Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 17, 2006

News & Views

Weekend OT ...

Posted by b on June 17, 2006 at 01:46 AM | Permalink

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Pentagon Study Describes Abuse by Units in Iraq

Special Operations interrogators gave some detainees only bread or crackers and water if they did not cooperate, according to the investigation, by Brig. Gen. Richard P. Formica of the Army. One prisoner was fed only bread and water for 17 days. Other detainees were locked for as many as seven days in cells so small that they could neither stand nor lie down, while interrogators played loud music that disrupted their sleep.

The inquiry also determined that some detainees were stripped naked, drenched with water and then interrogated in air-conditioned rooms or in cold weather. General Formica said it appeared that members of the Navy Seals had used that technique in the case of one detainee who died after questioning in Mosul in 2004, but he reported that he had no specific allegations that the use of the technique was related to that death.

Despite the findings, General Formica recommended that none of the service members be disciplined, saying what they did was wrong but not deliberate abuse.
...
General Formica found that in the third case at a Special Operations outpost, near Tikrit, in April and May 2004, three detainees were held in cells 4 feet high, 4 feet long and 20 inches wide, except to use the bathroom, to be washed or to be interrogated. He concluded that two days in such confinement "would be reasonable; five to seven days would not." Two of the detainees were held for seven days; one for two days, General Formica concluded.


Would be reasonable???

Posted by: b | Jun 17, 2006 1:54:08 AM | 1

When did psychological abuse become entertainment?

Fox TV have just started a new reality TV show called 'Solitary' where contestants are put into solitary confinement and stressed until their physical or mental health can't take any more.

According to the website, "a test may include repetitive cycles of number games, conducted while being subjected to loud sirens and during times of sporadic sleep deprivation".

Horowitz Leads Way to Academic Freedom


Committee: Fire Churchill
A majority of the University of Colorado committee leading an inquiry into Ward Churchill recommended today that the ethnic studies professor be fired.

Labs in Northern California, New Mexico competing to build new nuclear bomb
Terrific.

Finally,
Colbert strikes yet again...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17, 2006 2:12:37 AM | 2

Good Sudan/Dafur OpEd explaining the complex situation. It seems like the U.S. is helping the badest boy around.

Dealing With the Devil in Darfur

The response to the peace agreement was tepid in Abuja. But it was far cooler in Darfur, where the agreement is widely viewed as a peace between two criminal elements: the Sudanese government and Minni Arcua Minnawi, the leader of the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army that is drawn mainly from the Zaghawa tribe.

Mr. Minnawi's group is one of three rebel groups in Darfur — the two others rejected the agreement — where the Zaghawas make up less than 8 percent of the population. The wealth and influence they have gained because of their energy, drive and capacity for strategic action have caused tensions with other tribes for years.

But since the rebellion began, the abusive behavior of Mr. Minnawi's forces — often hundreds of miles outside their home area — has awakened old fears that the tribe has a hidden agenda: the creation of a new Zaghawa homeland carved out of the more fertile lands of others. Mr. Minnawi's acceptance of the peace agreement is reason enough for most Darfurians to reject it.

Posted by: b | Jun 17, 2006 2:31:00 AM | 3

Has anyone read the Counterpunch lead by former cia analysts KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON on the power of the pro-Israel lobby?

It has an intro by both Cockburn and StClair. Hard to say whether that is because it directly challenges some views which the Christisons claim are held by Noam Chomsky and Norman Finklestein or because the editors are concerned that it may be perceived as anti-semetic rather than anti-zionist.

The point of view the Christisons argue is that there has never been a consistent thread running through amerikan foreign policy since ww2 despite whichever party holds power in the US, which has been blindly supportive of Israel because supporting Israel is a pragmatic decision which favours US interests.

There's actually two points there I suppose. The first is that the pro-Israeli policy hasn't been consistent and secondly that a pro-Israel policy hasn't always been believed to favour US interests ,or maybe that a pro-israel policy hasn't always been adopted because it is believed to favour US interests.

Normally it could be considered that such hair splitting is pointless since the reality of amerikan pro-israel policy is more important an issue to deal with than any guesses at the cause of it.

However I suppose it is worth considering if only because of this point the Christisons make.

That is if it has always been perceived to be in the best interests of amerika to have a pro-israel policy, why bother with such an expensive and potentially embarassing monolith such as the AIPAC lobby? ie If being pro-israel always favours amerikan corporate and strategic goals, why bother?

I tend to go with some of what the christisons argue if only because it explains the lack of amerikan support for the anglo-french suez adventure in the 50's.

As well, since then there has been a difference in attitudes toward Israel as presidents' administrations have changed.

Up until BushCo it certainly felt like the rethugs were less inclined to toss all of amerikas chips into the israeli lobby. Interestingly the Christisons argue the Carter administration wasn't particularly pliant when subjected to zionist pressure.

The christison's are particularly scathing of the left, which they argue is mistaken to claim that a pro-israel stance has always been perceived to be in amerika's best interests.

This is where it gets tricky because I'm not certain that Chomsky has maintained that. And if he did say something like that it may have been to avoid the huge pitfall that the Christisons may have fallen into.

That is that their point of view leaves itself open to an interpretation of being motivated by anti-semitism. It begins to sound like an evil jewish banking conspiracy a la Rouche of that ilk.

It's an extremely long piece, but worth reading at least some of if only because it is provocative.

Posted by: | Jun 17, 2006 6:27:49 AM | 4

The point is that in America ALL policy is up for bids.

The politicians have become the outsourced employees of this or that corporation or PAC and it is those interests that are served. No one is looking out for American interests, the American people's interests. The Israel Lobby simply bought the Middle Eastern portion of US foreign policy.

To speak of "American policy" as being aligned with Israeli policy is a fallacy. There is no American policy. The only coherence there is to it is the coherence brought out by our view of it all receding in our rear-view mirror.

There is only the crazy quilt of pieces bought and paid for by Oil, War, and "Israel". Israel in quotes because the Israelis are no better served by their far-right wing neocons than we Americans are. Noam Chomsky very clearly points out that every poll shows that the American people's wishes are diametrically opposed to the government's every policy.

The problem is that the neocons have the whole thing so well funded, billions a year for a country with a population less than New York City, that opposition is nearly impossible in Israel or in the US by conventional means.

Nearly. All we really have to do is turn off our TV sets, get off our duffs and take our democracy in hand. But we seem incapable of that. The mid-term elections are shaping up to be, in the main, the same old same old. The country is going down for the count and we're all sitting on our thumbs commenting on it.

The Christisons are at least pursuing their trade, intelligence, and delivering it straight to the ultimate employers of the CIA. That would be us. The whole "anti-Semite" rap is as "real" as the Viet Nam veterans spat upon when they returned from the war. That only happened in Rambo. Rambo was a Hollywood movie.

We're as guilty as the Germans or Italians or Japanese of sixty years ago. The next generation of Americans and Israelis will be like the last generation of Germans. Hats in hand. Coming up with excuses as to why we did nothing while our governments burned our world.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jun 17, 2006 9:47:24 AM | 5

I agree with John Francis Lee:

...opposition is nearly impossible... in the US by conventional means.

Nearly. All we really have to do is turn off our TV sets, get off our duffs and take our democracy in hand. But we seem incapable of that. ... The country is going down for the count and we're all sitting on our thumbs commenting on it.

And then from Richard Heinberg’s latest: ”Energy Geopolitics 2006”. (Link info at end of post.)

We have even seen one of the major oil companies (Chevron) place ads in multiple magazines and newspapers in order-gently, perhaps, but insistently and conspicuously-to break the news to the American people that the era of cheap oil, and cheap energy in general, is finished, over, done, dead, and gone. And that era just happens to be the only one that Americans alive today have ever known.

Welcome to the twenty-first century. And welcome to a world for which none of us is prepared. Take a good look around: things are changing quickly everywhere, and the omens are . . . well, ominous.

I agree that we can do something about it and will either sooner or later. Sooner would enhance our chances of changing/evolving into something less than hideous.

Some would argue that the politicial process is totally corrupt so getting involved is counterproductive; but I say that every one of us is involved in the political process in one form or another whenever we are in relationship with others and I know some of us strive to bring the concepts of interconnectedness, interdependence, and symbiotic association into our conscious political interactions.

I see those who disdain politics and eschew involvement in pretty much the same light that I view the “Good Germans” of 65 years ago.

Because most every American has never experienced a world strife and terror and they have only known privileged existence with a hundred energy slaves pampering their every desire, they just don’t know how to shut off the TV, get off their duffs and take our democracy in hand or they haven’t reached the point of deprivation yet where they feel the need to give up their comforts. Many even refuse to allow themselves to feel the outrage from what is being done in their name in Iraq. It may be only when they see these atrocities happening in their own communities in one form or another that they will emerge from their 20th century dream world.

Well enough of my rant and time for me to get off my duff and hit the streets.

Richard Heinberg’s “Energy Geopolitics 2006 ” mentioned above is, IMO, an excellent and insightful read. I can’t get the live link direct to the article to work but his web site is at: http://www.museletter.com/index.html and the article under the side bar “Muse Letters - Recent”

Posted by: Juannie | Jun 17, 2006 11:45:31 AM | 6

Juannie, I haven't seen anyone around here eschewing political involvement, unless you equate it w/involvement w/either of the two political parties, both of which are currently pursuing the Infamous Khrushchev dictum "we shall bury you", w/a considerable assist from kos, etc.

If, however, by concern for energy you're speaking of a movement to produce locally consume locally, that's a very different matter. Of course, both parties are totally opposed to that - yet another reason they're so totally counter-productive.

Here's an example of what they support.
1) Ford is Firing 25,000 Americans, & investing $9.2Billion in Mexico to hire 150,000 mexicans. Last week Organized Labor put on a "take back America" conference. Clearly shutting down this initiative must be the focus of the conference. No? My goodness not one word. It was all about teaming up w/the JackAss Party to destroy America.

2). xUS Elites Accelerating transformation of xUS into Third World Nation by destroying American jobs & unions. Here's info. on the plan to build a super-highway from Mexican Ports straight through to Canada. Our goods, which must be manufactured here, will instead be manufactured in China, etc., wasting oil being shipped to Mexico. There they will be unloaded by mexicans to help destroy American Longshoremens Union, then driven to whatever's left of our country & Canada, by mexican drivers, further helping destroy the Teamsters. They will not encounter customs til Kansas City. Oh, and Thom Hartmann announced last night, the Predators are trying to sell this new superhighway to our destruction to Spain. more info

Find the movement to stop this & I'm sure that many around here will get involved.

(Didn't see any mention of these @kos circle-jerk either. In fact, I suspect if you dared post diaries on this you'd get the fly swatter treatment.)

As far as oil geopolitics, MKlare has finally written a Superb art. on geopolitics of Iran. link

Posted by: jj | Jun 17, 2006 1:06:59 PM | 7

My comments, jj, were not intended to reflect on anyone posting at this bar other than perhaps your’s truly. I never feel I am doing enough and look for ways to become more effective without selling out to thugs or asses. It’s a tough one for me. To be political and effective without becoming part of the political problems.

Putting personal energy into the local is at the heart of a peaceful political solution, I believe. But how effective this can be at thwarting the Anglo mafia now in the seats of power? I can’t see the answers but only trust in my effort to always be of good will.

My first post was mainly expressing my frustration at both myself and others who I think are capable of knowing and acting better. This bar and the contributing barflies is one of my first lines of preparation for the struggle back toward a kinder and gentler America.

Whether Heinberg is correct or not about the coming energy situation, one thing is for sure. Everything living being depends on a continuing energy supply. There is no energy shortage. Only our inability to discover appropriate sources and accept the limitations wherein we choose. To me acting locally, the closer to home the better, is a huge step in the right direction.

Posted by: Juannie | Jun 17, 2006 2:15:16 PM | 8

Hawking Says Big Government Must Colonize Your Anus
http://planenews.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5232

Posted by: Seren Dipity | Jun 17, 2006 2:42:08 PM | 9

jj:

Totally with ya', brother! Peak Big Government.
100,000 employees at Department of Environment.
100,000 employees at Neo Department of Homeland
De-Population. 200,000 cutbacks at Department of Human Services. Think Sachsenhausen. Compassionate Christian Conservatives, my ruby-red assh--e.

Posted by: | Jun 17, 2006 2:51:08 PM | 10

Mass. school punishes students with electric shocks

"They can be shocked for behaviors including ’failure to maintain a neat appearance’, ‘stopping work for more than 10 seconds’, ‘interrupting others’, ‘nagging’, ‘whispering and/or moving conversation away from staff’, ‘slouch in chair’ ''


N.Y. report denounces shock use at school

Looks like the generational incremental, piecemeal, and continuous conditioning hasn't changed much, it's still marching forward.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17, 2006 3:16:41 PM | 11

http://www.rense.com/general72/mex.htm

After an exhaustive government search for
the appropriate acronym, they settled on:

CANADA AMERICA MEXICO

MACADAMIA ICE CON REX
ACADEMICIAN CREAM OX
ACACIA CAD ME NERO MIX
AMANDA COCA ICE MIXER
ACCORDANCE AXE MAIM I
ACADEMIC CAINE AM XOR
CICADA ICEMAN AX ROME

DeBaathification of the Neo Nation
of Can-Am-Mex. Kinda nice ring to it.
C-A-N-A-M-E-X. Trips off the tongue.

Kind of like P-A-N-A-M-A-X:
http://www.maxmart.com.tw/panamax.files/image001.gif
http://www.maxmart.com.tw/capesize.files/image001.gif
http://www.maxmart.com.tw/tank.files/image001.gif

Gotta do something to hold up that
trans-national corporate bottom line!

Coalition.gov? Catholic, LDS or Mooney?

Military call sign? X-ray Oscar Romeo.

http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/graphics/mexicoflag.jpg

Posted by: | Jun 17, 2006 3:19:27 PM | 12

Addendum: Folks, in my tinhat, this is methodical relentless and systemic. Ever seen a Buffalo Jump? the masses are being herded into an ideology. Metaphorically and quite literally i.e. physically. What other conclusion can there be?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17, 2006 3:21:39 PM | 13

Can-Am-Mex Highway

Tyson Foods NARA, on steroids:
http://www.newsmax.com/articles/?a=1995/3/19/115822

Dark Chinese gew-gaw plastic pumped in.

US-CAN meat and grains back sucked out.

USDA Cheese spread and surplus honey 4 U.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Posted by: et | Jun 17, 2006 3:28:54 PM | 14

Read this

Posted by: b | Jun 17, 2006 3:54:32 PM | 15

watch this

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 17, 2006 5:18:07 PM | 16

You don't have to know ALL of the details to see how bad it is.

I'm watching Papillon tonight.

Posted by: Beria | Jun 17, 2006 6:34:20 PM | 17

goofy goes to war

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 17, 2006 6:57:08 PM | 18

And yeah,

It might be good to put little wise ass fuckheads like Petie Beinhart in a nerf-gulag for 6 or eight months to open their eyes a bit.

And the Paula Zahn cretin watching all the ordinance hitting Tora Bora in 2001
and going all goo-goo and probably multiorgasmic.

Just a little green-screen war for the white-breaded world.

Posted by: Beria | Jun 17, 2006 7:08:24 PM | 19

REGINA:

What I’d like to know, Mr. Thane, is … (She pulls a sheaf of papers from her bag and shuffles through them.) Oh, here it is: "What are the changes in the circumstances, experiences, opportunities and quality of life of the people that arise as a result of the interaction between the available outputs and other outcomes and the circumstances including purposes and expectations"?


MR. THANE:

Gee, uh, I’m not sure. (There’s a long pause.) You’re still getting gas, aren't you?

link.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17, 2006 9:13:20 PM | 20

New moves on the tripolar chessboard

The neocons will find themselves with their backs against the wall and will strike out against Iran in their own vicious "last throes".

Perhaps they will even use the nihilist musings of John Derbyshire pointed to above to "justify" their wanton destruction.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jun 17, 2006 10:02:00 PM | 21

funny to read that blog article b pointed out, taking to task aplogetics that remain locked in this powerful myth of benevolence on the part of the united states, after seeing the comments on the appearance of the christison's piece in counterpunch's online version. ironic parallel in this argument re the usa's involvement in the 1982 invasion of lebanon from the christison's:

When, as occurred in Lebanon, the U.S. has blundered into misquided adventures to support Israel's interest, it is a clear denial of reality to say that Israel and its lobby have no significant influence on U.S. Middle East policy. [emphasis mine]

also, i had a huge problem w/ this line of thought throughout their article

These critics on the left argue from a [sic] assumption that U.S. foreign policy has been monolithic since World War II, a coherent progression of decision-making directed unerringly at the advance of U.S. imperial interest. All U.S. actions, these critics contend, are part of a clearly laid-out strategy that has rarely deviated no matter what the party in power.
...
The principal problem with the left critics' analysis is that it is too rigid.

is this not a strawman argument? my reading of the M-W writings on the lobby subject is that they are too narrowly rigid in thier analysis to find a way to assign extraordinary powers over the u.s. to israel
There is no question that access to that region's oil is a vital US strategic interest. Washington is also deeply committed to supporting Israel. Thus, the relevant question is, how does each of those interests affect US policy? We maintain that US policy in the Middle East is driven primarily by the commitment to Israel, not oil interests. If the oil companies or the oil-producing countries were driving policy, Washington would be tempted to favour the Palestinians instead of Israel. Moreover, the United States would almost certainly not have gone to war against Iraq in March 2003, and the Bush administration would not be threatening to use military force against Iran. Although many claim that the Iraq war was all about oil, there is hardly any evidence to support that supposition, and much evidence of the lobby's influence. Oil is clearly an important concern for US policymakers, but with the exception of episodes like the 1973 Opec oil embargo, the US commitment to Israel has yet to threaten access to oil. It does, however, contribute to America's terrorism problem, complicates its efforts to halt nuclear proliferation, and helped get the United States involved in wars like Iraq. [source]

instead, i find an extension of professor cutler's analysis of the fight between the "right-arabists" and "right-zionists" factions as a better filter to contextualize & examine the lobby paper. the christisons don't even broach the topic in their article, instead diverting animosity toward the left. as neo-realists, and members of the "coalition for a realistic foreign policy", M-W are on the side of the "old guard" foreign policy establishment lined up against the neocons. that should be obvious. the appearance & timing of the paper was yet another part of the attack on the right-zionists.

as f. william engdahl pointed out in another article that was linked here several times last month, the context behind the battle is this

In the space of 12 months, Russia and China have managed to move the pieces on the geopolitical chess board of Eurasia away from what had been an overwhelming US strategic advantage, to the opposite, where the US is increasingly isolated. It's potentially the greatest strategic defeat for the US power projection of the post-World War II period. This is also the strategic background for the re-emergence of the so-called realist faction in US policy.

and cutler dwelt on the strategic divide in the elite establishment
Disagreement over the strategic value of the US-Saudi alliance goes to the heart of the venomous battle that has long raged between neo-conservatives and "realists."
...
Neo-conservatives lost the battle to prevent the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia, but that fight serves as an extemely useful proxy for distinguishing between "neo" conservatives - who believe that US interests are best served by reliance on Israel, if only that relationship were not regularly jeopardized by the American habit of appeasing the Saudis — and "realist" conservatives — who believe that US interests are best served by reliance on Saudi Arabia, if only that were not jeopardized by the American habit of appeasing the Israelis.
...
Each side of this split regularly accuses the other of bad faith — of trying to serve two flags at once. Right Zionists insist that US recognition of Israel as a strategic asset is compromised by the influence of "big oil" money. … Similarly, critics of the US-Israeli alliance portray Israel as a strategic burden, rather than an asset.

which makes M-W's paper all the more revealing. again, consider that passage i pasted above from M-W's defense of their paper
We maintain that US policy in the Middle East is driven primarily by the commitment to Israel, not oil interests. … Although many claim that the Iraq war was all about oil, there is hardly any evidence to support that supposition, and much evidence of the lobby's influence. ..the US commitment to Israel has yet to threaten access to oil. It does, however, contribute to America's terrorism problem, complicates its efforts to halt nuclear proliferation, and helped get the United States involved in wars like Iraq.

cutler summarized his article by stating that the left
sometimes runs the risk of becoming unwitting partners in an intra-imperialist battle between Right Zionists and Right Arabists. … The anti-imperialist Left has no business aligning itself with Right Arabists, and yet the dangerous consequences of this alliance have only grown as Right Arabists have begun to regain control of the US ship of state.

the christison's would have us believe that
Accepting a convergence of U.S. and Israeli interests means that the U.S. can never act entirely as its own agent, will never examine its policies and actions entirely from the vantage point of its own long-term self interest, and can, therefore, never know why it is devising and implementing a particular policy. The failure to recognize this reality is where the left critics' belittling of the lobby's power and their acceptance of U.S. Middle East policy as simply an unchangeable part of a longstanding strategy is particularly dangerous.

their critique of these "left critics" was unconvincing to me, esp wrt to chomsky's response to the paper & the role of the lobby. michael massing, in an essay on the controversy over the M-W paper at the new york review of books earlier this month, better summarized chomsky's take
The study also drew criticism from the left, notably from Noam Chomsky. While Mearsheimer and Walt "deserve credit" for taking a position "that is sure to elicit tantrums and fanatical lies," he wrote, their thesis was "not very" convincing, for it ignored the influence that oil companies have had on US policy in the Persian Gulf, and it overlooked the extent to which the US-Israeli alliance performed "a huge service" for "US-Saudis-Energy corporations" by "smashing secular Arab nationalism, which threatened to divert resources to domestic needs." US policy in the Middle East, Chomsky argued, is no different from that in other parts of the world, and the Israeli government had helped implement it, by, for instance, enabling the Reagan administration to "evade congressional barriers to carrying out massive terror in Central America." Many would find the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis appealing, he wrote, because it leaves the US government "untouched on its high pinnacle of nobility," its Wilsonian impulses distorted by "an all-powerful force [i.e., the lobby] that it cannot escape."

again, i think of the christison's argument of israel leading the blundering u.s. "into misguided adventures" in lebanon. i am not very informed on another point, but there has always been this factionalism - pro-israel vs pro-saud - w/i the cia, as well. the middle and near east divisions were strongly pro-arabist, while james jesus angleton, in his counterintel division, for years had a very close working relationship w/ israeli intel. his influence was very strong & israel always had access to top levels of data. this changed after angleton was fired, w/ the sauds getting a more prominent role in international covert operations for u.s. bidding, esp when bush sr took charge of the cia - think bcci & such. when carter became president, he got rid of bush & settled for turner, who straight up told israel that they weren't going to rcv any special attention at all from his cia, partly in attempt to force some type of peace process in the ME, partly to appease the oil-rich saudis. this open attempt at a break w/ israeli intel led to a revolt w/i the cia, essentially spearheaded by ted shackley, who ran a rogue cia operation that bypassed oversight by turner & carter and actively worked to undermine carter - think oct surprise, etc. reagan, a character of limited intelligence to begin w/, had little to no interest in the intel aspect of running a nation, which he bequeathed to his vp, bush sr. bush allowed the rogue cia to become actively involved in the reagan regime & foreign policy operations. casey, now head of the cia, worked w/ reestablishing official relations w/ israeli intel, esp through the connections of max hugel & then john stein, while bush pumped for the sauds in order to retain access to those oil reserves. one result was the machinations behind the iran-iraq war. the christison's put forth the argument that it was in 1983 that israel took the dominant partner relationship w/ the u.s. it seems to me that a case for the influence of the sauds can be made in much the same vein. it was the sauds who helped fund the mujahideen in afghanistan, which helped the cold warriors rollback the soviets. it was the sauds who used u.s. intel and assets like bcci to help fund pakistan's development of the "islamic bomb" as a geopolitical equalizer. it was the sauds that provided some $60 billion in funds for the first gulf war, even though they had funded part of saddam's projects for nuclear development.

like i said, i don't know much about all of this, but it's clear to me that the faction that benefits most from exaggeration of israel's influence over the u.s. policies are the right-arabists. not to write off those specific points w/ merit that they raise, but only to offer a more sober counsel when presented w/ what otherwise seems to apologetics for u.s. policies.

Posted by: b real | Jun 17, 2006 10:34:15 PM | 22

b - re General formica see

Posted by: citizen k | Jun 17, 2006 10:36:02 PM | 23

b - mistyped
this

Posted by: citizen k | Jun 17, 2006 10:37:21 PM | 24

So I'm just walking down the ol' cobblestone, and out jump these smegging terro...er, uh, Pacifists..
The Curmudgeon has the full story. This reminds me of the time Boris Johnson was forcibly stripped, covered with ham glaze and chased down the street by vegans, who used barbecue forks to incentivize him when he flagged. It nearly broke him, poor fellow, and he hasn't been quite the same ever since.

Also see:
Minister refuses to name 500 arms sales officials

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17, 2006 11:37:57 PM | 25

b real.

Nice analysis. One of the tell-tale signs of anti-semitic critics of Israel is the insistence that somehow in a world of good and well meaning people, only those Zionists do bad. The well meaning US being hustled into misadventures, a world of law abiding and honorable nation states horrorshocked at the perfidy of the Zionist state, the well known protective UN regime violated by Zionists. If it weren't for the Kikes, the US would be handing out lollipops in Basra right now.

Posted by: citizen k | Jun 18, 2006 12:10:44 AM | 26

You are really disappointing us US, in your leadership position, when you become insubordinate.

You scored top of the class, and are designated guidon bearer, so far, for the graduation parade.

Everyone is confined to barracks until I am able to explain what your first phase of instruction was all about, and before everyone gets a 2 week pass.

Next two weeks of insruction is a piece of cake.


Proust on, err play on.

Posted by: CO2 | Jun 18, 2006 12:34:16 AM | 27

Frank Rich on the Democrats Party:

Karl Rove Beats the Democrats Again

What's most impressive about Mr. Rove, however, is not his ruthlessness, it's his unshakable faith in the power of a story. The story he's stuck with, Iraq, is a loser, but he knows it won't lose at the polls if there's no story to counter it. And so he tells it over and over, confident that the Democrats won't tell their own. And they don't — whether about Iraq or much else. The question for the Democrats is less whether they tilt left, right or center, than whether they can find a stirring narrative that defines their views, not just the Republicans'.

What's needed, wrote Michael Tomasky in an influential American Prospect essay last fall, is a "big-picture case based on core principles." As he argued, Washington's continued and inhumane failure to ameliorate the devastation of Katrina could not be a more pregnant opportunity for the Democrats to set forth a comprehensive alternative to the party in power. Another opportunity, of course, is the oil dependence that holds America hostage to the worst governments in the Middle East.

Instead the Democrats float Band-Aid nostrums and bumper-sticker marketing strategies like "Together, America Can Do Better." As the linguist Geoffrey Nunberg pointed out, "The very ungrammaticality of the Democrats' slogan reminds you that this is a party with a chronic problem of telling a coherent story about itself, right down to an inability to get its adverbs and subjects to agree." On Wednesday Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were to announce their party's "New Direction" agenda — actually, an inoffensive checklist of old directions (raise the minimum wage, cut student loan costs, etc.) — that didn't even mention Iraq. Symbolically enough, they had to abruptly reschedule the public unveiling to attend Mr. Bush's briefing on his triumphant trip to Baghdad.

Those who are most enraged about the administration's reckless misadventures are incredulous that it repeatedly gets away with the same stunts. Last week the president was still invoking 9/11 to justify the war in Iraq, which he again conflated with the war on Islamic jihadism — the war we are now losing, by the way, in Afghanistan and Somalia. But as long as the Democrats keep repeating their own mistakes, they will lose to the party whose mistakes are, if nothing else, packaged as one heckuva show. It's better to have the courage of bad convictions than no courage or convictions at all.

Posted by: b | Jun 18, 2006 12:54:09 AM | 28

What if you start a riot, but then you can't
jog your way back out, as Bush, like Hitler,
refuses to abandon Stalingrad, and then the
other gangs (Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan)
beat the holy crap out of you, and there are
no UN police to pull your sad ass out of the
flames because, once again, Bush fucked with
Kofi Annan with his false promise of aid for
UNSC vote against Saddam, and Kofi still can
appreciate a delicious joke: “To find a mine
on the beach is rather odd,” and the Democrats
are flailing because on TV, the Story is truly
Everything, and besides, American Idle is on!
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Bwah,ha,ha,ha,ha.
America is the Insane Asylum of the Universe.
English.people.com.cn/200606/16/eng20060616_274634.html

Posted by: Peristroika Shalom | Jun 18, 2006 4:04:05 AM | 29

b real , i'll be chewing on that tomorrow also. thanks

peristoika, your link doesn't work, that's ok, i do what i frequently do when a link doesn't work, i google ( by news)some of the text. in this case the first half. normally i might not post this but i'm punchy, its late, and what the hoot. the text produced another piece altogether from The Jakarta Post a jolly good read. enjoy...

The stadium, opened in 1962, mainly hosts football games these days however, and the whole area is certainly less oasis-like if you visit during a match. For a start, football hooligans have run riot around the complex on a number of occasions; fighting, robbing and stabbing each other's faces off in true British soccer riot fashion. In addition, the stadium remains one of the world's biggest (if not the most modern) and has a capacity of 100,000 shrieking fans, although they'll squeeze 120,000 in for a top match.

Last Sunday though, football was off the menu and the usual stadium joggers were also conspicuous by their absence. Instead, I inadvertently stumbled into a Christian festival, much like the ones that they have in U.S. stadiums when the Red Sox or Metallica aren't playing. When I entered the stadium around 4 p.m., the Christian rock band and choir were just warming up and the stadium was almost empty. However, one section of seats was full of singing, shiny-eyed, tambourine bangers, some looking heavenwards with their arms akimbo and eyes tightly shut. None of them though, seemed to be speaking in tongues and falling over backwards when their foreheads were touched as they do at American Christ-fests.

All thoughts of jogging and swimming were immediately forgotten as more and more Christians poured in. It struck me that the stadium was perhaps not an established house of worship and that, under the current and controversial religious law, the FPI (Indonesian Islamic Front) or various Mujahideen brigades could turn up at any time and demand closure, as they have been doing elsewhere in West Java recently. Had the organizers obtained the requisite signatures of a hundred local residents in order to legitimate their prayer meeting in the eyes of the law? Had they canvassed the residents of the neighboring Hilton Apartments for their consent? I suspect not, although if the Muslim fundamentalists were to turn up at Bung Karno Stadium when in full Hosanna swing then they might feel that they had bitten off more than they could chew.

So it's jogging and salvation all the way for me from now on. Fitness is next to Godliness. Peace.

Posted by: Simon Pitchforth | Jun 18, 2006 4:33:00 AM | 30

b real,

Nice extention of Cutlers tool of dividing american ME policy into right arabist / right zionists -- I've become quite a fan of this tool -- in understanding the conflicted initiatives we see on Iraq (by the US). Interestingly, the foriegn policy debate (among these conflicted factions) within the U.S. government have no doubt been projected upon the political landscape (in Iraq) of the emerging government itself -- in that the apparent "fluidity" of these various, and often contradictory positions espoused (by the U.S.) in this evolution -- have the net effect of isolating and exposing the hardend and unshakeable positions taken by the U.S. And those positions left standing are indeed the convergence points where right arabists and zionists viewpoints meet and illucidate clearly the long term U.S. imperial agenda. As b's link (above)illustrates, within the U.S. political realm, the democrates refuse to de-link from the right arabist criticism of the right zionists performance in achieving the goals assumed upon apriori -- or what so called "winning" means. And "winning", is the enduring discredit of the democrates on this issue is -- in allowing "winning" to always be defined in terms of U.S.interests, and not Iraqi intersts.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 18, 2006 4:48:20 AM | 31

i would like to see b real's post as a thread b.

i was wondering about so many aspects of it. did the neocons split off from the dems because they thought they would have more leverage within the gop? what have the dems gained by holding fiercly to their pro arabist leanings as opposed to what's right for the US? if the right pro arabists and the left pro arabists were to unite, what then. what would happen if we let them all run their courses? what separates the left and right pro arabists besides their foriegn policies. what is a politician called if he/she isn't either?

i would really like to see the post in a thread.

Posted by: | Jun 18, 2006 5:12:04 AM | 32

i meant what separates the left and right pro arabists besides their besides their domestic policies,

Posted by: | Jun 18, 2006 5:14:00 AM | 33

Citizen K:

No doubt that anti-Semites will jump on any bandwagon they think is going their way.

But the likudnikons are incidentally Jews just as the neocons are incidentally Americans. They are all from hunger. They want others' lands and resources and will turn the wheels of power as required to get same. It's simple greed, all the way down. Surely anyone not already consumed by their prejudices can see this clearly.

It is no more "anti-Semitic" to oppose the neocon-likudnikon axis in Israel than it is "anti-American" to oppose it here in America.

Whenever I have a chance I try to point out that there are at least 1664 Israelis refuseniks, including 27 Israeli airmen, more than a dozen members of Sayeret Matkal, and Noam Bahat, Hagay Mattar, Adam Mouar, Shimi Tzamrit and Mittan Kminar who are serving prison terms for refusing to serve in Israel's illegal, immoral war against the Palestinians.

That's like 80,000 people here in the United States. And I imagine that it takes every bit as much backbone to stand up to the Likud or to whoever is cashing US treasury checks in Israel as it does to stand up to the present regime here in America.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jun 18, 2006 6:19:39 AM | 34

Refreshing perspective, an interview with Jan Myrdal, Support the Liberation front on their own conditions!

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jun 18, 2006 9:10:01 AM | 35

did the neocons split off from the dems because they thought they would have more leverage within the gop?

This link addresses your question, sorta:

For Neocons, the Irony of Iraq

Posted by: Amurra | Jun 18, 2006 9:58:10 AM | 36

Good link Amurra

I got to know a medical professional in Iraq from my blogging time on Today in Iraq. She and her family are totally secular. She remains...... maybe there is hope?

Somehow I don't think so.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 18, 2006 10:18:43 AM | 37

from Amurra's link-

In a signally important and devastating dispatch from Baghdad that ran in last Friday's New York Times, correspondent Sabrina Tavernise reports that fully 7 percent of the country's population, and an estimated quarter of the nation's middle class, has been issued passports in the past 10 months alone. Tavernise documents the sectarian savagery that is directed at the world of Iraqi professionals -- the murders in their offices, their neighborhood stores, their children's schools, their homes -- and that has already turned a number of Baghdad's once-thriving upscale neighborhoods into ghost towns.

Slaughter is the order of the day, and the police are nowhere to be found. "I have no protection from my government," Monkath Abdul Razzaq, a middle-class Sunni who has decided to emigrate, told Tavernise. "Anyone can come into my house, take me, kill me, and throw me into the trash."

--I also remember Salaam Pax's blog entry posted here not long ago saying he had to get different passports for different regions, and other ppl were doing the same, to change their names so they didn't sound Shia or Sunni, depending upon the region.

I wish I could find the counter-protesters in my burg who acted as tho opposition to the invasion of Iraq was the equivalent of supporting a horrible regime. I suppose they watch the everything's great in Iraq channel, tho, and have no problem with reality b/c it doesn't exist for them if they can't find it on Fox.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 18, 2006 1:53:35 PM | 38

thanks for the link amuura.

that was my question btw.many iraqi bloggers have confirmed what faux highlights.

Posted by: annie | Jun 18, 2006 2:30:08 PM | 39

The same thing happening now in Iraq
has already happened in Afghanistan,
and already murdered out awhile back in
Pol Pot's and Mao's Cultural Revolutions,
death to professional middle classes,
but, hmmm, ! not to financial/political
elites !, who fly back and forth on their
multiple passports with their money in
banks in Bern and Isle of Man. The same
thing will be happening shortly in the
USA, to pay for Neo Deficil's that the
bottom 57% of Americans are already
in slavery too, and top 5% have already
sheltered their income and estates from.
If you're a US professional, paint a big
red bulleye on your ass. You're "it".

Posted by: Semi Pro | Jun 18, 2006 3:34:39 PM | 40

Austria's Haider says Bush is a war criminal

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian right-wing populist Joerg Haider called President Bush a war criminal on Saturday, days before Austria's government hosts Bush and European leaders in Vienna.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 18, 2006 3:40:41 PM | 41

, i don't know much about all of this,

yeah, right.

I'd add the war also is an expenditure of idle capital. the rhythm of accumulation is maintained in part by the destruction of capital by war.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 18, 2006 3:52:09 PM | 42

Embroidering on the Christison article..

It is hard to sort out, in the Israel - US alliance, what belongs to, or springs from, a general geo-politcal strategy, and what is the outcome of insidious, or just plain in-groupy -and often financial- interests of certain parties. I appreciated the article. But:

Criticism from the left tends towards general geo-politics, but with a broad brush, US hegemony and all that..A toe hold in the ME, an energy rich region. The likes of Chomsky will minimise the role and efficacity of the Israeli lobby.

Critcism from the right tends to focus on the ‘lobby’ and the ‘undue influence’ and possible manipulations, blackmail, petty financial interests, the incomprehensible clout of AIPAC, etc. - a system of relations of the most suspect kind... Their explanation is weaker, as they can but insist that US interests are not served (or those being served are not the right ones, etc.) and the whole shmear is a sign of stupidity, weakness, lack of backbone, and more, thus: ... an inflation that avoids mention of root causes ...

The left throws up its hands, what can you do, the US is an evil empire; and the right moans that ..well... basically...at the end of the day.... it is f*cking incomprehensible and just plain irrational.

If the truth is between the two, it sure is elusive. In fact, both parties obscure what is actually happening in Israel itslef.

Boiling it down one enters a cul-de-sac (from article, an anti-left argument):

It is also all but impossible to imagine the U.S. supporting Israel's actions in the occupied Palestinian territories without pressure from the lobby. No conceivable U.S. national interest served even in the United States' own myopic view by its support for Israel's harshly oppressive policy in the West Bank and Gaza, and furthermore this support is a dangerous liability.

This is nonsense. If no national interests were served, and the support action was a dangerous liability, the US would never ever do it.

Israel kills Arabs. Does so with impunity, because it manages its propaganda, and has exploited, to the absolute hilt, its position at the top of a ‘moral’ hill. The US, taking over colonialsim and empire from the Brits, drools over this. It is morally thrilling (the right to exist), politically correct if covered up with mealy mouthed lies that people can parrot (killing the natives), strategically not uninteresting (all that oil), just about palatable with spin (Jews are whiter than Ayrabs, see 9/11), small enough and far away enough to pass.

Genocide is acceptable... necessary in the name of morality or justice... And who, finally, would object?

Who would stand up, either to defend the Israelis or the Palestinians? To really do it, and not just handwring or pussyfoot?

Thereby the US also shows its power, its capacity to impose on the World Community not just some vague self-interested moves with underground hoopla (e.g. Pinochet), consequent as these have been, but to impose a skewed worldview, using not just nukes but their number one asset, cultural hegemony.

Posted by: Noisette | Jun 18, 2006 4:07:39 PM | 43

@Ms. Fauxreal:

I'd like to see a thread on women in history, from an historical perspective.

Gerry Spense mentioned the Angela Davis case and something about a foiled railroad job, somewhere back on one of these threads, but I can't find it.
Who was Angela Davis?

Posted by: Goldy G. | Jun 18, 2006 4:51:47 PM | 44

Great set of readings from the Moon again. I got absorbed in the Heinberg site from Juannie on a post-oil future. Petrol (gasoline) here in NZ is now almost $2/litre, (US$4.80/gal) and it's starting to change behaviour patterns. The only gas station within 40km of mountain road has just announced they will permanently close because they don't sell enough to pay for the service. The local fire department will have to store its own, and is worried about many households doing the same as well as the dangers of transporting it privately. It is sobering to reflect that this situation with gasoline may not get better as it did in the 70's, and many other times. We are so used to shorter cycles. It is winter here now, and while we mostly heat our house with wood from our property it would be extremely difficult to do so without a working chainsaw. This area of NZ gets electricity from hydro, but I'm not sure they could keep the turbines and transmission lines running without liquid fuels to import components or run equipment.

My wife and I had a long talk about sensible precautions. Hoarding (petrol, batteries, bullets, light bulbs) is only a short term solution as none of these things are likely to be replaceable or maintainable anyway. I certainly couldn't make a lightbulb. Having a basic 12V system fed from a water turbine is only medium term unless we can source repair items. Making candles is long-term. We ended up agreeing with Heinberg on the importance of having a strong community.

There is much that individuals and communities can do to prepare for the energy crunch. Anything that promotes individual self-reliance (gardening, energy conservation, and voluntary simplicity) will help. But the strategy of individualist survivalism will offer only temporary and uncertain refuge during the energy down-slope. True individual and family security will come only with community solidarity and interdependence. Living in a community that is weathering the downslope well will enhance personal chances of surviving and prospering far more than will individual efforts at stockpiling tools or growing food.

Thanks all.

Posted by: PeeDee | Jun 18, 2006 5:01:25 PM | 45

Justice sues Jersey to keep telcos quiet

The Department of Justice wants to stop the disclosure of confidential and sensitive information, according to the lawsuit filed in Trenton, NJ, on Wednesday, a day before phone companies were due to reply to subpoenas issued by the New Jersey attorney general.

"Compliance with the subpoenas issued by those officers would first place the carriers in a position of having to confirm or deny the existence of information that cannot be confirmed or denied without causing exceptionally grave harm to national security," the lawsuit said.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 18, 2006 5:03:30 PM | 46

This is nonsense. If no national interests were served, and the support action was a dangerous liability, the US would never ever do it.

I cannot fault this assesment and would like to thank you for putting it all together. I think Debs would probably agree to this as well.

What is not clear to me is just who declares what the national interests are. It seems that lately those national interests are the interests of a decided minority in the US.

But then we get into elites and powers that be and it all gets confusing again. I believe it was Jerome who stated that there is no conspiracy of elites, they merely all think the same way and this stuff happens pretty much on its own. Of course there are advocates for everything and if it sounds like there is money in it everyone just goes along with the idea and probably without a whole lot of thought of consequences.

However, when a course of action has been decided upon the PTB come up with a story and stick to it. They have been very effective in framing and branding their adventures making them all sound noble and grand. With all media faithfully reciting the official talking points it is not that unusual that the people have been duped. For me it started when I was in school, we were taught that we could trust our government and that ours was the best in the world and we had plenty of examples of what bad governments did to their citizens. Since I never heard anything different I accepted it without questioning. I believe most US citizens have the same experience. Though a lot of people mistrust politicians they still have faith that their government will not fail them.

and before I ramble even more I would like to add that apathy is probably the biggest challenge to anyone hoping to change the way things work in the US. The problem is too big and people are too busy and too un-informed and most everyone is simply overwhelmed by it all. It probably doesn't feel right but without knowing what to do and how to do it most just hope that it will go away and or get better by itself.


Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 18, 2006 5:33:13 PM | 47

Welcome, Semi-Pro.

A corollary to the HST Doctrine:

When the going gets weird
The Weird develop a truly vicious curve
They get the "call", and they're in the Show.

Kugmann was always a Pro.

Lou Dobbs has been around for a long time, done a complete 180, and is IMHO, the greatest "class traitor" the capital,globalization,elites have ever seen, to date.

And I am sure Paul Craig Roberts will soon have his own cable talk show soon, if he wants it.

Just some simple thoughts.

Posted by: Bull Durham | Jun 18, 2006 5:36:26 PM | 48

Goldy, Angela Davis was a Black Power advocate and a grad student/teacher in the University of California system. She was involved in the Soledad brothers case, and implicated when it went awry. The FBI chased her for months, and once arrested, she became a left-wing cause celebre. She was, of course, eventually completely exonerated.

Since then she's been a kind of crusading academic, especially against the prison system. When Reagan was Gov. of California and she was Most Wanted, he famously claimed that she "would never teach in the University of California again." So naturally, she's currently teaching at the University of California Santa Cruz, in the History of Conciousness Ph.D program, which is one I've actually given some serious consideration to attending.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 18, 2006 5:38:54 PM | 49

noisette's use of the phrase an inflation that avoids mention of root causes brings to mind this excerpt from derrick jensen's new book, end game.
may be of interest to some, may not. however, i find it relevant to many conversations that have taken place here.

Cities, the defining feature of civilization, have always relied on taking resources from the surrounding countryside, meaning, first, that no city has ever been or ever will be sustainable on its own, and second, that in order to continue their ceaseless expansion cities must ceaselessly expand the areas they must ceaselessly hyperexploit. ... The importation of resources into cities has always required force, and always will. ... If you need - or perceive yourself as needing - gold, wood, food, fur, land, or oil that resides in someone else's community, and if this other community does not want to hand these resources over to you - and why on God's green earth should they? - how are you going to get them? We have seen this process too many times to not know the answer. ... Because every city-state (and now the entire globally interconnected industrial economy) relies on imported resources, our entire culture's basis in exploitation must remain in place no matter how spiritual, enlightened, or peaceful we may seem to ourselves, may claim to be, or may in fact personally become. This basis in violence is in place whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. It is in place whether or not we call ourselves peaceloving, and whether or not we tell ourselves (each time) that we are fighting to bring freedom, democracy, and prosperity to people who, unaccountably, often do not seem to want what we have to offer. Stripped of all lies, we are fighting, or rather killing, to take their resources. More precisely, those in power are doing so. More precisely yet, those in power are ordering their servants to do so, servants who have bought into the belief that those in power are entitled to take these resources.

This culture has killed a lot of people, and will continue to do so until it collapses, and probably long after. It must, because these killings inhere in the structure and physical needs of the society, and so are not amenable to change. Appeals to conscience, to humanity, to decency are thus doomed even before they're made (and in fact can be harmful insofar as they allow all of us - from presidents to CEO's to generals to soldiers to activists to people who don't much think about it - to pretend those in power could maintain that power without violence, and that the material production on which the entire culture is based could continue also without violence), not only because those in power have shown themselves - similarly to abusers in family violence, for similar reasons - eager to commit precisely as much violence as they can get away with, and not only because those in power have shown themselves psychologically impervious to such appeals (Dear Adolf, Please don't hurt the Jews, nor take land from the Slavs or Russians. Be a pal, okay?) but more importantly - and more implacably - the institutions these individuals serve are functionally just as impervious to the appeals as the individuals are psychologically. They need the resouces, and will get them, come the hell of depleted-uranium-induced malformations or the high water of melted ice caps. All of this means that movements for peace are damned before they start unless they're willing to unmake the roots of this culture, and thus the roots of the violence, they can at best address superficial causes, and thus, at best, provide palliation.

There are many superficial causes of the culture's violence. There is the fact that those who make the political decisions that guide this culture are more interested in increasing their own personal power and the power of the state than they are in human and nonhuman well-being. Another way to say this is that gaining and maintaining access to resources, and facilitating production, are more important to them than life. Another way to say this is that they are insane. If this were a root of the problem instead of a superficial manifestation, we could undermine the violence of this culture by simply replacing those decision-makers with those more reasonable, with those more sane, with those more humane, with those more human. But imagine if an American president decided tomorrow that the U.S. would no longer allow corporations to take oil from any region where the people themselves (not the government) did not want to relinquish it. The same would hold for metals, fish, mean, wood. Everything. What's more, no resources would be extracted if their removal would harm the natural world in any way. In other words, the president decided to put in place a truly non-exploitative, sustainable economy, the sort of economy all but psychopaths would say they want, the sort of economy that environmental and social justice activists say they're working toward. Presuming Congress and the Supreme Court went along - an extraordinarily dubious presumption - and presuming the president wasn't assassinated by CIA operatives or oil or other company hirelings - even more dubious - prices would skyrocket, the American way of life would implode, and riots would (probably) fill the streets. The economy would collapse. Soon, the president's head would be displayed atop the fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The point is that the only people fit to be President are those who can institute policies that value economic production over life. A sane and humane person would not and could not last in that position.

Another superficial cause of the violence is that those who make the economic decisions (as opposed to political decisions, insofar as there is a difference) in this culture, too, are more interested in accumulating power - in this case monetary wealth - than they are in enriching the human and nonhuman communities that surround them. By itself, their interest in mining these communities would not be any more of a problem than any other compulsion, like excessive cleaning or obsessive hand-wringing. It really only becomes a problem because the power-hungry and the greedy work closely together as (somewhat) separate parts of the same corporate state, with the power-hungry wielding the military and police as muscle for the greedy, guaranteeing that the rich will get the resources required for them to increase their wealth - at gunpoint, if necessary - and guarateeing also that those who effectively oppose these transfers of resources will get killed.

But even the conjoining of commerce and politics is, by itself, not a source of the violence, but a mechanism for it. If the lock-step march of government and industry were the essential cause of the culture's violence, we could solve it relatively easily by calling a constitutional convention and inserting new checks and balances to prevent this in the future. And if those in power were to oppose us, continuing their current policy of taxing us without representing us, well, we could simply follow the advice of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and the Beatles and say we want a revolution (recognizing that the Beatles waffled a bit more than the other two, although listening carefully to the doo-wop version I think provides a clue to their beliefs). But we would find, after the dust settled and the blood stopped flowing in the streets, that our glorious new revoltionary government faced the same old problem of how to take resources from country and give them to the city, to the producers. Our new bosses would of necessity be as violent as our old bosses.

We could easily assemble a long list of other mechanisms or superficial causes of violence. There is the fact that those in power have surrounded themselves with institutions such as the military and judicial systems (in fact the entire governmental structure) in order to protect and maintain their power. There is the fact that the social system rewards the insatiable accumulation of wealth and power. There is the fact that we are all immersed in a mythology that, far from causing us to see this accumulation as a great source of violence, causes us to see it as not only acceptable, reasonable, and desirable, but the only way to be, the way, in fact, that "the real world" works. There is the fact that this same mythology glorifies violence, so long as it is perpetrated only by those in power or their surrogates ... There is the arrogance of the civilized, who consider themselves morally and otherwise superior to all others, and who therefore may exploit or exterminate these others with moral impunity (and immunity). There is the arrogance of the humanists, who believe us separate from and superior to nonhumans, who may also then be exploited or exterminated at will. And there is the culture's death urge, pushing us all to end all life on the planet while simultaneously driving each and every one of us as much out of our bodies as we are out of our minds.

All of these are in place, and there is good reason to work halting or slowing all of these. In no way am I suggesting we shouldn't work to reduce the harmfulness of these mechanisms or superficial causes, anymore than I would suggest people not work on rape crisis hot lines, or that people not attempt to stop individual rapists. But I would also not suggest that working on a rape crisis hotline will in any way halt the very real crisis of rape. No one I know who has ever worked on issues of men's violence against women has suggested that it will. Nor have they suggested that if only women will think nice enough thoughts, or practice the right sort of spiritual exercises, that men wil stop raping women. Mitigation can be wonderful, and important, but we should not delude ourselves into thinking it is anything more than mitigation. Begging government and industry to stop destroying the planet and to stop killing people the world over is never going to work. It can't.

Posted by: b real | Jun 18, 2006 6:19:17 PM | 50

Thanks Dan for the ramble.

I personally think it's conspiracy and collusion in pricing of certain commodies(primo example oil), and a pack mentality on outsorcing any US business, when it will benefit next qtrs profitability, and will benefit 5% of the population-the economic elites.

And the rest of it, any village idiot in the postion will only understand in a concrete sense, when the eviction and foreclosure papers are served on him personally.

I think it's a game that benfeits no economic or social interest in the world over the long term.

What do we call such a systemic event economically.

World fuck, I would imagine, but I don't think
anyone has analyzed the total picture. This would take a broad brush, lots of reseach assistants, and a very good group of historical and statistical analysts, and very talented people to draft the finished product.

Just rambling thoughts.

Posted by: Bull Durham | Jun 18, 2006 6:33:32 PM | 51

Return of the Death Squads - Iraq's hidden news



4 May 2006

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the the difference between Iraq as seen on the corporate news and the real news, such as the return of US-trained and armed death squads, reminiscent of Central America and Vietnam.

The lifts in the New York Hilton played CNN on a small screen you could not avoid watching. Iraq was top of the news; pronouncements about a "civil war" and "sectarian violence" were repeated incessantly. It was as if the US invasion had never happened and the killing of tens of thousands of civilians by the Americans was a surreal fiction. The Iraqis were mindless Arabs, haunted by religion, ethnic strife and the need to blow themselves up. Unctuous puppet politicians were paraded with no hint that their exercise yard was inside an American fortress. And when you left the lift, this followed you to your room, to the hotel gym, the airport, the next airport and the next country. Such is the power of America's corporate propaganda, which, as Edward Said pointed out in Culture and Imperialism, "penetrates electronically" with its equivalent of a party line.

The party line changed the other day. For almost three years it was that al-Qaeda was the driving force behind the "insurgency", led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a bloodthirsty Jordanian who was clearly being groomed for the kind of infamy Saddam Hussein enjoys. It mattered not that al-Zarqawi had never been seen alive and that only a fraction of the "insurgents" followed al-Qaeda. For the Americans, Zarqawi's role was to distract attention from the thing that almost all Iraqis oppose: the brutal Anglo-American occupation of their country.

Now that al-Zarqawi has been replaced by "sectarian violence" and "civil war", the big news is the attacks by Sunnis on Shia mosques and bazaars. The real news, which is not reported in the CNN "mainstream", is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration.

The ministry of the interior in Baghdad, which is run by the CIA, directs the principal death squads. Their members are not exclusively Shia, as the myth goes. The most brutal are the Sunni-led Special Police Commandos, headed by former senior officers in Saddam's Ba'ath Party. This was formed and trained by CIA "counter-insurgency" experts, including veterans of the CIA's terror operations in central America in the 1980s, notably El Salvador. In his new book, Empire's Workshop (Metropolitan Books), the American historian Greg Grandin describes the Salvador Option thus: "Once in office, [President] Reagan came down hard on central America, in effect letting his administration's most committed militarists set and execute policy. In El Salvador, they provided more than a million dollars a day to fund a lethal counter-insurgency campaign... All told, US allies in central America during Reagan's two terms killed over 300,000 people, tortured hundreds of thousands and drove millions into exile."

Although the Reagan administration spawned the current Bushites, or "neo-cons", the pattern was set earlier. In Vietnam, death squads trained, armed and directed by the CIA murdered up to 50,000 people in Operation Phoenix. In the mid-1960s, in Indonesia, CIA officers compiled "death lists" for General Suharto's killing spree during his seizure of power. After the 2003 invasion, it was only a matter of time before this venerable "policy" was applied in Iraq.

According to the investigative writer Max Fuller (National Review Online), the key CIA manager of the interior ministry death squads "cut his teeth in Vietnam before moving on to direct the US military mission in El Salvador". Professor Grandin names another central America veteran whose job now is to "train a ruthless counter-insurgent force made up of ex-Ba'athist thugs". Another, says Fuller, is well-known for his "production of death lists". A secret militia run by the Americans is the Facilities Protection Service, which has been responsible for bombings. "The British and US Special Forces," concludes Fuller, "in conjunction with the [US-created] intelligence services at the Iraqi defence ministry, are fabricating insurgent bombings of Shias."

On 16 March, Reuters reported the arrest of an American "security contractor", who was found with weapons and explosives in his car. Last year, two Britons disguised as Arabs were caught with a car full of weapons and explosives; British forces bulldozed the Basra prison to rescue them. The Boston Globe recently reported: "The FBI's counter-terrorism unit has launched a broad investigation of US-based theft rings after discovering that some of the vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, including attacks that killed US troops and Iraqi civilians, were probably stolen in the United States, according to senior government officials."

As I say, all this has been tried before - just as the preparation of the American public for an atrocious attack on Iran is similar to the WMD fabrications in Iraq. If that attack comes, there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no truth. Imprisoned in the Hilton lift, staring at CNN, my fellow passengers could be excused for not making sense of the Middle East, or Latin America, or anywhere. They are isolated. Nothing is explained. Congress is silent. The Democrats are moribund. And the freest media on earth insult the public every day. As Voltaire put it: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities

john pilger

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 18, 2006 8:05:21 PM | 52

By its very definition there are not elite conspiracies. Elites Plan. Conspiracy has two meanings: 1) It's a term in the elite lexicon that signals to those who wish to curry favor w/elites that they are not to discuss certain facets of elite planning & actions. 2)Conspiracies are thoughts, & plans of the powerless that threaten Elite Power.

Posted by: jj | Jun 18, 2006 8:18:46 PM | 53

Goldy G. - great idea for a thread. b is asking for threads all the time, so why don't you do one.

I'm no teacher, no historian, no nobody. A fuckwit.

Ms Davis came from an educated family and her brother played pro football and she was briefly married to Gerry Spense when she was a survivalist in Montana, as far as know.

Maybe you can fill in the rest. I only know worthless things. She was one of the grownups.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 18, 2006 10:14:37 PM | 54

george jackson was a leader in the black panther movement who was alledged to have been murdered while trying to escape. he was imprisoned as 17 for stealing 70 dollars, went on to educate himself, become an author , and became a BP leader while in prison. most of the years he was there he was kept in solitary confinement but was instrumental in changing attitudes about prison reform and racism.

angela davis was working on his release and appeals. popular opinion during the 60's was that he was originally set up for a murder he did not commit and eventually murdered as revenge for the soledad brothers massacre.

i lived in marin county at the time and it was a huge huge event. there was a manhuntout for her because it was alledged she supplied the gun georges brother used when he burst into a marin courtroom and kidnapped a judge as hostage for the release of his brother. the judge died in the gunfire between the fbi, cops in a chase.

there is still controversy surrounding the events of both incidents.

isolated in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, Jackson studied political economy and radical theory and wrote two books, Blood in My Eye and Soledad Brother, which became bestsellers and brought him world-wide attention.

On August 7, 1970, George Jackson's 17-year-old brother Jonathan burst into a Marin County courtroom with an automatic weapon, freed three San Quentin prisoners and took Judge Harold Haley as a hostage to demand freedom for the three "Soledad Brothers." However, Haley, prisoners William Christmas and James McClain, and Jonathan Jackson were killed as they attempted to drive away from the courthouse. The case made national headlines.

The eyewitness testimony suggests that Judge Haley was hit by fire discharged from a shotgun inside the vehicle during the incident, since he was being covered by a shotgun attached by wiring, tape, and/or a strap of some sort, and/or held beneath his chin. The shotgun was traced back to activist Angela Davis.

many people consider george jackson a political prisoner and victim of propaganda.

this event, and subsequent hunt/set up for angela davis were defining moments during that era. some of the symbols of the solidarity movement were the image of the fist in the air. it was very in your face and represented a powerful image that threatened the status quo.

jackson died young at 29

Posted by: annie | Jun 18, 2006 10:25:01 PM | 55

angela davis was also hot,very attractive, educated, young and strong.

Posted by: annie | Jun 18, 2006 10:27:42 PM | 56

angela">http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/features/moore/Images/exit8.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.artnet.com/magazine_pre2000/features/moore/exit8.asp&h=400&w=267&sz=33&tbnid=vD82ii-BOgOcNM:&tbnh=120&tbnw=80&hl=en&start=44&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dangela%2Bdavis%26start%3D40%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN">angela represented a powerful revolutionary movement and the cool part is, they couldn't kill her off!

Posted by: annie | Jun 18, 2006 10:37:36 PM | 57

Former Antiterror Officials Cash In ...

Former Antiterror Officials Find Industry Pays Better: "Dozens of members of the Bush administration's domestic security team, assembled after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are now collecting bigger paychecks in different roles: working on behalf of companies that sell domestic security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run."

This Is A Courtesy Call . . .
WASHINGTON (AP) - Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner and her counterparts have private telephones from the Department of Homeland Security that are only supposed to ring if there is a national emergency - but telemarketers have been using them, too.

Minner says she has received pitches from time share condominiums and long distance providers on what is supposed to be a DHS hot line. She says other governors are having the same trouble.


Minner's office says the Department of Homeland Security has placed the hot line numbers on the federal government's Do Not Call Registry, in an attempt to thwart the telemarketers.

sam smith


Get over it, Minner! Har, har, har, har . . . What part of freedom of speech don't you understand? What is it about you that makes you hate prosperity so? Fucking commie.

Okay, that's nasty and silly. It's very important that the governors be able to get calls from Homeland Security. These guardians have serious business to attend to.
Governors have their responsbilities as well. The country would fall apart if they were subject to endless cycles of harassment.

Besides, there's plenty of career in this, people. Get with the program!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 18, 2006 10:43:57 PM | 58

'Wash Post' Obtains Shocking Memo from U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Details Increasing Danger and Hardship

Snip:

NEW YORK The Washington Post has obtained a cable, marked "sensitive," that it says show that just before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, "the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees."

This cable outlines, the Post reported Sunday, "the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."

It's actually far worse than that, as the details published below indicate, which include references to abductions, threats to women's rights, and "ethnic cleansing."


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 12:58:20 AM | 59

Thanks to all for participating here. Sorry for not posting over the weekend. I hope to have something up later today.

Posted by: b | Jun 19, 2006 1:13:32 AM | 60

b . . . are we to assume you have a life ? ?

Why did nobody stop the Guantanamo Bay suicides?

In Guantanamo Bay's Alpha Block, the night was like any other: sweltering, and seemingly endless. .

read this

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 1:55:58 AM | 61

Lebanon exposes deadly Israeli spy ring

In a bizarre twist, Hussein Khattab, a Palestinian member of the spy ring, who is still at large, is the brother of Sheikh Jamal Khattab, an Islamic cleric who has allegedly recruited Arab fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The Israeli network was discovered after the killing last month of two Islamic Jihad officials, the brothers Nidal and Mahmoud Majzoub, in a car bomb blast in Sidon, Lebanon. Lebanese intelligence officers last week arrested Mahmoud Rafeh, 59, a retired policeman from the Lebanese town of Hasbaya, his wife and two children, and discovered bomb-making materials, code machines and other espionage equipment in his home.

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2006 2:55:54 AM | 62

Re dan of steeles question of who decides national interests, I think that while its true that these interests are decided upon by a minority (of elite) opinion, backed up as always with their interests i.e. capital, it probably is collectivly, more of an economic owigi board inertia charting the course for more markets and control. I think the problem with america in this regard is not so much apathy, but our old friend exceptionalism. As it is exceptionalism, that is the major presupposition underlying american identity that makes possible more than anything, the current conundrums in both foreign and domestic policy. And not coincidently, american exceptionalism is often cited as the principal reason that socialism has never taken root here -- that the american experience is informed through an enlightened alternative equation of individualism, lassiz-faire economics, social justice, and meritocracy -- creating the long sought after the egalaterian dream as the worlds envy. And a-fortiory, all of americas enemys of the 20th century have been cast in their demionization, as the antithesis of exceptionalism -- to what most americans would consider the vanquished enemies of communism and socialism. So really, it should be no suprise that exceptionalism is engrained in the american consciousness to such an extent , that when confronted with its most flagrent excesses (in terms of its massive failure in foreign policy for instance) that the where with all to find solutions, solutions that may involve dreaded ethical (the common good) questions that give rise to possible answers that may be construde as indicitive of socialism , then all bets are off. Just ask the democrats.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 19, 2006 4:01:57 AM | 63

Regarding Uncle $cams post #59 on the U.S. embassy in Iraq, the Wahington Post has the memo online in pdf file in its entirety.

Interesting read

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 19, 2006 8:36:15 AM | 64

Sneak Attack On Civil Liberties

Lawmakers yesterday forced what was originally known as the Real ID bill through the House of Representatives; it's scheduled to pass the Senate next week. Didn't hear much debate over this sweeping bill before it passed? That's because there wasn't any.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 9:32:49 AM | 65

Just a heads up Democracy Now is kick ass this morn (isn't it everyday?)....

economist, Paul Krugman , interview with reporters thrown out of gitmo...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 9:46:40 AM | 66

RE: anna missed: "...solutions that may involve dreaded ethical (the common good) questions that give rise to possible answers that may be construde as indicitive of socialism , then all bets are off"

The way to prevent "a Buffalo Jump" is to enshrine individual liberty, including the right to personal property, privacy and freedom in communications. That is not to confuse the absolute need for social policies and utilities; to the contrary, in fact, utilities such as the Internet should be free from privatization. Medical care, for example, should never be in the hands, such as it is, of private insurance companies. Extremes in political thinking are just as dangerous as in religious extremism or religous fundamentalism entwined with politics. Of course, many of the republican party would privatize the air we breathe if they had a chance. Unfortunately, the dems feed off the corporate trough just as much. And even more unfortunate, political discourse is not a luxury Americans have right now with the Bush/GOP Cabal. I hope nobody believes that this is the America that our forefathers fought for. However, in the last 200 years, American policies have improved from a social equality standpoint. To come thus far, there have been many hard battles with many lives lost. It is clear, things have gone backwards lately. Many battles yet to fight. With the Coporate elite so entrenched, it is truly a global battle.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 19, 2006 9:54:27 AM | 67

Everyday I read something worse than the day before - if that was possible (what could be worse than trying to legitimize death and torure?). Well, that famous quote from long ago "give me liberty or give me death" comes to my mind. If anything could be worse than death, these "sneak attacks" by our lawmakers removing civil liberties may be it. I never thought I would ever be writng such thoughts about our American situation. It is like getting us ready for one big "buffalo jump". Actually, I think the jump has already been made. We are now in the pit.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 19, 2006 10:35:25 AM | 68

@Uncle Scam:

What were you angling for back upthread:

Head of CIA DIA or NSA--getting with the program that is?

Would you rather spend 4 year sentence standing on your head laughing on the Rock on the Hudson or some months of practicality at OCS. Psychic, emotional, and career advantages to both options. Please advise.

Finally, do you think it would be worth the time to study some of the TMs and FMs that Outraged left in the Downunder--say on Interrogation and Intelligence Acquisition--do you think this restive nest of little raptors would be interested in those volumes--after recess of course?

Posted by: Wild Bill Donovan | Jun 19, 2006 10:50:56 AM | 69

I got to know a medical professional in Iraq from my blogging time on Today in Iraq.

Cloned Poster, I become misty-eyed when I think of the incredible service Today in Iraq provides. It is truly extraordinary and is so appreciated by everyone I know.

I also remember Salaam Pax's blog entry...

Fauxreal, Ishtar at Iraqi screen has also spoken eloquently on this subject.

many iraqi bloggers have confirmed what faux highlights.

Annie, May I ask which ones you enjoy reading? I was sad to see that TAI is off-line for the moment.

Upthread Iran was mentioned. You might enjoy reading:
A negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis is within reach

Posted by: Amurra | Jun 19, 2006 11:12:32 AM | 70

The destruction of moral sensibility is an ongoing, progressive thing in any authoritarian structure. However, the lastest from the Cheney admin has been a hundred fold racheting up. The introduction of the pseudoscience of enforced happiness does seem like a ratcheting up. Another example would be the aggressive vapidity and loutishness of talking heads on the television. The manically uptight USians have always hated children as far as I can tell, (see by above shocking post)so administering electric shocks for school discipline doesn't come as surprise.

Pyramid hierachies, with limited mobility, inflict chickenshit demands and busy work on the lower ranks as a routine to keep obedience intact. People do become inured to it over time and it takes increasing efforts to get through to them. Which means you're probably not crazy if you see that.

Whether it has a destination, I can't say. It certainly has a purpose: control. I disagree with Rick Happ, in that I feel we are still being herded into a way of thinking, by gov scientist's from the dark side as one example;

When the mathematician Ouspensky was studying with Gurdjieff, he found it very hard, at first, to understand this unique human capacity to forget where one is, what one is doing, and what is going on around one. He was especially dubious about Gurdjieff's insistence that this forgetting was a type of hypnosis. Then, one day, after World War I had begun, Ouspensky saw a truck loaded with artificial legs, headed toward the front. Educated as a mathematician and trained in statistics, Ouspensky remembered that just as it is possible to calculate how many persons will die of heart attacks in a given year, by probability theory it is possible to calculate how many legs will be blown off in a battle. But the very calculation is based on the historical fact that most people, most of the time will do what they are told by Superiors. (Or, as some cynic once said, most people would rather die, even by slow torture, than to think for themselves.) In a flash, Ouspensky understood how ordinary men become killers, and victims of killers. He realized that normal consciousness is much like hypnosis indeed. People in a trance will do what they are told even if they are told to march into battle against total strangers who have never harmed them, and attempt to murder those strangers while the strangers are attempting to murder them. Orders from above are tuned-in; the possibility of choice is not-tuned-in. War and crime the major problems of our century and chronic problems of our species seem, to the existentialist-humanist psychologist, the direct results on drifting off into self-hypnosis, losing track of experience and living in a Real Universe. In the Real Universe, the Right Man is always Right, and the blood and horror incidental to proving that is only an appearance, easily forgotten. Besides, the Right Man knows that he is only a re-acting mechanism and ultimately The Real Universe itself is to blame for making him explode into such furies.


not unlike hilter use of experimenting on the jews. I remember in 95 on campus how they were offering poor students big money to be literal student ginnie pigs for pharmaceuticals and how odd that was to me.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 11:31:35 AM | 71

Sorry if this has been posted already from the Washington Post:

BACK TO THE BUNKER

By William M. Arkin
Sunday, June 4, 2006; B01

On Monday, June 19, about 4,000 government workers representing more than 50 federal agencies from the State Department to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will say goodbye to their families and set off for dozens of classified emergency facilities stretching from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to the foothills of the Alleghenies. They will take to the bunkers in an "evacuation" that my sources describe as the largest "continuity of government" exercise ever conducted, a drill intended to prepare the U.S. government for an event even more catastrophic than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The story can be found today at rawstory.com

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 19, 2006 11:56:42 AM | 72

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 12:23:21 PM | 73

Uncle $cam,

Of course it is an exageration to say that citizens are in a pit from one big buffalo jump. Leaders seeking control of individuals and populations is certainly not a new phenomenon. But such extensive corporate dominance is a new phenomenom, and has never before been experienced on such a large scale. And it is more than just herding our thinking as was done with 911 and Iraq, it is that people have become economic slaves to this corporate dominance. Even our talking heads on television know who pays the bills.
I miss family farms, small family restaurants (not chains) and other economic choices so quickly disappearing in our lifetimes.
There have been many so called buffalo jumps taken by the herded American public whether initiated by corporations, their lobyists or instigated by the government itself. Cheney is one who has certainly perfected the art of Corporatism in Government.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jun 19, 2006 12:56:24 PM | 74

The new power behind Osama's throne


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 1:02:51 PM | 75

Quick heads up then I'll quit spamming the board,
Speaking of bunkers, for those whom still watch tv,

PBS FRONTLINE: THE DARK SIDE

"We also have to work, the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world." ~Cheney

looks like a tivo/torrent event...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 1:54:15 PM | 76

Commanding
U.S. Army School for Interrogators
Ft. Apache, AZ


Lot of counterintelligence work to be done on the Dark Side, if you get my drift.

Looks like from the Arkin Article they really believe their own crap.

Schools over 2 weeks recess.

Just one more brief communication later this evening.

Posted by: MGJeanLafitteSarteMengele | Jun 19, 2006 2:08:28 PM | 77

Quick heads up then I'll quit spamming the board

You've yet to link to something I haven't greedily poured over-- Should said it long ago: thanks!

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 2:29:20 PM | 78

amuura Annie, May I ask which ones you enjoy reading? I was sad to see that TAI is off-line for the moment.

i became familiar w/ TAI thru the coment section of 24 steps which is a blog i frequent w/much regularity because there are a bunch of infowarfar posters there i am cutting my debating chops on. sometimes it is just me, a poster bruno and TAI up against the enemy. it's probably fruitless.

to say i 'enjoy' them is a stretch, its painful. the others, besides TAI and 24 are bagdad burning (of course), free iraq,today in iraq,bagdad treasure, i recently started reading bagdad's mistress. the site called iraq blog count lists a bunch. sometimes i think some of these blogs are part of a propaganda campaign and i don't trust where the info is coming from.

uncle, very intersting pseudoscience link up there. weird, i have been engaging in a 'what is happiness' discussion lately and just wrote something very similiar to the link inbedded in yours @71.

its never spam when you do it.

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2006 2:53:05 PM | 79

conchita just emailed me about a diary on the recommend list @ kos that must be getting slammed because getting the links to open (comments, recommend, original ) is extremely difficult

jfk jr to bring lawsuits against voting machine vendors. geez, this would be remarkable!!

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2006 3:11:33 PM | 80

the suit they are talking about bringing is called a qui tam. rfk jr and mike papantonio (from the law firm of papantonio levin) announced it on the air america show "ring of fire" this saturday. the objective of the suit is to put diebold and other electronic voting machine companies out of business. qui tam suits allow treble damages. the suit involves first hand whistle blowers coming forward on behalf of american citizens.

some basic info about it from a comment by LNK: Abe Lincoln founded the doctrine of qui tam.--making it legal so individuals can sue on behalf of taxpayers (for not getting what their taxes paid for.....in the Civil War there were guns that were substandard and defective, etc.) if the government officials won't do it. The government (Department of Justice investigates) has 60 days to consider the matter before replying. Unfortunately, the DOJ can take up to a year to investigate. There are so many lawyers posting on dkos that it is hard to keep them straight, but in the comments there are discussions of other legal options.

http://www.ringoffireradio.com/...
[You might be able to listen for free online when the segment is ready]

Impressive biography of the guest who is working on the lawsuit:
http://www.levinlaw.com/...

Contact the radio program:
Ring of Fire
P.O. Box 12308
Pensacola, FL 32591

Phone: 866-389-FIRE (3473)
Fax: 850-436-6008

(sorry if this comment is a bit disjointed. scanning through comments and doing more than one thing right now, but thought i would follow up on annie's comment in case she and others can't access the diary.)

Posted by: conchita | Jun 19, 2006 4:08:52 PM | 81

what I read from the comments is that this will go nowhere. The DOJ has 60 days to review it and then they must act. Abu Gonzales could take the case after that time expires and then put some flunkie on it and tell him to study it to death. End result is that they would eventually find some way to drop the case or run out a statute of limitations.

I don't think this will work, I believe there will have to grassroots pressure on each and every local and state elections officer until either a paper audit trail is required or simple paper ballots are made mandatory again.

voting machines are great and they should be used, the only thing required to make them foolproof is a printer that prints out exactly what the voter chose. It should have a sequential number and be put into a sealed box. random samples would tested to see if the numbers of votes on paper match those on the machines, wherever a discrepancy exists a complete hand count would be required.

there are ways to do this, banks certainly don't lose money when transferring cash from one place to another so why should precincts lose ballots when reporting?

really, the only thing needed is a printer for each voting machine, they are already set up for this. that is the thing to harp on and I believe would be harder to argue against. If need be we could all contribute and buy the printers ourselves....

The lawsuit is a distraction imho.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 19, 2006 4:45:50 PM | 82

dos - i agree that given the current state of affairs in our government skepticism is in order, but i don't see it as a distraction. i am hoping that it will help to rally the grassroots to exert the pressure you mention. so many of us have been dismissed and labeled fraudsters that it helps to have someone with a household name get involved this seriously. it will also help those who are denial that it happened face up to the distinct possibility/reality that we no longer have free, fair, and accurate elections. lastly, it brings the issue into the forefront again,and while it is late in the game, at least it is not september.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 19, 2006 4:57:30 PM | 83

Please, n/a today is my birthday. Just one song?

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 5:08:51 PM | 84

A North Korean Policy Dilemma


Let them eat rice or potatoes in the event of hostilities?

Not sure.

What do you think?

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | Jun 19, 2006 5:17:58 PM | 85

I am with you conchita, tho I try to keep my cynicism under control....sometimes it gets away from me anyway.

If a champion is needed Bobby Kennedy might just be the guy. He is not going to do any heavy lifting though and it will be up to ordinary citizens to get this pushed through.

Happy Birthday #84!

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 19, 2006 5:20:18 PM | 86

Not N/A and it isn't my birthday, but I always liked Joan Baez. Not that bad for a party till N/A gets here.


Joan Baez Lyrics

Posted by: Not Musical | Jun 19, 2006 5:46:56 PM | 87

happy birthday...poster 84

anything that bring election fraud to the frontlines i see as positive. beats the hell out of flag burning and homophobic marriage choices.. what could be more important? even if this falls flat, the more attention the better. 04 needs to have the same reputation as 00, total fraud.

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2006 5:50:09 PM | 88

dos, i empathize with your cynicism - hard not to be. there are so many "solutions" out there for fixing this and they seem to vary from state to state. it is hard to keep track of them and to assess which will actually make a difference. some advocate going back to pen and pencil, others electronic machines with a receipt, and a plethora of options between. either way, bottom line we have to purge the system of the blackwells and harrises and wakeup the sleeping citizenry somehow.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 19, 2006 6:11:13 PM | 89

Ya Not Musical, I think you might be fibbing, you so obviously know lovely music ;) Ms, Baez passes the goosebump test. Her voice is amazing. I had never heard of her, such a lovely present, so I thank you very much!

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 6:12:01 PM | 90

in his 65th year

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 19, 2006 6:55:15 PM | 91

hope this works

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 19, 2006 7:00:09 PM | 92

People's kindness never ceases to amaze me.

remembereringgiap, Again I had never heard this and it was so exciting and 'enveloping' (not sure if this is a word) to hear it. I'm playiing it now. Again.

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 7:19:20 PM | 93

no, enveloping is exactly the precise word

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 19, 2006 7:27:30 PM | 94

Right now all my friends are listening to this version of

Imagine

Call me optimistic but having heard the original, I just prefer it.

remembereringgiap, this one is ugly, no?

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 7:40:49 PM | 95

Just looking up thread at some of the topics, citizens action to stop corrupt voting machine practices, continuity of government, whether gitmo operating outside law protects the law, ongoing erosion of civil liberty, it suggests to moi at the other end of the world that all are different angles on the same subject.

That is, if you consider that most of the above issues would have a common thread of 'national security' running through them as a justification for BushCo's stance, all are really about the way that the obsessive adoption of corporate strategies by so-called democratic governments has swerved direction in democratic government's primary aim.

I'll try and explain. When a government chooses that it needs to make a decision on some aspect of life within it's domain, there was a time when governments were expected to be motivated entirely by the well-being of their existing citizens. Now of course that is no longer the case.

The change began back in the pre-market driven economy days when many nation's economic systems had a primary objective to keep unemployment as low as possible. Zero unemployment was commonly regarded as the ideal state of affairs.

Along the way the low levels of unemployment came to be regarded as an anathema by corporations intent on keeping control and profits in the hands of the enterprises' owners. For a while it became a la mode for capitalists to commit spectacular acts of entrepreneurial hari-kari by closing their business down and loudly proclaiming that "they had been driven out of business by the greedy masses".

So the political parties notionally believed to be leftist placed a foot on the slippery slope when they decided that 'some unemployment was a good thing'.

They had attacked the problem from the wrong direction because they had been lured into the supposition that their 'job' wasn't to facilitate that every individual be able to live a life capable of self-actualisation. They had in effect decided that some individuals' (ie the movers and shakers) self actualisation was more important and needed to be realised at the expense of others.

Even leftist governments would encourage the sort of interventions that would allow industries to shed thousands of their staff so the enterprise could become 'more profitable'. This made the step from the primary objective of the economy being to enable all citizens access to a means to life, to the economy's prime objective being to allow corporations to have the most stable possible environment for their continued well-being.

Of course no politician ever put it in those terms, either because they didn't wish to upset their electors or even worse and probably more common because they were too thick to see the wood for the trees. They had become lost in the intricacies of the economic machine.

So what they said instead was that the central bank was moving from setting low unemployment as the number one objective, to making the combat of inflation the number one objective. Most people lapped it up, even if they didn't have a job. This was because the culture was screaming "inflation is killing us all" and that inflation was the cause of unemployment.

It wasn't. The problem had arisen in the early 70's when the oil producers rightly demanded a price for their oil which would allow their citizens a bit of self actualisation as well. That was the cause of the increase in costs which made many previously profitable business models no longer viable.

I've written a piece which I may tidy up and send to Bernhard about how I believe this happened; but for the moment we should just consider the effect of its happening.

So from there on in governments made a considerable number of changes to the things they were trying to achieve and that in turn caused the sort of dissatisfaction amongst many of 'the non-self actualised' and those who were interested in all individuals, which then made things like continuity of government appear more important to all sides of the established political debate than continuity of citizens.

Immigration is a classic example here because it is a subject very close to many people's personal self interest at the same time as it is an exceedingly vital part of what politicians consider to be the national interest.

Because of the way that amerika and some of the other new world nations came into being they developed a form of capitalism that is totally dependent on having a constantly sharply increasing population within it's sphere of activity. Corporations expand or they die.

Only a few popular ways to achieve this 1/ eat up the competition (increase market share) 2/ expand into new markets or 3/ increase the size of the 'domestic market'.

Successful corporations need to be aggressive about all three.

Strategy 3 is the primary driving force behind governments desire to encourage what they call 'good' immigration, but is the type of immigration which actually negatively impacts upon the existing citizenry.

If like myself you believe that people are people, that there's good 'uns and bad 'uns whichever place in the world you care to look at, then you may come to realise that the type of migrants that governments consider good, can negatively impact upon the self actualisation of other citizens. They are not readily identifiable by the colour of their skin, the language they speak or the religion to which they claim to ascribe.

A good migrant as far as business is concerned and as far as most politicians are concerned is one who will determinedly create an economic impact greater than the mean economic impact of his/her adopted countrymen/women.

It seems good for everyone at first but leads to social, political and environmental problems.

I'll try and explain. A while ago I wrote a spiel on the lengths that the early migrants went to, to come to NZ, which for people from Europe, in particular the group of islands off the coast of western europe, known as ireland and the uk, was about the furtherest distance from home that they could travel to. It was exactly on the other side of the world. It was the same distance going there south eastwards as it was south westwards.

This made NZ expensive, uncomfortable, and relatively dangerous to get to. Now if there were riches to be had at the end of the journey that of course wouldn't have stopped any greedhead, but apart from a relatively short-lived goldrush in the 1880's, there has never been much 'instant wealth' here. This indicates many people came for reasons other than simple material advantage. This is still the case now, but the immigration policy awards 'points' to prospective migrants wanting to shift to NZ. This favours those materially inclined ahead of those who are less ambitious to carve out as big a passel for themselves as possible.

During the 'goldrush' the Brits allowed thousands of people from southern china to migrate to NZ, provided of course that they only mined the 'tailings'. That is the stuff that had already been dug up and had the 'easy' gold already extracted from it. The 'chinamen' (there was no need for them to bring women now was there?) mostly left NZ when the gold ran out. However a great many did not and when I was growing up in NZ in the 1950's and 60's, many of their descendants were considered to be amongst the most socially valued of all 'new'(ie non-Maori) New Zealanders.

That is not the attitude which many old-school kiwis espouse about more recent chinese migrants. But those old school kiwis are frequently people who have been living away from the horrors of urban life, so they can easily identify the asian migrants as being 'new' while the white fellas from other parts of the world aren't quite so obviously 'new'.

Some of the people coming to NZ now, whatever part of the world they come from, have been selected by a screening system skewed to favour those who are motivated by an economic urgency rather than concerns about their quality of life.

This is a source of frustration for many in the longer term community who see much cherished, previously shared values being questioned then discarded with intolerable results.

For example despite 150 years of mainly european migration, NZ is still a developing nation. During most of the 20th century considerable effort was made to reduce the incidence of child mortality. This required intervention by the community in other's lives to enable as many children as possible to 'have a chance'. It was mostly attempted in a much less disempowering way than say the Brit model, which was developed a bit later and had legions of social workers pounding on doors quoting rules and regulations; with the threat to 'take the children away', always implicit.

Concern about costs have eroded many of the structures which effected this drop in child mortality and people who didn't fully understand that different regimes work better in different cultures, held sway and now although NZ spends as much as most other OECD nations on child health, it has the highest child mortality rate in the OECD.

This is rightly causing a lot of self examination and debate. Unfortunately a lot of the debate blames the cultures which haven't adopted the 'new european model' as entirely as others. Since a disproportionate amount of avoidable mortality of all ages occurs in Maori families, some people find it easier to blame Maori people as a whole for this state of affairs, rather than examine the events which may have instigated the failure to avoid the deaths.

Of course the responsibility of this doesn't lie entirely at the feet of economically oriented migrants or the 'locals' who share their vision. But it is a contributor and does beg the question of what is the job of government.

Is the welfare of the nation, about making the country as economically viable as possible? That is corporately and economically viable, where the government sees it's responsibility as being 'facilitating the continued succor of all stakeholders. It is relevant to note that the term 'stakeholder' covers a much wider range of entities than the word citizen does.

A corporation may be a stakeholder, whether or not it is based in NZ. Stockholders of that corporation are other obvious stakeholders. As are foreigners who invest in NZ as well as NZ's foreign customers.

I could extrapolate onwards about potential stakeholders here, but it's already getting tiresome.

On the other hand what about the citizens? Is it a government's job to facilitate the self actualisation of all citizens, to ensure the 'values' the citizenry hold dear aren't corrupted, even when that may operate to the detriment of corporations whose success enables other citizens to better achieve their self actualisation?

It is relevant to note that a government which subscribed to the second option could never endanger the lives of some citizens in the way that the invasion of Iraq has endangered the lives of some of amerikas citizens.

Now since I am a moa habitue it is pretty obvious I prefer the second option. So how do citizens interested in the second option push the debate to the point where it is reduced to those simple terms; rather than the airy-fairy, overly complicated, or downright deceitful terminology that politicians prefer this argument is currently discussed in?

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 8:12:24 PM | 96

²95
i really don't know
it is a lot crueler than the original

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 19, 2006 8:15:39 PM | 97

Okay, back by popular demand...lol

More on American Enantiodromia (things becoming their opposite):


"For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed."

“The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. ”

President John F. Kennedy
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City, April 27, 1961

The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association


Of course he was referring to the Soviets , but it is clear that the current crime family cherry picks authoritarian structure and tactics from The Stasi, Hiltler's Reich, the Soviets, and Chairman Mao, how soon before they incorp the Pol Pots, Idi Amin's? And how are we going to know? As I have written before, American fascism, (we have talked about the unique difference here at MOA on fascism 2.0), is not likely to come on the form of a charismatic leader pulling the political wool over the eyes of right-thinking Americans - for that, the common sense of most American citizens will do just fine in beating it back. But it is likely to come on the form of denigrated civil liberties in the face of governmental and corporate absolutism, coupled with expanded militarism, (read Full Spectrum dominance at home and abroad) a structured class system, and an alienated, psychologically disenfranchised citizenry, among other characteristics. The day is hardly likely to come, then, when American jackboots parade down Main Street, but, ( could come in the form of no knock entry in the dead of the night) and certainly could arrive in full view by day when all government policy is centered on "national security" issues as defined by a narrow set of corporate self-interests and ideological perceptions about foreign and domestic policy, complete without any true recourse by the citizenry.

In fact, it could be argued, such a day is already close at hand. If not here by the above means.

But wait! the Nov elections are coming....

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19, 2006 8:27:14 PM | 98

Antifa weighs in w/good piece on "net neutrality", unlike the self-infatuated "lefty" tablogs that are growing fat on its destruction. Well Of Course You Can Pee In My Pool

but I think she/he's too optimistic that even if the Pirates buy up/off Congress w/the help of above mentioned "bloggers", that it won't last.

Posted by: jj | Jun 19, 2006 8:53:44 PM | 99

@uncle Exactly! I believe that the issues you raise in #98 are enabled by our inability/unwillingness to confront the larger issues of what is government for, an aspect of which is discussed in #96 .

We must somehow stop 'allowing' entitities such as the BushCo regime from hi-jacking the means for everyone's chance to live their lives to the potential they desire.

BushCo and their ilk, deliberately behave this way to use those means for self aggrandisement and satisfying their petty materialistic selfishnesses.

That we can be diverted from this path by the mainchancers is to be expected. A bit of caution mixed with active scepticism can usually resist those diversions. The diversions which we 'self-administer are problematic.

Without sounding like a scratched record many of us allowed ourselves to be diverted from the plain and simple situation by seemingly straightforward solutions such as Fitzmas.

That type of 'solutions' were anything but straight-forward. While the Fitzy grand jury was diverting and it seemed that it would be a positive step to take to encourage the political machine to be self cleansing and self righting, it was enantiodromic.

Fitzmas protected all of the corruption rather than destroying part of it.

All fitzy did was relieve the most acute angst while re-affirming popular faith in a badly perverted system of government.

People around the world need be far more pro-active and determined to keep the issues as simple as possible if we are to extricate our species future from this corruption.

Posted by: | Jun 19, 2006 9:11:11 PM | 100

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