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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Democrats Fall Into Line Behind Pro-War Lieberman

The fact that Bill Clinton is stumping for Lieberman is not much of a surprise.

But Barbara Boxer?

Question: If these Democrats really stand for the principles they claim to stand for, why would they not support an anti-war Democrat who has a good shot of beating Lieberman? At the very least they could stay out of it and not support either. Instead they go out of their way to support Lieberman and attempt to crush a challenger from within their own party who simply stands for the proposition that most Americans stand for when it comes to Iraq. It is time for the left-wing of the Democratic party (as the party moves right this probably means a large majority of their base) to abandon this political party that refuses to stand up for their values.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rallying for Terror and Calling it Peace

Today in San Francisco, California Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke to a rally in support of Israel despite the fact that Israel has killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians in response to the capture of two of their soldiers. As Hezbollah fired crude rockets toward Israel in an attempt to fight back, Israel blasted neighborhoods, media outlets, power stations, and anything moving in Southern Lebanon with high-powered, sophisticated, American bombs and missiles. In one case a family was hit in their van as they tried to escape the Israeli terror campaign. Even the normally pro-Israel New York Times is featuring their story prominently on their website tonight, including the photo below.

So how do Feinstein and Mayor Gavin Newsom justify speaking at a rally that completely ignored the civilian deaths and described Israel's campaign, which it planned more than a year ago, simply as "self-defense"? I'd say it has something to do with campaign contributions and the fact that they face few challenges on this issue from any of their fellow politicians - Democrat or Republican.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Both Sides Suffer?

From the LA Times: "A young Israeli woman sunbathes at Bat Galim Beach during a missile attack on the city of Haifa."
Then there is this photo of Israeli girls writing messages on shells that will be used to kill children in Lebanon.

Now, here are some photos from Lebanon. [warning - may be unpleasant to look at - if you want to see even more horrific photos see the from israel to lebanon site]

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Public Has a Right to Know; Not the Government.

The Josh Wolf hearing did not result in his being held in contempt - only because the judge has more questions and wants more briefing from the attorneys. Most interesting is something the judge asked, as reported by the San Francisco Sentinel. U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked: "Since the press is constantly saying the public has a right to know, why is the press constantly saying it has a right to keep things secret?"

Perhaps he was playing the devil's advocate, but otherwise it demonstrates a great misunderstanding of why the media needs a shield law. The public has the right to know; not the government. The fact is if the government can always force reporters to turn over their confidential sources and unpublished materials as they investigate matters, then the media becomes little more than an investigatory arm of the government. If talking to the media or inviting them to your event is just like talking to the FBI or inviting the Department of Homeland Security to your event, then fewer people are going to do it. If that becomes the reality in this country then the public's right to know will be very much damaged.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

National Lawyers Guild Condemns Attack on Free Press

San Francisco video journalist Josh Wolf is being charged with civil contempt for exercising his first amendment rights and refusing to provide a federal grand jury with video footage he shot at a protest last summer. The Guild believes that the grand jury is being improperly used to obtain materials which would normally be protected under California’s Reporter Shield Law. The civil contempt hearing is scheduled for July 20th at 1 p.m. before Judge William Alsup and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) will host a press conference at noon in front of the Federal Building—450 Golden Gate in San Francisco on that day.

The US Attorney’s Office, led by Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Finigan, are attempting to force Wolf to testify before the grand jury and hand over a video tape of a protest that occurred in San Francisco’s Mission District last July.

“My client’s political activity and free speech activity in the Bay Area as a journalist and this subpoena, with its associated threat of jail time for noncompliance, has an incredible chilling effect on his and other journalist’s freedom to gather and disseminate information of groups who espouse dissident beliefs,” said Attorney Jose Luis Fuentes, of the Oakland based Siegel & Yee firm, who is representing Wolf on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild.

The use of federal grand juries to target journalists and political activists who are critical of the repressive domestic and international policies of the United States government is an attack on democratic free speech activity. The implications of Josh Wolf’s case go well beyond a single journalist or protest. “Like the Judith Miller case or the BALCO case this is about the government’s ability to take an independent and free press and treat it as an investigatory arm of the government,” said Carlos Villarreal, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area. “The people of California have made it clear through our shield law that we prefer a free press that doesn’t have the government constantly looking over its shoulder.”

California’s shield law, according to a recent court decision on the matter, “is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news.” In that decision, the California Court of Appeals in San Jose confirmed that the law protected internet bloggers just as it protected corporate news reporters. Federal protections are not as strong.

“People protesting or on strike for better wages or marching for amnesty should feel free to do so in front of journalist’s cameras, just as they should feel free to talk to journalists,” said Wolf. “A free press benefits all of us,” he said.

Court documents and past news articles can be found at

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Israel Completely United by Tyranny ... Except for Some People

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Israel is united in supporting the aggression against Lebanon. Even Isreali Arabs and leftists in Israel support it.
Ada Aharoni, founder of the "Four Mothers" movement, which led public protests against Israel's occupation of Lebanon until it ended in 2000, said the extensive assault against Hezbollah had her full support.

"We are all for it," said Aharoni. "We are liberating our northern frontier, and we are liberating the Lebanese from the extremists and the Iranians who control them. I think it had to be done."
But that article obviously misses the Israeli opposition to this war. As reported in ynet, an Israeli news site:
Some 1,000 protestors joined Sunday evening in a rally in Tel Aviv to protest the IDF strikes in Southern Lebanon. Police have arrested three of the protesters claiming they were holding a demonstration without a permit.

The protesters, who marched from Hen Boulevards toward King George Street, chanted slogans such as "Olmert agreed with Bush: War and occupation." "Stop the war monstrosity," and "Say no to the brutal bombardments on Gaza." They also accused Defense Minister Amir Peretz of murdering children in Gaza, and recited: "Peretz, don't worry, we'll be seeing you at The Hague."

Monday, July 17, 2006

Check Out These Goofballs

Bush with Blair

Bush with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Both photos from the G-8 Summit. I haven't seen the movie, but based on the previews I'd say that Bush seems to fill the Dupree role at the Summit.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Photo of Woman Bloodied in Israeli Attack on Lebanon

from CNN
Dangerous Times

1. Israel hits civilians and civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and continues to terrorize the people of Gaza, as it threatens Syria and blames Iran.

2. Iran remains defiant as the world tries to prevent the rise of a nuclear power in the Middle East that might balance the power of Israel.

3. Iraq remains violent, deadly and unstable.

4. Afghanistan is no Mission Accomplished.

5. North Korea tests missiles and makes Japan rethink its abandonment of its imperialist past.

6. Mexico's election remains in limbo as the corporate media and free market politicians try to convince the world it is already over.

7. Wildfires rage in California as scientists say the first half of 2006 was the hottest half a year on record in the U.S..

Then there's the recent train bombing in India and the racist attacks on immigrants in the U.S. and a lot of other stuff. The point is this mess could all converge into a global crisis that could turn really ugly or (unfortunately less likely) present an opportunity for something much better as people lose hope in the institutions that have run things for decades and sometimes centuries.

The latter - the less likely scenario - will take a lot of work. So what should we do? What should I be doing right now?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Israel Gets the War It's Been Waiting For

From MSNBC: "In fact, diplomatic sources tell NBC that Israel has been looking for an excuse to clean out Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon after weeks of rocket attacks into Israel."

They've also been looking for an excuse to strike Palestinian territories and attack Hamas ever since Hamas was democratically elected by the Palestinian people. Tanya Reinhart, a Professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University, writes (translated from Hebrew) ...
Since ending the occupation is the one thing Israel is not willing to consider, the option promoted by the army is breaking the Palestinians by devastating brutal force. They should be starved, bombarded, terrorized with sonic booms for months, until they understand that rebelling is futile, and accepting prison life is their only hope for staying alive. Their elected political system, institutions and police should be destroyed. In Israel`s vision, Gaza should be ruled by gangs collaborating with the prison wards.
Boycott Gay World Pride in Israel

Join the boycott of World Pride, this year to be held in Jerusalem. There are, naturally right-wing and religous fundamentalist groups - Jewish, Christian and Muslim - opposing World Pride. But aside from the bigoted ideas of these homophobes, there is a good reason to boycott. We should all be boycotting the terrorist state of Israel. If gays oppose oppression, this is nothing to be proud of.

Smoke rises from Israeli bombing of Lebanon.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Quote of the Day ...

"We will have to live in peace together, or live in fear together." Muhammad Abu Oukal, a student at the Islamic University in Gaza City explaining why Palestinians fire crude rockets into Israel that rarely cause damage or harm anyone even though they know there will be a much more violent and damaging response from Israel. Read the full story from the New York Times.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Running in the Mission

It takes about as much mental energy to run in the Mission as physical energy. You have to dodge passive walkers as well as playing children and teenagers who dart about rarely expecting someone to come jogging along behind them. There are the unexpected substances and items that first come into your peripheral vision and then as your foot moves toward the used condom, dog crap or broken whiskey bottle you make a quick and difficult muscle contraction to move your body a little further, and you make it - just centimeters beyond the offending sidewalk filth.

Then there are the smells I never used to experience running about the leisurely trails of Town Lake in Austin - urine and pot smoke.

The biggest danger are the cars and trucks. The alleys are tough because you rarely expect to see a car driving down them, but if one is there it is most difficult to see until you are already in the alley. At stop signs, you at least hope that vehicles obey the red octagons, if not as respect for the law at least as respect for the safety of those in the neighborhood. You never assume they will, however, and a look in the driver's direction is critical as you creep into the intersection and judge whether they are aware of your presence.

There is an artform to running with traffic signals. You take note well ahead of time whether you have a red or a green and then alter your speed accordingly. No one wants to stop while they run, and it feels awkward to run in place. So, if you are half a block away from a green and the cross signal is already counting down (they do that in these parts) then slow down to a jog so that you won't get to the intersection until the light goes through the red cycle. If it is red, and you are a bit away, speed up so you will get there soon after it changes.

Finally, there is the concrete which is probably bad for my knees. What choice have I got? Treadmills are really boring.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Morrissey a Shoplifter? Try a Felon.

The new Morrissey single is The Youngest Was the Most Loved - a song about the youngest sibling who "turned into a killer" and has Morrissey playing "the youngest" in the video ...

Then there is the B-Side (C-Side?) to the single called Ganglord that has lyrics along these lines ...
Ganglord, the police are
Kicking their way into my house
And haunting me, taunting me
Wanting me to break their laws

Ganglord, the police are
Kicking their way into my house
And haunting me, taunting me
Wanting me to break their laws

And I'm turning to you,
Oh, to save me...
And I'm turning to you,
Oh, to save me...

Ganglord, the police are
Grinding me into the ground
The headless pack are back
Small boy jokes and loaded guns

Ganglord, the police are
Grinding me into the ground
The headless pack are back
Small boy jokes and loaded guns

And I'm turning to you, to save me...
And I'm turning to you,
Oh, to save me! Save me...
To save me, save me, to save me!

Gandlord, there's a clock on the wall
Making fun of us all

Ganglord, there's a clock on the wall
And it makes a joke of us all

And I'm turning to you, to save me...
And I'm turning to you, to save me, save me...
To save me, save me, to save me!

Ganglord, remember!
The police can always be bribed...

Ganglord, remember!
The police can always be bribed...

They say 'to protect and to serve'
But what they really want to say is:
"Get back to the ghetto! The ghetto!
Get yourself back to the ghetto!
The ghetto! The ghetto!
Get yourself back to the ghetto!
The ghetto! The ghetto!
Soon to come ... a joint project with Dead Prez?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

From Indy Media:
End the Siege of Gaza / End All U.S. Aid to Israel / Boycott Israeli Goods

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) launched a brutal assault on the entire population of Gaza in the early morning hours of June 28. U.S.-supplied F-16 fighter-bombers destroyed the main power station in Gaza and destroyed bridges on the only major roads linking the northern and southern sections of the region. Round-the-clock Israeli artillery shelling is taking place. Most of the people of Gaza are now without water and electricity – Palestinians are dying. The use of U.S. planes and other military equipment against illegally occupied land is a violation of both international and U.S. law. In a further act of act of colonial aggression, the IOF has arrested a third of the members of the Palestinian Authority governing body.

While a great outcry is heard in the mass media about one captured Israeli soldier, the same media pays no attention whatsoever to the 9,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held illegally under terrible conditions in Israeli prisons. All of them were abducted by the IOF. At least 335 of these prisoners are children. Palestinian prisoners are systematically tortured by Israel, the only country in the world that has legalized torture.

Deliberately attacking the civilian population, with the intent of causing maximum suffering, is clearly a crime against humanity. What we are witnessing today in Gaza is collective punishment -- a war crime under international law -- against the entire population.

Israel's racist apartheid system and the latest assault on Gaza is supported by the Bush regime, Congress and the corporate media, because of Israel's vital role in Washington's project of Middle East domination. Israel receives more military and economic aid from the U.S. -- over $3 billion annually -- than any other country. Without that aid and support it receives from Washington, Israel could not carry out its crimes against the Palestinian people.

Sponsored by Al-Awda