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Monthly Archives: June, 2002

Nukes in Space (revisited)

The physician/activist Helen Caldicott is on CSpan’s Book Events this weekend and she gives a powerful one hour presentation on the current arms situation. Her website is here. I urge you to set your TIVOs…

She insists that there is no question that the Pentagon currently runs the White House and that nukes in space is numero uno on the general military agenda for the future, with the goal of being able to vaporize enemies from beyond the stratosphere. The following recent articles provide context to this assertion:


US spurns Russia, China’s bid to ban arms in space — Reuters

Russia, China Seek To Ban Space Arms — Guardian

And on 6/26/02:

US to have single command for nuclear force, missile defence – Hindustan Times

The Pentagon is to create a single military command for US nuclear and missile defenses, as well as a network of early warning satellites and radars, US …

Also:   Bush approves plan to merge Strategic, Space Commands – Nando Times

Rumsfeld Announces New US Military Command – Reuters

Bush Oks Plan To Merge Commands – Guardian, UK

Pentagon creating a new military command – China Daily

Si Lewen… The Parade – A story in 55 drawings (1957, H. Bittner And Company, New York). Also… A Journey – 72 Drawings by Si Lewen (1980, Philadelphia: The Art Alliance Press, London and Toronto: Associated University Presses). “…Si Lewen’s work reflects a world of step-by-step progression of often tragic events and images. For him everything is but a step, a transition to the next stage. All of his work is a part of a procession, a migration, an Odyssey. In A Journey the ‘visitor’ travels through the nightmare of the concentration camp, where the camp serves as the ultimate expression of the nation state.” From The Art of Si Lewen.

People Power On Tour

The event is entitled “Democracy Rising,” a stop on the “People Have the Power Tour.” Consumer activist-cum-presidential candidate Ralph Nader organized it. He’ll headline the concert/rally, part of his latest stab at finding ways to mobilize huge crowds of disaffected young people who are more likely to attend rock concerts than to canvass voters or picket nukes.

Patti Smith will perform. So will Janeane Garofalo, Jello Biafra and DL Hughley. Nader will speak, as will Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry and Hartford Councilwoman Elizabeth Horton Sheff of the Green Party. Similar lineups of national and local stars have joined Nader on 10 other “super-rally” stages since the tour began last year. [more]

our lack of affection and respect…

for the current resident of la casa blanca is pretty obvious

to anybody who’s visited the dumbmonkey over the last year

or so, but in this instance, we do have a minor bit of sympathy

for el residente, & Please the Goddess, don’t let Cheney get any ideas…

For the uninitiated, the minor procedure described.

Tennis Bonds Jewish-Muslim Friendship
The Wimbledon men’s doubles pair of Amir Hadad and Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi are doing their part to show the unifying spirit of sport – Hadad is an Israeli and Qureshi a Muslim from Pakistan.

Israel wants UN observers

Israel demands that UN personnel start reporting all military activity in the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza to the UN. “Israel has begun a campaign in the United States and the United Nations to urge a reconsideration of the way the UN Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA], which runs the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, operates,” Ha’aretz reports.

International observers could prevent or defuse violent escalations in the conflict by monitoring who is provoking who and how, who is starting violence, who is reacting, etcetera. By publishing those observations, it will be much more difficult for all parties to get away with unjustifiable actions and to manipulate public opinion with false information. However, despite strong international pressure, Israel has in the last few years refused to allow international observers in the Occupied Territories. Now it seems that Israel does want observers, but, observers who only monitor the Palestinian camps, and not the actions of the Israeli army and the settlers.

Problem is that UNRWA does not “run” the camps. And saying that “UNRWA is complicit in terrorism because it turns a blind eye to militant activity in ‘its’ camps,” is nonsense. UNRWA about this myth:

UNRWA does not run refugee camps. It is a UN agency with a clearly defined mandate, in accordance with which, it provides health, education and other humanitarian services to refugees, only one third of whom live in refugee camps. The Agency has never been given any mandate to administer, supervise or police the refugee camps or to have any jurisdiction or legislative power over the refugees or the areas where they lived. The Agency has no police force, no intelligence service and no mandate to report on political and military activities. This responsibility has always remained with the host countries and Israel, who maintained law and order, including within refugee camps.

[More myths and facts about UNRWA]

UNRWA has problems enough fullfilling their actual mandate, especially with the violence and the severe economical crisis in the Occupied Territories caused by the closure imposed by Israel. The Agency barely has enough money to provide the Palestinian refugees with basic education and very basic health care. Moreover, UNRWA is responsible for the refugees’ housing and for the infrastructure in the camps: the organization has to rebuild the houses, clinics, roads and sewer systems that have been destroyed by the Israeli army.

If Israel wants observers, it should ask for trained observers with a proper mandate, a mandate that includes monitoring the actions of the Israeli army and the settlers.


A Jewish demographic state

Having lodged itself close to the top of the national agenda, the issue of demography is forcing both the right and the left to grapple with the difficult dilemma at the heart of the state’s character. Can Israel be a Jewish and democratic state? Is there any such animal?

About three months ago Prof. Arnon Sofer sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The subject was the need for separation from the Palestinians. “Most of the inhabitants of Israel realize that there is only one solution in the face of our insane and suicidal neighbor – separation,” wrote Sofer. “You should have known this months before they did, as the grave demographic data were put on your desk many months ago. In the absence of separation, the meaning of such a majority (of Arabs – L.G.) – is the end of the Jewish state of Israel. You should remember that on the same day as the Israel Defense Forces is investing efforts and succeeding in eliminating one terrorist or another, on that very same day, as on every day of the year, within the territories of western Israel, about 400 children are being born, some of whom will become new suicide terrorists! Do you realize this?”


At Bar-Ilan University there has been an examination, in a series of surveys, of attitudes toward basic values like peace, democracy and a Jewish state. At various points in time, the Jewish state has been perceived as the value of supreme importance. Peace and democracy alternate among themselves in secondary places after this value, in accordance with events in the background of the particular survey. This is no doubt the reason so many people avoid discussing the issue, as they are aware of the fact that behind “the demographic issue” there are masses of people whose very existence is defined as a problem.


“It’s frightening when Jews talk about demography,” says Dr. Amnon Raz- Krakotzkin of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “There were those who believed that the ethnic cleansing of 1948 solved the problem. Now they are discovering to their dismay a reality in which the Jews will always be a minority in the Middle East.” By “they,” Raz-Krakotzkin means the Israeli left. As he sees it, the left’s view of the world is based on a demographic principle, just like the worldview of transfer. [more]

Can anyone tell me how this discussion of a Jewish state, which talks about the removal of a “problem” population — the Arabs, is any different than the discussions, in a European country almost 70 years ago, of an Ayran state, which talked about the removal of a “problem” population — the Jews? Enquiring minds want to know.

It’s almost funny watching the politicians fall all over themselves lining up behind the Pledge of Allegiance and against that 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that the words “under God” makes the Pledge unconstitutional.

I’m sorry, but the Pledge of Allegiance was just fine WITHOUT those two words.

Those two words were added during the McCarthy/ Cold War era of the 50’s, in order to “distinguish” ourselves from the Communists. You know–like, See, we’re different, we’re better–our government believes in God.

There’s no place for God in government. Our government is for the people, by the people, not by God. Our lives are by God. Government is not the end all and be all; if you believe in God, than you know that God’s laws are higher than those of government. Separating God from government ensures that we don’t live in a God-ordained kingdom, with a God-ordained king, or a God-ordained despot.

Bush: “We need commonsense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God.” via DAILY VEXATION

‘When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. ‘ – Benjamin Franklin.

‘The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. ‘ – Benjamin Franklin.

‘I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.’ – Benjamin Franklin.

‘Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so.’ – Benjamin Franklin.

‘Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.’ – Benjamin Franklin. via PLEP

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