What that old blackguard doesn’t know of chicanery and crooked dealing, the devil himself couldn’t make use of

Al Gore goes to Saudi Arabia and while there was no need for him to do so, he wasn’t responsible, he aplogized for this, Selective Paranoia:Racist Crackdown on Arab, Muslim Immigrants, which occured in the aftermath of 9-11. As usual of most of my fellow citizens were understanding and pleaded for others not to overreact (pdf file). Gore also spoke about the potential dangers of an increasingly strident Iran ( generally ignored by right-wingers bloggers) at this forum,Tony Blair’s wife even spoke of women’s rights at the same event, thus it was not to any rational adult’s thinking some diatribe against America. The bizarre part is that in all the Gore bashing there was not an a single acknowledgement of the close ties that Bush and company have with Saudi Arabia. That is not some fringe conspiracy theory. In fact its symptomatic of the Cult of Bush to excuse all things Bush and inflate anything a Democrat does or says into something dark and sinister. A 9/11 Conspirator in King Bush’s Court? Sheehan Wasn’t Welcome But a Saudi Accused of Support for al Qaeda Was

While Cindy Sheehan was being dragged from the House gallery moments before President Bush delivered his State of the Union address for wearing a t-shirt honoring her son and the other 2,244 US soldiers killed in Iraq, Turki al-Faisal was settling into his seat inside the gallery. Faisal, a Saudi, is a man who has met Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants on at least five occasions, describing the al Qaeda leader as “quite a pleasant man.” He met multiple times with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Yet, unlike Sheehan, al-Faisal was a welcomed guest of President Bush on Tuesday night. He is also a man that the families of more than 600 victims of the 9/11 attacks believe was connected to their loved ones’ deaths.

Al-Faisal is actually Prince Turki al-Faisal, a leading member of the Saudi royal family and the kingdom’s current ambassador to the US. But the bulk of his career was spent at the helm of the feared Saudi intelligence services from 1977 to 2001. Last year, The New York Times pointed out that “he personally managed Riyadh’s relations with Osama bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar of the Taliban. Anyone else who had dealings with even a fraction of the notorious characters the prince has worked with over the years would never make it past a U.S. immigration counter, let alone to the most exclusive offices in Washington.” Al-Faisal was also named in the $1 trillion lawsuit filed by hundreds of 9/11 victims’ families, who accused him of funding bin Laden’s network. Curiously, his tenure as head of Saudi intelligence came to an abrupt and unexpected end 10 days before the 9/11 attacks.

I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but in light of Bush’s relationship with the Saudis how in a rational world can the cabal of conservative bloggers swope down on Al Gore’s little apology and ignore the conflicts of interests that that are so patently obvious within the Bush administration.

Like a successful mystery novel Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory has written a sequel to Do Bush followers have a political ideology?, Follow-up to the Bush post yesterday which contains this blurb from a conservative:

What happens if you’re a Republican commentator and you write a book critical of President Bush that gets you fired from your job at a conservative think tank?

For starters, no other conservative institution rushes in with an offer for your analytical skills.”Nobody will touch me,” said Bruce Bartlett, author of the forthcoming “Impostor: Why George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.” “I think I’m just kind of radioactive at the moment.” . . .

In his first post Glenn pointed to this article at Freeperville as an example of how conservatives have abandoned their distrust of big gov’ment…The Secret FISA Court: Rubber Stamping Our Rights

Seven judges on a secret court have authorized all but one of over 7,500 requests to spy in the name of National Security. They meet in secret, with no published orders, opinions, or public record. Those spied on May never know of the intrusion. Now, Clinton has expanded the powers to include not only electronic, but physical searches.

The aftershock of the Oklahoma City bombing sent Congress scurrying to trade off civil liberties for an illusion of public safety.

Trading civil liberties off for illusions is currently the very mantra that we hear the Bush loyalists chant daily and like shoddily made body armor they can always hide behind the 9-11 changed everything knee jerk response.

Pretty much a must read post at No Quarter: National Security: The Attack on the Constitution by Jim Marcinkowski

The Administration’s wholesale by-passing of court review under the guise of “national security” is an extremely bad precedent. If after-the-fact judicial review of eavesdropping operations can be legally accomplished in a secret court, why should such a review requirement be totally ignored by this President? Is it because the government does not want anyone to know exactly who they are listening in on? Is it only suspected terrorists who are being targeted? If the Bush administration continues to have its way, we, and the congressionally authorized secret FISA court, will never know.

Marcinkowski makes some eye opening comparisons between our current political situation and the old Soviet Union:

The government was always right and never apologized;

Any dissent was suppressed, ridiculed, banned or worse;

Secret prisons were denied and never acknowledged or spoken about;

The torture of captives (in Lubyanka) was condoned;

State incarceration was not subject to the checks and balances of a legal system;

Economic plans, like for oil, were established/determined in closed sessions between politicos, commissars and production managers, far outside public view, and where government claimed privilege in so doing;

Wages were set at the lowest common denominator, no matter what Bloc country you were in;

Government agents had access to your medical records, your library records, your telephone, and your e-mail.

A place where judicial power and judicial review were proclaimed concepts, but simply ignored in application;

The bad guys used to do what Bush and his supporters are doing now.

From Jeff Huber at Pen and Sword, Murtha: We are not Fighting Terrorism in Iraq

The more I hear what Murtha has to say, the more I agree with him. Here are what I thought were some of the best points he made today, and why I think they’re spot on accurate observations.

— We are not fighting terrorism in Iraq.

As Murtha points out, as best we can tell there are only 1,000 to 1,500 members of al Qaeda presently in Iraq. The vast majority of the people we’re killing and capturing in Iraq are not international terrorists; they’re either Iraqi insurgents or innocent civilians.

— We have lost the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

The innocent civilians we have killed are a large reason for this. This is not to say that our troops on the ground are running around purposely killing civilians. On the contrary, at the tactical level, I believe that we’re taking every possible measure to avoid collateral damage consistent with the safety of our own troops. But operationally and strategically, we’re conducting the war in a manner in which large numbers of non-combatant deaths are unavoidable. Despite our precision weapons technology, we simply can’t take down a defended town like Fallujah without either inadvertently killing a number of mommies and babies or getting a lot of our own troops blown up because they have their hands tied behind their backs.

By this point in this woebegone war, we may well have wrought more death and destruction on Iraqi innocents than the monster Hussein ever did. That we did so in a “noble cause” is really irrelevant. The civilians we have killed accidentally and the ones Hussein killed on purpose are equally dead.

Ken Russell’s 1955 Photo Essay on London’s Teddy Girls and some background on Teddy Boy culture at Wikipedia

The Teddy boy youth culture first emerged in Britain (starting in London, but rapidly spreading across the country) during the early 1950s, and soon after became strongly associated with American rock and roll music of the period

‘Teddy girls’ adopted a style similar to the lads’, with drapes complete with pencil skirts, but also adopted the American fashions of toreador pants and voluminous circle skirts, wearing their hair in ponytails..

Its most interesting as a style and the music that went with it then as a cultural movement. In Britain it had a taint of rascism at one point. ht to BoingBoing
While you still see infuences of Teddy styles on clothes and hair, it was succeeded by Mods and Rockers

The Mods and the Rockers were two British youth movements of the early 1960s. Gangs of mods and rockers fighting in 1964 sparked a moral panic about British youth. They can be seen as a type of folk devil.

There’s a pretty good film about Mods and Rockers called Quadrophenia (1979) with a very young Sting as the character Ace. To me anyway, the early Beatles were transitional figures incorporating a little of both Mod and Rocker.

“Splendid!” Sarah murmured. “Now tell us where Peter Phipps comes in?”

“Well,” Kendrick continued, “Phipps attracts sympathy because of his
lavish hospitality and apparent generosity, whilst Wingate is a man of
many reserves and has few friends, either on this side or the other. Then
Phipps, I should say, is the wealthier man, and in this present deal, at
any rate, he has marvellous support, so that financially he must tower
over Wingate. Then, too, I think he understands the tricks of the market
better over here, and he has a very dangerous confederate in Skinflint
Martin. What that old blackguard doesn’t know of chicanery and crooked
dealing, the devil himself couldn’t make use of. If he’s put his own
money into B. & I., I should say that Phipps can’t be broken. My advice
to Wingate, at any rate, when we meet, will be to stand by for a time.”

from THE PROFITEERS BY E. Phillips Oppeneim