Fang-Face's blog

The Palin Censorship List Forgery

On 06 Sep I wrote the following note to Jessamyn West.

Hi, Jessamyn.

I was checking out your journal entry on the episode of Palin's inquiring about getting books banned and scoped out the supposed list of targets one commentator had posted. I am very certain that list is cribbed from an old iteration of the list I keep. Every title on that list is on my own list, and the alphabetical format is the same, and I am aware that my list was copied at one point. The only difference I can see is that this list is formatted: Title [by] Author. I format my list Title[colon] Author. Of course once the page is saved in text format, a simple Search and Replace would account for that.

I have since extensively redone my list of banned or challenged works to break down it down on two pages; one for fiction and one for non-fiction. Here is the link so you can compare it to the one posted to your journal if you like:

http://www.advocacyagainstcensorship.com/bannedbks/bannedbk.html

Personally, I have no doubt that the charges of conspiracy to commit human rights violations and the attendant list are as phony as a promise from any of the liein', cheatin', thievin' scum and elected parasites on either side of the house/aisle/fence/whatever.

Why aren't terrorists on the "terrorist" watch list?

Did you know that U.S. Department of Fatherland Insecurity (sic), is "protecting" America from people who are known to be dead, but not from actual terrorists still known to be alive? The suicide hijackers from the WTC attack, for instance, and, even though he was not a terrorist (he was a war criminal and perpetrator of crimes against humanity), Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, the most wanted terrorists are not on the list because the U.S. government doesn't want to share that kind of information with the airlines.

Bullshit like this so-called terrorist watch list is not about security; it never has been, it never will be.

*************************************************
From the Desk of Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director, ACLU
Who's next on the watch list?
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=o29cWXSxdf3hwJC9YSdzrQ..
*************************************************

Dear ACLU Supporter,

Why is 7-year-old John Anderson from Minneapolis on the national Terrorist Watch List?
1. He pushed Tommy too hard on the playground.
2. His July 4th birthday means he distracts other Americans from
celebrating their country.
3. John didn't pick up the blocks during playtime.

The truth is that we don't know how he got on the Terrorist Watch List. Or if he can get off it. It took an Act of Congress to get Nelson Mandela, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, off the list. -- Read More

Right wing nut hysteria exposed

Watch this video at YouTube and try telling me that people who the believe American right wing, propagandist smear machine are not willing dupes and useful idiots.

Radio Host Kevin James Walks into a Smackdown

This babble-mouth dumbass spewing his verbal diarrhea is a prime example of the covert fanaticism that is the driving force behind the stupidly arrogant imperialism of the American right and its political tool, the Republican Party.

And that headline is imprecise, by the way. James didn't walk into any smackdown at all, he called it down upon himself of his own free will and volition. In fact he went out of his way to expose himself as the ignoramus and lying trash-bag that he is.

See a commentary on the whole ugly episode at this web journal.

In opposition to ALA's complicit support for book burning

Subj: Anthony Lewis Defends Cuban Librarians at ALA Conference
Date: 1/16/2008 10:45:08 PM Eastern Standard Time

The Friends of Cuban Libraries
( http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org )
Jan. 15, 2008

Anthony Lewis Defends Cuban Librarians at ALA Conference

Dear Bloggers:

On January 14, soon after the American Library Association's mid-winter conference was inaugurated in Philadelphia, the acclaimed civil liberties author Anthony Lewis gave a presentation of his new book, "Freedom for the Thought that We Hate." This event, widely publicized by the ALA, was held at the National Constitution Center. Anthony Lewis's program was sponsored by the ALA's Freedom to Read Foundation.

During his prepared remarks Anthony Lewis spoke up in defense of Cuba's independent librarians, -- Read More

Death to the term "blogosphere"!

From the A Word A Day newsletter for 02 Jan 2008:

commentariat (kom-uhn-TAR-ee-uht) noun

The group of people who provide opinion and analysis of events in the news.

[Blend of commentator and proletariat. The term was first noticed in a 1993
article in the Washington Post.]

Examples of people who comprise the commentariat: talk show hosts and
their guests, newspaper and magazine columnists, and political bloggers.

So I encourage all LISNewsterz to drop the childish and at-least-slightly-aliterate term blogosphere in favour of the much more intellectual term commentariat.

This is speaking truth to power:

We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole - or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked - at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so - whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible.

A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency: an unapologetic war-monger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself. -- Read More

A note to so-called Safelibraries.org

You're projecting your shadow and misrepresenting reality.

No, I am not imposing my morals anywhere, although that's what the ALA does

No, you are not imposing your self-righteous lunacy on others, you are merely attempting to seduce them into taking your para-schizophrenic world view onto themselves. The ALA, on the other hand, is, generally, encouraging people to hold onto the authority over and responsibility for themselves that they already have.

I am not telling people what to do.

Only, I'm sure, because you have no legal authority to do so. I have no doubt whatsoever that you would take great joy in usurping the authority free persons have over themselves if you thought for two seconds that you could get away with it. However, the statement is factual as it stands, because what you are doing, in reality, is simply screaming hysterically against the underlying foundation of freedom and liberty.

s-x-alized

Hyphens are not letters, they are punctuation. And if you are not emotionally mature enough to write a word out because you are embarrassed by it, then you are not emotionally mature enough to be let out on your own.

That aside, however, it is not the ALA, writers, publishers or booksellers, or any country's supreme court that is sexualizing children, it is people like you. It is people like yourself that see them as sexual objects as much as preferential child molesters do.

children are being s-x-alized by the ALA, in my opinion, -- Read More

Banned Book Week U.S.A.: Think globally, act globally

You can bring BBW and human rights into your library by making use of petitions that Steve Marquardt has created from Amnesty International case statements about six individuals imprisoned -- and one victim murdered -- because of what they dared to write.

As a sample, the text for the Myanmar (Burma) case is pasted immediately after his signature below.

Petitions usually cannot be attached to listservs, but if the information below and on the Amnesty web site is of interest to you, let Steve know and he'll send the petitions directly. Already he has 60 librarians and human rights activists around the USA making use of these resources.

It's a great way to inform citizens and students of the real dangers faced by persons in other lands for the usual expressive activities that we take for granted in the USA. It's not only books that need defending -- in too many countries it's authors, bloggers, journalists, etc., who also must be defended.

FOR BACKGROUND case descriptions, posters and more info, GO TO Amnesty International's web site -- http://www.amnestyusa.org/Individuals_at_Risk/Banned_Books/page.do?id=1101492&n1=3&n2=34&n3=842
or simply Google "Amnesty International Banned Books Week" to get there -- where in the right hand sidebar you'll find the following useful links:

  • "2007 Cases" -- Full descriptions of each of the five appeals for 2007.
  • "DOWNLOADS, Case Sheets" to take to a print shop (Office Max, Kinkos) to enlarge and laminate into postable posters.
  • Poster graphics that also can be blown up and posted.
  • "Overview & recent examples," which contains past cases and a useful BIBLIOGRAPHY of Banned Books Week readings.

Whether you use these human rights resources or not, have a successful Banned Books Week!

For more information, contact:
Steve Marquardt
South Dakota State University Dean of Libraries Emeritus
Amnesty International Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota
9383 123rd Avenue SE
Lake Lillian, Minnesota 56253-4700
(320) 664-4231

SAMPLE PETITION TEXT:

Dear Senior General:

We wish to bring to your attention prisoner of conscience Ko Aung Htun, also known as Aung Htun or Aung Tun, who was imprisoned during 1990-1995 for organizing student demonstrations against military rule. After his release, he wrote a seven-volume history of the student movement in Myanmar, reportedly enlisting the assistance of U Thar Ban and Dr Maung Maung Kyaw, who were also previously imprisoned former student activists at various stages of Burmese history, who reportedly provided him with photographs and papers for the history.

They all were re-arrested in February 1998 during a crackdown by authorities on political opponents. U Thar Ban and Dr. Maung Maung Kyaw were sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment and reportedly were released in 2005. Ko Aung Htun, sentenced to a total of 17 years' imprisonment, was reportedly tortured while interrogated in 1990 and again in 1998, and his health has suffered as a result.

The legislation under which the group was sentenced has been used regularly to silence freedom of expression in Myanmar and to imprison critics of the government. This legislation circumscribes rights and freedoms more than is necessary to preserve security. Amnesty International has therefore called on Myanmar authorities to review all legislation that is being used to criminalize peaceful dissent and freedom of assembly, expression and association, and we ask the authorities to revoke or amend laws as necessary to ensure conformity with international standards.

We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of Ko Aung Htun and all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar.

This one quacked me up.

Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?

No, he swims in water like all the other ducks.

Profile of Librarians v: USAPA

Librarians Describe Life Under an FBI Gag Order By Luke O'Brien Wired

Sunday 24 June 2007

Life in an FBI muzzle is no fun. Two Connecticut librarians on Sunday described what it was like to be slapped with an FBI national security letter and accompanying gag order. It sounded like a spy movie or, gulp, something that happens under a repressive foreign government. Peter Chase and Barbara Bailey, librarians in Plainville, Connecticut, received an NSL to turn over computer records in their library on July 13, 2005. Unlike a suspected thousands of other people around the country, Chase, Bailey and two of their colleagues stood up to the Man and refused to comply, convinced that the feds had no right to intrude on anyone's privacy without a court order (NSLs don't require a judge's approval). That's when things turned ugly.

This story, along with one titled ACLU to Honor Connecticut Librarians and John Doe During Seattle Conference, were reprinted at TruthOut.org; both on the same web page. What is most interesting is the revelation that the U.S. federal government appears to hold itself exempt from its own national security regulations; which regulations it violated by identifying one of the librarians involved, who was forbidden by those regulations to identify himself.

Letter to Ms. Irshad Manji

22 May 2007

Sheila Kay Publicist Random House XXXX@XXXXXXXXXXX.XXX

Dear, Ms. Kay.

I am writing to you because I would like to contact Ms. Irshad Manji about her upcoming engagement with the American Library Association in June of this year. I would like to apprise her of certain ongoing issues involving the ALA and centering around the oppression of independent journalists and librarians effected by the government of Cuba in March of 2003. Specifically, the issue of the independent librarians, the court ordered treatment of their confiscated collections, and the ALA's
refusal to condemn the actions of the courts. There is a group within the ALA that is doing everything it can to divert attention away from and to cover up this important issue. I would further note that the ALA leadership has a long history of ignoring appeals on behalf of these independent librarians that have [been] issued by Ray Bradbury, Nat Hentoff, Madeleine Albright, Amnesty International, and International PEN.

In brief: In 2003, seventy-five Cuban citizens were arrested and subjected to one day long trials. A number of those citizens were people who had taken to collecting and lending out books out of their own homes in the manner of public libraries. These independent librarians were subsequently given sentences ranging from thirteen to twenty-six years imprisonment; an average of 20.8 years apiece. At least six of the collections were ordered to be destroyed -- in some cases specifically to be
burned -- by the courts. These rulings were written into the sentencing documents.

On 14 January 2004, in what appears to have been a pure political-publicity move, the ALA governing council voted to adopt a report from two of its committees on the issue of the Cuban crackdown on independent librarians. The four-page report said the association expresses its "deep concern" over the arrest and jailing of the librarians and urges the Cuban government to "respect, defend and promote" basic human rights. This is the full extent of their opposition to this oppressive movement.

The ALA's involvement with this issue to date has been a very concerted effort to avoid any involvement whatever:

  • the 2004 resolution passed by the ALA was essentially an effort to distract attention from the ALA's ongoing failure to condemn the persecution or book burning in Cuba;
  • it has failed to call for the release of the jailed library workers;
  • it has failed even to mention the names of any of the indy librarians as if they are Orwellian "non-persons".

The Cuban independent librarian movement was started after Fidel Castro publicly proclaimed at an international book fair, "In Cuba there are no banned books, there just isn't any money to buy them." It was begun basically as [an] expermiment to test that assertion. In the space of five years or so, there were two hundred libraries being operated out of people's homes. Since the 2003 crackdown, indy librarians have been subjected to external exile, police harrassment, intimidation, and on 10
October 2006, the Assembly to Promote a Civil Society, a dissident organization in Cuba, began a series of meetings at independent libraries affiliated with the group. When the ten people who had assembled at Noelia Pedraza Jimenez's house tried to leave at the end of the meeting, they were attacked by a Rapid Response Brigade; a government-organized mob. At least two indy librarians, Orestes and Nancy Suarez, were beaten. Images of the couple are archived here: (http://bitacoracubana.com/desdecuba/portada2.php?id=3166)

There has been a group of activists, Freadom, (with which I have come to associate), that has been agitating for more firm action by the ALA. The ALA leadership, while ignoring the ongoing persecution in Cuba, claims it is merely following the lead of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), when in fact the ALA leadership has ignored IFLA's 1999 report on this subject which condemned the Cuban government and called for an end to the repression of independent librarians on
the island. A copy of that report is archived at the IFLA site: (http://www.ifla.org/faife/faife/cubarepo.htm). The group has also been lobbying the ALA to have the matter of Cuba's book burning published on the ALA web page dedicated to Book Burning in the 20th Century. The ALA basically stonewalled on that issue until this spring when it announced flat out that it would not carry the incident on its book burning page.

By January of 2004, the silence of the ALA became so contentious that civil libertarian Nat Hentoff sent his Imroth Award back to the ALA. The citation on the award, from June 1983, reads: "For courageous and articulate advocacy of the First Amendment as an author, speaker, and activist for human rights." Mr. Hentoff wrote in his column for Thursday, 29 January 2004, "I now publicly renounce the Immroth Award and demand that the American Library Association remove me from the list of
recipients of that honor."

What seems to be the key to the ALA's lack of opposition is a statement by Eliades Acosta, then head of the Cuban Library System, that the private citizens were not "real" librarians. A sentiment that has come to be adopted and repeated by some of the ALA officials who have given support -- first implicitly and now complicitly -- to this oppressive movement. Mr. Acosta's statement, however, is a half-truth. It is true only in that in Cuban, one requires permission from the government to call,
or to comport one's self as, a librarian. This is not a sentiment adopted by either Andrei Codrescu or Madeleine Albright, both of whom chided the ALA at that body's 2006 mid-Winter and annual conferences respectively.

I would like to ask Ms. Manji to take up the torch where those worthies left off, and to also question what has become a conspiracy of silence. At the very least, because the support of this oppressive movement is in direct violation of the ALA's own policies as regards freedom of information. At the most, because it is also in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And overall, simply because it is such a vile injustice.

If you or Ms. Manji would like further information, I will be happy to answer any questions or provide links to the relevant archives, aside from those below. And, of course, I hope Ms. Manji will feel free to contact the ALA for their perspective on this issue.

Thank you.

Michael Nellis [Contact information deleted]

P.S.:

For further information on these issues, I recommend the following sites:

Friends of Cuban Libraries:

http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org/index.htm

Freadom:

http://www.4freadom.org

The Lair of Fang-Face DreamWeaver: Celebrate Freedom:

http://fangfacedreamweaver.6te.net/bannedbks/censorcubanlibs.html http://fangfacedreamweaver.6te.net/bannedbks/censoroped028.html http://fangfacedreamweaver.6te.net/bannedbks/censoroped064.html

Sentencing Documents from the trials:

Amnesty International:

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR250172003?open&of=ENG-CUB

Organization of American States:

http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2006eng/CUBA.12476eng.htm

In reply to Dave, from Filtering thread.

Pardon my tardiness with this reply. A copy has also been posted to the original thread. Dave posted his comment on 13 May, and I couldn't get around to answering it before today.

First, let me point out that censorship starts at the publisher's door -- not the distributor.

That is an egregious misinterpretation, at best, or an outright misrepresentation, at worst. It shows that you know little, if anything, about issues of censorship and free speech.

Secondly, we are talking about taxpayer funded speech -- and taxpayers have every right to define the speech they want to pay for, or stop for that matter.

Anti-censorship advocates pay their taxes too, and don't see why their tax dollars should be funnelled into a religious totalitarianist movement by the U.S. government in violation of the First Amendment proscription against a theopolitical establishment.

Secondly, your statement is repudiated by that portion of the First Amendment that says the government is forbidden to abridge freedom of speech. Public funds, as held in trust and disbursed by any level of government, cannot be legally used to stop speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has been defining the word "congress", as used in the First Amendment, since at least 1933 or 1928, increasingly to mean any person, whether elected, appointed, or employed, at any level of government. That means
everybody from the dogcatcher to the President, and includes librarians.

Perverts can find their smut elsewhere.

Oh yeah? What places are the censormorons are going to leave them to find their smut? You are focusing solely on censorship in the library. Censorship movements are ubiquitous. The ultra-right wing nut reactionaries don't want anything, anywhere, that offends their hypersensitivities and petty prejudices. You know? . . . the people who demanded internet filtering in the first place and wouldn't allow anybody to look at the lists of what sites were being blocked or to know by what criteria they
were blocked under? Sites having to do with science? Political officials? Etc, ad nauseum?

Censorship is like a blood-lust. Neither one can ever be slaked.

While liberals could care less about protecting the lives and safety of children, . . .

This is an outright lie. It is not that liberals couldn't care less about protecting the physical safety and wellbeing of children, it just that we know their civil liberties can be protected at the same time without endangering their health or safety. You don't. You can't. The right-wing is pathologically incapable of dealing with such a concept.

. . . government has a compelling interest in doing so.

This is an unwarranted assumption at best. There is no reputable evidence to uphold the contention, and it continues to reverberate throughout the right-wing echo chamber simply because it is a necessary falsehood for the promotion of censorship.

Attacks on children in libraries by men who have been stimulated by Internet porn are well documented.

Excuse me? Those attacks were motivated solely by internet porn? The fact that those assailants were latent child-molesters had nothing to do with it? They could not possibly have been motivated by

Adults fondling themselves in plain view of others, including children have also been documented.

How many adult males enter into public libraries on a daily basis? How many of those view triple X of five X rated material? How many of those fondle themselves in public? Or molest children? What kind of a fractional percentage are we talking about here and how, exactly, does that create a compelling interest in censorship?

You do understand, don't you, that this is Orwellian thinking? The idea that all males who perform Y are double-plus, ungood crimethinkers or want to be? You do understand, do you not, that you are violating the civil right of unguessable numbers of law abiding males to be presumed innocent until proven guilty? You do know, don't you, that what you are proposing is to punish the overwhelming majority for the actions of the underwhelming minority?

No. Of of course you don't.

By the way, should I accuse conservatives of not caring about children for ignoring the fact that the majority of molestation victims are victimized by their own fathers in their own homes?

. . . the ACLU recognizes that filtering software is a great solution to this problem . . .

This is another misrepresentation if not another outright lie. The ACLU only recognized that filtering is the lesser of two current evils. They told the court involved that filtering would be less burdensome than the alternative that was being touted by the censorial.

Lastly, why can't liberals engage in honest debate without the hate mongering name calling. Really, "censormorons" is unnecessary.

Censormorons is exactly the right word for them. Take it up with D.H. Lawrence if you don't like it, or stop identifying yourself as one by proclaiming so loudly that the shoe fits. Tell me something, Dave. Why can't the right-wing engage in honest debate? Why does its members have to rely on one outright lie after another. In some cases, lies that have been thoroughly debunked and which they have been told are lies? Why is it the right-wing can't refrain from smear tactics when talking to or
about anyone who will not pander to their invincible ignorance? You're squalling about a lack of civility is just another right-wing trick to try chill speech that is critical of the right-wing.

And this after you accused all liberals of acting in collusion with child molesters and abusers.

Pfah!

Oh, yes, and one last thing. You have failed to define pornography. Which is something which the right-wing would not allow even if it were possible. It would really put a cramp in a person's censorship efforts if there were objective criteria by which something could be proved to be exempt from those efforts.

A Stalinist style human rights festival?

So, Leslie, darling, how is it that you had a "human rigths" festival without pointing out the human rights failures by the repressive Cuban regime? I wouldn't think it was much of a coup to have only two human rights areas in which a government excels while violating every other area of human rigths. The Universal Declaration of Human Rigths is not restricted to just education and health care.

Screening of Cuban films sets off firestorm

By: Kristin Boyd, Staff Writer
05/18/2007

Library responds to accusations that Human Rights Film Festival distorts conditions in Cuba

The Princeton Public Library has inadvertently set off a firestorm of criticism involving Cuba, health care and human rights.

According to some critics, two of the 15 films shown during the library's annual Human Rights Film Festival last weekend are "propaganda" and do not accurately reflect life in Cuba.

"I think it's outrageous to have a film festival at a public library that leaves out all the realities of Cuba, especially when you have thousands of witnesses to the human rights violations," said Maria C. Werlau, executive director of Cuba Archive, an organization that collects information about the country.

[...]

Leslie Burger, library director, said the film festival committee had no intentions to glorify Cuba. "Salud!" and "The Power of Community" were chosen because of the issues they addressed, not where they were filmed.

"They felt it was unbalanced because there were two films that were holding Cuba up as a model, and that really wasn't it," Ms. Burger said. "It wasn't a Cuban film festival. It was a human rights festival. The conversations we were trying to have were about education and energy and health care and immigration and disaster relief."

Web site re-established

The Lair of Fang-Face DreamWeaver and The Encyclopedia Michael Nellis has been re-established on the web. The Angelfire site was summarily booted for "terms of service violations", although they wouldn't say which terms were violated. There still remains a bit of tweaking and correcting among the links, so navigation could prove . . . adventurous.

Mazel Tov.

Ya gotta love this shit

Jeff Gannon, a "faggot" hooker gets into the press corps to propagandize for the administration and gets found out; a couple or few ultra-self-righteous pastors get caught in peccadilloes with "faggots"; now the Conservative Political Action Conference -- the one at which Ann Coulter called Edwards a faggot -- honored a "faggot" porn star and "escort". Not only that, but Anne "the anti-faggot" Coulter exploited a photo-op with this poster child for a demographic that causes the Republican Party to shit its collective pants in apoplectic fits.

Read all about it. Truth is really so much stranger than fiction. If I had come up with this for a book nobody would ever believe it could at all be plausible.

FREADOM movement publicity

From : XXXXXXXX@XXXXXXXXX.XXX
Sent : February 20, 2007 6:39:01 AM
To : XXXXXXXXXX@XX.XXX
Subject : Orlanda Sentinel Promotes "FREADING" BINGO

EDITORIAL

The importance of 'freading'
Our position: A national group's approach to banned Cuban books is laudable.

February 20, 2007

There are prudent ways to react to controversy, and there is reactionary
overkill.

Six months after the Miami-Dade School Board led the political charge to
ban the book, Vamos a Cuba, a national group took the right approach to
shed light on the right of literary expression: encouraging students
throughout the U.S. to read books that have been burned in Cuba.

A group of librarians, authors and human-rights activists launched the
project after controversy regarding a children's book called Vamos a Cuba.
[...]

The national organization, called FREADOM, is bringing attention to
documents and books that include a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. and
George Orwell's Animal Farm.

[...]

You can't keep burning ideas, hoping they go up in smoke. Just like the
credibility of the Miami-Dade School Board.

Copyright 2007, Orlando Sentinel

[Reprinted here without permission under Fair Use provisions. --MN]

See the FREADOM.org site for more information on the International Read a Burned Book campaign.

To: You Fm: The ACLU: Happy Holidays

An Overdue Visit

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the nation
Friends of Freedom knew it was a special occasion.
Lady Liberty stood taller just off the shore
Her torch shining brighter than a few weeks before

But it wasn't the flame turning her cheeks all rosy
It was thoughts of Snowe, Feingold and Nancy Pelosi
And leaders from every side of the aisle
Who would soon bring the Bill of Rights back into style.

The Amendments had all hurried out of their beds -
Which was no easy task, they were nearly in shreds -
And they rushed to the window on papery feet
As a jolly old man flew right over their street.

"Could it be!?" they inquired as the roof shook and trembled
And they crept toward the mantle, peaceably assembled,
Just as someone emerged from the chimney with flair
In a shiny red suit, with a shock of white hair

And a top hat, and pants all in red, white and blue -
"Wait a minute," the Amendments exclaimed, "Who are you?"
"Don't be frightened my children," he said, "it's no scam.
"You can't have forgotten your old Uncle Sam!"

"Holy crap!" said Free Speech. "Stop right there!" yelled Bear Arms
And Privacy cried "Who shut off the alarms?!"
The Fifth remained silent, but Uncle Sam said
"We've been having some trouble, but Freedom's not dead."

The Amendments were cautious. "It's just been so long
"We've seen Liberty lost, we've seen so much go wrong.
"The President's trying to mangle and warp us,
"The Fourth is in tatters, so's Habeas Corpus!"

The old man sat down - he had had quite a ride -
But he told them "Don't worry, the Law's on our side,
"'Cause the nation's fed up and more people are crying
"For Justice and an end to illegal spying,

"And secret abductions by the CIA,
"And laws that would take women's choices away,
"And Gitmo tribunals and secret detention,
"And other intrusions too numerous to mention - "

"Not so fast," said a grinchity voice from above
And Don Rumsfeld pushed past the Fourteenth with a shove.
He was covered in soot and he looked kind of scary.
It seemed like his Christmas had not been so merry.

The Amendments said they weren't happy to see him:
"You tried to throw all of us in the museum!
"You've done so much the Constitution forbids!"
"And I would have gone on, but for you meddling kids!"

Uncle Sam told him "Rummy, your plans just won't do,
"So we've got a brand new timetable for you!"
And as Rumsfeld retired and crept into the night
The Amendments cried out "Have a good secret flight!"

From the distance they heard him reply with a snort.
"Bye-bye, Rummy!" they answered, "we'll see you in court!"
Uncle Sam rode the chimney up out of the room
And, like Frosty, he said "I'll be back again soon."

But they heard him exclaim "Oh, and just one more thing!
"This year, when the holiday bells start to ring,
"Try to honor religion. Honest faith can't be wrong.
"It's America, can't we all just get along?

"So, on Christian," he cried, "Muslim, Hindu, and Jew!
"On Quaker! On Shaker! And Atheist too!
"On Buddhist! On Taoist! And to show we're not chickens
"We'll file a few lawsuits defending the Wiccans!

"Your belief is your right, so get out there and savor it.
"Uncle Sam's not a preacher, and he doesn't play favorites!"
So this holiday season, whatever you do,
Warmest wishes for Freedom, from the ACLU.

Solidarity With Cuba

A web site created in cooperation with the Lech Walesa Institute. The link will take you to the English version. In their own words:

The socio-political project of the socialistic Cuba of Fidel Castro has been so much out of reality that it can be interesting only from a historical point of view.

The democratic movement is emerging, new civil initiatives for democracy are coming out, the generation born after 1959 is presenting its own ideas and proposals to arrange the state that are radically different than the ones supported by the official media. The dissidents and oppositionists as well as the young, in a bloodless and non-violent way, hollow the new spaces in the rotting system of Cuban dictatorship. There are more and more groups appearing in Cuba that are not related to the ruling elite. They might be considered as a germ of a new political scene resembling, in their main ideological and political divisions, the Western European democracies.

The portal Solidarity with Cuba is dedicated to the civil society from the Island - to the society that is growing with hope for the better future despite the atmosphere of constant threat and the regime's reprisals.

We created this site as a media room for Cuban defenders of civic liberties and human rights so that they could be heard by Poles, and in return, so that Poles could take up the dialogue in solidarity with Cubans. One can read here about the social, political and economic situation in Cuba. Any visitor is also welcome to express its support for the peaceful activity of dissidents and oppositionists in the island.

Iraq National Library follow up

Sent: 10 December 2006 18:46
To: Iraq Crisis List
Subject: [Iraqcrisis] Re-opening of the Iraq National Library and Archive

Friends and colleagues,

The latest news from Dr. Saad Eskander, Director-General of the Iraq National Library and Archive, is that he and the department heads have met. Despite the fact that the security situation is not one whit better than it has been of late, they have decided to re-open their institution. Dr. Eskander has divided the librarians and archivists into two groups; each group will work a three-day week, permitting access throughout the week. As he put it in an e-mail communication, "We all felt that it was vital to serve our people regardless of the
security situation." Given that all citizens of Baghdad--and other places in Iraq--face many challenges simply trying to make their way,
day to day, our Iraqi colleagues deserve sympathy, admiration, and honor for risking their lives in service of their institution and the commonweal.

Jeff
--
******************************
Jeffrey B. Spurr
Islamic and Middle East Specialist
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture Fine Arts Library, Harvard University Fogg Art Museum

Closing the Iraq National Library & Archive

Sent: 27 November 2006 14:12
To: Iraq Crisis List
Subject: [Iraqcrisis] Iraq National Library and Archive

Friends and colleagues,

I have just received the grave and deeply dispiriting news from Dr.
Saad Eskander that he has closed the Iraq National Library and Archive
for the time being as of last Tuesday. On 15 November, he informed me
that his institution had been bombed thrice in three weeks, and
subjected to sniper fire, including directly into his own office.
Another young librarian was recently murdered, and the building had been
shelled several times in the few days previous to the closing (by which
I assume he meant mortar fire).

Dr. Eskander has been a model of progressive action, has increased his
staff substantially, and has striven very hard to gain them training on
several fronts, and otherwise restore functioning to an institution that
was twice set on fire during the initial period of American occupation.
Prompted by a question from me concerning how he was managing to keep
such a large staff coming to work under such perilous circumstances, he
informed me last spring that he was dedicating 30% of his budget to
bussing them all back and forth each day, although three of his drivers
had been murdered in the process.

However necessary, this was financially untenable as a long-term
accommodation to the exigencies of the times. As we all know, the
situation has only grown worse since then, and the repeated direct
attacks on his institution made it a place he could no longer ask his
staff to serve. The forces of intolerance are thriving, and those
institutions and persons representing a progressive and hopeful future
for Iraq are under assault and in retreat.

Yours truly,
Jeff
--
******************************
Jeffrey B. Spurr
Islamic and Middle East Specialist
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture Fine Arts Library, Harvard University Fogg Art Museum
32 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138-3802
[contact information deleted at the discretion of the editor. --MN]

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