Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 12, 2006

News & Views Thread

Off topics ...

Posted by b on March 12, 2006 at 8:17 UTC | Permalink


Anti-Iran propaganda:

The Telegraph: Iran builds a secret underground complex as nuclear tensions rise

Iran's leaders have built a secret underground emergency command centre in Teheran as they prepare for a confrontation with the West over their illicit nuclear programme, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.

The complex of rooms and offices beneath the Abbas Abad district in the north of the capital is designed to serve as a bolthole and headquarters for the country's rulers as military tensions mount.
The opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) learnt about the complex from its contacts within the regime. The same network revealed in 2002 that Iran had been operating a secret nuclear programme for 18 years.

The "National Council of Resistance of Iran" is a cover for the Saddam supporting terrorist MEK cult. At least that what the U.S. government is saying.

Plus is there any government in this world that does not have any emergency command bunker?

The rest of the piece is recycled bullshit and exaggerations - straight from the psyops campaign bureau.

Posted by: b | Mar 12 2006 8:29 utc | 1

Laura Rozen, who for four years had covered the Balkans from the ground, compares:

Many experiences from that time were deeply affecting. And yet that entire experience has been transformed by witnessing the changes in this country the past few years -- the demagoguery, the torture and torture memos, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, the suspension of the laws and values many of us think of us as fundamental to our national identity. It's a simple fact that some of the justifications Milosevic gave for his policies that have been judged war crimes -- coupled with the lies and denials -- were ones you can hear from this administration -- acting in the national interest, the threat is so unique and great, the laws don't apply any more, all available means against the terrorists (torture). Because of this, it's not so easy to immediately spout off all of the things one should say at such a momentous event at Milosevic's dying. Power corrupts, not only in Serbia, and there are large constituencies for such demagoguery, willing to overlook the crimes committed in their name, in all countries. In the end, what really pisses people off about their own political class is not such morally reprehensable policies as state-sanctioned torture, but the cleptocracy and corruption that always seems to go along with it.

Posted by: b | Mar 12 2006 8:31 utc | 2

ASTOUNDING! video indictment of war-time profiteering and fraud
It really is a jaw dropping show stopper to watch.

Direct link to video

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 12 2006 8:47 utc | 3

Note there is no news about Custer Battles' war fraud or Defense accounting drop-outs on CNN.
Because it never happened. And if it happened,
it will be unhappened, until it never happened.
Just take a pencil, jot down everything since
President Select took office. Mind wrenching.
Now turn the pencil over, and erase everything.
Even most die-hard John Birch correspondents
are sick at heart and crying over the UAE deal,
Abramoff, and now this CB fraud, but again, it
is being erased and n-e-v-e-r h-a-p-p-e-n-e-d.
James Baker III took $5B to the Middle East,
just before the Second War in Iraq. Where to?
FEMA disappeared $38B since Katrina. Where to?
Pentagon disappears $450B each and every year.
Visualize the Titanic, the frauds, cons, debts
and deficits pouring in through 300-foot gash.
The historians will write the 'Foundering of America', long before 2008 sinks US from sight.

Posted by: PingPing | Mar 12 2006 9:05 utc | 4

Iran builds Secret Nuclear Warhead with Axis of Evil Partner

Posted by: DM | Mar 12 2006 9:57 utc | 5

US starts issuing RFID passports, despite security concerns

The US has begun issuing passports that contain biometric information stored on remotely readable microchips, in spite of lingering security and privacy concerns. Supporters of the new passports say they enhance border security, reduce the possibility of identity fraud and impose minimal burdens on travellers – all goals the US has been working towards since the September 11 attacks. (...)

Last month, security concerns about the new passports arose anew after a Dutch television programme detailed how, in July 2005, the Dutch security laboratory Riscure successfully penetrated the encryption scheme planned for use in forthcoming Dutch electronic passports.

Also see: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with Radio Frequency Identification

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 12 2006 19:31 utc | 6

Internet blows CIA cover

Here comes the justification for government censorship of the Internet. Plame it on the internets!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 12 2006 20:13 utc | 7

it was strange to regard the cnn coverage this weekend of the assasination of milosevic at the hague - which was interrupted regularly by advertisements for tourism in the 'new croatia' - either they have bent programmers or they have absolutely no sense of history at all - which would be in keeping with their relation to the present & their hallucinations concerning the future

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 12 2006 23:56 utc | 8

& to make ut very clear - there is enough blame in the balkans to share. there is no innocence where racial hatred in all its forms was allowed to hold sway

milosevic was one amongst many

& the complicity of the west in the destruction of the balkans is in & of itself an act drenched in its own guilt

the empire - now has from leipzig to murmansk - the kind of corruption it know so well - from tammany hall to today

& i imagine in terms of the whore media - whatever they say today - i start from the completely opossite position - through necessity

& in this instance i would be very surprised indeed if milosevic died a natural death

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 13 2006 0:45 utc | 9

Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic claimed the day before he was found dead that he was being poisoned.

he was right,

'Leprosy drug in Milosevic's blood'

wonder why the

UN war crimes tribunal denies request for Milosevic autopsy in Moscow

maybe because

Claims Of Poisoning Raise Stakes Of Milosevic Autopsy

However, Milosevic's lawyer, Zdenko Tomanovic, said that his client had feared that he might be poisoned, comments that will fuel speculation in Serbia and Montenegro about the death of the country's former president. The deputy head of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, Milorad Vucelic, has already blamed the tribunal for Milosevic's death, saying its decision to reject his request for treatment in Russia had killed him.

The Milosevic family has said it does not trust the U.N. tribunal to conduct the autopsy impartially.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 13 2006 2:05 utc | 10

Only in Europe or California, I guess:


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 13 2006 2:33 utc | 11

Barack Obama begins to redeem himself:

"The truth is, I'm terrified to be here,'' he said. "Not because you're such a tough audience, but because they're serving drinks. I'm standing about 30 yards from the vice president, and I'm a lawyer. The only thing that could make this more dangerous is if he considered me a friend.

"Mr. vice president, I know you came here expecting to be a target, which, it turns out, may prove easier for you than shooting at one,'' said Obama,... "But I do want to thank you. For years, we Democrats have succeeded in doing little more than shooting ourselves in the foot.

"You've taught us a valuable lesson,'' Obama told Cheney. "Aim higher.''


"I'll tell you, that Grammy was a big surprise. I thought, for sure Jack Abramoff would win for his rendition of 'It's hard Out Here for a Pimp.' (And with that line for the indicted lobbyist, Obama drew a good sound belly laugh from Bush, who of course maintains that he doesn't know Abramoff.)


"Most of all, I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you've given me in anticipation of a successful career,'' he said. "When I actually do something, we'll let you know.''

May he one day take this fight outside.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 13 2006 3:23 utc | 12

Again and again we have commented to each other here how sad it is that Americans will not take to the streets to start fighting political battles. Yet in my own Chicago this weekend (Friday), a march organized by word of mouth got probably half a million people out, and also all of the major Chicago politicians, even Governor Blagojevich, all of whom spoke to support the march's protest of the xenophobic, anti-humanist The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005.

I knew ahead of time because my friend hires a lot of Mexicans for his construction crews, and he gave a few of his guys the day off to march, but it was not covered ahead of time by the major media. I would have known better if I listened to Spanish language radio.

And what was on the front page of the Tribune - "Thousands March..." (thousands?) Hilariously, the photo editor at the Tribune always keeps the dialectic going, and he graced the cover page with a photo that clearly evidenced one of the great marches of Chicago history, a picture similar to the great mass marches we hear about from the old days. Where did all those people come from? Well, the Chicago Tribune keeps its stuff behind a subscriber firewall, but this search of their archive will show you pretty quickly why and from where everyone came - And it sdoes help answer any questioons about why border states fascists want "official language" status for English.

Or you could watch on the local TV news where channel after channel interviewed illegal aliens and put their full names on the screen. Mmmm, objective reporting.

Funny thing, although the big-name politicians came, the print media stayed away, in droves. Seriously, try to find stories about this outside of Chicago.

So something funny occurred to me, the revolution may actually be televised, but it will most definitely not - no not in this country - be printed.

Will it be blogged? Jury still out.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 13 2006 4:06 utc | 13

Success tends to go not to the person who is error-free, because he also tends to be risk-averse. Rather it goes to the person who recognizes that life is pretty much a percentage business. It isn't making mistakes that's critical; it's correcting them and getting on with the principal task. - donald rumsfeld

Donald Rumsfeld Makes $5 Million Killing on Bird Flu Drug

Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease.
Mr Rumsfeld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reaping - according to the financial disclosure report he is required to make each year - capital gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one analyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that figure, as the share price has soared. Further details are not likely to become known, however, until Mr Rumsfeld makes his next disclosure in May.

The 2005 report showed that, in all, he owned shares worth up to $95.9m, from which he got an income of up to $13m, owned land worth up to $17m, and made $1m from renting it out.

He also had illiquid investments worth up to $8.1m, including in partnerships investing in biotechnology, issuing reproductions of paintings, and operating art galleries in New Mexico and Wyoming. He also has life insurance with a surrender value of up to $5m, and received up to $1m from the DHR Foundation, in which he has assets worth up to $25m, and $773,743 from the Donald H Rumsfeld Trust, in which he has assets of up to $50m.

Posted by: b real | Mar 13 2006 4:20 utc | 14

When rich white conservatives in Pasadena (Ca.) turn to Gore Vidal for answers, you know consolidation of the press has gone too far. An Interview

Has this president made this worse, by being so antagonistic to the media?

Oh, who cares? He doesn't run the country, a handful of corporations run it. No, this is not conspiracy theory, this is conspiracy analysis. The country is very tightly led with corporate goals which push out anything of a national nature. We're out of it. It's like being in a bubble. I've spent a great deal of my life living across the water, and someone said, "How can you follow American politics when you've had your house in Italy for all those years?" And I said, "Well, that's the only way I can find out what's going on in America, because the foreign press, at least in Western Europe, is quite good."

Corporate influence in politics seems more raw and apparent now than ever before.

Of course it is. And it was all due to the "good luck" -- those two words I have just used ironically -- of 9/11. "I'm a wartime president! I'm a wartime president!" Well, he fucking well isn't. He's an accidental president. He happens to be put in by the oil and gas people to cut their taxes and then go in for preemptive wars against countries that are weak and that have done us no harm, like Afghanistan and Iraq. This was a godsend for those who would like to get rid of Congress and the courts and the Constitution. And they're doing very well at it -- very, very well. "Mission accomplished," I believe, is what he said on the aircraft carrier.


The only art form that the United States ever developed is the TV commercial. That's our Sistine Chapel. That's our masterpiece.

Posted by: jj | Mar 13 2006 7:32 utc | 16

Whether Milosevic was poisoned or died of health problems, the situation will not help the image of the Hague as a dispenser of internation justice, nor will it increase the likelihood that Serbia will ever extradite its other indicted war criminals.

But I still think the most fitting burial for Milosevic would be to bind his hands behind his back and dump him in an unmarked grave in Kosovo somewhere.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 13 2006 7:42 utc | 17

US psychological warfare experts worked at CNN and NPR during Kosovo War Interesting in light of our recent posts and comments, no?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 13 2006 7:49 utc | 18

Negroponte's deads: Death squads operated from inside Iraqi government, officials say

Senior Iraqi officials Sunday confirmed for the first time that death squads composed of government employees had operated illegally from inside two government ministries.

"The deaths squads that we have captured are in the defense and interior ministries," Minister of Interior Bayan Jabr said during a joint news conference with the Minister of Defense. "There are people who have infiltrated the army and the interior."

Posted by: b | Mar 13 2006 8:27 utc | 19

@ JJ:

Great set of links @ 209 AM.

Ironically, it would take Ken Starr, $200 million, and Ambrose Bierce,Will Rogers, and HL Mencken as co-counsel to unravel the incestuous union between the American left and the Con business interests in making illegal immigration the mess that it is today.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 13 2006 15:23 utc | 20

U.S. Campaign Is Aimed at Iran's Leaders

The focus on Iran inside the administration lately has been striking. Bush, according to aides, has been spending more time on the issue, and advisers have invited 30 to 40 specialists for consultations in recent months.

In the past week, the State Department created an Iran desk. Last year, only two people in the department worked full time on Iran; now there will be 10. The department is launching more training in the Farsi language and is planning an Iranian career track, which has been difficult without an embassy there.

Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns said in an interview that the department will also add staff in Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, as well as at other embassies in the vicinity of Iran, all assigned to watch Tehran. He called the new Dubai outpost the "21st century equivalent" of the Riga station in Latvia that monitored the Soviet Union in the 1930s when the United States had no embassy in Moscow.

Posted by: b | Mar 13 2006 18:49 utc | 21

Haste, politics and squabbling generals - fatal blunders on road to Baghdad

The following is an edited excerpt from Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, by Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor

Monday March 13, 2006
The Guardian

The war was barely a week old when General Tommy Franks threatened to fire the Army's V Corps commander.

From the first day of the invasion, American forces had tangled with thousands of Fedayeen paramilitary fighters. General William "Scott" Wallace, who was leading the army troops towards Baghdad, had told two reporters that his soldiers needed to delay their advance on the Iraqi capital to suppress the Fedayeen threat in the rear.

Soon after, Gen Franks telephoned Lieutenant-General David McKiernan, the head of all allied land forces, to warn that he might relieve Gen Wallace.

The firing was averted after Gen McKiernan flew to Gen Franks' headquarters in Qatar to support the V Corps commander. But the episode revealed the deep disagreements within the US high command about the Iraqi military threat and what would be required to defeat it.

The dispute, related by numerous military leaders and their aides in interviews, had lasting consequences. The unexpected tenacity of the Fedayeen in the battles for Nassiriya, Samawa, Najaf and other towns on the road to Baghdad was an early indication that the adversary was not merely Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard.

The paramilitary Fedayeen were numerous, well-armed, dispersed throughout the country and seemingly determined to fight to the death. But while many officers in the field assessed the Fedayeen as a dogged foe, Gen Franks and the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, saw them as little more than a speed bump on the way to Baghdad.

Three years later, Iraq has yet to be subdued. While America's war strategy has been well documented, the conflicts and concerns about how some of the key decisions were made has previously been unknown. As US forces prepared to invade Iraq in March 2003, American intelligence was not projecting a major fight in southern Iraq.

CIA officials told US commanders that anti-Saddam tribes might secure a vital Euphrates river bridge and provide other support. Tough battles were not expected until army and marine troops began to close in on Baghdad.

The intelligence agency believed that many of the towns in Iraq were "ours", recalled Major General Rusty Blackman, who served as Gen McKiernan's chief of staff. After he heard the CIA assessment, one army commander told his officers that they might encounter joyous parades in towns such as Samawa and Nassiriya.

Almost from the start, however, the troops found themselves fighting the Fedayeen, other militias and Ba'ath party paramilitary forces.

After the marines fought in Nassiriya Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Apodaca, a Marine intelligence officer, drafted a classified message concluding that the Fedayeen would continue to be a threat. Many had sought sanctuary in small towns that were bypassed in the rush to Baghdad. The colonel compared the Fedayeen to insurgencies in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Colombia and warned that unless American soldiers went after them in force, the enemy would continue their attacks after Baghdad fell, hampering efforts to stabilise Iraq.

At the land war headquarters, there was growing concern about the Fedayeen as well. Major General JD Thurman, the chief operations officer, argued for delaying the push to Baghdad so that US forces could concentrate on the threat in the south.

At a March 28 meeting at Jalaba airfield in southern Iraq, Gen McKiernan consulted his army and Marine commanders about the situation. According to notes taken by a military aide, Gen McKiernan concluded that the United States faced two "centres of gravity": the Republican Guard, who were arrayed near Baghdad, and the paramilitary Fedayeen.

Gen McKiernan decided to suspend the attack into the Baghdad area defences for several days while continuing air strikes and engaging the Fedayeen. When he returned to his headquarters in Kuwait, though, he learned of the furore over Gen Wallace's comments to the press.

"The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against, because of these paramilitary forces," Gen Wallace had said to the New York Times and Washington Post.

To Gen Franks, the remarks were tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in his war plan. It relied on speed, and he had told Mr Rumsfeld that his forces would take Baghdad in less than two weeks.

In Washington, Gen Wallace's comments were seized on by critics as evidence that Mr Rumsfeld had not sent enough troops. More than a year earlier, he had thrown out the initial war plan that called for at least 380,000 troops and had pushed the military's central command to use fewer soldiers and deploy them more quickly.

At a Pentagon press conference, the defence secretary denied that he had any role in shaping the war plan.

Privately, Mr Rumsfeld hinted at his impatience with his generals. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican lawmaker and a Rumsfeld adviser, forwarded a supportive memo from Colonel Doug Macgregor, who had long assailed the army leadership as risk averse.

In a blistering attack, Col Macgregor denounced the decision to suspend the advance. Replying, the secretary wrote: "Thanks for the Macgregor piece. Nobody up here is thinking like this."

Gen McKiernan, for his part, was stunned by the threat to fire Gen Wallace. "Talk about unhinging ourselves," he told Lieutenant-General John Abizaid, Gen Franks' deputy, according to officials at Gen Franks' headquarters.

At Gen Franks' headquarters in Qatar the next day, Gen McKiernan and others made the case against removing Gen Wallace. He survived, but the strategy debate was far from over.

Determined to spur his ground war commanders to renew the push toward Baghdad, Gen Franks flew to Gen McKiernan's headquarters on March 31, where he delivered some harsh criticism. Only the British and the Special Operations Forces had been fighting, he complained.

The most memorable moment came when Gen Franks said that he did not want to hear about casualties, even though no one had mentioned any, recalled several participants in the meeting. He put his hand to his mouth and made a yawning motion, as if to suggest that some casualties were not of major consequence to the attack.

By April 2, US forces were closing in on the capital. Even before the war, Mr Rumsfeld saw the deployment of US forces more in terms of what was needed to win the war than to secure the peace. With the regime broken, he began to press for cancelling the deployment of the 1st Cavalry Division - some 16,000 soldiers. Gen Franks had favoured having the additional troops, but eventually relented. He later acknowledged the defence secretary was the impetus behind the decision. "Don Rumsfeld did in fact make the decision to off-ramp the 1st Cavalry Division," Gen Franks said in a 2004 interview.

Gen McKiernan, who was the senior US general in Iraq at the time, was not consulted about the decision. Though unhappy about it, he did not protest.

Three years later, with thousands of lives lost in the tumult of Iraq, senior officers say that cancelling the division was a major mistake, one that reduced the number of American forces just as the Fedayeen, former soldiers and Arab Jihadists were beginning to organise into an insurgency.

"The Ba'athist insurgency surprised us and we had not developed a comprehensive option for dealing with this possibility, one that would have included more military police, civil affairs units, interrogators, interpreters, and Special Operations Forces," said retired army general Jack Keane, who served as the acting chief of staff during the summer of 2003.

"If we had planned for an insurgency, we probably would have deployed the 1st Cavalry Division and it would have assisted greatly with the initial occupation. This was not just an intelligence community failure, but also our failure as senior military leaders."

Posted by: A. Human | Mar 13 2006 20:15 utc | 22

Chimperor at 36% in new CNN-Gallup poll.

Bernard, a technical analysis of chimperor's chart might help us here.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 13 2006 21:27 utc | 23

can't spell , b. Sorry.

@ Humanoid:

Didn't see anything about that book in the American press today. Funny, that.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 13 2006 21:30 utc | 24

@A.Human, Groucho - NYT and IHT had similar pieces today.

In effect, the lower army generals are blaming the political generals and Rumsfeld for the screw up in Iraq. There certainly is nothing they could have done different ...

Posted by: b | Mar 13 2006 21:41 utc | 25

Pity Milosevic expired before he could have been sent down for life. The charges (and there were too many of them, and that was the problem) will never be proven. Slobo was not simply another nationalist--he wasn't even that. he was primus inter pares amongst a post-cold war clutch of power-driven and blood-soaked Balkan politicians, the venal and murderous Tujman being number two. these are prime examples (with Mladic and Karadzic being others) of how mediocrity coupled with a power-lust and brutality (here comes to mind a whole raft of senior Nazis) can propel individuals to where they can do the most damage if the 'times' are right for them.

Posted by: theodor | Mar 14 2006 3:53 utc | 26

@Groucho, excellent point. I wonder what the left would say when they discover, if they ever do, that these so-called immigrant rights groups are funded by the Pirates - Gates, first & foremost.

But, don't forget about the Holy Church of Male Pedophiles, since these folks are all members of that august body, and they're using them to try to wipe the blood from their reputation. It's estimated that 25% of those living here will soon belong to said body. No wonder they're "fighting for their rights".

Citizen's post has stuck in my craw all day. How his friend indulges his greed by depriving Americans of good paying jobs thru hiring illegals etc, then has the gall to scream "xenophobe" at those who object to his indulgence.

I was pleased that Thom Hartmann has finally figured out the scam, and how it harms us. I watched carefully & sure enough, Buzzflash, which usually posts links to Hartmann's articles, Did Not Link it!

Posted by: jj | Mar 14 2006 4:08 utc | 27

' "May God damn you," Sadr said of Rumsfeld. "You said in the past that civil war would break out if you were to withdraw, and now you say that in case of civil war you won't interfere." '

"Muqtada! Muqtada!" chant thousands of faithful who gather for Friday prayers in Sadr City, in frequent rowdy street rallies, during religious ceremonies where older crowds blush at the sight of Sadr's young male followers jumping up and down and swiveling their hips. "Yes, yes, Muqtada!"

Electricity courses through the crowds of his followers in Sadr City, the milieu of energetic Iraqi youth. They play soccer in dusty fields of a district that has become a national gold mine of talented professional athletes. They volunteer for street cleanup operations and donate blood after Friday prayers. They carry grenade launchers and AK-47s as they patrol the neighborhood as part of his Al Mahdi army.

"We do all the services for the people, all the humanitarian work," said Kareem Jorani, a member of the militia. "Whatever people need, we provide. We protect them at night. We provide security for the people."

When it came time to dole out ministries, Sadr asked for and got the ministries of transportation, with control over ports, roadways and motor vehicle licensing; and health, with at least 150,000 employees; and began handing out jobs to followers.

"The Mahdi army of Iraq is at the service of the Iraqi people," Sadr said in an interview last month on Al Jazeera TV. "The Mahdi army was at a time a military army, but now it has become a cultural army. In the past the fight was a military one. Now the conflict is a religious one.">LINK>LINK<

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 14 2006 8:53 utc | 28

I never said my friend hires illegals - I said Mexicans. And they are documented, and they earn enough to feed their families. If you knew Chicago, you would know that the skilled labor here has just about always been immigrants, even when they were 'immigrants' from the South of the States.

Does "mexican" mean "illegal" to you?

Are you objecting to the immigrant history of the United States? If so, why privilege citizens?

The workers you accused of taking jobs from apparently more deserving US citizens pay taxes. And so do the illegals when their employers allow it. This bill makes it a crime to give a bandage to an illegal. It makes it a crime to provide counseling to an illegal if you do not subsequently turn them over to police. It consolidates the use of laws to create a class of official sub-humans.

I don't understand your privileging of citizens over immigrants, but perhaps we don't disagree as much as your last post seemed to imply. Perhaps you just want everyone in the U.S. to be on equal enough grounds to feel like a fellowship of workers. Well, condoning racism against migrants won't help.

Mexican does not mean illegal.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 14 2006 18:40 utc | 29

This is the kind of news I like to hear.

Mutual aid societies for health insurance acquiring a toehold in the states, and in the news (of course in the face of corporate opposition via state regulators).

Posted by: citizen | Mar 14 2006 18:43 utc | 30

jj & citizen,

these "immigration" laws are little more than political posturing unless the US is seriously prepared to physically seal off its borders and control access.

Barring that, scientists will just have to develop houses that clean themselves, genetically modified lettuce & grapes that pick themselves and lawns that that do not require mowing or watering.

Our part of Germany is seasonally overrun by Polish guest workers who come to harvest asparagus in the spring and grapes in the fall. There have been efforts to get some of the millions of unemployed Germans to take these jobs, but some of the chief opponents are the farmers & vintners: they prefer Polish workers who show up punctually, work hard and don't call in sick with a backache after a week.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 14 2006 19:07 utc | 31

And to respond to the rational part of jj's post: of course the people who sponsor limited immigrants rights (i.e., the right to work here but not to stand as an equal to your employer before the law and its enforcers). This is not a secret, not even from progressives.

And of course the left is weakened by people who appear progressive but are instead intent on selling out the people to increase corporate profits. But if you consider that the United States is now, for purposes of commerce, one nation with Canada, Mexico, and most of Central America, then citizens who see themselves as working class (especially progressives) are going to have to figure out a way to make some fellowship with all those un-citizens. Because the corporate center has already slapped us into a single pool, by law.

This law you seem rather comfortable with, it requires all law-abiding citizens to turn in illegals to the state. What else do you think it does aside from moving illegals one step closer to losing all avenues to claim human rights? Clearly you already know that exploitative employers would much rather hire a legal sub-human.

This argument I am making to you is not the same as arguing that the nation should let in non-citizens and ALSO ensure that they remain illegal. That is a corporatist strategy. It relies on riven, ruined communities. I am arguing for a way to constitute a national community (no, we don't have much of one anymore), and that will remain impossible so long as we give corporations the power to hire sub-humans, and we give them that power when we consent to the corporate center creating such legal categories.

But if it's much simpler than that, if you just think immigrants deserve lesser fates than we citizens, then I have something else to say. I am not asking you to tell me if you're protectionist or not - that's a separate discussion. I'm asking you to explain why someone who hires foreigners seems to you to be a bad citizen of the U.S.

So, where do you stand?

Posted by: citizen | Mar 14 2006 19:13 utc | 32

SAS forces in Northern Ireland going South of the border to murder Irish citizens would this "going away for a dirty weekend"

American security contractor briefly held in Iraq
Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:05 PM ET15

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi police detained an American private security contractor working at a U.S. military base in northern Iraq for several hours on Tuesday, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The spokesman said the man was arrested at a checkpoint in the northern town of Tikrit. He denied initial reports that explosives were found in the car, but said two AK-47 assault rifles were in the vehicle.

"He was picked up by Iraqi police after being detained at a checkpoint in Tikrit," the spokesman said, adding police later released him. "We are looking at why he left the base unescorted."

Abdullah Jebara, deputy governor of Salahaddin province, earlier told Reuters the man was arrested in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Monday and that U.S. forces removed him from the provincial government building on Tuesday.

The man was stopped by police for violating a daytime curfew in Tikrit, a security source said. American security personnel rarely travel alone.

A spokesman for the major crimes unit in Tikrit said he was first brought to their headquarters but they refused to take him into custody, adding police were told to take the man to the provincial council building.

Posted by: | Mar 14 2006 19:16 utc | 33

And to respond to the rational part of jj's post: of course the people who sponsor limited immigrants rights (i.e., the right to work here but not to stand as an equal to your employer before the law and its enforcers). This is not a secret, not even from progressives.

And to respond to the rational part of jj's post: of course the people who sponsor limited immigrants rights (i.e., the right to work here but not to stand as an equal to your employer before the law and its enforcers), these people are working for corporate profits and against human community. This is not a secret, not even from progressives.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 14 2006 19:18 utc | 34

At this point it might certainly be in somebody's interest to discredit the validity and impartiality of international tribunals.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 14 2006 19:38 utc | 35

Why don´t they mix up the installations in my apartment? :-)
Woman Gets Beer From Her Kitchen Faucet.

Posted by: b | Mar 14 2006 20:00 utc | 36

@anna - Sadr's concept is the recipe of success. Hamas did win in Palestine exactly the way Sadr is gaining.

He is smart to take health and transportation. Transportation can be very influencel when the shit hits the fan (i.e. beginners talk of fighting, professionals discuss logistics).

Posted by: b | Mar 14 2006 20:05 utc | 37

U.S. Current Account Deficit Hits Record

America's deficit in the broadest measure of international trade surged to an all-time high of $804.9 billion last year as the country went deeper into debt to foreigners.

The Commerce Department said the deficit in the current account was up 20.4 percent from the previous record of $668.1 billion set in 2004.

This will end in tears.

Posted by: b | Mar 14 2006 20:27 utc | 38


Russia seems to have a big interest in torpedoing the Hague: their foreign minister came out to announce publicly that they "do not trust the results of the official autopsy".

In any case, it is highly unlikely that Serbia will be extraditing Mladic or Karadjic any time soon.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 14 2006 20:46 utc | 39

some amazing stuff here. Interesting how no one really comes forward to claim responsibility...

Buried in the huge budget-reconciliation bill, on which House and Senate conferees are putting the final touches right now, are a few paragraphs that accomplish an extraordinary feat. They roll back the price of a barrel of crude oil to what it sold for two years ago. They create this pretend price for the benefit of a small group of the politically well connected. You still won't be able to buy gasoline for $1.73 per gal. as you did then, instead of today's $2.28. You still won't be able to buy home heating oil for $1.60 per gal., in place of today's $2.39. But a select group of investors and companies will walk away with billions of dollars in tax subsidies, not from oil but from the marketing of a dubious concoction of synthetic fuel produced from coal and dependent on government tax credits tied to the price of oil.
- - - - - - - - -
From 2003 through 2005, TIME estimates, the synfuel industry raked in $9 billion in tax credits. That means the lucky few collectively cut their tax bills by that amount, which would be enough to cover a year's worth of federal taxes for 20 million Americans who make less than $20,000 a year and pay income taxes. How important is the tax credit to synfuel producers? In its latest annual report, Headwaters Inc., a Utah-based purveyor of synfuel processes and substances, says flatly, "Headwaters does not believe that production of synthetic fuel will be profitable absent the tax credits."
- - - - - - -
Since 2002, the Council for Energy Independence has spent $2 million lobbying Congress to preserve the tax credit, according to reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records. Overall, TIME estimates, the synfuel lobby has spent more than $5 million during that same period. The effort has got results. In recent years, the lobby has successfully turned aside efforts to revoke the IRS rulings on which the tax credits are calculated. It beat back an effort in the House Ways and Means Committee last year to send a bill to the House floor that would have virtually eliminated the tax credit. The bill's sponsor, Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, called the tax credit "one of the worst tax loopholes on the books" and described the synfuel industry as "basically a sham." Nevertheless, because of industry lobbying, Doggett's bill has never made it out of committee

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 14 2006 21:28 utc | 40

Are you objecting to the immigrant history of the United States? If so, why privilege citizens?

It should have been clear from my links, if you read them, that what people are saying is that you don't import people when you're destroying jobs. If the country were expanding faster than we could provide workers as it was beg. in late 19th cen. then you import workers. When it's destroying jobs as fast as it can, you fight that process, and unload workers, or don't bring new ones in. Many industries used to provide good paying jobs, but are being gutted by this disastrous process. Most people still have their heads in an earlier time in history. What was appropriate then is not now, unlike you support the Pirates attack on the middle class & the fascist system set up to control the bankrupted american workers.

Posted by: jj | Mar 14 2006 21:43 utc | 41

I haven't disagreed that jobs are being destroyed in the U.S., but rather I disagree that further debasing illegal aliens' legal standing will lessen the number of such workers. What it will do is make them even cheaper to hire, because they will be social lepers if it is illegal to associate with them. And that will worsen the problem.

And btw, don't you think the propaganda that goes along with bills such as this are part of why you mistakenly read "illegal" for "Mexican"?

Posted by: citizen | Mar 15 2006 4:15 utc | 42

The robber barons:

Many Utilities Collect for Taxes They Never Pay

Many electric utility companies across the nation are collecting billions of dollars from their customers for corporate income taxes, then keeping the money rather than sending it to the government.

The practice is legal in most states. The companies say it is smart business.

But some representatives of utility customers say that the practice, which involves using losses from other subsidiaries to reduce taxes owed, is not fair. They say that money that utilities are required to collect for federal and state taxes — typically a nickel on each dollar paid for electricity — should go for just that, or not be included in electric bills.
Among the electric utilities whose customer tax payments are not reaching tax coffers is Pepco, serving four states and the District of Columbia. Pepco collected nearly $546 million from customers to cover its income tax bill for the years 2002 through 2004. Yet the parent Pepco Holdings did not pay income taxes during those years; indeed, it received $435 million in tax refunds.
Customers paid Xcel Energy, a big utility in 10 Midwest and Western states, at least $723 million to cover taxes from 2002 to 2004. But the money did not go to the government; in fact, the company received cash refunds of $351.4 million.

Posted by: b | Mar 15 2006 6:37 utc | 43

Sorry, I can't seem to let this go...

Was Milosevic Poisoned?

Would you believe that looking into Milosevic's death led me to a strong link between the US government and al Qaeda, sharing common goals in Kosovo? That's why history is always relevant, and the truth always matters.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 15 2006 7:20 utc | 44

PSA from your favorite Uncle...

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation's analysis of the Patriot Act "Be careful what you put in that Google search.

The government may now spy on web surfing of innocent Americans, including terms entered into search engines, by merely telling a judge anywhere in the U.S. that the spying could lead to information that is 'relevant' to an ongoing criminal investigation. The person spied on does not have to be the target of the investigation. This application must be granted and the government is not obligated to report to the court or tell the person spied upon what it has done."

With the recent judgement that Google must turn over data, to the war criminals and the injustice dept, some might wanna bone up on protecting yourselves.. here's a few hints:

Scroll down a bit to...How to set Google preferences -
and still disable Google's cookie!


Disable your cookies for Google.

Explorer 6.0 Tools — Internet Options — Privacy — Edit (near the bottom) — type in — Block — OK — OK
Firefox 1.0 Tools — Options — Privacy — Stored cookies — highlight your cookie — check Don't allow... box at bottom — Remove cookie — OK — OK
Opera 7.51 Tools — Cookies — highlight your cookie — Delete — New — type in — check Apply... — uncheck 3 Accept... — OK — Close
Netscape 7.1 Tools — Cookie Manager — Manage Stored Cookies — highlight your cookie — check Don't allow... box at bottom — Remove cookie — Close

We Fascists are the only true anarchists. Once we've become masters of the state, true anarchy is that of power." - Pasolini, Salo

Posted by: PSA from Uncle $cam | Mar 15 2006 9:35 utc | 45

The militarization of New Orleans

Storm-battered parish considers hired guns

Maj. Pete Tufaro scanned the fenced lot packed with hundreds of stark white trailers soon to be inhabited by Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Shaking his head, he predicted the cramped quarters would ignite fights, hide criminals and become an incubator for crime, posing another test for his cash-strapped sheriff's department, which furloughed 206 of its 390 officers after the storm.

Tufaro thinks the parish has the solution: DynCorp International LLC, the Texas company that provided personal security to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and is one of the largest security contractors in Iraq. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency approves the sheriff's department's proposal, which would cost $70 million over three years, up to 100 DynCorp employees would be deputized to be make arrests, carry weapons, and dress in the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Department khaki and black uniforms.

DynCorp are about the worst guys you can get.

Also $70 million for 100 men for 3 years? That's $233,000 per man per year. Why not hire two real cops for the same money and have some change?

Posted by: b | Mar 15 2006 12:01 utc | 46


add the cost building & maintaining police headquarters, police cars, radio, dispatchers and other law enforcement infrastructure plus the cost of disability & pensions for policemen (who often get retired early do to wounds and/or injuries) and DynCorp are still a competitive deal.

It would, however, just be cheaper to arm each male head of household in the parish and deputize them to uphold the law. As any NRA member can tell you, there would be a lot less crime if everybody owned a gun and was ready to use it.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 15 2006 15:31 utc | 47

@ralphieboy - if this is so, why can DynaCorp make a profit on the deal.

Opposite to the always pondered myth, private companies are NOT cheaper than states doing the same job.

Posted by: b | Mar 15 2006 17:06 utc | 48

Weeks after the invasion of Iraq began, Fox News Channel host Brit Hume delivered a scathing speech critiquing the media's supposedly pessimistic assessment of the Iraq War.

Found this walk down memory lane>here. And sure, they all still have their jobs.

"Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?"
(Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)

"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it."
(CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)

"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."
(NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington."
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)

"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."
(Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)

"We're all neo-cons now."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war."
(Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)

"Oh, it was breathtaking. I mean I was almost starting to think that we had become inured to everything that we'd seen of this war over the past three weeks; all this sort of saturation. And finally, when we saw that it was such a just true, genuine expression. It was reminiscent, I think, of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And just sort of that pure emotional expression, not choreographed, not stage-managed, the way so many things these days seem to be. Really breathtaking."
(Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly, appearing on Fox News Channel on 4/9/03, discussing the pulling down of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, an event later revealed to have been a U.S. military PSYOPS operation [stunt]--Los Angeles Times, 7/3/04)

"The war winds down, politics heats up.... Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."
(PBS's Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech)

"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)

"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"
(Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)

"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types.... I just wonder, who's going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: 'Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong'? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war....

"Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that -- quote, "The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated." Sorry, Scott. I think you've been chasing the wrong tail, again.

"Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don't call them 'elitists' for nothing."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)

"Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years."
(Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, 4/9/03)

"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right."
(New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)

"Well, the hot story of the week is victory.... The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths.... There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far.... The final word on this is, hooray."
(Fox News Channel's Morton Kondracke, 4/12/03)

"Shouldn't the [Canadian] prime minister and all of us who thought the war was hasty and dangerous and wrongheaded admit that we were wrong? I mean, with the pictures of those Iraqis dancing in the streets, hauling down statues of Saddam Hussein and gushing their thanks to the Americans, isn't it clear that President Bush and Britain's Tony Blair were right all along? If we believe it's a good thing that Hussein's regime has been dismantled, aren't we hypocritical not to acknowledge Bush's superior judgment?... Why can't those of us who thought the war was a bad idea (or, at any rate, a premature one) let it go now and just join in celebrating the victory wrought by our magnificent military forces?"
(Washington Post's William Raspberry, 4/14/03)

"Some journalists, in my judgment, just can't stand success, especially a few liberal columnists and newspapers and a few Arab reporters."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, 4/14/03)

"Sean Penn is at it again. The Hollywood star takes out a full-page ad out in the New York Times bashing George Bush. Apparently he still hasn't figured out we won the war."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 5/30/03)

"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on."
(Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate-- cited in the Observer, 3/30/03)

"It won't take weeks. You know that, professor. Our military machine will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there's no question that it will."
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)

"Speaking to the U.N. Security Council last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell made so strong a case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions that only the duped, the dumb and the desperate could ignore it."
(Cal Thomas, syndicated column, 2/12/03)

"Chris, more than anything else, real vindication for the administration. One, credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Two, you know what? There were a lot of terrorists here, I know that because I saw them.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 16 2006 6:56 utc | 49

@anna missed

didn't you get the memo? those statements have all "become inoperative."

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 16 2006 7:10 utc | 50


DynaCorp can make a profit because the goons it hires are getting paid as independent contractors: they have to shell out for their own equipment and uniforms as well as provide for their own pensions & benefits and finance their own vacations & days off.

It's called free markets, individual initiative and getting government off people's backs...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 16 2006 7:52 utc | 51

"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."
(NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

Alas, Bob Edwards lost his job.

Posted by: beq | Mar 16 2006 13:58 utc | 52

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