...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



Get your game on:

Hugo Chavez has just about everything a president could want: popular support, a marginalized opposition, congress firmly on his side and a booming economy as he starts his new six-year term.

Now, he's about to become even more powerful...
Associated Press 30.Jan.07
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez poses a threat to democracy in Latin America through his populist influence in countries such as Bolivia, U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said on Tuesday...
Reuters/WaPo 30.Jan.07

the way things are:

Thirteen percent of Americans have never heard of global warming even though their country is the world's top source of greenhouse gases, a 46-country survey showed on Monday.

The report, by ACNielsen of more than 25,000 Internet users, showed that 57 percent of people around the world considered global warming a "very serious problem" and a further 34 percent rated it a "serious problem."

"It has taken extreme and life-threatening weather patterns to finally drive the message home that global warming is happening and is here to stay unless a concerted, global effort is made to reverse it," said Patrick Dodd, the President of ACNielsen Europe.
commondreams/Reuters 29.Jan.07
I don't think "reversing it" is really the best goal there Mr. Nielsen-guy.

Happy with the way things are:

Americans are divided in their opinions about the current level of influence displayed by organized religion in America today. Thirty-two percent would like organized religion to have less influence "in this nation," 27% would like it to have more, and 39% say that the current amount of influence should be kept as is.
NewsTrust/Gallop 30.Jan.07

God loves you
but He loves those little babies even more:

A woman who told police she had been raped was jailed for two days after officers found an old warrant accusing her of failing to pay restitution for a 2003 theft arrest.
While she was behind bars, according to the college student's attorney, a jail worker refused to give her a second dose of the morning-after contraceptive pill because of the worker's religious convictions.
Davis/SFGate 30.Jan.07


"Monday the 29th January is an even bigger day for Ian Paisley"

Weiss on Hagel

Thursday, December 26, 2002:

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, having just returned from a week-long fact-finding trip to the Middle East, addressed the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations Dec. 16 and said out loud what is whispered on Capitol Hill: "The road to Arab-Israeli peace will not likely go through Baghdad, as some may claim."
The "some" are led by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In private conversation with Hagel and many other members of Congress, the former general leaves no doubt that the greatest U.S. assistance to Israel would be to overthrow Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime. That view is widely shared inside the Bush administration, and is a major reason why U.S. forces today are assembling for war.
"Military force alone," Hagel told his Chicago audience, "will neither assure a democratic transition in Iraq, bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians, nor assure stability in the Middle East."
Indeed, the senator returned from the Mideast more concerned than his prepared speech indicates. As the U.S. gets ready for war, its standing in Islam - even among longtime allies - stands low.
Yet, the Bush administration has tied itself firmly to Gen. Sharon and his policies. Gen. Amran Mitzna, the new Labor Party leader challenging the heavily favored Sharon in the Jan. 28 election, is denied access to senior U.S. officials. In private conversation, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has insisted that Hezbollah - not al Qaeda - is the world's most dangerous terrorist organization. How could that be, considering al Qaeda's global record of mass carnage?
In truth, Hezbollah is the world's most dangerous terrorist organization from Israel's standpoint.
Robert Novak/Townhall 26.Dec.02
NewsTrust > Counterpunch

Molly Ivins gravely ill, still opposed to war


This is so obvious it makes me feel childish to say it, but...
Imagine if the prisoners in Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib for that matter, and the dozens of bodies they're finding everyday in Baghdad - I know it'll be hard to do now that the images are so firmly in place - but try to imagine how you'd feel about them if they were blonde, if their eyes were blue, if they spoke English.
Now tell me there's nothing racist about it.

Press release, 23-01-2007:

Today, the NGO Wetlands International released the Fourth edition of their 'Waterbird Population Estimates', a publication based on annual monitoring of millions of waterbirds, that presents estimates and trends of 878 waterbird species. The new edition reveals a decrease in waterbird populations since the third edition of 2002.
At a global level 44% of populations for which trend data is available are decreasing or have become extinct, 34% are stable, and 17% are increasing. Asia is the continent where concern is greatest.
In Asia, 62% of the populations are now decreasing or have become extinct, and only 10% show an increasing trend. In Oceania one in six species have already become extinct.
The most frequent known cause of population decrease is habitat destruction, often caused by unsustainable human activity. The frantic pace of economic development in Asia is clearly having adverse impacts on the environment, including numbers and population trends of waterbirds.
Wetlands International
via JeromeTaylor/IndependentUK/CommonDreams

I owe Phil Weiss an apology and this is that apology. I misread his genuine concern for a timidity that it wasn't. Phil Weiss is one brave dude. Kumbaya.


"I'm so sick of these kids dying," she said.:

"These untimely deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary circumstances under which our professionals voluntarily serve to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people,"
the Blackwater statement said.

The helicopter was shot down after responding to assist a U.S. Embassy ground convoy that came under fire in a Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad, said a U.S. diplomatic official in Washington.
A second helicopter also was struck
The crash occurred in an old neighborhood of narrow streets on the east bank of the Tigris River, north of the central city.
Blackwater USA provides security for State Department officials in Iraq, trains military units from around the world, and works for corporate clients.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra/AP/Yahoo - 24.Jan.07
U.S. embassy convoy in Iraq gets in trouble and who do they call? The "voluntary professionals" of Blackwater.
Which almost but not quite says they're over there working for free. They're not.
A paramilitary force that operates outside the law, one that sows fear among potential opponents and is capable of physically silencing those branded by their leaders as traitors, is a vital instrument in the hands of despotic movements. Communist and fascist movements during the last century each built paramilitary forces that operated beyond the reach of the law.

And yet we may be further down this road than we care to admit. Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq, champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military. His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution. These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters. They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority. The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future. It was a stark reminder that the tyranny we impose on others we will one day impose on ourselves.
Chris Hedges
The US is hiring mercenaries in Chile to replace its soldiers on security duty in Iraq. A Pentagon contractor has begun recruiting former commandos, other soldiers and seamen, paying them up to $4,000 a month to guard oil wells against attack by insurgents.
Last month Blackwater USA flew a first group of about 60 former commandos, many of who had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet, from Santiago to a 2,400-acre (970-hectare) training camp in North Carolina.
Franklin/Guardian 05.Mar.04

There is no moral justification for a minimum wage lower than a living wage


A half truth is a whole lie:

The second choice for the liberals was to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. To look at the Iraqi civilians and the British and American troops who were dying in a war whose central premise had proved to be false, and to go berserk; to allow justifiable anger to propel them into 'binges of posturing and ultra-radicalism' as the Sixties liberals had done when they went off the rails. As one critic characterised the position, they would have to pretend that 'the United States was the problem and Iraq was its problem'. They would have to maintain that the war was not an attempt to break the power of tyranny in a benighted region

Nick "They chose to go berserk" Cohen in the ObserverUK 21.Jan.07
The US and their Iraqi puppets in the green zone chose to execute Saddam on the first day of Eid al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice. This is the most joyous day in the Muslim calendar when more than 2 million pilgrims in Mecca start their ancient rituals, with hundreds of millions of others around the world focused on the events. They then further humiliated Muslims by releasing the official video of the execution...
Compounding the shock, it turns out that it was the police who made the film, and that they then transmitted it to the cell phones of the victim's friends in order to humiliate him.
09.Jan.07: New mobile phone footage showing Saddam Hussein after his execution has appeared on the Internet.
The former Iraqi president was executed almost two weeks ago after being found guilty of crimes against humanity.
...when Spc. Joseph Darby handed over horrific images of detainee abuse to the Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CID). The next day, the Army launched a criminal investigation. Three and a half months later, CBS News and the New Yorker published photos and stories that introduced the world to devastating scenes of torture and suffering inside the decrepit prison in Iraq.
In Israel, the Carter issue remains a non-issue:
Unless, that is, Carter's true intended target was the organized American Jewish community.
In fact, even if Carter's intent, as some observers have suggested, was to curry favor with the Palestinians and be seen and celebrated as an honest broker on the Middle East, even that effort has fallen short.
His latest book, currently a best seller, shows that Carter has the courage to match his decency and commitment to peace in the Middle East.
We all know how Jimmy Carter had besmirched his own Carter Center at Emory University. But he is a bigot, which no one has actually ever charged Bush with being.
Fourteen members of the Carter Center have resigned in protest over former president Jimmy Carter's book,"Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." AP hints that they were mostly themselves Jewish Americans. The Jerusalem Post says all were. This is only 7% of his board, which has 200 members.
The lobby is drawing wagons around this one, even though Carter's book is actually very biased toward Israel and makes historical errors in Israel's favor.


many business lobbyists expressed relief

God knows they deserve it:

Mr. Kaczynski came to be known as the Unabomber after the Federal Bureau of Investigation's code name for the case, Unabom, coined because the targets included universities and airlines. In his 18-year bombing campaign Mr. Kaczynski seemed bent on thwarting the advance of technology, and his victims included university professors, scientists and business executives

One victim who is not seeking restitution, David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, said in a letter to the court that he hoped "the criminal's property will be destroyed, or (if need be) sealed for a century at least and then made available at no charge to scholars of depravity."
"My wife and I are outraged that the court has decided to turn the sale of this criminal's property into a circus - or (more accurately) into a P.R. bonanza, starring the criminal himself," Mr. Gelernter wrote. "Why have you decided to help vicious misfits with cash to burn lionize this evil murderer?"
Serge F. Kovaleski/NYTimes 22.Jan.07
David Gelernter - from the September 13, 2004 issue of the Weekly Standard:
It's obvious not only that George W. Bush has already earned his Great President badge (which might even outrank the Silver Star) but that much of the opposition to Bush has a remarkable and very special quality; one might be tempted to call it "lunacy." But that's too easy. The "special quality" of anti-Bush opposition tells a more significant, stranger story than that.

Bush's greatness is often misunderstood. He is great not because he showed America how to react to 9/11 but because he showed us how to deal with a still bigger event - the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 left us facing two related problems, one moral and one practical. Neither President Clinton nor the first Bush found solutions - but it's not surprising that the right answers took time to discover, and an event like 9/11 to bring them into focus.

In moral terms: If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility. It is your duty to prevent outrages--because your moral code demands that outrages be prevented, and (for now) you are the only one who can prevent them.
Mr. Gelernter's prose continues thus for many paragraphs.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average (in Centigrade) for the week (Sun-Thu) [14-18.Jan.07.] The western U.S. is suffering the worst winter cold of anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Europe and northern Asia continue to feel record-breaking warm temperatures.
Note that the area of most extreme below-normal temperatures occurred over San Antonio, Texas, where the world's largest meeting of meteorologists was being held!
Jeff Masters 19.Jan.07
The technophiles are taking us all on an utterly reckless ride into the unknown. Many people understand something of what technological progress is doing to us yet take a passive attitude toward it because they think it is inevitable.
Kaczynski Industrial Society and Its Future
IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
Full Report in English available online

The winds whipped rain across Europe in the middle of an unusually warm winter.
In fact, as we have seen, Murray was indeed a Cold War warrior - not, perhaps, as prominent a player as some, but a player nonetheless. He received steady funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, which had served as cover for his trip with Cantril to the Soviet Union for the CIA in 1958, and from the National Institute of Mental Health, also known to be a covert funding conduit. He apparently worked for HumRRo. He served as an adviser on army-sponsored steroid experiments. He helped found Harvard's Social Relations Department, which had been generously funded by covert intelligence agencies. He served the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Clinical Psychology Advisory Board and the National Committee for Mental Hygiene with the CIA's propagator of LSD, Frank Fremont-Smith. Along with Fremont-Smith, Abramson, and Leary, he occupied a spot on the agency's LSD pyramid.

And in 1959, Murray would cap off a long and distinguished career with the last of a series of studies inspired by his OSS assessments and originally undertaken for the U.S. Navy Department. And Ted Kaczynski would participate.
Alston Chase, from Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist
Frank Olson Legacy Project


Gere cheered on thousands of Indian prostitutes dancing to raunchy Bollywood songs on Wednesday and urged them to refuse sex without condoms



[Q1] How is it that al-Maliki, who up until a short time ago even saw to it that there were six ministers of your movement in his cabinet, is suddenly so aware that the religious militias, and especially yours, are the true problem that must be solved?

[A1] Between me and Abu Asara [al-Maliki] there has never been much good will. I have always suspected he was up to something and I never confided in him. We only met a couple of times. The last time he said to me, "You are the backbone of the country," and then went on to admit to me that he was "obliged" to fight. Obliged, you see?

[Q2] The fact remains that he is on the brink of unleashing an iron fist against his own people.

[A2] It is effectively unleashed already. Yesterday evening they arrested four hundred and some of my people. It is not we that they wish to destroy, it is Islam. We are only one obstacle. For the moment we shall offer no resistance.

[Q3] Do you mean you are going to disarm?

[A3] The Qur'an forbids killing in the month of Muharram [21 January through 18 February 2007]. So they'll do all the killing then. There is no better time for a true believer to die, Paradise is guaranteed. But God is merciful, we are not all going to die. After Muharram, we'll see.

[Q4] Some claim that the army and police have been extensively infiltrated by your men and that the Marines by themselves will never manage to disarm you.

[A4] It's really exactly the other way around: it is our militia which is swarming with spies. It doesn't take much doing to infiltrate an army of the people. It is precisely those people who by soiling themselves with unworthy actions have discredited the Mahdi. There are at least four armies ready to unleash themselves against us. A "shadow" about which nobody ever talks, trained in great secrecy in the deserts of Jordan by the American armed forces. On top of that, there is the private army of Allawi, the unbeliever who will soon succeed Maliki, which stands ready at the al-Muthanna military airport. On top of that, there is the Kurdish _peshmerga_ and finally the regular American troops.

[Q5] If what you say is true, you have no hope of resisting.

[A5] For all that, we are still who we are.
Renato Caprile/Helena Cobban/JustWorldNews 19.Jan.07

stellar gibberish solidified:

Since the days of American astronomer Edwin Hubble, observers have known that all but the nearest galaxies are moving away from us at a rapid rate. This rate is proportional to distance: the more distant a galaxy is, the faster its recession. Such a pattern implied that galaxies are not moving through space in the conventional sense but are being carried along as the fabric of space itself stretches
Scientific American Feb. 07
It may well be that what the writer intended to say is substantially different than what he ended up saying, this happens. But as it's presented what we're supposed to believe is that "all but the nearest galaxies are moving away from us at a rapid rate". Making us by default the center of the universe. This seems unlikely.
Possibly something else is happening. Possibly something else has been happening all along.
I wanted to be a cosmologist when I was a kid. I can remember the lady behind the counter at the draft board reading that on some form I'd filled out, and asking me if I wasn't, mm, well, didn't I think I was maybe well, it seemed a little unusual for a guy like me, to want to be a hairdresser.


Weiss takes a dive while singing Kumbaya

Freedom On The March:

The Pentagon has drafted new rules for upcoming trials of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay that would allow convictions based on hearsay evidence and coerced testimony.

General, general:

Israel's failures in the last Lebanon War have led Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Dani Halutz to resign in a move that could further shake the positions of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
As the political rhetoric on Capitol Hill grows louder over President Bush's plan for a troop buildup in Iraq, a panel of four seasoned retired generals give their assessments of the president's proposal. What they told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranged from tentative support for the plan to calling it a fool's errand.
The chances of Israel replacing Olmert's government with a less brutal and more peaceloving one are pretty slim. Netanyahu's waiting in the wings, and he's neither.
It may be just coincidence of course, but it seems almost likely - the idea that creating a climate of failure both in the US and Israel may be intentional, so that the pain and fear generated by some kind of massive military violence will be perceived at least emotionally by many as progress, a better way, positive movement.
Success. Victory.


Star, star:

The U.K. and Indian governments condemned alleged racism in the U.K. reality television program "Celebrity Big Brother" after complaints that Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty is being abused by fellow contestants.
New York property tycoon Donald Trump clearly has some friends in high places in Hollywood, having unveiled his very own star on the Walk of Fame.

Darwin's outliers:

the gorillas habituated for tourism are at extreme risk
A woman who disappeared in the jungles of north-eastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police and a man claiming to be her father said today.
The woman - believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, who would now be 27 years old - cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her saga have been difficult to confirm.
"When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey ... She was bare-bones skinny," said Sal Lou, who says he is her father.


If I Had a Hammer:

I was burned out from exhaustion,
buried in the hail,
Poisoned in the bushes
and blown out on the trail,
Hunted like a crocodile,
ravaged in the corn.
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give ya
shelter from the storm."

-Bob Dylan, Shelter From The Storm
"If I had said what Boxer said about a black woman secretary of state in a Democratic administration I'd have a pack of libs calling for my head."

-Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary

Q That's the impression you're giving from the podium.

MR. SNOW: I am not giving - when we are talking about investigations that could lead to capital prosecutions, nobody is singing "Kumbaya." And when you have --

Q And that's not what I referring to now, either, and you know that.

MR. SNOW: And when you have General Casey going in and trying to brief a Prime Minister, nobody is singing "Kumbaya." You know what they're saying? They're saying, let's figure out what the facts are and let's work together to secure peace.
But I think it is important to remind people that there is an ongoing war on terror, that the United States is determined to make sure that democracy succeeds in Iraq; that the President does support Prime Minister Maliki, that he's happy to see the Prime Minister is busy putting the finishing touches on a government, that he's shown, in the initial stages, the kind of toughness and character that are essential to leadership.

So if you're going to hear about Iraq - yes, you'll be hearing about it, and I think you'll be hearing good and bad, because it is - I think Jim was on to something. If you try to sort of "Kumbaya" about what's going on -- people know it's a war. It's tough. And you can't play "Kumbaya." What you have to do is to take on the harder and more practical business of winning a war and securing a democracy.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said Bush's meetings with lawmakers were more than just window dressing.
He said, "The fact is, these meetings may not be happy-face, kumbaya, but they have been very constructive."

...Though originally the song was associated with unity and closeness, it is now usually referenced with ironic intent today.
Kumbaya apparently originated with the Gullah, an African-American people living on the Sea Islands and adjacent coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia.
...recent research has found that sometime between 1922 and 1931, members of an organization called the Society for the Preservation of Spirituals collected a song from the South Carolina coast. Come By Yuh, as they called it, was sung in Gullah, the Creole dialect spoken by the former slaves living on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. Also, there is another version which was preserved on a wax cylinder in May 1936 by Robert Winslow Gordon, founder of what became the American Folklife Center. Gordon discovered a woman named Ethel Best singing Come By Here with a group in Raiford, Fla. Various opinions on the issue can be found here. [1] The song enjoyed newfound popularity during the folk revival of the 1960s, largely due to Joan Baez's 1962 recording of the song, and became associated with the Civil Rights Movement of that decade.
'Twas in another lifetime,
one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue
and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness,
a creature void of form.
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you
shelter from the storm."

-Bob Dylan, ibid.
Al Capp was a very popular cartoonist in mid-20th century America, he drew the comic strip Li'l Abner which appeared all over the country in the daily papers. He did a series in that strip in the 60's ridiculing Joan Baez, using a character called "Joanie Phonie". This was at a time when Joan Baez was an icon of the civil rights/anti-war movement.
Pretty much anytime someone gets up in front of the big mass and starts moving things in a different direction than the pig compass is pointing, their lives get subjected to the microscopic suck that makes anyone human look weak and compromised. Even Ghandi.
Martin Luther King had lovers, Jesse Jackson has a multitude of personal flaws not the least being outsized ego and ambition. But let's keep in mind Jackson gets ridiculed constantly today, not for his flaws but because he's still a constant threat to the powers-that-be, the powers that have given us planetary fever and ceaseless war.
Keep in mind that Baez was getting death threats at the same time Capp was laughing at her from the safety of his highly paid drafting table. Keep in mind that "Kumbaya" is on a continuum with songs like "We Shall Overcome" and "Blowing In The Wind", and when Snow and John Bolton and others of their ilk sneer at it they're ridiculing people who had nothing else to unite them but singing and holding on to each other against tides of vicious madness that were actively evil and dangerously violent.
There's a sense in this country today that the civil rights movement was something like the anti-smoking movement - first there was a bunch of people making a mistake that even a little kid could see was wrong, and then some people told them that it was a mistake, and then they stopped.
No problem. It's over now.
People laid their lives on the line for the minimal victories of the changed laws that still only went so far, and they sang as they went to the line.
They sang as they came out of jail, and they sang as they went back in. They sang in front of the White House, and they sang as they marched through the Main Streets of White America. And they got their asses kicked.
And people like Tony Snow were snickering at them then. People like Tony Snow were not getting their asses kicked.
Laughing at Kumbaya, for all that it's a cowardly cheap shot against a mostly pacifistic target, is force and aggression, war by another means - dressed up like adolescent sarcasm, but there's real suffering in back of it, just like there's real death behind the policies Snow's job has him defend.


This is the moment freedom begins:

These forces "have even managed to turn the escalation of a failed war into a surge, as if it were electricity through a wire instead of blood spurting through veins," Moyers said.
Moyers decried the decline of hard hitting journalism. "The question of whether or not our economic system is truly just is off the table for investigation and discussion, so that alternative ideas, alternative critiques, alternative visions never get a hearing," he said.
Invoking the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Moyers compared big media corporations to plantation owners and American media consumers to their slaves.
"What happened to radio, happened to television, and then it happened to cable. If we are not diligent, then it will happen to the Internet [creating] a media plantation for the 21st Century dominated by the same corporate and ideological forces that have controlled the media for the last 50 years."
The government cut a deal with the industry and soon the public lost control of its media, he said.
"Something is wrong with this system," Moyers added. "This is the moment freedom begins, the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story, and it's time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself."
"We now have it in our means to tell a different story than big media. Our story," he concluded. "This is the great gift of the digital revolution and you must never let them take it away from you."
link DemocracyNow!


which many say unfairly:

Outraged by Jimmy Carter's controversial new book, the nation's largest organization of rabbis yesterday pulled out of a planned visit to the former President's human rights center in Atlanta.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, said it was protesting Carter's latest book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid"
Angering both the clergy and the Carter Center's advisory board members were the former President's public statements that, they said, implied a "Jewish conspiracy" at work to discourage conversation about the Palestinians' plight.
Rabbi Harry Danziger, the conference president, said in a telephone interview that he was offended by passages he read in excerpts from the book.
Owen Moritz/DailyNewsjournal - 12.Jan.07
Shulamit Aloni is the former Education Minister of Israel. She has been awarded both the Israel Prize and the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel:
Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night--all that on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his vehicle is confiscated and he is sent on his way.

On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. "Why?" I asked the soldier. "It's an order--this is a Jews-only road", he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. "It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?"

Indeed Apartheid does exist here.

And our army is not "the most moral army in the world" as we are told by its commanders. Sufficient to mention that every town and every village has turned into a detention centre and that every entry and every exit has been closed, cutting it off from arterial traffic. If it were not enough that Palestinians are not allowed to travel on the roads paved 'for Jews only', on their land...
Dershowitz said he would attend anyway and would be among the first to raise his hand to question Carter.


Now I pray for her

"The signs at Costco are a lot bigger than the ones on my roof," she said

"I am going to keep going, because it is all I can do,'' she said. "God chose me to be His servant. There is such a thing as freedom of speech."
For months, cars and pedestrians have been passing slowly by the yellow house at all hours of the day and night, pointing at the giant letters on the roof and at other messages painted on the garage door, windows and the red compact car parked in the driveway.
The messages are a barely intelligible garble involving cloning, abuse, rape, the Mafia, Castro, Hitler, the Constitution, hurricane Katrina, Watergate and President Bush.
Jackson said she's tried to be a good neighbor. She offered to share her Thanksgiving dinner with Benavides, and she tries to chat from time to time, but it's become increasingly harder to get through.

"Now I pray for her, and I hope she gets help," Jackson said. "It's an unbelievable situation."
Steve Rubenstein/SFGate 08.Jan.07
a barely intelligible garble involving animals and dragons and fire and war
a barely intelligible garble involving animals and fire and blood and birds and flesh and war
a barely intelligible garble involving a Lamb and Zion, and harpers harping with their harps, and the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth, which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins, and angels, and Babylon - fallen, fallen, that great city - and wine and fornication, and the beast and his image and his mark, and more wine this time belonging to God, and fire and brimstone, and the Lamb again, and the smoke of their torment, and the beast again and his image and his mark, and the dead, blessed, and a white cloud, and a golden crown and a sharp sickle, and another angel, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud

We don't know why:

An Iraqi staff member of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been shot dead in Baghdad, a spokesman said on Tuesday. Janan Jabero, 52, an engineer who had worked for UNICEF since 1999, was killed on Monday night, but the agency did not know the motive nor who was responsible
DailyWarNews/Reuters 09.Jan.07

you did this and you are still doing this:

As he tried to tell us how he felt when he was approached by a recently widowed young woman offfering him her eight year old daughter and seven year old son:

"They are good children. Very beautiful.


"They are good children. Very obedient.


"Take them, feed them, they are very obedient. They will do anything you want
markfromireland/uruknet/GorillasGuidesjournal 09.Jan.07


voice of the voiceless:

It was a very dark day. It was with grenades they came into my house. The first grenade they threw blew off the head of my dog, which ended up in a tree. When they came, they said they were looking for guns, but they couldn't even find a big knife. They arrested me. I was hoping they would have somebody to translate for me, but they didn't have anybody to translate. It was just Americans.

America is a country that promotes about democracy all the time. It's not their prerogative to come and arrest somebody without a warrant. And they didn't just arrest me. They arrested everybody at my house, even a little five-year-old kid. They put handcuffs on all of them.
Annette "So An" Auguste/Democracy Now! 04.Jan.07

among the most forgotten:

COMANDANTE YOLANDA: [translated] Thirteen years ago, the bad governments threatened us with jail, disappearances and death. Today, they return to do it. And like Zapatistas that we are, we say, if thirteen years ago, when we were alone, we did not stop, we did not fear, we did not surrender, now that we have company, we will not stop either.
Democracy Now! 05.Jan.07


Intentional or no, the public discourse around American troops in Iraq has shifted from the election-time furor in which the people made plain their demand for cessation and withdrawal, to the present erstwhile debate on whether or not to send more troops into that bright nightmare.
So that winning the argument now means keeping things the way they were before the election.
So the hypocrites and mealy-mouthed millionaires in Congress can look like they oppose Bush and the vague dark thing everyone's seeing but no one knows the name of, while still greasing the skids for the seemingly unstoppable neo-Zionist empire, or whatever it is that's doing all that.

This post from J. Harrison at inanis et vacua, and this comment (#14) at this post at Crooked Timber, are both about something that I'm meditating on or around, and that nothing in the Judeo-Christian moral scheme gets near, as it's codified and practiced.
I'm going to try and get something down about that soon, but this for now.
Mary Catherine Moran doesn't seem to have a personal web presence or I would link to it, as I like her writing.


and before that was:

Bush administration officials say U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte will soon leave that post and return to the State Department as deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. A career diplomat, Negroponte was U.S. ambassador to Iraq before becoming the first director of national intelligence last year.
Gollust/VOA 04.Jan.06
A career diplomat, Negroponte was a few things before becoming the first director of national intelligence last year - which put him up there alongside Michael Chertoff who's running Homeland Security, a couple of very successful Jewish boys running pretty much the entire American security/intelligence apparatus.
Negroponte was the first post-invasion US "Ambassador to Iraq", whatever that would mean under those conditions, which no one seemed to find difficult or unusual, putting a Jew with a history of facilitating torture and state murder in a position you'd think would be a little "sensitive" as they say. Given that the US had just invaded the country and all.
Given the hysterical accusations from the Arab and Islamic worlds that the invasion of Iraq by the US was a proxy move by Zionists in the first place.
And before that he was the Ambassador to Honduras. Oh happy day.
Paranoid conspiracy theorists would say, are saying matter of fact, that the whole Central America scene Negroponte straw-bossed was a run-up to the real throw-down, which we're now in the midst of.
Negroponte supervised the creation of the El Aguacate air base, where the US trained Nicaraguan Contras and which critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s.
John Negroponte and some nuns
Negroponte tangentially under Papal skirts here
John Negroponte, wearing tan body armour over his shirt and tie with an American flag sewn on to the front


No Winter:

Central Europe is experiencing its warmest winter in 500 years and the Alps haven't been this warm in over a millenneum. Ski resorts are suffering, as are the bears.
Only two weeks before the official start of winter, Europe is sweating. An unusually warm autumn - which was last week credited for Germany's fourth quarter economic surge - is forcing ski resorts to market hiking holidays, and bears to seek out places cold enough to hibernate.
Indeed, Germany is experiencing its warmest autumn in 500 years. Germany's average temperature from September to November this year was 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit), a full 3.2 Celsius degrees higher than the median temperature from 1961 to 1990.
Der Spiegel 07.Dec.06
No fun:
Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him a terrorist attack will result in "mass killing" in the United States in the second half of 2007.

"I'm not saying necessarily nuclear, the Lord didn't say nuclear," Robertson said on Tuesday on his television show "The 700 Club." "It'll be mass killing, possibly millions of people, major cities.

"The evil people will come after this country and there's a possibility, not a possibility, a definite certainty, that chaos is going to rule," he added
Reuters 03.Jan.07

"The government is misleading the public":

"Every day that Jonathan Pollard remains in prison," said civil rights proponent Law Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, "is another day of injustice."

Pollard himself has said that in fact, he used a small briefcase to make a total of 11 drops of information to the Israelis. He says that the Americans routinely exaggerate the amount of information he gave Israel ...
Olive, apparently enthusiastic over his arrest of a famous spy, says that Pollard stole some of "the most closely-guarded secrets of the United States" and gravely endangered U.S. security...
Pollard was never indicted for compromising U.S. codes, agents, or war plans, was not charged with treason, and was convicted only of one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States...
The information Pollard provided Israel was supposed to have been provided to Israel according to a 1983 U.S.-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding. It included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities that were being developed for use against Israel, as well as information on ballistic missile development in these countries and planned terrorist attacks against Israeli targets...
The Jerusalem-based Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home says that the report is full of easily refutable lies...
"The timing of the 'exclusive' item on the U.S. Navy...stems from a fear by the anti-Israeli elements in the American intelligence community - who always work to prevent his release - that Bush is likely to respond favorably to an official Israeli request for his release."
Full of Lies "The report was full of lies that can be refuted in an absolute manner," the organization states...
the FBI concluded, after nine months of investigation including polygraphs, that Pollard acted for ideological reasons only, not for profit. This fact was also recognized by the sentencing judge, who declined to fine Pollard - even while disregarding a plea bargain arrangement and sentencing him to an unprecedented life term in prison. 13.Nov.06

Among the defendants is Rumsfeld:

Agents reported seeing detainees with facial injuries, such as black eyes and cuts, and broken fingers.
The temperature of detention rooms were also kept either extremely hot or cold and loud music was played to deprive detainees of sleep while a few agents said they had seen prisoners wrapped with Israeli flags.
One detainee was seen laying unconscious in a sweltering, unventilated room after pulling out his hair, the documents said. The FBI said none of its agents were involved in the mistreatment, which it said was carried out by civilian security contractors or military personnel.
USNews/MonstersandCritics 03.Jan.07
Reluctantly but steadily I'm gaining respect for at least some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's men and women. This story, and other instances of similar testimony this past year about whatever and whoever's operating in Guantanamo; and especially seeing Ronald Olive on CSPAN's BookTV, whose PowerPoint slide of a cctv screen-grab of Jonathan Pollard's snatching secret documents in plain sight sits behind the flag photo above.
Olive was impressive for his self-control, considering how much outrage he also exhibited, and he seemed honest and straight-forward, and patriotic.
His book is called Capturing Jonathan Pollard.

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