Saturday, July 8, 2006

Yup. We have our own domestic terrorists to deal with.

Food for thought:

What about this? Does chasing a Jewish family out of town with threats of violence in order to intimidate or coerce a civilian population not count? And how about this? Does bombing abortion clinics and killing doctors who perform abortions not fall under this definition either? Sounds like the same religious extremists to me that are always cited as the "crazy bad evildoers". Oh wait, I forgot, sorry - these people don't have brown skin so they can't POSSIBLY be classified as terrorists.

What about the whole "anti-government thing" in the definitions above? Need I even mention what happened in Oklahoma City? Oh, never mind that one. Or what about the motivations of the Unabomber? How about the anthrax attacks in late 2001? Not enough? OK, fine. Remember the Olympics in 1996??

No, we don't have any domestic terrorism to worry about. We don't have to worry about standoffs with white supremacist groups or any government separatist groups. And with the way that the laws are enforced nowadays, it doesn't take much to qualify as an "enemy combatant", regardless of where you are or what your intent is. Or maybe even what you actually have or have not done. Or snipers in Maryland whose background and motivations are, shall we say, interesting?

And what about those seven "domestic terrorists" in Florida? Even though it looks more and more like their plans were more like pipe dreams. But we don't have this problem here? They aren't "here"? Please, spare me the histrionics.

Or, how about some of those who actually are promoting bombings and killing of innocent people here in the US? You know, like wishing that the NY Times building would be blown up? Or that Al Qaeda should bomb San Francisco? And just for shits and giggles, what about saying that someone should poison a Supreme Court Justice?

Oh, I see. IOKIYAR. No harm, no foul. You were just kidding. Well, that is just great, since others aren't quite so lucky even if they weren't guilty of anything other than mispronouncing a word in a foreign language. They get rendered and tortured. You get to spew more hate and attempt to incite violence against a group of civilians in order to coerce them.

David Neiwert's blog is one of the best resources I can think of on the topic of our own home-grown terrorists, and he's pointed out throughout the past several years that the face of much of our terrorists is white, extremely right-wing, and nominally Christian. It doesn't help that our own military is training a new generation of white supremacist terrorists in the art of urban guerrilla warfare.

North Korea Testing Missiles: Bad. Israel Testing Missiles: Um...No Comment.

Seems a bit much to ask for a little consistency. A clip:
As the world begins its efforts to come up with a statement at the United Nations their hypocrisy continues to be quite evident. The new resolve of the world to condemn North Korea was brought about by the recent missile tests of the DPRK yet Israel has, for the past 11 or 12 days, been in the process of testing missiles on Palestinian people and infrastructure and not even the weakest of statements condemning their actions has come out from the collective world body.

The Israeli government can basically continue its version of ethnic cleansing without fear of punishment, as long as its big bro', the good ol U S of A is there to act as a protector. Heck, our nation itself has such a bloody history of ethnic cleansing (does the phrase "Trail of Tears" ring a bell?) that I suppose there would be an almost instant bond between our elites and those of the latest would-be colonialists.

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Friday, July 7, 2006

Ann Coulter Plagiarism Update

Just to add to the fun, let's check out the continuing saga.

The Rude Pundit has a timeline of his and Raw Story's coverage of Coulter's plagiarism.

Media Matters asks if corporate media outlets will continue to give the succubus air time, and if so if the charges of plagiarism will even get mentioned.

The Gawker has fun with Coulter's dissing the NY Post (a tabloid), which has recently published a story on Coulter's plagiarism, for of all things "being a tabloid."

According to Editor & Publisher, apparently the Universal Press Syndicate (the org. that distributes the Brownshirt Barbie's columns to unsuspecting newspapers) is finally getting off its ass and is now fixing to investigate the plagiarism charges.

Bottom line: the jig is up. We'll soon see if those who've been most outraged about Churchill's problem with cribbing footnotes will show the same outrage at what Frau Coulter has done. If nothing else, any publisher of her books should put a distinctive label on her book covers that states, "The insane rantings contained herein may or may not be the work of Ann Coulter. In fact, they may be someone else's insane rantings that she's chosen to appropriate uncredited. Who knows?"

If your local paper just happens to be one of the "lucky" recipients of her column, write to the paper's editor and confront the editor about the plagiarism charges (with of course the investigative reporting that has already been done and spearheaded by The Rude Pundit). Maybe some of these editors will do the right thing and yank the column. One can hope.

Also, if you're already on amazon.com anyway, go look up Coulter's book "Godless" and add a few "tags" to her book. You can use mine ("plagiarism" and "plagiarist") and you don't even have to credit me.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Ann Coulter the Plagiarist: The Story Continues

A little something from the NY Post, following up on the work of Rude Pundit, Raw Story, and the Gawker (my summary of their findings can be found in a separate post):
July 2, 2006 -- Conservative scribe Ann Coulter cribbed liberally in her latest book, "Godless," according to a plagiarism expert.

John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls "textbook plagiarism" in the leggy blond pundit's "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program.

He also says he discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column, which is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers, including the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.

Barrie, CEO of iParadigms, told The Post that one 25-word passage from the "Godless" chapter titled "The Holiest Sacrament: Abortion" appears to have been lifted nearly word for word from Planned Parenthood literature published at least 18 months before Coulter's 281-page book was released.

A separate, 24-word string from the chapter "The Creation Myth" appeared about a year earlier in the San Francisco Chronicle with just one word change - "stacked" was changed to "piled."

Another 33-word passage that appears five pages into "Godless" allegedly comes from a 1999 article in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Meanwhile, many of the 344 citations Coulter includes in "Godless" "are very misleading," said Barrie, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where he specialized in pattern recognition.

"They're used purely to try and give the book a higher level of credibility - as if it's an academic work. But her sloppiness in failing to properly attribute many other passages strips it of nearly all its academic merits," he told The Post.

Barrie says he also ran Coulter's Universal Press columns from the past 12 months through iThenticate and found similar patterns of cribbing.

Her Aug. 3, 2005, column, "Read My Lips: No New Liberals," about U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, includes six passages, ranging from 10 to 48 words each, that appeared 15 years earlier in the same order in an L.A. Times article, headlined "Liberals Leery as New Clues Surface on Souter's Views."

But nowhere in that column does she mention the L.A. Times or the story's writer, David G. Savage.

Her June 29, 2005, column, "Thou Shalt Not Commit Religion," incorporates 10 facts on National Endowment for the Arts-funded work that originally appeared in the same order in a 1991 Heritage Foundation report, "The National Endowment for the Arts: Misusing Taxpayers' Money." But again, the Heritage Foundation isn't credited.
You get the idea. Coulter as plagiarist is a story that will not die, and it's good to see the mass media starting to finally pick up on this.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

What sort of people make War on Children - and what sort of people simply look the other way?

Now there's a question demanding an answer. As Israel continues its brutal assault on Gaza, one realizes rather quickly that a satisfactory answer will not be forthcoming from the Israeli government's apologists. Some grist for the mill:
According to top American academic lawyer Professor Marjorie Cohn, Israel’s disproportionate bombardment and invasion of Gaza in retaliation for the kidnapping of one Israeli soldier is illegal because it constitutes collective punishment of innocent civilians.

Collective punishment of civilians is specifically prohibited by International Conventions including the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rights of the Child Convention are also being violated by Israel’s violent actions.

[...]

Professor Marjorie Cohn states unequivocally: “Israel’s brutal retaliation against Palestinian civilians constitutes collective punishment. Attacks on a civilian population as a form of collective punishment violate article 50 of the Hague Regulations”, “The Fourth Geneva Convention also prohibits collective punishment. Article 33 ...” and “Collective punishment is likewise forbidden by Article 75 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. As four US Supreme Court justices agreed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld last week, Article 75 is "indisputably part of the customary international law."” (see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/8033/26/).

[...]

About half the civilians of the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories are Children. The post-invasion under-5 infant deaths in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories so far total 0.2, 0.4 and 1.4 million, respectively - and about 90% of this carnage is avoidable and due to gross Israeli and Coalition violation of the Geneva Convention (for detailed documentation see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/533/26/ and http://globalavoidablemortality.blo... ).

[...]

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories about 2,400 under-5 year old infants die avoidably each year due to war criminal Israeli non-provision of the life-sustaining requisites demanded unequivocally of Occupiers by the Geneva Conventions; about 200 Palestinian children are killed violently each year by Israeli soldiers or settler militias; the "annual under-5 infant death rate" is 0.51% in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as compared to 0.12% in contiguous Occupier Israel. This carnage amounts to about 2,600 avoidable deaths of Palestinian Children each year - or 7 (seven) EACH DAY (see: http://globalavoidablemortality.blo... .

Before the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza, seven (7) Palestinian children were dying avoidably every day due to Israeli violation of the above Conventions and Laws. With the destruction of half the Gaza electricity system, the daily death toll of utterly innocent Children will undoubtedly climb due to deficits in potable water supply, sanitation, emergency transport and hospital services. This mounting humanitarian crisis is of major concern to the UN in particular.

Those who knowingly deny, ignore, excuse, obfuscate, advocate, support or effect the gross human rights abuse of any Children in any way in word or deed - or indeed gross human rights abuse of anyone - are utterly beyond the bounds of acceptable human behaviour.

Professor Marjorie Cohn has called on the American people to act: "It is time for the American people to demand that the US government stop its support for Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people" (see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/8033/26/ ).

Israel has illegally held 4 million Palestinians hostage in appalling and traumatizing conditions for nearly 40 years - with no end in sight to this sustained gross abuse of human rights. Trenchant International condemnation coupled with boycotts and sanctions should be urgently applied to bring Israeli state terrorist violence to a halt.

We can make a fairly good guess as to the caliber of person who would celebrate such carnage:
What has transpired in the last few days is the most profound example of the "needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many" in a most beautiful and violent way. Read on....
In other words, fuck the children. Bomb 'em and starve 'em into oblivion. That is apparently what we call a "civilized" response to an occupying soldier being taken hostage.

There's an old acronym from a Tupac Shakur tattoo, THUG LIFE, which means "the hate u give little infants fucks everyone." The sort of collective punishment being waged on those kids in Gaza is about as straightforward an example of hate in action as anything I can imagine. And it will fuck everyone in the long run. Bet on it.

Mad props to liberal catnip.

"We had to destroy the city to save it."

Truth is stranger than fiction. As Steven D notes, apparently the US military is going to raze much of downtown Ramadi and build up a "Green Zone":
I'm not making that up. That's what the plan is: to bulldoze buildings in the central core of Ramadi to create a "Green Zone" in the center of the city:

... In three years here the Marines and the Army have tried nearly everything to bring this provincial capital of 400,000 under control. Nothing has worked.

Now American commanders are trying something new. Instead of continuing to fight for the downtown, or rebuild it, they are going to get rid of it, or at least a very large part of it.

They say they are planning to bulldoze about three blocks in the middle of the city, part of which has been reduced to ruins by the fighting, and convert them into a Green Zone, a version of the fortified and largely stable area that houses the Iraqi and American leadership in Baghdad.

Yeah baby! Another Green Zone is just what we need in Iraq, cuz that first one has worked out so well:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Baghdad's central morgue received 1,595 bodies last month -- the highest number since the February bombing of a Shiite shrine sparked a wave of sectarian killings, a morgue official said on Wednesday.

The figures show the level of violence in Iraq has increased even after the killing on June 7 of al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air strike.

How do you know when you are losing the hearts and minds of an occupied people? Whe you start repeating strategies that have already failed, because you can't think of anything better to do. In the past week the "unity" government of Prime Minister al-Maliki has been torn apart by Sunni defections, bombs and the killings go on despite the "turning point" represented by the Death of Zarqawi, yet the only tactic we can think of to deal with the insurgency in Ramadi is to bulldoze a bunch of buildings in the center of the city and build another "Green Zone" fortress.

This reminds me very much of how the Soviets tried to deal with Afghanistan in the '80's: military strongholds in the center of urban settings. It's a strategy as old as the one the Crusaders employed in the Middle Ages. They were occupiers too, occupiers of "The Holy Land", and you know what? Eventually their fortresses proved insufficient. They were forced to abandon them.

Just like we will.

One definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same failed action, over and over again, while expecting different results.

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Off the Grid. Looks like an interesting brand new blog.

Back from my break

Took a bit of a break from the computer this weekend. I more or less ran out of words, so figured the best thing to do was to just recharge, rather than to try to force words out. Instead, been reading, catching up on a couple other pet projects, spending time with the kids, celebrating my wife's b-day, etc. There you have it.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

This Weekend's Dolchstoßlegende

While many of enjoy this long July 4th weekend, remember that our government is using the same rhetoric against us, the American people, as the Nazis once used:
Colonel Jeffrey Snow thinks the real enemy is not Iraqi insurgents, but the media and the American people.

A US combat commander suggested the United States could lose the war in Iraq if public support for it at home is sapped by negative media coverage.

"My personal opinion is that the only way we will lose this war is if we pull out prematurely," said Colonel Jeffrey Snow, a brigade commander in Baghdad.

"I would hope we get the time and support we need to finish this mission," he said in a video conference from Iraq.

Snow, whose own troops have come under stepped-up insurgent attacks this month, criticized media coverage as too focused on insurgent roadside bombings, kidnappings and assassinations.

"Our soldiers may be in the crosshairs every day, but it is the American voter who is a real target, and it is the media that carries the message back each day across the airwaves," he said.

"So when the news is not balanced and it's always bad, that clearly leads to negative perceptions back home," he said.

So here we go again. As I've said before and will say again, what Co. Snow is doing is little more than serving up a rhetorical device used by Nazis to suppress dissent. Simply telling the truth that this particular war situation is doomed to failure (a reality that is apparent at least to anyone who isn't dead from the neck up) as "premature" or "cutting and running", or implying that we're somehow "demoralizing the troops", or falling back on the old Vietnam (and now Iraq) Syndrome, our government's right-wing hardliners are doing their level best to sidestep an honest debate. When the facts refuse to cooperate, rather than appeal to facts, the hardliners are appealing to fear, hatred, bitterness. Hey, if it worked for old Uncle Adolf, right?

Who are the traitors? Those in our government and their apologists who dare to stifle dissent by relying on the same tactics of a horrifyingly brutal dictatorship that our nation went to war against. You want to talk about stabbing someone in the back? Take our WWII vets who fought against the Nazis and then use the same Nazi-style rhetoric - that's not what they fought for, not by a long shot.