...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



She'll always be part of Lincoln Financial Field
As security chased after him, Noteboom held out a plastic bag and dumped its contents onto the field while sprinting away from his pursuers.
Philadelphia police released a statement saying that the suspect "spilled a powdery substance from a container onto the field. The substance was that of the defendant's mother's cremated remains."
Once the bag was empty, Noteboom dropped it, made the sign of the cross, fell to his knees, then plopped flat on the ground.
from comments to this article:
"...scripture confirms that the dead don't see the living."
"Marmitons Etrangers fous!!!" (tran.)
Arizona Republic
"The man who was arrested after spreading his mother's ashes at Lincoln Financial Field during Sunday's Eagles game returned to Arizona yesterday to overwhelming support, the Arizona Republic reported."
A newscaster, I think it was CNN's Cavuto but I'm not sure, went right from a clip of this brightly ghoulish event to a viewer poll asking "Where would you like to go?" or something like that I'm not sure what the phrase was, the question being I guess if it was your ashes, where would you like to be scattered etc. No editorial comment other than the default of "Hey, we're okay with that if you are." Not one scrap of recognition that there might be something so thoroughly appalling about that sight that most non-literary viewers of it would find it unspeakable. It's the victory dance of the swine.
Just before or after that, I'm not sure, on a different channel Seymour Hersh was on Hardball essentially saying though not explicitly except that Matthews threw up a quote from Hersh in I think 2003 that said essentially that Cheney and Rove were keeping Bush in a state of religious dementia/megalomania.
In order to manipulate him, and through him, the country.
And just now some kind of panel, I'm not sure what it was called, but the way the guys I heard talk were talking it was some kind of Catholic panel, on C-SPAN, concerned with the now amazing 5 Catholics on the U. S. Supreme Court - first time in history, etc. - and whether this was an event or a non-event.
First the less mediagenic one was saying things about how Earl Warren, a "liberal" and not a Catholic, was the most scripture-quoting judge the S.C. has had yet, or maybe has had yet in modern times, I'm not sure - the idea being I guess that tolerating Earl Warren's scripture-quoting should lead right into tolerating religious delusions in men and women who will shape the country's future more directly and immediately, and for longer, than any elected official will.
The mediagenic one said something to the effect that expecting a man or woman charged with the duties and responsibilities of adjudicating from the highest court in the land to set aside his or her religious beliefs in order to perform as a fair and impartial jurist was not an unreasonable expectation.
That's when I turned it off.
The hypocritical absurdity of saying that - that someone could believe in eternity and the immortality of the soul and Biblical commandments and infallible Papal directives etc. etc. - yet put all that aside because a set of human laws that are less than 250 years old requires it, is nauseating. Almost as nauseating as the deranged smugness behind the superstitious beliefs themselves.
A really great example of that is the lack of concern in the President for the souls he's been releasing into the next world.
"Who cares? We're all immortal! Their problem if they aren't right with God! Yee-haw!"
These three phenomena, the ashes, the President's delusions, the Catholic mumbo-jumbo, are one phenomenon.
And the bogus debates about "evolution" and "I.D.", and the virulent arguments about abortion, and the fascist drug laws, and the bigoted discrimination against gays - they're all part of the same thing.
It will be evil to those it doesn't benefit, and good to those it does.
Evil is like any other form of moral distinction, when there's a war the winners write the new definitions.
And the next conflict takes its form and essence from that. It keeps refining and repeating itself. Cleansing and purging its environment.
And when the valence is the self evil and good are much easier to calibrate than when there's some kind of other, outside the self, at the center of things.
It's that we're trained not to think of these groups and institutions as being capable of selfishness, or of an existence independent from their current memberships.
But of course they are, any sin, any crime, any flaw that individuals can have can be seen in the churches and nations that humans create around themselves to insure their own survival; and they exist through time on a scale human lives can't match.
The illusion persists in the names of the groups and institutions seeming to describe what's there. This allows an invisibility and adaptive rebirth, a shucking of the old shell, casting aside identities that outlive their utility.
Protestantism emerges from the corrupt cess of what was "the Church". Fundamentalisms emerge like larva from the nest of that, and out of them come splinters and sects and amorphous groups whose identities shapeshift as required.
Trying to speak to that is impossibly complex. What kind of morality that doesn't come from outside the system could possibly work?
This may seem arcane and bizarrely tangential but I'll suggest a look at how acceptable the deaths of individuals become when ordered by a centralized human agency like the government or the church militant or any other of the large vague creations of human coming-together. Especially when the deaths themselves are "collateral".
The simpler point is that groups can be as selfish as individuals.
And selfishness is the prime of all evil.
It's no wonder evolution is such a disturbing topic. It's what the antagonism against the concept's really about - the struggle for control of the human evolutionary process, itself now entirely, or very nearly, in human hands.
That's an irony that just won't go away for me, that the erstwhile champions of science and reason, stripped of wishful thinking and received fantasy, can never acknowledge that evolution itself has been beaten into submission, that the processes that sculpted our intelligence and adaptive grace, our social cohesion and communicative strengths, have been broken - and replaced by the formative pressures of human agencies.
But then that might involve accidentally waking people up to what's been done to them, and is being done, and then there might still be enough of us left to resist.
The dominance plan won't be as easy to accomplish if people wake up to it.
So keep them thinking there is no truth, no logic behind anything.
Just "scripture" and a vague presence outside the frame - and keep them strung out on timid daily comforts and the steady possibility of gratification - acceptable desires and the needs of the organism.
With a backdrop of eternal joy that can be turned on and off at will, so that immediate human concerns can be exaggerated or trivialized as necessary - the death of a baby in the womb a grotesque criminal nightmare, the death of a child under a rain of white phosphorus the price of "staying the course" and "finishing the job".


Other police chiefs in the news.
link Far Outliers

eric jordyThere was a police chief on the news the other day, from the town where the latest "jailbreak" occurred, getting interviewed by one the high-class girls the networks throw up to maintain viewer interest. She was asking those tough questions you know, and at a key moment she actively sneered at him. She said "Unh-huh" in that "Oh yeah, right" tone of voice that's unmistakably a sign of disrespect and superior values.CNN

So I wanted to say something about that, but what?
See? See who you guys were working for the whole time? Can you see it now?
Can you see where the power really is?
I wanted to say that. And I wanted to point out the extraordinary visual presentations these women make. Like Penthouse girls from the mid-70's. And how indistinguishable they are from the network and the news itself - and most seriously from the exercized but invisible will of the men who control the networks.
Kindergarten teachers for the permanently infantilized.
CNN2But they're a front, you know. They have nothing to do with the attitudes and moral positions the television as a thing itself displays.
They're "professionals", they're picked and groomed and educated to do what they do, and they're as replaceable as cars and they know it and they're as desperate as you'd expect someone in that position with that much at stake to be.


He becomes the face of our sky...

"After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time.
But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation.
The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war."
E. L. Doctorow in an otherwise brilliantly reasoned and impassioned condemnation of George Bush as an unfeeling and damaged man who should not have been allowed to become President of the United States.
He glosses over the fundamentalist's view of death as merely a threshold experience, to paint Bush as a sociopath, which a point could be made that the fundamentalist view of death enables, actually should enable a sociopathic tolerance of death and suffering in others, especially those designated inferior and/or "bad". In the same way the prophecies of the Book of Revelation give cheer to certain religious minds and hearts when coupled with news of a catastrophically warming planet. Reconciling Judeo-Christian disdain for life with the clamor for revenge and earthly eye-for-eye justice is beyond the scope of this post.
The business of Neanderthals as prototypes of militant brutality though, is what concerns me. Because the image we have of them is from their murderers I believe, and from the heirs of their murderers, and the stories that have traditionally been told to disguise the crimes of extinction were until recently all we had to go on.
It's too much like the savages and primitive spear-carrying animals that were the default images of aboriginals in the recent past - a lie that was necessary in order that the privileged children wouldn't find out too soon how savage their own ancestry was, so that the illusion of civilization, with its shackles and rewards and thin veneer of gentleness, could be carried forward.
The Neanderthals' brains were roughly ten percent larger than those of modern humans. They buried their dead, they had symbolic figurines and artwork.
They lived successfully.
My guess is they were driven to extinction the same way so many other creatures have been. The story of Cain and Abel comes to mind.
This sentence mirrors exactly the post-Columbian experience of the natives of the "New World":
"The Neanderthals were highly successful over a large region for a substantial period of time, but this situation changed dramatically with the arrival in Europe of the first modern humans, Homo sapiens."
Hominids and hybrids: The place of Neanderthals in human evolution
Tattersall/Schwartz National Academy of Sciences
The pseudo-controversy over whether they were violently eliminated or sexually/genetically absorbed isn't central, both are possible and likely, remnants of the extermination having no choice but assimilation - but their culture, as a distinct alter-human presence, was eliminated and there's nothing in the subsequent behavior of the surviving species to indicate it was anything other than oppressively violent.


There was a woman on TV yesterday talking to Wolf Blitzer about how lame it is for people to criticize the "war" and what that criticism does to the brave and valiant young men and women who are suffering the "war" first-hand in Iraq.
She had this thing she did with her forehead that was like a gun kind of, like it was a gun lying on the table in front of her that she would sort of absently put her hand on, like she would put her hand on it now and again, just to let everybody know what was up. A frown with a lot of anger behind it. A warrior's frown. She was a neo-con ninjette.
Meaning it was intimidating, intentionally so - aggressive, with a lot of violence in back of it.
Her thesis, or talking point, or diversion - I don't what to call it because it doesn't matter, there isn't a pejorative for it, it's a release of chemicals, it doesn't have any higher attributes.
This is no longer about truth or morality or any of the old ways of looking at human action - it's only about winning. It's a pig's ethical stance. The last angry screams of the swine. Worse.
Her position was it doesn't matter why American soldiers are killing and being killed in Iraq, it doesn't matter how many lies were told to get them there and keep them there - because they're there and we have to "finish the job" and "honor them".
Prohibition ended after a couple decades of alcohol being illegal. It just stopped one day, because the laws had changed. People had died because of those laws, law enforcement officers had given their lives to enforce them, organized crime was made wealthy and far more powerful than it had been, and then one day it didn't matter anymore. Tuesday a cop was risking his life arresting bootleggers and Wednesday it didn't count. Honoring that sacrifice could have been used as an argument against legalization.
It doesn't matter how many lies they told to get the public to go along with invading Iraq, or how many lies they tell about what's happening there now, it doesn't matter how irrevocably this tears down the possibilities, what might have been and what was - what was still here in some form when I was young. All that matters now is the fire and the dying.
And the gloating thing that rises from it.
I tried for a half hour or so to find out who she was but I couldn't get it off the CNN website and I neglected to do so when I snapped the TV off in disgust.
She was herself a weapon in someone's arsenal. Who exactly is never going to be something I'll know for certain, and I've made my peace with that, but whoever it is we're enemies now, for keeps. Forever. There's my line in the sand.
You crossed it, we're done.
You can blow this world straight to hell, I'm a lot less ambivalent about that than I was a month ago, and you seem about to do it anyway; and every day that looks a little better, because it means you'll be going too.


The bombing of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, Jordan was followed by a presentation on the normally party-line Tucker Carlson vehicle "The Situation" of Prof. Stephen E. Jones and his wild and somewhat wacky theories on the WTC 9/11 event, his main premise being that the CIA and other traditional shadowy government persons were responsible.
So you have a catastrophe - Jordan - and then you have an easily dismissable theory about the agencies and individuals responsible for another, primal, iconic, catastrophe - 9/11, showing up on a major news outlet right after.
That means anybody saying "Hey, this looks mighty hinky" about the Amman bombings has to sign up with Prof. Stephen E. Jones.
The article linked below presents a lot of pretty reasonable ideas about the bombings.
Notice that not long after the event there was a nearly identical bombing in Iraq, involving a suicide bomber a hotel and dozens of victims, which further diluted the Amman bombings' immediacy.
Nearly everything the media reported as official statement about the Jordanian event stinks of duplicity.
an awkward dilemma:

"Of course, there is nothing to information emanating from 'al-Qaeda' other than websites that could be being run by conceivably anyone. (That such websites are allowed to operate with impunity is clear evidence that they are not what they purport to be. In any case, who has actually seen the webpages in question? I haven't seen anywhere a single link to the website on which al-Qaeda supposedly issued its communiques.) But the alleged al-Qaeda websites are now in the convenient position of being able to confirm everything that the authorities have been saying. This would seem to be a godsend not for 'al-Qaeda' but for the authorities 'investigating' the atrocities, authorities who are no doubt under great pressure at the moment to reach politically acceptable conclusions.
Al-Qaeda's sudden co-operativeness in helping the investigation speed towards a predetermined conclusion is as deeply suspicious as its solicitude for the Israeli Jews staying at the Radisson, who were escorted to safety several hours before the attacks.* (Interestingly, the only Israeli citizen who remained behind was an Israeli Arab.) Who can seriously believe that attacks on three hotels - of which two (including the Radisson) are owned by Palestinians - in an Arab country that killed 'two high-ranking Palestinian security officials, a senior Palestinian banker and the commercial attache at the Palestinian embassy in Cairo' while Israeli Jews were allowed to escape could be anything other than an Israeli terror operation? Especially when the Israeli authorities who evacuated the Israeli hotel guests did not share their concerns with Jordanian or hotel security?"


Some Gulf War vets were on CSPAN yesterday, testifying about nerve-damage and mysterious illnesses and the neglect and mis-diagnosis many of their brothers have suffered under the Veterans Administration - it was another event in the short but growing list of brave Americans turning their strength and courage toward the real enemies of freedom and the people with valor and dignity
and given their testimony
and given the treatment of the poor in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina
and given the cuts in aid programs the Congress is enacting
and given the miasmic rise of Social Darwinism as consumer surpluses contract from the recent Age of Plenty
and given the heartless disregard for the hundreds of thousands of killed and maimed Iraqis that seems to be almost a public trait of the national character now
and given the statistics on imprisonment in the US, especially among young black males
and given all the other signs that point clearly and directly to a willingness and an appetite for the designation and use of populations seen as disposable and inferior by the architects of current social policy
this accusation doesn't seem quite as farfetched and hysterical as it should:



"a bucket truck, a lamppost, and 5 minutes of installation"
google wi-fi's Mtn. View
On the one hand yeah, google wants to own your thoughts; but on the other hand when I was a kid the "phone book" - which was produced and delivered by the "phone company" - was a well-designed tool, with thoughtful extras provided without venal motive.
An atomized telecom industry has devolved the "phone book" into unintuitive spam - it doesn't represent, or rather it does too well.
I think Google should be given AMTRAK.

Whitney Harris, member of the prosecuting team at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, interviewed by Spiegel International on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial

Harris: It took more than 20 years before I was able to cope with it again. Even nowadays this horrific event in the history of humanity still really affects me. All these gruesome crimes are not exclusively a German phenomenon.


Harris: I am totally convinced that Adolf Hitler was only a name that symbolized the absolute and worldwide breakdown of morality in the 20th century. It started in 1914 with World War I when everyone killed everyone and no moral standards remained. Revenge was the order of the day and any excuse was permissible. And afterwards? What did the communists do in Russia? And the Japanese in China?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And nowadays?

Harris: The same problems. You just have to look at terrorism -- nobody knows where it might end. If we want a future for our children, if we want to survive then we desperately need to examine our political and moral attitudes.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In what respect?

Harris: We cannot tolerate war in this world anymore. Wars are not only disastrous for the societies directly involved but also fatal for all of mankind.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it not an irony of history that of all people it's the USA which fiercely refuses to ratify the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court in The Hague?

Harris: I am a strong advocate of the International Criminal Court and find it completely unacceptable that the US has still not ratified the statute. The US however also took 40 years to sign the United Nations Convention on Genocide. How can you possibly take that long to take a stance against genocide?

Headline: display-size text, usually placed at the top of an article or advertisement, that summarizes the message

Copy protection an experiment in progress
Anti-piracy software accused of license violation
Sony BMG CDs causing glitches in computers
Sony infects more than 500k networks, including military and govt
Sony's rootkit uninstaller is *really* dangerous
Sony anti-customer technology roundup and time-line

Immunize Yourself Against Sony's Dangerous Uninstaller


Four bombings in Trinidad since August.
Trinidad is an island about 20 miles off the coast of Venezuela.
Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, is the man Pat Robertson said the US government might as well go ahead and assassinate instead of wasting time and money messing around with intimidating him.
None of the bombings were fatal.
Trinidad bombings timeline
Islamic leader denies involvement in Trinidad bombings

Yasin Abu Bakr, leader of the Jamaat al-Muslimeen group, was released Sunday along with four teenage followers after spending 36 hours in police custody for questioning in Friday's explosion in Trinidad's capital.
The blast, the fourth to rattle Port of Spain in as many months, injured 14 people, including three who were in serious condition.
[...]Police said the device used in Friday's bombing was similar to those used in the three previous attacks. All four explosions went off around the same day of each month.
Trinidad police detain Israeli; may be linked to bombings
Trinidadian authorities have detained an Israeli national found living in a remote mountainous area east of the capital, police said, declining to state if he was being questioned in connection with a recent spate of bombings in the Caribbean island nation.
A string of bombings, the latest one occuring last Thursday, have rocked the capital of Port-of-Spain. The bombings have injured 28 people.
Authorities identified the detained man as Dahtang Mik Agarunov, 26. They said he was found living in a wooden shack in Arouca, about 10 miles east of Port-of-Spain. Agarunov was detained on Friday and questioned by Interpol, Trinidadian police and immigration officials.


$100 laptop:

In developing societies children are perceived to have a place in helping the family advance, not in racing ahead and leaving the family behind.

The loss of Bethlehem

The Mayor of Bethlehem arrives in London today (Wednesday 9 November) to declare Bethlehem an open city and announce that his city is to issue a Bethlehem passport, open to anyone in the world.
The initiative is designed to transcend the imprisonment of his city by a combination of the illegal wall and militarised fences, with only two gates to the outside world.
The current situation is grim. The walls and fences that encircle Bethlehem have turned this 4000 year old city into a prison for its 160,000 citizens. The number of tourists visiting Bethlehem has dropped from nearly 92,000 in 2000 to a mere 7,249 in 2004.
Bethlehem Bloggers


Changing Arctic: Indigenous Perspectives
Chapter 3 (pdf)
ACIA Scientific Report
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment:

Heikki Hirvasvuopio:
"...especially with ground birds, we could be talking about a near extermination when compared to the previous amounts. I used to hunt them quite a lot while reindeer herding, so I have a good idea of the stocks. We cannot even talk now about the same amounts during the same day. This affects especially ptarmigans, capercaillie, and ground birds.
With small singing birds, the same trend is visible. Nowadays it is silent in the forest - they do not sing in the same way anymore. It used to be that your ears would get blocked as the singing was so powerful before.
Today we can have almost 30 degrees of variation in temperature in a very small time period. In the olden days the Saami would have considered this almost like an apocalypse if similar drastic changes had taken place so rapidly. Before I spent all of my winters in the forest and was at home for one week at the most. Nowadays the traditional weather forecasting cannot be done anymore as I could before.Too many significant and big changes have taken place. Certainly some predictions can be read from the way a reindeer behaves and this is still a way to look ahead, weatherwise. But for the markers in the sky we look now in vain. Long term predictions cannot be done anymore."
Weather, rain, and extreme events
[Olga] Avdeyeva reported that climate variation had been witnessed locally and had caused alarm.
"I would say the climate is warming globally, we have already observed this here. For example the reindeer herders coming out off the tundra have said that last year the bogs and rivers stayed open for a long time and it was hard to gather the reindeer.
If this event was previously due in November, now we have it in December or January. Bogs stay unfrozen for a long time and it is very difficult to try to catch reindeer in such conditions.
The herders say the climate has warmed and everything is a result of that."
Avdeyeva pointed out that change is more than general warming. Extreme events have been seen mostly in the spring time.
"This year we had thunder in May, and usually this occurs in July."

"If they were an Oreck employee before the hurricane they still have a job"
Oreck Corporation:

"Oreck's was the first factory along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast to be back in business. Our employees and their families in Long Beach, Mississippi are living at the factory in portable housing powered by generators. We're providing doctors, nurses, food, water and grief management counselors to aid them. We're doing everything humanly possible to help put their lives back together, and they are working hard to bring you the finest vacuum cleaners money can buy.
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown to the Gulf Coast communities by the American people, but there's much more to be done. In that spirit, when you purchase any Oreck XL Deluxe vacuum, we will donate an Oreck vacuum to a hurricane survivor. It costs you nothing extra."

Inuit in Global Issues
Sheila Watt-Cloutier/ICC 2003:

"We have begun to appreciate the importance of the wisdom of the land in regaining the health of our families and communities. The land not only teaches the technical skills of aiming a gun or harpoon or skinning a seal, it teaches what is required to survive, giving confidence to our people. It builds the character skills of judgement, courage, patience, strength under pressure, and withstanding stress, which together is the wisdom that will help our young people to change, to choose life over self-destruction.

The Arctic: Its People and Climate Change
Sheila Watt-Cloutier/ICC 2005:
" the late 1980s reconnaissance research in northern Canada showed that many Inuit women had levels of certain persistent organic pollutants - such as DDT and PCB - in their blood and bodies well above those in women in the South, with worrying public health implications. Studies in Japan, USA and Western Europe showed measurable health effects in people at levels at POPs lower than that found in Inuit.
Used in industry and agriculture and released to the environment in tropical and temperate lands, some POPs were reaching the Arctic sink on air currents. Bioaccumulating and biomagnifying in the food web, particularly the marine food web, Inuit were ingesting POPs by eating seals, whales and walrus. POPs were passed to the unborn through the placenta, and to infants through breast milk.
Science and traditional knowledge in the Arctic are saying the same things: climate change is happening now, it is getting worse, it is causing environmental change, and northerners are trying to adapt to it already.

Inuit hunters and elders report:
  • melting permafrost causing beach slumping and increased coastal erosion;
  • longer sea-ice free seasons;
  • new species of birds and fish—barn owls, robins, pin-tailed ducks and salmon—invading the region;
  • invasion of mosquitoes and blackflies;
  • unpredictable sea-ice conditions; and
  • melting glaciers creating torrents in place of streams.
We have lost through the sea-ice experienced and seasoned hunters traveling in areas formerly quite safe. It is now much more difficult to "read" the sea-ice. The environment is becoming much more unpredictable.


Mr. Bush says.

President Bush is stepping up his attacks on Democrats in the U.S. Congress who have challenged his handling of crucial evidence prior to the war in Iraq. Mr. Bush took on his critics once again during a speech to military personnel in Alaska.
President Bush stopped at an air force base near Anchorage (Alaska) while traveling to Asia for a week of summitry, speeches, meetings and public appearances in four countries.
He used his last few minutes of the trip on American soil to fire a parting shot at his critics.
"Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people," Mr. Bush says.
This is framing. Critics are Democrats. The conflict is between the Democrats and the Republicans. The game is preserved as a game, a contest between two teams.
But it's possible to care about these things and not be one or the other.
What's worrisome is the possibility that whatever put Bush in office and fed him the lies that he told us is ready to switch if it has to, to put a Democrat where he is, to continue the work.
By making it seem that this is a much simpler reality, where uniforms and team logos are what they appear to be, the manufacturers of the con can proceed unmolested.
A lot of noise was generated by the "incompetence" of the occupying power, the lack of a "game plan" for the occupation. The breakdown of infrastructure in Iraq, the very real fact that most Iraqis are far less secure now than they were before the invasion, with even basic utilities less available, that's all a result of lack of foresight. Or is it?
The unspoken, and unspeakable, idea - that this was the plan, that the goal all along was a crippled dependent state, hamstrung by factionalism and easily slapped down if it begins to get too coherent - has no place in the public dialog.
So the push is to create a debate where the only participants are already suited up and out on the field with its carefully drawn lines and rules, the stands filled with passive spectators who can only back one side or the other.
Lots of us who believe Bush and his cohort cynically misdirected the public and outright lied to them - his cohort especially including the media, who are collectively more responsible for the public's belief in outright nonsense like Saddam's responsibility for 9/11 than Bush himself is - are not Democrats at all. It's strategically important that we have no voice in this.
Howard Dean was on TV talking about withdrawal, Kerry's talking about withdrawal, the man on the street probably is as well.
I'd like to ask everybody what they propose for an attitude, nationally, specifically, officially, for that withdrawal.
"It was a mistake, we're going home now"?
Honor would call for something with more gravity than just withdrawal wouldn't it?
A general or two, maybe Bremer or even Rumsfeld, on their knees in the desert with a sword and a retainer.

...this year the winds were extraordinarily weak and the cold water did not well up in spring as usual. Water temperatures soared to 7C above normal, which delighted bathers but caused the whole delicate system to collapse. The amount of phytoplankton crashed to a quarter of its usual level.
"In 50 years this has never happened," said Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, in Newport, Oregon.
Record numbers of dead seabirds soon washed up on beaches along the coast. There were up to 80 times more dead Brandt's cormorants, a fishing bird, than in previous years.
Tests showed the birds died of starvation. "They are not finding enough food, and so they use up the energy stored in their muscles, liver and body fat," said Hannah Nevins, who investigated similar mass deaths in Monterey Bay.
Many fear the ecological collapse is a portent of things to come, as the world heats up. A Canadian Government report noted that ocean temperatures off British Colombia reached record levels last year as well, blaming "general warming of global lands and oceans".
Geoffrey Lean/Independent UK 13.Nov.05
link robotwisdom
The elephant in the room is the strength this news gives the Christian fundamentalists and their handlers. The world is supposed to end in fire. It says so in the book.
Somewhere back in the 70's I had an image come of some MesoAmerican priests, having figured out the cycle of eclipses, using that knowledge to maintain themselves at the apex of their society.
A leg up, by virtue of threatening to darken the sun if the people displeased their proprietary deities.
It wouldn't take much, the common people have an inherent need to understand, or to have things explained to them, and they'll defer that to anyone with confidence and what seems like a logical explanation who can hold their attention.
That holding of attention is what the super-churches are about, television, the bombastic preachers and their vivid oratory.
No earthly power is necessary to darken the sun when it's the shadow of the moon falling on us, regularly, predictably. Prayer doesn't enter into it.
This is different. But how much? What we know about time is like what the people knew about the sun, obvious on the basics, sketchy to non-existent on the whole.
Ignorance and superstition are one thing - understandable, forgivable, expected - but the bigotry and smugness of many of the believers is something I would give much to see erased for good.
What was scary to me was the thought that there was no way to know without dying, if all that they said were true, or just some of it. I could feel the heat coming, but why, and to what end, was and is a mystery.
The rationalist version is incompetence, with a strong element of self-fulfilling prophecy - the set-up being in order to get to heaven you have to want the world to end in fire.
I don't believe the god of Pat Robertson is good or worthy of love or even respect, but I don't necessarily believe he doesn't exist.
What I keep coming back to is the message of the Gospels, not the words but the vibe, the color and tone - love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, inclusion.
Nothing of that is in Revelations or the Old Testament. It makes me wonder.
The world's on fire, this is pretty much irrefutable now.
What happens when people die is still open to discussion.


Mr Bush said.

"While it is perfectly legitimate to criticise my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how the war began.
"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges,"
What we think he means, though it isn't clear from how he says it, is it's "deeply irresponsible" to throw out charges you know are false.
So that if you know Bush and his dark-matter constellation were telling the truth about why the US had to invade and occupy Iraq, and you accuse them of lying, you're being deeply irresponsible.
That's unimpeachable.
But the charges are being made in good faith, the people making them believe Bush and his dark-matter constellation were lying. And that that dishonesty slanders the names and impugns the honor of everyone connected with that invasion and occupation.
His way of saying that is what the younger folks call "weasel words".
Meditating on the whole sorry business, we can begin wondering if those in positions of authority and trust, if they did lie about the reasons for the war, if they would lie about something as serious as that - might they not be lying now? What wouldn't they lie about?
To really answer that we'd need to know why they lied in the first place. But they say they didn't. So here we are.
Another thing we're wondering first thing in the morning this morning - how many lives of far less magnitude and connection than Wilson's and Plame's were ruined by the same reputational death squads? Are we to assume that this was the only time in their collective histories that these men attempted to destroy those who got in their way? That they were never successful?


scary connections

on January 15, 2003
John le Carre:
"The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.
The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world's poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.
But bin Laden conveniently swept all that under the carpet. The Bushies are riding high. Now 88 per cent of Americans want the war, we are told. The US defence budget has been raised by another $60 billion to around $360 billion. A splendid new generation of nuclear weapons is in the pipeline, so we can all breathe easy. Quite what war 88 per cent of Americans think they are supporting is a lot less clear."

from The National Review, February 10, 2004
Michael Ledeen:
" now you have heard of the New York Times story about the discovery of a 17-page letter from Abu Musab al Zarkawi, written from Iraq in the middle of last month to the leaders of al Qaeda. It's an extremely explosive story.
According to the Times - whose correspondent, Dexter Filkins, saw both the Arabic original and a military translation, and 'wrote down large parts of the translation'
We aren't nearly as stupid as we look, and, as Zarkawi has discovered to his dismay, we don't run from a fight. At least not so long as this president is confidently in charge."
in Fort Polk, Louisiana February 17, 2004
George Bush:
"Recently in Iraq, we intercepted a letter sent by a terrorist named Zarqawi, a man well-known to our intelligence services. Zarqawi operated in and out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. He ordered the murder of an American diplomat in Jordan. He fought against our troops in Afghanistan. And now, in a letter we intercepted, Zarqawi is urging al Qaeda members to wage terrorist war on our coalition in Iraq.
In the document, Zarqawi describes the terrorist strategy, lays it all out: Tear the country apart with ethnic violence; to undermine Iraqi security forces; to demoralize our coalition; to prevent the rise of a sovereign democratic government. This terrorist outlined his efforts to recruit and train suicide bombers. He boasts of 25 attacks on innocent Iraqis and coalition personnel.
Zarqawi, and men like him, have made Iraq the central front in our war on terror."
"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." -Joseph Goebbels


Des combattants du Front de liberation nationale (FLN) algerien abattus par l'armee francaise a Aflon, dans l'Oranais, en 1956

[Combatants of the National Liberation Front (FLN) cut down by the French army at Aflon, Oran 1956]

Officiellement, la guerre d'Algerie n'existe pas. L'Etat ne connait que les "operations de maintien de l'ordre". Ce matin[10.06.99], l'Assemblee va debattre, et sans doute adopter, une proposition de loi semantique : substituer l'expression "guerre d'Algerie a celles d'operations de maintien de l'ordre en Afrique du Nord" dans tous les textes legislatifs et reglementaires...

[Officially, the war of Algeria does not exist. The State knows only the "operations of maintenance of law and order". This morning[10.06.99], the Parliament will discuss, and undoubtedly will adopt, a semantic private bill to substitute the expression "war of Algeria" for those of "operations of maintenance of law and order in North Africa" in all the legislative and lawful texts...]
la Ligue des droits de l'Homme

French soldier shooting a fleeing nationalist rebel
in a street at Ain Abid
- Algeria 25.08.55

Jacques Alexander


Dans la Casbah dAlger, en 1960, les soldats francais interpellent des musulmans ne pouvant prouver leur identite

[In the Casbah of Algiers, in 1960, French soldiers challenge Muslims unable to prove their identity]

L'usage de la torture au centre d'un proces avec le general Maurice Schmitt
[The use of torture in the center of a lawsuit against General Maurice Schmitt]



"war without mercy"

[link fixed]A timeline of the riots in France that began in the suburbs of Paris and have now spread to other cities.
link 3quarks

It seems to have begun with an incident involving this man.
Also mentioned here.
"Some thugs act like they own their neighborhoods. We have to change our methods."
Nikolas Sarkozy



The mayor of Las Vegas has suggested that people who deface freeways with graffiti should have their thumbs cut off on television.
"In the old days in France, they had beheadings of people who commit heinous crimes," Mayor Oscar Goodman said Wednesday on the TV show "Nevada Newsmakers."
Goodman said the city has a beautiful highway landscaping project and "these punks come along and deface it."
"I'm saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb," the mayor said. "That may be the right thing to do."
Goodman also suggested whippings should be brought back for children who get into trouble.

CNN 04.Nov.05

"Argentina has its dignity!"

unintentionally heard hundreds of kilometres inside Israel last week...

...doctors at Gaza's Shifa hospital said the overflights had forced women to miscarry. The number of miscarriages had increased by 40%, according to Jumaa Saqqa, a surgeon and hospital spokesman. "There were no other symptoms and the rise happened after the sonic booms. We can see no other explanation. The number of patients admitted to the cardiac care unit doubled. Some of them proved to have suffered serious harm."
Dr Saqqa said one overflight occurred while he was operating. The Palestinian health ministry estimates the sonic booms have caused at least 20 miscarriages.
The UN's Middle East envoy, Alvaro de Soto, wrote to the Israeli high command this week saying he was "deeply concerned at the impact on children, particularly infants, of the use of sonic booms".
Chris McGreal/Guardian UK 03.Nov.05
At least twenty forced abortions would be as accurate a way to put it.


"Vietnam has new human bird flu suspect"
-Reuters, getting into the swing of things 03.Nov.05

Prime Minister John Howard has ruled out making a personal plea to the Singaporean Government to save the life of an Australian drug trafficker on death row.
Melbourne salesman Van Tuong Nguyen, 25, was caught smuggling 396g[14oz] of heroin strapped to his body and in his hand luggage at Changi airport in 2002.

Daily Telegraph AU 04.Nov.05
Nguyen has said he was acting as a drug mule in a bid to pay off debts incurred by his twin brother.
link origin barista
Shanmugam Murugesu, 38, was hanged at 6am [14.May.05] in Changi prison despite weeks of campaigning by local and international civil rights groups and his family.
Shanmugam, an ethnic Tamil whose only previous conviction was a traffic offence, was arrested at the Malaysian border in August 2003 with 1.03kg[3lbs.] of cannabis. Capital punishment in the city-state has long been shrouded in silence, but the case sparked rare debate on the death penalty after Shanmugam's twin 14-year-old sons, Gopalan and Krishnan, gathered nearly 1,000 signatures in a petition seeking clemency from Singapore President S R Nathan.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation
Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra are COX-2 inhibitors. Therapeutically, they relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but don't cause gastrointestinal problems the way aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen do.
Vioxx was the most heavily advertised prescription drug in 2000, and Celebrex the seventh.
Merck & Co. makes Vioxx; Pfizer Inc. makes Celebrex and Bextra.
The establishment press is attempting to spin a Merck victory in a New Jersey court today as a vindication for the drug company, but it's not. The medical and legal, not to say moral and ethical, truth is that the companies knew there were potentially fatal side-effects, but downplayed them against the prospects of enormous profit.
Pfizer made $4.6 billion from Celebrex and Bextra in 2004.
Vioxx generated $2.5 billion in worldwide sales for Merck in 2003.
NBC's web site has a Vioxx Fact Sheet that says, among other things: "Merck pulled Vioxx off the market last September after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients taking the drug for more than 18 months."
The more accurate version would be that Merck halted a study in 2001 when it "showed an increased relative risk of adverse thrombotic cardiovascular events (including heart attack and stroke), beginning after 18 months of rofecoxib therapy...". In other words as soon as it became obvious there were serious negative findings, they quit looking.
Three years later, under pressure, and after the release of Dr. David Graham's internal FDA memorandum detailing findings of risk for acute harm and death from Vioxx, they withdrew the drug. When it became obvious they would have no legally defensible position whatsoever. Not "they found out it was bad, and stopped making and selling it". But "they found out it was bad and kept making and selling it until they couldn't get away with it anymore".
Merck publicly announced its voluntary withdrawal of Vioxx from the market worldwide on September 30, 2004.
On April 7, 2005 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked Pfizer to withdraw its COX-2 painkiller Bextra from the market and to include the strongest possible warning on Celebrex. Pfizer agreed to suspend sales and marketing of Bextra in the US.
The FDA stated that Celebrex should remain on the market, but with stronger label warnings about the increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
It's important to remember that these are pain relieving chemicals, and the relief of intense and/or chronic pain may outweigh the risk of side-effects for some people. The market for pain relievers is so lucrative because there are so many people with chronic pain. An argument that could be advanced would be that out of the millions taking the drugs a few tens of thousands would experience negative effects, and a few thousand might die.
We take the same and worse odds when we drive, and most of us drive every day.
Being able to make a conscious and informed choice is what most of us would consider the ideal. But that would require some kind of protection against the predatory designs of individuals and corporations who aren't primarily interested in whether or not their products harm or help anyone, just so long as they make money. But then that's the role of the FDA.
In the case of individuals like Dr. Graham though, it isn't so much protection we're getting as a valiant and heroically beleaguered defense.

Scolnick acknowledged no letter was sent to physicians and that data about deaths among Alzheimer's patients was not added to the information card Merck salespeople used to answer doctors' questions.

"You'd agree mortality data is important and something physicians should know?" Buchanan said.

"It's data the physician should know," said Scolnick.
"Rofecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions, and dysmenorrhoea. Formerly marketed by Merck & Co. under the trade names Vioxx, Ceoxx and Ceeoxx, it was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2004 because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Rofecoxib was one of the most widely used drugs ever to be withdrawn from the market. Worldwide, over two million people were prescribed Vioxx at the time. In the year before withdrawal, Merck had a sales revenue of US$2.5 billion from Vioxx.
In 2001, Merck commenced the APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp PRevention On Vioxx) study, a three year trial with the primary aim of evaluating the efficacy of rofecoxib for the prophylaxis of colorectal polyps. Celecoxib had already been approved for this indication, and it was hoped to add this to the indications for rofecoxib as well. An additional aim of the study was to further evaluate the cardiovascular safety of rofecoxib.
The APPROVe study was terminated early when the preliminary data from the study showed an increased relative risk of adverse thrombotic cardiovascular events (including heart attack and stroke), beginning after 18 months of rofecoxib therapy.

Although Merck & Co. won a victory in the second VIOXX trial today, in New Jersey, the decision does not have any negative implications for other plaintiffs.
According to Christopher Placitella of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., one of the attorneys involved in the Texas trial case, where there was a $250 million verdict, the loss is not a setback for the 6,400 other lawsuits that have been filed against Merck."
Citing the early lawsuits for asbestos health issues, Placitella pointed
out that first six asbestos cases were lost before the asbestos companies'
conduct was fully explained and revealed. "That is not the case here. One jury
has already found the drug maker's conduct so reprehensible that they awarded
$250 million," he emphasized. "The liability evidence introduced was
Placitella, who has been conducting national liability discovery against
Merck, which he says has yet to be used in a trial against the drug maker,
"Discovery of new evidence in the VIOXX cases continues and new
evidence will surface in every case we try over the next year."

Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. 03.Nov.05
So you tell me, 3 pounds of marijuana, 14 ounces of heroin = the death penalty.
Versus intentionally allowing thousands of people who were not intentionally choosing to do so to endanger their lives by witholding information from them, some of whom later died from those choices.
There's nothing even resembling justice, as it's being taught these days, in that contrast.
Almost everyone who uses marijuana chooses to, and almost everyone who chooses to use it has been made aware, not only of the real dangers of use and overuse, but of scare stories and the widely distributed scornful depictions of bumbling incompetent potheads by whoever's behind the mass media campaigns against it.
Virtually everyone who uses heroin, certainly everyone who buys it, is aware of the dangers of its use and misuse as generally known.
These are informed conscious choices. Self-destructive at times, or even most of the time. But chosen consciously. An argument can be made that drug use has been glamorized by celebrities, at least in the past, before the rise to power of the New Puritans, and that would be exactly the point.
The television commercials promising relief from chronic pain that bombarded American homes, the magazine commercials that made those promises too, the radio as well, and the unspoken and uncontractual but very real promise made by the medical community to themselves and to their patients - to first, do no harm.
Most of us, in spite of knowing otherwise, link the pharmaceutical industry with the medical profession - they manufacture medicines, after all.
And because doctors still, even as they sink beneath the waves of commercialized "healthcare", symbolize an integrity that's only rivalled by ministers, that linkage means at least subconsciously we don't expect to be tricked and fooled by the drug companies.
The men and women who took Vioxx and Bextra made what they thought were informed conscious choices, but they had been lied to when they made those choices, in that particularly cunning way of not technically lying but allowing the victim to come to a wrong conclusion on his own - so that the blame begins there, in the victim, and with enough lawyers and money, stays there.
Though outright lying is not unheard of, if it seems necessary.
The numbers of potentially affected victims, if they were going to be victims, directly harmed, if they were going to be harmed, by the release of 3 pounds of marijuana into the world aren't enormous. Maybe five hundred people could have used it for a week or so; with conservation and a little temperance we could double that.
The numbers directly affected by 14 ounces of heroin are small. Maybe a thousand.
6,400 are suing Merck at this point, and that's only about Vioxx; some of them are probably venal and spurious, but not all, and more will join the suit with time.
Actual harm is harder to measure, but between the two - illegal drugs and legal drugs - the potential for harm to the public good by men pretending to provide healing medicines, not recreational substances, when they are actually knowingly and purposefully endangering innocent lives seems to me much greater.
It goes to the heart of what we're doing as communities, as people, and wrecks the trust that holds those communities together; and again, just as with the automobile, decent but gullible adults have been conned into choosing greater harm over lesser.


because God intended him to be there

"...and thus appeared to many European and American scholars a rational solution to various societal dilemmas of the day.
The awesome popularity of Darwin's theory may in part be attributed to its flexibility; like one grand evolutionary framework, governments could interpret and apply it to policy in whatever fashion they saw fit. However, Darwinism's flexible interpretation was not only an element of its appeal, but an element of its demise - numerous discrepancies arose as to how exactly Darwin's theory should be applied to ethics and society. In the United States, for instance, Darwinism was seen as a reinforcement of capitalism. According to the theory, major industrialists dominated the economy not because of their corrupt business practices, but because they were the most fit. In the classic entrepreneurial spirit, John D. Rockefeller spoke of the success of corporations as "merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God." Such conflicts consequently dichotomized the Western world into supporters and opponents of Darwin as countless reactionary movements took hold throughout Europe and North America.
It was elitist philosopher Herbert Spencer, however, who actually extended Darwinian biology to social ethics, as mentioned above, in the 1890s. In turn, a pseudoscience was birthed that would come to be known as social Darwinism, a discipline closely linked to eugenics. In fact, he, not Darwin, coined the notorious phrase "survival of the fittest" nearly a decade before Origins was ever published. Spencer argued that because by nature's design the survival of the fittest led to human progress, government aid to the weakest members of society, such as the abject poor and mentally ill, was futile because it disrupted the inherent, natural, and good process of evolution. Furthermore, he asserted that liberal and socialist political agendas posed a great threat to society because they generally supported similar aid to the genetically inferior. This contention resonated not only with the economic and political interests of the bourgeoisie, but with a variety of religious groups. In many circumstances, the popular Christian doctrine of selflessness and charity was replaced with ideals of apathy; for instance, it was morally acceptable to leave the helpless drunk in the gutter because God, in sync with the laws of nature, intended him to be there.
Like Gobineau, Spencer's pseudoscientific theory made painfully apparent his political views. By applying evolutionary thought to society, he claimed that the fittest elements of society rose to the top, and that the overall fittest societies rose to the top of the world. In spite of the controversy surrounding social Darwinism, however, eugenic policies would soon be initiated throughout Europe and North America. Between 1907 and 1913 for instance, the United States would adopt sterilization legislation in eleven states. Furthermore, Geza von Hoffmann of the International Society for Racial Hygiene quoted American eugenicist Charles Woodruff as stating, "It is clear that the types of human beings from northwest Europe are our best citizens and have, therefore, to be conserved." Examples such as these affirm that social Darwinism was used to justify racism and the socioeconomic status quo - the inequitable massive wealth of the robber barons, like Andrew Carnegie, who denied employees a living wage, imperialism and the superiority of the 'European race'..."
Symbiosis: The Relationship That Led To Euthanasia Aktion T4
And Medical Experimentation On Human Subjects
Hilary Kay Jonczak, Florida State University August 2005

Roma Children in Belzec [Belsen Forced Labor Camp] (detail)

US Holocaust Museum Mosaic of Victims
Aktion Reinhard Camps
Escapes from Belzec Transports, especially "Excerpt from the memoirs of Ruta Wermuth"
"Cries, stench, and the acrid odour of chlorine...Through the screams and the drumming of the wheels..."
T-4 Euthanasia Program Wikipedia

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