Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 27, 2005

Open Spring Equinox Thread

Happy Newroz, Purim, Easter, Nouruz, Shunbun no Hi  or your favorite spring equinox festivity.

We had fun on the beach with traditional Easter fires at the river Elbe in Hamburg.

Posted by b on March 27, 2005 at 10:49 UTC | Permalink


Well here is a maybe cheerful post. According to Jeffrey Shaffer from the Christian Science Monitor we can't handle the truth

He is probably right.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 27 2005 10:59 utc | 1

Occupation is not women's liberation - Part I.

.....At times, the Bush administration's gestures at uplifting Iraqi women are clearly an empty hoax for feminism, that should disturb even liberals who support the occupation. This winter the U.S. State department launched a $10 million "Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative," to train women in political participation for the January election. Most of the money was allocated to organizations embedded in the Bush administration - including the reactionary Independent Women's Forum (IWF). The IWF was founded by Lynne Cheney, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, and rightwing National Review editor Kate O'Beirne in 1991, as a counter to the so-called "radical feminism" of NOW. Ironically - given Iraq's history - IWF is opposed to, among other things, paid maternity leave, government-provided childcare, equal pay for equal work (because it violates 'free market' principles), minimum quotas for women in government service, and the Violence Against Women Act....

Occupation is not women's liberation - Part II.

...In fact, the U.S. anti-war movement, in its ground operations - in its speeches, its articles, its events, and brochures - has for the most part failed to connect the dots between the current conditions of Iraqi women, and the Bush administration's fallacious hypocrisy in claiming to bring democracy and women's liberation. Because it simply does not place the situation of women in the center of its analysis as a high priority, it has failed to frame its observations within an articulation of the above argument, and moreover, a gendered analysis of why imperialism has failed Iraqi women particularly. This has made anti-war activism weaker as a movement - we have so far failed to effectively use the situation of women in Iraq to dismantle the Bush administration's ideological pretexts for war and reveal the true motivations of the occupation....

A good essay and one which reveals the weaknesses of an 'anti-war movement' that is both chauvinistic and schizophrenic in its analysis and perception of 'poor downtrodden Iraqis' and its reluctance to acknowledge truthfully the facts of American aggression and brutality and the racist, undemocratic nature of U.S. policy. What are 'anti-war' protestors actually against? What are 'anti-war' protestors actually 'for'? A kinder, gentler 'American Iraq'? Isn't that imperialist? The anti-war movement may attract people who wish to publicly and vicariously express their hostility to George W. Bush and the GOP but is that it? Is that all it's for? The failure to call things as they really are and to articulate a principled position that is about more than 'bringing the troops home and saving American lives' is telling..

Posted by: Pot stirrer | Mar 27 2005 13:38 utc | 2

Mending wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Many Germans want Berlin Wall back

Posted by: Robert Frost | Mar 27 2005 13:50 utc | 3

Half-time score: C.I.A. 0 K.G.B. 1

Revolution that came too soon starts to fall apart in chaotic Kyrgyzstan

Posted by: Eternal outside agitators | Mar 27 2005 14:28 utc | 4

dan of steele - the author of that piece kinda misses the mark, doesn't he? it's a rather disingenuous absolving of the status quo, in my reading of it. of course filtering is necessary. the problem rests w/ who does the filtering. it is unrealistic to expect that one could publish anything that did not elicit criticism or cries of subjective bias, especially coming the powerful w/ a vested interest in lying & deceiving to protect their privilege/wealth/position/power/ideological systems. true objectivity in any media is a myth , plain and simple. and, as far as editing is concerned, nowhere in the article is "truth" mentioned.

Posted by: b real | Mar 27 2005 16:08 utc | 5

b real

What I saw is a sell out of what journalists are supposed to do. He sounds a bit like the shrub when he says it is hard work. So rather than do the hard work he says that it is not necessary because it is too much for us simpletons to grasp anyway. This fits nicely with what many see as a deliberate dumbing down of the US population.

As many of us jaded old cynics have come to realize, you will simply not get any semblance of news from Corporate Media (tm) (OK Slothrop?). I suppose my biggest fear now is that the bastards will figure out some way to filter the internets. This is really too easy to do and I am certain there are types in power now that look with yearning upon China which does (at least I am told so) restrict access to many sites. It would seem to be the case as I have yet to see any Chinese posters at any blog (though I have not looked for them) and given that they are about 20% of the worlds population you would think one would pop up somewhere. IMO the only thing stopping them is that it would probably cut into commerce and not because of an outcry from the slighted masses wanting freedom to seek information.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 27 2005 16:23 utc | 6

- On that same article b real, The title was a comeon and I hoped that I'd see some commentary about how "we" must refuse to see the truth in order to preserve some sense of comfort and continuity as we are accustomed to doing. It is too ugly and unsettling so we won't look at it.

He said nothing like that but wasted a number of paragraphs assuring his reader that all is OK, that the editors are doing their job for you so you don't have to worry about missing anything.

Absolute bullshit. From the Christian Science Monitor.

Posted by: rapt | Mar 27 2005 16:27 utc | 7 has a nice video with Bolton commenting on the United Nations.

Posted by: b | Mar 27 2005 17:08 utc | 8

In a previous link to a Forbes article, I think the # of billionaires was around 380 individuals w/ a combined income exceeding the GDP of Germany.

Here's some more on the,6903,1446120,00.html>kleptocrats.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2005 17:17 utc | 9

ô happy times in australia

Parents too poor to outfit students

By Shane Green
Education editor
March 28, 2005

Thousands of Victorian schoolchildren are relying on hand-outs for even the most basic school items - shoes and uniforms.

Figures provided to The Age by the State Schools Relief Committee show that over the past five years the number of government school students helped with shoes and uniforms has increased by almost a quarter.

Last year the committee helped 7120 state primary and secondary students, an increase of 1300 or more than 22 per cent since 2000.

This year will probably exceed that figure: 3234 students have already been helped.

The committee, founded in the Depression, believes unemployment and the arrival of refugees are factors behind the rise.

The figures support the views of community support groups and welfare teachers about the growing battle by poorer families to meet the costs of "free" state education, including books, excursions and camps, and "voluntary" school levies.

The Welfare Teachers' Association reports cases of families sacrificing food or rent so a child can go on an excursion.


Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 17:17 utc | 10

more happy times in australia

A demonstration outside Baxter detention centre in support of refugees turned violent for the second day yesterday when police fought their way into a crowd of protesters to take their balloons.

Riot police forced their way into about 150 protesters about a kilometre from the centre to burst two large bunches of helium balloons tied to a "freedom" banner, which was to be released over the centre for detainees to see. Police retreated after popping the balloons and allowed the group to proceed towards the centre, about 12 kilometres from Port Augusta.

More skirmishes began about and hour later when police began confiscating kites, claiming the area above the Commonwealth immigration centre was restricted air space. During a series of increasingly nasty clashes in which nine people were arrested, a member of the heavily armed SA Special Tactical and Response squad had to be retrieved when he was separated from his squad and dragged by the neck into the crowd.

In another skirmish a police officer tripped and was held down by protesters until other police intervened. A demonstrator from Melbourne, Liz Thompson, grazed her face after she was thrown by police into saltbush and other protesters suffered minor cuts and bruises.

"They came in and grabbed the big 'Free Refugees' kite. They wanted the kites just like they wanted the balloons," said Ms Thompson, a member of a Melbourne refugee anti-deportation group. "It's part of having a confrontation and making us look violent and making sure the detainees don't know that we're here." At the same time as kites were being flown four people were arrested after attempting to break into the so far impenetrable centre.

Since the protest against mandatory detention began on Friday, 17 people have been arrested on charges including trespassing, property damage, resisting arrest and flying a kite in restricted air space. Late on Saturday night, a man who played guitar naked to a row of police at the Baxter gates was arrested for indecent exposure.

Police blamed the protesters - who at one point kicked dirt up into the faces of police - claiming they engaged in brinkmanship with officers who had responded with discipline. "We've had officers abused at close range, we've had sand thrown under officers' visors and clothing ripped," Baxter Operation commander Gary Burns said. "It was the protesters who played a game of brinkmanship and provocation. They are the ones who decided to keep pushing the limit."

Police said balloons and kites were allowed at the campsite but were banned close to the centre to guarantee the safety of the police helicopter, which was used to monitor protester movements on the ground. Assistant Commissioner Burns said the air exclusion zone above Baxter was taken seriously to avoid a kite or balloon being sucked up into the helicopter's air intake.

Police asked television stations to hold footage in case it was needed for evidence against some of those arrested and agreed to view other footage that may show a heavy-handed police response. Wire-cutters, pliers and a knife were seized by police, a police baton was lost but recovered and about $5000 damage was done to the Baxter centre fence.

A man clutching a basket of Easter eggs was arrested after he climbed under a fence during a Baxter solidarity protest at Maribyrnong detention centre yesterday.

same source

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 17:21 utc | 11

& in egypt it is getting very hot indeed. large demonstrations. arrests of the muslim brotherhood etc etc

& in pakistan.....


Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 17:27 utc | 12

you will simply not get any semblance of news from Corporate Media

There's more available media now more than ever. There is more access as well. As I said before, whether the homogeneity of MSM occludes viewpoint diversity and whether political polarization occurs as a result of non-traditional, new media access (blogs), are the big questions. I don't know anyone off the top of my head who predicted the MSM response to new media would be a freefall race to the bottom. In any case, isn't this a good thing as the MSM more transparently propagandizes elite political interests? The purpose of bhlogs nis therefore critique of MSM. Any failure of blogs to affect counterhegemonyt is probaqbly owed to the polarization/"info-cascade" dilemma. But, I think this latter fear is unwarranted--to early to tell.

As for bigbrother management of cyberspace, the threat is real, but thusfar, modes of networking obviate the attempts of elite management. Peer networking, onion routing and quasi-anonymous networking like>Freenet pose enormous barriers to the elite management of speech and intellectual property appropriations.

Still, a brave new world.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2005 17:33 utc | 13

I agree there is more info available even without the corporate media whores, but the problem comes down to the cmw's not doing their appointed job. And, the every day man does not take or have the time to get informed by anything other than the cmw's.

This creates a great hole in the proper functioning of an informed electorate. What is the answer? I don't know. Billmon's suggestions about doing things the Rovian way may have to happen.

The people on the blogs, (there are exceptions) are likely the top of the class in IQ, likely some type of professional now or in the past, or very interested in being informed, that can glean through info and make informed decisions. We must somehow, either by stretching the truth or making the best most forcefull argument, inforce that our beliefs are the right ones for the masses.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 27 2005 18:21 utc | 14

Adding to post from remembereringgiap re australia

woomera breakout (australia)

Video Documentation of one of the most inspiring political actions I've ever heard about. Activists breaking refugees out of one of the Australian Concentration camps in the Outback.

Here in Ireland coincidentally in the last few days - popular protest has forced the Minister for Justice to reverse a deportation of a Nigerian 'failed asylum seeker'.

Posted by: drunk as a rule | Mar 27 2005 18:35 utc | 15

& in australia again - justice texast style

proposed laws before Parliament that limit immigration court appeals and expose lawyers to financial penalties for pursuing cases that cannot be won have been denounced as dangerous by a refugee lawyer.

The Government aims to tackle the high number of "unmeritorious" cases clogging the courts. Under the proposed laws, immigration advocates would have to certify whether or not each case had merit. If they lost the case, the court could award costs against the lawyer.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said many cases were brought merely to gain time for people who would otherwise be required to leave Australia.

But Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre co-ordinator David Manne said the plans were a "dangerous incursion on the ability of people to access legal representation against Government excess and wrongdoing".

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 18:59 utc | 16

& in australia again - justice texast style

proposed laws before Parliament that limit immigration court appeals and expose lawyers to financial penalties for pursuing cases that cannot be won have been denounced as dangerous by a refugee lawyer.

The Government aims to tackle the high number of "unmeritorious" cases clogging the courts. Under the proposed laws, immigration advocates would have to certify whether or not each case had merit. If they lost the case, the court could award costs against the lawyer.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said many cases were brought merely to gain time for people who would otherwise be required to leave Australia.

But Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre co-ordinator David Manne said the plans were a "dangerous incursion on the ability of people to access legal representation against Government excess and wrongdoing".

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 19:00 utc | 17

sorry for the double post

but i also do have a personal memoir in relation to the goon squad used at the baxter detention city.

when i was in australia i was once arrested by & beaten criminally by members of S.T.A.R. & then charged myself with multiple charges of assault during a public meeting for a political cause

i was fortunate only on two grounds - living with a doctor who photographed the severe bruises & abrasions & the 'celebrity' of my prinicipal attacker - whose name eludes me today but who was famous for being a profoundly racist & corrupt policeman whom the aboriginal community knew well

i have fought pôlitically in many countries but only in australia did i receive a beating that placed me dangerouslly close to death. it is not a pleasant memory. but this star force is like a crude anti riot squad whose members are the most brutal in that particular police force

with the help of a gifted queens counsel we charged the police for their crimes against me. preceding the trial i was picked up, interrogated many many times by the police & their message was clear. when the trial came - the police witnesses did not arrive & finally in the mid afternoon & letter was brought by the prosecuting counsel to the police saying in short that if i droppped my charges against them - they would drop their charges against me. my barrister wanted to fight the good fight - but i have known all my life the difference between the justice of the rich & the justice of the poor & i knew what would happen if i proceeded. my already difficult life would become more difficult. so i did not proceed - perhaps to my shame - but once you have been the victim of that form of brutality - you can berer look at the state, any state in the same way again

here in france we have the crs who are very much like the star force. basically a criminal organisation dressed up in legality

& in america you have a long history of red sqauds, anti worker goons & different forms of malfeasance calling itself the law

so i am not at all suprised by the violence they are using against what is obviouslly a peaceful demonstration

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 19:16 utc | 18

A couple of random thoughts in response to the preceding thread:
1) in the USA, control of the airwaves for media broadcast purposes is supposed to be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission for the general benefit of the public. I just can't see how the current corporate televisiona and radio broadcast media can legitimately be considered to be fulfilling that basic legal requirement when, as noted above, they are in a race to the bottom for profits and therefore tend to broadcast salacious, often false material in the most sensational way, while totally ignoring or excluding genuine news of many significant events, changes, developments in our country and the world that clearly would be of value for the public to be informed about.

2) Australia. Several years ago I spent a few months in Oz, part of which time was spent driving a beat-up Holden panel van around the outback. One day out there I came across a broken-down car and stopped to see if I could help, traffic being very sparse. The car's occupants were aboriginal people, and whatever the problem was with the car, it was beyond my exceedingly limited knowledge of auto mechanics. At the next "town" (basically a crossroads with a combination petrol station-camp site- basic grocery store-grill and bar, I told the proprietor that there was a stranded vehicle some ways out on this particular road. Her first question: "Black or white?" to which I naively said "yellow", meaning the color of the car was yellow. She gave me a witheringly exasperated look, and said, "The people!! Are they black or white?" And when I replied that they were black, she just shrugged with a look of disgust and disdain. It was clear she had no intention of calling for any help for those stranded people.
I've never forgotten that odd little exchange and its revealing nature.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Mar 27 2005 20:44 utc | 19


having orked with aboriginal people & still maintaing contact in france - i can tell you your unhappy little story of australian openness would be the rule not the exception - the australian absence of generosity to its aboriginal people which has been represented by govt after govt with notable exceptions of whitlam & to a lesser extent keating - is something that is beneath contempt

their inability to accept a form of commen decency & demand pardon is an act that is beyond them

all the better to mirror their papamommy - successive us administrations & the quotidian depravities of american culture

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 27 2005 23:32 utc | 20

US caught flatfooted by Kyrgyzstan turmoil

Another example of plotting not working out quite as planned.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 28 2005 3:06 utc | 21

Holiday Playday Post:

Here's a Great Game on another level that made me think of Jerome & Bernhard. It's a game of "strategy" to be played by 2-4 people, online, or as a board game at home. It' called Blokus it's swept all the Major Game Awards Internationally. Enjoyment for people of all ages. Very Imaginative - dreamed up by a guy who's an engineer & painter looking for frame for a painting he'd done.

Posted by: jj | Mar 28 2005 3:19 utc | 22


Posted by: Fran | Mar 28 2005 4:51 utc | 23

This time the French can rejoice - it's not sailing, but, WOW, it is impressive!!!!

Pacific first for Frenchwoman who rowed solo across ocean in wake of 'Kon-Tiki' explorer

Maud Fontenoy, 26, has became the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean.

Escorted for the last few miles by a French navy frigate and a large flotilla of traditional Polynesian canoes, the Frenchwoman completed the 4,287 miles (6,900km) from Peru to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands in 73 days.

She was carried ashore in triumph by two men in Polynesian costume and was immediately declared a Tahia (queen) of the islands.

Mme Fontenoy, who had previously rowed alone across the North Atlantic, followed the westbound, equatorial current from the Peruvian port of Callao. She rowed slightly north of the route used by the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl in the balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki in 1947.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 28 2005 5:43 utc | 24

Fran's rowing story is utterly amazing...

On a note of jaw-dropping despair, we find out why xDems. didn't fight rigged '04 Pres. election. Those who really run xAmerica want to offically turn it into a Third World Country - made official by merging w/Mexico. Discussions are underway now w/Canada & Mexico at Presidential level. Last wk. saw preliminary agreements - w/no apparent complaints - to form common external boundaries, tariffs etc... Doesn't anyone get what's going on, or don't they care???

Anyway, this now out...All leading contenders for xDem. nomination in '08 agree to DESTROY SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, EDUCATION, EVERYTHING & follow the Lieberman line in "national security". Link.

This faction is "led" by Biden. It includes, HClinton, Evan Bayh-leader of DLC-John Edwards & Bill Richardson....

Obviously it's being sold to the masses, as that's what they want, but it's merely why they it was arranged for them to "lose" in '04...otherwise elite would have to what...give Soc. Security, Medicare & other social programs to Mexicans????

I'm beyond speech, thought....anything....THESE MONSTERS ARE REALLY DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY IN TOTO. GONE...SHOT...DONE FOR...All our taxes for the warmongers & job-destroyers, nothinng for xAmericans...Country gone...

How about a thread to discuss this???

Posted by: jj | Mar 28 2005 6:00 utc | 25

Haven't read about this before:

US Offers Reward Of Half A Million Dollars For Captured American Soldier In Ramadi


Fifteen Beheaded Bodies Of US Troops Captured During Offensive On Al-Fallujah Found In Local Land Fill

What to make of this??? here

Posted by: Fran | Mar 28 2005 6:24 utc | 26

Finally, a fascinating Easter Story, from France, of course. Parisian denim purveyor Marithe et François Girbaud staged Da Vinci's Last Supper in drag last week to mass outrage in Europe. Great textual analysis from a remaining fine (Catholic) historian in the Academy - or perhaps a grad. student - @UC Berkeley.

Posted by: jj | Mar 28 2005 7:37 utc | 27

Some reading:

More doom and gloom from myself: Greenspan's bubbles. No - his monster (says Morgan Stanley)

Some larger perspective: Irrationality and Fragility

A lighter touch: World's fastest texter

This last one deserves a full quote:

actory worker Craig Crosbie has been crowned the world's fastest texter.

The Scot was awarded the title by the Guinness Book of Records after completing a difficult 25-word text in just 48 seconds.

The 24-year-old beat the previous record holder, James Trusler, 31, by 19 seconds.

He made the bid during a competition to find the UK's fastest texter held at The Carphone Warehouse's flagship store in London yesterday.

As well as defeating 11 other finalists to win the £50,000 prize, Craig also took home the world title.

The phrase he had to text read: "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."

Craig, who sends about 75 text messages a day, said he planned to spend some of his winnings on a luxury holiday with his girlfriend.

Posted by: Jérôme | Mar 28 2005 12:14 utc | 28


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 28 2005 14:57 utc | 29

The full story, The Truth

Asperges et Jambon Cru

Cabri au four, ses petits legumes, Pommes boulangères

Coupe Romanoff

Café, mignardises

arrosé dune bouteille de Dole (Valais, Suisse.)

Happy Easter to all.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 28 2005 17:04 utc | 30

They won’t filter the internet-s, or not yet, not for many years.

The whole concept of democracy and freedom (surround them with little hearts à la yahoo) is built on the idea of free speech (and free elections, etc.) resting on control of information and very selective repression, either covert (fill it in...) or overt, such as the confused no-fly lists, occasional weird arrests of protestors or people with almanachs, the firing of loud-mouthed professors, etc. The security measures needed to protect the US - its freedom! its integrity! its democracy!

Of course, the visible events are the result of opposing forces within the elite. E.g. Bush cannot be bothered; some of neo-cons want to forbid anti-semitic discourse completely; the Kristians want...etc.

It works. Perfectly. Crimes dressed up in smoke and mirror spoofs, their incredible explanation, are accepted without question. (9/11).

In a sense, it has often been so. The powerless may burble and babble, mutter and curse - may even be encouraged to do so.

Real opposition is another matter.

If the Chinese and others (Bhutan, which doesn’t even allow any TV, I have read) censor, it is because they don’t want their populace getting ideas. They fear that opposition groups (e.g. Falung Gong, now there is a story) may get some grip. They fear the vaccum, then chaos, a gradual switch to W crazy-style info, free speech, internet (anything goes, hey ho!) would create. It would eat into their power, possibly even destroy it quickly, by sparking all kinds of social disorder, stimulating oppositional or revolutionary groups, oligarchs, TV stars with delusions, scammers, foreign infiltrators, hopeful secessionist war-lords, etc.

Horrendous disorder would result, throwing them by the wayside.


They know they do not have the pre-control propaganda, physical force and repression measures in place to deal with that mess.

They have to act upriver.

They know the US has those mechanisms in place (sheeples...) and that it is hard for them to compete on the ‘freedom’ card. The US Gvmt. will make hay out of this until the (fluorescent) cows come home.

The difference is due to history and riches, information and territorial organisation, agriculture.

The US will not give up that cultural soft-power card. Partly, it is an effective baseball-bat abroad; partly, giving it up or altering the status quo would similarly create internal havoc.

So the US acts upriver as well - see the Corporate Media or whatever it is called here today.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 28 2005 17:36 utc | 31

Ever feel like writing a long rant about somebody you don't like but just didn't want to be bothered having to actually type it?

Gather around my friends, there is a new tool available that will make it all so easy.

Scott Pakin's automatic complaint-letter generator

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 28 2005 18:24 utc | 32

Putting Stock in Property

There is no real estate bubble!

Posted by: b | Mar 28 2005 21:22 utc | 33

The only thing worse than being ignorant is not knowing how ignorant you are. That's Mr. Dan Steele's problem. For practical reasons, I have to confine my discussion to areas that have received insufficient public attention or in which I have something new to say. Forgive me, dear reader, but I must be so tactless as to remind you that in asserting that it's okay to worsen an already unstable situation, he demonstrates an astounding narrowness of vision.

I find that I am embarrassed. Embarrassed that some people just don't realize that his disquisitions promote a redistribution of wealth. This is always an appealing proposition for Steele's apple-polishers because much of the redistributed wealth will undoubtedly end up in the hands of the redistributors as a condign reward for their loyalty to Steele. I claim that I didn't want to talk about this. I really didn't. But an armed revolt against him is morally justified. However, I insist that it is not yet strategically justified. In the past, people like Steele would have been tarred and feathered for trying to impair the practice of democracy. In closing, within the deleterious milieu of favoritism exists the opportunity for Mr. Dan Steele to paint pictures of tendentious worlds inhabited by venal jokers.

Posted by: I like that link | Mar 28 2005 21:31 utc | 34

59 American ex-diplomats oppose Bolton for U.N. post

Posted by: Veto Bolton | Mar 29 2005 1:15 utc | 35>Where's the Counterculture? asks Sam Smith in a gallant attempt to address the dismal litany of "what is wrong with the American Left" op/eds.

I think he has a point:

For example, part of the problem appears to be an unconscious acceptance of behaviors and ways of thought promulgated by the very forces one wishes to overcome. Big business, big bureaucracy, and big everything else has brought with them a language and a routine as well as a faux logic that is semi-autistic in its inability to relate facts, principles and theories to the social ecology in which they exist. We know logically what is wrong and what needs to be done but limit ourselves to the rigid, unresponsive tools and rules of large rigid and unresponsive organizations.[...]

This started years ago. As far back as the 1970s, activists in Washington were making their organizations appear more like traditional lobbying groups and dressing to match. Gone were the days when Ralph Nader was the only progressive in town who wore a suit and his was never pressed.

Today, the trend has expanded into what might be called corporatized activism, in which the iconic goals are admirably progressive but the means of achieving them virtually indistinguishable from how those being fought would organize themselves.

The virtues of democracy are constantly praised but the responsibilities of the targets of this enthusiasm are largely limited to signing things - letters, petitions and checks - while the practitioners have replaced the rally and the caucus with the self-addressed return envelope. It is not that Move On or Rock the Vote are wrong; it is just that they are merely marketing strategies and not movements.

There is a similar problem with segments of the alternative media. For example, the so-called alternative weeklies are anything but. With sadly few exceptions they foster a compliant corpacool culture in which hipness is defined by one's purchases; dissent is limited to critiques of style, activism is something you do at the gym, and politics the last refuge of the hopelessly dull.

maybe if you can't dance in it, it isn't a revolution -- or even a movement -- at all?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 29 2005 2:00 utc | 36

Indonesian earthquake - reports of 2,000 dead

Posted by: Quake news | Mar 29 2005 2:41 utc | 37

O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie ...

Posted by: b real | Mar 29 2005 4:10 utc | 38


hic Rhodus, hic salta

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 29 2005 4:23 utc | 39

there's another dance metaphor for praxis, but can't remember.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 29 2005 4:31 utc | 40

God's writ overturned by Supreme Court

Posted by: Bible thumper | Mar 29 2005 5:09 utc | 41

What I find fascinating is that those so-called 'Christians' seem to look more to the old Testament, than to the new one. I mean Jesus words are only in the new one. The Old Testament is more or less Jewish history. What was amazing and revolutionary about Jesus was that he did fight all of that. But no, the so-called 'Christians' still adhere to the old Testament and not to the words of Christ, which are about love, forgiveness and compassion.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 29 2005 5:51 utc | 42

My response above was to the link by Bible thumper.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 29 2005 5:57 utc | 43 are soo right...

Posted by: vbo | Mar 29 2005 6:06 utc | 44

Jesus? that long-haired sandal-wearing hippie subversive anarcho-pinko Turrist [hey, all that property damage to the money-changers' tables and stuff in the Temple -- the guy was probably Black Bloc]? I'm surprised the theocons haven't issued a new edition of the Bible with significant emendations. or maybe that was what that so-suddenly-cancelled contract for "Bibles for US troops" was all about. Jesus is an embarrassment to this flavour of xtian.

oh Scotty, where are you? I'd really like to beam up now. there's very little intelligent life down here, and what there is, is in imminent danger from the other kind.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 29 2005 6:36 utc | 45

That's interesting, Fran. Could one argue that the Religious power struggle going on in xAm. now is between more liberal denominations favoring New Testament vs. Fundies favoring Old?

I read art. in Independent on Indonesian Earthquake. It brought to mind the tsunami fund raisers, w/ex-President's stumping - DaddyBush covering for BabyBush & inviting Bill, who can never turn down publicity, along for cover.

In the context of my link above to the xDem. party being taken over by those now ready to destroy all social programs, how far away are we from when civil society will be expected to hold bake sales to raise Virtually All relief funds for future domestic natural disasters? Will Tsunami stumping become the new model? If xDems. running for Pres. -to be voted on by goddess knows who- now oppose Soc. Sec. & Medicare......

Posted by: jj | Mar 29 2005 6:39 utc | 46

Could one argue that the Religious power struggle going on in xAm. now is between more liberal denominations favoring New Testament vs. Fundies favoring Old?

jj, thas is an interesting thought, worthwhile thinking about. However, now I have to run, work is waiting.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 29 2005 6:57 utc | 47

Columbus, Ohio - Christian conservative leaders from scores of Ohio's fastest growing churches are mounting a campaign to win control of local government posts and Republican organizations, starting with the 2006 governor's race.

In a manifesto that is being circulated among church leaders and on the Internet, the group, which is called the Ohio Restoration Project, is planning to mobilize 2,000 evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic leaders in a network of so-called Patriot Pastors to register half a million new voters, enlist activists, train candidates and endorse conservative causes in the next year.

The initial goal is to elect Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a conservative Republican, governor in 2006. The group hopes to build grass-roots organizations in Ohio's 88 counties and take control of local Republican organizations.

"The establishment of the Ohio Republican Party is out of touch with its base," said Russell Johnson, the pastor of the Fairfield Christian Church and the principal organizer of the project. "It acts as if it lives in Boston, Mass.">Movement in the Pews

So now Boston, Mass. is the new "french" slur? the new Axis of Godless Librulism?

Is anyone but me feeling afraid, very afraid?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 29 2005 6:57 utc | 48

Spring is here.

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her beasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen the rose damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some pefumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
as any she belied with false compare.

William Shakespeare

Posted by: Rmpg | Mar 29 2005 8:20 utc | 49

I just finished reading Karen Armstrong's "Battle for God", in which she traces the history of fundamentalism across Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Interesting book, though more scholarly than I wanted: I could have lived with a little less detail. All I wanted was some sort of understanding of what was going on.

Key points as I read it:

* Fundamentalism is a very modern form of religion. It shares very little with old-style religion at any level. It is a reaction to, and product of the modern world and modern modes of thought. There is nothing medieval about fundamentalists.

* It is fear based. These people really believe that their way of life is under savage, directed attack from something or somebody. They are justified in their actions because they are mounting a last ditch defence, fighting the good fight against a powerful, strong ruthless enemy. Fear is the key emotion really.

Armstrong makes a great deal of the distinction between two types of knowledge, mythos and logos. Logos is the rational, pragmatic, scientific knowledge that people use to survive and prosper in the world. Mythos is the knowledge that tells us our place in the world, giving significance to our lives. Armstrong, being a deist of some sort as far as I can see, believes that the modern rational world cannot provide that significance, so that religion is required to fill the gap. However, while the medieval mind understood the two types of knowledge, and understood the difficulties of trying to use myth as a basis for policy and action, the modern mind has lost that distinction, and the fundamentalists are extremely modern people: they cannot distinguish between mythos and logos and thus try to run the real world according to myth. This is not a good idea.

I accompanied my wife to mass on Easter Sunday, and I was struck by how clear the distinction between myth and reality is in normal religion. These people do not believe in the truth of what was happening in the real world. They were in the spirit world, with a different truth. Conflicts between science and religion don't matter so much, because they don't exist in the same world. The fundamentalists can't understand that, except maybe as it relates to their own enrichment.

I disagree with Armstrong that mythos needs to be religiously based. Science and rationality provides a perfectly adequate story of our place in the universe, though with a lot of loose ends floating around and not much hope of increasing your self-esteem.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 29 2005 8:43 utc | 50

Well never mind that the "left" is responsible for all of the major human-rights advances over the last couple hundred years, never mind that reason, the mother of science, has givin us the understanding and technology we are now both completely informed by and dependent upon, and who cares that that the realm of higher education is universally characterized as the Liberal Arts.

So it's somewhat suprising then that the current neo-fascist/?/theocratic adversary would at once appropriate all the products of reason, science and technological prowess and wed it to a liberation myth while at the same time, through religion, destroing the very foundation upon which the above has been constructed -- and remains dependent. The reason for such a profound contradiction means, among other things, a deflation in the power of the leftist perspective as being hoplessly idealistic, parasitic, and impotent, which then is re-inflated with an antidote impervious to mainstream cultural criticism -- religion (due to its base metaphore, victimhood). How else to account for the picket line comparison of the lopsidedTerri Schiavo non-stop demonstrations carried nightly on the corporate news with even a Bill Tierney,war promoter and Army contract interrogator from Iraq, carrying a sign, and any one of the myriad, starrie eyed specialized liberal cause-celib, made us lose the Vietnam war, hippie re-treads, and terrorist/anarchists looking to bust some windows types. Do'nt get me wrong, I'm all in favor of demonstrations (and participate) but the media distortions of such demonstrations all to often customized to play right into the stereotype image outlined and ridiculed by the right. And this strengthens them. Couple this to the administrations important and notable NON- reaction to the demonstrations here and world wide and you have a prescription for this sense of helplessness in precipitating change through demonstrations and public protest.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 29 2005 8:47 utc | 51

De:"Is anyone but me feeling afraid, very afraid?"

Yes, but I would be no less afraid if the Theocons disappeared tomorrow & Hillary Clinton became president. See my link upthread. The elite is moving very quickly to turn America into a Third World Country - one w/Mexico. To me the Theocrats & Fascists are just the bells & whistles. New article via truthout tonight from WaPo that they're moving to gut the Federal Civil Service Program...Both parties are aligned in ending Soc. Sec, Medicare, ALL SOCIAL PROGRAMS, pensions....ending the minimum wage won't be far behind.

And Note that all the self-proclaimed "lefty bloggers" etc. are going right along w/it...Atrios/Billmon, Kos, Digby...New article in Washington Monthly agreeing w/Biden's call that xAm. must be world's superpower...

Given that, couldn't you argue that the Repugs are merely being prudent by providing the illusion of moral underpinnings & the Police State Apparatus in case the Lemmings wake up?

But on a more cheerful note, an establishment paper, The Providence Journal, has UNBELIEVABLY issued the First Call for the Masses to Rebel - in so many words - before it's too late.The New Aristocracy

It starts like this:
" I AM SCANNING A LIST of the 154 federal programs that President Bush would either zero out or slash in his fiscal-2006 budget, which Congress is now considering. It represents a triumph for the handful who -- with Bush conservatism's chief cheerleader and theoretician, Grover Norquist -- would "drown" the federal government "in the bathtub." In fact, it is an American tragedy in the making: a blot on our collective soul.

The wreckage is breathtaking. It includes termination of a program that tests bio-engineered food safety. Also proposed for axing are conservation programs for American forests and energy, flood prevention, funds for studies in advanced technologies, vital public telecommunications facilities (such as Internet access for schools and libraries), drug-free school programs, workers' job retraining, vocational rehabilitation, enhanced teaching quality, adult education, community service, child emergency medical services, disease control and prevention, land and water conservation, rural fire-fighting facilities, hiring of police, protection of national parks, education of migrant farm workers, the miraculous Hubble space telescope, high-speed rail (advanced transportation long enjoyed in Europe and Japan), and vocational assistance for veterans.

Meanwhile, major budget reductions are proposed for, among other things, medical care for those in need, watershed rehabilitation, environmental quality, research in nonfossil-fuel alternatives, and programs for the disabled and for children's hospitals."

This is what "lefty bloggers" should be discussing in Detail, rather than wasting time on cutsey stuff.

On the Schiavo question, I finally realized why it's so Sexist. Immediately it was obviously tied to anti-abortion garbage. It seemed to say that the will of a woman need never be valued. But then suppose it was a man in her situation..gender wasn't explicity maybe it's not sexist. Finally solved that. It would never be a man in her situation because one would look at him w/no cortex, a vegetable & immediately see that he was gone & pull the plug - because Males Are Active. One has to have an underlying image of the female as passive to even consider her as being alive, as still having a life worth saving.

Posted by: jj | Mar 29 2005 9:11 utc | 52

Juan Cole about the "Battle for God" in academia, i.e. Baxters "Academic Freedom Bill of Rights".

Posted by: b | Mar 29 2005 9:12 utc | 53

De, a more mundane destruction closer to home to fear is a mite devastating bee populations thruout the State.Link

Posted by: jj | Mar 29 2005 9:21 utc | 54

I think your right about those loose ends floating around -- if there ever was a "God" like image coming from science (physics), no more beautiful than String Theory, and I'm an amimist.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 29 2005 9:22 utc | 55

jj says:

And Note that all the self-proclaimed "lefty bloggers" etc. are going right along w/it...Atrios/Billmon, Kos, Digby


Posted by: Colman | Mar 29 2005 9:36 utc | 56

List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm

The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.

"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father. "These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"

Posted by: b | Mar 29 2005 10:01 utc | 57

found this of interest...

Airline group says IRS targets air crews from Latin nations

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service wants Latin air crew members to pay income taxes on the money they earn flying over the United States, according to an association of airlines. And this action is arbitrary and discriminatory, the group said.

The group is the Asociación Internacional de Transporte Aéreo Latinoamericano, and a representative held a press conference Monday in Washington, D.C.

Alex de Gunen, executive director of the group, said that the U.S. Agency was leaving itself open for reprisals from Latin nations because U.S. air crews travel widely in the region and make more money.
The association said that the Internal Revenue Service has begun to contact airlines from seven Latin nations, including Costa Rica. The other countries are Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Perú and Panamá.

The I.R.S. has given no reason for the action, particularly when it is being applied only to Latin airlines, said the association. Employees on cruise ships and other types of transportation have not been involved, it said. The group also said that the I.R.S. has not explained why only Latin airlines and not those from the rest of the world are being contacted.

from another article posted at the trade groups website,

Alex de Gunten, executive director of the Latin American Airline Association (Aital), warned: "If the US authorities are targeting Latin American airlines, they should be ready for significant and swift retaliatory measures by Latin American governments."
"This is not what allied countries do to each other."

Posted by: b real | Mar 29 2005 15:21 utc | 58

nice catch, b real.

you really can't have democratic values and a world emperor at the same time. the emperor doesn't do kowtow.

But if I recall correctly, one historical cure to this is corruption at the court, to the point where it is the people who provide the concubines who have real power to set policy and channel money. Which raises a question: who is Gannon's pimp?

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 29 2005 18:11 utc | 59

@annamissed the animist :-)

Feynman once said that knowing the theory and math of fluid dynamics only made it more beautiful to watch waves on the beach. I think he was right.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 29 2005 19:13 utc | 60

i was going to post a link to The National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States document and comment on it's overall theme of paranoia and self-deception (have we really ever held a "reactive" posture as a nation in anything? i mean, c'mon...), but then i realised that (1) they call this stuff "counterintelligence" for a reason, and (2) none of it is really new. gwb is just another cowboy, iran-contra keeps evolving, the white house keeps exaggerating facts, distorting truth, spreading false reports, and lying their asses off, while everybody but them pays for it. where's the justice? so instead of spending several minutes quoting this new document, i'll just drop a quote from frantz fannon: to educate man to be actional, preserving in all his relations his respect for the basic values that constitute a human world, is the prime task of him who, having taken thought, prepares to act.


Posted by: b real | Mar 29 2005 19:47 utc | 61>Further comment is temporarily impossible. oh, can we institute the corporate death penalty for brain-polluting advertising?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 29 2005 21:09 utc | 62

From De a bit upthread on Ohio fundies:

The initial goal is to elect Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a conservative Republican, governor in 2006.

Guess he deserves some rewards for all his hard work in preventing the good citizens of Ohio from voting. I wonder how the poll stations will be distributed in 2006? And who will count the votes?

I wonder if any bookmaker would accept a bet on Blackwell as governor in 2006... If so I also want to bet on Mugabe winning the next election in Zimbabwe and Putin in Russia.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Mar 30 2005 3:10 utc | 63

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