Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sayat Nova

Sergei Parajanov, The Color of Pomegranates

Friday, February 23, 2007

Noam Chomsky Joins 9/11 "Jersey" Widows in Calling for Release of 9/11 Documents

Noam Chomsky Joins 9/11 "Jersey" Widows in Calling for Release of 9/11 Documents

February 14, 2007 -- Noam Chomsky has signed a petition written by the 9/11 "Jersey" widows calling for the release of classified documents relating to the 9/11 attacks. The Muckraker Report has contacted him by e-mail and verified that the individual listed on the petition is indeed Noam Chomsky. Chomsky's name is #6432.

That said, now that Chomsky has agreed to sign the widows' petition, the Muckraker Report would like to see the following people sign too: Alexander Cockburn and crew at Counterpunch, the editorial staff at the Nation, Michael Moore, Barbara Ehrenreich, Amy Goodman, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Seymour Hersh, Nicholas Leman at the New Yorker, Christopher Hayes, anyone who writes for the Daily Kos, including Kos himself, and the absolutely divine Camille Paglia.

Like I said in my article from a few days ago, (9/11 Widows Keep on Asking the Tough Questions), the Jersey widows say that once they have 15,000 signatures on their petition, they're going to head back to Capitol Hill. Right now they have 6,600 signatures, 1023 of them in the last 60 hours. Please e-mail the link of the petition to all your friends. Ask them to sign and forward the petition to their e-mail contacts. The Jersey widows have to get 8,400 more signatures. They need your help. Come on - give them a hand!

from, via

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Britney's Shaved Head

I'm not one of those curmudgeons who freaks out every time that Bradgelina moves the war off the front page of the Post, or Katie Couric decides to usher in a whole new era of network news with photos of the imbecile demon-spawn of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I understand that we live in a demand-based economy and that there is far more demand for brainless celebrity bullshit than there is, say, for the fine print of the Health and Human Services budget.

But that was before this week. I awoke this morning in New York City to find Britney Spears plastered all over the cover of two gigantic daily newspapers, simply because she cut her hair off over the weekend.


On the same day that Britney was shaving her head, a guy I know who works in the office of Senator Bernie Sanders sent me an email. He was trying very hard to get news organizations interested in some research his office had done about George Bush's proposed 2008 budget, which was unveiled two weeks ago and received relatively little press, mainly because of the controversy over the Iraq war resolution. All the same, the Bush budget is an amazing document. It would be hard to imagine a document that more clearly articulates the priorities of our current political elite.

Not only does it make many of Bush's tax cuts permanent, but it envisions a complete repeal of the Estate Tax, which mainly affects only those who are in the top two-tenths of the top one percent of the richest people in this country. The proposed savings from the cuts over the next decade are about $442 billion, or just slightly less than the amount of the annual defense budget (minus Iraq war expenses). But what's interesting about these cuts are how Bush plans to pay for them.

Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

George Monbiot gags George Monbiot

Gagging the sceptics

The US, founded to protect basic freedoms, is now insisting that its critics are its enemies
... If we are to preserve the progress, pluralism, tolerance and freedom which President Bush claims to be defending, then we must question everything we see and hear. Though we know that governments lie to us in wartime, most people seem to believe that this universal rule applies to every conflict except the current one. Many of those who now accept that babies were not thrown out of incubators in Kuwait, and that the Belgrano was fleeing when it was hit, are also prepared to believe everything we are being told about Afghanistan and terrorism in the US.

There are plenty of reasons to be sceptical. The magical appearance of the terrorists' luggage, passports and flight manual looks rather too good to be true. The dossier of "evidence" purporting to establish Bin Laden's guilt consists largely of supposition and conjecture. The ration packs being dropped on Afghanistan have no conceivable
purpose other than to create the false impression that starving people are being fed. Even the anthrax scare looks suspiciously convenient. Just as the hawks in Washington were losing the public argument about extending the war to other countries, journalists start receiving envelopes full of bacteria, which might as well have been labelled "a gift from Iraq". This could indeed be the work of terrorists, who may have their own reasons for widening the conflict, but there are plenty of other ruthless operators who would benefit from a shift in public opinion.

Democracy is sustained not by public trust but by public scepticism. Unless we are prepared to question, to expose, to challenge and to dissent, we conspire in the demise of the system for which our governments are supposed to be fighting. The true defenders of America are those who are now being told that they are anti-American.
Amen to all that.

Sixty-four months on, witness the deterioration in Monbiot's latest articles, which do nothing more than convey some not-very-fascinating news about George Monbiot: In the sixth year of an oxymoronic Global War on Terror conducted by the most ruthless and secretive government in US history, he has noticed that many of that government's opponents are now quite deeply confused. This is a scandal, or so we're told. As George shows us some (very carefully selected) "morons" [sic] thrashing about inelegantly in the dark, he praises himself for having so cleverly noticed their confusion. So preoccupied is he with wrinkling his nose in ostentatious disdain that he neglects to notice one thing: his own current approach to the topic relies entirely on a crass and inexcusable reversal of the burden of proof.

Strange times we live in, when people who call themselves leftists claim to be omniscient and tell us to trust our governments. There is indeed, as Monbiot says, an "epidemic of gibberish" doing the rounds, and it is not pleasant to see him and Alexander Cockburn succumbing to it. Let's hope they both make a full and speedy recovery. Because "we must question everything we see and hear" -- mustn't we? -- even from a source as unimpeachably trustworthy as the Bush-Cheney White House.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Debt. Domination. What For?

DANNY GLOVER: Has the Congress taken up that? I know they did that to some extent over the AGOA Act, but you look at how Latin America has defeated the Free Trade of the Americas, and as resounding as a defeat as that, called into question that. How has Congress looked at free trade? How have they looked at the debt itself? We have an opportunity now with a Democratic congress to really call committees forward to look at this idea around the debt and free trade.

REP. JOHN CONYERS: There's no question that we've got to turn free trade into fair trade. And I come from Detroit, and, as you know, our manufacturing base of automobiles is suffering greatly. It's far easier to bring in a foreign car to this country than it is for us to bring an American product to anywhere else in the world. So that's what we have to get to. The 110th Congress is two months old. We are working to repair so many things that have gone wrong, it's not even funny. Our agendas in most of the committees -- I know with Charlie Rangel -- are overloaded and overtaxed, but we've got to, first of all, relieve these poor nations of debt. You, Harry Belafonte, Nelson Mandela, the Congressional Black Caucus, progressives throughout the country have been talking about getting rid of this debt and then promoting trade. And nothing, Danny, is more disturbing to me than last week's announcement that the US was building a huge military base in Africa. Question: what for?

What for?

St. Bernard Parish



They assassinated King, April 4, 1968

On April 4, 2006 St Bernard public housing residents returned from forced exile, to clean up and reclaim their homes.

People who had leases with HANO and want to join the lawsuit against HANO can sign up online at:

For more info: call 504-520-9521 or 504-319-3564

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Spectre of The Decline of Symbolic Efficiency

Has been haunting Western intellectuals for some time:

"What was - and not what is- authority? For it is my contention that we are tempted and entitled to raise this question because authority has vanished from the modern world. Since we can no longer fall back upon authentic and indisputable experiences common to all, the very term has become clouded by controversy and confusion. ... most will agree that a constant, ever-widening and deepening crisis of authority has accompanied the modern world in our century."

Hanna Arendt, "What is Authority", 1963.

Why Frog?

Maybe Kafka was wrong and this apparently interminable Sunday will end more abruptly than any of us expect. We could start betting on how great the Monday will turn out to be, if there is a Monday, and if we're personally reserved for it, and if any of us are in fact still around to experience it.
At any rate, it seems (but who are we to judge?) that amphibian populations worldwide are declining even faster than symbolic efficiency:

" ... 'This is the precedent of a disease working its way across an entire species on the scale of all mammals, all birds or all fish,' said Joseph Mendelson, curator of herpetology at Zoo Atlanta and an organizer of Amphibian Ark. 'Humans would be absolutely stupid if they didn't pay attention to that.'

Amphibians — of which frogs make up the majority — are a vital part of the food chain, eating insects that other animals don't touch and connecting the world of aquatic animals to land dwellers. Without amphibians, the insects that would go unchecked would threaten public health and food supplies. ..."

"A phenomenon likened to the extinction of dinosaurs."- wow. But I mean, frogs, yuk -- like, who needs 'em? If anyone does, then the nuts-and-bolts boffins will no doubt find a solution, using their dependably efficient chemical and mathematical symbols. And meanwhile, as long as Sunday lasts, we have movies to talk about, and lists to compile, and a war on language to be fought, while we continue to ponder the puzzling popularity of apocalyptic fantasies in the year of Our Lord 2007.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Jodi Dean: "ICite, IBan, IDelete, IGoInTheHuff"

The University as Kindergarten, Part 27.

In response to this pernicious rubbish, cited and reprinted in full without comment at ICite, I posted this:

"Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Suffering Cockburn: 9/11 and the Left's Collective Unconsciousness

Two weeks ago, Alexander Cockburn collapsed into a pile of rubble. Today, that pile is still steaming: ..."

That was my response, in full and verbatim: the title, the first two lines, and the link. Within minutes, it was deleted, and the following robustly efficient symbols appeared in Ms. Dean's comments box when I tried to ask why:

"You are not allowed to post comments."

Well, that's me told. It's her party and she'll cry if she wants to.

At any rate, President Cheney will be reassured to know that America's graduate students are in very safe hands.

More on this later.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Slavoj Zizek: How To Make Friends With Fat White Women From Dixie

Not like this!.


The tolerant, liberal politeness angle, ("I want to take you seeeeeriously"), is crap. Pretending to be interested in the white trash culture, "oooh, grits are so gooood, I just love country music and the klan". And I really hate this term "Reubensian" or "Reubensian Caucasian-American". I prefer "Fat White Cracker" and so do they.

So whenever I meet fat white women from dixie in this kind of situation, I immediately try to break these elitist barriers. And what’s my measure that we truly broke the barrier? Ok, at one level it’s political correctness, but it’s absolutely clear that if you play this game, only politically correct terms and ooooh, this fake interest, “ooooh, how interesting, your culture, broken refigerators sinking into the lawn, what a wealth," and blah, blah, blah, it will backfire. Fat White Women From Dixie confess to me that they secretly despise this kind of thin white cosmopolitan European liberalism. What’s the trick? Humor. It’s a kind of dialectical double reversal. And this is when they really admit you. That somehow you can return to the worst starting point, sexist, class supremacist jokes and so on, but they function no longer as sexist or elitist, but as a kind of obscene solidarity. To give you an extremely vulgar example, I met a fat, really stupid white redneckess from Alabama, and when we became friends, I went into it like, [assuming a naïve, awe-filled whisper] “Is it true that you are, you know, you get so fat so your father will fuck your daughter instead of you?” We became terribly close friends!

- here

Disgusting. How can anyone defend this?

NB: This is a Guest Post by The Big Black Qlipoth who has [not] been terribly close friends with Slavoj Zizek since the Viennese stableboy "candleholder" had the dialectical agility to make an anxious aryan flyswatting cock joke at the "Blogging About Blogging In The Age of Symbolic and Intellectual Deficiency" conference at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, in 1998. For his tastelessness, Big Black Qlipoth has been banned. - Inscrutable Chinaman Qlipoth

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Call Me Ishmael. The End.

I once thought about writing a satire in which a smart guy would take it in his head that the next step in avant-gardism would be to compose a novel entirely in emoticons. Now I see I should have had him translate the classics into emoticons:
Almost all publishers are now just small segments of great corporations (think tapeworms), and like supermarkets and breakfast cereal manufacturers they are required to provide product that makes a profit. The smart modern way to make a profit is to tell people what they want and then give it to them. It's not difficult, it's capitalism.

And so, great news: Weidenfeld & Nicolson are launching a new list in the Spring. As a result of market research, which has brought us so much of value over the years, Weidenfeld and Nicolson have come up with 'Compact Editions'. Tag line: Great Books in Half the Time. According to their market research (quoted in a small note Saturday's Book's section of the Guardian) many readers are put off by the 'elitist' image of classics and by their 'daunting length and small print'.

'What is it about Anna Karenina and Moby-Dick that puts you off reading them?' enquires the nice young man running the focus group. 'Oh, they're elitist, of daunting length and the print's too small.' Or were there hoards of angry demonstrators charging through Weidenfeld's offices with placards complaining that they had been alienated by Tolstoy and Melville and demanding their right to buy large print bowdlerisations?

So in the first series of Compact Editions Anna Karenina, Moby-Dick along with David Copperfield, The Mill on the Floss, Vanity Fair and Wives and Daughters will be 'sympathetically edited' down to fewer than 400 pages. But don't fret - so sympathetic are these editors that they will keep the central plot, characters and historical background. Pity really, I could get quite excited about a 21st century Anna Karenina set in Chislehurst and renamed Paige Simkins (she doesn't die in the end - the train's cancelled on account of engineering works).
Jude the Obscure: frowney face, smiley face, frowney face.

Beloved: frowney face, frowney face, smiley face.

Tristram Shandy: smiley face, winking face, smiley face.

The Metamorphosis: frowney face, frowney face, frowney face.

I don't mean to exalt the old canon, just to note the continued destruction of history and human labor by the corporations. De-fund the libraries, take over the schools, turn the old books into baby food. No wonder nobody knows or cares about anything!


Money trumps peace, sometimes.
- George W. Bush

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On How To "Build The Movement"

I read lots of right-wing people, doesn't mean I agree with everything they say. Zizek isn't one of the people I do much with and I do even less (meaning nothing) with his stuff on Yugoslavia. If you have a problem with him, fine, I'm not Serbian, I didn't declare war on your people [sic], I've signed no petitions, and on the whole I think what the West did was pretty stupid (though I don't know all that much about it). Don't really care as I'm not really sure my knowing much about it would help anything.

You really don't know anything about the American education system, but you seem to have some opinions. Quite annoying really.
Anthony Paul Smith Homepage 02.13.07 - 1:44 pm #

This is the American Academic Left.

Pseudo Intellectual Anti-Intellectual Reversion To Infancy, Or Peter Panism

Can Warszawa get a little light through the layers of fungal punning-as-ersatz-argument behind which the anti-intellectual pseudo-intellectuals cower? Can he elicit a rational, to the point, non-ad hominem reply from these devoted anti-intellectuals who declare themselves unable to know or understand anything and yet simultaneously, without tongue in cheek, assert their monopoly on intellect?

It may be hopeless; the assault on "symbolic efficiency" in the academy is too important to capital and too well rewarded to be discouraged by reason or an appeal to political commitments.

Here's Carlo Ginzburg's view of the state of affairs:

We recognise easily in this attitude [certain responses to negationism,] the radical rejection of positivism that has inspired scholars for several decades, especially Americans, as much in the domain of the human sciences as in that of literature. If everything is in the last instance narration, if every narrative can be judged in the same manner true or false - or if you prefer "true" in inverted commas - the only criterion for making distinctions between different narratives derives from the respective effects. I can't go into here the profound roots of this so prevalent sceptical attitude, based on a notion of rhetoric that not only ignores any idea of proof but opposes itself to it: a rhetoric operating under the sign not of Aristotle but of Nietzsche. I only want to remark that the sceptical response with regard to the denial of the [Nazi] genocide has stirred in American academic circles a certain disquiet: one has the impression that a boundary has been crossed, and one can't alleviate the disquiet by the division, at bottom so convenient, between the rejection of the negationist proposals at the moral and political level, and the non-acceptance of them on the intellectual level. It's not the negationist proposals themselves that are troubling; it is the weakness of certain responses to negationism. Over the past few years, we've inquired several times into this; I am thinking of the colloqium in Los Angeles organised by Saul Friedländer, Probing the Limits of Representation, but also of numerous conferences which took place, from Chicago to Berlin, on the notion of proof. These are little symptoms which may announce a change in the intellectual climate


This climate is manufactured. Surely everyone has to face at some time in life the realisation that Daddy NYTimes is not realiable. Generations of adult dissidents have gotten through this seperation from the Paper of Record without mental collapse - Howard Zinn, Angela Davis, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, the list is long. But this generation is reverting to infancy rather than accept that it is because Daddy NYTimes doesn't love you that he does not feed you all the truth that's fit to print and save you the trouble of thinking for yourself. He has his own agenda.

But it is indeed disconcerting to see chronological adults react to this unavoidable awareness with fears for their sanity; it is disturbing to see this simple fact of life in mediatised capitalism precipitate announcements of the total collapse of the disillusioned's capacity for judgement. All this frenzied boastful confusion and bewilderment is an extreme, no doubt psychoanalysable, and cowardly, reaction to the discovery that Authority can lie and that one has to think without Daddy's help and even without his approval. In the US, grown men and women faced with the obvious mendacity of mass media are stricken with a degree of terror that can only be accounted for by a failure of the attainment of basic maturity, and go into denial about Daddy Mass Media's untruthfulness and deceitfulness, insisting instead that the non-correspondence between Daddy's assertions and reality must come about because both language and the human intellects which produce it do not function well anymore. It is, simply, a refusal to grow up, to remove the training wheels from the brain and think without Big BrOther. (It is not that Daddy is lying to you. Daddy still loves you, but can't be informed, can't fact check, can't evaluate evidence, can't tell you the truth, can't tell you what to think; thought and communication itself have degraded to the point of malfunction, and this inexplicable stormy weather in the symbolic order is why it may seem to you that Daddy neither approves of you, nor is quite attached to your wellbeing, and even sometimes may seem to knowingly mislead you, for sinister ends.)

At the Acacacademy of Anthropopopometry

"As concerns this question, our inspired Founder instructs us that the fealty due from the Ultimate in connection with and subjection to the intermediate and the inferential, these being of necessity subordinate to the Auto-Isothermal, and limited subliminally by this contact, which is in all cases sporadic and incandescent, those that ascend to the Abode of the Blest are assimilated in thought and action by the objective influence of the truth which sets us free, otherwise they could not." ... It was just a snow-flurry on a warm day: every flake was distinct and perfect, but they melted before you could grab enough to make a ball out of them.

(From "Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes", 1905)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Institutionalised, regulated war

Kramnik,V (2766) - Anand,V (2779) [E05]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 19.01.2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Ra7 11.Rc1 Be4 12.Qb3 Nc6 13.e3 Qa8 14.Qd1 Nb8 15.Ba5 Rc8 16.a3 Bd6 17.Nbd2 Bd5 18.Qf1 Nbd7 19.b4 e5 20.dxe5 Bxe5 21.Nxe5 Nxe5 22.f3 Nc4 23.Nxc4 Bxc4 24.Qf2 Re8 25.e4 c6 26.Rd1 Rd7 27.Rxd7 Nxd7 28.Rd1 Qb7 29.Rd6 f6 30.f4 Re6 31.Rd2 Re7 32.Qd4 Nf8 33.Qd8 Rd7 34.Rxd7 Qxd7 35.Qxd7 Nxd7 36.e5 fxe5 37.Bxc6 Nf6 38.Bb7 exf4 39.gxf4 Nd5 40.Kf2 Nxf4 41.Ke3 g5 42.Bxa6 Kf7 43.a4 Ke7 44.Bxb5 Bxb5 45.axb5 Kd7 46.Ke4 Ne2 47.Bb6 g4 48.Bf2 Nc3+ 49.Kf5 Nxb5 50.Kxg4 Ke6 51.Kg5 Kf7 52.Kf5 Ke7 53.Bc5+ Black resigns


Flypaper Theory

A friend told me that a Colombian diplomat told her that violence in Colombia has diminished significantly over the last few years; the US advisors and mercenaries who ran the paramilitary groups are all in Iraq now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rampant Infantilism

It's okay warszawa: if symbolic efficiency is really in decline - if this is not just the illusion of people who need to suck truth, the whole truth or nothing but the truth directly from the nipple of the New York Times or wallow in bewilderment (if it won't think for them, no thought is possible as they refuse to think for themselves like adults) - then there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Without highly efficient symbolic function, no military order can be understood or carried out, no banking transactions can occur, no oil or real estate can be owned from afar, no wage contract can be created or enforced - no means and no motive for military aggression and massive violence can exist when the capacity of signs to refer is unreliable. Besides, Bush enjoys being stupid and may order an assault on Irene.

On the other hand, it may be that the confusion is a willed infantilism stemming from panic, from not wanting to surrender the childish belief that "the answer is in our hearts", that everything is for the best, Good invariably has the wherewithal to triumph over Evil by simply attaining pure intellectual virtuousness and discarding its illusions, and that things are never as bad as they seem. Instead of saying "I don't want to know, I don't want to understand, I can't think for myself if the mass media abandons me, I don't want to be responsible", the infantilised can cry "I can't know, I can't understand, I am alone in a world of terrifying illusions" and call that mature and sane.

You would think there was no more fitting object imaginable for psychoanalysis than this insistent, even aggressive declaration of permanent perplexity as an evasion of responsibility and adulthood, and the concurrent denoucement of all who refuse its cradle comforts as psychotic. But...that's not what the Lacanian decoder ring is for.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Portrait Of A Couple

"The comments to this entry are closed."

Death of the subject.


A Fresh Demon

One expert on Iraq asked me in perplexity: "Even if Bush does launch a war against Iran, where does he think it will get him? He will still be stuck in Iraq and the Iranians are not going to surrender. He will just have widened the war." The answer to this question is probably that the anti-Iranian tilt of the Bush administration has more to do with American than Iraqi politics. A fresh demon is being presented to the US voter. Iran is portrayed as the hidden hand behind US failure in both Iraq and in Lebanon. The US media, gullible over WMD, is showing itself equally gullible over this exaggerated Iranian threat. The Bush administration has always shown itself more interested in holding power in Washington than in Baghdad. Whatever its failures on the battlefield, the Republicans were able to retain the presidency and both Houses of Congress in 2004. Confrontation with Iran, diverting attention from the fiasco in Iraq, may be their best chance of holding the White House in 2008.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bad Movie

David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, Top Secret!

"He knows the oil is running out - and time with it."

Ad in a US publication, mid-70s.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not with a bang but a BOOM

"The most common words I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, 'We're fucked'."

That slight clatter in the background is the sound of deckchairs being rearranged:

1. Independent, Feb. 7th 2007:

EU bows to car lobby on pollution limits

If you hear a series of loud booms, don't panic:

2. BBC, Feb. 7th 2007:

Booming India expects 9.2% growth

There is plenty of room on the lifeboat for first-class passengers:

3. BBC, Feb. 6th 2007:

Climate change 'affecting' China

At least 300,000 people in north-west China are short of drinking water because of unseasonably warm weather, which officials link to climate change. Parts of Shaanxi province face drought after January saw as little as 10% of average rainfall, state media say.

Cocktails are now being served in the VIP lounge:

4. LA Times, Feb. 5th 2007:

To stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide — the primary contributor to global warming — CO2 emissions would have to drop 70% to 80%, said Richard Somerville, a theoretical meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. Such a reduction would bring emissions into equilibrium with the planet's ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The last time the planet was in balance was more than 150 years ago, before the widespread use of coal and steam engines.

What would it take to bring that kind of reduction?

"All truck, all trains, all airplanes, cars, motorcycles and boats in the United States — that's 7.3% of global emissions," said Gregg Marland, a fossil fuel pollution expert at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Closing all fossil-fuel-powered electricity plants worldwide and replacing them with windmills, solar panels and nuclear power plants would make a serious dent — a 39% reduction globally, Marland said. His calculation doesn't include all the fossil fuels that would have to be burned to build the greener facilities, though. [...]

I'll have a quadruple Chivas, please. Yes, on the rocks.

* The post heading is a recent quote from Derrick Jensen.

Brother Udo And The Monk Thelonius

One of the best April Fool's day articles ever was about Udo of Aachen, a Medieval Monk with an ultra density mind who purportedly had been studying probability and fractals in the 13th century, with the help of his sidekick monk Thelonius, leaving a Bethlehem Star in the shape of the Mandelbrot set in an illuminated manuscript. "Not since the Piltdown-Sokal Theorem was discovered to have first been proved in 1907 by a provincial Russian electrical engineer, and not in 1979 by Piltdown and Sokal as originally had been thought, has the date of a first proof been so misjudged."

I am sure I saw yesterday a post here at Qlipoth featuring that illuminated ms and a link to the original April Fool's article, and then it disappeared! I suspect it was intended as a kind of a wry comment on the gullibility of "conspiracy theorists"(?) but it's rather more suggestive of the ability to disseminate hoaxes enjoyed by the authoritative spectacle...


Seijun Suzuki, Yaju no seishun

Monday, February 05, 2007

That Was The Rubicon Five Rivers Back

AMY GOODMAN: Here with me now is one of al-Marri’s attorneys, Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice here in New York City. Welcome to Democracy Now!

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: So start from the beginning. How was al-Marri picked up?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, he was arrested at his home by FBI agents, charged with a crime, and then, as you pointed out, shortly before trial and actually literally on the eve of a hearing to suppress illegally seized evidence that was taken from his home without a warrant, the government essentially just pulled the plug on the criminal justice system and by the stroke of a pen transferred him to a military brig to legal limbo, where he had no rights, was held incommunicado and has been detained without charges now for going on four years.

AMY GOODMAN: What is this brig where he is held?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: The brig is a military prison in South Carolina. It typically houses individuals from the military who are convicted, court-martialed for offenses. But he's in a isolated wing of the brig. He's never seen another prisoner. The only individuals he's permitted to see are his captors, the military guards, and now his lawyers are able to see him, but the first seventeen months he was held completely incommunicado. His lawyers were not able to contact him. We had no contact with him.

AMY GOODMAN: For how long?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: For seventeen months.

AMY GOODMAN: For almost a year and a half.

JONATHAN HAFETZ: That's correct. Even the International Committee for the Red Cross was not able to go in. I mean, it was essentially secret detention on US soil. We had no way of knowing if he was alive.

AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly was the charge?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, there was no charge. There were just allegations made, hearsay allegations, allegations we believe that were obtained from detainees through illegal methods, other detainees possibly through torture that the government did not present in court. There has been no hearing, no witnesses, nothing that would resemble what we understand as due process.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you mean when on the eve of -- you're saying on the eve of trial?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, the trial was a few weeks away, but the judge had scheduled a hearing to suppress illegally seized evidence. The government can't present evidence at a trial that’s been taken from someone's home without a warrant. And there was a hearing to find out whether that had happened, and instead of going forward with the hearing, as would normally happen, the government showed up with an order, a one-page order from the President saying, ‘You're an enemy combatant. We're going to dismiss the criminal case, and we’re going to snatch Mr. al-Marri and put him in a brig.’

AMY GOODMAN: And what does “enemy combatant” mean, that he had been fighting on the battlefield?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, the term “enemy combatant” means essentially whatever the government says it means. They've used different definitions in different cases.

AMY GOODMAN: Invented by this administration?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Yeah. The concept of enemy combatant is not a concept that's identified under the laws of war. The government claims it's a customary use of the laws of war or, you know, law of armed conflict, but there is no such thing as enemy combatant as the administration’s used its term.
- here

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ey, wie schmeckt der Coffee süße

The Italian conquest of Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, resulted in the espresso craze in Italy. During the Second World War, each Italian soldier carried an espresso maker in his mess kit. The Starbucks aesthetic__garish, fascistic murals combined with Futurist mechanization of the work force and absurdist shouting__can be traced to Mussolini.

America's love of coffee has always been tied to the affection for conquest. Coffee fueled the "winning of the West" and the usurpation of the former colonies of Spain at the turn of the century. Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia etc. have all been virtual colonies since then, with frequent US armed interventions etc to ensure servitude. These nations constitute the mainstay of our coffee supply, and much blood has been spilled to maintain it. Coffee was the blood of the Indian, and gave one the adrenal rush needed to achieve "manifest destiny". Coffee was "Joe", as in Joe Nobody or John Doe, as the racist dehumanization of the native people's refuted any necessity for their identification. This name was changed to "Java" in the 60's, when the US helped install the Dictator Suharto in Indonesia, who murdered so many of his subjects at the behest of insecure multi-nationals. Although this was a proxy war, not directly fought by us, coffee's taste still reflects the power imparted by the struggle. Its flavor was enriched and it grew in popularity. Whether Indian or Indonesian, coffee was the blood of the vanquished, and it tasted good.

Now, in the global economy, coffee is grown across the entire subjugated third world. When Starbucks sell a bag of beans it's always marked with the region from where it sprang, making the consumer an imperial cannibal connoisseur.

Ian Svenonius, The Bloody Latte

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

More Molly Ivins

Nov. 19, 2002: “The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? ... There is a batty degree of triumphalism loose in this country right now.”

Jan. 16, 2003: “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”

July 14, 2003: “I opposed the war in Iraq because I thought it would lead to the peace from hell, but I’d rather not see my prediction come true and I don’t think we have much time left to avert it. That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. ... We don’t need people with credentials as right-wing ideologues and corporate privatizers — we need people who know how to fix water and power plants.”

Oct. 7, 2003: “Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire. ...I’ve got an even-money bet out that says more Americans will be killed in the peace than in the war, and more Iraqis will be killed by Americans in the peace than in the war. Not the first time I’ve had a bet out that I hoped I’d lose.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, "conspiracy theorist": A new 9/11 to justify an attack on Iran.

On February 1st 2007, , the Former National Security Advisor to President Carter addressed the Senate Committee On Foreign Relations.

Mr. Brzezinski seems worried, as well he might. This is a man who knows his Washington:

A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a "defensive" U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

A mythical historical narrative to justify the case for such a protracted and potentially expanding war is already being articulated. Initially justified by false claims about WMD's in Iraq, the war is now being redefined as the "decisive ideological struggle" of our time, reminiscent of the earlier collisions with Nazism and Stalinism. In that context, Islamist extremism and al Qaeda are presented as the equivalents of the threat posed by Nazi Germany and then Soviet Russia, and 9/11 as the equivalent of the Pearl Harbor attack which precipitated America's involvement in World War II.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Trotskist Confectionaries of the Fifties in the Garbatella

Nanni Moretti, Caro Diario

Well, he would, wouldn't he?

The BBC reports:

"On the poisoning of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in London, Mr Putin said he did not believe in conspiracy theories."

This tell us something worth remembering about the cant term "conspiracy theory", what it's good for, and what kind of people routinely use it as a blunt but dependable weapon.

"Mr Litvinenko was a vehement critic of Mr Putin. Mr Putin said Mr Litvinenko "did not possess any secrets" that could have damaged Russia. "

Oh, really? So why did they confiscate his books?

Allegations against the Russian Government

Litvinenko alleged that agents from the FSB co-ordinated the 1999 Russian apartment bombings that killed more than 300 people, whereas Russian officials blamed the explosions on Chechen separatists. This version of events was suggested
earlier by David Satter,[14] and Sergei Yushenkov, vice chairman of the Sergei Kovalev commission created by the Russian Parliament to investigate the bombings. However, Litvinenko provided many new factual details in his book. In December 2003 Russian authorities confiscated over 4000 copies of the book en route to Moscow from the publisher in Latvia.[15]

The War on Terror as Jaws 2

Keith Olbermann on the scaremongering lies in Bush's grotesque State of the Union speech:

President claimed to stop four terror plots, but where is the evidence?

Molly Ivins (1944-2007)

What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols. Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for.