Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Judge Condemns Destructive Political Correctness at DePaul University

Sad story because DePaul served me well. But something's gone seriously wrong at the little school under the 'L' tracks.
(May 31, 2006, Chicago) Today the most significant hurdle was cleared in the defamation law suit of Professor Thomas Klocek against DePaul University. Judge Stuart Nudelman of the Illinois Circuit County Law Division Court agreed that Klocek’s claims have merit, which will allow his suit against DePaul to move forward toward a trial by jury.

Judge Nudelman believes that DePaul’s actions to discipline Professor Thomas Klocek went to such extreme that their conduct rose to the level of defamation. He noted that DePaul exhibited destructive political correctness when it gave way to its fear of students’ reactions to Prof. Klocek’s challenges to the student groups’ literature and perspective on the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Judge Nudelman also commented that if such limited debate took place when he was a student, it would have resulted in having an inferior educational experience.

Judge Nudelman also stated that DePaul’s public disclosures about Prof. Klocek defamed him in that they denigrated his ability to perform as a professor.

“We have cleared the biggest hurdle before trial. The judge has agreed with us that we have properly stated valid claims for defamation charges against DePaul and individual defendants, including DePaul’s president,” said Andy Norman, Klocek’s attorney with the law firm of Mauck & Baker.

Background of Case:
A defamation suit was filed in Illinois’ Cook County Chancery last June charging that DePaul University and its leadership defamed Professor Thomas Klocek when DePaul publicly characterized arguments he presented to members of Palestinian and Muslim student groups as racist and bigoted. The suit seeks damages against DePaul for maligning Klocek’s integrity and professional competence. The defendants named include: DePaul University; Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, President of DePaul; and Susan Dumbleton, Dean of DePaul’s School for New Learning.

For more information or to speak with those associated with Klocek’s side of the case, please contact: Tom Ciesielka at 312-422-1333.

Israel starting the third World War; Jews started the first and second

In the UN Security Council yesterday from the JP via PJ Media,
Syria responded that Israel was the one precipitating a third world war, saying that "If we examine the matter, we will find that Israel was behind the eruption of both World War I and World II."
Zionest, Israel, or Jews; the folks who belive this nonsense really see no difference. It's always the Jews when you get down to it.

Chicago Tribune: Airwave blitz on Iran

Today's Trib on VOA's Luna Shad's show Next Chapter,
Although it's probably little more than an educated guess, U.S. officials say up to 2 million Iranians may be watching Shad's 30-minute broadcast, "Next Chapter," as she introduces a story about underground garage bands. It follows her piece on a political psychologist who dissects Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein.

"Next Chapter," is aimed at Iran's youth. But the demographics aren't about appealing to advertisers. The show's sponsor, the U.S. government, is trying to foment change in Iran.
Also check Cyrus the Great's reaction to Michael Hirsh's Mr.Ahmad Baharloo; "The Larry King of Iran."

Как я ненавижу некоторые вещи!

If someone can translate the title for me, please do. Below is from Ulakya and the links of lots of pictures of the Azeri protests.

>From: "..." <***@PORA.ORG.UA>
>To: DEMOCRACY-***@***.org
>Subject: [DEMOCRACY] More about the story
>Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 14:43:20 +0300
>
>Dear friends,
>
>it is very good that the attention is finally drawn to this issue. You
>should know that the part of Iran known as Southern Azerbaijan was
>initially a part of the united country, but in 1828 Azerbaijan was divided
>between Russia and Iran. The northern part that went to Russia is now an
>independent state, and the southern part still belongs to Iran. While
>there are from 25 to 35 million ethnic Azeris in Iran, there is no single
>school teaching in this language. So the anger of Azeris, whose rights in
>Iran have been systematically oppressed, is easy to understand.
>
>For a long time they have been facing utter discrimination and often
>violent repressions by Iranian governments determined to destroy their
>cultural and ethnic identity. Recently one of Iran's official newspapers
>has published cartoons insulting and humiliating Azerbaijanis, explicitly
>comparing them to cockroaches and discussing ways to eliminate them. That
>became the last straw in the constant discrimination of Azerbaijanis. A
>series of mass demonstrations of protest have been taking place in the
>largest cities of Iranian Azerbaijan: Tabriz, Zanjan, Urmia, Ardebil,
>Maraga etc. as well as in Tehran
>
>Iran authorities has already used violence against the demonstrators,
>around 20 people were already killed. Unfortunately, these protests are
>not very well covered in mass media.
>
>some photo links:
>
>http://www.baybak.com/az/index.php?list=2&page=1
> http://www.azadtribun.net/x622.htm
>http://www.azadtribun.net/x629.htm
>http://www.azadtribun.net/x643.htm
>http://www.azadtribun.net/x627.htm
>http://www.azadtribun.net/x628.htm
> http://www.azadtribun.net/x633.htm
>
>***
>
> > From: ***
> > Date: 05/26/06 23:30:56
> > To: azerbaijani_studies@yahoogroups.com ; azerisi@yahoogroups.com;
> > azeristudents@yahoogroups.com; ***@yahoogroups.com ;
> > ***@yahoogroups.com; ***@yahoogroups.com; ***@yahoogroups.com ;
> > french_alumni_network@yahoogroups.com;
> > german_alumni_network@yahoogroups.com
> > Subject: [azeristudents] FREEDOM FOR AZERBAIJANI PEOPLE/ PROTEST
> > ACTION/Brussels, 30 May at 12.30
> >
> > Dear ALL,
> >
> > Iranian regime has deprived its biggest Azerbaijani minority of getting
> > education in schools in Azerbaijani language. Millions of Azerbaijanis in
> > IRAN are humiliated and suppressed in their everyday life because of their
> > ethnic origin by the Iranian regime in many different ways. Now REGIME IN
> > IRAN has started to kill those who fight FOR FREEDOM.They have killed last
> > week more than 20 people trying to supress mass protests which have
> > mobilized hundreds of thousands Azerbaijanis on the streets.
> >
> > REGIME DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT ONE CAN NOT STOP THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM.
> >
> > AZERBAIJANI PEOPLE have united now to SAY NO to supression and to SAY YES
> > TO
> > FREEDOM.
> >
> > We are inviting ALL PEOPLE, organizations and networks in EUROPE to
> > protest
> > against violation of human rights and freedoms of AZERBAIJANIS in IRAN.
> > Please come, bring your slogans and bring your flags.
> >
> > FEEL FREE to come to protest against IRANIAN REGIME and to express your
> > solidarity with those who LOVE FREEDOM and are READY TO DIE FOR FREEDOM.
> >
> > Time and Place: Tuesday, May 30/ at Shuman Square (Brussels, Belgium)/ at
> > 12:30
> >
> > Please, send this letter to all your friends and networks in Europe.
> >
> > With best regards,
> >
> > ***

Knickerbocker News: So you say you want a revolution...

Rosemary says,
Iran is heating up to the boiling point. The only question is, will the western world recongnize this as their opportunity to help these students, laborors, and women's rights groups in their time of need?
[...]
....there are other pressures that may be applied after diplomacy fails besides war. This is a good thing. What we need to do is put pressure on the White House to instruct Voice of America in Iran to take on the regime. They need to speak openly about democracy and the means to achieve it. Otherwise, why are we paying it?

We should also pressure our own government to help these students. They need more than words. They can instruct groups such as Human Rights Watch, Women's Rights, and labor groups, along with students in America as to the situation in Iran. They need to know about the riots. We were successful in the Ukraine, we were successful in Lebanon-sort of, and we can be successful in Iran without firing one shot. It is all up to you.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jordan Michael Smith: Iranian students need solidarity

Smith writing in the Ottawa Sun via The Spirit of Man,
Nineteen ninety-seven was only the beginning of the student movement. Iran has such a young population, an entire generation has participated in it -- thousands of people, maybe millions, quite literally fighting for their liberty. And sometimes paying with their lives.

This movement should be what Western students are focused on. Not carrying unfunny signs comparing Bush to Hitler, or following around trade organizations like they're the Grateful Dead (to use one of Naomi Klein's unusually apt phrasings), gestures that reek of moral narcissism and matter only to the protesters themselves. The current Iranian regime, horrible as it is, has proved itself to be worried about its international popularity.

Think of what students living in freedom could accomplish for their kin in Iran, simply by holding up a bunch of signs. Millions of students across the liberal democracies, in Japan and in Sweden, in Australia and in South Africa, demanding that all student leaders be freed from the prisons they languish anonymously in.

It's almost enough to take your mind of a tuition freeze for a second.

Gay Pride parade in Beriut

I still can't imagine these changing times in the Arab world without George Bush.
These are changing times in Lebanon too, according to George Azzi, the co-ordinator for Helem, which is the Arabic acronym for Lebanese Protection for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders. Helem also means dream in Arabic.

It's the first such organisation in the Arab world.

"In Lebanon, they're still trying to 'cure' homosexuality, so this event is a way for us to explain what homosexuality is.

"But things have been changing, especially in Beirut, gays are more accepted and Helem is becoming much more visible," said Mr Azzi.

It's only the second year that Helem has organised a public event - the first year very few people attended.

Ahmadinejad: you will be the only ones to suffer.

From Der Spiegel,
"I only accept something as the truth if I have really been convinced," he told DER SPIEGEL. He also reiterated his statements questioning Israel's right to exist. "We say if the Holocaust happened, then the Europeans must accept the consequences and the price should not be paid by Palestine," he said. "If it did not happen, then the Jews must return to where they came from." Ahmadinejad also faulted Europe for its polices toward Iran, saying the Europeans are "losing your reputation." Nevertheless, he described Iranian relations with Europe and Germany as "good" and said Tehran would seek to "further expand" these ties.

However, Ahmadinejad warned that Europe should "stand behind Iran" in the current nuclear conflict. Otherwise, Ahmadinejad warned in his SPIEGEL interview, "you will be the only ones to suffer."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Amir Taheri on Iran: Restive Provinces

via Arab News,

One of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election promises was that he and his ministerial team would visit all of Iran’s 30 provinces within their first year in office. The idea was to settle long standing local problems in a single sitting of the Cabinet. However, as Ahmadinejad prepares to mark the first anniversary of his presidency it looks increasingly unlikely that he could keep that promise.

So far Ahmadinejad has a record of visiting nearly half of the provinces and is determined to do some more soon. Nevertheless, quite a few provinces have become no-go areas for the president. The reason is increasing ethnic and sectarian tensions in parts of the country.
[***]
Taken together Iran’s ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities account for some 40 percent of the population. Most are strategically located along Iran’s long borders, and thus vulnerable to outside manipulation.

While in Indonesia this month, President Ahmadinejad spoke of his ambition to unite and lead the Muslim world in a “clash of civilizations” against the “infidel”. Many in Iran believe that he should first address the grievances that have made it impossible for him to visit so many provinces, and before it is too late.

“The revolution will not be televised.”

But Dutch TV has lots of photos, and PJ Media has lots of links.

Why we should avoid bilateral talks with Ahmadinejad

Michael Slackman explains Iran's power struggle and why we should avoid the bilateral talks,
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to consolidate power in the office of the presidency in a way never before seen in the 27 years of the Islamic republic, apparently with the tacit approval of Iran's supreme leader, according to government officials and political analysts here.

That rare unity of elected and religious leadership at the highest levels offers the United States an opportunity to talk to a government, however combative, that has often spoken with multiple voices at cross purposes.

But if the United States, which severed relations with Iran after the 1979 revolution, opened such a dialogue, it could increase the prestige of the Iranian president, who has pushed toward confrontation with the West.

Political analysts and people close to the government say Ahmadinejad and his allies are trying to buttress a system of conservative clerical rule that had lost credibility with the public.

Their strategy hinges on trying to win concessions from the West on Iran's nuclear program and opening direct, high-level talks with the United States, while easing social restrictions, cracking down on political dissent and building a new political class from outside the clergy.
We need to stick with the likes of Abbas Hakim Zadeh,
"However if the idea is for Iran to get security guarantees embedded in it that the regime can suppress the human rights and the will of the people, that is something the Iranian student movement, the Iranian labor movement and the Iranian women's rights groups reject firmly and totally."

Reporters without Borders on yesterday's arrests of Azeri journalists

Here via East of Kurdistan,
Reporters Without Borders today called for the “immediate release” of two Azeri journalists, Amin Movahedi, who was detained yesterday in the northern city of Meshkinshar, and Orouj Amiri, detained the day before in the nearby city of Marannd. Their arrests follow demonstrations by members of Iran’s Azeri ethnic minority against the Tehran government.

“Absolutely no charges have been brought against Movahedi and Amiri and the authorities have not said where they are being held,” the press freedom said. “These journalists are being subjected to illegal harassment simply for working independently.”
And the BBC on yesterday's demonstrations.

Suicide attacks on the US and UK

Look at the pictures. This is a declaration of war.

Mehrdad Sheibani: A Hot Summer ahead

Sheibani writes in Roos on events of the past week in Iran and concludes,
Summer in Iran always begins with the last month of spring. And a hot summer has always been loaded with big historic events.

With this week began Iran’s long and hot summer.


Spirit of Man says studendst have called for more demonstrations today.
The persian language blog, dedicated to the students' protests in Tehran, informs us that major protests against the regime will be held at Tehran University at 12 pm local time on Sunday May 28th (in 2 hours).

Norman Geras: A beginning

Norman Geras published his speech at the launch of the Euston Manifesto. Here's a quote,
The first of these: 9/11 - September 11, 2001. It is a day imprinted on the public memory - indelibly - because the crime committed in New York and Washington DC announced a terrible willingness, of which few previously had been aware: a willingness to use terror without limit for political ends; a terrorism, that is to say, unconstrained by any concern about the numbers of the innocent dead. That day was both an end and a beginning because it showed, and to many of us in an instant, that the world was now different, dangerously so, and in a way not amenable to simple-minded responses.

This brings me to a second end and beginning, and if I may get your indulgence for this, I will frame it in more personal terms. It happened in the days immediately following 9/11. Not just simple-minded, but cold, shameful, appalling responses to the crime that had been perpetrated, parading across the pages of the liberal and left press. You know the terms of it: blowback; comeuppance; yes, a crime of course but... But what? But a crime to be contextualized immediately, just in case you might be unaware that it wasn't the first or the worst crime in human history.

This kind of stuff, I regret to say, was coming principally from a part of the left. And in those few days, 12, 13, 14 September 2001, it became clear to me that this part of the left wasn't a part one should have anything - or anything more, depending on where you were at the time - to do with if the left was to have a worthwhile future and merit anybody's support.

Nawal el Saadawi

Another person to keep in mind besides Alaa when visiting the King Tut exhibit.
Saadawi would consider it a major achievement if Egyptian women could even win equal inheritance rights, let alone real freedom. But that will require more than her individual action. It will require two things Egyptian reformers lack: real support from the West for democracy and freedom of association in Egypt, and not just for individual speech. "We have some democracy, but so long as I am alone," she says. "So long as Nawal el Saadawi is alone and I am not organizing women."

Joliet UU's Rev. Emily Gage reviews How the Other Half Worships

In today's Chicago Tribune Book section Images of religious life among America's urban poor are a revelation. She reviews Camilo Jose Vergara's How the Other Half Worships .
Over a period of 30 years, Vergara photographed, visited and interviewed pastors, deacons, ministers and members of these various communities. Along with the images there is a kind of oral history, with insights and reflections from the worshippers and church builders. There is a quality of unvarnished realism in these quotes. Bishop B.J. Luckett of Plain Truth Mission Church states succintly:

"I got shot through my neck during the course of a robbery. I became a preacher very quickly after and never looked back."
One reason I have no quarrel at all with Evangelicals. There's often that unvarnished realism among them that makes their whorsip more humanistic.

cross posted at Pfarrer Streccius

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Obama watch: The Fix

via Chris Cizzla's The Fix,

Obama Staff Move Prompts Renewed '08 Speculation

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has brought on two nationally known Democratic consultants as advisers in recent weeks, prompting renewed speculation that the freshman senator may be considering a 2008 White House run. Sen. Barack Obama (AP)

Anita Dunn, a partner with Squier Knapp Dunn, a media consulting company, and Minyon Moore, who is with the Dewey Square Group, are now serving as advisers to Obama.

We voted for him but seems all he's done so far is write another book and raise piles of cash.

cross posted at Illinoiz

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ignatius v. Krauthammer on Iran

Over at Beltway Blitz on Krauthammer and Ignatius's columns today on Iran.

Ibrahim Nabavi's letter to a young friend

MEMRI translates Iranian satirist Ibrahim Nabavi's open letter to President Ahmadinejad, in the online Persian daily Rooz.


"...In your explanation [about this letter], you said that you had written to [President] Bush to present a solution to the problems in the world. What an excellent idea. But have you noticed that the problem in the world is you yourself? Do you know that it is you who are the cause of most of the bad luck and punishments now descending upon the free peoples and the countries of the world? [Do you know] that if there is a problem that must be solved, it is called Ahmadinejad?...
[...]
"In your letter to George Bush, you wrote: 'There are prisoners in Guantanamo who have not been tried; they have no access to attorneys, their family cannot visit them, they are being held outside their country, and there is no international supervision [of their treatment in prison].'

"My young friend!

"What business is this of yours? Such a statement should be made by the president of a country with no political prisoners, and whose prisoners have trials, and access to attorneys... If the Guantanamo prisoners don't have access to attorneys, at least in America attorneys aren't thrown into jail every other day. The president of a country that imprisons the likes of Abd Al-Fattah Sultani,(2) Shirin Ebadi,(3) Mehrangiz Kar,(4) and other attorneys has no right to criticize [prisoners'] lack of access to attorneys in the prisons of another country.

"Did Akbar Ganji(5) have the right to family visits [when he was in] Evin prison? At this very moment, isn't there in Evin a philosopher named Ramin Jahanbegloo(6) – who has no connection whatsoever to terrorism, violence, etc? Why are you pushing your nose into this matter?

"Is there international supervision in the prisons in Iran, for you to complain of the lack of the same at Guantanamo?..."

Euston Manifesto Launch

Covered at Norm's Blog and by Clive Davis.

The Enclave at Galewood Crossings

I always thought Galewood started at Austin and went west to Harlem but I'd let developers claim the name to rebuild on this industrial wasteland. via Arlene Jones at Austin Weekly,
Last month at Ald. Emma Mitts’ town hall meeting, I learned that a new development is coming two blocks from my house. "The Enclave at Galewood Crossings" will be developed at Laramie and the railroad tracks (I always thought I lived in Austin, or at least North Austin. My post office says my zip code is Belmont-Cragin, but I digress).

It will be a development with a mixture of 240 condos, townhouses and single family homes. It will even have its own dog park! The cost of those homes will range from $200,000 to $450,000. Some quick calculations show that someone will have to earn at least $50,000 a year to afford to live there.
She's doing a conference call with readers on Sunday too. That's interesting...
I will host a conference call this Sunday May 28 at 9 p.m. Call 605/772-3200 (this is long distance so use your cell) and enter this Access code: 806598#. I can host up to 96 people and you can give me your opinion with others on the line to hear you. You can talk to me about this column or any other subjects that I’ve written about.
And finally,
Also, join me at Wallace’s Catfish Corner this Friday, May 26, along with Mayoral Candidate Bill "Dock" Walls to talk about issues affecting your life here in the city of Chicago.
So besides getting a new Gated Community the West Side is getting pretty techno saavy and creative.

Now, the City just needs to figure out what to do with this sacrifice to the Sugar tariff and pray we don't lose the one I grew up next too.

cross posted at Illinoize

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Riots in Tehran Universities: 'We Don't Want Nuclear Energy'

MEMRI translates ROOs.
Several media outlets in Iran reported, albeit in a restricted and censured fashion, that there has been rioting on several university campuses in Tehran for the past four days. The reformist Internet daily Rooz reported that over 500 members of riot-control units have besieged the Tehran University campus, and that there have been clashes between rioting students and Basij and police forces.
[***]
During the riots, eight student leaders were arrested, and, according to eyewitnesses quoted in Rooz, 25 of those under siege in the campus were wounded, five of them severely. Eyewitnesses reported that students were chanting anti-regime slogans, such as "We don't want nuclear energy" and "Forget Palestine - think of us."

The eyewitnesses also reported that Iranian security forces fired live bullets, and that shots were fired at homes outside the university. One of the students told Rooz: "The university campus is on fire, raids are being conducted throughout the campus, and the students are in fear and anxiety... Gunfire is heard from all directions... There is blood everywhere." [2] The university's telephone lines were reported to have been cut.

A blogger from The Groninger Hoek: Liberty and Justice

Not exactly The Groninger Hoek, but the hometown itself. Liberty and Justice

And it seems we think alike too on many things.

Akbar Ganji on Simin Behbahani and the courage to know

Please read the whole thing. Understand an Iranian intellectual and it makes our protesting students look so very sad and pathetic.
Ms. Simin Behbahani is one of Iranian heroines, who, in the past years, has been in the front line of Iran's liberal movement. In this path, she has been insulted and beaten. She was treated unjustly and endured magnanimously. Behbahani could move a generation with her poems, but her work is not limited to poetry and literature. She actively and bravely defends the victims whenever the civil rights are trampled upon. One day she shows up in front of a hospital to defend the disregarded rights of an imprisoned dissident. On another day she is in a park to protest the extreme, unbelievable, and painful inequality of women compared to men and to say we are human too and human, on being human alone, is entitled to rights and dignity, and no regime, ideology, belief or culture could not and should not discriminate between human beings based on imaginary and ancient divisions and ignore their need to dignity. Still on another day, in another setting, she protests the murder of dissidents and with her poems keeps their memory alive. She has the courage to think.

...and we all know about Ceauşescu!

Can't Keep Quiet on protests in Tabriz.

Abbas Hakim Zadeh on what Iranian Labor, Students, and Women reject firmly and totally

NY Post: Determined Foes Mount Challenge To Iran's Mullahs,
Yesterday, Mr. Zadeh said the country's largest student organization,Takhim Vahdat, rejected any direct talks between America and Iran if the negotiations centered around security guarantees in exchange for promises on nuclear enrichment.

"If there is any dialogue and conversations or negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the international community, whether the United States or other countries individually or collectively, if it is around the nucleus of human rights, democracy and the openness in Iran, it is something worthwhile to consider," he said.

"However if the idea is for Iran to get security guarantees embedded in it that the regime can suppress the human rights and the will of the people, that is something the Iranian student movement, the Iranian labor movement and the Iranian women's rights groups reject firmly and totally."

Leave the nukes, Take care of us!

That's the translation of one of the banners above per The Spirit of Man.

Many links to protests through out Iran in the past few days included at the site.

The Spirit of Man: Protests in Tehran

Good Blog by farsi speaker.. includes pictures of the protestsThe Spirit of Man: Protests in Tehran

Also information on missing students.

Ramin Jahanbegloo: "...having relations with foreigners."

from Roos,
...Iran’s minister of intelligence Mohseni Ejeyi told Fars news agency that “Jahanbegloo is in the custody of the ministry of intelligence on charges of having relations with foreigners.” But soon, even this assertion was altered and “charge” became “crime”. “Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejeyi said Ramin Jahanbegloo had been arrested for the crime of having relations with foreigners by judiciary officials and sent to the ministry of intelligence for an investigation.” And even more interestingly, the minister then said, “After the inquiries on him, relevant information about his charges was provided to the press.” And with these words, he did not say anything about what Keyhan, Resalat, Jomhouri-e Eslami or Farda website had published on the subject, while Farda wrote that “Jahanbegloo was being kept at ward 209 of Evin prison and tens of pages of confessions have been obtained from him.” And once again, this news was attributed to a source who did not wish to reveal his name and identity.

It is really ironic that at a time when there is talk of slander, respect for people and rules to be followed, those who mention them have everybody in mind except Iranian dissidents like Jahanbegloo.
Pettitions: French Scholars; and Letters: Amnesty International, PEN Canada, and University of Toronto.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Culture of Corruption Watch: Hastert, Jefferson, and Berwyn's Sonny Stillo

How can Hastert cry constitutional crisis over the FBI's raid on Rep. Jefferson's (D-La) Office yet everyone was silent when the FBI raided Berwyn's City Hall and confiscated every PC in the place in pursuit of Ald Sonny Stillo (D)?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

...morally obligated to help our assailants

A good post at Belmont Club on the treatment students and faculty handed John McCain, the challange to Lieberman, and the direction of modern liberal politics. It's not a good direction. We see it from our own from Rockford.
One unintended effect of the September 11 attacks is that it put a defining question to different modes of American political consciousness. Until then it was possible to treat many ideologies respectable since the 1960s as harmless forms of iconoclasm, posing "provocative" but fundamentally hypothetical views. But when attacks on the US homeland made it categorically necessary to answer the question: 'are you willing to fight our assailants', many sincere ideologues paused, shook their heads and said: 'No. In fact I am morally obligated to help our assailants'. When Noam Chomsky went out of his way to support Hezbollah it wasn't inexplicable, it was logical. His long articulated hypotheticals have simply become actuals.

The Anchoress: The Essential President Bush

She writes why Bush never surprized her.

He's never surprized me either and while I know his faith is important, I'm certain a motivation just as powerful or maybe more so, is the legacy of his father's service, and his father's generations service, in World War II.

I think that's what future Historians will find when they deconstruct this man.

Hat Tip to Diane over a Respublica

Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid: Extremism Isn't Islamic Law

He writes in today's Wash Post,
People of goodwill of every faith and nation must unite to ensure the triumph of religious freedom and of the "right" understanding of Islam, to avert global catastrophe and spare millions of others the fate of Sudan's great religious and political leader, Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, who was executed on a false charge of apostasy. The millions of victims of "jihadist" violence in Sudan -- whose numbers continue to rise every day -- would have been spared if Taha's vision of Islam had triumphed instead of that of the extremists.

The greatest challenge facing the contemporary Muslim world is to bring our limited, human understanding of Islamic law into harmony with its divine spirit -- in order to reflect God's mercy and compassion, and to bring the blessings of peace, justice and tolerance to a suffering world.
I always thought Unitarian Univeralists were a religion uniquely placed to bring law into harmony with divine spirit. Then I sat through a discussion of Doug Muder's Red Family, Blue Family -- the sermon where he rattles off divorce statistics suggesting atheists have lower divorce rates and concludes,
You have to understand the Right to criticize it effectively. Those divorce statistics, for example, really bug them. How can they frame themselves as the stronghold of family values if their families don't hold together as well as the atheists do?
That seems a lot like I'm right because I live a morvirtuousus life and not at all something that brings harmony between law and divine spirit. It really just seems like Muder's making himself the lawgiver because, well, he just plain deserves the task because of his family values.

Not convincing at all.. and probably against the law.

Ayatollah Montazeri interview with Iraqi news agency Aswathura

Translated over at MEMRI.

So who would Montazeri be giving interviews too without an independent press in Iraq?
The Rulers Say: We Have No Need for Parties, The Mosques are Our Parties... The Elections are a [Mere] Formality, and If a Citizen Expresses Dissent, He is Subject to Persecution

"If we want a truly popular government, then the elites of society, and those possessing political thought and awareness, must independently establish parties - parties that will be able to form and oversee a government. But this is not happening. The rulers say: We have no need for parties; the mosques are our parties. That is, if somebody speaks in a mosque, what he says takes on the aura of religious law, and he motivates the people to go and vote for so-and-so and do such-and-such.

"This is wrong. If we want a popular government, people must have a genuine role in forming and maintaining it. They need to oversee [the government], provided that they do not overstep the law or the principle of 'the rule of the jurisprudent' that is laid out in the constitution. [The ruling jurisprudent] must ensure that the government does not stray from the Islamic checks and balances. He should not be the absolute ruler who controls everything.

"For this reason, the administration must be given to the public and to the political elites, by way of the parties... To date, the parties have not been allowed to play their part. Temporary parties are formed and elections are conducted as a [mere] formality, and promises are given - and if a citizen expresses dissent, he is subject to persecution..."

Democratic Leadership Confernce picks up on the Euston Manifeso

Peter Ross writes the European Wake-Up in the DLC's Blueprint Magazine magazine.

via the old leftist himself,
There are cracks in the façade of European leftism that should give us all some hope. They come in the form of editorialists, academics, activists, and bloggers who've pretty much had it with the reflexive anti-globalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-interventionism of the 1968 generation in Europe. Some of the new voices are youngish journalists in rebellion against the dogmatism of their elders, who often exercise iron control -- and sometimes enforce ideological unanimity -- over certain key media like Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and the BBC.

Perhaps the most noticeable fissure in the masonry of group-think is a new initiative promoted by old British leftist Norman Geras, who supports the war in Iraq and democratization in the Middle East. Together with a young columnist named Nick Cohen, Geras is leading a new movement dubbed the Euston Manifesto -- because it was conceived during several meetings in a pub near London's Euston Station. The manifesto is posted on the Internet and is open for anyone to sign. Within a month of going up in early spring, it had attracted hundreds of signatures, quickly becoming an intellectual and ideological home for many disillusioned European leftists who are looking for a sensible progressive movement to join. That has to warm an American progressive's heart.
Now, if only there were some sensible leftists here in my home.

Barone on McGovern, idealists of 1972 and the End of More

Barone writes on George McGovern's End of More essay in the LA Times.
I supported McGovern for president in 1972 and continue to admire him, even though I disagree now with many of the positions I took then. I think he did an admirable job as ambassador to the Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome; he was appointed by President Clinton and was asked to remain on the job for a year by President Bush, who then appointed Ohio Democratic Rep. Tony Hall to fill the position. Hall, whose interest in feeding the hungry arises out of strong religious conviction, was admired by members of both parties in the House. It's interesting that Bush does not seem to have gotten much credit for appointing these idealistic Democrats.
I cast my first presidential vote for McGovern in 1972. I still admire him now too although I also disagree with many of his postions, and regret some of the things he says.

I think he may have it wrong here on More too, because in fact John L. Lews had it right. We all really want more, and the way to get more is to build wealth (not transfer income).

That's what the administration's ownership ideas were all about: creating assets and wealth that would grow, build wealth, and ultimately more for all. A variation of sorts on McGovern's demogrant program that focuses on investiment rather than income.

There was surprizing similarity between the two. I'm not surprized Bush would reappoint idealists.

John Rosenthal: Are They "Willing"? (Germany, the EU and Iranian Trade Sanctions)

Rosenthal quotes from Nikolas Busse in May 10th's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung via Transatlantic Intelligencer,
More comprehensive sanctions [i.e. including commercial sanctions] would be tied to ever higher costs also for the West – and, in particular, for Germany. Should commercial sanctions be applied, it would be first and foremost the EU states that are affected. In 2004, Germany was the most important supplier of Iran (12.3% of all imports), followed by France (8.5%), Italy (7.9%), and China (7.5%). Due to its long-term cooperation with Europe and a lack of local know-how, Iran is particularly dependent upon imports in the automobile and machine-building industries and the oil and gas sectors. As consequence, Iran could be highly susceptible to sanctions.
I'm guessing they'll be unwilling. Via Mediankritik

Jackson Diehl: Reclaiming the Democratic Agenda

Jackson Diehl writing in the Wash Post about Will Marshall's With All our Might published by Progressive Policy Institute.
...a substantial body of politicians and policymakers who believe the U.S.mission in Iraq must be sustained until it succeeds; who want to intensify American attempts to spread democracy in the greater Middle East; and who think that the Army needs to be expanded to fight a long war against Islamic extremism.

Their problem isn't only that some people (mostly Republicans and independents) don't believe they exist. Or that the flamers at MoveOn.org would expel them from the party if that were possible. They also face the formidable task of rescuing what they believe is a quintessentially Democratic policy agenda from the wreckage of the Bush administration, so that a future president can do it right.
I'm not an optimist on this one but I'll read the book.

via Harry's Place where there is also some good discussion.

Monday, May 22, 2006

David Horwitz: Iran is already far beyond yellow badges

via JPost.com,
Whether or not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Islamist regime are yet publicly marking out their non-Muslim second-class citizens is not the point. Iran has moved much further already. It is deep into a relentless campaign to delegitimize Jews and other infidels everywhere. It has leapt over a first step of denigrating its own minorities to the second step of denigrating them the world over.

In Ahmadinejad's world view, and in his vicious daily rhetoric, Israel has no right to exist, and will be wiped out, because the Jews have no right to a country of their own. And if a world without the United States seems unrealistic now, then it is a dream, he tells his followers, that must not be abandoned.

Some world leaders, with a misplaced sense of what their own self-interest requires, persist in discounting Ahmadinejad as an immature leader who talks a good war but wouldn't dare get into one. Such willful self-delusion unfortunately ignores the facts of Iran's well-developed missile program, its global terror network and, most troubling of course, its self-hyped progress toward a nuclear capability.

from a guy who remembers Vietnam

William Shawcross in the Sunday Times via NormsBlog,
Even those who were opposed to the invasion of Iraq should recognise that this is a whole new battle - between the values of a liberal civil society and nihilism, sometimes Islamic but always nihilism.

"If the worry of people is the presence of the multinational forces, it is the violence that keeps us here. It is the peace that allows us to go"

Tony Blair's comments in Bhagdad.

Imagine a Vietnam united north and south in 1968 with a National Unity Government including Communists in Parliment.

This is no Vietnam style quagmire.

Friends don’t allow slanders to stand against other friends

A Chicago angle in Divestment roils Jewish-Presbyterian ties from the Florida Jewish News.
Jewish officials in San Francisco felt insulted that the local presbytery never informed them of its overture.

“That’s awful hurtful,” said Jonathan Bernstein, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific Region. “I feel like they didn’t really learn a lesson” from the uproar over the 2004 resolution about the need to inform Jewish colleagues about their actions.

It also hasn’t been easy for Jay Tcath, vice president of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and director of its Jewish Community Relations Council.

He has limited his interaction with the local presbytery since the fall of 2004 because the group delayed addressing the divestment resolution. Instead, he turned his attention to individual churches in the area, which he said are more open to dialogue on the issue.

“Friends don’t allow slanders to stand against other friends,” he said.

Matters worsened when the Chicago presbytery’s Middle East task force met with leaders of the radical fundamentalist group Hezbollah in Lebanon last fall.

It was smoother in Atlanta, where Jewish officials got early word of an overture for divestment because of their strong interfaith relationships. They successfully called for its withdrawal in favor of broadened dialogue.
And a little more.... Presbyterians certainly don't speak for my conscience.
Presbyterians are considered the “conscience” and reason of the Protestant community, serving as something of a “swing vote,” Rudin said.

Indeed, after the Presbyterians’ 2004 resolution on divestment, several other Protestant communities took up the issue. The Methodists decided to study their options; the United Church of Christ, also known as the Congregationalists, endorsed divestment but did not create a process to enact it; the Episcopalians considered but rejected divestment; and the Lutherans rejected a divestment resolution, and instead passed a resolution to invest in cooperative ventures between Israelis and Palestinians.

PEN's recommended actions for Ramin Jahanbegloo

Here is what PEN is recommending,
RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Please send appeals:

expressing concern for the safety of Ramin Jahanbegloo, who is detained incommunicado in Evin prison; seeking immediate assurances that he is not being tortured or ill-treated; seeking full details of the reasons for his arrest, including any charges that may have been brought against him; calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

APPEALS TO:

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: info@leader.ir , istiftaa@wilayah.org

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency
President:
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: 00 98 21 6 674 790

(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")

Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Where no fax numbers are available appeals may be sent c/o the Iranian embassy:


His Excellency Hamid Reza Nafez Arefi
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT

Fax: 020 7589 4440

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Brian McNair: An old communist confesses: the class war is over and even Rupert Murdoch makes sense … what do lefties do now?

from the Sunday Herald via The Euston Manifesto,
Less than a century ago there were no democratic countries anywhere on the planet (if by democratic we mean every adult, regardless of class, gender or
ethnicity has a vote). Today, around two-thirds of the world’s states are classified as democracies, even if many are deeply flawed and some, like Iraq and Afghanistan, risk being strangled at birth. Much of this is down to the liberatory effects of new technologies, especially the internet and satellite TV. Al-Jazeera has fuelled the development of a vibrant public sphere in the Arab world and the prospect of democratisation across the region. Bloggers eat away at the foundations of authoritarian information control.

As for those “extraordinary living standards” identified by Murdoch as evidence of capitalism’s success, Scots, like the rest of the UK, have seen their personal wealth increase by 300% on average since the 1950s. The streets are choked with cars, the skies full of holiday-makers heading for the sun, our houses full of domestic appliances. Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm has observed that “there is no precedent for this in the history of mankind. In developed countries, even the poorest and the most abandoned live immeasurably better than their grandparents did.” In the developing world, too, economic progress has been more rapid than the tenor of most news coverage suggests. The World Bank reports that the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty fell by a quarter between 1990 and 2001. Growth has been patchy, with GDP falling in Africa while rising fast in the emerging superpowers of Asia, but overall the trend is upward. On current projections, poverty levels will be reduced by another half in the next 10 years.

Not enough, you may say, and you would be right, but looking at these trends it is hard not to conclude that globally, there is more political freedom, and more material wealth, enjoyed by more people than at any previous period in human history. Yes, there is still greed, excess and corruption in every country. But it is evident from the long-term trends that, on balance and overall, globalisation is good. Capitalism works. The Chinese know it. The Indians know it. Deep down in his heart I bet that even Hugo Chavez knows it, and would probably admit it if were he not too busy trying to become the new Fidel.
Read the whole thing. He tells what to do now.

Brussel's Journal: Anti-Jihadists Fleeing Europe or In Hiding

via PJ

Europes gone wobbly.

Le Livre Noir de Saddam Hussein (The Black Book of Saddam Hussein)

Norm post a link with reviews and this from a lengthy quote by Gerard Alexander on the limits of moral imaginations and agendas, and why such books are needed (I think reading them can put one into a clinical depression).
Let's not even bother with the Great Terror and the Ukrainian famine and, instead, go straight to something recent. Ask yourself: When was the last time you saw, read, or heard anyone discussing the estimated one million civilians killed during the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan during 1979-89? People old enough to have lived through that aren't reminded of it. And younger ones have almost no opportunity to learn about it. Such acts of forgetting are why the Black Book of Communism was still needed so many years after Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and why the tales it told were greeted as foreign all over again.

Iraq is not an exception. Intellectual imaginations immediately grasp the importance of the widely covered website "Iraq Body Count," tabulating Iraqi civilians reported killed after the 2003 overthrow of Saddam. But the researcher-activists who created that site don't run a similar count of Iraqis killed by Saddam before April 2003, or one of bodies as they emerge from his mass graves, and they can't even be bothered to link to neglected websites publicizing those graves, such as afhr.org and the austerely powerful (and graphic) massgraves.info.

In the same spirit, institutions as diverse as Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bryn Mawr and Amherst colleges, and Florida State University have already offered courses that discuss Abu Ghraib as a place where U.S. soldiers committed abuses, not as a place in which Saddam's secret police tortured thousands to death.

It's no coincidence that the Black Book of Saddam Hussein has been received with what Kutschera describes as a "chill" by the French commentariat, has been ignored by the reviewers in the leading French newspapers - Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération - and was reviewed only snidely by Le Monde Diplomatique.

This is the real virtue of the Black Book and other volumes like it. They offer the details that most news media and college classes won't. They memorialize those who otherwise might be forgotten. And they are the raw materials for an alternative storyline, one that takes all peoples seriously enough to say that they are moral agents, both for evil and for good.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Big box ordinance or Wal Mart ordinance?

From today's Defender,
Residents, business owners and community leaders from the West Side, where Chicago's first Wal-Mart is scheduled to open this summer, spoke out Thursday against the so-called "Big Box Retail" ordinance currently before the City Council's finance committee.
[...]
Residents of Ald. Emma Mitts' 37th Ward, who would be likely candidates for jobs at the Wal-Mart when it opens, said the $10 minimum wage would deter businesses from investing in their neighborhood.

"The communities, especially on the West Side of Chicago, are excited about opportunities for jobs. We need jobs. Our communities are filled with the young and the old standing on corners with nothing to do, some laid off from companies that have closed down or moved away, some ex-offenders looking for a new start," said Frankie Freenie of the Nobel Neighbors Association in Humboldt Park.

Drive around Austin and you'll see housing stock is in pretty good shape but the local retail is devasted. There's no local retail for Wal Mart to put out of business. Any kind of investment can only do good for the neigborhood.

This is as true of Galewood as it is of further east along North Ave, or at Madison and Pulaski. The only local retail that can survive now in Chicago are niche retailers for people with money, and ethnic retailers who will cater to their local communities. Everyone else will make the drive to a discounter. Might as well keep the discounter in the City. It seems so foolish to keep them out.

Espeically when you consider the City makes it none to easy for the few local folks who venture into retail either. Read Arlene Jones Why is the city harassing business owners in Austin?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Iran eyes badges for Jews; Rev. Stanley Campbell will speak to the UU's in Rockford about his current trip to Iran

From Canada.com via drudge,

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

"There's no reason to believe they won't pass this," said Rabbi Hier. "It will certainly pass unless there's some sort of international outcry over this."
Stanley Campbell will speak to UU's in Rockford about his trip to Iran.

Instead of telling Iranians he's sorry for America, he ought to sew a colored cloth on his jacket now, today, in Iran right now.... and ask of the fate of Ramin Jahanbegloo who's certainly not watching the BBC in Evin prison.

Update: in response to truth below. From National Post,
Mr. Kermanian said the subject of “what to do with religious minorities” came up during debates leading up to the passing of the dress code law.

“It is possible that some ideas might have been thrown around,” he said. “But to the best of my knowledge the final version of the law does not demand any identifying marks by the religious minority groups.”
So we'll have to wait and see what the final dress code law says on the issue of what to do with pesky religous minorities.

Jahanbegloo still in Evin.

It's a hell of regime to apoligize too.

Update: Hot Air follows the story.

Cut and run

Jim Nolan's speech to Syndey's Fabian Society via Labour Friends of Iraq,
What is the situation in Iraq now? And what does it call for? Listen to Iraq’s Ambassador to Canada, Howar Ziad. In a speech just last month at Carleton University in Ottawa, he said this:

“The contrast between democracy and dictatorship explains much of what is happening in Iraq. Diehard fascists, the remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda fanatics, have waged a relentless campaign against the Iraqi people. They have allowed Iraqi citizens almost no rest, no opportunity to heal the wounds of 35 years of Baathist totalitarianism. This faction, which subscribes to the dark days of state brutality in Iraqi history, has viciously attacked schoolchildren, mosques, churches, funerals and hospitals. They provoke murderous sectarianism in attempt to undo every weave of the country's social fabric. Outrageously, foreign apologists dress up their ruthless acts of murder as a so-called "national resistance."

Despite the violent challenges that we face from fanatics in our attempt to establish a secure and stable democratic state, our aim is to go further than mere democracy and to build an Iraqi national consensus. The majority of Iraqis has insisted on a principle of inclusiveness over one of narrow majoritarianism. We have already built a government that represents over 80 per cent of Iraqis, and now we are trying to accommodate the remainder. Most members of the Sunni Arab community of Iraq reject terrorism; it is only a violent minority that wishes to wreck a peaceful and democratic future.”

I invite anyone to quarrel with this prognosis and anyone with any credibility on the left to say that the ambassador’s description of Iraq’s enemies is inaccurate. Or do we support those dishonest foreign apologists who dress up the Ba’athist and jihadi ruthless acts of murder as a so-called "national resistance” or acquiesce in their continues campaign by shamefully ignoring its consequences just as Saddam’s crimes were ignored. Where is the “resistance” to foreign “occupation” in the blowing up of Iraqi mosques, hospitals and funerals?

That is the nightmare to which Iraq will return if the West decides to ‘cut and run’. Faced with a determined and ruthless insurgency combining fanatical jihadis and Ba’athist fascists – none of whom appear to lack significant international support - what should the response be? As with the Saddam denial syndrome, the ‘cut and run’ strategy steadfastly refuses to face up to its consequences.

Murtha and the Marines at Haditha Nov 17th

Academic Elephant has a good essay on it over at Red State.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ryan was an amateur

I think when this and this is all said and done, and people eventually indicted for perjury and obstruction; we'll look back and see George Ryan as small potatoes... an amateur in Illinois politics.

Rockford's Stanley Campbell to Iran: "I apologize for my government."

Why does the Religous Left in America get such a thrill from Tyrants? Here's what Rockford's Stanley Campbell is quoted saying in Iran per Peace Noodles at SoapBlog Chicago during his visit to Iran as a Peace Activist: I apologize for my government.

Do a search at the Soap on Jon Burge and it will come up blanks save my post today. Something's gone badly wrong with the left in Illinois and the US that they can be so indifferent to injustice in our own backyard and feel a need to travel to Iran and say sorry.

All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty.
--George Orwell

cross posted at Illinoiz

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

David Orr's Letter in today's Defender on Burge, torture, and 35 years

Orr's letter in today's Defender. Not sure if it's published anywhere else (it should be!). The Foie Gras story may have gotton more coverage. Hopefully the full report will be released this Friday.
Dear Editor,

Back in 2002, a Cook County judge appointed special prosecutors to investigate the allegations of torture against former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

Now, four years and $5.5 million later, the prosecutors want to release their findings. Not surprisingly, attorneys for Burge and other former officers, accused of using electric shock and suffocation techniques on suspects, don’t want the report to be made public.

For those keeping track, it’s been 13 years since Burge was fired for torturing Andrew Wilson while Wilson was in police custody more than 25 years ago. The allegations of torture surfaced some 35 years ago. Beginning to see a pattern?

These allegations and attempts to cover them up smelled back then just as they do today. After decades of being denied the complete truth about Burge’s alleged atrocities, the public has a right to finally hear it - now.

I applaud the city’s African American aldermen for providing leadership on this issue - one that impacts all of us.

David Orr

Cook County Clerk


cross posted at Illinoiz

Our freedom is not inherited

Academic Elephant quoting from Rumsfeld's VMI speech yesterday,
"Today's world is actually freer than it has ever been in history, but those freedoms are threatened as never before. We're a nation at war; but it's a war unlike any that our nation has ever had to fight. For the first time in American history, the full view of war, it's glories and it's horrors, are on display to the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Today's war fighters are conducting battles in an era of digital cameras, satellite phones, the internet, 24 hour news, blogs. And because of these new technologies the American people are seeing things that they never saw before about the realities of conflict and of post-war violence. And they will need the help of those of you who have studied military strategy to understand what it is they're seeing every day and to become more aware that war requires continuous adjustment and calibrations just as the enemy, an enemy with a brain, is continuously adjusting his tactics."


"Our freedom is not inherited. It's been earned and it has been by each new generation, as it must be."


"You may find people who will contend that patriotism is something to be a little bit embarrassed about or that honor is somewhat outdated as a notion and that concentrating on America's imperfection makes you a realist. Not so. That's the sign of a cynic. Being a cynic is easy. You can just sit back, heckle from the cheap seats, while others serve, storm beaches, build nations, meet their destinies. Idealists write history's stirring chapters; cynics read those chapters and seem not to understand. Choose to be an idealist. There have always been those who contend that what's wrong with the world is America. Don't believe it."


"It is the power of freedom that has helped each successive generation of patriots prevail over every form of tyranny, even when success seemed unlikely, and that was often. Freedom is our secret weapon, but it's not the only one. Back in the early days of World War II someone asked General Marshall if our country had a secret weapon that could win the war and his famous reply was that we did indeed have a secret weapon. We had the best darn kids in the world. And he was right."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monthly Review's Yoshie Furuhashi: "Save Darfur": Evangelicals and Establishment Jews

He writes,
It's embarrassing that America -- and the world -- will be witnessing a PRO-WAR rally in Washington, D.C. on April 30 (a project of SaveDarfur.org) that is far more highly publicized than an anti-war one (that appears to be poorly organized) in New York City on April 29, even while Washington is still soldiering on in Afghanistan and Iraq and gunning for sanctions or war on Iran.

Really, the LAST THING we need in America is ONE MORE WAR to get involved in -- the least of all in an oil state like Sudan (amidst loud complaints of higher gas prices, no less).

Who is behind this astonishing pro-war rally in war-weary America (war-weary as far as the Iraq War is concerned, that is)? A rag-tag coalition of evangelicals and establishment Jews (those whom the corporate media designate as official leaders of Jewish communities)
I subscribed to Monthly Review ages ago when Sweezy and Huberman were editors. When I think back, it hasn't changed all that much from Furuhashi here. I'll stick with the Evangelicals and Jews now.

UUA and Rev Sinkford did participate and shared a platform with Richard Land. Religious Liberals share far more with Religious Conservatives and ought to seek every opportunity for shared efforts. Better them than Furuhashi.

Noam Chomsky meets with Hizbullah's Nabil Qauq

MEMRI has the video.
Reporter: "On the U.S. position regarding his visit, Chomsky said:"

Noam Chomsky: "I don't know what their response will be, and I don't care."
As long as the IRS doesn't challange his trust.

Update: Ya Libnan thinks Chomsky needs to learn a little more about Lebanon.

Torture is like anything. You get used to it.

Excerpts from On the Road to Kandahar by Jason Burke published in The Observer,
I spent many months in Iraq after the war. Oddly, I was always more optimistic about the country's future when I was there than in London. Western news bulletins were dominated by those making the most noise or mess, and the voices of the majority in Iraq, who wanted only to eat and sleep in peace with their families, were barely heard. This was true on a global scale too. In Iraq, the violence was aimed at dividing communities. Spectacular acts of international terrorism aimed to do the same. To an extent, sadly, they have succeeded. In the short term at least, brutality can work. But the dogmatic, the fanatic and the violent are still a long way from outright victory. And that we owe to the good sense and humanity of all those caught in the middle - whether on an Israeli bus, a London tube train, in Baghdad or, indeed, in Kandahar.

And an interview,
Mohammed Kassm was a former Iraqi Mukhabarat intelligence-service torturer captured by the Kurds two years earlier. He was 39, 6ft 4in and 230lbs, with small eyes, pudgy cheeks and grey-flecked hair and was wearing a faded, red sports shirt, tracksuit trousers and broken plastic sandals. His hands, I noticed when he was brought out of the cells and sat down in an empty office in the security services headquarters, were very large.

Kassm had joined the Baath party at the age of 15 in the year that Saddam seized power. By the time he was 16, he was working for the Mukhabarat main office in Baghdad. At 20, he was a full-time interrogator. 'At first, it was difficult for me and then it became more easy. Torture is like anything. You get used to it.'

Kassm, sitting in an upstairs room in the security-service offices, gave no indication that he felt any shame.

'How did you torture people?' I asked him. He chuckled and sat back with his fingers crossed over his belly.

'There are multiple ways. We hoist them over a bar with their arms behind them. We use hot things like an iron on their skin. We use an electric cable - here, here and here,' he said and indicated ears, tongue and groin.

'How about fingernails?' I said, thinking of a waiter who had served me a day or so earlier whose fingers ended in smooth nubs of skin.

Kassm looked insulted. 'That's an old technique. We don't do that any more. Though we did occasionally cut off toes or fingers.'

Did you interrogate children?' I asked 'Sometimes,' he shrugged. 'We tortured everyone, men, women and children.'

'Who was the youngest?'

'Newborn babies, I suppose.'

'You tortured newborn babies?'

'Well, not exactly, but sometimes we brought in newborns and threatened to starve them to death to get their parents to talk. We might starve them a bit for effect but we wouldn't kill the child. That was a pretty effective technique, actually.'

'And the older kids?'

'We would hit five- or six-year-olds with a cable.'

'What about rape?'

'My team did not do that but we had a specially designated rape unit.'

'You have a wife?'

'I have been married twice and I have seven children.'

'And you went home to your wife and kids after a day of torturing people?'

'You are a journalist, I am an interrogator. I got paid, got overtime, bonuses, holidays. It was a job.' Then he added, as if aware of the inadequacy of what he was saying: 'I was following orders. Saddam is responsible. Saddam made us into killers. Was there any German soldier who could reject Hitler's orders?'

'Would you fight for Saddam if you were free now?

'The men of the Mukhabarat are frightened now,' he said. 'They have blood on their hands. They have to stick with Saddam or they will be killed by the population that hate them.'

RU-486 and 26 million food stamp recipients is more than the economy can stand.

The Buck Stops Here finds letters from Ron Weddington and his then wife Sarah-Weddington as part of Judical Watch's FOIAs on RU-486: The Clinton RU-486 Files.

From a Jan 6., 1992 letter to Betsey Wright, on Clinton's transition team:

Sarah and I have been discussing the notion of our setting up a non-profit corporation to license and distribute R U 486. Being non-profit would eliminate the need for products liability insurance, which is a major hang-up for a company thinking about marketing a new drug.

It's possible that such an endeavor could be the vehicle for a number of birth control efforts.

Something's got to be done very quickly. 26 million food stamp recipients is more than the economy can stand.
And an undated letter to Clinton,
But you can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I'm not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can't afford to have babies.

There, I've said it. It's what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and . . . well . . . so Republican.
It's hard to be pro-choice with people like this on your side.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Presbyterian’s Divestment from Israel Resolution

Larry Rued writes about efforts to rescind the Presbyterian's divestment resolution. This letter is especially interesting and should be forwarded to any Presybterian friends.
The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) General Assembly (GA) will be meeting June 15-22, 2006. One of the many contentious issues that will be debated at this General Assembly is the Israel Divestment Resolution approved at the 2004 GA. As a PCUSA elder, I would like to commend some excellent websites on the Presbyterian Divestment topic.

1. In 2004/2005 I managed a petition calling upon the PCUSA GA to return in a special session to rescind the divestment resolution. More than 2,200 PCUSA members, elders, and ministers signed the petition. You may find the comments left by these Presbyterians helpful in any commentary you may write.

2. Presbyterian elder, Will Spotts, has created the Bearing Witness website. I particularly commend his compelling and comprehensive analysis, Pride and Prejudice: The Presbyterian Divestment Story . Elder Spotts also wrote an insightful commentary on anti-semitism, If it Walks Like a Duck...

3. A coalition of Presbyterian elders and ministers created “The Committee to End Divestment Now” I commend their indepth and complete analysis of PCUSA divestment issues.

4. The American Interfaith Institute’s Faiths for Fairness project provides additional information. I particularly commend your attention to the letter listing the biased actions of the PCUSA church leaders.

In the ensuing days I will forward relevant news regarding the Presbyterian’s Divestment from Israel Resolution.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Danny Davis to the Cook County Board (again)

Long article in today's Sun Times.

Can't Cook County do better than someone who won't do a thing till its over over there?

Not to mention this odd event at DC's Dirkenson Federal Bldg,
In a video on the IIFWP website, Cummings is seen giving a speech saying Moon is “always standing up for what is right.” Davis, wearing white gloves, places a jeweled crown on Moon’s head. The video, and articles about the event, were taken down from the website Friday.

Asked if he thought the crowning unusual, Davis, who has attended several Moon events, replied, “I see people crowned. I go to parades quite a bit … [and see] the queen of the homecoming parade, queen of the festival.”


cp at Illinoiz

Unitarians and our Military Academies: forgotten history

An interesting comment from Vince Patton over at the Unitarian Universalists in the Military blog; reminding readers of UU History and the Military.

This actually is the first time in about 30+ years that I've been trying to get someone in UUA to even remotely pay some attention to military issues. It's been quite disheartening over the years, especially given the fact that we have a significant number of flag and general officers, as well as senior enlisteds within our membership. And should I mention that we have two former Secretaries of DOD?

Most importantly, the membership of UUA is not well informed of the fact that the military chaplains' corps (which the Navy first started) was run primarily by Unitarian ministers. So whether they like it or not, this is a part of our faith's history -- and they must pay some attention to the needs of UU military members.
And Jamie Goodwin finds what I would call something less than Support Our Troops on a UU website. Wonder what those two former UU SecDef's would think of that.

William Cohen is a UU and was SecDef under Clinton. Not sure who Patton has in mind as the second.

George Bancroft founder of the Naval Academy was a Unitarian, as was the founder of West Point: Sylvanus Thayer.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

“No war on Iraq. Freedom for Palestine”.

Christopher Hitchens on the Euston Manifesto and the folks who call for No war on Iraq. Freedom for Palestine....

and today's ....rotten unprincipled alliance between the former fans of the one-party state and the hysterical zealots of the one-god one.
The “Euston Manifesto” keeps it simple. It prefers democratic pluralism, at any price, to theocracy. It raises an eyebrow at the enslavement of the female half of the population and the burial alive of homosexuals. It has its reservations about the United States, but knows that if anything is ever done about (say) Darfur, it will be Washington that receives the UN mandate to do the heavy lifting.

It prefers those who vote in Iraq and Afghanistan to those who put bombs in mosques and schools and hospitals. It does not conceive of arguments that make excuses for suicide murderers. It affirms the right of democratic nations and open societies to defend themselves, both from theocratic states abroad and from theocratic gangsters at home.

I have been flattered by an invitation to sign it, and I probably will, but if I agree it will be the most conservative document that I have ever initialled. Even the obvious has now become revolutionary. So call me a neo-conservative if you must: anything is preferable to the rotten unprincipled alliance between the former fans of the one-party state and the hysterical zealots of the one-god one.

Amnesty International Canada's petition for Ramin Jahanbegloo

It can be found here.
Academic Ramin Jahanbegloo, who has joint Iranian and Canadian citizenship, was arrested on 27 April at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport. He is now believed to be held incommunicado in Evin Prison, in Tehran, where he is at risk of torture or ill-treatment. There are unconfirmed reports that he is being held in the hospital wing. He may be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Despite Iran’s continuing poor record on human rights, the heightened international tension over Iran’s nuclear programme has led to a reduction in international attention to this issue. As a result, the scope for Iranian civil society activists is becoming increasingly restricted, and there are fears that other journalists and intellectuals could be at risk.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Captian's Quarters: Captured AQ Documents: "Every Year Is Worse Than The Previous Year"

Captians Quarters has Centcom translation of recently captured Al Queda documents.

Far from optimistic, the documents captured in an April 16th raid reveal frustration and desperation, as the terrorists acknowledge the superior position of American and free Iraqi forces and their ability to quickly adapt to new tactics.

HT Extreme Wisdom

Boycott of Israeli lecturers

Haartz via Norm. Another reason why it feels like 1938.
The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories.

The boycott motion, which was drafted by the southeast region of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), will be brought to a vote at its annual national conference, which will be held May 27-29. It comes about a year after the last boycott by British lecturers.
[.....]
Unlike the previous boycott, which targeted
two specific institutions, the current motion relates to all lecturers and academic institutions in Israel. Now that the University of Haifa has threatened the AUT with a lawsuit, the NATFHE motion is more cautious: instead of recommending the lecturers union boycott Israeli institutions, it calls on the union to suggest its members carry out the boycott.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bin Laden and the changing mood of the Arab public

via PJ

Austin Bey picks up on the latest meaning of Bin Laden's speech citing this column from The Daily Star by Amr Hamzawy on Al-Qaeda faces an ideological crisis.

I blogged on the strange shift to Darfur and the Sudan and wondered if it was a response to Al-Turabi's inteview on on Al-Arabiya TV on April 10, 2006.

Hamzawy concludes,
Taking note of the changing mood of the Arab public, bin Laden sought to return Al-Qaeda to its roots. The group was founded thanks to the support of sister militant movements. Previously, bin Laden's cadres emerged from the once-powerful Egyptian Jihad and Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya. Today, Hamas is the front-runner among militant Islamist movements. But even at this level, bin Laden is destined to earn only minimal success, if any. A day after Al-Jazeera broadcast his videotape, Hamas' spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zahri, told reporters that bin Laden's comments on Hamas reflected his own views and that Hamas was interested in good relations with the West.

Arab politics have transcended the legacy of Al-Qaeda. Today gradualism, participation, and democratic reform, rather than radical violence and jihad, set the agenda. Although it's uncertain whether Arab liberals will see their dream realized, Al-Qaeda's project no longer represents an alternative.

I think our alliance of apostate lackeys, Rafidite Shi'ites, secular pro-Zionist Kurds and false Sunnis is albeit slowly creating alternatives.

Hatikva sung at Bergen-Belsen after Liberation, April 1945

again, via Norm,
There is a recording here of Hatikva (The Hope), as sung by Jewish survivors at Bergen Belsen on April 20 1945. It is part of a report filed by Patrick Gordon Walker for the BBC. Hatikva is now the national anthem of Israel. (Via Michael Greenspan and Judith Apter Klinghoffer.)


Update: The link is broken but try here. The folks at Israel Reporter had their site hijacked but have made a video now using the mp3 of the survivors singing.

A blog on Ramin Jahanbegloo arrest in Iran

Norm finds a blog following Ramin Jahanbegoo's arrest and incarceration in Iran.

Also this in Tornot Star.

McKinney and Kennedy and a car crash on the Hill

Krauthammer said on Fox news last night he doubted Congresswoman McKinney would have received the same kind of drive home sans sobriety test given Congressman Kennedy had she crashed her car on Capital Hill.

I suspect that's very true.

Torture, Sen Durbin, and Jon Burge

I was held at gun point once by two Chicago cops for suspected car theft when I was 13 or 14. My buddy's folks were having a New Year's Eve party and someone had given my buddy keys to go warm up their car for them. He decided to take the car for a drive instead.

Neigbors next store were having a party too and guests included two Chicago cops. For some reason they stepped out to check things and decided my friend had stolen a car.

They had me spread eagle, face down in the snow and said I was on my way to Cook County Jail for car theft. They gave a pretty graphic description of the gang rape that awaited me there.

You don't forget that.

I want to support cops. I like to think these stories were exceptions. But when the Black Caucus demands this, I'm sympathetic. I'd like to read the report too.

The City Council's Black Caucus on Friday demanded the release of a special prosecutor's four-year, $5.7 million report into torture allegations against former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge.

"There is still this belief in our community that we allowed black people to be tortured by Chicago Police and did nothing. This belief will be there until we put closure to it," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th).

"We want that report released for the same reason Holocaust victims want Nazi soldiers found and prosecuted: to feel there is justice in this world. ... If there are allegations of torture in that report, we want the people prosecuted. ... If there are allegations about any state's attorney, I want their name in the paper so when they try to become a judge, we can say, 'Wait a minute. This is the guy who participated when they were torturing people.' "
Sen. Durbin read from the Taguba Report and said it reminded him of Stalin's Russia or Pol Pot's Cambodia.

I'd like to hear an Alderman read this out in the City Council and tell us what it reminds him of.

I want to know who tortures in Chicago.

cross posted at Illinoize

Chicago and the Real-World Manifesto Launch

The public launch of the Euston Manifesto will take place on Thursday 25 May 2006 at 7pm (19:00hrs BST, 18:00 UTC) at The Franklin Wilkins Building, King's College, London. UK.
Anyone in Chicago area or midwest who is sympathetic with the Manifesto please send me an email. Maybe we can get together.

Employment drops on Goss watch

No wonder CIA spooks have been speaking out. Anyone who's been through a Reduction-in-Force knows what that brings out,
Senator Pat Roberts being interviewed by Jim Angle said that the number of employees at CIA dropped from 100,000 to 75,000 during the Goss tenure.
Belmont Club has a long review of what bloggers are saying and also a good review of the Rummy Lied debate when an ex CIAer Ray McGovern now part of Daniel Ellsberg's Truth-Telling Project heckled Rumsfeld.

The Strata-Sphere: Bre’r Rabbit Briar Patch CIA Move

Strata-Sphere concludes,
Look at that list folks and understand there are even more that are not well known or advertised. Goss is out because he established the proper relationship with DNI agreed upon years ago when this started. The news media never detects this kind of strategy because it takes years to implement and the media has the attention span of a gnat. That’s why they cannot fathom what is going on. But for those of us who do know, it is truly stunning.

No one has left as large an imprint as George Bush has on the Government of the United States since FDR and WW II. The media’s BDS blinds them to this amazing accomplishment. But it is for real.
And a commenter adds,
I would say to have a look at Harry S. Truman when his approval ratings were in the 20% range. He was creating the CIA, NSA, and Joint Chiefs of Staff while the left was complaining that he was building a police state while body bags were flowing back from Korea. Truman’s work won the cold war decades after Harry was gone.

Bush is basically re-organizing and modernizing the infrastructure that Truman built to reflect the modern reality and I have a hunch Bush will go down as the US President that saved Western civilization. That might take decades of hard work to come to pass, though.

Not to take anything away from FDR, but I would say since Truman, not since FDR.
Not to mention adding Roberts and Alito to the court.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Porter Goss resigns

He resigned.

It's not easy cleaning house in a gov agency. More leaks coming for sure, but you never know what to believe with these folks. Nothing ever what it seems.

Read this on Allen Dulles long ago; and this too on Moe Berg. Hope things have gotten more professional since their times... somehow I think not.

Update: Allen Dulles may have been appropriate comparison. See The Wonkette.