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Christmas Cheer

Journal Journal: /Give me one/And I'll buy you a cherry phosphate/

A couple of interesting and timely quotes, plus texttoon. Click on in.

A friend has placed in our hands numbers of the tracts which the corn-law reformers of England circulate among the people. They are about the size and length of the religious tracts of this country, and are put up in an envelope, which is stamped with neat and appropriate devices. These little publications comprise essays on all the topics involved in the corn-law controversy, sometimes in the form of dialogues, sometimes of tales, and sometimes of extracts from famous books and speeches. The arguments are arranged so as to be easily comprehended by the meanest capacities.

The friend to whom we are indebted for these is well informed on the subject, and says that a more advanced state of opinion prevails among the people of England, in relation to the operation of tariffs, than in this nation generally so much more enlightened. It is a singular spectacle which is thus presented to the eyes of the civilized world.

While the tendency of opinion, under an aristocratic monarchy, is towards the loosening of the restraints under which the labour of the people has long suffered, a large and powerful party in a nation, whose theory of government is nearly a century in advance of the world, is clamouring for their continuance and confirmation.

Monarchical England is struggling to break the chains that an unwise legislation has forged for the limbs of its trade; but democratic America is urged to put on the fetters which older but less liberal nations are throwing off. The nations of Europe are seeking to extend their commercial relations, to expand the sphere of their mutual intercourse, to rivet the market for the various products of their soil and skill, while the "model republic" of the new world is urged to stick to the silly and odious policy of a semi-barbarous age.

We look upon the attempt which is making in Great Britain to procure a revision of the tariff laws, as one of the most important political movements of the age. It is a reform that contemplates benefits, whose effects would not be confined to any single nation, or any period of time. Should it be successful, it would be the beginning of a grand and universal scheme of commercial emancipation. Let England--that nation so extensive in her relations, and so powerful in her influences--let England adopt a more liberal policy, and it would remove the only obstacles now in the way of a complete freedom of industry throughout the globe.

It is the apparent unwillingness of nations to reciprocate the advantages of mutual trade, that has kept back this desirable reform so long. The standing argument of the friends of exclusiveness--their defence under all assaults, their shelter in every emergency--has been that one nation cannot pursue a free system until all others do, or, in other words, that restriction is to be met by restriction. It is a flimsy pretence, but such as it is, has answered the purposes of those who have used it, for many centuries.

The practice of confining trade by the invisible, but potent chains of law, has been a curse wherever it has prevailed. In England, more dependent than other nations on the extent of its commercial intercourse, it may be said to have operated as a scourge. The most terrible inflictions of natural evil, storms, famine, and pestilence, have not produced an equal amount of suffering.

Indeed, it has combined the characteristics of the worst of those evils. It has devastated, like the storm, the busy hives of industry; it has exhausted, like famine, the life and vital principle of trade; and, like the pestilence, it has "walked in the darkness and wasted at noon-day." When we read of thousands of miserable wretches, in all the cities and towns of a great nation, huddled together like so many swine in a pen; in rags, squalor, and want; without work, bread, or hope; dragging out from day to day, by begging, or the petty artifices of theft, an existence which is worthless and a burden; and when, at the same time, we see a system of laws, that has carefully drawn a band of iron around every mode of human exertion; which with lynx-eyed and omniscient vigilance, has dragged every product of industry from its retreat to become the subject of a tax, can we fail in ascribing the effect to its cause, or suppress the utterance of our indignation at a policy so heartless and destructive?

Yet, this is the very policy that a certain class of politicians in this country would have us imitate. Misled by the selfish and paltry arguments of British statesmen, but unawed by the terrible experience of the British people, they would fasten upon us a system whose only recommendation, in its best form, is that it enriches a few, at the cost of the lives and happiness of many. They would assist a constrictor in wrapping his folds around us, until our industry shall be completely crushed.
--The Economist(SEPTEMBER 16, 1843, v1i3)

Let us turn our eyes down from such lofty hights and make a visit to a less exaulted view of the lot of man.

Parson Plaford seemed to be on very intimate terms with his maker. If his little finger ached, the Lord meant something by it. Yet, although he was always ready to be called home, he was still more ready to accept the doctor's advice to take a holiday when he felt unwell. The last sermon I heard him preach was delivered through a sore throat, a chronic malady which he exasperated by bawling. He told us that the work and worry were too much for him, and the doctor had ordered him rest, if he wished to live. He was going away for a week or two to see what the Lord meant to do with him; and I afterwards heard some of the prisoners wonder what the Lord was doing with him. "I speak to you as a dying man," said the chaplain, as he had said several times before when he felt unwell; and as it might be the last time he would ever preach there, he besought somebody, as a special act of gratitude, to get saved that very day.

One of the prisoners offered a different reason for the chaplain's temporary retirement. "He ain't ill, sir. I knows what 'tis. I was down at the front when your friend Mr. Ramsey went out. There was a lot of coaches and people, and the parson looked as white as a ghost. He thinks ther'll be more coaches and people when you goes out, and he's gone off sooner than see 'em."

During the chaplain's absences his locum tenens was usually a gentleman of very opposite characteristics. He was tall, thin, modest, and even diffident. He slipped into your cell, as I said before, with the deferential air of an undertaker. His speech was extremely soft and rapid, although he stuttered a little now and then from nervousness. "I suppose you know," I asked on his first visit, "what I am here for?" "Y-e-s," he stammered, with something like a blush. I said no more, for it was evident he wished to avoid the subject, and I really think he was sorry to see me persecuted in the name of Christ. He had called, he said, to see whether he could do anything for me. Could he lend me any books? I thanked him for the proffered kindness, but I had my own books to read by that time. Mr. Stubbs's sermons were much superior to Mr. Plaford's. They were almost too good for the congregation. He dwelt with fondness on the tender side of Christ's character, and seemed to look forward to a heaven which would ultimately contain everybody.

On one occasion we had a phenomenal old gentleman in the pulpit. He was white-haired but florid. His appearance was remarkably youthful, and his voice sonorous. I heard that he was assistant chaplain at one of the other London prisons. With the most exemplary fidelity he went through the morning service, omitting nothing; unlike Parson Plaford, who shortened it to leave time for his sermon. I wondered whether he would get through it by dinner-time, or whether he would continue it in the afternoon. But he just managed to secure ten minutes for his sermon, which began with these extraordinary words, that were sung out at the top of his voice: "When the philosopher observes zoophyte formations on the tops of mountains, he," etc. How singularly appropriate it was to the congregation. The sermon was not exactly "Greek" to them, but it was all "zoophyte." I heard some of them wonder when that funny old boy was coming again.

The prisoners sit in chapel on backless benches, tier above tier, from the rails in front of the clerk's desk almost to the roof behind. Two corners are boarded off within the rails, one for the F wing and the other for the debtors' wing. Above them is a long gallery, with private boxes for the governor, the doctor and the chief warder, and a pulpit for the chaplain.

Parson Plaford used to make a great noise in closing the heavy door behind the pulpit, leading to the front of the prison; and he rattled the keys as though he loved the sound. He placed them on the desk beside the "sacred volume," and I used to think that the Bible and the keys went well together.

In offering his first private prayer, as well as in his last after the benediction, he always covered his face with the sleeve of his robe, lest, I suppose, the glory of his countenance, while communicating with his maker, should afflict us as the insufferable splendor of the face of Moses afflicted the Jews at Mount Sinai. His audible prayers were made kneeling with clasped hands and upturned face. His eyes were closed tightly, his features were painfully contracted, and his voice was a falsetto squeak. I fancy the Governor must have sighed at the performance. The doctor never troubled to attend it.

The prisoners were supposed to cross their hands in front while in chapel. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to induce me to conform to the regulation. I declined to strike prescribed attitudes. Another rule, pretty rigorously enforced, was that the prisoners should look straight before them. If a head was turned aside, an officer bawled out "Look to your front." I once heard the injunction ludicrously interpolated in the service. "Dearly beloved brethren," said the chaplain. "Look to your front," growled the officer. It was text and comment.

Only once did I see a prisoner impressed. The man sat next to me; his face was red, and he stared at the chaplain with a pair of goggle eyes. Surely, I thought, the parson is producing an effect. As we were marching back to our cells I heard a sigh. Turning round, I saw my harvest-moon-faced friend in an ecstacy. It was Sunday morning, and near dinner time. Raising his hands, while his goggle eyes gleamed like wet pebbles, the fellow ejaculated, "Pudden next."
-- G. W. Foote.

I hope the season has been kind to all of you and I will, no doubt, bend your ear (and mind) again in the coming year. Until then.

Fumetti : A stock photo of Barack Obama in front of that poduim with blue 'elect' sign. Overlayed speech bubble has him saying; "Riddikulus!" in an ornamental typeface.


Journal Journal: /Here he comes, he's all dressed in black/ 8

A couple of short excerpts, a few thoughts about the USA's post-election post selection mania, and a texttoon.

I do hope some bright person mentions the correct choices to Obama to head up the FBI and CIA. That being Sibel and Valerie, of course. And sends our Mr. Harper our baby terrorist boy back with all charges dropped. I really want to see Harper face him and have to tell him why exactly a Canadian child must spend his youth in a death camp. But there are perhaps too many issues that lay ahead. The quotes used today should blend both needs, that of progresivism and issue resolutionism. A number of subthoughts are implied as usual.

On the 9th of June the meeting of deputies took the title of the Constituent Assembly. For the first time in centuries the king was forced to recognise the existence of a new power, formerly ignored--that of the people, represented by its elected representatives. The absolute monarchy was no more.

Feeling himself more and more seriously threatened, Louis XVI. summoned to Versailles a number of regiments composed of foreign mercenaries. The Assembly demanded the withdrawal of the troops. The king refused, and dismissed Necker, replacing him by the Marshal de Broglie, reputed to be an extremely authoritative person.

But the Assembly had able supporters. Camille Desmoulins and others harangued the crowd in all directions, calling it to the defence of liberty. They sounded the tocsin, organised a militia of 12,000 men, took muskets and cannon from the Invalides, and on the 14th of July the armed bands marched upon the Bastille. The fortress, barely defended, capitulated in a few hours. Seven prisoners were found within it, of whom one was an idiot and four were accused of forgery.

The Bastille, the prison of many victims of arbitrary power, symbolised the royal power to many minds; but the people who demolished it had not suffered by it. Scarcely any but members of the nobility were imprisoned there.

The influence exercised by the taking of this fortress has continued to our days. Serious historians like M. Rambaud assure us that ``the taking of the Bastille is a culminating fact in the history, not of France only but of all Europe, and inaugurates a new epoch in the history of the world.''

Such credulity is a little excessive. The importance of the event lay simply in the psychological fact that for the first time the people received an obvious proof of the weakness of an authority which had lately been formidable.

When the principle of authority is injured in the public mind it dissolves very rapidly. What might not one demand of a king who could not defend his principal fortress against popular attacks? The master regarded as all-powerful had ceased to be so.

The taking of the Bastille was the beginning of one of those phenomena of mental contagion which abound in the history of the Revolution. The foreign mercenary troops, although they could scarcely be interested in the movement, began to show symptoms of mutiny. Louis XVI. was reduced to accepting their disbandment. He recalled Necker, went to the Hotel de Ville, sanctioned by his presence the accomplished facts, and accepted from La Fayette, commandant of the National Guard, the new cockade of red, white, and blue which allied the colours of Paris to those of the king.

Although the riot which ended in the taking of the Bastille can by no means be regarded as ``a culminating fact in history,'' it does mark the precise moment of the commencement of popular government. The armed people thenceforth intervened daily in the deliberations of the revolutionary Assemblies, and seriously influenced their conduct.

This intervention of the people in conformity with the dogma of its sovereignty has provoked the respectful admiration of many historians of the Revolution. Even a superficial study of the psychology of crowds would speedily have shown them that the mystic entity which they call the people was merely translating the will of a few leaders. It is not correct to say that the people took the Bastille, attacked the Tuileries, invaded the Convention, &c., but that certain leaders--generally by means of the clubs--united armed bands of the populace, which they led against the Bastille, the Tuileries, &c. During the Revolution the same crowds attacked or defended the most contrary parties, according to the leaders who happened to be at their heads. A crowd never has any opinion but that of its leaders.

Example constituting one of the most potent forms of suggestion, the taking of the Bastille was inevitably followed by the destruction of other fortresses. Many chateaux were regarded as so many little Bastilles, and in order to imitate the Parisians who had destroyed theirs the peasants began to burn them. They did so with the greater fury because the seigneurial homes contained the titles of feudal dues. It was a species of Jacquerie.

The Constituent Assembly, so proud and haughty towards the king, was, like all the revolutionary assemblies which followed it, extremely pusillanimous before the people. -- G. le Bon

Still in the same theme, yet from a more traditional statist view point.

Every good political institution must have a preventive operation as well as a remedial. It ought to have a natural tendency to exclude bad men from government, and not to trust for the safety of the state to subsequent punishment alone; punishment, which has ever been tardy and uncertain; and which, when power is suffered in bad hands, may chance to fall rather on the injured than the criminal.

Before men are put forward into the great trusts of the state, they ought by their conduct to have obtained such a degree of estimation in their country, as may be some sort of pledge and security to the public, that they will not abuse those trusts. It is no mean security for a proper use of power, that a man has shown by the general tenor of his actions, that the affection, the good opinion, the confidence of his fellow-citizens have been among the principal objects of his life; and that he has owed none of the gradations of his power or fortune to a settled contempt, or occasional forfeiture of their esteem.

That man who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends, or who losing it has no friends to sympathize with him; he who has no sway among any part of the landed or commercial interest, but whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it, is a person who ought never to be suffered by a controlling Parliament to continue in any of those situations which confer the lead and direction of all our public affairs; because such a man has no connection with the interest of the people.

Those knots or cabals of men who have got together, avowedly without any public principle, in order to sell their conjunct iniquity at the higher rate, and are therefore universally odious, ought never to be suffered to domineer in the state; because they have no connection with the sentiments and opinions of the people.

These are considerations which in my opinion enforce the necessity of having some better reason, in a free country, and a free Parliament, for supporting the ministers of the crown, than that short one, That the king has thought proper to appoint them. There is something very courtly in this. But it is a principle pregnant with all sorts of mischief, in a constitution like ours, to turn the views of active men from the country to the court. Whatever be the road to power, that is the road which will be trod. If the opinion of the country be of no use as a means of power or consideration, the qualities which usually procure that opinion will be no longer cultivated. And whether it will be right, in a state so popular in its constitution as ours, to leave ambition without popular motives, and to trust all to the operation of pure virtue in the minds of kings, and ministers, and public men, must be submitted to the judgment and good sense of the people of England.

Cunning men are here apt to break in, and, without directly controverting the principle, to raise objections from the difficulty under which the sovereign labors, to distinguish the genuine voice and sentiments of his people, from the clamor of a faction, by which it is so easily counterfeited. The nation, they say, is generally divided into parties, with views and passions utterly irreconcilable. If the king should put his affairs into the hands of any one of them, he is sure to disgust the rest; if he select particular men from among them all, it is a hazard that he disgusts them all. Those who are left out, however divided before, will soon run into a body of opposition; which, being a collection of many discontents into one focus, will without doubt be hot and violent enough.

Faction will make its cries resound through the nation, as if the whole were in an uproar, when by far the majority, and much the better part, will seem for a while as it were annihilated by the quiet in which their virtue and moderation incline them to enjoy the blessings of government. Besides that the opinion of the mere vulgar is a miserable rule even with regard to themselves, on account of their violence and instability. So that if you were to gratify them in their humor to-day, that very gratification would be a ground of their dissatisfaction on the next.

Now as all these rules of public opinion are to be collected with great difficulty, and to be applied with equal uncertainty as to the effect, what better can a king of England do, than to employ such men as he finds to have views and inclinations most conformable to his own; who are least infected with pride and self-will; and who are least moved by such popular humors as are perpetually traversing his designs, and disturbing his service; trusting that, when he means no ill to his people, he will be supported in his appointments, whether he chooses to keep or to change, as his private judgment or his pleasure leads him? He will find a sure resource in the real weight and influence of the crown, when it is not suffered to become an instrument in the hands of a faction.

I will not pretend to say, that there is nothing at all in this mode of reasoning; because I will not assert that there is no difficulty in the art of government. Undoubtedly the very best administration must encounter a great deal of opposition; and the very worst will find more support than it deserves. Sufficient appearances will never be wanting to those who have a mind to deceive themselves. It is a fallacy in constant use with those who would level all things, and confound right with wrong, to insist upon the inconveniences which are attached to every choice, without taking into consideration the different weight and consequence of those inconveniences. The question is not concerning absolute discontent or perfect satisfaction in government; neither of which can be pure and unmixed at any time, or upon any system. The controversy is about that degree of good humor in the people, which may possibly be attained, and ought certainly to be looked for.

While some politicians may be waiting to know whether the sense of every individual be against them, accurately distinguishing the vulgar from the better sort, drawing lines between the enterprises of a faction and the efforts of a people, they may chance to see the government, which they are so nicely weighing, and dividing, and distinguishing, tumble to the ground in the midst of their wise deliberation.

Prudent men, when so great an object as the security of government, or even its peace, is at stake, will not run the risk of a decision which may be fatal to it. They who can read the political sky will see a hurricane in a cloud no bigger than a hand at the very edge of the horizon, and will run into the first harbor. No lines can be laid down for civil or political wisdom. They are a matter incapable of exact definition. But, though no man can draw a stroke between the confines of day and night, yet light and darkness are upon the whole tolerably distinguishable. Nor will it be impossible for a prince to find out such a mode of government, and such persons to administer it, as will give a great degree of content to his people; without any curious and anxious research for that abstract, universal, perfect harmony, which while he is seeking, he abandons those means of ordinary tranquillity which are in his power without any research at all.

It is not more the duty than it is the interest of a prince, to aim at giving tranquillity to his government. But those who advise him may have an interest in disorder and confusion. If the opinion of the people is against them, they will naturally wish that it should have no prevalence. Here it is that the people must on their part show themselves sensible of their own value. Their whole importance, in the first instance, and afterwards their whole freedom, is at stake. Their freedom cannot long survive their importance. Here it is that the natural strength of the kingdom, the great peers, the leading landed gentlemen, the opulent merchants and manufacturers, the substantial yeomanry, must interpose, to rescue their prince, themselves, and their posterity.

We are at present at issue upon this point. We are in the great crisis of this contention; and the part which men take, one way or other, will serve to discriminate their characters and their principles. Until the matter is decided, the country will remain in its present confusion. For while a system of administration is attempted, entirely repugnant to the genius of the people, and not conformable to the plan of their government, everything must necessarily be disordered for a time, until this system destroys the constitution, or the constitution gets the better of this system. -- E. Burke

It shall be interesting to see what Obama can do and who he can to find to do it. Until then.

Fumetti : Stock photo of Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama. Overlayed speech bubble has Joe asking "No hard feelings?" Obama replies "No comma hard feelings." The spoken comma may be in italics, underlined and emboldenated.

United States

Journal Journal: /This old man was graceful with silver in his smile/

Grunting and heaving the Great Satan once again prepares to chop its own head off and select a new one.

The reattachment process takes several months. And is attended by a number of possible events over this unique period of time. Second-term results are the odd one out in the metaphor--so I'll only take to here. The point from an external view remains, however, and this quote may only serve to abuse it more.

Gentlemen, I am joking, and I know myself that my jokes are not brilliant, but you know one can take everything as a joke. I am, perhaps, jesting against the grain. Gentlemen, I am tormented by questions; answer them for me.

You, for instance, want to cure men of their old habits and reform their will in accordance with science and good sense. But how do you know, not only that it is possible, but also that it is DESIRABLE to reform man in that way? And what leads you to the conclusion that man's inclinations NEED reforming?

In short, how do you know that such a reformation will be a benefit to man? And to go to the root of the matter, why are you so positively convinced that not to act against his real normal interests guaranteed by the conclusions of reason and arithmetic is certainly always advantageous for man and must always be a law for mankind? So far, you know, this is only your supposition. It may be the law of logic, but not the law of humanity. You think, gentlemen, perhaps that I am mad? Allow me to defend myself.

I agree that man is pre-eminently a creative animal, predestined to strive consciously for an object and to engage in engineering--that is, incessantly and eternally to make new roads, WHEREVER THEY MAY LEAD. But the reason why he wants sometimes to go off at a tangent may just be that he is PREDESTINED to make the road, and perhaps, too, that however stupid the "direct" practical man may be, the thought sometimes will occur to him that the road almost always does lead SOMEWHERE, and that the destination it leads to is less important than the process of making it, and that the chief thing is to save the well-conducted child from despising engineering, and so giving way to the fatal idleness, which, as we all know, is the mother of all the vices.

Man likes to make roads and to create, that is a fact beyond dispute. But why has he such a passionate love for destruction and chaos also? Tell me that! But on that point I want to say a couple of words myself. May it not be that he loves chaos and destruction (there can be no disputing that he does sometimes love it) because he is instinctively afraid of attaining his object and completing the edifice he is constructing? Who knows, perhaps he only loves that edifice from a distance, and is by no means in love with it at close quarters; perhaps he only loves building it and does not want to live in it, but will leave it, when completed, for the use of LES ANIMAUX DOMESTIQUES--such as the ants, the sheep, and so on. Now the ants have quite a different taste. They have a marvellous edifice of that pattern which endures for ever--the ant-heap.

With the ant-heap the respectable race of ants began and with the ant-heap they will probably end, which does the greatest credit to their perseverance and good sense. But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like a chess player, loves the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (there is no saying with certainty), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, in other words, in life itself, and not in the thing to be attained, which must always be expressed as a formula, as positive as twice two makes four, and such positiveness is not life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death.

Anyway, man has always been afraid of this mathematical certainty, and I am afraid of it now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that mathematical certainty, he traverses oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it, dreads, I assure you. He feels that when he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for. When workmen have finished their work they do at least receive their pay, they go to the tavern, then they are taken to the police-station--and there is occupation for a week. But where can man go?

Anyway, one can observe a certain awkwardness about him when he has attained such objects. He loves the process of attaining, but does not quite like to have attained, and that, of course, is very absurd. In fact, man is a comical creature; there seems to be a kind of jest in it all. But yet mathematical certainty is after all, something insufferable. Twice two makes four seems to me simply a piece of insolence. Twice two makes four is a pert coxcomb who stands with arms akimbo barring your path and spitting. I admit that twice two makes four is an excellent thing, but if we are to give everything its due, twice two makes five is sometimes a very charming thing too.

And why are you so firmly, so triumphantly, convinced that only the normal and the positive--in other words, only what is conducive to welfare--is for the advantage of man? Is not reason in error as regards advantage? Does not man, perhaps, love something besides well-being? Perhaps he is just as fond of suffering? Perhaps suffering is just as great a benefit to him as well-being? Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering, and that is a fact.

There is no need to appeal to universal history to prove that; only ask yourself, if you are a man and have lived at all. As far as my personal opinion is concerned, to care only for well-being seems to me positively ill-bred. Whether it's good or bad, it is sometimes very pleasant, too, to smash things. I hold no brief for suffering nor for well-being either. I am standing for ... my caprice, and for its being guaranteed to me when necessary. Suffering would be out of place in vaudevilles, for instance; I know that. In the "Palace of Crystal" it is unthinkable; suffering means doubt, negation, and what would be the good of a "palace of crystal" if there could be any doubt about it?

And yet I think man will never renounce real suffering, that is, destruction and chaos. Why, suffering is the sole origin of consciousness. Though I did lay it down at the beginning that consciousness is the greatest misfortune for man, yet I know man prizes it and would not give it up for any satisfaction. Consciousness, for instance, is infinitely superior to twice two makes four.

Once you have mathematical certainty there is nothing left to do or to understand. There will be nothing left but to bottle up your five senses and plunge into contemplation. While if you stick to consciousness, even though the same result is attained, you can at least flog yourself at times, and that will, at any rate, liven you up. Reactionary as it is, corporal punishment is better than nothing. --Feodor Dostoevsky

Satire often gets us into the real meat of the issues and I thought that would be amusing to read that bit before this US election. It shall be an interesting day tomorrow, so I'll head into the bleachers and watch the US populous nibble away at the neck. Until then.

51018 : "We want to see the Iraqis take increasing responsibility for their own security. We are making good progress developing an indigenous Iraqi police force," he said. Mr Hoon said there was "no evidence" that either the US or the UK had reduced their commitment to post-war Iraq as a result of the increasing coalition death toll.

88905 : QUESTION: One of those organizations which got the money, according to the report, was also called "Friends of Cyprus Donkeys." May we know at least how many from this specific organization got the money in order to feed or to protect the donkeys in Cyprus on a bi-communal level?

MR. ERELI: I don't know that that information is accurate, Mr. Lambros. I think the point is, it is our assessment that the money disbursed was well spent and effective and consistent with the letter and intent of U.S. law and U.S. policy, which is to foster bi-communal activities.

121319 : QUESTION: Well, why can't you talk more about the allegations of secret camps?


QUESTION: I mean, you talk about the openness at Gitmo, but you don't want to talk about other allegations which are out there and which affect people around the world in Arab and Muslim countries that you're trying to convince you're doing the right thing there.

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, you know, I know the news reports. I've read them myself. And in terms of what was reported, it refers to the CIA, the intelligence community, and I'd refer all questions on that matter to the intelligence community.

QUESTION: Understood. But reports like this that are out there -- true, untrue -- can only make Karen Hughes' job that much harder. How does she deal with that then?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think that those -- what I was trying to answer Saul's question in talking about the issue that we face. The issue that we face, again, is how to deal with a group of people, with individuals who are committed to killing innocents, who follow no set of rules. How do we as a country of laws, how do we as a country that stands by its international obligations, how do we deal with it, with that problem? And you know, we've had lots of discussions, from here at the State Department, at the White House, at Department of Defense and Department of Justice and elsewhere outlining how we have -- our attempts to deal with that issue.

And what we can do, what Karen can do, what I can do, what others can do, is to try to explain the issue before us, before the world, and talk about how we -- the solutions that we have come up with at this point to deal with this problem. It's a tough problem.

ink on paper/scanned/jpg : A drawing of a donkey and an elephant. The donkey looks coyly as it hands a tinfoil hat to the elephant. Speech bubble has the donkey saying; "It was all quite fun, but you can have it back now." The elephant replies with "Wut?!?" In the corner a captionesk small drawn black hat with stemmed free text says; "Black helicopters, ho!"

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Double faces, dark defense/Talk too loud, but talk no sense

Today's journal entry has been illustrated in LEGO bricks. (850k jpg)

I have also repeated it here in the quote section for anyone who wants just the words. There are some additions in the photocomic that are not included in the quote, so you may wish to read both.

(Scene and Persons as usual. The Conversation has already begun.)

First Well-informed Man (concluding a tirade).

---- so what I want to know is this: are we or are we not to submit to the Yankees? It's all very well talking about Chicago Exhibitions and all that, but if they're going to capture our ships and prevent us killing seals, why, the sooner we tell 'em to go to blue blazes the better. And as for its being a mare clausum----

Inquirer (interrupting).

Who was she? What's she got to do with it?

First W. I. M. (laughing vigorously).

Ha! ha! that's a good 'un.

Inquirer (nettled).

Oh, laugh away, laugh away. That's you all over.

First W. I. M.

My dear chap, I'm very sorry, but I really couldn't help it. There's no woman in the business at all. Mare clausum merely means the place where they catch the seals, you know; mare, Latin for sea.


Oh! I should have known that directly, if you'd only pronounced it properly. But what does clausum mean?

First W. I. M.

Well, of course, that means--well, a clause, don't you know. It's in the treaty.

Average Man (looking up from his paper).

It used to be the Latin for "closed," but I suppose it's altered now.

First W. I. M. (incredulously).

It can't mean that, anyhow. Who ever heard of a closed sea, I should like to know?

Second W. I. M. (hazarding a suggestion).

It might mean a harbour, you know, or something of that sort.

Average Man.

I daresay it might mean that, but it doesn't happen to be a harbour (relapses into paper).

Second W. I. M.

Oh, well, I only made the suggestion.

[A pause]


But what are they arbitrating about in Paris? It says (reading from newspaper) "When Mr. Carter, the United States Counsel, had concluded his speech, he was complimented by the President, the Baron de Courcel, who told him he had spoken on behalf of humanity." I thought old Carnot was President of the French Republic.

First W. I. M.

So he is.


But this paper says Baron de Courcel is President.

Second W. I. M.

Oh, I suppose that's one of Carnot's titles, All these blessed foreigners are Barons, or something of that sort.


Ah, I suppose that must be it. But what have the French got to do with the Behring Sea? I thought it was all between us and the Yankees.

First W. I. M.

So it is--but the French are arbitrating. That's how they come into the business. I can't say, personally, I like these arbitrations. We're always arbitrating now, and giving everything away. If we think we're right, why can't we say so, and stick to it, and let the French, and the Yankees, and the Russians, and all the rest of 'em, take it from us, if they can?

Second W. I. M.

Take what from us?

First W. I. M.

Why, whatever it happens to be, the Behring Sea, or anything else. We're so deuced afraid of everybody now, we never show fight; it's perfectly sickening. But of course you can't expect anything else from old Gladstone.

Second W. I. M.

That's right--shove it all on to old Gladstone. But you're wrong this time. It was Jo Chamberlain, one of your own blessed Unionists, that you're so proud of, who arranged this arbitration.

First W. I. M.

I know that, my dear boy; but Chamberlain was a Radical then; so where are you now?

[A pause]

Inquirer (who has continued his reading, suddenly, with a puzzled air).

I say, you know, this is too much of a good thing, bringing the Russians into the business. It says--(reads)--"documents were submitted, on behalf of the United States, to prove that Russia had never abandoned her sovereign rights in the manner suggested by Great Britain." How, on earth, does Russia manage to crop up everywhere? And where is this confounded Behring Sea?

Second W. I. M. (vaguely).

It's somewhere in America, or Newfoundland, or thereabouts.


But how about Russia?

Second W. I. M.

Oh, Russia shoves her oar in whenever we get into a difficulty of any kind anywhere.

Inquirer (persisting).

Yes--but how can she have any "sovereign rights" in America?

Second W. I. M. (haughtily, but evasively).

My dear fellow, if you had followed the thing properly, you wouldn't ask the question. There's no time now to explain it all to you, as it's very complicated, and goes back a long way. But you may take it from me that Russia has got certain rights, and that she means to make things as disagreeable for us as she can.

[A pause]


It's rather a rum start, isn't it? sending out Sir Charles Russell and Sir Richard Webster. They're on opposite sides of politics.

First W. I. M.

That's just why they send 'em. Russell has got to put the Liberal view, and Webster the Conservative.


Of course, of course; I never thought of that. By the way, have you ever seen a seal?

First W. I. M.

They've got one at the Zoo. Catches fish, and kisses the keeper, and all that sort of game.


What, that big beast that looks as if it was made of india-rubber, with long whiskers and a sort of fish-tail?

First W. I. M.

That's it.

Inquirer (with profound disgust).

Well, I am blessed! Is that all they're jawing about?

--Punch, 1893

Many years ago in this journal:
47867 : "But let us be clear: Britain, our international partners, and the Afghan people themselves are united and determined that this shall not happen. Together we shall ensure a future for Afghanistan that the Afghan people deserve." The Afghan people will be given the opportunity to contribute to the drafting of the first post-Taliban constitution in December. It will enable them to choose a system of government that reflects their values and aspirations.

Fumetti : A photograph of Dr. David Kelly with an overlayed speech bubble saying; "Clank, howl, and all that jazz."

The Internet

Journal Journal: We've nestled in its hollow/And we've suckled at its breast 4

The technocrat.net public discussion site is shut down. Our thanks to the faithful readers, but eventually the site became more of an burden than fun. I have shut it down and will concentrate on other issues. - Bruce Perens technocrat.net

It was fun for us, at least. Thanks Bruce. Also Zog, Guy and the rest.

Fumetti A drawing of a workman in coveralls walking away with a cut-out life-size photo of Bruce Perens standing up. A few bits of old bunting on the floor, wires tangled in the dust, and an open box of plastic sporks.


Journal Journal: And through a fractal on a breaking wall/I see you my friend

Time beacon: T: -14 billion years.

And I see you've found me here. All aboard the time train!

I've scraped out a moment and built the time machine as the movie version of Galaxy Express for this particular journey --hang on, some of that fourth wall is still stuck to your eyebrow there allow me to remove it, pesky stuff. Anyway, let's head on into the bar-car. We can join everyone else there, and I'll begin.

No doubt, as you look out the window here, you'll see why I did. Less obvious, at first, is that the cast and the adventure also seems to resonate with events unfolding in our own time. The iconograpy also fit with the US election news. Thus the Cpt. Harlock sailor outfit I'm wearing, and this strange black bird. Curious, no?

But putting haberdashery, pets, horrid puns, and fowl [sic] allusions aside for a moment, let's ramp up the timeclockspeed and look out onto that which becomes us. That crap, there picked out against the rest, is the beginnings of our galaxy, and so in turn our sun.

And as interesting as that collection of matter forming, into the lovely little solar system we call home, all is... there are some good reasons to bring our viewpoint back this far in time. I will allow some others to expand on that in the quotes today. So drop, smoke, or drink what you like and let's listen to the first of them. Some news, previous entry links, and the texttoon. Oh, he's already started.

How he of the Times has found Velasquez "slovenly in execution, poor in colour--being little but a combination of neutral greys and ugly in its forms"--how he grovelled in happiness over a Turner--that was no Turner at all, as Mr. Ruskin wrote to show--Ruskin! whom he has since defended. Ah! Messieurs, what our neighbours call "la malice des choses" was unthought of, and the sarcasm of fate was against you. How Gerard Dow's broom was an example for the young; and Canaletti and Paul Veronese are to be swept aside--doubtless with it. How Rembrandt is coarse, and Carlo Dolci noble--with more of this kind. But what does it matter?

"What does anything matter!" The farce will go on, and its solemnity adds to the fun.

Mediocrity flattered at acknowledging mediocrity, and mistaking mystification for mastery, enters the fog of dilettantism, and, graduating connoisseur, ends its days in a bewilderment of bric-a-brac and Brummagem!

"Taste" has long been confounded with capacity, and accepted as sufficient qualification for the utterance of judgment in music, poetry, and painting. Art is joyously received as a matter of opinion; and that it should be based upon laws as rigid and defined as those of the known sciences, is a supposition no longer to be tolerated by modern cultivation. For whereas no polished member of society is at all affected at admitting himself neither engineer, mathematician, nor astronomer, and therefore remains willingly discreet and taciturn upon these subjects, still would he be highly offended were he supposed to have no voice in what is clearly to him a matter of "Taste"; and so he becomes of necessity the backer of the critic--the cause and result of his own ignorance and vanity! The fascination of this pose is too much for him, and he hails with delight its justification. Modesty and good sense are revolted at nothing, and the millennium of "Taste" sets in.

The whole scheme is simple: the galleries are to be thrown open on Sundays, and the public, dragged from their beer to the British Museum, are to delight in the Elgin Marbles, and appreciate what the early Italians have done to elevate their thirsty souls! An inroad into the laboratory would be looked upon as an intrusion; but before the triumphs of Art, the expounder is at his ease, and points out the doctrine that Raphael's results are within the reach of any beholder, provided he enrol himself with Ruskin or hearken to Colvin in the provinces. The people are to be educated upon the broad basis of "Taste," forsooth, and it matters but little what "gentleman and scholar" undertake the task.

Eloquence alone shall guide them--and the readiest writer or wordiest talker is perforce their professor.

The Observatory at Greenwich under the direction of an Apothecary! The College of Physicians with Tennyson as President! and we know that madness is about. But a school of art with an accomplished litterateur at its head disturbs no one! and is actually what the world receives as rational, while Ruskin writes for pupils, and Colvin holds forth at Cambridge.

Still, quite alone stands Ruskin, whose writing is art, and whose art is unworthy his writing. To him and his example do we owe the outrage of proffered assistance from the unscientific--the meddling of the immodest--the intrusion of the garrulous. Art, that for ages has hewn its own history in marble, and written its own comments on canvas, shall it suddenly stand still, and stammer, and wait for wisdom from the passer-by?--for guidance from the hand that holds neither brush nor chisel? Out upon the shallow conceit! What greater sarcasm can Mr. Ruskin pass upon himself than that he preaches to young men what he cannot perform! Why, unsatisfied with his own conscious power, should he choose to become the type of incompetence by talking for forty years of what he has never done!

Let him resign his present professorship, to fill the chair of Ethics at the university. As master of English literature, he has a right to his laurels, while, as the populariser of pictures he remains the Peter Parley of painting. --JM Whistler

From one of the true classics and a personal favorite; The Gentle Art of Making Enemies. It was recently posted on PG and just skimming over it, before I stored it in my palette of texts, caused me to mark the above as 'use soon'. There's more there could be presented from it, and the preamble to the above is also of note. However, the idiotic press punditry, Rush flap etc, and general fearmongering of the last while about Obama (and Clinton) pushed me use it today. On to the next quote.

The story of Medea, whose husband Jason married a new princess, and who then poisoned the bride and murdered her own two children, has been interpreted in various ways.

In some versions Medea is a witch and commits infanticide out of revenge; but the play by Euripides is surprisingly neo-feminist. There's quite a lot about how tough it is to be a woman, and Medea's motivation is commendable - she doesn't want her children to fall into hostile hands and be cruelly abused - which is also the situation of the child-killing mother in Toni Morrison's Beloved. A good woman, then, who does a bad thing for a good reason. Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles kills her nasty lover due to sexual complications; here too we are in the realm of female-as-victim, doing a bad thing for a good reason. (Which, I suppose, places such stories right beside the front page, along with women who kill their abusive husbands. According to a recent Time story, the average jail sentence in the U.S. for men who kill their wives is four years, but for women who kill their husbands - no matter what the provocation - it's twenty. For those who think equality is already with us, I leave the statistics to speak for themselves.)

These women characters are all murderers. Then there are the seducers; here again, the motive varies. I have to say too that with the change in sexual mores, the mere seduction of a man no longer rates very high on the sin scale. But try asking a number of women what the worst thing is that a woman friend could possibly do to them. Chances are the answer will involve the theft of a sexual partner.

Some famous seductresses have really been patriotic espionage agents. Delilah, for instance, was an early Mata Hari, working for the Philistines, trading sex for military information. Judith, who all but seduced the enemy general Holofernes and then cut off his head and brought it home in a sack, was treated as a heroine, although she has troubled men's imaginations through the centuries - witness the number of male painters who have depicted her - because she combines sex with violence in a way they aren't accustomed to and don't much like.

Then there are figures like Hawthorne's adulterous Hester Prynne, she of The Scarlet Letter, who becomes a kind of sex-saint through suffering - we assume she did what she did through Love, and thus she becomes a good woman who did a bad thing for a good reason - and Madame Bovary, who not only indulged her romantic temperament and voluptuous sensual appetites, but spent too much of her husband's money doing it, which was her downfall. A good course in double-entry bookkeeping would have saved the day. I suppose she is a foolish women who did a stupid thing for an insufficient reason, since the men in question were dolts. Neither the modern reader nor the author consider her very evil, though many contemporaries did, as you can see if you read the transcript of the court case in which the forces of moral rectitude tried to get the book censored.

One of my favourite bad women is Becky Sharpe, of Thackeray's Vanity Fair. She makes no pretensions to goodness. She is wicked, she enjoys being wicked, and she does it out of vanity and for her own profit, tricking and deluding English society in the process - which, the author implies, deserves to be tricked and deluded, since it is hypocritical and selfish to the core. Becky, like Undine Spragg in Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country, is an adventuress; she lives by her wits and uses men as ambulatory bank-accounts. Many literary adventurers are male - consider Thomas Mann's Felix Krull, Confidence Man - but it does make a difference if you change the gender. For one thing, the nature of the loot changes. For a male adventurer, the loot is money and women; but for a female one, the loot is money and men.

Becky Sharpe is a bad mother too, and that's a whole other subject - bad mothers and wicked stepmothers and oppressive aunts, like the one in Jane Eyre, and nasty female teachers, and depraved governesses, and evil grannies. The possibilities are many.

But I think that's enough reprehensible female behaviour for you today. Life is short, art is long, motives are complex, and human nature is endlessly fascinating. Many doors stand ajar; others beg to be unlocked. What is in the forbidden room? Something different for everyone, but something you need to know and will never find out unless you step across the threshold. If you are a man, the bad female character in a novel may be - in Jungian terms - your anima; but if you're a woman, the bad female character is your shadow; and as we know from the Offenbach opera Tales of Hoffman, she who loses her shadow also loses her soul.

Evil women are necessary in story traditions for two much more obvious reasons, of course. First, they exist in life, so why shouldn't they exist in literature? Second - which may be another way of saying the same thing - women have more to them than virtue. They are fully dimensional human beings; they too have subterranean depths; why shouldn't their many-dimensionality be given literary expression? And when it is, female readers do not automatically recoil in horror. In Aldous Huxley's novel Point Counter Point, Lucy Tantamount, the man-destroying vamp, is preferred by the other female characters to the earnest, snivelling woman whose man she has reduced to a wet bath sponge. As one of them says, "Lucy's obviously a force. You may not like that kind of force. But you can't help admiring the force in itself. It's like Niagara." In other words, awesome. Or, as one Englishwoman said to me recently, "Women are tired of being good all the time." --Margaret Atwood

The rest of that is online as I found out when sorting through possible texts to use. A google search to see if any of it had been quoted to save me typing it all in from "Moving Targets" had it off her official site. Yay internets! Anyway, moving along...

As much as I'd like to see Dolley Madison's record of double occupation broken in the best way, and also knowing I've gone on record here (long ago) in stating Hillary looked to me as being well on her way to becoming a far better politician than her husband ever could be, I'd like to see a man of colour in the Whitehouse. Not my call to make, and I'm not too worried either way there. Which leaves one ill matched pair unmentioned. This last quote will fill that void.

I was his last disciple, as you say, I went to him, at seventeen years of age, and offered him my hands and eyes to use,

When, voicing the true mind and heart of Rome, Father Castelli, his most faithful friend, wrote, for my master, that compassionate plea; "The noblest eye that Nature ever made is darkened, one so exquisitely dowered, so delicate in power that it beheld more than all other eyes in ages gone and opened the eyes of all that are to come."

But, out of England, even then, there shone the first ethereal promise of light that crowns my master dead. Well I recall that day of days. There was no faintest breath among his garden cypress-trees.

They dreamed dark, on a sky too beautiful for tears, and the first star was trembling overhead, when, quietly as a messenger from heaven, moving unseen, through his own purer realm, amongst the shadows of our mortal world, a young man, with a strange light on his face knocked at the door of Galileo's house. His name was Milton.

By the hand of God, He, the one living soul on earth with power to read the starry soul of this blind man, Was led through Italy to his prison door. He looked on Galileo, touched his hand "O, dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, irrecoverably dark".

In after days, he wrote it; but it pulsed within him then and Galileo rising to his feet and turning on him those unseeing eyes that had searched heaven and seen so many worlds, said to him, "You have found me."

Often he told me in those last sad months of how your grave young island poet brought peace to him, with the knowledge that, far off, in other lands, the truth he had proclaimed was gathering power.

Soon after, death unlocked his prison, and the city that he loved, Florence, his town of flowers, whose gates in life he was forbid to pass, received him dead.

You write to me from England, that his name is now among the mightiest in the world, and in his name I thank you.

I am old and I was very young when, long ago, I stood beside his poor dishonoured grave where hate denied him even an epitaph.

And I have seen, slowly and silently, his purer fame arising, like a moon in marble on the twilight of those aisles at Santa Croce, where the dread decree was read against him. --Alfred Noyes

"And then you see things/ The size/ Of which you've never known before", he said, and we should be on track here to watch the arms of our galaxy build up from that storm out there, so I'll finish up this section.

What it comes all down to, in my opinion, is what you choose to do at those/these key times. We've all got choices at the junctions of futures. A really-really big broom used on that dust, out the window of this train, and it could never make it to be you or me. Classical-wisdom says we should all just watch and let the/that dust settle, as it may, in fear of altering the course of history or some deity's big plan. I'm not so sure about most, if not all, of that. If we all choose to make our own mark in that dust now, our current state says we must have --or had not, done so [here and now]-- in the past.

There are no locks on the doors of the train. And it's all taken much longer than seventy years to get back up the timeline from here and now to there and now. You may say it's one hell of a way to run a railroad, or a system of government for that matter. But I say, stately-farce it all may be, it is however, one of the better methods found so far. For those of you in the USA, I'll add that it works even better if you do choose to participate.

I've said my piece and I'm going to head on back now. The train is all yours, I'll try to see if I can see any changes when I get there. Until then.

News that doesn't want to fly:
3 out of 4 from the late news. And is on front page now as I edit this JE in.

Lard Tubby in the can. The UK peer will serve his sentence at a low-security prison 50 miles north west of Orlando in central Florida. He will also have to pay back $6.1m (£3m).

Taxi! Bel-Air, and step on it. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said negotiations could only resume after calm was restored. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is winding up a trip to the region on Wednesday in which getting the Palestinians back to the negotiating table has been a key target.

Speaking of key targets... The head of Opec, the cartel of oil-producing nations, has said it is unlikely to increase production at this week's meeting. It had been hoped members would boost the supply of oil to help prices fall from their historically-high levels.

Y helo thar! A controversial new talk show has hit TV screens in southern India. The programme, "Ipadikku Rose", is not only unusual in its subject matter but its new host has certainly broken from the ranks. The programme is hosted by Rose, who used to be a boy called Ramesh.

Previously in this journal:
100386 : QUESTION: This is a new topic, on Italy and the firing of the convoy. I know that you talked a little about it yesterday. But today, General Casey maintained that he did not know that the convoy was going to be arriving at this checkpoint. He couldn't rule out that nobody in the U.S. Government or the Embassy or anybody knew that the convoy was going to be moving in this area, and the Italian Government maintains that the U.S. Government did know. Can you say whether anybody at the Embassy or any U.S. officials out of this Department --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to try do this piecemeal. What we need now, and I think we and the Italians agree on this, is a complete and cooperative investigation and we will be undertaking that with the Italians participating in the inquiry and that -- that's going to commence shortly. We will get to the bottom of this together with the Italians. We will get to the bottom of this and get to the know all the facts together. That's what's important.

I think we've very clearly expressed our deep condolences for the tragic event. We've offered Italy our assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the incident. I think the Pentagon has, in fact, briefed on this. But the important thing now is to get the facts and we'll be doing that and we'll be working with the Italians to do that together.

66476 : The United States is sending up to 2,000 more marines to Afghanistan to step up the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda and Taleban leaders. The troops will join about 12,000 US troops already in the country. Pakistan has also announced it is reinforcing its operation in the tribal areas on its side of the border. Pakistani forces there have launched a full-scale assault against al-Qaeda and foreign militants and the tribesmen believed to be protecting them. "We are pursuing with the Pakistanis parallel, complementary efforts on both sides of the borders," a US military spokesman told the BBC. This amounts to a significant stepping up of the pressure, but is not the final US push against al-Qaeda - nor an explicit mission to capture Bin Laden, says the BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

6191 : "We have Word, WordPerfect, and Acrobat, but the one that's easiest to manipulate is WordPerfect for the CD-ROMs."

Colourized clipart/jpg: A drawing of the "Old Grey Lady" and "Rector Time" standing before a man dressed as an oversized schoolboy. Slouched in his seat with his book bag labeled "Radicalism" carelessly at his feet. The old lady tells the rector, "Go on, ask. Nicely!". He leans in and asks, "Excuse me, I was wondering if you could help us out?" The radical replies, "Blow me!!!", and continues over the rectors "What?!?" with, "No seriously. You, the grey Mrs. and all her flashy offspring have choked down the most appalling mushrooms before. Why be so prissy about it now?". The old woman says "This is going to be harder than I thought." with the radical replying "Flattery! Good start."

User Journal

Journal Journal: /Still, you're asking me, "who was your friend?"/

Just a small pile of soc-pol bile that I thought I'd share with you.

I'm sure you'll recognize the phrase that is being re-rendered here. The original pat-phrase may have pissed off some of you too.

A left-wing libertarian is a conservative-isolationist that has a bong, and likes kittens.
A right-wing libertarian is the same, only they enjoy most animals--with fries.

A key point to note with this Western concept of libertarian is that old daemon Patriotism. It should also be noted that it very often is accompanied by tribalism(s) [always,surly!].

Reading Ben Franklin characterized as having a staunch pro state's-rights position and his being a deeply religious man is just as bad as reading another brand of libtard make claims of Ben's life long support for; pot, free-love and trans-statism. [I'm like a shark!, hehe]

The USA is not alone in this error. It has a German and French version too. Not to mention the British variation, now made more popular with the 'V' movie. And error it is, as none of this addresses what the world will look like once success is at hand. The future beyond the moment of victory is a shadowy place filled with [implicitly] empty hopes and very few ideas.

It can be [and all too often is] argued that the solutions will come to mind once you are there, but you know... in most cases in history it only gets filled with the same old shit--yet again. YMMV HTH HAND ETC.

It leads one to think that the 'all politics is local' adage was out of date once armoured limos and international banking came on line.

Sorry folks(et al), but any ideas now *will have to* save the whole fucking world. No longer are our socio-political boundaries set by the distance you can hit something. Keep thinking though, there's bound to be something that'll work better than this mess we've got now. Until then.

QUESTION: Can you bring us up to date on what's happening in Vienna? And would the U.S. accept a resolution that did not contain a trigger?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it's appropriate for us to speculate from here as to the final outcome. We are -- we have made clear what our view is. The Secretary has made clear that we have pushed the view that this needs to be referred to the Security Council, and that we would see whether there's a consensus. That process is still underway. We're -- how far we will get to, whether we can get it or not, still don't know. But there are consultations going on among Board members in Vienna. We're trying to seek agreement on a text that addresses the Board's concerns about Iran's nuclear activities. The Board, we think, is united in the view that Iran must cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, must come clean about its program, and suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

The Board has called on Iran repeatedly to take those steps since last year. We remain deeply concerned that Iran continues to defy the Board's requests. So those consultations are ongoing, and, at this point, I can't predict exactly where they'll come out.

QUESTION: Yesterday, in an interview, Secretary Powell said that there had been some progress. Can you describe specifically what the progress has been?

MR. BOUCHER: No. Again, the process is underway. We think -- I think Under Secretary Bolton, when he was in Geneva last Friday, and as I said Friday, acknowledged there have been tactical differences between the Europeans and us about how to proceed. We have been making efforts to close those gaps, and thought we were making some progress on that. But whether -- I can't -- it's an ongoing thing. I can't try to define it precisely at this moment.

#45884: Colin Powell "...we have a common goal, a common purpose -- and that is to give sovereignty back to the Iraqi people as fast as possible".

Wax on ruled paper/scan/gif : A child like crayon drawing of a big military airplane flying above a standard green lawn, tree, box house set. Crude text captions the items; house, mom, me, dog, and plane.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Though the world may wear a frown/Here's a way to win renown

Welcome and other bland salutations of no import.

Six years. What should be said? Nice feature, um ...we've all had a lot of fun posting all kinds of odd shit.... Tons of people have read and commented on the users journals. Many of them have been truly outstanding, including some of the comments. FrontPaging JEs is now in place and seems to work well.

On a more personal level, I've done a lot to see how far you could push the content level in these things. Both, on a per entry basis, and over time with some longer sequences of posts. As for the content qualities ... you the reader are, were, and will be the judge.

Many thanks for the use of your eyes and thoughts. Also, my thanks Taco and co, and to those of you who have, and will post here in this Journal System here on Slashdot.

Just a small quote to share. No framing needed.


Come, then, to prayers; to prayers, quick!-- Oh! Peace, mighty queen, venerated goddess, thou, who presidest over choruses and at nuptials, deign to accept the sacrifices we offer thee.


Receive it, greatly honoured mistress, and behave not like the coquettes, who half open the door to entice the gallants, draw back when they are stared at, to return once more if a man passes on. But do not act like this to us.


No, but like an honest woman, show thyself to thy worshippers, who are worn with regretting thee all these thirteen years. Hush the noise of battle, be a true Lysimacha to us. Put an end to this tittle-tattle, to this idle babble, that set us defying one another. Cause the Greeks once more to taste the pleasant beverage of friendship and temper all hearts with the gentle feeling of forgiveness. Make excellent commodities flow to our markets, fine heads of garlic, early cucumbers, apples, pomegranates and nice little cloaks for the slaves; make them bring geese, ducks, pigeons and larks from Boeotia and baskets of eels from Lake Copais; we shall all rush to buy them, disputing their possession with Morychus, Teleas, Glaucetes and every other glutton. Melanthius will arrive on the market last of all; 'twill be, "no more eels, all sold!" and then he'll start a-groaning and exclaiming as in his monologue of Medea, "I am dying, I am dying! Alas! I have let those hidden in the beet escape me!" And won't we laugh? These are the wishes, mighty goddess, which we pray thee to grant.


Take the knife and slaughter the sheep like a finished cook.


No, the goddess does not wish it.


And why not?


Blood cannot please Peace, so let us spill none upon her altar. Therefore go and sacrifice the sheep in the house, cut off the legs and bring them here; thus the carcase will be saved for the chorus.


You, who remain here, get chopped wood and everything needed for the sacrifice ready.


Don't I look like a diviner preparing his mystic fire?


Undoubtedly. Will anything that it behooves a wise man to know escape you? Don't you know all that a man should know, who is distinguished for his wisdom and inventive daring?


There! the wood catches. Its smoke blinds poor Stilbides. I am now going to bring the table and thus be my own slave.


You have braved a thousand dangers to save your sacred town. All honour to you! Your glory will be ever envied.

Will more frequent postings return? You may ask (ha surely!). I'm still in visual mode at the moment. And will likely be doing images, mostly, for a while more. However, events may urge me to post at madman speed again.

In that regard I'd point out the date of this marking of dates. My estimation that the 'W'-Key war would end (or be ended) about a year ago is growing more off by the day. Most of the issues I've highlighted still remain dark in the mainstream media(s). The crop of hopefuls for Uncle/Aunt Sam are all quite thick. Several other elections in other places too. Which is bound to keep my bile ducts well stocked with vitriolic spewings. So do take a look in here now and then.

Fumetti : Stock photo of Rupert Murdoch standing with Hillary Clinton. Overlayed speech bubble has Murdoch saying "I'll make them call you bitch." To which Hillary says "Oh please." He continues with "And make all my cartoonists show you wearing Bill's boxers." Her reply "I am so hot right now."


Journal Journal: They started robbing banks/ Then cattle mutilation! 6

Zip it! Sung to the tune of Devo's "Whip It"

Crack that whip/ Give the past the slip
Step up attacks/ Before they see the cracks

When a problem comes along/ You must zip it
Before the cream sits out too long/ You must zip it
When something's going wrong/ You must zip it

Now zip it/ Into shape/ Frame it up
Get straight/ Go forward/ Move ahead
Try to deflect it/ It's not too late
To zip it/ Zip it good

When a good time turns around/ You must zip it
They will never live it down/ Unless you zip it
No one gets away/ Until they zip it

I say zip it/ Zip it good
I say zip it/ Zip it good

Crack that whip/ Give the past the slip
Step up attacks/ Before they see the cracks

When a problem comes along/ You must zip it
When the cream sits in too long/ You must zip it
When something's going wrong/ You must zip it

[repeats to fade]
Now zip it/ Into shape/ Frame it up
Get straight/ Go forward/ Move ahead
Try to deflect it/ It's not too late
To zip it/ Zip it good

News painted with toes:
Ali Abbas.

Ink on paper : A circle with a bisecting line attended by two radial lines in the 8'o'clock and 4'o'clock positions.


Journal Journal: /Swastika nightingales croon tongue in cheek/

A pair of quotes, some news, and the rest of the usual stuff.

October 11, 1915. TO R.K.

I have just seen in the Times that Charles Lister died of his wounds. It really is heart-breaking. All the men one had so fondly hoped would make the world a little better to live in seem to be taken away. And Charles was a spirit which no country can afford to lose. I feel so sorry for you too: he must have been very dear to you personally. How the world will hate war when it can pause to think about it.

I had quite a cheerful letter from Foss this mail. I wonder he wasn't more damaged, as the bullet seems to have passed through some very important parts of him. I am rather dreading the lists which are bound to follow on our much-vaunted advance of three weeks ago. As for the Dardanelles, it is an awful tragedy. And now with Bulgaria against us and Greece obstructed by her King, success is farther off than ever.

No, Luly is not with me: I was the only officer with the draft. As for impressions of our surroundings they are definite but not always communicable.

If this neighbourhood could certainly be identified with Eden, one could supply an entirely new theory of the Fall of Adam. Here at Amarah we are 200 miles by river from the sea and 28ft. above sea level. Within reach of the water anything will grow: but as the Turks levied a tax on trees the date is the only one which has survived. There are little patches of corn and fodder-stuff along the banks, and a few vegetable gardens round the town. Otherwise the whole place is a desert and as flat as this paper: except that we can see the bare brown Persian mountains about forty miles off to the N.N.E.

The desert grows little tufts of prickly scrub here and there, otherwise it is like a brick floor. In the spring it is flooded, and as the flood recedes the mud cakes into a hard crust on which a horse's hoof makes no impression; but naturally the surface is very rough in detail, like a muddy lane after a frost. So it is vile for either walking or riding.

The atmosphere can find no mean between absolute stillness--which till lately meant stifling heat--and violent commotion in the form of N.W. gales which blow periodically, fogging the air with dust and making life almost intolerable while they last. These gales have ceased to be baking hot, and in another month or two they will be piercingly cold.

The inhabitants are divided into Bedouins and town-Arabs. The former are nomadic and naked, and live in hut-tents of reed matting. The latter are just like the illustrations in family Bibles.

What I should be grateful for in the way of literature is if you could find a portable and readable book on the history of these parts. I know it's rather extensive, but if there are any such books on the more interesting periods you might tell Blackwell to send them to me: I've got an account there. My Gibbon sketches the doings of the first four Caliphs: but what I should like most would be the subsequent history, the Baghdad Caliphs, Tartar Invasion, Turkish Conquest, etc. For the earlier epochs something not too erudite and very popular would be most suitable. Mark Sykes tells me he is about to publish a Little Absul's History of Islam, but as he is still diplomatising out here I doubt if it will be ready for press soon.

As for this campaign, you will probably know more about the Kut battle than I do. Anyway the facts were briefly these. The Turks had a very strongly entrenched position at Kut, with 15,000 men and 35 guns. We feinted at their right and then outflanked their left by a night march of twelve miles. (Two brigades did this, while one brigade held them in front.) Then followed a day's hard fighting as the out-flankers had to storm three redoubts successfully before they could properly enfilade the position. Just as they had done it the whole Turkish reserve turned up on their right and they had to turn on it and defeat it, which they did. But by that time it was dark, the troops were absolutely exhausted and had finished all their water. Nobody could tell how far the river was, so the only thing to do was to bivouac and wait for daylight. In the night the Turks cleared out and got away. If we could have pressed on and seized their bridge, we should have almost wiped them out: but it was really wonderful we did as much as we did under the circumstances. Our casualties were 1243, but only 85 killed. The Turkish losses are not known: we captured about 1400 and 12 of the guns: we buried over 400, but don't know how many the local Arabs buried. Our pursuit was delayed by the mud-banks on the river, and the enemy was able to get clear and reform in their next position, about ninety miles further north. We are now concentrating against them and it is authoritatively reported that large reinforcements have been sent from India. This means they intend going for Baghdad. It seems to me rash: but I suppose there is great need to assert our prestige with the Moslem world, even at the expense of our popularity: for B. is a fearfully sacred place.

I should also like from Blackwell's a good and up-to-date map of these parts, i.e. from the Troad to the Persian Gulf.
  -- Robert Palmer(ed).

The form and texture of the coming warfare--if there is still warfare to come--are not yet to be seen in their completeness upon the modern battlefield. One swallow does not make a summer, nor a handful of aeroplanes, a "Tank" or so, a few acres of shell craters, and a village here and there, pounded out of recognition, do more than foreshadow the spectacle of modernised war on land.

War by these developments has become the monopoly of the five great industrial powers; it is their alternative to end or evolve it, and if they continue to disagree, then it must needs become a spectacle of majestic horror such as no man can yet conceive. It has been wise of Mr. Pennell therefore, who has recently been drawing his impressions of the war upon stone, to make his pictures not upon the battlefield, but among the huge industrial apparatus that is thrusting behind and thrusting up through the war of the gentlemen in spurs.

He gives us the splendours and immensities of forge and gun pit, furnace and mine shaft. He shows you how great they are and how terrible. Among them go the little figures of men, robbed of all dominance, robbed of all individual quality. He leaves it for you to draw the obvious conclusion that presently, if we cannot contrive to put an end to war, blacknessess like these, enormities and flares and towering threats, will follow in the track of the Tanks and come trampling over the bickering confusion of mankind.

There is something very striking in these insignificant and incidental men that Mr. Pennell shows us. Nowhere does a man dominate in all these wonderful pictures. You may argue perhaps that that is untrue to the essential realities; all this array of machine and workshop, all this marshalled power and purpose, has been the creation of inventor and business organiser. But are we not a little too free with that word "creation"?

Falstaff was a "creation" perhaps, or the Sistine sibyls; there we have indubitably an end conceived and sought and achieved; but did these inventors and business organisers do more than heed certain unavoidable imperatives? Seeking coal they were obliged to mine in a certain way; seeking steel they had to do this and this and not that and that; seeking profit they had to obey the imperative of the economy. So little did they plan their ends that most of these manufacturers speak with a kind of astonishment of the deadly use to which their works are put. They find themselves making the new war as a man might wake out of some drugged condition to find himself strangling his mother.

So that Mr. Pennell's sketchy and transient human figures seem altogether right to me. He sees these forges, workshops, cranes and the like, as inhuman and as wonderful as cliffs or great caves or icebergs or the stars. They are a new aspect of the logic of physical necessity that made all these older things, and he seizes upon the majesty and beauty of their dimensions with an entire impartiality.

And they are as impartial. Through all these lithographs runs one present motif, the motif of the supreme effort of western civilisation to save itself and the world from the dominance of the reactionary German Imperialism of modern science. The pictures are arranged to shape out the life of a shell, from the mine to the great gun; nothing remains of their history to show except the ammunition dump, the gun in action and the shell-burst. Upon this theme all these great appearances are strung to-day.

But to-morrow they may be strung upon some other and nobler purpose. These gigantic beings of which the engineer is the master and slave, are neither benevolent nor malignant.

To-day they produce destruction, they are the slaves of the spur; to-morrow we hope they will bridge and carry and house and help again.
  -- H.G. Wells.

News served with a mackeral gateau:
Nine one Juan.
ZNet Sustianer: Dear Noam, There is much documentation observed and uncovered by the 911 families themselves suggesting a criminal conspiracy within the Bush Administration to cover-up the 9/11 attacks (see DVD, 9/11: Press for Truth). Additionally, much evidence has been put forward to question the official version of events. This has come in part from Paul Thompson, an activist who has creatively established the 9/11 Timeline, a free 9/11 investigative database for activist researchers, which now, according to The Village Voice's James Ridgeway, rivals the 9/11 Commission's report in accuracy and lucidity (see,http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0416,mondo1,52830,6.html, or www.cooperativeresearch.org).

Noam Chomsky: Hard for me to respond to the rest of the letter, because I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered. To determine that, we'd have to investigate the alleged evidence. Take, say, the physical evidence. There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists -- of whom there are thousands -- who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis; and one cannot gain the required knowledge by surfing the internet. In fact, that's been done, by the professional association of civil engineers. Or, take the course pursued by anyone who thinks they have made a genuine discovery: submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn't a single submission.
Fear rules... , alas.

BrownLeatherJacket also has a new item on Darfur. Nevertheless, Darfur remained relatively quiet during the dreadful war (two million dead in the past twenty years) between the African ethnic groups of southern Sudan, where most people are Christians or animists, and the Muslims of the Arabised north who dominated Sudan's government, army and economy. It was the peace settlement between north and south in 2003 that triggered the revolt in Darfur. That peace deal gave the southern rebels a share in the central government, a half-share of the oil revenues now pouring in from wells that are mostly located in "southern" territory, and the right to a referendum on independence from Sudan in six years' time. So some leaders of the Zaghawa and the Fur decided to emulate the southerners: launch a revolt in Darfur, and try to cut a similar deal with Khartoum in return for ending it.

In a Pythonesk way this is only to be expected. Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya collapses while addressing tens of thousands of supporters in the Gaza Strip.
/Do you love me?/ Yes we do/ On this, the birthday/ Of the founder of our tribe/ Saddam Clinton Powell/ The Nigerian army has carried out a series of raids on oil militants after the reported deaths of 17 soldiers in the Niger Delta, several sources say. The militants say a village in the oil producing area was razed to the ground but this was denied by the army. The militants claim to have killed the troops in two attacks but this has not been independently confirmed. They are now threatening further attacks.

Mayor of Kabul flaps his gums for his idiot puppet masters.

Simon's Tory encounters in Bat Country. Then we had a handful of delegates, none of whom said anything remotely worrying for the leadership. Next we were on even safer ground with a speech from Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google. An uber-nerd! Without a shadow of doubt, a nerd out-nerded only by Bill Gates, an anorak's anorak. "I have always wanted to climb Mt Everest," he told us, adding that he knew he never would. But thanks to Google Earth, he could climb Mt Everest in the comfort of his own office! "I've made it!" It was the perfect metaphor for the conference. They plan to win the next election - virtually! Dr Schmidt also told them - if I understood correctly - that before long it would be possible to fit the sum of all human knowledge on to an iPod. It would make a change on trains: that annoying chunka-chunka noise from the next seat would be an analysis of Cartesian dualism rather than Arctic Monkeys.

Free and not dead press.

AirStrip One report: Looking ahead to the summit in Lahti on October 20, the PM said migration, energy policy and the importance of innovation in Europe's economy would be on the agenda.

And over at Oceanside Park there's another game of SD Daily Press Briefing Softball:
QUESTION: Do you have any details of this meeting at the NSC, I believe it was Tuesday? What officials from the State Department were there? I guess they were talking about options for, I guess, convincing North Korea not to test and what would happen if they did test.

MR. CASEY: There are discussions that go on all the time internally on this matter and on others. I don't have anything on meetings that have taken place elsewhere, and in terms of anything that happened at the NSC I'd refer you over there. But I believe their general policy is not to comment on internal deliberations.

QUESTION: What -- well, I guess -- what about the idea of a naval blockade? I guess that came up in the meeting.

MR. CASEY: Again, I'm not aware of any decisions that have been made on policies and certainly I wouldn't be in a position to describe for you what, if any, options were being discussed in particular.
The usual strike one. Anyone[surely!]. Play Ball.

QUESTION: Is there any progress towards the holding of this P-5+1? I know Secretary Rice today raised some questions, said a couple of ministers didn't seem to be able to go. I mean, other people are -- and the Russians said they were going, the French are talking about going. Do you know where this stands?

MR. CASEY: Well, I think in terms of the Secretary's schedule I don't have any announcements for you. What I can tell you is Under Secretary Nick Burns will be in London tomorrow. He intends to meet there with the P-5+1 political directors. Certainly, as you've seen, there have been statements by Mr. Solana among others about where the process stands. What we expect the political directors will do is take account and take stock of the situation and review where this process is and what our next steps might be. Certainly I would expect that in the future there will be opportunities for the Secretary to consult with her colleagues on this as well.

QUESTION: The political directors will be continuing their talks on the specific list of sanctions in a first UN resolution?

MR. CASEY: Well, as I said, the political directors will look at and take stock of where the situation is. Certainly I expect that discussions of how to proceed in terms of a sanctions resolution, as called for under Security Council Resolution 1696, would be part of that discussion.


QUESTION: The fact that there is unlikely to be a meeting of the ministers, does that indicate that there is not consensus then among the political directors as to how to proceed if they're still talking about it?

MR. CASEY: No, my understanding is there are some scheduling issues involved and I wouldn't read anything more into it than that.
Two and one. Moving quickly on.

QUESTION: Tom, it appears that Russia is continuing to ramp up sanctions against Georgia, various ways of isolating that country and this despite the release of the Russian prisoners that were in Georgia and also appeals for restraint from a lot of places, Washington. I wonder if you have any further reflection on that?

MR. CASEY: I really don't have anything new to offer on that for you, David. Actually, I'd just refer you back to what I said previously. Again, what we really want to see happen is that both these countries work together and resolve their differences in a peaceful way. And we certainly want to see good neighborly relations between Georgia and Russia. They share a common border, they share a common history in many ways, and we certainly want to see them be able to maintain good relationships with one another.

QUESTION: Are you in touch with the Russians on that?

MR. CASEY: We continue to be in contact with both the Russian and Georgian Government on this issue. And again, our discussions with them are the same as the comments I've made here previously, encouraging both of them to deal with this issue in a positive way and resolve their differences peacefully.
And Casey is left swinging repeatedly after the ball. More funnies in there, as usual.

86117 : A new buzzword-- Green cutting, QUESTION: So let me just state it. There is nothing in this report to call into question that Saddam represented an untolerable threat to the United States?

MR. ERELI: Our conclusion is that Saddam Hussein, by his demonstrated capability and his intent, represented a threat to the United States that we needed to act upon.

48293 : /Rollup for the Misery tour/ ... /Is this lump outta my head?/I think so!/

Fumetti : Stock photo of George W. Bush speaking to the press in front of the faux ranch set; "Susan Ralston? Never heard of her. Next question."

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Some full of anger/In ranks of thousands 1

Still a bit too busy to go daily at the moment, but here is a selection of interesting things for you all to read. News, Texttoon etc. Click on in.

It is generally observed that no species of writing is so difficult as the dramatic. It must, indeed, appear so, were we to consider it upon one side only. It is a dialogue, or species of composition which in itself requires all the mastery of a complete writer with grace and spirit to support.

We may add, that it must have a fable, too, which necessarily requires invention, one of the rarest qualities of the human mind. It would surprise us, if we were to examine the thing critically, how few good original stories there are in the world. The most celebrated borrow from each other, and are content with some new turn, some corrective, addition, or embellishment. Many of the most celebrated writers in that way can claim no other merit. I do not think La Fontaine has one original story. And if we pursue him to those who were his originals, the Italian writers of tales and novels, we shall find most even of them drawing from antiquity, or borrowing from the Eastern world, or adopting and decorating the little popular stories they found current and traditionary in their country.

Sometimes they laid the foundation of their tale in real fact. Even after all their borrowing from so many funds, they are still far from opulent. How few stories has Boccace which are tolerable, and how much fewer are there which you would desire to read twice! But this general difficulty is greatly increased, when we come to the drama. Here a fable is essential,--a fable which is to be conducted with rapidity, clearness, consistency, and surprise, without any, or certainly with very little, aid from narrative. This is the reason that generally nothing is more dull in telling than the plot of a play.

It is seldom or never a good story in itself; and in this particular, some of the greatest writers, both in ancient and modern theatres, have failed in the most miserable manner. It is well a play has still so many requisites to complete it, that, though the writer should not succeed in these particulars, and therefore should be so far from perfection, there are still enough left in which he may please, at less expense of labor to himself, and perhaps, too, with more real advantage to his auditory. It is, indeed, very difficult happily to excite the passions and draw the characters of men; but our nature leads us more directly to such paintings than to the invention of a story.

We are imitative animals; and we are more naturally led to imitate the exertions of character and passion than to observe and describe a series of events, and to discover those relations and dependencies in them which will please. Nothing can be more rare than this quality. Herein, as I believe, consists the difference between the inventive and the descriptive genius. By the inventive genius I mean the creator of agreeable facts and incidents; by the descriptive, the delineator of characters, manners, and passions. Imitation calls us to this; we are in some cases almost forced to it, and it is comparatively easy. More observe the characters of men than the order of things: to the one we are formed by Nature, and by that sympathy from which we are so strongly led to take a part in the passions and manners of our fellow-men; the other is, as it were, foreign and extrinsical. Neither, indeed, can anything be done, even in this, without invention; but it is obvious that this invention is of a kind altogether different from the former. However, though the more sublime genius and the greatest art are required for the former, yet the latter, as it is more common and more easy, so it is more useful, and administers more directly to the great business of life.

If the drama requires such a combination of talents, the most common of which is very rarely to be found and difficult to be exerted, it is not surprising, at a time when almost all kinds of poetry are cultivated with little success, to find that we have done no great matters in this. Many causes may be assigned for our present weakness in that oldest and most excellent branch of philosophy, poetical learning, and particularly in what regards the theatre. I shall here only consider what appears to me to be one of these causes: I mean the wrong notion of the art itself, which begins to grow fashionable, especially among people of an elegant turn of mind with a weak understanding; and these are they that form the great body of the idle part of every polite and civilized nation. The prevailing system of that class of mankind is indolence. This gives them an aversion to all strong movements. It infuses a delicacy of sentiment, which, when it is real, and accompanied with a justness of thought, is an amiable quality, and favorable to the fine arts; but when it comes to make the whole of the character, it injures things more excellent than those which it improves, and degenerates into a false refinement, which diffuses a languor and breathes a frivolous air over everything which it can influence....

Having differed in my opinion about dramatic composition, and particularly in regard to comedy, with a gentleman for whose character and talents I have a very high respect, I thought myself obliged, on account of that difference, to a new and more exact examination of the grounds upon which I had formed my opinions. I thought it would be impossible to come to any clear and definite idea on this subject, without remounting to the natural passions or dispositions of men, which first gave rise to this species of writing; for from these alone its nature, its limits, and its true character can be determined.

There are but four general principles which can move men to interest themselves in the characters of others, and they may be classed under the heads of good and ill opinion: on the side of the first may be classed admiration and love, hatred and contempt on the other. And these have accordingly divided poetry into two very different kinds,--the panegyrical, and the satirical; under one of which heads all genuine poetry falls (for I do not reckon the didactic as poetry, in the strictness of speech).

Without question, the subject of all poetry was originally direct and personal. Fictitious character is a refinement, and comparatively modern; for abstraction is in its nature slow, and always follows the progress of philosophy. Men had always friends and enemies before they knew the exact nature of vice and virtue; they naturally, and with their best powers of eloquence, whether in prose or verse, magnified and set off the one, vilified and traduced the other.

The first species of composition in either way was probably some general, indefinite topic of praise or blame, expressed in a song or hymn, which is the most common and simple kind of panegyric and satire. But as nothing tended to set their hero or subject in a more forcible light than some story to their advantage or prejudice, they soon introduced a narrative, and thus improved the composition into a greater variety of pleasure to the hearer, and to a more forcible instrument of honor or disgrace to the subject.

It is natural with men, when they relate any action with any degree of warmth, to represent the parties to it talking as the occasion requires; and this produces that mixed species of poetry, composed of narrative and dialogue, which is very universal in all languages, and of which Homer is the noblest example in any. This mixed kind of poetry seems also to be most perfect, as it takes in a variety of situations, circumstances, reflections, and descriptions, which must be rejected on a more limited plan.

It must be equally obvious, that men, in relating a story in a forcible manner, do very frequently mimic the looks, gesture, and voice of the person concerned, and for the time, as it were, put themselves into his place. This gave the hint to the drama, or acting; and observing the powerful effect of this in public exhibitions....

But the drama, the most artificial and complicated of all the poetical machines, was not yet brought to perfection; and like those animals which change their state, some parts of the old narrative still adhered. It still had a chorus, it still had a prologue to explain the design; and the perfect drama, an automaton supported and moved without any foreign help, was formed late and gradually. Nay, there are still several parts of the world in which it is not, and probably never may be, formed. The Chinese drama.

The drama, being at length formed, naturally adhered to the first division of poetry, the satirical and panegyrical, which made tragedy and comedy.

Men, in praising, naturally applaud the dead. Tragedy celebrated the dead.

Great men are never sufficiently shown but in struggles. Tragedy turned, therefore, on melancholy and affecting subjects,--a sort of threnodia,--its passions, therefore, admiration, terror, and pity.

Comedy was satirical. Satire is best on the living.

It was soon found that the best way to depress an hated character was to turn it into ridicule; and therefore the greater vices, which in the beginning were lashed, gave place to the contemptible. Its passion, therefore, became ridicule.

Every writing must have its characteristic passion. What is that of comedy, if not ridicule?

Comedy, therefore, is a satirical poem, representing an action carried on by dialogue, to excite laughter by describing ludicrous characters. See Aristotle.

Therefore, to preserve this definition, the ridicule must be either in the action or characters, or both.

An action may be ludicrous, independent of the characters, by the ludicrous situations and accidents which may happen to the characters.

But the action is not so important as the characters. We see this every day upon the stage.

What are the characters fit for comedy?

It appears that no part of human life which may be subject to ridicule is exempted from comedy; for wherever men run into the absurd, whether high or low, they may be the subject of satire, and consequently of comedy. Indeed, some characters, as kings, are exempted through decency; others might be too insignificant. Some are of opinion that persons in better life are so polished that their tone characters and the real bent of their humor cannot appear. For my own part, I cannot give entire credit to this remark. For, in the first place, I believe that good-breeding is not so universal or strong in any part of life as to overrule the real characters and strong passions of such men as would be proper objects of the drama. Secondly, it is not the ordinary, commonplace discourse of assemblies that is to be represented in comedy. The parties are to be put in situations in which their passions are roused, and their real characters called forth; and if their situations are judiciously adapted to the characters, there is no doubt but they will appear in all their force, choose what situation of life you please. Let the politest man alive game, and feel at loss; let this be his character; and his politeness will never hide it, nay, it will put it forward with greater violence, and make a more forcible contrast.

But genteel comedy puts these characters, not in their passionate, but in their genteel light; makes elegant cold conversation, and virtuous personages. Such sort of pictures disagreeable.

Virtue and politeness not proper for comedy; for they have too much or no movement. They are not good in tragedy, much less here. The greater virtues, fortitude, justice, and the like, too serious and sublime.

It is not every story, every character, every incident, but those only which answer their end.--Painting of artificial things not good; a thing being useful does not therefore make it most pleasing in picture.--Natural manners, good and bad.--Sentiment. In common affairs and common life, virtuous sentiments are not even the character of virtuous men; we cannot bear these sentiments, but when they are pressed out, as it were, by great exigencies, and a certain contention which is above the general style of comedy.

The first character of propriety the Lawsuit possesses in an eminent degree. The plot of the play is an iniquitous suit; there can be no fitter persons to be concerned in the active part of it than low, necessitous lawyers of bad character, and profligates of desperate fortune. On the other hand, in the passive part, if an honest and virtuous man had been made the object of their designs, or a weak man of good intentions, every successful step they should take against him ought rather to fill the audience with horror than pleasure and mirth; and if in the conclusion their plots should be baffled, even this would come too late to prevent that ill impression. But in the Lawsuit this is admirably avoided: for the character chosen is a rich, avaricious usurer: the pecuniary distresses of such a person can never be looked upon with horror; and if he should be even handled unjustly, we always wait his delivery with patience.

Now with regard to the display of the character, which is the essential part of the plot, nothing can be more finely imagined than to draw a miser in law. If you draw him inclined to love and marriage, you depart from the height of his character in some measure, as Molière has done. Expenses of this kind he may easily avoid. If you draw him in law, to advance brings expense, to draw back brings expense; and the character is tortured and brought out at every moment.

A sort of notion has prevailed that a comedy might subsist without humor. It is an idle disquisition, whether a story in private life, represented in dialogues, may not be carried on with some degree of merit without humor. It may unquestionably; but what shines chiefly in comedy, the painting the manners of life, must be in a great measure wanting. A character which has nothing extravagant, wrong, or singular in it can affect but very little: and this is what makes Aristotle draw the great line of distinction between tragedy and comedy.

There is not a more absurd mistake than that whatever may not unnaturally happen in an action is of course to be admitted into every painting of it. In Nature, the great and the little, the serious and the ludicrous, things the most disproportionate the one to the other, are frequently huddled together in much confusion, And what then? It is the business of Art first to choose some determinate end and purpose, and then to select those parts of Nature, and those only, which conduce to that end, avoiding with most religious exactness the intermixture of anything which would contradict it. Else the whole idea of propriety, that is, the only distinction between the just and chimerical in the arts, would be utterly lost. An hero eats, drinks, and sleeps, like other men; but to introduce such scenes on the stage, because they are natural, would be ridiculous.

And why? Because they have nothing to do with the end for which the play is written. The design of a piece might be utterly destroyed by the most natural incidents in the world. Boileau has somewhere criticized with what surely is a very just severity on Ariosto, for introducing a ludicrous tale from his host to one of the principal persons of his poem, though the story has great merit in its way. Indeed, that famous piece is so monstrous and extravagant in all its parts that one is not particularly shocked with this indecorum. But, as Boileau has observed, if Virgil had introduced Æneas listening to a bawdy story from his host, what an episode had this formed in that divine poem! Suppose, instead of Æneas, he had represented the impious Mezentius as entertaining himself in that manner; such a thing would not have been without probability, but it would have clashed with the very first principles of taste, and, I would say, of common sense.

I have heard of a celebrated picture of the Last Supper,--and if I do not mistake, it is said to be the work of some of the Flemish masters: in this picture all the personages are drawn in a manner suitable to the solemnity of the occasion; but the painter has filled the void under the table with a dog gnawing bones.

Who does not see the possibility of such an incident, and, at the same time, the absurdity of introducing it on such an occasion! Innumerable such cases might be stated. It is not the incompatibility or agreeableness of incidents, characters, or sentiments with the probable in fact, but with propriety in design, that admits or excludes them from a place in any composition. We may as well urge that stones, sand, clay, and metals lie in a certain manner in the earth, as a reason for building with these materials and in that manner, as for writing according to the accidental disposition of characters in Nature.

I have, I am afraid, been longer than it might seem necessary in refuting such a notion; but such authority can only be opposed by a good deal of reason. We are not to forget that a play is, or ought to be, a very short composition; that, if one passion or disposition is to be wrought up with tolerable success, I believe it is as much as can in any reason be expected. If there be scenes of distress and scenes of humor, they must either be in a double or single plot. If there be a double plot, there are in fact two. If they be in checkered scenes of serious and comic, you are obliged continually to break both the thread of the story and the continuity of the passion,--if in the same scene, as Mrs. V. seems to recommend, it is needless to observe how absurd the mixture must be, and how little adapted to answer the genuine end of any passion. It is odd to observe the progress of bad taste: for this mixed passion being universally proscribed in the regions of tragedy, it has taken refuge and shelter in comedy, where it seems firmly established, though no reason can be assigned why we may not laugh in the one as well as weep in the other. The true reason of this mixture is to be sought for in the manners which are prevalent amongst a people. It has become very fashionable to affect delicacy, tenderness of heart, and fine feeling, and to shun all imputation of rusticity. Much mirth is very foreign to this character; they have introduced, therefore, a sort of neutral writing.

Now as to characters, they have dealt in them as in the passions. There are none but lords and footmen. One objection to characters in high life is, that almost all wants, and a thousand happy circumstances arising from them, being removed from it, their whole mode of life is too artificial, and not so fit for painting; and the contrary opinion has arisen from a mistake, that whatever has merit in the reality necessarily must have it in the representation. I have observed that persons, and especially women, in lower life, and of no breeding, are fond of such representations. It seems like introducing them into good company, and the honor compensates the dulness of the entertainment.
  --E. Burke.

Funny how Eddie keeps getting labeled a conservative generation after generation. In a more modern view he'd be likely be called a lefty-libtard by the usual suspects.

And that makes a nice link to the next item.

To the People of the State of New York: I PROCEED now to trace the real characters of the proposed Executive, as they are marked out in the plan of the convention.

This will serve to place in a strong light the unfairness of the representations which have been made in regard to it. The first thing which strikes our attention is, that the executive authority, with few exceptions, is to be vested in a single magistrate. This will scarcely, however, be considered as a point upon which any comparison can be grounded; for if, in this particular, there be a resemblance to the king of Great Britain, there is not less a resemblance to the Grand Seignior, to the khan of Tartary, to the Man of the Seven Mountains, or to the governor of New York.

That magistrate is to be elected for FOUR years; and is to be re-eligible as often as the people of the United States shall think him worthy of their confidence. In these circumstances there is a total dissimilitude between HIM and a king of Great Britain, who is an HEREDITARY monarch, possessing the crown as a patrimony descendible to his heirs forever; but there is a close analogy between HIM and a governor of New York, who is elected for THREE years, and is re-eligible without limitation or intermission. If we consider how much less time would be requisite for establishing a dangerous influence in a single State, than for establishing a like influence throughout the United States, we must conclude that a duration of FOUR years for the Chief Magistrate of the Union is a degree of permanency far less to be dreaded in that office, than a duration of THREE years for a corresponding office in a single State.

The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution.

In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware. The President of the United States is to have power to return a bill, which shall have passed the two branches of the legislature, for reconsideration; and the bill so returned is to become a law, if, upon that reconsideration, it be approved by two thirds of both houses.

The king of Great Britain, on his part, has an absolute negative upon the acts of the two houses of Parliament. The disuse of that power for a considerable time past does not affect the reality of its existence; and is to be ascribed wholly to the crown's having found the means of substituting influence to authority, or the art of gaining a majority in one or the other of the two houses, to the necessity of exerting a prerogative which could seldom be exerted without hazarding some degree of national agitation. The qualified negative of the President differs widely from this absolute negative of the British sovereign; and tallies exactly with the revisionary authority of the council of revision of this State, of which the governor is a constituent part. In this respect the power of the President would exceed that of the governor of New York, because the former would possess, singly, what the latter shares with the chancellor and judges; but it would be precisely the same with that of the governor of Massachusetts, whose constitution, as to this article, seems to have been the original from which the convention have copied.

The President is to be the ``commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States. He is to have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, EXCEPT IN CASES OF IMPEACHMENT; to recommend to the consideration of Congress such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; to convene, on extraordinary occasions, both houses of the legislature, or either of them, and, in case of disagreement between them WITH RESPECT TO THE TIME OF ADJOURNMENT, to adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and to commission all officers of the United States.''

In most of these particulars, the power of the President will resemble equally that of the king of Great Britain and of the governor of New York. The most material points of difference are these:

First. The President will have only the occasional command of such part of the militia of the nation as by legislative provision may be called into the actual service of the Union. The king of Great Britain and the governor of New York have at all times the entire command of all the militia within their several jurisdictions. In this article, therefore, the power of the President would be inferior to that of either the monarch or the governor.

Secondly. The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the DECLARING of war and to the RAISING and REGULATING of fleets and armies, all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.1 The governor of New York, on the other hand, is by the constitution of the State vested only with the command of its militia and navy. But the constitutions of several of the States expressly declare their governors to be commanders-in-chief, as well of the army as navy; and it may well be a question, whether those of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in particular, do not, in this instance, confer larger powers upon their respective governors, than could be claimed by a President of the United States.

Thirdly. The power of the President, in respect to pardons, would extend to all cases, EXCEPT THOSE OF IMPEACHMENT. The governor of New York may pardon in all cases, even in those of impeachment, except for treason and murder. Is not the power of the governor, in this article, on a calculation of political consequences, greater than that of the President? All conspiracies and plots against the government, which have not been matured into actual treason, may be screened from punishment of every kind, by the interposition of the prerogative of pardoning. If a governor of New York, therefore, should be at the head of any such conspiracy, until the design had been ripened into actual hostility he could insure his accomplices and adherents an entire impunity.

A President of the Union, on the other hand, though he may even pardon treason, when prosecuted in the ordinary course of law, could shelter no offender, in any degree, from the effects of impeachment and conviction. Would not the prospect of a total indemnity for all the preliminary steps be a greater temptation to undertake and persevere in an enterprise against the public liberty, than the mere prospect of an exemption from death and confiscation, if the final execution of the design, upon an actual appeal to arms, should miscarry? Would this last expectation have any influence at all, when the probability was computed, that the person who was to afford that exemption might himself be involved in the consequences of the measure, and might be incapacitated by his agency in it from affording the desired impunity? The better to judge of this matter, it will be necessary to recollect, that, by the proposed Constitution, the offense of treason is limited ``to levying war upon the United States, and adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort''; and that by the laws of New York it is confined within similar bounds.

Fourthly. The President can only adjourn the national legislature in the single case of disagreement about the time of adjournment. The British monarch may prorogue or even dissolve the Parliament. The governor of New York may also prorogue the legislature of this State for a limited time; a power which, in certain situations, may be employed to very important purposes. The President is to have power, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur. The king of Great Britain is the sole and absolute representative of the nation in all foreign transactions. He can of his own accord make treaties of peace, commerce, alliance, and of every other description. It has been insinuated, that his authority in this respect is not conclusive, and that his conventions with foreign powers are subject to the revision, and stand in need of the ratification, of Parliament. But I believe this doctrine was never heard of, until it was broached upon the present occasion. Every jurist of that kingdom, and every other man acquainted with its Constitution, knows, as an established fact, that the prerogative of making treaties exists in the crown in its utomst plentitude; and that the compacts entered into by the royal authority have the most complete legal validity and perfection, independent of any other sanction.

The Parliament, it is true, is sometimes seen employing itself in altering the existing laws to conform them to the stipulations in a new treaty; and this may have possibly given birth to the imagination, that its co-operation was necessary to the obligatory efficacy of the treaty. But this parliamentary interposition proceeds from a different cause: from the necessity of adjusting a most artificial and intricate system of revenue and commercial laws, to the changes made in them by the operation of the treaty; and of adapting new provisions and precautions to the new state of things, to keep the machine from running into disorder. In this respect, therefore, there is no comparison between the intended power of the President and the actual power of the British sovereign. The one can perform alone what the other can do only with the concurrence of a branch of the legislature.

It must be admitted, that, in this instance, the power of the federal Executive would exceed that of any State Executive. But this arises naturally from the sovereign power which relates to treaties. If the Confederacy were to be dissolved, it would become a question, whether the Executives of the several States were not solely invested with that delicate and important prerogative. The President is also to be authorized to receive ambassadors and other public ministers. This, though it has been a rich theme of declamation, is more a matter of dignity than of authority. It is a circumstance which will be without consequence in the administration of the government; and it was far more convenient that it should be arranged in this manner, than that there should be a necessity of convening the legislature, or one of its branches, upon every arrival of a foreign minister, though it were merely to take the place of a departed predecessor.

The President is to nominate, and, WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE, to appoint ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and in general all officers of the United States established by law, and whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by the Constitution. The king of Great Britain is emphatically and truly styled the fountain of honor. He not only appoints to all offices, but can create offices. He can confer titles of nobility at pleasure; and has the disposal of an immense number of church preferments. There is evidently a great inferiority in the power of the President, in this particular, to that of the British king; nor is it equal to that of the governor of New York, if we are to interpret the meaning of the constitution of the State by the practice which has obtained under it. The power of appointment is with us lodged in a council, composed of the governor and four members of the Senate, chosen by the Assembly. The governor CLAIMS, and has frequently EXERCISED, the right of nomination, and is ENTITLED to a casting vote in the appointment.

If he really has the right of nominating, his authority is in this respect equal to that of the President, and exceeds it in the article of the casting vote. In the national government, if the Senate should be divided, no appointment could be made; in the government of New York, if the council should be divided, the governor can turn the scale, and confirm his own nomination. If we compare the publicity which must necessarily attend the mode of appointment by the President and an entire branch of the national legislature, with the privacy in the mode of appointment by the governor of New York, closeted in a secret apartment with at most four, and frequently with only two persons; and if we at the same time consider how much more easy it must be to influence the small number of which a council of appointment consists, than the considerable number of which the national Senate would consist, we cannot hesitate to pronounce that the power of the chief magistrate of this State, in the disposition of offices, must, in practice, be greatly superior to that of the Chief Magistrate of the Union.

Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group. The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for FOUR years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and HEREDITARY prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a QUALIFIED negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an ABSOLUTE negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of DECLARING war, and of RAISING and REGULATING fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the SOLE POSSESSOR of the power of making treaties.

The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies.

The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin.

The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other?

The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
  -- A. Hamilton(1788).

Somewhat of a dupe, but well worth repeating. The last quote is a small selection of short items from 'Punch'.

Ireland will have to be careful or she will be made safe for democracy, like the other countries.

A large spot on the sun has been seen by the meteorological experts at Greenwich Observatory. We understand that it will be allowed to remain.

After exhaustive experiments Signor Marconi has failed to obtain any wireless message from Mars. Much anxiety is being felt by those persons having friends or mining shares there.

The Astronomical Correspondent of The Times suggests that the new star may have been produced through a sun being struck by a comet. This raises the question as to whether suns ought not to carry rear lights.

Everybody should economise after a great war, says an American film producer. We always do our best after every great war.
  -- Punch 1920.

I'll post some more when I have the time. Until then.

News measured with a ruler:
Royal and her wanker offspring looking to take control of the cookie jar. Declaring her candidacy for the nomination of the opposition Socialist Party, she vowed to bring real change. Right, sure.

No deal! Iran EU talks fail. See SDDPB below. Iran missed a Security Council August deadline to halt enrichment. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad maintains Iran has a right to a nuclear programme.

Fleeing for fun and profit. The US military has rejected claims that its soldiers abandoned civilian truck drivers during an attack in Iraq. Three drivers were killed when insurgents attacked a convoy of Halliburton trucks in Balad, north of Baghdad, on 20 September 2005.

Zambian elections sparks usual turmoil.

Pakistan Roll: A light tan bun served in full uniform and campaign ribbons one day. And in three piece suits the next.

In related news: Pakistan's president has warned the West would be "brought to its knees" without his country's co-operation in the so-called war on terror. "If we were not with you, you won't manage anything," said President Pervez Musharraf in a BBC Radio 4 interview.

It's not a military Coup! Retired General Surayud Chulanont has been sworn in as Thailand's interim prime minister in a brief ceremony in the capital, Bangkok. His government would focus on "people's happiness" above economic growth, he told reporters afterwards. [...] And while the good folk of Happy Valley tenaciously frolicked away, their wise old king, who was a merry old thing, played strange songs on his Hammond organ all day long, up in his castle where he lived with his gracious Queen Syllabub, and their lovely daughter Princess Mitzi Gaynor, who had fabulous tits and an enchanting smile and a fine wit, and wooden teeth which she'd bought in a chemist's in Augsburg, despite the fire risk. She treasured these teeth, which were made of the finest pine and she varnished them after every meal. And next to her teeth, her dearest love was her pet rabbit Herman. She would take Herman for long walks, and pet and fuss over him all day. And she would visit the royal kitchens and steal him tasty tit-bits which he never ate, because, sadly, he was dead, and no one had the heart to tell her because she was so sweet and innocent and new nothing of death or gastro-enteritis, or even plastic hip joints[...]

Free And Not Dead Press:
Martin O'Hagen.

SD Press Briefing Softball Highlights:Sept 28th has Sean at the plate. Play Ball!
QUESTION: Following on the extremist versus moderates and in the context of your push for democracy in the Middle East. As you know, some governments, particularly in Egypt, consider some of those pro-democracy advocates as extreme elements. And I'm not sure that you do, but there seems to be -- the issue seems to be quite difficult to resolve in terms of who is who and who is a terrorist, who's not a terrorist. Is she going to talk to President Mubarak about dealing with extremism but also trying to promote democratic reform?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm sure that she is going to talk to President Mubarak as well as her other Egyptian interlocutors about the importance of continuing the democratic reform process in Egypt. We're not going to get into the business of deciding --

QUESTION: Who's who.

MR. MCCORMACK: Who is who. But I think there are some pretty clear lines in the region as to who are forces that are either forces for extremism and violence or supporters of. You can look at Iran. You can look at Syria. You can look at Hezbollah. You can look at Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. There are a number of different groups. So I think quite clearly there's a bright line there and you can see exactly what side of the line groups and states fall.
Who gets Strike one! What?!? He's next up.

QUESTION: Can you give us -- can you let us know whether the Secretary's had any conversations with Mr. Solana since his meetings yesterday and today and any readout on them?

MR. MCCORMACK: She did have a brief conversation with Mr. Solana last night. Again, I'm not in a position to give a detailed readout of these things. I'm going to leave it to Mr. Solana and his folks over there in Berlin to give you a readout, their assessment of the meetings, what the mood music is, what the atmospherics are, what the specifics of their conversations are.

I checked just before I came out here and my understanding is that there still is an ongoing meeting between Mr. Solana and Mr. Larijani. That may have changed in the 15 minutes I've been out here. But I'm going to leave it to them to discuss (a) what is on their agenda and their impressions of the meetings that they're having with the Iranians.

We continue to hope for a positive answer from the Iranians on a very simple point: Are they willing to suspend their enrichment-related activities in order to realize a suspension of activity in the Security Council as well as to get into negotiations? We hope that that is the choice. Everybody hopes that that is the choice and it is a pretty simple one for the Iranians. The ball is in their court. The world is watching them. Nobody wants to go down the path of sanctions. That is not our first choice. But we are prepared along with the P-5+1 to go down that path if that's the door that the Iranian regime wants to open. We hope that the door to a negotiated settlement to this issue is the door that the Iranians choose to open.

QUESTION: To your knowledge, have they yet made that choice in these meetings?

MR. MCCORMACK: To my knowledge, no. No. To my knowledge, they have not.
Two and one makes four a very dull game.

QUESTION: On Greece. Mr. McCormack, any readout on the yesterday's talks between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis which lasted almost an hour? Could you please to be more specific as you can in order to have a full picture on the context of their talks?

MR. MCCORMACK: They have a good personal and professional relationship. Relations between Greece and the United States are excellent. They talked about a number of sort of regional as well as bilateral issues. They talked a little bit about Cyprus. They talked about Greek-Turkish relations. They talked a little bit about Kosovo. Talked a little bit about -- the Foreign Minister brought up the issue of visas. So there were a number of different issues that they talked about. It was a good exchange.

QUESTION: What was said about the visas?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, this is an issue that's regulated by the law. Certainly we want to do everything that we can in the context of that law to facilitate travel back and forth between the United States and Greece.

QUESTION: Were you present in the meeting?

MR. MCCORMACK: Excuse me?

QUESTION: Were you present in the meeting?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, I was.

QUESTION: Who else was present in that meeting from your side?

MR. MCCORMACK: From our side?


MR. MCCORMACK: I'm trying to remember --

QUESTION: To the best of your recollection. (Laughter.)

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, to the best of my recollection. You know I'm getting old, so it's a little hard to remember that far back. I think Kurt Volker was there. Dan Fried is traveling in the region at the moment. Let see, me, Kurt Volker -- I'll have to go back and look at my notes. We'll get you an answer.

QUESTION: One more. Mr. McCormack, did they disagree --

MR. MCCORMACK: The Secretary was in the meeting, too.

QUESTION: Did they disagree in any issue on both agendas, the Greek one and the American one, in order to avoid (inaudible) theories, not mine, and conspiracies against this particular meeting between Secretary Rice and Minister Bakoyannis?

MR. MCCORMACK: You want me to be more clear so people don't make things up?

QUESTION: But any disagreement?

MR. MCCORMACK: They had a good meeting. They had a good meeting, Lambros.
Strike three, any disagreement? No? Much-much more in there as usual.

[One year ago skips to two and three.]

85682 :
Ecuador, the UK, France has criticised unofficial negotiators for frustrating the country's efforts to gain the release of two French hostages held in Iraq. French parliamentarian Didier Julia has been leading unofficial attempts to free the two journalists, kidnapped in August with their Syrian driver. , E-Voting and several other items.

47748 :
Rolls, walls, oil and gas, Greorge Tenent leaves the cupids for a shiny medal.

Fumetti : A stock photo of George W. Bush speaking before a crowd. Overlayed speech bubble has him singing;
"Woke up this morning/ From the strangest dream/ I was in the biggest army/ The world has ever seen/ We were marching as one/ On the road to the holy grail/ Started out-seeking fortune and glory/ It's a short song/ But it's a hell of a story/ When you Spend your lifetime/ Trying to get/ Your hands on the Holy Grail/ Bud', have you heard of the Great Crusade?/ We ran into millions, and nobody got paid/ Yeah, we razed four corners of the globe/ For the Holy Grail"


Journal Journal: /Fall guys tumble on the cutting room floor/ 4

Let's start this JE with my revision of the only Sinclar Lewis quote anyone seems to ever mention: When Fascism came to America; it sold out, and at a profit. Plenty of quotes both current and past, news, nyaitj, and a texttoon. Hop in!

Even Further Clarification (from official ABC path to 9/11 blog)
It seems that people keep referring to this movie as a "documentary". A documentary is a journalistic format that gives facts and information through interviews and news footage. This is a movie or more specifically a docudrama. Meaning, it is a narrative movie based on facts and dramatized with actors.

The team of filmmakers, actors and executives responsible for this movie have a wide range of political perspectives. I would say that most of those perspectives (which is the vast majority in Hollywood) would be considered "liberal" or "left". Some of the very people who are being villified by the left as having a 'right wing agenda' are the very people who are traditionally castigated by the right as being 'liberal dupes' in other projects they have presented. To make a movie of this size and budget requires many people to sign off on it. One person's "agenda" (if anyone should have one) is not enough to influence a movie to one's individual politics when a far broader creative and political consensus is an inherent part of the process. And the consensus that emerged over and over during development, production and post production is that we tried, as best we can, based on 9/11 Commission Report and numerous other sources and advisors, to present an accurate and honest account of the events leading to 9/11.

The redundant statement about Clinton and the emphasis to protect his legacy instead of trying to learn from the failures of BOTH administrations smells of "agenda". You may feel we "bash" Clinton and/or you may feel we "bash" Bush but the facts are that the eight years from the first WTC bombing to the day of 9/11 involved two administrations with plenty of culpability all around. Something needs to explain how that happened.

Watch the movie! Then let's talk. If you haven't seen the movie with your very own eyes - don't castigate the movie out of ignorance.
-David L Cunningham* -- ibid.

*"Cunningham, son of Youth With a Mission founders Loren and Darlene Cunningham"

Do check out the usual Movie DBSs, wikis, first news link below, etc for more back story. Or wait until next week when the flaps really fly and various people start re-digesting it for you. I might suggest that you note the connections to our old friend S.M.Moon. Additional note that Scholastic is Trotskying thier involvement in this project.
3.Which medium do you think was the most truthful?
Which was the least honest?

Shall I revise another quote and say "Less is All" for my answer to that?

Moving along, next is more soc-pol bile from Mary the Wise.

When declared of age, in 1723, a marriage was arranged for Louis with Marie Leczinska, daughter of the exiled Polish King Stanislas. Europe at this time was agitated over the succession to the throne of Austria, as the empire was now called. The Salic Law excluded female heirs, and the emperor, Charles VI., had died in 1718, leaving only a daughter, Maria Theresa, one year old.

But a pragmatic sanction, once more invoked, seems to have covered the necessities of the situation by providing that the succession in the absence of a male heir might descend to a female, and so there was a young and beautiful empress on the throne at Vienna, who was going to make a great deal of history for Europe; and who would open her brilliant reign by a valiant fight for possession of Silesia, which the young king of Prussia intended to seize as an addition to his own new kingdom. This young King Frederick was also making history very fast, and after a stormy career was going to convert his Kingdom into a Power, and to be the one sovereign of his age whom the world would call Great! But at this particular period of his youth, Frederick and his nobility, still blinded by the splendors of the reign of Louis XIV., were mere servile imitators of the court at Versailles, and the culture and the civilization for which they hungered were French--only French; and for Frederick, an intimate companionship with Voltaire was his supreme desire.

But a closer view of the witty, cynical Frenchman wrought a wonderful change. The finely pointed shafts of ridicule when aimed at himself were not so entertaining. And his guest, no longer persona grata, was escorted over the frontier to France.

A nearer view of Versailles at this time might also have disenchanted these worshippers at the shrine of French civilization. A king absolutely indifferent to conditions in his kingdom, immersed in debasing pleasures, while Madame de Pompadour actually ruled the state--this is not the worst they would have seen! Destitute of shame, of pity, of patriotism, and of human affection, what did it mean to the king that his people were growing desperate under the enormous taxation made necessary by incessant wars and by the extravagant expenditures of the court? Louis simply turned his back upon the whole problem of administration, and left his ministers, Fleury, and later de Choiseul, to deal with the misery and the discontent and to make their way through the financial morass as best they might.

The power of Madame de Pompadour may be imagined when we learn that Maria Theresa, empress and proud daughter of the Caesars, when she needed the friendship of Louis XIV., in her struggle with Frederick of Prussia, in order to win him to her side, wrote a flattering letter to this woman.

This friendship, so artfully sought by the empress, led to another very different and very momentous alliance. A marriage was arranged between her little daughter, Marie Antoinette, and the boy Louis, who was to be the future king of France. The dauphin, the dauphiness, and their eldest child were all dead. So Louis, the second son of the dauphin, was the heir to his grandfather, Louis XV.

How should the empress of Austria, born, nurtured, and fed in the very centre of despotism, utterly misunderstanding as she must the past, the present, and the future, how should she suspect that the throne of France would be a scaffold for her child? Hapsburg and Bourbon were to her realities as enduring as the Alps.

In the meantime England and France had come into collision over their boundaries in America, and the war opened by Braddock and his young aide, Washington, had been a still further drain upon impoverished France. With the loss of Montreal and Quebec, those two strongholds in the north, the French were virtually defeated. And when the end came, France had lost every inch of territory on the North American Continent, and had ceded her vast possessions, extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, to England and Spain.

So while England was steadily building up a world-empire, penetrated with the forces of a modern age, France, loaded with debt, was taxing a people crying for bread--taxing a starving people for money to procure unimaginable luxuries and pleasures for Madame du Barry, who had succeeded to the place once, held by Madame de Pompadour. Did she desire a snowstorm and a sleighride in midsummer, these must be created and made possible. And one may see to-day at Versailles the sleigh in which this mad caprice was realized.

The various instructors of Louis XV. had not taught him anything about mind and soul processes. They were quite unaware that there had commenced a movement in the brain of France, which was going to liberate terrific forces--forces which would sweep before them the work of the Richelieus and the Mazarins and the Colberts as if it were chaff.

The human mind was probing, questioning doubting, everything it had once believed. And as one after another cherished beliefs disappeared, it grew still more daring. The whole religious, social, and political system was wrong. The only remedy was to overthrow it all, and crown reason as the sovereign of a new era. Such was the ferment at work beneath the surface as Louis was devising incredible extravagances for du Barry. And there was rage in men's hearts as they wrote insulting lines upon his equestrian statue in the Place Louis Quinze.

The Place Louis Quinze was soon to be the Place de la Revolution. The bronze statue was to be melted into bullets by a maddened populace, and standing on that very spot was to be the guillotine which would destroy king, queen, the king's sister, and a great part of the nobility of France.

It is said that the three great events of modern times are the Reformation, the American War of Independence, and the French Revolution. Events such as these have a lurid background, a long vista of causes behind them! A French Revolution is not the work of a day, nor of a single man. There had been a steady movement toward this event for a thousand years--in fact, ever since the dogma that labor is degrading was placed at the foundation of the social structure of France.

The direct causes which were precipitating the crisis in the closing eighteenth century were financial and economic, while the contributing causes were a remarkable intellectual movement and the War of Independence in America. It is possible that a king with a heart and a brain, and the moral sense which belongs to ordinary humanity, might have averted this tragic outburst, and at least have delayed the event by awakening hope. The Revolution was born of hopeless misery. With the reign of Louis XV. hope died, and his successor fell heir to the inevitable.

A heartless sybarite, depraved in tastes, without sense of responsibility or comprehension of his times, a brutalized voluptuary governed by a succession of designing women, regardless of national poverty, indulging in wildest extravagance--such was the man in whom was vested the authority rendered so absolute by Richelieu; such the man who opened up a pathway for the storm.

As for the nobility, their degradation may be imagined when it is said there was as bitter rivalry between titled and illustrious fathers to secure for their daughters the coveted position held by Madame de Pompadour, as for the highest offices of State.

Could the upper ranks fall lower than this? Had not the kingdom reached its lowest depths, where its foreign policy was determined by the amount of consideration shown to Madame de Pompadour? But this woman, whose friendship was artfully sought by the great Empress Maria Theresa, was superseded, and the fresher charms of Madame du Barry enslaved the king. The deposed favorite could not survive her fall, and died of a broken heart. It is said that as Louis, looking from an upper window of his palace, saw the coffin borne out in a drenching rain, he smiled, and said, "Ah, the marquise has a bad day for her journey." It may be imagined that the man who could be so pitiless to the woman he had loved would feel little pity for the people whom he had not loved, but whom he knew only as a remote, obscure something, which held up the weight of his glory.

But this "obscure something" was undergoing strange transformation. The greater light at the surface had sent some glimmering rays down into the mass below, which began to awaken and to think. Misery, hopeless and abject, was changing into rage and thirst for vengeance.

A new class had come into existence which was not noble, but with highly trained intelligence it looked with contempt and loathing upon the frivolous, half-educated nobles, Scorn was added to the ferment of human passions beneath the surface, and when Voltaire had spoken, and the restraints of religion were loosened, no living hand, not that of a Richelieu nor a Louis XIV., could have averted the coming doom. But no one seems to have suspected what was approaching.

A wonderful literature had come into existence, not stately and classic as in the age preceding, but instinct with a new sort of life. The profoundest themes which can occupy the mind of man were handled with marvellous lightness of touch and clothed with prismatic brilliancy of speech; but all was negation. None tried to build; all to demolish. The black-winged angel of Destruction was hovering over the land.

Then Rousseau tossed his dreamy abstractions into the quivering air, and the formula, "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," was caught up by the titled aristocracy as a charming idyllic toy, while princes, dukes, and marquises amused themselves with a dream of Arcadian simplicity, to be attained in some indefinite way, in some remote and equally indefinite future. It was all a masquerade. No reality, no sincerity, no convictions, good or evil. The only thing that was real was that an over-taxed, impoverished people was exasperated and--hungry.
  --M.P. Parmele.

I doubt I need to frame any of the above in this forum. So lastly, a pair of short entries from Punch.

The report that a British soldier has recently discovered a genuine specimen of a small war, in which Mr. Winston Churchill had no hand whatever, is now regarded as untrustworthy.

A police magistrate of Louisville, Kentucky, has been called upon to decide whether a man may marry his divorced wife's mother. In our view the real question is whether, with a view to securing the sanctity of the marriage tie, it should not be made compulsory.
-- Punch 1920.

Regular daily service will resume in a couple of weeks. Until then.

News for youth with a mission:
the Pathe to 911. ...few of its critics have actually seen the film. E&P obtained an advance review copy on Tuesday, and we summarize the film below. It's possible that some changes may have been, or will be, made in this cut. And what about the DVDs already in-channel? Is some kind of remote hard cutting expected? See Quote section above.

Shrub and the secret prisons. Get it out now while Irwinomania is hot? The key problem here though is just how many they've liquideathed[sic] so far. And just how many young children they've buggered, fucked and killed in them. Abu Grabass looks to be only the tip of the glow-stick.

Nigeria still a oil soaked warzone. A reliable military source told our correspondent that four arrests had been made. But Mr Tom has told the BBC the seized weapons did not belong to him. The military say their haul included 12 AK47s, seven general purpose machine guns, eight sub-machine guns, ammunition, bullet-proof vests and dynamite. The abductions and attacks on oil facilities have led to oil companies withdrawing staff, cutting Nigeria's oil production by a quarter.

Iraq still a "State of Emergency" ... in a state of emergency. [insert Orly owl here]

Turkey drifting between wanting to kill Kurds and kill Jews.

Kaaaaaahn!!! Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan is to be operated on for prostate cancer, the government says. A statement said Dr Khan had decided to go ahead with surgery and would be moved from his home in Islamabad for the procedure in Karachi.

In Georgia: Some 450 police officers took part in the morning raids on houses and offices across Georgia, the BBC's Matthew Collin in Tbilisi reports. "They will be charged under Article 315 of the Georgian criminal code - plotting against the state and overthrowing the government," Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili told reporters. Among those detained are officials of two opposition parties - the pro-Russian Justice Party and the Conservative Monarchists.

BrownLeatherJacket said earlier in August; We have grown accustomed to Americans who look almost perfectly spherical, and we are seeing more and more Europeans who seem to aspire to the same goal. Popkin's point is that this is not due to some moral failure in the American and European populations, but to the changes that come with urbanisation: higher incomes, mass marketing of processed foods, and work patterns involving much less physical labour. His proof is that the rates of obesity in developing countries undergoing rapid urbanisation are rapidly catching up with the levels in the rich countries.

Free and not dead press. Mohammed Taha ran the al-Wifaq paper and was taken from his home on Tuesday night by an unknown group of armed men. Last year, he was put on trial for blasphemy after his pro-government paper reprinted an article questioning the parentage of the prophet Muhammad.

SD Press Briefing Softball Highlights:Sept 5th has plucky Sean, so we can be sure to hear some first class spinning today. Play Ball!
QUESTION: Sean, do you see the area in southern Sudan as holding the agreements up by efforts of former U.S. Ambassador and negotiator John Danforth? But also it appears there's a third region in Sudan that's at odds with the central government in Khartoum. Do you see the -- also on September 9th, this coming Saturday, and also on September 17th there are going to be worldwide demonstrations against the carnage in Darfour. Do you see those particular demonstrations as having a good effect?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, certainly publicly awareness is an important -- is important with regard to the situation in Darfur. That is why this President from the very first days of his Administration has been pushing on the issue of Sudan to try to get a resolution to the various conflicts that have been ongoing there.

Joel, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is being implemented. Obviously, in any type of agreement such as this where you have two parties that were warring with each other for more than two decades you're going to have bumps in the road. But it is being implemented. Certainly we want to continue to see it to be implemented. We want to do everything that we can. The Darfur Peace Agreement needs to be implemented as well. There are steps that have been taken in that regard, but frankly, there's a lot more work that needs to be done on all -- by all parties to that agreement.

George, do you have a question?

QUESTION: It could be that the Sudanese are worried about UN peacekeepers arresting Sudanese officials wanted for abuses concerning Darfur and, you know, and perhaps the impasse could be broken if the Sudanese were given assurances that the UN peacekeepers will not be sent to Sudan for such a purpose. Has this come up at all in any discussions that you're aware of?

MR. MCCORMACK: Not that I'm aware of, George. I'll be happy to look into it for you.

One and one. And it's a very old one now. In fact so old most of them are dead already.

QUESTION: Sean, you have said that you would join your partners in talking to Iran only if they suspend enrichment and those other reprocessing activities, but the Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese are talking about actually negotiating with Iran before those activities are suspended. Do you have a problem with others talking to Iran about its program before enrichment is suspended, sanctions aside, at this point?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I don't think anybody is -- I don't think anybody is trying to alter the terms of the deal that was arrived at in Vienna and then again in Paris and then again in New York with respect to the requirements of Iran. This is not a negotiation about negotiations. I know that that's what the Iranians would like to do. They'd like to have their cake and eat it, too. They would like very much to negotiate ad infinitum while they continue progress along their nuclear weapons program. The world has said no, we've seen this movie before, we're not going to pay for it twice.

So again, in terms of keeping open channels of communication, that's fine. As I said, that's laudable. We are committed to diplomacy as President Bush has said. But Iran needs to meet the requirements that have been asked of them, demanded of them, required of them not by the United States but by the international community. It was a 15-0 vote in the Security Council, so there should be a no ambiguity here as to who is asking this. This is something that is being required now of the Iranian regime, and at the moment they are in breach of those international requirements.
Strike two for cake projection. Two and one more.

QUESTION: On Lebanon. Can you talk about the Secretary's efforts to work with Secretary General Annan in lifting the blockade? He spoke to the press about -- that he's been working with the Secretary on it.

MR. MCCORMACK: The Secretary has been very involved over the past several days in working on various aspects of the Security Council's 1701 implementation. Part of that has been this question of the blockade. It's a very important issue not only for Lebanon but for Israel. And they want to make sure that it is done within the letter and the spirit of the resolution. Now the resolution lays out the framework and certain principles, then you get down to the hard work of implementing Security Council resolutions and we knew that that would require a lot of diplomacy and a lot of work.

So the role that she has been playing, she's been talking to Prime Minister Siniora. She's been talking to Secretary General Annan. She's also been talking to the German Government. They have made offers with respect to patrolling the Lebanese coast as well as making some offers on helping with the issue of monitoring of various entry/exit points. And I believe that the Lebanese Government has expressed some interest in this.

Now, working out the specific mechanism whereby Germany might be able to help the Lebanese Government and meet the requirements of German law and German politics, that meet the requirements of Lebanese law and Lebanese politics is something that we're working on right now and that's what she has been involved in over the past several days -- been a lot of phone calls. But, you know, this is what comes along with implementation of a Security Council resolution as soon as it was passed. We're very pleased that it was passed, but we also said that now the hard work of implementation begins. And it is our job, meaning the U.S. as well as the work of others in the international community, to make sure that this resolution succeeds -- part of it is working the issue of the blockade.

QUESTION: How close do you envision the blockage being lifted?

MR. MCCORMACK: We would, you know, we would hope that this is able to happen in the near future. I don't have a timeline for you. But again, it requires some dedicated, delicate diplomacy and that's what we're doing now. You have a number of different moving pieces here. You have Israeli troops withdrawing. You have Lebanese troops moving into these places. You have UNIFIL moving in -- the new more robust UNIFIL -- and you also at the same time have to get people in place and the processes and procedures in place so that you are able to monitor those entry/exit points so that you don't have the inflow of arms, which is another part of 1701, preventing the inflow of arms so Hezbollah can't rearm. So there are a lot of different -- there are a lot of moving pieces here.

And I know it seems like commonsense to people -- why can't Germany or other countries just go ahead and move in and help out. You know, each Government has its own requirements in that regard. So what we're trying to do is match up those requirements and those needs with the various countries who want to help out.

QUESTION: The Secretary General said it could be done within the next 48 hours. Do you think that's an overly optimistic assessment?

MR. MCCORMACK: We want to see it done as soon as possible.
And that's game for now. Much, much more in there as usual. RTFA!!

115968 : International Day of the Disappeared, Major General Don Riley of the army corps of engineers said that once the damaged levees are repaired, it could take nearly a month to get the water out of the city. Another huge operation was under way to rescue 25,000 people who had taken refuge in the city's Superdome sports arena. It was surrounded by water and conditions were said to be becoming unbearable. Nearly 500 buses were reported to be en route to New Orleans to move the displaced people from the Superdome to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, some 350 miles away. But thousands more homeless people were wandering New Orleans streets last night, unable to get into the Superdome or leave the city. New Orleans's mayor, Ray Nagin, issued a stark warning of the scale of the unfolding disaster. "We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water" and others were dead in attics, the mayor told the Associated Press. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands." He added that there would be a "total evacuation of the city ... The city will not be functional for two or three months., and plenty of other items.

82994 : Serbia's education minister has ordered schools to stop teaching the theory of evolution for the current school year, a leading newspaper has reported. The paper, Glas Javnosti, quoted Ljiljana Colic as saying that in future Charles Darwin's theory would only be taught alongside creationism. , Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, You can ask Washington Post if President Putin had anything to do with the editorial,.. plus.

45013 : David Kelly, We have no clue. Our computer is giving us fits. We don't even know the status of some of the stuff around us.", Kyi and more.

Fumetti : Stock photo of Sir Richard Armitage(aka Sir Loin of Meeeeat!!!). Overlayed speech bubble has him singing;
"Plans made in the nursery/ Can change the course of history/ Remember that

Mummy's annoyed- says go and play/ Don't show your face/
Stay away all day/ Shouldn't have done that"


Journal Journal: /We are normal and we want our freedom/Freedom!/ 8

Mr Bowie singing 'Five Years', over and over, might have been a better title-song for this entry. But, there is more to discuss than just marking the five year of this journal--and in hand with it --the Journal system here on Slashdot. Sort of a mash of late August items in the usual section. Quotes, News, nYAITJs, and a texttoon too.

Why would the police in the USA be growing so eager to arrest and, most of all, confiscate video/photos of their operations?

The simplest answer is that there are agents of other agencies in police uniform working in "secret" And no doubt... civilian contractors too. Family of well placed politicos (domestic and/or foreign)? Clergy? Why, just about anyone they like, up to and including their current lovers. "Gotta get that footage of the grad getting maced by q-tip. It's hot, hot, hot!"

Not that the above is the subject of todays JE. I mention it as a nice topical bit of tinfoil speculation before I send us back to the past once again. Or is it the future?... Now? We'd better go look for ourselves [...]

Setting aside all our hereditary beliefs, all our theological teachings let us try to consider the true teachings of Jesus as differentiated from the instructions given by Moses for the guidance of the Jews.

Moses never told his people to love and forgive their enemies. Jesus made a strong point of this, even bidding his disciples to forgive injuries to the seventieth time. Moses impressed upon his people the excellence of revenge, always demanding "an eye for an eye," a life for a life. Jesus said all that sort of compensation rested forever with God, that He alone, who saw and knew the hearts of men, could deal justly with them. The old Jewish law stoned to death the immoral woman--not the man--O no! certainly not! Jesus said to a flagrant woman brought before him by a rabble of men: "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone." What divine sarcasm, and how they are said to have slunk away under his perception of them!

How is it now with the Christian religion in the so-called Christian nations? Where on the face of the earth is there a community or a people that is governed and controlled by the real teachings of the Christ?

All our jurisprudence is based upon the laws given to the Jews by their leader and lawgiver. We take the lives of those people who are guilty of breaking certain laws of ours based upon the laws of Moses, and while we do not stone the life out of those women--not men--whom we prove guilty of breaking the seventh commandment, we do build up against them walls of conventionality, and of uncharity harder than the rocks once used for the killing of their bodies.

Consider this beautiful law now in operation in the state of New York. If a poor, starving, homeless, hopeless human being, maddened by the bitter woes of life, seeks surcease of pain by throwing off his own individual life, by committing suicide, the law insists that such a one shall be not only forced back to a continuance of a horrible existence here, but that each and every one of such sinners shall be punished by imprisonment and fine. If that isn't serving the devil, what in the name of common sense is it? Where are the good Samaritans among the pretended followers of the loving Christ? What sort of a reckoning will such lawmakers have to meet, and what penalties undergo under the applied judgment of the Great Teacher and exemplars? "Woe to him through whom offences come," he said, and again: "Because ye did not give aid and comfort to the least of these, I will not call you of my flock." Could anything be more brutally unmerciful than such a law as this in its dealings with the most helpless, forlorn, and seemingly Godforsaken of all earth's children--the voluntary suicide?

How the demons must gloat over the lost souls who formed and enforced such a fiendish law! Why this everlasting "harking back" to Moses, while posing as followers of teachings utterly at variance with his? Let us admit that we are Jews and stop persecuting them because they are not Christians, or let us try to know what Christ Jesus really meant us to understand by his ethics of love and good will to men.

Many people have lost all their faith in the immortality of the soul, because Moses did not preach it. It is quite possible that even the worshipped Moses did not know everything that men may yet come to know about this, and anent a world of other things. Neither did the troglodytes, nor the cliff dwellers know of electricity or the X-ray! But Jesus knew of the life--the eternal, unquenchable life--of the soul beyond this mortal existence, and he knew and taught the way and the life that leads to that higher life. All through his teachings run this under-current of belief in the value of the individual soul, and instructions as to the highest and best way to evolve it from its lowest estate up to the Infinite.

Fancy what a revolution would come to the whole so-called Christian world if the ethics of Jesus, so plainly set down in his legacy to the children of men, were understood and lived! What wrong and injustice would be done away with, what works of mercy would be wrought!
  -- A.B. Scofield.

In 1559 Henry II. was killed by an accident at a tournament. The marriage of the two children had taken place. The sickly boy, with only a modest portion of intelligence, was Francis II., King of France. Marie, his beautiful and adored queen, controlled him utterly, and was herself in turn controlled by her uncles of the house of Guise. In fact, the family of Guise, which was the head of the Catholic party in the kingdom, ruled France, with the strange result that if Catharine looked for any allies in her fight with this ambitious family, she must make common cause with the Protestants, led by Admiral Coligny, whom she hated only a little less than the uncles of Marie Stuart.

The princes of the house of Bourbon, a remote branch of the royal family, which, next to Francis, were the nearest to the throne, had been extremely jealous of the growing power of the Guises. Now they saw them, as the advisers of the young king, actually usurping the position which was theirs by right of birth.

Two factions grew out of this feud in the court, and there developed a Bourbon party, and the party of the Guises; one identified with the Protestant and the other with the Catholic cause.

Antony de Bourbon, the head of the family of this name, whether from conviction or from antagonism to the Guises, had openly espoused the Protestant side. It was the rich burghers of the towns, in combination with the smaller nobles, which composed the Protestant party in France. And although the impelling cause of the great movement was religious, political wrongs had become a powerful contributing cause; as is always the case, the discontented and aggrieved, for whatever reason, casting in their lot with those who had a deeper grievance and a more sacred purpose.

Whether the conversion of the Bourbon prince was of that nature or not, who can say? But the movement swelled, and France was divided into two hostile camps: one under the Protestant banner of Antony de Bourbon, father of Henry of Navarre, and the other under that of the Catholic, Francis, Duke of Guise; and two children were on the throne of France while the ground was trembling beneath their feet with a coming revolution.

Francis I. had been too much occupied with his own plans to take in hand systematically and seriously the prevailing heresy. Henry II., son of Francis, had also temporized with the religious revolt, probably not realizing the powerful element it contained. Now, with the Guises firmly in power, there would be no more half-way measures.

But a crisis was at hand which would change the whole situation. The discovery of a plot to seize the person of the young king and place a Bourbon prince upon the throne, led to a general slaughter. Fresh relays of executioners in Paris stood ready to relieve each other when exhausted, and the Seine was black with the bodies of the drowned.

During this preliminary storm the frail young king, Francis II., suddenly died. Marie Stuart passed out of French history, and the power of the Guises was at an end. The fates were certainly fighting on the side of Catharine.

There are hints that the fine Italian hand may be seen in this event which at one stroke removed every obstacle from her path! However this may be, Catharine wasted no regrets upon the death of a son which made her queen regent during the minority of her second son, Charles, now ten years of age (1560).

There was no time to lose. Her control over the feeble Charles IX. before he reached his majority must be absolute. Every impulse toward mercy must be extinguished.

What can be said of a mother who seeks to exterminate every germ of truth or virtue in her son; who immerses him in degrading vices in order to deaden his too sensitive conscience and make him a willing tool for her purposes? Inheriting the splendid intelligence as well as genius for statecraft of the Medici, nourished from her infancy upon Machiavellian principles, cold and cruel by nature, this Florentine woman has written her name in blood across the pages of French history.

There were two main ends to be kept in view: the destruction of the Guises, and the extermination of the Huguenots, as the Protestants were now called. These were difficult to reconcile, but both must be accomplished.

Coligny, the splendid old admiral and Huguenot, hero of the nation, he, too, must go. And Henry of Navarre, the adored young leader of the Huguenots, of course was high on the list marked for destruction; but there might be other uses for him before that time.

Never had the Huguenots received such gentle treatment. Disabilities were removed and privileges bestowed. Never was the beautiful queen-mother as smiling, gracious, and witty. A letter to her uncle, Pope Innocent III., written, it is said, between a dinner and a masquerade, asked if men might not be good enough Christians even if they did not believe in transubstantiation, and useful subjects even though they could not accept the Apostolic succession!

Then this excellent woman declared her admiration for the intelligence of the Huguenots, whom until now she had believed were mere fanatical enthusiasts. Then Henry of Navarre, the brave, generous, accomplished Protestant leader, was urgently invited to the court, and finally even offered the hand of Margaret of Valois, her daughter, as a compromise which would heal the rivalry between the two faiths.

And so, on the 18th of August, 1572, Notre Dame, grim but splendid, looked down upon the marriage of Margaret and Henry, in the presence of all the leaders of Huguenot and Catholic in France.

The Protestants wept for joy at the reconciliation accomplished by this union. And all were to remain and partake of the week of festivities which were to follow.

Then, the pageant over, a secret council was held in Catharine's apartment in the Louvre, in which her remaining son, Henry, participated, but from which his brother the king was excluded; some wishing to include the Guises in the approaching massacre, some urging that Henry of Navarre be spared, but all agreeing that Coligny must go; it being, in fact, the influence of this magnetic man over the young king which was the danger-point compelling haste and the uncertainty as to what her son might do endangered the success of the whole plot.

Charles, who was now king, was impressible, easily influenced, yet stubborn, intractable, incoherent, passionate, and unreliable; sometimes inclining to the Guises, sometimes to Coligny and the Huguenots, and always submitting at last, after vain struggle, to his imperious mother's will, in her efforts to free him from both. We see in him a weak character, not naturally bad, torn to distraction by the cruel forces about him, who when compelled to yield, as he always did in the end, to that terrible woman, would give way to fits of impotent rage against the fate which allowed him no peace.

The time had arrived when Catharine feared the influence of Coligny more than that of the Guises. Brave, patriotic, magnetic, he had succeeded in winning Charles's consent to declare war against Spain. Philip II. of Spain was Catharine's son-in-law and closest ally. Her entire policy was threatened. At all hazards Coligny must be gotten rid of. The young King of Navarre, adored leader of the Protestants, was a constant menace; he, too, must in some way be disposed of.

There were sinister conferences with Philip of Spain and with his minister, that incarnation of cruelty and of the Inquisition, the Duke of Alva.

To the honor of France it may be said that the initiative, the inception of the horrid deed which was preparing was not French. It was conceived in the brain of either this Italian woman or her Spanish adviser and co-conspirator, the Duke of Alva. We shall never know the inside history of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. It must ever remain a matter of conjecture just how and when it was planned, but the probabilities point strongly one way.

Charles was to be gradually prepared for it by his mother. By working upon his fears, his suspicions, by stories of plottings against his life and his kingdom, she was to infuriate him; and then, while his rage was at its height, the opportunity for action must be at hand. The marriage of Charles's sister Margaret with the young Protestant leader Henry of Navarre, with its promise of future protection to the Huguenots, was part of the plot. It would lure all the leaders of the cause to Paris. Coligny, Conde, all the heads of the party, were urgently invited to attend the marriage feast which was to inaugurate an era of peace.

Admiral Coligny was requested by Catharine, simply as a measure of protection to the Protestants, to have an additional regiment of guards in Paris, to act in case of any unforeseen violence.

Two days after the marriage, and while the festivities were at their height, an attempt upon the life of the old admiral awoke suspicion and alarm. But Catharine and her son went immediately in person to see the wounded old man, and to express their grief and horror at the event. They commanded that a careful list of the names and abode of every Protestant in Paris be made, in order, as they said, "to take them under their own immediate protection."

"My dear father," said the king, "the hurt is yours, the grief is mine."

At that moment the knives were already sharpened, every man instructed in his part in the hideous drama, and the signal for its commencement determined upon. Charles did not know it, but his mother did. She went to her son's room that night, artfully and eloquently pictured the danger he was in, confessed to him that she had authorized the attempt upon Coligny, but that it was done because of the admiral's plottings against him, which she had discovered. But the Guises--her enemies and his--they knew it, and would denounce her and the king! The only thing now is to finish the work. He must die.

Charles was in frightful agitation and stubbornly refused. Finally, with an air of offended dignity, she bowed coldly and said to her son, "Sir, will you permit me to withdraw with my daughter from your kingdom?" The wretched Charles was conquered. In a sort of insane fury he exclaimed, "Well, let them kill him, and all the rest of the Huguenots too. See that not one remains to reproach me."
  -- M. Parmele.

When she{Mary Baker G. Eddy} wrote this little biography her great life-work had already been achieved, she was become renowned; to multitudes of reverent disciples she was a sacred personage, a familiar of God, and His inspired channel of communication with the human race. Also, to them these following things were facts, and not doubted:

She had written a Bible in middle age, and had published it; she had recast it, enlarged it, and published it again; she had not stopped there, but had enlarged it further, polished its phrasing, improved its form, and published it yet again. It was at last become a compact, grammatical, dignified, and workman-like body of literature. This was good training, persistent training; and in all arts it is training that brings the art to perfection. We are now confronted with one of the most teasing and baffling riddles of Mrs. Eddy's history--a riddle which may be formulated thus:

How is it that a primitive literary gun which began as a hundred-yard flint-lock smooth-bore muzzle-loader, and in the course of forty years has acquired one notable improvement after another--percussion cap; fixed cartridge; rifled barrel; efficiency at half a mile how is it that such a gun, sufficiently good on an elephant hunt (Christian Science) from the beginning, and growing better and better all the time during forty years, has always collapsed back to its original flint-lock estate the moment the huntress trained it on any other creature than an elephant?

Something more than a generation ago Mrs. Eddy went out with her flint- lock on the rabbit range; and this was a part of the result:

"After his decease, and a severe casualty deemed fatal by skilful physicians, we discovered that the Principle of all healing and the law that governs it is God, a divine Principle, and a spiritual not material law, and regained health."--Preface to Science and Health, first revision, 1883. (N.B. Not from the book itself; from the Preface.)

You will notice the awkwardness of that English. If you should carry that paragraph up to the Supreme Court of the United States in order to find out for good and all whether the fatal casualty happened to the dead man--as the paragraph almost asserts--or to some person or persons not even hinted at in the paragraph, the Supreme Court would be obliged to say that the evidence established nothing with certainty except that there had been a casualty--victim not known.

The context thinks it explains who the victim was, but it does nothing of the kind. It furnishes some guessing-material of a sort which enables you to infer that it was "we" that suffered the mentioned injury, but if you should carry the language to a court you would not be able to prove that it necessarily meant that. "We" are Mrs. Eddy; a funny little affectation. She replaced it later with the more dignified third person.

The quoted paragraph is from Mrs. Eddy's preface to the first revision of Science and Health (1883). Sixty-four pages further along--in the body of the book (the elephant-range), she went out with that same flint-lock and got this following result. Its English is very nearly as straight and clean and competent as is the English of the latest revision of Science and Health after the gun has been improved from smooth-bore musket up to globe-sighted, long distance rifle:

"Man controlled by his Maker has no physical suffering. His body is harmonious, his days are multiplying instead of diminishing, he is journeying towards Life instead of death, and bringing out the new man and crucifying the old affections, cutting them off in every material direction until he learns the utter supremacy of Spirit and yields obedience thereto."

In the latest revision of Science and Health (1902), the perfected gun furnishes the following. The English is clean, compact, dignified, almost perfect. But it is observable that it is not prominently better than it is in the above paragraph, which was a product of the primitive flint-lock:

"How unreasonable is the belief that we are wearing out life and hastening to death, and at the same time we are communing with immortality? If the departed are in rapport with mortality, or matter, they are not spiritual, but must still be mortal, sinful, suffering, and dying. Then wherefore look to them--even were communication possible-- for proofs of immortality and accept them as oracles?"--Edition of 1902, page 78.

With the above paragraphs compare these that follow. It is Mrs. Eddy writing--after a good long twenty years of pen-practice. Compare also with the alleged Poems already quoted. The prominent characteristic of the Poems is affectation, artificiality; their makeup is a complacent and pretentious outpour of false figures and fine writing, in the sophomoric style. The same qualities and the same style will be found, unchanged, unbettered, in these following paragraphs--after a lapse of more than fifty years, and after--as aforesaid--long literary training. The italics are mine:

1. "What plague spot or bacilli were [sic] gnawing [sic] at the heart of this metropolis . . . and bringing it [the heart] on bended knee? Why, it was an institute that had entered its vitals--that, among other things, taught games," et cetera.--C.S. Journal, p. 670, article entitled "A Narrative--by Mary Baker G. Eddy."

2. "Parks sprang up [sic] . . . electric-cars run [sic] merrily through several streets, concrete sidewalks and macadamized roads dotted [sic] the place," et cetera.--Ibid.

3. "Shorn [sic] of its suburbs it had indeed little left to admire, save to [sic] such as fancy a skeleton above ground breathing [sic] slowly through a barren [sic] breast."--Ibid.

This is not English--I mean, grown-up English. But it is fifteen-year-- old English, and has not grown a month since the same mind produced the Poems. The standard of the Poems and of the plague-spot-and-bacilli effort is exactly the same. It is most strange that the same intellect that worded the simple and self-contained and clean-cut paragraph beginning with "How unreasonable is the belief," should in the very same lustrum discharge upon the world such a verbal chaos as the utterance concerning that plague-spot or bacilli which were gnawing at the insides of the metropolis and bringing its heart on bended knee, thus exposing to the eye the rest of the skeleton breathing slowly through a barren breast.

The immense contrast between the legitimate English of Science and Health and the bastard English of Mrs. Eddy's miscellaneous work, and between the maturity of the one diction and the juvenility of the other, suggests--compels--the question, Are there two guns? It would seem so. Is there a poor, foolish, old, scattering flint-lock for rabbit, and a long-range, centre-driving, up-to-date Mauser-magazine for elephant? It looks like it. For it is observable that in Science and Health (the elephant-ground) the practice was good at the start and has remained so, and that the practice in the miscellaneous, outside, small-game field was very bad at the start and was never less bad at any later time.

I wish to say that of Mrs. Eddy I am not requiring perfect English, but only good English. No one can write perfect English and keep it up through a stretch of ten chapters. It has never been done. It was approached in the "well of English undefiled"; it has been approached in Mrs. Eddy's Annex to that Book; it has been approached in several English grammars; I have even approached it myself; but none of us has made port.

Now, the English of Science and Health is good. In passages to be found in Mrs. Eddy's Autobiography (on pages 53, 57, 101, and 113), and on page 6 of her squalid preface to Science and Health, first revision, she seems to me to claim the whole and sole authorship of the book. That she wrote the Autobiography, and that preface, and the Poems, and the Plague-spot- Bacilli, we are not permitted to doubt. Indeed, we know she wrote them. But the very certainty that she wrote these things compels a doubt that she wrote Science and Health. She is guilty of little awkwardnesses of expression in the Autobiography which a practiced pen would hardly allow to go uncorrected in even a hasty private letter, and could not dream of passing by uncorrected in passages intended for print. But she passes them placidly by; as placidly as if she did not suspect that they were offenses against third-class English. I think that that placidity was born of that very unawareness, so to speak. I will cite a few instances from the Autobiography. The italics are mine:

"I remember reading in my childhood certain manuscripts containing Scriptural Sonnets, besides other verses and enigmas," etc. Page 7.

[On page 27.] "Many pale cripples went into the Church leaning on crutches who came out carrying them on their shoulders."

It is awkward, because at the first glance it seems to say that the cripples went in leaning on crutches which went out carrying the cripples on their shoulders. It would have cost her no trouble to put her "who" after her "cripples." I blame her a little; I think her proof-reader should have been shot. We may let her capital C pass, but it is another awkwardness, for she is talking about a building, not about a religious society.

"Marriage and Parentage "[Chapter-heading. Page 30]. You imagine that she is going to begin a talk about her marriage and finish with some account of her father and mother. And so you will be deceived. "Marriage" was right, but "Parentage" was not the best word for the rest of the record. It refers to the birth of her own child. After a certain period of time "my babe was born." Marriage and Motherhood-Marriage and Maternity-Marriage and Product-Marriage and Dividend--either of these would have fitted the facts and made the matter clear.

"Without my knowledge he was appointed a guardian." Page 32.

She is speaking of her child. She means that a guardian for her child was appointed, but that isn't what she says.

"If spiritual conclusions are separated from their premises, the nexus is lost, and the argument with its rightful conclusions, becomes correspondingly obscure." Page 34.

We shall never know why she put the word "correspondingly" in there. Any fine, large word would have answered just as well: psychosuperintangibly --electroincandescently--oligarcheologically--sanchrosynchro- stereoptically--any of these would have answered, any of these would have filled the void.

"His spiritual noumenon and phenomenon silenced portraiture." Page 34.

Yet she says she forgot everything she knew, when she discovered Christian Science. I realize that noumenon is a daisy; and I will not deny that I shall use it whenever I am in a company which I think I can embarrass with it; but, at the same time, I think it is out of place among friends in an autobiography. There, I think a person ought not to have anything up his sleeve. It undermines confidence. But my dissatisfaction with the quoted passage is not on account of noumenon; it is on account of the misuse of the word "silenced." You cannot silence portraiture with a noumenon; if portraiture should make a noise, a way could be found to silence it, but even then it could not be done with a noumenon. Not even with a brick, some authorities think.

"It may be that the mortal life-battle still wages," etc. Page 35.

That is clumsy. Battles do not wage, battles are waged. Mrs. Eddy has one very curious and interesting peculiarity: whenever she notices that she is chortling along without saying anything, she pulls up with a sudden "God is over us all," or some other sounding irrelevancy, and for the moment it seems to light up the whole district; then, before you can recover from the shock, she goes flitting pleasantly and meaninglessly along again, and you hurry hopefully after her, thinking you are going to get something this time; but as soon as she has led you far enough away from her turkey lot she takes to a tree.

Whenever she discovers that she is getting pretty disconnected, she couples-up with an ostentatious "But" which has nothing to do with anything that went before or is to come after, then she hitches some empties to the train-unrelated verses from the Bible, usually--and steams out of sight and leaves you wondering how she did that clever thing. For striking instances, see bottom paragraph on page 34 and the paragraph on page 35 of her Autobiography. She has a purpose--a deep and dark and artful purpose--in what she is saying in the first paragraph, and you guess what it is, but that is due to your own talent, not hers; she has made it as obscure as language could do it. The other paragraph has no meaning and no discoverable intention. It is merely one of her God-over-alls. I cannot spare room for it in this place.
  -- Mark Twain(S. Clemens).

I'll fill out the playing field with a few more chunks over the next couple of weeks. I'm not starting a new sequence, but I would like to present a number of things ... Apocalyptic. More regular posting and regular sequences start in mid-Sept. Until then.

News by a nude man:
[organ riff] George could not have chosen a better spot on Earth for the "End of Things" to begin, nor a more appropriate agent than Israel to get the ball rolling. After all "Armageddon" is a Hebrew word. It has come to signify "the end of times" or the arrival of catastrophic events, involving huge loss of life. In its origins, however, Har-Mageddon meant simply "the mountain of Megiddo" - Megiddo being a site in Israel close to the border with Lebanon.

Richard Nixon's ghost weeps for a once [surely at some point] great nation.

Juan! Lebanon!

A current Bolton item to go with SDDPB below. And of course he'd like to sell his cake after having already eaten it. ...Well, let's be clear what we're talking about. We have said for quite some time that the issue of Hezbollah's disarming would not be taken up in the first resolution. Now, how exactly we address that in another resolution is still the subject of consultations. As I said yesterday, there was no issue of timing there, but there's never been any doubt -- there's been any doubt that full implementation of 1559 is going to require the elimination of all armed militias inside Lebanon and the restoration of a full democratic process there. ...[ sics]

Draft Lite! One of many variations already in progress. Boiled frog draft? I'll think about some metaphors while the body count continues.

And continues. [insert swooping 3D overlay of 23 links with deaths >23 and teletype chatter. Cuts in a flash to a stay tuned for more and a commercial selling floor wax.]

Free and not dead press. The British wife of a Fox News cameraman has made an emotional plea to his kidnappers to release him and a fellow journalist. Cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand and Steve Centanni, 60, from the US, were kidnapped in Gaza city on Monday.

Press Briefing Softball Highlights: August 18, 2006 has Casey at bat.
QUESTION: North Korea. What can you say about these reports that North Korea's planning an underground nuclear test?

MR. CASEY: Well, I believe the press reports that I saw reportedly talked about intelligence issues. And obviously I'm not going to be in a position now, or at any other point, to talk about intelligence matters.

Look, what I can say generally is all of you certainly know that we've expressed repeatedly our concerns about North Korea's nuclear program. That's nothing new. But we also have said that there's a way forward of dealing with that and that's through the six-party talks and through implementation of the September 19th agreement. That's still what we're looking for North Korea to do. And while I know it's interesting for people to speculate about intelligence matters, the fact of the matter remains that we and our other partners in the six-party talks are all united in trying to move forward on that and wanting to see North Korea stop its behavior in terms of development of its nuclear programs and return to the table and be able to address these concerns. But, you know, again, I think at this point, you know, I really don't have anything to offer you in terms of, you know, what the intelligence might or might not say on these issues.

QUESTION: Well, since you have your six-party partners, have you been in touch with any of them in light of these reports to perhaps get confirmation of whatever you may know via intelligence and also ask them again to put more pressure on North Korea to come back to the talks?

MR. CASEY: Well, we're in regular contact with the other members of the six-party talks. Certainly, we've encouraged them in all their conversations with the North Koreans to urge them to return. As you know, Chris Hill was in the region both before the ASEAN meeting and afterwards. He's had a number of consultations since then with some of his counterparts. I certainly, again, don't have anything specific to offer you on this subject. But this is something that we continue to work and we certainly continue to be in contact with our partners in the six-party talks to try and urge the North Koreans back to the table.

QUESTION: What does this say about the six-party process, though; that North Korea's increasingly belligerent and threatening to do things like this? Whether or not it's true, they've apparently taken enough steps to convince some people that they are planning this test.

MR. CASEY: Well, you know, again, I think the international community spoke very clearly after the North Korean missile tests about what North Korea's obligations are and what the North Koreans should be doing. Again, there's no benefit to the North Koreans in taking steps that only serve to further isolate them from the rest of the international community. The way forward for them is clearly laid out. That's outlined in the September 19th agreement and that's what we're looking for them to do.

QUESTION: South Korea tends to -- is dismissing these reports. So you have South Korea saying -- is they haven't seen any evidence of it. And you have a senior official telling a network that there's something to be anxious about here. They seem to be in that -- preparing for a test. They both can't be right, unless --

MR. CASEY: Well --

QUESTION: -- it's a matter of how material is interpreted.

MR. CASEY: Well, Barry, you know, I'll leave it to you and I'll leave it to others to speculate about North Korean intentions and activities. The fact of the matter is, you know, I'm simply not in a position to talk to you about any intelligence-related matters. Our concerns about North Korea's nuclear program are well known and, again, there's a clear way forward for addressing them that serves the North Koreans interest, that serves our interest, and that's through the six-party talks.

QUESTION: Do you think South Korea's public statements on the North Korea nuclear activities are tinged at all by their anxiety about their neighbors to the North? Or do you think it's -- you can count on these statements as empirically valid?

MR. CASEY: Well, I'm not sure which specific statements you're referring to.

QUESTION: What about this one?

MR. CASEY: Well, Barry --

QUESTION: Maybe they don't want to antagonize North Korea. Could that be?

MR. CASEY: Well, look, I'll let the South Koreans speak for themselves and speak for their intentions of behind their public statements. Frankly, though, the South Koreans are strong partners with us in the six-party talks. We're all in agreement on the way forward. Again, I'll leave it to them in terms of any analysis they have to share with you about what their neighbors to the North are doing.
Talk to the SK to find out what you are in agreement with? Sounds a little ass backwards. Not that the BlackSox fielding was worth a damn. One error, one ball and a really-really big strike. Two and one.

QUESTION: Can I just try one more on the nuclear test?

MR. CASEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Do you have any reason to believe that it's not true? There are public estimates of North Korea's abilities so you don't have to rely on intelligence for everything or secret intelligence for everything. Is there reason to believe North Korea does not have this capability now?

MR. CASEY: Look, Teri, I have nothing to offer you beyond what's already been stated publicly on this subject. And again, you know, discussing the specifics of this press report, which is what's prompting all this, gets to a discussion of intelligence issues and I just simply can't go there for you.

QUESTION: Do you take issue with a State Department official saying that it is true and that it's --

MR. CASEY: I have no idea who that official is or what their statements were based on. Simply put, I'm just not going to comment on intelligence issues.

QUESTION: Are you going to try to find -- and is the State Department apt to try to find out who the official is and perhaps confine him to his office for three hours, or what? I mean, it sounds like a capital offense. You guys are making a case that Iran and North Korea are threatening and something must be done about their nuclear program, then somebody pops up with a story that South and North Korea is preparing to have a test. I don't know why you would -- why the State Department would be shy about confirming that or disputing it.

MR. CASEY: Well, Barry, look. First of all, a couple of points. I think we've been extremely outspoken and extremely clear about our concerns about North Korea's nuclear program.

QUESTION: Absolutely.

MR. CASEY: You've heard estimates, public estimates given by the intelligence community about their assessment of North Korea's nuclear program and its capabilities. Those assessments and those kinds of statements, you know, reflect a consensus view of the U.S. Government about the problems that we confront in terms of dealing with North Korea's program. Frankly, there is a tremendous difference between that and unnamed officials speculating about intelligence matters. And you know, again, I'll leave it to the experts in the intelligence community to lay forward what our concerted views are in an appropriate forum and that rests with the public statements that have already been made and I honestly don't have anything new to share with you on it.
And the un-named wookie yells "Strike!" We should add one more from the dozen strawmen in the "Simply put, I'm just not going to comment on intelligence issues." -vs- "Those assessments...", but I like the rule of three in this section so the baseballing can hang to get this last one in.

QUESTION: More on Lebanon.

MR. CASEY: We'll keep one more on Turkey and then we'll go back to Lebanon.

QUESTION: The spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Minister Namik Tan stated today, "If Turkey eventually decides to send its troops to Lebanon they will under no circumstances be a combat force. It will not be under consideration for these forces to participate in any kind of activity as disarm Hezbollah. They will be deployed only with the mission of peacekeeping and have a role in humanitarian aid and logistical assistance." Any comment?

MR. CASEY: Well, I haven't seen the statement. But again, I think the Resolution 1701 makes clear what the mandate of the UNIFIL forces are. And every country, Turkey included, is going to be looking at how they intend to contribute to this force and what they intend to bring to the table. We had a good meeting in New York yesterday that was a good start on developing that force. I think it's clear from those conversations that all the countries participating believe that we do need to have a very substantial and robust force.

There is a concept of operations and a set of rules of engagement that were developed in part as a result of yesterday's meeting that are now being reviewed by potential troop-contributing countries. And I think that's a very important step forward. Because what that allows Turkey and other countries that have an interest in participating in this force to do is have a very clear understanding of what the rules of engagement are, of how the force would operate and that gives them a certain -- greater measure of clarity as a basis for making their final decisions on what they intend their contributions to bring in and how they intend to move forward.
No comment. There is plenty more in that one, and check the 17th if you've got the time.

115059 : Slagging the editorial toons, Drugs, Officials from the British Ministry of Defence had already warned US and Iraqi authorities against the squandering of money - and have been proved right, on a catastrophic scale. A report compiled by the Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit has concluded that at least half, and probably more, of $1.27bn (£700m) of Iraqi money spent on military procurement has disappeared into a miasma of kickbacks and vanished middlemen - or else has been spent on useless equipment., etc.

81096 : USAElection04 fun, 400k homes, George Malbrunot plus Marx more.

43281 : A unit of Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $750,000 (£472,000) to settle charges that it failed to disclose its conflict of interest when advising on the merger of Hewlett Packard and Compaq., this flash from the past -- The ward was filled with gentle moaning, bloodstained sheets and bandaged heads. The face of one whimpering man was blue-black and distended. Nobody looked in a fit state to tell what had befallen them. But then, in a corner bed, a man was beckoning us over. 'Are you English?' he asked me. 'Are you American?' to another reporter. 'I am a businessman, what I do to America and England? So why do they send a rocket to my house? Why?' His name was Jassam al Zubeidi and he had only recovered consciousness an hour earlier. Later we went to look at his house, a fine middle-class villa in el-Adil, a new suburb north of Baghdad. It looked as if a landmine had sneaked in through the back window and exploded.

At 1am, because his children were frightened by the sounds of the missiles, Jassam had gathered the family in one room. He recalled drifting into sleep, his last thoughts for his two-week-old son Mohamed. 'I remember nothing else, only my wife coming to me and taking the ceiling off my body and me asking her, 'Where is my child?' ' Then he had blacked out.

The baby boy was fine and being cared for by neighbours, according to his brother, Kadim. The problem was his nine-year-old daughter Suzanne, who had been transferred to a neurological intensive care ward. 'She's dying,' whispered Kadim.

Jassam said: 'I want to ask the American people and the English people, what have the Iraqi people done to you so that you punish us like this? I love my country and I love my Saddam. I ask Saddam to take revenge for me. For the sake of Saddam I will sacrifice myself and my children.'

The minders were nervous when we asked to visit Jihad and the home of the dead teenage boy. They could not get an address from the hospital and besides, one admitted, there might be a military installation in the area.

This was the background to our tour of the damaged centres of Baghdad. The truth is that they are few and far between and, harrowing though the stories of Jassam and others are, they are the unfortunate exceptions. Most civilians were unscathed. , and much more.

11635 : I changed my mind about Ruby. I still have a number of issues, but it has over the years addressed several. A FP item accepted-yay!.

791 : Slashdot Journal system opens up. I made a poll.

Fumetti : Stock photo of George W. Bush riding his bike. Overlayed caption at the bottom: "+(20 to 30) degrees F +full kit"

User Journal

Journal Journal: /And I don't really know who sent me/

I wanted to get at least one JE in for the month of July. And here it is. Assorted news, and the Texttoon too.

Three quotes to explore some of the dark currents flowing and all that. It'll begin to all make sense[one hopes] once you begin, so let's get to them then.

Quote(1): The rising of the 2d November may not have been the result of a fully organised plan. There are indications that it was premature, and that the revolt in force would have been postponed until after the expected departure of the Envoy and the General with all the troops except Shelton's brigade, but for an irrepressible burst of personal rancour against Burnes.

Durand holds, however, that the malcontents acted on the belief that to kill Burnes and sack the Treasury was to inaugurate the insurrection with an imposing success. Be this as it may, a truculent mob early in the morning of November 2d assailed Burnes' house. He at first regarded the outbreak as a casual riot, and wrote to Macnaghten to that effect. Having harangued the throng without effect, he and his brother, along with William Broadfoot his secretary, prepared for defence. Broadfoot was soon killed, and a little later Burnes and his brother were hacked to pieces in the garden behind the house. The Treasury was sacked; the sepoys who had guarded it and Burnes' house were massacred, and both buildings were fired; the armed mob swelled in numbers, and soon the whole city was in a roar of tumult.

Prompt and vigorous military action would no doubt have crushed the insurrection, at least for the time. But the indifference, vacillation and delay of the British authorities greatly encouraged its rapid development. Macnaghten at first 'did not think much of it.' Shelton was ordered into the Balla Hissar, countermanded, a second time ordered, and again instructed to halt for orders. At last the Envoy himself despatched him, with the loose order to act on his own judgment in communication with the Shah. Shelton marched into the Balla Hissar with part of his force, and the rest of it was moved into the cantonments. When the Brigadier went to the Shah, that potentate demanded to know who sent him, and what he had come for.

But the Shah, to do him justice, had himself taken action. Informed that Burnes was attacked and the city in revolt, he had ordered Campbell's regiment of his own levies and a couple of guns to march to his assistance. Campbell recklessly attempted to push his way through the heart of the city, instead of reaching Burnes' house by a circuitous but opener route, and after some sharp street fighting in which he lost heavily, he was driven back, unable to penetrate to the scene of plunder and butchery. Shelton remained inactive in the Balla Hissar until Campbell was reported beaten and retreating, when he took some feeble measures to cover the retreat of the fugitives, who, however, abandoned their guns outside the fortress. The day was allowed to pass without anything further being done, except the despatch of an urgent recall to Major Griffiths, whom Sale had left at Kubbar-i-Jubbar, and that good soldier, having fought every step of the way through the passes, brought in his detachment in unbroken order and without loss of baggage, notwithstanding his weakness in transport.

Shelton, reinforced in the Balla Hissar, maintained an intermittent and ineffectual fire on the city. Urgent orders were despatched to Sale, recalling him and his brigade--orders with which, as has been mentioned, Sale did not comply--and also to Nott, at Candahar, begging him to send a brigade to Cabul. In compliance with this requisition, Maclaren's brigade immediately started from Candahar, but soon returned owing to the inclemency of the weather.

Captain Mackenzie was in charge of a fort containing the Shah's commissariat stores; this fort was on the outskirts of a suburb of Cabul, and was fiercely attacked on the 2d. For two days Mackenzie maintained his post with unwearying constancy. His garrison was short of water and of ammunition, and the fort was crowded with women and children, but he held on resolutely until the night of the 3d. No assistance was sent, no notice, indeed, of any kind was taken of him; his garrison was discouraged by heavy loss, and by the mines which the enemy were pushing forward.

At length, when the gate of the fort had been fired, and his wounded were dying for lack of medical aid, he evacuated the fort, and fought his way gallantly into cantonments, bringing in his wounded and the women and children. With this solitary exception the Afghans had nowhere encountered resistance, and the strange passiveness of our people encouraged them to act with vigour. From the enclosed space of the Shah Bagh, and the adjacent forts of Mahmood Khan and Mahomed Shereef, they were threatening the Commissariat fort, hindering access to it, and besetting the south-western flank of the cantonments.

A young officer commanded the hundred sepoys garrisoning the Commissariat fort; he reported himself in danger of being cut off, and Elphinstone gave orders that he and his garrison should be brought off, and the fort and its contents abandoned. Several efforts to accomplish the withdrawal were thwarted by the Afghan flanking fire, with the loss of several officers and many men. The commissary officer urged on the General the disastrous consequences which the abandonment of the fort would entail, containing as it did all the stores, adding that in cantonments there were only two days' supplies, without prospect of procuring any more.

Orders were then sent to Warren to hold out to the last extremity; which instructions he denied having received. Early in the morning of the 5th troops were preparing to attack the Afghan fort and reinforce the Commissariat fort, when Warren and his garrison reached the cantonments. The gate of the Commissariat fort had been fired, but the enemy had not effected an entrance, yet Warren and his people had evacuated the fort through a hole cut in its wall. Thus, with scarcely a struggle to save it, was this vital fort allowed to fall into the enemy's hands, and thenceforward our unfortunate people were to be reduced to precarious and scanty sources for their food.

From the 5th to the 9th November there was a good deal of desultory fighting, in the course of which, after one failure, Mahomed Shereef's fort was stormed by a detachment of our people, under the command of Major Griffiths; but this success had little influence on the threatening attitude maintained by the Afghans.

On the 9th, owing to the mental and physical weakness of poor General Elphinstone, Brigadier Shelton was summoned into cantonments from the Balla Hissar, bringing with him part of the garrison with which he had been holding the latter post. The hopes entertained that Shelton would display vigour, and restore the confidence of the troops, were not realised. He from the first had no belief in the ability of the occupants of the cantonment to maintain their position, and he never ceased to urge prompt retreat on Jellalabad. From the purely military point of view he was probably right; the Duke of Wellington shared his opinion when he said in the House of Lords: 'After the first few days, particularly after the negotiations at Cabul had commenced, it became hopeless for General Elphinstone to maintain his position.'

Shelton's situation was unquestionably a very uncomfortable one, for Elphinstone, broken as he was, yet allowed his second in command no freedom of action, and was testily pertinacious of his prerogative of command. If in Shelton, who after his manner was a strong man, there had been combined with his resolution some tact and temper, he might have exercised a beneficial influence. As it was he became sullen and despondent, and retired behind an 'uncommunicative and disheartening reserve.' Brave as he was, he seems to have lacked the inspiration which alone could reinvigorate the drooping spirit of the troops. In a word, though he probably was, in army language, a 'good duty soldier,' he certainly was nothing more. And something more was needed then.

Action on Shelton's part became necessary the day after he came into cantonments. The Afghans occupied all the forts on the plain between the Seah Sung heights and the cantonments, and from the nearest of them, the Rikabashee fort, poured in a heavy fire at close range, which the return artillery fire could not quell. On Macnaghten's urgent requisition the General ordered out a strong force, under Shelton, to storm the obnoxious fort. Captain Bellew missed the gate, and blew open merely a narrow wicket, but the storming party obeyed the signal to advance. Through a heavy fire the leaders reached the wicket, and forced their way in, followed by a few soldiers.

The garrison of the fort hastily evacuated it, and all seemed well, when a sudden stampede ensued--the handful which, led by Colonel Mackrell of the 44th and Lieutenant Bird of the Shah's force, had already entered the fort, remaining inside it. The runaway troops were rallied with difficulty by Shelton and the subordinate officers, but a call for volunteers from the European regiment was responded to but by one solitary Scottish private. After a second advance, and a second retreat--a retreat made notwithstanding strong artillery and musketry support--Shelton's efforts brought his people forward yet again, and this time the fort was occupied in force. Of those who had previously entered it but two survivors were found.

The Afghans, re-entering the fort, had hacked Mackrell to pieces and slaughtered the men who tried to escape by the wicket. Lieutenant Bird and a sepoy, from a stable the door of which they had barricaded with logs of wood, had fended off their assailants by a steady and deadly fire, and when they were rescued by the entrance of the troops they had to clamber out over a pile of thirty dead Afghans whom the bullets of the two men had struck down.

It had come to our people in those gloomy days, to regard as a 'triumph' a combat in which they were not actually worsted; and even of such dubious successes the last occurred on November 13, when the Afghans, after having pressed our infantry down the slopes of the Behmaroo ridge, were driven back by artillery fire, and forced by a cavalry charge to retreat further, leaving behind them a couple of guns from which they had been sending missiles into the cantonments. One of those guns was brought in without difficulty, but the other the Afghans covered with their jezail fire.

The Envoy had sent a message of entreaty that 'the triumph of the day' should be completed by its capture. Major Scott of the 44th made appeal on appeal, ineffectually, to the soldierly feelings of his men, and while they would not move the sepoys could not be induced to advance. At length Eyre spiked the piece as a precautionary measure, and finally some men of the Shah's infantry succeeded in bringing in the prize. The return march of the troops into cantonments in the dark, was rendered disorderly by the close pressure of the Afghans, who, firing incessantly, pursued the broken soldiery up to the entrance gate.

On the depressed garrison of the Cabul cantonments tidings of disaster further afield had been pouring in apace. Soon after the outbreak of the rising, it was known that Lieutenant Maule, commanding the Kohistanee regiment at Kurdurrah, had been cut to pieces, with his adjutant and sergeant-major, by the men of his own corps; and on November 6th intelligence had come in that the Goorkha regiment stationed at Charikar in the Kohistan, where Major Pottinger was Resident, was in dangerous case, and that Codrington, its commandant, and some of his officers had already fallen. And now, on the 15th, there rode wearily into cantonments two wounded men, who believed themselves the only British survivors of the Charikar force. Pottinger was wounded in the leg, Haughton, the adjutant of the Goorkha corps, had lost his right hand, and his head hung forward on his breast, half severed from his body by a great tulwar slash. Of the miserable story which it fell to Pottinger to tell only the briefest summary can be given. His residence was at Lughmanee, a few miles from the Charikar cantonments, when early in the month a number of chiefs of the Kohistan and the Nijrao country assembled to discuss with him the terms on which they would reopen the communications with Cabul.

Those chiefs proved treacherous, slew Rattray, Pottinger's assistant, and besieged Pottinger in Lughmanee. Finding his position untenable, he withdrew to Charikar under cover of night. On the morning of the 5th the Afghans assailed the cantonments. Pottinger was wounded, Codrington was killed, and the Goorkhas were driven into the barracks. Haughton, who succeeded to the command of the regiment, made sortie on sortie, but was finally driven in, and the enemy renewed their assaults in augmented strength. Thenceforward the position was all but hopeless.

On the 10th the last scant remains of water was distributed. Efforts to procure water by sorties on the nights of the 11th and 12th were not successful, and the corps fell into disorganisation because of losses, hardships, exhaustion, hunger and thirst. Pottinger and Haughton agreed that there was no prospect of saving even a remnant of the regiment unless by a retreat to Cabul, which, however, was clearly possible only in the case of the stronger men, unencumbered with women and children, of whom, unfortunately, there was a great number in the garrison. On the afternoon of the 13th Haughton was cut down by a treacherous native officer of the artillery, who then rushed out of the gate, followed by all the gunners and most of the Mahommedans of the garrison.

In the midst of the chaos of disorganisation, Dr Grant amputated Haughton's hand, dressed his other wounds, and then spiked all the guns. When it was dark, the garrison moved out, Pottinger leading the advance, Dr Grant the main body, and Ensign Rose the rear-guard. From the beginning of the march, discipline was all but entirely in abeyance; on reaching the first stream, the last remains of control were lost, and the force was rapidly disintegrating. Pottinger and Haughton, the latter only just able to keep the saddle, pushed on toward Cabul, rested in a ravine during the day, evaded the partisan detachment sent out from Cabul to intercept them, rode through sleeping Cabul in the small hours of the morning, and after being pursued and fired upon in the outskirts of the city, finally attained the cantonments.

It was afterwards learned that a portion of the regiment had struggled on to within twenty miles from Cabul, gallantly headed by young Rose and Dr Grant. Then the remnant was destroyed. Rose was killed, after despatching four Afghans with his own hand. Dr Grant, escaping the massacre, held on until within three miles of the cantonments, when he too was killed.

Macnaghten was naturally much depressed by the news communicated by Pottinger, and realised that the Afghan masses already encompassing the position on the Cabul plain would certainly be increased by bands from the Kohistan and Nijrao, flushed already with their Charikar success. He sided strongly with the large party among the officers who were advocating the measure of abandoning the cantonments altogether, and moving the force now quartered there to the safer and more commanding position in the Balla Hissar.

The military chiefs opposed the project, and propounded a variety of objections to it, none of which were without weight, yet all of which might have been overcome by energy and proper dispositions. Shelton, however, was opposed to the scheme, since if carried out it would avert or postpone the accomplishment of his policy of retreat on Jellalabad; Elphinstone was against it in the inertia of debility, and the project gradually came to be regarded as abandoned.

Another project, that of driving the Afghans from Mahmood Khan's fort, commanding the direct road between the cantonments and the Balla Hissar, and of occupying it with a British force, was so far advanced that the time for the attempt was fixed, and the storming party actually warned, when some petty objection intervened and the enterprise was abandoned, never to be revived.
  -- A. Forbes.

I'll continue to fill out the spectrum in the next two quotes. But before I do so, I'd like to pick out a couple of points in the above. One of which has been well traveled in this journal before, and that being the disconnect between the expectations and the solutions offered. The greater the power, the greater the disconnect, the more vulnerable to point failure. The other point is one more directly aimed at the expectations of our current leaders (world wide) have for The Forgotten Land. How little of it seems to apply to the Afghans as a people. But we must move ever on in time and space, so on to the next quote!

Ken himself was none too happy. It took all his pluck and philosophy to keep going at all. He was aching in every bone, his mouth and throat were parched, and his tongue like a dry stick in his mouth. The dust rose around them in choking clouds, flies bit and stung, yet he could not lift a hand to brush them from his face. What was hardest of all to bear were the jeers and insults flung at them by their captors.

But they trudged on doggedly, refusing to pay the slightest attention to the taunts or blows showered upon them, and in spite of everything, Ken used his eyes to take in every feature of the country through which they travelled. Small hope as he had of ever seeing again his own lines, yet he missed nothing of importance, storing up each hill, valley, clump of trees, and track in his tenacious memory.

At last they came within sight of a group of squalid hovels in a valley.

'That's Keni,' Ken told Roy.

The brutal corporal caught the word.

'That's Keni,' he repeated in his own language, 'and, by the beard of the Prophet, you shall soon see how spies are dealt with.'

The village swarmed with soldiers, many of them wounded, who stared at the two British prisoners with lack-lustre eyes. The narrow street of the place reeked with filth and foul odours, and swarmed with a pestilence of flies. The two youngsters were thrust roughly into a dirty hovel, and with a final jeer from their brutal jailer, the door was locked behind them.

For a moment Roy stood straight, towering in the centre of the low-roofed room. There was a very ugly light in his eyes.

'Wait, my friend, wait!' he said hoarsely. 'I'll be even with you before I've finished.'

'Steady, old chap!' said Ken quietly. 'Steady! Take it easy while you can. Remember, we've got that little interview with Kemp before us.'

Roy flung himself down with a gasp.

'It's all right, Ken. I'll calm down after a bit. But heaven pity that black-moustached blighter if I ever get my hands on him.'

Ken tried to answer, but suddenly dropped flat on the bare earthen floor. His eyes closed. Instantly he was sound asleep. Roy stared at him vaguely, yawned, and before he knew it had slipped down and followed his example.

So they lay, happily oblivious of their troubles, all through the blazing afternoon. The sun was setting when the door was flung open and the sharp-faced corporal strode in.

He roused them with a kick apiece.

'Get up, British dogs,' he ordered. 'Captain Hartmann awaits you.'

The sleep had refreshed them, and though stiff and sore they were both in condition so fit and hard that they were little the worse for their trying experiences of the night and morning.

Under charge of a guard, they were marched rapidly up the street to where a few larger flat-topped houses stood on slightly higher ground. Through an open door they were driven along a passage and out into a courtyard open to the sky, with a fountain in the centre.

At a table, under the shade of a grape arbour, sat two German officers, one of whom was a typical Prussian, fair, with hard blue eyes and close cropped hair, while the other was their old friend, the ex-steward Kemp, otherwise Hartmann.

An ugly light shone in his deep-set, narrow eyes as they fell on the two prisoners.

'Soh!' he said, with a evil smile, 'my young friends, the spies! Achmet'--this to the corporal--'you have done well. I will see that your conduct and that of your sergeant is recommended in the proper quarter.'

He turned to his companion.

'Ober-lieutenant von Steegman,' he said formally. 'The prisoners are those of whom I spoke last night to Colonel Henkel. Disguised in the overcoats of Turkish soldiers, they contrived to destroy one of our quick-firers, and to-day they were discovered hiding in a wood behind our lines. They had, it appears, been plundering our wounded, for food and a Turkish rifle were found in their possession.'

Ken could not speak German, but he knew enough of the language to gather the meaning of the man's infamous accusations. 'Liar!' he burst in. 'We were never in Turkish uniform. As for the gun, we took it in fair fight, and as--'

At a sign from Hartmann, Achmet, the corporal, struck Ken across the mouth.
  -- T. C. Bridges.

Of course, everyone seems to like the old 'slap the prisoner' gag, Blackadder slag of the practice is spot on *thrust*. Anyway, on to the last snippet for your reading pleasure.

To Head-Governor van Finkenstein, Sub-Governor von Kalkstein, Preceptor Jacques Egide Duhan de Jandun, and others whom it may concern: Regulations for schooling, at Wusterhausen, 3d September, 1721; --in greatly abridged form.

SUNDAY. "On Sunday he is to rise at 7; and as soon as he has got his slippers on, shall kneel down at his bedside, and pray to God, so as all in the room may hear it [that there be no deception or short measure palmed upon us], in these words: 'Lord God, blessed Father, I thank thee from my heart that thou hast so graciously preserved me through this night. Fit me for what thy holy will is; and grant that I do nothing this day, nor all the days of my life, which can divide me from thee. For the Lord Jesus my Redeemer's sake. Amen.' After which the Lord's Prayer. Then rapidly and vigorously (GESCHWINDE UND HURTIG) wash himself clean, dress and powder and comb himself [we forget to say, that while they are combing and queuing him, he breakfasts, with brevity, on tea]: Prayer, with washing, breakfast and the rest, to be done pointedly within fifteen minutes [that is, at a quarter past 7].

"This finished, all his Domestics and Duhan shall come in, and do family worship ( das grosse Gebet zu halten ): Prayer on their knees, Duhan withal to read a Chapter of the Bible, and sing some proper Psalm or Hymn [as practised in well-regulated families]:--It will then be a quarter to 8. All the Domestics then withdraw again; and Duhan now reads with my Son the Gospel of the Sunday; expounds it a little, adducing the main points of Christianity;--questioning from Noltenius's Catechism [which Fritz knows by heart]:--it will then be 9 o'clock.

"At 9 he brings my Son down to me; who goes to Church, and dines, along with me [dinner at the stroke of Noon]: the rest of the day is then his own [Fritz's and Duhan's]. At half-past 9 in the evening, he shall come and bid me goodnight. Shall then directly go to his room; very rapidly (SEHR GESCHWIND) get off his clothes, wash his hands [get into some tiny dressing-gown or CASSAQUIN, no doubt]; and so soon as that is done, Duhan makes a prayer on his knees, and sings a hymn; all the Servants being again there. Instantly after which, my Son shall get into bed; shall be in bed at half-past 10;"--and fall asleep how soon, your Majesty? This is very strict work.

MONDAY. "On Monday, as on all weekdays, he is to be called at 6; and so soon as called he is to rise; you are to stand to him (ANHALTEN) that he do not loiter or turn in bed, but briskly and at once get up; and say his prayers, the same as on Sunday morning. This done, he shall as rapidly as possible get on his shoes and spatterdashes; also wash his face and hands, but not with soap. Farther shall put on his CASSAQUIN [short dressing-gown], have his hair combed out and queued, but not powdered. While getting combed and queued, he shall at the same time take breakfast of tea, so that both jobs go on at once; and all this shall be ended before half-past 6." Then enter Duhan and the Domestics, with worship, Bible, Hymn, all as on Sunday; this is done by 7, and the Servants go again.

"From 7 till 9 Duhan takes him on History; at 9 comes Noltenius [a sublime Clerical Gentleman from Berlin] with the Christian Religion, till a quarter to 11. Then Fritz rapidly (GESCHWIND) washes his face with water, hands with soap-and-water; clean shirt; powders, and puts on his coat;--about 11 comes to the King. Stays with the King till 2,"--perhaps promenading a little; dining always at Noon; after which Majesty is apt to be slumberous, and light amusements are over.

"Directly at 2, he goes back to his room. Duhan is there, ready; takes him upon the Maps and Geography, from 2 to 3,--giving account [gradually!] of all the European Kingdoms; their strength and weakness; size, riches and poverty of their towns. From 3 to 4, Duhan treats of Morality ( soll die Moral tractiren ). From 4 to 5, Duhan shall write German Letters with him, and see that he gets a good STYLUM [which he never in the least did]. About 5, Fritz shall wash his hands, and go to the King;--ride out; divert himself, in the air and not in his room; and do what he likes, if it is not against God."

There, then, is a Sunday, and there is one Weekday; which latter may serve for all the other five:--though they are strictly specified in the royal monograph, and every hour of them marked out: How, and at what points of time, besides this of HISTORY, of MORALITY, and WRITING IN GERMAN, of Maps and GEOGRAPHY with the strength and weakness of Kingdoms, you are to take up ARITHMETIC more than once; WRITING OF FRENCH LETTERS, so as to acquire a good STYLUM: in what nook you may intercalate "a little getting by heart of something, in order to strengthen the memory;" how instead of Noltenius, Panzendorf (another sublime Reverend Gentleman from Berlin, who comes out express) gives the clerical drill on Tuesday morning;--with which two onslaughts, of an hour-and-half each, the Clerical Gentlemen seem to withdraw for the week, and we hear no more of them till Monday and Tuesday come round again.

On Wednesday we are happy to observe a liberal slice of holiday come in. At half-past 9, having done his HISTORY, and "got something by heart to strengthen the memory [very little, it is to be feared], Fritz shall rapidly dress himself, and come to the King. And the rest of the day belongs to little Fritz ( gehort vor Fritzchen )." On Saturday, too, there is some fair chance of half-holiday:--

"SATURDAY, forenoon till half-past 10, come History, Writing and Ciphering; especially repetition of what was done through the week, and in MORALITY as well [adds the rapid Majesty], to see whether he has profited. And General Graf von Finkenstein, with Colonel von Kalkstein, shall be present during this. If Fritz has profited, the afternoon shall be his own. If he has not profited, he shall, from 2 to 6, repeat and learn rightly what he has forgotten on the past days." And so the laboring week winds itself up. Here, however, is one general rule which cannot be too much impressed upon YOU, with which we conclude:--

"In undressing and dressing, you must accustom him to get out of, and into, his clothes as fast as is humanly possible ( hurtig so viel als menschenmoglich ist ). You will also look that he learn to put on aud put off his clothes himself, without help from others; and that he be clean and neat, and not so dirty ( nicht so schmutzig )." "Not so dirty," that is my last word; and here is my sign-manual,

  -- ibid.

More of my usual blending of the ends of the stick for contrast. More regular postings, however, will return some time in Sept. Until then.

News of the Jewish plan for world domination:
BartCop letters bag contains a gem at the very bottom. Several other interesting, if misguided, ones too. But the last letter is of particular note. Bart fails to grasp the point the writer is making. One side does have to stop. And it has been obvious to the majority of people(in Israel and elsewhere) that it must be Israel. Had this current flap happened twenty years ago the answer and solution would have been quite different. The changes in the balance of regional power is now such that Israel *is* the dominant player, with the most ability to stop, and also has the support of a major power to nix any real territorial threats. Of course the rightwing-fuckwads that currently hold the keys to the mess (in the US, UK, Saudi, and Israel) are making too much money off this one. And have been since, say, 1125ad. Many others have joined in over the centuries, and had varying success, feeding off the Great Tit Of Mammon --known as the 'Holy land'. No story that has ever come from there, in the last 3000 years, has failed to illustrate this dark fact to us. Weening the bastards off it has chewed up five of the eight great schools of philosophy alone. The last of these to immolate themselves in the assault, Dervish & Sufi, Quakers & Freethinkers, Pacifist Brits and that unique blend of Scottish Proto-Catho-Secu-Parsimony, are all beaten to pale shades by these dark times. As for us, the techno&hippy&geekery&ct, that say "Choose Peace", not War? ... The fight for peace never ends, but is already in progress.

Rice is still flailing about with no clear direction. QUESTION: The Prime Minister of Lebanon has said that he does not want to hold talks with you until there is a ceasefire. Does that change your thinking and planning? And secondly, you have told us repeatedly that you have mentioned your concern about this striking on civilian targets in Lebanon. Are you disappointed that the Israelis have not listened?

SECRETARY RICE: I am certainly going to continue to press the case that there be extraordinary care taken during military operations to avoid civilian casualties. I think we all recognize that this kind of warfare is extremely difficult, because in fact it is warfare within Â- situations within territory in which civilians are residing. It is extremely difficult. And it unfortunately has awful consequences sometimes, and these are awful consequences.

I spoke with Prime Minster Siniora, and what he said to me was that he was feeling extremely depressed and Â-depressed is not quite the right word Â- he was feeling very emotional about what had happened to his people. I fully understand thatÂ--fully understand that. But I want you to understand something too: I called him and told him that I was not coming today, because I felt very strongly that my work toward a ceasefire is really here, today.

QUESTION: What does that mean?

SECRETARY RICE: It means I have work to do here, on the political arrangements, and on how we get a security environment in Southern Lebanon that will permit a sustainable ceasefire. And I have work to do here on that issue.

QUESTION: Who is arguing against an immediate ceasefire? (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY RICE: I think it's time to get to a ceasefire. We actually have to try and put one in place. I've made the point and I made the point in Rome that we want a ceasefire as soon as possible. I would have wanted to have a ceasefire yesterday, if possible. But the parties have to agree to a ceasefire, and there have to be certain conditions in place. Any ceasefire has to have circumstances that are going to be acceptable to the parties.

We also have to realize that we cannot have a circumstance in which there is a return to the status quo ante, in which there is a zone in Southern Lebanon in which a terrorist can violate the Blue Line, and create the kind of devastating circumstances that we see today. And we would be not very responsible if we were not attending to those circumstances as well as working as urgently and as quickly as we can to get the fighting stopped.
More from her ballboy Casey below.

NZ Horror!! US Senator John McCain - a likely presidential candidate - has abandoned his previously favourable stance towards New Zealand and now plans to "wipe it off the face of the earth" at the first opportunity.

Aussie Horror!! Little Howard continues to think he's "Dictator for Life" of the prison colony.

Like a boy and his dog. Trawl through the BBC News website's archives, and you will find an article about Mr Blair flying in to the US to meet Mr Bush. They had been expected to discuss Iraq, but a flare-up of violence between Israel and its neighbours was distracting them. Mr Blair told reporters travelling with him that he and Mr Bush would "obviously be looking at ideas that can lead to a ceasefire". That article was written more than four years ago, in April 2002.

Sri Lanka shitstorm continues.

NATO to, once again, fills in for the USA. In the south this time.

Dyer on Lebanon. And a recent one on Africa that is another well thought out piece. As usual, Washington's response was mainly military. It decided that the Union of Islamic Courts was a threat, and in February CIA planes delivered large amounts of money and guns to the three warlords who dominated Mogadishu. They named themselves the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism, and started trying to suppress the UIC. Rarely has any CIA plot backfired so comprehensively. Volunteers flooded in from all over southern Somalia to resist the warlords' attack on the only institution that showed any promise of restoring law and order in the country. By early June the last of the warlords had been driven out of Mogadishu, which is now entirely in the hands of the UIC, and for the first time in fifteen years ordinary citizens are safe from robbery, rape and murder. Many of us of the online-pundant school would say-- 'Rarely'? Hah! SOP-SOS-A! And still agree with his assessment at hand.

DRC election finishing up. A spokesman for the United Nations said the election had gone smoothly although there were technical difficulties in some places, such as voting material not being in place, or inaccurate voters' lists. Many people walked miles to get to the polling stations, and some queued overnight, waiting for them to open.

USA-SD Press Briefing Softball Highlights from July 28th: Tom Casey at bat, and he's a swingin', on to the highlights of the game.
QUESTION: The Russian Foreign Minister has said today that any agreements aimed at resolving the Israeli-Lebanon conflict should be coordinated with all the main forces in Lebanon, including Hezbollah. Do you have any reaction on this?

MR. CASEY: I don't have anything for you beyond what the Secretary has already said. Obviously, what is going to happen here is that the two parties that need to agree to this force, outside of those obviously participating in it directly, are the sovereign Government of Lebanon and the sovereign Government of Israel. Those are the players that we are looking towards. Those are the people who Assistant Secretary Welch and Mr. Abrams are in discussions with, along with Egypt and some of the other countries that participated from the region in the Core Group meeting and certainly, that's what we're looking towards.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the force question?

MR. CASEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Are Arab countries being talked to about joining up or at least is there some contemplation of having Arab people, Arab representatives in the force? And that old question about NATO, do you know if it will be a NATO force or would NATO be part of it?

MR. CASEY: Well, Barry, look, I think the important thing is that the force is capable of doing the job that's required. The decisions are yet to come as to whether this force wears a blue helmet, whether it wears a NATO flag, whether it wears some other kind of multinational force emblem on it. The thing that is important is that we get the right troops in position as quickly as possible to do the job. Options are being discussed now. I expect that they will be discussed over the next few days and that we'll get to a conclusion on that fairly soon. But that's part of the conversation about the overall mandate and structure of the force.
One two pitch there leads to the usual error by Barry and a Strike for 'job'ing the ball. One and One.

QUESTION: Any update on Assistant Secretary Welch and Mr. Abrams contacts in the Middle East? Where are they today?

MR. CASEY: They are in Israel today. They have been engaging both in person and on the phone with officials from Israel, from Lebanon, from other countries in the region that participated in the Core Group, Egypt among them. I don't have a comprehensive list for you. And as you can image, David hasn't had a lot of time to give me or anybody else detailed readouts of his conversations. But again, they are actively working to ensure that there is a political arrangement and a political agreement with Israel and with the Government of Lebanon to speed the way for this force going in.
And force is the job, right? Strike two!

QUESTION: Are the talks including deploying this international force on the border with Syria?

MR. CASEY: My understanding right now is that we are talking about deployment in the south, in the area where there has been fighting. You know, I think we're getting ahead of ourselves if we're starting to talk about operational details of exactly where these deployments will go.
Wipe that drool of your chin boy! Out! See previous texttoon illustration.

Fumetti : Stock photo of Mel Gibson with an overlayed speech bubble from offside saying; "'Sugar tits?!? You wish! It sounds like a load of Kosher Mock-Crow Pie to me!!"

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Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!