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Saturday, March 29, 2003

East meets West in Lincoln Heights: Across the street from my new place there is an ancient, tiny, fragile-looking Chinese couple who do Tai Chi in their pajamas in their front yard. Everyday they also walk the biggest Rottweiler I've ever seen. All they need is a cart and he or she could help them bring the groceries home.

(Note: I've no idea what kind of dog elderly couples of any ethnicity should have, but a Rottweiler seems like a lot of dog in the city for anyone.)

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:27 AM PST [Link]

Friday, March 28, 2003

"And that's especially true if occupation force soldiers are not retrained to be 'something similar to a constabulary force' and imbued with the understanding that 'force is often the last resort of the occupation soldier.' The War College studies explore in detail a troubling paradox: While all experts agree that stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq would be a protracted endeavor, 'the longer a U.S. occupation of Iraq continues,' one of the studies notes, 'the more danger exists that elements of the Iraqi population will become impatient and take violent measures to hasten the departure of U.S. forces.'"
Losing the Peace, Jason Vest, Village Voice, March 28, 2003

"The war is getting messy, but the peace will be much worse. The Bush administration's plan to keep several hundred thousand U.S. and British troops for years in a divided, heavily armed Muslim country will make all Americans 'targets of opportunity' for terrorists and become a rallying point for fundamentalist revolutionaries throughout the world."
The Wraps Come Off Bush's Colonialist Agenda, Robert Scheer, AlterNet, March 25, 2003

"As technically vastly superior and soon to be further reinforced US-led coalition forces reach the vicinity of Baghdad, poised for the final push on the Iraqi capital, the question posed in the headline may seem little more than rhetorical. It is not. Consider why Saddam Hussein made the decision to stay in Iraq and fight in the first place; consider what - in his mind - might constitute victory even as most of his country is occupied by enemy forces."
Could Saddam still win?, By Marc Erikson, Asia Times, March 29, 2003

Yeah, well, it's not like most of us didn't know what would probably happen. It seems more likely now that Iraq has not rolled over, paws up, nor are our troops being welcomed by cheering, US flag waving crowds. Rather the reverse. But, let's face it, nothing short of a military coup or a full scale, gutters running with blood revolution could have stopped this insane invasion of Iraq. Democracies are not supposed to behave the way the US is behaving (I’m not even sure we are a democracy right now, we've never had a 5-4 vote on the Supreme Court decide our president before). So, here's my question: How is the kind of rogue state the US has become supposed to instill or install democracy in any formerly sovereign nation that our military, against the wishes of millions of people all over the world, just pounded into pulp? Not likely that "Do as I say, not as I do" is not going to do much good in this situation.

I think most of the world realizes that our military and its ability to kill kill kill and destroy destroy destroy has been hijacked by a cabal of millionaire thugs and that, God willing and the creek don't rise, the nightmare will be on the mend soon after January 20, 2005 or sooner if anyone in Congress has the guts to start impeachment proceedings. We did it once for less; now, when we really need it, no one wants to use it.

Whatever happens, based solely on events since December 12, 2000, it will take generations for the world and history to forgive us. But now that we know what happens when we lose our democracy, which seems to lead directly to an inhumane dictatorship (I mean, was there ever anything that could have stopped the bush junta and their crazy plans? especially after Congress just handed the dictatorship to them after 9/11? and then the right wing handed the rest of Congress to them after the shameful 2002 election?), maybe we'll be more careful with it.

You would think that now the country knows what a difference 500 and some odd votes can make, all of us should be out there voting and making sure our votes and the votes of our fellow citizens are counted.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:23 PM PST [Link]

Thank you, My Daddy's Blog, for the link. Who's your daddy?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 06:33 PM PST [Link]

"The whole world is in now having this critical and historic dialogue--listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the world is asking-"Is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there enough evidence to warrant an attack? Is there not enough evidence to warrant an attack? What will be the consequences? The costs? What will happen after a war? How will this set off other conflicts? What might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?" More...
Lynne Twist’s Summary of Dr. Robert Muller’s Speech in San Francisco on 2/5/03

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 01:25 PM PST [Link]

"Before we get hung up in the nuts and bolts of Lawrence v. Texas, let's be clear: There are two kinds of homophobia, at least in Texas. The first is a hatred of all things homosexual. That's bad. The other involves a certain fondness for gay people—an acceptance that they are A-OK, so long as they don't commit any of those sex acts they're inclined toward. This sort of Will & Grace ("gays are so cute, but don't show me what they do in bed") homophobia seems not only to be defensible according to the state of Texas; it also appears to be the lynchpin of their argument in today's long-awaited gay sodomy case."
The Supreme Court Tries Sodomy… and discovers that Texas is confused about it too. By Dahlia Lithwick, Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Slate

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 12:16 PM PST [Link]

Le régime irakien a diversifié ses tactiques de défense. Embuscades, infiltrations de miliciens, combats dans les villes du Sud, attaques localisées retardent un déploiement massif des troupes autour de la capitale | AFP
From today's Le Monde

Um... Is it just me or does this cause anyone massive cognitive dissonance and vertigo?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:16 AM PST [Link]

Even Jump Start is politicized these days.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07:44 AM PST [Link]

Thursday, March 27, 2003

"WASHINGTON - Former Pentagon official Richard Perle resigned Thursday as chairman of a group that advises Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on policy issues, saying he did not want a controversy over his business dealings to distract from Rumsfeld's management of the war in Iraq."
Key Rumsfeld Adviser Perle Resigns Post, By Robert Burns, AP

Ah, progress maybe. Or maybe just more time for Perle to make deals in. Sigh.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 04:18 PM PST [Link]

"Commanders would like to have a 10-day supply of food, water, ammunition, fuel and other basic supplies before launching a concerted offensive, but equally critical are items such as batteries and vehicle parts."

'Would like'? Our military sent them without at least much that stuff? You know, when Genghis Khan besieged a city, he build a wall around it, sometimes taking months, and grew crops in their fields. Now, if Genghis Khan knew this over half a millennia ago...

What are they teaching these people at West Point and Sandhurst these days?

"Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey said the Army and Marine forces converging on the Republican Guard south of Baghdad really will have no choice but to continue to attack those Iraqi defenders. 'We've got no option, we're committed,' he said. But, he added, 'I wouldn't go into Baghdad before I had another armored division come up into my rear.'

Well, maybe General McCaffrey was awake in class that day.

"The question is whether the Third Infantry Division will be able to continue to fight the Republican Guard without reinforcements. 'I think the Third ID is going to run out of steam pretty soon, both people and machines,' said Killebrew, the retired Army planner."
War Could Last Months, Some Military Officers Say, By Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, March 26, 2003; 8:42 PM

I don't like this "war" but if you're going to send in troops, for God's sake at least do it right.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:29 AM PST [Link]

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

"AMMAN - American tanks are now ripping at the heart of Mesopotamia, the "land between the rivers" and the cradle of civilization; the US 5th Corps is already engaging the Medina division of the Republican Guards as B52s increase their bombing raids of the "red line" in the outer ring of defenses of Baghdad, over which hangs a surreal, dust-induced dark orange cloud.

"For 280 million Arabs, the symbolic effect of the tanks in the country is as devastating as a lethal sandstorm. But Saddam Hussein seems to be one step ahead. It doesn't matter that Iraqi TV was silenced by a showering of Tomahawks (although domestic broadcasts, as well as the international signal, have been restored). Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV will be on hand to record the ultimate image that Saddam knows is capable of igniting the Arab world into an ocean of fire: an American tank in the streets of Baghdad juxtaposed with an American tank in the streets of Gaza."
The 'Palestinization' of Iraq, By Pepe Escobar, March 26, 2003

Yet again, Pepe Escobar gets it right. As if anyone outside of Israel really cares about the Palestinians, except as useful martyrs. If I recall correctly the first thing the newly restored monarchy of the newly liberated Kuwait did was expel their Palestinian residents.

Asia Times has a blow by blow on the "war" with maps and everything, here.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:56 AM PST [Link]

"Asked if U.S. bombs or missiles could have caused the blasts, U.S. spokesman Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks told a Central Command briefing in Qatar: 'We don't know that they were ours. We can't say that we had anything to do with that.'

"He acknowledged that "mistakes can occur", but said it was too early to know whether U.S. forces had hit the wrong target."
14 civilians killed in Baghdad, Haaretz Daily, March 26, 2003

Yeah, precision bombing with smart bombs. Yeah, right. Or is the General saying that maybe they meant to bomb a civilian neighborhood and shopping center? What next? Mall of America? Fuck.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:47 AM PST [Link]

"L'Irak, par la voix de son ambassadeur au Venezuela Taha El Abassi, a demandé mercredi aux pays producteurs de pétrole de ne livrer ni les Etats-Unis, ni la Grande-Bretagne, en signe de protestation à leurs attaques contre son pays. 'Notre souhait est que le pétrole soit vendu à une autre nation qui ne soit ni l'Angleterre, ni (une nation) nord-américaine', a déclaré l'ambassadeur irakien à Caracas lors d'une conférence de presse. 'Le pétrole est un produit très recherché et nous pouvons le commercialiser dans d'autres parties du monde", a-t-il ajouté.'"
Irak demande producteurs pétrole de ne livrer ni USA, ni GB , Le Monde, March 26, 2003

I think the chances of OPEC and other oil producers not selling oil to the US or UK are pretty slim right now, but it is an interesting idea.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:41 AM PST [Link]

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Les combats de coqs interdits au Tadjikistan, Le monde, March 23, 2003

First Oklahoma, now Tadjikistan.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 03:39 PM PST [Link]

"The Saudi announcement tells us that 'sometime' is now; that they will no longer be able to be our trusty 'swing producer.' Saudi Arabia has 37 percent unemployment, millions of angry, idle young men and is desperately in need of money. So there is no chance that they would not pump as much as they could, especially at today's high prices. What we learn from this is that Saudi Arabia has now reached the peak of its oil production. It's not going to run out immediately. But extraction will decline inexorably from now on until it's all gone in 30 or 40 years. Of course, there is still Iraqi oil, but Iraqi reserves—once we've got our hands on them—will postpone the world peak by only months or a very few years. We have all grown up on the exuberant up slope of the world's oil production curve. We shall live the remainder of our lives on the down slope."
A roller coaster ride to hell, By Eugene Marner, Online Journal, March 25, 2003

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 03:37 PM PST [Link]

Monday, March 24, 2003

"The U.S. television networks also did not see fit to remind viewers how George W. Bush had drawn widespread international condemnation a year ago for his decision to strip prisoners of war captured in Afghanistan of their rights under the Geneva conventionss."
International Law a la Carte, By Nat Parry, Consortium News, March 25, 2003

As a Christian, you'd think bush would remember the Golden Rule a little better.

Can we please have our soul back in 2004?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:38 PM PST [Link]

"The coming victory is going to be the biggest good thing that has happened in the world, the West and the United States since the twin towers fell."
WSJ, Noonanism, March 24, 2003

Man, this chick needs a beta reader.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:23 PM PST [Link]

Bartcop is running the Hackenbush ad. I'm very pleased. If you missed it, it's this

Hackenbush.org

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 03:57 PM PST [Link]

"US forces were reported early today to have found a 100-acre chemical weapons complex near the Iraqi city of Najaf.

"The most disturbing find was two Russian-made Al-Harith anti-shipping cruise missiles (self-propelled guided missiles), each 20ft long and 3ft in diameter, and nine warheads hidden in two enormous reinforced concrete bunkers.

"The scale of the find took British forces by surprise and raised questions about the ability of weapons inspectors to cope with the task of scouring such a vast country for prohibited ordnance. The discovery of the missiles ­ date-marked 2002 ­ came as British troops from the Black Watch Regiment fought to secure the area around Iraq's second city."

Soldiers 'find huge chemical arms plant', By Gethin Chamberlain outside Basra and Paul Peachey, Independent, 24 March 2003

Hm. If this turns out to be as bad as it sounds, it means to me that the UN inspectors didn't have enough support to find these things and this "war" is still wrong. And if this turns out to be as bad as it sounds, isn't it a good thing we didn't bomb it while our people were in the field?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:55 AM PST [Link]

Sunday, March 23, 2003

A Message of HOPE by Desmond Tutu and Ian Urbina
Acknowledge despair, highlight progress on 'moral preemption'

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07:25 PM PST [Link]

I'm posting this from one of my readers and correspondents, who tired to post it to the comments while the unfortunate ban incident was in progress. I'm very glad he reconstructed it for me. Read on, I wish I could write this this. GM

The US body-count in Iraq, 'ours' or 'theirs,' may never be known with any certainty. Amurkans, as Dubya 'mispernounces' the word, remember that 58,000 US soldiers died in Nam, but are fuzzy about the fact that 3 million Vietnamese died. Current military leadership announces that they have dispensed with enemy body counts, probably because the total would be too obscene even for benumbed Amurkan sensibilities. Who counted the dead in Kosovo, the '91 Iraq War (i.e., Part One), or Afghanistan?

The Grenada invasion (1984?), of course, was the prototype for fudging the body count via perception management by military selection of the 'press pool' (rhymes with 'cesspool'), never allowing journalists into the field. Then came Panama and others followed. Nose cone video shots of 'precision, surgical strikes' boiled everything down to Nintendo wars that further desensitized the public, but today's Internet communications show that fragging, 'friendly' fire, and the killing and capture of US soldiers by Iraqis are now competing with chopper crashes for fatalities, and the US body count will now climb.

We won't know the count of Iraqi casualties because US militarism don't count furriners, since furriners don't matter, even when the US and its 'allies' are on their turf. Since US gunmen were in southern and northern Iraq long before the 'official' commencement of the current slaughter, any casualties on either side are likewise unknown. The gunmen may have been Special Forces, Rangers, CIA operatives, or 'private sector consultants' with 'for-profit' companies under 'contract,' so the casualty figures are not 'on the books.' I imagine the same is true at present in the Philippines, Colombia, and elsewhere, but those wars and psyops ain't official. Yet.

Reagan was an 'image friendly' president because the public associated him with his movies, and he only played a 'bad guy' in one of them, but the Bush persona (obnoxious frat rat) is harder to tolerate, especially as he mangles nouns and verbs with complete indifference. Dubya, however, benefits from the Hollywood production staging the Reagan institutionalized, further enhanced by psyops methodology of his daddy, the deep pockets, product packaging, p.r. and marketing skills of corporate Amurka, now wedded to NSA technology, media monopolization, and Total Information Awareness in which information is a one-way flow. Hell, the fact that we can know anything about anything is a minor miracle, and when they move on the Internet we will be truly fucked. From my very limited and technologically-challenged perspective, the only thing that will bog down the wheels of empire will be a world-wide war in which the US loses strategic battles (a scenario no where now on the horizon -- yet), world-wide economic collapse (more likely, and equally dismal), an environmental collapse and catastrophe (equally likely, more dismal, and probably permanent), or a combination of all three. Choose yer favorite scenario.

My limited journeys into the world of the Internet, and frustrated trips into 'blogging,' do provide me with one minor benefit. My paranoia is lessened as I see all the good folk who call Dubya an asshole, buffoon, criminal, idiot, etc. I used to fear my name would be on a Black List and that Big Brother would soon be knocking on my door. But 'They' will first come for those who are effective, and I am not on that list, and their lists are now very long. Moreover, Halliburton and all the other monopolies owned by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, and others, have their hands full with the concentration camps being built in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., so it will take a little time before they can build them here.

Though I once thought about being a novelist, I detoured into history when I became politicized, finding nonfiction as interesting, fascinating, and bizarre as the best fiction. My politics led to me eventually being listed on an FBI 'black list' titled the Administrative Index, a successor to J. Edgar Hoover's Security Index, which was in turn a successor to the Custodial Detention index of the 1940s.

Free speech was, and is, one thing that can lead to inclusion on such lists and indices, as shown by my collection of FOIA documents that are now donated to a library and may some day be on-line (if the library does not go bankrupt, is not seized by Big Brother, or is not privatized, of course). One document is a form letter sent by the FBI to the Secret Service in some arrangement concerning a 'presidential security' arrangement where people who threats to the president would be monitored when the president was scheduled to make a local appearance (something less frequent now, since Bush, Cheney, and others now live in bunkers).

But here are some things that could get you on such a list, verbatim excerpts from FBI document serial 100-9365-898:

Item 2: Attempts or threats to redress grievances [even tho' this is in the Bill of Rights]

Item 3: Threatening or abusive statement about U. S. or foreign official [the words in emphasis are likewise Constitutional, so keep it in mind re remarks about Dubya and Blair, for example]

Item 4: Participation in civil disturbances [defined as?], anti-U. S. demonstrations, [defined as?] or hostile incidents against foreign diplomatic establishments [like the British Embassy?]

Item 7 [a catch-all category]: Potentially dangerous because of background [??!!], emotional instability or activity in groups engaged in activities inimical [??] to U. S.

Ernesto Vigil

PS: If you wanna find out what has disposed me to such rants and paranoia, check out my book, The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Governments War on Dissent (University of Wisconsin Press, 1999). Later.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 01:03 PM PST [Link]

"In the current issue of Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria has a long and thoughtful piece on what went wrong. He reports, 'I've been all over the world in the last year, and almost every country I've visited has felt humiliated by this administration.'"
Try a little tenderness, By Molly Ivins, March 23, 2003

It's going to take along time to get our friends to forgive us for the bush junta.

Molly sounds better today, thank God.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 12:53 PM PST [Link]

"We're putting Iraq up for nation-building by the lowest bidders corporate America can muster. What a dandy plan. The Agency for International Development (USAID) has already invited four groups to bid on a $900 million engineering contract.

"You notice they did not put the contract up for open bidding. Competitive bidding requirements were side-stepped under special rules applying to 'emergency needs.' According to a spokeswoman, the department preferred to work with firms 'with a proven track record.'

"That would be your basic Bechtel, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) -- a subsidiary of Halliburton -- and Parsons Corp., along with the Louis Berger Group and Fluor Corp. bidding as a team.

"According to the Journal, these companies made political contributions of a combined $2.8 million between 1999 and 2002, more than two-thirds of it going to Republicans. Bechtel was the largest contributor, with $1.3 million in contributions, the Journal reported."
Operation Bidness as Usual, By Molly Ivins, March 20, 2003

Christ, can't the bush junta do anything right?

Molly Ivins sounds tired and bitter and it's bad news for all of us if the bj is wearing her down as well. Stay shrill, Molly, stay shrill!

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 12:49 PM PST [Link]

Well, darn, I had to ban certain ISPs to get rid of a pest and seems I banned many nice people I'd like to hear from. So now the banned ISPs are restored and if you tried to post and couldn't, I apologize and now you can, so I hope you'll try again. My policy will now be just to delete creepy posts and hopefully that won't be too often. Ah, the joys of cyberspace.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 11:06 AM PST [Link]

"His (Prele's) convictions of right and wrong extend to the right and wrong investments. On Wednesday he participated in a Goldman Sachs conference call to advise clients on investment opportunities arising from the war, titled, 'Implications of an Imminent War: Iraq Now. North Korea Next?'"
Perle's Plunder Blunder, Maureen Dowd, NYT Op/Ed, March 23, 2003 (Login ID hackenbush PW hackenblog)

WTF?! Thank you, Maureen, but WTF is Prele doing while people are dying?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:34 AM PST [Link]

"'We are on our time line,' said General Tommy Franks, the leader of American forces. Coalition forces were attacking the enemy 'on our terms', using a flexible mix of special forces, ground and air power.

"Franks added: 'This will be a campaign unlike any other in history. It will be characterised by shock, by surprise, by flexibility, by the employment of precise munitions on a scale never before seen and by the application of overwhelming force.'"
Special forces in Baghdad as Saddam's armies reel, by Ed Vulliamy, Washington, Kamal Ahmed, London, Paul Harris and James Meek in Basra and Rory McCarthy in Qatar, Observer, March 23, 2003

It IS a campaign unlike any other in history, General, we've never been so on the WRONG side of history before. Okay, Vietnam, but that was a gradual horror, not all at once and never ending like this one.

I'm beginning to wonder how much actual combat General Franks has seen. I mean, he only has to watch CNN or BBC to know that his precise munitions are not so precise and could never be on the monstrous and inhuman scale they're being used on a city full of civilians. And since General Franks isn't reading this blog either, I guess I'll just leave it at that. I have civilian things to do.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:17 AM PST [Link]

"Al-Jazeera TV has broadcast pictures of what appear to be the bodies of several American service personnel, and interviews with five prisoners - among them a woman.

"The film is said to have been shot in or near the city of Nasiriya, where US Marines say they are meeting tougher than expected resistance, and have reported at least six dead and 14 wounded.

"US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said television networks showing such interviews were breaking the Geneva conventions on prisoners-of-war."
Advancing American forces in Iraq have suffered casualties as they push northwards towards the capital Baghdad., BBC, March 23, 2003

Geneva conventions? What the hell does the bush junta care about that? Oh, wait, except when it applies to us. Never fucking mind.

I have great faith in the ability and courage of our troops in the field, but when people are defending their homes and families, instead of some points on a map, there's going to be a different kind of fighting and a different kind of spirit in that fighting. Are there no Vietnam veterans out there or in the Pentagon to say this more convincingly than I can?

I'm praying hard for our people in Iraq and that this doesn't escalate into more of a nightmare than it already is. The Peace movement couldn't stop this war, but they can certainly keep our minds focused on the stupidity of it and the very valid reasons to oppose it and I completely support them in that and thank the news outlets that are reporting on the marches and demonstrations.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:08 AM PST [Link]

Welcome to Reality TV: Reality WAR! Donny.

Rumsfeld dénonce la diffusion d'images de détenus, • AFP | 23.03.03 | 18h32

Don't like seeing POWs on TV? Then why did you send them there? Never occur to you that our guys might be captured? Remember last time you did this in 1991, idiot? Not that you'd have any first hand experience at it, chickenhawk, but this is how war can be for those who are willing to serve. Too bad they don't have a better cause and worthy leaders to serve.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:54 AM PST [Link]

"Donald Rumsfeld says the American attack on Baghdad is "as targeted an air campaign as has ever existed" but he should not try telling that to five-year-old Doha Suheil. She looked at me yesterday morning, drip feed attached to her nose, a deep frown over her small face as she tried vainly to move the left side of her body. The cruise missile that exploded close to her home in the Radwaniyeh suburb of Baghdad blasted shrapnel into her tiny legs they were bound up with gauze and, far more seriously, into her spine. Now she has lost all movement in her left leg."
This is the reality of war. We bomb. They suffer, by Robert Fisk, Independent, March 23, 2003


God damn you both to hell, Chickenhawk Rumsfeld and bush.

And the difference between this an 9/11 is that 9/11 was committed by crazy and wicked people and, supposedly, we are not.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:47 AM PST [Link]



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