Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gore Vidal quote that parallels Goering on starting wars

Gore Vidal:
"Joseph Schumpeter ... in 1919, described ancient Rome in a way that sounds eerily like the United States in 2001: "There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented . . . The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours."' We have only outdone the Romans in turning metaphors such as the war on terrorism, or poverty, or Aids into actual wars on targets we appear, often, to pick at random in order to maintain turbulence in foreign lands."

Hermann Goering:
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship...voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
When Hitler talked to his inner circle about his plans for war, his words could have come from the mouth of any world leader--but probably not publicly:

We were living in an age of economic empires in which the primitive urge to colonization was again manifesting itself; in the cases of Japan and Italy economic motives underlay the urge for expansion, and with Germany, too, economic need would supply the stimulus.

Adolf Hitler, Hossbach Memorandum

Dick Cheney had a similar thought:
Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world’s economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality.

Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow...

Dick Cheney, 1999 speech to at the Institute of Petroleum

Luckily for the oil industry, Cheney figured out a time-tested shortcut around that "slow" progress.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MUST READ ZOGBY POLL: only 45% of voters think Bush won election "fair and square"

Once again, another country uses an American polling firm to conduct a poll here whose results should be front page news here--and probably won't be on TV news or in any major news paper.

It is no surprise that 71% of blacks have serious doubts about Bush's victory given the voter roll purges, intimidation, withholding of voting equipment and vote suppression tactics that haven't done on this scale the Jim Crow era. But 54% of ASIANS don't think he won fairly either.

There are a couple of questions like this that make it hard to compare Bush to other presidents because few would wonder if other presidents cheated on a scale to change the outcome. I have no doubt that Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale in 1984, that Papa Bush beat Dukakis in 1988, and if Papa Bush had beat Clinton in 1992 instead of the other way around, I wouldn't have spent much time thinking about how that defied logic either because it didn't.

On the other hand, there were a couple of immediate red flags with Bush's re-election. He had the lowest approval rating of any re-elected president since Harry Truman, and the poll numbers I found for Truman were a couple of months before the election, so he might have pulled up. It was also the first time exit polls varied dramatically from the vote count and the variance that was outside of the margin of error all favored Bush. Most of this variance occurred in areas with electronic voting machines that are easily rigged and have no way to do a recount apart from looking at the number on the screen again. Every major university that has looked at the voting machines have easily found how to rig them in a matter of seconds, as Howard Dean was shown in this video:

The good news here is that the majority of Americans are figuring out what's going on despite a virtual blackout in the mainstream media.

This is one of the reasons the rest of the world does not take Bush's talk about trying to spread democracy seriously. In 2000, while we were watching old farts fumble with butterfly ballots election night, the rest of the world was watching blacks talk about being purged from the voter rolls and denied their right to vote on the BBC.

If this is how he treats his own citizens, how real will he let the democracy be in a country he invaded to give its resources to his friends?



Edited on Sun Sep-24-06 10:48 PM by autorank
Monday, 25 September 2006, 1:25 pm (NZ)

Only 45% of Voters “Very Confident” Bush Won Election “fair and square”

Michael Collins
Part II of a II Part Series (Part I)
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

At their lowest points of popularity, do you recall anyone who claimed that Presidents’ Carter and Nixon stole their elections or that they didn't’t win fair and square? Did any analysts or activist groups clam massive election fraud in the elections that brought these ultimately very unpopular presidents to office?

How confident are you that George Bush really won the 2004 presidential election? If you are a typical American voter and you have doubts, how did those doubts arise? A mid August Zogby Poll of 1018 likely voters answered the first of these two very important questions (The author was a contributing sponsor for the survey.)

How confident are you that George W. Bush really won the 2004 presidential election?

Very confident that Bush won fair and square -- 45.2%
Somewhatconfident that Bush won fair and square -- 20.0
Not at all confident that he won fair and square -- 32.4
Other/not sure -- 2.4

This is a remarkable result. Nearly two years into the second term of his presidency, less than half of those polled think that the 2004 election victory was “fair and square.” 20% say they are “somewhat” confident, which is hardly an endorsement of legitimacy. Webster’s defines “somewhat” as follows: “…in some degree or measure: SLIGHTLY.“ This does not exactly qualify as an endorsement of a critical democratic process. The 32% who are “not at all confident” represent a huge portion of the population believing that Bush failed to win without cheating. Combining “not at all confident” with “somewhat” “slightly”, according to Webster’s, produces a category of 52% who “doubt” the legitimacy of the election. Altogether, these results are a clear vote of no confidence.

Combining “not confident at all” and “somewhat” (“in some degree measure: SLIGHTLY”) produces a category of “Doubts.” This gives a clear picture on legitimacy versus illegitimacy issue.

Those who doubt: Not at all confident that he won fair and square - 32%

Fifty nine percent of Democrats, 5% of Republicans, and 34% of independents comprise the group with no confidence in a Bush win. Dividing the group by race shows that 54% of Asians and 71% percent of African Americans have serious doubts in the legitimacy of the election, along with 25% of whites and 37% of Latinos. Thus, a majority of Asian and African American voters lack confidence in the president’s legitimacy to rule while significant numbers of whites and Latinos do as well.

Groups thought to be in the hip pocket of the Republican administration show no confidence at a significant rate. NASCAR fans doubt the election results at a rate of 28% and born again Christians at 25%. Those in rural areas and the suburbs show some real doubt with rates of 28% and 29% respectively demonstrating a significant level of doubt. Members of the armed forces were right at the survey average with 32% questioning the legitimacy of the election.

Print version:

Michael Collins is a writer who focuses on clean elections and voting rights. He is the publisher of the web site, . His articles in “Scoop” Independent News can be found here.


Friday, September 22, 2006

CIA ‘refused to operate’ secret jails

I heard this on Democracy Now this morning, still the one hour of radio news you need to listen to everyday.

Our one hope for preventing the Bush administration from invading Iran and starting a world war isn't protesters or even elected Democrats, but a rebellion by the CIA and military.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker has documented the Pentagon generals dissent to Bush's goals and methods, and Sidney Blumenthal of Salon just published a book that documents how Bush has essentially been at war with the military since 2002 when they began to tell him what would happen if we invaded Iraq.

Right now, when generals dissent, they are forced to retire, which has a downside for the Bushies: they are then free to air their gripes PUBLICLY, which they are doing.

Either the Bushies will push things to the point that the military does what the CIA did in the case of secret prisons (simply refuse to follow orders) or they will realize that is the likely outcome and quietly start packing their bags for their retirement in Saudi Arabia (I think Idi Amin's cabana is now available).

There is something wrong with our democracy when the only way change can happen that a majority of Americans want is when government employees rebel. Our elected officials are not representing us, certainly not the Republicans, but sadly neither are a large number of Democrats.


CIA ‘refused to operate’ secret jails

By Guy Dinmore in Washington

Published: September 20 2006 22:07 | Last updated: September 20 2006 22:07

The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects to the military-run detention centre at Guantánamo this month in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme.


The administration publicly explained its decision in light of the legal uncertainty surrounding permissible interrogation techniques following the June Supreme Court ruling that all terrorist suspects in detention were entitled to protection under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions.

But the former CIA officials said Mr Bush’s hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going.


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