January 15th, 2005 Saturday
Jay, who works as my Office Assistant, has recommended his friend Brian to work here. I told them both that Brian could work here on the weekend and we'll give him a thirty day trial period afterward. Brian worked very well today and he seems to be a nice person, so I think it will work out and I hope it continues to for a long time. I prize loyalty and kindness above all things, which is why Omar has been with me for almost six years now - I have rarely heard Omar say an unkind word about anyone.
January 16th, 2005 Sunday
We were going to work from 2pm to 8pm, but decided to call it quits around 6:15pm so that the three of us could meet their friend Richard to see a 7pm movie at The Grove Mall entitled Electra. I love the creative process that goes into making special effects, but the movie was lacking in as many as normally like, such as in the Alien series, Predator series and other movies such as those. I'm looking forward to seeing "Fantastic Ford" and it's ironic that when I was in Junior High School I was always telling my friends that they should make this into a movie. They finally did and it should be awesome if they do it right. I know it's a lot of hard work and costly to make quality high-tech science fiction, but even this technology is evolving and I'm looking forward to hanging around another hundred years or so to see more awesome movies in the future. I hope you are too. I wish more people would get that there is so much more to life than just sex and lovers - there is a lot of HIV and heartache going around because too many people simply have not grasped the concept that lovers and sex are a natural DESIRE but not a natural NEED. There is no happiness and power in being too needy.
Seen on TV
End of sermon. Jay
and Brian went to the dance clubs tonight, while I preferred to stay home and
write while catching a little TV. I saw on one of the cable
channels a movie entitled "Box of Moonlight" and could not help notice the
profound, deep realism of one of its main actors, Sam Rockwell. After the
movie, I got on the internet to find any possible fan clubs, found one, and was
compelled to post the following note:
January 17th, 2005, Monday
Seen on TV
It's about 3AM in the morning and as usual I'm doing research online and occasionally glancing at the TV near my desk. There is an interesting show on Animal Planet right now. There are hippos on the show and I am amazed to learn that a few thousand years ago the Hippos were once as numerous in Africa and Europe as the Buffalo once were in North America. The show doesn't go into reasons why this is so, but I can only speculate that Hippos are now limited mostly to Uganda for two reasons:
1.) The huge growth of human population in the past few thousand years. Hippos are quite slow and generally non-aggressive compared to carnivorous animals and humans. Thus, hippos were probably eaten out of existence in many areas where human population was expanding.
2.) At the same time human populations were increasing, the amount of wet lands and water ways were decreasing, and the great Sahara Desert was expanding, decreasing the grazing lands for hippos and increasing their interactions with human territory. Even today, according to the documentary, farmers will eat them or simply kill them to prevent damage to their farm lands and the competition for water.
This leads to a more important issue concerning human evolution and the concept of immediate gratification verses delayed gratification. Humans were apparently killing hippos as they have done even as late as the past century. In many places, such as in Europe where water and land were far more plentiful, no attempts were made to domesticate them or preserve them for any possible future human benefits. Of course, Europe was also getting cooler a few thousand years ago, and freezing lakes and rivers may have also contributed to their demise. This climate factor compares much in the same way to alligators and crocodiles, creatures from the tropical dinosaur era of sixty-five million years ago, which can now be found in North America, but only in the extreme southern regions where lakes freezing over have never been witnessed in modern times. But these are natural causes. In terms of human causes, I speculate that the humans of the past few thousand years only thought of the immediate gratification of killing and eating verses self-control and thus self-evolution. This is significant because we have seen this continue unabated in more recent times. Evidence is found in the more recent yet similar slaughter of millions of American Bison/Buffalo until Congress had to enact laws protecting them. And now we are starting to see shortages of many fish species. Fortunately, much progress has been made in terms of trying to keep things balanced, but nature is in a delicate balance and will need our continued self-evolution to keep supplies of food for humans to continue to grow and prosper. Perhaps fish and other animals will not be the answer. I think we have learned from the past and I think that we will find bigger and better ways to feed the world in more conscious ways. My thinking comes from the knowledge that most people engage in rational self-interest and basic human greed. Some of us will come up with better and smarter ways to produce food, out of sheer human greed. Others will do it because they want to preserve their lives and the lives of those they love. Still others will do it because they want to see a better world come about, and they want the world to be better than what they have experienced in their own lifetime. Which route or routes would you take?
Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2005 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: An Exciting Announcement
I heard your entire Radio Show "Serves you Right" last Saturday. Makes me all the more honored that we have been such good and close friends for 15 years now. The hosting was great, the guests were great. Great show, great job. As I have said many times over the years, you have the perfect voice for radio and the perfect personality for TV and film. And you can forward this to your agent to remind him that your biggest fan is anxiously waiting for him to get you some major exposure, so that we can share your inspirational love for life with the rest of the world. =o) Give Ina Mae my love. As always, my warmest thoughts are with you both.
Your friend always,
Nuclear proliferation by Chris Aable
Hi Jon Wolfsthal. Thank you for your
well-articulated commentary on the Fox news channel today. I can think of very
few jobs that are more important than yours concerning nuclear proliferation at
the Carnegie Endowment. After twelve years of teaching both psychology and
sociology I think I can sum up some of our main troubles as follows: Our ability
to create weapons of mass destruction has evolved, but our instincts for fear
and aggression have not yet evolved above this. Fear and aggression once served
their purpose against lions, tigers and bears. Now that humans have mastered
that primitive environment we now project our residue aggression and fears upon
each other. Further understanding that we are all related will hopefully
diminish some of these base fears and aggressions in the future. For now, too
many of us continue to build walls of fear and hatred where bridges of
understanding should be built instead.
ANOTHER SPACE SHUTTLE DISASTER by Chris Aable
(Posted on many bulletin boards across the net in over 40 countries).
I was stunned by the news about the Space Shuttle Columbia crashing this morning, and could not stop weeping. To add hurt to an already painful morning, I now hear that dozens of people in Zimbabwe were killed in a train accident. I suspect that the space shuttle disaster will overshadow the Zimbabwe disaster. It seems like it's hard for some people to consider people with different faces and different names. All people, regardless of nationality have loving families and deserve our consideration and respect when they suffer tragedy. I am particularly stunned by all the hate e-mail from some Americans regarding the Jewish Astronaut Ilan Ramon. I guess these people don't understand that Mr. Ramon was involved in blowing up Saddam's Nuclear Reactors in the first Gulf War and thus helped in preventing him from making nuclear weapons a decade ago? And now many of the bulletin boards are filled with the undigested, territorial slogan "Gold bless America". How about God bless the world? Any student of reason would remind us that we should judge people as individuals, not the group they happen to be born into. Out of every tragedy, there comes a time afterward to reflect and to think. I hope we take this time to reflect on how precious life is and how beautiful the world still is, with all its darkness and all its beauty. It can yet still be more beautiful. It's not too late. You are precious because there has never been anyone like you in billions of years, and there never will be again. And you know what? This applies to almost everyone else, most strangers as well. When you think about it, most of your friends were once strangers, so most strangers are just friends you haven't met yet, regardless of where they are from, who they choose to sleep with, the color of their skin or whether they believe in an afterlife or not.
Love and peace to you and yours,
Police in Genoa, Italy have admitted to
fabricating evidence against globalization activists in an attempt to justify
police brutality during protests at the July 2001 G8 Summit. In searches of the
Nexus database, FAIR has been unable to find a single mention of this
development in any major U.S. newspapers or magazines, national television news
shows or wire service stories.
According to reports from the BBC and the
German wire service Deutsche Presse-Agentur (1/7/03, 1/8/03), a senior Genoa
police officer, Pietro Troiani, has admitted that police planted two Molotov
cocktails in a school that was serving as a dormitory for activists from the
Genoa Social Forum. The bombs were apparently planted in order to justify the
police force's brutal July 22 raid on the school. According to the BBC, the
bombs had in fact been found elsewhere in the city, and Troijani now says
planting them at the school was a "silly" thing to do.
The BBC and DPA also report that another
senior officer has admitted to faking the stabbing of a police officer in order
to frame protesters. These revelations have emerged over the course of a
parliamentary inquiry into police conduct that was initiated by the Italian
government under pressure from "domestic and international outrage over the
blood-soaked G8 summit in Genoa" (London Guardian, 7/31/01). Three police chiefs
have been transferred and at least 77 officers have been investigated on
More than 100,000 people participated in the
2001 Genoa protests, most of them peacefully. Italian authorities, however,
prepared for the protests by ordering 200 body bags and designating a room at
the Genoa hospital as a temporary morgue (BBC, 6/21/01). Twenty thousand police
and troops were on hand, armed with tear gas, water cannon and military hardware
as authorities enclosed part of the city in a so-called "ring of steel," with
many railways and roads closed and air traffic shut down.
The U.S. press routinely glosses over this
militaristic response, instead invoking the demonstrations as proof of the
threat posed by globalization activists. Even the killing of Carlo Giuliani-- a
protester who was shot in the head, run over and killed by police after he threw
a fire extinguisher at a police vehicle-- is recounted by U.S. media as a timely
"lesson" for activists that, as Time magazine put it, "You reap what you sow"
As FAIR documented at the time (FAIR Action
Alert, 7/26/01), most U.S. media responded to the violence with sensationalistic
reports on the drama "in the streets of this gritty port city" (ABC World News
Tonight, 7/20/01), but showed little curiosity about fundamental questions, such
as why Italian forces were armed with live ammunition. (As for the substantive
political concerns motivating the protests, they were all but ignored).
The July 22 police raid which has become a
focus of Italy's parliamentary inquiry was carried out on the headquarters of
the Genoa Social Forum-- the umbrella group coordinating the protests-- and the
neighboring Independent Media Center (IMC).
It received largely indifferent coverage in
the U.S., but reports in independent and non-U.S. media indicated that some 200
police officers brutally beat sleeping activists in an attack that led to more
than a dozen of the arrestees being carried out on stretchers, some unconscious
(Guardian, 7/24/01). Of the 93 people arrested at the school, 72 suffered
injuries. All were eventually released without charge (DPA, 1/8/03).
The coverage of this attack on the nightly
newscasts of the U.S.'s three major broadcast networks was instructive. At
first, ABC World News Tonight did not report the raid at all. CBS Evening News
(7/22/01) mentioned it in passing, with the reporter noting almost approvingly
that "the tactics were heavy-handed, but the streets were quiet today."
Commendably, NBC Nightly News (7/22/01) devoted more significant attention to
the attack and reported organizers' claim that all the arrestees had been
non-violent and were "the latest victims of police brutality."
A couple of weeks later, it emerged that
some of the victims were American. The three nightly newscasts then showed
somewhat more attention to the issue of police brutality, running reports that
included footage of the blood splashed on the floors and walls of the school
(ABC, 8/8/01; CBS and NBC 8/11/01). CBS distinguished itself poorly again by
introducing its follow-up report with excuses: "However provoked the Italian
police were during the rioting around last month's summit in Genoa, their
behavior has become the subject of an embarrassing domestic inquiry in Italy."
Embarrassing is one word for it. Amnesty
International found a few others, saying that police at the summit seemed to
show "scant concern" for human rights (The Wire, September 2001). Amnesty
characterized the arrests at the school as illegal and cited reports that
detainees were "slapped, kicked, punched and spat on and subjected to verbal
abuse, sometimes of an obscene sexual nature
. deprived of food, water and sleep
for lengthy periods, made to line up with their faces against the wall and
remain for hours spread-eagled, and beaten if they failed to maintain this
position." In addition, "some were apparently threatened with death and, in the
case of female detainees, rape." Detainees also reported being denied prompt
access to lawyers and medical care.
The new admissions from Italian police that
they attempted to frame activists in order to justify their own violence are
very significant, but there was other, earlier evidence of misconduct that
reporters could have followed up.
Much of this evidence was documented by Rory
Carroll, a reporter for the London Guardian newspaper. He reported as early as
July 24, 2001 that "an interior ministry source" had admitted that "the raid had
turned into a revenge attack by police." In the same story, Carroll reported a
claim from the Genoa Social Forum that "the homemade bombs were probably
Another story by Carroll (Guardian, 7/23/01)
focused on allegations that segments of the supposedly anarchist "black block"
in Genoa-- the group most often held up as proof that globalization activists
are violent-- were in fact provocateurs from European security forces. Groups of
black-clad people "burned buildings, ransacked shops and attacked banks with
crowbars and scaffolding" during the protests, reported Carroll. Some attacked
journalists, "smashing their equipment and tearing up their notebooks." Yet
"few, if any" of these people were arrested, and local activists seemed not to
know the people involved.
The Guardian quoted Francesco Martone, a
Green Party senator for Genoa, alleging that police and neo-fascists "worked
together to infiltrate the genuine protesters" and discredit the left. It also
quoted an Italian communist MP, Luigi Malabarba: "I saw groups of German and
French people dressed as demonstrators in black with iron bars inside the police
station near the Piazza di Kennedy. Draw your own conclusions."
Despite the numerous questions about who
instigated most of the violence in Genoa, "Genoa" has become a kind of shorthand
for "violent protesters" in mainstream media.
For instance, it was common for mainstream
news stories to link activists gathering to protest the June 2002 G8 Summit in
Banff, Canada, to the supposedly dangerous demonstrators of Genoa. The New York
Times (6/27/02) described Canada's extreme security measures as a response to
Genoa, "where violent protesters battled the police." But what about the violent
police? Many outlets simply write them out of the story.
To continue with the New York Times-- though
they're far from the only outlet at fault-- consider the paper's coverage of a
massive November anti-war march in Florence. Framing the story (11/10/02) with
warnings about government fears of "a reprise of the bloodshed and chaos" of
Genoa, the Times stated that officials were "still haunted by that melee," and
that officials had debated whether to permit demonstrations at all. With such
partial information, a reader might naturally-- and incorrectly-- assume that
most of the violence was caused by out-of-control protesters.
Just last month (12/15/02), the New York
Times ran an article about the lingering impact of the protests, stating that
for over a year, Italy "has been haunted by the violent clashes between the
police and anti-globalization protesters." It's a reasonable premise, except that
the Times' selective reporting suggested that protesters bear all the blame.
Amazingly, the article noted the prosecutions of 11 people recently arrested for
looting and property damage during the protests, but failed to mention Italy's
ongoing inquiry into police brutality.
In contrast, the inquiry seems to be getting
serious attention in Italy. According to the BBC (1/7/03), newspapers such as La
Repubblica and Il Secolo XIX have been publishing transcripts from the inquiry,
and one report on the television channel Rai Uno stated: "Now that the
investigation into the G8 events is drawing to a close, suspected truths which
had already emerged are being officially confirmed."
Considering how fond the U.S. media are of dramatic stories about protester/police "clashes," they should be able to find the energy to carefully investigate such incidents. This is crucial journalistic work; the right to peaceful assembly is central to democracy. The public deserves to have access to follow-up investigations of what happened at Genoa's "violent" protests.
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