Friday, August 24, 2007

PARABLE: The rich man with many sheep who stole Iraq's one

If you are familiar this story, it has some slight changes.
1 The LORD sent a prophet to the king. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

4 "Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."

5 The king did not see the point of this story, said he didn't understand hypotheticals, and sent the prophet away since he was waiting for some very important traders. 6 The prophet went to the people in the street who always sang the king's praises, and told them the story of the same crime. 7 Some of them had trouble with hypotheticals too, some said the poor man didn't deserve even one ewe since he was poor, but many burned with anger against the man and said to the prophet "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to be punished! 8 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."

9 The prophet said, "Your king, George W. Bush, is that man. 10 He rules a land of great and many riches, but when his oil company friends came to him, he killed the people of Iraq, stopped their running water and electricity, buried their grandmothers in rubble, and burned their children alive, and gave their one ewe, their oil, to his friends who were already wealthy."

11 And lo, suddenly nearly everyone had trouble with hypotheticals for they thought the king would give them some of the ewe even though he and his friends planned to sell it to them for as much as the market would bear, and even withhold the hindquarters so the price would go still higher 12 just as they did with everything else, healers, water, electricity, and soon the air that they breathed. 13 For the people saw themselves as the king's children, but he saw them as the poor man's ewe that was his to kill and give to his friends.

Portions from the New International Version of the Holy Bible.

Jesus talks to George W Bush at his ranch


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

VIDEO: Fox News news recycles Iraq propaganda for Iran

Mainstream TV news networks uncritically presented the Bush administration's exaggerations and outright lies that made up their case for war with Iraq, but Fox went the extra mile and called anyone who questioned the case for war a conspiracy theorist and traitor.

The guy who made this documentary made one shortly after the Iraq War started talking to intel experts in the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon about how intelligence was intentionally fabricated and distorted to sell the war. It took a few more years for most Americans to realize what he documented way back then.

He also did an excellent (and funny) one on propaganda methods used at Fox News. My favorite part is in the trailer when they say there aren't more black cops because they are afraid of water. I told somebody about that once and they refused to believe it until they saw it. Watch the trailer and see for yourself.

Now the drumbeat for war is starting again, this time for war with Iran.

So far, the public isn't listening. If they were, they might here some odd facts that counter the administration. For example, just as Bush was trying to say that Iran was helping the Taliban, his hand-picked president of Afghanistan said Iran was helping to STABILIZE his country.

The prime minister of Iraq seems to share the President of Afghanistan's view, much to Bush's frustration:

Iran hasn't helped their case by having a Holocaust denial conference, but that doesn't merit killing tens of thousands of Iranians and possibly starting a World War when Russia and China come to Iran's defense.

Military strategist at the Pentagon have said attacking Iran is a really, really dangerous idea. At the very least, they could finance terrorist attacks on American people and interests all over the world. At worst, China and Russia will not tolerate the US having an absolute stranglehold on the world's primary supply of oil.

Incidentally, China doesn't have to fire a single missile or send a single soldier to retaliate--they simply have to stop buying our debt that Bush is running up to pay for the war.

That could destroy our economy and either end the war, or with Bush at the wheel, more likely he'd spend the cash on hand to try to use our troops to hold onto Iraq and Iran's oil, and cut spending at home to the bone, so more bridges collapse, more natural disaster victims are ignored, kids and their family bear more of the brunt of college costs, and grandma's social security check won't come on time, so they'll kick her out of the home and she'll be living in your garage.

And that's the mildest scenario.

Russia has surface skimming nuclear anti-ship missiles, the Sunburn, that we have no countermeasures for, so one shot could kill the thousands of sailors and marines on one of our aircraft carriers in an instant. Things would go downhill from there.

It could be that the Bushies just do a token bombing of Iran to prove their manhood on the way out, and try to goad them into retaliating so Bush has an excuse to escalate, just as they are already doing by sending special forces into Iran. Ironically, in both instances, we are depending on Iran acting more responsibly than the Bush administration to prevent this from escalating to a world war.

None of this had to happen.

Shortly after we invaded Iraq, Iran made a sweeping peace proposal that was personally received by Karl Rove that would have recognized Israel and cut off funding for terror attacks in Israel, and helped us fight al Qaeda, something they offered to do from the start. They also offered tighter inspections of the nuclear program, which the Bushies are supposedly worried about. Bush ignored this overture, which probably didn't help the semi-moderates in Iran.

But you can't settle your difference with negotiation when the real agenda is seizing a country's oil assets worth tens of trillions of dollars which no government would give away on the terms Bush wants since they would risk the wrath of their own people. That is why the Iraqi parliament members are dragging their feet on passing the Bush backed Hydrocarbon Law that would give control of their oil to transnational corporations like ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, Shell, and BP. As much as the Iraqis fear Bush and the gun he has in their faces, they know their own people would not rest until they were dead if they gave away the one thing of value their country has: oil.


Think of how hard the Iraqis are fighting us, now imagine adding a war on top of that with a country that has three times the population, six times the land area, more ethnic unity, and China and Russia backing them up.

Tell the networks to stop the propaganda and your congressman and senators that we have the tar and feathers ready if they make one move toward starting another unnecessary war.

Dem. Sen. Carl Levin parrots Bush criticism of Iraqi PM

Levin, chair of the senate armed services committee, does throw a sop to the anti-war movement by saying we should begin pulling out troops, but it is striking how closely his talking points track with Bush's, just as in this earlier email:

Ironically, Bush has already backtracked on his criticism, and forgot to tell the toadying Levin.

Back in March, Maliki himself said he had already knew why Bush would withdraw his support--if the Hydrocarbon Law that gives most of Iraq's oil wealth to American companies (who have a poor track record of sharing with us) didn't pass.

Iraqi oil workers, scholars, Saddam era bureaucrats, and even the vice president of Iraq have said this oil law will screw Iraq. The parliament has likely not rejected it outright because they know Bush will probably dissolve the parliament then dissolve them if they do.




If they pass the law, the Iraqis would do the same. I'd go on vacation if I were them too.

Likewise, the Bushies and fellow travelers if not allies like Levin are probably pissed off that Maliki is pursuing good relations with neighbors Iran and Syria who Republicans and not a few Democrats are looking for an excuse to invade.

Maliki & Iran story
Maliki & Syria story

The Bush-picked president of Afghanistan also has friendly relations with Iran and says they are a stabilizing force in his country, much to Bush's frustration.

If we were really interested in teaching these countries democracy, their elected officials working on good relations with their neighbors and protecting their natural resources from foreign exploitation would be seen as good things.

Instead, DC wants the appearance of democracy and the reality of obedient puppets.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another congressman condemns Bush's Iraq OIL THEFT law

I can count on one hand the number of Democrats who have spoken honestly about the oil theft law Bush is forcing on Iraqis, but unfortunately, I can think of just as many who lied, evaded, or literally ran away from questions about it.

At least there is one more now, Rep. Joe Sestak from Pennsylvania.

Americans need to understand that invading another country to steal their natural resources is a clearcut war crime that will earn us even more hatred from Iraqis and those in the Persian Gulf than we already have.

Via Thinkprogress:

Sesktak Warns Iraqi Oil Law Contains ‘Undue Ability Of U.S. Oil Companies To Control Iraqi Profits’

Alternet’s Joshua Holland reported recently, “If passed, the Bush administration’s long-sought ‘hydrocarbons framework’ law would give Big Oil access to Iraq’s vast energy reserves on the most advantageous terms and with virtually no regulation.” The framework law proposes to hand over effective control of as much as 80 percent of the country’s oil wealth.

A recent poll showed that all Iraqi ethnic and sectarian groups across the political spectrum oppose the principles enshrined in the oil law, and 419 Iraqi oil experts, economists and intellectuals recently signed their names to a statement expressing grave concern over the bill. The head of the Iraqi Federation of Union Councils said recently, “If the Iraqi Parliament approves this law, we will resort to mutiny.”

While the Bush administration has prodded the Iraqi government to pass the oil-sharing agreement, few members of Congress have voiced alarms over the details in the current bill. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) recently told ThinkProgress that more attention needs to be paid to the oil legislation. “Who knows what’s in that,” he said. Sestak continued:

The indications from a draft of several months ago that the Kurds were using, is that…there is an undue ability of our oil companies to control the Iraqi profits by controlling the infrastructure and the wells that are there.

I mean they [U.S. oil companies] are going to get much more, if the draft is correct, of profits than we would under a normal oil sharing agreement, of these oil companies to a country like Saudi Arabia or others. Heaven forbid that at the end of this time, after all this, if we find out that there’s undue advantage given to our oil companies.

Send a note of thanks to Sestak and contact your representative and senators and tell them stop Bush from giving Iraq's oil to his cronies.



OIL THEFT motive for IRAQ WAR resources

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Diebold electronic vote rigging division now an albatross for corporation

Here's some good news for a change.

The rigged voting machines have become an albatross for giant corporation Diebold. They have been trying to shed the division, and when they couldn't, they resorted to changing the name.

After a year and a half of conversely trying to dump their failed voting unit and/or lying to customers about the reliability and security of their voting systems, corporate parent Diebold is giving up the ghost of its election business which, according to an analyst in a Reuters report, was "responsible for less than 10 percent of Diebold's revenue, and 100 percent of its bad publicity."

After a string of disastrous reports on the quality and security of their voting systems, along with plummeting stock prices since last week, it seems clear that Diebold, the once-great, more-than-100-year old company, is doing whatever it can at this point to save the corporate parent. While its stock price (DBD) plummeted at today's opening bell and is currently down some 5.6% from yesterday, the price has begun to rise again in the last hour or so on news of the spin-off.

More than anything, however, the move may well be a harbinger of a coming declaration of bankruptcy for Diebold/Premier, as we see it. With the unit now spun off from the blue chip Diebold parent, declaring bankruptcy or dissolving the company altogether might be less trouble for investors and the main company as a whole, as their extraordinary legal and financial liabilities continue to mount...


California's profoundly corrupt registrar Connie McCormack was in such a panic about the failing status of the Diebold machines that she made a telling Freudian slip at a meeting of the county supervisors, her bosses:
"I think we have to see what the vendors are going to say about that," McCormack said. "The vendors aren't going to make much money in Los Angeles County if they have to pay $400,000 for the recount."

But Supervisor Gloria Molina upbraided McCormack for her concerns about the vendors' profit margins.

"I think you are walking close to the edge," Molina said. "I don't understand why you are so protective of the vendors. You keep saying you are concerned about what this is going to cost them.

"It's really none of our business. It shouldn't be in our interest to protect the vendors' profits."


Brad helpfully reminds people how close her relationship with Diebold is with a screenshot of their sales brochure she appears in.

Brad's list of links on growing shit storm for vote rigging companies


GAO study

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

MUST READ: economic democracy crushed by tanks & coups again and again but keeps coming back stronger and stronger

This is simply breath-taking in tying together what has happened to us her in the US since the Reagan Revolution, what neoliberalism and resource wars like Iraq have done to the rest of the world, and most importantly, how people fought back again and again and could only be deterred by economic or military force.

This is partly why Hugo Chavez is so terrifying to the corporate world: not that he is so far left but because their usual tools failed to remove him or bring him to heel. When they called their bought off generals for a coup enough of the Venezuelan people and even enough of the military saw Chavez was looking out for their interests and the economic elite were not.

Whether the Democrats will really put the people before their corporate donors remains to be seen, but this is the direction we MUST push them in if we in the middle and working class don't want to end up living in a cardboard box in a Third World slum in the middle of North America.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Naomi Klein: From Think Tanks to Battle Tanks, "The Quest to Impose a Single World Market Has Casualties Now in the Millions"

This idea of our intellectual and ideological failure is the dominant narrative of our time. It’s embedded in all the catchphrases that we’ve been referring to. “There is no alternative,” said Thatcher. “History has ended,” said Fukuyama. The Washington Consensus: the thinking has already been done, the consensus is there. Now, the premise of all these proclamations was that capitalism, extreme capitalism, was conquering every corner of the globe because all other ideas had proven themselves disastrous. The only thing worse than capitalism, we were told, was the alternative.

Now, it’s worth remembering when these pronouncements were being made that what was failing was not Scandinavian social democracy, which was thriving, or a Canadian-style welfare state, which has produced the highest standard of living by UN measures in the world, or at least it did before my government started embracing some of these ideas.
It wasn't the so-called Asian miracle that had been discredited, which in the ’80s and ’90s built the Asian “tiger” economies in South Korea and Malaysia using a combination of trade protections to nurture and develop national industry, even when that meant keeping American products out and preventing foreign ownership, as well as maintaining government control over key assets, like water and electricity. These policies did not create explosive growth concentrated at the very top, as we see today. But record levels of profit and a rapidly expanding middle class, that is what has been attacked in these past thirty years.

Now, I want to use the rest of my time just to say that this was not the first time, that this -- if we look back at the past thirty-five years, we see this slamming of the door on alternatives just as they are emerging repeating again and again. Many of you were here for the opening address from Ricardo Lagos, the former president of Chile, who talked about another September 11th, which was another one of those moments, a far more significant one, when a very important democratic alternative, the real third way, not Tony Blair's third way, but the real third way between totalitarian communism and extreme capitalism was being forged in Chile. And that was the great threat.

And we know that now through all of the declassified documents. There’s a really revealing one: a correspondence between Henry Kissinger and Nixon, in which Kissinger says very bluntly that the problem with Allende’s election is not what they were saying publicly, which was that he was aligned with the Soviets, that he was only pretending to be democratic, but that he was really going to impose a totalitarian system in Chile. That was the spin at the time. What he actually wrote was, “The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on -- and even precedent value for -- other parts of the world…The imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.” So that alternative, that other world, had to be blasted out of the way, and extreme violence was used in order to accomplish that.


We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks. Now, most effective we have seen is when the army tanks and the think tanks team up. The quest to impose a single world market has casualties now in the millions, from Chile then to Iraq today. These blueprints for another world were crushed and disappeared because they are popular and because, when tried, they work. They're popular because they have the power to give millions of people lives with dignity, with the basics guaranteed. They are dangerous because they put real limits on the rich, who respond accordingly. Understanding this history, understanding that we never lost the battle of ideas, that we only lost a series of dirty wars, is key to building the confidence that we lack, to igniting the passionate intensity that we need.


A good brief summary of neoliberalism

How "economic hit men" set it up and enforce it

How Bush is plundering Iraq's OIL

Klein on the plunder of Iraq

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

POLL CHARTS: Iraqis don't want to give OIL WEALTH to Bush cronies

Not surprisingly, a recent poll of Iraqis commissioned by Oil Change and other groups found that they know their oil income could provide a decent living for their people.

Iraqis would also prefer that their national oil company develop their oil NOT transnational oil companies, which directly contradicts the intent of the Bush-backed Hydrocarbon Law which will give up to 80% of Iraq's oil income to companies like Chevron, Exxon, and Shell.

Iraqis also said they don't haven't heard enough about Bush's oil law to feel informed on it--sounds a lot like the Patriot Act and just about everything else the Bushies force on us with as little debate and scrutiny as they can get away with.

If we were even remotely interested in teaching the Iraqis democracy, Washington, DC would be talking about the results of this poll. But they don't because as Huffpost blogger Robert Naiman said:
If supporters of continuing the indefinite U.S. occupation of Iraq were forced to concede that Iraqis don't support what the U.S. is doing -- not to mention that nearly a million Iraqis have died -- the whole argument about "cut and run" would be exposed as a cruel farce. If one is engaged in an immoral enterprise, there's nothing brave about "staying the course."


Click any chart to see full-sized.

This is the crucial one:

Questions: Have you been kept in the dark and fed on bullshit?

More on this poll

OIL THEFT motive for IRAQ WAR resources

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wear orange until Bush and Cheney are impeached

I went to the fabric store to buy three different kinds of orange fabrics to mess around with. The high school girl who cut it for me ask why so much of the same color and I told her the World Can't Wait has come up with this campaign to show national, public support for impeaching Bush & Cheney. She got excited and said she was going to get all her friends to do it too.

The campaign would like to get critical mass on this by Labor Day, and especially have people wearing orange on ORANGE FRIDAYS.

The choice of colors has a couple of advantages:
  • It echoes the orange revolution in the Ukraine, which is a great irony since Bush criticized that government for rigging elections when the exit polls didn't match the vote.

  • Orange is a bright, annoying color, most people don't wear in most situations.

  • Enough construction workers wear orange that it will make it look like even more support the campaign.

  • It is also the color of the jumpsuits of the prisoners at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

  • Rush Limbaugh has been selling orange "Club Gitmo" wear for a while, so some dittoheads will unwittingly be participating in the campaign.

The World Can't Wait has bandanas and tees, but if you can't afford to buy anything from them, you could go to a thrift store and buy a couple of orange tee shirts, or a strip of fabric from a fabric store to make a bandana, scarf, or armband. You can also buy one of those rubber wristbands in orange.

Some variations you can do with this:

  • Tie an orange ribbon to the antenna on your car or side mirrors.

  • Send an orange postcard to your senators and reps with just the words IMPEACH NOW on it. (or maybe tell them you'll wear orange until they do their job and impeach, so every time they see the color they'll remember they aren't doing their job).

  • Send that postcard to the White House too. What the hell. You know you're on the list already.

  • Put an orange banner or background on your blog.

  • You might also send a nice orange tie or scarf to your favorite White House press corps reporter and say you would be honored if they wore it at press conferences, especially when they're with Bush himself. (Whether or not you tell the reporter the significance of the color is up to you). Hell, Helen Thomas might wear it even if you tell her what it's for.

  • Even better, when Cheney goes hunting, he will be supporting impeaching himself.

Will you participate in this campaign?

Friday, August 03, 2007

before 93 WTC bombing, FBI wanted mole to give bombers LIVE explosives

The gist of it is, the mole or informant was so freaked out by the suggestion that he started taping his conversations with his handlers and presented them as evidence in court. He also said that if the FBI had listened to his advice, let him be in on the bomb-making and substitute harmless powder for the explosives, he could have prevented the bombing.

What does that have to do with anything at this late date?

There are two facts about the "War on Terror" that are routinely ignored by the American media, but not by the rest of the world:
  • the war is not about terrorism but controlling oil with tens of trillions of dollars and other natural resources.
  • acts of terrorism can be provoked or even staged to suit a political agenda.
Author of the torture memos (which makes him a prima facie war criminal) said as much in an Los Angeles Times column:
Another tool would have our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within Al Qaeda's ranks, causing operatives to doubt others' identities and to question the validity of communications.

LA Times link
And so did Donald Rumsfeld when he was Secretary of Defense:

The board recommends creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG), to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception.

Among other things, this body would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to "quick-response" attacks by U.S. forces.

LA Times link

There is a long history of the FBI and intel agencies infiltrating groups like the Klan, militias, and foreign terrorist groups, not just to gather information, but to prod them to act, then catch them in the act.

Or if it is more politically expedient, NOT catch them, as the story below seems to imply.

Oddly enought, two of the 9/11 hijackers lived with an FBI informant, and two of the hijackers were supported by Saudi intelligence agents according to Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11.

If your friend kills your wife and you know it and still have a beer with him every week, is it unreasonable to assume you wanted him to kill your wife?


Plot Warning Is Reviewed By the F.B.I.
BLUMENTHAL, RALPH. New York Times. Oct 29, 1993. pg. B.1

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the allegations of an informer who said after the World Trade Center explosion that he had warned law-enforcement agents of a plot to build a bomb, and that if they had worked with him, they would have prevented the blast, officials said.

But some officials disputed important parts of the informant's account yesterday, saying that conversations with him took place half a year before the attack on the trade center, and months before the bomb was actually built.

The comments of the informer, Emad A. Salem, are in transcripts of telephone conversations with the police and F.B.I. agents that Mr. Salem secretly recorded. In the transcripts, Mr. Salem is quoted as saying that the bombing could have been foiled but for an F.B.I. supervisor's rejection of a plan to have him work with the plotters building the bomb, then substitute harmless powder for the explosives.

The review of Mr. Salem's allegations that has been undertaken by the F.B.I. is not a formal investigation. The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, which looks into suspected ethical lapses, has not been called in, officials said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity. Reno Declines to Comment