Military-Industrial Complex Speech

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition
of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our
liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.
Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper
meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with
our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may
prosper together. " --, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
full text:



Adam Smith The Theory of the Moral Sentiments 1759

The father of Capitalism did not see it in the eutopian way we do today. Capitalism is simply an amoral financial system. It is not a philosophy of life. --Lee

Adam Smith
The Theory of the Moral Sentiments

The poor man's son, whom heaven in its anger has visited with ambition, when he begins to look around him, admires the condition of the rich. He finds the cottage of his father too small for his accommodation, and fancies he should be lodged more at his ease in a palace. He is displeased with being obliged to walk a-foot, or to endure the fatigue of riding on horseback. He sees his superiors carried about in machines, and imagines that in one of these he could travel with less inconveniency. He feels himself naturally indolent, and willing to serve himself with his own hands as little as possible; and judges, that a numerous retinue of servants would save him from a great deal of trouble. He thinks if he had attained all these, he would sit still contentedly, and be quiet, enjoying himself in the thought of the happiness and tranquillity of his situation. He is enchanted with the distant idea of this felicity. It appears in his fancy like the life of some superior rank of beings, and, in order to arrive at it, he devotes himself for ever to the pursuit of wealth and greatness. To obtain the conveniencies which these afford, he submits in the first year, nay in the first month of his application, to more fatigue of body and more uneasiness of mind than he could have suffered through the whole of his life from the want of them. He studies to distinguish himself in some laborious profession. With the most unrelenting industry he labours night and day to acquire talents superior to all his competitors. He endeavours next to bring those talents into public view, and with equal assiduity solicits every opportunity of employment. For this purpose he makes his court to all mankind; he serves those whom he hates, and is obsequious to those whom he despises. Through the whole of his life he pursues the idea of a certain artificial and elegant repose which he may never arrive at, for which he sacrifices a real tranquillity that is at all times in his power, and which, if in the extremity of old age he should at last attain to it, he will find to be in no respect preferable to that humble security and contentment which he had abandoned for it. It is then, in the last dregs of life, his body wasted with toil and diseases, his mind galled and ruffled by the memory of a thousand injuries and disappointments which he imagines he has met with from the injustice of his enemies, or from the perfidy and ingratitude of his friends, that he begins at last to find that wealth and greatness are mere trinkets of frivolous utility, no more adapted for procuring ease of body or tranquillity of mind than the tweezer-cases of the lover of toys; and like them too, more troublesome to the person who carries them about with him than all the advantages they can afford him are commodious. There is no other real difference between them, except that the conveniencies of the one are somewhat more observable than those of the other. The palaces, the gardens, the equipage, the retinue of the great, are objects of which the obvious conveniency strikes every body. They do not require that their masters should point out to us wherein consists their utility. Of our own accord we readily enter into it, and by sympathy enjoy and thereby applaud the satisfaction which they are fitted to afford him. But the curiosity of a tooth-pick, of an ear-picker, of a machine for cutting the nails, or of any other trinket of the same kind, is not so obvious Their conveniency may perhaps be equally great, but it is not so striking, and we do not so readily enter into the satisfaction of the man who possesses them. They are therefore less reasonable subjects of vanity than the magnificence of wealth and greatness; and in this consists the sole advantage of these last. They more effectually gratify that love of distinction so natural to man. To one who was to live alone in a desolate island it might be a matter of doubt, perhaps, whether a palace, or a collection of such small conveniencies as are commonly contained in a tweezer-case, would contribute most to his happiness and enjoyment. If he is to live in society, indeed, there can be no comparison, because in this, as in all other cases, we constantly pay more regard to the sentiments of the spectator, than to those of the person principally concerned, and consider rather how his situation will appear to other people, than how it will appear to himself. If we examine, however, why the spectator distinguishes with such admiration the condition of the rich and the great, we shall find that it is not so much upon account of the superior ease or pleasure which they are supposed to enjoy, as of the numberless artificial and elegant contrivances for promoting this ease or pleasure. He does not even imagine that they are really happier than other people: but he imagines that they possess more means of happiness. And it is the ingenious and artful adjustment of those means to the end for which they were intended, that is the principal source of his admiration. But in the languor of disease and the weariness of old age, the pleasures of the vain and empty distinctions of greatness disappear. To one, in this situation, they are no longer capable of recommending those toilsome pursuits in which they had formerly engaged him. In his heart he curses ambition, and vainly regrets the ease and the indolence of youth, pleasures which are fled for ever, and which he has foolishly sacrificed for what, when he has got it, can afford him no real satisfaction. In this miserable aspect does greatness appear to every man when reduced either by spleen or disease to observe with attention his own situation, and to consider what it is that is really wanting to his happiness. Power and riches appear then to be, what they are, enormous and operose machines contrived to produce a few trifling conveniencies to the body, consisting of springs the most nice and delicate, which must be kept in order with the most anxious attention, and which in spite of all our care are ready every moment to burst into pieces, and to crush in their ruins their unfortunate possessor. They are immense fabrics, which it requires the labour of a life to raise, which threaten every moment to overwhelm the person that dwells in them, and which while they stand, though they may save him from some smaller inconveniencies, can protect him from none of the severer inclemencies of the season. They keep off the summer shower, not the winter storm, but leave him always as much, and sometimes more exposed than before, to anxiety, to fear, and to sorrow; to diseases, to danger, and to death.


Only Morons Listen To This Idiot.

A Play About Shells for Gaza Children - NYTimes.com

A Play About Shells for Gaza Children - NYTimes.com

A Play About Shells for Gaza Children

Published: January 24, 2009

GAZA — The boys clapped and sang to pulsating music. They played games and shouted. It could have been a group activity at any school in any place, but this was the middle school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, near where the United Nations says some 40 people were killed by Israeli mortar fire earlier this month.

Skip to next paragraph
Tyler Hicks/The New York TimesRuins and Resumption Residents returned to their homes around Gaza City on Friday.
Tyler Hicks/The New York TimesOn Saturday, children were back in school in the Jabaliya camp.

Saturday was the first day of school since before the war, and 1,000 homeless people had been removed from the building so that classes could begin.

Even then, normal schoolwork had to wait. A team trained in trauma and group activities was running the assembly, and after the singing and clapping, there was a play devoted to how to handle dangerous materials, like shell parts, still in or near homes. Later, each pupil described what had happened to him and to his friends and family in Israel's 23-day war aimed at stopping Hamas's rockets.

"They are not ready to learn yet," said Asem Bajah, an English teacher, as he watched the singing. "And I am not ready to teach."

One week after the war with Israel and Hamas stopped — each side declaring a unilateral cease-fire — Gaza remains in a kind of stupor. There are numbers, of course, to describe its misery — 4,000 homes destroyed, 21,000 badly damaged, 100,000 people homeless, according to several aid agencies — but they do not tell the full story.

full article here: A Play About Shells for Gaza Children - NYTimes.com


Bye, Bye, Bush!

"'To lock people into a war zone is something that evokes the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto..."

UN investigator sees evidence of war crimes in Gaza | International | Reuters:

By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - There is evidence that Israel committed war crimes during its 22-day campaign in the Gaza Strip and there should be an independent inquiry, U.N. investigator Richard Falk said on Thursday.

The mental anguish of the civilians who suffered the assault is so great that the entire population of Gaza could be seen as casualties, said Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Falk, speaking by phone from his home in California, said compelling evidence that Israel's actions in Gaza violated international humanitarian law required an independent investigation into whether they amounted to war crimes.

"I believe that there is the prima facie case for reaching that conclusion," he told a Geneva news conference.

Falk said Israel had made no effort to allow civilians to escape the fighting.

"'To lock people into a war zone is something that evokes the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto, and sieges that occur unintentionally during a period of wartime,' Falk, who is Jewish, said, referring to the starvation and murder of Warsaw's Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two."

Barack Berry

Ron Reagan: Chinese Officials Gag Obama

Ron Reagan: Chinese Officials Gag Obama

Published on Air America Media (http://airamerica.com)

China: the worst combination of Maoism and Capitalism. Boycott Chinese Goods! --Lee

Ron Reagan: Chinese Officials Gag Obama

China kept a close eye on Barack Obama's inauguration speech on Tuesday. As the translated version of his speech aired, the audio cut out when President Obama mentioned communism and fascism. CCTV cut to an anchor, unbeknownst to her at first, to ask an analyst questions as Obama was speaking.

© 2008, Air America Media Site Credits




"Antarctica Heating Up, 'Ignored' Satellite Data Show

Anne Minard
for National Geographic News
January 21, 2009

Temperatures are warming throughout Antarctica, especially in winter and spring, according to new weather station and satellite data.

The evidence contradicts studies showing that only the Antarctic Peninsula was warming while the rest of the continent has cooled.

The previous data has, in a least one case, fueled skepticism about global warming.

The new study also reveals that western Antarctica may actually be warming faster than the Antarctic Peninsula, 'the biggest surprise' to study lead author Eric Steig, a climate researcher at the University of Washington.

'We can't say this with confidence, but our results at least hint that that may be the case.'

Previous papers had already hinted at warming in eastern Antarctica, Steig said.

The Antarctic Peninsula, the farthest portion of the continent from the South Pole, has warmed faster than any other place in the world in the past 50 years—by some estimates as much as 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees Celsius).

Such increases have caused dramatic ice shelf collapses.

(Related: 'Antarctica Ice Loss Faster Than Ten Years Ago' [November 4, 2008].)

Steig also emphasized that the huge continent remains a complicated place, with both warming and cooling trends varying with geography and season.

Forest for the Trees

Steig and his team were conducting climate studies from ice cores in western Antarctica and needed up-to-date data for comparison.

With no permanent research stations, the scientists lacked reliable long-term records, Steig said.

'We recognized that to get an idea of what was happening in western Antarctica, we would have to rely on using weather station data from other parts of Antarctica.'

Because weather stations are so sparse, past studies relied weighted averages, for the missing areas that are based on temperatures from surrounding locales.

'In our case, we recognized that there was a better way to [connect data] between weather stations in Antarctica, which was to use satellite data,' said Steig, whose results appear in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

The team combined spotty weather station records and satellite data between 1957 and 2006.

'In retrospect, it is pretty obvious that ignoring the satellite data, as others had done, was really missing the forest for the trees,' Steig said.

The researchers found that the temperature over western Antarctica is rising 0.31 Fahrenheit (0.17 degree Celsius) per decade, with a continental increase of 0.18 Fahrenheit (0.1 degree Celsius).

Worldwide, the temperature has climbed an average of 1.08 Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) over the past 50 years, said study co-author Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science.

A hole in the ozone layer over eastern Antarctica drives winds that help keep temperatures down, but that effect is likely to lessen as the layer heals, leading to still more warming, Shindell added.

About Face

In 2002, Peter Doran, an earth and environmental scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, published results that showed more parts of Antarctica than not were cooling.

But Doran wrote a 2007 op-ed in the New York Times lamenting that his earlier study had been cited by global warming skeptics, including the late Michael Crichton in his 2004 novel State of Fear.

(Get fast facts on global warming.)

Doran also wrote that more weather stations on Antarctica and longer-term data would be needed to demonstrate a clear trend in Antarctica.

This week, Doran called the new Nature paper 'an excellent and thorough study by a top-notch group.'

'First, they have brought in a combination of data sources and added another decade and a half to what we reported on. The argument for an expanded warming in [western] Antarctica based on this seems reasonable.'

Continued satellite measurements, more weather stations, and core samples to reconstruct historic temperatures are all needed to complete the Antarctic climate picture, Steig said.

© 1996-2008 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved."

Tell Obama: Clean Coal Is A MYTH.

Tons of Coal Ash Piling Up Across U.S., Analysis Says: "Tons of Coal Ash Piling Up Across U.S., Analysis Says

Associated Press
Saturday, January 10, 2009; A02

Millions of tons of toxic coal ash is piling up in power plant ponds in 32 states, a situation the U.S. government has long recognized as a risk to human health and the environment but has done nothing about.

An Associated Press analysis of the most recent Energy Department data found that 156 coal-fired power plants store ash in surface ponds similar to one that ruptured last month in Tennessee. Yesterday, a pond at a northeastern Alabama power plant spilled a different material -- water laced with calcium sulfate, a component of a material known as gypsum -- and some lawmakers said the incident was more evidence that Congress needs to overhaul coal waste regulations.

'One disaster convinced me that we ought to subject coal ash impoundments to federal design, construction and inspection requirements,' said Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. 'But two incidents in less than three weeks at a TVA site illustrate that we must act swiftly if we hope to ensure a basic level safety for our communities and the environment.'

The man-made lagoons hold a mixture of the noncombustible ingredients of coal and the ash trapped by equipment designed to reduce air pollution from the power plants.

Over the years, the volume of waste has grown as demand for electricity has increased and the federal government has further restricted emissions from power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency eight years ago said it wanted to set a national standard for ponds or landfills used to dispose of wastes produced from burning coal. The agency has yet to act.

As a result, coal ash ponds are subject to less regulation than landfills accepting household trash, even though the industry's own estimates show that ash ponds contain tens of thousands of pounds of toxic heavy metals."


TRANSCRIPT: Obama's Inaugural Address

TRANSCRIPT: Obama's Inaugural Address: "FULL TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address
President Barack Obama Delivers Inaugural Address at US Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Jan. 20, 2009

Full transcript as prepared for delivery of President Barack Obama's inaugural remarks on Jan. 20, 2009, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

'Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].'

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures"

'Air and Simple Gifts' John Williams at Obama Inauguration

Yo-Yo Ma , Itzhak Perlman , Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gain'd, To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Theres no one as Irish as Barack OBama- Corrigan Brothers

"Air and Simple Gifts", composed by John Williams

Yo-Yo Ma , Itzhak Perlman , Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero at the Obama Inauguration

"Air and Simple Gifts", composed by John Williams

Yo-Yo Ma , Itzhak Perlman , Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero at the Obama Inauguration

"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph

Listen to Copeland here.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,

'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain'd,

To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

We Are Back!


Gaza is dying

Dear friends,

Spread the word - as the awful Gaza death toll passes 1000, our
Ceasefire Now petition is being delivered worldwide through ads, phone
calls, and meetings with world leaders. We urgently need to reach 1
million signatures this week, act now and forward this email:
Sign Ceasefire Petition,
see our US ads!

Gaza is dying -- the battle has moved deep into its cities, jam-packed
with 1.5 million civilians lacking food, medicine or water. President
Bush undermined Thursday's United Nations ceasefire resolution and
over 1000 people are now dead. The borders remain closed --
journalists can't get in, and desperate civilians can't get out.

But the global movement to end this war is building -- as we spread
the word the petition is at 430,000 signatures and rising, it has been
delivered to top leaders at the EU, UN and Arab League, our US members
are flooding their representatives with phone calls, and Avaaz members
worldwide have donated over $120,000 to an ad campaign in key

The pressure is working -- so we're ratcheting it up with hard-hitting
US ads pressing Barack Obama personally for an immediate change of
tack, face-to-face petition deliveries to European leaders this week
to get them to act, and working with Palestinians and Israelis to plan
bold actions on the ground. But every one of these actions becomes
stronger as more of us join the campaign. We need to reach 1 million
signatures this week -- thank you for signing the petition already,
let's all of us now take a moment to forward this email to all our
friends and family so they can join us and be heard:


Voices for a ceasefire are finally being heard in the Israeli cabinet
and media, Hamas is signalling it could accept a deal including
Turkish forces and EU monitors, but the sides are too far apart to end
this themselves.[3] That's why action by world powers is critical to
break the deadlock -- and global citizens' voices can make all the
difference if we raise an unstoppable voice calling on incoming
President Obama, the EU and Arab and Muslim states to guarantee a fair
and lasting ceasefire.

This week we are lobbying European and Muslim states for a more
effective international initiative to end the violence, protect
civilians on all sides and make normal life possible again in Gaza,
while reaching out to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who is in the
Middle East working for a deal (we met him last year to deliver our
food crisis campaign). Meanwhile we're challenging contacts on both
sides to think creatively and accept a fair, internationally-overseen

We've already run member-funded ads in the influential Washington Post
and Roll Call, the US Congress newspaper -- on the day of his
inauguration this coming Tuesday, we will press Barack Obama to
abandon Bush's failed policies and act immediately to end this war,
using his own words alongside hard facts to make the case in ads, US
media debates and directly lobbying his team.

It's amazing what we can do when hundreds of thousands of us come
together arond the world -- and if we raise our efforts to another
level this week, we could help to finally end the Gaza horror. Follow
the link below to take the first step by signing the petition, then
spread the word so others can do the same:


With hope and determination,

Paul, Graziela, Alice, Ricken, Luis, Brett, Ben, Iain, Paula,
Veronique, Milena and the whole Avaaz team

P.S. For a report on some of Avaaz's other campaigns so far, see:


1. "White House behind US volte-face on ceasefire call":

"Israeli PM Ehud Olmert claims to be able to order Bush around":

2. Washington Post: Israelis Push to Edge of Gaza City:

3. Haaretz, "Olmert ignoring calls from Barak, Livni for immediate Gaza truce":

Other Voice - Sderot and Gaza residents calling for a ceasefire:

On Hamas acceptance of a Turkish force, first reported in the Arabic
Al-Hayat newspaper, see:

"Gaza bloodshed continues despite UN calls for ceasefire", 9 January 2009:

"Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?" (6 January 2009) is a
statistical analysis by an MIT professor, based on Israel's own data
for rocket fire (which it shows stopped for four months) and on which
side struck first. It provides useful factual background for how the
Israel-Hamas truce effectively collapsed in November well before it
expired (facts poorly reflected in some news reporting):

International Crisis Group's Ending the War in Gaza report (5 January 2009):

This Rasmussen Reports poll from the US is of interest: Only 31% of
Democrats support offensive, most prefer a diplomatic solution:

"Gaza: outlines of an endgame", Ghassan Khatib (6 January 2009)

Jerusalem Post: "Israel must get out of Gaza now", 8 January 2009:

Reuters: "Hamas seeks truce but says lifting siege a must" (5 January
2009) http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L5111105.htm

The US Army War College has just released a substantial report
supporting the view that Hamas can and must be brought into
negotiations and is capable of sustaining a long-term truce, or even
peace with Israel. Linked via:

The inside story of the civil strife between Fatah and Hamas and the
Bush administration's involvement in this debacle is best-told in The
Gaza Bombshell, an investigative article published in the leading US
magazine Vanity Fair in April 2008:


ABOUT AVAAZ Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global
campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and
values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz
means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from
governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in
Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva.
Call us at: +1 888 922 8229 or +55 21 2509 0368 Click here to learn
more about our largest campaigns. Don't forget to check out our
Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages!

Peace Is Patriotic.


A 'torrent' of refugees raise concerns of a broader Gaza war - International Herald Tribune

A 'torrent' of refugees raise concerns of a broader Gaza war - International Herald Tribune

An explosion after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa /Reuters)

A 'torrent' of refugees raise concerns of a broader Gaza war

Published: January 13, 2009
GAZA: Growing numbers of Palestinians are fleeing their homes for makeshift shelters in schools, office buildings and a park as the Israeli Army continues to press its military campaign deeper into the city of Gaza.

According to the United Nations, about 30,000 people are living in schools it sponsors, and an estimated 60,000 have fled to the houses of relatives. The figures represent a small part of Gaza's 1.5 million population but have doubled in the past four days, UN officials said, raising concerns about the humanitarian impact of a broader war.

"What began as very small, isolated numbers is now turning into a torrent," said Aidan O'Leary, deputy director for the UN agency that deals with Palestinian refugees.

Major Jacob Dalal, an Israeli military spokesman, said units used leaflets to warn families to leave areas where they planned to operate.

Aid officials say that with Gaza's borders closed, choices for shelters in the 360-square-kilometer, or 140-square-mile, strip are slim and not completely safe. Last week, as many as 43 people were killed at a UN school by an Israeli mortar fired, the military said, in response to a Hamas attack. The Israeli military disputes the death toll.


As fighting continues, refugees mount
» View
Photos: Conflict in Gaza, Day 18
» View

Aid groups have been pointing to what they say is a growing number of refugees. When Israeli soldiers moved deeper into the Zeitoun neighborhood on Sunday night, Olfat Jaawanah decided she had had enough. Shrapnel flew through a window, wounding her son, Ali, she said, and on Monday morning, she gathered a few blankets and moved her nine children out of their large house.

The nearby UN school was full - its bare classrooms packed with families and its toilets fetid - so she brought her family instead to her husband's office, a building belonging to an international organization in the center of Gaza, the strip's main city.

According to O'Leary, about a third of the agency's 91 schools are now full.

"Explosions, rockets," she said, arranging her children's clothes. "We can't take it anymore."

Movement is complicated by the confusion over when it is safe to leave. When the Abu Hajaj family received a leaflet last weekend, they took it as a sign of safe passage.

But Majad Abdel Karim Abu Hajaj, a teacher at a UN school, said his mother and sister were killed as they walked holding a white flag. Their bodies remain where they fell, he said, because ambulances cannot get to the area.

Sarit Michaeli of B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said she had had six reports of families stuck in areas now occupied by Israeli troops.

At times, the city took on a surreal quality. A woman came with a pan and dough to Al Nasir hospital, asking for the use of their electricity so she could bake. A corpse was wheeled in a donkey cart where an ambulance was afraid to go.

Humanitarian shipments were moving on Monday, and Egypt, under pressure to do more for Palestinian victims, agreed to allow in 38 Arab doctors and a group of European lawmakers.

Palestinians interviewed in Gaza on Monday cited another reason for their flight: Israeli soldiers, they allege, are firing rounds of a noxious substance that burns skin and makes it hard to breathe.

A resident in the southwest part of Gaza on Monday showed a reporter a piece of metal casing with the identifying number, M825A1, which Marc Garlasco, a military analyst with Human Rights Watch, identified as white phosphorous. It is typically used for signaling, producing smoke screens and destroying enemy equipment.

In recent years, military experts and human rights advocates have argued over whether its use to harm people violates international conventions.

Dallal would not say whether Israel was using white phosphorous but said: "The munitions we use are consistent with international law."

Still, white phosphorous causes injury, and a growing number of Gazans report being hurt by it in Beit Lahiya, Khan Yunis, and in eastern and southwestern Gaza City. When exposed to air, it ignites, the group says, and if packed into an artillery shell, it can rain down flaming chemicals that cling to anything they touch.

Luay Suboh, 10, from Beit Lahiya, lost his eyesight and skin on his face Saturday when, his mother Siham said, a casing clung to him as he darted home from a shelter where his family is staying.

The substance smelled like burned trash, said Jaawanah, the mother who fled her home in Zeitoun, who had experienced it too.

She had no affection for Hamas, but her sufferings are changing that.

"Do you think I'm against them firing rockets now?" she asked, referring to Hamas. "No. I was against it before. Not anymore."

Sabrina Tavernise reported from Jerusalem; Steven Erlanger contributed reporting from Jerusalem; and Bill Broad contributed reporting from New York.


Local Control Includes Self Defense.

On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 11:22 AM, Doug Trott wrote:

> Umm, Lee, this is the federal >government we're talking about, >right? The fat is spread throughout. >As a former recipient of some of the >51%, I can report that I saw little >waste, and a lot of "making do."

Doug, First I am not a liberal. Liberal and conservative labels
have been made useless by Reagan and his followers. A better
comparison is liberty and authoritarian. The pro-corporate folks who have taken control of the country have recruited people against their own best interests appealing to their authoritarian weaknesses. They simply lie about being against bigger government. The government has only grown since Reagan. Also, much of the waste happens before it gets to the folks in the field. For example, many of the purchases have not been requested by the Pentagon, but insisted upon by Senators where the projects are manufactured.

Also, if you were in the military, then you observe big government at work in the purest form of socialism in our society. The authoritarian mindset overlooks this fact.

They have taken our country in the same direction Hoover did. The problems they have left us with will require large government answers because of the nature of international trade, international security mess they have caused, global envirionmental issue and the security problems created by our dependence on petrochemicals.. If the country is repaired, we reduce military spending, and wrestled control of government away from the transnational corporations, then we can start thinking about moving to State and local control.

Unnecessary war is waste. Going back to the first Bush, where our ambassador told Saddam it was okay to invade Iraq, we have been wasting a lot of our national resources.

And, of course, the debt that started with Ronald Ray-gun that was primarily for mililtary spending. A big waste. Who are we making the 4.8 billion F-22 Raptor program to fight against? How about the new aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush at 6.2 billion? There is a lot we can cut in that 51%

> We'd do better in most cases to push the spending authority to state or
> local government.

Authoritarians never include their pet spending in pushing things to the local
local. I want to put defense in the hands of the State and local government. It is intellectual dishonesty to promote local spending and then conveniently forget about the primary federal expenditure.

> But that's just me, the Wendell Berry fan ;-) I think he
> observed that conservatives believe in big business and small government,
> and liberals believe in small business and big government. He takes the
> position that small is better in both cases...and as close to communities as
> possible.

You need to read more Berry. He is as against the industrial
military complex as I am. He also believes that corporations are
not people and the only way we can protect ourselves from global corporations is to cooperate. A local community cannot do this in isolation.

Doug, please read what Berry says about war in his response to 9/11: "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear"

A quote: "The first thing we must begin to teach our children (and learn ourselves) is that we cannot spend and consume endlessly. We have got to learn to save and conserve. We do need a 'new economy', but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy.

Lee Love in Minneapolis

"I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with
forethought of grief... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am
free." ~ Wendell Berry



We've been reading these two guys in the Midwest for years. I am happy that they are getting Op-Eds in the New York Times. -- Lee

January 5, 2009
Op-Ed Contributors

A 50-Year Farm Bill

THE extraordinary rainstorms last June caused catastrophic soil erosion in the grain lands of Iowa, where there were gullies 200 feet wide. But even worse damage is done over the long term under normal rainfall — by the little rills and sheets of erosion on incompletely covered or denuded cropland, and by various degradations resulting from industrial procedures and technologies alien to both agriculture and nature.

Soil that is used and abused in this way is as nonrenewable as (and far more valuable than) oil. Unlike oil, it has no technological substitute — and no powerful friends in the halls of government.

Agriculture has too often involved an insupportable abuse and waste of soil, ever since the first farmers took away the soil-saving cover and roots of perennial plants. Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland. This irremediable loss, never enough noticed, has been made worse by the huge monocultures and continuous soil-exposure of the agriculture we now practice.

To the problem of soil loss, the industrialization of agriculture has added pollution by toxic chemicals, now universally present in our farmlands and streams. Some of this toxicity is associated with the widely acclaimed method of minimum tillage. We should not poison our soils to save them.

Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological “solutions” for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods.

Clearly, our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities.

For 50 or 60 years, we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. That is a mistake. If we continue our offenses against the land and the labor by which we are fed, the food supply will decline, and we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our paper economy. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billons of dollars to the agribusiness corporations.

Any restorations will require, above all else, a substantial increase in the acreages of perennial plants. The most immediately practicable way of doing this is to go back to crop rotations that include hay, pasture and grazing animals.

But a more radical response is necessary if we are to keep eating and preserve our land at the same time. In fact, research in Canada, Australia, China and the United States over the last 30 years suggests that perennialization of the major grain crops like wheat, rice, sorghum and sunflowers can be developed in the foreseeable future. By increasing the use of mixtures of grain-bearing perennials, we can better protect the soil and substantially reduce greenhouse gases, fossil-fuel use and toxic pollution.

Carbon sequestration would increase, and the husbandry of water and soil nutrients would become much more efficient. And with an increase in the use of perennial plants and grazing animals would come more employment opportunities in agriculture — provided, of course, that farmers would be paid justly for their work and their goods.

Thoughtful farmers and consumers everywhere are already making many necessary changes in the production and marketing of food. But we also need a national agricultural policy that is based upon ecological principles. We need a 50-year farm bill that addresses forthrightly the problems of soil loss and degradation, toxic pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and the destruction of rural communities.

This is a political issue, certainly, but it far transcends the farm politics we are used to. It is an issue as close to every one of us as our own stomachs.

Wes Jackson is a plant geneticist and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kan. Wendell Berry is a farmer and writer in Port Royal, Ky.


Top Reasons to Oppose the WTO

The WTO is undemocratic and gives veto power to the corporations over our constitution. Corporations are not people. Individuals need to organize to defend our human rights and the environment. --Lee

Top Reasons to Oppose the WTO: "Top Reasons to Oppose the WTO

1. The WTO Is Fundamentally Undemocratic

The policies of the WTO impact all aspects of society and the planet, but it is not a democratic, transparent institution. The WTO rules are written by and for corporations with inside access to the negotiations. For example, the US Trade Representative gets heavy input for negotiations from 17 'Industry Sector Advisory Committees.' Citizen input by consumer, environmental, human rights and labor organizations is consistently ignored. Even simple requests for information are denied, and the proceedings are held in secret. Who elected this secret global government?

2. The WTO Will Not Make Us Safer

The WTO would like you to believe that creating a world of 'free trade' will promote global understanding and peace. On the contrary, the domination of international trade by rich countries for the benefit of their individual interests fuels anger and resentment that make us less safe. To build real global security, we need international agreements that respect people's rights to democracy and trade systems that promote global justice.

3. The WTO Tramples Labor and Human Rights

WTO rules put the 'rights' of corporations to profit over human and labor rights. The WTO encourages a 'race to the bottom' in wages by pitting workers against each other rather than promoting internationally recognized labor standards. The WTO has ruled that it is illegal for a government to ban a product based on the way it is produced, such as with child labor. It has also ruled that governments cannot take into account 'non commercial values' such as human rights, or the behavior of companies that do business with vicious dictatorships such as Burma when making purchasing decisions.

4. The WTO Would Privatize Essential Services

The WTO is seeking to privatize essential public services such as education, health care, energy and water. Privatization means the selling off of public assets - such as radio airwaves or schools - to private (usually foreign) corporations, to run for profit rather than the public good. The WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services, or GATS, includes a list of about 160 threatened services including elder and child care, sewage, garbage, park maintenance, telecommunications, construction, banking, insurance, transportation, shipping, postal services, and tourism. In some countries, privatization is already occurring. Those least able to pay for vital services - working class communities and communities of color - are the ones who suffer the most.

5. The WTO Is Destroying the Environment

The WTO is being used by corporations to dismantle hard-won local and national environmental protections, which are attacked as 'barriers to trade.' The very first WTO panel ruled that a provision of the US Clean Air Act, requiring both domestic and foreign producers alike to produce cleaner gasoline, was illegal. The WTO declared illegal a provision of the Endangered Species Act that requires shrimp sold in the US to be caught with an inexpensive device allowing endangered sea turtles to escape. The WTO is attempting to deregulate industries including logging, fishing, water utilities, and energy distribution, which will lead to further exploitation of these natural resources.

6. The WTO is Killing People

The WTO's fierce defense of 'Trade Related Intellectual Property' rights (TRIPs)—patents, copyrights and trademarks—comes at the expense of health and human lives. The WTO has protected for pharmaceutical companies' 'right to profit' against governments seeking to protect their people's health by providing lifesaving medicines in countries in areas like sub-saharan Africa, where thousands die every day from HIV/AIDS. Developing countries won an important victory in 2001 when they affirmed the right to produce generic drugs (or import them if they lacked production capacity), so that they could provide essential lifesaving medicines to their populations less expensively. Unfortunately, in September 2003, many new conditions were agreed to that will make it more difficult for countries to produce those drugs. Once again, the WTO demonstrates that it favors corporate profit over saving human lives.

7. The WTO is Increasing Inequality

Free trade is not working for the majority of the world. During the most recent period of rapid growth in global trade and investment (1960 to 1998) inequality worsened both internationally and within countries. The UN Development Program reports that the richest 20 percent of the world's population consume 86 percent of the world's resources while the poorest 80 percent consume just 14 percent. WTO rules have hastened these trends by opening up countries to foreign investment and thereby making it easier for production to go where the labor is cheapest and most easily exploited and environmental costs are low.

8. The WTO is Increasing Hunger

Farmers produce enough food in the world to feed everyone -- yet because of corporate control of food distribution, as many as 800 million people worldwide suffer from chronic malnutrition. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, food is a human right. In developing countries, as many as four out of every five people make their living from the land. But the leading principle in the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture is that market forces should control agricultural policies-rather than a national commitment to guarantee food security and maintain decent family farmer incomes. WTO policies have allowed dumping of heavily subsidized industrially produced food into poor countries, undermining local production and increasing hunger.

9. The WTO Hurts Poor, Small Countries in Favor of Rich Powerful Nations

The WTO supposedly operates on a consensus basis, with equal decision-making power for all. In reality, many important decisions get made in a process whereby poor countries' negotiators are not even invited to closed door meetings -- and then 'agreements' are announced that poor countries didn't even know were being discussed. Many countries do not even have enough trade personnel to participate in all the negotiations or to even have a permanent representative at the WTO. This severely disadvantages poor countries from representing their interests. Likewise, many countries are too poor to defend themselves from WTO challenges from the rich countries, and change their laws rather than pay for their own defense.

10. The WTO Undermines Local Level Decision-Making and National Sovereignty

The WTO's 'most favored nation' provision requires all WTO member countries to treat each other equally and to treat all corporations from these countries equally regardless of their track record. Local policies aimed at rewarding companies who hire local residents, use domestic materials, or adopt environmentally sound practices are essentially illegal under the WTO. Developing countries are prohibited from creating local laws that developed countries once pursued, such as protecting new, domestic industries until they can be internationally competitive. California Governor Gray Davis vetoed a 'Buy California' bill that would have granted a small preference to local businesses because it was WTO-illegal. Conforming with the WTO required entire sections of US laws to be rewritten. Many countries are even changing their laws and constitutions in anticipation of potential future WTO rulings and negotiations.

11. There are Alternatives to the WTO

Citizen organizations have developed alternatives to the corporate-dominated system of international economic governance. Together we can build the political space that nurtures a democratic global economy that promotes jobs, ensures that every person is guaranteed their human rights to food, water, education, and health care, promotes freedom and security, and preserves our shared environment for future generations.

12. The Tide is Turning Against Free Trade and the WTO!

International opposition to the WTO is growing. Massive protests in Seattle of 1999 brought over 50,000 people together to oppose the WTO—and succeeded in shutting the meeting down. When the WTO met in 2001, the Trade negotiators were unable meet their goals of expanding the WTO's reach. In CancĂșn, Mexico and Hong Kong, China, the WTO met thousands of activists in protest, scoring a major victory for democracy. Developing countries refused to give in to the rich countries' agenda of WTO expansion - and caused the talks to collapse!


# EDUCATE your community and connect with local corporate issues through bringing speakers, videos, and books like GX's Globalize This! The Battle Against the World Trade Organization and Corporate Rule, available on our webstore.

# Join Global Exchange's Global Justice listserve."


Why France can't see past the burqa | csmonitor.com

One of the things we were struck by during I 9 years living in Japan, is that Japan does not have the West's bias against Islamic and Arab people. Watching the cable news coverage of the invasion of Gaza the bias is incredibly apparent. From what Obama has said about the Middle East, I have little hope that this bias with change with him, but like Roosevelt, I hope his views become more rational while in office and we become an honest broker in the Middle East. We need to focus on principles of the right of self determination, security and human rights for all people and not just countries that are our close friends. Nothing will change in the Middle East unless the USA has the will to do it and forces change. -- Lee

Why France can't see past the burqa | csmonitor.com: "Why France can't see past the burqa
It denied citizenship to a Muslim woman for her conservative dress. Is that fair?
By Ronald P. Sokol

from the July 21, 2008 edition

AixenProvence, France - Moroccan-born Faiza Mabchour speaks French fluently, has three children born in France, and a French husband. Yet France's top administrative court last month denied her bid for citizenship.

The reason? Ms. Mabchour wears a burqa, a long veil that some Muslim women use to cover themselves from head to toe. In an interview with officials, she said she wore the burqa not for any special religious belief but because her husband asked her to. A government report stated that 'she lives in total submission to the men of her family, and the notion of questioning this submission does not even occur to her.'

The court said such a radical religious practice is incompatible with fundamental French values such as the equality of the sexes; thus, she was judged unable to assimilate – a must for citizenship.

The decision raises troubling issues for an ethnically diverse and religiously free society. The court was not denying her French nationality on the basis of her beliefs. Both France's 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights, guarantee absolute freedom of belief. The court must have denied nationality on the basis of her acts, but her only overt act was the wearing of the burqa.

Yet no French law regulates what clothes people can wear in their homes or general public. (France bans head scarves and other conspicuous religious symbols in public schools.) So Mabchour's burqa is lawful. That France should deny her citizenship on the sole basis of her behavior within the sphere of her own family is inconsistent with normal French tolerance of the private lives of its citizens.

France has by and large adopted the principle espoused in John Stuart Mill's famous 1859 essay On Liberty: 'The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.... His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.'

In denying Mabchour citizenship when she met all of the requirements save the inherently nebulous one of assimilation, the court came too close for comfort to a demand for religious orthodoxy. It is a paradoxical demand in a nation that insists on the exclusion of religion from the public sphere.

Her case raises two fundamental questions: What is gender equality, and what is citizenship? Is gender equality something more than a guarantee that male and female shall get equal pay for the same work and equal access to opportunities in all spheres to the extent possible? Did the French Supreme Court conclude that the principle of gender equality was violated since she wore the burqa because her husband asked her to? If she had explained that she wore it because that was her own independent choice would the court have given her French citizenship?

Is citizenship like membership in a club where all members must wear coats and ties or like a gang where members must sport a tattoo? Nationality, of course, is a method for defining outsiders. Most states define insiders by birth or parentage. As a leading textbook on immigration and citizenship observes, 'Birth is an unambiguous event about which states maintain relatively clear administrative records.'

This distinction leads to a supreme irony. As one Internet commentator noted, 'you have to be French to wear a burqa.' For if Mabchour had been born in Paris, she could wear whatever she pleased, including a burqa, but because she was born in Morocco her burqa rose up as an insurmountable obstacle to her acquiring French nationality.

One cannot help but wonder if Faiza Mabchour had been named Haruko Tanaka and appeared before the commissaire in a silk kimono walking five paces behind her French husband, whether the French court would have reached the same result.

Ronald P. Sokol is a practicing lawyer in Aix-en-Provence, France. He formerly taught at the University of Virginia Law School."