Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 09, 2006

OT 06-20

News & views ...

Posted by b on March 9, 2006 at 6:47 UTC | Permalink


General William E. Odom:
Iraq through the prism of Vietnam

The Vietnam War experience can’t tell us anything about the war in Iraq – or so it is said. If you believe that, trying looking through this lens, and you may change your mind.

The Vietnam War had three phases. The War in Iraq has already completed an analogous first phase, is approaching the end of the second phase, and shows signs of entering the third.
Will Phase Three in Iraq end with helicopters flying out of the “green zone” in Baghdad? It all sounds so familiar.

The difference lies in the consequences. Vietnam did not have the devastating effects on U.S. power that Iraq is already having. On this point, those who deny the Vietnam-Iraq analogy are probably right. They are wrong, however, in believing that “staying the course” will have any result other than making the damage to U.S. power far greater than changing course and withdrawing sooner in as orderly a fashion as possible.

But even in its differences, Vietnam can be instructive about Iraq. Once the U.S. position in Vietnam collapsed, Washington was free to reverse the negative trends it faced in NATO and U.S.-Soviet military balance, in the world economy, in its international image, and in other areas. Only by getting out of Iraq can the United States possibly gain sufficient international support to design a new strategy for limiting the burgeoning growth of anti-Western forces it has unleashed in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

Posted by: b | Mar 9 2006 7:00 utc | 1

Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing
I wonder why that is....

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 7:02 utc | 2

:) uncle$cam

Every seen Christians having themselves nailed to a cross or drawing blood with whips? (provincials in the Philippines).

The perception of Islam is all tied up with your link on the other thread.

Posted by: DM | Mar 9 2006 8:04 utc | 3

I found a blog being updated pretty much live here:

Enron: TrialWatch

If anyone is interested, however, I'd really be curious to see how the worldcom trial turns out as well as kennyboy's day in court.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 8:25 utc | 4 Raimondo has a new post up discussing Steven Biddles (senior fellow at The Counsil on Foreign Affairs) recomendations in Foreign Affairs titled>Seeing Baghdad, Thinking Saigon.

In a nutshell, Biddle is critizising the Bush administration for using the same (failed) logic of reaching a military/political solution in Vietnam, in Iraq. Although he thinks the Vitnamization program was'nt a total failure, its counterpart, Iraq-ization is both misguided and doomed to even greater failure, primarily because the conflicts themselves are two different types -- that warrant two different types of solutions.
But if the debate in Washington is Vietnam redux, the war in Iraq is not. The current struggle is not a Maoist "people's war" of national liberation; it is a communal civil war with very different dynamics. Although it is being fought at low intensity for now, it could easily escalate if Americans and Iraqis make the wrong choices.

Unfortunately, many of the policies dominating the debate are ill adapted to the war being fought. Turning over the responsibility for fighting the insurgents to local forces, in particular, is likely to make matters worse. Such a policy might have made sense in Vietnam, but in Iraq it threatens to exacerbate the communal tensions that underlie the conflict and undermine the power-sharing negotiations needed to end it. Washington must stop shifting the responsibility for the country's security to others and instead threaten to manipulate the military balance of power among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds in order to force them to come to a durable compromise. Only once an agreement is reached should Washington consider devolving significant military power and authority to local forces.
Needless to say, this would represent a 180 degree turnaround of current policy, at least how it's defined by the administrations "when they stand up we can stand down" ruberic of counting on accelerated troop training so we can (supposadly) drawdown troop strength (for the elections). However, much of what the US has been doing in Iraq these past several months would indicate that these ideas, at least in part, are being taken seriously, as either calculated manipulation or as an eleventh hour last ditch effort to save the last scrap of US interest pie as the Shiites might just decide to say thank you and sayonara. Much of the current political crisis in the formation of the new government are bound within the sudden realization (daahh?!) that the Shiite victory and subsequent consolidation of their power, and their insistance on maintaining their militias within the security forces -- has inadvertantly put the US in a position of actually helping them (the prospective Shiite government) in that consolidation of power, by the acceleration in security force training. All of which pushes the Sunni position further out into the cold, and inspiring greater sympathy with militant resistance. The recent outbreaks of verbosity on the part of US ambassador Khalizad would indicate that some of Bobbits recomendations have been taken to heart, although Bobbit is advocating an even bigger hammer of blackmale diplomacy. The degree of holdback, at this point is probably more a matter of domestic politics rather than a function of empire, as Justin points out:

The idea is breathtaking: after years of propaganda directed at the alleged moral depravity of the Sunni-based Ba'athist regime, which – we were told – killed millions and was on a par with Hitler's Nazis, Biddle wants the U.S. to consider an Orwellian turn-on-a-dime.

One big problem with Biddle's proposal is that it overlooks the difficulties of selling such a strategy at home, where support for the war has waned practically beyond the point of no return. While the oppressed and blissfully ignorant "proles" of Orwell's future dystopia were kept in a state of permanent indifference to the daily depredations of their rulers – partly through terror, partly on account of a limitless supply of "Victory gin" – the American public is still a few notches above that level of mental and moral degradation. They are bound to be confused and even disturbed when told that yesterday's ruthless killers are today's noble allies – and some may even find in it reason to doubt the president's contention that we are fighting for "democracy" in Iraq and "freedom" the world over.

On the ground in Iraq, too, this pro-Sunni turn would have a devastating effect, for, in spite of Biddle's contention that this war isn't about "winning hearts and minds," as in Vietnam, what little support for the U.S. presence as still exists would quickly evaporate. And without that support – especially from leading Shi'ite clerics, such as the Ayatollah Sistani – the U.S. military presence would be completely unsustainable. Alignment with the Sunnis would further isolate the U.S. and empower anti-American Shi'ites led by Moqtada Sadr, whose nationalist opposition to the occupation (in spite of his sectarian allegiance) is supposedly "the exception that proves the rule" when it comes to Biddle's thesis. In this case, however, the exception may very well become the rule if we try to "coerce" the majority Shi'ites into conforming to our plan for the Iraqi polity.

Ramimondo goes on to link this turnaround as part of the escalation with regards to Iran, or simply as a matter of escalation, as escalation is the "escalator" we are already on and committed to.

This may be true, but I'm inclined to wonder whether the "sayonara" factor might loom as an underestimated potential. After all, as I understand it after the new government is finally formed, they aquire the legal authority to rescend not only all of the CPA edicts, but also have total authority in all ministries, and, can politely tell the US to take all your (oil and economic) deals and go home. And who would they consider a friendly broker and ally against the threat of civil war -- the US or Iran?


Posted by: anna missed | Mar 9 2006 8:28 utc | 5

whoops on the link, the first sentance links the Justin Raimondo piece (about the Biddle piece) -- the last words Seeing Baghdad link the Biddle piece itself.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 9 2006 8:32 utc | 6

Every seen Christians having themselves nailed to a cross or drawing blood with whips?

@DM are you hanging out in offices of xUS Supreme Court w/roberts & scalito again?

Posted by: jj | Mar 9 2006 9:56 utc | 7

Some China News:

The Chinese foreign minister pledged on Tuesday to try and cut back his country's trade surplus with the United States.

China is allowed to buy airliners but not fighter planes from the United States.

But Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Washington had to play its part by relaxing export controls on high-tech and military goods sold to China.

"China is not pursuing a trade surplus," Zhaoxing said at a news conference in Beijing, according to Reuters. "We are willing, and will continue, to take active measures to gradually resolve the issue of imbalanced trade."

China is under pressure to reduce its trade surplus with the United States, which Washington estimated at $201.6 US billion in 2005.

Several experts, including billionaire investor Warren Buffett, have warned that the United States would face political unrest unless it trims its trade surplus.


"The U.S. trade deficit is a bigger threat to the domestic economy than either the federal budget deficit or consumer debt and could lead to political turmoil," Buffett said in January.

"Right now, the rest of the world owns $3 trillion US more of us than we own of them."

Li also repeated Beijing's objections to U.S. curbs on the export of high-tech equipment that China wants to buy.

"Apart from selling Boeing aircraft to China, the U.S. is only willing to sell us soybeans, cotton, Californian wine, oranges and a few other things," he said.

One of the issues is that some items wanted by China are categorized as dual-use goods, with both civilian and military applications.
China vows to cut trade surplus with U.S.

China official slams foreign investment spree

Foreigners have gained a strong foothold in some sectors of China's economy and Beijing must act now to prevent more domestic firms from falling prey to multinationals, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been crucial to the export boom that has turned China into the world's third-largest trading nation. Foreign-funded firms account for almost 60 percent of the country's exports.

Li Deshui, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, called for legislation to curb "ill-willed" acquisitions of domestic companies by foreign firms and to scrap the country's decades-old preferential policies for foreign investors, notably tax breaks.

"Initially forming joint ventures and setting up wholly owned factories, multinationals are now mounting a large-scale drive to merge with, or acquire, high-quality Chinese companies," Li said.

"Some multinationals believe it's the best time to acquire Chinese firms, because they are far cheaper than U.S. and European companies," he told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament.

The warning came amid a heated debate among academics and officials about the pros and cons of Beijing's policy of opening its economy to foreign investors, which has helped transform China into a global manufacturing hub but has also fuelled frictions with its trade partners.

The bulk of economists argue that the pace of China's opening up and reform policies should continue unchecked.

Li, who is due to retire this year, is not so sure.

Echoing recent concerns over China's sale of stakes in its major banks to foreign investors, Li said that unchecked acquisitions by foreign multinationals could pose a threat to China's economic security.

Posted by: jj | Mar 9 2006 10:07 utc | 8

(way OT)

I check KCNA occasionally. I found this "cute" if somehow hard to reconcile with the West of today. I mean the bits like "facilities", "kind service" and being "full of pride" ..

Railway Station Operated by Women

Pyongyang, March 8 (KCNA) -- The women of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are playing a great part in the development of the national economy and improvement of the people's livelihood. It is well illustrated by the fact that Sophyongyang Railway Station under the Pyongyang Railway Bureau is operated by women.

All the positions of the station from the director of the station to guides have been taken by women for more than 40 years.

They give primary attention to provide better cultural refinement and service to the thousands of travelers going in and out a day. All the facilities and rooms of the station from the central hall to the waiting room, ticket office, library and cloak-room are associated with beautiful and delicate workmanship of the women. Their colorful art performances, explanation on railway law and regulations and kind service deeply move the passengers.

Kim Sin Ok, director of the station, who has worked in the railway station for 30-odd years, told KCNA that all the woman employees are full of pride of operating a railway station of the country by themselves, though it is difficult for them.

Posted by: DM | Mar 9 2006 11:46 utc | 9

Is Bush Spying on His Political Opponents?

I'd say not only his opponents, but also his tribe. I'd go even further and concur w/ commenter bastrop, in that:

It's not just political spying

It is financial as well. Not only are they trading on insider information to help corporate cronies, I'll bet it goes even to the individual level, influencing trading and tweaking investment portfolios.

Beyond that, think of whatever possible criminal use possible and it has been done or is currently being done. Pay for play?

"Hey, Rummy, we have another massive shipment of cocaine coming over the border and the guys at the gate are "white hats". Any tips on when and where I can cross? Only $1mil in a Swiss account? What was that account number again?"

"Hey Mr. Addington. Remember that shipment to Iran you mentioned you wanted done? Well, we have it lined up at the port in Haifa, but we need to take it through the Panama Canal to launder it properly, but those pesky Chinese who run your canal are paying attention again. Any tips on what time of day the screeners take their naps? Of course, that extra $4mil will be in your account by tomorrow morning."

"Hey Mr. Addington, you know that shipment leaving Haifa for Iran that we're supposed to board to find the "material" once it is on an Iranian flagged vessel? Well, we were playing "quarters" into the wee hours and got really drunk and lost track of the ship. Can you, um, help us pin it down so we can get on with the plan? Like, before it actually reaches Iran. And, oh yeah, can you do me a favor and see if that asshole from State that my wife has been balling behind my back took my garbage out this morning before he left for work? I forgot to do it last week and I know my kids will forget. Just, train that satellite right behind the garage to the left of my motorcycle. Thanks"

Hey, Chuck, it's Karl. Yeah, about that vote coming up on Tuesday. You know that electronic archive from your 1992 primary and general campaign that you keep as a trophy? Yeah, the one where your company ran the electronic voting machines? Where you won huge majorities of demographics that had NEVER voted GOP, EVER before? Yeah, well, you never should have left that drive attached to you home computer while you were surfing Bukkakke a few months back. We hate to bring it up, but we really need you on our side on this one, ok? Oh, and by the way, way to rig an election, Chuck. You really showed us all what was possible." "Hey, Olympia, have a seat. As Vice President, I have to inform you, we need your vote on Tuesday. So listen you fucking dyke, this one is of you and your girlfriend on the yacht off Portland. Sorry for the bad angle, but it was late in the day. Is that a bong on deck?

This one is you and that other fag friend of yours on the deck of that other liberal lesbian in the Hamptons. Better angle though, huh? Usually this kind of thing turns me on, but you look too much like Ruth Bader Ginsburg for my tastes. Plus you don't shave your armpits as we can see in...this one. This one is the kicker, Olympia. No one north of Cambridge would find this acceptable. And stay the fuck away from my daughter."

Note: Do skim the comments they are exceptional.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 11:53 utc | 10

Thank you B.

I had missed Odom.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 9 2006 14:06 utc | 11


I bet you the trains don't run on time.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 9 2006 14:08 utc | 12

uncle, can you check that link?

Posted by: annie | Mar 9 2006 15:11 utc | 13


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 9 2006 15:27 utc | 14

diebold drama heats up

E-Voting Monolith and 'Competitors' All Refuse to do Business with County Unless the Elected Ion Sancho is 'Removed from Office'

"These are pretty incredible days," he told us. "There's a titanic clash now going on that's almost unfathomable. These are multi-billion dollar corporations that we've caught here and they don't like it," he explained, clearly exasperated by the situation he reluctantly finds himself in the middle of.

Posted by: annie | Mar 9 2006 16:00 utc | 15

Dubay vs ex-girlfriend?
As if things weren't weird enough, now comes: Roe v Wade for men'?

Men's rights activists in the US are to argue in court that fathers do not have an obligation to pay money towards raising a child they did not want.


The National Center for Men is fighting the case on a behalf of a man who says his ex-girlfriend had his child after telling him she could not get pregnant.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 16:17 utc | 16

hummmm, sorry, works fine from here annie, here I'll try again:

Is Bush Spying on His Political Opponents?

Also, do skim the comments they are a goldmine of interesting information, for example this one:

Abramoff's Diebold -> Ney 's HAVA + NSA =?

Mark Crispin Miller's site:
Input: Abramoff money --> Output: Election fraud

*Mother-of-all-election-fraud: In 2002 House Administration Chair Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio was a prime sponsor of the (sic) "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA). In fact, HAVA was actually written in Bob Ney's office. HAVA, under the guise of resolving the 2000 election fraud issues, was actually written to promote the distribution of computerized voting systems across the nation. The bill was designed to send $3.8 billion taxpayer dollars straight into the pockets of corporations like Diebold, whose voting equipment has now been unequivacolly proven to provide an open door to election rigging. Diebold, one of the prime lobbyists for HAVA, was at the time a client of Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff's firm.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 16:31 utc | 17

thanks uncle, i had just found the diary on the recommend list and was following the comments. thanks for reposting.

Posted by: annie | Mar 9 2006 16:48 utc | 18

Iran's Deadly EMP Weapon Latest Neo-Con War Fraud

From the same snake oil salesmen that brought you 45 minute attack claims, dodgy dossiers and weapons bunkers that were bakeries, comes the shocking new threat that could knock America back into the stone age, Iran's deadly EMP weapons.

"And, and, and, ... a Death Star. Iran has a DEATH STAR!! Oooooh, scary, scary Iran. Can we bomb them now?" -- Official White Horse Souse

You know the sad thing is, even if Iran did have an EMP (which I have to admit is technologically possible)

A) who the hell blames em.

B) my absolute total distrust in the current zionist neo-convicts, would have me suspect all kinds of wild senarios. Like who give it to em or why or, or...

One thing is for certain the drumbeat is getting louder and when it reaches a fever pitch it's not going to be nice for anyone.

As business guru, Tom Peters, said in his book "Thriving on Chaos", Customer perception (CP) equals delivery (D) divided by expectation (E). Maximizing CP [by under-promising and over-delivering] is essential in the squishy, real world, where perception of the intangibles is really everything."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 16:55 utc | 19

Nice thread b. The Supranational thread was very good. We've had some nice comments and links here and i would like to compliment everyone on the tone.

Until Bushie is gone we must be on top of everything, and after he's gone push any new leaders to clean up the US mess. jj's post about China is interesting. Bushies tax cut for dividends, capital gains and inetrest has allowed the selloff of US assets to be used in foriegn investment. Oh yah, those profits they took, that was your 401K money you've been paying in for retirement. So, the heartland is being strip mined of assets for foriegn investment.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 9 2006 17:18 utc | 20

@Uncle - even if Iran did have an EMP (which I have to admit is technologically possible)

- Iran doesn´t have the means to make a fission device, i.e. a nuke
- Iran doesn´t have the means to make a very specialized fission device (i.e. an effective EMP bomb)
- Iran doesn´t have the means to deliver such a device

So it´s technologically possible?

@jdp - Nice thread b

Thanks - but its an open thread. Which makes me wonder. Why put up time to read sources, write a post, format and correct it when an open one gives a better comment stream (just wondering and scratching the cats head)

Posted by: b | Mar 9 2006 18:05 utc | 21

jdp, Thanks for that info.

On a more trivial level, how comprehensive is the inc. corruption in america? Art. in NYT says that Penn economist says there's Very High Probability that college basketball games are fixed. In games w/strongly favored team, a player on that team is paid off to play below their best so that the point spread is not covered. Sad Suspicions About Scores in Basketball

Posted by: jj | Mar 9 2006 18:12 utc | 22

b, I wasn't as clear as I would have wished.

Not had my coffee yet ;-)

I was wildly speculating someone could give em the technology, like say, Mossad, ISI, NK, Team B, who knows...

I can imagine all sorts of maniacal military strategic geopolitical senarios on less than three hours sleep... lol

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 18:29 utc | 23

In a thread a little ways back, it was suggested that we write a letter to Billmon to encourage him to blog again. I said I might write if no one else did, so here's a shot at it. Let me know if any good edits are needed, then maybe B can put it up as a new thread to get 'signatures.'

Dear Billmon,

The Moon of Alabama community would like to let you know that we appreciate your blogging, and hope that you will renew your writing.

We ask this not as fans who support our bloggers like others might support our troops, but rather, out of respect for your skills in political and economic analysis, in addition to your abilities to use a well-placed quote to slice through the propaganda of American politics.

We are a wide variety of readers and commenters, some of us young, some old. Some American, some foreign. Some are here primarily to read, and learn, some are here to speak and debate, and some are here to participate in one of the few communities in which intelligent discourse on a variety of rarely mentioned subjects in encouraged.

But all of us are here because we value your writing.

The Moon of Alabama community is sending this letter to encourage you to write on your blog again, yes, but it is also a letter of thanks, for that which you have already done.


Posted by: Rowan | Mar 9 2006 18:56 utc | 24

Digby has a guest post by>Lucian Truscott IV on the seemy underbelly of the port deal, and the role of various functionaries working under the leadership of the Bush Family Master Fixer Expert Vetter and Chief Water Carrier James A Baker -- a zinger.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 9 2006 19:13 utc | 25

Men's rights activists in the US are to argue in court that fathers do not have an obligation to pay money towards raising a child they did not want.

A society that can no longer take care of the children - of bringing the up properly, giving them enough care and love (this may be minimal, far more minimal than most imagine) - to go on to be adults who live lives that are productive, that is just active, satisfying, and go on to bring up children themselves, is dead.


Not a question of morality, but pragmatics. In the long run.

hmm. not sure. anyway its a pov.

Posted by: Noisette | Mar 9 2006 19:25 utc | 26


we may be here because of billmon, but, i dont think billmon is here because of us -- nice show of appreciation though.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 9 2006 19:28 utc | 27


I'm not so sure it really is "technologically possible" to build a non-nuclear EMP bomb, at least at the current state of technology. Yes, it is possible to build an EMP gun, and use it to scramble computers (news flash: unless your computer is in a shielded location, anyone with the skills of an electrical engineering student can crash it from outside your building if they really want to do so) but to release an undirected EMP capable of seriously effecting a large area would require an enormous amount of power in the form of electrical energy. I'm not sure you could actually do it with existing technology -- although missiles have a lot of energy, it's all chemical, nuclear, or kinetic, and energy storage that can deliver a single burst correctly is a pain. It would be easier to build a nuclear EMP bomb, but everyone agrees that Iran can't do that yet.

And even if you suppose the weapons to be practical, the effects of an EMP are less dramatic than some would have you believe. Engineers may be pretty clueless about some things, but recovery from electrical disaster is something most of them consider as a crucial part of any design. Practically all relatively recent designs (say 1980 onward) are going to have at least partial shielding, and if the stuff doesn't burn out completely during the initial pulse, you can generally start up again afterward. (For example: if the allegation that the NE U.S. power outage was caused by an EMP test is true -- look at how little equipment had to be replaced, beyond the parts of the power grid which were already considered to be outdated and burned out. There was no surge of appliance-replacement-buying from ordinary citizens in that area. If the power grid hadn't burned out, most things would have come back up within a day. Oooooh, scary. The chaos, the horror -- a few hours without electricity!) (That, of course, assumes that the blackout was caused by EMP and not, as seems more probable, by greedy privatized utilities who refused to spend money on infrastructure or maintenance.)

I may be wrong, but this strikes me as another bogeyman for the right wing to use, like dirty bombs. (Remember how dirty bombs were supposed to be so terrible, and then it turned out that the incredibly high fatality numbers were based on a study where it was assumed everyone in the vicinity would stick around for at least three years to take in all the toxins? It turned out that the instantaneous casualties were about on a par with an ordinary bomb. But you can't scare people into increasing your budget by saying "ooh, look, another explosive that acts more or less like the ones you already know about.")

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Mar 9 2006 20:04 utc | 28

UK Channel 4 News, incorporating St Jon of the Snows, has been broadcasting live from Iran all this week, and has scored significant face time with some major players, including Iran's top nukes negotiator, who was clear that Iran does not intend to leave NPT.

The journos involved are also blogging from Iran.

Reading Condi today, I feel nauseous.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Mar 9 2006 20:32 utc | 29

Sadly, this is not even surprising:

"They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted."

Story from Scripps Howard News Service

Posted by: correlator | Mar 9 2006 20:50 utc | 30

Not sure if it's been getting much traction around here (dan of steele for the pov from Italy?), but while we here in the UK bow to the sizeable marker you in the US have thrown down vis-a-vis corruption scandals (most recently Cunningham), to which we can only aspire, we are trying to do our bit.

For your consideration, then: the illuminating New Labour scandal affecting David Mills, spouse of the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, who will shortly be up in an Italian court on charges of corruption over a bribe, I mean gift he is said to have received from an offshore fund from Silvio Berlusconi in return for some good old-fashioned omerta.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Mar 9 2006 20:51 utc | 31

@The Truth - EMP

The EMP Bullshit is pushed through a group with Bill Gertz a Washington Times journo as their mouthpiece.

Jeffrey Lewis, the ArmsContolWonk, and several other have debunked that stuff here and here.

The group used a piece in an Iranian science paper to claim that Iran is working on EMP. As one of Lewis buddies found out:

Yesterday, I discussed an apocryphal Iranian magazine article called “Electronics to Determine Fate of Future Wars,” which supposedly threatened the United States with an electromagnetic pulse attack, via aerial detonation of a nuclear weapon. I wasn’t able to find the article online, and wondered whether it actually existed.

Well, it does.


There are a couple of interesting things about it. First and foremost, it contains no discussion of an EMP attack against the United States.

For that matter, it contains no discussion of an EMP attack against anyone.

In fact, it contains no mention of nuclear weapons whatsoever.

But that doesn´t mean congress will not throw another few millions at anyone who repeats that claim.

Posted by: b | Mar 9 2006 21:04 utc | 32

I guess it goes without saying that a story in a newspaper may or may not be true, when casually mentioning the DHS was involved. In regards to my post above, the fact that they mention a "bank privacy act" when no such thing seems to exist casts some doubt on the story I suppose.

Posted by: correlator | Mar 9 2006 21:27 utc | 33

"If Tony Blair thinks his friendship with George W Bush is worth rubbing out a couple of hundred thousand Iraqi men, women and children, then that's something he can talk over with me later," said God. …

God spake these words: "That George W Bush once had the nerve to say: 'God told me to go end the tyranny in Iraq, and I did.' Well, let me tell you I did no such thing! If I'd wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I could have given him pneumonia. I didn't need the president of the United States to send in hundreds of heavy bombers and thousands of missiles to destroy Iraq - even though I appreciate that Halliburton needed to fill its order books."

Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python

Posted by: DM | Mar 9 2006 21:33 utc | 34

So the US State Dept. puts out a human rights report card grading every country but itself.

Nothing about murder, rape, and torture in various prisons comprising our gulag, nothing about our war crimes in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Nothing about our criminal rendition practices.

I guess it's like Nixon and Commander Codpiece believe, "If the president does it, it can't be a crime", only substituting the US for the president.

Despicable. Who gives a damn what a pariah country like ours has to say about human rights?

Posted by: ran | Mar 9 2006 22:08 utc | 35

b, I think the open thread provides for a diverse range of topics. However, a focused subject thread is important.

Spaeking of topics. It looks like the UAE port deal is dead.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 9 2006 22:19 utc | 36


you do yourself a disservice; you provide on a centring of the discourse & & opening into the questions that ought to be dealt with

your position is neither parenthetic nor is it incidental

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 9 2006 22:58 utc | 37

U$ - CNN is already spinning, the port deal is spiked and Repugs are lined up against Bushie, but what does that really say about NeoPravda?

The ports deal hasn't collapsed! There is no rift! The ports deal is still go-live, and the Repugs still love their Bushie! Opp sim facto.

CNN can paint this in the corner all they want, lulling the sheeple back to sleep, cheerleading up the Bushie support, but the facts are clear:

UAE was a done-deal before it was announced, and it's still a done-deal, relabeled. But now we'll go forward thinking US are secure, thanks to GOB Republicans stepping up to the patriotic plate.

G-d save the RNP queens! R-ve is their maestro!

Posted by: PingPing | Mar 9 2006 22:59 utc | 38

& want to add that i have not been posting as regularly as i would like as i am being affected by the complications of insulin & this diabetes

body under attack - yet i feel myself still a young warrior

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 9 2006 23:01 utc | 39

that is my impression too. that it was & remains a done deal. all the republicant theatrics - a mere melodrama

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 9 2006 23:05 utc | 40

Further to the "Negative Perception of Islam", see Juan Cole's article.

Of course, reason, Juan Cole, or any number of blogs, are nowhere near as powerful as the likes of Strategic Communication Laboratories or the agenda-driven Western Media.

Even just simple propaganda like "The Iranian Regime", relentlessly pursued, is effective. How likely is it that we could hear about the "American Regime" on the BBC.

Posted by: DM | Mar 9 2006 23:06 utc | 41

It looks like the UAE port deal is dead.

Hmm - i wonder about the deal terms. I don´t think the Dubai folks let this go for nothing.

Posted by: b | Mar 9 2006 23:06 utc | 42


You've watch this gang long enough to know, everything in this administration comes down to political positioning maneuvers. Just like everything else the do, they will just play the shell game of renaming the companies whom will control it. More likely, it's the Rethug congress wanting to appear to stand up to BushCo and distance themselves from his tanking poll numbers in an election year.

As for DPW, I suspect that all that's happening is some paper-shuffling and camoflage to keep the same deal in place, but under a different name. They'le put lipstick on the pig and call it a debutante, but it'll still be the same pig.

Just as how the TIA program played out.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 9 2006 23:18 utc | 43

Report by Jim Lobe

US on human rights: Laugh yourself to death

It's that time of year for the US State Department's annual comedy classic, the "Country Reports" on human rights. Funnily enough, Iran is now among the worst offenders, along with Cuba, home to the US's own Guantanamo Bay prison for those not charged with any crime. But Iraq - great news - has seen a significant improvement, Abu Ghraib and Shi'ite death squads notwithstanding. Rib-tickling stuff - especially, no doubt, for US captives who have been "rendered" for torture.

Posted by: DM | Mar 9 2006 23:32 utc | 44

They will put lipstick on the pig and call it a debutante, but it will still be the same pig.

couldn't have sd that as elegantly myself uncle

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 9 2006 23:34 utc | 45

Some pigs are obviously more equal than others.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 10 2006 0:17 utc | 46

Hey, come on down for a great buy on running US ports! Deal just fell through, now much cheaper to bid! Seller very motivated, bring all offers!

[Halliburton, anyone?]

Posted by: gylangirl | Mar 10 2006 0:21 utc | 47


Posted by: DM | Mar 10 2006 0:36 utc | 48

strange dm that you should post that - i am preparing for a lecture publique using some old newsreel from the forties. some terrible, terrible 'information' - which is not dissimilar to that of foxnews - & one of the films - a trilogy-peril juif - which uses the same information of the black plague - rats - jews etc etc - all narrated by some psychopath with the voice of a french truman capote

what is horrific is that these narratives are told over & over again & again - & each time it is told there is a more profund impoverishment of both sense & morality

& it is for that reason the deal will go down, that the u s will attack iran & tom delay & his creepy cortege will be elected again & again - like some bavarian political ballet of the 1930's

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 10 2006 1:15 utc | 49


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 10 2006 2:20 utc | 50

I noted a while ago that the least profitable / least asian traffic port terminals in P&O North America's portfolio were on the Atlantic seaboard. They've just been dumped onto a taxpayers' "US company". The jewel in the North American crown is Port of Vancouver, 28 hours closer than Long Beach, and still very much within the nest.

Posted by: Allen | Mar 10 2006 4:31 utc | 51

@ Dismal Science re Berlusconi and Mills

Most Italians have already chosen whether to support Berlusconi or not. Those that do disregard any and all of the charges made against him. They all knew perfectly well what they were getting when they voted him into office the last time. This latest charge will probably result in a law that states that it is OK for the prime minister to give large gifts to foreign lawyers similar to the law passed making it legal for the prime minister to own a soccer club and another one making it legal for the prime minister to control most of the private media as well as the state run media.

The shiny object today is about the Berlusconi government spying on political opponents.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 10 2006 7:27 utc | 52

Hi, rememberinggiap. I've missed you but never felt that you were far away.

To Bernhard, I think that one thing that keeps MoA interesting is that we regular patrons jabber a lot about different things, all mixed together in the open threads. This brings me insight into different topics and sources.

But what keeps us patrons on the same page, so to speak, is that I think we all read your topic posts and that gives a certain baseline of knowledge or at least a baseline of what everyone else has read.

I was reflecting on this today, as a solitary worker I don't gather at the water cooler or coffee room with my colleagues, where we might have discussed the newspaper headlines, or what was on television the night before.

I usually see films on video or DVD, not in the theater, and I don't watch tv episodes that much.

So the social aspect of MoA, the shared environment, the pace is set to a certain extent by your postings. If you are getting burnt out on this, there are a few ideas I might suggest. Most of them are gleaned from other blogs:

Daily or weekly features -- MoA already has a schedule of open topics, from daily to weekday/weekend OTs. One might add something like Friday Cat Blogging or Science Fridays like Kevin Drum and Kos have done -- maybe Hangover Monday Let's All Bitch -- or whatever. Schedules do wonders for the reader, although of course there is the need to come up with the next piece before deadline!

Guest bloggers -- take a break for a day or three and let someone else run the show. This takes good communications discipline of course and generous cooperation from the guests. There have already been offers ...

Maybe I'm missing the point, because this site is already highly organized but since it is so easy to drop by and read for a while the actual structure and organization are invisible to me. What is your philosophy and what are your methods to run the Moon?

Posted by: jonku | Mar 10 2006 8:52 utc | 53

Forbes has best discussion of current status of Port deal/theft. (South Carolina has bought their ports. Other states apparently only too happy to have their resources ripped off by the pirates.)

New York -

In what could be a last-ditch effort to salvage its deal to operate East and Gulf Coast ports in the U.S., DP World told Congress that it would agree to transfer control to a "U.S. entity," which could simply mean a subsidiary of the Dubai operation.

In a statement, first read on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Virginia Republican John Warner, DP World said the decision was made to "preserve the strong relationship between the U.S. and the U.A.E." But in fact, it sounded suspiciously like a device carefully crafted by DP World's huge team of lobbyists and lawyers to salvage the deal in some fashion.

The new entity is supposed to have an American board and American managers, but the ownership was still questionable. Or, as New York's Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer observed, "the devil is in the details." If DP World is in fact merely planning to put its U.S. assets under a U.S.-managed subsidiary with oversight from a U.S.-staffed board, it would be following in a long line of foreign suppliers of defense technology to the U.S.

"This looks like a variant of that," says Clyde Prestowitz of the Economic Strategy Group in Washington. link

Posted by: jj | Mar 10 2006 9:00 utc | 54

by Paul Levy

Oh, I've linked this before. Long time ago. But sometimes, with the daily onslaught on insanity, I just need reassurance that it really is George that is mad.

For anyone you has not read this, Paul Levy's Jungian analysis of George is worth the effort.

Posted by: DM | Mar 10 2006 9:30 utc | 55

thanks for that link, well thought out, in depth, (icono)pathology of bad faith. or infantilism, or both.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 10 2006 10:30 utc | 56

There is another interesting speculation at Tom Dispatch by>Michael Schwartz concerning the situation in Iraq. His abstract is basically that no one is controlling the country, in the sense that there is no established top to bottom sovereignty. What control that does exist, flows out of the clan/tribal religious orientation as expressed through the militias -- which trump both the US occupation and the Iraqi government -- but are not cohesive enough to constitute any real sovereignity themselves. According to his sources (and I've seen this before)the training regimen (of the security forces)imposed by the US is being restricted from use by the new government. These units are only armed with light weaponry and only operate in conjunction with US troop operations in an effort to develop a generic state or occupation type loyality. This then keeps the US in command of the security forces and prevents the new government from using them, so they remain impotent. Except for the police forces which have become an arm of the militias and are operating with some independence from the US. By all appearances the US wants to control the military they are training. The new government has no (military) authority except through the militias. The militias, in themselves police the country, but lack (governmental) authority. The US has the military force (although not really enough) but lacks legitimacy. The trained up new military lacks both the real (heavy)equipment and is disconnected from the new government and beholden to the occupation. A great big stalemate that costs 5 billion $$a month, until it blows up.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 10 2006 11:18 utc | 57

@anna - just read that piece too and it really describes the situation.

I wonder how that stalemate can be broken. Something extrodinary will have to happen to change it. Another Samarra demolition, the killing of Al Sadr, a war on Iran?

A few years from now it will end in some kind of dictatorship again. No democratic government will be able to pick up the pieces and mend them together. Though so far, I don´t see any candidate.

Posted by: b | Mar 10 2006 11:35 utc | 58

Are there any ex-Enron lawyers involved in reworking the Dubai Ports deal? Sounds like their methods all over again.

In the end, I didn't even object to the deal when it first aired, I was mostly just amused to watch Bush thrash about helplessly (once he was informed about the done deal).

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 10 2006 13:05 utc | 59

Hack,...Kaff,...Gag,...Choke....Is it just cynical me? Or was this ports thing the real deal or not? DPW caved a little too easy in my estimation. Could this all be a Cecil B. De-Rove epic production? After all Bush is not running for re-election in November, but all these Republican 'heros' in the House and Senate are. Will this end up delivering a continued Repug majority in Congress? Thereby assuring Bush a happy but subdued lame duck presidency and thwarting a possible impeachment? I don't know. We live in interesting times. It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

Posted by: pb | Mar 10 2006 14:13 utc | 60

dan of steele - thanks for the links.

I guess in my naivety I'm still a bit shocked by the Mills-Berlusconi thing, but the Iraq invasion makes more sense because of it.

r'giap - bon courage!

to one and all - thanks for some great links on this thread

Posted by: Dismal Science | Mar 10 2006 15:03 utc | 61

Newly partially declassified Bill of Rights

Posted by: citizen | Mar 10 2006 19:12 utc | 62

from narcosphere.narconews: Rightwing Narco's Family Paid $83 Million to the U.S. to Avoid Prosecution

...the Colombian newsmagazine Cambio (owned and directed in part by former drug legalization supporter Gabriel García Marquéz) has dug up a juicy tidbit ... In this week’s issue, whose cover reads "The Price of Justice," the magazine reveals that on January 31 of this year the U.S. Justice Department received the last $1.3 million of an $83 million payment from the family of slain Colombian paramilitary boss and narco-trafficker Gonzalo "The Mexican" Rodríguez Gacha. In return for the massive payment, the family – Rodríguez’ widow and seven of his "heirs" – received immunity from prosecution, which they were facing from the Jacksonville, Florida U.S. District Court.

. . .

Unmentioned in the Cambio article beyond a passing reference is El Mexicano’s role in the development of modern paramilitarism in Colombia.

Posted by: b real | Mar 10 2006 19:38 utc | 63

From a newish blog that keeps us posted on the latest in the domestic religious wars, comes this:

In Georgia, state Sen. Kasim Reed in January introduced a bill authorizing school districts to teach courses derived from The Bible and Its Influence, a textbook released last year by the Bible Literacy Project.

In Tennessee, Reps. Rick Nelson and Bob Damron are sponsoring legislation that would allow postings of religious documents such as the Ten Commandments. In Virginia, Timothy Kaine rode religious campaign themes and Christian radio ads to victory in the governor's race last fall.

All that would be business as usual for the GOP. But these Bible-thumping, faith-stumping pols are all Democrats--and part of their party's emerging effort to reconnect with religious voters. [    ]


Posted by: jj | Mar 10 2006 19:39 utc | 64

I think this is why the new government doesnt want to see the militias vetted, as its their only working channel of influence down to the population. Without them they are just a green zone figment. How far they are willing to go is unclear, but I don't think the prospect of civil war is as much a detriment or hinderence (for the shia) as is made out to be, by the US position. As its in the US interests to trump up the possibility to scare them into doing what they want. This is (in my view) the main log jam that can break several different ways, one of which is they (the shia) manage to form a sectarian government and counter the US position by publically asking the US to leave -- while this might be impractical in many ways, it would be a public relations disastor for Bush. Many in the US would seize upon this as a clean way out, and demand Bush take it seriously, in spite of it would leave the US with nothing (of the alterior motives) Secondly, the US could keep the pressure up to the extent they (the Shia) cannot form the government demanded by the secular base, which would create a defalt. If the government fails to materialize, two things might happen: first, there would have to be new elections called for, which would be bad for everyone for the obvious reasons -- which then, from the paniced US position, there may be an inclination to precipitate a coup'etat and return to the original neo-con plan of installing a secular government headed by either Chilabi or Allawi (or someone else). In this case the attempt to train up a loyal US Iraqi army would supposadly provide its services to such a government. There are plenty of other ways it could break, but break it must -- and pretty soon I would guess.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 10 2006 21:03 utc | 65

Islamophobia worse in America now than after 9/11, survey finds

* Majority says Islam has most violent followers
* Analysts blame politicians and media coverage

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Friday March 10, 2006
The Guardian

More than half of Americans believe there are more violent extremists within Islam than in any other religion and that the faith encourages violence against non-Muslims, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll yesterday.

Negative feelings towards Islam are much more pronounced now than in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 2001 terror attacks, the survey found.

A majority, 58%, of those interviewed now believe that Islam has more violent followers than any other religion. The poll of 1,000 was conducted by phone last week and has a three-point error margin. Since January 2002 the proportion of those who believe mainstream Islam promotes violence against non-believers has risen from 14% to 32%.

Analysts blame the surge on a confluence of factors: the proposed takeover of US ports operations by a Dubai firm (now abandoned); the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the election of Hamas in the Palestinian territories; and, above all, the riotous protests across the Muslim world against Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. "The coverage of the controversy over the cartoons showed that sort of violent extremist in a way that a lot of Americans found troubling," said Carroll Dougherty of the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press.

American attitudes towards Islam were not out of step with Europe, Mr Dougherty said, adding that there was more tolerance in the US towards the use of headscarves than in countries such as Germany or France, where there is strong support for a ban.

But nearly half of Americans, 46%, said they held unfavourable attitudes towards Islam - compared with 24% in January 2002. The Post quoted analysts as saying that the demonisation of Islam by politicians and the media during the past four years had led to an erosion of tolerance.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11 2001, George Bush made a number of statements disassociating Islam and the general Arab and Muslim population in America from al-Qaida. He also visited a mosque, a symbolic gesture that helped build a more positive image of Islam.

"It seems counter-intuitive, but from the president on down there was a very strong message from Washington that this was not representative of Islam," Mr Dougherty said. "In the intervening years there has been an absence of this sort of positive message."

James Zogby, president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, told the Post he was not surprised by the poll's results. Politicians, authors and media commentators have demonised the Arab world since 2001, he said.

"The intensity has not abated and remains a vein that's very near the surface, ready to be tapped at any moment," Mr Zogby said. "Members of Congress have been exploiting this over the ports issue. Radio commentators have been talking about it non-stop."

Posted by: Jimmy and the Teamsters | Mar 10 2006 22:50 utc | 66

An excellent discussion on altruism at Bodyandsoul. To give the flavor, here's the last comment in the thread:

I don't know to what extent we're good

I don't think any of us does, or ever really can. But I believe in the power of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. Maybe there are people who believe human nature is evil, and who strive to overcome that. But I haven't seen much of that. Mostly, when people tell me that human beings are selfish, that everyone's out for himself, I'd take odds I'm dealing with a selfish person.

John Lewis tells a wonderful story in his memoir about learning to deal with bigots who wanted to kill him. He was taught to throw them off guard by talking about a shared interest -- say, sports -- forcing them to see him as a human being, but, equally important, forcing himself to see them as human. He stresses that nonviolent resistance can't be just a tactic. You have to genuinely try to find, and encourage, the good in people. That doesn't mean you don't recognize the evil they do. It means your focus is on nurturing the good, not fighting the bad. I don't think you can do that if you tell yourself that human beings are inherently evil.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 10 2006 23:23 utc | 67

The rich get richer

According to the latest Forbes magazine ranking of the world's richest people, there are now 793 billionaires (that's billion with a b) worldwide, and increase of 102 over last year. Combined, their fortunes total $2.6 trillion (that's trillion with a t), up 18% from last year.

Those of you who didn't make the list, take heart. That money should start trickling down any day now!

Ronald Reagan, and his religion of trickle down economics, ya just gotta have faith...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 11 2006 0:02 utc | 68

I do not recommend looking at these unless you prepare yourself first.

More Abu Ghraib pictures released from the Australian press and available on the Memory Hole.

I have to go clean myself or something now - I'm overcome with despair rather more than I expected.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 11 2006 2:10 utc | 69

Where do you find a good man to do the dirty work in our long war?>Some fellers here.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 11 2006 2:30 utc | 70

Welcome to the New World Order

The PNAC document also includes preparation for, and actually launching, wars on multiple fronts throughout the globe. What the blueprint for empire does not explicitly state is a possibility that has begun taking hold of my awareness in recent weeks that one of those fronts is America itself.

Since this administration took office, the Constitution has been suspended, article by article....I believe that what we are witness to is the controlled demolition of the United States of America. Everything that has happened since December 12, 2000, when the Supreme Court appointed UAE Bush to the presidency, has been about setting this country up for a hostile takeover by the Bush global syndicate...

Read It All

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 11 2006 2:54 utc | 71

Well slothrop:

They look pretty well fed.

What is your point?

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 11 2006 2:56 utc | 72

Sorry, Slothrop.

I see the point second glance.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 11 2006 3:03 utc | 73

also interesting the AG torture photos need to censor genitalia but not crushed, bloodied skulls.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 11 2006 3:05 utc | 74

Yeah, Sloth.

What Citizen linked to was very sick.

Lot of blood and whatever in those pictures, but I'm not a forensic pathologist.

Guess the fundies need a fig leaf to cover Adam.

Posted by: Groucho | Mar 11 2006 3:27 utc | 75

US found guilty of violating Shoshone human rights Western Shoshone were victorious Friday at UN, as the US was found in violation of human rights of Native Americans and urged to take immediate action

Bernice Lalo says the Shoshone Nation is being "threatened by extinction." But a landmark decision Friday by a UN committee is causing some Western Shoshone's to have hope,

The United States was urged to "freeze", "desist" and "stop" actions being taken or threatened to be taken against the Western Shoshone Peoples of the Western Shoshone Nation, in a Friday decision by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The U.S. has until July 15, 2006 to provide the UN committee with information on the action it had taken.

This action challenges the US government's assertion of federal ownership of nearly 90 percent of Western Shoshone lands.


The decision expressed particular concern that the U.S.' basis for claiming federal title to Western Shoshone land rests on a theory of "gradual encroachment" through a "compensation" process in the Indian Claims Commission.

Joe Kennedy, also a Western Shoshone insists that "we have rights to protect our homelands and stop the destruction of our land, water, and air by the abuses of the United States government and the multinational corporations. He says "the situation is outrageous and we're glad the United Nations Committee agrees with us."

"Our people have suffered more nuclear testing than anywhere else in the world and they're continuing underground testing despite our protests. Yucca Mountain is being hollowed out in order to store nuclear waste. We cannot stand for it," Kennedy claims, adding "this earth, the air, the water are sacred. People of all races must stop this insanity now in order to secure a safe future for all."

The decision is historic in that it is the first time a United Nations Committee has issued a full decision against the U.S. in respect to its highly controversial Federal Indian law and policy.


The decision issued today demonstrates a solid commitment by the United Nations human rights system to make the Western Shoshone's struggle a priority. Whereas indigenous peoples have been active at the United Nations for several decades, the decision today also brings a breath of hope to indigenous communities across the U.S. and globally where the negative effects of U.S. policy and influence reach. In its decision, the Committee drew particular attention to its General recommendation 23 (1997) on the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular their right to own, develop, control and use their communal lands, territories and resources.

In 1951, the Atomic Energy Commission set up the Nevada Test Site within Western Shoshone territory as a proving grounds for nuclear weapons. Between 1951 and 1992, the United States and Great Britain exploded 1, 054 nuclear devices above and below the ground. The radiation exposure emanating from those tests was only fully measured for 111 tests. Within just the first three years, 220 above-ground tests spewed fallout over a large area.
...the Atomic Energy Commission and then the Department of Energy would deliberately wait for the clouds to blow north and east before conducting above-ground tests, so that the fallout would avoid any heavily populated areas such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This meant that the Shoshones would get a larger dosage. They literally had no protection.
- winona laduke, all our relations: native struggles for land and life

[T]he Indian plays much the same role in our American society that the Jews played in Germany. Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shifts from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith. - felix s. cohen, 1953

...the Western Shoshone resistance and the outside support it has some to attract offers us a veritable relief map of the road we must all traverse if we are to attain a future which separates itself finally and irrevocably from the colonialism, genocide, and ecocide which have come before. - ward churchill, "the struggle for newe segobia", struggle for the land: native north american resistance to genocide, ecocide and colonization

Posted by: b real | Mar 11 2006 4:53 utc | 76

b real, thank you for that good news.

I am still disgusted, but settling into a colder anger. I'll quote a bit from John Gatto's The Underground History of American Education to better grasp how we have produced such tortuous culture.

Jacques Ellul, whose book Propaganda is a reflection on the phenomenon, warned us that prosperous children are more susceptible than others to the effects of schooling because they are promised more lifelong comfort and security for yielding wholly:

Critical judgment disappears altogether, for in no way can there ever be collective critical judgment....The individual can no longer judge for himself because he inescapably relates his thoughts to the entire complex of values and prejudices established by propaganda. With regard to political situations, he is given ready-made value judgments invested with the power of the truth by...the word of experts.

The new dumbness is particularly deadly to middle- and upper-middle-class kids already made shallow by multiple pressures to conform imposed by the outside world on their usually lightly rooted parents. When they come of age, they are certain they must know something because their degrees and licenses say they do. They remain so convinced until an unexpectedly brutal divorce, a corporate downsizing in midlife, or panic attacks of meaninglessness upset the precarious balance of their incomplete humanity, their stillborn adult lives. Alan Bullock, the English historian, said Evil was a state of incompetence. If true, our school adventure has filled the twentieth century with evil.

Ellul puts it this way:

The individual has no chance to exercise his judgment either on principal questions or on their implication; this leads to the atrophy of a faculty not comfortably exercised under [the best of] conditions...Once personal judgment and critical faculties have disappeared or have atrophied, they will not simply reappear when propaganda is suppressed...years of intellectual and spiritual education would be needed to restore such faculties. The propagandee, if deprived of one propaganda, will immediately adopt another, this will spare him the agony of finding himself vis a vis some event without a ready-made opinion.

Once the best children are broken to such a system, they disintegrate morally, becoming dependent on group approval. A National Merit Scholar in my own family once wrote that her dream was to be "a small part in a great machine." It broke my heart. What kids dumbed down by schooling canユt do is to think for themselves or ever be at rest for very long without feeling crazy

This is where I came in to this bar, feeling crazy because I knew that what I 'knew' wasn't making sense. Incompetent to sustain critical judgement, and it is still my project here to learn to think both critically and consistently, or as my great grandfathers might have said more directly, to think for myself.

If you believe nothing can be done for the dumb except kindness, because itユs biology (the bell-curve model); if you believe capitalist oppressors have ruined the dumb because they are bad people (the neo-Marxist model); if you believe dumbness reflects depraved moral fiber (the Calvinist model); or that itユs natureユs way of disqualifying boobies from the reproduction sweepstakes (the Darwinian model); or natureユs way of providing someone to clean your toilet (the pragmatic elitist model); or that itユs evidence of bad karma (the Buddhist model); if you believe any of the various explanations given for the position of the dumb in the social order we have, then you will be forced to concur that a vast bureaucracy is indeed necessary to address the dumb. Otherwise they would murder us in our beds.

And so we have trained ourselves to be the Hessians of the world. We're not torturing, not anymore than absolutely necessary, we're just managing things.

We don't have to abandon our children to this training for inhumanity.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 11 2006 5:30 utc | 77

AP: Thousands of Federal Cases Kept Secret

Despite the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of public trials, nearly all records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants who completed their journey through the federal courts over the last three years. Instances of such secrecy more than doubled from 2003 to 2005.

An Associated Press investigation found, and court observers agree, that most of these defendants are cooperating government witnesses, but the secrecy surrounding their records prevents the public from knowing details of their plea bargains with the government.
At the request of the AP, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts conducted its first tally of secrecy in federal criminal cases. The nationwide data it provided the AP showed 5,116 defendants whose cases were completed in 2003, 2004 and 2005, but the bulk of their records remain secret.

"The constitutional presumption is for openness in the courts, but we have to ask whether we are really honoring that," said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and now law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "What are the reasons for so many cases remaining under seal?"

Judge Issues Secret Ruling in Case of 2 at Mosque
A federal judge issued a highly unusual classified ruling yesterday, denying a motion for dismissal of a case against two leaders of an Albany mosque who are accused of laundering money in a federal terrorism sting operation.

Because the ruling was classified, the defense lawyers were barred from reading why the judge decided that way.

The defense lawyers had asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying that they believed the government's evidence came from wiretaps obtained without a warrant by the National Security Agency.

The two mosque leaders, Yassin M. Aref, 35, and Mohammed M. Hossain, 50, were charged in August 2004 with conspiring with a government informant to take part in what they believed was a plot to import a shoulder-fired missile and assassinate a Pakistani diplomat.

Looks like Guantanamo tribunal rules are sneaking into the U.S. justice system

Posted by: b | Mar 11 2006 8:09 utc | 78

Just reading: Milosevic has died in prison in DenHagen. No link yet.

Posted by: b | Mar 11 2006 12:26 utc | 79

Milosevic found dead in cell.

Posted by: beq | Mar 11 2006 13:46 utc | 80

So many family's destroyed by war crimes. Thing is, we all get to sit on the mercy seat. The purpetrator, and the victim. Somehow that gives me great comfort as I know the Bushco crime syndicate's time is yet to come.

And the mercy seat is waiting
And I think my head is burning
And in a way I'm yearning
To be done with all this measuring of truth.
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
And anyway I told the truth
And I'm not afraid to die.

-The Mercy Seat, written and performed by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 11 2006 15:25 utc | 81

How convenient. Justice delayed is justice denied. Perhaps Saddam will be next.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 11 2006 15:58 utc | 82

There are some writers and journalists who in the wake of NATO's bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, have argued that Milošević's actions have been exaggerated to provide justification for the military intervention. Political scientis Michael Parenti has made the case that Milošević, and the actions of the Serbs more broadly, were systematically exaggerated by the mainstream U.S. media during the period of NATO's bombing (see Parenti's book "To Kill a Nation" for more details). Even more notedly, Swedish journalist Diana Johnstone made the case in her work of investigative journalism Fool's Crusade that Milošević's actions were marginal at best, and certainly not greater than the crimes of the Croats or the Bosnian Muslims, even going so far as to claim that the massacre of Srebrenica did not occur, and was a media fabrication. Political scientist Edward Herman (former co-writer of Noam Chomsky) publicly endorsed Johnstone's findings in his review of Fool's Crusade in the Monthly Review after the book's publication.[9] Noam Chomsky himself has not commented on the accuracy of Johnstone's findings although he has indicated that he regretted not supporting her book strongly enough upon publication. This comment was then distorted by journalist Emma Brockes in an interview with Chomsky in The Guardian to make it appear as though Chomsky himself was denying the Srebrenica massacre. Chomsky in response, issued an open letter to the The Guardian in which he accused Brockes and the editors of fabrication [10], The Guardian later apologized to Chomsky and retracted the article in a short letter.[11] Diana Johnstone later commented on The Guardian piece in Alexander Cockburn's journal CounterPunch.[12] Chomsky himself does not express Johnstone's views on Milošević, the Serbs, or Srebrenica in particular, but has been critical of NATO's intervention and has indicated that the campaign was carried out with prior knowledge that the bombing would escalate the atrocities. His views on that topic can be found in his book The New Military Humanism. University of Pennsylvania Professor Francisco Gil-White's investigative journalism on The Emperor's New Clothes and Historical and Investigative Research reveals documentation that, he believes, supports the claims that Milošević's crimes were exaggerated, if not wholly fabricated. His work on these and other controversial topics have lead to his being fired from the University.


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 11 2006 17:09 utc | 83

A long tough slog on the Balkans in the nineties, if anyone is interested.


Posted by: pb | Mar 11 2006 19:08 utc | 84

pb - thanks for that link - I wasn´t into news at that time and never researched it but the whole Yugoslavia story felt weird even then.

Posted by: b | Mar 11 2006 19:28 utc | 85

Nice statue

Posted by: biklett | Mar 11 2006 21:33 utc | 86

Thought this was>interesting:

AMID rising American frustration with the political deadlock in Iraq, the National Security Minister, Abdul Karim al-Enzy, has rebuked Washington for interfering in Iraq's domestic affairs.

In a remarkable broadside against the US, Mr Enzy charged that it was deliberately slowing Iraq's redevelopment because of a self-serving agenda that included oil and the "war on terror".

Mr Enzy argued that if the US-led coalition in Iraq had been more serious about rebuilding the country's security forces in the first year of the occupation, it could now be making substantialcuts in foreign troop numbers in Iraq. "We don't want foreign forces here, but it's impossible for them to leave now, because we're on the edge of civil war," he said.

"The truth is the Americans don't want us to reach the levels of courage and competence needed to deal with the insurgency because they want to stay here.

"They came for their own strategic interests. A lot of the world's oil is in this region and they want to use Iraq as a battlefield in the war on terror because they believe they can contain the terrorism in Iraq."
The minister's spiel was symptomatic of a rising anti-American sentiment among Iraq's Shiite majority. Mr Enzy said many Iraqis believed the US wanted civil war in the hope it would break the power of the religious parties still struggling to form a government.

the natives are getting restless

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 12 2006 1:48 utc | 87


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 12 2006 1:59 utc | 88


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 12 2006 3:03 utc | 89

good catch anna missed

Posted by: annie | Mar 12 2006 5:00 utc | 90

@ b, I found this interesting with regards to our EMP comments the other day. I thought I'd pass this along: via

EMP's are not just for war, there are some everyday practical uses too such as instantaneous, non-recoverable destruction of data on your home or business pc. Good to know if you're a soon-to-be indicted politician.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 12 2006 5:16 utc | 91

Sibel Edmonds update!
Former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has written an open letter to CIA Director Porter Goss in response to his New York Times op-ed.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 12 2006 6:59 utc | 92

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