...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



and U.S. film director Oliver Stone:

Marxist Colombian rebels kept three hostages waiting to be released on Monday as leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez worried that more delays could derail the hand-over he had negotiated with the guerrillas.
- Hugh Bronstein/Reuters 31.Dec.07
Marxist, leftist, see below

a "buffoon, rude person, slanderer and a liar":

[Colombian Senator Piedad] Cordoba also said she had received death threats from "a high functionary of the Uribe[Columbian] government" however she assured she would continue working towards a humanitarian exchange. Cordoba confirmed she would fly to Caracas on Friday to discuss preparations for the liberation of the hostages.
Venezuela Analysis
This is being spun in the US media as a who-knows-why sort of thing. But it's the same guys that are expediting the rest of the shit-for-brains operations we're being treated to every day, except possibly for [the escape of] Tatiana, the four year-old tiger at the SF zoo, now deceased. They don't want Chavez to pull any glory out of the nightmare they've created in Colombia. Uribe's an American puppet, simple as that. He wouldn't make move one without US permission.


“the people have no voice because they have no information”
Which is pretty much exactly what I was thinking about half an hour before I saw this. What's most exasperating is the presence of literally millions of for lack of a better term nice people in the US who don't know what to do. About anything. Except keep the household stuff going to the best of their abilities.
Almost immediately before I thought that I had the misfortune of viewing cinemax's new year's celebration of its snarky little self, featuring some essentially Judeo-Christian God-fearing satire of generic Eastern religion and stuff. Also featuring prominently that valiant warrior Sasha Baron Cohen as Borat. Cohen's the brave artist who's made his quick fortune belittling Arabs and those whatever-they-are's over in the 'stans.
Maybe he didn't realize it but, thanks to his efforts on their behalf now every time most - many more millions sadly than the nice - Americans think of the people in those countries they'll be thinking how ludicrous and unimportant they are. Which will work to someone's advantage here pretty damn soon, I bet.

Shooting Back

B’Tselem has given Palestinian families across the West Bank video cameras to document how they are treated by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Some of the videos depicting abuse by settlers sparked a national debate earlier this year after they were broadcast on Israeli television.
The result of the settlements is a lot of restriction of movements on—that are being held on Palestinians. There are many streets that they cannot really walk. A Palestinian cannot drive cars in these areas. And there is a lot of violation that’s happening there from the settlers that are living there. There are very radical settlers, more radical even than the rest of the West Bank. And we know from a lot of years of watching the place or getting testimonies that a lot of violations is happening there.

What you’re going to see is a clip from a settlement called Tel Rumeida in Hebron. What we will see is a settler from this settlement, from Tel Rumeida, pushing Palestinians that basically are living across the street, on the other side of the road, pushing her back to her home, calling her “whore,” cursing her very viciously. And all this time, you see the soldier standing next to the woman doing nothing, not interfering.
Oren Yakobovich/DemocracyNow! 26.Dec.07


It is startling that the appeasers in the press only accommodate to a new force in Congress which insults 2,000 years of the European tradition and religious history and on the day of Christmas at that. As torture, like the repeal of habeas corpus and the establishment of American gulags, has only entered into the American political realm and discussion since American politicians, like George Bush and Mitt Romney, have promoted themselves as Christian. Romney, in fact, the most fascistic of the lot, has promised us that he is also - Mormonism aside - the most Christian of this squalid pack of hungry wolves and in his extreme positions on torture and Gitmo he appears to want to bolster his Christian karma.
Bernie Quigley


Molly says:
"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."

June report from the Division of Occupation Safety and Health

Police are treating the San Francisco Zoo as a crime scene this afternoon, one day after a 350-pound tiger escaped and fatally mauled a 17-year-old San Jose boy before attacking two other men 300 yards away.
A 48-year-old man was killed Monday night on Interstate 880 in Oakland, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The man was on foot in the northbound lanes of the freeway near Seventh Street when he was hit at 7:40 p.m., the CHP said, and the roadway was closed for nearly two hours.
A state investigation later ruled that the zoo was at fault for the attack because of the way the cages were configured.
State Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS):
2005 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions
Table 8A - Collisions and Persons Killed/Injured by City, County, and Road Classification, 2005
San Francisco - 32/3797


Merry Christmas from Dr. Matthew

disorderly conduct:
...about 230 "clients" - full-time students at the Rotenberg Center - who are mentally retarded, developmentally disabled with diseases like autism, or have been diagnosed with ailments such as depression, schizophrenia, or conduct disorder.
One thing you won't see at the center is traditional psychological counseling. While students do meet with clinicians, there are no regular appointments or group therapy. School literature states that counseling is done "as needed," but not when it could be seen as a reward for bad behavior, and adds: "The purpose of the counseling is to enhance the student's cooperation with, and progress within the program."
In a few cases where a student is suspected of being capable of an extremely dangerous but infrequent behavior, the staff at Rotenberg won't wait for him to try it. They will exhort him to do it, and then punish him.
Even the people watching the screens are themselves on camera.
Jarrett Murphy/village voice 10.Oct.06
Michael P. Flammia, the lawyer for Rotenberg, defended the practice in an interview.

“People want to believe positive interventions work even in the most extreme cases,” he said. “If they did, that is all we would use. Many of these kids come in on massive dosages of antipsychotic drugs, so doped up that they are almost comatose. We get them off drugs and give their parents something very important: hope.”
Leslie Kaufman/NYT 25.Dec.07
...encourages employees to file anonymous reports about their coworkers’ lapses.
The Milgram joystick. It seems pretty obvious that technicians like B.F. Skinner and his disciples have some kind of autism-like disease, its cause likely as complex as its manifestation. But that there's something wrong with them can't be denied. But they don't think so, and they serve a purpose. It's like arguing with a different species to confront them.
Saying it gives "hope" to the parents is placed against accusations of inhuman behavior as a rebuttal without being a response. This is a common strategy for the immoral - rather than justify the means let the outcome do it. That same logical road follows the killing of the same "clients" as it would bring the parents "relief". Well, possibly some grief too, but relief. There should be some grief here, as well.
The problem's traceable right back through the electrodes. The values and norms of the skeins of human culture that program the behaviorists, who then program the patients to a template of right living that isn't right at all.
It isn't all black and white and there are a few chilling testimonies of other last resorts for the socially disabled, warehouses of the dysfunctional and dangerous. Somebody's got to deal with it all, and it takes more money and more heart than most people have, and even then. But this is not the way to go.
What's exposed is the flaw in the passive morality that wants everyone to live happily ever after, but doesn't want to expend the energy necessary for that vast and bizarrely unnatural undertaking. So the less fit slip through the cracks on down to where there's fewer and fewer choices and these fiendish behaviorists have a freer hand.
And that ghastly ominous "conduct disorder". That's exactly where you'll find kids who can't speak their wounds. It says right there they get kids with "conduct disorder" and it says right there they don't have traditional "counseling". How much genuine affection do you think they see, or get?
Probably a lot of the clients are hopeless cases. But what the Rotenberger Center's doing can't be justified. Not to a human being. Not to someone whose heart and mind are still connected.
Helen Keller would be appalled, and outraged.
American boot camps for rebellious teenagers are a different brand of the same snake oil, and those places still make bank off desperate parents. Because they get results, at least temporarily - in the short term.
Results. Nothing else works.
It's still wrong.


Stay strong baby. I love you forever:

I am innocent. I am being punished for a crime I did not commit. I have professed my innocence for nine years, and I continue to say I am innocent.
I would like to say to Damien's family I did not murder your son. I did not do it. I just want you to know that
What I want people to know is that they call me a cold-blooded killer when I shot a man that shot me first. The only thing that convicted me was that I am a Mexican and that he was a police officer. People hollered for my life, and they are to have my life tonight. The people never hollered for the life of the policeman that killed a thirteen-year-old boy who was handcuffed in the back seat of a police car. The people never hollered for the life of a Houston police officer who beat up and drowned Jose Campo Torres and threw his body in the river. You call that equal justice. This is your equal justice.
I love you Angel. Let's ride. I guess this is it.
When you look at the video, you know you can't see anyone. You overplayed your hand looking for something against me and to cover it up the State is killing me. I'm not mad or bitter though. I'm sad that you are stuck here and have to go through all of this. I am going somewhere better. My time is up. Let me get ready to make my transition. Doug, don't forget Marcy.
Offender declined to make a last statement.
Uh, I don't know, Um, I don't know what to say. I don't know. (pauses) I didn't know anybody was there. Howdy.

Profanity directed toward staff.
Go ahead Warden, murder me. Jesus take me home.
Jesus had a few questions before he died

arnold's alternatives

Look forward:

...conditions today feel eerily familiar: the paramilitaries, the rising tension, the mysterious activities of soldiers, the renewed isolation from the rest of the country.
Naomi Klein on Acteal ten years on and Chiapas ahorita
via wood s lot

The next president faces an unenviable task::

Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt:
Simple put, the U.S. has to go into "let's save the federal government from bankruptcy" mode. If we don't then we're going to have worse trouble then you've ever seen.
Hale Stewart/Huffington 23.Dec.07
Stewart seems right on the unenviable and you've ever seen but it's always the national debt as an unbreakable commandment. As a thing intransmutable. This is a debt so severe in its terms it will destroy the United States to leave it unpaid. The national debt, entered into by a handful of men but legally binding for all 300 million Americans and all future Americans as well, to and past the point of the loss of their lives and property, that being what can only be meant by Stewart's "worse trouble than you've ever seen".
We were told we had to invade Afghanistan to stop people who wanted to harm us from succeeding. We were told we had to invade Iraq because Saddam wanted to harm America. We were told to tolerate all the intrusions and insecurities and inconveniences of the national security apparatus because there are those who seek to damage America, to hurt us, and they must be stopped from accomplishing that, no matter what it takes.
How did financial institutions and their boards and their promissory notes become more sacred to the law, more deserving of protection, than the people themselves?
The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It


US: NKorea Won't Meet Nuclear Deadline

North Korea recently turned over to the United States equipment found to be contaminated with traces of highly enriched uranium — HEU — apparently contradicting the country's stance that it never had such a program, FOX News has confirmed.
The equipment was described as a set of "smelted aluminum tubes" suitable for an HEU centrifuge program, a step necessary to make a nuclear weapon.
"They got some 'splainin' to do," one U.S. arms control official said when first told of the discovery about a month ago, he recalled to FOX.
However, North Korea claims the tubes were intended for use in the development of a conventional "artillery" weapon, sources told FOX News.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice strongly urged North Korea on Friday to keep its promise to disable all its nuclear facilities and give a full declaration of its nuclear program by year-end.
Our friend, Japan
Japan, parts of which lie just 120 miles from North Korea across the Sea of Japan
"2000 kilometers." That is the distance from Israel to Iran
Israel is our friend
"US may attack Iran"
'US ready to strike Iran on Good Friday'
US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
'Israel will attack Iran on its own'


$100 billion in the past six months alone:

Morgan Stanley, the No. 2 U.S. investment bank, reported a $9.4 billion writedown on Wednesday from bad bets on mortgage-related debt, leading it to take a $5 billion infusion from an arm of the Chinese government.

China Investment Corp. was launched in late September with $200 billion in capital, one-third of which was to be invested outside of China. It is one of the world's richest investment funds...
Bel Bruno/AP/Yahoo 19.Dec.07

We are obviously upset with our 2007 results,
particularly in light of the fact that weakness: fixed income more than offset strong and, in some areas, record-setting performance in other businesses,” James E. Cayne, Bear Stearn’s chairman and chief a statement.
The fate of Mr. Cayne, its longtime leader, has been the subject of much speculation on Wall Street since this summer. As two internal hedge funds that had bet on home mortgages began to crumble, questions about Mr. Cayne’s leadership arose. Reports that he had gone golfing during the worst parts of that crisis did not help.
The investment bank lost so much capital that Bear Stearns formed a partnership this fall with China’s Citic Securities, in which the two firms swapped shares. Though not as drastic as other firms’ measures to shore up capital — Morgan Stanley on Wednesday announced the sale of a $5 billion stake to China’s sovereign wealth fund, and both Citigroup and UBS made similar deals with Middle Eastern and Asian governments — it was a reflection of how weak Bear Stearns had become.
The firm has also suffered much internal turmoil.
de la Merced/NYTimes 20.Dec.07


"We need our own radar that we don't share with others."
Unit cost
F-35A: US$48 million
F-35B: US$62 million
F-35C: US$63 million

In 2003, Israel signed a letter of agreement, worth almost $20 million, to formally join the system development and demonstration (SDD) effort for the F-35 as a "security cooperation participant". The Israeli Air Force (IAF) stated in 2006 that the F-35 is a key part of IAF's recapitalization plans, and that Israel intends to buy over 100 F-35A fighters at an estimated cost of over $5 billion to replace their F-16s over time. Israel was temporarily reinstated as a partner in the development of the F-35 on 31 July 2006, after Israeli participation was put on hold following the Chinese arms deal crisis.

"a 'fantastic' story about conditions at the residence"

Top Stories

The Christian Science Monitor 7:57 pm. 18.Dec.07
  • Now, world buoys U.S. economy - 19 hr ago
  • With many toys recalled, Americans find new ways to give - 19 hr ago
  • India's superrich get even richer - 19 hr ago
  • Republicans score key wins on spending - 19 hr ago
  • High-tech brings rural towns back to life - 19 hr ago

"insulting the President"


An apple a day:

If you were to substitute a variety such as Monty’s Surprise in place of a ’supermarket’ commercial variety, you would receive 3.4 times the amount of phenolics in the skin and 5.9 times the amount in the flesh. Hence one Monty’s Surprise apple a day would be comparable to eating at least four modern apples.
cryptogon 15.Dec.07
The paranoid assumption is it's intentional, the leaching away of health and healthiness from what were natural organic traditional food sources, but I think it's viral, an infection. The way infection starts from small basically harmless things that get critical mass and become pathogenic.
Letting the greed-driven desperate get their hands on the wheel, even for a moment, meant they in turn would come to drive us all. Religions that elevate the weak and ill at the expense of the strong and healthy play their part. As do eugenic campaigns that rise from the middle of the already compromised, taking their templates from the extrapolated self. Always someone benefits from the way things are, and this is what's missing from most analyses of what's wrong now. There are always those whose lives are bettered by the way things are, no matter what's happening. The undertaker goes to the bank each day of the plague etc. etc. In this case the myopic substitution of apples that look more inviting, that look healthier than the older smaller blemished traditional ones has made profits for those who put profit ahead of all else. And by now we're centuries and generations into letting myopic greed-driven assholes make the rules of how things are.
That's who's setting our unwritten policies about the apples in the store. Bigger, emptier, brighter, emptier, sweeter, emptier.
But they're blind. Selfishly myopic, they can't see where they're going, where we're all headed - making decisions and plans from only the immediate, based only on immediate benefit.
Letting those kinds of people drive has gradually made those kinds of people normal, as conditions are shifted in their favor, and health advocates - people who advocate health - are made freakish and marginal. Even though most everybody normal wants to be healthy, especially when things start slipping.
It happens slowly, with no clear bright line that marks where healthy living becomes unhealthy living, or where the direction of human progress shifts from traditional sane direction to rationalized immediate gratification and insanity - "gimme that" and hang the future. Kids grow up thinking it's "natural" to breathe exhaust every time they go outside, thinking there are no birds to begin with, thinking all kinds of weird shit that comes straight out of their empty experience, which is coming straight out of a steadily disintegrating womb, the world the environment, that's being broken down by the unhealthy minds that now own and run it.
Letting expediency call the shots, letting cowardice justify its actions and its existence, means that eventually cowardice will be justifying the death of all of us, because how else could things have gone?

Settling out years ago from a psychedelicly creative evening and a metamorphic visionary all-night, floating down into a morning of humble calm and sensibility, I cooked and ate some organic oatmeal from the health food store and my body said very clearly that it was a life-confirming thing to do. Said it whole-system, said it to me and to the world. It was an undeniable conversation, a small thing in the larger context but sometimes it does get so bad we have to remind ourselves those voices are real.
Those voices, which we all have naturally, are what resonate when we read stories like this. We know raising pigs to live nightmare lives in gigantic swine prisons has to be unhealthy for the family that eats the meat taken from them. But the greed-blind men and women who now drive us forward drown that voice out with the dominating noise of their scams and seductions. So that it's only in from the margins by necessity, and faintly, these reminders come:
We don't have to live like this, and it's toxic, poisonous and fatal; we don't have to and it's bad.
So why keep on doing it?
Because those desperate men and women are the subset of the population that can't survive in a healthy environment. Or can't survive as dominant, have to take a back seat, have to get humble.
Sort of like how modern transportation, while it has just about set the whole world on fire and looks to pretty near doomed us all, has at the same time made it possible for a paraplegic to get from New York City to Washington D.C. just about as easily and swiftly as a champion marathon runner. A man with no legs can ride from Atlanta GA to Miami FLA just as fast as anyone else.
This leveling has exacted a price we all now pay. The cause isn't the disabled, it's the greed, the putting of the self above what's far more important than the self.

"These men probably went insane because they worked too hard."


here poor statecraft has trumped
our improved efforts :

Wouldn't oil production policies be used to separate us from our allies or further manipulate the world's economy? Wouldn't we face a region increasingly hostile to our interests? Wouldn't we see the prospect of Arab-Israeli peace diminish as Iran worked to weaken, isolate, and demoralize the Jewish state? And to avoid being at the mercy of Iran, wouldn't the Saudis decide to go nuclear -- and wouldn't that impel the Egyptians to do the same?
The point is that even the image of Iran as a nuclear power carries with it very dangerous consequences, including that the Middle East might become a nuclear-armed region.
Dennis Ross/WINEP 12.Dec.07
Heaven forfend the Middle East should become the fertile womb of nuclear weaponry.
As for Israel being "weakened, isolated, or demoralized", depending on the degree, and the attitude with which a response to that degree is undertaken, it may be the only possible path toward actual healing now available, to the Middle East and the world.
These are precisely the conditions near-universally imposed by communities on their erring brethren or sistren. They must be made to realize that communality is more to be honored than individuality, at least in some circumstances.
This is the prison experience generally - isolated, weakened, demoralized, then ideally, remoralized, strengthened, and brought back into the fold.
Israel and its apologists are convinced they must lie to the world in order to survive. Israel has nuclear weapons, lots of them. Israel wants Iran out of the way nuclear or not, and Israel wants the Americans to remove Iran for it, and Israel and its apologists and champions are lying to make that happen, exactly as Americans were lied into supporting the removal of Saddam Hussein and the destruction of Iraq. To the great and lasting detriment and shame of America.
The academic community is appalled by how many of its university freshmen have taken the myth of Saddam's responsibility for 9/11 into the core of their lives. No accident there. An intentional lie pounded into the heads and hearts of American families through insinuation by the television and the radio. Media whose interests are never exposed, whose owners and their interests are never exposed. The pretense that there are no interests other than mercantile there matching the cynical "blood for oil" most soldiers in Iraq still find at the bottom of their search for answers to their personal nightmares.
Inasmuch as the interests of the Jewish state are profoundly altered by what's happened to Iraq, and what's proposed for Iran, and that those interests are never, at least until now, discussed prominently in the public air as a possible cause for these military assaults, it is a committed lie.
The risk and burden of lying about such grave matters is it can produce sociopathic denial.

“The Arctic is screaming”


An Escherian staircase, lengthening
via RWA


a modern-day allegory

"...instead of being lured into a sterile argument about how offensive the word 'Muhammad' can be, it's probably much more sensible to either ignore this horseshit entirely or diagnose the media obsession itself. But then there are other people, probably some of them sniffing around this blog, who want to do exactly what the news says, follow orders and belch out feckless denunciations every five seconds. I know some people imagine that they're seriously, unproblematically outraged at someone being locked up for something this ridiculous. Well, fine, but I don't believe you. I think you only care about this because the television said so, so you can take your fake 'concern' about this case and go fuck yourself with it. Here's a reminder: for every minute you've spent emoting about this case, you've ignored another dead Iraqi (approximately one a minute is the going rate). Not that this is the only thing worth focusing on, but let's not pretend that your apparent outrage is anything other than a disgusting display of narcissism."
lenin's tomb 03.Dec.07


We know where Al Smith would have stood

"Either the argument will be, as our enemies want, framed as Islam versus the West; or it will be, as we want it, framed as moderates of whatever faith, colour or race against extremism however it manifests itself..."
Tony Blair, speech to the Al Smith Dinner 18.Oct.07
via wood s lot

Fur's quiet comeback
- Weisman/IHT

In Russian luxury market, companies strategize to reach the rich consumer
- Alderman/IHT

The Millionaire Fair: Art becomes the next step along the path of riches
- Kishkovsky/IHT


China's military budget is set to rise 17.8 percent this year
fishbowl media

...under the watchful eye of soldiers a sigh of relief always getting tricked power grab 10 times as much money just to scare the daylights out of the Jewish community an unabashed anti-Semite the greatest thing that could have happened a doomsday scenario the rabbi a frequent target anti-Semitic expressions on state-controlled media:

The defeat of Hugo Chavez's broad-ranging referendum has eased Jewish fears in Venezuela. Yet many remain fearful about their future in the country and are making plans to leave.
For me it’s very easy an apartment in Miami one in New York a large home behind a high protective wall in Altamira cheese blintzes and chocolate eclairs...

JTA/JDF 04.Dec.07


"After seven years of waiting, [Dziekanski] arrived to his utopia, Vancouver," said the Polish consul general, Maciej Krych. "Ten hours later, he was dead."

and to meditate at length

"It doesn't look good. I agree with that":

Friday, the Bush administration did an about-face, abruptly withdrawing the text while Israeli diplomats reiterated

The incident raised the hackles of some State Department officials, who said Khalilzad has a history of diplomatic freelancing and that he had stumbled into his current predicament by failing to adequately consult the Israelis or his boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"the need to encourage the parties concerned to follow diligently the joint understanding that was reached."
Lynch/WashingtonPost 01.Dec.07


This investigation will help end the war:

On the weekend of 13-15 March, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will assemble history’s largest gathering of US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors. They will provide first hand accounts of their experiences and reveal the truth of occupation.
They saw it for themselves, now — with your support — they’ll tell it for themselves. On the weekend of 13-15 March, 2008 Iraq Veterans Against the War will assemble history’s largest gathering of US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan , as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors. They will testify to their first hand experiences and reveal the truth of occupation.
Support Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation

Freedom of the press is dead in totalitarian Venezuela, but alive and well in the democratic United States.
...the opposition in Venezuela still broadcasts on more major TV channels than there are channels sympathetic to the government. In stark contrast, the alternative media in the US cannot be viewed on any major channel. Consequently the vast majority of Americans receive all their news from a mainstream media which never questions whether the US has any right to dominate other nations
The most dramatic increase in social spending was in the area of health care. In 1998 there were over 14,000 Venezuelans for each primary healthcare physician, and few physicians worked in rural or poor urban areas. By 2007 there was one primary healthcare physician for every 1,300 Venezuelans, and many of the new physicians were working in clinics in rural areas and poor barrios that had never had physicians before. There are also now 16,000 stores in poor areas throughout the country selling staples at a 30% discount on average.
Robin Hahnel/Monthly Review 30.Nov.07 > feral scholar

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