Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 30, 2006

WB: Crime and Punishment

Billmon:

All this amounts to a mountain of potential legal exposure, both for the bad apples at the top and the “little Eichmanns” (yes, I realize where the phrase came from, and I’m sticking with it) who dutifully carried out their illegal orders. Whether that will ever amount to more than a molehill of worry for the guilty parties is doubtful – although if I were them I wouldn’t plan on doing a lot of foreign travel after they leave office – but the damage done to America, and the struggle against terrorism, is incalculable, and probably irremediable.

The more important lesson, purchased at such great cost, is the essentially conservative lesson (conservative in the good old fashioned Burkean sense) is that no government can be trusted with the powers the Cheney gang asserted, not even when fighting an enemy like Al Qaeda – or especially not then.

Crime and Punishment

Posted by b on June 30, 2006 at 02:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)

Happy Birthday ...

... Moon of Alabama.

Never thought this site would live this long.

Posted by b on June 30, 2006 at 12:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (64)

Always an Open Thread

News & views ...

Posted by b on June 30, 2006 at 12:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (50)

June 29, 2006

Champagne For All

I am really relieved that this descision came down now, before Bush will be able to switch the court completely to the dark side.

Supreme Court Blocks Trials at Guantanamo

The Supreme Court today delivered a sweeping rebuke to the Bush administration, ruling that the military tribunals it created to try terror suspects violate both American military law and the Geneva Convention.

In a 5-to-3 ruling, the justices also rejected an effort by Congress to strip the court of jurisdiction over habeas corpus appeals by detainees at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

SCOTUSblog

Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. [..]

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).

Posted by b on June 29, 2006 at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Live And Die With Dignity

IAF aircrafts also attacked a major Gaza City power station after midnight Tuesday, cutting power to much of the area.

Roughtly two-thirds of the Gaza Strip's 1.3 million residents were left without electricity, said Walid Sayel, the executive director of Gaza's power company.

The power outages also effected water supplies as many of the newer multi-story buildings in Gaza are dependent on electrical water pumps. Palestinian engineers said repairs could take six months.
Haaretz coverage

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Provisions Common to the Territories of the Parties to the Conflict and to Occupied Territories, The Fourth Geneva Convention

On April 20 the Germans attacked a factory area of the ghetto but were forced to retreat yet again when the Jews set off a mine. The Germans cut off the ghetto’s electricity, water and gas but still the Jews did not surrender, using as their motto “LIVE AND DIE WITH DIGNITY”.
The Warsaw Ghetto Revolt and others

Posted by b on June 29, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

June 28, 2006

WB: Good Treason and Bad

Billmon:

Good Treason and Bad

Posted by b on June 28, 2006 at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

WB: Star Crossed

Billmon:

Well, we've learned that the sadistic little shits at the The New Republic don't know how to quit when they're behind, that Right Blogistan is full of obsessive compulsives with way too much time on their hands, and that Mickey Kaus really, really wants to be part of the Wererabbit Elite Strike Force, but can't, because he doesn't meet the height requirement.

Star Crossed

Posted by b on June 28, 2006 at 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

WB: Wage Earner

Billmon:

Ordinarily, I'm sympathetic to the argument that public officials should be well compensated -- because if the voters don't pay up, somebody or something else will. (In Rep. Jefferson's case, his freezer.) Also, congressional salaries basically suck. You could cover the entire payroll in both houses for about $90 million, which is less than what Dennis Kozlowski took home in one giddy year as Tyco CEO.

If one man can get paid that much money to drive an enormous, heavily leveraged organization straight into the ground, it doesn't seem unreasonable to pay 535 people the same amount to do likewise. They're just as good at it as he was.

Wage Earner

Posted by b on June 28, 2006 at 12:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)

June 27, 2006

WB: Not That Sort of Boy

Billmon:

No tongue? No petting above the waist?

What the hell kind of date is that?

Not That Sort of Boy

Posted by b on June 27, 2006 at 11:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

WB: When Worlds Collide

Billmon:

Clem Snopes, NASA public affairs spokesman and a part-time student at Pat Robertson's Regent University, urged Americans not to panic, saying there is little risk of a collision, given the flatness of the earth's surface.

When Worlds Collide

Posted by b on June 27, 2006 at 11:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

WB: Keeping It Up

Billmon:

Keeping It Up

Posted by b on June 27, 2006 at 01:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

WB: The Swiftboating of Kos

Billmon:

It's not that Kos (or Webb, for that matter) are outspoken critics of the special relationship [with Israel]. Far from it. But it is clear that the constituencies they represent, or hope to represent, are much more skeptical about U.S. intervention in the Middle East than the Democratic old guard -- which, let's face it, is practically welded to the Israel lobby. Even worse, this is all happening at a time when the Iraq quagmire is making the costs of our imperial role in the region painfully clear.

The Swiftboating of Kos

Posted by b on June 27, 2006 at 01:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (70)

WB: Bait and Switch +

Billmon:

II:

Since America haters and terrorist sympathizers are now such a solid majority, maybe we should hold an election and disband the country -- or better yet, declare the New Islamic Caliphate!

News Flash: Terrorists Win

I:

Or, as Richard Holbrooke is said to have recently predicted, Iraq will definitely still be a hot issue in the presidential election -- of 2016.

Bait and Switch

Posted by b on June 27, 2006 at 12:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 26, 2006

OT 06-56

The kingpin made me do this ...

Posted by b on June 26, 2006 at 01:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (112)

WB: Making the News Fit the Spin

Billmon

[A]ll that only goes to show how thoroughly the official propaganda continues to shape the coverage -- even when the journalists involved understand that the propaganda is misleading or flat wrong.

Breaking the cycle would require the herd to challenge the spin and disinformation they're being fed, instead of letting it become the baseline that has to be timidly corrected later as the facts come to light. The burden of proof, in other words, would have to be put on the spinners, instead of reality. And it would have to be put there by the journalistic herd as a whole -- or at least, by the dominant group within the herd -- and not just by a few mavericks and dissidents.

But of course we no longer have that kind of journalism in this country [..]

Making the News Fit the Spin

Posted by b on June 26, 2006 at 12:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

June 25, 2006

WB: The Oceania News Network

Billmon

The Oceania News Network

Posted by b on June 25, 2006 at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

WB: Cutting and Running to Victory

Billmon

While an abrupt, overnight switch in the propaganda machine's output from stay-the-course-forever to cut-and-run-to victory might grate on the ears of those of us who still haven't quite adjusted to the Fox News era, I doubt the vast majority of the American people will care -- or even notice. They'll just be happy that the war is "over" and the boys and girls will be coming home, allowing them to forget the whole disagreeable business. Anyone who believes otherwise must have slept through the last few elections.

Sooner or later, of course, the clueless idiots will find out that the war -- the real war, the war for the Middle East -- isn't over, and isn't likely to be over in their lifetimes, or even their children's lifetimes. But it's probably safe to assume that the first Tuesday in November will have come and gone by then.

Cutting and Running to Victory

Posted by b on June 25, 2006 at 06:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (50)

June 24, 2006

Delayed

Germany-Sweden - 2:0. Nice game, though ASKOD's milage will probably vary.

I was watching the game at home with open windows. There were two other groups nearby glued to their TV screens, one in a neighbours garden and one on a balkony some fifty yards away.

We all were watching the game "live", but when the first goal did occure, there was a funny effect. About three second after I shouted YEAH!, the neighbour's garden crowd responded with their war cry. Two additional seconds later, the folks on that balkoney started to cheer.

These delayed reactions repeated themselfs with the second goal and with some following near misses.

The delays, I assume, are based on different TV signal we are catching. I am watching on analog cable, the three second delay would be the neighbours digital broadcast receiver, which needs some time to decrypt and decode the digital signal. The additional two second delay for the balkony could be caused by receiving the game through a satellite receiver. They do have a sat-antenna up, so I guess their TV signal took the long space relay way from source to drain.

Funny to see "live" delayed.

Posted by b on June 24, 2006 at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

June 23, 2006

Open Thread

News & views ...

Posted by b on June 23, 2006 at 01:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (94)

June 22, 2006

WB: Kabul Follies

Billmon quotes Lind:

"Should be in Berlin by September, old chap."

Kabul Follies

Posted by b on June 22, 2006 at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (22)

Related News Items

Europe still sees US as greatest threat to stability

In a Harris opinion poll, published on the eve of Mr Bush's latest visit to Europe this week, 36 per cent of respondents identify the US as the greatest threat to global stability.

The poll, conducted in association with the FT, questioned a representative sample of 5,000 people in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain on a range of issues. Thirty per cent of respondents named Iran as the greatest threat to global stability, with 18 per cent selecting China.

US effort to rehab image falls short

Eight million is the number of additional visitors the US would greet if it increased its share of the international travel pie by just 1 percent. In 2002, the US reaped 9 percent of international travel, but today the number is down to 6 percent. Each percentage drop represents 150,000 jobs and $15 billion in spending, according to the TIA.

Ghana boots U.S. from World Cup

There was no glory for the United States at this year's World Cup, only frustration and failure. The Americans were eliminated in the first round, losing to Ghana 2-1 Thursday in a game they had to win to advance to the tournament's knockout phase.
[...]
It was a bitter ending for the United States, which carried high hopes — and a No. 5 world ranking from FIFA — onto soccer's biggest stage. Four years ago, the Americans made the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Posted by b on June 22, 2006 at 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

(Non?)-Missiles

In a WaPo op-ed two Clinton defense officials are calling on Bush to bomb North Korea's rocket test site.

[I]f North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead.

I am sick of U.S. pols to argue for starting wars on countries that have neither the intent, nor the ability to hurt the U.S.. All this based on very doubtful intelligence.

Those famous Taepodong II missiles are an unknown. They may even not exist. Nobody has more than an idea what their capabilities are supposed to be.

The assumed capability is that it could possible reach a corner of Alaska. But there is no chance such a missile could reach the U.S. homeland. Also such a missile may be intended as a satellite carrier, not as a weapon system.

On June 18 it was reported that the missile was fueled and ready to go. If the missile, that may be on it's launchpad or not, was really fueled up at the time of the report, it would be a bunch of waste by now. The fuel is extremly corrossive and eats through its tanks within a few days.

So all this brahoah may just be an attempt to justify the incapable missile defense program in the U.S. and Japan. Then it may be that North Korea does want to launch a small satellite.

Are these really sufficient reasons to start a war?

Posted by b on June 22, 2006 at 02:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (17)

June 21, 2006

WB: October Surprise

Billmon:

Considering the narrowness of Bush's margin in the electoral college -- a 60,000 vote swing in Ohio, and we're talking about President Kerry's failed Iraq War policies right now -- it doesn't seem unreasonable to argue that Osama bin Laden did more to perpetuate Shrub's reign of error than Karl Rove and the RNC propaganda machine from hell put together.

October Surprise

Posted by b on June 21, 2006 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (15)

WB: There's No Business Like Show Business

Billmon:

There's No Business Like Show Business

Posted by b on June 21, 2006 at 01:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

WB: The Wages of Sin

Billmon:

The piglets must assume that no matter how bad the juxtaposition of the two items above may look in June, by November it will just be another half-remembered trivia question

The Wages of Sin

Posted by b on June 21, 2006 at 12:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (26)

June 20, 2006

60 Miles

When I learned soldiering, a major lesson was to never hold a position from where there is no retreat possible. And, with Stalingrad in mind, never to depend on air supply alone.

This sounds like a quite possible catastrophy in the making:

U.S. soldiers descended on a mountain ridge Sunday, setting up fortified posts and mortar positions overlooking a key Taliban transport route.

Their arrival marked the first time in years that soldiers from the U.S.-led military force had ventured into Baghran Valley, in northern Helmand province.
[...]
The position will allow U.S. forces to block the movement of Taliban fighters and supplies, said one of the officers, Lt. Col. Chris Toner.
[...]
[The] new encampment is remote - more than 60 miles from the nearest ground forces - but Wilson saw that as an advantage.
[...]
"The enemy did not suspect we would come up here," he said. "They believe they have a safe haven area up here, because it has been untouched by coalition troops for years."
Taliban supply route is targeted by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, AP, June 19, 2006

The classic attempt to do the like was a serious failure:

[T]he French undertook to create an air-supplied base, at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the hills of Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into Laos. Instead, the Viet Minh, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, were able to surround and besiege the French, who were ignorant of the Viet Minh's possession of heavy artillery and their ability to move such weapons to the mountain crests overlooking the French encampment.
Battle of Dien Bien Phu, Wikipedia

The West has no strategy how to win in Afghanistan, nor a consensus on what could be won at all. This conflict will end like several others long attempts to occupy and pacify that country.

Lt. Col. Chris Toner's battalion is in deep shit. He may not know it yet, but or his successor will learn that lesson too. 60 miles through enemy territory is a long way to walk.

Posted by b on June 20, 2006 at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

OT 06-54

A short update. I took over a consulting job for a project run wild.

The last days I was busy to pic up the bits and pieces of an exploded IT development and tried to reconfigure and motivate the teams involved.

It's a bit like babysitting a horde of preschoolers while getting them to rebuild a crumbled pyramid.

As it will take a few more days to reset the program, I am short of sleep and blogging time. May be some of the regulars or not so regulars can write something up to post.

Thanks for leaving so many good links and thoughts in the Open Threads. Treasure troves these are.

Posted by b on June 20, 2006 at 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (98)

June 17, 2006

News & Views

Weekend OT ...

Posted by b on June 17, 2006 at 01:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (129)

June 16, 2006

By annie


by annie

Posted by b on June 16, 2006 at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (28)

WB: Math Error

Billmon:

Does the hack who wrote this story even know what the term "margin of error" means? Or does he think it's just the blank space at the top of all his term papers where his teachers used to write the "Fs"?

Math Error

Posted by b on June 16, 2006 at 01:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

June 15, 2006

"People Want Something"

From today's Whitehouse press briefing via TPM

QUESTION: Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?

SNOW: It's a number. And every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks, people want something. ...

Iraq Amnesty Plan May Cover Attacks On U.S. Military

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384, 385, 386, 387, 388, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 441, 442, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 448, 449, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459, 460, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469, 470, 471, 472, 473, 474, 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, 480, 481, 482, 483, 484, 485, 486, 487, 488, 489, 490, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 496, 497, 498, 499, 500 - January 8, 2004 - Powell on WMD existence: 'This game is still unfolding', 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, 519, 520, 521, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526, 527, 528, 529, 530, 531, 532, 533, 534, 535, 536, 537, 538, 539, 540, 541, 542, 543, 544, 545, 546, 547, 548, 549, 550, 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 556, 557, 558, 559, 560, 561, 562, 563, 564, 565, 566, 567, 568, 569, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 577, 578, 579, 580, 581, 582, 583, 584, 585, 586, 587, 588, 589, 590, 591, 592, 593, 594, 595, 596, 597, 598, 599, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, 615, 616, 617, 618, 619, 620, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625, 626, 627, 628, 629, 630, 631, 632, 633, 634, 635, 636, 637, 638, 639, 640, 641, 642, 643, 644, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 650, 651, 652, 653, 654, 655, 656, 657, 658, 659, 660, 661, 662, 663, 664, 665, 666, 667, 668, 669, 670, 671, 672, 673, 674, 675, 676, 677, 678, 679, 680, 681, 682, 683, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 690, 691, 692, 693, 694, 695, 696, 697, 698, 699, 700, 701, 702, 703, 704, 705, 706, 707, 708, 709, 710, 711, 712, 713, 714, 715, 716, 717, 718, 719, 720, 721, 722, 723, 724, 725, 726, 727, 728, 729, 730, 731, 732, 733, 734, 735, 736, 737, 738, 739, 740, 741, 742, 743, 744, 745, 746, 747, 748, 749, 750, 751, 752, 753, 754, 755, 756, 757, 758, 759, 760, 761, 762, 763, 764, 765, 766, 767, 768, 769, 770, 771, 772, 773, 774, 775, 776, 777, 778, 779, 780, 781, 782, 783, 784, 785, 786, 787, 788, 789, 790, 791, 792, 793, 794, 795, 796, 797, 798, 799, 800, 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 808, 809, 810, 811, 812, 813, 814, 815, 816, 817, 818, 819, 820, 821, 822, 823, 824, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829, 830, 831, 832, 833, 834, 835, 836, 837, 838, 839, 840, 841, 842, 843, 844, 845, 846, 847, 848, 849, 850, 851, 852, 853, 854, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859, 860, 861, 862, 863, 864, 865, 866, 867, 868, 869, 870, 871, 872, 873, 874, 875, 876, 877, 878, 879, 880, 881, 882, 883, 884, 885, 886, 887, 888, 889, 890, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895, 896, 897, 898, 899, 900, 901, 902, 903, 904, 905, 906, 907, 908, 909, 910, 911, 912, 913, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 919, 920, 921, 922, 923, 924, 925, 926, 927, 928, 929, 930, 931, 932, 933, 934, 935, 936, 937, 938, 939, 940, 941, 942, 943, 944, 945, 946, 947, 948, 949, 950, 951, 952, 953, 954, 955, 956, 957, 958, 959, 960, 961, 962, 963, 964, 965, 966, 967, 968, 969, 970, 971, 972, 973, 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 979, 980, 981, 982, 983, 984, 985, 986, 987, 988, 989, 990, 991, 992, 993, 994, 995, 996, 997, 998, 999, 1000 - September 6, 2004 - President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Rally in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008, 1009, 1010, 1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 1015, 1016, 1017, 1018, 1019, 1020, 1021, 1022, 1023, 1024, 1025, 1026, 1027, 1028, 1029, 1030, 1031, 1032, 1033, 1034, 1035, 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040, 1041, 1042, 1043, 1044, 1045, 1046, 1047, 1048, 1049, 1050, 1051, 1052, 1053, 1054, 1055, 1056, 1057, 1058, 1059, 1060, 1061, 1062, 1063, 1064, 1065, 1066, 1067, 1068, 1069, 1070, 1071, 1072, 1073, 1074, 1075, 1076, 1077, 1078, 1079, 1080, 1081, 1082, 1083, 1084, 1085, 1086, 1087, 1088, 1089, 1090, 1091, 1092, 1093, 1094, 1095, 1096, 1097, 1098, 1099, 1100, 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105, 1106, 1107, 1108, 1109, 1110, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1115, 1116, 1117, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124, 1125, 1126, 1127, 1128, 1129, 1130, 1131, 1132, 1133, 1134, 1135, 1136, 1137, 1138, 1139, 1140, 1141, 1142, 1143, 1144, 1145, 1146, 1147, 1148, 1149, 1150, 1151, 1152, 1153, 1154, 1155, 1156, 1157, 1158, 1159, 1160, 1161, 1162, 1163, 1164, 1165, 1166, 1167, 1168, 1169, 1170, 1171, 1172, 1173, 1174, 1175, 1176, 1177, 1178, 1179, 1180, 1181, 1182, 1183, 1184, 1185, 1186, 1187, 1188, 1189, 1190, 1191, 1192, 1193, 1194, 1195, 1196, 1197, 1198, 1199, 1200, 1201, 1202, 1203, 1204, 1205, 1206, 1207, 1208, 1209, 1210, 1211, 1212, 1213, 1214, 1215, 1216, 1217, 1218, 1219, 1220, 1221, 1222, 1223, 1224, 1225, 1226, 1227, 1228, 1229, 1230, 1231, 1232, 1233, 1234, 1235, 1236, 1237, 1238, 1239, 1240, 1241, 1242, 1243, 1244, 1245, 1246, 1247, 1248, 1249, 1250, 1251, 1252, 1253, 1254, 1255, 1256, 1257, 1258, 1259, 1260, 1261, 1262, 1263, 1264, 1265, 1266, 1267, 1268, 1269, 1270, 1271, 1272, 1273, 1274, 1275, 1276, 1277, 1278, 1279, 1280, 1281, 1282, 1283, 1284, 1285, 1286, 1287, 1288, 1289, 1290, 1291, 1292, 1293, 1294, 1295, 1296, 1297, 1298, 1299, 1300, 1301, 1302, 1303, 1304, 1305, 1306, 1307, 1308, 1309, 1310, 1311, 1312, 1313, 1314, 1315, 1316, 1317, 1318, 1319, 1320, 1321, 1322, 1323, 1324, 1325, 1326, 1327, 1328, 1329, 1330, 1331, 1332, 1333, 1334, 1335, 1336, 1337, 1338, 1339, 1340, 1341, 1342, 1343, 1344, 1345, 1346, 1347, 1348, 1349, 1350, 1351, 1352, 1353, 1354, 1355, 1356, 1357, 1358, 1359, 1360, 1361, 1362, 1363, 1364, 1365, 1366, 1367, 1368, 1369, 1370, 1371, 1372, 1373, 1374, 1375, 1376, 1377, 1378, 1379, 1380, 1381, 1382, 1383, 1384, 1385, 1386, 1387, 1388, 1389, 1390, 1391, 1392, 1393, 1394, 1395, 1396, 1397, 1398, 1399, 1400, 1401, 1402, 1403, 1404, 1405, 1406, 1407, 1408, 1409, 1410, 1411, 1412, 1413, 1414, 1415, 1416, 1417, 1418, 1419, 1420, 1421, 1422, 1423, 1424, 1425, 1426, 1427, 1428, 1429, 1430, 1431, 1432, 1433, 1434, 1435, 1436, 1437, 1438, 1439, 1440, 1441, 1442, 1443, 1444, 1445, 1446, 1447, 1448, 1449, 1450, 1451, 1452, 1453, 1454, 1455, 1456, 1457, 1458, 1459, 1460, 1461, 1462, 1463, 1464, 1465, 1466, 1467, 1468, 1469, 1470, 1471, 1472, 1473, 1474, 1475, 1476, 1477, 1478, 1479, 1480, 1481, 1482, 1483, 1484, 1485, 1486, 1487, 1488, 1489, 1490, 1491, 1492, 1493, 1494, 1495, 1496, 1497, 1498, 1499, 1500 - March 1, 2005 - Photographs From Iraq, 1501, 1502, 1503, 1504, 1505, 1506, 1507, 1508, 1509, 1510, 1511, 1512, 1513, 1514, 1515, 1516, 1517, 1518, 1519, 1520, 1521, 1522, 1523, 1524, 1525, 1526, 1527, 1528, 1529, 1530, 1531, 1532, 1533, 1534, 1535, 1536, 1537, 1538, 1539, 1540, 1541, 1542, 1543, 1544, 1545, 1546, 1547, 1548, 1549, 1550, 1551, 1552, 1553, 1554, 1555, 1556, 1557, 1558, 1559, 1560, 1561, 1562, 1563, 1564, 1565, 1566, 1567, 1568, 1569, 1570, 1571, 1572, 1573, 1574, 1575, 1576, 1577, 1578, 1579, 1580, 1581, 1582, 1583, 1584, 1585, 1586, 1587, 1588, 1589, 1590, 1591, 1592, 1593, 1594, 1595, 1596, 1597, 1598, 1599, 1600, 1601, 1602, 1603, 1604, 1605, 1606, 1607, 1608, 1609, 1610, 1611, 1612, 1613, 1614, 1615, 1616, 1617, 1618, 1619, 1620, 1621, 1622, 1623, 1624, 1625, 1626, 1627, 1628, 1629, 1630, 1631, 1632, 1633, 1634, 1635, 1636, 1637, 1638, 1639, 1640, 1641, 1642, 1643, 1644, 1645, 1646, 1647, 1648, 1649, 1650, 1651, 1652, 1653, 1654, 1655, 1656, 1657, 1658, 1659, 1660, 1661, 1662, 1663, 1664, 1665, 1666, 1667, 1668, 1669, 1670, 1671, 1672, 1673, 1674, 1675, 1676, 1677, 1678, 1679, 1680, 1681, 1682, 1683, 1684, 1685, 1686, 1687, 1688, 1689, 1690, 1691, 1692, 1693, 1694, 1695, 1696, 1697, 1698, 1699, 1700, 1701, 1702, 1703, 1704, 1705, 1706, 1707, 1708, 1709, 1710, 1711, 1712, 1713, 1714, 1715, 1716, 1717, 1718, 1719, 1720, 1721, 1722, 1723, 1724, 1725, 1726, 1727, 1728, 1729, 1730, 1731, 1732, 1733, 1734, 1735, 1736, 1737, 1738, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1742, 1743, 1744, 1745, 1746, 1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759, 1760, 1761, 1762, 1763, 1764, 1765, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1807, 1808, 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814, 1815, 1816, 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823, 1824, 1825, 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 - October 23, 2005 - Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. Spears, USMC, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030, 2031, 2032, 2033, 2034, 2035, 2036, 2037, 2038, 2039, 2040, 2041, 2042, 2043, 2044, 2045, 2046, 2047, 2048, 2049, 2050, 2051, 2052, 2053, 2054, 2055, 2056, 2057, 2058, 2059, 2060, 2061, 2062, 2063, 2064, 2065, 2066, 2067, 2068, 2069, 2070, 2071, 2072, 2073, 2074, 2075, 2076, 2077, 2078, 2079, 2080, 2081, 2082, 2083, 2084, 2085, 2086, 2087, 2088, 2089, 2090, 2091, 2092, 2093, 2094, 2095, 2096, 2097, 2098, 2099, 2100, 2101, 2102, 2103, 2104, 2105, 2106, 2107, 2108, 2109, 2110, 2111, 2112, 2113, 2114, 2115, 2116, 2117, 2118, 2119, 2120, 2121, 2122, 2123, 2124, 2125, 2126, 2127, 2128, 2129, 2130, 2131, 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2136, 2137, 2138, 2139, 2140, 2141, 2142, 2143, 2144, 2145, 2146, 2147, 2148, 2149, 2150, 2151, 2152, 2153, 2154, 2155, 2156, 2157, 2158, 2159, 2160, 2161, 2162, 2163, 2164, 2165, 2166, 2167, 2168, 2169, 2170, 2171, 2172, 2173, 2174, 2175, 2176, 2177, 2178, 2179, 2180, 2181, 2182, 2183, 2184, 2185, 2186, 2187, 2188, 2189, 2190, 2191, 2192, 2193, 2194, 2195, 2196, 2197, 2198, 2199, 2200, 2201, 2202, 2203, 2204, 2205, 2206, 2207, 2208, 2209, 2210, 2211, 2212, 2213, 2214, 2215, 2216, 2217, 2218, 2219, 2220, 2221, 2222, 2223, 2224, 2225, 2226, 2227, 2228, 2229, 2230, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2235, 2236, 2237, 2238, 2239, 2240, 2241, 2242, 2243, 2244, 2245, 2246, 2247, 2248, 2249, 2250, 2251, 2252, 2253, 2254, 2255, 2256, 2257, 2258, 2259, 2260, 2261, 2262, 2263, 2264, 2265, 2266, 2267, 2268, 2269, 2270, 2271, 2272, 2273, 2274, 2275, 2276, 2277, 2278, 2279, 2280, 2281, 2282, 2283, 2284, 2285, 2286, 2287, 2288, 2289, 2290, 2291, 2292, 2293, 2294, 2295, 2296, 2297, 2298, 2299, 2300, 2301, 2302, 2303, 2304, 2305, 2306, 2307, 2308, 2309, 2310, 2311, 2312, 2313, 2314, 2315, 2316, 2317, 2318, 2319, 2320, 2321, 2322, 2323, 2324, 2325, 2326, 2327, 2328, 2329, 2330, 2331, 2332, 2333, 2334, 2335, 2336, 2337, 2338, 2339, 2340, 2341, 2342, 2343, 2344, 2345, 2346, 2347, 2348, 2349, 2350, 2351, 2352, 2353, 2354, 2355, 2356, 2357, 2358, 2359, 2360, 2361, 2362, 2363, 2364, 2365, 2366, 2367, 2368, 2369, 2370, 2371, 2372, 2373, 2374, 2375, 2376, 2377, 2378, 2379, 2380, 2381, 2382, 2383, 2384, 2385, 2386, 2387, 2388, 2389, 2390, 2391, 2392, 2393, 2394, 2395, 2396, 2397, 2398, 2399, 2400, 2401, 2402, 2403, 2404, 2405, 2406, 2407, 2408, 2409, 2410, 2411, 2412, 2413, 2414, 2415, 2416, 2417, 2418, 2419, 2420, 2421, 2422, 2423, 2424, 2425, 2426, 2427, 2428, 2429, 2430, 2431, 2432, 2433, 2434, 2435, 2436, 2437, 2438, 2439, 2440, 2441, 2442, 2443, 2444, 2445, 2446, 2447, 2448, 2449, 2450, 2451, 2452, 2453, 2454, 2455, 2456, 2457, 2458, 2459, 2460, 2461, 2462, 2463, 2464, 2465, 2466, 2467, 2468, 2469, 2470, 2471, 2472, 2473, 2474, 2475, 2476, 2477, 2478, 2479, 2480, 2481, 2482, 2483, 2484, 2485, 2486, 2487, 2488, 2489, 2490, 2491, 2492, 2493, 2494, 2495, 2496, 2497, 2498, 2499, 2500 - June 15, 2006 - Iraqi Govt. plan to pardon rebels who killed Americans, ...

Now what about those 500,000 children that died because of sanctions on Iraq and 100,000+ Iraqis that died because of the current war on Iraq?

Who will pardon their killers?

Posted by b on June 15, 2006 at 02:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

June 14, 2006

WB: My Corporate Media Impression

Billmon:

Boy, those guys are really on a roll!

My Corporate Media Impression

Posted by b on June 14, 2006 at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

WB: Balancing the View

Billmon:

Balancing the View

Posted by b on June 14, 2006 at 03:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Why In Iraq

But the American people have got to understand I believe we're going to succeed. That's why we're there.
Press Conference of the President ; June 14, 2006

Posted by b on June 14, 2006 at 03:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

WB: Baghdad Bush

Billmon:

The GOP's real problem, in other words, may be on Main Street, not in the Green Zone, which means the photos from this latest photo op all have the wrong faces in them. Now that Fitzgerald's axe is no longer poised over his neck, I'm sure Rover will realize this sooner or later, and shift gears accordingly -- probably about the time another crisis breaks out back in Baghdad, or in some other part of the president's job description. Hurricane season, after all, is only just getting started.

Baghdad Bush

Posted by b on June 14, 2006 at 12:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

June 13, 2006

WB: Pig in a Blanket

Billmon:

It would probably be that Fitz is indeed putting all his chips on Libby, and has good reason to believe Rove's testimony will help him hit the jackpot. I don't get the sense that Fitzgerald is spoiling for a constitutional death match, which is what he (and we) would get if the not-so-special prosecutor went after Big Time on conspiracy or obstruction or false statement charges.

It almost makes me nostalgic for the glory days of Ken Starr, ...

Pig in a Blanket

Posted by b on June 13, 2006 at 03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

The Shrinking U.S.

Journalist and blogger Helena Cobban has a longer piece on The incredible shrinking U.S.   power at Salon (you will have to click through one ad to read it in full).

She has been right in many of here articles. The analysis of this one is wide ranging and bold. But I see no obvious flaws in her conclusion:

I believe that the domestic and global factors now pushing Washington toward undertaking a complete (or near-complete) retreat from Iraq are now so powerful that this retreat will take place before the end of the Bush presidency. But the U.S. will not merely be retreating to the position it occupied on March 18, 2003; the shrinkage of U.S. power around the globe will be much broader than that. There is one very simple reason for this: The U.S. will need the cooperation of other powers if the pullout from Iraq is to be orderly.
[...]

So as the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, there may be some developments in international politics that will strengthen global stability. [...] [T]he gross power imbalance between the U.S.'s 300 million people and the 6 billion humans who are not U.S. citizens may finally shift toward a more egalitarian, and therefore more just and stable, position.
[...]
I realize there are many Americans who are not as ready as I am to welcome the prospect of a diminishment (or, as I would say, a rectification) of the disproportionate amount of power our nation has been able to wield in world affairs over the past 60 years.
[...]
Today, a clear majority of Americans judge that invading Iraq was the wrong thing to do. A similarly clear majority say the administration should set a timetable for withdrawal. This willingness to challenge the Bush people's spin on the situation in Iraq is a welcome sign of increased public understanding, but it does not signal any automatic readiness to challenge the principle of U.S. exceptionalism more broadly. Grappling with that issue is, I believe, our next great challenge as a citizenry; and it is a challenge that the events of the next few years will almost certainly force us to confront head-on.

That will be a very interesting, and hopefully salvaging, confrontation.

Posted by b on June 13, 2006 at 03:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

OT 06-52

News & views & general discussions ...

Posted by b on June 13, 2006 at 02:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (121)

WB: Godless

Billmon:

Godless

Posted by b on June 13, 2006 at 12:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

June 12, 2006

Wingnut(?) Meme

Spencer, author of the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, points out that giving away Czechoslovakia did not stop Adolph Hitler's territorial ambitions leading up to World War II -- and giving away the West Bank, he says, will not dissuade Hamas.

"More territorial concessions are not going to bring peace," the author says emphatically. "They're not going to satisfy Hamas or the Palestinians in general, and they're only going to make it easier for the Palestinians to achieve their ultimate goal of the destruction of Israel."
Author Says Israeli Withdrawal Would Play Into Hamas' Hands


The Security Council,

Having heard the statement of the Permanent Representative of Jordan and other statements made before the Council,

Stressing the urgent need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,

Affirming once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 1/is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,

1. Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
...
UN Resolution 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979

Posted by b on June 12, 2006 at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

WB: Base Motives

Billmon:

Base Motives

Posted by b on June 12, 2006 at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

June 11, 2006

"An Act of War"

by anonymous
(lifted from a comment)

Of course while getting concerned about one fellow human's treatment by the spin-off from the empire juggernaut, much worse is happening elsewhere and not just Ramadi.

Three humans succeeded in killing themselves at Guantanamo Bay last night, which should be the cause of grief, yet in the irony and inversion of values that war can incite, their deaths may well be regarded as a triumph. The victory of the individual over the faceless, unfeeling empire.

That this could be regarded as a victory, is  certainly a concern of the US military establishment here:

The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says.

The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were "committed" and had killed themselves in "an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us".

How in hell's name could the suicide of 3 men be regarded by anyone, much less the willing agents of that empire, as a victory over empire? The reason is as mundane as it is banal.

The US military hierachy, as obsessed with appearances as any bourgois housefrau had decided that any deaths at Guantanamo Bay may be perceived by the media as a reflection of the inhumane and brutal conditions these men, who have been imprisoned without trial for many years, have had to endure. One of the most inhumane and crushingly brutal facts of life about Guantanamo Bay was that no one was allowed to die there, no matter how sick they were.

Of course no miracle cures were handed out but if anyone was terminally ill they were quickly moved away from surroundings which however brutal, at least they were familiar with, and away fom fellow inmates who had endured the privations with them.
Up until last night not one of the more than 2000 inmates who had been through Guantanamo Bay, men who had been captured while wounded on the battlefield, tortured by their initial captors, then rendered to torture specialist all over the world, only to be shunted off to Guantanamo Bay to be tortured abused, ridiculed and humiliated had been allowed the release that they felt only death could bring.

Last night in the worst possible way three humans found release and through that victory.

What does that tell us about their captors? 

Posted by b on June 11, 2006 at 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

June 10, 2006

Another Weekend OT

Open thread ...

Posted by b on June 10, 2006 at 12:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (79)

June 09, 2006

Football

The world football championship madness (it is played with the feet, not with the hands)  just started with Costa Rica playing against Germany and after only 16 minutes into the game Costa Rica is 2:1 behind. Three goals in the first minutes makes for great games. Lets hope for more.

Who will win this one? My endgame bet is on Germany versus Brasil, but I have no idea yet  what the outcome of that one could be.

Your take?

Posted by b on June 9, 2006 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)

WB: Entertainment News Tonight

Billmon:

Network sources say the Pentagon Channel is weighing a possible sequel to the Abu Zarqawi Hour, featuring an identical plot but a completely different cast. The network and Zarqawi have permanently severed their relationship, these sources added, due to "irreconcilable creative differences."

Pentagon Channel officials declined to respond to questions about a possible sequel, saying only that "all options are under consideration. Things related and not."

Entertainment News Tonight

Posted by b on June 9, 2006 at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)

June 08, 2006

OT 06-50

Yours ...

Posted by b on June 8, 2006 at 03:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (238)

WB: God and Money at Yale

Billmon:

As Dylan said: Money doesn’t talk, it swears – even if at Yale, it swears politely. It’s getting hard to tell what the difference is between Yale University and your average New York street hooker, except that one works on 42nd Street and the other in New Haven, and one sells pussy while the other peddles . . . well, I’m not sure what. Endowed chairs, I guess. (Or, to quote the late great Ruth Brown: “I’m gonna sell it, or I’m gonna sit on it. But I’m sure enough not gonna give it away.")

God and Money at Yale

Posted by b on June 8, 2006 at 03:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (18)

Dead Bogeyman

So Zarqawi is now officially supposed to be dead.

As everybody will remember:

One internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."

According to the legend, Zarqawi was a member of Ansar al-Islam, a small terrorist group in the Kurdish north of Iraq. That group and its well known camp was never bothered by U.S. forces, who had control of the region.

The one-legged, later on two-legged Zarqawi was useful as a bogeyman and as the one presumed guilty for any and all attrocies in Iraq. There was no need to look elsewhere for evildoers, as everything could be put to his and his comrades name.

Any shepard captured or killed by U.S. forces was advertised to have been a Zarqawi operative, which prompted me to provide a make your own newsrelease for such  successes.

After it became obvious knowledge that Zarqawi was a psycholgical operation figure, the  endless stream of killed Zarqawi aids stopped flowing and, in May, for the first time a Zarqawi video appeared. It showed a hapless man who did not even know how to handle his weapon. The U.S. military, as obviously planed, made fun of him being so incapable.

But that campaign did not help anything either. So now it was time to finally bury him.

For Maleki and the occupation force, this success is urgently needed as the Iraqi cabinet is still incomplete is only just completed and the security situation is getting worse by the day.

What success is easier to get, than to burn a fictive agent who had become unusable for any other purpose anyhow?

But only the U.S. public will be fooled by this and only for a few news cycle.

For the Iraqis living in Iraq nothing has changed. The electricity will not be there, the water will not flow and the pointless killing will not stop.

Posted by b on June 8, 2006 at 07:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (24)

Specter Punked

Uncle$cam yesterday linked to a piece about Specter giving in to the White House on oversight over the NSA domestic spying programs.

Arlen Specter said that after discussions with the Bush administration and Senate Intelligence Committee colleagues who had been more fully briefed on the National Security Agency program, he was "prepared to defer on a temporary basis" requiring representatives from AT&T, Verizon Communications and BellSouth to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he leads.

One wondered how Specter, who has a but at least existent backbone, could give in on this issue.

Now it turns out that Cheney punked him.

Cheney had convinced all other Republican committee members to take his side without even talking to the committee chairman. Specter explains this in an open letter to Cheney. Via NYT:

Mr. Specter, who had been considering issuing subpoenas to compel telephone company executives to testify, learned of Mr. Cheney's actions only when he went into a closed meeting of the committee's Republicans on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after encountering the vice president at a weekly luncheon of all Senate Republicans.
[...]
"I was surprised, to say the least, that you sought to influence, really determine, the action of the committee without calling me first, or at least calling me at some point," Mr. Specter wrote. "This was especially perplexing since we both attended the Republican senators caucus lunch yesterday and I walked directly in front of you on at least two occasions en route from the buffet to my table."

Without any support from his Republican colleagues, Specter had no chance to push his way through the committee.

So again, what was the point of having a Congress and committees at all? Cheney makes the laws as he sees fit by signing statements. Cheney suppresses legislative oversight by congress through backroom pressure. Cheney avoids any legal oversight by involving a state secrets privilege whenever things get uncomfortable.

Under Cheney's realm the only difference to a dictatorship that is left is a bit of kabuki for the media.

But then, you are still allowed to elect your local dog catcher ...

Posted by b on June 8, 2006 at 06:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

June 07, 2006

Progress

Repealing the estate tax, which applies to large fortunes after death, would save a lot of money for a very few people — about one in 6,000, whose estates would each save an average of more than $800,000.

The Senate is expected to vote as early as Thursday on whether to repeal the estate tax permanently or to exempt more wealth and apply lower rates.
A Boon for the Richest in an Estate Tax Repeal, NYT, June 7, 2006

It is important to this people to grapple with the problems connected with the amassing of enormous fortunes, and the use of those fortunes, both corporate and individual, in business. [...] As a matter of personal conviction, and without pretending to discuss the details or formulate the system, I feel that we shall ultimately have to consider the adoption of some such scheme as that of a progressive tax on all fortunes, beyond a certain amount, either given in life or devised or bequeathed upon death to any individual-a tax so framed as to put it out of the power of the owner of one of these enormous fortunes to hand on more than a certain amount to any one individual; the tax of course, to be imposed by the national and not the state government. Such taxation should, of course, be aimed merely at the inheritance or transmission in their entirety of those fortunes swollen beyond all healthy limits. Again, the national government must in some form exercise supervision over corporations engaged in interstate business-and all large corporations engaged in interstate business-whether by license or otherwise, so as to permit us to deal with the far reaching evils of overcapitalization.
"THE MAN WITH THE MUCK RAKE", T. Roosevelt, April 15, 1906

Posted by b on June 7, 2006 at 03:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

 
Site Meter