5/31/2005

Springtime for Hitler

Springtime for Hitler
by Paul Krugman


You may recall that George W. Bush promised, among other things, to change the tone in Washington. He made good on that promise: the tone has certainly changed.

As far as I know, in the past it wasn't considered appropriate for the occupant of the White House to declare that members of the opposition party weren't interested in the nation's security. And it certainly wasn't usual to compare anyone who wants to tax the rich — or even anyone who estimates the share of last year's tax cut that went to the wealthy — to Adolf Hitler...

"I am sure voters will get their fill of statistics claiming that the Bush tax cut hands out 40 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. This is not merely misleading, it is outright false. Some folks must be under the impression that as long as something is repeated often enough, it will become true. That was how Adolf Hitler got to the top."

For the record, .. the claim that Mr. Grassley describes as "outright false" is, in fact, almost certainly true; in a rational world it wouldn't even be a matter for argument...

Which brings us back to the new tone in Washington.

When Ronald Reagan cut taxes on rich people, he didn't deny that that was what he was doing. You could agree or disagree with the supply-side economic theory he used to justify his actions, but he didn't pretend that he was increasing the progressivity of the tax system.

The strategy used to sell the Bush tax cut was simply to deny the facts — and to lash out at anyone who tried to point them out. And it's a strategy that, having worked there, is now being applied across the board.

Michael Kinsley recently wrote that "The Bush campaign for war against Iraq has been insulting to American citizens, not just because it has been dishonest, but because it has been unserious. A lie is insulting; an obvious lie is doubly insulting." All I can say is, now he notices? It's been like that all along on economic policy.

You see, some folks must be under the impression that as long as something is repeated often enough, it will become true. That was how George W. Bush got to the top.

Springtime for Hitler

It Started... Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

1. The Communist Manifesto - Marx & Engels

2. Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler

3. Quotations from Chairman Mao - Mao Zedong

4. The Kinsey Report - Alfred Kinsey (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male)

5. Democracy and Education - John Dewey

6. Das Kapital - Karl Marx

7. The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan

8. The Course of Positive Philosophy - Auguste Comte (Publication date: 1830-1842)

9. Beyond Good and Evil - Freidrich Nietzsche (Publication date: 1886)

10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money - John Maynard Keynes


Honorable Mention

These books won votes from two or more judges:

The Population Bomb
by Paul Ehrlich
Score: 22

What Is To Be Done
by V.I. Lenin
Score: 20

Authoritarian Personality
by Theodor Adorno
Score: 19

On Liberty
by John Stuart Mill
Score: 18

Beyond Freedom and Dignity
by B.F. Skinner
Score: 18

Reflections on Violence
by Georges Sorel
Score: 18

The Promise of American Life
by Herbert Croly
Score: 17

Origin of the Species
by Charles Darwin
Score: 17

Madness and Civilization
by Michel Foucault
Score: 12

Soviet Communism: A New Civilization
by Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Score: 12

Coming of Age in Samoa
by Margaret Mead
Score: 11

Unsafe at Any Speed
by Ralph Nader
Score: 11

Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Score: 10

Prison Notebooks
by Antonio Gramsci
Score: 10

Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson
Score: 9

Wretched of the Earth
by Frantz Fanon
Score: 9

Introduction to Psychoanalysis
by Sigmund Freud
Score: 9

The Greening of America
by Charles Reich
Score: 9

The Limits to Growth
by Club of Rome
Score: 4

Descent of Man
by Charles Darwin
Score: 2



The Judges

These 15 scholars and public policy leaders served as judges in selecting the Ten Most Harmful Books.

Arnold Beichman
Research Fellow
Hoover Institution

Prof. Brad Birzer
Hillsdale College

Harry Crocker
Vice President & Executive Editor
Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Prof. Marshall DeRosa
Florida Atlantic University

Dr. Don Devine
Second Vice Chairman
American Conservative Union

Prof. Robert George
Princeton University

Prof. Paul Gottfried
Elizabethtown College

Prof. William Anthony Hay
Mississippi State University

Herb London
President
Hudson Institute

Prof. Mark Malvasi
Randolph-Macon College

Douglas Minson
Associate Rector
The Witherspoon Fellowships

Prof. Mark Molesky
Seton Hall University

Prof. Stephen Presser
Northwestern University

Phyllis Schlafly
President
Eagle Forum

Fred Smith
President
Competitive Enterprise Institute


HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Great Question

Don't really agree with the author's answer, but loved the question -- law

Here is a basic question about America that ought to be on page 1 of every history book: What made the nation's Founders so sure they were onto something big? America today is the most powerful nation on earth, most powerful in all history--and a model the whole world imitates. What made them so sure?--the settlers and colonists, the Founding Fathers and all the generations that intervened before America emerged as a world power in the 20th century? What made them so certain that America would become a light of the world, the shining city on a hill? What made John Adams say, in 1765, 'I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence'? What made Abraham Lincoln call America (in 1862, in the middle of a ruinous civil war) 'the last, best hope of earth'?"

Bible Illiteracy in America: "

But the gutless wonders don't enlist....

Chickenhawks, revisited
by kos
Tue May 31st, 2005 at 16:00:27 CDT

Gilliard:
Unless you're disabled, you have no fucking right encouraging others to die in your stead. If you weren't cowards, you'd be in the military, not whining about Kosovo or some other bullshit. The Army's recruiting isn't getting any better, and they need YOU. Not the kid from Wal Mart, not the ROTC grad. They need war supporters to take this seriously and walk away from their lives to serve their country directly.

But that won't happen. Because they are cowards. They hide behind the bravery of others and use it as a shield to deflect criticism. 'Why if you attack my views, you don't support the soldiers.'

My reply to that is 'fuck you, gutless bitch.' I've never heard a soldier run behind civilians to defend the war, so why are you hiding behind them.
Tacitus has been the lone conservative voice of any note calling for a draft. But we're not quite there. If every bloviating war supporter enlisted, we'd have the forces necessary to fight their war. But the gutless wonders don't enlist.

And to make matters worse, they don't encourage those they influence to enlist. The War Preachers like Dobson and Falwell celebrate war, but refuse to urge their flock to enlist and fight. The War Pundits and Politicians hide behind tough rhetoric, so butch and manly, but refuse to beam calls for personal sacrifice. And the 101st Fighting Keyboardists cheerlead from the sidelines, but are too cowardly to urge their readers to put principles over personal safety. They claim the 'Islamofascist' cause is the greatest we face, but none put words into actions. Why then, should anyone take them seriously?

When we had the troops to fight the war, they could claim, like Andrew Sullivan did, that the troops were our servants and had to heed their orders. But we're running out of soldiers to death, injuries, AWOLs, and horrific recruitment. Now is the time for these War Cheerleaders, these Chickenhawks, to show their mettle. Now is the chance for them to stand for something bigger than themselves and their video game fantasies. Now is the time for them to be real men. Real Americans.

Gutless bitches is right. They deserve nothing but contempt.

Daily Kos :: Chickenhawks, revisited: "

Daily Kos :: In Memoriam: Philip K Dick, Scott, and too many others.

In Memoriam: Philip K Dick, Scott, and too many others.
by 3card
[Subscribe]

Sun May 29th, 2005 at 22:43:23 CDT

On this Memorial Day I am inspired to write this as a response to this diary by Outlandish Josh, as a neutral, yet cautionary reply, and as a bit of possibly unwanted advice to some of the younger Kossacks.

It amazes me just how much the reactionaries against the social and cultural revolutions of the '60s and early '70s are now in conrol of society. Unfortunately too many of our generation have become the 'born again' and some of the most insufferable and revisionist prudes. To be honest drug use was a significant factor in the 'counter culture', and most of us who experimented widely with various psychoactive substances had positive experiences, to a greater or lesser degree.

It is my firm belief that the 'War on Drugs' has done far more damage to our society than drugs ever have. However, the use and misuse of both legal and illegal drugs is dangerous and the tragedies that result to individuals, their families and loved ones cannot and must not be understated.

Diaries :: 3card's diary :: :: Trackback ::

The most poignant and eloquent statement that I have ever read on this subject was appended as an author's note by Philip K. Dick at the end of his novel 'A Scanner Darkly'.

This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed - run over, maimed, destroyed - but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happpy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. for a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each.

Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error, a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime.

There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say that they were wrong to play when they should have toiled; it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis; not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and my heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself, I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.

If there was any "sin", it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list to whom I dedicate my love:

Dick goes on to list 15 names, including his own, and what had been their 'punishment' at the time of his writing. Seven of those beloved friends of his were deceased. Others had suffered permanent psychosis, permanent brain,and or vascular damage, and in his own case, permanent pancreatic damage.

He then closes:

...and so forth.

In Memoriam. Those were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.

Philip Dick died of pancreatic cancer in 1982, not long after these words were written.

Daily Kos :: In Memoriam: Philip K Dick, Scott, and too many others.

No Harm (from the same artist)

No Harm (from the same artist)

Haven't they ever seen anybody sad?
Why don't they leave me in peace?
Their wars are so sad
Yet they are nothing excessive

Leave me, a cowering animal
Hiding from an imaginary enemy
Running after cars
Like a foolish dog

Leave me, making an follish attack
Due to a false alarm
Breaking useless objects
As one who stubbed his toe

Leave me to whet and punch
The blind, blind knife of passion
To give shots at random and to wound
The same blind heart

Do not hide your children
Nor call the manager
Nor call the police
Nor call the hospice, No

I cannot cause any harm
Except to myself
Except to myself
Except to me

Letra da m�sica MAL NENHUM - CAZUZA

Ideology: From another "player" in another country. The singer died of AIDS

Great diary about the pain of drug abuse, to all involved..

Reminded me of a song..

From another "player" in another country. The singer died of AIDS

Ideology (translated from Ideologia, by Cazuza) (mp3

My party
It is a broken heart
And all illusions are lost
My dreams had been all sold
So cheap that I can't believe
I can't believe
That that boy who went to change the world
(To change the world)
Now attends the parties of the rich and powerful

My heroes have died of overdose
My enemies are in power
Ideology
I want one to live by
Ideology
I want one to live by

My pleasure
Now is a deadly risk
My sex and drugs do not have any rock ' n ' roll
I go to pay the bill of my analyst
To never again have to know who I am
Therefore that boy who went to change the world
(To change the world)
Now he watches everything in top of a fence

My heroes have died of overdose
My enemies are in power
Ideology
I want one to live by
Ideology
I want one to live by..
Daily Kos :: In Memoriam: Philip K Dick, Scott, and too many others.

Daily Kos :: Military claims Zarqawi ran to Iran, just as I predicted. Now for part 2: the bombing of Iran.

Military claims Zarqawi ran to Iran, just as I predicted. Now for part 2: the bombing of Iran.
by spirit guided trucker
[Subscribe]

Sun May 29th, 2005 at 18:30:50 CDT

Two months ago on the Kos I predicted that the military would claim that Zarqawi was in Iran. This was right after the claim that Bin Laden and Zarqawi were in direct communication. With all of that bullshit aside, my first prediction came true.

Diaries :: spirit guided trucker's diary :: :: Trackback ::

Now that the face of the insurgency is on the run, the military is on the chase. I think they're chasing shadows, snipe, or whatever since Zarqawi is likely nowhere near the threat he's claimed to be. They claim he's in Iran now, so that would mean that Iran is harboring terrorists, therefore giving Bush the reason he needs to go ahead and bomb the piss out of Iran. I believe Iran would make a wonderful next-step in the NWO. Besides, Bush needs to find something to hide the soon-to-be flood of fresh hatred over the Downing Street Memo. I'm having a hard time putting all of this into words, so I'll end it by making it simple:
1. Zarqawi and Bin Laden had direct communication discussing further terror strikes in the US, making Zarqawi even more of a threat.
2. Since Zarqawi and Bin Laden are now connected, BushCo gives the public the idea that he's a really bad guy and that we should chase him.
3. Meanwhile, Bush is looking for any reason he can find to bomb the piss out of Iran. He can't because anyone with half a brain knows he is a stupid moron dipshit fuckface idiot hillbilly who shouldn't be allowed to have a hunting liscense let alone be Comm. in Chief.
4. Time goes by and, well, what do you know? Zarqawi is wounded in a missile attack and somehow makes it all the way to Iran. Yeah, Iran. He ran to Iran.
Bush shouts, "Duhh, duz thiyuss mean we kin git ta' bombin' the tarnations outta' them Moo-las, Daddy?"

"Yes, son. It does mean that. Go on now. Ya better get movin' before they indict you with anymore war crimes, ya little rascal!"

So, this is what I think will happen. It will only be a short while before Iran gets blasted.

Daily Kos :: Military claims Zarqawi ran to Iran, just as I predicted. Now for part 2: the bombing of Iran.

Daily Kos :: Fox news admits they're biased

Fox news admits they're biased
by Brecht

Tue May 31st, 2005 at 13:04:03 CDT

We all know how biased Fox is. There have even been documentaries about it. But I haven't seen them admit it before now.

Scott Norvell is London bureau chief for Fox News, and on May 20 he let the mask slip in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal.

"Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly."


Diaries :: Brecht's diary :: :: Trackback ::

"And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.

Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it."

The great irony here is that Norvell is chiding the BBC for not owning up to their (alleged) bias when Fox, far from owning up to their bias, have "Fair and Balanced" as their slogan.

You can read the whole article over at Slate:
Fox News Admits Bias!

There are two reasons I bring up this story. The first is that I've had people tell me that Fox is the only news that isn't biased, so it's nice to be able to refute them with the words of a Fox bureau chief.

The second reason is because of a habit I've seen among Rethugs of leading from weakness, as if the very gall to do that shows strength. How on earth could Fox News call themselves "Fair and Balanced", and even try to to trademark the phrase?

I've read it's straight from the Rove playbook, to hit the opponent where they're strongest. In the 2000 Republican primaries, Bush's thugs started smearing McCain on Vietnam. McCain of course went ballistic, and they dropped it. Kerry's war hero status was the one area Bush couldn't hope to compete - hence the Swift Boats. In a sadder piece of framing, for the people of the US, they took the fact that Kerry was a careful and nuanced thinker and slammed it as flip-flopping; and convinced much of the electorate that a man who refused to accept facts, who stuck to his guns even after shooting off all his own toes, was tough and honest.

It seems to also be a Rethug habit to flaunt your weakness, to reward incompetence. If Tenet and Bremer get medals, they must have been fighting for a good cause. If Gonzalez is confirmed as the top man at Justice, doesn't that vindicate all the anti-Geneva, pro-torture memos and policies?

Fox News should of course be called Fox Propaganda, having convinced so many of their viewers that Saddam was behind 9/11, that the whole world wanted the US to invade, and that Iraq had WMD. A friend of mine who watches only Fox has explained to me that they actually did find WMD in Iraq but they covered it up. He won't say why. And I know he got the idea from Fox, because he's not smart enough to come up with it on his own.

Daily Kos :: Fox news admits they're biased

Daily Kos :: Iraq war Illegal. So says US court martial judge

Iraq war Illegal. So says US court martial judge
by andrewinscotland
[Subscribe]

Tue May 31st, 2005 at 17:50:17 CDT

After a 20-30 minute eternity that left us all in a stupor of disbelief that the war's legality had just been debated in a military court, on the record, and had lost, badly, the attorney for the prosecution sat down.
Pablo Paredes refused to board the USS Bonhomme Richard as it was preparing to sail from San Diego with 2,000 Marines in December. He surrendered to military authorities a few days later and applied for conscientious objector status.

Paredes was convicted in a court-martial on Wednesday on a charge of missing his deployment. Prosecutor Lt. Brandon Hale said "He is trying to infect the military with his own philosophy of disobedience."

...the government prosecution used an unexpected argument...
... the judge said, "I believe the government has just successfully proved that any seaman recruit has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."



Diaries :: andrewinscotland's diary :: :: Trackback ::

Pablo Paredes is not yet a household name, but he is a good man, has a lot of friends and his story is gaining some traction.

In his words;
"What I submit to you and the court is that I am convinced that the current war is exactly that (illegal). So, if there's anything I could be guilty of, it is my beliefs. I am guilty of believing this war is illegal. I'm guilty of believing war in all forms is immoral and useless, and I am guilty of believing that as a service member I have a duty to refuse to participate in this war because it is illegal."

So far I can find only this news source on Google that mentions the fact that the judge has ruled this war illegal. I feel this deserves more attention.

The final word goes to Lynn Gonzales;
Let's call this Part One......there's so much more to write on the impact Pablo's case has yet to make.
Daily Kos :: Iraq war Illegal. So says US court martial judge

Daily Kos :: Advice to Batshit Loopy Prez

Advice to Batshit Loopy Prez
by BostonJoe
[Subscribe]

Tue May 31st, 2005 at 11:53:34 CDT

Dear Batshit Loopy Leader of the Free World,

I just got done listening to your fifty minute press conference. Since someone left a hand grenade for you at one of your recent public speaking events, I took the opportunity to jot down some constructive criticisms that I think might make people less hostile to you in the future. Please consider the following.

Diaries :: BostonJoe's diary :: :: Trackback ::

First, stop smirking. I was only listening over the radio, but I could actually hear you smirking at times. I mean, your policies really suck. But I think it is the fucking smirking that is engendering a lot of negative energy. I actually heard a guy in a book store (that is a place where people go to buy books - you know, the things people purchase to read) the other day say to his friend, "His policies are no worse than Reagan's, but that fucking smirk." The fact that he didn't mention you by name, and that it was clear to all within hearing distance that he was talking about you, in public, tells me you've got a fucking smirking problem. As you'll recall from your days as a recovering alcoholic, the first step is to admit it. Okay. Stop fucking smirking = less hand grenades. I am pretty sure about this.

Second, stop using phrases like "it's what the American people want" when you are talking about policies you have been told to shill. I know you've been elected twice as the President of the U.S., with the assistance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the government of the State of Florida, insane fundamentalist Christians, and Diebold. But trust me when I say this. You have no fucking clue what "the American people" want. They are a diverse group, the majority of whom think at an intellectual level you will never attain. Just because Karl, Dick, Rummy, Condi, or any other of the batshit loopy (it is a relatively new phrase, invented solely to describe your government, I think) advisors you have surrounded yourself with, give you a policy they want you to sell to the American people, doesn't mean that you speak for the American people. Or the "citizens of the world." Let the people worry about what they want. Just stick to shilling your bullshit with phrases like "I want" or "this administration wants." Less rage invoked = fewer homicidal thoughts in your audience = good idea.

Third, never, never, ever, EVER, interrupt a member of the domestic press corps (these are all people trained in the art of communicating via the English language, at least now that your pal Jeff Gannon has been removed) to demonstrate your superior language skills. Let me give you a specific example here. Remember the guy who asked you this morning about our defense department's decision to "scrap" our only military contact with North Korea (where we are still searching for the bodies of our dead from the Korean War - an interesting historical comment about war, I think). And, you interrupted him (smirking at the time, right?) and said " 'scrapped,' that's the verb you used right. I would say 'reassessed.' Yuck, yuck, yuck." I know. Something you learned from the "Framing by Frank Luntz" course that Karl has you taking, right? In private, that may have been a really funny thing to say. I'd like to commend you for trying to expand your vocabulary, and for being able to identify the verb in the question. Very good. But, in all honesty, sir, you are kind of a dim feeb. And when a dim feeb (smirks) argues about language usage with a trained professional, it just kind of makes the dim feeb look like an aggravating asshole. Aggravating asshole = engendering hostility = you get it by now. I mean they might start calling you in off the bike path when there is a threat, if you just stop being an asshole. I know it's hard, but try Georgie. Try.

Fourth, please stop calling anyone "Stretch." I know. You love the camaraderie of the whole nickname thing. But, "Stretch?" Maybe cute in TV dialogue circa 1950-1970. But, now, just fucking annoying. Engenders hostility, etc. Try a new nickname for that guy, and we will take it on a press conference by press conference basis. It might eliminate just a little hostility toward you. Not as much as getting rid of the fucking smirk. But any little bit might be enough to save you, man.

Fifth. Work on the mock outrage when you are trying to dismiss the Amnesty International Report condemning the United States as a rogue nation. I think your intonation was off when you said the report was "just absurd." Many Americans probably don't yet recognize the credibility of Amnesty International. So if you can really sell the mock outrage, then that might defuse the anger they will feel when they realize you have turned our nation into an international pariah. Less hostility from people who could understand that we now are a country with our own disappearing act - dare I say death squads - would be a good thing for you now.

I had to shut you off after that. Blood pressure getting a little high. You understand.

But, one question. Did any of that elite media corp ever get around to asking you about how the Downing Street Minutes are serious and credible evidence justifying an investigation of your administration for high crimes and misdemeanors? I mean, that might have been a sticky situation, trying to get you to deny in public what we know you knew when you lied and took our fucking country to war. If they didn't ask yet, just keep practicing the denial that Karl wrote for you. You can do it. I doubt very much anyone is going to ship you to an international war crimes tribunal during your lifetime.

Best regards

Daily Kos :: Advice to Batshit Loopy Prez

Daily Kos :: Venezuela still in the neocon cross hairs

Venezuela still in the neocon cross hairs
by devtob
[Subscribe]

Tue May 31st, 2005 at 17:09:01 CDT

Bush did more than repeat the usual "freedom", "up or down vote," "voluntary personal savings account" talking points before the lapdogs of the White House press today.

He also met with one of his contract employees, Maria Corina Machado of the Venezuelan anti-Chavez group Sumate, according to the pretty picture at the White House Web site.

Machado is facing charges of conspiracy for accepting at least $31,000 from the National Endwoment for Democracy and $50,000 from the US Agency for International Development (and who knows how much from the CIA), to push for and "monitor" the unsuccessful recall of democratically elected Chavez last August.

The recall was necessary, from the Bushite neocon point of view, because the CIA coup in April 2002 failed miserably.

More below

Diaries :: devtob's diary :: :: Trackback ::

As in this country, it is evidently illegal in Venezuela for partisan groups to accept money from foreign nations.

Machado maintains that her group, founded three months before the coup, is, in the words of the White House caption writer, "an independent, democratic, non-governmental organization to defend the electoral and constitutional rights of all Venezuelan citizens and to monitor and report on the performance of Venezuela's electoral institutions."

But Machado, before the coup failed, was one of the anti-Chavez leaders who backed the coup all the way, according to this Newsday story.

The gleaming presidential palace was abuzz with activity as nearly 400 prominent citizens signed a decree that would fleetingly transform the fragile democracy into a dictatorship.

Signers of the document -- which Chavez voided after his supporters dramatically swept him back to power hours later -- included Maria Corina Machado, an activist from one of Venezuela's leading families.

The Carmona Decree, named after coup leader and president-for-a-day Pedro Carmona, dismantled all three branches of Venezuela's government. In the aftermath, Machado's civic group was awarded tens
of thousands of American tax dollars from two major U.S. agencies -- The National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The funds were used partly to encourage voter participation in a subsequent effort to oust Chavez, this time through a recall referendum.

snip

Educated and dressed like a fashion plate, Machado in many ways typifies the opposition to Chavez. Like most of those who held sway in the racially divided country until the copper-toned Chavez took office in 1999, she is fair-skinned and comes from an elite family.

She holds a degree in industrial engineering and speaks a fluent English that she perfected in frequent trips to the United States, where she has vigorously lobbied for international pressure on Venezuela to drop conspiracy charges against her and Sumate president Alejandro Plaz.

Though she refuses to accept Chavez's defeat of the Sumate-led recall referendum, whose results were upheld by the Organization of American States and the Carter Center, Machado contends her work is nonpartisan.

Nonpartisan, is that a joke, or is she just good at the Rovian tactic of shamelessly repeating the lies, no matter what?

Machado supports a coup that would do away with democracy in Venezeula, and she gets free money from the National Endowment for Democracy and a visit with Bush.

So we've determined that there's nothing "democratic" at all about Machado and her group.

And how independent can she be when she's on the Bushite payroll?

Venezuela is off the radar for most people, but it remains the most likely next target of the neocons' campaign to control oil. And Machado is the pretty face they will use to try to whitewash a bloody, pre-emptive war for Venezuela's oil.

Daily Kos :: Venezuela still in the neocon cross hairs

Bush getting batsh...t crazy

"It's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world," Bush said of the Amnesty International report that compared Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag.

In a Rose Garden news conference, Bush defiantly stood by his domestic policy agenda while defending his actions abroad. With the death toll climbing daily in Iraq, he said that nation's fledging government is "plenty capable" of defeating terrorists whose attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers have intensified.

Bush spoke after separate air crashes killed four American and four Italian troops in Iraq. The governor of Anbar province, taken hostage three weeks ago, was killed during clashes between U.S. forces and the insurgents who abducted him

CNN.com - Bush: Amnesty report 'absurd' - May 31, 2005

CNN.com - Bush: Amnesty report 'absurd' - allegations were made by "people who hate America."

CNN.com - Bush: Amnesty report 'absurd' - May 31, 2005

President Bush called a human rights report "absurd" for criticizing the United States' detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said Tuesday the allegations were made by "people who hate America."

5/30/2005

Time is running out - Observer Blog

The month-long meeting of signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ends tomorrow and all the signs are that nothing has been agreed.

That is a shame. They only have these review meetings once every 5 years and quite a lot has happened since the last one. Iran has 'fessed up to having a nuclear energy programme and North Korea has said it will withdraw from the treaty altogether. (Meanwhile, India and Pakistan have gone nuclear. Israel has had nuclear weapons for ages but won't admit it.)

The problem for those countries that are acknowledged by the treaty as nuclear states is that Iran and North Korea, the two main 'rogues', are well within their rights.

Plan B, anyone?



Time is running out from Observer Blog

America, a Symbol of . . . (not) Justice

America, a Symbol of . . .

By BOB HERBERT
Published: May 30, 2005

This Memorial Day is not a good one for the country that was once the world's most brilliant beacon of freedom and justice.

State Department officials know better than anyone that the image of the United States has deteriorated around the world. The U.S. is now widely viewed as a brutal, bullying nation that countenances torture and operates hideous prison camps at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in other parts of the world - camps where inmates have been horribly abused, gruesomely humiliated and even killed.
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The huge and bitter protests of Muslims against the United States last week were touched off by reports that the Koran had been handled disrespectfully by interrogators at Guantánamo. But the anger and rage among Muslims and others had been building for a long time, fueled by indisputable evidence of the atrocious treatment of detainees, terror suspects, wounded prisoners and completely innocent civilians in America's so-called war against terror.

Amnesty International noted last week in its annual report on human rights around the world that more than 500 detainees continue to be held "without charge or trial" at Guantánamo. Locking people up without explaining why, and without giving them a chance to prove their innocence, seems a peculiar way to advance the cause of freedom in the world.

It's now known that many of the individuals swept up and confined at Guantánamo and elsewhere were innocent. The administration says it has evidence it could use to prove the guilt of detainees currently at Guantánamo, but much of the evidence is secret and therefore cannot be revealed.

This is where the war on terror meets Never-Never Land.

President Bush's close confidante, Karen Hughes, has been chosen to lead a high-profile State Department effort to repair America's image. The Bush crowd apparently thinks this is a perception problem, as opposed to a potentially catastrophic crisis that will not be eased without substantive policy changes.

This is much more than an image problem. The very idea of what it means to be American is at stake. The United States is a country that as a matter of policy (and in the name of freedom) "renders" people to regimes that specialize in the art of torture.

"How," asked Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, "can our State Department denounce countries for engaging in torture while the C.I.A. secretly transfers detainees to the very same countries for interrogation?"

Ms. Hughes said in March that she would do her best "to stand for what President Bush called the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity." Someone should tell her that there's not a lot of human dignity in the venues where torture is inflicted.

The U.S. would regain some of its own lost dignity if a truly independent commission were established to thoroughly investigate the interrogation and detention operations associated with the war on terror and the war in Iraq. A real investigation would be traumatic because it would expose behavior most Americans would never want associated with their country. But in the long run it would be extremely beneficial.

William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in an interview last week that it's important to keep in mind how policies formulated at the highest levels of government led inexorably to the abusive treatment of prisoners.

"The critical point is the deliberateness of this policy," he said. "The president gave the green light. The secretary of defense issued the rules. The Justice Department provided the rationale. And the C.I.A. tried to cover it up."

In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, most of the world was ready to stand with the U.S. in a legitimate fight against terrorists. But the Bush administration, in its lust for war with Iraq and its willingness to jettison every semblance of due process while employing scandalously inhumane practices against detainees, blew that opportunity.

In much of the world, the image of the U.S. under Mr. Bush has morphed from an idealized champion of liberty to a heavily armed thug in camouflage fatigues. America is increasingly being seen as a dangerously arrogant military power that is due for a comeuppance. It will take a lot more than Karen Hughes to turn that around.

America, a Symbol of . . . - New York Times

Daily Kos :: Minneapolis Star Trib Editorial: "Bush...lied..."

The same Star Trib editorial I covered, with the important note: 1st time they say Bush lied -- law

To my knowledge, this is the first use, in the corporate media, of the word "lied" in connection with Bush's State of the Union message that drove public opinion immediately prior to the invasion of Iraq. The revelation of the minutes of the Downing Street meeting (and the efforts of many Kossacks, Congressman John Conyers, Jr., and unnamed others) seem to have finally paid off. Kudos to the Star Tribune, whose editors long ago discarded their Bush-colored glasses. Hopefully others will follow their lead. America ain't dead yet.

Daily Kos :: Minneapolis Star Trib Editorial: "Bush...lied..."

John Conyers, Jr. -- Letter to Pres Bush Concerning "Downing Street Memo"

Please sign and e-mail your friends

John Conyers, Jr. -- Letter to Pres Bush Concerning "Downing Street Memo"

War BEING CONDUCTED against Iraq in 2002


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Armando from DailyKos sez:

These are revelations of not only systematic efforts to bring a war against Iraq in most of 2002, it appears to be evidence that war was BEING CONDUCTED against Iraq in 2002. Representative Conyers provides us some new information on the question he has presented to Secretaryof Defense Rumsfled and an action item.

Daily Kos :: Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun?
by Congressman John Conyers


Sun May 29th, 2005 at 13:08:35 CDT

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown. The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive. The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make “regime change” in Iraq legal. Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that “the US had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime”. The new information, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, shows that the allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001, and that the RAF increased their attacks even more quickly than the Americans did. ... Tommy Franks, the allied commander, has since admitted this operation was designed to “degrade” Iraqi air defences in the same way as the air attacks that began the 1991 Gulf war. It was not until November 8 that the UN security council passed resolution 1441, which threatened Iraq with “serious consequences” for failing to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. The briefing paper prepared for the July meeting — the same document that revealed the prime minister’s agreement during a summit with President George W Bush in April 2002 to back military action to bring about regime change — laid out the American war plans. ... The systematic targeting of Iraqi air defences appears to contradict Foreign Office legal guidance appended to the leaked briefing paper which said that the allied aircraft were only “entitled to use force in self-defence where such a use of force is a necessary and proportionate response to actual or imminent attack from Iraqi ground systems”.

These are revelations of not only systematic efforts to bring a war against Iraq in most of 2002, it appears to be evidence that war was BEING CONDUCTED against Iraq in 2002. Representative Conyers provides us some new information on the question he has presented to Secretaryof Defense Rumsfled and an action item.

This morning I read the new revelations, again the London Times, that British and U.S. aircraft had substantially stepped up their bombing activity in the summer of 2002 in an effort to "goad Saddam into War." If true, we would seem to have the "smoking bullet" to the "smoking gun" of the Downing Street Memo.

I have prepared a letter to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld detailing these new charges and asking for his response (see extended entry). Since the House is out of session next week, I plan to submit it by myself on Tuesday.

Of course, this new disclosure makes my letter asking 100,000 citizens to write to President Bush, located at www.johnconyers.com (John Conyers, Jr. -- Letter to Pres Bush Concerning "Downing Street Memo"), all the more important As my back-office administrator is closed for the holiday, I do not expect to have specific numbers of signatures until Tuesday, however needless to say, the response has been overwhelming from everything I can gage thus far.

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

I write with an urgent and important request that you respond to a report in the London Times on Sunday, May 29, indicating that British and U.S. aircraft increased their rates of bombing in 2002 in order to provoke an excuse for war in Iraq. Much of this information is provided by the British Ministry of Defense in response to questions posed by Liberal Democrat Sir Menzies Campbell.

As you may know, on May 6, I wrote to President Bush, along with 88 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, asking him to respond to allegations first revealed in the London Times on May 1, that the U.S. and British government had a secret plan to invade Iraq by the summer of 2002, well before the Bush Administration requested authorization for military action, from the U.S. Congress. A response is still pending on that request.

The allegations and factual assertions made in the May 29 London Times are in many respects just as serious as those made in the earlier article. They include the following:

* "The RAF and U.S. aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs in 2002 .... The attacks were intensified from May .... By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive." Then British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon reportedly told a British Cabinet Meeting in July, 2002, that by this time "the U.S. had already begun `spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." The newly released information also appears to show that "the allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001."

* According to the article, this increase at the rate of bombing was "an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war." As I am sure you are aware, allied commander Tommy Franks has previously acknowledged the existence of increased military operations which he asserted were needed "to `degrade' Iraqi air defenses in the same way as the air attacks that began the 1991 Gulf War."

* The new information goes on to indicate that our military decided "on August 5, 2005 [sic], for a `hybrid plan" in which a continuous air offensive and special forces would begin while the main ground force built up in Kuwait for a full-scale invasion." According to the article, "despite the lack of an Iraqi reaction, the air war began anyway in September with a 100-plane raid."

The allegations and factual assertions made in the May 29 London Times are in many respects just as serious as those made in the earlier article. If true, these assertions indicate that not only had our nation secretly and perhaps illegally agreed to go to war by the summer of 2002, but that we had gone on to take specific and tangible military actions before asking Congress or the United Nations for authority.

Thus, while there is considerable doubt as to whether the U.S. had authority to invade Iraq, given, among other things, the failure of the U.N. to issue a follow-up resolution to the November 8, 2002 Resolution 1441, it would seem that the act of engaging in military action via stepped up bombing raids that were not in response to an actual or imminent threat before our government asked for military authority would be even more problematic from a legal as well as a moral perspective.

As a result of these new disclosures, I would ask that you respond as promptly as possible to the following questions:

1) Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they were dropping bombs in Iraq in 2002? If so, what was the extent and timing of the increase?

2) What was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this time? Was this justification reviewed by legal authorities in the U.S.?

3) To the best of your knowledge, was there any agreement with any representative of the British government to engage in military action in Iraq before authority was sought from the Congress or the U.N.? If so, what was the nature of the agreement?

In connection with all of the above questions, please provide me with any memorandum, notes, minutes, documents, phone and other records, e-mails, computer files (including back-up records) or other material of any kind or nature concerning or relating thereto in the possession or accessible by the Department of Defense.

I would encourage you to provide responses to these questions as promptly as possible, as they raise extremely grave and serious questions involving the credibility of our Administration and its constitutional responsibilities. In the interest of time, please feel free to forward me partial responses as they become available.

Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member

Godwin's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Godwin's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.. Many people understand Godwin's law to mean this, although (as is clear from the statement of the law below) this is not the original formulation

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Daily Kos :: What Does General Myers Believe?

What Does General Myers Believe?
by Armando
Sun May 29th, 2005 at 16:50:12 CDT

I have always had a hard time trying to figure out what General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, really thinks about anything. Reading this account of his appearances this morning on the Sunday shows doesn't help. Indeed the statements are worrisome. Does he have a clue?:

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has done a good job of humanely treating detainees.

Did he really say that?

The human rights group Amnesty International released a report last week calling the prison camp "the gulag of our time."

Myers said that report was "absolutely irresponsible." He said the U.S. was doing its best to detain fighters who, if released, "would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children's throats."

That inspires confidence in the humane treatment that will be offered General Myers. Boy, it suuuure does.

"This is a different kind of struggle, a different kind of war," Myers said on "Fox News Sunday."

So do DIFFERENT rules apply General Myers? That seems to be the implication here. Yes, I am even more confident of that "humane" treatment you are talking about. Suuuure.

The four-star general said the U.S. military had detained more than 68,000 people since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and investigated 325 complaints of mistreatment. Investigations have found 100 cases of prisoner mistreatment and 100 people have been punished, Myers said.

325 complaints? 100 cases? This is balderdash. There have been over 100 cases of prisoners DYING IN US CUSTODY in Iraq and Afghanistan!

And finally this:

Myers said he did not think the United States should have used more troops in the Iraq invasion but acknowledged that progress has proved slower than Pentagon officials had hoped.

"I don't think we understood that people had been suppressed, and their spirit had been suppressed to the point where it wasn't just going to naturally blossom once they had the opportunity," Myers said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Naturally blossom? Did he actually use that phrase? Gawd I hope he knows he is full of crap. It would be scary if he did not.

Daily Kos :: What Does General Myers Believe?

Al-Arabiya censors dissenters ?

Raed in the Middle

Support Freedom Of Speech in the Middle East


Al-Arabiya is one of the biggest Arabic news channels. I can say that Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera are the most important news sources for Arabs in the world.

Al-Arabiya started a really interesting and important Comments Section on their website some time ago. Then I left many comments on their site but they were never published because of what seems to be a strict monitoring system.

The strange thing about this is that I always used polite language and I never supported or incited violence, and yet all of my comments were deleted. The only reason of why my comments were deleted is that all of them were anti-occupation and anti-war.

Al-Arabiya started taking a bush-friendly political stand after the US administration pressured them, and this has reflected itself in their Iraq policy. It's really sad that all the anti-occupation remarks are being filtered out from their site even if they were rational and calm.

I wrote them a letter today, asking them to either clarify the guidelines of posting comments on their site, or remove the restrictions so that all Arab readers can be engaged in this important political forum. Giving people enough space for expressing their opinions instead of marginalizing their ideas would greatly reduce the chances of people turning to violence to get their voices heard, and would encourage rational and political debates about our problems. "

CNN.com - DeLay angered by 'Law & Order' mention - May 27, 2005

ROFLMAO -- law

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay reacted angrily Thursday to this week's episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" for what he called a "manipulation of my name" in the show.

The show's executive producer responded by accusing DeLay of trying to change "the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a TV show."

The controversy centers around Wednesday's episode in which a police officer investigating a murder of a federal judge suggested putting out an all points bulletin for "somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."

CNN.com - DeLay angered by 'Law & Order' mention - May 27, 2005

The U.S. removes the nuclear brakes - Haaretz

Under the cloak of secrecy imparted by use of military code names, the American administration has been taking a big - and dangerous - step that will lead to the transformation of the nuclear bomb into a legitimate weapon for waging war.

Ever since the terror attack of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has gradually done away with all the nuclear brakes that characterized American policy during the Cold War. No longer are nuclear bombs considered "the weapon of last resort." No longer is the nuclear bomb the ultimate means of deterrence against nuclear powers, which the United States would never be the first to employ.

In the era of a single, ruthless superpower, whose leadership intends to shape the world according to its own forceful world view, nuclear weapons have become a attractive instrument for waging wars, even against enemies that do not possess nuclear arms.

Advertisement

Remember the code name "CONPLAN 8022." Last week, the Washington Post reported that this unintelligible nickname masks a military program whose implementation could drag the world into nuclear war.

CONPLAN 8022 is a series of operational plans prepared by Startcom, the U.S. Army's Strategic Command, which calls for preemptive nuclear strikes against Iran and North Korea. One of the plan's major components is the use of nuclear weapons to destroy the underground facilities where North Korea and Iran are developing their nuclear weapons. The standard ordnance deployed by the Americans is not capable of destroying these facilities.

After the war in Afghanistan, it became clear that despite the widespread use of huge conventional bombs, "bunker-busters," some of the bunkers dug by Al-Qaida remained untouched. This discovery soon led to a decision to develop nuclear weapons that would be able to penetrate and destroy the underground shelters in which the two member states of the "axis of evil" are developing weapons of mass destruction.

The explanation given by administration experts calls these "small" bombs, which would have a moderate effect on the environment. The effect of the bomb would not be discernible above ground, the radioactive fallout would be negligible, and the "collateral damage" caused to civilians would be minimal.

Accordingly, America's deterrent credibility against the "rogue states" would grow, because it is clear that the U.S. would allow itself to make use of these "small bombs" - as they would destroy the weapon sites but not cause the death of many civilians.

The war in Iraq, whose purpose was the destruction of Saddam Hussein's development facilities and stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but which led to America's miring in the Iraqi swamp, has increased the attraction of nuclear weapons. After all, it would have been much simpler and more logical to destroy Saddam's facilities with a few "small bombs," which would not have caused any real damage to the civilian population, than to become entangled in a ground war that has resulted in 150,000 American soldiers treading water in the Iraqi swamp.

The problem with this argument is that it is hopeless. To understand this, one may analyze the effect of a nuclear attack of the sort posited by American military strategists in CONPLAN 8022. Obviously, the U.S. would not use less than five to ten "small bombs" were it to attack Iran or North Korea, since, considering the number of relevant targets in the two countries, anything less would fail to achieve the goal of deterrence and prevention. According to the plan, each bomb would have a 10-kiloton yield - about two-thirds of that of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Each detonation of a bomb a few meters underground would destroy most of the buildings on the surface to a range of two kilometers. After the explosion, there would be a need to quickly evacuate civilians from an area of 100 square kilometers, to avoid the deadly effects of the radioactive fallout; buildings, agricultural crops and livestock would be affected in an area of thousands of square kilometers, and depending on wind direction and velocity, there could be a need to evacuate more people from thousands of additional square kilometers.

None of this takes into account the political and psychological repercussions of using nuclear weapons for the first time in more than 60 years. The Bush administration regards all this as "limited collateral damage."

The nuclear policy that the Bush administration continues to formulate, including plans for a preemptive nuclear strike against states that do not possess such weapons and the development of new nuclear weapons - is a recipe for disaster. It is a policy that blurs the line between conventional and nuclear war. This blurring could undermine the relative strategic stability that has set in since the Cold War.

In addition, the Bush administration's approach contains a message that is liable to encourage Iran and North Korea to reassess the contribution such a weapon would make to their own nuclear policies, possibly providing the incentive that would accelerate such development.

Herein lies an inherent contradiction in the American approach that on the one hand acts with commendable determination to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms, but on the other hand, contributes toward it by adopting an irresponsible nuclear policy.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/580533.html

Running Out of Bubbles - New York Times

Krugman


Remember the stock market bubble? With everything that's happened since 2000, it feels like ancient history. But a few pessimists, notably Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, argue that we have not yet paid the price for our past excesses.

I've never fully accepted that view. But looking at the housing market, I'm starting to reconsider.

In July 2001, Paul McCulley, an economist at Pimco, the giant bond fund, predicted that the Federal Reserve would simply replace one bubble with another. "There is room," he wrote, "for the Fed to create a bubble in housing prices, if necessary, to sustain American hedonism. And I think the Fed has the will to do so, even though political correctness would demand that Mr. Greenspan deny any such thing."

As Mr. McCulley predicted, interest rate cuts led to soaring home prices, which led in turn not just to a construction boom but to high consumer spending, because homeowners used mortgage refinancing to go deeper into debt. All of this created jobs to make up for those lost when the stock bubble burst.

Now the question is what can replace the housing bubble.

Nobody thought the economy could rely forever on home buying and refinancing. But the hope was that by the time the housing boom petered out, it would no longer be needed.

But although the housing boom has lasted longer than anyone could have imagined, the economy would still be in big trouble if it came to an end. That is, if the hectic pace of home construction were to cool, and consumers were to stop borrowing against their houses, the economy would slow down sharply. If housing prices actually started falling, we'd be looking at a very nasty scene, in which both construction and consumer spending would plunge, pushing the economy right back into recession.

That's why it's so ominous to see signs that America's housing market, like the stock market at the end of the last decade, is approaching the final, feverish stages of a speculative bubble.

Some analysts still insist that housing prices aren't out of line. But someone will always come up with reasons why seemingly absurd asset prices make sense. Remember "Dow 36,000"? Robert Shiller, who argued against such rationalizations and correctly called the stock bubble in his book "Irrational Exuberance," has added an ominous analysis of the housing market to the new edition, and says the housing bubble "may be the biggest bubble in U.S. history"

In parts of the country there's a speculative fever among people who shouldn't be speculators that seems all too familiar from past bubbles - the shoeshine boys with stock tips in the 1920's, the beer-and-pizza joints showing CNBC, not ESPN, on their TV sets in the 1990's.

Even Alan Greenspan now admits that we have "characteristics of bubbles" in the housing market, but only "in certain areas." And it's true that the craziest scenes are concentrated in a few regions, like coastal Florida and California.

But these aren't tiny regions; they're big and wealthy, so that the national housing market as a whole looks pretty bubbly. Many home purchases are speculative; the National Association of Realtors estimates that 23 percent of the homes sold last year were bought for investment, not to live in. According to Business Week, 31 percent of new mortgages are interest only, a sign that people are stretching to their financial limits.

The important point to remember is that the bursting of the stock market bubble hurt lots of people - not just those who bought stocks near their peak. By the summer of 2003, private-sector employment was three million below its 2001 peak. And the job losses would have been much worse if the stock bubble hadn't been quickly replaced with a housing bubble.

So what happens if the housing bubble bursts? It will be the same thing all over again, unless the Fed can find something to take its place. And it's hard to imagine what that might be. After all, the Fed's ability to manage the economy mainly comes from its ability to create booms and busts in the housing market. If housing enters a post-bubble slump, what's left?

Mr. Roach believes that the Fed's apparent success after 2001 was an illusion, that it simply piled up trouble for the future. I hope he's wrong. But the Fed does seem to be running out of bubbles.

Running Out of Bubbles - New York Times

e3ashig Online � When I Had My Cultural Shock

Highlight (law): To me, the great lesson I learnt very soon after leaving my EK plane at Heathrow is to question the facts and half facts everyone attempts to feed my brain


"The day I came to this country [UK] is still vivid in my memory in all its minute details. Friday, the 17th of October 1997. Prior to that date, I have not traveled much except to some neighboring GCC states. The World was a completely alien place to me. I did some reading in the preparation stage of course but purely by random probability, I picked the back-then more-abundant right winged authors to read for. Everybody was on about how corrupted the western mentality and the western culture is. How people threw out their sons and daughters as soon as they were 18 and how children awaited eagerly to throw their parents in nursing homes. How families took each other to court and ripped each other off. How no one visited anyone and how people are drunk 24/7 – all of them, and how extra marital sex was so abundant it is likely I will see people having sex on the street as soon as I step out of the plane.

A security personal in Heathrow airport stopped me and I was so angry and frustrated about it. Remembering the incident now, I must have looked uncomfortable and unnatural in my suit – probably even peculiar looking left and right, waiting for someone to jump at me and steal my belongings.

It quickly became obvious before the turn of 1997 that what I was taught about the west was half truths. Like every culture, they do have their negatives and bad sides, but let’s be honest, don’t we all? People did not really have sex in the streets and the percentage of those who seriously fall out with their families is not much higher than where we come from. Nursing homes have a great positive side to them and at times elderly people chose to be admitted themselves.

To me, the great lesson I learnt very soon after leaving my EK plane at Heathrow is to question the facts and half facts everyone attempts to feed my brain decorated with big Islamic words in the background to make them more appealing and acceptable to the mind.

e3ashig Online � When I Had My Cultural Shock

Very Small Objects

Very Small Objects: A New System of Classification (for flea fart sized stuff -- law)

Very Small Objects

Vestax - Vinil records are back ?!?!?



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Informed Comment - Juan cole: Sometimes You are Just Screwed

Cole proves hope now is just based on faith, not reality -- law

The most scary excerpt:
The quality of leadership in Washington is extremely bad. George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld...attempt to demonstrate US military might has turned into a showcase for US weakness in the face of Islamic and nationalist guerrillas, giving heart to al-Qaeda and other unconventional enemies of the United States.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sometimes You are Just Screwed

Readers occasionally write me complaining that I do not offer any solutions to the problems in Iraq. Let me just step back from the daily train wreck news from the region to complain back that there aren't any short-term, easy solutions to the problems in Iraq.

The US military cannot defeat the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement any time soon for so many reasons that they cannot all be listed.

The guerrillas have widespread popular support in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, an area with some 4 million persons. Its cities and deserts offer plenty of cover for an unconventional war. Guerrilla movements can succeed if more than 40 percent of the local population supports them. While the guerrillas are a small proportion of Iraqis, they are very popular in the Sunni Arab areas. If you look at it as a regional war, they probably have 80 percent support in their region.

The guerrillas are mainly Iraqi Sunnis with an intelligence or military background, who know where secret weapons depots are containing some 250,000 tons of missing munitions, and who know how to use military strategy and tactics to good effect. They are well-funded and can easily get further funding from Gulf millionnaires any time they like.

The Iraqi guerrillas are given tactical support by foreign jihadi fighters. There are probably only a few hundred of them, but they are disproportionately willing to undertake very dangerous attacks, and to volunteer as suicide bombers.

There are simply too few US troops to fight the guerrillas. There are only about 70,000 US fighting troops in Iraq, they don't have that much person-power superiority over the guerrillas. There are only 10,000 US troops for all of Anbar province, a center of the guerrilla movement with a population of 820,000. A high Iraqi official estimated that there are 40,000 active guerrillas and another 80,000 close supporters of them. The only real explanation for the successes of the guerrillas is that the US military has been consistently underestimating their numbers and abilities. There is no prospect of increasing the number of US troops in Iraq.

The guerillas have enormous advantages, of knowing the local clans and terrain and urban quarters, of knowing Arabic, and of being local Muslims who are sympathetic figures for other Muslims. American audiences often forget that the US troops in Iraq are mostly clueless about what is going on around them, and do not have the knowledge base or skills to conduct effective counter-insurgency. Moreover, as foreign, largely Christian occupiers of an Arab, Muslim, country, they are widely disliked and mistrusted outside Kurdistan.

US military tactics, of replying to attacks with massive force, have alienated ever more Sunni Arabs as time has gone on. Fallujah was initially quiet, until the US military fired on a local demonstration against the stationing of US troops at a school (parents worried about their children being harmed if there was an attack). Mosul was held up as a model region under Gen. Petraeus, but exploded into long-term instability in reaction to the November Fallujah campaign. The Americans have lost effective control everywhere in the Sunni Arab areas. Even a West Baghdad quarter like Adhamiyah is essentially a Baath republic. Fallujah is a shadow of its former self, with 2/3s of its buildings damaged and half its population still refugeees, and is kept from becoming a guerrilla base again only by draconian methods by US troops that make it "the world's largest gated community." The London Times reports that the city's trade is still paralyzed.

So far the new pro-American Iraqi troops have not distinguished themselves against the guerrillas, and it will probably be at least 3-5 years before they can begin doing so, if ever. Insofar as the new army is disproportionately Shiite and Kurdish, it may simply never have the resources to penetrate the Sunni Arab center-north effectively. There is every reason to believe that the new Iraqi military is heavily infiltrated with sympathizers of the guerrillas.

The guerrilla tactic of fomenting civil war among Iraq's ethnic communities, which met resistance for the first two years, is now bearing fruit. There is increasing evidence of Shiite murders of Sunni clerics and worshippers, and of Sunni attacks on Shiites, beyond the artificial efforts of the guerrillas themselves. Civil war and turbulence benefit the guerrillas, who gain cover for violent attacks, and who can offer themselves to the Iraqis as the only force capable of keeping order. AP reports an Iraqi official saying today that there is a civil war going on in the northern city of Telafar between Sunnis and Shiites. I doubt US television news is even mentioning it.

The political process in Iraq has been a huge disaster for the country. The Americans emphasized ethnicity in their appointments and set a precedent for ethnic politics that has deepened over time. The Shiite religious parties, Dawa and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, won the January 30 elections. These are the parties least acceptable to the Sunni Arab heartland. The Sunni Arabs are largely absent in parliament, only have one important cabinet post, and only have two members in the 55-member constitutional drafting committee. Deep debaathification has led to thousands of Sunnis being fired from their jobs for simply having belonged to the Baath Party, regardless of whether they had ever done anything wrong. They so far have no reason to hope for a fair shake in the new Iraq. Political despair and the rise of Shiite death squads that target Sunnis are driving them into the arms of the guerrillas.

The quality of leadership in Washington is extremely bad. George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and outgoing Department of Defense officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, have turned in an astonishingly poor performance in Iraq. Their attempt to demonstrate US military might has turned into a showcase for US weakness in the face of Islamic and nationalist guerrillas, giving heart to al-Qaeda and other unconventional enemies of the United States.

If the US drew down its troop strength in Iraq too rapidly, the guerrillas would simply kill the new political class and stabilizing figures such as Grand Ayatollah Sistani. Although US forces have arguably done more harm than good in many Sunni Arab areas, they have prevented set-piece battles from being staged by ethnic militias, and they have prevented a number of attempted assassinations.

In an ideal world, the United States would relinquish Iraq to a United Nations military command, and the world would pony up the troops needed to establish order in the country in return for Iraqi good will in post-war contract bids. But that is not going to happen for many reasons. George W. Bush is a stubborn man and Iraq is his project, and he is not going to give up on it. And, by now the rest of the world knows what would await its troops in Iraq, and political leaders are not so stupid as to send their troops into a meat grinder.

Therefore, I conclude that the United States is stuck in Iraq for the medium term, and perhaps for the long term. The guerrilla war is likely to go on a decade to 15 years. Given the basic facts, of capable, trained and numerous guerrillas, public support for them from Sunnis, access to funding and munitions, increasing civil turmoil, and a relatively small and culturally poorly equipped US military force opposing them, led by a poorly informed and strategically clueless commander-in-chief who has made himself internationally unpopular, there is no near-term solution.

In the long run, say 15 years, the Iraqi Sunnis will probably do as the Lebanese Maronites did, and finally admit that they just cannot remain in control of the country and will have to compromise. That is, if there is still an Iraq at that point

Informed Comment: "Sometimes You are Just Screwed "

Google Print

Google Print: "Search the full text of books (and discover new ones)."

Google Print

Google Print: "Search the full text of books (and discover new ones)."

How Bush managed to fail despite having smart people in Federal Government

Why smart people defend bad ideas - scottberkun.com: "Death by homogeny

The second stop on our tour of commonly defended bad ideas is the seemingly friendly notion of communal thinking. Just because everyone in the room is smart doesn’t mean that collectively they will arrive at smart ideas. The power of peer pressure is that it works on our psychology, not our intellect. As social animals we are heavily influenced by how the people around us behave, and the quality of our own internal decision making varies widely depending on the environment we currently are in.

(e.g. Try to write a haiku poem while standing in an elevator with 15 opera singers screaming 15 different operas, in 15 different languages, in falsetto, directly at you vs. sitting on a bench in quiet stretch of open woods).

That said, the more homogeneous a group of people are in their thinking, the narrower the range of ideas that the group will openly consider. The more open minded, creative, and courageous, a group is, the wider the pool of ideas they’ll be capable of exploring.

Some teams of people look to focus groups, consultancies, and research methods to bring in outside ideas, but this rarely improves the quality of thinking in the group itself. Those outside ideas, however bold or original, are at the mercy of the diversity of thought within the group itself. If the group, as a collective, is only capable of approving B level work, it doesn’t matter how many A level ideas you bring to it. Focus groups or other outside sources of information can not give a team, or its leaders, a soul. A bland homogeneous team of people has no real opinions, because it consists of people with same backgrounds, outlooks, and experiences who will only feel comfortable discussing the safe ideas that fit into those constraints.

The primary point is that no amount of intelligence can help an individual who is diligently working at the wrong level of the problem. Someone with wisdom has to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Um, hey. The hole you’re digging is very nice, and it is the right size. But you’re in the wrong yard.

Yep, like... Iraq is not where you should be digging to fight terrorists, neocons - law

Why smart people defend bad ideas - scottberkun.com

Scott Berkun says:

I’m not proud to admit that I have a degree in Logic and Computation from Carnegie Mellon University. Majoring in logic is not the kind of thing that makes people want to talk to you at parties, or read your essays. But one thing I did learn after years of studying advanced logic theory is that proficiency in argument can easily be used to overpower others, even when you are dead wrong. If you learn a few tricks of logic and debate, you can refute the obvious, and defend the ridiculous. If the people you’re arguing with aren’t as comfortable in the tactics of argument, or aren’t as arrogant as you are, they may even give in and agree with you.

Why smart people defend bad ideas - scottberkun.com

Zarqawi flees Iraq for emergency surgery

Zarqawi flees Iraq for emergency surgery

IRAQ’S most wanted terrorist has fled the country for emergency surgery after an American airstrike left him with shrapnel lodged in his chest, according to a senior insurgent commander in close contact with his group.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has a $25m bounty on his head after being blamed for suicide bombings, assassinations and the beheadings of western hostages — including Ken Bigley, the Liverpool engineer — is now believed to be in Iran.

He has suffered from bouts of high fever since being wounded by a missile that struck his convoy three weeks ago as he fled an American offensive near the town of al-Qaim in northwestern Iraq, the commander said.

His condition late last week was described as stable, but supporters were said to be preparing to move him to another “non-Arab” country for an operation to remove the shrapnel.

“Shrapnel went in between the right shoulder and his chest, ripped it open and is still stuck in there,” said the commander.

Officials in Washington believe that US forces may have lost their chance of capturing or killing him for now. “If he’s got to Iran, there’s not much we can do,” said one.

Uncertainty has surrounded the fate of the Jordanian-born Zarqawi since The Sunday Times reported two weeks ago that a doctor at Ramadi general hospital in western Iraq claimed to have treated him for a wound that was bleeding badly. Supporters were urged to pray for him and some reports suggested that he may have died.

The insurgent commander said that Zarqawi had initially directed resistance to the US offensive in al-Qaim but had been advised to leave when the position became too dangerous.

He had been with eight other men in a convoy of three cars when the missile struck, although sources in Washington said that US forces had had no evidence that Zarqawi was in their sights.

According to the commander, two pieces of shrapnel injured Zarqawi in his vehicle. One passed through his body but the other tore away a large chunk of flesh just beneath the shoulder.

Zarqawi was apparently treated with first aid, but a fever would suggest that the wound had become infected. He is said to have been taken to the Ramadi hospital four days after being hit but left soon afterwards despite being urged by the doctor to let himself be admitted as a patient.

The account could not be independently corroborated. Some western officials believe that false reports are being circulated as a smokescreen to cover Zarqawi’s movements, but the source has proved reliable in the past.

Wounded terror chief flees Iraq for emergency surgery - Sunday Times - Times Online

Wired News: Daypop Fans Relax: It's On Break

That is from 2004. Still broken, I guess. Pity! -- law

Chan, also known for the we:blog weblog system, has said he launched Daypop in 2001 as a "current-events search engine" after he became frustrated trying to keep up with the 2000 U.S. elections via existing search sites.

The Top 40 list, which automatically scores the most-linked pages from what Chan claims are 7,500 news and weblog sites, reflects the wide range of interests that compete for surfers' attention spans.

Reports on Middle East violence compete with Ellen Feiss fan pages for rankings. Bloggers have been known to tout their Daypop rankings the way record execs crow over the Billboard charts.

Google and other sites now claim to index at least some news and blogs daily, and other sites such as Blogdex at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer updated lists of who's linking to what.

Still, a spot on Daypop Top 40 can send thousands of visitors per day to a relatively unknown site, based on a dozen or fewer links from the blogs in Chan's database.

"It's like the front page of the Internet," said one participant at last week's Burning Man festival, who borrowed a wireless laptop to check Daypop from the middle of the Nevada desert in 100-degree heat. "They've made it so easy."

Wired News: Daypop Fans Relax: It's On Break

Tell Me a Secret: O_O

I was supposed to go to the university today because I have very important things to do, but when I woke up I was very lazy and tired and decided to shower and leave a bit late.
after I dressed up and left the house a friend called me from the university:
F: Khalid where are you
me: I am coming I m coming!
F: DON'T!!!
me: whyyy???
F: something exploded in the university now, some people were killed and some were injured, they evacuated the university, DON'T COME.
me: OMG! Where when how why???
F: I was.....The......Outside the......
me: what?
F: I...
and we lost connection.
I called other friends, and they all said the same thing, no one has information about what really happened yet, but it seems that a mortar fell inside the university.
I will let you know when I have any more information.
--------------------

Upadate: It seems tha it was Katyosha (sp?) a smal missle, not a morter.
at least four students were killed, including one girl that i know, and many were injured.
-------------------

This girl was D. , a very nice girl, short with big beautiful eyes, everyone used to call her " Tweety".
she was truly one of the special people in the university, that kind of people that you feel that something is missing if she wasn't around.
May her soul rest in piece.

------------------------------
Update:
D is alive! D is alive! :))
we just found out, that it wasn't her that was killed, another girl that looks like her :*(((
it's not easy to identify bodies in such accidents :*(((
Tell Me a Secret: O_O

The myth of the "Regular folks"

Who:

* Vote Bush
* Don't put themselves high airs
* Speak plainly
* Have lots of kids
* live for the kids (not yuppie)
* Christians
* Churchgoers
* Nascar fans
* Idea of masterpiece is Adam Sandler's Waterboy

What the myth makers DON'T tell anyone is that the same 'regular folk' are:

* Homophobic - Gay marriage never!
* Racist - Blacks ? Jews ?
* Xenophobic - Freedom Fries
* Culturephobic - No fancy intellectuals!
* Book fobic - rarely reads a book (that's not advertised on Newsmax web page or is not housewife's sof porn, like Lynn Cheney's)
* Diversity fobic - No weirdo's
* Full of Fear and Loathing - of Arabs, Muslins, communists
* Full of Just plain loathing - of liberals, Hollywood elite, Clinton, Kerry, East Coast, blue voters, college professors, ...

Daily Kos :: Bill O'Reilly: Black People Aren't "Regular Folks": "

Daily Kos :: Bill O'Reilly: Black People Aren't "Regular Folks"



Daily Kos :: Bill O'Reilly: Black People Aren't "Regular Folks"

Daily Kos :: New Sunday Times War Preparation Revelations

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.


New Sunday Times War Preparation Revelations
by Welshman

Sat May 28th, 2005 at 22:24:54 CDT

New revelations about the degree to which the decision to go to war was pre-empted by actions of the US and UK governments is given in today's Sunday Times. Credit must go to the Liberal Democrats for eliciting the information from the Defence Department.

The need to diary this on DKos is to make sure that the information is available to Congressman John Conyers and those that are magnificently taking this issue forward in the United States.

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.

The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.


Diaries :: Welshman's diary :: :: Trackback ::

The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make "regime change" in Iraq legal.

Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that "the US had already begun `spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime".

The new information, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, shows that the allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001, and that the RAF increased their attacks even more quickly than the Americans did.

These attacks upon Iraq went far beyond the securing of the no-fly zones that were the intention behind the USAF and RAF operations in the Gulf. It was war by any other name and a war not authorised by Congress or by Parliament. It was duplicitous to those with whom we pretended to be in negotiations and duplicitous to the people of those countries in whose name this was being done.

Tommy Franks, the allied commander, has since admitted this operation was designed to "degrade" Iraqi air defences in the same way as the air attacks that began the 1991 Gulf war.

It was not until November 8 that the UN security council passed resolution 1441, which threatened Iraq with "serious consequences" for failing to co-operate with the weapons inspectors.
The briefing paper prepared for the July meeting -- the same document that revealed the prime minister's agreement during a summit with President George W Bush in April 2002 to back military action to bring about regime change -- laid out the American war plans.

They opted on August 5 for a "hybrid plan" in which a continuous air offensive and special forces operations would begin while the main ground force built up in Kuwait ready for a full-scale invasion.

As I write diaries on these events, on the leaked documents, on the prisoner abuse, on the convoys of death and on the dying of a population trapped in the middle of these politics of fear and greed, I begin to feel the weariness of my age and tiredness from too many years of seeing these things and finding that our fellow citizens ignore or explain them away with a shrug. I need to see the fire and the willingness to put himself on line of John Conyers to instil in me a determination not to give up. I hope, in turn, Kossacks will not give up on this man and what he is doing and will give him the support that I, from across the Pond, am unable to provide. He is an American hero and both our countries are short of such heroes.

At some stage, liberal progressives must bring these matters to a catharsis, to a point where they loudly voice the cry of "No More!". Never forget that the world is watching not just the American government but also the American people, just as they are watching my own country and my own people.

So how will we show our dissent? The call for a 100,000 signatures by John Conyers is a start.

Daily Kos :: New Sunday Times War Preparation Revelations

I didn’t even notice the noise of the US helicopters raping the silence of our skies

How do you feel when you know that your life is going to have this major change you always wanted… after two days?

I actually asked myself that question this morning, as I finished my Chemistry final… I have nothing left in my school life, but my next Physics final, next Wednesday.

I smelled the freedom, mixed with my fear...

As I started to restore my memories, I felt all those feelings I thought I would never remember… my shyness to stand before the pupils to read my favorite poems, my pride when I was elected “the ideal pupil” of 6th grade, the first time I knew what is to be in love…
I couldn’t believe that life was moving that fast, I have [almost] finished the most important period of my life
It seemed that I was carried away by my feelings; I didn’t pay attention to the traffic jam this time, I didn’t even notice the noise of the US helicopters raping the silence of our skies.
I still can’t find out how strange it is, to lose your memories by time. I couldn’t believe that I actually forgot the hatred we –students– felt against our teachers as they were pushing us to become Ba’athists.
I still meet the same faces everyday… in the school, in the street, at work… everywhere…
I think I just woke up… with a despaired scream of “what the hell has happened here?”
Now I have a new schedule…
June 16, end of finals, senior year… I’m outta high school.
June 17, kick bremer's ass, free the world.
Heehaw.

(Majik moved to Canada in mid 2004 to attend College)

Me Vs. MysElF: "

If you wonder why these Iraqi children are out of school...



Raed in the Middle


An Iraqi girl reviews for her end of year exams by the light of a kerosene lamp at her home in Baghdad which suffers from daily power cuts

Other millions of children around the country are going to partially destroyed schools without desks, without bathrooms, and without enough textbooks. Iraqi students are not exactly in the best atmosphere for studying, and it is hard to even get motivated to study given all the horror and destruction caused by the US occupation of their country.

Other children in Haditha, where Operation New Market in on going (what a goofy name), are not allowed to reach to their schools Aslan. We called Dr. Fadhel, a friend in Haditha, to ask him about the situation. He confirmed that the city is under total siege and a 24 hour curfew that prevents students from going to their schools.

If you wonder why these Iraqi children are losing another year of their lives, (not to mention the loss of relatives or friends), I'll give you a hint: Someone lied, and he still hasn't take responsibility yet...

Me Vs. MysElF

A young Baghdad resident who went through the impossible task of finishing high school in a country being bombed, terrorized and liberated.. And (thanks God , Allah, Gaia...) got transfered to Canada for College.


Me Vs. MysElF

How do you feel when you know that your life is going to have this major change you always wanted… after two days?

I actually asked myself that question this morning, as I finished my Chemistry final… I have nothing left in my school life, but my next Physics final, next Wednesday.

I smelled the freedom, mixed with my fear..

5/29/2005

Iraq: The Battle for Women's Rights

In Iraq, women make 60% of the population. But that's no guarantee that they will have freedom -- law

It’s perhaps women who have the most to lose from the new Shia government in Iraq. But that’s only made some more determined to fight for an equal role in society.

“The Islamists have a very dark vision for Iraqi women to be afghan-ized,” fears women’s rights activist Yanar Mohammed. “If we don’t act against it now, it’s going to become a reality we have to deal with for decades.” Although women make up 60% of the population in Iraq, they remain marginalised and oppressed. Since the war, many feel their position has deteriorated. “Millions are being pushed back into their houses. We are seeing measures that were not there before,” states Yanar Mohammed. Ballet teacher Ghada Saleem agrees. “There are new restrictions on the streets. Most women now wear a veil.” The fear is that Islamic groups will exert a strong influence on the new government, leading to women being marginalised even further. But having witnessed the Islamic Revolution in Iran, many are determined to prevent this happening. Government Minister Layla Abdul-Latif is helping lead the rebuilding of Iraq. The Iraqi Women’s Rights League is attracting new recruits. And - despite receiving numerous death threats - women like Yanar Mohammed continue to speak out. They know they have too much to lose if they don’t. (Guardian Films)

Guardian Films

Journeyman Pictures : short films : The Battle for Women's Rights