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Open Thread Nov. 30-Dec.6

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forum index » Literature » Open Thread Nov. 30-Dec.6
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posted by  : Hannah K. O'Luthon on 11/30/09, 4:55 am
subject   : Open Thread Nov. 30-Dec.6

Although the contents of this excerpt from Juergen Todenhoefer's book on the Iraqi resistance to the occupation does not surprise, it is extremely concrete and stands in marked contrast to the usual pablum dished out by most Western media. There are also related videos at the Free Iraq site, as well as the 10 theses promulgated by the author of the book. Probably these 10 theses won't resonate with same thunder as those nailed to the entrance to the Wittenberg cathedral, but that is clearly a point of reference and goal of the author.


1. The West is much more violent than the Muslim world. Millions of Muslim civilians have been killed since colonialism began.

2. In view of the warmongering of the West, it is really not surprising that support for Muslim extremists continues to grow.

3. Terrorists in Islamic disguise are murderers. The same holds true for the ringleaders disguised as Christians who wage wars of aggression in contravention of international law.

4. Muslims were and are at least as tolerant as Jews and Christians. They have made a major contribution to Western civilization.

5. Love of God and love of one's neighbor are the central commandments not only in the Bible but also in the Qur'an.

6. Western policies towards the Muslim world suffer from a shocking ignorance of even the simplest facts.

7. The West must treat the Muslim world just as fairly and as generously as it treats Israel. Muslims are worth as much as Jews and Christians.

8. The Muslims must champion a progressive and tolerant Islam, as did their prophet Muhammad. They must strip terrorism of its religious mask.

9. Nothing fosters terrorism more than the West's "war on terror". Wars of aggression are not only the most immoral, but also the least intelligent way to combat terrorism.

10. What is needed now is the art of statesmanship, not the art of war - in the Iran conflict, in the Iraq conflict and in the Palestine conflict.

Finally, another topic: FBI agent provocateurs, and the difficulties of keeping them in line. One suspects that volumes could be written on the later problem, and not merely for FBI informants.


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posted by  : Blackie on 11/30/09, 8:01 am
subject   : to a previous thread

About cyber security etc. from a previous thread.

I was surprised at Obomber formalizing his capacity to shut down the net, because he has the power anyway. He renewed Bush’s State of Emergency.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/10/16-2

The USA, unbeknowst (sp) to its citizens has been in a State of Emergency for more than 8 years. This has huge implications that are never discussed.

I think, if one made a thorough review, which I can’t attempt here, one would have to conclude that The One is considerably worse than Bush on civil liberties, Gvmt. secrecy, prisoner issues, human ‘rights’ (law, incarceration, terrorism, etc.)

He has re-affirmed Bush’s warrantless wire-tapping.
He has upped spending for spy satellites.
Refused to sign the treaty banning antipersonnel land mines.
Increased resistance to FOIA requests - ‘hurdles and red tape’ - according to one article.
Gitmo - all for show, prisoners were better off before (I posted about that previously.)
Proposed ‘prolonged’ detention, aka ‘preventive detention‘ ‘indefinite detention’ as official policy. Under Bush it was somewhat constrained, lurking under ‘terror’ laws, and applied in hidden corners nobody bothered about much - illegal immigrants and the like. I haven’t followed the legal texts, so maybe too hasty here.

other: fill in many more lines.

Glenn Greenwald (Salon) covers many of these issues.

OhMaBah campaigned contra Bush on such issues, painting himself as opposed to an Authoritarian Jackbooted Right... A moderate centrist, fair and progressive, tempered, measured, and very attached to Freedom for All Americans, upholding the rule of consensual laws, or some kinda stuff like that.

The curiosity is that he went Bush-Bis alta voce in the blink of eyelid.

This was one area where he could have made a direct, swift, positive impact, with no losses for the US or one guesses in the popularity polls. Low cost gains, easy reaping, at home and abroad. Gitmo has served its purposes, is past its sell-date; wire tapping à la Bush is completely useless, even the NSA can’t handle the info. it gathers; free speech zones are an embarrassing insult to US values, etc. Moving forward swiftly here would have helped in other areas as well.

(As compared to foreign policy, set in stone - health care, a boondoggle - electoral reform, untouchable - green energy, etc.)

He might have been seen as deserving that poisoned Peace Prize.

But no. Even this easy call O-man could not accomplish. He is not a politician as we understand it generally in the ‘west’. He is a PR point man for not only Corporate and Bankers Inc. USA (both these would have perceived the political gains which would have served them as well - oh to be a fly on the wall!) but for a much darker, more sprawling and complex conglomerate. Or it speaks to his personality - terrible news as well.


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posted by  : b real on 12/02/09, 1:33 pm
subject   : 

if there was still any remaining doubt, obama showed everyone last night how ignorant he truly is & how secured is this country's journey to the 'graveyard of empires'

hard to disagree w/ andrew bacevich's take on one particularly severe delusion obama espoused, as reproduced in this transcript from today's democracy now program:

Quote:


AMY GOODMAN: President Obama also praised the United States as a country that has not sought world domination or occupation.

Quote:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: More than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades, a time that for all its problems has seen walls come down and markets opened, and billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress in advancing frontiers of human liberty. For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation’s resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. What we have fought for, what we continue to fight for, is a better future for our children and grandchildren and we believe that their lives will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity.


...

AMY GOODMAN: .. Professor Bacevich ... responding to ... President Obama’s last point about why we are in Afghanistan.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Yeah, I mean, I think the president’s sort of capsule description of modern U.S. history and our role in the world is extraordinarily important and the reason it is important is because that text could of been lifted out of a speech by Harry Truman, by John Kennedy, by Lyndon Johnson, by Richard Nixon, by Ronald Reagan, or by George W. Bush. This is the preferred narrative of American history, the way we prefer to see ourselves and, therefore, the narrative that we use to justify all that we do in the world. It is really telling and extraordinary that this president, whose background is quite different from all those other presidents that I just named, and who came to office promising to bring about change, it is extraordinary that he himself would embrace that narrative so uncritically. I think that is indicative of the extent to which whether there is going to be any change in Washington, it is simply going to be changes on the margins and that the Washington consensus, the status quo, is firmly in place.


nir rosen's segment was also quite good

otherwise, all this insane talk from people who have obviously lost any sense of reality is so disgusting that i'm just sick


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posted by  : noiseannoys on 12/02/09, 2:43 pm
subject   : us and them..or xenophobia

Becoming sick to the core at the recently announced billions of dollars, each year it will cost Mr.Oblama-blam-dom and his military government to keep 30,000 extra young men and women fighting pointless wars...man of peace?
In the words of a past Australian independant politician who when asked if she was xenophobic, responded.
'Please explain.'

That a state of emergency is still in existence post 9/11, that there are increasingly draconian measures being taken regarding acess to Freedom of Information, proposals being made regarding 'emergency closure of internet' and so on. It suggests when you look at history that that freedom of speech, of movement, of acess to information are being taken away bit by bit; and a state of fear is becoming an unquestioned way of life. This can only lead to a very dark world.

It also suggests that the walls being built in the empire's homeland are getting higher...walls essentially to protect the guilty from the innocent. That speeches of current politicians remind people of speeches of past politicians suggests the walls were going up a long time ago; one has to conclude that soon those walls will be unassailable.

On May Day in 1970, Jean Genet spoke at Yale part of the speech written for that purpose, was not read.
It opens..
"What they call American civilization will disappear. It is actually already dead, for it is based on contempt. For instance, contempt of the rich for the poor, of white for black. All civilizations based on contept must necessarily disappear."
(May Day Speech, Jean Genet, City Lights Books, 1970, ISBN 0-87286-057-4)

A perfect example of this contempt is mentioned by lizard in his recent post (see open thread nov.20-27) regarding his shelter manager, who seems more focused on her own career gains rather than the job, the employees and the needs of those who are struggling.


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posted by  : Hannah K. O'Luthon on 12/03/09, 12:22 am
subject   : Guatemala: Operation Sofia

Yesterday the National Security Archive posted some new documentation regarding Operation Sofia. The documents are being used in a trial by the Spanish National Court and

Quote:
detail official responsibility for what the 1999 UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission determined were “acts of genocide against groups of Mayan people.”

I haven't yet read these documents, or even dipped into them, but they certainly seem like a valuable source for those trying to correct the "standard narrative" mentioned by Bacevich (in another context, of course).

Here, half a world away, is another example of "better late than never" repentance from ABC News via Wayne Madsen.


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posted by  : b real on 12/03/09, 7:17 am
subject   : 

thanks for catching that release, hkol. as only one suggested companion read, there's bob parry's 1999 article entitled Reagan & Guatemala’s Death Files

Quote:

The grisly reality of Central America was most recently revisited on Feb. 25 when a Guatemalan truth commission issued a report on the staggering human rights crimes that occurred during a 34-year civil war.

The Historical Clarification Commission, an independent human rights body, estimated that the conflict claimed the lives of some 200,000 people with the most savage bloodletting occurring in the 1980s.

Based on a review of about 20 percent of the dead, the panel blamed the army for 93 percent of the killings and leftist guerrillas for three percent. Four percent were listed as unresolved.

The report documented that in the 1980s, the army committed 626 massacres against Mayan villages. "The massacres that eliminated entire Mayan villages … are neither perfidious allegations nor figments of the imagination, but an authentic chapter in Guatemala's history," the commission concluded.

The army "completely exterminated Mayan communities, destroyed their livestock and crops," the report said. In the north, the report termed the slaughter a "genocide."

...

The report added that the "government of the United States, through various agencies including the CIA, provided direct and indirect support for some [of these] state operations." The report concluded that the U.S. government also gave money and training to a Guatemalan military that committed "acts of genocide" against the Mayans.

...

The report did not single out culpable individuals either in Guatemala or the United States. But the American official most directly responsible for renewing U.S. military aid to Guatemala and encouraging its government during the 1980s was President Reagan.


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posted by  : noiseannoys on 12/03/09, 5:42 pm
subject   : the death squad dossier doc.

Words that we read are one way of understanding the horror and complicity of governments. Actually seeing the names and faces of the dissapeared (from p.21-74 of posted document), of the innocent men, of the innocent women, of the victims of state terror; makes the information resonate deeper at a more personal and visceral level.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB15/dossier-color.pdf


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posted by  : Hannah K. O'Luthon on 12/04/09, 4:27 am
subject   : Hariri assassination

Via Mike Rivero's WRH site, this link to a Swiss Daily article on (probable) Israeli bugging of UN Court sessions in Geneva. There are obvious avenues of speculation here.
Here's another Mossad mishap which would be funny if it weren't so sinister.


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posted by  : Blackie on 12/04/09, 7:19 am
subject   : Obama's speech

O : I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. This is no idle danger; no hypothetical threat. ...

This danger will only grow if the region slides backwards, and al Qaeda can operate with impunity. We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region.


-----

quote: it is from here that we were attacked..

should surely have read it is from *there*, here not being incorrect but strange usage in the context of the US and such a speech? Or was that a Freudian slip?

Insane. People sit and listen? Collective madness.

9/11 was an inside job, but not a Gvmt. job. The Gvmt. (Bush, Cheney, Condi, etc.) was more or less clueless and went with a script largely written by the media and the public itself, which is the ordinary run of things is natural in some western democracies - the ppl say; the media reported; the polls show; a segment is opposed; the expert opined; the think tank wrote; my neighbor is concerned, etc: leading to, Yes, now we have our line, our talking points, etc.

That works for stem cell research, say (which contrary to Christian belief is not forbidden in the US) or tax on fuel. When it deploys for the destruction of a large part of lower Manhattan (7 or 8 buildings, btw), it shows that the Gvmt. is completely powerless, and controlled by other forces, in which public opinion is also manipulated, fed bits of info, scripted to respond in a certain way, etc.

Bush was a convincing prez because he was ostensibly, not too bright, bumbling, and set on war, invading Iraq. He was believable, in his role. Therefore despised for his faults and policies. Yet, the hope of opposition or change (!) existed all thru his 2 terms.

Obiman is exposed as a liar and a fawning, shameless lackey for some nebulous PTB, and as the One who gutted the Democratic party. Or the most frightening potentate the world has ever seen in ‘modern‘ times.

Berlusconi is about to get the chop. That chop is coming not from the political opposition - abysmally tepid, nor from the people -who still like him, nor from some other outside force such as the Church or the EU -who could care less, but from the inside, from his own circle, his own support, his own web of power relations. That is exactly what happened to Mussolini. (Though no doubt Berlusconi will just ‘retire’ with some bimbos on a yacht.)

I don’t think this example will be replicated in the US anytime soon, if ever.

So, now what?


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posted by  : remembereringgiap on 12/05/09, 2:25 pm
subject   : finally, a funeral for companero victor jara

http://fundacionvictorjara.cl/


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posted by  : Lizard on 12/05/09, 11:14 pm
subject   : when it's all too much...

sing a simple song
of longing for the day
when ripples of disaster
will finally abate

sing it soft and sad
of loss the song reminds
you listeners of music
of the layering of time

this needn’t be my voice
my body long since gone
you listeners of music
sing a simple song


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posted by  : Dan of Steele on 12/06/09, 2:54 am
subject   : minarets in Switzerland

I have been hoping Tangerine would post something about the recent Swiss referendum banning the construction of minarets in that country. Talking with people I know I find that everyone believes that to be a good idea. Perhaps it is, if Christianity is the predominant religion why should former and potential invaders be allowed to build symbols of their competing religion?

There are contradictions to this of course such as the orchestrated outrage when the Taliban blasted the hell out of a couple of old Buddhas with artillery and the obvious question concerning synagogues. But the fear/loathing/hatred for all things Islam overpowers reason and logic.

I could get behind a law banning all relgious symbols, but that would make me a godless communist I suppose.


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posted by  : Dan of Steele on 12/06/09, 12:37 pm
subject   : Dutch parliamentarian's viewpoint on minarets in CH

to answer my own question, here is an article from the Christian Science Monitor which the bedwetters will use to justify their paranoia.

the name of the writer was new to me and while sounding like a middle eastern name, the tone was so negative I had to look it up. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has certainly made a long voyage from her native Somalia to finally work for a rightwing think tank in the US


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posted by  : b real on 12/07/09, 8:40 am
subject   : 

hadn't heard of her either, thanks dos.

tangentially, a link i picked up on a somali website - stephen walt's "back-of-the-envelope" calculations Why they hate us (II): How many Muslims has the U.S. killed in the past 30 years?

Quote:
To repeat: I have deliberately selected "low-end" estimates for Muslim fatalities, so these figures present the "best case" for the United States. Even so, the United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of "excess deaths" in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.

Figures like these should be used with caution, of course, and several obvious caveats apply. ...


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posted by  : remembereringgiap on 12/07/09, 8:59 am
subject   : mad as a meataxe

ms ali is well known to europeans - as their prettified battering ram against muslims - frankly her understanding of political islam & its discontents is crude

she thinks of herself as an artist
she is what australians would call a bullshit artist


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posted by  : remembereringgiap on 12/07/09, 9:06 am
subject   : questions not answers

the questions of contemporary islam & political islam are so fine, so complex - they need more than the pit bulls who are sent out to do their solipsistic savagery

the ruling classes would prefer to regard muslims as a monolith & they are not, they want to regard islam as monolithic but it is not

everything the western world does to these people though - does its best to create a monolith but the terrible reality is that if such a monolith existed it would overwhelm immediately any of the empire's puny efforts

what is required is considered analysis - but when the so called experts of chatham hous regularly throw up undigested vomit - it seems that analysis is very far away


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posted by  : DaveS on 12/07/09, 9:31 am
subject   : 

Rgaip,

good to hear from you.

It is heartbreaking to watch cultures clash the way the muslims, and their other brothers in "god", the jews and christians, fight. It's been several thousand years –get over it!

I'm tired of the useless labels people use trying to subject the world to fit their limited beliefs.

What's wrong with being human? I think that is the only tag we should ever use... the other words divide us as much as any physical wall does. Your definition of some word may be very different than my own, yet we both share the word.

My libertarian buddies run into this problem all the time... So many actual opposing views trying to come together under a single umbrella is impossible and keeps the group from become very organized. Meanwhile the billionaires are laughing at us all. Because there is one label the wealthy use when talking about the rest of us, "them"


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posted by  : Blackie on 12/07/09, 9:46 am
subject   : Minarets, part One.

On minarets, part One, more to be said (if time.)

To amend the Constitution 100 000 must sign an initiative, for a referendum to take place.

Initiatives can be refused by the higher Authorities,

> if they are against core international law (torture, genocide, etc.) or violate treaties

> if they are logically flawed (e.g. self-contradictory)

> if they are too vague

> if for some reason they unequivocally cannot be implemented (such as in having already been implemented - this happened once. ‘Bring the soldiers home’ can’t be done if they are already all at home.)

However, they can be very vague, and express a wish, a desire, a principle, with the working out of the details implicitly left to the sagacity of parliament. This is in line with the idea that ordinary citizens may not have law degrees but powerful ideas or desires.

For example, we have had a spate of dog-banning votes, and I gathered from the multiple judiciary discussions that the in English 7-letter initiative BAN DOGS would be acceptable. The word ‘interdire’, forbid, is unambiguous, and the ontological definition of CHIEN is unproblematic. Moreover, anyone can easily imagine the various exceptions, time-lines, etc. that would have to be hammered out (blind guide dogs, circus dogs, no dogs are to be killed, etc.) The tolerance for vagueness is also a sign of trust - the people say, this, Dear Leaders, is what we want, and we trust that you will work it out in line with our wishes, and not mess around with new laws that re-label dogs as canines with four legs or less. (That trust is problematic now.)

A few days ago I was downtown and saw 3 minarets, all hastily constructed out of crates, cardboard, etc. One of them bore the inscription THIS IS NOT A MINARET. The po-lice were discussing this matter in a friendly way with the 10 or so creators of this temporary, rather handsome, monument. It looked like a minaret, if rather small, but of course was not a minaret as not attached to a mosque. Or? They did not seem to be able to decide.

Now, the Swiss have a long tradition of forbidding things that reach up into the sky. Soon, the good burghers of Zurich will vote on limiting new constructions to ...40 meters! A modern metropolis! Weird. Church steeples were of course forbidden in many cantons for ages. If you come out of Geneva train station and look to your right you will see what looks like a large neo-gothic church - its been cleaned recently and looks majestic - it is sans steeple, sans bells. The picture linked below shows Notre Dame in Lausanne, the steeple was added on in the middle 1930s after the citizens trailed to the voting booth to allow it. Very odd looking church I must say.

So the Swiss do not like... They also dislike towers, unless they are very ancient and superbly historic with guides and all that. You can’t build a round tower around here. There is one house nearby which has a sort of towered extension, mock gothic in concrete and beige stucco - a monstrosity that ppl want to destroy. (The building permission authorities must have been drunk one day back in the 60s.)

Square and low is good, round and high is bad. The minarets never stood a chance.

I’m afraid the Federal Council didn’t twig to these facts. Or maybe they did, which is why they only campaigned against the initiative in a very muted, weak way, realizing that discussing the damn things at all would only make matters worse. I know three atheists that voted for the ban, and their vote, I am utterly convinced, was not secretly motivated by an anti-Muslim sentiment. One said: “I cannot compromise my principles on this matter, even to be nice (“gentil”) to my Muslim friends. I am against all religious symbolism. I’m really happy the International Court (Strasbourg) is forcing the removal of the crucifix in Italian schools.” Anti-clericalism and rigid secularism is alive and well - this is a person aged 23. To my surprise, today’s paper quotes a 60 year man who said almost exactly the same thing.

I am not trying to minimize anti-Muslim feelings in Switzerland, but wish to point out that in this age of perpetual alarmism concerned with symbols, (semiotique de boulevard, or street symbolism, a lot of blah much of it) material reality and concrete objects tend to disappear from view. Over-interpretation is rife. It is encouraged by Gvmts, politicians, etc. both on the left and right, it excuses their inanity and stupidity, they love ‘unexpressed fears’, ‘the clash of civilizations’, ‘the terror of radical Islam’, etc.

A second point of interest is that the initiative was not expected to pass.

It was not an initiative of the People’s Party, but of 6 individuals. The PP was initially against, and the Big Leader (Christoph Blocher) spoke out against it; the President of the Party has carefully not spoken one single word on the topic, before or after - dead silence summed up in two words, No Comment. (My guess - both are astute politicians and predicted the initiative might be accepted.)

However, the PP assembly of delegates gingerly voted, after some time, to support the initiative (forget the score but it was not massive either way), the reason being that lack of support would have split the party, or at least would have made it lose about? 20% or more of its adherents, thereby washing away 10 years of hard work, forfeiting their status as CH’s no. 1. party, etc. The PP is a messy, confused opposition party that has no political core and cannot govern, its clout comes from its nuisance capacity, and the threats it brandishes to the ruling elite, keeping them on their toes so to speak.

The local chap (PP) who campaigned hard, and completely alone, for the initiative, about fainted when he heard the result - sadly for him the TV cameras were present. Since then he has also muttered No Comment. (He may have said something about the will of the people that I missed.) The PP did not campaign, except for the famous posters one can see all over the net. These are traditional, tongue in cheek, and designed by a famous graphic artist. The voices pro and contra came from the public - ministers, women’s activists, PP individuals, lawyers, constitutionalists, etc. All political parties except for the hard right published screeds against. The Federal Council advised against. Unions, associations, churches, etc. - against, but then felt they had done their duty and slipped away.

The establishment was gob-smacked.

They are accustomed to the political dance with the PP, their positions and initiatives that never get anywhere, are always rejected by the voters, and are in fact designed with that purpose in mind. (Homosexual ‘marriage’ comes to mind - PP ranted and raved against and the voters said, too cool.) This one slipped through the cracks, exposing the PPs contradictions.

The upshot is that everyone is appalled, except the voters! It is big setback for the PP, it has - in the public, international eye - even if they are not responsible originally - created a problem that everybody would like to ignore, a nasty hot potato.

see church:

http://www.lausanne.ch/view.asp?DocId=27891&Language=E

Of course, I think the Swiss Constitution including a new one line article "The building of minarets is verboten" is beyond the pale.


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posted by  : DaveS on 12/07/09, 9:55 am
subject   : 

blackie/tangerine,

Wow, that was interesting and nicely delivered. Thank you for that well written piece.

the only thing simple and truly black and white are half-toned images...


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posted by  : noiseannoys on 12/08/09, 4:38 pm
subject   : silence

Switzerland...precision time keeping, melting chocolates, coupled with out moded neutrality that reflects continually growing right wing/racist trends in Europe.

Then again this is nothing new, the denial of the rights of migrant workers in Europe and the fear campaigns surrounding their 'real' motives have long been a part of that continents history; this has been so for more decades than I have been alive. So for the Swiss to disallow construction of minarets was inevitable, and as blackie alluded the various politicians/parties sat on their fat arses and let it happen. Silence sometimes speaks very loudly.


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posted by  : maxcrat on 12/08/09, 6:25 pm
subject   : Thanks, Blackie...

the first insightful commentary I've seen on the minaret issue.

Now on to obelisks! We must eliminate the Washington Monument...:)


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posted by  : Blackie on 12/10/09, 8:02 am
subject   : minarets part two

(Hope not boring, conclusion to follow, not treating Islamophobia directly for now.)

Two groups of one-issue voters said Yes to the ban:

Radical or just plain serious feminists. They voted against Sharia law, and in support of their Muslim sisters. Indeed, early polls showed the ban had the highest adherence from women aged over 30. The m/f difference subsequently vanished.

Animal rightists. The vote took place on the day of the “Eid” (by accident.) Allah prevented Abraham from killing his son and had him sacrifice a sheep instead. Or sumptin’. In much of Europe, thousands of sheep are sacrificed on that week-end, and each year there are difficulties, special arrangements, and Brigitte Bardot makes a speech about barbary or whatever... This method of sacrificial, ritual, slaughter is forbidden in CH, as it is in Norway and Sweden - animals must be stunned (by electro narcosis today) or killed before being bled. Again, historical roots - the very first popular initiative was, in 1893, to ban “Jewish butchers!” i.e. such slaughter. It was accepted (subsequent efforts to overturn it failed, the last was in 2001), and the hullaballoo before and after the vote was very similar. Maybe I’m overblowing this factor...but animal rightists associate everything to their one issue and they are RIGOROUS voters. (In CH, it is forbidden to flush a goldfish down the toilet or put it in the freezer, this is inhumane killing, they must be stunned. I’m not joking. Vodka?)

Additonally, all proper Swiss citizens now hate Kadafi with a passion. Many of them are disgusted with Merz, the president until just recently, as Merz presented Kadafi with excuses for the Rambo-like arrest and brief imprisonment of Kadafi fils, Hannibal, and his 9-month pregnant wife, though the wife went to the cellular quarter of the public hospital, and not jail. Diplomatic, political, corps (not particularly from the right) qualified Merz’s move, at the time, as a mistake, for logical, legal, reasons; as well as on strategic and purely pragmatic grounds. Big boo-boo. So the vote is interpreted as an anti-Lybia and anti-Gvmt. vote. This sounds a bit like an excuse, but it certainly played some role. Commercial relations have been severed, upping unemployment, it is high drama here.

Curiously, nobody has even asked how Muslims themselves voted. I suppose it is just assumed that they can’t vote! Muslims in CH are overwhelmingly from the Balkans, Turkey in second place, with a few N Africans and Lebanese sprinkled in, and don’t practice for about 90%, and many are Swiss. The TV and the press parade the few they can find who say they are saddened, insulted, angry.

On the same day, the Swiss voted on an initiative to ban all export of arms. It exports arms to ...Pakistan amongst others. Wasn’t accepted. This far more crucial and interesting vote was hardly discussed, not at all in the International press as far as I saw.


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posted by  : Hannah K. O'Luthon on 12/11/09, 2:20 am
subject   : 

Thanks for another really interesting post. Who enforces the
ban on goldfish flushing, and how is it implemented (if at all)?
It's also highly interesting that the referendum to ban exporting arms was completely invisible to outsiders. Had it passed, I suppose, it would have received a bit more play.


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Hannah K. O'Luthon

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posted by  : Blackie on 12/11/09, 8:21 am
subject   : it is innarestin because ppl vote

The goldfish and hamster (etc. : you cannot possess one hamster but are required to harbor two so that they can socialize and possibly have a stellar sex life) laws were not the result of referenda. They were introduced by the branch that deals with animal laws, under pressure from PETA types, and were simply ratified by the proper bodies.

There was high outcry about legislation gone wild, and much mockery of the silliness of it all.

These laws (stipulations, directives, etc.) are not ever enforced, except thru pressure on, or control of, pet shops, who will order that you must buy two hamsters, refuse to sell you just one, or tell you you need to acquire a large cage that and that size, etc.

Yeah, the Swiss were supremely quiet about that other vote. The minaret hoopla, wildly indulged in, served to veil other matters.

68% of Swiss voters (those who voted, etc.) nixed the banning of exporting arms.

This initiative had no chance whatsoever of passing.

Employment issue, again. CH is a large exporter, to Israel for ex. (But not in every year, to be fair.) The TV showed hardy, earthy, cute and sexy girls handling impressive machines in a macho way, saying they were scared about being able to feed their kids...

It was launched by a group called “CH without an army” who have been active since 1970 (or before?) and they have a bad rep. However, try and try again, is the motto around here. In 1972, post Vietnam, they managed a score of 49.5 for some anti army thing I forget now. It was that tight. That close!

There was a mirror similarity, correlation, between cantons who rejected the ban on minarets and voted for the ban on export of arms in some higher, if small, %.

The Swiss now have a serious image problem, their pious hypocrisy about human rights and so on is in tatters. Exposed.


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