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Friday, October 10

Postscript: Scary Americans

From Leah Rabin's obituary in The Independent:

When young peace campaigners went to her Tel Aviv flat to comfort her after the murder, she asked them accusingly why they hadn't come during the long months when Rabin's abusers picketed them there every weekend. She shunned the Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had spoken at a Jerusalem rally in which demonstrators brandished photo- montages of Rabin in Nazi uniform.

Hours after Rabin's state funeral, Leah told an Israeli television interviewer: "There definitely was incitement which was strongly absorbed and which found itself a murderer, who did this because he had the support of a broad public." Earlier, when Rabin's coffin was lying in state, she frostily told an opposition leader who came to pay his respects, "It's too late."
HT: M.J. Rosenberg

Music: You're The One For Me

Absolute tops early eighties NY funk from D Train. Still perfect near 30 years on.

This is the extended remix - here's the 6:20 Soul Train version complete with great dancers in bad clothes and here's an astonishing live version with James 'DT' Williams.

There are remixes by Larry Levan and Shep Pettibone, the latter is the best.

Amazed that some boy band hasn't redone this.

Thursday, October 9

Scary Americans

McCain supporters tell their stories while waiting for the McCain/Palin rally in Bethlehem, PA, October 8, 2008.

Wednesday, October 8

Does any of this make sense to you?

In Zim, life is one Nietzschean moment after another:

It’s hard to describe the grind of daily life in Zimbabwe without baffling people with numbers, percentages and statistics that are so unreal they are uncomprehendible. The cash crises that has crippled us for years has been one of those undescribable things.

The last few months have been horrific.

This morning I once again saw red when I opened my month-end bank statement.

Yesterday I had a balance in my account of $2,000 (at old value that is 20 trillion dollars / $20,000,000,000,000.00). This account is dormant, untouched for months.

This morning I find I owe the bank $500,000 in service fees for one month’s bank charges to hold my $2,000. This is no joke.

The joke may be the $4 interest I received or the $0.80 cents withholding tax that I am paying, but my sense of humor is weak today and I cannot even laugh at that!

As I write this the parallel / black market rates are as follows USD1 = ZWD2500 and ZAR1 = ZWD360.

These rates will change within an hour.

The daily cash limit, per person per day is now a whopping (ha, ha) $20,000 (USD8, ZAR55.56).
The cost of a personal cheque book at today’s price (it will change by tomorrow) is $2,000,000 or $33,333 per page.

You pay $33,333 (USD13.33, ZAR92.59) to receive $20,000 (USD8, ZAR55.56).

Does this make sense to you?

And to get that $20,000?

A friend of mine got to the bank at 3am this morning and was handed a number – number 94 in line. At 5pm he finally got to the front of the queue. There is only one withdrawal allowed per customer so you cannot even take a friend’s card and work a tandem operation. Nope: it’s to the back of the line please for the second card transaction!

A company cheque book at today’s price is $11,000,000 (USD4.400, ZAR 30.550) or $110,000 per page. A company is restricted to a cash allowance of $10,000 per day (USD4, ZAR27.78), half that of an individual. A company pays $110,000 to receive $10,000.

Does this make sense to you?

Meanwhile, in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb residents have resorted to legal action to stop police seizing food aid meant to be distributed to two hundred starving households.

And at one university?
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) said after weeks of just eating boiled cabbage with no salt or oil, the students could take no more when the canteen menu changed to just plain sadza and no relish.

The cash strapped students say the situation was worsened by the fact that they were forced to pay Z$17 billion for their food by the college authorities. Although the money was later reduced to Z$1.6 billion none of the students who had paid the full amount have been reimbursed.

Music: You don't love me

Dawn Penn's one big hit, which she actually first recorded in 1967 for Prince Buster!

Coz if you asked me / Baby / I'll get on my knees and pray boy

Tuesday, October 7

When in doubt .. (or losing)

Yep sirey. Doggone it, when in doubt, pull 0ut the race card (wink).

Maybe this is why the McCain campaign has now banned reporters from talking to Palin's supporters:

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,’” she continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.
And more:
In a recent video clip from MSNBC, McCain asked a rally, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" In response to McCain's rhetorical question, a voice from the crowd can be clearly heard to shout in response, "Terrorist!"
Translation: this uppity, elitist black man is really a towel-head. There's your divide-and-rule tactic to victory. Rovian campaigning 101 only more so (skirting incitement to assassination).

As always, a good rant from Mr Olbermann clears the palate (and nails the hypocrisy to the floor):

"It's a dangerous road, but we have no choice," a top McCain strategist recently admitted to the Daily News. "If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we're going to lose."

Update: The Secret Service is following up on media reports that someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama.

Update: McCain-Palin Rally Attendees Caught On Tape: "Obama Is A Terrorist"

Sunday, October 5

Not so 'secret' killing program

Bill Maher with Bob Woodward. Woodward says 'the surge' wasn't all that: it was some "newly developed techniques" rather than more grunts on the ground that rapidly reduced violence in Iraq.

Woodward said the same to CNN in this under-reported piece: Secret killing program is key in Iraq, Woodward says

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill terrorists, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward.

The program -- which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb -- must remain secret for now or it would "get people killed," Woodward said Monday on CNN's Larry King Live.

"It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have," Woodward said.

In "The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008," Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders.

"If you were a member of al Qaeda or the resistance or some extremist militia, you would be wise to get your rear end out of town," Woodward said. "It is very dangerous."
Maher jokes about 'exploding baskets' and Woodward says 'you're not far off'. But you have to think this is something to do with technology? Analysing communications, locating and targeting, something like that ...