Monday, June 30, 2003

This is the pimpest site ever.


I think I prefer the platinum but the gold with encrusted rubies and diamonds is pretty fly too.

(Courtesy of Teagan, who always be lookin to thrill wit' her grill.)

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Martin sent me this, but I can't find the original story in the Jerusalem Post (too late, it's already the next day's edition).

What's strange is that the BBC's website hasn't said a word about it yet.

Jun. 29, 2003
BBC program portrays Israeli spy Vanunu as hero (UPDATE)

The British Broadcasting Company, in a program aired today on BBC TV World News entitled "Israel's Secret Program" portrayed Israeli spy Mordechai Vanunu as a hero.
Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona nuclear center, was arrested on October 7, 1986. He was convicted of treason, espionage, and selling state secrets by the Jerusalem District Court on February 27, 1988.
He was sentenced to 18 years in jail from the day of his arrest.
The program compared Israel's democracy to the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Both were said to possess weapons of mass destruction, but the program said that the Bush administration was preoccupied with Iraq.
When interviewed, former prime minister and current Labor party leader Shimon Peres harshly criticized the comparison. He said that, while Israel is a responsible democracy, Iraq was a dictatorship, that Saddam was a killer and he ruled Iraq as if it was "a mafia."
Once again, drawing a comparison to Saddam Hussein, the BBC program claimed that an Israeli commission of inquiry found Sharon "personally responsible" for the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, in Lebanon.
Not mentioned by the BBC was that the Phalangists, a Christian Lebanese militia, committed the killings.
The 1983 Kahan Commission stated that "no Israeli was directly responsible for the events which occurred in the camps."
Sharon, who was then defense minister, was chastised for not anticipating that the Phalangists would attack Palestinian civilians.
In addition, the program showed footage of Palestinians suffering from the effects of tear gas. It then quoted Palestinians who accused the IDF of using a new, mysterious gas to quell riots in the territories.
When asked by the BBC why Israel would not reveal its military secrets, Peres replied: "you are now having a dialogue with yourself."
Israel has broken off contact with the venerable broadcasting organization known as "Auntie".
According to the report, confirmed Sunday by the Government Press Office, Israeli officials will refuse BBC interviews, impose visa restrictions, and be decidedly unhelpful to the BBC at road blocks and Ben-Gurion Airport.
"The BBC will discover that bureaucracy can be applied with goodwill or without it. And after the way that they have repeatedly tried to delegitimize the State of Israel, we, as hosts, have none left for them," Daniel Seaman, director of the government press office, told The Times.
He said that Israel has come to believe that the overall BBC attitude towards Israel is "verging on the anti-Semitic".
"We decided that we had to draw a red line rather than just complain about a consistent attitude in which successive BBC programs attempt to place us in the same context as totalitarian, axis-of-evil countries such as Iraq and Iran," Seaman continued.
"The attitude of the BBC is more than a pure journalistic matter," he explained to The Times. "It is dangerous to the existence of the State of Israel because it demonizes the Israelis and gives our terrorist enemies reasons to attack us."
Gideon Meir, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for public affairs, dismissed the argument that Israel will be the big losers by not having its spokesman get Israel's message across on the BBC, saying he does not want to give the BBC an opportunity to "hide behind the fig leaf of objectivity" by putting Israeli officials on the air.
"We are not trying to punish the BBC," Meir said. "In any event they will continue to put us down. It doesn't make a difference whether our spokespeople appear or not, the BBC has targeted Israel."
Meir said that by having Israeli spokespeople appear on the BBC, the network can say they give all sides the chance to express themselves, when in actuality they are engaged in a "crusade" against Israel.
Meir said that cooperation with the BBC will now be judged on a day-by-day, case-by-case basis.
Meir said that on a recent visit to London, Jewish leaders he met with cited the BBC as one of the reasons for an increase of anti-Semitism in Britain.
The BBC is not the only network that airs critical reports of Israel, Meir said. But the difference, he added, is that with networks like CNN and Sky News, Israel has an ongoing dialogue with the executives, something that does not exist with the BBC.
Israeli cable television operators dropped the British Broadcasting Corporation's BBC World news channel from their roster of stations in April.
Cable company spokeswoman Aliza Khoury said the decision was based on the British station's low viewer ratings and not on the BBC's reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has been widely criticized in Israel as unbalanced and supportive of Palestinian terrorism.
(Herb Keinon and Joel Leyden contributed to this report)

I can't believe it. Now the BBC is supposedly antisemitic?

Here's an analogy: The BBC does a story on Richard Nixon's involvement in Watergate, holding him responsible. But our rightwing government points to the fact that Nixon was pardoned and suffered under no official punity. Then they call the BBC antiamerican, just as the Israeli government apparently now accuses the BBC of antisemitism. Preposterous. Sharon, like Nixon, was pardoned, and his ass covered as much as possible, by his own cronies as well as by common bureaucratic nationalistic hacks.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Well, since Bush is hardly alone in thinking that Jesus or Allah or Yahweh talk to him daily, I might as well provide some links on the subject of religious background and belief, in relation to its awful unholy effect on recent American Foreign Policy.

When U.S. Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy
Iraq - A Crusade After All?
Are Christian Evangelists Eyeing Iraq?
Onward Christian Soldiers
How a War Became a Crusade
Bush Takes His Orders From The Lord
Falwell, Counting Torn Flags
With God On His Side
When Faith Guides A President
Talk of Religion Provokes Amens as well as Anxiety
Bush and God
In The Name Of God
Jesus Plus Nothing : Undercover Among The Theocrats
Channeling the Word to the Infidels
Christian Evangelists in Post-War Iraq : Who are the Infidels Now?
Poised and Ready
Mohammed a "terrorist"[Note To Jerry : Jesus was even more so, according to America's definition of the word]
Monotheism and Its Discontents
The God Squad
The World According To God
Who Would Jesus Lobby For?
God Sides With America, Again
Reagan's Rapture

Just remember, world, that no one messes with Bush or The Jesus.

Jesus Christ!

"According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush
said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I
struck them, and then he instructed me to
strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am
determined to solve the problem in the Middle
East. If you help me I will act, and if not,
the elections will come and I will have to
focus on them."

I don't think any comment of mine can do this justice.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Hair brained

Hmm, several things wrong with this, though parts of it are interesting. More later.

"Professors Pagel and Bodmer write in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters that past humans were able to respond flexibly and effectively to their environment by producing fire, shelter and clothing.

So hairlessness became possible and desirable as clothes and shelter could be cleaned or changed if infected with parasites.

The pair say their theory also has a better answer to why there are differences between hair covering in men and women.

'Hairlessness would have allowed humans to convincingly 'advertise' their reduced susceptibility to parasitic infection and this trait therefore became desirable in a mate and the greater loss of hair in women follows to stronger sexual selection from men to women.

Yeah, okay. And it's nice that this reduces our need for flea collars, but I don't know if I buy it since they are so wrong, in my opinion, about headhair.

But first, I will agree that facial hair, pubes, and pit hair were kept for their sexual usefulness.

Here's Marvin Harris theorising why we kept our headhair and lost most body hair :

"A bigger brain made it possible for erectus to run in the midday sun, at a time of day when most predators seek shade and water and refrain from the persuit of game. Fialkowski bases this theory [growth of brain size] on the assumption that by having extra brain cells, the brain of erectus was less likely to break down while experiencing heat stress during long distance running. Individual brain cells are more susceptible to heat stress than are the cells of other organs. Their breakdown leads to cognitive disorientation, convulsions, stroke, then death. A basic principle of information theory holds that in an information system that has elements prone to breakdown (such as the human brain), the reliability of the system can be increased by increasing the number of elements that perform the same function and by increasing the connections among them. The brain of erectus may therefore have contained a large amount of neural redundancy selected as a means of achieving fail-safe operation under heat stress, which is generated during the persuit of game over long distances.

..when it comes to covering long distances, humans can outrun every other animal."

So once our brains became able to function under heat stress, we established ourselves as niche predators, not built for the sprint but for the grind of marathon hunts while extending the range of our foraging. Naturally, anything that helped our brains keep this advantage was selected by nature...

" .. heat stress as an explanation for the enlargement of the erectus brain dovetails with the presence of several other heat-regulating features that are peculiar to humans... We cool ourselves by wetting our skin with moisture exuded by our eccrine sweat glands. Humans have as many as five million of these glands -- far more than any other mammal."

Right. Since it was successful to run, in order to hunt, anything impeding that ability would be selected away. Sweating is the perfect cooling system for distance runners.

"Forest-dwelling apes do not engage in the intense physical effort that prolonged running requires. Their principle thermodynamic challenge is not to dissapate excess heat but to avoid being chilled, especially at night, by exposure to high humidity and heavy rainfall. Hence the luxuriant, slightly oily, and downward-pointing hairy coats of the great apes. The development of erectus as a long-distance runner and the evolution of the evaporative cooling system were incompatible with the preservation of this coat. Air had to pass unobstructed over the film of moisture exuded by the eccrine glands. Hence the peculiar 'nakedness' of the human body. Although we actually have as many hair follicles as the great apes, the hairs that emerge are too thin and short to form a coat. But the vestiges of the water-shedding function of the fur are preserved in the downward pointing orientation of the hairs on our arms and legs."

That makes much more sense as a primary reason for our nakedness, though I don't doubt that parasite control could have played a supplementary factor.

"Running upright on two legs, erectus presented an oblique target for the sun's rays except for the top of the head. While this minimised the heat load for the body in general as compared with that of animals that ran on all fours, it posed a special threat to the brain. Bald men, even Englishmen, are well advised not to go out in the noonday sun. And if we are doomed to earn our keep by the sweat of our brows, it is because our brows have a dense concentration of sweat glands and no hair.

So head hair was kept because it, with intense face and forehead sweating, and the adapted redundancy systems of the enlarged brain, helped to thwart the effects of heat, so that in turn we could keep running after game. It should be noted that this theory is Konrad Fialkowski's which Harris merely synthesised and perhaps perfected.

What crap. Downstairs, where there had been a harmless if perhaps fruity gift card shop (a' la Hallmark) and a cable television office, there is now a GOLF SCHOOL.

I hate golf as a cultural institution, so clique-ridden, so WASPy, such an atavistic representation of the worst of bourgeois "lifestyle". I hate its marketing, its commercialisation which panders to the geriatric, the whitebread and the culturally reactionary. I hate its ecological effects : it is or should be the poster child for recreational resource waste. The golf course, as a cultural institution, is a modern version of the English fox hunter's game preserve : a carefully managed and incredibly wasteful bit of pleasure kept exclusively for the privileged few.

Fuck golf. Golfers should be set on fire. There are but two good things to be said of golf: that it made
possible, and that such a disproportional number of its players are fatally struck by lightning.

Falling Down
, despite its other flaws, has one of the best anti-golf rants, ever.

The War Party

This is a must-see BBC documentary on the Neocon (I prefer my term, "Kristolmethodist") Junta which now rules American Foreign Policy.

Aside the many other issues, I wonder if neocon hacks at the AEI will now dismiss the BBC as "antisemites", which is their slur of choice to fling upon any one who questions their behaviour, as Goldberg, Frum, and the yuppie scumbags of the National Review are so wont to do?

This is only worthy of discourse in that it is such a powerful weapon abused by Kristolmethodists -- as a nasty final stab against their political enemies. Norman Podhoretz made a career of this (Hitchens is a joy to read on the various slanders and idiocies of Poddy), and as such, did the most that he could -- and his ideological desecendants follow him in this, too -- to (unintentionally, I assume) trivalise what should never be trivialised : genuine antisemitism. One of the many reasons that the Kristolmethodists are so morally abhorrant is that in their cheap attempts to assassinate the character of their enemies, they do a genuine disservice to those who have legitimately suffered under antisemitism.

Add to this the fact that they have always made common cause with warmongers, domestic racists, cultural reactionaries and fag-bashers on the right (like Strom Thurmond and the intensely antisemitic WASPs he dutifully represented all those years), in order to consolidate their power (to ""Make It", in Poddy's words), that the hypocrisy becomes unbearable. Kristolmethodists were eager to suck-up to genuine antisemites like Billy Graham and Richard Nixon, in order to make a common front for an expansionist Israel. In other words, in their actions they have historically proven that they dont much care about genuine American antisemitism, and only level the charge at those who oppose them on Mideast policy.

On a personal note, I wonder if the Kristolmethodist fans, like this (post #191 and on) tribalist wacko and certifiable jackass, will now further purify their reading and listening habits as to avoid the "antisemitic" BBC, reducing what is "acceptable" to the point of excluding all other political publications aside the National Review and Commentary, while concomitantly, of course, avoiding all literature beyond the Torah and Dr. Maimonides.

Further Reading :
Can We Talk?
J'accuse, Sort Of

Globalism for centralising culture, but provincialism for decentralising law.

Ahh, this is damning evidence against people like Fareed Zakaria who insist that liberal globalism should be welcomed by all. HERE's your "liberal" globalism, which forcibly exports everything bad about America, while, purposely and simultaneously, withholding some of America's redeeming qualities (like redress of grievances, through the court system). As I have said many times, Globalistas only want a corrupted form of democracy to be forcibly spread with their sacrosanct free market religion. This is, naturally, because the military-industrial-corporate complexes which drive globalism find redress against their crimes and excesses to be anathemic to the God Profit. A rich irony is here: the globalists, who have not yet killed (even though they have permanently mutated it, as well as shredded parts of it when opportunity..crashed) that centrifugal masterpiece that has ever thwarted their agenda (I speak of the U.S Constitution) and who ostensibly desire to export democracy and human rights to the third world they are fucking-up, must, now, forcibly DENY the world's citzenry their "natural right" to seek redress for the human rights abuses these very globalists inflict upon them.

Hence a moral argument against globalism is that if ya ain't gonna forcibly export the good WITH the bad, don't forcibly export anything at all.

De-Globalizing Justice :The Corporate Campaign to Strip Foreign Victims of Corporate-Induced Human Rights Violations of the Right to Sue in U.S. Courts

Dirty Oil Companies

Strom Thurmond, Dead As Fried Chicken (and it took long enough)

Well, he's finally gone, the man whom history will judge as one of the most infamous of mid century Americans.

In so many ways, Thurmond is the racist analogue to Joe McCarthy : a master demagogue who pandered to his region's outgroup bias just as McCarthy pandered to the nation's outgroup bias. How rotten it must be to be a mere provincial form of a McCarthyite.

Now the fun will be in analysing the tributes, surely to be carefully hedged since the Trent Lott debacle. Of course I will especially await the reaction and tribute the Kristolmethodist Godfathers, who embraced Thurmondism just as they embraced McCarthyism and they both (Thurmond and the original neocons) embraced Barry Goldwater. Yes, the Frums and Kristols and Pipeses and Goldbergs, who are descendants of "Scoop" Jackson Democrats, are also descendants of Thurmond Democrats. Witness, this quote from an editorial of the National Review, dated August 24, 1957 (Thurmond's heyday) :

"The central question that emerges – and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalogue of the rights of American citizens, born Equal – is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race."

Ah yes, that's the voice of Thurmondism, Conservatism, Neoconservatism, and the ancestral voice to which the Kristolmethodists, the babies of Neoconservatism, cup their ears.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

In hoc signo vinces

This is cool, though not even the most clay-eating of fundamentalist trash believe it anymore, for years many DID of course think that Constantine's "vision" was from God. Now, scientists claim to have found an asteroid crater, the date of which would explain Constantine's fiery vision. The BBC claims that this celestial event perhaps saved Christianity, but of course Rome needed Christianity like the United States needs consumerism, and if Constantine had not converted another would have.

Rome, decaying, needed Christianity and indeed the empire's conversion probably bought it a hundred years' time, though, paradoxically, it also inevitably helped seal its fate. Christianity is the ULTIMATE centralising force among theocratic ideologies. Rome needed fresh recentralisation because the emperors weren't enough on their own anymore, while too their economic system was getting the best of them. Christianity, as all should know, is the most violently assimilating religion in the world. This was "good," as in useful, for Rome in that it helped unite the empire's colonies in a way which somewhat dampened the centrifugal forces of rebellion and nationalism. In the city that bore his name, Constantine's choice that recentralised Roman ideology demonstrated that a concomitant recentralisation of economics was no accident, and so lived for many more years this reborn -- not merely splintered -- empire until, roughly at the time of the completion of the Hagia Sofia, entropy had its way within as a new means of recentralisation appeared from without, in the form of a crescent in the East.

How it sealed Rome's fate is obvious: as Julian and, I think, Porphyry observed, when Christians thoroughly assimilate a population, they are not yet done killing, for they love the spirit of faction, and leapt (as all sectarians leap) at the chance to kill their heretical brethren. Constantine himself (or was it Constantius II? It hardly matters) especially loved arguments on Church doctrine, after all; part of the fun of being christian is arguing over which sect has a monopoly on truth and which of all the others are especially hell-bound. This was the time of Nicacea, the arguments over the trinity, and all that. Also Christianity helped seal the fate of Rome because the Church eventually took over the centralisational duties from the government, hence economic power eventually fell more to the bishop than the governor; and good bye to all that was gloriously Roman, and in with the muddy despair of the Middle Ages.

One more post before I get ready for work.

Which way to Mecca? I
Which way to Mecca? II

Clifford Geertz shows how ineptly Western politicos and academics "explain" radical Islam. Now more than ever anthropologists are needed in the punditry.

Hmm, now compare and contrast Geertz's essay (especially the part on Schwartz) on Islamic "studies" to this one :

Holy Writ

Hitchens writes effusively of Schwartz, whom Geertz is rightly suspicious of.

Alas, Schwartz's rhetoric couldn't play better to the prejudices of well-meaning leftists like Hitchens. That it has also been coopted by the vile Kristolmethodist rightwing is also too easily predictable. For Hitchens, whose attitude to religion is much like my own, Puritanism in any form is rightly seen as a concentrated evil. Hence, wahabbism, which is overestimated in its adherents, is understandably translated as "islamofascism". But EVERY monotheist religion has its Puritans; in every religion, indeed, there is a range, possibly a continuum, of zealotry, the extremes of which vary according to the religion and to its respective age, AND to its specific properties when put under the pressure of such forces as nationalism, globalism, etc. Put another way, the capacity for vicious sectarianism as well as Puritanism depends on the age of the religion, and various economic and tribalistic factors. It is in this sense that Schwartz, if he is to be believed, is to be understood : that wahabbists are merely the Islamic equivalent of the Western phenomena of Cromwell, Pilgrims and Jerry Falwell.

BUT, you say, our fundamentalists don't fly planes into buildings, which is true. But then, they do bomb abortion clinics. And as a species, their record on human rights is, historically, nazi-like. This is where local conditions and geopolitical forces come into play : our fundies exterminated the Indian because the economic forces of Western Expansion, which could be called proto-Globalism, made it worth their while, as well as sated their heaven-sanctioned hatreds. Wahabbists, on the other hand, lack the power (with a few exceptions, like the Taleban in Afghanistan) to do this sort of thing, not to mention the economic clout. Without doubt, wahabbism, if it exists as Schwartz claims, would have its adherents even if there were no Western "heathens at the gate". But it would not be anymore of a force in Islamic politics than Jerry Falwell is in ours were it not for the nationalist forces and Anti-American reaction stirring it. This, then, brings back Chomsky's point that Hitchens and so many others denounced. If Islamic fundamentalism was not subjected to the forces of American Imperialism, there would be no reaction -- there would be a brief "civil war" of sorts, at worst; more likely, wahabbism would have been marginalised at its birth. Hence, kill the imperialism and the Muslims will deal with their Falwells as we deal with ours. Increase the imperialism, as we have done and will continue to do (because of $$$), and fundamentalism becomes the means with which Islamic culture reacts. It means to survive, to not be assimilated into the West. If left alone, it would coexist; when pushed, a culture's innate tribalist, sectarian, and nationalist frictions spark a flame, a flame that burns that which puts it under the friction to begin with.

(That this phenomenon is ROUGHLY pan-monotheist should be apparent when observing how Jewish fundamentalists, in the guise of the Likud and Moledat parties, adopt fascist means in their reactions to external pressures and in the crucible of nationalism. Make a real Palestinian state -- the Israelis long ago smashed the Arab Imperialism that threatened them -- and remove the American influence, and watch how the Israelis marginalise their "judeofascists" as we do our Falwells and the Arabs would their wahabbis. Of course, I could be wrong in the sense that Israel may be too infected with its own form of imperialism to make this sort of change. But then, the point is the answer to the strain of religious fascism is NOT intervention, for if that were true, the same interventionalists who call for the forced assimilation of Islam into the "liberal" empire would have had to call for the forced assimilation of young Israel into the nationalist mini-empires of Islam. I trust no one, decent or Kristolmethodist, would consent to THAT form of assimilation.)

Oh, goodie.

Following the lead of the dread Max Boot and much-dread Dinesh D'Sousa, Paul Johnson extols the virtues of empire, part of the neocon trick to gradually resurrect the word. At heart, this is a battle of linguistics : Empire has always been for years an evil word to Americans, and for very good reason. Even in pop culture it has nasty connotations of dark helmeted baddies blasting heroic rebels and natives. But neocons don't want us to think that, since they want US to be an empire. Hence, they affix their cheery catch-all words, freedom and liberty, to it.

The Empire For "Liberty"

Jurgen Habermas on American Hegemony and the ebbing of International Law

This should be required reading for Christopher Hitchens. I would add to him the Kristolmethodists, but then they are, depending on the individual, permanently oblivious OR willfully ignorant of the sense of Habermas's argument which is, at heart, what every anti-war protestor's was (and is):

"It is precisely the universalistic core of democracy and human rights that forbids their unilateral realisation at gunpoint."

Exactly. Pre-emptive policy is inherently ANTI-democractic and ANTI-human rights. Moreover, and I have said this til I'm blue in the face, it's inherently immoral to export ANY ideology by force. To say it's not is to excuse every crusader, every zealot, every fascist, every conquerer and every missionary. Good ideology (democracy) or bad (theocracy) only matters by degrees when considered in this context.

As anyone should know, people will prefer to adopt an ideology if reasoned with or given a choice, by diplomatic means. If not, and if for the world's safety we wish a country to change, we AS A COMMUNITY of nations may help them in the means of effecting their OWN revolution. The only lasting revolutions come from within. On the other hand, people do not like to be forced to adopt an ideology, no matter what that ideology is. Therefore, when one is forced on them, their normal recourse is an equal and opposite reaction, which can and will effectively thwart the genuine revoltuionary forces that were once within the given country. Thus it is inherently counterproductive to the cause of human rights to forcibly export ideology, whether economic or political, good or bad.

"The "universalism" of the old empires was of this sort, perceiving the world beyond the distant horizon of their borders only from the centralising perspective of their own worldview. "

Again, centralisation! Shades of Brooks Adams. Everything must be converted, or killed so that it may feed the lumbering imperial beast. A Darwinism of systems, which devotees of Ayn Rand should appreciate, even more so since evil socialists and barterers are being "converted" or murdered. Of course the economic imperialism, the monetary centralisation is too banal for Habermas to go into, so he ignores that part to make a point further : beyond an economic centralisation (globalism), there follows with it an aim to centralise ideology -- from one strain OF a particular ideology, in fact. One may think that goes without saying, but it's not : globalists can and have (in spades!) made money from the tyrants and dictators who embody everything that is NOT democratic. But what they have now discovered is that not only do dictators have a negative PR value, but that a corrupt version of democracy is easier for corporations to control (because it is a velvety form of authoritarianism) than are their old dictator clients over whom the threat of revolution or assassination constantly loom.

In fact, this argument is taken up by Fareed Zakaria (beware disingenuosness in that article; also notice the backhand slap at Allende), who is in many ways one of the most candid (that article withstanding) of globalistas. He points, disapprovingly, to the fact that where democracy is not allowed to be corrupted by the American corporations (as in Venezuela), it is by very nature "illiberal".

Hence globalist neo-liberalism, as preached by Zakaria, Kristolmethodists and the United States, Inc., is a sham, for it does not seek democracy in its Venezuelan OR Northern European forms, because in those organic forms it cannot be corrupted as easily. It hates the grassroots, it hates the welfare state, it hates the coalition government and referenda; it only thrives where elections can be bought and where there is no real multiparty system.

(Link courtesy of Ane.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Ah, the Alien Torts Claims Act is under attack by Bush and Ashcroft.

Bush Administration's attack On ATCA

Why? Because the precious precious American corporations may be sued under the act when they do as they always do : corrupt local authorities to the point that they are effectively banana republics.

Since Daddy Bush's mining company may be liable for burying alive African miners, this is naturally a concern for our Good Government, who only oppose this law philosophically of course. But it's not so simple as Daddy's company : it's for what else has happened in the Third World, and what WILL happen in Iraq. After all, we can't have Iraqis suing Halliburton or Bechtel when those companies' local puppet shoots a few indolent or striking workers now can we?

Also, significantly, this move by the Administration is a favour to the despicable Henry Kissinger, who is very near to being called as a material witness in the court case of the bombing deaths of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and American citizen Ronni Moffit. Because, you see, our government's great friend, General Pinochet, ordered that bombing which was on American Soil by the way. It was Henry Kissinger, ultimately, who allowed this crime to happen (by giving Pinochet a greenlight for whatever he had to do to wipe out those who had spoken uncharitably of his fascist ways).

In some ways this is a quid pro quo and in some important ways it's not. Kissinger, pointedly, dropped the Scowcroft-Eagleburger line of objection to the War in Iraq (this is not out of any morality, of course, but rather just because his kind had always prefered a sure thing in Saddam to a slightly chancey thing like a new puppet). Now Bush and the Kristolmethodist junta have returned the small favour. Where it is not, however, a trade is due to the always present always ludicrous National Pride Factor : beyond a cover your ass mentality, it's a mindset that allows no guilt, admits no fault, and not just for some people, but for anyone who ever had power under American aegis. Colin Powell found this out a few months ago when he candidly admitted to US wrongdoing in regard to Chile. Immediately the beurocracy of the state department (and one should assume that this goes back to Cheney if not, perhaps, Bush) issued a stern counterstatement. If anything, this has inspired in me not a admiration for Colin Powell, but an iota of respect where I had none before.

Incidentally, Hitchens, whose fixation on Iraq has obliterated his sense of perspective, rather meanly did not credit Powell for his candid words : better, of course, to bash Powell for not being blood and guts enough. Also, I think Hitch may be coming to the soul-crushing (for him) conclusion that his beloved neocon "liberators" are actually mere Kissingers, but with better PR sense.

I'll try to get links up to explain my references later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

It occurs to me that my bitchings so far have been hollow or petty, while posts exhibiting other emotions have been entirely too gee-whiz. No more. Christ, I get a blog finally and the least I could do is to NOT choke by coming across as a teenager. Like Martin Amis said of Norman Mailer's career, "it was at the start very mature; all the immaturity was to come later." Yeah, that's suitably contrary for me, even by this modest means of ambition.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Terrific. Goddamnit.

The book superficially reviewed here has evidently already done what I was about to do. It doesn't WHOLLY precurse my especial anti-globalism argument, of course, but it does use a major component. Turns out not everyone has forgotten Brooks Adams after all. Dammit. Well, nothing's ever original; there are only original combinations.