Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 20, 2005

Open Thread

Link to the forerunner

Posted by b on April 20, 2005 at 11:59 UTC | Permalink


Dexter Filkins is the New York Times reporter in Baghdad. He was interviewed by Tim Russert April 17th on "Meet the Press":

MR. RUSSERT: There is a road, a highway from the airport to downtown Baghdad that's called the Road of Death by many. I understand there's a taxi service on that road to take someone from downtown to the airport.

MR. FILKINS: Yeah. There's actually a company in Baghdad that does nothing except offer rides to the airport and back. They've got an armored cars and some guards. And they charge $35,000 for...

MR. RUSSERT: Thirty-five thousand dollars?

MR. FILKINS: ...for a ride to the airport. And I think you know, if you miss your plane and you have to come back, it's another $35,000. But...

MR. RUSSERT: How long--is it six miles?

MR. FILKINS: I think it's about six miles, yeah. It's not a happy six miles. So, you know, they earn their money.

Baghdad taxi city to airport ~US$ 5.830/mile - one way. Apollo flight earth to moon and back $1.5 billion ~US$ 3,140 / mile one way.

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2005 12:03 utc | 1

This was on the Benedictus thread too, but I need to emphasize this. I have written about The School before. This is the place where the future commanders of the US air craft carriers, the US strategic nuclear weapon commanders and officers for thousands of others important and potential dangerous position are schooled.

Schooled at a completely born-again-infested institution. Whos command will they follow?

Air Force Cadets See Religious Harassment

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Less than two years after it was plunged into a rape scandal, the Air Force Academy is scrambling to address complaints that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the school that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive.

There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet.
More than 90 percent of the cadets identify themselves as Christian. A cadet survey in 2003 found that half had heard religious slurs and jokes, and that many non-Christians believed Christians get special treatment.

"There were people walking up to someone and basically they would get in a conversation and it would end with, `If you don't believe what I believe you are going to hell,'" Vice Commandant Col. Debra Gray said.
The superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, conceded there was a problem during a recent meeting of the Board of Visitors, the civilian group that oversees the academy.

"The problem is people have been across the line for so many years when you try and come back in bounds, people get offended," he said.

The board chairman, former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, warned Rosa that changing things could prove complicated. He said evangelical Christians "do not check their religion at the door."

Other critics point to a series of incidents, including:

* The Air Force is investigating a complaint from an atheist cadet who says the school is "systematically biased against any cadet that does not overtly espouse Christianity."

* The official academy newspaper runs a Christmas ad every year praising Jesus and declaring him the only savior. Some 200 academy staff members, including some department heads, signed it. Whittington noted the ad was not published last December.

* The academy commandant, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, said in a statement to cadets in June 2003 that their first responsibility is to their God. He also strongly endorsed National Prayer Day that year. School spokesman Johnny Whitaker said Weida now runs his messages by several other commanders.

* Some officer commission ceremonies were held at off-campus churches. In a letter dated April 6, Weida said the ceremonies would be held on campus from now on.
Two of the nation's most influential evangelical Christian groups, Focus on the Family and New Life Church, are headquartered in nearby Colorado Springs. Tom Minnery, an official at Focus on the Family, disputed claims that evangelical Christians are pushing an agenda at the academy, and complained that "there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing" at the school.

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2005 14:34 utc | 2

Pepe Escobar has news from Iraq:

...The Sadrists - now constituted as a very organized, openly anti-sectarian and anti-occupation movement - have learned a political thing or two after the 2004 face-to-face between Muqtada and the Pentagon. They have 23 seats in the new National Assembly. In the elections in Basra - the Shi'ite-dominated southern city - they got only 12 of 41 city council seats. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) won 20. But the Sadrists managed to form a coalition and are now actually in control in Basra. The Sadrists' Mehdi Army is even more powerful than the SCIRI's Badr Brigades. Without Mehdi Army interventions, the Badr Brigades would have taken over every government institution in the south. The Badr Brigades' thuggish approach has led many Shi'ites to give at least the benefit of the doubt to the Mehdi Army. The whole Shi'ite south around Basra - provincial councils, the police, the administrative bureaucracy - is controlled by Shi'ite militias.

...Allawi - the Americans' man, as he is known in Baghdad - also has his reasons to be furious. He badly wanted the Interior Ministry, so he could organize the Mukhabarat-led espionage and overall repression in conjunction with the Green Zone. The Shi'ites of SCIRI came up with a resolute "no". The next interior minister may well be Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the Badr Brigades. To say that Amiri is a bete noire of choice in Rumsfeld's vast collection would be an understatement...

Posted by: Greco | Apr 20 2005 14:51 utc | 3

"Absolutely. We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."
DeLay Slams Supreme Court Justice

So what is he going to do about it? Shut down the Internet? Then again ...

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2005 15:27 utc | 4



this is from the previous thread; remembered this
differently, & upon rereading is only tangentially
applicable to the subject. Although still a good read.


Youth and communication: My girls 17 year old living with seems somehow at loss when loosing his technical communication access.

There is much for flexibility meeting other kids when all have a mibile (which they have). Unfortunaly the art of writing letters is lost to him.

III. A Blank Page: The Culture of Celebrity

Illiteracy is a kind of blindness.
-- Ruth Rendell

What is the origin of simulacra like the current President of the United States? When I argue that Bush is not "real," I do not mean that he was manufactured in a secret factory, owned by a corporation like the Karp Cartel and controlled by a powerful conspiracy. But I will speculate that in a post-literate, hyperreal world, those accretions of historical time and psychological reflection that produce subjectivity tend to disperse before they constitute a deep, coherent self. The result can be a personality like that of Bush -- intellectually narrow, emotionally shallow, working with an abridged vocabulary, like a novice in a foreign language class. He is a commodity produced by contemporary American culture, with its bizarre admixture of consumerism, television, worship of celebrities, and glib Christian fundamentalism. Other cultures in other periods have produced personalities limited in different ways -- the provincial peasant, for example, who has never been more than a mile from his birthplace. Unlike the peasant, the contemporary flat personality knows that other countries, other cultures, other religions exist -- but in his solipsism they remain "unreal" to him, mere delusions to which other people, themselves mere figments, display an irrational attachment.

The star or politician on screen is the opposite of the introverted reader in the book-lined study. With the exception of the occasional compelling sports event or drama, watching television is a porous, rather than engrossing experience -- hence the urge to channel-surf, get up for a snack, make a phone call during a commercial. A good book, by contrast, is sufficiently absorbing as to make interruptions annoying. In the May 2004 issue of Harper's, Lewis Lapham pondered the shift from reader to viewer: "As the habits of mind beholden to the rule of images come to replace the systems of thought derived from the meanings of words, the constant viewer learns to eliminate the association of cause with effect." [26] Magical thinking and incantations replace rational argument, thoughtful analysis, and careful research. This may sound reactionary, but it is difficult -- as Noam Chomsky has complained -- to develop a complicated political discourse on a show like Nightline, interrupted not only by commercials but also by the briefly encapsulated views of other speakers. On television, acting and role-playing take the place of the subjectivity both developed by and observed in the Bildungsroman and the high modernist novel. Thus, "in deciding how to behave, Chance chose the TV program of the young businessman who often dined with the boss and the boss's daughter." [27]
Kosinski's Chance is unable to read or write. "I do not read

The relationship between reading, privacy, and subjectivity is the subject of Sven Birkert's "The Time of Reading," first given as a lecture on May 1, 1996, in the New York Public Library. Reading has become archaic, he speculates, rather like walking in the age of the automobile. We no longer seem to have time to read, not the kind of time reading requires -- solitary, private, indefinite. Birkerts postulates the emergence of a new kind of self, "no longer tightly gathered around a core identity, no longer pledged to simple membership in an organic human community, but rather fluid, capable of metamorphosis -- of donning masks, assuming roles ... The self of the future may indeed be a decentered entity." [30]

"For every reader who dies today," Jonathan Franzen observes in an essay entitled "The Reader in Exile," "a viewer is born." [31] In order to devote himself to reading and writing, Franzen gives away his television set. He confesses to possessing an old-fashioned literary sensibility. "I understand my life in the context of Raskolnikov and Quentin Compson," he writes, "not David Letterman or Jerry Seinfeld." [32] With some skepticism, Franzen considers the pessimistic arguments of cultural critics. Barry Sanders speculates that, in Franzen's words, "without a literacy rooted in orality there can be neither a self, as we understand it, nor self-consciousness." [33] (Such an observation is applicable to Bush, who seems constitutionally incapable of self-doubt or self-criticism.) Franzen also writes about Sven Birkert's collected essays, The Gutenberg Elegies, which he finds "alarmist" and unduly pessimistic, despite his sympathy with many of Birkert's sentiments. "Novelists want their work to be enjoyed," he points out, "not taken as medicine." [34]

Link to Bush as simulacrum


Posted by: han_shan | Apr 20 2005 16:11 utc | 5

Hearts, minds and dollars : America's chaotic propaganda war against Islam

Ten pages demonstrating the weakness of U.S. understanding, complete with comics, bogus websites, geriatric agents and a continuing reliance on a belief in the 'madrassah threat' subsequently debunked by their own research but still regarded as key by those who evidently don't read their own publications.

New improved al-Zarqawi threat - now comes with added nukes!

Recurrent intelligence reports say al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi has obtained a nuclear device or is preparing a radiological explosive -- or dirty bomb -- for an attack, according to U.S. officials, who also say analysts are unable to gauge the reliability of the information's sources.....

Marla Ruzicka uncovered America's secret tally of Iraqi civilian deaths

A week before she was killed by a suicide bomber, humanitarian worker Marla Ruzicka forced military commanders to admit they did keep records of Iraqi civilians killed by US forces.

Tommy Franks, the former head of US Central Command, famously said the US army "don't do body counts", despite a requirement to do so by the Geneva Conventions.
But in an essay Ms Ruzicka wrote a week before her death on Saturday and published yesterday, the 28-year-old revealed that a Brigadier General told her it was "standard operating procedure" for US troops to file a report when they shoot a non-combatant.

She obtained figures for the number of civilians killed in Baghdad between 28 February and 5 April, and discovered that 29 had been killed in firefights involving US forces and insurgents. This was four times the number of Iraqi police killed.

"These statistics demonstrate that the US military can and does track civilian casualties," she wrote. "Troops on the ground keep these records because they recognise they have a responsibility to review each action taken and that it is in their interest to minimise mistakes, especially since winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis is a key component of their strategy."

Sam Zia-Zarifi, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, the group for which Ms Ruzicka wrote the report, said her discovery "was very important because it allows the victims to start demanding compensation". He added: "At a policy level they have never admitted they keep these figures."

Ethnic, political ties seen as key to jobs in Iraqi government

Al-Sabah newspaper adds to confusion and rumors about 'dead hostages'

Baghdad, April 20 - One hundred bodies have been retrieved from Tigris River in the al-Sawrah region near the city of Madaen, al-Sabah newspaper reported.

According to the newspaper, another 12 corpses have been found in a poultry farm nearby....

No reporters allowed at Camp Lejeune hearing for Marine charged with murdering two Iraqis

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 20 2005 18:01 utc | 6

From Nuggets first link (page 7)

At CIA headquarters outside Washington, the agency's analysts have also been busy. The CIA's Office of Transnational Issues has created a Global Information and Influence Team, charged with pulling together assessments of key U.S. targets. A public diplomacy conference hosted by the group in February focused on strategies to influence six nations, according to an agenda for the meeting. On the list: China, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Venezuela. Also under CIA auspices is a Cyber-Influence Conference Series, which brings in cutting-edge experts from industry to explore how to combat terrorist use of the Internet.

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2005 18:34 utc | 7

Rice's Russian fluency needs improvement it seems!

'Da... Nyet, Nyet, Nyet!' Rice Tells Russians

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried out her rusty Russian in a Moscow radio interview Wednesday, only to get caught out by a question on whether she might run for president.

"Da (Yes)," Rice answered in Russian, before realizing her misunderstanding and hastily adding "Nyet" (No) -- seven times.

Rice's interview on Ekho Moskvy radio turned into a linguistic ordeal when the Soviet expert and former provost of Stanford university fielded a schoolgirl listener's question on how she achieved her career success.

"It's too complicated to answer!" Rice, in Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin, started out in English. "It is an opportunity for me to come back to Russia, a place I love very much. I love the culture and the language."

She then switched into Russian, but quickly hit trouble.

More on the following dKos diary:

Rice BUSTED. Dr. Fraud can't speak Russian after all.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 20 2005 19:25 utc | 8

I found this interesting quote that goes to what Billmon was recently writing about incremental moves towards fascism, as witnessed, for example, by Ann Coulter on the cover of Time.

"What no one seemed to notice. . . was the ever widening gap. . .
between the government and the people. . . And it became always
wider. . . the whole process of its coming into being, was above all
diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway . . . Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about . . .and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated . . . by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. . . Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,'
that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'. . . must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. . . .Each act. . . is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone. . . you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' . . .But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched,
all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. . . .You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father. . .
could never have imagined."

Source: Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1955)

Posted by: NickM | Apr 20 2005 19:30 utc | 9

I had an interesting question put to me today by a newspaper owner. His question was how much money from Social Security has been used for other things since its inception. How much on Vietnam? How much actual money has been spent in the US general fund.

Any help would be appreciated.

Posted by: jdp | Apr 20 2005 20:39 utc | 10

@jdp - 1,686.8 billion US dollars are the current assets of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds. All invested in US bonds, i.e. the money has been spend by your government and IOUs have been issued to the fund. The fund will one day ask the government to exchange those IOUs for money and the governemnt will raise taxes to do so, borrow the money somewhere else or default (the Bush variant). TRUST FUND FINANCIAL OPERATIONS IN 2004

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2005 21:03 utc | 11

Holy Shit look what I just received. Piratizing from within.

APRIL 20, 2005
9:26 AM

CONTACT: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility  
Chas Offutt, 202-265-7337

Federal Scientists Told to Raise Research Funding; Each Must Generate $110,000 a Year to Avoid Bad Performance Rating

WASHINGTON -- April 20 -- Federal scientists working for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have been ordered to raise funds to support their research projects or face unfavorable performance evaluations, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The scientists are tasked with finding private, state and other federal sponsors to buy the scientists’ time.

These scientists are not trained in fundraising nor do their position descriptions include generating financial support. Nonetheless, to achieve a “fully successful” rating the scientists are to find sponsors willing to pay for 70 to 89 percent of their total time (called “billable hours”) calculated on the basis of fifty-two 40-hour workweeks. As a result, each Bureau scientist at the GS-11 level or higher, for example, has to solicit between $712 and $848 per day to meet acceptable standards.

“These fundraising quotas pressure federal scientists to make their conclusions palatable to potential public and private sponsors,” stated PEER Program Director Rebecca Roose. “This policy puts the dollar value above the quality or importance of the scientific work.”

The new “Productivity Critical Element” for high-grade scientists set the following fundraising quotas for each “Performance Standard”:
Unsatisfactory performance “is less than 50 percent of potential billable hours for the year, which is not adequate for the position. This equates to less than $110,240”;
Minimally Successful performance means “between 50 and 69 percent of potential billable hours for the year. This equates to a range of $110,20 to $154,336”;
Fully Successful performance indicates the “employee generates a workload between 70 and 89 percent of potential billable hours for the year. This equates to a range of $154,336 to $198,432”;
Superior performance requires the employee to generate a workload “in the target range of $352,768 to $529,152”; and
Exceptional performance means generating a workload “resulting in a target amount of greater than $529,152.”

“Public agency science is not supposed to be a fee-for-service enterprise,” added Roose, noting that affected scientists who get sick or take family leave may fall behind in their “billables” and risk poor ratings. “Prowess in fund raising is how politicians, not scientists, are supposed to be judged.”

These new “marketing performance standards” apply so far to approximately 30 scientists working within the Bureau’s Ecological Planning & Assessment and Ecological Research & Investigations units located in Denver, Colorado. Similar entrepreneurial standards are being proposed for other units in the Bureau of

Look at BuRec New Marketing Productivity Evaluation Standards

See the guidelines for determining fundraising quotas

Posted by: jj | Apr 20 2005 22:05 utc | 12

This is what happens when you spend $400 million on abstinence only education and neglect to secure the domain name...

Posted by: scarlet p. | Apr 20 2005 22:10 utc | 13

Yeah! Ecuador President Gutierrez Ousted by Congress

Ecuadorean President Lucio Gutierrez was ousted by Congress on Wednesday after thousands of demonstrators demanded the former army colonel quit for meddling with the nation's top court.

A military helicopter flew Gutierrez out of the presidential palace in colonial downtown Quito to an unknown destination after 60 congressmen from the 100-seat chamber voted to oust him for "abandoning his post."

The state prosecutor's office said it ordered his arrest for two deaths on Tuesday and Wednesday during huge demonstrations demanding his resignation for filling the Supreme Court with political allies in December.
Opposition congressmen, who accused Gutierrez of being a dictator for trying to take over the courts, said he had effectively abandoned his post by failing to properly carry out presidential duties.

The armed forces, traditional arbiters of power, abandoned Gutierrez, who had refused to quit.

"We have been forced to withdraw support from the president in order to ensure public safety," said the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Victor Hugo Rosero.
A man of dark, native Indian features, Gutierrez promised voters a change from centuries of domination by a white elite. But he alienated many supporters with austere economic policies that brought growth but little relief to poverty.

Another one handed back to the World Bank and IMF. Lets hope they find a leader that has the stomach to say no to austerity measures coupled to ineffective loans.

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2005 22:33 utc | 14

Iraq 'hostages dumped in river'

…..Suwayra is downstream from the town of Madain, where there was tension over the weekend after reports that Sunni Muslim militants had taken a large number of Shia Muslim residents hostage.

It is not clear when the killings took place, though police in the area told the BBC the bodies had been pulled from the river over a period since the end of February....

Yes, that does say 'since the end of February'. No, I don't believe a word about the 'seige of Madaen' that's coming from the authorities in Iraq either.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 0:21 utc | 15

Recruiters' blues

....The most common promise recruiters use to entice young people into service, according to Allison, is that the military will finance their college education. In fact, G.I. Bill participants have to pay the military $100 a month during their first year of service in order to be eligible for education benefits later. That $1,200 deposit is nonrefundable, even though a Rand Corp. study conducted in 2000 found that only 16 percent of enlisted personnel who complete four years in the military ever receive money for school.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 1:05 utc | 17

Tremors at A.I.P.A.C.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 1:10 utc | 18

Re the government scientists billable hours: not trained but resposible for finding funding? Obviously they don't really expect them to find funding or they'd hire a specialist do raise the funds to fill the billable hours. More likely, they expect to fire them and outsource their research jobs to the industries who paid BushCo to do this.

Posted by: gylangirl | Apr 21 2005 1:59 utc | 19

Son of a sewer rat, Carville & Begala finally break the Big Taboo, in USA today no less.

"Democrats must change everything

The fundamental question for the party out of power is always: What would you change?

Democrats' answer should be, "Everything." On every front, on every issue, Democrats should be the party of reform, change and a new direction.

•The economy. President Bush's weak-dollar, high-debt economic policies have placed our economic destiny in the hands of communist Chinese central bankers and Arab oil sheiks. Democrats should stand for fiscal responsibility, asking the wealthiest to pay their share of the debt — and reform, reform, reform. We should reform trade laws that encourage corporations to ship jobs overseas. We should reform the tax code and replace the current lobbyists' dream with a tax code that is simpler, fairer and more progressive. Above all, we should place middle-class jobs and middle-class values at the heart of our economic policy. Middle-class Americans are working hard and playing by the rules, but they are being ripped off at every turn. They need economic reform.

Ya's not so great to ship all of our jobs to China, India, etc. You really think there's something wrong w/xUS Engineering schools withering, while Vietnam is graduating & employing thousands of IT grads every year?

How totally corrupt our system is that this is only the 3rd non-wayout fringe person I've seen say it, after Lou Dobbs - who was always ridiculed by that self-described "lefty blogger", Atrios/Duncan Black, for saying it - & Paul Craig Roberts, who had to turn to Counterpunch to publish it.

Obviously it's not only the misnamed "trade agreements" that are driving this...nevertheless he challenges both...It's a weak platform, but breaks Huge New Ground for Pirate Party strategists.

Posted by: jj | Apr 21 2005 3:54 utc | 20

Nugget darling, you're getting impatient. Even US elites can't just wish a Civil War into existence. And if there is no Civil War, how will they justify keeping their bases there...which they do intend to keep.

Posted by: jj | Apr 21 2005 6:12 utc | 22

Admiral making friends:
U.S. can't act alone in North

Vice Admiral Jonathan Greenert, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, recently said that the Navy "would go in and help restore order in North Korea if there were instability or a regime failure." He added that refugees would try to get to Japan or escape elsewhere by sea; he called regime stability a "second-order problem," behind the North's military threat. These are very sensitive subjects that have implications for South Korea, as well as China and Russia.
Admiral Greenert's remarks could be interpreted as meaning that the United States will unilaterally send troops to North Korea if there is internal turmoil or a rush of refugees. As long as the U.S.-South Korea Combined Forces Command is in control, this is supposed to be impossible.
We wonder whether the admiral was referring to a U.S. intention to act alone, or whether he was speaking in more general terms. One can ask whether it was appropriate for a commander, who does not decide defense policy, to make such remarks, which could be interpreted in many ways.
The United States and South Korea have struggled over Operation Plan 5029-05, designed to cope with internal turmoil in North Korea. Seoul has objected to the plan, because for the United States, which has operational command during war, to lead an operation in response to internal turmoil in the North outside of a wartime context would infringe on Korea's sovereignty.

Posted by: b | Apr 21 2005 6:29 utc | 23

UK Guardian: The end of oil is closer than you think

Posted by: biklett | Apr 21 2005 6:40 utc | 24

Commercial helicopter shot down in Iraq - 11 dead

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 16:01 utc | 25

from nugget's link:

The [Russian-made] helicopter was owned by Bulgaria-based Heli Air and chartered by Toronto-based SkyLink Aviation Inc.

Several "Blackwater contractors" among the dead.

Internationalized thuggery there.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 21 2005 16:18 utc | 26

US no-fly zone

Posted by: biklett | Apr 21 2005 17:13 utc | 27

Over 6,000 detainees in US, British prisons in Iraq released

BAGHDAD, April 21 (KUNA) -- Up to 2,800 prisoners were released unconditionally and 3,300 others were released with bail after the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry reviewed the files of 9,700 detainees in US detention camps and 27 held by British forces in Al-Shuaiba.

The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that reviewing 3,290 files of Abu Ghraib prison detainees, 6,728 in Buka prison and 110 in Kruber prison resulted in the release of the detainees.

The statement also said that this humanitarian initiative on the part of the ministry came after committee members representing the Iraqi justice, interior and human rights ministries were increased from six to 12, and those representing multi-national forces were increased from three to six.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 17:21 utc | 28

Corruption draining Iraq's oil industry

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 21, 2005 (ENS) - The Iraqi oil ministry has sacked more than 450 employees suspected of selling fuel on the black market.

....In Basra, which is the site of Iraq’s southern oil fields, resident Hussein al-Sabti said that oil smuggling operations were now carried out in the open. "This has prompted the population of Basra to ask whether or not smuggling of petrol is a legitimate act," he said.

An official from the Iraqi army’s Border Forces 4th Regiment Command, which controls frontier crossings and the ports, claimed that some government officials had asked the authorities to turn a blind eye to oil smuggling.

"[We were ordered to] allow some citizens of a neighboring country to cross the border with the aim of visiting the holy shrines, without having official documents," the border official said.

"It appeared later on that they had something to do with oil smuggling operations."

Abdul Kareem Li’aibi, the oil ministry’s fuel distribution project manager, said that the government had recently discovered that one of its southern pipelines was peppered with more than 20 illegal taps, allowing tankers to top up their loads at will.

Li’aibi claims that organized gangs are behind these corrupt practices, and blames them for the fact that only 60 percent of trucks carrying oil products from wells to other areas reach their destination, while the remainder are attacked and hijacked.

....In an effort to deal with the corruption problem, the Iraqi oil ministry rid itself of 450 employees suspected of selling fuel illegally.

But oil ministry official Li’aibi is not sure whether actions such as this will put an end to graft. "I can’t recommend any civil servants or workers," he said. "Today they are honest but, after one month, they are engaging in corruption. I can’t even guarantee that I won’t be joining them."

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 18:14 utc | 29

david lindorff asks Are Bush's Social Security Program and John Bolton Just Grand Diversions?

i would throw the time mag cover story in there too. anything to keep the "opposition" from fighting the real battles

Posted by: b real | Apr 21 2005 18:46 utc | 30

I can’t even guarantee that I won’t be joining them. (from Nugget’s post just above)

That got me laughing on this very bad day.

Posted by: Blackie | Apr 21 2005 19:29 utc | 31

Will oil strike $380 a barrel by 2015?

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 21 2005 20:10 utc | 32

Report: U.S. seeks passenger lists for overflights

Posted by: Fran | Apr 21 2005 21:13 utc | 34

It's the anniversary of Sandy Denny's death today

Posted by: Who knows where the time goes? | Apr 21 2005 21:52 utc | 35

When we kill the bad guys, it feels great. No better feeling than to know that that guy was bad and we just killed him.

Just heard this on air from a radio interview with an army soldier in Iraq. Strange days.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 21 2005 22:12 utc | 36

Don't mess with this:


Posted by: Basil Liddell Hart | Apr 22 2005 3:47 utc | 37

CONSIDER the following. A British prime minister is so obsessed by a Middle East dictator that he screams “I want him destroyed” and declares war on him. He concocts a “threat” to British security and seeks to inveigle Americans and others to join him. The dictator has tweaked the lion’s tail. He and others like him must be taught a lesson. Besides, there is oil to consider.

The Americans are appalled. The dictator, replies the president, is no threat to world peace or to anyone but his own people. War would destabilise the region and propagate anti-Western sentiment among the Arabs. It would breach numerous treaties and be seen as imperialist. Besides, what of the United Nations? It must be given time to consider Britain’s case. That is what it is for.

The British prime minister will have none of this. The UN, he says, is for wimps, a place of stallers and cowards. America should understand that the world has moved on and faces new threats. The dictator is so monstrous that treaties and laws no longer hold. America should remember Mussolini and Hitler. It should be more concerned for the security of Israel.

If Washington lacks the guts for war, Britain will go it alone. The American president demurs. “From this point onwards,” he says, “our views diverge.”

have immersed myself in the Suez crisis — such being the above — through reading the remarkable 1955-56 correspondence between Anthony Eden and Dwight Eisenhower (University of North Carolina Press, see this week’s TLS). Although fragments have been used in histories of the period, the complete letters have not appeared before. They show an astonishingly precise role reversal between Europe and America then and now. Eden might be Donald Rumsfeld. Eisenhower might be Kofi Annan.

Eden pleads with Eisenhower to understand the threat represented by the Egyptian, Abdel Nasser, who has just nationalised the Anglo-French Suez Canal Company (albeit with compensation). To Eden Nasser is Saddam and al-Qaeda in one, “active wherever Muslims can be found . . . from the Persian Gulf to Nigeria”.

Nasser is out to dominate the region, unseat friendly sheikhs and threaten Israel “to the point where the whole position in the Middle East will be lost beyond recall”. Nasser is the “greatest hazard facing the Free World since 1940”.

Eisenhower is incredulous. In among references to wives and holidays he chides Eden for grossly overstating Egypt’s importance. War is not acceptable just “to protect national or individual investors”. There can be no question of the “legal rights of sovereign nations being ruthlessly flouted”. Nasser was not threatening oil supplies or ships in the canal. Britain’s sabre-rattling was rallying support for him across the Middle East, which was far more destabilising. Eden, in other words, was behaving like an old imperialist out to prove his virility. As for Eden’s constant references to Hitler and appeasement, Eisenhower clearly felt they insulted his intelligence.

America’s deepest concern was for the UN. “There should be no thought of military action,” Eisenhower warns Eden, “before the influences of the UN are fully explored . . . Initial military success might be easy, but the eventual price might be far too heavy.” Every peaceful means must be exhausted before a resort to war. The British were rushing to action when there was no evidence that Nasser was using violence to infringe the UN Charter. Surely they should concentrate on “on-the-spot” inspection under UN auspices? American public opinion, Eisenhower wrote, considered that “the UN was formed to prevent this very thing”.

Desperate not to seem the aggressor, Eden colluded with the Israelis to get them to attack Egypt, so Britain could invade apparently to “protect the security” of the canal. It was a tactic that involved grand diplomatic and intelligence deception. To a furious Eisenhower, it “violated our pledged word” under a 1950 treaty that the West would act in the Middle East only in concert. Eden’s response was pure Pentagon. In the face of Nasser, he said, treaties and agreements were “past history”. Britain’s UN Ambassador was told to block Eisenhower’s attempt to stop Israel from attacking Egypt. Britain was the champion of Israel’s expansion.

have never encountered modern history so laden with irony. Every one of Eisenhower’s warnings proved right. Eden may have been under pressure at home, but it was from a public hysteria he had himself generated. Like George Bush (and Tony Blair), he craved an enemy abroad, one he could exaggerate by rhetoric and against whom a crusade would rank him with his warlike predecessors. At that point alliances, laws, the UN, even the improbability of success, did not matter — only “conviction”.

Eisenhower emerges from the Suez letters as a counsellor of maturity and judgment, distressed to see an old friend embarking on disaster. He rebukes Eden as a latter-day imperialist, lacking a strategic vision and unable to keep global threats in proportion. He shows an America aware of the realpolitik of the Middle East while Britain proclaims a duty to set the world to rights.

Hegel bids us learn from the mistakes of history, but offers no guidance as to which bits of history are mistakes. The parallels between Suez and Iraq are astonishingly seductive. But just as Eden could mistakenly cite Hitler during Suez, so we should be chary in citing Suez in Iraq. Both were “optional” wars. The first was a disaster, destroying Eden and leaving the canal closed for 20 years. The second is still a matter of heated debate.

But one message echoes down the ages. I have no doubt that at Suez Eisenhower’s analysis was right and Eden’s wrong. There are no Eisenhowers today, in the White House or in Downing Street.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 22 2005 4:30 utc | 38

I expect that Jerome will soon do a thread on xUS "Energy Bill" soon. So, here's an intro. It's Bu$hCo in caricature: gives billions to the oil cos., though they're already stealing us blind, and NOT ONE PENNY TO ANY ALTERNATIVE ENERGY MECHANISMS. Cheers!

Posted by: jj | Apr 22 2005 5:49 utc | 39

Last deadly flu sample found in Beirut

The last missing samples of a deadly flu virus mistakenly sent abroad by a US institute have been found on Wednesday at Beirut airport.

A security source said that samples sent to a Lebanese company - which he declined to name - had arrived 48 hours ago and were in a "safe place" at Beirut airport....

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 22 2005 6:18 utc | 40

Monkeys to join U.S. police S.W.A.T. teams?

...A Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) veteran from Phoenix, Sean Truelove, has researched the possibility of landing a $100,000 federal grant to fund a pilot programme to train one monkey....

...Truelove told local newspapers that the idea came to him in a dream about 18 months ago....

Maybe he'll be assigned to Special Branch, eh?

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 22 2005 6:26 utc | 41

Thus, the Eisenhower administration forced a cease-fire on Britain and France, which it had previously told the Allies it would not do. Part of the pressure that the United States used against Britain was financial, as Eisenhower threatened to sell the United States holdings of the British pound and thereby precipitate a collapse of the British currency.

If only the Chinese would step up to the plate.

Posted by: DM | Apr 22 2005 6:34 utc | 42

Another interesting piece on Iraq via>Steve Gilliard, by AP's Thomas Wagner -- with some insights into some US tactical failures:
* The limits of airmobile
The reason the US doesn't have fleets of armored cars and trucks is simple: helicopters. The plan was to use hwlicopters for patrols and area denial. Well, except for the SAM's the resistance has in force.
The Army sent their Apache battalions off to war, and well, the Iraqi Army wasn't stupid. They set up flak traps and one of these battalions ran right into one and lost two Apaches ina few minutes. Then there was a sudden rethink of tactics. Ever wonder why the 101 spent their tour in trucks instead of their Blackhawks? Well, because of the rpg and the SAM. People were suprised that $20 grenades can blow million dollar machines out of the sky. Well, they can. I guess the Iraqis saw Black Hawk Down. What was a desperation tactic in Somalia is now SOP for the Iraqis.
However, this operational victory is never mentioned in the US. The only time the US can use copters in force is in the desert where they won't be ambushed by a flak trap. By forcing the US to the roads and the IED's the Iraqis created a military advantage. If the US could fly around and ambush guerrilla units, the war would be fought very differently and lives would have been saved. Denying the helicopter was a major advantage. Now, this doesn't mean helicopters are grounded, they aren't. But the mass flights that US likes to do...not happening. Why? Because the more targets you have, the more likely you are to hit one.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 22 2005 6:55 utc | 43

Iraqis watch Black Hawk Down for tips By Toby Harnden in Washington (Filed: 01/04/2003)

Saddam Hussein is said to have told his troops to use the film Black Hawk Down, the true story of how US soldiers were drawn into a bloody urban battle in Somalia, as a lesson for the Iraq war.

Posted by: DM | Apr 22 2005 7:36 utc | 44

Juan Cole in Salon: The new McCarthyism
A witch hunt against a Columbia professor, and the New York Times' disgraceful support for it, represent the gravest threat to academic freedom in decades.

(you need to click through some ads for a one-day-pass to read it.)

Posted by: b | Apr 22 2005 11:57 utc | 45

Humans are very stupid. I knew THIS all the time.

Posted by: Yogi Bear | Apr 22 2005 12:24 utc | 46

@jj re: US Energy Bill


My friend, you forget that in this Orwellian administration, "clean coal" and nukes are considered "alternative" fuels.

Posted by: Cranky Bastard | Apr 22 2005 14:53 utc | 47

Rude Pundit< writes America's breakup letter to Roman Catholicism. A snippet, minus the links...

Now you're represented by a man who was the enforcer for the most conservative policies of the Church, including declaring that if we believe in abortion we should be denied communion (which affected the Presidential election, of course). And he thinks that the church's condemnation of Galileo was "reasonable and just." And let's not even get into his opinions of gays and contraception, except to say that "eeeevil" is a big term there. Oh, and that little problem with sexual abuse by a Vatican official that Ratzinger covered-up? Nice. No women priests, no married priests, and sexual abuse cover-up. What's the laundry bill like on the wash cloths at the Vatican? Sorry. We know. Saracasm never makes anything easier.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 22 2005 15:06 utc | 48

Marla Ruzicka:
"I decided not to take a position on the war but to try to do the right humanitarian thing,'' the 26-year-old said during a recent trip to San Francisco, before Saddam Hussein was captured. "No one can heal the wounds that have been inflicted; you just have to recognize that people have been harmed."

Mrs. Shawnlaw at freerepublic dot com:
Don't let the hood ornament hit you on the way out.

She did help? Who? How did she help....I have serious doubts that she helped anyone but herself and her puppet masters. Reminds me of that group of creepy 9/11 Widows. Who did they help, if not only any answers Orange?

Tell me. Why would she need to 'poll' people in Iraq on the number of 'innocent' victims?

What's the purpose?

If not to embarrass the U.S. government?

File this under know thy enemy.
Now I have to go throw up.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 22 2005 15:55 utc | 49

heavy metal, richard perl, norse jails

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 22 2005 16:03 utc | 50

Fascists & Theocrats have declared war on the judiciary. According to post w/out a link on americablog, Bush & Cheney have just officially come out for the Nuclear Option.

The L.A. Times ran this excellent article, which should have been a banner headline on the front page, but was buried on p. A22:

WASHINGTON — Evangelical Christian leaders, who have been working closely with senior Republican lawmakers to place conservative judges in the federal courts, have also been exploring ways to punish sitting jurists and even entire courts viewed as hostile to their cause.

An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work.

The discussion took place during a Washington conference last month that included addresses by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who discussed efforts to bring a more conservative cast to the courts.

Frist and DeLay have not publicly endorsed the evangelical groups' proposed actions. But the taped discussion among evangelical leaders provides a glimpse of the road map they are drafting as they work with congressional Republicans to achieve a judiciary that sides with them on abortion, same-sex marriage and other elements of their agenda.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, according to an audiotape of a March 17 session. The tape was provided to The Times by the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

DeLay has spoken generally about one of the ideas the leaders discussed in greater detail: using legislative tactics to withhold money from courts.

"We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse," DeLay said at an April 13 question-and-answer session with reporters.


Perkins and Dobson laid out a history of court rulings they found offensive, singling out the recent finding by the Supreme Court that executing minors was unconstitutional.They criticized Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion, noting that the Republican appointee had cited the laws of foreign nations that, Dobson said, applied the same standard as "the most liberal countries in Europe."

"What about Latin America, South America, Central America? What about China? What about Africa?" Dobson asked. "They pick and choose the international law that they want and then apply it here as though we're somehow accountable to Europe. I resent that greatly."

######Hell, guys why not use Saudi Arabia as a yardstick?


Perhaps a National Strike Day(s) would be in order - days where everyone who opposes this does not go to work, would help demonstrate the pervasive opposition to the Theocrats? If they're going to shut down Congress, we must demonstrate our support.

Perhaps we need a thread for this Topic A for the next week.

Posted by: jj | Apr 22 2005 19:01 utc | 51

Shit seems to be hitting the fan in Germany w/Pope Ratzo. Bernhard, could we pls. get a translation of this.Link

Snippet from americablog:
A German talk-show host asks a Christian Democrat (CDU) who's running for the prime-minister's office in his state of NRW

Friedman:As to equal respect among all churches (religions) Benedict XVI says:"The Catholic Church is superior to all other Churches." Is he correct?

Friedman: Zum gleichberechtigten Respekt aller Kirchen sagt Benedikt XVI: "Die katholische Kirche ist allen anderen Kirchen überlegen." Hat er Recht?

and he is agreeing with the Pope's statement and this is causing an uproar among the opposition parties...
accusing him that he's not running for a missionary's job but for the prime-ministers job...etc etc

Pls. fill us in.....thanks.

Posted by: jj | Apr 22 2005 19:24 utc | 52>Juan Cole on New McCarthyism, no ads

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 22 2005 20:00 utc | 53

I've now got a Bout/Skylink post up over at the Ranter.

Posted by: Alex | Apr 23 2005 0:24 utc | 54


Posted by: The Church Lady | Apr 23 2005 0:34 utc | 55

Seems to me that we'd be veritable mushrooms without the internet, and especially the "tinfoil hat" internet.

From prisonplanet

The British government has ordered a D-notice clampdown on details relating to the ricin terror ring story which was exposed as being fake last week.

Inside sources from the Guardian newspaper in London have confirmed that the reason the Guardian article 'The ricin ring that never was,' was removed from its website was due to a direct order from the government. Several other websites worldwide have also removed the article but it is still available on numerous websites, being one.

What's next? Are the government going to create a Ministry of Truth and employ Winston Smith to change past newspaper articles and dispose of unflattering truths down the memory hole?

And the story suppressed by the limey Walter Mittys' still available on Rense.

Colin Powell does not need more humiliation over the manifold errors in his February 2003 presentation to the UN. But yesterday a London jury brought down another section of the case he made for war - that Iraq and Osama bin Laden were supporting and directing terrorist poison cells throughout Europe, including a London ricin ring. ...

All the information roads led west, not to Kabul but to California and the US midwest. The recipes for ricin now seen on the internet were invented 20 years ago by survivalist Kurt Saxon. He advertises videos and books on the internet. Before the ricin ring trial started, I phoned him in Arizona. For $110, he sent me a fistful of CDs and videos on how to make bombs, missiles, booby traps - and ricin. We handed a copy of the ricin video to the police.

When, in October, I showed that the chemical lists found in London were an exact copy of pages on an internet site in Palo Alto, California, the prosecution gave up on the Kabul and al-Qaida link claims. But it seems this information was not shared with the then home secretary, David Blunkett, who was still whipping up fear two weeks later. "Al-Qaida and the international network is seen to be, and will be demonstrated through the courts over months to come, actually on our doorstep and threatening our lives," he said on November 14.

The most ironic twist was an attempt to introduce an "al-Qaida manual" into the case. The manual - called the Manual of the Afghan Jihad - had been found on a raid in Manchester in 2000. It was given to the FBI to produce in the 2001 New York trial for the first attack on the World Trade Centre. But it wasn't an al-Qaida manual. The name was invented by the US department of justice in 2001, and the contents were rushed on to the net to aid a presentation to the Senate by the then attorney general, John Ashcroft, supporting the US Patriot Act.

I don't know about you, but I am getting a little pissed off with all this shite. I am less and less inclined be be phased by any tinfoil-hat tag. And this is just another trivial chapter in a tome of absurdity.

BTW - as we are all "thinking people" around here - has anyone yet thought of a reaonable explanation for the collapse of wtc7? If not - have you thought about the implications? Or do we just continue to quietly sit in the corner drinking, and ignore that gang of 600 lb gorillas smashing up the furniture?

Is it just me? I would love to see the results of a straw poll on MoA.

Posted by: DM | Apr 23 2005 3:47 utc | 56

afaik DM, no other steel-framed skyscraper has ever collapsed due to fire -- despite burning for (in some cases) almost 24 hrs. does anyone know of another instance? but the question has been wrapped in tinfoil and placed outside the realm of respectable discourse. I have many unanswered questions about the events of that day and the aftermath. the put-options, the indecent haste w/which the wreckage was shipped halfway around the world to be melted down for scrap... many loose ends wriggling in that can-o-worms, and we are not officially allowed to be curious about any of 'em.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 23 2005 4:24 utc | 57

Didn't Nostradamus predict the end of the Catholic Church around this time of history? Maybe this Pope will help the decline to happen a little faster.

Pope 'ignored sex abuse claim against John Paul's friend'

When Cardinal Ratzinger was asked about the accusations he brushed the questions aside. On one occasion he literally slapped the wrist of an American television reporter, Brian Ross, who had the temerity to raise the issue. On another occasion Cardinal Ratzinger said: "One can't put on trial such a close friend of the Pope's as Marcial Maciel."
In December last year, seven years after the charges were filed against Fr Maciel, the Vatican announced that it would investigate them. A month later, Fr Maciel stepped down as leader of the Legionaries of Christ.

This week the spokesman for the eight men still alive said he thought the Church's change of heart was a way for Cardinal Ratzinger to improve his chances of becoming Pope. Jose Barba, a professor of Latin America studies, told Reuters in Mexico: "It would have been very embarrassing for the cardinal to turn up at the conclave with the reputation of someone who had covered up a scandal."

Professor Barba added: "Was Cardinal Ratzinger totally and solely responsible [for the failure to investigate]? I think that to a great extent he was because it was his department."

Posted by: Fran | Apr 23 2005 4:37 utc | 58

I don't watch b'cast TV so I have never been exposed to Faux News, except briefly in airports. but if,2933,154358,00.html>this is typical "reporting" then we're in deeper trouble even than I thought.

What if there were another terror attack and, rather than retrench, we moved on? Quickly.

I ask this because of an astrologer guest of mine this week, who predicts sometime next year the stars are telling him we'll see another terror attack and it could be big.

Naturally, he assumes and his stars say, we'll all recoil in shock and we'll all be awed. And, just like 2001, we'll stop buying, stop shopping, stop everything.

Terrorists counted on that reaction then. Just like they're no doubt counting on that reaction again.

But they were wrong then and they'll be wrong again. Don't forget, it wasn't that long after Sept. 11 (search), that we Americans picked ourselves up and started looking up and out for each other.

We returned to our lives, returned to our stores and returned to our markets. We were shocked, but we weren't stopped.

I think Usama bin Laden (search) counted on us stopping, not shopping. On us being soft, not stern. On us being weak characters, not ultimately showing a lot of character.

Notice the number of times that "shopping" is repeated, and "returning to our stores" and "markets" is somehow equated with "looking up and looking out for each other" -- not to mention being tough and having character? This is the weirdest bit of agitprop I've read for a long, long time. It's almost hallucinatory.

I wonder if intelligence analysts in the Islamist militant world read this and fall about their offices laughing, to think that the Yanks actually think that toughness/character means strolling through a mall carrying a shopping bag :-)

I note also how the "astrologer's prediction" is "debunked," in the sense that "he's wrong" about how Americans will react -- but the alarmism of the prediction of a terrorist attack is not debunked, the implication being that he isn't wrong about that. It's a deniable bit of sleaze -- if anyone took Fox to task for running a scare story based on an anonymous astrologer's prediction, they can correctly claim that the article actually discounts such predictions... sorta.

So remember folks, if there is a major terror attack, it's your patriotic duty to Keep Buying Stuff. That'll show 'em! [you just can't make this stuff up]

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 23 2005 4:38 utc | 59

That's just the beginning of the dangers posed by Marcial Maciel.

He's the founder of the other radical right wing Catholic order -Legionnaires of Christ. Founded in Mexico in '41, he esteemed Hitler & Franco.
Maciel called for re-evangelizing the Catholic Church, to restore orthodoxy as a bulwark against Communism.

Sounds like Vatican looked to him as "alternative" to real Christianity of Liberation Theology.

He/his order are supported by Wm. Bennett & Rick Santorum.

They have 25 schools in xAmerica. Producer of Gibson's "Passion" is into it. He's looking for land in LA to open a school of theirs.
Here's a site w/plenty of info. on them.

Posted by: jj | Apr 23 2005 5:24 utc | 60

Sorry, I hit post when I meant to hit preview.

Clearly JPI was poisoned for being liberal, as these two papacies are involved in promoting an explosion in fundie Catholicism. (Interesting that Matthew Fox said on a recent link, a CIA agent told him JPII was their guy in Poland.)

There's a tripartite arrangement to gut the public schools - fundie Catholics, Fundie Prots. & Pirates. That cynical obscenity, "Leave no child behind", is the perfect vehicle to do it. Poor blacks, being seduced w/fantasies of "choice" & visions of their children going to wonderful "private" schools, will instead be sending them off to have either Fundie Religion or Fundie Capitalism shoved down their throats - after their public school is judged to "be failing them". (Recall the only difference between Repugs. & xDems. on education in '04 was Kerry saying "leave no child behind" should be fully funded!!!)

Posted by: jj | Apr 23 2005 5:45 utc | 61

I don't know whether to call this "You know how bad things are when Chomsky gets interview w/Seattle Times columnist" or "That's why they don't hire more black columnists", but it's one & the same - under a most inviting title:Chomsky: It's time to take back our lives

Substance somewhat limited, but the fun part is that he paints Chomsky as yr. uber-neighbor.

"The ideal for the business world is based on a pair: you and your television. Be connected to the television or computer and not talking to your neighbor."

Chomsky sees the current Social Security flap as a scam, an attempt to destroy an institution that is based on social solidarity. "The basis of Social Security is that you care whether the disabled widow across town has enough food to eat."

Public schools are in trouble, he says, because they too are an institution that depends on people caring about what happens to other people in the society.

You might imagine him pounding the table to make a point, but he's quite relaxed. His voice is so soft, I have to strain to hear him sometimes.

Some folks would consider him a radical, but he believes most Americans would agree with him on many issues; it's the political parties that are out of step. People, he says, want to help their neighbors, they want to provide health care to Americans who can't afford it, they want to increase foreign aid and cut back on weapons, but their voice is too soft to be heard over the noise of big interests.

We can't afford to just be quiet and leave national and world affairs to so-called experts, he argues.

"Politics is anybody's field. There's no secret. It's not quantum physics; anyone can understand it if they work at it."

Posted by: jj | Apr 23 2005 7:17 utc | 62

A totaly bizarre video interview with Jeff Guk/annon on MSBC Dietal&Daniels, answering questions about some alleged connection to a kidnapped boy in 1982, possibly processed through CIA's Monarch (supposed brainwashing scheme)project. I guess somebody thinks Jeff might be that boy. While this all seems pretty outlandish, the whole Guk/annon story itself defies creduility to such an extent that the interview takes on a sort of "end of my tether" surrealism. And no small part of that surrealism is due to the fact such a story, ALL loose ends makes it onTV news. Not having cable news myself, I"m sort of shocked by the supermarket tabloid level seen now as news on TV.

Its worth it for that alone, at >crooks and liars

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 23 2005 7:34 utc | 63

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