Monday, April 10, 2006

US considers use of nuclear weapons against Iran - Yahoo! News

US considers use of nuclear weapons against Iran - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON (AFP) - The administration of
President George W. Bush is planning a massive bombing campaign against
Iran, including use of bunker-buster nuclear bombs to destroy a key Iranian suspected nuclear weapons facility,
The New Yorker magazine has reported in its April 17 issue.

The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that Bush and others in the White House have come to view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a potential Adolf Hitler.

'That's the name they're using,' the report quoted a former senior intelligence official as saying.

A senior unnamed
Pentagon adviser is quoted in the article as saying that 'this White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war.'

The former intelligence officials depicts planning as 'enormous,' 'hectic' and 'operational,' Hersh writes.

One former defense official said the military planning was premised on a belief that 'a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government,' The New Yorker pointed out."

This is the same sort of thinking that lead to the Iraq war. These people said the Iraqis would throw roses at us and welcome us a liberators. They didn't. Of coarse, it is much more likely that this will rally the Iranians behind the mullahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I don't believe even Bush is stupid enough to fall for that a second time, so I am no longer willing to believe he fell for it the first time. There is an alterior motive here, and I don't know what it is.

I am guessing Bush is just serving his military industrial complex friends by putting the nation on a collision coarse with virtually everyone on the planet. Even the Brits won't put up with this. Everyone will be hurt by this action other than people who live in non electrified cabins and ride bicycles all year round. This will most certainly make the price of oil go higher, and hasten China's switch to Euros. It is bat shit crazy.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More Than 500,000 Rally in L.A. for Immigrants' Rights - Los Angeles Times

If the Democrats don't recruit these working class Latinos they are truely lost.

More Than 500,000 Rally in L.A. for Immigrants' Rights - Los Angeles Times: "More Than 500,000 Rally in L.A. for Immigrants' Rights
By Teresa Watanabe and Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
2:51 PM PST, March 25, 2006

Joining what some are calling the nation's largest mobilization of immigrants ever, hundreds of thousands of people boisterously marched in downtown Los Angeles Saturday to protest federal legislation that would crack down on undocumented immigrants, penalize those who help them and build a security wall on the U.S. southern border. Spirited crowds representing labor, religious groups, civil-rights advocates and ordinary immigrants stretched over 26 blocks of downtown Los Angeles from Adams Blvd. along Spring Street and Broadway to City Hall, tooting kazoos, waving American flags and chanting 'Si se puede!' (Yes we can!). The crowd, estimated by police at more than 500.000, represented one of the largest protest marches in Los Angeles history, surpassing Vietnam War demonstrations and the 70,000 who rallied downtown against Proposition 187, a 1994 state initiative that denied public benefits to undocumented migrants.

The marchers included both longtime residents and the newly arrived, bound by a desire for a better life and a love for this county.

Arbelica Lazo, 40, illegally immigrated from El Salvador two decades ago but said she now owns two business and pays $7,000 in taxes annually.

Jose Alberto Salvador, 33, came here illegally just four months ago to find work to support the wife and five children he left behind; in his native Guatemala, he said, what little work he could find paid only $10 a day. 'As much as we need this country, we love this country,' Salvador said, waving a stick with both the American and Guatemalan flag. 'This country gives us opportunities we don't get at home.'"

If only the antiwar movement could pull off a demonstration that big from out of the blue, we'd kick ass.

As Nick Miroff points out the Latin American left are doing by far the best job countering the influence of the Bushistas. Bush has truely united them. He is doing a better job of uniting them than Che ever dreamed of.

Has Latin America ever had such a unifying figure?

At political rallies, his visage is held aloft as a beacon to regional independence and self-determination. He's helped forge new trade partnerships to spur economic growth and alleviate poverty. And his leadership has fanned a gale-force electoral trend that's sweeping the hemisphere to topple one pro-Washington government after the next.

Who is this grand inductor of Latin American leftism? Venezuelan fireball Hugo Chavez? Blue-collar Brazilian Lula Ignacio da Silva? Bolivia's coca-farmer-cum-president, Evo Morales?

¡Epa! It's George W. Bush, the accidental revolutionary............

The macroeconomic proposals of the Washington consensus have not been working," says Guillermo Delgado, professor of Latin American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. "That model was supposed to create prosperity and, after so many years, such prosperity has not been seen and class polarization has grown deeper."

Sensing an opportunity, new social and political movements in the region began marshalling their forces. Then George W. Bush came along, combining Yankee hubris with a Che-worthy radicalizing touch.

Bush has since presided over one of the most significant political re-alignments in the history of the Western Hemisphere. By this summer, every major Latin American nation but Colombia is likely to be run by elected leaders with stronger backgrounds in Marx than free markets. If Cold War-era "domino theory" has been a bust in the Middle East, it's working with textbook precision in Latin America.

Of coarse the modern dlc democrats are perpetually antiworking class. Remember how they reacted to the transit strike? They will probably ignore this just as they willfully ignore the peace protesters, and marginalize antiwar candidates.

Those of us in the antiwar movement could throw a monkey wrench into the system by courting this energetic and vital immigrant group. I doubt Cegelis could have lost if we did that. What potential might Ned Lamont have if he appeals to this group.

Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays

I am pretty sure that ordinary Americans didn't have this in mind, when they they attempted to install a Democracy in Iraq.

Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays: "Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays

Three Years On, Americans Ignore Pleas of Repression Even Worse than Saddam’s


Courtesy OutRage! London

Left, Ammar, aged 27, was abducted and shot in back of the head in Baghdad by suspected Badr militias in January 2006. Right, Haydar Faiek, aged 40, a transsexual Iraqi, was beaten and burned to death by Badr militias in September 2005.

Following a death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,death squads of the Badr Corps have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, gay Iraqis say. But when they ask for help and protection from U.S. occupying authorities in the Green Zone, the secure area officialdom has carved out within Baghdad, gays Iraqis are met with indifference and derision.

The Badr Corps is committed to the sexual cleansing of Iraq,” said Ali Hili, a 33-year-old gay Iraqi exile in London who, with some 30 other gay Iraqis who have fled to the United Kingdom, five months ago founded the Abu Nawas Group there to support persecuted gay Iraqis. The group is named for a revered eighth-century classical poet of Arab and Persian descent known throughout Middle East cultures and famous for his poems in praise of same-sex love."

This apparently follows a fatwa given by the supposedly moderate Iranian cleric Ayatollah Sistani.

The Ayatollah Sistani, the 77-year-old Iranian-born cleric who is the supreme Shia authority in Iraq, is revered by SCIRI as its spiritual leader. His anti-gay fatwa—available on Sistani’s official Web site—says that “people involved” in homosexuality “should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.

Apparently Badr Corp, isn't just killing them when they find them either. They are actually entraping them, in what gay advocates are calling systematic "sexual cleansing"

“Badr Corps agents have a network of informers who, among other things, target alleged immoral behavior,” Hili continued. “They kill gays, unveiled women, prostitutes, people who sell or drink alcohol, and those who listen to Western music and wear Western fashions.”

“Badr militants are entrapping gay men via Internet chat rooms,” Hili said. “They arrange a date, and then beat and kill the victim
. Males who are unmarried by the age of 30 or 35 are placed under surveillance on suspicion of being gay, as are effeminate men. They will be investigated and warned to get married.

“Badr will typically give them a month to change their ways. If they don’t change their behavior, or if they fail to show evidence that they plan to get married, they will be arrested, disappear, and eventually be found dead. The bodies are usually discovered with their hands bound behind their back, blindfolds over their eyes, and bullet wounds to the back of the head.”

This result, of the Shia taking over, if we toppled Saddam, was both predictable and predicted. This is not worth any American life. Iraqis clearly do not want a "liberal democracy," at this point in time, and it is impossible for a foreign power to install one. Maybe one day they will want a liberal democracy, but we only put off that day when we associate Liberal Democracy with oil imperialism in the minds of the muslim world. Needless the say the christian fundamentalist, defence contractors, oil men, and other right wingers that pushed America into the war have no empathy for gays either. This callousness to the gays of Iraq, proves they weren't fundamentally motivated by a concern for Human Rights.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Another Israeli talking point dies! - Yahoo! News

Olmert sees permanent Israeli borders by 2010 - Yahoo! News: "In one of two interviews published by Israeli media on Thursday ahead of March 28 elections that his Kadima party is expected to win, Olmert said the controversial security barrier Israel is building in the West Bank would largely follow the final borders.

Olmert said the barrier's final route could change depending on circumstances, the Haaretz newspaper said. Israel officially calls the barrier a security measure while Palestinians dub it a land grab meant to pre-empt any future border negotiations.

In a separate interview with the Jerusalem Post, Olmert said within the next four years he intended to 'get to Israel's permanent borders, whereby we will completely separate from the majority of the Palestinian population.'

He made similar comments to Haaretz."

For years, the Israelis, the Republicans and the establishment Democrats like Hillary Clinton have been telling us it was a security barrier only, and that the wall wouldn't follow the final border. They also chastized the Hague because of its objection to the wall. This admission makes them look like fools.

New York's two senators, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, joined Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Gillerman, in front of UN headquarters on Friday to denounce the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the West Bank separation fence.

"It makes no sense for the United Nations to vehemently oppose a fence which is a non-violent response to terrorism rather than opposing terrorism itself," Clinton said to a crowd of about 100 people.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry said he was disappointed with the court's decision. Kerry said Israel's separation fence was a legitimate measure in view of its security needs and its wish to defend itself against terrorist attacks.

The National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, said, "We thought for a moment the court would rise above prejudice, but as it turns out, it didn't." The ruling was meant to be a critical moment not only for Israel but also for the court's legitimacy, Foxman added.

Well the talking point that it is a security fence rather than a land grab officially died today, just as the talking point that there was no partner for peace died the other day when Yuval Diskin admitted that Arafat didn't start the intifada.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

City Pages - Bin Laden's Game

Remember Osama?

City Pages - Bin Laden's Game: "CP: Can you talk about the role that the Iraq war has played in his recruiting successes?

Scheuer: I have to tell you, Sir, I'm not an expert on Iraq. I don't know what the threat was from Saddam.My own judgment is, as a nation-state [Saddam's Iraq] was probably containable. But our invasion of Iraq broke the back of our counter-terrorism policy, because it validated in the Islamic mind so much of what bin Laden had said through the past decade. He said, Americans will do anything to defeat a strong Muslim government. We took Saddam out. He said we would take on and defeat any Muslim state that threatened Israel. I think Iraq is an indication of that being true, from their perspective. He said we would occupy their sanctities and try to destroy their religion. From the Islamist's perspective, we occupy all three of their sanctities now—the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and Jerusalem. The Israelis hold Jerusalem, but increasingly in the Islamic world, Americans and Israelis are viewed interchangeably. He said we were going to try to take all the oil from the Muslim world. And certainly the view predominates that one of the reasons we went to Iraq was oil.

And so, in terms of perception, the Iraq war was a validation of what bin Laden had said. In addition, bin Laden and Zawahiri are not trained Islamic clerics or jurists. The argument was always made that they had no authority, therefore, to declare a jihad. Well, when we invaded Iraq, it was kind of a textbook example of an event that necessitates jihad in the Islamic world. Now, any number of well-credentialed clerics and jurists and scholars have authorized jihad against the United States around the world, because we invaded a Muslim land. In my view, the invasion of Iraq accelerated the transformation of al Qaeda from a man and an organization into a philosophy and a movement.

We're at the point where it's still very important to kill—preferably to kill, or else to capture—Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri. But because of Iraq, our problem is far from over if that happens."

Michael Scheuer is an ex cia analyist. He has written a book called "Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This is the Real Outrage

Tariq Ali, the writer of "Clash of Fundamentalisms," makes a some good points

This is the Real Outrage: "But the cartoon depicting Muhammad as a terrorist is a crude racist stereotype. The implication is that every Muslim is a potential terrorist. This is the sort of nonsense that leads to Islamophobia.

Muslims have every right to protest, but the overreaction was unnecessary. In reality, the number of original demonstrators was tiny: 300 in Pakistan, 400 in Indonesia, 200 in Tripoli, a few hundred in Britain (before Saturday's bigger reconciliation march), and government-organised hoodlums in Damascus burning an embassy. Beirut was a bit larger. Why blow this up and pretend that the protests had entered the subsoil of spontaneous mass anger? They certainly haven't anywhere in the Muslim world, though the European media has been busy fertilising the widespread ignorance that exists in this continent.

How many citizens have any real idea of what the Enlightenment really was? French philosophers did take humanity forward by recognising no external authority of any kind, but there was a darker side. Voltaire: 'Blacks are inferior to Europeans, but superior to apes.' Hume: 'The black might develop certain attributes of human beings, the way the parrot manages to speak a few words.' There is much more in a similar vein from their colleagues. It is this aspect of the Enlightenment that appears to be more in tune with some of the generalised anti-Muslim ravings in the media.

What I find interesting is that these demonstrations and embassy-burnings are a response to a tasteless cartoon. Did the Danish imam who travelled round the Muslim world pleading for this show the same anger at Danish troops being sent to Iraq? The occupation of Iraq has costs tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Where is the response to that or the tortures in Abu Ghraib? Or the rapes of Iraqi women by occupying soldiers? Where is the response to the daily deaths of Palestinians? These are the issues that anger me. Last year Afghans protested after a US marine in Guantánamo had urinated on the Qur'an. It was a vile act and there was an official inquiry. The marine in question explained that he had been urinating on a prisoner and a few drops had fallen accidentally on the Qur'an - as if pissing on a prisoner (an old imperial habit) was somehow more acceptable."

Why oh why can't the muslim world launch a world wide protest movement over these issues?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Haaretz - Israel News - Brainwashed by intelligence people

This story probably won't stop the hasbara people from making the claim that Arafat launched the last intifada, but many Israeli officials privately acknowledge this is not true, which means unilateral disengagement and the idea that there is "no partner for peace," is also bunk. Just read the comments by former Shin Bet agent Yuval Diskin.

Haaretz - Israel News - Brainwashed by intelligence people: "Brainwashed by intelligence people
By Akiva Eldar

American and Israeli parents found out in recent days that their governments are sending their sons to kill and be killed in inane wars. Paul Pillar - until recently, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia - publicly declared that President George Bush had tweaked assessments in order to justify the war in Iraq. On the same day almost, Israel's Channel 10 aired parts of a lecture in which Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin asserted that the riots in the territories were not premeditated, and that 'an Arafat-devised contingency plan did not spark them off.'

These statements undermine claims by political and military officials that the intifada was a stage in a plan by Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat to crush the Oslo Accords on the way to the destruction of Israel. Diskin's statements also cast much doubt on the argument that the Palestine Liberation Organization is not, and never has been, a partner, and that since September 2000, Israel has been waging a just and unavoidable war."

It goes without saying that the government and the ruling party, which has thrived magnificently on the no-partner theory, did not make a big fuss of the bomb dropped by the Shin Bet chief. And even the left-wing opposition waived the elections gift it received from the head of the organization responsible for intelligence assessments in the territories.

Diskin is not the first to challenge the basic premise on which Israel's peace and security policy has rested ever since Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. He was preceded by Major General (res.) Amos Malka, head of Military Intelligence at the time of the start of the intifada. In June 2004, Malka told Haaretz that MI did not have a shred of evidence to indicate that Arafat had initiated the riots.

This means that the late Sharon's Kadima party platform is based on bunk. There are indications of a revolt against Olmert within the ranks of Kadima by another former Shin Bet agent Avi Dichter. As reported by Jpost, Dichter largely concurred with Diskin.

"It was not at all a political statement, it was a professional statement," he told Israel Radio.

"It is totally clear that when Yuval Diskin is invited to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he is essentially being invited to the program 'Meet the Press,'
since all of his comments will be publicized after that, but with alterations as each Knesset member relates them. Therefore, I am convinced that when he spoke in Eli, just like when Ami Ayalon spoke in the past in yeshivas... I'm sure Yuval took into consideration that what he said would be published. I'm sure he was fully aware," Dichter emphasized.

Dichter is also on record opposing further unitateral withdrawals.

n his first interview with an Israeli newspaper since he entered politics, Dichter said he would accept any portfolio offered to him in a prospective Kadima-led government and explained why the road map was the best diplomatic solution for Israel.

Speaking at party headquarters in Petah Tikva, Dichter said the perception among the public that Kadima would withdraw from much of Judea and Samaria regardless of what happens with the Palestinians was incorrect.

Dichter, a supporter of the Gaza Strip disengagement plan, said the West Bank was different from Gaza.

"The Palestinians haven't enforced any of the many plans that we signed with them," he said. "We have time. We are not in a hurry. We're not going to try to end the problem without solving it
. We're not going to withdraw from the West Bank unilaterally just because it was done in Gaza."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

EPA says abused, mentally handicapped, and orphaned children can be used as pesticide lab rats!

News flash: Bush appointees in action again!

Organic Consumers Association - Educating for Health, Justice, and Sustainability: "Despite receiving over 50,000 letters from citizens, Congress, and EPA's own scientists opposing the proposed rule, the EPA has published a new federal regulation that will continue to allow observational studies of chemical and pesticide exposure on human subjects. On August 2, 2005, Congress had mandated the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children, without exception. But the EPA's newly proposed rule, is ridden with exceptions where observational chemical studies may be performed on children in certain situations like the following:

1. Children who 'cannot be reasonably consulted,' such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns, may be studied. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be studied.

2. Parental consent forms are not necessary for studies with children who have been neglected or abused.

3. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle

Toward the end of the Clinton administration, the EPA briefly stopped accepting industry data from pesticide experiments on humans. But the agency resumed considering that data after Bush took office in January 2001. Then, in a lawsuit brought by the pesticide industry, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in 2003 that the EPA cannot refuse to consider data from manufacturer-sponsored human exposure tests until it develops regulations on them.

Agency officials said last November that in the meantime it would consider each study on a case-by-case basis. But Congress stepped in last year to impose a moratorium after Boxer and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., demanded that the EPA cancel an industry-backed pesticide study in which the families of 60 children in Duval County, Fla., would receive children's clothes, a camcorder and $970 for participating.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Microsoft: No security updates for 98, ME after July 2006!

Several interesting news items related to this.

Microsoft Clarifies Support for Windows 98, Windows Millennium

Microsoft announced a clarification in extended security update support for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium (Me) Editions for critical security issues. Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition support was scheduled to end on January 16, 2004. The continual evaluation of the Support Lifecycle policy revealed, however, that customers in smaller and emerging markets needed additional time to upgrade their product. Therefore, critical security updates for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me will be provided on the Windows Update site through June 30, 2006.

Key Dates:
• Paid incident support for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition (Me) is available through June 30, 2006.
• Critical security updates will be provided on the Windows Update site through June 30, 2006.
• Customers may request non-critical security fixes for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, and the most current version of their components until June 30, 2006 through typical assisted-support channels.
• Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me downloads for existing security issues will continue to be available through regular assisted-support channels at no charge until June 30, 2006.
• No-charge incident support and extended hotfix support for Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition ended on June 30, 2003.
• No-charge incident support and extended hotfix support for Windows Me ended on December 31, 2003

Microsoft is already leaving these customers high and dry for the WMF security flaw, according to cnet.

Windows 98, ME users left vulnerable to WMF bug?
January 5, 2006 5:17 PM PST

Microsoft on Thursday rushed out an update to address a serious security flaw in Windows. Patches are available for Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, but Microsoft left out Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition.

The flaw lies in the way the OS software handles Windows Meta File images. Microsoft deems the issue "critical" only for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the problem is not as big for Windows 98 and Windows ME because it is harder to exploit on those OSes, the company said in its MS06-001 security bulletin..

Experts from iDefense, F-Secure and SANS agree that no attacks that target the older Windows versions have surfaced. Yet that might only be a matter of time, said Mike Murray, director of vulnerability and exposure research at nCircle, a vulnerability management company in San Francisco.

Releasing a patch for Windows 98 and Windows ME would be the right thing to do, according to Murray. "Even Microsoft acknowledges that the vulnerability exists in those OSes, someone will figure out how to exploit it," he said. .......

Here is someone in the reply section.

MS is wrong not to support 98
Reader post by: Bill Dautrive
Posted on: January 8, 2006, 2:51 PM PST
Story: Windows 98, ME users left vulnerable to WMF bug?


Simple. Around 50% of the windows world is using something other then XP. So why would that mean that MS should still support it?

The intenet is an extremely dangerous place and MS is the primary reason for it. With so many older MS OS's out there unprotected, it causes serious problems for everyone.

No one should have to pay to have problems that MS neglected fixed. We are not talking features here, but security problems that are the fault of Microsoft. All these people using the lame car anology are missing the point and clearly lack understanding of the issues. Even if a 1950 whatever is found to be defective, how many are on the road, how many has 100% original parts? That anology does not even come close to fitting this situtation, stop being ignorant.

Bottom line: These are serious security issues that came about through incompetance and negligence on Microsofts part. Asking anyone but Microsoft to pay for this is beyond ignorant.

Korea is responding by trying to go linux.


The nation's six ministries including the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) convened of late to discuss ways of reducing dependence on Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker.

``We agreed to cut down on our heavy reliance on Windows while promoting open-source programs such as Linux as an alternative,'' an MIC official said.

As action plans, the six ministries agreed to make Internet banking services and programs dealing with public grievance operable on a Linux-empowered system. Up until now, the programs could be run only through Windows.

``To secure broad-based adoption of non-Windows programs, the government will evaluate ministries regarding how much they brace for open-source programs,'' the official said.

But, is the linux community offering an alternative to these former customers of Microsoft? Afterall, while there may be distros designed to work on older legacy computers, none of them are designed to be as easy to use as windows 98. Problems include, having to mount the disk drive from the command line, no control panels for easier customization on many of their light windows managers, like fluxbox and icewm, and the greater difficulty encountered when installing a linux program. I can untar tarballs, but I can never configure one. make and "make install" never work. Also the more feature rich Guis like KDE and Gnome are often to resource intensive to work quickly with anything under Pentium 3 or AMD K6-3. They both need at least 256 mb of memory to operate at a good clip. The typical windows 98 system, was Pentium I-MMX or Pentium II with 64-128 mb of memory.

According the same article more asinine members of the linux community are probably gearing up to infect these people with viruses in July.

`Windows 98 is still widely used. Some people would replace their programs with advanced systems like Windows 2000 and XP. But some will continue to bank on Windows 98 even after this July,'' Seung Jae-mo, the researcher at the Korea Information Security Agency, said.

He expected hacking and virus attacks would rage in the latter half of this year as global crackers would launch full-throttle attacks on Windows 98-outfitted computers that will not be updated regularly.

I personally feel the efforts of all those code vigilantes would be better spent creating an "easy to use" distro for older computers, but what do I know?

According to Wikipedia, small business customers of Microsoft who can't pay for an upgrade to xp are being offered a thin client but the program is getting no advertising from Microsoft, and it is not being offered to home users of of Win 98 and ME. There is a something like a thin client being offered developing countries called "Windows XP Starter Edition," but Microsoft is not offering this to home users in the developed countries and we may not be able to afford the latest thing either.

Yes, I am biased because I am a "Win 98" user. I switched to feather as a dual boot, but I don't find it easy to use, and I started out with a DOS system, so I am not ignorant of command lines like most 98 people. The heavier distros just run way slow. I have tried "Debian Woody" with KDE and and "Red Hat 7.3" with Gnome. Neither Gnome nor Kde were much easier to use than Feather's Fluxbox despite the more familiar appearance. They still made it difficult to install programs, and there plug n play wasn't nearly as good as Feathers. They also didn't have easy to use control panels though the control panels existed.

"Windows 3.1" and 95 users were left in the cold in 2002.

This didn't harm 3.1 users as much since the hackers focused on 32 bit Windows after 95 was invented, but most any virus that involved NT/Xp will harm 95, 98, and ME.

Sober Virus harmed 95 users badly. I remember having to work on a number of friends computers as a result of it.

Anyhoo, if you want to keep your computer safe after this time. Here are your alternatives.

Install an antivirus program, and keep it updated. If you have one of those thirty day trials and you let it expire, you should purchase it. If you can’t afford it, use a free alternative like AVG.

Get, a spyware program and keep it updated. Many are offered free. I personally like the spyware checker on my cousins’ yahoo toolbar. My personal favorite is “Spyware Search and Destroy.”

Only use “Internet Explorer” if you have to. It will save you tons of headaches. Otherwise, use Firefox or Opera, Netscape, or some other browser completely unrelated to IE. Opera is now completely free. Firefox now has a user agent switcher extension, which makes Internet Explorer only websites(bill paying and online banking mostly) think you are using Internet Explorer. Opera has this feature built in. If you must use IE, out of necessity or bad habit, please tweak the security setting to ask for prompts before downloading unsigned active x controls. I personally set Firefox and Opera to erase cookies when I close my browser. I make exceptions for frequently visited sites like I believe you can do this with Internet Explorer as well.

Don’t use “Outlook Express.” It is the “kick me” sign of the internet. It automatically executes attachments when you open an email. The majority of viruses are made to take advantage of this feature. “Sober Virus” took advantage of this then it raided the address book of Outlook. I personally use Thunderbird. It is just much safer then OE, and it has a really good spam filter, which learns over time and becomes better the more you use it. There are many other good free email programs out there that you can try. The M2 client on Opera is really cool. It threads your email just like google mail does. Pegasus is my old standby. Using webmail, like yahoo, google,, is also very safe. If you must use Outlook Express, turn off the setting that automatically opens attachments. This may or may not help. Some viruses turn them on, even when they are off. It is the most popular email program so hackers make most of their viruses for it. Not using it is the best and most inexpensive way to protect yourself.

Like it or not, you probably need a firewall these days. I personally use a freeware program called “Tiny Personal Firewall,” but it involves a lot of good guessing as far as what to let through and what to refuse. Basically I let traffic through if I have just opened a new program, and it is obviously related to that program. I have heard "Zone Alarm" is easier to use, but whenever I tried it, I found it too resource intensive.

Radical alternatives: Get rid of Windows 98/Me. This means installing a light distro of Linux. hat means many new things to learn, and some greater difficulty in certain areas.

Light distro to look at.

“Feather Linux”: This is my old favorite thus far. It is quick. It does plug and play very well for a Linux distro, and set up my dsl modem really easily. It installs in less than 10 minutes generally. You update it with a program called apt-get. You will need to install “Open Office” if you want a word processor with a dictionary. The dictionary in Abiword doesn’t work. The nicest feature of Feather is that it automatically mounts floppy drives. This distro has to be burned. The only drawback is its use of a desktop "windows manager" called Fluxbox. It is very quick, and light, but it is not easy to use if you are used to Windows. Instead of having a "Start Menu" you access all your programs from the right click of your mouse. It has no control panel for easy customization. You have to use configuration scripts.

Damn Small Linux a.k.a. DSL. It is similar to feather, but I haven’t tried it much. This distro can be purchased as well as burned. It uses the Icewm windows manager. Icewm is like Windows 9x, only it doesn’t have a control panel for customization. Like Feather and Luit, DSL uses Tiny X server instead of xorg or xfree86. This means it can be used on very old computers, including 386 DX so long as they have at least 24 Mb of memory. These specs don’t apply to the programs in the package necessarily. Firefox will always require at least 64 mg of memory and at least Pentium MMX or greater. The same goes for Open Office. Fortunately nearly all Win98/ME computers should do just fine with these specifications, but if you have lessor specs there are alternatives, which can be searched for at Siag, and Ted or good WP suites for low resources systems, and link2, with the graphics switch links2 -g, is an amazing little browser. DSL has hacked version of Dillo, which runs on very low system resources. They modified it to handle frames and Javascript.

Luit Linux.” Basically "Damn Small" with XFCE. XFCE is very easy to use for a light desktop. It has a control panel and is generally easy to customize, and figure out, relative to Icewm and Fluxbox.

BTW, Feather, DSL and Luit are all live CDs. This means they will run from the cd rom. This is great because, you can try them out, set them up, and experiment with them, before you install them on your hardrive. This is a great advantage, from a configuration standpoint.

Xubuntu: Ubuntu with XFCE desktop. This is what I am currently using. XFCE is a very light desktop, with some very easy-to-use features. It is not offered as a separate distro. You have to order the Ubuntu CDs, then you need to do a server install of Ubuntu, then you install the xubuntu-desktop with apt-get from the command line. There are instructions for this at the Ubuntu website. If you have dial-up, downloading the Xubuntu desktop may take as much as ten hours. If you have highspeed, it will take two or less. The next distro will be out sometime in June and by then they may offer Xubuntu as a separate distro. Let’s cross our fingers, because this will really benefit dial-up users. I like XFCE a lot. It is very light and feature rich with an easy to understand control panel. Xubuntu doesn’t use tiny x though. Tiny X makes it possible for Feather, DSL and Luit to go on computers as old a 386DX with 24 Mb of memory. Xubuntu probably won’t go that far, but it works just fine on the MMX/Pentium II era machines. The biggest advantage of this distro is the Ubuntu community, which is extensive and helpful. It also helps that you can get the installation disks for free and without a cd burner, or shipping fees. If you go their website, you will likely get sent several installation disks rather than just one. I think Ubuntu developers want you to share this distro with your friends.

All four of these distros are based on Debian.
The default desktop of Ubuntu is Gnome. It will operate pretty slowly, on most Pentium I and II computers. It can be tweaked some by using hdparm, but I don’t like it very much. I upgraded my hardrive from 4 Gb to 30Gb three years ago, so I installed a dual boot of 98 and “Debian Linux.” A dual boot configuration is a good thing if you are scared of getting rid of 98 completely. Admittedly I couldn’t get the winmodem dial up working on my first install of Debian Linux, so keeping 98 was handy. Buying a larger disk drive to accommodate both is fairly inexpensive. You can probably buy a 30 Gb hardrive for less than 20 dollars on Ebay nowadays. That is more than enough to accomodate Windows 98 and Linux, yet it is cheap because today it is considered a dinky diskdrive.

Do your research before you install Linux.
You should get a manual for your distro online, or from the library or bookstore. The Ubuntu community has a lot online. This is why I have started to using Ubuntu. Pay particular attention to the problem of Windows specific dial up modems. When I first installed Debian, I had to get an external modem, because I just couldn’t get my winmodem to work. If you have an internal modem, it is probably a winmodem. Cable and DSL modems that are connected to a USB hub, rather than an ethernet adapters are also a drag. They aren’t well identified by Linux at all. I have no experience with wifi. Ubuntu has a quick start guide that should help if you are new to Linux.

There are some promising new distros on the horizon that could benefit 98/ME users. I am currently paying close attention to "STX Linux," a Slackware-based distro, that employs the “Equinox Desktop.” This desktop looks and feels very much like “Windows 98". It even has a really good control panel. They just came out with their first full release a month ago. They claim that it runs on a 486DX with 32 megabytes of memory. I’ll be paying close attention to the buzz on this one, but I currently don’t know any users.

has a very good reputation among former Windows users. They have been beta testing a light version for a while now. Unfortunately, it appears they are using KDE which in my experience runs slower than Gnome on my AMD K6 II.

Some people are also making a distro called Ubuntu lite, but it is in beta testing now. It will employ Equinox or Icewm.

Anyway, there's a run down of your alternatives, as I see them. I will be following this story in the future.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Danish paper pursues Holocaust cartoons

Now Flemming Rose, thats Flem for short,(cough, cough) is coordinating with the Iranian paper that is publishing the inflammatory protocols cartoons.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Danish paper pursues Holocaust cartoons: "Danish paper pursues Holocaust cartoons

John Plunkett
Wednesday February 8, 2006

The Danish paper responsible for the original caricatures of the prophet Muhammad is set to stoke the row further by running cartoons satirising the Holocaust.

Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, said today he was trying to get in touch with the Iranian paper, Hamshari, which plans to run an international competition seeking cartoons about the Holocaust.

'My newspaper is trying to establish a contact with the Iranian newspaper, and we would run the cartoons the same day as they publish them,' Mr Rose told CNN.

Article continues
The Danish editor was also defiantly unapologetic about the original publication of 12 cartoons - one of which featured the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb - in his paper five months ago."

Flem is an old cold warrior like Rummy and Cheney.

Flemming Rose - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flemming Rose - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Flemming Rose" the man who published those cartoons depicting Mohammed as a suicide bomber, has some disturbing ties to campus watch, and seems to be obsessed with the "clash of civilizations".

According to the Wiki article

There is some controversy over whether political ideology informed Flemming Rose’s decision to publish the offending cartoons. Allegations of ties to neo-conservative thought abound, but so far have not been lucidly substantiated. In 2004, he travelled to the USA to visit the Neoconservative Daniel Pipes and subsequently wrote and published a generally positive account of Daniel Pipes, which has been held up as apologetic by certain critics. Rose does not comment on Pipes’s ideology in the profile.

He was certainly providing an echo to Daniel Pipes, when he made this statement.

"About the question of integration and how compatible is the religion of Islam with a modern secular society – how much does an immigrant have to give up and how much does the receiving culture have to compromise."

The paper that published this appears to have refused a similar cartoon about Jesus.

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.

The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.

Zieler received an email back from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Orleans seeks foreign aid!

IOL: Nagin looks for helping hands from overseas: "Nagin looks for helping hands from overseas

February 07 2006 at 01:07AM

By Michael Depp

New Orleans - Shortcomings in aid from the United States government are making New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin look to other nations for help in rebuilding his hurricane-damaged city.

Nagin, who has hosted a steady stream of foreign dignitaries since Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, says he may seek international assistance because US aid has not been sufficient to get the city back on its feet.

'I know we had a little disappointment earlier with some signals we're getting from Washington but the international community may be able to fill the gap,' Nagin said when a delegation of French government and business officials passed through on Friday to explore potential business partnerships.

Jordan's King Abdullah also visited New Orleans on Friday
and Nagin said he would encourage foreign interests to help redevelop some of the areas hardest hit by the storm."

Uhg! It is like living in developing country!

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Brothers in arms - Israel's secret pact with Pretoria

Second part of the two part series on Israel and Apartheid.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Brothers in arms - Israel's secret pact with Pretoria: "srael's critics say that as the threats to the Jewish state receded it came more and more to resemble the apartheid model - particularly in its use of land and residency laws - until the similarities outweighed the differences. Liel says that was never the intent.

'The existential problems of Israel were real,' he says. 'Of the injustice we did, we're always ashamed. We always tried to behave democratically. Of course, on the private level there was a lot of discrimination - a lot, a lot. By the government also. But it was not a philosophy that was built on racism. A lot of it was security-oriented.'

Goldreich disagrees. 'It's a gross distortion. I'm surprised at Liel. In 1967, in the six day war, in this climate of euphoria - by intent, not by will of God or accident - the Israeli government occupied the territories of the West Bank and Gaza with a captive Palestinian population obviously in order to extend the area of Israel and to push the borders more distant from where they were,' he says.

'I and others like me, active after the six day war on public platforms, tried desperately to convince audiences throughout this country that peace agreements between Israel and Palestine [offer] greater security than occupation of territory and settlements. But the government wanted territory more than it wanted security."

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Worlds apart

Excellent two part article from the guardian about whether Israel's treatment of the Palestinians can be compared to Apartheid.

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Worlds apart: "As far back as 1961, Hendrik Verwoerd, the South African prime minister and architect of the 'grand apartheid' vision of the bantustans, saw a parallel. 'The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state,' he said. It is a view that horrifies and infuriates many Israelis.

A prominent Israeli political scientist, Gerald Steinberg, responded to an invitation to appear on a panel at a Jerusalem cultural centre to debate 'Is Israel the new apartheid?' by denouncing the organiser, a South African-born Jew, for even posing the question.

'As you are undoubtedly aware, the pro-Palestinian and anti-semitic campaign to demonise Israel focuses on the entirely false and abusive analogy with South Africa. Using the term 'apartheid' to apply to Israel's legitimate responses to terror and the threat of annihilation both demeans the South African experience, and is the most immoral of charges against the right of the Jewish people to self-determination,' he replied.

Many Israelis recoil at the suggestion of a parallel because it stabs at the heart of how they see themselves and their country, founded after centuries of hatred, pogroms and ultimately genocide. If anything, many of Israel's Jews view themselves as having more in common with South Africa's black population than with its oppressors. Some staunch defenders of Israel's policies past and present say that even to discuss Israel in the context of apartheid is one step short of comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany, not least because of the Afrikaner leadership's fascist sympathies in the 1940s and the disturbing echoes of Hitler's Nuremberg laws in South Africa's racist legislation.

Yet the taboo is increasingly challenged. As Israel's justice minister, Tommy Lapid, said, Israel's defiance of international law in constructing the West Bank barrier could result in it being treated as a pariah like South Africa. Malaysia's prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has called for a campaign against Israel of the kind used to pressure South Africa."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

CALIFORNIA / Bush gets bill slashing foster care aid / State, 8 others in West affected by federal cutback

Republicans screw abused children to pay for tax cuts on the wealthy.

CALIFORNIA / Bush gets bill slashing foster care aid / State, 8 others in West affected by federal cutback: "A bill awaiting President Bush's signature includes provisions to cut off federal foster care benefits for hundreds of California children living with low-income relatives after being removed from the homes of abusive or neglectful parents.

If the cutback survives an expected court challenge, the reduction in aid will be substantial. In the Bay Area and other high-cost regions, for example, a woman providing foster care for grandchildren ages 7 and 10, who now gets $1,315 a month, would receive $723, the amount of a conventional welfare grant.

The higher aid total was ordered by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a March 2003 ruling that was binding in California and eight other Western states. The ruling said children who are placed with grandparents or other family members can receive federal aid based on their new foster parents' low incomes.

The government had argued that the aid should be based on the incomes of the parents from whose homes the children were removed.

Tucked into the federal Deficit Reduction Act, which won final passage Wednesday on a largely party-line vote of 216-214 in the House, is language declaring that the appeals court ruling was wrong and that long-standing federal law bases eligibility solely on the parents' incomes."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Power

"Three Card Monty" Washington style!

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics: "You Don't Get Points for Trying"

I'm going to get a lot of flack for this post, but here goes.

A filibuster is an extreme action that requires robust public support. We do not have this support. It's that simple. I'm all for keeping Alito off the court, and a filibuster until after the SOTU is a good idea. But it's very important for the netroots to understand what's happening here. This last-minute campaign to get Senators to switch their votes, after it became crystal clear that we do not have the votes to filibuster, is a classic example of 'get points for trying' politics. It's a way for Senators to get credit from the left-wing of the party without having to actually do anything or stop anything. The reality is that this fight was lost two months ago, when Senators decided that going on Christmas break was more important than preparing to defend the constitution, and PFAW and Alliance for Justice decided that releasing 150 page documents was a good way to build public pressure against Alito's confirmation

By all means, call your Senators. Don't stop. Don't let up. But don't forgive the party leadership and our groups for this travesty. People for the American Way has been preparing for this fight for years. And then they didn't show up. The same is true with NARAL, and the Alliance for Justice. I honestly don't know why they are funded anymore - that's how bad this failure has been. And Senators - including DiFi, HRC, Kerry, and Obama - have revealed themselves to be craven fair weather fans who expect others to do the work of standing up for Democratic values for them. Think about it for a moment. John Kerry called for a filibuster from Switzerland two hours after it became public that there were not enough votes for a filibuster. That is atrocious. Tinman points out on Breaking Blue the essential point:

If he was serious about it he would have stayed in Washington, held press conferences, lobbied his colleagues and tried to generate as much attention as possible. Since it was just a PR stunt, it wasn't necessary for Kerry to change his travel plans................

And don't delude yourself, this is intentional. The attitude that the insiders have towards us is that we are a stupid ATM set up to feed their ineffectiveness. Witness uberinsider telling us the truth about where we fit in:

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

Hebron for Beginners - by Ran HaCohen

Hebron for Beginners - by Ran HaCohen: "The Reality

Two beautiful stories indeed; alas, both of them miss reality. Remember that the squatters could take over the wholesale market simply because the Palestinian merchants had been driven out. The market had been closed by Israel in 1994 as a confidence-destroying measure following the Goldstein massacre, in which a Jewish settler murdered 29 Palestinian worshippers in the Patriarchs’ Tomb in Hebron (apropos 'killing and taking possession'). In the Hebron Agreement of 1997, Israel pledged to return the market to the Palestinians and let it be reopened; a wall should have separated it from the settlers’ homes. However, Israel respects treaties only in extremely exceptional cases, and Hebron is not such a rare exception.

Both the nationalist and the liberal stories are wrong on the most crucial point: they both err to believe that Israel intends to give the market back to the Palestinians. Israel has nothing of the kind in mind. All Israel needs now is a good show that looks like the liberal fantasy; especially on the eve of the general elections, it is desirable to be portrayed as a resolute, moderate, and law-abiding government. But it’s the nationalist, colonialist fantasy that is being realized. In a combined effort of Israel’s government, police, army, and settlers, Israel had a major success in ethnically cleansing Hebron’s center of its Palestinian inhabitants. Reopening the market might revive trade at the heart of the city and reverse Israel’s achievement.

What’s the solution? Attentive Ha’aretz readers could find it out just days before the issue got to the headlines (Jan. 5, 2006):

'The Defense Ministry has terminated the lease with the Hebron municipality that enabled the Palestinian merchants to work in the city’s wholesale market. This means that the merchants from the wholesale market will not be able to return to their shops even if the Israel Defense Forces do evict the settlers squatting there.'"

"The Israeli Peace Process" =sick joke, and a waste of time.

I would tell the Israelis to get better leaders but we need to get them too. The vast majority of Politicians in the world are little more than con artists.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Booman Tribune ~ Beware! Iran to Have Bomb in a Few Months!

The neocons are trying to scare us into another unnecessary war.

Booman Tribune ~ Beware! Iran to Have Bomb in a Few Months!: "Beware! Iran to Have Bomb in a Few Months!

by Steven D
Mon Jan 23rd, 2006 at 06:05:23 PM EST
Hey, that's not me talking. And it sure isn't the CIA, because they believe Iran is at least ten years away from having a bomb.

No, that's respected (ahem) conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer last week in an seemingly off the cuff comment while bemoaning the stupidity, timidity and general credulity of the European countries who, until recently, have been negotiating with Iran regarding the resumption of its nuclear program. As we now know, those talks failed to stop Iran from resuming the enrichment of its uranium supplies, an essential step in making a bomb (although Iran denies that is their intent). Check out this column of his originally published January 18, 2006 to see what I'm talking about:

Ah, success. Instead of being years away from the point of no return for an Iranian bomb, as we were before we allowed Europe to divert anti-proliferation efforts into transparently useless talks, Iran is probably just months away.

(Emphasis added)"

Apparently this meme was started by a man named Kenneth Timmerman. He is a reporter for Dick Scaife's American Spectator magazine, and a leader of the Foundation for Iranian Democracy a probable neocon front organization. Two years ago he reported that WMD had been found in Iraq. He has little credibility and neither does Krauthammer, but that is hasn't stopped the press and the mainstream democrats from echoing his ideas. Let's hope the peace movement has more backbone this time around.