August 2006

Tue Aug 01 08:25:10 PDT 2006


Within 24 hours of typing that last entry, the predictable happened. Sometimes I hate being right.

Tue Aug 01 08:30:25 PDT 2006

Castro Dead Already?

Some of the Miami Cubans sure think so. And judging from the complete text of the official announcement (official translation here, and warning: site is slow due to heavy traffic), he just might be. It all sounds a bit too forward-looking for a two-week leave of absence.

Tue Aug 01 12:35:29 PDT 2006

The Silver Lining to Castro Lasting so Long

Castro was in his twenties — younger than most of the ruling class elite he drove out of the country — when he assumed power. He’s now frail and geriatric (and possibly deceased), but most of those he drove from power are deceased.

That old ruling elite mostly settled in Miami and formed the basis for the exile community’s opposition to the regime. Despite the high-sounding rhetoric, their goals for Cuba as a rule were not to return it to being an open and democratic society. It hadn’t been one when they left. The old Cuba they spoke fondly of (and wished for a return to) was a corrupt right-wing dictatorship. One of the reasons Castro was able to unseat it is that he did really have the support of the masses.

But the exile community’s old guard now either resides in cemeteries or nursing homes. The current exile community is dominated by the old guard’s children (who grew up in the USA and have no particular longing for the Batista days), and the newer batches of exiles that left later, motivated either by political freedom or economic opportunity.

The ugly side of the exile community is thus much diminished; by his very fact of lasting so long Castro gives hope that a post-Castro Cuba can be something other than a complete return to the bad old days.

Tue Aug 08 21:01:51 PDT 2006

George Galloway is Nuts

I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

It is in no way “progressive” to glorify such a backward, anti-feminist, anti-gay, violent organization. Understand why people would support such a thing (especially in light of its humanitarian activities and its resistance to the current Israeli offensive), sure. But glorify? Give me a fucking break.

Get it straight: the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Not all battles are between good and evil; quite a few are between evil and evil.

Full article here.

Tue Aug 08 21:10:09 PDT 2006

For Those Just Joining Us

George Monbiot has a good summary of what happened in the lead-up to this whole ugly thing.

Fri Aug 11 23:04:57 PDT 2006

Fauxtographs and the Fog of War

This is interesting. I’m not sure if all of the photos shown therein are in some way photoshopped or staged. Some of them certainly are (Reuters has admitted the Adnan Hajj photos are fakes, fired him, and pulled all his work from their archives). And those plush toys look just a little bit too clean to have been through a bomb blast (heck, they’d even be dingier than that just as a result of having been played with).

The burning Quran I don’t think is quite so obviously fake. Books are commonly found in houses, bomb strikes commonly do cause fires, and given how Islam is the largest religion in Lebanon, you’d expect the Quran to be one of the more common books in people’s possession. And if you look at the captions of the purportedly “twice-recycled” picture of bomb damage, only one caption falsely claims the damage was done the previous night. The other one just claims it is “damage caused by Israeli attacks” — which, indeed, it is.

Update: It should be disclaimed that, from other photo galleries on that site, it’s obviously run by a bunch of folks that are squarely pro-Israeli state terror.

Fri Aug 11 23:34:24 PDT 2006

One Month On

A cease fire is finally in the works. And what’s been accomplished with all the death and destruction? Hezbollah still has plenty of rockets to their name (they continue to rain down on Israel unabated). Israel’s aggressiveness towards its neighbors has been demonstrated, making it even more difficult to convince Hezbollah to give up its weapons.

Hezbollah has survived to fight another day. The initial raid by Hezbollah has been long forgotten; what will stick in people’s minds will be that Hezbollah fought the IDF to a standstill, thus further burnishing Hezbollah’s reputation. The infrastructure of the Arab world’s most open and free society lies in ruins. Would-be terrorists have yet another reason to despise the West and take up arms against it.

Approximately one thousand civilians (many of them children) are dead.

The kidnaped Israeli soldiers are still being held hostage, and now presumably their release will have to be negotiated. This is somehow supposed to be an improvement over starting the negotiations a month ago and skipping all the bloodshed and destruction?

Sun Aug 13 00:08:10 PDT 2006

Yet One More Reason to Call Them Fascists

Michael Ledeen, a so-called “neoconservative”:

No stages. This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq, then we take a look around and see how things stand. That is entirely the wrong way to go about it… If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to… piece together clever diplomatic solutions… but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well. Our children will sing great songs about us years from now.
Source here.

Joseph Goebbels, 1943:

So total war is the demand of the hour. We must put an end to the bourgeois attitude which we have also seen in this war: Wash my back, but don’t get me wet! The danger facing us is enormous. The efforts we take to meet it must be just as enormous. The time has come to remove the gloves! We must use our fists now! There is no excuse for only superficially and carelessly making use of the war potential at home and throughout Europe. We must use the full resources, as quickly and thoroughly as it is organizationally and practically possible. Unnecessary concern is wholly out of place. The future of Europe hangs on our success in the East! We are ready to defend it! The German people are shedding their most valuable blood in this battle. The rest of Europe should at least work to support us. Those who do not understand this fight today will thank us on bended knee tomorrow that we took it!
Source here.

Mon Aug 14 21:15:47 PDT 2006

Now and Then

Beirut, 2006

New York, 2001

Thu Aug 24 19:07:25 PDT 2006

No, I Haven’t Fallen off the Edge of the World

Was just out of town for a while, and now that I’m back, I’m both (a) busy, and (b) placing an emphasis on spending less time on line. Although there’s plenty I could write about, I’m probably going to be pretty quiet for a while.

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Last updated: Tue Sep 13 16:14:09 PDT 2011