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Prior  Weblog

General Note to Visitors: 

In May of 2003 difficult circumstances in my personal life interrupted my daily work on this weblog.  In March of 2004 I recovered the ability to post to it, at least intermittently. 

Despite being unable to post after July 17, 2003, web surfing and some writing continued.  Material originated during that 'quiet' period will be included separately in the indexes to this weblog, even though it was not posted at the time created.   Much of the material originated as email sent to my personal mail list, but some was in the form of notes made for my own record.  This material will be indexed as opportunity permits and fortune provides, so the 'corpus' of the overall weblog will grow by backfilling, as well as at the tips of it's various branches.  

Recommended Sites:  http://gadflyer.com/   -   http://www.yuricareport.com/index.html  -  http://rightweb.irc-online.org/

Contents of this weblog file:
This index is chronological (earliest is first), while the the postings are in reverse chronology (most recent is  first).

Contents of prior weblog file: (Archived)
Weblog, 2004-04-20, Tiw's Day
Challenge:  Minimizing Win XP for security and speed.
Weblog, 2004-04-21, Wodin's Day

Weblog, 2004-04-24, Saturn's Day
Jim's famous BBC interview
Windows Security and Privacy
Weblog, 2004-04-29, Thor's Day
Fallujah - The Iron Wall Syndrome
Fallujah - Breaking News Noted - Iraqi Control Accepted
Fallujah - A City That Lives for Revenge
Fundamentalism - Understanding the President and His God
Weblog, 2004-04-30, Freya's Day
Alarm growing over bot software
RADIUS probes?  NOT!
Revisiting "Minimizing Win XP for security and speed"
Weblog, 2004-05-01, Saturn's Day
Computers, Iraq, politics and life
Abuse:  The Future of Advertising?
Weblog, 2004-05-02, Sun Day
Shameful acts
The Pictures That Lost The War
Wolfie's Fuzzy Math
Weblog, 2004-05-03, Moon Day
Fallujah Command Chaos
Prisoner Torture Scandal
Ambassador Joseph Wilson - The cult that's running the country
The Ignoble Liars Behind Bush's Deadly Iraq War
Weblog, 2004-05-04, Tiw's Day
The Taguba Report - http://www.jimpivonka.com/unpublished/USAIraqPrisonRept.html
Weblog, 2004-05-05, Wodin's Day
Bremer Takes Charge, Briefly
The bad news
Weblog, 2004-05-06, Thor's Day
Iraq - Abu Ghraib and Fundamental Bush Policy
Weblog, 2004-05-08, Saturn's Day
Fundamentalism - "The battle for God" (aka "the dustup over God") by Karen Armstrong
Iraq - Abu Ghraib and Fundamental Bush Policy, cont'd.
NeoCon/Theocrat subversion of command authority and the rule of law
False Arrest?
Weblog, 2004-05-13, Wodin's Day
Fundamentalism  - The "dispensational" view of history
Iraq - Abu Ghraib and Fundamental Bush Policy, cont'd.
Using Nick Berg
Weblog, 2004-05-18, Tiw's Day
Iraq - Abu Ghraib Investigation Corrupted by Rumsfeld Deputy
Unfiltered Reporting on Iraq
Weblog, 2004-05-19, Wodin's Day
Challenging Christian Zionism - from Sojourners
Bush 2004 - A Summation
Permanent and Draft Materials

Read my March, 2003, summation of the status and prospects for the war on Iraq: Http://www.jimpivonka.com/pages/PerpetualWar.html

Weblog, 2004-05-19, Wodin's Day

Challenging Christian Zionism - from Sojourners

For Christians committed to justice and peace, the challenge of Zionism can be daunting. Many Christians support Israeli actions and policies, believing that Jews' status as the "chosen people" of the Hebrew scriptures entitles them to use any means necessary - no matter how violent or oppressive - to occupy the holy lands. Those who question this position may fear being labeled anti-Semitic, but cannot square Zionist theology with God's concern for the poor and oppressed of all nations, the teachings of Jesus, the inclusive nature of the early church, or the present-day oppression of Palestinian Christians.

A new Web site called "Challenging Christian Zionism: Christians Committed to Biblical Justice" is intended as a clearinghouse of information about Christian Zionism and to foster education on this very divisive issue. Articles include: "Christian Zionism: An Historical Analysis and Critique," "The Evangelical-Jewish Alliance," and "Whose Promised Land: Israel and Biblical Prophecy."

Visit: http://www.christianzionism.org

Read Sojourners magazine articles on this topic:

Short Fuse to Apocalypse? A look at the political and theological roots of Christian Zionism.

Not a Monolithic Bloc: Many U.S. evangelicals seek an 'even-handed' Middle East policy.

How Christian is Zionism? What the Bible says about Israel and the things that make for peace.

Are liberal Christians phony?  by David Batstone 05-12-2004 Forgive your enemies? Feed the hungry? Clothe the naked and care for the prisoner? Not a chance; you'd be foolish to adopt these practices in the dispensation in which we live. http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=sojomail.display&issue=040512#3

Also timely:
Is the Bush regency Fascist?  Shrubbyism and Fascism compared.

Bush 2004 - A summation
"Thanks to some contested ballots in a state governed by the president's brother, a once-proud country has been delivered into the hands of liars, thugs, bullies, fanatics and thieves. The world pities or despises us, even as it fears us. What this election will test is the power of money and media to fool us, to obscure the truth and alter the obvious, to hide a great crime against the public trust under a blood-soaked flag. The most lavishly funded, most cynical, most sophisticated political campaign in human history will be out trolling for fools. I pray to God it doesn't catch you."

Weblog, 2004-05-18, Tiw's Day

Iraq - Abu Ghraib Investigation Corrupted by Rumsfeld Deputy - Dozens of soldiers — other than the seven military police reservists who have been charged — were involved in the abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and there is an effort under way in the Army to hide it, a key witness in the investigation told ABCNEWS.  "There's definitely a cover-up," the witness, Sgt. Samuel Provance, said. "People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet."  When General George Fay interviewed Sgt. Provance, the general seemed interested only in the military police, not the Intelligence interrogators, and seemed to discourage the Sergeant from testifying.  Sgt. Provance has reported that General Fay threatened to take action against him for failing to report what he saw sooner, and the sergeant fears he will be ostracized for speaking out.

Maj. Gen. George Fay, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, was assigned by the Pentagon to investigate the role of military intelligence in the abuse at Abu Ghraib.  Gen. Fay works for Rumsfeld's "ammanuensis" Undersecretary Secretary for Intelligence Stephen Cambone.  Cambone and his deputy, Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin of "my god is bigger than your god" fame, were responsible for sending Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller and a team of his "experts" from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib late last summer, where they set the conditions leading to the torture and abuse of prisoners there. 

Fed Up! - Some people think that the Army, the CIA and even some Senate Republicans have finally had enough of premi-disp theocrats and NeoCons, and their subversion and lies - to the point that they are beginning to talk about what they know, and demand to know more. 

Unfiltered Reporting on Iraq - Thanks to Amy Bowers, Dispatches Editor at The Digital Journalist Online Magazine (via Caroline Meinel) I found these remarkable accounts of journalists' recent experiences in Iraq.  It's a far sight from, and far superior to all the over interpreted summations and "witless applause lines the jeering jackdaws on left and right repeat to themselves to their own perpetual self-admiration and delight." (quoting David Brooks, NYTimes)

Weblog, 2004-05-13, Wodin's Day

Fundamentalism -   David Batstone, of Sojourner's, has an excellent brief introduction to the "dispensational" view of history and its (im)moral and theological consequences.   I will quote a couple of paragraphs, and point you to my copy:

I often hear non-Christians ask: How can a person who identifies with Jesus Christ espouse actions that run so counter to peace and justice? This theological device enables many Christians to discount the teachings of Jesus as a guide for living their lives. Forgive your enemies? Feed the hungry? Clothe the naked and care for the prisoner? Not a chance; you'd be foolish to adopt these practices in the dispensation in which we live. Governments must take whatever measures are necessary to defeat evil, and we are commanded to be its loyal subjects.
. . .
If this viewpoint merely represented a crackpot hiding out on a survivalist ranch in rural Texas, I wouldn't bother to publish it. But it unfortunately has significant credibility among a swath of American evangelicals. With my colleague, Mark Wexler, I have just completed an investigative study of the Religious Right (which will come out in the July edition of Sojourners magazine). It was jarring to realize that many American Christians reject the notion of a separation of church and state as a "humanistic secular plot" to obstruct God's proper ordering of U.S. society. They want to see the establishment of a theocracy that puts into place many of the Mosaic laws as established in the Old Testament. At the moment, they are mobilizing a strong cadre of religious leaders and members of the U.S. Congress to rewrite the legal system.

Iraq - Abu Ghraib and Fundamental Bush Policy, cont'd. - "there is a difference between the rage of a people who feel themselves invaded and the contempt of a victorious nation for a civilian population whom it has ostensibly liberated."  Luc Sante, "Tourists and Torturers", NY Times, May 11, 2004
Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office: Phony justifications for war led to brutal intelligence-gathering.  Robert Scheer sums it up in the Los Angeles Times, May 11.  Alternate URL:  http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/051304F.shtml

General "Armageddon" Boykin, a premillenial dispensationalist whose "failure" in the ill-fated hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980 threw the election to Ronald Reagan, and who also played a role in the 1993 "BlackHawk Down" disaster while attemping to suppress Somali warlords is now implicated in setting the stage for the Abu Ghraib torture scenario - he briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on recommendations on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners.   Boykin is the charmer who has been under Pentagon investigation for such indiscretions as having appeared at churches while in uniform and referring to the war on terrorism as a battle with "Satan", saying America had been targeted "because we're a Christian nation", and for his famous remark to a Somali Muslim, "My God is bigger than your God."  Despite many entreaties from responsible and sane people Rummy has refused to get him out of the way.  Some people claim not to understand why!

Marjorie Cohn has another good legal analysis of Abu Ghraib and the Pentagon's subversion of the Geneva Convention.

The Washington Post covers how General "Gitmo" Miller forced the transfer of control of the prison to military intelligence officials after his meeting with General Karpinski in September 2003, setting the stage for the confusion of roles and command authority that led to the Abu Ghraib torture.  Miller told her he wanted to "Gitmo-ize" the prison -- a concept that "critics have said" opened the door to the use of aggressive interrogation techniques, and to the direction of Military Police by the intelligence officers.  The NY Times has this article on General Miller's visit to Abu Ghraib late last summet.

By the way, it must be noted that these intelligence officers, while giving their instructions to the MP's and conducting their 'operations' are not identified by rank or name!   (That's supposedly so the "Colonels" they are interviewing cannot resist interrogation by a Spec. 4, right?)  But the effect is that the soldiers following the orders don't know the rank, or in many cases the names of the people whose orders they are following - and they have no way to say who it was that directed the torture! 

Using Nick Berg - NY Times article
Speaking briefly on the South Lawn of the White House, Mr. Bush appeared to try to use the beheading of Nicholas Berg, a young Pennsylvania man seeking work rebuilding Iraq, to refocus attention on the nature of the enemy the United States faces rather than on the continuing investigation into the abuses of Iraqi prisoners in American custody.
. . .

Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the Republican majority whip, said the televised images of the beheading had a palpable effect both on public opinion and the mood among lawmakers after days in which the focus had been on embarrassment and anger over prisoner abuse.

"If you had your thumb on the pulse of America, that pulse beat changed when Americans heard about the beheading of Nick Berg," Mr. Blunt said in an interview. "It jolted everybody's memory again about why we were there in Iraq and who we're dealing with."

And from ABC - Disney's Bush leaning "The Note" (the staffers or their bosses are fans of Bush's "God Squad" orientation to public policy):

May 12, 2004

Insider Account
Staying the Course

Dynamics to watch/questions to answer:

1. Will the Berg beheading defuse the American and/or world anger over the prison abuse scandal, and, thus, steel U.S. resolve to win in Iraq, or lead to public opinion turning more against the war?

It all begins to make an Oliver Stone kind of sense:  How convenient that Nick Berg has been murdered - by a dead man? - just in time for some "news cycle management".  After his captivity in Mosul, his parents, frustrated by their inability to find out about their son's whereabouts, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia on April 5 asserting that he was being held by the American military in violation of his civil rights. A day later, he was released.  He disappeared soon after that. 

This is complicated by the fact that the family firm of beheaded American Nick Berg, was named by a conservative website - FreeRepublic.com - in a list of 'enemies' of the Iraq occupation.  The web site and forum has a reputation for right wing views, fanatical Republicanism and relentless pro-war activism, and for its members delight in causing mischief for those they think are identified as "enemies."   Kuro5hin has a really good rundown on all the problems with the Nick Berg story.

The "dead man," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is claimed to have been killed in April, 2003, by US bombing.  Leaflets distributed in Fallujah assert that the documents and videos referring to  al-Zarqawi and cited in reports by US Generals are forgeries.  While Mossad or the US might be motivated to create forged documents and videos indicating al-Zarqawi  (and al-Qaeda) was responsible for violence in Iraq, al Qaeda and the "dead man" would clearly benefit by a false belief that he was dead, and not responsible for terror attacks in Europe and Iraq.  

I think both may be true.  Postulate that he is dead in fact, but alive as a "bogey man" and a figurative leader.  The actions attributed to him might be taken by other terrorists, who use his name for symbolic purposes - and that 'fiction' is supported by intelligence services who do the same, or who are deceived by the ruse. 

Weblog, 2004-05-08, Saturn's Day

Fundamentalism - A New York Times review of Karen Armstrong's "The Battle for God" notes:
. . .ultimately, like all ideologies that eschew compromise, fundamentalism is utopian and accepts the morally corrosive proposition that the ends always justify the means.
History is awash with beleaguered revolutionaries and lunatic extremists who were endowed with enough luck and enough ruthlessness to fill power vacuums. The danger is not that fundamentalism will grow, Armstrong's analysis suggests, so much as that modern, secular society will wither.
I had not run across the book until pointed to it by a correspondent today, though I do have a largely unread copy of Ms. Armstong's "A History of God" here.  "The Battle for God" was written at the end of the last millenium.  I wonder what the author would write today, in the midst of GW Bush's fundamentalist revolution and its consequences? 

Now the same generous soul has directed me to this vital, lucid, summation of the issue of fundamentalist domination in politics:
Heartland Morality, American Politics
by Gregory Stephens
May 4, 2004
Gregory Stephens has taught at the University of California and the University of Oklahoma, and is currently completing a book called Real Revolutionaries: Revisioning Kinship and Co-Creation. His writings and radio shows are available at: www.gregorystephens.com. Contact: gstephen@email.unc.edu.

Iraq - Abu Ghraib and Fundamental Bush Policy, cont'd. - Folks, it just isn't getting any better.  And it should not, considering these two reports:
David Leigh
Saturday May 8, 2004
The Guardian
The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was . . . part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing . . .

"The crucial difference from Iraq is that frontline soldiers who are made to experience R2I techniques themselves develop empathy. They realise the suffering they are causing. But people who haven't undergone this don't realise what they are doing to people. It's a shambles in Iraq". The British former officer said the dissemination of R2I techniques inside Iraq was all the more dangerous because of the general mood among American troops. "The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11".
BY JAMES RUPERT, Staff Correspondent
May 7, 2004, 10:26 PM EDT
U.S. officials in Baghdad and Washington ignored human rights monitors' repeated pleas for official investigations of American abuse, torture and killings of Iraqi prisoners over the past year. . .
. . . Bremer "was made aware of the charges relating to the humiliation" of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in January, . . .
But the U.S. authorities here had similar information from the International Committee of the Red Cross for at least seven months beforehand. . .
. . .
"Our findings do not allow to conclude that what we were dealing with here in the case of Abu Ghraib were isolated acts ... What we have described amounts to a pattern and a broad system," . . .
The Bush administration and U.S. authority in Iraq effectively stonewalled Amnesty International, . . .
. . .Bremer ignored (U.S.-appointed Iraqi minister for human rights, Abel Basset) Turki's face-to-face request in November for an investigation of human rights violations, "in jails in particular."

The Rumsfeld assertion that these acts were not coordinated and supervised by people in authority - possibly only apparent authority  and outside a chain of command and control that was badly broken - is absurd on its face.  The critical issue and questions before us now are how was command authority so thoroughly broken, who was responsible, and how pervasive is the problem. 

The NeoCons and Theocrats have created a parallel government, outside the official and lawful government.  This constitutes and should be treated as subversion of the Constitution of the United States of America.   That parallel government created the false intelligence that was used to justify the war in Iraq.  It has the enabled and encouraged the widely reported general mood among American troops that 'the gloves are off' and has encouraged them to believe they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11.  And it has so corrupted legitimate lines of command authority within the US military that it is possible unqualified private army paramilitary forces (security contractors) have taught soldiers the methods and techniques of abuse of prisoners.  Not only taught, but induced the soldiers to use those methods and techniques.

The problem was created by the NeoCons and Theocrats.  They now seek to remain in control of the situation while it is investigated and the "guilty parties" - the soldiers they have left in the hands of their corrupt and vicious agents - are suitably "brought to justice".   The people who have subverted our Constitution by the creation of this parallel government will not be  brought to justice.  Likely very few, if any of the peole who taught and encouraged the use of these sophisticated techniques of abuse will be identified and brought to justice.

There will be no justice, while these people are running the inquiries and the military courts.   The investigation must be removed from the control of those who have corrupted the command structure.  It is foolish to think that a thorough enough clean up of the command structure to ensure real justice can be done even as the necessary investigations and prosecutions progress.   A Congressional Inquiry is not sufficient, as constitutionally it can only gather information for purposes of oversight of the government and development of legislation.  The Impeachment process is advisable but improbable.  And anyway, it lacks sufficient scope and reach, breadth and depth, to deal with all aspects of this breakdown and its consequences.

A Special Prosecuter, outside the Department of Justice, with authority to investigate, expose, and bring to the bar of justice the entire range of processes, institutions, and individuals responsible is both warranted and necessary.   Can enough political support be mustered to secure the creation of a Special Prosecuter?  If not, we can forget ever seeing justice, or the truth, about Abu Ghraib and the culture of abuse in US military prisons, who set the conditions for it, who encouraged it, and who implemented it - apart from the people at the very bottom of this corrupted chain whose photographs were publicized. 

This is the new gulag
Bush has created a global network of extra-legal and secret US prisons with thousands of inmates
Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday May 6, 2004
The Guardian

Early Iraq Abuse Accounts Met With Silence
By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent
Saturday, May 8, 2004
Detailed allegations of psychological abuse, deprivation, beatings and deaths at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq were met by public silence from the U.S. Army last October — six months before shocking photographs stirred world outrage and demands for action.

The Empire Strikes Out
By BEN MACINTYRE, Saturday, May 8, 2004
America need only look at Britain's experience in Afghanistan to learn about the hubris and transience of empire.

We are not that far from being prisoners ourselves, here, in the US:
Arrest in Bombing Inquiry Was Rushed, Officials Say
The authorities arrested a Portland lawyer in connection with the Madrid railway bombings before they had a clear idea about the strength of their case.

Weblog, 2004-05-06, Thor's Day

Iraq - Abu Ghraib and Fundamental Bush Policy -
George Bush is a liar.  He lies when he says that torture and abuse of prisoners taken in the war on terror are not the policy of his government, his Department of Defense, and his Intelligence services.  

Steve Weissman reminds us that the soldiers at Abu Ghraib were not just gook-bashing because they could, nor were they simply mindless youngsters with too much freedom, but were "cogs in an infernal machine",  instructed by Military intelligence, CIA officials, and private contractors to "set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses." 
[Edit Saturday, May 8, 2004 - The instruction, specifically, may have been in a formal methodology "R2I" or "Resistance to Interrogation" used by US and British Special Forces, according to a report in "The Guardian". ]
He also reminds us that Major General Geoffrey D. Miller, the former detention camp commander at Guantanamo Bay who has taken over the military prison system in Iraq is the very general who originally "recommended that military police guards act as "enablers" for interrogations."  Correctly predicting that General Miller's real purpose will be to erect a firewall to allow regular military officers knowledge of the more distastefull practices of the intelligence services, he mentions in passing that "He might also want to ban personal cameras."  In fact, by the time of the media film crews visits to Abu Ghraib on Wednesday, signs forbidding cameras of any kind within the prison were prominently displayed!

He predicts that the policies which led to the abuse at Abu Ghraib will remain in force - domestically as well as internationally - even while the soldiers whose photographs created the current crisis are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law - and the contractors who instructed and encouraged them are found to be outside the law.  His reasoning?
Because the Pentagon, the CIA, and the Bush Administration have made torture an undeniable tool in their all-embracing War on Terror. When Don Rumsfeld repeatedly told us during the Afghanistan War how much the world had changed, torture was one of the post-911 "changes" he was telegraphing.

    In fact, there was less change of direction than natural evolution. The CIA and military intelligence began training foreign armies and police forces in torture techniques many years before. Much of what Americans now do in Iraq comes right out of the CIA's KUBARK Counter-intelligence Interrogation Manual, published in 1963, and their updated Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, published in 1983. Both became public in 1997, when the Baltimore Sun won an epic Freedom of Information battle against the CIA in an investigation of the agency's involvement in Central America. 

    . . .

    Mindful of the Geneva Conventions and other treaties, insiders tried to spin what they were doing as only "torture lite" or "stress and duress." The goal, as the CIA manuals explained, was not to inflict pain, but "to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist."

    Where earlier, more obvious brutality often stiffened resistance by creating a battle of wills between torturer and victim, the new techniques set the conflict within the captive's own body and mind, eating away at his or her adult personality and creating a child-like state of dependence.

    "Stress and duress" left few physical scars and baffled casual observers, who saw none of the classic instruments of torture. When those were wanted, the CIA and military intelligence generally flew prisoners to Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, or the Philippines.

    "We don't kick the [expletive] out of them," an insider told the Washington Post. "We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them."

"But Bush said...."   Bush will say anything.  He was a "compassionate conservative" for the 2000 election.  Lies are a non issue for Bush.  For many people this fact is difficult to grasp, especially in the light of his religious convictions.  But in truth, the contradiction is only apparent, and the explanation lies in Mr. Bush's adherence to a latter day form of an ancient theist heresy, antinomianism.

The best tool for understanding of this apparent contradiction I have found is the book "A Substitute for Holiness, or Antinomianism Revived:  The theology of the so-called Plymouth Brethren examined and refuted" by Protestant theologian Daniel Steele, S.T.D. , published ca. 1878, I believe.  This book addresses the antinomian heresy as embodied in a body of religious belief known as premillenialist dispensationalism, and sometimes as Darbyism after its founder, John Darby.   Though this strain of belief has many features visible in contemporary US and British religious life - including dominionism, millenialism, predestinarianism, new covenantism, "last days" and rapturalist fixations, etc. - one peculiar feature is of relevance here, the antinomian view of the atonement.

To illustrate the antinomian view, Dr Steele quotes Dr. George S. Bishop:

"From the moment we believe, God looks upon us as if we were Christ .... We then are saved, straight through eternity, by what the Son of God has done in our place .... Other considerations have nothing to do with it. It matters nothing what we have been, what we are, or what we shall be. From the moment we believe on Christ, we are forever, in God's sight, AS CHRIST. Of course it is involved in this that men are saved, not by preparing first, that is, by repenting, and praying, and reading the Bible, and then trusting Christ; nor the converse of this, that is, by trusting Christ first, and then preparing something -- repentance, reformation, good works -- which God will accept; but that sinners are saved irrespective of what they are -- how they feel -- what they have done -- what they hope to do -- by trusting on Christ only, that the instant Christ is seen and rested in, the soul's eternity, by God's free promise, and regardless of all character and works, is fixed."
Dr. Steele summarizes, stating:
In short, the creed of the Antinomian is this: I was justified when Christ died, and my faith is simply a waking up to the fact that I have always been saved -- a realization of what was done before I had any being; that a believer is not bound to mourn for sin, because it was pardoned before it was committed, and pardoned sin is no sin; that God does not see sin in believers, however great sins they commit; . . .
Justified by faith alone, a true believer such as GW Bush needs pay little heed to small matters such as lies.  Especially when the lies pertain not to personal conduct and moral duties but to the great issues of public policy and human affairs, and the the person dissimulating is responsible for the care of the nation - and even of all humanity's spiritual fate and conversion to a one true faith!   GW Bush, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden, it seems to me, all carry the immense burden of this deeply felt messianic calling. 

Chris Floyd has noted that "because this order is divinely ordained, the "elect" can use any means necessary to establish it, including deception, subversion, even violence. As (Pat) Robertson himself adjures the faithful: 'Zealous men force their way in.'"

A recent "Frontline" program (PBS TV)  covered the significance of religion to the President.  It noted that GW Bush is seldom seen in church, at least in Washington.  His preferred mode of worship is through the Men's Bible Study Group back in Texas.   Though noted, this absence from the church was not noted as an intrinsic part of Bush's religious belief and practice - which it is.   That omission is significant.  It illustrates how, even in a relatively exhaustive report, largely sympathetic to the religious beliefs being reported on, salient features are overlooked - the connections between historical, theological belief systems and the actual, outward actions of the individuals participating are not understood or remarked upon.

In fact these historically based, knowable but unnoticed theological predispositions do affect the behaviors of individual believers and practitioners of faith traditions.  They can be used, with due care and discretion, to understand and even to predict the motivations and actions of the individuals attached to those traditions.   That seems to be particularily true in the case of GW Bush and his attachment to the antinomian, Darbyist form of evangelical Christianity. 

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, interviewed May 5, 2003, on the Charlie Rose show, noted with concern how little the US and its people understood of other peoples, their nations, customs, cultures, and religions.   We cannot successfully manage life on this small and crowded planet with so poor an understanding of one another, and of the web of life and geography within which we live.   But do we, in the US, understand even ourselves, our own traditions, and the implications of these for life on this Earth? 

The history of premillenialist dispensationalism, and its relationship to postmillenialism and the 'established chruch' as well as to the rise of fundamentalism, after Dr. Steele's analysis, is treated by Stephen J. Lennox in his essay "The Eschatology of George D. Watson"
Another Christian mens' religious study group, made up of powerful Washington politicians is described by Jeffrey Sharlet in Harper's Magazine, March, 2003; an interview with the author was published at Alternet.org on June 30, 2003.

Full disclosure:  I am myself religious, though not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish.  My faith is the Deism of the Enlightenment, as understood by Jefferson, Adams, Paine and others of the founding fathers of the United States.  It is illuminated by early, philosophical Daoism ( the Taoism of Chuang Tzu as interpreted by Thomas Merton), and by the perceptions of  Japan's Shinto and native North American religious traditions - Zapotec, Toltec, Hopi, and the Plains tribes. 

Weblog, 2004-05-05, Wodin's Day

Bremer Takes Charge, Briefly - On October 7, 2003 with Condoleeza Rice's appointment to head  new "Iraq Stabilization Group" at the Whitehouse, Paul Bremer's position as a cog in the Pentagon's NeoCon wheel was somewhat muddied.  Nominally, he still reports to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  He is also the United States' chief Proconsul in Iraq, and has direct relationships with the Iraq Stabilization Group, Rice, and the President as a result.   Since October, Paul Bremer has apparently moved closer to the Whitehouse, and grown more independent of Rummy and the Pentagon NeoCon axis - and with salutary effects.  

What looked to me like "command chaos" on Monday may in fact be a reflection of Bremer's increasing independence of Rummy, and the effect that has on the military establishment he has responsibility for in Iraq.  As a report today in the NY Times describes it, the tactical move of using Sunni, and in some cases Baathist generals from the Saddam regime to help in restoring civil order in Fallujah (which seemed to surprise and even disconcert some Pentagon officials) is causing some concern among the Shia in Southern Iraq. 

Coincidentally, a group of Shia religious leaders and their representatives met in Baghdad on Tuesday to demand "that Moktada al-Sadr, a rebel Shiite cleric, withdraw militia units from the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, stop turning the mosques there into weapons arsenals and return power to Iraqi police and civil defense units that operate under American control."
Iraq Shiites Urge Cleric to Desist
Iraq's top Shiite leaders demanded that Moktada al-Sadr withdraw militia units from two cities and return to power Iraqi forces.

It is still clear that US forces should steer clear of the hearts of the Holy Cities in Najaf and Karbala, and make it very, very clear to the Shia and all Iraqi's that Sadr, long term, is a danger to them, thier lives, and their nation, and that they must take responsibility for dealing with him.  But it's still good to see this paragraph in the Times article:

In near 100-degree heat in the late afternoon, few of the Shiite speakers stirred much enthusiasm. But the strongest murmurings of the meeting came when Taqlif al-Faroun, a tribal leader from Najaf, said Shiites should give the American forces a green light to go after Mr. Sadr in the holy cities. "Najaf is not Mecca," he said. "The Americans don't want to go into the shrines. They want to get rid of criminals and thieves. So what if they enter the city?" Across the roof, dozens of men responded approvingly. "Yes, yes!", they said.

Not bad.  Good news during a week of very bad news, and with significance likely to be both overlooked in the media and swamped in its real world effects by that bad news.  It has the potential of making Paul Bremer, Generals Sanchez and Abizaid, Condi Rice and even George Bush look like geniuses.   I would hope none of this rubs off on Rummy, Gen. Myers, and Wolfie, as they seemed to me to be doubtful about and even attempting to undercut the approach being taken by the people on the ground in Iraq as things developed last week. 

The bad news:  The abuse of Iraqi prisoners is the responsibility of the NeoCon military intelligence and private army paramilitary (security contractor) apparatus they have built parallel to the legitimate government, and not of Bremer and the military officers in the official line of command. 

But I fear that scandal will be used by Cheney, Rummy, and the rest of the NeoCons to disguise their own culpability and falsely accuse and attack people who were not responsible.  This may be the case especially of General Sanchez, who moved promptly and effectively against the abuse by initiating General Taguba's investigation and who may have had to protect General Taguba and the investigation from extraneous influences during its conduct as well.  
It was not until April 24 that the Army began to investigate possible involvement by military intelligence units and contractors working with them in Iraq in any abuse, including the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade; employees of CACI, a private contractor; and the Iraqi Survey Group, a unit of the Defense Intelligence Agency. . .  NYTimes
Already, Rummy and Myers have focused their statements on and misdirected the attention of the media onto the conduct of the individual soldiers involved, and not on the culbability of the military intelligence officers and paramilitary apparatchiks who led and fomented the violence!  This strategy is typical of the NeoCons.  That it consitently succeeds, despite its obvious duplicity, is a commentary on our media.

Paul Bremer is an experienced diplomat with strong credentials in counter terrorism, and his impending replacement (after the June 30 shift of control to an interim Iraqi government) by the proposed new Ambassador, John Negroponte, will - putting the matter mildly -  be no improvement.   People who are familiar with John Negroponte's record in the support of terrorism against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua during the Reagan "Iran-Contra" scandal view his appointment as a signal that the Bushies are "planning to wage a protracted and dirty war of repression against the Iraqi people". 

Weblog, 2004-05-04, Tiw's Day


This is the link to a copy of the complete text of the Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, originally posted at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4894001/.   The names of some witnesses have been removed for the sake of privacy.

Weblog, 2004-05-03, Moon Day

Fallujah Command Chaos - A report in the Washington Post claims that General Saleh of the Fallujah Protective Army is not doing well in his initial acts as commander, nor in his background checks.  "Does not play well with others" is a term used by Baghdad.   Former major general Latif Mahal Hamoud Sabawi has been suggested as a replacement by Baghdad.   Washington says that neither of the generals had been approved by the Pentagon. "They have not been vetted. They have not been placed in command. They are not in charge," according to Myers at the Pentagon.  The decision to form the Fallujah Brigade and put Saleh in charge was made from "the bottom up.  Now we have to have a policy to catch up with what is happening on the ground."

Excluding Iraqis, there are three US command levels with differing directions and visions.  General Conway, the top Marine commander had one approach Saturday - Saleh was in charge and he and his subordinates "had not flinched".   By Sunday AM the Pentagon had General Myers making a round of talk shows, with the Pentagon line described above.   This morning's Washington Post article has the command in Baghdad trying to throw enough smoke and sand to permit some kind of reconciliation between Washington's NeoCon driven policy and the demands of tactical realities on the ground in Fallujah.   Rummy and Myers and Wolfowitz should be fired, but that has been true a long time and has not happened. 

What will happen with this mess is unpredictable, except in its unpleasantness, I think.   The US military command structure has begun a second cycle of eating itself in the service of the NeoCons.   But this may be short circuited - the NeoCon controllers in Washington may be too busy dealing with the hangover from the "military intelligence" orgy of torture of Iraqi prisoners to take the vengeance they'd like against field commanders in Iraq.

We have a much better understanding now - surely we must - of the high regard and gentle treatment recently afforded US private army paramilitary personnel ("security contractors") by their Iraqi subjects in Fallujah. 

Prisoner Torture Scandal -  The NY Times has this:
Report on Abuse Faults 2 Officers in Intelligence
An internal Army investigation found a virtual collapse of the command structure in a prison outside Baghdad.

The source of the problem is reported to be "military intelligence", and the power of both US military officers and US paramilitary contractors (!I had thought rivate armies were illegal in the US!)  outside the chain of command and control to influence and direct the activities of the  non commissioned personnel nominally in charge of the prison.  

More signs of command chaos - Neither General Myers nor Rummy were versed in a classified, 53-page Army report completed in February by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba which chronicled the worst of the abuses at Abu Ghraib.   Myers' story changed during the passage of a few hours duing his talk show circuit Sunday AM.  He apparently expected those appearances to deal only with Fallujah, and not Abu Ghraib. 

Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists, has an analysis  from a jurist's point of view at Torturing Hearts and Minds .

Ambassador Joseph Wilson - The last US diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein, who investigated and falsified reports that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from Niger, and husband of a CIA asset whose identity was traitorously "outed" by a person or persons in the White House.   Ambassador Wilson's book "The Politics of Truth" is excerpted in Salon:  The cult that's running the country.   The excerpt describes some of the history of the NeoCon takeover of segments of our government.  Paragraphs describing the vetting of government officials by NeoCon eminence grise and grisess Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter, professors from the University of Chicago, for inclusion of these officials in NeoCon cells within the government, are particularily illuminating.
The neoconservatives who have taken us down this path are actually very few in number. It is a small pack of zealots whose dedication has spanned decades, and that through years of selective recruitment has become a government cult with cells in most of the national security system. Among those cells are the secretive Office of Special Plans in the Department of Defense (reportedly now disbanded) and a similar operation in the State Department that is managed in the office of Under Secretary for Disarmament John Bolton.
et. seq.
The existence and power of these independent, ideologically extremist cells within the government accounts for much of the failure of US intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, linkages with Al Quaeda, and the rest of the falsehoods on which the need to invade Iraq precipitously and without adequate planning and coordination with allies was based.   It is not at all difficult to believe that the weaknesses in our intelligence capabilities created by this "boring from within" also led to the misperception and misinterpretation of available intelligence information that left us vulnerable to the hijacking and use as missiles of domestic airliners.  It is almost certain that the infection of the intelligence community by these cells accounts for the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, and probably in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo. 

The Ignoble Liars Behind Bush's Deadly Iraq War -  A little over a year ago, April 18, 2003, Jeffrey Steinberg wrote that:
On Sunday, March 16, 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney emerged from his cave to appear on the NBC News "Meet the Press" show, for a one-hour interview with Tim Russert. . . . On the pivotal issue of preventive war, Cheney was lying, willfully. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Cheney's extraordinary hour-long pronouncement was composed, almost exclusively, of disinformation, which had either already been publicly discredited, or would soon be exposed as lies.

It is a shame that it has taken the press and public so long to see what has been so obvious for so long.

Weblog, 2004-05-02, Sun Day

Shameful acts - Originally published April 30, 2004 in the Baltimore Sun:  "TELEVISION FOOTAGE of the mistreatment of Iraqi war prisoners by their American captors was shockingly disturbing and hauntingly reminiscent of the horror stories from the regime of Saddam Hussein.  . . .  The Pentagon must be held accountable if the military failed to provide the training, staffing, supervision and leadership required to ensure that prisoners of war are treated humanely." 

Did anyone at the Pentagon ever, in the slightest way, believe the protestations of the NeoCons at the White House that we were supposed to liberate and bring freedom and security to Iraq and its peoples?

For a balanced and thorough report read "The Pictures That Lost The War", by Scotland's Sunday Herald Investigations Editor Neil Mackay.

Paragraphs from Maureen Dowd's NY Times column for today: 
Wolfie's Fuzzy Math
Asked this week how many U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz missed by more than 30 percent.

What can you say about a deputy defense secretary so eager to invade Iraq he was nicknamed Wolfowitz of Arabia, so bullish to remold the Middle East he froze the State Department out of the occupation and then mangled it, who doesn't bother to keep track of the young Americans who died for his delusion?

Those troops were killed while they were still trying to fathom the treacherous tribal and religious beehive they were never prepared for, since they thought they'd be helping build schools and hospitals for grateful Iraqis.

Asked during a Congressional budget hearing on Thursday how many American troops had been killed in Iraq, Mr. Wolfowitz missed by more than 30 percent. "It's approximately 500, of which — I can get the exact numbers — approximately 350 are combat deaths," he said.

As of Thursday, there were 722 deaths, 521 in combat. The No. 2 man at the Pentagon was oblivious in the bloodiest month of the war, with the number of Americans killed in April overtaking those killed in the six-week siege of Baghdad last year.

This is, of course, an administration that refuses to quantify or acknowledge the cost of its chuckleheaded empire policies, in bodies, money, credibility in the Arab world, reputation among our allies or the reinvigoration of militant Muslims around the globe. Duped themselves, they duped Americans into thinking it would be easy, paid for with Iraqi oil. But Donald Rumsfeld's vision of showing off a slim, agile military was always at odds with the neocons' vision of infusing enough security into Iraq to turn it into an instant democratic paradise.

Crushed in the collision of these two grandiose dreams are all the smaller dreams of fallen soldiers, to raise kids and watch baseball and grill hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

Also noted:
Bill O'Reilly suggested that CBS, by breaking the news of the grotesque pictures of American soldiers gaily tormenting Iraqi prisoners, had put American lives at risk.

Weblog, 2004-05-01, Saturn's Day

"Lost: My photograph of the Commander-in-Chief landing on an aircraft carrier, announcing, 'Mission Accomplished.' Have you seen one lately?"  (Tom Havstad, of Occidental, CA, in a Press Democrat "lost and found" ad)

Computers, Iraq, politics and life:
   Found a couple of paragraphs from Michael Jennings that manage, in my mind, to tie them all together:

Unhealthy control leads to more unhealthy control.   Managers at Microsoft seem to be trying to create a situation in which Microsoft operating systems are not independent software, but are dependent on Microsoft computers. They apparently feel that there is no limit to the control they should have, and are strongly determined to extend that control.

The attempt to take more control, and to take more control without adequate explanation, is a huge gamble with investor's money. If it strongly alienates people from Microsoft, there may be a time when the company has difficulty selling even good products.

Wanting more control, and a desire for control that cannot be controlled, is a common psychological problem. For example, dictators of governments often test the limits until they destroy themselves.

Design effective resistance to abuse.   Human society in general is not effective at stopping abuse. People have a difficult time being clear about abusiveness, and therefore about protesting it and stopping it.  It is especially difficult for the average person to feel clear about something technical like software. People tend to blame themselves rather than the software that should serve their needs.

Instead of efficiently moving to limit the destructiveness of the abuser, the abused people often begin to attack each other. Often technically knowledgeable people have the presumption that, if they know something another person doesn't know, that gives them a license to attack the other person, or to feel superior. The fighting among themselves of people knowledgeable about computers is part of the reason there has been very little effective resistance to Microsoft's abuse.

Microsoft's self-destructiveness does not mean that the user should be self-destructive. There is no need to apologize for using Microsoft software, as many people do who know a lot about computers. The correct solution to abuse is persuading the abuser to stop being abusive. Rather than feel embarrassed because Microsoft is abusive, action needs to be taken to prevent the abuse. If you protest effectively against Microsoft abuse, you are not against Microsoft; you are more pro-Microsoft than Bill Gates.

Abuse:  The Future of Advertising? - This short story from Mike Healan at SpywareInfo.net is an instructive parable of what will happen if the FTC succeeds in it's "self regulation" scheme for internet advertising.  The internet has suffered enough from having tried the gentle approach in dealing with spam.  The advertising model being used by some companies today is even more destructive.  There is no generally accepted practice in the industry, and no industry groups or body of civil law that can deal with abuses.  A law like the SPYBLOCK Act which currently is making the rounds in the Senate is badly needed, and Mike H. is doing a real service in describing why.

Mike has endorsed the Spyblock Act - I will endorse Mike's site and suggest folks should subscribe to his newsletter, and support the work he is doing financially too, if possible.

Weblog, 2004-04-30, Freya's Day

An article "Alarm growing over bot software" by Robert Lemos (CNET News.com, April 30, 2004, 9:16 AM PT)  discusses the potentially damaging effect that software already installed on computers, without owners' knowledge or participation.   This 'bot software (for robot) can seek out and infect other vulnerable machines, form networks under the control of third parties, and be used to attack individuals, organizations, networks and the internet itself. 

In September and October, 2003 my firewall, on a 24/7 DSL connection, recorded an average of 150 hits per day, excluding the Nachi worm probes.  In November and December, again excluding Nachi worm probes, the hit count rose to an average of just over 200 per day.

January     =  378 per day
February    =  592 per day
March       =  852 per day
April       = 1334 per day (2 half days included)

Nachi worm probes are not a factor after Jan 3, and are excluded before that date.

Post Edit (Saturday, May 1):   Add Firewall Histogram
Chart illustrating increase in numbers of probes against firewall

This gradual but exponential increase in probes is compatible with bot activity as described in the article. 

The article notes that "bots are generally commanded to search smaller networks for new systems to infect, reducing the amount of bandwidth that compromised servers produce and making the programs less obvious."   That is a salient characteristic of the probe activity I am experiencing, which originates largely from the local UUnet network servicing my Earthlink DSL connection (63.13.xxx.xxx).  Of the 6992 probes against my firewall in the 4 days ending today, only 62 of the 480 source IP's originating two or more probes have fallen outside this local network IP range.  None of those originated more than 13 hits.

Though not well qualified to evaluate these matters, it appears to me that this kind of activity, even though locally significant and indicative of a base of infected machines, will escape detection by tools which assume an "unbiased random number generator" source for IP probes on the internet, such as the UCSD Network Telescope.  

Source IP's within the local network originated virtually all of the probes of my machine - the largest sources were:

IP Address Hits HostName


This pattern indicates that the traffic may be 'bot related.  Since these IP addresses are assigned to DHCP connections dynamically, not to machines, the only way the user machines originating them can be identified is through the cooperation of the ISP's owning the connections.  I have appealed to both UUnet and Earthlink.  UUnet has not responded.

Earthlink's response to my first submission of lists of hits from their IP's was to tell me they needed a copy of the "email I had forwarded" with "full header information"! 

Earthlink's second response advised me that these probes were from their RADIUS servers.  However, RADIUS server probes do not increase exponentially over time, do not come from UUnet's IP range, do not originate from a large number of different source ports (they are UDP packets from port 53, in my experience), and are not directed exclusively at these target ports: 21, 25, 80, 111, 135 (2336 hits), 137 (304 hits), 139 (637 hits), 445 (1150 hits).  Note that those figures are for the last 4 days, with today only half over!

Of course, I am not satisfied with Earthlink's response.  Neither am I satisfied that any of the ISPs, or the communications providers like MCI/UUnet which are supporting the ISPs, are being proactive enough in identifying and eliminating 'bot infected machines and traffic on the subnets they use to service ISP customers.  Surely the experience of the "Witty" worm adequately demonstrates the need for organizations responsible for basic internet operations to purge the internet of resevoirs of infected machines.  To highlite the last paragraph of an excellent article describing "Witty" and why it is important:
The patch model for Internet security has failed spectacularly. To remedy this, there have been a number of suggestions for ways to try to shoehorn end users into becoming security experts, including making them financially liable for the consequences of their computers being hijacked by malware or miscreants. Notwithstanding the fundamental inequities involved in encouraging people sign on to the Internet with a single click, and then requiring them to fix flaws in software marketed to them as secure with technical skills they do not possess, many users do choose to protect themselves at their own expense by purchasing antivirus and firewall software. Making this choice is the gold-standard for end user behavior -- they recognize both that security is important and that they do not possess the skills necessary to effect it themselves. When users participating in the best security practice that can be reasonably expected get infected with a virulent and damaging worm, we need to reconsider the notion that end user behavior can solve or even effectively mitigate the malicious software problem and turn our attention toward both preventing software vulnerabilities in the first place and developing large-scale, robust and reliable infrastructure that can mitigate current security problems without relying on end user intervention.
That paragraph is dramatically re-emphasized by this note, which describes how Microsoft's MS04-11 patch for the LSASS vulnerability has caused problems on some machines including losing the ability to login or failure to respond after rebooting.   I have applied the MS04-11 patch and have not experienced the reported problems.  However, based on MS's write-up , my good fortune may be due to having disabled IPSEC services.

Revisiting "Minimizing Win XP for security and speed".

I have attempted to minimize the services running on XP for my machine, and the ability of those services to access the internet without my knowledge or initiative.
First, with respect to XP access to the internet, I have denied server access to all Windows functions to the internet through my firewall.   I have noted no difficulties as a result.   This might not be the case, had I not disabled some Windows services which would otherwise require server access.

I have reduced active MS XP services to the point that there is only one XP component which is listening for input from (would like to establish contact with)  the internet; I understand that Zone Alarm is preventing that contact.  In the listing of active connections at the end of this note, PID 4 is the XP component I have not been able to eliminate by shutting down unneeded services and preventing unneeded processes from starting.  I have not been able to identify a service or feature of Windows that I can shut down that will stop "System" from listening for an internet connection.

The 15 XP services I permit to run at startup are:   Cryptographic Services, Event Log, Logical Disk Manager, Plug and Play, Protected Storage, Remote Procedure Call (RPC), Security Accounts Manager, Shell Hardware Detection, Themes, (an unnamed security service), Windows Audio, Network Connections, Remote Access Connection Manager, Telephony, and Windows Management Instrumentation.   The Logical Disk Manager and Themes services would not be essential or even useful on many machines.  

By reducing Windows services I have cut the number of processes running as well.  After my computer starts in the Admin account, and it connects to the Internet, Windows XP has 10 Windows processes and four security related non Windows processes running.

I permit no server access to the internet from my machine, and if an application requests server access I say no once - the next time it asks I block it out so it does not bother me again.  

Post Edit (5-01):  These are the application programs I have been obliged to block by their persistence in attempting to gain server access to the internet

I'm happy with my installation.  It is stable, seems secure, and has resources to spare.  But I have put a lot of time into tuning and securing it.  Other users might not have the time or patience to do this.  Linux might be no more difficult, if I had any background in using it.

Weblog, 2004-04-29, Thor's Day

Fallujah - The Iron Wall Syndrome:  In an article last week Scott Anderson of the Christian Science Monitor noted the dead end nature of US strategy in Fallujah.   It's a good article, especially in the light of todays (supposed) developments.  The article notes that
American vows to destroy the insurgents and "kill or capture" Mr. Sadr and his black-clad militia - groups that were once marginal, at best - are feeding increasingly wide support among Iraqis, and turning Fallujah into a new anti-US rallying cry.
My response:  A new version of "loose lips sink ships" is damaging the credibility of the US, and interfering with the accomplisment of strategic objectives.  The military and civilian officials who emit these utterances should be sharply and visible disciplined.

Another paragraph quotes:
"In Fallujah [Americans] are acting out of proportion to [the deaths of four US contractors]. I understand their anger, but they get poor marks," says Gailan Ramiz, a Harvard-educated political scientist in Baghdad. "I am convinced now, they created a situation where Iraqis are in total psychological revolt."
My response:  US strategic objective have been made hostage to the need by US managers' of the war effort to appear in their own eyes and the eyes of one another "macho" and fearsome.   The US public, and more responsible public officials, should hold these irresponsible and childish people accountable for the harm they have done to the Iraqi people and to US goals and objectives for the war effort overall.

Mr. Bush last week declared that there was "no safe alternative to resolute action" to regain control. But as US troops dig in, Middle East history shows that total control often comes at a very high price. 
My response:  The US does not need, and will not benefit from an Iraqi version of the debacle at Hue.   The officers and officials who led us and permitted us to be led into the blind alley in Fallujah are guilty of criminal negligence and self indulgence, and should be cashiered.  That includes Bush, but especially "General Bluster", Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmit, and whoever is responsible for his continued presence as a spokesman for US policy in Iraq.

I have no response, and neither does the US war party,  to Scott Anderson's final paragraph, which follows a description of the methods used by Saddam Hussein to suppress the Iraqi people: 
Americans should be mindful of this lesson, for what it says about Iraqi standards of intimidation. "Iraqis are used to being punished," says the officer. "They are used to fear."

Fallujah - Breaking News Noted:  "Marines pull back, make way for all-Iraqi force at Fallujah" 1:06 PM EDT,  Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004.   If this late breaking news bears out over time it is good news on a number of fronts. 

Assuming the report's accuracy, and that the agreements and tactics reported hold up through implementation, responsibility for civil order in Fallujah will be transferred to an Iraqi Defense Force, the Fallujah Protective Army, under the command of an Iraqi General Officer under the overall control of the Marine's 1st Expeditionary Force.  (It would be more appropriately under the direct control of General Sanchez, and I hope that is the de facto case.)  

The Iraqi General in command of the FPA may be
Lieutenant-General Salah Abboud al-Jabouri, a native of the Fallujah region, who served as governor of Anbar province under Mr. Hussein and was a senior commander in the Iraqi military.   This must be read in the light of Sandra Mackey's article, noted below.  If true, this is a salutary outcome of the reported decision last week by U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer that the new Iraqi army would start recruiting top former Hussein-era officers who were not involved in the regime's crimes.   Another part of the report indicates that as many as four Iraqi generals were involved in the negotiations regarding the reestablishment of civil authority in Fallujah.   All I can say is -  It's about blessed time!

The only sour note in the report (as opposed to probable reality, which I am sure has many sour notes) is that both strategic and tactical needs in Fallujah are still being held hostage to the Bush regime's gutless need to appear unrelenting in its desire to extract revenge for the deaths of the four wayward paramilitaries working for a US based private military organization
Blackwater SecurityThese four  unfortunates were attacked when they ventured into the center of the city in two vehicles, without escort or announced objective, early in April.  It was the Bush regime's need for revenge on the people who killed them which created the disaster in Fallujah in the first place - and the Bushies seem unable to let go of that need, no matter what the cost to US strategic objectives. 

Fallujah - Sandra Mackey, in the New York Times, has an authoritative and dispositive wrap-up (A City That Lives for Revenge) on the situation and outlook in Fallujah.  By extension, her analysis covers the entire territory of the Bush regency's failed war policy, as it illustrates and encapsulates the failures of imagination, understanding, and planning that have created this great blot on the history of our nation. 

Fundamentalism - Tonight, on PBS's Frontline, there will be an explanation (Understanding the President and His God) of an aspect of GW Bush's character has likely dominated his approach to the war in Iraq - his Crusader mentality, based in an (heretical) extremist form of Christian religious belief. 

These beliefs are analogous to the extremist religious tendencies driving similar groups of Muslims and Jews, and the three together , in their violence and intolerance for other religious beliefs,  have come to threaten the future of world civilization, perhaps of humanity itself.   (Those interested in history of religion may search on the terms:  dominionism, covenanter, "new covenant", Darby, darbyism, "Plymouth Brethren", antinomianism, premillenialism, dispensationalism, and combinations of those for enlightenment.)

Weblog, 2004-04-24, Saturn's Day

Jim's famous BBC interview  - Wednesday, February 18, 2004:  0733 GMT
found at:
Real Player is required to play the BBC's streaming audio. 

Windows Security and Privacy:   A DRAFT of a note on this has taken nearly all of my time for the last few days - because it has prompted me to review my firewall logs (requiring reinstallation of the ZoneLog Analyzer software), to figure out what some wierdnesses in the logs mean, to followup on a bunch of current security advisories, etc.   The experts expect a major attack on the internet and internet attached machines within a few days, and it is even more important than usual that Windows installations and other internet attached devices be updated with critical repairs that have just been issued by Microsoft, Cisco, and other vendors.  

Weblog, 2004-04-21, Wodin's Day

Windows Security and Privacy:  Prompted by the news of internet security problems and by a "Wired" article from February, I have been working on summarizing the methods and tools (virtually cash free) I use  to secure Windows installations and protect users' privacy. 

Weblog, 2004-04-20, Tiw's Day

A Challenge: Minimizing Win XP for security and speed.  After my computer starts in the Admin account, and it connects to the Internet, Windows XP has 10 Windows processes running: System Idle Process, System, smss, csrss, winlogon, services, lsass, svchost (2), and explorer. There are also four security related non Windows processes running, and a piece of dreck from my AOL 7 installation, which I usually kill. (If I knew my way around the Registry a bit better I would stop it from loading on Startup altogether.)

After opening my browser, netstat shows 3 established and 4 listening connections:
Active Connections
  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State           PID

  TCP               LISTENING       4      System
  TCP               LISTENING       732    browser application
  TCP               LISTENING       1096   security application
  TCP    nn.nn.nnn.252:1241     nnn.nnn.203.172:80     ESTABLISHED     1096
  TCP              LISTENING       732
  TCP         ESTABLISHED     732
  TCP         ESTABLISHED     732
I'd like to know if anyone has a machine running fewer processes and connections under comparable circumstances.  Write me!

Contents of prior weblog file:  (Archived)
This index is chronological (earliest is first), while the the postings are in reverse chronology (most recent is  first). 
Contents of Prior Weblog File (Archived)

Weblog, 2004-03-24, Wodin's Day
Bob Kerrey for Vice President!
Environmental Racism?
In memoriam: Archbishop Oscar Romero
Weblog, 2004-03-25, Thor's Day
NeoMedieval  Dominion (cont'd.)
     "Basic Instincts," Not the Truth: Iraq war a product of neocon philosophy of intelligence
Weblog, 2004-03-27, Saturn's Day
Controlling Iraq’s Skies: The Secret Sell-off of Iraq’s Air Industry
Weblog, 2004-03-28, Sun Day
The Liberal Philosophy of Personal Responsibility
Chris Mooney on Misreporting Stem Cell Research
Glen Martin on The Cloaking of Evil - Jesus vs. the Beast of the Apocalypse
Weblog, 2004-03-29, Moon Day
Tom Maertens on Richard Clarke's account of pre 9-11 inaction by Bush
Cytochrome P450 pages updated
Weblog, 2004-04-02, Freya's Day
Private Military Contractors from Blackwater Security killed in Fallujah
Weblog, 2004-04-08, Thor's Day
The Iraq War - Situation and Prospects
Lauren Verruni's Sojo.net note
Weblog, 2004-04-10, Saturn Day
The Iraq War - Situation and Prospects = No improvement
Weblog, 2004-04-12, Moon Day
Iraq - Faluja and Najaf, etc.
Map of Iraq
Weblog, 2004-04-14, Wodin's Day
Iraq - Faluja and Najaf
Generals Abizaid & Sanchez
George Tenet
The bin Laden Unit
Weblog, 2004-04-16, Freya's Day
The Man Who Knew - John O'Neill and bin Laden's Al Qaeda
Iraq - Pentagon Second Guessing - Abizaid and Sanchez
PNAC NeoCon Status - The "Project for the New American Century", "American Exceptionalism", the Bush Imperium, and "benign hegemony"

Permanent and Draft materials follow: These may be reworked from time to time.

The weblog format distracts from and even interferes with  more structured writing by imposing subtle requirements to make notes for 'publication' - at least for this novice blogger.   While providing a useful recap of things discovered on the WWW or received in email, the weblog has not served as the place where I made notes for future research or work in progress.   These materials are not 'daily', but develop over days or weeks. In order to separate "Log" from "drafting" functions, daily log notes are at the top of the current weblog; while draft materials follow them. When a set of daily log notes is posted to the 'previous web logs' archive the draft materials will be deleted; only the daily log will appear in the archive. The draft materials remain in the current weblog page, until they are trashed as hopeless, consigned to the "unpublished" directory, or published in "pages" or elsewhere.

WarBlogging reprised:
The Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/ has been named the "Best Warblog" by Forbes Magazine - and it is not even a Warblog, as they note.
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/ Most highly recommended, with built in  BS detection and disclosure.
http://www.johnbrownlow.com/unintended/  An excellent  source. More on unintended consequences.
http://sgtstryker.com.cr.sabren.com/sparkey.htm   Tactical news, but well selected and informative.
http://www.singmind.com/singleminded/home.htm has a much more strategic and political view.
They even quote Lord Melbourne "Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong principle."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/2003/reporters_log/ BBC war reporters' log.
http://www.agonist.org/ "Thoughtful, Global, Timely" Actually quite good.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42614-2003Mar28.htmlis a Washington Post summary of Warblog activity

The Enlightenment and US Politics (Draft, March, 2004)

Perpetual War! A political agenda motivates the drive to perpetual war. 

The Past is Prologue: Resistance, Rebellion, Reaction - Viet Nam and its Aftermath

The Face of Totalitarian Shrubbyism

Whose anti war movement is it, anyway?

Nader (aka "Barf Nadir" in some quarters) is probably not an elitist, a Straussian NeoCon plant, who ran last time in order to get Bush elected, and is attempting the same thing this time.  But he might as well be.  
( http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/23/opinion/23MON1.html ,
 http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-et-abcarian5mar05,1,2696374.story  and

Come Ride in My Corvair! Ralph Nader, the newest presidential candidate, has proven to be delusional at any speed. )

After the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago,  and two years of student action at Universities culminating in the May 4, 1970 Kent State killings, it was clear something had to be done.  Two tools were devised and used to divert the energies, physical and intellectual, of the people who made up the anti Viet Nam war movement.  One was New Age spiritualism.  The other is "(Don't) Think Globally, Act Locally" Environmentalism.   For three decades both tools (together with splinter parties) have been used to chip away at the people's political will and ability to accomplish any populist and progressive program.  

That form of spiritualism called "New Age" induced us to reject commitment to politics and the political process as meaningless or, worse, a source of troubling thoughts and emotions.   Local action "environmentalism" told us that we were to   focus on recycling our trash instead fighting corporate polluters, reading history and being politically aware, committed and involved.   Broader action to influence policy would, in this version of movement politics, be dissociated from real politics.  Instead, we would work through special interest organizations, which apply 'pressure point' lobbying to gain their objective.   Enthusiasts of both could drop out, and go back to the land - where they managed, some argue, to both start a process of gentrification in rural communities and to get a head start on the resulting boom in real estate values!  

Politics - real politics which focuses on the needs and aspirations of the the people and polity and on securing votes for bond issues, tax levies, and candidates - was, supposedly, irrelevant.  In this strange new world there was no difference between the political parties, and Al Gore and George Bush were viewed as clones.   But the corporatist and fundamentalist Right not only knew better, it funded - even created - much of that anti-political consciousness.

In this brave new century, both movements have aged, weakened, and deteriorated to the point that they are no longer a threat to either the fundamentalists or the oil companies.  The religious right is taking control of our free public school system or supplanting it with fundamentalist madrassahs to be supported with NCLB mandated vouchers.  Recycling programs are being found too expensive and being abandoned across the nation.   The post Viet Nam diversionary movements and their duped adherents can be dispensed with, and our government be put in the hands of Straussian Neocons.   All this WWW3 stuff, the MacNamara revisited stuff (you notice it is all recollection - no analysis, not guilt, no apology), is to keep "movement" people stuck in self analytical and self congratulatory mode while the stage is set for Act 3 of the NeoCon putsch. 

Now a similar tactic is distracting the remnants of Governor Dean's campaign support organization.   In large part it has already lost sight of the need to remove the Shrub NeoCon regime from power and reform the Democratic party.  Even as Shrub uses recess appointments to install far right wing judges,  agents of disinformation and agents provocateur are working in Governor Dean's blog and forums to convince his supporters that they should let the 2004 election go and focus on "stopping Hilary" in 2008; that there is no difference between the toothless, failed liberalism of John Kerry and the aggressive, very sharply toothed extreme right wing NeoCons who occupy the White House and the Pentagon. 

If this tactic, in conjunction with Nader's candidacy, works "(T)hen, as Clint Eastwood gets to say in Don Siegel's Coogan's Bluff, "You won't believe what happens next, even while it's happening." "  We are living at the foot of a huge dam, and we are blind to how near it is to overtopping, failing altogether, and washing away 500 years of progress in human welfare and freedom.  

Jared Diamond's Lewis Thomas Prize Lecture: "Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions?"

The threat originally comes, not from the arc of impoverished and desolated peoples running from Morocco to the Indonesia, but from worms boring away within the body of and consuming the heart of European civilization's greatest gift to humanity, the legacy of the Enlightenment.  This parasitic infection has, of course, broken out of the bounds of European intellectual life and infected the rest of the world, from where it is reflected back,
in the forms of terrorism and fundamentalism, onto the "West".


Birth of the Enlightenment

In Europe at the end of the 17th century a five century orgy of inquisitions, witch hunts, and religious wars begun at the end of the 11th century was slowly burning itself out.  

In that period between, hundreds of thousands to millions of victims of three Holy Inquisitions were tortured, hung, beheaded, and burnt at the stake for heresy.  As many as 900,000 accused "witches" were burnt at the stake between 1275 and 1894, of whom most (95% in some jurisdictions) were women.   From 1347 to 1350 around 27,000,000 died in the Bubonic Plague; in the accompanying panic between 15 and 20 thousand Jews were killed.  From 1618 to 1648 the Thirty Years War between Protestant and Catholic adherents finally dismembered the Holy Roman Empire; in Germany alone the war and an outbreak of Plague may have reduced the population by a third. 

Communal violence during this period had been largely ad hoc, but continuous. 
Nearly all was sanctioned by government or religious authority and often both.   It had focused on real or imagined religious heterodoxy and though a large part of the violence was directed at Jews (especially the Bubonic Plague panic) most had been directed at Christian citizens accused of witchcraft or heresy.    

By the middle of the 17th century the treasuries of European states were depleted by religious wars and increasingly dependent on growing commercial activities in their cities.  In contrast the power of feudal landowners was in relative decline.  The population and merchants were exhausted by wars and their support for additional religious strife was at an end, except for continued anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe.   Until the rise of the anti-Enlightenment fascist and nazi ideologies in the 20th century European wars were between nations, rather than state sanctioned communal violence directed at populations within national borders.

The elements which were brought together in the creation of the broad and revolutionary cultural transformation known as the Enlightenment were not the sole possession of Europe.  Most were held in common with other civilizations, some older and more sophisticated in many ways than was Europe.   For the greater part of the period after the breakup of Mediterranean civilization at the end of the Roman Empire, so-called "Latin Christendom" was the least advanced of the three successor cultures, after Byzantium (Eastern or Orthodox Christianity) and Islam. 

There is no substantial agreement about why the outcome of a series of cultural trends in Northwestern Europe in the 14th through the 17th centuries was so dramatically different than in other parts of the world which were at a similar or more advanced state of development at the beginning of that period.  However, three distinguishing factors are suggested:

The impermanence of  state and empire.  Maritime Norse raiders who had only a few centuries earlier flooded into every part of the continent bounded by ocean or sea, and even into Asia Minor and Russia carried a tradition of loose and democratically organized confederations antithetic to central control, culminating in the
freehold.  The sufficiency of this tradition alone in providing the roots for democracy is demonstrated by the evolution of Icelandic governance.  

In Europe Norse influence was coupled with repeated fragmentation and reconstitution of the Holy Roman Empire and its loosely coordinated component states, which itself resulted from the Frankish tradition (contra primogeniture) of dividing the kingdom among the sons of the king.  This combination inhibited the growth of stable large states and centralized authoritarian control. 

Norse decentralization and Frankish inheritance practice were later c
oupled with the mythos of Greek Democracy and the Roman Republic rediscovered during the Renniassance.  All these together provided the historical and cultural basis for the creation of open and pluralistic societies and democratic forms of governance in Northwestern Europe.  

The secular preoccupations of the Church in Rome:  An historical antipathy of much of Christian tradition toward the state also limited the degree of coordination between the state and religious authority and discouraged the development of stultifying theocratic social organization.  (With a nod to a current cultural phenomenon - March, 2004 - it is necessary to note that, although this tradition originates in the persecution of the Christian churches by the Roman Empire, after the sudden conversion of the Emporer Constantine to Christianity a new tradition, which "washes the hands" of Rome and assigns "blood guilt" for the crucifixion to the Jews, appears in Christian culture.  How convenient for Rome and the Emperor!)  

For centuries the Holy See in Rome, P0pe and Curia, had been preoccupied with regional politics in the Western Mediterranean.  Charlemagne had institutionalized the Church in the North in the form of the Holy Roman Empire, and until the Reformation there was little reason for Rome to concern itself with political or doctrinal matters there.   The relative freedom of this secularized environment that developed in Rome permitted the rise of the Italian Renaissance, and its export to the rest of Europe, where it merged with other cultural bases supporting the Enlightenment.

After the Roman church's powerful reaction to the Reformation at the Councils of Constance and Trent, and the creation of the Counter Reformation, it turned its attention to the suppression of these secular tendencies by blood and fire.   States in Catholic Southern Europe dealt with irregular books and people in the same manner - by burning - and from the time of the Council until the 20th Century Southern Europe declined relative to the North in thought, governance, invention, the arts, and economic vitality. 

Fortunately, the political structure if Northern Europe could not support such a monolithic response to the Reformation, and despite the desire of its initial creators to enforce various forms of doctrinal totalitarianism, the ferment of novel religious ideas there continued pretty much unabated until the mid 19th Century. 

The printing press.  The invention (1436) of the mechanical printing press made possible the rapid reproduction and wide distribution of  old and new knowledge and thought throughout European civilization.  This possibility, which could have been aborted in circumstances of centrally coordinated authoritarian government, was fully exploited in Northern Europe, though aborted in the South after the Counter Reformation.  The tensions among varied branches of Christian religious thought both increased the demand for printed materials and created religious justifications for their free availability - a pattern in sharp contrast to that experienced where ideological conformity was enforced by strong, empire wide government authority. 

The Legacy of the Enlightenment

In sharp contrast to the Enlightenment in Northern Europe, in the Eastern Empire of Byzantium and - after the fall of Constaniople and the rise of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul  - in the Islamic world a pre-existing tendency toward empire building, and the strongly centralized and authoritarian religious and governmental structures required to support empire (esp. Ottoman and Mogul) aborted further development of once vital cultures there.  

By the end of the 17th century the Enlightenment had come to dominate the intellectual and cultural life of Northwestern Europe, and for the next 400 years it permitted the advances in science, technology, economic organization, governance, and military power that created the hegemony of the so-called "West" over the entire planet.

Draft materials removed.
Draft materials removed.

The Face of Totalitarian Shrubbyism

Every part of the Shrubbyist domestic and international agenda depends on perpetual war.
They have no economic plan other than war.
It is the Shrubbyist political agenda that drives their need for perpetual war.
It is not oil and not terrorism.
This is the Explanation for
The Shrubbyist Lust for War
This gun SMOKES!

The Religious Rightists and The Shrubbyist Lust for War
Two men driving Bush into war
The World Will Know the Truth

(Both articles are also HERE)

Shrubbyism might "more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."  This under the management of those who control the corporation and benefit from the accumulation of power and wealth in corporate hands.  (Example)  In its organization of power corporatism  "has the following characteristics:

    • The state has the ultimate authority over production and distribution without (as in socialism) actually owning the means of production and distribution.
    • Control is generally accomplished through cartelization, the creating of industry-wide councils in which the representatives of the most powerful firms set policy in conjunction with representatives of government.
    But it is more than simple Corporatism, since:    (MORE)

Draft materials removed

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