Sunday, November 26, 2006
For your viewing pleasure, I suggest maximizing the video underneath (click on the video, it takes you to the YouTube website and plays it again, then click on the button to the right of the volume control, it will make the video full screen.)
Enjoy the legend and, in my opinion, a presentation of what music truly is and always should be.
So set it up, Joe. I've got a story, you oughta know...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Backed by U.S.-led coalition advisers, Iraqi security forces battled insurgents early Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, the U.S. military said.
At least five people were killed in the fighting, including a mother and her 8-month-old child, and 18 others were wounded, an Iraqi Health Ministry official said.
A Shiite legislator, holding the dead child's body, told reporters outside a hospital morgue that the Iraqi government should be denounced for allowing such attacks, The Associated Press reported.
"I am suspending my membership in parliament since it remains silent about crimes such as this against the Iraqi people," said Saleh Al-Ukailli, according to AP. "I will not return to parliament until the occupation troops leave the country."
Thinking back to 9/11 and the horror and traumization our nation felt at the death of 3,000 Americans; I wonder what Iraqi's think at the death of 600,000 Iraqi's during this war, not to mention the 500,000 killed during the genocidal sanctions regime the US imposed on the Iraqi people. With a low-scale civil war going in Iraq, in addition to resistance to our occupation and strong anti-war sentiment at home, the Bush Administration has decided to... escalate the war. A vast majority of the Iraqis want us to leave now and support attacks on US troops. There is no question, no moral reason we should be there if we are not wanted. Bush response? More troops, more guns, more bombs. Luckily for all of us here in the United States the press practices amazing self-censorship so when your tax money goes to murdering civilians, brown civilians who arnt even Christian and speak some bizarre language, its not a big deal. After all K-Fed and Britney are getting divorced, TomKat just got married. Compared to that, killing over half a million people (and more everyday) is not a big deal.
I think the words of Thomas Jefferson best sum up my feeling toward the United States. "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever."
It starts off with "An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians." First, applause for Peace Now, one of many Israeli advocacy groups (Gush Shalom, Jews for Peace) that protest government policies in the Palestinian Territories. They are almost entirely ignored in American media but their newsletters are free to everyone and highly informative.
Second, a correction. The problem, according to the NYT, is that 39% of land Israeli settlements on the West Bank is owned by Palestinians, which (as the article says) is illegal. What it does not say is that its illegal under Israeli law. What Peace Now has been saying for a long time, and what is reported everywhere in the world and something everyone except Americans know, is that 100% of the land Israeli "settlements" occupy is illegal under international law. You cannot confiscate land and build on it. The "settlements" are illegal colonies. They are not only illegal under international law but the daily expansion of them is illegal under the "Road Map".
Here is one of the most interesting parts in the article:
Friday, November 17, 2006
Anyone who was worried that a new Democratic Senate might change the twisted and dangerous bi-partisan foreign policy consensus that posesses the United States halls of power need not worry. Although the changing of the guard does not take place until January, a recent (horrible) bill recently passed the US Senate with a majority of Democratic Senators voting Yes; and and even larger majority of Democratic Senators voted against a pretty important amendment to that bill. I'll briefly explain:
In 1945 the US was the only country that had the atom bomb. By the end of the 60's, six states had the bomb (UK, France, China, USSR, Israel, USA). And a lot of countries were racing to get the bomb, so it was generally accepted that soon almost every country would have a nuclear weapon. So they came up with something called the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Every single country in the world (except for Pakistan, India and Israel) signed it. It had three main components:
1. Every country signing that does not have the bomb hereby promises not to try and get the bomb.
2. Every country signing that already has the bomb hereby promises to take full faith measures to reduce and eventually eliminate their stockpiles of nuclear bombs
3. Everyone, nuclear and non-nuclear states, has the "inalienable right" to a nuclear energy program. [And yes this includes uranium-enrichment]
So anyway, "nuclear proliferation" (spread of nuclear weapons), has become a bit of a problem lately. Bush said this was the #1 danger the US faces. So what has he done to stop it? First he announced North Korea, Iran and Iraq were in an axis of evil, then illegally invaded Iraq (a straight out war crime) but appeased North Korea once it announced he had the bomb. Well now Iran (which is frequently threatened by the US and Israel) has a nuclear energy program (that everyone assumes is actually to make a bomb.) Well, the smartest thing Iran could do at this point is to develop a nuclear weapon, almost everyone acknowledges this. Even Israel's leading military historian, Martin Van Creveld, recently wrote "Obviously, we don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons and I don't know if they're developing them, but if they're not developing them, they're crazy."
Iraq, Iran, India. India never signed the NPT and developed a nuclear bomb on its own. Since they did that the US, like most states, has taken certain measures to make it clear that its not cool that India just went out and got itself a bomb (as to discourage others.) Well that was erased last year when Bush went to India and signed an agreement that said the US would send vast amounts of nuclear material to India (such as enriched uranium) for their "civilian" energy program. Well India does in fact have a large scale civilian nuclear energy program, which requires large amounts of nuclear material, leaving only a little bit left for their military program. However, since now the US is providing everything they need for their civilian energy program, that means India has a shitload left over to begin a mass-scale nuclear weapons program.
Its a stab in the heart for nuclear proliferation. The US is doing this because they want to court India as a stragetic partner as a counterweight to China. But the effects of this are profound. Everyone else in the world (except for Pakistan and Israel) followed the rules and signed this treaty. Everyone in the treaty, including nuclear-states, agreed that nuclear weapons are bad, they should not be spread, and we should not only prevent an increase but start to decrease them and eventually get rid of them altogether. But one of the 3 countries that ignored this rule and developed its own bomb is.... being rewarded and provided with everything they need to massively INCREASE their nuclear weapons program!
However Bush cant just sign these deals and make them effective. It must pass the Senate. And it did, yesterday, overwhelmingly. Here are the people who voted against it:
Akaka (D-HI)Bingaman (D-NM)Boxer (D-CA)Byrd (D-WV)
Conrad (D-ND)Dayton (D-MN)Dorgan (D-ND)Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)Johnson (D-SD)Kennedy (D-MA)Leahy (D-VT)
Yeah Kennedy! Anyway, it gets better. Now, Im sure you are wondering what Iran is thinking about this (what Pakistan thinks is a whole other topic.) Iran, like everyone else, signed a treaty saying it would not develop nuclear weapons but has the inalienable right to a nuclear energy program. And yet they are surrounded by the nuclear armed United States military in almost every country they border, have US Fleets doing "exercises" right off their coast, and are openly being threatened by the US and Israel; all for a 'peaceful' nuclear program that they are legally entitled to. Yes of course its bullshit and they are probably trying to get the bomb, but I might add they keep saying they'll give up their program if the US will just PROMISE NOT TO INVADE THEIR COUNTRY! The US refuses to make that promise. But it does promise that it will ship assloads of nuclear material to India. Well. Hm.
So now turning to the best part of this all. India has relations with Iran. Not only diplomatic, but military relations (ie trade deals, joint exercises, etc.) So yesterday Senator Barbara Boxer proposed attaching this amendment to the nuclear deal with India. The text reads as follows:
"To make the waiver authority of the President contingent upon a certification that India has agreed to suspend military-to-military cooperation with Iran, including training exercises, until such time as Iran is no longer designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. "
The amendment was REJECTED, 38 - 59. And it was NOT a party line vote. The amendment was supported by everyone from Ted Kennedy to fucking Rick Santorum! And still got rejected! I've said it once and I'll say it again; nuclear proliferation is not a priority for the US government. Not just Bush, but the fucking senate too!
The US does not play but the rules. It wants to run the world through force. It wishes make countries stay in line by keeping them in a constant state of fear that they will be attacked by the US if they dare defy it. The US is running the world like a mafia don. And I might add threatening violence for political purposes is TERRORISM, thats the definition, according to the US Army field manual. Iran must be punished because they do not cave into what the US says, and they held our embassy hostage for 444 days in 1979-80. No matter that we overthrew their parliament and installed a murderous dictator that held their COUNTRY hostage for 25 years.
So India gets to make as many bombs as it wants because they are a strategic partner that will counterweight China and Russia. Iran needs to be punished for being a bad boy and is desparately trying to develop a nuclear bomb so the US does not attack (widely recognized by the US foreign policy elite as the reason for Iran's nuclear program). But the US wont promise were not going to attack, even if they give up their program. So why the hell should they?