Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 09, 2008

OT 08-28

News & views ... open thread ...

Posted by b on August 9, 2008 at 10:16 UTC | Permalink

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5 Afghan civilians killed

KABUL — U.S.-led coalition forces “inadvertently” killed four women and a child during a clash with militants in central Afghanistan, the military said Friday.

Meanwhile, a coalition service member died in a roadside blast in the nation's west.

Posted by: b | Aug 9 2008 10:23 utc | 1

Not reported much yesterday on Aug. 8, 2008:

Bush dedicates US embassy in Beijing

Blah blah blah

Today the United States and China have built a strong relationship, rooted in common interests. China has opened its economy and begun to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. America will continue to support China on the path toward a free economy.

Blah blah blah

Poppy and Kissinger present too. Yummy. Check the">http://www.som.com/resources/category/5/0/3/9/5/7/images/001_21581690_resized616.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.som.com/content.cfm/us_embassy_beijing&h=411&w=616&sz=225&hl=en&start=2&sig2=9BsujALd_lDW8-rwq2tngg&tbnid=oMDEfVTU-a_IxM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=136&ei=8HidSIX6JZrY7AW468yqBQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dus%2Bembassy%2Bbeijing%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG">the architects' page where you can click for more images of the complex.

$434 million. Largest in the world (after Baghdad's). Lots of business going to go on there, I suppose.

A few photos of the finished product appear on this China Daily link, but not very revealing.

Also:

New Chinese embassy complex opened in US in Wash. DC. Happy times for all.


Posted by: Hamburger | Aug 9 2008 11:27 utc | 2

Massive US Naval Armada Heads for Iran

Things are heating up in the GWOT. There was also this observation, via email, from a concerned citizen, a lawyer in Connecticut:

"I am afraid this is the signal we have feared for imminent war with Iran. I can add that when I drove by the Bath Ironworks Shipyard, Bath, ME last week which makes sub hunting US Navy frigates and where at least 3 or 4 are always in port, none at all were there, which is unprecedented in my 51 years of driving past that yard. My first thought was that war with Iran must be on."

With both Russia and China distracted at the moment, and Israel backing Georgia, this could get very scary. Or is it all bravado?

upSlope

Posted by: upSlope | Aug 9 2008 14:27 utc | 3

so, who can check of any extended duty calls/cancelled leave for sailors and airmen?

Posted by: shanks | Aug 9 2008 14:38 utc | 4

Yeah, "One World, One Dream", the Bilderberg NeoZi.con leitmotif.
Unfolding, and unwinding, in plain view, on prime time, just like the

Posted by: 1938.de | Aug 9 2008 17:55 utc | 5

one world indeed!

Posted by: Pitirre | Aug 9 2008 18:43 utc | 6

@upSlope - unlikely plan and wrong information

@1938.d3 - it actually was 1936. So your handle is as wrong as the comparison you try induce.

Posted by: b | Aug 9 2008 20:43 utc | 7

a lawyer in Connecticut:

"I am afraid this is the signal we have feared for imminent war with Iran..... in my 51 years of driving past that yard. My first thought was that war with Iran must be on."

a lawyer? really. everyone knows most lawyers are really really smart. Connecticut has lots of smart rich people. David Letterman lives there. You must be right. I better stock up on canned goods.

Posted by: downSlope | Aug 9 2008 21:31 utc | 8

great conversation with Alan Moore

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 10 2008 6:58 utc | 9

Iraq to revive oil deal with China

Associated Press
August 10, 2008

Iraq and China are set to revive a $1.2 billion oil deal that was canceled after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the Iraq's oil ministry said Sunday.

An initial agreement with China is expected to be signed at the end of August to develop the billion-barrel Ahdab oil field south of Baghdad, the ministry said in a statement.

"Iraq and China are keen to show their cooperation by finalizing an agreement on developing the Ahdab oil field," it said.

The announcement came after a meeting between Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani and China's ambassador to Baghdad.

No further details were released, but if the deal is signed it will be the first Saddam Hussein-era oil deal to be honored by the new Iraqi regime.

In 1997, Saddam's government signed an agreement with the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., despite United Nations sanctions that barred direct dealings with Iraq's oil industry.

The two countries restarted talks in October 2006.

The field is located near Wasit province, about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, and could produce an estimated 115,000 barrels a day. Wasit has been the scene of sporadic attacks since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Posted by: DB | Aug 10 2008 15:36 utc | 10

lizard, thanks #9 link, after reading have been watching u-tube Alan Moore pieces, including a sort of self interview he did in '87 (2nd part includes song about sinister ducks),here's index of interviews online: http://www.alanmooreinterview.co.uk/>V.

Posted by: plushtown | Aug 10 2008 16:48 utc | 11

back at ya, plushtown. your link has provided some excellent sunday afternoon reading!

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 10 2008 21:00 utc | 12

Bolivia's Morales Easily Wins Recall Vote

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales easily won a recall vote on Sunday and vowed to push on with socialist reforms that his rightist opponents in South America's poorest country are trying to block.

The election pitted Morales against governors who have pushed for autonomy for their resource-rich provinces and are furious that he has cut their share of windfall natural gas revenues.
...
Unofficial exit polls said Morales secured more than 60 percent of the vote -- far higher than the 53.7 percent he won when he was elected president in December 2005.

Supporters of Morales and of the main opposition governors alike took to the streets waving banners, chanting, dancing and setting off fire crackers after a peaceful vote that contrasted with violent protests earlier in the week.

"I'm glad he has won, because Mr Morales is one of us, he's working class like me. I expect things to improve now, because someone from the same background as me cannot let me down," said 32-year-old computer technician Hector Gutierrez.

Posted by: b | Aug 11 2008 6:13 utc | 13

morales & chavez have place themselves bbefore their electorate in a way that is completely uncharacteristic for latin america - indeed for so-called democracies, anywhere

yet they will still be menaced by the empire in very real ways - from destabilisation to direct intervention(or at least the threat of it)

i have a soft spot for these men - tho i imagine our pedro sees them as fools - then for me they are gods fools as the holy sanskrit texts would have it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 11 2008 14:02 utc | 14

thx a bunch, Lyzard, for the Moore link, and to u as well, plushtown, for the update ;)

. . .

via Covert History, i've learned that McCain could be the Antichrist, as Robert Dreyfuss reported in 8/8/8:

Until 2003, many Christians believed that Saddam Hussein might be the Antichrist, since he started excavations to restore Babylon in the mid 1970s. But Hussein’s death meant that the Antichrist is someone else. Since Obama wants to get out of Iraq, he can’t be the Antichrist either, concluded Jenkins.

.and via the same CH, we're pointed to a dKos dude wondering who gave McCain a blowjob

I would not have asked the Cindy Mccain question without some inside knowledge. There's a story coming. I don't know how it is going to break or where, but McCain will not enjoy the benefit of an enthused evangelical base. Wheels are turning.

Posted by: rudolf | Aug 12 2008 1:10 utc | 15

more from kenya's east african standard on the story of u.s. marines using the pretext of drilling boreholes to carry out intel & other covert ops that i've been covering periodically

misleading label, but there's some real meat inside

Generous soldiers NEP residents love to hate

US marines are common in remote villages in North Eastern Province. They help in health, sanitation, education and humanitarian aid projects. But they still draw awe and dread in equal measure among local Muslims.
...
When the marines first arrived in this tail end part of Kenya five years ago, residents welcomed them with stones and protests. Then North Eastern PC Abdul Mwasserrah had to convene a leaders’ meeting to dispel fears that the marines were on a sinister mission.

The leaders softened their stance on condition the marines pursued infrastructural development and nothing else. However, the marines ignored the demands and ventured deeper into scrublands where they vaccinated camels.

The marines repackaged themselves, changed their name to US Army with the aim of rehabilitating public institutions. They renovated and fenced off Wajir District Hospital, built Bute Girls Secondary School in Wajir North, repaired facilities at Modugashe, Bura and Mbalambala secondary schools and sank boreholes in several locations.

The cost of this was more than Sh200 million in 2003 alone. But the community was not impressed and the marines left in a huff. But they were back with heavy machinery and trucks in a rare spectacle of might. They had also stretched their name into US Army Civil Affairs, perhaps to endear themselves to the residents.

The hue and cry has since been replaced by whimpers.

"We know all these activities are not for free. In exchange, the province has been turned into a launching pad for war on terror," Abdi said. The US marines deny the claims. Kevin Countermine of the US Army Civil Affairs said the assistance was to promote a partnership between the two nations.
...
"To show our commitment, more personnel from the US Army Civil Affairs will be coming to assist in health, sanitation, education and humanitarian activities," he said. Local leaders are still reluctant and say the US Army had overstayed their welcome.

more personnel would be a sign that the u.s. is stepping up their activity in somalia, as the article finally gets around to informing the reader, provided they made it past the headline & first several paragraphs of spin

But as the marines deny interest in fighting terrorism, the province that borders Somalia to the east is strategic in monitoring activities of terror groups in neighbouring countries.

Herdsmen in remote villages often report encountering marines traversing the pastures. They have also established local contacts and planted surveillance equipment along the 1,200-km long border.

The strategy has reportedly been used by the US military in developing countries since World War II. A US official was recently quoted saying small-scale military force is used to undermine insurgencies long before they threaten governments allied to US.

Based on this surveillance, the US early this year launched an attack on Dobley, a small town along the Kenya-Somalia border. The attack was apparently aimed at Hassan Turki, believed to be one of the masterminds of the 1998 Nairobi terrorist attack, and Sheikh Aweys, the leader of deposed Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) linked with Al-Qaeda.

During the attack, 10 family members were reportedly killed. Another attack in Dusamareb, a small town in Somalia, reportedly killed Adan Hash Ayro, the commander of Al Shabab, a breakaway youth wing of UIC.
...
Thus, the new strategy is meant to close in on the insurgents believed to use Somalia as a breeding ground for terrorists.

Mr Wade Ishimoto, a senior US adviser for special operations, says the "low-intensity warfare is meant to curb major security problems that could require large new troops deployment".

i've never liked that phrase "breeding ground" when associated w/ "terrorists". insects have breeding grounds. it's not a description one would normally attribute to human beings unless the intent was to dehumanize them -- cockroaches, anybody? -- in order to make it easier to get people to & build support (or at least apathy towards) exterminating them

having said that, kenya is crawling w/ u.s. military, security & intelligence personnel

two more recent articles from the east african standard illustrate this

suspiciously timed w/ the anniversary of the embassy bombings in nairobi & dar es salaam last week, there has been a wild goose chase going on for fazul mohammed, one of the suspected bombers, who was reported to have sneaked into kenya & barely escaped capture in a raid by 40 kenyan police officers. the story sounded implausible at the time, and doesn't appear to be panning out any better, though it is allowing the u.s. to take a more aggressive role in kenyan affairs, as pointed out in this story

Police are now conducting internal investigation after Fazul last week escaped detectives by a whisker in Malindi where he was holed up after sneaking into the country from Somalia.

Sources in the police force told The Standard that investigation has been launched to ascertain whether the person who helped Fazul was a police officer.
...
The concerns were raised on a day the American government was said to be raising misgivings about Kenya’s ability to capture Fazul and prevent terrorism attacks in future.

According to another source at the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) and CID, the US government was losing faith in the Kenyan police’s ability to capture Fazul and his close associates, or even deal accordingly with arrested terrorism suspects.

A senior officer at the NSIS, who could not be named for security reasons, said the FBI, an American intelligence agency, now wants to take over the hunt for Fazul in Coast Province — an exercise that has taken the anti-terrorism unit and the CID more than two weeks without success.

The request by FBI and the doubt on the Kenyan police ability, our source said, was causing disquiet between the two governments.

Another police source confirmed that FBI agents were already on the ground conducting a parallel hunt for Fazul.

"Officials of FBI have been spotted in various offices and have been doing discreet rounds in Coast Province," he said.

He went on: "From available correspondence, their (FBI’s) argument is that Kenya has no effective laws on terrorism, mechanisms and resources to capture Fazul and his close associates."

The FBI is reportedly insisting that the Ministry of Internal Security has no capacity — in resources and personnel — to deal with terrorism.

and, this denial from the u.s. embassy in nairobi, led by the prevaricator bwana ranneberger, is one of those types of things that inclines one to conclude that these folk truly do think kenyans are incredibly stupid

US planes’ operation legal, says embassy

The US embassy in Nairobi says their planes are operating in the country legally and denied fears that they could be moving terror suspects.

A spokeswoman Kim Dubois said the operations of their soldiers in the country were licensed by the Department of Defence and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

"There is nothing strange with the planes and their operations. American soldiers operate 24 hours a day and are here legally," she said in a telephone conversation.

The official said she was not aware of any terror suspect who had been renditioned out of the country using the planes and termed the claims "speculations".

Ms Dubois confirmed that the embassy uses the Prescott Support Group planes in their operations.

Said she: "The US embassy has a contract with Prescott to fly their personnel and other goods to various destinations, but we do not operate at night."

Dubois declined to comment on whether CIA agents accompany American soldiers or embassy personnel whenever they land in the country.

"No comment on the CIA agents in that context. Please," she said.

Posted by: b real | Aug 12 2008 3:54 utc | 16

NYTimes

This is fun, sort of.

Oligarchs must be rising from all that money-slime. Fifteen or twenty billionaires, I should suppose. But who might they be? Where might they live? Are they competing with Russians for London real-estate, or villas on Cap Ferrat, or Swiss watches, or an occasional "work of art"? A Lamborghini or two? A private Airbus?

I don't think we'll ever know.

Posted by: alabama | Aug 12 2008 4:24 utc | 17

Posted by: b real | Aug 12 2008 4:33 utc | 18

Michael Franti kicks it old school

saw this cat at the New Orleans Jazzfest this year and at the B'ham Alabama City Stages. he freakin' rocks.

Posted by: ran | Aug 12 2008 5:19 utc | 19

Michael Franti: Light Up Ya Lighter

"tell me president tell me if ya will
how many people does a smart bomb kill?"

Posted by: ran | Aug 12 2008 5:28 utc | 20

ran: i like franti, i really do, but his music has become the de-facto "protest" music that allows stoned college kids to think they're actually doing something revolutionary by listening to his tunes. his documented trip to iraq, though, took some serious guts.

but to get back to the fake revolution we think we're a part of when we buy something, like a song or idea, there are lots of people who won't want the change they think they're fighting for when it starts happening.

but because you put something out there to listen to, which i appreciate, it can't help but to respond with this

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 12 2008 5:45 utc | 21

NYTimes

Exhausting is what it is.

Posted by: alabama | Aug 12 2008 15:40 utc | 22

at Chris Floyd's: white house dungeon in the basement

In Ron Suskind’s new book, Suskind describes a disturbing case in Washington, D.C., where security officials detained and interrogated Usman Khosa, a Pakistani U.S. college graduate, because he was “fiddling” with his iPod near White House gates. Officials took Khosa to an interrogation room “beneath” the White House..

...and the guy works for IMF (!)

Posted by: rudolf | Aug 12 2008 16:13 utc | 23

#22 Alabama, exhausting is the point, futility the shaft.

Lizard, thanks again #9, recommend the various u-tube pieces, had assumed you knew of but actually bunch are very recent so maybe not. Here on #8 of an interview posted 7/15/08 he says his http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tsXK5Z29jk&feature=related>favorite superhero was Herbie (Popnecker) and wow was that pleasant. (Middle #'s of interview seem missing, one hopes will be put back up.)

Posted by: plushtown | Aug 12 2008 16:29 utc | 24

fuck these white house whiners - they want the iraquis to pay for being massacred, raped & violated

fuck them in hell

dante or milton could not have created beasts such as these

not only should the people of iraq pay nothing, not a red cent, they should receive massive reparations equal to the immoral & illegal crime

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 12 2008 17:42 utc | 25

& this so called money of iraq is held in the federal reserve bank under the control of the u s treasury. fuck them & the tanks they rode in on

Posted by: remembereringgiapr | Aug 12 2008 17:45 utc | 26

@Lizard, I wasn't familiar with the gentleman's work but I have to say I'm enjoying it. thanks for that.

Posted by: ran | Aug 13 2008 2:11 utc | 27


Mapping a nation: the legacy of Darwish

An impassioned engagement with place inspired Mahmoud Darwish to write poetry that made a huge impact across the Arabic world
Radwa Ashour

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 13 2008 4:12 utc | 28

US: Arctic Survey to Help Resource-Rights Claims

The U.S. State Department announced Monday a joint U.S.-Canada scientific expedition to map the Arctic seabed as part of an effort to claim ownership of underlying natural resources.

Arctic-rim countries such as Russia, Norway and Canada are trying to establish their territorial lines in a region that geologists say holds as much as a fifth of the world's undiscovered, recoverable oil and natural gas resources.

The race to establish rights over the resources beyond traditional boundaries have heated up since Russia has beefed up its Arctic presence and a Russian submarine planted the country's flag on the seabed under the North Pole last year.

While Canada's government is preparing a larger military presence in the region, there are renewed calls in the U.S. for the Senate to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international treaty that establishes subsea boundaries.

The convention says any coastal state can claim territory 200 nautical miles from their shoreline and exploit the natural resources within that area.

Oil companies say they would be unwilling to explore for resources in the areas beyond traditional boundaries unless there is legal certainty established by international law such as the convention.

The State Department said the two expeditions to be conducted in August through October were part of an interagency effort to collect scientific data about the continental shelf and oceanic basins in the Arctic.

Russia's boundary submission to the convention commission was rejected by the commission earlier in the decade, and Russian scientists are preparing a new submission.

U.S. and Canadian scientists are preparing their own arguments both to lay claim to their continental boundaries and to prepare their defense against Russia's next submission, which may impinge on their proposals.

The U.S. Geological Survey - which is heading up the U.S. scientific team - earlier this year published its latest resource estimate, predicting the area north of the Arctic Circle has an estimated 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 90 billion barrels of oil.

Posted by: b real | Aug 13 2008 4:30 utc | 29

coha: Colombia and NATO: Bogota’s Rush to Please

On Thursday, August 6, the Spanish newspaper El País announced that the Colombian military is exploring the possibility of sending a contingent of troops to NATO’s international forces stationed in Afghanistan. El País reporter Miguel González wrote, “a company of Colombian soldiers will exchange the jungle for Afghan deserts and leave off fighting the FARC to fight against the Taliban.” The Colombian troops would ostensibly aid in the clearing of hazardous mines and the eradication of illegal crops. According to the Colombian Ministry of Defense website, seven high-ranking security officials traveled to Spain to investigate the possibility of contributing fighting personnel to the endeavor, which would not commence until sometime next year.

NATO officials should consider the implications of this move with great care. Human rights abuses persist in Colombia, making it one of the worst performing countries in the hemisphere. Many of these abuses are perpetrated by members of the country’s security forces and the paramilitary groups with which they collude.
...
The suggestion that a Colombian contingent should be added to NATO’s international forces stationed in Afghanistan seems to be nothing more than an attempt to upgrade the Colombian military’s longstanding reputation for brutality in the wake of its stunning military successes against the FARC. Such a plan might confer additional legitimacy upon the military and could result in the abandonment of investigations into the human rights abuses that continue to plague the group. Bogota’s offer to send troops to peace missions worldwide is also a thinly veiled attempt to divert attention from the domestic turmoil that persists in the country. It may serve to improve prospects that Democrats in the U.S. will remove their opposition to the Bush administration’s call for a bi-lateral free trade agreement with Colombia, which is being fiercely opposed on the grounds that Colombia has not done enough to combat human rights violations. Sending Colombian troops to join NATO in Afghanistan, in the wake of Betancourt’s successful rescue, might also curry favor with EU nations for a Colombia whose human rights record is still viewed skeptically. Colombia should focus on exorcising its own demons before speeding to the rescue of others in order to add distinction to the military’s feeble bona fides.

is pat still in bogota?

Posted by: b real | Aug 13 2008 4:39 utc | 30

...as cathartic as it is to transport Cheney into an interrogation cupboard,
richly trussed, apple in his mouth, fork-tailed devils stuffing his goose...

...we need to remind ourselves that Hillbillary is going to stonewall for her
own nomination above Obama's, and John "Birch" McCain will stop at nothing in
the GOOPer controlled media, he will stop at nothing with phone barrages and
false rumours, he will stop at nothing with control over electronic voting,
McCain, the fundies', their MSM, and white elite wing of the Democrat party.

Cheney is a lame duck, and a very rich one more so, completely insulated in
a downy $600M oil profits coccon, estates all over the world, private jets
and a private army, probably no one on earth you could hurt less with words.

So what's the point, except a few chuckles and a feckless catharsis?

We need your words for Obama. Obama may be no saint, but when the mob spilling
up out of steerage below pushes you against the bullrail of the sinking Titanic,
and that one open lifeboat seat swims directly below you, you have to seize the
moment, not idly sit and complain about the damn iceberg or the wretched captain.

You seize the moment, because unlike Cub Scouts and Little League, you won't
do better next time, there will be no next time. You seize the moment now,
with barely two weeks until the convention, and barely two months until the
election, because if you don't, the only time in US history that an apartheid
sub-class had a shot, after an endless procession of elite white anglicans
and catholics, will be the only time!

Like Elvis crooned, it's now or never, baby.

Georgia is a diversion, playing entirely into McCain's hand. Entirely. If you
are broadly read, and widely cross-e-mailed, you've read the WW3 rants from
the Birchers and the DAR. This is a PNAC talking point, and another SwiftBoat.
If McCain gets traction out of this, and finances to swamp advertising time,
between McCain and Hillbillary, Obama will be transported, trussed and lynched.

That means: an endless Iraq, endless GWOT, endless DHS/TSA, a 1000-Year NeoZi
Fourth Reich,... if Obama doesn't win. That means no universal health care, and
no chance ever again of having it. That means growing triple deficits, growing
off-book "emergency funding", voted up into the $Ts, that means Social Security
and Medicare will be inflated away, then with no place to live, and no hope of
food or medicine, the future of most Americans can be found in the dumpsters.
Either dumpster life, or working for BlackWater Security Global guarding them.

"You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo..."
MnM

Open Thread for Night Owls & Early Birds
by Meteor Blades
Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 09:45:37 PM PDT

Posted by: Peris Troika | Aug 13 2008 4:55 utc | 31

wasted prez?

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 13 2008 4:58 utc | 32

"That means: an endless Iraq, endless GWOT, endless DHS/TSA, a 1000-Year NeoZi
Fourth Reich,... if Obama doesn't win. "

and it will be different if he does win how? dude's on board with the whole GWOT scam, or haven't you noticed?

Posted by: ran | Aug 13 2008 5:12 utc | 33

apologies if you're being all ironical and I've too many glasses of vino to notice.

Posted by: ran | Aug 13 2008 5:13 utc | 34

link to NYTimes

Here's an article in the NYTimes about the latest exercise of slander from the venomous pen of Jerome Corsi. As such articles go, it's neither better nor worse than the average: it gives us the "who, what, where, when and why" of the story; it aims to be fair; and it can be taken, in some degree, as an antidote to the poison of which it speaks.

It's still a complete and total disaster, as with any average article--not, in other words, out of malice or utter incompetence, but out of a total blindness to the thing of which it speaks. This blindness is not to be seen in the overall shape and purport of the story; instead, it lurks in one or another detail, just the sort of thing whose damage the average journalist cannot possibly recognize. We can see this in this article's opening sentence:

In the summer of 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of “Unfit for Command,” the book attacking Senator John Kerry’s record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger damaging campaign against Mr. Kerry’s war credentials as he sought the presidency.

What's wrong with this lede? Not its content (the "who, what, where, when, why"), but its choice of words--its diction. When it calls Mr. Corsi a "conservative gadfly," it wrecks its own credibility by legitimating Mr. Corsi.

How so?

In English, the word "conservative" designates a set of political convictions going back to the Middle Ages, and the word "gadfly" designates a certain kind of writer or thinker--the one who provokes discussion by testing received ideas (when we speak of a gadfly, we think of Socrates, who called himself that very thing).

"Conservative gadfly," then, is an honorific term: it applies to Edmund Burke, to Mark Twain, and even to Murray Kempton (some of the time). Writers who think, who argue as partisans, and who do so in a spirit of contest, even of provocation.

Mr. Corsi is none of these things. He's a character assassin and a sociopath, who can't be called a "gadfly" because he doesn't actually think at all. He doesn't (and can't) address ideas, but merely retails slanderous lies as if they were "facts" of some kind. And even if those facts were true, they wouldn't rise to the level of a thought or an idea. The article itself shows this very clearly.

How, then, might the article say what it says well enough without also being a total disaster?

Very simply, it would begin as follows: In the summer of 2004 the character assassin Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists, etc..

This, however, is unthinkable for the New York Times. And why? Not because it isn't true, but because it's bad for business, and for the business of the New York Times in particular. As evidence of this fact, we have only to point to those "best-seller lists" mentioned in the lede: for the article in fact mentions only one of these lists by name, namely that of the New York Times itself.

It doesn't take a CPA to recognize that trade-book display advertising is a cash-cow on which the paper depends for much of its existence. And when its revenues are in question, the paper can't level with anyone. It would rather kill a candidate than lose its daily bread.

Do I exaggerate, when I focus on this one little detail?

I do nothing of the sort. I merely remind us of the wreckage all around us-- the political and journalistic discourse in the USA.

Posted by: alabama | Aug 13 2008 5:49 utc | 35

uncle: thanks for the darwish link. also, just saw you had our boozy prez pics at amsam. is this some kind of sadistic joke at this point?!?

Peris: boo-fucking-hoo.

also, it probably doesn't feel like a distraction when you're blown up and dead or scared shitless and hiding. i think us 'merrycans need to understand anything negative amerika experiences (domestically) in the next four years will probably be seen by the rest of the global community as divine retribution. and guess what, the only people we have left to blame is ourselves.

go back to kos land, and keep sucking that NeoZi pacifier like they're the only ones to blame for a fucked up country that needs war like a junkie needs a fix.

ran: where i come from, there's no such thing as too many glasses of vino.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 13 2008 5:53 utc | 36

anonymous US officials (ie, cowardly, ineffectual little twirps) stamp their little feet and allow there'll be hell to pay for Russia not folding like origami in the face of the fearsome Georgian onslaught:

"It is not business as usual anymore with the Russians, and there are consequences for doing what they are doing," one senior U.S. official said.

Two senior administration officials said Tuesday that they could not speak for attribution because no final decisions had been made. But the United States will be discussing steps to take with its allies in the NATO alliance and the European Union, they said.

Posted by: ran | Aug 13 2008 6:00 utc | 37

Mr. McCain befriended Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, over the course of several trips there, and even nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 (in a letter that was co-signed by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York).

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/us/politics/12mccain.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin>HaHa

Posted by: YY | Aug 13 2008 8:55 utc | 38

spiked online: Rwanda: obscuring the truth about the genocide

Last week, the Rwandan government published the findings of its commission of inquiry into the role France played in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It found French diplomats, military leaders and politicians – including former president François Mitterand – complicit in the genocide.

Considering that the current Rwandan leadership has vilified France ever since it launched its bid to seize power in Rwanda in October 1990, eventually winning power in July 1994, it is not surprising that it should now up the stakes against its long-time enemy. The new strongman of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, is fortunate that he has unswerving support from the United States, Britain and Belgium, and a cheerleading media in these countries which can be counted upon to give his report into France’s role in the genocide maximum impact.

But the truth is that France’s major mistake was to find itself on the wrong side of the moral parable that has been imposed by Western observers on Rwanda’s recent tragic history. A war that was complicated by considerable international intervention has become over-simplified into a morality tale of good versus evil, in which France has been branded as part of the ‘evil side’. Such a simplification further obscures the truth about what happened in Rwanda in 1994, and whitewashes the role of Western intervention more broadly.

good overview if you're not already familiar w/ the under-reported history

Posted by: b real | Aug 13 2008 15:15 utc | 39

thanks uncle

darwin is a great, great poet along with adonis - in fact arab poetry is awash in certain kind of genius of discovery that makes western poetry seem very, very weak

i imagine their invention has a lot of reasons - a complicated relationship with modernism which was seen as yet another form of colonialism, a very close connection with their people & also the land in a very physical way - perhaps adonis is the most cerebral poet living today & even he is very connected to the living & dying earth

it is above all about their connection with conflict - which heightens the contradictions openly - of what we are as humans. it is not surprising then that iraq has many many important poets - some of whom have been assasinated by u s forces or
us puppets

what is absent in nearly all western poetry today - sensuality
what is most present in the poetry of the middle east - sensuality

instinctually, i feel it has a lot to do with arab music which is both ethereal & erotic but sometimes barely present - it never insists - it possesses & human subtlety that we in the wst have perhaps lost, forever

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 13 2008 17:38 utc | 40

the advocate general of israel has just ok'd the murder of journalists, especially palestinian ones - with the report of the murder of the reuters cameraman & 8 other people including a 12 year old child

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 13 2008 18:25 utc | 41

A traveling African American Museum, sponsored by ............... Yikes!!! Walmart?

Posted by: Jake | Aug 13 2008 23:05 utc | 42

fuck me dead jake, with a quotation by a black communist & all

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 13 2008 23:57 utc | 43

final call's interview w/ presidential candidate cynthia mckinney = Returning power to the people

Posted by: b real | Aug 14 2008 2:37 utc | 44

@alabama - you recently asked for recommended reading on colombia

james petras: Colombia, Laboratory of Witches: Democracy and State Terrorism

Hernando Calvo Ospina’s recent book, Colombia, Laboratorio de Embrujos: Democracia y Terrorismo de Estado is the most important study of Colombian politics in recent decades and essential reading in light of the Western media’s and politicians’ celebration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Calvo Ospina’s study provides detailed accounts explaining the pervasive influence of the US government in Colombian politics. The entire senior officer corps with command of troops and control of strategic intelligence agencies have passed through US military and indoctrination programs. In fact, attendance and certification by US military programs are a necessary step up the career ladder. Central to these training programs is ‘counter-insurgency’; training Colombian officials to violently repress any mass movements which challenge the Colombian oligarchy allied with Washington. The strategies taught by the US military instructors include the recruitment and arming of paramilitary death squads; ambitions junior military officers are pre-selected by the US military for their political loyalty to the US and aptitude for engaging in war against the Left and the mass movements led by their own compatriots.

Calvo Ospina provides numerous ‘case studies’ of Colombian generals who follow this ‘career path’: From selection and training in the US ‘advanced’ military training schools, to command of troops, to protectors and promoters of death squads, to authors of multiple massacres against civilians, to recipients of numerous decorations from Colombian presidents and visiting US political and military dignitaries (page 213).

Calvo Ospina’s study synthesizes a wealth of testimony, documents, news reports, eye witness accounts and human rights investigations detailing the organic links between the Colombian government (including the Uribe cabinet) over 60 members of Colombia’s congress (allied to Uribe), right-wing governors and mayors and the 30,000 strong death squads, the principle of which was Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia ( United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia). In fact, the rise of Uribe from Governor of Antioquia to the Presidency was linked to his ties with the death squads (page 235).

Calvo Ospina’s study demolishes claims that the ‘death squads’ operate independently of the state. Not only are the death squads an arm of the state, but they also play a major role in linking the oligarchy and the political elite to the multi-billion dollar narcotics trade. The study provides us with a clear account of the complex network of inter-locking elites made up of the Colombian ruling class, the US imperial apparatus and the Colombian military.

While the death squads played a major role in the killing of thousands of popular leaders and dispossessing 3 million peasants, they received the support of the Colombian oligarchy. Once the military and the regime, with $5 billion USD in US military aid, took possession of disputed regions from the guerrillas, the death squads were in part demobilized. The growth and decline of the death squads was clearly a result of US and Colombian policy: They were ‘tactical’ instruments designed to carry out the bloodiest tasks of purging civil society of popular, mass-based opposition.

Calvo Ospina’s detailed survey of the horrific human rights record of the first 5 years of Uribe’s rule stands in stark contrast to the barrage of favorable propaganda showered on the macabre figure after freeing Franco-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt by Bush, Sarkozy, Zapatero, Chavez, and Castro among others. During the first 3 years of the Uribe Presidency (August 2002- December 31, 2005) over one million Colombians were forcibly displaced, the great majority peasants violently uprooted and dispossessed of their land and homes by the death squads/military, who subsequently seized their land under the pretext of eliminating potential supporters of the FARC and other social movements. The peasants-turned-urban-squatters, who became local leaders, subsequently were assassinated by the regime’s secret political police (DAS) or death squads. Uribe’s regime has murdered over 500 trade union activists and leaders since coming to power in 2003. One trade union leader succinctly summed up the dismal political choices for Colombian activists: “In Colombia its easier to organize a guerrilla (movement) than a trade union. Anyone who doubts that should try to organize one at their workplace” (page 348).
...
The most important contribution of Calvo Ospina’s study of Colombian politics is his account of the construction and elaboration of a totalitarian terrorist regime, with the open collaboration and support of US, European and Latin American capitalist democracies.

doesn't look like there is an english-language version available at this time though

Posted by: b real | Aug 14 2008 4:34 utc | 45

Stock Market Put Options:Somebody Knew: 270 Mil Payout

This is exactly the same thing that happened with airline stocks right before 911. Perhaps the same traders? Odds are that you will never know. The 911 trades are a matter of record, and easily tracked. Why did nobody ask questions?

Suspicious: Who Made 270 million On Collapse of Bear Stearns


Bank analyst forecast Georgian crisis 2 days early

If there is no one to investigate breaking the law, has the law been broken?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 14 2008 23:03 utc | 46

bloomberg

Where is Spitzer when we need him?


meanwhile...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 14 2008 23:10 utc | 47

Uncle #47, own feeling is that Spitzer is where he wants to be, as I've argued before based on his 30% v 20% central a.c. regs victory not being used during his gubernatorial campaign.

Am more concerned that climate stuff can happen really http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-08/haog-tda080108.php>fast, and btw this doesn’t contradict my belief that basic geology says the coasts will be destroyed soon (and I’m still offering the $1,000 for convincing contradiction). I just think the ice precipitated into oceans by the inevitable earthquakes ($1,000 available, please prove not inevitable) will change thermohaline system very abruptly. Only the utmost tippy-top controlling armies, interest and our herd patterns anticipate whatever those thermohaline changes will be.

Posted by: plushtown | Aug 15 2008 0:21 utc | 48

Democracy Now Headlines- Thurs. Aug.14, 2008 = CIA breaks law

Today's Headlines * Russian-Georgian Fighting Continues in Gori * US Sends Aid to Georgia * Adviser Briefed McCain on Georgia After Inking Lobbying Deal * McCain: "Nations Don't Invade Other Nations" * Palestinians Honor Mahmoud Darwish * Israel Clears Soldiers in Killing of Palestinian Journalist, Youths * Canada Orders Deportation of Iraq War Resister * Alleged KBR Rape Victim Sues US Gov't * Gun Control Lobby Group Expels NRA Spy * Denver Police Set Up Cages for DNC Protesters * New York Loses Bid to Hide RNC Spying Docs * Murder Charges Dismissed Against 7 Officers in Post-Katrina Shootings * Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Fatally Shot

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 15 2008 2:16 utc | 49

uncle@46 - your first link points to a dfferent story

Posted by: b real | Aug 15 2008 2:18 utc | 50

One way or the other...(w/apologies to
Blondie)

Anti-War Website Operator Threatened By Armed Thugs

Also,Law Professor: Counter Terrorism Czar Told Me There Is Going To Be An i-9/11 And An i-Patriot Act


Lawrence Lessig is the go to person on most things law/internet...

@b-real yeah,i followed up with it in the bloomberg link next pst...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 15 2008 2:55 utc | 51


Wag the Dog: How to Conceal Massive Economic Collapse

Last week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had just announced record losses, and so had most reporting corporations. Unemployment was mounting, the foreclosure crisis was deepening, state budgets were in shambles, and massive bailouts were everywhere. Investors had every reason to expect the dollar and the stock market to plummet, and gold and oil to shoot up. Strangely, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 300 points, the dollar strengthened, and gold and oil were crushed. What happened?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 15 2008 4:00 utc | 52

this is dated 5 august, but i don't remember seeing anyone here mention it
Kyrgyz police seize weapons from U.S. officials

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's police raided an apartment rented by U.S. officials and seized dozens of firearms before finding out that the Americans were training Kyrgyz secret services, the government said on Tuesday.

Washington operates a military base in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in nearby Afghanistan and counts the ex-Soviet nation as a key ally in Central Asia. But their relations have been soured after a string of incidents at the base in past years.

The Interior Ministry said police had seized six machine guns, 25 assault rifles and a number of smaller firearms on Monday night from a house rented by U.S. officials. The firearms and ammunition were illegally possessed, it said.

Several embassy officials and servicemen were in the house at the time.

Posted by: b real | Aug 15 2008 4:11 utc | 53

hahahaha....

Justice Staffers Won't Be Prosecuted For Illegal [political] Hirings

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 15 2008 4:34 utc | 54

@53,

The Kyrgyz authorities have been milking the US for years by inventing terrorist plots. None exist. Gives the generals and ex-KGB internal security guys some walking around money. I guess they found a richer dyadya.

Posted by: biklett | Aug 15 2008 5:18 utc | 55

U$, Brown should stick to alternative medicine books.

Warren Buffett may have insisted that "commodities speculators had absolutely nothing to do with the spike in oil and commodities prices", which, on the face of it, is a tautological absurdity, but it worked... Congress failed to institute controls on Maker-Taker futures. It's still the Wild West.

Now oil and commodities have overbought, all that leverage is unwinding right back to datum. Where do you put your investment when you sell futures? US$ denominated Treasuries and CDs. The correlation is irrefutable.

Georgia had nothing to do with some grand conspiracy to hide the 'greatest economic whatever', it had everything to do with McCain not being able to get any traction, just two weeks before the Democrat convention, when Hillbillary and Obama's star will shine again on the Great White Way.

They wagged the dog for another Reagan tear down that wall moment... that failed.

Everything is as it should be. Hope, dream, dare ... and park it in T-bills.

Posted by: Tommy Funk | Aug 15 2008 5:49 utc | 56

Does anybody believe this AP "news" transcript form a "senior U.S. military intelligence officer in Baghdad"?

AP Exclusive: Hit squads training in Iran

raqi Shiite assassination teams are being trained in at least four locations in Iran by Tehran's elite Quds force and Lebanese Hezbollah and are planning to return to Iraq in the next few months to kill specific Iraqi officials as well as U.S. and Iraqi troops, according to intelligence gleaned from captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq.

A senior U.S. military intelligence officer in Baghdad described the information Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

I guess Pamela Hess, the writer of such junk, had a good fuck yesterday with some army dude in Baghdad. Fine with me, but does that really justify to publish such bullshit?

There is not one single fact in the 1,000+ or so word story, just assertions form one guy with a sizable dick.

Posted by: b | Aug 15 2008 20:33 utc | 57

meanwhile, mickey and snow white were arrested for protesting over work contracts, and texas teachers now can have weapons as they basic educational kit

Posted by: rudolf | Aug 16 2008 19:14 utc | 58

Interesting factoids that might explain the desperation of AP and CNN to keep the
Grand Game in play: 56% of Americans work for government, or are contracted to it.
(e.g. are not journalists). Moreover, 11% of Americans are homeless, and 16% of
Americans have no healthcare plan whatsoever. Finally, 70% of Americans can no
longer obtain any credit (e.g. are "underwater", a hyperbolic Titanic reference.)

Then, 70% of 16% of Americans are one paycheck, or one illness away from being
homeless, so ~1/4 of Americans are homeless, or very near to being homeless.
These are official US economic statistics you can parse out of government sites.

So if you're sitting at a football game, the person on your right works for the
government, the person on your left is a government contractor, the person in
front of you is homeless or about to be, and the guy behind you is a journalist,
who is about to join the person in front of you, unless it 'bleeds and leads'.

You, of course, are the 1/4 American wage slave worker whose taxes pay for this joie de vivre.

It follows then, the descriptive journalistic lingo for a "waterfall" economy,
will soon be replaced with the more accurate term of "gapping sharply lower",
especially for journalists themselves, after the 3rd-of-the-5th-Pay-It-Backward
"economic stimulus tax rebate" fails to generate any retail bump-up whatsoever.

Posted by: Dob Gites Nam | Aug 17 2008 2:53 utc | 59

As a nine-year old Samson pulls down the pillars of the mighty US empire, as everything crashes down upon our heads, all we can do is pray that Putin and Hu show us more mercy than we show the children of Iraq or Palestine.

Elaine Supkis maintains her rage. A nine year boy in a US concentration camp in Iraq.

Posted by: DM | Aug 17 2008 4:52 utc | 60

you like cranes B?

Posted by: ran | Aug 17 2008 5:42 utc | 61

As another says, "[I] Doubt MSM will provide positive coverage to this news."

Iran Launches First Home-Produced Satellite

17/08/2008

Iran successfully launched its first home-produced communications satellite into space on Sunday, state media reported. "President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad was at the launch of the communications satellite Omid (Hope) from Iran's space station," government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said, according to the Fars news agency.

A statement from the Iranian armed forces said it was the first launch of the domestically-built satellite, the official news agency IRNA reported. In February, Iran said it had sent a probe into space on the back of a rocket on a mission to prepare for the satellite launch. Iran has pursued a space program for several years, and in October 2005 a Russian-made Iranian satellite named Sina-1 was put into orbit by a Russian rocket.

Sunday's launch comes amid tensions between Iran and the international community over Tehran's refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activities -- which some Western countries fear could be used to make a nuclear weapon.

Wait, I seem to recall they did this or something similar, long ago? Am I mistaken?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 18 2008 4:41 utc | 62

Musharraf just resigned. Interesting times ahead. We'll see if something good for Pakistani people can come out of it.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Aug 18 2008 8:27 utc | 63

money quote

“We are an experienced armed group. We are fully capable of bringing the house down.”

gee, ya think

Iraq moves against some US-backed Sunni fighters

Posted by: annie | Aug 18 2008 18:37 utc | 64

extraordinat iranian music

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 18 2008 21:29 utc | 65

bithikotsis/dalares/theodorakis

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 18 2008 22:42 utc | 66

petros pandis

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 18 2008 23:23 utc | 67

Link to ACLUmore petros pandis

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 19 2008 0:45 utc | 68

pour b real - ml's on nicaragua

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 19 2008 18:55 utc | 69

Dave Matthews Band saxaphonist LeRoi Moore dead at 46,Here is one of my favorite DMB tracks featuring LeRoi.

more here:...DMB...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 20 2008 5:15 utc | 70

merci, r'giap

i haven't had time to follow ortega's govt since the election or how big the rift b/w the old party cadre has grown since. solo defends himself against gioconda belli & other commentators on it here

Posted by: b real | Aug 20 2008 5:27 utc | 71

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

As US corporations pare white collar salaries by 15 percent, and eliminate half their blue collar workforce, while wholesale prices climb at 9 percent, construction- related commodities rise by 20 percent and technology equipment soars by 35 percent(!), America is setting up the Great White Father Scenario, with all the poor kids, grandkids, nephews and nieces visiting rich, old, retired Grampa in their Chevy's and Tata's, while Gramps is driving his goldrim A4 around WPB.
Maybe Gramps will treat them all to a hamburger, before they drift off back to their freeway overpasses and dumpsters for the night, diving for dollars. The new motto on the US $1 coin is "primo luogo presentino, primo luogo servito, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. It's back to the rez all over again!

Posted by: Servitude Democratos | Aug 20 2008 6:00 utc | 72

Orwell wasn't joking ...


Citizens' U.S. Border Crossings Tracked - Data From Checkpoints To Be Kept for 15 Years

The federal government has been using its system of border checkpoints to greatly expand a database on travelers entering the country by collecting information on all U.S. citizens crossing by land, compiling data that will be stored for 15 years and may be used in criminal and intelligence investigations.
...
Public comments are being taken until Monday, when the "new system of records will be effective," the notice states.
...
Under the system, officials record name, birth date, gender, date and time of crossing, and a photo, where available, for U.S. travelers returning to the country by land, sea or air. The same information is gathered about foreign travelers, but it is held for 75 years.
...
The border information system will link to a new database, the Non-Federal Entity Data System, which is being set up to hold personal information about all drivers in a state's database. States that do not agree to allow customs to have such large amounts of information may allow the agency to query their databases in real time for information on a traveler.
...
"A person opts to go over the border, their information is going to be collected and held anyway," she said. "If you don't want to go over the border, you don't have to."
...
The notice states that the government may share border records with federal, state, local, tribal or foreign government agencies in cases where customs believes the information would assist enforcement of civil or criminal laws or regulations, or if the information is relevant to a hiring decision.

They may be shared with a court or attorney in civil litigation, which could include divorce cases; with federal contractors or consultants "to accomplish an agency function related to this system of records"; with federal and foreign intelligence or counterterrorism agencies if there is a threat to national or international security or to assist in anti-terrorism efforts; or with the news media and the public "when there exists a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information."

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2008 7:29 utc | 73

i wanted to share this w/you. i just received it from a life long friend Sarah who i hadn't exchanged emails with since she left for china in may. her home, and many of the other homes on this land were originally built years before they had luxuries like running water and electricity. just gorgeous rustic living in the foothills of the sierras.

As some of you receiving this may already know or have surmised, my little cabin, my heart's home and the birthplace of my only child, Layla, was destroyed on July 8 in one of the many wild fires that ravaged California this summer. Along with it went 201 other dwellings, including all but one of the 8 houses on the partnership land that I have been involved with for nearly 33 years. I wrote the following a month after that event.

Drove the ridge road today. Highway 70 to Andy Mountain Road to Concow Road to Pine Cluster. Looking down into the bowl that 4 weeks ago held the firestorm that destroyed the cabin where my daughter was born. That firestorm, known now as the Butte Lightning Complex Fire, burned hot and fast and took many other houses, trailers, shacks, and out-buildings along with 60,000 acres of mixed forest, innumerable animals, and one human life. Residents are now spread far and wide. So much suffering.

"I just want to go home." That's what my friends of 35 years, my neighbors, say. But there is no home. The whole lush green basin was our home. It is now ash-grey and black. You can hear the pine beetles chewing in the scorched trees. The soft light ash you kick up as you walk--up the trail by the barn, or to Tony's old stone "fort" on the hill, or into the "forest primeval"-miraculously a small stand of mixed old growth--rakes your throat. It will feel raw for days.

The reservoir is a startling blue, a glint of the former beauty of Concow-"place where things grow well" or "garden place." So named by the native people, there was water aplenty. Game, too. Fish in the streams. Abundant edible plants. Nights cooled off in the hot summers and winters were mild. An easy place to live. A blessed place.

I arrived in 1973, part of a wave of "back-to-the-land" "hippies." Since most of us were new to country living, we purposely wanted to keep things simple. That proved not to be so easy. But we traded tools and shared whatever lore we absorbed from the old-timers over games of Pinochle. We raised a few goats. We planted gardens and orchards. We learned old-time fiddle tunes. We made little wooden houses and covered them with sugar-pine shakes we split ourselves. We birthed our babies in those houses. We made friends and formed allegiances with the locals. They taught us lots of things about how to live--there in the foot hills of Northern California.

It's gone now. The site of my little cabin is marked by crumpled metal and white ash. Those whose houses survived are surrounded by dead orchards and gardens. By 3 cords worth of almond firewood ash. By melted vehicles there was no time to drive out when the emergency evacuation call came at 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning, with minutes to get out. Much was left behind. Generators, family photos, the cat. Books, tools, linens. House plants,, crockery, musical instruments. Imagine what you would be unable to save in such a situation.

the community has banded together to form the Concow Phoenix Project, to restore the land.

having just come back from my moms little cabin (raised by our family and the neighbors the old fashioned way as most of the cabins up there) adjacent a national forest, the fire swept within 1/2 a mile of her cabin and the little el norte community of the 360 acre watershed district smack dab in the middle of high dry pine, i can attest to how these fires have impacted northern california. hundreds of fires. driving thru miles and miles of charred wilderness. walking along once pristine pine forests, all blackened. truly devastating.

driving down the grade and heading some miles to the nearest decent sized town to find a blacksmith i was astounded to see the filled parking lot at the new walmart and adjacent shopping center packed w/chain stores. since living in wash state i hadn't been up there in a few years and this new development was a result of the expanded prison nearby. the old part of town was empty. a development of houses going in to accommodate the prison workers. corporation stores following the federal funds sucking off the big teet.

but at least our little piece of heaven is still standing w/the meadow before it, still safe for now.

poor sarah. life doesn't seem fair as the old growth burns and the prisons and walmarts blossom.

Posted by: annie | Aug 21 2008 0:36 utc | 74

I guess, I'm a bit at a loss in that, I'm surprised no one here has mentioned the recent religious litmus test between our fine hopefuls...

At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister -- no matter how beloved -- is supremely wrong.

I was and am appalled, but then again, what's new, eh?

Nothing Up My Sleeve: Praise Eris!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 21 2008 3:36 utc | 75

Addendum...

Saddleback Sideshow: Presidential Professions Of Faith Distract Voters From The Core Issues Of The Day


Our kids will wear Saudi dogcollars, and bark in Mandarin around the
OWO (One world order) mil bases while reading nothing but the bible,
king James. (
W/apologies to usarps...) Praise J. R. "Bob" Dobbs!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 21 2008 3:46 utc | 76

As summer ends, the next season starts, we are gearing up for the fall spectacle...

Here we go again... White Powder Found At Two McCain Offices

White Powder Found At Two McCain Offices

Aug. 21, 2008
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(CBS) Threatening letters containing an unidentified white powder have been received at John McCain's campaign offices in Denver, Colorado, and Manchester, New Hampshire, CBS News has learned.

McCain's campaign office in Denver received a letter containing a threat and "an amount of white powder in it," a McCain campaign spokesman told CBS News' Michelle Levi.

"We immediately notified local and federal law enforcement agencies and are looking to cooperate with them," spokesman Jeff Sadosky said.

Another McCain spokesperson later said that McCain's New Hampshire office "received a similar letter."

The city of Denver is at a heightened security level, as the Secret Service and other officials prepare for the Democratic National Convention, which is set to begin on Monday.

The Arapaho County Police Station was abuzz with activity when they were called to confirm receiving word of the threat, Levi reports. They have started a call line as officials return media calls one by one.

"As a precautionary measure, we have closed the office and staff are being examined by medical personnel," a campaign spokesperson told CBS News.

Reuters says staffers have been "hospitalized but no one has yet uttered the "A" word.


can't wait for the Denver kickoff show... can you?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 22 2008 2:14 utc | 77

haven't had time to read much of it yet, but mother jones has a feature up on u.s. mission creep. there's an interactive map "that lets you zoom in to almost any place on the planet to learn something about US involvement there. To this we added commentary and reportage, and in the coming weeks we'll be rolling out reflections from more than a dozen military scholars and thinkers related to the topics covered."

one article already up is by chalmers johnson - America's Unwelcome Advances

According to the Pentagon's 2008 "Base Structure Report," its annual unclassified inventory of the real estate it owns or leases around the world, the United States maintains 761 active military "sites" in foreign countries. (That's the Defense Department's preferred term, rather than "bases," although bases are what they are.) Counting domestic military bases and those on US territories, the total is 5,429.

The overseas figure fluctuates year to year. The 2008 total is down from 823 in the Pentagon's 2007 report, but the 2007 number was up from 766 in 2006. The current total is, however, substantially less than the Cold War peak of 1,014 in 1967. Still, given that there are only 192 countries in the United Nations, 761 foreign bases is a remarkable example of imperial overstretch—even more so considering that official military reports understate the actual size of the US footprint. (The official figures omit espionage bases, those located in war zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and miscellaneous facilities in places considered too sensitive to discuss or which the Pentagon for its own reasons chooses to exclude—e.g. in Israel, Kosovo, or Jordan.)
...
To garrison its empire, as of last December, the United States had 510,927 service personnel (including sailors afloat) deployed in 151 foreign countries. This includes some 196,600 fighting in Iraq and 25,700 in Afghanistan.

and one must not forget those private contractors outsourced by the military and intelligence communities

Posted by: b real | Aug 22 2008 4:22 utc | 78

9/11 BALLOT INITIATIVE

subpoena power eh? This could get interesting...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 22 2008 4:23 utc | 79

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 22 2008 8:18 utc | 80

Turkish journalists were caught in a war zone while on the job. The Turkish team was in between the town of Gori and breakaway South Ossetia where Georgian and Russian forces have collided. The video is from the inside of the car being shot at with automatic weapons, in what seems to be a crossfire...

So, I guess America in Iraq started this trend of open season on journalists? I doubt that, but we sure as hell hadn't led the high ground with our actions.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 22 2008 8:44 utc | 81

cnn reports graphically on yet another massacre in mogadishu,

Somalia attacks make mosque, market 'human butcher houses'

MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- Heavy shelling struck Somalia's capital city on Thursday, leaving pools of blood around a neighborhood mosque, a devastated market and 11 civilians dead, according to witnesses and a local journalist.

Many of the dead were preparing for prayers at the Abu Hureyra mosque, which was packed with worshippers, according to Sheikh Abdullahi Omar, whose leg was wounded by shrapnel.

"Body parts of the worshippers are scattered all over," he said.

Local photojournalist Hassan Ahmed Haji rushed to the the mosque after the apparent mortar shell blast and saw six bodies. He said it was a frightening scene.

Mogadishu'smain market also came under attack, as vendors fled for their lives amid a continuous barrage of shelling that left five dead, witnesses told Haji.

"Bakaraha market has turned into a human butcher house today," said Hawa Hamud Abdi, a meat trader who survived the attack. She said a mother and child were among those killed. She spoke as mortar shells and artillery fire rained down on the market.

incredibly, the article never tells the reader who was doing the shelling

here's a shabelle media headline yesterday

Somali troops shell Bakara market

Somali troops at the presidential palace are raining mortars into the main Bakara market as heavy gunfire continues near the market Thursday.

Mortars are being hit in the market as more than three mortars were hit on Hormuud and Amal Bank buildings in the market.

Its yet unknown the causalities of this shelling that is going on at the moment.

and today it was "strappingly" condemned by sheikh sharif sheikh ahmed of the breakaway political wing of the ARS

The chairman of the alliance for the reliberation of Somalia sheikh Sharif sheikh Ahmed has expressed disapproval over the shelling of the main Bakara market on Thursday by the Ethiopian backed Somali troops.

“We are strappingly condemning what (massacre) happened in Bakara market, they idiotically shelled civilians were shopping in the market and worshippers at a mosque especially Abu-Hureyra mosque” Sharif said in a news conference in Djibouti...
...
More than 20 people have been killed in the market after the Gov-Ethiopian troops shelled the market that is important daily life sources for millions of Somalis.

last week ethiopian troops slaughtered dozens on civilians on two buses, which barely raised any international outrage

Ethiopian troops traveling in the southern outskirts of Mogadishu came under attack Friday afternoon, when at least three explosions targeted the army convoy.

The soldiers opened gunfire indiscriminately on two buses full of civilians, killing at least 40 people. Witnesses confirmed to Radio Garowe that "many women and children" were among the dead.

"We were busy burying the dead this morning [Saturday]," said a man who did not want to be named.

Posted by: b real | Aug 22 2008 15:04 utc | 82

incredibly, the article never tells the reader who was doing the shelling

Don't you get it? It's a U.S. ally. Those can't do wrong.

Posted by: b | Aug 22 2008 17:16 utc | 83

okay, maybe it is not so incredible in that context -- cnn was one of the primary propagandists during the initial invasion -- however why then bother reporting the deaths at all? they didn't try to pin it on the sterotype of islamists allegedly affiliated w/ AQ. they didn't try to pin on anybody, which is what i found so strange about the article - it describes some gruesome scenes (where & when), which obviously classify as war crimes, and then abandons the remaining fundamentals of journalism (who? why?), leaving the reader hanging.

it's not that i expect to get accurate information from sources such as cnn or the wire services, but the incompleteness of this particular article was quite striking, imo. so i gotta call them out on it, though i'll admit there's a shifting line to straddle sometimes b/w what can come across as either cranky cynicism or nuanced naivete.

Posted by: b real | Aug 22 2008 19:02 utc | 84

b real: i've had a hard time admitting to myself how widespread the corporate rot of journalism has been, but then i remind myself that they're selling a product, and as consumers we play an important role in shaping what that product will look like.

i ran across this article at ICH about amerika's war economy and it lays out a brief indictment of US, the people...and when it comes to what we want from our mainstream news sources, it certainly isn't daily barrages of the murder and torture and horrible death we're funding, because that's how we were shamed during the 60's/70's, and since then war has been a steady and lucrative racket, which is why wars are now expanded to impossible abstract regions, like drugs and terror.

one thing the author of the article says i don't agree with is how amerika has lost it's "moral compass"

the problem with that statement is, how can you lose something you never possessed in the first place?

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 22 2008 19:58 utc | 85

lizard - it was the rhetorically persuasive illusion of a moral compass that has, instead, been revealed for what it really was. russell banks, in his dreaming up america, quotes an observation from d.h. lawrence - "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer" - and adds

He was pointing at the consequences of the American split between perception of self and reality. The killer is someone who would rather take a life than have to resolve that conflict between self-perception and reality.

the u.s. does not have a war economy. no other nation-state has declared military war w/ it. rather, it is a killing machine, oriented toward the advancement of power through extermination. and always has been.

not warriors, but killers

Posted by: b real | Aug 23 2008 3:34 utc | 86

and those who facilitate & profit off of extermination..

bloomberg: Ethiopia, U.S. Billionaire's Titan Resources Signs Oil Accord

Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Titan Resources Corp., owned by U.S. billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt, won agreements to explore two areas in Ethiopia for oil and gas, the Mines Ministry said.

The Dallas, Texas-based company will invest as much as $60 million to explore tracts of Ethiopia's eastern Ogaden basin and the northern Blue Nile basin, Abiy Hunegnaw, director of petroleum operations at the Addis Ababa-based ministry, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The two blocks combined cover an area larger than 100,000 square kilometers (38,610 square miles), Hunegnaw said. Titan and Ethiopia agreed to a 25-year production-sharing agreement.

``We are very lucky to have them,'' Hunegnaw said.

Exploration in Ethiopia's eastern Ogaden region was suspended in April 2007 after separatist rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front attacked an exploration team for China's Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, killing 74 people. ZPEB was working under contract for Petronas Bhd, Malaysia's state-owned oil company, which controls three exploration zones in the Ogaden.

Hunegnaw said he was confident exploration will resume in the region in the near future.

``Hopefully in one to two months operations will restart,'' he said. ``We are doing our best to find some contractors.''

Ethnic Somali rebels from the ONLF are seeking independence for the arid region of eastern Ethiopia, and have warned foreign oil firms not to explore in the area. The April attack triggered an Ethiopian counteroffensive that has left much of the region under martial law and spurred reports of human rights violations by the Ethiopian army. Aid workers and journalists have been barred from the region.

we've documented the ongoing scorched earth policy of ethiopia's govt (& the u.s. state dept's protection of it) in the ogaden here over the past year

Posted by: b real | Aug 23 2008 3:41 utc | 87

Okay, so the comment of the year award goes to b real @ #86...

lizard - it was the rhetorically persuasive illusion of a moral compass that has, instead, been revealed for what it really was. russell banks, in his dreaming up america, quotes an observation from d.h. lawrence - "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer" - and adds

He was pointing at the consequences of the American split between perception of self and reality. The killer is someone who would rather take a life than have to resolve that conflict between self-perception and reality.

the u.s. does not have a war economy. no other nation-state has declared military war w/ it. rather, it is a killing machine, oriented toward the advancement of power through extermination. and always has been.

not warriors, but killers

Worthy of a round for the house...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 23 2008 10:01 utc | 88

US War Lovers Secret Meet

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 23 2008 10:24 utc | 89

Just for a laugh ..

OTTAWA (AFP) - The weakened US dollar has fallen out of favor with organized crime groups to pay for drug shipments or to settle scores, a Canadian government report said Friday.

And if the greenback continues its slide in 2008, as expected, more and more criminals are likely to exchange euros for illicit goods, said Criminal Intelligence Service Canada in its annual report.

Posted by: DM | Aug 24 2008 0:05 utc | 90

you are right again, uncle

b real, it is an exceptional post

many here have this gift of distilling it - so that it resembles or has resonances of the magisterial theses of walter benjamin

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 24 2008 0:12 utc | 91

don't know if i should clap or cry. i know many will be cheering on the demise of the US because our existence is a threat to so many around the world, but this is the country i was born in and where i have to raise my kid.

so instead of hating everyone for not hating themselves enough because they can't admit this is a nation with the soul of a killer i am going to do my best to spread around what information i can to those who might be open enough to actually listen.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 24 2008 1:13 utc | 93

lizard

at moments, a culture reveals itself by the drugs it uses - that chrystal meth is an epidemic in america & australia for example is very, very telling

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 24 2008 1:48 utc | 94

'giap: not sure what you know about amerika's meth epidemic, but it is hitting rural communities hard, especially in Montana.

but if you want to see the true soullessness of amerika, there's a great article about today's hipster youth culture in the most recent adbuster

how much longer can this keep going?

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 24 2008 2:06 utc | 95

the downfall of empires have always been marked

when they become fascinated by themselves & only themselves

it is, in the end a fatal form of fanaticism

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 24 2008 2:14 utc | 96

'giap: you know i don't disagree

but drug addiction is bigger than empire; it's population control, and it works anywhere.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 24 2008 2:31 utc | 97

no, we do not disagree - we're communicating,

though, addiction & 'drugs' are an integral element of empire

bread & circuses

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 24 2008 2:41 utc | 98

no, we do not disagree - we're communicating,

though, addiction & 'drugs' are an integral element of empire

bread & circuses

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 24 2008 2:42 utc | 99

Although drugs and oppression do go hand in hand there is often a starting point of a drug's usage when it is free from controls and it's use may be considered an act of liberation. very quickly of course the elites move to regulate and control the drug.
Lizard's link to the Adbuster piece was mildly thought provoking if only because I have been watching my children trying to discern what their reaction to "all this' will be, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the swathes of consumerist crap, that menace by threat of avalanche.

The article is superficially correct in that the kids use it while loathing it. The loathing is a genuinely felt emotion but who knows what would be expressed should the objects of loathing be removed. That said I am chary of any article that professes to provide insight into any counter-culture. I'm sure I'm not the only one who found the exposes and explanations of what we were up to as kids overly patronising and well off the mark. They too were written by an alleged member or confidente of the counter culture, but that was incorrect as it undoubtedly is in the 'hipster' article. You can't simultaneously be a subject and an object.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 24 2008 3:28 utc | 100

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