February 19th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Why North Korea and Not the Middle East

One more article, full of common sense, from the redoubtable Rami Khouri.


Why North Korea and Not the Middle East?
*by Rami G. KhouriReleased: 18 Feb 2007

BEIRUT -- The very sensible six-nation agreement reached with North
Korea earlier this week to end its nuclear armaments program came at a
time when more details were being circulated about an Iranian offer to
the United States in Spring 2003, which addressed all bilateral issues
that have chilled relations between Tehran and Washington. The contrast
between the American-brokered deal reached with North Korea and the
continuing saber-rattling going on with Iran is stark, and perhaps
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Brent Budowsky letter to WaPo re Toensing's piece in Outlook section

Many thanks for this message, which I will now circulate. (I trust you
have no objection.) It saves me from having to write my own letter to
the Post, which would be different, but probably much less effective. My
arguments would be her avoidance of the actual story.  Jury tampering
did not occur to me, but that is the most serious charge. I don't think
the Post has any answer for that, given that the jury will now begin its
deliberations. I expect the judge will declare a mistrial. (The jury is
not sequestered.) A mistrial is probably what Libby's friends hoped for.
The verdict of course has little relevance to what was the main issue:
the campaign by the White House to discredit Wilson with the ridiculous
charge that his report was not credible because his wife "sent him on
the trip"! And that it wasn't Cheney's pressure on the CIA that forced
the CIA to send someone to Niger (on a pleasurable boondoggle?), where
the only thing worse than spending one week there is spending two weeks

Grayson wrote:
> *From Brent Budowsky  *
> *http://noquarter.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/02/brent_budowsky_.html#more*
> *February 18, 2007
> To: Robert Kaiser, Washington Post*
> *Mr. Kaiser, I am forwarding below the note I wrote to Messrs. Graham
> and Hiatt about Outlook's Victoria Toensing piece today.*
> *With all due respect, I have long admired your work, but that piece
> today was the most egregious attempt at jury tampering that I have
> ever seen in this or any other town.*
> *I spent six years at the core of the group writing the CIA Identities
> Law with its original sponsor, Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Setting aside my
> great differences with both Editorial and Op Ed pages at the Post on
> this case and Iraq in general, this piece was different. It was a
> clear attempt to influence the jury, after the defense rested and
> before the jury is given the case. *
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

As if Walt & Mearsheimer needed more evidence. (The Jewish Week)

*Brandeis Donors Exact Revenge For Carter Visit*

*Major givers reportedly withholding funds from school, sparking fierce
free-speech debate on Massachusetts campus. *
*Larry Cohler-Esses - Editor At Large
The Brandeis campus is reeling in the wake of former President Jimmy
Carter's visit. *

*Major donors to Brandeis University have informed the school they will
no longer give it money in retaliation for its decision last month to
host former President Jimmy Carter, a strong critic of Israel.
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

The Source of the Nile

   Actually, a lot. The Nile River originates near the town of Jinja in
Uganda, east of Kampala, over the Ripon Falls at the north end of Lake
Victoria. It starts as the Victoria Nile in Uganda, then becomes the
Albert Nile at the north end of Lake Albert, becomes the White Nile as
it crosses the border into Sudan, then joins the Blue Nile (which
originates in Ethiopia) at Khartoum, and continues on through Egypt to
the Mediterranean.

   In the Nineteenth Century intrepid explorers were obsessed with
finding the source of the Nile, probably motivated by a wish to control
the whole river for strategic and economic reasons, and of course this
was especially true for the British, who eventually did control most of
it. John Hanning Speke (1827-64), was an explorer associate of Sir
Richard Burton. Together they explored East Africa (1857-59), together
"discovered" Lake Tanganyika, and Speke then continued alone and
discovered the source of the Nile as described above. He published a
book in 1863 "proving" his discovery of the source in Uganda. He died
the next year. There is a Speke Hotel in Kampala, Uganda named after him.

    The reference to the bodies floating down the Nile is to the use
made of it for the disposal of murdered opponents of General Idi Amin.
The crocodiles that inhabit the river helped dispose of the evidence.
    Bob Keeley

ED wrote:
> Bob,
>   What in hell does Uganda have to do with the Nile?
> Cheers,
> Ed
Chris Keeley

Parrot's oratory stuns scientists

Parrot's oratory stuns scientists
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent

N'kisi on chairback   Grace Roselli
Feathered prodigy: N'kisi leads the field
The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.

The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Perhaps only seasoned FSO's can decipher this.

Perhaps only seasoned FSO's can decipher this.

*Daily Press Briefing  [excerpt]
*Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 15, 2007

*QUESTION: Do you want to respond to Flynt Leverett's comments? I saw
you were quoted on the wires yesterday, but we haven't talked about it
in the briefing, when he said that Secretary Rice was misleading
Congress last week about this apparent Iran proposal that she said she
never saw.*

*MR. MCCORMACK: In which respect was she allegedly misleading Congress?*

*QUESTION: That she said she never saw it.*
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Jimmy Carter's Sin Against Isreal

Jimmy Carter's Sin Against Israel

By Charles Lenchner, PDA Israel/Palestine Working Group Coordinator
December 28, 2006

We all knew Jimmy Carter was in for it. Before anyone had read a single paragraph of his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” well known heavy hitters in the media were taking pot shots at the ex-president. Jennifer Siegel of the Forward got it right in saying that “critics of the former president probably will be most offended by his use of the word ‘apartheid.’”(1) In so doing, Carter departed from a particular script that leaders of the pro-Israel community were willing to tolerate from U.S. critics of Israel.
Collapse )

Chris Keeley

Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on one company that has won the right to collect $20 mi

Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on one company that has won the right to collect $20 million from the government of Zambia after buying its debt for $4 million.

Palast Hunts the Real Life Goldfinger for BBC


On Thursday 15 February a high court judge in London will rule whether so-called vulture fund can extract more than $40m from Zambia for a debt which it bought for less than $4m.

There are concerns that such funds are wiping out the benefits which international debt relief was supposed to bring to poor countries.

Martin Kalunga-Banda, Zambian presidential adviser and a consultant to Oxfam told Newsnight, "That $40m is equal to the value of all the debt relief we received last year."

Vulture funds - as defined by the International Monetary Fund and Gordon Brown amongst others - are companies which buy up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest - which might be ten times what they paid for it.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

An interesting perspective from Dr. Paul Minot, a psychiatrist in Waterville, Maine:

An interesting perspective from Dr. Paul Minot, a psychiatrist in Waterville, Maine:

George Bush's "irrational"consideration of a "surge" in the wake of the Iraq Study Group report -- which apparently defies all credible counsel -- has begun to generate speculation regarding his sanity. References to Bush's  "delusions" have appeared in the mainstream media and
throughout the blogosphere.

As a psychiatrist, I understandably get concerned when I see clinical terminology bandied about in political discourse, and thought it might be of interest to share a professional perspective on this question.  I have a distinct clinical impression that I think explains much of Mr. Bush's
visible pathology.  First and foremost, George W. Bush has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions By John P. Briggs, MD,

Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions By John P. Briggs, MD,
and J.P. Briggs II, PhD t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributors Thursday 18
January 2007

President George W. Bush prides himself on "making tough decisions." But
many are sensing something seriously troubling, even psychologically
unbalanced, about the president as a decision-maker. They are right.
Because of a psychological dynamic swirling around deeply hidden
feelings of inadequacy, the president has been driven to make
increasingly incompetent and risky decisions. This dynamic makes the
psychological stakes for him now unimaginably high. The words "success"
and "failure" have seized his rhetoric like metaphors for his psyche's

Collapse )