Ink & Paper

Thursday, September 29, 2005



My passing comments about the lack of balls currently being demonstrated by the Democrats isn't just angry ranting. Real people on the internet are thinking the same thing.

This article is by Juan Cole a Professor of History with a focus on the Middle East at the University of Michigan. His blog is linked on the right and I suggest that you peruse it if you want the details of what is going on in America and in Iraq.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:36 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out

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Are you ready?

Dozens more pictures of prisoner abuse by American troops in Abu Ghraib will be released after an order by a federal judge in New York yesterday.

District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected government arguments that the images would provoke terrorists and incite violence against troops in Iraq.

The judge had ordered the release of the photographs in June, but the defence department appealed against the decision, telling the judge in oral arguments that releasing the pictures could incite more violence among insurgents in Iraq.

I remember posting a blog while I was still in Kuwait about how I wanted these pictures to remain hidden until I got the hell outta the desert. The rumours about these still-hidden photos are pretty disturbing, to the point that Congressmen and Senators that have seen them were left feeling pretty ill.

I want to see these photos released, not because I have some desire to see just how bad they are, but because I think that if they are released at this crucial period in American history, with bush's approval rating hoving in the low 40% range, they may prove enough to sink his administration, something I and others feel is long overdue. Of course, the Democrats would thus be required to get off their collective asses and actually start making some opposition-ish noise, something they seem to have forgotten how to do.

In related news, Lynndie England, the female soldier that was front and center in the original photos, leading a naked Iraqi prisoner around with a leash, has been convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison for her part in the scandal. This trial and sentencing, while needed, fails to address the strong evidence that this behaviour is rampant throughout the US military and sanctioned by the administration. Of course, shit always flows downhill, and thus England and her cohorts face the majority of the music.

There has been a spate of violence in Sudan's Darfur region, which has easily slipped from its already low pedestal on the radar of the western world, which has consistently turned its eyes away from the genocide that is ongoing.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees cited aid workers' reports of an unprecedented attack that left 29 people dead and 10 seriously hurt Wednesday at Aro Sharow camp. The reports said up to 300 armed Arab men on horses and camels attacked the camp in northwest Darfur and burned about 80 makeshift shelters.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 Sudanese were believed to be living in the camp and most reportedly fled to the surrounding countryside, UNHCR said. The nearby village of Gosmeina was also reportedly attacked and burned.

The Darfur crisis began when rebels took up arms against what they saw as years of state neglect and discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. The government is accused of responding with a counter-insurgency campaign in which the ethnic Arab militia, known as Janjaweed, committed widespread abuses against ethnic Africans.

At least 180,000 people have died in the Darfur conflict - many from hunger and disease.

It is interesting to note that it is the UN that is moderately involved in Sudan. While far from infalliable, the UN is involved in trying to help the displaced peoples of Darfur. I bring this up because I think it illustrates the value of the UN in today's world, a world that sees its primary superpower distancing itself from the UN while at the same time doing much to weaken the international governing body.

If the UN is truly an "outdated organization" as the US likes to claim, then why is the US failing to take the lead in Darfur relief? It would seem beneficial to the US position on the UN if the US took the bull by the horns and showed the world a better way to save lives in Darfur.

For a nice synopsis of what has led to Darfur's crisis, click here.

Lastly, your religious-idiots-make-for-strange-bedfellows thought of the day:

Hurricane Katrina and other storms that battered the Gulf Coast were God's judgment of sin, according to state Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo.

"New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness," Erwin wrote this week in a column he distributes to news outlets. "It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God."

"Warnings year after year by godly evangelists and preachers went unheeded. So why were we surprised when finally the hand of judgment fell?" Erwin wrote. "Sadly, innocents suffered along with the guilty. Sin always brings suffering to good people as well as the bad."

Erwin, a former conservative talk-radio host and now a media consultant and senator, is not alone in seeing God's wrath at work in the storms.

The al-Qaida in Iraq group hailed the hurricane deaths in America as the "wrath of God," and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan suggested the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for the violence America had inflicted on Iraq.

Televangelist Pat Robertson said Katrina might be linked to God's judgment concerning legalized abortion, and some rabbis suggested Katrina was a retribution for supporting the Israeli pullout from Gaza.

Sigh.


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:55 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out

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Jeezus.

I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

Oh and the Senate (78-22) swore John Roberts in as the new Chief Justice of the United States. Roe vs. Wade anyone?

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 2:54 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out

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Whew.

I have said, ever since I first read it, that Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is possibly the best book ever written. It is by far #1 on my list and everytime I re-read it (5 or more times now) it remains a completely fascinating look at how humanity deals with nations at war.

As Matt Good points out, the vibe of Catch 22 is still alive in 2004, much as it was in 1961 when the book was penned. Read Good's post and then read Catch 22. You'll wonder how you ever did without it.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 2:43 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005



The blog is tentatively back online, thanks to the Glorious Mr. T (as always) and no thanks to Shaw, who had me on hold for 45 minutes. Oh well.

I'll post more tomorrow, or maybe over the weekend.

The move went well, almost done unpacking. We have 13 or 14 stairs from the main floor to the upstairs and I am getting tired of them.

I feel horrendously out of touch without the internet for the last week. Och, am I such a slave to technology?

Ok, gonna try the internet via the wireless router. Fingers crossed.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:33 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out

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