Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 31, 2005

Paging Mr. Fitzgerald

Newsweek: Secret Memo—Send to Be Tortured:

In a memo forwarded to a senior FBI lawyer on Nov. 27, 2002, a supervisory special agent from the bureau's behavioral analysis unit offered a legal analysis of interrogation techniques that had been approved by Pentagon officials for use against a high-value Qaeda detainee. After objecting to techniques such as exploiting "phobias" like "the fear of dogs" or dripping water "to induce the misperception of drowning," the agent discussed a plan to send the detainee to Jordan, Egypt or an unspecified third country for interrogation. "In as much as the intent of this category is to utilize, outside the U.S., interrogation techniques which would violate [U.S. law] if committed in the U.S., it is a per se violation of the U.S. Torture Statute," the agent wrote. "Discussing any plan which includes this category could be seen as a con-spiracy to violate [the Torture Statute]" and "would inculpate" everyone involved.
...
(The memo's author, a former New York City prosecutor, declined to comment to NEWSWEEK.)

Posted by b on July 31, 2005 at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

July 30, 2005

"A Stroke of Genius?"

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."
Powerline: A Stroke of Genius?

"I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal."
Richard Wagner quotes

Posted by b on July 30, 2005 at 06:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

Weekend Thread

Open one ...

Posted by b on July 30, 2005 at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

July 29, 2005

WB: Sucker Pitch

Billmon:

But the fact that the GOP can afford to dump $330k into a race just to keep the opposition from scoring a few bragging points (or to punish the crime of lese majesty -- take your pick) is a sign of just how much of a financial supercharge 10 years of DeLayism have given the machine.

Sucker Pitch

Posted by b on July 29, 2005 at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (224)

WB: Austin City Limits

Billmon:

This, even more than the hard evidence, is what feeds my suspicion that the Rovians have something wired -- or think they do. Whether it's the computerized voting machines (or the far less complex software inside the heads of the sleepwalking fools who use them) I don't know. But it suggests the pork party could get a lot wilder, and last quite a bit longer, before the money finally runs out.

Austin City Limits

Posted by b on July 29, 2005 at 02:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (34)

July 28, 2005

Heat Warnings

Heat warnings were issued in nine eastern states and in the cities of Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.
...
Temperatures topped 38C (100F), hitting record highs in Florence, South Carolina and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina on Tuesday.

New York City power usage reached a new record of 12,551 megawatts, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the opening of special public air-conditioned "cooling centres".
BBC News,  July 28, 2005

---

5 DAY FORECAST (day | night)
Thursday - 118°F (48°C) | 90°F (32°C)
Friday   - 118°F (48°C) | 90°F (32°C)
Saturday - 119°F (48°C) | 83°F (28°C)
Sunday   - 119°F (48°C) | 81°F (27°C)
Monday   - 119°F (48°C) | 80°F (27°C)

CNN Weather, Baghdad, Iraq, current

---

The electricity ministry said six attacks in the last 10 days on the power grid has led to a reduction in the electricity supplies to Baghdad and nearby southern provinces, according to government newspaper al-Sabah. Power in Baghdad is down to a half an hour of electricity followed by a six-hour blackout.
AP, July 28, 2005

Posted by b on July 28, 2005 at 03:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (18)

July 27, 2005

"Find Opportunities"

Mr. Rumsfeld also said Iraq should "find opportunities" to thank allied countries for their contributions over the past several months.
NYT

---

Who was killed?
- 24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
- Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.
- Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.

When did they die?
- 30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.
- Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

Who did the killing?
- US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
- Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
- Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
- Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.
Oxford Research Group

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Labour Struggle

by Debs is dead (lifted from a comment)

This is either very bad or perhaps it's going to be a good thing. People involved in the US Labor unions will have a better idea.

The article which reports the disaffiliation of the Teamsters and SEIU from the AFL-CIO can be taken as a sign that the right has finally managed to drive a wedge through the middle of one of it's main opponents to it's enslavement of everbody to corporate ethos.

On the other hand in the article

The 939 delegates who registered for the convention held in Chicago's cavernous Navy Pier would get no chance to evaluate proposals, only peruse letters slipped furtively under their hotel room doors by Change to Win squads imparting the news that a few union presidents had decided things without bothering to consult them.

If the labour movement has got that undemocratic and modelled itself on the dems rather than providing a viable democratic model for the dems to emulate, perhaps it is time for a massive purge followed by reconstruction.

The article also says:

The one interesting moment of the convention's first day came over a couple of resolutions concerning diversity. One gives additional slots on the federation's governing bodies to black, female, gay, Latin and Asian representatives; the other mandates that by the next convention each delegation will have to represent the racial and gender make-up of a union's membership.

These changes involve more than cosmetics because of how they came about. Over the past few months of top-tier to-ing and fro-ing over labor's future, the AFL's constituency groups, especially the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, began to insist that the domination of the discussion by older white men indicated problems with organized labor's leadership, focus and priorities more than any matters of internal scaffolding or dues structure.

If the AFL/CIO has really waited until 2005, 50 years after the success of the civil rights movement which is nearly as long as the time it has been campaigning for EEO from employers to fix it's own structure, then it's a miracle it lasted this long.

Apropos the 'Cease Fire Violation' thread its gotta be time to walk away from these dinosaurs because if things are this primitive in the unions they will be worse in the political arm of the labour movement, laughingly called "The Democrats" which I suppose fits in a country where the imperialists call themselves 'republicans'.

If that sounds harsh I'm sorry because there is absolutely no justification to suppose that people who live in the US are innately more backward than elsewhere, but at some point people, ordinary battlers have to make a stand.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou just cause at the moment I live in NZ where I'm unaware of any white male holding a position of power in either the government or judiciary or union movement for that matter. I have nearly as much problem with that as I do with the US where it seems only white males hold power. Nations like the UK and Australia aren't shining beacons of equality either but the fact that they have modified their structures a long time ago to ensure that the hegemony of the whitefella is over at least informs us that there is genuine impetus to try and have the power structures reflect the community.

If the US labor movement and dems haven't ever got past tokenism that means they have never really had the sort of revolution that people's organisations need to have to be effective now.

I really think the best thing to do is to walk away and start again because who really needs to keep fighting the old battles when there are a lot of urgent new battles to be won.

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (38)

Another Open One

Other news, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 03:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (109)

July 26, 2005

WB: Cease Fire Violation

Billmon:
For those in North America who still care about social justice, tolerance and rationality, Canada might be the better long-term bet. But unless someone is willing to challenge the conservative status quo in this country, unless activists are willing to try to cultivate and grow the liberal base, the DLC's political philosophy will become a self-fufilling prophesy.

Cease Fire Violation

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 06:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (79)

WB: Clone Wars

Billmon:
The only flaw I can see in the Army's performance is in acknowledging an "administrative error." Sure, it's a minor concession -- so minor it would be almost laughable if the quotes really were fake (which of course they're not.)

Clone Wars

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

WB: Roberts to the Rescue

Billmon:

Rovian gonads aren't nearly weighty enough to take on the DA directly, using the standard media hit men. But an entire Senate investigating committee on the take -- one that can hide behind the facade of national security? That's a sweet deal. Imagine what Nixon could have done with a tool like that.

Roberts to the Rescue

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 03:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

WB: Film Noir

Billmon:

But torture is a matter of principle to this administration, and it looks like the White House is going to pull out all the stops (and maybe a few fingernails) to preserve in full the executive branch's God-given authority to violate the Geneva Convention and the International Convention Against Torture.

Film Noir

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 01:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

WB: Suddenly in a Hurry

Billmon:
Suddenly in a Hurry

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 01:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

July 25, 2005

WB: Self Esteem

Billmon:
Self Esteem

Posted by b on July 25, 2005 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

WB: The Beirut Express

Billmon:

Considering the American blunders, American crimes and -- worst of all -- sheer American ignorance that brought Iraq and its peoples to this point, such a stance has about as much moral integrity as a little boy who, having dumped a bunch of red ants and black ants together to watch them fight, gets bored with the whole thing and flushes them all down the toilet. It is beneath contempt.

The Beirut Express

Posted by b on July 25, 2005 at 02:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (107)

July 24, 2005

Open Thread 05-75

News, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 24, 2005 at 02:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (40)

July 23, 2005

WB: War of the Words

Billmon:
War of the Words

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 05:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (77)

WB: Round Up the Usual Suspects

Billmon:
The Egyptian government is blaming (I kid you not) "local Bedouin."

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Execution "Tragedy"

"He looked absolutely petrified and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him, [they] couldn't have been any more than two or three feet behind him at this time and he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand.

"He held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him.
BBC News, Friday, 22 July, 2005

A man shot dead by police as part of the inquiry into Thursday's attempted bomb attacks was unconnected to the incidents, police have confirmed.

A Scotland Yard statement said the shooting was a "tragedy" which was regretted by the Metropolitan Police.
BBC News, Saturday, 23 July, 2005

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)

WB: Australopithicus robustus

Billmon:

Maybe we've reached the end of our rope, too -- that is to say, maybe we've risen to a level of intelligence just high enough to create problems we're not bright enough to solve. A kind of evolutionary Peter Principle in action.

Australopithicus robustus

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 02:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (111)

WB: Revolution Day

Billmon:

This appears to have been a major, professional hit -- as opposed to the amateur operations in London. If I had to guess, I'd would suspect the Saturday attack was carried out by operatives who had honed their car bombing skills in Iraq. It certainly sounds similar, anyway, to some of the more spectactular coordinated car bombings in Baghdad.

Revolution Day

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 01:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

WB: Extraordinary Rendition (++)

Billmon:

III. Biden Their Time

II. Bring Out Your Dead

I. Extraordinary Rendition

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 01:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

July 22, 2005

WB: Spring Time for Khomenei

Billmon:

But it may be that the current alternatives -- which might, God forbid, include the use of tactical nukes against Iran's hardened research labs -- are so grim and so scary that even the neocons are finally behaving like rational chumps, instead of crazy ones. For a change.

Spring Time for Khomenei

Posted by b on July 22, 2005 at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (48)

The Crazies

Justin Logan writes:

"According to Philip Giraldi, writing in the new issue (not online) of the American Conservative, it's to nuke Iran:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States.  The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.  Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites.  Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option.  As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States.  Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

..."

Posted by b on July 22, 2005 at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (26)

WB: Breaking the Peg

Billmon:

The factors that have allowed the United States to run enormous, sustained current acount deficits -- deflation, globalization, the Asian savings glut -- may persist for some time. But sooner or later, the sheer size of America's external liabilities is going to force foreign creditors to limit their exposure to our reckless financial behavior. Solvency, not relative rates of return, will be the issue on their minds then.

Breaking the Peg

Posted by b on July 22, 2005 at 05:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Open Thread

News, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 22, 2005 at 01:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (22)

WB: Kissing the 4th Amendment Goodbye

Billmon:

Naturally, as if all this wasn't bad enough, many of the "reforms" now being rammed through our Chamber of People's Deputies would make the law worse.

Kissing the 4th Amendment Goodbye

Posted by b on July 22, 2005 at 01:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

July 21, 2005

WB: S is for Slime

Billmon:

If Fitzgerald has something to say (and you know all of us on the left are hoping he'll say it with indictments) he'll do it on his own time schedule. Meanwhile, the various parties involved will either keep feeding little tidbits to the press or they won't. Nothing the blogosphere does or says will affect the timing of those leaks.

S is for Slime

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 05:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

WB: London, Again

Billmon:

Al Qaeda wanted to kill a large number of people in the first London attack -- to send a big propaganda message to the G8 summit. Today's bombs, on the other hand, may have been intended primarily to disrupt. If and when they start hitting electrical substations and telephone exchanges, we'll know our junior league terrorists are starting to get the hang of it.

London, Again

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (49)

WB: Starr Search

Billmon:

I'm mixing food metaphors a bit here, but you could also think of Roberts' legal record as a hot dog. The White House hopes everybody will just squirt some mustard on it and gulp it down -- and try not think about what went into it.

Starr Search

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

WB: Getting Hitched

Billmon:

Bright, talented magazine writers are a dime a dozen (or a dime a word anyway) on the liberal left -- and there's a whole new crop of youngsters coming up. But it's always an intellectual seller's market on the right.

Getting Hitched

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

WB: Another Gau Heard From

Billmon:

If enough of the "base" starts talking like Frau Koch, it might even force Roberts and his GOP support team to drop the warm and cuddly spin, and demonstrate just how much of a hardliner the guy really is -- thereby stripping some of the radar cloaking off the Stealth nominee. But frantic efforts to polish up Roberts's ultra-right credentials might further feed wing-nut paranoia about the guy: "If he's one of us, how come they gotta keep defendin' him alla time? And why don' his forehead slope down like ourn?"

Another Gau Heard From

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 01:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (36)

WB: King of Comedy

Billmon:

King of Comedy

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 01:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

WB: Think Like Michael

Billmon:

Reasonable people can differ over what that means in practice: fight a lot, fight a little, just get it over with. But it just seems essential to me that everyone understands that this is (to paraphrase Horowitz) war by other means -- not a civics lesson.

Think Like Michael

Posted by b on July 21, 2005 at 01:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

July 20, 2005

WB: Defining Mr. Roberts

Billmon:
..it's time to wake up, guys. We've got a different rule book now -- brought to you by Karl Rove and the propaganda machine from hell. The Republicans don't use those tactics because they're sick, sadistic bastards (well, not only that). They use them because they work. And until the Dems learn to play by the same rules, they're going to get their heads handed to them, time after time after time.

Defining Mr. Roberts

Posted by b on July 20, 2005 at 04:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (117)

Not Roberts Thread

Anything but Roberts ... open thread

Posted by b on July 20, 2005 at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

WB: The Liberal Disease

Billmon:

While liberals sift and weigh the evidence, debate alternative points of view, and reach for that ever elusive "fairness," the conservative machine sifts and weighs alternative propaganda points, debates the best way to manipulate public opinion, and reaches for power -- first, last and always.
...
The real question, then, is purely pragmatic: Do the political benefits of going to the mat over Roberts outweigh the costs? My judgement (and I realize I could be wrong about this) is that they do not -- both because he looks just about impossible to stop, and because even bigger Supreme Court battles almost certainly lie ahead: after Rehnquist and then when the first of the "liberal" justices retires.

The Liberal Disease

Posted by b on July 20, 2005 at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Where Have All the $$$ Gone?

The [Government Accountability Office] has been examining the Pentagon's Iraq expenses, and ''we're having extreme difficulty in getting the Department of Defense to provide a full accounting of what they're spending" there, Walker said. ''I can't understand how we're spending $1 billion a week.
GAO investigator rips Pentagon on Iraq war finances, Boston Globe, July 15, 2005

In my reporting for this story, one theme that emerged was the Bush Administration’s increasing tendency to turn to off-the-books covert actions to accomplish its goals. This allowed the Administration to avoid the kind of stumbling blocks it encountered in the debate about how to handle the elections: bureaucratic infighting, congressional second-guessing, complaints from outsiders.
GET OUT THE VOTE, The New Yorker, July 18, 2005

Posted by b on July 20, 2005 at 01:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

WB: Bob Roberts

Billmon:
The ultra right is now the mainstream, and by that standard, I think it's going to be just about impossible to uphold a filibuster, much less muster up enough Republican defectors to defeat Roberts.

Bob Roberts

Posted by b on July 20, 2005 at 02:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Gone but Not Forgotten

Billmon:

Gone but Not Forgotten

remembereringgiap:

the death of general 'bodycount' westmoreland leaves the mass of the people with one mass murderer less. there is nothing to distinguish this man - neither as a military nor as a strategic thinker. i am not alone in that understanding. even at the colleges of war of the empire his reputation was & remains at a very base level. not only did he lose to an 'inferior force' but faced with imminent defeat at each turn, he was like the butcher generals of the first world war & sacrificed the children of the working class & minorites. he did so without blushing. like all butchers of his kind - they care nothing for their soldiery - they are small coins in his pockets or worse as the sicilians say - stones in his shoe

the man i honour & honour still - the great general giap understood what a westmoreland could not. that a peoples war is in the heart of the people. that is also true in iraq no matter how many demonise it - the war that is taking place has begun in the hearts of the iraqi people. their hearts are not represented in the puppet parliaments

what giap understood from the beginning is that people make history & not the other way around & in the real war that was the determining factor because even at a local level the soldiers of the viet cong & the nva always showed great inventiveness, imagination & when necessary a devouring ferocity

they did so because as they understood from uncle ho - that there is nothing more precious than national independence & freedom - they fought agressor after agressor until finally - the heart of the puppet government collapsed in 1975. & it was just wind. soldiers dropped their clothes in the streets & welcomed their liberation. that was a real liberation that a rumsfield can only imagine in his worst nightmares

westmoreland was one of those less than intelligent military leaders - much like the leadership of south africa under apartheid could have drawn the fundamental lessons much much earlier than they did - by prolonging it - they brought only bloodshed - they brought nothing back

& that pumped up kinsman kissinger - who parades pompously as if he was the greatest diplomat, the most esteemed purveyor of the great machiaveli was so stupid he gained nothing - not even in the short term - everything they constructed collapsed & collapsed catastrophically

under westmoreland's control - the specifically terrorist actions of special forces was to be perfected for the coming period in latin america africa & other parts of asia - there can be no question that this is the point where the american army & the nazi einsatzgruppen became one & i would not be surprised given their relationship with gehlen amongst others that they did study their methods. vietnamisation, the phoenix programme, the illegal entries into cambodia were of a kind any real soldier would be deeply ashamed of - this was not war - it was terrorism

it was under westmorelands leadership that the cia & american air began collecting the funds through the cultivation of heroin for the operations for the wars to come

he was an indecent man a man who not only does not deserve our thoughts or even our concern - we should all watch by his grave to make sure he is dead

Posted by b on July 20, 2005 at 01:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (15)

July 19, 2005

WB: Here Comes the Cavalry

Billmon:

In other words, there are still limits, at least for now, on a PR strategy based on the propaganda playbook originally developed by the two Joes (Stalin and Goebbels). And that's some comfort -- even if the Plame scandal isn't in the same category as ginning up a phony WMD threat or turning an entire war into a closely held corporation.

Here Comes the Cavalry

Posted by b on July 19, 2005 at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (39)

HBP

How come these folks all think that character is really dead. It is not of course. It just needs to be seen as dead to be able to fullfill its next task.

We will see it back in the seventh installment.

Posted by b on July 19, 2005 at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

WB: Rove's Last Stand

Billmon:

Rove's Last Stand

Posted by b on July 19, 2005 at 02:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

WB: Network of the Living Dead

Billmon:

The source, who I am now at liberty to reveal is Wolf Blitzer, disclosed that Fox talk show host Bill O'Reilly rejected a CNN offer after lengthy negotiations. "His Fox contract includes an all-the-production-assistants-you-can-eat clause," Blitzer said. "Klein wanted to top it, but the highest corporate would go was an unlimited supply of dead Iraqis. And O'Reilly said they give him gas."

Network of the Living Dead

Posted by b on July 19, 2005 at 12:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

July 18, 2005

WB: Crime and Punishment

Billmon:

The president is a man of his word. And he didn't make any exception for pardoned criminals.

Crime and Punishment

Posted by b on July 18, 2005 at 09:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

WB: Ayatollah You So

Billmon:

How would the folks back home feel if they knew their sons and daughters were getting limbs blown off so that Iraqi politicians could jaunt off to Tehran and say warm and fuzzy things about the crazy old man who gave us the Iranian hostage crisis?

Ayatollah You So

Posted by b on July 18, 2005 at 09:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Just Another OT

Open Thread

Posted by b on July 18, 2005 at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (71)

WB: The Plame Blame Game (+)

Billmon:

So let's play a different game. Just this once, I'm going to reopen the comments section, and anyone who wants to play is welcome to guess the answers to the following questions:

The Plame Blame Game (with comments open)

plus

A Clean Sweep

Posted by b on July 18, 2005 at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

WB: Sunshine Daydream

Billmon:

A touching thought, but Rummy better hope he's not right -- or else he and gang could find themselves in a whole lot of trouble.

Sunshine Daydream

Posted by b on July 18, 2005 at 03:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)