The River

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One for the ravers

Winter Patriot explains why Robert Fisk's piece finally expressing doubts about the official 9/11 conspiracy theory (or OCT) was a pathetic non-admission admission. But thanks for playing, Robert. About freaking time.

The whole Fisky fiasco is reproduced at the site, along with reaction from reality-based wingnuts on the left (DailyKos) and right.

An excerpt of Winter Patriot's response:

Where did Fisk go wrong?

I could quibble over minor issues but instead I will focus on the three points that seem most significant to me.

1] Fisk says the towers "collapsed". But they didn't. The towers disintegrated. If they had collapsed we would have seen huge slabs of concrete and long twisted steel columns. Instead we saw a huge cloud of dust -- and the structural steel was all broken apart. The central columns weren't left standing, nor did they fall over. "Collapse" means to fall down, or fall apart. The towers didn't fall apart except in the molecular sense of the word. Knowing what happened to the towers may be the key to the entire mystery; the first step on the path to this knowledge is the realization that the towers didn't collapse at all.


Serendipitous update: Via random click on WP's blog, I find another post on Fisk's foray into lunacy:

This is what is being asked of us today; the powers that be are hoping we will voluntarily do doublethink and turn off our capacity to question reality without having to resort to physical torture in Room 101.

But, if enough of us, especially those with Fisk's reputation and creditials begin to dig deep into the morass of 9/11, and, as a consequence excavate the horrible truth and are vocal about it, we will be a unbeatable force to reckon with.

-- Red Pill 8

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rebuilding America's Senses

or, (my subtitle) 9/11 and the road to World War III and a new world order.

A great, well-researched presentation by activist Daniel Abrahamson.

via liquified viscera

Matt Taibbi interview

What do you eat in Mongolia?

Flour and meat, basically. I think the high point of my masculine existence was one night when I was sick and my girlfriend there cooked me an antelope steak. She was like, "Here you are, honey." I thought: it doesn't get any better than this.


more of Jonhathan Schwarz's Matt Taibbi interview

Monday, August 27, 2007

...Obama’s almost-statement apparently breaches a 40-year tradition that a responsible president should never take the nuclear option off the table even when ordering lunch.

Empire Notes' August 6 Weekly Commentary (permalink is broken)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rock-n-roll 2.0

Mr. Richards and Mr. Jagger dialogue via e-mail on the project plan for their upcoming product launch.

Check it out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Empire of lies

not "empire of incompetence." It comes to the same thing, but it's an important distinction nonetheless. "Incompetence" pins the blame on government bureaucracy and absolves the individuals involved as victims of same. "Lies" points to the dishonesty of specific individuals, who can and should be exposed, as bloggers do regularly, but rarely so clearly and powerfully as with the below video of king death lizard Dick Cheney clearly articulating -- in 1994 -- a strategic case against the invasion and occupation of Iraq (albeit in his morally deficient way) by describing then what we are seeing now.

So, obviously, a shattered, chaotic Iraq and destabalized region has always been part of the plan, the long war, and the "greeted as liberators with hearts and flowers" line was a knowing lie, one designed to get people excited about the prospect of victory. When the lie proves hollow, there are always more and better lies, just as there are always more and better democrats to facilitate them.

From the vid:

Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?


Q: Why not?

CHENEY: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off -- part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim, fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

excerpt courtesy of Jonathan Schwarz of A Tiny Revolution.

Reminder to post courtesy of Curry St. John

Monday, August 13, 2007

Americans, I should know, love a good frisson. They are afraid of the terrorists just like they are afraid of Hannibal Lector, Frankenstein and Dracula.
And every good horror flic should have a sequel which tops the original.
We will be the first country to go fascist just because it amuses us to do so. Democracy- booooring.


Lizards! Death lizards

Now it can be told: Bush and Cheney are not human beings at all, but death lizards from outer space...

After two years of promoting the books of Griffin and Ahmed, I have discovered that there is a limited audience for a rational, factual discussion of 9/11. Even those who accept the fairly obvious conclusion that 9/11 was an inside job often seem to prefer a more excited and imaginative prose style. As for those who do not accept that conclusion—in virtually all cases due to an emotionally-charged refusal to consider the evidence—they are addicted to an even more hysterical prose style driven by the paranoid delusion that a secret army of evil “Muslim extremists” is conspiring to wreak mayhem by randomly blowing things up.


You would think my prose style would at least get some attention. I don't hold back. Carefully read my 9/11 posts and you will see the death lizards staring back at you.

While I shy away from boring old reason (people have written books, as noted above), I now see that my relentless affect has gotten us nowhere.

The writer highlighted above shows the way. The death lizards are here! If you think about, it explains everything. 9/11 was an outside job, waaay outside.

(via Listics)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"We Can't Make It Here"

By James McMurtry

After listening to this and comparing it to the full band studio version, you may well ask, "why did Dylan plug in, anyway"?

We can't make it here? Sure, we could. Fuckin' A, we could. But instead "we're building bridges in Iraq, so we don't have to build 'em over here."


The mood of the country is not good. The Democrats refuse to do even the minimum of what they were elected to do.

The only thing keeping the lid on is the falling price of gas at the pump. For some reason, gasoline isn't $3 a gallon or more, despite oil prices hitting $78 a barrel last week.

How long can people be bought off? In just poking around the net a little and listening to the radio yesterday, I see that the issues are clearly understood, they are being discussed. But they are being ignored by a complicit Congress.

MARJORIE COHN [professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of the new book "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law."]: ...And what’s happened now with the Congress capitulating to really a much broader program than even the Terrorist Surveillance Program, they have not only legalized what Bush was doing before, but I think it’s highly unlikely that the Bush administration officials will be brought to justice for the felonies that they have been committing since 2001.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, called this “violence against the Constitution,” yet in the editorials, the New York Times has editorialized against what the Democrats did, the Washington Post in their piece called -- talking about the warrantless legislation, also attacked the Democrats, as well as the Republicans. How does it get passed without the Democratic leadership in some way conceding?

MARJORIE COHN: Well, there were several Democrats -- sixteen Democrats in the Senate, forty-one Democrats in the House -- this could not have been passed without the Democrats. And so, in essence, this congress is very -- there’s very little difference between this congress and the congress that gave Bush the PATRIOT Act without reading it, gave Bush the authorization for the Iraq war, gave Bush the Military Commissions Act. They have rolled over consistently, and they even rolled over on the Iraq spending bill after Bush vetoed it, instead of saying, “Look, Bush is the one who isn't supporting the troops, because he vetoed our spending bill, even though it had timetables.” They said, “Oh, we don't want to be perceived as not supporting the troops.” This has been a congress that has remained terrorized by the Bush administration since 9/11.


AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the torture of prisoners, one of the titles of one of your chapters?

MARJORIE COHN: Torture is illegal under our law. It’s illegal under three treaties we have ratified: the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. And notwithstanding the Bush administration's distaste for treaties and so-called international law, our Constitution has a provision called the Supremacy Clause. And it says that treaties shall be the supreme law of the land. That means that treaties are US law, and pursuant to those treaties, we’ve enacted two federal US statutes, the Torture Statute and the War Crimes Act. And under the War Crimes Act, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions constitute war crimes.

So torture is illegal all the time. And, in fact, the Torture Convention says no exceptional circumstances, even a state of war, can ever be used as a justification for torture. And yet, pursuant to a carefully thought-out policy and memos written in the Department of Justice by John Yoo and David Addington and others, there has been a policy of torture and abuse that comes from the highest levels. It’s not just a few bad apples, and it’s gone on in Abu Ghraib prison, all around Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo and in the CIA black sites around the world.

AMY GOODMAN: What about this piece Jane Mayer has just written? You may not have gotten a chance to read it, in The New Yorker magazine, but on the CIA’s black site, the US network of secret overseas prisons that you’re talking about, Mayer reports that the International Committee of the Red Cross has concluded the CIA’s detention interrogation methods are tantamount to torture. Sources told her that this confidential Red Cross report that US officials -- warned US officials that they may have committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and may have violated the US Torture Act. The Red Cross issued the confidential report to the Bush administration last year. But according to the reporter, The New Yorker reporter, Jane Mayer, only a handful of people inside the administration have seen it.

MARJORIE COHN: Well, that means, if that’s true -- and I believe it is, given the evidence that we see continually coming out of the whistleblowers and the Red Cross and the UN commissions that have been investigating -- that means that Bush administration officials are guilty of war crimes. But one of the things that the Military Commissions Act does is to give immunity to Bush officials for these war crimes that they’ve committed. And so they -- and this is pursuant to these legal memos, these so-called legal memos by John Yoo and David Addington, which basically informed Bush how to torture and get away with it, how to get around liability under the War Crimes Act.


AMY GOODMAN: Marjorie Cohn, a lot of people talk about the war as being a terrible mistake. You don't. You go way further than that.

MARJORIE COHN: Yeah. The war was a premeditated, deliberate violation of the law. The UN Charter, also a treaty, also part of US law, says the only two instances where a country can use force against another is in self-defense or when the Security Council agrees. And there was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to us or to any other country. He hadn't invaded any country for twelve years, since Kuwait, and he had really been -- his military had been neutered by the Gulf War, by the punishing sanctions, by the bombings in the no-fly zones. And the Bush administration knew that. They knew that, and yet they sold this war. They sold this war.

They intended to invade Iraq since way before 9/11. And now it’s really clear why they did that. And that is, to install huge permanent military bases, the biggest in the world, and the biggest US embassy in the world in Baghdad and to privatize Iraq's oil. They’re trying to push through this Iraqi oil law that even Congress is touting as a benchmark for Iraqi progress, and it would give control of three-quarters of Iraq’s oil to foreign oil companies.

And yet, we see the leading Democratic candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is saying, well, she is not talking about taking the bases out. She’s saying we’d leave a force there, which means we would leave the bases there. So -- and I don't hear anyone but Kucinich [also Ron Paul] actually talking about an end to the occupation, which is what we should be talking about.

But I think that it’s very important not to say the war was a mistake, the war is being fought incompetently. The war is illegal, and it’s also immoral. It’s killing thousands of US soldiers. It’s killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, and it’s draining our National Treasury. And the majority of American people know this, but Congress has not caught on yet.

-- excerpts from yesterday's Democracy Now program.


To uncritical supporters of the Democratic Party, I say this is not a time for partisan politics. To use the American people’s frustration with Bush as political leverage in the 2008 elections, and to ignore the constitutional responsibility the legislative branch has to hold the executive branch accountable through the impeachment process, flies in the face of our democracy. People are dying in Iraq because of Bush’s lies; people are being tortured in Guantanamo because of Bush’s disregard for the Constitution and international law; and the American people are loosing faith in our democracy. But, Congress doesn’t get that, and that is why their current approval rating is lower than Bush’s.

-- Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., The Black Commentator

Thursday, August 02, 2007

As usual, Lucy has the answer

"But I’m wondering who cast the spell that has frozen every single person with the power to expose these people for the small-minded evil little shits they are into a completely inexplicable attitude of business as usual."


As I said in the previous post, the Democratic elite are spawned by the same corrupt system that produces the Republican leadership. They serve, essentially, the same interests. Because no human organization is a complete monolith, there are of course differences in emphasis, different approaches to policy, different constituencies to be served (or snowed) etc. between the two parties. And it may well be, as Noam Chomsky noted before the 2004 election, that even minute mitigations in the operation of vast power structures can translate into real benefits for many ordinary people, simply due to the scale on which such structures operate. For example, it is almost certain that no Democratic administration would have cut off aid to women's health clinics around the world as the Bush Administration has done -- a heinous act that has resulted in death and suffering for untold thousands of the world's most vulnerable people. That is no small thing.

But the fact that one mafia boss gives groceries to Grandma while another one steals her blind and leaves her out on the street doesn't change the fact that both bosses are part of the same criminal system, operating on the same principles of violence, extortion, arbitrary rule and lawlessness.

Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque


Synonymous with "American?"

His image of non-Americans, which he repeated no fewer than six times, is of a child looking up at a helicopter. We’re in the helicopter. Or we are the helicopter, I don’t know. Foreigners, though, are definitely children in this scenario. “That child looking up at the helicopter must see America and feel hope.” “I will speak directly to that child who looks up at that helicopter, and my message will be clear: ‘You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.’” “The America I know is the last, best hope for that child looking up at a helicopter.”

WIIIAI on Obama's foreign policy speech

American helicopters of hope make about as much sense as cruise missiles of compassion. These are, presumably, military helicopters.

I was in Jacksonville, Florida, recently. Big Naval town. Fighter jets were flying directly overhead everyday. Loud as hell. Ugly. Obnoxious. Cold as the grave instruments of death. I wasn't even looking at them from a foreign country, where I would stand a good chance of having lost a loved one through aerial bombardment, and there was absolutely nothing hopeful about them.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fact and fiction

I've been ill lately, and I'm trying to chalk up a feeling of hopelessness to that.

Also, I've been catching up on Harry Potter (I dropped him after book 4) and have been amazed at the artist's ability to tap into societal issues.

I mean, zealots in ascendance at the Ministry, rule by decree at Hogwarts, deatheaters and dementors sucking the life out of everything -- hello BushCo and its army of enablers.

And while I still have most of book 6 and all of book 7 to go, I'm anticipating the end of the Bush era quite a bit more than the end of the Harry Potter series.

But I’m wondering who cast the spell that has frozen every single person with the power to expose these people for the small-minded evil little shits they are into a completely inexplicable attitude of business as usual.


PS: A Tiny Revolution has impeachment news