Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
From AlterNet yesterday:
The Mega-Lie Called the "War on Terror": A Masterpiece of Propaganda
By Richard W. Behan, AlterNet
Posted on September 27, 2007, Printed on September 28, 2007
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie ... The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state." --Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the administration of George W. Bush has told and repeated a lie that is "big enough" to confirm Joseph Goebbels' testimony. It is a mega-lie, and the American people have come to believe it. It is the "War on Terror."
The Bush administration endlessly recites its mantra of deceit:
The War on Terror was launched in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is intended to enhance our national security at home and to spread democracy in the Middle East.
This is the struggle of our lifetime; we are defending our way of life from an enemy intent on destroying our freedoms. We must fight the enemy in the Middle East, or we will fight him in our cities.
This is classic propaganda. In Goebbels' terms, it is the "state" speaking its lie, but the political, economic, and military consequences of the Bush administration lie are coming into view, and they are all catastrophic. If truth is the enemy of both the lie and George Bush's "state," then the American people need to know the truth.
The Draft Defense Planning Guidance was signed by the secretary of defense, Richard Cheney. It was prepared by three top staffers: Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Zalmay Khalilzad-all of whom would fill high-level positions in the administration of George W. Bush, nine years in the future.
In proposing global dominance and preemptive war, it was a radical departure from the traditional U.S. policy of multilateral realism, and it was an early statement of the emerging ideology of "neoconservatism."
The document was too extreme. President George H.W. Bush publicly denounced it and immediately retracted it. Many in his administration referred to its authors as "the crazies."
But the ideology survived. Five years later William Kristol and Robert Kagan created a neoconservative organization to advocate preemptive war and U.S. global dominion to achieve, in their words, a "benevolent global hegemony." It was called the Project for the New American Century, quickly abbreviated as PNAC. Among the founding members were Richard Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Donald Rumsfeld and Jeb Bush.
No administration in memory had been more closely aligned with the oil industry. President Bush and Vice President Cheney were intimately tied to it, and so was National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. So were eight cabinet secretaries and 32 other high-level appointees.
By early February, Vice President Cheney's "Energy Task Force" was at work. Federal agency people were joined by executives and lobbyists from the Enron, Exxon-Mobil, Conoco-Phillips, Shell and BP America corporations.
Soon the task force was poring over detailed maps of the Iraqi oil fields, pipelines, tanker terminals, refineries and the undeveloped oil exploration blocks. It studied two pages of "foreign suitors for Iraqi oil field contracts" -- foreign companies negotiating with Saddam Hussein's regime, none of which was a major American or British oil company.
The intent to invade Iraq and the keen interest in Iraqi oil would soon converge in a top secret memo of Feb. 3, 2001, from a "high level National Security Council official." The memo: "… directed the NSC staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the 'melding' of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy: 'the review of operational policies toward rogue states' such as Iraq and 'actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.'"
As early as Feb. 3, 2001, the Bush administration was committed to invading Iraq, with the oil fields clearly in mind.
The terrorist attacks on Washington and New York were still seven months in the future.
The issue in Afghanistan was the strategically valuable location for a pipeline to connect the immense oil and gas resources of the Caspian Basin to the richest markets. Whoever built the pipeline would control the Basin, and in the 1990s the contest to build it was spirited.
American interests in the region were promoted by an organization called the Foreign Oil Companies Group. Among its most active members were Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state but now an advisor to the Unocal Corp.; Alexander Haig, another former secretary of state but now a lobbyist for Turkmenistan; and Richard Cheney, a former secretary of defense, but now the CEO of the Halliburton Corp.
Late in 1996, however, the Bridas Corp. of Argentina finally signed contracts with the Taliban and with Gen. Dostum of the Northern Alliance to build the pipeline.
One American company in particular, Unocal, found that intolerable and fought back vigorously, hiring a number of consultants in addition to Kissinger: Hamid Karzai, Richard Armitage, and Zalmay Khalilzad. (Armitage and Khalilzad would join the George W. Bush administration in 2001.)
Unocal wooed Taliban officials at its headquarters in Texas and in Washington, D.C., seeking to have the Bridas contract voided, but the Taliban refused. Finally, in February of 1998, John J. Maresca, a Unocal vice president, asked in a congressional hearing to have the Taliban replaced by a more stable regime.
The Clinton administration, having recently refused the PNAC request to invade Iraq, was not any more interested in a military overthrow of the Taliban. President Clinton did, however, shoot a few cruise missiles into Afghanistan, after the al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. embassies in Africa. And he issued an executive order forbidding further trade transactions with the Taliban.
Maresca was thus twice disappointed: The Taliban would not be replaced very soon, and Unocal would have to cease its pleadings with the regime.
Unocal's prospects rocketed when George W. Bush entered the White House, and the Project for the New American Century ideology of global dominance took hold.
The Bush administration itself took up active negotiations with the Taliban in January of 2001, seeking secure access to the Caspian Basin for American companies. The Enron Corp. also was eyeing a pipeline to feed its proposed power plant in India.) The administration offered a package of foreign aid as an inducement, and the parties met in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad. The Bridas contract might still be voided.
But the Taliban would not yield.
Anticipating this in the spring of 2001, the State Department had sought and gained the concurrence of India and Pakistan to take military action if necessary. The PNAC people were not timid about using force.
At the final meeting with the Taliban, on Aug. 2, 2001, State Department negotiator Christine Rocca, clarified the options: "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." With the futility of negotiations apparent, "President Bush promptly informed Pakistan and India the U.S. would launch a military mission into Afghanistan before the end of October."
This was five weeks before the events of 9/11.
Stopping the madness
And for what? Neither face of the war has come remotely close to success. The "War on Terrorism" has not suppressed terrorism but has encouraged it instead. The premeditated war -- for ideological dreams of world dominion and the pragmatic capture of hydrocarbon assets -- is a colossus of failure.
The Afghan pipeline is a dead issue. As the warlords and the poppy growers in Afghanistan thrive, and as the Taliban regroups and regains dominance, the country tilts ominously into chaos once more.
The Iraqi hydrocarbon law -- the clever disguise for capturing the oil fields -- is fatally wounded, its true purpose becoming more widely known. Organized resistance is growing quickly, both in Iraq and in the United States. And the factions who need to agree on the law are otherwise engaged in killing each other.
The Iraqi war has not resulted, either, in the global dominance sought by the Project for the New American Century people, but in global repugnance for what their pathetic ideology has wrought.
Clearly the involvement of the U.S. military in the Mideast must cease. Pouring more lives and dollars into the quagmire may keep alive the warped dreams of the Bush administration, but those dreams are illegitimate, indeed criminal.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney reject any alteration in their course. They ask instead for more time, more money and even -- in threatening Iran -- for more targets.
There is no apparent way to the stop madness, to end the hemorrhaging of blood and treasure, but to impeach these men and, if found guilty, to remove them from office.
The integrity of the Constitution and the rule of law are at stake as well, but the Congress continues its indifference to impeachment, effectively condoning the administration's behavior. Should this continue, thinking Americans will discard the last crumbs of respect for the incumbent legislature -- polling shows there's not much left -- and punish its members, Republican and Democrat alike, in next year's election.
Impeachment will expose the fraudulence of the "War on Terror" and liberate us from the pall of fear the Bush administration has deliberately cast upon the country. Both political parties will be free to speak the truth: Terrorism is real and a cause for concern, but it is not a reason for abject fear.
We need only compare the hazard of al Qaeda to the threat posed by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. On the one hand is a wretched group of sad fanatics -- perhaps 50,000 in all -- clever enough to commandeer airliners with box cutters. On the other was a nation of 140 million people, a powerful economy, a standing army of hundreds of divisions, a formidable navy and air force and thousands of nuclear tipped intercontinental missiles pre-aimed at American targets.
We were a vigilant but poised and confident people then, not a nation commanded to cower in fear. We can and must regain that strength and self-assurance.
Ending the nightmare will take far less courage than the Bush people exhibited in beginning it. Taking a nation to war on distortion, deception and lies is enormously risky in many respects: in lives and in treasure, certainly, but also in a nation's prestige abroad and in the trust and support of its people. The Bush administration risked all this and more, and it has lost.
We risk far less by embracing the truth and acting on it. Our nation cherishes honesty: the fraudulence must end. But Bush and Cheney have shown themselves incapable of honesty, and we also cherish justice. They must be impeached.
(The emphases above are mine.)
This easy-to-connect-the-dots synopsis of the lead-up to a major fiasco is great. It reads like a Michael Moore expose of insider ulterior motives. Even Alan Greenspan is now verbalizing it was all about the oil. What a surprise, eh?
The entire article is quite lengthy, but as one of the people who commented on it at AlterNet writes: "It should be required reading for high school and college students--not to mention every adult in the U.S. and U.K."
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Our friends Daniel and Alan have the good word - after they pressed for it!
Another long journey coming to an end soon.
That only leaves yours truly and "drf" out of the "family" in the sidebar to get some good news from the CIC.
Counting the days, counting the days . . . .
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Earlier I noted there was nothing to blog about today, and then I found this in yesterday's New York Times editorial page:
Editorial - September 21, 2007
In Search of a Congress
If you were one of the Americans waiting for Congress, under Democratic control, to show leadership on the war in Iraq, the message from the Senate is clear: “Nevermind.” The same goes for those waiting for lawmakers to fix the damage done to civil liberties by six years of President Bush and a rubber-stamp Republican Congress.
The Democrats don’t have, or can’t summon, the political strength to make sure Congress does what it is supposed to do: debate profound issues like these and take a stand. The Republicans are simply not interested in a serious discussion and certainly not a vote on anything beyond Mr. Bush’s increasingly narrow agenda.
We support the filibuster as the only way to ensure a minority in the Senate can be heard. When the cloture votes failed this week, the Democrats should have let the Republicans filibuster. Democratic leaders think that’s too risky, since Congress could look like it’s not doing anything. But it’s not doing a lot now.
The country needs a lot more debate about what must be done to contain Iraq’s chaos and restore civil liberties sacrificed to Mr. Bush’s declared war on terrorism. Voters are capable of deciding whether Republicans are holding up the Senate out of principle or political tactics.
Democrats and Republicans who oppose the war have a duty to outline alternatives. Those who call for staying in Iraq have a duty to explain what victory means and how they plan to achieve it. Both sides are shirking an obligation to deal with issues that must be resolved right now, like the crisis involving asylum for Iraqis who helped the American occupation.
Congress is the first place for this kind of work. Right now, it seems like the last place it will happen.
(Emphasis above mine.)
That's our Congress: Workin' hard to accomplish zilch, nada, zero, absolutely nuthin' . . . .
Friday, September 21, 2007
The THIRD FRIDAY of every month beginning Friday September 21st
Join with millions to:
- Wear and distribute black ribbons and armbands
- Buy no gas on Moratorium days
- Pressure politicians and the media
- Hold vigils, pickets, rallies, and teach-ins
- Hold special religious services
- Coordinate events in music, art, and culture
- Host film showings, talks, and educational events
- Organize student actions: Teach-ins, school closings, etc.
Myself and others of like-mind keep looking for anything we can do to express our displeasure with this fiasco.
I'm adding the third Friday of each month to my Palm Pilot as a reminder to actively oppose the occupation of Iraq.
Won't you do the same ? ? ? ?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
And not in a good way.
From Reuters today:
(Profiles in courage)
Bush is "cockiest guy I ever met": Mexico's Fox
Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:46pm EDT
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - George W. Bush "is the cockiest guy I have ever met," former Mexican President Vicente Fox says in an autobiography that pokes fun at the U.S. president's bad Spanish and false cowboy bravado.
"My first impression of George W. Bush was one of total self-confidence. He is quite simply the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life," Fox wrote, according to an advance copy of the book.
Except, perhaps, when it came to language skills. Fox said Bush was "a bit sheepish as he tried out his grade-school-level Spanish" at that meeting in Austin, Texas.
Fox, who often wore a trademark cowboy hat, was unimpressed when Bush turned down his offer to ride his favorite horse, a big palomino, during the Mexican ranch visit.
"Even now, George will be the first to admit that he's a "windshield cowboy," more comfortable driving his pickup truck around Crawford than he is on the back of a horse," Fox said.
As I've asked before:
Who's gonna to talk to this crowd after they're finally out of office ? ? ?
Now for the easy part . . . .
(I pilfered the leaf flag from the boys a long time ago, and it seems appropriate to use it today,)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Forgive the length of this post, but I didn't feel I could edit anything out of it. (Well, the very last line might have been re-worded . . . . )
This commentary by Joseph L. Galloway of McClatchy Newspapers is perfect:
Commentary: Bush fulfills H.L. Mencken's prophecy
Joseph L. Galloway | McClatchy Newspapers
September 19, 2007 03:38:48 PM
It took just eight decades but H.L. Mencken's astute prediction on the future course of American presidential politics and the electorate's taste in candidates came true:
On July 26th, 1920, the acerbic and cranky scribe wrote in The Baltimore Sun: "...all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily (and) adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
My late good buddy Leon Daniel, a wire service legend for 40 years at United Press International dredged up that Mencken quote several years ago and found that it was a perfect fit for George W. Bush, The Decider. MSNBC's Keith Olberman highlighted the same quote this week. A tip of the hat to both of them, and to Mencken.
The White House is now so adorned by Mencken's downright moron, and has been for more than six excruciatingly painful years. It wouldn't be so bad if the occupant had at least enough common sense to surround himself with smart, competent and honest advisers and listen to them. But he hasn't.
We inflicted George W. Bush on ourselves — with a little help from Republican spin-meisters, slippery lawyers, hanging chads and some judicial jiggery pokery — and he has stubbornly marched to the beat of his own broken drum year after year, piling up an unparalleled record of failures and disasters without equal in the nation's long history.
He inherited a balanced budget and a manageable national debt, and in just over six years has virtually bankrupted the United States of America and put us in hock to the tune of nine trillion dollars — sum larger than that accumulated by all the 42 other Presidents we had in two and a quarter centuries.
The man from Crawford, Texas, stood Robin Hood on his head almost from Day One, robbing the poor and the middle class so he could give to the rich and Republican. When the bills for those selective tax cuts, and his war of choice in Iraq, began coming due our President simply signed IOU's for a trillion dollars, with those markers now held by our traditional ally Communist China.
Although he titillated the Republican conservative base with talk of his opposition to big government Bush has presided over a far more grandiose expansion of government than even Franklin D. Roosevelt with his New Deal.
Faced with the tragedy of the 9/11 terror attacks — due in part to a dense and impenetrable federal bureaucracy which didn't know what it knew and wouldn't have shared it if it had known — the President created a far denser, far less efficient and far more expensive mega-bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security.
Having made one good move, attacking and toppling the Taliban and running al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden out of Afghanistan in retaliation for 9/11, the President and his crowd then turned away, half-finished with Job One, and decided to "preemptively invade" Iraq which had precisely nothing to do with the attacks on America.
In one stroke of George W. Bush's pen America went from being a nation that distrusted foreign entanglements and fought wars only when grossly provoked to a nation that attacked first and without credible reason.
That same stroke — and the ensuing five years of war in Iraq — wiped out whatever remained of our reservoir of good will with the rest of the world. The shining city on the hill donned camouflage paint and went to war in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong people.
Now George Bush could posture and strut as a wartime President; could style himself The Decider, and could decide which parts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights bought so dearly by generations of Americans he would give or take away.
The mills of the military-industrial complex went into high gear, as the defense contractors jostled for their place at a trough filled each year with half a trillion dollars of taxpayer money. The Republican political operatives milked them all like so many Holstein cows and the Republican lobbyists romped over to Capitol Hill buying Congressmen by the baker's dozen to keep the pumps primed.
When one raison du jure for the war in Iraq failed — and all have failed — resident Bush and his general-of-the-month could always came up with another to appease the Gods of War and keep the machinery turning.
Throughout this ongoing national catastrophe Bush has kept close around him a coterie of incompetents and ideologues always on guard to defend the indefensible and justify the unjustifiable. They brush the lapels of the emperor's suit of gold and whisper that he is right and God will make him shine in American history.
Perhaps the crowning blow came when it was revealed that The Decider is now getting his strategic advice and counsel from none other than Henry Kissinger, the author of genocide in Cambodia; wholesale slaughter in Chile; abandonment of American POWs in Laos; betrayal of South Vietnam, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
God help us.
Pope 'refused audience for Rice'It's gotta make one wonder who's left in the world that will talk to this crowd . . . .
By David Willey - BBC News, Rome
Pope Benedict XVI refused a recent request by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss the Middle East and Iraq, Vatican sources say.
The Pope refused a request for an audience during the August holidays.
Senior Vatican sources told the BBC the Pope does not normally receive politicians on his annual holiday at the Castelgandolfo residence near Rome.
But one leading Italian newspaper said it was an evident snub by the Vatican towards the Bush administration.
There are at least two reasons why Pope Benedict may have decided peremptorily against a private meeting with Ms Rice.
First, it was Ms Rice who just before the outbreak of the Iraq war in March 2003 made it clear to a special papal envoy sent from Rome, Cardinal Pio Laghi, that the Bush administration was not interested in the views of the late Pope on the immorality of launching its planned military offensive.
Secondly, the US has responded in a manner considered unacceptable at the Vatican to the protection of the rights of Iraqi Christians under the new Iraqi constitution.
The Bush administration has told the Vatican that as coalition forces have not succeeded in securing the whole territory of Iraq, they are unable to protect non-Muslims.
Instead of meeting the Pope, Ms Rice had to make do with a telephone conversation with the Vatican's number two, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was visiting the US during August on other business.
From Reuters today:
Cheney says Greenspan criticism is "off the mark"Don't you love it when the repuglicans start turning on their own?
Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:44am EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday disputed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's portrayal of the Bush administration's economic policies as fiscally reckless.
"I think his assessment is off the mark," Cheney wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Cheney said Bush had "pressed hard" to limit the growth in spending outside of the military and homeland security.
"Alan credits me in his book for my 'intensity' and 'sphinxlike calm' -- and it's in a spirit of friendship that I offer him these gentle reminders of the Bush record," Cheney said.
Greenspan has come under criticism of his own both for endorsing Bush's 2001 tax cuts and failing to air his criticisms in public earlier.
Now if we could just get "babs" bush to begin eating her young . . . .
Monday, September 17, 2007
On a related note from the Idaho Statesman:
ACLU comes to Craig's defense
Erika Bolstad | McClatchy Newspapers - September 17, 2007 06:51:26 PM
WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a friend-of-the court brief on behalf of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, saying Minneapolis airport police violated his Constitutional right of free speech in charging him with disorderly conduct after arresting him in an airport men's room.
The ACLU filed its brief in the same Minnesota court where Craig is hoping to withdraw a guilty plea in connection with soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in the men's room of the Minneapolis airport. The Idaho conservative, who rarely counts the civil liberties group as an ally, is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 26.
In its brief, the ACLU argues that the government can arrest people for soliciting public sex only if it can show beyond doubt that the sex was to occur in public. The ACLU argues that solicitation for sex in a private place is protected speech under the First Amendment, no matter where the solicitation occurs.
The sting operation used by Minneapolis airport police was unconstitutional and was so broad that innocent people could be caught up in it, said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU.
"It is not a crime to solicit sex that would occur in private," Romero said. "It is a crime to solicit sex that would occur in a public place. What the state failed to show was that Senator Craig clearly expected to have sex in public."
Tourists flock to Minneapolis airport men's room
The site of Sen. Larry Craig's arrest has become a photo opportunity for travelers.
By Jeanne HUFF - Edition Date: 09/16/07
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — When you go to Minneapolis, you might put the Mall of America, the statue of Mary Tyler Moore or maybe even the zoo on your list of things to see.
Now tourists are asking about a new destination in the Twin Cities, says Karen Evans, information specialist at the information counter at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Evans was just 15 minutes into her shift Friday afternoon and already had heard the request four times.
"It's become a tourist attraction," Evans said with a smile. "People are taking pictures."
And who would've thought there was actually one of these?!?
Life in these United States never ceases to amaze . . . .
Friday, September 14, 2007
'Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat,' Says General
Feel better now ? ? ? ?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Sometimes Craig's Glasgow, Scotland accent is a bit difficult to understand, but I'm sure you'll be able to handle it. As a bit of history, Craig is also in the process of applying for his US citizenship. (He should have checked with us first!)
Here's his opening monologue which is both touching and humourus:
(Note his comments about not losing our civil liberties and freedoms about halfway into the clip.)
If you haven't read Craig's book Between the Bridge and the River, check it out. I found it to be an excellent first novel . . . .
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The latest of our "crossing over" group of USians to Canadians is the Canadian Hope duo of Tom and Emilio.
They received the OK a couple of days ago, and I can't believe I forgot to post the good news here. Congrats, Guys!!
All of the hurdles have been jumped - Now you can jump for joy!
That only leaves us and the Would Be Canadian guys Daniel and Alan left to get the word. We'll race you, Guys.
Once we're all in, who is to follow? Kind of sad to see this coming to a close with no one to carry on the blogging tradition . . . .
Canada's changing family
BRODIE FENLON - Globe and Mail Update and Canadian Press
September 12, 2007 at 10:02 AM EDT
TORONTO — The redefinition of family continues apace in Canada, with the latest household figures from the 2006 census showing a significant increase in the number of same-sex couples and a first-ever count of same-sex marriages.
The census counted 45,345 same-sex couples, up 32 per cent from 2001, representing 0.6 per cent of all couples in Canada. Not surprisingly, half of these couples lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Statistics Canada allowed census respondents for the first time to indicate if they were in a same-sex marriage. A total of 7,465 couples said they were.
About nine per cent of Canadians in a same-sex relationship had children under 24 years old living in the home.
Although the increase in same-sex couples is significant, it was not unexpected.
Under-reporting is common on first-time census questions: The number of same-sex couples identified by the Australian census doubled from 1996 to 2001; the United States saw an increase of 300 per cent from 1990 to 2000.
Moreover, Canada has seen broad policy changes on same-sex couple rights and entitlements since the last census.
Adoption, pension benefits, child-care tax breaks and a host of other rights were awarded to gay and lesbian couples in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in July, 2005, after several provincial courts ruled that the government's definition of marriage – the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others – was unconstitutional.
Experts say these policy changes and greater societal tolerance made it easier for same-sex couples to self identify on the 2006 census.
"drf" and I are looking forward to being able to raise the numbers for Vancouver in the next census . . . .
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Dixie Chicks take CCMA award for top-selling album
CBC News - Monday, September 10, 2007
The top-selling country album in Canada in 2006 was the Dixie Chick's controversial Taking the Long Way, according to the Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
The Dixie Chick's Grammy-winning album topped other international favourites like Alan Jackson's Like Red on a Rose, Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang, Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts and Toby Keith's White Trash with Money.
It features the song Not Ready to Make Nice, lead singer Natalie Maines's rebuttal to the negative press the pop-country group suffered after she was critical of U.S. President George W. Bush.
Their first album since 2003, it also was a top seller in the U.S., where country fans have recently allowed the Chicks back into the fold after a period during which country stations didn't play them and fans smashed their CDs.
Once again, revenge is so sweet . . . .
Sunday, September 09, 2007
With the recent release of Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine it seems appropriate to mention the show again. You see, Ms. Klein is the partner of Avi Lewis. One can see one reason they have hooked up: They are both more than capable journalists.
While perusing the archives of the show, I came across two clips relating to the Iraq oil law and how the profits will be "divided" amongst the principals. The lead up to Avi's interview with John Bolton is located here and it gives a great synopsis of the process involved in formulating the final oil program.
The Bolton interview, in which Avi more than holds his own with the fuzzy-faced Bolton follows in it's entirety:
Friday, September 07, 2007
Five Things for Dems to Keep in Mind When Gen. Petraeus Testifies on Iraq
By Paul Krugman, The New York Times - Posted on September 7, 2007
Here's what will definitely happen when Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress next week: he'll assert that the surge has reduced violence in Iraq -- as long as you don't count Sunnis killed by Sunnis, Shiites killed by Shiites, Iraqis killed by car bombs and people shot in the front of the head.
Here's what I'm afraid will happen: Democrats will look at Gen. Petraeus's uniform and medals and fall into their usual cringe. They won't ask hard questions out of fear that someone might accuse them of attacking the military. After the testimony, they'll desperately try to get Republicans to agree to a resolution that politely asks President Bush to maybe, possibly, withdraw some troops, if he feels like it.
There are five things I hope Democrats in Congress will remember.
First, no independent assessment has concluded that violence in Iraq is down. On the contrary, estimates based on morgue, hospital and police records suggest that the daily number of civilian deaths is almost twice its average pace from last year. And a recent assessment by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found no decline in the average number of daily attacks.
So how can the military be claiming otherwise? Apparently, the Pentagon has a double super secret formula that it uses to distinguish sectarian killings (bad) from other deaths (not important); according to press reports, all deaths from car bombs are excluded, and one intelligence analyst told The Washington Post that "if a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian. If it went through the front, it's criminal." So the number of dead is down, as long as you only count certain kinds of dead people._______________
In light of all this, you have to wonder what Democrats, who according to The New York Times are considering a compromise that sets a "goal" for withdrawal rather than a timetable, are thinking. All such a compromise would accomplish would be to give Republicans who like to sound moderate -- but who always vote with the Bush administration when it matters -- political cover.
And six or seven months from now it will be the same thing all over again. Mr. Bush will stage another photo op at Camp Cupcake, the Marine nickname for the giant air base he never left .on his recent visit to Iraq. The administration will move the goal posts again, and the military will come up with new ways to cook the books and claim success.
One thing is for sure: like 2004, 2008 will be a "khaki election" in which Republicans insist that a vote for the Democrats is a vote against the troops. The only question is whether they can also, once again, claim that the Democrats are flip-floppers who can't make up their minds.
The other four points Krugman makes are here.
My bet is the Dems will fold - as usual - and bushco will continue the clusterf_ck in Iraq until they can hand it off to another administration to "lose".
The odds are in my favour.
Any takers ? ? ? ?
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
From the New York Times today:
Envoy’s Letter Counters Bush on Iraq Army
By EDMUND L. ANDREWS
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.
Mr. Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times on Monday after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been “to keep the army intact” but that it “didn’t happen.”
The dismantling of the Iraqi Army in the aftermath of the American invasion is now widely regarded as a mistake that stoked rebellion among hundreds of thousands of former Iraqi soldiers and made it more difficult to reduce sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents.
In releasing the letters, Mr. Bremer said he wanted to refute the suggestion in Mr. Bush’s comment that Mr. Bremer had acted to disband the army without the knowledge and concurrence of the White House.
Heh, heh, heh . . . .
How Gonzales Destroyed the American Dream
by Roberto Lovato, New America Media - Posted on September 4, 2007
Alberto Gonzales went down dreaming.
While announcing his resignation earlier this week, Alberto Gonzales deployed one of his most powerful and romantic rhetorical weapons. "I often remind our fellow citizens that we live in the greatest country in the world and that I have lived the American dream," he stated. "Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days."
More than any public official in recent memory, the often smiley and sometimes smirking Gonzales -- and his supporters -- consistently framed his story as a brown embodiment of the American dream.
Viewed from the optic of elite political and corporate interests, who know better than anyone of the death of the American dream (they are, after all, the ones who created and killed it), Alberto Gonzales did his job.
He may have left too much evidence of state-sanctioned torture and lying and malfeasance and corruption (he may also still be put on trial for perjury in the attorney firing scandal).
But he did what he was supposed to. More than anyone, he was responsible for securing the legal systems necessary to better control a citizenry that was increasingly angry and frustrated at big government and big business for destroying the American dream. his saga provides an object lesson in how to hide elite interests behind a dreamy haze of real-life ethnic success stories.
While many of us were debating whether or not the son of migrant workers was or wasn't the embodiment of the dream, he worked loyally -- as fiercely as his farm worker parents -- to lay the legal foundation to make it easier to snoop on, arrest, prosecute and jail a population growing less and less patient with the status quo.
In the time it took most of the country to admit that it no longer believed in the dream -- a July poll by veteran pollster Celinda Lake found that only 18 percent of people in the country believe they are living the American dream -- Gonzales prepared for the fallout by helping fashion the Patriot Act. This made it easier for government to define as "domestic terrorists" those who choose to speak out against the Iraq war and other dream (and budget)-killing policies.
While Hollywood and Washington tried to keep the global dream machine working, Gonzales crafted the legal rationale for the global nightmare exemplified by Abu Ghraib. As more and more people joined the ranks of the uninsured -- 9 million since Bush was elected in 2000 -- Gonzales facilitated the government's ability to access intimate medical, financial and other personal records.
What the ultimate moral of the Gonzales story becomes depends on whether we are ready to not just to accept the death of the American dream, but to take part in dispelling whatever illusions of it are left.
Despite the tragedy and comedy of it all, Gonzales' scandalous story offers us an opportunity to dispel obsolete notions, like the dreamy idea that government is looking out for the little guy -- or that ethnic politics can only be played one way -- and other dangerous ideas rooted in the American dream he embodied.
Roberto Lovato former director of CARECEN, representing Central American immigrants and refugees, is a New York based writer and an associate editor at New America Media.
'Ya gotta wonder who the idiot-in-chief will nominate to protect his sorry ass now that "Smiley" is gone . . . .
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Let's just make this easy for 'ya, condescending. Your legacy can be expressed in two words, so simple that even your idiot-boss can understand:
If you need more background and can stomach her "pondering', the whole article is available here from the NYT today.
As Her Star Wanes,
Rice Tries to Reshape Legacy
Have a barf-bag readily available . . . .
From last evening's Globe and Mail:
Being as Canadian as possible, under the circumstances
Globe and Mail - August 31, 2007 at 8:19 PM EDT
One of the late Peter Gzowski's most amusing contributions to the never-ending search for Canadian identity was his contest to find this country's equivalent of “as American as apple pie.” The winning entry, you may recall, was “as Canadian as possible under the circumstances.”
So what are “the circumstances” under which we feel and become most Canadian? This is an important question as we continue to search for ways and means of maintaining unity and harmony in a country distinguished by great regional and demographic diversity.
The McGill graduate, Nicholas Gafuik, who is now director of program planning for the Manning Centre, puts it this way: “I never feel more Canadian than when I'm out of the country. My sense of Canadian identity becomes stronger the farther and longer I am away.”
Recent immigrants do not need to go “outside Canada” to appreciate Canada; they have been “outside.” Most have evaluated Canada from afar as a desirable place to make a new home, and are coming here with that appreciation already a reality. (Emphasis mine, as I am in total agreement!)
In my experience, the circumstance in which new immigrants feel most Canadian is on the day they acquire their citizenship – a process and a day of ceremony and celebration that the federal government is rightfully trying to make more substantive and meaningful.
“To be as Canadian as possible under the circumstances …” Not a bad citizenship objective, despite its self-deprecating modesty. But let us then pay greater attention to defining, expanding and appreciating “the circumstances” under which we become “most Canadian.”
Amazingly, the author of the piece is one Preston Manning. Based on the little knowledge I have of him, it is highly doubtful his views on most anything would be acceptable to me.
In this case, however, he seems to be quite accurate . . . .