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June 04, 2008

OT 08-21

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News & views ...

Posted by b on June 4, 2008 at 5:24 UTC | Permalink

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Obama Now the "Presumptive Candidate"

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 4 2008 5:42 utc | 1

At the AIPAC conference:

Rice Calls Dialogue With Iran Pointless

Mr. Olmert also called for international sanctions against Iran to be toughened. He did not specifically mention military strikes, but did say that “Israel will not tolerate the possibility of a nuclear Iran, and neither should any country in the free world.”

The "possibility" of a nuclear Iran is a new standard Olmert tries to put up.
A "possibility" will of course always exist.

meanwhile:
Chief Cleric Says Iran Doesn’t Seek Nuclear Arms

Iran’s supreme religious leader vowed Tuesday that his country would pursue a peaceful atomic energy program and had no interest in nuclear weapons, calling them expensive and useless.
...
“The Iranian nation is not seeking nuclear weapons,” the ayatollah said at an event commemorating the 19th anniversary of the death of the founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

“We are seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes for daily use, and we will continue this path to the envy of our enemies,” he said.

“You know the Iranian nation is in principle and on religious grounds against the nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons only incur high costs and have no use. They do not bring power to a nation,” he said.

Posted by: b | Jun 4 2008 6:18 utc | 2

Thnaks to McClatchy: Both McCain, Obama exaggerating Iran's nuclear program

WASHINGTON — The presumptive Republican nominee for president and the leading contender for the Democratic nomination are exaggerating what's known about Iran's nuclear program as they duel over how best to deal with Tehran.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. intelligence community, however, thinks that Iran halted an effort to build a nuclear warhead in mid-2003, and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating the program, has found no evidence to date of an active Iranian nuclear-weapons project.

Posted by: b | Jun 4 2008 6:57 utc | 3

John McCain vows to continue Bush's illegal warrantless wiretapping program

John McCain has changed his position on illegal warrantless wiretapping: he used to think that the President had to uphold the nation's laws. Now he says that the Constitution is subordinate to the all-powerful executive order.

My favorite line on this comes from the chickenhawks who say that the Fourth Amendment was written before the All Powerful Threat of Terrorism. Sure thing. Ben Franklin and his pals couldn't possibly have foreseen a world in which the very idea of America was under some kind of military threat. Those candyasses didn't understand what war was about. They were armchair theorists, civilians who'd never anticipated foreign soldiers on American soil -- surely if they'd known that America might some day face an actual existential risk, they would have put a little asterisk next to each clause of the Bill of Rights leading to a footnote that said, "Unless the king president really, really needs to do it."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 4 2008 9:50 utc | 4

There's nothing really new here
but Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton do show the difference
between "classical conservatives" with whom one can disagree while engaging in civil discourse, and the degenerate subspecies which now passes as
"conservatives". The discussion of the Sami al Arian case seems to me particularly worthy of interest.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 4 2008 10:54 utc | 5

The matters discussed in this dispatch from Le Monde Diplomatique may have already been noted here, but if not, they seem to merit attention.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 4 2008 11:10 utc | 6

These two links to Luke Ryland's site give recent information on Sibel Edmonds' allegations regarding Turkish bribery of Dennis Hastert. The allegations are rather specific, but remain mere allegations because the responsible investigative authorities are loathe to strain at the leash imposed by their duly constituted political overseers. Naturally that is just my opinion. It would seem, however, that he who enjoys sufficiently powerful protection has nothing to fear from U.S. law enforcement authorities, a fitting counterpoint to the infringement of constitutional rights suffered by those who speak the unspeakable while lacking such protection.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 4 2008 14:21 utc | 7

an omen, perhaps. but of what?

Air Force talks about missions in cyberspace

Even the No. 2 at the Air Force’s new command charged with thwarting America’s online adversaries runs afoul of the PowerPoint gremlins.

Col. Tony Buntyn reached the point of his presentation Tuesday night where he was going to play the Air Force public relations video showing airmen serving in Iraq and Afghanistan – only the vid, embedded in his PowerPoint slides, wouldn’t play.

An IT guy almost got it going, but alas, no luck.

“You just never know,” shrugged Buntyn, who’s been selected for promotion to brigadier general as vice commander of the Air Force Cyberspace Command. “You create a presentation on one computer and put it on another and sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t.”

His own tech troubles aside, Buntyn gave a quick overview of the new command and its mission in the closing briefing Tuesday night at the Pacific Northwest National Security Forum, held at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.
...
Buntyn, a Texas Air National Guardsman, said the $5 billion-plus-a-year command will be spread out at bases across the country. Where 541 airmen will be headquartered is the subject of hot debate, with more than 19 states vying to host the site. The Air Force won’t decide until late next year, Buntyn said.

The Air Force in 2005 set out to create the command, calling it “a strategic imperative.” The service even changed its mission statement, adding “to fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace.”

“We’re serious about this,” Buntyn said.

[flash mental image of gremlins giggling]

Posted by: b real | Jun 4 2008 16:22 utc | 8

Hannah K. O'Luthon, et al...

also see,
Sibel Edmonds Case: ABC News investigates Hastert scandals and the Turkish Connections.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 4 2008 17:24 utc | 9

Marines Invade Indianapolis For Martial Law Training

Words from Local Television Broadcast:

"In the interest of national security..."
"The Marines are coming!"
the "invasion site," the "theater of operations" is Indianapolis
where they'll "drop out of helicopters" and "conduct patrols"

They're calling this "situational training," taking place, beginning today, June 4th to June 17th.
However, one purpose for these exercises, I

Some believe, is to condition the populace for martial law, while others say, Martial law isn't necessary and almost impossible--the population in the US is too widely dispersed--but the image of martial law is enough. Seeing Marines run through the street is all you need to get most of the desired effects into the populace.

They know the power of symbolism, which is why they manufacture these events. However, one shouldn't forget, the posts I and others have posted regarding immigration roundups of multitudes they even have family facilities detention now.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 4 2008 21:55 utc | 10

U$

My kids and I spent time this winter handing out relief supplies to local rural folks stranded when a tailings holding dam broke, slugged up a bridge overpass (much like the debris dam now over-topping in China), and backed up flood waters to above the 500-year flood level, drowning cows up in the rafters of barns and forcing people to their rooftops. It was never supposed to happen, but the Federal dam inspectors had apparently turned a blind eye, more likely, were too busy net surfing back in town.

Late in the day, as appreciative and bedraggled folks who had lost everything made it across the last stretch of flooded washout and loaded up whatever they could carry to take the supplies back to others in need who were trapped or invalid, we were visited at last by the local FEMA disaster coordinator!

I'm not making this up....

He rolled up to our distribution site in a brand new bright red with gold decals F250 4x4 with chrome roll bar, sodium lights and a heavy winch, not a scratch or even a speck of mud on it, rolled his tinted electric windows down an inch, and snorted 'good work' from the comfort of his heated cab, before moseying back to his FEMA command center to "coordinate the relief effort."

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine who's retired from Federal government, his only response, conditioned as he is never to criticize or make waves was, I never think about my career anymore, then proceeded to shout about all the fish that had been stranded out in his hayfield by the falling flood waters! Oh boy, howdy!

I have come to loathe Federal government, so many examples of fraud, malfeasance and even deliberately endangering civilians, I could tell you that your mind would reel,
like our brave 'roll up your shirtsleeves' FEMA disaster coordinator, safe and warm.

50% grift! That's right, half of our life savings goes to taxes, surcharges, fees and tariffs, to pay a now majority% of Americans who work in government or contract to it. Even the Soviet Union, at the height of its empire, didn't tax the people 50%, and nowhere near 55% of Soviets were employees of the State Politburo.

US R NEO-SOVIET.

So sleep tight, Helicopter Ben is manning the US$ disaster rescue center tonight!
You're in good hands with All-State: 'We got your back!'(up against the debt wall)

Posted by: Bad Thing | Jun 5 2008 1:57 utc | 11

coha: Washington Revives the Fourth Fleet: The Return of U.S. Gun Boat Diplomacy to Latin America

• Administration not bothering to conceal implicit threat to the region

• After ignoring Latin America for most of his Presidency, Bush dispatches the Navy

• The steady remilitarization of Panama may provide a safe haven for the revitalized fleet

• FTA with Panama could grant U.S. access to canal zone military facility for Fourth Fleet

• Correa facetiously suggests that Manta be moved to Colombia

The dearth of diplomatic content in the April 24 Pentagon announcement left little mystery regarding the purpose behind Washington’s decision to reestablish the Fourth Fleet to patrol Latin American and Caribbean waters. As Washington shifts its attention back to the Western Hemisphere, it will have to grapple with issues that have been on the back burner for more than a decade. The return of the Fourth Fleet, largely unnoticed by the U.S. press, appears to represent a policy shift that projects an image of Washington once again asserting its military authority on the region, coincidentally coinciding with the announcement that Brazil has just launched a military initiative, the Conselho Sul-Americano de Defesa, embracing two of its neighbors with whom Washington has chilly relations.


colombia journal: Distorted Perceptions of Colombia’s Conflict

In a civil conflict such as the one in Colombia, propaganda is an important weapon. It is difficult for journalists and analysts to independently investigate the reality on the ground and so statistics and information are obtained from a variety of sources in order to draw conclusions. However, the mainstream media in the United States is often over-reliant on two sources: Colombian and US government officials. Not surprisingly then, it is the perspectives of the Colombian and US governments that inevitably dominate most news reports. By comparing conflict trends and human rights statistics with media coverage of Colombia’s violence, it is possible to understand why and how the public’s perception of the conflict has been distorted.
...


ethiopian review: Misinformation and disinformation

There are two special slang words that have been assimilated by the English language. They happen to explain certain circumstances in such a vivid way there is no need for further clarification. I am referring to ‘cojones’ and ‘chutzpah’.
...
The current regime in Ethiopia is a serial practitioner of both these traits. In this futile attempt to present itself as a functioning ‘Sovereign Nation’ it gets plenty of ‘solicited’ help from the World Bank, IMF and US ambassadors in Addis.

It was only a month ago that the IMF declared ‘“Ethiopia has recorded impressive growth during the past few years—the fastest for a non-oil exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth has been supported by structural reforms and infrastructure development, as well as favorable agricultural conditions.’ Well and good. May be we thought wrong. There really is progress and some how we just don’t see it. Sorry we were blinded by the 12 million starving, the high unemployment among the youth and the migration of the youngest and brightest.

Unfortunately we were correct. The World Bank has the ‘Chutzpah’ to backtrack and declare all to be an illusion. Now they say we are almost broke. The new report claims ‘Ethiopia is close to exhausting its foreign-currency reserves and may need a loan of $1 billion to fund food and fuel imports to avoid economic growth from slowing.’

Have you ever heard of such double talk? Aren’t we broke because we did not create a real growing economy? They are loaning us money so we don’t slow down? Our economy is supposedly growing double digits but we need an advance to feed ourselves. Just great! Thus we are going to borrow one billion to stay afloat. Don’t even think of the interest on a billion dollar. Believe me it is murder.
...
The real ‘Chutzpah’ is that they are giving the loan to the same guys who caused the ‘melt down ‘ in the first place. They must know something we don’t know.

Posted by: b real | Jun 5 2008 4:32 utc | 12

Ok, forget everything I wrote in # 10...

geez...

checkpoints to control movement in DC - ZONES in DC!

Lanier plans to seal off rough ’hoods in latest effort to stop wave of violence

going to ID anyone leaving designated ZONES.

Also see, Police to Seal Off D.C. Neighborhoods - read more here +_ comments

Someone from another forum asked, "DC is a rough city, but is it *that* rough that they need to impose occupied territory style zones?"

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 5 2008 5:10 utc | 13

Bad Thing: infrastructure failure, and a callous federal response, is the new reality we must adjust to. New Orleans was the quintessential example of federal indifference. not only did no one come for days and days, but there are accounts that those who tried to escape to higher ground, via the expressway, were turned back by a police blockade deployed specifically to keep scum from leaking into the richer, drier side of town.

uncle is right--these "exercises" and immigrant roundups are more about seeding the idea that america CAN be rounded up in a martial law sweep than actual, present capability.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 5 2008 5:14 utc | 14

My son & girlfriend moved to DC this winter (they do political&ecological work). After settling in a few months ago their apt. was broken into and ransacked and they lost computers heirlooms and other stuff. Crime is really bad in DC. But what they are doing about it is not so much aimed at solving/resolving crime or the conditions that produce crime in the neighborhoods, but are about containing crime within the neighborhoods, or preventing criminals from leaving/returning from neighborhoods having committed crimes elsewhere. Or in other words they're going to try a Gaza solution right in the nations capital. You watch, next it will be a fence, maybe walls.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 5 2008 6:08 utc | 15

Sing w/me yall!

It's a small world afterall, it's a small, er uh, forget disney, how bout we go to Mickey D's or er, uh...McBeijing

Isn't capitalism just grand!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 5 2008 7:50 utc | 16

Lifted http://thinkprogress.org/attackerman/>THIS off Spencer Ackerman's site, on the meeting today between Iraqi MP's and U.S. congressmen:

At Rep. Bill Delahunt’s (D-MA) foreign affairs subcommittee this afternoon, the U.S. Congress heard for the first time from Iraqi parliamentarians. The two legislators — Sheikh Khalaf al-Ulayyan from Sunni Anbar Province and Prof. Nadeem al-Jaberi from Shiite Baghdad — vigorously denounced the forthcoming U.S.-Iraq long-term-security deal negotiated between the Bush administration and the Nouri al-Maliki government.

Wearing a dark suit, a red tie and wire-rimmed glasses, al-Jaberi couched his arguments against the deal in Iraqi sovereignty. “The Iraqi government right now does not have the full reign of its sovereignty, because of the thousands of foreign troops that are on its land,” he said through a translator. “And perhaps the Iraqi government does not have as of yet sufficient tools to run its own internal affairs. Therefore, I ask the American government not to embarrass the Iraqi government by putting it in a difficult situation with this agreement.”

The unequal status of the Iraqi and American governments at this time — that is, during occupation — will most likely “lead to more instability,” Jaberi said. “We hope any future agreement does not affect or impact iraqi sovereignty, such as permanent military bases.” If there is to be any security deal, he said, it had to wait until the occupation finally ends.
[...]
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Az) recognized what was really important in this first-ever opportunity to have a dialog with his Iraqi counterparts: getting some talking point out that will support John McCain’s campaign for president. “Why the drop in violence?,” he asked. “What is the major cause for the reduction in violence, at least against our troops.” Translation: Willya just say the surge worked? Please?

Unfortunately for him, Ulayyan is not actually a Republican. His answer — the answer of an Iraqi nationalist — deserves quotation at length.

Increasing the number of forces didn’t affect the level of violence in Iraq. Because the war there is a war against gangs and they are like ghosts. They hit and run. What led to the reduction of terrorist acts and violence are the forces of the Awakening. They are from the tribes of the area where terrorists are more [in number]. And those forces managed to eliminate the other party, the terrorists, because they know them and know the tactics. We suggested that a long time ago for our government and the American government but nobody listened.

I believe the reduction in the level of violence is due mainly to the efforts of the volunteers. The thing that will reduce the violence more is not military force but having realistic solutions to convince others to join the political process. I believe the best method to achieve that is a real national reconciliation. We need real reconciliation, not only slogans as is being done now. And reconcilition should involve all the Iraqis, whether they are involved right now in the political process or not. …

That requires changing the constitution. [We should] do away with federalism based on sectarianism and groups, but if we have to have federalism it has to be geographic federalism and we need new, transparent and fair elections. And we have to do away with quotas and have to be based on nationalis[m] and get back those refugees in Jordan and other countries that total 4,600,000 and we have to get them back and compensate them for their suffering. The prisoners, whether in Iraq jails or American jails, have to be released. If we really achieved those points we would have law and order in the country even without the presence of any military forces and American troops can withdraw.

“As soon as the troops have withdrawn, it doesn’t make sense for these groups to exist,” Jabari added. “It is my belief that when troops withdraw these groups will not bear arms any longer. For as long as we have foreign troops on our land, these gangs will increase in number, they will hold onto their goals even longer… So I say the presence of foreign troops are actually serving these groups.”

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 5 2008 8:03 utc | 17

I have no confirmation (or denial) of the following ghastly "comment"

# I know Says:
May 30th, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Chichakli is dead, killed near Moscow on 26 May 2008


made at the x.chichakli.com website's comments blog.
I do hope that it is false.
Likewise, the following link, though potentially relevant and plausible, may not be giving the true picture.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 5 2008 8:19 utc | 18

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
...
Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

Posted by: b | Jun 5 2008 8:25 utc | 19

It seems that the few bad apples were at the very top of the chain of command, or outside it (and I don't mean the JAG or other military legal authorities). The 20-20 foresight shown by the authors of these documents is striking, but the (civilian) war criminals didn't want to listen.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 5 2008 8:58 utc | 20

If this report can be believed the Bilderbergers start their annual get-together today in Chantilly, Virginia. It would be interesting to see who attends, to hear what they talk about, and especially to offer a counter program for the edification of the participants. This is really the classic "move-along, there's nothing happening here" non-event. We are indeed fortunate that those who run this annual séance are doing it all for our benefit, selflessly dedicating their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to trying to make the world a better place.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 5 2008 11:17 utc | 21

http://tinyurl.com/48pxkb>California drought(2 years so far)


"An eight-year drought in the Southwest means California can't depend on Colorado River water to help supply Southern California. And a federal judge's order last year requires that more Northern California water be left in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to aid declining fish populations.

"We're suffering the perfect storm, if you will," said Timothy Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. "The purpose of the governor's declaration is to send a wake-up call."

California has never resorted to statewide rationing during droughts, Quinn said.

Worst-hit so far is the San Joaquin Valley, which could soon merit an emergency declaration because of crop damage, Snow said.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said this week it would cut water supplied to Central Valley farms to 40 percent of the amount growers contract for with the federal government. Water deliveries from state reservoirs could drop to 35 percent, Snow said.

That could mean hundreds of acres of crops won't be planted this year, according to the giant Westlands Water District, which supplies growers who produce about $1 billion worth of crops annually.

The state is exploring ways to send scarce water to farmers for the growing season now while cutting deliveries later, Snow said.

"Giving water to the farmers in September doesn't help the fact that they need it on their tomato crop in June," Snow said. "It's not just the tomato crop that you lose. It's the employment that's associated with the tomato crop."

Schwarzenegger used the drought declaration to push a nearly $12 billion bond to fund delta, river and groundwater improvements, conservation and recycling efforts, and reservoirs. Legislators have not agreed to his plan."


Another "perfect storm" on a planet covered with epicenters.

Buy food. Store water. Bandages, weapons, whisky ....

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 5 2008 13:09 utc | 22

#22 should have thanked HKO #21 re Bilderberg, and noted that the key Bilderbergers surely have stored food, water, whisky, armies ..., the several preparations of highly successful persons.

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 5 2008 13:49 utc | 23

add this: http://gmy.news.yahoo.com/v/8159413>NYPD helicopter face recognition. (suffer the donut/coffee ad ist)

$12,000,000 each and unmarked say the happy journos.

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 5 2008 15:04 utc | 24

tomdispatch: Tomgram: William Astore, Militarizing Your Cyberspace

Be depressed. Be very depressed. You thought that cyberspace -- a term conjured up long ago by that neuromancer, sci-fi author William Gibson -- was the last frontier of freedom. Well, think again. If the U.S. Air Force has anything to say about it, cyber-freedom will, in the not so distant future, be just another word for domination.

Air Force officials, despite a year-long air surge in Iraq, undoubtedly worry that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's "next wars" (two, three, many Afghanistans) won't have much room for air glory. Recently, looking for new realms to bomb, it launched itself into cyberspace. The Air Force has now set up its own Cyber Command, redefined the Internet as just more "air space" fit for "cyber-craft," and launched its own Bush-style preemptive strike on the other military services for budgetary control of the same.

If that's not enough for you, it's now proposing a massive $30 billion cyberspace boondoggle, as retired Air Force Lt. Col. William Astore writes below, that will, theoretically, provide the Air Force with the ability to fry any computer on Earth. And don't think the other services are likely to take this lying down. Expect cyberwar in the Pentagon before this is all over. In the meantime, think of cyberspace, in military terms, as a new realm for nuclear-style strategy, with its own developing version of "first-strike capability," its own future versions of "mutually assured destruction," its own "windows of vulnerability" to be closed (while exploiting those of the enemy), and undoubtedly its own "cyber-gaps."

In fact, it looks like the national-security version of cyberspace may soon be a very, very busy place. ...

Posted by: b real | Jun 5 2008 18:01 utc | 25

Cuito Cuanavale: A Tribute to Fidel Castro and the African Revolution

...
It is important that the younger generation is reminded of the depth of the destructive machinations of the Apartheid regime in the ten years prior to the battles at Cuito Cuanavale. This reconstruction of Apartheid's history is important for a number of reasons.

The first reason lies in the fact that South African military writers proclaim that the South Africans were not defeated at Cuito Cuanavale but withdrew in order to support peace and negotiations. Numerous text-books used by teachers endorse this view.

The second reason emanates from the fact that the USA and neo-conservative supporters of apartheid have sought to rewrite the history of military destabilization to argue that Constructive Engagement supported peace and sught to end apartheid. Chester Crocker, the Assistant Secretary of State during the period of Ronald Reagan has rewritten this period to favor this view in, “High Noon in Southern Africa: Making Peace in a Rough Neighbourhood.”

Thirdly, the so called security experts who were consultants for the apartheid military have now recast themselves as peace experts and are cheer leaders for the US War on Terror and the proposed Africa Command Center (Africom).

It is for these reasons that it is urgent to spell out the varying forms of warfare that were used against the peoples of Africa struggling against apartheid as a crime against humanity. This is necessary so that younger persons can evaluate the new forms of struggle necessary for the present day liberation struggles in Africa.
...

Posted by: b real | Jun 5 2008 18:47 utc | 26

the peacock report: U.S. Propaganda Blitz to Unfold in Pakistan

A propaganda blitz aimed at swaying Pakistani citizens' views on U.S. involvement in the region is about to unfold, The Peacock Report (TPR) has discovered. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday commenced its search for a contractor capable of carrying out the euphemistically titled "USAID/Pakistan Outreach Campaign," as the project officially is known. According to a "presolicitation notice" dated June 5 that TPR has located, the agency envisions a multi-language delivery of U.S. government messages in urban as well as rural areas of Pakistan. The contractor will execute the campaign in English, Urdu, Pashtu, Punjabi, and other regonal languages. This USAID endeavor will place messages in newspapers, magazines, and billboards as well as radio and television broadcasts, according to the document. The agency will make available a formal and more detailed solicitation later this month. USAID hopes to launch the Pakistani campaign by summer's end.

Posted by: b real | Jun 5 2008 18:49 utc | 27

cuito cuanavale was south africa's stalingrad. all their myths collapsed in a moment. their fundamental weakness exposed

b real, the article is a splendid synthesis of a lot of history

& it leaves us acknowledging ;
a) the real role of africom
b) how much the state of israel is an exact mirror of apartheid south africa
c) that the empire's allies in the war of terror are constituted of old old friends & that indeed some of their hirstute enemies are old old friends

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 5 2008 19:43 utc | 28

r'giap - very much enjoyed jihan el tahri's documentary on cuba's african odyssey. it was no substitute for piero gleijeses' book Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, but an otherwise excellent complementary piece, w/ fantastic archive footage & good interviews. our jaws nearly landed in our laps when pik botha was still trying to defend the old regime, complaining that s.a. was getting unfairly attacked by those who saw apartheid as "evil", and i could have done w/o the attempts at balance by giving so much uncritical interview time to cohen, carlucci, and cohorts when deciding what to leave out in a story that covers the period from lumumba's rise to mandela's release, but, overall, a very worthwhile film.

Posted by: b real | Jun 5 2008 20:51 utc | 29

Who is to blame for the spike in oil prices?

Two pretty convincing clips saying its the Fed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwAHnpIR8is&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqz9J4hxh3k

Posted by: L'Akratique | Jun 6 2008 0:37 utc | 30

that Angola's MPLA and Cuba would defeat the evil slave-masters of apartheid South Africa at Cuito Cuanavale (and the other front-lines before & after) was never a doubt for anyone but the faint-hearted & feeble-minded as those who would retreat into acceptance of the corruption and bestiality of the barbarian sub-human South African slave-masters, sons in thought, mind & deed of Leopold the depraved beast-king of Belgium. And for as long as we could not vanquish that evil, there was nothing to live for, nothing for Patrice Lumumba, for Aghostino Neto, for Nelson Mandela, for Joe Slovo, for Murtala Muhammed, for Fidel Castro, for Steve Biko ...

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 6 2008 2:19 utc | 31

plush:

The Fed judges' order last year to BigAg irrigators was roundly ignored, which is why NCal rivers completely dried up, snuffing the entire salmon cohort for NCal, so closing the entire West Coast salmon fishery for the next two years, with no possibility of compensation for fishing communities, fish processors, fish sellers and lost jobs, since class-action lawsuits of this sort have been remanded up to Fed court now, where SCOTUS has twice ruled that 3rd-party negligence, even knowing, deliberate fraud in (an invoice kickback scheme) conspiracy, does not constitute an actionable tort unless malice is proven, and proven pre-discovery!!

My suggestion, since BigAg irrigators will just dry up the rivers again this year, is for everyone in the US to avoid half-ripe pithy salmonella infected S Cal tomatoes, and to only buy hand-picked field ripe through your local farmers.

If nothing else, we'll get really, really cheap ketchup for our mud tortillas, and
ultimately that's our only choice. Boycott now, or starve outside the NeoZi Great Fences, begging for Spam and Pepsi.

Posted by: Mo Ginsberg | Jun 6 2008 3:36 utc | 33

CAUGHT

Could this wasted urban view crack louder
than thunderclap, or shall clustered ordinance
bloom quietly on a screen, somewhere far
removed? Is a perimeter connived from capstone
all the rage this wayward age can muster?
No salvation at this scale is possible. Therefore
no trace or unintended hint can be presumed
as accidental. A sweeping, scooping net
for fish offers otherworldly glimpses of sky
to look upon as you die in careless winds
flapping worthless fins as they haul you in.

(copyright Lizard 2008)

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 6 2008 4:29 utc | 34

do as we say, not as we do...

inner city press, in sudan w/ the traveling u.n. security council contingent, writes

KHARTOUM, June 5 -- The UN Security Council Ambassadors were dressed-down by Sudanese President Al Bashir on Thursday, in harsher terms than the Ambassadors afterwards acknowledged to the press. After Bashir had finished his opening speech, all journalists were asked to leave, so that the Council members' questions and Basher's answered would stay secret.

Surprisingly soon after this closed-door meeting began, the Ambassadors emerged, some of them grim-faced, and trooped out to their bus. Sudan's Ambassador to the UN told Inner City Press that the procurement issue sprang directly from the PAE / Lockheed Martin no-bid contract. He said that his president had told the Ambassadors that Sudan would never turn over any of its people to the ICC, particularly when a member of the Security Council also doesn't accept the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Back at the Rotana Hotel, Inner City Press asked if President Bashir had spoken about a member denying ICC jurisdiction, and if so how the Council had responded. UK Ambassador Sawers, gesturing to U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, said he'd leave the response to the member in question. There are others, Amb. Wolff noted. He then said that since it involved a Security Council resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, Sudan is required to comply.

Inner City Press asked for a response to a more specific fairness question: since the U.S. has a veto on the Security Council, it could never be referred to the ICC by the Council. But that is how Sudan has been referred. Their reasons and our reasons to argue jurisdiction are different, Wolff said. And then the official press conference was over, with nary a mention of the "local procurement" issue which President al Bashir had raised even in the opening meeting.

Sources who were inside the meeting tell Inner City Press that Bashir specifically attacked the PAE - Lockheed contract in comments to the Council. Why choose an American company to build camps? he asked. Since the U.S. says that its companies can't do business in Sudan, why is the UN assisting a violation of a sanctions regime? He asked under what legal regime this was done, and he did not get an answer.
...
On the ICC, Bashir said pointedly that Sudan learned it disregard from its "elders," the United States. Bashir asked why, if the U.S. could invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and fire missiles into Somalia, Sudan can't act against Chad-backed rebels who make an attack on Khartoum. The Council wanly tried to convince him to forgive, in essence, the JEM. This doesn't seem likely.

Posted by: b real | Jun 6 2008 4:37 utc | 35

When I read this report on the Minot Missing Nukes I was prepared to chalk it up as not verifiable, though plausible. But after checking today's Air Force Times I am much more inclined to cast my lot with the conspiracy theorists and crackpots.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 6 2008 4:57 utc | 36

Ahhh, excellent poem lizard, is this the one you were telling me about on the tele?

Anyway, for some reason, it reminds me of Bohren & der Club of Gore. Light a candle, and wait till about two minutes in, when the horns kick in. I can be tempted to do about anything for horns...

Slow brooding horns, moves my soul or freight train blasting horns kicks my butt, makes no difference.

One good turn deserves another. And perhaps all of MOA can benefit... Thanks for sharing that.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 6 2008 5:03 utc | 37

Thanks again to b real for linking to, and rgiap for commenting on Campbell's tribute, and suggesting other references.
I had to read the Tribute with a map of Angola in front of me to clarify
the geographical references, but it was a worthwhile exercise, both in history and geography. I think that the latter two ancient disciplines are nowadays subsumed in U.S. pedagogy under the amorphous term "social studies", a rare, if not unique, context in which American youth can bandy
about the word "social" without risk of being seen as subversive.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 6 2008 5:49 utc | 38

Iraq May Request Extension For U.S.

The Iraqi government may request an extension of the United Nations security mandate authorizing a U.S. military presence, due to expire in December, amid growing domestic criticism of new bilateral arrangements now being negotiated with the Bush administration, according to senior Iraqi officials.
...
The Iraqi official, who said he could speak candidly only with anonymity, said there was virtually no chance that the July deadline, set by Bush and Maliki last fall, would be met. He said an Iraqi request to extend the U.N. mandate might come as early as next week, when Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is to brief the U.N. Security Council.

For U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, a senior U.S. official said, "they either have to have U.N. authority or bilateral authority. You've got to have one or the other to have a basis for [a military] presence."

The knockout date is June 15th and I doubt that the security council will pass anything without the Iraqi parliament agreeing.

Posted by: b | Jun 6 2008 5:55 utc | 39

Mo Ginsberg, what about those green, green lawns and thirsty ornamentals in who-knows-how-many square miles of new housing developments from Auburn to the Bay. Surely they and the swimming pools use more water than agribusiness operations. Spent last summer in Sacramento where anyone who does not water lawns nightly (at some expense) to mow weekly (at more of same) earned the wrath of their neighbors for bringing down property values. One benefit of the mortgage crisis - you see many more brown lawns.

Roseville is rationing water and paying people to pave over their lawns. [slight exaggeration]

Central Asia is full of ruins of cities dependent on the mountain snows.

Posted by: rjj | Jun 6 2008 6:24 utc | 40

Re: #36

Thanks for the heads up, I would have missed it entirely. Also, some MOA's may want to close your browser and open it back up to delete the cookies Air Force Times.com puts on your machine.

Conspiracies eh?
meh...lol

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 6 2008 6:25 utc | 41

Just want to make love to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcQQA5m9JnI&feature=related> The Next Man That I See in the Lizard and Uncle vibe tonight

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 6 2008 7:01 utc | 42

US issues threat to Iraq's $50bn foreign reserves in military deal

The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.

US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday.

Iraq's foreign reserves are currently protected by a presidential order giving them immunity from judicial attachment but the US side in the talks has suggested that if the UN mandate, under which the money is held, lapses and is not replaced by the new agreement, then Iraq's funds would lose this immunity.
...
Iraqi officials say that, last year, they wanted to diversify their holdings out of the dollar, as it depreciated, into other assets, such as the euro, more likely to hold their value. This was vetoed by the US Treasury because American officials feared it would show lack of confidence in the dollar.

Iraqi officials say the consequence of the American action was to lose Iraq the equivalent of $5bn.

Blackmail writ large ...

Posted by: b | Jun 6 2008 9:11 utc | 43

No real bullets hit RFK and Sirhan Sirhan was a hologram.


@anna missed

Loves me some Mick Harvey anytime, and anita lane? Swoon!

Also, while I'm here, Cyber Command Über Alles

Attention Geeks and Hackers: Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 6 2008 9:19 utc | 44

here's earlier print version of NYPD helicopter in my #24, since happy video replaced daily. Think interesting it's name is http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080523/ap_on_re_us/stealth_helicopter>"23" (for # officers killed 9/11). These guys think of everything.

oh, claims it cost $10,000,000, video says 12. Change from us chumps.

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 6 2008 12:41 utc | 45

Just in case anyone else is interested, here via a link from John Young's
Cryptome site is the list of participants at this year's (still in progress?) Bilderberg conference. This report will probably turn out to be false , but it's too much fun to ignore.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 7 2008 9:23 utc | 46

Dylan Endorses Obama


Sometimes all one can do is shake their heads in disbelief. I think I need a drink.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 7 2008 9:38 utc | 47

Damnnnnn... I can't say I'm unhappy, but the is quite bizarre...

Former Green wins Montana GOP primary for U.S. Senate

Bob Kelleher, a former Green who sued the Montana University System for excluding the Green and Libertarian candidates from a gubernatorial debate in 2004, scored an upset victory in the Montana GOP primary race for U.S. Senate. Kelleher, who still maintains his Green beliefs, will be the Republican nominee versus Democratic incumbent Max Baucus. The Montana Green Party does not currently have ballot access.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 7 2008 10:56 utc | 48

anti Guns campaigner stabbed to death

regardless of your stance on handguns and such, this has the irony meter pegged

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 7 2008 13:37 utc | 49

argument for headsets for cellphones, or at least for not long conversations: http://freepage.twoday.net/stories/4969270/>international popcorn popping with 4, 4, and 3.

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 7 2008 16:45 utc | 50

Three pieces of reporting re "double" puppet's visit to Iran:

Western & White: ABC News

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is visiting Iran today amid tensions between the two countries over the Iranian Government's alleged involvement in the insurgency in Iraq.

Among the Iraqi Prime Minister's delegation is a team of military and security officials.

Government sources say they will be showing the Iranians evidence of their alleged support for Shiite militias in Iraq - especially Moqtada Al-Sadr's Mahdi army.


Brown & Arab: Al Jazeerah
Nuri al-Maliki's third visit to the Iranian capital since he took office two years ago comes amid criticism in Baghdad and Tehran over the planned deal to keep US soldiers in Iraq beyond 2008.

"The prime minister's visit to Iran is considered a step in a series of visits ... and to form a strategy committee to develop the relationship between the two nations," Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman, said on Saturday.

He said al-Maliki will brief Iranian leaders on "the Iraqi vision, which is that it will not serve as a base or staging ground to launch attacks against neighbouring countries".


Yellow & Slanty Eyes: China View
Maliki is presiding a delegation, which includes the powerful Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), and some of Maliki's minister and senior officials, the channel said.

A source from Maliki's office told Xinhua that Maliki will explain to the Iranian leaders that "Iraq will not accept to be a launch pad for attacks against the neighboring countries."

The visit came amid controversy in Iraq over a bill of agreement on long-term presence of U.S. troops in Iraq between Iraqi officials and the U.S. administration.

Weaving carpets takes a long long long, and you need to be clever and pay attention to detail.

Posted by: Cloned_Poster | Jun 7 2008 18:22 utc | 51

wonder who's responsible for this indicator of cluelessness

from an AFP story on one aspect of AFRICOM's public relations fiasco - Regional US military headquarters in Africa put on a slow track

AFRICOM, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, becomes fully operational October 1. It will stay in Germany for at least several years, defense officials said.

The Pentagon is reviewing options for command headquarters beyond 2010, including the possibility of moving AFRICOM to the US east coast, officials said.

But defense officials said the military has not given up on its original concept, which was to establish lightly manned regional military headquarters in countries that also host Organization of African Union offices.

first, the "u" in OAU was for "unity", not "union", but the OAU "was disbanded on 9 July 2002 ... and replaced by the African Union" (AU).

did someone at AFP prepend the "Organization of" in that attribution, or is that literally how the "defense officials" referred to it?

either way, it's factually incorrect & says alot. i can't recall where i saw it, but i recently read a question posed by someone that basically asked - can you imagine the u.s. announcing a unified combatant command for asia & not discussing it w/ any of those govts beforehand? now imagine how african govts take it.

the AFP article repeats a quote that secdef gate recently made admitting that AFRICOM's marketing program has been a failure - "My view at this point is that deeds are going to count for more than words."

a more accurate view might be - you never get a second chance to make a first impression. international wire service stories that have "defense officials" referring to the AU as the OAU sure won't help get across the image that DoD's interested in understanding africa.

the article ends w/ a line by an anon official - "..we're not going to rush to the continent to help people if they don't want to be helped."

now, regardless of whether one falls for the premise that the u.s. is interested in africa b/c they want to help africans at all, it's reasonable to conclude that since, as gates suggested, deeds count more than words, based on DoD's historical track record since WWII, the majority of the continent would probably be much better off w/o such intensive military-to-military relationships. force the u.s. to re-evaluate their long-standing policy of not putting u.s. boots on african soil if they really want to protect perceived vital u.s. national interests there. then we'll see about deeds vs rhetoric.

Posted by: b real | Jun 7 2008 18:30 utc | 52

@CP - interesting details :-)

@b real - Churchil once said something like: "The Americans get it right every time, after having exausted all other options."

Posted by: b | Jun 7 2008 19:31 utc | 53

here's an update on a story i've been covering for awhile now.

garowe online: Somalia: Foreign oil workers evacuated from Puntland exploration site

BOSSASO, Somalia June 7 (Garowe Online) - A group of foreigners working in Somalia's Puntland regions have been evacuated from an oil exploration site set up last month, informed sources tell Garowe Online.

Six to eight foreign workers were secretly transported Friday night from the operations camp in Ufayn town, which is located 90km east of the port city of Bossaso, the northeastern region's economic hub.
...
Somali news agency Garowe Online conducted an independent inquiry into the evacuation and its causes, with emerging reports indicating that the foreign workers were evacuated for security-related reasons.

Earlier this week, clan elders in Ufayn town informed senior government officials in Puntland that they could not guarantee the personal safety of the foreigners – who are contracted by Canada-based Africa Oil Corp.
...
Currently, clan militias under the order of the elders are standing guard at the operations camp in Ufayn, locals reported.

remember that puntland officials & company reps were earlier telling the media & shareholders/potential investors that the exploration was commencing in undisputed, uninhabited lands, which of course was bs. wondering how they'll spin this.

and reuters tells us where at least two of those evacuated foreigners have wound up

Somaliland forces arrest two Westerners

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters) - Security forces in a breakaway northern Somali republic arrested two Westerners on Saturday thought to be surveyors working for a Canadian mining company, government officials said.

Somaliland's Defence Minister Abdillahi Ali Ebrahim said the two men had entered the country illegally and had been detained in Las Qorey district, Eastern Sanag region, with four Somalis.

"I will not be revealing the identity or nationality of the two Caucasians at present," Ebrahim told reporters. "I will only say that they were travelling in a car and are believed to have been surveying minerals in the area."

The four Somalis were all from neighbouring Puntland, he said, all six men were being taken to the Sanag capital Erigabo.

Government sources said the two Westerners were believed to be employees of a Canadian company hoping to conduct a seismic survey in the area, which is rich in zinc and other minerals.

Posted by: b real | Jun 7 2008 20:52 utc | 54

thank you, anna missed. here's a little black heart procession singing one of my favorites.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 8 2008 2:30 utc | 55

thank you, anna missed. here's a little black heart procession singing one of my favorites.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 8 2008 2:32 utc | 56

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/06/07/cant-gitmo-dirty-the-penultimate-straw/#more-2251>bmaz notes the procedural strategy at Gitmo show trials that has gone unremarked, briefly mentioned at msnbc. The fingerprints of the torture masters are all over it, as bmaz points out.

msnbc reported, as summarized by bmaz:

... first was the report we already heard about KSM in the courtroom yesterday at the arraignment being the leader and speaking to the other detainees there as a group, clearly exhibiting his authority. But then the reporter relates how a couple of the other detainees seemed hesitant to give up their military lawyers and be martyrs, but how KSM was explicit in commanding the others, and how the government is not necessarily unhappy with this because the more the military lawyers are out of the picture, the easier the detainees all will be to convict...

bmaz notes the discrepancy in separating the Gitmo prisoners for years and then bringing them together for the trial, where KSM was permitted to lecture the others, some of whom had lawyers. Every reporter's suspicion meter should have gone off.

The US has assiduously kept the detainees separated and isolated all this time so that they could not communicate and have structural control from the top down and, then, out of the blue, viola! Right in the middle of the courtroom, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is blithely allowed to huddle them up like Favre does the Packers. When they break huddle, all of them, even the hesitant ones, suddenly want to dismiss their JAG/military lawyers that have been doing such commendable work under impossible conditions. Exactly at the point it is useful to help the US rid themselves of those meddlesome military lawyers that have been beating up their dog and pony shows.

First the Cheney Administration sacked the military judge that had the gall to allow even a shred of due process to the detainees, and now they have effectively sacked the military lawyers that had the temerity to seek it. This was a knowing and intentional play to deny counsel. The US Administration knew what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would do.... So the US made sure it happened... I have found one other person (h/t to Siun) that has also realized what occurred... Anthony Romero, the Director of the ACLU; everybody should know and be ashamed of what has been done in our name.

Posted by: small coke | Jun 8 2008 3:01 utc | 57

i'm sure most here have heard of the unprecedented double firing of two top air force officials but one of the incidents cited for the dismissals--last years "mistaken" transport of six nuclear armed missiles--has never been adequately addressed

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 8 2008 3:07 utc | 58

bmaz recommends http://www.miamiherald.com/519/story/560138.html>Carol Rosenberg at Miami Herald for the best reporting on Gitmo.

The director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony Romero, watched from the spectators gallery in a fury. He had been building a death penalty defense fund and pool of criminal defense lawyers to help the military lawyers.

''It was one of the saddest days in American jurisprudence,'' he said. 'The word `torture' was used so abundantly and the legal process continued.''

He blamed Pentagon haste to get the men to trial before the end of the Bush administration. Defense lawyers were not given sufficient time to forge attorney-client relationships ''with men who were tortured for five years,'' before Thursday's arraignment, he said....
********
... At one point, after earning the right to defend himself, Bin Attash interjected with a question: ``If we are executed, will we be buried in Guantánamo or sent back to our home countries?''

Kohlmann [judge] didn't answer.

Posted by: small coke | Jun 8 2008 3:12 utc | 59

Quite alright Lizard, always love the art (& follow the links) where it is anywhere and here. Usually get stuck in that place (UTUBE)though. Often go to FDL to see what eureka springs has goin', like this Swedish indi artist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJHdT1j6hH8>Lykke Li very beautiful,quirky,& innovative - for a song about sweatshop labor, that is. Always looking for the wind.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 8 2008 3:54 utc | 60

Is it just me, or are the women doing the most interesting things these days?

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 8 2008 3:57 utc | 61

How shall we count their crimes? What will be the endgame to insulate themselves from future investigations and prosecutions, when the wheels of power are no longer in their hands?

Perhaps the fact that there have been no impeachments or serious prosecutions to date says it all. Libby will be pardonned. Will that be the end?

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/06/doj_confirms_internal_investigation.php>DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility adds one more to its long list of investigations of law-breaking by DOJ lawyers, the case of the torture rendition of Maher Arar.

OPR is currently investigating allegations of selective prosecution relating to the prosecutions of Don Siegelman ; John Yoo's torture memos; Monica Goodling's possible firing of an attorney because she'd heard a rumor that he might be gay; officials who gave legal approval to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques; the role of Department of Justice attorneys in the authorization and oversight of the warrantless electronic surveillance program and of course the probe into the firings of U.S. Attorneys.

Meanwhile, back at WarsR US, Inc. it is http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/06/the_daily_muck_588.php>business as usual:

Saudi financier Gaith Pharaon was indicted by the Justice Department for his alleged role in the BCCI scandal and is still wanted by the FBI. But no matter. The U.S. military has handed him an $80 million contract to supply jet fuel to American military bases in Afghanistan. (ABC)


Posted by: small coke | Jun 8 2008 4:08 utc | 62

anna missed: wow. never heard of Lykke Li. thank you indeed.

i think it's important to remember--as i'm slogging through reports of secret meetings of the ObamaClintathon Bilderberging together in W. Virginia--that art's transcendent power makes human dignity possible. which is why fascists attack artists and prohibit certain substances that may help activate those transcendent powers.

it seems increasingly difficult to create effective politically conscious art, like some of the great pieces shared here by anna missed, because the successes of image managers, dumbed down journos, and other professional liars are vamping and leeching our creative impulses of vitality.

i am lucky to live in a community where writers and artists and other colorful crazies are nurtured more than treated with suspicion, but that is slowly changing. the gentrification happening nation wide is particularly troubling where i live, because the vibrant dynamic is getting re-channeled by the viral condo trend pricing out the local color as this vapid boomer retirement atmosphere sneaks in.

i apologize in advance to any boomers undeserving of my broad generalizations. having been reared in "suburbia," i find myself acutely sensitive to the upper middle class attitude of superiority that seems to follow the retaking and upscaling of urban centers.

on the upside, at the state level, as Uncle indicated @48, Bob Kelleher's victory is a total surprise. the butte lawyer goes so far as publicly advocating shifting the structure of amrka govt to a parliamentary system. then, on the docfilm front, i attended a free screening of a documentary called off the grid about a 15 square mile mesa in New Mexico where people live hard and free. a glimpse of the future?

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 8 2008 6:02 utc | 63

Detainee's Attorney Seeks Dismissal Over Abuse

According to Guantanamo prison records, Mohammed Jawad was subjected to the military's "frequent flier program" in May 2004, which meant he was moved repeatedly from one detention cell to another in quick intervals and usually at night, a program designed to deprive detainees of sleep. Such sleep deprivation was banned at the facility in March 2004, and other prison records indicate that it was used on detainees as late as July 2004.

Air Force Maj. David Frakt, who represents Jawad, said prison logs show that his client was moved 112 times in 14 days between cells L40 and L48, for no apparent reason. Frakt alleges Jawad had no intelligence value and was abused maliciously. The "frequent flier" program -- later dubbed "secure move" -- was a tactic about which FBI interrogators raised concerns and that a high-level military investigation confirmed.


Posted by: b | Jun 8 2008 6:42 utc | 64

The new Baghdad?

Groups to monitor D.C. vehicle checkpoints

Police in neon yellow vests stopped motorists traveling through the main thoroughfare of Trinidad _ a neighborhood near the National Arboretum in the city's northeast section. Police checked drivers' identification and turned away those who didn't have a "legitimate purpose" in the area, such as a church visit or doctor's appointment.
...
The checkpoints will be enforced at random hours for at least five days, though it could be extended to 10 days, police said. Officers will search cars only if they observe guns or drugs. Pedestrians will not be affected.
...
He cited an amnesty program, later scaled back, in which officers planned to go door-to-door asking for permission to search homes for guns. He also pointed to a plan for a large surveillance camera network that he claims lacks adequate privacy rules.

"One has to ask 'What is going on? What is the thinking?'" he said.


Posted by: b | Jun 8 2008 6:47 utc | 65

http://justworldnews.org/>Helena Cobban has an interesting post up on Maliki in Iran, the SOFA deal, and the new political alliance formed by former Iraqi PM al-Ja'fari. She points out that the formation of the alliance has left the DAWA party fractured and has left Maliki hanging, and also might mean that Bush's desired SOFA agreement could be in trouble as a result:

But wait. Washington, it turns out, is not Maliki's only anchor! Because guess where-- in this moment of extreme political threat for his premiership-- he is headed today!

You likely already guessed: Iran.

Maliki's decision to rush off there (to Iran) at a time of such great political tension at home hilariously demonstrates two things:

(a) the degree to which the Bushists have been losing control of the situation in the Iran-Iraq theater; and

(b) the degree to which there is now an increasingly strong convergence of interests between Iran and Washington inside Iraq, as both sides face the increasing strength of the Iraqi-nationalist trend.

She goes on to quote Reidar Visser with respect to the history of the new alliance along with a very interesting question regarding how all this might fit into the upcoming Iraq debate between McCain and Obama over the trajectory of U.S. policy:

the list of signatories to the letter you linked to with Iraqi parliamentarians protesting is extremely interesting. It consists of the same parties that have been trying to put together a cross-sectarian alliance ever since 2006, despite the formidable disadvantage of having an opponent (the Maliki government) which receives all the backing of the Bush administration, while they themselves have almost zero support in the outside world.

In October 2006 they tried to defeat the law for implementing federalism, but failed by a small margin. In January 2008, they produced a robust statement calling for a negotiated settlement of Kirkuk (instead of an early referendum) and criticised Kurdish attempts to circumvent Baghdad in oil contract dealings. The high point came in February 2008, when they managed to press through a demand for early provincial elections during the parliamentary debate of the non-federated governorates act, despite the determined opposition of the Maliki government.

Today, they are trying to prevent attempts by Kurds and ISCI to manipulate the electoral process for the upcoming elections – attempts that include suggestions to create an electoral law that would prevent the use of “open” candidate lists (whereby voters can focus on individuals instead of parties).

Visser also asked this extremely important question:

The big question is, when the Bush administration gives all its support to the opponents of this alliance – the Maliki government and the Kurdish–ISCI axis, why is it that the supposed creators of “alternative” US policies in Iraq, the Democrats, are focusing all their energies on outbidding Bush in this regard, by signalling even stronger support for the “soft partition” minority of Iraqis led by Barzani and Hakim?

Would it not be more logical for them to reach out to this nationalist parliamentary bloc, which despite its difficult situation (its enemies are supported by both the US and Iran) could now be a real majority, and could certainly have a great potential if it just received a little help from the outside world? This is a fantastic initiative by the AFSC, but one wishes it had come from American politicians eager to craft an alternative Iraq policy instead…

There could be real potential to this idea, both as a political alternative (for Obama) to the McCain/Bush strategy, and more importantly as the genesis of a coherent exit strategy. First off, the new alliance represents the first cross sectarian alliance to be formally initiated post- invasion. Saleh al-Mutlaq of the Dialogue Party has always been a rational nationalist voice from the Sunni perspective, as has been the Fadhila from the Shiite perspective. Both these parties have been suspicious of both the occupation and Iranian influence within the Iraqi government, while at the same time they both have been more moderate than their sectarian counterparts ie the Accord Front and the MahdiJAM in their tactics. It seems quite plausible for the democrats to seize upon the opportunity to support this alliance as a form of indigenously inspired nationalism and as the true face reconciliation. Which as it so happens, also offers a real foil against Iranian incursion into Iraqi affairs. And the perfect scenario for the U.S. to slip quietly out the back door - after Obama winning the election, that is.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 8 2008 9:58 utc | 66

are you depressed? here is some happy news

almost as unbelievable, a Polish guy just won the Canadian Grand Prix

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 8 2008 18:49 utc | 67

@ Anna Missed 66 A very interesting idea, but probably too "radical" (i.e. sensible) to be trotted out during an election campaign where patriotic hot-air and hokum will be the order of the day for the next 5 months.

This small "change" seems more like electoral hokum than substance, but at least it is a feint in the right direction.

I'm wondering what the MOA consensus (if such exists) is on
BHO's choice for veep, and what (if anything) each choice might indicate. Among the names that might be tossed into the mix are Hillary (of course), Jim Webb of Virginia, Bill Richardson, Wes Clarke, Chuck Hagel (highly unlikely), Russ Feingold (unlikely), and many others.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 9 2008 7:47 utc | 68

HKOL
I'd hope the wisdom of this idea wouldn't go unnoticed by the dems. If not in terms of our election, at least in terms of the Iraqi elections. There's no reason, should he alliance hold together, that the dems could bring Ja'fari to Washington for a little barnstorming that would discredit the administrations Iran based MalikiSICI program with a genuine reconciled alliance, that itself would gain support in the Iraqi elections with an agreed upon phased and withdrawal schedule coordinated with the future president. A rather tidy endgame of developing a consensus for an Iraqi solution for reconciliation that could also fit the "secure and stable democracy that can defend itself" reasoning needed for the U.S. to exit with a facimilie of "peace with honor" face saving rubric necessary for the U.S. to exit. The only defense the Bush/McCain strategy could make against such a solution would be somehow justify all the (neo-colonial) things they deny they are doing in the first place. Seems like it would be worth a try anyhow.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 9 2008 10:50 utc | 69

interesting example of political repression in the online version of uganda's new vision
DP accused of noise pollution

The Police on Saturday stormed the Democratic Party (DP) offices in Kampala because of the noise pollution caused by a public address system.

Party officials were using the system to rally the public for a demonstration after their planned assembly at the Clock Tower was thwarted.

The noise levels, the Police said, were unacceptable and contravened environment regulations.

The Police said the raid followed a complaint lodged by the business community at the nearby Nakasero Police post.

“The Police together with the National Environment Management Authority were forced to enter the DP offices at City House on account of unacceptably high amounts of noise that was being emitting from the loudspeakers that had been mounted on windows of the building,” the Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, said yesterday.

She pointed out that the permissible noise levels during the day and night was 75Dbs, yet those emitted by the DP loudspeakers was between 120 and 125Dbs.

“Even if the noise had been within the permitted levels, it would still have been illegal, given that they did not have a licence to make noise.

Nabakooba said DP leaders would be summoned to answer the charges and thanked the public for shunning the rally.

Five people who she identified as Savio Matovu, an administrator at the DP offices, Ben Kiwanuka, Emmanuel Mugandusi, Samuel Mulindwa and Margaret Wazemba were arrested in connection with the incident and holding an unlawful assembly.

It also emerged that DP leaders on Saturday hoodwinked the Police by using pre-recorded messages, which they blared through the public address system from their party offices, creating a false impression that they were physically present in the offices.
...
The messages attacked President Yoweri Museveni and the Police boss, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, for failing to respect an earlier court ruling that nullified Section 32 of the Police Act.

The Act gave the Police the power to authorise rallies, demonstrations and processions.

Posted by: b real | Jun 9 2008 15:17 utc | 70

Interesting Sec Def Gates put a transport and special operations pilot on top of the Air Force. The job was for decades reserved for the fighter pilot and bomber mafia.

Wonder what General Norton Schwartz thinks about bombing Iran ...

Posted by: b | Jun 9 2008 17:36 utc | 71

as a poet, i have struggled with the possible roles american poetry should take in our post 9-11 reality. Charles Bernstein, a poet identified with the language poetry movement, has a new book out, called GIRLY MAN, and this review does an amazing job of looking back at Berstein's aesthetic, using Brecht's notion of epic theatre (a major influence in Bernstein's earlier poetic work) and Walter Benjamin's analysis of Brecht, to put forth the idea that Berstein's stylistic departure in GIRLY MAN is an indication of the difficulty of writing the sort of multi-voiced, collage assembled, culturally critical poetry Bernstein is known for. it's a long, detailed review, but well worth it.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 9 2008 19:32 utc | 72

and as a companion to Bernstein's work (and other language poets, like the prolific Ron Silliman) the San Francisco artist, Jess, is noteworthy. ron silliman used a collage by jess, picture here and for a quick bio this article, printed after his passing in 2004, is good.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 9 2008 19:44 utc | 73

Ya gotta love this, Maliki goes to Iran (according to U.S. sources) to confront the Iranians on their support of militias, and he comes home with this instead!

The Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defense cooperation.

The MoU was signed by visiting Iraqi Defense Minister Lieutenant General Abdul Qadir Mohammed Jassim Obeidi and his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on Monday.

Iran’s First Vice President Parviz Davoudi and Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki were also present in the signing ceremony which was held at the pavilion of Mehrabad International Air Port.

The MoU has called for expansion of defense cooperation between the two countries in line with harmonizing all-out ties between Tehran and Baghdad to help further bolster peace and stability in the region.

The MoU also called for sweeping the landmine-infested war fronts remained from 1980-1988 war and continued search operations for those missing in action (MiAs).

Oh man, this ought to get somebodies attention?

http://gorillasguides.com/>LINK

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 9 2008 20:20 utc | 74

lizard

i am not a great fan of american poetry tho i love hart crane, theodor roethke & despite myself there is something i really respect in charles olson - his gloucester series really something - "my balls as big as buddha"

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 9 2008 20:21 utc | 75

What did you make of Off The Grid? I thought it was incredibly depressing, mainly because most of the people who were given screen time managed to maintain this extraordinary level of duality vis a vis America: even the Gulf War vet dying of throat cancer kept praising the ol' US of A while blaming Saddam's weapons caches for his disease, when my guess is that he's suffering the effects of (US) depleted uranium. The US is, for the Mesa dwellers, still the greatest country on earth because you're allowed to "shoot your guns whenever you want" (the bloke who was teaching his 10 year olds to drive and fire an AK47), take meth and blow shit up. It was exactly their dependence on those hoary old cultural paradigms that depressed me, and the message - what I personally took away from the film - was that this might be the only sort of Utopia we're currently able to even visualize.

Posted by: Tantalus | Jun 9 2008 20:21 utc | 76

tantalus

soon, i imagine all under the empire will either be using meth or largactil - perhaps simultaneouslly

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 9 2008 20:27 utc | 77

anna missed at 74

you got my attention. this is truly bizarre! I haven't been able to follow this stuff as closely as you do so forgive me for asking but just how does Maliki get away with it?

this is so far away from official US policy as to make a mockery of the entire US. is it possible that Maliki has that much freedom of motion?

He certainly can't be so stupid as to provoke the US by pulling a stunt like this so it would appear to me that he got a nod from cheney or whoever is pulling the strings here. and didn't Maliki just assure Iran and the rest of the world that Iraq would not be used as a launch pad for agression against its neighbors?

are the Iranians being led down the cherry path by the US admin or is it the other way around?

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 9 2008 21:19 utc | 78

'giap: crane and roethke are great. in that vein, poets like William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara, and Weldon Kees have been big influences for me. Olson takes study, and i haven't put in the work yet. Hart Crane is a monumental poet often not given due recognition. his presumed suicide mirrors the suspected dive Weldon Kees took off the golden gate bridge. Weldon Kees is a deeply bitter poet, born in Nebraska, and his bleak verse is critical of the times he lived (40's mainly) more than any of his contemporaries i'm aware of.

tantalus: i agree. it's dumbfounding to watch "Maine" say he'd do it all again, go off and fight; that amerika is the greatest country in the world, while living out the end of his prolonged sacrifice to political leaders who care nothing about him. what's even more frightening is OFF THE GRID may be a little peak into the future (except all that driving over sage brush in pickups) if current escalations continue. it would be much more beneficial to watch a documentary about the community of people in New Mexico who live in earthships

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 10 2008 0:00 utc | 79

not U.S., a Scot, John Davidson:


From “Thirty Bob a Week”

So p'r'haps we are in Hell for all that I can tell,
And lost and damn'd and served up hot to God.


Last lines of his “Cain” (the speaker):


Sometimes I think that God Himself is cursed,
For all His things go wrong. We cannot guess ;
He is very God of God, not God of men :
We feel His power, His inhumanity ;
Yet, being men, we fain would think Him good.
Since in imagination we conceive
A merciful, a gracious God of men,
It may be that our prayer and innocent life
Will shame Him into goodness in the end.
Meantime His vengeance is upon us ; so,
My blessing and God's curse be with you all.


The above lines, along with the translation of Li Po's "Drinking Alone with The Moon", are the only verse I ever memorized. (Oh, plus the nursery rhyme that ends "Every knave will have a slave. You or I must be he." But I was six then.)


Posted by: plushtown | Jun 10 2008 2:43 utc | 80

It has been noted that Kucinich's impeachment motion certainly comes at an odd time since we're already in the eleventh hour of this particular permutation of the vile administration in question. It can be interpreted as a waste of resources that would be better spent securing the Democrat electoral position if you're a freeper, or sheer spitefulness at this stage of the game akin to Mossad stalking down geriatrics if you're a beltway Republican.

If you're me, it comes as across as quixotic (since Pelosi will ensure it doesn't come to a vote) and far, far too late in coming.

There might be some strategery (sic) here, though. McCain can not distance himself from this administration if he is called upon to publicly comment on this, which he will have to do if Pelosi doesn't shut the whole thing down quickly and quietly. Any stance McCain takes is going to hurt his candidacy badly. Heh. Good.

We'll see how this plays itself out.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jun 10 2008 4:12 utc | 81

"Les aristocrates à la lanterne!
"ah, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!"

"Let's string up the aristocrats on the lampposts!
We will win, we will win, we will win!"

Girl can dream, can't she? At least overnight.

Go, Dennis, go!

Posted by: catlady | Jun 10 2008 5:11 utc | 82

Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:21 pm Post subject: After Bobby Kennedy
After Bobby Kennedy

John Pilger

Published 29 May 2008

Bobby Kennedy's campaign is the model for Barack Obama's current bid to be the Democratic nominee for the White House. Both offer a false hope that they can bring peace and racial harmony to all Americans, writes John Pilger

In this season of 1968 nostalgia, one anniversary illuminates today. It is the rise and fall of Robert Kennedy, who would have been elected president of the United States had he not been assassinated in June 1968. Having travelled with Kennedy up to the moment of his shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 June, I heard The Speech many times. He would "return government to the people" and bestow "dignity and justice" on the oppressed. "As Bernard Shaw once said," he would say, "'Most men look at things as they are and wonder why. I dream of things that never were and ask: Why not?'" That was the signal to run back to the bus. It was fun until a hail of bullets passed over our shoulders.

Kennedy's campaign is a model for Barack Obama. Like Obama, he was a senator with no achievements to his name. Like Obama, he raised the expectations of young people and minorities. Like Obama, he promised to end an unpopular war, not because he opposed the war's conquest of other people's land and resources, but because it was "unwinnable".

Should Obama beat John McCain to the White House in November, it will be liberalism's last fling. In the United States and Britain, liberalism as a war-making, divisive ideology is once again being used to destroy liberalism as a reality. A great many people understand this, as the hatred of Blair and new Labour attest, but many are disoriented and eager for "leadership" and basic social democracy. In the US, where unrelenting propaganda about American democratic uniqueness disguises a corporate system based on extremes of wealth and privilege, liberalism as expressed through the Democratic Party has played a crucial, compliant role.

In 1968, Robert Kennedy sought to rescue the party and his own ambitions from the threat of real change that came from an alliance of the civil rights campaign and the anti-war movement then commanding the streets of the main cities, and which Martin Luther King had drawn together until he was assassinated in April that year. Kennedy had supported the war in Vietnam and continued to support it in private, but this was skilfully suppressed as he competed against the maverick Eugene McCarthy, whose surprise win in the New Hampshire primary on an anti-war ticket had forced President Lyndon Johnson to abandon the idea of another term. Using the memory of his martyred brother, Kennedy assiduously exploited the electoral power of delusion among people hungry for politics that represented them, not the rich.

"These people love you," I said to him as we left Calexico, California, where the immigrant population lived in abject poverty and people came like a great wave and swept him out of his car, his hands fastened to their lips.

"Yes, yes, sure they love me," he replied. "I love them!" I asked him how exactly he would lift them out of poverty: just what was his political philosophy? "Philosophy? Well, it's based on a faith in this country and I believe that many Americans have lost this faith and I want to give it back to them, because we are the last and the best hope of the world, as Thomas Jefferson said."

"That's what you say in your speech. Surely the question is: How?"

"How . . . by charting a new direction for America."

The vacuities are familiar. Obama is his echo. Like Kennedy, Obama may well "chart a new direction for America" in specious, media-honed language, but in reality he will secure, like every president, the best damned democracy money can buy.

Embarrassing truth

As their contest for the White House draws closer, watch how, regardless of the inevitable personal smears, Obama and McCain draw nearer to each other. They already concur on America's divine right to control all before it. "We lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good," said Obama. "We must lead by building a 21st-century military . . . to advance the security of all people [emphasis added]." McCain agrees. Obama says in pursuing "terrorists" he would attack Pakistan. McCain wouldn't quarrel.

Both candidates have paid ritual obeisance to the regime in Tel Aviv, unquestioning support for which defines all presidential ambition. In opposing a UN Security Council resolution implying criticism of Israel's starvation of the people of Gaza, Obama was ahead of both McCain and Hillary Clinton. In January, pressured by the Israel lobby, he massaged a statement that "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people" to now read: "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognise Israel [emphasis added]." Such is his concern for the victims of the longest, illegal military occupation of modern times. Like all the candidates, Obama has furthered Israeli/Bush fictions about Iran, whose regime, he says absurdly, "is a threat to all of us".

On the war in Iraq, Obama the dove and McCain the hawk are almost united. McCain now says he wants US troops to leave in five years (instead of "100 years", his earlier option). Obama has now "reserved the right" to change his pledge to get troops out next year. "I will listen to our commanders on the ground," he now says, echoing Bush. His adviser on Iraq, Colin Kahl, says the US should maintain up to 80,000 troops in Iraq until 2010. Like McCain, Obama has voted repeatedly in the Senate to support Bush's demands for funding of the occupation of Iraq; and he has called for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. His senior advisers embrace McCain's proposal for an aggressive "league of democracies", led by the United States, to circumvent the United Nations.

Amusingly, both have denounced their "preachers" for speaking out. Whereas McCain's man of God praised Hitler, in the fashion of lunatic white holy-rollers, Obama's man, Jeremiah Wright, spoke an embarrassing truth. He said that the attacks of 11 September 2001 had taken place as a consequence of the violence of US power across the world. The media demanded that Obama disown Wright and swear an oath of loyalty to the Bush lie that "terrorists attacked America because they hate our freedoms". So he did. The conflict in the Middle East, said Obama, was rooted not "primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel", but in "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam". Journalists applauded. Islamophobia is a liberal speciality.

The American media love both Obama and McCain. Reminiscent of mating calls by Guardian writers to Blair more than a decade ago, Jann Wenner, founder of the liberal Rolling Stone, wrote: "There is a sense of dignity, even majesty, about him, and underneath that ease lies a resolute discipline . . . Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon 'the better angels of our nature'." At the liberal New Republic, Charles Lane confessed: "I know it shouldn't be happening, but it is. I'm falling for John McCain." His colleague Michael Lewis had gone further. His feelings for McCain, he wrote, were like "the war that must occur inside a 14-year-old boy who discovers he is more sexually attracted to boys than to girls".

The objects of these uncontrollable passions are as one in their support for America's true deity, its corporate oligarchs. Despite claiming that his campaign wealth comes from small individual donors, Obama is backed by the biggest Wall Street firms: Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, J P Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, as well as the huge hedge fund Citadel Investment Group. "Seven of the Obama campaign's top 14 donors," wrote the investigator Pam Martens, "consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages." A report by United for a Fair Economy, a non-profit group, estimates the total loss to poor Americans of colour who took out sub-prime loans as being between $164bn and $213bn: the greatest loss of wealth ever recorded for people of colour in the United States. "Washington lobbyists haven't funded my campaign," said Obama in January, "they won't run my White House and they will not drown out the voices of working Americans when I am president." According to files held by the Centre for Responsive Politics, the top five contributors to the Obama campaign are registered corporate lobbyists.

What is Obama's attraction to big business? Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy's. By offering a "new", young and apparently progressive face of the Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a member of the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition. That was Colin Powell's role as Bush's secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US anti-war and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults. If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent.

Piracies and dangers

America's war on Iran has already begun. In December, Bush secretly authorised support for two guerrilla armies inside Iran, one of which, the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, is described by the state department as terrorist. The US is also engaged in attacks or subversion against Somalia, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bolivia and Venezuela. A new military command, Africom, is being set up to fight proxy wars for control of Africa's oil and other riches. With US missiles soon to be stationed provocatively on Russia's borders, the Cold War is back. None of these piracies and dangers has raised a whisper in the presidential campaign, not least from its great liberal hope.

Moreover, none of the candidates represents so-called mainstream America. In poll after poll, voters make clear that they want the normal decencies of jobs, proper housing and health care. They want their troops out of Iraq and the Israelis to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbours. This is a remarkable testimony, given the daily brainwashing of ordinary Americans in almost everything they watch and read.

On this side of the Atlantic, a deeply cynical electorate watches British liberalism's equivalent last fling. Most of the "philosophy" of new Labour was borrowed wholesale from the US. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were interchangeable. Both were hostile to traditionalists in their parties who might question the corporate-speak of their class-based economic policies and their relish for colonial conquests. Now the British find themselves spectators to the rise of new Tory, distinguishable from Blair’s new Labour only in the personality of its leader, a former corporate public relations man who presents himself as Tonier than thou. We all deserve better.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 10 2008 7:04 utc | 83

Josh Landis' Syria Comment has a couple of interesting links,
both regarding the manifest re-emergence of Syria from its U.S.-Israeli imposed ostracism. The first link is to, of all places, Memri, while the second talks about joint Franco-Syrian economic projects. Sarkozy seems to be turning out to be rather more a French nationalist than a convinced neo-con.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jun 10 2008 7:35 utc | 84

McCain says that my country has changed and I didn't notice: "Putin, the president of Germany, ..."

Posted by: b | Jun 10 2008 7:39 utc | 85

re impeachment...

Think progress: Duffy: ‘White House Lawyers Are Concerned’ McClellan’s Book Will Reignite ‘The Valerie Plame Business’

If you watch the video their concern for the administration is touching (barf) and you may notice Mr. Duffy smile when he says there isn't time for impeachment. Wishful thinking?

in other news...

Raid at Detroit art gallery sows the seeds of rebellion
"You can dance if you want to..."

and

Big Brother In The Can bathroom?

Video surveillance in the men's room at Harvey's Restaurant, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Is this a trend?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 10 2008 9:43 utc | 86

Kucinich: "i'm gonna go for it."

See the rats running! Hear Nancy's petulant sigh! Marvel at the courage of this man to stand up to power. [At least it's in the congressional record.]

Posted by: beq | Jun 10 2008 9:56 utc | 87

beq #87, "in your heart you know he's right", just like the rest of them. (for evidence, search "global warming policy is not complicated")

It is nice, about time (endgame), but watching the video I kept wondering how much we paid for the furniture, the only non-bargain in the room.

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 10 2008 13:02 utc | 88

Obama hires second neoliberal advisor.

Nothing progressive there ...

Posted by: b | Jun 10 2008 13:14 utc | 89

greg grandin: Losing Latin America: What Will the Obama Doctrine Be Like?

We are once again at a historic crossroads. An ebbing of U.S. power -- this time caused, in part, by military overreach -- faces a mobilized Latin America; and, on the eve of regime change at home, with George W. Bush's neoconservative coalition in ruins after eight years of disastrous rule, would-be foreign policy makers are once again looking south.

and two recent articles by al giordano

  • Obama and the US-Latin America Time Bomb
  • The McCain Doctrine: Back to the Cold War in Latin America

    Posted by: b real | Jun 10 2008 14:59 utc | 90

  • two items to lobby against
    Bush: Troops could miss paychecks, civilians could be laid off

    President Bush warned in his national radio address on Saturday that the Defense Department will not be able to pay troops next month and civilian Defense workers could face layoffs if Congress does not pass the 2008 emergency war supplemental bill soon.

    In a related development, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that spiraling fuel costs have imposed an additional burden on the Defense budget. "Every time the price of oil goes up by $1 per barrel, it costs us about $130 million -- and frankly, my credit card limit is getting narrow on that," Gates told the Asia Security Summit last week.

    In May, the Pentagon asked Congress for approval to transfer nearly $10 billion from Navy and Air Force budgets to pay soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan before the Army budget runs out in July.

    In his radio address, Bush said if Congress does not act on the war supplemental "critical accounts at the Defense Department will soon run dry." He said civilian Defense employees could face temporary layoffs, and if Defense does not get its required funding by July, "the department will no longer be able to pay our troops -- including those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq."

    The funding crunch Defense faces is "no exaggeration," said Army Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Defense Department spokesman. He said the date Defense would run out of funds to pay troops depends on whether or not Congress approves the transfer. If Congress does not allow Defense to reprogram funds, paychecks to troops would stop as early as the middle of June. If the request is approved, troops would be paid through mid-July. Congress approved roughly $70 billion in 2008 supplemental funds for Defense last December. But the department still needs $102 billion out of the $189 billion it had requested then, Maka said.

    House bill would extend protections to ex-vice presidents

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney would continue to be shielded by the Secret Service for at least six months after he leaves office under legislation the House is taking up Monday.

    The measure, endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee last month, writes into law a common practice of extending federal protections for the vice president and his family in the months immediately after his time in office ends.
    ...
    Recent vice presidents, going back to Hubert Humphrey in 1969, have generally been accorded about a half-year of protection after leaving office. But because there has been no law in place, it has required a special act of Congress or a presidential directive.

    The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the extra protection would cost about $4 million in fiscal year 2009.

    no need for taxpayers to foot this

    Posted by: b real | Jun 10 2008 15:30 utc | 91

    ips: POLITICS-US: A League of Their Own

    WASHINGTON, Jun 10 (IPS) - A radical foreign policy idea put forth by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has drawn cheers of support from sources as varied as his campaign's neo-conservative backers to liberal internationalists from the camp of his rival, Sen. Barack Obama. But the idea is not without some surprising detractors.

    McCain's "League of Democracies" would be a new international organisation whose membership is made up of democratic governments that meet certain minimal requirements.

    The philosophical basis for the League is German philosopher Immanuel Kant's idea of "perpetual peace", which argues that democratic governments are less likely to go to war -- particularly with fellow democracies rather than autocratic regimes. But democratic nations may be at odds with non-democratic ones.

    This is already well underway, according to neoconservative scholar and McCain adviser Robert Kagan, who sees a new "global competition" between democracies and autocracies.

    Kagan believes that rising autocratic powers threaten the international order in part by blocking actions by the United Nations Security Council, where "autocratic states", like Russia and China, have the power to veto actions.

    The League is intended to give like-minded democracies a multilateral vehicle that could authorise intervention in cases where the Security Council cannot act. Together, they could act on humanitarian crises and security issues without having to convince non-democratic U.N. members to go along.

    Those non-democratic autocracies have sometimes blocked U.N. efforts at interventions in crises -- such as the violence in Sudan's Darfur region and the recent blocking of international aid to cyclone victims in Burma -- on the grounds that they violate national sovereignty.

    The frustration caused by paralysis of the Security Council has also driven some liberal internationalists -- notably Obama adviser Ivo Daalder -- to support the idea of a League of Democracies. Preferring the moniker of a Concert of Democracies, Daalder and other liberals have written extensively in support of the idea, although Obama himself has yet to take a position on it.

    Daalder and McCain agree that the League could serve U.S. interests above all by providing a new multilateral mechanism through which Washington could, with like-minded allies, intervene in international crises that paralyse the Security Coucil. They cite the example of NATO's 1999 intervention against Serbia, a Russian ally, in Kosovo as a model.

    Moreover, Washington's reliance on a multilateral forum to authorise action would also help improve Washington's image, which has been badly battered by the George W. Bush administration's unilateralism.
    ...
    ..Daalder contends that the League of Democracies will be able to intervene in internal conflicts and with non-state actors in a way that the U.N. cannot because the Security Council is set up to prevent war between great powers -- not lesser powers and actors.

    Moreover, Daalder said that a League would be able to "socialise" U.S. foreign policy and tame its instinct for unilateral action

    Posted by: b real | Jun 10 2008 15:35 utc | 92

    meant to highlight this sentence from teh narco news links in #90

    McCain’s top advisor on Latin American affairs turns out to be none other than Otto Reich

    Posted by: b real | Jun 10 2008 15:41 utc | 93

    Okay - I am now fine with "Putin, the president of Germany, ..".

    But McCain also wants to "veto every bear"

    That's too much. No way.

    Posted by: b | Jun 10 2008 15:49 utc | 94

    This league of democracies is utter nonsense. It is simply a "coalition of the willing" in new cloth.

    Russia and Venezuela are both democracies with real elections, but the U.S. shuns them. Georgia is highly manipulated "democracy" - will it count? Israel? Only if you are jewish. Who decides?

    It is a crazy scheme that will not get track. Bush has tried this before. See Community of Democracies.

    Posted by: b | Jun 10 2008 18:42 utc | 95

    General Norton A. Schwartz, USAF is Commander, United States Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. He is nominated to be the next Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. If confirmed he will be succeeded by General Duncan J. McNabb (USAF). He would be a first in two respects: he rose through the USAF as a transport pilot not fighter or bomber pilot; and he is documented as being the first Jewish USAF leader.

    General Schwartz attended the United States Air Force Academy and graduated in 1973. He is an alumnus of the National War College, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a 1994 Fellow of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI. He has served as Commander of the Special Operations Command-Pacific, as well as Alaskan Command, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and the 11th Air Force. Prior to assuming his current position, General Schwartz was Director, the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

    General Schwartz is a command pilot with more than 4,200 flying hours in a variety of aircraft. He participated as a crewmember in the 1975 airlift evacuation of Saigon, and in 1991 served as Chief of Staff of the Joint Special Operations Task Force for Northern Iraq in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1997, he led the Joint Task Force that prepared for the noncombatant evacuation of U.S. citizens in Cambodia.


    Gate's new Air Force Chief!

    Posted by: Cloned_Poster | Jun 10 2008 19:54 utc | 96

    re the league/concert of democracies, esp w/ kagan singling out russia & china, it sounds to me that it's an attempt to counter the shanghai cooperation organisation. the autocracy vs democracy pretext is complete hogwash, given the number of u.s. client states that are genuine autocracies b/c that's how you ensure "stability", security & order.

    Posted by: b real | Jun 10 2008 21:03 utc | 97

    Kucinich delivers articles of impeachment. Took commondreams.org forever to get the story up, and they're republishing a story from Belfast.

    To quote Pink Floyd, "Is anybody out there?"

    Posted by: | Jun 10 2008 23:49 utc | 98

    me, posting Kucinich

    Posted by: catlady | Jun 10 2008 23:56 utc | 99

    little d tries, but can he go toe to toe with BIG D

    Posted by: Lizard | Jun 11 2008 0:58 utc | 100

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