Up late working on a website. I will be up early to move Katie and Jenny (and Mikey and Robyn). Saturday will be moving so I will probably not be back until Sunday. I had a great musical adventure today that I will mention Sunday. And TestingTesting will be this Monday.
I collect pigs. Fortunately, only one of them was a live pig and I quickly returned that little sucker. I have pig salt and pepper shakers, pig towels, pig pins, pig bottles, pig carvings, pig soap, pig hats, well...you get the idea. It's amazing what different things get made in the shape of pigs. They are interesting animals.
Sometimes, standing in the small wood that shields my house from the north, I whisper the word 'Pigs!' Within a second, bursting from the laurels, alert and obedient as no dog could be, comes a pair of Gloucester Old Spot gilts to nuzzle my hand. Or sometimes, if I am late with their afternoon bucket of scraps, they break out of their enclosure and hurtle across to bang their rumps against the kitchen door. As I contemplate these animals, my mind's eye fills with placid agricultural visions. More and extensive areas of the woods are cleared of brambles and brush. My cow begins to produce milk and the pigs take the surplus, like a Denmark in miniature; or they are turned out when the corn is cut to glean the spilled grain; or when the orchard is up, they manure the trees and eat the insect-tainted fruit. In this beautiful and frictionless economy (in the old Xenophontic or Aristotelian sense of household rather than state management, which is, properly, political economy), the pig is the heart and soul, the wild card, the blockbuster, the Maxim gun. Indeed, to me a wood without pigs is like a ballroom without women.
thanks to Ethel the Blog
They let Al Martin out of his cage again.
The new Bush dictatorship is in full swing. Bush just signed a bill wherein the United States no longer has to provide a civilian trial for anyone who should stand accused of committing a terrorist act against the United States. Instead the government will now try said individuals in a "special closed military court." In this trial, the defendants will not even be allowed to present any exculpatory evidence that the adjudicating military body should deem "contrary to the security of the State or the domestic tranquility of the people."
I love the way Bill O'Reilly announced it on Fox News. Our new Leader of Pro-Government Media, Bill O'Reilly, in conjunction with this announcement, said that the American armed forces should be praised for their defeat of the Taliban in Kabul and that this action now sends a message to the world that the US military "can kill any individuals, groups, organizations or parties hostile to the security of the United States."
thanks to Ethel the Blog
Afghanistan - America's tar baby
Afghanistan – as the armies of the West are about to realise – is not a country. You can't "occupy" or even "control" Afghanistan because it is neither a state nor a nation.
Nor can we dominate Afghanistan with the clichés now being honed by our journalists. We may want a "broad-based" government, but do the Afghans? We may regard cities as "strategic" – especially if reporters are about to enter them – but the Afghans have a different perspective on their land.
As for the famous loya jirga, a phrase which now slips proudly off the lips of cognoscenti, it just means "big meeting". Even more disturbingly, it is a uniquely Pashtun phrase and thus represents the tribal rules of only 38 per cent of Afghan society.
The real problem is that Afghanistan contains only tiny minorities of the ethnic groups which constitute its population. Thus, the 7 million Pashtuns in the country are outnumbered by the 12 million Pashtuns in Pakistan, the 3.5 million Tajiks in Afghanistan are outnumbered by the 6 million Tajiks in Tajikistan. The 1.3 million Uzbeks are just a fraction of the 23 million Uzbeks in Uzbekistan. There are 600,000 Turkmens in Afghanistan – but 3.52 million in Turkmenistan. So why should the Afghan Pashtuns and Tajiks and Uzbeks and Turkmens regard Afghanistan as their country? Their "country" is the bit of land in Afghanistan upon which they live.
thanks to also not found in nature
Hollywood on Parade
I've always liked Robert Mitchum. Now there is a biography of him - Robert Mitchum : Baby I Don't Care. My younger readers probably have no idea of who Robert Mitchum is but they might be more intrerested if they knew he was busted for marijuana in the 1950s.
Again, for my younger readers, "Young" is Loretta Young, a major star starting to fade about the time this movie was made.
A devout Catholic, Young frowned on unseemly behavior of all kinds and particularly disapproved the use of bad language in the workplace. It was generally understood that there was to be no swearing by anyone within miles of Loretta’s delicate ears, a tall order considering that in the movie business even the child actors cursed like sailors. To enforce this edict, Loretta instituted her infamous "curse box," requiring an immediate donation (to be forwarded to one of her Catholic charities) by anyone on the set uttering a forbidden epithet. This provoked one of the most durable of Mitchum anecdotes. In the pithiest version of the story, an assistant explained to Bob how the curse box worked, with its sliding scale of penalties.
"It’s fifty cents for ‘hell,’ a dollar for a ‘damn,’ a dollar-fifty for ‘shit’—"
"What I want to know is," said Mitchum, in a voice that could be heard throughout Oregon, "what does Miss Young charge for a ‘fuck’?"
Paul Strand, 1890 - 1976. Born November 16. Happy birthday Paul!
A Year in the Life
For a couple of years in his youth, however, Strand was a radical Modernist who made one startling picture after another, progressing in giant leaps that apparently occurred month to month. With dazzling speed he went from being a promising imitator to discovering dozens of avenues that would be explored by others in the ensuing decades. "Paul Strand: Circa 1916" is the appropriately dazzling record of that period, gathering for the first time nearly all his surviving work of the time--a mere 60-odd photographs--into a sort of time-lapse film of the process of discovery. If you have ever wondered what inspiration might look like graphically represented, this is the show to see.
The President Within
Harry Truman was a great man. And I believe we are seeing the makings of a similar greatness in George W. Bush, the bantamy, plain-spoken, originally uninspiring man who through a good heart and a good head, through gut and character, simple well-meaningness and love of country is, in his own noncompelling way, doing the right tough things at a terrible time.
thanks to Drudge Report
This is simply delusional. Peggy Noonan must be living in an alternate universe. But how did she get published in this one?
This will take you to some strange places. Make sure the sound is on.
thanks to glish.com
The dog trots freely in the street
I had meant to link to it but I got sidetracked. It probably was that reality thing again. I've been finishing one web site and trying to finish another. Life and that war and that dictator thing keep distracting me. Then, tonight, I see that Eliot Gelwan, at Follow Me Here, used some lines from it too. Read it. It's a wonderful poem.
I discovered Ferlinghetti in the 60s. My most treasured book of poems was A Coney Island of the Mind. He was my favorite Beat poet. Still is.
I thought I would see what else was out there on Ferlenghetti so I went to Google and here are some things I found.
It's hard to explain how breathtaking I found Sometimes during eternity was when I read it as a young man shaking off religion.
Ferlinghetti was more than a poet. He ran one of the most famous book stores in the world - City Lights Books. The City Lights Books web site is just chock full of stuff. It has A Brief History of Lawrence Ferlinghetti as well as his Poetry as News columns.
And it has his latest poem.
And the Wright brothers said they thought they had invented
And one last one.
And now our government
Craig's Special of the Day is Sara Vaughan. Every time I hear her I always say "I need to get some of her music!" I've been saying that for years.
I immediately downloaded How long has this been going on? The music is sooooo tasty! Sarah Vaughan is backed up by Oscar Peterson on piano, Joe Pass on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and Louie Bellson on drums.
I just love instant gratification.
Black or tie-dye? That was the fashion question at yesterday's multimedia memorial to the Merriest Prankster, the Impromptu Impresario, the Great Northwest Novelist and master of Now-ism, Ken Kesey, who went to his grave in a casket painted in psychedelic swirls of neon color.
After a tearful singing of "Amazing Grace," and an eloquent reading from "Sometimes a Great Notion," pallbearers carried the psychedelic casket down the aisles of the old theater to the street, where Furthur II, the latter-day knockoff of the original bus, waited in all its painted glory, with mandalas and doves, an oo-oga horn and a jester hood ornament.
As the body departed for a private service at the family farm, visitors clumped outside to cheer, some waving a memorial service program with Kesey's words at the bottom:
"The answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you'll always be seeking."
George W. Bush - Dictator
thanks to BookNotes
Even William Safire, former Nixon and Agnew speechwriter, is starting to get worried.
Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts.
thanks to Scripting News
And now, thanks to an executive order, those of us who don't hold American citizenship -- visitors, green card holders, legal aliens, illegal aliens -- can forget all about the civil liberties that go with due process in the American justice system.
People of my generation shuddered at Costa Gavras' film Z, which depicted what can happen in a civilized society like Greece when the military takes over the so-called "justice" system. All of us were outraged when Alberto Fujimori's Peru introduced trial by anonymous military judges. We rail against the Chinese system of dragging dissenters before rigged courts before packing them off for decades of imprisonment. Now we seem to be ready to go down the same road.
thanks to SmirkingChimp.com
A special anti-terrorism committee created in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center will call for creation of a national identification card system, its chairman said Wednesday.
Attorney General John Ashcroft does not read newspapers or watch TV news. Instead, he's briefed by aides. It's possible, then, that Ashcroft does not know that many people don't think of him anymore as the comforting head of the Justice Department but instead as the scariest man in government. I see him as the director of the Office of Homeland Insecurity.
Ever since Sept. 11, Ashcroft has functioned as the real-life equivalent of the prefect of police in "Casablanca" -- rounding up "the usual suspects" and, like him, doing so without the usual legal safeguards. Their exact number is not known nor are their names. They exist in an American gulag -- a term I use with purposeful exaggeration. This is serious stuff.
More recently, Ashcroft broadened his powers to the point where much of the legal community snapped awake. In the name of battling terrorism, he authorized the Bureau of Prisons "to monitor mail or communications with attorneys . . . subject to specific procedural safeguards"(emphasis added). And what are those safeguards? Nothing to trouble a judge about. The feds will decide the matter for themselves.
thanks to SmirkingChimp.com
The really scary part isn't the military courts, the wiretapping of lawyers, or the arrests without charges. We expected that. After all, the Republicans had sent a mob, hired and paid for with American taxpayer dollars, to seize power in the first place. If the GOP was willing to stage a riot in broad daylight to deny Americans their right to vote in Florida, it is hardly surprising they would use Executive Orders to deny Americans their right to a fair trial back in D.C.
No, the scary part is the almost complete silence that has greeted these actions. Americans, understandably shell shocked by one disaster after another, seem unable to as much as complain as one after another of their freedoms are stripped away.
In the face of so little criticism or resistance, one can only speculate how quickly these new powers will be used by the Bush administration to stifle the Republican's domestic opposition. How long before death penalty opponents are swept up by Bush's secret police? When will the first union organizers be arrested without charge? Who will be the first environmentalists to be held without bail?
Actually, none of these scenarios are hypothetical. Leading up to last year's Republican Convention and WTO meetings, American citizens who planned on exercising their first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and freely speak criticisms of their government were arrested in "preemptive strikes" in both Philadelphia and DC. The sad fact is that the police have already used the new powers in the so-called PATRIOT Act ("Puritan Ashcroft Trashes Rights In Orwellian Travesty") to stifle domestic dissent. The new rules simply provide an ex post facto approval for these prior acts.
First they came for the Jews
thanks to Scripting News
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986. Born November 15. Happy birthday Georgia!
Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven't time - and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time.
If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small. So I said to myself - I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it - I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.
...Well, I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't.
all thanks to dack.com
These are links from Carolyn Kay's e-mails about the "Media Cover-Up of Gore Victory".
The Taliban has been soundly defeated and our best friends, the Northern Alliance, have won. Maybe our troubles aren't over though.
Cursor has many links, this morning, on our "victory" and different looks at what this new situation means.
In less than a week, Taliban fighters have been swept from most of northern Afghanistan, including the key cities of Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kunduz, Taloqan, Bamiyan, Jalalabad and the capital Kabul. How did a force that only two months ago controlled most of Afghanistan get swept from the battlefield so quickly, and is the battle over? Evidence suggests it has only just begun.
So, just who are these guys? You can't tell the players without a program.
The patchwork of opposition forces that make up Afghanistan's armed resistance is as convoluted as the ethnic discord that plagues this war-torn nation. United solely in their hatred for the Taliban regime, many of these erstwhile rivals have a long history of enmity. Today, the dream of a representative government rises above dormant hostilities and the nagging rancour between factions has fallen away from the public eye.
Another program for the players outside of Afghanistan.
Without the full cooperation of Afghanistan's neighbors, however, none of these solutions can achieve even a sliver of success. After all, it is they who have provoked and sustained much of the fighting there over the past 20 years. Hence the meeting that was held in New York this morning, between the U.S. secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister, along with representatives of China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, all countries that border Afghanistan. Looking at that list of names, it is hard to feel much optimism: Perhaps only the Israelis, or maybe the Kurds, can claim to have a more unstable and unfriendly group of neighbors. Worse, each of these countries has a different set of interests in Afghanistan, and each has different views of what the Broadly Based Government should be trying to achieve. Here, for the record, is a much abbreviated explanation of everyone's hidden motives.
And what other things might concern us?
Any city freed from tyranny is a place of joy. Yesterday the Afghan capital, Kabul, was joyful. Its people lined the streets cheering the demise of their latest oppressors. As the latter fled south, civilised people cried good riddance and wished the Afghans well. Any change must be for the better. Any change is an opportunity.
I could have written the above paragraph, more or less, in 1996, 1992, 1989, 1973, 1919, 1879, 1841, 1504, 1219 and possibly in 329BC. In each case my optimism would have been misplaced. What is different today? The answer can be seen in nervous Western responses to yesterday’s events. The fall of Kabul was unpredicted. Commanders hate the unpredictable. Until two days ago, the strategy being touted in London and Washington was of a Western ground assault on Afghanistan postponed until the spring. High altitude “psychological” bombing would assuage the Americans’ need for reprisal. This might undermine regional support, but American commanders would not commit troops to a grizzly and possibly inconclusive ground war over the winter. Patience must be the keyword. Something might turn up.
I hope the word ethical never again crosses the lips of a British government minister. Not in modern history can Britain have forged a public alliance with such unsavoury characters as Abdul Rashid Dostum, Abdul Malik, Ismail Khan, Mohammad Ustad Atta and other northerners, mostly financed by heroin. These men have given a new dimension to the word terror. Ahmed Rashid’s admirable book, Taleban, should be avoided by any squeamish coalition partners. Yes, Kabul has been liberated, but as Mr Rashid makes plain, it is by the same gangs whose faction-fighting and brutality gave the Taleban their opportunity seven years ago.
Kabul is also the mother of all traps. In fleeing, the Taleban respected the old saying, that in setting the mousetrap you must leave room for the mouse. Relieved that its troops will not have to fight their way through the Hindu Kush, America and Britain find themselves entering a vacuum. They cannot do nothing. They bombed Kabul. They must offer its citizens security, feed them and bribe the warlords not to seek revenge. In theory the search for Osama bin Laden should be easier. But is “justice against terrorism” best served by his being skinned alive or torched in a well by the Northern Alliance to avenge Masood’s death? Such vengeance was reportedly on the lips of the invaders of Kabul yesterday. Britain and America started a war to capture a man and appear to have captured a country. This was against the advice of states in the region not to inflame radical Muslim sentiment. A Pakistani Afghan whom I trust, told me that “bin Laden had outstayed his welcome even before September 11. He was vulnerable. Enough money would have found him.” Above all, he said, let Pashtuns do this. Do not use Tajiks.
The British and Americans are using Tajiks...
And then there is the women's view.
EVERYONE appears pretty jubilant. Yesterday’s Sunday Times carried the headline: "Britain and US urge jubilant Alliance to march on Kabul". Forgive me if I am unable to share the joy.
I am very sure that no Afghan wants these Northern Alliance rebels to take control of Kabul. They were the people that brought the bloodshed to Kabul, killing people who they thought were communists or Pushtun and so on.
The Taleban were awful as well. Many of them were foreigners, but at least they were not raping women.
People are angry about the World Trade Centre, but they must not allow the Northern Alliance to come to Kabul in the same way as they did in 1992 bringing all those horrors. They may not be the Taleban, but that does not mean they are any better.
On Saltire, Steve MacLaughlin links and recaps many of the threads that have contributed to the reconsideration of what has certainly become a perennial question: "What the hell is a blog, anyway?" As further evidence of this, Jim (of the eponymous jimslog) writes:
The recent flurry of meta weblog discussion continues. Why this is happening now is unclear to me. Is it just the linguistic gas supplied by Chris Locke?
Weblogs are radically nonlinear. In the case of any ordinary webpage, I can give a URL and ask: so whaddya think? The same is pretty much true of a posting or a thread of postings to an email list. But if I say whaddya think about how that [insert x-random-meme here] propagated and amplified through blogspace, it's not so simple. You would've had to have been there to almost sorta feel the reverb.
It'd be a lot like asking: so whaddya think about Islam?
It's not any one post that makes a meme; not any one event that makes a culture. Actually, Winer has it right: it's the cloud of cross-polinating, trans-resonating ideas that has developed in blogspace that makes blogspace different from the web that came before -- and that will create the web that comes after whatever it is we're doing here.
RageBoy has had his blog for awhile. He finally woke up.
Links to museums that have Breugel images. Life in the mid 1500s. A little 16th century eye candy.
In the period since the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the United States has undergone a radical transformation in the structure of the government, in the relationship between the people and the police and armed forces, and in the legal and constitutional framework.
The White House has assumed vast new powers for internal repression, establishing by executive order an Office of Homeland Security that is not subject to either congressional oversight or any vote on the personnel appointed to run it. An all-encompassing political police agency is coming into being, through the passage of an “anti-terror” law that effectively amalgamates the FBI and CIA and abolishes the longstanding separation between overseas spying and domestic policing.
Side by side with the bombing of Afghanistan, the Bush administration has declared that there is a second front in the war, the war at home. The federal government issues vague and unsubstantiated “terror alerts,” which fuel anxiety while providing no protection to the public. Government spokesmen urge the population to get used to measures like random police searches and roadblocks as a permanent feature of life. National Guard troops patrol the airports, harbors, bridges, tunnels and even the US Capitol.
Deposed Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani will return to the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday to pronounce himself the head of territories now under the control of the anti-Taliban opposition, a senior Afghan envoy here said.
"He will lead the provinces freed from the Taliban and also head the task of freeing provinces now under the control of the Islamist militia," said the ambassador for the Afghan government-in-exile in Dushanbe, Said Ibragim Khikmat, who said he had recenetly spoken to Rabbani. The ambassador said he had earlier spoken to Rabbani, who had previously told some of his other associates on Tuesday that he had no plans to enter Kabul.
I would guess that Rabbani isn't acting with Bush's blessing. But there is a power vacumm and power abhors a vacuum.
From Ethel the Blog:
DON DURITO OF THE LACANDON
A US warplane dropped at least two bombs on the Afghan capital Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday morning, sparking a large fire in the southeast of the city, residents said.
One of the buildings targeted was the office of the Qatari-based satellite television channel, Al-Jazeera, which has broadcast video-taped messages from alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden and his deputies since the September 11 atrocities in New York and Washington.
thanks to Cursor
This is how Bush & Co. deal with a free press.
Reports of a possible massacre by the Northern Alliance, who were last night closing in on Kabul, will alarm the international coalition, which fears further reprisals if opposition troops seize the Afghan capital. President Bush has asked the opposition to hold off from taking Kabul until a broad-based government is ready to assume power. But his strategy looks as if it will be swept away by events.
The reports confirm the impression that as more cities fall to the Northern Alliance armed gangs are filling the power vacuum left by the departing Taliban. "So far it remains volatile with reports of looting, abduction of civilians, uncontrolled gunmen and street battles on going," Lindsey Davies, a World Food Programme spokeswoman, said.
Nope. It's not over yet. Or, as Craig at BookNotes said: Things will be so much better once these guys are firmly in charge.
The strategic airport outside the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, powerbase of the fundamentalist Taliban, fell to opposition forces on Tuesday, tribal leaders said.
thanks to Drudge Report
Fighters of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance entered Kabul early on Tuesday, and roamed through the center of the Afghan capital, a Reuters reporter said.
thanks to MetaFilter
This story was posted on MetaFilter with the comment "It's almost over." Hardly.
This reader confessed to me, "I just know that I am giving President Bush my full support, believing he is doing his absolute best to keep the United States of America a country that truly is the 'land of the free and the home of the brave', 'America the Beautiful'."
Later, she wrote again, to further reinforce her personal commitment to, and her absolute faith in, our nation's hard working earthly agent of the Deity.
"If He is not for us - we are all goners, and we might as well face it. We live in an EVIL world, under the persuasions of the EVIL ONE who is madly dashing to and fro seeking whom he can lie to, recruit, kill, destroy, cheat, deceive, etc, on earth, and for all eternity. It is more evident than ever before. There is no goodness in terrorism, and the terrorists get their orders from the evil one. But, we can chose to get our orders from God. And, He wins, goodness prevails, ultimately, once and for all. But, not without conflict, and battles!
"My hope and trust is, that as a man of God, Bush is making decisions, and getting his orders from God, as he seeks His wisdom and direction. And, 'if God be for us, who can be against us?'" I have corresponded with this poor woman repeatedly. She is not stupid. She is simply scared out of her wits.
Those of us who are old enough to have attics full of old birthday cards and National Geographics, might recall that we are about to observe the twenty-third anniversary of that dark day in history when nine hundred thirteen people, out of an entire California congregation of eleven hundred, relocated to a remote Peoples' Temple in Guyana and stood united before their blessed leader. They too suppressed their doubts and fears, putting their full faith in this "man of God" ... the Holy Reverend Jim Jones.
However, there are some obvious and disturbing parallels between Jonestown's pliant parishioners, and the large percentage of Americans who now seek emotional solace in blind and unquestioning obedience to a regime made up of some imperfect "men of God."
Those who read history need not be reminded of the correlation between periods of nearly unanimous "approval ratings" for powerful leaders, and the massive human tragedies that often followed. Such readers will take little comfort from recent popularity polls or from the unity those polls purport to represent.
I'm not sure which is worse. Is Bush cynical in his war on evil? Is he taking advantage of people, like this woman, who are deluded in their simplistic view of the world? A view foisted on them by their religious leaders. It would be criminal if it were. That would be truly evil. Or does Bush really believe in what he is saying? Does he have the same view of the world as this woman? I find that much scarier.
The manic memester runs amuck. It's good to see RageBoy in good form. He and Dave Winer, at Scripting News have been having an exchange of memes. Don't get in a word fight with RageBoy. He's dangerous. After all, he was a teenage brain surgeon.
I just love the way he puts words together, one right after another. RageBoy mentions reading & writing, a reading journal, done by Joseph Duemer who also knows how to put words together, one right after another. An entry form Joseph:
Jerry W. Shepperd, writing on the John Dewey listserv this morning, states the case as clearly as I have seen it stated: "A overtly religious society is a threat to both democracy and modernization. A secular society provides protection for both religious and non-religious alike, and is more likely to produce a pluralistic society, which is better able to change as situations and conditions change."
I've added him to my bloglist. Steve over at Ethel the Blog recently published his reading list of web sites. I will be adding it sometime soon. I finally picked up on BuzzFlash from his list and have added it to my blog rotation.
I must be off. My son, Robby, and his friends are meeting for coffee at the Smilin' Dog. Must join them. It's stopped raining so I might not have to put on my rain gear for the ride.
World Corporate Organization
The WCO...er, the WTO knows how to deal with those pesky demonstrators. The move their show to the deserts of Qatar. No ugly dissent there. Well, not exactly...
Three confidential documents from inside the World Trade Organization Secretariat and a group of captains of London finance, who call themselves the "British Invisibles," reveal the extraordinary secret entanglement of industry with government in designing European and American proposals for radical pro-business changes in WTO rules.
About 100 NGO delegates staged an anti-World Trade Organization demonstration on Friday, immediately before the opening of the trade body's fourth ministerial session in Doha, Qatar. Standing on both sides of the entrance to the huge Al Dafna Hall at the Sheraton Hotel, the protesters, with tape on their mouths, held up signs saying "No Voice at the WTO," calling attention to the lack of democracy, transparency and civil society input into the organization's decision-making processes.
Desperate is the only word to describe the actions of the trade superpowers represented at the meeting. Tremendous pressure is being exerted on developing countries to endorse a new round of trade negotiations. The weapons include manipulation of the WTO's undemocratic system of decision-making and blunter forms of trade blackmail.
both thanks to wood s lot
Racing towards facism
This is a long seven part series of the story of US terrorism; external and internal.
Prior to the 11 September terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, two conditions defined American politics. In regard to foreign affairs, the United States was universally recognized as the world's only super power. And today that condition remains unchanged: no other nation comes close to matching America's military might.
But domestic politics was defined by doubts about the legitimacy of the Bush Administration. Al Gore had won the popular vote by an overwhelming majority, and Bush had acquired his presidential powers through a combination of nepotism and voter fraud in Florida, blatant media bias, and a judicial coup d'etat by the right wing of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before the terror attacks, the stench of venality clung to Bush like cigarette smoke and stale beer after a night of bar hopping. Since the attacks, his standing in the polls has nearly doubled, and there's been no more talk of an oil crunch, or the ailing economy, or of the looting of pensions plans down ten to twenty percent, or of looting of Social Security and Medicare to pay for the war of revenge, or of Republicans losing Congress in 2002.
This second, overarching condition--the inherent illegitimacy of the Bush Administration--must be remembered when considering how the apocalyptic events of 11 September changed the domestic political landscape. Symbolically, they wiped the slate clean. The U.S. remains the most powerful nation in the world, but Bush's legitimacy is no longer an issue. As a result, all the moral and psychological prohibitions on the reactionary right have been lifted, and all the anger and frustrations it cultivated during the Vietnam War, and the Carter and Clinton Administrations, is poised to be unleashed under the aegis of counter-terrorism, not only on the usual suspects--foreign enemies sitting on vast oil reserves, suspected terrorists, and domestic dissidents--but on the unwitting, flag-waving American public as well.
thanks to BookNotes
But all Americans should be scared when the country's top law officer declares that a defendant is not entitled to participate in his own defense by speaking in confidence to his lawyer.
Just as scary is the thought that the right-wingers who control the U.S. Supreme Court may agree with Ashcroft when his edict is challenged. And it will be.
Law by law, edict by executive order, America has been racing toward fascism since Sept. 11.
The Islamic terrorists (and maybe the Tim McVeigh crowd at home) are thrilled because they are turning us into them, which means they are winning.
thanks to SmirkingChimp.com
It is all finished now. Today in America, it is dangerous to speak feely. Officers of the government may enter private homes without notice and perform invasive searches of personal property. Officers of the government may listen to private conversations between client and attorney, thus tearing the shroud of privilege and thus the guarantee of zealous representation. Individuals are being held without charge or trial, their fates to be determined by secret courts.
It was said once that the Constitution is not a suicide pact, and there is wisdom in this. The physical nation that is America endured a catastrophic attack, and there must be a response. Today in America, that response has been to murder the idea that is America. The idea is more important, far more important, than the land or the borders or the treasure, or even the people. Without the idea, the nation is worthless. In the death of the idea lies complete and total victory for those who attacked the country. They need never come here again, for their job is well and truly done.
It won't come with jackboots and book burnings, mass rallies and fevered harangues. It won't come with "black helicopters" or tanks on the street. It won't come like a storm -- but like a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality has taken its place.
As in Rome, all the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns -- plenty of bread and circuses for the folks. But the "consent of the governed" will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small group of nobles who rule largely for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.
thanks to SmirkingChimp.com
Just in case anyone has any questions, the answer is that Gore won in Florida. He received the most legal votes. He received the most votes that should have been counted as a result of the mandatory machine recount. He received the most votes that could be counted by machine. He received the most votes when ballots are judged based on voter intent.
But if there is one single piece of evidence that demonstrates that what we have here is a deliberate conspiracy by the media consortium to hide the illegitimacy of George W. Bush it is this: When the Miami Herald data was published, the members of the consortium went to great lengths to explain that their ballot survey would be different from the Herald's - that it would not be concerned with who would have won some now-mythical recount based on various projected scenarios. The consortium members emphasized that their review of the ballots would be different.
Instead, it did exactly the same thing that the Herald did - create unrealistic scenarios under which Bush would win the Presidency, while downplaying the fact that their study revealed not just that tens of thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Al Gore, but that hundreds if not thousands more had actually voted for Gore, and never had their votes counted.
Make no mistake. Al Gore won in Florida. Under any consistent legal standard of counting the ballots, Gore won. The fact that the media consortium is lying about the results is more an indication of just how debased our democracy has become, than it is a reflection of what appears on the ballots that were examined.
thanks to BuzzFlash
At last! Some good news. It's about time.
THE Arab world must be prepared to offer a collective guarantee of Israel’s security and integration into the Middle East in return for the setting up of a Palestinian state, King Abdullah of Jordan told The Times yesterday.
Under a deal now being discussed by the main international parties, this would offer Israel for the first time a guarantee of its own existence and security by all countries from the Gulf to Morocco.
According to the plan, “the Arab countries will make a statement guaranteeing the security of Israel”, he said. This was part of what he called the “two-basket approach” agreed by the “team” of the main parties, including the United States, Russia, the European Union, the United Nations, Egypt and Jordan. It would mark an unprecedented public acceptance by all Arab states not only of Israel’s existence but of its full integration within the Middle East.
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