View the letter in English or French (Kreyol translation forthcoming).

Whitewash? Wolfowitz? Who'd a thunk it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Chomsky On Iran

Quoting the Antiwar.com blog quoting Chomsky:

Q. "Could you think of or imagine any form or shape in which you might support American military action which is taken in anticipation of - like the present justification - of an imminent and dangerous threat to the United States? Can you conceive of any form in which you might support such action?"

NC. "Why don't you generalize it? And say can you conceive of any action which any state might take? Yeah sure, you can imagine such things, i mean let's say you're in Iran right now ... [laughter from crowd] Iran is, uh, I mean there's a real problem, Iran is - first of all Iran is under attack by the world's superpower, with embargoes, this that and the other thing; it's surrounded by states either occupied by its superpower enemy, or having nuclear weapons. A little way down the road, is the regional superpower, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction and is, essentially, an offshore US military base, and has the biggest air force, and technologically most advanced air force in NATO, more than any NATO power (outside the United States), and in the past year, has been supplied by the global superpower with a hundred advanced jet bombers, openly advertised as able to fly to Iran and back to bomb it; and also provided (I'm talking about Israel) [laughter from crowd] with what the Hebrew press calls "special weaponry". Well, nobody knows what that means, but if if you're an Iranian intelligence analyst, you're going to give a worst case analysis of it, of course; and has actually been publicly provided with smart bombs and deep penetration weapons and so on. I mean they have a terrific case for anticipatory self-defense - better than any other case I can think of, but do I approve of it? Like, do I approve of their bombing Israel, or carrying out terrorist acts in Washington or so on? no. Even though they have a pretty strong case. Better than anything I can think of here, just as the Japanese had a much better case than any I can think of here, but I don't approve of Pearl Harbor; so yeah, we can conceive of cases, and in fact, some of them are right in front of our eyes, but none of us approve of them. None of us."

Chomsky goes on to say;

"And in fact, the threat of terror and weapons of mass destruction is very severe, very severe, and the Bush administration, like the Clinton administration, doesn't care about it. In fact, they are acting, consciously, in ways to increase the threat.

Game. Set. Match.

UPDATE: In the above quoted text, the line 'Chomsky goes on to say;' is not Chomsky speaking - that might not have been obvious because blogger.com doesn't deal with quotes of quotes too well. That line was put in place of some text that the AntiWar.com quoter just decided to not quote Chomsky on - we don't think there was anything nefarious there, the original quoter probably just didn't find it interesting. When we watched Chomsky on the tape ourselves, however, we thought that the little bit that was left out was very interesting and valuable:

So if we don't approve of them in real cases which are right in front of our eyes, then why discuss hypothetical cases that don't exist? I mean we can do that in some philosophy seminar somewhere, but in the real world there are real cases that ought to concern us, not hypothetical ones that somebody can invent.

This is hugely important because most of the debate on terrorism coming from the Right posits these ridiculous hypothetical 'what if' scenarios - they've been very in vogue lately when discussing torture, but before the torture debate began to flourish with the Abu Ghraib pictures, the Right was using these hypotheticals as an argument to try to justify the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq. I would love to have been smart/insightful enough to say in response to one of these assinine hypotheticals:

So you approve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? You think it's OK if Iraq wants to bomb New York City, or launch suicide terrorist attacks in Washington, DC? You think it was OK for Saddam to try and assassinate the first Bush?

More or less did make those types of arguments, but I like the Pearl Harbor one better. The 'assassination' one is of my own devising. Nothing would have worked against Bush apologists, though, I suspect - their mission in life is not defending truth or justice or honor or freedom or humanity or anthing of the sort - it is to defend Bush and the New World Order.

Cheek Donates Winnings to Darfur Children

Finally, a good story in the world. And from an American, no less!

UPDATE: Seth Wescott, American snowboarder, down with Noam Chomsky? Looks like.

U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster - New York Times

The U.S. appreciates democracy?

They say Hamas will be given a choice: recognize Israel's right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements — as called for by the United Nations and the West — or face isolation and collapse.

Guess not.

On the flip side, there'd be no harm in Palestine's pledging those three things. They just have to become hyprocrites like the Israeli and U.S. governments. Sounds easy enough. The U.S. government sure makes it look easy, anyways.

UPDATE: p.s. About two weeks ago, on January 28, we told of a probable U.S. destabilization program in 'the strip'. I think my money quote went something like:

Remember, when USAID/CIA is involved, an election is not over until it's over, and then, it's still not over.

What to do? What to do?

Monday, February 13, 2006

British Soldiers Beating the Fuck Out Of Iraqi Teens

Gruesome stuff.

Occupation is terrorism, period. Occupation equals resistance, period.

I hope these group of soldiers get their comeuppance.

Keeping Track Of Folks' Humanity

Eric Alterman may be a coward, but he still does some good work. Reminds me to two things:

1) Juan Cole said a long time ago (and, I'm paraphrasing/re-wording greatly) that just because someone is disastrously wrong/evil on one/some/most things, we should not totally discount their opinions on everything, forever. [Sorry - I didn't feel like looking up the ref.]

This lesson, which I believe is a valuable one, is something I took to heart right away. It reminds me of something said by Brother Cornel a while ago (paraphrasing):

2) You have to 'keep track of the humanity of the very people who have dehumanized you.'

In that regard, we give Alterman a chance to do some good in the world by pointing out that there are many other people in the world like Chomsky who believe in freedom and peace:

In IPF Friday, MJ Rosenberg writes about an Israeli, an Orthodox Jew, Yitzhak Frankenthal, whose 19-year old son, Arik, was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas. Did that turn him into a hawk, a hater of Palestinians? On the contrary, he vowed 'not to become another bereaved parent who lost a son only to support the very policies and conditions that led to his death.' He liquidated his business and now devotes his life to promoting reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. He has met with the Hamas leadership and addressed Hamas crowds in Gaza. He has no illusions about them but argues that Israel and the United States should start talking to them. He thinks that if Hamas believes Israel is serious about getting out of the West Bank, they will be ready for a deal. Unlike American Jewish hawks, this man's words merit serious consideration. He lost his son, he is an Israeli. Why is it that the most heroic and fearless hawks all seem to live in New York and L.A.?

I guess if you're an Israeli and your son is killed by Hamas, then that's one way to get Alterman to take your arguments seriously. Who knew?

CA Online Voter Registration Form Back Online

Not sure why Arnold go away with having this form down for so long, but it's back up now. Go register Green if you haven't done so yet.

UPDATE: He gets letters!

Mr. Peter Smith,

This email is confirmation that your voter registration information has
been accepted. A registration form will be mailed to you in the next 7
to 14 working days. Please be sure to check the information on the
form, then sign it and place it in the mail. You will not be registered
to vote until your mail-in form is received by your county elections
official -- you will receive a postcard notifying you that you are

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Haiti Exit Polls - Nonexistent?

Before the most-recent Palestinian elections were over, we had several dozen exit polls articles in newspapers around the world proclaiming that Fatah, not Hamas, was the big winner.

Today, Haiti went to the polls, and we haven't heard anything about exit polls. Not a single article regarding exit polls from Haiti. I mean, WTF is going on?

On a side note, the OAS has been asked to investigate Bush's overthrow of the last duly-elected Haiti government.

UPDATE: The CIA and related parties are stealing the election in Haiti. Their guy didn't win. We have to see what we can do to stop them. But what?

UPDATE: That explains why there were no exit polls. When the U.S. guy doesn't win, the U.S. public doesn't get to know about it.

UPDATE: How do we get footage from this station?

Local Telemax TV news Tuesday night showed smashed white ballot boxes in a garbage dump, with wads of ballots strewn about. Ballot after ballot was marked for Preval.

UPDATE: The WaPo says local Haiti news reports (from Telemax TV?) showed Preval ballots dumped and burned in up to three locations:

Preval supporters were furious late Tuesday, and said their fraud allegations had been proved when a local television station in Port-au-Prince repeatedly broadcast footage of ballots with Preval's name checked that were found discarded and, in some cases, partially burned at a dump in Port-au-Prince and two other locations.

Indybay is on it. Who knew Indybay existed? I was going to sf.indymedia.org.

Charlotte observer says Preval win would be 'stunning defeat' for political elite of Haiti. That is apparently why he can't be allowed to win.

Cuba accuses U.S. of tampering.

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs says that the U.S. governs Haiti:

Larry Birns, a longtime critic of what he believes is U.S. interference to impose free-market economic policies in Haiti, said the administration was signaling Preval would have to toe the American line or struggle to win aid.

"The final arbiter of Haiti's domestic policy is the U.S. ambassador because he has the ability to block international funds," said the director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs think tank.

This same article says the Congressional Black Caucus actually stands for democracy, as opposed to the Bush Administration. Looks like they're the folks to contact.

UPDATE: Dropped Corrine Brown a quick note:

Please stop Bush from stealing Haiti again!!!

Let us know how we can help!

Please speak up!

Thank you!

UPDATE: Headlines:

Preval won 63% of the vote...

No reliable exit polls conducted...

Preval won 52-54% of the vote...

Preval got 55% of the vote...

Pacifica Radio reports Preval got 63% of the vote...

Why the fuck is the Guardian printing what Preval's campaign manager thinks Preval got at the polls?

Christian Science Monistor fails to mention U.S. interference in Haiti elections...

At least one of the nine members of Haiti's electoral council says election marred by fraud...

One more council member says things looking shady...

UN opens fire on protesters...

UPDATE: Contacted my rep:

Please speak out against Bush on Haiti. Tell Bush to get out of Haiti!

There's gotta be a better way than this...

UPDATE: Preval to be declared winner? Looks like Bush got what he wanted out of Preval. We can't be sure what it is until we see the decision that Bush has Preval make. Haiti's in a bad way. Real bad. Those people will continue to suffer badly. And this LA Times article suggests that declaring Preval the winner may actually help defuse the protests. You think? Fuckin numbskulls. What the fuck do you think they were protesting for, you fuckin fucks?!

Pope Goes Down On Little Boy?

Been thinking about the whole Muslim cartoon thing. Specifically, now that Iran - or one/some of its papers - will retaliate with Holocaust cartoons, what would be the worst cartoon? What would be the most offensive cartoon possible? What cartoon would make the Eric Altermans of the world take one step closer to becoming the full totalitarians they aspire to be?

Well, since the anti-Muslim cartoons attacked Muslims, I figured the response would be anti-Christian cartoons attacking Christians, but that's not what the response will be, apparently. The response, instead, will be anti-Jewish cartoons attacking Israelis. Got it?

Well, before Iran bungled their response to this outrage perpetrated by the corporations and governments of Western Europe, I was contemplating anti-Christian cartoons that would offend Christians.

I couldn't think of anything good, until I figured out why the anti-Muslim (anti-Islam, if you prefer) cartoons were so powerful. I'm not exactly sure why - many reasons, I'm sure, which I won't go into here - but the point is that it wasn't just any Mulsim-bashing cartoon - it struck a nerve. It hurt. Bad. So, how could an Iranian cartoonist best strike a nerve at Christians? I thought, "What is the worst, most horrific, most outrageously grotesque and hideous and anti-human and anti-decent and anti-moral thing Christians have ever done? What is something they were likely to still be very sensitive about?" Then I thought, "Sex abuse."

How would an Iranian cartoonist be able to capitalize on this sensitive nerve? Pretty obvious, I thought - draw the Pope about to give a blowjob to a little boy. Then, send the cartoon to the Philadelphia Inquirer for publication. We know, of course, that the Inquirer would publish this cartoon because that 'is the kind of work that newspapers are in business to do'.

Eagerly awaiting that 'Pope Goes Down On Little Boy' cartoon, Inquirer. I won't hold my breath.

Bush == Shit

I think that's what Vidal is trying to say here:

While contemplating the ill-starred presidency of G.W. Bush, I looked about for some sort of divine analogy. As usual, when in need of enlightenment, I fell upon the Holy Bible, authorized King James version of 1611; turning by chance to the Book of Jonah, I read that Jonah, who, like Bush, chats with God, had suffered a falling out with the Almighty and thus became a jinx dogged by luck so bad that a cruise liner, thanks to his presence aboard, was about to sink in a storm at sea. Once the crew had determined that Jonah, a passenger, was the jinx, they threw him overboard and—Lo!—the storm abated. The three days and nights he subsequently spent in the belly of a nauseous whale must have seemed like a serious jinx to the digestion-challenged whale who extruded him much as the decent opinion of mankind has done to Bush.

This dude, Vidal, can write.

UPDATE: On second reading, it seems Vidal could have meant 'Bush == Puke'.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Libby Trial Date Set for January 2007?

Holy shit. First they get rid of the Abramoff prosecutor, and now this. WTF, man?

Where are the Democrats? Where is the opposition party?

Noam Chomsky - Wikiquote

This collection of Chomsky quotes is legit. Unreal. This one, in the 'Education' section, made me laugh:

'If you quietly accept and go along no matter what your feelings are, ultimately you internalize what you're saying, because it's too hard to believe one thing and say another. I can see it very strikingly in my own background. Go to any elite university and you are usually speaking to very disciplined people, people who have been selected for obedience. And that makes sense. If you've resisted the temptation to tell the teacher, 'You're an asshole,' which maybe he or she is, and if you don't say, 'That's idiotic,' when you get a stupid assignment, you will gradually pass through the required filters. You will end up at a good college and eventually with a good job.'

How cool is that?

I think I've passed through too many of the required filters. Time to take a step back.

Eliza Strickland - East Bay Express Corporate Hack

I guess all the hullabaloo about the East Bay Express getting bought up by large corporations was correct - right-wing hackery is now prominent in the pages of the Express.

Shorter Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins:

The U.S. government uses supposedly international organizations like the World Bank to drive already-poor third-world nations into further depression.

Shorter Eliza Strickland:

John Perkins sucks, so there.


Along the way Ms. Strickland makes fun of all us 'believers' for believing in conspiracies. I guess 9/11 was a case of 'the magic pilot', who flew multiple jets into multiple buildings.

And she makes fun of us for believing that the World Bank and the WTO actually do bad things to the citizens of already-poor countries.

Straight-up hackery. What was the East Bay Express doing in SF anyways? Used to be a decent paper.

Convicted Rapist: OB-GYN, Charles Momah

This fuck got to brutalize 40+ women because the doctor lobby owns the United States government. Raping, murderous doctors are allowed to continue operating for years on end. Fuckin despicable.

Monday, February 06, 2006

24 Surfers, 24 Hours Notice

It's on.

UPDATE: Tucker Carlson. Blah. Video!

The official website - I think.

Organization of American States: Anti-Democracy Specialists?

Who are these OAS people, and why does their ID card system shtick sound just like the Republican shtick of the last American election?

Organization of American States technicians have created a database of voters and high-tech ID cards. Election workers at roughly 800 voting centers will have a printout showing the voter's name and photo. And fingerprinting will prevent people from voting twice.

OAS. Let's just say I'm very leery of any 'democracy organization' based in Washington, DC.

UPDATE: Been wondering if Wyclef was busy on the Haiti front. Seems so. Check out Wyclef's charity, Yéle Haiti.

Elections on the 8th (Tuesday). Cross your fingers.

Bovard On Terrorism 'State Exemption'

This is a great post by Bovard, but I thought this graph was very interesting:

If a government systematically attacks civilians, the government is no less culpable than private cabals that blow up planes, buses, or cafes. By this standard, the Indonesian invasion of East Timor was as much a terrorist action as the bombings of Bali nightclubs in October 2002 that killed hundreds of civilians.

I thought this was interesting because Chomsky has been a huge critic of U.S. foreign policy with respect to Indonesia and East Timor (blog entry here). This is interesting because Chomsky is painted by his opponents of being to the 'extreme left' ideologically, but Bovard is no lefty. I was also surprised to see a reference to East Timor at all, which was very cool. The more people know about U.S. treachery in East Timor, the better. Bovard is probably the first semi-mainstream author/reporter-type to say that 'state terror' is wrong, even if it is conducted by the state (i.e. a government). That's a big deal.

Leopold and his Fiction

Saw these guys the other day at the SF Green Party fundraiser. They were legit. Most people had already left. They missed out.

National Endowment for Democracy: Anti-Democracy 'special forces'

We ripped the anti-democracy USAID folks here, but one organization that managed to escape our Haiti tirade was the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (we have no idea if NED was active in overthrowing the Haitian government, but know enough about them that we would not be surprised to learn they were). The Christian Science Monitor picks up the ball, giving us details on the NED's illegal, anti-democracy tactics in Venezuela:

Beyond the heated rhetoric on both sides, one of the actions the Chávez government views as most theatening is the US government's funding and support of opposition groups that Chávez charges hope to overthrow his government.

Tuesday, the attorney general is scheduled to take a get-out-the-vote group called Súmate to court on conspiracy charges for accepting $31,120 from the US-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The case, which comes at a time when US-sponsored democracy-building programs are facing increased scrutiny worldwide, has bolstered Chávez's claims that the US is meddling in Venezuelan affairs. Yet Washington says the persecution of Súmate, an organization highly critical of Chávez, smacks of a political witch hunt that damages democracy in the country.

Despite the attention the case has garnered, Súmate's NED money is small change compared with the millions of dollars given to Venezuelan groups by a little-known branch of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) called the Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI). The Venezuelan government and some analysts question OTI's motives in Venezuela, since it is less transparent than other US aid agencies, more directly tied to US foreign policy interests, and has unusual budgetary flexibility.

US aid agencies have been under scrutiny in Venezuela since it was revealed that some members of US-funded groups were at the forefront of the opposition movement and supported the failed coup against Chávez in 2002. But OTI's mode of operations, until recently, has gone under the radar.

Called 'the special forces of development assistance' by Harvard University public policy professor Robert Rotberg, OTI was designed in the 1990s to help former Soviet Union countries make the transition to democracy. It now works in areas such as Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, and the West Bank.

We all need to realize that the 'foreign assistance' that the U.S. gives to all these countries is not all for some benevolent cause - it's to achieve the U.S. government's foreign policy objectives. So, don't be impressed that Bush is using so much of our money to further his own goals - be outraged.

Oil Money and Power Consolidation

Rummy said this:

'I mean, we've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money. He's a person who was elected legally -- just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally -- and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others.'

Oil money. Power consolidation. Ring any bells?

Rummy also said he was worried about Chavez restricting his citizens' individual rights. Unreal.

U.S.Patent & Trademark Office Paid-Off?

It just sounds real fishy to me:

Separately, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is re-examining NTP's patents and has issued preliminary decisions striking down the patents at issue in the RIM case. The USPTO found new prior art, or evidence that somebody else had developed a method for sending wireless e-mail prior to NTP's patents. RIM expects the patent office to issue final actions on those patents against NTP. NTP can appeal those patents through the court system, including an appeals court that has already ruled in its favor.

Which RIM lobbyist paid which Bush Administration official to have the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office overturn one of the patents of NTP.

Patent law is complex and confusing and interesting from a public policy perspective - but it's not my deal. I'm into stopping government corruption. To that end, I want to know what prompted the USPTO to find new information regarding NTP's patents all of a sudden. Was a few tens of thousands of dollars donated to the GOP by someone affiliated with RIM?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Government Out!

I don't know who this dude is, and don't really care, but I think the government of the United States of America should not be in the business outlawing sexual commerce.

You want to regulate it? Fine. I can understand the need to protect children, and prevent the rise of sexually-transmitted diseases that end up costing the state bazillions of dollars, but if two adults want to fuck and exhange some cash - let them do it. You want to tax them? Fine - but let people do what the fuck they want to do - even fuck.

Eric Alterman's Utopia: Egypt, 2006

It's the kind of thing where people can't get into your country when they say things the government doesn't approve of:

Galloway had flown to Cairo to take part in a mock trial of U.S. President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for their policies in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

Wait a minute - I knew the U.S. government stopped people coming into its country when they said naughty things about George Bush, but why would Egypt stop someone from coming to its country for saying bad things about George Bush?

Because the U.S. State Department probably called up the Egyptians and asked for a little 'favor' - to at least delay Galloway at the airport, in the hopes that he'd get frustrated and just go away. But he didn't go away. Finally, before it became a huge international row that reached U.S. and Egyptian citizens, the Egyptian Foreign Minister stepped-in to make sure Galloway was allowed entry.

Why did the U.S. want to stop Galloway from participating in the event? Because Galloway is a huge and effective critic of George Bush, and all this 'war criminal' talk about George Bush is not helpful to Bush's image.

Why would the Egyptian government cooperate with Bush? Because the U.S. helps to support the Egyptian government and Egyptian elite - the business interests - in many ways, not the least of which is direct monetary support:

# Recent and Ongoing U.S.-Supported Power Projects

Construction, Cairo Regional Control Center:
Complete last fall.
U.S. funding $50.2 million, Egypt funding LE 115 million.

Equipment, three substations:
# Cairo-500, completed June 2002.
# Cairo East, completed November 2002.
# Mansoura, nearing completion.
Total U.S. funding $14.5 million, total Egypt funding LE 6.4 million.

Controls upgrade, four generating plants:
# Abu Sultan, completed in January.
U.S. funding $12.3 million. Egypt funding LE 4.3 million.
# Abu Qir, under way.
U.S. funding $13.7 million, Egypt funding LE 4 million.
# Ataka, contract signed in May.
U.S. funding $14.9 million, Egypt funding LE 6.2 million.
# Aswan High Dam, completed in May.
U.S. funding $13.6 million, Egypt funding LE 5 million.

U.S. taxpayers pay for power stations in a foreign country, and U.S. politicans and business interests reap the rewards. I wouldn't be surprised if some/all of the above energy projects will be owned/controlled by the U.S., directly or indirectly, possibly even including well-known firms like Halliburton.

Why is this hypocritical for the U.S. government to be on such good terms with the Egyptian government? Because Egypt is ruled by an oppressive military dictatorship.

As more and more Americans are finally starting to see, their government is not committed to democracy - it is committed to money and power - nothing more. And that's not money and power for ordinary Americans - that's more money and more power for the people who already have a lot of both - in other words, for the elite. If it is helpful to our government's plans to talk about democracy while they overthrown democratic governments, then so be it - whatever is necessary to keep the American people fooled.

UPDATE: Changed around some of original post. Why Eric Alterman's utopia? Because, like Iran and George Bush, he doesn't believe in free speech either.