Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 19, 2006

Weekend Open Thread

News & views ... Enjoy!

Posted by b on August 19, 2006 at 6:00 UTC | Permalink


Had a short discussion with "2nd anon" on the other thread on martyrism and suicide bombers. I don´t think martyrism is a specific thing of Islam or Hizbullah. Some support for my position: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

Robert Pape: Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources—Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others—so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.
.. in Lebanon in the 1980s, of those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

Posted by: b | Aug 19 2006 6:08 utc | 1

RE the Hiditha situation,>Digby has some news:

August 18, Reuters:
Probe suggests Marines hid Haditha evidence: NYT
The defense officials were quoted as saying the report also found commanders had created a climate that minimized the importance of Iraqi lives, particularly in Haditha, where insurgent attacks were rampant, The New York Times said.
Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the new top Marine general in U.S. Central Command, is due to decide on whether charges are warranted, officials said this week.
February 4, 2005, CNN:
General: It's 'fun to shoot some people'
Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded Marine expeditions in Afghanistan and Iraq, made the comments Tuesday during a panel discussion in San Diego, California.
"Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot," Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the audience. "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling.
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

Interesting, how they always find the right man for the job.

Posted by: anna missed | Aug 19 2006 6:36 utc | 2

re: right man....


Posted by: catlady | Aug 19 2006 7:06 utc | 3

I had to repost this from a compilation of links from the last OT , it's just to good to miss...

How a Right-Winger Sees the New York Times.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 19 2006 7:08 utc | 4

Haditha - Officer Called Haditha Routine

The Marine officer who commanded the battalion involved in the Haditha killings last November did not consider the deaths of 24 Iraqis, many of them women and children, unusual and did not initiate an inquiry, according to a sworn statement he gave to military investigators in March.
I agree with the officer. That massacre was/is not unusual.

Posted by: b | Aug 19 2006 7:45 utc | 5

Thanks, Uncle $cam. I missed that, and will pass it on.

Posted by: Owl | Aug 19 2006 7:47 utc | 6

to those with slower connections; wait for Uncle $'s link to load, it takes a few minutes

Posted by: catlady | Aug 19 2006 7:50 utc | 7

Sing-along to something familiar ina Arab stylee

Posted by: n/a | Aug 19 2006 12:24 utc | 8

@anna missed #2

Was browsing on Raed in the Middle (an Iraqi blogger) last night and was horrified to see this:

The "Hadji Girl" song is yet another indicator that what happened to Abir [a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was raped, killed, and burned, ostensibly by US troops] is most like not an anomolous case. "Hadji Girl" is a videotaped song about killing Iraqis written and performed by U.S. Marine Corporal Joshua Belile while he was at the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. The song became controversial a few weeks ago when the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) discovered it on the internet and objected to its lyrics. The lyrics, accompanied by loud laughter and applause, include lines as such as: "So I grabbed her little sister and pulled her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally. Then I hid behind the TV, and I locked and loaded my M-16, and I blew those little fuckers to eternity. And I saidÂ… Dirka Dirka Mohammed Jihad, Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah, they should have known they were fucking with a Marine". A two-week investigation held by the U.S. army ended with no punishment for Corporal Belile. Furthermore, according to the spokesperson for the Mike Church Show, the host is planning to record and release "Hadji Girl" and give royalties to Belile. The right-wing presenter will sing and release the song on air this week.

The link Raed provides to the song leads to a site which says the video has been removed.

He goes on to warn of the impact of such actions and their likely consequences:

But even if Abir is the only Iraqi girl raped, murdered and burned, this is not just another abuse scandal. Issues relating to honor are even more sensitive for the Iraqi public and government than the ongoing daily civilian murders. The first Iraqi governmental reaction came when an Iraqi female member of parliament asked for an urgent session for which Mr. Al-Maliki was called back home to attend. The Iraqi parliament described the rape as a crime against "the honor of all Iraqis". As a result, Al-Maliki asked to review laws of foreign troops' immunity from prosecution in Iraq, which seems to be an Iraqi public demand. Iraqi tribal leaders had a number of meetings across the country last week on the anniversary of "Thawrat Al-Eshrin", the 1920 revolution against the British occupation. The largest meeting was that of the mostly Shia Middle Euphrates Tribes. During this meeting, they threatened to initiate a full scale revolution against the occupation, similar to what had happened in 1920, unless the U.S. army hands all soldiers accused of raping the "Al-Mahmudiyah Virgin" to them.

Yes, we put the wrong people in the wrong situations, but something about the situation, in turn, completely destroys their humanity, apparently.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 19 2006 12:32 utc | 9

For these trying time..

The power of forgetting

The Daoist ideal of 'sitting quietly' could help us break the cycle of escalating violence
by Karen Armstrong

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 19 2006 12:39 utc | 10


An off-topic shot in the dark.

Back in the sixties I got a small book at the Apple Farm commune near Three Rivers, Michigan, that had statements I've remembered ever since: You can't do only good -- every action has effects you want and effects you don't want. If you claim the good and deny the bad, you're in trouble. In other words, There are no side effects -- only effects. Aspirin cures pain and eats holes in your stomach. The stomach problem isn't a side effect, it's one of the things aspirin does. Solution -- take aspirin with lots of water, or with a buffering agent.

Socially: Welfare is good, it helps people in need. When people have a bit of security, they have babies. Social programs must look ahead, to the results of their implementation.

Another rule: You can't do just one thing. Every action has multiple effects.

Problem -- I lent this little book to a friend thirty years ago and I have no idea what the title was or who wrote it. Does anyone here under the Moon recognize it?


Posted by: Murdoch | Aug 19 2006 17:12 utc | 11

When people have a bit of security, they have babies.

Damn, that's news to me, I always thought people have babies by having or no, in fact, I'd be willing to bet that births increase expedientially with social insecurity, I question this assumption, although I have no data to back that up at this time. I haven't the will nor energy to hunt it down, but this may give you something to chew on w/regards to welfare.

Just sayin...

However, the rest of the logic seems reasonable, at least in regards to cause and variations of effect. At least to my 28 hour no sleep fuctioning on half it's cylinders

Unfortunately, I have no ideal who it could be, it's much to ambiguous to anchor it to anyone I might have read. Sorry. Others might have a clue.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 19 2006 17:47 utc | 12

Sorry Murdoch, I don't recall it, but that could be a side effect of all the drugs apples I took back then.

I have to concur with U$, here. There is much Sociological data to support the theory that it is hopelessness and lack of opportunity that leads to the underclass having lots of children as a way to supply meaning and purpose to their lives.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 19 2006 18:34 utc | 13

*In my delirium*...

Ahhh, there's that word again, "underclass", as if by sheer dumb-luck people are born underclassed, e.g. underprivileged, as well as sheer dumb-luck people are born "overprivileged", righto, mate...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 19 2006 19:06 utc | 14

Hmmm. I chose the word puposely to indicate the exact opposite -- that they are structurally boxed in. What word would you suggest that would have the connotation I seek?

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 19 2006 19:19 utc | 15

By the way, kudos to whoever provided the link to Helena Cobban's deconstruction of Cordesman's report. You really should read it, and the comments, b, if you haven't already.

Cordesman is kind of the Alan Greenspan of war analysis: His cryptic pronouncements provide tasty nuggets for everyone, regardless of belief. And yet, at the end of the meal, you are not really sure what you ate... And then you are hungry for more half an hour later.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 19 2006 19:25 utc | 16

Malooga, I was just teasing you. I'm reminded of anti-racist activist Tim Wise in a talk he gave He commented on the word "underprivileged" or "underclass" and explained why it's wrong on two fronts.

* It's a passive word, which means that nothing caused this.
* It's a comparative word. You can't be "under" unless there's an "over."

and humorously explained "now, how did they get under there? "

Just try putting "overprivileged" through your spell-checker. Go ahead, try it. I dare you.

Now try "underprivileged." Bet you don't get the same results!

As I indicated ealier, I'm half loopy from not much sleep, so forgive the

But he does make a fascinating point , in that we need a new lanuage to create a different way to convey reality. One that empowers, or balances the scale, as E. Pound sd, "true communication and only happen between eqauls."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 19 2006 20:00 utc | 17

Murdoch - Chances are you're thinking of Garrett Hardin, of whom Wikipedia writes:

Garrett James Hardin (April 21, 1915 – September 14, 2003) was a leading and controversial ecologist from Dallas, Texas, who was most known for his 1968 paper, The Tragedy of the Commons. He is also known for Hardin's First Law of Ecology, which states "You cannot do only one thing".

The observation that "there are no side effects, only effects" is less unique to Hardin - physiologists routinely point this out to illustrate the fuzzy-mindedness of physicians.

Posted by: mistah charley | Aug 19 2006 21:55 utc | 18

some interesting info on the history of the us info agency (USIA) & the various capitalist propaganda vehicles used by the u.s. govt to spread the gospel of free trade in this article posted at cryptome. actually, it's a review of a book titled Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the U.S. Information Agency, one in a "series organizing the history of diplomacy and intelligence services from the standpoint of the diplomat and the information agent" being developed jointly by "the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) and the Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired (DACOR)." while the reviewer does point out the limitations of this particular release, both in what it omits & the "insider" biases in this project to shape an official history, the review itself is an adequate little backgrounder.

Posted by: b real | Aug 19 2006 23:27 utc | 19

Thanks to Malooga, Uncle $cam, and especially Mistah Charley, for clues to my lost book. The examples I used came out of my own head, and lacked rigor. My discourse is a mass of impressions.

Posted by: Murdoch | Aug 20 2006 0:35 utc | 20

to all who have posted on ot-78 and have written to me directly about r'giap or to him - thank you. in his words from an email earlier today:

"when i feel so awful it is really a form of grace that there are people like you

communities like that, my friends here & a work i love - even when it is tough, sometimes too tough

to update those to whom I have not written directly, my thought is to open a paypal account in france either in his name or, more likely, the administrator of the organization, so that people who wish to help out can access it directly. another option would be for people to send checks to me and i will then send the money to nantes. at the moment i am waiting for r'giap to send me his associate's new contact info.

rick happ has reached out to a friend who had a computer business in france for suggestions in france and has offered to look into drop shipping him a monitor from the u.s. from one of the companies he deals with. my thinking is that it may be much cheaper to find one there, but we are all open to suggestion. i liked malooga's idea about trash shopping very much - i've done very well in new york, but have no idea how productive it is in nantes.

in case anyone is interested in writing to him, his email address is: cldotbarnettatwanadoodotfr (he usually includes it in his signature). he didn't say this, but i have a feeling he is reading his emails first and then as much of moa as he can but is not commenting due to time and health constraints. he mentioned receiving some caring emails today which meant a lot to him.

i'll continue to keep people up to date as i learn.

Posted by: conchita | Aug 20 2006 3:00 utc | 21

Here is a juicy tidbit from The Daily Mail (UK):

Blair 'feels betrayed by Bush on Lebanon'
By SIMON WALTERS 22:57pm 19th August 2006

Blair feels betrayed by Bush

"The alliance between George Bush and Tony Blair is in danger after it was revealed that the Prime Minister believes the President has 'let him down badly' over the Middle East crisis.

"A senior Downing Street source said that, privately, Mr Blair broadly agrees with John Prescott, who said Mr Bush's record on the issue was 'crap'.

"The source said: 'We all feel badly let down by Bush. We thought we had persuaded him to take the Israel-Palestine situation seriously, but we were wrong. How can anyone have faith in a man of such low intellect?'

"The disclosure comes ahead of a mini recall of Parliament to allow MPs to vent their fury over Mr Blair's handling of Israel's war with Hezbollah and whether the recent terror plot in Britain was affected by his role in the Iraq war."

There's more at:

Poor Poodle

Posted by: Bea | Aug 20 2006 3:02 utc | 22

thanks conchita

Posted by: slothrop | Aug 20 2006 3:03 utc | 23

thanks conchita. i am glad you are kickstarting this. send me you address! it would be great if we could make this happen this week.

Posted by: annie | Aug 20 2006 3:16 utc | 24

Thanks conchita.

@Bea: Boo Hoo. Watch the rats swim.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 20 2006 3:39 utc | 25

Everything's in its Universe, All's Right with the World

Posted by: Alphonse Juin | Aug 20 2006 3:41 utc | 26

Chavez: Venezuela Captured 4 U.S Spies...
Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez said Friday that Venezuela has caught four people spying for the U.S. government and has turned them over to the Americans. Speaking at a campaign rally, Chavez referred to the four after reading aloud a news report about the U.S. naming a "mission manager" for Cuba and Venezuela to oversee U.S. intelligence efforts for the two countries.The Venezuelan leader gave few details about the circumstances, or how recently the four cases occurred. But he said one woman was caught not long ago while taking photos _ of what it remained unclear _ in the north-central city of Valencia.


Speaking to a sea of supporters, Chavez read the name of the official named by Negroponte to head the Cuba and Venezuela mission, 32-year intelligence veteran J. Patrick Maher, and laughed. "They selected 'Jack the Ripper,'" Chavez said. "What a little problem this is."


"These are signs that the empire doesn't rest," Chavez said, referring to the U.S. "The plan to try to destabilize us has already begun." He predicted the U.S. could try to discredit the results of Venezuela's Dec. 3 presidential election, in which Chavez is seeking another six-year term, or could try to provoke violent unrest around the time of the vote.U.S. officials have denied trying to overthrow the leftist Chavez, who is Cuban President Fidel Castro's close ally and friend. President Bush's government has repeatedly labeled Chavez a threat to democracy. Chavez warned that Venezuelans should be prepared for a "war of resistance" in case U.S. troops one day invade - a possibility Washington calls preposterous. He also accused his opponents in the presidential race of being "the empire's candidates," and he broke out singing at one point, "Yankee go home!"
He said the Venezuelan government has followed the activities of U.S. spies closely. "I know where they go out to eat 'reina pepiada,'" Chavez said, referring to a Venezuelan dish of "arepa" corn cakes filled with avocado and chicken.

Also see: Chavez pokes fun at new US spy chief for Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez poked fun on Friday at the freshly appointed chief of U.S. spy operations on Venezuela and Cuba, Jack Patrick Maher, calling him "Jack the Ripper."

During a speech to hundreds of screaming supporters in his home province of Barinas, Chavez, who is running for re-election in December, was handed a CNN report saying Maher had been appointed to head U.S. efforts to collect intelligence on the two Latin American countries.

Chavez, a constant critic of Washington who says socialism can unite South America against U.S. "imperialist" influence, said the appointment of Maher was a sign that "the empire is organizing a plan for December or before December."

WTF? "Chavez, a constant critic of Washington..." WTF does that mean? It's fucking blame the victim writing like that that just shows how blatantly low journalism has become.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 3:58 utc | 27

Two Strange Deaths in European Wiretapping Scandal

Two Strange Deaths in European Wiretapping Scandal

European investigators are tracking the mysterious deaths of two security experts who had uncovered extensive spyware in their telecommunications firms.


Just after noon on Friday, July 21, Adamo Bove -- head of security at Telecom Italia, the country's largest telecommunications firm -- told his wife he had some errands to run as he left their Naples apartment. Hours later, police found his car parked atop a freeway overpass. Bove's body lay on the pavement some 100 feet below.

Bove was a master at detecting hidden phone networks. Recently, at the direction of Milan prosecutors, he'd used mobile phone records to trace how a "Special Removal Unit" composed of CIA and SISMI (the Italian CIA) agents abducted Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric, and flew him to Cairo where he was tortured. The Omar kidnapping and the alleged involvement of 26 CIA agents, whom prosecutors seek to arrest and extradite, electrified Italian media. U.S. media noted the story, then dropped it.


* In both the Italian and Greek cases, the spyware was much more deeply embedded and clever than anything either phone company had seen before. Its creation required highly experienced engineers and expensive laboratories where the software could be subjected to the stresses of a national telephone system. Greek investigators concluded that the Vodaphone spyware was created outside of Greece.

* Once placed, the spyware could have vast reach since most host companies are merging their Internet, mobile telephone and fixed-line operations onto a single platform.

Also see:

BBC story: Death Muddies Greek Spy Prope


link to Italian story

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 4:08 utc | 28

Thanks, Alphonse Juin #26

Yay! Go Cindy! She's like a thorn in this admins paw, an itch that Cheneyco can't scratch. I love it...

And it just pisses me off at the dkos gatekeepers and others whom are in the "that's enough you made your point , now go home crowd".

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 4:33 utc | 29

The L.A. Times featured story last week that ~20 ret. Military & Foreign Service Officers were going to issue a statement opposing mil. action in Iran. Did anyone see where this appeared?

I just found it here but that's hardly the front page of agenda setting papers it deserves.

Posted by: jj | Aug 20 2006 4:35 utc | 30

Re: my #28

If you use an internet phone service like Vonage remember that "the FCC requires broadband providers and others that offer Internet telephone service to comply with the new wiretap laws".

Reuters article

-and about the Greek tapping:

"The phone calls in question were "conference called" to 14 mobile phones with prepaid cards".

Phone Tapping Scandal in Greece
Schneier on Security

CARO, Mich. - Three Texas men were arraigned Saturday on terrorism-related charges after police found about 1,000 cell phones in their minivan...

(-just thinking out loud here...)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 5:07 utc | 31

came across this interview w/ paul dianno, the orig singer for iron maiden, who nowadays is a muslim & hanging w/ the likes of lula, hugo & fidel
From Heavy Metal to the Hajj

I am going back home to Brazil in May. I haven’t been there since December, when we did a couple of shows there and met with the president.

He kept saying “Yeah, yeah, yeah” to everything, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet, so maybe he needs a kick to nudge him on! [laughs] It will take some effort to get the permits and the premises and everything working, but it will come.

Wait, this is the president, of Brazil?

Yes, Lula. Yeah, he is probably the second biggest Corinthian [the popular Brazilian football club] fan out there next to me! They had a quite productive year out there in South America last year really. I know what the American’s think of Hugo Chavez, but I actually think that he is a fantastic man. I played in Venezuela last year and I got a nice call from him that morning and had breakfast round the governor’s house as well, and by about one o’clock in the afternoon, I am talking to Fidel Castro, so I had a fantastic day!

It seems as though you are becoming quite the political celebrity?

Oh no! The reason I did that was because I had hooked up with the wife of Hugo Chavez and we are going to do some stuff for the children’s foundation, and then we wanted to see if we could get something up and running in Havana as well. The foundation is affiliated with UNESCO, and a new office is open in Brazil, and I agreed to do that with the president.

Good old uncle Fidel asked if we wanted to go and play in Cuba! We are going to do that next year and we will probably be the only heavy-metal band that has ever done it.

link from latin america new review

Posted by: b real | Aug 20 2006 5:19 utc | 32

@U$ #27:

Well, at least they don't describe him as "the radical cleric!"

Remember this election is particularly important as Venezuela is vying for a seat on the security council.

also U$ #14, 17:

I didn't take offense at all, and your point is well taken: language is important. I try to be very careful with my language for just these reasons you state. Especially when I edit news stories, I have to watch that I catch all of the corporate media's sly derogations, allusions, implications, and qualifiers.

You know the story about Bucky Fuller not speaking for three whole years while he worked out an honest vocabulary in his head. Seriously.

So, now I am thinking the word "disadvantaged" is better. It implies that something -- an advantage -- was taken away from them, and its opposite, "advantaged," implies that something is given to them.

What do you think?

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 20 2006 5:19 utc | 33

From Angry Arab:

From Beirut: "On another note, I crossed paths with Sudanese man today who was wearing a T-shirt that read (in German): I am a homosexual, retarded, asylum-seeking foreigner in Germany". I stopped him to be sure I had read correctly. "Do you know what your T-shirt says?" I asked. "No," he responded. I translated it for him, and then added that I think it was meant ironically. He shrugged, and continued on his way. I forgot to ask him if he retrieved that shirt from a humanitarian relief package. Do they monitor the slogans on T-shirts donated to charity? Apparently not.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 20 2006 5:36 utc | 34

Wait! Are these the gatecrashers, dkos talks about?

You mean, when they steal an election you can fight back?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 5:42 utc | 35

Frank Rich: Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out

The administration's constant refrain that Iraq is the 'central front' in the war on terror is not only false but has now also backfired politically: only 9 percent in the CBS poll felt that our involvement in Iraq was helping decrease terrorism. As its fifth anniversary arrives, 9/11 itself has been dwarfed by the mayhem in Iraq, where more civilians are now killed per month than died in the attack on America. The box-office returns of 'World Trade Center' are a cultural sign of just how much America has moved on. For all the debate about whether it was 'too soon' for such a Hollywood movie, it did better in the Northeast, where such concerns were most prevalent, than in the rest of the country, where, like 'United 93,' it may have arrived too late. Despite wild acclaim from conservatives and an accompanying e-mail campaign, 'World Trade Center' couldn't outdraw 'Step Up,' a teen romance starring a former Abercrombie & Fitch model and playing on 500 fewer screens.

Mr. Lamont's victory in the Connecticut Democratic senatorial primary has been as overhyped as Mr. Stone's movie. As a bellwether of national politics, one August primary in one very blue state is nearly meaningless. Mr. Lieberman's star began to wane in Connecticut well before Iraq became a defining issue. His approval rating at home, as measured by the Quinnipiac poll, had fallen from 80 percent in 2000 to 51 percent in July 2003, and that was before his kamikaze presidential bid turned 'Joementum' into a national joke.

The hyperbole that has greeted the Lamont victory in some quarters is far more revealing than the victory itself. In 2006, the tired Rove strategy of equating any Democratic politician's opposition to the Iraq war with cut-and-run defeatism in the war on terror looks desperate. The Republicans are protesting too much, methinks. A former Greenwich selectman like Mr. Lamont isn't easily slimed as a reincarnation of Abbie Hoffman or an ally of Osama bin Laden. What Republicans really see in Mr. Lieberman's loss is not a defeat in the war on terror but the specter of their own defeat. Mr. Lamont is but a passing embodiment of a fixed truth: most Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake and want some plan for a measured withdrawal. That truth would prevail even had Mr. Lamont lost.

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2006 5:50 utc | 36

4 U.S. Soldiers Are Killed As Afghan Violence Surges

KABUL, Insurgents killed four U.S. soldiers and wounded six others in clashes Saturday during an upsurge in violence across the country. Two Afghan soldiers also were killed.

I wonder if the US will leave Afghanistan even earlier than Iraq?

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2006 5:57 utc | 37

Uri, my dear sonAs the Lebanon war raged, David Grossman, the celebrated Israeli writer, publicly urged his government to accept a ceasefire. Just days later, his soldier son was killed by one of Hizbollah's final anti-tank missiles. This is the eulogy he read at the funeral

You were the leftie of your battalion and you were respected for it, because you stood your ground, without giving up even one of your military assignments ...

You were a son and a friend to me and to Mummy. Our soul is tied to yours. You felt good in yourself and you were a good person to live with. I cannot even say out loud how much you were 'Someone to Run With'. Every furlough you would say: 'Dad, let's talk' and we would go, usually to a restaurant, and talk. You told me so much, Uri, and I felt proud that I was your confidante.

I won't say anything now about the war you were killed in. We, our family, have already lost in this war. The state of Israel will have its own reckoning ...

Uri was such an Israeli child; even his name was very Israeli and Hebrew. He was the essence of Israeli-ness as I would want it to be. An Israeli-ness that has almost been forgotten, that is something of a curiosity. And he was a person so full of values. That word has been so eroded and has become ridiculed in recent years. In our crazy, cruel and cynical world, it's not 'cool' to have values, or to be a humanist, or to be truly sensitive to the suffering of the other, even if that other is your enemy on the battlefield.

However, I learned from Uri that it is both possible and necessary to be all that. We have to guard ourselves, by defending ourselves both physically and morally. We have to guard ourselves from might and simplistic thinking, from the corruption that is in cynicism, from the pollution of the heart and the ill-treatment of humans, which are the biggest curse of those living in a disastrous region like ours. Uri simply had the courage to be himself, always and in all situations - to find his exact voice in every thing he said and did. That's what guarded him from the pollution and corruption and the diminishing of the soul.

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2006 6:06 utc | 38

From Haaretz:

Iran test-fires missile, says uranium enrichment will go on
By The Associated Press

Iran test-fired a surface-to-surface short-range missile on Sunday while a military training plane crashed outside the capital Tehran after catching fire, state-run television reported Sunday.

An Iran official said on Sunday that Tehran would not suspend uranium enrichment, ruling out the main demand in a package of proposals backed by six nations aimed at resolving Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.

"We are not going to suspend (enrichment). The issue was that everything should come out of negotiations, but suspension of uranium enrichment is not on our agenda," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said, speaking two days before Iran's self-imposed deadline of August 22 to respond to the offer.

Posted by: | Aug 20 2006 8:33 utc | 39

Oops - #39 was mine. Forgot my name.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 20 2006 8:34 utc | 40

Unca's PSA

Heads up for all you Cable Subscribers:

An American Tragedy

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

A year after Hurricane Katrina, director Spike Lee presents a four-hour chronicle recounting, through words and images, one of our country's most profound natural political disasters.

An HBO Documentary Films Event

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 9:48 utc | 41

With regard to JonBenet Ramsey's self-confessed killer, you may find convincing (as I did) the alternative scenario for what happened that night, as explained in the cleverly-titled post "The Single Pervert Theory" at Rigorous Intuition (which I first encountered because Billmon had it in his blog roll) -

It's not a happy thought - but hey, this is the future - you got to live it or live with it

Posted by: mistah charley | Aug 20 2006 11:54 utc | 42

In dire conditions (starvation, hopelessness) “living” birth rates sink or are nil, because of lack of fertility, abortion and infanticide.

In poor but subsistence conditions, birth rates tend to be high: Niger, and other African, occupy the top 30 or so positions, with the exception of


Gaza Strip


The reasons, in no order : 1) a traditional life style, patriarchical structure, women who work hard in the home / fields but are not workers in the ‘economy’ and are obligated to take on old roles in a poor setting. 2) Lack of medical care, which goes hand in hand with absence of contraception, the difficulty of abortion. 3) The underpinnings are that children represent, in poor, agricultural, subsistence economies, a good investment. Humans turn greens and a bit of protein into energy in a very efficient way (one good meal gets you 20 kms. on a bike, the equivalent expenditure on home tasks, fields, etc. say). The Congolese use no oil at all and have many children.

This general scheme has to be tempered today with globalisation.

For geo-political reasons (and no other) some communities are supported by others, and receive food and minimal living conditions care of people far away. Dependency turns people towards tradition - core values, all that stuff, and makes them focus on very narrow, local, familial considerations. Democracy - one man, one vote - and the desire to multiply to have soldiers, warriors, terrorists, workers, to fight the good fight will up or maintain birth rates in places where these particular conditions apply.

Globalization also accounts for the fact that upper middle class families in the rich world (particularly the US) have recently turned the ‘rich’ stereotype on its head - having many children is indicative of wealth. SUV Mom at home, a mansion to play in, servants, each poster child is a badge of social standing, and also, btw, commitment to the US way of life. Saudi and US demographics will soon resemble each other in some ways, with the rich multiplying in their own respective ways, the poor as well, while middle class birth rates will sink to almost nothing. (Image. ;)

Gapminder is a good site (though it has no stats on this issue), cool visualisations, good educational site.>Gapminder

## - conchita I hesitated to email RGiap I thought it might be intrusive but now I will. Thanks.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 20 2006 14:45 utc | 43

WOW! thanks for that Noirette. I'll be spending some time there today snooping it out...

Another site that may interest some, but not all, and is of an anthropological nature is Savage Minds.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2006 15:02 utc | 44

Frank Rich says things progressives like to hear, but he's still an establishment pundit. Why his sneer at an up-coming actor in: " 'World Trade Center' couldn't outdraw 'Step Up,' a teen romance starring a former Abercrombie & Fitch model"? The movie has drawn mixed reviews, but Channing Tatum's performace has been noted as a plus, as was his work in a previous teen-romance flick. The guy isn't a joke.

And there's Rich's sneer at those who think Lamont's victory in the Connecticut Democratic primary is a big deal. True, "What Republicans really see in Mr. Lieberman's loss is not a defeat in the war on terror but the specter of their own defeat" -- but that's just the point of all the “hyperbole.” We know that the Cheyney-Rove-Bush people have only contempt for public opinion. With approval ratings in the cellar, they go right on pressing their agenda. Yes, the Lamont event will pass -- but it's the first time an anti-administration vote has been registered, and counted, with national attention. Maybe it's trivial as Rich assures us; maybe it's the vortex of a butterfly's wings.

Posted by: Murdoch | Aug 20 2006 15:46 utc | 45

Steorn Challenges Iran Nuclear Claims
Scientific Groups to Prove Iranian Intent

Sunday August 20th, 2006
BANNOCKBURN (API) - in News, Research, Industrial. Tags: Industrial, Research.

Steorn Steorn, an Irish technology development company allied against the US Neo-Con
Global War of Terror, has today issued a challenge to the global scientific community
to disprove Steorn’s latest Iranian hypothesis by proving Iran does not intend to destroy
the industrial world with freely-distributed nuclear energy, then publish their findings.

Steorn’s Iranian nuclear technology claim is based on the model theory that Iran will use
the nuclear processing technology it is currently developing, to provide low-cost nuclear
energy modules to poor 3rd World countries, much like Venezuala's Hugo Chavez has
offered low-cost heating oil to poor people within the Caribbean Region.

Steorn has placed an advertisement in The Economist this week to attract the attention
of the world’s leading scientists working in the field of experimental nuclear physics.
From all the scientists who accept Steorn’s challenge, twelve will be invited to take part
in a rigorous testing exercise to prove that Iran's nuclear technology will not be freely
distributed, and instead will be licensed to a Western nuclear super power. The results
will be published worldwide in Science and Technology magazine, and in 50 languages.

Steorn CEO, Sean McCarthySean McCarthy, CEO of Steorn, commented: “During the years
of the Gulf Oil Wars, one terror has stood unchallenged. That unimaginable terror is that
Iran, working on its own "People Version" of nuclear processing and power production,
would develop a low-cost, non-polluting modular nuclear technology, which they might
then make directly available to poor 3rd World countries, and destroy the delicate balance
of terror which the world's industrial powers have created. Iran's modular nuclear power
plants are the size of a Volkwagen, and provide clean power for decades to communities
remote from oil pipelines or power grids. Their technology has been validated by various
independent scientists and engineers. We are now seeking twelve of the most qualified
and most cynical from the world’s scientific community to form an independent jury, test
the Iranian technology in independent laboratories and publish their findings. We are under
no illusions that there will be a lot of cynicism out there about our proposition, as it currently
challenges one of the basic principles of global super power domination. However, the
implications of low-cost nuclear power technology go far beyond scientific curiosity: they
address many urgent global needs including security of energy supply and zero emission
energy production. Free nuclear power would also destroy the hegemony of Big Oil that has
been so carefully built up by America and OPEC, Russia, Canada, and the other so-called
"super powers", as they destroy one independent source of crude oil after another (Iraq.).

Following the validation process, Steorn intends to license Iranian nuclear technology to
humanitarian organizations operating within the global community. This will allow use of
Iranian modular nuclear technology royalty-free for certain humanitarian purposes including
water, sewage treatment and rural electrification projects in 3rd World countries, under a
program to be called, simply, "People Power".

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice issued a stern warning to Steorn, "Just let them try
to develop, "People Power"! The US will crush them like it crushed Al Qaeda, like it crushed
Hezbollah, and like it crushed the Red Chinese menace. The US will stop at nothing to blow
the Iranians off the map, before they can successfully undermine America's global monopoly
on nuclear technology." Rice laughed softly, "We'll do a Microsoft on their rag-head asses!"

Posted by: Peristroika Shalom | Aug 20 2006 16:33 utc | 46

@Peristroika Shalom - I deleted the four useless, 200 character long URLs you had added to your above comment.
Learn how to format them properly so they don´t screw up the design or leave this site. Thinking about it - I wouldn´t miss your stuff.

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2006 16:45 utc | 47

@Peristroika Shalom - as you have now reposted your stupid makeup above in another thread, I did delete it there and banned your IP from further comments.

Have fun - elsewhere.

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2006 17:53 utc | 48

Peristroika Shalom has the best comments on this blog.

Posted by: christofay | Aug 21 2006 1:24 utc | 49

The Israeli raid in the Baalbek valey did go much worse than was first thought.

The raid was done by some 10 soldiers of a very elite unit, the Sayeret Matkal which did the successful Entebbe raid. The commander of that unit was killed as was another officer and one soldier and the raid had to aborded under fire.

Of course this was not about weapons flowing to Hisbullah. It was not even near the boarder and if a storage stricture would have been the target, a few bombs would have done the job. It was an attempt to "snatch" a Hizbullah Sheik, maybe even Nasrallah.

To the Israeli military, the desaster of this raid will feel worse than the other problems.

Posted by: b | Aug 21 2006 3:59 utc | 50

At LeSpeakeasy, b real brought up for question Bookchin's use of the terms "revolutionary" and "scarcity". I answered there, and will cross post here:

About scarcity
I took Bookchin to mean something like what Malooga referred to the other day with the story of yeast in a culture – Two outcomes, either the yeast run out of sugar and die off for starvation (scarcity) or they don’t run out of sugar but do end up awash in a wealth of toxins that also kill off the culture (post-scarcity). Malooga I thought was citing a kind of nightmare, and I think it is the one that Bookchin could see coming all too well.

About revolutionary,
I dislike this term for a couple reasons, but for the main problem is that it seems to be begging for arrest. I imagine Bookchin chose it because he wanted to be absolutely clear about the conservatism of most so-called revolutionaries, because he wanted to declare that the capitalist rules/game serves humanity 0%, and therefore must eventually betray us all, and so with such an opposition there can be no accommodation, only opposition. The game MUST be changed.
But since I see no need to discredit myself as a proponent of humane society, and because I agree with you that revolution is imagined by most readers in a reactionary imagery, I would prefer a term more like “communalist,” and so did Bookchin in the end.

But I wanted to start with “Listen, Marxixt!” because so many at MOA clearly identify with the left, and I want to discuss what it means to identify and ‘steer’ left. I am grateful to Bookchin for putting so clearly that “appearing” left is a disaster. For Bookchin, nothing was to be idolized, and especially not ones politics. Politics are to be worked out in dialog, and that can never be done honestly when one wants to appear to know all the answers.

A question now being addressed at MOA: do we identify with particular anti-imperialists simply because they fight imperialism? If we fail to make such solidarity, do we make ourselves tools of the capitalist game/rules? My guess is that Bookchin’s take on fashionable Marxians offers some guidance:

Let us contrast two approaches, the Marxian and the revolutionary. The Marxian doctrinaire would have us approach the worker--or better, "enter" the factory--and proselytize him in "preference" to anyone else. The purpose?--to make the worker "class conscious." To cite the most neanderthal examples from the old left, one cuts one's hair, grooms oneself in conventional sports clothing, abandons pot for cigarettes and beer, dances conventionally, affects "rough" mannerisms, and develops a humorless, deadpan and pompous mien.

One becomes, in short, what the worker at his most caricaturized worst: not a "petty bourgeois degenerate," to be sure, but a bourgeois degenerate. One becomes an imitation of the worker insofar as the worker is an imitation of his masters. Beneath the metamorphosis of the student into the "worker" lies a vicious cynicism. One tries to use the discipline inculcated by the factory milieu to discipline the worker to the party milieu. One tries to use the worker's respect for the industrial hierarchy to wed to worker to the party hierarchy. This disgusting process, which if successful could lead only to the substitution of one hierarchy for another, is achieved by pretending to be concerned with the worker's economic day-to-day demands

The last line here is tough on us - it demands that we stop fooling ourselves, and choose real strengths rather than make believe ones. Bookchin seems to demand that we not pretend to care about people whom we know nothing about, Rather, if we are honest, we will forthrightly state that we do not know Hassan Nasrallah, and that any opposition we have to anti-freedom imperial politics is based on very local intimate knowledge that we actually can speak to authoritatively. Any sympathy we might have for someone fighting empire in Lebanon is speculative.

However, it is not speculative to say, we are against babies screaming pitifully for milk because an American made bomb has destroyed the baby’s mother. We can speak as authorities on babies crying because we have heard them and knew that the one thing for the hungry baby is its mothers breasts - living breasts preferably. And no armament profit will excuse that murder, that double murder. And of course the armament profit will not even bother to excuse such murders, but will simply sweep them aside. That is reason enough, reasons we understand, to oppose the bombing.

We can speak as authorities on the evil of murdering mothers by bomgbing them in their beds at night, or while cooking for their families in the day, because we know that every child has one mother, only one irreplaceable mother. We do not have to pretend exotic knowledge and concerns – we already know enough about what it means to be a Lebanese human being, because we know what it means to be a human being.

We have our own ‘bombed-out’ city of New Orleans, and know the human need in a capitalized society for assistance from the government. We know that Cuba prevented casualties from hurricanes. And we know that Lebanese displaced people are being housed without being imprisoned, that HB is already rebuilding houses. What is the US and Louisiana state record in like matters? I support the people who actually build communities. My sense is that Bookchin is saying to first revolutionize the hearts around you, and demand to have a say in how your community plans and directs itself. Then, as a community, decide which other communities to support. My sense is that the Bookchin answer for most is to build community assemblies, and lobby to have them support other communities in the world.

This seems more demanding to me, and so perhaps revolutionary because it would demand that we first revolutionize oneselves. Rather than talking first about whom we support, better we should work to understand the point of working to create local assemblies, then actually create general support for local assemblies, then to create actual local assemblies, THEN to work to get that popular assembly to speak in the voice of popular sovereignty, and it could say – “stop bombing mothers.”

That’s revolutionary.

Posted by: citizen | Aug 21 2006 6:19 utc | 51

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