Friday, May 30, 2008

McClatchy's Landay and Strobel push back -- HARD

on the blithering of the Winter Palace chattering classes over Little Scotty McClellan's Bombshell Tell-All Book:

May 29, 2008

Memo to Scott McClellan: Here's what happened

Until now, we've resisted the temptation to post on former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book, which accuses the Bush White House of launching a propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq.

Why? It's not news. At least not to some of us who've covered the story from the start.


That's just getting warmed up.

After a bit of background history they unleash the big guns. If it got any coverage outside the blogosphere, it would demolish -- forever -- the notion that the White House wasn't fully involved in a propganda operation to foist its war of choice on the American People, the Iraqis, and the World, and it would by itself be sufficient to taint the memory of this repugnant regime for the rest of time. Read the whole thing. But here are a couple of key excerpts:

Here's what happened, based entirely on our own reporting and publicly available documents:

* The Bush administration was gunning for Iraq within days of the 9/11 attacks, dispatching a former CIA director, on a flight authorized by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, to find evidence for a bizarre theory that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. (Note: See also Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on this point).

* Bush decided by February 2002, at the latest, that he was going to remove Saddam by hook or by crook. (Yes, we reported that at the time).

* White House officials, led by Dick Cheney, began making the case for war in August 2002, in speeches and reports that not only were wrong, but also went well beyond what the available intelligence said at that time, and contained outright fantasies and falsehoods. Indeed, some of that material was never vetted with the intelligence agencies before it was peddled to the public.

* Dissenters, or even those who voiced worry about where the policy was going, were ignored, excluded or punished. (Note: See Gen. Eric Shinseki, Paul O'Neill, Joseph Wilson and all of the State Department 's Arab specialists and much of its intelligence bureau.


The disgraceful spectacle of the White House/Winter Palace and its sychophants in the Media scrambling to cover their own asses at Little Scotty's "revelations" has been very entertaining on one level, but the fact remains that the Truth is yet to be accepted by our nation's power elites, who consistently run from it like the cockroaches they are.

Millions are dead, injured or displaced. Chaos ensues. All for lies. That is the legacy of this putrid period of history.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"...set upon by the puckering multitude..."

Mark Slouka over at Harpers slays some of the dragons of Democratic politesse in his outstanding article: Democracy and deference

We need more of this kind of rebelliousness.
You say I’m tilting at human nature? That the race of man loves a lord—and always has? That power (and what good is power if it can’t be abused a little, no?) has always been one of the time-honored perks of success, and that, of all the lies told, the one about all men being created equal is the most patently absurd? Perhaps. But surely one could argue that the American democratic experiment was at least in part an attempt to challenge this “reality,” to establish a political and legal culture from which would emerge, organically, a new sensibility: independent, unburdened by the protocols of class, skeptical of inherited truths. Willing to be disobedient. To moon the lord.

Alas, if that was the plan, it went sideways a long time ago. In today’s America, the majority is nothing if not impressed by power and fame (its legitimacy is irrelevant), nothing if not obedient. As for mooning the lord, the ass to the glass these days is more likely to be the lord’s, and our own posture toward it, well, something short of heroic. Worse yet, should someone decide to take offense, and suggest that it is not the lord’s place to act thusly, he will be set upon by the puckering multitude who will punish him for his impertinence.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Punkinhead has an aneurysm



Politico's Mike Allen went over to Borders in DC and bought a copy of Little Scotty McClellan's book -- which is to be released next week, hmmm -- and then blared all over creation that Little Scotty is dissing Bush and -- get this -- the Media, and all of a sudden there is massive spin under way to protect and defend the Media and the Busheviks from the dangers of an insider run amok.

Just observe Timmeh's "concern" in the clip above. This is, like, serious as a heart attack.

  • Propaganda

  • Permanent campaign

  • Serious strategic blunder

  • Insulated from reality

  • Deceiving

  • Lie

  • State of denial

  • Out of touch

    As Meridith says, he's just plain bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter Little Man.

  • Sheesh! Is he still alive? Los Dos



    A-yep. At the Live Oak Music Festival, June 13.

    Peace. Love. Dirt.

    Sheesh. Is he still alive?



    A-Yep, Live at the Palms, June 13.

    Lookin Out My Back Door




    We find a Fortunate Son

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    120,000 x 5 + 4,083 x 1 = Iraq Body Count Exhibit



    120,000 little white flags and over 4,000 little red flags have been placed on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento; each of the white flags represents at least 5 Iraqis who have perished since the American led invasion of Iraq in 2003; each red flag represents one dead American soldier.

    This exhibit runs for five blocks in the median lawn of the Mall. I passed by it today around noon on my way to somewhere else. Bureaucrats were studying the display, and one man, clearly moved by it, stood on the sidewalk and cried. Others were riveted to the acres and acres of little white and red flags, some fluttering so strongly in the wind between the tall buildings they appeared to be screaming out in agony.

    If you can't stop it, turn it into art.



    video

    Something Else for Memorial Day



    The other day while combing the discard book bins at Goodwill, I pulled out what looked like it was probably a high school year book from Hawaii, from, say, sometime in the Fifties or early Sixties. Didn't check it for what it really was until yesterday, and then, I was astonished.

    Turns out this yearbook is a yearbook -- well, a record of three and a half years -- of Navy Seabees in the Pacific in World War II, and as such it is one of the most remarkable documents of the War in the Pacific I've ever seen.

    What follows are scans of some random early pages of this journal to give you an idea of how these men of the Fifth Naval Construction Battalion saw their experiences in the War, who they were, their dedication, the adversity they knew every day, their triumph. As far as I can tell, this yearbook was produced soon after V-J Day, perhaps as early as September 1945, or possibly as late as sometime in 1946. The men depicted are of my father's generation in many cases (he was drafted in 1944, when he was already middle-aged, and served as a legal officer in the Army Air Corps through its transformation into the Air Force.)

    Their basic decency shines through this record. Though we might today criticize some of their commanders' decisions and actions, it is not because we would dispute their humanity or their commitment to building a better world.

    What strikes me about this journal most of all is the contrast between these truly amazing, and I think heroic, men in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945 and the sham of "heroism" and "defense of democracy" that the Busheviks have made of our military, and the insults and contempt with which they treat the brave men and women who continue to serve as best they can a corrupt regime, rotten to the core.

    There is no comparison. The pride I feel for the SeaBees in their Journal of Two Journeys contrasts so strongly with the shame I feel for what the Busheviks have done to their honor, and the honor of the American People, I can't help but be overcome.

    Click on the images to enlarge them to full size.






















    Neville Bush


    Khartoum! Where hearts were entertaining June...

    Yeah right.

    Pissy Pants has sent his envoys over to the Sudan to treat with the genocidal dictator thereof, one Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Despoiler of Darfur, according to the Washington Post story linked at MSNBC.com, Scourge of All Things Bush and Hillary.

    Lucky us.

    So, it would seem there are some genocidal dictators it's perfectly acceptable to negotiate with, in Bush World, so long as he or his people are doing the chit-chat; the minute someone else does it or says they will, it's Chamberlainian Appeasement to be denounced at home and in foreign lands.

    Got it.

    Bashir's government has been accused by Bush of participating in a "genocide" in Darfur, the only U.S. government use of such a strong accusation. Yet Richard S. Williamson's visit to Khartoum follows a series of direct contacts by senior Bush administration officials with the Sudanese president, including Secretaries of State Colin L. Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Rice's deputies, and several special presidential envoys.

    Bush has spoken to or exchanged letters with Bashir on numerous occasions, underscoring how White House policy has departed from his pointed public call to shun talks with radical tyrants and dictators. His appointees have also pursued aggressive diplomacy with North Korea and Libya and have even conducted limited business with Cuba, Syria and Iran.

    In the case of Sudan, experts are deeply divided about how much the administration's engagement has improved conditions in a country beset for decades by mass violence and famine. It has at least provoked charges of hypocrisy, because Bush recently accused those advocating talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other radical figures of "appeasement."

    "The Bush administration has spent years not only talking at very senior levels with one of the world's worst tyrants, who is responsible for genocide, but also reportedly offered the regime major concessions in exchange for minor steps and rolled out the red carpet for some of its most reprehensible officials," said Susan E. Rice, who handled Africa policy in the Clinton administration and is a top adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).


    Of course the issue isn't "appeasement" at all, it's maintaining power, authority and control over not just the processes of government and diplomacy, but the very act of thinking about them.

    Thus, anyone else who does or says something about diplomatic overtures toward foes, real or imagined, is instantly tarred with the "appeasement" brush because that's the means to defend political power over opposition. What the Bush regime does, including appeasing foes (such as by withdrawing bases from Saudi Arabia, overthrowing Saddam, etc, both of which were desired and/or ordered by the Arch Devil Usama) may have nothing at all to do with the rhetoric it uses in pursuit and exerecise of power.

    Of course Americans have been witnessing this for years, and they're heartily sick of it. They see Princess McCain trying to pull the same sort of crap.

    What's interesting in some ways is that the Washington Post has chosen to call "bullshit" here.

    Wonders never cease.

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Memorial Day 2008



    Veteran Kris Goldsmith talks Laura Flanders on GRITtv.

    What do we continue to allow to be done in our names?

    Why?

    GRITtv Archives

    Al-Marri




    US residents in military brigs? Govt says it's war

    By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer


    WASHINGTON - If his cell were at Guantanamo Bay, the prisoner would be just one of hundreds of suspected terrorists detained offshore, where the U.S. says the Constitution does not apply.



    But Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is a U.S. resident being held in a South Carolina military brig; he is the only enemy combatant held on U.S. soil. That makes his case very different.

    Al-Marri's capture six years ago might be the Bush administration's biggest domestic counterterrorism success story. Authorities say he was an al-Qaida sleeper agent living in middle America, researching poisonous gasses and plotting a cyberattack.


    That this situation has been going on for six years now, and counting, may come as a surprise to most Americans who remain blithely oblivious to the peril each and every one of them has been in since the Busheviks seized the reins of Imperial Government.

    Six years a legal US resident has been held in a military brig without charge?

    Indeed.

    "Authorities say..." And that's what's at issue here. On the "say so" of The Authorities, including Bush himself, Al-Marri has been held for six years and potentially could be held forever.

    To justify holding him, the government claimed a broad interpretation of the president's wartime powers, one that goes beyond warrantless wiretapping or monitoring banking transactions. Government lawyers told federal judges that the president can send the military into any U.S. neighborhood, capture a citizen and hold him in prison without charge, indefinitely.


    And you know what? The Government's claim is that anyone can be rounded up and held prisoner without charge, indefinitely.

    Anyone. That means you. That means me.

    Al-Marri has been designated the test for this radical, unAmerican proposition.

    The government says the president needs this power to keep the nation safe. Al-Marri's lawyers say that as long as the president can detain anyone he wants, nobody is safe.


    Well, isn't that the truth.

    On June 23, 2003, Bush declared al-Marri an enemy combatant, which stripped him of those rights. Bush wrote that al-Marri possessed intelligence vital to protect national security. In his jail cell in Peoria, however, he could refuse to speak with investigators.

    A military brig allowed more options. Free from the constraints of civilian law, the military could interrogate al-Marri without a lawyer, detain him without charge and hold him indefinitely. Courts have agreed the president has wide latitude to imprison people captured overseas or caught fighting against the U.S. That is what the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is for.

    But al-Marri was not in Guantanamo Bay.

    "The president is not a king and cannot lock people up forever in the United States based on his say-so," said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer who represents al-Marri and other detainees. "Today it's Mr. al-Marri. Tomorrow it could be you, a member of your family, someone you know. Once you allow the president to lock people up for years or even life without trial, there's no going back."


    Yes. And this is where we are in this nation right now. Most Americans are oblivious to it because this particular perversion of law and the Constitution does not directly affect them right now. Consequently, what happens to this Scary Muslim Man is of no consequence for them, and furthermore there are lawyers arguing the case before a federal court so what's the problem anyway?

    Courts have gone back and forth on al-Marri's case as it worked its way through the system. The last decision, a 2-1 ruling by a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, found that the president had crossed the line and al-Marri must be returned to the civilian court system. Anything else would "alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic," the judges said.

    The full appeals court is reviewing that decision and a ruling is expected soon. During arguments last year, government lawyers said the courts should give great deference to the president when the nation is at war.

    "What you assert is the power of the military to seize a person in the United States, including an American citizen, on suspicion of being an enemy combatant?" Judge William B. Traxler asked.

    "Yes, your honor," Justice Department lawyer Gregory Garre replied.


    So. Really. What's the problem? As long as it is just Scary Arabs and Other Morenos, who cares?

    One judge questioned why there was such anxiety over the policy. After all, there have been no mass roundups of citizens and no indications the White House is coming for innocent Americans next.


    Why fret?

    Another judge said the question is not whether the president was generous in his use of power; it is whether the power is constitutional.

    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Brazil!



    One Nation, Under Surveillance.

    Operation CHAOS:

    This is why the issue of domestic surveillance as it applies to the FISA "reforms" being hammered out in Congress is so important:

    In June 1970 Nixon met with Hoover, Helms, NSA Director Admiral Noel Gaylor, and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) representative Lt. Gen. Donald V. Bennett and told them he wanted a coordinated and concentrated effort against domestic dissenters. To do that, he was creating the Interagency Committee on Intelligence (ICI), chaired by Hoover. The first ICI report, in late June, recommended new efforts in "black bag operations," wiretapping, and a mail-opening program. In late July 1970, Huston told the members of the ICI that their recommendations had been accepted by the White House. (13)

    John Dean replaced Tom Huston as White House aide in charge of domestic intelligence, and at his urging, a Justice Department group, the Intelligence Evaluation Committee, was established to study domestic groups, over Hoover's protest. Deteriorating relations between the FBI and the other intelligence agencies, especially the CIA, caused Hoover to fire William Sullivan. At that time, Sullivan was the liaison officer between the FBI and the other intelligence agencies and he strongly favored the expansion of domestic operations.

    Second Thoughts
    Even Helms began to have second thoughts about how large CHAOS had grown, but Nixon made it clear to him that the CIA was a presidential tool he wanted at his disposal. Helms got the message, yet he also understood the growing uneasiness in other government circles. In 1972, the CIA's Inspector General wrote a report that expressed concern about Operation CHAOS in the following way: "... we also encountered general concern over what appeared to be a monitoring of the political views and activities of Americans not known to be or suspected of being involved in espionage ... Stations were asked to report on the whereabouts and activities of prominent persons ... whose comings and goings were not only in the public domain, but for whom allegations of subversion seemed sufficiently nebulous to raise renewed doubts as to the nature and legitimacy of the CHAOS program." (14)

    Helms was being squeezed by White House demands to expand Operation CHAOS and the fear that the whole question of domestic operations was going to become public knowledge, as Hoover feared. Helms found himself constantly shoring up one lie with another and then another. He found himself deceiving Congress and lying to the public as well as CIA employees. In March 1971, a group of young CIA executives known as the Management Advisory Group (MAG) protested Operation CHAOS and similar domestic operations by issuing a statement saying, "MAG opposes any Agency activity which could be construed as targeted against any person who enjoys the protection of the U.S. Constitution ... whether or not he resides in the United States." (15)

    Helms of course denied the CIA was involved in domestic operations, or using basic American institutions such as the Peace Corps, the business community, or the media as covers for CIA operations. Just a few years later, Oswald Johnston of the Washing ton Star reported that over 35 American journalists, some full-time, some free-lance, and some major media correspondents were on the CIA payroll. And in 1974 the CIA admitted that over two hundred CIA agents were operating overseas posing as businessmen. (16)

    The Collapse of the House of Cards
    The web of deception, misinformation, lies, and illegal domestic activities began to unravel with speed in the summer of 1972 when Howard Osborn, then Chief of Security for the CIA, informed Helms that two former CIA officers, E. Howard Hunt and James McCord, were involved in a burglary at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The house of cards was about to come crashing down and Helms now wanted to salvage what he could and distance himself from not only Watergate but also the domestic operations. He appointed CIA Executive Director William Colby to handle any investigations into the Agency's domestic operations and began to prepare for the inevitable.

    Helms was called to Camp David by President Nixon and subsequently fired. His replacement was James Schlesinger (who would last but a few months). Schlesinger would be replaced in July 1973 by Colby, and Helms would become U.S. Ambassador to Iran to get him as far away as possible. In an effort at damage control, Colby decided that Operation CHAOS and Project RESISTANCE should be terminated.

    In 1975 the CIA underwent public investigation and scrutiny by both the Church and Rockefeller committees. These investigations revealed considerable evidence showing that the CIA had carried out its activities with a tremendous disregard for the law, both in the U.S. and abroad.

    During the life of Operation CHAOS, the CIA had compiled personality files on over 13,000 individuals including more than 7,000 U.S. citizens as well as files on over 1,000 domestic groups. (17)

    The CIA had shared information on more than 300,000 persons with different law enforcement agencies including the DIA and FBI. It had spied on, burglarized, intimidated, misinformed, lied to, deceived, and carried out criminal acts against thousands of citizens of the United States. It had placed itself above the law, above the Constitution, and in contempt of international diplomacy and the United States Congress. It had violated its charter and had contributed either directly or indirectly to the resignation of a President of the United States. It had tainted itself beyond hope.

    Of all this, the CIA's blatant contempt for the rights of individuals was the worst. This record of deceit and illegality, implored Congress as well as the President to take extreme measures to control the Agency's activities. However, except for a few cosmetic changes made for public consumption such as the Congressional intelligence oversight committee nothing has been done to control the CIA. In fact, subsequent administrations have chosen to use the CIA for domestic operations as well. These renewed domestic operations began with Gerald Ford, were briefly limited by Jimmy Carter, and then extended dramatically by Ronald Reagan.

    Any hope of curbing these illegal activities is scant. Recently, George Bush and current DCI William Webster announced a need to again target political enemies of the U.S. for assassination. It is ironic that Webster, a former Federal Judge, would chose to ignore the limits and constraints placed on the government by the Constitution. During his tenure as Director of the FBI, the bureau was once again involved in the infiltration of groups practicing their constitutional right to dissent against U.S. government policies. Once again, the FBI compiled thousands of files on individuals protesting Reagan's war against Nicaragua and support for the genocidal Salvadoran military. Now, Webster is in a position of perhaps even greater power and, without doubt, would have no qualms about abusing it.

    Conclusion
    Given the power granted to the office of the presidency and the unaccountability of the intelligence agencies, widespread illegal domestic operations are certain. We as a people should remember history and not repeat it. It is therefore essential that the CIA be reorganized and stripped of its covert operations capability. Effective congressional oversight is also an important condition for ending the misuse of the intelligence apparatus that has plagued every U.S. administration since the formation of the CIA. A great deal is at risk our personal freedoms as well as the viability of this society. The CIA must be put in its place. Should we demand or allow anything less, we will remain vulnerable to these abuses and face the risk of decaying into a lawless state destined to self-destruction.


    From:
    Domestic Surveillance:
    The History of Operation CHAOS
    by Verne Lyon

    As was the case from the time of the formation of the CIA under president Truman, until the Watergate criminal revelations under president Nixon, we have no idea how extensive or pervasive domestic spying operations are in this country, nor do we really know the intent of this spying, but past history has demonstrated that presidential domestic surveillance operations have one primary goal: to detect and neutralize opposition.

    Since sometime in 2001, whether before or after September 11, the Bush regime has been conducting illegal domestic surveillance operations using the many tools at its disposal to gain information on millions of Americans for what purpose we can only guess.

    The current FISA "reform" struggle in Congress is over whether that illegal domestic surveillance shall be made legal and over whether the major telecom companies that cooperated in the illegal surveillance shall be immunized for their troubles.

    In other words, shall we revert to pre-Watergate domestic surveillance operations and practices or not?

    Simple, isn't it?

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    $12 Gas? Could be...


    CNBC's report from May 20 is wending its way through the usual channels, raising a few hackles and the hair on the back of more than a few necks, as people begin to ponder how they can afford $4 a gallon to their Monster Trux and SUVs on the road. They were just getting used to paying $120 to fill up, now it's $150, and at $12 a gallon, they're looking at $450 to fill their Guzzler DeLuxe tank.

    Lifestyles are changing as we watch.

    Well, the price of regualr gas went to $4.17.9 a gallon at the Shell station on the corner, the highest price I've seen so far anywhere in town, and there were plenty of Guzzlers filling up when I passed by this evening. My own discount station down the street is holding the line at $3.99.9 for now, but how much longer will that last? I would bet not through next week, so I'll probably fill up the van, which I only drive once or twice a month, just in case. We have a little Pontiac Sunfire for most driving needs, and I find plenty of excuses not to drive, though I have to do some driving for my job.

    Many people have taken to their bikes. So many, in fact, the surface streets are becoming clogged with bicyclists who are fairly unfamiliar with the rules of the road and for the time being are hazards to themselves and others. But I suspect they will sort themselves out quickly enough.

    If gas does go to $12, fueled by the collapse of the dollar, massive speculation and bubble fever (because that's what's driving so much of inflation and economic misery right now), what could happen? The strain on the already thoroughly strained economy would potentially trigger a meltdown like we haven't seen since the Great Depression.

    There might be no way to prevent that anyway, but the question is, what Americans do about it? For several years now there have been rising rates of foreclosures totalling millions annually, and yet despite some news stories about the plight of foreclosed homeowners, nearly all have simply moved on to who knows where or in what condition. They aren't living on the streets in cardboard boxes or filling the highways in their jalopies. Congress has been loathe and very slow to act. The "housing crisis" gets worse, but nothing really is being done about it (except to bail out the banks) and there is no strong sense of outrage. Not yet. But people have to have some place to live, and I suspect the only thing that's keeping the ranks of the homeless from growing exponentially so far is the overabundance of housing inventory. There's a lot of shuffling going on, but so far not so much complete destitution and dispossession.

    Food prices have increased dramatically and are likely to continue to spiral into the stratosphere. People cope as best they can right now by shifting to less expensive foodstuffs, but many have already reached the lower limit, and there is nowhere left to go but to cut back on quantity. That may be a good thing for some folks, but for others it could be deadly.

    Household energy prices will continue to rise, squeezing already strapped households even more severely. Something will have to give.

    Employment has been flat, wages and salaries flat. In certain sectors, there has been a distinct decline in both wages and employment. This does not bode well for the future.

    People on fixed incomes are once again screwed as purchasing power becomes a figment of their imaginations.

    Savings -- what savings? -- are wiped out.

    So far, our elites have not concerned themselves with this looming crisis because they don't have to. Nothing at all is happening to make their lives any less luxe, and increase in prices so far amounts to little more than the change fallen under the cushions for the rich. Prices rise, prices fall, it makes little difference.

    And some prices have fallen so much (such as for homes) that people who have plenty of money are snapping up "bargains" such as they haven't seen in years, decades. Oh joy! Oh rapture!

    And the Little People?

    Not their time yet.

    Not their time.

    UPDATE: Whoops! Too late. Went to gas up the van at the discount station down the street this morning thinking they'd still be at $3.99.9 a gallon, regular. But no!

    $4.19.9! A 20 cent increase overnight.

    The Shell station on the corner is still at $4.17.9 (been there for a week), and the next station down the boulevard is $4.09.9.

    UPDATE, LOS DOS: Well. That didn't last long. Regular is now $4.25.9 at the Shell station. Still $4.19.9 at the discount station down the street, and it's now $4.17.9 at the next one further on.

    In addition, one 76 station about a mile away is offering diesel #2 at $5.29.9 a gallon.

    We're screwed. Way, way screwed.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Brazil!



    So, the FISA controversy heats up with the ad buy targeting Chris Carney, Blue Dog of Pennsylvania, put together by Glenn Greenwald and good people at Firedoglake and elsewhere. The point being, of course, to prevent him from following through on his apostasy and voting for the GOP discharge petition in the House which would probably lead to the passage of the Cheney/Rockefeller (ie: Senate) FISA bill which provides immunity to the telecos that broke the law to surveille the American People.

    Got that?

    Even that's not the technical description of what this is all about, but the ads make it very plain what the problem is: government and corporations have been lawlessly spying on the American People, and congressmembers like Carney are prepared to "make it legal" and absolve the perps for what they have done.



    Some in the blogosphere have finally risen up on their hind legs and said, "No!," and they're finally doing something about it besides writing stern letters and blogposts.

    Good.

    It appears that the GOP has been targeting Carney in just the same way for some time. And there are many Democratic constituencies that seem to think Carney is Teh Bomb. And apparently there have been ads run in his district from various Democratic interest groups thanking him for being such a great guy and doing so much for The People.

    Meanwhile, from Radar, which sometimes gets things right, we're hearing about The Last Round Up, and the 8 million or more names on The List -- of dissidents and what have you -- who could well be hauled off to the Halliburton Camps when the Cheney/Bush Regime (or really any regime) declares martial law, suspends the Constitution and rules by decree. Something called "Main Core", been assembling its badboy lists for ages, and is just waiting for the right "Pearl Harbor" moment to strike.

    Who's paranoid? What do you mean? Stop saying that!

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    GRITtv



    Can't say enough good about Laura Flanders' online teevee effort GRITtv.

    It's linked through Firedoglake and it has its own website.

    Check it out.

    http://www.lauraflanders.com/

    http://grittv.blip.tv/posts?view=archive&nsfw=dc

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Rummy's Pollution


    I was dancing a few years back when it seemed that the locals had driven Rumsfeld out of Taos, where he had a timeshare in a ranch and would periodically sally forth to spread outrage and despair among the populace.

    They fought back.

    They'd take the Giant Puppets down to the gates of the ranch and chant anti-Rummy chants, and they'd leave curses written on pieces of paper attached to the barbed wire, sometimes they'd even confront the evil little bastard in the flesh.

    Word came that he'd sold the timeshare, and there was caroling in the Plaza to celebrate.

    Too soon, it seemed.

    The Rummys found a local homeowner in financial distress, and bought her out at a steep discount, getting themselves a prime piece of Taos property for a song, and they did some dancing themselves. They are, they say, "frugal."

    The evil Rummy and Mrs Rummy.

    So the locals continue to protest and chant and carry around their Giant Puppets and have drum circles and express their displeasure at the pollution of their grand high mountain retreat, and the Rummys keep a low profile rather than be pelted with manure and rotten squash and other detritus.

    I don't know what happened with the the restraining order.

    (Yes, I know the time sequences are all a-jumble. That's the way things go in these parts.)

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    OT: This place is infested with cowboys


    I've been in New Mexico since Friday evening, and out where our place is, it's hi-lo cattle country, real ranches with real livestock and real cowboys, not the poseurs you might see other places. Of course, you go up to Santa Fe, and the situation is dramatically different, poseurs are everywhere, and everybody knows it, and few really care, except that you're not going to hear many kind things said around here about the pseudo-cowfolk (or much of anybody else) in Santa Fe.

    We're near the edge of Santa Fe County, only about 45 minutes on an absolutely deserted highway to the Plaza, and the drive is really nice even in the dead of winter, so if the spirit is moved sufficiently, one can take to the road and shortly immerse oneself in the "Fanta Se Experience." I like to visit the galleries. Watch Zozobra burn. Have me a plate of New Mexico meatloaf (stuffed with corn and green chile, you haven't lived until you've had it). But who has time? Not me.

    While the house is pretty much complete, the garage is a disaster (the contractors had to knock out parts of the walls to get the right size pine lumber to repair some of the floors in the house), and I just -- today -- found where I could get the right kind of materials to repair the garage. Oh boy! A half-assed job could have been done with contemporary materials, but I wanted something that would match the 100 year old shed, and the place that was recommended really couldn't come up with the right sort of materials. So I've been scouting for other resources, and behold, no more than five miles away, I found just the place. Romero's, of course. They don't have a website. This is New Mexico. Newfangled contraptions may be all the rage in Santa Fe, but when you're out in the country like this, it's best to keep it simple.

    Then there's the landscaping. We had somebody doing preliminaries, but strangely, nothing came of it. She... disappeared. Well, she did some work, yes, but discovered it was going to be a little more challenging than she anticipated, and vamoosed.

    And wouldn't you know, a neighbor came over one day and said, "You want us to clear your place? We can take care of it in an hour or two, take anything you don't want to the landfill." I said, sure. And sure enough, when I came back, they'd done an excellent job, and I expected they'd want to be paid. No. Not at all. Glad to help. At least I could do was buy them dinner.

    We had skunks. Now we have cats. The cats have taken care of the skunk problem. And the cats, so far, aren't a problem themselves. Although the neighbors say it's wise not to get too attached to them because the coyotes come and get em. Ou. Coyotes.

    I have seen coyotes in New Mexico, though not near here. Wildlife around here is mostly cottontails and antelope. And road runners. There are so many birds I can't begin to keep track of them all.

    And there are cowboys. In the late spring, there's a big rodeo and cowboy gathering. People come from all over. Texas, even.

    And on Sunday afternoons, I can listen to "Singing Wire" on the radio, and hear about the Frybread Queen, and Last Train to Hopiland.

    Hard not to love this place.

    Edit to add that the picture up top is of a carreta at Laguna Pueblo c. 1899

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Euphemistically speaking...

    David Bromwich in the New York Review of Books writes on the topic of "Euphemism and American Violence".

    It's become almost a joke that American mass media will not under any circumstances call the torture of captives in American control "torture."

    There's a story in today's New York Times filled with euphemisms for torture, so much so, it comes across as a gag.

    ... harsh interrogation methods ...the methods ...some legal experts have condemned as illegal torture ...harsh techniques ... waterboarding and other physical pressure ...the harsh techniques ...coercive interrogation ...coercive interrogation methods ... the harshest methods ...interrogation methods ...so-called enhanced interrogation techniques ...the harshest methods...


    Bromwich quotes Orwell:

    Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.


    And in our own country, the major mass media -- every last one of them -- follows the lead of the New York Times and comes up with ever more baroque phraseology to avoid calling what our government does to its captives, "torture."

    Like what the military did to the captives it held in Iraq who supposedly provided the information accusing Iran of hosting Hezbollah training camps for the Iraqi Shia resistance.

    More at Chris Floyd's place where he blasts the Michael Gordon propaganda piece in the NYT the other day::

    Gordon's latest is a classic of this sinister genre. He dutifully stovepipes claims by the usual unnamed "American officials" who tell him that Iranian agents have revealed that Hezbollah is training anti-American Iraqi Shiites inside Iran. This information, we are told, comes from "interrogations" of four Shiite militia members who were captured by American forces last year.

    In other words, four Shiites who have been subjected to George W. Bush's beloved (and personally approved) "harsh interrogation techniques" for an entire year have -- surprise, surprise! -- told American officials exactly what they want to hear: that Iran is training Iraqi insurgents to kill Americans. Or to speak plainly and with no addition: four men have been tortured into confessions that serve the Bush Faction's militarist agenda.

    Psy-Ops will continue until Morale Improves

    Hillary! sort of takes Indiana, Barack North Carolina and the brickbats continue to be thrown and the psy-ops continue.

    Of course most of the pressure is on Hillary!, as it has been since January, to get out and go away. This has been a primary tactic of Obamaniacs from very early in the campaign, demanding that she quit the race, insisting that Obama Is The Nominee, that she cannot win, and essentially ordering her to leave. Be gone. Am-scray.

    It's relentless psy-ops, a one-note refrain played over and over and over again, without let up, only briefly paused when the Wright Thing took over the media narrative.

  • Obama Is The Nominee.

  • Hillary Cannot Win.

  • Hillary must concede.

  • Now!

    For its part, the Hillary campaign has acted oblivious, confused, and/or "arrogant" in the face of this relentless drumbeat. Their only push-back has been to soldier on and fumble many opportunities to "pip-squeek-i-fy" their opponent. This endless fumbling has led to a trajectory of decline, such that, barring miracles, Hillary! is burnt toast.

    And yet she soldiers on.

    But I wonder.

    When Obama gets his nomination, will the same psy-ops be used against Princess McCain?

    Or will the crotchety old geezer turn the tables and succeed in putting the young upstart in his "place?"
  • Saturday, May 3, 2008

    OT: Exile -- or maybe not

    There's a pretty powerful piece at dKos by karendc going over some of the elements leading to her and her husband's decision to leave the country -- apparently to move to Canada, though it's difficult to tell, since the focus shifts so often in the post. The point is not where they're moving to, the point is that they're moving. So long. Bye bye.

    Since the advent of the Bush regime, there have been periodic outbreaks of "That's it! I'm leaving!" from various progressives, liberals, and anti-Busheviks of all stripes, and some Americans have chosen to expatriate themselves or to actually exile themselves from their country, at least until the Long National Nightmare of Bushevism is over, if not forever. Some, like Glenn Greenwald, have chosen a half-way "outta here" solution. An escape to Brazil, but still able to return to the USA when a new book is out or the spirit moves him.

    Americans in exile from the Busheviks is often compared to Jews who chose to leave Germany as the Nazis consolidated their power. They were the smart ones. They got out in time. Who would have imagined the Holocaust that awaited those who were left behind?

    Many of those who were left behind in Germany, and approximately all the Jews who were eventually slaughtered by the Nazis in the rest of Europe and the Soviet Union had little choice in the matter. They couldn't afford to leave, or they had no place to go if they could afford to leave (how many potential Jewish exiles were sent back to the Reich for "processing?"), or they were prevented from leaving, or their nations were conquered so quickly by the Nazis they had no time to get out. Or, as was often the case, they had no idea what awaited them when the Storm Troopers marched in.

    And so, by the millions, they perished, while almost no one did anything to interfere with the slaughter.

    And we hear the cry, "Never again!" And we know it is hollow. Slaughters of the innocents continue apace. And not solely in darkest Africa.

    Is there a reason for Americans to choose exile or at least temporary expatriation while the troubles of the Bushevik era are worked out? Of course. Will any substantial portion of them be sent to the camps and thence to the ovens if they stay? Hard to say. Will things get worse before they get better? More than likely. Are there havens outside the country for Americans choosing to leave now? Apparently.

    For the Ché household, leaving the country seems ridiculous. Though we've travelled extensively within the country, we've never been out of it, and never had much urge to travel in foreign lands. Besides, some of us at Casa Ché are indigenous. Whose motto is "You! Get off of my ranch!"

    Internal exile is something else again. Someplace to go within the confines of the country, if everything starts turning to shit (oh, it already has, has it?). Many Americans have already chosen that option; it is the traditional American response to social and political developments not of ones liking. Find some remote corner of some backwater and settle in there, make a community of like-minded folks, put up a "No Trespassing" sign and be done with it. Until the winds of whatever change have blown over or you've become acclimated to the changes that have occurred.

    Thankfully, my prognostication powers have diminished over the years, so I have no particular insight into Things To Come any more. My sense (such as it is) is that there will be no President Barack and there will be no President Hillary. There may not even be a President Princess McCain. Could well be that events of some sort will intervene, and come November, we may not have an election, and come December, we may not have a President, except perhaps in a hyphenated version, like "General-President" or "Acting-President" or what have you. And for the most part, at least at first, this shift from the hollow shell of a Republic to the outright declaration and imposition of Autocracy will have little direct effect on most people. Other Things, let's say, will take priority.

    But over time, maybe a relatively brief time, the Autocracy will be felt more and more by more and more people. A highly regimented and conformist society, much like the nation experienced in the 1950's, would be the goal. More than likely, it will be successful in time. There may be much misery in store before Victory Day, however.

    If history is any guide -- and of course, we're entering uncharted territory for Americans -- those who choose internal exile will mostly do fine, though there will be some high profile exceptions, as various "militant camps" are raided by private armies or exterminated by Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones. Public dissenters will be rounded up and sent who knows where. Many will probably not return, but their fate will not be known to their loved ones. "Disappeared." Oh well.

    Most Americans will get right with the New America right away. It's what they do. There is no significant constitutency for the Self-governing Constitutional Republic that will be gone once and for all, and those who insist on fighting the Autocracy will be routinely jeered and denounced as rabble deserving of whatever Fate has in store.

    As Naomi Klein has long pointed out, when it happens, it will happen very quickly.

    We are nearly there.