News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising

US troop deaths push monthly toll to 7-month high in Iraq

BAGHDAD – The killings of three U.S. soldiers in separate attacks in Baghdad pushed the American death toll for April up to 47, making it the deadliest month since September, the military said Wednesday.

[ ]…In all, at least 4,059 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

“We have said all along that this will be a tough fight and there will be periods where we see these extremists, these criminal groups and al-Qaida terrorists seek to reassert themselves,” U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner told reporters in Baghdad.

The Right probably doesn’t need a cheat sheet at this juncture with the dead-ender talking points, the TPoints have simply become a knee jerk reaction. The Maj. General dutifully tied in any violence to AQ, though he offers no proof. It was as most of this flair ups have been for over five years, probably the work of Iraqis. The the blogs for Bush dutifully blame the media for not reporting the good news. Republican blogger Don Surber notes its no big thing, war is, I kid you not “seasonal”, This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 8:33 am and is filed under We won

War like everything else is seasonal, with activity rising in the spring and declining in the winter.

When I studied biology we made no distinction between the difference in how dead someone was that died in Winter as compared to how dead they were if they died in the Spring. Perhaps things have changed. Dying, especially dying for a lie about how a nation as well armed as American is somehow under dire threat from a the rag tag nation of Iraq, where they still don’t have reliable electricity or clean water. Its the media’s fault, not the lying president that got us there. From a Conservative blog called This Ain’t Hell, Posted by Jonn Lilyea in Media, Terror War

The AP could barely contain their glee as the rushed out the report that “US troop deaths hit 7-month high in Iraq“

He excerpted the same Yahoo/AP story I used. I went over the story twice with my “glee” detector and found zero traces of “glee”. When the media reports casualties, that fact to a right-winger is a bias. Facts are bias. The only way to make the Right happy with news coverage to to stop reporting facts. TAH and Don should state that fantasy on their blogs so their readers who generally agree, and the world knows the that no reporting should be done that causes any fissures of the fantasy world they live in. The major networks are already largely in agreement with the dead-enders, Networks continue to ignore NY Times’ military analyst story, but all find time for Hannah Montana

Since The New York Times reported on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon on April 20, the three major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — have still not mentioned the report at all, according to a Media Matters for America search* of the Nexis news database. Times reporter David Barstow wrote that “the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform” these military analysts, many of whom have clients with an interest in obtaining Pentagon contracts, “into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.” As Media Matters noted, the three networks also reportedly declined to participate in a segment on the April 24 edition of PBS’ NewsHour regarding the Times story; Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC also refused to appear in the PBS segment.

By contrast, during their April 28 evening newscasts, all three broadcast networks reported on the Vanity Fair photo of Miley Cyrus, star of Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana: ABC devoted about two and a half minutes to that story, while CBS and NBC each devoted about two minutes to it.

The administration with the full cooperation of the media told America just the kind of lies, distortions and half truths that TAH and Suber wanted to hear and they wanted everyone else to hear. Hey, mission accomplished. But no the Right is still pissing and moaning like the little wussies they’ve always been. They got things almost completely their way. Even Democrats signed off on the 12 billion dollars a month to protect us from the awesome Iraqi war machine ( let’s all remember that the 9-11 hijackers, none of whom were Iraqi, used box cutters and hijacked planes – not WMD or even AK-47s) the likes of which have never been seen before. An Iraqi population of 25 million we could have gave every Iraqi a million dollars, put a fast food restaurant and new school on every corner plus bought everyone a new Mercedes and still came out well ahead.

VoteVets.org has more on the latest casualty reports from Iraq, Fighting in Baghdad Rages; I am Confused

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s weird that we’re now launching MLRS rockets at the people we liberated five years ago?

We went to free the oppressed Iraqi Shias from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. We toppled him in 2003. He later died in 2006. And now we’re fighting pitched battles in the streets of Sadr City with the people we went there to free. As part of the Global War on Terror.

I don’t think this is helping.

Sheldon Rampton at CD thinks the Bushies and their “analysts” may have broken the law, Pentagon Pundit Scandal Broke the Law

The Pentagon military analyst program unveiled in last week’s exposé by David Barstow in the New York Times was not just unethical but illegal. It violates, for starters, specific restrictions that Congress has been placing in its annual appropriation bills every year since 1951. According to those restrictions, “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.”

As explained in a March 21, 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service, “publicity or propaganda” is defined by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to mean either (1) self-aggrandizement by public officials, (2) purely partisan activity, or (3) “covert propaganda.” By covert propaganda, GAO means information which originates from the government but is unattributed and made to appear as though it came from a third party.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Let’s take the Right’s infantile babbling about the good news to its logical conclusion. Why have a tomb for an unknown soldier. Why not, as the Right seems to want, just have a good news tomb. A tomb to salute those that did not die. Why have Arlington Cemetery at all, in Republithink World all those dead bodies just show the world that we’re just flesh and blood too and they’ll think we’re weak. In Conservative world one assumes we should just incinerate all the dead and not even bother notifying the next of kin. WE could save some trees and ink by removing the obituaries from all newspapers. Let’s stop reporting murders, robberies and about corrupt politicians, it just upsets people. Republicans could have what they really want the most dumped down ignorant culture in world history.

“News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”

Bush Administration Trashing Basic Tenets of Justice – ‘We can’t have acquittals’

Conyers threatens to subpoena Ashcroft, Addington and Yoo

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) on Monday threatened to subpoena former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a top former Justice Department lawyer and the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney over legal memos justifying the use of harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists.

Threats remain just that unless the administration fears that Congress finds the will to use its powers of inherent contempt. For the administration to claim executive privilege in matters involving what appears to be violations of the law isn’t much more then childishness dressed up in legal finery. Conyer’s reminded the Whitehouse that refusal to appear under this suspect umbrella of presidential powers being compromised isn’t born out by the history of numerous officials from multiple presidencies testifying before Congress. That while they were questioned, officials thought the question would violate executive powers in some way they could make those claims question by question. The administration’s legal impersonation of the Marx Brothers on acid isn’t exactly doing the prosecution of terror suspects much good. Serving justice, doing the right thing and protecting the innocent are obviously not part of the Bush-Neocon legacy, The failures of the legal system for both the torturers and the tortured.

Outside of the Bush administration, there is near-universal bipartisan agreement that Guantanamo should be shut down and the military commissions scrapped. Certainly a compelling case could have been made for Nuremburg-style trials for some of the prisoners held there—such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. But the CIA has admitted that Mohammed was water-boarded, rendering his confession unreliable and any possible subsequent conviction a sham. And even if we do press forward with this clutch of trials for terrorists at Guantanamo, there still remain almost 300 detainees at the base who’ve been jailed there for years without charges. At least some of them were turned in by Afghan captors for bounties, averaging $5,000 per head. Others are held based on the coerced testimony of their confederates. Some have been subjected to multiple preliminary status hearings (known as Combatant Status Review Tribunals) when they weren’t found to be “enemy combatants” the first time around.

Whatever the Bushies and their genuflecting supporters are, they are not serious about protecting the most basic tenets of justice and democracy, or bringing actual terrorists to justice. Circuses are better managed and have more coherent ideological direction then that of modern conservatives. John McCain promises more of the same. In between trying to morph Barack Obama into Rev Wright, some one in the media might want to ask McCain how he would be better then Bush or Clinton or Obama when he keeps saying he’ll continue Bush’s policies. Does McCain have some pixey dust in his pocket that he thinks he can sprinkle around and magically undo Bush’s damage while simultaneously making those failed policies suddenly start working. McBush would be just another faith based just trust me presidency, From Chief Prosecutor To Critic at Guantanamo

Sitting just feet from the courtroom table where he had once planned to make cases against military detainees, Air Force Col. Morris Davis instead took the witness stand to declare under oath that he felt undue pressure to hurry cases along so that the Bush administration could claim before political elections that the system was working.

[  ]…Davis’s claims, which the Pentagon has previously denied, were aired here as the Supreme Court nears a decision on whether the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that laid the legal foundation for these hearings violates the Constitution by barring any of the approximately 275 remaining Guantanamo Bay prisoners from forcing a civilian judicial review of their detention.

Davis told Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred, who presided over the hearing, that top Pentagon officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, made it clear to him that charging some of the highest-profile detainees before elections this year could have “strategic political value.”

Davis said he wants to wait until the cases — and the military commissions system — have a more solid legal footing. He also said that Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II, who announced his retirement in February, once bristled at the suggestion that some defendants could be acquitted, an outcome that Davis said would give the process added legitimacy.

“He said, ‘We can’t have acquittals,’ ” Davis said under questioning from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the military counsel who represents Hamdan. ” ‘We’ve been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions.’ “

Take your pick of despotic government legal systems, the old Soviet Union, Iran, communists China. The Bushies have managed to embrace the same Potemkin kangaroo system of justice that is contrary to the  ideals that the majority of Americans take such great pride in. They think that making sure that innocent people are never aquitted would be good election propaganda. Sure the Michelle Malkin-Freeper crowd will love it, normal Americans not so much.

Rocky Coast

Rocky Coast 1805×1200. Odd size for a wallpaper, but it was either that or crop off part of it to keep the correct proportions. I figured that anyone interested in making a wallpaper of it could decide what they felt most comfortable cropping.

John McCain,

“So I can understand, I can understand why people are upset about this,” said Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. “I can understand why Americans, when viewing these kinds of comments, are angry and upset.”

Was the Senator who, with the media’s assitance is running a “civil” campaign, talking about this,

“It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day….

How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come…. it rises from the judgment of God uppon his rebellious chosen people.” [“Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War”, paperback edition, pages 92 and 93]

or this

All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing

or this

In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.

The first two blocks are from McCain supporter Rev. Hagee and the last is from McCain supporter Rev. Ron Parsley. No McCain was not condemning them he was condemning Rev. Wright again. Who’s McCain running against, anyone that he thinks he can beat or Barack Obama.

Unka Karl carries concern trolling to new levels of creepiness, Karl Rove: Concern Troll. In my personal life I try to avoid litmus tests, but in the realm of public politics anyone who thinks that Unka Karl has the intellectual or psychological capacity to care about anything, but power and money might want to consider getting some medical attention.

U.S., Allies See Progress in Selling Al-Qaeda As an Enemy to the Muslim World. Walter Pincus is one of a hand full of repoters worth more then a hand full of salt. That he’s reporting news that is old and rather stale to those of us who have been paying attention is great. There are always a few folks that didn’t get the facts first time around. If most Muslims in the world had really bought into AQ’s message we really would be in a Terror War and the paranoids like McCain and his buddy Parsley wouldn’t seem so screwy. There are about a billion Muslims out there and the best estimates put AQ’s total numbers at tens of thousands and not even the CIA can agree on an exact number. Do the math, a fraction of a percent of a billion Muslims have joined in what most Muslims view as Pincus points, out an affront to true Islamic teachings.

Time for The Weekly Standard and Conservatives To Learn Some Iraq Facts

Conservatives have a print and net publican called The Weekly Standard. That Standard is quire low, woefully uninformed or willfully ignorant. Let’s assume that many of their readers look to the publication as all Conservative publications to reinforce their preconceived world views rather then actual information. Year after year the truth and facts do seem to have a liberal bias and we all know from the WMD Cheerleading Squad that facts are the low on their list of values. Editor Michael Goldfarb is of course deeply serious about de wer on terrur. He must have gotten his definition of serious off the back of one of Dick Cheney’s four deferments because he doesn’t seem to know anything about the various factions in Iraq. If Iraq is the front in the de wer on terrur. In his interpretation of Senator Obama’s appearance on Fox today; Mike and his shape as a tack instincts have pounced on Obama for what else, intruding the lies that the Weakly Standard have been spreading for years, More Obama on FNS, Posted by Michael Goldfarb on April 27, 2008 04:15 PM

Yes. I think Petraeus has done a good tactical job in Iraq. I think as a practical matter, obviously that’s where most of the attention has been devoted from this administration over the last several years. (Obama)

I was also a big respecter of Admiral Fallon, who Petraeus is now replacing and I think it was unfortunate that the administration wasn’t listening more to the observations of Fallon that we have to think about more than just Iraq. That we’ve got issues with Iran and Pakistan and Afghanistan and our singular focus on Iraq I think has distracted us.

My hope is that Petraeus would reflect that wider view of our strategic interests.

Obama has no choice but to pretend that Iraq is a tactical sideshow with little relevance to our broader conflict against Islamic extremism. This is why he praises the ‘good tactical job’ Petraeus has done in Iraq but in the same breath falsely asserts that the general hasn’t viewed Iraq in the ‘wider view of our strategic interests.’ Though ignored by most in the media, just two weeks ago Petraeus explained, in his opening congressional testimony, how Iraq fits into our broader conflict with al Qaeda and why success there will strike a significant blow against Islamic extremism:

As we combat AQI we must remember that doing so not only reduces a major source of instability in Iraq, it also weakens an organization that Al Qaeda’s senior leaders view as a tool to spread its influence and foment regional instability. Osama bin laden and Ayman al- Zawahiri have consistently advocated exploiting the situation in Iraq, and we have also seen Al Qaeda-Iraq involved in destabilizing activities in the wider Mideast region.

The problem(s) with Mikies razor sharp analysis is there was no AQ in Iraq until Bush invaded based on a litany of trumped up lies that would embarrass anyone with a conscience. Since the occupation, AQ’s role in the violence has always been minor compared with the violence committed by homegrown sectarians, and ultra nationalists,

To describe AQI’s presence, intelligence experts cite a spectrum of estimates, ranging from 8 percent to 15 percent. The fact that such “a big window” exists, says Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, indicates that “[those experts] really don’t have a very good perception of what is going on.”

[ ]…The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which arguably has the best track record for producing accurate intelligence assessments, last year estimated that AQI’s membership was in a range of “more than 1,000.” When compared with the military’s estimate for the total size of the insurgency—between 20,000 and 30,000 full-time fighters—this figure puts AQI forces at around 5 percent. When compared with Iraqi intelligence’s much larger estimates of the insurgency—200,000 fighters—INR’s estimate would put AQI forces at less than 1 percent.

The Weakly Standard is not much more then a fax machine for the Bush administration. Thus one major reason that Bush has been occupying Iraq longer then it took Roosevelt to win two major wars on two fronts is that Bush has as much knowledge about the real source of instability in Iraq as Mikey does. Iraq in the delusional minds of Conservatives like Goldfarb is the Holt Grail, the Great Wall, The Golden Compass of Islamic associated terrorism. What was the most secular country in the Middle-East, run by Baathists who hated Sunni fundamentalist, with a population mostly composed on Shiia who also hated AQ. If Conservatives win the Whitehouse we’ll continue to make any real political progress in Iraq because McCain has the same screw ball ideas about what it means to fight actual terrorists. For all their chest thumping rhetoric about being tough and serious Conservatives have proved over and over again that they don’t understand Middle-East terrorism or what to do about it.

As for General Petraeus. he is proof that it is possible to be a smart general while at the same time being a political hack. That fact has been well established. Which accounts for why Weakly didn’t mention what any other generals think about Iraq.

Two different views of Barack Obama’s appearance on the Faux Channel, Follow-up on Obama and Fox News versus Obama on Fox: Betrayal, or Smart Move?

The chart below is for the Bushiviks and McSames that can’t seem to wrap their brains around the most rudimentary facts about the Middle-East. The full chart is here.

Strife and Power in the Middle-East adapted from NYT/Charney

Corruption keeps us safe and warm

Smart Kids

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 30 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings.

The result plays out in children like Jonathan, who coast through the early grades under the dangerous notion that no-effort academic achievement defines them as smart or gifted. Such children hold an implicit belief that intelligence is innate and fixed, making striving to learn seem far less important than being (or looking) smart. This belief also makes them see challenges, mistakes and even the need to exert effort as threats to their ego rather than as opportunities to improve. And it causes them to lose confidence and motivation when the work is no longer easy for them.

As most visitors will not click over they don’t suggest that parents totally forgo praise. Only that parents might be better off teaching their children how to deal with making mistakes and dealing constructively with failure. If all you’ve ever been told is that you’re the smarest kid around, when you eventually fail at something as you inevitably will you’re more likely not to try and figure out why and work harder, but become less motivated because you had been lead to believe that smart people like you can handle anything.

The mastery-oriented children, on the other hand, think intelligence is malleable and can be developed through education and hard work. They want to learn above all else. After all, if you believe that you can expand your intellectual skills, you want to do just that. Because slipups stem from a lack of effort, not ability, they can be remedied by more effort. Challenges are energizing rather than intimidating; they offer opportunities to learn.

They found that children with this emotional outlook did do better in later grades in school.

Can the media become even more corporate cash cow. Can whatever integrity it has left as an institution become even more compromised. The answer always seems to be yes, All Eyes on Media Glutton Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, the compulsive buyer of all things media, has a handshake deal with Tribune Co. to buy Newsday for a reported $580 million.

The potential purchase of the nation’s 10th-largest newspaper, located on Long Island, could happen even though The Wall Street Journal is still visible within the serpentine body of Murdoch’s News Corporation. The digestion should not last much longer. The same day the Newsday agreement hit the press, Marcus Brauchli, the holdover managing editor of the Journal, resigned.

The Newsday-to-News Corporation deal rightly has media reformers upset. The consternation need not stop there. The newspaper’s readers, advertisers and anybody concerned with the fragile health of our democracy should be worried. The deal whacks away at one of democracy’s pillars, that of an independent press.

Newsday has long been in the hands of large corporations. What makes this deal so unsavory is that it puts an enormous amount of power under the control of arguably the nation’s, if not the world’s, most powerful media company. Newsday’s sale to News Corporation not only cripples an important media market, it will further squeeze the American press into the grip of far too few corporations – corporations with a hunger for profits, not journalism.

While some analysts have pronounced this deal dead on arrival. One has a feeling those would be the same analysts that said the same thing about the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the internet and what survives of the newspaper industry television is still the most valuable soap box in the U.S. The room for pundits on that soap box is some of the most valuable around. Maybe because our lives are so hectic many Americans get their sound bite, carefully served up by a gross conflagration of right-winginess and the Beltway orthodoxy, Matthews vs. McNulty

A recent New York Times profile of Matthews describes a name-dropping dilettante floating between television studios and cocktail parties. The article documents the MSNBC host’s $5-million salary, three Mercedes and house in lavish Chevy Chase, Md. Yet Matthews said, “Am I part of the winner’s circle in American life? I don’t think so.”

[  ]…The Illinois senator said that when folks feel economically shafted, they get “bitter.” Matthews-ism spun the truism into a scandal.

The Washington Post labeled Obama’s statements “Bittergate.” Tim Russert invited affluent political consultants on “Meet the Press” to analyze the “controversy,” with millionaire James Carville saying, “I’m hardly bitter about things.” Hillary Clinton called Obama “elitist,” ignoring her mansions in Washington and Chappaqua, $109-million income, career as a Wal-Mart board member, and legacy pushing job-killing policies such as NAFTA.

This sickening episode was topped off by ABC’s Charles Gibson, who only months ago humiliated himself by insinuating that typical middle-class families make $200,000 a year (95 percent make less). Last week, while moderating a debate, Gibson segued from the “bitter” comment into a tirade against rescinding capital gains tax breaks, implying the proposal would hurt most Americans. This, even though the tax cuts in question delivered the vast majority of their benefits to the richest 1 percent.

By downplaying inequality and couching royalism in middle-class arguments, the Beltway elite pretend there are not two Americas but only one: theirs.

Of course the beltway dupes, right-wing blogs and Republican shock jocks flogged the Bittergate story until the fight to get in the last word became bigger then the story itself. Whens the last time Charlie Gibson or Tim Russert seat down and had coffee with some guy that worked for fifteen years at the same company that paid a decent wage and had some kind of health plan then was laid off because his Mercedes driving boss figured he could make more money sending a hundred jobs to China. They don’t get bitter because they live in a bubble. The bubble boys and girls seat around in their fifteen hundred dollar suits wondering what problem Obama could possibly be talking about. Their bewilderment is not an act, they really do not have a glue.

Multi-millionaire Bill O’Reilly suffers from the most severe form of Beltway bubble disease. he not only doesn’t know about anything outside the bubble, he performs mental cartwheels to avoid knowing, Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken and George Clooney

Tom Arnold talked about his experiences entertaining the troops in Afghanistan objecting slightly to the suggestion that entertainers are too selfish to go. O’Reilly concluded that the USO needs to be more proactive about recruiting people and once again, Arnold offered a mild objection noting the scheduling issues involved in organizing a tour.

Somehow, O’Reilly thinks he can avoid mentioning (Al)Franken’s visits to Afghanistan in 2003 or 2006.

During Arnold’s brief defense of entertainers last night, he mentioned that some had even faced the danger of going to Darfur. The subject was ignored totally since O’Reilly might have been forced to congratulate George Clooney and Don Cheadle for receiving the prestigious 2007 Peace Summit Award for their work in Darfur.

Danny Dalton: Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Yale, thinks he’s gonna run this up the flagpole, make a name for himself, maybe get elected some two-bit, congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here. No, I tell you. No, sir. Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.  – from Syriana (2005)

Edward Hopper: Gas, Summertime, Hotel by a Railroad, Self Portrait, Nighthawks

Gas by Edward Hopper. 1940, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1940 gasoline was around 18 cents a gallon and the average new car cost $800.

Summertime by Hopper. Painted in 1943, currently in the Delaware Art Museum. I’m not sure how far one should carry the visual analogy here. 1943 was the year the war in Europe started to turn in the Allies favor with Hitler having made the Russian front a priority. A mistake that would come back to bite the German war machine. On the other hand there was a large race riot in Detroit in which 25 African Americans and five whites died.

Hotel by a Railroad by Hopper. 1952, currently at the Hirshhorn Museum. One of several of Hopper’s works that examine solitude. Some would say loneliness and isolation and those elements are there, but it says more about being with others and being somewhat comfortable yet still being detached. This particular painting also about how years of domesticcity takes wears away those youthful illusions of starry eyed romance.

Hopper’s Self-Portrait (1925-30). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. I find self portraits fascinating. Not so much because they give us some great insight into the artist, but because they tend to have, and this one of Hopper certainly, a utilitarian function. He seems to have looked at himself and said OK, so here I am. A ordinary man that is also an artist for those that are curious. Like his other subjects he isn’t just one adjective – sad, lonely, isolated, happy or serious. he’s all those things. Hopper once said and it matches his self portrait, ‘The man’s the work. Something doesn’t come out of nothing.’

Nighthawks (1942). Not as nice a print as I’d like to have, but since it is Hopper’s most well known painting I felt obligated to put it up. The diner was in Greenwich Village. Hopper started painting it after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In a subtle way the painting reflected the sober mood of the country after the attack. The original currently resides at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Edward Hopper Exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Clean modern flash presentation of Hopper’s work with a timeline and the themes explored in his paintings and sketches.

Bush does it so we can too

“No. Not at all. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that we’re doing smart things to get information to protect the American people,” the President said. “I’ve said to the people that we don’t torture, and we don’t.” Bush: ‘We Don’t Torture’

CIA Foresaw Interrogation Issues

The CIA concluded that criminal, administrative or civil investigations stemming from harsh interrogation tactics were “virtually inevitable,” leading the agency to seek legal support from the Justice Department, according to a CIA official’s statement in court documents filed yesterday.

The CIA said it had identified more than 7,000 pages of classified memos, e-mails and other records relating to its secret prison and interrogation program, but maintained that the materials cannot be released because they relate to, in part, communications between CIA and Justice Department attorneys or discussions with the White House.

Nineteen of those documents were withheld from disclosure specifically because the Bush administration decided they are covered by a “presidential communications privilege,” according to the filings, made in federal court in Manhattan. Some were “authored or solicited and received by the President’s senior advisors in connection with a decision, or potential decision, to be made by the president.”

Bush has said that he has not ordered people in be tortured in the name of the U.S. That assertion has been comically taken up by the Right not in lock step denial, but telling us all the wonderful benefits of torture with the dusty old ticking bomb scenario in tow. If taking on all the powers and prerogatives of a king torture chambers included, then why did Bush lie. If torture is the Right’s idea of virtue, why hide behind non-existent ticking bombs and partisan babble. Why not just say the words, torture is good, long live the king for torturing. One of the reasons is that that kind of behavior endangers our troops, foreign service employees and tends to get thrown back in our face we when we criticize other nation’s human rights record, Calling the Kettle Black

First Give a Fair Trial to the Detainees at Guantanamo …

On the rare occasion that U.S. officials venture to look critically at Malaysia’s detention policies, the local authorities have a ready response: Guantanamo.

Last December, the Malaysian government arrested and detained five Hindu rights activists under the ISA, in a blatant attempt to intimidate the activists from pressing claims of racial discrimination. The U.S. State Department responded critically to the detentions, though it did not condemn them directly.

Without mentioning the Internal Security Act, or even referring explicitly to the question of detention without trial, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack expressed concern for the legal rights of the detainees. It was the U.S. government’s expectation, he said, that the detainees “would be provided the full protections under Malaysian law, that they would be given due process, that they would be accorded all the rights accorded to any other citizen, and that this [would] be done in a speedy and transparent manner.”

The Malaysians’ reply was swift. “Can they [the United States] first of all give a fair trial to the detainees in Guantanamo Bay?” asked Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak. “We’ll only respond if they do so.”