Last days by the ocean…
CNN/AP Headline: Bush: Syria ‘out of step’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush on Thursday said Syria is “out of step” with other nations in the Middle East and said the United States will work with other countries to pressure Damascus to remove its troops from Lebanon.
Out of step? Funny that he should say that the day after Kyoto went into effect. Fucking idiot.
Dahr Jamail has posted an article regarding the recent World Tribunal on Iraq.
The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI), an international peoples initiative seeking the truth about the war and occupation in Iraq made its pronouncement Sunday after a three- day meeting. The tribunal heard testimony from independent journalists, media professors, activists, and member of the European Parliament Michele Santoro.
The Rome session of the WTI followed others in Brussels, London, Mumbai, New York, Hiroshima-Tokyo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Lisbon. The Rome meeting focused on the media role.
The panel accused western corporate media of filtering and suppressing information, and of marginalising and endangering independent journalists. More journalists were killed in a 14-month period in Iraq than in the entire Vietnam war.
The tribunal said mainstream media reportage on Iraq also violated article six of the Nuremberg Tribunal (set up to try Nazi crimes) which states: “Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes (crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity) are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such a plan.”
“This is not simply an exercise to denounce the mainstream media for their bias and incompetence,” said Dr. Tony Alessandrini, a human rights activist who has published several articles on the U.S. colonisation of Iraq. “These denunciations have been going on for months. Here in Rome, we must go further..”
Several experts gave strong testimony. Dr. Peter Philips, director of ‘Project Censured’ at Sonoma State University in California where he teaches media censorship provided taped testimony. He said that at no time since the 1930s has the United States been so close to “institutionalised totalitarianism”, and added, “U.S. society has become the least informed, best entertained society in the world.”
Strange, I didn’t see anything about this on CNN.
I have a confession to make. It’s been a long while since I’ve purchased and actually read a book. Paper and ink, yes, I think I remember now. By accident I ended up in a nice little neighborhood bookstore today and I somehow ended up buying a book:Understanding Power. Excellent choice. I’ve only just started but damn I’m impressed. Essentially the book consists of excerpts of discussions with Noam Chomsky which occured in various settings from 1989 – 1999. Expect to read more comments here as I make my way through the book.
Inspired by the repercussions of saying a simple hello to a stranger on the street Stupid Beautiful writes about city life. It’s a strangely beautiful and sad account of humanity loosing its way which reflects my own thoughts. Of course it’s not just about the city is it? I’ve felt for a while that U.S. society has gone off the deep end. Our lives are so far out of balance that we now medicate our minds and our children’s minds in the hopes that the chemicals might somehow set things right or at least alter life enough that it seems tolerable. The social structures, social spaces, and nightmarish techno-media experiences continue to surround us. Degradation becomes an accepted fact of life right along side of fear and insecurity. We seem unaware of exactly what is going on. We feel it but we don’t understand it.
We push on through, we punch the reality from within the perceived safety of SUVs and Hummers. Men ooze aggressiveness from there pores as they assume a constant state of defense and attack. The media tells the population about the latest school shooting one day and about a scalping days later. The mental onslaught is everyday. What is real?
Some kind of devil has taken over this city. These days, as I walk along sidewalks lined with slush and half-smoked cigarettes, I can see it without squinting. It isn’t a disease in so many words — you can’t catch it like a bug or become infected by it. No, this has always been here lurking dormantly — a link in the collective DNA. It had simply not awakened until now.
Have I just experienced this urban devil at it’s pubescent stages? Perhaps this is how it all begins. A human being sets out to do what it naturally and spiritually desires — to encounter other human beings and experience exchanges with them, no matter how small. Unfortunately, most of these attempts occur with people who have already become jaded about such endeavours. As more and more people are met with failed exchanges, this population of jaded anti-socials grows exponentially, spreading like an unstoppable plague. Is it possible that I have just had a close encounter with this awakening monster?
The concept behind the city is a beautiful one. Millions of people coming together to share a relatively small slice of land, spending their entire lives in close proximity to one another. In truth, it can be an ideal environment for the spiritually inclined — even more so than the cliché of a vacant babbling brook. What better setting is there for exploring your true nature than a highly concentrated mass of people to learn from? This extravagant production we call the human experience, in it’s purest and most potent form, is quite simply the interaction that takes place between two people.
Yet quite paradoxically, it would seem that cities have become the most ideal breeding ground for isolation and spiritual degeneration. Human beings have begun to give far too much credit to their doubts and fears — leaving them jaded from relatively small doses of rejection or threat.
Yet more on the attack against Ward Churchill. Stephen Best writes Killing the Messenger: Ward Churchill’s Sins Against the Empire
“The gross distortions of what I actually said can only be viewed as an attempt to distract the public from the real issues at hand and to further stifle freedom of speech and academic debate in this country.” –Ward Churchill
Academic free speech and the First Amendment once again are under intense fire in the midst of a political and mass media witch hunt on Ward Churchill, Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The controversy erupted over objection to Churchill’s participation on a panel at Hamilton College in upstate New York once a controversial essay he published on the Internet the day after 9-11, entitled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” was unearthed and transformed into fodder for a lurid media spectacle.
So much for a federal government that respects science and its own laws. Of course this is not a surprise to anyone that actually follows the conduct of “our” government over time. No, this fits the pattern perfectly. Time and again evidence surfaces to verify that “our” government is actually a government bought and paid for by captialists. This is the rule, not the exception. Democracy? That is the biggest lie of all.
According to the LA Times U.S. Scientists have been ordered to alter their findings:
More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and animals, a survey released Wednesday says.
The survey of the agency’s scientific staff of 1,400 had a 30% response rate and was conducted jointly by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
A division of the Department of the Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service is charged with determining which animals and plants should be placed on the endangered species list and designating areas where such species need to be protected.
More than half of the biologists and other researchers who responded to the survey said they knew of cases in which commercial interests, including timber, grazing, development and energy companies, had applied political pressure to reverse scientific conclusions deemed harmful to their business.
The Irregular times has a post about H.R. 418 and I have to say, this is some scary stuff. If this should pass, well, it is yet another step towards total control:
H.R. 418, a bill currently before the U.S. Congress, reads in part as follows:
`(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.
`(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction–
`(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or`(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.’
Let me restate that in plain English for you: If H.R. 418 is passed into law, the Secretary of Homeland Security, a Bush appointee nobody elected, will have the right to declare null and void any law…
No judges will have the ability to overrule the Secretary of Homeland Security’s judgment in declaring null and void ANY LAW.
Let me put it in even starker terms: if H.R. 418 is passed into law, the Secretary of Homeland Security can declare null and void any law whenever she or he feels like it, and in doing so can’t be overruled by anyone… except, of course, the President, George W. Bush. Does that make you feel comfortable?
Under this bill, the Bush administration would be granted the right to declare null and void any law, something that until now has been the job of the Congress or the courts. And under this bill, the courts have no ability to challenge the actions of the Bush administration.
Bye bye, checks and balances.
Bye bye, due process.
Bye bye, judicial review.
Bye bye, civil rights.
This is how police states happen, friends.
And guess who’s behind it.
Republicans? Why, no, it couldn’t be! Republicans are the party of the little guy standing against the nasty elitist system, right? Republicans are for small government, right? Republicans don’t want some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. to control your life, right?
Think again. Of the 126 members of Congress who have formally thrown their support behind this bill, 98.4% are Republican. That’s right, folks, this bill is 98.4% Republican pure. And it’s not just a couple of loony birds who are pushing this bill, either. The loony birds have taken over the loony bin: More than half of the 234 Republican members of the House of Representatives have signed their names to this bill, indicating their support. This bill is going places, unless we do something to stop it.
Over at Counterpunch Tim Wise has an excellent article regarding Ward Churchill and the larger argument regarding U.S. conduct abroad: Reflections on Empire and Uppity Indians.
Dead people of color, the world over, or right here in the U.S., whose ashes they step over every time they walk out the door of their homes, mean nothing to them. Their deaths are cause for no tears, no contrition, no recompense, and certainly have never served to disqualify those responsible (or those who applaud the carnage) from positions of authority, in colleges, or government. Nor will schools now move to block dear Madame Albright from speaking on their campuses, as happened to Ward; nor will Ann Coulter find herself a pariah for fantasizing about the incineration of folks whose only crime was to be born North Korean.
But Ward Churchill, who has merely laid out the facts about America’s murderous ways around the globe–facts that have not been disputed even once by any of his critics–is to be silenced. Those who do the deed are cheered, re-elected and get buildings named after them. Those who merely tell of their exploits and suggest that perhaps there may be consequences, get crushed.
This is what happens, in a nation built on lies from the beginning; whose empire has been constructed on the sands of self-delusion; whose inability to tell the truth about itself has now become the stuff of farce. Our lack of self-awareness, not to mention the way in which Americans pride ourselves on how little we know about the world, and how reflexively patriotic we can be, would all be funny were it not so miserably pathetic, and ultimately so dangerous.
The sickest irony of the entire episode with Churchill is this, of course: namely, if there is anyone whose views and actions lead to the inevitable conclusion that the civilians in the World Trade Center were legitimate, if unfortunate targets, it is the President of the United States. It is he, whose doctrine of “preventative” warfare, assumes by definition that it is acceptable to target buildings that house offices tied to the government and military apparatus of one’s enemy, which, indeed the WTC did, and which of course describes the Pentagon in its entirety.
Found via the Infoshop
Imagine you are the parent of a 5 year old child. Would you trust them with an armed gun? Now I ask this question because yesterday I got to thinking about roles and relationships. Think of the American people as one entity and the government (federal, state, local) as the other. In this scenario, who’s the parent and the child?
Yeah, as I said yesterday, perhaps the best tactic for fighting Bush and Co. is to just let them run the country into the ground. Seriously. The U.S. has become the empire, the bringer of violence and the citizens have given away the reigns of power (or never had them in the first place). I’ve said it before that the U.S. must be stopped and that it would likely have to be an external force to do it. As terrible as it is on the inside the conditions are not intense enough that the people would dare do anything. The majority of those opposed to Bush are Liberals and still put their hope in the Democratic party. They still believe that the system works, just that it needs a change of ruling party. Support for a third party is still not strong enough and with Dean as the chair of the DNC you can bet that liberals and progressives will rally to the Democrats in 2008.
The U.S. has become a child, armed to the teeth but with no parent. So I’m hoping that the world community will unite to impose sanctions on the U.S. That combined with the current president’s policies should do the trick.
In any case, back to the original point, this post over at Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home! had me rolling on the floor The Shithouse-Crazy Cowboy Strikes Again:
You steamy, slimy, dripping, stinky chunk of bloody diarrhea!!! You scheming, smarmy, stupid, spoiled, pecksnifferous, moronic, evil, hateful, white supremacist, piggish, patriarchal, space-wasting douchebag!!!
You, your VP, and your entire heinous Cabinet have your own private, flaming cesspool with extra maggots awaiting you in Hell.
Who the FUCK do you think you are? Where the FUCK do you think you get off bankrupting your own country? What divine power do you think gives you the right to spend our money this way???
The budget you proposed today will increase our federal deficit by $42 billion over the next five years. I strongly suspect that you never paid a single tax dollar your entire life before you became President, and you won’t pay any after. Well yeehaw! Let the green river flow to the Pentagon and the oil companies, and the working class can foot the bill. That sounds like a dang ole, rootin tootin, chicken lickin’ good time, pardner!
Forty-eight different education programs get the axe, including drug abuse counseling. Grants to communities hiring police officers – gone! Amtrak subsidies for those pesky po’ folk that can’t afford to buy the black gold your family sells – gone! And while we’re at it, let’s cut back on Medicaid spending. After all, everyone knows that our Consteetution don’t say a cotton-pickin thing about no Jesus-given right to health care. Praise the Lord!
Student loans? Who needs ’em! We’s gonna have us some school vouchers. Dem lil’ wippersnappers can have they Daddies pay for they’s higher learnin’. I knows that’s what they’s do, because my Daddy done paid for mine! An’ if you’ns cain’t afford none, it don’t mean shit, because college ain’t much use no how! Hell, I cain’t even remember what I did those seven years. I think I may have been a cheerleader or somethin’ like that. And just look at me now! I’m the President of the Yoo-nited States! It don’t get no better’n that!
Slashing farmers’ payments ain’t gonna be no big thang. I don’ need no money from the guv’ment for my farmin’, and I’s got me a hy-ooge ranch down in Texas. We call it the Western White House, because we’s all white down thar!
Now, here’s a weird one. Veterans’ medical services. We’re gonna get the fat trimmed off of that pork chop. Hey, aren’t you a veteran, Mr. Bush? Didn’t I see you in one of those suit thingies a couple years back? And aren’t a lot of those guys you sent to Iraq coming back with fewer arms and legs than they had when they left? Oh, hell. They can move to Canada, I s’pose.
So tell us something, Dubya. If all these federal programs are getting cut, where in Sam Hill is the giant deficit coming from? Oh, that’s right! Tax cuts for the rich, $100 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan this year, an additional $419 billion for the Pentagon, and untold riches for the Homeland Security Department, because Lord knows those guys can never be too rich or too effective!
And the pièce de résistance, $74 billion over the next decade to encourage low-income people to buy health insurance. Cuz sheeeeit, their employers is already payin them they sal’ry. They’s already missin’ work if they get sick. Now their boss’s gotta pay the doctor bills too? That don’t make no sense. Just rob us blind, why don’t you! Dang lazy poor folk. Always tryin’ to steal what we rich folk work mighty hard for! If the labor people don’t like that deal, then they don’t have to work at the Wal-Mart. This is a free country, after all. That’s what you keep sending them soldiers oversees for, to protect our freedom.
I’m a war President! Those dirty A-rabs hate freedom! Filthy, no-good, stinkin’ . . . now, what was I talkin’ bout again? Oh, yeah. It’s like I told those high-fallutin’ reporters after my big impo’tant Cabinet meetin’ today. “It’s a budget that focuses on results. The taxpayers of America don’t want us spending our money into something that’s not achieving results.”
For once, we agree. I hope Congress decides to can your ass, Dubya.