The Friends of California Libre...

12 May 2005

Meanwhile, Back at Armageddon

Greetings, friends,
For those of you here in Los Angeles, this weekend is the obscure local holiday known as the WORLD TRADE FESTIVAL. That means FREE hour-long boat tours of the harbor and FREE rides on the restored Red Car from the Catalina Terminal in San Pedro to decrepit Ports o' Call. Fun! Fun! Fun! I'll be there on Saturday, and then it's off to see the obscure early 1970s LA flicks known as MODEL SHOP, starring Anouk Aimee as a model wandering around Venice Beach, and CISCO PIKE, starring Kris Kristofferson as a former rock star reduced to being a POT DEALER. Sound familiar?

Anyway, it's nothing compared to the holidays they celebrate in BRAZIL:
Brazilian Town Declares Orgasm Day - Yahoo! News

I was planning to get really deep this time, but I just can't do it. I've spent the last hour listening to the boring point counter-point speeches regarding John Bolton, who soon hopefully will be driving the entire UN to Geneva. In my half-completed science fiction novel, A GIRL AND HER CAT, the United States pulls out of the UN in 2018. I guess another revision is in order.

Well, here's some more good news:
It's Official: Acupuncture Really Works
By Jo Revill
The Observer UK

Anyway, Saturday is also my last day "off" before I fly to the Old World, so come along and enjoy the self indulgence. The next SCREED will be a rather terse one.

This little tidbit about Turkey and Armenia finally thinking about making nice made me think...first of all, it answers the question that some of you might have asked, if you were more curious, "What's Ellen Baird up to these days?" This is part of the work of her particular "civil society":
Headline: Hopeful signs for Turkey, Armenia
"AS ARMENIANS gather worldwide this weekend to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, they are debating Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. The nationalist fringe believes there should be no contact between Turks and Armenians until Turkey stops denying the genocide, pays reparations, and returns territory. Most Armenians support dialogue and cooperation. They endorse opening theborder in order to end Armenia's ..."

This article also made me ponder the criticism and praise heaped upon the new Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Since I'm soon on my way to la France, where argument is fun, I have some provoking things to say about this. First of all, why are Germans complaining that the memorial is ugly or "too big"? They're lucky that ALL of Berlin isn't a Holocaust memorial. The Russians tried to turn East Berlin into one. Natch, I think the size and especially the location, right by the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, is appropriate.

A German Jew (and I honestly was surprised to see there were any left) complained that the real monuments, for Jews, are the death camps themselves. Right, but the death camps are also monuments to all the other people sent to the camps, including millions of Roma, gays, and political dissidents, and not least in a sick way they memorialize the efficiency of the SS. The stelae in Berlin are an appropriate monument to the fruits of German anti-Semitism, because it is a blight in the heart of their capital city, so the one country in Europe that did the most to eradicate their Jews (and everyone else's) will not easily be able to forget it.

Besides, I think some Berliners secretly miss the Wall, and now they have this ugly bit of concrete to puzzle over and spray-paint, and maybe someday to take a sledgehammer to and sell the bits over the Internet.

Life really sucks when demagogues take over your country:
Democrats Voted Out of Baptist Church
The Associated Press

They start turning myth into truth, and heap truth upon the bonfires (the second article is an especially chilling must-read):
Kansas Begins Hearings on Diluting Teaching of Evolution
By Jodi Wilgoren
The New York Times
Stations of the Cross: How Evangelical Christians Are Creating an Alternative Universe of Faith-Based News
By Mariah Blake
The Columbia Journalism Review

It's really just nice B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T:
The Big Myth
This material, "designed for use in European primary school classrooms. ... is a sociology textbook for the comparative study of world creation mythology. The myths are told using Flash animation and are accompanied by an overview of the culture, [and] the pantheon of the gods." The site provides myths from nine world cultures. (Information for 16 additional cultures is available for a fee.) Also includes myths submitted by children. In English and Dutch.

I mean, compare Norway, where stripping is now considered an art form, to Texas, where cheerleading is now considered lewd:
'Honey, I'm off to see some art...' - Yahoo! News

Texas to cheerleaders: Don't shake it anymore - Yahoo! News

Can you Imagine a world with no religion? Although I was a little nauseated, you can hear G.W. Bush belt out the old Lennon ode to the future (thanks, Geri):
George Bush does Imagine by John Lennon and gets mashed up.

Speaking of John Lennon, I'm starting to warm more to the "Vietnam" - "Iraq" parallels. The situation in the country is different, but the American reaction is the same, and hearkens back to our first colonial invasion, the subjugation of the Philippines:
From 'Gook' to 'Raghead'
By Bob Herbert
The New York Times

In contrast, I like the balls of these Belgians:
Belgian Doctors Bill U.S. for Treating Iraqi Girl - Yahoo! News

The end result should be the same:
Seymour Hersh: Iraq "Moving Towards Open Civil War"
Interviewer: Amy Goodman
Democracy Now!
Experts: Iraq Verges on Civil War
By Timothy M. Phelps

And just to depress you further, the articles I collected before John Bolton greased through his confirmation process...even though there was opposition from within:
Powell Plays Behind the Scenes Role in Bolton Debate
By Jim VandeHei and Robin Wright
The Washington Post
Bolton's Nomination Is Questioned by Another Powell Aide
By Douglas Jehl
The New York Times

And for good reason:
Bully Bolton Threatens National Security
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t Perspective

Yep, it's time to put an asshole in the UN, right when we're prepared to go the limit:
US May Allow Nuke Strikes over WMD
The Japan Times
Proposal would reverse 10-year policy.

No matter if the lessons of the past were learned YESTERDAY:
CIA's Final Report: No WMD Found in Iraq
The Associated Press

If you don't like the news, ignore it. Or eliminate it.
Bush Administration Eliminating 19-year-old International Terrorism Report
By Jonathan S. Landay
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Washington - The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.

Shove it under the Fed rug:
CIA Leak Probe Done, Minus Some Testimony
The Associated Press
Washington -- The federal prosecutor investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name says his work is complete except for one large omission: hearing from two reporters who are fighting a court order to answer questions under oath.

Think that's bad? Keep's one that's still WAY under the radar:
Bush's Most Radical Plan Yet
By Osha Gray Davidson
Rolling Stone
With a vote of hand-picked lobbyists, the president could terminate any federal agency he dislikes.

If you've ever asked yourself, "What's Joel's problem...I mean, what did THEY ever do to HIM?", here's your answer; I was slowly radicalized just before and after I went to Berkeley (admittedly an easy place for it), but I didn't feel my blood boil until someone I'd actually met became a victim of Ronald Reagan. Then and there I vowed to personally haunt and destroy the culture of the Republicans and their minions. His name was Ben Linder, and his crime was building dams in Nicaragua to electrify rural villages:
Linder-Negroponte Remembered on Anniversary of Ben's Murder in Nicaragua
By George H. Beres
t r u t h o u t Perspective

If you've got the time, here's plenty of material on the scumbag who thought it up while he was ambassador to Honduras:
The Negroponte File
Hundreds of cables and memos written by John Negroponte when he was Ambassador to Honduras during the contra war in the early 1980s. These documents are made available in relation to the U.S. Senate's April 2005 consideration of Negroponte's nomination to be Director of National Intelligence. From the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

WARNING! They are EVERYWHERE and they want to know what YOU know!"
NPR : 'Rifle' Sniffs Out Vulnerability in Bluetooth Devices"

But seriously, they really DO want to know:
The REAL ID Act: How It Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations, Insults International Law, Undermines Our Security, and Betrays Eleanor Roosevelt's Legacy
By Noah S. Leavitt

And but of course, it wouldn't be a SCREED if I didn't jump up and down on the latest assaults against our poor planet. How about the Missouri drying up, just 200 years after Lewis and Clark paddled up to the source of it?
Missouri River at Risk of Drying to Mere Trickle
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK

How about more skin cancer in Canada and Europe, so people can kill termites and run their air-conditioners?
Ozone Layer Most Fragile on Record
By Paul Brown
The Guardian UK

How about Europe getting dropped into a new "mini Ice Age?",,2087-1602579,00.html
Britain faces big chill as ocean current slows
Ireland Faces Big Chill as Ocean Current Slows
By Jonathan Leake
The Sunday Times, Ireland

How about destroying the civilizations of our fellow sentient mammals in the oceans? It was once speculated by Carl Sagan that whales could communicate for THOUSANDS of km in the ocean; now they're overwhelmed by our noise. And you wonder why they commit suicide by beaching themselves?
Oceans Getting Louder; Effects Unclear
By Jay Lindsay
The Associated Press

There's hopeful signs that people are getting the message:
Switching to Renewable Energy Gets Easier
By Brad Foss
The Associated Press

And just to apply the boot to your ass, I repeat this harsh attack on American self-congratulation, writ by our former self-congratulating writer Mr. Ventura (thanks, Mark):
Letters at 3AM
$4 a gallon
America is over. America is like Wile E. Coyote after he's run out a few paces past the edge of the cliff ­ he'll take a few more steps in midair before he looks down. Then, when he sees that there's nothing under him, he'll fall. Many Americans suspect that they're running on thin air, but they haven't looked down yet. When they do...

Just to rub it in:
The End of Oil Is Closer Than You Think
By John Vidal
The Guardian UK
Facing Global Sanctions, Iran Uses Oil Fields to Seek Alliances
By Jad Mouwad
The New York Times

Yeah, 'cause oil is "only" $49 a barrel. WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE WAKE UP?

Here is the Swiss doing what they can to save one of their glaciers...cute, but not a good long-term solution:
Swiss Put Glacier Under Wraps to Slow Ice Melt
By Vincent Fribault

Because the glaciers just keep shrinking everywhere (thanks, Lucas):

Even the notoriously self-serving Navajo just made a decision against their self-interest which rather surprised me:
Navajo Nation Outlaws Uranium Mining
The Associated Press
Window Rock, AZ - The Navajo Nation has outlawed uranium mining and processing on its reservation, which sprawls across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah and contains one of the world's largest deposits of uranium ore.

Which is no joke:
Horror of USA's Depleted Uranium in Iraq Threatens World
By James Denver
Vive le Canada

Yep, vive le Canada, and vive le screed!

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