Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
When the US and Brits overthrew the democratically elected goverment of Iran in 1953 I am sure they did not envision the Iranian "we hate the great satan" Islamic revolution of 1979. Also as the Carter and Reagan administrations pumped billions into Afghanistan in support for the cut throat jihadis in the 1980's to fight the Evil Empire they didn't glimpse the tumbling bodies or dust clouds of lower Manhattan in September of 2001.
Like horrors are surely to emerge from the ashes of shock and awe as the democracy now created in Iraq has divided the country along ethnic and religious lines.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Bush and company are hopping mad because they have been caught spying on people in the US without a warrant. They are so mad that they have lashed out at the people who leaked the illegal activity and the press (the NY Times) that suppressed the story for a year. They claim they have every right to do so under Article II of the Constitution (Condi Rice on Hardball 12/19/05-no transcript yet available), War Powers-Article II and the September 14, 2001 resolution that gave the president the ability to use "all necessary and appropriate force" (Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez) and "the Constitution" (Bush-he's the guy who keeps it simple). To state that Article II is their basis for domestic surveillance shows the level to which our democracy has been debased. If that was actually the defense of the administration they would be laughed out of court. Article II gives the civilian executive control over the armed forces to stop a authoritarian military type from doing things like rounding up citizens, shutting down newspapers or spying on people in the United States. It does not give the President the right to override the Bill of Rights, the Legislative or the Judicial branches. This is such an obvious point it is embarrassing even to repeat it but given the talk around the water cooler at my work these "finer" points of the constitution don't seem to trouble the local public school teacher.
Here's what they have admitted to and what the Times says they are doing:
"While many details about the program remain secret, officials familiar with it say the N.S.A. eavesdrops without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time. The list changes as some names are added and others dropped, so the number monitored in this country may have reached into the thousands since the program began, several officials said. Overseas, about 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time, according to those officials."
Here's the problem: This is an impeachable and criminal offense. Beyond the fourth amendment the US Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978 to try to reign in the executive branch (not just the Nixon administration) because of its massive surveillance on such radical organizations as the National Hockey League and the known anarchist Dr Suess. They also were busted for a program that sought out to disrupt and infiltrate anti-war, civil rights, socialist, communist and other organizations deemed undesirable called COINTELPRO. FISA, it seems, is not good enough for the administration even though this secret court is no friend of the civil liberties of the citizenry allowing thousands of warrantless searches over the years.
So let's see, it OK to kidnap and drug people in any part of the world, take them to a secret prison and torture them where these types of things are embraced more freely by the populace and spy on groups that protest the war.
Quite a democracy. I think we should invade other countries so they can have democracy and freedom also.
Is the FBI spying on you?
I recommend reading, at least, the introduction to the Church Report which is an extensive congressional examination of domestic spying from 1951-71.
The Venezuelan government demands a joint venture from Exxon or they will have to leave.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Speaking of the strength of support for teaching evolution, A FACT, in US schools Robert Jensen notes:
"Polls in the United States suggest that most people disagree. In one survey last year, 65 percent of people favored teaching creationism (not just intelligent design, but good, old-fashioned Christian creationism) together with evolution in science classrooms, and 37 percent thought creationism should be taught instead of evolution."
Robert Jensen on reason vs. Mysticism today.
The NY Times sat on the domestic spying story for over a year. Why come out with the story now? Even though they did the President still took them on. I guess he thinks that he should be able to spy on anyone, without a warrant, which is illegal by the way, and the media should sit on it. A strange view of constitutional democracy and freedom of speech/press.
Spying on "domestic enemies" re Quakers, is nothing new by the way.
What exactly explains the move to gay marriages and other progressive changes in profoundly conservative Catholic countries like Ireland and Spain while in the US the populations are succesfully stopping these developments? I would put forward one idea: the sexual revolution occurred later than the US and northern Europe in both of these countries. Because of this the backlash has yet to happen? I'm not sure.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Hwang Woo-suk has become a celebrity in South Korea for his recent revolutionary work on human genetics which he now admits the majority of was fabricated. Hwang's fall from grace has been traumatic for Koreans leading many to defend the scientist by volunteering to donate eggs and pulling advertisements from media outlets that even dared to announce his mea culpa.
The event reminds me of the crash of an Egyptian airliner in 2001 that most Egyptians denied the culpability of the pilot which the evidence clearly pointed to as at fault.
I don't want to point just to feereneers here given that the people in the US act in the same way on a regular basis but the disaese of nationalism and other forms of faith are surely a disease that can lead to all types of conspiracy theories and irrationality. How many people believe in angels in the US?
An aside here: when I was "researching" this post I found this oddball site on pictures of plane crashes. Why exactly would one create such a site?
Extravagant pay, free travel, lots of praise from our leaders and unlimted budgets. Please read the following pamphlet and see if you want to join our team. Here's an excerpt:
"The Reichspropagandaleiter then turned to the attitude of the rest of the world to the new Germany, and the resulting propaganda tasks. If the world is against Germany and shows no understanding for the nature and needs of the German people, propaganda must seize the world's ear and combat boycotts and encirclements."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Bush takes on war critics claiming intelligence was faulty but the war was just anyway. Among the many lies of this presidency this is probably the biggest.
"Many intelligence agencies judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and it's true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," said Mr Bush in the speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
Many? You mean Britain and Israel? The countries that thought eliminating Saddam Hussein was a good idea? The best intelligence at the time was the UNSCOM regime which was littered with US spies or people who were on the US payroll. UNSCOM said that Iraq had claimed to have destroyed most of its WMD but they needed more time to snoop around in Iraq's affairs. It turns out that Iraq was actually exagerating the weapons it had TO DETER THE US! This is known to be the case because after the invasion the US was unable to find any WMD's.
The fact of the matter is the Bush administration used intelligence to hype WMD's and tried to link Iraq to 9/11 to scare the feeble American public into war.
"Saddam was a threat, and the American people and the world are safer because he is no longer in power,"
The fact of the matter is Saddam was certainly not a threat to the US! At the time of the invasion he wasn't even a threat to the Kurds in his own country because the US and Brits were fyling over the country and bombing people at will. How exactly was Iraq a threat to the US? Was the Iraqi Air Force, Army or Navy going to invade the US? No, at the time all had been destroyed. The opposite is actually true of the latter part of the statement, we are all, including Iraqis, more unsafe because Iraq, like Afghanistan in the 1980's, is a breeding ground for all types of Jihadis.
Here's a summary of the road to war.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
CIA abductions are occuring on a regular basis. Imagine if say Cuba were to kidnap known enemies of the regime living in Miami or any other place for that matter and took them to say North Korea where they were tortured or held? I wonder what the response in the NY Times would be?
In a speech yesterday baby Bush claimed 30,000 Iraqis had been killed in Iraq in this round of war with Iraq. A flood of media coverage has followed. Why exactly does this only become a story when a civilian presses the President on the question? The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, has estimated the dead at 100,000 by the way. The British government, run by the pious Tony Blair, estimates 10,000.
Listen above to the story from the US apologist from the Brookings Institute. He notes that the increase in a thousand deaths a month due to murder since the invasion are not included in the death count.
Monday, December 12, 2005
The Pentagon has been on a spending binge for the last 50 years. The intellegence agencies also. Journalists have always been in on the payola. In Iraq it seems the Pentagon could not find enough positive stories so they paid millions for stories more to their liking. Here's a bit on some of the "journalists" that have thought it their patriotic duty to get paid by the CIA and such.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Cockburn posits the top Generals have had it with Iraq and picked Murtha to deliver the message.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
25 years ago today I was 15 and up at 4 AM heading to hockey practice in Bergen County NJ around 10 miles from Central Park when I heard that John Lennon had been killed. I was physically shaken. I was currently in a post Beatles Plastic Ono Band stage and rock and roll was at the center of who I was at the time. I still think about that moment on a regular basis. For me John was the Joe Strummer of my youth even though Joe Strummer was actually the Joe Strummer of my youth, I didn't realize this till I was in my 20's. I still can't handle listening to Double Fantasy without thinking about my late teens.
Here's an interview with my hero of the time. (Besides Jimmy Carter)
Friday, December 02, 2005
Actual BBC headline "US Vietnam Intelligence Flawed." This is the infamous Vietnamese "attack" on the United States in the Gulf of Tonkin which led to a blank check for the war. An incident every high schooler knows was cooked to sell the war. On the whole now many more people see through the bull. This is a good thing.
What else can explain his bizzare statements about the war in Iraq? Listen to this interview where Vietnam, first Gulf, Bosnia, second Gulf war supporter makes the bizzare statement that the US will withdraw US troops by November of 2006. Now I hope for the sake of Iraqis and US troops that the anti-war movement swells and forces the US government to withdraw. But realistically speaking, if this happens I will eat all of my shoes.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Saw Art Spiegelman speak last night at UW-Milwaukeeon the history of comics and his latest work on 9/11. Witty, rapid fire historical analysis and a non didactic style explaining the developments in comics since the beginning. Mad Magazine is his main inspiration! Best line of the night, I paraphrase, describing 9/11 and the Iraq war, Al-Queda and co. started a fire in NYC and George Bush poured oil on it to put it out.