Friday, December 29, 2006

yawn


Convicted for the killing of 143 people in the town of Dujail in 1982. Also accused of the killing of 5,000 Kurdish civilians in a 1988 chemical attack on Halabja. Likely responsible for the deaths of thousands of other Shia and Kurdish civilians after Gulf War I.


Hundreds of thousands slaughtered in East Timor after he and Henry Kissinger gave Indonesia's General Suharto "permission" to occupy the country.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jesus Is The Reason. Accept It Or Die!

Me and MichaelI just spent a few days in Corpus Christi, Texas with family celebrating the birth of Jesus, though none of the celebrations involved acknowledgement of this. After all, baby Jesus is so 1877. This is the year of the baby Michael - my nephew who was conceived biologically. He's much cuter than your nephew, and I met him for the first time during my holiday trip.

I also had the opportunity (burden?) to listen to country music. Besides gospel, it is the most Christian music genre in existence. I like some country music, but can't stand most of it. Just after a song about roping cattle, there was a number about God on the radio in my dad's car. My favorite line from Josh Turner's song "Me and God" is "You could say we're like two peas in a pod, Me and God." I laughed when I heard that. I'm not one for ridiculing faith, but some Christians make it far too easy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Immigrants a Boon to Texas

blogging from the Corpus Christi "International" Airport ...


Texas benefited by over $17 billion from undocumented immigrants according to the State Comptrollers office. I found it interesting that we spend more to incarcerate undocumented immigrants than to provide them health services. In some ways that sounds like a big negative for the pro-immigrant side - immigrants are costing our health system a lot, but they just commit so many crimes, the drain on our prison/jail system is worse. But I wonder how many of these incarcerated immigrants are there for nonviolent crimes, like drug possession - crimes that result in punishments which burden this State anyway. Also crimes that probably result in more prosecutions for people of color and immigrants than Anglos.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Well is Poisoned
Victory Requires an Immediate Pull-Out of US Troops

By CARLOS VILLARREAL

Published today on counterpunch ...

For the vast majority of Americans and Iraqis the only victory regarding the war in Iraq requires an immediate pullout of all foreign troops. While politicians and pundits have framed the debate over the war in terms of military victory versus cutting and running versus redeployment, we must make it clear to each other and the new Democratic leadership in Washington that Americans--soldier or civilian--and Iraqis are losing every second this disaster of a war continues, and the muddled debate over timetables is just delaying ending a policy that was a mistake from day one.

The war serves no purpose for most of us. There are no weapons of mass destruction and never were. There were no ties to Al Qaeda or plans to support a terrorist attack on Americans. The Iraqis want us to leave, most Americans want our soldiers out, even our "volunteer" soldiers are coming forward with their discontent in increasing numbers.

The Nation is reporting this week that hundreds of American soldiers have been signing onto an internet Appeal for Redress. As one of the signers--a U.S. Army Sergeant deployed with the 20th Infantry Regiment near Mosul--explained, "So far in three years we have succeeded in toppling a dictator and replacing him with puppets. Outlawing the old government and its standing army and replacing them with an unreliable and poorly trained crew of paycheck collectors. The well is so poisoned by what we have done here that nothing can fix it."

Yet we continue to kill Iraqis, send our young people to die and spend billions on this war either because we've yet to reach some undefined "victory," or as others argue, we can't abandon Iraq to chaos and civil war. Both reasons to stay are hollow rationales for pure Western imperialism.

Last week Donald Rumsfeld left his position as Defense Secretary and during a farewell address said, "It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently." As usual, "the enemy" was not easily defined. But Rumsfeld's enemies are certainly different from the enemies of most Americans.

A victory for the Bush administration, most politicians in Washington, or the executives at Halliburton and Lockheed Martin is not the same as a victory for working-class American soldiers or the average American facing cuts to social services, difficulty affording health care and other problems that continue to mount as billions of our tax dollars go to war. For Washington and much of corporate America, the reasons are clear: Maintain dominance in the region, particularly because of the oil that exists there, and keep the war machine a strong, profitable and necessary part of what defines our foreign policy. This isn't how they sell the war to Americans of course, because none of this benefits us, and most of us would never support such an endeavor.

Indeed most of us don't support this war despite all the lies of the Bush administration and spin of the cable news cheerleaders. Demanding and getting an immediate pullout would be an incredible victory for democratic principles. Demanding and getting an immediate pullout from the new Democratic leadership, which is now content with calls from Bush and McCain for more troops in Iraq, would be a rare blow against U.S. imperialism.

Politicians from both political parties are trying their best to take the clear mandate of the November elections--widespread desire for an end to the Iraq war--and come up with a policy that will both silence opposition and bring about their narrow victory. They are committed to continuing war and occupation regardless of the sentiment of the American people. They must believe they know what is best for America; they believe the American people can't be trusted with or don't understand matters of foreign policy. And those who insist we must remain in Iraq to clean up the mess we caused apparently know better than the Iraqi people what they need, since large majorities of Iraqis want us out.

It is most Americans and the Iraqi people who pay while these politicians discuss "options," "timetables," and "redeployment." Every day millions of Americans are spending part of their day working to fund this war on behalf of the handful of politicians, executives and shareholders who might actually benefit. Each day American soldiers and Iraqis are dying for the selfish interests of a few. Every day that it continues we all continue to lose. Victory for most; victory for all of us requires immediate withdrawal.

Monday, December 18, 2006

MSNBC Headline: Small businesses brace for minimum wage hike

Why doesn't the headline read "Low Wage Workers Look Forward to Increase in Purchasing Power"?

There is a quote from an employee at the end of the story. Diana Parker, a 43-year-old server at The Boathouse with 25 years as a waitress, said, “I think the economy is ready for something like this ... It means a lot to me. Servers are finally getting a break.”

What a greedy, fat-cat, waitress.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Chance Meeting

MeAndDave

The former college activists as professional activists.

Dave and I met at this picket of Hornblower Cruises - the boats that take tourists to and from Alcatraz. I had planned to go, and he was in town for a wedding and stopped to see what all the commotion was about. He is a union organizer himself after all.

Back at the University of Texas we spent the night together in the UT Tower during a sleepless sit in and we made UC Regent Ward Connerly's visit to UT a disastrous affair. Dave was even featured on a John Stossel special about the grave threat to free speech rights on college campuses because of the Connerly protest. True we did heckle Ward (or as Dave would say "Wardell"), but somehow at the end of the day Connerly and Stossel still had a slightly more powerful voice than any of the affirmative action activists back then.

Oh yeah, we also went to Millions for Mumia together - the bus ride to Philly and back from Houston was about a day longer than the amount of time we spent in Philly. Hey Mumia's still alive!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Democrats Follow Mandate for More Troops in Iraq

Was the 2006 election a resounding call to increase the number of troops in Iraq?

According to the progressive polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, "By a 54-39 percent margin, voters favor setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq."

Yet Nancy Pelosi's choice to head up the House Intelligence Committee, Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes, who voted against the Iraq war in 2002, now tells Newsweek he would support an increase of troops in Iraq by 20,000-30,000: "We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq … We certainly can’t leave Iraq and run the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan."

To which Newsweek added the paraphrase explaining he means like Afghanistan "was before the 2001 invasion by the United States," and not the mess it continues to be in today.

It's bad enough that some Democrats claim the election was a call for the redeployment of troops to Northern Iraq, Afghanistan or other nearby countries. Apparently as the democratic (small "d") furvor of the election fades, the Democrats (big "D") are once again easing into their more comfortable position of selling out their base and ditching the peaceniks for their own imperial strategies.

We still have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

tattoo

tattoo

Yes, it hurt. And, yes, I did feel strangely euphoric afterward.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Over 600 Visitors This Month



Is that any good? I am a minor morsel in a cyberspace dumpster full of discarded cheese and crackers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Plenty of Jobs for Sadists in America!

Work for the military or CIA is naturally what many folks might think of first, but don't forget law enforcement. Prison guards and police for starters. And if you like them young, campus police or even better ... BOOT CAMP!

Eight people have been charged in the death of 14-year-old Martin Anderson after he was tortured to death on his first day at a Florida boot camp. CNN reports:
"Videotape of the incident showed Anderson being forced to the ground by various methods, including knees to the thigh, pressure points to his ear and punches to his arms. Later, another camp staffer hit him from behind, lurching his body forward ... Afterward, the staff prepared a report detailing the techniques used on Anderson including ammonia capsules under his nose, knee strikes, a straight arm-bar takedown, bending his wrist and pouring water over his head. To explain the use of force, one staff member wrote, 'I ordered (the) offender to stop resisting and relax his arms. Offender refused to comply with those instructions.'"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stand or You'll Be Shocked Repeatedly



The video shows an Iranian student who allegedly refused to leave a library being shocked repeatedly by UCLA police. First it should be stated that tasers have killed a number of people. Second, police claim they use them as "less-lethals" for safety and as an alternative to more lethal means. But as you can see in this case, they are actually used as "more-lethals," since they are often used in situations when less painful, less violent methods would have been used (I doubt they would have drawn their guns or shot the guy in the foot in this circumstance - though you never know with cops). Finally this shows how important it is to monitor, film, photograph, and in some cases even intervene in police activities. If the students who were yelling at the cops and asking for names and badge numbers had forcefully removed the man from their custody they would have likely been tasered themselves, perhaps beaten or worse, and most certainly charged with assault on a police officer and lynching (an odd word to use, but in California law it simply means taking someone from police custody). Still, under certain circumstances it is very much justified to attempt such an action - particularly when someone is in grave danger and the officers are obviously acting in an unnecessarily violent, illegal or unconstitutional way.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Borat

I just saw the Borat movie and thought it was brilliant. All the investigative reporters and social scientists in the world could not have exposed the racism, sexism and anti-Semitism to be found throughout the United States the way Sasha Cohen has with his Borat character. Sure it is highly offensive, but most of the offensive content comes from the behavior of ordinary Americans who think they are interacting with an unsophisticated foreigner from a distant country.

I don't want to give away any secrets but the movie provides insight into the worlds of white, elite Southern culture; New York subway riders; patriotic Southern rodeo aficionados; Civil War antique dealers; nutty evangelical Christians; and drunken frat boys.

In the latter case, note that these frat boys are suing the movie studio because of how embarrassing, racist and sexist their conduct on camera was. But that's just the point. It is voyeuristic and shocking to see frat boys acting the way we all know they act all the time when they think they are in their own territory or safe spaces - wishing slavery still existed and women were sexually subservient. The same goes for many of the other characters we meet. It could easily be called America exposed - and no one else could have exposed it in such a gloriously hysterical manner. Twelve stars from me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Best News Following the Election

1. Victory for the Democratic Party, although its leaders may not be willing to change many of the Republicans' worst policies, is a sign that even those people who are allowed to vote and those people who actually bother to go to the polls are unhappy with the war in Iraq and not taken by the right-wing shift in Washington or in the media.

2. The abortion ban in South Dakota that passed their legislature was defeated directly by the SD voters, while an abortion parental notification bill in California was defeated by California voters.

3. A Green Party Candidate won the mayoral race in Richmond, California despite the fact she was out outspent by the incumbent 10 to 1.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Democrats Will ...

End the failed war in Iraq that was a mistake from day one? Not according to the one-time thought-to-be "anti-war" candidate Howard Dean.

Impeach President Bush for his crimes - far worse than the allegations underlying the Clinton impeachment? Not according to San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi.

Not that the Dems would do either of things correctly if they promised to do them. Pulling out of Iraq for most Democratic politicians means redeployment - nothing anti-imperialist about the politics of either major party in Washington. Impeaching Bush would probably just be an exercise and a distraction from their own problematic conduct.

Still, if they win it will be a positive sign that the country isn't buying into the ultra-right or fiscal conservative ideology of the various stripes of Republicans. But a mere positive sign may not yield positive results if we sit back and wait for the Democrats to fix things. It just isn't in their interest and they care far more about winning office than making things better for most Americans.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Suspected "20th Hijacker" Forced to Wear a Bra, Perform Dog Tricks on a Leash by Gitmo Interrogators

From MSNBC: "Mohammed al-Qahtani, detainee No. 063, was forced to wear a bra. He had a thong placed on his head. He was massaged by a female interrogator who straddled him like a lap dancer. He was told that his mother and sisters were whores. He was told that other detainees knew he was gay. He was forced to dance with a male interrogator. He was strip-searched in front of women. He was led on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks. He was doused with water. He was prevented from praying. He was forced to watch as an interrogator squatted over his Koran."

Read more.

Monday, October 23, 2006

PA200010Austin

I was, of course, delighted to discover that this year's National Lawyers Guild convention would be in Austin, Texas. After all, until 2 years ago I had lived here for 11 years. I've been to the last 4 conventions - Minneapolis (top floor indoor pool fun) - Birmingham (birth of The United People of Color Caucus) - Portland (battle over Zionism as racism) - and now Austin.

This year the people of color (POC) continued their campaign within the Guild to turn it into a truly anti-racist organization and make it genuinely relevant to communities of color. The TUPOCC election meeting was packed and more POC moved into leadership positions.

There were not any major arguments during the plenary elections, as with last year's resolution equating Zionism with racism (which won on the convention floor in Portland but failed after the broader membership had a chance to vote).

Lynne Stewart did not attend, but neither was she in prison ... yet. Convention-goers discussed the partial victory that came with her sentencing of 28 months in prison and freedom during her appeal.

While we dreaded the many negative political developments - the growing risk that the U.S. will attack Iran and/or North Korea, the loss of habeas corpus, the legacy of Katrina, the right-of-center immigration debate in Washington, dwindling abortion rights, etc. - there was more of a sense of optimism than in previous conventions. I believe this was because we recognized the growing strength of the NLG and the potential of the reaction to these developments to move the pendulum further to the left - growing unpopularity with U.S. foreign policy and the sense that Iraq (and Afghanistan) will be another injury to American imperialism still bruised from its PA200014defeat in Vietnam, the increase in education about habeas corpus among non-lawyer Americans, the new activist and community groups that are rising from the flood waters of Katrina to challenge the failures of the richest nation in the world, the millions of immigrants and their supporters who have already kept any immigration bill from passing and will hopefully change the course of the debate for decades to come, the possibility that the South Dakota abortion restrictions passed by their legislature could be overturned by the voters there, etc.

We were addressed by Jim Hightower, Deborah Small and New York Transit Worker Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint - the latter gave an incredible speech on Saturday night about, among other things, the need to strike in order to preserve the right to strike. Although there was both a TGI Fridays and a Starbucks in the lobby of the Raddison hotel, most members walked blocks away from the hotel for non-corporate coffee and food - if only our convention was enough to save Las Manitas from the developers.

That is what I noticed most about Austin - the development of entire shopping districts, condos, expensive lofts, office towers and rows of boutiques. And the construction continued on all these fronts - particularly in and around the 2nd Street District (which didn't even exist two years ago) and the South Congress District (often referred to as "SoCo" for ease and possibly to annoy some of my friends).

PA210023I have to confess I did my fair share of consuming (mostly coffee) in both these parts of town, and I must further admit that neither location had many (or any) chain stores - no Urban Outfitters, Gaps or Starbucks. But my greatest fear about Austin is that more of the city will become like these two parts (the University drag having been lost years ago to development and free market forces). As the condos open up and the $150,000 homes become $2 million homes, the middle class and fairly privileged yet bohemian young people move into the working-class neighborhoods of East Austin and change the character there as well. The "Keep Austin Weird" stickers get slapped on the bumpers of Land Rovers that trample everything in their path as the affluent dust of Austin's cowboy yuppies spreads throughout the city, choking working people and people of color, and leaving a homogenized, character-less filth on everything.

So that is my fear, and I hope I'm wrong because I'd like to move back here someday. I got to run around Town Lake and I really need to do that - preferably 3 times a week but for now once a year will have to do. I ate migas twice - including once with vegetarian chorizo. I saw an art car parade and spotted Quentin Tarantino - who I believe was working with Robert Rodriguez on a movie called Grind House. And again there was the cheap beer. Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mexico

Border05I travelled this past weekend to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico - just across the border from McAllen Texas and the Lower Rio Grande (known as the Rio Bravo in Mexico). I travelled with a group called Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera with the express purpose of visiting workers from the many maquiladores (factories or assembly plants) that have sprung up along the border after the passage of NAFTA. We toured some of the major industrial parks by vehicle (security kept us moving) and met with workers from companies that should be familiar to most Americans. Some of the major companies that I saw in the area were Delphi, Maytag and Nokia - but there must have been hundreds taking advantage of relatively low-wage workers and permissive labor law enforcement - not to mention the tax breaks and lack of environmental protections.

Our tour was arranged by Austin Tan Cerca but really lead by a group that organizes on the Mexican side of the border with Texas called Comité Fronterizo de Obreras. The effects of globalization were made real with a tour of the industrial parts of the city, followed by a tour of a neighborhood where many of the workers lived. The industrial areas were simply huge warehouse-like buildings with manicured lawns all around. The homes were often along dirt roads and made of concrete bricks, without air-conditioning. One neighborhood was still recovering from the damage of several feet of flood waters.

On the border the wages are low but the cost of living is high. We heard of accidents, in one plant where a man's leg was slashed by an old piece of machinery and another man's finger was cut off; Where workers were ordered to wear a specific type of clothing but not given the funds to pay for that clothing - even when it cost more than a week's pay; Where workers were told to go to a specific doctor so companies could avoid reporting accidents. The organizers laid out clearly how a family of four could just barely survive on the wages they made as long as everyone stayed healthy and nothing critical to making food or getting to and from work broke down.

One view is that all this exploitation was so that Americans can get cheaper prices on electronics and appliances. But I think the more constructive view and the one held by the most knowledgeable workers and organizers is that it is all so that a handful of executives and industrialists can get rich.

Corpus Christi 1After returning from Reynosa I spent a couple of days in Corpus Christi with family. There is a new H-E-B Plus there in a mini-mall, chain-restaurant, six-lane-road, rapidly growing part of the city. (H-E-B is the major grocery chain in Texas; the letters stand for the initials of the founder of the company, Henry Edward Butt). I was told it has furniture, a lawn and garden section, a bank, a cafe with comfortable chairs, and there may be some milk and eggs near the back. It has almost everything. (I was disappointed to discover it had no automotive repair center.) Yet, somehow video stores, Supercuts, Montana Mikes and many other park and spend businesses survived all around.

South Texas was excessively humid and rainy, which I enjoyed as a change of pace. The sun came out a bit, illuminating lush vegitation, towering clouds and sworms of butterflies. It was good to be home despite the free market.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Texas

I'm in Texas for a couple of weeks and I'm learning that perhaps I'm a Texan at heart.

I actually like the warm humidity of Austin, perhaps I would hate it if I had to endure it in August and September for weeks at a time but it feels great right now.

It's quiet. Last night all I really heard out my window was some dogs barking and a cat howling - no sirens, no excessively loud motorcycles, and no couples yelling at each other.

The public transport system isn't great, but I haven't seen any standing-room-only buses (common in the Mission at all times of day), and it is only 50 cents for a single ride or $1 for a 24 hour pass.

Plus I had a cold Schlitz and a Lone Star at one of many bars with an outdoor patio and it was perfect in the peaceful, balmy, Central Texas night.

Soon to come: the border; Corpus Christi; NLG Conference.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ruben Navarrette Bashes Activists Almost As Harshly As He Bashes Nazis

Navarrette has a column today up on CNN.com critical of the protesters at Columbia who unfurled a banner on stage while Minuteman bigot Gilchrist was speaking last week. As when he defended the appointment of the defender of torture, Alberto Gonzalez, he does his best to position himself in "the middle" - between human rights activists and some of the most powerful and evil people in the U.S. today. Some middle ground, but let's not forget this is the same Navarrette who once was in a shouting match with Cesar Chavez, and supports vouchers while opposing affirmative action and bilingual education.

He notes: "It's not tough to win an argument with someone like Gilchrist. You just let him talk, and, before long, he'll say something inaccurate, intolerant, or idiotic." Of course that doesn't stop cable news from giving the man and his allies far more air time than they've ever given to the immigrants his organization terrorizes along the border. And it certainly does little to stop his organization from continuing to recruit and invite the racist anti-immigrant bashers out of the shadows. I guess it's easier to ignore the man when you know you will never have to face any direct consequences from his hate-mongering.

He goes on: "The protesters admit that they planned to take the stage in a peaceful protest. But, they claim, things got out of hand when they were attacked by a pro-Minutemen contingent. That's a lame excuse. What these protesters did was wrong, foolish and self-defeating. They could have helped inform the immigration dialogue on campus, but they chose intimidation over information and resorted to a heckler's veto to shut out speech that they found offensive. They forgot the first rule of free expression: that the answer to offensive speech is more speech, not less."

This single act, however, did far more to inform the campus, it informed the world. So in that sense it was far more effective than the campus dialogue he contemplates. The question about how effective it was in relation to the immigration debate is another story.

My sense so far is that it was very effective, particularly among those people who have the potential to be mobilized. Still, I think it is a valid argument to say the activists may have turned off a lot of would-be supporters - I just think those would-be supporters are weak-kneed moderate conservatives like Navarette who would just push for some horrible bill in Congress that just happens to be slightly better than far more reactionary legislation. So, why worry about minding our manners just to please more folks like him?

Finally he ends his piece with a bad example: "It is the same lesson we all learned in 1977 when a group of Nazis wanted to march in Skokie, Illinois, a mostly Jewish suburb of Chicago. The question of whether they should be allowed to march split the Jewish community, pitting civil libertarians against community activists. The Nazis won the right to march when the courts held they had a First Amendment right to express their views even if their message was vile and deliberately provocative."

So the lesson we learned was that Nazis have the right to march just like anybody else as far as the government is concerned. Great. Thanks for the civics lesson. That says nothing about what activists ought to do in response to bigots who seek to essentially have a parade celebrating hate and anti-semitism. It says nothing about what activists ought to do in response to bigots who seek to terrorize Latino immigrants seeking to be with their families or find employment, and force them to take deadly risks instead. I'm glad Navarrette is intelligent enough to see the connection between the Minutemen and Nazis, but he knows nothing about how to confront these people or the real consequences of simply ignoring this kind of hate and hoping people recognize it as "idiotic."

For the record the Nazis never marched in Skokie, and hopefully they never will.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No One Is Illegal (Updated)



Awesome protest against Jim Gilchrist and the "Minutemen" yesterday at Columbia University. Some have commented that this protest appears to violate free speech. I would argue that it furthers free speech by giving a voice to all of the immigrants who are suffering because of the hate mongering of the "Minutemen." Notice the right-winger interviewed near the end describes the protesters as "animals." I wonder who exactly he considers "animals." Leftists? Activists? Latinos? People of color?

Congratulations to all the activists who put these bigots in their place!

UPDATE: The activists who took the stage were allegedly violently assaulted and are now being attacked by the administration at Columbia. Please support them by signing their online petition. The students are also soliciting letters of support and solidarity, which can be sent to them at nominutemen@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why Do They Make Themselves So Vulnerable?

You might think I'm talking about the Amish, who just don't seem to understand that in modern times we all need to have armed guards and tall fences with razor wire around everything, especially if children are involved.

Or perhaps you think I mean Congressional pages. Really, I don't blame the young people being sexually harassed and propositioned by Congressmen, but someone needs to teach our children about how sick and twisted American politicians are. After all they keep taking billions from poor children and giving it to the Pentagon and defense contractors to kill other children (Iraqi children might consider themselves lucky if the worst thing that happens to them is that they receive a flirtatious email from a much older, slimy politician (I originally included the word "married" in this diatribe, but not really being that interested in the Foley affair, I only later learned Foley is not married)).

What I really mean is the Americans who keep voting for and supporting their political representatives - most of whom, from liberal Nancy Pelosi to fascist Rick Santorum, should be locked up until they no longer pose a threat to the rest of us.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

myspace Silliness

MySpace.com is fast becoming the personal web identity site of choice, but what I've always hated about it is how much people can customize their pages and make a complete mess. Not that I'm an expert or an artist, but who knew so many people had absolutely no concept of design or readability.

Then there are the silly, often animated images people will put in their posts to other people. Below are just a few that caught my attention. The theme, I suppose, is sexy, glittery, thanks for the add kind of nonsense. But there is plenty of bad animation at mynicespace.com.













Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ann Richards: We Hardly Knew Ya or We Knew You Far Too Well

From my ex:

When Ronald Reagan died, even many liberals came out of the woodwork to praise him. So, it's no surprise now that they're falling all over themselves to get a word in about how much they adored former Texas Governor Ann Richards, who died in Austin last week. But all the commentary makes it seem like they're lamenting the removal of their favorite character on "Desperate Housewives", instead of talking about what Ann Richards actually did or stood for.

So, she was "feisty" and it was just a riot when she dressed up in leather and got on that Harley. Governor Richards sure was a barrel of fun. Unless, of course, you were in prison, on death row, or a death penalty lawyer. Richards oversaw the largest prison expansion in the entire history of the United States up to that point. And during her four years in the Governor's Mansion, she presided over 50 executions. Her defenders point out that the governor only has the power to briefly postpone an execution pending further review by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Of course, they fail to mention that most members of the Board are appointed by the governor - including the chairman, who according to the Texas Administrative Code serves "at the pleasure of the governor" (RULE §141.1). Given the notorious unfairness of the Texas justice system, under her watch Richards could have easily instructed the Board to commute all death sentences they reviewed to life in prison. And absolutely no excuse can be made for her callously signing the death warrant of Johnny Frank Garrett, a man who Amnesty International cited as being "extremely mentally impaired, chronically psychotic and brain-damaged." The organization further states that a mental health expert described Garrett as "one of the most virulent histories of abuse and neglect...I have encountered in 28 years of practice." Shameful.

Yes, Richards did appoint some women, gays and lesbians, and people of color to positions in her campaign and administration. But with the 20,000 new prison beds she was so proud of bringing into existence, she caused misery for thousands more men and women--primarily Blacks and Hispanics--who were locked away under her stewardship. And no one can imagine the misery she caused for the families of the dozens executed under her watch.

All of this is what she should be remembered for. Progressives need to stop making excuses. We should all expect so much more.

-Quent Reese
Austin, Texas


Compare with Molly Ivins' column.

Also consider this story from an encounter Quent and I had with Ann Richards at an Austin cafe called Little City about 5 years ago (she was no longer governor at the time). We were enjoying our lattes on a crowded evening when Ann stepped in with a friend, ordered and sat down. As all of this was happening, Quent was fuming. He wanted to confront her, but I didn't and was concerned he would embarrasss us both. I was also still clinging to some miniscule hopes about the Democratic party. So he wrote her a note on a napkin about how she was a mass murderer and we couldn't stand to sit in the same cafe with her and we left it on her table on our way out. I think Quent said something like, "I just had to give this to you." She said "thank you" politely, and we left. For all we know she tossed it in the garbage fearing what might be written. Either way, we never saw her again at Little City Cafe.

This is all interesting because on a personal level she seemed to charm certain people; she neither transformed into a serpent nor injected us with poison when we approached her in the cafe. She still did a hell of a lot of damage to a lot of people's lives, and when you're in a position as powerful as governor, you can't make excuses later, and being personally charming could be taken as a sign of greater wickedness when combined with such brutal policies.

There are really certain things progressives shouldn't ignore in the politicians they choose to give their honorary "one of the good ones" awards. Certainly executing record numbers of people of color in a state with pitiful protections for defendants is one of them.

Is all this disrespectful at a time when the woman just passed away? I guess every human death is sad because the idea of death is kind of sad, though I can imagine circumstances when a human life extinguished could be a very happy occasion - the death of a dictator for example. But at some point we have to look beyond whatever pain we might cause the ex-governor's friends and family should they happen to read an account critical of her policies and counter all of the mythology being created in the media that always seems to come along at times like this. With that said, if any of Ann's family or friends happen to read this, perhaps they could reflect on the pain they feel and begin to understand the pain that the families and friends of so many killed on Texas Death row felt during the tenure of this "witty" and "charming" "true Texas icon."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Still Ill

So today I woke up with a 101 degree temperature and either been sweating or shaking all day. In that spirit, here are lyrics to another Smiths song ...
I decree today that life
Is simply taking and not giving
England is mine - it owes me a living
But ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye
Oh, ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye
But we cannot cling to the old dreams anymore
No, we cannot cling to those dreams

Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body ?
I don´t know....

Under the iron bridge we kissed
And although I ended up with sore lips
It just wasn't like the old days anymore
No, it wasn't like those days
Am I still ill ?
Oh ...
Am I still ill ?
Oh ...

Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body ?
I don´t know...

Ask me why, and I'll die
Oh, ask me why, and I'll die
And if you must, go to work - tomorrow
Well, if I were you I really wouldn't bother
For there are brighter sides to life
And I should know, because I've seen them
But not very often ...
Under the iron bridge we kissed
And although I ended up with sore lips
It just wasn't like the old days anymore
No, it wasn't like those days
Am I still ill ?
Oh ...
Oh, am I still ill ?
Oh ...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

confusion

It is a constant in my life when it comes to sexuality, but usually it's just background noise. Every once in awhile, however, it overwhelms me. And in that spirit here are the lyrics to The Smiths' "I Want the One I Can't Have."
On the day that your mentality
Decides to try to catch up with your biology
Come round ...
'Cause I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's all over, all over, all over my face
On the day that your mentality
Catches up with your biology
I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's all over, all over, all over my face
A double bed
And a stalwart lover for sure
These are the riches of the poor
A double bed
And a stalwart lover for sure
These are the riches of the poor
And I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's all over, all over my face
A tough kid who sometimes swallows nails
Raised on Prisoner's Aid
He killed a policeman when he was
Thirteen
And somehow that really impressed
Me
And it's written all over my face
Oh, these are the riches of the poor
These are the riches of the poor
I want the one I can't have
And it's driving me mad
It's written all over my face
On the day that your mentality
Catches up with your biology
And if you ever need self-validation
Just meet me in the alley by the
Railway station
It's all over my face
Oh ...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Pig" Can Be Interpreted in So Many Ways

From the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
Carlos Villarreal, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, says District Court Judge William Alsup, who ordered Wolf to jail, "made a big deal that Josh did not have agreement with a confidential source, but his argument turns Josh's video equipment into a de facto government surveillance camera."

Noting that there is a lot of trust between Wolf and protesters at demonstrations — "People aren't afraid to go up to the camera and say, 'Did you check out the pig that's kicking a guy down the street?’” — Villarreal claims that "independent journalists are harder to see and spot than their corporate counterparts."
The story is about Josh Wolf. Find out more about his case here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Heroes of the New Immigrant Civil Rights Movement

First I should make clear that by calling it a "new civil rights movement" doesn't mean that other civil rights movements are ancient history. No. In fact the movement most often tagged as the "civil rights movement" - during the 50's and 60's in the United States for equality of African Americans - while it undoubtedly won significant victories - has yet to reach many of its goals. The movements for gender equality and gay equality still have an uphill battle, and I could go on.

Also, I'm focusing here on a movement for Latino Immigrant rights that has taken off in 2006, but it isn't to imply anything about other immigrant groups or that Latinos haven't been working and marching for equality for years prior.

With that out of the way, I'm confident that the upswing in activity that has included marches of historic proportions and succeeded in more or less killing proposals in Washington for mass deportations is the beginning of a significant movement for Immigrant Rights that will have a long-lasting impact on the American people and political power. Hopefully it will have a positive impact on the lives of people well beyond America's current borders as well.

With this movement comes its own heroes, akin to Rosa Parks or the students in North Carolina who sat-in at a Woolworth luncheon counter in 1960. These individuals challenge the rules and move the debate beyond what pundits and Washington often consider within the realm of acceptability - sometimes even beyond what other self-appointed leaders of the movement publicly advocate.

Elvira Arellano

By the terms of the debate in Washington, Elvira Arellano is going too far. She entered the U.S. illegally and has been ordered deported, but she is openly defying the law by seeking refuge in a Chicago church with her 7-year-old son Saul, who was born here and is a U.S. citizen. None of the Democrats who mildly support the immigrant rights movement, (or more accurately oppose only the most reactionary of the anti-immigrant bigotry) would suggest that immigrants who were deported once, as Elvira was, and returned illegally, remaining and working with the use of a fake Social Security card, should be allowed to stay. In fact those who re-enter after deportation are often inprisoned before deportation.

Elvira's defiance goes well beyond what the liberals of the movement contemplate - a policy that treats immigrants like human beings and treats borders as having little meaning in the law. She should stay because Chicago is her home. She has lived there for a decade and ought to have as much right to stay as anyone else.

Hector Vega

Co-valedictorian at a San Jose, California high school, Hector Vega has declared publicly that he is an "illegal" immigrant. In his case there is some hope within the current debate as one provision of the so-called DREAM Act includes a path to citizenship for certain students who have been in the country since before they were 16 and for at least 5 years, and then meet a few other requirements. But even this provision is very controversial in the circles of power. Still, it is courageous activists like Hector and those who rally around him who will push such a provision through - not high-paid lobbyists or mainstream civil rights organizations with a "seat at the table" in Washington.

Hector and Elvira are just two of many who resist immigration laws and intimidation by bigots every day in this country, and their numbers will hopefully swell in coming months. Add the hundreds of thousands of supporters, whether immigrants or not, and we have lots of work to do but should continue organizing and uniting to defeat every last backward proposal from the immigrant bashers. We can change the entire debate - there have to be really good reasons to regulate the borders at all - freedom of movement across borders is a fundamental right of every person - no human being is illegal. There just aren't enough ICE agents and "Minutemen" to defeat us.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't Execute My Client Because "i &tilde hus, we diseeni no ab &tilde tse of discretion in th i &tilde coult &tilde s denial"

UPDATE: FULLER EXECUTED BY STATE OF TEXAS


Something's wrong with your browser? No. This is a quote lifted from the mostly incomprehensible and rambling appeal filed by an attorney for Justin Fuller - scheduled to be executed in Texas tonight. Yes, my home state doesn't do much to protect the rights of accused criminals, even if they are to be injected with enough poison to kill them.

Here's a letter from my friend Lily:
MY FRIEND Justin Fuller is scheduled to be executed on August 24.

Justin and I have been writing for about eight years and visiting for at least six years. Over the years, we have grown to know one another well. He has been a good friend to me, and I hope I have been to him.

He is a smart, generous and beautiful young man. I’d like to do whatever I can to try to save his life, and I want you all to help me do that.

His case has numerous problems, like most death row cases. The main issues in the case have to do with incompetent or ineffective assistance of counsel.

The two things that stand out in particular are the fact that the prosecution offered Justin a plea before trial and his defense lawyers never told him about it, and that his state habeas lawyer filed a writ for Justin that was actually a writ he had done for a previous client named Henry Dunn. He didn’t even change the name to Justin’s in parts of the writ, and it contained facts that had to do with Henry’s case, not Justin’s.

Justin has admitted his involvement in the crime that landed him on death row, but he has always maintained that he was not the triggerman in the murder. Four people took part in a robbery, including Justin, a man named Samhermundre Wideman and a young woman named Elaine Hays.

Justin claims Wideman was the shooter, a claim substantiated by Hays. She has stated that she believes Wideman was the shooter. She says that after Fuller and Wideman returned to the vehicle, where she had been waiting for the two men, Wideman said, “It felt good to shoot someone.”

The state of Texas denied Justin’s appeal, arguing that the state can still execute “non-triggermen.” The case is at the U.S. Supreme Court right now. So far, all the state and federal courts have denied Justin’s claims.

The Supreme Court will only decide if it will hear his case when it comes back into session. If they do, Justin will get a stay. If they don’t, the case goes back down to the state courts for the 11th-hour appeals. If that happens, Justin’s lawyers will file a claim about lethal injection as well, and there could be a stay based on that.

If Justin’s execution goes forward, he has asked me to be a witness. This means I would travel to Huntsville, Texas, and will have to watch them put my friend to death--something I cannot even imagine.

When I visited him this week, he told me about how he had to ask his parents to begin to make funeral arrangements. This is a healthy man, only 28 years old. It is so sick, I can hardly stand to think about it.

I am asking everyone to please fax, call and e-mail the governor of Texas and the Board of Pardons and Paroles, asking them to stop this execution. If there isn’t a stay, I am asking folks in Austin and Huntsville to participate in a protest against Justin’s execution. Please take the time to contact these people. The phone numbers are listed below, as well as an option to send a fax and an e-mail requesting a stay.
Lily Mae Hughes, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Austin, Texas

E-mails and faxes can be sent directly online from the Democracy in Action Web site. Contact Gov. Rick Perry at 512-463-2000, 512-463-1849 (fax) or at www.governor.state.tx.us/contact. Contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at 512-406-5852, or 512-467-0945 (fax).


UPDATE: FULLER EXECUTED BY STATE OF TEXAS


As the lethal drugs began to take effect, he looked at his parents watching through a window a few feet away and said, "I love you." The judge, prosecutor, TX Court of Criminal Appeals and Governor Perry deserve much worse.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Morrissey Blasts Bush and Blair

Morrissey was about to perform his new single "In the Future When All's Well," at England's V Festival when he said, "Its basic message is: Blair. No. Bush. No. In the future when all's well." In other words all may be well in a future without the two leaders - it certainly is a mess right now.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Guide to Austin

I've been working on a wiki version of a guide to Austin specifically for the National Lawyers Guild Convention that will be there this October. Check it out here: WIKI GUIDE TO AUSTIN FOR THE NLG CONVENTION.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Stubborn Imperialists Never Learn

A District Court judge recently ruled that Bush's NSA spying program is unconstitutional and the stubborn imperialists immediately began bashing the judge and the decision - but strangely most did not say she was legally incorrect. Take FOX News' wacky John Gibson who says, "I agree that the program might not be strictly legal, though I think it is strictly necessary. Perhaps Congress should amend the law to make it entirely legal. But whether we need it or not is beyond question." He then goes on to point out that there were recent arrests of Arab men buying cell phones which are "untraceable" and that under current law our spies cannot listen in on these phone calls. His bone-chilling conclusion: "In other words, the civil libertarians say the terrorists are constitutionally allowed to conspire to kill us. That cannot be right."

Well, since well before I was born it has been true that if the only piece of evidence police have connecting someone to a mass murder was obtained through an unconstitutional search - that evidence can and must be kept out of the trial. In other words, the constitution sometimes protects killers because if it didn't then it would have little meaning for the rest of us. For every criminal let loose because the police violated his 4th Amendment rights, thousands of law-abiding residents can sit comfortably knowing the police won't kick in their door with no reason. For every terrorist who manages to make a phone call without the government listening in, millions of people calling their friends to talk about private matters, or a potential labor strike, or the details of their company's new advertising campaign, can feel comfortable that the government isn't listening in - remember that's a government that at times may seem relatively harmless to you but depending on who you are or what part of history you look to the situation can be quite different.

Then, I suppose Gibson would say, these terrorists are just going to keep trying to destroy us by using their untraceable phones and hiding their bomb-making materials in their basements (the home being one of the most guarded by the 4th Amendment). First, there are many other ways to catch terrorists, but more importantly what these right-wing pundits can't understand beyond their narrow view of the world is that we will always be at war with terrorists as long as we continue to terrorize the world or support regimes like Israel that do it for us. The true opponents of terrorism will oppose the imperialism of the U.S. and Israel as strongly if not more strongly than the tactics of the far less powerful groups, like Hezbollah or Hamas. We will support absolute preservation of our civil liberties - indeed strengthening of our civil liberties - not just for ourselves but for everyone, anywhere in the world.

On a brighter note, check out this cool picture I took ...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More on Israel and Gay Rights

An instructive piece by Blair Kuntz appeared on Znet. Here's an excerpt:
The Nationality and Entry into Israel law, the same law which denies the rights of Israeli Arab citizens to marry Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, according to Human Rights Watch, has in fact led to a crackdown on gay Palestinians in Israel. Now, no official status is possible, so most gays who do find their way to Israel soon find themselves objects of police protection and are arrested and summarily expelled. Obviously, in contrast to the claims of pro-Israeli defenders, Palestinian gays are no more welcome or protected in Israel than heterosexual Palestinians. Both are seen as demographic threats to the Jewish population, and all of Israel's high-sounding words about protecting gays are revealed as empty rhetoric.

Furthermore, as Israeli defenders decry their Arab neighbors supposed contempt for gays and women, they never acknowledge the role Israel has played in encouraging both Islamic and Christian religious fundamentalists hostile to gay rights. Just as the United States promoted and funded religious fundamentalist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaida, and the Ayotollah Khomeni in Iran while over the years actively helping to overthrow or de-stabilize secular governments in Iran, Iraq, and Egypt, Israel too has played the role of the sorcerer's apprentice in encouraging Islamic fundamentalism, trying to defeat, as former intelligence director for the Defense Intelligence Agency, states, "Arab nationalism using Muslim zealots [26]". As Charles Freeman, a veteran U.S. diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, states: "Israel started Hamas. It was a project of Shin Bet [the Israeli domestic intelligence agency], which had a feeling that they could use it to hem in the PLO [27] (Dreyfuss, p. 191]."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gay Pride Rally in Jerusalem Includes Anti-War Contingent

For more information see Jonas in Palestine.

Thousands Protest in San Francisco For Lebanon and Palestine

Still, it was fewer - far fewer - people than normally come out for the big anti Iraq war protests. There were probably 5,000 people whereas the anniversary of the start of the Iraq war will easily bring out twice that if not more. The reason is, of course, Israel. It is a very sensitive subject among moderate liberals and even on the left. No one wants to seem sympathetic to terrorists or anti-Semitic. Plus elections are coming up in November and many on the left want to see Democrats (who appear to support Israel with even greater unquestioning force than Republicans) win a majority in the House - the policies those Democrats put into place once in power is of a secondary concern, whether such a victory would mean any lasting positive change for the bulk of Americans or people of the world is of a tertiary concern.

Still it does appear that Israel's latest upswing in military terrorism of Arab people was a defeat for hardcore Zionists and their American imperialist allies. While Israel's unequaled military might in the region certainly has had a devastating impact on Hezbollah and the people of Lebanon (Christian and secular Lebanon included), Hezbollah has shown that Israel is not invincible and the obvious disdain for human life by the IDF has made criticizing Israel a much less sensitive matter than it was a few weeks ago.

But there is no cease fire yet, and the arrogance of the Israeli state (note that there are many Jewish Israelis who criticize their government and the current terrorizing of Lebanon) might mean continuing violence in Lebanon beyond Monday morning.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

George Galloway Speaks the Truth on SKY News



As always he brilliantly takes on the lies of the corporate media and the imperialist/Zionist global spin masters.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Privilege Doesn't Stop for War

From the NY Times:
Israel’s nonprofit and volunteer organizations, working with private corporations, have taken the lead in assessing the needs of northern residents and pitching in. Some have focused on distributing food, others on providing trauma counseling and care for the elderly or organizing overnight trips to give people in the shelters some relief from the stress of living under fire.

Some volunteers have even taught yoga classes or given acupuncture treatments to those in bomb shelters, while others work to install air-conditioners to soothe the sweltering conditions underground.
Meanwhile in Lebanon ...
Will Lamont Stump for Hillary? What About Cynthia McKinney?

The liberal blog-o-sphere is giddy over millionaire businessman Ned Lamont's victory over middle-right Democrat Joe Lieberman. But it seems that the Democrats took a step forward and a step backward, because while the darling of the pro-Democrat-anti-war contingent won in Connecticut, a great anti-war woman of color lost in Georgia.

It was a decent victory for the liberal wing within the Democratic party for Lamont to win. A small victory for everyone opposed to the war in Iraq sick of listening to Hillary Clinton's opposition to Bush's war minus any support for an actual pullout of troops. Although note that Lamont's position isn't super-fantastic - there is this from his website:
Ned supports proposals by Congressman Murtha and Lawrence Korb for phasing out of America’s front-line involvement in Iraq.

“Our troops are making their country proud with their service,” said Ned. “But this war is not making us any safer. It’s time for US troops to move to the background and let the Iraqi people step forward and take responsibility for their own destiny.”
The big fear is that this single victory could further wed the anti-war left to the Democrats at a time when it is critical for the anti-war left to be fiercely independent and fight for their issues over any political party. It may depend, in part, on what the blog-o-liberals decide when the choice is between someone like a Dianne Feinstein versus a Green Party candidate - or maybe a Green Party run with a chance to make a dent against a presidential bid by Hillary. It may also depend on what Lamont does if he makes it into the Senate after all. Will he stump for Hillary Clinton if she gets the Democratic nomination for president? How will the anti-war left react to this?

Then there is Cynthia McKinney's loss. She is described by many as an "embarassment." And while once or twice she may have gone out on a limb - claming publicly that Bush may have had prior knowledge of 9-11 was probably unwise, even if you think it is within the realm of possibility - she has not said or done anything anywhere near as controversial as, say, former Senator Jessie Helms or Texas Congressman Tom DeLay. Yet the media, and many mainstream Democrats, treat her as if she is as controversial if not more so than either of those nutcases. She is an outspoken, African-American, woman and that is enough to make anyone an embarassment to the upstate New York-San Francisco Pac Heights-Aspen-liberal Democrats.

Here is what McKinney had to say about the war in Iraq: "This is an immoral and illegal war and we need to bring our troops home now." Compare that to what her victorious Democratic opponent says on his website:
When should we leave?

* As soon as is possible, sensible, and ethical.
* To set a hard date for a pullout would be imprudent and risk further endangering our troops.
* To leave a devastated country in civil war would be immoral.
* When our military experts advise that Iraq is a more stable and viable state, we should begin to disengage and bring our men and women home as quickly as possible.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Don't Deport Them. Lock Them Up. It's Better for the Economy.

Of course I don't think we should be deporting anybody, but after reading this story you have to wonder if some of those calling for stricter enforcement along the border really just want to create circumstances that boost the criminal justice industries.
Willacy County Judge Simon Salinas cheered the 500-bed lockup cited by Bush, a "fast-track" project opened Tuesday by Management and Training Corp. that will grow next month to 2,000 beds.

"You talk about economic development, this is it," he said, noting the county's initial cut is $2.25 a day, per occupied bed.

Salinas predicted annual county income from the facility eventually would hit $10 million. The finished $64.8 million facility will feature 10 pod-like domes, built on concrete floors and made of synthetic fabric, each with 200 beds.

It is intended as a deportation center for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which since July has added 1,500 jail beds nationwide, for a total of 22,800.
What will the county do when/if immigration becomes less of a problem in the future?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

In California Gays, Marines Most Likely to Smoke

Reports the SF Chronicle. No wonder the English call them "fags." O.K. that was stupid, but seriously I wonder what the rate is for gay marines.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Israel Blames Hezbollah for Its "Precision Guided" Attack on Disabled Children (UPDATE)

So Israel has hit two United Nations peacekeeping outposts even after receiving warnings, ambulances, automobiles on highways with civilian families, television stations and today a four story building where 60 people died, including 19 children. Yet Israel continues to claim it is making "pinpoint" attacks with "precision guided" weaponry targeting only Hezbollah, not civilians or the United Nations officials. Their excuse today is that the building was near a Hezbollah rocket-launching site. Was Hezbollah also launching missiles from the UN sites? What about the moving vehicles on the highways? Since Israel itself has compulsory military service as well as military installations and soldiers all over their country, could they not be blamed for hiding among civilians as well?

From CNN: "The IDF said that residents of Qana had been warned to leave by radio announcements and by air-leaflets because it was a combat area ... Red Cross worker Sami Yazbak, who was helping to pull bodies from the building, said many of the children who were sleeping inside were handicapped."

Why the hell didn't those handicapped children get in their SUV's and leave days ago?

UPDATE 8-1-2006: No Hezbollah Rockets Fired from Qana

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Little Ray of Hope?



Mexican wrestler "Little Ray of Hope" is pictured here protesting for a vote by vote recount of the Mexican presidential election outside the TRIFE or Federal Electoral Tribunal.

Supposedly the 7 judges of the TRIFE are paid $415,000 a year - the highest paid public officials - to ensure that no one can buy them off. It's an interesting theory - many if not most of our elected officials in Washington seem set for life (as far as cash, investments and job prospects go), yet they remain corrupt and addicted to corporate money.

At least these Mexican judges don't have to raise money for their own election campaigns, but in ruling on a presidential election that has divided the rich and the working-class in Mexico, one can't help but wonder if their own economic perspective could play a role in their decision. We will see.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Is This Really the Kind of Support Hezbollah Needs?

According to the corporate media, Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al Zawahri (whatever "deputy leader" really means) has released a videotape, that includes pictures of the World Trade Center Bombing in the background, in which he calls on people to "fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists and the Crusaders."
Is this really the kind of support Hezbollah needs? If Israel can claim they are fighting Al Qaeda, then the American "war on terror" and the Israeli "war on terror" become one and the World War III protagonists get a little closer to their goal. All we need is for Iran to take this same side and WWIII will be in full swing, or at least the WWIII rhetoric will be.