...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



fooled by the rocks

The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them.
David Brooks /NYTimes Jan.12.03
link ipecac

Put your hands behind your back
"When we were at last allowed to make a phone call, I learned from my mother that my backpack would not be returned to me upon my release. As it turned out, the cops had simply discarded it, along with the possessions of many others detained. By sheer coincidence, attorney and former Miami ACLU president John De Leon came upon the scattered piles of personal effects while inspecting the neighborhood south of the Convergence Center. He scooped up the items and held them for safekeeping.
We spent the night in cold cells at TGK..."
Celeste Fraser Delgado/Miami New Times Nov.27.03

"It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support."
H.D. Thoreau

quoted at ipecac Nov.28.03


KWSnet is at the tearing membrane of blog design

  • Every year over 250,000 people commit suicide in China; this represents one-fourth of the total number of suicides in the world.
  • Ever 2 minutes in China, a person commits suicide.
  • Over 2,000,000 people attempt suicide in China every year but are unsuccessful.
  • Suicide is the number one cause of death in China among people 15 to 34 years old.
  • Chinese living in rural areas commit suicide 3 times more than those in urban areas.
  • Chinese women commit suicide 3 times more than men.
  • 28% of Chinese suicides have never had formal schooling of any sort.

    hmmn Nov.25.0
    link :::wood s lot ::: Mar.03 archives

    {I can't find any links to the "Beijing Psychological Crisis Research Center" which he quotes these numbers from. The post is a long good one, mostly about the Japanese suicide rate, which is prety much double the US. Made me wonder if a difference in the 'soul' program of christian/buddhist/shinto upbringing was a main cause of the difference. The idea being that reward or punishment doesn't really apply to the suicide. The value system of christianity gives lip service to the afterlife but its practice is all about earthly reward and punishment. The suicide side steps all that as it were, death is seen as punishment, but seeking death being wrong, the punishment is built in to the act, but there's no pat on the back or slap in the face at the end that way, the whole process is abstracted from the mix. The buddhist idea of sacrifice of the illusionary self-being, being a contradiction to that sense of individual trial and judgement. Western stress on the actor, eastern on the act.}

  • Synopsis:Influenza activity in the United States continued to increase during week 46 (November 9 - 15, 2003). Six hundred seventy-one (30.7%) of 2,185 specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories were positive for influenza. The proportion of patient visits to sentinel providers for influenza-like illness (ILI) overall was 3.3%, which is above the national baseline of 2.5%. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was 6.1%, which is below the epidemic threshold for the week. Two state health departments reported widespread influenza activity, 6 states reported regional activity, 11 states reported local influenza activity, 20 states, New York City, Guam, and Puerto Rico reported sporadic influenza activity, and 10 states and the District of Columbia reported no influenza activity.

    Ω{I don't have any real first-hand prison experience, a little jail time over the years, more than most but not nearly as much others. So I don't have personal experience in this life to back up the image, but the image is clear and the vibe of it as real as anything ever is. The take down. How much lust there is for the pure and undamaged in the caged souls. That one figure, the aristocrat, the white woman among the natives, the missionary, the blonde from 'Freaks', or Jesus for that matter, the better-than-the-rest brought down and picked apart by the mob, martyred by the pack, the clot of hope-relinquished fallen. It's 'The Little Girl Who Trod On A Loaf', it's hell. It's the demons of hell and their hatred of anything that reminds of them of where they are and how far away redemption will be now.
    I saw RFK Jr. on Hannity/Colmes tonight, beleaguered and assaulted, offering sincere truth for simpering lie.
    Just before that, I'd hit a reference online to Waterkeepers, one of his many projects.
    The presence of people of integrity, here and now, is what makes it impossible for me to give up entirely, is what keeps me at this, and in my own real life, refusing surrender.
    I have some theories about what's causing this seeming inversion of metaphysical stance, where the insane destruction of life is wearing the colors of God and goodliness, and the defenders of the living world have to fight through a gantlet of screaming incubi to get from one day to the next. But nothing of what I think about it, nothing of what I see or have seen changes the main step. We have to give everything we have to the battle. Each in our way, with what we have before us.
    Most of us won't ever know what finally happened, or how it all worked out. That's the nature of real sacrifice, and hope.}

    Waterkeeper Alliance


    "Left Behind"
    That even the awesome clarity of September 11 should have become clouded was due principally to the administration's overuse of it. During the six weeks prior to the second anniversary of the attacks, Mike Allen of The Washington Post reported, the President mentioned September 11 in reference not only to Iraq and Afghanistan and airport security, but also to his energy policy, his tax cuts, unemployment, the deficit, and campaign fund-raising. When asked in July about the $170 million budget for his unopposed 2004 primary campaign, Bush responded, according to Allen, with this retreat to what he clearly considered his unique selling proposition: "Every day, I'm reminded about what 9/11 means to America."

    Joan Didion/NYRB Nov.06.03

    Mayor [of Canadian island] questions USA involvement in the Canadian census
    It would be nice to think that we could look forward to more accurate statistics in the next census but there are serious problems with the corporation chosen to conduct the work.
    Lockheed Martin and a consortium including IBM and Transcontinental Printing is scheduled to do a 'trial run' in 2004 in advance of their 2006 big job. One concern is the U.S.A. Patriot Act under which U.S. corporations must provide any and all data in their possession to U.S. agencies, including the CIA and FBI, who are also contracting with Lockheed Martin. According to the company website, a full 80 per cent of Lockheed Martin's revenue comes from the U.S. defence department and related agencies. Its motto is: "We never forget who we are working for." In one slide on its website, Lockheed Martin identifies its "growth markets" in interlocking circles. They are: Government Information Technology, Defence, and Homeland Security. Integration of these areas is constantly re-inforced as an area of their corporate expertise.
    Lisa Barrett/Bowen Island Undercurrent Nov.21.03
    link Parking Lot/Bowen Island Journal


    Chantal Petitclerc
    Louise Sauvage
    Eliza Stankovic
    Women's 800m (Wheelchair)
    Manchester 2002

    Happy Thanksgiving Daphne

    nine Thanksgivings a year

    our same types
    According to generous estimations, the world-wide population of chimpanzees does not surpass the 200,000 units whose habitats are distributed in 21 countries. Experts notice that these like gorilas, bonobos and orangutanes are threatened of extinction and could disappear of the Earth face in a lapse of 50 years.

    Los shoot against all animal that see; elephants, gorilas, chimpanzees, bonobos, antelopes, changos and until birds and bats, it indicates the famous specialist in behavior of chimpanzees, Jane Goodall. meat is smoked or dissected and is taken to the cities where people pay exorbitant prices by her. Inclusively it is exported illegally and it is offered in exotic restaurants in Europe and the United States
    Deutsche Welle/google auto-translate Nov.27.03

    "We are not a selfish people, yet the nation's policy priorities this past year should give us pause. Decisions made by our leaders in Washington to enact lavish tax cuts of $93,500 per millionaire, while budget-strapped states slash funding for schools, child care, and emergency cash assistance, counteract the generous giving of individual Americans."
    13.1 million children live in 6.4 million food insecure households. In 265,000 of those households, one or more children went hungry last year. In another 1.2 million homes, a parent or other adult went hungry. And 4.9 million households with children were "food insecure without hunger." That means they teetered on the edge of hunger, occasionally being forced to skip meals or cut back on buying healthy food.

    "In many homes struggling to put food on the table, children are fed first," said Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman. "While that sacrifice may spare the child from hunger, the whole family suffers from the strain and insecurity of not knowing where the next meal is coming from."
    Children's Defense Fund /Common Dreams Nov.27.03

    Each cell in your heart starts out with its own instructions -- its job is to beat and it knows it, evidently. Or so researchers surmise. Without any outside stimulus, immature heart muscle cells, created in laboratory dishes, began to beat all by themselves.
    LMBoyd Nov.27.03

    to hear with patience and humility
    those, however they be miscalled,
    that desire to live purely...

    photo Martyn Hayhow/AFP


    Special Notice to the Media

    "It is truly sad that the Media continue to distort the truth and the facts. God is our Judge and Arbitrator, and one day the real truth will be known.

    Finally, so that the facts and records stand clearly: We do live at the time of the Apocalypse, believed by all Christians - Catholic and Protestant faiths: the Mormons, Muslims, Hindus and every faith on Earth - yet those who profess no faith believe in nothing but themselves. I am a Roman Catholic man, and have been since my birth. I profess the faith and practice it. I am a Visionary and Seer, and a modern-day Prophet. I am the Leader and Founder of a New Form of Consecrated Life - a Religious Order known as the Order of Saint Charbel Order - with about five-hundred-thousand members."
    William Kamm, also known as the 'Little Pebble'
    in an open letter to Sue Smethurst, May.08.00.

    Sue Smethurst is an Australian journalist, editor of a popular woman's magazine there. She was recently refused entry to the US, because her papers were not in order.
    She was on her way to an interview with Olivia Newton John, a survivor, for a story on breast cancer. Who must be saddened by the re-direction of public attention from a cause she's been active in for over ten years.

    It is very important that your papers be in order.

    The personal details and email you provide when signing this petition will not be sold or passed on to any company or organisation. They will be compiled in paper form to be presented to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

    ...the Antarctic Fulmar, so like our own Fulmar at home in NW Scotland, save for the white patch on the end of its grey wing. The Sooty and White Shinned Petrels and the tiny Mother Carey's chickens.
    How many millions of years have they been here? How did they learn to fly. How long is my own lifetime in all of this? Why must we needlessly destroy them all, now in this particular generation? Surely, if we can get to the moon, we can stop this needless slaughter of the Albatross?
    What can you do? Or do you just not care? I'm sure you haven't got much time and you have some more pressing problems to solve.

    The Patagonian Toothfish is caught at depths of around 2,000 metres in the Southern Ocean. A single sashimi-grade fish can be worth US$1,000. They fall to some of the 1 billion hooks laid down here each year. Albatrosses fall to many of the hooks too.Now, we're not talking about fish to feed the starving millions. No, the fish are eaten by Palm-Pilot folk, people with freedom to make choices in restaurants and super-markets. Patagonian Toothfish is not an attractive name, so it appears in restaurants as SEA BASS in USA and UK, MERO in Japan, LEGUNE in France. Just stop buying it!

    And don't hesitate to tell the seller why.
    John Ridgway Nov.12.03

    Save the Albatross Petition

    Larger Conspiracy


    Ω{It's hard. You want to say well it can't be that bad, it won't get much worse, and every sign along the way points straight down. There's a kind of filter on power on now, to qualify you have to be non-human, not that merely being non-human is enough, it's a special kind of non-human, and it's hard to describe, for me anyway, because I stay as far away as I can get from people like that, and vice versa. Their dog-boys, I'm familiar with them, the little soldiers of the new order, but that's not where it's coming from, it's coming from the elect, the privileged, I've heard the casual mentions their secondary children make as I've lurched through the universities and grocery stores this last decade. Everybody thinks there's too many people, most everybody has a real good idea where to start weeding out the undesirables, it used to be niggers, now it's trailer trash and terrorists. That the creation of the societal machinery necessary to better the landscape�not the race�see it's different now, it's not racial, it's performance based�that the machinery to do that might just keep humming along until we're all gone hasn't ocurred to any of these ken and barbie puppets. That's what it is, when I think of Frist it's Ken, not just the imputed values and personal vapidity of a ten year old girl's fantasies, but the plastic reality, the actual being of Ken. And droids, Bundy droids. I'm sorry but that's what comes up. I think of Bill Frist and I think of Ken dolls and Ted Bundy. I think Bundy was a little sicker emotionally, but Frist is just gettting warmed up here, and his body count promises to make Mr. Bundy's look like a bad car wreck compared to World War 2. It's always like this, though, because it hasn't happened yet and the speculation's so ugly, so bizarre and unpleasant to think about, but that is what it looks like to me, piles and piles of the left behind, starved out, caught by the tide, the wind, plague-driven outside the castle walls, scorned by the well-fed slaves and ignored by the masters, the real images golden in their minds, the elect, the spared, the 'passed over' taking the numb hand of God and pointing its loose finger at the enemy, calling down lightning from out of the sky and putting it there. I know the other worlds wait for our passing, but something about this seems final to me, something about this one is for keeps in a way I can't get a clear perspective for, I think I stay maybe, or they do, or one of us, one side or the other, imagine the immortal Hasid, the immortal Bush twins, because it is immortality that's at stake, that's why mortality's taken on this new weight, because to be alive when the Gift is bestowed is to gain eternal life here, and they're two hops, a skip, and a patent claim jump away from it, nice guys don't finish last on that one, they don't finish at all.
    So that's mostly vent and steam yes but it does point that way, the belt-tightening, the cruelty as policy, the hard voices of the masters in their public role as stern fathers, hard choices have to be made, who lives and who dies being pretty hard for the dying but not so bad for the privileged still-breathing, harder choices being how much of your soul to pare away the next time the devil comes around for his due. Ken got the gift of animation, he gets to be real, though the world itself had to get so plastic to accomodate his two-dimensional being it's almost a comic book now, and unlike the children's tales of animated dolls and puppets there's no moral here, other than you have to see it coming and you have to fight it with everything you have and even that sometimes isn't enough and one of the dirtiest tricks I've ever seen is raising an entire generation of kids to think of themselves as vital and necessary to the existence of the universe and then letting them slowly wake up to exactly how temporary and fragile and absolutely unnecessary their lives really are, and then in the midst of that abyssal terror and pain, offering them a way out that requires only that they give up everything that makes them human, the bargain that they relinquish their part in that as yet unbroken chain of struggling everymen who rose and fell like individual stalks of grain, delivering their essence, their children, their whole being encapsulated held in the tiny package of the seed, gone into the new turning of that old old wheel the cycle of time and its seasons, warm summer, and cold hard winter, and the little bit of thrilling anticipation as the one becomes the other and we take our places with the rest who have come and gone before us.
    Men like Bill Frist and his true employers will turn that whole thing upside down to their own benefit, banking on the wonder cure for mortal living, reading visionary reports of the weeks ahead from lab rats with prophetic mutations, and going home to their families for Thanksgiving as though there are no ghosts screaming at the wings of their private jets, their campaign buses, their limousines, outside in the sleet, the meaningless numbers of the unnecessary suffering their blind greed causes, ghosts from the time ahead come back to haunt the present because there was nowhere to go, after.}

    medicare bill
    November 24 2003

    "We are seniors. I have prostate cancer. We are members of Kaiser (and happily so).
    We are adamantly opposed to the pending Medicare "Prescription Drug" legislation and we want you to do everything possible to forestall its passage.
    Thank you."

    Healdsburg , CA
    Government Guide 'government services made easy'

    the other face of the Catholic Church

    "The key is to add cinnamon to what you would eat normally."

    "Israel is the land of the Jewish people,� Frist has said, and �it is also the land of us all. Few places on earth have been as cherished and as loved by so many millions throughout the world as the places of Israel."

    ...and see first-hand the reality being faced by U.S. troops and Iraqis...
    The delegates will leave from various airports in the United States on Saturday, November 29 and arrive in Iraq on December 1. During their stay, they will meet with representatives of the Iraqi Governing Council, human rights organizations, and women�s organizations. They will visit hospitals, schools, and U.S. military installations. The delegation also hopes to meet with Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator Paul Bremer and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.
    Among the participants in the delegation are Fernando Suarez del Solar of Escondido, CA, whose son Jesus was killed on March 27 during the invasion of Iraq, and Anabelle Valencia of Tucson, who has two children (a 24-year-old daughter and a 22-year-old son) currently serving in the U.S. military in Iraq. Two women who live on the military base at Fort Bragg, NC will also be traveling with the delegation. Both are married to soldiers who are serving in Iraq.
    Participant Sean Dougherty is a Vietnam Veteran whose 22-year-old daughter is serving in Iraq. The other veterans traveling with the delegation are Michael McPhearson, a Gulf War Veteran who lives in Newark, NJ and has a son in the military, and John Grant, a Vietnam veteran from Philadelphia, PA. "This trip will serve me in my quest to help our country find an honorable path to building world cooperation and maintain our leadership as an example of freedom," McPhearson said.
    Global Exchange/Common Dreams Nov.24.03

    100 megabits per second
    Japan and China are planning to conduct a joint experiment on a new generation Internet-capable mobile phone for high-speed data communications between the two countries, Kyodo news service reported Sunday, citing Japanese telecom ministry officials.
    The three-year project aimed at promoting better Asian information technology systems will begin in December and use the Internet Protocol Version 6, or IPv6, Kyodo also quoted the officials as saying.
    The officials of the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry of Japan said the IT experiment will test a fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone capable of data communication comparable to speeds using fiber-optic cables, the agency reported.
    China View/Shenzhen Daily Nov.25.03

    Stella Aquilina Oct.15.03
    Charles Darwin Nov.24.1859
    Leo Laporte Nov.24.03

    B'Tselem The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
    in english hebraic and arabic

    Lindh, Palme, Bernadotte

    In the run-up to Sweden's vote on the euro, Lindh was denounced for her pro-euro stance. Her Ministry asked the security services to give her protection. The request was turned down.
    Guardian UK Nov.09.03

    Lindh was without a bodyguard, as is customary in Sweden, when the attack occurred, just days before a Swedish referendum on whether to adopt the euro in which she was a leading campaigner for the "yes" campaign. AU Nov.18.03

    70 percent of all antibiotics in the United States are fed to healthy farm animals

    "Eighty percent of all the beef and sixty percent of all the pork in this country is controlled by four corporations. They are crushing the aspirations of the family farmer. This is a fight for freedom."
    Dennis Kucinich
    at Farm Aid
    Harvey Wasserman/Common Dreams Sep.11.03

    Farm Aid concert broadcast on PBS Thanksgiving Evening


    PartiallyClips Camels

    link Language Log

    from 60 letters to George Bush

    I spent five months of hell in Belmarsh prison where threats were made on my life. My dream of a career as a pilot is over. The money spent on my training is wasted. My wife and I are unemployed. Many people will now always think of me as a terrorist. Because the US won't admit they were wrong and withdraw the warrant I can't travel out of the UK except to visit Algeria. I can't even visit my in-laws in France. The "war on terror" has moved on but my life and family are still in pieces.

    Lotfi Raissi
    The pilot falsely accused of aiding the September 11 terrorists
    Guardian UK Nov.18.03

    November 22, 1963

    Lincoln was taller than him, and both were Lawyers


    "ex gratis" and "without any admission of liability"
    A cheque sent by Israel's ambassador to compensate the family of a student shot in the head by the country's defence force has bounced, his relatives said last night.
    The �8,370 payment was promised to the family of Tom Hurndall to cover the cost of his repatriation to Britain.

    Telegraph UK Nov.21.03 (reg. req.)

    or notphoto Lee Jae Won/Reuters

    Organisers said 65,000 farmers gathered to protest against World Trade Organisation (WTO) policies aimed at opening up the rice market and South Korea's plan to forge a free trade agreement (FTA) with Chile. Police put the crowd at 35,000.

    Local media reports said police confiscated thousands of clubs, iron pipes and gas tanks before the march, helping to avert heavy violence.�Straits Times Nov.21.03


    The stars are as wild as a jungle. We live in wilderness, for all that our immediate effect on it is organized, and deadly.
    Ω{excised from comments at Crooked Timber Nov.18-19. 03 msg}

    Keith Knight Uber Alles
    at Salon Nov. 19. 03 (reg./ad)

    We didn't send the kids to school today.


    Coal in my stocking

    Alaska Game Board Approves Aerial Killing of Wolves
    Bush Administration May Allow 20 Percent of Wetlands to Be Destroyed
    Everglades Plan Fails to Ensure Protection
    A Perfect Holiday Gift!
    Defense Legislation Bodes Ill for Marine Mammals and Endangered Species
    Legislation Introduced to Protect Yellowstone Bison

    headlines in a newsletter from Defenders of Wildlife Nov.13.03


    Still Sailing
    By lunchtime we had a full gale. The rest of the day was reducing sail and the night holding the nerve while plunging down the overtaking waves which filled the cockpit on several occasions.

    Some dredful things are quietly happning, over the horizon on the great ownerless unprotected oceans. gradually we will see fish disappearing from the menus. And there will be only be films of seabirds to remind us of what we did. At the CCAMLR meeting in Hobart this week France owned up to killing 27,000 seabirds in the past couple of years . Most of those would have been right here - Kerguelen is a French territory.

    John Ridgeway Nov.13-14.03
    Save the Albatross Voyage 2003-4

    seaphoto Murad Sezer AP


    In the hands of strangers
    ...disturbing evidence about the quality of home care provided to our elderly. It tells the poignant tale of many pensioners for whom the only contact with the outside world is the carer who gets them up in the morning, prepares their food and then returns to put them to bed in the evening. In the hours between, many sit alone, unable to move, simply waiting.

    ...Increasingly, however, the rationing of care has meant that many of those who would have received it 10 years ago would probably not be deemed eligible today. Those who qualify now may not in a year's time. "Eligibility" is decreed as much by the size of a local authority's coffers as a pensioner's need for care.

    ...After three weeks, Fran began to distance herself from the emotional needs of the patients. "I've got into the mind of a carer a bit more and I'm not entirely sure I like it. I'm starting to feel that it's unreasonable that someone wants to have a conversation with me."

    ...more than anything else, it's made me absolutely terrified of getting old...

    Sarah Barclay/Panorama/BBC1
    Telegraph UK Nov.16.03 (reg.req.)

    Ω{That's in the UK; the undercover journalism for the US, if it is being done, isn't readily available. We do know, though, that citizens of the US are spending $4 Billion dollars a year on cat food. For cats.}


    End of Polio
    Sebasti�o Salgado

    " many ways, this is a far more important biotech development than cloning. While the bacteriophage constructed by the team, "phiX," is an existing virus, this was a necessary first step for the construction of wholly original forms of life. Venter's crew is focusing on building microbes for the production of energy resources (such as hydrogren), but bacteriophages may have broad applications, including serving as novel forms of antibiotics when traditional medicines fail.

    But larger questions loom."
    Another World Is Here Nov.14.03
    link beyondthebeyond

    Ω{Daniel Boone's uncluttered mind, his conscience too like that, the morality of anything at all seems pale now.
    What difference does it make if they're 'wrong' if they live forever and the ones who are right are gone? It disappears, that right and wrong stuff, it disappears with the ones who disappear.
    My personal, and I mean that it's mine, I don't mean to suggest it's something we all should be doing, my personal morality gets locked up on the conflict, they can't, they are, they have, they did, they will, but then I look around and it's all shit, it's fantasy and poison, concrete skin above dirt that can outwait anything animal, or vegetable.
    Again personally, I keep this imagery from the early days of television, which were my early days as well, echoes from just before that, the rattletrap shacks and kettles of the hillbillies, the against-progress drawl and overhauls, the 'God wanted us to fly we'd surely be wing�d', the automobile stink rejected, electricity a rumor, the telephone a curse, and then the whole mountain gets carved up and carried away.
    This is the way it went. And anything that comes out of this will see its beginning in just that. The myth of its creation, the necessity, the divinity, the grace and blood of birth and life begun in all this mad terror and blind groping. There must be a place where that line can be drawn firmly and indelibly across the path. Turn back here, turn away here, past this is only irrecoverable fall. Some place where it's too late, almost, and then it is.
    They won't stop. I know that. But look at it. How the chaos rises from every valley now every river the sea and the weather change beyond catching, is it spite? Is it the carved initials of some punk, manic in his cell? Worse? Is this a hopeful thing? Who are these men that can make life now? Are they heroes? Saints? Do they meet with the wisest on a regular basis for guidance and clarity? Or do they entertain themselves at the trough with the rest?
    My guess is the thing they serve isn't human, isn't born yet, and doesn't see us as anything to worry about.
    Maybe it should though.
    I'm not afraid of magic and hardware, or spells and prayer either. And I'm ready to give it all for something that comes after, that comes from what came before this, that we were given to carry.
    I don't think we were supposed to build it, I think we were supposed to preserve it, because it was already here.}





    A Final Word
    Clearly, a legal statutory provision is necessary for the purpose of authorizing the government to instruct in the use of physical means during the course of an interrogation, beyond what is permitted by the ordinary "law of investigation", and in order to provide the individual GSS investigator with the authority to employ these methods. The "necessity" defence cannot serve as a basis for this authority.

    39. This decision opens with a description of the difficult reality in which Israel finds herself security wise. We shall conclude this judgment by re-addressing that harsh reality. We are aware that this decision does not ease dealing with that reality. This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it. Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. Preserving the Rule of Law and recognition of an individual's liberty constitutes an important component in its understanding of security. At the end of the day, they strengthen its spirit and its strength and allow it to overcome its difficulties.
    Aharon Barak, President,
    Israeli Supreme Court, Sep.06.99

    If we do not protect democracy, democracy will not protect us.
    My lesson was not hatred; my lesson is not hopelessness about the nature of a human being. Quite the opposite: my lesson was a belief in and a love of every human being. Only a belief in our ability to overcome difficulties enabled us to exist amidst the horror. Only a belief in the human being, and his or her dignity, allowed us to live after we left the hell.
    And so, my lesson from the Holocaust is the centrality of the human being and human rights are of the highest significance. My lesson was that we are all made in the image of God, and as such we are all equal. Protecting the dignity and equality of the human being - is the North Star which guides me in my role as a judge. Of course, as a judge I do not have an agenda. I do not represent a platform to an electorate on that basis of which I am elected. I am a judge, whose job is to determine, in an objective and independent manner, the conflict that are brought before me. I am neutral. However this neutrality is not indifference. As a judge, part of my job, as I see it, is to protect the social frameworks and to further the needs of society. As a judge, part of my job, as I see it - which I learned from my life experience - is to protect human rights and the dignity and equality of every human being. As a judge, part of my job, as I see it, is to search for and find the appropriate balance between society and the individual.

    In Nazi Germany there was the Rule of Law. The Fuerher's word was law and had to be fulfilled. The Nazi government acted upon laws that it created for itself. This is not the Rule of Law that we are asked to preserve. The Rule of Law of which we speak is the rule of democratic law. It is the law that is accepted by the people via their representatives. It is the law that strikes the appropriate balance between the needs of the state and the rights of the individual. Thus, democracy is not only majority rule. Democracy is also human rights. A majority that negates the rights of the minority injures democracy. For me, democracy is not only formal democracy. For me democracy is also substantive democracy. Democracy has its own internal morality based on dignity and equality of all human beings. There is no democracy without recognition of basic values and principles such as morality and justice. Above all, democracy cannot exist without the protection of individual human rights - rights so essential that they must be insulated from the power of the majority.

    Aharon Barak Keynote Speech
    52nd Commencement, Brandeis University, May.21.03

    Good news for the USA

    "George Soros has purchased the Democratic party," said Christine Iverson, a Republican national committee spokeswoman.

    Guardian UK Nov.12.03

    Marie le Jars de Gournay:
    And however true it may be, as some maintain, that such submission was imposed on woman in punishment for the sin of eating the apple, that still hardly constitutes a decisive pronouncement in favor of the supposed superior worth of man. If one supposed that scripture commanded her to submit to man, as being unworthy of opposing him, consider the absurdity that would follow: woman would find herself worthy of having been made in the image of the Creator, worthy of the holy Eucharist, of the mysteries of the redemption, of paradise, and of the sight�indeed the possession�of God, yet not of the advantages and privileges of man. Would this not declare man to be more precious and more exalted than all these things, and hence commit the gravest of blasphemies?

    at bellona times, H. L. Mencken with an RPG

    a foreign policy that reflects our values of justice and democracy
    On November 22-23 thousands will gather at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia, site of the school, to expose a double standard. SOA grads continue to be implicated in egregious acts designed to terrorize and coerce civilian populations throughout Latin America.

    The gathering will culminate on Sunday, November 23 with a solemn "funeral" procession to the gates of Ft. Benning. Many will negotiate a barbed-wire fence to enter the military base in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Since protests against SOA-WHISC began over ten years ago, over 170 people served or are now serving federal prison sentences for civil disobedience.
    Common Dreams Nov.11.03

    on center stage before 4,000 troops
    America's troops and our coalition partners are determined to win -- and they will win, if we continue to give them the moral and material support they need to do the job. As the president said recently, our forces are on the offensive. And as Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane said in congressional testimony, "They bring the values of the American people to this conflict. They understand firmness, they understand determination. But they also understand compassion. Those values are on display every day as they switch from dealing with an enemy to taking care of a family."

    I saw the troops in Iraq, and Gen. Keane is absolutely right. I can tell you that they, above all, understand the war they are fighting. They understand the stakes involved. And they will not be deterred from their mission by desperate acts of a dying regime or ideology.

    Paul Wolfowitz/Wall Street Journal Sep.09.03
    USDoD Speeches

    The death of Mohened Ghazi al-Kaby, 29, head of an interim council in Sadr City whose members were hand-picked by US officials

    The American-nominated mayor of a volatile Shia Muslim section of Baghdad has been killed in a confrontation with Unites States troops, dealing a serious blow to efforts by the occupation authorities to win the trust of the local population.

    Mr Kaby was shot dead on Sunday when he arrived at the interim council's headquarters for a meeting. According to the US military, the driver of a vehicle got into an argument with a soldier guarding the building, and refused to have his car searched in accordance with security procedures put in place after the wave of car bombings in the capital in recent weeks. He was shot in the leg by another soldier after he tried to grab the guard's rifle, and later died of his injuries, the US army said.
    Local witnesses denied this account yesterday, saying Mr Kaby was simply refused entry by a "new guard", who did not recognise him. They said the soldier pushed Mr Kaby, who spoke fluent English, several times. After the council head slapped the guard, a colleague opened fire.
    Swadi Salah, a member of the council who was phoned by Mr Kaby to come to the gate, said that there had been a delay in giving first aid. "The troops would not allow anyone to take him to hospital, saying we should wait for an ambulance," said Mr Salah. "The soldiers did not take him to one of two hospitals in the area. They took him to Rustamiya American field hospital, more than half an hour away. How can you explain that?"

    Mustafa Alrawi/Independent UK Nov.12.03


    photo Gerald Herbert / AP
    Funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery, Va. for Capt. Tristan Aitken of State College, Pa.

    "My answer is bring 'em on"

    The question is whether the military will start to feel taken for granted. Publications like Army Times are obviously going off the reservation. Retired military officers, like Gen. Anthony Zinni � formerly President Bush's envoy to the Middle East � have started to offer harsh, indeed unprintable, assessments of administration policies. If this disillusionment spreads to the rank and file, the politics of 2004 may be very different from what anyone expects.
    Paul Krugman/Unofficial Paul Krugman/New York Times Nov.11.03

    It kills me when I hear of the continuing casualties and the sacrifice that's being made.
    It also kills me when I hear someone say that, well, each one of those is a personal tragedy, but in the overall scheme of things, they're insignificant statistically. Never should we let any political leaders utter those words. This is the greatest treasure the United States has, our enlisted men and women. And when we put them into harm's way, it had better count for something. It can't be because some policy wonk back here has a brain fart of an idea of a strategy that isn't thought out.

    They should never be put on a battlefield without a strategic plan, not only for the fighting�our generals will take care of that�but for the aftermath and winning that war. Where are we, the American people, if we accept this, if we accept this level of sacrifice without that level of planning? Almost everyone in this room, of my contemporaries�our feelings and our sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam; where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. We swore never again would we do that. We swore never again would we allow it to happen. And I ask you, is it happening again? And you're going to have to answer that question, just like the American people are. And remember, everyone of those young men and women that come back is not a personal tragedy, it's a national tragedy.

    General Anthony Zinni, U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
    Forum 2003 �How Do We Overhaul the Nation�s Defense to Win the Next War?�
    U.S. Naval Institute/Marine Corps Association joint presentation

    The week the commissary cuts became known, 11 soldiers were killed in Iraq, and as many as 30 failed to show up on schedule for return flights to Baghdad at the end of their two-week R&R visits.

    Defense officials notified the services in mid-October that they intend to close 19 commissaries and may close 19 more, mostly in remote areas.
    At the same time, the Pentagon is finishing a study to determine whether to close or transfer control of the 58 schools it operates on 14 military installations in the continental United States.
    The two initiatives are the latest in a string of actions by the Bush administration to cut or hold down growth in pay and benefits, including basic pay, combat pay, health-care benefits and the death gratuity paid to survivors of troops who die on active duty.

    �Betrayal � write that down and put it in your report,� said Col. John Kidd, garrison commander of Fort Stewart, Ga., testifying at Tafoya�s forum on the need to keep military-run schools on his post. �As a commander, I will fight this tooth and nail. Folks down there are not just militant on this issue. They will march on Washington.�

    Lowe, the Quantico base commander, said he never has seen his community more united than it is over the schools issue.

    �The very fact that this transfer study is being conducted at this time when Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen and their families are increasingly required to give more of themselves and to go in harm�s way is taken by many as a personal affront,� he said. �It raises serious questions about DoD�s commitment..."

    Karen Jowers/Army Times Nov.11.03

    pity is like rust to a cruel social machine

    "we were put to work carrying corpses from Air-Raid shelters; women, children, old men; dead from concussion, fire or suffocation. Civilians cursed us and threw rocks as we carried bodies to huge funeral pyres in the city."

    Ray Boomhower/Indiana Historical Society

    link ::: wood s lot :::

    Kurt Vonnegut begins his long pilgrimage to Tralfamadore, in Dresden, 1945.

    US Public Opinion on Homosexuality -- Nature or Nurture?
    In your view, is homosexuality--something a person is born with, or is homosexuality due to factors such as upbringing and environment?

    Gallup Poll/Roper Center for Public Opinion Research May 5- May 7, 2003

    Ω{The givens are a little murky there. Homosexuality being...sexual attraction to same gender?
    And gender is...what kind of genitalia you're born with? The taboos break down but one of the last to go is fixed gender polarity. There are people who are full-specimen male who respond sexually to other males. That's one thing. There are nominal males with external male genitalia but a majority of female secondary sex characterisics, some of whom respond to males, some to females, some to both. That's another thing.
    It's like the one-drop rule, it gets adopted by everyone even though it originated with illogical racists.
    So Colin Powell is black.
    There are people who are born with both genitalia in varying degrees of development, and there are people with "DNA chromosome karyotype of 46 XXXY (mosaic)" but they get marginalized in this shrill hysterical debate.
    They're just as real as anyone else. Tiger Woods isn't black except to racists and people who adopt racist systems of classification. Bisexuals aren't homosexuals. Intersexuals aren't homosexuals. But they all get taken to the same camp on the same train.}

    "constituted government"

    insurgency. [JP 1-02] (DoD, NATO) An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.

    insurgent. [JP 1-02] (DoD) Member of a political party who rebels against established leadership. See also antiterrorism; counterinsurgency; insurgency.

    Military Definitions
    FAS News References
    Federation of American Scientists

    the job of protecting the nation's skies is not done
    Most people will be coded green and sail through. But up to 8 percent of passengers who board the nation's 26,000 daily flights will be coded "yellow" and will undergo additional screening at the checkpoint, according to people familiar with the program. An estimated 1 to 2 percent will be labeled "red" and will be prohibited from boarding. These passengers also will face police questioning and may be arrested.

    "Given the dynamic nature of the threat we deal with, it would be impossible to predict when the work would be finished" on air security, said TSA spokesman Robert Johnson. "We don't think it will ever end."
    Sara Kehaulani Goo/Washington Post Sep.09.03

    The problem is at home. That's the reality.
    The latest in spy gadgets available in Australia are being marketed to anxious parents.
    They include a computer device and software that can record email and chatroom conversations and a clothing spray that can tell if teens are having sex.

    Danielle Teutsch/Sydney Morning Herald Oct.05.03
    link Monk
    Ω{For when it's dark. (rimshot)
    A lot of us were raised with the idea of a divine presence that was 'always-on'.
    It keeps looking like some other presence is building itself a prosthetic divinity through technology. All-seeing all-powerful all-knowing. Completely disgusting though.
    That's the problem. Risk aversion's total safety is non-existence.
    It's just a long slide toward death, not-being. Cowardice is an effective strategy for short-term individual survival. But it doesn't work in the long run. Unless you define the long run as the extent of your own existence, then it works.
    That moral formula is being applied everywhere right now. The refusal to submit to the grace and grandeur of something that doesn't need you, that you need. Turning the world upside down so your own topsy-turvy reality makes sense.

    I saw this cat one time, with a rope around its neck, tied to a picnic table in 100+ degree weather, no water within reach. I was squatting down next to it, untying the rope, this woman comes rushing out of the house yelling. I stood up and explained to her that the cat was suffering and could well die. Her response was she didn't want it to run away. That it might get hurt, that the world was dangerous and this way she knew where it was.

    Keep in mind the arguments these people make, the images of horror and terror, the justification for surveillance and security coming right behind the images of violation. More children die in traffic accidents than by any other cause, keep that in mind too.}


    The Low Road
    Marge Piercy
    in stories
    at We Are Everywhere

    hidden in small plywood closets
    The cameras can see a long way, Chambers acknowledged, but they are "looking at bridges and those types of things," and there is a "very strict policy in place with checks and balances. Operators know that this isn't a toy, and the only time the operator can zoom is when he or she has an articulable suspicion that the person is committing a criminal act."

    If the operators see people passing a suspicious object that could be a weapon, she said, officers would be alerted. Same with "suspicious persons attempting to get into cars."

    The only places where they look, she said, are those "where people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy."
    Al Kamen/Washington Post 11.07.03
    link from Sam Smith's Progressive

    Ω{I don't keep notes or a scrapbook, but it's a subject I'm keenly interested in, this idea of 'operators'. Not cops, but on-the-case, a subculture of what someone suggested be called 'auditors'.
    This is the first public mention I've seen of the presence of actual humans behind the lens. That 'gypsy' in the parking lot thing where the woman kicked off a nation-wide gasp of outrage by smacking her kid in front of a camera, it was talked about as though the event brought itself before the news director for his consideration, not as though there was some social invalid going over the tapes, or even more likely at this point a droid prosthetically hooked up to the camera in real-time. We seem to be entering territory the Light Brigade would find familiar, all ethical considerations get ignored by the higher-priority tactical and strategic. Who cares about civil rights, don't you know there's a war on? Like that.
    But I will insist as long as I'm still around, putting inferior people in omniscient positions has polluted the soul commons.
    Any telepath will back me on that.}

    Ω{Quasi-update: In the end it's a feeble attempt. And the mistake is right at the entrance, there's no qualifying, they run the camera feed because they can't do anything else, because there's something wrong with them. The common denominator of their effect on things doesn't rise, it sinks. You need saints there, you have only demons. Your demons, loyal and true, but demons nonetheless.}

    O{There's a consistent feature in mainstream news in America these last two years, all Palestinian-caused violence in the Middle East is described as an attack, all Israeli-caused violence is described as response, retaliation etc.
    Once or twice is a ruse, all the time is brainwashing.
    If you can frame the debate and choose its terms you win before you begin.
    Abortion is argued around two main, dissimilar points, one that life is sacred, that the fifth commandment's injunction against taking a life is violated by abortion, and two, that a woman's body is her destiny, and she should have the final say on medical decisions concerning it. Both these points are presented by their respective sides as being the crux of the argument.
    I can remember being stuck in a moving image of procreation as a teenager. There's two people, they have sex, there's a third person. Way down in the cells of the woman there's this seed thing like a bean sprout, then there's a baby. So that the logical place where life begins would be the entering of the ovum's cell wall by the sperm, the tip of it. The first nudge through. Right there.
    But that's ridiculous, not to mention the trouble it would cause the Recorder of Beings, because there are millions of penetrated eggs washing through the sewer systems of the world every day, spontaneously, unknown to the mothers involved.

    The thing about the sword of Solomon, the sword he raised above the baby in that famous case, is, he didn't use it.
    You can't cut this problem down to the facts, there's a miracle in the middle of it, and you can't take that miracle apart without killing it.
    Lives are begun in just this way, yes, but they are begun in the bodies of women. And that's where I go sit on the one side as opposed to the other.
    Having an abortion is an extremely serious thing, the decision itself is not cosmetic, or a matter of convenience. But the wrong people are involved. From the get.
    That's what needs to change, and certainly if any group is going to decide whether a young woman should abort a living child, and yes that is what it is, it should be a group of women whose wisdom and whose hearts transcend the absurd and dangerous alloy of religion and politics that is the foundation of this debate at the present moment.
    It is a women's thing. Not for women in isolation, and not for women who have made a profession of being women, but the female, the mother side of what we are.
    I do not believe the men who dominate this question are honest as to their motives, and I believe that that dishonesty has crippled us as a people.}


    Tap into people's dignity and they will do anything for you.

    If President George W. Bush wants to get a better handle on the problems he's facing in Iraq and the West Bank, I suggest he study the speech made Oct. 16 by Malaysia's departing prime minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, to a conclave of Muslim leaders. Most of that speech was a brutally frank look into the causes of the Muslim world's decline. Though it was also laced with shameful anti-Jewish slurs, it was still revealing. Five times he referred to Muslims as humiliated. If I've learned one thing covering world affairs, it's this: The single most underappreciated force in international relations is humiliation.

    "I will not enumerate the instances of our humiliation," Mahathir said. "We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated. ... Today we, the whole Muslim [community], are treated with contempt and dishonor. ... There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right." He added: "Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly."

    One reason Yasser Arafat rejected Bill Clinton's plan for a Palestinian state was that he and many followers didn't want a state handed to them by the United States or Israel. That would be humiliating. They wanted to win it in blood and fire. Hezbollah TV had bombarded Palestinians with images of the Lebanese driving the Israelis out. Palestinian militants wanted the "dignity" of doing the same.

    Always remember, the Arab-Israeli conflict is about both borders and Nobel Prizes. It's about where the dividing line should be, and it's about the humiliation that comes from one side succeeding at modernity and the other not.
    Thomas Friedman/NYTimes/ 11.10.03
    Mahathir Mohamed, October 16 2003:
    20. With all these developments over the centuries the ummah and the Muslim civilisation became so weak that at one time there was not a single Muslim country which was not colonised or hegemonised by the Europeans. But regaining independence did not help to strengthen the Muslims. Their states were weak and badly administered, constantly in a state of turmoil. The Europeans could do what they liked with Muslim territories. It is not surprising that they should excise Muslim land to create the state of Israel to solve their Jewish problem. Divided, the Muslims could do nothing effective to stop the Balfour and Zionist transgression.

    32. There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse.The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. They will forever be poor, backward and weak. Some believe, as I have said, this is the Will of Allah, that the proper state of the Muslims is to be poor and oppressed in this world.

    34. It cannot be that there is no other way. 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.

    39. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.

    42. We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.
    Ω{That bit about the proxy there is what Friedman's talking about, it has to be because there's nothing else in the speech that could even be spun into "shameful anti_Jewish slurs". Unless it's a different speech he's talking about, or I didn't get the whole transcript.
    This is a difficult point to argue without either documentation or testimony, in the case of positive proof; or, in order to disprove it, a knowledge of the inner workings of global politics that's beyond the grasp of almost anyone.
    But a few readily available facts would seem to bolster the Muslim claims of Jewish influence.
    Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, also, ipso facto in America. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the richest man in Russia, or was. The most powerful figure in the American economy is Alan Greenspan. One of the most if not the most powerful media figure in the world is Rupert Murdoch. I don't know enough about Russian names to recognize the name Khodorkovsky as ethnically Jewish or Russian. Greenspan is a Jewish man with a Jewish name. Gates and Murdoch are Jewish men with gentile names.
    I'm not saying these guys even know each other, I'm certainly not suggesting they meet in some underground bunker in Transylvania and plot the course of the world's economies. But they are powerful men, and they are Jews according to Talmudic law.
    The discovery of these facts and their complete absence from the public discourse means that men like Lyndon LaRouche, whose work I know almost nothing about, and other more marginal, less coherent and more irrational voices are turned to for understanding, by common people in America, and the Arab world. Once the break with the mainstream media gets made.
    Because all there is is the pablum and nonsense of men like Friedman and so many others in the media, in America at least, and the 'underground', the relative darkness outside the television's circle of light, where the truth mixes indistinguishably with untrackable rumor, hysterical fear and irrational prejudice, and paranoid fantasy.
    The skills necessary to use the internet for the same purposes people turn to the TV news are beyond the abilities of the average American, and that alone is a major indictment of someone.
    When I try to put a name with that I run into the same block a lot of people do-who is it?
    You can't say 'the Jews', it's ridiculous to say that. It's whoever it is Friedman's aligned with, and let me make this idiot-proof, I am not saying whoever it is Friedman says he's aligned with, this isn't a game where you choose sides, or the team you root for. This is the fate of humanity, the face of humanity even more accurately, the course of human evolution.
    You are aligned by the nature of what you are as a living being.
    The only thing I can think of that's more serious is the idea that at some point given enough time and enough moral decay, some group of far-future scientists might decode the architecture of the universe itself, and figure out a way to tear it apart. That prospect, and, given the current state of applied scientific discovery, its likelihood, is the silver lining in the various end-world scenarios current events generate so frequently.
    Friedman self-identifies as a Jew, and there's an obvious validity to that. But Yitzhak Rabin was adamantly a Jew, and he and Friedman have little in common. I am not going to list the hundreds of people I admire respect and love who are Jews, my credibility isn't at stake here, Friedman's is, and Friedman has in his turn accused Mahathir Mohamed of what's called, in english, anti-Semitism.
    One of the most damning confirmations of Mahathir's statement is that it's absolutely forbidden to discuss it in public as a debatable issue. And Mahathir himself slips into the terms of confusion, as though the same people who suffered and died in the Holocaust are now 'running the world'. That's the scam in a nutshell. As though there were no finer distinctions to be made. As though Allen Ginsberg was part of a conspiracy to dominate the globe. The terms of the argument have been set up so no argument is possible. It's the article, the 'the'. It denies the most vital component of the whole mess room to move. There are other Jews. Friedman denies this, Sharon and his psychotic legion deny this, and on the other side the arab fundamentalists and the neo-Nazis deny it as well.
    I could never say the things I'm saying here in a public place in America, regardless of my background, or my rhetorical ability. The subject matter alone means it's taboo.
    These are simple facts, and they point to a simple truth, and it's a scary one. Friedman's just a noisemaker; a powerful one, but not directly. He's the voice of a darker power that hides itself in plain sight.}

    The Force of Myth
    Yet public opinion about the complainant shifted dramatically as soon as the defense claimed that she had had consensual sex in the days preceding her encounter with Bryant. The defense's transparently specious justification for raising this "fact" at a preliminary hearing was the possibility that the gynecological signs of forcible intercourse may have been caused by someone other than Bryant. The unstated argument raised by this claim (and the one directly targeted at the media) is that this victim is "unworthy." Because still another rape myth is that "a slut cannot be raped."

    There is no criminological data to support a correlation between the prior sexual activity of a victim and the likelihood of sexual assault. Prostitutes are no more likely to be raped than virgins.
    Alice Vachss/Daily Camera/Common Dreams 11.09.0

    three deaths

    Father Ronald P. Pytel, 56, a pastor of Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church in Southeast Baltimore whose recovery from a life-threatening heart condition was declared a miracle by Vatican authorities four years ago, died of kidney cancer Monday at a home he had restored in Middle Way, W.Va.

    Diagnosed with a degenerative aortic valve and congestive heart failure in the mid-1990s, Pytel underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and recovered � all while praying to Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who recently had been beatified.

    The Holy See determined Pytel's case to be a miracle, and it was used to further the nun's canonization as a saint in 2000.

    Roy Lucas, 61, a lawyer who was instrumental in shaping the "right to privacy" legal argument that was used in the Supreme Court's landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion in the United States, died of a heart attack Monday in Prague. A resident of Washington, D.C., he was doing research in the Czech Republic.

    The Columbia, S.C., native made his argument in a research paper for a class on litigation while he was a third-year law student at New York University. The North Carolina Law Review published the paper in 1968.

    He filed the first abortion-rights lawsuit in New York in 1969, and participated in most of the abortion-rights lawsuits filed around the country over the next four years.

    Joanna Lee

    She had to struggle to get started as a director and producer, careers dominated by men, but gradually developed a strong sense of mission as a filmmaker. To some extent her own life was the impetus. A twice-divorced single mother with two children, Lee began to focus on social problems, particularly those that affected women.

    She made a firm decision "that the women I write about are winners. I want women to win in life," she said in a 1976 interview with The Times.

    She wrote the script for "Cage Without a Key" (1975), about a girls reform school. She went on to write and produce "I Want to Keep My Baby" (1976), the story of a teenage girl who decides to give up her child for adoption.

    Her Hollywood career began in the late 1950s, after she took acting classes and got roles fiction movies...including..."Plan 9 From Outer Space" (1959).

    LATimes 11.08.03

    Congressman Peter DeFazio, November 5, 2003:

    I was astonished earlier today when a colleague from the Republican majority stood up to pretend to document how great things are for our veterans, all these new services and things we are providing. I am hearing a very different assessment from my veterans and their dependents. And facts are stubborn things.

    Here are some real facts, unlike what we heard earlier today: 150,000 veterans are waiting 6 months or longer for appointments; 14,000 veterans have been waiting 15 months or longer for their "expedited'' disability claims; 560,000 disabled veterans are subject to the disabled veterans tax...

    January 8 of this year, the Bush administration cut off VA health care for 164,000 veterans. They put them in a new category called Category 8. They are wealthy veterans just like the wealthy people they are giving tax breaks to. Well, not quite. The wealthy people the Bush administration is raining tax breaks on earn over $311,000 a year. But these vets are wealthy. They do not deserve that veterans health care, according to the Bush administration. They earn $25,000 a year. They should pay for their own health care.

    A few other problems. Rather than funding the VA, the Bush administration sent a memo to regional VA facilities that forbid Veterans Administration employees from proactively informing veterans about the services available to them in order to reduce the number of veterans using VA facilities.

    Representative DeFazio site
    at, the web site of the United States House of Representatives
    {emphasis added for editorial effect}

    Fox News is Not Timid! Fox News is the Conscience America Listens To!
    The U.S. military swept through Iraqi neighborhoods early Saturday, firing at houses suspected to be harboring hostile forces in the wake of an apparent attack on a Black Hawk (search) helicopter that killed six U.S. soldiers.
    Backed by Bradley fighting vehicles (search), American troops bombarded buildings with machine guns and heavy weapons fire.
    "This is to remind the town that we have teeth and claws and we will use them," said Lt. Col. Steven Russell, commander of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment.
    Rupert Murdoch 11.07.03
    Ω{Iraq is the enemy. Iraq is the victim. Iraq is the battlefield itself and the enemy itself. Iraq is the princess and the dragon and the castle and the treasure and the cave and the witch and the gingerbread house and Hansel and Gretel and the wolf and the hunter and Little Red Riding Hood.}


    troubled by the timidity of broadcast media

    "Preventive war is a theory, a policy, that was put forth by the president in his policy address," Cronkite observed. "It upsets all of our previous concepts about the use of power. It is particularly worrying when our power is almost unchallenged around the world. It seems to me that this preventive action is a terrible policy to put forth to other nations. If we are viewed as a pacesetter by other nations, this is a policy that could lead to eternal war around the world. If every small nation with a border dispute believes they can go ahead and launch a pre-emptive war and that it will be approved by the greatest power, that is a very dangerous thing."

    To Cronkite's view, Bush is a distinctly aggressive president. "I actually knew Herbert Hoover, believe it or not. And my time as a journalist goes back to Franklin Roosevelt. In my time, I don't think we have had any president as aggressive, except possibly Roosevelt. With Roosevelt, there was in his time a call for leadership, which he gave us. With this White House, they are aggressive on all fronts, whether there is a call for leadership or not."

    At the same time, Cronkite said, the Congress is pliant. Asked about the congressional debate on the Iraq war, he asked rhetorically, "What debate?"

    John Nichols/Capital Times/Common Dreams 11.08.03

    "I don't have a pickup truck."
    Another factor has far deeper roots: our fear of public discussion of class issues. Although this has repeatedly been noted by both black and white observers, it has little effect on our politics or the media, both of which project the myth that ethnic conflict occurs independent of economic divisions.

    One who understood otherwise was the black writer, Jean Toomer - who once described America as "so voluble in acclamation of the democratic ideal, so reticent in applying what it professes." Writing in 1919, Toomer said, "It is generally established that the causes of race prejudice may primarily be found in the economic structure that compels one worker to compete against another and that furthermore renders it advantageous for the exploiting classes to inculcate, foster, and aggravate that competition."

    Dean's real sin was that he got too close to that topic.

    Sam Smith/Progressive Review 11.07.03

    Great Balls of, uh, Titanium

    'Allow me to hope for [the] best for all of them, especially now as they find themselves in the Tombs, or Rikers, or whatever hellish place they've been sent. I'm guessing they have some familiarity with hellish places and circumstances.

    The sun rises this morning on a west Village made safe again for honest trans hookers and the men from Jersey who adore them. And police shakedowns are once again the province of legitimate cops.'

    Agenda Bender 11.08.03

    Ω{That sense of irredeemable moral contamination, we have to 'save' the children because once they've been made victims we can't think about them anymore.
    There's that moral illogic again, where the victim needs protection because of the damage violation causes, but the damaged victim is on his own.
    Some little kid falls down a well in Oklahoma and all across America the teddy bears and stuffed bunnies take to the air, until the family of the little drop-out is in danger of being buried alive in gifts.
    Choking back tears of sympathy, glued to the news, people just want to help any way they can.
    Meanwhile, back on the sidewalk, in tight pants and lipstick...}

    child sex workers

    more child sex workers


    bogged down in a quagmire
    "The answer to the crisis in Iraq is not more money and more US troops. We need to acknowledge that the continued U.S. presence in Iraq is counterproductive. Every day that we are inside Iraq the situation gets progressively worse as evidenced by the frequent and more sophisticated attacks on our troops. More US troops have died occupying Iraq than died in the war for Iraq.
    "We must end the occupation of Iraq. Our presence in Iraq is helping to create instability. It is time to begin the process of getting the UN in and the US out."
    Dennis Kucinich
    Kucinich 2004

    Ω{Where the debate will start going off the rails is Israel.
    Pulling out will mean Iraqi self-determination, which will, under the circumstances, given the outrage and sense of violation the Iraqis now have permanently transfused into their lives, place Israel in a position of extreme vulnerability. There are nuclear weapons in the Middle East now, there will be for some time to come.
    The question that Israel is, as a nation, as a concept, as an intentionally indefinite presence, needs to be resolved, internally and in the eyes of the world. There are madmen there, their madness is contagious. There are madmen here in America, and in the Muslim countries as well.
    No peace, no stability, will be possible as long as the pretense of Israeli uninvolvement is maintained. It isn't the US and the Iraqis, the US and the Arabs, it's the US and Israel and the Arabs. The whole world is taking sides around this, and increasingly the United States and Israel are alone inside a ring of disapproval.
    We entered Iraq under pretense, with disguised motives that were more complex than just oil and global domination. We won't be able to leave under that same pretense.}


    OK here we go.
    The Confederate Flag had a few iterations, the most commonly seen today being the
    'Confederate Navy Jack'.

    It's actually pretty much of a mistake to think of it as the Confederate flag though, as it was used only on Confederate naval vessels from 1863 to '65.
    The actual 'Stars and Bars'

    was substantially different.
    My personal favorite is the 'Bonny Blue'

    (Further reading at Wikipedia.)

    This is an essay, and it has two, or maybe three, purposes. The primary one is to let off some steam, the secondary is to bother some people that I don't like. That's most of the reason I write anything these days. Running a distant third there would be making the world a better place.

    So Dean says 'we' need to speak to and for the guys with the Confederate flag decals on their pickups. And gets rat-packed as a panderer to racists, and in response he then apologizes.
    OK let's start with who, and then work our way around to what. Who's Dean? Evidently a privileged child of capitalist aristocrats, a Dr. of some kind, whether medical or philosophical I don't know yet.
    So when Dean says listen to, and respond to what you hear from, people whose political opinions are traditionally seen as the property of corporate media, I think that's a good thing. Dr. Dean's about as white as you can get, so it's not a crossing racial barriers thing, his reaching out, it's economic, or socio-economic.
    So he's not being racist. But according to the clamorers the targets of his outreach are. Racists in pickup trucks.But let's wait up on who exactly that is for a bit.
    Who's doing the clamoring? I don't have anything like a poll or survey to fall back on but I can guarantee you it's a group of groups, or a group of group leaders, among them the various ethnic defense organizations like the NAACP and the JDL, with probably some of those loose coalitions you hear about all the time thrown in as well. People who think it's not only wrong to be racially prejudiced but who feel that if you are racially prejudiced you're automatically disenfranchised, that it's cause for exclusion.
    I'm not as young as I once was, and in that mysterious transition I've run across more than a few instances of racism, covert, obvert, and so deeply ingrained as to seem genetic. And I'm here to tell you it cuts right across every ethnic line you can draw.
    Tell me there's no viscious black racism, tell me the Latino culture in California isn't festering with racist nonsense, tell me Jews aren't some of the most racist people around. Well you can't I don't have a comments thing.
    Asian racism is profound, both in Japanese and Chinese cultures. I don't know much about Korea. And how many degrees different is the class and caste discrimination of South Asia from actual skin-pigment racism?
    Racism is definitely not the exclusive property of poor whites. Something else is driving that backlash against Dean's populist foray. Some of it is probably the attention-crucible of modern celebrity, especially political celebrity. But what else?

    Obesity levels among Irish children are now comparable with those in the US�Vhi Healthcare

    link from Liberal Arts Mafia

    Animal Housing Projectile
    'Thus began the reign of the self-satisfied preppie, which turned out no better than the reign of the self-satisfied hippie. These boys had been presented with a platinum credit line of forgiveness even before their consciences had dropped. And they put it to use.'
    Ray Davis, the Count of Monte Christo with a Tek-9

    Mr Green is getting richer
    �BBC 11.06.03

    La Guerra Sucia
    The Supreme Court in Mexico has ruled that two former police officers can be tried for the disappearance of a young revolutionary nearly 30 years ago.

    President Fox appointed a special Dirty War investigator
    The move clears the way for the possible arrest and prosecution of former officials implicated in the kidnappings of left-wing activists in the late 1960s and '70s.

    The ruling has been welcomed by politicians and human rights groups in Mexico and abroad.
    The Supreme Court said the statute of limitations did not apply since Mr Piedra's body has never been found and the investigation is still open.
    Daniel Schweimler /BBC 11.06.03

    ...doesn't seem to get it, that the student is referring to the period 1983-1990 when the US was a close ally of Saddam's, when it authorized the sale of chemical and biological precursors to Saddam, when it had the US navy function essentially as an auxiliary of Saddam's military.
    Either he didn't get it or he was using misdirection to shift attention away from his own former alliance with Saddam (I wonder if he's managed to have all those files shredded?)

    That is bad enough. But then he said, "It seems to me that the north star of your comment is that you dislike this country and its policies." And you know, I want to puke at a statement like that. Objecting to the Bush administration's policies is not the same as to "dislike this country."
    Juan Cole 11.02.03
    link from Body and Soul

    Ω{Atrios of Eschaton does this much better, more concisely than I can, but it's vital, it has to be done soon, the vocabulary must be created, these men given a new name, and their devices exposed for what they are, tricks, deceptions, ultimately lies that kill.
    Imagine aliens who could camoflage themselves as children; and not as generic children, your children.
    Come home to you and tell you about their day, wake up to pancakes on Saturday morning, help you mow the lawn. And the whole time they're pretending to be your children they're going around the neighborhood killing people and eating them.
    You can't raise your hand against them because they're your children. Not until you make that break. In order to stop them, you have to redefine them out of the family.
    We have to stop seeing Wolfowitz and his scum-brethren as Americans, they're not. The tension created, between the rejection of any connection with them, and the sense of being an American, is crippling.
    As long as Wolfowitz is an American, either I'm with him or I'm not an American.
    They may live in America, but they are another thing, an as-yet nameless thing, and they hide behind that namelessness, using the names of the things we love as their own.
    So that to attack them where they hide is to attack America. But it isn't.
    It's attacking them, to stop them, not America.
    This is happening to Jews as well. The same way. Hiding behind a definition of what it is to be a Jew, so that to attack them is to attack all Jews, men whose true nature goes undefined.
    It's the same deceit, the same scam.
    These alien, opportunistic, manipulative evil men who would sacrifice everything high and good about human existence to further their own narrow colorless lives.}


    Lantis knocked four times on the door, knowing the room was empty, but it was one of the formal requirements of his employment, and the protection it gave him to do what was required was vital, and really it was nothing, like the jacket and tie, subdued, reassuring, not new not old, there. An unnoticable but measurable pause between the third and fourth knock and a slight increase in intensity gave it a tone of authority, like the closing of a book, an official book, a record of activities and contacts, a case in the hands of a judge.
    He unlocked the door and opened it, not moving from the threshold, glancing at the unmade bed, the dresser, the shaded window. A smell of onion made him grimace. Cheap peasant food. No perfume or cologne, the sink crusted with shaving soap, nothing in the wastebasket, he walked toward the window. There under the inside corner of the bed, lying on its thin edge, stuck between the rough wool blanket and the wall, an envelope. He bends to see, it's postmarked B_______, and thick with folded paper, he intends at first to read what must be a long and potentially interesting letter, but sees instead what has to be 6 months salary in francs, wrapped in a single sheet of stationery. He sits on the bed to count it. Then reads the letter. Oh ho. Congratulating himself on recognizing the fugitive couple for what they were in spite of their relaxed posturing, he removes the money, which isn't mentioned in the five paragraphs of the letter, then quietly locks the door behind him as he heads calmly, purposefully, through the next three moves of the long gambit his life is now; too resolute for a pawn, not brave enough for a knight, a bishop of secrecy, going back to his queen with his discovered en prise.
    A concise visit with Marda, after a much longer stroking session with Special-Lieutenant Plenc, a bath at home and on to the cafe, just in time to watch the sun touch the horizon under a sky as flat and grey as the plains below it, the strip of light and its gold-orange ball like a promise, a winning ticket. Now we'll see, thought Lantis, almost trembling with gratification, both sides of his furtive life gilded by unexpected fortune.
    He ordered the prix fixe, some wine, and watched the light fading through the long windows, the only immediate obstacle to his complete satisfaction the drunken stare of that novelist with the ridiculous Spanish name, Jaime what-was-it? Lantis tried to ignore him, caught in the dull unwavering beam of his attention, gaze not withdrawing as the waiter set down his salad and he murmured his thanks. Hartz, that was it. One of the Dangling Partisans, rumored to have informed on his companions, a disgraced academic collapsing into inevitable poverty, his table cluttered with the quick formula of oblivion, cheap gin and absinthe.
    Hartz continued to stare, turning away only to drink.
    He couldn't know, they wouldn't let him walk around, knowing. I would have heard.
    It's envy, he can tell I'm on my way, up and out of this rat-hole of a city where he'll die, probably this winter, alone and unnoticed unless there's a problem, a mess.
    The tailor, tomorrow a new suit, then another month at the hotel, a ticket in advance to the south, and then once across the border...

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