Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 29, 2012

Some Links And A Serious Question Tn CBS' "60 Minutes"

Tariq Ali on his 1970s visit to North Korea. This bit from the end of the piece is enlightening:

Over lunch I asked her about [the Bush administration] plans for North Korea. She was cogent. ‘You haven’t seen the glint in the eyes of the South Korean military,’ she said. ‘They’re desperate to get hold of the North’s nuclear arsenal. That’s unacceptable.’ Why? ‘Because if a unified Korea becomes a nuclear power, it will be impossible to stop Japan from becoming one too and if you have China, Japan and a unified Korea as nuclear states, it shifts the relationship of forces against us.’ Obama seems to agree with this way of thinking.

This weeks long must read from the New Yorker: The Caging of America - Why do we lock up so many people? My answer: Because it is incredibly profitable for some.

Richard Silverstein's Mossad minder "confidential highly-placed Israeli source" tells him another idiotic Iran drone story which the gullible Richard swallows and then pukes out adding a hefty portion of irrational speculation and stupid innuendo. Thankfully Dimi Reider has already  trashed it. Two month ago I did the same with an earlier implausible drone story by Richard.

Is CBS' "60 minutes" using old interviews to raise political mayhem at convenient propaganda moments? Today it will broadcast an interview with Sec Def Panetta that, besides uncovering a CIA agent, again trashes relations with Pakistan. But the Pentagon says, even before the broadcast, that the interview is several month old and does not reflect current knowledge and policy. Two weeks ago CBS broadcasted an interview with the Emir of Qatar calling for war on Syria. It made quite a media splash at a convenient time. But that interview was already two month old when it was broadcasted. What is next on CBS ? A "current" interview with Elvis?

Posted by b on January 29, 2012 at 17:16 UTC | Permalink


oh my.

Posted by: annie | Jan 29 2012 21:47 utc | 1

Episode 2 of "Putin Russia and the West" aired the other day (all in all more than a bit biased towards the West) but interesting account that talks to all the insiders. The second part looks mainly at how Russia dealt with the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and Rose Revolution in Georgia and how they (correctly) suspected it was being engineered by The West. Couldn't help but think about Syria while watching.

Episode 2 Democracy Threatens:
Previously EP 1 Taking Control:

Also speaking of the US Prison population, a man in New Mexico who was arrested for driving while drunk was "forgotten about" by authorities and left in a county prison cell for two years in solitary confinement. He has just been awarded 22 Million for the fuck up.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jan 29 2012 23:19 utc | 2

There are many South Koreans (both older and younger) who simply accept it as an axiom that the United States CIA had SoKo President Park Chung-hee assassinated in 1979 for his pursuit of nuclear capabilities. Bolstering that idea is the fact that the US only recognised the legitimacy of his successor, the military dictator Chun Doo-hwan, on the condition of his giving up any nuclear ambitions (Chun was responsible for the Gwangju Massacre in 1980, which most South Koreans believe to have occured with US blessing.)

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 29 2012 23:22 utc | 3

Almost two years that poor guy spent in solitary without any contact. Had to pull one of his own teeth. The 'nurse' had no medical qualifications and gave him major sedatives. CAN YOU IMAGINE? Don't go to Las Cruces, New Mexico!

Posted by: Jake | Jan 30 2012 3:28 utc | 4

I read the LRB article a couple of days ago. His observations were interesting but I had some difficulty keeping track of the to-ing and fro-ing between timelines. This is illustrated in b's leading quote from the article...
Over lunch I asked her about [the Bush administration] plans for North Korea.
... not an easy thing to do in the 70s.

What I liked about the article was that, even way back then, TA had all the makings of a wry and perceptive old codger. I particularly enjoyed his anecdote about asking his interpreter and NK minder to stop the car so he could "offer some quidance to that tree."

They both laughed themselves silly and it put an end to the tensions and pretensions which are part and parcel of NK's 'nothing-to-hide' guided tours.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 30 2012 3:44 utc | 5

The U.S. has been in South Korea for over 60 years. South Korea between '61 and '89 was ruled by some of the worst military dictators created during the Cold War, under U.S. control.

The commander of US Forces in Korea is also the commander of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command which -- don't be confused by the title -- is commanded by a four-star U.S. general.

So the Pentagon still commands the ROK (South Korea) military, and the Korean War has never ended after sixty years, being under an Armistice. The US and the ROK regularly violate the Armistice terms and provoke the north.

Of course there is no U.S. support for the reunification of Korea, which many Koreans (naturally) want. Then how could U.S. bases one air hour from Shanghai and Beijing be justified?

Instability everywhere -- that's the ticket.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 30 2012 4:09 utc | 6

That Tariq Ali quote is ominous b...

Maybe it's the year of the Dragon in more ways that one?

George H.W. and Jeb Bush Pay Obama an Unscheduled Visit

It was nowhere to be found on the president's official schedule, but it happened: A photo posted to the White House Flickr stream just after 5 p.m. on Friday showed Barack Obama kicking back in the Oval Office with former President George H.W. Bush and his son, former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. The former president, now 87, is seen sitting in a collapsible wheel chair, but according to spokesman Jim McGrath is "in fine health and he's not in any pain," the AP reports. He has just been relying more and more on the help of wheelchairs and a scooter lately. "His legs don't work the way he wants them to," McGrath said.

Elsewhere someone commented,
"Jeb just got back from a meeting with China's Vice President Xi Jinping. The visit was might have been in return for a visit from Hu to Washington last year."

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, calling for closer cooperation between China and the United States.

Xi took time during the meeting to applaud Bush's attention to, and efforts in, the development of China-U.S. relations.

"Despite ups and downs, the general relationship between China and the United States has been pushing ahead over the past 40 years," Xi said, adding that bilateral ties have become the most important in the world.

The Bush family has made great contributions to promoting relations between China and the United States, "which the two nations and the two peoples will not forget," the Chinese vice president said.

Xi said that China and the United States should further their communication, coordination and cooperation under the current situation in accordance with the consensus reached by Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama, to develop the cooperative partnership between the two countries and to benefit the two peoples and the whole world.

At the beginning of last year, Hu paid a state visit to the United States, where Hu and Obama agreed to establish a partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit, setting the tone for China-U.S. ties.

For his part, Bush said that he will continue making contributions to the development of bilateral ties and economic cooperation between the two nations.

Or one could surmise it could have something to do with, the Grand Chess board and the Zbigniew Brzezinski on his new book: "Strategic Vision"

The former U.S. National Security Advisor presents his foreign policy recommendations to restore U.S. status in the world. He discusses his vision with Chief Correspondent of National Journal and former "The World from Washington" Newsweek columnist Michael Hirsch.

But what do I know..

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 30 2012 4:51 utc | 7

Theres so many criminal factories in Central California, it makes your head swim. Incarcerate 'em for minor crimes, and by the time they get out, they're tatooed from head to feet, and itchin' to kill some one, anyone. A large part of the population in my community are employed by the "corrections" INDUSTRY. I know a male nurse, employed at the Tehachapi prison, who is raking in obscene amounts of overtime right now, and laughing his way to the bank. Another acquaintance, a psychologist, I wouldn't trust to counsel my dog, but there he is, top tiered with wages, benefits, and a pension package to drool over. Another, started a vending venture, knowing the right people in the "corrections" INDUSTRY and is raking in money by the bucketfuls.

One commonality I have noticed amongst the people employed by this corrupt and inhumane INDUSTRY, on an average, they are generally unskilled, or, at best, mediocre in their field. They work in this INDUSTRY because they are unfit to do anything else.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Jan 30 2012 4:53 utc | 8

Can one realistically sanction the 17th economic power in the world? How?

Posted by: Paul | Jan 30 2012 5:55 utc | 9

no no8, not with its neighbour, the fourth economic power in the world not doing it.And with everybody else dealing with that power. Not to mention the second economic power.

not with US and Europe begging to export to them ...

now, what is Europe going to do if Iran stops to sell its oil? go begging to Saudi Arabia?

Russia? Ask Saudi Arabia not to sell to China and India?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 30 2012 11:51 utc | 10


Xi said that China and the United States should further their communication, coordination and cooperation under the current situation in accordance with the consensus reached by Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama, to develop the cooperative partnership between the two countries and to benefit the two peoples and the whole world.

china's not going to sanction iran. i don't know the two countries are going to be getting around that.

Posted by: annie | Jan 30 2012 20:04 utc | 11

The article on US prisons.

Yes, of course, because it is profitable. It isn’t called a growing industry for nothing. But is is profitable only for some - in some geo. place that specializes - to some law enforcement types who can get pay for themselves and many others (builders, drivers, nurses, etc. etc.)

Overall, it is a drain on the US economy (even as compared to if all prisoners were paid some unemployment instead) - private prisons don’t really cost the taxpayer less than the Gvmt. version, although it may look like it in some accounts, which serves to obscure the overall costs, not to mention the long term costs of creating a poor, almost starving, male criminal class that cannot be absorbed into society (therefore, more prisons, more profit, etc.)

The article did mention the legacy of slavery, but didn’t make too much of it. Many prisoners in the US work for less than Chinese wages, and prisons have a monopoly on some sections, that should have been mentioned, with dollars and cents. (The profit is not only in running the prison.)

What was left out was culture - a culture of reward and punishment, where good actions are to be pointed to gain money or status (the good being defined by the return) and bad actions can only be repressed by punishment, the stick, all of which are viewed in a purely individual, not societal, light. Banksters who get 3 million a year salary must be fantastic, precious, indispensable people? A poor man who smokes dope...etc.

The bureaucracy and rule-bound behavior (which has gotten completely out of hand in the US) is an outcome of that simplistic culture, as the essentials of it can only be managed, regulated, by arbitrary rules, by the ‘book’, by the ‘authority’, by the ‘judge’, divorced from common sense, human feeling, and even, in fine, the understandable feelings of revenge and hate that crime causes.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 2 2012 16:46 utc | 12

The comments to this entry are closed.