November 6th, 2006

Chris Keeley

The Neo-Cons sorrow...]

Dear Friends,

You might be interested to compare the remarks in the attached reports
with the essays (on my website) I wrote in 2002 and 2003 /before/ we
lost 2,800 young men and women dead, over 20,000 maimed, another 50,000
suffering life-long results of concussions, about 40,000 or more with
serious psychiatric problems and who knows how many more likely to get
cancer from the use of depleted uranium (which on impact produces a
particularly lethal isotope that locks on to DNA in the bodies of
everyone within range) and were complicit in the deaths of -- I wrote in
my last book 100,000 -- Iraqis for which I was charged with
exaggeration. The best estimate now is /six times that many/, about
600,000. The war will cost us in Congressional outlays alone about $500
billion and, in the whole impact on our country, between $1 and $2
/trillion./ And ran up huge overseas debts: $540 billion in 2004 alone.

Now, it is a little late to begin the "blame game." Who was most
responsible? Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Bush? Our
most senior and experienced generals have blamed them. Of course, they
are right. But that they are only the top of the pile. It is we who are
ultimately responsible. Truman was wrong. The "buck" does not stop with
the president in democracy. It stops with the citizens. We did not
demand answers to even simple questions, accepted half-truths and lies
at face value. The press let us down, as at least a part of it now
admits, but we did not demand it do better. Congress totally ducked its
responsibility, never calling to question those who were making the
decisions, never trying to educate itself and certainly not the public
with public hearings. Nothing comparable to what Senator Fulbright did
during the Viet Nam war was even thought of in the Senate or House.

We just sat, fat and happy, in "the best of all possible worlds" until
the roof fell in on us. It hasn't finished falling yet. And much that is
ugly and illegal has yet to come out. Billions of dollars were stolen in
Iraq. $9 billion right off the top during the "watch" of Paul Bremer.
That was money turned over to him by the UN on the condition of
accountability. It belonged to Iraq. It was never accounted for and has
disappeared. Hundreds of millions of other dollars "were disappeared" as
they say in another context. One I have just learned about is that when
the two sons of Saddam were killed by our forces, they found nearly $100
million in their hideaway. That money vanished. Who could have taken it?
The only people there were our men. Allegedly, throughout Iraq, where we
were handing out American taxpayers money for a variety of purposes much
-- certainly in the millions of dollars -- was stolen, more was paid in
kickbacks and still more in questionable activities. And, as you have
read in the last few days, a senator slipped a rider in a bill to
abolish the post of inspector general. Better not to know. What a change
for America. If you go back and listen to reports during the Viet Nam
war, we all then believed that at least Americans were incorruptible.
Our people may not have been the smartest but we were sure they were
honest. Now we cannot be so sure. Does anyone care? Apparently not, but
if we allow our own system to be corrupted, we are truly in mortal danger.
William R. Polk

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Science Magazine is warning the world could be without edible fish in just over 40 years.

25,000 Protest Against Climate Change in London
As many 25,000 people rallied in London on Saturday to mark the International Day of Climate Action. The march began with a rally at the US Embassy. Protestors carried banners reading "George Bush wanted for crimes against the planet." Meanwhile in Kenya, over 6,000 delegates have gathered for a new round of UN talks on climate change. On Sunday the United Nations warned that global warming could devastate the continent of Africa. A new UN report found that seventy million people could face risks of coastal flooding within 75 years linked to rising seas. More than a quarter of African wildlife habitats also risked destruction. Kenya’s Environment Minister Kivutha Kibwana told delegates "Climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the most serious threats that humanity may ever face."

Report: World Could Be Without Fish Within 40 Years
In other environmental news, a new study in Science Magazine is warning the world could be without edible fish in just over 40 years. The study found that fish stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating.

Military Papers Call for Rumsfeld to Resign
The editors of the nation’s four main military newspapers have called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. The editorial appears today in the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times. The editorial states "It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads." The editorial goes on to say "Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed." The Army Times and the others papers are civilian owned but distributed to troops across the globe.

Neoconservatives Publicly Criticize Iraq War
Meanwhile Vanity Fair is reporting a number of prominent neoconservatives who advocated for the invasion of Iraq are now criticizing President Bush’s handling of the war. The list includes former Pentagon advisers Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman; former Presidential speechwriter David Frum; and Michael Rubin, a former senior official in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. Richard Perle admitted that huge mistakes were made in Iraq. Perle criticized Vanity Fair because he claimed he had been promised that his remarks would not be published until after the mid-term election.

Bush Attempts to Silence Prisoners Once Held in CIA Jails
The Washington Post is reporting that the Bush administration has told a federal judge that prisoners once held in secret CIA jail should never be allowed to reveal to their civilian attorney details of how they were interrogated. The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are among the nation’s most sensitive national security secrets and that their release could cause extremely grave damage. Gitanjali Gutierrez, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights said the government is trying to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct. Northwestern University law professor Joseph Margulies said that this means prisoners would be barred from even saying what the government did to them to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held. Margulies said "Kafka-esque doesn’t do it justice. This is ‘Alice in Wonderland.’"

Christian Evangelical Leader Ted Haggard Admits Sexually Immoral Conduct
And the Christian evangelical leader Ted Haggard admitted on Sunday to being a deceiver and liar who had committed sexually immoral conduct. Up until last week Haggard was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. But the minister was forced to resign after a male prostitute in Denver revealed that Haggard had regularly visited his apartment for the past three years for sex and drugs. Haggard at first denied the allegations. He wrote a letter to his congregation admitting that he had sinned. His letter was read by the Rev. Larry Stockstill, from the pulpit on Sunday. The letter read, "The fact is, I am guilty of sexually immoral conduct. I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a side of me so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it most of my adult life."

Chris Keeley

Mr. Bush has been in the habit of declaring that he has the right to disobey the law he has just sig

Limiting the Damage

President Bush isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But this election is, nonetheless, all about him. The question is whether voters will pry his fingers loose from at least some of the levers of power, thereby limiting the damage he can inflict in his two remaining years in office.

There are still some people urging Mr. Bush to change course. For example, a scathing editorial published today by The Military Times, which calls on Mr. Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld, declares that “this is not about the midterm elections.” But the editorial’s authors surely know better than that. Mr. Bush won’t fire Mr. Rumsfeld; he won’t change strategy in Iraq; he won’t change course at all, unless Congress forces him to.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Arbus’s life with her husband and children gives way to her life in the strange apartment, which is

Arbus’s life with her husband and children gives way to her life in the strange apartment, which is half junk shop, half enchanted castle. Lionel introduces her to a netherworld of outcasts and freaks, whom the movie handles as domesticated trolls. They go to parties at which the subjects of Arbus’s later portraits—dwarfs and transvestites and even the Jewish giant himself—sit around and make polite chatter.

“Fur” and “A Good Year.”
Issue of 2006-11-13
Posted 2006-11-06

Nicole Kidman, who assumes the role of Diane Arbus in “Fur,” is unique among modern movie stars in her willingness to take on tough parts and put herself in the hands of little-known or art-house directors. And it’s not hard to see why filmmakers as varied as Jane Campion (“The Portrait of a Lady”), Jonathan Glazer (“Birth”), and Lars von Trier (“Dogville”) have wanted to play Pygmalion to her Galatea. She’s responsive, eager, and gentle; her tactile flesh takes the light better than anyone else’s; her confiding smile can turn demanding and perverse, and yet she still seems fresh, as if she’d taken up acting last month. But, while other actresses have successfully searched for mentors—Marlene Dietrich found her way to Josef von Sternberg, Bette Davis landed in William Wyler’s productions at Warners, and Diane Keaton teamed up with Woody Allen—Kidman hasn’t always been lucky in her choices, and her taste in scripts is often as shaky as it is brave. As Arbus, she re-creates the waiflike and recessive quality that many noticed in the photographer, but the screenplay, by Erin Cressida Wilson, doesn’t allow her to do much else. Although the subtitle of the movie is “An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” Wilson and the director, Steven Shainberg, draw on Arbus’s family and on many elements from her life and her art, only to turn the material into feeble nonsense.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

photographer Dorothea Lange

During the winter of 1942, in the first heated months of America’s war with Japan, the United States government ordered tens of thousands of people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them American citizens, to report to assembly centers throughout the West for transfer to internment camps.

800 new images from the period by the photographer Dorothea Lange have been unearthed in the National Archives, where they had lain neglected for a half-century after having been impounded by the government.

In this 1942 Dorothea Lange photograph from the newly published “Impounded,” a family in Hayward, Calif., awaits an evacuation bus. 

People of Japanese ancestry arriving at Tanforan Assembly Center, a former racetrack in San Bruno, Calif. 

Inside a barracks apartment at Tanforan

Horse stalls at Tanforan that were transformed into living quarters for internees.

Chris Keeley

Robert Fisk: "This was a guilty verdict on America as wel" (INDEPENDENT)

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Transmitted below is Robert Fisk's properly nuanced reflection on the
death sentence pronounced yesterday against Saddam Hussein.

As Fisk notes, in today's Iraq, it is far from clear that death is a
worse fate than life.

 Robert Fisk: This was a guilty verdict on America as well

       Published: 06 November 2006

So America's one-time ally has been sentenced to death for war crimes he
committed when he was Washington's best friend in the Arab world.
America knew all about his atrocities and even supplied the gas - along
with the British, of course - yet there we were yesterday declaring it
to be, in the White House's words, another "great day for Iraq". That's
what Tony Blair announced when Saddam Hussein was pulled from his hole
in the ground on 13 December 2003. And now we're going to string him up,
and it's another great day.

Collapse )