...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



Crack cocaine as end-of-life euthanisia-bang

1 And it came to pass in Ico'ni-um, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
6 they were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lyca-o'nia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
7 and there they preached the gospel.

Acts 14

8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
10 for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12 And when Gal'li-o was the deputy of Achai'a, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,
13 saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

Acts 18

2 And when he was called forth, Tertul'lus began to accuse him, saying,
Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,
3 we accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.
5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
6 who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
7 But the chief captain Lys'i-as came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
8 commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.
9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered,
Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
11 because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
13 neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.

Acts 24


14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
15 about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
18 Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
19 but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
22 Then Agrip'pa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. Tomorrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
23 And on the morrow, when Agrip'pa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
24 And Festus said, King Agrip'pa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.

Acts 25

17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.
Howbeit, whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool,) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

2 Corinthians 11

These posts are about anti-Semitism, it might help to keep that in mind. What I wrote yesterday - that the early Christians were persecuted by the Jews - will be immediately taken as anti-Semitic by a lot of people who read it, yet here is the record, involving one man, himself a Jew, and it's not complete, certainly not an accurate history of the totality of persecution of early Christians in that time.
The assumption is that it was the Romans, primarily. The contemporary public has that assumption centrally fixed when it thinks of the early Christian church and the origins of that fish medallion that was ubiquitous in America for the last decade of the 20th century.
Mel Gibson's Passion was derided as anti-Semitic for what I'm sure was a watered-down version of the existing record.
What I'm trying to get to is the creation of prejudice by the fearful suppression of truth. The roots of anti-Semitism are not invisible, and they aren't inexplicable.
Gibson's movie of the death of Christ and Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's speech to the Islamic Summit Conference in 2003 are the most notorious contemporary public examples of what's considered anti-Semitism that I can think of that aren't anonymous vandalism. There's a steady drumbeat of warning of the rise of anti-Semitism in France, in Russua, in Europe generally, and of course the entire Arab world is assumed to be virulently anti-Semitic.
The quotes from Paul should disprove the accusations about Gibson's movie. Tomorrow, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed's speech.


redolent of the Nazi era

Judaism began with a people, and then became a congregation, and eventually a religion, Rosenzweig argues. Christianity began with a congregation into which it then selected its people, the "new Israel". Islam, he avers, was concocted as an institutionalized religion to begin with, as a parody of Judaism and Christianity. This, however, had dreadful consequences. "Mohammed took over the notion of Revelation from the outside, which left him stuck with the pagan idea of creation as a matter of course," Rosenzweig wrote. Allah merely is the apotheosized image of an Oriental despot, emphatically not the Judeo-Christian God of love. Rosenzweig altogether repudiates the notion of Islamic culture. As a caricature, Islam is entirely sterile: "Islam never created an Islamic art, but rather took into its service pre-Islamic art ... The pre-Islamic state, namely the Oriental state in its Byzantine form, made Islam into its state religion; the pre-Islamic spirit of the Koran adopted either pre-Islamic rationalism or mysticism and orthodoxy. In Europe, by contrast, in Christian Europe, there arose something new: Christian art, and a Christian state."

Marc Erikson/Asia Times Dec 2, 2003

Here's a page of quotes from Erikson's journalism over the last 4 years, at Asia Times. There's a consistent tone that's present in a lot of Zionist writing that carries an assumed commonality that's deceptive, inasmuch as the commonality is what's being tried for, worried about, attempted. The tone is smug and arrogant yet at the same time shrill and desperate, it's the accent of the not-quite-behind-the-scenes not-quite-yet-in-control.
This is the money quote though, because it's explicit in its conflation of the Old Testament God with the Father of Christ, what Erikson calls the "Judeo-Christian God of love." The only love exhibited by the God of the Old Testament is for the Jewish people. The New Testament, by being attached without any other linkage than editorial placement to the Old, becomes a confirmation of that exclusive relationship. The actions of the God of the Old Testament are nowhere acts of love for anything or anyone outside that special, exclusive relationship.
Agape is not an Old Testament practice, though it was I'm sure a practice of many Jews then, as it is today. But it's not official, it isn't in the book. The book is about doing what you're told, obeying the law. Compassion is a New Testament thing, compassion even when it's against the law. The story of Christ is exactly that, and the actions of the most genuine Christians today is exactly that.
The seamless joining of the Judeo-Christian religions, as though they were consistent with one another, is what's created a force for intolerance and bigotry in America, a vicious and angry cloud of righteousness that elevates ignorant obedience and blesses itself as privileged.
Self-love is not what Jesus meant by "Love one another." That was not an endorsement of exclusivity.
This is dangerously close to blasphemy - it is blasphemy really, and it's hard for me to write, not only because I was thoroughly indoctrinated by Christian schooling when I was too young to think for myself, but because I have been, in my personal life, marked out and watched for years by vigilant witnesses, searching for signs of the end times, and this will make me even more vulnerable to them. The causes of that are beyond the scope of this writing.
So at the same time I cut myself free from the early comfort of faith, I expose myself to powerful and vicious zealots whose morality is only their own benefit. Even saying that means a commitment to a reality that seems too fantastic and paranoid to be real, but these are strange fantastic times, and it's what I believe is the truth.
The earliest Christians were persecuted, Christianity began with persecution as its landscape and atmosphere. Somehow between the death of Christ and the Council of Nicea 300 years later Christianity became an organized political force, and the Bible became what it is today, an abridged version of Jewish holy scripture, the curiously edited story of the life of Jesus Christ, organizational memoranda from the beginnings of the Church hierarchy, and the stunningly psychedelic visions of Revelations that with their complete absence of mercy and compassion fit more easily with the retributive majesty of the Old Testament than with the forgiving and compassionate Christ of the New Testament.
The earliest Christians did not have Bibles. The earliest Christians were persecuted by Jews. That will read like classic anti-Semitist nonsense to some, but tomorrow I'll do a piece on Paul, the founder of Christianity as a political and social force that I think will disprove that charge.
As part of this series I wanted to do a piece today on so-called "Christian" names, the first names many of us were given at birth. It was part of an attempt at structure. From circumcision to naming, then on to schooling, the alphabet and the english language. But I got sidetracked by Erikson, and followed the impulse. So it goes.


This is the beginning of what will be a series of explorations of anti-Semitism.

"Routine circumcision as a preventative or cure for masturbation was proposed in Victorian times in America. Masturbation was thought to be the cause of a number of diseases. The procedure of routine circumcision became commonplace between 1870 and 1920, and it consequently spread to all the English-speaking countries (England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). None of these countries now circumcise the majority of their male children, a distinction reserved today for the United States (in the UK, in fact, nonreligious circumcision has virtually ceased). Yet, there are still those who promote this social surgery, long after the masturbation hysteria of the past century has subsided.
'To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm... We may not be sure that we have done away with the possibility of masturbation, but we may feel confident that we have limited it to within the danger lines.'

E.J. Spratling, M.D. 1895
In America, foreskins were not rare at the time circumcision was introduced into widespread practice. Paradoxically, then, the understanding of the intact male organ at that time was somewhat greater than it is today. (In particular, it never would have been possible to promote circumcision on the basis that it was "necessary for hygienic reasons"---this came later, when doctors themselves were mostly circumcised men.)
Further, in proposing circumcision as a preventative against self-abuse, physicians of the day understood very well that male masturbation involves stimulation of the foreskin. However they were incorrect in assuming that, by reducing the pleasure, masturbation itself could be reduced or eliminated."
What were the original motivations behind
routine infant circumcision in the West?

"Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible. It has been thought that circumcision perfects what is defective congenitally. This gave the possibility to everyone to raise an objection and to say: How can natural things be defective so that they need to be perfected from outside, all the more because we know how useful the foreskin is for that member? In fact this commandment has not been prescribed with a view to perfecting what is defective congenitally, but to perfecting what is defective morally. The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision."
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), translated by Shlomo Pines
Circumcision Information and Resource Pages

The dominance expressed in the act of circumcision is near total, and the depth of its entry into the person, into the sexual identity of the circumcised, is near total as well. All you have to do is imagine the effect on an unwilling adult male, and lose the bogus idea that infants because they can't communicate linguistically - and when they can, later, are rarely able to articulate remembered events - are incapable of such basic emotions as rage and grief and the complex of coping reactions that allow the defeated to go on with their lives.
The benefits of that dominance when it's asserted on an infant will go to whoever can convince the circumcised they're responsible for having done it to them. Keeping that responsibility vague and indistinct is even more effective as social control, because it doesn't get tied to any particular individual, but the whole pre-existing social order.
In ritual circumcision of pre-pubescent males, such as the traditional Jewish Brit Milah this is straightforward, the dominant force is recognized and limited, the line of submission is visible, and accepted.
To the infant being circumcised unwillingly there is only the unrememberable horror. Like many other structured disintegration/reintegration practices - the boot camp, hazing rituals etc - there's a tendency toward acceptance of the new identity as appropriate, inevitable; most circumcised men probably don't think much about it, and when they do see themselves as belonging, not wounded.
It takes momentous change to gain a perspective of what's happened, and an acceptance of irrecoverable loss, woundedness, incompletion.
This is one of the barriers the traumatized always have, the struggle against the need to not see, the healing of covering up - to testify to the wound is to proclaim your own brokenness to the world; that brings with it a dangerous vulnerability. In a culture where the priesthood of medicine was capable of Spratling's madness this would be counter to survival.
Things change. But it's important to place this in a larger, still less comfortable context.
A ritual of violent intimacy integral to the practice of Jewish religious law was performed almost universally on male children who were not Jews, and the reasons given were at best grotesque nonsense.
Setting aside the bizarre hatred of sexual desire and expression the 19th century West was pandemic with - it's safe to assume that men like Spratling were at least as mistaken in their self-knowledge and views of their own motives as they were about the "hygienic" effect of their mutilating surgeries - we can see that it could be a means of establishing dominance, with a minimal expenditure of energy on the part of the dominating power.
Social dominance is absolutely central to the creation and preservation of systems of control - the whipping of slaves, the punitive enforcement of rules, yelling at insubordinates, these things are obvious enough.
I can remember vividly the first time someone told me that circumcision wasn't necessary, I was maybe 12, a friend of mine whose father hadn't let them cut him said it. It was shocking and I went through all the learned responses I had; which were few, because there hadn't been much questioning of it in my experience.
The question now is whether or not to view it as a mistake, made for generations on millions of infant boys; or as something more sinister. If it was only a mistake it's a regrettable thing, but something we can move on from and resolve to prevent. First, though, we need to dispense with the possibility of its being intentional.
In order to do that we'll need to place the intent somewhere more accurately than in the hands of Spratling and his ilk, who I think can be dismissed as pathological and confused, projecting their own received and internalized conflicts onto the tabula rasa of the young.
What I'm going to try to describe here is the locus of that intent as something that hasn't got its own term in the equation, that doesn't have a recognizable name or identity. The theme of dominance and control by almost invisible techniques and by the consistent use of patterns of camouflage that place the innocent between the attacking righteous and the real perpetrator.
This is what I believe is driving the evident rise of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world now, and it's also what makes most of that unfocused prejudice inaccurate and ineffectual.

the planned resumption of production is for national security

ChinaView/Xinhua 28.Jun.05:
Plutonium 238 has no central role in nuclear weapons but was regularly used by the United States to make nuclear batteries thatcan work for years or decades to power satellites, planetary probes and spy devices.
The material, however, is hundreds of times more radioactive than plutonium 239 used in nuclear arms and could lead to environmental disasters in case of accidents.
According to the report, the United States stopped made plutonium 238 in the 1980s and instead relies on aging stockpiles or imports from Russia. But by agreement with Russia, Washington cannot use the imported material for military purposes.
With its domestic stockpile running low, Washington now wants to restart production by 2012 and have the first plutonium 238 available by 2013, the report quoted Frazier as saying. But in order to proceed with the plan, the Bush administration still haveto acquire congressional approval.
According to the report, US experts unconnected to the project said the new plutonium would probably power devices for conductingespionage on land and under the sea.
Even if no formal plans now exist to use the plutonium in spacefor military purposes, the material could be used by the US military to power compact spy satellites that would be hard for adversaries to track, evade or destroy, experts said. Enditem


So there's two epiphanies. A painter, a colonial French Jew from the Virgin Islands - and a poet, a Russian Jew emigrated to New York City. I'm setting these out here not so much to disprove any accusations of anti-Semitism that get aimed my way in response to the work that follows, but to show how far that prejudice is from my experience.
George Burns, after his wife Gracie Allen had died, was a black hole of grief and loss. I remember being in a room with him and the weight of that loss. There was a change, I was there when it took place. Any cameras would have shown just the two of us there, talking. Maybe crying a little, not much.
I was hitchiking in eastern Oregon or maybe Idaho. A stranger in a convincing disguise picked me up, driving a big white Cadillac. We talked about a few things. Something that stranger said to me that carried me later through a lot of hard times was concerning a friend who'd had some bad trouble that only got worse. She said "It wouldn't have happened if I'd a been there."
It wouldn't have.
I'm still here because I heard that and understood what it meant.

FOIA:Detention Practices Project

Community members from DailyKos and the Booman Tribune are examining several sets of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for evidence relating to the physical abuse and torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and the denial of legal rights to these detainees under U.S. and international law.
link Spin of The Day/Wired News

its culture and legacy will probably live on

While there are clearly important foreign policy and trade questions raised by China's emergence as a deal maker in the United States, it is less clear that these deals - and others that will surely follow - are as problematic as they may appear at first.
Many deals with Chinese companies - and, by extension, the Chinese government - may actually help the United States economy, just as China has helped prop up the nation by buying Treasury bonds en masse.
Indeed, so far, the businesses in which China has taken an interest could be categorized as "least likely to succeed." And the Chinese may eventually revive them.
Look at Maytag.
"U.S. oil companies need to play on an equal playing field around the world," said Larry Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation. "The prospects of that happening are diminished if the U.S. government interferes in a deal like this," he said.
Andrew Ross Sorkin/NYTimes 26.Jun.05


The long war on Christianity in America continues
An Air Force Academy chaplain who accused superiors of improperly promoting evangelical Christianity among cadets submitted her resignation from the military on Tuesday, one day before an official task force was to report on the religious climate at the campus, in Colorado Springs.
The Lutheran chaplain, Capt. MeLinda S. Morton, has said she was fired from an administrative job because of her public criticism and was ordered to deploy to Japan.
"Chaplain Morton has been an outspoken critic of the academy's willingness to tolerate a pervasive evangelical climate that is threatening to members of other faith groups and disregards the constitutional separation of church and state," her lawyer, Eugene R. Fidell, said in a statement.
Thom Shanker Laura Goodstein/NYTimes 22.Jun.05
The rhetorical warfare came as the House considered a proposal by Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin, to put Congress on record against "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Rep. John Hostettler, R-Indiana, criticized Obey and Steve Israel, D-New York, who offered a similar condemnation of academy officials earlier this year on another bill.
"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians," Hostettler said.
Democrats leapt to their feet and demanded Hostettler be censured for his remarks. After a half-hour's worth of wrangling, Hostettler retracted his comments.
The imbroglio broke out as the House conducted an otherwise routine debate on a $409 billion spending bill to fund the Pentagon budget and provide an additional $45 billion for the war in Iraq.
The $45 billion would bring to $322 billion the amount provided for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other U.S. anti-terror efforts around the globe since 2001.
The bill passed by a 398-19 vote after Republicans rejected Obey's amendment by a mostly party-line vote of 210-198.
The House instead approved by voice vote a Republican plan requiring an Air Force report to Congress on the steps it was taking to promote religious tolerance.
At issue is how Congress should respond to allegations of proselytizing and favoritism for Christians at the Air Force Academy.
The Air Force is investigating numerous allegations of inappropriate actions by academy officials, including a professor who required cadets to pray before taking his test and a Protestant chaplain who warned anyone "not born again would burn in the fires of hell."
Obey said a senior chaplain at the academy was transferred to Japan after criticizing what she saw as proselytizing.
Republicans said they did not want to jump to conclusions before the investigation was complete.
"We don't prejudge that there is abusive proselytizing," said Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
"If you tell Christians they can't tell others about their faith, then they can't exercise their Christian religion," Hostettler said later. He said proselytizing involves a forced conversion to Christianity, something that did not occur at the academy.
CNN 21.Jun.05

"The imbroglio broke out as the House conducted an otherwise routine debate on a $409 billion spending bill to fund the Pentagon budget and provide an additional $45 billion for the war in Iraq."

409 billion is such a big number that when I thought about how much it was costing Americans per capita it seemed like it must be around a million apiece. But no, it's only around 1400 dollars per man woman and child in the US per year, or around $4 a day,
That isn't much really.
$4 a day, and look how it adds up.
Iraq's only costing us 50 cents a day.
What Hostettler says about preventing Christian evangelizing - that it's a prevention of Christian religious practice - is inarguably valid, and it points to the absurdity of a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
A doctor who's legally prevented from warning the public about the health risks of behavior he's convinced is harmful is a more sympathetic figure to rationalist minds, but it's exactly the same moral question. A preacher who really believes the unsaved are hellbound would be sinfully remiss if he didn't use every opportunity to tell them that.
It's just that you, the observer, don't believe there's any truth in the evangelist's belief. So his warnings shouldn't be taken seriously, and his moral imperatives needn't be taken into consideration when it's time to set the ground rules for educating cadets.
Tolerance is ineffectual in that dilemma. And the political power of fundamentalism is now too great to be thwarted by marginalizing it. And the dogma of fundamentalism provides a streamlined dynamic for absorbing persecution and utilizing it to directly strengthen the convictions of its membership; being attacked by the forces of evil is essential to their world-view.



"Just two days ago I was talking with some men who were being forced to wait at the northern Bethlehem checkpoint (Gilo Checkpoint, Checkpoint 300). I arrived at 1:30pm and was told they had been waiting since 9am for the soldiers to return their identity cards. This is very common.
When I offered them water one man took a quick drink and then hid it when he noticed soldiers walking towards us. He informed me that they were refusing to allow the men to drink any water and had taken the water they had before and dumped it out on their heads.
Just a few minutes later a young Palestinian boy came to the checkpoint from Jerusalem with a shopping cart full of various electrical items. An older officer emptied the cart by taking the electrical items and throwing them on the pavement, while the boy tried desperately to catch each item and break it's fall. He then took the boy's cart and forced him to stagger off carrying a vaccuum cleaner, a T.V., and three heavy plastic bags.
When I tried to help the boy carry his stuff I was placed "under arrest", though once the boy had left they simply let me go."

Bethlehem Bloggers: Voices from the Bethlehem Ghetto 18.Jun.05


An old Guajajara Indian leader, Jose Araujo Guajajara, was murdered on 21 May this year by a group of armed men who stormed into his village, setting fire to houses and shooting at the Indians. Jose Araujo's son Wilson was wounded in the attack and his young daughter was raped.
The Guajajara are pressing for the recognition of a piece of their land. It is believed the attackers were working on behalf of people who have invaded this area, to plant soya and eucalyptus and burn wood to sell as charcoal. Since the murder, ten Guajajara leaders have received death threats.
Police have arrested one of the men who carried out the attacks, and arrest warrants have been issued for three more men, but the remainder are still free. The Guajajara are calling for police protection and a full investigation, and for the culprits to be arrested and put on trial.

Survival 10.Jun.05

There was a traveling exhibition of paintings called "The Impressionists" that toured the US back in the 80's. One of those tasks of bringing-together that transcend the self-interest of collectors and institutions.
I went down to San Francisco with some good friends to see it, at the De Young Museum. Even with the constant noise and psychic congestion of hundreds of other people moving through the rooms it was a wonderful experience. I went off by myself at one point, trying to get personal with what I was seeing, trying to take in as much as I could.
There was a landscape by Camille Pissarro that stopped me completely, with awe and recognition. A view of fields from a hill, gentle outrolling grass falling away toward a valley, the sun somewhere behind, no houses in the foreground, nothing detailed but it was so exactly a reproduced moment - I was emotionally broken into, released, it was an undeniably familiar thing and so big. I cried, sort of, there were tears in my eyes, and I kept resurfacing to where I was physically, the museum, the crowd around me, my friends somewhere close by, but something about that was permanent and it brought together things I held from childhood, light and a presence in the world, more than benevolence but warm that way, a human thing but not separate, woven into the limitless.
You could do one of those progressive magnifications of say one of the spectacular Hubble images, where the glory of the stellar cloud expands and you step down toward each degree without a break, there's an inevitability, a fitting in, and you could take it down through the solar system to this world and if it was accurate in a poetic sense of accuracy it would reveal a landscape like that. It made me think of God as that word was first given to me, when my eyes were still fresh from seeing the world unfold. It was the connection as much as the harmony and balance of it, or the connection was the harmony and balance of it. Something seamless, but still that accuracy, Pissarro there working but completely out of the way of the light and the work as a man, a medium for it, a vehicle, all of it passing through his eyes and his mind to his hands and held there by the paint and canvas.

So that was an epiphany too, though I didn't think of it that way, at the time.

Apophenia (archive/17th)
This is what I think.



Exploring the idea of the culture as either lazy or industrious -
So yeah, of course, industrious, I mean look at it. Look at all the activity, all the weight being hauled every day. How much of how many things around us is transformed by what we do.
Except look at what laziness is, how it works and what its signs are.
It isn't about being unwilling to expend energy, in fact the opposite of laziness is precisely about not expending more energy than we have to. Being organized, taking care of things, doing chores in a timely fashion, maintaining tools and equipment. All those practices conserve energy.
It's the goal of the responsible non-lazy person - to not expend more energy than necessary to get things done.
Laziness, on the other hand is all about instant gratification, not doing hard things, putting off the demands of necessity as long as possible, shirking responsibility.
In fact, as I went along thinking about it every symptom of laziness I could think of fit the culture around me like a description pulled from a brochure.

hundreds of lakes in the Arctic are disappearing

Researchers tracked the appearance of 10,000 large lakes over 500,000 square kilometres of tundra from the early 1970s to 1997-98.
They found the total number of large lakes decreased by around 11 per cent. Many shrank significantly, while 125 disappeared completely and are replaced by vegetation. The overall loss of lake surface was six per cent.
Hinzman says the disappearance can be traced back to climate change's effect on the land underneath the lakes.
"As the climate has warmed, the permafrost under the lake has thawed fastest and the water from the lake will drain right into the groundwater," he says.

CBC/North 06.Jun.05


BEIJING, June 13 (Reuters) Most of 31 people killed when fire swept through a hotel in south China were karaoke hostesses, state media said today, adding that there was a 35-minute delay until firefighters arrived.
The blaze broke out shortly after noon on Friday and spread through three floors of the Huanan Hotel in Shantou, Guangdong province.
"An initial investigation showed that passers-by, not hotel staff, reported the fire and it was fierce before the fire brigade arrived." the China Daily quoted Huang Donghua, of the Shantou Information Office, as saying.
Most of the victims were women working as hostesses in the hotel's karaoke rooms, the China Daily said, quoting a local newspaper.
Fake ID papers had made identifying bodies difficult, it said.


to understand the reality on the ground in Iraq

"Thus, my argument is that the purpose of the war was war; it was designed to keep alive an idea of old war on which American identity is based, to show that old war could be upgraded and relatively pain-free in the 21st century. I do not want to suggest that this was cynical manipulation; on the contrary the conservatives in the Bush administration believe in American power and their mission to spread the American idea. My point is rather that they are caught up in a narrative of their own making, which resonates well with the American public with the help of the American media.
There have also been moments in the aftermath of the invasion when there were genuine opportunities to establish a legitimate Iraqi government. Immediately after the invasion, if the coalition had:
* not dissolved the army
* rapidly introduced a system of transitional justice so that the criminals of the previous regime could have been separated from ordinary Baathists
* consulted with different political, civil, religious and tribal groups on the ground instead of relying primarily on a collection of expatriate consultants and advisors
* allowed the Interim Governing Council to exercise real power.
Then, there was a chance that the insurgency might have been avoided. In the aftermath of the invasion, there was a myriad of civic initiatives - neighbourhood watch groups protecting their communities against looting, museum employees protecting valuable artefacts, various forms of social and humanitarian initiatives. Subsequently, debate and dialogue among students, women's groups, newly formed democracy groups, or religious institutions blossomed but many of those engaged in this debate felt marginalised and neglected by the coalition authorities."

Mary Kaldor/Open Democracy/ 09.Jun.05
link Robin Varghese/3quarksdaily
So it's possible that Saddam wasn't as securely in power as everyone, both for and against the war, was led to believe. It's possible that in some behind-the-scenes estimate it was only a matter of time until he was overthrown, and by the same people who now are driving the US out of Iraq. Think how powerful that would have made them.
It's possible that this was a pre-emptive measure, an end-run around that overthrowing and the surge of triumph it would have brought.
It's possible that the current state of Iraq was desired - the chaos and broken infrastructure, the political impotence of the Iraqi state, these have seemed plausible goals from the beginning. Oil is there, murky and important but not central, not to the US, not as a reason to do what's been done to the American reputation in the world and at home.
It's a missing piece, for me, in the puzzle this has been. That Saddam was tenuous, that he was going down anyway.
The general view of Iraqi society makes civil war seem like an inevitabity without the iron fist of Saddam there, or without some other unifying force to contain the fierce religious anarchy of Sunni vs. Shia vs. Baathist vs. Kurd.
But then toppling Saddam would have been a pretty unifying thing for Iraq, and whoever did it would have then been seen as true liberators by the Iraqi people because, as we all know, Saddam was a despot, a cruel tyrant.
So it's possible that scenario, impending revolution, was the impetus, the charge; some kind of urgent forecast that said it's coming, and soon.

Luchas en Bolivia June 2005



photos: AGP

I missed World Naked Bike Ride Day June 11.
There were stirrings earlier, but I missed them as well.
Bare Witness.

"Ceausescu network" behind Aubenas' release

The Romanian daily Une Cotidianal ran a headline saying "French journalist saved by Ceausescu's network" and wrote that Aubenas owed her release Saturday to the same people who helped to have the Romanian hostages freed on May 22.
Aubenas, her Iraqi guide and the Romanians "owe a big debt to the old boys' network of Iraqis who came to Romania as students" during the rule of Nicolae Ceausescu, it said.
The paper said that to save the Romanians, Bucharest called on the former communist security police, the Securitate, "because they were the only ones who could appeal to the former Iraqi students to intervene to save the journalists".
"In order to negotiate the release of Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi guide Hussein Hanun, the French authorities used the same Ceausescu network," it said.
The daily Gardinual followed the same line, asking: "Will France recognise the role the Romanian secret services played in Florence's release?"
It quoted government sources as saying that Romania "played a very important role in this release."
Averea newspaper reproached French President Jacques Chirac with not singling out Romania in his television address on Sunday to welcome the release of Aubenas and Hanun.
Immediately after arriving in Paris on Sunday, Aubenas denied that she had been held hostage in the same place at the Romanians.
But in Bucharest this was merely seen a sign that she had not yet been told that the Romanian journalists had revealed that they were held together in Iraq for a month and a half.
The former Romanian hostages have described Aubenas as a strong woman who had helped them not to lose heart and said they had previously kept quiet about being held with her in order to protect her.

IC Publications/journal 13.Jun.05

those who otherwise do not have access to health care

" in Venezuela President Chavez inaugurated another one of the social programs which Venezuela has chosen to spend its money on. The program is called Barrio Adentro II. The original Barrio Adentro (inside the neighborhood) program was the second of Chavez's "Missiones" to be initiated. It involved putting thousands of Cuban doctors in poor neighborhoods throughout Venezuela to give millions of Venezuelans access to primary health care for the first time. Barrio Adentro had undoubtadly been the most popular of Chavez's social programs. The opposition, which fought against this program tenaciously at its inception but now sees how popular it is, claims that it would keep this program even if they came to power.

The Barrio Adentro II program just inaugurated is different in that it consists of opening hundreds of ambulatory care centers thoughout the country where patients can recieve more sophisticated care. Such services as full dental care, ambulatory surgery, and ob-gyn care will be given in these centers. Of course, these services will be free of charge and aimed at those who otherwise do not have access to health care."

Oilwars 12.Jun.05

"C'est un homme responsable et respectable (...) mais on peut ne pas partager son point de vue.
"Tous les anciens otages nous le disent: Rien de pire qu'un otage oublie, dont on ne parle pas", a-t-il estime.

Florence Aubenas has been released, along with her assistant, Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi, after five months of captivity in Iraq. She is a reporter for the French newspaper Liberation, a name which has an echoic resemblance to Il Manifesto, the paper for which Giuliana Sgrena works.
Sgrena, who was seriously wounded by American military as she was being driven to the Baghdad airport after her release from two months in captivity, is on the record saying she believes she was targeted. The Italian intel agent who was escorting her out of the country was killed in that same event. There were hints that she felt the kidnapping itself was an attempt to silence her.

"The head of Liberation, Serge July, spoke of a "quite complicated military operation", which had led to her handover to French secret service agents after her kidnappers led them on a chase "for 50 miles in and around Baghdad". A press conference to reveal more details will be held at the Liberation offices tomorrow."
"Aubenas, 44, is said to be in good health. She flew to Cyprus where she was met by the French Foreign Minister and is now on her way to Paris. She and her Iraqi interpreter Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi were seized on January 5th.The identity of the kidnappers is unknown and it seems likely that they were acting under criminal rather than political motives, says Hugh Schofield in Paris. "
"French officials said no ransom was paid."


We predicate our policies on sound science
"No matter what we do at this point, global temperatures will continue to rise in the coming decades, owing to the gigatons of extra CO2 already circulating in the atmosphere. With more than six billion people on the planet, the risks of this are obvious. A disruption in monsoon patterns, a shift in ocean currents, a major drought - any one of these could easily produce streams of refugees numbering in the millions. As the effects of global warming become more and more apparent, will we react by finally fashioning a global response? Or will we retreat into ever narrower and more destructive forms of self-interest? It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing."

The Climate of Man - III
Elizabeth Kolbert/New Yorker 02.05.05

Setting aside the reactions of those whose religious conviction - that the end of the world is a good thing, a confirming sign, and should be passively accepted as part of God's plan - lets them observe Kolbert's forecast with calm assurance, most everyone else reading that "With more than six billion people on the planet, the risks of this are obvious" is going to imagine a world with substantially less than six billion people on it, so that they can imagine themselves continuing to burn fuel by the luxurious ton and enjoying the power and security of indiscriminate technology unimpeded by the ruinous weight of its effects.
This is an anthem in the world of construction and manly values, and it's a subtle creed in the bureaucratic halls of commerce and finance as well. It is an undercurrent in lots of homes. And there hasn't been a whisper of it publicly in decades.
Good. I'm fine with that. More than fine, I'm against the idea of encouraging a reduction of the population, against it with everything I have. Dead set against it. To hell with that idea. Because the problem isn't how many of us there are, it's how we live.
But it is a popular idea, the perspicacious selecting out of those who deserve a place in the improved world - even though you can't read anyone espousing it anywhere. It's an "us against them" or "us above them" paradigm. I wouldn't have to feel guilty about burning 20 gallons of gas a week (I don't, that's rhetorical. I don't drive at all now.) if there weren't 20 million other cars on the road in California.
A reduction in the numbers is what pops up in most minds when they read Kolbert's "more than six billion people on the planet". And anyone whose self-image is of themselves as a decent hard-working citizen wants to get rid of the no-goods, the socially inferior, the criminals and incompetents, when it comes time to reduce the numbers. The assumption being that things are basically running in the right direction, there's just too many of us. So get out the scales of judgment and weigh the living accordingly.
The problem I have with that is the rigged scale, the butcher's thumb invisibly pressing the pan as the numbers climb.
The core issue is a return to Darwinian selection, or what's called that. The culling hand of natural forces sweeping through the race. But things have shifted around since the long ago when we lived in submission to those forces and won every scrap of survival with hard work and fortitude and fortune; marginal creatures then are now central to what's human. Lapdogs live in luxury while wolves are hunted from helicopters. Scammy creeps have massive armamentaria, and the system's rigged in their favor, so if we turn toward some kind of natural selection they'll come out on top. Natural selection, now, is unnatural.
There is no human solution to the numbers. That's my position. Sickness taking the weak, winter taking the weak, it's how our strong immune systems developed, and our social cohesion, our cultures and languages all come from that pressure of natural adversity - but we're not there anymore. Our heritage has been relinquished, the lines of descent have been polluted, and the top of the human food chain is now rife with corruption and inhuman intelligence. That's why we're facing this catastrophe. Selfishness unchecked led us right to this.
The confusion about eugenics is there. It's not people being removed from the gene pool that's wrong, it's human-centered values doing the removing, taking over from the greater wisdom of natural force; it's people doing the selecting according to their own limited flawed ideas of who should stay and who should go. This is easily spun into its being a suggestion that we all lay down in a forest somewhere and let bears eat us. I try not to let that kind of idiocy have more influence than it deserves.
Our struggle to survive has been so successful we're eating our home. That struggle was always against death, but it was never about conquest, never about some final triumph, it was only about holding our own.
This has been perverted to an anti-life stance where death is the enemy, always to be overcome. But death is how we got here. Death is why we have sex. Death is how improvements are made in species as they go along through time.
This is now heresy. It seems evil. An embrace of the darkness. And the scorn for the natural world that's so integral to the dominant voice comes right out of that. Because the natural world is opposed to what this is, what we've become, how we live - because how we live is unbalanced, horribly unbalanced.
The real conflict is between those who put themselves above that natural world, who've created this steadily more artificial increasingly poisonous controlled environment and all its ramifications - the virtual slavery of its economies, the coercive traps that make complicity with it the only choice for survival; and those who want health, healing, balance - to live as part of something healthy and real.
It isn't about how many of us there are, it's about how we live. It was always about that. And as long as we're here, as long as we're human, it always will be.

notes, cosmology-
At any given point on an infinite line the distance to either end is the same, because it's infinite. So it doesn't matter where on the line you are, it's the same in either direction, equal, measureless. This applies to planar surfaces and solids as well, but with implications for human perspective that are more difficult to grasp than the abstraction of a line that goes on forever. And it works on a spiritual level, as far as power and size are concerned, in a way that's unexpected but feels intuitively right. But that's for later.
The two end points, or places, or infinite markers in the solid landscape, are hard to picture for most of us - an infinite space is, at least for me, this one, the space around me, only bigger. But that's not an accurate description of the solid version of that point-on-an-infinite-line idea, with two equally infinite lines leading away from it in either direction. The terminology involves something like infinite orders of planar magnitude, both greater and smaller.
Trying to make that fit the idea of an infinitely smaller landscape especially short-circuits something in my head. But it's important, these open-ended border-crossings are attributes of where we are as much as the stellar vastness and the sub-atomic wilderness are.
It's suspicious, the way we're raised to think of space as dark and empty, and then also, more recently the stop-gap "discoveries" of end-points in the interior world, the small should-be infinite that we're told just stops abruptly down there somewhere, where matter and time and thought all melt together - or something like that.
At the other reach - the macro, the large space outside us - we're not only given the tacit idea that it's empty and cold and basically dark, but again, out there at some bizarre semi-abstract place-moment, time and matter and thought all melt together; while the Hubble and its cohort bring us images of grandeur that surely speak of life, of something living that's glorious beyond our telling made up of stars in profusion, of which our single sun is a tiny constituent, and that tiny sun the source of all energy here on earth.
The schema at present is:
infinite nothing < us < earth-life < sun < galaxies, nebulae etc < infinite nothing.
What I want to replace it with is:
infinite something < us < earth-life < sun < galaxies, nebulae etc < infinite something.
The universe is not cold, dark, and empty, is the idea. Yet we're taught that it is by tacit assumption - that's common knowledge, outside the disciplines of astronomy and astrophysics anyway. And we're taught that we're small and insignificant in the midst of that cold dark emptiness.
We're also taught at the same time that down inside us is a place where the stuff we're made of is reduced to nothing at all, cold dead matter with absurd names and properties, past which is nothing but emptiness, pretty much the same as what we're supposed to believe is at the limits of the exterior "out there". Not only are we insignificant in the face of the universe, the stuff we're made of is so insignificant it doesn't really exist.
This results, without it ever being overtly stated, in a vise of assumed futility - meaninglessness, dark emptiness at both ends of the infinite volume we inhabit. That assumption isolates us as individuals from everything but ourselves, increasing our susceptibility to the temptations of selfishness. And that's why I think it was accomplished.
Another, corollary assumption, is that our collective knowledge, the growth of our racial/cultural comprehension, has been a steady progression from another kind of darkness, unknowing ignorance, toward the present light of knowledge.
I don't believe that, not as a general picture - I think it's inaccurate, and part of the same ruse. It's the creation of a false darkness; there are ways of knowing things as fundamental as the infinite nature of the universe that don't require the ability to rationally articulate things like a concept of infinity. People can know things they can't put into words; words are secondary to comprehension. I'm not suggesting that all our primitive ancestors knew more about the universe than we do - just that some of them at least were less confused about the fullness of reality than most of us are, now.
Again we have the assumption of darkness - here, the ignorant darkness of our ancestors being replaced with the illumination of our own superior intellectual reach. And again I believe it's a false assumption, an intentionally perpetrated illusion. Because there's an inferiority built into that assumption of darkness, the insignificance of being someone who doesn't know
The darkness at the beginning of our history, the darkness at the end of the universe, the darkness at the center of the mystery of our physical being. All of that combines to drive us into ourselves - and it's frightening, it's the opposite of comforting.
Fear is a kind of reactive, autonomic selfishness, there's nothing altruistic about it; altruism has to overcome fear and selfishness to succeed. Fear separates us, and a cold dark emptiness on the scale presented by these assumptions is very frightening.
We see in the current political climate how fear divides people and makes them helpless, prey to manipulation. Creatures repeat what works. Making people afraid, and keeping them afraid, can be a wonderfully successful strategy, especially when your goals have nothing to do with human things.


as is now happening

Robert Pape, associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, has spent 25 years creating a database of such attacks and has chronicled them in his new book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.
According to the author, most suicide terrorists were well-integrated and productive members of their communities from working-class or middle-class backgrounds.
"Technicians, waitresses, security guards, ambulance drivers, paramedics ... few are criminals. Most are volunteers whose first act of violence is their very own suicide attack," Pape said.
Pape collected demographic information on 462 suicide attackers who completed their missions and said he found that the common wisdom was wrong.
"The standard stereotype of a suicide attacker as a lonely individual on the margins of society with a miserable existence is actually quite far from the truth," he said.
Pape, who has been invited to discuss his analysis with a bipartisan group of US congressmen, said he hoped his book would demonstrate to policymakers that a presumed connection between suicide attacks and Islamic fundamentalism is misleading and could contribute to policies that worsen the situation.

Aljazeera 04.Jun.05
Analysis of Pape at t r u t h o u t
Attempted evisceration of Pape by Avi Dov Klein at The American Spectator

I went to Mexico, headed for the beach, I had a little Brazilian tenor guitar with me and a big green backpack. I was on a city bus down in Tijuana, on my way out to the big Flechas de Todas terminal east of town, where the long-distance buses to Mexico City were. There weren't any other gringos on the bus. I was riding along through Tijuana - I love that, being someplace unfamiliar and looking out the window of a bus or train, surrounded by locals. I was holding the guitar so it wouldn't get dinged in the commotion, my backpack down at my feet, when the bridge broke loose of the soundbox with a monumental ringing twang, all six strings sounding at once, loud. Everybody turned to stare. So I made a detour, eventually, to Paracho, a town where they're famous for making guitars and guitarrons and mandolinas and violins, and arranged to have it repaired.
Later, after some time at the beach, when I'd got back up to northern California a friend asked me if I'd had any epiphanies while I was down there.
Not really, a lot of weird stuff happened, going and coming, but everything was like that; and back then it had never occurred to me that I could have epiphanies, in my life the way it was.
About ten years before that I was working a few days at a recycling center, volunteering, just for something to do helping someone whose official job it was to load the bundles of newspapers and magazines and barrels of bottles and cans onto a big flatbed truck and take them to whatever center they were destined for.
One time I picked up a bundle of tabloid-style papers and realized it was 30 or 40 Rolling Stone magazines, from Volume 1 up to whenever. Artifacts. Probably worth something to somebody. The top one on the pile had Janis Joplin on the cover.
I saw the first RS when it came out, at a bookstore on Cannery Row in Monterey, in the old days before development when it was all abandoned canneries, and that bookstore and some odd little rooms to let and a Chinese grocery. The lady in the bookstore gave me one for free, she said "This is it, you should read this. Pay attention." She liked me. She was always telling me to read people like Rimbaud and Shelley, and I did what she told me.
Another time at the recycling center I picked up a New York Review of Books, and because we were both hard workers but not fearful about it, and because I was hungry for intellectual meat and potatoes I glanced through it. There was an article by Joseph Brodsky in it, kind of a poetic manifesto. By the second paragraph I was wide open, hypnotized, fully engaged, in a trance of assimilation. I've been lucky to be able to do that with books, when they unlock the door. Brodsky had that key.
Prose like stones from a river, smooth thoughts and unimpeded heart-felt giving. This wasn't a brain using a body to get what it wanted, it was a man, speaking to the world, and there was love in every aspect of the rhythm of it. It was as gratifying as good sex, I was knocked out, floored, excited. Inspired. I wanted to do that.
That was an epiphany. I realized a long time later that that's what that was - an epiphany.



photo: NouvelObservateur

"And everyday, this: A word to make you serve, and one to make you grateful for it. There is a label out there just for you. This will make you easier to categorize, and sell to. There is a word for the man next to you that makes you comfortable with the fact that you have so much more than he does. There is a word for you that tells you what to settle for.

There are the voiceless, who cannot speak for themselves. These are the easiest ones to shrink down. There are words for the non-conformers, simple words that can be quickly acknowledged by those that buy in. Crazy. Faggot. Gang. Rich. One is sinful, one is lazy, one is violent by nature and one is always, always good enough.

It's such a precious thing that no one wants you to have it. You can't be trusted with it. It's such a delicate thing that it turns to something different in different hands. They might bury it but you can dig it up. You are strong enough for the Truth."

Chris Mars
Artist Statement at Copro Nason - Radiant Dreams
Chris Mars Publishing


I'm working up another installment in the great anti-Semitism debate, but until then I'm treading carefully, so much is at stake; consequently there's two versions of this - equally offensive, I hope, to the sensitivities of all concerned.
It comes from a post at 3Quarks Daily, from an article in the NYTimes where the happy little scientists urp their milkshakes they're so excited about finding out about money and monkeys and what it says about "us".
The point here is to read the narrative with someone who is to you as these creatures are to me replacing the original "subjects" or victims.
Put yourself in the cage and learn from that. As it were.
Version 1, Niggers.
Version 2, Jews.
I should add that there is no degree of outrage possible in the offended populations that will or could exceed my own at the original.


Todo es posible

What has happened for the last 2 1/2 weeks is the indigenous Aymara communities from the Altiplano and from the twin poor city of El Alto have descended onto the capital and essentially shut it down. I mean, there isn't food coming in and out. There isn't bus transport in or out. A number of the airlines have cancelled their flights. And there is, you know, 10-20,000 people that have been coming in every day and trying to literally shut the government down by taking over the heart of the city, which is Plaza Murillo, where the congress and the presidential palace are located. This has spread to other parts of the country, as well. Here in Cochabamba, the center of the city has been blockaded now every day for the last three days. There's limited bus transport out of Cochabamba today, as well. All of this is aimed at forcing the government to take back control of the nation's oil and gas resources, which were privatized under I.M.F. pressure in the mid-1990s. And really what's happening is this is the end of a process that has been in motion for more than two years.

Jim Shultz/DemocracyNow! 03.Jun.05


perfect minimalist spam:

he was very info clear-headed (no subject)toward - Subjectthe end Jun 2


It just is

"At Guantanamo, the US has operated an isolated prison camp in which people are confined arbitrarily, held virtually incommunicado, without charge, trial or access to due process. Not a single Guantanamo detainee has had the legality of their detention reviewed by a court," despite a Supreme Court ruling last year that provided grounds to do so.
"Guantanamo is only the visible part of the story. Evidence continues to mount that the US operates a network of detention centers where people are held in secret or outside any proper legal framework - from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond," Amnesty added, noting that Bush had failed to respond to these "longstanding concerns".
"It is worth also worth noting," stressed Schulz, "that this administration never finds it 'absurd' when we criticize Cuba or China, or when we condemned the violations in Iraq under Saddam Hussein."
Jim Lobe /AsiaTimes 02.Jun.05

a provocation

A diplomatic row between Israel and El Salvador has been sparked by businessmen in the Central American country after they renamed a city square in the capital in honour of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Israel is protesting by delaying the return of its ambassador to San Salvador, after a trip to Tel Aviv.
Officials in Israel called the naming of Arafat Park and the unveiling of a bust of the late leader, who died last year, "hurtful and insulting".
Many Salvadorans, including President Tony Saca, are of Palestinian descent.
In a statement, Israel's foreign ministry said the renaming of the plaza had caused "dismay".
Many of those among El Salvador's business community are the descendants of Palestinian immigrants who emigrated to Central America during the 19th century and early 20th century, before the establishment of Israel. 01.Jun.05

working and working and working

The president's brusque dismissal of last week's critical report by Amnesty International came during a Rose Garden news conference in which Bush sought to counter speculation that he is losing his political clout.
Referring to Amnesty International's comparison of Guantanamo to a Soviet concentration camp, Bush declared, "It's just an absurd allegation." He said the government has investigated every complaint of abuse stemming from the arrest of thousands of detainees captured since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Finlay Lewis/Copley/SanDiegoUnionTribune 01.Jun.05
A realer man who was comfortable in his role in the president would have acknowledged the work they do, first.
"Yes, these Amnesty guys are champions of the unjustly imprisoned and tortured, and yes there are far too many unjustly imprisoned and tortured people in the world; and yes they do great work calling attention to the injustice that's so easy to ignore when it isn't happening to you - but in this case, about us, they're wrong."
He makes it too obvious that he doesn't care. Talking to a world that's seen photographs of inhuman treatment of prisoners by American service personnel, it's unwise to use the word "absurd" when someone has accused you of doing essentially the same thing somewhere else. It makes you look guilty.

Blog Archive