Today's Weblog

web log 2002-10-19

Waiting for the Next Reichstag Fire is an essay written by Guy Herron in January, 2002.  It describes how Hitler's use of the Reichstag fire for political gain has parallels in the Bush government's use of the 9-11 terrorism for political gain, especially the on the restriction of freedoms and increases to authoritarian police powers in the two countries, and I thought it worth sending to my small list of friends and family.

Vaclav Havel

An email note asks why Havel of the Czech Republic has been reported to be supportive of Bush's Iraq excursion.  Though I have not seen those reports, I suggested in reply:

The situation with Havel is complicated.  He did a really good job leading resistance to the Soviets, and is now "above the fray" in Czech politics.  Yet he is more aligned with the Czech right than the left, and fears the influence of the left at levels below his Presidency.  (Which is one reason he was so ready to let the Slovak Republic go independent, rather than compromise on privatization and social policy with the Slovaks, who were considerably to the left of the Czechs.)

Even so, the Czech Republic is criticised by our rightwingers, as having moved too slowly in privatization and in removing social safety nets and economic regulation.   The Rightist economic advisers we sent to Russia dismantled that economy and society effectively, but they relied on the Czechs and Slovaks to do it to themselves, and that did not happen as hoped.

Once the Enron/Anderson/etc. shock is past, and our "free market" ideologues come out of their holes, I expect such criticism of the slowness of Czech "reform" will resume.  In the meantime Havel has to present himself as a strong ally of the US, the World Bank, and the IMF, as well as  deal with his own fear that the Czech left may increase in popularity and electoral strength.  By lending his voice to the Right in international affairs and remaining neutral in domestic policy disputes, he may hope to weaken the Left.

You may remember the (now discredited) report of a supposed meeting in Praha between an Iraqi diplomat and a member of Al Qaeda, circulated at the time of the Anthrax scare in the US.  The meeting seems never to have happened, and the source supposedly originated the report as a way of gaining domestic political advantage for himself and his branch of the Czech intelligence services.   Things get complicated over there too.

General Anthony Zinni

An article in "Salon" has caused me to write this to my elected representatives: is a link to a Salon magazine article on General
Anthony Zinni, including his thoughts on intervention in Iraq and the possible consequences.

It is not pretty.  I wonder if you, Representative Jerry Moran, and you, Senator Sam Brownback, who both supported
passage of the resolution which the Bush government requested of the Congress, credit General Zinni's motives and
authority in making these judgements.  I do.  I wonder what efforts you will make, if any, to ensure that the Bush
government's actions under the resolution are informed and moderated by the judgements and advice which is being given
by so many of our most senior retired military officials.  I wonder if you are concerned that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld
has broken with tradition, and vetoed the selection of the top aides to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon by its

I believe the Bush government is a runaway government.  It is out of line in its haste and its unilateralism with the wishes
and judgement of the American people, with the opinion of nations which might otherwise be our allies, and most
significantly with the advice of our most senior and respected retired (independent) military officers.  It is out of line with
the assessments of the CIA which predict action in Iraq will result in a recruiting boom for Al Qaeda, and increase the
probability of terrorist attacks.

What, if anything, do you propose to do about that?

General Zinni's speech is at

We still have a long way to go before we have made a success of Afghanistan, where our actions were not only necessary, but our relief of the Afghan people tardy, and the presence of an actively hostile enemy amply demonstrated.   There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that making a success of that effort, through a "nation building" effort of the kind so despised and disparaged by the Shrubbyists, would contribute more to a reduction of tensions and the threat of terrorism than this ill advised, peremptory, poorly planned, and politically motivated war against Iraq.

The Iraq excursion is likely to undo whatever good we might have accomplished in Afghanistan, and has already (with the aid of our American Ayatollahs' imprecations against Islam and Mohammed) resulted in a defeat of  moderates by fundamentalists in the Pakistani elections just held.

web log 2002-10-18

I fear that there will be good reason to deluge us with terrorist threats between now and the first of the year, and beyond.   This is the season of anniversaries.  As the Bali bombing was on the 2nd anniversary of the attack on the Cole, other terrorist attacks may well attempted on other anniversaries.

Unfortunately, our history is rich, and our calendar full.   Perhaps someone has made or knows of the location of a calendar of significant events in the recent history of  Mid East conflicts.  If so send it to me.

One possibility is that ObL died in the complex at Tora Bora last year - if so, that anniversary may be particularily significant.    Of course, every significant action taken by the US after 9-11 produces an "anniversary" of sorts.

But others, including the downing of the Iranian airliner and all the other major steps and incidents associated with the buildup and execution of the Kuwait/Iraq war 12 years ago also can be "memorialized" by attacks in the next few months.

The fundamentalist extremists in the Islamic world are no less interested in or skillful at disinformation, distraction, dissimulation, etc. than are Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and company.  Both see advantages in perpetual war, and the continuation of a state of tension and conflict between the US and the rest of the world.  It is bad enough, in fact, that their interests in a worsening of tensions just before our elections seem to coincide.

So yes... there may well be terrorist attacks just prior to our elections.

web log 2002-10-17  

The Forbidden Truth

Reviews of Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie; "Forbidden Truth:  US - Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for bin Laden" has brief "blurb" reviews, and a purchase option.

"John O'Neill, the former head of the FBI's antiterrorism division --who perished in the World Trade Center on September 11-- told Jean-Charles Brisard in July 2001, "All of the answers, all of the clues allowing us to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.""  has 3 reviews.

A review by Kevin Sanders was not found on the net, and was typed out by Staceypea(  and posted to a news  group.  I have posted Stacey's effort at: until an "official" copy is posted or located on the web.

I have always attributed the advocacy of policies I found wrongheaded to duplicity on the part of  Republicans, and stupidity on the part of  Democrats.  Perhaps Hanlon's Razor is a better approach, though in a political context it possibly should be revised so that the primary attribution is to malice.

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.  -- Hanlon's Razor (from Murphy's Laws)"

Bugbear Worm Received:  from ([] helo=toby-rxxx) From:  Alan Txxxw <>   --  But I caught it coming in.   The incoming mail, well enough written and not alarming, was apparently stolen by the worm from an infected computer and used as bait for me.  The "apparent" sender and I have interests in common.   Interesting.

Apart from the damage they may do your machine, here is another reason you don't want these worms infecting your machine -- they send copies of your own or your friends email out to the world, sometimes using your address, but often your friends' addresses.  In this case it appears the worm forwarded the mail of an innocent, uninfected,  party in VT which had been recieved by the owner of the infected computer in NJ:

Hi Toby,
Sorry I missed your phone call.

Been spending much of my time these past few months formatting and
producing camera ready copy for the new AVP Youth Manual. Between Gxxxx
McGxxxx and the Education Committee, I believe we found most of the typos,
and it all went off to the printers last Friday. Expect to receive our
order sometime in early January.

Hope you are well and enjoying Mt. Holly. Best wishes for the holidays,

Peace, Alan

* You create your own reality. * You get what you concentrate on.
* Your power is in the present. * Your opportunity for action is now.
* If not now - then when?

The header, especially the From: information is usually "forged" or falsely added in by worm software, however the "Recieved" information [ ([] helo=toby-rxxx)?] is real, if properly understood.    I found a site that helps me to interpret email headers,  but am still unsure of the reading given here.   The worm was in an attachment that was invisible in my email client except through the file size of the email, but it was identified by Trend Micro.      Yep, interesting.

The DC sniper shootings may be:
Done by a group, not just one or two individuals, of  McVeigh types.  (An assassins club made up  of USA trained, but rogue, shooters.)

Each shooting by a different member of the group, with one weapon.

Multiple similar, but not identical vehicles used, and more than one of them present in the area at the time of each shooting;  only one with a weapon and ammunition.

Planned to stop after each member of the group is "made".

Planned to resume with "real" targets, but at more widely spaced dates, and geographically dispersed locations.   (This will give Law Enforcement and the Media the false impression of "copycat" shootings.)

Profile including member(s) trained in psy-ops, disinformation, military and civil affairs, and even magic.  (Illusionism/distraction/mass psychology)

The Motley Fool

I have been experimenting with tracking the performance of stocks, and have added a fake 500 share, $26000, investment as of 3/1/02 into a tracker provided by the "Motley Fool" web site.   After making just over $1000 today (IBM) my loss is down to 17% or so.   It's good that it was a fake investment.   If it were not for the 100 shares of Alcoa, and IBM's problems, I would not be in such bad shape - Dell, Deere, and Wells Fargo are doing fine, considering market conditions generally.

Investing is hard, hard work.  I like to think I read a lot, and know a bit as a result of that and having lived a long time.  It's not enough to prepare me for investing, and that's a fact.   I do know enough to stay out of the market.  My early, dramatic successes 35 years ago were an utter fluke.  I cannot even estimate how much reading, and chart making, and thinking I would need to do to be anything other than a passive, "long term and hope for the best" investor.

At the time frames that are required to average out the stock market to your advantage as a passive investor, I believe quality real estate can be a far superior investment, especially at the edge of metropolitan areas, and in climate and amenity desirable locations.   Anywhere with water and a decent sized hill to look at.   (Ashland, Alpine, Heber, Brian's Head, maybe Austin or even Wells or Austin or Tehachapi.  I remember ghost towns in the Rockies when I was a kid - St. Elmo, Tincup, Aspen, Nederland, places like that.  A backwater called Castle Rock.  Or Olathe KS, so far into the boonies my KC dates were afraid to go out there and look at the Milky Way, which they had never really seen, with me.  All it takes is a pessimistic enough vision of the growth of the human pestilence on the face of Mother Earth, and you can make million$.)

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