What Blair is doing today.

And guess who is pushing the buttons.

Art link of the day

Earth as Art: A Landsat Perspective

Remembering Lewis and Clark

Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America ...a Library of Congress Exhibit

I think it's peculiar usage of "Revealing"...but this sort of "revealing" seems to be going on today, still.

Author of the day: Voltaire

Some of his writing in E-texts:


<>Resource for Study of Candide (U. of Chicago)


Letters on England

>>Satire is a powerful tool. And Voltaire's words maintain their relevancy and resonance today (esp. in Candide!!!).

Honorable Mention: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Part One & Part Two)
The Frenchman that created American Studies?

Go on a tour with De Tocqueville...

Contextualizing De Tocqueville

"The term "American Studies" is problematic and ironic. It is a quite accurate description of the evaluation of ambiguous and broad subjects. It may be argued that Democracy in America is the first text in American Studies, for it covers, with depth, a wide stretch of topics related to the foundations of American culture as well as that culture in the 1830s. Those topics include, but are not limited to, the Constitution, government, law, justice, jurisprudence, slavery, race relations, religion, expansion, progress, education, morality, inheritance, popular thought and feeling, regionalism, and imprisonment."

A friend and colleague of mine told me during the events...

"It's very easy to destroy a country. But it's much more difficult to rebuild it afterwards." Wise words.

A recasting of the war's purpose is underway. There's Cheney with the Pope, giving him a crystal dove. Then there's the obvious backpedaling by the American Administration to first, place blame on the intelligence agencies (that we're incidentally telling them all along that Iraq did not pose an "imminent threat" before the war and now, <>in light of David Kay's report and recent resignation. Second, to prepare the country for an election year. (There are third, fourth, fifth, etc...but I'm not going to get to them all.) From my vantage point, the admin. is attempting to soften the blow, as it were, on the American people. Because, in the end, it is the perception of the American people on the situation in Iraq that will show how much the current administration sincerely cares for the people of Iraq...and whether or not the new justifications will hold water come election time. By all accounts that I see, Iraq is third on the list of priorities in this election (dropping in significance since Saddam's capture). The first two are the economy and healthcare, in that order. But Bush and his peeps will run the National Security ticket. There will be anthrax scares and fear pumped into the people's hearts here. That's they're only chance of winning. Iraq will become more of an issue if the situation does not improve and/or something remarkably terrible happens. And Post-War Iraq as an issue is related intimately with the economy, the record deficits, and America's poor credibility in the world community as of today (regardless of how many crystal doves you give Pope and people like him). We will see how this develop in the coming months, but I fear the worst and hope for the best. But what is the worst? And how is the best possible? It is all relative, of course. And I feel, more than ever, a particularly flux-prone quantum gap between different points of view that are being given the chance to matriculate in Iraq at the moment. In other words, things are volatile...yet it's vital to understand the different angles (or power-grabs) that are being conceived and built in the new Iraq, then question whether or not it/they is in the best interest of Iraq developing into a democracy (not to be exploited by external influences, tho unlikely,) over time.

Are the IGC and Chalabi the new Monarchs, and America the new Britain? see this article from Knight-Ridder press agency. (click here if that link doesn't work.)

The below quote from the article seems to me to be more and more true...and this I regret, because my family and I saw this coming more than a year before the invasion. While I protested, much of it smacked of co-opting the anti-war cause for other people's agendas, if I may speak so candidly. I wish only a better future for Iraq. There's no looking back, now. But I fear the perception of the American people may not lend itself so kindly to result in Iraq's future being a more prosperous and free one. And this only disheartens me. Allah Ow'eee'kone. Shlon' warta hatha...besss Allah bee'Ow'ee'kone. Inshallah, bil khair, ya rubb'...God give you strength in these difficult times. This I say to my family and all Iraqis irrespective of your faith or strength of faith. (Note: I'm not that religious. But in such times and in such dire positions...I believe where-ever one may find hope, one must search for it and then use it to strengthen their will and the wills of those around him or her. Believing in something greater is perhaps a necessary defense mechanism in order to allow hope to endure. Relgion does serve a function. This much is certain to me. Whether it will end up saving or destroying us is the question.)

"To many Iraqis, today's U.S. occupation reads like an old play with modern characters: America as the new Britain, grenade-lobbing insurgents as the new opposition, and Ahmad Chalabi and other former exiles on the Governing Council as the new kings."

Important Article Alert:

I thought this Washington Post article may have been missed by many and deserves a read. I don't mean to backpedal myself, but the facts are important...Historical fact is essential to comprehend the next steps for Iraq and the mistakes of the past, in order to not repeat them. Calling upon such inexhaustible investigative reports allows the mere chance of the truth coming out. In this article there are many interviews with Iraqi scientists. It was written by Barton Gellman, called, "Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper: Since Gulf War, Nonconventional Weapons Never Got Past the Planning Stage"


Iraq Documentary, "Uncovered: the whole truth about the Iraq war"

MoveOn's flash map showing where screenings of the film have taken, or will take place.

Uncovered's website

Original article in The Independent about the documentary and its initial impact: Case for War Confected, by Andrew Gumbel

UPDATE: 10 Feb. 2004--I was encouraged to read this on a bbs on iraqi blogs.

Author Comment
Posts: 1
(1/11/04 4:30)
Reply Documentary Maker says copy his film questioning Iraq war
A couple days ago a went to see filmmaker Robert Greenwald discuss his documentary "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War" about the lies of the Iraq war in Santa Monica, California. In the movie, he interviews various insiders from the CIA and State Department who express doubts about the reasons Bush and Powell gave for invading Iraq. The Democratic presidential campaigns have been showing this movie at some of their events. Greenwald said that he is allowing his movie to be copied for free by the general public so feel free to buy a copy and then make you own copies. You can buy and learn more about the movie at www.truthuncovered.com
This website sells DVD's and VHS tapes online and by mail. $14.95 per DVD. According to a post on a Howard Dean website, you can "order quantity and get a price break... I ordered 18 DVD's to give as gifts. It normally sells for $17.50 and the quantity price given to me was $11.00. Send your check to: Carolina Productions, Box 988, Culver City, CA 90232 attn: Devin Smith.">>

I had emailed them a couple months back pleading with them to release some of the stuff directly from their website, but this is cool. COPY THOSE DVDS, hand them out !!! Give em' to your brother-in-law! Let the truth be uncovered through the video recorded interviews of those in the intelligence communities...not lies being constantly spun out of the admin. by a sophisticated neocon job. dont let them scapegoat the goats that carried the truth. :) btw, I love goats.

What you will not see...

...in "super-bowl" (american football championship game) adverts, but should have.

See for yourself what CBS censors in time where approximately 100 million Americans and 1 billion people world-wide watch this game.

hi bandwidth

low bandwidth


"Anti-war nations 'took bribes' before war began" - Independent, UK

There are things more pathetic, though.

On Elections: Juan Cole's latest comments

"The Question of Elections in Iraq

In the past week, two significant demonstrations were launched by Iraq's Shiites, including one on Monday 1/19 that involved an estimated 100,000 in the streets of Baghdad (including, from all accounts, some Sunnis who support open elections). The other, on Tuesday, was smaller and drawn from the poorer, more radical elements of the community who incline toward Muqtada al-Sadr. I cannot underline strongly enough how significant it is that Sistani was willing to go to the street in this way, and that so many tens of thousands responded.

This move seems to me to signal severe trouble ahead. The US is making intransigent noises, despite a Guardian report last Thursday that Mr. Bremer might give in and hold open elections. Were the US really to insist on sticking to its guns, the Bush administration might well face the prospect of hundreds of thousands of angry Iraqis demonstrating all this summer and into the fall, with the attendant danger of violence breaking out between them and US troops. The US public may not care very much about Iraq, but they certainly won't want to see US troops shoot down innocent civilian protesters because the Bush administration would not allow free and fair elections."
Click to see rest of Professor Cole's post.


MIT OpenCourseWare : The State of the Universe Address

MIT OpenCourseWare

Learn ONLINE for free from one of the best institutions of education on Earth. They offer over 500 courses, in 33 disciplines on-line, if I'm not mistaken.

Until we get to Mars or have the University of the Moon or something, we have MIT. And we ALL have MIT. So, take advantage of this great resource.

God bless FREEDOM!!! God Bless America and God Bless Iraq!

And like stevie wonder says, "Heaven Help Us All"

Relevant or what? UN & Iraq: Internationalism Needed More Than Ever

I am a firm believer in International Law and we are in dire need of Internationalism. Here's the UN's site dedicated to it.

The Global Policy Forum monitors policy making at the United Nations, promotes accountability of global decisions, educates and mobilizes for global citizen participation, and advocates on vital issues of international peace and justice.

How can we make internationalism a more effectual process that yields positive and tangible results? What steps need to be taken to form global consensus that ensures the peace, security, and fundamental rights of each person? Will we ever see a world where an American life is worth as much as a Congolese life? It is a vision worth pursuing with persistence and non-wavering stances of principle and through positive actions. And those dedicated for a just world must not be deterred, discouraged, or deceived by false promises and pretexts given by a few morally bankrupt individuals that choose to use fear as a weapon against their own population for their short term gain...for their self-interest.

I say, Love over fear. Differences should be celebrated. They should not be the premise for alienation. They should be the premise for internationalism.

Here are a few links more. Do we need a new International Body? Or is an adapting UN enough to meet the demands and challenges we are now confronted by?

Arundati Roy, in Mumbai, said "Iraq is the culmination of imperialism and neoliberalism." While it rings true, she also says that "the resistance" [in Iraq] must be joined by those people of the world who are against the economic/foreign policies [imperialism and neoliberalism] that have made American primacy and many of its people apathetic. (And many others poor, without jobs, and a future.) But I feel a call for solidarity with the Iraqi people must be the first thing both said and carried out through action [by the supportors of Roy and herself] before making such bold statements. For, it isn't her that suffered all these years. The Iraqi people are tired and want peace...and to move on with their lives. At the same time, they need only little rest to recover and resist an occupation. After shunning the UN and International Law with such impunity, the US now needs the UN to serve as their puppet once more. And if that will save Iraqi lives...I cannot say I am unequivocally against this happening in the short term. Democracy is something that is going to take more than a summer or even 5-10 summers to take an acceptable form. But if you get off the wrong foot, then there is no turning back from very terrible events that could pass. So, I urge, however small a voice I have now...that people in the corridors of power think clearly and with the interest of the Iraqi people in mind when treading over dangerous political waters these next few weeks. It will only be for the betterment of all humankind. The re-colonialization of Iraq cannot be allowed. An Iraqi life is worth as much as an American life. If this is not applied on the ground soon (as it hasn't thus far), then one can only fear for the worst. There are no excuses. Soldiers are not trained to be peace-keepers. They are trained to kill. And this pointless loss of life because of the unacceptable lack of trust between the virtual (green zoners) and the reality (people of the neighborhoods of Baghdad) must stop.

You cannot liberate a people by killing them. What do you say to the "liberated" people that died in the (poor intelligence) "decapitation attack" on a residential neighborhood? "You died for the freedom of your Mother, Father, Son, Daughter." Preventive war has proven its polarizing capabilities. And yes, most Iraqis were against Saddam. And we are anxious to see him brought to justice. Indeed, most of us were directly affected by him or his cronies. Why doesn't America have a public trial so the people of Iraq can heal and the truth can come out? Oh, that would reveal too much, though.

I was against Saddam and I was against the war because of my fear of "the shock and awe" that claimed the lives of thousands upon thousands of innocent people (as albright famously said once, as collatoral damage), no matter how "smart" these inanimate objects and yes, American WMD. Honestly, Iraqis inside and outside thought that it was going to be much more closer to an Armageddon situation thanks to your "successfull" psychological operations. And now...now, I have accepted this new freedom with much caution and I am against this occupation that brings tyranny into the living rooms of innocent Iraqis on a daily and hourly basis. I resent the fact that Bush makes Iraq into what he calls "the frontline" in "The War on Terror." We knew, and they knew, that this would be a consequence of the war. So, don't cut-and-run, but don't outstay your welcome. That's enough. Iraqis have endured enough and all the American Administration's promises to both Iraqis and the World appear to have been empty lies. So it is America's obligation and in America's greatest interest to ensure a bright future for the next generation of Iraqi children.

I hope that democracy takes hold in Iraq, but this cannot be a hit-and-run, drive-thru democracy like Bush and his minions would like it to be. "Enduring Freedom" is haki fadi...a joke, if they do not have elections. So, it's a catch-22...but some improvisation is in order. There is the UN World Food Program that ran their most efficient operation in Iraq over the last 12 years of low scale daily attacks and sanctions. People needed their ration cards to survive. And there are hand dyes...so, do what ever it takes. And do it now. Have elections as soon as possible. And don't even try to appoint a government in any manner, especially with exiles that have not been in the country during the last 45 years. One suggestion to soldiers: take your sunglasses off and look Iraqis in the eyes when you talk to them.

News Focus: Iraq

Annan's statements on Iraq (latest on video)

UN Multimedia

Nigeria happiest nation: Point (less) v. Counter-Point v. Poi(gna)nt &
FELA KUTI is the sound of URBAN AFRICA

Happiness Doesn't Need To Cost Much
and the BBC's oversimplification

The dark allegory of Nigerian Happiness by Hank Eso

Music and God.
Fela Kuti's Influence?

Fela Kuti Resources:

Taste this...and BBC profile.
Africaman Original
Brief interview with the help of Amnesty Intl.
Black President:The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Interactive Special on Fela A. Kuti - Ny Times
"How Fela Landed Me In Jail" by John Darnton
Art Review: "The Short Century" PS1 exhibit

World Values Survey Questionare & some findings...
Genes, Culture, Democracy, and Happiness by Ronald Inglehart and Hans-Dieter Klingemann (.pdf)

let's see if this materialises...or how exactly it will materialise. & On Kirkuk.

A Guardian article telling something worthy of news to be spread which may be of substance, but perhaps it's too early to tell (knowing this US admin. and the unpredictable events unfolding on the ground in Iraq). Time will tell.

US set for Iraq election retreat
Patrick Wintour, Michael White and Ewen MacAskill
Wednesday January 21, 2004

On Kirkuk:

Getting to know the Kirkuk situation better lends oneself to a degree of enlightenment when it comes to understanding the issues standing before the power brokers seeking an archaic caucus system--similar to the chaos in Iowa yesterday (I have a special post to make about the IOWA v IRAQ caucus compare and contrast btw)-- (CPA, GC proxy selected governors, and Kurds) that attempts to project power obtrusively in order to reap the rewards of the highly coveted oil-rich provence. So I encourage everybody reading this to seek out more information about the situation in Kirkuk and its historical significance...even before Saddam, to understand the full picture. And decide by yourself what you believe is fair...formulate an opinion based on facts and opinions of people on the ground, not sound bites from clueless politicians and constant oversimplifications of arguably the most ethnically *diverse* (note:not divided) city in Iraq by each of those powerbrokers. What is the best policy for solving the Kirkuk issue, then? Please email me if you have any insight in the matter. And I'll try to get in touch with a friend of mine that's originally from Kirkuk but now an exile, to assess his opinion.

Here's an al-jazeera article on Kirkuk, in english, for starters...I'll try to make a log of Kirkuk articles as time allows me to do so.

Meanwhile, go windfarms go!


Please notice RESOURCES & Iraqi (E) Culture sections

I have posted a place where you can find books and essays of prominent writers and thinkers of our age and ages past. It is a most useful resource. Use it! For my family and friends in Iraq it is perfect if you can't quite get a hold of that copy of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"...well, there ya go! Anyway, more resources to come...And I'll be updating the site as tiem permits. I'm working under some pressure these days, but I'll do as much as possible.

Also check out, Juan Cole on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Good job Professor Cole!

Funny, usually these segments are in real video. I wonder why real audio this time. Anyway, too much thought abt such trivialities...

More refinements, links, and (perhaps) sections to come!!!

The Imperial Conquistador of Space or Political Points for Re-Election?

BBC says, "President George W Bush will announce proposals next week to send Americans to Mars, and back to the moon, senior US officials say. He is also expected to reveal plans for a permanent lunar space station. "

Will the Solar System (or the Earth) be safer because there are Americans on Mars? Or will the Solar System (or the Earth) be safer because there will be a permanent lunar space station, ironically like an occupation? The man needs some lessons on gravitational equilibrium and the dangers of WMD disrupting this and sending us ALL plummeting into oblivion. He's obviously no Copernicus.

Also, the symbolic significance of this is enormous. Imagine, everybody on Earth that isn't American looking up to the Moon, saying, "The Americans occupy the Moon." Will there be an ILSS (as in ISS... International Lunar Space Station)? Or just an American one? Could Nationals from other countries be trusted with the custody of the Moon??? This verges on the absurd, but he will capitalise upon any chance he gets this election year. (i.e. The suddenly new Immigration "Amnesty Plan") And, personally, I think Bush and Co. are salivating for Dean to be the Democratic nominee. Facing a Ret. General would be much more of a challenge, but if he had the Moon...maybe he could pull it off.

I've always understood we are in the age of the image. We consume millions of more images today than, say, our parents. Was the Prez so awe inspired by these 12 million mega pixel panorama shots from the rover to score political points on "2004 Space Odyssey" Maybe the Prez needs to read some Homer. The Odyssey and The Aenied come highly recommended. Or maybe a glance through Thucydides' Peloponnesian War might persuade him to do otherwise. The parallels in history are mind boggling at times. Attempting to take Sicily was the end of Athenian power. Attempting to occupy Iraq could be the end of American Primacy. (Immanuel Wallerstein, a Yale professor wrote a spectacularly haunting essay about the decline of American hegemony beginning shortly after the first Gulf War. I'll try to find that later, but here's a piece by him from FP, "The Eagle Has Crash Landed," for now.) But, seriously, G and co. symbolically taking the Moon and possibly Mars, ergo projecting American power in yet another obtrusive manner...Please, give me a break.

I'd say it's for political points, yet he does not or cannot comprehend the symbolic impact of it on the world in the long term. But this administration cannot comprehend a lot of things in the long term, so I'm not surprised by the lack of foresight in "selling" this product to the American people. "You don't introduce a product in August." Isn't that what Andy Card said about the war in Iraq?

I was tired tonight, and about to go to bed. But I couldn't resist chiming-in on this news.


And do not get me started on the extremely important topic of the Militarization of Space. Obviously, this is a step in that scary direction.

Otherwise, things are great!!! I'm glad I'm from Jupiter.


I want to double testtttttt

ehlen wa sehlen! As you can see (if you saw my blog earlier in the day), I decided upon some design changes. Mostly color and typographical...so it's easier to read and more fun. Form follows function.




I will organise the blogs and links in a more coherent manner, soon...I'll have different "blog" sections! I just think Juan Cole has a lot to say and I consider him a solid source with insightful and up-to-date commentary. (But there are several blogs that make such qualifications.) His recent post about Kirkuk and what's happening there now is descriptively important. It's something I've been expecting for a long time, though. To divide Iraq along ethnic lines will be impossible (esp. in the North) and extremely bloody if made possible by force. And frankly, it would be ethnic cleansing. I don't enjoy mincing words.

The title of my personal blog is dedicated to Masslawi slang...people from Mosul tag on "bakazay" to almost anything to make more emphasis. It's almost like a re-affirmation of what was just said. "Shlonkom" is, of course, "How's everybody?" I'll explain the rest later. HUAAHHahahaha...




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