Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Criminal supreme court ruling

It's clear to me that the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain is another example of the billionaire corporate class and their government puppets trying to clamp down on the American People and put up subdivisions and further destroy American culture in favor of greed and profit. It's happening in Raleigh right now - they're trying to tear down poor neighborhoods to replace them with expensive condos and subdivisions in the name of "urban revitilization" (ie. kicking black people out of their homes)

The opposition to this is across the board, and I think it's one of those rare windows of opportunity where it's obvious, even in the mainstream, that the "red vs. blue" ruse that is nothing more than a "coke vs. pepsi" marketing scheme drummed up by big media and big government.

Already Bush appointed "liberal judges" are being blamed - which, again, is a marketing scheme created by big media through the puppet pundits Limbaugh, Hannity, et al. to keep this country divided.

This is the kind of thing that should happen all the time.

Friday, June 24, 2005

White House Public Relations Campaign

If you've been wondering what the friggin deal is with the flag desecration and Rove trying to keep the division going between "liberals" and "conservatives" by announcing that liberals didn't want to kill or imprison the 9/11 orchestrators, it helps to remember we're in the midst of a "public relations" campaign to counter the growing opposition to the Iraq occupation. Public relations is the new word for propaganda (that term became evil and was thrown out after World War II).

We can expect the usual stenography and cheerleading from the corporate (not liberal or conservative) media in support of their corporate (not conservative or neo-conservative) masters.

I'm sure the 4th of July celebration will be devoid of any partisanship.

Right.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flag Desecration

It's obvious that the flag desecration (not "burning", as the media giants for some reason have been calling it) bill was brought up by Republicans as a means to cast opponants as unpatriotic. It also serves to keep the nation divided over emotional issues, as well as a distraction from the plummeting approval rating of the Iraq occupation. Not to mention the usual reasons for such inane laws - jailing protesters and questioners.

Flag "burning" or deliberate, public desecration is an act intended to incite rage and possibly violence from those who regard the symbol as sacred. Therefore, if I'm to follow in the footsteps of the most effective revolutionaries and utilize nonviolence against the violent power state, I can't be in favor of that which serves as nothing but a catalyst for violence and division among the people.

However, making a constitutional amendment banning flag desecration is ludicrous. Rep. Conyers stated accurately that it is the elevation of a symbol of Freedom over the Freedom itself - that is clearly the philospophy of the Reaganite political leadership in office today: Gestures, symbols, proclamations of freedom and peace and democracy in an attempt to cloak the actual US policy which consistently works against freedom, peace and true democracy.

Freedom of Information is a blessing we have in this country, as well as Freedom of Speech. However, corporate power works 24*7 to ensure that the way they use information and speech is the only way that's heard, and to ensure that any dissenting opinion is depicted as nothing more than the court jester's folly, and I think an act such as public, deliberate flag desecration serves well in that capacity, thus is more of help to Power than a hinderance.

Indeed, the court prince (or king) often charged the jesters with the task of continually provoking his courtiers in order to deflect pent-up frustration or wrath away from himself and the other noblemen and ladies. They became a sort of scapegoat or living mascot who could, through pranks and witty banter, bring good luck to his master and likewise "absorb" social friction. It is because of this special social function that court jesters were generally exempted from censorship and were allowed to behave in ways which would have been unacceptable for other members of the court.


***Oh yeah, one more example of flag desecration.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

overheard on NPR this morning

In a report on Morning Edition called "Vietnamese Reaction to Khai's U.S. Visit"

STEVE INSKEEP: How free is the media there?

MICHAEL SULLIVAN: Not very free at all. It's tightly controlled by the government. Obviously, if the government wants this story to be the lead, it will be the lead.


SI: During the course of this visit there had been protests against the Vietnamese prime minister and protests particularly against Vietnam's human rights record. There were protesters outside the White House yesterday. Did any of that get coverage in Vietnam?


MS: Oddly enough, Steve, not a word of it, which isn't surprising given the fact the media is tightly controlled by the government. There's no mention of it on television either last night or today. In fact a local cable channel here carries CNN as part of the local package, and their report on the visit was apparently scrambled right after it showed a picture of Prime Minister Khai entering the White House. The Vietnamese government did not want people here to see pictures of those demonstraters outside the White House. They wanted to put the most positive spin on this meeting.
Did any of that get significant coverage in the US, other than the blurb in the CNN report Sullivan mentioned? Is there really much of a difference between governmental control of the media and corporate control, given the fact that many American corporations make more than the GDP of countries like Vietnam? The sad part is, the US media can give a voice to a dissenting opinion, and at times does, as in the last post. But ultimately the mainstream media is beholden to the powerful giants that control it. Millionaries give you the nightly news, and it is in their interest to maintain power, not question it.

Propaganda is essential to power, whether a powerful nation or a powerful corporation. Any part of the power structure which dissents is either repaired or destroyed. It is my belief that Power is a sickness caused by an addiction to desire, and it is the opposite of freedom, yet it will almost always use the concepts of "freedom" and "peace" while embodying slavery and war. Power is not irresistable, but it is always harder to resist than to succumb. Those who embody freedom and peace and charity will always be considered enemies of those in power.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Media actually does its job

Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its 'last throes'?

McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that's why we're doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward….

Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day -- you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.

Q But they're killing more Americans, they're killing more Iraqis. That's the last throes?

McCLELLAN: Innocent -- I say innocent civilians. And it doesn't take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you're willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That's the kind of people that we're dealing with. That's what I say when we're talking about a determined enemy.

Q Right. What is the evidence that the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: I think I just explained to you the desperation of terrorists and their tactics.

Q What's the evidence on the ground that it's being extinguished?

McCLELLAN: Terry, we're making great progress to defeat the terrorist and regime elements. You're seeing Iraqis now playing more of a role in addressing the security threats that they face. They're working side by side with our coalition forces. They're working on their own. There are a lot of special forces in Iraq that are taking the battle to the enemy in Iraq. And so this is a period when they are in a desperate mode.

Q Well, I'm just wondering what the metric is for measuring the defeat of the insurgency.

McCLELLAN: Well, you can go back and look at the Vice President's remarks. I think he talked about it.

Q Yes. Is there any idea how long a 'last throe' lasts for?

McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve

Thursday, June 16, 2005

In a related story about violence against children by a ruling authority

Catholic Bishops Revise Sex Abuse Policy

Bishops overseeing a review of the three-year-old policy have recommended that dioceses continue permanently barring guilty clergy from all church work. Some Catholic leaders have been concerned that the punishment is too severe.
...

"Overall there was definite expression that the `one-strike' policy needs to be retained for now," the committee wrote in recommendations presented Thursday.

Still, the panel noted that "many, perhaps a majority," of prelates hoped that they could eventually allow men who are truly rehabilitated back into ministry — an idea victims vehemently oppose.
...

Bishops were desperate to restore trust in their leadership, and some Catholic leaders said the due process rights of priests were sacrificed in the process.

They complained the charter violated Catholic belief in redemption and forgiveness, and dictated a draconian, one-size-fits-all response for cases they said varied dramatically.

Victims countered that bishops who had allowed predators to stay in the priesthood could not be trusted to decide whether a clergyman was cured. Hundreds of accused clergy have been removed from the ministry in the last three years, although most of their alleged wrongdoing occurred decades ago.
...
The worst offenders could be forced out of the priesthood entirely.
...

Also, the definition of sex abuse would be changed to link it directly to the Sixth Commandment, which is interpreted as condemning any sexual activity outside marriage.

How about this? If any priest is caught screwing around with a kid, you not only "defrock" him with your couragous "one-strike policy", you turn him over to the police immediately, so they can throw the bastard in jail.

And I like how they throw that bullshit in there about sex outside of marriage, as if it's as bad as some sick asshole messing a kid up for life. Can't believe the arrogance of these people.

Come to think of it I'm still techinically a member of this Church, that apparently doesn't think child molestation is so bad. So I'm getting myself "excommunicated" immediately. I wonder what you have to do to get kicked out?

Now or never

Read this very carefully, via Tom Tomorrow.

Now tell me it's not time for mass revolt. When elected officials are even sick and twisted enough to put their lobbying money in front of the health and welfare of children, their livelihoods - getting paid to make laws to protect giant corporations at the expense of children - are an affront to Americans. Maybe you can ignore Iraqi civilians being blown up. Maybe you can turn a blind eye on innocent detainees being tortured and humiliated in American military prisons. Maybe you, having no relatives or friends in the military, can even ignore the 1674 men and women who have died, or the more than 12,000 who have come back deformed in body and mind, or maybe you can take comnfort in the idea that they somehow sacrificed their lives for freedom. But can you honestly ignore the fact that the health of your own child, or your children of your friends and neighbors, is being sold out to rich men for profit by men you or I may have voted for in ignorance?

"There must be more than a statement to the larger society; there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point. That interruption must not, however, be clandestine or surreptitious. It is not necessary to invest it with guerrilla romanticism. It must be open and, above all, conducted by large masses without violence. If the jails are filled to thwart it, its meaning will become even clearer."

"Mass civil disobedience as a new stage of struggle can transmute the deep rage of the ghetto into a constructive and creative force. To dislocate the functioning of a city without destroying it can be longer-lasting, costly to the larger society, but not wantonly destructive. Finally, it is a device of social action that is more difficult for the government to quell by superior force."

-Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967, from The Trumpet of Conscience

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Let's pull out the flag desecration bullshit

Just when you thought the country was divided enough, emotional enough, what with the dupes claiming total patriotism (a word, incidentially, describing [in this country] a bunch of anarchists who overthrew a corrupt government) , they have to throw some more fuel on the crybabies' fire (pun fucking intended) and bring out the flag desecration bullshit in Congress.

Here's some links providing some examples of flag desecration I've seen in the last few years:

Corporate giants to America: "We're selling out your country you dumb motherfuckers! Wanna help us? "
The face of the 21st Century American jackoff.
The manifestation of the American ego
All you need to do to be patriot-ic is buy a bunch of useless shit made in China with American flags all over it!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Man with a conscience

US lawmaker of 'freedom fries' fame turns against Iraq war

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A prominent lawmaker who prompted cafeterias in the US Congress to change the name of their french fries to "freedom fries" in anger over France's opposition to the Iraq war, has now turned against the conflict and wants a firm schedule on the withdrawal of US troops.

Representative Walter Jones (news, bio, voting record), a North Carolina Republican, has written more than 1,300 letters of condolence to the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and will introduce legislation this week calling for a firm timetable on the withdrawal of US troops, ABC's "This Week" said Sunday.

...

Asked about his change of heart on the war, Jones said he had attended two years ago the funeral of soldier, a married father of three, who was killed in Iraq. "That really has been on my mind and my heart ever since."

He added: "When I look at the number of men and women who have been killed -- it's almost 1,700 now, in addition to close to 12,000 have been severely wounded -- and I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there."

"And my heart aches, quite frankly," Jones told ABC.

You know, I'm not happy about being right when soldiers and civilians are getting blown up on a daily basis. When the Abu Ghraib story broke in the mainstream, I didn't exactly pop open the champagne because the Amnesty and Red Cross reports I'd read months before had visual accompaniment for the masses, or that those who thought it was a big liberal conspiracy theory were proven wrong. In fact I remember being sick to my stomach. When no WMDs were found, it didn't fill me with joy that it made the Bush administration look bad. I'm sure some people on the Left do feel a secret, sick joy in knowing they were right, but not me. Those people, along with the ones who don't have friends and relatives over there (including rich politicians), look at the Iraq war as a movie they can watch nightly on TV. The rest of us have to wake up wondering whether our brothers and sisters and friends are still alive, or if they still have all their limbs, or their minds.

This weekend I went to the farmers' market. I was talking to a woman and behind her stood a young man with one arm holding an orchid, with a long stem. He was quiet and seemed sensitive about his amputation, like he was just starting to deal with being out in public and being stared at. She said he'd just got back from Iraq and was recovering. I said "Good to have you back" and "thank you". I wanted to shake his hand but he didn't have a fucking hand. You understand that? This is real. This isn't some Patriot game to be treated with all the seriousness of a football game. The stupidity of the Freedom Fries thing made me sick to my stomach. We have men losing their limbs and we have members of congress acting like it's a college football game with their rah rah patriotic nonsense.

The war has been real for me, as one of my best friends and two of my relatives might be dead at any moment. And when I meet a guy who lost an arm, it pisses me off more and makes me want to do everything I can do get these guys home.

So it's good to see that some of these ignorant men on the hill like Representative Walter Jones finally started to listen to their conscience. But that won't fix the thousands of lives that ignorance destroyed, and that's why there's no joy in being right when the truth is as terrible as this.

Friday, June 10, 2005

AP has been increasingly right wing

I'm not a fan of Democrats, much less Ohio Democrats. But the AP managed to take a story about a Republican politician steals $10 million from the Ohio Workers' Compensation Bureau, and turns it 180 degrees into a story about Democrats being political opportunists.

Yes, both parties are opportunistic.

And yes, the AP is very obviously in favor of one.

Bush/Blair's telling response to Downing Street memo

That the memo was written before they went to the UN further drives the point home. Neither Blair or Bush addressed the memo specifically, or said anything about what Rycroft meant by "Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. " or "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
That the US/UK wanted to invade was obvious to everyone from the beginning. The Downing Street memo just proves the obvious.

From Whitehouse.gov:


Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations. (no shit, that's the point -sloov). Now, no one knows more intimately the discussions that we were conducting as two countries at the time than me. And the fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action.

But all the way through that period of time, we were trying to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict. As it happened, we weren't able to do that because -- as I think was very clear -- there was no way that Saddam Hussein was ever going to change the way that he worked, or the way that he acted.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I -- you know, I read kind of the characterizations of the memo, particularly when they dropped it out in the middle of his race. I'm not sure who "they dropped it out" is, but -- I'm not suggesting that you all dropped it out there. (Laughter.) And somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There's nothing farther from the truth.

My conversation with the Prime Minister was, how could we do this peacefully, what could we do. And this meeting, evidently, that took place in London happened before we even went to the United Nations -- or I went to the United Nations (no shit, that's the point -sloov). And so it's -- look, both us of didn't want to use our military. Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option. The consequences of committing the military are -- are very difficult. The hardest things I do as the President is to try to comfort families who've lost a loved one in combat. It's the last option that the President must have -- and it's the last option I know my friend had, as well.

And so we worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully, take a -- put a united front up to Saddam Hussein, and say, the world speaks, and he ignored the world. Remember, 1441 passed the Security Council unanimously. He made the decision. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cold day in hell

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish judge wants to question three U.S. soldiers as suspects in the death of a Spanish cameraman who was killed when a U.S. tank fired on a hotel housing foreign journalists during the 2003 assault on Baghdad.

"It would be a very, very cold day in hell before that would ever happen," said a State Department official, who asked not to be named.

.......

"I just cannot imagine how any U.S. soldier can be subject to some kind of foreign proceeding for criminal liability when he is in a tank in a war zone as part of an international coalition," the State Department official added.

I agree with the State Department official. The soldiers shouldn't be reprimanded for following orders to commit a terrorist attack on foreign journalists. The officials who ordered them to commit a terrorist attack should be tried in the World Court for war crimes.

Supreme Court renders itself irrelavant

The federal government's attitude toward marijuana is senseless and based on fear and lies. That much is obvious. It's up to the growers to continue to provide the sick with their cheaply manufactured medicine, for free, in defiance of the tyrannical drug laws. It should be noted that the three dissenting votes were from conservatives in support for the states, and it should also be noted that the people I'm complaining about on this blog, Bush, mega-conglomerate tyrannies, etc, have nothing to do with conservatism and shouldn't be referred to as conservatives at all if you want to take an honest look at what's going on.

On NPR they had the former drug czar, a guy appropriately named Dupont (I assume an heir of the plastics giant who lobbied for marijuana prohibition). The reason he gave for continued criminalizing of the sick was that people don't grow their own medicine "that's just not how it works". He's exactly right - that's not the way it works - in order for drug companies to continue to make millions, it'd be imperative for easily grown drugs to be illegal.

As long as the federal government keeps upholding these arrogant, tyrannical laws that favor drug giants at the expense of extremely sick and dying people, it's up to anyone with a conscience to ignore these laws.

In fact, it might be a good idea for Americans across to country to start growing some marijuana for the prime purpose of covertly donating (not selling) to some sick people. I also read a post on a message board calling for a Boston Tea Party-type nonviolent assault on big pharma.

These kinds of illegal actions and rebellions against government tyranny are what created this country, and what made it free, and what protected all of us not in the upper 1%. Every benefit that the USA enjoys is not from some goddamn plunder war in Southeast Asia or the Middle East, it's from struggles here on our own land, against our own rulers - the American Revolution, the Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement - these uprisings are what saved us, and will save us again.

"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mainstream finally reads Downing Street memo

On my way home I'm usually listening to Free Speech Radio News and Democracy Now! on a radio station that actually has the balls to carry those Pacifica Network shows in North Carolina, 90.7 FM WNCU from North Carolina Central University. I'm going to donate to them once I can get some extra cash.

I sometimes hit the AM/FM button to see if and in what fashion the White House is responding to certain items in the news through Sean Hannity. He was particularly defensive about the Downing Street Memo (recently discovered by the US govt. stenographer mainstream media because some Democrats, led by the respectable Congressman John Conyers, have decided to take the Bush administration to task for it). Hannity, after a typical rant questioning Democrats' patriotism, called the memo a "note written by Tony Blair's assistant".

Despite being amusing, that statement is very telling in its defensiveness. The memo most certainly points to impeachable offenses, although I don't think an impeachment is likely to happen.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

newsbreakers.org

Newsbreakers - guerrilla comedy. nonviolent action against big media. Try this at home.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Amnesty Response to Bush and Rumsfeld, hyperlinks mine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2005
1:31 PM

CONTACT: Amnesty International
AIUSA Press Office: 202-544-0200 x 302

Statement of Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

WASHINGTON--June 1--Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration ignored or dismissed Amnesty International's reports on the abuse of detainees for years, and senior officials continue to ignore the very real plight of men detained without charge or trial. Amnesty International first communicated its concerns at the treatment of prisoners to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in January 2002 and continued to raise these concerns at the highest levels as allegations of abuse mounted from Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq. The response was to bar AI's human rights investigators from visiting US detention facilities, in contrast to countries as diverse as Libya and Sudan, where governments have accepted the value of independent monitoring.

Twenty years ago, Amnesty International was criticizing Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses at the same time Donald Rumsfeld was courting him. In 2003 Rumsfeld apparently trusted our credibility on violations by Iraq, but now that we are criticizing the US he has lost his faith again. [see quotes below]

The deliberate policy of this administration is to detain individuals without charge or trial in prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base and other locations, where their treatment has not conformed to international standards. Donald Rumsfeld personally approved a December 2002 memorandum that permitted such unlawful interrogation techniques as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping, and the use of dogs at Guantanamo Bay, and he should be held accountable, as should all those responsible for torture, no matter how senior.

There has yet to be a full independent investigation, and the content of some of the government's own reports into human rights violations in these prisons remain classified and unseen. If this administration is committed to transparency, it should immediately open the network of detention centers operated by the US around the world to scrutiny by independent human rights groups. It is also worth noting that this administration eagerly cites Amnesty International research when we criticize Cuba and extensively quoted our criticism of the violations in Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the run up to the war.

Rumsfeld quotes (compiled by thinkprogress.org at http://thinkprogress.org/index.php?p=979 )

On March 27, 2003, Rumsfeld said:

We know that it's a repressive regime?Anyone who has read Amnesty International or any of the human rights organizations about how the regime of Saddam Hussein treats his people?

The next day, Rumsfeld cited his "careful reading" of Amnesty:

[I]t seems to me a careful reading of Amnesty International or the record of Saddam Hussein, having used chemical weapons on his own people as well as his neighbors, and the viciousness of that regime, which is well known and documented by human rights organizations, ought not to be surprised

And on April 1, 2003, Rumsfeld said once again:

[I]f you read the various human rights groups and Amnesty International's description of what they know has gone on, it's not a happy picture.

###

How the media giants frame the debate

Hurricane season could renew global warming debate

Last season's $45 billion devastation, when 15 tropical storms spawned nine hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean, prompted climatologists to warn of a link to warming temperatures.

But hurricane experts say the unusual series of hurricanes, four of which slammed into Florida in a six-week period, was the result of a natural 15- to 40-year cycle in Atlantic cyclone activity.


This is not the debate I tend to think about when I hear about the "global warming debate".

The hurricane experts may be right in this case, but that doesn't mean global warming has not been increased by industrialization. I'm sure many if not all of the climatologists (the serious ones, not hired by Exxon Mobil) arguing against global warming's contribution to an increase in hurricanes agree in humanity's contribution to the increase in global warming.

This fact is not some invention of "environmentalist wackos" (the "environmentalist wacko" is another strawman invention of the corporate media, invented for obvious reasons). That global warming has been accelerated to dangerous levels by industrialisation is not even debated by scientists worldwide.

The real debate is hinted to towards the end of the article, but it's presented as though it's interchangeable with the hurricane debate. Watch:

HOT TOPIC

The public clash highlighted the sensitivity of the climate debate in the United States, which under President Bush dismayed environmentalists by rejecting the Kyoto pact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Some government scientists, such as James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, have complained they are forced to downplay evidence of climate change, which most scientists link to industrial pollution.

But hurricane experts say their dismissal of global warming in relation to hurricanes is based on science not politics.

Yeah, no shit. But these aren't the same guys paid by Exxon Mobil to say climate change is unaffected by human activity.

It's very obvious what's going on here. The billionaire media is trying to frame the debate to distort the real argument about climate change and human activity.