Friday, April 04, 2003

Go here and check this out. I haven't laughed this hard in a while.
Marla called to your attention : here:

Howard Hoffman at and Earl suggested David Ehrenstein of David E's Fablog.

BTW, Lilith, PG runs the blog Half the Sins of Mankind at

The Basics - 14 ways to stretch your gas dollar

Steve of joins us from the great northwest (somewhere out near Kevin). I must say, I've had a rather productive day of recruiting, and Kevin will pretty much have to forgive my failure to send him a bio and stuff. For those using the shared blogroll, I will try to have it up to date tomorrow, and please alert me if there are errors after 5ish Eastern time tomorrow. Kevin, I guess I should take Don's site off the blogroll?

Diebold voting machines

Conan's speech at Harvard

(an old write up not posted till 8.21.03) - I've been watching late night with Jimmy Kimmel - it's actually pretty funny and I have to ask myself if Jimmy is sort of a closet liberal. He had Janeane Garofolo on as the guest host all last week, and then he did an interview with those North Carolina yahoos this past Monday evening. He pretty much made fun of them. After a brief interview they started showing their t-shirt with the words french crossed off, touting freedom fries. One of the red necks remarked "we're selling souvenoirs", to which Jimmy replied "you realize that souvenoir is a French word?". You could see the embarressment on the small crowd.

Behind them was a dry erase board with the list of all the media outlets that were interviewing them that day. They had the BBC, CNN and someone spelled Virgina (not Virginia). Jimmy relished the fact that we can't spell in this country, but we can make Freedom Fries and we have a huge army. He closed the segment by trying to thank them and compliment, but would up saying "you've done nothing, thanks for playing". I have to admit, I was impressed.

I don't want to go too far, but MY IMPRESSION is this conflict is the epitome of the conflicts of interest within the GOP, between it's tendencies to act on it's nationalistic vs financial interests. This conflict is symptomatic and systematic and are exemplified in many other situations / nations (as in China for another).
Appeasement of Saudi Arabia/Middle East & Oil Companies vs. Israel
China (BUSINESS INTERESTS VS. CHINESE GOV. ANTAGONIZING(especially after plane collision)
RRW'S FEAR OF One world gov. USED AGAINST UN vs. WTO (which has far more power)
family values vs. welfare safety net
women shouldn't work vs. single welfare mothers need to work more
regulation of TV vs. cutting funding for PBS
credit card bankruptcy reform
ab. - always cutting funding to laws that would reduce it because of business interests, but always looking to make illegal

Another Chicago blog called Audible frequency.

From Salon, Oil, imperialism and "hypocrisy" - Among the hundreds of thousands protesting in London, most saw Bush and Blair as a bigger threat than dictator Saddam Hussein. By David Akerman, Feb. 16, 2003

Yet public opinion in eastern Europe is even more hostile to war than in the west.

Bill Maher

America the scapegoat - An Australian woman who has made New York her home fires back at the smug U.S.-bashers in Europe and her native land.

A memo to American Muslims - By M. A. Muqtedar Khan


Poor Excuse
Don't blame Third World poverty for Sept. 11.
By Emily Yoffe

Monday, Oct. 1, 2001, at 10:30 a.m. PT

Since the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 mass murder declined to leave a note mentioning the "root cause" of their actions, a chorus quickly found one anyway: poverty. (The more obvious one—Islamic militants view destroying the United States as part of their historical duty—apparently has the drawback of being unsympathetic.) Here's a sample of the poor terrorist refrain. "But the end game is not eliminating terrorism. The end game is using our new global coalition to fight poverty and give hope to kids all around the world so the only option they have isn't joining some fanatical group," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. "We need a systematic approach that helps everyone in the world … not only by catching terrorists but by addressing the root causes of terrorism, like resolving conflicts in the Middle East, addressing poverty," said William Ury of Harvard Law School. "To prevent terrorism, we must make war against poverty," proclaimed playwright Harold Pinter.

But the biographies of the hijackers and their commanders lead to another conclusion about the economic forces behind their actions. That is, terrorism is caused by money, education, and opportunity. For example, hijacker and apparent ringleader Mohamed Atta was the son of a Cairo lawyer. He went to the University of Cairo, then did graduate work in Germany. Another hijacker, Ziad Jarrah, was born in Lebanon to, according to the Boston Globe, "a prosperous, educated family." His father is a government official, his mother a teacher. He, too, went to college in Germany. Hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi, from the United Arab Emirates, was a college student at the University of Bonn. Brothers Wail and Waleed M. Alshehri, from Saudi Arabia, sons of a businessman, were both college
educated. Then there are the terrorist leaders. Osama Bin Laden is from one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest families. The man believed to be the No. 2 in the organization, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is an Egyptian-born physician, from, according to the New York Times "a prosperous and prestigious family."

That being poor is not a prerequisite or even a reliable indicator of a propensity to murder people was expressed in the Wall Street Journal by Saudi exile Mohammed al-Masari, a former physics professor considered by the Saudi government to be a promoter of terrorism. "Most mujahedeen [freedom fighters] in Afghanistan were from Saudi Arabia, which shows that under the cover of being relatively wealthy, the Saudis are as devoted as any other Muslims. People in the West just want to cheat themselves by saying that the problem [of Islamic fundamentalism] is purely economic."

Poverty stinks. It often means sickness, malnutrition, lousy education, and limited prospects. But if we were to magically eliminate poverty, that would not end militant Islamic terrorism. And to say that poverty explains terror is to slur those caught in terrible circumstances who choose to lead worthy lives. Does the United States fear Haitians? Few people are as circumscribed by poverty, disease, illiteracy, and corruption. But Haitians are desperately trying to get to America—not to slaughter us but to take the kinds of unpleasant jobs Americans don't want. The men of privilege and education who turned planes into bombs also murdered Leobardo Lopez Pascual. His response to poverty was to leave rural Mexico four years ago, and a wife and four children whom he hadn't seen since, to support his family by working in a kitchen on the top of the World Trade Center.

To be sure, terrorists use poverty as a kind of currency. Their people's misery helps ignite rage. The terrorists want poor foot soldiers for their own ends. Until Sept. 11, the classic model of the suicide bomber was the young man of no means and no future recruited with a promise of glory in the afterlife for killing infidels. The greatest economic boon to the Palestinian people would be a lasting
peace with Israel, but the terror organizations that want Israel's elimination prefer to sell the dark glamour of martyrdom. The chorus of poverty explainers who emerged after Sept. 11 often mention how the West's sanctions against Saddam Hussein have hurt the Iraqi people and resulted in more hate toward us. But it is Saddam's choice not to take the actions that would result in lifting the sanctions.

How much more convenient for him to continue to build his arsenal while blaming his people's misery on the United States.

Let's say, for a moment, the poverty explanation is right. What comes next? How does the United States eradicate poverty from corrupt regimes that despise us? Should we send in aid workers, like those now on trial for their lives in Afghanistan, their crime being to have Bibles?

In any war, it is always smart to try to understand your enemy, his motivations, his weaknesses, his goals. But the root cause of the acts of Sept. 11, and the many other terrorist murders that preceded it, is the malignant philosophy of the perpetrators and their leaders, not their income.


You know it's weird - maybe I've told you before or not, but I'm Jewish. I have had a hard time watching what's going on in Israel. Your post that is being circulated thru the Jewish community is a heartbreaking reminder of the past, of everything I learned in hebrew school.

I feel like I understand both sides, believe it or not. I actually empathise with many Palestinians, and I do believe that they, as a whole, deserve to live in a homeland just like us, to live and be governed by themselves. That's not so much a line attributed to my own view of the Israeli occupation as much as it is an identification with their own perspective.

What upsets me is how easy one can lose their objectiveness. My heart breaks by the site of innocent Palestinians crying in the streets feeling powerless victims, I am no less heartbroken to watch innocent Israelis covered in their own blood, or someone elses, in shock from another suicidal attack. So many people want to believe that they exist in a vacuum, and they are strictly victims and reacting to those actions. To hear my own people say that the only good palestinian is a dead palestinian.

And yet I keep coming back to what is iterated in that post. For 2000 years we've been the downtrodden and killed off repeatedly so many times it's too long to list. The Palestinians have been given far more opportunities for peace. All the Jews want (most of them anyway) is the opportunity to live among themselves with feeling like the outsider, whitout fearing that someone in the night will come for them. Everybody thinks it's about the Holocaust - no one mentions the Crusades, the Spanish Inquitition, The Dreyfus Affair, The Romans, Masada, etc. It goes on forever.

So once again were are victims, be it the agenda of far off Muslim states using the Palestinians as pawns, or Islamic fundamentalists who will NEVER compromise anything less than a fully restored caliphate. So I ask, watching innocent people die at the hands of murderer, brainwashed individuals who have no respect for their own life in quest for the paradise promised hereafter, people pumped full of propaganda that there is no such thing as Israel, people who KILL their own when they are accused of being traitors with no trial, what are we supposed to do? Just what should be done? Give pre 1967 borders back?


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