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The Daily Journal
Candide’s Latest: November 16, 2006


Christmas Bombings, circa 2006
Bush Plans Last Big Push in Iraq

It’s the seduction every losing president faces, and most weak ones succumb to: the temptation to escalate the use of the very force that led to the loss in the first place. The UK’s Guardian is reporting that George Bush is preparing to fall into that very trap in Iraq, which would recall Nixon’s Christmas bombings of North Vietnam in 1972. “President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations,” The Guardian writes. “Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said. Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk. Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.” See the full article…

Just a Little Bit Longer
Iran Loves America

America's new best friend in the Mideast

Iran wants American forces to please please stay just a little bit longer in Iraq. Iran has worked very hard to create a perpetuate an unstable Lebanon on Israel's border. It doesn't want a Lebanon twenty times bigger on its own. From the LATimes: " Iran has consistently opposed the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, but new prospects of a stepped-up American withdrawal are prompting growing unease in the Islamic Republic, where many fear the repercussions of a dangerously unstable neighbor. Officially, Iran's policy remains flatly opposed to American troops in Iraq and characterizes them as a key contributor to the escalating violence. Iran's government says it wants the U.S. to withdraw at the earliest possible opportunity. But the U.S. elections this month that swept in a Democratic majority to Congress and subsequent talk of a phased pullout have touched off a discussion in Tehran about the outright anarchy that could result. On Tuesday night, Tehran's English-language news channel featured commentary from political scientist Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, who called for the U.S. to remain in Iraq until it has established a strong, stable central government capable of providing adequate security. "The Americans can't simply withdraw from Iraq, leaving the mess as it is," Mojtahedzadeh said in a telephone interview from the Iranian capital afterward. "Who's going to look for the safety of the Iraqis there? The Iranians can't do it. The Turks can't do it…. This is not a question of political rivalry between Iran and the West. It has to do with the fact that the society has to have a government structure in place." Analysts familiar with official thinking say there is growing support for views like Mojtahedzadeh's within Iran's professional foreign policy establishment, if not within the hard-line circles closest to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a feeling that a drawn-out timetable for withdrawal would be preferable to a quick pullout." See the article...


How Fox News Created News: Obscenity Unbound
 
See The Fox News Memo, from the Huffington Post

Finally on the Ropes
Pakistan's Rape Law Amendment?

From the BBC: "The vote by Pakistan 's lower house of parliament to amend laws concerning rape and adultery has been met with mixed emotions, but the bill's likely impact is far from clear. While the government called the legislation "historic", the religious parties are calling it "un-Islamic" and "a secular conspiracy" against an Islamic Pakistan. The Women's Protection Bill was passed after much wrangling and posturing between the government and the religious opposition. The bill seeks to amend the heavily criticised Hudood Ordinance laws which govern the punishment for rape and adultery. Under the controversial Hudood Ordinance, brought in under Gen Zia-ul-Haq from 1979, a rape victim had to provide four male eyewitnesses to the crime. Failure to do so would open the way to her being charged with adultery. The punishment for adultery is lashings and stoning according to traditional Islamic law, although such punishments were never implemented in Pakistan." The full story...

Dying Press
Giving Our Newspapers Breathing Room

An editorial by the Christian Science Monitor [thanks Ohdave]: "News consumers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston, and other parts of the country may have heard that local investors are interested in buying their main newspaper. They might think this is purely a business matter. Actually, it's more about them - and the future of journalism that informs their daily lives. The potential buyers, some with very deep pockets, are aiming to "rescue" these newspapers from the maw of publicly owned corporations. Several of the buyers believe Wall Street's profit interest is trumping Main Street's public interest - cutting newsroom staffs to the point that journalism's watchdog role is in danger." See the full editorial...

Welcome to Auschwitz

From the UK Independent: "Can young people learn anything new by visiting Auschwitz in a world where TV is full of documentaries about history's definitive atrocity, where Holocaust literature is everywhere, and where the curriculum groans under the weight of Nazi Germany and its crimes? Gordon Brown and the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) certainly think so. The Chancellor of the Exchequer recently received an award from the trust for his personal commitment to Holocaust education in the UK. From February 2007, with the help of £1.5m in Treasury funding, the trust is hoping to take two sixth-formers from each school in the UK - more than 6,000 students - to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau within three years. But not everyone agrees with the idea, arguing that it is an odd use of taxpayers' money - albeit a relatively small amount - and that there are other ways to teach children about atrocities. The critics also complain that it keeps Britain locked in an old-fashioned 60-year-old mindset about Germany and about British relationships with that country when, in reality, they have changed beyond all recognition. Walking around the camp on a bitter November day with a large group of remarkably composed 16- and 17-year-olds, Kay Andrews, head of education for HET, explains the value of showing students something of the scale of the Holocaust. "Coming to Auschwitz brings home the mechanics of the Nazi death machine, which is what made the Holocaust such a unique event," she says. "Often the students don't become emotional about their experiences while they're here, but by the time of our post-trip seminar, after reflecting on what they've seen and trying to express it to their family and friends, they're more affected." The full article...

Single Sex-Ed 101
The Bogus Case for Single-Sex Education

Meghan O'Rourke in Slate: "Not long ago, the idea that American public schools should offer separate classes for boys and girls would have been regarded as retrograde; in the late 1980s, single-sex public schools had almost disappeared. But during the last decade, single-sex education has come to seem cutting-edge once again, backed by a startling rise of bipartisan support. In October, the Department of Education announced new federal regulations making it easier for public schools to become single-sex institutions, provided that "substantially equal" opportunities are available to the other sex. Part of the impetus behind the new rules is simply Americans' love of choice. As a Department of Education spokeswoman told me, single-sex schools will aid families by adding "one more tool to the toolbox." But part of it is the belief that single-sex schools will be a panacea for struggling boys and girls: Some of the staunchest advocates of alternatives to co-education are preaching new approaches based on magnifying, rather than trying to overcome, gender differences." The full piece...

Smell This Essay
Turning Up Our Noses

Lara Feigel in Britain's Prospect: "We have been turning up our noses at smell for centuries. Some 2,000 years after Aristotle blithely labelled smell the most undistinguished of all our senses, Immanuel Kant denigrated it as the "least rewarding and the most easily dispensable" of the five. He viewed it as more likely to bring disgust than pleasure and as, at best, a "negative condition" of our wellbeing. In other words, we can use smell to avoid noxious air and rotting food. Kant, perhaps, would have been grat eful for sell-by dates and the chance to abandon such an inferior sense altogether. Predictably, it was left to the French to champion the sensual in a rationalist age. In 1754 Jean-Jacques Rousseau extolled smell as "the sense of imagination" and his contemporary Jean-François Saint-Lambert lauded the nose for giving us "the most immediate sensations" and "a more immediate pleasure, more independent of the mind" than the eye. A century later, French olfactory enthusiasm had seeped across the border into Germany, where in 1888 Friedrich Nietzsche somewhat bewilderingly announced: "All my genius is in my nostrils." Should we, like Nietzsche, be guided by our nostrils? Whether or not they will kindle our imaginative genius, they might at least aid our physical survival." See the full essay...

Plus Ça Change
GOP's New Face: Trent Lott

"Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who was ousted as Senate majority leader four years ago because of racially insensitive remarks about America's segregationist past, made a surprise comeback today by being elected to his party's No. 2 spot in the chamber by a single vote after lobbying hard for the job," the Post reports. "Lott returned to the GOP leadership by beating Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee by a 25-24 vote to become the Republicans' vote-counting whip in the Senate, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) told reporters. […] Lott will be the GOP's second-in-command to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who was unanimously elected to be the minority leader in the new Democratic-led Senate that will be seated in January. McConnell, who will replace Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, ran unopposed. Frist is retiring from Congress as he contemplates a potential run for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. […] Lott resigned as GOP leader on Dec. 20, 2002, after a two-week furor following his suggestion that the country would have been better off if it had elected Strom Thurmond president in 1948, when he ran on a segregationist platform. Lott made the comments at Thurmond's 100th birthday party." And liberals were worried about Pelosi picking John Murtha on her leadership platform?

Embryos As "Life" Lose One-In Ireland

From the Irish Times: "A woman has lost a High Court battle to have frozen embyos implanted in her womb against the will of her estranged husband. The woman claimed the embryos, created using in vitro fertilisation technology, should have been afforded the protection given to the unborn under the Constitution. However, the High Court decided today that the three frozen embryos are not "unborn" as defined under the Constitution and it is a matter for the Oireachtas [the Irish Parliament] to decide on their legal status. Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution states acknowledges the right to life of the unborn "with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother". But in a 26-page High Court ruling delivered this morning Mr Justice Brian McGovern said that three frozen embryos are "not 'unborn' with the meaning of Article 40.3.3 and it is a matter for the Oireachtas to decide what steps should be taken to establish the legal status of embryos in vitro". "Laws should, and generally do, reflect society's values and will be influenced by them. But, at the end of the day, it is the duty of the courts to implement and apply the law, not morality," the judge said. "Until the law or the Constitution is changed, this issue remains within the sphere of ethics and morality.""

Australia's Guantanamo

From the Sydney Morning Herald: ""The new immigration detention camp being built on Christmas Island, dubbed "Australia's Guantanamo Bay" by opponents, will have bedroom cameras, electric fences and electronically controlled doors allowing centre-wide lock-downs, plans leaked from the island show. The level of security and surveillance, greater than at any existing detention centre, makes parts of the complex comparable to a maximum security prison. But with the numbers arriving by boat plummeting since 2003, critics are asking why the 800-bed centre, which is thought to have cost more than $240 million, is being built at all. The Government says the high-tech enclosure is a deterrent to smugglers and illegal entrants, and useful for contingencies."

Well, yes, but the genesis of Australia following in the footsteps of Guantanamo is the telling context. See "Gulags and Repression as U.S. Exports."

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Via JMColberg, see Anna Bauer, emerging photographer, at her site

 

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