...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



The law is revered for itself now, but rationalized by what it protects when it gets discussed philosophically, so that what that is it protects can be pointed to when the law is clearly wrong or incomplete or inadequate. The flaws are excusable because of the larger goal.
This is enacted individually in those who act as protectors and enforcers of the law, they have shrines in their hearts, dedicated to what they hold above themselves.
Excessive enforcement of specific codes and the often violent systemic championing of the concept itself, as well as the kind of propaganda brainwash techniques of child-raising that enforce that reverence blindly, result in what we have now - the inverse of respect for what the law was designed and intended to protect, respect instead for the law itself, the punishment side of the legal protocol first, and what is rewarded by its protection, whatever that is, however far it is from the original design, second - and the near-universal idea that anything that isn't specifically against the law right now is permitted right now.
This is how evil gained the upper hand in human affairs.
Going back to that original impulse, the desire to create some kind of protective barrier around what should be protected, a mammalian drive that's as deep as bones, what should be protected as seen through the lens of human consciousness, means that now anything that has been protected by the law, anything whose being owes its fullness to the protection of the law, can point to itself as the reason for the law existing in the first place. And there will always be something there, protected by the law, as long as there are laws and people who enforce them. Even if it's the antithesis, even if it's what the law was originally designed to protect against - as we have now - the evil the law was brought to bear against hides behind it in safety.
It parallels common attitudes toward wealth. Those who have it generally feel that they deserve to have it, and those who don't have it also feel they deserve to have it.
Which means the systems by which wealth is gotten and maintained are necessary to them wherever they are in that chain, even as those systems change over time.
This sense of the rightness of things, felt as central by almost all who benefit from anything, whether law or economy or the aftermath of disaster, is the main obstacle to real progress here. It's the pavlovian bell-and-treat that keeps the momentum of things implacable, and prevents enlightened change.
This is how evil maintains the upper hand in human affairs.


Sabreen - formed in 1980 with a vision focused on the development of the Palestinian modern song, reflecting the humanitarian and cultural reality in general, and the suffering endured from the political situation in particular.

Sabreen - BoxedIn mp3

Some people were just lying there, some were screaming, some were very, very angry. There were a lot of injured arriving, ambulances coming in and out. The injured were coming by private cars and they were being left wherever. You could see blood here and there.

There is talk [the Israeli air strikes] were targeting the police and security forces but in Shifa hospital, I saw many, many civilians, some dead, some injured, some were children, some were women, some were elderly people.

There are people without their legs in very severe pain. The doctors and nurses were trying to give them painkillers and to keep them alive. Patients are lying there knowing they've lost their legs. Some were asking God if they could die.

from a targeted location:

AFP – Smoke billows from a targeted location inside the northern Gaza Strip during an Israeli air raid, as...

Israel tanks mass near Gaza as jets again pound Hamas
Israel pounds Gaza
for second day,

229 killed
Reuters – Palestinians carry a wounded Hamas policeman as others lie on the ground of their destroyed police compound...
Israeli Foreign Minister Says Hamas Is to Blame

Calls grow around world for calm in Gaza
Angry protests also took place in several cities around the world on Sunday against Israel after its air strikes in Gaza killed at least 270 people and wounded hundreds more.


Israel strikes demolish Hamas compounds, kill 192
Curse of the Suicide Bomber: One Sunday's Carnage:
The reports came in all of a sudden: Suicide bombings in four different parts of the world. The toll is not particularly high. But the geographical range reflected the depressing spread of the terrorist ploy — from Sri Lanka, where separatists mastered the technique to devastating effect...
Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza, 271 dead
Fourteen children among 22 killed in Afghan attacks
Fourteen children were among 20 Afghans killed in new extremist attacks
Wal-Mart will begin selling iPhones on Sunday giving an enormous new range of distribution for Apple and ATT...
Captions below photos as they originally appeared.
I'm not sure if my job here is to point out the obvious, to me, propaganda of the presentation, or just leave it here as witness.
This is the work of sadists, and the gloating brag of sadists at what they've done. It's very disheartening, and that not least for where it leads, inexorably now.
Still, it's better to keep saying no.
These images and the writing that accompanied them are sets of lies, real pictures and factual paragraphs that contain nothing as clear as a complete falsehood, but lies just the same.
The war on Iraq had as much support as it did in the US because of exactly these tactics. Subliminal bullshit, selective release of graphic imagery set against what sounds like unbiased reporting, in the absence of any real context or balancing history.
Duplicity and great harm.
It's as though the Jews have given their innocence away to the Palestinians.


Idle holiday musings:
Since the object of torture is to get information that the subject of torture wants to prevent you from getting, is it morally better, okay, superior, to use things like drugs and hypnosis or some new psycho-medical-chemical technique that gets under the conscious resistance of the subject without active trauma, and gives you access to the information as if it were freely given?
My guess is most people considering that would say yeah sure fine. Because it's the pain of it they object to, the messiness, not the breaking of the human being.
Which is why we're all stuck at the crossroads, waiting for that long dark limousine.


The barrages have caused no casualties over the past two days, but there has been property damage, and tens of thousands of Israelis near Gaza have been instructed to stay indoors. TV newscasts have been showing panic-stricken children.


Me quieren matar


this order, set down by creation:

The church, he said, "should protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man was needed, he said," adding: "The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

Benedict focused his attack on what he described as "gender" theories, "which lead towards the definitive emancipation of man from creation and the creator".

Homosexual groups in Italy called the speech an unfounded attack on homosexuality and, more specifically, on people who undergo sex changes.
Tom Kington/Riazat Butt/GuardianUK 23.Dec.08
There's a song, by Lil Wayne, called "Lollipop". It was very popular in 2008. I didn't hear it til last week, because I'm old now and a social outlier. When I did hear it it knocked me out.
So I went and found it on the internet, and listened to it probably 30 or so times since, side by side with Christina Aguilera's "Dynamite", and Britney Spears' "Kill the Lights".
Great stuff, great stuff.
But that "Lollipop" man that was something new. And so melodic.
Yesterday morning, laying in bed and meditating on the day to come, I realized - it's "Cathy's Clown" by the Everly Brothers.
Enough that the Everly's should be getting royalties from it probably.
But the thing is when you hear it there, wherever you hear it first, it seems to have come from there, so all those kids are crediting Lil Wayne and his partner-in-song the late Static Major with creating the tune, when in point of fact they are changing the lyrics and passing it on, carrying it, riding it.
When Wayne sings "Shorty wants a thug"
you can hear Phil and Don singing "When you see me shed a tear"
note for note.
I'm still knocked out by Lil Wayne's version, but it's a version. And the original's trackable back through Phil and Don Everly to the human ecologies of pre-industrial Europe, to the real environment that was ours before we were "emancipated".
And that needs to get reinforced, because of what happened to the people that really sang that music, out of their daily lives and for no recompense, for love only.
When the Pope talks about the rainforest and "man as a creature" it would be uplifting if he could bring himself to recognize that there are still people living in the rainforest right now, people who the Church in its wisdom deemed inferior, subhuman, expendable, fit for slavery and extinction, redeemable only by baptism and haircut and servile roles in civilized society.
People whose ways of living in the rainforest then and now are part of the rainforest, and in harmony with it.
Deep harmony, thrilling harmony when you catch it. Really old music, from before music was enslaved along with its makers.
Free music.
It would also be thrilling, or at the very least inspiring, if the Pope and his organization had been first, or even just among the first, to speak of things like "ecology", instead of following safely along behind people who were speaking of them and getting ridiculed, for their defense of things like "ecology" and "rainforest". How encouraging if the Pope, any Pope, had spoken adamantly when no one but scientists even knew what the words meant, instead of waiting until even the dullest journalist had those words in his vocabulary, instead of waiting until it was safe to speak about these things, because the damage had gotten unavoidably noticeable and those early campaigners had long since brought it to the attention of the world.
None of which is to suggest that homosexuals and heterosexuals are equals in any but the most basic sense of being, of being human and here and therefore unique and treasurable, as much as Olympic athletes and Para-Olympic athletes and children and old people and all the full blooming of what we are, what that is, that "human".
No one would argue that the rose is most centrally there in its bud and bloom. The bloom of humanity is the reproducing female.
A bunch of overweight asexual at best, hypocritically perverted at worst, priests hiding behind that glorious flower and at the same time pretending to defend it, is what I see there.
Singing songs they got from other voices and other hearts, and giving no due praise or recognition to where the music really came from, came to them from, while the rewards keep coming in.


Pakistan media is reporting that the country's military is on high alert over a possible strike by India.

Ms Rice’s words could damp expectations

the roads sweat petroleum

business sentiment tumbled
Biden Set to Oversee Task Force on Strengthening Middle Class
the line snakes into the parking lot
delinquencies rose across all loan categories
In a shopping mall in Thailand, Nong Na sets a new world record
A Saudi court has rejected a plea to divorce an eight-year-old girl married off by her father to a man who is 58
An 8-year-old Arizona boy charged in the deaths of his father and another man is set to undergo a mental health and competency evaluation
A pair of giant pandas made their last public appearance in China on Monday ahead of their long-anticipated departure to Taiwan, marking a blossoming of ties between the island and its arch rival
Lonely man jumps into polar bear's cage in Berlin
Israel said in an e-mail to Newsday that many troops had the impression that "the war is finally winding down and there won't be endless Christmases away from their families."
Israel, who has visited Iraq three times, added that he has seen the "security environment" in the country improve significantly...
American troops will move into southern Iraq early next year to replace departing British forces, the top U.S. general in Iraq said.


bright days in the laboratory:

“There are many, many different components of ageing and we are chipping away at all of them,” said Robert Freitas at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, a non-profit, nanotech group in Palo Alto, California. “It will take time and, if you put it in terms of the big developments of modern technology, say the telephone, we are still about 10 years off from Alexander Graham Bell shouting to his assistant through that first device. Still, in the near future, say the next two to four decades, the disease of ageing will be cured.”
Freitas/AAAAM 03.May.06
link path Matrullo > Daily Galaxy
It's a year old pastiche, and the quoted Freitas was being interviewed in 2006.
He neglected to mention that in addition to the disease of aging, the disease of sex, as well as the disease of evolution, will also be cured. Possibly this aspect of the anti-aging crusade has subsequently received due notice. Possibly it has not.

clear days at the observatory:

"We're observing the unambiguous signature of the effects of dark energy on the growth of structure" in the universe.
Over the very long haul, the Chandra results imply that the universe will not end in a "big rip," with everything violently torn apart, as some astrophysicists had speculated. Instead, objects too loosely bound by gravity to overcome the repulsive force of dark energy will gradually vanish into the distance.
Spotts/ET/Yahoo 18.Dec.08


international solidarity with the Shministim:

We are U.S. military servicemembers and veterans who have refused or are currently refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We stand in solidarity with the Israeli Shministim (Hebrew for 12th graders) who are also resisting military service. About 100 Israeli high school students have signed an open letter declaring their refusal to serve in the Israeli army and their opposition to "Israeli occupation and oppression policy in the occupied territories and the territories of Israel." In Israel, military service is mandatory for all graduating high school seniors, and resisters face the possibility of years in prison.

We have also refused to participate in unjust acts of military aggression, and many of us have gone to prison or currently live with that possibility as a result. We believe that resistance to unjust war is a bold assertion of humanity in the face of overwhelming violence.
The Global War on Terror, like the Israeli occupation, is propped up by racism and dehumanization and sets the stage for never-ending war and occupation. We are inspired by the brave refusal of our brothers and sisters in Israel to take part in these destructive policies, and we want to let them know today, December 18th--the day of international solidarity with the Shministim, that they have our deepest respect and support.
Courage To Resist
via Mondoweiss
: - : - : - : - : - : - : - :
Once in a while some relative, stranger on the street or one of my commanders would say "Well done! You are doing tremendously important work". I received so much praise for the work that I did, frankly, not too well. But I was glad. I was glad that people understand that the fact I am working with children and helping them get ahead, both academically and emotionally, is important. Nobody ever told me they don't understand why I am doing this and nobody ever blamed me for not doing my share for the defence of my homeland. as any boy or girl my age should.

Now, that is all very interesting, because in recent years, since I was discharged from the army, I am doing work that is no worse, and no less significant, than the work I was doing in the army, and for some reason nobody stares at me in the street with pride in their eyes, or gives me a discount price for my falafel. People hear that I am enrolled at a teachers academy and ask with a tone of amazement, or disgust, or both: "What, you want to be a teacher?"
The Duty to Volunteer
Yael Shiloh 18.May.05
New Profile


Mirrors as we're used to them only have one surface, so the analogy won't carry too far, but the mirror of the mainstream, the what-was-once-only media - CNN, the NYTimes etc. - have lately held up two prominent figures to personify the "green" transformation.
Even as Poznan sputters back into geographic obscurity, even as the excessive cold and wet of this winter so far contradict the simple forecast of heat rising to the terminal, neither Thomas Friedman nor Anderson Cooper seem to be able to much more than advocate for smarter consumer choices, though I think what's really working there is a softening, a getting people ready, accepting the fact that the quickest most certain way to reduce the carbon footprint of humanity is to reduce the size of humanity's foot, though neither says anything slightly near that at this time.
Both of them, in their role, or guise, as eco-praetor give out the tacit sense that they've risen spontaneously to this task, and both of them cite no one as predecessor or exemplar. Certainly nothing even close to a recognition that there have been voices and lives up against the inertia and momentum of the seduction process that brought us all here, whether we chose it or chose to work against it.
They're mirroring the shallowest part of the collective mind, the thin consciousness that wakes up now like the fabulous brontosaurus, nerves sending impulses down the football field of body length and back, news that something's happening.
None of the atomized multitude have reason for guilt because none of them did anything intentionally to bring this change.
Like Iraq, it was all a mistake, but a goodhearted well-intentioned mistake with only a little greed and heartless indifference out at its edges.
The thing is there are people among us right now whose lives are as "green" as "green" can get, people who've never stepped outside the harmonic, whose ways of being in the world don't lead, didn't lead to this and won't, because they're old ways, very old, and the result of necessity not desire, or rather the only desire the most basic one - to live, to survive and not foreclose the survival of their children.
Do Friedman and Cooper turn toward these examples? No.
No, they do not. Should they?
Yes, they should. We all should, not because we need to live in exactly the same way they do, but because we need to remember, and we need to feel, as we once did, the way they do still.
San Bushmen
Cinta Larga


“The weakening of the EU climate package has dealt a devastating blow to the Poznan negotiations. By making concessions to the coal industry, the EU is undermining its own – already rather weak – climate target of 20% C02 reductions by 2020, and will jeopardize its leading role at the Copenhagen negotiations,” Bianca Jagger added:
“How will any country commit to further reductions if Europe’s promises turn out to be little more than hot air?”


those very limited goals

I will immediately begin And, you know I will begin And, you know embassies terrorist embassies terrorist are protected embassies terrorist logistical we can ferret embassies terrorist logistical the Iraqi government embassies are protected remaining to assure embassies you know terrorist we can ferret we can ferret terrorist And you know I will
 I will begin in cooperation with providing activity in the region one of the things that I'll be doing to make sure
to make sure that to remove civilian embassies are protected
troops terrorist embassies terrorist troops terrorist embassies terrorist are protected protected protected protected If we start we can ferret
our troops are embassies protected from Iraq
we can ferret we are going and you know I, you know I will begin
in cooperation with to and our you know I, we, you know I will
If we start we can If we start with the number If we start 
with the number we can ferret we can maintain we can maintain a large enough 
one of the things protected protected we can maintain force in the region one of the things in the region that I'll be doing in our, our, our, our we have we have
we can in Iraq in Iraq in Iraq in Iraq in Iraq we can have
in Iraq each logistical month we can we can ferret we can maintain 
any remaining If we start we can to assure and you know I will that our our, our, our civilian personnel and our, our, our, our if we start we can with the number we can ferret we can maintain
We can we have I will We can we have I will I will begin
we can have we have we can ferret we can maintain We can I will begin
We can responsibly We can responsibly remove
We can responsibly ferret We can responsibly maintain
We can we can I will
I will begin
we can have we can remove we can have we can remove
We can ferret responsibly We can maintain responsibly
We can remove we can that logistical 1 to 2
we can ferret we can ferret responsibly combat logistical
each logistical month we are training and evaluating
maintaining the integrity and evaluating
And, you know embassies terrorist protected we can
remove all of them [in] 16 months... If we start
We can responsibly remove We can responsibly maintain
If we start
with the number of brigades we have in Iraq today,
we can remove all of them [in] 16 months.
we can remove all of them all of them
all of them
[in] 16 months.
we can remove all of them [in] 16 months.
[in] [in] [in] [in]
all of them
all of them
If we start we can ferret one of the things that I'll be doing
to make sure that troops embassies terrorist
embassies terrorist our our, our, our.
After this After this redeployment, After this we will leave
we will leave enough After this we will leave enough
leave enough troops in Iraq as necessary
After this we will leave enough troops troops we will troops
we will troops we will After this enough leave troops After this
embassies in Iraq in Iraq After this
to guard our troops
our embassy and diplomats in Iraq in Iraq as necessary
in Iraq as necessary, and a, a, a, a, what kind of number's
number's required as necessary After this
If we start After this we can ferret I will
immediately begin counter-terrorism in cooperation with providing
force to strike
each logistical month al Qaeda if it forms After this we can
We can responsibly maintain
We can responsibly maintain a protected
maintain a protected base
that the Iraqis cannot destroy
that support, of . -- is to meet .
that support, of
is to meet .
is to meet

that support
PE Obama (remix)
The World Beyond Iraq 19.Mar.08 / December 7, 2008 (Meet the Press)
via JWN


has funded the operations of various:

Coca is a serious destabilizer—keeping Colombia’s rebels armed and the country’s progress in check. But after almost a decade, U.S.-assisted efforts to reduce the crop’s production in Colombia haven’t just failed; they’ve been downright counterproductive. Plan Colombia was meant to improve security, stamp out drug cultivation, and improve law and order after a decades-long conflict with leftist militants. But coca cultivation rose 15 percent between 2000 and 2006
The United States has spent $6 billion on Plan Colombia, but Colombia still supplies 90 percent of U.S. cocaine.

The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2008/Foreign Policy
The bank is that what's getting more and more obvious is so bleak and frightening enough of the audience will continue believing whatever they're told to believe.
Iraq was a mistake.
Bush did it.
Enough of the audience to keep the exits and entrances clear. To keep a pulse in the economy until they're ready to put it down. Or harvest it.
Because if they don't have that docile passive base, if everybody just gets up out of their seats and says "Basta!" and refuses to cooperate the machine won't work. It's inevitable, but the race is to get the next parasite empire set up and fortified before the curtain comes down.
Try this:
Iraq was on purpose and it was successful. What was desired was what happened.
Try this:
The same guys who engineered that are running the international drug trade.
Colombia's on purpose.
Afghanistan had less heroin production under the Taliban than it does under American occupation.


...the company can’t pay employees because its creditor, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America, won’t let them. Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Republic Windows’ monthly sales had fallen to $2.9 million from $4 million during the past month. In a memo to the union, obtained by the business journal, Republic CEO Rich Gillman said the company had “no choice but to shut our doors.”

Bank of America received $25 billion from the government’s financial bailout package.

“Across cultures, religions, union and nonunion, we all say this bailout was a shame,” said Richard Berg, president of Teamsters Local 743. “If this bailout should go to anything, it should go to the workers of this country.”

Outside the plant, protesters wore stickers and carried signs that said, “You got bailed out, we got sold out.”
Shenoy/AP 06.Dec.08

French President Nicolas Sarkozy held his long-awaited meeting with the Dalai Lama
I told him how important I thought it was to pursue dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities," Sarkozy said after their meeting.
Another idea, espoused by chemist Paul Crutzen, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for his work on the ozone shield, is to scatter masses of sulphur dioxide particles in the stratosphere.
Swathing the world at high altitude, these particles would reflect sunlight, lowering the temperature by a precious degree or thereabouts.
Operation River Freedom Denial

Words by Charles Bowden
Photographs by Julián Cardona


Israel willing to go it alone


There could be no sharper a reminder, nor a more poignant call to action, than the brutal and heinous violence visited upon the Nariman House and the Holtzberg family, living and working in Mumbai on a mission of peace, scholarship, and spiritual guidance.

As those responsible are brought to justice, as we aid and support the victims and their families, as we work to defeat radical extremism and the terror it spawns, let us find strength in knowing that in the face of those who seek to take lives, there are those who seek to give hope and comfort. In the face of those who wish only to destroy...

The IDF is drawing up options for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities 
that do not include coordination with the United States

Israel may attack Iran without US approval
Karma Kosher Conscripts in New-Age Diaspora Seek Refuge in Goa
Israel Preparing to Attack Iran Without US Assistance
At least 20 people have been killed and several more injured 
as a bomb exploded near a Shia mosque in Peshawar
  in the northwest of Pakistan, officials have said.
Israel preparing for strike against Iran: Report
A Tragic End:
Shortly after the terrorist takeover of Chabad House, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered the Indian government assistance in dealing with the attacks and the subsequent investigation. India so far hasn't responded to the offer, Mr. Belotserkovsky said. India and Israel have strong defense cooperation ties, and India has long been a major buyer of Israeli weapons.
One of the assailants, who identified himself as Imran Babar and said his unit contained six militants, used Mr. Holtzberg's cellphone to call a popular Indian TV show on Thursday. In the call, he fumed about a recent visit by Major-General Avi Mizrahi, head of Israel's Ground Forces Command, to the disputed Indian state of Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim area where Indian forces are battling an Islamic insurgency.
Once the commandoes started leaving the building, which seemed to indicate their mission had been successful, cheers erupted in the crowd. Shortly thereafter came the news of the hostages' bodies inside.
Trofimov-Anand/WSJ 28.Aug.08
Israel is drawing up plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and is prepared to launch a strike without backing from the US, it has been reported.
Officials in the Israeli Defence Ministry told the Jerusalem Post that while they prefer to act in consultation with the US, they were preparing plans that would allow them to act in isolation.
"It is always better to coordinate," a senior Defence Ministry official told the newspaper. "But we are also preparing options that do not include coordination."
Some Israeli security officials fear that the Iranian retaliation for a strike on its facilities could include a large-scale missile attack on Israel from several Iranian allies, disruption of oil supplies to the West, and terror attacks against Jewish targets around the world
Frenkel/TimesUK 04.Dec.08
Goyal, Goyal:
Q This is the 9/11 of India. How the President, Washington is taking this seriously after the U.S. 9/11, because what they are saying, we have trained almost 500 people who are ready to strike anywhere in the world, including in the U.S., and they are well trained.

MS. PERINO: Well, we -- India has been the victim of terrorist attacks before, but so has Pakistan. One of the things that is different in this attack is that six American citizens were killed. But you'll remember the terrorist attacks on the Parliament building several years ago fostered a lot of tension between Pakistan and India, as well. They've been able to have cooperative conversations, even though they might be tense. That's the kind of diplomatic solution-making that we're trying to foster here.
White House Press Corps 01.Dec.08
Same Goyal, separate, different, other USgov press thing:
Q Two questions. One, there is a cry throughout India as far as the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and also cry here. Yesterday at the American University, Americans and Indians and Jews all got together, because Americans were the victims. My question is that only Westerners, especially Americans and Jews, Israelis, and British were the target of those terrorist attacks -- so what are we doing now?

MR. STANZEL: Well, as you've seen this week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, as well as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, have been traveling in the region to express our solidarity with the people of India, who have been victims of this attack, as you noted.
There are other, many other countries' citizens who were impacted by this attack. We think it's important to understand everything that occurred, to investigate fully what happened. And we have, working with our partners in India and in Pakistan, countries like us that have seen the real negative impact and the threat of terrorism over the years, we have to work together to make sure that we take on and tackle those challenges and confront the terrorists where they are.

Q And second, according to The Washington Post, and New York Times, and also Indian and American intelligence officials, now there is a clear (inaudible) of Pakistan link - at least two groups in Pakistan. Don't you think India has a right or should strike out those terrorists inside Pakistan?

MR. STANZEL: I will let the assessments about what took place just last week, in terms of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, will let the experts in the intelligence community talk about those linkages. We have always said that countries have the right to protect their citizens, and they should
a green flag on every lamp post:
The city floated on a sea of smiles
The freedom to be raped by Indian soldiers
Surrounded by a sea of green flags
Nanga bhookha
all Indians who are not nanga or bhooka
are and have been complicit
how easily victims can become perpetrators
replace the green flags with saffron ones
Perhaps now that the threat of violence has receded
and there is some space
in which to debate views and air ideas...
Arundhati Roy[remix]/GuardianUk 22.Aug.08

Who’s writing this foreign policy, M. Night Shyamalan?


because the scale of China is still rather small:

"Right now we do not have the courage to invest in financial institutions because we do not know what problems they may have," said Mr Lou.
Helena Cobban/JWN 04.Dec.08


Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I was in the local Food4Less getting some evaporated as opposed to condensed milk, and there was a moment when I turned into the aisle where those things are and an alarm began to go off, in the back of the store behind the doors that separate the customers' back of the store from the working area in the actual back of the store, where there must be an alarm system back there that someone had triggered, a repetitive digital sound like a car alarm, and as I turned and stood scanning the rows of baking items the Christmas carol on the store's sound system blended perfectly at the volume of the alarm from the back of the store, so that the sounds merged and became one sound.
Then yesterday I was at the desk here which is also the kitchen table and roommate #1 was watching television in the living room which is open plan, what sounded like a newscast though it may not have been, and the fish tank, in between where I was and where the television is, was bubbling, and the sounds merged and became one sound.


This picture is here, not to ridicule, but because it shows the madness of someone with a strong compassionate heart who's been forced to betray that compassion - coerced or blackmailed, or both - by pressure she could not withstand.

Duties of the Secretary of State:
These duties — the activities and responsibilities of the State Department—include the following:
  • Serves as the President’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy;
  • Conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs;
    the list goes on
But if Clinton has shown anything during the campaign, when she morphed from establishment to working class candidate, she has an elastic sense of the possible.
Israel’s right to exist, and exist in safety, should never be put into question.

Clinton's Israel and the Middle East index page
It is even more disturbing that the problem appears to have gotten worse. These textbooks don't give Palestinian children an education, they give them an indoctrination," Senator Clinton said.

It is essential to those of us who care deeply about what is happening in and to, Israel, to recognize that Israel's struggle is a struggle on behalf of a future where people will be able to live with peace and security.
Remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
There is possibly no person President-elect Barack Obama considered for secretary of state who is more reliably pro-Israel than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Abramowitz/Washington Post
By making morality purely a question of intent, by training children to see that the internal morality of the family, in healthy families, is based on intent first, then outcome, though this shifts slowly toward outcome over intent in healthy families, the internal morality of the family, which has to be based on intent more than outcome in order to raise children, to allow them mistakes, especially well-intentioned ones, the infantilizing process that Christianity is part of - Christianity as practiced here and now - sustains this, and the post-Christian culture of capitalist hedonism, with its force-fed public morality, which depends on that infantilizing version of Christianity for its validity, the community's moral values manufactured by entertainment corporations, and the healthy rejection of that manufactured morality co-opted and redirected by those corporations or by the use of those same corporate devices in the hands of demagogues and clots of feral mutants, are the family's moral boundaries carried out to the extreme edge of human behavior, the world stage no wider than the living room.
Intention is all that matters.
This takes the weight off what happens, it doesn't matter what happens so much as why. Which means you can be tricked into things, and kept in those tricks, seduced by things that aren't in the rules, and trapped.
No wonder there's so much disdain leveled at the natural world, no wonder the natural world has been stripped down to its bones and now the sounds of even them breaking, because the natural world doesn't recognize the human family as chosen, as special, and will eat it as readily as we eat other families, will allow the human family to be penned up and herded, branded, its sons castrated, the melted tallow of the dead, the fat rendered from the slaughtering houses, fed back to them in streams, to make them fat again. As we do.
No wonder the most dominant and materially successful members of the human family seek to live where the immediate landscape is the natural world, but the natural world held in tight bondage, in total captivity, exhibited in carefully controlled tableaux.
What's most gratifying there isn't the superficial green and symmetry, it's the order, it's the control, the trees pruned and bent to postures of submission and obedient attention, the bushes clipped and trimmed into rigid imposed order, the only "wild" creatures permitted small, harmless, and mostly out of sight.
The message of safety this bound landscape confers answers a deep hunger for security that goes back much farther than language or tools in human history. Which is why it's now the aesthetic of the human communal landscape as well.
This was an outsider's rant until very recently. Eccentric, ill-groomed, unattractive voices and figures, championing something silly and idealistic, green meadows, big wild old trees, la la la la. Nothing practical, nothing central to anyone real - a luxury, not an obligation.
But it was the world itself we were talking about.
Our places in it, and by those places what we are, what we would become, what we have become, and what we're going to become, now.
And because the changes that are ringing down are so immense and threatening it's powerfully important that the moral content of them is almost insignificantly marginal and small.
Because no one has done it "on purpose".
And that's what matters. Whether it was done on purpose or not.
Not whether or not the earth itself will become uninhabitable, but whether or not that condition will be the result of an "accident", or some fiendish plot.
Evil or accident. As if that matters most.
This is why Americans accept traffic mortality rates of close to 50000 every year, year after year, with no complaint.
Because no one gets in wrecks on purpose.
And this is why alcohol has become such a strong scapegoat for traffic accidents generally, the "cause" even though statistically it isn't even present in half of them, much less causing the ones it is.
Because getting drunk is intentional, even sinful, and can be blamed because it's intentionally chosen.
Whereas no one can be blamed for driving to work or to the store. No one is "responsible" for driving to work, even when they could have done something different to get there. That's changing, but not quickly, and it's very late for it.
Grown-ups, in their most hope-filled dreams, want the world to be a better place for their children to raise their own children in, and on through the generations.
Grown-ups want at least, at the very least, that the world still be there for their children to muddle through. We're playing with that now.
Moving toward something like responsibility, then away from it. And the big corporate clusters of combining energy are responding - "green" is getting nauseatingly common as a commercial sound, even as it starts to mean little more than another shopping choice.
But we get confused. And science has now walked us to the threshold of physical immortality, what about that?
We get confused about whether everyone should get to have their children grow up, or just us. Is there a right to that? Is it a universal right, or a privilege that can be denied the unworthy?
No one argues publicly against it but almost everyone lives their lives against it. How much more confusing is it to ask who gets to live forever?
And what is that"we"? We're confused about what that is, what "we" are. Does it mean everybody?
If that's what it means then everybody can't live like this anymore, because there are too many of us living this way now, and we have to stop.
And many people faced with that will push for a reduction in the others, in the people that aren't like them, whether poorer or darker or meaner or less "moral". Some easily determined characteristic that allows the division between saved and lost, between the winners and losers.
Something very suspicious and ugly about the survivor reality shows, the constant drumbeat of winning and losing, closer and closer to the Darwinian contest of life and death but all on camera and the cameras are never threatened with losing, all directed from offstage by the invisible minds and hands the watching children are trained to ignore the presence of, even while they obey its hinted commands. Most of them never once let themselves imagine the camera lens through which they "see" the world.
A big part of me wants to believe that I died already, that this is hell or one of its suburbs, that this much evil can't be all there is to being, there had to have been another place where it wasn't like this, where not even the seeds of this world would be allowed to begin.
This can't be all there is to me being what I am, whatever that is. I must have passed through some kind of threshold to get here, failed some test, fallen, given in, submitted to the darkness.
As opposed to, as was the case in the historical narrative of my actual life, just getting the shit kicked out of you until you don't know what the fuck is happening and don't care, and become small and selfish and incomplete and hungry and pretty much blind.
And Mormons, I have a lot of trouble believing in the ultimate reality of a world in which Mormons have so much wealth and power.
And Scientology.
It's a long list.
And a less big but still pretty substantial part of me keeps insisting that this is all being done simply to make me frustrated, me personally, so that I'll take on the burdens and responsibilities of what some invisible but influential presence wants done but doesn't want to carry the blame for, doesn't want its children to bear the weight of, even as they enjoy its beneficial - to them - outcome.
Hillary Clinton as Obama's Secretary of State isn't making me feel any better about anything.
This is from Huffington as well, but the links have been altered:

Karolina Kurkova's Missing Bellybutton Explained (PHOTOS) Victoria's Secret angel Karolina Kurkova surprised onlookers with her...


a free girl who can decide things for herself:

I first went to prison on September 23 of this year and served 35 days. By the time you read this, I will be back inside for another 21. This is going to be my life for the next two years: in for three weeks, out for one. I am 19 years old now and by the time the authorities give up hounding me, I will be 21. The reason? I refused to do my military service for the Israeli army.

I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service. As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of my life that I never even questioned it.
Omer Goldman/FT 22.Nov.08
via RW

Who are Somalia's pirates?
Today's pirates are mainly fighters for Somalia's many warlord factions, who have fought each other for control of the country since the collapse of the Siad Barre government in 1991.

The pirates mainly work for themselves.
This is known as "subsistence piracy", and is very popular in the maritime areas of the developing world, especially toward the lower parts of it.
Subsistence pirates are in it for themselves, they mainly "work for themselves", so rather than gold or other negotiable commodities they attacks ships in the main that carry the things they need, like rice and flour and citrus fruits. Also millions of gallons of oil.
The idea that people who sell things to other people, who go and get things the other people want badly enough to buy them at some risk though at a bargain price, say like from a pirate, the idea that those people, the pirates the ones doing the going and getting and the selling, could be said in a very commensensical way to "work for" the other people, the ones doing the buying who intend to end up with the bounty, the booty, the goods, the plunder, the swag, the pillage, when the deal is done - the idea that the pirates work for them, for whomever they deliver their ill-gotten gains to, or intend to so deliver, this idea is laughable. Because it's just "the market". There's really nothing there but "the market".
See the great men laughing at this idea - or sending their trusted servants out into the street to do their laughing at it for them.
That the Somali pirates might be being used, the way the more psychotic soldiers of say the Colombian military or the Colombian paramilitaries or the Guatemalan military back in the 80's or El Salvador etc or in Pando in Bolivia right now, the way the official savagery is contained by its masters long enough to be directed as down the barrel of a gun aimed like a projectile as like bullets to cut down the worse-than-slaves of the Orwellianly named free market worse-than because they have to feed and shelter themselves and they're free to compete with their relatives for a place in the line of chains available to feed their children or not, who come up from that toward equality and begin to demand it and have to be mown down like weeds exterminated like vermin in order for the good to survive and that's determined the good is determined by how much wealth has been bestowed on the good themselves, wealth is a way of measuring virtue when bestowed by the just hand of the Father and what better tool what better weapon to mow them down than these self-motivated but obedient psychopaths, who thrill at the power the horrendous injustice of what they're doing brings, the power of terrifying unarmed innocents with death and worse - that in their smaller less numerically violent Arrr-mateys stylee way these Somali pirates are being used by the same men who have manipulated and midwifed all the other weird shit that's been happening for a while now into the world.
Not so much as that the Somali pirates are as crazy and cruel as the Colombian right-wing's thugs but that they get paid from the same purse and out of the same pocket, indirect or unconnected as it might be made to look.


Chongo, él lo dice:

And our proposal has been very clear. There is not going to be zero coca leaves growing. Therefore, we have to actually control the coca growing, but we have a very small portion, per family. It’s forty meters by forty meters—it’s not very big—per family. It’s very, very small. It’s just like the backyard of anybody’s house. And that will allow us to have a self-control, the social control. Even though we do have promise, this is how we are fighting. And we will fight drug trafficking with or without the help of the US, because this is an obligation my government has to fight against the evil that it happens, it causes on human beings.
If there was a meeting of the G20, I can imagine that they are the only ones who are responsible for the financial crisis, so they have to meet, because they are responsible. Well, as I say, we all have the right to meet in groups, but this is a world problem. And the government of the US and the president of the assembly should actually call for a meeting to listen to everybody and to find solutions all together to the problem.
And according to the measures that the G20 decide upon, they are investing millions and millions of dollars, but these millions only go to the people who caused the crisis, not to the people that need the money. So, those millions of dollars should go to the victims and not to the people who caused the crisis. And so, the people that had mortgages, who couldn’t pay, or loans, or people who lost their employment
We also nationalized Entel, which is the telecommunications company. It was in the hands of a transnational. This company invested only where there was more population and to be able to have a lot of clients. But this is a human right. Communication is a human right, as I was saying before. You have to go into the rural areas. It doesn’t matter if you lose money, because we have to give them telecommunications.
...and they have called me monkey, animal, not capable of anything... 

the city is less safe as a result:

While the letters do not specifically identify the target of the eavesdropping requests, Mr. Mukasey said that the Police Department had sought authority in one of them to eavesdrop on “numerous communications facilities” without providing an adequate basis for their requests.

Under the law, the government must in most cases obtain a warrant from the special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before it can begin electronic monitoring of people suspected of spying or terrorism. The requests are subjected to sharp scrutiny, first by lawyers at the F.B.I., then by lawyers at the Justice Department, and finally by the court itself.

New York’s department, as a local police force, cannot apply directly, but must seek warrants through the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. The police want those agencies to expedite their requests, and say that the federal agencies unfairly blocked the city’s applications for surveillance warrants, first in June and then in September. The disagreement, in which the Bush Justice Department has taken a more cautious approach than police officials, is something of an unexpected twist
The inability of the Justice Department to resolve the conflict may mean that the matter ends up in the hands of Eric H. Holder Jr., who is expected to be nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to become the next attorney general. Based on Mr. Obama’s statements during the campaign, it appears unlikely that his administration would adopt a more permissive attitude toward eavesdropping than the Bush administration.
Mr. Mukasey, in a seven-page retort, dated Oct. 31, dismissed what he called Mr. Kelly’s “alarming conclusions” as factually incorrect. Mr. Mukasey wrote that Mr. Kelly was in effect proposing that the Justice Department and the F.B.I. disregard the law...

Johnston/Rashbaum/NYTimes 19.Nov.08

enormous mansions -- in Tuscan, French chateau, Spanish and modern styles -- set on large, flat lots of 1 to 3.5 acres

"It's a super unique enclave that gives you complete security, living among your peers," said Mauricio Umansky, a real estate agent with Hilton & Hyland. "From every aspect, it's just fantastic."
Medavoy, who considers her 11,000-square-foot East Coast traditional to be the small house on the block, sang the praises of Beverly Park, calling it a "wonderful place to live, with really terrific families."

"We're going to have to add extra security," she said. "You have to stop them, know who's coming through. We videotape them. Then you have the patrol cars." Referring to Israel's famed national intelligence service, she added: "It's like Mossad security here."


Terror Suspect Mentally Unfit for Trial :

The U.S. government has not found a "shred of evidence" that a Pakistani woman accused of trying to kill a U.S. soldier and FBI agents was abducted or tortured
Dr. Afia Siddiqui, a highly educated researcher who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, for about 10 years and did her PhD in genetics, mysteriously disappeared from Karachi in March 2003 along with her three children. Since then, US and Pakistani officials have continuously denied any knowledge about her.

It was only after British prisoner Moazzam Begg mentioned her in his book The Enemy Combatant that Human Rights Organizations and activists, British journalist Yvonne Ridley and MP Lord Nazir in particular, raised voice for Dr. Aafia kept in solitary confinement and her three children. A specially disturbing part of this story is that fate of her three children, aged between one month and 7 years at the time of her kidnapping, is still unknown.
A US judge on Wednesday ordered further psychiatric evaluation for a Pakistani woman he says is mentally incompetent to stand trial on charges of attempted murder of US officers in Afghanistan.
Judge Richard Berman told the federal court in New York that Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated neuroscientist extradited in August from Afghanistan, is "not currently competent to proceed."
Judging from an initial medical report, "the course of treatment should continue," he said.
Siddiqui, 36, is in custody at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
Her lawyer, Elizabeth Fink, told the court that Siddiqui is "hallucinating" about her family.

"She believes she lives with two of the children," Fink said.

One of those children is in fact dead and the other has disappeared,
One of the Saudis wrote a $20,000 check that same day to a third Saudi who had listed the same address as Aafia Siddiqui, a microbiologist who is believed to have been a U.S. operative for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. A Saudi spokesman said the wire transfers had no connection to Siddiqui and were used to pay educational and medical expenses for Saudi families in the United States. But bureau officials say the matter remains under active investigation...[Apr.2004]
Islamabad, Aug 1 [2008]: Islamabad is abuzz with rumours about the presence of a Pakistani doctor, Afia Siddiqui, in one of Afghanistan’s most notorious prisons in Bagram.

Known as “Prisoner No. 650” and the “Grey Lady”, Siddiqui was allegedly handed over to the US six years ago for her links with the al Qaida.

While home secretary Syed Kamal Shah and other senior home ministry officials have denied the presence of such a lady in Bagram, media reports continue to suggest that she was extradited to the Afghan jail from Karachi with her children. She continues to stay in the prison in humiliating conditions.

“She is subjected to physical and sexual torture by American troops in the jail,” Urdu-language newspaper Jang reported
He was passing through Boston on his way to New York where he planned to speak to Aafia Siddiqui's lawyer in order to put some pressure on the US authorities to allow the sister to be hospitalized and treated for her gunshot wound as well as severe post-traumatic stress. In a phone conversation the next day, the Honorable Lord Ahmed shared with me how he came to know about her tragic fate.

This summer, probably during their fact-finding mission to Darfur reported earlier in my blog, the famed reporter Yvonne Ridley approached Lord Ahmed to ask if he could find out anything about the legendary mystery of the "Grey Lady of Bagram."

When Pakistani detainee Moazzem Begg was released without charge, he reported to the media that he still felt haunted by a woman's sobbing cries and hysterical screams coming from Cell #650 at the US-run torture den in Afghanistan. Saudis liberated from Bagram during the daring Taliban prison break-out also reported that they had seen her.
Dr. Fauzia Siddique, sister of Pakistani Doctor Aafia Siddique who is currently detained in US has said that the remarks of US Judge has confirmed that Dr. Aafia faced severe torture during her detention.

Talking to a private TV channel, Dr. Fauzia Siddique stated that the remarks are not surprising for us, however, it has proved that Dr. Aafia has been facing severe torture for the last five years.
Aafia Siddiqui had been missing for more than a year when the FBI put her photographs on its website. The press was told that she was an Al Qaeda facilitator. After an FBI conference, a newspaper broke the story linking the woman involved in the 2001 diamond trade in Liberia to Aafia. The family's attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, says the allegation was a blessing in disguise because it places Siddiqui somewhere at a specific time. She says she can prove Siddiqui was in Boston that week.
You can't stop saying it, it has to be said over and over until they're gone from the world or we are. Saying "terror suspect" means "terrorist" means she's already guilty means she deserved whatever was done to her.
A mother kidnapped with her three children.
Tortured for years.
Hey there.
President Smokey has announced he's shutting down Guantanamo right away. Which is good, that's good. Nothing about Bagram though. Or Diego Garcia. Or that place whatever that place in Poland was called, is called.
Plus places I never heard of and most Americans don't even know what, what, WHAT?
It's not a mistake, it's evil.
Bagram is evil, it's not a mistake, it's evil.
Guantanamo isn't a mistake it's a manifestation of evil. Abu Ghraib, not a mistake.
Which means the people who are fighting that are fighting evil.
Which means oh my god.

Aching to go green but don't know where to start?

As its clock runs out, the Bush administration also is trying to open-up drilling all over the Rockies and Alaska, to green-light oil shale leasing, and to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Though sad, it's no surprise, coming as it does from the same crowd that designed a misguided national energy policy in secret meetings with the oil, gas and coal industries.

The BLM didn't just try to slip the audacious Utah lease maneuver past the American people on an historic election day, it actually hid the ball from its sister agency, the National Park Service, and then rejected the Service's request for more time to review the scheme.
Redford/HuffPo 17.Nov.08
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve (SIWR) is a wetland conservation property and a tribute to Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.
The 135,000 hectare property, in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, is home to a set of three important spring fed wetlands which provide a critical water source to threatened habitat, provide permanent flow of water to the Wenlock River, and is home to rare and vulnerable plants and wildlife.
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve (SIWR) was acquired as part of the National Reserve System Programme for the purpose of nature conservation with the assistance of the Australian Government.
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve (SIWR) is being threatened by strip mining. Cape Alumina Pty Ltd has lodged mining lease applications which include approximately 12,300 ha of the Reserve. Cape Alumina company documents indicate an intention to mine 50 plus million tons over a 10 year period commencing 2010. The greater part of this mine is on SIWR.
The proposed area for mining on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve contains the headwaters of irreplaceable waterways and unique biodiversity which will not recover after mining operations are finished.
Save Steve's Place


Chennai, Nov 16: Leading Tamil actor Vijay and his fans organisations on Sunday observed a eight-hour fast to express his solidarity for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils in Chennai.
The eight-hour long agitation was inaugurated by Vijay's father and veteran director S A Chandrasekar.
Talking to reporters, Vijay said similar fast was being organised by his fans in 37 places across the state. "It is my effort to show my support for the suffering Tamils in Sri Lanka. I am happy and consider myself privileged to be part of the agitation".
Tamil film hero Vijay today observed a day''s fast along with his fans, throughout Tamil Nadu, for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Vijy, who had earlier participated in the fast organised by the South Indian Artistes Association and later by the technicians of Tamil film industry, conducted the fast agitation today in deferernce to the wishes of his innumerable fans.
Ilayathalapathy Vijay started his Unnavrutham (fast) to protest against the violence against Tamils in Sri Lanka today (Nov 16) morning in front of the Chepauk government guest house in Chennai.
From early morning, a huge contingent of Vijay fans converged at the venue in mini buses, autos, SUV's and two wheelers with party blue and white flag flying high.

The Tamil-controlled north-east of Sri Lanka thunders "day and night" under bombardment from the forces of the Sinhalese government in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo as they attempt to destroy Tamil autonomy. Against this backdrop, "a great human tragedy" is also "exploding", according to Fr James Pathinathan of St Theresa's Church in Kilinochchi, the administrative capital of the de facto government of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
India Tells Sri Lanka to Protect Tamils as War Concern Mounts
Eelam previously here, here


Wow, look at that, Hare said. Now, that...

A record number of felons are seeking presidential pardons or commutations as President George W. Bush enters the final months of his term, creating one of the largest backlogs in clemency applications in recent history.
Possible investigations into the Bush administration's interrogation and domestic surveillance policies have raised the theoretical question of whether Bush will attempt to grant a blanket, preemptive pardon to members of his administration.
More than 2,300 people applied for a pardon or commutation in fiscal 2008, which ended Sept. 30, the largest number for any single year since at least 1900, according to Justice Department Statistics.
Michels/ABC/commondreams 17.Nov.08
The September and October mass distribution of the anti-Muslim documentary, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, paid for by the mysterious Clarion Fund, has numerous links to the Orthodox Jewish organization Aish HaTorah.
Clifton/Lobelog 10.Nov.08
AMY GOODMAN: “Criminal”? Explain.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, there’s a few elements now that are being described as illegal that we’re finding out. First of all, the equity deals that were negotiated with the largest banks and also some smaller banks, representing $250 billion worth of the bailout money, this is the deal to inject equity into the banks in—to inject capital into the banks in exchange for equity.
The idea was to address the so-called credit crunch to get banks lending again. The legislation that enabled this was quite explicit that it had to encourage lending.
 Barney Frank, who was one of the architects of that legislation, has said that it violates the act if the money is not going to that purpose and is instead going to bonuses, is instead going to dividends, going to salaries, going to mergers. He said that violates the acts, i.e. it’s illegal.
But what we know is that it’s going precisely to those purposes. It is going to bonuses. It is going to shareholders. And it is not going to lending.
The banks have been quite explicit about this. Citibank has talked about using the money to buy other banks.

Then there’s other aspects of this that are borderline illegal.
DemNow! 17.Nov.08
Fishermen in the Gaza Strip say they are regularly being harassed and even shot at by the Israeli navy. A ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas militants last June has not led to any let up in the actions by the Israeli navy. If anything, say the fishermen, the harassment has only increased. Israel contends that it is simply trying to protect its people.
Beauchemin/RNW 17.Nov.08
And on Thursday, the United Nations announced it had run out of the food essentials it supplies to 750,000 desperately needy Gazans. "This has become a blockade against the United Nations itself," a spokesman said.

In a further blow, Israel’s large Bank Hapoalim said it would refuse all transactions with Gaza by the end of the month, effectively imposing a financial blockade on an economy dependent on the Israeli shekel. Other banks are planning to follow suit, forced into a corner by Israel’s declaration in Sept 2007 of Gaza as an "enemy entity".

There are likely to be few witnesses to Gaza’s descent into a dark and hungry winter. In the past week, all journalists were refused access to Gaza, as were a group of senior European diplomats. Days earlier, dozens of academics and doctors due to attend a conference to assess the damage done to Gazans’ mental health were also turned back.

Israel has blamed the latest restrictions of aid and fuel to Gaza on Hamas’s violation of a five-month ceasefire by launching rockets out of the Strip. But Israel had a hand in shattering the agreement: as the world was distracted by the US presidential elections, the army invaded Gaza, killing six Palestinians and provoking the rocket fire.
Cook/National/uruknet 16.Nov.08
John Brennan and Jami Miscik, both former intelligence officials under George Tenet, are leading Barack Obama’s review of intelligence agencies and helping make recommendations to the new administration. Brennan has supported warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition, and Miscik was involved with the politicized intelligence alleging weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the war on Iraq.
DemNow! 17.Nov.08
“Wow, look at that,” Hare said. “Now, that man might be a psychopath. That was psychopathic behavior, certainly—to put others in the intersection in danger in order to realize your own goals.”
But the problem is that “psychopathic behavior”—egocentricity, for example, or lack of realistic long-term goals—is present in far more than one per cent of the adult male population. This blurriness in the psychopathic profile can make it possible to see psychopaths everywhere or nowhere.
Another hypothesis is that psychopaths lack fear of personal injury and, more important, moral fear—fear of punishment.

John Seabrook/New Yorker 10.Nov.08
Order 17 is a document little-read today, yet it essentially granted to every foreigner in the country connected to the occupation enterprise the full freedom of the land, not to be interfered with in any way by Iraqis or any Iraqi political or legal institution. Foreigners--unless, of course, they were jihadis or Iranians--were to be "immune from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their Sending States," even though American and coalition forces were to be allowed the freedom to arrest and detain in prisons and detention camps of their own any Iraqis they designated worthy of that honor.
Tom Englehart/Juan Cole
I receive many emails. A lot of them are pure crap. A lot of them preach to me about love and forgiveness. A lot of them are blaming the victim. A lot of them dictate to the victim what words, what feelings, what thoughts she must or must not have. A lot of them talk about the victim being an angry bitter hateful thing. But none of them, NONE of them acknowledge FULL responsibility. None.
Layla Anwar/ArabWomanBlues/uruknet 16.Nov.08
Do not be seduced into thinking of torture as harsh interrogation. The hour is late and we must confront the torturers among us.

If you are the slightest bit concerned that we have crushed freedom here and in other lands in the name of freedom, be more concerned. We have.

Never forget or let your children forget that it was all a lie, told with purpose.
Marc Ash/truthout 17.Nov.08
The Business Journal's fastest growing private business is Coding Source, which converts X-rays and other medical procedures into insurance codes so doctors and hospitals can get paid. The company had revenues last year of $18.5 million and a three-year growth rate of 417 percent.
LBO 17.Nov.08
TiVo, Domino's to let subscribers order [pizza] through TV



Already, there have been complaints from the left regarding Obama's choice of Rep. Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff. Some liberals have complained that Emanuel was too supportive of the Iraq war, too tied to Wall Street and too connected to entrenched interests to represent change - or the views of the left - in the White House, where he worked in the Clinton administration.
Dan Schnur, a former GOP strategist who now directs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Urban Politics at the University of Southern California, said they may have reason to be concerned.
"Rahm Emanuel ... understands the perils of a newly elected president who intends to govern from a centrist force and how that president can be pulled leftward," he told the Brown Institute conference Wednesday.


On Thursday, CodePink members hit five consulates in San Francisco - those representing Bolivia, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and Iran - delivering flowers, apple pies and cards with a message as much for the president-elect as for the leaders of those nations: "Yes We Can ... Live in Peace."
SFChronicle/commondreams 14.Nov.08


Today is World Toilet Day.
No really:

Lack of proper toilets and sanitation kills about 1.8 million people a year, most of them children, but Kiwis can do something to improve these appalling statistics, said TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup.
ScoopNZ 14.Nov.08

no, no. I want it to just be a camera:

DB: One of the things we're all wondering is, who will fill out Obama's cabinet? But, throwing out all of the actual cabinet positions for now, if you could assemble an all-star environmental advisory board for Barack Obama?

TF: I wouldn't want to get into that. I think there are a lot of good people and I wouldn't want to leave anybody out.

I think the big challenge for Obama on this is finding someone...
ThFriedman iv/HuffPo 11.Nov.08
A little self-quoting, from June just past:

"Far more surreal was Thomas Friedman's hyping his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded on CSPAN's BookTV.
I don't want to get lengthy on either topic right at the moment, but a thought I had earlier today, under trees I knew well in a park I played in as a boy many years ago, was how much there must be out there now - the debilitating sense of hopelessness hitting the best of us, the clearest-eyed, the most knowledgeable.
Friedman comes on like this is all fresh news and he's in on the ground floor, ready for the green revolution. But I was hearing people talk about global warming inducing catastrophic climate change back in the 80's. The mantra of "We need to do something now, before it's too late" began then, or even more marginally, before then. [the first Earth Day was in 1970]
Where are those voices today? I don't mean voices like that, I mean those same people. How false to pretend they were never there.
They were right, this is obvious, but there's a mask on the public face of things, a rigid mask that doesn't allow that kind of acknowledging, that kind of historical deference. It has to own everything the common folk think about the world - it has to hand-feed knowledge to them.
What's under that mask?
Friedman's being hyped steadily and consistently as central man in the conflict, a peerless warrior on the balancing edge of the green transformation.
But he has peers, he isn't peer-less, only they're mostly running around the boardrooms of Wall Street 
He's presented and presenting himself as a problem-and-solution node, a lightning rod for positive environmental change, a calm far-seeing leader of the new paradigm etc etc etc etc; which is mostly all a lie. 
Besides that he sounds like M. Crichton or that Toffler person - all ego and scientifically dumbed-up common folk vocabulary in thought strings Ayn Rand would have found comforting.
It's an especially crafty lie, because it's not saying anything false. It's a lie because of what it leaves out.
The New York Times for years intentionally blocked by trivializing and marginalizing the "environmental" bad news, did that for decades, delivering it in lukewarm non-committal style mostly  with "quotes" around it, making things sound as though there was still a lot of information yet to be gathered  and processed (global warming -  just a theory!)  and everything was too complicated still, no solid conclusions were yet possible. 
That was a lie. Obviously now. Straight up lie intentionally told to keep the big machines running.
Delivered to a wide audience at the same time there were reputable scientists standing up all around in growing numbers, we're talking the 80's here, and those guys and their interpreters and translators in the responsible press were ignored by important at the time public information systems like the NYTimes.
Many of them, those reputable science and environment voices, are still out there, here, wherever. Here in the sense of alive and working, able to be called on to speak. 
Friedman's role is to act as though we're all just waking up now, together, and he just happens to be in that central slot, and just happens to have the backbone and clarity of vision to lead us forward into the bright green future.
It's a lot like Larry Summers or one of his cohort being brought in to fix the economy.
Who should tell us, who can lead us?
Friedman doesn't want to "get into that", doesn't want to "leave anybody out".
He doesn't want to be associated, doesn't want the affinities made plain, doesn't want to publicly commit to supporting the big money beards and stooges waiting in the wings. Because the scam isn't set up all the way yet.
Friedman doesn't have time or inclination to talk about traditional indigenous attitudes toward land and water, toward sky, toward obligation and stewardship, our responsibilities to the wholeness of the place we live our lives in and pass on to those who come after.
He certainly isn't telling people to read Aldo Leopold. Or even mentioning prominently, from his highly visible platform, anyone above him in the chain of knowledgable minds.
There's a lot of voices already there, people like Wendell Berry, Rachel Carson, Barry Lopez, Bill McKibben, to name a random handful among many others who've written in the common tongue about these complex and dangerous things, long before Friedman jumped up and started pretending to be a revolutionary.
But he's too busy now to point to any of them, too committed to the task at hand, Thomas Friedman's too preoccupied with saving the world to throw attention toward anyone else whose stature and credentials by contrast would make his current grab for prominence in the green revolution look like the grasping opportunism it really is.
Unlike Neil Young, who has no need whatsoever for more fame and fortune, who doesn't need to create a spotlight for himself if he wants some attention. Neil Young who's spent most of his professional life juggling the risk of looking like a self-indulgent fool with the chance to conduct, in the sense of having pass through your being, numinous inspiration of the highest order, and raw human passion at its fullest and most honest.
He's got a piece in Huffington today that says among other clear pragmatically solid earnest things:
It is time to change and our problems can facilitate our solutions. We can no longer afford to continue down Detroit's old road. The people have spoken. They do not want gas guzzlers (although they still like big cars and trucks). It is possible to build large long-range vehicles that are very efficient. People will buy those vehicles because they represent real change and a solution that we can live with.The government must take advantage of the powerful position that exists today. The Big 3 are looking for a bailout. They should only get it if they agree to stop building autos that contribute to global warming now. The stress on the auto manufacturers today is gigantic. In order to keep people working in their jobs and keep factories open, this plan

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