Is O.J. Simpson more important than the greenhouse effect? Consider this: I just typed "O.J. Simpson" into a Google News search. The first page alone provided links for almost 2500 recent stories. The results for "global warming," however, totaled roughly 300. Thus, by media standards, O.J. Simpson appears to be at least eight times more significant than climate change.
Obviously, media coverage doesn't always correlate to value. Douglas Futuyma, a professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, recently talked to CNN about global warming. "It's not just down the road somewhere," said Futuyma. "It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60."
And guess what? It's our fault. Add a comment
Tony Blair went to Pakistan last weekend with a quarter of a billion pounds in his back pocket and high hopes of making a trade, but from the look of things he only made a donation.
'Tis the spirit, one month early, perhaps?
His meeting with ex-General (now-President) Pervez Musharraf (who recently admitted that the US gave Pakistan millions of dollars in exchange for "terror suspects" shortly after 9/11) was a success from Musharraf's point of view, but not Blair's.
Blair's visit to Pakistan was apparently part of a concerted effort to break a deadlocked struggle for an extradition treaty .
The money â€” a 250-million-pound increase for "moderate Islamic madrassas" (schools which teach Islam without violence!), raising Britain's contribution from 230 to 480 million pounds (almost a billion dollars) over the next three years, must have seemed to Blair a reasonable quid-pro-quo.
To shorten a long story somewhat, the moderate madrassas of Pakistan got the money, or at least the Pakistani government did, but Tony Blair didn't get the treaty.
Merry Christmas to the moderate madrassas of Pakistan.
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Eva Golinger's eagerly awaited new book is now out - but only for those able to read and understand Spanish as it's not yet available in English. It's appropriately called Bush vs. Chavez - Washington's War Against against Venezuela published by Monte Avila Editores in Caracas. Hopefully it will soon be available in English as well.
Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney specializing in international human rights and immigration law. She wrote her first blockbuster book published in 2005 called The Chavez Code - Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela that documented the events surrounding the 2002 US-directed failed coup against Hugo Chavez that ousted him for two days and that the people of Venezuela through their mass outrage reversed. In her first book, Golinger obtained top-secret documents from the CIA and State Department through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests showing the Bush administration had prior knowledge of and was complicit in the 2002 coup against President Chavez and had provided over $30 million in funding aid to opposition groups to help pull it off. It failed because they hadn't expected the kind of people-power that's likely to arise again in the face of trouble and support the president they love and won't give up without a fight.
Golinger also showed how the US government funded the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED) that functions to subvert the democratic process to help oust leaders more concerned with serving their own people than the interests of wealth and power. Also involved in the coup plot was the international arm of the Republican party, the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the AFL-CIO that has a long and disturbing record of acting as an instrument of US foreign policy instead of sticking to what it's mandated to do - representing the interests of American working people it falls far short of much too often in its policy of selling out to the interests of capital for the personal gain of the union's leadership.
In the Chavez Code, Golinger showed how these agencies funded and worked with the Chavez opposition beginning in 2001 cooking up schemes that led to mass-staged street protests leading up to the day of the coup. It was done with the full knowledge and approval of the Bush White House that mounted a full-scale effort post-9/11 to oust Hugo Chavez and has now tried and failed three times to do it.
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â€œWe must bear in mind that imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalismâ€”and it must be defeated in a world confrontation. The strategic end of this struggle should be the destruction of imperialism. Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and underdeveloped of the world, is to eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capital, raw materials, technicians, and cheap labor, and to which they export new capital-instruments of domination-arms and all kinds of articles, thus submerging us in absolute dependence.â€
- Ernesto Che Guevara.
While critics of the Iraq war are quick to point out that US occupation is failing, they hesitate to draw the obvious conclusion; that the Iraqi resistance is winning. Observations like that are tantamount to treason and thus banned in the establishment-media. The idea of American invincibility is such a carefully-nurtured myth that is defended in all quarters and at all times. Even if U.S. troops were caught red-handed pushing their helicopters into the Euphrates while hastily fleeing Baghdad, the â€œembeddedâ€ media would twist it around so it looked like a â€œstrategic redeploymentâ€.
Thereâ€™s nothing new about media bias, but its effect on the ongoing war has been negligible. The mediaâ€™s â€œspinâ€ cannot alter the reality on the ground, and the fact is the US is getting beaten quite badly. Theyâ€™ve locked-horns with a crafty enemy that has neutralized their advantages in terms of firepower and technology and limited their range of movement. Itâ€™s shocking to think that after 4 years of bloody conflict, occupation forces still control â€œno groundâ€ beyond the looming parapets of the Green Zone. This is a stunning admission of defeat.
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Now, we almost all agree that Bush and Cheney have done bad things. But have they actually committed crimes? If you know anyone who has any doubts on this topic, may I recommend a brilliant little book for you to stick in their stocking next month?
In her new book, "United States v. George W. Bush et al.," former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega presents the case, as if to a grand jury, for an indictment of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Powell. De la Vega does not address over a dozen clear criminal acts, including some openly confessed to â€” such as spying in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Instead she focuses on the area where the most significant harm has been done, but where the legal issues have seemed to many people complex and unclear.
De la Vega charges that Bush, Cheney, et al., "did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting to state material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with regard to authorization of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress' lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations."
That may sound like a longwinded and legalistic way of saying "Bush lied. People died." And more or less it is. But in some important ways it is not. De la Vega is arguing, as John Bonifaz did in this letter to Congressman John Conyers in May of 2005 , that there is probable cause to believe that the President and others have violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. This law makes it a felony "to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purposeâ€¦." The Congress is one such agency. To defraud the Congress is not the same thing as to lie to it.
by Art James
THE FIRST PRECEPT.
In Book One (1.37â€”40) of the Odyssey...
â€œAh, how shamelessâ€”the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes, but they themselves, with their own wicked ways, compound their pains, beyond their proper share.â€
Thirty-five years ago on the twenty-fourth day of November I was certain war ended forever. Suffering had reached the maximum endurance level. This â€˜certaintyâ€™ was not reality, of course, but my impression was based on an experience. If anyone read my first AFP article they were introduced to a suppressed, but nonetheless, seething anger in my heartâ€™s belly. A certain people who wield official power do not live in accordance with a dimension of the Greek word themis. Themis is a word that embodies the capacity to know and do â€œwhatâ€™s right.â€
The epic texts attributed to the poet Homer are best understood if readers consider many performers provide these two epics. The Iliad makes it plain to see brains can be bashed and flung across the floor in war. The Odyssey is narrated in a forceful style, not much different, somewhat parallel, to Old Testament biblical characters who try to weasel out of responsibility and blame. We are all flawed humans. On the allegorical path of life, travels can be viewed from a transcendent distance, though the pathway is parallel, many go the opposite direction. We are observers of self. We observe others. We instruct. Learn?
I sure donâ€™t want to tackle diverse scholarship opinion, hitch up with tense arguers, or deny a fact that all handed down ancient texts are tampered with by high-level committees, and open to discussions and reproof. I am not wishing to shun criticism of my personal views. What is interesting to me is these written down descriptive taunts in past literature are aimed at warmongers. Ancients became a sort of â€˜religiousâ€™ instructor and guide, and universal truisms were read for centuries at rural festive celebrations.
Recently, we've been plied and pummeled with the absurd proclamation that "the system worked" â€” that our congressional representatives listened and took note of the collective, antiwar fulmination of the people, registered in our faux republic's latest, sham plebisciteâ€¦ Yes, I suspect, the political classes of Washington did hear the people's thunder â€” and then went running for cover within the comfort zones of their sheltering smugness, constructed of the brick and mortar of arrogant power and inequitable privilege. Just ask Joe Lieberman: He's the self-satisfied fellow seated comfortably upon the large, plush lounge chair, stuffed with campaign dollars, nearest the door with access to K Street.
But we must not let ourselves â€” the true beneficiaries of empire â€” off so easily: Our national tragedies (from all the corpses amassed, buried and forgotten in our imperial wars â€” to our intransigence and denial regarding Global Warming) are a collaborative effort with our leaders: A joint and living lie of the mind â€” made manifest by collective desire and remorseless pursuit.
Upon the occasion of our cultural confabulation of colonial hagiography dubbed "Thanksgiving," a tradition when we stuff our overweight bellies by devouring big, growth hormone-injected, flightless birds in order to celebrate, what in truth was, a Thanks-taking of this land by our ancestors from its original inhabitants â€” (but a hearty salutation of "Happy Genocide Day" doesn't exactly stimulate the appetite, does it?) â€” I will address the following missive to you â€” my fellow unindicted (perhaps even unconscious) co-conspirators in the crimes of our country.
Let's begin with the things nearest to us: The structures and objects we see before us, everyday. And it's not a beautiful sight to behold.
Due to the banality, blandness, and flat-out ugliness of the stripmall/big box store/fast food outlet, prefab nowhereland of our contemporary landscape, life in the US under corporatism is as seductive as the glare of florescent tube lighting in a convenience store.
The architecture of the US looks as if Aldophe Eichmann grew bored endlessly calculating the human weigh capacity of death camp bound boxcars â€” rose from Hell â€” and went into the prefab structure design business.
Now, donâ€™t get ugly, you admonish.
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Paul J. Balles considers the psychopathic phenomenon of the "superiority complex" as an explanation of dysfunctional behaviour among individuals and states, such as Israel and the US.
When I was living in Kuwait, I found it disturbing that a number of Kuwaiti drivers behaved arrogantly. These drivers ruled the roads. Everyone else was a paltry nuisance.
They flashed lights behind you when it was impossible to get out of their way. They cut in front of you with total disregard for safety or the driver they offended. They ignored right-of-way rules. They literally stole spaces you were manoeuvring to park in, and they double parked blocking you from leaving when it suited them.
What made matters worse: they became irritated when you complained about any of this behaviour. I don't want to generalize as only a minority acted as I've described; but they amounted to enough to irritate many others.
What these arrogant drivers displayed certainly seemed like they felt superior to others. I thought that their actions might have resulted from a superiority complex. To understand the behaviour, I decided to do some research.
I discovered that a "superiority complex refers to a subconscious neurotic mechanism of compensation developed by the individual as a result of feelings of inferiority". That definition, by psychologist Alfred Adler, made sense since the offenders had no good reason to feel superior.
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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Canadian Supreme Court Justice, Louise Arbour received a barrage of criticism in Israel a day after her comments regarding Israel's continuing atrocities commited against the civilian population of Palestine.
Yesterday, Louise Arbour toured the battered town of Beit Hanoun. Residents took the U.N. High Commissioner through houses destroyed by Israeli artillary fire; fire that has claimed the lives of at least 19, wounding more than fifty others. It was for Arbour the beginning of a five day visit to the area,planned to culminate in an audience with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Omert.
After hearing survivor's stories, and walking through the rubble of destroyed houses, Arbour decried the attacks, saying; "The call for protection [of civilians] has to be answered. We cannot see civilians, who are not the authors of their own misfortune, suffer to the extent of what I see here." Add a comment
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
You remember Kent Hovind, aka â€œDr. Dino,â€ although his claim to the â€œDr.â€ and academic credentials is questionable, at best. Heâ€™s the founder of Florida-based Creation Science Evangelism which, among its other quaint novelties, offers Dinosaur Adventure Land and this hokey promo on its homepage:
Hey families! Dinosaur Adventure Land has got so many wonderful events coming up that you may want to stop in sometime! Since the success of our Home school Appreciation Day of 2006, we have decided to do more themed-events at Dinosaur Adventure Land. To start things off, we have decided to make April foolâ€™s Day (April 1st) â€œDarwin Dayâ€. We will have tons of great rides, puzzles, treasure hunts, and prizes to fill out the day. We sure hope to see all of you here at Dinosaur Adventure land, where Dinosaurs and the Bible meet!
Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land are dedicated to Young Earth Creationism at its most ludicrous: human children playing with dinosaurs in Eden, Mr. and Mrs. Tyrannosaurus Rex among the passengers on Noahâ€™s ark.
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by Dave Lindorff
Forget Nancy Pelosi's "100 Hours" agenda for the new Democratic Congress.
The first thing Democrats need to do when they walk into the Senate and House chambers this January is to vote out a joint resolution repealing the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was the authorization for the U.S. attack Al Qaeda forces and the Taliban government of Afghanistan.
That AUMF has been used, wholly inappropriately and wantonly, by President Bush as the justification for his assault on the US Constitution, for his willful violation of laws domestic and international, and for his unconstitutional usurpation of legislative and judicial power.
The president has claimed that the AUMF, far from simply being an authorization to go to war against Afghanistan and against the Al Qaeda organization there, was an open-ended authorization for him to initiate an unending "War on Terror," which he has subsequently claimed has no boundaries, and will be fought around the globe and within the U.S.
Bush has further claimed, without a shred of Constitutional authority, that this AUMF makes him commander in chief in that never-ending global conflict, and that as commander in chief, he is not bound by either law or Constitution. It is this spurious and sweeping claim of dictatorial power that the president has used to justify his signing statements, which he has used to render inoperative in whole or in part some 850 or more acts passed by Congress since 9-11. It is this same claim that the president has used to justify his deliberate violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-a felony and violation of the Fourth Amendment.
WHERE CHICKENS COME TO ROOST
The Democrats need to achieve two things with respect to the mess in Iraq: 1) They need to help move the U.S. toward the best possible policy to deal with this mess; and 2) They need to make sure that the responsibility for the mess attaches to the people who made it.
The second task is not less important than the first. Thatâ€™s because the disaster the Bushites have created in Iraq is only one part of the serious damage they have done to America and to the world. And if the Democratsâ€™ handling of Iraq enables the Bushite forces to maintain power after their present public faces leave office, this serious damage â€“to our Constitution, to our political discourse, to the environment, to the just distribution of power and wealthâ€“ will continue.
This issue of the politics of responsibility arises because â€“at least so it seems clear to me, but of course not only to meâ€“ the â€œbest possibleâ€ outcome in Iraq will not be anything good.
Despite Wâ€™s continuing use of the word â€œvictory,â€ the chances of anything like victory are â€“ evidently â€“ negligible to nil. Despite the Bushitesâ€™ talk of â€œsuccess,â€ it is â€“ apparently â€“ unlikely in the extreme that the outcome will look to the American people anything like success. Despite the rhetoric about wanting the sacrifice of American troops not to have been in vain, there would seem to be virtually no chance whatever that the â€œbest possibleâ€ outcome will have achieved anything remotely worth the many costs paid by Americans, let alone the suffering Iraqi people.
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