Wednesday, November 21
Thanksgiving Fascism Watch
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the cold distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.--Bob Dylan
George Bush's post-9/11 thirdworldization of America--proceeding now under the studiously earnest indifference of the 110th Democrat-controlled Congress-- unfolds quietly, abetted by industrial-strength hypocrisy, taxpayer-supported propaganda and Orwellian double-speak.
Israeli "Nuclear Ambiguity" (or "How to Be Just a Little Gay")
From across the Atlantic, regular London Guardian contributor George Monbiot offers Americans this reminder of our 21-century slop-jar democracy, currently most pronounced in the Middle East:
George Bush and Gordon Brown are right: there should be no nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The risk of a nuclear conflagration could be greater there than anywhere else. Any nation developing them should expect a firm diplomatic response. So when will they impose sanctions on Israel?American Mis-Reading
Like them, I believe that Iran is trying to acquire the bomb. I also believe it should be discouraged, by a combination of economic pressure and bribery, from doing so (a military response would of course be disastrous). I believe that Bush and Brown - who maintain their nuclear arsenals in defiance of the non-proliferation treaty - are in no position to lecture anyone else. But if, as Mr Bush claims, the proliferation of such weapons “would be a dangerous threat to world peace”(1), why does neither man mention the fact that Israel, according to a secret briefing by the US Defense Intelligence Agency, possesses between 60 and 80 of them?(2)
Officially, the Israeli government maintains a position of “nuclear ambiguity.”
Here's a blurb for a 20 November story serving as an apt metaphor for reading in Amerika that I lifted from the International Reading Association's website, which bills itself as "Your source of news from the world of literacy."
Flawed test booklets invalidate PISA tests in U.S.But the IRA (?) neglected to include a 19 November Washington Post story on new statistical study documenting detailing an alarmingly decline in U.S. reading . Among its findings:
In an episode that has embarrassed the U.S. Department of Education, thousands of flawed testing booklets forced the invalidation of reading scores on an international exam administered without major mishap in 56 other countries. The problem came on a test known as the Program for International Student Assessment that allows students’ proficiency to be compared with that of their international peers. It was administered to 5,600 American 15-year-olds last fall, as well as to students in the 30 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and in 27 less developed countries. Scores are scheduled for release next month. Read the story in The New York Times.
"...the percentage of high school graduates deemed by employers as 'deficient' in writing in English [is] (72 percent).Perhaps Bush and Cheney should have named their 2002 education bill instead "Most Kids Left Behind." And this:
In 2002, only 52 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24, the college years, read a book voluntarily, down from 59 percent in 1992.
_ Money spent on books, adjusted for inflation, dropped 14 percent from 1985 to 2005 and has fallen dramatically since the mid-1990s.
The number of adults with bachelor's degrees and "proficient in reading prose" dropped from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003.Dana Gioia, a National Education Association statistician, further noted
"I think there's been an enormous investment in teaching kids to read in elementary school. Kids are doing better at 9, and at 11. At 13, they're doing no worse, but then you see this catastrophic falloff. ... If kids are put into this electronic culture without any counterbalancing efforts, they will stop reading."According to author and retired middle school English teacher John Taylor Gatto, that's been the plan of our wealthy elite overlords when they set up public education standards over 100 years ago.
Canada Slams Door on U.S. War Deserters
We can never underestimate the influence of a Bush on democracy.
Since Colonial times, Canada has welcomed Americans disturbed by the oscillating boom-bust-war machinations of the U.S. power elite's hyper-U.S. capitalism, to include the most recent crimes committed against humanity in Iraq.
But what a difference Bush-backed fascist primer minister Stephen Harper has had on Canadian Officialdom's war sensibilities. Though Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, on the eve of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, told the House of Commons that his fellow country persons would not participate in the U.S.'s illegal war, Aaron Glantz ,writing at AntiWar.com, reported on Canada's high court's hard rightward swing toward the war.
Two US Army deserters who fled to Canada and sought refugee status on grounds of their opposition to the war in Iraq have lost their bids to have the Supreme Court of Canada hear their cases.Translation: In ongoing covert preparations for the North American Union, U.S. dissenters or deserters not involved with government-backed drug trafficking no longer have sanctuary on the continent.
The court refused to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey Thursday, who were rejected two years ago by Canada's immigration authorities....
Probably Just Another 9/11 Coincidence
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema presided over the trial of "20th" hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui now questions government evidence presented during his trial and that of "al-Timimi, a Muslim cleric from Virginia sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for soliciting treason."
Her problem? "...she can no longer trust the CIA and other government agencies on how they represent classified evidence in terror cases." Ah, yes; justice morphs into kangaroo courts when its removed from public security. In layperson's language, Brinkema thinks Department of Justice prosecutors committed perjury and obstructed justice.
Her Honor must have have read the recent promise to "tell us everything" made by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, a 9/11 whistleblower famously silenced by what the American Civil Liberties Union characterized as an egregious misreading of the States Secret Act.
On Tuesday, AP writer Matthew Barakat wrote that al-Timimi's attorney Jonathan Turley, Georgetown University law professor and constitutional defense lawyer, submitted a brief appealing Brinkema's initial 2004 life sentence she gave Turley's client.
Brinkema said she no longer feels confident relying on the government briefs, particularly since prosecutors admitted last week that similar representations made in the Moussaoui case were false.Enjoy your turkey, my fellow Amerikans.
In a letter made public Nov. 13, prosecutors in the Moussaoui case admitted to Brinkema that the CIA had wrongly assured her that no videotapes or audiotapes existed of interrogations of certain high-profile terrorism detainees. In fact, two such videotapes and one audio tape existed.
Moussaoui, who had pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, was sentenced to life in prison last year. Because Moussaoui admitted his guilt, it is unlikely that the disclosures of new evidence would result in his conviction being overturned.
Turley, al-Timimi's defense lawyer, praised Brinkema for taking a skeptical view of the government's assertions in addressing al-Timimi's case.
"We believe a new trial is warranted," he said in a phone interview. "We are entirely confident that there are communications that were not turned over to the defense. These are very serious allegations."
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