Saturday, May 15, 2004

One last thing for the night, what do you all think about Tort Reform?

I'm just curious. One of the measures people want to get on the ballet here in Oregon is some Tort Reform stuff and some Medical Malpractice stuff. On one hand it seems to lower costs to consumers and to doctors, making doctors be able to work at poorer places (in theory). On the other hand it seems to sort of reward negligence.
I should get to bed.


Here are some thoughts on

Torture is now called a “special-access operation.” I suppose it does have a certain ring to it.
And now the shortened version of the article.

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of √©lite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.
According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

“Rumsfeld’s goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target—a standup group to hit quickly,” a former high-level intelligence official told me. “He got all the agencies together—the C.I.A. and the N.S.A.—to get pre-approval in place. Just say the code word and go.” The operation had across-the-board approval from Rumsfeld and from Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser. President Bush was informed of the existence of the program, the former intelligence official said.
“The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want.’”
Cambone was a strong advocate for war against Iraq. He shared Rumsfeld’s disdain for the analysis and assessments proffered by the C.I.A., viewing them as too cautious, and chafed, as did Rumsfeld, at the C.I.A.’s inability, before the Iraq war, to state conclusively that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction. Cambone’s military assistant, Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, was also controversial. Last fall, he generated unwanted headlines after it was reported that, in a speech at an Oregon church, he equated the Muslim world with Satan.
The study concluded, “Politically, the U.S. has failed to date. Insurgencies can be fixed or ameliorated by dealing with what caused them in the first place. The disaster that is the reconstruction of Iraq has been the key cause of the insurgency. There is no legitimate government, and it behooves the Coalition Provisional Authority to absorb the sad but unvarnished fact that most Iraqis do not see the Governing Council”—the Iraqi body appointed by the C.P.A.—“as the legitimate authority. Indeed, they know that the true power is the CPA.”
The solution, endorsed by Rumsfeld and carried out by Stephen Cambone, was to get tough with those Iraqis in the Army prison system who were suspected of being insurgents. A key player was Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the detention and interrogation center at Guant√°namo, who had been summoned to Baghdad in late August to review prison interrogation procedures. The internal Army report on the abuse charges, written by Major General Antonio Taguba in February, revealed that Miller urged that the commanders in Baghdad change policy and place military intelligence in charge of the prison. The report quoted Miller as recommending that “detention operations must act as an enabler for interrogation.”

(The Bush Administration had unilaterally declared Al Qaeda and other captured members of international terrorist networks to be illegal combatants, and not eligible for the protection of the Geneva Conventions.)
Rumsfeld and Cambone went a step further, however: they expanded the scope of the sap, bringing its unconventional methods to Abu Ghraib. The commandos were to operate in Iraq as they had in Afghanistan. The male prisoners could be treated roughly, and exposed to sexual humiliation.

Cambone then made another crucial decision, the former intelligence official told me: not only would he bring the sap’s rules into the prisons; he would bring some of the Army military-intelligence officers working inside the Iraqi prisons under the sap’sauspices. “So here are fundamentally good soldiers—military-intelligence guys—being told that no rules apply,” the former official, who has extensive knowledge of the special-access programs, added. “And, as far as they’re concerned, this is a covert operation, and it’s to be kept within Defense Department channels.”
In a separate interview, a Pentagon consultant, who spent much of his career directly involved with special-access programs, spread the blame. “The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to Cambone,” he said. “This is Cambone’s deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program.” When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to Cambone. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, “but he’s responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, we’ve changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means.”
The Patai book, an academic told me, was “the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior.” In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged—“one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation.”
“I was told that the purpose of the photographs was to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population.” The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about pending insurgency action, the consultant said. If so, it wasn’t effective; the insurgency continued to grow.
The Pentagon’s attitude last January, he said, was “Somebody got caught with some photos. What’s the big deal? Take care of it.” Rumsfeld’s explanation to the White House, the official added, was reassuring: “‘We’ve got a glitch in the program. We’ll prosecute it.’ The cover story was that some kids got out of control.”
The program was protected by the fact that no one on the outside was allowed to know of its existence. “If you even give a hint that you’re aware of a black program that you’re not read into, you lose your clearances,” the former official said. “Nobody will talk. So the only people left to prosecute are those who are undefended—the poor kids at the end of the food chain.”
“In an odd way,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said, “the sexual abuses at Abu Ghraib have become a diversion for the prisoner abuse and the violation of the Geneva Conventions that is authorized.” Since September 11th, Roth added, the military has systematically used third-degree techniques around the world on detainees. “Some jags hate this and are horrified that the tolerance of mistreatment will come back and haunt us in the next war,” Roth told me. “We’re giving the world a ready-made excuse to ignore the Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld has lowered the bar.”

Some thoughts and a cartoon

I'm still reading the Hersh article, I'll post my comments about it soon, but first. A thought came to me. 9-11 will take up a page in American History books. There will be a photo of a plane hitting a tower, and maybe a bullet point thing at the bottom about the patriot act.
Oh, also check out this cartoon.
I just finished "Berkeley at War" for you History of American Radicalism class. War really good, gave me a much better grounding in what caused this capitalistic post-modern society we live in.
"The hippies brought a more casual, permissive attitude toward sex and drugs, an open expression of personality through clothes and hair, the sanctification of leisure in lieu of the work ethic, the adoption of born-again Christianity or eastern religions, and the acceptance of rock music."
Think of the antithisis of these things (and mayhap the result too) HIV/AIDS, consumerism and the nike lable (expressing one's personality through clothing), leisure into "bread and circisus), individualistic religion, and making music people into gods.
Interestingly the tactics of the students are lifted from Civil Right's actions in the south, Rock and Roll was lifted from Jazz. Things never change, today white kids ride tiny bikes as poor African Americans in the Ghettos did, difference being that the African Americans did it because they couldn't afford a new bike dumb white kids doit because they assume it makes them look cool. From Elvis to Slim Shady.

Operation "Copper Green"

That was the name of Rumsfeld's sexual humiliation operation in the war against terror performed in Iraq.

Report: Rumsfeld OK'd Prisoner Program

"NEW YORK - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the expansion of a secret program that encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners to obtain intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq (news - web sites), The New Yorker reported Saturday."

But... But Bush said Rumsfeld was "doing a superb job"! What is superb about torture?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

BIG NEWS: We are out of Iraq

If the interium government asks the US to leave we are gone.

Trying to post pictures again

Does this work?

The Pope vs. the President

Mind you, as a Lutheran I believe myself to be my own "Priest, Bishop, and Pope," so "the Pope" has been critiquing Bush's policy for a time now. That said here is the article.

Pope John Paul II is expected to warn President George W. Bush when the two men meet on June 4 that his policy in Iraq is wrong and the actions of US troops are damaging efforts to bring religions closer together, a senior Vatican official said Thursday.

Cardinal Pio Laghi said the US-led occupation force in Iraq should be replaced by "a multinational presence which is not dominated by those who wanted and fought the war".

It was not enough for a military force in Iraq not to be under US command, "it must not even give the impression that it is", he said.

The secret of a long and happy marriage appears to be not to expect too much from it.

US researchers say that, unless you have superior relationship skills, your hopes of cosy coupledom are likely to be dashed.

Far better, they say, to aim low to ensure you are not disappointed.

The key to keeping that newlywed glow appears to be forgiveness and communication.

Check out the link. The story goes on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


These are pictures of Berg getting his head cut off. Don't look at it if you are decent human being. Still maybe we need to see the horror, maybe.

We have met the Enemy and it is us

Another good cartoon

Election 2004 so far

I thought this was a pretty cute cartoon.

The Questions

The Questions
1. Did Jesus ever get jaded? Nihilistic? Sexually aroused? Angry? Passive? Emotionally hurt?
2. Is suicide the ultimate sin? Is it “blaspheming the spirit?”
3. We all have heard that the Hebrew Scriptures pre-figure the New Testament. My question is, how do some of the histories fit into that?
4. Is there a spoon? (Yeah, crappie reference, but such is life)
5. Is there such a thing as a “safe” spirituality? Or is following a greater will in and of itself always dangerous?
6. Can/should Christians be sceptics?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

A Link to Air America

My music

I think I've posted this link before. This is my online radio station, it plays only the songs I tell it to (in theory).
My top five artists are:
1. KRS-One
2. Enya
3. Tracy Chapman
4. Peter, Paul & Mary
5. David Sanborn
I'm sure my parents will get a kick out of the fact that I listen to PP&M. For that matter I'm sure my Dad will be pleased that I listen to The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.
Yeah, just another side of me.

Iraq is no Vietnam

Give up on "Eyk Naphlu Giborim."

The answer is. "How the Mighty have fallen."


Here is a pretty good article about the Neo-economists in the Bush Administration.While neoconservatives in the Bush administration remake American foreign policy, another cadre of ideologues—call them the neoconomists—is busy attempting to transform American society.

The revolution in economic policy is not being televised. There was no big speech by President Bush to mark its birth, no "Axis of Evil" catchphrase designed to capture headlines. Yet it is every bit as dramatic and risky a change.

The neoconomists have one goal: to increase the rate at which the economy grows by changing how the nation uses its resources. It is a worthy goal, too. Following such as path could lead to a period of untold prosperity, with living standards rising faster than ever before. Or it might not. But even if the plan works, it might just lead to the collapse of the capitalist system.

Wealthier people derive more of their income from returns on saving—both in dollar terms and as a proportion of income—than poor people do. When taxes on the return from savings suddenly disappear, the wealthy benefit the most. It may be that people who depend on their jobs for income will benefit, too, in the long run, thanks to an expanding economy and rising wages. But for several years, in all likelihood, the income gap will continue to widen.

That income gap poses some real dangers to the economy and even to the earnings of the wealthy. With rising inequality, it's harder for poor people to obtain economic opportunities, because chances to get education and training, or to bring ideas to market, depend on money as well as talent, and because the number of these opportunities is limited.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Hebrew time. What does this phrase mean?
Eyk Naphlu Giborim.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

This seems to be upside down. I'm trying to figure out how to right it.
Remember Right after september 11th. Everyone stood by us.
Here are some links so we do't forget.
My question is what happened to all that support. Is it simply that Bush's policies destroyed all the support? Or is it instead that all this support was simply a cloud of dust, like the debri from the trade center, that blew away in the wind?