bush lied, people died. escalate nonviolence.
Around the blogosphere
Matthew Yglesias is surprised I described him as pinchable cheeked. It seems to me the most common adjective used in regard to Matt's appearance among lady bloggers is "cherubic." Agreed?
Kevin Drum, the CalPundit, is having difficulty supporting his claim that the Democratic party is no longer centrist. I've tried to help him analyze the issues and reject that weird idea, first there. And, now, here. I'm sure other liberal bloggers will pitch in to save Kevin from himself.
MSNBC has a roundup article about warbloggers that includes one liberal, Eric Alterman, who happens to work for MSNBC.
Nathan Newman reminds us that American hostility to the United Nations is overstated. It appears most of us don't trust our own government in the role of rebuilder of Iraq.
posted by J. at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK |
Friday, March 28, 2003
Questions for Gary Hart
Gary Hart has started a blog. With comments. I think that Gary Hart was one of the superstars of the Democratic party when he was originally running for President until he tripped up on the addiction of female power groupies. I know that in the run up to this war, Gary Hart produced some of the most effective and comprehensive statements about why the war was wrong and what really needed to be done to protect us from terrorist attacks. I'd like to know what he's saying these days.
Here were my comments I left at his site (edited for clarity and my typos):
posted by Mary at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK |
Why Your Wife Won't Have Sex With You takes on the revolting habits of Fred Phelps, the man whose congregation picketed Matthew Shepard's funeral.
Long Story; Short Pier posts a reader email concerning how to shirk your share of the bill for the monstrosity known as Operation Iraqi Freedom by doing something nice for Iraqis.
Estimated Prophet talks about 'the big lie'.
Public Opinion tells us that Peggy Noonan's column has landed in Australia. Poor bastards.
Ruminate This points out that the US has had an overdose of its own propaganda.
Alas, A Blog on how the media shapes perceptions of how dissimilar the two parties are by focusing only on things they argue about, and ignoring all those things about which they are in agreement.
T.C. Mits points out that many Christians are for peace, just in case anyone were to get the mistaken impression that the empty warheads in the White House speak for all of them. He also leads us to this post on Unmedia indicating that Al Jazeera's english language website may have been hacked by a higher power than rogue mischief makers, as evidence for which, Slashdot is reporting that the english version of the site is unreachable worldwide. Scroll down for more on the subject, and also the news that the NASDAQ followed the NYSE in banning Al Jazeera's reporters from the exchange floor.posted by Natasha at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK |
Remember North Korea?
They have taken issue with Japan's recent launch of two spy satellites, both of which are intended to keep an eye on the secretive and hostile regime. Japan has declared that they have no intention of preparing for any kind of preemptive attack, though prior to the launch, the North implied that such a move might prompt the test firing of a long-range missile.
However, in a striking break with longstanding sentiment in the country, the development of nuclear capability has ceased to be beyond debate in Japan. Concern over this sort of proliferation is thought to have motivated China to cut oil supplies to North Korea, as a clear message to the country to stand down from their aggressive behavior.
Ending a long streak of foot-dragging, the State Department is laying the groundwork to open talks without any preconditions. This follows a North Korean move to suspend low level military talks regularly held at the border with the South.
The EU will bring a resolution to the UN Human Rights Commission regarding North Korea's record of torture and political murders.
The leadership in Pyongyang have boosted military spending 14.4% for the year, in spite of widespread hunger and energy shortages in the country. They have expressed deep concern that after any success in Iraq, their country will be next. The move necessitated the first ever bond issue to the North Korean public.posted by Natasha at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK |
As the US launches another major offensive, a foreign aid worker is gunned down by suspected Taliban forces. The Afghans traveling with him were unharmed. In response, the Red Cross will suspend aid operations in the country.
The country has resumed it's role as a world leader in opium production. The article concludes:
Pakistan plans to repatriate all 1.8 million Afghans over the next three years.
Over 2,000 people have been flooded out of their homes in northern Afghanistan.
BearingPoint, formerly KPMG, has won an economic consulting contract with the impoverished, war torn country.
A college group will be sending safe birthing kits to Afghanistan, in an attempt to reduce the very high infant and maternal mortality rates.
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to extend aid for another year.posted by Natasha at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK |
Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, March 27, 2003, speaking about the 'coalition' that the US has lined up:
posted by Natasha at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK |
Should POWs light up?
So many people can shed more light on the Geneva Conventions than I that I'm not even going to try, except for discussing a little known provision I don't know whether to be amused or bemused by.
If I interpret the last clause correctly, miserable prisoners of war, being held in jail cells at best while bombs from their own side fall outside and hatred from the enemy bombards them inside must be allowed to smoke. I guess the provision is some kind of consolation prize. Or perhaps it is a vestige from the old days when soldiers were macho men who smoked, drank and loved the smell of napalm in the morning.
I can't help but wonder how the half-century old provision fits in with the lives of contemporary soldiers, most of whom are in support positions, some of whom are women and a majority of whom are not smokers because of the reduction of smoking in American society.
I believe it is safe to assume the proportion of smokers has dropped more since.
The Geneva Conventions requirement in regard to smoking raises several different kinds of questions. Psychological: Given a choice of diversions, would the captured troops prefer something other than a Marlboro? Will some of them begin smoking while POWs just because cigarettes, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions, are made available? Legal: Should an unhealthy form of diversion be made available? If they begin smoking while in the armed forces and prisoners of war, will the government be responsible for their smoking-related illnesses down the road, when they are civilians? Social: Will this requirement provide an opportunity for American tobacco companies to raise their profiles and goodwill toward them by shipping free cigarettes to Iraq for prisoners of war? (And, no, I don't believe the tobacco industry is above such self-serving behavior.) Will that, in turn, encourage civilians to smoke?
The American military has considered abolishing smoking altogether, but gradually. Experts are concerned about both the short-term and long-term effects of smoking on soldiers.
The military began its smoking cessation efforts at home -- on its bases.
However, housing, including barracks, is excluded from the ban. That would include temporary housing in the field. So, arguably, the prisoners of war will just be doing in their cells what they could have done in their tents. But, most of them would not have smoked in their tents and may be tempted to do so as captives.
I know this is a lot of thought to give to a small, and some would say insignificant provision, but I find the 'smoking break from war' rule intriguing.
posted by J. at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK |
The Banality of Evil
Joe Conason talks about those who predicted a cakewalk today and points to an article in the Washington Post by Thomas Edsell with some of the more callous remarks from an administration whose hallmark is that of Moral Clarity. And Salon provides a For the Record column of all those who blithely stated that this war would be a cakewalk.
I'm so glad that our noble leaders have found a way to instill a sense of confidence and purpose in the American public by reminding us all what a war-loving country we are. Forget the old wussy values, we will live under the new values of glorifying a warrior culture, unfraid to inflict death and destruction, leaving fear in our wake.posted by Mary at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK |
So my cynical thought that Perle was still planning to suck up blood money is more true than I had thought.
Josh Marshall has a interesting post today talking about Perle and he also comments on the fact that Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, says there are a number of Christian missionaries ready to go in and provide humanitarian help. Of course, this should really dampen down the Islamic sense of being under siege. Although I believe there are a number of Christian organizations that would do a very fine job of helping in the humanitarian work needed in Iraq after the war, I believe that the missionaries sponsored by Graham will stoke more resentment and anger. Graham has publicly stated that he believes that only through Christianity can people know God and that "Islam as a whole is evil."
I continue to dwell on the resignation of the senior State Department ambassadors. Their public acts to refute Bush's war remind me that there are still some truly patriotic Americans willing to take a stand against a policy that betrays the values of America. I found a great article about this on GovExec.com which adds to the story. It also has links to all the letters of resignation.
Thank you, John Brady Kiesley, John Brown, and Mary (Ann) Wright. I honor you for your brave stance and for your dedication to our country.
What We're Reading:
TBogg, who is usually wickedly funny, made me cry. He juxtaposed an especially bloodthirsty Andrew Sullivan quote with a link to pictures of dead Iraqis, including the very gruesome picture that Al Jazeera has since taken off of their website. The pictures are captioned appropriately for the 'joyous liberation' that the Iraqis are currently supposed to be experiencing. Also, he beats me to noticing that Mark Morford is back from vacation, just in time to remind us that we don't know jack.
At Daily Kos, which you should scan over anyway for the obituaries of US soldiers who won't be coming home again, Billmon posts a letter from an officer, Kos tells us all about our good friends in Uzbekistan, and gives us an update on how Bush's War on the World is going. Not pretty.
Jim Cappozolla of the Rittenhouse Review is thinking about running for Senate. We're all for this, and will help in any fundraising drive if he should take the plunge. My only (petty) concern: if he wins, he'll probably stop blogging.
Matt Bivens suggests that a tax cut three times the size of the Social Security and Medicare shortfalls should be subject to a reality check. Of course, if Bush doesn't get his tax cut passed, will he then get credit for not bankrupting social services? Probably, but that's a lesser evil we can work with.
Orcinus receives another response to his series on fascism.
Ted Barlow talks about the flap with Canada, a country which is on the verge of expelling their US ambassador. A reader explains why there's no way in hell that the US can afford to be as tediously petty as the mouthy Mr. Cellucci suggested.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Another disappointing pundit
Tonight Nicholas Kristof's column in the NY Times once again pushed one of my hyper-sensative media buttons. The overall column had the message that, gee, there are some pretty bad consequences to the war that we are just starting to realize. This is good. (Except that lots and lots of people warned about these things back before our Legislature ceded power to Bush.) But then he goes on to put a gratuitous swipe at the anti-war crowd:
It is so frustrating to read these swipes and I wonder what is it about our national columnists that means they always have to balance their criticism of the right-wing with some swipe at the liberal side. Does this give them protection for expressing a view that is not in step in with the NRC? Whatever the reason, it always pisses me off. Tonight I decided that I'd let Mr. Kristof know that.
posted by Mary at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK |
We've been dissed!
Well, maybe not. Perhaps my babies, Mac-a-ro-nies and Silver Rights are ugly. And, Natasha and Mary's, the watch. Not to omit Barry's Alas, a Blog or Emma's Notes on the Atrocities. Maybe all Oregon bloggers have ugly offspring. It appears the Oregonian thinks so. Today, it ran an article on weblogs that focused totally on the national big guys, and mainly the conservative ones at that. Except for a footnote telling readers how to search for blogs in Oregon, we are treated as unmentionable.
There is the usual genuflection to the much overrated Glenn Reynolds:
Sgt. Stryker and Jeff Jarvis are also covered.
Our blog buddies the Agonist and DailyKos make the cut, but obviously not in the best of company.
My overall impression of the Oregonian's piece is an old journalists' phrase, "quick and dirty." That is odd since I've been informed this story has been planned for quite some time. Even if the features editor or the ME decided to shift the focus from Oregon blogs to national blogs, a more diverse group could easily have been assembled. How can Atrios and Josh Marshall be missing from a piece on important bloggers? As possibly the best of the collegiate bloggers, pinchable cheeked Matthew Yglesias deserves a mention. And, Reynolds is only one of several blogging law professors and definitely not the best of the lot. Jack Balkin and Kevin Drum do more thoughtful and thorough analyses of the issues daily.
Some obnoxious bloggers should have been included. As much as I dislike the Anti-idiotarian Rottweiler, Little Green Footballs and Cold Fury, one needs to know about such blogs to get a realistic picture of the blogosphere.
Don't women blog? You wouldn't think so from "Blah, blah, blogs."
Another misperception promoted by the piece is the connection between blogging and the war. Yes, the warblogger and peace blogger camps have become significant. But, blogs predated the war and will continue to play a role in the media after it is over. Anyone who has been observing blogs for even a few weeks should realize domestic news is usually as prominent in them as foreign affairs, probably more.
Also missing from Steve Woodward's laundry list as journalism is any examination of what weblogs are and how they fit into newsgathering. My pet theory is successful bloggers become agenda setters, helping determine what public officials and the intelligentsia deem important. However, there is not a peep about what purpose blogs serve, other than as "online diaries," which few public blogs are.
I don't believe Oregon blogs are so unsightly they need to be hidden from the readers of the state's major newspaper.
Yesterday, someone needed to write an informative article about blogs for the Oregonian. Today, someone still needs to write an informative article about blogs for the Oregonian.
posted by J. at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK |
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
What We're Reading:
Liberal Oasis takes on the 'we never said it would be easy' claim. Turns out, that's exactly what they said, repeatedly.
Different Strings talks about Kashmir, the province where India and Pakistan are squaring off, in terms of precedents set by our behavior and the lovely news of the two countries' recent missile tests. And, just when I think that my ex-fundamentalist paranoia is getting silly, our one party state passes a resolution in favor of fasting and prayer. They can kiss my hypoglycemic, humanist, heathen ***. Will their next memorandum of encouragement suggest that we have a balanced breakfast, brush our teeth twice daily, and go to church every Sunday? Every morning I feel like I went to sleep in America and woke up in a bad Stepford family remake.
The Left Coaster talks about how our diplomatic blunders have allowed Russia and China to score big, and secure stronger alliances in the region. He mentions China moving closer to Pakistan, and in light of growing ties between Russia, Iran, and India, things could be very interesting over there. Also, it seems that Bush's tax package was cut in half, but isn't this still a case of asking for Mars and being satisfied with the Moon? Can we really afford a tax cut at all?
WampumBlog points out that the Eli Lilly giveaway that would limit compensation to families with autistic children is back, and it's worse than ever. Scroll down for the grim details.
Kieran Healy points out that Al-Jazeera knows more about CNN coverage than Aaron Brown. From a couple days ago, but if you haven't read it, check it out.
StonerWitch finds a good article about why liberals need to get more media savvy. This is a serious issue, and anyone who spends a lot of time pondering the effects of the Mighty Wurlitzer on the SCLM should go read. If that last sentence sounded like gibberish, go read anyway, because the article is the anti-gibberish.
Incadenza talks about the new government document restrictions which will extend the withholding period until 2006 for many Reagan/Bush I era files. I can't imagine why the guy who employs Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Negroponte would want to do that.
Body and Soul talks about Basra, and why 'thirsty' doesn't cut it when describing the situation there.
Digby makes the Vietnam comparison, and when you put it that way, it doesn't sound so far-fetched.
Ampersand's cartoon from last week is still appropriate. If there was a place to hide until everybody's gods go away, I'd be there.
The Asia Times on: the worsening public image of the US, Pakistan adds to the list of countries worried that they may be next, lessons from Afghanistan, the debate about depleted uranium continues, and Pepe Escobar wonders if Iraq will be the next Palestine. An excerpt from the last article:
Read this war update by Agonist Sean-Paul, and think about what the mentioned budget provision is going to mean to the taxi driver quoted above.
One of these people is engaging in wishful thinking.posted by Natasha at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK |
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Finding your way when all is dark
I posted this comment on Digby's blog.
I think that we all need to realize that it is not the time to give in to our anger and sense of helplessness. There are other reactions we can have that will help us through these times and will also make a small bit of difference to the world that right now could use any positive, loving action to help counter the overwhelming negative energy of this war and this selfish and arrogant administration.
One book that I have found which helps me think about what allows people to maintain their human decency despite the most awful circumstances is Victor E Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning. Frankl survived the Nazi death camps and somehow maintained his humanity. His accounting of how he did this makes this book one that I reread when I find myself despairing of whether there is any hope. He doesn't come out and say there is hope and he doesn't believe that it is easy to withstand the negative forces that ruled the camp, but his life shows that there is always a way to commit to being someone who tries to hold back the darkness.
When you find things are too sad or depressing to act, I urge you to find whatever book, song, or story that helps you to tap into this wellspring of what makes humans strive to hold to the best values, and then read it, contemplate on it and try to incorporate the best from it into your life.
A passion and a pantry
As Natasha has noted, I now have a 'stash' for my columns about civil rights issues called Silver Rights. It will be supplementary to the more general blog I am trying to get off the ground, Mac-a-ro-nies. The first entry in Mac-a-ro-nies, about gun research fraud John Lott, Jr., can be read here. I look forward to making blogging a bigger part of my life, but am somewhat burdened by computer problems at present. If you would like to help, contribute to my PayPal account at either blog. I will continue contributing to other blogs since the point is for people to read one's entries, which rarely occurs with new blogs and I enjoy 'guesting.'
posted by J. at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK |
In these troubled times, Americans traveling outside the country may wonder, "Will people assume that I'm responsible for my government, and treat me accordingly?" In most cases, no. And until recently, this was not really a problem, as our nationality was more likely to be a status symbol than a curse.
But in this time of war, and depending on how badly it continues to be bungled*, this may change. If it's bungled very, very badly, and for some reason King George ends up winning the popular vote nationally for the first time in 2004, we may become less welcome than a newly virulent strain of pneumonia. Therefore, if you intend to go out of the country, plan ahead.
While there are a number of other english-speaking countries, I don't recommend trying to fob yourself off as either British or Australian, which are probably most people's first picks. I can guarantee you already that unless you've lived in either place long enough to have soaked up the accent, it won't work. Sophisticated english speakers in other lands can tell a Welsh from a South African, even when the people in question have clearly worked to thin their accents.
Instead, try our neighbor to the north. It's easy to get Canadian flag pins (which Canadians traveling abroad often wear so they don't get confused with us), and the nice Canadians will probably still let us visit there to gather info for a decent cover story. The peach is that you don't even have to lie about where you live, just say that you're in the US on a work visa. If you're in the tech industry, this is barely even a stretch. So lets get started...
Manners Canadians are relentlessly polite, it says so right there on the label. They may even be chipper, cheery, perky, soft-spoken, or even simply relaxed. These are states in which it's rare to find an American traveler, nonetheless, try it anyway. Your disguise will go ever so much better if you work to remember that raising your voice will not confer understanding on the listener.
Weather It's cold in Canada, which is practically frozen over entirely for much of the year. (Except for those times when it's blazing hot for a couple months.) Be aware of this, and adjust any temperature comparison remarks accordingly.
Clothes Canadians tend to own lots of sweaters, the kind that get worn over a button-up shirt, sort of goes with the territory. They may be far more likely to wear loafers than sneakers, though this is not strict. As far as I know, they don't go in for Hawaiian shirts. Other than that, they dress pretty much like us.
Speech. This is the biggie. You don't necessarily need to belly up to the bar and ask where a Canuck oot 'n aboot can catch a hockey match & a two-four uh blue, but there are a few telltale terms that will make you come off like the real thing. For one thing, 'dinner' is 'supper.' I don't know why, but it is. The letter that comes after Y isn't zee, it's zed. Our lazy I's in direct and organization become die-rect and organEYEzation. The O sounds get all tumbled aboot, withoat a doat. And, every once in a while, finish a question with 'Eh?' Not all Canadians refer to gasoline as petrol, but they won't be confused if someone uses the term in front of them.
Don't spread it on thick, Canadians living in the US eventually end up sounding pretty much like us. Also, don't even think about trying a Quebecois accent just because you took a year of French in high school. Just remember that Quebec is pronounced 'ke-beck' or 'kay-beck'. For more, go here, here, or here.
People Any Canadian worth their salt can tell you about loads of famous people who are Canadians, and you should make an effort to know of at least a couple. For instance, there's Dan Akroyd, David Frum (Mr. 'axis of evil'), Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Guy Gavriel Kay (author), Leonard Cohen (songwriter), Pamela Anderson, Keanu Reeves, etc. There are plenty more, but that's enough for starters. The insatiably curious can visit here, here, or here.
Good Luck So, there you are. Travel with a light heart, a polite attitude, and a maple leaf pin firmly attached to your collar.
* As this war was mismanaged before the first shot went off, there is no longer a 'going well' option, just varying degrees of senseless hassle.posted by Natasha at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK |
dKos talks about international law, how the US has violated it, and why our troops are put in the way of more harm because of it.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear Lawrence vs. Texas, the case of two Texas men who've challenged the state's sodomy laws.
A word from Rachel Corrie's mother.
Mitchell Plitnick tells the anti-war camp not to despair.
In Brazil, Lula enjoys sky high popularity, but is now facing the precipice of previous administrations' financial mismanagement, and a value-added tax system which shifts most of the tax burden to the poor.
Respected military veterans are speaking out against the war, will people listen?
Saudi Arabia offers up a peace plan.
Nine new cases of mystery pneumonia crop up in Hong Kong, as passengers on two Air China flights become ill.
Orcinus talks about the war on dissent and how the media's obsessive focus on a certain ex-president's sex life left the nation woefully unprepared for the terrorist threat that the previous administration tried vainly to alert us to. He further gives us a postscript to his Rush, Newspeak, and Fascism series, which is well worth a read.posted by Natasha at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK |
Around the Web:
The 22 member Arab League has unanimously (minus one) declared the war to be in "violation of the United Nations Charter" and a "threat to world peace". The holdout? Kuwait, where our troops are based.
Israeli High Court orders the removal of an illegal outpost. The settlement was bulldozed, according to the account, on Monday.
Malaysia has joined a growing chorus of criticism.
Todd John thinks that by now, the answer to the perpetually rhetorical 'why do they hate us?' should be obvious.
China extremely concerned that North Korea may attempt to escalate the current standoff in order to force direct talks with the US, and is urging Washington to begin negotiations.
South Korea planned to vote on a bill that would send non-combat troops to Iraq to support the war in Iraq. But they have decided to delay it until 2nd April in the wake of increasingly agitated demonstrations in the capital. The force would have consisted of some 700 medical personnel.
CalPundit points out Eric Alterman's take on the neocon/anti-Semite flap.
The people of Basra are not thankful for being deprived of water and supplies, as the British declare their city a military target. Meanwhile, Hussein's appeal to lingering the resentment of colonialism seems to have worked in stiffening Iraqi resolve.
400 members of Zimbabwe's opposition party arrested, and many others are being treated in the hospital after being attacked by government security forces. The party held a recent strike to protest government mismanagement, and have been declared terrorists by President Mugabe, who has vowed to stop treating them with 'kid gloves.'
US finally admits that they plan to take sole control of Iraq once the war is over. But in a marginally promising development, they plan to set up a special military command zone in northern Iraq to address Turkish security concerns. This could keep Turkey out, and hopefully as a side benefit make it less likely that Iran will become involved.
Mystery virus in Asia continues to spread. It has made it to "Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada and Germany in recent weeks." For those of us eyeing the Canadian border, that country has reported 3 deaths and possibly 10 cases.
The US and Russia commence sniping.
United for Peace brings up a curious type of protest: buy Euros.
BuzzFlash brings us the good news that Al Gore still polls as the Democrat most likely to unseat Bush, according to Zogby. He even polls ahead of Clinton. Go over to the Draft Gore site and help call him back. The party leadership may be 'tired' of him, but apparently not even the biggest smear campaign in American history has kept ordinary Democrats from supporting the man we voted for in 2000.
Monday, March 24, 2003
Al Jazeera's two reporters covering the New York Stock Exchange have been banned from the floor:
It just keeps getting funnier. Ha. Ha.posted by Natasha at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK |
Watching the war from dKos's place has made me alternately sad, angry and depressed. At times it feels like reading pornography (even without looking at the pictures). The one thing that is better than reading the newspaper, listening to the radio or (even worse) watching the TV, at least when one is outraged, Kos provides a place to express your anger and frustration. (Much better than kicking the TV.)
It is fascinating to see the people who are posting on dKos's site today. So many new people from all over the world, watching and commenting on George W Bush's "little war".
One comment that especially struck me was on the Damned if they do, damned if they don't thread. Munira brings back what is missing from the experience of most Americans who have never lived in a war zone or endured days or months of bombing:
We are for the most part so safe in our homes, we forget what others have experienced through human history. The 20th century was a particularly bloody century that started off with some "little wars" and it just kept giving the gift of blood, death and destruction to almost every corner of the world, except America.
Lisa's post that Natasha linked below had the words of Vicki Gray that I think needs to be reposted here in conjunction with Munira's words.
We owe it to the world to reflect on these things. And we need to find ways to wake the American public from supporting this senseless, destructive war because they somehow have been convinced our deaths can only be paid for by the deaths of others and our safety is won by destroying our enemy. George W Bush tells the American public that they are right to be vengeful and frightened and that a full scale war is the answer. But he is wrong. Somehow we need to reconnect American to their basic humanity and ask them, is this what you signed up for?posted by Mary at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK |
Stonerwitch explains the spiritual warfare meme, and how thoroughly it has spread into mainstream conversation. This was a scary post for a recovered fundamentalist like myself, to read someone else spell out so explicitly what's been nagging at me about this right wing resurgence. An excerpt:
Perhaps she was just being modest not mentioning, but our guest poster Mac Diva now has her own blog, Silver Rights. I highly recommend that you go check it out and bookmark it. Mac Diva has been a long time commentor on many boards where she is always welcome.
We here at the watch hope that she will continue to come back and visit, and maybe even post sometimes.posted by Natasha at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK |
Birds of a feather . . . not
My fellow Oregonian, Emma Goldman, reports on a grandstanding effort to criminalize protest by a Republican legislator here in our lovely state.
The gist of the bill is to punish people for associating with other persons who may intend disruptive activities. It is tailor-made to turn the Right Wing kant that anyone who protests against the war agrees with ANSWER or other far left organizations into law. Though the bill has little chance of passing, it is notable that anyone would be so oblivious to the constitutionally protected right of freedom of association, as to introduce it. The Oregon Constitution, which offers broader protection of free speech and freedom of association than the U.S. Constitution, seems to be a mystery to many conservatives, including lawmakers, in our state.
Congressman John Minnis hopes to win approval by riding the tide of backlash that has occurred in response to Thursday and Friday's anti-war protests in Portland. He is also playing to the anti-urban sentiment that is so virulent in states from Georgia to Oregon. Here's hoping he gets a good smackdown before this kind of demagoguery spreads nationwide.
posted by J. at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK |
Around the Web:
As always, the freshest war commentary headlines on Warblogs:cc.
Fleischer's Friday press briefing. He says several times in response to questions about rebuilding Iraq that the UN would have an important role in that. Not the story so far, Ari, try again. And also this, another in the long string of pot and kettle pronouncements out of Washington:
Go read MonkeyX today, for thoughts on the war and an outline of a conservatism that even I would have to admit was compassionate.
Lisa English talks about the latest US diplomatic resignation.
In Kashmir 24 Hindu villagers massacred by militants suspected to be supported by Pakistan. If on September 10th, 2001, you had asked many international affairs experts what the most dangerous region in the world was, they would have told you that it was Kashmir. Two nuclear powers who have been at the brink of war for years, in an area torn by two-way religious violence between Hindus and Muslims, with no easy outs in sight.
See The Forest posts a guest editorial about why we pay taxes, and why we're better off because of it.
The people of Chechnya have voted to stay with Russia in a recent constitutional referendum. The fighting in the region has gone on for several years now, with reports of brutal repression by Russian troops, 'disappeared' citizens, and the Chechen terrorist takeover of a Russian theatre last year. It's unclear whether or not the 80% vote was more akin to the Nicaraguan vote that brought the Contras into power, a tired people facing a powerful opponent, who just want the fighting to stop.
The Rittenhouse Review has a good post up on the danger that archeological sites in Iraq face from the bombing. This is, after all, the cradle of civilization as we know it. But as grievous as it is to think of the destruction of places and things that are in some sense the common treasures of all people, I was instantly reminded of another article I linked to late last year. One in which author Zeynep Toufe wonders whether or not we would worry more about bombing children in the Middle East if they were made out of stone. (For anyone still wondering 'why blog links to headlines', this is why. To create a backup brain wherein that great piece you vaguely remember from several months ago is no more than a database query away.)
Ampersand tells us about the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the most corrupt and appallingly managed portion of the US government. We can't even act as responsible fiduciaries on behalf of the few remaining Native Americans, and we want to take over a whole country that we've demonstrated an even deeper ignorance of? Two posts above, he provides a link to Steve Russell's take on what a Bureau of Iraqi Affairs would be like.
Three children shot in Bolivia in a confrontation between soldiers and unarmed coca growers. In relation to that, read this interesting article written in defense of the coca plant, which wasn't a plant that I ever used to think needed defending. Apparently, there are worlds of difference between coca and cocaine, and it turns out that it really still is the secret ingredient in Coca Cola. Indeed, a good article for unsettling assumptions.
Francis Boyle has kindly drawn up a draft impeachment against George Walker Bush. But is it a worthy case? Let's see: Hummer vs. the torture of prisoners, the violation of international laws put in place by our own efforts of 50 years ago, and the deaths of thousands. Tough call.
BuzzFlash readers report that the 'Suspected Chemical Weapons Plant' (as I saw the headline on a CNN Headline News ticker), has been a known quantity for about 12 years.
It's already going around the Arab world that the CIA is planning to target Iran next for regime change. I hear conflicting stories on this, that we would never attack (see press briefing, above), that we want to attack, that we're privately working with Iran even though no one will publicly admit it, and I'm unsure what to believe. But one thing I do know: if we target Iran, we will not even be able to get Britain's government to side with us. I don't feel that I'm exaggerating to categorically declare that this would be a doomsday scenario, where we would find that instead of creating rifts with allies, we had created a raft of active enemies.
Though it would not have been quite true to say a year ago, at present, Iran has better diplomatic standing with much of Europe than we do. Regionally, they have plenty of friends, and many nations who would support them on principle. As home to some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world, to say nothing of their tremendous mineral wealth and Caspian Sea access, the country is a treasure trove. And strategically, there might not be a better spot anywhere in the area. No one, even those who aren't especially friendly with Iran, wants to see the US in control of it again. And not only would the Islamic world see it as a deliberate targeting of their faith, but I'm sure no one has forgotten that when the Shah was in power, Israel used the country as a refueling stop during their bombing runs.
A word to anyone with decision making power who hasn't yet completely lost their minds: Don't even think about it. Don't talk about it. Don't touch it.
101st update: Captain Seifert. My deepest sympathies to his family.posted by Natasha at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK |
Was Rangel right?
I just received this message from a friend:
(The article is from the Times of Oman. Perhaps we should be reading more of the foreign press to learn what is really going on in this war.)
Before the war began, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y, was criticized for suggesting minority Americans might be disproportionately injured, captured or killed. The evasion used was that combat troops are still mainly white. However, the distinction between combat and support is not clearcut, as my friend pointed out above. It is still possible minority groups will be impacted disproportionately.
The Christian Science Monitor says the current fighting force is different in composition than any previously fielded.
African-Americans, alone, make up 29 percent of the Army. The American population is about 12 percent black.
Another way this war will differ from others will be in the ancillary effects. The four young helicopter crew members who were the first reported casualties left behind at least three children under the age of 12. Three of the men were or had been married. Most troops killed or captured will bereave spouses because military personnel are more apt to marry and to marry young than the rest of the population.
Reflecting concern about disparities in harmful effects of the war as well as disapproval of the invasion of Iraq itself, Rangel and other African-American Congress members were well-represented among the minority of their peers who refused to endorse the war now that it is a fait accompli Friday.
The opponents of the resolution emphasized they were opposed to this war because they support the mainly working-class people who make up the armed forces and believe the war is not in their or the civilian population's best interest. They are not alone in wondering why working-class people, many of them minorities, are expected to bear a disproportionate share of the risks of military engagement. If any segment of the population is missing from today's military, it's the children of America's elites, says Professor Moskos.
Rangel has proposed remedying that situation by bringing back conscription.
Attention has been focused on the question of whether minority soldiers and their families suffer disproportionately in times of war by the early death of Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Watersbey, 29, one of four Marine crew members killed on the U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter that crashed Friday in Kuwait. Watersbey's father faulted the president for his son's death in an interview: "George Bush, take a good look at this man, cause you took my only son away from me," Michael Watersbey said, holding up a picture of his son.
It will be interesting to see if discussions of disproportionality continue after hostilities have ceased. Of course, if minority Americans had the same educational and employment opportunities as white Americans, the issue of disproportionate impact as a result of military service would not even arise.
posted by J. at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK |
...And The Horse You Rode In On
From Mark on a dKos comments board, reason #127 why within a very short while, American lives will no longer be worth spit in large parts of the globe. Look at the picture of the little boy at the top of the page and ask yourself honestly if you would ever forgive the people who did this to a child of yours? [Update: The picture in question has been removed from the page. I haven't gone looking for it, as I doubt that anyone who'd seen it once would ever forget. There are several other photos of Iraqi victims remaining at the above URL.]
The whole Arab world is seeing these pictures, and they will see in this one a child who probably reminds them of their own, or maybe a relative's. With so much of the inside of his head blown away that what's left looks almost plastic, with his eyes closed as though he were a doll made to look like it was napping. Take a good look, a long look. One that takes in the details of how that loose flap of scalp looks now that there isn't a skull underneath to be stretched over. As William Rivers Pitt said on Friday, today we are all terrorists.
Saddam Hussein just gave a speech that was broadcast over here. He talked a lot about faith, following god, and fighting evil. In short, except for the bits about jihad and mujahideen, you could have almost forgotten that you weren't listening to our Dear Leader instead. And he said of the British and US forces that "this time, they have come to occupy and invade our land..." Think anyone might believe him?
Do you think, maybe, that his words will have even more credence as our 'precision' munitions seem to keep landing in Iran, mysteriously targeting a government building and an oil refinery. Is it possible that after we 'accidentally' hit one of their oil trucks last year when we were busy bombing Afghanistan, these folks might start to see a pattern? That their neighbors will begin to wonder when we're coming for them?
And we can share the horror all around, as dKos reminds those of us that needed reminding that our boys are dying, too. Way to go, all you just warriors. Will you support the families of these young people as much as you supported the leaders that sent them to their deaths? Will Clear Channel set up college trusts for the children they left behind? Will the 'patriot' rallies go to DC to insist that their comrades in arms come home to a fully funded veterans administration? Yeah, that's what I thought.
"So what have you found, you disciples of the Devil?" - Saddam Hussein on Monday, 24th March, 2003
"All I have to say is, once this is over, the Iraqi people better be the freest fucking people on the face of the earth. They better be freer than me. They better be so fucking free they can fly." - Get Your War On
Alcohol update: Out of Frascatti (damn Berlusconi anyhow), located last dregs of a bottle of good scotch. When that runs out, will have to learn how to make gin martinis (recipes, anyone?), and I can toast the British public for vainly continuing to pretend as we do that they live in a democracy. Alternately, I can support the French by buying a nice beaujolais. A light and fruity wine that reminds me of margaritas, is best when 2 years or younger, and is reasonably priced.posted by Natasha at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK |
Sunday, March 23, 2003
Around the web:
Wampum points us all to a site that will help us send a message of support for our troops: Bring Them Home.
Before going on vacation, SF Gate columnist Mark Morford left this parting shot at the lie that our soldiers are over there in Iraq to protect the freedom of undeserving liberals. He says that at present, the situation is rather the reverse.
From the Guardian, Robin Cook talks further about his serious reservations about American, and now British, foreign policy. Pentagon pettiness sends Claire Short home empty handed as she tried to negotiate a UN role in running Iraqi schools and hospitals, a project which a select group of US companies have been invited to bid on. And Richard Dawkins makes the no longer trite case that the terrorists have scored big, an argument we will continue to hear more of, no doubt. He says this, in part:
And the very wing-nuttiest folks over at the WorldNetDaily are deligted over the Patriot Film Festival which will "combat a perceived left-wing dominance of the film industry" for the purpose of, in part, "[showing] pro-American, pro-military, pro-business and pro-family values films." I'm speechless.posted by Natasha at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK |