informant38
.

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...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


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30.11.04

19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
21 (For all the Athenians, and strangers which were there, spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands
Acts of The Apostles 17

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
32 In Damascus the governor under Ar'etas the king kept the city of the Dam'ascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
33 and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
Corinthians 11

King James Version
The Bible
Bartleby

29.11.04

from Azer Tag,
State Telegraph Agency of The Republic of Azerbaijan:


Nicolas Sarkozy, the new leader of France's ruling conservative party, has carved out a stellar political career that he unabashedly sees as one day -- and sooner rather than later -- making him French president.

His irrepressible rise owes much to his naked ambition and determination to put himself in stark contrast with the current head-of-state, Jacques Chirac.

Born in January 1955 to a Hungarian refugee who came to France after World War II, he has championed the cause of immigrants in the country and often relies on the canny advice of his wife Celia as he plots his course.

Azer Tag 29.Nov.04

Does that seem too obvious?
Then maybe a piece from Pravda or the BBC will help you pretend it's all a natural outgrowth of the human desire for strong capable leadership. As opposed to a cunning cynical manipulation of people held hostage by media in the hands of a tiny minority of tiny men with big ideas.

28.11.04

Once I discovered it, I hit the AFP news image site every day, starting back in early '03. The images were consistently fine, artistically and narratively, concise and aesthetic. Some time this spring they changed from a .jpg pop-up to a flash presentation where you can't grab the images without a screen capture, and they roll by on their own, you can only look at them for a couple seconds. The quality of the images themselves has remained high, though the aesthetic now is cheaper and more superficial, closer to Murdoch's FOX, and the narrative aspect has disappeared altogether.
The other French news site I hit with some regularity was Nouvel Observateur, they still have the same format they've always had, .jpg's in a pop-up, but their content was never as consistently artistic, and the editorial narrative is closer to being a french version of yahoo or Reuters. Some time ago I noticed that this man, Nicolas Sarkozy, formerly the Minister of Finance, currently the Minister of Interior, was being presented with regularity and increasing frequency. It had the same feel as the subliminal media presentations of Bush and the other pre-ordained officials in the US, as they were chauffered into office. Inevitable, a fait accompli.
At the same time that AFP underwent their site redesign Sarkozy began appearing there with much higher frequency, and in a more flattering light than he had before.
Though that may have subsided by now, I don't know, I quit checking in some time ago.
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On January 23, France’s National Assembly passed Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s Internal Security Law, which had been in preparation since late September of last year. As in its previously proposed versions, the law gives police the option of intimidating poor neighborhoods with draconian sentencing and dramatically strengthens police powers. Ruling circles are also using the law to incite nationalism and generally spread the reactionary atmosphere created by the media cult around Sarkozy
[...]
Sarkozy has easily dealt with the half-hearted opposition of the left wing of the bourgeois establishment, but the opposition of the working class is another matter. Sarkozy’s ridiculous populist pretensions and his claims to be working for the good of average working Frenchmen show that he is aware of the massive popular opposition to the type of police repression that he actually is preparing.
Alex Lefebvre/WSWS 30.01.03
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When Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California in 2003, all French politicians sneered, except one. For Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of a center-right Gaullist party and the son of a Hungarian refugee, the rise to power of the Austrian-born Hollywood star was a sure sign of modernity.
Marc Perelman/Foreign Policy 07.05
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...a significant gap between the ways in which George W. Bush and John Kerry approached the delicate matter of politics and religion. Bush was comfortable proclaiming his faith as an integral, if not the most essential, aspect of his life. Kerry, on the other hand, was considerably more reticent. Much of his rhetoric seemed to suggest that American politics is simply a secular affair, in which all political claims derived from religious teaching are prima facie illegitimate, because values cannot or should not be imposed on others who do not share them. These two Americans are poles apart regarding the manner in which they discuss religion and politics, and their disparity highlights the increasing differences with which American conservatives and American liberals and most Europeans view the role of religion in public life.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Nicolas Sarkozy, formerly France's interior minister and minister of finance, who was recently overwhelmingly elected as leader of France’s major center-right political party, is causing a stir with his singular understanding of this question. His new book, La Republique, les religions, l'esperance (The Republic, religions, and hope), is being touted as a quasi-revolutionary document that seeks to redefine relations between religion and politics in France. In it he unveils his "personal sentiments," the result of his experience in political life, condensed and revealed in a series of interviews.
Timothy Lehmann/Policy Review Online
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Nicolas Sarkozy, France's ambitious interior minister and head of the ruling UMP party, on Sunday blatantly threw down the gauntlet to rivals for the presidency in 2007 - even as his fiercest political opponent, President Jacques Chirac, lay in hospital recovering from a "minor vascular accident".
The famously robust 72-year-old president, fond of beer and rich food, was admitted to the Val de Grace military hospital on Friday night after suffering blurred vision and headaches.
Mr Chirac is expected to remain in hospital for a week for tests. On Sunday doctors said test results so far were "very satisfactory" and he was reported to be working from his hospital bed.
But Mr Sarkozy, hosting a UMP youth rally in the seaside town of La Baule, unashamedly seized the opportunity to launch himself into the race to succeed Mr Chirac.
MSN Money 04.09.05
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In-depth pro-Sarkozy hype from TIME Europe October 2004

Telegraph UK - Nicolas Sarkozy: "We have to act against radical preachers!"

BBC News - Tony Blair on Sarkozy as the foreign leader who impresses him most.

Charles Trueheart on "this unusual force of nature" in The Atlantic/Financial Review

crime and punishment
"...This war was provoked by Berezovsky...was planned long ago... "

[Readers must do much of their own work here, connecting the events and people, but the overall pattern I think is now becoming undeniably visible. Behind Putin is Berezovsky, the crimelord, oligarch, capitalist businessman. He is not a Russian, exactly. These are men who are evil, unless nothing is evil. If nothing is evil then how could anyone be evil? But if evil does exist, here it is.]
I first heard about the current President of Russia Vladimir Putin during an official visit to Israel in 1997.
By invitation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, I, along with then Vice-Governor of Kharkov Oblast Leonid Stasevsky, visited Israel as part of the "Program for Economic Cooperation" between our countries. A busy programme of events awaited us, most of which was dedicated to numerous meetings with representatives of Israel's political and economic elite. Among them was a planned meeting with the President of the New Entrepreneurs' Association of Israel, Radoshkovich. At that time former Leningrad emigrant Yitzak Radoshkovich had already become a heavyweight figure not only in his own country, but, according to rumors, in the corridors of the World Bank as well.
Our meeting, during the course of which the matter of various investment projects in the Kharkov region was discussed, was extremely official in nature. The same can't be said about a second meeting with Radoshkovich with whom we, upon returning to the Ukraine, found ourselves in the same airplane. For the entire length of the flight from Tel-Aviv to Kiev we chatted on various topics. And in the course of our chat he mentioned in passing that his second cousin Vladimir Putin had great prospects for advancement in the Russian political elite...
By August of 1999 I saw with my own eyes the result of the dizzying career of the theretofore unknown Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Let's refresh our memories on the chronology:
August 1999. Appointed prime-minister of the Russian Federation;
January 2000. Appointed Acting President of the Russian Federation;
March 2000. Elected President of the Russian Federation.
To what, or rather to whom, was Russia indebted for her "successor to the throne" in the form of Vladimir Putin? We all know to whom -- to Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, who built up this new pretender to Russia's "presidential throne" in record time.

67% of cattle and sheep interviewed in the field believe their owners have their best interests at heart, and that the fences and gates with which they are surrounded are there to protect them from real but invisible enemies outside.
91% said they believed God had placed human beings on earth to serve as stewards and caretakers for all animals, especially cattle and sheep.
98% of all cattle and sheep in feed lots and transport hubs responded positively when asked if they believed that God had created them as they were.

intransigence and complicity

A winter storm greeted Colin Powell on Monday as he made his last trip to Israel and the occupied territories as US secretary of state. His was the first visit in a string of Western foreign ministers, all eager to seize "the new opportunity to advance the peace process" caused by the death of Yasser Arafat. Unlike so often in the past, Powell realised the limited goals set for him.
He won a commitment from his Israeli counterpart, Silvan Shalom, that "Israel will do everything in its power to ensure the smooth running" of the Palestinian presidential elections on 9 January, including arrangements to enable the 200,000 or so Palestinians in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem to vote.
Few Palestinians believe it. The night before Powell arrived an Israeli undercover squad killed three Palestinians in Beitunia, near Ramallah. The three -- Mohamed Liftawi, Salam Yaqoub and Nasser Jawahra -- were all members of the Palestinian security forces, Fatah and its military arm, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
According to the Israeli version all three were killed in a "shoot out" resisting arrest. According to eyewitness accounts compiled by three Palestinian human rights monitors the three were first caught in a road ambush by the squad and then killed in a hail of machine gun fire while trapped in their car. At least one of them, Liftawi, had found sanctuary for the last two years in Arafat's Muqataa compound but fled with his leader's flight to Paris. Two weeks later Liftawi was dead, and the meaning will not be lost on a single member of Fatah's militia: with Arafat there was protection; without him there isn't.

We are doing the best we can to provide a better atmosphere

baghdad
The US ambassador to Iraq on Saturday stressed that January's landmark elections should be held on time as he toured the devastated streets of Fallujah in the highest-level visit to the city since the US-led offensive to root out rebels.

John Negroponte, wearing tan body armour over his shirt and tie with an American flag sewn on to the front, made his visit under heavy guard amid the start of reconstruction efforts to rebuild the city. The former US ambassador to the United Nations told AFP during his surprise visit to the shattered city that the security situation should not prevent Iraq's election from being held as scheduled on Jan. 30. "We believe there will be adequate security for these elections to be held on January 30," he said in Fallujah, which has recently been the scene of the worst postwar fighting in Iraq. Shortly after his comments, the head of Iraq's electoral commission said it was "out of the question" that elections would be postponed, while the Iraqi government also said it was determined to hold the elections on time. "We support the implementation of the transitional law in Iraq," Negroponte added, a day after 10 leading Iraqi political parties requested the election be postponed by six months due to security concerns. "Unrest and terrorist acts as well as insufficient preparation at the administrative, technical and political levels necessitate the date be reconsidered," said a statement approved Saturday by 17 organisations, including the 10 parties.

27.11.04

swift action

Columbia University president Lee Bollinger plans "specific steps" soon in response to allegations that professors and lecturers at the Ivy League university made vitriolic and malicious comments against Israel in classes.
Bollinger made the pledge in a Wednesday phone call to Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman. Bollinger didn't detail the character of the steps, but emphasized "the matter will be handled immediately."
New York's Columbia University was recently embarrassed by reports that Middle Eastern professors are exploiting their academic standing to express extreme political views on Israel, using slanderous and defamatory statements.
[...]
Foxman told Haaretz on Thursday that he his meeting with Bollinger had left him with the impression that "he is aware of the problem and understands its seriousness."
Foxman called the Columbia events "particularly grave as the institution is located in New York, which has a large Jewish population, and Jewish students are exposed to insults from professors."

Ralph Nader had some questions for Foxman in August of this year


Neeka's Backlog - Kiev,Ukraine, 26.Nov.04

25.11.04


Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal Reyes (Minerva)

the dollar

The following highlight the extent of the mounting debt and the risk involved: The total US public national debt now exceeds $7 trillion.

  • When Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, military and government pensions are added in, the total national debt exceeds $51 trillion, according to Fortune magazine - that's nearly five times the gross domestic product (GDP) .
  • The current year's deficit alone approaches $1 trillion when you add the off-budget items.
  • Derivatives (highly leveraged and enormously risky instruments such as interest-rate futures, options and swaps) now total $180 trillion, 17 times the GDP. Warren Buffet calls derivatives "instruments of mass destruction". Many financial institutions have become highly invested in derivatives. Government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp) use derivatives heavily. Because of the inherent nature of derivatives, these instruments and those using them are extremely sensitive even to small and moderate interest-rate increases.
  • The total US consumer debt is more than $8 trillion.
  • The Japan Times recently stated, "Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley's perceptive economist, drew attention to the fact that some of the numbers are nothing short of frightening. The US currently has $38 trillion in debts, and there is a $54 trillion federal funding gap - the difference between what the government is committed to pay out and what it will receive in tax revenues."

    So much defense against the "creationist" and "anti-evolutionist" armies, and yet the anti-evolutionary work of the laboratories goes on at lightning speed, well-funded and hidden from public view. One of the most common weapons of the real enemy is the creation of false battles, in which both sides could be allies, as in the feminist/anti-feminist conflicts of the American 70's, or the abortion/stem cell conflicts of this period - would be allies if they weren't tearing each other apart.
    You can see the same dynamic in play in the controversy over the Pacers/Pistons brawl. It's the fans versus the players - a two-sided contest just like the sport itself. The owners, the real money going always to them, are as invisible as if they were behind the one-way glass in their skyboxes.
    The conflict has the ability to give legitimacy to one of its sides, that's one advantage. So that two bogus versions of the same lie, when in battle with one another, guarantee one of them will be strengthened by it. It also absorbs attention, like in the brawl the other night, commentators kept mentioning fans' resentment over players' salaries. Because no one knows how much the owners get.
    How can people ridicule anti-Darwinian superstition, and yet ignore the inhuman "research" that's being done, as if it's peripheral or its outcome unimportant? It's the same guys behind it, and it benefits the same invisible class of people - just like the team owners, they're invisible. But that's where the real money goes, always.

    24.11.04


    HIV: now it is a woman's disease

    The study, by UNAids, shows that women make up an increasing proportion of people with HIV, with the problem particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 60 per cent of sufferers are women. That proportion rises to 76 per cent among 15 to 24-year-old women.
    Women are biologically more susceptible - being twice as likely to contract HIV from men during sex as they are to pass it on - but cultural factors are also important.
    Many women in Africa and Asia find it difficult to persuade partners to practise safe sex, and young women often exchange sex for money or basic necessities. The partner is often an older man with a long sexual history.
    Bella Matabanadzo, of the United Nations Secretary-General's Task Force on Women and Aids, said: "There needs to be a major push to tackle gender inequalities that are fuelling the epidemic."

    Victor Yushchenko's address to soldiers, law-enforcers, commanders and heads of Armed Forces and the forces of order of Ukraine
    13:51, 24 November 2004

    PORA - blog from center of Kiev

    oligarchs
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    Tariq Ali on Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan oligarchs
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    The Russian Oligarchs of the 1990's
    Roman Abramovitch, who is now the richest man in England, isn't on the list
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    Johnson's Russia List - Roman Szporlak on Crisis in Ukraine


    tophoto: Victor Drachev/AFP

    Updated

    The Periscope
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    Yahoo slideshow
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    a fistful of euroes
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    Maidan:An Internet Hub for Civil Resistance to Authoritarianism in Ukraine
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    idiotprogrammer
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    Neeka's Backlog
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    Bob Schaffer/Denver Post
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    TulipGirl
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    Further background as it appears

    link far outliers
    Danny Yee

    America's oldest enemy

    For a decade or longer, the neocons who control the Bush administration's foreign and military policies have been writing papers advocating a US-Israeli conquest of the Middle East. A moronic president has given them their chance.
    Anxious to get their war underway, the neocons launched their invasion before they had the necessary manpower for the task. Bogged down in Iraq, the neocons are desperate to widen the war before the American public has enough of the pointless carnage and forces a withdrawal.
    Thus, before the Iraqi war is finished, the neocon propaganda machine is at work creating fear that the US is in danger from Iranian nukes unless America preemptively attacks Iran.
    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. But Americans are perfectly set up to be fooled twice. Right-wing talk radio has conservative patriots absolutely demanding to be fooled. Christian rapture propagandists have conservative congregations waiting to be wafted up to heaven. The corporate media is with President Bush. Military types are determined to avenge the Vietnam loss by winning the war against Islam into which they have been conned.
    Critics are dismissed as "enemies" who are "against us". Reason and common sense are not features of the Bush administration. It is all blind emotion, a replay of The Triumph of the Will.

    23.11.04

    liberty and justice for all

    Evidence has come to light recently about CIA complicity in events that lead to the murder of innocent civilians during a coup in Venezuela two years ago. The stated goal, according to a CIA document obtained recently under the Freedom of Information Act, was to create a pretext for overthrowing a democratically elected leader, Hugo Chavez Frias, in Venezuela.
    This disinformation by Lantos and the Bush administration on the subject of the democratic process in Venezuela is similar to the distortions we US citizens were subjected to about the circumstances of President Aristide's kidnapping/coup in Haiti.
    No Mr. Lantos, this was a coup -- repeating the "big lie" long enough will not hide this naked fact.
    More, Mr. Lantos also besmirches Venezuelan attorney Danilo Anderson, recently assassinated (maybe a CIA operation as well) this past week. This is the height of ignorance and arrogance. The man was an admirable public servant tasked with the ominous job of prosecuting members of the Venezuelan oligarchy who participated in the April 11 coup, a group of folks accustomed to almost total impunity.
    The strong possibility of CIA participation in this act of state terrorism makes Mr. Lantos' comments utterly contemptible ... not merely untimely and inopportune.

    Sheen/SoA
    democracy
    behind the barrel of a gun

    At least 20 people were arrested Sunday while protesting a U.S.-run military school for Latin Americans, some of whose graduates they claim later committed civil rights abuses including murder.

    Charges filed against the demonstrators range from trespassing to "wearing a mask," a violation of a rarely invoked 1951 law originally aimed at fighting the Ku Klux Klan.

    Those arrested were among about a record 16,000 people who demonstrated outside the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, calling for the school to be shut down.
    Organizers of the protest said concern about the war in Iraq and President Bush's re-election boosted attendance at this year's event.
    Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon addressed the group Saturday, and Martin Sheen, who plays the president in NBC's "West Wing" TV series, delivered a fiery speech Sunday.
    "We gather to revive the memory of those who have died at the hands of this combat school," said the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest. "How do you teach democracy behind the barrel of a gun? If they are so concerned about teaching democracy, then why not close this school and send these students to some of our fine universities."

    WHO GAINS?

    When former Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) administrator L. Paul Bremer III left Baghdad after the so-called "transfer of sovereignty" in June 2004, he left behind the 100 orders he enacted as chief of the occupation authority in Iraq. Among them is Order 81 on "Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety." [1] This order amends Iraq's original patent law of 1970 and unless and until it is revised or repealed by a new Iraqi government, it now has the status and force of a binding law. [2] With important implications for farmers and the future of agriculture in Iraq, this order is yet another important component in the United States' attempts to radically transform Iraq's economy.

    For generations, small farmers in Iraq operated in an essentially unregulated, informal seed supply system. Farm-saved seed and the free innovation with and exchange of planting materials among farming communities has long been the basis of agricultural practice. This has been made illegal under the new law.

    20.11.04


    Self-appointed sheriffs scan eBay and Yahoo auctions looking for fraud. When they find it - or at least when they think they've found it - they warn buyers or make outrageously high bids themselves in order to end the auction and prevent potential victims from falling into the trap. Elsewhere, private crusaders cruise Internet chat rooms for pedophiles and report their findings to law enforcement - or even expose them online.

    Word Spy

    19.11.04

    tophoto: arctic.noaa.gov

    The Sun, called in Celtic mythology Sunna (fem.), lives in constant dread of being devoured by the wolf Fenris. It is this contest with the wolf to which eclipses are due. According to this mythology, the sun has a beautiful daughter who will one day reign in place of her mother, and the world will be wholly renovated.
    -
    The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
    And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
    And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
    They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
    And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
    And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
    And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
    Isaiah Chapter 11, verses 6-12
    King James Version
    Bible
    Bartleby
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    Wolf-Month - The Saxon name for January, because "people are wont always in that month to be in more danger of being devoured by wolves than in any other."
    -
    Wolf
    Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    Bartleby
    -
    The Wolf or Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) is a mammal of the Canidae family and the ancestor of the domestic dog.
    [...]
    In the northern hemisphere, human encroachment on their habitat and persecution of the animals themselves have drastically reduced their range. The wolf is today frequently in the line of fire in conflicts between many different interests: Tourism/Industry, City/Country as well as Conservation/Exploitation.
    As the wolf is a top predator the state of the wolf can frequently be seen as a state of the land where it lives.
    Wikipedia
    -

    As when a prowling wolf,
    Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
    Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve,
    In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
    Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold;
    Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
    Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
    Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,
    In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles;
    So clomb this first grand Thief into God's fold:
    So since into his Church lewd hirelings climb.
    Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life,
    The middle tree and highest there that grew,
    Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
    Thereby regained, but say devising death
    To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
    Of that life-giving plant, but only used
    For prospect what, well used, had been the pledge
    Of immortality.
    Paradise Lost (l. Bk. IV, l. 183-201
    John Milton
    Bartleby
    -
    Gov. Frank Murkowski on Friday waded into the predator control battlefield while he put his firm stamp on the Alaska Board of Game.
    Murkowski swept out six of the seven Game Board members appointed by the previous governor, Tony Knowles, and replaced them with his own picks. His new members include well-known supporters of state wolf kills as a tool to boost big game populations.
    Anchorage Daily News/ShootersForum 18.Jan.03
    -
    Terrible news from Alaska.
    The anti-conservation Board of Game has just voted to allow up to 900 wolves to be killed by the barbaric practice of aerial gunning. This is six times as many as were killed last winter.
    Easy targets against fallen snow, wolves can be gunned down from airplanes or chased to exhaustion, then shot at point blank range.
    We're counting on your support to help stop the aerial killing of wolves in Alaska.

    Defenders of Wildlife
    ________


    Wolves are so prominent in our folktales and mythologies because they were once prominent in our lives, they were the representatives of natural selection, they were the culling hand of nature, and they or something like them drove us to the means and abilities that gave us this brief moment of total domination. Now we're losing that grip on things, and the weaker of us, the petulant and childish would happily take everything down with us as we go.
    How much honor is there in shooting wolves from a helicopter? None, but there's none there to lose anyway. It's not about honor it's about sadism - not just against the wolf but what the wolf represents, and against those of us who honor what the wolf is and represents.
    Not just beauty and nobility - rather it's the force of nature, of life and living, that created that beauty, the strength and necessity that made both of us what we are. We raise our childen in environments that are not just artificial, but human, human-created and human-controlled, so that the world, and life, seem to be things that human beings own and control. The arrogant mistake that that is will catch most of us completely by surprise, with no time to adjust to it, and no chance of returning toward what's really there.
    It's all "natural" as the semi-enlightened sportsmen like to say, meaning there isn't a line between the obvious natural world the wolf still inhabits, and the concrete and plastic on all sides reality most of us see every day. There was no line that got crossed, there is no line that has to be crossed to move from this artificial landscape to one that's stripped down to its elements, in which most of us wouldn't last three days without massive amounts of technology to protect us.
    It's no wonder there's so much hatred, animosity, bitterness, toward what are so clearly superior creatures, and the superior ways of living of the people who live close to them. The crowing triumph of weak men pointing to the Inuit use of snowmobiles, of the wolves' long tradition of eating human stragglers, and raiding flocks. It's also no wonder that that animosity should be so disgusting once it's seen for what it is - the triumph of cowardice, with nowhere else to go.
    It should be stressed that the purpose of "boosting big game populations" has nothing to do with the animals themselves, has even less to do with the animals themselves than the hunters' desire to kill them and photograph the bodies, but it does have everything to do with the money those hunters bring to Alaska, and to the bank accounts of the "supporters" of "wolf kills as a tool to...etc."
    These guys don't care about wolves or caribou or grizzlies or any other thing as much as their own bank accounts and self-esteem, first, second, and third; letting people like that have the final say on whether anything lives or dies let alone creatures as noble as wolves is obscene, and harmful in the long run to all of us.

    IN MEMORIAM: Danilo Anderson

    "Now more than ever, we have the duty to continue in this battle with even more strength, more determination and more clarity.

    This brutal act has confirmed for us one more time that there are those who don’t want us to advance, those who will do anything to impede our progress --­ we saw this during the coup, the strike, the guarimbas, and now Danilo.

    We have lost a brave warrior today, a determined prosecutor, and a serious and professional attorney who dedicated his life to his work -­ in the name of justice.

    It is a tremendous loss. In memory of my colleague and fellow soldier, I reiterate my commitment to continue in this struggle.

    As the attorney leading the investigation of the CIA and the US Government involvement in the coup and in the ongoing destabilization campaign in Venezuela, I will continue with the strength of Danilo in my investigations and my work.

    I will not be intimidated and they won't stop me with showings of brutality."

    Eva Golinger
    Axis Of Logic 19.Nov.04

    18.11.04

    Addressing the problem of Anti-Semitism is no simple thing. Merely approaching it with an open mind is virtually impossible. But here we go.

    As with any problem, the first task will be definitional- "What is it? What's wrong?"
    And right away we hit the first obstacle, or deception.
    Anti-Semitism doesn't mean, as you'd expect if you were from Mars, the quality or state of being against "Semites". Many of the people in the Middle East known as Arabs are Semitic, or Semites, and virtually all of them are assumed to be without question "Anti-Semitic", whether they are or not.
    What Semitic means in our context however, is Jew, or Jewish.
    [...]
    Which should get the whole question of definition out of the way, so we can go on to solving the problem itself. Once we agree on what it means to be a "Jew".
    The word seems to flutter around like a matador's cape - meaning here, someone who is a practitioner of the Jewish religion regardless of their ethnic origin, and there, meaning someone whose parents were Jews, and their parents, on back to Moses.
    That this confusion is used as a flag of convenience by people who are up to no good makes it even more complicated.
    For now we'll set aside the religious aspect, though only for clarity; one of the central theses here is that the religious aspect is everything, good and bad, both cause of the problem and its only solution, but that's getting ahead of things.
    So, ethnicity. And yet even there religion has first claim - evidently the Talmud has it that anyone born of a Jewish mother is a Jew. Which means that someone whose father was not a Jew, who has a surname that isn't obviously Jewish, but whose mother herself had a Jewish mother, is still a Jew. This is a religious definition, but it's a religious definition of a genetic quality, and not a spiritual distinction as much as it is an ethnic one.
    So there's a working explanation, of what we mean when we say "Jew". A Jew is someone whose mother was a Jew. Now we can go on to the problem itself.
    The original purpose of this essay was to lay out what I think are the principal questions and accusations behind the "Anti-Semitism" that is building in the world, and its parallel, the vicious empire of control that justifies itself, in no small measure by that building, as a reaction to it.
    A common response among leftish Americans is the shrug, when it comes to the roots of Anti-Semitism, the historical roots anyway; it seems inexplicable, perfectly harmless people beaten and driven from their homes, cruelly humiliated, branded, killed in batches like vermin. The horrors of the Nazi Holocaust have been seared into the imaginations of most Americans by the time they're in high school. The only solid explanation for it seems to be blind unreasoning hatred, which places the onus entirely on those doing the persecution. Innocent victims, cruel villains, end of story.
    Everything else in history is far more complicated, but evidently not that. The Russian pogroms also. The Spanish diaspora - co-incidentally happening at precisely that moment in history when Columbus "discovered" America - when all the Jews in the Spanish kingdom were forced to assimilate or flee, same thing. Irrational bigotry.
    However underneath those pat answers is an accusation that, because it's covert, goes unaddressed and unanswered, though it doesn't go away.
    Something along the lines of Jews being concerned only for themselves, attached parasitically to local economies, which through cleverness or some kind of mystical ability they manipulate to their own benefit and to the detriment of everyone else. This is hard to describe because it's saturated in a flammable liquid, the slightest spark threatens to touch off an all-consuming blaze. But that's the essential argument.
    It's dismissed as paranoid racism - though again we have the problem of the Jews not being defined as a race exactly - and it is or can be a symptom of pathology, but whether there's truth there as well is hard to determine, since it's impossible to speak publicly about these things without being spat at or worse, regardless of one's real position. There is no neutrality possible, or at least none allowed. "You're with us or against us".
    That aspect of the problem can be expressed as "The Jews control the money." Along with it are accusations of an international conspiracy of Jewish financiers, manipulating world markets and economies, and taking advantage of perturbations in them such as wars and economic depressions, to increase their fortunes. Obviously this conspiracy should not be extended to all Jews, as there are and have been all along many poor Jewish families whose members are devoutly spiritual and uninterested in, and not benefiting from, the tides of financial gain. And that's a corollary of the central idea here, that the mistaken lumping together of all Jews gives the real villains an almost invincible shield to hide behind, since all they have to do is throw up in front of themselves the innocent - and not seeming innocent, but truly innocent - victims of horrifying persecution.
    That that lumping together works to the advantage of the villains and to the detriment of everyone else, most especially those Jews who are spiritually devout - whose suffering is hidden doubly by the suffering of the victims of the villainy that uses them as a shield, and by the success of the villains themselves with whom they're lumped - is no accident. It is the desired result.
    -
    More to come
    _________

    Devout is another word whose meaning shifts with the wearer, there were devout Christians who burned people at the stake, there were devout Jews who stoned people to death - devout in their own minds. It would be a little too arrogant for me to say what devotion in a spiritual sense really is for anyone else, but at the same time I want to distinguish between people who do everything they can to follow spiritual teachings, and people who bend those teachings to fit themselves, and discard whatever gets in the way of their selfish desires.
    We have devout Christians in the US right now who are bloodthirsty and willing to increase suffering, when that's clearly and inarguably against the most basic teachings of Christ.
    So feeling devout isn't the same as being devout. A case could be made that the more convinced someone is of their own spiritual devotion, the less likely they are to be spiritually devoted. Holy men and women are traditionally humble and constantly battling doubt and feelings of unworthiness.
    People who are using religious teaching and practice, and especially those who use and materially benefit from religious institutions, are generally arrogantly confident of their position and piety, and tend toward a vicious defensiveness when challenged about them. They're also likely to be constantly contrasting themselves with unbelievers and the unsaved, in order to prove their sanctity.
    None of which is directly applicable to the problem of anti-Semitism, but it's important for the distinction between Jews who are religiously zealous and convinced of their own righteousness, and Jews who tremble at the thought of God.
    Which is itself a tangent, but an important one, as we thread this maze of deceit and cunning deception. It's also important for me personally as all during the writing of this I'll be fending off waves of violent antagonism generated by the outer rings of defense of the thing I'm trying to describe, to give a name to, since that namelessness is its cloak of invisibility, and that invisibility allows it to proceed unchecked.


    17.11.04


    tophotos: Brendan Smialowski/Yoshikazu Tsuno_AFP

    happy guy

    Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi says not a single civilian has died in the assault to retake Falluja from anti-US forces...

    Some lizards lose their tails when something grabs them (by the tail). It's a strategy of defense. Sacrifice the time and energy that went in to making the tail in order to avoid the total sacrifice of becoming prey.
    In an organizational model what you have are individual members, or sub-groups, of a larger group, who do things, accomplish things, steal things, destroy things, lie, murder, cheat, etc. whatever. And it benefits the group. But anytime there's an accounting, anytime there's a legitimate complaint, anytime the immorality of what took place is lined out clearly, the tail is sacrificed. So that a man who shoots a doctor in his home because that doctor works in a clinic that provides abortions to some of its patients, or an expedition of missionaries accompanied by soldiers who kill natives who resist their advance and claim the land those natives were defending, are not Christians in the sense of acting for Christianity, even though they are, even though they say they are, even though right up until the moments when the actions that are undeniably immoral are committed everyone is agreed that these are Christians.
    But once the doctor's shot the shooter's a lone actor, an exception, abnormal, and he's set apart as not being one of the faithful, even though behind the scenes there is sympathy and support, and compassionate understanding. It's just that the illegality of what's been done will never be shared by the group that caused it, that encouraged it, that benefits from it.
    So the lizard can risk exposure to get to what it needs, can risk more exposure thanks to its disposable tail, and it benefits from that increased radius of possibility. And the "church" benefits from many things that it is not responsible for, or not held responsible for. This isn't unique to Christianity, many political bodies behave this way, championing a set of moral codes they don't adhere to except in the most abstract way, while on the ground, in the clinch, they have no morality at all, just the same headlong lunge toward survival and reproduction that every other creature has.
    It gets clearer when you see how accountable the enemy must be, for all actions by all its affiliated members no matter how loosely connected, no matter even if they've been disavowed already. So that many Arabs who have publicly condemned the actions of terrorists will be treated as though they support everything, even the most violent acts of the most radical Islamic jihadists.
    But the consequent symmetry is missing.
    Christians in the center of America won't take the blame for the inhuman tortures and cruel and savage killing of non-combatants, not just now in Iraq, but for most of the last two centuries, won't take that blame as Americans, nor as Christians, even though the torture and the killing are done in the name of both those powerful groups.
    Lies, and easily discarded truths, and sacrificial players. It isn't about morality, it never was, it's about survival, about living and reproducing.
    So that the anti-evolutionist stance of many fundamentalist Christians is actually an evolutionary strategy, it culls the unwanted from the herd, it separates one kind from another and says one has more value than the other. It's a kind of sexual competition, though it takes place on a higher level of complexity than between two competing individuals.
    The dispute means nothing except as a rallying point.

    15.11.04

    WORDS


    An Insurgent is a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against a constituted authority. This can include any irregular armed force that rises up against an enforced or established authority, government, or administration. Insurgents conduct sabotage and harassment. Insurgents usually are in opposition to a civil authority or government primarily in the hope of improving their condition.
    The term is inherently political and is difficult to use without taking a political position. When used by an authority under threat, insurgent infers an illegitimacy of cause upon those rising up. Whereas those rising up will see the authority itself as being illegitimate. In cases of rebellions, it refers to those who are not part of the decision-making entity that has the ability to make laws. For example, "the congress has the authority to pass laws to stop the insurgency" vs "the police have the power to arrest insurgents". Insurgents do not respect the established authority.

    In current use an insurgent is distinct from a terrorist as in "under threat from insurgents and terrorists". Insurgent has come into popular use during 2003 through its use by western politicians and mainstream media to describe those in resistance to the coalition in Iraq
    -
    Terrorism refers to the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or socio-economic goal. Terrorist acts can be carried out by individuals or groups, and are sometimes sponsored by governments as an alternative to an open declaration of war.

    Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as: "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

    The use of the terms terrorism and terrorist is politically weighted, as these terms (and historically, other terms like them) are often used in propaganda to drum up support in opposition to the designated "terrorists."

    Governments that support the use of violence against civilians will tend to dissociate themselves from the term, and will instead use neutral or positive terms to describe combatants they approve of – such as freedom fighters, patriots, paramilitaries, militants, comrades or activists, all of which can be ambiguous.
    _____________

    INSURGENT
    Pronunciation: in'surjunt1. [n] a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment
    2. [n] a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions)
    3. [adj] in opposition to a civil authority or government


    ______

    TERRORISM
    Pronunciation: 'teru`rizum
    [n] the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments
    -
    Ter"ror*ism\, n. [Cf. F. terrorisme.]
    The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode
    of government by terror or intimidation. --Jefferson.

    14.11.04

    the invasion of Iraq, unprovoked and based on lies

    As for the defenders, those Iraqis who resist in a city that heroically defied Saddam Hussein; they were merely "insurgents holed up in the city," as if they were an alien body, a lesser form of life to be "flushed out" (the Guardian): a suitable quarry for "rat-catchers," which is the term another BBC reporter told us the Black Watch use. According to a senior British officer, the Americans view Iraqis as Untermenschen, a term that Hitler used in Mein Kampf to describe Jews, Romanies and Slavs as sub-humans. This is how the Nazi army laid siege to Russian cities, slaughtering combatants and non-combatants alike.

    Normalising colonial crimes like the attack on Fallujah requires such racism, linking our imagination to "the other." The thrust of the reporting is that the "insurgents" are led by sinister foreigners of the kind that behead people: for example, by Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian said to be al-Qaeda's "top operative" in Iraq. This is what the Americans say; it is also Blair's latest lie to parliament. Count the times it is parroted at a camera, at us. No irony is noted that the foreigners in Iraq are overwhelmingly American and, by all indications, loathed. These indications come from apparently credible polling organisations, one of which estimates that of 2,700 attacks every month by the resistance, six can be credited to the infamous al-Zarqawi.

    In a letter sent on 14 October to Kofi Annan, the Fallujah Shura Council, which administers the city, said: "In Fallujah, [the Americans] have created a new vague target: al-Zarqawi. Almost a year has elapsed since they created this new pretext and whenever they destroy houses, mosques, restaurants, and kill children and women, they said: 'We have launched a successful operation against al-Zarqawi.' The people of Fallujah assure you that this person, if he exists, is not in Fallujah . . . and we have no links to any groups supporting such inhuman behaviour. We appeal to you to urge the UN [to prevent] the new massacre which the Americans and the puppet government are planning to start soon in Fallujah, as well as many parts of the country."

    Not a word of this was reported in the mainstream media in Britain and America.

    No connection possible

    Zapatero also warned
    that there can be no real peace in Southwest Asia [Middle East] until UN resolutions and the "Road Map" for peace are fully implemented. He strongly defended a "viable Palestinian state which is democratic and lives in peace and security with the State of Israel." As for Israel, it "can count on the international community, to the extent that it respects international law." But Ariel Sharon's building of the wall of separation between Israel and Palestine "does not do this," he said.
    _____________

    Relations between the US and Spain's Socialist government hit a new low this week when President George W. Bush invited Jose Maria Aznar, Spain's former prime minister, to the White House for a private 40-minute chat.

    In a pointed snub to Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who succeeded Mr Aznar and who incurred the wrath of the US by withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq, President Bush has not yet returned Mr Zapatero's courtesy call last week to congratulate him on his re-election victory.

    The unspoken but commonly accepted truism that anything that can't be positively demonstrated to exist can't be said to exist except theoretically - which is a kind of partial existence, an almost-being, an inferior mode - means that anything beyond the reach of language and touch is denied the legitimacy given to things which can be explained and dissected.
    This is a valuable tool for discrimination between the useful and the distracting for the exploring scientist, but it's a constricting handicap for the moral philosopher.
    What this means is that something as central to human experience as the end result of all this cycling of birth and death and the labor involved in it is kept back from discussion, held in a secondary position, and is made to serve by its absence or adulteration the immediately pronounceable aims of those whose voices dominate the argument.
    "Where are we going?" is more easily answered with "Heaven", or by its twin "With technology, to other worlds", than it is by a kind of un-sketched-in diagram of possibility. Yet that's a more accurate description of what this has been all along than either of those pat answers can ever be.
    So that what most of us still feel, though we can't name it precisely - the cloudy goal at the unterminating end of all our lives together - is pushed to the side, and replaced by the firmly stated goals of a minority, because they're the only goals around that can be stated clearly.
    This is mirrored in the domination of common lives and endeavors by corporations and their enforcers in politics, whose clamorous insistence on profit as the sacred, ultimate, and only value, and on business success as more central to human experience than the lives of the now secondary ordinary people, has filled the world with inhuman noise and subtle poisons.
    Because those goals can be articulated clearly, and the nebulous but more valid and more human goal - of "keeping on keeping on", of continuing, of honoring the hopeful progress that led to our own moment of living by turning that hope toward the indescribable future - can't be stated clearly without limiting it into non-existence, or making it sound silly , the truly human impulse is denigrated - while the purest forms of selfishness, in the individual and in aggregate, are deified and worshiped.
    It's that limitlessness that makes it inarticulable at the same time it makes it what it is. Human.
    The rest is slavery.

    13.11.04

    On the Death Of Yaseer Arafat:

    A Modest Proposal
    for
    A Solution To The Palestinian Problem
    Including, As An Addendum, A Concomitant
    Remedy For the Growing Problem of Global Anti-Semitism

    Time won't permit me to develop this past more than the merest outline, consequently I make this request of you, gentle reader, that - should you find these ideas at all serviceable - you make them your own and "flesh them out" until some one of us at last can begin the necessary measures, harsh though they may be, toward solving this difficult and perplexing situation, once and for all.

    With the obstinate and cunningly non-committal Arafat removed from the picture the stage is set for a final resolution, and indeed we find the curtain risen, the scrim ready, the extras waiting in the wings, and the plot well-rehearsed.
    The "fence" around the remaining Palestinian lands being near complete all that's needed now are the implementation of a few signs and the construction of a few hundred miles of railroad track.
    Soon enough there will be no Palestinian economy to speak of, and the only work available will be on the other side of the "fence" - so that a simple re-working of that familiar slogan "Work Will Make You Free" in Arabic script over each entrance to what will be finally the only freedom remaining to those Arafat leaves behind, will prove inspirational to all who view it; and given the obvious inevitability of Israeli expansion into so-called "Arabic" lands, the railroad tracks - providing opportunities in their building for therapeutic labor and constructive use of time for idle Palestinian youth - leading into the easily-managed camps of Bethlehem and Hebron etc. from the surrounding lands, will soon enough see substantial use as transport lines.
    The terrain through which these necessary carriages must pass being unbearably hot during much of the day and for much of the year, a certain amount of air-conditioning would be most humane wherever it would be possible to employ it; the added expense - having no possibility of economic return for its investment - proving to all the world the humanity and great compassion, though sorely tested, of its benefactors.
    The difficulty of identifying some Arabs, with their Semitic features so close to their racial and religious superiors', can be solved by genealogical research and local witnesses, and the application of - at least for a generation, after which the problem will be much less pressing - an alpha-numerical tattoo on, say, the right forearm of the identified.
    Requiring all Palestinian, and later all Arab/Muslim, workers in the rapidly expanding Fatherland to show this indelible mark of identification whenever demanded to do so will simplify things greatly for the guards and security officials at the borders and entrances to the camps and factories.
    Should resources become scarce, in the event of mass climate change or unforeseen biological disturbances, of course stricter measures will have to be taken, although that bridge may be crossed easily when it becomes necessary to erect it, once these preliminary steps have been taken.
    For now this solution will provide quickly and efficiently a means to finally dispense, by its extension into all combatant states, with the cause and causative agencies of global terrorism, and will put an immediate stop to local political disruption in the Middle East.
    The contingencies and necessary details, like those of any complex project involving millions of unwilling participants, will be manifold but not impossible to foresee.
    The American criminal justice system/security apparatus is filled to bursting with just the experts necessary to begin the process, and the transfer of information and resources to the sites of application has an historical precedent of long standing. The pipeline of resources from the young wealthy satellite to its ancient spiritual center will need only augmentation, an increase in budget and staffing, to be brought to optimum efficiency.
    -
    As to the growth of Anti-Semitism - a global problem for all rational and moral people - a means of identifying Anti-Semites on sight, and a parallel means in the electronic media to which so many of us turn for information about our rapidly changing world, in order that they may be avoided by decent common folk - and in order in turn that these often rational-seeming bits of virulent madness can be stemmed, contained, and ultimately eradicated - I would like to suggest a yellow "Star of David", worn on the arm of the persons so identified, under penalty of law, and the punishments for deceit and disguise must be concomitantly harsh enough to discourage all but the most obstinate and deranged.
    The electronic version could be what's known as an "icon" in the realm of the digitally sophisticated, and can be made a requirement where appropriate, for all "online" communication attempted by the soon-to-be-permanently recognized and ostracized Anti-Semites, who until now have been free to go among us anonymously, spreading their filth and lies behind the shield of so-called "free speech", and doing immeasurable harm to the cause of decency and the lives of decent people.

    Thank You,
    Your Editor
    -
    N.B.
    Please, if you should find something useful here, an idea or a starting point for an idea of your own, take freely whatever you can use. The pressures of daily necessity and all too limited time - so much duty, so few hours in the day - mean that all I'm able to offer just now is this humble outline, some suggestions based on an attempt once made, though incompetently - the right idea but practiced on precisely the wrong people; my own thought being that now we, and especially the still-horrified victims of that prior attempt, have before us an opportunity to address the matter more accurately, more effectively, and indeed, more professionally, once and for all.
    A solution, finally, to the problem of Palestine, and terrorism generally, which having been applied successfully at last, will never again be necessary.



    A huge explosion erupted in Fallujah on Thursday, sending a large fireball into the sky, witnesses said.

    The blast took place in the northwest part of the city, a stronghold for guerrillas, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have been battling to gain control. The cause of the blast was unclear.

    The explosion came shortly after U.S. forces said they had brought the city's northwestern Jolan district under control.

    Eye Witness Account From Falluja
    Fadhil Badrani
    12 November, 2004
    BBC/Countercurrents
    A row of palm trees used to run along the street outside my house - now only the trunks are left.

    The upper half of each tree has vanished, blown away by mortar fire.

    From my window, I can also make out that the minarets of several mosques have been toppled.

    There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable.

    Smoke is everywhere.

    12.11.04

    Social control through sexual guilt is so effective because it can be solidly in place before there's anything there to control.
    Pre-pubescent children don't rebel against the sexual taboos and prohibitions they receive, from the same people who warn them of the dangers of fire and sharp knives, because they don't have conscious sexual feelings when they receive those prohibitions. They take it on faith that masturbation is wrong if they're told it is, before they even know what masturbation is exactly, before they desire sexual release. And if they aren't told anything about it it becomes even more frighteningly prohibited when they do experience that desire - something so central to their being yet so horrible it can't even be talked about.
    By the time they do have sexual feelings most children raised with repressive mainstream sexual values experience their sexuality through a filter of guilt. That guilt gets passed down like a recipe to their own children, unconsciously, automatically.
    This is much less intense now than it was, but that isn't saying much - in mid-50's America sexual taboo was still so violently constrictive child molestation couldn't be dealt with openly, because people were traumatized merely by the idea of it, and they responded by trying to make the idea go away. Homosexuality was a punishable crime between consenting adults, not because it damaged anyone, but because the laws and the fears and taboos were already in place, and people were so riddled with guilt and shame at their own sexuality they couldn't approach the idea of changing anything without disintegrating.
    It was an arduous and painful struggle to get the idea into the public discourse that there were people who are born naturally homosexual, not by choice but by birth, just as there are people who are naturally hermaphroditic - physically both female and male.
    Running through that struggle was a river of sickness that comes, not from sexual perversion, but from the perversion of sexuality - as a means of social control.
    There are distributions of masculinity and femininity just as there of height and weight and intelligence and beauty. Homosexuality too. So for some it really is a choice, just as the religious right would have it be for all, a minor urge that's easily repressed; for others it's much stronger and the repressive mechanism is energy-consuming and can be pathological; for others homosexuality is simply the core of their sexual being. It's the same with the distribution of hermaphroditic characteristics in the body.
    My point isn't that this unfair and cruel repression is a mistake, but that it's intentional - a form of control, and a very effective one; that lives are damaged by being placed in impossible situations by it means nothing to those who benefit from that, just as the suffering of slaves meant nothing to most of those who benefited from slavery.
    The heart of the current puritanical reaction to sexual permissiveness isn't directed at people who are naturally homosexual, it's directed at the asocial licentiousness that rose up in the absence of morality that was in turn made inevitable by the cruelty and violent repression that preceded it.
    Just as beating a rebellious child will more often increase that rebellion unless it's so traumatic it's psychologically transformative, the bizarre sexual morality of the recent past was thrown off by people who recognized its wrongness and rebelled, even though they had nothing to put in its place but a vague idea of freedom.
    People need morality for social cohesion. Just as people need sexual expression. Knowing that need exists and being in a position to create a morality that contains and controls the people who are born into it gives an advantage to competitors in the battle for dominance that all life is, even morally advanced human life like ours. Some people will benefit more than others in any given social condition. This is what's happening here.
    Even the most enlightened moral system, to be true, has to recognize the hierarchy of fitness that is our biological reality. We aren't born equal, except in the eyes of the law, but that's what this argument is about, that the eyes of the law have been blinded by fear and superstition.
    Harm is the issue, damage is what makes immorality wrong, and at this moment the harm and damage are coming from those who insist they're moral, and who say their morality comes from God, and that God, in that wonderfully terse phrase, hates fags.
    It's tempting to say that that's nonsense, but it isn't, it's a cunning device, a trick to centralize power behind a mass of angry and confused people who are afraid, though they're not quite sure what they're afraid of now.
    Images of black people as animals, as inferior sub-humans, were used to justify the inhuman cruelties of slavery and racism, but they were false images. Certainly there were black people who were inferior, just as there were whites who fit that image, but it was applied to all in order to justify the benefits of racism to those who received them.
    Images of homosexuals as immoral hedonists, as though of all homosexuals, are being used for the same purpose, and they're just as false.
    Selfishness is what's behind it, what's driving that condemnation, and it's also what's being condemned, rightly; but it's what makes that condemnation too broad and inexact. Innocent people are suffering because of the selfishness of others.
    Selfishness is ultimately what evil really is - stripped of its symptoms the disease is selfishness, always.

    Tickets Available:
    Rush Limbaugh to Receive Statesmanship Award
    [http://www.claremont.org/events/040927churchill.html]

    On Friday, November 19, the Claremont Institute will honor Rush Limbaugh with the Statesmanship Award at its annual Churchill Dinner in Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

    George Bush on the Columbia disaster:
    "We can also be confident of the ways of Providence, even when they are far from our understanding. Events aren't moved by blind change and chance. Behind all of life and all of history, there's a dedication and purpose, set by the hand of a just and faithful God. And that hope will never be shaken."
    It's faith that makes it ring. But how is God "faithful"? What does that mean? It has the same anthemic power as freedom, democracy, liberty, justice, the litany of words whose meaning has been drained away even as the sound of them becomes a kind of battle cry.
    Red white and blue, what does it mean? Us. That's all. Just us.
    That there are other countries whose flags display those three colors as well means nothing, just as the word freedom means nothing by itself, and in the present context means only freedom from things - freedom from terrorism, from danger, from insecurity and fear.
    It's possible that there's an intent behind it all - to put a foul taste in the mouth of anyone who speaks the word "democracy". Certainly the Iraqis are going to have trouble with that word.
    And people who have received the vicious by-products of "grace" and "faith" American Christianity dispenses to the unelect and the "un-faithful" will not be eager to encounter the God from whom those dubious blessings flow.
    So maybe that's the point. It isn't about God's love for everyone, it's about our love for us. We don't need you, and God doesn't need you either.
    That specialness, that sense of being chosen, blessed. Like a fungus in a cleft of rock in a time of great flooding. Or a creature stumbling into a cave one step ahead of pursuit. A gift, a blessing.
    It's the difference between holiness and salvation, between sacrifice and reward, between war and a business transaction.
    Not just the difference between two unlike things, but two things in different categories altogether.
    George Bush's God won't be there when there are no human beings any longer to call his name. Which is not the same as saying he's not there now.

    11.11.04

    Veterans
    acoolsha reviews Chaplin's
    The Great Dictator

    "What always stands out for me when I see this film is how Chaplin, in Hollywood in the late 1930s, was so aware of the conditions in Germany under the Third Reich. Aware of the terrible persecution, intimidation and the presentiment of genocide (Herring, the Goring in the film, mentioned to Adenoid Hynkel that they had developed a gas which can kill lots and lots of people). Chaplin had access to enough information to make this powerful film, while many major U.S. companies were investing heavily in the Third Reich and the U.S. stood by and watched it all develop (no, it wasn't entirely because of the isolationist sentiments of the population - that would never stop the U.S. from carrying out wars in its own interest.).

    Seeing this film has always felt like a ray of sunlight burning through the moral fog of U.S. involvement in World War II. I was raised on the myth of the U.S. holding the high moral ground in this era, when in fact it was other countries, mostly the Soviet Union, - not to mention the Resistance in Europe and the victims within the Third Reich: the socialists, communists, handicapped, Jews, homosexuals - who took the brunt of Nazi aggression and is where the heroes can be found. The U.S. could move into the void of a disintegrating British colonialism and set a boundary of contention for the coming cold war with a battered Soviet Union.

    I just realized I finished this viewing of the film today, November 9th, the anniversary of Kristallnacht... while the U.S. continues terrorizing and killing the people of Iraq, mostly children, with a new fervor and bluster flowing from the intoxication of its new "mandate" which they would now shove down the throats of not only the Americans but of the rest of the world."

    ... round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away

    ________________________________

    Vanunu rearrested
    -
    Bush White House cold shoulders Spanish Prime Minister
    -
    Mosques of Fallujah are silent
    -
    Iran heads toward conflict
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    Iris Chang dies
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    Armored vehicles lose their way in LA
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    Jupiter as objet d'art
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    Represent
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    the architect of the Oslo accords

    The denigration has already started of course, his sickness, his life of terrorism, then the denial of a resting place. The cockiness is breath-taking: Jerusalem, so the official line goes, is the burial place of Jewish Kings and officials and not for terrorists like Arafat; never mind that that arch-conman and pension fund raider Robert Maxwell was also buried there with pomp and ceremony. And as for terrorists being laid down there, well, let Begin and Shamir be disinterred.

    Such is the apartheid practise in this Zionist state that even in death you're still an outcast because it's an exclusive land for one people.

    Someone has said it though, that Arafat will die on a Jewish holiday. Any day that Arafat dies is a Jewish holiday.


    Jalan-Jalan 08.Nov.04.04

    10.11.04

    it will fail again

    The recapture of Fallujah is likely to be as disappointing in terms of ending the resistance as was the capture of Saddam Hussein last December or the handover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government at the end of June. Each event was billed as a success that would tip the balance towards the United States. Instead the fighting got bloodier and more widespread.

    There should be no mystery about why this is happening. All countries object to being occupied. Foreign invasions provoke nationalist resistance. This has happened with extraordinary speed in Iraq because of the ineptitude of the U.S. civil and military commanders, but in the long term it would have happened anyway.

    The United States in Iraq has always behaved as if foreign powers or adherents of Saddam Hussein fomented the resistance. A lesson of the ground war last year was that few Iraqis were prepared to get killed for their old leader. Earlier this year I asked U.S. helicopter pilots operating from a base near Fallujah whom they thought they were fighting. They said firmly that they were at war with "FFs" and "FRLs." These turned out to be foreign fighters and former regime loyalists. One of the pilots added nervously that there seemed to be a third somewhat shadowy group "who want us to go home."

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