Posted: August 1, 2013 Filed under: Crime, Criminal Justice System, cyber security, Foreign Affairs, jobs, morning reads, NSA, National Security Agency, Russia, The Media SUCKS, U.S. Politics, Wikileaks | Tags: Crime and Punishment, defectors, domestic surveillance, Don Maclean, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Guy Burgess, Joshua Foust, Kim Philby, Marc Ambinder, Mark Ames, Novaya Gazeta, Russia Today, Russian refugee centers, the Kremlin, XKEYSCORE
The news is breaking as I write this (around 8:15AM ET) that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has received papers that grant him refugee status in Russia for one year. From Reuters:
Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after Russiagranted him refugee status, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area.
A lawyer who has been assisting Snowden said the young American, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of secret government intelligence programs, had left the airport for a secure location which would remain secret….
His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told state television: “I have just seen him off. He has left for a secure location … Security is a very serious matter for him.”
Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena holds Edward Snowden’s entry papers from Russian Immigration Service
So what will life in Russia be like for Snowden? A number of knowledgeable writers have weighed in on this question.
Last week, when rumors circulated that Snowden had been granted asylum and would soon leave Sheremetyevo, Russian-American journalist Julia Ioffe wrote in The New Republic that Snowden would probably
be given an apartment somewhere in the endless, soulless highrises with filthy stairwells that spread like fields around Moscow’s periphery. He will live there for five years before he will be given citizenship. He’ll likely be getting constant visits from the SVR (the Russian NSA) to mine the knowledge he carries in his brain. Maybe, he will be given a show on Russia Today, alongside the guy who got him into this pickle to begin with, Julian Assange. Or he, like repatriated Russian spy Anna Chapman, might be given a fake job at a state-friendly bank where he will do nothing but draw a salary. (Chapman, by the way, recently tweeted this at Snowden: “Snowden, will you marry me?!”) Maybe he will marry a Russian woman, who will quickly shed her supple, feminine skin and become a tyrant, and every dark winter morning, Snowden will sit in his tiny Moscow kitchen, drinking Nescafe while Svetlana cooks something greasy and tasteless, and he will sit staring into his black instant coffee, hating her.
Was it worth it to trade Hawaii and a pole-dancer girlfriend for that? Snowden will have plenty of time on his hands to think about it. He certainly won’t get a job in Russian intelligence. The Russians, at least, know you can’t trust a leaker even though he may be a convenient source of information.
Mark Ames, who lived in Russia for years and published and wrote for an alternative newspaper in Moscow with partner Matt Taibbi, recently wrote a short piece on Snowden’s future prospects at NSFWCORP with quotes from some Russian sources that I can no longer find on-line. Ames writes:
The latest on Edward Snowden from Newsru.com: officials from the Federal Migration Service (FMS) say that Snowden could be transferred to a refugee center currently overflowing with Syrian war refugees, likely families tied to the Russian-backed regime of Bashir Assad. Or not.
Both Russian officials and Snowden’s Kremlin-tied lawyer are making a big show about how difficult the bureaucratic process is for anyone, even someone like Snowden, to get his temporary asylum papers. If you read the Russian press accounts, the surface statements about the Tsar’s alleged helplessness before the almighty bureaucracy are pure Gogol, without the ha-ha’s, a sort of no-laughter-through-tears. Beneath the surface, there’s something more menacing, a growing sense I get reading the Russian press that Snowden is a kind of Kremlin toy whom they’re intentionally fucking with, out of either contempt, or for the sheer fun of it…
Clearly, Russian President Vladimir Putin is having a blast sticking it to the US and soaking up praise from deluded Glenn Greenwald cultists (previously Obots) and Julian Assange fans who think Russia is a land of freedom and opportunity as in contrast to America, where jackbooted Obama administration thugs supposedly run a horrifying reign of terror.
Ames has a fascinating take on Snowden’s attorney’s bringing him a copy of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to read.
…the Kremlin gifting Snowden a copy of “Crime and Punishment” is itself a not-subtle mind-fuck on many levels. Dostoevsky’s book is a profoundly reactionary novel about a young foolish and desperate student full of second-hand radical ideas about his superiority against established morality. His name is Raskolnikov and he thinks he’s above ordinary human laws, so he kills his landlord according to these higher laws – and later goes crazy unable to believe in the radical ideas that led him to commit a crime, so he turns himself in to the authorities, and serves his time in Siberia as penance. The name of Dostoevsky’s hero, “Raskolnikov,” itself means “cracked” or “split” – as in his cracked conscience.
Last week Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told journalists…
“I bought [for Snowden] Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment,’ because I think that Raskolnikov, who murdered his old landlord — I think that he needs to read about this. Not necessarily because of their similarities in their internal contradictions, but nevertheless…”
I loved this quote from opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta (via Ames):
“Well, what can you say? If that infantile leftie Snowden really wanted to be a hero, he should return to the USA: crucify or not crucify, they’d probably give him 10 years, and he’d do five.”
“Snowden wanted to become a digital world’s Christ — without having to hang on the cross. Now Snowden’s going to spend not five years, but the rest of his life as a guest of the FSB.”
In another display of black humor, the Kremin website compared Snowden to British defectors and spies Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, and Don Maclean. In the posting the Kremlin notes that Philby and Burgess “drank themselves to death in their state-allocated flats, awaiting a world revolution that never came,” while Maclean got along better because he took the trouble to learn Russian. You can read more about Kim Philby at The Guardian.
Russian refugee center
State supported newspaper Russia Today also speculated about Snowden’s future: Spook out of water: What Snowden can expect if Russia grants him asylum.
If the application is accepted and Snowden is given the 12-month temporary asylum that enables him to leave the transit area of Sheremetyevo airport, he will have to undergo a daunting medical assessment designed especially for immigrants. Along with a standard screening for HIV and tuberculosis, he will also be checked for leprosy and the rare sexually-transmitted disease chancroid. Russian Health Ministry officials have said that they are ready to administer the tests at a moment’s notice, but so far have not been asked to do so by Snowden.
After Snowden registers his whereabouts with the police – to avoid risking a $150 fine – he will be free to apply for placement in a processing facility for asylum seekers. There are no such facilities in Moscow, and ones in the vicinity have been flooded with refugees escaping the Syrian conflict. Elena Ryabinina, a human rights lawyer who works with asylum seekers, told Gazeta.ru newspaper that most of her clients get offered a bed in a center near Perm – a city by the Ural mountains, more than 1,000 km east of Moscow.
Sounds like tons of fun. But according to the article Snowden could choose to try to find a place on his own–but he’d have to get a bodyguard since he’s a “wanted man.”
Even if Snowden does acquire a personal bodyguard and a high security flat at an undisclosed location – presumably courtesy of the Russian state – his future is hazy, and the reality of it likely different to what he imagined when he recorded his first revelations.
A temporary asylum seeker is allowed to work, but not to put further strain on the testy relationship between Moscow and Washington. Vladimir Putin said “no longer undermining the US” is a pre-condition for his asylum bid, and the former NSA contractor publicly promised to comply when he met Russian human rights activists a fortnight ago. One wonders who it is that Snowden’s bodyguards will be protecting from danger.
Who knows if we’ll even find out what happens to Snowden now? All we can do is watch and wait. Something tells me he may eventually wish he had just come back home to face the music.
Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald posted another “bombshell” about a “top secret program” called XKEYSCORE. According to Greenwald, this “NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet.’” I googled and learned that hundreds of companies are publicly advertising job openings for people with experience on XKEYSCORE–so how can it be so secret? I guess Greenwald didn’t bother to do a google search. He didn’t bother to talk to Marc Ambinder either. Ambinder wrote a whole book on US intelligence methods in which he described XKEYSCORE in detail. Can Greenwald actually be writing about these intel programs without reading any of the literature on them?
Ambinder writes in The Week:
I quibble with the Guardian‘s description of the program as “TOP SECRET.” The word is not secret; its association with the NSA is not secret; that the NSA collects bulk data on foreign targets is, well, probably classified, but at the SECRET level. Certainly, work product associated with XKEYSCORE is Top Secret with several added caveats. Just as the Guardian might be accused of over-hyping the clear and present danger associated with this particular program, critics will reflexively overstate the harm that its disclosure would reasonably produce.
XKEYSCORE is not a thing that DOES collecting; it’s a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of metadata that the NSA has ALREADY collected using other methods. XKEYSCORE, as D.B. Grady and I reported in our book, is the worldwide base level database for such metadata. XKEYSCORE is useful because it gets the “front end full take feeds” from the various NSA collection points around the world and importantly, knows what to do with it to make it responsive to search queries. As the presentation says, the stuff itself is collected by some entity called F6 and something else called FORNSAT and then something with the acronym SSO.
But Greenwald insisted on Chris Hayes show last night that XKEYSCORE does collect data–all your data–and someone creepy is probably reading it right now!!
In his piece at The Guardian Greenwald had to admit that NSA analysts need to get a warrant to look at and individual’s data, but he claims the warrants are worthless. He also admits that analysts don’t have access to all your personal data, but he says they could hack into it illegally. But isn’t that true for employees of any company or government agency? They could look at personal data by criminally working around limitations and ignoring regulations.
Charles Johnson at LGF: Greenwald’s Latest Article Distorts the Truth Again
Greenwald’s purpose with this latest article is to try to shore up Edward Snowden’s absurd claim that he could “wiretap anyone, even the President,” without any oversight. Here’s how he frames this defense:
The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.
“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.
US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.
Read this section carefully — because what Greenwald is detailing does not support Snowden’s claim at all. Greenwald is describing searching a database for information on non-US citizens. How is this the same thing as “wiretapping the President?” Of course, it’s not. He’s not describing any kind of “wiretapping” at all.
On top of all that, it turns out that the Powerpoint presentation that Greenwald wrote about yesterday is from 2008! (See slide pictured above.) Presumably much has changed at NSA since then. Read more at Joshua Foust’s blog–it’s well worth the time to read the whole thing.
Now it’s your turn. What stories are you focusing on today? Please share your links on any topic in the comment thread, and have a terrific Thursday!!
Posted: April 8, 2013 Filed under: torture, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics, Wikileaks | Tags: Col. James Steele, death squads, Iraq War, Julian Assange, The UK Guardian
Have you been following the latest news on Wikileaks? Some very interesting information has been coming out in the past two days. I’m beginning to understand why the Obama administration–along with some foreign governments were so anxious to arrest Julian Assange and shut down Wikileaks. Thanks to Bradley Manning and Assange, news organizations are revealing plenty about what our government was been up to in the 1970s.
Yesterday, the Guardian published a shocking expose of the U.S. torture and death squad operations in Iraq. The article reveals direct connections between the Pentagon and Iraqi “torture centers.” In addition, Guardian researchers showed how Iraq policy grew out of America’s “dirty wars” in Vietnam and Latin America with a veteran of those past outrages, retired Army Colonel James Steele, leading the way.
The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.
Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.
After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades.
A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.
Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.
Where did all this information come from? You guessed it.
The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified US military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to leaking the documents.
The Guardian also made available to a 51-minute documentary focused on “the mystery man of Iraq,” James Steele. It’s also posted on YouTube, so I’ve embedded it here. You can also watch it on the Guardian website. I watched it yesterday, and plan to watch it again.
If you can’t watch the whole thing right now, here’s a good summary and evaluation of the documentary by William Boardman at Op-Ed News.
As if that weren’t enough, today Wikileaks released “1.7m US diplomatic and intelligence reports covering every country in the world” in a searchable database called “Plus D.” The Daily Mail reports:
Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks today published more than 1.7million U.S. records covering diplomatic or intelligence reports on every country in the world. The data released today includes more than 1.7million U.S. diplomatic records from 1973 to 1976 – covering a traffic of cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
WikiLeaks described the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) as the world’s largest searchable collection of U.S. confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
Much of the work was carried out by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 41, during his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been staying since last summer….
The Ecuadorian Government has granted Mr Assange political asylum and has repeatedly offered Swedish prosecutors the chance to interview him at the embassy in Knightsbridge, central London.
Mr Assange said the information showed the ‘vast range and scope’ of U.S. diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.
These cables weren’t even leaked! They came from the National Archives, but Wikileaks organized the material so that it could be used by news organization and individuals. According to News.com.au, Plus D is ‘What Google should be like’, says Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Some examples of tidbits from the database that have been published today:
Salon — Kissinger: The illegal we do immediately; unconstitutional takes longer
HuffPo — WikiLeaks: Vatican Dismissed Pinochet Massacre Reports As ‘Communist Propaganda’
The Australian News — WikiLeaks reveals US Thatcher memo
The Atlantic — WikiLeaks ‘Kissinger Cables’ Reveal How Much Russians Loved Joni Mitchell
You can search the database yourself here.
Posted: December 3, 2012 Filed under: Austerity, Barack Obama, birth control, black women's reproductive health, court rulings, Crime, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Budget and Budget deficit, indefinite detention, jobs, open thread, SDB Evening News Reads, the internet, U.S. Politics, Wikileaks | Tags: Boehner, fourth amendment, hispanics
My father is going off the deep end. I don’t know, he has become obsessed with the end of the world, the CDC’s stash of plastic coffins and Agenda 21. So tonight’s links will be a quick dose of reality…meaning, shit we should be concerned with.
Privacy…The Volokh Conspiracy » District Court Grants Motion to Suppress After Government Uses “The Shadow” to Locate Laptop Using Unsecured Wireless Network (Fourth Amendment? Drawing the line or crossing it?)
Austerity…What Austerity Brings (It sure doesn’t bring about anything good.)
Indefinite detention, and “unlawful pretrial punishment”…The Prosecution’s Argument for Why It Didn’t ‘Unlawfully Punish’ Bradley Manning (And why is it that FDL’s coverage of the Manning trial uses images from Beavis and Butthead?)
Minorities…Black, Hispanic Teens Most Disconnected, New Report Says (Nothing new here, carry on…)
Boehners…Obama Rejects Boehner Fiscal Cliff Plan (Boehner = The tangerine ass clown.)
Boneheads…Rush Limbaugh: Planned Parenthood “Is All About The Elimination Of Black Families” (My girlfriend who lives among the corn was going on about this a couple weeks ago.)
Protection of our precious bodily fluids…Tracy Bloom: GOP’s Doomsday Fiscal Cliff Plan, Cory Booker’s Food Stamp Challenge, and More (Okay, that last one is an attempt to joke about Dr. Strangelove…we certainly don’t want a mineshaft gap!)
This is an open thread…
Posted: December 21, 2011 Filed under: Civil Rights, Diplomacy Nightmares, Environment, Foreign Affairs, George W. Bush, Global Financial Crisis, indefinite detention, Injustice system, Iraq, Middle East, morning reads, Patriot Act, Russia, the internet, The Russian Winter, Wikileaks | Tags: Bradley Manning, Britain and the Middle East, History, war, weather
Peace River Citrus...tasty orange juice, freshly squeezed.
Ooof, that is quite a lot of war in the title for today’s post…lots of things to share with you this morning. It’s been raining pretty steady and the wind is whipping up the cows in the pasture down here in Banjoland.
Today’s post is going to focus on a theme that revolves around History…but first, a quick article about something meteorological.
This weather link is so damn cool!
I saw this article when it was first published earlier this week, and planned on using it for today…Weird Kelvin-Helmholtz Wave Clouds over Birmingham and let me tell you, it is freaky!
While driving through Birmingham, Alabama, Redditor alison_bee couldn’t help but notice the bizarre, repetitive wave shapes appearing in the clouds near the horizon. While these strange cloud formations look otherworldly, they’re an example of what’s called Kelvin-Helmholtz instability — which is a pretty awesome name for a spectacular phenomenon.
What did I tell you?
Heres what Redditor and meteorologist zensunnioracle had to say:
Meteorologist here. These are indeed Kelvin-Helmholtz waves. What is happening is that the nocturnal near-surface layers (lowest 50-100m) of the atmosphere are much more stable than the layers above it in the mornings. Until the ground heats up due to daytime heating, the surface layers stay more stable than the air over it. Kelvin-Helmholtz waves occur when the wind shear between the layers destabilizes the topmost portion of that stable layer, and entrains the air into the unstable layer. What you see is stable air being lifted, cooled, and condensed so that this process becomes visible, though this commonly happens many places without being visible.
As spectacular as these waves are here on Earth, the same forces create similar patters on the gas giant planets like Saturn and Jupiter. While those are some truly enormous waves, these pictures from alison_bee should show that the Earthbound variety aren’t to be sneezed at either.
Video of these clouds as they roll over the city at the link…
Do you remember that hostage situation in a Russian cinema back in 2002? European Court Orders Russia to Pay Victims of 2002 Theater Siege
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay more than $1.3 million to victims of the government’s mishandled attempt to end the siege of a Moscow theater in 2002.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled Tuesday that Russia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by a lack of planning and poor execution of the rescue operation.
Chechen militants refused to surrender after a standoff at the Dubrovka theater lasting several days, leading Russian security forces to launch a raid on the theater, where the militants were holding more than 800 people hostage. The troops fired an unidentified gas into the theater to try to knock out the militants, but nearly 130 hostages died in the attempt.
In addition, the report stated that Russia did not provide adequate medical aid to the hostages after its rescue effort and failed to conduct an effective investigation of the tragedy.
This comes at a time when tensions are running high in Russia, as Peggy Sue described it in a post last week, The Russian Winter.
Well, the Arab Spring is still ongoing, I thought this next post was interesting because it discusses British History in the Middle East, and the lessons that should be learned. The ‘Arab spring’ and the west: seven lessons from history
October 2011: Egyptians in Talat Harb square, Cairo, protest against military rule; October 1956: Egyptians demonstrate in the same square against British-French invasion. Photograph: Getty/Associated Press
There’s a real sense in which, more than any other part of the former colonial world, the Middle East has never been fully decolonised. Sitting on top of the bulk of the globe’s oil reserves, the Arab world has been the target of continual interference and intervention ever since it became formally independent.
Carved into artificial states after the first world war, it’s been bombed and occupied – by the US, Israel, Britain and France – and locked down with US bases and western-backed tyrannies. As the Palestinian blogger Lina Al-Sharif tweeted on Armistice Day this year, the “reason World War One isn’t over yet is because we in the Middle East are still living the consequences”.
Just a side note, I think the comparison of those two photos is a perfect introduction to this article.
The Arab uprisings that erupted in Tunisia a year ago have focused on corruption, poverty and lack of freedom, rather than western domination or Israeli occupation. But the fact that they kicked off against western-backed dictatorships meant they posed an immediate threat to the strategic order.
Since the day Hosni Mubarak fell in Egypt, there has been a relentless counter-drive by the western powers and their Gulf allies to buy off, crush or hijack the Arab revolutions. And they’ve got a deep well of experience to draw on: every centre of the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Yemen, has lived through decades of imperial domination. All the main Nato states that bombed Libya, for example – the US, Britain, France and Italy – have had troops occupying the country well within living memory.
If the Arab revolutions are going to take control of their future, then, they’ll need to have to keep an eye on their recent past. So here are seven lessons from the history of western Middle East meddling, courtesy of the archive of Pathé News, colonial-era voice of Perfidious Albion itself.
Please go to the link to read about the seven lessons, the first one is a big lesson that we will probably never learn…there are also embedded videos to support the article, some go back to Libya and Jerusalem in the 1930′s.
And for another History Lesson, there is a lengthy timeline here at this link to MoJo: Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq
At A congressional hearing examining the march to war in Iraq, Republican congressman Walter Jones posed “a very simple question” about the administration’s manipulation of intelligence: “How could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?”
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, responded with an equally simple answer: “The vice president.”
Oh… this is extremely detailed, so just go read the entire thing! Perhaps it will make you remember some of the events listed, as it made me recall them, in my mind’s vivid memory.
History has yet to write the story of Bradley Manning, however, Amy Goodman has done a good job of reporting on his case. Amy Goodman: Bradley Manning and the Fog of War
Accused whistle-blower Pvt. Bradley Manning turned 24 Saturday. He spent his birthday in a pretrial military hearing that could ultimately lead to a sentence of life … or death. Manning stands accused of causing the largest leak of government secrets in United States history.
Goodman explains the reasons for his “imprisonment” and gives a summary of what his outlook may be:
Back in the Fort Meade, Md., hearing room, defense attorneys painted a picture of a chaotic forward operating base with little to no supervision, no controls whatsoever on soldiers’ access to classified data, and a young man in uniform struggling with his sexual identity in the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Manning repeatedly flew into rages, throwing furniture and once even punching a superior in the face, without punishment. His peers at the base said he should not be in a war zone. Yet he stayed, until his arrest 18 months ago.
Since his arrest, Manning has been in solitary confinement, for much of the time in Quantico, Va., under conditions so harsh that the U.N. special rapporteur on torture is investigating. Many believe the U.S. government is trying to break Manning in order to use him in its expected case of espionage against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It also sends a dramatic message to any potential whistle-blower: “We will destroy you.”
For now, Manning sits attentively, reports say, facing possible death for “aiding the enemy.” The prosecution offered words Manning allegedly wrote to Assange as evidence of his guilt. In the email, Manning described the leak as “one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare.” History will no doubt use the same words as irrefutable proof of Manning’s courage.
There are so many things going on these days that indicate a change in the rights and liberties of American citizens. We are in the process of losing these rights in this Bush/Obama Administration.
I love this history theme for today’s post…here is another article from Truthdig: William Pfaff: History Tells Us Not to Dismiss a Democratic Challenge to Obama
A week ago, in the Providence Journal newspaper (in Rhode Island), the publisher of Harper’s Magazine, John R. MacArthur, wrote that President Barack Obama, through expedient political compromises, has lost the moral authority that an American president must command, and therefore has lost his right to a second presidential term. Mr. MacArthur quotes in support of his argument the veteran journalist Bill Moyers, who was a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s staff from 1965 to 1967, and since has become a prominent commentator on public television and in liberal and Democratic Party circles.
Just click the link to read the rest…and there is a note at the end of the post you may find interesting too. (Especially those following the Euro/EU economic news.)
And for the last link, we’re going Medieval…on the Right and Left’s perceptions of the “War on Christmas.” Illuminating the “The War on Christmas” — Got Medieval
No snark today, just a few pretty medieval pictures interspersed with thoughts on this whole War on Christmas thing that you hear so much about these days.
At heart, I think, the War is a matter of incompatible perception. One camp looks at Christmas and sees this:
British Library MS Additional 52539, f. 2 (click-expandable)
And the other, this:
British Library MS Egerton 2045, f. 95 (click to expand)
Behold, a pair of “Adoration of the Magi”. Neither version looks very much like the medieval marginalia this series typically features but they both muck about with the page’s margins, nevertheless, so they’re fair game.
The second adoration is actually the most properly called “marginalia”; look closely, and you’ll see there’s a tiny rectangle of text there in the middle of the page, barely a half line of scripture. Everything else–Jesus and Mary, the three magi and their retainers, the gifts, the castle, even the camel–is located fully within the page’s sumptuously decorated margin, a margin that has expanded so as to nearly blot out the page’s text.
Likewise with the first; it’s marginal, if only just. While it’s technically a “historiated initial,” if you squint at the lower left quadrant, you’ll see that the kneeling cup-bearing servant is slipping out into the margin. Everyone else is crowded in so that there’s no room left for him to stand in the main image.
Which one is the metaphor for the Christmas War-Uponers, and which the Christmas Defense Squad?
There is so much one can learn about the attitudes and thought process of the Medieval mind through the art of page decorations.
As the above blog post analyzes the pictures of Christmas, that include the Savior, an occasional Christmas “Beasty” and all the other familiar characters, i.e. the Three Wise Men, I wonder what the three idiots on the curvy couch would have to say about all this marginalization going on.
So this is your History Lesson for the day, what else are you reading and thinking about? See y’all later in the comments.
Hmmm…that makes me think of the phrase, See You in the Funny Papers.