The Thursday batch 0 goodies: Ellison, Israel/Palestine and the Lobby controversy; Islamo-fascists are the new JudeoBolshevik!

Above all, they are making a $1200 Swiss Army knife with every single tool. Yes. 85 tools including screwdrivers, a laser and a flashlight. And a "fine fork for watch spring bars."

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Dig the Bush BeatBox video. Diabolical orange cat Jeff has a blog of what things he's killed.

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 Img ScreenshotCheck out AllPeers: A new plugin for Firefox on Linux, Windows and OS X that combines buddy lists and BitTorrent, allowing people to share files at high speed with their friends. It's in beta now, and there could be security holes, but I really want to try it. I am registered at feidt@macalester.edu so shoot me a message if you want to try it. It has just been released to Public Beta. A review notes it has 'performance issues:'

As I write this, the beta is just a day old, and the company is still ironing out some server issues. Initially, I had a problem actually downloading the tool, and once I did get it installed, performance was spotty. I had trouble signing up to the service, and the service itself went down several times while I was testing it. When it did work, the speed was acceptable.

In theory, performance should eventually be quite good. AllPeers uses a customized version of BitTorrent to swap files. So if you're sending the same file with multiple people, once others receive the file—or just parts of the file—they can help you send it to everyone else. Let's say I decide to share a file to my colleagues Sean Carroll and Lance Ulanoff. Once Sean downloads the file from my machine, AllPeers can use both his copy and mine to send it quickly to Lance. Some of the bits will come from my machine even as other bits are coming from Sean.

Despite current performance I like the basic design. It's simple—and that's what you want from a tool like this. It integrates completely with Firefox, adding a toolbar and various browser "panes" that open and close as need be. Simply by keying in e-mail addresses or AllPeers user names, you add friends and family to a contacts list, and once you've chosen a name from the list, you can start sending files via drag-and-drop (or good old-fashioned dialog boxes).

Russia and Central Asian countries nervous about US military action, conducting training exercises. Michel Chossudovsky writes that Russia and Central Asian Allies Conduct War Games in Response to US Threats, including Taijikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Things are also moving with China and India. Quoted:

"The growing militarisation is connected with mutual mistrust among countries in the region, say analysts. Iranian media have speculated that the United States is using Azerbaijan to create a military counterweight to Iran on the Caspian. It is possible that the exercise conducted by the CSTO – in which Russia is dominant – represents a response to concerns about United States involvement in developing Kazakstan’s navy. Observers say Russia is leaning more and more towards the Iranian view that countries from outside should be banned from having armed forces in the Caspian Sea."

Experts say the US is trying to step up the pressure on Iran, as well as to defend its own investments in Azerbaijan and Kazakstan. It is also trying to guarantee the security of the strategically vital Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

A military presence on the Caspian would give the United States an opportunity to at least partially offset its weakening influence in Central Asia, as seen in the closure of its airbase in Uzbekistan, the increased rent it is having to pay for the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan, and the diplomatic scandal that resulted in the expulsion of two Americans from Kyrgyzstan.

According to analysts, genuine security in the region can be achieved only if the military interests of all five Caspian countries are coordinated. At an international conference in Astrakhan in July 2005, Russia proposed the formation of a Caspian naval coordination group, but to date the initiative has not had much of a response.

And this is alarming:

The entire region seems to be on a war footing. These CSTO war games should be seen in relation to those launched barely a week earlier by Iran, in response to continued US military threats. These war games coincide with the showdown at the UN Security Council and the negotiations between permanent members regarding a Security Council resolution pertaining to Iran's nuclear program. "They are taking place within the window of time that has been predicted by analysts for the initiation of an American or an American-led attack against Iran" (see Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 21 August 2006):

"War games and military exercises are now well underway within Iran and its territory. The Iranian Armed Forces—the Regular Armed Forces and the Revolutionary Guards Corps—began the first stage of massive nationwide war games along border areas of the province of Sistan and Baluchistan1 in the southeast of Iran bordering the Gulf of Oman, Pakistan, and NATO garrisoned Afghanistan to the east on Saturday, August 19, 2006. These war games that are underway are to unfold and intensify over a five week period and possibly even last longer, meaning they will continue till the end of September and possibly overlap into October, 2006".

Neo-cons are trying to hype up an Iran war, of course. Neo-cons looked foolish when the apocalypse didn't happen August 22nd like they predicted. Old Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan said Israel should be prepared for an attack by Iran.

Raw Story: Less than half of Americans satisfied with 9/11 investigations. The NIST is going to probe if WTC 7 was brought down by bombs.

Is Cartoon Network making light of the Illuminati? A little bit...

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Moral quagmire and moral clarity, based on this good bit by James Dobbins on Moral clarity in the mideast. More on this.

Activist hassled by the FBI.

From the Daily Show, Bush's desperate soundbites:

According to WWTDD.com, Saddam Hussein got a personal screening of the South Park movie.

A Lockheed Martin engineer used YouTube to put his whistleblower message out, covered by the Washington Post. Check the video:



The Israel Lobby matter churns on:
with the AIPAC espionage trial around the corner and a disastrous war between Israel and Lebanon, the underpinnings of the 'special relationship' between Israel and the United States seem to be front and center.

On Antiwar.com, Justin Raimondo looks at "Two Elephants in the room: Israel and its amen corner", looking at how the Washington Post's high-handed reporter Dana Milbank attacked top international politics professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt for speaking at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Mearsheimer and Walt have sparked big controversy by writing on the influence of what they termed "the Israel Lobby" on America's foreign policy. I would call it "the right-wing Israel Lobby" since there are Jewish groups like Peace Now and Tikkun who are silenced, gagged and marginalized in Washington by AIPAC and its neoconservative allies. One purpose of what they call the "Israel lobby" is to silence the more liberal Jewish lobby. (Antiwar is messed up so try this printable version)

Reporters like Milbank generally speak in favor of the corrupt neo-con foreign policy establishment, denigrating anyone looking critically at the fake Iraq war intelligence, and the role of AIPAC in influencing America's middle east policy. Milbank's mockery of Democratic hearings on the Downing Street Memo is a truly disgusting piece of reporting. For a background on AIPAC, look at AIPAC's Overt and Covert Ops by Juan Cole from 2004.

Other randomness: Israeli-style air security may head west.

Godwin's Law strikes again: Islamo-fascism: It is suddenly trendy to call America's opponents "Islamic fascists" that we can't "appease". Right now on MSNBC one of Bush's toadies is telling the Hardball host that they are basically the same as Nazis. It reminds me that political identities are shaped by words, and merging ethnic or religious words with menacing political formations is an effective way to demonize enemies. Terms like "Islamofascist" cut off critical thinking and processing actual reality, hoping to replace thought with emotional cues. This is why the real Nazis called the Jews "Judeo-Bolsheviks" – "one of the central themes of fascist ideology" as a paper on the official site of Israel's Holocaust museum puts it. "Islamofascist" is just the Judeobolshevik of the 21st century, and it serves pretty much the same purpose: to rationalize annihilation.

Local trickle-down: This is becoming a more-than-latent issue in local political campaigns, especially Keith Ellison's primary contest in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. Ellison is a Black Muslim, and the strongly Jewish St. Louis Park composes a large chunk of the Fifth District. While Jewish folks, like any other identified voting 'bloc', have a variety of views on the race, there were a lot of awkward stories about Ellison and the Nation of Islam, tying Ellison to the rather anti-semitic organization. I don't really know if these stories have stuck, but it certainly was a story that the anti-Ellison parts of the establishment latched onto.

Today, Ellison has been markedly more sympathetic to Lebanon than his primary opponents, which seems reasonable to me, but this promises to bring out the wrath of the hard core of the Israeli government's supporters. Stand by for what that's going to add up to by the September 12 primary...

Well that's all for now. Catch ya on the flip side. I'm going to the fair tomorrow.

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