...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



Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: Iranian nuclear arms pose little threat to Israel

blasted, disputed:
Reps. Darrell Issa, Duncan Hunter and Brian Bilbray — all California Republicans — this week blasted a California policy that requires a "military helicopter manager" to sit aboard flights of military helicopters that are joining state firefighting efforts.
Michael Padilla, chief of aviation for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection — or Cal-Fire — disputed the lawmakers' assertion in a telephone interview.
Padilla said anyone saying those helicopters were sidelined by the policy alone are "absolutely wrong. Those aircraft could have been used had they had properly trained crews" and proper equipment
Simmons/FOXNews 26.Oct.07
disgusting, inexcusable foot-dragging
Without knowing anything else about it, I'd way rather be on a fireline under the current CAL FIRE chain of command than anywhere doing anything under any of the asshole politicians so obviously trying to get leverage and recognition off this disaster.


  • 109 Incidents
  • 63 Active Incidents
  • 46 Contained Incidents
  • 2,795,012 Acres
InciWeb: National Incidents

Whom the gods would destroy they first:

Civil rights: Rice believes in a bizarre analogy between West Bank Palestinians and southern Blacks.

Messianism: Both George W. Bush and Rice seem to view themselves as destined to resolve Arab-Israeli hostilities. One interlocutor recounts that "she believes this is the time for the Israeli and Palestinian conflict to end."
"There is no responsible Palestinian leadership that could deliver a newspaper on time in the morning, much less a peace agreement that would stand the test of time." [Goodman/Jerusalem Report - Pipes]
Daniel Pipes/JWR 23.Oct.07
The Bush administration's plans to convene a new round of Israeli-Arab diplomacy on Nov. 26 will, I predict, will do substantial damage to American and Israeli interests.
Daniel Pipes/JPost 24.Oct.07
Photo of Abbas and unidentified Jewish zealot from the old AFP, sometime before 2005. My apologies to the photographer for the missing attribution.



Witch Fire
This fire has burned 196,420 acres and is one percent contained

Raging Calif. wildfires
Brett Williams local eyewitness @flickr
Reuters: "Californians pay price of communing with nature"
So now we know the cost of that communing, and that nature, and that living in California.
On the other hand: Georgia, drought.

Next time she won't throw clogs at me:

A study by an Israeli psychologist into the violent behaviour of the country's soldiers is provoking bitter controversy and has awakened urgent questions...

I like it. That's when I enjoy it. It's like a drug.

... concluded that the main reason for the soldiers' violence was a lack of training.
Urquhart/Guardian 21.Oct.07

It was yet another gathering of Iraqis -
Riverbend in Syria


you're getting giddy again:

They were raised in the post-World War II era of a booming economy, grew up watching the wonders of science fiction, and were told they lived in a world where everything was going to be possible. "And then they're faced with death," he says. "That makes them angry."

There's a sense that they may be the last generation that is going to have to die, that they might just miss out on immortality, Alexander adds. "And that's going to be enormously frustrating."
CSM 05.Aug.04


Palestine, apartheid and colonialism at Lenin's Tomb
One of other things the Nazis did that was unspeakably horrifying was attempt to colonize the white nations of Europe.


Ben Griffin, Former SAS - Banned Anti-War Demo in London
Brian Eno - Banned Anti-War Demo in London
Stop the War Coalition Online (UK)
Lenin's Tomb


"America can be pretty sneaky"

Venezuela's President Chavez named his own socialist revolution after South America's 19th century liberator Simon Bolivar, but often quotes "El Che" and calls on today's youth to be more like him. "Che held the banner for critical thinking. He was a banner-holder for critical thinking," Chavez said recently during a political rally in Caracas.
Bolivia's first indigenous president Evo Morales hung a huge portrait of Guevara in his office, controversially made out of pressed coca leaves.
Although it was Bolivian troops that captured and executed him, President Morales describes Guevara as a mythical hero. "Who could ever consider themselves to be his successor? It is impossible to eclipse the live of Che. Nobody could do that. One could consider themselves the successor of Che only if they give their life for humanity. While we are still alive, we could never consider ourselves the successors of Che," Morales told Reuters in a recent interview in La Paz.
from a propaganda piece by Reuters
via a brief mention at DNow!


Hours later, after mild resistance and insults from the ex-nuns and the intervention of psychologists, about 65 defeated ex-nuns, escorted by policewomen, walked out calmly in their black habits — some carrying guitars, others tambourines or small drums...
They were disobedient:
About 150 police in riot gear went into the compound to find the ex-nuns defiantly singing religious songs and playing instruments, Puzewicz said.
"Today's police intervention was a sort of act of desperate aid for people who for the past two years have lived in very unusual conditions, in a closed environment, in seclusion, in uncertainty, where various forms of thought take shape," the PAP news agency quoted Zycinski as saying.
the ex-nuns appeared to have been "manipulated" psychologically.
During questioning, the ex-friar "didn't respond to questions in any topical, concrete or logical way or to the charges," Bednarczyk said. "He also didn't give any logical answer to his place of residence, but instead made some religious references."

Mother Jadwiga reportedly is a charismatic figure who claimed to have religious visions, and was attempting to transform the convent into a contemplative order.
AP/Yahoo 10.Oct.07
At 9am this morning, a debt collector with an eviction order for the 70 people remaining inside the building knocked in vain at the convent’s door, which was finally opened by a locksmith, escorted by the police.
The police detained the former Mother Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Bethany Family Jadwiga Ligocka, who was the main reason for the sisters’ disobedience, and the former Franciscan Roman Komaryczko, who was behaving aggressively towards the officers.
One of the priests asked of his opinion about the conduct of the disobedient sisters said that, “Such behaviour is a classic example of a sect”.
"It is a sad case for the (Catholic) church and for those who disobeyed the church and ended in such a situation," Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz told PAP news agency.
He said the nuns could come back to the Catholic community if they repented and obeyed the rules.
So. Dawkins finally throws his weight at a real opponent, which leaves me at least clambering for purchase, and then this, which has a tremendous light coming from it somehow. I'm discombobulated but gratified, amused - nervous, but still ragingly pissed off.
The nuns and their worldly shepherd are excommunicated for short-circuiting the proprietary middleman relationship. Can't go directly to the Almighty because we have all the legal documentation, you'll have to go through us, or over us, and we're way too big for you to do that. So they're crazy and amusing because of course there's nothing to what they think they believe and the Catholic Church is only significant because it's so huge and old and politically and economically powerful. Not to mention various intrigues and conspiracies that function like outriders in front of its vast bulk, sweeping up the pathogenic and threateningly adamant truth-seekers, and the "truer" believers.
What we'd like is for there to be a firm and confident decision as to its validity, the validity of its tenets and dogma anyway, as a religion and as an institution of human affairs - instead of all this homemade argumentation. What we get is all this nebulosity - is, isn't, might be, could be. The English monarchy has a similar presence now, with way less on-the-ground power, and way way less behind-the-scenes.
The simpleton aspect is hey, these people are acting, and being treated, just like the early Christians ducking for cover from the Legionnaires or whoever it was the Roman pigs threw at them back when. Which is something most sects end up claiming eventually. Which doesn't make it either bogus or valid.
But there's that light, Where's it coming from?
And Dawkins. Interesting to see what Sam Harris has to say if anything about Dawkins pointing out how much more powerful Jews are in current events as a minority compared to the significantly larger segment of the demographic the atheist minority occupies.
What has me flummoxed is the biology. Which is the bottom line generally for the non-believers. But it's schoolhouse biology, after-the-fact science. Where the "truth" is always triumphant, once it's made plain. Having the right answer means you win. Which is true if you're trying to land on the moon, but meaningless if you're in a combat zone.
Most of the time these days it reminds me of someone getting mugged and trying to lecture the aggressor on his moral failings. A somewhat courageous move, but easily refuted by the "I don't got to show you no badge" gambit, or one of the myriad other versions that essentially are the predator's teeth and digestive system in action, to which the only viable response is superior force, which has nothing to do with truth, except inasmuch as it can be inspirational to know you're in the "right".
But then you get these rogue actors who get so far out into being wrong being right would be suicidal or exceedingly detrimental. So they create delusions of rightness to carry them forward. And that's survival stuff, biology. There has to be some forum for debate for that to be a liability, some place where the smug superiority of the non-delusional can reveal its irrefutable glory.
Yet there's that light. The innocence there, those tambourines and guitars. Something in this world hates innocence.
The way "kumbaya" is used to confirm scorn for the weak and sentimental. The laughter of the already-sodomized as the new prisoner gets his ass broken in - the need for the cynical to see themselves as pragmatists - "that's just the way things are" - not defeated losers but realistic, more central to what is than the more optimistic delusional.
Mother rats quiet in the old old walls, feeding their young. What? The shift in perspective that undoes the valence, because the foundation has to be fictional, it's the guiding story of our own importance, that's what those guys mean when they say science offers no moral foundations, because really there's no difference between that rat family and anyone else's, without the assertion of affinity, the assertion from affinity. So it's a struggle to defend and provide for that affinity group, family tribe race whatever, biology with its warm tones prominent. Unless there's a connect outside the system. Which makes biology then only useful, a tool, a path toward other, higher elevations. Something then becomes necessary to guide and contain biology, to direct the user through and past the meat snares of the day-to-day.
Which is religion. Religion's mandate is to communicate with what's already out there, beyond the observer's rickety platform, or in there, or whatever spatial analogy works; science's mandate is to move toward that thing under its own steam on its own terms. It's specious to assume there's nothing out there, crazy really, yet it's crazily arrogant to assume you've got the only direct line to the whatever that is.
Arrogance...where do I keep seeing that? Everywhere, baby. Except in the "ex-nuns" being led to the police vans.
Maybe the light's in the computer? Maybe it's the new coffee beans I tried this morning? My blood sugar cycling out of control.
Or maybe just maybe the things that kept us intact as a species ever since we first learned to sing were more than just technologies of advancing scale, as well as more than just raw obedience to inherited rules. Something less susceptible to the conscienceless and heartless scalpel of autistic hyper-rationality, but more solid than the priests' memorized cant and flatulent hot air.
When I was a kid they told us cavemen suffered all day long unless they were too stupid to feel anything much at all, but I've had visions of people from those times with flowers and laughter and singing and strength and health - with everything we really value there in place at least sometimes already, and the people held together, kept intact by both strands of what we were and are, thinking and feeling, knowing and wondering, humble and deft, quick with pride, selfless and patient - all of it there, all of it terribly pressed on from all sides, beleageured, shaped and damaged, crippled and refined and made strong, and kept back from what's really true by that pressure.
The falsity of this time gives many of us despair. Hopelessness is easily maintained by a daily reading of the news. The absurdity of so much of that news confirms the worst of the arrogant and weakens the resolve of many. But there's that light.
I had a dream last night, or a hypnogogic thought, I was sitting at a keyboard made of little glistening beetles, alive and sensitive to my fingers' pressing, and as I pressed them, just like this, as I'm doing now writing this, a cloud of tiny flying insects shaped and reformed in response, changing colors as they responded, and blurred away into the air, indefinably connected to I don't know what, but brightly, in a day and a world filled with light.

without someone following us:

At an appearance at Columbia University tonight, Stephen Walt, a Harvard professor and former dean, said that he and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer were slated to speak at Google headquarters recently to discuss their bestselling book The Israel Lobby and at the last minute the event was cancelled mysteriously. "We were scheduled for Wednesday. Our publicist got an email on Friday afternoon," Walt said. The email didn't say why the event was cancelled.
PWeiss 08.Oct.07


Daniel Levy, Israeli, Senior Fellow and Director of The Century Foundation's Prospects for Peace Initiative, on Walt&Mearscheimer

red flags in our mind:

DONALD BARLETT: Well, Evergreen Security had been run for the most part by Patrick Thomson, a resident of the Bahamas, for a long time. And it was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, and in the end more than $200 million disappeared. Well, it was to Mr. Thomson that this very mysterious Thomas Howell in La Jolla, California, turned to create a company for him called NorthStar. And a few years later, lo and behold, NorthStar is retained by the Pentagon to make sure the money in Iraq, the $12 billion, and billions more, does not go missing, which, of course, it did go missing.

JAMES STEELE: When we looked into the background of NorthStar, come to find out this is not your normal accounting or auditing operation. It operates out of a private house in a suburb of San Diego. All attempts to interview the individual, Thomas Howell, who apparently heads NorthStar, failed. He would talk to us a couple times, but said that his hands were tied. The Pentagon would have to give him approval to talk, and they did not. We looked into other aspects of the operation out of this house. Turns out some of it’s home improvement. One is supposedly international financial consulting, all very vague, all very, very mysterious.
Democracy Now! 09.Oct.07

a few more sailors at Fanonite

Oh My God

always ready, (almost) always there:

Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school
Erskine/NBC 03.Oct.07

48 seconds in:

What ever's necessary to do, you do it.
When somebody needs to be killed, there's no wrong, you do it.
And then you move on.
And you pick up a child and you move into the desert.
You pick up as many children as you can.
And you kill, whoever gets in your way.
This is us.
google video


a few sailors

made entirely from sugar:

"We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking," he said. "We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can't expect everybody to be happy."
Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.

The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.

Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before".
Mr Venter said he had carried out an ethical review before completing the experiment.
Pilkington/Guardian 06.Oct.07
Venter's press release:
The new life form will depend for its ability to replicate itself and metabolise on the molecular machinery of the cell into which it has been injected, and in that sense it will not be a wholly synthetic life form.
A virus is a sub-microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism. Viruses can replicate themselves only by infecting a host cell. They therefore cannot reproduce on their own.
Choose between Venter's autistic semitopia and a world run like Utah in 1893 with Eric Prince's Dark Battalions burning away the last of the high humans.
But then it's not a choice is it? Both come together now. Blackwater's end-times polizei and Venter's conscienceless boy scouts, making the world safe for the thing that rises out of their waste systems. Intention won't be what shaped the world to come.

It doesn't get any worse than that, Ray.
Sen. Mike Gravel

Who are Walt and Mearsheimer and why did they do it?
Philip Weiss


Paul Krassner goes to Earthdance, manifests the Power of Laughter, and meets David of the Blackfoot tribe, whose life is unsettling.


An Iraqi Interior Ministry official and five eyewitnesses described a second deadly shooting involving the same Blackwater guards minutes after the incident in Nisoor Square, the Post reported.

headline of the moment:

North Korea's Kim marks summit magic with mushrooms


If I was a soldier in Iraq I think I'd find it a litlle demoralizing that important Americans there were being protected by private security and not American military.


Correa wins majority in Ecuador

Singapore's heavily invested in the Burmese junta

Representing the "peace and stability industry"
Doug Brooks, man from God's Country

from the horse's mouth
Debra Cagan, hater

11-year-old - Palestinian - human shield

Project Censored's Top Ten Censored Stories at MediaChannel

Depth on Myanmar/China at IC:GA

Eliot Abrams by Kathleen Christison at adbusters
via fanonite

Thoreau's observations as baseline data

Blog Archive