Truthout -- Where Democracy Refuses to Die
Where Democracy Refuses to Die
By David Talbot
Monday 29 November 2004
The media was pro-government. In much of the country, the election machinery was controlled by the ruling party. Voter fraud was rampant. But the people of Ukraine will not surrender.
Progressive American voters, still downcast over the results of the presidential election - as well as an election system gravely impaired by the antiquated Electoral College, fraud-inviting electronic machines, and rampant political abuses - can take vicarious pleasure these days from Ukrainian democracy. Throughout the presidential campaign in the former Soviet republic, opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko struggled against a government-controlled media and election machinery that heavily favored his opponent, Viktor Yanukovych, the handpicked successor to the country's corrupt and thuggish president, Leonid Kuchma. But when Yushchenko was denied victory in the Nov. 21 election, after widespread fraud, the opposition leader and his supporters did not fade away - they took to the streets and refused to accept the official version of the election.
With the Ukrainian Supreme Court still deliberating the opposition's election challenge - and the democratic revolution in full flower on the wintry streets of Kiev - Salon spoke with Olena Prytula, editor in chief of Ukrayinska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth), the courageous Web site that has been responsible for some of the country's only aggressive, independent coverage of the Kuchma regime. Prytula's partner, Georgi Gongadze, was kidnapped, murdered and beheaded four years ago - an execution that a former bodyguard of Kuchma later charged was personally ordered by the president. In the past few weeks, Prytula and her small staff have thrown themselves into covering the dramatic election and aftermath, with traffic to her site ballooning to five times the normal flow. Prytula spoke by phone from Kiev, after another long, exhausting day, about the democratic uprising that contains "some small part of my work and my soul."
Are you hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the opposition?
It could take several days for the decision. I hope that the opposition has enough documents to prove the election was stolen.
Rene -- 'They Hate Our Policies, Not Our Freedom'
"War on Terror"
'They Hate Our Policies, Not Our Freedom'
By Tom Regan
The Christian Science Monitor
Monday 29 November 2004
Quietly released Pentagon report contains major criticisms of administration.
Late on the Wednesday afternoon before the Thanksgiving holiday, the US Defense Department released a report by the Defense Science Board that is highly critical of the administration's efforts in the war on terror and in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
'Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies [the report says]. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.'
The Pentagon released the study after The New York Times ran a story about the report in its Wednesday editions.
The Defense Science Board, reports Disinfopedia, is "a Federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense."
'The current Board is authorized to consist of thirty-two members plus seven ex officio members': the chairmen of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Policy, Ballistic Missile Defense Advisory Committee, and Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Advisory Committee. 'Members, whose appointed terms range from one to four years, are selected on the basis of their preeminence in the fields of science, technology and its application to military operations, research, engineering, manufacturing and acquisition process.'
François -- Naomi Klein -- Smoking while Iraq burns
Smoking while Iraq burns
Its idolisation of 'the face of Falluja' shows how numb the US is to everyone's pain but its own
Friday November 26, 2004
Iconic images inspire love and hate, and so it is with the photograph of James Blake Miller, the 20-year-old marine from Appalachia , who has been christened "the face of Falluja" by pro-war pundits, and the "the Marlboro man" by pretty much everyone else. Reprinted in more than a hundred newspapers, the Los Angeles Times photograph shows Miller "after more than 12 hours of nearly non-stop, deadly combat" in Falluja, his face coated in war paint, a bloody scratch on his nose, and a freshly lit cigarette hanging from his lips.
Gazing lovingly at Miller, the CBS News anchor Dan Rather informed his viewers: "For me, this one's personal. This is a warrior with his eyes on the far horizon, scanning for danger. See it. Study it. Absorb it. Think about it. Then take a deep breath of pride. And if your eyes don't dampen, you're a better man or woman than I."
A few days later, the LA Times declared that its photo had "moved into the realm of the iconic". In truth, the image just feels iconic because it is so laughably derivative: it's a straight-up rip-off of the most powerful icon in American advertising (the Marlboro man), which in turn imitated the brightest star ever created by Hollywood - John Wayne - who was himself channelling America's most powerful founding myth, the cowboy on the rugged frontier. It's like a song you feel you've heard a thousand times before - because you have.
But never mind that. For a country that just elected a wannabe Marlboro man as its president, Miller is an icon and, as if to prove it, he has ignited his very own controversy. "Lots of children, particularly boys, play army, and like to imitate this young man. The clear message of the photo is that the way to relax after a battle is with a cigarette," wrote Daniel Maloney in a scolding letter to the Houston Chronicle. Linda Ortman made the same point to the editors of the Dallas Morning News: "Are there no photos of non-smoking soldiers?" A reader of the New York Post helpfully suggested more politically correct propaganda imagery: "Maybe showing a marine in a tank, helping another GI or drinking water would have a more positive impact on your readers."
Anjali -- Dutch Right
compliments of Shobak:
1.Dutch Lawmaker Urges Halting Immigration
3.Hirsi Ali on Koran
The racist spirit of Pim Fortuyn lives on in Holland -
this suggests that all liberal and progressive
attempts to argue that Fortuyn was an isolated
extremist are completely wrong.
Borders, borders and more borders...
Three articles on recently happenings in the Netherlands that are extremely
scary and saddening... It was to be expected that the extreme right-wing
would appropriate the Van Gogh murder to its own xenophobic ends. And these
right-wing standpoints are far from isolated cases in the Netherlands. Still
today sec school students are taught that the
colonising period was Holland's 'golden era', and that mostly traded
spices. Also Dutch friends tell me that you will still hardly find any
non-white students in the universities, although large percentages of the
Dutch population are from
Turkish, Moroccan and Indonesian backgrounds. And the list of examples can
be continued easily.
With the excuses of 'free speech' and 'democracy', all these right wingers
it seems think that they can say anything they want, and the larger public
loves the mediagenic bluntness and the fact that they don't play into
anymore what is seen as '70s politically correct softness' - as if they ever
really took that on .
Hirsi Ali's position is clearly problematic due to her affiliation with the
right and too as it helps "white men ( Theo Van Gogh ) and thus white
society feel as if they are saving brown women from brown men" to quote
popular readings of Gayatri Spivak essays.
Basically the situation that has arisen underlines the fact that Holland's
Diasporas may have been excluded whilst their Dutch hosts were waiting for
them to integrate and become truly Dutch !! Now the right have a good excuse
to exercise more aggressive versions of Islamophobia... It took a few riots
and fights here in the UK before things changed .. but that was almost 20
years ago ...
The first two articles are problematic in terms of their readings of Ali's
"search for freedom" from her primitive Islamic roots and her discovery of
herself in "liberated" Dutch / western society. As if the only way forward
for an " immigrant" is to integrate. Frankly Ali seems rather naive ... as
if there are no other versions of women's struggles already within the
Muslim communities themselves. If Islam needs and wishes to change it will
come from within - there are many working to achieve this .. Ali is no
Naeem -- Derrida -- Enlightenment past and to come
November 2004 Enlightenment past and to come
The work of philosopher Jacques Derrida, who died on 9 October, was anchored
in current affairs. That is why he was invited to Le Monde diplomatique's
50th anniversary celebrations in May, one of his last public engagements.
This is an edited extract from his speech.
by Jacques Derrida
I AM delighted that Le Monde diplomatique at 50 is, ever more
internationally, a key reference point for social movements grouped under
the banner of counter-globalisation. That doesn't mean that any grand
revolution is about to remove the power centres that emerged victorious from
the cold war (represented by all those sinister acronyms: IMF, OECD, WTO).
But constant pressure from the counter-globalisation movement and ordinary
people the world over cannot fail to weaken these institutions and force
them to reform. It's already beginning to happen. The same pressure will
also force reform upon the institutions created by the victors of the second
world war: the United Nations and its Security Council.
In Le Monde diplomatique's first editorial, in May 1954, Hubert Beuve-Méry
said something that may have seemed conventional, patriotic, even
nationalistic. Given our shared mission "to work for the peaceful
development of international relations," he said, "everything points to
Paris as the natural home of such a paper and to French as its natural
Rene -- U.S. Media Miss Rumsfeld's 'Dirty Wars' Talk
U.S. Media Miss Rumsfeld's 'Dirty Wars' Talk
by Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON - If three, five, or 10 years from now, Latin America returns to the military dictatorships and ''dirty wars'' of its all-too-recent past, analysts may point to the past week's conference in Quito of the hemisphere's defence ministers -- and particularly Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld's role in it -- as a milestone in that journey.
If they did, however, their assessment would surely draw a blank among the readers of U.S. newspapers or viewers of its television. For the vast majority of them, the conference was the equivalent of the proverbial tree toppling unheard and unseen in some vast, unobserved forest.
Rene -- HIV: now it is a woman's disease
HIV: now it is a woman's disease
By Xan Rice in Nairobi and Sam Lister
Study urges action to counter a surge in infection rates
ALMOST half of all Aids sufferers are now women and the number infected is increasing in every region of the world, according to a UN report published yesterday.
The growing toll of women is spelt out in an annual study which showed that nearly five million people have been infected with HIV this year, the highest of any year so far.
A surge in the rate of infection in Eastern Europe and Asia took the number of sufferers from 37.8 million last year to 39.4 million.
More than three million have died of Aids in the past year.
The study, by UNAids, shows that women make up an increasing proportion of people with HIV, with the problem particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 60 per cent of sufferers are women. That proportion rises to 76 per cent among 15 to 24-year-old women.
Dimos -- art after the networks communication media
art after the networks communication media
by Dimos Dimiriou
art after the net interactions is no more what it was before the use of the net
none of the artistic structures - from the net-based art to all the historic art forms - remain the same after the appropriation of the net structure as a new artistic principle
after the use of the nets, instead of remaining within to the 20th century art program of investigation and planning of industrial and urban design, art now investigates, plans or destabilizes the soft technology of the mega- or micro-power, i.e., organizations, councils and corporations
art does not refer neither to stable-predetermined structure of values, nor to self-based contemplation [=the artistic derivative of stable values], nor comments on art. art comments on the [open-source] contexts of values.
the art [in its artistic net-extension] represents "the intermediation on the mediums‚ uses"
doing art is commenting on art's context of validity
2. new poetic
a poetic principle is the initial and substantive impulse for a manifestation
(a poetic principle is not an artistic principle)
poetic acts represent the need to exchange the objects for open-source interrelated signs
poetic events can no more be confronted as illogical events
poetic events are founded to interpersonal relations and aim at new interactive perceptions
a person (artist and/or viewer) is one of the carriers of a new vision
there is no art, even dead art, without living interrelated persons
there is no pure art idea without the dirtiness of living persons
expressing new perceptions via the personal plexus of actions and reactions, is one of the new carriers of art
expressing new perceptions with the aim of having them reproduced by the personal plexus is one of the new carriers of art
Nettime -- Brian Holmes -- Signals, Statistics & Social Experiments
[Here is a paper I just gave at the VIPER conference in Basel. I wanted to
directly address the new media institutions, and raise some questions a
bout the dreams and realities of so-called "governance." Amazing what
Foucault gets used for these days - BH]
SIGNALS, STATISTICS & SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS:
The governance conflicts of new media
The term "governmentality," coined some 25 years ago by Michel Foucault,
describes what is essentially a feedback process: the endlessly
renegotiated balances of a "microphysics of power" in which each
individual contri butes a vital force to the production of the social
frameworks that condition his or her behavior. Under this view, power does
not just come down on a population from above, that is, from the state and
those whose interests it serves. Rather, it also arises from the activity
of those whose i nvention and conviction are required to shape the
prevailing usages and norms. Thus the substantial reality of citizenship,
for a governmentality theorist like Nikolas Rose, does not only consist of
participation in a formal "public sphere," where enfranchised individuals
debate over the dis positions and meanings of universal law. Instead,
"games of citizenship" are played out in the most diverse arenas: 20
"The citizen as consumer is to become an active agent in the regulation of
professional expertise. The citizen as prudent is to become an active a
gent in the provision of security. The citizen as employee is to become an
active agent in the regeneration of industry and as consumer is to be an
agent for innovation, quality and competitiveness.... This kind of
'government through freedom' multiplies the points at which the citizen
has t o play his or her part in the games that govern him. And, in doing
so, it also multiplies the points at which citizens are able to refuse,
contest , challenge those demands that are placed upon them."
Emily -- Emergency to defend Columbia University Professors
(Once again I urge all of you who feel comfort in the false construct that you are living in a "blue" state, in a "liberal" and "open-minded". "democratic" society where freedom reigns to please take note of what is happening at Columbia University. )
Urgent Call to Action: Defend the Middle Eastern and Asian Languages
and Cultures (MEALAC) Department at Columbia University! (details below)
Today's front page Daily News Article is the latest in a series of attacks
on free speech at Columbia University. Although it started with the Middle
Eastern studies department, the accusations in this article are against
professors in several departments. A number of important professors are
coming under attack for simply criticizing Israeli and United States
policies in the Middle East. Please read the article below. Write to the
Daily News in protest and attend the emergency organizing meeting to roll
back the witch hunt of Columbia University Professors.
Special Report: Columbia is at risk of becoming a poison
Ivy, some critics claim, and tensions are high. In classrooms, teach-ins,
interviews and published works, dozens of academics are said to be promoting
an I-hate-Israel agenda, embracing the ugliest of Arab propaganda, and
teaching that Zionism is the root of all evil in the Mideast.
Nataša -- CAE -- Art as Next Terrorist Suspect
Art as Next Terrorist Suspect
Due to an overall danger of various forms of terrorism, paranoia as a state-of-the-art has developed after 9/11 into an actual reality of the globalised world, the one which is burdened by the past colonial, social and psychological exploitation of the inferior or minor layers of society and by the ever-present cultural and capital hegemony of the First World over the Third World. What is happening before our eyes, which are pinned to the mass media and the World Wide Web, seems like the most tasteless and worst case scenario, yet we all participate in it. The narrow-mindedness of the most powerful states that still decide the fate of most geopolitical situations on our planet includes searching for scapegoats. The search allows them to avoid (and for how long?) all real, effective and realisable solutions, ones that in any case are not in their interests. Dr. Steven Kurtz, the founder of the art collective Critical Art Ensemble and associate professor at the art department of the University of Buffalo, and Dr. Robert Ferrell, Kurtz’s collaborator and professor of genetics at the University in Pittsburgh, charged with mail and wire fraud in a federal court arraignment in Buffalo this spring, are such scapegoats in an absurd and terrifying court process. The trial, which is actually only now beginning, brings forth catastrophic consequences to the freedom of creativity and artistic expression, to unrestrained artistic and interdisciplinary research, and to the right of all individuals and lay audiences to knowledge concerning the biopolitical mechanisms that directly steer the course of bare life.
Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is an art collective consisting of five activists coming from the fields of computer graphics, performance, photography, film, video and text art. Since the foundation of the collective in 1987, they have been one of the key elements in international theoretic discourse and artistic activist practice, civil disobedience, resistance and the basic right to knowledge. The group has been exploring the kinships between art, science, technology, political activism and critical theory. Their artistic mission involves interventions, introducing the potential of tactical media, capital and power in the information society. Most recently they have revealed the strategies, interests, dangers and manipulations with which hermetically sealed scientific circles and the escalating development of the biotechnological industry are misleading the public. Critical Art Ensemble has defined the role of the artist as one according with the transforming nature of engaged art. They see the artistic position and function as an operation by a public amateur within a system of transparent financial support for the arts and visibility in the public domain. Working as a collective for many years, they have created performative, interactive and participatory projects, advocated the methodology of and necessity for interdisciplinary research and published five books.
Emily -- ADC New York Action Alert
tsk..tsk...all this talk about "red" and "blue" states...but this show
was exhibited with no problem in a "red" state meanwhile here in our
"liberal blue" state....
ADC New York Action Alert
November 12, 2004
Contact Westchester Officials in Support of Palestinian Art Exhibit
Today, NY State Assemblyman Ryan Karber, whose district includes much
of Westchester County, issued a two-page statement condemning an
upcoming exhibit of Palestinian art. In the statement, which was sent
to local press, he urged Westchester County officials to cancel the
November 20th Made in Palestine Art Exhibition because it "glorifies
terrorism" and "is offensive to me as a Jew, as an American, and as a
civilized human being" (the full text of Karber's statement follows
Andrew Spano, Westchester County Executive, has been quoted in the
Associate Press as indicating that he is "seriously considering"
Karber's request to cancel the event (and thus breaking the county's
contract with the event organizers).
1. Please contact the offices of Andrew Spano, Westchester County
Executive, to urge him NOT to cancel this exhibit. He can be reached at
2. Please contact Bob Reno, Westchester County Center Manager, to urge
him NOT to cancel this exhibit. He can be reached at 914-995-7412.
3. Please contact Assemblyman Karber's office to express your dismay
over his racist statements. He can be reached at 518-455-5118 or
845-624-4601 or via email at: email@example.com.
Faith -- CAE Support
Dear Friends and Supporters of CAE and freedom of knowledge and research: I
am sending you this appeal for donations to the CAE Defense Fund because it is
almost depleted and we are facing large bills in the coming months. The August
bill for legal research and preparation of motions was over $10,000. The
court has now set a hearing on defense motions for January 11, 2005.
Truthout -- UC Berkeley Research Team Sounds 'Smoke Alarm' for Florida E-Vote Count
UC Berkeley Research Team Sounds 'Smoke Alarm' for Florida E-Vote Count
Author: UC Berkeley
Published on Nov 18, 2004, 08:21
Today the University of California's Berkeley Quantitative Methods Research Team released a statistical study - the sole method available to monitor the accuracy of e- voting - reporting irregularities associated with electronic voting machines may have awarded 130,000-260,000 or more excess votes to President George W. Bush in Florida in the 2004 presidential election. The study shows an unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in counties where electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting methods - what the team says can be deemed a "smoke alarm." Discrepancies this large or larger rarely arise by chance - the probability is less than 0.1 percent. The research team formally disclosed results of the study at a press conference today at the UC Berkeley Survey Research Center, where they called on Florida voting officials to investigate.
The three counties where the voting anomalies were most prevalent were also the most heavily Democratic: Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, respectively. Statistical patterns in counties that did not have e-touch voting machines predict a 28,000 vote decrease in President Bush's support in Broward County; machines tallied an increase of 51,000 votes - a net gain of 81,000 for the incumbent. President Bush should have lost 8,900 votes in Palm Beach County, but instead gained 41,000 - a difference of 49,900. He should have gained only 18,400 votes in Miami-Dade County but saw a gain of 37,000 - a difference of 19,300 votes.
Rene -- Business of war
- Privatised Violence
Business of war
The chaos in Iraq reveals the unprecedented scale at which the United
States government has outsourced functions to private military
companies. They make it easier to project force abroad, extend the
technological influence of the great powers, elude the control of
elected assemblies, increase the deniability of dirty tricks and replace
shrinking standing armies. In developing countries their use reflects
diminishing state power because of slashed budgets.
Le Monde diplomatique
By Sami Makki
Just a few months after the fall of Saddam Hussein there were some
20,000 people working in private security in Iraq. Their presence is
mostly the result of United States troops' inability to maintain law and
order, but they also cater for a rising demand from international
organisations and US investors. As security has deteriorated private
military companies (PMC) from western countries have proliferated. In
Security Companies Doing Business in Iraq, published in May, the US
State Department lists more than 25 firms, mainly from Britain or the
United States. They are in practice the acceptable aspect of a murkier
Outsourcing by US armed forces has expanded since the end of the cold
war, driven by an increasingly global market in arms and military
services, and by troop cuts and defence budget rationalisation.
Outsourcing is just an advanced form of subcontracting. In exchange for
large sums of money, states share some of the risks of conflict with
industry. In loftier terms military outsourcing is yet another
application of the new public management methods that have been dictated
by neo-liberal policy (1).
Such public-private partnerships (PPP) are supposedly a response to
budget restrictions, releasing funds to modernise armed forces and to
develop and purchase new weapon systems. In 2002 the US Defence
Department claimed that outsourcing would save $11bn between 1997 and
2005. However, its main concern was to distract attention from the
consequences of the changes in defence organisation and funding caused
by cutting the number of federal employees and shifting responsibility
to the private sector.
Rene -- 'This One's Faking He's Dead''He's Dead Now'
'This One's Faking He's Dead'
'He's Dead Now'
Fallujah: Video shows US soldier killing wounded insurgent in cold blood
by Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Tuesday, November 16, 2004 by the
The US Marine Corps launched an investigation into possible war crimes
last night after video footage taken inside a mosque in Fallujah
apparently showed a Marine shooting dead an unarmed Iraqi insurgent
who had been taken prisoner.
The footage showed several Marines with a group of prisoners who were
either lying on the floor or propped against a wall of the bombed-out
building. One Marine can be heard declaring that one of the prisoners
was faking his injuries.
"He's fucking faking he's dead. He faking he's fucking dead," says the
Marine. At that point a clatter of gunfire can be heard as one of the
Marines shoots the prisoner. Another voice can then be heard saying:
"He's dead now."
The footage was obtained by a team from the American NBC network that
was embedded with the Marine Corps during last week's seven-day battle
to capture the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, which military
commanders say has been a focus of Iraqi resistance. The film was then
pooled and made available to other media.
On the footage that was broadcast last night, NBC correspondent Kevin
Sites said that the five wounded Iraqi fighters had been left in the
mosque after Marines had fought their way into that part of the city
on Friday and Saturday. Ten other Iraqis had been killed in the
battle for the mosque. Instead of being passed to the rear lines for
treatment the wounded Iraqis were left in the mosque until a second
group of Marines entered the building on Saturday, following reports
that the building may have been reoccupied. Sites said that at this
point one of the five Iraqis was dead and that three of the others
appeared to be close to death.
In his report accompanying the images, Sites said that one of the
Marines noticed that one of the wounded men was still breathing before
shouting that he was "faking it".
Avi -- Settling accounts with Palestinians
Palestine / Israel
Settling accounts with Palestinians
By Zvi Bar'el
Ariel Sharon had an important piece of news for the Palestinians on the morning of Yasser Arafat's death. He made it clear to them that the death of one "no partner" does not imply the birth of a new "yes partner."
As far as Israel is concerned, the Palestinians have to know that it's business as usual. The disengagement plan will continue, as will the war against terrorism, and the Palestinians should please not bother the Israeli government with political plans if they are not fighting terrorism / implementing reforms / fashioning a democracy. Now the true features of the "non-partner" will become apparent: It wasn't just Arafat - Israel wants to settle accounts with the entire Palestinian people.
Indeed, Israel's initial statements indicate that the Palestinian people should not expect very much. Israel continues to be entrenched in a waiting position, making do with reacting to events. First we'll see who will head the Palestinian Authority, then we will check out the date of the elections, if any, and then we'll see whether Hamas is a partner or not, and we'll take note of who will control the street: Mohammed Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Tanzim militia or Marwan Barghouti from his prison cell.
Rene -- Mute -- Recomposing the University
Mute 28: Summer/Autumn 2004: July 2004
Recomposing the University
by Tiziana Terranova & Marc Bousquet
Far removed from the clich’d image of the ‘ivory tower’, today’s
universities have been opened to the harsh realities of neoliberal
economics: huge volumes of students, extreme levels of
performance-geared management, casualisation of employment, and the
conversion of students into ‘consumers’. In the name of democratisation
and equality, the university has become a cross between a supermarket
and a factory whose consumers are also its hyper-exploited labour
force. Here, in an email exchange, Marc Bousquet and Tiziana Terranova,
themselves employed in US and British universities respectively,
describe the way the system works from the inside and look at the
possibilities for getting out of it. Far from being a simple question
of domination, they contend, the conditions of ‘mass intellectuality’ ‘
also shared by many knowledge workers elsewhere in the ‘social factory’
‘ create enormous scope for new alliances and forms of resistance.
Rene -- Americans feel upbeat, poll finds
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 11, 2004
Americans feel upbeat, poll finds
By Jennifer Harper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
America's mood is upbeat: The Harris Poll's annual "Feel Good Index" finds
the nation happy with home, family and friends - with the biggest increase
in positive feelings emanating from "morals and ethics."
Life, in fact, seems downright harmonious, with 98 percent reporting
they're pleased with their family relations, according to the poll, which
surveyed 1,016 U.S. adults Oct. 14-17.
Ninety-five percent feel good about their homes, 92 percent praised the
quality of their lives overall, 91 percent were positive about their social
lives, 88 percent said they were happy about their health and 85 percent
gave thumbs up to their standard of living.
All of the figures are increases from last year's poll results by as much as
In addition, two-thirds of married respondents reported they were happy
with their spouses - up seven points from last year, and the highest number
in the history of the survey itself, which dates back to 1997.
The survey reflected one concern that proved paramount during the
presidential election last week.
It found that 77 percent felt positive about "the morals and values in
their community," up seven points since last year and 12 points since 1997.
Another 55 percent applauded "the morals and values of Americans in
general," up 8 points since last year, and 21 points since 1997.
Those numbers represent "the highest point ever" for values
measurements, the survey noted.
Truthout -- Recount in Ohio a Sure Thing
Recount in Ohio a Sure Thing
Monday 15 November 2004
Green Party Campaign Raises $150,000 in 4 Days, Shifts Gears to Phase II
WASHINGTON -- November 15 -- There will be a recount of the presidential vote in Ohio.
On Thursday, David Cobb, the Green Party’s 2004 presidential candidate, announced his intention to seek a recount of the vote in Ohio. Since the required fee for a statewide recount is $113,600, the only question was whether that money could be raised in time to meet the filing deadline. That question has been answered.
“Thanks to the thousands of people who have contributed to this effort, we can say with certainty that there will be a recount in Ohio,” said Blair Bobier, Media Director for the Cobb-LaMarche campaign.
Truthout -- I Smell a Rat
I Smell a Rat
By Colin Shea
Friday 12 November 2004
I smell a rat. It has that distinctive and all-too-familiar odor of the species Republicanus floridius. We got a nasty bite from this pest four years ago and never quite recovered. Symptoms of a long-term infection are becoming distressingly apparent.
The first sign of the rat was on election night. The jubilation of early exit polling had given way to rising anxiety as states fell one by one to the Red Tide. It was getting late in the smoky cellar of a Prague sports bar where a crowd of expats had gathered. We had been hoping to go home to bed early, confident of victory. Those hopes had evaporated in a flurry of early precinct reports from Florida and Ohio.
By 3 AM, conversation had died and we were grimly sipping beers and watching as those two key states seemed to be slipping further and further to crimson. Suddenly, a friend who had left two hours earlier rushed in and handed us a printout.
"Zogby's calling it for Kerry." He smacked the sheet decisively. "Definitely. He's got both Florida and Ohio in the Kerry column. Kerry only needs one." Satisfied, we went to bed, confident we would wake with the world a better place. Victory was at hand.
The morning told a different story, of course. No Florida victory for Kerry - Bush had a decisive margin of nearly 400,000 votes. Ohio was not even close enough for Kerry to demand that all the votes be counted. The pollsters had been dead wrong, Bush had four more years and a powerful mandate. Onward Christian soldiers - next stop, Tehran.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
I work with statistics and polling data every day. Something rubbed me the wrong way. I checked the exit polls for Florida - all wrong. CNN's results indicated a Kerry win: turnout matched voter registration, and independents had broken 59% to 41% for Kerry.
Greg -- Next big thing clues lurk in 'dark matter'
Art World Stuff
Baltimore Sun 11/09/04
Next big thing clues lurk in 'dark matter'
Art: Glenn McNatt
November 9, 2004
Say you're an up-and-coming contemporary art
enthusiast and you're trying to spot the Next Big
Thing. What to do?
Well, you could bone up on your connoisseurship
- sharpen an expert eye for line, color, etc. But
maybe you've done that; the next best thing might
be to look for "dark matter."
Artistic "dark matter," like the celestial kind
astronomers search for through their telescopes,
is that 90 percent of the whole enchilada we
can't see, even though we know it's got to be
It's what Baltimore Museum of Art contemporary
art curator Chris Gilbert calls the welter of
images, objects, performances, happenings and
collective projects by mostly younger
artist-activists that lie just under the radar
screens of mainstream institutions like art
museums and galleries.
And it's at the BMA in the second installment of
Gilbert's experimental exhibition series, Cram
Sessions, which invites museum visitors to
participate directly in the art-making process.
On Saturday, a few dozen people, many of them
students from area high schools and colleges, sat
on tiny folding stools near the museum's
second-floor lobby listening to New York-based
artist and critic Gregory Sholette talk about the
origins and influence of artistic "dark matter,"
an idea he invented.
Rene -- Mike Davis -- Apocalypse Denial in America
Apocalypse Denial in America
By Mike Davis
Tuesday 09 November 2004
In a Mother Jones magazine essay, "Over a Barrel," energy expert Paul Roberts, considering the near-impossibility of creating a sustainable-energy world in any reasonable span of time based only on market forces, speaks of an American "wall of energy denial" and of American consumers who "still share the [Bush] administration's energy obliviousness." He adds that "U.S. gasoline consumption continues to rise, despite high oil prices." Well, exactly. And we're talking about something closer to the Great Wall of China than a picket fence. Those fortifications of denial start with oil and wend their way across a rather impressive terrain of future troubles, well patrolled by an army of Hummers and SUVs. But even those Americans who don't care to - and still don't have to - peer over the wall already essentially know what's on the other side. That's the nature of denial. After all, you can't deny what you don't, at heart, know to be so.
Even those who decry global warming as a "politically correct scientific fable," for instance, sense that something is rotten in the state of... well, Earthmark. And increasingly, as oil grows more costly, as weapons of mass destruction proliferate, as Bush fiddles and in coming summers Rome threatens to burn, as species of animals attempt to migrate north looking for essential air conditioning, and mini-cascades of extinction begin, as glaciers inland and coastal evaporate, as polar sea ice melts at increasingly fantastic speeds, as tribal peoples in the north and on low-lying islands elsewhere lose their ways of life - as all those distant "canaries" in the planetary mines are forced to respond - we remain as a nation in almost full-scale, oil-gulping denial of our own future and, far more important, that of our children and grandchildren.
Imagine if we had been in whatever the opposite of denial might be; if, even a decade ago, we had put Moon-reaching, Iraq war-making levels of money and a little good old American quick-fix know-how into a program to develop sustainable energy resources and another way of life on this planet. But if you spend too much time imagining that sort of thing, especially given the recent election, you'll just end up behind another kind of wall in another kind of denial of what we know to be so.
I took a different tack and asked Mike Davis to write us all a piece on apocalypse denial. A man who always surprises, Davis, author of among many other books the aptly named "Ecology of Fear," sent in the following which you can now enjoy at your peril. Tom
The White House Rodeo
By Mike Davis
Earlier this year, four gaunt horsemen in black shrouds cantered down Pennsylvania Avenue. Since no one complained or even noticed, they grazed their hungry steeds on the White House lawn. They've been there ever since and threaten never to leave.
This interview with them is a Tomdispatch exclusive:
"First Horseman, please state your name for our readers."
"My name is Oil and my price is $50 per barrel and higher yet to come."
"Fine, and you're from...?"
"Is that in Colorado?"
"Are you in Washington for business or pleasure?"
"Both, actually. While wrecking the American economy, I'm also hoping to bring immense happiness to a handful of giant energy corporations."
"Well, that's a popular cause in this town, so please enjoy your stay. Now, Second Horseman, can I have your name for the record."
"My name is Proliferation, son of Wot and destroyer of worlds."
Emna -- Danto as seen from the outside
This post is in reference to our event and the included article:
I'll try and make it to the discussion this Monday...
I for one found the Danto article horrible and alarming... I wrote the text
below as a letter to the editor to ARTFORUM but they did not print it.
I am not surprised though that his what is calls "Standard" is already
Danto as seen from the outside
In the article American Self-consciousness in Politics and Art, Arthur Danto
wrote that images such as the Rodney King beating and the Abu Ghraib torture
are ³powerful examples of how images change who we are, and from that
perspective they must now act as standards against which we can judge the
political efficacy of art². While those images, as news items had an amazing
impact on the American awareness of police brutality and of what is
happening in Iraq, there is not much virtue in their continued public
presence and their migration to the museum space. It is staggering to me
that Danto¹s argument in favor of the presence of such images leaves out
their key player: the victim, even with an American like King. Which
American self-consciousness is Danto referring to? That of white Americans?
Danto fails to consider the possibility that the victims may not agree to
display their torture and abuse in a museum. As the International Center of
Photography opens its exhibition of the Abu Ghraib torture photographs, one
wonders, how could it really transform the American consciousness, if the
³others² are always present in the American psyche as victims with no power
over the way they are represented. Yes, Americans across the political
spectrum may be overwhelmed by shame, guilt and pity, but these photographs
won¹t persuade them to feel humility and respect for the Iraqis. On looking
at the ³other² humiliated in the glorified space of a museum, just comforts
a position of superiority. That is what Danto calls ³standards of political
Danto foresees the Abu Ghraib prison photographs as part of the 2006 Whitney
Biennial and concludes ³There was nothing in the 2004 Biennial that, were we
to see it from the outside, would cause us to want to change the way we are
to othersŠ² Danto cannot conceive of a dialogue yet speaks of change the way
Americans are to others. He limits himself to speculating on how such a show
is seen from the outside instead of engaging with peoples living outside.
Indeed Danto¹s standards of political efficacy and self-consciousness are
deeply flawed when they do not acknowledge the other as worth hearing from
or talking to.
© Emna Zghal
Tunisian artist living in New York.
Rene -- How Many More Iraqis Must Die for Our Revenge?
This sort of vitriolic
How Many More Iraqis Must Die for Our Revenge?
by Andrew Greeley
Friday, November 12, 2004 by the
Chicago Sun Times
The election is over and so we can forget about the Iraq war. It is no
longer a political issue and hence matters to no one. The American
electorate has followed the tradition of standing by a wartime
president and thus endorsing the president's war. It was once his
war. Now the election has made it our war. The issue is closed.
A recent report suggested that if one compares the number of deaths
that usually occur in Iraq per year with the number since Bush's
invasion, the cost of the war in dead Iraqis may be more than a hundred
thousand human beings. Now Iraqi deaths don't count because they look
funny and talk funny and have a funny religion. Besides they're Arabs,
and we have a score to settle with Arabs because of their attack on
the World Trade Center. Yet if we are able to sustain the number of
deaths that have happened as a consequence of the invasion, we will
soon have accounted for as many as Saddam Hussein did. That's a lot
of dead Arabs -- and a lot of bereaved spouses, parents, children,
other relatives and friends. How many before will we have to kill
before we're satisfied with our revenge?
Someone might say that when leaders of a country have caused so
many deaths that they might just deserve to be hauled before an
international court of justice as war criminals -- especially if
the war was based on false premises and conducted with an ineptitude
that staggers the mind. It is an unnecessary, unjust, stupid, sinful
war. The majority of Americans have assumed responsibility for the
war. Therefore they share responsibility for all the Iraqi deaths.
Yates -- For the First Time Since Vietnam
"War on Terror"
This was released on the website of the Federation of American Scientists
on Thursday. http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fmi3-07-22.pdf November 13,
For the First Time Since Vietnam, the Army Prints a Guide to Fighting
Insurgents By DOUGLAS JEHL and THOM SHANKER
WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 - For the first time in decades, the Army has issued a
field guide to counterinsurgency warfare, an acknowledgment that the kind of
fighting under way in Iraq may become more common in the years ahead.
The Army field manual on counterinsurgency operations is the first since the
early Vietnam era, and the first ever intended for the kind of regular Army
units now embroiled in battles in Iraq, as opposed to the Special Operations
forces who have taken the lead in previous counterinsurgencies.
Under orders issued in February, the manual was prepared on an accelerated
basis by the Combined Arms Center in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and was
distributed to all officers, in Iraq and elsewhere, beginning last month. An
introduction says the "aftermath of instability'' in Iraq that followed the
toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime underscored the need for an updated Army guide to counterinsurgency warfare.
Until now, formal American military doctrine for fighting insurgencies has
been so limited that many Marines were deployed to Iraq with copies of the
Marine Corps' "Small Wars Manual,'' issued in 1940. The most recent Army
guides on the subject, written principally for Special Operations forces,
were prepared in 1963 and 1965, in the early stages of the Vietnam War. Like
the Army, the Marine Corps is also updating its manual.
Emily -- Yasser Arafat, 1929-2004
Palestine / Israel
Yasser Arafat, 1929-2004
Obituary, The Electronic Intifada, 10 November 2004
10:07PM US Central Time/6:07AM Palestine Time -- Today, Yasser Arafat, Chairman of al-Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization and elected President of the Palestinian Authority, died in Paris from complications stemming from a blood disorder at the age of 75. Born Muhammad Abd al-Ra'uf al-Arafat al-Qudwa, Yasser Arafat was related to the Husayni family and had strong family ties to Gaza and Jerusalem. He first became active in Palestinian politics while an engineering student in Cairo in the early 1950s, where he headed the Union of Palestinian Students at Fu'ad I University (now Cairo University) from 1952-1957. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Arafat launched his own contracting firm in Kuwait and quickly prospered. He probably used his personal wealth to launch al-Fatah, the most prominent of a number of exile groups advancing armed struggle as a means of liberating Palestine.
For nearly five decades, Yasser Arafat was a larger-than-life figure for those who admired him as well as those who hated and feared him, or, to be more precise, for those who hated and feared the Palestinian view of history, justice, and politics. Since the late 1960s, Arafat was the icon of the Palestinian cause. Like Che Guevara, Arafat's image on a poster, a T-shirt, or a television screen could convey rich and complex meanings and sentiments across wide and diverse social landscapes. With his trademark black-and-white checkered kuffiyah draped carefully over his shoulder so as to assume the proportions and shape of the map of Palestine, appearances by Arafat were almost always electrifying political events.
Rene -- OpEd + More Letters to the New York Times
What Derrida Really Meant
By MARK C. TAYLOR
Along with Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, who died last week in Paris at the age of 74, will be remembered as one of the three most important philosophers of the 20th century. No thinker in the last 100 years had a greater impact than he did on people in more fields and different disciplines. Philosophers, theologians, literary and art critics, psychologists, historians, writers, artists, legal scholars and even architects have found in his writings resources for insights that have led to an extraordinary revival of the arts and humanities during the past four decades. And no thinker has been more deeply misunderstood.
To people addicted to sound bites and overnight polls, Mr. Derrida's works seem hopelessly obscure. It is undeniable that they cannot be easily summarized or reduced to one-liners. The obscurity of his writing, however, does not conceal a code that can be cracked, but reflects the density and complexity characteristic of all great works of philosophy, literature and art. Like good French wine, his works age well. The more one lingers with them, the more they reveal about our world and ourselves.
Rene -- Judith Butler -- Jacques Derrida
'How do you finally respond to your life and your name?' Derrida raised this question in his final interview with Le Monde, published on 18 August this year. If he could apprehend his life, he remarked, he would also be obliged to apprehend his death as singular and absolute, without resurrection and without redemption. At this revealing moment, it is interesting that Derrida the philosopher should find in Socrates his proper precursor: that he should turn to Socrates to understand that, at the age of 74, he still did not quite know how best to live. One cannot, he remarks, come to terms with one's life without trying to apprehend one's death, asking, in effect, how a human learns to live and to die. Much of Derrida's later work is dedicated to mourning, and he offers his acts of public mourning as posthumous gifts. In The Work of Mourning (2001), he tries to come to terms with the deaths of other writers and thinkers through reckoning his debt to their words, indeed, their texts; his own writing constitutes an act of mourning, one that he is perhaps, avant la lettre, recommending to us as a way to begin to mourn this thinker, who not only taught us how to read, but gave the act of reading a new significance and a new promise. In that book, he openly mourns Roland Barthes, who died in 1980, Paul de Man, who died in 1983, Michel Foucault, who died in 1984, and a host of others, including Edmund Jabès (1991), Louis Marin (1992), Sarah Kofman (1994), Emmanuel Levinas (1995) and Jean-François Lyotard (1998). In the last of these essays, for Lyotard, it is not his own death that preoccupies him, but rather his 'debts'. These are authors that he could not do without, ones with and through whom he thinks. He writes only because he reads, and he reads only because there are these authors to read time and again. He 'owes' them something or, perhaps, everything, if only because he could not write without them: their writing exists as the precondition of his own; their writing constitutes the means through which his own writing voice is animated and secured, a voice that emerges, importantly, as an address.
Rene -- The News Shift from Florida to Fallujah
The News Shift from Florida to Fallujah
Shaping the narrative
Tue, 9 Nov 2004 00:01:00 -0800
By Danny Schechter
What the TV "coverage" covers up
One minute, we are still debating election returns in Ohio and Florida. And then, in a flash, the story largely disappears and the subject changes. Quickly, we have moved on as the news media converges on Fallujah to report on, and in the view of many, support what may be the bloodiest chapter to date of the Iraq war.
Media coverage lurches from event to event, and from spectacle to spectacle as a substance deficit disorder hyperactively drives the news agenda. No sooner are we focused on one major story, than another intrudes to change the subject and insure that there is no time for follow-up, much less thoughtful processing.
In some cases, this is the natural disorder of news, but in many others, there are hidden hands shifting the agenda in a conscious effort not simply to influence what we think, but control what we think about.
Miro -- Small Crack in the Darkness
SMALL CRACK IN THE DARKNESS NOVEMBER 9, 2004. "Interestingly, none of the complaining emailers took issue with the remarkable results out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 29 precincts there, the County's website shows, we had the most unexpected results in...
Truthout -- A Thousand Fallujahs
A Thousand Fallujahs
By Pepe Escobar
Thursday 11 November 2004
"The bombs being dropped on Fallujah don't contain explosives, depleted uranium or anything harmful - they contain laughing gas - that would, of course, explain [Pentagon chief Donald] Rumsfeld's misplaced optimism about not killing civilians in Fallujah. Also, being a 'civilian' is a relative thing in a country occupied by Americans. You're only a civilian if you're on their side. If you translate for them, or serve them food in the Green Zone, or wipe their floors - you're an innocent civilian. Just about everyone else is an insurgent, unless they can get a job as a 'civilian'."
- Riverbend, an Iraqi civilian girl, author of the blog Baghdad Burning
Once again the US has been caught in a giant spider's web. Fallujah now is a network: it's Baghdad, Ramadi, Samarra, Latifiyah, Kirkuk, Mosul. Streets on fire, everywhere: Hundreds, thousands of Fallujahs - the Mesopotamian echo of a thousand Vietnams. The Iraqi resistance has even regained control of a few Baghdad neighborhoods.
Baghdad residents say there are practically no US troops around, even as regular explosions can be heard all over the city. Baghdad sources confirm to Asia Times Online that the mujahideen now control parts of the southern suburb of ad-Durha, as well as Hur Rajab, Abu Ghraib, al-Abidi, as-Suwayrah, Salman Bak, Latifiyah and Yusufiyah - all in the Greater Baghdad area. This would be the first time since the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, that the resistance has been able to control these neighborhoods.
Rene -- Zizek -- Knee Deep
Free World: Why a Crisis of the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time by Timothy Garton Ash
Allen Lane, 308 pp, £17.99
The fate of a Slovene Communist revolutionary serves as a perfect metaphor for the twists of Stalinism. In 1943, when Italy capitulated, he led a rebellion of Yugoslav prisoners in a concentration camp on the Adriatic island of Rab: 2000 starving prisoners disarmed 2200 Italian soldiers. After the war, he was arrested and put in a prison on Goli otok ('Naked Island'), a notorious Communist concentration camp near Rab. While he was there, he and other prisoners were detailed to build a monument to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1943 rebellion on Rab. As a prisoner of the Communists, he was building a monument to himself and the rebellion he'd led. If poetic injustice means anything, this is it. The fate of this revolutionary was surely the fate of the people as a whole under Stalinist dictatorship: the millions who overthrew the ancien régime, and were then forced to build monuments to their own revolutionary past.
Timothy Garton Ash would appreciate this tragicomic accident: it comes close to the spirit of ethically engaged irony that permeates his best work. Although he is my political opponent, I always consider him worth reading for his wealth of precise observations, and as a reliable source on the vicissitudes of the disintegration of Eastern European Communism. In Free World he has taken the same perspicuous and bitterly witty approach to the conundrums of the recent tensions between the key Western European states and the US. His aperçus about the relations between the UK, France and Germany often recall the gentle irony of a novel of manners, giving a new twist to the old topic of the 'European trinity'.
In a famous scene from Buñuel's Phantom of Liberty, the roles of eating and excreting are inverted: people sit at toilets around a table, chatting pleasantly, and when they want to eat, sneak away to a small room. So, as a supplement to Lévi-Strauss, one is tempted to propose that shit can also serve as a matière-à-penser: the three basic types of toilet form an excremental correlative-counterpoint to the Lévi-Straussian triangle of cooking (the raw, the cooked and the rotten). In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, i.e. shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finally, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these opposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected. No wonder that in the famous discussion of European toilets at the beginning of her half-forgotten Fear of Flying, Erica Jong mockingly claims that 'German toilets are really the key to the horrors of the Third Reich. People who can build toilets like this are capable of anything.' It is clear that none of these versions can be accounted for in purely utilitarian terms: each involves a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement.
Rene -- Zizek -- The Liberal Waterloo (Or, finally some good news from Washington!)
The Liberal Waterloo (Or, finally some good news from Washington!)
By Slavoj Zizek
In These Times
The first reaction of progressives to Bush’s second victory was that of despair, even fear: The last four years were not just a bad dream. The nightmarish coalition of big business and fundamentalist populism will roll on, as Bush pursues his agenda with new gusto, nominating conservative judges to the Supreme Court, invading the next country after Iraq, and pushing liberalism in the United States one step closer to extinction. However, this emotional reaction is precisely what we should resist—it only bears witness to the extent liberals have succeeded in imposing their worldview upon us. If we keep a cool head and calmly analyze the results, the 2004 election appears in a totally different light.
Many Europeans wonder how Bush could have won, with the intellectual and pop-cultural elite against him. They must now finally confront the underrated mobilizing power of American Christian fundamentalism. Because of its self-evident imbecility, it is a much more paradoxical, properly postmodern phenomenon than it appears.
Take the literary bestsellers of U.S. Christian fundamentalism, Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s “Left Behind” series of 12 novels on the upcoming end of the world that have sold more than 60 million copies. The Left Behind story begins with the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of millions of people—the saved souls whom God calls to himself in order to spare them the horrors of Armageddon. The Anti-Christ then appears, a young, slick and charismatic Romanian politician named Nicolae Carpathia, who, after being elected general secretary of the United Nations, moves U.N. headquarters to Babylon where he imposes an anti-American world government that disarms all nation-states. This ridiculous plot unfolds until the final battle when all non-Christians—Jews, Muslims, et al—are consumed in a cataclysmic fire. Imagine the outcry in the Western liberal media if a similar story written from the Muslim standpoint had become a bestseller in the Arab countries! It is not the poverty and primitivism of these novels that is breathtaking, but rather the strange overlap between the “serious” religious message and the trashiest conventions of pop culture commercialism.
Rene -- After the Empire
After the Empire
Scott McLemee, Chronicle of Higher Education
Reviewing: Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin).
In 2000, Michael Hardt, an associate professor of literature at Duke University, and Antonio Negri, a legendary figure on the Italian left, published a volume bearing the grand, stark title Empire. Even before it was listed in the Harvard University Press catalog, the appearance of the book was keenly anticipated among antiglobalization activists. Rumor had it that Empire would provide a definitive analysis of the new world order. It would be the theoretical bridge between postmodernist academics and a mass movement that was making it ever harder for international financial institutions to meet in peace.
You can't buy word of mouth like that. It did not hurt that Mr. Negri had spent much of the previous two decades in exile, convicted of having fomented civil disorder during the 1970s as the main theorist and éminence grise of a revolutionary group. (In 1997, he returned from France to serve out a prison sentence that he completed last year.) This is known as having street cred. When Empire finally appeared, it was hailed as the Next Big Thing, by both scholars and the occasional intellectual fashion reporter for a major metropolitan daily. Empire eventually sold more than 40,000 copies. Few who purchased it ever reached a definite opinion about, say, the relationship between the World Trade Organization and the role of the philosopher Duns Scotus in subverting medieval ontology. Even so, Empire made its way into coffeehouses, and onto coffee tables; and now there is a sequel, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin Press), prominently displayed at a bookstore near you, sometimes oddly situated alongside books by talk-show hosts or volumes of advice on managing your portfolio.
"Empire was really written for a university audience," says Mr. Hardt, "for graduate students, more or less." With Multitude, "we tried to write differently, for a much broader audience, while also doing a balancing act to make it interesting to scholars."
Fredric Jameson, a prominent professor of comparative literature at Duke University, called Empire "the first great new theoretical synthesis of the new millennium" — a proclamation with much weight in the humanities. The reception that work received in the antiglobalization movement means that Multitude is getting some critical attention outside academe. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Francis Fukuyama, a professor of international political economy at the Johns Hopkins University, complained that Multitude "lurches from analyses of intellectual property rules for genetically engineered animals to discourses on Dostoyevsky and the myth of the golem," and that Mr. Hardt and Mr. Negri "take leave of reality" when discussing global politics.
That difference in judgment has nothing to do with any change in the thinking of Mr. Hardt and Mr. Negri between Empire and Multitude. While the new book is more accessible, it offers substantially the same theory as Empire. Where Mr. Jameson is the author of an influential Marxist analysis of postmodernism as "the cultural logic of late capitalism," Mr. Fukuyama will always be remembered for having hailed the triumph of the United States in the cold war as "the end of history." No surprise, then, that they should come to different estimates of the same theory. But another factor may also be in play. There is a certain urgency to Multitude, as the subtitle's reference to war and democracy may suggest. After all, it was drafted between the September 11, 2001, attacks and the beginning of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
No Justice, No Peace
Between September 11, 2001, and early 2003 the antiglobalization movement did not exactly die, though the crowds did thin. Politicians and pundits with no interest in the concept of a postmodern empire began talking about imperialism of the old-fashioned sort. And not always to denounce it. Perhaps (one current of thought went) the United States could export liberal democracy, or at least wipe out any terrorist threat to it. Glancing at their coffee tables, people wondered if perhaps Mr. Hardt and Mr. Negri had been on to something.
The prospect of a global Pax Americana might sound either utopian or nightmarish, depending on one's politics. In any case, it bears no resemblance to the vision of Mr. Hardt and Mr. Negri. The world order they envision is far too complex for a single country to dominate it. The emergence of Empire, as they write in Multitude, involves a "state of war" that is "both global in scale and long lasting, with no end in sight ... strangling all social life and posing its own political order."
Anjali -- Falluja
Compliments of Shobak
This is an information age, but it will be months before we learn the truth
about the assault on Falluja
Monday November 8, 2004
With fitting irony, one of the camps used by the US marines waiting for the
assault on Falluja was formerly a Ba'ath party retreat occasionally used by
Saddam Hussein's sons. Dreamland, as it was known, has an island in the
middle of an artificial lake fringed by palms.
Now the camp's dream-like unreality is distorting every news report filed on
the preparations for the onslaught on Falluja. We don't know, and won't
know, anything about what happens in the next few days except for what the
US military authorities choose to let us know. It's long since been too
dangerous for journalists to move around unless they are embedded with the
US forces. There is almost no contact left with civilians still in Falluja,
the only information is from those who have left.
This is how the fantasy runs: a city the size of Brighton is now only ever
referred to as a "militants' stronghold" or "insurgents' redoubt". The city
is being "softened up" with precision attacks from the air. Pacifying
Falluja has become the key to stabilising the country ahead of the January
elections. The "final assault" is imminent, in which the foreigners who have
infiltrated the almost deserted Iraqi city with their extremist Islam will
be "cleared", "rooted out" or "crushed". Or, as one marine put it: "We will
win the hearts and minds of Falluja by ridding the city of insurgents. We're
doing that by patrolling the streets and killing the enemy."
Rene -- Evidence Mounts That The Vote Was Hacked
Interesting that in emerging democracies you often see this. One candidate wins and the others cry foul. But in this case it seems that the pivotal question to ask is why the exit polls were so out of line with the final results? This kind of article should be categorized under "provisional democracy" possibly. -rg
Evidence Mounts That The Vote Was Hacked
by Thom Hartmann
Saturday, November 6, 2004 by
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06,
2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show
up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election
was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he
said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic
primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against
Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against
Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.
And evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on
November 2, 2004.
Rene -- Bernard Lewis Revisited: What if Islam isn't an obstacle to democracy
It should also be noted that Bernard Lewis is one of a handful of academics who has done his best to deny the Armenian Genocide throughout his career. I suppose getting access to the Imperial Ottoman archives came at a price. -rg
Bernard Lewis Revisited: What if Islam isn't an obstacle to democracy
in the Middle East but the secret to achieving it?
By Michael Hirsh
America's misreading of the Arab world-and our current misadventure in
Iraq-may have really begun in 1950. That was the year a young
University of London historian named Bernard Lewis visited Turkey for
the first time. Lewis, who is today an imposing, white-haired sage
known as the "doyen of Middle Eastern studies" in America (as a New
York Times reviewer once called him), was then on a
sabbatical. Granted access to the Imperial Ottoman archives-the first
Westerner allowed in-Lewis recalled that he felt "rather like a child
turned loose in a toy shop, or like an intruder in Ali Baba's cave."
But what Lewis saw happening outside his study window was just as
exciting, he later wrote. There in Istanbul, in the heart of what once
was a Muslim empire, a Western-style democracy was being born.
The hero of this grand transformation was Kemal Ataturk. A generation
before Lewis's visit to Turkey, Ataturk (the last name, which he
adopted, means "father of all Turks"), had seized control of the dying
Ottoman Sultanate. Intent on single-handedly shoving his country into
the modern West-"For the people, despite the people," he memorably
declared-Ataturk imposed a puritanical secularism that abolished the
caliphate, shuttered religious schools, and banned fezes, veils, and
other icons of Islamic culture, even purging Turkish of its Arabic
vocabulary. His People's Party had ruled autocratically since
1923. But in May 1950, after the passage of a new electoral law, it
resoundingly lost the national elections to the nascent Democrat
Party. The constitutional handover was an event "without precedent in
the history of the country and the region," as Lewis wrote in The
Emergence of Modern Turkey, published in 1961, a year after the
Turkish army first seized power. And it was Kemal Ataturk, Lewis noted
at another point, who had "taken the first decisive steps in the
acceptance of Western civilization."
Today, that epiphany-Lewis's Kemalist vision of a secularized,
Westernized Arab democracy that casts off the medieval shackles of
Islam and enters modernity at last-remains the core of George
W. Bush's faltering vision in Iraq. As his other rationales for war
fall away, Bush has only democratic transformation to point to as a
casus belli in order to justify one of the costliest foreign
adventures in American history. And even now Bush, having handed over
faux sovereignty to the Iraqis and while beating a pell-mell retreat
under fire, does not want to settle for some watered-down or
Islamicized version of democracy. His administration's official goal
is still dictated by the "Lewis Doctrine," as The Wall Street Journal
called it: a Westernized polity, reconstituted and imposed from above
like Kemal's Turkey, that is to become a bulwark of security for
America and a model for the region.
Iraq, of course, does not seem to be heading in that direction. Quite
the contrary: Iraq is passing from a secular to an increasingly
radicalized and Islamicized society, and should it actually turn into
a functioning polity, it is one for the present defined more by
bullets than by ballots. All of which raises some important
questions. What if the mistakes made in Iraq were not merely tactical
missteps but stem from a fundamental misreading of the Arab mindset?
What if, in other words, the doyen of Middle Eastern studies got it
A growing number of Middle Eastern scholars who in the past have
quietly stewed over Lewis's outsized influence say this is exactly
what happened. To them, it is no surprise that Lewis and his acolytes
in Washington botched the war on terror. In a new book, provocatively
titled The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, one of those
critics, Columbia scholar Richard Bulliet, argues that Lewis has been
getting his "master narrative" about the Islamic world wrong since his
early epiphanic days in Turkey-and he's still getting it wrong today.
In Cheney's bunker
Lewis's basic premise, put forward in a series of articles, talks, and
bestselling books, is that the West-what used to be known as
Christendom-is now in the last stages of a centuries-old struggle for
dominance and prestige with Islamic civilization. (Lewis coined the
term "clash of civilizations," using it in a 1990 essay titled "The
Roots of Muslim Rage," and Samuel Huntington admits he picked it up
from him.) Osama bin Laden, Lewis thought, must be viewed in this
millennial construct as the last gasp of a losing cause, brazenly
mocking the cowardice of the "Crusaders." Bin Laden's view of America
as a "paper tiger" reflects a lack of respect for American power
throughout the Arab world. And if we Americans, who trace our
civilizational lineage back to the Crusaders, flagged now, we would
only invite future attacks. Bin Laden was, in this view, less an
aberrant extremist than a mainstream expression of Muslim frustration,
welling up from the anti-Western nature of Islam. "I have no doubt
that September 11 was the opening salvo of the final battle," Lewis
told me in an interview last spring. Hence the only real answer to
9/11 was a decisive show of American strength in the Arab world; the
only way forward, a Kemalist conquest of hearts and minds. And the
most obvious place to seize the offensive and end the age-old struggle
was in the heart of the Arab world, in Iraq.
This way of thinking had the remarkable virtue of appealing powerfully
to both the hard-power enthusiasts in the administration, principally
Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, who came into office thinking that the soft
Clinton years had made America an easy target and who yearned to send
a post-9/11 message of strength; and to neoconservatives from the
first Bush administration such as Paul Wolfowitz, who were looking for
excuses to complete their unfinished business with Saddam from 1991
and saw 9/11 as the ultimate refutation of the "realist" response to
the first Gulf War. Leaving Saddam in power in '91, betraying the
Shiites, and handing Kuwait back to its corrupt rulers had been
classic realism: Stability was all. But it turned out that the Arab
world wasn't stable, it was seething. No longer could the Arabs be an
exception to the rule of post-Cold War democratic transformation,
merely a global gas station. The Arabs had to change too,
fundamentally, just as Lewis (and Ataturk) had said. But change had to
be shoved down their throats-Arab tribal culture understood only force
and was too resistant to change, Lewis thought-and it had to happen
quickly. This, in turn, required leaving behind Islam's anti-modern
Greg -- Here is my question to all of you
Dear Smart Colleagues: Here is my question to all of you who have puzzled over the events of last week:
Now that the four years of the 'W' administration are no longer an aberration it seems (and seemed in the months leading up to the election) that the Neo-Liberal/Globalist agenda is largely up for grabs if not totally off the table. In the world's eyes we are now and will remain for the near future a morally bankrupt nation: openly homophobic, culturally insular, anti-scientific, democratically challenged and nostalgically fundamentalist. In sum we have bought into a regime that is telling the multi-cultural and technologically dependent corporate world-community that we (the US admin.) intends to remain right where it has been for the last four years: out of step with virtually all other contemporary industrial nations.
SO here is my question: Assuming the triumph of evangelical republican conservatism is NOT good for US business interests in the mid to long run, why have we not seen a more coordinated backlash against Bush from the (enlightened) capitalist class?
Dina -- Joseph Massad -- Statement in Response to the Intimidation of Columbia University
Statement in Response to the Intimidation of Columbia University
The recent controversy elicited by the propaganda film “Columbia Unbecoming,” a film funded and produced by a Boston-based pro-Israel organization, is the latest salvo in a campaign of intimidation of Jewish and non-Jewish professors who criticize Israel. This witch-hunt aims to stifle pluralism, academic freedom, and the freedom of _expression on university campuses in order to ensure that only one opinion is permitted, that of uncritical support for the State of Israel. Columbia University, the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, and I personally, have been the target of this intensified campaign for over three years. Pro-Israel groups are pressuring the university to abandon proper academic procedure in evaluating scholarship, and want to force the university to silence all critical opinions. Such silencing, the university has refused to do so far, despite mounting intimidation tactics by these anti-democratic and anti-academic forces.
Truthout -- John Cory -- The Election - My Two Cents
The Election - My Two Cents
By John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 06 November 2004
It was so close, yet so far away, and now the dance of the cannibals begins, devouring and dissecting the disillusionment, fixing blame, and pondering where to go next. Shoulda-Woulda-and-Coulda come to dine.
There is lots of talk from the media experts and pundits about "moral values" being the factor that elected Bush, and plenty of folks willing to believe such nonsense. But let me ask:
Was it moral values that elected the guy who sat for 7 minutes, reading a children's book, while the country was under attack and people were dying?
Is moral values the reason to impeach a President for lying about sex, but not for oozing bloody lies to start a war that is killing innocent civilians and our own youth?
Do moral values say when Jesus fed the poor, drove the moneychangers from the temple, walked with lepers, defended the harlot, and healed the sick, that he was practicing wanton immoral liberalism?
I have no access to the corridors of power, or the Democratic Party shapers. I am not a journalist or pundit or pollster. I'm just a guy looking for work in this GOP economic jobless recovery, struggling to find the America I used to know. The only things I can afford these days are my beliefs and my voicing of those beliefs.
This campaign season brought all of us "liberals" new technology and new organizations for getting our standards and philosophy out to the masses: Howard Dean, the wonderfully invigorating blogosphere of Atrios and Talkingpoints Memo, Air America Radio, Media Matters, Truthout, Buzzflash, Bartcop, and so many more outlets of hope. We cannot afford to languish in morose depression over our loss, but must embrace our new tools of democracy and faith and move forward.
The Democratic Party leadership needs to re-evaluate its position and priorities, no question. But we need to force them to support us, not the other way around.
Salwa -- The Jewish Century -- A conversation with Yuri Slezkine
interesting Q & A with UC Berkeley prof. of History Yuri Slezkine on his new book the Jewish Century - salwa
Q&A: A conversation with Yuri Slezkine
In the 20th century, we all had to become literate, urban, mobile, and occupationally flexible. In other words, we all had to become Jewish.
By Russell Schoch
A few years ago, historian Yuri Slezkine set out to write a book about the early Soviet elite. He focused on a residential building in Moscow that housed the leaders of the Soviet Union of the 1930s. When he figuratively looked inside that building, a prototype of communist living, he found that it had been occupied in large part by Jewish immigrants from the Pale of Settlement, the restricted region in which Jews were allowed to settle in the Russian Empire. In attempting to understand their internal movement, and the two other great migrations of Russian Jews in the 20th century--to the United States and Israel--he was forced to step back and examine more broadly the role of Jews in the modern age.
The result, The Jewish Century (published by Princeton University Press), has been called “a passionate and brilliant tour de force” and “an extraordinary book with continual surprises” about modernity, the 20th century, and the history of the Jews. One of Slezkine’s metaphoric points is that all of us have had to become “Jewish” in the modern age because Jews have long been urban, mobile, literate, articulate, and occupationally flexible--traits the 20th century demanded. Slezkine uses the characters and writings of Pushkin, Joyce, Proust, and the Yiddish writer Sholom Alecheim to illuminate his beautifully written book.
Genevieve -- Greg Palast -- Kerry Won
I was sent by MoveOn PAC to Florida where I spent 3 days canvassing a
Republican precinct and later served as a poll watcher. During the three
days canvassing, Kerry was ahead 3 to 1 and 2 to 1... still it was a small
sample... but add this to the Zogby exit polls which showed a clear Kerry
victory, electronic voting that limited the number of votes and began
counting backward after reaching a limit... and those who electronically
voted for Kerry and it showed a vote cast for Bush... You can't help but
wonder if Greg Palast is correct. Genevieve
Kerry Won. . .
November 04, 2004
Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. In the United States, about 3 percent of
votes cast are voidedknown as "spoilage" in election jargonbecause the
ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and
studies of elections past, Palast argues that if Ohio's discarded ballots
were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today, the Cleveland Plain
there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the
92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots. So far there's
no indication that Palast's hypothesis will be tested because only the
provisional ballots are being counted.
Greg Palast, contributing editor to Harper's magazine, investigated the
manipulation of the vote for BBC Television's Newsnight. The documentary,
"Bush Family Fortunes," based on his New York Times bestseller, The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy, has been
released this month on DVD .
Kerry won. Here are the facts.
I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I
don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called
American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the
deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.
Nettime -- Transcript of Bin Laden Video
"War on Terror"
english aljazeera net:
Full transcript of bin Ladin's speech
Monday 01 November 2004, 16:01 Makka Time, 13:01 GMT
Following is the full English transcript of Usama bin Ladin's speech in a
videotape sent to Aljazeera. In the interests of authenticity, the content
of the transcript, which appeared as subtitles at the foot of the screen,
has been left unedited.
Praise be to Allah who created the creation for his worship and commanded
them to be just and permitted the wronged one to retaliate against the
oppressor in kind. To proceed:
Peace be upon he who follows the guidance: People of America this talk of
mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan,
and deals with the war and its causes and results.
Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of
human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to
Bush's claim that we hate freedom.
If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example -
Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don't possess defiant spirits like
those of the 19 - may Allah have mercy on them.
No, we fight because we are free men who don't sleep under oppression. We
want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our
nation. So shall we lay waste to yours.
Kasha -- Time Out of Joint -- Sadik J. Al-Azm
"War on Terror"
There is a strong injunction in Arab Islamic culture against shamateh, an emotion—like schadenfreude—of taking pleasure in the suffering of others. It is forbidden when it comes to death, even the violent death of your mortal enemies. Yet it would be very hard these days to find an Arab, no matter how sober, cultured, and sophisticated, in whose heart there was not some room for shamateh at the suffering of Americans on September 11. I myself tried hard to contain, control, and hide it that day. And I knew intuitively that millions and millions of people throughout the Arab world and beyond experienced the same emotion.
I never had any doubts, either, about who perpetrated that heinous crime; our Islamists had a deep-seated vendetta against the World Trade Center since their failed attack on it in 1993. As an Arab, I know something about the power of vengeance in our culture and its consuming force. I also knew that the United States would respond with all its force to crush the Islamist movement worldwide into oblivion. But I didn’t understand my own shameful response to the slaughter of innocents. Was it the bad news from Palestine that week; the satisfaction of seeing the arrogance of power abruptly, if temporarily, humbled; the sight of the jihadi Frankenstein’s monsters, so carefully nourished by the United States, turning suddenly on their masters; or the natural resentment of the weak and marginalized at the peripheries of empires against the center, or, in this case, against the center of the center? Does my response, and the silent shamateh of the Arab world, mean that Huntington’s clash of civilizations has come true, and so quickly?
Daniel -- Black Radical Congress on NOV.2 Elections
Here is some suggested reading: from
Americans of African Descent and NOVEMBER 2nd The November 2 presidential
election is shaping up as a watershed in US history. Voters are confronted
with the prospect of four more years of George W. Bush, with his pre-emptive
war and imperialist empire-building abroad, and racist, anti-woman,
anti-gay, anti-environment policies at home. Or we will get the kinder,
gentler imperialist alternative in John Kerry. Those of us for whom the
choices presented by the nation's seriously degraded electoral system are
deeply unsatisfying will participate in the process nonetheless, but we will
do so recognizing that the real work ahead of us, beyond November 2, is to
struggle mightily over the long term to bring about a domestic and global
agenda for peace, justice, employment, healthcare, education and
Defending the Black Vote -- Before and After November 2? For the Black
Radical Congress, the main focus in this election season is defending the
voting rights of Black people in their communities across the country --
before, during and after the elections. Given African American history,
Black people know more than anyone the pain and outrage of vote manipulation
and vote suppression. As the sector of the population that, historically,
could always be expected to vote its interests, Black people remain the
principal targets of numerous tactics wielded by anti-democratic forces to
prevent our votes from being cast or counted. Today, in coalition with
others, we are in the field doing whatever it takes to try and avert another
fiasco such as occurred in 2000. At the same time, realistically, we are
prepared for history to repeat, in which case we will join with thousands in
the streets to demand, "No Stolen Election." Here is the "No Stolen
Election Pledge: "I remember the stolen presidential election of 2000 and I
am willing to take action in 2004 if the election is stolen again. I
support efforts to protect the right to vote leading up to and on Election
Day, November 2nd. If that right is systematically violated, I pledge to
join nationwide protests starting on November 3rd, either in my community,
in the states where the fraud occurred, or in Washington, D.C."