Saturday, September 29, 2007

MoveOn and the Monks 

Warning: I am about to advocate two loathsomely passive and probably ineffectual "liberal" actions, which may incur the wrath of some readers here. But...

After years of not only not donating to but systematically deleting the emails of MoveOn.org, I've finally begun paying attention again. Any organization that earns a formal condemnation from the U.S. Senate has earned my admiration and a little of my money too.

They've got a petition going about the Burmese monks, whose slaughter and abuse this week has been incredibly sad to read about. Having to hear Bush "praise" the monks makes the whole thing even more depressing and infuriating, and there's probably no act that leaves one feeling more pathetic than signing a fucking e-petition...but whatever. Here's the petition.

And here's where I donated.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


(hat tip HIAW)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Good Lashing 

Did anyone find anything a bit odd about the wording of the NYT's "article" about Ahmadinejad's speech at the UN today?

Mr. Ahmadinejad used coded language to make several references to the Holocaust and World War II...

"Several references"? And what's the coded part?

"For more than 60 years, Palestine, as compensation for the loss that they incurred during the war in Europe, has been under occupation of the illegal Zionist regime,” he continued. “The occupiers are protected and praised, while the innocent Palestinians are subjected to political, military and propaganda onslaught.”

Doesn't sound all that "coded" to me.

We also learn that Ahmadinejad's speech "delighted audiences back in his country, who have come to depend on the Iranian leader to deliver his fiery anti-American sentiments."

One might rewrite that sentence: Ahmadinejad's speech "delighted [Republicans], who have come to depend on the Iranian leader to deliver his fiery anti-American sentiments."

Then of course there was CNN's live coverage, during which, underneath the HAPPENING NOW banner, a headline summarized the event: IRAN'S PRESIDENT LASHES OUT.

I'm quite confident a Lexis-Nexis search would clearly show that the other party that does a lot of LASHING OUT is the Democrats.

That's because lashing out is hysterical, and thus womanly/evil, and thus Democratic/Islamic.

On the contrary, Republicans are to be associated not with the uterus, but with the (manly/good) cock. They stand firm.

The cock in question may be getting blown by a Republican Senator in a bathroom stall, but it's a cock nonetheless. Take your pick.

Who is worse--Democrats or Nazis? 

A serious question.

Yesterday, 25,000 people turned out to rally against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia. They held up signs like "Hitler Lives," "No Nukes for Iran," etc. There were several motives that brought the protesters out, including perhaps fear and genuine concern for Israel. But the main motive was to come together in unified hatred of "evil." The ultimate envisioned goal was a war with Iran that would somehow approximate to a re-enactment of World War II that could be viewed on live television--the History Channel come to life, the thrill of watching a real movie in which one actually plays a (minor) role.

The idea is to "be" on TV, without having to risk getting killed. That's what the protesters want. (For further thoughts on this, find the posts from last "9-11 Day" about the NYU president's assertion that 9-11 proved that "history is still happening" because we can "watch" it and it is "breathtaking.")

Sentiments of hatred, stirred up by the media and intended for expression in the media, sentiments which ultimately serve the interests of a narrow syndicate or corporation--this is the textbook definition of fascism. Yesterday's rally was a fascist rally.

A very appropriate analogue is presented by the Nuremberg rallies. The people at those rallies weren't calling directly for the Holocaust. They just wanted to get together, be participants in something "real" (because filmed and broadcast on radio), unite against "evil," and hopefully foment violence against people whose corpses they wouldn't have to see.

The most active participants in yesterday's fascist rally were NY Democrats like Sheldon Silver and Elliot Engler and Columbia president Lee Bollinger. Bollinger's performance--accusing Ahmadinejad of supporting terrorism because he supports the wholly legitimate Hezbollah organization, accusing Ahmadinejad of killing US troops--was, quite simply, a call for war.

That war will happen. It may not happen under Bush. But even if Hillary Clinton is president, it will simply not be possible to inaugurate policies that de-escalate U.S.-Iran relations. Iran's control of oil and Shi'a radicalism, its non-aligned status, its refusal to bow to the U.S./Saudi Arabia/Israel axis of oil and weapons sales (a real axis of death, if not of evil)--all of this makes Iran "our" enemy and an inevitable war-object. There will be war. Bollinger did his part to bring it about.

The rally and the war-mongering constitute a big step toward the murders of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.

Bollinger's antics may be compared (unfavorably) to Heidegger's infamous pro-Nazi Rector's Address of 1933, calling for the German people to remember, appropriate, and project its true historical destiny. Did Heidegger call for the Holocaust? No--and in fact he eventually lost his job because he wouldn't be a mere sycophant--though he remained a Nazi party member. Will Bollinger lose his job, ever, because of anything resembling a principled position? No--he will just pour more blood on his head and demand that everyone notice that his face is dripping and red. At least Heidegger wrote some good philosophy.

Loose Change 

News item:

WASHINGTON - A supporter of Rudy Giuliani's is throwing a party that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican's presidential campaign.

Abraham Sofaer is having a fundraiser at his Palo Alto, Calif., home on Wednesday, when Giuliani backers across the country are participating in the campaign's national house party night.

But Sofaer said he had nothing to do with the "$9.11 for Rudy" theme.

"There are some young people who came up with it," Sofaer said when reached by telephone Monday evening. He referred other questions to Giuliani's campaign.

"I'm just providing support for him. He's an old friend of mine," Sofaer said of Giuliani.

Sofaer was a State Department adviser under President Reagan and is a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution

Giuliani's campaign had no immediate comment.

According to the invitation, "$9.11 for Rudy" is an "independent, non-denominational grass-roots campaign to raise $10,000 in small increments to show how many individual, everyday Americans support `America's Mayor.'"

Giuliani was mayor of New York during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Campus Activism 

NYT caption: "Protesters demonstrate against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran outside Columbia University on Monday."

Now there you go, Stephen Colbert! Don't tell me today's youth simply sit impotently before their computers, pounding out their political ideals on a keyboard!

nothing to see here 

news item:

Reading Tuesday from a statement 20-year-old Megan Williams gave deputies the day she was rescued from the ramshackle home, a sheriff's deputy said she had been stabbed with what she described as a butcher knife and beaten with wooden sticks and fly swatters.

She said she was sexually assaulted, doused with hot water, forced to eat animal feces, and taunted with racial slurs. Among the new allegations, she said hot wax was poured on her, and that two of her captors forced her to drink a cup of their urine.


Megan Williams' statement said the defendants told her they didn't like black people and that they were going to hang her, though no hate crime charges were filed.

"They told me if I tried to get out they was going to hit me and stuff. I was scared of them," Logan County Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Robinette read from Williams' statement.


Kidnapping and sexual assault charges, along with additional counts of battery, were filed against Karen Burton, 46; her daughter, Alisha Burton, 23; and George A. Messer, 27, all of Chapmanville. They also face additional counts of battery.

Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, now faces a kidnapping charge that carries life in prison. He originally was charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding. Prosecutors added two more sexual assault charges, which each carry a maximum of 35 years in prison.

Three counts of misdemeanor battery were added to the charges against Frankie Brewster, who owns the home where the suspected assault took place. She also is charged with kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault and giving false information to police. An unlawful malicious wounding charge was dropped.

In a statement to deputies, Brewster detailed her role and implicated others, saying "I just want to come clean." Brewster also is accused of forcing Williams to perform oral sex on her.

A sixth defendant, Bobby Brewster, 24, who is the son of Frankie Brewster, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony. Police have said he had a previous relationship with Williams.

Williams said in her statement Tuesday that she was raped at knifepoint by Combs in the trailer's bathroom, tied with a cable cord and choked by Karen Burton, doused with hot wax by Messer, and stabbed by Bobby Brewster.

Sheriff's Deputy Rick Goodman testified Tuesday that Brewster told deputies that the six defendants were afraid to let Williams go because she might tell on them. They also talked about killing her.

Here's your chance, America. Here's your chance to show us the Michael Vick case had nothing to do with race. That all that righteous indignation was only the result of justified outrage at Vick's brutality toward another sentient creature.

When I hear you baying for the blood of Megan William's torturers the way you did for the blood of Michael Vick, then I'll know racism is finally dead.


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