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Entries posted on “May, 2009”
By John Pilger
May 13, 2009
Hat tip: “Information Clearing House“
In the early 1960s, it was the Irish of Derry who would phone late at night, speaking in a single breath, spilling out stories of discrimination and injustice. Who listened to their truth until the violence began? Bengalis from what was then East Pakistan did much the same. Their urgent whispers described terrible state crimes that the news ignored, and they implored us reporters to “let the world know”. Palestinians speaking above the din of crowded rooms in Bethlehem and Beirut asked no more. For me, the most tenacious distant voices have been the Tamils of Sri Lanka, to whom we ought to have listened a very long time ago.
It is only now, as they take to the streets of western cities, and the persecution of their compatriots reaches a crescendo, that we listen, though not intently enough to understand and act. The Sri Lankan government has learned an old lesson from, I suspect, a modern master: Israel. In order to conduct a slaughter, you ensure the pornography is unseen, illicit at best. You ban foreigners and their cameras from Tamil towns like Mulliavaikal, which was bombarded recently by the Sri Lankan army, and you lie that the 75 people killed in the hospital were blown up quite wilfully by a Tamil suicide bomber. You then give reporters a ride into the jungle, providing what in the news business is called a dateline, which suggests an eyewitness account, and you encourage the gullible to disseminate only your version and its lies. Gaza is the model.
From the same masterclass you learn to manipulate the definition of terrorism as a universal menace, thus ingratiating yourself with the “international community” (Washington) as a noble sovereign state blighted by an “insurgency” of mindless fanaticism. The truth and lessons of the past are irrelevant. And having succeeded in persuading the United States and Britain to proscribe your insurgents as terrorists, you affirm you are on the right side of history, regardless of the fact that your government has one of the world’s worst human rights records and practises terrorism by another name. Such is Sri Lanka.
Rumsfeld’s Pentagon Published Bible Verses on Top-Secret Intel Reports
Posted by Ali Frick,
Hat tip: Think Progress
The cover sheets featured inspirational Bible verses printed over military images.
In a lengthy article on Donald Rumsfeld’s rocky tenure as Defense Secretary, GQ published never-before-seen cover sheets from top-secret intelligence briefings produced by Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. Starting in the days surrounding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the cover sheets featured inspirational Bible verses printed over military images, “and were delivered by Rumsfeld himself to the White House” to the president, “who referred to America’s war on terror as a ‘crusade,’” GQ writes. Below are some examples of the Bible quotes (view the images here):
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” [The quote appears over an image of a tank at sunrise]
This story is nearly two and a half years old, yet more relevant today than ever.
Hat tip: Popular Mechanics
In a guest editorial, law professor and instapundit.com blogger Glenn Reynolds argues that overagressive tactics and surplus military gear have turned some police units into a dangerous menace.
(Illustration by Yuko Shimizu)
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds
Published on: November 28, 2006
SOLDIERS AND POLICE are supposed to be different. Soldiers are aimed at enemies from outside the country. They are trained to kill those enemies, and their supporters. In fact, “killing people and breaking things” are their main reasons for existence.
Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force.
It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians. The trend toward militarizing police began in the ’60s and ’70s when standoffs with the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the University of Texas bell tower gunman Charles Whitman convinced many police departments that they needed more than .38 specials to deal with unusual, high-intensity threats. In 1965 Los Angeles inspector Daryl Gates, who later became police chief, signed off on the formation of a specially trained and equipped unit that he wanted to call the Special Weapons Attack Team. (The name was changed to the more palatable Special Weapons and Tactics). SWAT programs soon expanded beyond big cities with gang problems.
Abetting this trend was the federal government’s willingness to make surplus military equipment available to police and sheriffs’ departments. All sorts of hardware is available, from M-16s to body armor to armored personnel carriers and even helicopters. Lots of police departments grabbed the gear and started SWAT teams, even if they had no real need for them. The material was free, and it was fun. I don’t blame the police. Heck, if somebody gave me a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to play with, I’d probably start a SWAT team, too—so long as I didn’t have to foot the maintenance bill.
Editor’s note: This was yesterday’s front page story of The New York Times….To sum in a word–YIKES!
Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More
photo credit: Todd Krainin for The New York Times
Hat tip of shame: The New York Times
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER
Published: May 13, 2009
IMPERIAL, Calif. — Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor.
In a training exercise run by Border Patrol agents, Explorer scouts from Visalia, Calif., prepare to storm a “hijacked” bus.
The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.
“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.
It is all quite a step up from the square knot.
The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.
“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”
Read more…[if you can stomach it]
Editor’s note: In the Columbus area, The Liberty Voice has almost 200 hosts–businesses who distribute our newspaper for their customers to pick up. Today we lost a host because the business felt it needed to carry papers that did not “have political content that their customers might find objectionable.” Interestingly, this grocery store also carries papers like the New York Times, Columbus Dispatch and Investor’s Business Daily. When mainstream news sources can be ‘unobjectionable’ at a time when elections are stolen, habeas corpus is suspended, torture is on the table and holding our elected officials accountable to the rule of law is off the table — that alone is proof positive that the fourth estate is in need of a major overhaul.
Hat tip: Miami Herald
BY EDWARD WASSERMAN
Things have not been going well at the Chicago Tribune, where the new owner, gasping under acquisition debts, is in bankruptcy, and where circulation is falling. A few weeks ago managers there decided to ask readers what they’d like to see in the paper, and questionnaires went out to 9,000 people.
The surveys asked which of 10 prospective stories readers liked best. The problem is, those stories weren’t just some editor’s fantasy: They were actually being worked.
Bowing to a protest e-mailed by 50-some newsroom employees, The Tribune’s editor, Gerould Kern, spiked the project. ”To prematurely disseminate information about stories in progress compromises reporting,” Kern observed, a mild understatement.
Of course, they could have just asked readers about stories the paper had already published. But then, when your company is circling the drain and you reach frantically for a plug, you’re liable to grab something that fits badly.
The dustup has been framed as another tale of marketers wielding dubious influence over newsroom decisions, but I think the basic problem is more perplexing. It’s something newspeople have puzzled over for decades — and it’s a question they’ve bequeathed to the Internet sites that now compete fiercely for eyeballs: Shouldn’t journalists just find out what people want and give it to them?
That seems to be what Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, advises. Mind you, his company has grown fat from hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising sold against content it doesn’t pay for and does nothing to create. Still, it’s insanely successful, so Schmidt naturally felt entitled to offer this pearl to a recent newspaper convention: “Try to figure out what your consumer wants. If you [upset] enough of them, you will not have any of them.”
News not always welcome
Well, fine. But for journalists the hitch has always been that news, if done honestly, is routinely unwelcome and, more to the point, that it isn’t just another consumer product. It’s a kind of civic good.
Editor’s note: I am proud to not only be from the 2nd Ohio District where Rep. Jordan resides, but to have known him since he worked tirelessly to become Delaware’s (youngest?) County Commissioner. As a freshman Ohio congressman, Rep. Jordan was voted by his peers to serve as the Assistant Minority Whip of the Ohio House of Representatives. This is Rep. Jordan’s first bill, and I pray that he continues his courageous fight on behalf of the citizens of Delaware, Ohio. PLEASE, encourage him in support of what he has done on behalf of the citizens of Ohio.
Phone: (614) 644-6711
Fax: (614) 719-0002
Chairman Gerberry, ranking member Daniels, and members of State Government Committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today about House Concurrent Resolution 11. I would also like to thank Rep. Martin for jointly sponsoring this resolution with me, as well as the Ohio Freedom Alliance, who provided excellent assistance with grassroots efforts to help garner support.
Currently, more than 35 states have introduced resolutions to declare their sovereignty to the federal government. These resolutions all share a single purpose: to start a critical discussion on the issue of federal encroachment into the rights of states, and to remind the folks in Washington DC that our founding fathers strongly believed in federalism and enforcing the limits of the federal governments’ power. We need to stop government gone wild!
Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” I don’t trust the government; neither did our Founding Fathers. That is why they gave us federalism, checks and balances, the Declaration of Independence, the peaceful passing of power, our Constitution, as well as the freedoms of religion, speech, a fair trial, and the right to bear arms, among others…
They would be shocked with what they see today, at how government has grown, how it has chipped away our rights, how it believes government is the only answer to our problems…. Not like our Founding Fathers believed, that government solutions to problems are usually worse than the problems themselves. I believe the resolution Rep. Martin and I have introduced will lead to a meaningful discussion about where we are now and where we ought to be.
We should not be spending our children’s futures on a one-time bailout from the federal government. We should not leverage a large portion of our state budget on funds from DC that will not be there in the future. This will lead us towards higher taxes and bigger government, and I strongly believe this means less freedom. We should instead exercise our constitutional right to determine our own goals, taxes, spending levels, and values.
Today, April 13 at the Ohio State House in Senate Hearing Room 17, a number of concerned Ohio citizens had the rare privilege to hear eloquent testimony in defense of our US Constitution. Representatives Jarrod B. Martin and Kris Jordon, sponsors of HJR 11 both spoke on behalf of the Concurrent Resolution. The following is the testimony given by Representative Jarrod Martin.
Chairman Gerberry, Ranking member Daniels, members of the State Government Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to come and present sponsor testimony for House Concurrent Resolution 11. I also would like to thank Representative Jordan for his collaboration and sponsorship of this resolution.
We all are aware of the importance of the U.S. Constitution as the legal foundation of our republic, I do not have to tell you the dire implications of one level of government ignoring some, or all, of this document. Our Constitution has served us well for over two hundred and twenty years, in part, because of the great respect and adherence to it by both the federal government and the respective states. It is true that since it’s ratification in 1789, the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted by some of the most brilliant minds in our nation’s history.
One question that deeply divided the political thought of the founders was how many powers were to be granted to a centralized government and what authorities were to be retained by the states. This discussion has continued through the course of history and it continues still today.
The fear of a strong centralized government arose, in part, from the unfair policies and
taxation established by the rule of the British crown. Policies and taxation over which the American colonists had no say. Some of the founders such as James Madison believed that the federal government would never become too powerful because the people, with these memories so vividly in their minds, would not allow it. After many months of debate, the Constitution was ratified, but not before it was agreed that a Bill of Rights be immediately added. What resulted were ten amendments to the Constitution that guarantees the rights of individual citizens and states alike. These included the security and guarantee of our most precious freedoms; those of speech, religion, press, and fair trials among others. Included in this same Bill of Rights is the Tenth Amendment, which reads:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”
I firmly believe the Constitution sought to ensure that all levels of government in our republic derive its power from the people, and the Tenth Amendment preserves this local control even in the face of the federal government.
Pope in Bethlehem endorses independent Palestinian state
Hat tip: AP
May 13, 2009
Standing in the cradle of Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI told Palestinians on Wednesday that he understands their suffering and offered his strongest public backing yet for an independent Palestinian state.
To get to Jesus’ traditional birthplace of Bethlehem, Benedict had to cross through towering concrete slabs, part of a separation barrier Israel has erected to wall off the West Bank’s Palestinian areas.
Bethlehem, West Bank (AP) — “Mr. President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders,” the pontiff said upon his arrival, standing alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
It was the third day of Benedict’s Holy Land pilgrimage meant largely to boost interfaith relations. But so far, it has been fraught with political land mines. Israelis have criticized the German-born pope for failing to adequately express remorse for the Holocaust, while the Palestinians are pressing him to draw attention to the difficult conditions of life under Israeli rule.
The pope also called for a Palestinian homeland when he arrived in Israel on Monday for the five-day visit. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the audience, says Palestinians are not ready to rule themselves and he has resisted international pressure to endorse the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
In Bethlehem, Benedict delivered a special message of solidarity to the 1.4 million Palestinians isolated in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He has no plans to visit Gaza.
Israel recently waged a three-week war against Gaza
militants men, women and children that killed more than 1,000 people and badly damaged thousands of homes. The war compounded suffering already caused by an Israel and Egyptian blockade of Gaza’s borders since Hamas wrested control of Gaza two years ago.
“In a special way, my heart goes out to the pilgrims from war-torn Gaza: I ask you to bring back to your families and your communities my warm embrace, and my sorrow for the loss, the hardship and the suffering you have had to endure,” the pope told thousands of Palestinians who packed an open-air Mass in Manger Square, some hoisting Palestinian and Vatican flags and pictures of the pontiff and Jesus.
“Please be assured of my solidarity with you in the immense work of rebuilding which now lies ahead, and my prayers that the embargo will soon be lifted,” he added.
Editor’s note: Don’t miss the video at the end of this post where Leonard Shlain lectures on his book, “The Alphabet verses the Goddess”. It is the best hour and 15 minutes you can spend to help you view the world in a whole new way. A triumph. Astounding…consider for example the benefits of literacy as obvious, but the hidden costs may surprise you.
A work truly deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize. Enjoy.
The Bay Area and the world lost a renowned visionary thinker and educator when Leonard Shlain, best-selling author and San Francisco surgeon, died Monday, May 11, 2009 at his home in Mill Valley after a battle with brain cancer. He was 71 years old.
Admired among artists, scientists, philosophers, anthropologists and educators, Leonard Shlain authored three best-selling books: Art & Physics, Alphabet vs. The Goddess and Sex, Time, and Power. He delivered multimedia presentations based upon his books in venues around the world including Harvard, The New York Museum of Modern Art, CERN, Los Alamos, The Florence Academy of Art and the European Council of Ministers. His fans include Al Gore, Norman Lear and singer Bjork who creditedShlain ’s Alphabet vs. The Goddess with inspiring her recent album “Wanderlust”. His fourth book Leonardo’s Brain about Leonardo Da Vinci will be published next spring by Viking. Dr. Shlain was a surgeon for 38 years at California Pacific Medical Center where he headed the Laparascopic Surgery Department and an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF.
Leonard Shlain was a loving and generous man with a larger-than-life intellect and a prodigious curiosity. He was a widely respected surgeon and attentive father and husband. He had an encyclopedic knowledge which he wove with highly creative insights in his books and presentations. A voracious reader, he took pride in finding the perfect metaphor and delighted in making connections between everything from art, physics, to human evolution and sexuality. Dinner conversations spanned from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to politics, literature to a hilarious joke. When his children were young, he brought a human brain in a bucket of formaldehyde during the school show and tell. When he came home after a hard day’s work as a young surgeon, he would excitedly diagram his operation of the day on a napkin. Later, his diagrams became more adventuresome and expanded to thought experiments that included what it would be like to sit astride a beam of light and how that corresponded with Picasso’s rose period, blue period. This eventually led him to write his first book, Art and Physics. (continue reading his obituary here.)
More information on this amazing man and one of his most popular works, the “Alphabet verses the Goddess” Read more.