Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 29, 2005

Open Thread 05-32

News, views and visions ...

Please share yours here.

Posted by b on March 29, 2005 at 20:53 UTC | Permalink


@Nugget - I can´t believe that story yet

If the Supreme Cort ruled so unqualified the world is open field to lies. If lies can not be reported what is reporting about?

Again - I can not believe this - yet.

Posted by: b | Mar 29 2005 21:41 utc | 2


The article confuses me because the bar is very high when it comes to journalism libel. I don't even recall when a "public person" plaintiff in a libel suit has proved a journalist libeled with "actual malice."

I'd like to know more about the pennsylvania case.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 29 2005 21:59 utc | 3

Totally off topic; I wanted to mention (in the thread on Blogs, but I can't find it) that I have started blogging, and would love to have Barflies drop in and say "Hi". It's not a political blog though; it's mostly personal so far, although if get roused out of my increasingly depressed cynicism, I may post the odd political comment.

Posted by: Ferdzy | Mar 29 2005 23:59 utc | 4

US general sanctioned Iraq excesses.

The former US military chief in Iraq authorised the use of dogs and other illegal techniques to intimidate prisoners during interrogations, the American Civil Liberties Union has said.

A 14 September 2003 memo signed by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez authorised 29 methods of interrogation, including 12 which "far exceeded" US military regulations as well as the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war, the ACLU said.

The methods included using muzzled army dogs in a way that "exploits Arab fear of dogs", and placing detainees in painful "stress positions".

The memo also authorised techniques of isolation and sleep and food deprivation and sensory manipulation to break down prisoners.

"General Sanchez authorised interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the army's own standards," Amrit Singh, an ACLU lawyer, said in a statement.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 30 2005 0:37 utc | 5

CAIRO (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has alarmed many reformist Arabs with comments suggesting a new U.S. approach that promotes rapid political change without regard for internal stability.

"They seem to be supporting chaos and instability as a pretext for bringing democracy. But people would rather live under undemocratic rule than in the chaotic atmosphere of Iraq, for example, which the Americans tout as a model."

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 30 2005 0:45 utc | 6

What Nugget cites above is very important. I was about to post a link to the article.

Insanity, I guess, is an appropriate foreign policy for a village idiot posing as US Secretary of State.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 30 2005 1:42 utc | 7

Warped advice blights American intervention

.....In writing of the need to bring democracy to the Arab world, Mr Sharansky makes repeated parallels with America's propagation of its democratic message to the subject peoples of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. But the peoples of eastern Europe, the Baltic states and the Caucasus had good reason to identify America and democracy not only with personal freedom but with national liberation from Soviet domination. Ask many ordinary Arabs which superpower today is playing a role in the Middle East analogous to that of the Soviet Union in eastern Europe and what answer would you get?

The parallel with eastern Europe therefore, far from being encouraging, actually suggests the greatest problem faced by proponents of westernising reform in the Middle East today: namely, the immense difficulty they have in mobilising nationalism in support of their programme.

Of course, were it possible for the US to act in the Muslim world as it has done in eastern Europe, and to spread freedom and development, this would indeed be a wonderful boon for the region and the world. But none of this can possibly happen as long as the US is identified both by Muslims and by Europeans with agendas such as Mr Sharansky's. If Mr Bush really wants to play a progressive role in the region, he badly needs other sources of advice and inspiration.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 30 2005 2:06 utc | 8

So that's where this Mother of all Brain Farts came from.

Thanks for the above link, Nugget.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 30 2005 3:20 utc | 9>Ellsberg is gloomy

Virtually all the things Nixon did against me that were illegal to keep me from exposing his secret policy are now legal under the Patriot Act. Going into my doctor's office to get information to blackmail me with, wiretaps without warrants, overhearing me--all legal now. The CIA supplied the burglars in my doctor's office with disguises and with cameras and they did a psychological profile on me. That was illegal then, legal now.

I would have said that one thing that Nixon did against me was not yet legal and that was to bring a squad of a dozen Cuban-American assets of the CIA up from Miami to beat me up or kill me on May 3rd, 1973 on the steps of the Capitol. Right now there's at least one Special Forces team under control of the White House operating in this country to take 'extra legal actions'. Now, that sounds to me like a White House-controlled death squad. And that is what the White House sent against me. It's not clear whether the intention was to kill me then, the words were to 'incapacitate Daniel Ellsberg totally'. When I asked their prosecutor, 'does that mean to kill me?'. He said, 'The words were 'to incapacitate you totally.' But he said, 'You have to understand these guys that were CIA assets never use the words 'kill'.'

I think that's the kind of thing we do have in our future, especially when there's another terrorist attack. In that case, I think we'll see enacted very quickly a new Patriot Act, which I'm sure has already been drafted which will make the first Patriot Act look like the Bill of Rights, and the Bill of Rights will be a historical memory.
I haven't said anything about the unusual case that this administration relies on a constituency of right-wing Christian fundamentalist who entertain ideas as crazy as any that can be found, and who believe, for instance, that nuclear war will be God's Will and a necessary precursor for the return of the Messiah in their lifetime. Therefore they're not very concerned about nuclear arms control but more seriously who believe that Israel must be in control of a greater Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates, as promised in the bible, in order for their Messiah to return. And therefore, that Likud's policy and Sharon's policy of holding on to the West Bank is absolutely essential and has to be expanded. That's a disastrous influence on our foreign policy and it's a very big influence.

I'd like to see the president directly asked (I believe he holds this, by the way, as does Tom Delay and other top republican leaders. . . John Ashcroft and others in Congress) 'Do you, Mr. President, believe that a Palestinian state in the West Bank would postpone the return of the Messiah?' I think he'd find it hard to say that he doesn't believe that, because he's supposed to witness for what he believes in his religious faith and he'd lose a lot of support if he denied that.

Yes, I'd like to hear someone in the lapdog press corps ask that question.

I am gloomy too [so what else is new eh?] ... I wish sometime I could drop by this bar and have someone slap me on the back (figuratively) and say "Cheer up me bucko, things are not all that bad." Lately instead y'all are confirming my own fears and anxieties to a degree that is really disturbing.

This morning I was riding my bike to work and the thought crossed my mind spontaneously, like a tickertape message: "This may be the end of the Enlightenment. It could happen in my lifetime."

Now I know we are all getting infected a bit by the End Times crowd (and no wonder given the enormous fiscal, environmental, and geopolitical corner we have painted ourselves into -- or that we've been crammed into by others). It is easy in such uncertain times to see the End of This-that-and-the-Other on the horizon and moving fast.

I do have the disturbing sense that the world into which I came of age has changed course in a distressing way. Part of this I am sure is the inevitable cultural Angst of an ageing generation, looking at what the Young Turks are creating and finding it alien and depressing; but I keep thinking there is more to it than that in our lifetimes, that the discontinuity between the world we thought we had built -- were building, and would be inhabiting -- and the chaos, illiteracy, amnesia and irrationality of the world I see unravelling around me, is extreme.

Old farts like me in previous generations railed against what I would have called Progress -- they fulminated over the indecency of women wearing pants in public, they were deeply shocked by interracial marriage, they were disgusted by gay people being affectionate in public, they knew western civilisation was doomed when women no longer wore white gloves to church of a Sunday -- or when large numbers of people stopped going altogether. It was all Signs of Doom and Decay -- the Barbarians were At the Gates because schoolchildren no longer curtseyed or touched their caps when they answered a grownup. It was, as always, partly their own mortality they were growling and ranting about, trying to put off the disquieting knowledge that the world changes and goes on, even as we individuals fade away from it -- that at some point, no one gives a hoot what we think because we have become irrelevant.

But at the same time those censorious old geezers and geezettes had a plus column in their balance sheet -- advancing technologies, improving medical care, generally thriving economies (in the first world, which is the demographic I'm talking about and -- mostly -- to and with here). Modernity annoyed them with one hand while piling gifts at their feet with the other; and it gave them a comforting sense of Future.

The anti-modernism of our times, the various fundamentalist and ethnic tribalist movements, the frantic need to turn the clock back, is accompanied by (for me and other peak oil / enviro pessimists) a really distressing sense of futurelessness. I have no convincing sense that the future -- of the US or the world -- offers a society, culture, civilisation which I will recognise or in which I would wish to exist. Soviet Amurka, Fortress Atlantica, or the bankrupted, humiliated banana republic that imho we seem more likely to end up with -- neither appeals, does it? Civilisation seems to be hanging on by its fingernails in Euroland, though under some pressure; but there are times when I fear a genuine Dark Age ahead for the rest of the world. A friend writes

Yah. What gets me about the Tanzania story is that we have instance after instance of things getting worse, nightmarishly worse, and very quickly too--behold the former USSR--yet I can't think of a single model for how to turn this kind of thing around, how to rescue a society that's slid into this kind of horror. Postwar Europe and Japan were poised to follow this path but were hauled back from the precipice by massive inputs of capital from the US (acting out of fear of Communism, to be sure, but the motive is another issue.) The Soviets escaped a similar calamity by similar means, except that the investment was internal and was a lot costlier in terms of domestic misery. But who will save Tanzania, and Nigeria, and Congo? Who will save the peoples of Central Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh? *Can* they be "saved" in some meaningful way, having fallen so far into poverty and hopelessness and craziness?

I cannot figure out how much of this foreboding is the aforementioned classic mid-life-crisis or Old Fartism, and how much is a genuine perception of danger ahead. Is anyone under the age of 30 feeling the same tendencies to despair, anomie, an inability to imagine the future (or a fear and reluctance to do so) -- a paralysing inability to address the question of What's To Be Done? In other words, would I be less prone to despair if my brain cells were about 25 years younger?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 30 2005 3:52 utc | 10

Sorry all, that got longer than I realised. Ogg painting all over cave wall again.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 30 2005 3:54 utc | 11

Deanander, you should meet my friend rememberinggiap.

All good things must pass.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2005 4:04 utc | 12

DeAnander, I work with the young, and so (sauf erreur) do you. I see no mass hysteria among them, no panic, no loss of common-sense, and no Messianic frenzy (on topics near and dear to my heart, I could wish to see a surge of such frenzy now and then). I observe with some amusement that the current political regime leaves them absolutely cold (something that couldn't be said of Bill Clinton's), and it leaves them cold because it's false from head to toe, and the young can spot this fact just as readily as anyone else. Do you see them acting and thinking otherwise? And have you read those articles, recently published, about the military's recruiting failures? The young don't like the war, their parents don't like the war, and for once the young are listening to their parents. Other examples abound; and whileI have no earthly idea of what the young can, or hope, to do about the environment, I'm absolutely certain that their sensitivities to the matter are far in advance of my own at that age. In years to come they'll surely denounce their elders with hyperbolic scorn for having allowed the Bush tribe to happen, and I can only hope they'll temper that scorn with some mercy toward the contributors to MoA.

Posted by: alabama | Mar 30 2005 4:22 utc | 13


Maybe you're too generous. The students seem savvy, but, there's a kind of dispassion, a general insouciance, sometimes a flat affectless schizoid response, as if they expect nothing in the world could ever be beautiful.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2005 4:33 utc | 14

But, I aqgree, Deanander. It feels like the present has exhausted the future. Somedays, I think procreation is child abuse.

But other days, I think beauty is always possible.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30 2005 4:38 utc | 15

DeAnander & Daniel - Russell Mokhiber would probably ask that question, if he ever gets the opportunity after his last one. he doesn't tone it down on questions about israel and palestine, and taking on the president's hypocritical religious posturing.

Posted by: b real | Mar 30 2005 5:01 utc | 16

slothrop, what you call "dispassion" and "insouciance" I'd describe as passive resistance. The kids I know are working hard to make ends meet, and they therefore economize on the expressing of their protest--something we certainly didn't do in the '60's (but then, of course, we had the benefit of the draft to concentrate our attentions). What you mean by "schizoid" I'm not entirely sure, but if you're referring to the flatness of their assent to the war in Iraq, I agree with you entirely. For them, this war has fallen flat on its face (and I'm referring as well to young people who've been to Iraq and back, some of whom I happen to know). Babies they tend to find beautiful, and don't seem to regard the having of them as abuse of any kind. And though they may, as you suggest, be mistaken about this, there's no denying that they take an affirmative view of the child-bearing process (even as they look upon Roe v. Wade as their "natural" birthright).

Posted by: alabama | Mar 30 2005 5:06 utc | 17

"there's a kind of dispassion, a general insouciance, sometimes a flat affectless schizoid response, as if they expect nothing in the world could ever be beautiful."
I wouldn't know about American youth but generally I have that same
Like when you ask them why they do not want to have children and they say " To bring children in THIS world?...No way"...
They do feel like there is not much of the future and that's why they want all they can have NOW...of course it does not make them happy...more apathetic…
On the other hand I also see that some of them are more aware of the situation and where it leads then our generation...I see them protest it in many ways (good and bad for them) least here in OZ where I live...
De A I feel totally like you…

Posted by: vbo | Mar 30 2005 6:13 utc | 18

I would concur here with alabama, my son, 21 now, is suprisingly well aware of both the hypocrisy of the current political leadership and the plethra of crisis in store for his generation. Having gone to college in this time, has removed the blithe and vague high school aura and I think he now takes the future as a challenge. In thinking about the protest movement of my generation and the current (lack of) movement, the all volunteer army has to be the major difference. After all, the draft represented a clear and ever present danger that was up close and personal. This informed the action of protest with an immediacy and urgency that seems somehow now to be missing. Nontheless, what we do now (whatever it might be) is still imperative in the scheme of things, if only to relay concern and method to the next generation --as a token of sanity and solidarity. My kid hears it, even if he thinks I'm a little nuts, I think he appreciates it.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 30 2005 6:55 utc | 19

Hidden in an WaPo OpEd Rumsfeld And the Generals is this nugget:

Iraq has been a delicate dilemma for Myers -- he needs to support the president's policy publicly while also challenging the civilians privately. Critics think Myers sometimes erred in sounding too dutifully supportive, as in comments he made during an April 2004 visit to Iraq. The insurgency had exploded so violently then that there was contingency planning to evacuate the Green Zone. But Myers blandly called the intense fighting "a symptom of the success that we're having here in Iraq," according to a forthcoming history of the war by The Post's Thomas E. Ricks.

Posted by: b | Mar 30 2005 8:28 utc | 20

Now the trouble in Iraq is no reason not to attack Iran.

Former UN inspector Scott Ritter: Sleepwalking to disaster in Iran

Late last year, in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential election, I was contacted by someone close to the Bush administration about the situation in Iraq.

There was a growing concern inside the Bush administration, this source said, about the direction the occupation was

The Bush administration was keen on achieving some semblance of stability in Iraq before June 2005, I was told.

When I asked why that date, the source dropped the bombshell: because that was when the Pentagon was told to be prepared to launch a massive aerial attack against Iran, Iraq's neighbour to the east, in order to destroy the
Iranian nuclear programme.

Why June 2005?, I asked. 'The Israelis are concerned that if the Iranians get their nuclear enrichment programme up
and running, then there will be no way to stop the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. June 2005 is seen as the decisive date.'

He goes on to explain how the preparations are made and that June 2005 everything will be in place.

What is missing is the terror incident with proven connections to Iran that will be needed to stir the US public. But that might be more easy to implement than we think. Who by the way did send the Anthrax?

Posted by: b | Mar 30 2005 9:11 utc | 21

Rahul Mahajan tells it like it is:
it turns out that the occupation kills in larger numbers than the combination of the sanctions and Saddam’s brutality.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 30 2005 9:18 utc | 22

The link below will not tell any of you anything new, but it has some relevance for this thread's discussion about the present future that used to be better:
Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'.
As to the discussion itself: I clearly side with both views, but I have been having a number of DeA-days lately. 'The youth of today' (the generalization that enraged me so much when I was supposed to be part of it) may have a different opinion, and I see a lot of positive things among them here in old Europe. Many seem to have learned to economize both their outrage and their cynicism - to good effect, it is to be hoped.

Posted by: teuton | Mar 30 2005 11:48 utc | 23

I've been in Amsterdam the last 10 days, getting some much needed perspective on things. From here, two things about the current situation are striking: how totally the United States dominates world affairs, and how insane American society seems to be. I followed the Teri Schiavo controversy through the Dutch papers, which gave an entirely different slant. Similarly, while the American press pussyfoot around the situation in Iraq, the Dutch press is calling it what it is -- chaos.

I too have been feeling a bit like DeAnander and Teuton lately, wondering how bad things are going to get. The short answer is, I think, bad, but not as bad as we think. Although it's kind of fun to get apocalyptic, I suspect we'll end up muddling through this current bit of madness. By "bit," I mean the last 25 years or so, when we basically ignored the energy situation and acted like oil would be cheap forever. This doesn't mean that there won't be severe dislocations, or that people (many of them in the United States) won't suffer. Extreme events are certainly possible; the bird flu could leap to humans with Black Death-like consequences, the Gulf Stream could shut off, dropping temperatures in Europe (including here in Netherlands) by 5 - 10 degrees, etc. At the least, global warming is going to cause some unpleasant changes, and the energy crisis is only going to get worse. I think we're headed for a not-terribly-pleasant 10 - 20 years ahead.

But it won't be the apocalypse. There are a lot of smart people out there. Many of them have been wasting their talents because there were no real challenges. Now there will be, and they will rise to the occasion. Heck, I've seen enough brainpower exhibited at MoA alone to change the world decisively for the better. We may never have cheap gas and airfares again, but life will go on, and in some ways even get better. The keys are really the key -- defeat fundamentalism, both in the Middle East and the United States. It is only once we have destroyed those who would keep people from thinking that we can start fixing the world they're trying to trash.

While we're at it, we should probably kill the giant corporations as well. They've had their chance, and they screwed things up. Actually, we may not need to kill them, as they seem to be doing a pretty good job of that themselves. When General Motors goes belly up, tens of thousands of people will be hurt -- but think of the intellectual resources that will be freed for more productive uses.

So buck up, people. There is a future, but only if we make it. We have to fight a war first. If Bush and his right-wing fundamentalists/corporate barons have their way, things might get so screwed up that they can't be repaired, at least not for a while. I'm counting on my kids. They don't believe anything the government or the big corporations say. They recognize marketing when they see it.

The future is promising, but I'm afraid we're going to have to do some fairly unpleasant things to get there. In case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a war, and right now we're losing. I'm pretty sure we'll win in the end, even if I don't live to see it.

Put on your ghost shirts.

Posted by: Aigin | Mar 30 2005 12:26 utc | 24

I am nailing my hope on this saying, goes something like this: "the darkest hour is before the sun rises". I am not yet willing to give up this hope and to do what ever I can for a better future, at least in my area.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 30 2005 12:36 utc | 25

Before Mr. Shakespeare quotes me my age (39), my take re: doom, gloom, and terribleness.

I'm positive overall, and also realistic (I think). E.g., The War. fact is, many people knew the facts and supported the war. There are many colours and many dimensions. I have my favourites, and my Fears & Loathings are mine, shared by many, no doubt, but not that many--I put it at 20%, which leaves a tasty 80% of all human beings who don't have my Fears & Loathings and, indeed, have a whole other set I don't understand at all.

In terms of energy use, poisoned land, etc... it's clear that the major pollutors are... Well, how are we going to work this out? Russia killed a few seas (if I'm right), which is intense. The Chinese have turned the yellow river toxic, or is that an Urban Myth?

While people see their lives slowly getting better or worse, they cope. If things are going well for them, they're happy. If not (a mid-life crisis is an existential bad day or six), then there's always bad news round the corner. Cigarettes kill! Smokers gulp. Mobile phones are killing us! Mobile phone users gulp. The air is killing us! Everyone gulps. Then we don't die, so we forget or ignore.

Maybe the point is, we monkeys only really think two weeks ahead, so unless its all going to collapse in two weeks, well, I've lost track and gone on too long.

An old friend once said, "You need two out of the three: Job, friends, lover. Two, you're okay. All three, you're fine. But one isn't enough."

I wonder how many out of the (is it?) seven billion people in the world are happy this afternoon/morning/evening/night? How many wild loves are climaxing as I type? How many hysterical cackles are rupturing eardrums? How many deep muscle massages are relaxing spines? How many tasty meals are being eaten by smiling compadres?

We are all going to die. Some people (I would say, from my prejudice, the religious and the depressed) don't like life as it is. It sucks the big one. It is a curse, a cancer. Sometimes life hits us that way, sometimes people hit us that way. Sometimes two friends sit out in the woods, watch the sun set, lie back on soft heather, scent of flowers around them. Bees buzz. High strips of cloud against the shades of blue. It all changes and "we" all die. The more miserable/pleasurable life seems, the worse/better that becomes.

Enough. Any self-respecting buddhist would chuckle at our interest in passing illusions. I'm not a buddhist, though.

Now, Sonnet 39

O, how thy worth with manners may I sing,
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to my own self bring?
And what is't but mine own when I praise thee?
Even for this, let us divided live,
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
That due to thee which thou deservest alone.
O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
And that thou teachest how to make one twain
By praising him here who doth hence remain!

Posted by: Rug | Mar 30 2005 13:13 utc | 26

Ex-Yukos boss faces labor camp

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 30 2005 14:16 utc | 27

U.S. tanks take a beating in Iraq.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military's Abrams tank, designed during the Cold War to withstand the fiercest blows from the best Soviet tanks, is getting knocked out at surprising rates by the low-tech bombs and rocket-propelled grenades of Iraqi insurgents.

In the all-out battles of the 1991 Gulf War, only 18 Abrams tanks were lost and no soldiers in them killed. But since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, with tanks in daily combat against the unexpectedly fierce insurgency, the Army says 80 of the 69-ton behemoths have been damaged so badly they had to be shipped back to the United States.....

Money's no object, eh?

Posted by: Midas | Mar 30 2005 14:51 utc | 28

"Is anyone under the age of 30 feeling the same tendencies to despair, anomie, an inability to imagine the future (or a fear and reluctance to do so) -- a paralysing inability to address the question of What's To Be Done?"

Hand up.

I do not think it will be the apocalypse, but I think it will be bad. I have more and more come to land at the Asimov position, it is more a question of preparing for the disaster then stopping it. My political projects are centered locally with the hope that, unless the Gulf stream trickles off, Sweden will weather the political disasters (as we done before) and problems will be manageble. Or so I hope.

But the world, well, hm ... *inability to imagine the future stops the sentence*

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Mar 30 2005 14:57 utc | 29

relevant commentary from "a self-defined angry middle-aged blue collar worker in the trucking industry who lives in Rockford, Illinois": Facing Down The Demons - An Exercise in Self-Appraisal

Posted by: b real | Mar 30 2005 15:23 utc | 30

Just a thought on sustainability from watching a Krugman video. He said:
"The U.S. government takes in 68 cent in revenue for every $1.00 it spends."

Posted by: b | Mar 30 2005 15:53 utc | 31

Good spat going on re blogging and jim/jeff here.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 30 2005 17:05 utc | 32


I recall Krugman or someone making this point earlier this year. In 2042, when SS will only be taking in 70+ cents for each dollar it pays out, it will be in better shape than chimpy's government is right now. Yet, which is the "emergency"?

Posted by: OkieByAccident | Mar 30 2005 18:55 utc | 33

Hey Okie!

Nugget linked to:

"They seem to be supporting chaos and instability as a pretext for bringing democracy."

Is this not just more PNACian 'roid rage?

Posted by: RossK | Mar 31 2005 2:02 utc | 34

White powder WMD hoaxer charged: it's a five-term American Republican lawmaker

He used his own credit card to mail it to himself.......

Posted by: WMD arrest in U.S.A. | Mar 31 2005 3:17 utc | 35

Re: WMD above

If there are some learned in the law here this morning, what is "a facsimile weapon of mass destruction."?

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 31 2005 3:44 utc | 36

Good Guardian comment The neocon revolution

The Neocons are here to stay

There was speculation last autumn that the second Bush term would be different, that the breach with Europe would be healed as a matter of necessity, that the US could not afford another Iraq, that somehow the new position was unsustainable. Already, however, from last November's presidential election it was clear that the neocon revolution had wide popular support and serious electoral roots, that it was establishing a new kind of domestic political hegemony. In fact, the right has been setting the political agenda in the US for at least 30 years and that is now true with a vengeance. All the indications suggest that the revolution is continuing apace.
The withdrawal of the US from international treaties does not condemn international law to the dustbin of history. It is evident, however, that the Americans are determined either to render these treaties redundant simply by ignoring them, force them to be renegotiated or perhaps both. In effect, what the Americans are intent on doing is reordering the world system to take account of their newly defined power and interests. Every part of the world is likely to feel the consequences of this geo-political earthquake, but some much more than others.

Posted by: b | Mar 31 2005 10:04 utc | 37

Heh, its not just me.
Morocco wants in as well.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 31 2005 13:06 utc | 38

And the bickering continues. Excellent.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 31 2005 13:10 utc | 39

I think Morocco has applied previously and been turned down on the basis of not being in Europe (thus they never came to the questions of democracy and human rights).

Funny as when all this started the founding member France had the most of their homeland territory neighbouring Morocco (as you may or may not know Algeria was not technically a colony but part of the French mothercountry and geographicly the greatest part of it). Back then being an African country apparently was not a problem. And Ceuta is EU-turf as well as a number of island and bit an parts of various continents around the world.

I say let them join, but of course they have to pass that eye of the needle in having democracy and respecting human rights.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Mar 31 2005 13:29 utc | 40


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 31 2005 14:12 utc | 41

Supplying food and water when it suits you. Shaivo dies.

Posted by: beq | Mar 31 2005 15:25 utc | 43

Philippines: Four-day work week to save energy

Posted by: Greco | Mar 31 2005 15:32 utc | 44

This sounds menacing, but I can't exactly understand why:

Asia bent on having own oil market despite warnings


could you tell me why the Americans are upset?

Posted by: Greco | Mar 31 2005 15:43 utc | 45

Well, Greco, I believe the issue is that these people are brown and/or have slanty eyes, which means they should shut up, sit down and take whatever crumbs fall from the table.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 31 2005 16:05 utc | 46

Goldman sees oil spiking to $105

Posted by: b | Mar 31 2005 16:18 utc | 47

What the hell, put'm on the list.">">list. They won't be missed.

Posted by: beq | Mar 31 2005 16:19 utc | 48

'Mercy killing' is fine for sandniggers and ragheads

Posted by: No vigils for this one | Mar 31 2005 17:50 utc | 49

@colman I think you have it right.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 31 2005 18:49 utc | 50

little pig, little pig...

The World Bank's board on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war, to be the next president of the 184-nation development bank. -- business week

Posted by: b real | Mar 31 2005 20:07 utc | 51>Back to the God Debate

David Morris contributes a (deliberately imho) provocative article in which he categorically defines all religion as superstition and argues persuasively for its marginalisation in social affairs.

The article has weaknesses, which some commenters point out. It is pleasingly sprinkled with tasty quotes from the great era of religious debates in the US -- the days of Ingersoll and the like, when decent-sized audiences would actually flock to hear public speakers with a vocabulary of more than 800 words :-)

anyway, since we have been flirting with a Godwin citation lately anyway (ITMA, he just keeps popping up), why not throw some fuel on the fire?

does organised religion have a place in the modern state? if so, what might that place be?

In 1784, Patrick Henry introduced a bill in the Virginia General Assembly that would have assessed taxes on all citizens for the support of "teachers of the Christian religion." The bill's passage seemed certain. But then James Madison issued his Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, eventually signed by some 2,000 Virginians [...]

The two-year debate over the assessment bill ended in its overwhelming defeat. Instead the Virginia legislature in 1786 passed an Act for Establishing Religious Freedom. The preamble to the original bill, written by Thomas Jefferson, declared, "Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their mind; that Almighty God hath created the mind free... ."[...]

One of President Bush's first acts in office was to create an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Today 10 federal agencies have a Center for the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The White House web site gives churches Do's and Don'ts for applying for federal assistance. It has funded 30 organizations to provide training and technical assistance for religious organizations desiring federal grants. And it guarantees that any religious organization in need of help will find a ready and willing person on the other end of the phone.

After failing to persuade Congress to change the law, President Bush, by Executive Order, rewrote the rules to allow federal agencies to directly fund churches and other religious groups. In 2003 such groups received an astonishing $1.17 billion in grants from federal agencies.

Progress! ain't it grand?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 31 2005 21:06 utc | 52

A few other items about gold:

The bright side.(with the US dissenting, of course.)

The other side.

Posted by: biklett | Mar 31 2005 21:20 utc | 53

The number of Iraq and Afghanistan vets diagnosed with mental disorders at VA hospitals is said to be steadily rising. ( today but could be any soundbite on this meme as it starts to traverse the nets).

does anyone but me get a brain-tic reading stuff like this? HELLO? the whole purpose of military training is to induce attitudes and behaviours which we would normally consider pathological -- like the ability to shoot people in cold blood, like the ability to follow orders, no matter how brutal, without question. the training is done by techniques that in other contexts would be recognised as isolation, brainwashing and coercion, along with heavy peer pressure -- the same factors often blamed for desperately sociopathic behaviour in school-age kids.

why the bloody hell is anyone surprised that mental disorder is the result of an expensive program>expressly designed and optimised to inculcate mental disorder?

the system works.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 1 2005 0:52 utc | 54

If IMF sells gold then it would lower prices (increased supply) thus making gold less valuable to mine. This would then be good from an environmental point of view, but not necessarily for the striking miners in South Africa. On the other hand (before any one else points it out) the profits are probably big enough today for the capitalists to endure both lowered prices and increased wages without moving into the red. So it is probably good if the IMF sells.

I noticed (from bikletts second article)

Based in Johannesburg, Gold Fields employs 48,000 people across its operations in Ghana, Australia, Finland and South Africa.

So possibly you can by finnish gold (or it is just a marketing office in Finland? It is not totally clear) and if so, knowing Finland, I think that gold will have been produced under acceptable circumstances environmentaly (pretty strong environmentalist movement) and good labour conditions (strong unions). Possibly a way for any conscientious person who ponders the possibility of buying gold in anticipation of crashing currencies.

For the record, that person is not me. An advantage of not having much assets is that you do not have to worry about preserving their value. :)

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 1 2005 2:23 utc | 55

I think I'm becoming a bit of a bore the last few days so am planning to take a break and Get Some Other Stuff Done, instead of running about like a mad squirrel depositing my little acorns of outrage under the tablecloths here. But want to leave y'all with a billmonesque (Middle Period) juxatposition of two news items that appeared w/in a couple of days of each other on my radar.>Belorus: how to survive in an irradiated landscape

and>Bush Administration kills nuclear fallout study

I know that for me to say this will arouse howls of laughter from the barflies :-) but "further comment would be superfluous." ciao for niao.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 1 2005 3:56 utc | 56

Well Aigin it's all about perception... and I like the way you think...and so “in general”
I would really really want to be able to see things the way you do...
things might get so screwed up that they can't be repaired,
Exactly what I am afread of...and even if it’s not for us now things definitely are totally screwed for so many Iraqis and others who’s blood is somehow on our hands…
That's what I was afraid of with Milosevic and I was may take who knows how many generations ( if ever)for Serbs to just come back to a normal situation we had before...and this I mean in a moral and mental health aspect if you understand what I mean...not even mentioning other "more important" aspects as finance, politic etc.
I also always asked my children (who gave me a hard time while they were adolescents) not to do things that can't be repaired...
They are "repairing" their situation right now a little bit of late but my soul is beyond repair, haha.

Posted by: vbo | Apr 1 2005 5:21 utc | 57

Bush's "royal progress" around the country disposes of two needs at once: it keeps him in the public eye, and keeps him away from Washington. And since his "royal progress" is less a solemn and extended tour than a sequence of noisy day-trips, it's easy to overlook the second of these two points. But it's a fact that the man spends very few working hours in Washington, and the few that he spends are largely a matter of entertaining heads of states that he hadn't heard of before confecting his "coalition of the willing". And what are we to make of all this? Simply that the man can't deal. Bush can't deal with Congress, let alone with his own Cabinet officers. He can't deal, and so he takes off on that bicycle, fantasizing about the next day's flight to some Republican love-feast in the provinces. He's fleeing the cannibals of Congress, and the cannibals are closing in.

Posted by: alabama | Apr 1 2005 6:22 utc | 58

Alabama, what we're to make of this is that he's the Andover Cheerleader...he's the Glad-hander & Fund-raiser, kept deliberately out of Wash. where's there's nothing for him to do anyway, except perhaps screw some guys he probably shouldn't.

Just like w/Texas baseball team, where his job was to glad-hand the masses into turning over a large chunk of land & eat hotdogs @the games.

Posted by: jj | Apr 1 2005 6:39 utc | 59

Quite so, jj. And since he's a bully, a sadist and a coward, who really needs to massacre the weak and the undefended, who might he be preparing for slaughter, if not the very Democrats he clobbered so triumphantly in last November's elections? Hence his repeated sneers that "there's a political price to pay" for those opposing his bright ideas. Yes, he plans to electrocute the Democrats, just as he did with those Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. Ah, but there's one little problem this time around: his opponents aren't the Democrats, but those Republicans with whom he just can't deal (and can you imagine what would happen if he tried to pull the electrical switch on Grassley, Hagel, Hastert or Leech)? No, no, no--it's back to Air Force One, and a flight to...where might it be this time around? Abilene? Amarillo? Fort Smith? (It wouldn't shock me at all if Rove were fried to a crisp in a year or two.)

Posted by: alabama | Apr 1 2005 7:43 utc | 60

The mythology of people power

The glamour of street protests should not blind us to the reality of US-backed coups in the former USSR

Posted by: b | Apr 1 2005 7:56 utc | 61

in the new world order the sudden replacement of party cadres hangs as a permanent threat - or incentive - over even the most compliant apparatchik
These fuckheads really are stalinist.

All this is pretty bad, since my position is that I simply can't support any movement that is US govt-backed, even if it they were fighting a bloodthirsty tyrant, since the global (and most of the time even the local) outcome will be worst if the US has its ways.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Apr 1 2005 11:22 utc | 62

This should be fun

Posted by: DM | Apr 1 2005 14:46 utc | 63

on the subject of gwb spending so much time outside of his public-funded housing, my understanding is that conversations that take place at his "ranch" are not subject to foia requests and are considered outside the public realm, thus this is where the more covert planning takes place. does this apply elsewhere too? when shrub is on the road, are official communications w/ the il dunce protected beyond reach?

Posted by: b real | Apr 1 2005 14:54 utc | 64

"il dunce" copyright that, b real.

Posted by: beq | Apr 1 2005 15:40 utc | 65

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