Friday, November 12, 2004

Nader Fights For Kerry's Votes

Now this is the height of irony - while Kerry betrayed the trust and false hopes of the ABB crowd by caving in early, the man many of them derided in ways and with shoddy arguments and misinterpreted evidence reminding me of freepers, independent progressive Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, took up the cause and is campaigning for recounts. (My stolen election links roundup is here.)

UPDATE 16/11: I read that Cobbs and Badnarik also joined the call for Ohio recounts.

The Barbarian Invasions - The Vandals Are Back

I thought this one from the images Raed collected deserves its own post:

Being a European, this can only remind me of all the destructions of great architecture and other works of art by invaders (both 'barbarian' and local stock) clueless about cultural value, called vandalism ever since the 455 BC trashing of Rome by the Vandals.

Photos From Fallujah

Read Raed.

Also, what is happening in Baghdad:

I called my family to see what was happening there. One of our friends living in Abu-Ghreib told us about how a US helicopters attacked their entire neighbourhood after a US patrol was attacked from that area. He said that they have holes in the ceilings of their house because of the random attack. This collective punishment is very close to how the israeli forces treat Palestinians, trying to put pressure on the civilians not to accept any fighter in their street. As if it was the civilians’ duty to go after fighters and stop them.

My family said that many districts in the west of Baghdad are blocked, the streets leading to the areas near the airport (Al-Jihad, Al-Amryya, Al-Ghazalyya, Al-khadraa, and others) are closed due to street fighting. The airport highway is closed too. They said that the sound of explosions and bullets is continuous. My uncle lives in Ad-Dora in southern Baghdad, and they are having similar street clashes there too.

Fill In Analogy

What I thought to be the latest sign of emerging fascism proved to be a weird accident, but to fill in for it, and for people like James from Dead Men Left to better underline what I understand under fascism as a post-liberal worldview, read this part Josh Narins quotes from Corrente.

US Elections Bizarredom

Alabama voters narrowly rejected an amendment proposal that would have killed dormant provisions prescribing school segregation according to races.

Iraqi Elections Bizarredom

I read this atAtrios:

And, yes, Americablog is right - the most insightful commentary about the state of affairs before the election did indeed come from Ed Helms of the Daily Show, who raised the rather obvious but overlooked point of how does one run any kind of election campaign during a period of martial law.

No Atrios, the most insightful commentary came from Naomi Klein:

Mr. Bremer said the country was too insecure to hold elections and, besides, there were no voter rolls.... Thousands of lost Iraqi and American lives later, elections are scheduled to take place with part of the country in the grips of yet another invasion and much of it under martial law. As for voter rolls, the Allawi government is planning to use the oil-for-food lists, as was suggested and dismissed a year ago.

So the excuses were lies: If elections can be held now, they could have been held a year ago, when the country was vastly calmer. But that would have denied Washington the chance to install a puppet regime in Iraq, and possibly prevented Mr. Bush from winning a second term.

Stolen Election Roundup

Greg Palast's take on it.

Bob Fitrakis on Ohio.

Kathy Dopp on some Florida counties.

German quality magazine DER SPIEGEL's summary (in German).

Regarding electronic voting, I again link to Black Box Voting.

Good-Bye Freedom Of Press

In the last few months, three different U.S. federal judges, each appointed by President Ronald Reagan, have found a total of eight journalists in contempt of court for refusing to reveal confidential sources, and the first of them may go to prison before the year is out. Some of the rest may be in prison by spring.

The first reporter likely to go to jail is Jim Taricani, a television reporter for the NBC station in Providence. Taricani obtained and broadcast, completely legally, a videotape of a city official as he accepted an envelope full of cash.

U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres found Taricani in contempt for refusing to identify the person he got the videotape from, and the judge fined him $1,000 a day. That hasn't broken Taricani, so Torres has set a hearing for Nov. 18 to decide whether to squeeze him by throwing him in jail.

Read the other two examples here.

European Far-Right

The Vlaams Blok in the Flemish half of Belgium gets 25%, Le Pen in France gets more than 15%, Haider in Austria once almost got 30% and his party is junior party in government. Pim Fortuyn's party in The Netherlands got more than 10%, and was junior party in government. BNP and UKIP in the UK also get much. Two parties of the up until now splintered German far-right entered two regional parliaments in East Germany and forged an alliance for a common list in 2006, with 7% of Germans considering a vote. Far-right parties in Norway, Denmark and Portugal ensure the existence of right-wing minority governments in respective parliaments. In Italy, the far-right Bossi and the reformed far-right ex-fascists are coalitioneers of Berlusconi.

Now that's the story as seen from far away. For example as seen by Steve Gilliard, who has the strange misbeliefs that it was the German leftists who didn't saw the danger and didn't oppose the Nazis strong enough, and that the same is true with the current European left vs. far-right. Now the latter might to some extent be true about Dutch leftists, after all theirs is a country where the principle of gedoog let too many things be swept under the rug for too long. (I see a very dark irony in the situation after a right-wing film-maker - who mixed justified criticisms of fundie practices with deliberate insults against Muslims in general as f.e. goatfuckers - was murdered by an even nuttier young Muslim fundamentalist: Just after people began to talk about Muslim fundamentalists as 'walking time-bombs', they had to see that there were a lot of other walking time-bombs just waiting to blow up - by planting bombs at Muslim shrines or cultural houses or anything connected to Muslims; see timeline.) But the larger pattern is of course the Left constantly protesting, while the Centre-Right sinks in uncomfortable silence or mutters about a paranoid Left.

However, what I want to get at is how and when the far-right is more dangerous, and to whom. First of all, the far-right in any shape and size is always dangerous to whatever group they focus their hate on. This is something those who have never been in such a group rarely understand, so let me explain as someone in the know (I was a foreigner in Germany for two years): even if the outright racists/xenophobes are less than 5% of the population, chances are there will be one among the dozens of people you meet on every single day - worse, you don't know in advance who it will be. That is, abuse will be a fact of your daily life, even if you have no problem with, or even like, most people from the unaffected majority.

But when, and to what extent is the far-right a danger to democracy? Well, for a start, you should ask yourself, what is worse: when a racist minority has a fairly large but minority party with an open agenda, but it is kept from power by coalitions of the parties representing the majority; or when a a similar racist minority forms a major part of the base (and some part of the leaders) of a majority party in government, but practises self-censorship in public? I would say certainly the latter. I think the latter is much worse than even when a centre-right party accepts a far-right one as junior coalitioneer: for the major coalition parties tend to sideline coalitioneers to insignificant posts, and at the same time attempt to ruin them by directing all the blame the government gets at them. See Austria and The Netherlands for examples where this worked, Italy as counter-example. Consequently, from the list in the first paragraph, I see the greatest danger to democracy in Italy, not Flemish Belgium. Where the unfortunately existing racist right is represented, but is kept out and fought. (And, as can be guessed, I see the US Republican Party in a worse light than even Berlusconi's governing coalition.)

However, I see greater dangers elsewhere. One is a far-right theme that is spread well beyond the actual far-right, and seen as a justifiable populist tool by the centre-right and also some centre-left (f.e. Bliar): the fear of immigrants and immigration. This is a paranoid fear. While I argued that immigration is no solution to the Western problem of exploding retirement, jobless and social budgets; it is not really worsening the problem either: immigrants mean both new workforce and new consumers, while many of them find jobs in fields not liked by the indigenous population. (Both at the low end and the high end - when I was in Germany, my father was an engineer in a firm that simply coudn't find enough qualified engineers, even with the foreigners in.) Most immigrants do integrate, and what increases the numbers of those who don't is ghettoisation forced by blind government policies. However, this fear of immigration is alive and widespread, and could undermine the EU's unique characteristics that its neighbours are more willng to get into it than fearing takeover.

A second great danger, I am sad to say, emanates from the new members of the EU here in Central-Eastern Europe. The problem is that some racist-ethnic-national stereotypes are spread through the whole mainstream political spectrum here, and in more aggressive forms than in Western Europe. This is partly down to the tunnel vision of agoraphobic worldviews, best showcased by public discourse about and school teaching of history: rather nationalist and almost lacking of self-criticisms alike to, for example, what one finds in Germany, or to reflections upon a colonial past one finds in at least large parts of the French or British population. But in another part down to a, ehm, let's call it collective mental development missed out during communism, when the conclusions West Europe drew from WWII weren't coming while people were preoccupied with relating to the incumbent dictature.

And thus the racist policies and hates which I think poison Europe most from our quarters aren't even the neighbour hates (Polish-German, Hungarian-Romanian etc.), but (1) hate of Gypsies (a high-joblessness, blamed-for-crime, practically ghettoised large minority), (2) anti-semitism (real old-style hardcore anti-semitism, not just widespread criticism of Israel blasted by Likudnik hacks), and (3) the stateless Russian minorities in the Baltic states (having to live as officially secondary citizens due to a similarly insane 'counter-policy' to Stalin's and his successors' assimilation policies).

While I try to do my part against it, I'd hope my Western European counterparts to become aware of the problem before it seeps over as our politicians will exert their influence in European institutions. (I.e., it would be good if some 'group pressure' would be applied in the EP and elsewhere.)


Reading the press and watching the news, Moqtada al-Sadr is a "firebrand" and "radical cleric", but Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson who fit too do not get the same tag.

The Iraqi resistance is a coalition of "Islamists and ex-Baathists", but the members of the US-appointed puppet government do not get the same, perfectly fitting tag.

Yemeni and Saudi jihadists in Iraq are foreign fighters, US Marines destroying the homes of 300,000 people (150,000 voters) following the fictious command of a puppet government put in place by the US government do not get the same tag.

Insurgents blowing up an IED planted for a military convoy that in the meantime invited children by distributing sweets are targeting civilians, US forces bombing a hospital and raiding another, or bombing a wedding party, or bombing a restaurant, do not get the same tag.

Armed forces enforcing a fundamentalist agenda loyal to an anti-occupation Islamist party holding a city (f.e. the Mahdi Army of the Sadrists in Najaf April-August 2004) are an illegal militia with a strangehold over the city, armed forces enforcing a fundamentalist agenda loyal to a pro-occupation Islamist party holding a city (f.e. the Badr Brigade of SCIRI also in Najaf but April 2003-March 2004) do not get the same tag.

When a resistance or terrorist-planted bomb kills dozens of civilians, its terrible carnage; but when 2000-lbs bombs levelling whole neighbourhoods (while their target at the centre of destruction was already selected on lousy intel) kill dozens, or when soldiers trained to respond with overwhelming firepower kill hundreds of civilians in the process of levelling whole cities, you do not read the same tag.

When armed forces crush resistance by indiscriminate bombardment with illicit weapons of whole cities (say in Halabja or Najaf), arrests and shootings of leaders and members of a movement (say of the Sadrists in 1999 or Fallujan clerics in 1998) at the command of Baathist dictator Saddam, that's cruel inhumane dictature; but when the same things are done (say in Fallujah and Najaf /of the Sadrists and AMS and non-Sadrist but Sistani- and Occupation-critical Kerbala clerics) at the fictious command of ex-Baathist virtual dictator Allawi, you can be happy to just not read the same tag - rather than read the self-contradictory phrase of 'an act necessary to ensure democracy'.

Reports of incidents from a number of independent sources, but none Western, are 'unconfirmed', while claims from a single Western source that proved unreliable or outright lying several times do not get the same tag.

This docile repetition of propaganda/hypocrisy, which again swallowed the whole of the American mainstream media, while swamping over into large parts of the European media, is also thematised by Tom Engelhardt in a foreword to a reprint of a Mark LeVine article.

UPDATE: Lenin's Tomb on the same subject.

The Invisible Nonviolent Resistance

Earlier I have explained why I don't blog about the I/P conflict, and some others similarly sickening. However, Juan Cole had an important guest commentary on reality vs. Western (mainly US) demands that Palestinians adopt non-violent resistance, which I will quote in full:

The Death of Arafat and the Myth of New Beginnings

Mark LeVine, Professor of modern Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, author of Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine (Berkeley: University of California Press) and Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (forthcoming, Oneworld Publications.)

In the weeks leading up to Palestinian President Yassir Arafat’s death American politicians and pundits have repeatedly called on the Palestinian people to use the opportunity of his passing to transform the intifada from a violent uprising into a non-violent, democratic and pragmatic program for achieving independence. This is very good advice, needless to say, except for one small problem: Palestinians have been trying to build such a movement for the last two decades, and the Israeli Government, IDF and American policy-makers have done everything possible to make sure it could not be heeded.

One of the first exponents of Palestinian non-violence the Palestinian-American doctor Mubarak Awad, founded the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in 1985. His innovative ideas and training of Palestinians in the tactics of non-violent resistance to the occupation was considered dangerous enough by Israel that it expelled him from the land of his birth in 1988. During the same period, the government supported the rise to power of militant religious groups such as Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO (which that year recognized Israel’s right to exist).

By the time the first intifada wound down in the early 1990s Jewish/Israeli-Palestinian “dialog” or “people-to-people” groups had become all the rage, most of whom had as an important goal building relationships of trust and solidarity that could help Palestinians build a viable political future. Unfortunately, while liberal Israelis were busy sharing hummus with their new Palestinian friends successive Likud and Labor governments accelerated the pace of land confiscation, settlement construction and economic closure of the Territories, which ultimately left many Palestinians to wonder if all the conversation wasn’t a ruse to keep them occupied while Israel permanently secured its hold on their lands.

But mid-way through the Oslo era hope was still in the air. In January 1996 I sat on the terrace of a friend’s house in Abu Dis as about 100 meters away Yaser Arafat cast his vote in perhaps the greatest day in the history of Palestinian nationalism: the elections for the presidency and Legislative Assembly. Unfortunately, soon after the elections the CIA and Shin Bet began what seemed like weekly meetings with the “security” officials of the Palestinian Authority. The stated reasons were always to “coordinate security;” the real reason was to make sure the new Assembly was still born because newly elected legislators promised to investigate PA corruption and push for a final settlement more in line with the desire of Palestinian society.

Needless to say, the Assembly didn’t make it. In its place, however, Hamas did quite well, precisely because it constituted perhaps the only powerful voice of dissent against the emerging status quo of corruption and continued occupation.

Since the outbreak of the “al-Aksa intifada” in September 2000 most Palestinians I know -- and increasingly, their comrades in the Israeli peace movement -- have exerted incredible energy trying to build grass roots non violent movements that could somehow check the inexorable advance of the occupation and the slow death of the national dream of an independent state. The response by the Israeli military has often been brutal. Not just Palestinian activists, but foreign peace activists and even Israelis are routinely beaten, arrested, deported, and even killed by the IDF, with little fear that the Government of Israel would pay a political price for crushing non-violent resistance with violent means.

In this environment the very act of going about ones daily life without losing all hope and “joining Hamas” (something former Prime Minister Barak admitted he would have done if he were Palestinian) has become perhaps the supreme, if unheralded, act of non-violence against the occupation. The Israeli Government is quite aware of this, which is why it does its best to make daily life as difficult as possible for Palestinians.

Not surprisingly considering this dynamic, a poll I helped direct earlier this year revealed that Hamas has now surpassed the PLO as the most popular Palestinian political movement. But what of the courageous Palestinians who still believe in non-violence, who are risking their lives working with Israeli peace activists to fulfill the fading Oslo dream of two states living side by side in peace? We could ask this question to Ahmed Awad, founder of the non-violent Committee for the Popular Struggle against the Separation Fence, which has brought Palestinian and Israeli activists together in a relatively successful campaign to redirect the separation wall away from local olive groves. In the process his group has become a model for grass-roots, non-violent struggle.

Unfortunately, we’d have to wait at least three months for an answer, as Awad has just been jailed without charge by a military court on the accusation he constituted a “threat to security.” The judge who handed down the order hoped that his detention would lead him to “turn away from th[is] bad road with its unhappy ending,” although its hard to see whom his stated goal of “letting the world understand that there can be coexistence between us and the Jews” threatened. In the meantime, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the army has stepped up violence and aggression against protesters in order to enable the fence to proceed along its original route.

And on it goes. As the Bush Administration and America’s pundocracy search for a new generation of pragmatic and non-violent Palestinian leaders, they should be heartened to know that they won’t have to look very hard to find them. But that’s because so many are either in the hospital, jail or exile. And like Arafat shriveling away in his besieged Muqata’a (which will now be his tomb), the Palestinian peace movement will continue to wither as long as Israel is more comfortable confronting Hamas than Ahmed Awad.

Mark Levine
Associate Professor of History
Department of History
Murray Krieger Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-3275

email: mlevine a_t_ uci d o t edu

Unfortunately, where it counts, in the US, the mainstream of both major parties prefer myths of blame to reality. For the Democrats, one could witness this for example in the Comments at Atrios when Arafat died. Its origins lie in one part in the rhetorical corruption from Democratic efforts to get the Jewish-American vote, and in perhaps a larger part in the Clinton governments' poisoned rhetoric to shift the blame from itself, blame deserved for failing to exert anywhere near enough influence for peace during Ehud Barak's premier ministership. Of course, for them to realise that someone who systematically broke every promise and betrayed every partner both in international relations and in relations with his coalitioneers and comrades in the then Israeli government, who allowed more settler houses built in the Occupied Territories than his vile predecessor Binjamin Netanyahu, who preferred ultimatums to dialogue; to realise that rather weak guarantees for a below-minimum offer after one and half years of running amok won't inspire trust in Arafat & co - to realise this, they would have had to not share Barak's belief that dictated peaces from a position of strength, if dictated by a 'democracy', are both valuable and just. Of course, it would have helped if at a deeper level, this thing about the actions of a 'democracy', which stems from a Wilsonian justification of the US political elite's own imperialism, wouldn't have clouded minds. (To wit: however corrupt and autocratic Arafat's rule was, it is silly to compare it to the level of democracy inside Israel, that is another country, rather than the alternatives for Palestine - which were, mainly: theocratic semi- or total dictature from Hamas, anarchy, and totalitarian military dictature by a foreign army that is obviously not commanded by a government the demos in question had a chance to vote on, the IDF.)

UPDATE: A good link on the sham that was Camp David and Taba and the shifting of blame afterwards, via Lenin's Tomb - and a Gush Shalom Flash representation on the same issue, via commenter Motoko at Lenin's Tomb.

Similar hypocrisy about Iraq. Fallujah tried non-violent resistance in the end of April 2003, the this and the result seems to have been forgotten by most.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Kerry Is A Fighter?...

I forgot to comment on this aspect of the US Elections last week - well, Edwards promised to fight for every last vote, but his chief betrayed the ABBers false hopes just a few hours later.

Now let's witness how the emerging voting machine story develops, whether the Democratic Party will care to thematise it, and who will head the DNC next - that is, whether the Democratic Party is willing to bury itself alive.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Looking back on the Guardian talkboards, I found this(*) post from a poster who in the previous two years was among the many US liberals dismissing my worries about the Religious Right as silly paranoia of a clueless anti-American European:

Guardian Talk International
How can Liberal America regain control from the faith-based fundamentalists?

Post a message | Subscribe
Started by RegimeChange04 at 02:43pm Nov 4, 2004 BST

prufrockjr - 04:50pm Nov 4, 2004 BST (#27 of 408)

I was once unworried about the religious right. I’m over that. My previous blithe self is rapidly becoming a fretful mess. It wasn’t just the re-election of Bush that did it. I as watching the election results Tuesday night, and feeling somewhat hopeful things would go the right way, and when I say the right way, I of course mean my way. Well, that didn’t happen and I grumbled and uttered a number of pissy little things, then tried to do what Americans have always done, or should, wish the man in office all the luck in world and go to bed.

Here’s what kept me up; numbers, specifically, the lopsided numbers regarding definition of marriage. A huge majority had voted for amending state constitutions with a traditional definition of marriage. Man, woman, picket fence and Jesus. I’m entirely comfortable with the notion that people think differently from me and I believe they come to their own political and social conclusions as honestly and thoughtfully as I do. They may go about it in ways I don’t or use sources I don’t, but that’s never bothered me, until Tuesday. Well, it was on Tuesday that I realized I’ve been lying to myself, anyway.

I sat there looking at these numbers in a state of bewilderment. How could, in some cases, eighty plus percent of the electorate be so idiotic? Then it struck me; maybe I’m the idiot? I mean, look at all those red states. It seemed an alien nation, and many ways, for liberal Democrats, it is. As I was thinking about the definition of marriage vote, I mentioned to someone that I don’t have any friends who feel this way. She agreed. We also agreed that we don’t have any friends who aren’t pro-choice, anti-death penalty, pro-gay rights or anti-George Bush. It struck us that we barely know anyone who attends church. I have only one close friend who can be described as even mildly religious. One. No one we know reads the Bible. No one we know believes in Jesus. No one we know takes seriously anything Jerry Falwell has ever said. We view his ilk as superstitious buffoons and feign tolerance toward them, because we believe them stupid. We’re the Insufferable Minority, and we’re in a cocoon. The Right also exists in a cocoon; just a much larger, more organized and better funded cocoon.

That’s why Kerry didn’t make a dint in the Red Sates and that’s why the Democratic party, as its being lead today, will continue to be viewed as the party of supercilious jerks who want to ram a Godless agenda down the throats of Americans; for their own good of course. So I asked myself, do I want to ram a Godless agenda down the throats of Americans, for their own good? Yes, I absolutely do. [DoDo: Heh, I can can with that!] Just as they wish to push their gag-inducing blueprint down mine. We’ve reached a point of total gridlock. It would be fascinating, if it weren’t so depressing.

(*): GU Talk doesn't archive old threads, so this link will work probably only for weeks.

Blame The Voters?

James in the Comments to posts below presents a reading of recent discussion about the loonish nature and width of the Bush Base as blaming the voter, instead of admitting the fundamental errors of the Kerry/ABB campaign. I read similar arguments on various webpages.

Well, aren't they blaming voters too? Kerry voters? For mis-analysing thewir loss; for being naive and falling in line behind the wrong candidate, rather than standing up to issues or progressive candidates? And rightly so?

Brits And Iraq

In The Times poll, supporters of the Iraq war dropped to 31%. From 33%. The Times poll differs strongly from earlier polls by the Guardian, which show 70% support for 'setting a date' for British pullout from Iraq, but are split evenly on whether to start the war was the right decision. In the latter poll, two-thirds of Labour voters were for the war, while majorities of the two main opposition parties (not to speak of smaller ones) were against.

I thought about the difference. Finally, noticing that one poll asked in general, the other about the past, I came up with this possible explanation: , a lot of British voters bought the spin from the Kerry camp in the USA that the war itelf wasn't the problem, but how it was fought was ("Bush blew it"). That would make the Guardian digures a lot less comfortable for warhawks and British PM Bliar, but such shallowness and short memory of 15% of British voters is still nauseating.

Still More Signs? (Fortunately Not)

Next in the line in my series on signs of the re-emergence of fascism, now government buildings have to be defended with tanks against anti-war protesters:

UPDATE 11/11: In the Comments to the above linked story, Mark cleared up this one: the two tanks were driving into town for a Veterans' Day parade the next day, and got lost. Put it into the 'weird but symbolic' corner.

BTW, the losing 29% (as opposed to the winning 30% and the I-don't-care 41%) is sorry.

UPDATE 11/11: After having looked at quite a few of the images, I am not sure it was all that great an idea. Too many photos with a joking tone or funny faces, which copuld give the viewer the idea they aren't really sorry, or don't really know what to be sorry about. (Hint: What Would You Say To A Fallujahi?)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

You're Surrounded!

The post below quotes a US Democrat who realised what we're up against. But his post largely focuses on Red States vs. Blue States (i.e. States voting for Bush vs. for Kerry), as does the funny map I put at the end of the post.

However, if you look at it at the election district level, a pattern emerges that should worry US liberals even more. I saw such a map for the 2000 elections, didn't found one for this one, but Raed's girlfriend Nikki did:

UPDATE 11/10:James, presumably from Dead Men Left, Suggested me a good link in the Comments - here you can see the county voting map with gradient colours, and population-weighted cartograms of both states and counties. However, these shouldn't stop US liberals worrying: the above map should give you the idea that most of you live on islands slowly sinking in a red sea; and to change the political map significantly, it is not enough to talk to your neighbour, but you should go out into the miriads of far-away smalltowns and suburbs and exurbs.

Know Your Enemy

With parts of the Democratic establishment predictably concluding that after Kerry's loss the Democrats need even more of the losing strategy of pandering to the Right, I'm happy to see on major pro-Democrat blogger, Steve Gilliard finally facing up with The Enemy in an uncompromising way. (With his usual brashness.)

This is stuff I was manically preaching about on the net for years.

...I'm an elitist snob, fuck you very much, you mouth-breathing bloodthirsty fucktard bigot. I work to educate myself. I spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money to get a more or less accurate idea of what's going on around me.

But I've been wrong. I was wrong -- I believed that, given equal access to information and resources, people will work toward their own best interests. I was wrong. Right-wingers will happily cause themselves suffering, as long as it means they can cause someone else a little bit more suffering. They're happy to see their children mangled horribly in the immoral meatgrinder of the war on Iraq. It makes them happy. Because as long as Uncle Sam is slaughtering brown people somewhere, with lots of shock and awe, it's a good day.

As long as they can make those nasty, dirty war protesters with their silly papier-mache puppets feel scared and angry and powerless, it's a job well done.

And before you all start tut-tutting kindly and rushing to my side with cups of tea and handfuls of Prozac and loving advice about therapy, vitamins and exercise, hear me out. OK?

You're good people. You're educated. You don't watch Fox News. You don't listen to talk radio. You, simply put, haven't the faintest idea what we're up against.

....then he lists some of whom we're up against, with links. And:

Check 'em out! They want you dead. Don't you think you should be aware? Browse their sites and comment boards and then come back and tell me you can reach them, educate them, live in peace with them. Or that you want to.


Just Like Any Middle East Dictator

Iraq's Baathist President Saddam was a brutal dictator, denounced for offensive wars, putting down rebellions with indiscriminate firepower, and using illicit weapons.

Syria's Baathist President Assad was denounced for using indiscriminate firepower when he put down the Muslim Brotherhood rebellion in the city of Hama, killing 10,000.

Jordan's King Hussein was denounced for indiscriminate firepower when he put down the Palestinian rebellion during Black September.

And so on.

And let's not forget Russia's Presidents Yeltsin and Putin, denounced for what they did to Grosny.

In Fallujah the USA demonstrates that the West aint' better.

European governments still in Iraq that won't pull out troops from Iraq immediately demonstrate that they aren't better morally, either.

Those in both the USA and Europe who denounced any or all of the first four on my list but use copouts - the same copouts used by the regimes mentioned for their own crimes against humanity - as apologetics, rather than denounce the razing of Fallujah, aren't better either - and they are racists exposed by double standards.

My special notice to the latter: thank you for giving justification (rather than merely an excuse) to Bin Laden & co for attacking us civilians here, assholes.

I Voted To Join, But That Was A Mistake...