Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 23, 2009

Links May 23 09

  • More from Mr. No-Change - Obama orders Gates to update plan for Iran strike - (YnetNews)
  • Diplomacy, Inc. - The Influence of Lobbies on U.S. Foreign Policy - (Foreign Affairs)
  • History of Diego Garcia - All your bases belong to US - (The National)
  • Good idea ... - Geithner Calls for ‘Very Substantial’ Change in Wall Street Pay - (Bloomberg)
  • ... the result: - Morgan Stanley to Boost Executive Salaries as Bonuses Decline - (Bloomberg)
  • Bradley, Fergusan, Krugman, Roubini, Soros, Wells et al. - The Crisis and How to Deal with It - (NYRB)
  • Selling out infrastructure - The Toll Booth Economy - (Counterpunch)

Posted by b on May 23, 2009 at 6:31 UTC | Permalink

Comments

MMNC - Asked whether the military plan for a strike in Iran was not (sic) updated, Gates responded that 'every president wants to be sure that the military plans are up to date.' In an interview to NBC television's Today show, the American defense secretary explained that "presidents (sic) always ask their military to have a range of contingency plans available to them. And all I would say is that, as a result of our dialogue with the president, we have refreshed our plans and all options are on the table."

The NSA is specifically charged and funded with domestic espionage and psyops. There is absolutely nothing here that justifies the false headline, or your reference to it.

Posted by: Tom Druz | May 23 2009 7:21 utc | 1

HDG - "...a long flight that forced the plane to stop and refuel. It did so on Diego Garcia, a remote island in the Indian Ocean where the United States operates a massive, highly-secretive military installation on what is technically British territory."

And the Brits still run the operation. Ask any defense contractor who's been there.

The NSA is specifically charged and funded with domestic espionage and psyops. There is absolutely nothing here that justifies the false headline, or your reference to it.

Posted by: Tom Druz | May 23 2009 7:24 utc | 2

Tom Druz, you're shooting the messenger. It wasn't b who wrote that headline but Ynet News.

Posted by: Parviz | May 23 2009 7:35 utc | 3

I agree with you, however, that the headline was 'sensationalist', like the headlines on Iran's missile launches that emphasized the 'threat to Israel' which Ahmadinejad never mentioned.

Posted by: Parviz | May 23 2009 7:38 utc | 4

All your bases belong to US

I don't usually correct grammatical errors, but this should read: "All your base are belong to US".

Posted by: Qlipoth | May 23 2009 8:27 utc | 5

The case for not rushing to appoint a special investigator for Bush/Cheney war crimes.

Elizabeth de la Vega: Of Black Holes and Radio Silence

What we continue to need, in sum, are unwavering spotlights, even more civic education, and, most importantly, an irrefutable and cohesive factual narrative - comprised of direct and circumstantial evidence - that links the highest-level officials and advisers of the Bush administration, ineluctably, to specific instances and victims of torture. What we will surely have, however, if a special prosecutor is named, will be precisely the opposite: The initiation of a federal grand jury investigation right now would be roughly the equivalent of ceremoniously dumping the entire issue of torture into a black hole. There will be nothing to see and we will be listening intently to radio silence, trying to make sense of intermittent static in the form of the occasional unreliable leak. For years. There may never be any charges and we will almost certainly never have the unimpeachable historical narrative that we need.

Posted by: Colin | May 23 2009 8:59 utc | 6

Thank you, Olipoth@5.

*G*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qItugh-fFgg

War was beginning. *G*

Posted by: larue | May 23 2009 9:16 utc | 7

According to the JTA (via ICH):

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say their country won't be safe with a nuclear-armed Iran.

In a poll released this week, 71 percent of Americans say the United States won't be safe with a nuclear Iran. Seventy-nine percent said if Iran acquired a weapon, it was likely to provide it to terrorists to attack an American city. A slightly larger number, 80 percent, said Iran was likely to fire a missile at Israel.

The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted May 8-9 by McLaughlin & Associates and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

And

Respondents also reported a 41 percent net favorable rating -- somewhat favorable or very favorable -- of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said the United States should be concerned about the security of Israel, and 57 percent said Israel would be justified in attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. Approximately the same figure, 58 percent, approved an American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

What a coincidence...

Anyway, while an ex-AIPACer against military action in Iran, Obama orders an update to Iran attack plan.

Posted by: andrew | May 23 2009 10:02 utc | 8

b, your FP link

You must be a Foreign Affairs subscriber to continue reading.

anyone a subscriber? i would like to read more of the article.

thank you larue, i had no idea what "All your base are belong to US" meant until i watched that youtube.

Posted by: annie | May 23 2009 12:41 utc | 9

andrew@8, I looked up that astonishing article from JTA, and noted that it says "This article was made possible by the support of readers like you. Donate to JTA now."

I wonder who drafted the questions, and selected the sample, eh!

Posted by: lambent1 | May 23 2009 13:06 utc | 10

and JTA calls itself the "Global News Service of the Jewish People"

i.e. self-serving!

Posted by: lambent1 | May 23 2009 13:09 utc | 11

The NSA is specifically charged and funded with domestic espionage and psyops.

That is completely false by their own mission statement. I am not one to discount overreach and mission creep and I realize their electronic monitoring must have them picking up domestic calls.

I found it really funny/frustrating that we had a big debate about echelon even though this was described as Bush's new plan. Of course echelon is supposed to have protections for American and English speaking peoples.

Either Bush had started doing something totally new, or we were getting an argument by proxy. I was not reading these boards then and don't know if you discussed this much.

It drove me to distraction to hear this debate by proxy. The politicos wouldn't even dare discuss half of the open source material. James Banford exposed all of this in Body of Secrets" therefore any of that information was not "secret."

Did this not get under the craw of anyone else here?

Posted by: scott | May 23 2009 13:18 utc | 12

The other factoid that never got discussed was our backlog on translating all the electronic transmissions we sweep up. This means that our surveillance system is essentially ineffective at preventing any attack. Like cameras in 7-11s don't stop robberies. They help with prosecution only. Of course how do your convict a suicide bomber who's already blow himself up?

The Holy Land charity trials here were disturbing. I was fairly close to the defense. They claim that they tried to get everything they sent approved. Much attention focused on two computers, which they pre-approved with the US Commerce dept at the time. Further, every charity in Gaza they worked with was approved by Israel. When Hamas was later given a blanket declaration as a terrorist organization, they used this updated status of these charities to make their point.

These schools often had pictures of Hamas higher-ups in the offices. I don't see how that is different from our city council member and our US Rep. coming to help unfurl an historical marker on my son's 55 yr old school.

But, that's helping children learn, eat and grow-up as demographic threat to ISRAEL. We can't have that can we?

Posted by: scott | May 23 2009 13:28 utc | 13

scott I was not reading these boards then and don't know if you discussed this much.

check this out, from the search engine on the front page.

Posted by: annie | May 23 2009 14:40 utc | 14

Former SoKo President Roh Moo-hyun Kills Self

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5huGPrvq8P2k-UM9Qk5I6IHQ-xb8g

This is sad news for me. The man truly worked hard at reforming much of a culture of corruption, say what you will. South Koreans had nothing good to say about the man while he was in office and could not wait to replace him with the most contemptible member of the Grand National Party (read: the SoKo version of neocon) they could find, but realized their mistake weeks after Lee Myung-bak took office.

It was due to Mr. Roh's efforts that the records regarding atrocities committed by the South Koreans against "suspected leftists" in the aftermath of the Korean War were unsealed (long time MoA readers might recall reading about that here.) He was a true progressive in an anti-progressive culture.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 23 2009 14:52 utc | 15

Olipoth@5--Actually, b did not make a "grammatical error"; he merely misquoted slightly.

Is "All your base are belong to us" the base for all those other "All your X are belong to us" phrases? I found lots of substitions when I googled. This is mistranslation with legs, all from a video game unidiomatic translation!

Posted by: jawbone | May 23 2009 15:04 utc | 16

Scott @12--Hhhmmm--if having photos/pictures of bad leaders is evidence of terrorism influence, or something else really bad, US schools and many government office buildings did have photos of Bush, some of Cheney....

The Holy Land prosecution was cut from the same cloth as the "precog" basis for Bush and Obama's "preventive detentions." Except it was, I guess, "postcog" in that what had been legal was declared illegal, and then previously legal actions were prosecuted under the basis of later rulings.

I thought that was unconstitutional, but I am not a lawyer (esp'ly not a Constitutional professor/lawyer as our New Leader was) nor do I play one on the Internet.

I do wonder how and what Obama taught in his Constitutional law classes...have any students written about their experiences. Oh, yeah. That might be a good way to end or slow down a legal career....

Posted by: jawbone | May 23 2009 15:11 utc | 17

The 20222 Show - In best Jerry Lewis fashion, SecState Hillary gleefully announced a US text-message campaign today, where concerned US citizens can lend alms to her $864 MILLION Pledge for Swat Campaign, and push 'aid' involvement in Pakistan over the $1 BILLION mark. Pounding the "Al Queda Central" drum, and effusively thanking President Zardari for growing balls in the US hegemonic drive to empire through Freedom and Democracy™, Ms. Clinton held up her cell phone and instructed worshippers to "Text 20222 for Swat!", 202 being the area code for Washington, DC, then your $5 pledge go towards 'matching grants', her little joke, since Pakistan is bankrupt on fumes. She was visibly sucking saliva back from the corners of her mouth as she described the history of US benevolence and sanction against Pakistan, 'best described as confused', she laughed, spraying the reporters in the front row, then the thought of all that alms money pouring into her coffers sent her all twittering into a final sermon, to reporters, for G-d's sake, how Pakistan was the nexus of the Al Queda Octopus, and she hoped all the civilians could go back home soon ... 'some already are!' she concluded gleefully. Alms contributors will be happy to know their pledge will be registered in the Great Book of Western Benevolence, along with your GPS location and cell number for the next pledge drive, and those alms monies, after appropriate SecState administrative expenses, will be used to 'buy up Pakistani wheat directly, which, you know, they just had a bountiful crop', proving the august SecState not only knows how to confabulate charity with the Mil.gov charnel house, but believes she can 'happy up' the tea leaves as well: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSISL470963
"People are returning, as their crops are going to waste," said police officer Jaffer Khan, even as India pours $225 a tonne wheat onto the world markets, **at 25% below the price of US wheat**, dumped onto the world market at $300 a tonne: http://www.toboc.com/tradenews.aspx?tradeid=1307 and http://www.uswheat.org/USWPublicDocs.nsf/2a788abb563a2d3285256f35006322c1/4e4b4ea118993436852575be0071dde1/$FILE/PR%20090522.pdf Then once again, we're left to wonder, was the Swat Valley military incursion timing more to wipe out the 2M tonne Pakistani wheat surplus and protect US agricultural products hegemony? Hillary would have US believe the timing had to do with the caning of a teenage girl instead. Text 20222 for Swat now!!

Posted by: Bofo Rumpus | May 23 2009 16:00 utc | 18

Andrew@8--Boy, constant fearmongering on the part of government, politicians, and the MCM* can really gin up, well, fear and aggression among the American people. Not that other countries would be immune to such a constant barrage, but most other countries don't have the same capacity to inflict military assaults on other countries.

Commentary Magazine pulls out these poll results:

McLaughlin said that the poll demonstrates the public is “way out in front” of the country’s political leadership on issues relating to Iran and nuclear terrorism. A total of 91% of likely voters think Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a serious threat — a finding that runs across the political spectrum (95% of Republicans, 89% of Democrats, and 89% of Independents). A total of 79% think it likely Iran would provide nuclear weapons to terrorists to attack an American city (85% Republicans, 72% Democrats, and 79% Independents).

A total of 60% would approve blockading imports of gasoline and food to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon (72% Republicans, 54% Democrats, and 52% Independents). Military action by either Israel or the U.S. commands clear majority support from both Republicans (70%) and Independents (60%), and plurality support (45%) from Democrats.

SNIP

By a margin of 60-18, respondents believe if Palestinians were given a state, they would not live peacefully with Israel but continue their efforts to destroy it.

Fear is a powerful weapon. These opinions verge on irrational (OK, are irrational), but that may be unfair. When bombarded with incorrect assessments, how can the public come to rational conclusions?

Those are astonishing numbers, to me. The description of the I/P two state solution question almost indicates it might be close to push polling, but I don't know the actual question.

Results can be affected by the wording of questions, selection of sample, of course. But skewed this much? Is this poll an outlier? I couldn't find any analysis of the polling technique.

McLaughlin is "a leading national Republican strategic consulting, polling and media buying firm. Our partners have brought successful results to both political and corporate clients across the country and internationally for 25 years. Clients include Governors, U.S. Senators, members of Congress and hundreds of statewide, state legislative, local officials, corporate and non profit organizations."

I don't know if being a Repub firm would skew results or design of a poll on internaltional issues. I am pretty sure that when a president as popular as Obama keeps talking about Iran as some kind of grave threat, along with all the prior propaganda and the MCM repeating and emphasizing it, that many will be swayed.

Where is there a contrary view, except on blogs?

*MCM--Mainstream Corporate Media

Posted by: jawbone | May 23 2009 16:07 utc | 19

Bofo, I heard that the other day and laughed out loud. The degree of absurdity has no limts, I'm convinced.

Hegel would be proud. The dialectic is prospering beyong all imagination. If he were alive today, Hegel would would shower Parviz with adulation for a job well done.

Why is it important for you to understand the subject of the Hegelian Dialectic? Because it is the process by which all change is being accomplished in society today. More importantly, it is the tool that the globalists are utilizing to manipulate the minds of the average American to accept that change, where ordinarily they would refuse it.

The Hegelian Dialectic is, in short, the critical process by which the ruling elite create a problem, anticipating in advance the reaction that the population will have to the given crisis, and thus conditioning the people that a change is needed. When the population is properly conditioned, the desired agenda of the ruling elite is presented as the solution. The solution isn't intended to solve the problem, but rather to serve as the basis for a new problem or exacerbate the existing one.

When the newly inflamed difficulty reaches the boiling point of a crisis, it becomes the foundation upon which arguments may again be made for change. Hence, the process is repeated, over and over, moving society toward whatever end the planners have in mind.

It's also important to understand that as this process is being driven, arguments are created both for and against certain measures of change. All arguments are controlled. The presented solutions — each with varying levels of unadornment — are "debated" publicly by the manipulators or their minions. This is done until a perceived compromise has been reached on the best measure to take in route to solving the crisis. Then, the outcome of the "debate" — which purportedly weighs the concerns of the public with the mandate to do something — is enacted as public policy.


http://www.amerikanexpose.com/hegel/

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 23 2009 16:36 utc | 20

Uh-oh...

--

Few on streets of Kandahar appear aware of Afghanistan's national elections

By THE CANADIAN PRESS –

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Many residents of southern Afghanistan appear to know nothing about the country's key upcoming national elections in August.

That's the conclusion of an informal survey today by Canadian soldiers walking the restive city's streets. Warrant Officer Rob Dumelie, a member of the civilian-military co-operation unit, says he finds the lack of awareness surprising.

Natives on the streets of Kandahar today said they were more interested in basic services, such as food, paved roads and electricity. President Karzai has chosen a former Northern Alliance mujaheddin warlord for his running mate, and is making no effort to advertise the elections in the Taliban-controlled southern provinces.

--

"We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Taliban," Sherman wrote to Ulysses S. Grant in 1866, "even to their extermination, men, women and children." The Taliban must "feel the superior power of the Government." Sherman vowed to remain in the West" till the Terrorists are all killed or taken to a country where they can be interred."

Sherman viewed the Taliban, "as he viewed recalcitrant Southerners during the war and newly freed slaves after: resisters to the legitimate forces of an ordered hegemonic society." "During an assault," he instructed his troops, "the soldiers cannot pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age."

He chillingly referred to this policy in an 1867 letter to Grant as "the Final Solution to the Taliban problem," a phrase billionaire Pakistani President Zardari invoked in 2009, in the now infamous Swat Valley genocide, saying that the CIA of the United States and his country's ISI together created the Taliban.

"I think it was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and CIA created them [Taliban] together," Zardari told the NBC news channel in an interview. "Now they are no longer politically useful. We offered them a carpet of gold in August 2001 for the Unocal Oil Pipeline. They refused. So now they'll get a carpet of bombs."

Zardari's cryptic reference was to a meeting in August 2001 between US Asst SecState Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs, and the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad: "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs."

The Al Queda response to this overt act of war was the 9/11 event one month later.

Posted by: Shah Loam | May 23 2009 16:49 utc | 21

http://www.dictatorshipwatch.com/2009/03/22/asif-zardari-the-slumdog-billionaire.html

Zardari seems to enjoy owning agricultural land across Pakistan, Florida properties (ouch!) and foreign bank accounts. His agents must be swarming into the Swat Valley right now, offering to buy up choice real estate with the $864 MILLION slush fund the Clintons are handing out. Swat is the Switzerland of Pakistan, and by ruining the harvest attacking Swat at precisely the right season, Zardari probably added 50% to his leverage on the Swat Valley buyout offers.

“All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. ... The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.” Adolf Hitler

Posted by: Pul Chrit | May 23 2009 17:21 utc | 22

@Monolycus, #15

Holy shit! Thank you so much for bringing that to our attention!

Roh was a pivotal figure in Korean politics -- and a source of endless and idiosyncratic controversy in Asian politics. It truly is a tragedy that he's dead.

From Wikipedia:


Roh's pre-presidential political career focused on human rights advocacy for student activists in South Korea. His electoral career later expanded to a focus on overcoming regionalism in South Korean politics, culminating in his election to the presidency.

Roh's election was notable for the arrival to power of a new generation in Korean politics, the so-called 386 Generation, (i.e. people in their 30's when the word was coined, who had attended university in the 1980s, and who were born in the 1960s).[4] This generation had been veterans of student protests against authoritarian rule, and advocated an assertively nationalist line [against -- ed.] the United States and Japan, and a conciliatory approach towards North Korea....

Despite high initial hopes...conflict would continue throughout his presidency, which was characterized by continuous labor unrest,[7] personal feuds with the media, and diplomatic friction with the United States and Japan.

Some quotes:


They even deal out the absurd rhetoric that they would rather have a corrupt administration than an inept one while openly revealing their true colors as forces of corruption and the security-driven dictatorships of the past. What’s more, they label the democratic forces as being inept, plotting to rise to power on the back of the nostalgia for the development-oriented dictatorships of the past.

I have lost my moral cause just with the facts I have so far admitted. The only thing left is the legal procedure.

and:


What I have to do now is bow to the nation and apologize. From now on, the name Roh cannot be a symbol of the values you pursue. I'm no longer qualified to speak about democracy and justice.... You should abandon me."

Yet, as Wikipedia notes:


Roh continued to deny all knowledge of the receipt of money by his family from Park Yeon-Cha, in contradiction to Park's testimony.

Roh's suicide note read:


I can't imagine the countless agonies down the road. The rest of my life would only be a burden for others. I can't do anything because I'm not healthy. I can't read books, nor can I write. Don't be too sad. Isn't life and death all part of nature? Don't be sorry. Don't blame anybody. It's fate. Please cremate me. And please leave a small tombstone near home. I've long thought about that.

Roh was essentially a Human Rights lawyer who was marginally competent in economic policy; unfortunately, as in most of Asia, virtually all of his cabinet were "specialists" weaned upon the monetarist-oriented, "supply-side" ideologues of the Chicago school.

The sad irony is that Roh was actually intent upon strengthening the labor- and leftist-elements of Korean society; his focus, however, was upon peaceful coexistence with the U.S. elements of the Korean economy even as he was determined to challenge the U.S. militarist policy towards NoKo. What he naively failed to recognize is that these elements are inextricably linked to the SoKo-NoKo divide, and that the concerned elements of the SoKo elite are utterly content with selling out their own people and culture in the service of their Japanese and U.S. masters.

Essentially, Roh underestimated the viciousness of his opposition, got caught in an unanticipated economic downturn, and put too much faith in the intellectual competence of his U.S.-educated economic advisors.

He was a naif who fiercely sought -- against the wishes of the U.S. and Japan -- to bridge the SoKo-NoKo divide. His death is a tragedy, and will no doubt serve as an example for future generations. As Monolycus points out, this was a man who was determined to expose the dark pathways that link South Korea back to the fascists within the Japanese and U.S. political underworld. Roh caved on Iraq, but stood up in so many other ways.

It's a sad day. We all should pray.

Posted by: china_hand2 | May 23 2009 17:32 utc | 23

Oops!

November 21, 2007
Chinese firm wins Afghan copper mining deal with $3bn bid

August 17, 2008
Obama's tour of Afghanistan renews 'debate' about increased US role

March 20, 2009
REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST HAJIGAK IRON DEPOSIT

Gustavson Associates is the new transaction advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Mines
5757 Central Ave., Suite D, Boulder, CO 80301 USA

Gustavson's expertise is in "technical and economic feasibility studies for large oil field development projects"

“USGS Projects in Afghanistan Oil and Natural Gas.”

http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3031/

"Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey–Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Industry Joint Oil and Gas Resource Assessment Team estimated mean volumes of undiscovered petroleum in northern Afghanistan; the resulting estimates are 1,596 million barrels of crude oil, 15,687 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and 562 million barrels of natural gas liquids. Most of the undiscovered crude oil is in the Afghan-Tajik Basin, and most of the undiscovered natural gas is in the Amu Darya Basin."

Posted by: Shah Loam | May 23 2009 17:34 utc | 24

Under the Radar, You're Already Too Late!:

Client Alert: First Afghan Hydrocarbon Bidding Round (2009)

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, represented by the Ministry of Mines, Gustavson Associates transaction advisor, has announced a Bidding Round for the award of Exploration and Production Sharing Contracts for Hydrocarbon Operations in 3 blocks in Northern Afghanistan. There will be road shows in Dubai, London, Calgary, Houston and Singapore during April and May 2009. The deadline to apply for pre-qualification is June 15, 2009.

Posted by: Shah Loam | May 23 2009 17:41 utc | 25

#15 and #23 by Monolycus and Chinahand- thanks to both for these insights and comments. This is one of the reasons this blog is so excellent - this kind of knowledge and commentary doesn't appear in many other places.

Posted by: Maxcrat | May 23 2009 18:29 utc | 26

i agree maxcrat. thank you monlycus and china hand. i had read about him this morning but the article did not mention his qualities of greatness.

Posted by: annie | May 23 2009 18:51 utc | 27

sorry for the misspelling monolycus

Posted by: annie | May 23 2009 18:52 utc | 28

jawbone I don't know if being a Repub firm would skew results or design of a poll on internaltional issues.

paid for by one jerusalem? are you nuts. a poll of 400 people timed to the bloggers conference? i can't believe anyone would take this at all seriously. the numbers do not align w/any others and are diametrically opposed to the results of the jstreet poll, although the jstreet polls were related to jewish americans only. the county is is not voting or polling w/the 23% republican dieholds, why would it reflect any differently w/questions regarding israel/palestine or iran? it is a hasbara campaign, obviously.

Posted by: annie | May 23 2009 19:00 utc | 29

@Monolycus (comment 15)
'Jumped of a cliff' ? or was he 'helped', just a little ? My first reaction when the news hits the wires was 'assassination'.
There seems to be quite a pushback against politicians who are even slightly more independent from the US position than is good. Witness as well the Ozawa affair in Japan (Ozawa was the leader of the main opposition party, which has a very chance of becoming the ruling one with the next election due soon; he was caught in a money scandal involving the construction business).

Posted by: Philippe | May 23 2009 23:48 utc | 30

Shah Loam @21 - thank you for triggering three interesting avenues in me -
(i) "He (Sherman, whose soldiers hung my great-grandfather by the thumbs in Georgia (US) to tell them where the money was, but he didn't because the women were there too, and thus died of pneumonia) chillingly referred to this policy in an 1867 letter to Grant as "the Final Solution to the Taliban problem," a phrase billionaire Pakistani President Zardari invoked in 2009, in the now infamous Swat Valley genocide, saying that the CIA of the United States and his country's ISI together created the Taliban."
(ii) I get the impression that the people of Swat fled their land, afraid that they would be killed in a battle - but there was no battle, just smoke and mirrors, nevertheless these people are now refugees, in danger of a "humanitarian crisis" which might kill them, thus making them unable to sign petitons, resist theft of their minerals, etc...
(iii) Just how good is the evidence that "Al Quaeda" did 911? There are many questions, and recently I saw a Texas A&M (engineering?) professor saying that an aluminum plane cannot penetrate such a bulding...


Posted by: lambent1 | May 24 2009 0:36 utc | 31

lambent1 @ 31:

Just how good is the evidence that "Al Quaeda" did 911? There are many questions, and recently I saw a Texas A&M (engineering?) professor saying that an aluminum plane cannot penetrate such a bulding

The outer walls of such buildings are made of aluminum and glass. Just google curtainwall and stop listening to dumb engineering professors.

Posted by: Sam | May 24 2009 1:52 utc | 32

despite it being a blatant book promo...

Tony Blair believed God wanted him to go to war to fight evil, claims his mentor

The former Prime Minister's faith is claimed to have influenced all his key policy decisions and to have given him an unshakeable conviction that he was right.

John Burton, Mr Blair's political agent in his Sedgefield constituency for 24 years, says that Labour's most successful ever leader – in terms of elections won – was driven by the belief that "good should triumph over evil".

"It's very simple to explain the idea of Blair the Warrior," he says. "It was part of Tony living out his faith."

Mr Blair has previously admitted that he was influenced by his Christian faith, but Mr Burton reveals for the first time the strength of his religious zeal.

Mr Burton makes the comments in a book he has written, and which is published this week, called "We Don't Do God".

...

The comments will add to the suspicions of Mr Blair's critics, who fear he saw the Iraq war in a similar light to former US President George W Bush, who used religious rhetoric in talking about the conflict, as well as the war in Afghanistan, describing them as "a crusade".

Last week, Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defence secretary, was accused of sending the Mr Bush memos during the Iraq war that featured quotes from the Bible alongside images of American soldiers.

Anti-war campaigners criticised remarks Mr Blair made in 2006, suggesting that the decision to go to war in Iraq would ultimately be judged by God.

Mr Blair was not worried by people questioning his decisions, Mr Burton says, but was "genuinely shocked if they questioned his morality because there was never a dividing line between his politics and Christianity".

Posted by: b real | May 24 2009 4:06 utc | 33

@Phillipe #30: As happy as this event must make the Grand National Party, I am satisfied that Mr. Roh almost certainly killed himself of his own volition. While I am confident that these events were calculated to undo both the man and any of his legacy, they are still typically Korean and were probably a cultural and political inevitability. His term as President and policy-maker had already ended and eliminating him via an assassination would have almost certainly promoted him to martyrdom and reinforced both his reputation as well as anti-Grand National sentiment, whereas shaming him with petty reprisals until he ended his own life would obviate this effect.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 24 2009 4:46 utc | 34

I apologize for misspelling your name, Philippe.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 24 2009 4:56 utc | 35

I'm not so sure he won't achieve a sort of martyrdom anyway. Roh's suicide is sure to galvanize the politicians and bureaucrats who shared his ideals, while at the same time forcing this and the next generation of the Korean electorate to take a long, cold, hard look at what their system has become.

Roh's time in office was marked by shame and humiliation, but it wasn't an abject failure, and neither he nor his policies ever garnered such opprobrium as Dick Cheney or G. W. Bush. After he left, the Korean population began quickly re-evaluating his service, and in light of the policies enacted by the current President Lee started to say that Roh was never, in fact, so bad as they made him out to be.

This is a good overview, by a Korean citizen who may or may not be a whitey in exile. Certainly, he has excellent english and an eloquent way with words. It's a good obit, and deserves a read:

Roh Moo-hyun, 1946-2009.

Posted by: china_hand2 | May 24 2009 5:54 utc | 36

Thank you, Sam @32!

Posted by: lambent1 | May 24 2009 23:34 utc | 37

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