Saturday, September 27, 2003
A history of the Iraq war told entirely in lies. All text is verbatim from senior Bush Administration officials and advisers.
Fully one-third of the $3.9 billion per month cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going directly to Halliburton.
A pretty good return on an investment of $630,000 or so to the Republican party.
Whatever Dick Cheney says, he has a financial interest in Halliburton. And I bet his buddies do too. Duh...
If any one of that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue bunch told me it was dark out and my watch read midnight; I'd still go outside to check...
First, it's funny but then...
I just saw a collection of funny videos. Most of them were commercials. When I first watched them, I laughed. Then I understood that they were all violent. There's the credit card commercial, the shoes commercial, the camera phone commercial, the directions commercial, and the non-smoking one. (Fast connection needed).
I know I am not the first one to point at the level of commercializing of violence but I think a reminder is needed once in a while.
This is coming down just the way Wilson said it would. He publicly stated "At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words."
On this topic, it is worth recycling John Dean's essay chronicling the seriousness of this alleged crime and the relevant laws that were violated if true.
The CIA may close ranks on this one - they have eaten plenty of humble pie from this administration. This prior MetaFilter thread covers the near revolt in the intelligence community over some of these issues.
Here is a July Metafilter thread that discusses the Plame issue when it first surfaced - there are many in-thread news links. And for those who would like to follow today's breaking story, here is a current discussion thread. And finally, here is Josh Marshall's take on things. Don't miss his interview with Wilson.
Only 23,000 are left compared to an estimated 200,000 in the early 1980s as a result of hunters killing them to protect livestock, said Laurence Frank, a wildlife biologist from the University of California.
Friday, September 26, 2003
(note to Mark: if you put your blog on your domain, then you won't have any ads on top of it for books like 'Useful Idiots' from the 'Conservative Book Service' . . . I can help if you like; email me.)
Poverty rose for a second straight year in 2002 as 1.7 million more people dropped below the poverty line, according to Census Bureau estimates released Friday that provided fresh evidence of the struggling economy's effect on Americans' pocketbooks.
Of course, the Bush administration releases this info on a Friday before the weekend so that the Americans they work so full-time to deceive will not notice, so spread the word, eh? Bush to America: If you're not a millionaire, then fucking die already. Die in Iraq, die in the States, but just fucking die.
25 Most Censored Media Stories of the Year
Over at one of my favorite blogs you can get a list of the 25 Most Censored Media Stories of the Year.
Click down the list, read 'em and get the word out. Democracy begins with "Demos", "the People"- let's make it happen...
Prefer to explore the banned and challenged book list? Way to go!
Writing, reading and acting, loud and proud, this is America.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Yes, the same Diebold (hisssss) which forced BlackBoxVoting.org off the air.
Naturally, Talion.com takes up the slack. See also:BlackBoxVoting.com which is working.
Don't miss: Take Back The Media! presents: Vote Revolution (flash).
Now, this is what I'm guessing: Karl Rove has basically two parts to his strategy next year (to get Bush ELECTED, not RE-ELECTED ya parroting chumps!): above-board and below-board. Now, we know that above-board they are going to say "Remember 9-11" in every way they possibly know how: on paper plates, via skywriters, commemorative toilet seats, etc. and repeated ad infinitum until the very phrase becomes nothing more than white noise. They will stress their 'successes': namely, the so-called "war on terrorism."
But Karl Rove you know doesn't just work above-board; he's a highly-experienced below-the-board playa, a political dirty trick gaijin master. So I have no doubt that the manipulation of the electronic voting machines via his friends at Diebold and Co. are a big part of his below-board strategy for 'winning' the race in 2004. I am happy that this frightening possibility has become so widely-spread lately, but the question remains: what are we gonna do about it, huh?
I mean, someone give it a deadline and if those receipt-systems aren't put in (look how fast Congress moved to reinstall the anti-phonespam initiative; having them mandate a 'democratic paper trail' by fall 2004 IS do-able, conceivably-speaking) by what? Six months before the vote? Then I am not suggesting or in any way recommending but it seems to me I wouldn't be unpleased to learn that some patriot(s) somewhere actually . . . hm, what images make themself available to my mind? Boston tea party for Diebold machines? An extraction and expert analysis of a Diebold machine with results to be given instantly to worldwide media (in old movies the hero/heroine would go the New York Times with their newly-gleaned info which was potentially damaging to higher-ups; now the New York Times would help smear you for it) . . . of course, I am thinking only in terms of fiction here, ya understand . . . I, Dr. Menlo, am an information warrior only.
Diebold, by the way: if you think that you are going to aid and abet this unelected fraud currently inhabiting the White House and his cheap gang of cronies to permanently take over the United States of America come 2004 . . . then you may be right. But you will get a goddamn fight for it.
Cue Blondie: "One Way or Another" . . .
Fifty Reasons Not to Vote for Arnold (AlterNet): "Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger declared he was running for governor, it feels like we're stuck in a Conan rerun, only this time round, it's Arnie the Republican who seems determined to wear the jeweled crown of California upon his troubled brow. What's troubling about all this (besides the fact that we will personally drop-kick the next person who says, writes or ululates the phrase 'The Governator') is that people from all across the political spectrum seem to be saying, 'What the heck! I'm voting for Arnie!' That kind of reckless abandon works well when renting Arnie's latest action flick, but it bodes badly for the well-being of California - and we can tell you why, in 50 easy reasons!"
Talking to regular folks that I meet in my day-to-day travels, many of them are actually considering voting for this guy. Are we living in an absurd, Ionesco-esque reality out here on the Left Coast, or what?
In the introduction to The Case for Israel, Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School asserts that his account is supported by "facts and figures, some of which will surprise those who get their information from biased sources" (p. 2). Yet, the evidence Dershowitz adduces will surprise no one familiar with the most notorious source of historical bias on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever published in the English language. The charts below document Dershowitz's wholesale lifting of source material from Joan Peters's monumental hoax, From Time Immemorial. Dershowitz not only copies Peters shamelessly, but knowingly does so from a book serious scholars have uniformly condemned. (For details on the Peters hoax, see Norman G. Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, and Yehoshua Porath, "Mrs. Peters's Palestine," The New York Review of Books, 16 January 1986.) He is effectively no different from a professor lifting sources wholesale from a leading Holocaust revisionist in a book on the Holocaust. On a note both humorous and pathetic, Peters, in From Time Immemorial. and claiming to be inspired by George Orwell, coins the term "turnspeak" to signal the inversion of reality (pp. 173, 402). Dershowitz, apparently confounded by his massive borrowings from Peters, credits the term "turnspeak" to Orwell, accusing critics of Israel of "deliberately using George Orwell's `turnspeak'" (p. 57) and "Orwellian turnspeak" (p. 153). Is this scandalous scholarship, or is it plagiarism, or is it both?
You can find the audio/video of Finkelstein debating (and exposing) Dershowitz here. Highly recommended.
Where should we go after the last border?
See/hear the late Edward Said speaking on "The Tragedy of Palestine"
The theme of the report is that while credit card use is frequently associated with frivolous consumption, the evidence seems to show that more and more Americans are using credit cards to bridge the difficult gap between household earnings and the cost of essential goods and services. Men and women struggling with such structural problems as job displacement, declining real wages and rising housing and health care costs have been relying on their credit cards as a way of warding off complete disaster.
Read "Borrowing to Make Ends Meet" (.pdf file). It will illuminate the phenomenon of Credit Card Loan Sharking if you yourself are one of the few Americans not a TechnoSerf, not carrying a debt load or suffering the unregulated world of credit, a world where the word "usury" lies dormant in postmodern irrelevance. Consider your place in the Government/Corporate World Order. Are you one of the 88% of Americans reaping less than 100 dollars from the much vaunted latest Bush Tax cuts? Or are you a Bush Pioneer or Ranger?
Trickle down alright, Mr Bush represents an elite pissing on you and me, working class America. ( please read that last link- it will have you reading the others...)
Fewer than half of US voters approve of President George W. Bush's job performance, according to a poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, his lowest-ever approval rating.
Who says the Samizdat is all about bad news?
Two days ago, interim Iraqi dictator Paul Bremer testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee, large hat (capable of holding $87 billion) in hand. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) focused his questioning on health care (found at 1:44:00 of the video testimony):
Saddam Hussein's government spent virtually nothing on health care. The under-5 mortality rate has more than doubled in the last decade, with 1 in 8 children now dying before their 5th birthday. Of those deaths, 70% are due to preventable illnesses such as diarrhea or respiratory infections...What's happened to these kids is just absolutely atrocious in a country that should have been able to provide for their children.Left I could not have said it better ourselves. Just one little thing missing from DeWine's summary, and from Bremer's response to him - the word "sanctions." Nowhere is there a hint as to why this remarkable rise in infant mortality, claiming an estimated 500,000 to one million lives, had occured "in the last decade." Like Colin Powell talking about WMD (direct link temporarily down; scroll down to Sept. 17 entry entitled "Halabja (re)visited"), DeWine and Bremer seem to have developed selective amnesia about what happened in the last decade in Iraq. Bremer's response implied this was all due to Iraq simply not spending enough money on health care (all the more remarkable because Bremer did claim elsewhere in his testimony that sanctions were partially responsible for the poor state of the oil industry in Iraq).
And there really is no debate about at all about what effect sanctions had on health care in Iraq. Back in 1996, this famous exchange occured on 60 Minutes, as cited by FAIR:
Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died [as a result of the sanctions]. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?Stahl was referring to a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions; as FAIR notes, Albright didn't even attempt to challenge that fact.
There is, of course, a lot of material to read explaining the effect of sanctions on Iraq. From example, here's a first-hand report from Gloria LaRiva, visiting Baghdad with Ramsey Clark and a delegation from the International Action Center in 1997. Just one fact out of many from that article: "Before sanctions, Iraq imported $500 million worth of medicines from Jordan. Last year it could only afford $7 million worth." More first-hand observations from 1998 can be found in this report by Sharon Eolis, RN, visiting Iraq with the Iraq Sanctions Challenge. She writes "Before the United States/United Nations sanctions and the Gulf war, Iraq had a developed, nationalized health-care system that provided care to everyone. The level of technological development in health care was on a par with industrialized Western nations." Some more from this very informative article:
Safe drinking water is a basic human need. Chlorine is used to disinfect water. UNSCOM, the UN Sanctions Committee, limits the amount of chlorine imported to Iraq because it is considered a dual substance that can be used to make poison gas.And, we need to remind our readers that the destruction of Iraq's water supply, and the consequences which followed, was a deliberate policy of the U.S. government, as documented here (direct link temporarily down; scroll down to Aug. 28 entry entitled "Paying for war crimes - $16 billion to restore Iraq's water").
I haven't mentioned Bremer's responses to DeWine's questioning. Bremer told DeWine that, besides for (or as a result of) the lack of spending by Iraq on health care, "the infrastructure is appallingly run down," and when asked by DeWine "How do you begin to improve the infant mortality rate?", his answer was to spend "$400 million on hospital refurbishment." Not a word about restoring the water purification and electricity generating systems, nor about importing medicines. Bremer clearly understands (or was willing to acknowledge) nothing about the causes of the problems nor their solutions.
Instead of spending $400 million on hospital refurbishment (no doubt designated for some Bechtel subsidiary), Bremer should let the Cubans take over. Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate in the Americas (yes, lower than the United States), and they didn't accomplish that by concentrating on "hospital refurbishment" (though I'm sure they did that too), but by understanding public health (water, sewage, nutrition) and providing free health care (as Iraq did, of course) with clinics in every neighborhood.
Are things going badly in Iraq? No, they're much, much worse, and with folks like Bremer in charge, the future's so dark they've gotta wear night-vision goggles.
Followup: Stephen Zunes, analyzing Bush's speech to the UN, has this observation:
Bush: By the end of 2004, more than 90 percent of Iraqi children under age five will have been immunized against preventable diseases such as polio, tuberculosis, and measles thanks to the hard work and high ideals of UNICEF.
From Left I on the News
New York Times, Sept. 25, 2003. Headline: "Draft Report Said to Cite No Success in Iraq Arms Hunt." Authors: Douglas Jehl and Judith Miller. Words: 1104. Admissions that this article contradicts most (or all?) of what Judith Miller has written in the last year: zero.
"Don't look back," Judith. The truth might be gaining on you.
From Left I on the News
See this buzzflash interview.
Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein
Alan Dershowitz debated Norman Finkelstein on Democracy Now! yesterday over the merits of Dershowitz's new book, The Case For Israel. Finkelstein accused Dershowitz of heavily plagiarizing Joan Peters' notorious book From Time Immemorial, misrepresenting a key finding by Israeli historian Benny Morris, and making several false assertions about Israel's record on torture and its treatment of Palestinians.
To add further drama, Dershowitz had issued an open challenge to any critic of his book during a previous appearence on MSNBC's Scarborough Country. "I will give $10,000 to the PLO," Dershowitz announced during the taping on September 8th, "...if you can find a historical fact in my book that you can prove to be false.”
Finkelstein rose to the challenge and...well...you'll have to judge for yourself whether Alan should be dropping a check in the mail anytime soon.
The transcript is available here, although it's not complete. I recommend taking an hour out to watch or listen to the debate, both for amusement and just to witness Dershowitz squirm.
It's an interstate version of the Pentagon's infamous
The database project, created so states and local authorities can track would-be terrorists as well as criminal fugitives, is being built and housed in the offices of a private company but will be open to some federal law enforcers and perhaps even U.S. intelligence agencies.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
"We, veteran pilots and active pilots alike, who have served and who continue to serve the state of Israel for many weeks every year, are opposed to carrying out illegal and immoral attack orders, of the type carried out by Israel in the territories," the group wrote.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
In a 6,000-mile end run around American and British occupation authorities, leaders from the Iraqi Governing Council say they will go to Congress this week to argue that U.S. taxpayers can save billions of dollars on Iraq's reconstruction by granting sovereignty more rapidly to the council, the 25-member interim government here.
It's tragic but true. All New York mourns the last remaining neurons of Thomas Friedman's shrinking brain, apparently lost in a bubbling hot tub of deep self-inflicted fatuity today.
The governors of California, Washington and Oregon, accusing the Bush administration of "foot-dragging" in the fight against global warming, announced Monday they plan to develop a joint strategy to reduce pollution.
Washington Governor Locke said on Seattle's NPR affiliate KUOW today that the newly allied three states only contributed two percent to the planet's global warming, but it was a start.
Once again, the west coast leads. (shades of 'Ecotopia'?)
The bombastic, bellicose bullshit was hip-deep at the UN this morning where George Bush got to address the General Assembly. Others will dissect it in great detail, no doubt. Just two "quickies" which caught my ear immediately*: Bush bragged of having rid Iraq of "prison cells for innocent children." Apparently he hasn't heard that the famous "prison" from which American troops "liberated" children was actually an orphanage. Later, he talked about Iraq's "long campaign of deception" on the subject of weapons of mass destruction. Let's see: Iraq - said they had no WMD...had no WMD. The US - said Iraq was developing WMD even including "reconstituting" nuclear weapons...still "searching" for those WMD (or is it WMD "programs"? Or just "plans" for WMD programs?). Yes, George, there was a "long campaign of deception" regarding Iraqi WMD, and you should know.
Over on CNN, the first analyst given a chance to discuss Bush's speech is former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who describes himself as a "fan" of Bush. Well, that certainly makes for "fair and balanced" analysis.
Just a reminder to George Bush on the subject of prisons and torture - the U.S. is now holding thousands of people "extraterritorially" in at least three different countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba) that we know of, in some cases torturing them, and in all cases outside any legal jurisdiction and subject to no laws other than the law of the jungle. Also just a simple observation on terrorism which Bush wants us to view as the #1 scourge of humanity: just in the lastest invasion of Iraq, the U.S. killed more innocent civilians than terrorists have in the entire history of the world (of course some might argue that the invasion of Iraq was a terrorist act).
*Leaving aside the totally obvious lies, like weapons of mass destruction, Iraq-al Qaeda ties, etc.
From Left I on the News
To the U.S. paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, it was a textbook operation. To the Iraqi parents who lost their teenage daughter, it was a tragic and inexcusable overreaction. Like many things about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, a lot depends on who's telling the story.Thanks a lot for the "help." Now go home.
From Left I on the News
Monday, September 22, 2003
I have spent a year compiling a database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 to 2001 -- 188 in all. It includes any attack in which at least one terrorist killed himself or herself while attempting to kill others, although I excluded attacks authorized by a national government, such as those by North Korea against the South. The data show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any religion for that matter. In fact, the leading instigator of suicide attacks is the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are from Hindu families but who are adamantly opposed to religion (they have have committed 75 of the 188 incidents). Rather, what nearly all suicide terrorist campaigns have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel liberal democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland. Religion is rarely the root cause, although it is often used as a tool by terrorist organizations in recruiting and in other efforts in service of the broader strategic objective. (via rc3.org)
Sunday, September 21, 2003
NINE Israeli nationals -- who[m] CSIS suspects are possible foreign agents -- were arrested by Immigration and Ottawa police tactical officers last Friday, blocks from Parliament Hill.