Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2005

OT - 05-129

Bush is supposed to have a major TV-speech tonight. The first since 2003. What will/does he say and why?

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 18, 2005 at 21:58 UTC | Permalink


I think he needs to explain the difference between a "democracy" and a "constitutional democracy"; and why in these dangerous times we can no longer afford the latter and may even be forced to suspend the former.

Posted by: Sentient Lemming | Dec 18 2005 22:54 utc | 1

Tonights adress will be nothing more than the defending of the The Panopticon Singularity of technofacism.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 19 2005 1:05 utc | 2

some light
the glorious indian bolivian evo morales
winning decisively

of course he will have to be careful of unfortunate accidents

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 19 2005 1:09 utc | 3

"More light!"

Posted by: gylangirl | Dec 19 2005 3:01 utc | 4

i have just read the transcript of bush's speech.

the speech & the man are of no consequence.

what it is however is a harbinger of the coming terror from the empire. i fear for for us

& in this moment with the victory in bolivia where eva morales is clearly a person of greatness in the mold of bolivar or marti - i fear for him & his programme

it is clear as day that the u s empire will not permit that programme to proceed. bolivia is not urugauy or even brazil. its importance to the empire is capital. perhaps moreso than chile was & for those reasons i have grave concerns for what they are prepared to do.

i imagination the assassination of morales is on the drawing boards & the destabilisation of his programmes have already begun in the corridors of washington

each time a light emerges - this administration is there to crush it & turn it into an unending darkness

he speaks of his god tonight in that speech but it is hollow talk because what he is saying is that the world must be prepared for domination. domination of the cruelest kind

never has european solidarity been more important yet i do not see it in the face of the oberwhelming horro of this administrations policies & plans

have mercy on our souls, if any

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 19 2005 3:02 utc | 5

viva morales! this should be a boost to the indigenous movements elsewhere in latin america. mexico. peru. ecuador. guatemala. momentum is surely on the south's side. and, upon reflection, another looking glass moment - the national security state has moved from the backyard right into the eagle's nest!

Posted by: b real | Dec 19 2005 4:03 utc | 6

"have mercy on our souls"

Think, maybe, you
can get your shit together?

Posted by: Pat | Dec 19 2005 5:23 utc | 7

Did'nt hear the speech, as if at this point, it means anything other than to blow more alcohol soaked breath on the amorphus and flickering embers of exceptionalism, least they flicker totally out. It'll probably be received by the parched and dried out press like fresh shit for the desperate and seething maggot pile to regergitate into some be-humbled hogwash that re-personalizes oh poor leader as being honest, candid, earnist, and assuming selflessly the full burden of resposibility (as if he just showed up) for the war on Iraq. It's almost a call for celebration in itself, for the media to be rewarded a motherload of conflickted moral struggle personified but never conclusively defined by the real and true outline of actual fact and policy -- the Elvisification writ large -- of america.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 19 2005 11:16 utc | 9

Did Andy Card rush in after the speech, and throw a purple sequened cape over the sweat drenched quivering and spent king? Comeon, you know he wanted it...Maybe after the cameras were off.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 19 2005 11:30 utc | 10


i was only citing our own mistah charley, after all.

the whole question of souls is wholly another matter for me - a more ambigous situation, as you old inteliigence staffers might say

in fact i presumed we lost them when i g farben set up in business

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 19 2005 14:09 utc | 11

I watched the speech and didn't have much of a response one way or another. It didn't raise my blood pressure the way his usual pronouncements do because I think I am becoming inured to it. It's obvious his speechwriters were trying a different tact; it seems to have finally gotten through to them that the unilateral cowboy act doesn't make their product look as much like a "uniter, not a divider" as they had hoped. I guess after dealing with five years of Creon from Antigone I couldn't find it in myself to get terribly upset that the language and presentation seemed to be aimed at the average five year old.

Nothing new except the acknowledgement this time that his "tough decisions" will continue to make people die.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 19 2005 14:13 utc | 12

Breaking: Bush to hold press UNEXPECTED conference shortly

WASHINGTON - The White House unexpectedly announced Monday morning that President Bush will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET....

Details were not immediately available, though the question and answer session will be held at the White House.

The president has traditionally made an opening statement at news conferences, but it was not clear if he would do so at this one.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 19 2005 14:43 utc | 13

More of the same crap...
Nobody expects anything better any more...anyway.
More people will die and what only counts for American public more Americans will die.
Nothing new under the sun .There were people dieing somewhere in the world all the time because of American "interest"'s just a matter of numbers. That what Empires do...and USA is one (and only) Empire of our times. Some nations are just not lucky because they became a subject of USA interest...
Here on TV "big" news is that for the first time Bush ADMITTED publicly that there is something wrong with "wining" in costs too much...
I could vomit both for his speech and for the "big" news and how all of the crap has been manipulated for the public we are all idiots...But I am almost used to it.

Posted by: vbo | Dec 19 2005 15:19 utc | 14

More of the same crap...

Maybe not vbo:

Congressman Jerry Nadler ups the ante--calls for a special prosecutor Congressional overnight session???
According to MSNBC, congress just adjourned from a long overnight session. I wonder if Nadler's topic was discussed or if that is why Bush is speaking again this AM.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 19 2005 15:25 utc | 15

Uncle...the only way this crap is to collapse is when they hurt each other (meaning American politicians representing different interests inside USA) in their straggle for power...It has been seen in history before too. Empires collapsing inside...Well maybe it's a beginning but I am not so sure...It looks like more entertainment for masses to me at this point while everything actually goes according to plan…

Posted by: vbo | Dec 19 2005 15:49 utc | 16


I understand where you're coming from, but I think that it's overly simplistic (and harmful) to promote the "It's all American Imperialism" schtick. First of all, the Imperialism we see today is corporate (and, as such, does not owe allegiance to any nation), but more importantly than not addressing the root causes, blaming the USA for every social and economic ill has a harmful polarising effect on otherwise reasonable people.

Not every German in WWII was a member of or even supported the Nazi Party. However, the effect of blaming the German nation for anything and everything at that time actually made it impossible for the problem of Nazism to be solved internally (necessitating a brutal war in which many people died)and gave the murderous regime of Stalin (which I would argue was a far bloodier problem) a free pass. Once again, Fromm, writing from the United States during WWII about the the rise of Nazism observed that:

"This consideration results in an axiom which is important for the problems of political propaganda: any attack on Germany as such, any defamatory propaganda concerning "the Germans" (such as the "Hun" symbol of the last war), only increases the loyalty of those not wholly identified with the Nazi system. This problem, however, cannot be solved basically by skillful propaganda but only by the victory in all countries of one fundamental truth: that ethical principles stand above the existence of the nation and that by adhering to these principles an individual belongs to the community of all those who share, who have shared, and who will share this belief." (Fromm, Escape From Freedom, p.209. Henry Holt & Co., 1941.)

Before you think that this is simply an abstraction, there have been arguments here in which I have been tempted (even as far-Left as I am) to throw my hands in the air and declare that if progressives are so divisive and going to regard me as an evil American anyway, I should just throw my lot in with the Neocons and support my country's plundering. The strength of my convictions keeps this sentiment from lasting for very long.

Blaming the problem of Corporate Imperialism on a single nation here is making the same basic mistake that the leaders of the USA are making with appeasements like yesterday's speech. It is basing the estimation of the strength of your paradigm on the range this idea has while overlooking its lack of weight. If Washington, D.C. were to disappear from the map tomorrow, the world would still be in the thrall of trans-national corporations. They are the "only superpower" today and it is they who need to be addressed, not their ostensibly nationalist spokespuppets.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 19 2005 16:25 utc | 17

Goodness Annie that was creative! In a way, it does not matter what Bush says. Those who adhere continue to do so, the others are in any case of no account in the present schema.


Michelle Bachelet is doctor, divorced, her father and herself were tortured by Pinochet, she is a Socialist. The next president of Chile! (She won 46% in the first round.)

All the opinion polls – including those from think-tanks aligned with the right – place Bachelet well ahead, though probably short of the 50% she requires to win outright in the first round. The prestigious research centre CERC gives her just over 48%, with Lavín on 22%, Piñera 21% and Hirsch at almost 8%.>Open democracy>Bachelet personal site (Spanish)

Posted by: Noisette | Dec 19 2005 16:40 utc | 18

Bush's speech reminded me of a cartoon I used to enjoy. The villain, defeated, retreats and cries, "You'll never defeat me - I am invincible!"

Maybe the Democrats would do better to say that we've won the war long ago, and staying in Iraq any longer is a waste of taxpayer money. I'd like to see Bush say, "Some people say that we've won already and that this is a waste of money - but that's crazy. Setting politics aside, we're losing the war and we need more funding...."

Posted by: Obs | Dec 19 2005 16:53 utc | 19

Monocyclous, yes, more or less. However Nation States hold powerful cards up their sleeves; just one point, they influence and utlimately control people, and people still count, as they are needed to produce, consume, fight, work, and provide leaders with a ‘base’, in whatever way one would want to describe that (cheerleaders, cannon fodder, motors for innovation, etc. etc.) There is a reason why Corporations keep a low profile, and indulge in manipulations, corruption, etc. That reason is that they don’t really possess the leverage to make people march or pray. Corporations make people work; Nation States give them group-belonging, a stake in their community, a belief in justice (even under dictators, even if misguided...) Today, in the US, a true and full blown marriage between Corporations and the State is not overtly possible. Both parties know it.

Posted by: Noisette | Dec 19 2005 17:01 utc | 20


I recognise that. And it is that very human need to identify with a group that is the nut of my objection to making the argument one of "America against the world". A person who is attempting to reconcile the nation vs. ideology argument for themselves is going to be forced into nationalism if they feel they can not "belong" to the community of progressives. This is why I think we need to be very, very careful to keep our criticisms narrowed and focused. Blanket arguments work in favor of Totalitarian, Authoritarian or even Fascist states; they do not bring people together.

I agree with you that a more overt corporatocracy would be detrimental to their aims at this time, but I don't think that it's entirely impossible. Whether it is possible or not, we are agreed that it is not desirable for the state to acknowledge this relationship at this juncture. I do think, though, that they have made some real systematic progress at breaking down and blurring this relationship and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future (Although I doubt we will ever see "In Coca-Cola we Trust" on any currency or pledge ourselves to "One nation, under Disney" for the reasons you described).

By the way, am I really "cyclous"...? *insert smiley face here*

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 19 2005 17:42 utc | 21


That would actually be a fairly brilliant, if disingenuous, strategy. I shouldn't be opposed to some disingenuousness that worked to alleviate the killing and suffering for a change.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 19 2005 17:48 utc | 22

"Corporations make people work;"

What??? I thought that was the promise of the Socialists!!!

"Nation States give them group-belonging, a stake in their community"

What??? That's socialism...the Arch Enemy.

That's for Countries like Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia? Chile? Venezuela and Uruguay, where the message still gets to the people by pamphlet, billboard and graffiti.

Posted by: pb | Dec 19 2005 18:05 utc | 23

...and murals

Posted by: b real | Dec 19 2005 18:15 utc | 24

One task of a nation-state is to husband the nation's resources. Not just the minerals, air, soil and water, but also the nation's health and its workforce are resources that must be tended to.

The modern tendency is to look on labor as just another cost factor that is to be minimized or abolished altogether in the name of increasing profits.

Another job of the government is to balance the interests within the nation and not allow any person or group of persons to turn their social or financial advantage into a political one.

Adam Smith, the father of the "free market", was no fan of laissez-faire. He was, however, opposed to state intervention in the form of government-licensed and sponsored cartels, such as the British East India Company.

The modern equivalent of these entities are companies like Halliburton, with its no-bid, cost-plus contracts, and the defense industry, which is also dominated by a few large corporations who set their own prices and profit levels.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Dec 19 2005 18:58 utc | 25

you are closer to the action

but from europe they are saying morales has a decisive majority

it is such good news - that one by one - nation who existed under the boot of th 'north american' empire as morales calls it are finally within grasp of their destiny

it is a light that gives great hope

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 19 2005 19:09 utc | 26

Jesus bans "Christian" group. Morford and a fine cartoon.

Christ, who will be in negotiations with the lords of the underworld next week about what can be done about Jerry Falwell, summarized it this way: "Hell, at the root of it, we're all pagans," JC said with a wink, from a lovely pattern of bark on an old-growth sycamore in a heavily wooded forest somewhere in Bavaria.

Posted by: beq | Dec 19 2005 20:01 utc | 27

che's 1 2 3 many vietnams perhaps has a certain resonance in the corridors of washington, tonight

& b - i eagerly await our anna miised's art - i hope it is coming....

& to conchita....the boat still floats.....

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 19 2005 20:19 utc | 28

a bit sarcastic - the task of a nation is to provide the military that gives cover to its corporations to rob other nations.

Posted by: b | Dec 19 2005 20:37 utc | 29

Sarcastic or not, you raise a very good point, Bernhard. Even if Bush the Younger's speech yesterday appeared to be prevailing to the American people, it is obvious by the official US response to Katrina (and all environmental issues), their reticence to relinquish the Executive Right to Torture (or to prosecute the human rights abuses that have been uncovered), their undercutting of Social Security (and every other social program they can get their hands on), their war-profiteering (and self-interested deregulation of all corporate piracy) , their defense of domestic spying (and demonstrable contempt for all individual rights of privacy), and their suppression of political debate (including the arrests of third party candidates) that at least the official US philosophy of what a government is has nothing whatsoever to do with the welfare of the governed.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 19 2005 20:54 utc | 30

People are being a bit absolutist here because just as there are times when it is necessary for people to be able to identify the corruption within their community to defeat it, there are also times when any community needs to acknowledge the extent of their complicity with oppression so they can try to cease that complicity.

If this board had a circulation in the tens of millions I've no doubt that people would feel a need to rephrase some of the discussion, so as to get people onside without alienating them. I'm not sure many of us would be amongst the millions of readers but that's neither here nor there, people are more prepared to swallow honey than vinegar. As any hustling town councillor learns early on.

The point is that having lived for lengthy periods in a number of different nations I have become very unsure of the worthiness of 'national group belonging'.

I don't deny its existence nor that its power is practically impossible to resist. There are times when it is necessary to step outside it and dispassionately look at what it is this group identity is in fact doing.

After a period of time in Java I stopped worrying too much about the people of Irian Jaya, Aceh, Molucca and in particular East Timor.

This wasn't by conscious effort. It was a result of my growing affection for the people of Java combined with a desire to belong to the community I was in.

The contradiction between many peoples stated beliefs and their actions also makes an objective analysis of a community's aims and objectives tough.

For example the regional police chief who is good fun to spend time with, is witty generous and considerate, yet at the back of your mind you know that someone is getting the shit kicked out of them at one of his stations either for not anteing up with the 'rent' or for competing with someone else who is.

When I was a kid I spent a few months in a town on the Kansas/Oklahoma border. The people were great and I knew enough to understand that subjecting them to my views on organised religion was not going to win any hearts and minds. Easily the most hospitable and generous mob I had ever spent time with.

I genuinely liked the people and not in some sort of stand-offish patronising way. They mostly had a good sense of humour, cared about their fellow humans and tried the best they could to get what they needed without hurting anyone.

However looking back it was inevitable that a time would come when the huge chasm between our points of view on one issue in particular would cause problems. The fiftieth time I heard "Hell boy you're the first foreigner round here without a wet back", I didn't laugh just as I hadn't the other 49 times. I didn't get all sniffy either because that was just part of that town's culture at that time.

However when I was out with friends one night and some people were refused permission to come into the club we were at just because they were African American I lost it. I regret to this day that I lost it because it was no way to repay the hospitality and kindness I had been shown.

I had no business being surprised about this incident yet I couldn't see any way of dealing with the issue that didn't make me just as complicit as any of the other ignoramii. That is a harsh description but racism is all about ignorance. It's a specific or limited ignorance and often doesn't impact on a person's ability to be a good person except in that specific or limited way.

Of course if I had handled it differently I would feel better about the incident now looking back (most likely I wouldn't even remember it) but sometimes things need to be said and done. After all if we all just mutely go along with stuff nothing will change.

Yesterday I made a post in another thread about what I felt to be the hypocrisy of complaining about US citizen's phones being bugged and their mail intercepted without due process of law when even a cursory examination of US intelligence services' activities overseas would reveal that these practises had been s.o.p. for at least 50 years. I rewrote that thing a number of times to try and remove any obviously offensive parts.
Even then I scratched my head about whether to post it or not but came to the conclusion that this needed to be said.

Why did it need to be said? Because if activists in any community remain unaware of obvious contradictions in the rationale of their actions, they will end up moving to a place not dissimilar to the one they are currently railing against.

Of course a piece like that wouldn't play well on the front page of the NYT but this isn't the NYT it's a group of people discussing the most obvious types of oppression that people around the world are attempting to resist.

Because the US is the largest empire operating at this time it is likely to be the one that cops the most flack. I would be concerned if the US was the only nation whose actions were held up for scrutiny or if I failed to question the motives of the country I am currently living in. Neither are the case. England and to a lesser extent France have both copped more passionate flack from me than the US has.

It was only the other day I pointed out that developing nations penchant for picking NZer's to be the whitefella on International Forums was frequently in vain. That the sort of white middle aged men that get these gigs are no different here than they are anywhere else.

The only reason I am raising this issue at all is that some people from the US who read that some of the posts in here are provocatively anti-amerikan will find that a useful out to ignore the issues that are highlighted.

I am yet to be convinced that US corporations are completely corporatist in their motivations. I won't go into that here because this post is already far too long. I felt that vbo was merely pointing out that many of the actions the US are inspired by corporate goals. Why? Because the US has the largest standing military on the planet it is the nation that corporations go to to 'get things done'. Saying so isn't anti american schtick it is just pointing at the elephant in the room.

It does play havoc with the emotions to find that the community that one belongs to and supports isn't the well intentioned group of people most of us would like it to be.

That shouldn't prevent us from critically examining that community.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 19 2005 21:44 utc | 31

Of course in the time I took to write the post above, drive the young fella to school, fix my daughter's mp3 player, and scratch my ass the discussion has moved on.

I am more sanguine about the victory in Bolivia than giap.

BushCo have really screwed the pooch on this one and Poppy n his aged elitist mates will be climbing the walls.

In fact it is this issue that is more likely to cause W's impeachment than anything else. That would bever be the stated motive of course but dem and rethug legislators palsy with the corporations making a buck in Latin America (ie most dem and rethug legislators) will be tearing the hair outta their rugs.

My view is that the swing to the left in South America has gone too far for any US administration to be able to 'restore order' easily.

The Iraqi invasion has demonstrated the dangers of concentrating one's efforts in one place and though the US elites will be pissed about South America, they won't want to try and regain that lost ground if by doing so they endanger their hold in Central America which is strategically more important and hasn't really been challenged yet.

The problem the US has it that it won't be able to use the puppets in other Latin American nations to criticise the actions of their neighbour in any of the many American fora thereby using that crticism as an excuse for intervention. Attempts to do so with Venezuala have been unsuccessful with governments who are desperate not to get offside with their own voters.

US and EU governments already have a major issue that undercuts their stated committment to democracy.

That is the recent victories of Hamas in Palestinian local body elections. This is going to be really difficult to argue against while arguing in favour of 'democracy in Iraq', which despite the huge sea change in Latin America is obviously the major priority of USuk.

It may be that the worm has turned the chickens have come home to roost etc. If that is the case it is the beginning of the end of empire.

I realise that we shouldn't be quite so flippant about this because the US is the devil we know.

I console myself with the knowledge that for a few thousand years China has made it plain that they regard any further expansion of their empire as self defeating. Yes they did grab Tibet back and won't surrender Taiwan but that is more an affirmation of their ancient borders than a decision to expand further.

The vast majority of China's military forces are directed inwards at their own population which is not a good thing but it's better from our p.o.v. than having them directed at us.

They have also successfully expanded their economy without expanding their empire and as long as they continue to do that there will be no motive for expansion of empire.

If the above is correct we have reached a point where we can push for multi-lateralist solutions to international problems.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 19 2005 22:30 utc | 32

Congress passed a denial of habeas corpus for Guantanamo inmates.

That AP piece only says so between the lines but that's the fact. You`r next.

Posted by: b | Dec 19 2005 22:48 utc | 33

I just saw on Atrios that Rep. John Lewis, a bonified American hero, is calling for Bush to be impeached for breaking the law. He's the first member of congress to do so specifically. Go SNCC.

Link here.

Posted by: Rowan | Dec 19 2005 22:52 utc | 34

Should this make Iraqis happy or angry?

"Eight former aides to Saddam Hussein - including two women accused of making biological weapons - have been released from US custody in Iraq.

The freed detainees no longer pose a security threat, a US spokesman said.

They include Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, nicknamed by the US "Mrs Anthrax" and Rihab Taha, also known as "Dr Germ".

Reports have been circulating of a pre-election deal to free former regime figures in order to appease Iraq's Sunni Arabs, correspondents say."

Happy because the US is showing signs of heeding the Iraqi peoples priorities instead of it's own? Or angry because a mob of innocents were incarcerated for three years without any legal process? Probably Mr H himself didn't attempt that one. His system was corrupt and oppressive but he did have one.

The story goes on to say:

While the US military maintains only eight figures from Saddam Hussein's government have been released, an Iraqi official quoted by the Associated Press news agency said some 24 prisoners had been set free.

Aseel Tabra, an Iraqi Olympic Committee official and Hossam Mohammed Amin, head of the weapons inspections directorate, are among those released, according to the official quoted by the agency.

Could it be that the invaders are ashamed? So ashamed they can't bring themselves to admit the true numbers of imprisoned innocents?

I wasn't aware that being an olympic official was a crime and the weapons inspector was vindicated well over two years ago when it became apparent to Blind Freddy that Iraq had no WMD.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 20 2005 0:43 utc | 35

Some required reading from Mr Engelhart

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 20 2005 3:23 utc | 36

@ Monolycus

“there have been arguments here in which I have been tempted (even as far-Left as I am) to throw my hands in the air and declare that if progressives are so divisive and going to regard me as an evil American anyway, I should just throw my lot in with the Neocons and support my country's plundering. The strength of my convictions keeps this sentiment from lasting for very long.
You don’t need to explain to me how you feel. Remember, I was in your shoes once being and fighting against Milosevic and at the same time being accused by ALL THE WEST (and not only west) WORLD for just simple fact of being a Serb… Cause of course every living thing on this planet has to be aware that SERBS are genocidal savages that like to butcher anything that moves. That’s why it was oh so popular and moralistic to “shower” them indiscriminately with depleted uranium and other stuff of which cost will be seen in few generations. Bombardment was promoted by your oh so “progressive” president Clinton and practically supported by all “progressive” Americans and other westerners too. As once I already said you people of western culture just can’t think outside “bad guys vs. good guys” square. I don’t think all Americans are monsters I just think that if it is convenient for them and if it will preserve their “way of life” Americans will turn blind eye on what ever monstrous politic has been implemented by their government in their name…most of Americans at least. You may not be one of them so do not take it personally.
First of all, the Imperialism we see today is corporate (and, as such, does not owe allegiance to any nation),
You are right…in a way…But I would like to be able to see who are real owners of those corporations and where most of the profit is ending…and I bet it somehow smells like Anglo Saxonian kitchen…Like they say I would like to be able to “follow the money”…but it’s impossible…not only for me but more importantly for taxation offices.
I have seen a little bit of world and you know what when I walk through Gold Coasts- Surfers Paradise and when I see wealth around me I am totally aware that this kind of wealth must has been “stolen” from others …Stolen from those 8-10 years old children in third world countries that work 12 hours a day in criminal circumstances and earning 35 cents per day…Wealth is oh so visible and it’s so obvious who is benefiting from globalization…Most of the biggest corporations here in Australia are American…and I have a chilling feeling that those children who survive making all these cheep stuff for us will come here once to take what has been stolen from them…
We are not innocent…not you…not me…all though we may be really on the very far end of those benefiting from globalization…That’s why they expect us to shut up…
No hard feelings…Sorry if I sound harsh but I am angry and I am Serb and we haven’t been trained to be polite and diplomatic, ha-ha…

Posted by: vbo | Dec 20 2005 15:42 utc | 37

The point is that having lived for lengthy periods in a number of different nations I have become very unsure of the worthiness of 'national group belonging'.
Oh you wouldn’t believe how 'national group belonging' is alive and well around the globe. Even here in Australia during those racist riots in Sydney it was obvious…A lot of hooligans from “white supremacy” groups were wearing Australian flags around their bottom…Australian nation (same as American nation) expression is pretty hard for me to understand what exactly it represents. Looks like a new nation but at some point you just suddenly find out that what they mean by it is Anglo Saxons and all the others are just ugly necessity that should at least behave and feel like Anglo Saxons. On the other hand those guys “of middle east appearance” as they call them here on TV being put all in the same basket may also feel like having some kind of “Middle East” nation that they belong to. They are not even all of Islamic religion…
Everyone wants to belong and to be able to cover his behavior with some flag…

Posted by: vbo | Dec 20 2005 16:15 utc | 38

Shit has hit the Fan!!!

Ernst Uhrlau, Angela Merkel’s new head of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, is revealed by DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources as the man behind Berlin’s secret decision to trade German archeologist Susanne Osthoff kidnapped in Iraq on Nov. 25 for the jailed Hizballah terrorist wanted in America, Mohammad Ali Hammadi.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Dec 20 2005 17:37 utc | 39


Yeah, I guess you do know what I am on about. The angriest I ever got at Ted Koppel was when he travelled to the former Yugoslavia in 1995 and "interviewed" (read: lambasted) two aged Serbian men in front of the bombed-out remains of their home and badgered them about why they wanted to kill Albanians (although it was from Koppel that I first heard the detested words "depleted uranium", and give him credit for that). I feel a bit like that now.

I was (and am) no fan of Clinton, and it was during his presidency that I first began to realise how deeply and effectively the un-nuanced blanket arguments and "talking points" work to conceal the truth and stifle dissent. I was accused of being a Republican (!) because the words "perjury" and "obstruction of justice" turned into "blowjob" as soon as they hit the air. I was against the Kosovo War just as I was against Gulf War I... but from where I was, there was no real debate in either case. It has only been retrospectively that I have seen any real analyses, and even those are presented as curious historic footnotes.

This will be of no comfort to you (and will probably justifiably infuriate you... I apologise), but no American I have ever met hates Serbs. They have no idea who the Serbian people are. They have heard the names of the states and the ethnic groups who live there, but could not find the Balkan Peninsula on a map if their lives depended upon it. I was in Dayton, Ohio during the 1995 Dayton Accords, but if Wright-Patt Air Force Base increased security for the occasion, it was not visible nor did it need to be. Apart from a two-minute announcement on the news, nobody here seemed to know or care what was going on. The only "debate" heard were the rote "talking points".

It was during this time that the "talking point" and blanket generalisation became most transparent to me, although I have since re-visited previous rationales for atrocities and discovered that this had been the case all along (Bernhard has mentioned that there are still Germans who cling to the talking point that Poland attacked Germany first).

Specifically, it seemed obvious to me that Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia in 1999 (as well as Operations Infinite Reach and Desert Fox in Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq) were pursued with the specific intent to distract people from discussing Clinton's impeachment scandal. I was completely horrified by this interpretation; the wholesale slaughter of human beings was nothing more than a political game or a public relations move. That it was done so blatantly and so callously changed my view of "politics-as-usual" forever and cemented the idea in me that the discussion can never be restricted to the simplistic memes that cover up what is really going on... whether that meme is "unseating a brutal dictator" on the one hand or "American Imperialism" on the other.

I wish you peace, vbo. You do not need to apologise for sounding harsh and angry. I prefer genuine anger about genuine issues to the artificial apathetic serenity I am usually surrounded by.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 20 2005 18:11 utc | 40

@CP - nice find. That story will not give any cookie points to Merkel in the U.S. and Israel. Fine with me.
Otherwise it contains the typical Debka spin. There is no lifetime prision without parol in Germany unless you are dangerously crazy and are put in a special hospital. There was not current U.S. extradition warrant on file. They also spin on Mehlis. They are just sorry to lose him as an asset.

@vbo, Monolycus

Bernhard has mentioned that there are still Germans who cling to the talking point that Poland attacked Germany first
In my mothers generation there were quite some. Now only a few, very few might believe that.

On the issue you are discussing always being put in a "nationality" basket.

In GB they seem to see Germans as Nazis and accused me of being one, in Turkey they congratulated me as a German for killing jews.

That opened my eyes a bit on the "nationality" coffin. I hope this will someday become an outdated and unneeded concept.

Posted by: b | Dec 20 2005 18:46 utc | 41

edward herman, in his year-end recap over at swans, Reflections On 2005 And The Future, writes We are beyond the age of Orwell, into the Kafka years and then asks

Of course, the US citizenry deserves a lot of credit for this parlous situation. It is true that the media divert and propagandize them into supporting not very plausible scoundrels, but shouldn't we hold them to a moderate standard of concern for truth and decency as citizens? Should we excuse their frequent racist bias and easy manipulability by formulas and stereotypes? Shouldn't they be able to see through used car salesmen's, grade-B actors', and spoiled frat-boys' facades and not be taken in by rank demagoguery and serial lies?

for decades, herman has written on the doublespeak/doublethink the united states govt & media employ to hoodwink the public & manufacture consent. one criticism of his & chomsky's propaganda theory has been that they don't allocate enough critique to the role of the consenting, in that coercion & consent are intertwined & difficult to separate (if that is even possible). so, along w/ his alarming assessment that we are beyond orwell now, the ending to his yearly observation also raises the hairs on the back of my neck:

At the possible cost of being called an "elitist," I close with a quote from Vernon Louis Parrington's review of "Sinclair Lewis: Our Own Diogenes" (written back in 1927 and published in Parrington's classic Main Currents in American Thought):

Now what is the tremendous discovery that Sinclair Lewis makes so much of, and what we pay so great a price to learn? It is no other than this: that the goodly United States of America are peopled by a mighty herd, which like those earlier herds that rumbled about the plains, drives foolishly in whatever direction their noses point -- a herd endowed with tremendous blind power, with big bull leaders, but with minds rarely above their bellies and their dams. In the mass and at their own romantic rating they are distinctly imposing-big-necked, red-blooded, lusty, with glossy coats got from rich feeding-grounds, and with a herd power that sweeps majestically onward in a cloud of dust of its own raising, veritable lords and masters of a continent. But considered more critically and resolved into individual members, they appear to the realist somewhat stupid, feeble in brain and will, stuffed with conceit at their own excellence, esteeming themselves as the great end for which creation has been in travail, the finest handiwork of the Most High who spread the plains for their feeding-grounds: with a vast respect for totems and fetishes; purveyors and victims of the mysterious thing called Bunk, who valiantly horn to death any audacious heretic who may suggest that rumbling about the plains, filling their bellies, bellowing sacred slogans, and cornering the lushest grass, are scarcely adequate objectives for such immense power: a vast middleman herd, that dominates the continent, but cannot reduce it to order or decency.

Posted by: b real | Dec 21 2005 4:33 utc | 42

Kurt Nimmo cites disquieting news from the Turkish press
regarding a recent visit by Porter Goss, who is "getting around" lately. Soj reported (EuroTribune) that Goss recently visited the Ukraine (perhaps to tidy up problems with secret prisons and rendition?). I know it's a tired meme, but things
are looking so bad for the Bushites that we should certainly be expecting some sort of conveniently manufactured crisis (or terrorist attack) to arrive just in the nick of time to restore presidential authority.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 21 2005 7:32 utc | 43

Another visting American dignitary who is spreading
good cheer
to the Afghan parliament where his old

Mr Karzai repeated pleas for an end to the booming drugs trade. At least 20 parliamentarians are directly involved in drugs smuggling, according to diplomats.

But the high point of the visit (as noted on Pat Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis blog was thus chronicled:

After Mr Cheney entered the parliament chaotic scenes erupted when Afghan security guards insisted on searching the Americans' bags - including a briefcase containing America's secret nuclear bomb codes. An angry White House official ordered the guards to "open the gate now", an AP reporter said. "These are the vice-president's military aides."

The Afghans, who were trained by the US security contractor Dyncorps, allowed the aides through but insisted on a thorough body search of the rest of the party.

Has Cheney really assumed responsibility for "the football"?

Posted by: | Dec 21 2005 8:00 utc | 44

U.S. greenhouse gases up 2% in 2004: report

Emissions blamed for warming the atmosphere like a greenhouse, led by carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, rose to 7.12 million tonnes, up from 6.98 million tonnes in 2003, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in a report on 2004 figures.

That's 16 per cent higher than in 1990, an average annual increase of 1.1 per cent.

Posted by: b | Dec 21 2005 10:49 utc | 45

U.S. air power strikes Iraq targets daily

The number of U.S. airstrikes increased in the weeks leading up to last Thursday's election, from a monthly average of about 35 last summer to more than 60 in September and 120 or more in October and November. The monthly number of air missions, including refueling and other support flights, grew from 1,111 in September to 1,492 in November, according to figures provided by Central Command Air Force's public affairs office.

Posted by: b | Dec 21 2005 12:06 utc | 46

joe bageant covers the dominionist's literacy brigade: What the ‘Left Behind’ Series Really Means

Posted by: b real | Dec 21 2005 20:28 utc | 47

thanks b real, bageant is always a scorching treat to read...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 21 2005 21:32 utc | 48

Important rule against the Cheney administration:
Appeals">">Appeals Court Slams Administration on Padilla Detention

A U.S. appeals court, acting in the case of alleged "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla, today rejected the administration's move to avoid another Supreme Court review of its powers to detain individuals without trial, blasting the government in unusually blunt terms for its behavior in the Padilla case.
[The court] said the government's actions create the appearance "that the government may be attempting to avoid" Supreme Court review in a matter of "especial national importance."

The opinion of the three judge panel was written by J. Michael Luttig, a conservative judge often mentioned as a Bush administration Supreme Court nominee.

So the Padilla case will co to SCOTUS and there Bush will be put back a bit.
At least I hope so...

Posted by: b | Dec 21 2005 22:12 utc | 49

That link doesn't seem to be working, b. I get a "We are unable to locate the page you requested" page.

Posted by: Joe F | Dec 21 2005 22:19 utc | 50

Appeals Court Slams Administration on Padilla Detention

Posted by: b real | Dec 21 2005 22:53 utc | 51

Thanks for that link b real even if it has scared the living shit outta me.

Stop me if you've heard this before (oops sorry you can't. lol) but when we had our elections in NZ a few months ago the country was plastered with handbills and circulars informing the populace that the Green Party was an agent of the devil promulgating the homosexualist lifestyle. That the laws allowing gay marriage, legalisation of prostitution and introducing a carbon tax (weird) were evidence that satan wanted to bring the country to her knees.

The next step was going to be the introduction of capital gains tax so that decent folks would have to give the proceeds of the property boom to satan's army and would end up living on the streets.

Because it was a huge and well co-ordinated campaign it was obviously not the work of an isolated looney tune. It had cost millions to put in place but the addresses put on the flyers (as required under electoral law) were of empty rental properties.

The big conservative parties denied all knowledge of who the organisers could be apart from being both dedicated and smart if a little over the top.

There had been a similar bit of muckraking in some municipal elections the year before which on investigation turned out to have come from a Tory's campaign strategist and which took the campaign expenditure well over the limit allowed. Because of that and a foreign affairs official spilling the beans about the Tory leadership asking for a few bucks from some US senators to have NZ's non nuclear policy 'gone by lunchtime' there was considerable interest in who had paid for this.
The journalists did their job and found out that the houses were owned by the leadership of a mob who called themselves "The Exclusive Bretheren" This fundie mob has been active in the US, Australia and NZ for about a century.

We always used to feel a bit sorry for them at school because the kids had to eat their lunch away from the rest of us, weren't allowed radios or the latest big thing, Television and never saw a movie etc. Up until this little incident I had always made a point of doing business with the brethren small businesses that belonged to the families I went to school with. I'm sure most of us were like that because even if they were told to keep us at bay we wanted them to know we were there if they ever decided to run away from their oppressors. It is a very heavy very sexist cult of about 30,000 in NZ 100,000 in Australia and several hundred thousand in the US.

After a day of speculation about cults and facist agendas a group of Bretheren Leadership called a press conference to come clean. It was the hottest ticket in town in the run up to polling day. These white middle class, middle aged blokes, who all looked like clones of each other in their open necked business shirts (some stricture against neckties) said they couldn't understand what the fuss was about. That they were merely exercising their democratic perogative.

Oh said the reporters. That's interesting. How does that square with your church's admonishments to avoid all wordly things like politics, TV's newspapers, and voting? How can your mob have a clue about what's going on? Given that you're not allowed to vote why get involved in an election.

They were rattled and said that as men they could be trusted not to become tainted by all the evil in the media. Went down like a lead balloon with the mainly female gang of reporters. As did these blokes' barely disguised contempt for talking with women at all, much less women who hadn't covered most off their bodies and heads. harlots!

They got so rattled they said something that really shot themselves in the foot.

Why they had several meetings with National Party leader Don Brash (up until this point he was looking like a shoo-in for PM) and devised the strategy in conjunction with the Nats. So it wasn't secret hidden or looney toons.

Maybe they had been following their rules about newspapers, radios and TV; because Brash's boys had been all over the media denying that they knew anything about the 'smear campaign' against the faggot, tree huggin communistic greens.

So the reporters who had been following Der Fuhrer around while he shook hands with babies and kissed shoppers got calls from their colleagues at brethren central suggesting that it would be a good idea to ask Brash what he knew about these claims. Do it before the nats had time to prepare a story. Hee hee!

As a bloke that has trouble thinking on the run (sold as an asset ie he's not a sleazy spinner) Brash did a quick impersonation of a goldfish out of water before confessing that he had caught up with the god botherers 'once or twice'.

The next question was "What about your offsiders on talkback radio? As we speak they are telling the country that you guys knew nothing about this mailout. More goldfish impersonations followed by "Errr Aaaaah I didn't tell them. I kept it to myself".

Yeah right Don. You didn't feel the need to share with anyone in your party that you had secured by far the largest private donation in the history of that party.

That was pretty much the end of the Don for PM push. However the inept bumblings of the bible bashers still had a chapter or two.

The international leader of the bretheren an Australian who has a reputation of backing up his strictures with a drop of the old ultra-violence, couldn't help but stick his head up to prove his power and say "What's the problem the NZ branch was just following orders we gave heaps to the conservatives in Australia and millions to the Bush campaign in 2004.

Johnny Howard managed to mutter something about not keeping track of the plethora of discriminating organisations which threw money at his campaign. Doubtless if it was raised in the US it would have been well down the list of important questions to ask W.

Since proportional representation has been introduced into NZ the fundies have tried unceasingly to get a few of their fellow travellers into Parliament and failed miserably.

Yet the con-men are on every channel here at sparrow fart when decent folks are having their first piss of the day.

As far as I can discern they do a good trade in neon replicas of the Waco compound (where there were more than a few Kiwi's and Aussies when ATF did their thing). I've stopped paying much interest since Jimmy Swaggert copped the flick. Now there was a great country band. Damn shame that boy couldn't have been more like his cousin .
So even though we've our share of dupable disciples up here on the Southern end of the planet, (the old girl looks a lot less like a rape victim if you stick Antarctica at the top), as I said earlier if people are given a wide enough range of choice most do prefer a separation of church and state. Back in the first past the post system, polls would show that between 5 to 9% of Tory support was from the fundies. This is why some mainchancing xtians set up the xtian Heritage Party which died a rapid demise. Admittedly assisted in part by the revelation that founder and leader Graham Capill took his pleasure by denying little girls their childhood after telling them God wanted her to let him play with her pink bits. (Yeeech!)

But long before that revelation it became apparent that although fundies didn't approve of baby murdering or buggery it would never be the prime motivator for selecting leaders ahead of someone likely to make getting food on the table less hassle. And this wasn't for a lack of mainchancing evangalists who wanted a more secure income than the vagaries of the tithe. These luuvies were telling them that their salvation lay in voting for the weasel from the churches' head office.

If we advocate power to the people we must redevelop our faith in the ability of all people to do their level best to make responsible choices. I like people meself even the dupable or maybe especially the dupable.
The left will go nowhere if it looks down on those whose lives it seeks to 'improve'.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 21 2005 23:48 utc | 52

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