I just spent a lot of time digging up links for the Indymedia Maritimes feature on the G7/G8. (The G7 finance ministers are meeting in Halifax in a few weeks.)
I've also been updating my resume. Want to send some lucrative, part time web design work my way? Don't hesitate!
Google Labs has the latest beta projects.
A great, complete account of the WTO Protests by Paul Hawken.
It's not inapt to compare the pointed lawlessness of the anarchists with the carefully considered ability of the WTO to flout laws of sovereign nations. When "The Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations" was enacted April 15th, 1994, in Marrakech, it was recorded as a 550-page agreement that was then sent to Congress for passage. Ralph Nader offered to donate $10,000 to any charity of a congressman's choice if any of them signed an affidavit saying they had read it and could answer several questions about it. Only one congressman – Senator Hank Brown, a Colorado Republican – took him up on it. After reading the document, Brown changed his opinion and voted against the Agreement. There were no public hearings, dialogues, or education.
One of my goals for the summer - besides working enough to survive stress-free and learning Python - is to get paid to write something, so I'm starting to write query letters.
Small Stories, another decent independent online comic strip, which I found out about in Comics you can make love to, which is (I think) a regular column in Hard Boiled, an Asian culture/politics zine from Berkeley, which I found out about from David Grenier.
CBC TV's Hot Type interviewed Noam Chomsky, and they post full transcripts, which is cool.
Lots of interesting links in this week's Red Rock Eaters.
Song o' the moment: The Rheostatics' Home Again.
On that note, I'm home from Camp Monkeyfist and a short visit with my friend John Powers in NYC, who put me to work installing his massive new sculpture. Many thanks to Kendall Clark for getting me down to Atlanta.
The second half of "We are all members of the Likud now", an article by a Congressional staff member is pretty interesting.
Of course, there are innumerable lobbies in Washington, from environmental to telecommunications to chiropractic; why is AIPAC different? For one thing, it is a political action committee that lobbies expressly on behalf of a foreign power; the fact that it is exempt from the Foreign Agents' Registration Act is yet another mysterious "Israel exception." For another, it is not just the amount of money it gives, it is the political punishment it can exact: just ask Chuck Percy or Pete McClosky. Since the mid-1980s, no Member of Congress has even tried to take on the lobby directly. As a Senate staffer told this writer, it is the "cold fear" of AIPAC's disfavor that keeps the politicians in line.
The story of Israelis posing as "art students" is totally straight out of a Tom Clancy novel, and a bit scary.
According to Intelligence Online, more than one-third of the students, who were spread out in 42 cities, lived in Florida, several in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- one-time home to at least 10 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers. In at least one case, the students lived just a stone's throw from homes and apartments where the Sept. 11 terrorists resided: In Hollywood, several students lived at 4220 Sheridan St., just down the block from the 3389 Sheridan St. apartment where terrorist mastermind Mohammed Atta holed up with three other Sept. 11 plotters. Many of the students, the DEA report noted, had backgrounds in Israeli military intelligence and/or electronics surveillance; one was the son of a two-star Israeli general, and another had served as a bodyguard to the head of the Israeli army.
Here's the DEA report that all the media reports of "Israeli Spy rings" are based on.
Underlying all this, of course, is the fact that as soon as anyone reports this, they get (unjstifiedly or not) branded as ten kinds of anti-Semite. The political reality of accusing the media of racism, though, is that those with the power to smear (i.e. Israel) have the power to require that the media has a huge pile of absoutely indisputable evidence for any criticism they might deign to make of Israel. Even then, the media outlet in question is still "anti-Semitic". Palestinians and Arabs in general, on the other hand, are regularly portrayed (or alternately, ignored) with broad generalizations by scholars and journalists alike. Violence commited by members of a group with less media clout is subject to the closest scrutiny, and the most implausible of claims are bandied around with impunity. Israel's own war crimes, on the other hand, are glossed over as "retaliation" or "self-defense" and the religious motivations for expelling the few million Palestinians who haven't been driven out yet are scarcely mentioned. From the Salon article:
Some of the same pressures that keep government officials from criticizing Israel may also explain why the media has failed to pursue the art student enigma. Media outlets that run stories even mildly critical of Israel often find themselves targeted by organized campaigns, including form-letter e-mails, the cancellation of subscriptions, and denunciations of the organization and its reporters and editors as anti-Semites. Cameron, for example, was excoriated by various pro-Israel lobbying groups for his expose. Representatives of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) argued that the Fox report cited only unnamed sources, provided no direct evidence, and moreover had been publicly denied by spokesmen for the FBI and others (the last, of course, is not really an argument).
GWBush lies outright about the budget.
Now the president tells audiences he has always said that in a time of recession, war, or national emergency, he could not only borrow from Social Security's surplus but could run overall budget deficits. In other words, the administration now justifies not only dipping into the Social Security surplus, but actually borrowing the whole thing and still running red ink.
A Peruvian politician apparently knows more about Free Software than Microsoft does.
From Chomsky's Deterring Democracy:
Suppose that the USSR were to follow the U.S. model as the Baltic states declare independence, organizing a proxy army to attack them from foreign bases, training its terrorist forces to hit "soft targets" (health centers, schools, etc.) so that the governments cannot provide social services, reducing the economies to ruin through embargo and other sanctions, and so on, in the familiar routine. Suppose further that when elections come, the Kremlin informs the population, loud and clear, that they can vote for the CP or starve. Perhaps some unreconstructed Stalinist might call this a "free and fair election." Surely no one else would.
Or suppose that the Arab states were to reduce Israel to the level of Ethiopia, then issuing a credible threat that they would drive it the rest of the way unless it "cried uncle" and voted for their candidate. Someone who called this a "democratic election," "free and fair," would rightly be condemned as an outright Nazi.
Well, so much for internet broadcasting. According to this indymedia report, a drastic increase in royalty rates would put most internet broadcasters (of music) out of business. How they're going to enforce this on everyone with a server and some bandwidth, I don't know, but it's scary enough that they're gonna try.
I spent the day at the Indymedia centre in NYC today, which is buzzing with activity. Now I'm off to Atlanta for a week to visit the Monkeyfist guys, and I'll be back in NYC Thursday through Saturday. Soo, if you're in either of those areas and care to get together, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org