Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 31, 2005

Paging Mr. Fitzgerald

Newsweek: Secret Memo—Send to Be Tortured:

In a memo forwarded to a senior FBI lawyer on Nov. 27, 2002, a supervisory special agent from the bureau's behavioral analysis unit offered a legal analysis of interrogation techniques that had been approved by Pentagon officials for use against a high-value Qaeda detainee. After objecting to techniques such as exploiting "phobias" like "the fear of dogs" or dripping water "to induce the misperception of drowning," the agent discussed a plan to send the detainee to Jordan, Egypt or an unspecified third country for interrogation. "In as much as the intent of this category is to utilize, outside the U.S., interrogation techniques which would violate [U.S. law] if committed in the U.S., it is a per se violation of the U.S. Torture Statute," the agent wrote. "Discussing any plan which includes this category could be seen as a con-spiracy to violate [the Torture Statute]" and "would inculpate" everyone involved.
...
(The memo's author, a former New York City prosecutor, declined to comment to NEWSWEEK.)

Posted by b on July 31, 2005 at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

July 30, 2005

"A Stroke of Genius?"

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."
Powerline: A Stroke of Genius?

"I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal."
Richard Wagner quotes

Posted by b on July 30, 2005 at 06:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

Weekend Thread

Open one ...

Posted by b on July 30, 2005 at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

July 29, 2005

WB: Sucker Pitch

Billmon:

But the fact that the GOP can afford to dump $330k into a race just to keep the opposition from scoring a few bragging points (or to punish the crime of lese majesty -- take your pick) is a sign of just how much of a financial supercharge 10 years of DeLayism have given the machine.

Sucker Pitch

Posted by b on July 29, 2005 at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (224)

WB: Austin City Limits

Billmon:

This, even more than the hard evidence, is what feeds my suspicion that the Rovians have something wired -- or think they do. Whether it's the computerized voting machines (or the far less complex software inside the heads of the sleepwalking fools who use them) I don't know. But it suggests the pork party could get a lot wilder, and last quite a bit longer, before the money finally runs out.

Austin City Limits

Posted by b on July 29, 2005 at 02:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (34)

July 28, 2005

Heat Warnings

Heat warnings were issued in nine eastern states and in the cities of Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.
...
Temperatures topped 38C (100F), hitting record highs in Florence, South Carolina and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina on Tuesday.

New York City power usage reached a new record of 12,551 megawatts, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the opening of special public air-conditioned "cooling centres".
BBC News,  July 28, 2005

---

5 DAY FORECAST (day | night)
Thursday - 118°F (48°C) | 90°F (32°C)
Friday   - 118°F (48°C) | 90°F (32°C)
Saturday - 119°F (48°C) | 83°F (28°C)
Sunday   - 119°F (48°C) | 81°F (27°C)
Monday   - 119°F (48°C) | 80°F (27°C)

CNN Weather, Baghdad, Iraq, current

---

The electricity ministry said six attacks in the last 10 days on the power grid has led to a reduction in the electricity supplies to Baghdad and nearby southern provinces, according to government newspaper al-Sabah. Power in Baghdad is down to a half an hour of electricity followed by a six-hour blackout.
AP, July 28, 2005

Posted by b on July 28, 2005 at 03:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (18)

July 27, 2005

"Find Opportunities"

Mr. Rumsfeld also said Iraq should "find opportunities" to thank allied countries for their contributions over the past several months.
NYT

---

Who was killed?
- 24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
- Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.
- Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.

When did they die?
- 30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.
- Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

Who did the killing?
- US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
- Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
- Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
- Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.
Oxford Research Group

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Labour Struggle

by Debs is dead (lifted from a comment)

This is either very bad or perhaps it's going to be a good thing. People involved in the US Labor unions will have a better idea.

The article which reports the disaffiliation of the Teamsters and SEIU from the AFL-CIO can be taken as a sign that the right has finally managed to drive a wedge through the middle of one of it's main opponents to it's enslavement of everbody to corporate ethos.

On the other hand in the article

The 939 delegates who registered for the convention held in Chicago's cavernous Navy Pier would get no chance to evaluate proposals, only peruse letters slipped furtively under their hotel room doors by Change to Win squads imparting the news that a few union presidents had decided things without bothering to consult them.

If the labour movement has got that undemocratic and modelled itself on the dems rather than providing a viable democratic model for the dems to emulate, perhaps it is time for a massive purge followed by reconstruction.

The article also says:

The one interesting moment of the convention's first day came over a couple of resolutions concerning diversity. One gives additional slots on the federation's governing bodies to black, female, gay, Latin and Asian representatives; the other mandates that by the next convention each delegation will have to represent the racial and gender make-up of a union's membership.

These changes involve more than cosmetics because of how they came about. Over the past few months of top-tier to-ing and fro-ing over labor's future, the AFL's constituency groups, especially the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, began to insist that the domination of the discussion by older white men indicated problems with organized labor's leadership, focus and priorities more than any matters of internal scaffolding or dues structure.

If the AFL/CIO has really waited until 2005, 50 years after the success of the civil rights movement which is nearly as long as the time it has been campaigning for EEO from employers to fix it's own structure, then it's a miracle it lasted this long.

Apropos the 'Cease Fire Violation' thread its gotta be time to walk away from these dinosaurs because if things are this primitive in the unions they will be worse in the political arm of the labour movement, laughingly called "The Democrats" which I suppose fits in a country where the imperialists call themselves 'republicans'.

If that sounds harsh I'm sorry because there is absolutely no justification to suppose that people who live in the US are innately more backward than elsewhere, but at some point people, ordinary battlers have to make a stand.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou just cause at the moment I live in NZ where I'm unaware of any white male holding a position of power in either the government or judiciary or union movement for that matter. I have nearly as much problem with that as I do with the US where it seems only white males hold power. Nations like the UK and Australia aren't shining beacons of equality either but the fact that they have modified their structures a long time ago to ensure that the hegemony of the whitefella is over at least informs us that there is genuine impetus to try and have the power structures reflect the community.

If the US labor movement and dems haven't ever got past tokenism that means they have never really had the sort of revolution that people's organisations need to have to be effective now.

I really think the best thing to do is to walk away and start again because who really needs to keep fighting the old battles when there are a lot of urgent new battles to be won.

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (38)

Another Open One

Other news, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 27, 2005 at 03:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (109)

July 26, 2005

WB: Cease Fire Violation

Billmon:
For those in North America who still care about social justice, tolerance and rationality, Canada might be the better long-term bet. But unless someone is willing to challenge the conservative status quo in this country, unless activists are willing to try to cultivate and grow the liberal base, the DLC's political philosophy will become a self-fufilling prophesy.

Cease Fire Violation

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 06:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (79)

WB: Clone Wars

Billmon:
The only flaw I can see in the Army's performance is in acknowledging an "administrative error." Sure, it's a minor concession -- so minor it would be almost laughable if the quotes really were fake (which of course they're not.)

Clone Wars

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

WB: Roberts to the Rescue

Billmon:

Rovian gonads aren't nearly weighty enough to take on the DA directly, using the standard media hit men. But an entire Senate investigating committee on the take -- one that can hide behind the facade of national security? That's a sweet deal. Imagine what Nixon could have done with a tool like that.

Roberts to the Rescue

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 03:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

WB: Film Noir

Billmon:

But torture is a matter of principle to this administration, and it looks like the White House is going to pull out all the stops (and maybe a few fingernails) to preserve in full the executive branch's God-given authority to violate the Geneva Convention and the International Convention Against Torture.

Film Noir

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 01:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

WB: Suddenly in a Hurry

Billmon:
Suddenly in a Hurry

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 01:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

July 25, 2005

WB: Self Esteem

Billmon:
Self Esteem

Posted by b on July 25, 2005 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

WB: The Beirut Express

Billmon:

Considering the American blunders, American crimes and -- worst of all -- sheer American ignorance that brought Iraq and its peoples to this point, such a stance has about as much moral integrity as a little boy who, having dumped a bunch of red ants and black ants together to watch them fight, gets bored with the whole thing and flushes them all down the toilet. It is beneath contempt.

The Beirut Express

Posted by b on July 25, 2005 at 02:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (107)

July 24, 2005

Open Thread 05-75

News, views, opinions ...

Posted by b on July 24, 2005 at 02:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (40)

July 23, 2005

WB: War of the Words

Billmon:
War of the Words

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 05:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (77)

WB: Round Up the Usual Suspects

Billmon:
The Egyptian government is blaming (I kid you not) "local Bedouin."

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Execution "Tragedy"

"He looked absolutely petrified and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him, [they] couldn't have been any more than two or three feet behind him at this time and he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand.

"He held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him.
BBC News, Friday, 22 July, 2005

A man shot dead by police as part of the inquiry into Thursday's attempted bomb attacks was unconnected to the incidents, police have confirmed.

A Scotland Yard statement said the shooting was a "tragedy" which was regretted by the Metropolitan Police.
BBC News, Saturday, 23 July, 2005

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)