Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 27, 2005

News, Views, Opinions ...

An open threatd ...

Posted by b on April 27, 2005 at 17:58 UTC | Permalink


At least there are no specific threats.

Posted by: Tim H. | Apr 27 2005 18:03 utc | 1

An alleged encounter with Ann Coulter

readers' advisory:

the rude pundit remarks on the crudeness of this article -
hear him talk of crude, and you know this is it

in fact, it is so crude that the url itself is obscene
- hence i resort to tinyurl's alias -

it begins plausibly, but by the end it seems clear that it is pornographic political satire

some people may find it amusing

Posted by: mistah charley | Apr 27 2005 20:27 utc | 2

For all you fans of Newspeak, the Republicans are no longer allowing the press to use the phrase "The Nuclear Option," to describe their attempts to destroy the fillibuster. They now call it "The Constitutional Option" because the former name coined by Trent Lott back in 2003 wasn't flying with the Republican pollsters. They threatened to label media outlets that continues to use the old term as "liberal." (A compliment, really) So the last you hear of it may have been Dr. Frist on "Just Us" Sunday. But a power grab of the Executive branch by any name would still smell as foul! Orin Hatch launched the new name on C-Span this morning. The Rovians are stepping up their damage control of this travesty complete with a new revisionist history lesson from Mr. Hatch. They may be backing down in the Ethics Committee issue, but they are dug in here. Of course Mr Hatch did not discuss the travesty of Dr. Dobsons fanatics weighing in on this matter! It is obvious that they are fishing for Republican moderate support for this radical departure from tradition.

Posted by: diogenes | Apr 27 2005 20:40 utc | 3

That is the personal constitutional option to free Iraq
the private nuclear option to steel middle eastern oil?

Posted by: b | Apr 27 2005 21:10 utc | 4


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 27 2005 21:48 utc | 5

Read the piece on Coulter. Crude, but hilarious!

Posted by: Ben | Apr 27 2005 22:39 utc | 6

logic & decency would suggest that bolton is not confirmed & that delay goes down

since neither logic or decency have no place in american politics - i imagine that means bolton will be confirmed with multi party support & long odes wwritten for him by oped writers & tom delay will be nominated & acced to the presidency at a later date

a commission will find in 2016 that signor calliparis shot himself while courageous american soldiers battled for his life

what a wonderful world

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 27 2005 23:37 utc | 7

it would seem that everyone is at the beach with jérôme - building sandcastles

i'm in the basement thinkin bout the govt

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 28 2005 0:50 utc | 8

The Coulter thing is sick but funny.

I have not seen such arrogance in my life as the rethugs on this "nuclear option" bullshit. First, its the nuke option, now after Luntz does some focus groups its the constitutional option. Orwell couldn't do it any better. Up is down, north is south, black is white, beer is wine, whiskey is champaign.

When are the American people going to tire of the constant spin?

Gas is expensive so I'm thinking of a motorcycle for vacation. Any suggestions on good gas mileage yet a cruiser? I want to see an aunt I haven't seen in 15 years and its 1200 miles.

Posted by: jdp | Apr 28 2005 1:35 utc | 9

A while back we were debating the public costs of Chernobyl and whether the damage had been exaggerated or understated or what.>Truthout offers two perspectives: first person testimony from survivors of the event, and the bullish-on-nukes optimism of a nuke industry spokesman.

Continuing the wind power thread which is dear to my heart and I think Jerome's,>Monbiot does what I prefer to either heartrending personal testimony or cheery No Problem pep talks: thinks about the numbers and the root of the problem.

Wind farms, while necessary, are a classic example of what environmentalists call an "end-of-the-pipe solution". Instead of tackling the problem - our massive demand for energy - at source, they provide less damaging means of accommodating it. Or part of it. The Whinash project, by replacing energy generation from power stations burning fossil fuel, will reduce carbon dioxide emission by 178,000 tonnes a year. This is impressive, until you discover that a single jumbo jet, flying from London to Miami and back every day, releases the climate-change equivalent of 520,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. One daily connection between Britain and Florida costs three giant wind farms.

Alternative technology permits us to imagine that we can build our way out of trouble. By responding to one form of overdevelopment with another, we can, we believe, continue to expand our total energy demands without destroying the planetary systems required to sustain human life. This might, for a while, be true. But it would soon require the use of the entire land surface of the UK.
The government envisages a rise in British aircraft passengers from 180 million to 476 million over the next 25 years. That means a contribution to global warming that is equivalent to the carbon savings of 1,094 Whinash farms.

In other words, there is no sustainable way of meeting current projections for energy demand. The only strategy in any way compatible with environmentalism is one led by a vast reduction in total use. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, who support the new wind farm, make this point repeatedly, but it falls on deaf ears. [and here he gets to the root of the problem, imho:] What is acceptable to the market, and therefore to the government, is an enhanced set of opportunities for capital, in the form of new kinds of energy generation. What is not acceptable is a reduced set of opportunities for capital, in the form of massively curtailed total energy production. It is not their fault, but however clearly the green groups articulate their priorities, what the government hears is "more wind farms", rather than "fewer flights".

Economists have still not learnt to subtract.

Just to fill out the Bad News Network's happy hour for today,>Ag/Climate scientists appear finally to have put paid to the charming notion that increased CO2 concentrations will make up for other climate effects by encouraging lusher plant growth and "saving us from ourselves." Nope, they say, according to their most recent research the world's staple crops are at more risk from climate change than previously admitted.

Never mind (perhaps) -->a commercial outfit is successfully growing GMO corn underground in limestone caverns. Now if you are me, the show-me-the-numbers light is blinking on your mental front panel at this point -- you can't grow crops indoors without grow lights, and grow lights suck electricity. So, aside from exotic pharming applications with high profit margins, is this actually EROEI insanity for food crops? Near the very end of the article, tucked away in the "pay no attention" paragraphs (always the place to hide the weakest aspects of any presentation) is the weasel-wording:

Taking the long view, Mitchell sees in this facility the potential to revolutionize the U.S. crop production system, provided the cost of artificial lighting can be minimized. He envisions a system by which such facilities will recoup some of their electricity costs by using plant waste, such as leaves and stems, as a source to create energy that goes back into lighting the facility.

And the water pumping costs, and the nutrient costs, and the air handling costs, and the power to run the elevators moving personnel and goods up and down the access shaft on a daily basis? not mentioned...

Corn fields in spacious underground caverns... strange associations: does anyone remember that super-creepy Harlan Ellison story, "A Boy and His Dog"?

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 28 2005 1:50 utc | 10

DeAnander, you might also recall the scene from "Doctor Strangelove" at the end when the good doctor is discussing the need for mineshafts into which the nation's worthies can be stuffed after the Soviet doomsday weapons detonates. He and General Buck Terjedson are involved in an auto-erotic discussion about the "mineshaft gap" which might develop between the US and the Soviets as they try to save some of their population from the fallout the doomsday weapon is spreading across the planet.

Incidentally, you haven't seen anything until you've been to a science fiction con which shows "A Boy and His Dog" followed by Ellison's discussion about how he came to write the story. I had the good fortune to attend such a conference about twenty-five years ago when Ellison was in between wives and as bitter and sarcastic as any person I've ever met. His discussion was engaging but certainly not endearing.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan | Apr 28 2005 2:55 utc | 11

I just posted a comment on the It's Too Late thread that perhaps belongs here. It quotes from a must-read article titled "The Most Important Thing You Don't Know About 'Peak Oil'." It puts forth a scenario for how the crisis could manifest.

Posted by: liz | Apr 28 2005 3:34 utc | 12

Uncle $cam's link was aaaa mind-blower. It reminds me of when the Reactionaries first came to power in '80. They publicly attacked what sounded like ridiculous scientific studies which provided a pretext for cutting govt. funding for said research. The point was to pave the way for the Pirates to take over funding.

Are they now trying to purge professors to open spaces for themselves & perhaps to push for say Piratization of Pol. Sci. depts. to be funded by usual right-wing nut foundations. Do they want the Mellon-Scaife Pol. Sci. Dept - @Harvard??? Or the FundiCon Dept. of Geology & Biology?? Will fundies escalate their attacks on science to univ. level??

Another way to consider this is that the take-over of the Universities began w/the reactionary economists representing Elite Interests. Unca Miltie brought from Chicago to Harvard to clean out that Econ. Dept....etc.

2nd step was cutting funding to Universites to "force" them to turn to Pirates for money. That allowed them to buy up scientists.

3rd stage of wreckage of the Academy demanded by the Trilateral Commission report is now intensifying. This Capitalist Counter-reformation to be stable, can't rest on economics alone. (I'll let you social theorists step in & fill in the gaps here.) So, the other legs of their coalition are now allowed to get their piece...they can feast on the less central components..the ones that the pirates don't depend on for their maintenance...Liberal Arts, possibly even theology...will Mel Gibson's wacko buddies start screaming that UCLA film school discriminates by not admitting fundie kids or hiring fundie faculty...does Harvard Divinity School have enough Fundie nuts on history classes, Goddess forbid, portray the Puritans or the Inquisition in a negative light - gotta fix that too...

Anybody with me on this??

Posted by: jj | Apr 28 2005 3:40 utc | 13

DeAnander writes:

Corn fields in spacious underground caverns... strange associations: does anyone remember that super-creepy Harlan Ellison story, "A Boy and His Dog"?

It makes me think "conspiracy theory": top secret government plans to supply a food source for the elite, after they've nuked the rest of us to smithereens.

Posted by: Tlatzolteotl | Apr 28 2005 4:25 utc | 14

I find>this rather delightful, as subversive art projects go.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 28 2005 4:36 utc | 15

The Spanisch must be delighted - the 'new'Catholic church at work.
Cardinal compares gay marriage to Nazism

And the news from Venezuela keeps coming.
Venezuela to oil firms; accept sovereignty or leave

Posted by: Fran | Apr 28 2005 5:09 utc | 16

Let's go back to Iraq.
More "statistic”

Or perhaps instead of more figures, a description might do fuller justice to the Iraqi mayhem -- this one from Juan Cole. (Had we not had his Informed Comment blog, we would be in the dark on all sorts of matters.):

"Readers often write in for an update on Fallujah. I am sorry to say that there is no Fallujah to update. The city appears to be in ruins and perhaps uninhabitable in the near future. Of 300,000 residents, only about 9,000 seem to have returned, and apparently some of those are living in tents above the ruins of their homes…. The scale of this human tragedy -- the dispossession and displacement of 300,000 persons -- is hard to imagine. Unlike the victims of the tsunami who were left homeless, moreover, the Fallujans have witnessed no outpouring of world sympathy. While there were undeniably bad characters in the city, most residents had done nothing wrong and did not deserve to be made object lessons -- which was the point Rumsfeld was making with this assault. He hoped to convince Ramadi and Mosul to fall quiet lest the same thing happen to them. He failed, since the second Fallujah campaign threw the Sunni Arab heartland into much more chaos than ever before. People forget how quiet Mosul had been. And, the campaign was the death knell for proper Sunni participation in the Jan. 30 elections (Sunnis, with 20 percent of the population, have only 6 seats in the 275 member parliament). However much a cliché it might be to say it, the US military really did destroy Fallujah to save it."

Posted by: vbo | Apr 28 2005 5:16 utc | 17

Quote (from above):
The most significant fact of our Iraq War and occupation (and war), which can't be repeated too many times, is that the Bush administration busted into the country without an exit strategy for a simple reason: They never planned to leave -- and they still don't.

Posted by: vbo | Apr 28 2005 5:44 utc | 18

We recently rewatched the entire UPSTAIS DOWNSTAIRS on DVD (what a wonderful series that was) and I was particularly struck by the parallels between the blind, ignorant arrogance of pre-WWI of the Bellamys and our times.

History doesn't repeat itself exactly, but ten years from now, folks will wonder aboput people today who didn't see it coming.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn there are lots of time travelers who're coming to watch.

Posted by: Lupin | Apr 28 2005 7:09 utc | 19

Lupin, I'd like to respond to your view with a version of Randy Newman's Monk-Soundtrack:
You could be wrong now, but I don't think so.

And I do wonder what is in store for us here in Europe.

Posted by: teuton | Apr 28 2005 8:07 utc | 20

An overview of Scots-Irish culture from James Webb ( former asst.sec of defense & sec of navy under Reagan) I think in spite of his intent, informs as to the contradictions being manipulated by our current government. Its not hard to see the Scots-Irish culture mirrored to enable all that the Bush gang is doing. Facisism in America, if it's to succeed will be characterized as such, rendered essentially invisible and as American as apple pie -- a flowering in fact of long repressed desire.

.....................................................Mr Webb confirms that the Scots-Irish culture, like America itself, is a study in wild contrasts.

"These are intensely religious people - indeed, they comprise the very heart of the Christian evangelical movement - and yet, they are also unapologetically, even devilishly, hedonistic.

"They are probably the most anti-authoritarian culture in America, conditioned from birth to resist. And yet they are known as the most intensely patriotic segment of the country as well.

"They are naturally rebellious, often impossible to control; and yet their strong military tradition produces generation after generation of perhaps the finest soldiers the world has even seen.

"They are filled with wanderlust but, no matter how far they roam, their passion for family travels with them. Underlying these seeming contradictions, is a strong unwritten code of personal honor and individual accountability."

Mr Webb adds that because " sophisticated America" tends to avert its eyes from them, it is inclined to ignore or misunderstand this culture.

"The Scots-Irish tradition of disregarding formal education and mistrusting, even despising, any form of aristocracy has given us the man the elites love to hate - the unreconstructed redneck.

"The Southern redneck is an easy target with his intrinsic stubbornness, his capacity for violence and his curious social ways. His legacy is stained because he became the dominant culture in the South, whose economic culture was based on slavery.

"No matter that the English aristocrats of Tidewater were slavery's beneficiaries or that the typical Scots-Irish yeoman had no slaves. "His is a culture founded on guns. He considers the Second Amendment sacrosanct. Literary and academic America sees such views as, not only archaic, but also threatening.

"The things he's known for aren't exactly valued in America's centers of power. He's always been a loyal American, sometimes to the point of mawkishness. He shows up for our wars. He hauls our goods, grows our food, sweats in our factories.

"America is much stronger for all the Scots-Irishman's stubbornness, his willingness to stay true to himself and his refusal to back down in the face of pressure from above."

He asserts that the Scots-Irish are a fiercely independent individualist people.

"It goes against the grain to think collectively. But, as America rushes forward into yet another redefinition of itself, the contributions of the Scots-Irish are too great to remain invisible.

"My culture needs to reclaim itself - stop letting others define, mock, and even use it - and, in so doing, to regain its powers to shape the direction of America.

"Because our country needs us. "We are the molten core at the very center of its unbridled, raw, rebellious spirit. We helped build this nation from the bottom up. We face the world on our feet and not on our knees. We were born to fight. And if the cause is right, we will never retreat." >link

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 28 2005 8:39 utc | 21

Also ran across this tidbit (from comments), and wondering is this true?

......................The connection between the Southern right and Scotland has a historic progeny. The Ku Klux Klan is said to have been formed by emigrant Scots cavalry officers within the Confederate Army in 1860. Its oaths were imported from the Society of the Horseman's Word in North East Scotland, and the burning cross was used as a call to arms by Scottish clans in the fourteenth century. The Confederate flag bears a distinct resemblance to the Scots Saltire.>link

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 28 2005 9:05 utc | 22

Ahmed">">Ahmed Chalabi named Iraq's acting Oil Minister

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 28 2005 10:30 utc | 23

Chalabi - the thief to watch the treasures ....

Posted by: b | Apr 28 2005 11:19 utc | 24

What treasures? Iraq never had oil. What are you talking about?

Posted by: Colman | Apr 28 2005 11:30 utc | 25

Finding the right man for the job: Not so secret U.S. plans for Iraq's oil

From 2002:

Ahmed Chalabi, the INC leader, went even further, saying he favored the creation of a U.S.-led consortium to develop Iraq's oil fields, which have deteriorated under more than a decade of sanctions. "American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil," Chalabi said.

From 2002:

(Footage of Ahmed Chalabi and Kroft; oil tanker trucks)

KROFT: (Voiceover) Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella organization of Iraqi opposition groups, says all oil contracts negotiated by Saddam's regime will be up for review.

Mr. AHMED CHALABI (Iraqi National Congress): Any contracts are either illegal or unfair, and no Iraqi government is bound by them once Saddam goes. This is our belief, and of course, it is up to the Iraqi government in the future to decide those things.

(Footage of Chalabi)

KROFT: (Voiceover) It's impossible to know whether Chalabi or the Iraqi National Congress would be part of a new Iraqi government, but Chalabi says he has already held informal discussions with international oil companies eager to explore opportunities.

KROFT: Can you tell me which oil companies?


KROFT: American oil companies?

Mr. CHALABI: Some.

(Footage of American gas stations; Chalabi)

KROFT: (Voiceover) The US government wouldn't allow American oil companies to deal with Saddam, and it's unlikely he would have signed contracts with them anyway. But Chalabi makes no secret of his willingness to let Americans share in the profits of a post-Saddam oil boom.

Mr. CHALABI: American companies did very well by abstaining from dealing with the illegal regime of Saddam, and American companies, we expect, will play an important and leading role in the future oil situation in Iraq.

KROFT: You would be willing to tear up the contracts, let's say, of the Russians or the French and give those deals to the United States?

Mr. CHALABI: It's up to the future Iraqi government to do that. But my view is American companies must be introduced and given a chance to--to bid and to negotiate for the same things that these people do. The future democratic government in Iraq will be grateful to the United States for helping the Iraqi people liberate themselves and getting rid of Saddam....

From 2002:

"BP has a history in Iraq, and I know it is very, very interested in Iraqi oil," says Fadhil Chalabi, executive director of the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London, and a former undersecretary of the Iraqi Ministry of Petroleum.

Chalabi even says BP's eagerness to get back into the Iraqi oil business "is one of the causes for Britain to join the U.S." in the hardline camp.

From 2003:

At a meeting last week of Iraqi exiles on the oil industry, organised with the help of the US officials, it was agreed that the international oil companies should take a role in restructuring Iraq's oil industry. Among those who attended the meeting were Ahmed Chalabi's uncle, Fadhil al-Chalabi, who once worked in the Iraqi oil ministry.

The meeting reaffirmed that the oil assets will be used for the benefit of the Iraqi people. But it is clear that the exiled Iraqi leaders have a lot more faith in corporations achieving those benefits than the Iraqi technocrats in the national oil company.

From 2004:

Israel's pipe dream: getting oil from Iraq

.....Once the Pentagon's choice to lead the "new" Iraq, Chalabi promised to reopen an old British-built pipeline from Kirkuk in northern Iraq to the Israeli port of Haifa....

From 2005:

The industry-favored plan was pushed aside by yet another secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan, crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, flew to the London meeting, he told Newsnight, at the request of the State Department.....

April 28th 2005:

Ahmed">">Ahmed Chalabi named Iraq's acting oil minister

And by way of a refresher course for those who sometimes ask: "Where are they now?"

Chalabi 101 : The Manipulator : Ahmad Chalabi pushed a tainted case for war. Can he survive the occupation?

Can he survive the Iraqi resistance?

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 28 2005 11:58 utc | 26

Via the Land of Black Gold:

I managed to miss Stephen Leeb on Bloomberg the other day, but I got a copy of his latest e-mail from his newsletter, and the money quotes are:

We continue to believe that oil could fall further, perhaps to the mid or low 40’s. The reason is that OPEC is pumping at close to 100 percent capacity at a time when worldwide demand is at a seasonal low. It is a gambit designed to change psychology in the oil market prior to a sharp pick-up in demand during the third and fourth quarter.

In other words, during the second half of the year OPEC is hoping to have enough credibility to talk oil down. We hope it works, but ultimately think economics will prevail. The stark fact is that by the fourth quarter the world’s demand for oil will far exceed potential supply, which could set the stage for dramatically higher prices.

Posted by: Greco | Apr 28 2005 12:09 utc | 27

I knew you'd have to read this

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 28 2005 12:22 utc | 28

Lovely article Nugget, but also wonderfully evocative of the either/or mentality. Either we do this, or either we do that. We probably all do both, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the person and circumstances. Both sets of researcher are describing part of the problem, but it has to be cast as opposition. Typical journalism.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 28 2005 12:34 utc | 29

Nugget - would you mind if I used your last post as a front page item, either here or on dKos (when it comes back up?)

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 28 2005 12:53 utc | 30

Go ahead Jerome, those links were quickly thrown together and perhaps more and better could be found but work away, no problem.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 28 2005 13:06 utc | 31

Tonight we've seen this on TV here:
Sir!No Sir!
Where is resistance in USA today? Isn’t it time yet?
It’s a disgrace.
And few days ago this:
I’ve seen American solders as young as 19 ,that hardly learned how to shave , crying as children for their dead mate and cheering being given chance for revenge tour few days later but I haven’t seen any compassion towards dead Iraqis or God forbid any questioning of what they are doing killing Iraqis IN THEIR OWN LAND…What a sad nation you became. At the time of Vietnam Fonda, Sutherland and others were permitted to visit groups and they’ve been brave to chant “F…. the Army” together with them. Can you imagine anything like that now?

Posted by: vbo | Apr 28 2005 13:06 utc | 32

More here:
Sir! No Sir!

Posted by: vbo | Apr 28 2005 13:15 utc | 33

Nop...let's try again:
Sir! No Sir!

Posted by: vbo | Apr 28 2005 13:18 utc | 34

Big news from Mexico:

Mexican president replaces attorney general in apparent political shift

Posted by: Greco | Apr 28 2005 13:34 utc | 35

Army Running Out of Money Says Rumsfeld

The Army is close to running out of money for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld informed Congress Wednesday the Army's operating fund will be exhausted early next month, and the Army is already slowing its spending. The war in Iraq costs more than $1 billion a week, and most of the cost is incurred by the Army. The Afghan operation costs about $250 million a week.

Although the House and Senate have approved a $82 billion supplemental appropriation for this year's military operations, the separate bills have not yet been combined and approved by both houses.

Rumsfeld told congressional leaders in a letter the Pentagon may have to invoke the Feed and Forage Act to continue spending, a law that allows the Defense Department to run up debt when it has run out of money.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 28 2005 14:48 utc | 36

zelikow, presumably w/ a straight face:

Unfortunately, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and in particular, Iran continued to embrace terrorism as an instrument of national policy. Most worrisome is that these countries also have the capabilities to manufacture weapons of mass destruction and other destabilizing technologies that could fall into the hands of terrorists.


U.S. faulted over missing nuclear waste

Pervasive problems plague the control of radioactive waste at U.S. nuclear power plants, in part because the federal government has been sluggish in instituting and enforcing safeguards, according to a federal report issued yesterday.
Inadequate oversight and gaps in safety procedures have left several plants unsure about the whereabouts of all their spent fuel, the GAO said, and problems in tracking the materials suggest that radioactive rods could be missing from more than the three plants that are widely known to have problems.

pat robertson - "If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer"

Posted by: b real | Apr 28 2005 16:26 utc | 38

@DeA: There's a fantastically moving film by German director Achim von Borries called England! - about a Russian volunteer who had been at Chernobyl trying to help w/ the disaster. His wish several years later is to travel to England (for some reason his personal idea of Shangri-la) from Berlin, where he's gotten tangled up w/ some post-Soviet gangster types. His best friend tries to make his dream come true.

I saw it at a German film festival held in London a few years back, and it has stayed w/ me, very haunting work.

Posted by: Ineluctable | Apr 28 2005 16:35 utc | 39

And another thing: By a wonderful journalistic sleight-of-hand, UK Channel 4 News god Jon Snow has driven Tony Blair to publish in full controversial legal advice given to the UK govt on 7 March 2003 by its senior legal officer, advice hitherto deemed confidential.

The full document (pdf file) is published on Channel 4's website here.

One explosive bit is that at one point the UK attorney-general was hauled over to Washington and came back duly "impressed by the strength and sincerity of the views of the US
Administration" that a UN second resolution to invade Iraq was not needed.


Nonetheless, this doctrine of pre-emptive removal of tiresome heads of state could have something going for it. I could be persuaded, for example, that an invasion of Vatican City and the removal of Benedict XVI is currently in the international interest - under the rubric of humanitarian intervention by UNSC. This is because I recently saw a Catholic nun on tv outlining the RC church's view that condoms could not be used in AIDS prevention work because they are not 100% safe - hence because the church cares about everybody, it cannot condemn the 1-2% for whom condoms might fail, therefore it's best not to use them at all.

Posted by: Ineluctable | Apr 28 2005 17:05 utc | 40

stan goff - Part VI of Jurassic Park, Psuedo-events, and Prisons: The fallout from Abu Ghraib

Posted by: b real | Apr 28 2005 18:29 utc | 41>Oh Gawd. Chernobyl may not be "over" yet.

A leading Russian scientist has claimed that the sarcophagus entombing Chernobyl's broken nuclear reactor is dangerously degraded and he warned that its collapse could cause a catastrophe on the same scale as the original accident almost 20 years ago.

Professor Alexei Yablokov, President of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, said the concrete and metal sarcophagus was riven with cracks, already leaking radiation and at risk of collapse unless repairs were undertaken and work on a replacement urgently begun.

"If it collapses, there will be no explosion, as this is not a bomb, but a pillar of dust containing irradiated particles will shoot 1.5 kilometers into the air and will be spread by the wind." Depending on how the wind is blowing, Russia or Belarus would bear the brunt of such a dust cloud. Ukraine, where Chernobyl is located, would also be affected.

The sarcophagus is designed to keep a lid on what is left of the nuclear reactor that exploded with such dire consequences during an unauthorized test in April 1986 and is supposed to stop the mass of unspent nuclear fuel that lies beneath from entering the atmosphere.

It is estimated that only between 3 and 15 per cent of that fuel actually escaped during the explosion meaning that most of it is still trapped inside. Dr Yablokov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a one-time adviser to former president Boris Yeltsin, said nuclear reactions were actually taking place - spontaneously - inside the sarcophagus as rain and snow fell on the unspent fuel through cracks in the decaying shell.

He said experts had "seen a luminescence characteristic of chain reactions inside the giant building". adding: "Who could predict what might happen if hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete, which was hastily poured 19 years ago, tumbled down on the ruined nuclear reactor?"

His gloomy assessment corroborates that of the Ukrainian officials who manage the decommissioned power plant.

[there's more]

as I said on an earlier thread, a failed wind generation plant just quietly rusts away. no one has to encase it in concrete and lead and watch over it for decades, centuries, millennia...

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 28 2005 18:39 utc | 42

And returning to>the insanity that America calls a "health care system" -- it is not unusual for Barbara Ehrenreich to write on this issue, but it is somewhat unusual for her work to appear in the LA Times -- or so I suspect. Regular Times readers may be able to correct me on this. She pulls no punches:

The abolition of the American healthcare system will lead to some difficult readjustments, of course. Our doctors, nurses and technicians, who are among the best-trained in the world, will have to seek work in the emerging Asian centers of medical tourism. As for the estimated 2 million to 3 million insurance company functionaries whose sole business it is to turn down your claims, these folks may be a bit harder to reemploy because they have no counterpart in any civilized, health-providing nation.

two to three million people make their livings simply "adjusting" (that is, trying to find excuses to deny) health insurance claims... oh gawd Douglas Adams was right.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 28 2005 18:45 utc | 43

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 28 2005 18:46 utc | 44

After the bombs, illness - and few to care

On first meeting, eight-year-old Zahara Rejeb is a shy little thing. But return to the hospital 24 hours later, and she races up with an infectious smile that is hard to reckon with in this Iraqi black hole.

A traditional headscarf hides her tufted hair - the give-away that she's having chemotherapy. But Zahara's vivacity makes it hard to accept that she is a "high-risk" leukaemia sufferer who is denied proper treatment.

Low-level chemotherapy has failed to check Zahara's condition, so she needs intensive doses, says her doctor, Janan Ghlub Hassan. But the treatment can't proceed because Basra's Mother and Child Hospital doesn't have the ancillary drugs to protect the girl's immune system in what could be a life-or-death new course of treatment.

But step back and look around this grim ward. Dr Janan's colleagues are attempting the impossible as they treat 24 other children with cancer who are constantly watched over by their anxious, black-clad mothers. The doctors have little of the equipment and only some of the drugs essential to winning the struggle.

Something is terribly wrong. The rest of the world vowed to help Iraq after the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Billions of dollars have been set aside and because Basra is Iraq's only city by the sea, hundreds of military and civilian supply convoys thunder past its hospitals, heading to Baghdad and other centres as part of a huge military and reconstruction effort.

But few trucks stop at these hospitals. A few did pull up outside the Al-Sadr Teaching Hospital a month ago and dumped donated second-hand hospital equipment from Japan in the forecourt. But no one knows how to install it all - so the delivery just gathers dust and its flat surfaces have become an extension of the waiting room for day patients.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 28 2005 18:55 utc | 45

IRAQ: Doctors warn of increasing deformities in newborn babies.

Posted by: beq | Apr 28 2005 19:39 utc | 46

xUS Medical Care system isn't only thing under threat. Pirates now taking aim at destroying all American skilled jobs. THIS WAS THE NUMBER ONE STORY YESTERDAY, BUT NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE. What the fuck is going on???

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates urged the Bush administration and lawmakers Wednesday to abolish immigration limits on foreign engineers who can be hired by U.S. companies, a sensitive subject among American technology workers watching their own jobs increasingly move overseas.

During an infrequent visit to lobby personally for changes in federal policy, the world's richest executive said the government should eliminate the limit of 65,000 for overseas workers who can be hired each year by American firms under specialty "H1-B" visas aimed at drawing engineers, scientists, architects and doctors to the United States.


Posted by: jj | Apr 28 2005 20:07 utc | 47

......Citing unnamed "sources," Miller claimed that the Bush administration had recently made "belated and sudden outreaches" to Ahmad Chalabi, "to offer him expressions of cooperation and support." She continued, "And according to one report, he was even offered a chance to be an interior minister in the new government. But I think one effect of this vote is going to be that the Iraqis themselves will decide who will hold."

These revelations stunned Hardball host Chris Matthews and a nation of Miller skeptics.

Matthews: Wait a minute. When you say—Judy, when you say administration, do you mean the alliance party leadership or Allawi over there, the current prime minister? Who are you talking about?

Miller: We are talking about the administration officials who have been reaching out to …

Matthews: You mean Americans? [Italics in the MSNBC transcript.]

Miller: ... [Ayatollah] Sistani's—yes, American officials who have been reaching out to Sistani's party. Because Dr. Chalabi is on that list.

Matthews: So where—so we have an election over there. And the same day we're holding an election, the same week, we are plotting which ministries to give to Chalabi, the guy who talked us into the war in the first place.

Miller: No, no. There were expressions. There was apparently an effort to determine whether or not he would be interested in assuming a certain portfolio.

Matthews: Why are we in the business of deciding or even negotiating cabinet ministries in a foreign government?

Miller: No. Well, you know, Chris, first of all, this is just one report. But I think what is very clear, according to people I talked to today, is that they have been attempting to mend fences with him. Now understanding that as a tent [phonetic transcription] on that Sistani list, the Shia list, he will be an important person in Iraq. And I think that there will have to be a lot of rethinking on the part of the Americans with whom they want to deal.

Matthews: … the idea that the man who won his country back through the vice president's office, Ahmed Chalabi, finds his way now through all this electoral process to end up as oil minister or finance minister, as you say, interior minister—and I think he has higher ambitions than that—makes the electoral process come down to the guy who started the war, ends up winning the war, irregardless of how people vote over there.

Miller: Well, you know, I think the interesting thing was the up and down, was the kind of rise and fall of Ahmed Chalabi in this administration. On one hand, in the beginning, he was the person supported adamantly by the Defense Department. He was opposed by the State Department and the CIA ...

Matthews: Right.

Miller: ... who said he had no popular support in the country...

Matthews: Right.

Miller: ... and he wouldn't be able to hold a coalition together. We've now seen that, in fact, he played a pivotal role in putting together, helping to put together the list which we don't know yet, but it may very well have done extremely well, if not won the vote......

January 31st 2005: Judith Miller talks of American officials working behind the scenes to obtain a ministerial position for Chalabi EVER BEFORE THE IRAQI ELECTIONS HAD TAKEN PLACE

Posted by: Nugget for Jerome | Apr 28 2005 23:33 utc | 48

Belgian doctors bill US for treating Iraqi girl

BRUSSELS - Belgian doctors sent an Iraqi girl home on Thursday after treating her for leg wounds caused by a bomb during the US invasion - and sent the US$66,650 (NZ$91,490) bill to the US embassy.

"We haven't heard from them yet," said Bert De Belder, coordinator of the humanitarian agency Medical Aid for Third World which brought the girl to Belgium.

"I'm curious to know their reaction," he told Reuters. "We're giving them 10 days to respond ... I don't think they will pay it."
De Belder said he sent the bill to the US embassy because international law dictated that an occupying force was responsible for the well-being of the country's people. US embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

Hope others will follow this example!

Posted by: Fran | Apr 29 2005 3:53 utc | 49

I guess DU's are still no problem. Isn't there anything we can do? There was a tremendous outpouring of help after the tsunami, but there is silence about Iraq. I not receives any demands for donations from help agencies for Iraq, like I do for other problem places. Why are we not helping? this is so frustrating.

IRAQ: Doctors warn of increasing deformities in newborn babies.

"In my experiments we have found some cases where the mother or father were suffering from pollution from weapons used in the south and we believe that it is affecting newborn babies in the country," Dr Ibraheem al-Jabouri, a scientist at Baghdad University, told IRIN.

According to Dr Nawar Ali, at the University of Baghdad, who works in the newborn babies research department, a significant number of cases of deformed babies had been reported since 2003.

“There have been 650 cases in total since August 2003 reported in government hospitals - that is a 20 percent increase from the previous regime. Private hospitals were not included in the study, so the number could be higher,” Ali warned.
The type of deformities found in newborn babies are characterised by multiple fingers, unusually large heads, unilateral lips or no arms or legs.

There is this disclaimer in the article: [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] - as if the UN ever cared about what happened to children in Iraq. The children have been suffering tremendously during the UN sanctions, and now they are suffering even more.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 29 2005 4:31 utc | 50

Good news for a change, from The Times:
Pioneering stem-cell surgery restores sight

Posted by: Fran | Apr 29 2005 10:18 utc | 51

Nine car bombs rock Iraq in one day, dozens of explosions in Baghdad

...The latest surge of attacks started around 7.30am when a bomb exploded just after a United States convoy had driven by in the southern Dura district. There were no reported casualties.

A 10-year-old girl was wounded shortly afterwards when a mortar shell hit her home in the southern Dura district.

Dozens of explosions then rocked the city around 8am, as car bombs targeted Iraqi police and army in the northern district of Adhamiyah and insurgents fired mortar shells into the area adding to the chaos.

Two more cars blew up near police targets in the eastern district of Saligh leaving scenes of widespread destruction.

In Madain at around the same time, a car bomb ploughed into a police vehicle at the entrance to the town. A second car bomb detonated outside a communications centre and a third blew up near the local hospital.

Also on Friday, a bomb disposal expert was killed and a civilian injured by an explosion in the Kurdish city of Arbil in northern Iraq, local police chief Fahrad Karim said.

And in the southern town of Basra, one border guard was killed and two injured by a bomb, hospital sources said.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 29 2005 11:06 utc | 52

Thanks for the link, Fran. While stem cell research has been thought to have a major capacity to help the body heal, this is the first story I've seen to demonstrate positive results. It appears that the doctors tried the procedure without knowing what would really happen since 1) they don't know how the process works and 2) were surprised that the donor tissue disappeared. They now have a procedure that can help people who can't see; too bad they don't have one for people who won't see. None so blind...

I had read The Mind of the Cells about a year before first reading about stem cells. That book, a tough read based on interviews with Sri Aurobindo's widow, introduced me to the concept of intelligent consciousness at the cellular level. I suspect the doctors and scientists are in for more surprises as they study stem cells.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Apr 29 2005 13:40 utc | 53

You win some

You lose some

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 29 2005 13:58 utc | 54


If you liked The Mind of the Cells, there is another one, but I am not sure about the name it could be The secret Life of Cells. I will check it out next week when I am at my office, I still have it. This is a former guy from the CIA, I think his name was Cleve Baxter, who worked with polygraphs and for fun started using the polygraph on plants, then opened a research laboratory somewhere in California and started studying and messuring the consciousness of cells, at a later time specifically human cells.

On the same topic, about the consicousness and intelligence of plants and cells - there is another book, at least now 20 or more years old but still fun and amazing to read. The name of this one is The Secret Life of Plants. It is easy and entertaining to read, and it influenced my relationship with plants and the envirtonment a lot. The CIA guy is also mentioned in this book, besides other more or less know research on plants.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 29 2005 13:59 utc | 55

Molly Ivins: Dumb Dems let GOP run wild - Regular people continue to lose ground

Pre-tax incomes for middle-class families of every type (children, young singles, seniors, single mothers) are down, leaving the typical household with $1,535 less income in 2003 than in 2000, a drop of 3.4 percent.

After taking into account changes in both pre-tax incomes and taxes, the finding remains that most middle-class families lost ground between 2000 and 2003. This is true for married couples with children, elderly couples and young singles, although single mothers did gain 1.9 percent because of the greater refundability of child tax credits.

Family spending on higher insurance co-pays, deductibles and premiums escalated, rising three times faster than income for those married with children, absorbing half the growth of their income.
In previous recoveries, workers got an average of 49 percent of the national income gains, while corporate profits got 18 percent. This time, the workers are getting 23 percent and the corporations are getting 44 percent -- about one half as much as the share that has gone to corporate profits.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 29 2005 14:10 utc | 56

I've been thinking about the exoneration of officers in the U.S. military of all responsibility for the torturing and murders of Iraqi citizens at AG Prison. This outcome speaks to a huge problem, not just in themilitary, but in the way we treat the military and other powerful actors in the U.S. Then I made a strange association - did anyone else watch the movie, "Catch Me If You Can?" Frank, the young master-forger, was practically begging for someone, anyone, to tell him to STOP, but key people kept cheering him on and admiring his exploits. I'm beginning to wonder if the neo-cons aren't the same story, just more consequential.

These guys will always create the most exactly scandalizing outcome until they get what they want - papa telling them no, son, you know better.

Unfortunately, papa is dead till we reconstitute an actual society that can preserve its own health. Such a thing would be built on actual personal standards of behavior we each expect of others and of ourselves. The problem with our liberalism is that we are STILL willing to support the freedom to crap all over people, as long as it has entertainment value. Our politics will be inhuman till we discipline ourselves with knowledge that freedom is as bad as the person who abuses it, as good as the person who applies it well.

Some mistaken freedoms:
The freedom to lie that subordinates cannot be lead by their officers.

The freedom from-questions/to-hypocrisy for the great.

The freedom to privatize information paid for by all - vote counts, scientific research, gov't internal information.

Or, to cover all of these one way or another, the freedom to lie.

The problem with the liberalism we live starts with tolerating lies, with not rejecting the stink of a lie. And the court result clearing these officers from criminal culpability is based on lies about what counts as responsibility. Formally, the result is final. Politically, it is only as final as our apathy - our willingness to accept the fundamental lie behind this court martial's outcome.

Are officers not responsible to know what their troops are doing and to lead U.S. forces to treat prisoners humanely. Are the troops performing any worse than U.S. policy - are the Iraqis enemies or allies? We don't seem to have decided.

Perhaps even the officers are not culpable. If we were an honest people who accepted that we are free, but not free to lie to ourselves and others - who would we try as the proper source of these crimes in our court of public odium?

Posted by: citizen | Apr 29 2005 15:46 utc | 58

I originally wrote the above post for the Flag Draped Anniversay thread - but the thread disappeared temporarily. Now that it's back, I've posted this comment there. Sorry for the double posting.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 29 2005 16:03 utc | 59

David Sirota comments on a Forbes article - but you have to pay for that one.

Oil Industry Worried It Has Too Much Cash

Exxon's "soon-to-retire CEO suddenly has a new anxiety: how to spend the windfall wrought by $55-a-barrel oil. By the end of April, Exxon will have a cash hoard of more than $ 25 billion. And if crude prices stay where they are, this geometrically growing bonanza could soon give Exxon more cash on hand than any other U.S. company...the cash is building at a remarkable rate. Each dollar jump in the price of a barrel of oil adds another half billion in earnings. Based on current prices, Exxon is accumulating more than $1 billion a month - even after allocating for dividends, share repurchases, and capital spending. If oil simply stays where it is now, Exxon's cash could approach $40 billion in 12 months. By then [Exxon's CEO] is expected to have handed off the top job--and the headache of what to do with all that cash."

Ok. this is the last post for now, the weather forecast looks just great for this weekend, so I will go out and enjoy the sunshine.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 29 2005 17:12 utc | 60

Fran's clip from Molly Ivins:
Pre-tax incomes for middle-class families of every type (children, young singles, seniors, single mothers) are down, leaving the typical household with $1,535 less income in 2003 than in 2000, a drop of 3.4 percent.

After taking into account changes in both pre-tax incomes and taxes, the finding remains that most middle-class families lost ground between 2000 and 2003. This is true for married couples with children, elderly couples and young singles, although single mothers did gain 1.9 percent because of the greater refundability of child tax credits.

Thank God for The Return of The Daddy State......the Mass Slaughter has been so cool too...

Posted by: | Apr 29 2005 17:20 utc | 61

Oops...that was my post above.

Posted by: jj | Apr 29 2005 17:22 utc | 62

Air Force Academy watch:

AFA’s evangelical bias ’systemic,’ group says

Posted by: b | Apr 29 2005 18:20 utc | 63

More on our poor, poor, persecuted christians (registration required):

Group details Air Force Academy religious bias

BY: David Kelly, Los Angeles Times 04/29/2005

DENVER — Religious intolerance is systemic and pervasive at the U.S. Air Force Academy and, if nothing changes, it could result in "prolonged and costly" litigation, according to a report issued Thursday by a group advocating strict separation of church and state.

The 14-page report listed incidents of mandatory prayers, proselytizing by teachers, insensitivity to religious minorities and allegations that evangelical Christianity is the preferred faith at the institution.

"I think this is the most serious, military-related systemic problem I have ever seen in the decades I've been doing this work," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "There is a clear preference for Christianity at the academy, so that everyone else feels like a second-class citizen."

Lynn sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld asking for a prompt investigation.

...Americans United talked to current and former cadets and in the report said that it found evidence of a problem stretching to the very highest levels of the academy.

The report's authors were told that cadets who refused to attend chapel after dinner were marched by upperclassmen back to their dorms in a ritual called "heathen flight." They found that teachers introduced themselves as "born again" Christians and invited students to be saved as well. A history instructor ordered students to pray before a final exam, the report said. And a Christmas greeting in the base newspaper said Jesus was the only hope for the world; it was signed by 300 people, including 16 heads or deputy heads of academic departments, nine professors, the dean of faculty and the football coach.

The report said that Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, commandant of cadets and professed "born-again" Christian, had developed a system of code words shared with evangelicals.

During a chapel service, Weida reportedly told cadets the New Testament parable about building a house on a rock. The story is meant to convey the importance of a solid foundation for one's faith.

"Gen. Weida then instructed cadets that, whenever he uses the phrase 'Airpower!' they should respond with the phrase 'Rock Sir!' thus invoking the parable," the report said. "Gen. Weida advised the cadets that, when asked by their classmates about the meaning of the call and response, the cadets should use the opportunity to discuss their Christian faith."

Such incidents, critics say, give cadets the impression that they must embrace the beliefs of their commanders in order to succeed at the academy.

Last year, members of the Yale Divinity School visited the academy and said cadets were encouraged to proselytize to others, reminding those not "born again" that they faced burning "in the fires of hell."

The hypocrisy of such a pervasively "christian" military accomplishing, documenting, revelling in, and excusing abu Ghraib is stunning, but is but only one of a huge array of current hypocrisies. The large number relating to judicial nominations is most impressive. Quite apart from the Repug epiphany that (starting with GWB) presidents' nominees deserve up-or-down floor votes, one will find numerous hispanic names among the failed Clinton nominees. The failure to have votes on these nominees was, naturally, not evidence of republican racism...

Posted by: OkieByAccident | Apr 29 2005 18:24 utc | 64

Synchronicity. Must be a god after all. Heh.

Y'know, when I squint and turn my head just so, the html tag examples blur and look kinda like the virgin Mary...

Posted by: OkieByAccident | Apr 29 2005 18:28 utc | 65


I took a deep breath and threw Crass' "So What" on:

"We'll crucify you like we crucified him...."

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 29 2005 18:40 utc | 66 Experimental cinematic remakes underway : ‘My friend Flicka’ combined with ‘They shoot horses don’t they?’

Nobody tell the children, OK? It might put them off their popcorn.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 29 2005 18:50 utc | 67

Cauasal factors for losing ground to the Right.

causal factors for gaining ground back.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 29 2005 18:50 utc | 68

The only light in the story on the Air Force Academy is that there's a watchdog group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, that's paying attention. Hopefully it'll become like the ACLU for the Theocrats.

They even had the audacity to demand a response from Rumbo. We should watch to see that response.

Even worse news, however, is that in that same tiny town - Theocrat-Ground-Zero- is the headquarters for not only NORAD, but NORTHCOM as well, which is commanded by the same guy who runs NORAD. NORTHCOM are the guys who have the authority now to militarily intervene in xAm. in contra-vention of the Posse Committatus Act.

So, it looks Very Dangerous.

In retrospect, it would be helpful to know more about why Jimmie Dobson's Fuck the Family group moved out there in the first place.

Posted by: jj | Apr 29 2005 19:53 utc | 69

Saudi Arabia: King clinically dead, sources say

Riyadh, 29 April (AKI) - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to the United States this week to discuss oil matters with President George W. Bush, took place amid growing speculation back home that the bed-ridden King Fahd's condition has worsened with the monarch slipping out of conciousness. Speculation is rife among Riyadh's ruling elite of Fahd's clinical death - but even if this were true, any official announcement would delayed until a final decision on Fahd's successor has been taken.

Sources close to the Saudi royal family told Adnkronos International about the "suspicious" disappearance of King Fahd from public scene in the last ten days. At the same time, the sources have noted frantic activity involving the Seven Sudaris - the seven sons of King Abdul Aziz's wife, who hailed from Saudi Arabia's Sudari tribe, around whom the succession question revolves - King Fahd and Defence Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz are two of the most powerful Sudari sevens....

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 29 2005 19:55 utc | 70

VOA News

President Bush says it is essential that the United States and its partners speak with one voice on North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

In a news conference at the White House late Thursday, Mr. Bush said diplomatic action by consensus is the best approach.

Bolton nomination

[former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea] Hubbard wanted to remove any impression from the minds of Committee staff and relevant Republican Senators of the Committee that he "cleared on, approved, or liked any aspect" of the controversial speech presented by John Bolton in Seoul on July 31, 2003. In fact, Hubbard said that he felt that the speech was "counterproductive to the President's policy of a peaceful, effective, and completely verifiable outcome with the North Koreans" over that nation's nuclear weapons program.

Hubbard stated that he came forward on his own to make the case clear in case any might have gotten the "impression from John Bolton's testimony" that he was supportive of Bolton's policy positions or of the speech itself. He wanted to "remove" any impression of support or concurrence with Bolton's actions or statements.

Posted by: b | Apr 29 2005 20:10 utc | 71

Iraq">">Iraq needs 2 years to reach 1990 output levels - Ex-oil minister

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--A former Iraqi oil minister said Friday that it would take Iraq at least two years to boost its production to 3.5 million barrels a day, the level it produced at the time of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Issam al-Chalabi, who was Iraq's oil minister when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, said Iraq's oil industry has been a "victim of politics" that has suffered from war damage, sabotage and neglect for years.

So far so good, a gloomy appraisal of the state of the Iraqi oil industry, but then look what the speaker's 'solution' is: no less than the legal transformation of Iraq's economy and the bringing in of outsiders (i.e. Americans)

Chalabi, who is no relation to acting Iraqi Oil Minister Ahmad Chalabi, said that more than 20% of the wells in Iraq were damaged, water injection facilities suffered heavy damage and the quality of the water that was injected into the wells was lowered due to bacteria.

He said only though the help of foreign oil companies could Iraq reach its long-held goal of boosting production capacity to 6 million barrels a day and even with that help, Chalabi predicted, the goal would not be reached before 2012.

But first, he said, Iraq must improve the perilous security situation, vote in a permanent government and establish the legal framework to allow foreign investment....

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 29 2005 20:11 utc | 72

Nugget - i have posted a diary a few hours ago on dKos using your material. I lost my connection to internet and could not post the link immediately. Here it is:

As I wrote there, I seriously doubt that iraq's oil production will increase any time soon. But no matter, those that started the whole thing don't really mind.

Posted by: Jrme | Apr 29 2005 20:53 utc | 73

April 29, 2005 -- WASHINGTON — A Saudi prince has been linked to shady financial dealings in the United Nations' oil-for-food program, according to new evidence disclosed yesterday by a congressional committee.
Documents, including a Pentagon audit, found $8 million in overpricing in the sale of agricultural products to Saddam Hussein by a company tied to Prince Bandar bin Mohammed bin Abdulrahm al-Saud.

Investigators from the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee are looking for evidence the money was kicked back to Saddam's regime.

"It was through overpricing of the goods that kickbacks were paid to Iraq — by inflating the prices of goods and kicking back the difference to Saddam's henchmen," said committee chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

Evidence presented at a hearing yesterday showed the prince owned a firm tied to another company, Al Riyadh International Flowers, which had more than 40 deals with Iraq under oil-for-food....

@ Jerome, good work, well done.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 29 2005 21:45 utc | 74

One out of every two jobs created in the United States over the past 12 months was taken by a worker over 55. Economist Dean Baker says the flood of older workers is caused by the falling value of retirees' 401(k)s and the cost of health care.

The number of long-term unemployed who are college graduates has nearly tripled since 2000. Nearly one in five of the long-term jobless are college graduates, according to the Los Angeles Times.>Molly Ivins

this sets up ugly intergenerational conflict. the oldies are able to work for less because of their modest pensions or SS payments. thus they serve to drive down wages, taking the low paying jobs that would otherwise be entry-level positions for young people.

the 50-yr-olds and older are also the product of an earlier educational system that still sorta worked, with an attention span dating from just before nonstop TV, iPods, Gameboys and all the rest of the ADD-inducing panoply. if I were an employer I would probably hire them preferentially on that basis alone -- they can read, write, add and subtract, which is more than I could be sure of with the average "college grad" today. they are also a bit less likely to be gratuitously rude to customers :-) and to show up on time.

cheap labour that is also better educated and behaved than its competition -- obvious winner. so what happens to the younger generation looking for work? jobs are harder to find if Aunty and Grandma are forced back into the workplace to compete with you. already the Rethugs are trying to stoke up "hate your elders" fever over the bogus SS crisis, and "fear/hate your grandchildren" fever over "criminal youth." I could imagine a significant hostility taking root between 20-somethings and 50-somethings.

and a large population of angry, unemployed young people with no prospects is an unpredictable, volatile element to foster in any society. this is where the Brown Shirts recruit, not to mention other unsavory criminal organisations (US Armed Forces?)...

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 29 2005 23:05 utc | 75

One more thought for the day:

Want to increase supplies of oil and gas? Instead of drilling in the ANWR or adding a few LNG ports, Bush could open up areas like the Gulf coast of Florida or the Rocky Mountains, which has a 60-year supply of natural gas, to exploration and drilling. But that wouldn't be popular in Florida, where his brother Jeb is governor, or in some of the Western states that are strong Bush country.>John Carey in Business Week

Does it strike anyone but me as pathetic and symptomatic of lunacy that this guy can with a straight face call for a "solution" that involves uncovering an (alleged) 60-year supply of nat gas? by industrialising the country's most essential watershed, the Rockies? This article illustrates Monbiot's point perfectly -- neither the Governations nor the Corpament can contemplate any approach to the energy crunch that involves other than Expansion, Expansion, Expansion. They will grab at a mere 60 yrs supply (at current demand?) as it it were a lifeline, an answer. That is less than one (US, middle class) human lifetime's worth of slack.

"The Captain is wrong, dead wrong, when he insists we can generate enough water for the rest of our year-long voyage by merely whistling for it. Why, down in the hold there is a cask with enough water for at least 2 weeks -- that will fix everything!"

and this is the species that invented the bicycle?

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 29 2005 23:25 utc | 76

Foreign policy:
O.A.S. to Pick Chile Socialist U.S. Opposed as Its Leader

In a rebuff to the Bush administration's efforts to press Latin America to take a tougher stance on Cuba and Venezuela, a Chilean Socialist emerged Friday as the consensus choice to become secretary general of the Organization of American States.

The O.A.S. is scheduled to convene in Washington on Monday to formally elect the Chilean, Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza, 62. His opponent, Luis Ernesto Derbez, the Mexican foreign minister and Washington's favored candidate, withdrew Friday afternoon after negotiations in Santiago, Chile, that involved Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of her South and Central American counterparts.
American officials traveling with Ms. Rice, who was in the Chilean capital, described her as having brokered the deal that allowed Mr. Insulza to claim victory.

But some South American diplomats suggested Friday that the shift in the United States position was a calculated retreat in response to warnings to Ms. Rice in Brazil and Colombia earlier in the week that Washington was risking a potentially embarrassing loss.
Washington's decision to back down and support Mr. Insulza ends a dispute that had become "a real mess, a bitter fight," said Michael Shifter, a senior policy analyst at Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based research group. "It's going to require a lot of work, a lot of diplomacy, to repair things, but this process has not exactly endeared U.S. officials to the joys of multilateralism in the Western Hemisphere."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited South America last month in what was seen as an effort to stitch together an anti-Chávez coalition, but got nowhere. Ms. Rice came to the region this week with much the same mission and received the same chilly reception from governments for whom the principles of nonintervention and sovereignty are nearly sacred.

"It's counterproductive both to see what she is saying on Venezuela and what they are doing at the O.A.S., but the U.S. just doesn't seem to get the political and diplomatic reality," said Riordan Roett, director of the Western Hemisphere program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

You really have to wonder why they did send Rumsfeld. Nobody wants to be bullied by him.

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2005 6:55 utc | 77


äöüß - a á à â - e é è ê - ´`^

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2005 9:50 utc | 78

Typepad seams to suddenly screw up accent characters in comments. The hosting company is alerted. For now I can´t help it.

Sorry folks.

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2005 9:55 utc | 79


Posted by: DM | Apr 30 2005 14:07 utc | 80

Sudan becomes US ally in 'war on terror'

Sudan's Islamist regime, once shunned by Washington for providing a haven for Osama bin Laden as well as for human rights abuses during decades of civil war, has become an ally in the Bush administration's "war on terror".

Only months after the US accused Khartoum of carrying out genocide in Darfur, Sudan has become a crucial intelligence asset to the CIA.....

It would appear that the U.S. position on human rights abuses and mass killings is rather elastic and that it changes with the wind. Don't the American people get ill from all the doses of hypocrisy they're forced to swallow?

Posted by: Nugget | May 1 2005 1:24 utc | 81

As for the estimated 2 million to 3 million insurance company functionaries whose sole business it is to turn down your claims, these folks may be a bit harder to reemploy because they have no counterpart in any civilized, health-providing nation.

Well, I'd be happy to train them to bag groceries at the store where I work. Wait a minute, that won't work. The store at which I work was bought out by a corporation that has embraced "The WalMart Way", so they're not hiring any new people and drastically cutting the hours of existing employees. Sorry.

Posted by: Loveandlight | May 1 2005 6:22 utc | 82

Buritto Lockdown

Posted by: biklett | May 1 2005 9:47 utc | 83

Some friends told me about this site, and now i'm glad they told me about it. Universal, Red, Green nothing comparative to Good: , Big is feature of Lazy Opponents when Cosmos is Pair it will Play Chips , Chips will Opponents unconditionally Full, Superb, Good nothing comparative to Lazy

Posted by: Mark Drake | Dec 4 2005 10:32 utc | 84

mark, those links are a little sketchy?

Posted by: annie | Dec 4 2005 11:03 utc | 85

The comments to this entry are closed.