America's first president was not George Washington, but in fact its third: John Hanson
. (Scroll down to "Who Was the First President of the United States?") [via The Greatest Stories Never Told]
Free speech zones
Appearing everywhere from Florida
. In California
the concept has been fought and defeated, but in Kansas
there seems to be little resistance. It's not just the usual
suspects, either. Watch where you are standing no matter who
you are protesting, even if it's just governors
216 years ago today, the constitution of the United States was signed with "Unanimous Consent"* from the thirteen states. In the years since, many have used the other writings of those governmental framers to interpret the constitution. To make that task easier, the University of Chicago Press offers The Framer's Constitution
, an exhaustively annotated document that includes not just references to those other writings, but the complete texts as well. The print version is 3200 pages and costs a pretty penny, but thanks to the Liberty Fund
, you can access it on-line
Britain, US shelve report on Iraq banned weapons: report
We'll keep on looking and we know they will turn up...just you wait and see. And meantime, make sure Congress foots the bill for Iraq needs.
We're number one! We're number one!
From a source quoted in the article: "We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."
(apologies for the usual US-centrism)
Democracy might be impossible, US was toldThe CIA's March report concluded that Iraqi society and history showed little evidence to support the creation of democratic institutions, going so far as to say its prospects for democracy could be "impossible," according to intelligence officials who have seen it. The assessment was based on Iraq's history of repression and war; clan, tribal and religious conflict; and its lack of experience as a viable country prior to its arbitrary creation as a monarchy by British colonialists after World War I.
The State Department came to the same conclusion.
"Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve in Iraq," said a March State Department report, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements."
Diego Garcia islanders await call to go home.
'Cherry and thousands of other islanders were the victims of a brutal depopulation strategy by Britain in the 1960s and 1970s which sought to hand over an empty island to the United States for use as a key military base. The depopulation campaign ended in 1973 with the removal of the last islanders, who were dumped on the quays of the Mauritian capital, Port Louis ... 'The Chagos Islands: A sordid tale.
'The story involves "bribes" from the United States, racism among senior civil servants, and the UK Government deceiving parliament and the United Nations.'The Chagos archipelago: Decolonisation and human rights.
, by the Southern African Human Rights NGO Network, includes a brief history of the islands from original settlement by French settlers and African slaves. 'For a people as a whole to be actually victimised by the act of forced eviction from their homeland must be the most humiliating, supreme injustice and degrading treatment any people can be made to undergo. '
Study Finds 2.6% Increase in U.S. Prison Population The nation's prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999, according to a study by the Justice Department. The jump came despite a small decline in serious crime in 2002. It also came when a growing number of states facing large budget deficits have begun trying to reduce prison costs by easing tough sentencing laws passed in the 1990's, thereby decreasing the number of inmates. The key finding in the report is this growth, which is somewhat surprising in its size after several years of relative stability in the prison population, said Allen J. Beck, an author of the report. U.S. Prison Population Grew 2.6% in 2002. The country's prisons, jails and juvenile facilities held 2,166,260 persons at the end of last year, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) said in a report released today. Prisoners in 2002 Abstract
In the spirit of July 4th, the National Review
made a list of ten great things
to love about the United States.
Bush dares Iraqis to kill U.S. soldiers
"There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Bush said. "We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."
Is it wise to goad Iraqis into killing Americans?
Is it an impeachable offense?
Special forces 'prepare for Iran attack'
British and American intelligence and special forces have been put on alert for a conflict with Iran within the next 12 months, as fears grow that Tehran is building a nuclear weapons programme.
Is the USA "an empire in denial?"
"The United States is a 'danger to the world' because of its denial that it is a military and economic empire, according to Niall Ferguson, historian and new-found darling of the American right."
The Coalition of the Shilling Tired of killing Muslims, we are now trying to teach their survivors some democracy.
... this town shows virtually no interest in liberty, the Constitution, or democracy these days - except when prescribing them to those in far away lands.
Don't be too hard on the Iraqis if they fall for it. After all, we did.
I may not agree with everything Sam Smith says but he does make some very good points about government and media today.
22 year old schizophrenic Farrah Russell was rebuilding her life. But when the plug was pulled on the state program that allowed her to subsist, she took her life. Her heartbreaking story
is a cautionary tale of the dark consequences of state budget cuts. While politicians argue over tax stimulus proposals
that benefit the wealthy
, while wild numbers
are applied to war budgets, the States have been forced to cut social programs in order to survive. Whether it's California teachers
and New York
residents dreading tax hikes, Pennsylvania public transportation
, or Texas prescription drug coverage for the poor
, the States, supposedly United, have been left out to dry. While the States have been forced to cut their programs, groping for survival, Washington remains silent in its mission
. It does not remember history
. Why do we turn a blind eye to the hidden costs? What can be done about this? And how do we make it stop?
Persian, Amercian blogospheres come together
after an Iranian blogger, Sina Motallebi, was detained by Iranian regime. OJR's Mark Glaser has the story. BTW, sign the "Release Sina" petition
if you haven't.
Blix: US was bent on war.
In a scathing attack on Britain and the US, Mr Blix accused them of planning the war "well in advance" and of "fabricating" evidence against Iraq to justify their campaign.
Friday Doublethink Fun.
"An extraordinary communication
from the United States to UN representatives around the world has been leaked to Greenpeace. In it, the U.S. warns that the simple act of support for a General Assembly meeting to discuss the war will be considered 'unhelpful and directed against the U.S.'"
But really now, do we actually expect the U.S. (which claims it fights to "democratize" the Middle East) to welcome discourse and listen to what the majority of the world may think?
Don't like the US? Then Leave!
Somebody posted this
to a newsgroup I read from time to time. Evidently, if you sign an agreement to leave the US for a year, you'll get a portion of what has been donated to the website (currently $53).
Michael Moore is making a deal with Mel Gibson's Icon Prods. to finance "Fahrenheit 911,"
a documentary that will trace why the U.S. has become a target for hatred and terrorism. It will also depict alleged dealings between two generations of the Bush and bin Laden clans that led to George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden becoming mortal enemies.
Here are two thoughtful pieces on the North Korean Crisis.
From Foreign Affairs comes How to Deal With North Korea
From the New York Times comesQ&A: Should U.S. Launch Direct Talks with North Korea?
Here, by the way, is the fourth footnote from How to Deal With North Korea
:Had the Agreed Framework not been signed in 1994, the North's plutonium-based program would by today have produced enough plutonium for up to 30 nuclear weapons. Critics of the accord should not ignore this fact.
crunch time for ANWR
[nytimes link] the administration wants to push through drilling despite what the residents think
, a couple of senators in minnesota, oregon, and arkansas
will cast the deciding votes... is the issue worth a call to you senator?
is an provocative proponent of the American Empire
theory, indeed. Here are excerpts from his Blow Back: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire
I heard Johnson interviewed on Episode II, War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era
of The Whole Wide World
The Cold War and its central conflict - the physical and ideological battles between the United States, the Soviet Union and their proxy states - imposed a certain logic and consistency on the world. Take that away and add the bloody wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East in the ‘90s as well as the terror attacks and warnings of more recent times and you get a very confused picture of a world at war. Is this breaking storm in Iraq about oil, democracy, freedom, empire, culture, water, diamonds, modernizing Islam or nation building in the Middle East? Some, one or all of these things?
It was an excellent program and well worth your listen, either by RA now or mp3 later. (From listening to the radio)
is probably smiling today. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reconsider
last June's ruling finding the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional
How does one assure global stability in a world where there is only one strong power? John Perry Barlow (previously mentioned here
) thinks Dick Cheney has the answer
US Plans Post Iraq Liberation
Does this point to US Imperial ambitions, or is it what is needed if Saddam is ousted? How does this work with the Liberation of Iraq, and the Iraq Congress?
A War Crime or an Act of War?
But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story. ..
This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.
And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas. (NYT)
some action on global warming in the US senate
mccain and lieberman introduce some long overdue legislation to curb global warming in the US. where's the major media coverage of this? it was nearly 60 degrees here in minnesota today - in january. global warming? nah.
Canadian American Relations
According to the Guardian: essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise.
Hunger rates highest in rural West.
"Unemployment and prevalence of seasonal labor go hand-in-hand with hunger, experts say. Oregon
rank high in both jobless and hunger rates. Across the West, the agriculture industry relies on seasonal labor to harvest everything from mushrooms to apples. Families that work in the summer often can't make ends meet in the winter."
On September 17, 1998, in response to an armed robbery call, Houston police burst in to the home of John Lawrence
. The police didn’t find a robber (nor would they – the call was deliberately false), but they did find Lawrence having sex with another man, Tyrone Garner. Lawrence and Garner were promptly charged with “engaging in homosexual conduct,” a misdemeanor under Texas law. They paid their fine and began a long legal challenge to Texas’ anti-sodomy law. That challenge has finally reached the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, which today agreed to hear their appeal early next year
. Standing in the way is the Court’s own 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick
, in which it held that anti-sodomy laws are constitutional
. That may be about to change.
War With Iraq - As Predictable As Chess
There is still a good chance we can avoid war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein has never won a war, and his military forces surely foresee their own destruction. Numerous assassination attempts by them (some involving the Republican Guard) have failed. They are likely trying again, even now. Therein lies our best hope.
What if they fail again? Then invasion by the U.S. is inevitable.
How the world sees Americans.
"They readily distinguish between the official face of the American government (who they tend to disagree with and fear) and American people, pop culture and values (which they tend to adore and emulate)." "It's the world's superpower ... that has a childlike understanding of everyone else."
Journalist Mark Hertsgaard travelled the globe gathering opinions about the U.S. He talks about the surprising results.
Recently, the armed forces announced
that it would seek the approval of congress to begin recruiting non-citizens, specifically arabs, into the special forces. Seems reasonable enough, we all know the army is lacking native Arab speakers. Meanwhile, the Federal government is firing
every non-citizen from their job as airport bag checkers (1200 in San Francisco alone - mostly Filipino
). An interesting paradox in our war against terrorism? An unfortunate cost to enure security? A cruel injustice to working men and women? Who could do more damage, a Delta Force member, armed to the teeth and trained to kill acting as forward observer for air and artillery strikes? Or the guy checking your shaving kit?
Does this story
about the US govt making someone disappear for no admitted reason scare you as much as it scares me?
A look into peacekeeping training
being conducting in Chile with the U.S. and most South American countries participating. A rare view of the interaction between national militaries to improve good relationships. The pics are great, too.
It's not your imagination, Americans (and those of us who live in similar cultures) really are getting fatter. The latest Journal of the AMA has the reports
"Suppose you're devising a logo for a new wing of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,
an office charged with developing intelligence tools and integrating the government's existing surveillance networks. Suppose that it has a vaguely sinister
name—say, the Information Awareness Office—and that it's to be run by a former Iran-contra conspirator. What would your design
I recently bought a cheap DVD of Broken Arrow
, the late 90's John Woo thriller that portrays an attempt to steal nuclear weapons. A earlier MeFI thread
briefly brought up NEST, or the Nuclear Emergency Search Team
who are supposed to find these things if smuggled into the United States.
I googled on it
, and while I wasn't surprised to learn there have been a large number of hoaxes I was surprised find out there have been some thirty incidents
not classified as a hoax.
A large part of the Woo film deals with the idea of The Feds searching for nuclear weapons from oribit.
Well I might just be a country boy but even I know there is Physics and then there is Movie Physics
so I was curious - can
these nuclear weapons be spotted by satellites? Maybe we're getting all bothered over pretty much nuthin
, if The Feds already know where they are. Rense
has a interesting post about NEST in NYC.
Torricelli Considers Dropping Out Of His Re-Election Bid
...and Republicans' hopes to reclaim the Senate brighten
. Why drop out now, with only 5 weeks left? Is Torricelli guilty of even more ethics violations than previously thought? (more inside...)
Making the case for United Nations intervention against the United States
- Ted Rall takes a look at the world situation from a slightly different perspective. The scary thing is that this could run unedited in the newspapers of many countries around the world and their readers would agree with it. Is America out of touch with the rest of the world?
Germany slips on its jack boots to keep in step with the USA
In the wake of september 11th Most supposedly enlightened "western" countries have curtailed or outright forbidden free speech to groups suspected to be sympathetic to "terror". The question in my mind is how long until just being part of a political organization that opposes first use of violence and criticizes government policy (libertarians, Greens, CUSPA) will get you on the FBI "hit" list here at home?
Salman says "miscalculations"
Is the US so
unpopular.Are they willing and able to do anything about it ??
Apparently I live in the most diverse city in the United States.
Synagogue arsons, propane-tank-bomb-plotting and suburban hate crime aside, Sacramento is a pretty neat place, especially since my wife (Korean-American) and I (Jewish) can afford to own a house on our meager incomes and still go out to eat Pho
(Ethiopian), Som Tum
(Korean) all within a short drive. It's not San Francisco, but neither is the cost of living. Do you notice the tension caused by resistance to diversity in your town, or are you too busy eating the sushi
"Just open a map... Afghanistan is in turmoil, the Middle East is in flames, and you want to open a third front in the region? That would truly turn into a war of civilizations." Profound Effect on U.S. Economy Seen in a War on Iraq.
"If this were a sci-fi melodrama, it might be called Speech-Zilla meets Trademark Kong. ... The parties are advised to chill." (PDF file)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is at it again. Aqua's hit song "Barbie Girl" is judged not to be a violation of Mattel's trademark, but to be a parody protected by free speech. And all laboured judgely joshing aside, the decision offers a nice summary of trademark law. Get a plain HTML news story from CNN here
. (The chorus is running through your brain now, right? And it's going to be there all day, too. *snicker*)