Thursday, October 26, 2006

News from Nowhere (well, Russia)

From Crooked Timber.

A link to Exile

One of the better exile related newpapers/blogs/journals.

Some highlights: American journalist's use and misuse of the death of Anna Politkovskaya.

Note: these guys are nasty (especially the war nerd, Gary Brecher) but then these are nasty times in which we live.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Iraq's transition from democracy to American client state almost complete.

"President George W Bush met his top generals to discuss the deteriorating situation in Iraq as it was reported that America is considering punishing Baghdad if it fails to meet deadlines to stop the violence.

The new policy would mark a dramatic shift from the previous position that progress could only be determined by the "situation on the ground"."

Bush takes dump on Iraq, wipes ass with the Constitution

The Military Commisions Act (AKA 'Death of Habeas Corpus' act) 2006.

A stunning turn around

Fascist dictator seizes power and then refuses to give it back. Whoever heard of such a thing?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mea Culpa again

Dedicated readers (ha ha ha) will still no doubt be waiting with baited breath for my explanation as to why I got it so wrong about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Like most people, I expected the Israelis to win more or less immediately, and then 'ethnically cleanse' Lebanon up until to the Litani river. This may well be the final aim, and they may yet achieve it, but this seems less and less likely. Instead the Israelis (much to my surprise) met with a complete and humiliating defeat. How could I get it is so wrong? (Apart from the fact that I am stupid, of course). And how could they? (Apart from the fact that they are stupid). This article helps to explain.

Monday, October 16, 2006

same old same old

"A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials.
Currently, the 10-member commission — headed by a secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush, James Baker — is considering two option papers, "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain," both of which rule out any prospect of making Iraq a stable democracy in the near term.
More telling, however, is the ruling out of two options last month. One advocated minor fixes to the current war plan but kept intact the long-term vision of democracy in Iraq with regular elections. The second proposed that coalition forces focus their attacks only on Al Qaeda and not the wider insurgency.
Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

They have slanted eyes and yellow skin.

"The Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned remarks by the Israeli ambassador to Australia in which he told Haaretz that the two countries are white sisters amid "the yellow race" of Asia."If the article is accurate, this is a grave and unacceptable remark," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry said it will not return to business as usual if an internal examination confirms that the ambassador, Naftali Tamir, in fact made the comments attributed to him.Tamir said that due to what he characterized as the racial similarities between Israel and Australia, the two countries should work together to enhance ties with other Asian countries.
"Israel and Australia are like sisters in Asia," Tamir said in an interview with Haaretz during a visit to Israel this week. "We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not - we are basically the white race. We are on the western side of Asia and they are on the southeastern side.""

The Lancet Study

In which numbers are bandied around, arts graduates suddenly learn statistics (almost overnight, it seems) and I get called a liar. All in under 200 posts! Read and enjoy the cut and thrust of intellectual life.

Friday, October 13, 2006

We have created a poppy field and we call it 'peace'

"The Taliban are seen as chemotherapy".

As well as this: Jack Straw's new found feminist views should be seen in the context of the treatment of women by the occupiers.

Immortalised at last

Their courage will never be forgotten.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Christopher HItchens to world: fuck off.

At a dinner party: ""Fine, now that I know that, to you, medical ethics are nothing, you've told me all I need to know. I'm not trying to persuade you. Do you think I care whether you agree with me? No. I'm telling you why I disagree with you. That I do care about. I have no further interest in any of your opinions. There's nothing you wouldn't make an excuse for. You know what? I wouldn't want you on my side. I was telling you why I knew that Howard Dean was a psycho and a fraud , and you say 'That's O.K.' Fuck off. No, I mean it: fuck off. I'm telling you what I think are standards and you say, 'What standards? It's fine, he's against the Iraq War.' Fuck. Off. You're Any liar will do. He's anti-Bush. Fuck off...Save it sweetie, for someone who cares. It will not be me. You love it, you suck on it. I now know what your standards are, and now you know what mine are, and that's all the difference -- I hope -- in the world."

Here's one we broke earlier.

Another triumph for Western diplomacy although the slavishly pro-Tony Guardian tries to make it all the fault of those beastly Serbs and not to be trusted Russians (drink too much Vodka, big beards, don't speak English, Slavic tendencies, you get the picture).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

For what it's worth.

With what seems to me to be the key point highlighted.

"I understand from a friend in Washington that, contrary to the report in The Nation that's being going round the blogs, retired Colonel Sam Gardiner does not believe an 'October surprise' military strike on Iran is imminent. Gardiner, who who has war-gamed air strikes on Iran independently of the Bush administration, thinks an attack is likely at some point before Bush leaves office; but it is still some way off. The Eisenhower carrier is going to the Gulf as part of normal rotation - to replace another big ship there that is due to return. Were it to stay on, this might be more of a sign of an early attack. With respect to the deployment orders The Nation

quotes Gardiner as referring to, these are to do with minesweepers which could be used to clear the Straits of Hormuz in the event of an attack. If they are deployed, however, it would be as an exercise in deterring the Iranians from thinking they could close the Straits, rather than a sign of war. It's forward planning, rather than the preparation of an early strike."

More regime change?

The overthrow of tyrannies apparently having proven far too easy, what with Iraq being such a success and all, the US has now apparently moved on to overthrowing democracies: in Haiti, Venezuela and now Palestine.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Does the 2003 revival start here?

'Deception is the norm in political life, and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception.'

Also: 'Co-founded in 1995 by investigative journalist and activist Kenneth Timmerman, the Foundation (for Democracy in Iran) is among the oldest of a constellation of advocacy groups -- including the now defunct Coalition for Democracy in Iran established by Michael Ledeen, James Woolsey, and former AIPAC director Morris Amitay – that have sprung up to push a hard line on Iran. “We are not in a political debate with this regime,” Timmerman has said. “We are in the business of overthrowing them.” Timmerman’s group, like the Iran Policy Committee, supports aiding Iranian opposition groups to bring down the regime. Timmerman, according to his Web site, is also working with the families of 9/11 victims to put together a class action suit against the Iranian government “because of its direct, material involvement in the al Qaeda plot to attack America.”'


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Read the Whole Thing

No, but really.

Like some 'best of bukkake' video, the article seems to drown the reader with money shots, but some amongst many.

'Since September 11, 2001, George W. Bush and his top officials have aggressively advanced into the world under the banner of spreading not stability, but democracy (at cruise-missile point). But they defined the freedom to vote (as the recent Palestinian elections showed) only as the freedom to vote as they wished the vote to go -- and it generally didn't. Meanwhile, at home, the Republican Party was practicing an advanced form of gerrymandering, election financing, smear advertising, and voter-suppression tactics that made a mockery of the electoral process. Everyone was to vote gloriously, but matters were to be prepared -- geographically, financially, and in terms of public opinion -- so that the vote would be nothing but a confirmation of what already was. What, after all, do you call it when, in what is considered the most wide-open election for the House of Representatives in more than a decade, only perhaps 40-50 of 435 seats are actually competitive (and that's considered extraordinary). Since 1998, 98% of House incumbents have won reelection, while in the last "open" election in 1994, when a Republican "revolution" took the House in what the New York Times calls "a seismic realignment," 91% of incumbents were nonetheless reelected. '

'Unitary Executive Theory: This isn't a theory, but a long-planned grab for tyrannical control under the President's "commander-in-chief" powers in a carefully redefined "wartime" situation that will not stop being so in our lifetimes. This "theory" was meant to give a gloss of Constitutional legality to any conceivable presidential act. What the "unitary" meant was "no room for you" when it came to Congress and the courts. The "executive" was, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff Larry Wilkinson put it, rule by a "cabal," a cult of true believers inside the presidential bubble, impermeable to outside opinion or pressure. They were eager -- when it came to torture, unlimited forms of surveillance, and the ability to define reality -- to invest individuals secretly with something like the powers of gods.'

'Regime Change, Shock and Awe, Decapitation, Cakewalk: Ah, Iraq. What a field of linguistic fantasy play for Bush administration officials. "Regime change" was the global order of the day, if that "axis of evil" (and perhaps 60 other nations rumored to harbor terrorists) didn't attend to us. "Shock and awe" was what we would bring to Iraq, thereby humbling the whole "axis of evil" in a single awesome rain of destruction from the skies. As the planet's most dazzling military power, we would then go on a "cakewalk" (a high-strutting dance) to Baghdad and beyond, reorganizing the whole Middle East to our taste. "Decapitation" would be what would happen to Saddam's regime.
Behind such words lay inside-the-Beltway dreams of absolute global domination, of imposing a planetary Pax Americana by force of arms. It was the sort of scheme that once would have been the property of some "evil empire" we stood against. Behind it all, for an administration deeply linked to the energy business, lay control over the oil heartlands of the planet, known to this administration as "the arc of instability." Oil, or what George Bush referred to before launching his invasion as "Iraq's patrimony," was of such interest that the only places our troops guarded in those first "post-war" days of looting were oil fields and the Oil Ministry building in Baghdad. Of course, what Bush and his friends succeeded in visiting on the region was ever-spreading chaos. Since 2001, in its own version of the rectification of names, the Bush administration has actually been creating a genuine "arc of instability" stretching from Central Asia to Lebanon. The grenades are indeed now in the cockpit.'

And so on.

Will he or won't he?

Whichever way you look at it's a very interesting dilemma.

'The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.'

Monday, October 09, 2006

A brief interruption

There will now be a brief interruption from your daily diet of news about Jade Goody, Jack Straw and the veil, Kate Moss, and just what Tom Cruise's baby really looks like, while we mention the trivial facts relating to the Abolition of Parliament Bill. Just to remind everyone that it is still overwhelmingly likely that this bill will become law sometime in 2007. Thank you. You may now return to Pop Idol and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Prostitutes and Cheese

"American taxpayers would be stunned to hear where their tax dollars were actually going, the CorpWatch report says: beyond being wasted on failed projects, it helped pay for "contractors' prostitutes and imported cheeses." The CorpWatch investigators spent months monitoring the flow of international funds and concluded that business-savvy representatives of donor nations rather than Afghans were the real beneficiaries."