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  Sunday   February 26   2006

danger, danger, will robinson


But just in case they're not, this might give you some time to get ready...

"The Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020 (LEAP/E2020) now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006 will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929. This last week of March 2006 will be the turning-point of a number of critical developments, resulting in an acceleration of all the factors leading to a major crisis, disregard any American or Israeli military intervention against Iran. In case such an intervention is conducted, the probability of a major crisis to start rises up to 100%, according to LEAP/E2020.


This is a must read. And be sure to read his links. They are a must read, too. One big item is that Iran is going to start taking Euros for oil. The last guy to try that was Saddam Hussein and we know what happened to him. The nuclear shit is just a smokescreen.

 10:45 PM - link


Andrew Moore


  thanks to Conscientious

Review: Russia by Andrew Moore

It's probably a futile endeavour to try to define what it is that spearates great photography from not-so-great photography. Often, great photography shows you something that you haven't seen before. But there's also great photography that shows you something that you haven't seen that way before. Andrew Moore's Russia is a book that does the latter.


 10:39 PM - link


All at sea in the Middle East's perfect storm

Sectarian revenge attacks and widening divisions in the wake of the Samarra mosque bombing have intensified fears of irreversible descent into all-out civil war in Iraq. But it is unclear what the US and Britain, lacking new ideas and facing a perfect storm of troubles across the Middle East, can do to stop it.


Scenes from the bombing of one of the holiest Shia sites in Iraq.

by Riverbend

Things are not good in Baghdad.

There was an explosion this morning in a mosque in Samarra, a largely Sunni town. While the mosque is sacred to both Sunnis and Shia, it is considered one of the most important Shia visiting places in Iraq. Samarra is considered a sacred city by many Muslims and historians because it was made the capital of the Abassid Empire, after Baghdad, by the Abassid Caliph Al-Mu’tasim.


Volatile Days...
by Riverbend

The last few days have been unsettlingly violent in spite of the curfew. We’ve been at home simply waiting it out and hoping for the best. The phone wasn’t working and the electrical situation hasn’t improved. We are at a point, however, where things like electricity, telephones and fuel seem like minor worries. Even complaining about them is a luxury Iraqis can’t afford these days.

The sounds of shooting and explosions usually begin at dawn, at least that’s when I first sense them, and they don’t really subside until well into the night. There was a small gunfight on the main road near our area the day before yesterday, but with the exception of the local mosque being fired upon, and a corpse found at dawn three streets down, things have been relatively quiet.


Many, many, many links from Juan Cole. Too many links to mention. Just go read.

Tomgram: Mark Engler on the Real Costs of the War in Iraq

Questions about the price of war keep resurfacing not because there's a credible argument for most Americans that the price is reasonable, but because our elected officials thus far have only pushed those costs ever higher. What remains, then, is for the public to hold accountable those who would carry forward the neoconservative crusade -- to make their stance a costly one in public life. What remains is for us bring the political price of war into line with the human and financial costs that we will continue to bear.


On The Brink In Iraq

With Iraq perched at the very precipice of an ethnic and sectarian holocaust, the utter failure of the Bush administration’s policy is revealed with starkest clarity. Iraq may or may not fall into the abyss in the next few days and weeks, but what is no longer in doubt is who is to blame: If Iraq is engulfed in civil war then Americans, Iraqis and the international community must hold President Bush and Vice President Cheney responsible for the destruction of Iraq.


Even Mr. Conservative has given up.

It Didn’t Work
William F. Buckley, Jr.

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.


 10:30 PM - link



1. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Birdwell

According to a reliable source,* Norman Birdwell, a close personal friend of Karl Marx and adviser to Pol Pot, was a card-carrying member of the American Communist Party. The metaphor is obvious: a big red canine teaches children the importance of sharing and working together. (While cleverly ignoring the consequences of such un-American behavior.)

Stories include "Clifford Goes to School" and "Clifford Goes to Work, Where He Organizes a Workers' Revolution." Noticeably absent from the collection of short stories are those resulting from the success of the red menace's machinations, such as "Clifford Institutes a Five-Year Plan" or "Clifford Murders Political Dissidents."

* Former Senator Joseph McCarthy


 09:56 PM - link

Helena Cobban Is in Israel and Palestine. This is a reporter that can speak the language and can talk to all the players. She is reporting regularly and this is something to follow.

In Jerusalem

JWN readers might like to know that I arrived in Jerusalem yesterday. I'm staying in a very calm hotel in East Jerusalem... Listening to a tinny church bell as I write this, having earlier heard the noon-time call to prayer from the minaret of the Sheikh Jarrah Mosque.

I'll be in Israel and Palestine for the next 18 days, reporting on the political developments in both communities-- I 'll be writing a couple of pieces for Salon.com as well as my usual print outlets: the CSM and Boston Review. So it'll probably be hard work, as well as really interesting. The logistics have been just a touch challenging. The hotel here has the funkiest electric sockets, and I've been figuring whether any combination of my plug-adapters can be rammed into them. (Yes-- but it also involves poking a pen into the socket at the same time... Don't ask.) The SIM card in my phone had timed out, and I had to buy a new one. And the zipper on my suitcase got shot. Grrr.

But those are minor inconveniences. Mainly, it's just good to be back. I think this is my 10th visit to Israel and Palestine. Back in 1989, Bill and our then-4-year-old and I spent most of the summer here in Jerusalem-- I was doing some research on Palestinians and Israelis and nonviolence.


Iran, Israel, Palestine

So the Iranian authorities have said they will help the incoming Palestinian 'government' to meet the budget shortfall created by Israel's decision not to hand over the customs revenues that they've been collecting on the Palestinians' behalf (less a 3.5% 'collection fee') for several years now.


Conversations in Jerusalem, #1

My schedule here in Israel and Palestine is gradually coming together. I decided I needed to get a bit more specific in defining what I want to report while here... Well, that process continues over time, anyway, with serendipity and learning both having their effect on raw intentionality.


The Hamas perspective

Hamas Chief Whip Mahmoud Ramahi said yesterday that the party would be prepared to have the Palestinians' 'foreign affairs' conducted by the (Fateh-dominated) PLO, rather than insisting that it be the responsibility of the new Hamas-led government of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

That was the main highlight of an interview I conducted in Ramullah yesterday with Dr. Ramahi, an Italian-trained anesthesiologist who is the "party whip" for Hamas's new 74-person bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council.


Life, logistics, Jerusalem

I am still waiting for my Israeli press card to come through! This is a pain, as I can't get to Gaza without it. But tomorrow I'm going down to Tel Aviv to talk to some folks there.


 09:52 PM - link


Joerg has a bunch of links to a photographer I wasn't aware of. Wow!

Ruth Bernhard: Eternal Gifts ~ A Retrospective


Ruth Bernhard

Ruth Bernhard

Ruth Bernhard | Between Art and Life

Ruth Bernhard: Fifty Images Celebrating the Artist's 100th Year

Ruth Bernhard

Ruth Bernhard

 09:08 PM - link


Suicide Bombing of Saudi Oil Complex Foiled
by Juan Cole

We all just dodged a bullet. But for how long?

The good news is that the suicide bombing by unidentified radicals against the Saudi oil processing center in largely Shiite Abqaiq (Baqiq) was foiled, though bombs did go off.

Saudi Arabia, dominated by hard line Wahhabi Sunnis, produces about 9.5 million barrels a day of petroleum, and exports over 7 million barrels a day.

Folks, the world only produces about 85 million barrels a day. And most of that is used up by the producers so it isn't available for export. The US, for instance, produces 5.5 million barrels a day, but it uses about 20 million barrels a day. It uses all of its production and then 3 times that from other countries.

So the Saudi production is 11 percent of the world total, but it is far more than that of the amount of petroleum available for anyone else to buy.

If you took out the facility at Abqaiq, it would be very bad news for world transportation systems.


 08:48 PM - link

poster art

Related Documents on Air-Raid Precautions and Civil Defense, Illustrated Posters of "Air-Raid Defense," General

It is the poster which the Red Cross Museum edited to let "air defense thought" infiltrate the natio in 1938 by guidance of the East, the Central and the West Defense Headquarters.


  thanks to Magpie

 08:42 PM - link


Saving Democracy
by Bill Moyers

At the heart of this story is a metaphor of power. The Vice President turned his host, the lobbyist who is also the ranch owner, into his de facto news manager. She would disclose the shooting only when Cheney was ready and only on his terms. Sure enough, nothing was made public for almost 20 hours until she finally leaked the authorized version to the local newspaper. Ms. Armstrong suggested the blame lay with the victim, who, she indicated, had failed to inform the Vice President of his whereabouts and walked into a hail of friendly fire. Three days later Cheney revised the story and apologized. Don’t you wonder what went back and forth with the White House that long night of trying to agree on the official line?

We do know someone from the hunting party was in touch with Karl Rove at the White House. For certain Rove’s the kind of fellow you want on the other end of the line when great concoctions are being hatched, especially if you wish the victim to hang for the crime committed against him.

Watching these people work is a study of the inner circle at the top of American politics. The journalist Sidney Blumenthal, writing on Salon.com, reminds us of the relationship between the Armstrong dynasty and the Bush family and its retainers. Armstrong’s father invested in Rove’s political consulting firm that managed George W. Bush’s election as governor of Texas and as president. Her mother, Anne Armstrong, is a longtime Republican activist and donor. Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board after her tenure as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Ford, whose chief of staff was a young Dick Cheney. Anne Armstrong served on the board of directors of Halliburton that hired Cheney to run the company. Her daughter, Katherine Armstrong, host of the hunting party, was once a lobbyist for the powerful Houston law firm founded by the family of James A. Baker III, who was chief of staff to Reagan, Secretary of State under the first George Bush, and the man designated by the Bush family to make sure the younger Bush was named President in 2000 despite having lost the popular vote. According to Blumenthal, one of her more recent lobbying jobs was with a large construction firm with contracts in Iraq.

It is a Dick Cheney world out there – a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests.


  thanks to Magpie

 08:37 PM - link