Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 31, 2004

Flip Flop (Re: Goalposts)

Are we getting confused here? Could this guy please make up his mind and stop changing his opinion twice in 96 hours. Is he losing and will lose what you cannot lose, or is he wining and will win what you cannot win? I don´t get it, but this somehow feels like he is flipping it and will flop.

August 31, 2004
Remarks by the President of the American Legion

In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table. But make no mistake about it, we are winning, and we will win.
August 31, 2004
Press Gaggle by Scott Mcclellan
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that it's the President making it crystal clear that not only are we winning it, but we will win it.
August 30, 2004
Exclusive interview with 'Today' host Matt Lauer
Lauer: “So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?”
President Bush: “I don't think you can win it...."

August 28, 2004
Remarks by the President at Perrysburg, Ohio Rally

We've got more to do to wage and win this war on terror.
I have made a commitment to our troops and the commitment to the loved ones of our troops that they will have the resources they need to fight and win the war against the terrorists.
July 30, 2004
Raw Data: Bush Speech in Springfield
We have a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and bring peace to the world.
May 3, 2004
Remarks by the President and Mrs. Bush at "ask President Bush" Event
I've got a plan to win the war on terror.
October 9, 2003
President Discusses Progress in Iraq
And beyond Iraq, the war on terror continues. There will be no quick victory in this war. We will persevere and victory is certain.

Posted by b on August 31, 2004 at 01:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Thread Open

Use as you like ...

Posted by b on August 31, 2004 at 08:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (101)

George Bush == Andy Warhol?

by anna missed

Last night Maureen Dowd was on both Charlie Rose and the Letterman show simultaneously. I´ll bet she has not been on any TV show in probably 10 years, which brought to mind both the media and the fact that on both shows she was asked how George Bush could put John Kerry on the defensive about the latter much more illustrious military career. Her rather lame answer to the question, was that Kerry himself was, a little lame. It would seem that this issue might harken to the larger conundrum of how Bush manages to keep the dialectic away from himself the man, and, turn it against Kerry the man. In some ways this is essentially the Teflon effect, that Reagan pioneered, and now Bush is using to greater effect (is this why Bush himself likes to identify with Reagan?)

So, coming from visual arts, I, would put forth the notion that the Bush (Rove) Administration has stolen, at least metaphorically, a page from the book (myth) of Andy Warhol. I know this sounds bizarre, but, Warhols career was essentially founded on two factors that might shed some light on this inexplicable issue.

First, Warhols career was established as an antithesis to the prevailing, and much lauded Abstract Expressionist movement, and the first American (visual) art movement to attract international respect. While grounded loosely to the tenets of phenomenology and existentialism its artistic embodiment lies in the act (of painting) as a vehicle to self, responsibility, and archetypal discovery. Andy Warhol, on the other hand, eschewed all that is intrinsic to the individual, replacing the individual, as it were, with a depersonalized image. While some may see this action as a critique of modern culture I would see it as a warm and submissive embrace.

Second, the artwork of Andy Warhol was in essence, supplanted by what Robert Hughes has called the “affectation”, or the embodiment, of the art idea as the personification of the artist himself. With cultural amusement aside i.e. “I want to marry my tape recorder”, “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”, etc. etc. Warhol managed to in effect cultify himself. While this may sound trivial at first, in the political arena the notion that a person could assemble a personification, an affectation, an image that can supersede the man himself and have that image attain political currency, should give one pause.

The allurement of self affectation (on a stylistically level) is probably widespread in American culture; the complete remake of the person is another thing again. Could that little cinderblock church in Crawford Texas where George Bush was reportedly reborn be just a little bit like Warhols factory in New York City were he (Warhol) transformed himself from a “shoe illustrator” into the quintessential American artist?

Ironically, for Kerry, Bushes (new) affected image, like Warhol, renders criticism mute. Kerry is unable to attack Bush on his history as a man, because he is confronted with Bush the IMAGE, the affected and reformed Bush will defer to the weakness of us all and his triumph over weakness-- essentially like Warhol could transmutate moral weakness into the ultimate coolness. Kerry on the other hand, is left pretty much with his own legacy, as a man, dealing with the challenges and contradictions that are the natural wake of public service.

George Bushes latest incarnation as the WAR PRESIDENT also carries the same invulnerability along with even greater self aggrandizement, belying confrontation with Kerrys own Vietnam proclamations of “who will be the last man to die for a mistake”.

So, John Kerrys challenge is to either show a better way around the mistakes of the Bush administration (lame), or to crack open the affectations with some kind of public “intervention” that would reveal the wider truth (in the debate).

We shouldn't forget that after Andy Warhols death, he had few personal friends, his upper West side townhouse was found to be full of classical paintings and rococo furniture.

Posted by b on August 31, 2004 at 08:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

Confused: Why Do They Vote GOP?

In yesterdays USA Today Michael Moore says The GOP doesn't reflect America. He claims that most Republicans are not in line with their party on most issues, but their reason to vote for the GOP agenda is:

Money. That's what it comes down to for the RINOs. They do work hard and have been squeezed even harder to make ends meet. They blame Democrats for wanting to take their money.
Is it really this easy?

Is this not more about fear of insecurity which lets people vote for the party they assume will make them more safe? If so, what part of the fear is real and what part is induced by propaganda?

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders ... All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism."
Herman Goering during the Nuernberg trials

Posted by b on August 31, 2004 at 07:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (17)

August 30, 2004

Moving the Goalposts

October 9, 2003
President Discusses Progress in Iraq

And beyond Iraq, the war on terror continues. There will be no quick victory in this war. We will persevere and victory is certain.

May 3, 2004
Remarks by the President and Mrs. Bush at "ask President Bush" Event

I've got a plan to win the war on terror.
July 30, 2004
Raw Data: Bush Speech in Springfield
We have a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and bring peace to the world.
August 28, 2004
Remarks by the President at Perrysburg, Ohio Rally
We've got more to do to wage and win this war on terror.
I have made a commitment to our troops and the commitment to the loved ones of our troops that they will have the resources they need to fight and win the war against the terrorists.
August 30, 2004
Exclusive interview with 'Today' host Matt Lauer
Lauer: “You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?”

President Bush: “I have never said we can win it in four years.”

Lauer: “So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?”

President Bush: “I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world

Posted by b on August 30, 2004 at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (32)

Rep Con 2004

For the Republican delegates the question is: "Did he deliver?"

Thank you for this honor.
Together, we will renew America's purpose.
So tonight, we vow to our nation we will seize this moment of American promise. We will use these good times for great goals.

We will confront the hard issues, threats to our national security, ...

Tonight in this hall, we resolve to be the party of - not of repose but of reform. We will write not footnotes but chapters in the American story. ... The world needs America's strength and leadership. And America's armed forces need better equipment, better training and better pay. ... A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear and the victory must be overwhelming. ... Now is the time not to defend outdated treaties but to defend the American people.

A time of prosperity is a test of vision, and our nation today needs vision. That's a fact. That's a fact.
And we need a leader to seize the opportunities of this new century ...
For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will make the most of it.

I believe great decision are made with care, made with conviction, not made with polls.

I do not need to take your pulse before I know my own mind.

I do not reinvent myself at every turn. I am not running in borrowed clothes.
The wait has been long, but it won't be long now.

A prosperous nation is ready to renew its purpose and unite behind great goals, and it won't be long now.

Text of George W. Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention 2000

The answer will be a resounding "Yes!"

Posted by b on August 30, 2004 at 06:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

August 29, 2004

Blow Off

There are many pieces coming to light about the spy case involving the Pentagon´s Iran specialist Franklin.

Josh Marshall, Laura Rozen and Paul Glastris have been on the case for some month and their new Iran-Contra II? piece in The Washington Monthly gives the best background along with Laura´s writings in her weblog War and Piece and Josh´s in his Talking Points Memo.

Also interesting is the background on AIPEC given yesterday by Juan Cole Israeli Spy in Pentagon Linked to AIPAC and his excellent take on the scandal today Fomenting a War on Iran.

Additional information today comes via Newsweek: And Now A Mole? and from the big three: NYT F.B.I. Said to Reach Official Suspected of Passing Secrets, WaPo Analyst Who Is Target of Probe Went to Israel and LAT Report on Iran Key to Spying Inquiry and Pentagon Spy Flap Isn't Open-and-Shut Case.

Knight Ridder says "the probe is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single mid-level analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel": FBI espionage probe goes beyond Israeli allegations, sources say

The whole story is just too big and too complicate to be recapitulated here in full, but let me highlight some points.

Larry Franklin is the Pentagons´s top Iran policy analyst. He is working in the office of Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith. He is also a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve and has worked in Israel in this capacity. Some 18 month ago the FBI started an investigation on Franklin for giving away US policy papers on Iran to AIPEC, the right wing Israeli lobby group in Washington. AIPEC is said to have passed this information to Israel. Newsweek reports: "Franklin also passed information gleaned from more highly classified documents, [one] official said.".

Franklin, together with his colleague Harold Rhode did meet several times with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian exiles, dissidents and government officials starting in October 2001. Ghorbanifar played a key role in the Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra affair. The meetings also involved Michael Leeden, Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI and the Italian Minister of Defence Antonio Martino. The meetings backchanneled official US policy and the State Department, but the White House is said to have blessed at least the first trip. Defence Minister Antonio Martino is vice president of the Italian Friends of Israel association (Link).

There are many connections to other scandals and it feels like these are all coming together now:

  • Retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who had worked in the DoD Middle East group, reported Israeli military and intelligence figures did work closely and off the record with Feith and Wolfowitz in the planning of a Iraq war.
  • SISMI, the Italian military intelligence agency, is involved in the forged Nigerian Yellow Cake documents that falsly connected Iraq to uranium aquisitions and did lead to the Wilson/Plame case.
  • The Pentagon group now under scrutiny is the same that worked to put Ahmad Chalabi into the top position in Iraq. The group is under investigation for illegally giving US information to Chalabi who then has given these to Iran.
  • There are connections to a group of intelligence officers that are currently being trained to "work" in Iran.
There is not yet a connection to Sibel Edmond´s reports of foreign influence in the FBI´s translation service, but I do expect some connections to surface soon.

The opening of this scandal shortly before the Republican convention seems planed. The number of "official leaks" is incredible and this looks like the general hit back by all institutions and persons, CIA, State, FBI etc., that have been hurt by the Neocons over the last years. The consequences for Bush and for the US foreign policy can hardly be overestimated.

The Israeli press is rightly very concerned about the consequences of these scandals. Haaretz: Focus: The 'dual loyalty' slur returns to haunt U.S. Jews and Analysis: The Franklin affair will damage Israel's image J´lem Post: Storm on the Israel-US horizon?

Posted by b on August 29, 2004 at 08:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (37)

August 27, 2004

Framing the Death of the Beast

"Starving the Beast", is the view that taxes should be cut in order to force severe cuts in public spending. It is the unannounced policy of the Bush government and the Republican party, camouflaged as supply-side economics. Here it is for once coming nearly undisguised, delivered through an unsuspicious messenger.

First: take away what feeds the beast:
CNN - January 25, 2001 - Greenspan yes tax cuts

In testimony to the Senate Budget Committee, Greenspan declined to comment on President Bush's $1.6 trillion, 10-year tax cut plan, saying a decision on the size of a cut was best left up to Congress and the political process. But the Fed chairman's backing of tax cuts as economically sound likely will provide a boost to the new administration's proposals.

However, Greenspan played down the idea that tax cuts would provide an immediate boost to the economy, saying that tax reduction is appropriate as a long-term economic measure now because of estimates of a larger-than-expected federal surplus."

Greenspan endorsed tax cuts - which are now proven to have gone mostly to the richer part of the population - because there was a (perceived) budget surplus. First step taken.

Second step: bury the beast:
CNN August 27, 2004 - Greenspan: Aging to strain U.S.

"If we have promised more than our economy has the ability to deliver to retirees without unduly diminishing real income gains of workers, as I fear we may have, we must recalibrate our public programs so that pending retirees have time to adjust through other channels," Greenspan said in prepared remarks at an annual symposium.
Greenspan said raising payroll taxes to fund shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare might only worsen the situation by imposing an extra burden on workers.
Greenspan could have just reverted his 2001 position, but that would not fit his master’s desire. He frames his statement to stifle the opposition. Saying "more than our economy has the ability to deliver" stops any discussion about redistributing whatever the economy is able to deliver; "without unduly diminishing real income gains of workers" suggests that this would be the only available option at hand - diminishing capital gains is not mentioned; "raising payroll taxes" is framing to a single source of government income. The whole statement also frames him: Greenspan, the man apprehensive of social needs and workers.

There are other solutions at hand: Increase taxes for the wealthy, now as low as 1932. The health care systems could be streamlined and the costs of medication lowered. Reducing the defence budget would make for a safer world and free money for pensions.

But "Starving the Beast" is not meant as a threat to capital gainers, defence contractors or the pharma industry, it is a threat to the majority of the country.

In a long 2003 article, Paul Krugman came to the conclusion:

The astonishing political success of the antitax crusade has, more or less deliberately, set the United States up for a fiscal crisis. How we respond to that crisis will determine what kind of country we become.

Posted by b on August 27, 2004 at 04:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Off Topics - Open Thread

Various Views and News ...

Posted by b on August 27, 2004 at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (89)

Your Weekly Terror Threat

Some read:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Al-Qaida may attempt to attack Veterans Affairs hospitals as an alternative to more heavily guarded U.S. military installations, the FBI and Homeland Security Department warn in a new nationwide terrorism bulletin.

Although U.S. authorities say there is no credible intelligence regarding a specific threat against such hospitals, the bulletin said there have been persistent reports of "suspicious activity" at medical facilities throughout the United States.

That includes "possible reconnaissance activities" this year at unspecified military medical facilities in Bethesda, Md., and Aurora, Colo., the bulletin said. Even though later investigation of these two incidents uncovered no links to terrorism, the bulletin urges vigilance at VA hospitals on the part of police and security personnel.

others read:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Al-Qaida may attempt to attack Veterans Affairs hospitals as an alternative to more heavily guarded U.S. military installations, the FBI and Homeland Security Department warn in a new nationwide terrorism bulletin.

Although U.S. authorities say there is no credible intelligence regarding a specific threat against such hospitals, the bulletin said there have been persistent reports of "suspicious activity" at medical facilities throughout the United States.

That includes "possible reconnaissance activities" this year at unspecified military medical facilities in Bethesda, Md., and Aurora, Colo., the bulletin said. Even though later investigation of these two incidents uncovered no links to terrorism, the bulletin urges vigilance at VA hospitals on the part of police and security personnel.

Of course the author did intend the first read and I am betting all of my 95.1 Zambian Kwacha that the Veteran theme is intentional too.

Report: al-Qaida May Target VA Hospitals

Posted by b on August 27, 2004 at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

August 26, 2004

The Mailman

What better way to avoid talking about the nations dead of a war that started 17 month ago, than to talk about the survivors of a war that ended 375 month ago. The mailman may help Kerry for now, but the next round of ads will work on Kerry´s anti-Vietnam actions and will continue to lower his ratings.

Associated Press reports:

Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, left, and former Green Beret Lt. Jim Rassmann, center, approach a Secret Service Agent, right, on station at the check point to the entrance of President Bush 's ranch Wednesday Aug. 25, 2004 in Crawford, Texas. Cleland tried to deliver a letter protesting ads challenging John Kerry's Vietnam service to President Bush at his Texas ranch Wednesday, but the Secret Service stopped Cleland short of his goal.
The Cleland letter (PDF)

Bush Edges Ahead of Kerry for the 1st Time
For the first time this year in a Times survey, Bush led Kerry in the presidential race, drawing 49% among registered voters, compared with 46% for the Democrat. In a Times poll just before the Democratic convention last month, Kerry held a 2-percentage-point advantage over Bush.

That small shift from July was within the poll's margin of error. But it fit with other findings in the Times poll showing the electorate edging toward Bush over the past month on a broad range of measures, from support for his handling of Iraq to confidence in his leadership and honesty.

Posted by b on August 26, 2004 at 06:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (63)

August 25, 2004


by anna missed

Pentagon officials today indicated that the current deployment of an additional 90,000 troops to Iraq is proceeding according to plans that were revealed three weeks ago. Forces that were deactivated from Korea, Germany and other European military bases have received their one week reorientation training and are currently in route to Kuwait to await final orders. Following the two Shiite uprisings in October and the joint Sunni- Shiite revolt in early November outgoing Bush administration officials say that in order to keep the promised January 30 election schedule on track additional security was needed.

President Bush was quoted yesterday, at the Crawford ranch, “I made a promise to the Iraqi people and I´ll keep that promise, they will have democracy before I leave office”. Former Iraqi defence minister and now acting Prime Minister Hazem Shaalan, also at the Crawford ranch, expressed the need for more security “If we don´t receive the security there will be nobody left to vote”.

The new Iraqi government and their US supporters have been plagued in recent months by the growing anti-Iraqi movement that has seen an advance in both in their numbers and the flood of sophisticated weaponry that has been spirited into the country from Iran and Syria. The controversy over the origin of the surface to air missile launchers that has created so much tension with the Russians, perhaps bringing back some unpleasant memories of the Soviet Afghan war, with the US supplying high tech weapons to the Afghan rebels.

Russia's Putin has also lashed out at the US for the alleged deployment of two nuclear equipped submarines into the Persian Gulf. Washington has denied these allocations. China, also has weighed in on the Iranian question with significant foot dragging on the upcoming talks with N. Korea.

The new troop deployment for Iraq has generated some controversy here in Washington with some on the democratic side claiming “I told you so” arguing that 90,000 will not do the job so late in the game. While the general opinion on the hill is supportive of the “augmentation” some also worry that plans are being laid out to provide a “cover force” for a withdrawal, others in the minority, complain that this is an escalation for the eventual invasion of Iran.

Both Bush and president elect Kerry express the mantra “we cannot lose this war, we must stay the course”.

Related news:

  • President elect Kerry has endorsed the Bush administrations reinstatement of conscription laws, vowing to use the new recruits in stateside duty only. Kerry has called out the duty as “holding down the fort”, here at home.
  • Another anti-Iraqi attack on the green zone has led ambassador Negroponte to advocate another wall to be built a half mile out around the green zone creating a no-man zone perimeter to prevent the “pickup truck” mortar barrages that have become a nightly event.
  • 26 US peace keepers were killed yesterday in various engagements around Iraq, bringing the total to 1, 687 killed in action since the beginning of hostilities.
  • Unnamed pentagon sources disclosed yesterday that satellite images indicate that the increase in Iranian troop movements have continued unabated.

Posted by b on August 25, 2004 at 01:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Oily Thread II

For reference you may want to read Oily Thread I.

Could we also put a bit of water into this one? Water is often essential to get oil out of the ground. It is as scarce as oil and is the cause of many conflicts. Like the oil industry, the water industry is an interesting field for investments.

Posted by b on August 25, 2004 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

August 24, 2004

Dow 6,000

"The funding of America is an accident waiting to happen."

Economist Stefen Roach warns of a near term crash of US assets.

The current account and trade deficit of the US are funded through foreign private savers and Asian central banks who buy US assets. There is an imbalance, when foreign savers increasingly pay for US consumption and an adjustment is needed.

“All the classic symptoms of a US current-account adjustment are now evident. At the same time, the stewards of globalization -- the IMF, the BIS, the OECD, and even the Federal Reserve -- are now all on the same page in sounding the alarm.
Politics could correct a big part of the imbalances, but tax increases and spending reductions are unpopular with the elecotrate, so this will not happen. The only way Roach sees the correction to be done is by a drop in US asset values, stocks, bonds and the balloned housing market.

When will this happen?

Roach sees signs that hint to the next few months. Each month an additional 86 billion dollars of foreign money gets invested in US assets. The ´official´ share of this money inflow - the buying of US bonds by foreign central banks - has increased from its long term share of 14% to 36%. The share of private foreign buyers of US assets is decreasing. Private foreign investors seam to find better value elsewhere and for now the central banks of Japan and China step in and buy US$ assets do keep their currency from rising and their exports and job numbers from falling.

The last time such an increase of official buying of US assets happened was 1987. Then the "venting" of the imbalances was done between October 13 and October 20, 1987 when the Dow Jones dropped by one third from 2,500 to 1,600. The equivalent now is a drop in the Dow Jones from 10,100 today to 6,400 next Tuesday. As the imbalances are bigger now than 1987, the drop may be well beyond this. Such a “venting” could escalate:

Jens O. Parsson:
Dying of Money: Lessons of the Great German & American Inflations

Until 1922 and the very brink of collapse, Germans and especially foreign investors were absorbing marks in huge quantities. Only the international reputation of the Reichsmark, the faith that an economic giant like Germany could not fail, made this possible. The storage factor caused by the investors willingness to save marks kept the marks from being dumped immediately into the markets, and thereby for a long while held prices in check. The precise moment when the inflation turned sharply upward, toward its vertical climb, was undoubtedly timed by no event, but by the dawning psychological awareness of the German and foreign investor that Germany was not going to back its money. With that, the rush to get out of the mark was on. Like a damn bursting, the seas of marks flooded into the markets and drove prices beyond all bounds. The German government strove mightily to outflood the sea. The sea of marks which had been stored up by Germans and especially by trusting foreigners flooded forth and fought to buy into other investments, foreign currencies, tangible goods, almost anything but marks.

Posted by b on August 24, 2004 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

August 23, 2004

Open Off Topics Thread

News and Views ...

Posted by b on August 23, 2004 at 04:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (112)

Newspeak Collection

anti-Iraqi Forces describes nationalistic Iraqi insurgents fighting against a foreign occupation as in:

11th MEU battles anti-Iraqi forces in An Najaf.

This is my favorite example for the application of Orwellian Newspeak
The basic idea behind Newspeak was to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple dichotomies (pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, good thoughts and thoughtcrimes).
Please help me to collect more examples of contemporary Newspeak. Please include:
  • the Newspeak wording
  • its real meaning
  • a link to and/or a citation of an application
A friend will use the collection in a class about 1984.


Posted by b on August 23, 2004 at 01:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (27)

August 22, 2004

Losing the Game

Looking at the Sunday Talk Shows guest list, the Swift Boat theme is played on. Why has the Kerry campaign not been firing against this with full wrath?

Kerry calls on Bush to stop personal attacks is just lame, as are attempts to stop the smear ads through courts. The general election theme is about leading and defending the people through offence, not about ´calling on Bush´ and ´going to court´.

Kerry should accuse Bush personally of smearing all veterans and all current soldiers. Bush´s campaign supports and facilitate denying the correctness of military records for achieved medals. There is enough material to make a direct Bush campaign involvement play in the media.

The method used on this issue is a hallmark of Rove´s operations. There will be more, much more like this coming in the next weeks. If the Kerry campaign does not learn how to counter such stuff immediately, they lose their defence. If the campaign does not learn to attack with the same ruthlessness, they lose their offence too.

In this election losing either the offence or the defence is sufficient to lose the game.

Posted by b on August 22, 2004 at 03:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (45)

August 21, 2004

Benign Social Genocide

This from the lead paragraphs of today’s New York Times: U.S. Now Said to Support Growth for Some West Bank Settlements.

The Bush administration, moving to lend political support to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at a time of political turmoil, ... In the latest modification of American policy, the administration now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward to undeveloped parts of the West Bank, according to the officials...

The Bush administration says it will take a 180 degree turn in foreign policy and snub the road map partners Russia, Europe and the United Nations. The administration ditches its previous stand on a solution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and sides with Ariel Sharon to significantly extend Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in West Jordan.

National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and her director of Middle East affairs, Elliott Abrams, explained the issue: The President takes this step to nuture the votes from the Jewish and evangelical electorate for his sharply contested reelection. Candidate John Kerry, competing for the Jewish votes and financial support by the Jewish establishment, is not expected to disagree with Ariel Sharon and President Bush on the Israeli strategy and the expansion of settlements.

There are two patriotic imperatives for Israel. The first, to take possession of Eretz Israel, ´the holy land of its fathers´, contradicts the second, by which the state will always need a massive Jewish majority. The demographic growth of the Palestinian people does not allow for a peaceful solution of this contradiction. Short of reenacting a holocaust like scenario, current Israeli policy, as described by Israeli sociologists like Baruch Kimmerling, is to achieve a politicide. The application of military, diplomatic and psychological measures to extinguish the Palestinian people as a political, social and economical entity.

Major steps have already been taken by destroying the infrastructure that could enable any Palestinian leader to effectively govern his people. The next steps to be taken now are to further expand the imperial strongholds in West Jordan, build more roads between them to sectorize Palestinian land and erect walls that restrict Palestinians to four or five Bantustans. The hope of the Palestinians has to be broken to make them leave West Jordan, thus: benign social genocide.

Sharon, as any other Israeli politician, knows, that there will never be any US president or presidency candidate criticising Israel in the months before a contested election. He grips his chance now to completely bury the road map forever.

Again the SCLM fails to report the facts in straight words and refuses to analyse the real political coherences.

Posted by b on August 21, 2004 at 03:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

August 20, 2004

Teen Sex

"The thunder of teen sexual activity and dating behavior may signal the lightning of substance abuse"
Joseph A. Califano, Jr. - Chairman and President of CASA

Google News today finds 243 stories with headlines like:

All are based on a study (pdf) released yesterday by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
The papers base their stories on the press release which hightlights:
SEXUALLY ACTIVE FRIENDS AND DATING PRACTICES CAN SIGNAL INCREASE IN A TEEN’S SUBSTANCE ABUSE RISK - Girls Who Date Boys Two or More Years Older Likelier to Smoke, Drink, Get Drunk, and Use Illegal Drugs.
Other key findings on the first few of the studies 70 pages are:
Fifty-six percent of 12- to 17-year olds surveyed report they have friends who are sexually active. The more sexually active friends a teen has, the likelier that teen is to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.
Meme: Sexual activity induces drug usage.
A teen, half or more of whose friends regularly view and download Internet pornography, is three times likelier to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs than a teen who has no such friends.
Meme: Internet pornography makes teens use drugs.
CASA surveys have consistently shown that the more often children have dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.
Meme: Traditional family life forestalls drug usage.

Such are the Key Findings. Now lets take an unusual dive into the depth of the study:

The incidence of sexually active friends ranges from 28 percent of 12-year olds to 79 percent of 17-year old.
i.e.: When teens grow older they are more likely to have sex and are more likely to smoke pot.
The prevalence of teens with friends who regularly view and download pornography from the Internet increases with age, from nearly one-third of 12-year olds (31 percent) to nearly two-thirds of 17-year olds (61 percent).
i.e.: When teens grow older they are more likely to look at porn and are more likely to drink bear.
As teens get older they are less likely to have dinner with their families on a regular basis. Thirty-two percent of 17-year olds have dinner seven nights a week with their families compared to 56 percent of 13-year olds.
i.e.: When teens are younger they are more likely to have family dinner and are less likely to have sex, to smoke, to drink and to look at porn.

To be fair, the study finds the simple connection. Short before the appendix it says:

Age remains one of the best predictors of risk in the CASA survey: as a teen gets older, his or her substance-abuse risk increases.
But the well researched New York Times, as 242 other newspapers, would never print such banalities. That may well fit the intentions of Columba Bush, First Lady of Florida, and of some other boardmembers of CASA.

Posted by b on August 20, 2004 at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)

August 19, 2004

Other Topics - Open Thread

Posted by b on August 19, 2004 at 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (135)

In Memoriam August 19, 2003

Salim Lone:
I lived to tell the tale

... The UN is precious - not because of its name, but because it struggles, however imperfectly, to reach global consensus on the world's critical issues. The fanatics who blew up the UN mission dealt a severe blow to its fortunes in the Middle East. But more lasting damage is being done to the legitimacy of this irreplaceable institution by demands to obey US dictates. If it continues to bow to pressure, its capital will be squandered and its resolutions rendered weightless for large chunks of humanity.

Member states and the secretary general should see this eroding legitimacy as the greatest challenge the organisation faces. But they will be unable to make effective headway unless the US itself recognises that it needs, in its own interest, to show greater respect for the UN, from which it can learn to define and pursue its own interests more wisely.
United Nations:
Observance of the First Anniversary of the Baghdad Tragedy

Posted by b on August 19, 2004 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

August 18, 2004

Oily Thread

Oil and Other Topics

Posted by b on August 18, 2004 at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (67)

Unintended Consequences

From gung-ho in Najaf to closing cinemas in Thailand:

Just five days after they arrived here to take over from Army units that had encircled Najaf since an earlier confrontation in the spring, new Marine commanders decided to smash guerrillas loyal to the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr.
8-Day Battle for Najaf: From Attack to Stalemate
Imagine a Muslim army about to bomb the Vatican with the help of a few Christian mercenaries while the Pope is away, recovering from an angioplasty in London and silent about the whole drama. This is roughly what is happening in Najaf ...
Besides the Shrine of Imam Ali, there are graves of other prophets of Allah - Prophet Adam and Prophet Noah. Abraham the patriarch and his son Isaac once bought land in Najaf in what is now called the Valley of Peace - none other than the gigantic Wadi al-Salaam, the world's largest cemetery...
A unifying factor across Iraq
A U.S. warplane bombed Najaf's vast cemetery as fighting with Shiite militants intensified...
Peace Bid & U.S. Bombs Hit Najaf
Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan on Wednesday demanded Shiite militants in the holy city of Najaf surrender within hours, or the Iraqi troops would launch a large-scale attack on them.
Najaf militants given hours to surrender or face lesson
"We set ablaze an oil well in Amara. This is a simple warning to the government of [Prime Minister Iyad] Allawi and to occupation forces, that we will bomb the main south oil export line if they do not leave Najaf within 48 hours and end the siege," said the statement signed by The Secret Action Group of The Imam Mahdi Army.
Violence flares as delegation quits Najaf
Oil prices surged over $47 a barrel on Wednesday on evidence that energy costs are not substantially slowing the economic growth that fuels oil demand and fresh threats by rebel militia against Iraqi oil facilities. ...
Some Asian countries, increasingly worried about oil prices, are planning measures to conserve energy or to cushion its impact. Thailand is drafting plans to encourage shops and cinemas to close early, while South Korea may consider cutting oil tax rates at the end of August, in a bid to shield the economy from red-hot oil prices.
Oil Hits Record, Rebels Hit Iraqi Wells

Posted by b on August 18, 2004 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (20)

CPI: Camouflaging Price Increase

Either some journalists have no idea of math or economic numbers, or persistent general price increases do not make good headlines when wages are stagnant.

Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the newest Consumer Price Index (CPI). Today some media come up with these headlines:

These headlines contradict what US friends tell me. What happened? Picked up BLS table CUUR0000SA0 (Not seasonally adjusted, U.S. city average, All items) and crunched it to show the year-over-year inflation rate:


The inflationary year-over-year increase in consumer prices, as measured by the BLS, was 3,0% for July 2004 - slightly smaller than the 3.3% y-o-y increase for June 2004.

BTW: There are valid reasons to believe, that the CPI, as measured by the government, is significantly smaller than the inflation that actually occurs. Well, if you would have to increase your payments for social security recipients, veterans, interests for TIPS-bonds etc. in line with the CPI increases, would you not like to tweak the numbers down a little bit?

Posted by b on August 18, 2004 at 07:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

August 17, 2004

Bad Choice

Looking at the US election from the outside, makes one wonder about the choices presented. On the one side Bush, elite offspring with deep relations to big money, on the other side Kerry, elite offspring with deep relations to big money. There are some nuances and probably Kerry would be "not as bad as Bush".

Judging from his speeches, he is as belligerent as Bush, while trying a little longer on multilateralism. He "defended the nation" in Viet Nam and promises to do the same as president - defended the nation in Viet Nam??? His economic points are slightly less to the right than Bushes, but does anybody believe, that whoever paid into his record election funds will not present the bill and will get the contracted payback?

The alarm is sounded that the progressives have to vote for Kerry - Anything but Bush - but then, where is the hope of change? As George Monbiot says in his Guardian column today, the same alarm bells rang in 2000 and the same alarm bells will ring again in 2008, 2012, 2016.

The US needs a deep change, a landslide to the progressive side, IF it does want to survive as a representative democracy. This change will not come through voting for the lesser evil.

There is a need for positive votes. Vote for the political direction you stand for, not against those politics you do not stand for. If the balance is tilted to the far right, put your weight on the very left pan to nudge it back. Voting for the middle can not change the reading on the scale.

As has been seen in many European countries, the introduction of alternative political powers takes years, maybe two or three decades. It will have to start at the local level, scramble into state policy and in ten, fifteen years, it may be able to really compete on the national level. It may falter there, but then it will have done enough damage to the democrats polls, to pull that party back to the left pan of the balance.

If this has the consequence of putting Bush back into the seat for another four years, we will see bad things coming. If Kerry wins the seat, the times will likely be similar uncomfortable. The economics of the next four years will be terrible - no matter who wins this election. There are structural imbalances that will break in an earthquake-like correction. Here one would rather like to see Bush suffer the consequences of his deeds, than see the democrats made responsible for this and be damaged for the next decades to come.

Anything but Bush is like putting the finger on the middle of the scale. It does not change the reading. It´s a bad choice.

Posted by b on August 17, 2004 at 05:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (96)

August 16, 2004

Off Topics - Open Thread

Posted by b on August 16, 2004 at 07:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (104)

Knock, knock

in·tim·i·date: to make timid or fearful : FRIGHTEN; especially : to compel or deter by or as if by threats

Knock, knock:

  • Will you take part in that demonstration?
  • Is your neighbor planing to do so?
  • What about your sister?
  • Will your parents be there too?
  • At that demonstration, are you planning disruptions?
  • Are you planing violence?
  • Do you know anybody who is doing so?
  • Do you realize, that it is a crime to withhold such information?
    Thank you. We´ll be back!

[The Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy, in a five-page internal analysis] ... said any First Amendment impact posed by the F.B.I.'s monitoring of the political protests was negligible and constitutional.

The opinion said: "Given the limited nature of such public monitoring, any possible 'chilling' effect caused by the bulletins would be quite minimal and substantially outweighed by the public interest in maintaining safety and order during large-scale demonstrations."
In the last few weeks, beginning before the Democratic convention, F.B.I. counterterrorism agents and other federal and local officers have sought to interview dozens of people in at least six states, including past protesters and their friends and family members, about possible violence at the two conventions. In addition, three young men in Missouri said they were trailed by federal agents for several days and subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury last month, forcing them to cancel their trip to Boston to take part in a protest there that same day.
"The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' ''
The three men "were really shaken and frightened by all this," [Ms. Lieberman (ACLU)] said, "and they got the message loud and clear that if you make plans to go to a protest, you could be subject to arrest or a visit from the F.B.I."

NYT: F.B.I. Goes Knocking for Political Troublemakers

Posted by b on August 16, 2004 at 04:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

August 15, 2004

Gods and Daemons

In an Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, Sam Harris rants about religion as "Holly Terror"

President Bush and the Republicans in the Senate have failed — for the moment — to bring the Constitution into conformity with Judeo-Christian teachings. But even if they had passed a bill calling for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, that would have been only a beginning. Leviticus 20:13 and the New Testament book of Romans reveal that the God of the Bible doesn't merely disapprove of homosexuality; he specifically says homosexuals should be killed: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death."

... Koran 9:123 tells us it is the duty of every Muslim man to "make war on the infidels who dwell around you." Osama bin Laden may be despicable, but it is hard to argue that he isn't acting in accord with at least some of the teachings of the Koran. ... Religious faith is always, and everywhere, exonerated. It is now taboo in every corner of our culture to criticize a person's religious beliefs. ... There are now more people in our country who believe that the universe was created in six solar days than there were in Europe in the 14th century. ... It is time we recognize that religious beliefs have consequences. As a man believes, so he will act. ... perhaps it is time we subjected our religious beliefs to the same standards of evidence we require in every other sphere of our lives.
The last sentence does not make much sense to me. Beliefs and evidence are antagonisms.

Asking for reason and moral behaviour, as Harris implicit does, should lead him to one simple sentence:

Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Link

The ´belief´ system nearest to Kant is Buddhism. Its practices are reasoning only about inner goods and evils, gods and daemons, and not on higher external deities. That, in my view, disqualifies it as religion, even though Harris mentions it as such.

The historical records and current conflicts show various religions having evil consequences. Shouldn´t we find ways to overcome them or at least diminish their ramifications?

Posted by b on August 15, 2004 at 04:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (24)

Billmon: All at Sea

While the barkeeper is out, there is still a lot to be talked about.
If you have a theme for a thread in mind, please let me know or send me your texts.

Posted by b on August 15, 2004 at 02:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (50)

August 13, 2004


yuck - it´s Friday, 13th - Open Thread ...


Posted by b on August 13, 2004 at 06:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (52)

Billmon: Saddam Lite

Billmon on a CIA asset.

Posted by b on August 13, 2004 at 01:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 12, 2004

Billmon: The Death Candidate

The barkeeper on one good reason to vote Bush.

Posted by b on August 12, 2004 at 03:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

Relativ Pain currently names a "Second Day of Pain" on its frontpage. They of course refer to falling stockprices and rising oil. But there was no pain for people who were short and used the financial instruments available to bet on falling markets (like I did).

But how can one counter the pain that comes up, when one of the most magical cities of this world gets bombed and destructed in senseless fighting?

Would it help to short an index that reflects the values of:

the library of Al-Haidariyah, the library of Al-Ilmin in At-Tusi's university, the library of Ash-Shushtariyah Husainiya, the library of Al-Qawam school, the library of both schools of Al-Khalili Al-Kubra and Sughra, the library of Shaikh Jafar Al-Kabir, the library of Shaikh Fakhrul Din At-Taraihi, the library of Ar-Rabitatul Ilmiyah, the library of Abdul Aziz Al-Baghdadi, the library of Muntada An-Nashr which has been moved to the jurisprudence college which locates at Kufah street, the Public Library, the library of Al-Burujirdi, the library of university of Najaf, the library of Shaikh Mohammed Baqir Al-Isfahani, the library of Al-Aakhund, the library of Ar-Rahim, the library of Bahrul Ulum, Sayyid Al-Hakim's library, the library of Amirul Mu'minin (Commander of Faithful) (peace be upon him), the library of Al-Ya'aqubi, the library of An-Nuri, the library of Al-Balaaqhi, the library of Al-Khutaba'a, the library of Al-Malali (which is related to Aal Al-Millah), the library of Shaikh Aaqa Buzurg At-Tehrani,
and many other libraries in Najaf city?

It doesn´t feel likely to me today.

Posted by b on August 12, 2004 at 03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (66)

August 11, 2004

Rove Trapped on Phoneline to Najaf

For a few moments sanity has -maybe-, -hopefully- resurfaced as US troops have halted their planed total assault on Al Sadr´s fighters in Najaf. Any attack on Najaf´s shrine of Imam Ali, where Al Sadr is trying to give himself the same cloud as Imam Ali himself, would be the equivalent of the total destruction of the Vatican and killing of the Pope by non Christians. US troops, NYT: says, would probably be eager to do this:

... American commanders are anxious to win a high-profile victory after their efforts this spring to oust Mr. Sadr from Najaf's old city and take control of Falluja ended in truces that did not achieve the American goals.
But maybe the Vice President of Iraq and the high priest of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had a delaying say in the issue, as maybe had some 1,300,000,000 Muslim who regard the ongoing bombarding of the holy Najaf graveyard of 2,000,000 buried Shia by some 5,000 US troops as slightly out of decency.

On a second though, this may not be the real reason to take a break.

Chalabi being back in Iraq and his allied South Iraq Shia threatening succession seem also not important enough to stop Rumsfeld to demonstrate his virility.

The reason for this reaction:

"An armored column idling at the main gate turned around and went back into the camp, and commanders said planning for the offensive had been extended.(WaPo)
looks more likely to be based on this threat of action:
"If the U.S. forces attacked Najaf tonight, we will blow up the oil pipelines," Sheikh Asaad al-Basri, the leader of the Mehdi militia loyal in the southern city of Basra, told Reuters.
Somebody may be calculating the advantage of the publicity of a decisive victory against Al Sadr versus a hefty increase of the price at the pump. Could this be decisive at the election booth?

How sensitive this theme is, can be seen on today’s action in the oil market:

Saudi Arabia sought to soothe oil markets Wednesday by saying it could immediately pump an extra 1.3 million barrels of oil a day, an increase of 1.5 percent in global output. link
Some people panicked and sold their oil futures even though any marginal expert knows that there is no way for the Saudis to increase production in the short term.
"If they were hoping to break the back of the rally with just that, it's not going to come to fruition," said John Kilduff, senior vice president of the energy risk management group at Fimat USA Inc. (link)
After the news above hit the tickers, Light Sweet Crude dropped from $44.quite-high to $43.medium within a few minutes - and some hedge funds lost some millions of Dollars on this move.

Just a few minutes later:

US commercial crude oil and gasoline inventories drained lower last week, according to the latest government
hit the ticker tapes.

The person who called Riyadh to get the Saudi quote before the official US government survey hit the tape did get the wanted reaction: Light Sweet Cude Oil did not break the $45 barrier today!
(And if he/she is somehow competent, his/her hedges did a 50% jump UP).

Unfortunately, there is yet no line between Rove´s office in the White House and Al Sadr´s headquarter in Iman Ali´s shrine, so coordination for the next slump/rise cycle will take some time and the troops will have to wait to blow the dome of the holy shrine until the required communication is established and any action is coordinated.

Posted by b on August 11, 2004 at 06:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (40)

Billmon: French Connection

Billmon on the message of the supply siders.

Posted by b on August 11, 2004 at 03:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Thread Open

Your views and news off topic elsewhere ...

Posted by b on August 11, 2004 at 01:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (76)

Billmon: The Night Porter

Billmon about the new CEO of a Bush subsidary.

Posted by b on August 11, 2004 at 01:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Billmon: Moving the Bomb Line

The barkeeper on Greenspans Catch 22.

Posted by b on August 11, 2004 at 01:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 10, 2004

Billmon: Plame Game

Billmon on a heat-seeking missile and its traget(s).

Posted by b on August 10, 2004 at 03:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (18)

August 09, 2004

Light Sweet Depression

Updated - (Chalabi) at end of post

Light Sweet Crude Oil was slightly below $44 per barrel this morning. There is currently nearly no reserve capacity left on this planet and now this:

Iraq Stops South Oil Output After Militia Threat
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) Mon Aug 9, 2004 12:48 PM ET - Iraq stopped oil production from its southern oil fields Monday after a Shi'ite Muslim uprising led by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr spread to the oil sector for the first time since the late-June handover of power to Iraqi authorities.

An Iraqi oil official said militiamen from Sadr's Mehdi Army threatened to sabotage operations by the state Southern Oil Company, based in Basra city.

"Pumping from the southern oil fields to storage tanks at Basra was stopped today after threats made by Al-Sadr," the official told Reuters. "It will remain stopped until the threat is over."
Iraq's southern fields have been supplying the Gulf Basra terminal with about 1.9 million barrels a day. Exports from Iraq's northern oil fields have operated only sporadically since the U.S. occupation last year and remain closed after a series of attacks on the main northern export pipeline from the Kirkuk fields.

Now it will be proven by Al Sadr and others that oil is the most effective weapon against the US. Others will recognize this too (Venezuelan recall referendum?). Can anyone expect this threat to end anytime soon?

What may follow now economically? Here are my € 0.02:
- Light Sweet Crude Oil: (far) above $50/bl
- Fed: will not hike rates tomorrow
- Treasuries: will rally
- Stocks: will fall
- US economy: will grind to a halt
- Prices: will rise fast
- US$: down (maybe after a short rally)
- Worst case: stagnation and inflation, given some time developing into hyperinflation, loss of confidence in the US$, US economy crashing into a deflationary depression, others follow.

CHOAM Economic Analysis of Materiel Flow Patterns says:

Melange is the financial crux of CHOAM activities. Without this spice, Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers could not perform feats of observation and human control, Guild Navigators could not see safe pathways across space, and billions of Imerial citizens would die of addictive withdrawal. Any simpleton knows that such dependence upon a single commodity leads to abuse. We are all at risk.

The Preacher at Arrakeen minds

This is the fallacy of power: ultimately it is effective only in an absolute, a limited universe. But the basic lesson of our relativistic universe is that things change. Any power must always meet a greater power.

Update - 3:58 PM

The stop of the Iraqi oil flowing to Basra seems to have a more sinister background than threats by Al Sadr. As Nemo pointed out in the last open thread, Chalabi is pulling the strings.

When NeoCon darling Achmed Chalabi came back to Iraq after the invasion, a gang of US trained thugs guarded him. Later these men were "integrated" into the security forces of ERINYS, the British company that has the contract to guard all Iraqi oil installations. ERINYS is connected with Chalabis INC organization and reportedly Chalabi was paid $2 million for his helpful recommendations on the contract. Chalabis nephew Salem was hired as a lawyer by ERINYS as were thousands of foreign "security trainer" mercenaries.

Yesterday the CIA asset Prime Minister Iyad Allawi issued arrest warrants for NeoCon asset Chalabi and for his nephew. Today the Flow Of Spice was stopped because militiamen from Sadr's Mehdi Army threatened to sabotage operations by the state Southern Oil Company.

Maybe the guards of the Iraqi oil assets could step up the security again and hinder sabotage, if ... and if ... and if... .

Wolfowitz and Negroponte must be negotiating at each others throat by now, while Secretary John Snow prepares to distribute Prozac.

Posted by b on August 9, 2004 at 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (58)

Billmon: Burning Down the House

The barkeeper on the actions of the "Department of Reelection".

Posted by b on August 9, 2004 at 01:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

August 08, 2004


Juan Cole writes:

The story of how the Bush administration prematurely outed Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a double agent working for Pakistan against al-Qaeda, has finally hit cable television news. MSNBC picked up the story on Saturday.

On Sunday at around 12:30 pm, Wolf Blitzer's show referred to it. New York Senator Charles Schumer criticized the Bush administration for revealing Khan's name. He noted the annoyance of British Home Minister Blunkett (see below) and Pakistani Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat with the Americans for blowing Khan's cover. He said Hayat complained that if Khan's name had not been reveaeled to the New York Times by the Bush administration, he might well have provided information that would have led to the capture of Usamah Bin Laden himself!

Blitzer then revealed that he had discussed the Khan case with US National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice on background. He reported that she had admitted that the Bush administration had in fact revealed Khan's name to the press. She said she did not know if Khan was a double agent working for the Pakistani government. (!!!)

Posted by b on August 8, 2004 at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Not Sealed Fine Twisted Cord II

Posted by b on August 8, 2004 at 01:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (89)

August 07, 2004

Billmon: Ain't Too Proud to Beg

An aging political junky is asking his readers for a favor.

Posted by b on August 7, 2004 at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Billmon: Half Cocked

Billmon asks: Will coincidences ever cease?

Posted by b on August 7, 2004 at 02:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Billmon: Don't Shoot Him, ...

The barkeeper says: "Don't Shoot Him, He's Just the Piano Player".

Posted by b on August 7, 2004 at 02:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 06, 2004

Billmon: Out of the Blue

Some numbers do have consequences.

Posted by b on August 6, 2004 at 05:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Off Topics - Open Thread

News, thoughts and discussions ...

Posted by b on August 6, 2004 at 01:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (67)

Billmon: Murphy´s Law

The barkeeper on Shrub and economy problems.

Posted by b on August 6, 2004 at 12:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (19)

Billmon: Dead Fox Bounce

The barkeeper on a poll bounce.

Posted by b on August 6, 2004 at 12:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)