Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Thursday, 19 May 2005 at 19h 47m 28s|
--by Ari Berman
map of Uzbekistan, and Central Asia
"Such people must be shot in the forehead," Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov
once said of political dissidents. "If necessary, I'll shoot them myself." When
not personally gunning down his opposition, Karimov keeps busy by instructing
his security forces to boil, rape or asphyxiate political prisoners.
Luckily for Karimov, he's a key US ally in the war on terror. The brutal events
of last week only confirmed that awful reality. For months the Uzbek government
had incarcerated 23 businessmen in the eastern city of Andijan on trumped-up
charges of supporting an obscure Islamist group. Last week, militants stormed
the prison and freed the prisoners. When thousands of demonstrators, emboldened
by the jail break, assembled in Andijan's town square to protest their
country's climate of repression, corruption and poverty, Karimov travelled to
the city and instructed his soldiers to open fire on the crowd. Violence soon
spread to the border with Kyrgyzstan, as soldiers allegedly targeted women and
children. Anywhere from a few hundred to 745 people are reported dead.
The Bush Administration's response to the butchery was both comical and
sad. "We have some concerns about human rights in Uzbekistan, but we are
concerned about the outbreak of violence, particularly by some members of a
terrorist group freed from prison," Scott McClellan said. "The people of
Uzbekistan want to see more representative and democratic government, but that
should come through peaceful means, not through violence."
How peaceful change will occur when the US has supplied Karimov with $500
million in military aid and waived human rights requirements for military and
non-proliferation assistance is anyone's guess. Shortly after 9/11, Uzbekistan
granted the US a crucial air base to use for the war in Afghanistan.
The Bush Administration then began funneling $79 in aid to Uzbek security
forces at the same time the State Department was condemning "torture as a
routine investigation technique." When Colin Powell tried to cut off $18
million in additional aid for the security forces, General Richard Myers
protested, and forced Powell to restore $7 million.
And just two weeks ago, the New York Times reported that the CIA had sent at
least a dozen suspected terrorists to Uzbekistan for interrogation via a secret
rendition program. "In my view, we shouldn't let any single issue drive a
relationship with any single county," Myers said, dismissing human rights
concerns. "It doesn't seem to be good policy to me."
Meanwhile, on a recent trip to Europe, Bush appeared even more divorced from
reality than usual. "We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations,
appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of
stability," he said in Latvia. Then again, this is the man who once told the
New Yorker, "No president has ever done more for human rights than I have."
|Wednesday, 18 May 2005 at 16h 34m 41s|
Galloway rips senator norman coleman
If you did not witness or hear Parliamentary member Galloway speak
follow the link
here. It is a real-player 4 megabyte file, and might take a minute to
download for a
--"At long last, senator, have you no shame"
|Wednesday, 18 May 2005 at 16h 36m 24s|
SENATOR HARRY REID'S REMARKS AT DEMOCRATIC UNITY EVENT
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
The hour of decision has come for our nation's Senate. In the debate that has
begun, the Republican majority that holds the reins of power will have to make
They will have to choose between their partisan interests or the people's
Between upholding our liberties and rights or overturning 200 year old
Between continuing to abuse the power the American people have lent them or
using that power on behalf of everyday Americans who are looking for a fair
When Americans think of a scary person in a black robe, they should be thinking
of Darth Vader, not Republican choices for judges. But what the Republican
leadership is attempting to do is to pack the courts with judges far out of the
mainstream of American values.
To do so they want to scrap rules that have been in place since our nation's
beginning that give every Senator the right to speak their mind and say their
piece. They are demanding a power no president has ever had: the ability to
all-but personally hand out lifetime jobs to judges without giving the other
party any say.
That's too much power for one person. That's too much power for one
President. That's too much power for one political party.
Our Constitution says the Senate should give "advice and consent." Not advice
as long as we agree with everything President Bush wants. Not consent as long
as we rubber-stamp the most extreme elements of the Republican agenda.
These checks and balances were put in place by our founding fathers. And they
are there for a reason: to prevent any political party from abusing its power.
Look at the facts: more than 60 of President Clinton's nominees to be judges
never were allowed an up-or-down vote. In contrast, we have approved 208 out
of President Bush's 218 nominees. That's the best record any president has had
in a quarter of a century. But its not enough for George Bush and the
We've approved 95 percent of their picks. But that's not enough for them.
They want 100 percent. They want it all. All the say. All the control. All
the power. It's their way or the highway. But that's not the American way.
The Washington Republicans are on a quest for absolute power...and we all know
what that brings. Their corruption and abuse of power is already here for all
Americans to see. House Republican leader Tom Delay is a walking symbol of
what's wrong with Washington DC.
At a time when gas prices are going through the roof and families are cutting
back on summer vacations, George Bush and Dick Cheney are trying to line the
pockets of big oil and walking hand-in-hand with the Saudi princes.
And while health care costs are rising, pensions are sinking, and our economy
is stuck in place, Washington Republicans are wasting our time by trying to pay
off the far right.
We are a nation at war. And the American people want their leaders to be
focused on achieving progress, not playing partisan games.
Fifty years ago this Spring, a US Senator in the majority party wrote
that "Fanatics and extremists are always disappointed at the failure of their
government to rush to implement all their principles." But that the job of
leaders is to follow the "course of their conscience."
Those were the words of John F. Kennedy in "Profiles in Courage." Now comes a
time of testing for our own time. In the coming days, we will see who our
nation's leaders of courage are today. I ask Republicans who believe in
liberty and limited government to join us in taking a stand against this abuse
Its time that the Republican leaders in Congress stopped silencing people's
voices and began hearing the voices of Americans who are calling on us to live
up to our nation's promise.
|Wednesday, 18 May 2005 at 16h 49m 28s|
The illusion of a noble case
The same nameless individual has other
"1)The US can pretend that it isn't the stablizing force in the world, bend
over, and wait for a chaotic ball of Islamic fundamentalists, Islamic
dictatorial leaders, and terrorists to fight each other and create a worldwide
nuclear and terrorist disaster. (AKA -The US can watch how events like WWII
took place where people new damn well that there was a threat and decided to
wait for a huge military struggle)."
2) The US can admire the dreams of peace but realize that those are not shared
by everybody and that sometimes guns DO get a point across better than Hare
Krishna peace walkers, especially when a huge group competing against American
society (aka hollywood culture, weed smokers, corporations, rock music, beer,
porn, short skirts, religious freedom, etc, etc) is all about killing to get
its way. (we do TRULY grasp the counterproductive nature of terrorism that
includes blowing one's self up in the name of narrow, pointless causes in order
to kill people that stand in the way don't we????) If so, perhaps it isn't too
bad of an idea to protect our great society from that.
The US isn't pretending. We are not the stabilizing force in the world. We
are the destabilizing force. Who is selling all the arms to those terrorists,
who sold that WMD to Saddam in the 1980's, who set up the Iranian nuclear
reactors that the administration is now bitching about ... who? Go research
all of the defense contractors feeding at the trough, and then go listen to
Eisenhower's last Presidential speech when he warned about the Defense industry
Who aided and abetted the Taliban and the Mujahhedan in Afganistan during the
1980s? Who has been fostering dictatorial regimes throughout the world in the
Why is it the multinational corporations who are pushing the bad foriegn policy
decisions of our government?
This is called blowback. Do not presume that Iraqi's love us for our presumed
moral endeavor? Remember how this was supposed to be a "cakewalk" and how the
Iraqi's were all going to throw us roses?
They had to stage the toppling of Saddam's statue. They are not however
staging the massive protests in Baghdad and Afganistan over the last month.
Why are contractors getting kidnapped and killed? Could it be that they are
seen as invaders?
And what the hell do you mean by #2?
What are you talking about sitting and waiting. How many warnings did Bush-
co get about the bin Laden problem? How many times does the FBI and the CIA
have to get called off of the scene by the White House because Cheney was busy
drawing up plans for the invasion of Iraq in April of 2001 -- 3 months before 9-
11. September 11th never had to happen. They let it happen to pursue their
fucked up foreign policy agenda.
And if the world wants us to stabilize the world, how come no one is helping us
out by providing troop support and funds? It's our kids and our money that are
getting spent. The world did not invite us.
This is not a crusade for democracy and peace versus an evil religious cult.
This is about a power grab, a coup d'etat that is being seen as an invasion of
a defenseless country.
How come the military could surround the ministry of oil with tanks but do
nothing while the museums and nuclear ministry were ransacked?
Do we have to kill them all in order that they may be free?
Who are we protecting our society from? The only hordes of fundamentalists
threatening our nation our on the far-right neo-con hypocrites.
This war is a front for a hidden agenda by the cabal that is currently in the
white house. We have been lied to, and we are still being lied to for reasons
other than the noble ones that are credited.
|Wednesday, 18 May 2005 at 15h 9m 44s|
A free market belief system is deconstructed
A certain nameless individual posted the following one day. It is a three-
sentence belief system. I will respond after the quote.
All living things, including people, are competitive and always will be. Free
market competition is the heart of what makes America prosper. Sometimes
corruption goes too far, but it is better than having government be the one to
take your money and fuck it up.
No, all living things are competitive when they are hungry for food, and there
is no established custom of sharing food resources. Or they are human beings in
a cultural system in which they are trying to find a stable stream of money and
the first one to the water hole gets the water.
But it's the situation that creates the competition.
You are looking at primitive psychology like a game that has wins and loses.
Life is not about wins and loses. Life is about eating, shiting, and
sleeping. Once there is no concern about eating, shiting, and sleeping,
psychology evolves into a satisfied animal state which is more complex than you
And market (or open system of economic exchange) is a construct of laws,
standards, and traditions established by the people in the community or a
government of a region. To call this "free" and imply that the government is
disconnected from the "free market" is ridiculous. We the people decide how we
want to have a market of goods and services to be exchanged. Someone will be
deciding how the game is played if government is not. Last time I checked
however, it took years of law suit and government regulation to mitigate toxic
chemical dumping, unhealthy food, and securities fraud.
What makes America prosper is the government. From the very first 50 years of
our nation, Western lands were given to or sold by the government to promote
the "filling up" of the West. All of our technologies and mechanisms of
business were either fostered or out-right engineered by government
interaction. Social Security eliminated senior-citizen poverty and put money
into the economy. Telephone, Radio, service become universal because of
government regulation which forced these businesses to provide fair,
inexpensive service to all communities. Railroads, the interstate system,
automobiles, the airline industry, computers, and so on, were all nurtured by
actions that either originated from or were coordinated through the government.
You don't know your history my friend.
You think the government just takes your money. It's not the taking of the
money that is the problem. It's the spending. Some things are so important
for our society and economic well-being that it is more efficient to collect
taxes and pay for it. There has never been any other way in history.
Entrepreneurs have insight and work ethic, but they still operate in a land
with a strong government that provides resources and infrastructure. That way
an entrepreneur is not burdened with all of the costs of doing business.
I suggest you read a book by Robert Kuttner called "Everything For Sale" which
discusses the history of what we now call the "free market."
|Tuesday, 17 May 2005 at 17h 2m 8s|
Remember all that past whining
Don't you remember all of the whining the moaning and self-righteous carping by
neo-cons about the UN Oil for Food scandal
[from The London Guardian]
A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations
committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made
aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but
did nothing to stop them.
The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the
Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP,
George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.
...the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the
kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the
rest of the world put together.
"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN
sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained
from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United
States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."
That's right it was actually United States own companies that did most of the
corruption -- at the connivance of the neo-con Bush administration.
And there is more.
The neo-cons like to harmonize all together about big menacing(here it comes)
Liberal media. Well, if the media is so liberal, how come the Downing Street
memo has received little coverage, and was second rated to the bizarre all day
breaking story of a "Runaway Bride." The story of a young girl chasing a
delusion is the story all day, not the Prime Minister memo of meeting with the
Bush Administration of July 23rd, 2002 that said..
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in
attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove
Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and
WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
Read the British Government memo yourself in the London Times.
But don't you think the liberal media would blasting this everyday all week?
Ignorant people rant and rave, but never have so many done so with such graver
consequences. Damn all of you.
|Tuesday, 17 May 2005 at 16h 30m 35s|
Greed is not good
Wait ... Barry Bonds is "unethical" because he did steroids ...
But ... corporations can commericialize the game by buying the naming rights to
a baseball stadium? How many neo-slave laborers in Asia have to work replacing
American jobs so that we can buy cheap consumer goods at Walmart?
Barry Bonds hurt himself, and maybe the "nostalgia" of the game. But real
people lose their job or pension when a corporation decides to breech a
contract by breaking their pension promises or firing all the workers and then
outsourcing new hires to a firm which pays the same workers half-price with no
This is what corporations do. They can still make money and not do these
things, but alas, we have allowed our society and government to become
corrupted by fiends and liars.
Making money is one matter. Making enormous amounts of money at the expense of
workers and small investors is quite another matter.
Greed is only good when you have the upper hand. Sponsoring a society that
allows greed to create the social system will eventually become ruled by kings
and tyrants. The big fish will not only eat the little fish, but everything
else until there is nothing left, and then sit around with fat bellies blaming
it on those who point out the facts.
Greed fosters short-term irresponsibiltiy and unaccountability in our society.
The mythmakers would have you believe that survival of the fittest is man's
basic nature, and that greed itself is natural to mankind. They are wrong,
because they do not understand primative human nature or themselves, and are
instead projecting their own internal sickness.
Once an animals basic needs of food and shelter are met -- which includes most
of us in the USA -- an animal's basic drive is for love and respect. Lacking
love and respect, we settle for cheap substitutes of fear and power, but this
is a symptom of a degenerate society which breeds rampant individualism. In a
society which instills relationships, individualism is checked because all
individuals have learned love and respect from their community and social
Our society forms social understanding through the television. We drive in
boxes on concrete slabs listening to voices from electronic devices. We are not
attached to our surroundings or our connection with the people in our near
vicinity. They are competitors, not fellow citizens.
|Monday, 16 May 2005 at 17h 16m 17s|
Stadium names for the corporate plutocrats
Do y'all ever wonder why we now HAVE TO name our stadiums for corporations? It
used to be the name of a local bigwig or a geographical name -- or just after
the team name like Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Who the hell thinks US
Cellular field is a better name than Comiskey Park?
Before San Francisco built Pac Bell Park (now SBC Park -- because the telephone
utility Pac Bell got bought out by SBC) the Giants games were at Candlestick
Park. The park got its name by the nearby odd shaped hill which actually looks
like a "candlestick" from a distance -- like a warped shark's fin which narrows
as the hill gets higher.
Just before the new park was build, the 3M corporation bought the "naming
rights" for Candlestick Park, and all of a sudden the park was named "3M
I am dead serious. All the names around "the stick" were changed, the
brochures were changed, city maps were changed that got published that year...
and now Pac Bell has become SBC.
At least when the park was named for a location,team,or person, the name wasn't
in danger of changing. Comiskey Park was never in danger of changing names
(neither Wrigley or Fenway Park) until U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights.
And what happens when U.S Cellular is bought out or goes bankrupt? Well look
what happened in Houston when the Astros moved out of the Astrodome. Enron
Field became Minute Maid Park.
What a pathetic trend? Worship the person-anonymous corporation instead of a
historical namesake or locality.
The aristocracy of the Roman, Asian, and European-medieval era connoted their
symbols of royalty with banners, privaleges, symbols, and colors. Erecting
statues and creating a little park or plaza around a statue was another method
of honoring a family or famous namesake.
In France, the Revolution of 1789 and after was largely kindled by the enormous
privaleges the aristocracy had accrued at the expense of the laboring people,
the peasants, and the "bourgeoisie" (enterprising townsfolk.) But those
resentments were no different really from the peasants who revolted in China,
and the total disentegration of Russia in 1917 when the soldiers of St.
Petersburg could and did not fire on the masses of people storming the
government... just like the Parisian's of 1789 stormed the Bastille to release
Revolution is not really a revolt however, but more a dissentegration as
desperate, angry masses have no other recourse of action. A struggle over the
political organization then ensues that can last 20 years or more.
The United States has never really had social revolution, in which the ruling
classes were tossed aside and the political reality was completely upturned.
The American revolution was really a taking over of the operations of national
government by the Continental elites. That it was also Democratic in roots and
its philosophical basis was due to the size of the "new world" out West and the
smallness of the colonist population. In the history of the United States, the
Government came before Society came fully into being. Changes and
transformations did not evolve into law and common practices as in old world.
Rather, every decision and new written law was added to an already existing
rubric of higher law.
|Saturday, 14 May 2005 at 7h 38m 21s|
Why do they hate us?
I thought the reconstruction was supposed to change this...or is too much
profit being skimmed off.
From the London Guardian.
More than two years after Saddam Hussein's fall, 85 percent of Iraqis complain
of frequent power outages, only 54 percent have access to clean water and
almost a quarter of Iraqi children suffer from chronic malnutrition, a U.N.-
Iraqi survey revealed Thursday.
``The survey, in a nutshell, depicts a rather tragic situation of the quality
of life,'' said Iraq's new planning minister, Barham Saleh.
Although Saleh blamed years of wars, economic mismanagement and repressive
policies under Saddam, conditions worsened after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and
insurgents now are doing their best to tear down the economy, averaging 70
attacks a day at the start of May.
The U.S. reconstruction effort also has drawn criticism. Last week, government
investigators said U.S. civilian authorities in Iraq cannot properly account
for nearly $100 million promised for projects in south-central Iraq.
A total of 21,688 households in Iraq's 18 provinces were surveyed for the
It found 1.5 million new housing units are needed to deal with a critical
housing shortage. Almost a quarter of Iraqi children between the ages of 6
months and 5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition, and 193 women out of every
100,000 births die in labor.
Unemployment is running at just over 18 percent, literacy at 65 percent.
In addition to power and water problems, only 37 percent of the population has
working sewage systems, the report said.
``If we compare this to what was there in the 1980s, we would see a major
deterioration in the situation,'' Saleh said. ``In 1980, 75 percent of families
had access to clean water.''
Iraq had one of the region's best infrastructures, health and education systems
in the 1970s, but conditions deteriorated rapidly after Saddam became president
And Saddam was our boy in 1979, the year all hell broke loose in Iran, and our
old boy the Shah was ousted by the people. Yep, we traded one sick, repressive
regime for another, one right after the other.
And you wonder why they hate us? How delusional is it to believe that our
soldiers are over there fighting for freedom?
I support the troops. Stop hemorraging money and bring them home now!!!!!
|Saturday, 14 May 2005 at 7h 22m 30s|
A difference in mental apparitions
From the Mahablog
..look at what the righties are saying. Then look at what the lefties are
saying. Notice the difference in the quality of the arguments. Lefties write
long posts full of data and figures. Righties link to the columnists they want
to agree with, then say yeah, see? What he says. Democrats stink.
As we all know, the purpose of right-wing think tanks is to think up excuses
for pernicious rightie policies. And the purpose of rightie columnists is to
tell the faithful what they want to hear. Essentially, the think tanks mix the
Kool-Aid, the columnists fill the cups, and the rightie bloggers line up to
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