Saturday, December 20, 2003
A round up of sumbunall the Saddam-capture conspiracy theories floating around the net.
David Brooks speaks of "The Ownership Society" in today's New York Times:
In his State of the Union address, the president will announce measures to foster job creation. In the meantime, he is talking about what he calls the Ownership Society.Pioneers? I thought we left these behind a century ago.
Of course, Mr. Brooks is not speaking of those pioneers but rather of the new pioneers, the ones impoversed by a government dedicated to the establishment of a caste system that will at last entrench the financial elites firmly at the top of the food chain, leaving a great and permanent distance between them and all below.
My response to Mr. Brooks explains the rest:
This is pure crap, espoused merely to provide a convenient excuse to those who already own for why they do not have to care about those who do not. This is social Darwinism lifted to its highest and most self-serving platform. If we just toss out a few little government-sponsored "savings programs", well, all will be just fine. If folks do not contribute to them, well then, they are simply not personally responsible people. You are thus absolved.In the meantime, when the administration speaks of "The Ownership Society", understand what they mean. They own. You don't. You are simply a "pioneer".
The People vs. Saddam Hussein
No doubt it was bad news for you if you were around Saddam Hussein and he didn't like you. It tended to make for a very shortened life. Saddam was after all "a despicable tyrant", and so we'll just try him and then do whatever and be done with it. Good plan, but there is one sticking point; that bit about a "fair trial".
Now as I recall, in a fair trial the defendant gets to call witnesses and present evidence in his favor. And that's the problem; what if Saddam does just this? A trio of articles examines what evidence Saddam might offer:
Friday, December 19, 2003
Sept. 11 panel chief "clarifies" remarks
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean to CBS News on Tuesday:
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean to ABC's "Nightline" on Thursday:
Huh? That doesn't sound like a "clarification" to me. It sounds like a retraction.
And the next sound you will be hearing is the sound of "Taps" being played for the 9/11 Commission.
One of the constant refrains we hear from the malcontents carping about George W. Bush's triumphant crusade in Iraq is the charge -- the canard -- that the president and his crack team of advisers "had no plan" for the post-war period, that they've stumbled from crisis to crisis, changing policies without rhyme or reason, or have even "plunged off a cliff," as erstwhile war-hawk Newt Gingrich declared last week.So what's the plan? Ever heard of Erinys Iraq? Neither had I.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta visited Baghdad in the summer of 2001 is probably a fabrication that is contradicted by U.S. law-enforcement records showing Atta was staying at cheap motels and apartments in the United States when the trip presumably would have taken place, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and FBI documents.
When speaking of the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory one doesn't get a sense of reality that maps offer, a pictoral representation makes the abstract concrete.
The maps in the hyperlinks show that the settlements or colonies that are in contention riddle the West Bank and Gaza, along with Israeli military bases. Look to see the few slated to be removed; as well as the many that will remain fixed in place.
Look at a map of the manned checkpoints, the roadblocks and the gates inside the West Bank. See the proposed four section "Palestinian state" that Sharon offers.
It seems clearly impossible that a just peace can be reached in this manner. Each of the many settlements (there are said to be at least 103) in Palestinian territory requires access roads and property. On confiscated land. They also require military presence. Israel spends 560 million dollars a year on subsidies, infrastructure and education in these illegal outposts. That is exclusive of military presence.
Israel, whose population is 0.1% of the total world population, gets roughly one-third of all US foreign aid. Annually this amounts to more than $3 billion in US taxpayer dollars going to Israel. $2.04 billion of that is military aid.
Your tax dollars support Israeli militarism in the occupied territories, find out more.
A Big Victory
The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that detainees being held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba should have access to lawyers and the US court system:
The court said their detention was contrary to US ideals.This is of course only an appeals court decision, and SS Chief Ashcroft will no doubt move it up the food chain to the more administration-docile Supreme Court.
U.S. troops blasted down the gates of homes, raising cries of women and children inside, and smashed in doors of workshops and junkyards in a massive raid Wednesday to hunt for pro-Saddam Hussein militants and stamp out the increasingly bold anti-U.S. resistance.
“We all realize that there are bad people out there and that we have to do something about the real problem of terrorism. But, we don’t want to do that on the backs of other innocent people’s mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and children around the world,” strongly states David Potorti, a co-founder of the anti-war group 9/11 Families For Peaceful Tomorrows.
"Peaceful Tomorrows is insisting Bush have limited “executive privilege” and forcing him to release the next report after 30 days. He refers to leaks to the media that ‘outed’ a CIA officer married to diplomat Joe Wilson, who publicly challenged assertions that Iraq bought nuclear material from Niger. Potorti scoffed at Bush denials that Administration officials were not responsible: “It’s not a Republican or Democrat thing—this is an open government thing! It’s about what we’re willing to accept as citizens in a democracy. We spent $100 million on Whitewater [Clinton’s pre-presidential financial scandal]. Only $3 million has been spent on investigating September 11! It’s not about ‘getting Bush’—I’m no fan of Bill Clinton either! In a democracy it’s always about us—and what we’re willing to let people get away with.”
“Why no response to the attacks for two hours? Terrorists ruled the skies for two hours and no jets were scrambled from nearby bases. Not a slow response. Not a poor response. No response. No jets were scrambled until all the attacks were over,”
Krugman’s well-documented piece on black box voting irregularities and his assertion that "the credibility of U.S. democracy may be at stake" should have incited concern from patriots everywhere, but instead, invoked a favorite propagandist ploy by inspiring "conspiracy theory" ridicule.
"Yawn," one well-trained citizen responded. "The left just will not let this rest. When Bush wins this next election (and he will because the Dems are out of touch and being cry-babies) then what will the Dems say then? Alien conspiracy maybe?"
Does reading this quip make you feel woozy? Good! This is your brain on propaganda. And the fact that it makes you ill is a very healthy sign.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Some new punkers talk about Bush--quite a catchy tune, actually. I would love to sing this out loud at a public place somewhere. Scream it, while bobbing up and down. I can see whole crowds marching down the streets singing this one. These kids are all right.
By yours truly, the final paragraph:
And as for the timing of that Wolfowitz memo? Was it deliberate? Was he trying to sabotage Baker's mission? It really doesn't matter. All that matters is whether or not Baker thinks it was. If he does, the next sound you'll be hearing is the door hitting Wolfowitz in the ass.
Mr Bush reminds us honesty is not a Republican value, and assuredly not a facet of his personal philosopy of statecraft:
Presidential Dissembling on 9/11 Warnings
The problem for the president and the administration is that the White House has previously admitted that the president had personally received such specific warnings. As ABC News reported in May of 2002, "White House officials acknowledge that U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the September 11th attacks that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack American planes." As Condoleezza Rice said at a hastily called press conference to spin these revelations, the President specifically received an "analytic report" on August 6th, 2001 at his Crawford mansion that "talked about Osama bin Laden's methods of operation" and "mentioned hijacking." According to Reuters, that report was congruent with "intelligence since 1998 that said followers of bin Laden were planning to strike U.S. targets, hijack U.S. planes.".
In an interview with ABC tv Mr Bush cavalierly deals with Saddam Husseins lack of WMD's and the Bush Administrations rush to war.
Bush: Iraq intelligence was sound
The difference? As with the 9/11 warnings you lied to America and the world, Mr Bush.
Read the full articles...
For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.(via)
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.
The Center for American Progress offers a handy fact sheet with supportive links that blows the corporate cover of the present administration, read "2003: A Year of Distortion for the American People".
Take a look at White House claims about GOP legislation concerning healthcare, the economy, the environment, education, Iraq, Afghanistan and Homeland Security. The claims make great soundbites, the facts show an immense disregard for the truth.
Without a collaborative and cowed media such effrontery would not even have been attempted against the American people, much less would it have been done with so much success.
With hardly a mainstream media mention to bring the realities of current legislation into public discourse we see the common good of the people trampled in a rush for corporate cash.
Help get the truth out.
With heartfelt thanks to mah frien' Miz LeeVanna Rama Dama Doovay, I dedicate the sediments expressed by this crissmess website to Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, and - especially - John Edwards and Wes Clark. I hope this plays in your dreams for eternity.
Be at peace.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Despite what you might think, Rovey isn't always sunshine and puppydogs. Sometimes, he gets downright MIFFED with me, but what he doesn't know is that sometimes I'm poking his crankybone on purpose. See, if I know that some sensitive issue is dangling in front of him, I'll agitate and tease and rub at it until he explodes all over me.
A new Democratic group that is running advertisements against Howard Dean and has not yet disclosed its sources of financing has introduced by far the toughest commercial of the primary election season.I can hear Karl Rove laughing from here.
An Administration Out of Control
I have few details on this, but my own Palm Beach Post has just been denied entry into a news conference on Wednesday by Jeb Bush.
The Palm Beach Post services perhaps one million readers in and around Palm Beach County, and is the only major daily that does so.
Why the Palm Beach Post has been excluded from this press conference is unknown, but the Post has recently been running a series that has been highly critical of a particular policy of Jeb's administration.
I have been seeking an alliance with the Post on another article. Perhaps this is the time.
"Does the fact that Saddam wiped out thousands of Iraqis justify thousands more killed by US forces?"
Is it acceptable to sacrifice thousands of innocent lives in Afghanistan and Iraq for a great and noble cause – cracking down on terrorists and eradicating terrorism? If this is the logic behind the US’s wars, isn’t this also the same logic behind “terrorist” attacks? The terrorists’ goal is not killing civilians per se; they argue that they sacrifice lives in order to achieve ends that they consider to be noble. For them, the ends justify the means. Similarly, US officials argue that they have a righteous mission to accomplish in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is why they are forced to accept the loss of some civilian lives in their quest of their goals. In that sense, what is the difference between terrorists and US forces? [more]
US forces said they shot dead at least 20 Iraqis in rebellious towns while a bomb in Tikrit wounded three US soldiers on Tuesday as violence simmered over Saddam Hussein’s capture.
Eleven attackers died when an ambush went wrong in Samarra, 125 kilometres from Baghdad, a US military statement said. A patrol "repelled a complex ambush" on Monday afternoon but emerged unscathed despite being "inundated" with fire, including automatic weapons, a home-made bomb, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire, the military said.
Few Americans have heard of Katharine Gun, a former British intelligence employee facing charges that she violated the Official Secrets Act. So far, the American press has ignored her. But the case raises profound questions about democracy and the public's right to know on both sides of the Atlantic.
Much like the eye opening post below I'd like to offer you some tools for discernment in the light of recent headlines. Since the post is really lengthy I'd ask you to go here to read more.
Especially since a lot of the same players are involved now as when Reagan and the elected President Bush dealt with Saddam we need to get the truth out.
Monday, December 15, 2003
Shaking Hands With Saddam Hussein
Here's a friendly reminder of where the Reagan administration stood with regard to Saddam. In spite of all Dubya's post-9/11 rhetoric about Saddam being an "evil-doer" and a part of the "axis of evil," it is quite apparent that once upon a time many of the figures in his administration were more than happy to cozy up to Saddam during the Reagan years (e.g., as the Rumsfield/Saddam handshake photo suggests). True, the Reagan administration did pay lip service to the notion that Baghdad's use of chemical weapons was naughty, but actions speak louder than words. The truth of the matter is that Saddam's regime served a purpose: as a secular barricade against Iran and its brand of Islamic fundamentalist (or faith-based) governing, and as a source of cheap oil. Hence, any statements of protest to Saddam's chosen warfare strategies were done with a wink and a nod. Truth is, no one in the administration really cared as long as Saddam was seen as cooperating with them.
What did we send to Iraq during the 1980s? As Michael Moore notes:
* Bacillus Anthracis, cause of anthrax.
* Clostridium Botulinum, a source of botulinum toxin.
* Histoplasma Capsulatam, cause of a disease attacking lungs, brain, spinal cord, and heart.
* Brucella Melitensis, a bacteria that can damage major organs.
* Clostridium Perfringens, a highly toxic bacteria causing systemic illness.
* Clostridium tetani, a highly toxigenic substance.
Who sent these shipments of biological agents to Saddam? None other than American Type Culture Collection.
For more details check this 1994 report from the US Senate.
Who did business with Iraq? Check out this article Made in the USA, Part III: The Dishonor Roll America's corporate merchants of death in Iraq for a detailed rundown. It's an eye-opener.
The news broke on Sunday, and by Monday, little eight-year-old Glenn Reynolds was in a state. He couldn’t wait for recess. When it finally came, he ran up to the sandbox where two classmates were already playing.
“We captured Saddam! We captured Saddam!" Glenn shouted. "Nya, nya, nya, naya!” A few kids playing kickball nearby turned their heads toward the commotion.
Joe continued scooping sand into a bucket. “Oh jeez. Really? And you think that’s going to change anything?”
Glenn started pacing and gesturing erratically. “Hahaha. Score one for me! Woos.”
Joe leaned toward Jack, who was navigating a dump truck over a bumpy sand road. “Is he still playing this game?”
“God yes. It never ends. It’s his favorite game in the whole world – the U.S. versus Islamic fundamentalism.”
“No, I think it’s the true patriots versus the insidious liberals.”
“It’s both, really,” Jack replied, raising the back end of the dump truck.
“Aha! You're dismayed at this victory in the war. Therefore you are objectively anti-American.”
Jack shot Joe a look. “See?”
Voting Security Concerns Rise to New Level
From Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting:
16 DEC 2003, Seattle WA - This is of national interest. Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting" and Andy Stephenson, a democratic candidate for Washington secretary of state, have uncovered new holes in the electoral system in King County and in as many as 14 additional states.I haven't yet got Bev's dossier, but am familiar with at least some of what it will certainly include. All of the "official" studies to date on e-vote security focus almost entirely on the e-vote terminals (DREs) themselves. Bev will be covering the machines that tally the results from these (most certainly Diebold's), and if you are worried about the DREs, you haven't seen the tally machines yet. You could steal a whole state at once from these.
The Press Conference itself: 2 p.m. Tue. December 16 - Seattle Labor Temple - 2800 First Ave. - Seattle. When I get a link to Bev's dossier, I'll add it here.
Can we come home now?
Following up on my earlier point (Oh, my God!), I (and most of you) did not get to set the bar on any of this Iraq business. The wingnuts did. Neither I nor you were allowed to even enter the debate (if there ever was one). First, it was WMDs. Then that morphed into "getting Saddam". We did not set those bars; they did! Well, the WMDs weren't there, and we "got Saddam". It's now time to come home.
Democracy? Fine, give them one day of it. (Let's try next Tuesday.) That's all you can "give" anyone. The Iraqi's get to vote on whatever kind of government they want. If they vote for a democracy, fine. They vote against one? Well, that's democracy. A democratic society is fully free to vote to end its own democracy if it desires.
Look. The capture of Saddam is merely a declaration of "open season" in Iraq, and after this, there is only one reason for us to stay there: to divide up the loot. Many Iraqi's think this is why we are there already, more will follow, and this administration has proven itself far to clumsy to be able to not make it appear that way.
Mission accomplished. Time to come home.
From Greg Palast:
Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was taken into custody yesterday at approximately 8:30pm Baghdad time. Various television executives, White House spin doctors and propaganda experts at the Pentagon are at this time wrestling with the question of whether to claim PFC Jessica Lynch seized the ex-potentate or that Saddam surrendered after close hand-to-hand combat with current Iraqi strongman Paul Bremer III.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has announced that he is turning the state's 791-bed Lawtey Correctional Institution into the nation's first (fundamentalist Christian) faith-based prison, complete with job training, parenting classes, and lots of hallelujahs. Jails for Jesus! Hallelujah! Forget (just for a moment) the Constitutional issues. Studies indicate that these faith-based efforts not only do not provided better results for less money (as their advocates claim), but may actually be producing worse results.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Oh, my God!
Tim Russett is such a whore!
OK, I'll comment on it. Saddam's capture is very good news. There simply was no way that anyone could reasonably consider leaving Iraq with Saddam still out there. At least now the topic of really leaving can be put on the table.
But what is this crap with Russett bringing Lieberman on his program to comment on Saddam's capture? What in the hell is NBC's interest in promoting Leiberman's taking a pot shot at Dean, and why did Russett sell out to it? Lieberman should have had to pay for that obvious campaign commercial.
And then there's Lieberman's Saddam should be tried in someplace with the death penalty! Iraq has the death penalty, and though I personally oppose it, Iraq gets the first shot! Nobody needs Joe Lieberman telling anyone how Saddam should be tried.
So Joe, you got your free 15 minutes of fame. Hope you enjoyed it. Remember that "Anybody but Bush" mantra? Add your name to it!
Saddam Hussein has been captured in a raid on an farmhouse in Adwar, 10 miles from Tikrit. Beneath the farmhouse he was found in a well camouflaged, vented "spider hole" with 750,000 dollars and a couple AK-47 rifles and a pistol. He was taken without a fight.
Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress says Hussein will be tried before the Iraqi people.
Asked on BBC radio if Saddam, arrested in his home town Tikrit early on Sunday, would be handed over to the Iraqi people, he said (Chalabi): "Yes. It won't be very long before a court case is prepared."
The US is not sure how the case will be disposed.
US Lt Gen Richardo Sanchez said at a news conference today that the US-led coalition was still deciding what to do with Saddam.
This is what the NY Times Pentagon correspondant has to say about how it was planned, pre-capture, for the former Iraqi dictator to be tried.
Iraqi's are celebrating his capture.