discarded lies: friday, april 20, 2018 7:31 am zst
You're the schlager in my gold flakes
daily archive: 08/19/2005
guest author: Lisa Ramaci-Vincent in Discarded Lies:
My Hero
[ed. - Lisa left this as a comment on Why Steven Vincent Died]

For the record, Steven and I had been together for 23 years, married for 13 of them. I was well aware of the rumors of he and Nour, and find it most interesting that it is only in the British press that the notion of an "honor killing" has taken hold. Sure, that takes the heat off of them and deflects attention away from their lack of interest in their stewardship of Basra. Not our doing, mate, it was nothing but hormones. Now bring us some tea.

Perhaps they can explain to me how, if this was nothing more than an honor killing, 5 men took the time and trouble to find a truck marked 'Police', and police uniforms to wear while performing their mission. Maybe they can tell me how 5 men were able, in broad daylight, to swoop down on 2 people, struggle with them for several minutes (Steven fought so hard that when they threw him in the truck his shoes remained on the sidewalk), take them away, hold them for 5 hours, beat and finally kill them, all with total impunity. If these were family members outraged at Steven's affiliation with Nour, they would have put on ski masks, found them in a more private place, shot them and taken off. But given the amount of time that elapsed between their abduction and shooting, I say that had to be the work of people in some kind of position of power.

And yes, Steven was set to convert to Islam and marry Nour, but he undertook this course of action only after calling me to say that Nour's life would be worthless after he left, and the only way he could see to save her was to marry her (unmarried women cannot leave Iraq without a family member along), get her to England where she had a standing job offer, get her settled there, divorce her and come back to NY. I spoke to both him and her about it at length, and contrary to what the gossipmongers say, it was to be purely a matter of getting Nour out of Iraq for her safety.

However, regardless of what is finally discovered about why he was killed, I will go on record as stating that my husband was truly the most decent, courageous, moral, honest and brave man I have ever met. He will always be my hero.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Harry Potter Discussion - Finally!
Okay, so it's not a secret thread, we ran out of time and steam to fix this one, so if you haven't finished the book yet, don't come in here (you hear that, Sojo?)

Now on with your theories.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Losing his way
I think there's life in the ol' Bush administration yet, but a lot of Bush allies have become naysayers.
THEY have been admirers of the president since the attacks of September 11, 2001, but now some of George W Bush’s staunchest supporters are accusing him of “losing his way" in the war on terror.

Conservatives in America are contrasting Tony Blair’s clarity of purpose since the July bombings in London and the vacillations of the Bush administration about the future of Iraq and the nature of the terrorist threat.

Under siege last week at his holiday ranch in Crawford, Texas, from the peace activist Cindy Sheehan, one of the military’s “gold star" mothers whose son died in Iraq, and under pressure from opinion polls showing dwindling American support for the war, Bush is on the defensive.

Blair by contrast is getting credit for naming the enemy as Muslim extremists and for criticising the Wahhabi ideology spreading from Saudi Arabia, which remains a leading American ally. Although faulted for allowing “Londonistan" to grow into a haven for terrorism in the first place, the prime minister is regarded as going on the offensive while the Bush government dithers.

“Since the London bombings, Tony Blair has emerged as the public face of the global war on terror," said Nile Gardiner, a former adviser to Baroness Thatcher and who is now based with the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “He is setting the agenda with tough new anti-terrorist measures."
Skipping a bunch of stuff here...
Indeed, many neoconservatives who back Bush are not convinced about the rest of his administration. In the current issue of The Weekly Standard, a neoconservative magazine, Bill Kristol, the editor, states pointedly: “The president seems determined to complete the job. Is his defence secretary?" One right-wing expert on the Middle East accused Rumsfeld of behaving like “the crazy aunt you couldn’t shut up". “The problem is not the president or at least not his views," the expert said. “It’s his mismanagement of the cabinet."

For Andrew McCarthy, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank, Bush has simply “lost his way". “After Bush won the election on national security grounds, he went six months without talking about Iraq while his opponents were kicking us for what we were doing out there," he said.

Bush was also at fault for offering conflicting signals about the war on terror, in particular by negotiating with insurgents in Iraq and soft-pedalling on relations with Syria, McCarthy said. “The best thing about the Bush doctrine was its moral clarity. You can’t say, ‘You’re either with the terrorists or with us’ and then go out and say, ‘Let’s have a powwow with the insurgents’."


“I have great admiration for what Bush has done, but there has been a dangerous lapse in focus," McCarthy said. “Americans will support the president from now until the end of time if they think national security is at risk. “We need to convey that our goal is to degrade the power of Islamic extremists to commit terrorist attacks."
Those are definitely some real blunders made by Bush and his team, but I think they're still capable of upending everything and changing everyone's mind. There's plenty of time left in the second term, and I don't think Bush wants to go out quietly.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Not the Golden Dawn of Greece
The Golden Dawn is a far-right Greek party running on an anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, nationalistic platform and they're planning to hold a festival next month in the town of Meligala in southern Greece. The festival will include "racial rock music" and "inspiring messages" such as "Turkey out of Europe" and will also feature prominent neo-Nazi speakers from other European countries. The reason the Greek neo-Nazis picked this particular town and those particular dates for their festival is to commemorate the massacre of 1,400 women and children by Greek Communists during the Greek civil war. The people of Meligala are outraged and the mayor, Eleni Aliferi has vowed to block it. As she said, "for God's sake, our wounds from the civil war have yet to heal." I agree, Ms Aliferi.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
An Epidemic of Violence
The paradox of domestic violence: in order for men to be convinced that they should not beat their wives, the wives need to be convinced first that they should not be beaten. One third of Nigerian women are being abused by their partners; a third of the women in Namibia are being physically or sexually abused - and 6 out of 7 don't tell anyone; in South Africa, a male partner kills a girlfriend or spouse every six hours. And half of the women surveyed in Zambia said that "husbands have a right to beat wives who argue with them, burn the dinner, go out without the husband's permission, neglect the children or refuse sex." Entrenched Epidemic: Wife-Beatings in Africa
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Preaching Political Islam
Salim Mansur: Clerics must own up to poisonous preaching
Historically, the role of imams in preaching a version of Islam for violent political ends is indisputable.

From Ayatollah Khomeini's role in unleashing a religious-political movement in Iran, to the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman's responsibility in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, or from the fatwa (religious ruling) of Sheikh Qaradhawi (the popular Egyptian cleric based in Qatar) that it is permissible for Muslims to engage in suicide bombings against Israelis and American soldiers in Iraq, to his followers repeating the same here in Canada -- imams and their acolytes have done their share in shaping the mentality of jihadis (Muslim warriors).
(a thimbleful of the good cognac to cba)
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
What Could Have Been
While Jews are being expelled from their homes, seems like a good time to remember why Palestinians still live in refugee camps.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Oregon bans dangerous chemicals…
Just kidding. Oregon actually made certain cold and allergy drugs prescription-only, in the name of the incredibly futile war on meth (if they can't make it here, they'll make it in Mexico, and they already are). Yeah, let's make someone see a DOCTOR for a COLD.


Everyone gets at least one cold a year. Less than 32 in a thousand people do meth once a year. Let's make all thousand people go to the doctor for a prescription once or more a year! That'll fix it!

Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed legislation in Portland that would make Oregon the first state to require prescriptions for everyday cold and allergy medications that can be converted into methamphetamine.

The requirement applies to any medication containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in making meth. Tom Holt, executive director of the Oregon State Pharmacy Assn., said he thought the law would drive pseudoephedrine-containing products off the market.

"This is a tremendous start, but we must recognize that it is just that, a start," Kulongoski said, referring to the state's fight against meth.

Cold and Allergy Drugs to Require Prescriptions
In other words, even more draconian, freedom-robbing, absurd to the point of farcical measures are coming. What's the reason for all this? It certainly isn't a meth epidemic. Meth is actually trending down, and the media hype is just that: hype. Driven by...government funding battles! I bet you're all surprised. Maia Szalavitz at George Mason U has more of the sordid details:
As Jack Shafer points out in Slate for coverage of a supposedly deadly epidemic, Newsweek left out some very important numbers: The number of meth-related deaths and whether meth use is increasing or decreasing. The latter number was seemingly eliminated because it didn’t fit the story — meth use has generally been declining, with 4.7% of high school seniors reporting use in the last year in 1999, compared to 3.4% in 2004. [Note Shafer has it as 4.3% but the chart says 4.7]

There was a minor uptick between 2003 and 2004, with 3.2% reporting use in 03, but the research does not say whether it was statistically significant. The mortality figures are genuinely hard to get, however.

Nonetheless, just as with crack cocaine, at the peak of the epidemic that was supposedly ravaging the country, only 5% of the population report even trying methamphetamine and just .3% report using it in the last month. For the latest “most addictive drug ever," this means that just 6% of those who’ve tried it are still using it. Of course, this survey may underestimate actual use rates to some extent because it does not include the homeless and those in institutions and because people may be reluctant to admit to illegal activities, still, the same research reports 40% of the population has used marijuana. And as for the notion that meth addiction is impossible to treat, see our earlier article here: it isn’t.

The supposed crime wave caused by methamphetamine is also hard to credit. While cities between 50,000 and 100,000 in size do report a minor increase in violent crime as do those between 250,000 and 499,000, the smallest towns and the biggest cities are still reporting a downward trend and the overall national trend continues declining. And property crime, which is often linked to drug addiction, is down across the board. This was certainly not the case during the crack years.

As for meth as an “equal opportunity drug," this is yet another myth. In all addictions, the worst cases are concentrated amongst the poor, less educated and unemployed. For example, the proportion of people with a diagnosable drug problem of any kind in the last year is .15% for college graduates, but more than double that — .32% — for people with less than a high school education.]. The rate of addiction amongst people receiving food stamps is four times that for those who do not require food assistance.

In terms of race, meth is a white and Hispanic drug: 2.3% of white high school seniors report crystal meth use in the last year and 2.5% of Hispanic 12th graders do. But just 1.4% of black high school seniors used meth in the last year — and not one black addict appears in the recent meth media blitz.

So why the wave of meth hype now? The “news hook" appears to be a poll, conducted by the National Association of Counties, which surveyed 500 law enforcement groups in 45 states and found that 58% rated meth as the number one drug problem. This clashes, however, with the drug czar’s obsessive focus on reducing marijuana use.

But there’s a money issue underneath it all: Counties are fighting a federal budget cut which would take $634 million from local law enforcement for anti-drug task forces. Is it any wonder the feds want to play down meth, while the counties hype it up? Of course, a budget battle—between two law enforcement agencies that haven’t given us a drug-free America yet and don’t seem likely to do so — is a far less sexy story than “moms on meth…" And so, meth madness continues, without giving us greater understanding of either methamphetamine or the people whose lives are genuinely ravaged by addiction.
Welcome to manipulation. Thanks a lot, you dicks.
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floranista in The Secret Garden:
A boutonniere for Throbert.

For all you gardeners with black thumbs, this is your plant! Succulents, or water-storing plants, come in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Start with the tiny Crassula 'Gollum'
crassula_gollum[1].jpg with strange cylindrical leaves and each tip edged in red resembling a lit cigarette. This succulent grows to around 12" and has pink flowers in the winter. I bought mine before LOTR came out and it was known as plain old Crassula ovata - now there is a C. 'Hobbit' too!
On the other end of the spectrum are the majestic, towering spires of Saguaro Cactus. Saguaro_sunset[1].jpg This behemoth has a life span of 150 years and can reach 50' in height and weigh more than 10 tons! Their large white flowers open in the middle of the night and close the following morning. Our friends in Arizona tell us they are now a protected species.
6 commentsgadis left a comment at 10:43 am 04/09
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