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Thursday, September 18

How Weird Does It Have To Get 

The Guardian is on a roll. First there was the news this morning that the Saudi Arabians were considering the option of acquiring nuclear weapons as a deterrent (among other options). Then this from the Guardian that according to the IMF, the US dollar is so shaky right now due to the collossal deficits that it could go into free fall at any moment:
IMF warns trade gap could bring down dollar

Charlotte Denny and Larry Elliott
Friday September 19, 2003
The Guardian

The International Monetary Fund yesterday warned that the colossal United States trade deficit was a noose around the neck of the economy, emphasising that the once mighty dollar could collapse at any moment.

Arguing that the world's big economies were already too dependent on the willingness of American consumers to live beyond their means, the IMF said the US could not continue to run a current account deficit of 5% of GDP.
The rest...


Speaking of the dollar, there's also China. Besides the dollar vs yuan argument, there's also been the wholesale export of American jobs to Chinese sweatshops, as well as the recent coalition at the WTO conference in Cancun, where China, India and Brazil anchored a group of 17 countries in their opposition to western trade policies. The WTO aborted rather than lose to the lesser developed world.

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OFF WITH DICK'S HEAD 

Unsubstantiated reports on legit.gov are that Dick Cheney will not run with Bush as Vice President in 2004.

But the Veep has more problems ahead and that's handing over his energy task force papers that have been hidden away the past two years in a vault in the basement of his castle.

The Washington Post reported on September 17 that Cheney's chances of getting the Supreme Court to review the energy panel case and overturn the appeals court ruling to cough up his papers are "slim".

The Post reports, "Vice President Cheney will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to avoid being forced to produce information about his energy task force to two public activist groups."

more...

So who will replace Cheney on the ticket? I have a vision of two generals on a stage engaged in a televised debate with Jim Lehrer moderating. It's the fall of 2004. One general is black, the other is white, like in a game of chess. One general had a great success in the first Persian Gulf War, the other successfully led a campaign to oust the Serbs from Kosovo. Bets anyone?

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We Like Airplanes 

Airplanes are one of our favorite tools for eliminating unruly competition. So much can go wrong, right?

They are very predictable. Pilots file flight plans, so we know where they will be. Each plane is uniquely identified, and manufactured by our friends. They have to be fueled and serviced before flying. Our team makes the fuel, too.

They have to stay in contact with towers, run by us. They rely on data while flying, of course, which we are happy to provide.

They are not understood by most people. If a plane crashes, it could be just about anything, right? Maybe it was bad weather. Maybe the piston-return springs weren't serviced. Perhaps a duck flew into the air intake gizmo. Most people don't even know why a heavy piece of plastic and metal can float in the air in the first place.

They don't crash in crowded, witness-filled areas, either. They crash in remote areas that are hard to get to. We can plot these areas according to flight plans.

When accidents happen, they are investigated by a national government body. No local or independent experts are allowed near the site. We can control the investigation. We can produce fancy, expensive computer graphics to show you how it happened. Case closed.

Small planes are our friends when we are in a bind. Yes, it is pretty evil to off someone, but it is so easy that it is hard for us to ignore the option when it presents itself. We use it as a last resort, but we use it. We'd be stupid, like you are, not to.

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Wednesday, September 17

Gen. Wesley Clark Is Anti-War The Way Bush Is Pro-Environment 

Which is to say, not really. FAIR, which stands for Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting, published their own assessment of what the pacifist general has had to say about the War in Iraq up to now. And they find a mixed bag indeed:
Hearing Clark talking to CNN's Paula Zahn (7/16/03), it would be understandable to think he was an opponent of the war. "From the beginning, I have had my doubts about this mission, Paula," he said. "And I have shared them previously on CNN." But a review of his statements before, during and after the war reveals that Clark has taken a range of positions-- from expressing doubts about diplomatic and military strategies early on, to celebrating the U.S. "victory" in a column declaring that George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair "should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt" (London Times, 4/10/03).

You can read the rest here: http://www.fair.org/press-releases/clark-antiwar.html

Thanks to Squealer who blogged this to me instead of the blog ;)

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Tyranny Borders Democracy 

"During the coming cold decade in American history, prepare for war: war with China, war with South America, trade war with Europe, war with the Middle East, war with the United States government. Prepare for marching on the Pentagon. Prepare for bankruptcy. Prepare to be laid off, to collect unemployment, to be left behind by technological advancement, to make no money."

I wrote this three years ago when I knew Bush was going to grab the election. I wrote the above on October 28, 2000.

I saw who the real Bush was. I didn't buy that "compassionate conservatism" just like I didn't buy his father's "kinder, gentler" speech either. The real Bush were the Rumsfeld's, the Richard Perle's, the Wolfowitz's, the William Cohen's, the Dick Cheney's, the Negroponte's, the Powell's - violent men from the Reagan years. I predicted that when these men took office, the American people would be left out in the cold like always, but that this time everything we had worked for would be stolen away from under us, or sold away from under us, by these men. What followed tells the real story of how we were ripped off: huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and virtually nothing for the middle class other than a few more dollars in each month's paycheck, fake recessions caused by the automotive industry in Detroit, and the invention of a new fiendish terrorist-created empire that results in endless perpetual war anywhere in the world and enormous profits for the defense industry. Imagine all those tax dollars being spent in order to defend this nation against box-cutters. I knew that what I wrote on Octobert 28, 2000 would come true. Lo and behold, it did!

Then when the farcical election happened, Al Gore caved in and fell apart. It reminded me of the movie Star Wars when the Imperial War Ship locks onto the rebel starship, the stormtroopers blow its way into the craft, and amidst all the fire and smoke, in glides George W. Bush.

You may or may not know the rest - so much of it was not accurately reported in the news.

The Big Three (GM, Chrysler, Ford) laying off 20% of their workforce the day of the inauguration because of a recession (?) caused by (in the words of the captains of that industry) overproduction.

Then the California energy crisis happened as a result of energy deregulation, lack of price caps, and behind it all Enron profiting enormously. Do you remember how Bush publicly touted the effectiveness of deregulation and warned that price caps would result in higher prices later on. However, when the Democrat-controlled congress pushed through price caps to deal directly with the California energy crisis, suddenly all of the California brownouts stopped, the problems immediately ended, and Enron collapsed.

Then there was the attack on 9/11 by Saudi and Kuwaiti hijackers that was later blamed in a masterfully-crafted public relations campaign on Saddam Hussein. Did I mention the Patriot Act that was already completely written only several weeks after September 11?

Oh yeah, and the weapons of mass destruction that were in Iraq and warranted an invasion. What turned out to be at the end of that blood-stained rainbow will be told to us in a few days: programs of weapons of mass destruction in all likelihood. The press will eat it, they never investigate anything.

The big blackout, which the Republicans and the press actually tried to blame on environmentalists and which has resulted in higher oil and gas prices. The Republicans will not investigate this issue, and the Democrats that will investigate it will of course be called enemies of this country.

What about that child I saw left behind? Never mind that. Instead Americans have enjoyed three massive tax cuts for the wealthy and seen the permanent loss of over 3 million jobs in this country.

Retirement savings have been blown to bits when the stock market fell a thousand points. Now that crucially important 1% of Americans that owns $2.9 trillion of the nation's stocks and bonds out of a total $3.5 trillion, are happy and donating to Bush's reelection.

I knew I had to become more active or else I couldn't look at myself in the mirror.

After September 11, 2001, I attended several events at which Greg Palast (author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) spoke. While the media in this country were supporting Bush's policies everywhere in the world and painting the protestors as enemies of democracy, I read up on Bush's family and learned some interesting things.

Grandpa Prescott Bush was the director of Union Bank which backed Hitler before his rise to power. Prescott worked with Allen Dulles, who was the director of the Schroeder Bank which also financially backed Hitler in the early elections that brought his Nazi party into the German parliament. Roosevelt went after both Dulles and Bush and would have had them imprisoned for trading with the enemy if he hadn't died in 1945 allowing them to escape away into the night. I learned a lot. Rumsfeld was the Special Middle East Envoy under Reagan in the mid-80's. You can see him shaking hands with Saddam Hussein after delivering chemical and biological weapons to be used against the Iranians. Before that, Rumsfeld was Defense Secretary under Ford, but in 1981 he served for a time on the board of directors of Vulcan Materials in Birmingham, Alabama. S. Richardson Hill, President of the University of Alabama worked with Vulcan Materials to host an event of Arab businessmen, Saudi princes and other Southern businesses and later had the honor and distinction of building a university named after a terrorist in Libya.

I learned about Adnan Khashoggi, the wealthy Saudi broker involved in the Iran-Contra scandal as well as Republican campaign contributor ($1 million to Nixon secretly in 1972). Pardoned by George Bush Sr. over the Iran-Contra affair, Khashoggi contributed to the Republican National Party and to the Bush Junior presidential campaign indirectly through companies such as Barrick Goldshares. Khashoggi's first brokered deal was for Osama bin Laden's father, Mohammed bin Laden.

Interestingly, all of this is documented in the following books available at a library near you:

The Royal House of Saud (1981), David Holden and Richard Johns [has the story of Khashoggi and Mohammad bin Laden broker deal]

The Arms Bazaar: from Lebanon to Lockheed (1977), Anthony Sampson [has a chapter devoted to Adnan Khashoggi including the story of his meeting with Nixon and contributing to Nixon's reelection campaign]

The American House of Saud: : the secret petrodollar connection (1985), Steven Emerson [has the story on Vulcan and Donald Rumsfeld]

All of this research was helpful.

Then Sen. Paul Wellstone's plane crashed just one week before the elections in 2002.

Sen. Paul Wellstone was the most liberal member of Congress and was involved in a contentious race in Minnesota for reelection. He died along with his wife and several aides.

The Democrats lost in Minnesota.

It seems that the Democratic National Party's idea of how to win Democratic votes is to be thoughtful, nice and ponder deeply over questions before answering in a programmed robot voices.

From the ones who lost the elections in 2002, they bring you today their latest creation: Ex-Gen. Wesley Clark, who proudly tells everybody that he has voted Republican, worked for Republicans and generally behaved in a very pro-Republican way for his whole life, but now he wants to be a Democrat, please.

Just when Dean has really got going and fired up the real Democrats that are active and knowledgeable, the fearful Democratic Party pushes this announcement out before Clark has even announced he's running for President. The media is announcing that Clark's going to announce he's running. What news. They're so enthusiastic.

When Dean officially announced he was running, ABC news was not enthused.

It ran a story full of fear on June 23rd, accusing Dr. Dean of being "bad for the party" and calling Dean "an unknown, from a very small state" who had "unleashed liberal rage" and that if he went on to win Iowa and New Hampshire would "fatally weaken the party".

The supposedly unbiased mainstream press picked up on this and ran editorials on how dangerous for democrats Dean was. Interesting slant I must say. In the New York Times, it was falsely noted that Dean had a "reputation as a liberal fire-breather". Oh my God! Run for your lives. It's a liberal fire-breather. Visions of dragons and irrational fears that go bump in the night were spewed forth from our establishment-owned press.

The day before Dean made his announcement, the New York Times, on an idea they stole from Bush, preemptively ran a negative story on Dean called "Misfires from the Hip Create Problems, Dean Discovers" on 6/22/2003, which went through all of the apologies that Dean had made to the other presidential candidates over some fairly innocent comments compared to what he's been called lately in the press.

Do you see Lieberman, Kerry or Gephardt making apologies today to Dean for accusing him of being Newt Gingrich, anti-Israeli, a member of Hamas, anti-Medicare, a friend of Republicans?

Today the New York Times ran a story on Wesley Clark's announcement that he was running as a Democrat. The word liberal and the word "republican" were absent from the story even though Clark has never worked for the Democratic Party and has admitted to voting for Republicans in the past. Some "reputation". And the story certainly doesn't mention that he comes from "a very small state" and that he's "bad for the party". But the story does manage to bash Gov. Howard Dean in this immortal statement intended to damage Dean's chances at winning the nomination: "Some Democrats see him as a plausible alternative to Howard Dean, who, some worry, is an insurgent from a small state who could lead the party to disaster in the general election".

Somehow I saw that one coming a mile away. Unfair and biased. Who are these "some" that the Times mentions? Are they possibly connected to the Democratic Leadership Council, the far-right organization that has attacked Dean in the past? To tell you the truth, I think the New York Times editor for that story inserted that comment into the article.

It's this type of journalism that I see plainly every day in the media. Favoritism, self-censorship, half-truths and a lot of propaganda pushed down on the American people to get them to think the way they want us to.

I find it insulting to the intelligence of this nation's voters.

It's important to let the New York Times know how their reporting comes across so that they can be reminded to do a fairer job, a more honest job. After all, as Noam Chomsky pointed out the New York Times is the single most important newspaper in the country, if not in the world.

I can't tell you how much of a difference the people who have been active over the past year and a half have been in unsettling the media's lip service to the Pentagon and to the White House, in particular to Bush. I don't know why they haven't been more critical of this President when they were all over Clinton daily for misdeeds that you might say they partially helped to create. Why was there so much misinformation flying around 24 hours a day about President Clinton when Dick Cheney gets away with creating the energy task force with the help of Enron's disgraced Kenneth Lay which was, in effect, a tool used to jack up energy prices without price caps so that California's consumers would have to pay 500% more for their electricity?

I marched in New York city on February 15th along with 12 million others worldwide who were against the U.S. invading Iraq. When asked what he thought of the millions of people who took to the street to denounce his policies, Bush answered, "You know, besides the protest, it's like deciding I'm going to decide policy based upon a focus group."

NBC Nightly News reported on the protests as coming from England and the rest of Europe, even though millions march in cities throughout America. John Siegenthaler reported that the massive protests were in Europe, "where anti-American sentiment and opposition to war appears to be growing". NBC Nightly News often fails to report on any negative stories about General Electric, which owns NBC and is also the largest defense company in the world.

That's why we need to learn more, read more, protest more, write more to our members of Congress, and remind the mainstream press that they have a job to inform the people of the truth, not just to entertain them with stories of missing children and continuous coverage of the murder trial of OJ Simpson.

We must always remember, like Walt Whitman, that tyranny borders democracy. An apathetic society concerned less with Bush's lies and more with the price of a mattress is pretty much doomed to failure. Democracy is only the first step on the road to freedom. Once the system is in place it must be frequently maintained and repaired or else it will break down. Our democracy has broken down, it didn't happen when Bush took office, or when Kennedy was shot, or as a result of any intruders. Our democracy broke down when Americans stopped paying attention to what was going on in the government.

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We Have Agents All Over 

We began our take over in the 40's. We realized that we needed a secret agency, within the government, that we could use to do our dirty work around the world and here at home. We started the CIA.

In the 50's we built it up and tested it, by orchestrating some coups in far away places. It worked, so we turned our attention to this country.

Now, the CIA can't spy on US citizens or do anything here at home, right? No problem. We "retire" agents. Very faithful, very loyal agents. We get them good jobs in influential positions. They don't need to be told what to do when the time comes.

Take Porter Goss, for example. A brilliant lad at the agency. Worked tirelessly throughout the 1960's as an officer with U.S. Army Intelligence and with the CIA. Retired from the CIA and moved to a swampy island in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1970's. Set up the town, set up the town newspaper, and got himself elected to city council and appointed to Mayor of Sanibel. Went on to work his way into the House and on to two major committees - Rules, and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is also on the new Select Committee for Homeland Security. Yes, he's the one in charge of investigating the FBI and CIA regarding 9/11.

We have retired agents working in newspapers. They are in government. We have them placed everywhere they are needed. It's a club. You are not a member.

So, you see, we think in very long terms... many, many years. We think about what we will need a decade from now. We want money, weapons, a system that we can control, and control of the oversight of the system. We want lawyers, doctors, senators, judges, and vote counters. If anything goes wrong, we want to be able to cover it up and be sure none of us actually get in any real trouble. We want fall guys.

Keep givin' it to us, America. Let us have it.

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If Only I Were A Dictator by George W. Bush 

Remember all those dictator quotes from Dubya, before someone got to him and told him to cut it the hell out before people caught on? Me too. I just found a few rattling around my hard drive. Enjoy!

"You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier." Describing what it's like to be governor of Texas.
(Governing Magazine 7/98)
-- From Paul Begala's "Is Our Children Learning?"

"I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree with each other, but that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," Bush joked.
-- CNN.com, December 18, 2000

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it, " [Bush] said.
-- Business Week, July 30, 2001



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Tuesday, September 16

Is Clark No. 10? 

Gen. Clark May Announce He's Running As A Republican This Friday

Today Reuters reported that Ex-Gen. Wesley Clark had announced his run for the President of the United States. Well, not exactly. It reported that Ron Oliver, the Arkansas Democratic Party chairman, told Reuters that tomorrow (maybe) Clark would announce his run. Or maybe perhaps on Friday.

Ex-Gen. Wesley Clark may even announce he's running as a Republican.

During his appearance in July on Fox News Network show Hannity & Colmes, Clark was drilled on whether or not he was running as a Republican or a Democrat. Sean Hannity was curious if the General, who served under past Republican President Ford, would not run as a Republican to which Clark replied "I just haven't said that. I just haven't crossed that bridge. So I'm not going to cross it."

I assume Clark does not intend not to be straightforward with the American people, it's just that he comes across as not straightforward as opposed to Gov. Howard Dean, who is very straightforward. Clark prides himself on the fact that he's non-partisan and that he has voted many times for Republicans, which would endear him to followers of Joseph Lieberman and Rep. Dick Gephardt.

If Wesley Clark announces that he intends to run as a Democrat, he would be the 10th candidate in an ever-widening field of contenders for Bush's job, and who knows at this point if he would be the last.

Clark was one of those military analysts you saw every night last spring calling the play by play on the war in Iraq. "My heart is with those troops out there. They are -- they've slept hard. They've worked hard. They've maintained their equipment. They went through the dust. They went through the dirt. Now it's raining. Now there's mud and they're facing the eminence of contact. That's what all the training has been about. This is what all the prayers have been about." Does this sound like a man who opposed the war? Yet Clark was opposed to the war.

Over at ABC Nightly News with Peter Jennings, they've instituted a new graphic. Whenever a report concerns Iraq, a little graphic pops up over the newscaster's head announcing that the war is over because the American people need to get the point.

Back to reality, and in New Hampshire, Susan Putney, the New Hampshire director for Draft Clark 2004, calls the volunteers who watch videos of Gen. Clark's speeches every night, "Our little cavalry". Putney adds, "We're trying to show the general his troops are there."

That's special.


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Monday, September 15

Why Would We Want an Exit Strategy? 

There is no need to worry about an exit strategy. We spent a decade planning to take over Iraq and we're not going to give it up that easily.

See, there is more money for us to rebuild than to get out. If we leave now, how can our pals at Halliburton, KBR, et al, get no-bid contracts for billions of dollars?

If there are skirmishes, that's great. We need to buy a new fleet of Humvees and make more weapons. That money goes to our car manufacturing, gun-making, weapons system designing pals.

Not that we are just spending wildly, of course. We've cut back on benefits for the enlisted and stretched out their length of stay. Sort of like we do to you, naive little America. There are less of you employed, earning less than ever, working longer for... you guessed it -- us.

No, the President is right that we would like this war on terrorism (ha! that's such a good one) to last forever and to be every bit as successful as the war on drugs. That is, not at all. There is more money in pretending to fight it... or so says George Clinton.

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Exit Strategy For Iraq 

I've been hearing a lot about possible exit strategies for the war in Iraq, and I don't see what the fuss is about. It's simple:

I believe the world could solve the problem in Iraq by following something like the French and Iraqi formulas recently proposed. First, the US should transfer power to the Iraqis within 30 to 45 days at most, and as soon as the power transfer occurs, begin pulling back troops with the goal of having all but a minor security force in there by Christmas. At the same time, the UN should also provide humanitarian aid and civilian advisors to help the people of Iraq get on their feet again.

To the argument that America can't pull out because to do so would cause terrible violence in Iraq, I would argue that the reason there is so much violence in Iraq right now is because the US is occupying it. If the US pulls out and cedes control to Iraq, most of the violence will dissipate and the people will get back to running their country and their lives themselves, according to their own methods and preferences.

This solution is win, win, all the way around. It would give the people of Iraq what they want: self-rule and their own country back after years of dictatorship. At the same time, it would help restore the US's world reputation, which has been badly tarnished in all of this, and the American people and their children and grandchildren would save a whopping $87 billion dollars. The only losers are Bush and the oil companies and the military industrial complex and Dick Cheney and Halliburton, a small price to pay when you realize how much the rest of the world benefits.

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Communicating 

The first rule is really quite simple: Say the opposite of what you mean.

Bush and the others have had this as their basic instruction since we got them in there. The absurdity, over time, has been fun for our side and increasingly angering to our opponents. Plus, there is no chance of slippping up and revealling one of our true plans.

If we tell Bush we're going to funnel money into some companies through government contracts and a reporter asks him about it (not that we let reporters ask these sorts of things, nor tell Bush exactly what we are up to), he simply says "We are against funnelling money to companies, and will spend whatever it takes to fight this injustice." Next question.

Instead of saying "I," he is trained to say "The American people", as in "The American people are against repealling the tax cuts," or "The American people want a cheeseburger. Now."

Finally, when in doubt, say something scary in an offhand way. That always shakes things up. "I'm not ruling out nu-cu-lar weapons," "The terrorists may be planning something this afternoon," or "I have may another recess appointment."

The American people do not want communication like this. We are against it and will spend whatever it takes to fight this injustice. If we don't, who knows what bad things might happen.


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