At Project Vote Smart you can find out who’s running for what public office in your area, what their positions are, what the offices are, what their voting records are, and who’s been contributing to their campaign (more info about money in politics is available at Open Secrets). Project Vote Smart is specific to zip+4 (which you can look up on the site), and I find it to be a supremely valuable resource. Also, a manual for informed voting is offered for download: “The 2002 voter self defense manual is available for download. The VSDM covers all of the current U.S. members of Congress including selected key votes, special interest group ratings, campaign finance information and contact information.”
again, nothing new under the sun…
& a reminder of that, of sorts.
Ruth Rosen’s Secrets and Lies,
from the S.F. Chronicle
Today also marks the beginning of the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico. Day of the Dead
Stand Down: the Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq:
Initiated by Max Sawicky (Maxspeak) and Julian Sanchez (Notes from the Lounge) this is a new weblog open to anybody opposed to the threatening war with Iraq.
The members of Stand Down hold a wide variety of different and, indeed, conflicting political positions, but all are in agreement on a single proposition: that the use of military force to effect “regime change” in Iraq is ill advised and unjustified. We do not deny that the current Iraqi regime is monstrous, but we hold, following John Adams, that the United States need not go “abroad in search of monsters to destroy” unless they pose a clear and direct threat to American national security.
Canada Issues Travel Advisory Against U.S.
A travel advisory issued by the Canadian government this week has an ironic twist – telling Canadian citizens born in Iraq, Syria and other countries targeted by U.S. anti-terrorism policies to consider avoiding travel to the United States.
And if you do have to go there, don’t drink the water…
The Wolf Who Cried Wolf:
Charging Anti-Semitism and Extending the Iron Wall
For this is the shadow cast by the Iron Wall, Zionism’s long-standing policy towards the Palestinians, which has led to a half-century of systematic expropriation, ethnic cleansing, massacre, torture, incarceration, and occupation of the native. When Zionist theoretician Ze’ev Jabotinsky first formulated the doctrine of Iron Wall in 1923, he laid the question of colonialism bare. He understood that “The natives will always struggle obstinately against the colonists,” as they are bound up with their land with the “true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux upon his prairie.” Given that the Palestinians “will struggle against colonizers until the last spark of hopeis extinguished,” Zionism must ensure “there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall.” Force was to be not only a pre-condition but the condition for Zionist success, via the Iron Wall.
It would be a mistake to regard the settlers’ robberies of Palestinian villagers’ olive harvests as merely another serious crime. This collective theft signifies a change in the current military conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and is a revolution in the history of the settlements in general. For the first time in the current conflict, Israelis are stealing and confiscating Palestinian food. Even if they won’t admit it, it can be seen as laying the groundwork for Transfer, not by the state but by a group of settlers. In Yanun, south of Nablus, most of the residents have already been forced to leave their homes.
A letter to Newsweek:
Since Saddam seized power without any democratic mandate, his nation has suffered economic decline and become contemptible in the eyes of the world due to his bellicosity and unilateralist disdain for the environment and the United Nations. At the same time, his weapons of mass destruction strike fear in our hearts. And he and his cronies have grown rich by corrupt dealings in oil and other industries. Why does Bush hate him so? They have so much in common.
Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warned yesterday that the US is developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare.
The scientists, specialists in bio-warfare and chemical weapons, say the Pentagon, with the help of the British military, is also working on “non-lethal” weapons similar to the narcotic gas used by Russian forces to end last week’s siege in Moscow.
They also point to the paradox of the US developing such weapons at a time when it is proposing military action against Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein is breaking international treaties.
The article also mentions the use of non-lethal weapons against hostile crowds. I guess that would mean demonstrating civilians.
Chechen ‘Black Widows’
“My mother is dying,” Fedyantseva said she told her captor.
She said Svyeta replied stonily: “It doesn’t bother my conscience. If I see [you] again, I’ll shoot.”
Commonly called “hell on Earth,” Chechnya has been the site of one of the murkiest insurgencies in modern history since Russian troops first entered the Muslim-dominated southern Russian state in 1994 to quash a separatist movement…
But even the most seasoned Russian experts were horrified by the sight of the “widows of the war” calmly announcing their intention to blow up the famous Moscow theater in a videotaped message, which was aired the Arabic satellite TV network al Jazeera just hours after the rebels seized the theater….
“I was shocked, very much so,” said Sebastian Gorka, a fellow at the Virginia-based Terrorism Research Center. “For those familiar with mainstream Chechen society — which to put it bluntly, is a conservative society — the concept of front-line Chechen female combatants is unusual, it’s a novelty…”
The hostage-taking in Moscow is a dreadful reminder of the unsolved situation in Chechnya,” said Judith Arenas, a spokeswoman for the human-rights group Amnesty International. “The situation there affects every single person, but women are particularly vulnerable to violations that include arbitrary detention, torture and rape.”
Rights groups have charged that the fear of rape by Russian forces in Chechnya is pervasive, causing many families, particularly those with young women and girls, to flee and motivating desperate attempts to hide female family members. More than 150,000 Chechens have been living in camps in the neighboring region of Ingushetia since the second Russian military operation was launched against the separatists in September 1999…