Saturday, July 07, 2007


For anyone who caught the Venezuelan RCTV "scandal" a few weeks ago, there is an amusing update:

The corporate funded student movement that so vigorously protested the disappearance of RCTV was given a chance to speak in front of the Venezuelan National Assembly. The speech was nationally televised on the State-owned Channel 8. The speeches have been translated and are available for viewing here. It's really worth checking out to get a flavor of the tyrannical regime under which Venezuelans suffer.

The anti-Chavez speaker, Doublas Barrios, goes first and spends most of his time reciting platitudes and complaining to the assembled legislators and the entire country that is watching him that his freedom of speech is being repressed.

At the end of his speech Barrios takes off his t-shirt in a symbolic act of defiance and he and his brethren leave the chamber. Mind you, the 'speeches' were apparently set up as a debate, so leaving the hall effectively cuts off the debate since he's not around to hear the rebuttal. So much for free speech. Though it is oddly heartening to observe that frat boys are just as stupid in other countries as they are here.

Next comes the Chavista speaker, Hector Rodriguez, who had been sitting next to Barrios before being called to address the assembly. Apparently when the frat boys stormed out they left a copy of their script on their chairs, a script that was written by an advertising agency owned by Globovision. Globovision is owned by Alberto Ravel, one of the wealthiest men in Venezuela. Hilariously Rodriguez reads a page of the script aloud in front of the assembly including the stage directions: "takes shirt off".

So we now have another event to add to the list of unimaginables. Imagine, if you can, student protesters that opposed government policies being invited to speak on the floor of the US Congress. Think it will happen in your lifetime?

Imagine a US television station that had fomented the violent overthrow of the elected government. Would its owners and operators have escaped imprisonment or execution? Much less have been allowed to continue broadcasting through the next election? Much less be allowed to continue on satellite and cable after their broadcast licence expired and was not renewed?

Well, in case your imagination fails, you can always happily revert to calling free countries "tyrannies". It requires no imagination.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Map Blogging 

Thursday, July 05, 2007

so listen up cuz ya can't say nothin' 


Tonight (June 25) we, a group of autonomous women activists, have protested against the Akerstein Company and its support for the Separation Wall. We have acted at the Akerstein sales center at Herzlia Pituach - we have inserted fast-drying glue into the locks of several entrance doors, sprayed red stains on the outer walls and hanged on the walls posters with the text reproduced below.

Text of the posters:

In recent years the Akerstein Company has turned itself into the sub-contractor of the Apartheid policy enacted by the State of Israel. The company derives enormous profits from the Israeli tax-payer`s money for building a Separation Fence of which large parts lie within the territory of the Palestinian Authority and lead directly to robbing Palestinian inhabitants of their livelihood, the starving of hundreds of thousands, the deprivation of their freedom of movement and the annexation of their lands to Israeli settlements.

The responsibility for this dangerous policy does not lie solely upon the Government of Israel and its security forces, but also upon private companies which fill their pockets with profits derived from state crimes. The directors, workers and customers of Akerstein must know that it is impossible to divide the `legitimate` production of tiles and roofs, for the glory of the Israeli homes, from the activity of the same company beyond the Green Line - an activity involving the denial to rural population of access to hospitals, a severe damage to the educational system and breaking up the fabric of family and social life in a considerable part of the Palestinian territories.

We call upon the Akerstein directors to wake up swiftly and recognize their responsibility for a dangerous and corrupt policy of violating human rights and damaging civil and family life. The only possible conclusion of such an reappraisal must be to stop their contribution to building the Separation Wall and putting their moral duty ahead of financial profit.

Not a bad idea. Whoever is building the US/Mexico Wall should be locked in as well.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Topical thoughts 

Still topical 49 years after their publication.


Is it Soviet Russia [or "Islamofascism"] that is the threat to the world? Is it indeed? Then may we quote from Scott Nearing’s THE WAY OF THE TRANSGRESSOR?

“What nation today has a navy bigger than all other navies combined? The U. S. A. What nation today is steadily adding to the only known stockpile of atom bombs? The U. S. A. What nation today is tops in the development of buzz bombs, jet planes, bacterial poisons and death rays? The U. S. A. What nation today is spending the largest sums on military preparations? The U. S. A. What nation today is permitting representatives of the armed forces to take over the direction of domestic and foreign policy? The U. S. A. What nation today is arming its neighbors (in Latin America), intervening in the internal affairs of Europe and Asia, threatening the world peace and security and rapidly surrounding itself with a black curtain of anxiety, suspicion and hatred? The U. S. A.”

If we are to accept the materialistic and atheistic philosophy of the capitalist state which holds sway in the United States, then there can be but little objection to this state of affairs. If our values are derived from the stock exchange, if we are to join in the psychopathic mania that has made war an end in itself, which has made it the norm of the American economy, if we are only to be united against an ideology rather than for any [particular] ideology–-then we are on the right track.

Some of us at THE CATHOLIC WORKER have been going to the colleges and distributing a leaflet against UMT [Universal Military Training]. And most everyone to whom we gave the leaflet has expressed acceptance of UMT, has thought it a good thing. There are no antiwar organizations in the colleges these days, at least not in the Catholic colleges. There is a sense of the inevitable, that war is to come, that mora1ity has nothing to do with it, that it is a question of licking Russia [or radical Islam] before she gets too strong, before she gets the atomic bomb.

Around the local churches they are distributing leaflets and cards asking the Italians here to write to their relatives in Italy not to vote Communist. It would be interesting to know who is financing this campaign. It would be interesting to know why Communism has become such a threat in Italy. Is it perhaps that we have failed? And that, to cover that failure, we attribute the influence of Communists to trickery?

[It would also be worth considering just why Hamas and Hezbollah and al Qaeda have come into existence, in the aftermath of the defeat of pan-Arab secular nationalism.]

Have Catholics...been radicals, have they worked for freedom, those who control official policy? Has there been as much concern for worker ownership of the means of production and distribution, for decentralization, for a peaceful liquidation of acquisitive classes, as there has been in establishing a modus vivendi with fascism, as there has been in cooperating with elements of the Right? Have not we Catholics, by and large, gone down the road of compromise so far that we can awaken no enthusiasm among the people? Is it that the only thing we can whip up enthusiasm for, in conjunction with the Hearst press, is an anti-Communist [anti-Muslim] crusade?...

A defense of Jesus Christ by bombs, a blood soaked earth, quick death, hate. A hate that always exists in war despite the unreal and pedantic distinctions of theologians whose love of refinements is equaled only by their ignorance of psychology, of what happens to a man to get him prepared to murder.

[To go to war is] to get the poor in a state of mind where they will attribute every decent sentiment, every cry for justice, all love of man for his neighbor, to “Communists” [or "terrorists"].

...To go to war means to go against every decent sentiment and against all cries for justice and against all love of man for his neighbor. The policy of the United States is anti-Catholic because it is atheistic. God does not enter into it for in place of Him there is EXPEDIENCY. It has become expedient that we murder, it has become expedient that we ignore the precepts of Jesus Christ laid down in the Sermon on the Mount and applicable to ALL MEN, not just to a chosen few who are to be perfect. It has become expedient that we preach hatred of Communists [or "terrorists"] to the people, that we fasten signs of hate on Church doors and sell comic strip hate books in the Church vestibule. Christianity has been reduced by the theologians to a rule of expediency, Christianity has been made to identify itself with Americanism, with the scum of the Right!

Why is THE CATHOLIC WORKER opposed to UMT and to war? Because we are Communists? No! For we were opposed to World War II when the Communists were for it. Because we are indifferent to the fate of the Church? No! For she is our Mother, the Bride of Jesus Christ. But she is more than real estate, she is more than temporal power, her spirit is not the spirit of the world and she has no need to be defended by the arms of the world. No more than her Divine Master who refused such defense.

We are against war because it is contrary to the spirit of Jesus Christ, and the only important thing is that we abide in His spirit. It is more important than being American, more important than being respectable, more important than obedience to the State. It is the only thing that matters. We are against Universal Military Training because it is preparation for sin, for the sin that is war.

It is better that the United States be liquidated than that she survive by war.

What would we advocate? Wholesale disloyalty to Americanism. Wholesale refusal to fight. Wholesale withdrawal of labor (a general strike) from all industries that further the war effort. We would urge a mighty band of Catholic conscientious objectors who will refuse induction, who will follow Jesus of Nazareth, Prince of Peace, in the way of non-violence, in love for all mankind!

--from The Catholic Worker, April 1948

Happy September 11th! 

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday today. I'd just like to urge you, in between beers and burgers, to take a moment to remember the heroes who died to make your barbecue possible.

Six years ago today, on September 11, 2001, our nation was born in a sudden explosion of ecstatic violence. Before that perfect, cloudless morning, our collective independence was still in doubt. But because so many people were able to be killed when airplanes crashed into their places of work, our nation was able to lift itself up and announce to the world that a new birth of freedom had occurred.

Today we celebrate the freedom born on that September day six years ago. And we celebrate joyfully, in the way that only Americans can--with beer, grilled meat, fried potato chips, ground beef patties, and perhaps a few summery cocktails for the ladies. Such feasts are indeed our national contribution to the grand historical procession of human achievements.

But as you enjoy your American sandwiches, please take a moment to remember those whose ultimate sacrifices made this September 11th possible.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I'd just like to redirect everyone's attention to the fact that this sentence occurred:

frying one's eggs at a def leppard concert is certainly not as evil as harboring toxic xenophobic hatred.

Why AmCop has not yet garnered a Koufax is an enduring mystery.

Badges? We don' need no steenking badges! 

Libby is a free man.

Reporters were unable to reach Libby at his home, but a spokesman said that the convict was experiencing mild disappointment:

"He was hoping to get Thug Life tattooed across his stomach in gothic lettering. Recent developments lead us to believe that he will now have to pay handsomely for the procedure. We will persevere in the face of what we consider a temporary setback, but continue to solicit contributions to the Defense Fund to enable a down-payment on the outline if it comes to that."

UPDATE: Liblogs seem to be upset that the obstruction of justice continues. I find it hard to sympathize. In order for justice to be obstructed it must exist in the first place. As Libby was not sentenced to hang by the neck until dead, I hardly see how the first condition is met.


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