Friday, September 22, 2006


Library Journal:
Central to Evans's analysis is how the "normative" state, which is governed by the rule of law and defined procedures, was replaced by the "prerogative" state, which was run by decree. Indeed, Hitler took prerogative rule to a new level when he enabled his followers to carry out arbitrary actions, which, if they pleased him in meeting his policy goals, would then be made legal retroactively. ~ (book review)

Glenn Greenwald (bold emphasis mine):
One thing to watch out for is whether this will be the same template used in the warrantless eavesdropping context - namely, that the "maverick, dissident, independent Republicans" who are "fighting" against the White House suddenly reach a "compromise" with the Bush administration that is slightly short of the Specter bill but nonetheless gives the White House virtually everything it wants - including legalizing warrantless eavesdropping on Americans with full discretion.

Then, Republicans dramatically join together as One and celebrate the victory they won in the war on terror, creating the appearance that they compromised, all while remaining tough-on-terrorism and protective of our civil liberties, while Democrats sit quietly and meekly on the sidelines, invisible, irrelevant and impotent. In other words, we will see the sequel to the sadly predictable spectacle which Digby predicted would occur with the interrogation debate and which, as Digby insightfully explains, is exactly what has now happened.

The systematic One:
Nazi Gleichschaltung
By Dr Edgar Feuchtwanger
new perspective Vol 7, No 2

As a totalitarian regime the Third Reich developed its own language, a perversion of the German language. The control of hearts and minds, to which totalitarian political systems aspire, necessitates such a perversion of the normal use of language. Meaning is twisted and distorted in such a way that the citizens of a totalitarian state can no longer distinguish truth from falsehood. They are reduced to such a state of confusion and impotence that they can be fully manipulated by the dictatorial government. George Orwell’s famous books 1984 and Animal Farm are the classic fictional statements of this aspect of totalitarianism. In 1984 there is a Ministry of Truth, modelled on the Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment established by Goebbels.

Gleichschaltung is an example from the early days of the Nazi dictatorship of this use of language to manipulate and confuse. It is a word rarely to be found in older German dictionaries. ‘Gleich’ means equal, ‘Schaltung’ means switch, as in an electrical switch; Gleichschaltung therefore means switching on to the same track or wavelength, or, to put it in one word, alignment or co-ordination. It became, in 1933, the word for the process by which all organisations and associations existing in society were nazified and some, such as the political parties and the trade unions, were simply suppressed. The word was meant to hide the fact that what was going on was in flagrant breach of all previous notions of freedom, civil rights and self-government.

"The control of hearts and minds, to which totalitarian political systems aspire, necessitates such a perversion of the normal use of language. Meaning is twisted and distorted in such a way that the citizens of a totalitarian state can no longer distinguish truth from falsehood."

4 Washington Post:
The two leading candidates for U.S. Senate in Maryland have not agreed on much during their campaign. But yesterday, they agreed that a radio advertisement sponsored by a national group for black Republicans should be pulled off the air.

In the 60-second ad, two women discuss black history, saying Democrats "passed those black codes and Jim Crow laws" and "started the Ku Klux Klan."

the party progamme:
The National Socialist ideology, especially as expressed in the Party programme and in the speeches of our leader, is the basis for interpreting legal sources. ~ (Hans Frank, Reich Commissioner for Justice and head of the Nazi Lawyers' League)

John Yoo:
But the president has broader goals than even fighting terrorism - he has long intended to make reinvigorating the presidency a priority. Vice President Dick Cheney has rightly deplored the "erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job" and noted that "we are weaker today as an institution because of the unwise compromises that have been made over the last 30 to 35 years."


A reinvigorated presidency enrages President Bush’s critics, who seem to believe that the Constitution created a system of judicial or congressional supremacy. Perhaps this is to be expected of the generation of legislators that views the presidency through the lens of Vietnam and Watergate. But the founders intended that wrongheaded or obsolete legislation and judicial decisions would be checked by presidential action, just as executive overreaching is to be checked by the courts and Congress. ~ (NY Times OP-ED, Sunday 17 sept. 2006)

The Unitary Executive:
The authority of the Leader is total and all embracing: within it all resources available to the body politic emerge; it covers every facet of the life of the people; it embraces all members of the German community pledged to loyalty and obedience to the Leader. The Leader's authority is subject to no checks or controls; it is circumscribed by no private preserve of jealously guarded individual rights; it is free and idependent, overriding and unfettered." - (Ernst Rudolf Huber, Nazi Party constitutional lawyer, 1939.)

The 'perogative state':
There existed what the exiled political scientist Ernst Fraenkel called The Dual State, to quote the title of his famous book, published in the USA in 1941. On the one hand was the 'normative state', bound by rules, procedures, laws and conventions, and consisting of formal institutions such as the Reich Chancellary, the Ministries, local authorities and so on, and on the other there was the 'perogative state', an essentially extra-legal system that derived its legitimation entirely from the supra-legal authority of the Leader. Theorists like Huber distinguished carefully between 'the authority of the state and the authority of the Leader', and made it clear that the latter always had precedence over the former. Thus formally illegal acts such as the murders committed in the 'Night of the Long Knives' were sanctioned by the Leader's authority and so in fact were not illegal at all. The arrests, imprisonments and murders had been carried out not by the police or the regular law enforcement agencies but by the SS, and the formal apparatus of the law and the state almost fell over itself in the rush to give these acts of violence the approval of law. This was a graphic demonstration of the fact that there was increasingly little serious conflict between the 'normative' and 'perogative' systems in Nazi Germany. The former had to defer more and more to the latter, and as time went on it became increasingly permeated by its spirit; rules were relaxed, laws dispensed with, scruples abandoned. ~ (Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power; page 45, chapter: "The Police State")

Geneva Conventions "Agreement Upon Common Article 3."
"Three of the Most Significant Problems with the "Compromise"
by Marty Lederman:

2. Equally alarming is section 7 of the "compromise" bill, which would purport to prevent any person -- alien or citizen, overseas or in the U.S. -- from so much as invoking the Geneva Conventions -- any provision in any of those Conventions -- "in any habeas or civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States, is a party, as a source of rights, in any court of the United States or its States or territories."

Apparently, this not only would foreclose the possibility of a private cause of action under Geneva -- even solely for injunctive or declaratory relief -- but, more ominously, would also prevent any litigant from so much as raising Geneva as a ground for relief in any properly filed lawsuit . . . even when, as in Hamdan, one or more provisions of Geneva determine the scope and effect of federal statutory law.

What this means, in effect, is that the President's interpretation and application of the Geneva Conventions will be virtually unreviewable, no matter who the affected parties may be, in this and other armed conflicts, now and in the future . . . across the board.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


open thread.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

whores for sale! 

CNN - the Campfollower News Network

FOXNewzi. Don't they just make it too easy to see a cockeyed right-tipped swastika in that 'X'.

MSNBC (what kind of gibberish is this?.) - Honestly, aside from Olbermann being on it, who really gives a fuck?


FCC Scandal Explodes with Second Revelation of Suppressed Media Ownership Research by Robert W. McChesney:

Kevin Martin now has been tasked by the Bush administration to do the job his predecessor couldn't: Eliminate the restrictions on local media ownership so the big media firms, like Tribune, Sinclair, News Corp., Clear Channel, Gannett, Belo and Media General, -- which have been so supportive of the Bush administration -- could build local monopolies by gobbling up most of the media in communities around America.


> The Greatest Story Ever Sold, by Frank Rich. Reviewed by Ian Buruma. See: Theater of War (NYTimes Sunday Book Review).


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Too many boobies. Not enough tits? 

What? Just askin'.

Honestly, I have no idea what the fuck is going on here. And I'm not sure I want to find out.


The Mighty Pontiff of Pontification has spoken 

His Holy Roman Swellness has recently:
... quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th-century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," Benedict said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"


And speaking of Popes and Byzantine emperors and such: Who the hell is this Manuel II dood anyway. I don't suppose anyone's thought to ask. Or maybe they did? I dunno. But, in any case: I don't suppose it might interest Pope Benedict to also remember that Greek Orthodox Byzantine emperor John Paleologos V, after traveling to Rome in 1369, seeking aid and assistance from Pope Urban V (Guillaume de Grimoard - or Old Grim as i like to imagine they called him) in order to help defend Constantiople (today's Istanbul) from the advance of the Turks, was, as a condition to receive such aid and assistance, forced to renounce before the altar of St. Peter his Byzantine realms loyalties to the Greek Orthodox (Christian) Church. JPV never did receive the aid promised and was instead taken hostage in the city of Venice where he was held in exchange for payment of previous unpaid debts.

His son, Manuel Paleologos II (the inquiring fella Pope Benedict cites above), was then deployed to the scene of the caper to deliver the appropriate ransom (arrears due) on behalf of dear old dad's redemption. Thereby securing his father's release from the enterprising wops. What's more, to make matters worse as they say, the denizens of Constantinople were not too happy to later learn - upon JVP's return - that their trusty emperor had, in the process, abjured under oath - on behalf of the realm - their Greek Orthodox Church loyalties. That one went over like a horse stabled at the altar of St. Peter. What's a Paleologos to do? On one flank you got yerself a browbeating Popetator demanding submission to Roman Catholic Church supremacy and on the other flank the Ottoman Muslim throngs. Being a Byzantine bigshot back then was no jolly stroll through a marble quarry. No siree bub.

Why, it was only a little over sixty years earlier that Pope Clement V had got himself all worked up into a regular bug in the bonny clabber froth over the Greek Orthodox Catholic Church's indisposition to full recognition of the Roman Catholic Church as the "one true church." For this indignity Pope Clement V decided to orchestrate a intrigue to overthrow Constantinople - nolens volens - among a long line of intrigues. Popes and other high bishops of Christendom took their nose-thumbing seriously back then and so Clem 5 rounded up some tough guys from Venice and Naples and France set about to some serious intriguing. The plan didn't work out however, was foiled as they say, and the heretical nose-thumbing resumed on both sides as usual. To make a long story short: the Roman Catholic Church didn't much like the Greek Orthodox Catholic Church and mutual snickers were returned in kind. It was a fued dont'cha know that went-a-way back. Way way back. Like centuries way back. In any event, misgivings continued long enough for the Ottoman Turks to make the best of a bickering situation.

Forward: After repeated attempts to secure aid and assistance from his fellow Christians to the west JVP relented to the advances of Sultan Murad I and the Ottoman bloom. In order to spare his Byzantium empire from Ottoman control JVP agreed to provide military aid to the Sultan Murad in return for relative peace and quiet and the general mutual interests of both parties. JVP, agreeing as well, to fork over heir Manuel II as a token of the Byzantine committment to the so described arrangements.

Meanwhile, Pope Urban V, not liking the looks of all this unraveling Ottoman funny business, calls for another Christian crusade to put an end to the expanding Ottoman power which had by now turned its attentions to the conquest of the Balkans. In 1370, Urban dies and Gregory XI gets the green light to hang his red hat on the golden papal hat-rack. In 1371, an assembled army of crusaders - summoned earlier under Gregory XI - are ambushed; killed, drowned, and run off by the Turks along the Marista River in Bulgaria. So much for the redeeming glory of the arm and sword of the Roman Catholic Christian lord at least in that particular god blessed case.

By 1389 Murad's Ottoman army (which was composed of both Christian and Moslem conscripts at the time) moves into Kosovo where it is opposed by a coalition of Serbs, Poles, Bosnians, and Albanians among others. A Serbian named Milosh Kobilich (also spelled Milos Obilic), "the son of a Mare", (whatever the hell that means - see: World without End: The Saga of Southeastern Europe Book by Stoyan Pribichevich; Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939). Where was I? Oh yeah, Milosh Kobilich posing as an informer, infliltrates Murad's inner circle and assasinates the Sultan Murad. Murad's son, Bajazet (also spelled Bayezid), upon the death of his father, takes control of the Ottoman army and defeats the Serbian coalition foes in the Battle of Kosovo Polje, June 28, 1389.

This was the celebrated Kosovo battleground known as the "Field of Blackbirds" so often noted in recent years with respect to the war in the former Yugoslavia. The Ottoman victory at the Field of Blackbirds in Kosovo in 1389 secured Serbian alligience to the Ottoman empire as well as establishing family ties between the Serbs and Turks by uniting Serbian King Lazar I's daughter Olivera and Sultan Bayezid in some, i'll surmise, variety of holy matrimonial multi-harmony orgy or another. Four months later, In October of 1389, Pope Gregory XI will be recalled to the Home Office - if ya know what I mean - and Urban VI will take over the reigns of Christendom on behalf of God and Kings and Holy Roman Catholic western so called civilization until 1394 when Urban VI - too - ultimatly succumbs to the mortal ravages of time.

Meanwhile, Sultan Bajazet is busy whooping it up in the Balkans and goes on a murderous hellbent tear through Bulgaria eventually capturing the capital city of Trnovo in 1393. Pope Urban VI appeals to the King of Hungary for help in stopping the Ottoman marauders. A large force is assembled under the control of King Sigismund of Hungary. French, English and Bavarian knights, cavaliers, sirs, baronets, esquires and assorted other true believers answer the callup. Sixty thousand, thereabouts, marched east to lay siege to the Turkish held garrison city of Nicopolis (Bulgarian city on the Danube. Called Nikopol today). Bajazet responds in turn and makes haste westward to rescue Nicopolis from the European thrust. First by sending forth a first wave of fifteen thousand Janissaries and Turkish cavalry to meet the tresspasing knights on the battlefield. The year was 1396. The French and English fought their way through the inital wave of enemy Ottoman opposition only to crest a blood bathed bee-swept hillock, exhausted and presuming victory, where they were surprised by the full body of Bajazet's army, some forty thousand strong, lances glittering in the sun, laying in slaughterous wait.

The Europeans and allies were henceforth routed and the German and Hungarian troops also laying seige to Nicopolis were eventually overcome by an army of five thousand Serbian Christians loyal to Bajazet; ultimately winning the fight for the Ottomans. Following the entire murderous mele Bajazet ordered ten thousand Christian prisoners executed in cold blood. Bulgaria remained under Ottoman thumb - for the next four hundred and eighty two years - until 1878.

Meanwhile, back in Constantiople: (Remember Manuel II and his pa John V?) Anyway, the powers that were, at the time, including the current Eastern Roman Emperor John Paleologos VII (John V died in 1376), largely remained aloof - for the most part - from the homicidal entanglements and shifting allegiances and general derring-do that had ensued (above) in the Balkans and elsewhere. All things considered, as I mentioned earlier, that might not be very surprising considering the Greek Orthodox Church and the Church in Rome were not exactly on the best of terms. (See the earlier murderous Venetian/Latin Fourth Crusade circa 1204 etc...)

The Romans for instance, fond of bullying - and murdering - those who refused to bow to the power and glory of the Holy Roman Catholic supremacist jihad, the "one true church," as they liked to fancy themeselves back in the day, had (circa 1350) supported and condoned the massacre of Greek Orthodox Catholics on the island of Crete for their obstinate unwillingness to fall upon bended knee and leave a big wet slobbering kiss upon the papal ring of the Roman operation. That kind of thing didn't make Rome many friends in Constantiople or the greater Greek archipelago.

I don't suppose it should come as any surprise that Pope Benedict, hey I'm on the radio!, XVI should have forgotten to mention that little slice of "evil and inhuman" history. As things go these days, and in days bygone, if the shoe fits... well, the shoe fits.

As Will Durant notes and quotes in his Story of Western Civilization; Part VI The Reformation:
The populace and lower clergy of Byzantium repudiated all attempts to reunite Greek with Latin Christianity; and a Byzantine noble declared that he would rather see the Turkish turban at Constantinople than the red hat of a Roman cardinal."

Bajazet, eventually turned his attentions to the seige of Constantiople (1402) but was soon (luckily for Constantiople) distracted by the Tartar invasion under the leadership of Tamerlane the Great who defeated the Turks at Ankara and took Bajazet prisoner. Alas, Manuel II's Constantiople had been accidentally saved from Bajazet's Ottoman seige by Muslim Tartar invaders from the east. Hows that for irony?

1425: Manuel II dies.


In May of 1453, nearly seventy four years after the battle of Kosovo at the Field of Blackbirds, Mohammed II (The Conqueror) would lead the Ottomans against Emperor Constantine XI Palaeologus, the Byzantine throne, and the ancient walls of the city of Constaninople. Constantine XI had made the mistake of attempting to pull a fast one on Mohammed II by forcing Mohammed's nephew Orkhan (raised at the Byzantine court) to the front of the Ottoman line of successors. Uncle Mohammed II, busy at the time rumbling with competing Muslim troublemakers, took note of the attempted usurpation intrigue (again with the intrigue) and called off the hostilities underway elsewhere (from Venice to Wallachia) and returned to the Bosporous (Istanbul Bogazi) to lower the boom on the overreaching Constantine and his comparitvely helpless Constantinople.

A fortress was erected outside Constaninople and Mohammed contracted Christian engineers to construct a cannon (the largest the world had ever seen) which would heave six hundred pound stone shot at the walls of Contantinople. He amassed an army of one hundred and forty thousand men in the cause and in May of 1453 the walls of Constaninople fell. A terrible murderous slaughter and plunder and pillage ensued and Constanine himself vanished never to be seen again. One thousand years of Byzantium culture had come to an end.

Rome took a big sloppy gulp from the chalice and kicked a small dog in the ass. Allah had arrived at Christendom's gate.

[on fortune] "...perverse nature and unacountable will. But these things, I believe, have never been comprehensible to man, nor will they ever be. Nevertheless there is always much talk on these subjects, and opinions are always being bandied about... as each of us seeks comfort for his ignorance.... I consider it insane folly to investigate the nature of God...." ~ Procopius (Byzantine historian circa AD 500-565)


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